Monday, February 7, 2011

The suns not even up...

Good early morning blog readers. Well after the lights turned on and the beeping stopped we were off on a medical call. All worked out and I got back to the station to realize that the Cigarfest ticket auction starts in well now 15 minutes, but at the time 45 minutes was the mark. So I decided to catch up on reports, surf the internet and now make a blog post.

Well, the departure time keeps getting closer and I keep getting more and more excited. Sun, sand, golf and fun await. However there is this part of me that is already missing something. As many of you know I am Mad Crazy about my wife and son. This trip is a solo Jen, no Sharkboy. While this is not my ideal get away roster, this trip is a roster of one. I hope they know that I don't enjoy getting away from them, that is not the intent of the trip. The intent is for me to get away from everything (other than them) that is my life. No calls, no snow, no meetings, no "schedule"...all the things that on top of "winter blahs" cause me to induce stress on myself. Now don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my life. I have a career I consider more of a lifestyle, the best of friends and a great life from both inward and outward looking. I just sometimes need to get away. So without further getting long winded I will share this, as I have before, I love you Jen and Ethan, more than I could ever say in words. Thank you for supporting me in everything I do and being the brightest of spots in my life.

Now I don't know if you noticed my comment about stress in the previous paragraph. I thought I would expound on that for just a second. I believe in my heart of hearts that Stress is self induced. People do not make us stress, we do. Now slow down, people can try to stress us, they can try and infect us with stress, but it is absolutely self induced. Don't misunderstand me here. I understand that some stress is inevitable, and a certain level of stress is healthy and natural. A stress free life would be, well boring. If I can leave you with one seed of wisdom that has made it so I don't go to the highest point in St. Joe county and jump it is this. Stress is self choose, you control and when you give up that control, you lose.

Well it is about 3 minutes to my that is about all I have for now.

Until next time, Be kind, Be safe...

Shalom my Peeps!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Any pancake is a good pancake...

Good Saturday Morning Blog readers...the title this morning is a quote from Sharkboy during breakfast this morning. I made his breakfast for him, as I usually do when I am home, and he was chomping away on his food. I asked him how the pancakes were and he responded with..."Dad, any pancake is a good pancake". I love that little dude...he has such a good perspective on life and the world.

Here I am with 4 wake ups away from my trip to Florida. Clubs are packed, clothes are planned out and activities lined up. I am looking forward to golf in the sunshine, warm air, time with friends, a trip to the Everglades and lots and lots of relaxation. I only wish that Jenny and Sharkboy were going too, but that is not in the cards this time. I am incorporating into this trip some fact finding. We are looking at our family vacation for this summer and one of our top destinations on the list is St. Pete Beach. F.i.L. and L.A. go to that area every winter and really enjoy it. We are looking at the possibility of staying in that area in a hotel/resort and it is my charge to find out where we could stay. I love to do these types of missions and look forward to this part of my trip as well.

Today we are headed to South Bend Chocolate Cafe for Sharkboy's 7th Birthday party with his friends from school. It should be a great time. We chose this venue this year for it's ease. Pay the fee, and they take care of everything else. Cake, decorations, entertainment...etc. We walk in, have fun, and they take care of the rest. But here is the best part of the whole thing...they do the clean up too! I will report on the outcome, but all signs are pointing to a successful party.

So the rest of this weekend is work. I work Overtime tonight at Sta. 1 and then shift day tomorrow. I will be watching the Super Bowl at the station, but rest assured, I will be ready to watch this great game and the menu has been set. Bring on the football and the great commercials.

Monday has been dedicated to packing and getting things together before my trip. Tuesday will be a busy, busy day. I am reading and doing some show and tell for Sharkboy's class. Then, once they all get home and settled in, I head to Indy to stay the night before the big flight south.

If you don't see any updates for a couple of days, don't slump, just no time. It will be a busy couple of days...I am hoping to fire off some posts from the road. Jenny will be hanging on to the laptop and I will be updating, if possible, from a borrowed Ipad. I am not sure how that will go, but I am sure I will have access to a laptop periodically during the trip, so I will make my best effort. I will have my handy dandy camera so once I get back I will have a picture blog when I get back.

So until next post...Go Packers!

Be Kind, Be Safe...

