Friday, April 30, 2010

Carport Gym Tour

I spent the afternoon assembling my Home Depot axle and then taking it for a test spin, along with a few yoke pickups. I decided to take a few pictures and give all (both) of my readers a quick tour of my home gym setup. I also train at SWAT Gym in Auburn, Alabama for most of my barbell/dumbbell training. On the weekends though my training partners and I usually break out the toys at home and make the neighbors stop and stare.

I got a 1 and 1/2" inside diameter galvanized steel pipe from Home Depot cut to 7'6" and put pipe clamps 17" from the ends. Then I took a chainsaw file and marked the center and the rings 16" from center, just so I would have a reference point. My cheap bumpers fit nicely, as the outside diameter is just under 2". The total cost was about $35 dollars. Now, it isn't a heavy duty, press 450lb. kind of axle, but right now, it's all I need.

Next up is my tire collection. From left to right: 385lb., 540lb., 650lb., 750lb. The 540lb. tire is my go-to conditioning multi flip tire. The 650 is a loaner from my training partner and difficult to flip due to lack of hand holds. The 750lb. is ridiculous, and the day I can bang out a dozen flips on that things is the day I'm somebody. This is actually also a good shot of my yoke that I had made a few years back. It's not adjustable, as it was made for me and my height, it handles 700+ lbs. with ease.

A few stones, a stone mold I should be taking better care of, my homemade frame that has easily taken 650lb. or better for a ride, my homemade tire sled, and my black treasure chest of goodies.

In the treasure chest are a collection of 15kg red Panatta Sport plates (Bill Kazmaier's old equipment company). I bought these from Sue Kazmaier when Kaz Fitness Center closed down in downtown Auburn (boy, that was a good gym). I'm assuming these were some of Bill's collection from back in the day. I've also got my rolling thunder and various other bits and pieces of things in here.

Inside the carport closet I've got a Keg of Sand (~250lb.), a nice stack of 45lb. plates, 50ft. of 1.5" manilla rope, 3 bars, my log and a few other small plates. All in all, I have no excuses for being as weak as I am. It is a pretty good setup.

Finally, here is all my adoring fans. Ladies and Gentlemen I give you Gracie The Wonder Hound. She is 1/3 Bassett Hound, 1/3 Yellow Lab, 1/3 Human Being. And without a doubt the best dog in the world. If the door is open she'll sit and watch until she gets bored, which usually doesn't take very long.

So that's my home gym setup. I feel like I've got a good little place to train. Now if I can just find the time....

Monday, April 26, 2010

Resolution #3

Resolution #3 - I am resolved to never learn a foreign language, no matter how practical or useful it may be.

This resolution is both a compliment to and a consequence of Resolution #1. If I keep Resolution #1 this resolution should be a natural by product, or at least it should be... Unless I go to Texas...

It got old using a primitive monkey sign-language to try and convey to stern, impatient Russians what it was that you wanted... Couple that with just trying to talk louder and use precise diction and A-NUN-SEE-ASHUN hoping that it was not the fact that you both spoke completely different languages, but rather that the person you were trying to communicate with simply had a hearing impairment or that you were a mumbler. It was ridiculous, but we survived.

And I think there was something inside me that just plain felt dirty using the Russian words for "hello", "goodbye", and "thank you"... I felt like a traitor... Everytime I said "Dasvidaniya" I'm sure I felt the same guilt as if I had just lit flame to an American flag.

No more. I'm an American. I speak English. I've got a million other things I would rather learn before I would want to learn how to easily ask somewhere where the bathroom is in Spanish.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Amazing Grace

I woke up early this morning and was in the mood for a little Scottish Pipe Band music. I stumbled across this video of pipe bands from several countries playing Amazing Grace as a finale to a concert in Moscow. It is chilling, but I am certain no finer a song has ever rung out from the courts of Red Square. Enjoy.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Resolution #2

Resolution # 2 - I am resolved to take advantage of as many "all you can eat" wings nights as possible while I do live.

I essentially live in a college town (well, technically in the town adjacent to a college town). Now being so near a major university provides one with almost as many pros as cons. For example, Con - good luck driving anywhere on a Fall Saturday when there is a home football game (War Eagle!), but you have to take the good with the bad. So, I'll tolerate things like mad traffic in exchange for other things like.... Large quantities of cheap delicious food intended to draw college students in to spend money on alcohol. So, in Auburn, Alabama on just about any night of the week you can find some relatively inexpensive all you can eat food specials from the local eating establishments. The most common (and in my opinion delicious) AYCE special is that from the humble lowly chicken wing... I salivate as I type this...

I spent many a Russian evening with my stomach gurgling from hunger wondering why in the world I did not more frequently exercise the opportunity to tee-total stuff myself with the fried, sauce-covered best part of a chicken.

At times I felt like a guy in a movie, maybe trapped in a cave, realizing that death is eminent asking himself why he never married his high school sweet heart, then promising himself if he made it out alive, he would... Fortunately, I married the best woman in the world... So, on those nights, as I wasted away from hunger, all you can eat chicken wings became my high school sweetheart, and I promised myself I would never take them for granted again.

So, save a little bleu cheese and celery sticks for me, Daddy's coming.

