I Love Hockey and the D - part one.

I love hockey. Ever since I laced on a pair of skates I've been addicted to the ice, well okay, there was a bit of a learning curve.

You know how some Dad's throw their kid in a lake and say; "swim?" My Dad left me in the middle of the rink at open skate, with the Zamboni coming out to resurface and said; "See you at the door."

Believe it or not, I will forever be grateful.

Know how big that Zamboni looks to a seven year old? Baby I skated, and now.

When I was a kid I went to the rink every day for two straight winters. It was such a routine, that my Mom came home once and asked me why I wasn't at the rink? Did she forget to give me skating money? What was wrong?

Um, Mom - I was grounded. (She gave me the 50 cents I needed and sent me on my way. Thanks Mom. Btw, does anything cost 50 cents anymore?)

My Dad took me to my first game. The Detroit Red Wings vs. The Colorado Rockies at Olympia Stadium in Detroit - 1976. I've told this story before. This is a poster I got at the game? Yep, I still have it hanging in my office. Once ravaged by thumbtacks and scotch tape, it was saved by my fabulous wife, matted and framed. I think that my last "little boy look" probably came the day I asked her if she might salvage it because I didn't want it to "just hang in the garage," and she made it look authentic, and old school, a tribute to my favorite sport, and the place I consider my hometown.

I have other memorabilia from the D of course. These are pennants from my first Tiger game in 1976 (Orange), and from the last two games we went to before they closed Tiger Stadium in 1999.

As every true Detroit native must, I also have the obligatory Lion's paraphernalia - fitting that it's a trash can I suppose. (Oh Dear Lions, please don't draft another QB until you have someone who can protect him.) The Bucket isn't from Detroit, but is a commemorative ice bucket from Superbowl XL which was played in Detroit, purchased at my local Kroger on sale for five dollars.

We have been to Ford Field though. After a friend asked me to go with him to Heinz Field in Pittsburgh the season that it opened, I immediately put an inaugural season trip to Ford Field on our agenda. So my ladies and I ventured forth, and of course came home with a prize. Well okay, the girls got stuffed "Roary" Lions, Netter got a cool Lions Santa ornament, and I got this very cool football.

I continue to root for the Tigers, and Lions, even the Pistons to this day, but the cancellation of a season in 1994, more than 50 years of what might best be described as mediocrity and probably more accurately as pitiful gridiron performance, and my inability to recognize anything basketball like in today's NBA leaves me with one true love, one sport that is pure, one sport that owns my heart. My doctor thinks it sounds funny, but I always find peace on the ice. I feel at home. I feel free. I feel like I belong.

Enter the Detroit Red Wings. For 33 years now, I've followed their fortunes. Sometimes I lost track as we moved around. Not a lot of hockey coverage in Lima, Ohio and we didn't have the Internet in 1979. Even during the eighties in Columbus there wasn't a ton of hockey coverage. Still I got everything I could from the local paper, and whenever we visited the D during the season, the Free Press and I were fast friends.

As the ESPN network grew, and the Columbus Chill came to my new hometown, I was able to once again fully embrace my love affair with the game I think defines me. I started playing again in 1997, and only a year later the NHL announced that Columbus, that's right Columbus, Ohio was being awarded an NHL franchise - later named The Blue Jackets. (I still think the Chill is a cooler name.)

Friends who knew me asked if, when the Blue Jackets began to play I would renounce my allegiance to the Red Wings, and become a fan of the CBJ.

What?!?!!!? Throw away what was then more than 20 years, of heartache, and failure followed by sweet success and two straight Stanley Cups to root for an upstart franchise full of castoffs from other teams, and begin the struggle again? Are you kidding me?

As my friend Juice would say H - E double hockey sticks - NO! Not on your life.

I said then, and I still say today actually I will always root for the Blue Jackets to do well, but I'm not about to root for them to beat my Red Wings.

Some may know of my struggle to deal with being a Michigan fan, and my eventual conversion to being a Buckeye, and suspect that one day I will change my mind in this situation as well.

Let me assure you that will not happen. I became a full fledged Buckeye for a number of reasons - all detailed here, but as much as I am passionate about The Ohio State University now, I am that much more passionate about the Red Wings.

Yet, somehow these Blue Jackets, the CBJ have found a soft spot in my heart, and I find myself watching their games with a similar passion to when I'm watching the Wings, and they are "the local team," and without even planning on it, I've become a fan and I am really rooting for them to do well.

But do I want them to beat my Red Wings? Would the inconceivable really happen?

I'll tell you next time.

Define Free

It seemed innocent enough.

Last month a friend took me to see a hockey game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Calgary Flames. As we entered the arena a woman with a clipboard was waiting to see if we wanted to sign up to win a "prize," including maybe a vacation / cruise.

Well, Netter and I haven't been on a "real vacation," let alone a cruise in quite some time so I thought - sure I'll sign up.

My friend and I talked about it as we walked away.

We thought if we did "win a prize," we'd win the lowest prize on the rung.
We knew that there was probably some "come listen to our presentation" gimmick involved in actually claiming the prize.
We both agreed that the only way we would go listen is if we won the cruise.

