Thursday, November 1, 2012

 Well, It's been months since I last posted. The last time I posted it we were just getting into spring and now we are into fall.

 Alot has happened since I was on here last, I've completed my 2nd season of Highland Games competition ans it went pretty well. I didn't reach all the goals I set for myself but I did hit several of them so overall I'm pretty happy with the way the year went. The most important thing about the season was that we got to spend many weekends with some great people. The big news on the Highland Games front is that they have announced that the 2014 Masters World Championships will be held in Inverness Scotland in September. Vicki and I are already making plans to go both so I can compete but also to fulfill a lifelong dream of both of ours to visit where so many of our family came from. The big question is whether or not we should just do Scotland on this trip or combine it with time spent in Ireland also, fortunately we have about 18 months before we have to really start nailing down plans.

 On the home front our son Sean has started his senior year of high school so we have started the college visit thing along with all of the regular senior year things. I can't believe he's almost ready to graduate and get on with the next phase of his life which also means Vicki and I will also be moving onto the next phase too. We are getting ready to make the last college visit for the fall next Friday and Grand Valley State University near Grand Rapids. Then it is time for alot of talking with Sean about his goals and help him navigate through all the things he has to consider. He is a really good kid with a good head on his shoulders and he has a pretty good idea of what he wants. I think our role will be more of encouragement as he makes his decision.

 It's been almost 2 years since I completed my weight loss journey of 100 lbs and I have done pretty well keeping it off but recently I have allowed a few pounds to creep back on so it's back to the program of really watching what I eat and continued workouts. I have really been exploring eating alot more natural foods and staying away from the processed stuff. I'm struggling a little bit as far as really trying to maintain my weight but still eating enough of the right things to be able to continue to gain strength to improve my performance in the Highland Games. I think it probably of combination of refocusing and realizing that as long as the weight I carry is lean (muscle) versus fat it is OK to weight 235- 240 lbs vs 210 to 220 lbs. You definitely eat differently when you are just trying to lose weight vs trying to gain the strength needed to compete on a high level.  That's it for now I'll try to be a little more regular about posting.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Games are A Comin'

  Well it is March 21 and spring has officially sprung even though it feels like it is summer. We have been in the 70's and even some low 80's for a week now. Another sure sign that is spring is here is that I have been able to start training outside for the highland games competitions this summer already. We practiced outside Sunday and had a great time. I was a little rusty but it felt good to actually start throwing heavy stuff. I have been working hard in the off season to get stronger and on my technique. I t seems to have paid off, in the first practice I threw the weight over bar higher than I did at the end of last season and I have added the double spin to my throws in the heavy and light weights for distance. Those still need ALOT of work but at least I'm using 2 spins and I am throwing as far as I did with 1 spin last year. As I refine the technique I'm sure those distances will become greater so I feel pretty good about where they are right now.

  Last night we had the wrestling banquet for the high school wrestling team and Sean recieved his varsity letter. I'm so happy for him you don't just get your letter in wrestling you really have to work hard for and achieve certain goals. He has worked through illness and some minor injuries to achieve those goals and he is already in the gym lifting to get stronger for next year. He was able to wrestle varsity a few times this season and was able to get a key win for the team in team districts this year. I don't know who was more excited him or me. Well have to get to work more later.

                                                                                        God Bless, Jay

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Robert Burns Scotlands National Poet

  Today is the 253rd birthday of Robert Burns Scotlands National Poet. Here is one of his pieces I'll try to post more later.

                                                  A Bard's Epitaph
                   Is there a whim-inspired fool,
Owre fast for thought, owre hot for rule,
blate to seek, owre proud to snool,
Let him draw near;
owre this grassy heap sing dool,
drap a tear.

Is there a bard of rustic song,
Who, noteless, steals the crowds among,
That weekly this area throng,
O, pass not by!
But, with a frater-feeling strong,
Here, heave a sigh.

Is there a man, whose judgment clear
Can others teach the course to steer,
Yet runs, himself, life's mad career,
Wild as the wave,
Here pause-and, thro' the starting tear,
Survey this grave.

