Thursday, December 29, 2011

File #:30 Subject: Christmas

Another Christmas has come and passed.  It has officially passed because I actually took the lights down already (compared to last year, I took them down on Thanksgiving of this year). 

We drove down to Angelina's Mamaw's house Christmas Eve morning.  Of course the first thing she did was take us out to eat for lunch.  We hit up the local Dairy Queen, ate and talked for about an hour.  Once we got back to Mamaw's house all the cousins played cards.  We taught the cousins from out of state the game "spoons".  Thanks to my tech ed class in highschool, I still had all the skills needed to rock the spoons games.  Angelina's youngest brother finally got the best of me in the finals of the second tournament.  After a few hours of cards I went back to the room to grab a quick nap.  We went over to Angelina's great aunts house for the family dinner around 5.  Family dinners in the mountains of Kentucky are crazy!  Food was piled high in the kitchen, family was packed in every room of the house and everyone was talking at once.  After dinner we played a trivia game and whoever answered the question correctly came up and picked a gift from a mix of wrapped small packages.  I answered the question "where were ginger bread houses invented?" with "Germany".  I quickly grabbed the box of cherry cordials!

Once that was over and we got back to Mamaw's house, we opened the gifts from each other.  I got an umbrella and all kinds of great clothes (Did I just say "great clothes"? Holy crap I'm an adult!).  I love watching how Christmas works with Angelina's family, Mamaw always loves going all out, and her dad always gives the most useful, unique gifts.  We went to bed around 9 o'clock, I didn't fall asleep until about minight though.  No, I wasn't waiting for Santa. The Fifth Element was on TV, Jaws being on another channel didn't help either.

After about 6 hours of sleep, we had a knock on our door.  It was Angelina's dad, Christmas morning started at 6 in the morning.  SANTA CAME!!!! He brought me some more clothes and some gift cards.  I'm still deciding what kind of things I want to buy with my gift cards, I'm thinking some colorful work socks.

We cleaned up everything in the house, packed the cars and headed back home.

After unpacking, and cleaning up at home, we got dressed and headed over to my family's house.  My sister was in town from NYC with her boyfriend.  It was good seeing them again, because it had been awhile since we've seen them.  My other sister's fiance wasn't there yet, so we sat around and talked and caught up.  We got updates on how NYC was treating my sister and how her school was going.  And of course updates on my younger sister's wedding plans.  When her fiance arrived, we all sat down for our gift exchange.  This year the six of the "kids" picked names out of a hat and we got each other a small goofy gift and a nice gift.  My younger sister pulled my name an got a me a Ryan Miller shirt (which of course is AWESOME!) and she found a packet of pogs!  It kind of made me miss my oversized collection of pogs from middle school.  Angelina got a lady bug container, it's not supposed to hold lady bugs, it's shaped like one, and a purple scarf.  We also got stockings full of candy, cat toys and a dog treat.  Bruno actually loved the treat too! He usually doesn't care for dog treats.  Mom and Papa gave us a WalMart gift card.  We love getting WalMart gift cards because it helps keep food in our house.  After gifts we carried on our tradition of oplatki, then sat down to dinner.  Dinner was excellent! Pork, Salmon, cheesy potatoes with vegetables, brussel sprouts and of course, mushroom soup.  After eating and talking for a long time, Angelina and I said our goodbyes and headed home.

Monday was a day off for both of us, so we stayed home, cleaned up the Christmas decorations, took down the lights outside (Did that without even having to get on the roof!), and reorganized the shed.  I purchased a set of shelves to put up in the shed with the WalMart gift card! Thanks Mom and Papa!

Overall it was a fun and amazing Christmas, BRING ON NEW YEARS EVE!!!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

File #:29 Subject: Who Needs A Monitor

So, the back light on my laptop broke.  For the past week I have been panicking, what am I gong to do with out my laptop?!?! All my music, all my pictures, videos, everything is on this laptop and nothing is backed up!  What am I going to do?  I decided that I would ask the IT Director at work if he had any extra monitor cables that I could just hook the lapop to my TV.  Luckily he did, and he gave it to me at no charge.  I got home plugged it in and powered up the laptop and.... nothing.  It wasn't getting the information to the TV.  Crap.  Panic sets in again.  While visiting family for Christmas, I ask my Stepdad (who is good with computers) what he thnks is wrong.  He shows me that there is actually a button to hit to make the monitor feed go to the TV instead of the built in laptop monitor.  So today, a little afraid to try it, I finally get the laptop out, and find the button.  I hook the cable up, power up the laptop and hit the button.  After a few tense moments the picture comes up on the TV! WOO HOO!!! Now I am sitting probably unreasonably close to the TV because the monitor cable is kind of short, but typing on my laptop with a 27" TV as a monitor! SWEET!  I can't wait to watch the Sabres game tonight on it!