Shalom my Peeps!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snowpocalypse 2011

Well blog readers...the preparations(or lack there of) by many now come down to the next 24 hours. Massive quantities of milk, bread and various other items you can't go 3 days without have been purchased. Snow blowers have been gassed up, and tested to assure their readiness. The Cities, County and State plow crews have readied their equipment. Now all we have to do is wait...and wait we have.

Initial forecasts have called for the storm to hit around 1p local time, at 4 it started snowing. Well, now the wind has kicked in, and it is snowing pretty good. So now the wait begins, will this be a bad snow storm or just an average snow storm...only time will tell.

The thing that I find the funniest about this is that we live in Northern Indiana. An area coined "The Snowbelt". So we are used to snow, or at least that would be what the name would imply. So why when they predict a snow storm does everyone turn into a baker. With the amount of eggs, milk, bread and butter purchased we should inundated with baked goods...say Friday.

So I am not at the station an additional 12 hours, so if you think before you drive or just plain stay home if you can, we should meet "by accident". Be safe out there everyone, and to my fellow public safety workers, be safe and let's all go home when this is done and tell stories for years about it.

Oh and on a bright note...7 days from now I will be in Florida!!!

Be Kind, Be Safe...

Shalom my Peeps

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Hey Blog I pose this question: Is technology our friend or our mortal enemy? Or is it some twisted evil morph of the 2...

Well recently Jen's laptop was rendered useless, she discovered that our 7 month old Weimaraner puppy had attacked the power supply and shorted the cord, upon further inspection, it was noted that it also shorted her mother board on her laptop. Since no ability to attach to AC power, battery can't be charged, so it's life was limited to the charge left on the battery. Well the neighbor came to the rescue, and was able to salvage the hard drive in an enclosure and made it into and external hard drive. So a new laptop was added to our purchase plan for the next few months. Since we had my laptop a new purchase could be held off. I took my laptop out of it's commuter role, to and from the firehouse, and it became the home laptop. Well as you can imagine, that laptop is now broken. Moving our purchase of a laptop up drastically. Well yesterday we made the jump and bought a laptop and we are back on line. Hence my question...but I have another question.

During our "Down Time" I learned exactly how addicted to technology I really am. For years, my Mother-in-law and Father-in-law have referred to me as "Gadget Guy". A title that is meant affectionately, but I never really understood that I was a "Gadget Guy" until the last couple of days. I feel like I had that "Hi, my name is Jay and I am a tech-aholic" moment. I realized that I have set up layers of back ups to get my tech fix. I had a laptop(and now a new one), I have an Iphone, I have computers in my access at all times. Having these layers made it possible for me to survive the last couple of days. Now I am embracing my new found realization of myself. We have added a second laptop to our "Near Future Purchases" so Jen doesn't have to live with the battery only laptop(my old laptop)she is using now. But now the big decision needs to be we buy another laptop, a netbook or an Ipad (please feel free to vote and let me know your thoughts on both questions in the form of a comment)

Well the family attended the ice carving competition yesterday at Heritage Square. We were thoroughly impressed with the artistry and skill that all of these people were putting on display. If you ever get a chance, you should go check one out. Their tools were chainsaws, Irons(or Smooves) and power tools. As soon as I get my pictures uploaded I will be sure to post them on here, so more on this later.

Catholic Schools week starts today. Sharkboy is participating in a talent show today with his class, and has many "theme" days this week. I am hoping to get pictures and have a review of the pictures on Friday. Also, if you need Burger King coupon books or you just want one, let us know, we will be selling them.

Also tomorrow I start growing a Mustache. Locally, we as firefighters and friends of firefighters, grow mustaches for charity. We annually donate the proceeds of our efforts to the Hoosier Burn Camp. This is a very worthwhile charity and hits home to us. It is a group that provides a camp experience for children that have been burned. We grow the whole month of February and end our efforts with a party and judging of the "staches" at the end of the month. Like many of the other contestants, that will end my facial hair possession, but until then, look for a lip warmer, cookie duster, flavor saver when you see me. This is your warning, it won't be pretty, but it is for a good cause. Also, feel free to donate to this worthy cause, just ask, I will have the details.

That is all I have for until next time.

Be Kind, Be Safe.

