FIDEA: Caesar Salads

Foods I don’t eat anymore: Caesar salad. Too often they’re more like “Cheese-ar” salads, and even the hard cheeses are off my list. Oh, I’m sure I’ll indulge in a little of the old fromage when we traipse through Europe next year, but as a special treat to be enjoyed on its own, not as an ingredient.

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Home on the Range

My favorite tent ever. Retro look, seven feet long, easy up, easy down, weighs two pounds, fits into a bag the size of a 32-ounce Nalgene bottle, and set me back a whopping $52 delivered.

I should buy two.

Sabbatical Day 2-5: Garage

The last four days have been spent building steel shelving, going to my local Home Depot often enough to get to know the staff, cleaning out five years of accumulated junk in the garage, putting away all of our camping and sports gear, and shelving 2,500 books.

The good news: no email, no conference calls, and I didn’t have to go to CES in Las Vegas.

So even though I managed to get only a couple of things on my list taken care of, on the balance I’d have to say it was a pretty good week.

The Kid Sleeps

While the rest of the troop curls up in their tents, our intrepid Senior Patrol Leader throws down a ground cloth, a pad, and his sleeping bag alongside his backpack, curls up, and snores contentedly. Behind him is his camp chair, to which he has tied his crutches, upon which he has neatly hung his field uniform (“Class-As”), water bottle in reach.

He’s come a very long way since our first campout together 9-1/2 years ago. Now he wants to take me backpacking along the Pacific Crest Trail.  He has gone from video game couch-potato to an intrepid outdoorsman, and I give all the credit to the Boy Scouts of America and the encouragement of his teachers at school.

A little note to my friends in China and elsewhere who disparage the value of extra-academic endeavors beyond those that will polish college applications: when we slash everything out of our children’s lives but academics, we not only shortchange our offspring: we shortchange society, our nations, and the world at large.

Never in our history has it been more important to raise resilient children.

Start now.

Plated Contrast

For your consideration, courtesy of Brent’s Deli in Westlake Village:

Above, my breakfast: egg whites, spinach, jalapenos, mushrooms, and chicken breast omelet with tomatoes on the side. No potatoes, no bread.

Below, my son’s breakfast: two California omelets, two orders of hash browns, and two bagels inbound.

The young and athletic are truly different from you and me.

Arrowman at Last

Ever since I was a Boy Scout in the 1970s, I have always wanted to be a member of the Order of the Arrow. The national honor society for the BSA is selective: candidates are elected by their troops from among scouts who have reached the First Class rank, and once selected are then tested in a weekend-long process called an Ordeal.

I never made it as a scout, and never expected to make it as an adult leader. Adult leaders are elected as well, but their candidacy is not automatic: adult candidates are then reviewed at the Council level for suitability and for demonstrated commitment to scouting ideals.

Quite unexpectedly this year, my name was submitted by my troop, and I was called out at a special ceremony at the April Camporee. I couldn’t even be there – I was in China on business. But I accepted (naturally) and submitted myself on June 1st for Ordeal.

The specifics of Ordeal are a closely-held secret, known only to members of the Order. Suffice to say that it was one of the hardest things I have ever done in four years as a scout and nine years as an adult leader, but it was also transformative in obvious and subtle ways that continue to manifest themselves months later.

It was one of my life’s great experiences, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of it.