Best salmon dinner recipes from great Seattle chefs (via Vis Seafoods)

Have a fillet of wild salmon from the Copper River, the waters of Southeast Alaska or elsewhere and don’t know what to do with it? Check out some of these recipes!

Best salmon dinner recipes from great Seattle chefs – Photos – Click on this link for excellent salmon recipes in the current issue of Sunset Magazine! … Read More

via Vis Seafoods

Is This What Empty Nesters Do? (via My Silly Monkeys)

One of my best friends of 30 years, Beth, has *finally* started a blog. She is an excellent writer and an astute observer of the human condition—whatever that condition may be, and whomever it may belong to.

I’ve been struggling lately with the thought of leaving my 3-and-4-year-olds for the first time EVER, for two nights, at the end of July.

Beth’s post on the subject made me smile and feel braver. Check it out!

Once upon a time, two knights in shining armor galloped in on their white horses and rescued a damsel in distress. Okay, really it was Saturday evening, the knights were my parents, the horses were their Nissan Maxima, and the damsel in distress, well, that was me. You see, Nana and Papa came to my rescue because, as the title of my blog points out, I am on the brink.  On the brink of almost but not quite enough time, on the brink of conquering t … Read More

via My Silly Monkeys

Two Nights and Counting…

The boat left yesterday on a windy, cold, dreary November June morning. I taught  Jazzercise as scheduled early that morning, because I figured it was better to get up and moving first thing and get the endorphins running rather than moping around the house, watching George pack his bags and finalize his office work.

When we got to the boat, the crew was in a great mood and just hanging out, waiting for G to arrive and give the order to throw the lines off.

Here on the home front, the kids and I are doing fine. We went to gymnastics and Jazzercise again today, and their beloved babysitter, Allison, also came over. To round out the evening, we received visits from Grandma and Grandpa.

Tomorrow we plan to hit a local strawberry festival, go on a wagon ride, and eat some strawberry sundaes… weather permitting, of course.

So…so far, so good. Love you, G. Get that quota and come home quick.

The Night Before Departure

It’s the night before G, the boat, and crew all leave to go catch the rest of the blackcod and halibut quota in the far reaches of Alaska. I’m trying to not feel sorry for myself and to keep well aware of the fact that this is what we do…and have done for five generations…and we aren’t the only ones.

Many boats are leaving right now for the salmon season, the albacore season, or are already long gone. There are many wives, children, and girlfriends that feel sad right now because they’ll be without their loved ones for a few months.

Developing a summer plan for the children and me has been a big help. Our plans include:

  • Teaching lots of Jazzercise at two different locations;
  • Kids attending gymnastics a couple mornings a week;
  • Working on my writing;
  • Attending a writer’s conference;
  • Playing with kids in the backyard underneath sunshine;
  • Taking kids on a couple of easy trips to see friends;
  • Going out on Dad’s new pleasure boat; and
  • A camp out/sleepover at Uncle Ryan and Auntie Steph’s.

Each time I start to feel sad, I just remind myself that I’m not alone whether in my home, in my circle of friends and activities, or in my particular situation as the wife and mother in a commercial fishing family. It’s time to be strong for the kids and cheerful and optimistic for G.

Tryin’ my best, as always… and like everyone else does, too.

Ta-Da…My New Desk!

I was incredibly honored today to find I’d been included in a list entitled “Writers to Check Out”  by none other than Christina Katz, the author of Writer Mama, Get Known Before the Book Deal, and the e-book Author Mama. This is a huge surprise! My most sincere thanks to Christina; this is no small thing, and I am so very grateful!

We are actually leaving tomorrow to “find the sun.” Of course, now that we’ve actually planned a small get-away to get out of the rain, the weather here is supposedly going to be sunny and hot. We shall see. I won’t believe it until I hear about it!

Before we left, I thought I’d let all inquiring minds know that my new desk–called the Manager’s Desk–has finally been assembled. I decided that instead of giving George one more thing to do, I’d ask a good friend of our family to come help a girl out. He came over and got the thing set up in record time.  Not many 26-year-olds can actually decipher manuals and assemble things quickly and correctly these days, so thank you, John! Your work is much appreciated by this mommy writer and I feel awesome each time I sit down at my new desk.

Now, like any good Manager would do, I’ll need to compile performance reports for my employees—otherwise known as my family. How does one evaluate the performance of a three-year-old, a four-year-old, and a husband? Actually, come to think of it, I believe it’s me who is the employee! Sure hope they don’t evaluate me anytime soon! :-)

Freshly painted combo fishing vessel, Vis. (Rhymes with "fleece.")

Yes, I set the glass of wine there on purpose this time! :-)

One Step Closer to the New Desk

George has spent the last month down at the harbor where the boat has been hauled out in dry dock. In addition to painting when thunder storms aren’t raging, G has been hard at work installing a brand new auto pilot, new engine controls, a shaft alley bilge pump, and miscellaneous other projects.

