Experiencing Belgium (2019)

DSC00145-COLLAGEWe arrived in Brussels in the afternoon of Tuesday, June 11.  We met up with our "Belgium Family" near the main train station and did a walking tour of downtown central Brussels.

We had dinner at Houtsiplou. It was very good and everyone got something that they enjoyed.

The next day (June 12) we visited the Tin Tin Museum, and did a quick trip to Waterloo.

The best part though was hanging with our "Belgium Family" and doing life with them for a couple of days in Ottignies.


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!


Traveling from Frankfurt to Bad Pyrmont, Germany

Germany-train1So we landed pretty much on time in Frankfurt, and we figured out a quicker way through customs then waiting in the longer line.

Once we were through customs we made our way to the train area.

I ended up buying our tickets from Frankfurt's main train station to Bad Pyrmont via Hamburg on my phone using the German Train App (Bahn), but then we had a couple of minutes of stress trying to buy our airport to main train station tickets.

It worked out but we probably paid too much. Thankfully it all worked out. Because nothing worse is buying tickets for a trip from another station you are not currently at!

The Bahn app turned out to be pretty useful while we were in Germany, and I would recommend using it if you are traveling by train in Germany or from Germany to another country in Europe.

The trip from Frankfurt to Hamburg was good.  And the the trip from Hamburg to Bad Pyrmont didn't have any issues.  It was wonderful to see the Germany countryside during both trips. 

Another tip from this part of our trip in Germany is that that we learned both in Frankfurt and Hamburg is that restrooms will charge for use but in the end it is worth it.  Hard to overcome at first but definitely a good thing from our perspective.

Having reserved seats was great and recommended.

All the photos from Traveling from Frankfurt to Bad Pyrmont, Germany.


Traveling from San Diego to Frankfurt, Germany

SanDiego-To-FrankfurtHere are the photos for Traveling from San Diego to Frankfurt, Germany.

We were lucky to be able to take the direct flight from San Diego to Frankfurt via Lufthansa. It was a great flight, and I highly recommend it.

We booked our tickets for Europe via AirTreks which I learned about via the Rolf Potts podcast.

The folks at Air Treks were great and I would recommend them even for a generic trip like ours. I originally contacted them because this trip originally started as a trip to Europe and then to Asia and then back home which is the type of trip they are are known for. 


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


Thoughts & Tips For February 2019

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Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

Slowly Improving To A Better State

Per previous posts (Nov Dec Jan) -- my Mom's sudden and unexpected passing on October 31, 2018 -- is still consuming a great deal of my energy and attention. Things are slowly getting sorted out, and there appears to be on the horizon some resolution on her house and the rest of her trust.  I am definitely learning a lot about patience and prayer.

Things are pretty stable with my back (I haven't had any pain since mid June), and my core strength has really improved with Pilates.  I am swimming on average three times a week and I started to run a full 5K on my run days vice run a minute then walk for 30 seconds (repeat 28x times).  Hopefully this will continue to be status quo.  I have signed up for a Sprint Triathlon in February, and look forward to trying out my new swimming wet suit (my previous race used my boogie boarding suit which worked but isn't ideal for swimming).

Thankful For

I had a safe trip to DC this past week.  My original flights had issues, but in the end everything worked out for the best.  And I was able to flow with the changes without getting myself super frustrated.  I think that might be because of the book on stoicism that I reference below, and some of the mindfulness training using Kevin Roses' Oak app that I mentioned last month.

Our family hosted two Australian students for a couple of weeks at the beginning of January.  They were a great addition to our family and we got to do a bunch of cool San Diego things together.

After much prayer, and many starts & stops with ups and downs our church has finally filled our Pastor Of Family Connections. YES!

Technology & Tips

As I mentioned last month (Jan) ... I switched my main Personal GTD "external brain" to Nirvana.  It is a really solid product, and I have to say I am very happy with it.  Check it out if you get a chance.  I'm still using Google Keep for tracking checklists and reference material.

I am really enjoying the Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey from Basil Haydens.

My recent upgrade to the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite has really increased my daily reading.  The two books I'm reading daily for this year are: Unshakeable by Christian Cain (this is part of my morning devotional), and The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday & Stephen Hanselman (I read this in the afternoon when I take a break around 3 p.m.).  I also just finished the following book Brain Rules (Updated and Expanded): 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School 2nd Edition by John Medina.

Future

I have another trip to DC the first week of February, and then a bunch of meetings and a conference the 2nd week of February.  And then my UCSD Tritonman Sprint Triathlon which should be challenging but fun! Summer vacation planning is also starting to come together and it looks like June I'm going to be able to attend GTD Summit in Amsterdam.

Quote I'm Thinking About

“Time flies. It’s up to you to be the navigator.” – Robert Orben [THOUGHT: That’s why time is more about compass, then clock.]