Lady Vols – Game 7. Last Game Of The Season

The Lady Vols finished out their season the way they started it with a convincing victory and ended undefeated for the season. 7 wins 0 losses.  I always get a little sad at the last game of the season. We have such a good time going and watching Leah play and my small mind has finally learned all of the girls’ names. Now I’ll have to relearn more names next year! The Lady Vols, once again, towered over their competition. This was a rematch of game 3 and the result was similar. The final score ended up 44-4. Leah played a great game. She pulled down a bunch of rebounds, had a few steals and was able to contribute 10 points, many of which were from offensive rebounds.

I’m very proud of her once again. She really seems to have blossomed over the last few weeks. She was posting up, boxing out, scooping up loose balls and pulling down rebounds just like we have talked about and worked on all season. It really seems to be gelling. We went and watched some friends’ daughter play in the Tennessee High School Regional Tournaments and rather than just messing around she was actually WATCHING the game. How cool is that. She wants to go back again tomorrow night! Maybe she’s getting a little inspired!

Tonight is the Upward Basketball celebration night to cap off the season. Should be fun AND sad all at the same time. Congrats Lady Vols on a great season!

Lady Vols – Game 6

High res pics can be found in my gallery

The Lady Vols did it again and are still undefeated. Final score 48-18. While, as I mentioned in previous posts, it hardly seems fair as this team is so much bigger than the other teams they have played this season, it has been fun to watch the girls continue to improve and actually start to gel a little bit as a team. The season is about 4 games too short. It would really be cool to see them improve for another month. The improvements I really have noticed are passing the ball to teammates and better movement away from the all including setting screens for teammates. In prior seasons and earlier in this season the standard was for a player to dribble the ball all the way down the court and keep dribbling and dribbling and dribbling and get off a shot. Sometimes a wilds shot at that. It’s really cool to see the girls start to play less selfishly and in a more heads up manner.

I was especially proud of Leah on one trip down the court. She brought the ball down and crossed over in front of her defender at about mid court and drove to the left. As her defender moved to cut her off and try to steal the ball she picked up the ball and pivoted to protect the ball and continued per pivot around her defender and delivered a perfect bounce pass to a teammate streaking down the lane. It was a beautiful assist which showed she actually listened and learned a little bit from ol’ Dad on Friday afternoon where we worked on these very skills at the Williamson County Rec Center. That might have been my highlight of the season right there!

I was also very proud of Leah on how she handled herself against an opponent that was playing her aggressively (and hanging all over her with no fouls being called). Leah ended up turning her backside on this girl and posting her up with a vengeance. At one point this girl was pushing up on her an Leah turned into her to post her up and they both tumbled onto the floor. She’s had enough ;) . In fact she earned herself and offense star award for this posting up even though she didn’t score a lot of points. It’s good to see Leah “get tough” a little bit this year. I think this is one of the areas where Leah really has shown great improvement this year. Good job sweetie pie! Unofficially, I think Leah ended up with 4 pts, several rebounds and a few steals. How’s that for exact stats! :D

Great job Leah and Lady Vols! One more game left this Saturday.

Bootleg Video – Chapel Praise

I had a solo yesterday in the Chapel Praise service at The Peoples Church. A song I enjoy singing for the worship service. It was the opener and a fitting one at that. I gave Leah my phone and she made a “bootleg” video of part of the performance. Although the sound quality isn’t good it was nice to hear the orchestra and the choir all mixed together. Especially since there was brass there that day. You don’t really get to hear the it holistically with the sound of your own voice buzzing between your ears. Anyway, here it is. I very much enjoyed singing on this one.

Annual Health Screening

Health ScreeningOn Tuesday we had a health screening at work. Looks like I’ll live for another year. I had some interesting numbers. I had a very strenuous workout on Tuesday morning (see post below) so I actually ate two breakfasts before the screening. So the cholesterol and glucose numbers are non-fasting numbers. Oh, and one more note. I am pretty sure I have “white coat syndrome” when I get my blood pressure tested. I get MUCH MUCH lower readings when I do it at home. But I am going to be talking to a doctor to make sure I get accurate monitoring at home.

Blood Pressure: Last year 160/82 (whoa). This year 140/90 (better but not great)

Total Cholesterol: Last year 118. This year 137. Though the total number is up I’m not concerned as most of the increase is due to an increase in HDL which was low last year (see below) and still WELL below 200.

HDL: Last year 28. This year 42. Yay! Last year the screener joked that I needed to eat some more cheeseburgers LOL. What I did, however, is increase my Omega 3,6 & 9 EFAs and, of course, kept up my cycling training.

Blood glucose: Last year 75. This year 61. The screener had shocked look that this number was so low. Especially non-fasting. However, this makes me wonder if I am borderline hypoglycemic. I wonder now a very low blood glucose level plays into endurance sports like cycling. I may have to research that. But hey, I’m not at much risk at this point for diabetes I guess!

