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It’s Been Awhile, a Couple Months to be Exact, or Better Yet, an Entire Summer…

summertime

 

It has been a couple months since I last posted, so I am now committed to blogging more regularly.  I find that the exercise of blogging is therapeutic for my soul and psyche, and going long periods without, for me, has the same effect as lapses in physical exercise and lapses in creative expression; both of which I try to avoid going without for any prolong period.  So, what have I been up to the last couple months?  Actually we can say, what did I do this entire summer. Let’s see.

I have most importantly, spent quality time with the family in the form of a couple beach trips.

I have experienced my oldest daughter’s first summer in between the school year which has consisted of a variety of summer camps.  (Kudos to my wife for her stellar organization and scheduling skills and making this period seamless and smooth for us all!)

Next, I attended a college friend’s wedding and got to spend time with some other college buddies, and it was at my old NC mountain stomping grounds. It felt really good to revisit this terrain, and was both a beautiful wedding ceremony and scenery.

I got to take my daughters to their first concert, and their first live baseball game which they thoroughly enjoyed.  I also got to attend another concert with my wife that was on my music bucket list.

Speaking of music, I got to listen to a lot of good new music, and make some new music for myself and my best friend’s new project.  (congrats to my pal and the birth of his baby girl during this time!)

And of course, I’ve read a lot of good books, watched a lot good movies, and played some good video games these past couple months.

Finally, I tried to keep my physical fitness up, the whole time, in the form of regular, weekly gym sessions and pickup basketball.  The weather has been extremely hot and rainy so the outdoor activity has been very limited, but I have tried to compensate in the form of hard workouts, good nutrition, and supplementation.  As a matter of fact, these last two months I have been doing a form of fasting called time restricted feeding which I will blog about soon.  I feel really good, but we will see what the results are since I am in the process of my annual physical and blood work as we speak.

That about wraps it up, and it has been a very fruitful and enjoyable past couple months. I look forward to writing in detail about some of these things, very soon.

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Workouts, Vacation, and Ruminations from the Last Two Weeks.

kettlebell pics

 

Managed 4 workouts over the last 2 weeks I was absent from this blog (3 at the gym and 1 at home).  2 of the gym workouts were at my new gym and focused on metabolic conditioning centered primarily around the crossfit box.  The third gym workout was at my old gym and centered around heavier compound lifting with H.I.I.T. sets between lifting sets.  The home workout was body weight focused with some cardio intervals and a lot of stretching and active recovery.  Also was able to get in some walking and body weight work while on vacation.

 

 

Spent 3.5 days at Emerald Isle on Memorial Day vacation with the family and with the in laws.  Perfect, albeit hot, and sunny beach weather and nice water conditions for three days.  Did have a real scare with my older English Bulldog on the way to the beach with the 3 hour drive. He managed to get severely overheated despite the AC conditions in our vehicle to the point where we had to make an emergency landing and cool him off and narrowly missed a fatal outcome.  He recovered and we took precautionary measures on the trip back and he is doing fine now.  The heavy rain on the way back helped and that rain has continued daily since Monday, 5/28/18, with today being Thursday the 31st!

 

 

 

In this time I was able to watch some sports, MMA and the NBA playoffs.  Most of these events were lackluster so I may not bother to write about them individually.

I was able to listen to great podcasts like Onnit with Paul Check part 2 and JRE with GSP, as well as great music like the new albums by Beachhouse and Pusha T.  I will probably write about those soon.

 

 

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Amsterdam Day Three and Four

 

 

Pics (top left to right):  Possibly the best omelet I ever had, Heineken factory, canal boat ride scenes one through three.

Day three:  This city finally sunk in.  I would describe day three as smoooth sailing.  Woke up and saw my wife to her work conference followed by a delicious breakfast in what might have been the best omelet I have ever had.  Spent the rest of the morning up to noon checking out a local park near the hotel and completed a few sketches of the terrain I experienced.  Next we did the tourist thing and visited the Heineken brewery tour. It was a fun excersion complimented by both old and modern experiences and then capped off by some drinks on the house. From the factory to the canals, next it was a scenic boat ride to see the city from the waterways.  Back on land, we picked a random spot to eat which proved to be decent with asian as the culinary choice i.e. paying homage to my heritage, Vietnamese pho.  From there, we took a long journey, deep into the city on a quest for consumption that came locally and highly recommended.  As I alluded to in the introduction, things went smoothly.  The timing was impecable when moving around the city on day three and it was nothing short of amazing, albeit some rainy weather.

