Monday, September 28, 2015

M-Cubed for 9.28.2015

M-Cubed (Monday Morning Musings) for September Twenty-Eighth, Two-Thousand Fifteen...a random smattering of thoughts that end up here on Monday morning.

- Forgive me for the week off. "Prioritizing" is the excuse I'm using for no M-Cubed last Monday and no CrossFit update in a long time. Trust me, it's all written in my head and a new chapter daily but finding the quiet time to "pen" my thoughts just hasn't availed itself. For now, though...just some random thoughts on this last Monday of September...

- Hats off to the many out there who ran the all-new Akron Marathon and Half Marathon course on Saturday. Here were my thoughts on Facebook after the gun sounded on Saturday: "Love what you do and do what you love. I've been at the starting line of the Akron Marathon every year since 2007, except for my little 14,000mi round trip vacation in 2011 that kept me away. This year, I was barely out of bed when the bell rung in downtown Akron, sending the runners on their way. Still a runner, just a different daily grind but like being on the blue line, still "running my race" with my bride and loving it. So go do something, do it great, and love doing it." Here's a little throwback photo to 2008...back when Brooks Running and the race were partnered up. Back then, finishers got a FREE pair of Brooks shoes. On the left, I wore Asics. The truth is this: this race flipped me from wearing Asics to Brooks and I've never looked back. The pair on the right were my first pair of many, many Brooks in the coming years. Brilliant marketing, I'd say! Today, Brooks and the race have parted ways.

- So Friday was the release of the all-new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. Get yourself one? My wife was sporting the old 5C so she was well overdue for an upgrade and is now sporting the new 6S in rose gold or commonly referred to "pink." Initial impressions are a definite increase in speed. Technically, it's 70% faster with an all-new A9 chip. There are camera upgrades, too, an all-new Series 7000 aluminum body (to prevent bending) and the new 3D Touch technology, or better known as "force touch." In my opinion, if you have anything less than a 6, it's worth the upgrade. If you have the 6, wait until next September when the next generation of iPhone is released.

- Saturday night took us to Cleveland's "Little Italy" with friends. It's one area I had never been to yet had been all around it while going to other places. I had a fantastic dish of gnocchi smothered in tomato basil cream sauce with shrimp but first enjoyed some awesome calamari. It was really good and everyone else enjoyed their selections, too. Afterwards, we sat outside and enjoyed dessert at standing-room only pastry shop. From rich chocolate to cannolis to several variants of cheesecake, I don't think any of us were hungry but we still indulged just a bit. We'll be back!

- CrossFit continues to be awesome. I do have a lot of thoughts to share and will eventually do that via a different post. There have been multiple highlights since I last wrote like a new deadlift personal record early last week and then a surprise "edition" of "Murph" mid-week. If you recall, I did "Murph" back on Memorial Day with destroyed hands and a rubber band for the pull-ups at my former gym. Since late May, my pull-ups are a million times better and I've been itching to do it again but haven't mentioned it. As a surprise, it was thrown into the programming so no anxiety about it prior to showing up. It went awesome and I did it...almost the prescribed legit way which is with a 20lb weighted vest. No vest but I did do the 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats and one more mile run. 49min 6sec was my final time. Next time...I'll wear the vest (which I ordered last week). Everything else is going well as is for my wife who is just killing it.

- Drink soda/pop? Drink on this: One can of soda contains 41g of sugar (approx. 10 packets of sugar). If you drink one can a day for an entire year, you are consuming 35-lb. of sugar in a year.

- Got a few minutes to watch an awesome video? Check out this couple who are in their 90s and have been married for 73 years...73 years!!! Wow. So awesome. Watch it here.

- 80. 80 days until December 18, 2015! What's the significance of that, you ask? Well of course, that's opening day for Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens! A big, hearty Happy 64th Birthday to Luke Skywalker...or Mark Hamill, as he's more commonly known these days. Did you know he's deeply involved in the new production? It's his voice, as well, that you hear in the movie trailer. If you're a fan, be sure to go Star Wars' Facebook page. They posted a video last week that is interactive. You are speeding across the desert in a speeder and can look left and right. It's pretty sweet.
"Happy Birthday, Luke!" From, "your father" :)
- I shared these thoughts a little over a week ago online and yes, they are a bit vague, but still ring true, depending on your situation. "We all have to make decisions that are the best for us, our families, etc. It's different for everyone. Some of us make those decisions blindly, some discuss with people important in their life and others of faith may pray about them to get guidance as to what to do. Our past experiences have a pretty influence on what path we follow, too. These decisions are often not "popular" but when done and vetted through prayer (in our case), looking back makes it easy to see the puzzle pieces all fitting together and God's hand on it all. Still, though, the human side of it still sucks when it comes to realizations of what I thought "was"...."wasn't" at all. Moving forward, I'm thankful for authentic friends and will continue to seek out those I can trust someday more fully.'s all temporal. I want lasting relationships and want to leave a lasting, positive impact in those I come in contact with, love, and do life with and even more so to those God entrusted me to care for and protect."