Body fat %: Last year 20.9. This year 20.7. I really question this number. My workmate and I went in together. He is nowhere near as fit as I am and you can see it visually. His percentage was 17%. I’ve read about the inaccuracies of these impedance type fat monitors and I’m guessing that’s what we are seeing here. I’m thinking there is no way I’m on the border of being out of the normal range at 5′10″ and 168 lbs. In fact, I’ve lost 7 lbs from last year’s test and added visual identifiable muscle mass. There is no way I should be the same body fat % as last year. So…I’m taking this number with a couple of salt grains. It would be interesting to be tested with a known accurate method.

Bone density: Last year -0.46. This year -0.86. This is a little concerning. Cycling is a notably bad sport for bone density. This seems like a pretty big drop over last year (although this was another impedance type machine). I already take calcium and vitamin D. I think I need to work on more weight bearing exercises. I need to be better about working my core anyway and it will only help my cycling. So I need to do better at this. These just aren’t my favorite things to do. But I’d better get at it I think!

Lady Vols – Game 5

Whew doggie! This was a close game. This was a rematch of game 1. I warned Leah after they played this team the first time (and beat them handily) to not get too comfortable. Leah played for this coach her first year in Upward basketball and I remember a game that they got beat pretty badly and then came back and beat the other team in the rematch. This coach knows what he is doing and does a great job getting his girls ready for games. He also does a great job making sure his girls are drilled on the fundamentals that will allow them to keep playing better as the season progresses. Well it turns out that I was right. This was the toughest game they had this season. Although the other team was much shorter than the “Lady Vols” they played very aggressively and were just plain tough.They were a totally different team than the first game.

The Lady Vols never trailed but the game was within two to four points for all of the first half. Our girls were not used to things being this close. The lead was 4 points at half time. The aggressive play of the other team had our girls on a bit on their heels the first half. In the second half the Lady Vols came out a little tougher. I could tell the girls had found some determination. It showed on their faces. Our girls opened up a 7 point lead at one point in the second half and the lead stayed between 3 and 7 point in the second half. The final score ended up 23-18. Leah contributed 6 points, a pair of rebounds, a steal or two and a few blocked shots. She had a good game on their toughest game of the year. Good job Leah & good job Lady Vols!

Tebow, Freedom of Speech and Irony

It was curious to watch all of the furor last week (and the week before) about a commercial that was to air during the Super Bowl. This commercial was to feature Tim Tebow and his Mom, Pam. That was all that was known about the commercial. Oh wait, there was one other thing that was known. The commercial time was purchased by Focus on the Family.

Once this news was leaked left wing nut jobs came out of the woodwork. NOW, NARAL and Pro-Choice America to name a few. There were people talking about suing CBS to not air the commercial. There were anti commercial commercials produced. Even Gloria Allred felt the need to get more face time on Fox News and claim she would lodge a complaint with CBS. There was labeling the commercial as an “anti-abortion” commercial and protests from the usual suspects and the typical uninformed blathering from the talking heads on TV. Again, I’ll mention, none of these people saw the commercial until it was aired.

So is this what the left and the mainstream media consider to be freedom of speech? This sounds like a restaurant that has an all you can eat buffet sign posted out front. Then when you get up to load up a second plate a big dude comes out of the back, stands between you and the buffet, flexes his biceps and tells you, “that’s all you can eat.” So I guess if I’m a lefty you are free to speak as long as you agree with me? Otherwise just shut the heck up! Or even if I THINK you don’t agree with me just shut the heck up. Unfortunately it seems this is the way the press and government are heading. Especially on the left. If this is true then be afraid. Be very afraid. Or better yet get off your duff and do something about it!

The irony is that the left wing loonies that caused this ruckus actually played the biggest role, in my opinion, of making this a successful commercial. In my opinion, the commercial itself was cute but may not have really stood out that much in the whole scheme of things if all of the publicity would not have preceded it. Just a side thought. Was this a masterful play by Focus on the Family or just a bit of karma (if you believe in that kind of thing).The commercial could not possibly have been offensive to anyone in their right mind. Good job NOW, NARAL, Pro-Choice America & Gloria Allred for promoting this commercial. Maybe this was a good lesson to you all on the First Amendment. You remember what that is right?

If you missed the commercial you can see it here

Lady Vols - Game 4

Well, I guess this was actually game 5, but game 4 was canceled last week because of the snow. The Lady Vols did it again. This was the toughest game they have had so far. It was actually pretty close for the first half of the game but in the second half the Lady Vols opened it up. Final score was 48-28. Good job Lady Vols! Only 3 more games left :( . High resolution pictures can be found at my photo gallery.

