Category Archives: Family

Everything I Know, I Learned From Fishing With My Dad

For as long as I’ve known my dad, 27 years now, fishing has always been his favorite hobby. Most Saturdays, he would get up very early and be back as we were just waking…any hobby that requires early rising sounds more like a job to me, but my dad loves it.

 

When I was little, and before I knew what was good for me, I would go with him. The night before, he’d ask if I wanted to go, I’d ask him what time he would be leaving and he’d usually say something like, “5:30 a.m.” I’d tell him to wake me up, and for a while there, I did.

Eventually, I realized waking up at 5:30 a.m. sucked and I would still ask him to wake me, but I wouldn’t, and then I’d ask him to wake me and he wouldn’t and eventually it became clear to all of us that fishing would not become a hobby we shared in common. But…in those times I did go, I believe it is safe to say that I learned everything I needed to know about life from fishing with my dad.

Much like fishing, life is all about patience and waiting. This has been one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn…because I hate waiting and I totally lack patience. I remember waiting in the boat for hours for something to happen, and when it did, when that bite finally came, it was so exciting. But that wait was torture. My dad never flinched at the waiting though. Some people, like my dad, were just born with a much more patient demeanor. If I only had a few words to describe my dad, patient would definitely be one of them. As I’ve mentioned before in other blogs, I was a difficult child to say the least. In my entire life, I can only remember a few times my dad got angry with me, or at least showed it (one time involved me and Whinny the Poo at Disneyland and I totally deserved it). He always remains calm, and although it has taken me many many years, I believe that because of his patient influence, I’ve grown a bit in this department. In life, I’ve had to learn that most things you have to wait for, but when that bite finally comes, it’s totally worth that wait.

Much life fishing, life is all about timing. My dad would explain to me that we would have to wait for the bite, then reel it in at just the right pace, and at just the right moment, we’d have to jerk the line, setting the hook. Jerking at the wrong time could result in losing the fish, and then we’d be back to waiting…So it was very important to get it right. Just as it’s important in fishing, it’s important in life. I believe I probably pushed things along a bit too quickly when I was younger, resulting in forced opportunities that didn’t work out. Waiting for the right timing goes hand in hand with patience, so it was never my strong suit. My dad has always been so good at knowing when to do something or when to say something and when to set that hook. Sometimes I still don’t understand timing and how it all works out, but he’s taught me to wait for the right moment and not rush it along.

Sometimes, much like fishing, you go home empty handed. I remember many times my dad walking in claiming defeat. I would just think, “Man, he sat there all morning in the cold and doesn’t have anything to show for it. What a bummer.” But it didn’t phase him. He knew, sometimes, the fish just weren’t biting that day, and he’d take another shot at it the next week. As I grew up, I realized that there were things that seemed worthless because I didn’t end up with that tangible outcome in hand, but my dad has taught me that lessons are to be learned in the process, and even though it might seem like a defeat, a lesson learned is not going home empty handed at all.

Sometimes in life, much like fishing, you have to throw it back. While fishing, sometimes we’d get that bite, reel it in, and my dad would say, “we have to toss it back.” I don’t really remember the reasons, to small, whatever, but the point was, after all that work, it was always so disappointed to just throw it back. In life though, the same applies. Sometimes, you go to a lot of effort with something, but you have to throw it back and start over. It’s always hard to do this, but in the end, the next one you end up keeping is always better. I’ve gone through some “fish” in my life, but my dad has always reminded me that there’s more in the sea and sometimes it’s just better to toss them back…and I can’t say how grateful I am for a few of those fish I tossed back into the murky water where they belonged.

Growing up, my dad was always there. He came to all my basketball games, he helped with my homework, and he played with us. We always went on vacations, we always went to church Sunday morning, and we always ate dinner together. I had a lot of friends growing up that didn’t have good dads. Some of them were just not around, some were abusive, and some just didn’t know how to raise a daughter. I got so lucky to have a dad that was patient and kind, and teased me, and coached my sports teams, and put(s) air in my tires, and is always there with great advice and wisdom. There are times I think about what my life would be like without a dad like mine and it makes me cringe. Most girls have daddy issues because their dad wasn’t good to them, I have daddy issues because my dad was too good, and it’s been pretty hard to find someone to live up to him.