We then enjoyed the CBJ's 5-0 trouncing of the Flames and I forgot all about the prize.

Fast forward to just 2 weeks ago. (Did that sound funny?) Our home phone rings, and for some unknown reason I decide to answer it.

We've been talking about losing the home phone for quite sometime now. We all have cell phones, and take the larger majority of our calls on that mobile device. Initially we had kept the land line because we had a DSL connection. Recently however, we had switched to cable, (Anybody need a DSL modem?) and I have been trying to track down all the places that have our home number to change that contact information. I'd say we're about 95% of the way to having that accomplished and getting rid of the home phone altogether.

Oh, I forgot to mention what may be the most important reason we want to lose the home phone. You ready for this?


Since we have started changing over our contact info just about every time the home phone rings we know it is probably a telemarketer.

And still I answered it.

Me: Hello
Caller (April) : "Hi this is April from Sundance Vacations." (I considered putting a link there, but don't want to give them the traffic.) Is this James?
Me: It is, and I am not interested.
April: Don't you want to know what you're not interested in.
Me: Trying to be nice here.
April: Well you signed up for this.
Me: Okay, tell me what I signed up for.

April then went on to relate to me that I had signed up at the hockey game, gave me the date of the hockey game, included the score of the game and said that for an hour of my time I was "guaranteed a cruise."

I repeated what she said verbatim, and my very alert wife said - "What about airfare to get where the cruise is leaving from?"

Of course, I repeated the question for April. She informed me that they had a limited number of airfares available, but that if I could come before Saturday they would have airfare for me. It was already Thursday evening. We had an activity of some sort on Friday and I worked on Saturday.

As nicely as I could I told April that I really appreciated the call and her patience, but we just weren't interested and to please give the prize to someone who either had a free schedule at a moments notice or could afford the airfare. I hung up.

About a week later there was a message on the chalkboard in our kitchen - from April.

What the heck?

The next day I called Sundance Vacations and explained to Mandy, who took the call because April was on another line, that we were not interested, could not afford the airfare, etc... and so on.

Mandy said - Oh we have airfare. We have everything. I don't know why April told you we didn't. We just need an hour of your time.

Intrigued I said "Really, airfare and everything?"

Mandy answered in the affirmative. I told her I would have to check my schedule, (i.e. run this by Netter) and I might just call her back.

Then right before she hung up Mandy said, Okay, that's a cruise for two, and airfare. All you would be responsible for is taxes.

AH HAH! I knew it. I just started to laugh. Free my Eye! (Okay, I didn't say Eye, but this is a family blog.)

I didn't go off on Mandy like I wanted to. I couldn't. I was laughing too hard. Instead I just said goodbye and hung up the phone. My might call had obviously just turned into I'm not calling, though I did share the story with Netter when I got home and we had a good laugh.

You'll never believe what happened next.

No Really.

Yep, they called back. Unfortunately for them, they called right before the Red Wings' playoff game yesterday evening - like in the last 30 seconds before I was going to answer any phone for the next 2.5 hours.

"Hi we're calling from Sundance Vacations..."

I couldn't help it. I cut them off totally saying - pretty loudly actually.

When are you people going to get it? We don't want your prize. We can't afford the prize. We can't afford the taxes. It's not free and you know it. Please take us off your list and stop calling us NOW!

I wonder if they got it?

I get that it's really my fault for even signing up in the first place, but still very frustrating, very frustrating indeed.

Easter -

I'm always anxious in the springtime. Tired of the winter doldrums, of the gloom and gray.
Eager for the sunshine and the warmth that is to come.

I've never been a winter person. In my not always so humble opinion, there is one good thing about winter and we've learned how to make ice indoors which is where hockey should be played anyway.

In Central Ohio it seems we tend to hang onto winter a little longer for some reason, I think it's our local weather folk. They really like the swings in temperature - you know 30 one day, 70 the next.

It is a funny thing when you think about it. I remember one Easter morning Netter and I got the twins all dressed up in their pretty little dresses with a sweater for the light breeze that was blowing, and off to church we went.

One and one half hours later, it was snowing and Grandpa was none too happy that his granddaughters did not have coats. Yikes! Fortunately it was just a short walk to the car, and we quickly rushed home for warmer clothes for all of us.

But while it snowed that Easter Sunday, I have always found Easter to be the day that gives this sun starved individual a little hope, a little drive towards summer.

There are of course, the religious meanings of the day, the story of our Lord's rising from the Dead is, and should be our central focus. Still, as someone who believes you don't necessarily have to go to church to be religious I tend to focus on the more "modern day," applications sometimes - i.e. the rebirth that is spring.

As a golfer the spring time is one of my favorite times of year. I'm reminded of a piece I wrote sometime ago. I blogged about it in the fall, but I'd like to post it again today so I can remember, so I can, well so I can be spiritual.

(Plus, I must confess it's one of my favorite pieces and I like to get those out and dust them off every once in a while.)

