Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Remembering Mom

My mother passed away today.  

It wasn't unexpected, and she was ready.  Her last couple years had been difficult for her.  She could no longer enjoy the special things in her life.  She couldn't work in her garden.  Her friends were pretty much gone.  And she couldn't recognize a lot of her family.  It was heartbreaking to see her slide away.

Now we get to remember all that made her so special.  Why she was so loved.  Everyone that new this lady thought the world of her.  Now she's telling jokes to God.

As far as moms go, I don't think I could have had a better one.  I know I couldn't have.  She was always there for us.  Her love knew no limits.

I could always talk to her about anything.  Even though she never finished high school, her knowledge of life was boundless.  She always had an answer for my problems.

Looking back at life, she was always there.  Her kids were the most important thing in her life.  Grandkids, and Great-grandkids, they made all that much better.  These were what was important to her.  Once, when it was our turn to do Thanksgiving for the whole family, and barely holding it together, I ask her how she was able to do it and keep smiling.  She said those times were the best in her life.

Her and dad never had a lot of material things, but had the love of family and friends that cannot be bought.  They had a hard, but full life.  They enjoyed what they had and were happy for it.  Such wonderful people.

As a kid, she was a strict disciplinarian.  I remember many times trying to outrun her switch, or yardstick.  And if I was mad and would slam the door leaving the house, I got to come back and softly close it a dozen times.

She instilled self sufficiency.  By the time I left home, I could wash and iron my own clothes, cook, and sew.  I suppose I knew how to make a bed, and put my clothes away, but never did it.  I remember one time I was staying with an aunt and uncle in Portland, and needed a shirt ironed.  I ask Aunt Rose if she could do it for me.  No way, she got our the iron and ironing board and told me she knew I knew how to iron.

As a cook in the grade school, all the kids loved her, and to her they were an extension to her family.  She knew them all by name, and would make special treats.

Like everyone who loses a parent, I am missing her so much.  And will continue to miss her, but will remember all those wonderful times with her, and how much she filled my life.  She not only gave me life, but was a large part of keeping it full.  A friend told me when he lost his mother, it was like have a whole ripped in your heart that you know will always be there.

So, with tears running down my cheeks, I want to say "Mom, I love you, and please keep watching over us."

The world is a little more empty today.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Boise via Central Oregon Trip II

The second night was really cold.  Did get the sleeping bag woes worked out, and wore a beanie, so was fairly comfortable and warm. Amazing what a good nights sleep can do.

We fished a little when we got up, then came back to make breakfast.  Pretty simple the second morning.  The first morning I taught Sean how to bake biscuits in a frying pan.  I can remember my grandfather showing my dad how to do this in the driveway of his farm.  Works great, and you don't need a dutch oven.  He loved learning how to cook over an open fire.  Had always cooked on camp stoves before.

I can't wait to teach his son, Tommy, and Jon's son, Oliver, about camping.  I've been doing it my whole life.  That was my parents idea of a vacation, and is mine today.  My wife loves it.

After breakfast we decided that we would pull up stakes and head for the Powder River outside of Baker City.

Heading for the John Day River Valley, we came across a shoe tree.  Pretty cool!  Sean wanted to get a shot of it.  There's a small sign on the tree "A bunch of old soles hanging around".  Cute.

We hit the valley a little west of Dayville.  This is the country I was raised in.  John Day and Prairie City.  It's really pretty here.  High elevation desert.  Very dry.  Though there was fresh snow in the mountains. 

We stopped in John Day for lunch at a local brewery.  The boy does like his beer.  The food was great, and the waitress better.  Very pretty lady.  If you are passing through, stop at the 1188 Brewing Company.  You won't be disappointed.

I had Sean drive around and showed him where I had lived, and a little history of the place... and me.
He really like the town.  Wants to find  a job there.  It would be a great place to move back too.

Finally took off for the rest of the trip to the Powder River.  We had to go through what was a small mill town of Bates.  The mill closed in 1975, and the house were sold off and hauled away.  A lot to Prairie City (which we passed through without stopping).  It's really strange to see nothing there but flat ground.  It's now a state park.

We finally hit the Powder River, and stopped to check things out.  It's not a large stream, especially in winter, but a sweet little place.  I stopped last summer and caught a small rainbow with in a few minutes.  

Standing there looking at the water, it was REALLY cold, and Sean was talking about finding a place to set up camp.  I was so not looking forward to that, but it was his trip, and whatever he wanted I would go along with.  A motel sounded so good.