Once I get used to typing at this new angle (the laptop is actually in my lap for once) I while update everyone about how awesome Christmas was!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

File #:28 Subject: Hockey Season

There are only a few things that I absolutely cannot live without.  My God, Angelina, Angelina's cooking, internet, and now... ice hockey!

This year I was blessed enough to be able to start playing ice hockey.  I started in a skills and drills league and was coached by the EKU goalie coach.  I really needed those four, one hour sessions, the transition from street hockey to ice was very different and I had never had any type of instruction.  Below is one of the drills that we did to practice angles, finding the puck, making the save, and following the rebound.

The season started, I had my ups and downs, but most off all I had a BLAST!  I slowly improved with the more ice time I had.  I got better at following the puck, and got more aggressive playing outside of the crease and challenging shooters.

The thing I enjoy the most about playing hockey (beside the fact that I'm playing the worlds greatest sport) is for that hour that I'm on the ice, the only thing that matters is the opposing player trying to find the back of the net and me trying to block the back of the net.  Especially the rush of a breakaway.  It's just the opposing player, the puck, me, and the back of the net.  So many things going through my head when I see the breakaway start. Okay, deep breathe. What's his speed? Will he come at me straight on or cut across the crease? Will he shoot or deke?  Is my angle good? Is my glove in the right spot? Is my stick on the ice?  Match his speed. Don't make the first move. Stand tall. Deep breathe...

I still have a ton of learning to do, but I had another skills and drills league these past few weeks and my last three games I only had a 2.33 goals against average.  That was a pretty good ending to the first half of the season considering my season GAA (goals against average) is 4.45.

Here's my stats from the first half of the season.  I plan on continuing to drop the GAA, improve my game as a whole, and continue to have a blast!

Red Wings27
Red Wings18
Red Wings74
Red Wings72
Season Totals 

Again, thanks for reading! I'll post another video soon to show off my improvements!

Monday, December 12, 2011

File #:27 Subject: New Job

*Wipes dust off of blog*

Hello? Anybody still out there?

So obviously I haven't been updating my blog recently.  I looked back at File #:25 and I'm probably not going to follow up on those planned posts.  The post I had for Angelina's mom  was started, but I had written over 10 pages in a spiral notebook throughout the trip and just have not typed it all up.  I still have the notebook, so maybe I'll make the time to type it up.

Anyway, to todays subject...

NEW JOB!!! After five years as the internal auditor at the credit union I work at, I finally got a promotion!  Earlier this year a second indirect loan processor position was created.  I thought about applying for it, but I didn't feel it was the right time and it was eventually filled.  We were preparing to add a second auditor and I wanted to stick around and help with that addition.  Once that had happened, I was once again ready to move to a different position.  I or the most part enjoyed the position I was in, but it was more of a job than a career and with Angelina talking about a bigger house and a b... b... baby (Phew, I am still getting used to saying that last part), I needed to find a job with more of a future.  Then the indirect loan processor position opened back up, I decided that the postiton opening back up was a sign to try for it.  I applied, and waited, and waited.  About a month and a half later the loan ops supervisor contacted me and set up an interview with me.  I had interviewed with this supervisor once before, so I knew her style and felt very confident.  It was taking awhile to hear about the decision of who got the job.  I started to get worried and anxious about what I was going to do if I didn't get the job.  During all my complaining and whining, Angelina sent my resume out to all kinds of job postings on the internet.  I was having a hard time dealing with the fact that I might have to leave the credit union to find a better career.  One evening at the gym, I was thinking about possibly leaving the credit union, I prayed about it, and realized that I could leave if I needed to.  That evening with that peace in my heart, I slept the best I had in awhile.  That morning when I got to work, I had an email fom the loan ops supervisor asking to meet with me.  This was the moment, I was either going to have the job, or have to keep looking.  We met in the breakroom, and she told me that she wanted to offer me the position.  I had the BIGGEST grin on my face and I couldn't make it go away.  She told me that if I needed time to think about if I wanted to accept the position I had a few days.  I told her that I had been thinking about it since before the interview and I would love to take the job.  I finished up the three weeks until I officially switched jobs by training the other auditor.  I started last Monday and I absolutely love it!  I'll do more updates later, I have to get to bed so I can make sure I'm not late on my second Tuesday.

Thanks for tuning back in, and I'll be trying to keep the Fleming Files updated better.

