Category Archives: Life Journal

Urban Hiking in San Francisco: Lands End

When someone mentions San Francisco, what comes to mind? I’m sure you think of The Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, Fisherman’s Wharf, Coit Tower, Alcatraz Island, and Chinatown. One item missing from that list that might surprise you is hiking.

I visited the city twice this past summer and was amazed at the number and quality of the hikes that are so easily accessible from right inside the city. I’m going to put together a few posts documenting the hikes starting with Lands End.

Panoramic image of The Golden Gate taken from Lands End Lookout Continue reading

San Francisco restaurants

Golden Gate view from Land's EndWhen it comes to the restaurant scene, San Francisco is one of my favorite cities to visit and explore. There are so many excellent choices that it can be overwhelming.

I had the opportunity to visit the city twice during the summer of 2019. To avoid being overwhelmed, I did my research and selected my restaurant targets ahead of time. I stayed away from the popular tourist spots as much as possible and focused on the neighborhood scene. These are the hidden gems that won’t show up on a typical Yelp search for ‘Best restaurants in San Francisco.’ They also have more character and atmosphere, and they won’t break the bank provided you go easy on the drinks, wine, and dessert, which is easier said than done!

Here are the 10 best restaurants I ate at this summer in San Francisco. As an added bonus, I’ve also appended coffee and ice cream recommendations – two of my favorite food indulgences.

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Teaching a Teen to Drive in Southern California

Abbey behind the wheelEarlier this year, Abbey got her driver’s license. She’s the fourth child I’ve taught to drive, and my last. Riding along with my kids while teaching them was challenging at times, interesting at others, and, believe it or not, fun overall.

Through the experience, I’ve learned that teaching a teenager to drive takes a lot of composure, even more patience, and a process. While I can’t help much with the composure and patience parts, teaching four kids has allowed me to develop and refine my process that I’m going to share with you in the rest of this post. 

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We Are Family

Since moving to California over 25 years ago, getting the whole family together has been a rare event. There’s only been a couple of times that I can remember. It usually takes a significant life event to make it happen, and Brad’s wedding in Ann Arbor, MI last month was one such opportunity to bring everyone together. It was great seeing how many immediate and extended family members made the effort and were able to make the trip.

The Borodaty family

There were so many memorable moments at the wedding, but here are the ones that have stuck with me since the trip.

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Our most precious resource

In our daily activities, it’s easy to forget that life isn’t about what happens to us at work. It’s not about the latest current event or news article. It’s not about binge watching the latest and greatest television series. It’s not about accumulating ‘likes’ on Facebook, ‘followers’ on Twitter, or wishing we had the life of an ‘influencer’ on Instagram.

When you talk to people who are nearing the end of their lives, they don’t wish they had spent more time on social media and the internet. They don’t wish they had worked more. They don’t wish they had spent more time binge watching television shows. They don’t wish they owned more stuff.

So what do they wish for?

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The measure of a life is not time or money

I wish I could take credit for title of this post, but I stole it from the end of Steve Blank’s commencement speech to the 2019 graduating class at UC Santa Cruz. I would urge you to swing by Steve’s website and read the speech in its entirety, or watch the video if that’s more you’re thing. Here’s the link to it – https://steveblank.com/2019/06/18/u-c-santa-cruz-commencement-speech-2019/.

Even though I have never personally met Steve, I have a lot of respect for his writings, what he has done for the tech entrepreneurial community, and his public service, which he discusses in his commencement speech. Living in California, the stories he has written about his time spent on the California Coastal Commission have been very informative. It has made me more aware and appreciative of the natural beauty of the California coastline, and the effort that it takes to protect and keep it that way.

Steve’s writings are always full of good insight, such as this one on the failings of the current generation of start-ups (and this one too),. Very few people in the tech community have the courage to call out the need for change, but this is a story for another time that I’ll hopefully get around to posting about soon.

In the meantime, getting back on topic, Steve covers four important lessons he learned while working on the Coastal Commission. The lessons aren’t just for the college graduates. They are life lessons that all of us can benefit from.

I’m going to close this post the same way Steve closed his speech. Here are his words to the graduates, which are words we should all keep front of mind as we go about our daily activities:

Graudates, as you set out on your own extraordinary adventures, remember the measure of a life is not time or money. It’s the impact you make serving God, your family, community, and country.

Your report card is whether you leave the world a better place.

 

On meditation

Near the beginning of this year, I decided to add meditation to my morning routine. Numerous books I had read recently talked about the benefits of regular meditation, so I figured it would be worth trying.

I started by doing unguided meditations, which pretty much involved sitting quietly on the floor with my eyes closed for five minutes. Since then, I’ve transitioned to doing guided meditations using the Headspace app, which came recommended by a close friend. 

After doing a few weeks of unguided meditations, and now using Headspace for almost 3 months, here are my thoughts on the activity.

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Living in the Moment

My latest life experiment is taking up the practice of meditation. Since practicing meditation appears regularly in my readings, I wanted to explore and experience it first hand. Some of the benefits I read about from those who meditate consistently are peace of mind, a sense of calm, and ability to focus on the important things in life. I don’t know about you, but those all sound like pretty good things to me.

I’m too early in my meditation activities to say that it has made an impact or changed my outlook on life significantly. I’m reminded regularly by the guided mediation app I use, Headspace (which, by the way, I think is great and really enjoy), that if we are only interested in the results from meditation that we defeat the purpose. The process of meditating and self discovery is the purpose.

One of the recurring themes I have picked up on from my first 45 days of meditation is being present, being mindful, living in the moment. It hadn’t occurred to me prior to meditating how hard it is for us to truly do this on a regular basis. It’s so easy for us to get caught up reliving our past or being anxious about the future. What’s interesting is that we can’t change our past, and we can’t control how the future unfolds. The only thing we can control is what happens now, in this moment.

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Enough

Over the last 5 years, I have dramatically altered my consumption of mainstream media. The leading influences in driving that change were Neil Postman’s work Amusing Ourselves to Death and Ryan Holiday’s Trust Me, I’m Lying. These two books enlightened me as to how mainstream media and technology – the internet, our smartphones, social media, etc. – were affecting me, and our society at large. The messages in these books are not weakening as time passes. The messages are getting stronger and becoming even more relevant.

A couple of years ago, Seth Godin wrote a great post that reinforced the messages of these books titled, What’s the next step for media (and for us)? Seth admits that it turned into a bit of rant, but I don’t fault him for it. I agree, and here’s why.

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Well Worth the Wait

The County of Los Angeles Fire Department 152nd Recruit Class Program Cover

It’s always great to get to celebrate with someone when they achieve a major milestone in their life, especially when they’ve worked hard and waited a long time to get it. Such was the case with Amanda’s boyfriend Bryce who recently became a firefighter with The County of Los Angeles Fire Department. He graduated just before Thanksgiving as a member of the 152nd Recruit Class.

I had the opportunity to attend the graduation ceremony, which I’m glad I did. It was a great event, and most likely the only firefighter graduation ceremony I’ll ever get to go to. The ceremony had all the usual speeches, pomp and circumstance that you would expect at a graduation, but it also had a few entertaining surprises as well.

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