Jen’s Favorites of the Week

A photo of a cup of coffee.

Jen’s Favorites of the Week

(In No Particular Order)

  1. Accompanying my younger sister as she registered for her first baby shower. My niece will be only the third grandchild in our family, and she is sure to be as spoiled with love, attention, and care as my own two have been for the past four years.
  2. Spending the weekend with one of my lifelong best friends. We discussed blogs, parents, husbands and children over morning coffee and took care of all the children together. A blessed weekend!
  3. Taking my children to our local County Fair for the second year in a row all by myself. My children love the fair and one of their favorite parts is riding the shuttle bus there and back. My favorite part this year was this quote by our usually unflappable Eva after she went on a ride that turned out to be a little too scary:  “I HATE that ride and I’m never going on it AGAIN! I’m ready for ice cream and to look at horses!”
  4. Teaching lots and lots of Jazzercise the past two weeks and the way instructors from three different Jazzercise centers have taught all over the chart to cover illnesses, injuries, and vacations.
  5. Receiving a phone call from George. He finally arrived in some sort of civilization within cell phone range. I felt renewed energy when I heard his voice and immediately began texting picture after picture to his phone while coverage was good. He’ll be leaving civilization again soon, but for now I feel totally satisfied.

On a side note, I need to give a shout-out to my other lifelong best friend, Kim, whose “Favorites of the Week” idea I actually borrowed from her blog. Thanks, Kim! :-)

Commercial Fishing Is America’s Most Deadly Job

CNN has released its list of America’s Most Deadliest Jobs and readers of this blog will not be surprised to learn that commercial fishing once again ranks as our country’s top deadliest job.

Here are a few of the top most deadly jobs according to the report:

  • Commercial Fishing: 2oo deaths per 100,000
  • Logging: 61.8 deaths per 100,000
  • Airplane Pilots: 57 deaths per 100,000
  • Farmers and Ranchers: 36 deaths per 100,000

Check out the article here. It’s pretty interesting and it always astounds me how far ahead of the second most deadly job commercial fishing ranks.

I can’t even think of anything to write other than there is a reason we celebrate like crazy each time George returns from sea. There are too many fishermen who do not come back home.

Photo By David Hills

A Perfect and Wistful Vacation

Friday the 13th


My birthday was on Friday the 13th this year. I know—scary! I spent the morning of my birthday watching my little children graduate from swimming lessons and felt so proud when they received permission to advance to Level Two next summer!

Next, I treated myself to a massage and a birthday lunch all by myself. It was actually a treat to sit calmly rather than eating and drinking in a gigantic rush. It was also nice just eating my own meal rather than mine plus whatever the kids left over. That evening, we went to my parent’s house and had a pizza party and watched the kids ride all around their driveway on new bicycles. Or rather, Eva rode around on a new sparkly pink bicycle while Vincent enjoyed his hand-me-down.

Next, I did something I’ve only done one other time; took the kids on a vacation all by myself! We went on one last year for my birthday and it was so much fun I just had to do it again. So, I packed us all up, got the dogs ready for a visit at Grandma and Grandpa’s, and then hit the road for a six-hour drive.

Traffic was awful and it was 100-degrees (literally) outside, but we had air conditioning to cool us off, country music to listen to, and we discovered a great new place to stop and eat.

One of the things I’ve had to learn as the mother in a commercial fishing family is how to do most everything for the children by myself and be brave enough to see things through. A part of me always feels bad—not because I’m often without their father, for he is working hard and risking his life for us. I know that if I wasn’t strong and determined to show our children a fun time, they would miss out on so much.

No, I feel bad because getting the family ready for a vacation is something George actually loves to do. There is honestly not much he enjoys more than packing up food, getting the dogs ready, and hauling our bags out to the truck.

So, for much of the trip I kept thinking things like “George would love this restaurant,” “George would love to swim in this pool,” “Wouldn’t it be great if George could see Eva jump in and get her head wet,” and “I feel guilty that we are having such a wonderful time in the sun with friends, and he is so far away in terrible weather fishing in Western Alaska that I can’t even talk to him.”

I have to forge ahead, though. It’s worth the hassle of getting us all ready and feeling bad that we aren’t all together to watch the smiles and the joy, and to hear the laughter and squeals of our little angels as they play on our  friend’s playground, swim in their pool, drink chocolate milk, and race tricycles down a huge lawn of rolling green.