Special Thanks to the people at Mind the Net Goaltending!  A very encouraging message from them in a post at has me motivated to write more here.

Friday, September 30, 2011

File #:26 Subject: New Tattoo Design

I started working on a new tattoo design shortly after I got my last tattoo.  It's of the year of the ox symbol of the chinese zodiac.  I don't have any spiritual attachment to it, but of all the zodiac signs that are attached to my birthday, it is the one that actually seems to describe me.  I wanted to find a cool way to put it on my right lower leg.  The idea started out as just the symbol on the back of my right calf.  After two or three weeks of thinking about that, I wasn't too crazy about it.  I was thinking bigger, something that would cover a lot of my lower leg.  After trying a few tribal designs incorporated in and around the ox symbol, I finally found a tribal ox and was able to put the symbol in that design.
I love this design! My plan is to have it on my lower right leg, the symbol and "face" on the outside of my leg facing to my right with the horns about an inch apart on the inside of my leg.  I spent a ton of time finding the right design, and spent the whole time, plus some, weighing the pros and cons of this tattoo.  Would I regret it?  What would make me regret it?  Could this tattoo hurt my professional life?  How would it look in 20 years?  Would my leg hair grow back, or would I have an awkward bald spot on my leg?  So far, none of the answers to these questions has detered me from wanting this tattoo.

What will deter me from getting it? Angelina watching a documentary on the "body art/self mutilation" arguement.  She likes my current tattoos, but is not crazy about this one because it doesn't have a meaning like my first two do.  Maybe she's right, but that doesn't mean I still don't get the itch.  I will be getting my kids' names tattooed on me whenever we have kids.  So maybe I can wait until then to scratch the itch.  In case I can't wait, I still like to have options.  Maybe I'll put this design on the back burner and start on another one.  I will probably use hockey as the theme for a new design, but I don't want to over hockey myself (HA, like that's possible, hockey's not a sport, it's a way of life!), because I already plan on a tattoo of the Sabres logo and a Stanley Cup if/when they win it.

I would like to hear what you think of the above design, and if you have any good ideas for new designs, lets hear those too!

Speaking of hockey, I have to go get ready to go to the UK hockey game, starts at midnight!  Thanks for stopping by everyone!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

File #:25 Subject: Busy is an understatement

Life has been crazy recently! Here's a brief overview:

1) Angelina's mom died in a motorcycle accident
2) Ice hockey started
3) We got a kitten
4) We had a yard sale
5) I worked on a new tattoo design

For those of you who read this blog that know Angelina and I know about everything going on the past couple of weeks with the loss of her Mom.  I am not going to go into too much detail yet because I want o have Angelina give the okay on anything I post here about this subject.

The other subjects I will work on and try to get out by next weekend.  We are heading to California this weekend, and I will try to focus and draft up some of these while on the plane.  Please don't lose hope in this blog, I promise that once things calm down I will try to at least do one a week.

Thank you all for coming back after such a long wait, and please don't be disappointed with just a teaser post.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

File #:24 Subject: New Workout Method

I have started a new approach to my workouts recently.  I have cut out most of the free weights and weight machines from my routines.  I still do dumbbell curls ('cause it's good to have big guns) and benchpress sometimes, but now I mostly do plyometrics.  My strength workouts now consist of push-ups, pull-ups and other similar exercises.  The most recent activity I have added (courtesy of Becky's birthday present to me) is the punching bag.  I purchaced a pair of MMA gloves and gave the heavy bag a good beating today.  It felt great!  Beating the crap out of that bag, working up a sweat and getting any frustration out was amazing.  I'm hoping it also helps with some eye/hand coordination and speads up my hand reaction times also.  I'll let everyone know how this all goes soon. I will be updating my "Getting Fit" file soon, if I can swallow my pride and admit I haven't done too well this past month.

Monday, July 18, 2011

File #: 23 Subject: Road Trip

Last Friday Angelina and I packed the car and headed out of town.  We left on a 10 day road trip to see family as far away as Connecticut.  Here is a day by day memoir of our trip.  I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as we enjoyed living it!

