Monday, April 30, 2012

Big City Library Gig

Way back when I agreed to serve on the big city library board, I didn’t really know what it would entail. I went to first meeting where they introduced us, and then it pretty much fell by the wayside. I figured it was really just a symbolic position where I didn’t actually do anything. I asked one of the librarians and she said the job was mine for life, they don’t expire and they don’t get rid of people.

Easy enough, though I like to be involved. Sure enough, I got an email the other day from the director saying they wanted to have a meeting in regards to meeting the expectations of their five year plan. Not only that, but they were asking me if I was willing to attend and give my input. Wow, a job to do. I was impressed, and maybe a little flattered that they thought of me. Ah, the frailty of the male ego.

I agreed, and will head over there sometime in the coming weeks and talk policy. Who knows, maybe I’ll even get a t-shirt out of it, but somehow I doubt that.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to waltonics for the pic.

Getting Adventurous With Meals

In the interest of healthy eating, we’re obviously trying to decrease our consumption of meat, but one of the foods that we’re also trying to eat more of is fish. Now I’ve always been a bit intimidated by the cooking of fish, partly because I have so little experience working with it, but also because it’s kind of “gourmet” and it’s expensive, so you don’t want to screw it up.

Because of this, we tend to eat one kind of fish, salmon, and we broil it. It works out beautifully, the kids love it, R and I love it, and it allows us to eat fish about once a week. For the record, the kids like sushi, as well, which is kind of cool considering that a lot of adults won’t even be that adventurous. I think it stems from traveling to different places and trying different kinds of foods.

Either way, we were at the Coop the other day and they had a sale on tilapia, whatever that is. We see it all the time in restaurants, and apparently it’s a sustainable fish that is endorsed by various environmental groups. R said they serve it in the cafeteria as part of their healthy eating plan. I figured it might be good for fish tacos, which we had been itching to try to make, and being on sale, how could I pass up the chance? All things considered, it was very reasonably priced.

Using our favorite cookbook, Cooking Light, I found a recipe for fish tacos with citrus slaw. I made a chili sauce with lime, brushed it onto the fish, and broiled it. They say to grill, but broiling was easier, and grilling fish is tricky, though results in superior tasting food. We made the slaw, and we had a fish taco feast. Everyone loved them, though I have to confess, the fish was a little bland. I think grilling would work better, or maybe baking it in some sort of sauce. I’m not complaining, however, and if anything, we’re ready to try other types of fish, or whatever is on sale at the Coop.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Neilwill for the pic.

Drill Sergeant Dad

I feel like a drill sergeant at times, but someone’s got to push the kids to practice certain things. I’m talking mainly about music, particularly A with guitar and N with drums. A is also doing piano, but that’s less pressing because her main interest lies in guitar. Now her teacher EE has mentioned on a few occasions that A is a natural on guitar, and I’ve noticed that she can learn things fairly quickly to where she can practice a lesson right before class and fake like she knows the material.

Not the best way to learn. Plus, even though things may come easily, she needs to learn about working hard and at least some level of diligence and dedication. Even the best work hard at something, if anything, that’s how they become the best. I don’t want the kids to embrace only what comes easy to them.

So I’ve had to force the issue and make her practice on a regular basis. The same goes with N on drums. His teacher, JB, has mentioned that he, as well, is clearly picking up the groove and is playing like it’s coming naturally to him. She’s the one who encouraged us to get him a real snare drum, and that he’s ready for a drum set (as if we’ll get any sleep at that point).

The thing is, they just don’t want to practice, even when they’re bored and having nothing else to do. I’ve found that you can’t force the issue with a lot of things in life, but one area where it does seem to work is in practicing music. All it takes is a moment of uninterrupted focus, and they get a lot out of it. The thing that kills me is that once they get started, they get into it and are clearly enjoying it, I think. That doesn’t matter at this point. The key is incremental steps of practice pay off in the big picture. This works well because I don’t have to force them to practice for hours on end, just a bit every day, and gradually their abilities will grow to the point where they’ll actually enjoy it. Then we can work on practicing for longer periods. I figure if we cram it down their throats before they can appreciate what they’re doing, they’ll just grow to hate it, not that they’re not at that point already. It’s definitely a balancing act.

As I mentioned, things are clicking with both of them, and dare I say, they can appreciate the value of playing an instrument, at the very least because there is a coolness factor that will become more significant as they get older. They just can’t appreciate it right now.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to rose93bloom for the pic.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Go-Cart Ambitions

I was talking to JM the other day and he mentioned that they wanted to have a go-cart building/race contest. He’d already built the prototype and had some of the necessary parts, and was recruiting teams to become involved. He mentioned it in the presence of A&N and A&I, so it’s not as if I had a choice in the matter. The kids have been bugging me for years to build a go-cart like device, and I’ve always balked at the idea, but this time I agreed.

We went by his place to check out the design, and saw something cool but weren’t sure if it was the actual machine. It seemed to lacking a steering wheel, though it was solid and nicely built. Best of all, it looked cool.

We’ll see where this one goes, but it should be an interesting adventure. Until then, thanks for reading.

Something's Gotta Give

A has been taking part in track for the past few weeks, and she is really into it. I’m glad because not only does she get to hang with a bunch of her friends, but they’re all local and they were all in her school play. Good to have a group you identify with and for which there is some continuity. Plus, there are a bunch of older kids, and for whatever reason, a majority of them are girls.

Track is also good for A because it’s challenging for her and she’s in a group where there are better athletes (not unlike hockey) that inspire her to work hard, overcome obstacles, and improve. All good qualities, especially when you tend to embrace the things that you are good at and come easy to you. And let us not forget, it’s good exercise and will only help keep her in shape for hockey.

Now with N doing lacrosse three days a week, we have had to forsake piano/drum lessons and karate. There’s just no way we can pull it all off. The way we’ve had to work it is to simply skip those activities, and the only way we’re going to make it to them is to skip lacrosse. We might be able to pull off track, but afterward A doesn’t want to go to karate (I’m so tired). This is all fine and dandy for them, but I’d like to make it back to karate at some point, especially since there is supposed to be a test coming up. I heard that last week’s class was small, I feel bad.

Fortunately track and lacrosse are short seasons, so eventually life will return to normal, whatever that means. At some point hockey will return to our lives, and then life won’t be normal, but it sure will be good.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to maniacmiler18 for the pic.

Bring on UF

Ultimate Frisbee seems to be starting slowly, not unlike a car that’s struggling to turn over, it’s almost there but not quite. We missed the first couple of games because we didn’t even know it had started, and then when we were ready to go, it rained cats and dogs. We finally made it to one game and it was fun, though the turnout was small. We had a blast, nonetheless, and were all set for the season to kick in when we got socked with bad weather the next week. Hopefully things will work out this week.

