The way we grow…

As time goes by a lot of my childhood, and longtime, friends are now pregnant or raising newborns. More than one of them reached out to me for advice, or for words of encouragement, in the last month. I guess they think that since I have nine years of parenthood on them, that I know something. Truth-of-the-matter is… I don’t. I’m am still growing and dealing just as they are. The only thing I do well is sacrificing myself for Kiddo. That’s the only valuable piece of advice I can offer.

Mind you I think all of my friends are outstanding people. It took me a long time to differentiate between friends and acquaintances. Anyone of my ‘friends’ I fully trust to be outstanding parents. I trust them. If they weren’t my friends, I wouldn’t even consider expressing this, but I digress…

Eventually, this sacrifice was bound to pay off. I finally had my first experience of total reward with Kiddo. Her playing Soccer and getting to coach was nice, but hardly compared to this past weekend.

Most of you know how important Mondamin and Green Cove are to me and my family. Three generations have spent our time as campers and counselors there. Not only are they excellent places to learn self-reliance and life-skills, you learn great ways to experience the outdoors. I rode my first mountain bike there in 1991 and never stopped. Returning and teaching kids to mountain bike as a counselor was a great joy in my life. Though none of those experiences prepared me for what was bound to happen.

Back in February of this year Kiddo and I headed on down to our LBS (Local Bike Shop,) Hampton Trail Bike shop to pick her up a ‘real’ mountain bike. Now this was not Kiddo’s first bike, but it was the first time she was serious about it. She had trikes in the past. She never really spent much time on them, and I never had a proper place, or opportunity to instruct her.

Kiddo and her trusty new steed.

It was tough going at the start, but I am proud of her. She really stuck to it right away and tried really hard. Which was really nice for Daddy. I mean I could have slacked and bought her a junker from some box store, but we went to our LBS and paid quadruple for the real deal. Fortunately LBS’s all over the country are the bomb and take care of their customers with pricing and service. [Side note: Support your LBS and join your local IMBA affiliated club. You have to pay to play and only with everyone’s support can we protect the sport of everyone… including all the Kiddos to come. #soapbox]

Over the next few months, we rode more-and-more. Kiddo started out like all good campers… CAT1. She passed all her tests: nomenclature, downhill position, obstacles and the camp ride. From there we started trying to do longer-and-longer rides. Eventually, Abby worked her way up to six mile out-and-back rides at our local park. She was unofficially promoted to CAT2. She was ready for real single track trails just like her Daddy. Time for her Back Forty Overnight. I figured the annual NTMBA camping trip was the perfect place to recreate that experience out of camp.

I am very proud of Kiddo. She worked really hard. The first ride was like most first trial rides. A lot of nervousness at first and the expected fall. She brushed herself off and got right back into it.

I don’t know if you can tell or not, but I got choked up interviewing her. I spent the whole day getting a little teary. Kiddo kept giving me a hard time about it and keep asking, “Daddy are you crying again?! Gotta love her. I can’t express how excited I am to share mountain biking with her. I just got the best riding partner I could ever ask for. A great adventure has just begun. I hope this post is the first of many regaling the many adventures we will share together. Next weekend… Camp Mondamin 90th Anniversary Reunion. Let’s see what she thinks of the real Back Forty. ~ iii

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New promises…

As part of my effort to be more ‘be’ in 2011, here is a promise I made to a dear family. Rather than procrastinate till everything is ‘perfect’ and achieving nothing I intended to do, here is the first installment of an on-going project.

Recently, my second family lost their patriarch. Mr. Stanley was a great man to me and everyone around him. He was loved by many and truly blessed with a talent he passed on to future generations. I am fortunate to have video from my big brother’s wedding and a handful of iPhone recordings.

The video is on DV tape, and if not for my OCD habits about cataloging and backing things up – would have been lost. Fortunately, Heath’r remembered them, and called me looking for them. While I wait on my 6pin-to-9pin firewire adapter to get her from China (BLAH… eBay fine print) – I thought I would share this iPhone recording I took at last year’s family reunion.You will notice it is kind of rough, but it’s intended.

Yes. We are making fun of a wedding couple at the next pavilion. We are known to do stuff like that, but come on y’all it was like 110 degrees outside. Y’all would have done it too. Poor guy. He must have been miserable in that tuxedo. It would infer he will be a good hubby to his wife cause it was a nasty, sticky Southern July hot. He love her something fierce.

~ iii [the fourth son]

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Playing with the cool kids…

You local, neighborhood wunder-geek is Raleigh bound for Internet Summit 2010 with the boys from Times Digital Group. All the BIG boys are going to be there telling us how they got to be so cool and what tools they are using. Stay tuned for interesting tidbits of geeky, marketing goodness. With great power come great responsibility… I almost feel a little bit like Think Jose (if only in my own little mind.) iii

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$20 dinner and back to blogging.

This is like my first blog post in forever… I just got burned out in the early going, but I am going to give it another shot.

Here is another one of my $20 dinners I love so much. Before… a flash-back to how we got here.

The “Warden” is a fantastic cook. Anyone who knows Mom, knows that. Though never truly ‘allowed’ in the kitchen. I created more of a ‘mad-scientist’ method of cooking. It started simply by watching, enjoying, thinking… and a lot of food network. Lately, I love all the foodie blogs on the net, but I am not trying to become that. This is not a competition to me, it is a pleasure.

By-the-way…She can claim all she wants, but fact of the matter is, Kiddo is the only one who gets to cook in tandem in the kitchen with Nana.

We start out as we always do. No plans… nothing in the fridge… just another trip to the store. I know most of the time I look odd wandering aimlessly around the Food City, but meh! I did however know I wanted something light.

Luckily… I found some Tilapia for $3.50 in the ‘meat hole.’ Three nice filets from Vietnam. Yea… yea… blah-blah all you want about “organic” this and “local” that, but my system isn’t fancy y’all. It’s all about eating good, cheap. (Side note: the new NuVal system at Food City is awesome.)

Okay… fish, now what?! “White wine… of course,” I thought to myself. I found a California Symphony in the bargain bin for $5.50. The wine wasn’t complete garbage, but with the $20 limit acceptable.

We’ve got the majors now let’s wrap it up. We’re going to Panko ($1.99) bread the fish and do an orange zest-pepper thing. For veggies, I’ll steam some Broccoli. Then, make some whole grain rice. Already in the cupboard. I’ll go to the Dollar Store later for some Fire Roasted Red Peppers and something special you’ll see later to throw in the rice. While I’m at the store I’ll grab some Chives ($.99) and some dried mushrooms ($2.99) for the rice.

Okay, here we are:

 

The Haul...

 

 

Now, let’s get started…

 

 

Goodies for the rice. That's right you see Smoked Oysters from the $1 Store.

 

Those Oysters were in SunFlower oil. Let’s save that to make a broth for the rice.

 

Every thing's chopped and ready. I'll start the rice and set this aside. While the rice cooks, the mushrooms are being reconstituted by the wine.

 

Let’s get the fish ready:

While at the Dollar Store, I also found Almonds and Ginger to throw in the batter. Score!

 

The Almond's need a quick chop. So let's give them a whirl.

 

 

Panko, Orange zest, Ginger and Almonds for the breading. Salt & Pepper the fish and give it a quick egg white wash.

 

 

 

Here's the fish on the broiling dish. The oven is pre-heated to 375 and they'll be in there for 20 minutes or more.

 

And now…

I will not tell you how to cut or steam Broccoli.

 

 

Toss every thing we set aside for the rice. Toss that white wine in too. Stir, cover and turn it off. The fish should be ready soon.

 

 

Well here we are. Enjoy.

 

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