Friday Day 1:
I woke up early and dropped Bruno off at the kennel.  After stopping for gas and loading up the car we sarted out on our first leg of the trip, a ten hour drive to Hills Creek State Park in Pennsylvania.  It rained the whole hour and a half that we were in Kentucky.  The sun came out almost as soon as we crossed the Ohio border.  It was a pretty uneventful drive up until we stopped at a Subway for lunch.  It was the cleanest, nicest Subway I've ever been in.  The problem was, no napkins, they forgot to give Angelina a fork for her salad and then there was the dude in a 1980s work out video leotard walking in as we walked out.  Neck hair and package showing, made it hard to keep lunch down.  After that encounter we headed back out on the road.  The only other exciting event happened about two hours away from the park.  A semi's trailer blew a tire right as we passed it.  If we were a few seconds slower passing the truck we would have been showered with pieces of tire.  Our back bumper had just passed the tire when it blew.  We arrived at the park, found the cabin that were staying at with Mom and Papa, and then went to the other cabins to see the rest of the Mazurs.  After eating dinner at Uncle Marty and Aunt Vickie's cabin, everyone went to the campfire where we caught up with everyone until it was time for bed.

Saturday Day 2:

Lake Seneca
On Saturday Mom, Papa, Angelina and I drove to Watkins Glen and toured wineries and a distillery along the Finger Lakes.  The first winery we stopped at, Silver Springs Winery was our favorite (Our wine cabinet is proof of that).  There was a distillery that was stucke between all the wineries.  It had a window that you could look down to see the distilling process.  We spent most of the day winery hopping and trying all sorts of different wines.  Once we finished up in Watkins Glen, we all heading back to the cabins for a Mazur Family Camp Out tradition: Chili night!  Every camp out, there are two big pots of chili made (one hot, one mild) with a mystery meat.  This year's meat was Alligator, and it was delicious!  Another fun and exciting campfire followed.  We got busted by a park ranger with alcohol (Boose is not aloud in state parks in Pennsylvania).  It was really creepy because he was hanging out in the dark in front of the cabins, and he hapened to catch Papa as he went back to our cabin.  He stayed around our cabins for a couple of hours after that also.  The whole thing was just creepy.

Sunday Day 3:
On Sunday Angelina and I Went to the Corning Glass Museum.  That was very fun and interesting.  Half the museum was set up like an art/history museum and the other half was set up like a science museum.  The art was interesting to see how glass was used throughout history and how styles changed.  My favorite part was the demonstration of glass blowing.  Two employees made what looked like a giant martini glass during the demonstration.  I have always been amazed by glass blowing, the danger and beauty of it has always made me want to try it.  Although, the fact that the glass is kept around 3000 degrees when it's melted has kept me from REALLY wanting to try it.  3000 degree glass accidentally dripping on you would just plain suck.  After the glass museum we headed back to the cabin and ate a delicious salmon dinner with Mom and Papa.  Our last camp fire was a fun one.  No creepy park rangers, but I had a good time talking with Uncle Tom and Uncle Ron.  They are two very fun people to talk to (You should follow Uncle Tom on twitter @oldbuffalo. His tweets are always entertaining.).

Monday Day 4:
Monday morning we said our goodbyes to the Mazur family and started the five and a half hour journey up to Connecticut.  Besides getting lost trying to get out of the park, the drive was the most uneventful drive ever!  That's a good thing for the safety of everyone, but holy crap driving through New York is BORING!  Oh yeah, and their roads are horrible.  We started texting with Monica (My Stepmom) when we were about an hour away, and she informed us that Patrick and Madeline, my little brother and sister, had been waiting outside for us all day.  That made the last hour of the drive go so slow!  We were so excited to see them and how big they have gotten.  We finally arrived and were welcomed with hugs and signs made with chalk.  We unpacked the car while we waited for Dad to come home from work.  After he got home we went out and swam while Monica cooked us a pot roast.  We stayed up late and talked for hours before we decided to turn in for the night.

Tuesday Day 5:

Tuesday morning after breakfast Patrick and I went out and played street hockey, and of course I was the goalie.  Patrick schooled me.  At first I was thinking, "Remember, he's your little brother, let some shots by once and a while to boost his confidence and to keep it fun for him." Yeah right!  I think he started to shoot some into my pads to keep my confidence up!  Patrick has such a quick shot, and he is really good at placing the shots right where he wants them to go.  Maddie wanted to join in the game, so Angelina took pictures while the three of us played.  Watching Patrick and Maddie play so well together was so much fun.  After getting way too hot playing hockey, we all got our swim suits on and spent the rest of the day in the pool.  We had fun playing shark, and they also really enjoyed me tossing them in the air so they could make he biggest splash they could.  After hours in the pool, Angelina and I went out to dinner together to a small hole in the wall restaurant called Anne's Pizza.  It was some of the best Italian food we've had in quite some time.  Oh, and if you're reading this Monica, sorry for leaving my leftovers in the fridge, I know it was just cleaned.  After dinner we tried to find somewhere to go for desert.  Angelina searched for desert places on our GPS and we decided on a complany called The Rootbeer Company.  We followed the GPS into a random neighborhood and it stopped us in front of a house.  Angelina called the number and found out that it was a company that set up booths at fairs and parades and stuff.  Angelina then asked the lady if she knew of any places to go for desert and the lady asked, "Well, where are you right now?"  I had to laugh when Angelina answered "In front of your house."  We ended up going to Friendlys.  Everyone was out back swimming again when we arrived back from dinner, so we got our suits on so I could show Dad the proper way to toss Patrick and Maddie.  After swimming, we watched Wipeout and went to bed. 

