Thoughts & Tips for August & September

Omaha-woodOverload Museum - Photo: Steve Holden

Health Update (Bulged Disk & Bike Injury)

Things are going pretty well since my last update in July.  My current "perfect" weekly workout routine is: 30 minute run (Mon, Tue, Thu, Sat); Pilates & swim (Wed & Fri); and bike & swim (Sun). Also usually every day starts off with a 30-40 minute set of stretching, rolling, and core exercises.

Christy and I had a good time on the July 4th doing the 10K Old Pros in Scripps Ranch, and the kids did the Fun Walk/Run. It was the first time I  have run more than 5K in over a year.  My time was slow, but it felt good and nothing broke!

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Traveling

In July, Christy and I had a weekend trip up to Napa for a wedding.  It was a lot of fun, but I would not recommend flying in/out of San Francisco International Airport because of the traffic coming/going to the Napa area.  It was pretty bad.  Recommend considering Oakland airport or Sacramento airport for visiting Napa.

DSC01040-COLLAGEWhen we were up in Napa we had some great beers at Field Work Brewing:

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In August, Christy and I made our regular trip to #hackersummercamp in Las Vegas for Def Con 27 (2019). I go to the conference during the day, and Christy gets time to read and relax. Then we get some dinner & craft beers, and binge watch a show in the evening.  In previous years it has been Homeland & Game of Thrones.  This year it was Season 1 of Westworld. You can get a copy of this year's Def Con conference report here: https://www.technewsradio.com/2019/08/def-con-27-notes-references.html.

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We also took Spencer, Carson, and some of Carson's friends up to Universal Studios in early August.  While they were at Universal Studios, Christy and I explored Griffith Park - hiking, multiple location sighting of the Hollywood Sign, seeing great views from the Observatory, checking out some outdoor movie sets (for instance the Bat Cave!), enjoying the Autry Museum Of The American West,  and had a great lunch at the Crossroads West Cafe.  If you have never been, I recommend it -- you can almost forget you are in LA!

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Honoring My Mom

Also in the beginning of August my sister and her kids came down to San Diego for the weekend.  We had a wonderful time remember our Mom and spending quality time together - including a harbor cruise.

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Getting Things Done (GTD)

Several things going on related to #gtd:

  • I taught two classes this summer at work - one at the end of July (Class#10), and another at the end of August (Class#11).  I'm going to be teaching at least one and maybe two courses in the DC area in September.
  • David Allen had a great presentation about "building the ultimate GTD application" at the #GTDSUMMIT, and I summarized all the content - video, audio, and documents - on my blog ---- LINK!
  • I am also very excited about the new book "GTD for Teens."  It is very approachable for teens, and young adults.  If you aren't a big reader (and like lots of pictures), then maybe this version is for you!

Technology & Tips

My trusty work Samsung Galaxy S8+ recently had an issue where it appears that the battery was expanding, and causing a gap to grow on the side.  I was able to get a replacement new phone - Samsung Galaxy S10+.  I'm really enjoying this new phone.  Here are some setup recommendations and tips that I ran across during my setup:

I am still enjoying the Sony RX-100 VI (6) ... but I just learned that there is a new Sony RX-100 VII (7) out now.

Future

Some plans are starting to come together:

  • Work trip to DC.
  • Work trip to New Orleans.
  • Sprint Triathlon at the end of the month.

Quote I'm Thinking About

"Simplfy, simplfy, simplfy ... Simplicity of life and elevation of purpose." - Henry David Thoreau


Experiencing Paris, France

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When we arrived in Paris it was still late mid-day (trip summary), so after dropping off our stuff at our hotel (Hôtel de Roubaix) we started walking toward the Seine and then towards the Effiel Tower.

Here is our collection of photos from the Effiel Tower.

We ended the day eating at Hall S Beer Tavern (pictures) for dinner. We were super hungry, the food was excellent, service was pretty good, and sitting down for an hour or so was much needed.

The next day we headed to the Louvre and once we were done at the Louvre (most of the morning) we made our way to the Arc de Triomphe, and Norte Dame.

We had lunch at L'Etoile 1903 near Arc de Triomphe.  The only picture I took was of the beer (I think we were super hungry and just started digging in before a picture could be taken):

Leffe-beer-The food was good at L'Etoile 1903 and I would recommend eating there again.

After we were finished for the day we ended up eating dinner at Cafe March (photos). We all liked our food and the atmosphere was good. I'd eat there again.

Just before dinner though, I was able to meet up with Rolf Potts (travel writer) for a quick picture. He was in Paris at the same time teaching a class on writing.  I've been listening to Rolf's podcast for some time -- Deviate.  Some of his podcasts actually inspired parts of this trip.

