Happy Belated Birthday, Blog!

I know, it’s been a slow month for Highliners & Homecomings. Thanks for continuing to check in to see what’s new! George got his Dungeness crab gear work finished in record time this year, so we have gotten a bonus extra month together, for which I am incredibly grateful!

We had a princess party for our Eva’s 4th birthday last week, attended a fantastic Christmas party at the home of dear friends, and I also got to attend two different Jazzercise-related Christmas parties. All of this has made for a wonderful holiday season for the four of us, and it will go down as one of the most relaxing and enjoyable.

Of course, the holiday season isn’t over yet, but the path to Christmas is my favorite part.

In other news, Highliners & Homecomings celebrated its third second birthday back in November! In honor of the blog’s birthday, I decided it was time to try and attempt to make some changes. I recently purchased some upgrades, one of which is the CSS (Cascade Style Sheet), which will allow me to make visible changes to the layout and design.

You may have noticed that the background color is now green, the title of the blog is encased by a red double border, and I’ve changed the font style of the posts. CSS is not easy to learn; it is comprised of codes and programming, neither of which I have a natural talent for. It has been fun testing the waters, though, and I hope the book I’ve ordered on the subject will enable me to do much more.

Last but not least, you can now access this blog at the following web address:


Don’t worry; you can also still access it by the old address:


These changes are all just part of the upgrading process.

Anyway, thanks for all of your support and communication for the past three two years, and Happy Belated Birthday, Blog!

Christmas Shopping Poll

Wow, an Optimistic Forecast for Dungeness Crab Season 2009!

It’s not often that I read an article about the Dungeness crab season that is halfway positive. As everyone in the industry knows, the fishery is often plagued by low prices, sketchy catches, and tribal issues.

So when I opened up Pacific Fishing magazine and read the article written by Cassandra Marie Profita, I was surprised. Not only because the writer has the first two names as my own sister (amazing!) but because the news about the 2009 Dungeness crab fishery was not all bad.

Profita writes that Northwest crabbers and processors expect a better season this year after low prices and low abundance made last year’s season a struggle. She also writes that markets are hungry for fresh crab this year because the low volume of crab from last year’s fishery meant less product in the freezer. Also, test fishing in both Washington and Oregon brought in high numbers of legal-sized crab. Last but not least, Profita writes that processors are expecting strong whole cooked and live crab retail sales.

This is the best outlook for any Dungeness crab season I’ve experienced in a while, so my fingers are crossed. If the prices are decent and stable and all the fishermen stay healthy and strong, it could be a great run this year. We’ll see!

Also of interest to commercial fishermen-types in Pacific Fishing this month was a highly amusing snippet, written by Anne Hillman, about the return of TV crews from the Deadliest Catch to Unalaska. That story is located on page 21 and is a must-read.

If you’ve been following my National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) progress, you’ll be interested to know that I did complete the challenge. I wrote just over 50,000 words during the month of November and received the Winner’s badge, which is featured on the sidebar of this blog.

I actually finished NaNoWriMo two days early, thanks to Nebraska Outback, who shot ahead of me early on in the challenge and set a rigorous pace. The challenge of trying to keep up with her word count really helped keep me typin’ away!

Favorites of the Week!

Jen’s Favorites of the Week


1.  Jason Aldean’s CD (Wide Open). Every song, especially “Keep the Girl.” I really hope to see this guy in concert soon!

2.  Toby Keith’s CD (American Ride). Every song, including “If You’re Tryin’ You Ain’t.” A sample of the lyrics:

“Well if you’re trying’ you ain’t/There’s work to do son/If you can’t get up early/Baby you can’t get it done/Roll up your sleeves/Don’t tell me that you can’t/Make somethin’ somethin’/If you’re tryin’ you ain’t.”

3.  Sugarland’s Christmas album, Gold and Green. A favorite right now is “Nuttin’ for Christmas”.

4. National Novel Writing Month. After nearly a decade of picking away and a month of solid writing, I should have a manuscript to pitch at the Pacific NW Writer’s Conference this summer.

5. Pacific Marine Expo (a.k.a Fish Expo). We can’t wait to cruise the booths, say hi to new and old commercial fishing industry friends, and fill our plastic sponsor bags with pens, candy, frisbees, and stickers!

Overhauling Dungeness Crab Pots

Here are a few pictures from the past week. George and the crew (Bryan, Brett, and Brandon) spent the days overhauling their crab pots. Specifically, they overhauled 470 pots and rigged 30 new pots for a total of 500.

Eva, Vincent and I waited until the rain and wind stopped, and then we went down for a visit. They had fun jumping in puddles and playing with sticks, and I mentioned to them that their mommy and aunties used to have a lot of fun down there, too, filling net needles and swinging on buoys at the same locker in the early 80s.

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A New Commercial Fishing TV Show?

Now, this was rather interesting. Most of you know that we have a Facebook group called Commercial Fishing Families & Friends. (And by the way, if you have a Facebook account and have not already joined us, please do so! We are already up to 125 137 140 150 158 members, making us one of the biggest commercial fishing groups on Facebook!)

Anyway, members are welcome and encouraged to leave comments on our “Wall.” When I went to check in with our group a couple of days ago, the following message had just been posted:

Hi Everybody! I am casting a tv show for Country Music Television and we are looking for fishing families with teens. If you are/know anyone that would be a good fit please email me! WSPCASTINGPARENTS@nullGMAIL.COM Thanks!! Theresa

Now, if this is legitimate, it soundes incredibly exciting. At the moment, all of the fishing famlies I know have either babies and toddlers, or they are families I’ve known my whole life and the “kids” range in age from 25-60 years old!