The poor inhabitant below
Was quick to learn the wise to know,
And keenly felt the friendly glow,
And softer flame;
But thoughtless follies laid him low,
And stain'd his name!

Reader, attend! whether thy soul
Soars fancy's flights beyond the pole,
Or darkling grubs this earthly hole,
Know, prudent, cautious, self-control
Is wisdom's root.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Lazy Sunday

 This week has been a busy week, the weather was lousy most of the week to the point that Tuesday I was stuck in the middle of the road in Roscommon in a semi. I couldn't move forward or backward and after using 50 lbs of salt (to no avail) I had to get a wrecker to get me moving.In almost 20 years of driving it is only the second time I have needed a wrecker and if I can't get it moving with 50 lbs of salt you know it is bad out. Sean had a wrestling tournament on Friday and he wound up 2-2. I don't think he was very happy with the way he wrestled he seemed pretty frustrated afterwards. He did some things really well and in one match the kid he was wrestling just wound up with a fluke win sometimes that happens in wrestling when you are doing everything right and the kid you are wrestling just happens to get a quick pin call from a ref. The coaches and I still can't figure out how the kid reversed Sean the way he did. I'm not sure who was more surprised Sean or the kid he wrestled. The other thing he had going against him is that he was wrestling kids bigger than him ( in a round robin tourney they match the kids up in groups of 4 or 5 according to weight and Sean wound up in a group where 2 of the kids outweighed by about 25 lbs and that makes a huge difference. overall this has been his best year yet.

  In other news on the 25th of this month it is Robert Burns 253rd birthday he was the national poet of Scotland and in honor of his birth I will post some of his poetry on here Wed even if you haven't read Burns you have heard his poetry before he wrote Auld Lang Syne along with many other great poems. Other than that I have started to prepare for the Highland Games season that is coming up I am already signed up for Alma this year over Memorial Day weekend. That is the same weekend as the Masters World Championships in Greenville SC. I feel a special affinity for Alma as it was my first games ever last year and I appreciate Holly taking a chance on me. I am looking forward improving my finish this year I'm hoping for a top 5 finish but with the Masters Worlds that same weekend  I don't really know who is going to be there. I do know several of the guys I normally throw against are planning to go to MWC so I may be throwing against a whole different group of people than I normally do. As for training I am going to cut back on my Wed workouts and just do light weight training and focus more on cardio and flexibility and get prepared to start throwing as soon as the snow is gone. Well that's it for now gotta get ready for the AFC and NFC championship games. My picks are New England and San Francisco. I would love Jim Harbaugh to get to the Superbowl in his first year as an NFL head coach.

                                                                                                          God Bless, Jay

Friday, January 13, 2012

Life In January

  Well we got the first storm of the new year last night. We got about 8 inches of snow in the driveway and the temps have plummeted from the mid 40's Wednesday to the low teens today, oh well welcome to northern Michigan. Things have been pretty quiet round here this past week just the usual stuff. Wednesday Vicki and I travelled to Petoskey to watch a 3 way wrestling meet between Gaylord, Petoskey and Traverse City Central. Gaylord wrestled Petoskey first. This was a big match with not only conference standings on the line but Petoskey is also in our district along with Ogemaw Heights so district seedings were at stake. I glad to say the kids wrestled well and beat the Northmen 44-21. This always a big match for both schools as for many years Gaylord and Petoskey have had the premier wrestling programs in northern Michigan. Both teams are extremely young this year so we weren't really sure what to expect. Next Gaylord wrestled TC Central and Gaylord totally dominated them a perfect team score in wrestling is 84 points ( 14 pins) we beat Central 83-0 with the one match being a technical fall (when winning by fifteen points or more the match is stopped kinda like the mercy rule in baseball.) The team seems to be starting to peak at just the right time. Sean also turned 17 on Wed. He was pretty bummed that he had an away match that day but he gave himself a pretty nice birthday present by pinning a kid from Petoskey. I am so proud of my son he has grown up into quite the young man he is a very good student, he cares for others and he is developing into a pretty good athlete. He struggled with asthma until just a couple of years ago he wasn't able to do so much of what the other kids were able to, but now he has learned to cope with it and has come to realize that he can be involved in physical stuff and excel. Now he talks about getting stronger for next year and what he can do to improve going into next season.