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Other pictures from Paris can be found here.


Normandy To Paris (2019)

BayuexOur trip from our Airbnb included a stop in Bayeux on the way to returning our rental car in Caen.  We ended up renting the car from Avis which worked great from my phone while we were actually traveling via train to Normandy via Paris.

We stopped in Bayeux to see the Tapisserie de Bayeux. that was more than like created in the 11th Century and is over 70 meters long. The tapestry tells the "engrossing story of the conquest of England by William, Duke of Normandy in 1066."  It was definitely worth seeing and the audio program was very well done.

After this museum we made our way back to Caen and then turned in our rental car.   We had a train ride into Paris (via the Saint Lazare Train Station) and then a Metro ride from the train station to the nearest stop near our hotel.

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The hotel was the Hôtel de Roubaix (6 Rue Greneta, 75003 Paris, France).  I thought the place was average and good for our situation.  It was easy to get to and easy to navigate to the Louvre for sure by walking.  Also it was easy to get from the hotel to the airport via a big transit hub that was just down the street (10 minute walk).  We used Booking.com to reserve our rooms.

Here are all the photos from this part of the trip.


Experiencing Normandy

Normandy-CollageOur Airbnb was excellent (photos). We would highly recommend staying there.

And the area around our Airbnb -- known as Les Bateaux -- was very amazing. It was a short walk down to the beach. There was a WWII Jeep parked at the bottom.

Our first thing to do in Normandy was to visit to the Overload Museum.  This is a great museum. Easy to access, tons of good info, and a large amount of physical hardware from both the Allies perspective and from the Germans.

Then we went to the Omaha Museum. I liked this museum a lot as it had a lot of personal items like all the types of firearms, uniforms, etc. There was also a good video documentary that they shared in their theater.

After that we spent some time on Omaha Beach. It was very low tide at the time we were there and the waves were very small. It is surprisingly long but only a few ways up from the beach to the high ground.

Once we finished at Omaha we drove to Pointe du Hoc. Being up on the high ground and looking down to see what the soldiers had to accomplish to take over this area was humbling. The bomb holes are still there and they are massive. The German guns at this site could have dropped rounds on both Omaha and Utah beach but they had been moved inland because of all the aerial bombing leading up to D-Day.

Then we went to Utah Beach. The drive reminded us that that there was almost 10K between each of the D-Day Beaches, and each beach covered a 10K operating area. I learned that Utah Beach went easier because of the tides and currents. The main body of troops landed in a place less fortnified than their planned location and the units here captured more ground in the first 24 hours than expected. The drive from Omaha to Utah had references to several locations were paratroopers and gliders landed.

After Utah Beach we went to the Normandy American Cemetery just before it closed. This was a very somber place and well done. It is much smaller than I expected given how big it has looked in the past when on TV but that was probably all angles and framing.

For dinner we went to Port en Bessin. The food was very good. The beach was area was interesting because it was full of shells. And we learned some more about what happened in this area during D-Day. The city and port were liberated by Canadian Special Forces.

We made the most of June 13, 2019!

 

 


Traveling from Bad Pyrmont, Germany to Brussels, Belgium

Germany-to-belgiumOn Tuesday, June 11, 2019 we traveled from Bad Prymont back to Hamburg to Cologne, Germany, and then from Cologne to Brussels, Belgium.  There was another option to go to Cologne from Bad Prymont, but all the transfer times were very short so we went with via Hamburg for less stress.

The train ride was pretty un-eventful.  We bought the tickets via the Bahn.com website (with assigned seats), and then managed our tickets via their phone app which worked pretty well.

Here are the photos from our traveling on this day.


Experiencing Bad Pyrmont, Germany

Bad-pyrmontWe arrived pretty much on time in Bad Pyrmont, Germany on Sunday, June 9, 2019 from Frankfurt via Hamburg . This is my Mom's home town where is grew up with her Mom and brother. I have visit the area a lot as a kid (every odd birth year until high school).  My family was last there last in 2012 with my Mom which was a great experience.

The main goal for visiting this part of Germany was connecting with my Mom's brother (my Uncle), and his extended family.

We stayed at Hotel Schaumberg.  It was a great location for us, the room was great for the three of us, and the food for breakfast was awesome.  I would stay there again.

We had a lot of good times with family, did some hiking, did some city exploring, and we connected with several of my Mom's friends who were in town at the same time, and with those that still worked and lived in Bad Pyrmont. The only bad thing is we arrived on Sunday (with many places closed), and Monday was a holiday (with many of the same places closed). 

So we only had 1 hour of time in town with most of the stores open on Tuesday just before we had to head to the train station for our trip to Brussels.

Here are all the photos taken in Bad Prymont!


