Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry Christmas--late

We just got back from NE this evening. It was a good trip, kids had lots of fun and of course Christmas. Getting to NE was an adventure. We got started late on Saturday--another story another day--and ended up in bad weather. Rain from Columbia, then ice in KC which changed to snow going up I-29. The roads were bad and my parents called to say they heard I-29 was closed north of St Joseph MO. We were still about 20 miles out at that point(give or take a few miles). The interstate was basically down to one lane and it was about 35 miles an hour on it. We realized after the call that we had to stop for the night, the call came through around 2:30 or 3. Well there really wasn't anywhere to stop until St Joes. The Fawcett exit said it had lodging, but as we came up to the ramp there was a semi and 4 cars stopped on the ramp already. The ramp was also up hill, so I figured that was a no go, I wasn't sure we could even get off the ramp much less find a hotel/motel around there & if we did it would probably already be full.

Instead I stopped underneath the overpass at the Fawcett exit to clean my wipers. While doing this my driver's side wiper snapped and fell of the wiper arm. I was just stunned, I didn't know what to do. I thought about backing up to the ramp, but just could't do that. I thought about waving down someone to stop, but how they would help I didn't know. I gave a little thought to changing the passenger side to the driver's side, but I couldn't figure out how to put them on when I bought them and had to have the parts store clerk do it--I guessed there was no way I could do it in icy, snowy, windy conditions. Finally the revelation hit me, I had duct tape in the van. This was leftover from our camping trip in August or July--I know I am lazy about putting things away. I was able to duct tape the broken wiper to the wiper arm and it worked, there was only a 2" area that wouldn't clean completely. This was the start of our good luck.

Once back on the road, we were headed to St Joes again. There was a lot of traffic on the interstate and I was worried that even if we did get off at an exit we wouldn't be able to find a room or worse a parts store for new wipers. Worst case was the wiper failing and the duct tape not solving it and next worse was not getting a room and having to stay at a 24 hour McDonalds or something. Well, we came upon I-229, the inner belt for St Joe, I knew it goes to the older part of the town. I had been down in that section once, just driving around, but that had to be over 15 years before. I reasoned though that there had to be something that way and that anything off I-29 was probably already full. We took I-229 with a couple of other cars behind me. It was several exits and miles before we saw St Joe and then it was hard to see much. Finally, Debbie saw a Holiday Inn and we took the next exit. I went probably a mile down the road off the exit and found an O'Reilly's Auto Parts store. Stopped in there and bought new wipers and a scrapper with a brush. Pleading incompetence I had the 20 something female store clerk install our new wiper blades. They also gave me the yellow pages and I called Holiday Inn and was told they had plenty of rooms still at that time--around 4pm I think. The clerk gave me directions and we found the hotel and got our room. We were also able to get food from the Holihans in the hotel as well. Those events are the kinds of things where you really realize that someone is watching over you and your family.

We made it to my parent's house on Sunday then and had a good time. I will probably fill in other details and stuff later. Well, I am going to try and read some more of my book, The Looking Glass War tonight. I have set a goal to finish this book before the end of the year, I want to be able to put it on my Books Read 2007 list. I haven't read Cell in over a week. I wasn't able to get as much reading in as I would normally have at home, stayed up late talking rather than reading.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

TV Stuff

This is kind of a good night for me. Sunday was the final Survivor, at least for a while I hope and tonight was the last Biggest Loser. I am sure new series will be coming on eventually of these, I just hope I get a month or two off. I really hate these shows, but my wife is just addicted to them. This brings us to one of our normal fights--our needing a 2nd TV, along with this goes needed a dual tuner & Tivo. So far my wife doesn't see the need for this, but as I pointed out, she is usually the one that gets to watch her shows and I don't fight it. Of course with a 2nd TV she is worried there will be less family time and less playing with the kids time. That could be, but since these are not issues when her shows are on, I don't see why they should be issues when it comes to my shows. Oh well, I guess I am just going to have to make this happen once we get back from Christmas in NE.

I have been fighting a cold the last couple of days. It seems like it is breaking up some now finally. I didn't run on Monday instead did a little, actually very little, Christmas shopping. I was supposed to also go tonight but that didn't work--too many schedule problems--had to work late & then be home to take Rose to her Cello receital at 6:30. I don't know if I will get a run in this week or not and with being in NE next week for Christmas there might not be a run then either. My marathon training is now looking a little shaky. I need to get something in, I just don't see where yet unless I wake up early to do so & that is a big maybe at this point.