Wednesday Day 6:
On Wednesday we went over to Mam's house for lunch and Madlibs.  We also stopped by the farmers market.  After that we just hung out around the house until it was time for hockey.  Not a lot of swimming because I was pretty sunburned from Tuesday.  We went to the Enfield Twin Rinks to watch Patrick and Dad play hockey.  Patrick is in an instructional and drills league right now, and it was really fun to watch him practice hockey.  I'm assuming what he was doing will be very close to what I will be doing next month, so that was really neat to watch.  Between watching Patrick and Dad's game, the rink was giving out old jerseys.  Angelina, Dad, Patrick and I now all have matching jerseys.  During Dad's game he almost got a goal, but got an assist on the play instead.  Angelina, Patrick and I left halfway through Dad's game and went and got dinner and ice-cream at Friendlys.  That was a lot of fun to spend that time with Patrick.  We talked about school, hockey, being a big brother and all kinds of other things.  We got home from that late, and went straight to bed.

Thursday Day 7:
On Thursday Dad, Patrick and I went to the Holyoke Mall to get Patrick some new shoes, and then stopped at a hocky store to get me some gear for ice hockey.  I was able to find skates, a jock and chest pads.  The gear totaled around $400 dollars, but I was able to get the price dropped down to my budget of $350! Can't do that online!  Family and friends came over Thursday night for taco salad and drinks.  Monica really knows how to through a good party.  We were able to see Grandma Dot and Aunt Karen, who didn't recognize Patrick at first because of his long hair.  It was good to catch up with them.  Sue, Uncle Donkey and Mary all came over also.  It was fun hanging out with them while Patrick, Maddie and Collin (cousin) played in the pool.  Once everyone left, we turned in for the night and tried to get as much sleep before we started our journey again in the morning.

Friday Day 8:
Friday morning I woke up at 6:30, which was good because I was able to see Dad one more time before he headed to work.  We loaded up our car, hugged everyone and said our goodbyes and started on the road around 10.  Another eight and a half hour uneventful drive followed.  Pennsylvania is a very boring state to drive through, it just goes on forever!  We finally arrive in Youngstown Ohio, checked into our hotel and walked over to Quaker Steak and Lube for dinner.  That place has amazing wings!  We almost ate too much, and had a hard time walking back.

Saturday Day 9:
Saturday morning we woke up, went downstairs to eat breakfast, then packed up the few items we got out the night before.  We were about 99% packed when the fire alarm went off.  We finished packing really quick and raced to our car so we could get out of the parking lot before the fire trucks blocked us in our parking spot.  The five hour drive went relatively quick.  We hit a traffic jam just outside of Cincinnati, but it only took us 20 minutes to get through.  We arrived at our hotel in Louisville and relaxd for awhile before we headed to the Louisville Boat Club for the KPMA Annual Gala.  There we ate, danced and partied the night away.  We won baseball tickets in the silent auction, so another trip to Louisville is in the near future.

Sunday Day 10 (and my birthday):
Sunday we took our time heading home.  We got back to Lexington, went and picked up our kitten Koshka, and had lunch with Angelina's dad at Shamrock's.  Jeanette and Elliot walked in just before we started to leave, so after we said goodbye to Angelina's dad, we headed back inside and hung out with them for awhile.  We headed home after that, and just sat around the rest of the day.  Good times.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

File #: 22 Subject: Getting Fit

I haven't posted on here for awhile, I've been trying to get the courage to write this post and you will see why in a minute.  I honestly can't believe I'm doing this, but below are pictures of me from every angle.  They are what I look like now, at 195 pounds.  I wanted to post them on here as a reference for me in the future and as motivation to keep up the work I've been doing.  This time last year I was 235 pounds.  Between going to the gym and Angelina cooking healthy foods, I have been able to drop 30 pounds so far.  I have also gotten over most of my snacking habits.  At work I drink water instead of grazing all day.  The biggest hurdle for me is portion control.  It doesn't matter if Angelina cooks healthier if I still eat three plates of it. 