There are grumblings about a change in format, and I have to confess, I’m not so keen on it all, but I understand on some level. They are thinking of breaking up the games into beginners and more experienced players. The beginners would play in the first hour, and then the pros would come on in the second hour. I realize that people like myself can be a liability out there, and the guys who are really good want to go off, but it seems a little tricky to tell little kids that they’re time is done because they’re not good enough. I’m not so into it, and would be inclined to leave after the first hour if they implement it. We’ll see where this one goes.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to anotherview for the pic.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Missing Karate and Piano/Drums

Our new schedule has been a little more involved than I imagined, and because of it, other areas have suffered, namely karate and music lessons. We haven’t been to class in the past couple of weeks, and it’s a bummer. That doesn’t mean, however, that I can’t practice on my own time, especially in training my hands to be deadly weapons.

It’s still nice to be at class, especially since it motivates you to practice the drills and even employ them when you spar. I sort of miss that, and yet sort of don’t. The only way to make it karate is to forsake either lacrosse or track, and I’m not sure if that is going to happen.

Until the next time, thanks for reading and thanks to Imanol Lasa for the pic.

Hockey Board Meeting

In a good example of what I preach to my kids, don’t believe what you hear until you find out for yourself. Not to be so cynical, but how many times have you acted (or didn't act) on information and later learned it was wrong? Even worse is when you miss out because you listened to faulty information. I hate when that happens.

During Spring Fling I had heard all these things about the hockey program and how all these big changes were on the horizon, which of course got me worried because I don’t always deal with change that well, though I’m getting better. The main concern I had was in regards to the House program, and whether or not they were even going to have one.

Well, as I always tell A&N, you just never really know what the facts are until you find out for yourself. Now I contacted the man, DF, because I was looking for information about the House team, even though I really had a bunch of other questions, but I refrained from asking them and seeming desperate. He mentioned that there was a board meeting where several of these things would be discussed or decided upon, and that if I was interested, I should come and let my voice be heard.

Now as you may have noticed, when DF speaks, I tend to listen. How could I pass up an offer like that? Not that I’m interested in joining another board, but I have a vested interest in the hockey program, especially the house team and whether or not there will be one. So I went, and it was actually more relaxed than I envisioned. I pictured some big auditorium with all these people arguing about policy. It was nothing like that. I recognized all the guys who showed up, they’re all actively involved in the program, which makes perfect sense.

The meeting was not stuffy at all, and I learned a lot about the hockey program. It turns out that they want to run a house program, and will do everything in their power to make it work. It really boils down to numbers, so you can’t lay any blame on the board. I also got some insight into how things may work out in the travel program, so that was helpful, as well.

All in all, it was a good experience. There were some hints about me joining the board, light-hearted, of course, but there nonetheless. I’m not sure if I’m ready to join another board, but I would like to help. We’ll see how that goes. I did sense that some of the board members have kids that are moving up the ranks, so their time in Eden might be coming to an end. Then again, you don’t have to have kids in the program to be involved, it just helps in the motivation department.

I’m glad I went, it really shed light on next season and laid to rest a lot of my concerns and anxieties. Then again, I’m good at coming up with new ones.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Sheraton Hotels and Resorts for the pic.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Vegetarian Dining

We are getting deeper and deeper into our vegetarian cooking, and in addition to the healthy aspect of eating less meat, there is some value to meeting the challenge of making a vegetarian dish that meat lovers will enjoy. It ain’t easy because meat makes a meal much easier, it’s just that all that meat is not ideal.

I did an online search of the best vegetarian cookbooks, and for whatever reason on that kept coming up is one that we actually have, Essential Vegetarian Cooking by Diane Shaw. I got it years ago and found the recipes I tried to make on the bland side, so I shelved it for years. For the record, it’s better than the Moosewood Cookbooks, which I find way too esoteric and require too many ingredients that I can’t pronounce.

Anyway, I decided to give it another try, and lo and behold, it hasn’t been that bad. The key is making the stew/casserole type dishes. Sure, they don’t blow you away like a killer pulled pork or filet of salmon, but you can make decent vegetarian dishes that aren’t half bad. In a way it’s good, because when it’s good but not great, it discourages you from over-eating. That’s why vegetarians are so thin, their food doesn’t taste that good so they don’t want to eat too much of it. At least that’s the case in this household.

Another great thing to include is bread, which makes and ideal filler. If you do a whole grain/wheaty thing, then you’re getting fiber and protein, and bread goes great with salad and soup.

Anyway, the vegetarian thing is doable, and truth be told, I feel better moderating our meat consumption. The kids should eat meat, but they should also be aware of the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, which are a staple in this house.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Fit99 for the pic.

Another Impromptu Visit

The kid’s buddy, CB, came by yesterday and hung out, and it was all totally spontaneous. What was really cool about it, in my eyes, was that they had a blast and hung out for hours all without watching TV or playing video games. I even put the offer out there, but they demurred, opting instead to play knee hockey and then making a movie. How cool is that?

In the past, kids will come over and they want to watch YouTube or play video games, and it’s hard to be the mean parent that doesn’t let your kid do anything that the other kids are doing. The best situation is when kids come over who don’t rely on those sort of things for fun. I was just impressed how the kids entertained themselves, and then they had lunch.

In the end, nobody wanted it to end, but A had to go to track, and I had a meeting to attend. The kids hatched a plan, however, and it went something like this. At some point I had to take CB back home and then take A to track. They wanted to hang out some more, so after A’s track, I dropped A&N off at her house, and then went to my meeting. CB’s parents had to be somewhere at 6:00, so they dropped A&N off back here, at which time R would be home from work. How’s that for coordination?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to zcreem for the pic.

Kids Inspired

While mom was away taking care of assorted business, we were at home pining for her and getting the house ready for her return. I have to confess, the kids were inspired in their efforts, and showed, once again, that we are completely unworthy of them.

First off, they cleaned both bathrooms, scrubbing the sink and wiping the mirror, which can get nasty. They didn’t scrub the toilet, I did that, but you can only expect so much from an 8 and 11 year old. They cleaned their rooms and made their beds, and even put stuff away in the living room dining area. They really worked hard, and I was so impressed. N wanted to show off his new knee hockey rink, so he set it all up and left there for mom to see.

Needless to say, R really appreciated coming home to a clean house. We cleaned it so that it would be presentable for P&DR, and even when we learned that they might not be spending the night, we still wanted it to be clean for mom. I was in charge of laundry and clean towels and sheets. We scored on the perfect weather for hanging laundry, warm and breezy. I love when that happens.

