abertsquirrel

Thoughts for the Day

My First Catch June 22, 2011

Filed under: Learning New Things — stormskyblue @ 2:16 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is the fish I caught on my recent trip to Dogtown Lake near Williams, AZ.  I camped, alone for 3 nights and it was fantastic.  It was my first time to go fishing and I was determined to “Do it alone”.  I guess you could say I was stubborn or controlling but I really don’t see it that way.  It isn’t that I’m not a good pupil, but I wanted to have some experience to know how to ask better questions.  I found out very quickly how little I knew, but with the help of others in the campground I was able to get some great experience.  One of the park hosts stopped by my camp and showed me how to cast.  I practiced three times in the road while she was there.  She showed me how to hold my finger on the line prior to the cast, flipping the bail and performing a side cast.  So that’s all I know about casting now.  Oh wait, I do know how to get the line REALLY tangled too.  The first morning I went fishing I learned about that mess. 

 It was a quiet, peaceful morning and I really enjoyed the environment.  I was up at 4 AM and down to the lake by 4:45.  No one was there!  Hey!  I thought that’s how fishermen operated.  Up at the crack of dawn and down to the water’s edge early.  Oh, well.  I was glad no one was there to see me practice for the first time.  It didn’t take me long to get so much line tangled around my reel I had to cover it with my jacket to take the “walk of shame” back to my campsite.  I saw lots of wildlife while I was down there, though.  Even a deer came up over a rise and stood looking at me while I attempted to untangle the line.  “Do you know how to fish?” I ask the deer.  “‘Cause if you do, I could really use your help!”  The deer looked shocked at the question, turned and bounded off.  I didn’t take it as an antisocial behavior, but more a creature that was headed down to the water for a drink.  Sorry to interrupt your routine, deer.  I saw lots of birds:  a fat robin, woodpeckers, ducks and geese.  There were some kind of soaring birds with a black and white wing pattern:  maybe osprey or hawks.

Anyway, I made coffee and had breakfast back at my camp.  My neighbors were so kind and ask me how I did fishing.  A retired engineer ( a big, kind man named, Brian) patiently untangled my reel by taking it apart and restringing the pole.  OH!  So that’s how that thing works.  Perhaps I should have started with that lesson.  He gave me some hooks with short pieces of line attached and a loop tied on the other end.  The hooks and line were stuck in and wrapped around a 4 X 4 piece of cardboard with slits cut in it.  I was so grateful for what he taught me, as it proved vital the next time I went out and managed to get the line all tangled up again.

My son had told me what to use for bait:  Rainbow Power Bait and corn.  The two stores in Williams were out of that particular kind of power bait, but that didn’t mean I didn’t get any.  Another neighbor, a young man who set up his tent trailer near my camp in anticipation of his wife and lots of other relatives coming, stopped by for a chat.  He was a very kind young man in his twenties and he spoke with a calm enthusiasm toward fishing and wishing me luck for my first catch.  I mentioned to him about the Rainbow Power Bait and he replied,  “Oh yeah, that’s the best stuff.”  I said I couldn’t find any and would have to get by with the salmon eggs and corn I brought.  He said, “Oh I have extra, I’ll get you some.”  I told him I had a small container he could put some in but he said his dad was always sending it to him and he had  more than he knew what to do with!  He went immediately to his camper and returned with a full container for me.  Sweet!

