Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodnight, 2014.

I don't know which of these photos is cuter. Maybe it's a tie.

In any case, another year of blogging is in the books, and we've earned our rest. Happy New Year, but may all your midnight firecrackers be duds. Shhh . . .

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry first day of Christmas, everybuddy!

And Happy Throwback Thursday, too, courtesy today of Annabelle. Behold "A Partridge in a Pear Tree," a collage AB created when she was in first grade:

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Mike T is walking on sunshine!

What's the best way to follow up a silver-medal-winning performance at a national powerlifting meet? Perhaps by glomming onto a huge educational opportunity--one, in fact, that is central to your main career goal. Are you ready for this?

Young Mike has been accepted into the U.S. Army-Baylor University Doctoral Program in Physical Therapy. Since graduating with honors from Florida State last spring and being commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, he's been on a one-year deferral from active duty to work on building a résumé that the Physical Therapy (PT) Program's admissions committee might find impressive. (This was critical, since the Program is mainly for Army personnel, with only a few slots each year given to Air Force applicants.) Mike did this partly by taking postgraduate coursework at FSU, but mostly through serving 327 PT volunteer and observation hours at numerous military and civilian medical facilities. (About 80 of these hours were completed during Christmas and summer breaks while he was still an undergrad.) His work included stints at Ft. Leavenworth, KS; the Leavenworth VA Medical Center; Moody Air Force Base; MacDill Air Force Base; and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (formerly the National Naval Medical Center) in Bethesda, MD. Mike also completed a course of study that led to his designation as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).

The Doctoral Program in Physical Therapy is housed at Ft. Sam Houston, in San Antonio, TX, home to the Army Medical Department Center and School. Mike is to report there next October, though classes won't begin until January 2016. During the Program, all of Mike's living and educational expenses will be paid for by the Air Force. Two-and-a-half years later, when he completes training, he will go on active duty as a captain and an Air Force Physical Therapist.

Congratulations redux, Multitalented Mikey! And hey, if you continue with your hobby of lifting huge iron objects over your head, someday you'll be able to follow that sage advice: Physical therapist, heal thyself!

P.S. - I started to suspect there was something special about both Mike and his sister, Annabelle, when I saw this picture of them, taken when they were kids:

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Day-Trip to Washington, D.C.

M, J, and I paid a short visit to our nation's capital today. (Through the magic of internet live-streaming, of course!) We were at the Washington Hilton Hotel for the USA Powerlifting American Open Championships. That's a contest where guys pick up very heavy things called barbells, to see how much weight they can lift in various events without (1) any wardrobe malfunctions or (2) any body parts flying off. M thinks it's also designed to find out how close you can come to wrecking your hips, knees, back, and shoulders without actually doing so.

Here is the contest's official logo, which you can buy on a tee shirt if you like:

The reason we made this whirlwind cyber-trip to D.C. was to watch J and M's grandson (and my adoptive nephew), Mike Taylor, compete. There were three events. While they were unfolding and Mike T was doing his thing, M was busy taking "screen-shot" pictures via something on the computer keyboard called "Print Screen."

The first event was the squat, where you start with a heavy barbell on your shoulders, then squat all the way down with it, and then stand back up until your knees are locked and your back is straight. (I know, good luck with that, right?) Here is a pic of Mike T doing his first squat, with a weight of 496 pounds (in the picture, he has already squatted and returned successfully to the standing position):

His second attempt--also successful--was 523.6 pounds. M didn't get a picture of that one, as he is still learning the ins and outs of Print Screen. Mike's third lift was 534.6 pounds, which was a new personal meet record for him. We got a screen-shot of it, but a friend of Mike's managed to take this video (to see it in bigger format on YouTube, go here):

The second event was the bench press. In this one, you lie on your back with the barbell extended straight up over your chest, then lower it to your chest, and then extend it back up again, until your elbows are locked. Mike T successfully did this at 314.2 pounds and 330.7 pounds, but missed at 347.2 pounds. Here is a screen-shot of his 330.7-pound lift:

And here is a YouTube clip of the same lift:

The final event was the deadlift, which is possibly named for how you feel when you get to it. Here the idea is just to get the weight up off the floor and rise to a standing position with your back straight and knees locked, holding the pose for a couple of seconds. Mike T accomplished this with weights of 534.6 pounds and 578.7 pounds, before missing at 600.8 pounds. His lift of 578.7 pounds was another personal meet record. Here's a screen-shot of that lift:

And a YouTube video of it:

Mike's top weights for the three events totaled 1,444 pounds (a third personal record), which earned him an overall second place for the championship. Here are a couple of pictures of him with his silver medal:

Crikey, Mikey! Well done! Conflatulations!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Emperor's New Hat

Check out M's snazzy new headgear. It's called a Glengarry cap, and he ordered it from someplace in Scotland. He bought it to wear with his kilt, but the weather's still too hot here for that. So for illustrative purposes, a Hawaiian shirt will have to do. Once he has the whole suit on, he'll look more like that nutcracker.

Oh--and that round metal thingy on the side is a Boyd clan badge.