- Instead of leaving you with a quote this week or some inspirational wisdom, I'm going to leave you with a recipe. We saw this online a few weeks back and then my wife made it. Oh my!!! It was soooo good and by her account, very easy. So feast your eyes on this gluten-filled goodness and go attack your week! Have a great one, everyone!!!


12 oz spaghetti cooked following pkg directions and drained
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated parmesean cheese
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp minced garlic
1 jar of spaghetti sauce (or use your own 3-4 cups)
3 cups mozzarella

Directions (preheat oven to 375 degrees):
1. In a large bowl whisk eggs, milk, parmesean, oregano and garlic.
2. Add cooked spaghetti noodles and toss to coat well.
3. Dump in a greased 9*13 inch casserole dish....and press down to create crust.
4. Top with sauce...spreading as close to edge as you can.
5. Sprinkle cheese over sauce evenly and top with pepperoni.
6. Bake for 30 min until lightly browned. Let sit 10 minutes before cutting and ENJOY!!!

Monday, September 14, 2015

M-Cubed for 9.14.2015

M-Cubed (Monday Morning Musings) for September Fourteenth, Two-Thousand Fifteen...a random smattering of thoughts that end up here on Monday morning.

- 14 years ago last Friday was 9/11/2001. George W was president (just barely), I was 3 months done with my first stint with the Navy and working in the shadow of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs and we had barely a 5 month old. Then the twin towers fell, the Pentagon was attacked and heroism reigned aboard Flight 93 over Pennsylvania. As the years tick by, the memories don't seem to fade but the patriotism sure has. Remember how all of a sudden, our country felt united? I wish that stuck every day of the year and not just on days like 9/11 or July 4th or Memorial Day. I wish we were a "team" against radical "anything" and just loved each other like folks sharing a planet and the same air. That'll never be but it's a nice thought. For now, how about we each do our part one-on-one and strive to get along, shed the hate and love on folks? And no matter who sits in the Oval Office, it's still the U.S. of A. and a country to be mighty proud of. Pass that down, too, to tomorrow's generation.

- After morning services yesterday, we found ourselves enjoying the sunshine in Kent, OH, for the annual "Art in the Park" where artisans fill the hills of a local park along the Cuyahoga River and steel drums were playing. Saturday was constant rain so the reprieve was nice for the event and to spend some time as a family walking around. I'm a sucker for coffee mugs to hold my morning espresso and I feel like I scored big time yesterday. Here's my cup from this morning, a hand-made mug from Cathy Tietz Boring. I love it! It was fired twice in her kiln and the color dipping was done in between the two. Every mug she had was one of a kind and unique. So with a new addition, I must give up one (or two) from the cabinet. That shouldn't be too difficult.

- So Apple's main event was last Wednesday and it was, as Donald Trump says, "HUUUUGE!" It lasted 2hrs and 15min and they spent the bulk of their time talking about the new iPad Pro, the upgrades to Apple Watch, the new Apple Pencil (that works with the new iPad Pro), the totally overhauled AppleTV and of course, the upgrades iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. I was driving for a lot of it and streamed it over the speakers as I drove. But if you're like me, you don't have 2hrs, 15min to watch it all so you can find all of the info you need here at or if you're more visual, go to Apple's YouTube channel and watch the video announcements they showed at the event. That's your best bet, honestly. A few observations: Apple is clearly going after the medical field even more. There are so many features built into AppleWatch and the new iPad Pro that favor the medical community and their presentations highlighted that. For the fourth-generation AppleTV, I see them cueing themselves up to sneak into the gaming community with how the new remote works. Pretty amazing, actually. All around, the new AppleTV is leaps and bounds over what I have in my living room. As for the new iPhones? Well, they did more than just slap an "S" on them. New faster processor and some sweet camera upgrades...but still an entry-level 16GB iPhone which makes no sense. That low-capacity entry level model needs to become yesterday...especially with the new "Live Photo" that will gobble up even more space. All in all, Apple appears to continue to fire on all cylinders and even created another new segment via the ApplePencil.

