31 July 2012

Treasure at the end of the rainbow

My dearly beloved mostly Finnish spouse celebrates her birthday today. What a treasure I found at the end the rainbow.

27 July 2012

A venerable Huffy in Nisswa

The Huffy in the garden
 My first bicycle was a Huffy Dragster- an early entry in the BMX market for Huffy. Although it could have been a pieced together monster with parts from the Huffy high-rise style bikes.
I don't see many Huffy bikes these days although they were the 3rd largest bike manufacturer in the US during the 1960s. I suspect Schwinn was tops back then. Both companies appear to have produced similar models of bikes through the 1960s to the 1970s.

Huffy started out as a sewing machine manufacturer in 1892 formed by George Huffman. The Huffy name did not really come into existance until the 1950s. Prior the bikes carried the Dayton name- because they were made in Dayton, OH. The name Huffy came from the name of company- Huffman Manufacturing- which the sewing machine manufacturer turned into in 1925.

While on holiday in Nisswa, MN I spotted this Huffy. The bike pictured here is what I believe to be a vintage 1970s men's Huffy 5-Speed Regatta with light. This one looks practically new. It appears to be simliar to the Schwinn Suburbans of the same period.

Huffy probably saw its peak in the mid-80s when US Olympians used Huffys to win medals at the 84 and 88 Olympics. Methinks the bike market was changing and becoming more competitive. Huffy was known for their entry level bikes but competition with imported bikes from Japan and Taiwan with high end features put them in a bind. They weathered the storm by continuing to produce decent entry level bikes. But then bankruptcy in 2004 and leveled them.
They continue to exist. I think they may have some bikes at Wal-Mart, Fleet Farm and Target. I still have a Huffy mountain bike that was made in the US that I bought at Target. Works great. Even has a the quick removable front tire.
These days it looks like Huffy is mostly producing kids bikes and cruisers. 

20 July 2012

Anna and Mark's Wedding Revue: Part 8

Enter the worship circle
By far this had to be the best put together wedding of all time. Quite a production. Maybe if we had a trough of water that was miraclously turned into wine then.....nah. Thanks Mark and Anna!

Will there be a sequel?

Yes! 10 years later. But that is a blog post for another time.
Not many weddings have matched this one for shear uproar. But every wedding is different in its own way.

Anna and Mark's Wedding Revue: Part 7

Dancing brothers
The dancing was pretty popular. Most of my Christian friends were enjoying themselves since the anti-dance squad stayed away from this reception. Hurray! Mark's DJ friends then finished off the night by spinning the hits. None of which I knew although P.O.D. was familar. The crowds began to dwindle after 10pm but the music kept going until after 11pm. Only the most dedicated and sleep depraved stayed. Anna and Mark escaped to the solitude of someplace and I just kept joking around with a multitude of people.

Baptism in the Quetico: Part1

The trip began at French Lk
The following series is a narrative from my first canoeing trip back over a decade ago into the wilderness of the Quetico.

I had been eagerly awaiting this canoe trip to the Quetico for over a year. I had never been on a canoe trip before so I jumped at the invitation to join a friend of mine, Neil, on his annual trek to the Canadian boundary waters. The opportunity to get into the “real backwoods” thrilled me. Joining us were Neil’s wife, Ruth, and David, an adventurous college student [ed. To regular readers of the blog David is the Man of 3 Names.] We started out from Morris, Minnesota at dawn. For eight hours David and I sat in the back of Neil’s Mazda pickup equipped with an old bus seat that smelled like pigs. Our only view from the rear window was of the trailer that carried our supplies and two aluminum canoes. However, this inconvenience seemed minor compared to adventure I expected in the Quetico.

I did not know much about the Quetico. I knew even less about the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota. In my mind I envisioned pristine forests and lakes all easily accessible by short and upkept canoe portages. I also expected to stay clean and dry. Well I was partially right.

Quetico Provincial Park is just north of the B.W.C.A in Ontario. The major difference I am told is the people- there are less of them canoeing and camping in the Quetico wilderness. I would also add that the weather, although above normal on our trip in late May, is a bit cooler. The lake water felt nearly ice cold as all of us discovered by falling into the lake (most by accident and one intentional.). Long sleeves and pants were worn most of the trip.

We arrived at our entry point on French Lake at about three in the afternoon and set off shortly thereafter. About a half-mile from our launching point, we entered Baptism Creek. The slim slithering switchback stream went on forever it seemed. Left then right, left then right—this creek was getting a bit tedious especially when Neil and Ruth got 40 canoe lengths ahead of David and myself. Neil and Ruth were efficient paddlers and knew how to take the turns and navigate the current. My arms were feeling the tension of having to paddle against the strength of the creek. [ed. Who knew I'd be doing this by myself in a few years time.]

Our first obstacle came with a small set of rapids. Neil and David walked the canoes through this section as Ruth and I followed on shore. I unfortunately lost track of Ruth and the creek. I then found the creek but no one in sight until Neil and Ruth came paddling by. I had missed David and the canoe by 200 yards. I hurried back to where we disembarked and bushwhacked as near the creek I could until I saw the canoe.

14 July 2012

The RedHawks game

On July 10th I went to my first RedHawks game of the season. Boxscore here.
Foul ball I caught at the RedHawks game July 10th

The 'hawks were down by 5. The Kansas City T-Bones had mastery over the RedHawks bats. Inning after inning the home team failed to turn on the offense. Fortunately the RedHawks defense kept the game from getting totally out of hand. Plus the pitching improved.

In the bottom of the 5th with 2 outs Ryan Stovall came up to the plate. The first pitch he hit a foul over the the home plate stands. It hit the press box and rocketed down towards my seat and 2 women sitting next to me. In a moment of odd courage I put out my barehand and caught that ball. I had never done that before- catch a foul. The women and my MFW were grateful. The next pitch Stovall eeked out the first hit of the game for the RedHawks. But the RedHawks do not take advantage as Carlo Cota flies out.

It was not until the 8th inning until the RedHawks put some runs on the board- 3 in the 8th and 2 in the 9th to tie up the game and send it into extra innings. We were in for a spectacular finish if the RedHawks kept up the rally.

Top of the 10th. The T-Bones crack a triple with 2 outs. RedHawks change pitchers. And then mow down the next batter with a strike out. Whew. Close one.

Bottom of the 10th. 1st batter is walked. But over the course of the next 2 batters advances to 3rd and in scoring position with 2 outs and vetran 2nd baseman Carlo Cota at the plate. He is down in the count with 2 foul balls. The next pitch he swings- a strikeout.

No, but wait- the catcher drops the ball. Carlo runs to first. The T-Bones catcher throw to the 1st baseman but the throw is a bit wide. Carlo is safe and the winning run crosses the plate.
RedHawks win. Players swarm Carlo.

And I cannot believe what happened. This slightly unusual play seals the victory- and is the 8th consecutive win by the RedHawks.

And you know that has some similarty to the story of Jesus. He certainly appeared to have lost- his followers were scattered, he was crucified and died. But up from the grave he arose- sealing the victory over sin and death, creating the opportunity for you and me to become sons and daughters of God, and so much more. See the Roman Road page on this blog for more information about beginning a relationship with Jesus.

01 July 2012

Convoy of Hope stops in Red River valley

My mostly Finnish spouse and I volunteered a large chunk of time this weekend to an event called Convoy of Hope. It was an event which helped the needy and poor in the area by providing some services like hair cuts and family portraits, connections with community organizations, and some groceries all at no cost.
We helped distribute groceries in hot and humid condtions. We both had some sun burn but it was worth it to to be part of the "convoy."
bagging the groceries with people power

small mounds of groceries