The Resolutions - Resolution #1

I'm going to start a new series of posts called "The Resolutions". You may have seen my twitter updates where I began listing various resolutions of things I will or will never do again now that my wife and I have finally returned home from Russia with our beautiful daughter.

While in Russia for a month I was daily taught lessons on how wonderful life is here in America compared to other countries. So this list will serve as a reminder of insights, lessons, and just things that drove me crazy while away. A lot of the have to do with food, and for that I apologize. I lost 23lbs. in Russia, not because I was trying, but because the food was that bad.

Now, this is also a lighthearted take on the Puritan theologian Jonathan Edwards and his 70 resolutions , which are much more edifying and noble than these resolutions will be. Still, I hope you enjoy.

Resolution #1 - I am resolved to never leave the borders of the United States ever again.

Dear Other Countries,
You are not as good as mine. I do not care to see you, your historic landmarks, your tourist attractions, your detailed architecture, your beautiful landscapes, or subject myself to your corrupt government in any way. If I wish to see mountains I will drive to the North or West, and if I wish to see ocean I will drive South. If I wish to experience history I will turn to the appropriate channel on my television or open a book. Finally, I will gladly embrace the label of being narrow-minded and unenlightened by making this resolution.

Zachary E. Boman

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter and Fatherhood Eve

We stood in the Moscow Holiday Inn lobby and waited on our driver, Vitali, to pick us up and head to the airport. We were to catch our flight to Astrakhan, Russia to see our daughter for the first time in three months and finish the process of bringing her home. Like I usually do I looked through the big rack of tourist brochures while we waited. I noticed several pamphlets for “gentlemen’s clubs” and “escort services”. And I guess it was the daddy welling up in me, but I couldn’t help but ask myself “wonder how many of those girls were orphans?”

Had Rebekah remained instutionalized and never received a family, she would be turned out on the street at 16. A reality that could keep me awake at night. The little girl we have loved and cherished for the past three months, years from now, alone in this dimly lit place. Now, some will tell you that after the age of 16 there are opportunities for housing and further education and a variety of other benefits available to the children, but I doubt seriously that there are many successful transitions into the world outside the orphanage through those means. In all reality, prostitution or organized crime is a likely destination for the young men and women that institutions produce, not because the Russian government steers them there, but because a lack of parenting does. I am so thankful that God has brought us here to rescue her from things like that.

My heart is full and overflowing with emotion that our “gotcha day” for Rebekah will coincide very nicely with Easter. We were hoping we would get her on Good Friday, but in a way I find it fitting that her new life will follow the celebration of the resurrection, and not before. Adoption is in so many ways a resurrection. Our adoption and salvation in Christ is the crucifixion of our old self, and the being raised to new life in Him. An event not at all possible had Jesus Himself not been raised.

Tomorrow will likely break Rebekah’s little heart and she will be removed and separated from the only safe and stable thing she has ever known, Baby Home #2. She will be with us forever and she will never again see the wrinkly faces of the Russian caregivers, or the belligerent orphanage director, or the bubbly social worker, all of whom kept her emotional life support until God could bring us to her. Her old life will pass away and a new life will begin, and if she could only know what waits for her on the other side of the Atlantic. The family, the friends, the warmth of her quiet home on Crossley Avenue, and two parents that love her and will pursue her little heart as long as it takes. When that plane lands, an earthly resurrection will be complete.

When Allison and I came here on our first trip in December we went through hell. I have never known fear, trial, and fatigue like I knew it then. We faced many challenges and were subject to many attacks by the enemy. And we came frighteningly close to saying “this is too much” and walking away. And it was only through wise counsel and support of family and the light of God’s grace that we had the clarity to do what God had called us here to do, begin the process of bringing this child home. Now it is my shame that we almost failed to stay the course, but praise be to God that He did not allow us to fall. The Grace of God came with every lost hour of sleep, every frightening diagnosis, every meal missed, every blister on our feet, every tear shed, and every night we lay awake in our own personal Gethsemane asking God “If you are willing, remove this cup from me…”. And that same Grace sits here with me now. Praise be to God Almighty who ushers us through when we are too afraid to go any further.

When we left from that first trip, we left a small picture album, with pictures of Allison and I, and Family, and even Gracie the hound with Rebekah. We wanted her new home to at least be familiar to her in picture. We were told when we came back this trip that it had become her favorite thing. That she would sit in the corner and look at it again and again and again. Allison and I fought back the tears on the playground that day, I have never been filled with more love and heartbreak than I was that day. Oh how I wanted to pick her up and tell her “precious girl, if you only knew...” Little does she know that with those pictures she is merely looking at a mirror dimly, but soon she shall see it all face to face. It will be real, the past will be gone, and she will receive a new life. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

And now Allison and I stand together, holding onto each other and a Resurrected Savior. I am fearless about tomorrow, it will be hard, but in the end we will see the Glory of God unfold in the life of this beautiful little girl.

So, this Easter is special, we will celebrate Christ’s resurrection today, and in a practical way we will celebrate it tomorrow as well. Rebekah will leave everything behind, and we will dress her in new clothes and finally we will step, as a family, beyond those rusty iron gates forever.

Rebekah Grace Boman will walk out of an orphanage tomorrow, because Jesus Christ walked out of a tomb today.