I don't know there are probably other things I should be typing about but just not too inspired to do so now. Just kind of enjoying listening to some Rolling Stones while checking stuff on the internets. I don't know why I haven't listened to more music while on the computer in the past. My son always likes hearing music when he is in the basement playing especially if I am down here--Simon & Garfunkel is usually the first one he asks for, Hey Hey(better known as Mrs. Robinson to everyone else) & Rock are his two favorites. Then America, Today by Neil Diamond usually comes next. I usually make him listen to the most of the CDs as well.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Snow & more snow

Before getting into the normal happenings with me, I first want to mention the comment from my last entry. Peter Golenbock, the author, left a short and witty comment. Thank you for the comment. This is one of those things that just amazes me about computers and communication in today's world. Since most of the books I end up reading are used and dated, it is things like this that remind me how connected and in touch with the world we can be.

Snow is the news of the day. It snowed early and again late. Not sure what the final total will be but I would guess 6-8 inches. We were able to get the kids out and play in the snow for an hour or so right before lunch. We goofed off in the backyard--made a snowman, pulled the kids in a sled, hit the swings, snowball fight, etc and then to the frontyard. In our front yard we have a small hill that is good for a little sled ride. Angie didn't really like it, it was her first time trying this. Thomas & Rose loved it. Rose eventually got tired or realized hot chocolate was inside and went in to join Angie & Mom. Thomas kept at it and at it. It was a lot of fun.

By the way, we received a copy of the Down Syndrome Calendar for this from the St Louis Down Syndrome Association and were surprised to see Thomas had a photo in there. We never did get around to submit one so this was really unexpected. I had taken Thomas to the Spring BBQ in May and they had an action photo of him dancing.

Well, my wife just called down the steps to say Thomas is awake, so I will be cutting this short and trying to get him back into bed. Good night.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Reading & '07 List

Just finished, How to Talk Back to Your Television Set by Nicholas Johnson. It was actually a decent read something I didn't expect. I thought it would be a lot more technical and textbookish. It was mostly an easy read. The reason I wanted to read this book, other than seeing it in used bookstores for many, many years, is that the way technology has exploded in these areas it seems in my lifetime. It was interesting to hear about cable TV at its beginnings and how it was then being argued if it should even be allowed in the big cities. Also the mentions of satelite TV, I wasn't aware the tech was around then either. This book was published in 1970, just to give you a year to base stuff off of. The book did have a lot of the '60s idealism, where you could for a group and overthrow the establishment type thought. It also touched on, but not really directly, the movement of blacks becoming more involved/forcing their involvement into the whole communications sector. Overall the book was better than expected, but that isn't exactly saying much in that I had pretty low expectations going in.

The Looking Glass War has kind of been pushed to the side the last few days, while I made my push to wrap up the TV book. I also have not started the S King book Cell yet either. It is late so won't be starting it tonight but might try to do a couple of pages in the Looking Glass.

By the way, one thing that I started doing since 1997 is keeping a list of books that I have read each year. I think it is kind of fun to look back at what I have read and also see how long it has been since I have read some of my favorites. The TV book is #15 for this year--a very good year for me. Here is the list for this year(one of these days I think I will probably put all of the lists since '97 in this blog).

2007 Books Read List
1. The Brothers Karamazov--Fyodor Dostoevsky, 936 pages
2. Finishing Strong--Steve Farrar, 218 (Gift from Pujols Foundation)
3. Adventures in the Mainstream--Greg Palmer, 315
4. The Story of the Confederacy--Robert Selph Henry, 470 (Hardback)
5. Summer of '49--David Halberstam, 322
6. Watership Down--Richard Adams, 475
7. One of Ours--Willa Cather, 459
8. My Brother, Ernest Hemingway--Leicester Hemingway, 256
9. The Light in the Forest--Conrad Richter, 117
10. Atlas Shrugged--Ayn Rand, 1084
11. The Bronx Zoo--Sparky Lyle & Peter Golenbock, 300
12. The Red Pony--John Steinbeck, 120
13. Hemingway and Jake--Vernon(Jake) Klimo & Will Oursler, 223
14. The Biography of Ancient Israel--Ilana Pardes, 160 (Hardback)
15. How to Talk Back to Your Television Set--Nicholas Johnson, 209

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Week 2 of Training

This is the 2nd week of marathon training--which I still haven't quite talked myself into doing the marathon yet. Monday was raining & cold, so I went to the Community Center and put in 2 miles while the kids were at PSR. My schedule was only calling for 2 miles so no problem, but I would rather run around the neighborhood--saves me about 15-20 minutes in drive time which means another 1.5-2 miles I can get in.