George is a genius at reading manuals, understanding assembly, and has amazing spacial reasoning skills. I’ve never seen a project he couldn’t (or didn’t) complete whether it was remodeling a bathroom, leveling a yard, putting trim on a basement, or figuring out taxes and crew shares.

Even so,  he wasn’t thrilled when my new “Manager’s Desk” was delivered recently… in a million pieces.

“I’m pretty tired of manuals and assembling things,” he said. Considering what he’s been doing on the boat all month, who could blame him?

Here’s where we are:

I’ll Find You, Sun!

Okay, so I wasn’t able to keep my little desk as clean and clutter-free as I’d hoped.

My new “Manager’s Desk” showed up this evening. After a few days of cold feet regarding stepping up to a nicer desk, I finally placed the order.

On the commercial fishing front, our boat is currently hauled out and G has been down at the shipyard every day painting and doing maintenance.

George is getting ready to leave for the next few months to catch the rest of the halibut and blackcod quota. Somehow, I was able to convince him to take one more little trip with the fam before he goes.

My goal for the mini-trip is to find the sun. Although I’m not usually impacted one way or the other by non-stop cold, rainy, and dreary days, I’ve finally had it.

I want the sun.

I’m not sure where we’ll end up, but it doesn’t matter. As long as the sky is blue and I’ve got my family with me, it’s all good.

Performance Review

While the kids were at gymnastics and George was painting the boat the other day, I came up the great idea to reclaim my desk.

This is a desk that, when we were a couple without children, used to hold court in a room encased by bright pink walls (that I painted) in the quaint 1940s house we used to own.

Since we moved to a more modern house and have had two children, that desk has served as a horizontal surface upon which to stack clean and folded laundry in Vincent’s room.

I decided to set up that old desk in the corner of our living room. I found my three-hole punch, stapler, paper weight, binder clips, reporter’s notebooks, and set them all back up in their former places.

I thought the setup was great until George returned home from the harbor. He liked the idea and agreed I needed space to pay bills and work on my writing, but he didn’t like the look of the specific desk in the space.

He offered to buy me a new desk. I did some research and chose a reasonably-priced piece of furniture called the “Manager’s Desk.” I told him once the desk was purchased, assembled, and ready for use, the “Manager” (me) would be calling him in for a performance review. Not to worry, I said. It’ll just be a review on things he’s doing well and things he needs to improve upon….lol.

Here are a couple of pics of my “old” desk. I don’t think it looks that bad!

Blogs, Pitches, and Tag Lines…

George took the kids to pick up a meal at the new BBQ place just outside our local grocery store this evening. In the fifteen minutes my family was gone, I took a headlong dive into the notes I’ve collected recently on writer’s websites, blogs, social networking, marketing, and pitching.

My little family wasn’t gone five minutes before my eyes were blurry from all the information.

I thought I’d share some of the various tips I’ve gathered and see what y’all think:

1. Who you know does matter. The more you do for them, they more they’ll do for you.

2. Be able to describe your book in 200 words. Why? Few people you work with, besides your editor, will actually read your book.

3. If you are interviewed for media, have your own questions and answers prepared in advance. The interviewer will probably not have read your book.

4. Don’t worry about social networking. If you do have a blog, you need to “blog” three days a week. Better is five days a week.

5. Make sure you know what’s going on in your own hometown when it comes to marketing your work. New Yorkers don’t know what’s going on beyond the Hudson River. (Not my quote, by the way!)

6. A 30-second verbal pitch about your book is critical.

7. Read Publisher’s Weekly on a weekly basis to find out information regarding deals, agents, editors, and people in the know.

8. The cover letter is all-important.

9. Some reviewers will not review a trade paperback.

10. The quality of your proposal, your cover letter, and your synopsis mean everything.

11. Research the person to whom you are sending these things. Polish all three things.

12. Stop the publicity for your work six months before publication. Whoever interviews you before your book/writing is published won’t you interview you again shortly after your work is published.

13. Word of mouth is the greatest marketing tool of all.

14. Independent booksellers will sell the majority of copies of your book. Check out

15. Be able to describe your book in a one-sentence tag line not exceeding 20 words.

The above is just a fraction of the info I’ve gathered on pitching or marketing your writing or book. I could keep typing, but George is sending me a look requesting help with two little blondies who need to go to bed.

Let me know what you think!

Jen’s Favorites of the Week

Jen’s Favorites of the Week

1. The song “You Ain’t Right” by Randy Travis.

2. After missing the warranty deadline on my laptop hard drive by one week and losing $300 on a plane ticket recently, we finally got in under the wire with Infiniti to get a $800 Bose stereo system replaced under warranty. That was a lucky break, ’cause otherwise I’d had to have driven around without music for a while! :-)

3. Attending a benefit for the daughter of a former fisherman who needs a kidney transplant. Her father had been the transplant candidate until he was diagnosed with two kinds of cancer.

4. Viewing 335 photos of commercial longline fishing taken by professional East Coast photographer David Hills, who went to sea with George and the crew in Alaska last winter. Will post links to the pictures soon.

5. Seeing my latest article published in National Fisherman, along with the pictures and the nice intro in the front of the mag.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. I mean it.