My end goal is to be down to 185.  hopefull before the end of the year.  Angelina has started going to the gym with me, and that has helped me go on a more regular basis.  I'll update everyone on this more later, with hopefully great results.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

File #:21 Subject: Pump-Up Music

During the Memorial Day cookout at Mom and Papa's house, we started talking about how I wear headphones at work.  I wear them most of the day for multiple reasons.  I use them to drown out loud conversations and other noises.  Music also helps keep me from getting distracted by other people in the office. I am able to focus on work and not get sucked into conversations going on around me.  Papa was saying how he can't have anything with words in it or it gets distracting for him.  I am the opposite, if it doesn't have words, it puts me right to sleep.  Angelina and I then told him about the phenomena of "Pump-up Music". 

Pump-up music is music that gets your blood flowing.  It puts your state of mind in a place that makes it feel like you can do anything.  It's like the PA guy in an arena picks the perfect song and plays it in your head!

I have 9 or 10 songs on my MP3 player that I always start the day off with.  I choose which ever one I feel like would pump me up the most, hit play, and close my eyes for the first minute or so of the song.  When I'm fully feeling the music, I start working and leave my MP3 player on shuffle.

Here are some of my go to pump up songs.  They are in no particlular order.  There are more, but these are one's I've used recently and could think of.  Also, if you have any songs you use to get pumped up I would love to hear about them in the comments (links welcomed).

Dance With The Devil - Breaking Benjamin
Harder Better Faster - Daft Punk
My Hero - Foo Fighters
Stylo - Gorillaz
Band On The Run (Cover) - Foo Fighters

Monday, May 23, 2011

File #:19 Subject: A Quiet Place

I took this past Thursday and Friday off and spent the weekend at A Quiet Place with Angelina.  AQP is a large cottage on acres of land.  We love spending time out at AQP, it's relaxing and a great place for us to reconnect with each other and with God.

When we arived on Thursday the relaxing began right away.  We sat on the porch and talked and watched the frogs in the little yard pond.  We put a frozen pizza in the oven for dinner and payed Yatzee while we waited for it to finish.  After dinner we went back to the library to watch some TV.

Friday we woke up to the sun shining in on us and a rooster from the neighboring property crowing.  We ate breakfast, started a jigsaw puzzle and just hung out.  Before we new it, we were halfway done and it was lunch time already.  We ate some sandwiches, talked about what's going on in life, then went back to the puzzle.  Throughout the day I made frequent visits to the yard pond to make all te frogs jump back into the water.  My inner five year old came out in me and I was REALLY fascinated with making the frogs jump.  Later, Angelina made pasta quiche, a new recipe for dinner.

Saturday we finished the jigsaw puzzle and prepared for our friends Gary and Carrie to join us.  When they arrived, Angelina gave Carrie the tour of the house (Gary had been there before), and I helped finish dinner.  We sat down to a grand meal of pot roast with vegetables, salad, rolls and great desserts.  We decided to walk off some our dinner and hiked the trail back to the big pond.  The big pond also brings out my inner five year old, and I spent about twenty minutes throwing rocks into the pond.  I am still the master rock skipper.  We spent the rest of the night playing Scattergories and a game called In a Pickle.  We really enjoyed In a Pickle, it ranks up there with Apples to Apples.

Sunday, we cleared out of AQP around noon and made a lunch stop at Red Robin.  After lunch, we parted ways with Gary and Carrie and headed home.  After getting unpacked, I got comfortable on the couch and prepared to watch the hocky game.  That didn't work out too well, I fell asleep and slept through the game, and a thunderstorm.

Even though I spent the day at work, vacation doesn't feel like it's officially over until a certain someone comes home.  After work I went over to the kennel and picked up Bruno.  He was super excited to be back wih me and not hanging around a bunch of strangers.  Now I'm hanging out at home realizing that vacation is over, but I'm fully rested and recharged so I think I can make it until our next vacation.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

File #:18 Subject: Tattoo Two

After months of planning and waiting, I went and got my second tattoo last night.  The idea started out as an ambigram of my last name with a celtic knot.  Matt, the tattoo artist I go to, took his artistic abilities and changed it up to match my other tattoo.  My last name is now in a celtic font with the knot on either side of my name.  Below is a picture of the stencil on my arm before we got started.

The process took about two and a half hours.  The tattoo part was a bit uncomfortable, but sitting still for that long was the hard part.  The time goes by fairly quickly, between checking out all the posters in the room and talking hockey with Matt.  I enjoyed that I knew what it was going to feel like this time around.  Before my first one I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to handle the pain, luckily it actually doesn't hurt too bad.  There were a few spots that were more sensitive than others.  A bad place was on either side of the tattoo in the top corners.  In the picture below, where Matt's index finger is was a bad spot. 