In the end, after all the lessons I’ve learned from fishing with my dad, the most important is probably that anything that involves waking up when it’s still dark, peeing in bucket or off the side of a floating object, and sitting around waiting for something to happen while remaining quiet is the worse hobby ever. But my dad loves it and I love him, and I’m thankful for all the life lessons I’ve learned from him and for being the best dad any high strung, impatient, girl could ask for. I love you so much dad and will never forget the sacrifices you’ve made for us to give us such an amazing life.

A few of my fondest memories:

-Taking his big boots off when he got home from work

-Climbing around his Coke truck when he’s stop by for a surprise visit at home

-Every vacation we ever went on

-When he came and helped me get through my college friend’s funeral in Ellensburg

-When I called because I was having excruciating pain in my lower back and he told me it was gas…it was a kidney stone…not actually one of my fondest memories, but one of the few times I can remember him being wrong, so I had to throw that in.

-Every time I’d hit my brother and then run to him, and he’d yell at Drew for hitting me… Very fond memories…

-Climbing on his back and riding him around like a horse.

“Don’t Wish Your Life Away” -Mom

My whole life, I was always looking to the next phase. In elementary school, I always wanted to be in the next year: if I were in first grade, I wanted to be in second, if I was in second, I wanted to be in third, so on and so forth. I remember being about 10 and my mom had taken me to Lake Goodwin on a hot summer day, and I looked over at all the high schoolers and thought, “If I could just get to 16, everything would be perfect.” Then…I hit 16…and realized that 16 was just not quite 18. Hit 18, went to college, and all I could think about was life without homework, cafeteria food, and life without being really poor. Then I graduated, and I experienced life without homework and cafeteria food, but I experienced a new level of poor. Now, I could drive, I had gone to college and graduated, and was in this real world I was always daydreaming of as a child, but it just didn’t quite look the same as it did in my head as I stared up at my baby blue canopy bed all those years as a child.

Despite always wanting to move forward, I did have these moments that I realized that time I wanted to move on from so quickly wasn’t all that bad after all. I couldn’t wait to get out of elementary school so I could say I was a junior higher, but then I got there and realized the kids were meaner, school was harder, and junior high is one of the most awkward times of anyone’s life. I had the thought that elementary school was kind of easy peasy and a bit fun and I had wished it away…then I wished to be in high school.

(Picture from junior high slumber party. We tooth pasted whoever fell asleep first. This one fought back. Very good memory.)

One of the more obvious and emotional realizations of what my mom would always say to me, “Don’t wish your life away,” was when I came back home after my first semester in college in California. I loved being away, I loved freedom, and I loved the adventure of it all, but when I came home, back to that place where I had done all that wishing, I realized at that moment, I really wanted time to just stand still. Actually, I realized I wanted to go back. I wanted to go back to where I’d wake up in the morning to mom cooking breakfast for us kids, as I sat on the couch with my oversized Coke a Cola shirt of my dad’s that I loved to sneak out of his bottom drawer and wear because it had this special smell that erupted out of the dresser every time I open it. I would pull out one of the shirts and run down stairs and sit on the couch with the shirt pulled over my knees, my arms wrapped around them, and I’d watch cartoons, taking turns sniffing the shirt and sniffing the Norwegian pancakes my mom was making for me in the kitchen. Just as we would be finishing up breakfast and some good old fashion little kid sibling teasing, my dad would walk in from fishing and show us the gross slimy trophy he’d caught and then right there, he’d whip out his knife and start filleting it. He’d always try to get one of us to eat the eggs, or the silvery skin, and we’d all freak out, and then the house would be full of a different smell that reminded me of my dad: dead raw fish.

(My older brother Drew, myself, and my new baby sister Devoney. Very very happy childhood.)

That first night home from college, I was lying in my bed thinking of those simple times and how amazing they were and how I wish that I could go back and just sit on my dad’s lap and feel like everything was okay, or lay my head on my moms lap as she’d so lovingly stroke my hair and tell me she loved me (technically, this scenario still happens). I was lying in my room that I turned 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and started to cry at the realization that all those years were gone and maybe not appreciated for what they were. I slowly opened my door, walked the 2 feet it took me to get to my parents bedroom and with a sob, climbed in between my mom and dad as they slowly came back awake and tried to figure out what was going on. I just remember crying, “I don’t want to grow up!” My mom moaned her sympathetic moans that make you feel like no one else in the world could care more than she does, and my dad tickled my back in the soothing way he did when I was little and I’d say, “tickle my back datty, tickle by back.” We didn’t have a long conversation about the realities of life, my dad just said, “You spent your whole life wanting to grow up and now you are.” I slept between my mom and dad that night for the first time in probably 17 years.

