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2021 Week 38/39 – San Diego Visit

I went on a Cross Country trip for work last week, so I missed my regular Sunday posting deadline. So this will be a post with 2-weeks’ worth of updates (and probably pretty long, too), but I have lots of pictures to share!

I left on Saturday to head out to San Diego, a place I’ve never visited. Indianapolis International Airport was pretty busy, being a weekend, but as usual, once you checked your bag, security was a breeze. Correct mask usage was close to 100%, but you always have a few defiant people trying to be difficult.

Airline employees are NOT messing around, and the trouble makers were given a choice; wear your mask or leave. It’s also funny how people are so anxious to get on the plane and just sit there. I’m quite fine waiting at the gate until it’s closer to time to depart. I like to minimize my time crammed into a tiny space.

We had an uneventful trip to Dallas, and it was the first time flying into DFW, where it didn’t take 30 min to taxi up to our gate. I had just enough time to grab a bite to eat before we loaded up and started our second leg of the trip. For some reason, we left 20-minutes early, and there were plenty of open seats on the flight. This is the first time flying since COVID, but it was nice to let someone else do the driving and visit a place not easily accessible by car.

On this trip, I stayed in the Gas Lamp District of San Diego. It’s a lovely area of the city that’s like a mix of Broad Ripple and Mass Ave in Indianapolis (with a baseball stadium only blocks away). Just about every restaurant had outdoor seating in what were once street parking spaces, and the later it got, the busier the streets became. I got there a little earlier than others in my group and hit a local seafood spot called Water Grill for some oysters. They came with some delicious bread and salted butter.

I stayed in the Pendry Hotel this trip. It’s a great little boutique hotel with a price tag to match. One of the interesting features of the rooms here is the showers. It’s right there, in the middle of the room, with glass on 3 of the 4 sides. The attached pub was a favorite hang out for those of us on the trip, and I made several great business connections making the trip well worth the time and expense.

After a couple of days at the conference and seeing some great places around town, it was time for the discussions to end. I opted to stay in town an extra day to do some exploring. One thing that caught my eye was the maritime museum along the harbor. I had passed it several times in our travels, so I decided to visit on my last full day in town. It was a remarkable history display and had more model ships onboard real ships than I have ever seen in one place.

After the museum, I took the train up to Encinitas for lunch. The “Coaster” runs north and south from San Diego to Oceanside and is very scenic. It’s a good way to check out the scenery outside the city for just a few dollars. My round trip to Encinitas was under $10.

Time to head back to Indy! So far, the travel part of this journey had been great, but…. You knew there was going to be a but…. I got stuck in DFW on the way back. All that rain in Indy while I was gone made its way out east and delayed my flight from New York to Dallas to come pick me up for the last leg of the trip. I ended up getting back 3-hours later than expected, but we made it back safe.

Although I was a little apprehensive about traveling across the country with the current status of the Pandemic, it was a great trip with enough activities to keep me busy the entire time. The weather was perfect, and I can see why people love it out there as much as they do. It’s always nice to get home, though. Now that I’ve gotten a taste of the San Diego area, I’d like to visit again and see some of the things I missed on this last trip.

Here are some bonus photos taken during the conference and some of the excursions we went on.

2021 Week 37 – 9/11 and the World Today

It’s tough to believe it’s been 20 years since Terrorists changed America forever. On September 11, 2001, I was driving to work listening to the news on 1070 WIBC when the first plane hit the North Tower and remember thinking it was such an awful accident. When the second plane hit the South Tower, it was clear something else was going on. That day was full of bad news after bad news with the Pentagon attack and Flight 93 crashing in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, and I’ll never forget it.

We’ve had other historical events in the past, such as Pearl Harbour, where 2403 military and civilians were killed in 1941. That attack triggered the United States’ entry into World War II the next day. American involvement in the war lasted four years from 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, to 1945, when Japan and Germany were defeated.

The 9/11 attacks, which killed 2,996 Americans, were in peacetime and a first for the United States. This led to the 20-year conflict in the middle east, which we just “ended”. I say “ended” because even though we cut the head off the snake by killing Osama bin Laden, we didn’t end the war. The evil that is the Taliban survived and took over an ENTIRE COUNTRY in a matter of weeks. I can’t help but think we’ll be back; it’s only a matter of time…

After 9/11, the United States came together in unity. There was a feeling of patriotism, as we had a common enemy*. Many freedoms we had before the attacks were restricted in the same of security (remember flying prior to 9/11?) and, even though we didn’t like it, we accepted it and moved on with our lives. Unfortunately, as the years passed, we slowly drifted back to the complacency we had pre-disaster. Then COVID-19 attacked us…

Fast forward today, where we had another opportunity to rally as a nation with the COVID-19 epidemic, but we failed miserably to come together as a nation again. Instead of joining forces to fight another common enemy that was killing with impunity, we raised our defenses and ignored common sense that would have eradicated the virus.

