Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Baiting hooks and breaking worms

On a fishing day held for local students, I went to take some photos for work.

They ended up needing a little more help when the TK students arrived, so I stayed and partnered with a local DNR officer named Bob to help the kids cast and to remove fish from hooks.

I am not an experienced fisherman by any means. I go fishing with Nate, but that entails me bringing a book and going along for the ride to enjoy some beautiful weather. I haven't had a fishing license for a couple of years, because I get as much enjoyment from watching as I do from participating.

That lack of experience didn't exactly help me out today.

I took a child to the container of worms, and he picked one out to use as bait. I picked it up and tried to get it on the hook, but I couldn't get the hook through the slimy earthworm.

I turned to Bob, "I don't know how to bait the hook."

He came over and told me the worm was too long and promptly pulled it into two pieces...with his bare hands. He threaded the end onto the hook and left a little part to wiggle.

I took the pole to the water and attempted to cast into the water for the child, but the line caught inside the reel and I got about two feet, into some bushes.

"I'm less than no help at all," I laughed while saying to Bob.

He just looked at me like he agreed.

The next time a child needed help, I figured out how to release some line ahead of time to prevent it from sticking and got it in the water where it needed to be. I even grabbed a worm and pulled to break it into two. My hands slid off the intact worm that curled around, upset that I squeezed it.

I grabbed all my guts and pushed hard in the middle, pulling. It came apart! I dropped half back into the dirt container and squealed a little to myself as I threaded it on the hook and tossed it in the water, handing the rod back to the nearest child.

I texted Nate, "I'm baiting hooks and breaking worms in two."

"Atta girl," he replied.

I knew he would be proud of me.

The kid with the fishing pole looked at me, "Your hands are dirty."

I guess all comments can't be positive.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The mom in the airport bathroom

I walked into the airport bathroom a week ago and slipped past a young mom dealing with her crying toddler.

I didn't think much about it.

Then I saw an older woman lean over quickly, put her hand on the small of the momma's back and say, "You're doing great. We raised four."

The woman smiled and walked out of the bathroom.

The moment this woman acknowledged the other mom, the younger woman's face softened. I didn't noticed how frazzled she had looked until I saw a sense of serenity and gratefulness come across her features. It was like she was visible and accepted. It was like the worry about how people saw her and how she was failing was erased.

All it took was a moment of acceptance, of encouragement, of understanding from a complete stranger to make this mom's day a little bit easier.

Imagine the difference you can make with just a couple of seconds and a six kind words.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

A photo on Pike's Peak

It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks, from traveling to Colorado to a huge festival at work. In fact, right now I should be cleaning, including the mound of dog hair that is lying at the bottom of the steps. I swear, Novie has turned into pig pen as fall starts to rear its head.

Instead of starting with cleaning, I figured I would blog for the first time in a couple of weeks.

We went to Denver to see Dave Matthews in concert, which was a lot of fun, especially for Nate. And the next day, we encouraged our friends to take part in some touristy activities with us.

We were sitting at the patio, eating a delicious breakfast made by our friend's wife, and started throwing out suggestions.

"What do you want to do today?" Nate asked.

"We could go to Boulder or drive into the mountains. We go do Garden of the Gods," his friend said.

"We could do Garden of the Gods," Nate said.

"I've never been there," his friend answered.

"What!? We've been there multiple times and we don't even live here!" I said. "We're definitely going to Garden of the Gods."

So, we packed into the car and headed to the gorgeous park outside of Colorado Springs, with its red peaks shooting up out of evergreen trees and wildflowers. It was a beautiful walk, although by the end by hands looked like my dad's --- sausage fingers --- from the altitude and heat.

Nate and I have a tradition of taking an annual anniversary picture, holding the picture from the previous year. So it's a picture in picture in picture. I stole the idea from someone on Pinterest.

Nate suggested that since we would be in Colorado a few days before our anniversary that we should bring the photo and take it in a beautiful locale. What better place to do than from the top of a mountain?

So we kind of forced our friends to join us on the touristy trip up Pike's Peak. We paid the outrageous amount to take the cog train up the mountain that afternoon, and it was a fun experience. However, my shorts and T-shirt weren't fantastic when we started to hit 12,000 feet. The air was crisp, about 40 degrees, and the wind started to whip through the train. Thankfully, my fantastic husband brought his sweatshirt for me to wear, because yet again, I wasn't prepared. Although he was cold, he let me wear his second layer.

We reached the peak, and floaty-headed, climbed down a few layers of rocks with our photo to get other peaks in the background.

Fresh-made donuts, a sleepy ride down the mountain, a drive home, pizza --- it was a wonderful, early anniversary celebration.