VCDX 2012 Christmas Treat

December 17th, 2012

So I got home today, and found a package at the front door by UPS.  Its Christmas, and I order stuff online, so I thought nothing of it….Until I opened the box that is.

VMware’s Certification Team reached out to the people who hold VCDX Certification, and stated we should expect something later this year.  We have gotten some nice shirts, stickers, and other do-dads that we all use.  The VMware Team also said we should watch out, as we will have our expectations exceeded when we get this package.

Well, I forgot all about it, until I saw who the package was from.  HUGE box, and I could not begin to imagine what was included, and it was sweet.

1 x Solid vase, with VCDX logo, my name, and my cert number etched into the base
1 x Leeman Binder, with VCDX logo embossed, along with my initials
1 x logoed (with bottle opener attached) drink cooler….looks like more than 10 bottles fit in here!
1 x Fleece Jacket, embossed with VCDX logo, and my certification number embroidered on it
1 x Polo shirt, with VCDX logo embroidered on (very nice shirt too!)
2 x VCDX logo beer glasses
1 x HD Camcorder (sweet….), with my VCDX number right on it

and….not to be outdone by ANYONE else…..

1 x 6-pack of VCDX Special Ale (Thank you for brewing it, Devil’s Canyon!)

I was really excited about this, and can’t wait to find out how the beer tastes!
Those glasses will be getting some use tonight!


Gabryjelski’s Stuffing

November 12th, 2012

1 Large loaf bread
4-5 Celery Stalks
4-5 medium onions
1 pound mushrooms (can use the canned/slice mushrooms)
2 eggs
bunch of fresh parsley
Liver from turkey (raw)

1 Batch is usually good for 4-8 people, depending on many things.
Make an extra batch if you are unsure, as stuffing never goes to waste.


Toast the bread. Cut it into cubes
Slice the celery.
Chop the onions.
Slice mushrooms.
Saute the Celery, onions, mushrooms, and liver separately.
In large bowl, combine bread, celery, onions, mushrooms, liver and chopped parsley.
Slightly beat the eggs, & add them to the mixture.

At this point, you can stuff the turkey.
Any leftovers can be wrapped in aluminum foil and baked for 45-60 minutes.
Baking leftovers in corningware for 45-60 minutes.


Have had this for Thanksgiving since I was born.
One of my favorite things at thanksgiving.

VCDX – to defend or not to defend

September 4th, 2012

I recently received an email from an individual who is considering applying for, and defending for, his VMware Certified Design eXpert (VCDX) certification.  It is a trying process where you submit a design for a solution to be implemented, document the process, its operations, and justify your choices throughout the design.  Once you submit the design, and are approved, you are then invited to defend the design in front of a panel of those already certified.  A trying process…it was for me anyway…

I have promised this individual that I would assist him, when he was ready with his design.  It has been almost two years since we had that first conversation that I would assist him.  He recently sent me this email (which I asked if I could publish).  It shows what went on in his mind, and what sparked his renewed commitment to submitting his VCDX design.  My hope in posting this online, is that other people will see it, relate to this in some way, and have confidence in themselves to tackle this certification if they feel they are ready.

If you do get something out of this, can relate in some way, or are encouraged by the content of the email posted below, PLEASE…. post a comment.  It would mean  a lot to those whom we do not yet know who may feel the same way….


I missed yet another submission deadline last night, this one for October, 2012. The big difference this time was that I wasn’t sitting around “stirring ice cubes in my drink” watching the clock tick by. I was up until 3:00 AM furiously typing before I finally admitted that I didn’t have things ready to submit. I haven’t been that pissed at myself for a long time.

This whole process has left me with an unfamiliar feeling. I usually am very confident in myself, but for some reason I had a mental block against doing this design. I guess that my lack of ‘large’ customer design experience and a lack of ‘canned’ documentation had me thinking that it was to much for me to do on my own. I wasn’t concerned about my design skills, but more my documentation skills. As a result, I have had several restarts to the process I’ve spent more time ripping and replacing versions than I have actually producing content. For me, it wasn’t my game skills that were in question, but a lack of knowledge about the rules and field dimensions.

I’ve had a framework for what I wanted to do all along, but couldn’t grasp the structure. Was my documentation up to snuff? Would I be laughed at for submitting a design like that? The sheer number of pages was huge. I have never produced over 100 pages of documentation for a single project design. In my defense, I’ve never had a customer that has required that much work for a project. No need, no effort. I started at Acme Inc. 4 years ago as the 2nd engineer on staff. Within a month, I was the only guy there. I had no documentation or templates left to me other that a single SOW. Since that time, I have cobbled together all of the documentation at Acme Inc. myself. Right, wrong, or indifferent, it sprung from my head. Is it ‘industry standard’? I doubt that, seeing how I have not seen any other competitor documentation and have had nothing to compare it to.