Below is the finished product.  It turned out excelent!  I had thought about using color in the knot, but at the last minute I decided not to.  Angelina and I agree that that was the best decision.  After seeing it finished, I think it should be easy to add onto it in the future.  I plan to add my kids' names to it whenever Angelina and I have some.
Another thing I enjoy about tattoos is taking care of them.  The first week or two when I use "A&D" cream on it to keep it moisturized is my favorite.  "A&D" has a very unique smell to it.  I think it has fish oil as an ingredient, and that's what makes it smell funny.  I started enjoying the smell after awhile when using it on my first tattoo, and that's why it's almost comforting smelling it again.  It brings back the memories of taking care of my first one.  I hope that you all enjoyed reading about my tattoo at least a fraction as much as I enjoyed getting it.

Oh, by the way, here's a link to a contest (Click here to see the contest) that is having for some hockey swag from GongShow Gear.  I get an extra entry into this contest for posting in my blog.  Go check out while you're at it!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

File #:17 Subject: I'm Still Here

I'm still alive! I'm still here! I haven't quit blogging!  I have been enjoying family time with Angelina's Grandma and Grandpa from California.  They stopped here during their cross country road trip for Easter and Angelina's graduation.  So while we take a break from home projects and card games I decided to update everyone.

I know what you're thinking, "Cross country road trip?!?!" Yeah, it seems really awesome! They have a pop up camper in the bed of their pickup.  It's the perfect size, it only adds six inches above the cab, and it has a queen size bed in it!  They took the northern roads to come out east, stopping at all kinds of fun places.  Their favorite being Branson, MO.  They told us about all the different shows that they saw there, like "Noah", and some magicians.  They told us how they caught up to the storms that blasted this area, and pretty much drove under them from Missouri to Lexington.  I feel bad that they have had this nasty weather most of the time that they've been here.  There's been more rain in this past week and a half than they get in a year in California!  It's supposed to be sunny tomorrow, so maybe they'll be able to get out of the house and come watch me play hockey.  Anyway, back to the real subject of this paragraph.  They will be heading down to Florida after Angelina's graduation to spend time with Angelina's mom down there.  Then the long journey back out west.  I have officially decided that when we're retired, we are going to take trips like that. It sounds like a ton of fun, and an experience that I would love to try at least once.

They have been REALLY helpful while they've been here.  The day they arrived Grandpa helped my get my rain barrel set up. I'll tell you more about that in a later post.  Then he replaced our doorbell when I was at work, now it doesn't sound like a rat being electrocuted every time someone hits the button.  The biggest thing that he has done was him and Mike walled up the door from the bedroom to the bathroom.  Now the sink portion of the bathroom now only has three doors instead of four!  It has made the bathroom and our bedroom seem a lot bigger.  Grandma has helped with a lot of deep cleaning, and teaching us some tricks to stay on top of the harder to clean areas in our kitchen.  My Dad gave me a hard time about how Grandpa installed a new kitchen faucet when they were here for our wedding, so even though I miss him, I'm glad he's not here to witness the hard work Grandpa and Grandma have put into the house this time.  Grandma had dinner waiting for me and Angelina yesterday, which was a first for us in our house.  It was ham hocks and beans.  It was amazing!  I usually don't like that sort of food for leftovers the next day at lunch, but it was hearty enough to make a great lunch.

Having them here has helped me get used to being out of a routine.  This is good because if Angelina keeps talking about kids like she has been, there is no such thing as routine.  Especially a routine of couch sitting, TV watching and computer/video game playing.  We have spent a ton of time talking and playing cards.  It's been a ton of fun, while being a nice relaxing change of pace.  Relaxing change of pace from what I usually do? Yes, because it has gotten me out of my normal day to day, it has changed my focus at home, which has helped my focus at work.

Speaking of cards, I need to update my MP3 player, and get ready to avenge my loss from last night.  Have a good week and I will have a giant update after graduation weekend!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

File #:16 Subject: Dog Park and Yard Update

Another beautiful afternoon today motivated me to go to the dog park again.  I probably should have gone to the gym, but I know at least Bruno was happy about my decision.  Bruno loves getting to go meet other dogs and smelling all the new smells.  I love watching him try to play with the other dogs.  Especially when the other dogs are chasing a ball.  The action of the ball being thrown usually startles Bruno, then he follows the other dogs when he sees them running.  The other dogs usually pass him on their way back.  When Bruno finally makes it out to where the ball landed, he sniffs the spot, then runs back behind everyone else.  It's really funny to watch, I'll try to get video sometime soon.  After about an hour running around the dog park we decided it was time to head home and get some dinner.

