Calico’s first day of real school :)

February1

Calico’s first day of real school was today! He was excited and Lindsey and I both walked him there and picked him up :)

He is still processing it, as it is a bit of a shock. And they are jumping right into cursive which is new for him. I wish him luck :)

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Granada and Malaga (Spain)…

January17

On the way home, we visited Granada and Malaga in Andalucia, Spain.

Grenada was beautiful! We toured Alhambra and found an amazing Syrian place to eat. We ate there twice; it was so good. I also did one bike ride, but it was way too much city riding, and I finally found some gravel at the end of the ride.

Malaga was bigger, sunnier, and had a beautiful beach.

We really liked it, and I got to have a fantastic lunch with Serita. Serita is the freelance editor who takes care of many things at Shepherd. It was really great to meet her, and she brought some of this Tequila she has crafted (I am looking forward to trying it)!

I also managed a long bike ride; the Malaga trails were amazing. I hope to go back and explore more of the gravel routes one day.

We are home now, and I am catching up on a lot of work and random family things we’ve put off. I am feeling more rested which is good.

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2023 plans.

January2

This is how I feel about 2023.

I am excited about my life and the progress I’ve made as a human. There are so many amazing things going on, and I am excited to see them shake out. 2023 is going to be fun :)

As a family, we are figuring out where we will live for the next stage of our lives. That is exciting, asI doesn’t enjoy the current limbo state.

My big 3 for the year?

  1. Get Shepherd to a break-even point on costs and exit beta 🥳. I am having so much fun with this project! So many cool features coming this year…
  2. Live a life full of adventure! I am hoping to do another big bike tour this year, but I am waiting to see where we land as a family first. I am also hoping that Lindsey can do a solo vacation soon. And I am planning some camping trips for Calico and me (and maybe a bike trip).
  3. Let it go. Short hand for the continued work to keep my energy and health in a good place. I redlined in 2022 multiple times and I aim to do better this year.

Onward to 2023!

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2022 in review.

January1

2022 was a hard year… but we also had a lot of fun.

The year had a rough start.

We found out Lindsey was pregnant in January, but a few weeks later, we found out it was not viable (followed by a miscarriage ~6 weeks later). We’ve been trying to get pregnant for a while, and this was emotionally hard. It took me a while to process it as we were so busy. Lindsey’s health hasn’t been great since the miscarriage, which has been stressful for us. We are making progress there and are hopeful she will be back at 100% soon.

We spent the first six months of the year on the road with an epic road trip around Europe. We wanted to look at places that might make a more permanent home as Calico gets closer to starting school. Road trips are great as we spend so much time with each other. We had a lot of fun adventures. But it also wore me down since I worked insanely hard to get Shepherd.com to a good place. We haven’t reached a conclusion to this search for a home yet, but we hope to make a decision soon.

The Amazing

Lindsey and I have been married for eight wonderful years! She is a great PIC🙃. Calico turned six this year, and we had so much fun this year. I am thankful that I have a flexible schedule so I can get a lot of time with him. 

I did an epic 999km bike tour along the Via Francigena route in Italy. It was a mind-blowing experience, and these rides make my soul sing. I am looking forward to my next one…

What fun stuff did we do this year?

  • We started the year with a massive road trip to explore places we might want to make a more permanent home (pictures here). We started in Montpellier, France, and then headed to Karlsruhe, Germany, Düsseldorf, Berlin, Dresden, Prague, and finally, Graz, Austria. After that, we were exhausted and took a long stay in Istria, Croatia (we love Croatia). Then we spent some time in France in Aix-en-Provence, and some short stays in Lyon and Bordeaux. It was good to get home after all that.
  • While we were in Croatia, I did a 3-day ride over an old rail trail. Lindsey and Calico tagged along in the car, and it was a really fun experience. We also did our first tasting menu at an amazing hotel/restaurant in Slovenia.
  • We took Calico on his first camping trip! Calico and I slept in a tent while Lindsey got a wonderful little cabin. We had a blast, and I am planning another one soon.
  • I did an epic 999km bike tour along Italy’s Via Francigena pilgrimage route in October. It started in the foothills of the alps and ended in Rome. Here is a summary, and here are a ton of pictures. I did a much better job training for this one (which I am proud of as I wasn’t prepared for the previous one). The food was amazing, and I had a lot of treats.
  • We visited dear friends in Dublin for Thanksgiving. It was so good to see Rose, Steve, and their new family member Evie. I got a cold that got in my sinuses which wasn’t fun, but I managed to rally for the second half of the trip. We hadn’t seen them since 2017, and I’ve missed them.
  • My mom and stepdad visited us for Christmas! I wish they could have stayed longer as it went by too quickly. Calico loved having them here. I was frustrated as I hit some health bumps, which took time away from everything (trying to be kind to myself as it happens).
  • I turned 41 years old with my lovely family!