- Have a Subaru? Me neither. Check with me tomorrow and that'll change! Yep...I'm finally diving into All Wheel Drive and that ever-popular boxer engine. I already created my "badge"! :) Family, military, running, and pets. Unfortunately, no CrossFit badge exists. Hehe.

- If you read last week's M-Cubed, you may recall the veteran pinning I did of the World War 2 Navy veteran who was at D-Day off Omaha Beach. Well, this hero who survived the sinking of his ship and rescued a shipmate passed away a few days ago on 9/11. I still feel so honored to have had the opportunity to meet him, shake his hand and thank him for serving our country. Here's his obituary if you'd like to read it. He will be buried with military honors this Wednesday in Akron. (his obituary is a great read and tells the story from D-Day)

- If you're a fan of chocolate...of peanut butter...of pecans...well, you would LOVE this. The fact that my parents own a local ice cream shop doesn't help my waist line but sure does give me plenty of reasons to keep working out hard. The flavor is double chocolate peanut butter and it's all I ever order there. Sooooo good! Here is my favorite creation...don't eat the screen!

- Looking for another great movie to watch? Write down "McFarland USA" and be sure to watch. What a great film and a true story. Also in movie news, "War Room" continues to crush it! Top 3 over the weekend in their 3rd week of release. In case you forgot, it cost $3 million to make and early numbers from this past weekend put it at $39.1+ million so far. WOW. Go see it!

- A few weeks ago, everyone starting writing down goals at our CrossFit gym that were short-term and to be hit by October 1st, or else...burpees...lots of them. For me, I could only do one ring dip so I suggested 3 ring dips as a short-term goal as they have been so hard for me but I need to do them if I ever want to do a muscle-up. That immediately meant that no matter what I did on any given day, I was going to be up on those rings working. Well, I walked in really sore on Saturday morning from a tough week in the gym so what does my coach do? After I did the required warm up, he had me do a LOT of dips. I'll be honest...I wanted to lift and work the legs and give my upper body a freakin' rest! I didn't complain, though, and did as he prescribed, starting with a 15min workout with 2 dips at the top of every minute on the dip bar..not the rings. For the last 6 minutes, he raised it to 3 dips each minute because they "appeared" to be getting easier. (what?!?) Figuring I was done and walking to a bar to load it up, he said "25 more...on the rings." Pffft! "Ok." Well, I figured I'd be there forever, knocking out one at a time with the rare 2 thrown in from time to time. I remember being at 21 done and 4 to go and was going for 2 sets of 2 to round out my 25 and my day in the gym because I had to leave soon. I got up on the rings and no one was watching but after 2, I felt like I had another so I went for it...and got it! No one was watching but I told him, regardless, and of course, he wanted more so I did...again I got 3. It wasn't pretty and I'm pretty sure my head was tomato-red and ready to explode but I did it. I still feel it this morning! Once again...Coach Will knew what to have me do to reach my goal...over 2 weeks early. Would I have chosen to do 60-ish dips while still sore? Heck no! In other news, my wife also hit her goal of deadlifting 200lbs that same morning. We both killed it! "Way to go, Babe!" (the image here has nothing to do with dips...but strict chest-to-bars...something I have been working on every day this month. Getting closer and closer every day to getting these things done.)

- That's all I got, friends. Time to get the week moving and enjoy the beautiful, sunny week on tap. Have a GREAT week and remember this: when life hits you upside the head and you feel like you've hit bottom, you sit at a fork in the road. You can choose to soak in the misery of your circumstances and let IT kill you or you can choose to find the good in it, look up, persevere and find strength in those around you, your faith, and choose to overcome. Choose the latter!

Have a GREAT week!

Monday, September 7, 2015

M-Cubed for 9.7.2015

M-Cubed (Monday Morning Musings) for September Seventh, Two-Thousand Fifteen...a random smattering of thoughts that end up here on Monday morning.

- Labor Day. Unofficial last day of summer. With the heat index, dew point, etc., it'll be 93-95F this afternoon. Day off...CrossFit workout first then a pool cookout with friends. Enjoy your day!

- I've mentioned the Mashable podcast recently and this last Thursday they were pouring over the new logos by Google and Verizon and how much goes into it...and why. I'm not a Verizon customer and honestly, don't really get the point of dumbing it down this much. For Google...well, more of the same, there. They got rid of their iconic lower case "g" and went to this extreme basic in-house made font, too. Anyway...interesting to marketing minds like mine!