  Cabin fever is starting to set in for my highland games buddies and myself, we haven't competed since Oct and we are all getting the itch to throw sticks and stones. We are all getting together for a "kilted dinner" in Feb. That's right, all of us big burly men put on our kilts and along with our significant others go out to dinner and just have a blast visiting with each other. On the games front we are starting to get things organized for the coming summer the Alma games is Memorial Day weekend and I am already signed up. This will be my second year competing and I have set my goals pretty high. We did find out this week that Midland isn't having a games this year and we were all pretty disappointed however, we did hear of a possible new festival in Petoskey and I know a friend of mine is putting one on in Spring Lake so there are some new possibilities.  Along with the turning of the year and games schedules coming out the trash talk is starting up again. Maybe starting up isn't the right phrase perhaps ramping up is better as the talk never really stops it just slows down a little. This is a great bunch of guys I throw with and I am honored they accepted me into their group. Well that's it for now.

                                                                        God Bless, Jay

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Years Resolution

Well I've been horrible about posting this past year so my resolution for 2012 is to be More consistent in blogging this year. Since I last posted anything I have completed my first year of Highland Games competitions. I competed in 7 games in 2011 learned alot, made great new friends and had a blast. My first competition was Memorial Day weekend at the Alma Highland Festival, I was amazed I was able to get in there on my first attempt. My goals in this games was to 1) not embarrass myself and 2) learn what I could from the other competitors. I succeeded in both. I finished last in my age group but I acquitted myself well. I didn't finish last in every event and picked a caber in competition for the first time. I didn't turn it but I picked it. ( For those of you that don't know a caber is literally a tree that is usually 17 to 20 feet long and weighs 90 to 120 lbs. You pick it up from the top and balance it in your hands, run with it and try to flip it end over end.) Picking it was a big deal because I had only picked a much smaller caber in practice and never a full sized one. I 4 more competitions in June and July and I finally started to come into my own at the Gaylord games  on July 23. I would up taking second in my age group and turned the caber for the first time in competition. It was really a close competition for second coming down to the last event Weight over bar. I wound up taking 2nd by one point over my buddy Ken. In Kalamazoo I actually won my first event in the sheaf toss clearing 22 feet. (where that came from I don't know I haven't cleared that in a comp since and in practice a hand full of times since then.) I struggled in a couple of events I don't normally struggle in and wound up 4th that day. The final games of the year was Oct 1 at the Red Flannel Games. I had a pretty good day setting a Personal best in the hammer and taking 3rd overall I missed 2nd by a point. Over all I was very pleased with my first year of competition. As I said I had fun and learned alot but most importantly I made some great new friends, Highland competitions are the only contests I've been in where your competitors help you to improve your game often to the detriment of themselves. It is really more like family than competition.and every time we get together it is like a family reunion. I want to thank everyone that has helped me this year particularly Dale and Jason who pushed me in practice 2 days a week and encouraged me when  I would get discouraged and Mark, Ken, JT and all the other geezers out there throwing big heavy things because we can you have all become like brothers to me and I can't wait for next season to start.

Kalamazoo Weight Over Bar

Kalamazoo Caber

Saline Hammer PR 65 Ft

The crew who threw at Gaylord great people.
 On the family front Vicki is right there with me at all the competitions and has even become involved with score keeping and has developed some great relationships with the other wives and girlfriends. My son has helped out at games shagging weights and setting cabers and all the guys really appreciate him helping and ask if he is going to throw someday. Vick is busy with her quilting and Sean is almost 17 and really starting to develop his own life (ie: friends, girlfriends, sports etc.) Well that's it for now I'll try to keep up on this this year.