The Challenges!

Health
As mentioned above, Lindsey has struggled for most of 2022 with post-miscarriage health issues. We think we are on a good path now and will know more soon (stress is lower). I was doing well health-wise, but December has been a mess. I think I am just exhausted at this point. I finally went to the hospital last week to get checked out (I was worried it might be Chron’s). They said everything looked good, and I most likely had really bad food poisoning and need to rest. I hope to be back at 100% soon.

Calico knocked a tooth out…
Calico started 2022 by knocking out a tooth at the playground. He handled it well, as it was pretty intense. He fell on a climbing structure, and it perfectly knocked out one tooth. Luckily the root and everything else were fine.

Energy
I ran into a wall several times this year. Between the miscarriage, travel, and work intensity, my energy management didn’t go well. It was a good learning experience; and I am sure I will do better in 2023. Running your own business is always hard, and the starting phase 100x harder than any other.

How did I do on my goals for 2021?

Fantastic on two out of three!

  1. Shepherd is doing fantastic and growing like a weed. I’ll do a separate post with more details. We didn’t quite exit beta, but that is coming toward Feb/Mar. I am having so much fun with it 🙂.
  2. We had a ton of adventures in Europe! And I managed one short bike tour and one long one.
  3. I didn’t do well on energy, and I am paying for that now (and during the year). Lindsey and I probably need a real vacation where we go to a beach or mountain cabin and do nothing but rest (I’d love to find one with childcare/activities).

2023…

I am super excited about 2023! I have big plans for Shepherd! I am most excited about shipping genres and age groups soon. I’ve wanted that since the start, and we are finally in a place to do that (starting work next week and should have it ready to show by late March).

We will figure out where our more permanent home will be. Calico starts schooling in September, and we want to find a home for our family. We are feeling some stress over this decision (I especially don’t like being in limbo).

Longer 2023 post coming soon…

posted under My Thoughts | Comments Off on 2022 in review.

2022 workout/health summary.

January1

For 2022:

How do I feel about this year?

I think this year was a minor miracle.

We went on a slightly insane journey in the first six months of the year, and I managed to keep my workout routine. I am proud of that, as that shit isn’t easy. I am much better at maintaining workout routines than I was ten years ago.

On the less proud front, I will start with this quote…

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow what a ride!” – Hunter S. Thompson

This describes my December as I didn’t end the year well.

It has been a rough month. I got hit with a weird depression (super unlike me), followed by exhaustion and brain fog. Then I got nasty food poisoning and immense fatigue. I ended up at the hospital last week (I wanted to make sure it wasn’t Chron’s). The doctors think it was a nasty bacterial food infection, which is “good” news. I am feeling better now, but my energy is still low. I am hoping it recovers after some more rest.

As the chief mechanic of Ben, I probably need a vacation where I do nothing for a few weeks. I need adventure in my life and bike trips to deliver that. But they are also intense, and when combined with work, there isn’t much “rest” happening. And eventually, my body says, “fuck you,” and my motorcycle tips over, and I slide through a wall… then all the king’s men have to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

I work best when I can balance intense creative work, adventures (biking trips), and vacations (resting on a beach or mountain cabin). But when you add life to the mix, that is hard to achieve. I’ve seen similar patterns with my wife, family, and friends. I am going to get better at this…

Biking

I am most proud of the training I did for my big bike tour this year. Unlike previous years I was prepared for the ride. I hope to keep that up for the next one. I also did well, considering how busy Shepherd and life were.

