Friday, February 27, 2009

On the road again...

My work has taken me out of town for the past week...I've just completed teaching a CI-104 course (Investment Analysis for Commercial Investment Real Estate) in Washington DC. The typical course runs Mon. thru Fri, 8:30 to 5:15, with the exam on Friday. And is usually taught with 2 instructors. Well, last Friday night I got a call from my fellow instructor informing me that his wife had fractured a vertebrae in her lower back, and was to be operated on Monday, so he will not be at the course...I made a bunch of calls to other instructors, and couldn't find a replacement. Bottom line: I end up teaching the 40 hr. week long course myself. Talk about a workout!!! I became, in essence, a 1 man band...Now, I've been teaching for almost 30 years, so I'm very confident and comfortable with the material, but there is no break, I was "on" the whole week. So, now I sit here as they take the exam, and can say that all went extremely well. It was a great group, very attentive, cooperative, smart real estate brokers, developers and lenders. Had some great discussions regarding where the economy is now, where it's been, and most importantly, where is it going?

I travel to teach courses like this 4-5 times a year. I try and workout, I bring my sneakers etc., and either go to the gym in the hotel, or run if the weather permits. And I've run and/or worked out in some of the greatest cities in the world. Beijing, Buenos Aires, Moscow, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, LA, San Diego, Albuquerque...and this week in Washington DC. Having to stand and teach all day has been stressful on my legs and knees. But I did get the opportunity to do my strength training twice in the hotel gym, and that's really helped. I stayed at the Club Quarters at 17th and I, and it's a very nice facility, 2 blocks from the White House, and 2 stops on the Metro from where I taught.

My son Seth went to GW, here, and graduated a few years ago. So, I have some familiarity with the city. Washington is a beautiful capital city. I wish I had more time to visit the museums etc. I've done a lot of that, but none this week. Besides exercising, the other challenge that my traveling always poses is eating. It is so hard to go out with people to some of the all time great restaurants and not indulge. Talk to any seasoned traveler, and it's a consistent problem. Everyone wants drinks up front, appetizers, entrees, and desserts...there is no way you can do this daily, and stay trim and fit...I would like to think I did pretty good this week, even though I had 3 major nights out at Oceanair Grill, McCormick & Schmick's, and Olives....all highly rated, high caloric bastions of culinary delights...I had a glass of wine only one night, no appetizers, and just salads and fish 2 of the nights, and steak at M&S. The scallops at Olives were the best I've ever eaten...It's a challenge but I find if you talk to your guests and friends about the training you like to do, and the typical diet you maintain at really helps the situation. In some cases I find that they feel guilty, and order a pretty healthy meal.

I head back home on the train this afternoon and get home just in time to listen to Max's baseball game from Florida on the Internet. If anyone cares, you can listen to the game at: the game starts at 7PM.

With any kind of luck I'll get to run outdoors tomorrow and maybe bike indoors on Sunday, looks like some snow...and then I'll be back on the road in just 2 weeks, when Marla and I head down to Florida for 10 days to watch Max and his team. Traveling there is always great fun, especially since the weather is so great, I can run, bike, and even swim while down there...the hotel we're staying at has a pool. Until then......

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A great workout for the mind

Marla and I spent Fri., Sat., Sun. in NYC for Valentine's Day/holiday, staying with our close friends Dave and Mona. We really enjoyed the weekend and the time together. Had some great times, and meals. Friday night we had dinner and a show at Caroline's Comedy Club. We saw Tracy Morgan of SNL and 30 Rock fame. He was hilarious, but this is not your grandmother's comedian. He was downright crude, rude and borderline gross. Having grown up the son of a comedian, weaned in the Catskills during the 50's and 60's and having attended 100's if not thousands of shows by comics, I've been amazed and somewhat surprised that comics still have to resort to shock jock type gutter humor to make their points. He's better than that, and didn't have to be so dirty...a very different but entertaining evening.

Sat. after a breakfast at Barney Greengrass's we headed down to the Village and Soho for some shopping and was a cold but beautiful day. The City was vibrant with people everywhere, and all kinds of action. Had an incredible lunch at Blue Ribbon Bakery, in the Village. I would highly recommend it, great selection and all healthy foods. We visited The New York Earth Room, circa 1977, one of the very different "sculptures" of Walter DeMaria. We made our way back to the apartment for a 90 minute rest...and then out again, this time for some crazy Japanese food at Soba Totto...a really great little spot on East 43rd.

Then, this morning, it was off to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to primarily see the new Babylon exhibit which is really good, and educational. Incredible to see how advanced mankind was 14th and 15th century B.C. And the extraordinary art created as a result of a sophisticated network of interaction that developed among kings, diplomats, merchants, and others in the Near East during the second millennium B.C. Before leaving we also took in some Monet's, Rousseau's, Degas and Rodan's, the Asian art wing, and the Greek and Roman Art...this is one of the world's all time great museums. And it's 90 minutes away.