Things changed this week. I built (yet again) another project template, trying to incorporate all elements into a viable framework, and started porting over some of my information. Then a strange thing happened. One of my twitter followers asked me to review his design, as he is defending this week in SF. I agreed, and he send me a copy. After reading his design and giving him feedback, all of my doubts faded away. I found several holes in his design that seemed really obvious, but apparently were not to him. Additionally, seeing his documentation framework gave me validation that I was on the right track, and that my ‘template’ was not only as good as his, but possibly better.

And more importantly… This was a design that had been accepted as a possible passing design and he was defending it! Clearly (in my mind) my design was better than his. My documentation framework was better than his. I know that my defense skills, presenting and defending to the panel, are better than his. Why was I doubting myself so much? I needed to get my ass in gear!

Well, long story short… and looking back at this, it isn’t a short email (sorry)… I have been cranking furiously on my design since Monday night. Several late nights later, I spend all yesterday trying to wrap things up and get it ready for the Midnight (Pacific) deadline for submission. Down to the wire, I finally had to stop at 3:10 AM and admit that I might have been able to submit the design, but wouldn’t have completed all of the accompanying documentation such as Delivery and Installation, Testing and Acceptance, and such. I would come up short yet again.

For the first time in the whole process, I was driven to complete. I disappointed myself by not closing the deal. I have nobody to blame but myself, and it took about 30-40 minutes of walking around the house alone for me to cool down enough to go to bed. This morning, I realized that I’m not really that upset about missing the deadline, because I will be ahead of the game for the next one in February 2013. I am ready, I focused, and I have a plan to complete.

Why am I sending this to you instead of packing to head to Boston in an hour? Because I want to say thank you for not giving up on me. All of the gentle (and not so gentle) nudges to get working on my design were appreciated. You have been there waiting for me to get on the ball and weren’t judging me. When I was ready, you would be there to help me on the path. I appreciate that you are there as a friend, advisor, and a mentor through this whole process.

I just wanted you to know that I’ve finally gotten my “Design Mojo” back and I’m ready to rock this thing. And I wanted to say thanks for being a friend through the whole thing. Catch you later tonight in San Francisco.

Joe Admin

Wild Mushroom Soup

October 17th, 2011
This requires European Mushrooms…at least that's what I was told…will update if I get the right name for them….
  • 1 ounce of mushrooms per quart of water (which makes about a quart of soup)
  • .75 to 1.5 cup of heavy cream
  • 2-4 tablespoons of flour (depending on amount of soup to be made and how thick you like the soup)
  • 1-3 tablespoons of Vegeta
  • 1-3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • Salt & pepper to taste (Vegeta is already salty)

  1. Check over the mushrooms to remove any dried debris.
  2. Cover with some of the water and let them soak for at least 4 hours, but best overnight.
  3. Measure the water to have the required amount and add any if needed.
  4. Put both mushrooms and water in a soup pot and bring to a boil.
  5. Lower heat add a little salt and very gently boil covered for 1.5 hours.
  6. Strain the mushrooms through a strainer and then separately rinse the mushrooms under running water to wash off any sand, tossing them every so often.
  7. Water from the cooked mushrooms strain thru a clean cotton cloth or several layers of gauze.
  8. Put the water back in a rinsed pot add the butter Vegeta salt and pepper and bring it back to a slow boil.
  9. (Mushrooms can be saved for making the filling for pierogis or noodles and some [or al] can be cut up into small pieces and thrown back into the soup.)
  10. While the mushrooms are still cooking, make a slurry with the flour and small amount of water (should be liquidy).
  11. To that add the heavy cream and mix well.
  12. From the pot remove 1 tablespoon at a time of the hot liquid and slowly mix into the cream mixture (add this way 4-5 tablespoons,- this is to prevent the cream from curdling when added to hot liquid).
  13. Add this mixture slowly into the soup stirring gently and bring it slowly to a boil.
  14. Cook 2-3 minutes more and the soup is ready.
  15. Serve with boiled potatoes or medium or wide egg noodles.
Recipe from Ursula Gabryjelski, who learned it from her mother Longina Lonia) Strokosz, who… Leokadia (Lodzia) Zawadka, who… Elzbieta Rozanska, who…???

Seattle Sangria

October 17th, 2011
  • 2 x 750mL Bottles Red Wine (I Used George Dubef Deavjolais)
  • .75 Cup Brandy (Used EO Brand)
  • .25 Cup Triple Sec (Used Jenkins)
  • .5 can Frozen OJ Concentrate (Used Tropicana)
  • .75 Cup boiling water
  • .75 Cup sugar
  • 1 Apple
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Orange
  • 1 Pear
  • And a jar or something to hold a gallon of Sangria…since you should refrigerate it.
  1. Place the frozen OJ concentrate into the jar. (the smaller the pieces end up, the quicker it dilutes)
  2. Add the wine to the jar. Try to make sure the OJ is diluted into the wine.
  3. Add brandy.
  4. Add triple sec.
  5. Cut up the apple, lemon, orange, and pear (de-seeding helps….).
  6. Boil water, and THEN measure out 3/4 cup.
  7. IMMEDIATELY mix with sugar, stirring till completely diluted.
  8. Add to the wine mixture.
  9. Stir it up for a minute or so.
  10. Add the cut-up fruit to the mix.
  11. Refrigerate this overnight if possible.
This will make approximately 1 Gallon.
I find that 2 Gallons usually handles around 20 or so people (as not everyone drinks Sangria!).
When I serve this, I keep a 5-lb. bag of ice nearby.
I add the ice to the punchbowl, add the Sangria, and viola!
If I make 2 of this recipe, I ONLY take out 1 Gallon at a time.