- Last Monday, I eluded to a possible announcement coming regarding my promotion to the next rank. Well, it came out mid-week! Super happy to be on the "select" list but will still have to wait until next summer to "pin" it on. That's ok, though. Just being a "select" and knowing the next rank is coming is plenty for me. It really sets my mind on a more stable course for the future and where I see my career going.

- Ready for the big Apple event on Wednesday??? We all know the updated iPhone will be released but many believe there is much more BIGGER news like possibly an AppleTV and perhaps even a large iPad Pro. All rumors, of course, but like others, I'm looking forward to the announcements on Wednesday. I'm not in the market for anything, either...just love the way they bring things to market and often, create a whole new segment of product that never existed before.

- I'm no fan of shopping for appliances but the day came to shop for both a fridge and electric range. In my mental strategy planning mind, we headed south to Canton where we could hit up Home Depot, Best Buy, Lowe's and HH Gregg in succession so we could see prices, models, etc. back-to-back within a few hours and make a decision...and maybe even hit up the grand opening of a craft brewery in the process. So Saturday afternoon, we did just that and ended up finding what we wanted at Best Buy. They were our 2nd visit but hands down, they had the best prices and selection, best service and without a doubt, were the most educated on the products. Afterwards, we headed west a bit into Jackson where the Royal Docks Brewing Company tapped their first keg at 5pm. It was crazy there as Rusted Root was about to have a concert in the parking lot so we didn't stay long but we'll definitely return when it calms down a bit there. Great first impression!

- It's Labor Day weekend so it's Cleveland Air Show weekend! The Navy's Blue Angels aren't in town this year as it's an Air Force Thunderbirds year but a TAC DEMO squadron is in town from VFA-106 in Virginia Beach. I had the opportunity to take many of my future aviation candidates up there for a Q&A with a pilot and walk-around a Super Hornet F/A-18F strike fighter. Awesome experience for my candidates! Also for you Blue Angel fans, they are confirmed for 2016!

- Star Wars fan? Have an Instagram account? Follow "StarWars" on there??? If not, DO IT! That is all. (December is coming...)

- After church yesterday, I was talking with a friend about Reese's Eggs and how the combination of peanut butter and Reese's chocolate is all so perfect and how the large eggs just aren't the same. Soon after that conversation, we stopped by the grocery store for a few items and lo and behold, 'tis the season! Pumpkins, Christmas trees, then the eggs...the BEST treat on Planet Earth!

- This past week, I had the true honor of pinning my 7th veteran as part of the volunteer veteran-to-veteran program I am a part of that serves those veterans on hospice care (terminal within 6 months). This last one was finally with a sailor. He served in World War II. Here is my post that I wrote just after I left his home: "I did my 7th veteran pinning today as part of Summa at Home's hospice volunteer program and I finally had the honor of pinning a sailor. I promised him I would tell others of his heroism so here it is...minus personal details for privacy: He was there off Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day on a Navy minesweeper in the engine room when it was hit by a German magnetic mine. As it sunk and his leg and chest bled, he escaped and rescued a fellow sailor while climbing aboard a nearby PT boat. His ship sunk and 29 sailors died...nearly 1/3 of the small ship's crew. He then served briefly in Japan before living a very full life outside of the military. I shook his hand more than the others...didn't want to leave, really. I just didn't have the adequate words to express "thank you" enough. Such an honor...such an honor." Above is a photo of his ship.

- Month #4 at CrossFit 881! Things are going really well there and it's amazing what actual coaching can do. While I burnt all kinds of fat and got fitter from November 2014 thru May 2015 at the old location, getting actual one-on-one coaching has been so much better. It's also been a blast to be a part of a brand new community and met new friends. This past week was definitely tough and I really enjoyed the past two days of rest but will be back at it this morning to kick off Labor Day with some work! If I had any "victories" this week it would've had to be a few different things. First off, I did my first ring dip. Just one...but I did it! One of these days, I'll do several...more baby steps towards the holy grail of CrossFit...the muscle up. Also, I got sucked into the longest workout I've ever done at CrossFit that took me 1hr, 6min, 15sec. On Thursday, I did this: 20 rounds of: 3 dead lifts, 3 push presses, 6 burpees, 9 wall balls. It was a sweat bath and not only physical, but mental as well. I was still getting chills a few hours later as my body continued to try and figure out what the heck happened! Crazy. Yea, I pay for this stuff and keep going back for more!

- I'm going to skip the inspirational quote this week and just share this Star Wars-themed meme. Yea, it pretty much sums up how I feel every morning after I brew my stovetop espresso. Mmmmmm..... Have a great week, everyone!