So, I ended up not working out physically for 2 days, weekend days to boot which are usually long workout days. Years ago, I might have paniced, but I've discovered, albeit late, that I have to have a balance in my life. Balance between the mind and the body. These past 2 days, aired out the body, and gave the mind the workout. I highly recommend this a couple times a year. It puts it all in perspective. Not only am I anxious to get back into a routine, but I'll be going there with a clearer more focused attitude. For me, this is extremely important. Have a great week.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

What a difference a week makes

Wow...had single digit temperatures outside for almost the last 2-3 weeks, and today I ran in shorts, no gloves, temps in the low 50's. I did a 90 min. run between HR of 125-135, and it was sunny and 51 when I left the house. About 30 mins. started to pour, and it felt great, I loved it. The rain lasted about 20 mins. and the sun came back out, and my jacket and hat were practically dry by the time I got home. Saw Kenny Osborn on his moutain bike in the last 20 mins. of the run. He looked happy, and why not, springtime on Feb. 8th. Realty check, we still have 6 weeks of winter, but you have to grab it when you can.

It was a another great week of workouts, felt strong all week. Marla and I did the core strength training twice this week, and I am convinced it's helping. I feel better and stronger at all 3 venues. And yesterday, I took my bike down to Chapman's and based on a conversation with Eric about my knees, I had my Speedplays replaced with some Look Keo Sprint pedals, to keep me from floating too much. I've notice a big difference with my new Asics sneakers, especially on my longer run this morning, so I'm hoping for similar results with the new pedals.

In other news, my son Max, pitched his 1st game of his season in St. Augustine yesterday, had 4 great innings, then got hit hard in the 5th, before they took him out. He gets a no decision, as the game went 15 innings, and Flagler won 6-5. He's been invited to play for the Cotuit Kettleers this summer in the Cape Cod league, so if anyone has a connection for a house or inn, that Marla and I can rent 4 or 5 times for 3 or 4 days at a shot...let me know.

And finally, I've been looking for a new traveling laptop, and checked out the new Acer Aspire One Netbook, it's unbelievable. I can get 1 GB of RAM, 160 GB hard drive, with two SD slots, so I have the ability to carry another 16 gigs of data around in one slot and a free slot to download pictures from my digital camera. This is plenty enough for the puny installation footprint of Windows XP (it doesn't come with Vista thankfully), MS Office, and the other tools I need + my data. All in a 2.4 lb. package for $299 at Best Buy. I can upgrade the memory to 2GB for $64, and go crazy with an optical DVD drive for another whopping $100. With all my traveling, it's a no to have it.

Have a great week everyone...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Philadelphia story

Not a bad week, except for the weather...but the highlight was definitely the weekend. Marla and I left on Friday noon, to go visit my older son Seth for the weekend in Philadelphia. He's 24, and is a 7th grade English teacher at Frederick Douglass Elementary in inner City, Philadelphia. No greater joy than visiting one of your kids in their environment. Philadelphia is a great city. A lot going on, great restaurants, and plenty to do.

We stayed downtown at the Marriott, right across from the Reading Terminal market. It is considered by many as one of the finest public markets in the U.S., blends together state-of-the-art systems technology without sacrificing its historical integrity. More than 80 merchants offer patrons fresh produce, meats, fish, groceries, flowers, baked goods, crafts, books, clothing, as well as hard-to-find specialties and ethnic foods. We sampled some of their best coffee, ice cream, smoothies, and felafel. If you go to Philly, you have to check this place out. On Saturday, we spent a good hour in the morning in the Marriott fitness center. I was able to do the entire strength routine from Eric, as well as a 40 min. run on the treadmill.

After breakfast in the market, we met up with Seth and spent most of the afternoon at the Mutter Museum. In 1849 the College of Physicians of Philadelphia started a collection of unusual medical specimens for the study of pathological forensics. Today, it's become fair to say this might be the best collection of medical oddities on display to the public, including such things as President Grover Cleveland's tumor (removed successfully), an exhibit on conjoined twins, and obsolete medical instruments. There are also plenty of skeletons and things in jars. Really wierd but most entertaining place. Sort of like the "Human Body Road Show" that went around the country a few years ago.

Seth then took us for our obligatory and decadent Philly cheesesteak at one of the great places...Jim's in South Philly...absolutely awesome. After standing in line for 25 minutes, I asked one of the cooks how much meat they go through in a day...he claimed 2,000 lbs., or a ton of beef/day!!! Quick calculation said there's about 1/2 lb. per sandwich, that's 4,000 sandwiches, they're open from 10AM till 3AM the next morning, that's 17 hours/day, or 235 sandwiches/hour or almost 4/

Saturday night, we didn't have reservations anywhere, and ended up at a very loud bar having mediocre salads...but any chance we have to visit with one of our is secondary. This morning spent another hour in the gym, good workout on the bike. And concluded our visit with a big breakfast at a kosher styled deli called Racheal's. A great visit with our son in one of the great cities on the East Coast...Philly...

On the way back home, we stopped at Stew Leonard's to restock our shelves of fruit and veggies. Now, I'm watching the end of this incredible Super Bowl, that was suppose to be a real yawner...This weekend, and this Super Bowl is a great metaphor for everything in life...don't take anything, especially family, for granted...there is wonderful excitment, and surprises in everything. Have a great week.