Friday, February 27, 2009

My First Rejection...YES!

In November of 2008, I submitted a couple articles to Gray's Sporting Journal to try and get them published. I didn't think I had much of a chance, but figured it'd never happen if I didn't at least try. I thought they'd forgotten about me until a couple days ago when I got the following e-mail from them:

Gray’s Sporting Journal

February 25, 2009

Dear Contributor:

Thank you for submitting your work for publication in Gray’s Sporting Journal. We have looked over your manuscript and have decided it does not fit our present needs. Good luck and best wishes on future submissions, and if you have something that you think might fit with our wants, please consider Gray’s again.

Sincerely, Russ Lumpkin
managing editor

About a year ago I read Stephen King's book called "On Writing." He talks about when he began to submit articles and stories to magazines when he was a teenager. He got tons of rejection letters from many different magazines. In fact he says he hung a nail on his wall to which he impaled all the rejection letters he got. Eventually he had so many rejection letters he had to get a bigger nail. He said he used those rejection letters as motivation to keep going and to try even harder.

I think the nail idea is a great one. I'm excited that I get to hammer a big nail in the wall on which I can hang all my rejection letters. It's kind of a fun and constructive way to deal with all the rejection I'm sure to receive. I'm not at all ready to give up. I can't imagine the joy and elation I will one day feel when I get to see one of my articles in a magazine. It's bound to happen, even if I'm 90 when it does.

Monday, February 23, 2009

30 Years of Excellence

This post is a little late for various reasons, but it's something I've been thinking about and really wanted to do. Seth turned the big 3-0 this year on February 9th. As we get older, especially when hitting bigger marks such as this, we tend to evaluate our lives and measure our successes. I want to tell you about all the many wonderful things Seth has accomplished in his thirty years.

Seth is a fountain of knowledge. He is constantly wanting to learn new things and is usually engulfed in many things at once. He reads no less than five books at any given time and is excited about so many different subjects it’s almost unimaginable. During his lifetime, Seth has studied many areas including range science, Spanish, fisheries science, history, and botany. He has an associates degree in electronics with an emphasis in laser optics and is currently working on a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. He has also expressed interest in studying raptor biology, math, business and teaching.

Seth is also an avid hunter and fisherman. He knows just about everything there is to know about the sports and is always willing to share his knowledge. I usually come to him with my hunting and fishing questions because 99% of the time he knows the answer. He’s an excellent marksman and I find it very enjoyable to watch him shoot, whether it’s guns or a bow. Seth is proficient at reading maps. He has a special interest in topographical maps and loves to study them. He is always pointing out different areas on the maps he has and showing me the places he would like to explore. Seth knows a lot about different animals and how to track them. He knows how to do many elk calls, mainly because he has practiced for hours and hours to get them just right. He also knows a lot about fishing techniques and is an excellent teacher. He is very patient with me and has taught me just about everything I know. He really makes it easy to learn because he has such a passion for the things he loves to do that it radiates to everyone around him.

Seth is a great leader. He has a strong countenance that causes people to naturally gravitate towards him. He is always getting people coming to him for direction, advice and comfort, even those he doesn’t even know. The people that know Seth have a great love and respect for him because he has such an inner beauty and peace that is readily shared with others. He is an easy leader to follow because of his strength and knowledge. He shows genuine care and concern for people and this has allowed him to gain many friends.

Seth is very goal oriented. He loves to set goals and gives his all to achieve them. When he sees something he wants, he does everything he can to make it happen. He learned how to play the guitar just because he wanted to and found the avenues that he needed in order to do it. Seth is constantly reassessing his goals and what it will take to meet them. It is not uncommon for him to talk about goals he wants in 5, 10 or even 20 years. He is always looking at the big picture and trying to plan just how he wants things to be.

People tend to think that success is measured by the amount of money you have or how big your house is. While this is one kind of success, it is not the only kind. I can think of many financially successful people who have failed in life. Success can be measured in many ways including talents, knowledge, friendships, and life experience. Seth is very rich in all of these areas and is not only continuously increasing his wealth, but also sharing it generously with others. He has accomplished so much already it is exciting to see what another 30 years might bring.
Happy Birthday sweetie, I love you!

Monday, February 16, 2009

I Heart Trains

This weekend Seth and I decided to get out of the house and take a drive. Our first plan was to go to the Bear River Bird Refuge (or the Bird River Bear Refuge as Seth's Dad likes to say). We drove all the way out northwest until we got to a dirt road covered in snow and a sign that said the bird refuge was another 10 miles out. Had we been in the Xterra we might have tried it, but Blackie (the Pontiac Grandprix) said she wasn't up for getting stuck out in the middle of nowhere, so we came up with another plan.

