Monday, August 31, 2009

Some much needed thanks...

This past Saturday was my birthday, and we decided to throw a little party for my 26 years well spent on this earth. It turns out that it was a birthday weekend instead of just a party and I really feel like I need to express some deep thanks and gratitude to those who tried so hard to make it such a great time.

Tara and Mark, You guys drove all the way down from Houlton and partied with me Friday night, got me completely hammered and bought me an amazing 32" flat panel t.v.(which btw, is (f***ING AWESOME!) and ontop of it you still had to get up and leave at 5 am to make it to work.

Gene and Darrel, Gene I have to especially thank you for driving the long 3 hours, overcoming some tough emotions, breaking through the walls and swallowing it all so you could come down and spend not only my birthday with me but your own. Oh, and I will have that camper, oh yes, it will be mine!

T.J. and Deeds - You guys are awesome, I mean come on, who else would go through Gallblader surgery on Friday and then still drag themselves up and soldier on to still make it to a friends birthday on Saturday, only you Deeds, thank you!

Rob - It was your busiest weekend in this entire year, and you probably could of been doing a thousand other things to get ready for your show but you still took a few hours to come see me (and laugh at me) and you proved yet again why you really are my brother and best friend.

Lloyd and Debbie - I know its quite a haul up here, especially in less than prime weather but you still managed to make it and atleast spend part of the day with me. oh and thanks for the snausages, Deb!

Heather - never has a person tried so whole heartedly to make me happy. No one has ever gone to such lengths to give me what I want, how I want, when I want. You really are amazing hun and I know I never say it enough but thank you so much for what you do for me. I love you!

I could go on and on with this list and thank everyone for all their kind words, and I do, I truly appreciate every single person who wished me a happy birthday, it was these people I listed and all of you that made it one of the best birthdays ever.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Are you ready??

Infact, I think I am. With some helpful ideas from some friends and unending support from them as well as my wife, things are starting to move along in a big way. On Tuesday night my wife and I sat down and hammered out a thorough/brutal but well rounded work out routine that will carry me every other day for the next year. Since I don't really have any equipment yet we have been getting my training started with a 2.5-3 mile walk each night after work.

However, equipment will be on its way here tomorrow. A friend and coworker of mine gave me a hella good deal on a big universal weight machine that has every one of the possible exercises that I might need for my upcoming events. Combine that with the exercise bike we have and the punching bag for even more cardio, I am hoping to be in the best shape of my life by this time next year.

The fun doesn't stop there though. I said that the work out routine would take me through every other day. To fill in the gaps, with the help of my best friend and wife, we are laying out a course on the spread of our property. There will be a spot for me to practice my weight for distance and stone puts, as well as the 30ft high pole bar to practice the sheaf toss and weight for height. The only one that might present a challenge will be the caber toss...because of the size, height and distance needed for the event, I might have to ask my boss if I can practice in the field behind the mill some nights. I'm sure I'll figure out a way to make it work.

I took a trip to the gravel pit the other night and spent a little over an hour weighing and testing out an assortment of different throwing stones ranging from 16.6 lbs to 29lbs. I will hopefully picking up some burlap sacks and a couple bales of hay this week. The only thing really holding me up is the weights. I really wanted to purchase my weights so they are more "official", more like what Id actually be throwing, but the 56lb weight that I need for 2 of the events is at least $180.00 and the 26lb I need is another $120.o0. It's a lot of money that we don't really have to be investing in the such right now but I am trying to figure out ways to make my own reasonably cheaply, unfortunately everything we come up with costs near the same.

I am going to apologize to some of you. I know you are probably going to get sick of reading about these games and my training but I ask you to understand this. This thing right here, these highland games are the...and I mean the only big thing I have ever done for just myself. Everything I have ever done in all my memories has been done with someone else in mind. And that includes going back to school. Yes, I do want to go back to school, but its so I can make a better life for not just me but my wife, its to make her, my friends and especially my parents proud. Not only do I want this, I need it...I need to prove to myself that I can do it. That I can walk the walk.

Going back to the aforementioned for a moment. School is going really well. I am a little behind schedule but I am going to be taking some extra time at night to get caught up and even get ahead a little bit. So far I am really pleased with the classes and the programs that the Adult Ed uses. By this time next summer I will be completely done all my prerequisites. There has been a slight change of plan however. I was truly hoping that when I went back to school it would be full time, that I would get by on a part time job and I totally dedicate my days to school. That is not going to happen, atleast not for the first couple years. My wife and I have talked about it and agreed that it would probably be best if I kept working full time for the first couple years and took night classes to get all the basics and such out of the way. Its fine I guess, I'm still going to school and thats all that matters.

For now, I have to go to work. There is clean up to be done and a garage to destroy when I get home. This week is going to be a hectic one, my 26th birthday party is next saturday ((BTW, whose coming?!?)) and the house, lawn and garage is a complete wreck. We have family showing up Friday so I lose a day there. So for the next 4 days, wish me luck.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A step...or rather a toss in the right direction

This past Saturday my wife and I attended the Maine Highland Games and Scottish Festival. First off I should mention that this is something that I have wanted to do for YEARS and for some reason never did. There is a lot of Scottish heritage in my family and is something I am very proud of. The colors of my kinsmen runs through my veins as much as the blood does. I also have a deep love of the general culture of all the british isles.

We got there as the gates opened and from the first moment, for the first time in what feels like my whole life, I found a place that I felt like I actually belonged. People there were so inviting and friendly that it really made me take a step back. Now you have to understand, I have lived in the same town my entire life, I know EVERYONE and EVERYTHING about EVERYONE and I dont feel like I belong here.

The day went perfectly walking from tent to tent, talking to all the different historical societies and the different clans that came to fly their colors and represent their families. Eventually we made our way down to the sports field and had a seat on the knoll to watch the competetitors go at it. As I watched them throwing the stone (the mideval version of shotput) and throwing the sheaf (tossing a hay bale) I realized how much fun it looked. Now dont get me wrong, these people are true athletes and train hard for these competitions, but it looked fun and I wanted to do it. I couldnt compete that day for obvious reasons but as we walked around the rest of the day I mentioned the idea to Heather and with her support I made the decision. Starting today I am going to be a Highland Games Competitor. I have months of training ahead which is kind of perfect since their season is drawing to an end but next August 21st, I will walk on to the Topsham Fair Grounds wearing my family's colors and compete as an amateur in the Scottish Heavy Events.

I am asking all of you, my friends and family to support me in this. I will need every bit of encouragement I can get. Some kind words as well as some screaming at me may be necessary cause the road will be rough and the training will be a death sentence endured but in the end I believe with all my heart it will be worth it.

I am hoping in time if I achieve any amount of success that maybe I can travel to different games across the country and maybe even one day compete in Scotland as an amateur. If anyone has any questions or wants to know anything about this, please, please feel free to ask...Ill do my best to answer anything.

As I was thinking about this today, which I admit, I did all day, I thought of this line to end this with.

There is a good chance I will fail, There is a better chance I will succeed, but this is the BEST chance I've ever had to be the man I have always wanted to be.