You would think a moment like this would bring some perspective, but then I headed back to “real life” at college and rushed out of there as soon as I could. I took 45 credits/9 classes, both semesters my senior year to graduate and not have to go back. The real world had to be better than this…

(Taken the night of the greatest prank ever performed at Vanguard University. We plotted for months. This was what college was all about.)

The real world was one harsh reality after another of never having enough money, hating jobs, and real life scary and sad things happening that never made sense. I often find myself thinking of college and how amazing it was and how I didn’t even know it. How there is never a time in your life that you can wear whatever you want, stay up till all hours of the night, and eat fast food multiple times a day (although if you know me well, you’d probably say I just described my current life…). College really was pretty great, and I rushed that and wished it away.

(My two best friends in the whole world Lesha and Rachel, on Lesha’s wedding day. Happy day. I miss them!)

I say all of this because I have found myself wishing away my current status and desperately trying to move into the next phase. I find myself seeking a career that is more stable and wanting to get married and have babies and do all the things I haven’t done yet. Sometimes I get deeply saddened at the fact that I am not at this place, and then, last night, in this, what I can really only explain as an ambienesque (that’s for you Wesley) state of mind, all the times I had wished away came flooding back to me and I had to remind myself that before long, I will not be able to sleep in till noon (or noon thirty), I will not be able to jump in my car whenever I want and shop for hours, and will not always not hate wearing a bikini, cut off shorts, and high heels. I had this sort of flash forward of sitting at a desk, tired with ratty hair, wearing khakis that create multiple butts where they’re not suppose to, and drifting off into thoughts of my current status and wishing I hadn’t wished this time away. I am almost 27, and after rushing every pivotal time in my life forward, I am reminding myself to stop, smell the Norwegian pancakes and enjoy the now.  Weddings, babies, and all things adult will come, but I will never have this moment again.

(I think we’ll look back on these times fondly…)

Dedicated To My Grandpa Oscar: Washington Drivers Suck

Most of the time, when we see drivers on the road going substantially under the speed limit or pulling out in front of us, it turns out to be an old person. In their oversized cars, and handicapped plates, old people tend to fit our stereotypical slot of “slow drivers.” But not my grandpa. Grandpa Oscar was a passionate man in all areas of his life, so naturally this spilled over into his driving. Grandpa flew down the freeways, yelling at people to move out of the way, and honking at anyone he felt deserved it. I remember standing between the two front seats of his van, as he sped to our destinations, feeling the rush of almost hitting 90 (better to admit this my parents now that he’s passed and not before…).

Today, I find myself replicating many of his habits. Rarely do I maintain the alloted speeds limits. Often I yell at people for going to slow. And not a day goes by that my horn goes un-honked. Grandpa taught me many things in life, but one that has really stuck with me, is that most drivers suck; specifically Washington drivers. As a result, I find it only fitting to write about Washington residents inabilities and shortcomings in this area. Being that this seed was sowed by my late Grandpa, I again found it fitting to dedicate this blog to him.

So this blog, and all its future postings go out to Grandpa Oscar, and the greatest saying he ever said when we asked him if he should be going so fast: “If everyone went the speed limit, it would be a parking lot from here to Portland!” I love you Grandpa!

Originally posted May 24, 2010

A Birthday Tribute To My Mom

Today is my mom’s birthday. It’s also 10.10.10., which is pretty cool, but more importantly, it’s her birthday. I thought as a tribute, and instead of a cheesy card, I would write a blog about how amazing she is, all the amazing things she has taught me, and all the things I appreciate about her. I’m already crying…not good.

The older I get, the more people I come in contact with who have been severely messed up by their mothers. It truly is amazing how influential your mom is on who you are as an adult and how well…or not well… you function in society. I see these girls who grow up resenting their moms, and the funny thing is, they are JUST like them. I can’t help but wonder if they even realize this?