Sick / Not 100%
I was sick, injured, or not at a hundred percent for ~11% of the year. That is about the same as last year. The main impact was this December mess, a cold/sinus thing in November in Dublin, and some flu thing in Croatia in May (I never tested positive for Covid). The interesting thing is those all came after feelings of being overwhelmed and exhausted. I need to listen better.

Sleep
This year 75% of my sleep was rated as good sleep and 60% as “enough” sleep (7.5+ hours). That is similar to last year.

Strength / Rehab / Back
My back felt great 93% of the time this year. That is awesome!

Fun stats:

  • I set a new ride ascent record with a 1,249m gain one day.
  • My longest ride was 94km (per Garmin)
  • I ascended a total of 34,759 meters this year.
  • I biked 57+ hours in October on my big bike tour.
  • I did 122 strength training sessions this year for 92 hours. That hits my goal of 3 a week, but my average session was 45 minutes when I aim for 60.

What are my health/workout goals for 2023?

  1. Maintain a good base on my bike so I can do long bike tours.
  2. Do ST 3x a week for 60 minutes to keep my back happy.
  3. Continue to improve energy management so that I don’t red line. This is hugely important as I want to do a better job with health/stress in 2023.
  4. I want to shift some food habits by about 20 degrees. Specifically I want to shed some extra weight I am carrying, eat less meat, and change some bad habits around screens + food.

I am also adding in speed workouts, but still playing with that.

Past years: 20142015201620172018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 workout summary.

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2022 Book Summary.

January1

Since 2010 I’ve participated in a yearly challenge to read 100 books. For 2022 I barely made it with 101 books. It has been an intense year, and combined with working so hard on Shepherd; I didn’t have as much time for reading.

92% of the books I read were fun, and 8% were serious. I am not reading as much non-fiction, and I am curious if that changes anytime soon.

I do a big book summary each year; if you want to take a look at past years for some reading ideas, check them out here: 201020112012201320142015201620172018, 2019, 2021, and 2022.

If you only read 3 books this year, I recommend the following…

  1. The entire Tom Swan series by Christian Cameron
    Christian Cameron is one of my all-time favorite authors, and this adventure historical fiction series was amazing. I love the characters he creates and how much they grow over the course of a series. I can’t help but fall in love with them (so hard to say goodbye). This is based in the 15th century and follows someone who is a bit like Indiana Jones. I read these while I was biking through Italy for 3 weeks, and they made the perfect companion.
  2. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
    This is hard science fiction from the author of the Martian. Earth is under threat, and an emergency program is started to try to find a solution. This stumbles into a first-contact scenario that is truly unique. With the current state of the world, I need some engineering/competence porn, and this book delivers. If you need to read about someone solving incredible problems with a gungho attitude, this book is for you!
  3. The Agent Cormac Series by Neal Asher
    I love this character and the science fiction world it imagines. This is some of the best science fiction I’ve read over the last few years. It made me think about AI and what the world would look like if AI ran it. What would a world look like that is filled with super intelligent AI programs that can come into conflict with each other and operate at a speed humans can’t even fathom?

3 honorable mentions?

  • Love fantasy? The Blacktongue Thief by Chrstiopher Buehlman is the best fantasy book I read this year. The characters are hilarious, and I was laughing loudly often. I eagerly await book #2.
  • Like to canoe? Adam Shoalts canoes upriver across all of Canada’s arctic. The book is called Beyond the Trees, and this book left me utterly silent inside. The way he describes what he sees is mesmerizing, and the scope of his trip is astounding.
  • I’ve been thinking a lot about the rise of fascism in the 19th century. I highly recommend My Name Was Five by Heinz Kohler for a unique view of the rise of Nazism in Germany. It is the story of a young boy growing up before, during, and after WW2 in Berlin. I couldn’t put it down.

Enjoy your next book :)

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Calico turns 6!!!

December30

I feel so lucky to be able to spend such high-quality time with Calico. He is a great kid with so much personality!

This year was hard at times, as I was working a lot, we were traveling a lot to find a new home, and it was hard to find high-quality time for the two of us. I still did pretty well and hope I can improve in 2023. Spending time with him and Lindsey brings me happiness.

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Family Christmas :)

December25

My mom and stepdad visited for Christmas! We had a blast! I wish they could have stayed longer, as it went by too quickly. It didn’t help that I hit some health bumps and was pretty exhausted the last week.

