A New Home

It was brought to my attention by my handler Karrie Kohlhaas, that ThePoppa had turned into several things at once. I started writing on ThePoppa just because I was up, and we don’t have a TV and YouTube freaks me out. Ian Pinter got the site up originally for me, which was a huge help.

Thanks to the very patient and skilled help of my new friend, Giyen Kim, I have a new and rightful home for this blog. And several other sites as well. Leave a comment or contact me directly if you have any questions or anything provocative to say.

I also have a piece up at Artocratic, and will hopefully have lots more there, too!

Check out all the new wild and crazy posts on the new Poppa. Thanks.

Wedding Season, Part II (via Sea Breeze Farm . La Boucherie)

How many perfect days do we get in a life? I have had three perfect days in my life. One of them was at Sea Breeze Farm on Vashon Island.

Getting married yourself is one thing.  Someone entrusting their wedding to you to you is an entirely different beast.   Especially when you’re not exactly in the wedding business.   But indeed, our dear friend Matt, who at that time was the Sea Breeze Farm manager and his bride Mary, did just that. We were tremendously honored when Matt and Mary told us they’d like to get married on our farm.  And given the many concentric circles of family and … Read More

via Sea Breeze Farm . La Boucherie

Quality Time

I was going to have a little chat with my three-year old this week. I had planned on encompassing perspective, self-confidence and acceptance. We were going to have our little talk at a nearby cafe. I was going to have a croissant and a cappuccino and she was going to have a hard-boiled egg, a string cheese and an apple juice. The whole thing was planned out.

I had some talking points:

It’s OK that girl was wearing a ball gown at the party…I know you had on a party dress…But that doesn’t mean you can’t dance on the same dance floor she did…If you want to dance, then you can dance…It doesn’t matter what your wearing…What matters is who you are…Who you are on the inside is what is most important…People love to watch you dance, and you love to dance…

And so on.

But fortunately, my plan was thwarted by a raucous game of catapult. We were at a really great shop called Back Wagon in Portland a couple of months ago we got a hand-made little wooden catapult. It came with three cool little hand-made bean bags. The kids love it. I love it. Mary is skeptical. It’s a little dangerous.

They saved me from having to go there. Elouise and I are going to have lots of deep talks her whole life.

I had a plan, and I really wanted to stick to it. But once again, I had to let go and shift. I asked Elouise if it was OK that we rescheduled our quality time for later. The fist bump we did seemed to convey, “We have a lot of time, dad. I’m still only three”.

My Little Princess

It took me about a half an hour after Mary first told me she was pregnant to realize that this baby was going to be a gender. I was just so freaking out excited about a baby, it didn’t dawn on me that it was going to be something.

After the initial shock wore off (which took about a week, followed by several more weeks of geeked out bliss) I started to think about what this girl was going to be like, and also what she was not going to be like. Here is what I remember feeling:

WAS GOING TO BE: tomboy, my little farmer, cute, green and orange, pigtails, freckles, broccoli lover

WAS NOT GOING TO BE: princess, pink, hair in bun, ballet, nails painted, string cheese lover

I guess I thought we were going to raise a little Mary. And though Elouise is a broccoli lover, we ended up getting something a little closer to what I thought she was NOT GOING TO BE. And I don’t know who that other girl is, I’m sure she is very nice, but I am thrilled I got my little princess.

all of her favorite colors are represented

The photo was graciously taken by Giyen Kim, Elouise’s new best friend.

My Muscle Car is Tough Enough for the Both of Us

I have always wanted a muscle car. Ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted a fast car made in Detroit. I’ve never been discriminate about which. Mustang’s, Charger’s and Camaro’s, Road Runner’s, and GTO’s have equally held my attention at one time or another.

Here’s the thing: I know absolutely nothing about engines, and worse than that, I am not very tough. But after driving my first Camaro last week, I’ve realized, maybe I don’t need to be such a tough guy. Maybe I can learn a thing or two about engines:

“As long as the inertial charge of the incoming air/fuel mixture is greater than the force exerted by the piston, the cylinder will still get filled with more air even as the piston moves back up the bore from BDC. To take advantage of the pressure wave of air going into the cylinder at high rpm, it’s imperative to close the intake valve at the right time, or else you’re just wasting energy. That’s why getting the intake closing point just right is so important, because closing it later allows more time for the cylinders to fill with air.” — Horace Mast of Mast Motorsports.