Our Family

Ok. This is a rare treat. My lovely bride does not like to have her picture taken. She avoids cameras like the plague. And if we do, indeed capture her on “film” she’s very picky about the pictures that she wants anyone to see. I think she looks fantastic in any picture. So there. Anyway we have a Nancy approved picture of our wonderful little family that actually includes her! This was taken at Christmas at her Mom & Dad’s house in Ferryville, WI. So look and enjoy a rarely captured image of the beautiful wife I get to see every day!

My Baby Turned One Decade

IMG_1188It’s hard to believe I have a 10 year old on more than one level. First, at 47 it would be more likely that I have 20 year old! But still, it seems like just yesterday we brought her home from the hospital. I know it sounds cliche but it is so true. I remember I was hyper sensitive driving home. So nervous that someone would run into us and we would wreck with our new precious package in the back seat. And now this!

The celebrations started one week earlier when Grandma and Grandpa were here. We made a big old double layer chocolate cake with butterscotch frosting. It was delicious. So then we celebrated Leah’s birthday with Grandma and Grandpa while they were in town.

Then, as fate would have it weather set in and Leah’s birthday weekend started a day early (and it turns out extended a day longer as well) as school was closed on Friday and now today (some pics of the snow included in this photo album). On Saturday night Leah picked her favorite restaurant, The Melting Pot, to celebrate her birthday and her straight A report card (once again). The fondue was fabulous as usual! We always have a great time there.

Sunday was her actual Birthday and we had her party scheduled at the Franklin Family Fun Center for a bowling party. She had invited 6 other kids but only 3 showed. That turned out just fine. We got the 4 kids set up and then Nancy and I took the other lane and bowled 3 lines as well! Fun for everyone. Pizza and a giant cookie cake from Great American Cookie Company was the party fare. Yum! A good time was had by all. Franklin Family Fun Center treated us very well and we definitely would go back there for a party.

One special part of Leah’s Birthday had to do with one present we gave her. She had expressed an interest in learning how to play guitar. She has a little guitar we got her when she was really young. It was good for beating around on when she was little but I don’t think it would be a great guitar to learn how to play on. Several years ago I was gifted a very nice Martin HD-35 that replaced an Ovation Celebrity that I had been playing. The ovation was very special as it was my first decent acoustic guitar that got me started songwriting and performing again. I actually had to sell my trumpet to get this guitar. My trumpet was big part of my life for many years. I was even a music major on the trumpet in college and played in the college jazz ensemble. While that only lasted about a year before I headed in another direction, I had accomplished quite a lot on that trumpet in my High School and early college years. So with all of that history wrapped up in this guitar it was very special to me to pass it along to my daughter where I hope she will learn how to play it. If her piano lessons are any indicator, she will be better than me on the guitar in no time. I hope that is the case!

Happy Birthday Leah! Mom & Dad are very proud of you!

P.S. You should be able to click on the picture above to go to the photo album of the Birthday Girl.

Favorite Birthday Cake Ever!

I had a great birthday weekend. My Mom & Step Dad were in town on their way back from Florida. So that was special. I was able to get out for an hour bike ride in the morning which was a nice treat. And then I got to watch Leah play basketball on Saturday afternoon which was another nice treat. Then for a bonus I was able to sneak out for another hour bike ride before we went to dinner. Although it was windy it was still a treat! I burned off  1,700 calories in anticipation of dinner and it turned out I needed every one of those calories!

I chose Stoney River in Cool Springs for dinner. I LOVE their prime rib, garlic mashed potatoes (with creamy horseradish added) and their rolls that almost taste like doughnut holes. I ate BIG and enjoyed every bite. Then they brought me out a desert for my birthday. We split it 5 ways. No way I could have choked that whole thing down as good as it was. I’m pretty sure I put back every one of those 1,700 calories and probably then some in that sitting. But worth it!

Then on my actual birthday on Sunday my daughter, Leah, came into the bedroom to wake me up and I was treated to a wonderful “Happy Birthday Daddy!” Then when I got to rehearsal for the Chapel Praise Choir at The Peoples’ Church my friends in the choir regaled Andy Justice (he must be a genius as all born on 1/24 are)  and me with a beautiful rendition of Happy Birthday. Plus the whole family was present at the Chapel Praise service. Parents, Wife, Daughter. The whole crew. That made it very special.

Eggs Benedict for brunch and then on home to watch some football! I had high hopes that my beloved Vikings would make it to the Superbowl. They really should have except for 5 turnovers, several of which were stupid and in very bad spots. And then we had my favorite cake. Chocolate cake with butterscotch frosting. It was a combo birthday cake for Leah and me (her birthday is 1/31). At least that used to be my favorite cake. As I was watching football and going over pictures from her basketball game on Saturday Leah decided she wanted to do something special for me. So she made her own homemade cake for me and decorated it. See the picture at the beginning of this post. Mind you, it wasn’t for consumption. But the thought and labor were all hers and it was so special. She is so sweet and an absolute joy to her Dad. This is now my favorite birthday cake ever.