After stopping to let out my Dr. Pepper, I dug the maps out of Blackie's trunk and we decided that we were in pretty close range to Golden Spike National Historic Site. For all you who don't know what that is, it's where the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads met way back in the day (1869).

We drove for a half hour or so way out west past Corinne (the town, not my sister) and finally came to a small visitor's center. After getting the low-down from the Alabaman (?) ranger lady at the front desk, we shuffled around the place reading all the plaques and looking at all the old railroad tools. We watched a short twenty minute video about how the white men (and some Chinese) came in and built this amazing railroad. They did ruin the Native American's land by killing all the buffalo and other game, but the railroad was pretty cool so that evened things out.

The two trains that met there on the ceremony day on May 10, 1869 were the Jupiter and the 119 steam locomotives. The originals were sold as scrap awhile back, but the ones at the site are exact replicas and are functional. They had the trains in storage for the winter, but we were able to go in the engine house and see them.

Seth hates trains...

But I love them!

So anyhow, we had a fun little trip. We were both starving by the time we got home but I made some tacos real fast so it was all good. Oh and then I gave Seth a Mohawk. He likes it.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Eat, Pray, Love

I don't normally do book reviews. I don't know why. People always talk about reading books that they can't put down. I've read several of these kind of books and I'm never as impressed as everyone else is. Maybe I have unreasonable standards.

For Christmas 2007 (yes a year ago), my sister Annie gave me the book "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. I had actually almost bought the book myself and so I was looking forward to reading it. Fast forward more than a year later to when I actually got around to reading it. I honestly could not put this book down. I lost at least an hour of sleep every night because I stayed up reading. I read on lunch breaks. I read as soon as I got off work. I read whenever I could. I'm not that fast of a reader so it took me about two weeks to finish, but that's pretty good for me.

This is a non-fiction book about the author who goes on a journey to three different places: Italy, India, and Indonesia. Her purpose is to basically find herself and get over some of the trials she's been through. Kind of a spiritual journey. I think I could relate to a lot of the things she'd been through which probably made it even better for me. Her journey was very interesting and she was very likable and funny.

Anyway, I highly recommend it and thanks again Annie for picking out a winner for me!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

One Fish.. Two Fish.. Red Fish.. Blue Fish

Last fall, before I'd ever even picked up a fly rod, Seth took me fishing up on the Ogden River. The Ogden River is another one of my favorite places to fish because it's so close by and it's easily accessible. There are a lot of trout in the Ogden River, but because they see so many fishermen, they are very smart. It's pretty tough to actually catch fish there.

On this particular day, Seth was fishing upstream from me. He was close enough that I could still see him, but not close enough to talk back and forth. I was standing in the middle of the stream fishing with a worm on my cheap Quantum spinning rod when I looked over and saw something underneath some branches that were overhanging the river.

I saw what looked like a bright blue fish. "It couldn't be," I thought as I slowly maneuvered closer to the oddity. I got pretty close, not more than a yard away and looked down in the water. There sitting between the fork of a downed branch was a giant blue fish. I thought it had to be some weird reflection, but no. From its head to the tip of its tail, that fish was as blue as a Smurf. It was one of the craziest, most beautiful things I'd ever seen. I had to show someone! I tried to motion to Seth to come over but was afraid to yell for fear of scaring the thing away. Seth looked at me like I was nuts and kept on fishing. Here was this amazing thing and nobody would ever believe me. "Maybe I can catch it!" I thought. I put my worm down in the water and drifted it past several times. Nothing. I ended up just dangling it right in front of its face until it got spooked and swam off. I don't know where he went after that.

Of course when I met up with Seth awhile later I told him about the amazing blue fish I'd seen. He kept assuring me that he believed me, but I could see the doubt in his eyes. I knew from the look on his face he thought I was crazy. "Maybe it was somebody's pet carp," he finally said just to get me to drop it. "Maybe so."

Months and months went by. Every once in a while I'd think about my blue fish. I'd decided it was a magic fish. Had I only caught it, it would have turned into a genie and granted me three wishes. I constantly wondered if it could still be there.

More than a year after my blue fish sighting, Seth and I met up with one of his old buddies, Travis. Travis just happened to be in the fish hatchery business. Naturally we talked about the different fish he'd stock in lakes and all the crazy experiences he'd had doing so. After holding back for awhile, I finally piped up and mentioned how I'd seen a blue fish once. I'm sure Seth was sitting on the couch next to me thinking, "Oh great, here she goes again with her blue fish story... now everyone will know she's crazy." But, to my surprise, ol' Travis came through for me. Not only is there such a thing as a blue fish, but a blue TROUT! Not somebody's weird pet carp!
Apparently blue trout are very rare, just like albino trout. However, blue trout cannot reproduce and so they cannot be raised in hatcheries like the albinos are. They usually don't get very big because they are so easily seen by predators, but my fish was at least 18" long if not more. It was huge!

