Church on Sunday

“Going to Church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.” – G.K Chesterton. 

I was raised Catholic, as the seasoned reader may already know, and spent about fifteen years in Catholic school, going to church every Sunday with my family and every other Friday with my classmates.  Around age 25, I completely dropped the “act” I’d been running since I was fifteen and first saw the quote above.  I’m not saying that one quote changed my outlook on things…it just gave voice to an opinion I could not find words for. 

I remember being young and telling my Aunt Ka, a Sister of Mercy, that I wanted to get married at the Botanical Gardens because it was the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.  She told me that I couldn’t, that I was Catholic and therefore had to have a wedding inside a church…I could have the reception outdoors, though, she claimed.

This concept was a hard no for my ten-year-old brain that wanted what it wanted when it wanted it.  I had been taught, almost daily, that God was in every living thing, including trees and grass and sunshine.  So why on earth did I need to CELEBRATE in front of statues of dead people, under a roof made by man?  It was nonsense then; it’s nonsense now.

I had a friend get married a while back and a priest came and did the vows, outdoors.  But it wasn’t an “official” wedding, according to the church.  The priest was just blessing them.  I thought maybe someday I could do something similar to appease my Catholic family…I was not yet telling my mother I was done with the whole shebang.

By the time I did get married, she was well aware of my opinions on the Church, and we butted heads a little.  She wanted some Christianity in the ceremony, and I had to keep reminding her that my husband was not a Christian, and all that would be weird for him.  Not to mention, I wasn’t feeling it either.  In the end, I got married in a little gazebo, outdoors.  The readings were all literary, the music was secular, and the officiant was my uncle who got a license online.  My mother won in the sense that I allowed her to say a prayer before the meal.  I was cool with her doing that because she mentioned Ka, who had passed by that time.  But that was it: one prayer.  That’s all the God I invited.,

But he was there, you see.He was in the trees and sun and grass and breeze.  Nature, that is where I believe God lives.

On Saturday…in the beforetime…I caught a giant fish in the Buffalo Creek.  It was a smallmouth, but there was nothing small about it.  I don’t have a picture.  Mark snapped one, but I accidentally deleted it.  Just believe me when I tell you it was a monster.  I fought the thing, hard…I’ve never really fought my fish before; usually I am far stronger. This guy gave me a run for my money.  When I finally flopped him onto shore, I felt immense pride.  Mark helped me unhook him, and I thanked him for the challenge and sent him back on his way in the stream.  Then I went home, and the world changed.

So, on Sunday, after the events, I was getting a hankering for prayer.  I’ve been arguing with my ancestor’s spirits as of late, over this mess with my mother. One of my favorite authors, Paulo Coelho, said that “Praying is talking to the Universe. Meditation is listening to it.”  So, I figured, why not try a little listening?  I’ve ben talking so damn much.

I went back to where I caught the big fish.  All I caught that day was a pumpkinseed, but it was still worth it to sit there and look and listen.  I saw God all around me, from the fish in the water to the no-see-ums buzzing about to the big tree with all the fishing line and old bobbers caught up in it.  I watched the water of the creek lap upon the rocks and focused on the word “Peace.”  I needed peace.

On the way home, I remembered it was Sunday and thought of church.  I had the same feeling then that I had when I was a child leaving Mass.  Yes, when I was small, I was relieved that the sitting still and being quiet portion of the day was over, but I also always felt that feeling you get when you visit am old friend.  Also, I always kind of felt it hearkened the start of a new, fresh week.  A clean slate.

That’s when I realized: I go to church ALL THE TIME.

Fishing is church for me.  That might sound ridiculous, but where else would I rather be on a Sunday morning? And every time I go, every time, I think of God.  I didn’t even realize it until I examined my thought pattern closely this past week.  I tend to remind myself of God in nature whenever I fish.

Now, no, I no longer believe in a stereotypical Christian God in the sky…I think God is more of a universal fabric, with an understanding that we have not yet evolved to know.  Yet…I find God in the sky, because I find him in the earth, too.

Where do you find God?

Anyway…that’s just the thoughts running around in my head right now.  That’s all for today.  Happy Thursday!



Remember that day in school, when the teacher would finally open the windows while you were at lunch and you came back to the classroom to fresh warm air billowing in and it smelled like springtime and freedom?  Then you spent the whole afternoon staring out the window, just waiting for the bell to ring so you could run outside and play with your friends?  That is how today feels.

