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Karma Is a Snap

Considering I rarely drink milk and am one of the few women in my age group not constantly gnawing on calcium chews like a teenage boy with a wad of tobacco, I am pretty impressed with my natural bone strength which was mightily tested this weekend vis a vis an airborne push pole that became momentarily possessed with evil vengeful spirits.

 But we’ll get to that story in a sec. (No, I did not karate chop it.)

The Professor and I took Little Chick down to Port O’Connor on the Texas coast for the long weekend. The purpose was to spend time with friends, kickoff summer at the beach, cookout, rent a boat and get out on the water…and maybe look for a few redfish. So I took this just in case a fishing opportunity presented itself.


On the roadtrip down we were stopped in our tracks at the tracks while a train passed. So we passed the time at the Farmers Market. We couldn’t resist the famous Luling watermelon and some gorgeous tomatoes and peaches.

luling watermelon



We made it to Port O’Connor (POC) Friday evening, checked in to our cute 2-bedroom cabin and hopped over to Josie’s for some mexican food. Which we later learned is not their specialty, despite being a texmex joint. I knew I had made a rookie move ordering the enchilada when our table neighbors received the two most beautiful burgers I’d ever seen. We talked with them about the burgers so much I was secretly hoping they would offer us a taste, but alas, they just talked them up while chewing with their mouths full of Josie’s famous burger.

The next day we scooped up two of Little Chick’s friends and took them out on our rented boat for a day at the beach. On the way I spotted a push pole floating in the channel so the Professor turned the boat around and I grabbed it out of the water. We looked around at the boats near us to see if anyone was missing it, but it didn’t seem like it. So I decided we would take it back to the marina at the end of day and leave it there in case someone came looking for it.

We had a fantastic time at the beach, lots of waves and sun. Made friends with our boat neighbors, saw a mini dog fight, found seashells, saw tons of dolphins closeup, got a giant barge in the intercoastal waterway to honk for us. The girls had a blast, we had a blast. By the time we headed back to the dock we were all hot and tired and sunburned and salty. Someone was in our boat slip which created all sorts of confusion. And once we got the whole thing sorted out, I forgot to take the mystery push pole into the marina.

Alas we scooted on our way and wined and dined at Cathy’s Seafood (BYOB) where we enjoyed the best fried shrimp ever on the planet anywhere that I have ever had. Oh my word these were to die for. And I don’t particularly love fried shrimp, but I am telling you…these were good.

The next day we ventured out on the boat with a little fishing in mind. Nothing too serious, just a boat ride with the hopes of redfish as gravy. Once again we were busy in our own world and forgot to take the push pole into the marina. Which is so frustrating because it is a pain on a small boat that has no way to secure it. And it’s not like we would have even used it in the meantime. We were just planning to anchor up and walk grass edges looking for fish.

So here are the two lessons I learned that morning:

1) when I am inclined to do a good deed, I need to go ahead and just do it. Not pat myself on the back for the idea and get around to it when it’s more convenient

2) never run full throttle in open choppy water with a push pole unsecured

I had my foot over the push pole in an attempt to keep it from bouncing around. It worked pretty well until we hit some serious chop and the wind picked up. In the flash of a second, the tip of the push pole bounced up and caught air. Instead of flying through the sky, in a nanosecond, it wrapped around my ankle and snapped in two.

Ffffffffuuuuuuuuuu!!!!!!!!!——(The mother in me stopped from screaming the full profanity just shy of the the very last consonant.)

In a fit of pain-driven rage I tossed the demonic push pole into the water. The Professor was concerned some fast flying boat would hit it, causing even more problems. He pulled the stiffy carcass back in. So we still had to live with that pain in the ass evil push pole on the boat, only now in two pieces. The damn thing was breeding. Like terrorist cells.

stiffy push pole 2

I could stand well enough so once we determined my ankle wasn’t broken, I propped up with an icepak while Little Chick and the Professor went wading for fish.


prof little chick

They didn’t see any but it was still a gorgeous way to spend a day on the coast. Despite the quick-forming golf ball on the side of my ankle, I even shuffled around some oyster beds and cast a few times. (Probably not wise in retrospect since I am still limping and haven’t been able to drive yet.) But it was so fun to cast at jumping mullet with the blind hope of stumbling on a rogue red. I did see one small-decentish redfish that spooked me more than I spooked it. I cast wildly in its lane but it was long gone.

I spent the rest of the holiday weekend downing wine so as not to whine. My family took great care of me while I hobbled around and propped up with ice packs. The Professor worked like a D-O-G in the P-O-C to cook and clean and load the car. I was useless. 

