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July 28, 2006

David vs Goliath

My Minnesota Twins are right in the thick of things. Many people including me had them written off for dead back towards the end of June. However, since the beginning of June they have amazed everyone who knows anything about baseball.

I see the Twins in similar fashion to a kid in school that comes from a working family. You know the kids whose parents make enough to get by but no room for frills. The kid whose clothes are purchased from Target or the outlet malls. Sneakers come from Payless or maybe Samís Club. Despite all that he just shines at school and does his best to irritate the rich kids.

Basically itís a feel good story to see this small market team competing with the big spenders. They did it back in 1987 and again in 1991. Just maybe they can do it again in 2006.

Go Twins.

July 24, 2006

Lovin it!

A lot of time you really look forward to something and than when you get it you end up finding out it wasnít that big of a deal. Donít you just hate that?

That is certainly not true of being a Grandpa. I really like this grandpa thing tremendously. My grandkids of course are the greatest so itís pretty easy. This past weekend I was able to spend time with both the grandson and the granddaughter.

Since my granddaughter is just barely over a month old thereís not a whole lot of chasing required. Basically with her, it is quality quiet time. While I hold her she looks up with her beautiful brown eyes. Eyes that I am sure will make me melt when I need to be called upon for something. Right now she is as content as any baby could be. In due time that will all change and she could be just as hard to keep up with as her cousin.

Our grandson is as active as any toddler could be and then some. This little guy could easily do circles around the energizer bunny. If there is something that needs to be investigated, he will investigate it. If it can be climbed, he will climb it. He is quick to learn so you need to be careful if he is watching you do things because he will try it too. The little guy certainly gives me a good workout.

Now I look forward to the days when they get old enough to go on trips with just grandpa. Thereís no doubt it will be well worth the wait.

July 20, 2006

Ups and Downs

There are many mysteries in life and I am struggling with one. That is you can put weight on with relative ease. To lose it is another story. Just one of those things that I will never understand.

A few years back, I think about 2 Ĺ, I was up to 230 pounds. Than a couple of things happened that prompted me do something about it. One was my son was getting married and I didnít think I would look good in photos at 230. The other was when one of my wifeís day care kids said ďGeez you got a big bellyĒ. Talk about a wake up call or hitting a brick wall that was it.

I bit the bullet and said the heck with male pride, I joined Weight Watchers (WW) to try and turn things around. Joining WW was probably one of the best things that I have ever done for myself. I lost about 25 pounds in the first 4 months and than a bit more after that. I certainly felt a lot better than I had before and all was well for the most part.

After about a year on the WW plan I hit the dreaded plateau and pretty much remained there. I hovered between 195 and 200 for the next year. I was kind of okay with that because I was under that big nemesis 200+ number. I had become too comfortable with the plateau so I stayed there rather than try to go down further.

Towards the end of June and the first part of July I messed up and went back up the mountain. Iím not as high up as I was but I am getting close to half way. Amazing how in two weeks time a person can put on 10 pounds almost without the blink of an eye. Gosh a chip that weighs only a fraction of an ounce in your hand must become a half of a pound once it gets past your mouth. So I am now forced to try and climb back down again.

As I found in the past it takes a lot of discipline to get control of the weight battle. And as we all know discipline is a bit more painful. However, discipline does help turn things around.

So I am engaged in the battle once again. The arseanl of knowledge that I acquired from WW has prepared me for the fight. Iíll get there eventually. I just wish the weight dropped as fast as it climbed.

July 19, 2006

Summer of 2006

Hard to believe that in another month and half fall will be upon us. As I get older it certainly seems the days pass by much more quickly. Looking back and forward a bit I can say itís been a great summer.

The best thing that happened this summer was the birth of our granddaughter. Mira Rae Asha is quite the treasure. She has two very proud parents who are as loving as any parents can be. It is going to be a treat watching her grow up.

Our grandson is at the age this year where he can explore and enjoy the outdoors. Itís a lot more interesting for him than when he was in a stroller or laying on a blanket. Sean has gone on bike rides with his dad and his grand father. He also has seen a number of critters that you find around the lake such as frogs and snakes. I canít wait until next summer to explore more of what nature has to offer Sean.

If you have read my prior posts you will know that I completed a couple of outdoor events this summer. I am blessed to have the ability and health to that kind of stuff. Just being outside is good for the soul.

Another great thing of this summer was the family reunion we attended the week in the beginning of July (see prior post). The history of the family is extremely interesting. I learned a lot and hope to learn more as the years go by. Hopefully we will have more opportunities to get together with the families in future years.