Anyway, it was a nice homecoming on so many levels. The house is settling back into comfortable messiness, but that’s why they call it a home, right?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to elycefeliz for the pic.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

More on My Plate

Just because I have loads of free time and nothing better to do, I may actually get involved with some more activities. While this may seem like insanity, I’ve learned in life that if people don’t volunteer their time to help out, things just don’t happen. It’s going on right now with the little league baseball team, they don’t have enough players or coaches, and the team may be in trouble. That’s a bummer because sports programs are good for kids and families alike, and part of the fun is when everyone gets involved.

With that in mind, even though I’m swamped and busy, I think it’s only right to help out when I can. The first issue is the big city library, for which I am on the board of governors, whatever that means. Sometimes I think these titles are only meant to inflate one’s ego at dinner parties, because I’ve noticed people drop them into conversations all the time, usually when you first meet them. Either way, they asked me if I could help out with a literacy program. They need some people to meet and discuss ways to literacy as a life-long pursuit, though the kids in the big city are go-getters and I doubt academics are an issue.

It will require only a meeting or two, which shouldn’t be too painful, though when the time arrives, I’m sure I’ll be griping about having to go. It ain’t easy doing the right thing.

The second issue is hockey, which is really what life is all about. The youth hockey board is meeting, and it’s been alluded that it wouldn’t hurt if I showed up and offered some support and suggestions. I don’t know what I can do, but I can always go and just listen. It could be interesting, and maybe good for a story or two about how membership on a board can do strange things to people’s perceptions of themselves, not to mention their overall personalities.

Stay tuned for more. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to shandrew for the pic.

Identifying the Good Samaritan

A couple of weeks back during mud season, someone was cool enough to grade out driveway, and not only did it save us some pain and suffering, but it was totally un-prompted. Talk about cool, it was nonetheless emblematic of the community we live in. People just go out of their way to help out, just because they can. No payback or acknowledgement necessary.

It turns out that the person was whom we suspected all along, EB. He’s helped us on a number of occasions when our car was stuck in ice or mud, and he’s just the sort of person who would drive by, see a problem, and stop and fix it if he can. We feel lucky to have him as a neighbor.

You have to love small town life. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to gregoryhogan for the pic.

Learning to be Patient

When I was a pre-teen and teenager, my mom always commented on how I’d become so rude and obnoxious, and I could never really figure out how she could think that. After all, I was such a great kid... yeah right. Either way, now that I’m a parent of a pre-teen, I get to experience these qualities firsthand, and let me tell you, it’s a learning experience. It gives new meaning to the parental expression, “Just wait until you become a parent yourself.” That time has arrived, and it's not always pretty.

I realize it’s a part of growing up and asserting yourself, but when your kids start to become a little fresh and rebellious, it takes a really cool and level head to ride out the storm. If anything, it’s good practice for me to deal with people and not take things so personally. For the most part A&N are great kids, but as they get older, they’re going to test the waters a bit more, it just goes with the territory. The key is for me to keep my cool and not be so uptight, while keeping things civil and respectful, remembering, of course, that respect goes both ways. It’s hard at first, but I need to be understanding, because I’ve “been there, done that.” Besides, it’s good for kids to become more assertive, because it’s a rough world out there, and you aren’t going to get the things in life you want by passively sitting back and waiting for them to be handed to you.

The big question is, can I maintain some semblance of my sanity.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to { ₴uper. F ™ for the pic.

Getting Confused but Serendipity Steps In

Sometimes I don’t know where my head is at, and it could be a symptom of getting old, but there are times I think I’m losing my mind. N had lacrosse yesterday and for whatever reason I thought it was at 5:30, when in fact it’s always been at 5:00. I was even trying to find ways to kill time because I didn’t want to get there too early. Finally, there was some question as to whether there would even be practice, because it was raining all day, and they had cancelled baseball.
In my defense, we had just come from track, and we had to stop at the rec center to pick up his lacrosse shorts, so we were running around a bit. I also had to have supper ready to go when we got home afterward, and we were blowing off karate, which is a bummer. So many things to think about, but that doesn’t mean much to a kid when his dad gets him to practice late. He was not happy, and neither was I.

As it turns out, however, we got a stroke of good luck in that his practice actually started late. The girls lacrosse team went late, so the boys started late. We were about twenty minutes late, but from what I could gather, only missed about 5-10 minutes of practice. N hates getting late to games and practice.

A wanted to come and watch lacrosse practice, as well, so I was a little concerned that she’d be bored, but I think she liked it. Truth be told, she is at the age, or is approaching it, where a girl’s interest in boys is changing, but I’ll leave it at that. I can’t say for sure what her motivations are for wanting to attend lacrosse practice, but suffice it to say that her buddies are boy crazy, so it’s not outside the realm of possibilities.

In the end, it all worked out fine, N wasn’t so mad, and even afterward became defensive when I mentioned his anger. He claims he wasn’t that mad, and he didn’t miss that much, either. All’s well that ends well, right? Sometimes.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to maddy3m for the pic.

Monday, April 23, 2012

New Workout Plan

Hockey season is over, but that doesn’t mean I can’t obsess over it during the warmer months. Plus, there is always off-season conditioning. I took the plunge and signed up for summer hockey, and this should be interesting. One of the things that really struck me during Spring Fling, and I don’t know why I didn’t give this more thought during the season, is how well the better players skated, especially in the Pee Wee/Bantam group. Man could those players skate.
With this in mind, I’d like to stay in shape so that once hockey re-starts, I won’t be dying out there. In a perfect world, there would be year-round ice that I could skate on and practice, but let’s get real here. I’d like to run, but I’m somehow incapable of pulling it off. It’s just way too easy to find a reason not to do it. My latest idea involves riding my bike, and not just on leisurely rides, but going for hills. The beauty of riding up hills is that I’ll get the maximum leg workout, and I can do short rides. Shorter bursts of working out are better for me because I don’t have huge amounts of time to spare.

I tried to do my new workout the other day in the rain, but I sure whimped out, because not only did I get soaked, but it was so darn cold, and I was wearing shorts. Maybe I’ll wait for a sunny day, or wear long pants.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to 69fish for the pic.

Quite a Week

It’s been quite the week for everyone in our family. We got to welcome mom back from her rigorous week back home, and it was really nice to see her. We all missed her a bunch, and we were all excited about her return. So much so that we went hog-wild in cleaning the house. The original plan was for Uncle P and Auntie D to spend the night, which meant clean sheets, towels, and bathrooms. Now I’m not a neat and tidy person (I just play one on TV), just ask R, but I can appreciate it when I see it, or for that matter, when I don’t see it.

R was flying into Leb airport with P&D, and we were to pick them up around lunchtime. As the plan evolved, P&D weren’t going to spend the night, after all, but we still cleaned the house as if they were. It’s nice to come home to clean house, especially for R. To their credit, the kids were on a mission, going well beyond the call of duty. Kudos to them for that. They even picked out some flowers for mom, which are blooming quite nicely.

