Moonpies, Troutnuts and March Madness

Fasten your seatbelt cause we have a lot of ground to cover. I am going to give you a rocket-speed look backward at a busy February which included our first ever 5K run, Mardi Gras in Mobile, a culinary girls weekend here in Austin, and GRTU Troutfest. Then a fast-forward snapshot of what’s going on in March. Ready? Let’s do this.

Joe Cain 5K

joe cain 5k 005 Inspired by Little Chick’s desire to run a 5K, we trained as a family for the last few months and The Professor, Little Chick and I all completed in our first 5K run! After the Texas Water Safari and this roadrace (my only two competitive endeavors) I can honestly say, I would rather paddle another 260 miles than run a mere 3.2. I’m just not a runner. But I did it and I don’t think I held anyone back too badly. Little Chick was the real star!

joe cain 5k 035 We chose the Joe Cain race in Mobile AL, because we were already scheduled to be there for Mardi Gras. It was a riot! Joe Cain Day celebrates the famous Mobilian who dressed like an Indian and brought Mardi Gras back to Mobile after the Civil War. Everyone in the race was in the Mardi Gras spirit and the after-party (replete with an air-guitar playing DJ to boot) was hilarious. The race started at 8am on a Sunday; by 10am I’d already had two beers, a slice of pizza and done the electric slide. Twice.

I dig this race culture. I may be the slowest runner alive but I think I am going to sign up for some more parties races.

If you don’t watch the entire Joe Cain 5K montage I’ve created (a little further down), then you must at least watch this snippet of the Professor getting into the post-race party mode. I think my man has some pretty sweet moves.


As much as that makes me smile, I am most proud of how hard Little Chick trained for this race. She worked her tail feathers off and she truly earned and enjoyed that ”finish line feeling”. Here is the full montage of our family 5K experience:

Mardi Gras in Mobile Alabama

Most people associate Mardi Gras with New Orleans, but what you may not realize is that Mobile was the first place in the US to celebrate the European tradition of Mardi Gras. Given the Professor is born-and-raised Mobile stock, we love to wave the Mardi Gras flag and were able to take Little Chick for her first ever Mardi Gras.









Her first parade was on Friday, the Krewe of Columbus. She waved politely, leaned in to catch some throws, marveled at the floats. But by the time Fat Tuesday rolled around and she had been to about seven more parades, she was getting scrappy on the ground, crawling under some woman’s leg for a coveted Mint Moonpie.

Copy of IMG_3426 Moonpies are the icon of Mardi Gras in Mobile. (We’ll ignore the fact they are a Tennessee delicacy.) Mobile actually has a Moonpie Drop on New Years Eve now. Little Chick caught and collected almost 50 Moonpies — they are clearly her prize possession from Mardi Gras.

Sadly not everyone feels the same. We noticed a lot of Moonpie carnage around town, and it seems the fate of a Banana Moonpie is especially doomed.

hard out there for a moonpie

For me the Mardi Gras highlight was to see the Professor ride in the final Mardi Gras parade. Not only can the man cast a flyrod, pole a skiff, catch fish, and dance to the Spice Girls, he looks pretty hot on a horse.


It was a magical few days to share with Little Chick and this montage captures just a scarce bit of the pageantry of Mobile Mardi Gras.

Austin Girls Food Weekend

420205_10100645973964861_7002605_52920110_1830295001_n The day after we returned home from Mardi Gras, the Professor’s family came to visit – their first ever time in Austin! It was an old fashioned Girls Weekend and I had a ball with my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and two nieces. I had less than 24-hours post Mardi Gras to prepare for their arrival so I madly cleaned sheets and towels and swept everything else under the bed and into a closet.

The good news? I didn’t have to grocery shop or cook one single thing because we ate out every single meal. It was a culinary carnival, Austin-style.

We started mildly healthy with quinoa salads at The Snack Bar, but the sides of Manchego Mac-n-Cheese we added for the table to taste and share were mere foreshadowing of the future indulgences we would engage in for the remainder of the weekend.

For example…later that night we gorged on texmex, queso and pitchers of margaritas at Polvos.

419925_10100645957148561_7002605_52920033_1649423832_n And while Friday started with a respectable ladies lunch with soup and salad, after an afternoon of shopping we hit Gordough’s donut trailer and ate way too many rich, fried donuts smothered in melted chocolate and cake batter and brownie bites. No, I’m not kidding.