Shalom my Peeps

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Feeling the Need

Hey blog readers...rarely lately have I felt the need to blog, but after a recent conversation with a great friend and fellow blogger my "need to blog" has been renewed. Somehow I thought that my life was not entertaining or interesting to anyone but me. However after our conversation I realized that this really isn't for everyone else (however it does provide you entertainment). It is really more of an affirmation that my life isn't so bad, and that no matter what, this is my life and I can make of it what I want. So I choose to make the most of it and affirm that life isn't so bad after all.

Now don't think that I have been sitting around in this deep depression or slump of life. There has been tons going on, and I am really enjoying all of it. I wake up every morning ready to take on the day, I tackle obstacles as they come and I try to keep the people around me smiling and enjoying their time on this 3rd rock from the sun. The puzzle piece missing lately has been this little affirmation of life I call my blog...

Couple of things I thought are fresh in my mind worth noting. I am not an American Idol fan. I actually have been quite outspoken about my disdain for this show. I am actually pretty much anti reality T.V. I don't like the whole "who wants to, marry a bachelor, become a rock star, swap, throw away trash" reality formula as of late. However I have been watching, out of default and a large dose of laziness American Idol, since Jen loves it and I don't really want to switch rooms(I do love her company and hate to spend time in another room when time with her is precious). Well, before I get too long winded, last nights last guest hit me in that part of my body that makes you get goose bumps and express an audible "Awwww". Well the show was almost over and I was ready to express my normal editorial on the show (a recent addition to my usual editorials) and Chris Medina hits the stage. They gave his back story about him and his fiance and I thought "typical Idol fodder" and then they hit me in that spot. OMG...I didn't see that coming. My favorite line from him was when he said "I was about to commit my sickness and in health, until death do us part...what kind of man would I be if I left now". Wow! What a man. Then after his audition he went and got his fiance and Steven Tyler said to her, "he sings so beautiful because he sings to you all the time". Who would have known S.T. had such a big heart! Good Luck Chris may be the reason I actually choose to watch Idol 2011. (If you didn't see it, you need to google it, Youtube have to see it, follow the links: and additionally Sorry you will have to cut and paste)

I am reading a book right now, called "90 Minutes in Heaven". It is a story about a man who was involved in a horrific car accident and died for 90 minutes and it is the story of what he experienced before, during and after that accident. It is somewhat of a "religious" read, but it is also a general "eye opener". If you get your hands on it, it is worth the read. If you get what I am getting out of it, it will make you appreciate what you have in life and how precious life really is. We all know that there is an innate human desire to preserve life, but so often that desire only kicks in when there is tragedy...lets not forget the "walking wounded" in life. Let's all try to take a little better care of each other.

On the radar in my life coming up...reading to Sharkboy's class and talking about being a fireman. Florida! My usual winter trek to Florida is right around the corner. I can't wait for 6 days of Sun, Golf, Fun, visiting with great friends and General Decompression.

Well, until next time...

Be Kind, Be Safe...

Shalom my Peeps!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

It is what it is...

Hey blog readers...according to my calculations, it has been 5 weeks since my last blog. Since then, there have been many changes in my life. So I think it is about time to put a little update. So here we go, and here is to hoping it doesn't get too long winded...

First and foremost is changes at work. No, I didn't change jobs, and no I am not in trouble. I applied for a promotion to Battalion Chief. I didn't end up getting it, but it opened my eyes to all the things I would like to see unfold in my career and was a great time to reflect on my everyday activities at work and tweek things a bit to make my days better and more productive. Well in the midst of the process I was moved to another shift. Same hours for those non-fire people that are reading, just different days. It was neccessary due to the promotions that occured. So now I have a new Battalion Chief and a new partner and not least of all I have a new shift. It is somewhat bittersweet though. I really liked the guys I worked with, and it is difficult to express either way (good or bad) how I feel about the shift change. On one hand, I am excited about the new opportunities, but on the other I am, like most, fearful of change. So I just have to gauge my responses to people so I don't hurt anyones feelings.

Jen and I celebrated on Nov. 14th our 12th Wedding Anniversary. She truly is a blessing in my life. If you know me, I am not affraid to say this to anyone. She is the best in every way to me. I could go on and on, but someone along time coined a phrase that sums it up...I Love Her. We went to Indy and hung out with friends. We had pizza, played pool, ate sushi enjoyed some drinks, smoked a cigar, and many great conversations. Sharkboy stayed home on this trip and got some great time with Mimi and Papa. It was a great weekend, and I look forward to celebrating many more anniversaries with Jen.