Thoughts & Tips for June 2019

Health Update (Bulged Disk & Bike Injury)

Things have been improving since my last month's update (May).  I think I've returned to my overall health level from February . I am tentatively planning my next Sprint Triathlon for the end of July. 

Strongest Conference

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I attended Mike Foster's Strongest workshop on May 16 & 17, 2019. It was an amazing learning experience and the people at the conference were super inspiring. Mike Foster has plans for another one so follow Mike on social media or listen to his Fun Therapy podcast for updates.

Strongest-CollageGetting Things Done (GTD)

At the end of May 2019 I taught my 9th Getting Things Done (GTD) course at work (over 90+ people trained since first class), and my GTD story was published recently on GTD Times.

Technology & Tips

Last month I mentioned I was experimenting in the morning with a Panda paper planning system.  After about a month thought I've made some adjustments because the written monthly, weekly, and daily planning part for my calendar and other item date specific items was not helping me that much.  However what was helping me during my morning devotionals was tracking on a daily basis:

  • what I was thankful for,
  • what I was looking forward to,
  • what God was telling me in my devotional,
  • what I could work on as person (these are coming from the Stoic daily reads from the book The Daily Stoic), and
  • how I am exercising.

This summer I am embarking on a big project with the help of my son Spencer to digitize 99% of all of our physical photos using this scanner -- Epson FastFoto FF-680W Scanner.

Future

This upcoming next month is going to be completely consumed by:

  • Spencer is graduating high school!
  • Carson, Conrad, and I are going to Europe from June 8 through June 23 (Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands).

Quote I'm Thinking About

“You’re under no obligation to be the same person you were 5 minutes ago.” — Alan Watts


Thoughts & Tips for May 2019

Screenshot 2019-05-19 at 18.17.43Health Update

Things have been slowly improving with my back since my bike fall in February (and it is almost to 1 year since my full-on bulged disc incident).  I switched my morning runs to morning walks in March by switching my regular "run" days (Mon., Tue., Thu., Sat.) to walk days. Then in April, I moved to running 1 minute and then walking 30 seconds (repeat 20 times) on "run" days.  My current plan is to transition to running slowly for ~30 minutes (no stopping) on "run" days in May.  I also decided to not do the next couple of San Diego area sprint triathlons, and instead focus on getting to as close as possible to 100% with the plan of doing the next sprint triathlon in July. 

Wedding Anniversary

My wonder wife Christy and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.  It was pretty low-key, but we are looking to go on an adventure later in the year.

Wedding-03-COLLAGEChvrches Concert

My daughter and I were able to see Chvrches in-between their Coachella shows at Pappy & Harriet's in Pioneertown, CA.  The concert was awesome, the road trip fun, and Pappy & Harriert's is a very unique venue to see a band (highly recommended), and the food & drinks were pretty darn good.  It was also a treat to meet-up with other Southern California Chvrches fans (second set of photos by Chris Rubalcava).

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CHVRCHES April 2019 Collage

Screenshot 2019-04-24 at 20.44.50Mom's Memorial

The weekend after Easter, my family and I held my Mom's Memorial (Saturday, April 27, 2019) up in the Sacramento area.  It was a blessing that we waited until the Spring, and all-in-all it went well  It was simple and uncomplicated, with a lot of time to remember, share, and support each other.  Another major blessing was being able to connect with her many friends that she touched and did life with.  

Technology & Tips

One thing I have been experimenting with over the last month is using a Panda paper planning system to scope out my monthly, weekly, and daily plans right after my morning devotionals.  So far it has been pretty positive.  This is the one I purchased.

I used these ear protection plugs for the Chvrches concert.  They worked out better than expected.  I could clearly hear all the music, but being in the front row, my hearing wasn't impacted like it has been in the past.

If you are looking for some water proof headphones for swimming, then you should know that these are the best I have used -- HydroActive Headphones.

Future

There is a lot going on in May:

Quote I'm Thinking About

"When annoyed count 10, before you speak, if very angry, count 100." - Thomas Jefferson


Marlies Holden, 11/25/1942 - 10/31/2018 (Obituary)

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Marlies “Lee” Ingrid Holden (Mecke) was born November 25, 1942 in Bad Pyrmont, Germany and passed away unexpectedly on October 31, 2018 in Roseville California.

Marlies was wonderful mother, loving wife, devoted Omi (grandmother), and a friend to many.  She met Marion “Ray” Holden (USAF Retired) in Germany and they were married on January 4, 1963 in her hometown of Bad Pyrmont, Germany. She immigrated to the United States and became a naturalized citizen in May 31, 1966. Once in the United States, they lived in Nebraska, Wisconsin, and then settled in the Sacramento, CA before moving to Roseville, CA in 1973. She graduated from American River College with a degree in Nursing in 1978, and became a Registered Nurse (RN) working at Roseville Hospital until 1992 when she retired on disability.