Don’t get me wrong; I know I am just like my mom too (I know many of you were probably reading that laughing, thinking I’m one of those people). I just happen to be happy and honored to be compared to her. I have been so incredibly blessed to have a mom who has been such a good example of what a very healthy, stable woman, wife, and mother should look like. These days, it doesn’t seem like there are many good examples left. My mom has not only been the most loving and supportive person in my life, she has also taught me more invaluable information than I could ever share in one blog, but I will highlight the things I am so grateful for, and that have molded me into the person I am today.

If you knew me as a child, you have probably used the words difficult, high energy, even wild, to describe me. I know that I was not the easiest child. I refused to wear socks because of the little line that went across the toes that creates a little bump at the end, so my mom would cut off the little bump, and then I wouldn’t wear them because they then had a hole in them. I refused to let my mom style my hair or wear frilly dresses without a $20.00 payout (I was the richest 3rd grader). And probably worse of all, I did not take no for an answer…ever. But somehow, my mom knew how to handle me. Most mothers would have fought and screamed at me, and dug their heels in, creating a very hostile and frustrating environment, but my mom figured out to pick her battles, and let me win most of them. As an adult now, I really believe that if she would have fought me on everything and said no out of principal, I would have built up a lot of resentment and rebellion. Because my parents gave me a lot of room to burn through my energy, I didn’t grow up with either of those common issues. Not too many women could have handled me as a child, and I know most of you women out there who have known me my whole life are nodding your heads right now. I am so appreciative that my mom realized that I was just a very high energy child that needed to make my own decisions, good or bad, and that I was smart enough to learn from them. She let me cut my hair like a boy, even though she knew I’d hate it, she let me wear shorts to school every day even though people probably wondered why I was not wearing pants when it was snowing out, and she let me come and go as I pleased as teenage, because I was a good kid, and I never did anything to break their trust (except hit a couple cars I tried to cover up, not to much avail). If it weren’t for my mom’s wisdom in how to handle a difficult child, I could be a very different person today.

I have never met a more selfless person than my mom. If the rolls were all gone and one of us asked if there were any more, she’d give us hers. She didn’t spend money on new furniture, remodels, or jewelry, she spent it on us and what we wanted. She never complained about this or made us feel bad, and it really wasn’t until I got older that I even realized it. My mom worked full time and still had a home cooked meal on the table every night, had the house clean always, and the laundry folded. I always felt that she put our needs ahead of hers. When you’re little, I don’t know that you really can acknowledge that for what it is, but I always felt extremely safe and loved. As an adult, I now realize it was because of her selflessness. We live in such a selfish culture, and the people today that I know that have this issue, usually come from very selfish parents. I work everyday to fight this attribute, and I am so thankful that I have both a mom and a dad who have exemplified this my whole life.

As I mentioned before, my mom is probably the most loving person I’ve ever met. She never dislikes people, she doesn’t hold grudges, and she truly cares about others. I can’t imagine what it would be like to grow up and not feel loved ALL the time. Even when she would get mad at me when I had done something wrong, afterward, she would always come and ask me for forgiveness for getting upset with me and then would hug me and tell me how much she loved me. I can’t imagine too many children were asked for forgiveness from their parent for getting mad at them for being a pill. She has told me she loves me every day since I was probably born, and that she is proud of me, and that I am beautiful and smart, and that I can do whatever I set my mind to. Because she told me these things constantly, I simply grew up believing it. I would say you could describe me as a confident adult, and was often told was a very confident child. I am this way because my mom made me feel all those things I listed and never tore me down or discouraged me. I see so many girls my age that have identity issues and I am so grateful I don’t because my mom always made me feel loved.

My mom is a wealth of knowledge. She really is the wisest women I know, and if you listen, you can learn a lot from her. One of the greatest pieces of wisdom she passed on to me was to never ask a man for anything until he eats. Whenever I forget this advice it bites me in the butt. Write that down if you need to. She taught me to always trust God, to pray continuously, and how to fight with insurance, credit card, and mortgage companies on the phone. When I need to know how long I can go after the expiration date and still eat something, I call her. When I need to know how to get out a stain, I call her. When I need to talk, complain, or share exciting news, I call her…I call her a lot. I know this blog may sound like I don’t have any problems or issues. This isn’t true. I still have issues, I just can’t blame my mom for them.

Happy birthday to the best mom in the world!

Originally Posted October 10th, 2010