Mediterranean Diet

I am tired of chicken and fish with some veggies thrown in for good measure. That, or I just survive on oatmeal and whatever low calorie, low carb, high protein, low fat thing I can find. It’s not fun. I am also not great at cooking things, meal prep – I can do that, but make things that I want to eat … not so much.

Here’s the plan. Cook books, recipes and YouTube videos to better myself and finally get the skills needed to have a healthy eating lifestyle.

Enter the two books I mentioned in an earlier post.

From these two books (a third is on it’s way, but I may not need it and will send it back) I bookmarked several recipes that look good to me. Here they are in no particular order other than how the are ordered in the books. 1. Mediterranean Breakfast Bowl. 2. Mediterranean Avocado Toast with Fried Eggs. 3. Mediterranean style oatmeal with honey and berries. 4. Mediterranean Grilled Zucchini Roll-Ups with Herbed Cream Cheese. 5. Lemon and Chickpea Soup 6. Three Bean Mediterranean Soup. 7. Mediterranean Grilled Chicken with Olive Tapenade (I had no idea what what a tapenade was before now) 8. Mediterranean baked chicken with Olives and Tomatoes. 9. Mediterranean Stuffed Bell Peppers. 10. Mediterranean Style Baked Cod with Tomatoes, Olives and Feta. 11. Grilled Salmon with Mediterranean Salsa. 12. Baked Halibut Steaks.

That’s it for the first book, Mediterranean Diet Cookbook with Pictures. Which is actually not a great one. It’s not color and it’s super basic and not worth the $10. But the next book is brilliant. The Mediterranean Dish: 120 Bold and Healthy Recipes You’ll Make on Repeat. Full color, very interesting recipes and lots of content! There is a lot of explanation of how to cook, not just listing the ingredients. The author is gifted in both storytelling and cooking. This is a really cool cookbook. There are too many recipes to list for this one, and I really wish I could just take photos of each of the pages and paste them here, pretty sure that the author and publisher would love that. I am going to try the ones from the first book first because I am a total beginner with cooking. As I gain confidence, I’ll add in the second book’s recipes.

There is a lot of fish in this diet. Which is great because the doctor said no more red meat, just things like chicken, fish, turkey, etc. I found this video on how to cook fish that I think will help me prepare fish I will actually eat. Looking for the same for chicken, but I have not found one that I think will work yet. If you know of one …

I’ll keep posting here with updates on how this goes. Stay tuned!

My Son is a student at …

YES! I am a super dorky dad who has a sticker that says “Fresno Pacific University DAD”.

I know, sooooper dork. But it’s on my wall, not my truck. 🙂 I am not there yet.

So yeah, my son is at Fresno Pacific University!

A few weeks ago I dropped him off at the campus which was a really cool experience. I have wanted one of my kids to go “away to college” so that I can selfishly live through that experience. Also I love my children and want the best for them … it’s not all about me. Just mostly. Anyway, a ton of kids surrounded the truck and grabbed all his stuff and ran it to his dorm, and that was it. Done. He did not really want me around for the day since he already has friends and they had plans on what they wanted to attend together … I was just going to be in the way. LOL! Love it.

The campus is close, about 15 minutes from home. Even though it’s close, he is living on campus in the dorms. I wanted him to have the full experience. He is evern rooming with a good buddy from church. Since this is a Christian University, I think it’s really valuable for him to live there and thrive in that academic community.

His major is Kinesiology since he wants to be a P.E. Teacher when all is said and done, at least at this point in his life. I have a feeling he may want to switch to the seminary, but that’s just my dad intuition. From what I hear he is having a blast. I get texts when he needs things, but other than that, he is being an 18 year old young adult and does not need me. So I did something right. 🙂

Over A Year Of Hockey

It’s been over a year since my daughter started playing Hockey. When she started she could Hardly skate or handle the puck very well. Heck, she could hardly hold the stick correctly – and she fell down a lot! That’s one of the things I have noticed the most about her current performance. She almost never falls now, she can go a whole game without falling.

Tonight she started her 4th season of In House Hockey and it’s kind of a big deal. We almost did not do it because the games are on Sunday during church, but they moved the time (not sure if my complaining helped or not) to early enough to catch church after. Now it sounds like they will be moving the game days to Saturday’s which is even better.