I am writing this blog, then doing some cleaning, and the truth is I just want to play hooky and go outside and play. 

I want to play in my garden.  I situated my indoor garden last week, and a couple of the friends in there need to head on out to the porch, which I intend to put together this weekend.  I also am in process of murdering some weeds in my front garden while waiting for my perennials to sprout. 

I want to go fishing.  I have been several times this year already but haven’t caught anything.  I want to go down to my favorite spot and plant my chair and cast my new pole and see if some little fishy is venturing up towards the sunlight, like me.

I want to go camping.  I am making that a reality this year.  I want it to be my birthday so we can roll off to the woods for the weekend and spend our time celebrating with family and friends.  I want to go hiking and cook my food on a campfire and lay down under the stars.

I want to have a barbeque.  This is always one of the first true signs of warmer days for me.  I want to get hot dogs and hamburgers and fire up the grill and have a cold beer.

I want to be outside.

Today it is supposed to get to a record 80 degrees here in Buffalo, and I just want to run outside and play. 

So yeah…short blog.  Go play.


What shall I blog about today?

The obvious choice is the election, until I looked at my calendar and realized I will be blogging about that next Monday.  Then I thought about writing about writing, of course.  But I recently wrote about Preptober and my future poetry path.  So, I figured I could write more specifically about NaNo, but then looked at the calendar again and realized I’m starting my weekly updates on that next Thursday, anyway.

I scrolled Twitter for a while, hoping to find an interesting question or topic.  Unfortunately, today is a PitMad event.  This is a complicated thing to explain but the basis is that you pitch your book via tweet to editors and agents.  So, my feed is clogged up with book ideas…some are great, but there’s not a lot of varying topics.

I could write about my weekend.  On Saturday, I took L fishing, and it was the first time we really hung out one-on-one.  At first, he seemed bored, but once we found some fish hiding under the dock, he got into it.  On the way home I mentioned an action scene in my novel that I am planning, and having some trouble with.  We spent the next hour or so discussing weapons, stealth tactics, armor, etc.  It was good bonding time, and it thrills me whenever the kiddos take an interest in my work.

On Sunday I woke, sick.  Off to the ER.  I don’t remember much…it’s all foggy.  I know that the intake nurse said “Hey, I heard you are an author” and I said “Yes I am!” and then threw up.  I don’t know how she knew that.

Bernie picked me up after a few hours and was told to take me home but then I found out that my people were all at my mom’s house: parents, husband, Kev, Sharon, and L.  So, I demanded she take me there.  She bought me a smoothie from McDonalds that I drank while everyone else ate chili, and then drove me home.  I think I may have dozed off at the table.

Today I feel good.  Healthy and happy and doing fine.  Except for I don’t know what to write about.

They say when you are in such a predicament, that you should write about exactly the dilemma: that you are stuck, or wordless.  This was my attempt to do that.  I don’t know that anything really came of it.  I do know that after today I am booked up on blog topics for the next couple of weeks, so that’s a satisfying feeling.  This?  This is just filler.

And as always, Happy Monday.

Camping, Take 2…Part 2.

Well, my fears were unfounded.

Not only did I not get sick, but Mark and I barely bickered, let alone full-on fought.  No one was (massively) injured.  Everything was wonderful. 

On Friday, we got ourselves together sometime around 9:30am and started driving.  We took my mother’s car, which was wise for when we got to the park but a mistake on the 219.  See, I am used to a digital readout of the speed, and mom’s is the dial sort.  Which was hard to see with my sunglasses on.  So, I followed the flow of traffic.  Except, I was last in the group, so when the cop pulled out, I was first to pull over.

Five strenuous minutes later in which I was fine but Hubs had a kneejerk panic attack, I had a ticket and we were back on our way.  We went to Pumpkinville, which is a farm in the town of Great Valley, NY.  I have many fond memories of this place, having been many times since it opened, mostly with Jaime and other friends and family.  It was not the same this year, because of Covid, but I got my donuts and cider and was happy. 

Next, we drove towards Allegany State Park.  Now, when I was 18, I went camping with my girlfriends from school.  My friend Jen was the only avid camper amongst us, and had spent many happy summers at Allegany, so she knew all the good places to go.  On the way there, we stopped at a farm stand and bought corn.  I was delighted to find that the stand was not only still there, but had expanded to a whole barn.  We stopped and got corn and potatoes and nectarines.  Then we went to the park.