Despite getting bitchsnapped by some bad push pole karma, POC was a fantastic way to launch into summer. We even kept the celebration going once we arrived home last night with barbecue chicken, hotdogs, crinkle fries and the much-hyped Luling watermelon. Which I have to say, did not disappoint. Juicy smiles all the way around.

watermelon smiles

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Bighorn River Fishing Report: Baetis still going strong

The baetis hatch is still going strong. Overcast days are better but still good hatches that bring fish up on sunnier days too. Small dark midge pupa are also a staple for the fish. The baetis nymphs start getting active about mid-morning and start hatching early to mid-afternoon. With the moss and low water, accuracy and delicate presentation are a must for getting fish on top.

Baetis and midges still the main course

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Let Me Get Straight To The Punta

Words fail to capture how much fun we had on our girls trip to Punta Mita! Gorgeous weather, beautiful sandy beaches, hours on end drinking Mexican cervezas and colorful tropical drinks, delicious meals that started at sunset and lasted long into the night. And the laughing. My ribs are bruised we laughed so hard. This trip was a much needed shot-in-the-arm for all five of us.

(Side note: I think it’s funny that spell check wants me to change cervezas to cervixes.)

On the trip we had five Texas chicas, three live in Austin, one now lives in Boulder, and another lives in San Francisco. We have eight children among us and quite a range in the life stages of our kiddos. One girl is getting a daughter ready to go to college in the fall, another girl just had a baby three months ago and had to dash away from the pool every few hours to pump because she is still breastfeeding. I love each of these girls so much and couldn’t be more grateful they tore themselves away from their fabulous, busy lives to come fiesta with me in Mexicali for a few days…


We had a very serious agenda each day at the Beach Club: lounge, sip, laugh, repeat.



Most of my vacations involve chasing fish, which is my heart’s truest pursuit, but I have to say, I could get used to a few more vacation days with some of this…


Our new best friend, Cesar, could not have been sweeter. He kept the food and drinks coming all day every day. In the 36 hours since we’ve been stateside all we keep saying to ourselves is, “Where the hell is Cesar?”



Ole Cesar!


A critical lesson we learned on this trip? Don’t ask the luxurious St. Regis spa to book two massage appointments at the same time for you and your friend because they will schedule you for a couples massage. An awkward moment for my friend Shelley and me. As much as I love her we just didn’t feel comfortable sharing that honeymoon-esque moment together for 90 minutes — even though we sucked it up and did it for fear of not getting massages at all. Needless to say we all had many laughs about it over cocktails.


The sunsets and scenery in Punta Mita were other worldly…



Can you guess which girl in the group has the newborn at home? She just drifted into a 10-minute mexicoma at the dinner table and woke right back up in the middle of a story and seamlessly jumped in adding her own hilarious details. Pretty impressive, nay, enviable to someone like me who suffers chronic insomnia…


The last night devolved into a hilarious wig/dance party that ended with two of us all alone with nothing but the uneaten produce to keep us entertained…IMG_4770

And before we knew it was time to pack and head for home…

pink think again

Now of course you know I like to set my whole life to a soundtrack so if you have a few minutos, enjoy this youtube video with more great pics and a sampling of the ultimate Mexico playlist I created for this trip…


Gracias amigos! Adios for now…

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Bighorn River – Big Fish on Small Dries

Blue Winged Olive Spinner

BWO Spinner Notice the Long Split Tails and Clear Wings

Let’s face it the nymph fishing is getting pretty tough out there as the moss grows the river slows more and more.  The riffles are the key to success underneath.

The dry fly fishing on the other hand is stellar.  Every day there has been a four or five hour dry fly window of fish eating baetis emergers, duns and spinners.  Presentation and your ability to see your small blue wing olive imitation is the key to success out there right now.

BWO Nymph The Black Split Wing Case Means this Nymph is Ready to Emerge





















Brad With a Great Dry Fly Brown, Unfortunately Butterfinger’s Dropped One Even Bigger

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Technical BWO Fishing on the Bighorn

tailwater dun

A Well Loved Tailwater Dun

The Bighorn River is about as technical as it gets right now with low flows, large abundance of moss and gin clear water.  The BWO’s came off much earlier today around 10 am and were quite strong until about 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Fish were up in all the usual tailouts, seams and edges all along the river.  Nymphing was good in the morning and throughout the hatch, then slowed down later in the afternoon as fish tend to be feeding best when the bugs are active whether on top or underneath.

While fishing is challenging it is certainly more rewarding once you achieve success.  It is great time to test your skills and learn a thing or two.

Best Bighorn River dry flies today were the improved sparkle dun, BWO Sipper Emerger and the tailwater dun.

Best nymphs continue to be the black quill, skinny bill, zebra midges and firebead sowbugs.

This Brown fell for the Improved Sparkle Dun

One of the Larger Dry Fly Browns of the Day



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Bighorn River Blue Winged Olives

The Blue Winged Olive(baetis) hatch continues to be a strong everyday despite the bright and hot weather conditions.  The duns have been emerging later in the day around 2 or 3 pm.  However yesterday especially there was an incredible number of spinners on the water and trout started keying in on them around 11 am.