I am so impressed with her tenacity. I mentioned before she just decided to start hockey out of the blue. It was rough, expensive to start (and is still horribly expensive for each 10 week season), and I had a lot of doubts about it all. But she has done really well. I’d like for her to make more connections here, but that’s been an issue since we moved here. This is a difficult place to break into as most of these families have know each other for generations, or they just have no interest in being open to knew folks, but hey … we will wear them down – I mean we will win them over with kindness and always being around. 🙂

Well Keto Is Out …

Keto worked for me years ago, but this time around, it turned out to be a bad option for me to choose.

About 4 weeks in I started feeling really sick. So I went to the doctor and got some blood tests and a physical. Turns out, I am just not a great candidate for Keto. The pain was from my Gallbladder, which was not loving the high fat content of my diet. The weight loss was kicking in, but at a cost too high. The blood work also indicates that I should be on a much different diet. Low carb and high protein, but low fat as well. Basically the Mediterranean diet best describes what I am doing now.

I liked Keto because I felt full and it was really easy to meal prep for. Now meal prep takes several hours on the weekend and costs quite a bit more. Veggies and healthy meats – they are not cheap and they take time to prep. I am also pretty hungry most of the time since fat content is low, the fiber from veggies and whole grains and nuts and sees are supposed to make me feel full, but I am also not a squirrel, so there is that.

To help I grabbed a few books off of Amazon because the recipes and suggestions online are overwhelming and crazy unclear. I also hate reading between 45 columns of ads. Seriously, the recipe is broken up all over the infinite scrolling page of ads, and it’s difficult to read. Because ads seem to favor overusing AJAX that does not load inline correctly, the page is constantly refreshing – losing my place in the recipe. This non-squirrel gets frustrated really fast.

The Books

The main steps to follow the diet include:

  • Each day, eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains and plant-based fats.
  • Each week, have fish, poultry, beans, legumes and eggs.
  • Enjoy moderate portions of dairy products.
  • Limit how much red meat you eat.
  • Limit how many foods with added sugar you eat.


I also added CrossFit back in. It’s been years … and I am really, really out of shape. All I do is walk 5 or so miles a day, which is nothing. I am hoping that between the eating and the CrossFit that I can get myself back in shape quickly and then maintain it for the rest of my life.

Crack Chicken & Keto Prep

I’ve been trying to dial in a diet I can live with long term. I have not been having any luck. Low calorie and Intermittent Fasting, these are things I can handle. But the low carb, low sugar, mostly protein was leaving me so hungry at night that I am unable to sleep.

A few years ago I had a ton of success on Keto. I remember not being hungry, losing weight and being able to do CrossFit. My son’s friend recently lost about 80 pounds in the span of a few months on it, so I decided to give it a try. I looked back at my posts from 2017 and found the recipes that I liked and the snacks I enjoyed. I spent some time making some pretty yummy things (Crack Chicken and Chicken Pesto & Feta Casserole), I’ll let the photos tell the story.

Life Hacking with Todoist (And Clockwise)

If your brain has a hard time holding information like mine does, you might be helped by using something like Todoist. Work suggested this as an option among many other tools that I have tried over the years. (OmniFocus, Asana, Monday, Wunderlist, Evernote, Things) Each tool has been just fine, but I find this one fits me best. Work covers the costs of any productivity tools we use, so it was a no brainer to try a bunch out.

I use Todoist for more than just work, it’s how I manage my busy life and continue moving forward across multiple domains. I am cursed with being extremely hard on myself, and I get restless if I am not doing things that matter. I don’t mean being busy. I mean making the most of my time here and investing in eternal things. Because I can’t hold stuff in my memory for very long, a tool like Todoist is essential.

What I like about Todoist is that it’s more than a list manager, it’s also more than a taskboard (like Jira), it integrates with Fantastical and Google Calendar and pairs really well with Clockwise. If you are not using Clockwise, it’s a life changer!

Here is an example of some of my projects. As you can see I have work stuff in there as well as my kids (the blacked out bits are the names of my kids), health, my Infosec studying, and more.

