No Regrets

Gramps died last November. In his final weeks, with a terminal cancer diagnosis running him down, I heard him respond to every person who visited or called on the phone that tried to express their grief and concern for him with a single phrase.

“I have no regrets and I’m not afraid.”

I could hear his words echo in my head on Saturday morning as we gathered outside the same church he was married in to bury his remains in the family plot. Our family dug the hole ourselves, as was his wishes, we sang the doxology and afterwards we listened to Granny’s stories about their wedding and Christmas pageants in the church they both grew up in. As we left the kids rang the church bells. I watched my nephew leave the ground holding on to the rope, kicking his legs all about, trying to ring that big bell, laughing through the tears as I remembered all the times Gramps had gotten my brother in just the same predicament.

Then we went home to the farm he lived on his entire life for a picnic lunch, a rousing game of baseball with the kids, (the kind that would have found him on the pitcher’s mound for sure) and an afternoon of fishing off the pier. Because he was a farmer who knew when to work and when to play too.

I can’t think of a more fitting way for the family to say one last goodbye to a remarkable man who lived a life that allowed him to look everyone in the eye at the end of it and say, with a boy scout’s honor…


“I have no regrets and I’m not afraid.”

Island Camping

It was my brothers idea and it wasn’t even a bad one. (As his sister I’m required to say stuff like that.)

As kids we had taken many summer trips island camping in the flowages of northern Wisconsin and now that our own kids were all out of the major diaper/nap/crying stages he suggested we do it again.

The weather was rather…

…uncooperative……but it didn’t matter.

There was still fishing…


…and canoeing…


… and kayaking..

… and games…

… and sand to play in…

…and boats to learn to drive…


…and general silliness with cousins…

… and one very happy, very tired, rather stinky dog.

As we packed up on Sunday that brother of mine had another idea.

He said we should do it again next year.

I agreed wholeheartedly.

Because sometimes that brother of mine has really good ideas.

For accuracy’s sake I feel compelled to note that while we started with seven people more family joined us throughout the trip until we numbered 12. I however took more pictures of kids, bumblebees and my dog than anything else and they are all highly underrepresented in photos. Sorry family! 

Practice What You Preach

Guess what?!?

A piece I wrote is in a magazine!!!

(I’m very excited, please feel free to jump up and down and throw confetti in my honor.)

You see, even though I write all the time and other people (yup, I’m talking about you) even read it, I’ve never had what I’ve written show up in the mailbox in a format I can hold in my hand.

Celebration has been in order!

If you are a Wisconsin resident lucky enough to receive Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine you probably have already had the magazine show up in your own mailbox.

If not, here is the link to the article I wrote about fishing with kids. It’s not quite as exciting as holding it in your hand but it’s a close second:

And then, because I like to practice what I preach…carp fishing - with kids

…or maybe because I just like fishing with the kids…Jane and Jonas bluegill fishing

…or maybe because I just like fishing…Clara, Ivy, Jonas fishing

…and also because it was Grandpa’s birthday…Jonas, Clara, Jane and Gramps fishing

…we went kid fishing.Jonas, Clara and Grandma Mary

The fish were biting…Jonas and Jane fishing

…there was chaos…
Jane, Jonas, Grandma Mary and Tyler catch a carp together

…and my family kept up a constant stream of teasing references to my article to make sure I didn’t get a big head.Uncle Jim, Aunt Marcia, Gramps, Clara, John and Granny


Basically…Jonas and Clara fishing…it was perfect.

Colorado: Not All Fishing

My mom and I took a trip to Colorado and despite the look of the previous post we did see more than fish.

But it’s possible we only looked up when the fish weren’t biting!

The One Armed Fisherwoman

So I have this mother, and she broke her arm. But she’s my mother, so she’s still doing things that normal people wouldn’t do, like trying to catch trout on a fly rod – with only her left arm.

Dont' forget to admire the boat Dad made this last winter!

Dont’ forget to admire the boat Dad made this last winter!

Turns out, with enough assistants she can catch a trout on a fly rod with only her left arm!Mom's one armed trout

A few days later my mom and I found ourselves watching our friend fish for carp off of our family’s pier.The prettiest carp fishing picture.

This is the family pier on the property where my mom grew up and still lives.  I grew up there and visit often.

We have both done lots of fishing off the pier.

But never, ever, has either of us gone carp fishing.

So, of course, we teased him – cause that’s what you do when you’ve just been fly fishing and you are watching someone catch giant ugly fish using corn as bait. Carp fishing gear

He even had his daughter and her little princess pole rigged for carp. A carp fishergirlSo we teased him about that too.

Right in the midst of a large amount of friendly banter on the merits and supposed fun of carp fishing, his daughter ran off to play with mine and handed my mom her little princess fishing pole.

Which is when I told my mom that while she could catch a trout on a fly line, I didn’t believe she could catch a carp on a princess pole.

But, if she has enough assistants…


Look at that! A picture with me, the designated “reeler” in it! Photos by Cory.

…she can do that too!

Two carp in the net

Ok, so the pictures above were from later. But mom and I really did work together to pull in one of the carp in the net using that tiny pink princess pole. Cory already had just netted one of his own and we made him get ours in the net too before we lost it. A memorable first carp catching experience!

And that’s when we stopped teasing… One armed carp fisherwoman…and asked nicely for an adult-sized pole of our own to use!


New Mantra

I’ve heard people wax poetic about the joys returning from vacation to their home and family.

I think they are all  liars.

Personally I seem to be half stuck in vacation mode, confused and overwhelmed by home life.  It’s all a bit – “Wait, I have to make you all lunch?” mixed with a touch of, “Where did all you weeds come from?” finished with a dab of “How could all you animals possibly have pooped this much while I was gone?”

So before I become re-mired in broken water heaters (Welcome home!),  potty training, crying, lawn mowing, cooking (Three meals a day, what is with that?) and laundry I thought I’d share a few more photos of our fantastic trip to Colorado as I repeat my new mantra…



… it was worth it. It was worth it. It was worth it…