Check in wasn’t until 5 because of Covid.  They were doing enhanced cleaning procedures.  So, we killed a little time fishing in Red House lake (no luck,) going to the gift shop, and driving around the park. At 5 we checked in and headed to our cabin.  My only frame of reference was when I went camping at 19 with Jaime and my guy friends, and we stayed in a very “rustic” cabin.  I assumed ours would be like that.

Not quite.  It not only had 4 beds as opposed to rusty cots, but it had a wood burning stove AND a regular gas stove.  So, my fear of us freezing to death (it was in the 20s at night) went out the window.  We unpacked and Mark started a fire, and I taught him how to mare spider dogs.

Now, I don’t remember which of my many Girl Scout troop leaders taught me this, but apparently, it’s a little-known technique as everyone I’ve talked to who isn’t Jaime has no idea what I mean.  You take a hot dog and cut an X in the ends, about ¼ way down the dog.  Then you stick it in the fire.  It curls up and make eight legs, like a spider.  Mark thought this whole thing was amazing, and he hates hot dogs, but he ate three.  We then roasted some marshmallows and just hung around the fire, and went to bed early. 

In the morning we drove up to Thunder Rocks.  I’m not going to talk about that, today.  That’s a story within a story, for Thursday.  For now, assume we just looked at boulders and left. Then we went fishing at Science Lake.  All we caught was a baby trout on my end and a baby sunny on Marks. 

We went back to the cabin and made breakfast…eggs and sausage and bagels.  Then we packed up a picnic lunch and headed out.  After that we headed to Quaker Lake (no luck) and then the Kinzua Dam (no luck.)  We went to the Quaker picnic area and ate lunch by the creek.  Then we were going to go hiking, but Mark’s foot was hurting him.  Truly, he needed thicker socks.  So, I instead dropped him at the cabin to take a nap while I drove to get gas.  I recalled a station right outside the park…again, knowledge I acquired from Jen…but it looked like it had been closed for about ten years.  I ended up driving all the way to Salamanca…on the upside, it was on the reservation, so gas was very cheap.

When I got back to the cabin, I let Mark rest.  I did my crossword puzzle on the porch.  I read my book.  It was peaceful.  When he got up, he made a fire and I roasted some corn.  Then we decided we weren’t going to make dinner yet, but I ate the corn anyway.  It was great, and I would never have known how to do it if it weren’t for…Jen. 

We went back to Science Lake for a bit (no luck,) and then got ice cream at the general store.  Then we went back to the cabin again to cook steaks.  I also made cherry pies in the fire, but I burned them, sadly.  The one half that wasn’t burned was tasty, though.  Mark tripped and almost burned his face off, but instead bumped his chin on a campfire rock and also split his hand open.  I stitched him up. 

We played cards for a bit, but mostly we just sat around talking.  I don’t know how it is possible, sometimes, that we never run out of things to talk about.  But we don’t.

In the morning, we packed up and headed out and drove to Derrick City, PA, and went to a diner there.  We sat at the counter, and the food was delicious.  Then we drove around Bradford for a while to kill time until 11am, when the Zippo factory opened.

Now, one time, I was in Bradford after an Allegany day trip with my friend Steve.  We drove by the factory, and I wanted to go in but it was late and they were closed.  Ever since I have wanted to go.  Then I find out Mark has always wanted to go, too.  So of course.  It was so cool.  They have a museum and store, and Mark bought his first very own Zippo.  They also gave me a free replacement inside for mine, even though I had no proof that I owned one!  I left mine at home and was upset I couldn’t get it fixed, but now it works like new. 

We then left PA and drove to Scoby Dam in Springville.  Again…no luck.  Then, it was time to head home.

Overall, it was an amazing weekend.  I had so much fun with Mark.  He said it best this morning as I drove him to work: “It’s like I remembered why we got married.”  I mean, you know why you got married, but when you’re in a long-term relationship, there are times when you get stuck in a daily routine, and you need to recharge your batteries.  This was a perfect weekend for that. 

!0 years together.  4 years married, on Thursday.  And through it all, we are not only partners, but we are friends, which has always been important to me.

Anyhoo.  Sorry for the long post, I just was to remember it, is all.  And I want to give a shout out to not only my former Girl Scout leaders, but my old friend Jen-I don’t know if you’re reading this, but your expertise kept us alive this weekend.

Happy Monday.

