Growing up around the water, naturally, I learned to love fishing.  Something I think I inherited from my Dad.  Being the good ole Norwegian that he is, my Dad was an avid fisherman. Here he is….

When I was little, living in Astoria Oregon, which is on the mouth of the Columbia River, my dad would wake my brother and I up before the sun came up, and drag us out on the boat with him to fish for Tuna, and Sturgeon. I slept (on the boat) through most of the actual “fishing” part, but remember pretty vividly the commotion afterwards when we would take the day’s catch back to the house, and lay them all out on the front lawn in size order and take pictures, most of the time with myself or my brother in the picture for size reference, haha.   If you aren’t familiar with sturgeon, they are HUGE.  They are the largest freshwater fish in North America. They can grow up to 20 feet long. Yeah. Like I said…HUGE.  Not sure what the longest one my dad ever caught was, but when you’re 5 years old, they all look about 20 feet long! They’re kind of prehistoric looking with the spiny barb things (ultra-technical term) along their backs. Here is a photo I took of one in the tank at Cabelas.

Strange looking as they are, they make for really good eats! Because my dad was such an avid fisherman, my step-mom, Lulu, had to get really creative with the catch. If you’ve ever seen Forest Gump (who hasn’t?), think of Bubba Gump and his Bubba Gump Shrimp Co…..shramp (that’s “shrimp” with a “southern accent”) gumbo, shramp soup, deep-fried shramp, pan-fried shramp, shramp kabobs, shramp creole, shramp cakes….and so on. It was the same thing for us, with sturgeon.  So, Lulu prepared for us, with copious amounts of love, sturgeon balls (and no, these are not little tiny fish testicles, they were similar to a crab cakes, only in more of a ball shape), pan-fried sturgeon, baked sturgeon, smoked sturgeon, sturgeon steaks, and I can’t remember what else. I do remember that sturgeon balls froze well, so we had them A LOT. Oh yeah, and did I mention that my dad, the avid Norwegian fisherman……..doesn’t like to eat fish?  I don’t know what he ate while the rest of us were eating sturgeon this or sturgeon that, but if I was Lulu, I would have been cramming sturgeon down his throat whether he liked it or not.

Let’s think about this for a minute…..My dad has been fishing all of my life. Tuna, Sturgeon, Salmon, Halibut, Crab, and I’m sure many others, but those were the biggies. Yet he doesn’t like to EAT….ANY of them.  He is a stickler for only having the freshest brightest salmon to smoke, and then he gives it away.  He is the one who opened my eyes (as an adult, cuz I really didn’t give a rip when I was a kid), to the difference between fresh home canned tuna, and the crap you buy in the grocery store. It’s A-MA-ZING. It’s like you’re eating two different things completely….yet HE….doesn’t eat either.  Makes no sense.  We would make smoked salmon dip from some of his fresh smoked yumminess, and then he’d send the whole tub home with me. Not that I’m complaining, cuz…DUH!! I got a whole tub of fresh smoked salmon dip! But wow, giving up gold like that…is just, well, wow. But who am I to question. I can just consider my Dad the “Angel Fisherman” put on this earth to make sure (other) people eat GOOD FISH.  It’s his gift to the world. 🙂

So I grew up loving fish, and learned to fish with a regular rod and reel when I was young. I didn’t really get the “itch” to seriously fish till I was in highschool. I asked my dad to teach me how to fly fish after he moved to Bend, Oregon. I would love to say I learned to fly fish on the Deschutes River, but nope. I learned to fly fish in the yard.  Casting took practice.  So dad had me practice practice practice on land….wide open land, so that I didn’t hook all the trees or bushes. Fly fishing adds a little more “activity” to fishing for me.  I like the movement, of it. I do like to fish with a regular rod and real also, but I sometimes get bored just sitting….waiting.  I can say, that the first river I fished on with my fly pole was the Deschutes.  Dad and I fished together.  It was pretty cool. No, I didn’t catch anything.

Unfortunately, I do more “fishing” than “catching” with my fly pole.  It’s another great lesson in patience for me. 😉  I have made a couple of catches with my fly pole over the years. I didn’t catch my first one till I was in my 20’s. It was caught in the Deschutes River, and as luck would have it, it was caught on camera, so I can’t even tell a tall tale about how HUGE it was.  But really, even though it was the size of a sardine, I was SO excited.  I’m almost too embarrassed to show you my very first catch………almost……………look closely and you’ll see it….. (please don’t fall out of your chair laughing)

 A couple of years later, a friend of the family who had a place on the Canal across the road from ours, John Normand, told me about some beaver ponds up in the hills near Hood Canal that he frequently fished.  Told me I had a much better chance of actually “catching” something there.  I was IN! And he was right!  I know it’s not huge, but remember, this is fly fishing, which is twelve times harder than regular fishing (at least that’s what I’m telling myself!) Here is a Brown Trout I caught there

Here are a couple Pink Salmon that I caught with a regular rod and reel, on the Skykomish River in Snohomish County

My daughter has also learned to love fish. She is more interested in observing and interacting with them, than she is holding a pole with line that disappears into nothingness, and then having to wait. I’m sure her patience will increase with age. Last summer, she was fishing off of the dock at the Canal and I had to laugh at this conversation we had…..