My client and I fished a hi vis para spinner with an low riding cdc emerger and had great success until the adults began to show themselves.

Prior to finding rising fish we caught several nice browns nymphing the riffles with a variety of baetis nymphs.  The riffles are the best areas to nymph right now with the high concentrations of aquatic grass floating in the water column.  You should be smacking your weeds off after every drift.

Best Bighorn River Blue Winged Olive Fly Patterns

Nymphs:  Killer Mayfly, Wondernymph, P-Tail, Black Quill, Skinny Bill

Dry Flies:  Tailwater Dun, Thorax Dun, Sipper Emerger, CDC Sparkle Dun, Biot body Para Spinner

Bighorn River Blue Winged Olives

Hooked Up!

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Bighorn River May Fishing Update

The midge hatches continue to linger on the Bighorn and the fish are still keyed in on them in the early morning and late evenings.  Expect blue winged olive emergences to bring fish to the surface in the early afternoon.

The nymphing has been particularly consistent with midge pupa in the morning and baetis nymphs in the afternoon.  A standard sowbug or firebead sowbug is a good bet for a top fly above you baetis or midge nymph.

The floating grass can be a nuisance the lower in the river you are.  We hope this will die off from the heat and clear up with the extremely warm weather we are having.  While it can be a pain at time s there is still tremendous opportunity to catch fish on the Bighorn right now.

Effective Bighorn River Fly Patterns:

Nymphs:  Firebead Soft Hackle Sow Bugs, Ray Charles, Quill Nymphs, Wondernymphs, Zebra Midges

Dry Flies: Smokejumper baetis and midge, Parachute Adams, CDC Sparkle Dun

bighorn river dry fly fishing

Brad From Sacramento With a Nice Rainbow that Ate a Smokejumper Midge

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Santa Fe and The Faraway

Little Chick and I have just returned from a long weekend in Santa Fe celebrating Mother’s Day with my mother’s side of the family. We had four generations represented: my grandmother, my mom, my mom’s two sisters, my two Santa Fe cousins, my Colorado cousin and her two sons.

We had several churches outside our hotel room and while their bells were lovely, it proved a bit confusing since I have set the church bell chime as my ringtone on my iphone. I found myself jumping a lot to answer non-existent calls. But what a view to wake up to on our first morning…


First things first, my cousin Ashton and I (representing the overwrought, multi-tasking, 40-something mommy demographic in the group) kicked off the vacation with massages…


Later that afternoon Little Chick and I had an incredibly enjoyable walkabout…

pepper cart

The highlight was visiting the newly renovated St. Francis Cathedral Basilica. Breathtakingly beautiful inside and out…

basilica interior

basilica candles

Later that evening we feasted on a home cooked Italian meal at my Aunt Cita’s house. Despite the fact our family is not one iota Italian, we tend to gravitate toward Italian fare. My mom can cook some seriously good Italian food and we turned the whole night into a big celebration. Here I am with my cousin Ashton (awkward cropping is credited to someone from the 4th generation who was serving as photographer.) We are standing in front of another cousin’s painting, Dick Mason, who was a magnificently talented artist in Santa Fe.

dick mason

The next day we ventured slightly out of town to one of my favorite haunts for lunch, The Tesuque Village Market. On our way back to Santa Fe we strolled through the Shidoni sculpture garden and bronze foundry.


That afternoon I did a little gift shopping at a delightfully ornate candyshop called Todos Santos.

todos santos

I also made a point to stop in on one of the best spots in Santa Fe, the Georgia O’Keefe Museum. My aunt had tipped me off that an interesting exhibit had just opened the day before, “Georgia O’Keefe and The Faraway: NATURE AND IMAGE.”

georgia o keefe brochure

It was well worth the visit. O’Keefe landscapes are iconic but this tiny exhibit really brought to life how much she truly loved being outdoors – not just to see a beautiful image for the purposes of painting it, but to be outdoors. The sheer power and joy of it. I realize now Georgia was quite the outdoorswoman.

The exhibit coordinated O’Keefe’s southwestern landscapes of Ghost Ranch and Glen Canyon with photographs of her camping in those very places. Mixed in were letters she had written about “sleeping under the stars” and her time in nature, which she called going to The Faraway.

I was particularly intrigued with the camping gear and clothing they had on display. The had her blue jeans, tennis shoes, denim shirt and a navy polka dotted scarf. Turn the corner and there are pictures of her camping in that very scarf. They also had her tent, sleeping bag and a variety of gear. It was pretty wild to see, I have to say.