He finally came around and suggested we get a room in Baker City. (I still think of it, and call it, Baker).  A good nights sleep and then explore Baker a little.  

We went up to the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center and took the tour.  A very interesting place, showing the lives of those that settled the west.  A very courageous group.  What the went through to make the trip is amazing.  If in the area, be sure to visit.

Well, time to hit the freeway and finish the trip to Boise.  It was a great time, and look forward to spending more time there.


Friday, March 6, 2015

Boise via Central Oregon Trip.

Hey All,

Finally got to go on an adventure.  Sean had to make a trip to Boise, so he called and asked if I would like to spend a couple days exploring Central Oregon waters?  The weather was predicted to be mild and sunny.

We had a couple phone conversations on where we would go, and when we would leave.  It was to be his last day working the day shift, starting the graveyard when he got back.  This sort of gave us an extra day.

I had been wanting to go to the Crooked River at Smith Rocks.  It would make a great background for some fishing shots.  And there was easy access to both sides of the river.

Sean decided that he wanted to leave as soon as he got off work.  He would have all his stuffed packed, pick me up, and off we would go.  Now this is February.  It's still "winter" even though the temps have been mild, but it gets dark around 5:30 or so.  A three hour drive, find a campsite, and set up camp in the dark.  Not unheard of, but hey, I'm getting old.  Comfort is a big deal to me.

Well, Sean had heard that it was good fishing below the dam at Prineville Reservoir.  Maybe we could run up to Smith Rocks after a day at the dam.

It was a pleasant drive over the Cascades, into Sisters.  No snow anywhere except the peaks of the mountains.  This is one dry winter.  May not be much water this summer.  Scary.

We pulled into Prineville about 7:30 that evening and stopped to get some dinner.  We wanted a burger and fries, but not fast food, so passed by the McDonalds and Dairy Queen and settled on a small, local diner.

We got into a conversation with a gentleman that had just moved to Oregon from Wyoming.  Nice guy and it made us feel good about this part of the country.  And the burger and fries were great.  Wish I could remember the name of the place.

Anyway,  back in the truck and off to find a campsite.  There were several BLM campsites on the road to the dam, but they had campers in them.  Not that we don't like people, just wanted solitude for our outing.  That, and to be as close to the dam as possible.

The last campground was empty, so we picked our spot, and set up camp.  It seemed a little colder than what the predictions were saying, but we were here, so make the best of it.

Rolled out our bags and went to bed.  Now, I've became a little bigger than when I bought my bag twenty some years ago.  It's a nice Marmot down bag.  Very warm, but has got a little confining on me.  I usually just unzip it and use it as a big, warm blanket.  Great for summer and fall, but it started to get cold!  Had to zip the thing up and crawl in.  It really made me feel like a mummy.  And I fought the zipper all night.

Oh, well, tomorrow will be great.

Sean got up before me, put on his gear, and started fishing.  I got up and started breakfast.  Priorities!

Finally got down to the river and started fishing.  Fished for about an hour with no strikes.  I was just goofing around while tying one night and made up a fly.  Called it the Tsunami Tommy, after Sean's son.  So I thought I would give it a try, being that I had forgot all my other fly boxes.  Just had a few in an Altoid tin.

So tied on the fly and let it drift.  BAM!  It got a hit.  That was awesome.  The fish liked my fly.  Caught six in a couple hours, with a few more strikes I didn't hook up.  They were  a couple rainbows, whitefish, and a redound.  I had never caught a redound before.  Beautiful fish.

Sean on the Crooked River.

We had lunch, took a nap, and fished the afternoon.  I shot a few photos, but was not impressed with the light.  Plus, I have a bad ankle, and after wadding all morning, it was giving me grief.

It was great spending the time with my son.  I wish Jon and Chris could have been there.  A lot of jerking each other around.  A late dinner and off to bed.

Late dinner.  Hot dogs and chile.

Will post more tomorrow.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Life in Eugene.

Well, it's been a while since I lasted posted.  I'm not the most prolific writer, and ideas don't come easy.  I do need to make an effort to do this a little more.

My last post I talked about moving.  It's been an interesting five months.  I really got to hit some life markers.  First, my wife, Janie, had a heart attack and had to be life flighted from McCall to Boise.  They put a stent in, and she is doing fine.

We returned to Eugene for a month, then had to return to McCall for a wedding.  Janie started having chest pains again, so another helicopter ride to Boise.  This one ended up being no big deal, the doctors in McCall were worried about her, and not having the resources there, sent her down.