Emma: “Mom, why aren’t they (fish) biting?”

Me: “maybe they’re just not hungry right now”

Emma: “well I’m not trying to FEED them, I’m trying to CATCH them.”

My response was just laughter. Oooh, right, right. Sorry, my bad. 

Here she is the first time she fished off the dock at the Canal. I don’t think she believed me that there were fish down there, because she couldn’t SEE them (like in her fish tank)……

Here is a photo after a successful day of crabbing also…..




I am always looking for good advice…..and I ran across an article on line about building self-confidence.  It boiled it down to 10 ways to instantly build self-confidence. It’s a good read. I won’t go too deeply into each one, (the link to the full article is at the bottom of this post), but I really to point out the four that stood out to me (highlighted in pink). I have personally made a conscious effort to do these things DAILY…..they Really, REALLY WORK. It’s nice to see them pointed out in this article.

Here they are from the top….

  1. Dress Sharp – I have heard this many times. Sometimes I do, sometimes I dont. Are flip flops considered “sharp”? 😉
  2. Walk Faster – Never heard this one before. If this is true, my mom should be the most self-confident person on the PLANET. She is a FAST walker. Whether in the grocery store, mall, parking lot…..wherever. If you are going shopping with her, wear your “fast” shoes, and don’t feel bad when she eventually leaves you behind and doesn’t even know she’s done it. It’s normal.
  3. Good Posture – Never heard this one either, although I know it’s good for your “core” muscles.  I need to pay more attention to this one.
  4. Personal Commercial – This sounds a little crazy to me.  
  6. Compliment other people – DING DING DING DING!! Another WINNER WINNER WINNER!
  7. Sit in the front row – I guess this makes sense…..but I have always been a back of the room kinda gal. I feel too awkward with everyone’s beady eyes staring at me from behind. And yeah, I am pretty positive that EVERYONE is there SOLELY to look at MY BACK, never mind the important speaker or event happening at the front of the room. 
  8. Speak up – I agree with this one. Over the past 10 years or so, I have learned to do this out of necessity. But I have to disagree with the statement that most people are dealing with this same fear. Not the people I encounter in meetings at work. I am lucky to get a word in edgewise most of the time. I suppose it could be being in a room full of extroverts….with ONE introvert (me) who does the best she can to pretend to be an extrovert.  😉
  9. Work out – YES YES YES! There is nothing more empowering than being in control of your health, and watching your body transform itself from working out on a regular basis.  YOU are making that change and it’s pretty amazing!  We all know that exercise releases endorphins, but it’s also been known to do many other things from treating depression to increasing your memory!
  10. Focus on contribution – YES! I have learned this through personal experience (long before stumbling across this article). It’s SO TRUE. If you don’t want to click the link below to read it yourself, I at least want you to hear all of this one.  So here it is…..

“Too often we get caught up in our own desires. We focus too much on ourselves and not enough on the needs of others.” (Remember my post about stepping out of the mirror room?  This is pretty much it). “If you stop thinking about yourself, and concentrate on the contribution you’re making to the rest of the world, you won’t worry as much about your own flaws. This will increase self confidence, and allow you to contribute with maximum efficiency. The more you contribute to the world, the more you’ll be rewarded with personal success and recognition.”

Click here to see the full article.

Project: Crayon Garden

This weekend I decided to take the whole crayon thing in a new direction. I have been meaning to do one of those melted crayon rainbows on canvas, that I have seen all over pinterest, but haven’t gotten to it yet.  This weekend, I felt like doing something similar, but different. I am hooked on painting right now, so I wanted to incorporate that as well. And of course, I HAD to add some bling (just a touch). 🙂

This is what I came up with.


You will need crafting glue, crayons, and a canvas (whatever size you want your “garden” to be). Because the crayons will be the “grass” and “stems”, I painted my canvas blue all over to become the sky, with acrylic paints. I used 3 different colors of blue on the same brush to give it some depth.

This is the brand of paint I like.


I let that dry a couple of hours. Then, put a strip of glue on each crayon, and lay it on the canvas like this.  I alternated light and dark greens, some browns, and a couple of yellows….


Once you have them all the way across the canvas, let the glue dry for a couple of hours.  You don’t want it melting on the next step. 

You will need a hairdryer (you can also use and embossing heat tool if you have that). 

Turn on the dryer and aim it at the crayons.  Once they start to melt, be ready, cuz it will go fast.  Make sure to hold the canvas at an angle so the wax will run down the canvas.

Once you take the heat off, the wax from the crayons solidifies almost instantly. Once you have your “grass” and “stems” how you want them, you can add your flowers. You can use any artificial flowers you want, I have way to many on hand already, so I used this daffodil that I had. Daisy’s would also be pretty.

You will need to take the flower apart, removing the stem, and the very inner peice that holds the flower together, in order for it to lay flat on the canvas.  Like this….

Once you have your flower apart, you can “re-assemble” it on the canvas, using glue between each layer. 

Anddd……Viola!   All done!