Camping, Take 2

Last year, we took a family camping trip.  Me, Hubs, the kiddos, and my parents.  My mother fell down a slope and broke her ankle.  This resulted in her and Dad heading to the hospital, while Mark and I patrolled four kids who were detoxing from electronics.  It was…rough.  So initially when I got the idea to go camping again, I was a little wary.  This time it would be just me and Mark…what if something goes wrong?

I pushed this thought out of my head with other thoughts, like “you have done nothing this horrible boring summer” and “the nearest hospital is only 19 minutes away-you can drive that while sick.” 

And so, I planned a camping trip for the two of us for our anniversary.  We are very excited.  We have never gone anywhere together.  10 years.  Nowhere.

We have been across state to visit his family a few times, but all our time was spent with them.  We had no honeymoon, no vacations, no weekend getaways.  This will be our very first, and here’s hoping it’s not one of those things we probably should have done before we got married.

I have two worries.  One is that I will get sick.  The other is that I will fight with Mark.

Now, sick or injured, I have an emergency plan, and a backup emergency plan, and I am confident in my current health.  No flareups for six days now, and that’s a very good sign. 

But, Hubs…

I love my husband, but he has a frustration issue.  Even small frustrations have triggered anger and rage.  He works on it, so now it’s mostly just big things that set him off (well, and video games…though we could debate whether that’s a “big thing.”)  The problem is, I have a rage issue myself, so when he gets frustrated by, say, A VIDEO GAME, and yells and throws a controller, my initial reaction is to throw something as well because I am angry that he is throwing things.  Yes, I see the insanity in that, but it is what it is.

I am afraid we will, say, set up an air mattress, and one or both of us will get frustrated, then enrage the other somehow, resulting in me throwing his belongings into a creek.  Or vice versa.

We rarely fight, but this is the one thing that makes us blow: both being frustrated at once.  It is rarely the other person, it is almost always the situation, but then we of course turn on each other like wild wolves.

But I have high hopes, because mostly this does not happen at the same time.  I can talk him off a ledge.  He can talk me off one, too.  But if we’re both pissed, just stand back.  And hope we’re not pissed at you.

So I’m going to be well and I’m going to have no relationship worries because I’m going to have a perfect trip because we deserve it, damnit.  10 years with this guy!  A miracle, I tell you.  I will be sure to tell you about it when I get back.

Here’s hoping no one falls down a slope. 

(That last lines for you, Ma.)

Hubs and me, doing what we plan to do all weekend…only not in the middle of the city.

Life and Death and Fishing

As previously mentioned, I have been super sick this month.  I don’t know why.  I have been doing all the things I am supposed to have been doing, and my mental health has been great.  So what the what, gastroparesis?  On Friday, Hubs and I are going camping for our anniversary.  I am determined to stay well and be well for this event.  Problem is, the worry of getting sick stresses me out, and stress makes me sick. It’s become a pray and hope scenario.

Every day that I wake up feeling well, I consider to be a tiny miracle.  If gastroparesis has taught me nothing else, it is to savor each day and try to make the best of it, because a lot of the time my days get ruined.  I have a new outlook on life itself, which is causing me to be grateful for the little things.  I am always looking for silver linings in the chaos, and this is the biggest one:  my appreciation for living.

One of the things that I have done to help my physical and mental self is take up fishing.  I got my license in May and Hubs bought me a pole for my birthday, and I have been taking quite an interest in it.  My favorite part right now is learning the different types of fish.  I literally knew nothing about fishing at all; Hubs has a basic knowledge, but nothing fancy.  So, we have been teaching ourselves as we go.

One of our learning helpers is a fisherman/YouTuber by the name of Leif Steffny.  He has a show called North West Fishing Secrets, and we watch it every week.  His M.O. is to catch some fish, and then cook them up shore-side.  It combines Hubs love of fishing and cooking, so it’s our #1 YouTube video experience.  We have learned a lot form him, because he talks about fishing as though he is talking to someone who is new to the sport, like us.  He is always sure to explain everything he is using and doing, and we learn something new each week. 

Now, one of the things we learned, as this gentleman both catches and cooks his fish, is how to kill one.

It looked really easy: you just bonk it on the head, but the reality is a little harsher, to me.

I caught a trout this weekend.  Not a big one, but big enough that he managed to swallow the entire hook right down into his stomach.  There was no way to get it out; he was bleeding.  We could cut the line and let him die in the water.  We could leave it and let him asphyxiate on land.  Or we could bonk him on the head. 