Anne Gabryjelski

Minnesotta Wild Rice Soup

October 17th, 2011
Minnesoda Wild Rice Soup
  • .75 cup uncooked wild rice
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 can (4 oz.) mushrooms, diced and drained
  • .5 cup butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 cup hot chicken broth
  • 1 cup diced chicken
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • .25 tsp. thyme
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoons. sherry or dry white wine

  1. Add wild rice to 2 cups water in saucepan.
  2. Simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. Saute onion, celery and mushrooms in butter in a large pan about 3 minutes or just until vegetables soften.
  4. Stir in flour, cooking and stirring until flour is mixed in, but do not let it begin to brown.
  5. Slowly add hot chicken broth, stirring until all veg-flour mixture is well blended.
  6. Stir in drained, cooked rice and chicken.
  7. Season with salt, pepper and thyme.
  8. Heat thoroughly.
  9. Stir in half and half.
  10. Add sherry and heat gently but do not boil.
Rob Rogers

Mikel’s Alfredo Sauce

October 17th, 2011
  • 3 medium Onions
  • 4 cloves Garlic (roasted)
  • .75 cup white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • .25 pound butter
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese (or Reggiano)


  • 1 cup flour
  • .25 pound butter (1 Stick)
You don't want your roux to be to dark. It should look khaki.
The roux has to be cooler than your sauce to work, that's why it is first.
  1. Melt butter.
  2. Mix with Flour
  3. Over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat.

Alfredo recipe

  1. Sautee chopped onions and roasted garlic in a large sauce pot. (the more color the more flavor).
  2. de glace pan with white wine, make sure pan is hot.
  3. Once wine has cooked down to about a quarter cup then add chicken stock, or vegetable stock will work.
  4. once you have the liquid boiling then add your heavy cream.
  5. You want to let the heavy cream reduce so it naturally gets thicker. You know its ready when you stick a metal spoon in the liquid and it has a thin layer when you pull it out.
  6. At this point you add about a .25 pounds (1 stick) or so of butter. .5 pounds is too, much for sure.
  7. Let the butter melt completely, then add your cheese.
  8. Then let the liquid come to a low boil.
  9. Now you will add your roux. (should only need a 1/4 cup of roux)
  10. Again let your liquid come back to a low boil and you will see it getting thicker.( the more roux you have the thicker it will be.)
  11. Now season with salt and pepper to taste,and you should be good to go.

Kielbasi & Sauerkraut Bake

October 17th, 2011
  • 16 oz. can of sauerkraut ;
  • 1 – 1.5 pounds Kielbasi, cut once lengthwise, then sliced in .5“ chunks
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • Mashed potatoes – prepared for 8 to 10 servings
  • Large bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Paprika
  1. Drain sauerkraut, place in a pot with 2 cans of water and the bay leaf, bring to boil and cook 15 – 20 min. stirring occasionally.
  2. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large frying pan cook the kielbasi till lightly browned, remove from pan into a large ( 8 or more qt. ) bowl or pan, leaving the kielbasi fat in the frying pan.
  4. Add the sauerkraut to the kielbasi and mix well.
  5. Sauté onion in the fat from kielbasi till onion is limp and transparent.
  6. Add to the kielbasi mixture and mix again.
  7. Add the mashed potatoes, some salt and pepper, and mix to blend everything well.
  8. Place the mixture into lightly greased Pyrex or Corning dish ( I use the spray oils for greasing the dishes ) , spread it smoothly on top, sprinkle with paprika.
  9. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 – 40 min.
  10. Great served with buttermilk.
Ursula Gabryjelski

Hard Cider (for the holiday’s)

October 17th, 2011
  • 1 gallon Cider
  • .5 cup sugar
  • .5 cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cloves
  • .5 – 1 cup rum or brandy
  1. Heat cider, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, orange juice, cloves to almost boiling point.
  2. Add rum or brandy to taste.

Green Bean Casserole

October 17th, 2011
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • .75 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1.5 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound frozen cut green beans, thawed and drained (Fresh is better!)
  • 2 cups prepared stuffing
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)
  2. Place green beans in a 9×13 inch glass pan
  3. Saute onions with butter in a large frying pan over medium heat until translucent.
  4. Add flour and stir to coat flour.
  5. Gradually add milk and bring to a boil.
  6. Add cheese, sour cream, sugar, and salt.
  7. Cook till thickened and cheese is melted.
  8. Pour mixture over green beans and top with a layer of stuffing
  9. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.