Somehow we waddled to Ranch 616 for dinner where we feasted on bacon wrapped shrimp, fried Texas Gulf Coast oysters, tempura asparagus, jalapeno breaded trout, smashed potatoes, fish tacos and frog legs.

420880_10100645973036721_7002605_52920097_768084881_n We awoke on Saturday and hit Maria’s Tacos for some migas tacos and, of course, queso for breakfast.

Lunch was at The Mighty Cone trailer while we shopped on South Congress. For dinner, we trekked out to The Salt Lick where I showed these southern girls (who are accustom to chopped pork BBQ) real Texas sliced brisket.

As the grand finale, we ended the evening with a trip to the always decadent Hey Cupcake.


Clearly, I need to sign up for another 5K.

Here’s a musical montage that highlights our mostly-food-focused Girls Weekend, with a few non-noshing detours such as shopping at Eliza Page and Kendra Scott, climbing Mount Bonnell, and Lone Star beers at the Broken Spoke…

I looooved having family in town and sharing Austin with them! I was so sad when they pulled out of here on Sunday morning, but there was no time for tears. I had to roll myself down I-35 to a book signing at Troutfest…

GRTU Troutfest

First of all I just have to thank Greg Welander from Sportsmans Finest who took these pictures at Troutfest. I had my hands full making change and signing books so I am very grateful Greg got some shots.


Troutfest was a blast! The annual fundraiser hosted by GRTU is a wonderful place to up your fishin’ skillz, see new gear, meet area guides and shops.

This is Sheila from Sportsmans Finest tying the most beautiful and intricate butterflies you could ever imagine. They were mind-blowing.


Friday night at Troutfest they announced the winners of the Kids Fishing Writing Contest. I was lucky to serve as a judge and was SO IMPRESSED by the stories these kids submitted.

Saturday night Troutfest sponsored a showing of the 2012 Fly Fishing Film Tour. I was busy eating myself insane with the girls at Salt Lick but I heard the films are better than ever and I think everyone enjoyed seeing them outside, on the banks of the Guadalupe.

Personally, I just enjoyed running into friends and socializing! Congrats to all who worked diligently to put on this worthwhile event and many thanks to Phil Dopson for inviting me to sign books.

March Madness

Are you tired yet? Believe me, I have been exhausted all week, recovering from my fun-filled February. But there is no rest for the weary. Here’s a peekaboo at what lies ahead in March…

Old Texas Flag Texas Independence Day – Today is the day Texas signed its Declaration of Independence from Mexico to become its own country. If you’re a foreigner, or just a little foggy on your 4th grade Texas history, join the countless other FFC readers who have purchased a copy of PADDLEFISH today. Oh, you thought the book was just about paddling? Hell no, I included all sorts of Texana history. So today, I am busy packing and shipping book orders. Computer, post office, computer post office. Keep those orders coming!


Hopefully I will make enough money on book orders today to pay for the cost of the inevitable marriage counseling I will need after another Carolina-Duke game this weekend.


You see, after the crushing Tarheel loss to the evil empire last month, I flung myself into an uncontrollable rage and lashed out at the only person in the house with me, the Professor – who by the way is a big Tarheel fan and cheered hard right by my side. But I was literally so upset about that basketball game I picked the most irrational fight, went to bed in tears and was in a funk well into the next day.

So I approach tomorrow with caution. I have promised to be on better behavior. I have promised to keep my emotions under control. We have invited another couple over in the hopes it will keep me in check. Whew, we’ll see how this goes. Go Heels. That’s all I will say for now about the game because I don’t want to get too riled up.


I need to survive as a member of this family because we have a trip coming up! It’s Little Chick’s Spring Break and we are spending it with my parents along the Gulf Coast, which will be a blast. New Orleans, Mobile, Point Clear.

And for my longtime readers, you know what else March means: Springfest!! That’s right, the lineup has been posted, the incense is already packed. Am buying a new hoop tomorrow and dusting off my hooping skills.

And that my friends, was where I was all February — and where we’re headed in March. I will keep you in the loop….

(PS, many thanks to nieces Margaret and Katy, as well as sister-in-law Laurie, who took most of the Austin pix!)

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