That was our last trip to Idaho.  We've found a place in Eugene, and are making it our new home.  Love the neighborhood, and am getting used to driving around the city.  No more getting lost and losing it.  I do have a temper when it comes to traffic.  Hate it, but am getting used to it.

Living in Eugene is a little strange.  You have a large university, which puts a lot of liberal mindset into the population.  Very liberal.  At the same time, I see a lot of big trucks with hunting decals, and fishing is very big here.  With two big rivers coming together, it's prime steelhead and salmon fishing right in town.

And the town is fun watching.  I swear, this must be the breeding grounds for Prius.  They are everywhere.  I've never seen so many.  Those and other hybrid autos.  Must be that green thing.

And recycling.  When we signed up for disposal service, we were issued three trash cans and a plastic container.  One for recyclable materials, one for yard waste, and a small one for trash.  And the plastic box is for clear glass.  Still learning the system.  I've had stuff left in the yard because it was put in the wrong container.  I'm too old to be learning how to separate my trash.

But Janie likes it here.  We've enjoyed finding new places to eat.  Sweet Life has the best pastries, Fishermans Market has an oyster poor boy I love, and Giant Burgers in Springfield has burgers and shakes that are worth the drive.  And the Market of Choice grocery stores are amazing.  Cheeses and meats that I've been craving, and a bakery that make great croissants.  Gotta be careful though.  I bought some broccoli without noticing it was organic, until it was rang up.  Five dollars a pound!

The other thing is watching the people.  A lot of homeless people and drug abuse.  That's sad.  But a the old, balding guys that have pony tails in kinda sad, also.  And I saw a beret, along with required pony tail.  Wanted to laugh.

And the Obama stickers!  Are these folks for real?  With a razor blade and a few moments, they could scrape those things off.

They just voted to legalize marijuana.  The new law goes into effect this summer.  Now I worry about getting pulled over when I go back to Idaho.  Those Oregonians, trying to sneak some dope into Idaho.

Haven't got to fish much.  Went a couple time last fall, but didn't do well.  Tried the Metolius for a couple days and got totally skunked.  Need to get my license and get out on the water.

Just started sending out mailers to try to drum up work.  It'll be interesting to see what comes of them.  Have some other ideas on getting shoots, so I'm finally getting down to going back to work.

 See what the future holds.

Friday, August 22, 2014


Today I thought I would ramble about the adventure of moving.  When we moved to Idaho twenty years ago, we packed everything and then had a moving company ship it.  The driver was a friend, who I think gave us a pretty good deal on the move.

This time, we again packed everything, but rented a U-haul and moved it all ourselves.  Twenty years older and that crap is a lot heavier.  Thank God for my sons.  They made the whole thing work!

The fun part was driving a 26' truck across Oregon.  I took the road though the desert, hitting Burns and Bend, then dropping into Eugene.

The truck was very comfortable, and drove like a dream.  Was a little nervous at first, fearing I might tip the thing over, but no trouble at all.  It even had enough power to pass when needed.

When I drive, music is not a big thing to me.  If the radio is on,  it's more background noise than for enjoyment.  I like the way the mind just wanders when there is no distraction.  Don't get me wrong, driving takes concentration, but a desert road with little traffic, you can't help be think about a lot of things.  Such as "how am I going to start my business all over again?", "what's it going to be like living in a city again?"

This whole thing is both scary and exciting.  A whole new world to explore, from the fishing waters around the area, to living in a very liberal community.  May have to be a little more open minded.  Maybe see things differently.  Now don't think a hard core conservative is going soft!  I still believe in what I feel is the right direction, but maybe get some insight into how libs come to their beliefs.

Back to the adventure of moving.  Climbing up into the truck, and seeing the road from a higher vantage was great.  It's a wide, beautiful world out there, and driving along, taking it all in is great.  I have always loved road trips, and have been blessed with having had the opportunity to drive all over the U.S and Canada.  Back roads are the best.  You may not make good time, but theres more to life than speeding along at 70 or 80 MPH, with the world whipping by.

By taking back roads, I got to see a slice of U.S. life that most only see on television or in movies.  Herds of antelope or big horn sheep.  Beautiful rivers and mountain ranges.  A distant storm blowing in.  Visual stimuli!

The "fun" part of driving a truck is when you get into traffic.  Truckers are great.  When you pass on, and need to get back into the right lane, they'll flash their lights to let  you know you are clear.  Those driving autos, on the other hand, can be down right rude.  Guess they don't realize they're going to loose a rumble.