I held him in my left hand while Mark did what had to be done.  It looked so easy in the videos.   But then, I felt it…shaking and shivering my hand, spasming because it was dying.  It was maybe three seconds, but even that felt too long.  I ached for that fishie.

When it stopped moving, I dropped it to the ground.  Mark told me his death wouldn’t be in vain…we couldn’t eat it, but he would take it home and show me how to gut and filet a fish, and at least it would teach me something, I figured.

But I can’t forget what it felt like in my hand.

K told me she wants to go hunting someday and I grimaced (this was the same day as the fish.) I never wanted to go hunting, because I can’t imagine killing Bambi.  (Plus, the hating guns thing.)  But apparently I’m fine with killing Nemo?  Or am I?

I’m not going to give up fishing because the joy and health it has brought me far outweighs that sad moment with the fish in my hand.  And that’s kind of how I feel about most of my life right now.  I’m not going to let my good days get ruined by the weight of the bad ones.  I try very hard to make each moment count, now, in a way that I did not do before, and that is very important to me.  The moment with the fish was devastating, but the fact that I was out in the sun with my husband and daughters was the exact opposite.  It was rejuvenating and wonderful and healing.  That little fishie didn’t make it, but I was okay, I was still breathing, and I didn’t feel the pain of a hook in my belly, for the first time in a while.

Oh, it’s Monday?

My birthday was on the 13th

First, we went fishing, and Mark caught a gross looking sheepshead.  He was glad his curse of not catching anything was broken.  Mine, of course, remained.  Then we headed to my mom’s for a birthday brunch, since their 40th wedding anniversary was the next day and they were going out of town for the night.   It was very yummy.  They usually make me a birthday cake (Confetti cake with Rainbow chip frosting) but this year dad gave me a box of Confetti mini-muffins and a tub of Rainbow Chip for dipping.  He also got me a baby Yoda plush.  Facts: I have never seen The Mandolorian.  Or any Star Wars movie, for that matter.  But I love me some baby Yoda. 

After brunch, we went back out fishing. This time at the access site off Harlem Rd.  And finallyfinallyfinally, I hooked a baby perch.  Mark snapped the below pic.

In the evening, we went over to Kev’s to play beanbags and have a fire.  It was a nice birthday.

And it extended unexpectadly into this past Saturday, when the kiddos came.  I mentioned offhand to E once, jokingly, that nobody makes me a birthday cake even though I make four or five a year for all of them.  She remembered this, and set out to do just that.  The result was a delicious white cake with buttercream frosting and blueberries on top.  She even put the candles in the shape of a 37.

K, not to be overshadowed, made me dinner.  It was just hot dogs and packaged mac salad, but I enjoyed not having to stand at the stove. We also took E, K, and L fishing, and everybody caught something.

Sunday was Fathers Day.  Mark was given goodies…World’s Best Dad plaques from K and a jug for his change from E.  The girls and L went home but M stayed, and we went to my parents to have dinner with dad. 

Today I woke up and had a million things to do, completely forgetting that one of them was to come up with a blog topic.  So, forgive me if this isn’t the most thought-provoking thing you’ve read…if you want thought-provoking, you should read my book.

Just sayin’.

Country Living

To start, I did not catch a fish.

Despite my brother-in-law Jason’s guarantee that we would catch something, he was of course the only one to reel anything in.  We did however buy K a pole, and teach her how to use it, and she took to it like a natural. 

But let’s back up.

On Thursday of last week, Hubs and I ventured across New York state to visit his family in the country for his step-father’s memorial service.  Honestly, I don’t remember much of Thursday.  There was lots of driving for me since Mark doesn’t, and I was tired at the end of it.  We ate dinner and had a few drinks for his sister Dawn’s birthday, and I went to bed early. 

Friday, all my nightmares and worries materialized when I woke up and immediately ran to the bathroom to vomit.  My inner monologue was rampant with fear as I tried to calculate how long it would take to get me to the nearest hospital.  I took my Zofran and a Xanax and fell back asleep, and when I awoke it was after two and I had slept though the service.  Discombobulated, I walked outside in search of my husband and instead found most of my in-laws partying in the barn.  Had I realized it was so late I would have changed my clothes or brushed my hair or something, but I was in a fog.

I was sitting at a picnic table by the pond when E came around the corner.  She saw me and ran to give me a hug.  The kiddos headed up on Friday with their mom and step-dad, and this was going to be our first adventure as one big happy family.