What did we get up to?

  • Went on a food tour around Valencia (and a little history).
  • Went on an amazing tour outside of Valencia to do some wine tastings, olive oil tastings, and a little history.
  • Took Calico to his first Circus (lion king one)! He was so excited! It was so much fun to watch him as he hasn’t seen many live-action things on a stage.
  • Ate some delicious Paella on the beach.
  • Calico’s birthday party (with some friends here in Valencia).

It was fun to introduce them to Valencia, our fav city in the world :)

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8 years married! :)

December21

Lindsey and I have been married for 8 years, woohoo!

She is truly my PIC for life, and I love her dearly. She is a great mom, “human”, and future companion on our 700+ year journey around the galaxy in our nano space ship filled with VR.

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Dublin for Thanksgiving!

December4

We spent 9 days in Dublin visiting Rose, Steve, and Evie (over Thanksgiving week). I haven’t seen Rose and Steven since 2017, which is a small travesty as they are some of my favorite people in the world.

It was so good to see them. I really liked this board game they had (they always have good games). The only bummer is I caught a cold that got into my sinuses the day I left. That took 5 days to shake and really hurt my energy levels. I had hoped to see a few things in Dublin, given it is one of my favorite cities in the world, but with the cold, I didn’t manage anything past seeing my old office and some delicious Thai food.

I cooked the Turkey and did the spatchcock method. It turned out well (glad I didn’t screw that up). Lindsey, Rose, and Steve made so much fantastic food (and Lindsey found “diamond-encrusted” canned cranberry sauce for my nostalgia). Lindsey made amazing pecan, pumpkin pie, and her world-famous vanilla mascarpone whip creme. It was an amazing feast.

I hope to see Rose, Steve, and Evie again soon. It had been too long between visits. And I bet Evie is walking by the time we see her next! This was my first time flying since the end of 2019.

I am looking forward to seeing my mom and stepdad next month for Christmas. The last time I saw them was in 2019 (before our move to Europe and Covid).

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Go watch Andor, it is amazing!

November9

I love Star Wars. I wrote to George Lucas when I was a kid, asking when he would make the prequels. He wrote back, and it is one of the few keepsakes I kept over the years.

So it made me sad that almost all the modern Star Wars movies are so bad. The only good one is Rogue 1. The rest are bad writing and bad storytelling. I even tried the new Obi-Wan series and gave up after three episodes. It could have been great; instead, it belly-flopped onto my screen.

So at first, I ignored my brother’s pleas to watch Andor. He told me it was not just good; it was REALLY good. I finally sat down to watch it, and he was right. It is fantastic storytelling, it is beautifully shot, and it has meaning. They actually know how to use a pause, how to make every word count, and how to tell a story without beating you over the head with it. Please go watch it!

I am so tired of the Marvel trash that looks and feels like a movie but has no plot, no characters, and no meaning. A huge chunk of modern movies are like movie mannequins, they look and sound like movies, but they lack the spirit of movies; they lack humanity. I can enjoy one of those empty, vapid “movies” occasionally, but now it seems like that is 75% of what they make.

I am looking forward to the next episode of Andor. I will watch anything Tony Gilroy is involved with and send him my heart filled thanks for making a real story.

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Via Francigena summary :)

October31

What a fantastic ride :)

The weather was surreal. I had two days of rain, but otherwise, it was in the 70s and sublime. This is not normal, although, with global warming, it might be the new normal.

Italy is beautiful, the food was amazing, and the people were very kind. I would love to go back and explore some of the cities along the route more. I really enjoyed Aosta, Pontremoli, Lucca, and Siena. I’d also like to explore Rome but with tour guides who can help explain what I see (Rome also comes off slightly as a dumpster fire).

By the numbers…

I rode 999km over 57 hours and 16 minutes, spread out over 18 riding days. That is an average of 55.5km a day. I gained a total of 10,976m in altitude. 

My average KM/H was 17.4 (which is awesome compared to the 14.9 on my previous tour). I did a much better job training and was ready for this tour.

This was the first tour where I didn’t max myself out physically. I paced myself and didn’t do anything too crazy. A big part of this was I had a brand new seat I’d never ridden on, as my seat broke right before my tour. I was worried I might have a lot of butt issues if I pushed too hard (butt issues are the worst when biking).