As of today, we’ve had 677,737 American deaths attributed to COVID-19, with more dying every day. New variants are not helping the situation, but the real issue is people refusing to get vaccinated only to get sick, spread the virus, and in some cases, die from it.

While I’m not a fan of government overreach, I feel like we did this to ourselves by playing doctor and pretending to know more than the science. Now we’re seeing the US Government force our hand and start rolling out vaccine mandates. Unfortunately, I think the anti-vaxers will dig their heels in, and we’re going to see more civil unrest, not unlike we saw last year in the United States.

I really hope I’m wrong…

*I’m going to keep my personal thoughts about 9/11 out of this post because now is not the time. This weekend we remember the 2,996 Americans who lost their lives and those who died from health complications from that day.

2021 Week 36 – 4-Day Weekend!

waving flag of united states of america

I hope everyone enjoyed their Labor Day weekend. I took an extra day off work to make it more like a vacation. The weather was amazing, and it was nice to get out and be active without melting in the 90+ degree heat. I just realized this post should be for Week-36, so I must have missed a post somewhere along the way… I also updated the theme to something a little fresher than what we’ve been using for several years.

I visited a new-to-me Disc Golf course north of Tipton, Indiana, over the weekend. The Heartland Disc Golf Course is located on the grounds of the Heartland Church in Sharpsville, Indiana, and was built in May 2020. Although they only have 9 baskets, they have long and short tee pads that allow you to play a round of 18-holes. There was just one other group there when I visited, and after they left, I had the place to myself for the better part of an hour.

I’m hoping to expand the recipe section of the website and have been looking at WordPress plugins to make things more professional looking, like other sites with recipes.. I’ve started using the “WP Recipe Maker” plugin and edited our recipe for Buffalo Chicken Dip to reflect the new format. It’s going to take a little time to get all of our existing recipes into the new format but going forward, it should be easier to add new ones that we find along the way.

I was hoping to get to the Farmer and the Flea outdoor market this weekend, but the rain on Saturday kept us inside. However, I’m planning on visiting next weekend and will share any unique finds I discover.

And finally, if you’re a fan of Rick and Morty, you might be interested in the First teaser trailer for Rick and Morty live-action starring Christopher Lloyd, Jaeden Martel.

2021 Week 34 – Keto Update

white handbag

I start my 3rd-week with the “Low Carb” diet this week, and I can honestly say it’s going very well. I’m getting a little tired of the limited food choices, but I found a few cookbooks over the weekend that should help mix things up a little.

My original goal was to do this for 2 weeks, but I’ve been so pleased with the results I’m going to keep up with it for a while. I’ll admit I’ve had a few cheat meals, but just being conscious of what I’m eating vs. just eating to bet full has been truly eye-opening. Also, the energy I’ve gained by drastically reducing carbs (and sugars) makes this all worth it.

Dining out has been a little tricky, but it’s doable. I’ve found most restaurants have a low-carb option on their menu, although it’s not always called that. Asking for things without bread or adding a green vegetable over fries or other starches helps keep the carbs down. Now on to our regular programming…

I decided to refresh the look of the site over the weekend & turned on a new theme called “Kvarken”. It’s an older theme and might not be supported in upcoming releases of WordPress but it was time for a refresh. I still haven’t found the “perfect” theme for the site, but as time goes on, I keep getting closer. Unfortunately, there are so many themes to choose from, and many of them are not backward compatible with what I’ve been using, so I’m a little limited in my options.

I downloaded the Grammarly app over the weekend, and I’m in the process of testing it out both personally and at work. Grammarly is a real-time spelling and grammar checker with a huge list of features available (when you pay for a subscription to access them). However, the free version is also very useful and might be what I fall back to after my 90-day subscription ends.

Finally this week… The NY Times had an interesting article about the “issues” created when switching from plastic bags to cotton “totes”.

2021 Week 33 – Keto Curious

green vegetable on white ceramic bowl with cutlery

Last weekend I suddenly became curious about the Low-Carb (Keto) lifestyle. After watching an online video about Carbs, I started doing the math and realized I was consuming more carbs than I realized (a LOT more).

The COVID-19 shutdown has allowed me to cook more and, after finally finding an upright freezer available for sale, purchase more food for bulk storage. This was mainly for convenience, variety, and to reduce the waste of leftovers. However, when I checked the freezer and pantry, I realized how many Carbs were in my diet. So I decided to try an experiment… Reduce Carbs from my diet for 2 weeks.

As of today, I’m one week in, and I have to admit, I’m feeling GREAT! I’ve dropped a few pounds, and I have more energy. Of course, I’ve had a few Carbs now and then, but I’m making a conscious effort to try this for 2 weeks and decide how to go from there.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Kato diet, the video below does an excellent job explaining how things work.

You can find endless resources on YouTube as well as your local library. But, these days, you don’t even need to visit the actual library; you can check books out digitally using the Libby app and read on the free Kindle software from Amazon.

That’s it for this week. If you’ve done Keto or are currently living the lifestyle, I welcome your feedback! I’ve never “dieted” in my life, so this is new to me, but I’m really excited to see the results!

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