Okay, not totally sure what that all means, but I bet I can learn.

My dad is the GM of Michael’s Chevrolet in Issaquah. Never one to pass up a GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY, within moments, I had the keys to 426 horses, all waiting on me to open them up. And I did.

With my cherry popped, I am in love. A Camaro it is. The SS is powered by the 6.2 L (380 cu in) LS3 V8, 426 horse power, 6-speed manual transmission. It will be a few years. I’m pretty sure I would not be able to get two car seats in the back of this Chariot. But that’s OK. I’ve waited this long, I can wait a bit longer.

Apparently, I am maturing with this whole fatherhood thing.

Pork Chops and Business Networking

When I worked the farmers markets in Seattle for Sea Breeze Farm, it was easy to know when I made a sale.

OK. Get your pan nice and hot. But do it slowly. Do you have lard? OK, you need to buy some lard. Or you could use butter–but don’t burn it! SO you brown the chop on one side for a minute, then flip it over, and sear it on the other side for a minute. Then take it off ,and drag it in the herb and garlic mixture you already have prepped on your cutting board. Drag it on both sides over that mixture. ARE you with me? GOOD. Then pan fry it again on both sides for each an additional 4 minutes. THEN you stand it on its side–showing off its amazing thickness–and put it in the oven, WHOA, THIS IS GOING TO BE GOOD! You already have preheated at 350–put the whole thing in, pan and all for another 5 minutes. AWESOME! Take the chop off the pan, remembering the handle is hot make a cream sauce while the chop is resting. OR you could just grill it with pepper and salt.

Done. They always walked with a couple of chops. Why wouldn’t they? I was on fire for the chop! Not really because I wanted to make a sale, but because I wanted our customers to have awesome meals. Later in the week we would get a Facebook message with pictures of the chop glazed in a marmalade sauce (or something like that). Message read: That was the best pork chop of my life! I didn’t know it could be like that! Thank you SO much!

I connected with customers over shared excitement,  knowledge, and the deep desire to feed ourselves with food from producers we can count on.

Pork chops, tangible. Business networking, not so tangible.

Business networking is not as sexy as a pork chop.  Food is sexy. Networking is not sexy and actually, most of the time, it sucks.

Which is where Biznik comes in. As I begin to understand business networking in a different way, I am beginning to think differently about it. People want to network to generate business. That’s fine. But the old way is lame-o. Networking the Biznik way is more about establishing yourself in a community, building trust in that community, and then going forth in the world a more knowledgable and skillful business owner.

Happy small business owners+customers grooving on small business= healthier culture for all

I can get behind that.

Magnetized to Connect

Jacob was born magnetized to connect. I wasn’t sure at first, because he was just a little baby, and all he did was nurse, sleep and space out–all which he still does with amazing mastery. As he has gotten older, new aspects of his personality are beginning to emerge. The boy likes to connect. He likes to play. And he likes to eat, dance, and drink. And he likes to do all of these things with people. Though not with everyone.

As his father, I have magic glasses which let me know who he grooves with and who he doesn’t. One day, he will learn to empathize and he will begin to temper his relationships with cultural cues.

I believe all of us humans are hard-wired to empathize with one another. Right now Jacob is responding to his world the only way he can: through crazy unfettered emotional explosions. He tests his interactions and instincts about people by offering them food and drink. Some people take it, others don’t. Yeah, I know. It can be kinda gross nibbling on a half-eaten strawberry some kid sticks in your face. I’m not sure I would eat it if he weren’t my kiddo. But I wonder if Jacob keeps silent track of who does and who doesn’t accept his offerings. I tell people they can fake it, if they want to. Most don’t really care what I have to say.

From the moment these two dudes got together, they clicked.  Why? How did he learn to do that? Did we teach him that?

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