The seasons are changing around here, so that means change for everyone. Beyond the obvious slow down driving, shoveling snow and all the things that go with winter. Christmas season is upon us and we are ready at the Leonard house. Trees are up, Christmas decorations are everywhere and Christmas Elf is making regular visits to Sharkboy. It is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the weather, I love the visits with family and I especially love the fact that all the little projects that I have ignored inside now must be done because there is no avoiding them.

Sharkboy is doing great...he is taking Taekwondo and loving every minute of it. He improves at every practice and he has a lot of opportunities to do extra things there too. Movie nights, sleep overs and individual private lessons. Probably one of the most exciting things that he is looking forward to though is an early Christmas. As a fireman, I often have to work holidays. Due to my shift change I now have to work on Christmas. So Sharkboy entered a "contest" to get an early Christmas. He had to draw a picture and tell Santa why he deserved and early Christmas. Well he recieved his letter from "The North Pole" and he is the lucky recipient of an early Christmas. He is frantically getting his list together so nothing is missed when Santa makes his rounds, early.

Well that should catch you up for until next time.

Be Kind, Be Safe...

Shalom my Peeps!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dad, I want a horse.

Hey blog readers...many times in life, I find myself understanding that on some level my child is becoming me. Well the other day Sharkboy approached me, via telephone, with a question I can remember asking my parents. "Dad, can I get a horse?" Now the question itself conjures memories of innocent dreams and unobtainable wishes. I remember asking my parents if I could get a horse. We lived in a neighborhood, zoned residential and surrounded by the typical suburban American homes. My Dad responded with an emphatic no, and my Mom tried to reason with me. I had visions of having a horse like "Mr. Ed". His barn would be red, his pasture would be right outside my window and my window would swing out like a barn door so he could stick his horse head in and visit me anytime I was in my room. I wasn't an unrealistic child, I knew he wouldn't speak, but we would live forever as friends. My Mom reasoned with me that we couldn't because the yard wasn't big enough, and that horses weren't allowed in the neighborhood. She however left me with this little hope that appeased me on some level to drop this. She simply said, maybe one day if we ever live in a place that would allow such a thing we just might be able to do it. My dad simply said "no, and that is final". No reasoning, no hope, just an emphatic NO from my Dad and that was it. I tried to have a mixed response at my answer to this question, however, him being my son had an answer for everything. I first tried the we don't have enough room argument, he replied he could live in the retention basin and keep the grass short. I then responded with, our barn(or shed by any other standard) was not big enough, his response was we could just get a smaller horse. Then I said we live in a neighborhood and that it doesn't allow horses, his response was that they wouldn't say anything. He then continued with have you seen some of the stuff in this neighborhood, and no body says anything about that. So at this point when I realised that I was matched up against a miniature me, I took my Dad's road at this point...and an emphatic No was expressed. He is a bit heart broken, but seems to understand that for reasons he can not comprehend we aren't going to be getting a horse anytime soon. But for all I know in 30 years he will be posed with this same question and I hope he remembers the hope and dream he once had of having a horse and understands why it some times is not possible to fulfill your child's wish.

On another topic, recently at Notre Dame a student tragically lost his life pursuing a dream of being a journalist. He was a student worker that filmed practices at Notre Dame for the football team. I never knew this young man, and don't pretend to have, but it is still tragic. From all outward appearances this appears to be a very preventable accident. He was on a scissor lift 30+ feet in the air in very windy conditions(25+ mph sustained winds). Long story short, the scissor lift blew over and he was mortally injured. There are many comments out there about why was he up there, why would anyone put a person in that sort of peril, etc... I have many of those same questions, but foremost in my mind is his family and friends. Tragidy has no warning and I hope his family finds peace and I hope that his friends can do the same. It is never a good time to lose a loved one. So take a minute in your busy day, appreciate what you have, and say a little prayer for his family and friends that they find peace in this very tragic lose.

Enjoy your weekend everyone. Go Irish!

Be Kind, Be Safe,

Shalom my Peeps!