We headed over to the airport and were there early enough to watch P land the plane, which is always a cool thing. There were a couple of families there that were hanging out on the upper deck, and if I didn’t know any better, I’d swear they were just hanging out and watching planes. People do that, you know.

Either way, we went to grab a bite to eat at Panera, and then it was back to the airport so that P&D could fly back home. Quite the quick visit, but it was nice to see them. I enjoy talking real man talk with PR, and he’s always ready with some good advice about real man issues like tools and building.

After they took off, we headed home and just chilled out. Mom was tired, it was a grueling week, so she just hung out by the stove with the kids and cats. A&N were originally invited to go bowling with their buddies, but it coincided with meeting with mom, so I said no way. However, later that evening, their friends invited them over for supper, so that worked out fine. R had a chance to catch her breath, and I tried to go for a bike ride and failed miserably (see New Workout Plan). Oh well, at least I tried.

We had family movie night, and then it was time for bed. We were all exhausted, so sleep was a welcome thing. Then again, when is it not a welcome thing?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Florence3 for the pic.

Scooterville

A few months back we found a new scooter for N at the Listen, and he was excited because it was in much better shape than his old one, and it was more up to date, with a suspension, no less. A inherited his old one, and I figured they would just languish in the barn because I personally don’t find them that interesting. Maybe because I grew up with skateboards and surfing, scooters just seem a bit too tame.

Not so, said the wise man. The kids have a blast with their scooters, and they are pretty popular across all age groups. I think at some point skateboards and bikes take over, but up to that point, scooters will do the job. Of course, now that they have their rigs, they need to make them cool and accessorize. This meant new wheels and matching hand grips. Now one thing I’ve noticed is that it’s hard to find scooter parts, and I don’t even know where to begin. There aren’t scooter stores that specialize in scooter parts. Even skateboard stores are hard to come by.

Fortunately, these things are fairly easy to find online, and if you work it out properly, you can often get free shipping. We ordered the new wheels, and then found very affordable grips on eBay, which I had never really used before, but found to be pretty useful. The problem with eBay is that I had to pay with PayPal (PP). I have an account because I once got paid for some writing and they paid me by way of PP. I don’t have much experience with it, but I’m guessing it’s a good way to buy things online, because you don’t have to use your credit card. The tricky part is getting more money into the account. You can link your checking account to your PP account, but I didn’t want to do that. They have a new feature where you can add money as if you were paying a bill, which is more to my liking.

Anyway, it was, like everything in my life, a complete fiasco, but I finally managed to work it out, and then I could order the grips. Man they were cheap, the shipping cost double the price of the actual item, but that’s not so bad when the grips cost $2.00. Now everyone is happy, which when you really get down to it, is what life is all about.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Impromptu Sleepover and Boy’s Night Out

We sure do miss mom, but she’ll be home soon enough. I don’t want to make it seem like we can’t function in her absence, it’s just that our favorite times are the ones we spend together, and we all enjoy each other’s company and make a huge point of spending quality time together. It’s the first time that we have had to go about our daily lives long term without her, but we’re doing fine. Besides, as the kids get older, they’re going to want to spend less and less time with us, so we might as well make the most of it while we can.

Anyway, it helps that we have tons of distractions, even they don’t involve hockey. During this past week we’ve been running around doing track, guitar, drums, lacrosse, and of course, school work. Cooking meals and trying (and failing) to keep the house from spiraling out of control are good distractions, as well.

Last night A was invited to a friends for a sleepover. This is a good thing because her friend is not a friend of N, so it distinguishes her social life from his. In the past he’s always been included in A’s activities, but at some point boys and girls will diverge. It’s already happening. The moment the invitation was extended, however, my first response was to scramble and find something for N to do. The first place I looked was Dartmouth, and we were in luck. There was a soccer game that evening.

A mentioned that she thought soccer was a fall sport, and she’s right, but for whatever reason they were having some exhibition game against the Haitian National Team. It was for Partners in Health, an organization that R is familiar with. The plan was for A’s friend to pick her up, and then N and I headed over to Joe’s to get a chainsaw air filter, then to the big city to get some supper. I asked N what he wanted, and we both thought a burger sounded good, so we went to Molly’s. We just beat the rush, because just we ordered, half the population of New Hampshire walked in. The place was packed. I got the black bean burger, and N went with the turkey burger glaze with maple syrup. I thought it was okay, and he said he liked it, though he didn’t finish it. It was a little healthier, but he probably should have gone with beef.

After supper, we were so stuffed that he even declined gelato, which is huge. We headed over the game, and it was a beautiful evening, perfect for soccer. We’d never been to a game, and weren’t sure what to expect. Soccer is not high up on my radar, but I do think it’s more interesting in real life than on TV. Kind of like everything. The stadium was empty when we got there, but by halftime, it was at capacity. There was a constant stream of people.

We got prime seats right next to the field, and the game was fun. Dartmouth won, and it’s impressive how skilled these guys were. One funny note was that we were sitting right in front of a group of girls with their moms, and could overhear what they were saying. It really highlighted the difference between men and women, because the whole time they were commenting on how they liked some of the player’s shoes. The Haitian players wore bright red, pink, and orange cleats. The girls also complimented the Haitian team on their socks. Guys would never comment on these sort of subjects other than to say negative things, which did in fact happen (one of the Dartmouth fans disparagingly yelled, “Hey, I like your cleats.”)

The game was a fun and interesting experience, though early on N said, “I have to confess, soccer is not that fascinating.” What a cute kid. We got a cookie and some Cracker Jacks, and by the time we headed home, it was late. We crawled into bed around 9:45, and are planning on getting some breakfast at Stella’s, but we’ll see how that goes.

Today we’ll spend getting the house in order for mom’s return. We can’t wait. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to ropro22 for the pic.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Quick Dentist Visit

I had a molar removed a few months ago and the plan was to potentially put a tooth implant in there, but that requires several preliminary steps. First off, removal of the bad tooth, which includes insertion of a bone graft. Then they need to check on the recovery of the surgery, followed months later by an x-ray to check the bone graft. After all that, the decision can be made to put in an implant, or not.

The thing is, my follow up visits are so quick, it’s almost a waste. I have to load up the kids and head to the big city, only to sit in his office for about 5 minutes, then leave. I’m not knocking it, because nobody wants to spend more time at the dentist, I’m just finding something to be cynical about.

