I'm what they call an "Angelino" by birth. I was born in Los Angeles in the mid 60's, only a few miles from Disneyland. By 5th grade, I'd been in six elementary schools in three states. This likely is what gave me the "ability to get a conversation out of a rock", according to The B.
My formative years were spent exploring the Northern Rockies. Growing up in Helena, Montana - the land of the Wild West, empire-building, railroading, mining and ranching - instilled in me the Attitude of the Explorer (think of Jacques Costeau, Marlin Perkins, etc). The summers of my 13, 14th and 15th years, I was invited to join a half-dozen 40+ year old men, led by a Special Forces Colonel (Ret), to attempt to summit Granite Peak in the Beartooth Range (considered one of the toughest five peaks in the continental U.S.). The coldest weather I've experienced was Christmas Day 1979 - 51 degrees below with no wind chill. I quite literally walked two miles to school each way in this weather for all of high school.
A few other adventures:
Hitched a Burlington Northern freight train for half a day at age 14.
Exploring 100-year old abandoned gold mines as a teen.
Booked Huey Lewis & The News for a college dance in 1985.
Hitch-hiked from Helena MT to San Francisco in 1986.
Fighting forest fires in Eastern Oregon with the Army National Guard.
State's lead witness in an attempted murder trial.
Executive Chef of the Oregon Tilth "1993 Organic Restaurant of the Year" nationally in 1993.
Smuggled $1000 of Italian truffles into the US in 1994.
Hiked 1700 miles in 5 months on the Appalachian Trail in '98.
Built a community kitchen in a very remote village in Nicaragua.
Seven cross-country Amtrak trips.
Converted a Florida high-fasion girl into a legit outdoorswoman.
Now in my mid-50s and settled (finally!) in Atlanta; where I NEVER anticipated winding up - I've lived in twelve states. Along the way I followed a redhead to Boston, got involved in a mis-matched and discordant decade-plus relationship/marriage that produced two beautiful daughters Grace and Eleanor, and flew solo for long parts of the journey.
In Summer of 2013 I met The B through a mutual client, Firehouse Subs. The B was living that life portrayed in the movie "Devil Wears Prada"; she was all into fashion and fast-paced high-flying marketing career, drinking four quadruple iced Starbucks espressos a day. I almost threw her cellphone into the condo pool at midnight one night because of her work.
Somehow, we clicked immediately. The first time I met her girlfriends, they said "you'll never get her camping". Ha - I did; inside of two years.
We complement each other extremely well (kinda like "Lady and the Tramp"), and I've managed to provide her a huge appreciation for the Great Outdoors. In fact, she said Yes to my marriage proposal as Desolation Lake backpacking in the Wasatch Range just outside Salt Lake City in September 2017.
The B's intellectualism and extremely good ability to communicate, coupled with her deep sense of justice and loyalty, is unmatched by any other person I've ever met. She can be a little bit of a handful (thanks for the early warning, John), but then - so can I.
Apparently my best skill is the ability to walk into ANY social setting, quickly determine who the movers and shakers are in the room, and get into conversations with them. This is according to The B.
I was an excellent fine-dining Chef for two decades, served eight years in the Army National Guard, was active in non-profit boards and local politics, worked for myself as a hospitality and marketing consultant in the bottom of the Recession, spent six years in leadership in a digital agency and trade media publisher focused on hospitality, and finally feel I'm in a professional position that lets me use everything I've ever done before - all rolled in one package.
Today, I'm the Marketing Director | MAS Consultant | Chef In Residence for Camacho - a foodservice design and consulting firm headquartered in Atlanta. I'm a member of the American Culinary Federation, Foodservice Consultants Society International, and the Society of Marketing Professional Services. In 2019 I am a Civilian Military Traveler with the joint Department of Defense and National Restaurant Association Education Foundation program which evaluates military foodservice units competing to be the best team. I have an exceptionally fat Rolodex and I'm not afraid to use it. I also enjoy cold calls.
To the moon.
Grace and Eleanor, if you are reading this, then know this:
I love you to the moon and back.
I live my life daily by this creed. "Any day that the Lord allows me to wake up is a good day. He's just giving me another day to go out and crush it, and do right."
I can tell you the short, mid and long-range plans The B and I have, but the details of that is our private business.
I can tell you that we will prosper, and not just survive. I live each day and place one foot in front of the other in constant forward movement, to love The B and Rocko, provide opportunity for my daughters to reconnect with me, and drive forward the development, mission and profitability of those organizations I am involved in.