Saturday morning I was up early and tried it again without any success.  I practiced the untangle knowledge I learned the day before and got lots of good casting in.  I came back to camp feeling good about the experience.  Later in the afternoon, I knew it was going to be my last chance.  I got things ready at the camp to have my fish dinner: getting out an onion & a lemon and preparing a fire. The fire was out long ago from my morning coffee, but the ashes were still warm.   I laid two oak logs in the firepit about 10-12 inches apart and filled the space with charcoal.  Next I laid two hot logs (treated wood to light easily) cross-ways at the end of the oak.  I made a tee-pee of split shakes I had made with my K-Bar knife and added 3 twists of paper from the charcoal bag.  I lowered the grill over the whole affair and sat back with a glass of ice water and my book to wait for sundown.  I kept getting up to look how low the sun was getting in the sky and hoping the wind was going to die down.  I decided I should set up a basin to wash my fish in too and get the Coleman lantern all set to eat by.  As I was performing these tasks around the picnic table I heard a woosh behind me.  The kindling had caught fire and my campfire was starting to burn… TOO EARLY!  “Oh man, I better go catch my fish!” I said to myself and headed down to the lake.  I passed several little fishing parties,  two or three people at the lake’s edge quietly fishing.  I walked nearly half-way around the lake to get to the spot I had practiced that morning.  I had seen a heron standing at this spot, surely he knows a thing or two about fishing!  The sun was almost going down as I began casting.  I changed bait, sinkers and bobber several times trying different ideas.  I was feeling like a fisherman.  The wind died to a slight breeze and I noticed little bugs flying around.  Great!  Now bugs are going to eat me!  Whoa, wait.. bugs… that’s a good thing.  And sure enough, I saw little breaks in the water as fish came up to feed.  I cast way out and slowly reeled in.  So!  That’s what it feels like when a fish gets on the line!  I was sure I got caught up on some underwater branches or something as it seemed I couldn’t reel the line in at all.  Then it suddenly let loose.  He ate the bait right off the hook!  “Oh, so we’re playing that way, are we?”  I formed another ball of power bait and closed it over my hook.  Casting way out I reeled in again.  This time was different.  I caught one!  I could feel it!  I slowly reeled it in and then there it was, a fish on my line!  I got my camera and took pictures even though that was difficult because it kept wiggling so much!  I put the fish in a large zip-lock bag and got out my small pliers.  I held the fish down and easily got the hook out with the pliers.  I had caught my first fish and now I wanted more!  I started to seal the fish into the bag and thought I better add some lake water.  I had the fear he would swim right out of the bag as I leaned over to add water, but he didn’t.  Hurry!  I have to catch more!  I cast over and over as my surroundings grew dim in the twilight.  Yikes!  I didn’t bring a flashlight.  I packed my things and headed back.  As I walked past a family of four who were fishing I noticed the dad on the path standing right by a pine tree.  Only thinking of hurrying back I walked right past him as I realized he was peeing!  Surprised, he said, “Oh I’m sorry!” and continued to apologize as I kept walking, stifling a giggle.  How funny, I thought… HE was embarrassed!  I heard him telling his wife just that.  I made my way back to camp as Coleman lanterns illuminated the sites.  No one knows I have a fish in my pack, but if someone should ask, “How’d ya do?”  I’d have a good answer.

My campfire had burned down to red hot coals, perfect for grilling a fish and now I had one.  I just had to clean it.  I lit my lantern and set out my tools as if to perform surgery.  I heard the fish wiggling in the plastic bag.  What?  That fish is still alive?  I had watched over a dozen YouTube videos before I left on how to clean a fish and one showed a young boy stabbing a fish in the head to kill it.  Ok, I’ll try that.  I held the fish in a washcloth and covering it’s eyes (don’t look at me while I do this!) I stuck my little Buck knife down through the top of it’s head in between the eyes.  It’s mouth opened wide and a little blood came out.  Ok, good, that’s done.  I turned it over to begin the splitting it open and taking out the guts.  As I started to stick the knife in at the back end, the fish wiggled.  I grabbed him in the washcloth and looked at his head.  “I killed you once!” I said to his open mouth.  This time I stabbed him into the gills and that did it.  The slicing open, gutting and cleaning went smoothly from there.  Before long the headless, tailless Crappie was laying on a piece of buttered foil with slices of lemon and onion inside.  I sliced a potato onto another piece of buttered foil and seasoned both.  I had both packets wrapped and on the grill by 9 PM.  I was so excited!  I was doing this all myself!  I took the victory pictures I share with you here and in about 25 minutes I was enjoying my fish dinner.  I had hoped it was going to be a trout, a bigger fish, but I had to start somewhere.  There are more fish in the sea, so they say, usually making a dating reference.   I do hope I catch a good man someday, but until then, another fish will do.

