Recent Visit to 9/11 Memorial

I recently spent a few hours in the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. Even though I thought I had watched all the documentaries, saw all the pictures, and had a really good understanding/perspective on the whole events from that horrible day until today – I learned quite a bit. I also left with a better perspective and appreciation for everything that has happened since 9/11. Here are some of the photos:

Rick Bayless' Garden Tour

Last night we went on the Rick Bayless’ Garden Tour and it was a fantastic experience. I have a garden in our backyard as well as just started a community garden at my son’s school this past spring and learned so much from the tour! The head gardener took us through the garden, talked about harvesting, grouping plants, composting, and what/how the restaurants use everything. If you have any interest in gardening – check out this tour!

Here are some photos from the tour last night:

Challenge Yourself Workout

Both in work and life – it is best to keep things simple. You do not need a fancy gym with expensive equipment to get in great shape! Here is a great workout I did recently with simple moves – but will surely challenge you.

This is a workout meant to make you focus on time and quality of your movement (so you do not injure yourself). It is best done once every x weeks/months to see if you are improving your endurance.

This is a 26, 20, 16, 10 workout (reps) which consists of 2-3 rounds.

Round 1:
26 Squat jumps
26 Burpees
26 Renegade rows (with dumbbells)
26 Kettlebell swings
26 Tire jumps (jumping on a large tire/steps/whatever you have)
26 Full sit ups

20 Squat jumps
20 Burpees
20 Renegade rows (with dumbbells)
20 Kettlebell swings
20 Tire jumps (jumping on a large tire/steps/whatever you have)
20 Full sit ups

16 Squat jumps
16 Burpees
16 Renegade rows (with dumbbells)
16 Kettlebell swings
16 Tire jumps (jumping on a large tire/steps/whatever you have)
16 Full sit ups

10 Squat jumps
10 Burpees
10 Renegade rows (with dumbbells)
10 Kettlebell swings
10 Tire jumps (jumping on a large tire/steps/whatever you have)
10 Full sit ups

BREAK – round 1 is over…now repeat for round 2 and round 3.

Time the entire thing (round 1 + round 2 + round 3) – so the time to beat is the total time it takes to do 3 rounds – not just one round.

Where did I learn about this? We do these sorts of workouts all the time at Lionize Training Center

2011 In Review

This past year has been a wild ride. Nothing sticks out more than the Penn State/Joe Paterno firing and that will be a hard pill to swallow for quite some time. I spent the past month or so thinking, reflecting, and trying to make sense of it all. I have been completely consumed by it and need to break away from it and move my focus on more positive things. Just when you think everything is going well – the unexpected happens.

With that said – 2011 was a pretty good year.

I started going to estate sales and that completely changed the way I look at “stuff” in my life. I have made a commitment to not overload myself or my family with needless “stuff” and to appreciate a lot of the older well built “stuff” that I have. Quality is definitely more important than quantity.

I met and worked with some pretty amazing people and reconnected with others. We also did quite a bit of traveling with the three kids. We went to PA/NY/NJ, Washington DC, and then most recently to Florida. While traveling is hard with three young kids – not seeing family/friends is harder so traveling is a must.

I also had a lot of fun. I got introduced to my now favorite game of all time – Uncharted 2. It has been a blast to play and I am on my fourth time through (playing Crushing). It has been a great stress reliever and I look forward to playing it whenever I can. Work is important – but so is playing.

Overall – this year was all about trying to get better balance in multiple aspects of my life. I think I did a pretty good job. There is always room for improvement but at least I am moving in the right direction!

Almost Spring…

The grill is closed for the day.

Since it seems like it is almost spring – I decided to do some grilling over the weekend and forgot to cover it. This morning I went out in the backyard and had a lovely reminder it is still very much winter. Perhaps I will cover up the grill again after everything melts 😉

We All Make Mistakes…Even McDonalds

OOPs

I was just about to write a post about how excited I was that McDonalds is starting up their Monopoly game and when I went to go to their web site to get some details – I got the generic Apache page (indicating a web server issue). While I am still excited about Monopoly – this gives me a chance to talk about making mistakes.

When I think of McDonalds, I think of a well oiled machine. All processes and procedures are well documented and implemented millions of times every day – thus the consistency we all appreciate. There are sometimes that the process breaks down regardless of how carefully you have planned everything out (as you can see with their web site). The important thing to take away from making mistakes is not to focus on the fact you made the mistake, but to rather focus on making the correction and learning from it so you can prevent similar mistakes from happening in the future. Remember – we all make mistakes…even McDonalds.

A nice quote I recently came across by Laura Ingalls Wilder:

The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and to have the courage when things go wrong.

Buying a Telescope

There is something about looking up into the sky and realizing how small we are in comparison to everything around us. This has helped me greatly put things into perspective while also pushing me to learn more about our universe.

For a few months now I have gone back and forth on whether or not to buy a telescope. I am really interested in astronomy and have my three year old interested in it as well (we go outside and I point out any planets that are visible to the eye, etc. (Last night we looked at Jupiter) He eats it up and so do I. After looking around now for awhile – I have decided I should spend a decent amount of money so I can actually see things of interest and hopefully not get bored.

The features on the telescopes I am looking at are pretty amazing. Most telescopes come with a computer controller that have tens of thousands of object in it’s library which it then uses those to give you a “tour” of the sky on command. Regardless of where you are – you just point the telescope up, it figures out where it is pointed then will auto move and adjust to show you what is visible.

I am super excited to finally make this purchase (hopefully this weekend if I can slip out). There are also camera attachments which will take a photo of what you see – and I am sure that will be my next purchase.

— After thought —

After writing this post – I decided to just order the one I wanted. Check out some of the photos taken using the telescope I just purchase: http://www.meade.com/photogallery/index.html.

(I bought the Meade ETX-125AT Astro Telescope with UHTC Coatings and carrying case. I cannot wait to bring this to NY when I go back home to non-city glow country.)

WordPress 2.9 – An Amazing Update

I have been working with WordPress 2.9 now for a few weeks and I cannot remember the last time I was so excited with the new features of WordPress. There are countless little improvements most users would not notice, but there are some killer new features that should not be overlooked.

  • First and foremost – working with images just got a lot cooler!
    • Thumbnails Finally after creating several custom plugins for this – there is now a simple way to select and then use a thumbnail for each post. Simply add a few lines of code into your theme’s functions.php file and you are ready to go.
      add_theme_support( 'post-thumbnails' );
      set_post_thumbnail_size( 150, 150, true ); // Normal post thumbnails

      (more details)

    • Cropping Ever need to crop a photo for your post or page? You can now upload any image, use built in crop functions to select the part of the image you want, save the cropped photo, and then use it – all within WordPress. Say goodbye to opening up Photoshop, cropping, saving, uploading, etc. Say hello to an easy to use streamlined process.
  • We’ve got trash! No more “crap I just deleted that post”. Now you have the option to Edit, View, or Trash a post or several posts. Once the items are in the trash you can easily recover them or permanently delete them.
  • Repair those tables please.Now you can automatically optimization your database by adding this line to your wp-config.php file: define(‘WP_ALLOW_REPAIR’, true);

Some screenshots of interest

Use As Thumbnail

Crop, Scale, etc

If you have not updated to this version – please take some time and take a look. The cropping alone will save hours of time if you ever needed to manipulate your images! Overall, this update took things one step further to making a solid, feature rich content management system and I am excited to use some of these new features with each new site I create!