And I have to think that there is nothing George wants more than for his two children to play, run, swim, and feel so free and happy.

Thank you, Beth, for opening up your beautiful home to us. We love you all and our time together with your family could not have been more wonderful.

The Salmon Princess: An Alaska Cinderella Story

I wanted to let you know about another commercial fishing-related book we’ve had in our baby and toddler collection since Eva was born.

The Salmon Princess: An Alaska Cinderella Story, written and illustrated by Mindy Dwyer, is a longtime favorite in our home.

As you’ve gathered from the title, the book is based on the Cinderella tale but with an awesome Southeast Alaska fishing twist!

Instead of going to a palace ball, Cinder longs to attend the Silver Salmon Festival on the mainland. The wicked step-mother tells Cinder she cannot go, as there are too many fish to clean at home. Instead of climbing into an elegant carriage, Cinder jumps into a skiff and drives herself to the Festival. And instead of a glass slipper, it’s an Xtra Tuff rubber boot she loses in her haste to get back to the island before dawn!

In the end, Cinder’s wicked step-brothers wind up cleaning salmon for long hours at a cannery, the wicked step-mother moves to the Lower 48, and Cinder’s new husband takes over his family’s fish biz.

It’s a great book with amazing illustrations; add it to your collection!

Blogaholic Designs”=

Commercial Fishing Book for Babies and Toddlers!

My son, Vincent, recently turned three. The tradition in my family– in addition to giving the birthday child a gift– is to also give his/her sibling one gift.

This year for Vincent’s birthday, Eva received a book called “Fishing A to Z.” At first, Eva didn’t know what to make of her gift. She’d expected something pink or fairy-related and was a bit disappointed when she opened her book to find a real picture of a purse seine vessel fishing for salmon in Alaska.

Upon closer inspection, however, we found out that her gift was WAY better than another pink fairy book or trinket!

Her new book actually went through the alphabet, demonstrating each letter with commercial fishing lingo!

For example:

B: Buoy

D: Dungeness

H: Huge Halibut

O: Orange Gloves

S: Seiner Skiff

X: Xtra Tuffs

My goodness. There could be NO cooler book for babies and toddlers of commercial fishing families than this!!! Buy it now!!

No, I don’t personally know the writer, photographer, publisher, or press. But I do know this is one awesome book, especially for your little ones. Get it!

Fishing A to Z

Oh, by the way–you can also buy a copy of the book in person or by mail-order  through Vis Seafoods!

Commercial Fishing Photo Gallery is Up!! (Halibut and Blackcod Longlining Pictures)

David Hills, who takes some of the world’s best commercial fishing photos, has published a gallery of the pictures he took while on board our fishing vessel last winter during round one of the Alaska blackcod and halibut longline season.

If you want to see what it’s really like out there and see some extraordinary tough guys at work (including my dear husband, G, of whom I could not be more proud) check it out!!!

David, you ROCK!

Halibut and Blackcod Commercial Fishing Photographs

My Prophetic Dream

Most of you know by now that I spent last weekend at a writer’s conference. I’d been planning to attend the Conference for the past two years, but I was not ready last year.

This year, I was ready and prepared with a folder of information I planned to present to two agents and one editor during my non-fiction book pitch. The folder included my business card, my thirty-second verbal pitch, my one-sentence book description, the synopsis, and two sample chapters.

It’s no secret that I suffer from serious anxiety that can be rather debilitating, and I’ve been both blessed and cursed with extremely vivid dreams. Of course, I didn’t sleep well the night before I left for the Conference, and had a first-class nightmare to send me off on my big weekend.

In the dream, my first agent appointment had been moved from 11 a.m. to 9 a.m., but nobody told me. Fortunately, I had arrived early for the appointment, so I was ready. Unfortunately, the agent took one look at me, decided I was lame, and told me she didn’t want to hear my pitch. She talked with me for five minutes and then sent me on my way. I convinced her to take my folder of information, which she grudgingly accepted.

Later that day I was sitting in a chair at the Conference and looked up to see a movie mockery of my pitch playing on a big screen, which the agent had put together. Other Conference attendees sitting around me were watching the movie, laughing about how stupid an idea my pitch was!