This last time, the dentist took a quick x-ray and said the healing and graft looked good, but I was going to have to decide what to do. He was cool about it, and even said if I was comfortable with simply not replacing the missing tooth, then go with it, because the process of putting in an implant was very involved, requiring more bone grafts and some fairly involved surgery, not to mention extensive. Say no more, I’ll live with it, though he did mention I was a little young to be without some molars. Even still, I think I'll live with it.

After the appointment, went for pizza and on the way home, made an impromptu decision to get gelato. I said the only way we were going to stop was if there was a parking space right in front, and sure enough, there was. How can you ignore signs like that?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Bonzeemer for the pic.

Auto Repair

We had our snow tires swapped out a few weeks ago, and our mechanic, who is a local and a great guy, was trying to close the hatch on our car and ended up putting a dent in it. It was small, but a dent, nonetheless. He showed it to me and said he’d pay for the damage. I felt bad because it was an accident, but something we need to fix, all the same. He gave me the name of his body work guy and I made an appointment to have him look at it.

The thing is, the guy is in Perkinsville, which is about 30 minutes from here. You get on the 91 south and get off on the next exit, but then you drive through Ascutney until you hit a small town. It was a bit of a trek, and at some point I wondered if I made a mistake and went the wrong way, because you are out in the Styx. We finally found the place, the guy looked at it, and said we’d need to leave it for three days. We couldn’t get an appointment for another month, but that’s fine, I think.

The garage smelled like an ashtray, and the kids freely expressed their opinion of the place by making choking gestures. You have to love such free, uninhibited expression.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Mike-Cochrane for the pic.

He Shoots, He Scores

We were out and about yesterday because once again I got more ambitious than necessary, but good things came out of it. Not that I endorse consumerism, but when you make regular stops at the Listen Center, you really can find some gems at rock bottom prices, plus you are re-using stuff rather than creating more waste.

Either way, we had to go to the car repair store, and since we were on the road, I figured we could hit the dump and run other assorted errands. Now I’m still searching for used lacrosse gear (my next new mission), though granted, with less vigor and urgency than I did with hockey equipment. I would also like to find some cheap roller blade wheels for the kids. Either way, we stopped at the Listen and there was crate full of knee hockey stuff. There were two nets and about a dozen sticks. Now A&N have been asking for more sticks, particularly goalie sticks, for knee hockey, and I’ve always balked. Now we had the chance to get a couple more for next to nothing, except that they wouldn’t sell the stick separately, we had to buy the whole box.

I ruminated on this for a moment, and then realized that the whole thing cost a few bucks, nets and all. I decided to get the whole thing and then just return what we didn’t want, because R would not be happy that we were acquiring more junk. It then became clear, however, that N was really excited about having real knee hockey nets, and we decided to keep them, as well.

In fact, he was so excited that the minute we got home, he set about constructing an entire knee hockey rink in our living room. He worked so hard, and they even included advertisements on the side boards and sign indicating the name of the rink. How cool is that?

Sometimes kids are so cute it just melts your heart. Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

More Healthy Eating

The way we currently stand on healthy eating is we’re cutting back on sugar and meat, which hasn’t been as devastating as I thought. The meat part is the easiest, though I think kids should have meat because it’s a good source of protein, not to mention tasty. It’s the red meat thing that’s most on our radar, and even then, only local beef, especially in light of the whole pink slime thing. Crazy.

The sugar part was what really concerned me, because I tend to eat a lot of sweets. The way I did it, with tons of encouragement from R, was to stop cold turkey and just eat dark chocolate, which I was never a big fan of. R was always saying that once you got used to it, it was good, but I couldn’t imagine dark chocolate ever tasting good. For me it was always milk chocolate or nothing.

Well, I gave it a try, and after a few days, I found that I did start to like it, and even found milk chocolate a bit too sweet. Don’t get me wrong, I could wolf down a pound of Hersheys, but is that such a good idea? The key to dark chocolate for me is getting decent quality. Most of it is expensive but tastes either waxy or bitter/sour. Green and Blacks has great taste and texture (R’s favorite), while I have become a fan of Godiva, 72%. Best of all, since dark chocolate is good for you, I feel like I can eat the stuff with abandon. Also, after eating G&B’s 85%, eating Godiva 72% is like eating milk chocolate, I kid you not. As it stands now, no more Hersheys, no more ice cream, and no more cookies or brownies. The kids can have them, in moderation, but I’m a dark chocolate man now.

One final note, I’ve also decided to stop drinking milk. I’m not trying to remove dairy because we still eat cheese and ice cream, but drinking milk seems increasingly unappealing, especially when you consider that the government makes its dietary and nutritional decisions based solely on the influence of the lobbies, in this case, the dairy lobby. There is no nutritional basis for drinking milk our entire lives, and if anything, it could be detrimental, but that’s just my opinion. The main time I drink milk is with my cereal, so I’m trying for rice milk, which tastes nothing like milk, but maybe that’s the point.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to catman for the pic.

Hearing From My Mom

I actually heard from my mom. Granted, all she sent was an article from the LA Times with no comments or even a greeting, but even an acknowledgement of our existence is better than nothing, right? She and I’m guessing the entire Korean community in LA are completely obsessed with the president of Dartmouth, who happens to be Korean. He is jumping ship and going to the World Bank, which is a big step up and I’m told his dream come true.

It’s big news for my mom. She’s been tracking this guy’s life, so the more good things that happen, the better. Him being president of Dartmouth put us on her radar for a few years. It’ll be interesting to see what happens from here.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to polarkreisthiele for the pic.

Lost and Found

On the last day of hockey it was a bit of a whirlwind, with all these kids showing up out of nowhere and wanting to play. The locker room was a bit of a nuthouse, which is nothing new. After we’d left and were unpacking our stuff, we noticed that A had somehow picked up someone else’s glove. Not they needed it any time soon, but we figured we should leave it back at the rink and maybe they’d come by to pick it up. I highly doubt it, but you never know.

The only problem is that the rink is closed for business, and they got rid of the ice. With it being closed, was anyone really going to retrieve their glove? That’s not the point, really, so we resolved to at least try. On our way home from breakfast the other day, we stopped by, and as luck would have it, the door was open. We dropped off the glove at the lost and found, and while we were there, we saw a bird that was trapped inside the lobby. It must have flown in and couldn’t figure out how to exit. The big lobby window confused him.

He was a tiny finch, I believe, and we went into rescue mode. It wasn’t easy to catch the guy, he was frantic and no doubt terrified. Also, we didn’t want to hurt him by grabbing him too hard. After several tries, we finally nabbed him and released him into the wild. Our good deed for the day, and I’m glad we didn’t give up.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Derek Pettersson for the pic.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Roller Blades

Now that hockey is over and the ice is melted, we can do warm weather sports. I’m sad to see hockey go, but I also realize it’s good to have some balance in our lives and for the kids to pursue other interests. We don’t want them to burn out on any one thing. However, I also thought of a fun way to keep in touch with hockey would be to roller skate, or blade, as they say in the 21st century. One thing I noticed during Spring Fling was that the best players out there were just amazing skaters. After talking to some of the hardcore parents (they’re usually dads), it was clear that developing and maintaining strong skating was the key.