Once, years ago when I worked at the daycare, Mark volunteered to help with our annual carnival.  I remember explaining a family to him-one of the kiddos was there with his mom, dad, and step-mom.  Mark turned to me and said, “I hope we can do something like that someday.”  This weekend, he got his wish.

Saturday was the day we would spend all together.  It began with fishing with Jason, as previously mentioned, wherein I caught nothing but seaweed and sticks, and also managed to snag my hook in a tree.  We did do a little off-roading to get there though, and at first I was scared Mom’s Toyota wouldn’t make it up the path and back, but it took it like a champ-like it was nothing.  Take that, Ford trucks.

After that we went swimming at a place called Stewart’s Landing that had a big dam.  Mark started telling us tales of jumping off of it, and then decided he wasn’t as old as he actually is and took the plunge.  Afterwards, K wanted to try.  I was nervous, watching her climb over the railing and standing on the edge.  She’s a strong swimmer, so it wasn’t the water that worried me, just the jump.  After insisting we all stop watching her, and then asking Mark to jump again so he would be down there if she needed him, she summoned her courage and leapt.  Mark was unbelievably proud.

After swimming we went to Jason’s for a fish fry.  I ate 2 whole fish (well, minus the head,) bones, fins, and all.  And it was absolutely delicious.  I pretty much just relaxed and visited while the boys shot BB guns with their cousin and the girls rode ATV’s with Mark and their mom.  Their step-dad also taught the girls to play horseshoes, and at the end of the night the boys decided they would have a sleepover at Jason’s.  So, the girls went back to the hotel with their mom and me and Mark had the night to ourselves. 

We went and hung out with his mother and his sister Dawn and did shots in the barn.  Then our nephew and his friends showed up and we hung with them for a bit before I headed to bed. 

In the morning, after the kiddos hit the road, Mark’s mom took us to McDonald’s for breakfast, and then we headed over to the Little Falls canal lock to do some fishing.  Mark somehow got me to climb the thing, which was terrifying.  I have seen locks before, since I live at the end of the Erie Canal.  We have one in the river, and one in the aptly named City of Lockport.  I have never stood atop one though, and it was very high up.  I’m not afraid of heights per se, but I am deathly afraid of my glasses falling off my face. 

We fished for a bit and nothing came of it, except for a story about how John (the man whose memorial we were there for) used to use nuts as sinkers when he was fishing.  Mark’s mother had gifted him John’s tackle box, and it was in the trunk of the car.  Right after Lauri told me this story, Mark opened the tackle box to find a dozen or so nuts.

He’s keeping them.  He’s hoping they bring us luck.

In the evening, we drove out to my sister-in-law Carrie’s, to visit with her and her boyfriend Sal.  Her kids, who I met ten years ago when they were all babies, are now almost adult-sized.  Afterwards, we drove home and I got a good night’s sleep, knowing I would have a long drive ahead of me the next day.

In the morning, I awoke before everyone.  I made some coffee and went out on the porch and watched the hummingbirds flit between the feeders.  When everyone woke up, we went to the grocery store so Lauri could get some stuff for lunch, and then we went to Tammy’s house.  Tammy is Tommy’s wife, who is Mark’s other late step-father.  On Friday, she told me she bought my book and read it cover to cover, telling me which poems she liked and praising my efforts.  She insisted I come by to sign it, so I did.  We also visited briefly with Mark’s grandmother, Vera.  Then Tammy was kind enough to gift Mark with some prints that were Tommy’s.  He was pleased.

We headed back to Dawn’s and had a nice lunch, and then we hit the road.  The ride home seemed a little quicker than the ride there, as it always does, and when we walked back into our lives there was an air of disappointment.  We spent such a lovely week out in the country with his family.  We were never bored for a second, even without our gadgets and such.  Everyone was kind and hospitable, and I will miss them.  I know Mark will too…he always does.

Anyway, it’s back to the real world…and the real world arrived in the form of an envelope.  I opened it to find a check for my book sales in May, and I burst into tears.  Guys…I have never been paid for writing before.  I remembered my first theater paycheck back in 2002-that was a big deal, but this is much bigger to me.  For the first time…finally, blessedly…it was real.  The shock had worn off, and I accepted the fact that I was indeed, an author.

Anyway…that was my week.  How was yours?

Mark and K about to jump.