 

Pics top left to right:  The bio conference center for my wife’s work, Rijks Museum, Battle of Waterloo in museum, outside of museum, seafood market.

 

Day Four (end of the road):  Walked my wife to the final day of her conference obligation in some very cold rain.  Spent the morning inside the hotel room catching up on some cinema that I can’t seem to find the time for back home, but were on the must watch list.  Before escorting my wife to the conference she joined me for an encore of the omelet, and it was just as good the next day.  After my wife fulfilled her work duties, we journeyed to the Rijks Muesem to see Dutch master’s fine and classic art, plus Rembrandt pieces. We had to squeeze it all in, in about an hour.  It was a fun, fast trip that reached a cool crescendo with a street orchestra performing classical music  on the street outside of the museum. We kept the street theme and had some good street food for dinner, i.e. Dutch waffles and a Dutch style hotdog.  Having seen what we set out to see on our trip, the final night was a low key night with a quick stop at a seafood market to taste kibeling for a second time, at a highly renowned spot. Like the omelet, it did not disappoint the second time. As the trip came to a close I reflected on the beauty of this city and it’s progressive mindset and positive vibes.  So many things that our culture is hung up on and seemingly backwards about, this city seems to have progressed past and are a benchmark for what we could be in the future.

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Amsterdam Day Two

 

Pics top left to right: (Van Gogh museum outside, inside,  diamond museum, random canal, local snack kibeling, Central Station at night)

Amsterdam Day Two:  A great day that began with a trip to the Van Gogh museum, and a fascinating look at a mad genius, literally.  Next, was a casual stroll through the flower market after experiencing a taste of this countries free spirit and relaxed attitude that should be envy of the states. Then it was a quick stop to taste a street food favorite, kibeling and on to Dutch pancakes for lunch.  After a long trek from the museums to central city, it was a quick break before venturing out at nighttime.

With the night came a repeat of the earlier path just to capture the same settings, but at night, and to venture into the well chronicaled, and notorious area of the city.  After the long journey ended, I couldn’t help but relect on the cultural differences between my own country and this place, both good and bad.

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Amsterdam Day One

 

Day one of my trip to Amsterdam with my wife…

(Pics left to Right:  View of a canal from near hotel, cool random building with architect that’s a lot different than what you will find in the states, street art mosaic pillar, cool green room in hotel)

Spent the first day in Amsterdam: caught up on sleep from the drastic time zone difference and a very restless red eye flight. Walked a total of around 6 miles around the area where we were staying, and tried out a couple random local eateries for food and drink, without over doing it on day one.

My day one impressions:  I love the sleek sense of style with everything from the architecter to the cars and clothes, and the hotel we are staying in.  This place has a serious sense of environmental awareness and sustainability from the foot and bike traffic outnumbering the car traffic to the cars themselves with most of them being of the electric and deseil variety.  Friendly, safe, and casual feel to the city, at least in the area we are staying in.  Everything seems smaller and more compact than in the states, from the apartment buildings to the cars they drive.  This place has an obvious love for the arts.  Finally, it’s a beautiful city with beautiful people but gloomy, cloudy and rainy weather which I find ironic since there is a lot of water and boat travel and the trademark is flowers. Maybe it’s just me but I associate those things with sunny weather.

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Countdown…

amsterdam

 

T minus one day until our trip to Amersterdam…

Besides spending some much needed one on one time with my lovely wife, and doing the tourist thing, I am wide open to possibilities considering this is my first true foray outside the states.  However, there are some things I think I would love to do while I’m there:

  • Eat food and consume drinks I’ve never experienced before.
  • Unplug from the grid with only music and books I care about. Take a much needed break from electronic media and electronic communication in general.
  • take a break from the gym and the hard strength and conditioning training. Just light work, stretching, and a lot of site seeing, walking.
  • do some sketches of what I see