With this in mind, we love to roller blade, so why not keep our legs in shape and maintain the feel of skating? Plus, our options are wide open because all we need is a big paved surface. Then again, that’s not that easy to find when you live in the country.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Kyle Gould for the pic.

Riding Solo

We are functioning without mom this week because she had to take care of some things. We drove her to the Dartmouth Coach bus stop yesterday in the early AM, and then bid her adieu. The kids were cute in saying goodbye, we did a bunch of goodbye dances and that sort of makes goodbyes fun, but it’s also sad to see mom go.

I will say this, the house is definitely a bit sad and lonely without her. We look forward to seeing her every day in the afternoon when she comes home from work, and we look love supper time together around the table and the morning time having breakfast around the fire. In fact, last night it was quiet while we ate, and all we could talk about was how much we missed mom. It’s a good thing it’s only for a few days.

One more important thing for me to keep in mind is that it takes a monumental effort to keep the house clean and orderly, something that she is normally in charge of. With her gone, I have to stay on top of things, because things get out of hand quickly. I told the kids we have to be aware of this and not let chaos envelope us, but chaos seems to go hand in hand with kids... and certain adults (i.e., me), too, for that matter.

This should be good. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to bhwkns85 for the pic.

First Day of Lacrosse

We made it to our first day of lacrosse a couple of weeks back, and so far, so good. Being from the east coast, where lacrosse doesn’t exist, I have to confess that I still find the sport a little strange. I realize it’s popular here, but only amongst a small subset of people, and a somewhat exclusive one, at that. Even when we went to the lacrosse game at Dartmouth (talk about exclusive), it seemed like a select group of people attended and played.

Either way, we finally made it after missing the first practice, and N had a great time. Of course we saw several of his friends from hockey, and I got to chat with some of the dads. I said I could help if they needed it, but they seemed pretty in control. The day was cold, and when the sun went down, I was freezing. I worried about N but he is fairly durable when it comes to the cold. The kids looked cute out there playing the game. You realize how different things are when you don’t have ice skates on, the kids now have to run and they really seem like little kids.

Afterward we jumped in the car and cranked up the heat and headed home. N did a great job, the coaches indicated that it was clear he’d had some practice because he can catch and throw a ball. We have been dabbling in the sport a bit, but I think it’s because N is a competent baseball player that he can handle the ball.

It should be interesting to see how this sport goes over. Until then, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Egg Art

Easter is long past, but I wanted to say something about Easter and the great job the kids did in decorating Easter eggs. They really got into it, and did a beautiful job. It just goes to show you, even when your kids grow up and become hip and think of their parents at dull and boring people (they’re right, you know), you can still do simple and fun things at home together.

I have to confess that I didn’t think they would be into it, and for that matter, be interested in hunting for eggs, but that just goes to show you how out of touch I am. They had a blast, and had no interest in doing much else in the afternoon other than decorating eggs. Kudos to mom for having the foresight to get all the supplies. She went out the night before and picked up eggs and chocolate, and then the night before she set everything up. I assisted, but I really just came in and helped after all of her planning. Go mom!


Anyway, the kids got really into doing the eggs, and did such a nice job. Here are some pics. Hope you’re all well, and thanks for reading, and thanks to RIC for the pics.

Right On Track

A did her first day of track, and so far, so good. R was concerned that she has too much going on, and that maybe track was a bit too ambitious, but she wanted to give it a go. Besides, she gets to hang with more friends, and it’s good for her to be challenged in new ways to see that she can accomplish these things.

We went to our first day and as usual, we were late. I know the coach, he’s a good guy and a logger who can get me log length wood, so he gets points in my book. There was a large group of kids, and they didn’t mess around and jumped right in. A was excited because virtually every kid in her drama production is on the track team, it’s crazy. In a funny parental moment, I was watching the group and A looked back at me and shooed me away. Parenthood, it’s such a thankless job.

The kids went into running exercises and they worked hard. A mentioned afterward she was sore, so I know she got a good workout. She seems excited about it, mainly I think because of the social aspect, but what do you expect from a pre-teen young lady?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Jon Erickson for the pic.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Farewell to Hockey, Again

This is like being in a relationship, breaking up, and then getting back together only to break up again. Hockey once again ended, and I once again have to go through the heartbreak of saying goodbye. It was a lot of fun, though I ended up getting more involved than I had originally planned, but that seems to be par for the course. When you’re an advocate for your kids, these things happen.

The final weekend of Spring Fling (SF), and what a great run it was. I think A&N really benefited from the experience, and their game really moved up a notch. I give the whole experience two thumbs up. Plus they made a wide range of friends from all over the place, as did I. It will be interesting to see them around town in the future. It was especially good for A to see some of these girls who were just amazing players. Then again, it was good for N, as well.

We even saw old friends who showed up out of the blue. On Sat, KS showed up, and we hadn’t seen him for months. He was one of the dominating players on N’s team, but the SF kids did a great job of neutralizing him. These kids are good hockey players, and A&N really learned a lot playing with them, but also it helped to build their confidence. I had to work the bench and do the line changes, which is always a bit of a fiasco because it’s impossible to make everyone happy, especially young boys. It’s not unlike parenting where you have to make the tough decisions and be firm. I was just trying to survive. Once again BM helped on the bench, but help is a stretch, because he doesn’t do anything, he just opens door and yells at the kids. Sort of useless, actually.
On Sunday, it was the final day of ice at Campion, and all these kids showed up to get their last hurrahs. Some of those players were amazingly good, and they were just there to get more ice time. You have to applaud their dedication to the sport, even if they never showed up during the season and only came because it was the last day. A’s team was matched up against a crew of virtual pros, these kids were good. Maybe the best on the ice, and for whatever reason, they all ended up on the same team. The other coach even came over and asked if we were prepared because they had some “big guns.” Not sure what to make of that.

What was great was our rag-tag group of kids did a great job, holding the “pros” at bay and working their tails off. Our kids were not as flashy, they just went out and worked that much harder. It was truly inspiring. A&N even got into the act, doing a great job defensively and handling the puck nicely. I was sure proud. Even BM’s son did a fine job in net, stopping some good shots.

After the game, it was time for N’s team, and A got to join in on that one. Of course, I had to work the bench, for the opposing team this time. It’s easier to coach when it’s not your own kids because I get into the whole neurosis of thinking I’m favoring my own kids, though I think that’s the coaches prerogative.