Gone Fishin’

Good god, I’m bored.  I’m trying to kill a couple hours before dinner at my mother’s, but nothing is interesting me at the moment, not housework or television or even writing this blog, to be honest.  I’m pretty tired, and should take a nap…someone woke me at six to go fishing.

I have a vague memory of an afternoon at my aunt and uncle’s house, during which my uncle Terry took me and my cousins Sarah and Duff out back to the creek in their yard.  He showed Duff a few fishing fundamentals while me and Sarah, who was only maybe two at the time, looked for toads.  I remember wanting to learn what Duff was, but being too shy to ask.  I resolved myself to the frogs, but that was the first memory I have of anything fishing-related.

One time, I went with Mark and his brother and I reeled in a sunny.  That was the first actual fishing experience I had, and I was intrigued.  Mark  grew up fishing, but nothing fancy.  He would throw a line into some water and hope for the best, and out in the country he would often get a catch.  He finds it’s a little trickier out here, though, despite the enormous amount of water access we have here In Erie County.  So, he decided to teach himself a few new things.

Now, as I am no longer a shy 10-year-old, I had no problem saying “hey…teach me that!”  So, he got me a pole and my fishing license and we developed a new little hobby.

I haven’t caught anything yet.  I hooked one the other day, but he ripped the reel right off my pole.  I had several bites today but no catch.  We have found some cool places though, like the part of Caz creek filled with toads that reminded me of that childhood recollection in the first place.  And the Ship Canal Commons, which is a totally underused little park perfect for walking, biking, and fishing. 

Soon we will be going to visit Mark’s family and I am looking forward to fishing their creeks and lakes.  (Though I refuse to call them lakes.  Mark and I discussed this earlier…when you live on a Great Lake, everything else is a pond.)  Today we were sitting and waiting for a nibble when I asked Mark what I should blog about today, and he said “hobbies during quarantine.”  I suppose this is my quarantine hobby.  (Also, my plants…I’ll write about them when they start popping.)  It’s a good one.  We can easily social distance while doing it, and we are learning new skills.

Anyway…still bored.  We shoulda gone fishing again.

Go Fish

This weekend, I went out to the country.  We stayed with Mark’s brother at his house in St. Johnsville, NY.  He lives on a big rambling farm that would scare the shit out of any city girl like me, but I had a surprisingly good time.  First of all, I do enjoy playing in the mud, despite the aforementioned city-living. I was a girl scout growing up, and have never shied away from a camping trip, but there are many things about the great outdoors that amaze me.  For instance, shortly after we arrived Jay (Mark’s brother) took us up in his truck to see the land. I, with my minivan mindset, did not think this truck could make it up the steep and muddy hill Jay was heading towards. I was mistaken, as it took this impassable road with ease, and we sped along the fields with two dogs running alongside the truck.  The views were magnificent, and I wish I’d had my camera with me.

The next day we went fishing.  I have never been fishing, save one day many, many years ago when my uncle let me and my cousins watch him fish in the creek behind their house.  He caught a sunny and showed it to us, then threw it back. That was the extent of my fishing experience. Mark showed me the basics, and I stood there for a while with no bites.  Then we went to a different spot, where the fish were practically jumping out of the water, likely due to the torrential downpour we were caught in. I reeled one in and watched it flop its way through the water and then up my line. Mark took my picture (below) and then showed me how to take it off the hook.  Then, feeling triumphant, I watched as he broke its neck, and a little part of me died.

I mean, I knew the fish wasn’t going back.  They had already caught several that were chilling in a bag in the trunk.  To see it in that instant made me sad, however. I have an affinity for animals, and not just in an “I really like them” kind of way.  I feel a connection to them, sometimes more than I feel towards people. I’ve never met an animal that didn’t like me, and I have always been fascinated by them.  My favorite saint is St. Francis of Assisi, precisely because of his love of animals. So to watch that fish die made me melancholy, even though I know that of all the animals they are the most unaware.

However, I was also feeling very happy that I had caught a fish.  It was jarring to feel this juxtaposition between glee and grief. For the rest of the day I was proud I’d caught the fish, but sad it had to die.  Still, when asked if I wanted to go again, I said I did. I can see how it can be an attractive hobby, and I would like to try it again sometime. (Also Mark didn’t show me how to cast, and I would like to know that.)  So I guess in the end I’m not that sad about the fish. They’re still never gonna get this city girl out there hunting in the woods, so I guess this is a fine compromise.