I cut the list off for privacy, but you get the idea. Within each of these project you can manage a list or a project board. Here is an example of what I use or the kids. Each of these sections can then contain a list with to do items. These can also be recurring.

Here is an example of recurring items within a task board.

Todoist can be used on your computer, pad, phone, etc. It’s a great app and really easy to you. It’s a nice bit of freedom to not have to hold all this info in. There is also an inbox where you can quickly add items what you can mark off or organize later.

Give a try! I think you might like it.

My Walks with Cloud, Townsend, Keller and Platt

I am not convinced that walking is a hobby. If it is a hobby, it’s probably safe to say that it’s lame. But if we were to call it hiking, or speed walking, then I think I could possibly start to accept it as something cool I tell people I do.

As it stands I do walk, just about every day, a 5 mile route near our house. I have done this for about 6 years now. We are in the country, so it’s a bit of a risky walk. Does danger make it cooler to say I take the daily hikes? Stray dogs (sometimes vicious, sometimes I rescue them), vineyards sprayed with death chemicals, random shady cars parked on the path I use. Out this far in the country, you are not out here unless you have a reason to be, there are no pedestrians, just idiots adventurous people like me.

Walking takes longer

I used to run, like a lot. But after a back injury and a visit to the chiropractor, I now limit to jogging and walking, I mean flat ground hiking. The change of pace was rough at first, but now I would not trade it for anything because during these hikes I listen to audio books, sermons and podcasts. These times have become times of active rest, recharging my batteries, peace and growth. It’s hard to describe the mode I go into. It does not matter if it’s in the 100’s or if it’s freezing, raining, light or twilight. Something special happens out there.

For the longest time I would listen to sermons by Tim Keller. I can fit in 2.3 sermons in a walk. Listening to Tim’s sermons is nothing new, I’ve been doing it for 20+ years, but being out and active versus being in a car or listening at home, unlocks a “next level” of engagement.

About 6 months ago I started listening to a string of Audio books on growth topics. I have been putting off writing this post because words can’t really do justice to the transformation inside and the fellowship I experience on these walks, but I decided to attempt it anyway so I could share a list of books that have helped me to change my thinking and habits.

I sought out these books from a place urgency as I was looking for direction and hungry for wisdom. My desire was permanent change. I wanted to shed what I knew to be some horribly annoying immaturity and brokenness that was getting in the way of a good life. The saying that easy decisions make for a hard life and hard decision make for a good life, was ringing in my ears.

The Books

The first book I listened to was a book I had listened to years ago. Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. In full transparency, I started this book on my hikes, but most of it was listened to on the plane to and from Oxford. It still counts. This is a classic text on boundaries and how to establish and keep them. This book applies to everyone, regardless of where you are with your own boundaries. We can all use some work, and we also need to be patient with our friends and family that also need to read this book.

After that came some key sermons from Tim Keller, I started going through the Podcast instead of digging through my MP3 library. So I was not in control of what was played, and that turned out to be really beneficial.

The next book was 9 Thing You Simply Must Do to Succeed in Love and Life by Henry Cloud. Incredibly practical, this book can be life changing if you want it to be. While it is foundational, “101” kinds of things, they are also profound and easily missed. Up next I decided to read Boundaries in Marriage by Henry Cloud and John Townsend for the first time. If you are married or ever plan on being married, or have friends who are married, this book is almost a requirement. I followed that with Who’s Pushing Your Buttons by John Townsend. This book is incredible, we all have people who push our buttons and dealing with them in love and truth is difficult. This book helps. After Pushing Buttons I took a small break from books and switched back to Keller and David Platt for a bit. Needed to let that all sink in and process for awhile.

The Entitlement Cure by John Townsend was next, just like all the books this was excellent. The title threw me a bit, I did not think myself entitled, but the symptoms matched my own, so I dove in. I am really glad I did. Then came People Fuel by Townsend, which I found to be great, as usual, but I had a hard time focusing during this one. I will need to revisit at some point. The next to last book was one of the most practical books, How to Have That Difficult Conversation by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. I listened to this one 3 times through, taking lots of notes. This book touches every domain in life and wow, was I doing it so wrong!