If you happen to be in a fishing family, or know of a fishing family, with teenagers and you contact Theresa Horwitz at the above e-mail address regarding the television show, please let us know if it is the real deal or not!

And speaking of commercial fishing toddlers…we had a wonderful evening trick-or-treating with the family last Saturday night. If I’d known what a social event trick-or-treating with young children was in my town, I would have worn something nicer than sweats and tried to do something with my hair. Well, there’s always next year.

Eva was one head-to-toe decked out Tinkerbell, and she got countless compliments on her pink glitter gloves. At the last moment, Vincent refused to put on his dinosaur costume. We had two choices at that point: Toss a pillowcase over him and call him a ghost, or put him in his green raingear and call him a commercial fisherman. Of course, he chose the fisherman.


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Vincent, Auntie Steph, and Eva.

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Auntie Cass and Eva.


Happy Halloween!

It’s a big weekend for our little family; not only is it Halloween and the kids will be trick-or-treating for the first time, but this is George’s last free weekend to relax before the crew shows up and the long, windy, stormy, crazy month of Dungeness crab gear work begins.

We have had the best time off together and my only complaints are that the time was too short and went by too fast! We spent today walking in the fall wind around our quaint section of town, visiting a local bookstore and the local running store. George also bought the Juicer he’s had his eye on, so I’m expecting one especially tasty cocktail tonight. Okay, who am I kidding? I’m expecting two tasty cocktails tonight!

After years of consideration, I’ve finally decided to give National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) a shot.

NaNoWriMo is not for the writing faint-of-heart. The task is to complete a novel (50,000 words) in one month. Writing begins at midnight November 1, and ends at midnight November 30. This year, organizers are expecting 150,000 participants worldwide! Check out the NaNoWriMo website if you’re interested in learning more.

I now have my NaNoWriMo participant page, joined my region for in-person write-ins, and connected with a writer friend across the country. Except for the fact that I have no idea how I plan to write 50,000 words of anything in one month, I’m ready to go!

For Halloween this year, Eva is going as Tinkerbell (she doesn’t even know who Tinkerbell is, but she saw the costume and thought it looked like a “pretty princess”) and Vincent is going as a dinosaur. For anyone keeping track: yes, Vincent went as a dinosaur last year as well. (Hey, the costume is really cute, he only wore it for about five minutes, and it still fits!)

Happy Halloween!



Upon finishing her pink-froggy plate of food tonight, my toddler said, “Good dinner, Jen.”

I’m not sure which I should be concerned about: the fact that my 3-year old daughter called me “Jen” with such ease, or the fact that she thought a Lean Cuisine herb roasted chicken qualified as a good dinner!

Ah, well. Daddy (the real chef) will be home on Monday! :-)

A Successful Reading and Cool Chicks

The first reading for the brand new anthology, P.S. What I Didn’t Say: Unsent Letters to our Female Friends, was a great success.  I’m still thinking about what an incredible experience it was to finally meet fellow contributors Michelle Goodman, Anna Cox, and Jane Hodges, and the anthology’s editor, Megan McMorris.

Megan did an awesome job introducing the book to the audience gathered at one of the nation’s most famous independent bookstores. She also got up prior to each contributor to give a flattering and comprehensive introduction before we read.

The reading couldn’t have come at a better time for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting out of town with my family and meeting such accomplished and intelligent gals. I’ve participated in readings before, but this was one of the best. The energy in the store was positive and fun, if energy could be described as “fun”!  

I’m including the world’s tiniest picture of me reading. It’s not the best picture of me, which is (of course) why I’ve made it so tiny, but I thought it would be fun to share.

jen reading

One thing I’ve been thinking about lately is how grateful I am to be surrounded by such a vast circle of amazing women. Cool chicks, I like to say. Sometimes it’s hard to work with groups of women, but not when they are as classy and confident as the ones I’ve been lucky enough to associate with.

I get (or have gotten) to work with editors and writers like Megan McMorris, Christina Katz, and Barbara Sjoholm. I also have cool writer girlfriends and an entire SCN women’s writing circle.

On the other side of the aisle, I have some wise Jazzercise associations.  I’ve been blessed by the amount of sound advice that has come my way from these gals, especially during some difficult situations of late.

These women are all strong, able to communicate, and smart.

Have a wonderful weekend!

The Book Has Finally Arrived!

Happy Friday, Everyone!

This will be an exciting weekend. I was thrilled to discover yesterday that my two Contributor’s Copies of the book P.S. What I Didn’t Say: Unsent Letters to Our Female Friends had arrived in my mailbox!

I have (along with many, many other writers, editors, friends, and family) been eagerly awaiting the launch of this awesome anthology.

Upon opening the book, I was so pleased to see that everything was perfect:  name spellings, writer’s bio, and the story itself. I also love the layout and design of the anthology.

Now, I’m looking forward to two things. First, sitting down and reading all of the stories in the book. Second, participating in our first live reading at the famous Elliott Bay Bookstore.

On the heels of a pretty up-and-down week that could have kept me down, this is wonderful news and a perfect reminder not to let negative and hostile people steal your joy in life and activities. There are so many more cheerful, positive, and energetic people to deal with, and they mean the most.

Without further ado, here is an image of the recently launched anthology, P.S. What I Didn’t Say: Unsent Letters to Our Female Friends.