If that was enough, there is still more ahead on this summerís schedule. We have a couple of smaller family reunions yet this month. A trip to Winnipeg is planned in the middle of August. That will be followed up with a scouting event for Tim and Debbie will be attending a wedding of a neighborís daughter. And yes a couple of running events in there too. I would have never thought that so much could be done in one summer.

Iíll have to rest up this winter to be ready for next summer. With three grandchildren and all of our other interests we should have a full schedule next year too.

July 09, 2006

Family Ties

As you get older you find that when you look back you wish you just might have done some things differently. Coming away from this weekend I discovered that yes if I had a do over I would do something different. I would have attended more family reunions of the Niehaus clan.

On Saturday there was what I will call a revival of the Niehaus family reunion. The Niehauses are my grandfatherís family. Years ago they had family reunions on an annual basis. Than I think because of schedules, lack of interest or other things the reunion just wasnít happening. That changed this year thanks to some determined people.

I am not sure how many people attended this gala event but I thought it was a good turnout and hopefully a rebirth for the family gathering. There were a number of families represented. From what I could tell everyone enjoyed themselves.

Each family received a genealogy packet all about the Niehaus family going back several generations. The listing of our family line includes 8 generations. My grandchildren and a few others were listed as the 8th generation of Niehaus descendants. The whole thing was quite fascinating.

One thing is for sure, I will do everything possible to get to these events in the future. I will also encourage my children to accompany me. As I found out there is a heck of a lot that I missed. We just canít let that happen anymore.

Two priceless weekends in a row. Quite overwhelming to say the least.

July 05, 2006

Priceless Weekend

Not too many weekends come along like this last weekend. One item to note it was extended because of the 4th of July. The quality time spent together with the family was priceless.

The weekend started with spending Friday evening with my daughter and granddaughter. Two very precious girls thatís for sure. Granddaughter looks up with her big brown eyes and it makes my heart just melt. Itís just like her mother did when she was little.

Saturday morning was my duathlon event in Duluth. Which I described in an earlier post.

Saturday afternoon was spent with extended family at my father in laws. I barbecued a turkey on the grill while others made side dishes. While doing my cooking a bocce ball game broke out, I finished second. Than we all sat around and enjoyed a great dinner.

Late in the evening my son and I went on one of our deer hunts. When my children were young I would take them on rides through the countryside to spot deer in the fields. Andy and I still enjoy driving around looking for deer. It is quality time at its finest.

Sunday morning Deb and I went to daughterís house. I trimmed trees while daughter supervised and Deb watched our granddaughter. This was the second work project that Kara and I have done at her house. I think we work well together. She sure has a cute place there.

Sunday evening was a lot like the evening before except it was just my family and the father in law on that night. My son did the barbecuing, burgers. Another very good dinner.

Daughter and I went fishing together late that evening. Kara has loved to fish ever since she was little. While fishing we spotted a few deer that came down by the lake. We caught a few fish but most of all it was quality time well spent.

Monday was hoot to say the least. Spent time with grandson in the water. I showed him at 48 years old fun can still be had. He probably wonít remember but he enjoyed seeing grandpa ride a bike off the end of the dock. This day was just a fun day spent with my family.

I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful family.

July 04, 2006

Boyhood Dream Reality

Did you ever fantasize as a kid about being in bike races? That was one of my many fantasies as kid. That fantasy became a reality sort of this past weekend.

A few weeks ago I registered for the first Duluth Dulathon. The dulathon was comprised of a 3.1 mile run, a 20.4 mile bike ride and a 3.4 mile run. I jumped at the opportunity.

Of course in my fictitious bike rides as a youth I finished first, however, I knew in reality that was not going to happen in this event. I went into it with no expectations to speak of. My goals were to finish and enjoy the spirit of the event. Although I finished near the back of the field and last in my age group, I came away walking tall just as if I had finished first.

The two runs were run on cross country ski trails and a snowmobile trail. The trails were through a forested area along the Lester River in Duluth, MN. The setting could not have been any better for an old country boy who loves to hunt and fish.

My finishing time for the whole event was 2:40:30. That was twenty minutes faster than what I thought would be the maximum it would take and about 10 minutes slower than what I thought would be the best I could do. The bottom line was that I finished with a huge smile and very anxious to do it again.

I crossed another item off the list of things that I thought I would never do in life. It really wasn't that hard either.

Even though many have said ďOh I could never do thatĒ actually they can. The problem is people look only at the final trek not the preparation for it. Anyone can accomplish things they cannot imagine themselves doing. It only takes a small step to get started and before you know it, you get there.

Feel free to join me. It will be an annual event for me. So whenever you want just let me know when you want to give it a shot.