 

Clearing for the Flow June 13, 2011

Filed under: Coping with Everyday Life — stormskyblue @ 4:54 pm

A clogged drain flows with a sluggish slowness.  Water pools and doesn’t move as it should.  This morning I unscrewed the decorative cap on my bathroom drain and used long tweezers to pull out gunky-looking hair.  Maybe you didn’t want to read that, but it needed to happen to help the drain.  It wasn’t glamorous or pleasant in any way; but the concentration of impeding material had to be removed for the good of the flow.

My life can get clogged up too.  It becomes necessary to clear out some of the junk to make my life flow easier.  Stopping  to do that isn’t always pleasant; for I’d much rather be doing other things.  I desire to just keep going, but if I don’t stop and realize I even HAVE entanglements, then I can’t make the changes.

The hair got in my drain a little bit at a time.  Hair by hair.  I even thought I was being careful not to let them go down the drain, but they did anyway.  I think I’m being careful to not get bogged down in my thinking, but I do.  I must clear out the negativity, on purpose, for my life to flow the way it should.

Taking the time to clear out the minor junk in our lives can help the day run more smoothly.  We might even be amazed how much junk we had accumulated.

 

Deserving Happiness, I’m Worth it.

Filed under: Coping with Everyday Life — stormskyblue @ 7:13 am

I’m finally worth more than I’ve been led to in the past.  I finally get that.  I don’t have to be more or do more to win someone’s approval.  I don’t have to give up a part of myself.  I don’t have to sacrifice my morals, dignity or most of all my self worth just to be with someone.  No, I deserve more than that, finally.
I’ve waited a long time.  I’ve thought the other person would come around and BE.  Be happy.  Be kind.  Be honest.  Be forthright.  Be brave.  I couldn’t change any of them.  God knows I tried.  I tried to help.  I thought being me would be enough for them to be happy, kind, honest, forthright and brave.  But I couldn’t give them what they were lacking.  I cried over the effort and the responses.  I cried for the hurt.  Then I found happiness and kindness.  Friends showed me love and compassion.  I gained confidence and became forthright and brave.  I realize I could not find those things in others when I lacked them in myself.  Now there is no one looking at me.  No one calling me and making plans.  No one wanting to take me somewhere.  I look at myself in the mirror and I think positive things.  I talk to myself and make my own plans.  I decide when I want to go and where.  All my life I’ve been waiting for someone to tell me about myself when all along I’m the only one that knew.  Hello me, it’s nice to meet you.  Maybe someday there will be a man who knows himself and would like to meet the true me.  In the meantime, I’m going to just be the best me I can be.  Happiness:  I desire and deserve it.  Finally.

 

Wait a Time in Patience

Filed under: Coping with Everyday Life — stormskyblue @ 1:08 am

Be Patient.  Just wait.  In a little while.  Not quite yet.  Wait your turn.  After a while.

Most of the time, I am a very patient person.  I’m polite and I can wait my turn.  Sometimes I want to hurry things up; but sometimes, that’s just impossible.

I can’t make time move faster.  I can’t make the people in front of me hurry up.

It can be frustrating; but I know the one thing I can control is how I view the situation.  If I have to wait anyway, I might as well take the opportunity to look around and notice things.  Be positive while I’m being patient.

Sometimes I remember things while I’m waiting.  Things I really needed to remember and would have been mad at myself if I hadn’t done them.  So, perhaps my time in waiting was actually serving a purpose.

I like to think I’m the one in control of my day.  I have it all planned out.  I make lists and check the things off.  I’m efficient.  Then something happens that delays me and my schedule is thrown off.  Sometimes I add things in that I hadn’t planned on because they are convenient.  Sometimes I try to accomplish one thing and I have to come back later to get it done.

It’s just the way it is sometimes.  I don’t think there is a lesson to be learned with every little thing that happens throughout every single day; but then again, how do we know?

Maybe there are lessons to be learned in the waiting.  It’s possible it may be as simple as reminding us to be grateful.