Next in the dream, right before my 3:20 p.m. appointment with an editor, I somehow ended up in a taxi that took me far from conference center. I begged the taxi driver to turn around so I could make my appointment, but she refused.

I called everyone I knew to come get me and take me back to the Conference, but of course couldn’t reach anyone. And to make matters worse, during the course of the Conference, I couldn’t get on any elevators, had my make-up all screwed up, and bought a new car in the middle of it all.


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Ways to Send Your Man Off to Sea!

One of the things I love most about maintaining this blog is the awesome people I meet. I’ve forged some pretty cool friendships with some pretty neat people that have even gone over into Facebook and otherwise. I love logging into Highliners and Homecomings and seeing that I have a comment that someone was thoughtful enough to leave!

The other day, I received an inquiry through my Contact Form. Elizabeth wrote in with such an interesting question that I thought it would be fun to create an entire post out of it.

Thanks for letting me post your question here, Elizabeth. As I said before, you are one cool chick to be thinking of ways to send your man off to sea in style rather than giving him grief for leaving.

Here’s her note:

I am the girlfriend of a soon-to-be commercial fisherman. He did it in the past, left it to pursue a career on land, and I of course started dating him while he was in this on-land period. But the call of the sea is too great, I guess. He was recently offered a job on swordfish boat down here in San Diego. I don’t know how often they’ll dock or how long he’ll get to stay docked, but I do know that there won’t be any phone calls while he is out. I know I’ll miss him terribly, and I have no idea how I’ll cope with him being gone all the time but I do know that I want to send him off with something special. Since I’m a complete rookie – is there anything that the men especially enjoy having with them? Pictures, music, food? Any feedback that you have from your own experiences would be much appreciated!

Well, I couldn’t stop thinking of ways to send a guy off to sea! (Rated G, of course, this is a family-friendly blog!) :-)

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Gift pack of his favorite treats. Candy, cookies, crackers, chips, etc., to hide in his bunk.
  • A special “boat cup” (Not glass, boat-safe, can be bought at fisheries supplies or sporting goods stores).
  • A set of boat dishes. George loved the set I got for him.
  • New galley towels. They get dirty and ruined so fast, it’s nice to have something fresh and clean!
  • A photo of yourself in a frame. My friend took a nice black and white of me years ago that George loved. Unfortunately, one time we had a big fight and I threw it away, but it was nice while it existed :-)
  • Create a photo book of your best pictures together at Snapfish, Shutterfly, or Costco. They are easy and fun, and you can add quotes and messages on every page if you want.
  • A photo calendar. I create them every year and send one with G to look at in the wheelhouse throughout his months away.
  • A book. A light read is usually better. For example, skip the self-help or how to improve your relationship, haha!
  • You can hide a card in his bag for him to find once he’s on the boat.
  • You can send him off with many cards labeled with dates, one to open each day or once a week.
  • Have kids? Eva just drew a picture of her and George holding hands. We picked out a frame for it, she wrapped it all by herself, and then couldn’t wait to tell him about it when he called.
  • Find out the address of the place they’ll be unloading their catches, and have something waiting for him there each time they unload. I like to send George his magazines, pictures, and the kids’ artwork. We go to the post office and select the bright,  fancy, decorative envelopes so it goes in style!
  • A new CD or a mix-CD of his favorite music.
  • Several magazines.
  • A small portable DVD player and a couple of movies.
  • A new boat blanket or sleeping bag.
  • Fresh new boat pillow case.
  • Nice new boat shower towel.
  • Have a phone that takes and sends pictures? George loves receiving new pics whenever he gets cell coverage.
  • You can also get “creative” with your cell phone pics, if you get my drift. Not for everyone, but it won’t go unappreciated! :-)

Anyone else have additional ideas? Let’s grow the list! This was fun!

Some of My favorite Quotes of All Time (Plinky)

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

“Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid of standing still.”

(Chinese proverb)

“In your rocking chair, by your window, you dream such happiness as you may never feel.”

(Sister Carrie, by Theodore Dreiser)

“Say, how long ya gonna stay, Huck? Say you’ll stay always. We can have just booming times.”

(Huck Finn, Mark Twain)

“God will not look you over for medals, degrees, or diplomas, but for scars.”

(Elbert Hubbard)

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