It was fun, and the kids did a great job. Everyone got lots of hockey in, and we were all sad to say goodbye. We made many new friends and hope to keep in touch with them, but we’ll see how that goes.

For now, we have a bit of a break from hockey, and can plan our next move. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to ADDROX for the pic.

Teaching Dad

I had this plan for A’s guitar lessons which is not completely panning out, and it’s my fault (of course). The idea was to have A teach me guitar in the way that would allow her to review all the things she’s already learned that she would otherwise have let lanquish. She never plays the old stuff that was taught to her way back when, though I’m not sure if it’s necessary.
Anyway, we started it with an old song that she’s performed on many occasions called Yellow Bird. It’s a Carribbean song with what is called a Calypso strum, which makes it nice but a little challenging. The unfortunate thing is that I’ve not practiced as much as I should, so I have to get on it. This was my idea, after all, and I’m already setting a bad example. Then again, what else is new?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Shelby_MB_Photography for the pic.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Bench Coach

Last week during Spring Fling, the opposing coach didn’t show up, and from what I had heard, was in the habit of not showing up on a regular basis. I felt bad for the kids, not that they cared, because they still got to play hockey. Even still, there’s something kind of sad when a parent just bails out on a group of kids. It’s a failure to hold up your end of an obligation, because the kids are doing their part, and they want to play.
In a way, A lucked out, because her coach, MR, is very dedicated to his kid, and is very serious about teaching good values and etiquette. Part of that is being responsible as a parent and a coach. He is always there, and wants the players to be good people, first and foremost. I really like the guy, he’s very down to earth, and his child is a very nice kid. N is fortunate because even though his coach doesn’t show up all the time, there are a core group of dads who are always there and they all know hockey and can fill in. Their sons are all excellent players, as well.

Anyway, the reason this has come up is because last game, the opposing team didn’t have a coach, and there weren’t any parents to fill in. One of the moms asked if someone could just sit on the bench, and A’s coach asked me to do it. Now I’ve worked the bench before, but that was assisting GG, who is an outstanding coach. All I had to do was open the door for the players, it was easy. This time around, they needed someone calling the shots, i.e., making line changes. Yikes, I’d never done that before. Too much responsibility for the likes of me.

That said, however, they still needed a coach, and MR was looking at me like I was a sissy for not being more forthcoming. I agreed, but asked another dad to help out. I figured he could do the line changes and I could cheer and open doors. Well, as it turns out, I was in the company of a person who might be guilty of taking themselves a little too seriously and was either unwilling or incapable of taking control.

As a consequence, I ended up doing everything, including all the line changes while he just stood there and just yelled at the players. In an odd way, it worked out, but it was definitely a revealing moment. For full disclosure, they only had one substitute, so doing line changes was simply a matter of replacing one player, but I didn’t know any of these guys. It was the opposing team, after all. Plus, they had constant equipment problems and I had to take care of them. Talk about learning on the fly.

I did learn a thing or two about hockey and coaching. In an ideal situation, you have ten players, giving you two offensive units (3+3) and two defensive units (2+2). If you have two coaches, which is how N’s team does it, one coach changes the offensive players, and one does the defense. You simply give each unit two minutes on the ice and then call them in and send out fresh legs.

I only had one player, so I had to switch them one at time. This required keeping track of the order that players had gone in, and knowing their names. The way I accomplished this was by pointing out a player on the ice and asking the player at rest what their name was, then calling them in. I had to constantly be on the ball, and as I mentioned, they constantly needed skates tied or socks fastened. They were, however, great kids, and they played hard and gave it their all. I give them two thumbs up for their hard work ethic, just great kids.

I learned a lot during that game, and even though I don’t necessarily want to be a coach, I guess I know I can do it in a pinch... sort of.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to mhaithaca for the pic.

Back on Trac

We use Tracfone cell phones because not only are they cheaper, but there is no long term commitment. You can add minutes as you please, and if you plan it right, you can use it for a year for about $80-90. This includes plenty of minutes, or at least more than we could ever use, because we don’t use our cell phones excessively.
That said, however, it is important to keep the days up to date. Of course, we let it lapse, and the phone was disconnected. This is a bummer because any leftover minutes were now lost. They carry over every time you extend the plan, but when the phone expires, the minutes are lost. Now aside from the waste, this isn’t a huge deal because we have more minutes than we would probably use in a lifetime, but the real problem is getting the phone reconnected. It’s almost as if they are making it hard on you to discourage this from happening.

I tried to reconnect the phone, and was it a pain in the YKW. First off, they change the phone number once it’s disconnected. This leads to some sort of miscommunication between the company and your phone, because the phone number listed on the phone had not changed. This led to all sorts of problems getting the phone to work, compounded by the fact that we don’t get great service where we live, and in order to talk to customer service, you need a working phone, i.e., a landline. I spent a great deal of time talking to tech service trying to get this phone to work again, and I was almost at the point where I was ready to just buy a new one. They cost less than $10, but what a waste.

Finally, after what seemed like an hour or two on the phone, entering all sorts of codes and talking to people for whom English was clearly not their first language, I got the phone to work. It wasn’t easy, but I hung in there, probably more than the average person, who could have just replaced the phone in minutes for not much cost. Not sure what the better solution is, because it’s not an issue of money, or is it? I just hate the idea of throwing away a perfectly good phone, but that’s the world we live in.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Zach Bonnell for the pic.

Future of Girl’s Hockey

Not to sound like an opportunist, but I have been thinking about other hockey programs for A. She loves the Woodstock house team that she played on, and has said time and again that she wants to play for them. I understand, the coaches, GG and IC, are great guys and an excellent coaches. Plus, they really had a great group of kids, really down to earth and friendly.
However, the future of the team is unknown. A is steadfast in her loyalty to the team, and I can appreciate that, but there is the lingering possibility that they won’t have a team for her age bracket. Last season they didn’t have a Pee Wee house team because there was apparently a mass defection from the ranks. They don’t have a girl’s development team, either, though they have tried to start one. The situation is not for a lack of trying by the program, it’s just that they don’t have the numbers to support a full fledged team. It’s a shame.

They do have a Pee Wee travel team, and they are excellent, really competitive. We all don’t think A is ready for that, so we’ll sit tight and see what happens. I think it’s good to keep in mind other programs. Hanover and Upper Valley both have U12 girl’s teams, not to mention house programs, but A has said she wants to play for Woodstock.