I’m thankful I don’t have to move through this world as a desert tortoise or a bull snake.  Both creatures move pretty slowly; but within their minds, they move at just the right speed.  It’s all they know.

We move at a fast pace these days but there are still times we have to wait.   I desire to be grateful and maybe figure out the reason why I had to  “wait a time in patience”.

 

 

 

Wings of Summer: Butterflies I’ve Captured June 11, 2011

Filed under: Photo Opportunities — stormskyblue @ 6:21 am

 

Don’t take it June 9, 2011

Filed under: Coping with Everyday Life — stormskyblue @ 3:06 am

I have heard the line:  Don’t take it personally  many times.  We all know it’s a choice whether we do or not.  I’ve made a decision to try harder and I’m noticing a difference.  My technique is to not participate in a conversation that begins to sound like a personal attack.  I’m a nice person who believes in the Golden Rule… Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  I try never to purposely hurt someones feelings; but I guess there are mean people out there who feel better (or superior) by putting others down.  I can’t be sure I’ll deflect all the attacks that may come my way, but I’m trying.  One way to think about conversation is like email, only “in person”.   The talk begins, you “open” yourself to take in what they say.  Just like electronic mail that I look forward to reading, I feel certain I’ll hear positive sentences from good friends of mine.  On the contrary, others can start off a conversation with fighting words and my personal defenses are triggered.  That’s when I hear “Don’t take it personally” in my head.  It’s difficult when the words are just not true.  I have learned some lines from friends of mine that work at this point.  “I’m going to have to disagree with you,” is a good line to break up the direct words meant  just for me.  Another good idea is to ask a question.  Say,  “Let me ask you this,”  then pause to collect your thoughts and pose a non-threatening question.  I’ve been aware lately of those pauses.  If you have the “floor” to speak anyway, why not just stop in the middle of a sentence and take the time to decide what to say.  I used to admire people who could speak in rapid-fire, adding funny lines and moving from one topic to another at lightning speed.  I like to put people at ease when I speak and one of the aspects of ease is understanding what is being said.  I used to pretend I understood what someone said, even when I didn’t.  Now I don’t have a problem asking for clarification.  Sometimes that comes out as, “WHAT?”; but I am usually smiling when I say that.  Facial expressions are another communication avenue  adding to the words said, or sometimes all on their own.  I have felt judged by someone rolling or squinting their eyes and shaking their head.  I’ve had someone open their mouth and eyes wide and stare at me in shock.  Were those good or bad?  Here’s the deal.  Everyone wants to experience approval.  Notice I didn’t say feel.  We should not be living by what we feel, but rather by what we know is the truth.  Confidently put your trust in the truth and know everything is personal if you are a person.  Sometimes I have to sing a few lines of “Jesus Loves Me” to remember who my judge really is.  So put on your Teflon defense and head out into the world, determined not to take it personally.

 

It’s all about perspective June 4, 2011

Filed under: Coping with Everyday Life — stormskyblue @ 12:42 am

My perspective was really off today.   I just feel like things are going wrong.  I felt like my vision was blurred.  I even stopped in to have my blood pressure and sugar checked at the doctor’s office.  All was normal.  “You can see the doctor now, if you want to.  She has time available right now,”  said the medical assistant after checking me.  “No, that’s OK, I think I know what’s wrong,” I said as I thanked her and left the office.

I didn’t really know what was wrong, but I knew it wasn’t medical.  Several other glitches happened today that seemed to indicate things were going wrong; but they weren’t really.  Ah ha!  Deception.  The old game of misguided perceptions.  So I made the decision to take a new perspective.  I got some lunch, sang some uplifting songs and very shortly my day began to turn around.  I had to re-focus.  I know God wants me to be bold and fear will always try to get in my way when I venture out to try something new.  Courage is the forward motion in the presence of fear.  I trusted in the unseen and moved forward believing  what I knew was the truth.

The fact was I was on the brink of something wonderful and when I moved forward in faith, I was given the reward.  I was not expecting to get a phone call with really good news, but I did.  One positive action, led to another and another.

I took time today to realize I needed help and I’m glad I did.  I looked up, and got a whole new perspective.