Leaving the park. Don't worry I wasn't driving yet.

I haven't updated everyone on my yard prject recently.  It's been a couple weeks since Brandon and I finished up my fron yard.  I've been diligently watering the new grass seeds and this is what has popped up.  A couple more weeks and I will have to start mowing it. 
I hope that it lasts through the summer.  I have had a hard time keeping grass through the hot, dry summers.  The seed that I bought this time seems like it works well though, so I know what to get next time.  Hopefully I'll have a healthy looking lawn in the next couple of years.

Below are some pictures of our knockout roses, those are doing well this year also.  I can't wait until they're HUGE!

Friday, April 15, 2011

File #:15 Subject: Tim Hawkins and Tax Day

Tonight, Angelina and I met up with our small group friends and went to watch Tim Hawkins.  He is a christian comedian, known mostly for his love of Chic-Fil-A.  It's is always refreshing to have good clean fun.  I haven't laughed as hard as I did tonight for awhile.  In honor of tax day today, here is his song about the government.  Enjoy, and make sure you watch more of his videos!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

File #:14 Subject: First Round Predictions

Sabres in six!

Boom! Right to the point! How about that?

The first game is going to be key.  We will see if Miller is really healthy or not.  Watch the first goal that Columbus scored during the regular season finale.  That is not Miller at 100%.  I'm sure that Miller will start in game one, but the Sabres need to realize that they have a very capable back up in Enroth.

Once we're past that first game, we have plenty of players with playoff experience that can help lead our talented newbies.  According to the Sabres website, the Sabres are combined for almost 700 playoff games. Rob Niedermayer being the only one to hold the cup, and a couple players who have played in a game seven of the finals.  With that experience also comes the desire to hoist the cup.  Especially from Hecht, Pominville, Connolly, Gaustad, Vanek, Miller, and Roy.  They have gone to the Eastern Conference Finals with the Sabres twice.

The Sabres are going in the right direction to the top.  We have one of the best coaches in history, and I feel like the team chemistry has always been strong.  If we can get a #1 scorer that will be another huge step.

Keep your playoff beards growing, and I hope to be doing a second round prediction post here soon!

All the statistics in this post are from

Monday, April 11, 2011

File #:13 Subject: Playoff Beards and Butterfly Goals

Once the Sabres moved into 8th place I started my playoff beard.  Now that they are in the playoffs, here's my playoff beard!  I know it's not much, but it's the thought that matters right?  I came up with a chart of where my playoff beard ranks.  I feel that it is fuller than Crosby's, but I don't come anywhere near Hartnell's. 
 I'll post my predictions for the Sabres before the 14th.

Now for my butterfly goals. 

Flexibility is my fitness goal for hockey this year.  The two stats I want to focus on are my butterfly width, and my splits.  Right now my butterfly width is 35 inches from big toe to big toe (Picture below).  I want to be able to widen that to between 40-45 inches by this time next year.  The way to measure the splits is to measure from the floor to your groin.  I am at 18.75 inches now.  By this time next year I want to be under 12 inches.  By following some flexibility trainings by Maria Mountain I think these are both reachable goals.  I just need to make sure that I stay motivated and spend time stretching every day.  To help stay motivated I will keep everyone updated on a monthly basis.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

File #:12 Subject: The Mental Game of Hockey

Driving home from playing hockey, I like to reflect on how I played.  On my way home tonight I realized that I need to start working on the mental part of my game as much as I work on my technique and stamina.  Without sounding too bigheaded, I know I have improved my game tremendously.  I feel like I have reached the point where my mind is starting to hinder my game.  I can make hard saves fairly consistently now, but I also still let soft goals in.  Tonight for example, I had a save where I had to dive across the crease to glove the puck off the goal line, and then I had a nice glove save off a screened shot.  The next play after the glove save, I froze on a head fake, and he put the puck right through my five hole.  Needless to say I had a few choice words with myself for letting that through.  Now worrying that I'll let another like the last one by, I wasn't able to fully focus on the play behind my net, a very well placed pass across the slot to an open man went top shelf.  That goal would have been a hard for save for a veteran goalie, but I feel like if I was more focused I might have been able to cheat over a little, maybe get lucky and get the shaft of my stick on it.  I need to learn to stay in the moment, not in the future, not in the past.  The time to reflect on plays is after the game.  Looking back on the five hole goal, more practice will fix that.  The top shelf goal, recognizing the play, and communicating with the D will help that.  Once I learn to focus on the present instead of the past or future, I think my game will take another good step up.  Hopefully I can remember this tomorrow when I play again.  Videos to come soon!