Marion (her husband) preceded her in death in 1993, and her mother, Helene, passed in 1973 and her father, Ludwig, died in 1942 (Battle of Stalingrad).  She leaves behind her daughter Michelle (Citrus Heights,CA) and her three kids: Taylor, Riley, and Joshua; and her son Steven (San Diego, CA) and his wife Christy, and their three kids: Conrad, Spencer, and Carson. In addition, there is a deep loss by her brother Ludwig and his wife Crystal, and their daughter Gabi (and their extended family in Germany).

Marlies had a very active in retirement.  She traveled with friends and family, and hosted many friends from Germany at her house for extended vacations. She loved to play the game Mahjong both on the computer, and also with physical tiles with a weekly game day. She was a member of the Red Hat Society, Widowed Singles, and several other organizations. She often served in many leadership positions including creating monthly newsletters and calendars. Her house was always open for her grandchildren, and she took care of them with great love.

Marlies was a huge dog lover. From Rusty to Pepper to Chew-Lin to Ling-Ling to Emma, dogs played an important part of her life.  She loved them all and she was an amazingly patient dog owner.

She will be eternally loved, and deeply missed by all who knew her.

Currently there are plans for a Memorial Service on April 27, 2019 in the Sacramento/Roseville area.  You can get more details by contacting Steve (sholden@pobox.com).  In lieu of flowers, the family requests making a donation in Marlies Holden’s name with Special Olympics.

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Thoughts & Tips For March & April 2019

Photos_2016_9_1_fst_840fcd2b47a-9065-4481-98e1-9d5d4f66b32eBrown Wood Plank

Sorry I never got around to posting in March 2019 ...

Getting Back To Healthy

TritonI went a little backwards on my back injury (bulged disc), and issues with my left leg (sciatica) since the last post in February.  The week before my last sprint triathlon I hurt my back trying to lift something that I shouldn't have. I took the next 6 days off, and then I did the UCSD Triton Sprint Triathlon (actually it was Dual-atholon -- 1.5km run, 21-km bike, & 5-km run -- as they had to cancel the swim because of rain run-off health concerns).  The bad news is that I fell off my bike in transition and hurt my knee, hip, elbow, and hands.  I was able to push through it during race day, but by the following day I couldn't run at all.  So, I've pretty much taken the full month off from running, and did a treatment of steroids to get me back to how I felt back in late October (run 60 seconds, walk 30 seconds, repeat 28x times).  Thank goodness for a good stretching routine, walking in the morning (instead of running), Pilates (2 days a week), and swimming (3 days a week) during this non-running time.  Hopefully April will be a month of full run recovery, and then maybe another sprint triathlon early in May.

Thankful For

A bunch of stuff has been going on that has been really cool:

Technology & Tips

I have tried several waterproof headphones for listening to music while swimming. These are the best so far: Underwater Audio's HydroActive Short-Cord Waterproof Headphones.

Since Apple started supporting podcasts in iTunes, I've always used some sort of Apple iPod for my own listening. In my quest to simplify my life, I decided to retire the Apple iPod Touch I've been using the last couple of years with my Android phone. This decision was basically about having one less device to care and feed.  After testing several Android application options, I finally made the switch to using Podcast Addict for Android. (Support) So far, so good!

Bourbon & Whiskey Update

Here is a collage of recent bourbons** that I've tried since January (last post on the topic):

BourboncollectionIf I had to rank these, then it would be in the following order: #1.) Longbranch, #2.) Basil Hayden's; #3.) IW Harper; #4.) Buffalo Trace; #5.) Cooper's Mark; #6.) Elmer T. Lee; #7.) Old Grand-Dad, and #8.) Sunshine Rye Whiskey (not really a bourbon - distilled in Ramona, CA).  The only one I wouldn't buy again is unfortunately the Rye Whiskey.

** Another bourbon that I've tried that I didn't take a picture of yet is Woodford Reserve Double Oaked. It is by far my overall favorite bourbon. #1.

Craft Beer Update

I made a collection of photos of recent craft beers that I've tried over the 1st Quarter of 2019. All of them were good and recommended.

Future

There is a lot going on in April:

  • Carson's play is also playing again next weekend, followed by her Sweet 16 Birthday party the following week.
  • Christy and I are celebrating our 25th Wedding Anniversary this month!
  • Carson and I get to see Chvrches on April 18, 2019.
  • Finishing up Lent and celebrating Easter!
  • We are doing my Mom's memorial on Saturday, April 27, 2019 in Roseville, CA. (RSVP)

Quote I'm Thinking About

"Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present." - Bill Keane