Now I'm not claiming one trip in a small truck makes me a long haul driver, but it was fun.  Years ago, when I was shooting trucks, before the changes on CDL requirements, there were times when I got to drive big rigs.  Now that's a kick in the ass.  Sitting eight feet up, looking down on the world.  At the same time, trying to back a forty foot trailer into where it's needed, is an art.  Just starting those things gets the blood flowing a little faster.

The other part of a great road trip, is when you get to drive alone.  I know having your sweetie, or a good friend with you is great, but a day or two, or three, by yourself allows you the freedom to do what YOU want.  No checking with the passenger.  What to stop and throw rocks off a mountain, do it.  Pull over at a greasy burger joint?  Go ahead.  You can even sing along with a favorite song without being told to shut up.

The end of the drive finally came.  Tired and ready to stop, but at the same time regretting that it's over.  There is always a new road to travel.  Kinda like the changes in your life.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Life and Change.

The last twenty years of my life have been lived in the Central Mountains of Idaho.  The town of McCall was a great place to be, and finish raising my family.  But all good things must come to an end.

The photo business here has been very slow in recovering from the past recession, and has changed so much, that the wife and I decided to pull up stakes and move on.  It wasn't that hard of a decision.  Winters just seemed to be most of the year, and summers in a tourist town were getting less fun.  Plus we wanted to be able to spend time with the grandkids.

So after having a big moving sale, and giving away lots of stuff, we packed everything left into a U-haul and moved back to Oregon.  All we own is packed in a storage unit, waiting for the next part of this life.

Moving wasn't as easy as it used to be.  Bookings had to be completed, the wife had to close here business, good-byes to very good friends, and spend a little quality time with Mom.  A couple more fishing trips with buddies, and a couple going away parties to attend.  It's been an adventure and we're excited about the new life we are about to start.

This blog is a little dry, but over the next couple days I plan to write more about what it's been like.  Hopefully, I can portray  the adventure in a way you can enjoy it as much as I have.

Until next time..............

Sunday, June 15, 2014


For some reason, this Father’s Day seems to resting on my mind more than past have.  Thinking about my Dad more.

We had a strained relationship when I was growing up.  He was always there for us, but distant.  Maybe it was his generation, and how they were raised.  Maybe it was what he went through in WWII.  I can’t imagine how his generation accomplished what they did.  A twenty year old young man, crawling into a bomber, flying over Germany to drop their payload, and then getting back home, meanwhile seeing other planes around them being shot down.  What was going through their minds?  How scared were they?  But he was was one of the lucky ones that made it home.

All through high school, we didn’t get along, and I left home as soon as I could.  Looking back, I don’t think I was the son he was looking for.  I wasn’t a star athlete.  I was more the hanging out with the bad kids.  Never got in any real trouble, but do know I caused his some grief.

Things seemed to change  after I was discharged.  I was married, and soon we had out first son.  I went off to college, and then started my career.  When ever life seemed to get hard, he was always there to talk to.  I called home a lot.  I missed him.  He never had a lot of material things, but seemed happy with the life he had.

I was traveling all over North America, but living under a lot of stress.  Talking to Dad always seemed to bring peace to my soul.  But I always had to call early ‘cause he was in bed by 8:00.  

When we came to visit, it was such a homecoming.  He, Mom, and the sisters were always waiting in the driveway when we pulled in.  How did they know we were arriving?  How ever it happened, it made the heart warm.  And leaving was always so sad.  And I always had to call as soon as we got home, letting them know we made the trip okay.  No cell phones back then.

And when him and Mom would come to visit us, it was so special.  We lived in a world that was so different form theirs.  And the life I had, I’m sure he couldn’t imagine.  I remember one time when they came to visit, I had to go to Chicago for a truck shoot.  He went along with me, riding through the city in a grip truck, and then setting in the shade watching as I put the photo shoot together.  I looked over at him, and he really seemed to be enjoying watching what I was doing.

That night, we stayed at the Marriott downtown.  Our room was on something like the 42nd floor and had floor to ceiling windows.  I asked him what he would like to do, and all he wanted was room service and to set and look out and see the city from that high.  As simple as it was, that was a very special evening to me.

We moved to McCall, and I was able to spend five years with him before he passed away.  I am so thankful for that time.  I think that was when I got to know him.  Better late than never.

Now changes are happening in my life again, and I really miss not being able to talk with him.  I know what he would say… “..everything will work out and be just fine”.  He is still my strength when I need it.  Today, I miss him more than ever.

I love you, Dad.