The longest riding day was 75km and 1346m in gain. I was pretty spent after that day, but the rest were pretty even. 

I have mixed emotions as I really like finding the edges. But I think this trip was for the better as I also needed a vacation. I had a ton of time to read, enjoy the sun, and pace things. Next time I will go for some much longer days, I think. 

How does this compare to previous tours?

Packing? A+

I did a great job packing versus previous tours (not too much and not too heavy). I need to add some super lightweight tennis shoes as walking in my bike shows around town hurt my Achilles. I packed a nice pair of light weight pants I could have taken out. I also didn’t wear my long bike pants, given the warm weather. But they were nice to have. I was very happy with the new waterproof coat Lindsey got me! It would be nice not to carry a laptop at some point; that adds a chunk of weight. At one point, I rode up 200m to get groceries, and it was so much easier without bags :).

Random?

  • I saw two snakes.
  • Being motivated to work while doing a bike tour is hard. The rest days helped me get fully caught up.
  • Lots of pilgrims on the road; I saw 50+. I talked to 2 cycle pilgrims as well.

Aosta & bus ride

Yesterday I rode for 12 hours on a bus from Rome to Aosta. This method worked pretty well, although I had to store my bike under the bus. It seems ok, though. The 2nd bus I changed to said I didn’t have a bike spot reserved, but once I showed them the invoice, they waived it. The seat on the first bus sucked, but my back felt fine (go rehab and bike riding!). This might be a good method in the future if I can’t do circular routes…

I am in Aosta for a full day, and I will start driving home tomorrow :)

Aosta is one cool town with lots of Roman history, and I spent the morning in churches, crypts, and museums (with the snowy alps in the distance).

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Last Day – Day 23 of the Via Francigena (33km)

October31

33km / 1 hours 43 minutes / 209m gain

A super easy last day. I made it to Rome :)

The weather was beautiful, and the traffic wasn’t terrible since it was Saturday. I was at my hotel by 1200 and spent the rest of the day wandering around my little neighborhood. I wasn’t feeling the huge crowds, so I didn’t do much touristy stuff. Just had a chill day. Especially as I woke up at 630 to catch a 12 hour bus ride back to Aosta.

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Day 22 of the Via Francigena (53km)

October28

53km / 3 hours 12 minutes / 776m gain

Nice easy ride today. It was through many beautiful backroads, and I saw quite a few pilgrims. You couldn’t ask for better weather.

Today was also an amazing pizza day :). Breakfast was really lacking at my B&B, so I stopped in the morning at the bakery just as a 7-foot-long pizza came out of the oven. It was utterly amazing. Then I stopped again for lunch, and it was equally amazing. So good!!!

I am a little sad; today was my last real ride, and tomorrow I have a short ride, and I get to Rome. I can’t believe the trip is almost over; it has been fantastic.

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Day 21 of the Via Francigena (42km)

October27

42km / 2 hours 48 minutes / 806m gain

A pretty easy day, although there was quite a bit more elevation gain than I thought. Drivers are definitely getting worse the closer I get to Rome. At least 40% of today was back dirt roads which was great, and then some busier roads. The scenery was beautiful and the weather is surreal, mid seventies and sunny (is it almost November??!?).

I thought I took more pictures today, but not sure where they want.

I also finally figured something out. I’ve been noticing that my left knee has dark stains under the kneecap. But never on my right leg. I finally realize it is from the tailpipe and right wheel of cars. How disgusting is that? I look forward to all cars being electric. The amount of oil on my biking shoes is also gross; they are very slick and disgusting.

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This is bwb’s personal blog, so he can share his thoughts with the world, however scary or silly they might be. Plus family and friends can track what I am up to, and where I am in the world.

I am pretty simple. I love Mangos. I love the ocean (although mostly at sunset, as I’m a ginger). I love to travel, eat exotic food, do long bike rides, read, and use my imagination. At some point, I decided it was better to be a pirate captain than an admiral. I am a globalist and see the entire world as my responsibility and playground. And I am married to an amazing woman who makes life even more fun :)! And we are now the proud parents of Calico Jack :).


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