Early in the morning at the golf course, usually on the first long par 5 and particularly on courses which are more natural than man-made, i.e. wetlands have been preserved, animals are still in abundance, there is a fine mist that gives me an incredibly peaceful feeling. I’m playing my favorite game. I’m out in nature. I’m enjoying the company of friends and companions. It’s hard to explain it briefly but trust me it’s awe-inspiring. To get a sense for it, go outside some morning early in your barefeet (when it’s warmer), walk in the dew-covered grass, take big gulpfuls of air and try and think of something or do something you really enjoy (like drinking a fresh cup of coffee). Try and take notice of everything outside - the sky, the clouds, the birds, the ants on your driveway. Now look up.

Way up.

Get it?

Y'all Ready for This?

Laaaadddddddddiiieeeessssssss and Gentttlleeemen - Please welcome - from COH-LUM-BUS, OH-HI-OH - He stands 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs in at TWO HUNDRED AND TWO POUNDS

eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek! Aahhhhhhhhh! He what? No really? Put the needle back on that record man! OH MY!


Yes, it is true - Getting ready to go out to dinner with my lovely wife and some good friends from the "nayvorhood" this weekend I ventured onto the scale.

I don't know why I did it. I don't know what possessed me to look down at the numbers.

I was not happy with what I saw.

Now, I have never worried about weight, on myself or someone else. If I'm fat I don't want to think about it. If someone else is fat, it's not my deal to worry about.

In a house full of women, we don't talk about weight anyway, and I think that's terrific.

People are people. Tall, short, thin, fat - doesn't matter. To me it's okay if the stand-up comedian talks about weight, but we don't need to.

To me, it just never mattered. I saw a little boy in my second grade class break down in tears when they announced his weight at 101 pounds and all the kids laughed. Ever since, I try not to make it an issue.

My grandmother was 4'11'' and by all accounts pushed hard toward 300 pounds - I never cared. I use those numbers now to describe her when I tell stories, but they're just that - only descriptive terms about a woman I miss dearly and love with all my heart and soul. She was tough, but we were tough together. (Miss you Babcia.)

I even banned the topic of weight at my house for awhile. Just ask my Mom.

Still - 202 pounds on a 5'7" frame? Holy Heck! That just isn't healthy.

I'm supposed to go to the doctor next week for a checkup and to get some paper work filled out. I'm guessing this isn't going to go over very big. (Hee Hee)

Could you step on the scale Mr. Brochowski?

Do I have to?

Okay, so where to go from here? I don't think my diet is all that bad. I do have a tendency to eat late at night. Guess I'll have to cut that out. K & D will be happy - the (refrigerator) rat lives no more.

Hmmm... what else. Exercise much Jimmer?

Um, outside of an occasional hockey game - No, not much lately. I will have to change that. Mulligan will be happy about that. It means more walks for him. Maybe I'll try that Couch to 5K Running Plan I've heard so much about. That will be a good start.

The thing is, I don't want to do anything that makes me miserable, that I might dread. We only get to do this thing called living once, so I'm determined to find a way to get healthier without driving myself bonkers in the process.

(To those of you who just said I'm already bonkers - Yeah, I know.) It's a good word though isn't it?

I'm willing to make sacrifices - I tried Coke Zero. But I'm not gonna get crazy - MGD 64 is not in my future.

I don't eat breakfast, but I can probably lose a cup of coffee. (How fattening is cream and sugar?)

I figure two squares a day and some exercise should send me on my way to a healthier me?

Will that be enough?

Far too many spend way too much time, and too much energy on this topic in my opinion.

But today - I have to admit it is weighing heavily on my mind as well.

I want to stay in the game after all...

I don't know how. I don't want to. It's too hard. Can you do it for me?

You know this guy. I know this guy. We all know this guy.

Okay, it can be a woman too, although that is not usually my experience.

So, how do you deal with this person?

I'm reminded of him, and in a sense seeing him in the mirror lately.

I have a long history of not doing the things I'm not good at doing. My main strategy of course is to put things off. You know, be the world's top notch procrastinator.

For example, I've never been very good at math. Guess which homework always got done last.

More recently, I'm starting to think this is probably the reason I've always had the same job. I never really knew "how to," go out and find another one.

Of course, by sorta job hunting over the years I've learned through happenstance, or trial and error along the way, and ironically enough one might even consider me to be an authority, or at least a pretty solid resource on the subject at this point.

But somehow there's that guy again.

I've been doing a lot of work lately helping people find jobs at both of my jobs.

Huh? Both jobs?

Last week I started a second job as a Career Researcher. It's quite a challenge, but so far I'm having a lot of fun, and I'm learning quite a bit.

No matter which job I'm working though I seem to be asked questions, or I am asked to face challenges I don't initially know how to resolve.

Guess where that leads me...

But this time - I've recognized the procrastinator and I've got him in my sights.

Currently, I'm in the process of doing a review of job sites and resources available for my use.

Revising and revamping as they say.

I'm asking myself the hard questions and I'm working on ways to push myself to be a better Job Help Center resource, (at the library) and also a Career Researcher.

The one downside to all of this of course is it is taking a ton of time.

What, you just thought The Life of Jimmer went on vacation?