So there you go. I'm not as crazy as you think. There is such a thing as a blue trout, and maybe one day you'll get to see one too!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Do Your Best

I realize it's been a long time since my last post. Hopefully all my devoted fans out there haven't given up on me... The truth is, this last weekend was only my second time fishing since Christmas. Pathetic, I know. Especially for someone like me who is constantly raving about how much I love it.

I went fishing up on the Ogden River a couple weeks ago, but for some reason the old spark just wasn't there. I began to wonder if fly fishing was just a phase and maybe I didn't really like it after all. I kept waiting for the urge of 'I have to go fishing or I'll explode', but it didn't happen. It's been so cold outside lately and the fishing hasn't been all that great and I just wasn't in the mood. I couldn't really put my finger on what was wrong with me.

On Friday I was driving home from work, listening to the weather report on the radio. They mentioned that it was supposed to be in the mid-forties on Saturday and I thought, "Well, maybe I should get out fishing again. I've only used my new vest once, and I need to keep my skills up." Call it a coincidence, but that evening Seth mentioned that maybe we should go out fishing tomorrow. It had been several weeks since we'd gotten out of the house after all.

On Saturday morning, we got up at our usual late time and casually went about our morning. I prepared the standard weekend breakfast of waffles and bacon, while Seth read his book on the couch. Then, just as if he was reading my mind, Seth said, "Well, maybe we should get ready to go fishing huh?"

I was actually excited to get outside. I needed some fresh air and we were headed back up to the Weber River, my good old standby. She's kind of an unpredictable river, but I guess that's what I like about her.

We went up to a new spot that I'd never been to between Coalville and Wanship. We climbed over the rustic fisherman's ladder and trucked across a cow pasture towards the river. One last duck under an electric fence and we were there. The little stretch of river we'd come to was just beautiful. The water wasn't as low as some of the other spots along the canyon and actually had some deceptively deep spots. I screened the river with the small net I kept in the back of my vest and found an astonishing number of large sow bugs. Much larger than they were in previous months. I decided to put on a hares ear nymph with an iridescent wing casing and the biggest sow bug I had in my box as the dropper. Apparently it had been a little too long since my last fishing trip because I forgot how to tie a Surgeon's Knot. Seth gave me a refresher course though, and soon I was all rigged up and ready to go.

I went to the most promising looking hole I've seen in a long time, about 50 yards down from Seth. Not more than a couple minutes into fishing, another fly-fisher came by and we chatted for a minute about the typical things... how many fish had been caught, what we were using, etc. It was about 1:00pm at the time and the guy said he'd been there since 10:00am and had only caught one whitey. His buddy talked to Seth later on and said he hadn't caught anything. I wasn't too discouraged though because I just started the day and figured I was probably better than this guy.

We ended up fishing for several hours and didn't land anything. I may have snagged one or two momentarily, but not long enough to know if it was actually a fish or a twig at the bottom of the river. Although it would have been nice to catch something, it didn't mean as much as it does sometimes. I was having a good day. My casts were smooth, my drifts were nice, I wasn't getting snagged or tangled every two minutes. There were thin sheets of ice formed on the water and every once in a while I'd see one that'd broken off from the bank, drifting down in the current. I even broke a couple off myself and watched them glide along the rapids. It was relaxing and it was fun.

I noticed that I tend to compare myself to other people too much. It's one of the weaknesses I'm trying to overcome. Today nobody was catching anything and for once I felt like I was normal. There was no pressure and I could just sit back and fish and enjoy my surroundings. It's the days when everybody else seems to be catching them but me that I start to get frustrated and angry. That can be helpful sometimes, because it can motivate you to ask for help, but most of the time it's just destructive. It's impossible to fish well went you're angry and usually it just makes a bad day worse. I think fish can sense the bad vibes (and so can the trees and bushes!). You can do things just as well as everyone else and for one reason or another, it's just not your day. During times like those I try to be happy for other people and their success instead of letting the green eyed monster bring me down. It's hard to do sometimes. My niece, Lily, is five years old and takes karate lessons. Whenever she shows us her routine, she begins and ends with a bow saying, "Do your best." Maybe I should start doing that when I fish.

I also realized that I need to fish because I WANT to, not because I need to write another post on my blog, or because everyone expects me to or because I claim to love it so much. If I start to do it because I feel like I HAVE to, it'll just turn into a burden, just like so many other things. The good news is, I discovered that I actually do really like fishing. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I think some absence is all I really needed. I love you fish.