Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A hard fought battle. Lost.

Uh...yeah, so I went to the doctor yesterday for an annual physical.

Woo...hoo.

To kick it off, I  had a lab tech dig around in my elbow and eventually blow the vein she was aiming for.  After that she listened to me and went to my hand (where I had suggested she try in the first place...) she finally hit a vein and got her blood.

Freakin' vampire.

Then, later on in the day I went back for the actual exam.  The doctor sits down, pulls up the chart from the blood draw and lets out a long, painful, and telling sigh.   It was the sigh that could be heard around the world.  Being the realist that I try to be, I finally said "Just spit it.  It's clearly not good...so just hit me with it".  

So he did.  

At some point, all I could hear was blah blah blah overweight.  Blah blah blah poor diet.  Blah blah blah exercise more.  Blah blah blah need to change...  Oh, and by the way, you are due for a tetanus shot, and flu shot.  

Super.  The vampire was coming back with her pink scrubs and matching tote full of needles.  My day had come full circle.  Or so I thought.

So... that made needle sticks number 3 and 4, and I was kinda feeling like I had just lost the last round of a prize fight. I decided to take one more swing.  The knockout swing: 

Me: So Doc, If I understood you correctly, I am stressed out, need to eat a low fat/lean diet, need to lose weight and exercise more...right? 
Doc: Yep.
Me:  Sweet.   You'll be available later for a conference call with my wife to help explain why I need a new fly rod, waders and associated equipment to ensure that I hit the streams in the best possible position to get some aerobic exercise and relieve stress..right? 
You said something about at least 1/2 hour per day of elevated heart rate...right?  
Fish is low fat and lean right?
Doc: Nope.  Not going to bite on that one.  Get the pun?  Sorry.  Perhaps your wife can teach you to bake chicken, steam vegetables and take walks with her...no equipment needed.  
Oh, and first on the list to go is Mt. Dew.  
Me: Ouch.

Before he left, he hit me with one last shot. HIS knockout punch:

He reminded me that even though I am now 40, he had allowed me to escape the dreaded finger up the ole bunghole...but based on family history of colon cancer...had ordered a colonoscopy instead.



And just like that...I folded and crumpled to the floor in a pile of retched defeat.

...and my wife wonders why I don't visit the doctor very often....

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tis the season...

Pretty sure I've mentioned my weakness for roadside attractions...well, every year around the holiday season, I make at least one, if not multiple trips to western Illinois to visit family.

For at least the last 15 years or so, there is a house in Cross Plains that has, annually, upped the ante on seasonal decorations.  It has become something I expect to see, and am strangely comforted by.  Words don't really do it justice, so here are a couple of pictures:


Pretty sure I have also mentioned the ever patient Mrs. MacLoosh....Well, here is a candid shot of her while I dodged traffic to take the above pictures tonight.  (With one of the little MacLooshkins looking on from the back seat)


Please note the slightly amused, and not quite irritated...but with a hint of "you are an idiot" look written on her face.  God I love this woman!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Finally

Spent some much needed time in the lab today.   

My mind hasn't been quiet enough in the last month or so to really get anything accomplished at my vise, but today, for no real good reason at all--I was able to clear it out.

It's funny, the mind.  In order to do something that relaxes me, first I have to be able to settle down enough to actually do it.  This conundrum leads me to a deep, and somewhat troubling question (that I will not try to answer tonight):

Assuming the brain is the physical vessel, and the "mind" is the spiritual vessel: Which one is actually in control? 

See how it goes with me? Suddenly a quote by Salvador Dali seems quite appropriate:  
"The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad"

Anyway...philosophical rumblings and disturbed artists aside, at least I was finally able to tie up some nymphs.  It sure felt good.


































Sunday, November 13, 2011

Acceptable loss

The end of the Wisconsin Inland Trout Season usually means several things to me.
  1. My fishing season is also done.  Not because I am trout exclusive...but usually because there are several things that have taken a "backseat" to trying to cram in as much time on the water as possible.  Those things still need to be done.
  2. Work gets busy this time of year.  I try hard to not let my job interfere with my fishing jones...but sometimes...it just can't be helped.
  3. This fall I have been, quite purposefully, increasing my online "footprint".  Didn't want to take any time from my already limited time on the water this summer...so now that the season is done...(Many reasons to this...suffice to say that I have a plan--and when my mind is set...I'm a pretty focused sort of fella)
  4. Time to clean up a season's worth of used and usually abused equipment.
Which brings me to point #4.  This year, I spent a great deal of energy teaching a couple of different people to flyfish.  I like to teach...but this is worrisome for two reasons:  (A) I'm probably not the *best* person to teach anyone anything about catching trout.  And (B) the 'normal' amount of abuse exerted on my equipment is increased.

Hard. Core.

My favorite victim (er...I mean "student") this year was my 8 year old son.  By the end of the season, he was casting like a pro, and even outfished me on at least one occasion.

He was out with me on opening day...and fished with me all the way through the end of the season.  A true partner in crime.



While he is my favorite day tripper...he is...well...EXTREMELY hard on equipment.  As evidenced this year as I was cleaning up equipment.

Fish On!


But first...let's give credit where credit is due.  In the picture to the left, he is tight to his first trout.  A healthy little brown where he picked his spot, made the cast, dead drifted  a hares ear (#14) beautifully, and then played and landed the fish as if it were nothing at all.


All while his half mad father went clinically crazy as he jumped up and down and snapped pictures like a fool.
So...what does this have to do with end of season activities, and cleaning up used equipment?  Well...I suppose it was a bit optimistic to expect a 5wt graphite rod to hold up...

No bringin' this one back...
To be fair: I have broken my fair share of expensive equipment in my life.  Believe me.  But I just can't find it in my heart to get mad over this one.

He fished hard, and despite a couple times where he let it drag on the ground for a short time (until I saw him and chewed him out...), I believe this rod was simply a casualty of the game.

It happens when you fish hard.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Kids and Fly Fishing


In the spirit of conservation, and genuinely doing something positive for our future...I have a proposition: 

GET YOUR KIDS OUTSIDE!

Don't have kids?  Borrow one.  There are ALWAYS parents out there who would willingly give up a few hours with their kid (s) to let you take them outside.

It's true, I am part and partial to fly fishing...but fishing in general is an amazing way to help open your kids eyes to the environment around them.  (No...I do NOT consider the internet or "virtual" world an appropriate definition of environment.  Sorry)

But it is as simple as going out into your back yard and checking out all of the critters that are there.  Take them for a hike!  For reference, I live in the very definition of "suburbia"...but there are so many opportunities to get outside right here in the Un Forest that it boggles the mind.


Realizing that it is sometimes hard to figure out where to go, or what to do...Here are some resources for you (in the ultimate act of hypo criticism...they are web links)



Olive the Wooley Bugger


 
Take Kids Fly Fishing


Reel Kids (Madison WI)



EEK!





US Fish & Wildlife Service-Kids

Take Me Fishing . Org