This could end up being a last minute decision. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to nmhschool for the pic.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Missing Lacrosse

We weren’t sure if we were going to make lacrosse work this season, and I’m still not sure if we’ll pull it off, but somehow I’d like to make it work. N seems pretty excited about the whole thing. He mentioned in the past that he’d like to play, but I wasn’t quite clear on what it required. It just goes to show you how the game is a bit of an alien experience for a west coast surfer, it’s all so east coast prep-school to me, and the equipment is outrageously expensive, more so than hockey stuff. It’s so similar, but don’t get me started.
Also, I have to confess, attending a game at Dartmouth did not endear the sport to me, the audience was sort of obnoxious. Even still, it looks like it might be fun, even if I’d never played it. The same could be said about hockey, though I liked hockey long before I ever played it.

There are time conflicts involved, and I wasn’t sure about what sort of equipment was required. Thanks to DE, our lacrosse hero, who helped us get the equipment sorted out. Now all we have to do it find the time. The practices and games are on Mon and Fri, and eventually Wed, so there is a big time committment that also conflicts with karate and hockey. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending upon how you look at it, hockey will end in about a week, giving us more free time.

In the process of deciding whether or not we were going to do this, we missed the first practice. My original stand was to tell N we simply can’t do it, we don’t have the time, and to his credit, he was very cooperative. He did not, not even for a second, protest or throw a fit, which made me feel even guiltier because he’s such a great kid. After talking it over with R, we decided that we, or rather I, should try to make it happen. We’ll see how this goes.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to ryan_hamilton for the pic.

Friends Over For Dinner

A wanted to go see this movie, the Hunger Games, with her best friend, who is two years older than she is. We felt like it wasn’t appropriate, not even for a 13 year old, but that’s because we’re old and square. Either way, also felt a little bad, because it is her best friend, so we had them over for supper, instead, and then they got to watch movies and more importantly, hang out in their room away from the scrutiny of boring old parents. You can’t beat that.
It’s always nice having HH over for supper, she’s a good friend, and she has great kids get along with A&N. And as I mentioned, her daughter is A’s best buddy. They are vegetarians, however, and the original plan for dinner was salmon, so I had to switch gears on the fly. I should have seen it coming because whenever A gets on the phone with A, they want to get together for dinner. I feel like it’s nice to have friends over for supper, and want to embrace a little spontaneity, which is something I never had growing up.

So I had to make something else for supper, and on short notice. I usually make the same thing when they come over, figuring Martha Stewart would not approve of such predictable banality, tried something new. How’s that for living life on the edge? I took an eggplant dish that we usually add beef to and simply omitted the meat. Not only was it good, but it was much easier to make sans beef. Throw in a little quinoa salad and green salad, and voila, we had a nice meal.

The kids got to hang, we sat around and chatted with HH, and since it was a school night, we had to call it a night at a reasonable hour. I love when that happens.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to agent j loves nyc for the pic.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Open Skate and Practicing My Skater's Edge

There is still ice time to be had, and that is at Campion. In fact, they have public skating, which has become a bit of a bore for the kids, but not for me. When I took the Skater's Edge skating class, there were several drills that were beyond my capabilities. In fact, virtually all of them were over my head, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that you should never give up trying to learn something if you have a desire to learn it. In fact, the challenge is what makes it fun and interesting. I try to convey this to the kids, who can get frustrated when they can’t do something. I try to teach them that if it’s challenging and difficult, with hard work they can learn it. Hockey seems to bring out a lot of these lessons.
The class is run by DR, who is a former NHL pro, and the drills are pretty daunting, but I’ve also found that if you take a bit of a leap of faith and just give it a try, you can learn them and even master them, meaning the kids, not me. The classes stress edge work, and you really have to lean into the exercises to get the most out of them. It’s scary, because everyone falls, but you also realize falling is not the end of the world, and if anything, it’s part of life. Wow, was that profound, or what?

I did my first DR class a couple of weeks back, and needless to say, there were several things I couldn’t do, but I was trying. The public skate was the perfect time to practice, because when else was I going to be able to? I had a blast trying, and pulled off several of the drills. Unfortunately, A&N were bored out of their minds, which is a shame, but that’s a by-product of hockey. Suddenly, skating in circles is no longer fun, or rather, it’s no fun with boring old dad. It would be much better if they had their friends with them. I tried to encourage them to practice their own stuff, which the did to some degree, but in the end, they were just bored.

I, on the other hand, got a lot out of it, and could have stayed longer, but at some point felt like I was torturing A&N, so we left. Now I have to figure out a way to coerce them to go to the public skate again. Not sure how I’m going to pull that off.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to ilkkakauppinen for the pic.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Confidence Game and Skater’s Edge

Even though hockey season is over, that doesn’t mean that we can’t still obsess over it, or rather, I can obsess over it. We attended a Dave Reece (DR) Skater’s Edge class, and this time around, I joined in the fun. He encourages parents to come out and skate, and thankfully he’s very lenient on the old folks and doesn’t expect us to do the drills, which are pretty interesting. That does not mean, however, that parents don’t benefit from going out and trying their best. This is beneficial on a number of levels.
First off, it sets a good example for your kids, because they see you taking it seriously and then they can’t call you a hypocrite for telling them to take it seriously. It’s also a great way to skate with your kids, and as every adult knows, we are all a little too adept at avoiding challenges and embracing the safety and comfort of our routines, so much so that we’ve all lost sight of the importance of personal growth. The only way we grow is to accept challenges, and let me tell you, doing these skating classes is a challenge. Finally, your kids will get an enormous kick out of seeing mom or dad falling on their behind, no question about it.

The parents who do skate with the class generally take it easy, because you can get pretty hurt doing some of those drills. It’s all about edge work, and these kids get really into it. There are some amazingly accomplished skaters. I noticed at the later ages that the classes are predominantly girls, and I’d heard that boys stop attending at some point but the girls are always ready to improve their skating. A telling observation, wouldn’t you say?

Either way, the previous class, I sat on the sidelines and regretted not bringing my skates. There were a few dads who skated casually, but one mom was out there doing all the drills. Kudos to her for that. This time, even though I was pensive, I laced up my skates and went for it. It was a blast, and DR even thanked me for coming out and helping, even though I did nothing.

After class, DR pointed A out and said she was making huge improvements, and even invited her to do some workouts he was leading with a U12 team. How cool is that? We couldn’t make it, but it was nice that noticed A’s hard work, and it’s good to inspire her brother, who tends to work a little harder and be a little more aggressive when his sister is in his presence. The beauty of sibling rivalry.

The kids did a great job in their respective games, and N’s team was a little short-handed, so the kids that did show up got lots of ice time. Consequently, N was a little more involved, and rather than sitting back and watching things progress, he got into the mix. In fact, he was great to watch, carrying the puck, fighting for possession, and even scoring a hat trick. He did such a nice job, and he felt good about himself. Just goes to show you what hard work can get you. In fact, our new motto is “Hard work will get you farther in life than natural talent.” At least that’s what I think.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to anonymouscoward for the pic.