Since for me it all comes back to rivers, I was most entertained by details and images of her on her multi-day rafting trips down the Colorado River to Glen Canyon, Utah. There is so much about this photograph that I love. The navy polka dotted scarf that I had just seen in the previous room, the look on her face, and most of all, the fact that Georgia O’Keefe was using those most talented hands to dig in and get the raft moving on some relatively flat water. Georgia on the sticks….too cool.

georgia o keefe rowing

It was a fantastic trip and a very happy mothers day. Here we are, four generations, heading home through DFW…

four generations

Between Georgia O’Keefe and my mothers day weekend trip, it seems a fitting end to this post to share a wonderful quotation that a friend sent to me yesterday…

“Excellent women: May we be them, May we know them, May we raise them.”

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Bighorn River Fishing Report: baetis

The baetis are coming on strong. Fish are keying in on baetis nymphs most of the day although a zebra midge in the morning is not a bad idea. The thickest of the midge hatch has run its course although a midge dropper will still get fish, dry fly or nymphing.

The river is low and clear right now so stealth, good casts and good drifts are essential. The low flow is also making it easy to get to the redds and spawning fish so if you are a conscientious angler, please give the spawning rainbows a break. They’ll be ready to catch soon enough after they get done providing something to catch next year.

Browns taking baetis dry flies

Rainbows taking baetis nymphs

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Conspiracy to Cover Up

When I first planned this girls trip to Mexico waaay back in January, I had grand plans to bikini bootcamp my way through the spring months and melt away in time for a tropical reveal. Well…with a net loss of negative four pounds and the trip just eight days away, all efforts have turned toward more fabric and conspiring to acquire as many chic cover-ups as I can lay my hands on.

I love anything that smacks of 60s style. For example I adore this picture that Stanley Marcus took (in his book ‘Reflections of a Man’) in Acapulco 1962.

 Another story for another day I will share why I worship Mr. Stanley (hint: he was one of my bosses in my second job!) but for now just know I am thoroughly inspired to have a 60s style Mexico trip. So imagine my instantaneous envy last week when I saw this tweet by beloved resort wear designer Trina Turk:

trina turk tweet

A dashiki…FABULOUS, I SHOULD SAY! Finally someone was validating my secret dashiki love. Hers was to die for, here’s her picture:

trina turk vintage dashiki

Understandably I had to have one. Stat.

So within 90 seconds I had scoured ebay and bid on a dashiki of my own. Because I am a somewhat competitive ebayer, I hit refresh 20-40 thousand times until I confirmed my victory. With exactly zero other bids and a mere $9.99 I won a new-with-tags authentic African Dashiki, made in India. Shipping from Lawrenceville, GA.

With a dashiki on the way, I decided to do a little recon on the history of the dashiki. According to Wikipedia, “The dashiki is a colorful men’s garment widely worn in West Africa that covers the top half of the body.”

Of course most of us recognize the dashiki as an iconic garment from the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

jesse jackson dashiki

Oh, but I think Trina Turk and I are onto something here with the au courant dashiki fashion statement. In this concert review, we see badass Austin musician Black Joe Lewis rocked the dashiki just last month. (Is it just me or does his look a lot like the one Trina nabbed?)


Since I am sure you are on the edge of your seat, yes, my dashiki arrived in the mailbox yesterday. My first impression was the odd smell as I ripped open the envelope, but I quickly forgot the odor when this surprise goodie fell out.

my very own kufi

Oh my. A Gift With Purchase. How apropos, since Stanly Marcus was the one who originally invented the Gift-With-Purchase and he is the nascence of my 60s inspired Mexico moment. But honestly I would have preferred a lipstick case or travel makeup bag instead of this teeny little man cap.

Which I’ve since learned is called a KUFI and is a very traditional African accessory with a dashiki. Apparently it is worn by “wise elders”. Yes, that suits. I think we will exude the essence of “wise elders” on this girls trip in Mexico. No, no tequila shot in a test tube for me, my friend. Don’t you see I wear the kufi?

We have had lots of laughs in this house over my attempted treasure-hunting fashion moment. I offered it as a coverup to Little Chick for her pool party last night but she laughed in my face as she bluntly declined. The Professor was later seen trying on the dashiki and kufi but the blurry pictures of him running through the house like Sasquatch are under lockdown a la J. Edgar Hoover style.

Meanwhile Lord only knows what sort of direct marketing list I am on since the ebay seller now has my name and mailing address. Rest assured if the Black Panthers make a comeback I will most likely be invited to the Lawrenceville Georgia regional kickoff picnic.

The jury is still out on the success of my own turnkey dashiki. But strange odor aside, I will be rocking it poolside in Mexico in just over a week. I’m not afraid.

my dashiki

That said, a bit of insurance never hurt anyone. So today I picked up this Trina Turk maxidress cover-up just in case my cheeky dashiki is a little too freaky.

trina turk cover up maxi dress

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