The final and most recent book that I completed is Changes That Heal by Henry Cloud. This one is the most intense of all of them. It felt like a 1 on 1 counseling session. If I had to choose to just read one of these, this would be the one. It’s a close tie with the Difficult Conversations though.

You may have picked up on the fact that all of these books are by Dr. Cloud, John Townsend, or both. Good job! You get a gold star. This was not intentional at all, it just happened. As I tried other books by the “Boundaries” authors, I was impressed more and more. Practical, Biblical, and direct. These books draw on some deep wisdom and years and years of theological and psychological experience.

I am done with these authors for awhile, and with these topics. I am switching back to Cybersecurity and AI with the books, at least for awhile, and of course mixing in my podcasts.

I have heard time and time again that people don’t change. But that’s not true, I am proof. It’s difficult, it’s painful, it’s constant hard work, it takes a lot of focus and energy, and it takes a community. It’s worth it, you will thank yourself later and your friends and family will be grateful too.

Synology Cloud Backup

Almost 3TB of data has accumulated on my Synology NAS. Even though it’s set to RAID 5, I still worry about data loss. The solution was to use a 3-2-1 setup. (The 3-2-1 backup strategy simply states that you should have 3 copies of your data (your production data and 2 backup copies) on two different media (disk and tape) with one copy off-site for disaster recovery) Which means two local copies and an offsite 3rd copy. To accomplish this I keep the working files on my mac, backup to an external Hard Drive, which for me are a few Lacie drives, as well as backed up to my Synology NAS. The final step is to backup to the cloud.

Synology makes this really easy. You can load an App on the Synology Device which runs it’s own OS called Disk Manager. The app is called Hyper Backup. Once that’s installed, you can then backup easily to a third party. There are quite a few to choose from, I chose Backblaze (B2) based on a recommendation from a Developer I work with at Automattic. It’s basically an S3 bucket. They have a very easy to follow guide that walks your through the whole setup. I would just add to their guide that you need to change the version from 2 to 4. Without that change, your Synology Device won’t be able to connect to the Backblaze to fetch the bucket instance.

You can configure the backup to run when you want. I have mine set for 2AM when I know that none of my family will be online gaming, browsing or streaming. I did enable encryption on both ends. Backblaze has their own proprietary key for server side encryption. Synology allows you to set an encryption on the client side as well.

And that’s it. I am now configured for 3-2-1 and should be able to recover data even if both local copies fail due to natural disaster, hacking, etc. I have about a dozen clients for my videography business and all their files, both post production and raw files are on my NAS. I don’t want to lose files.

It’s snowing in Reno!

It’s been snowing like crazy at our house in Reno. Of course it totally waited until we left a few weeks ago. I’ll share some photos from our outside cameras of the action. I am really tempted to go for a few days, but the videos I am seeing of the pass (California to Nevada) are a nightmare. Even with my 4X4 and aggressive tires, it would take hours to get there and I would get stuck for sure.

Front Driveway

Front Door

Backyard Video Clip

Side yard


The coyotes are a problem now. For years they have been content to pace our fence and drool over the animals. I built an 8 foot fence around a few acres with my buddy Rick and his son Phear several years ago. This keeps them at bay. But it does not protect against the animals that are dumb enough to leave the safety of our yard. Yeah, I am looking at you chickens. They have mixed it up with a few of the dogs as well and have made snacks of our outside cats.

The problem is that by the time I get out there with my gun, they are gone. They hear me, smell me, whatever, they split or hide. What I needed was a solution that let me take them out from far away. I decided to purchase a rifle. I had no idea what to get, so I went to the Range in Fresno and asked a lot of questions. I decided on the Ruger 9MM Carbine PC. Powerful enough to put them down quickly and in the most humane manner, but agile enough for someone like me that is still learning to shoot a rifle.

So very, very different from a handgun, which I am pretty decent with now.

Before I attempt to shoot one, I’ll need to spend some time dialing in the sights (red dot) and getting good with handling the rifle. I don’t want to cause suffering for the coyotes, I just want to stop them from killing our animals. Do do that, I need to be proficient so I can get a kill with one shot. There are 2-3 times as many as usual, and they are coming up to our property during the day now. We have vineyards all around us and they hide and wait for a chicken to jump the fence and scratch for bugs in the fields.