Took Tuesday off and did 3.3 today(Wed) at the high school track. It was cold, but at least no rain. I didn't push it too hard or anything, think my miles averaged around 11:40 or so. I am off Friday so I might look to do my long run that day instead of Saturday. Saturday is supposed to be in low 30s or 20s all day. The long run is supposed to be 9 miles.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Not much

Not much to talk about today. Youngest was running a fever most of today so that kind of screwed up the plans we did have for today. It was Breakfast with Santa after Mass today and then we were supposed to do lunch & birthday party for a niece. I did get to see some of the Rams game today, Berlin looked like a serviceable type QB for the couple of series I saw. The type of player to have as your 3rd QB or 2nd QB at this point in the season. Rams just aren't very good team right now. At least we should get a decent draft pick out of this and 2 if you count the high 2nd round pick.

No running today. Might try to do a few situps & pushups yet before going to sleep. I don't have any kind of crosstraining figured into my training plan, but I want to do a few of these at least once a week. I know I should be doing some lifting, it would help me lose about 10-15 pounds, which would probably make my running a little better as well.

Freezing rain is supposed to be here. I haven't looked out and won't until the morning. I have a short comute to work, only around 5 miles so I shouldn't have any problems really. Of course being an insurance adjuster means that this will be a busy week for me because of this weather.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Vaseline good

Update on running. I got 3 miles in at the Community Center on Thursday after work. It was freezing rain out so I figured running indoors was the safest bet. I had eaten too much that day so those 3 miles was a real struggle. I had hoped to get another short run in on Friday, but my wife was feeling kind of sick and ended up sleeping most of the day, so no run for me.

Today, well Saturday, I got my long run in of 8 miles. It was raining(more than a sprinkle but not a downpour) and in the mid 30's temp wise. At least it wasn't really windy. The run was good, the first 6 miles I kept under 12 min and the last 2 were in the 12:20 range. I think overall I was just under 12 min miles. The only bad thing was I forgot to put vaseline on my nipples and they are very sore and raw. I know better but I guess since I hadn't done a long run in so long I just wasn't thinking. Rest of my body feels good though. So far training is going okay.

I finally finished my book, The Biography of Ancient Israel. Some interesting stuff, but it was more like a textbook overall so to me it was kind of hard to pull out anything really useful. While I have studied and enjoy learning about Israel, this book really referenced The Bible, something I am just not very familar with. I have not read The Bible, something that I should do I know. Finishing this book now I have 14 books read in 2007. Hopefully I can still get one more finished in this under a month left.

I am now reading, How to Talk Back to Your Television Set by Nicholas Johnson and The Looking Glass War by John LeCarre. I also have grabbed and am carrying around Cell by Stephen King--I haven't started it yet but probably will in the next couple of days. I read LeCarre's Bourne book a couple of years ago and liked it, so when I saw this one as one of those 3 for a dollar books, it was pretty easy to buy. I have had a for a couple years now and have finally given it a chance. So far so good. I just looked and it was Ludlum who wrote the Bourne book, oops. Well I am still going ahead with The Looking Glass War even if I don't know/haven't read anything else by this author.

On the Television book, I have remembered seeing this book in used books stores ever since high school--the mid 1980s. I again bought it as a 3 for a dollar book, probably one of those times I found 2 and needed a 3rd for the deal--otherwise they are 50 cents each. It was written in the early 1970s and has a chapter about cable TV which I thought was interesting in that I didn't know it was around back then. Not all that exciting so far, but I didn't really expect it to be. It was kind of seen as my replacement of that Israel book--more textbookish.

Cell by Stephen King, kind of sounds like The Stand. I remember reading The Stand over the summer in high school and really enjoying it. It was at that time I really was into reading King, I read the Talisman, The Dead Zone, Firestarter, short story book Different Seasons and the Shining and probably a couple others I can't remember. I kind of quit reading King though because I thought his stories and characters seemed to similar from story to story. I don't know how I ended up with this copy of Cell, I think my mom may have given it to me but not really sure. I kind of figure it is time to read another King story and see if I can get sucked back in.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


I like watching sports and movies, through in some history channel or discovery channel and that is most of my TV viewing. My wife is a big fan of most of the reality shows on TV. The Biggest Loser, Survivor, Amazing Race, the Apprentice(if it comes back), some of the nanny shows, the teardown & rebuild a house show that I can't remember the name of--you get the picture. There really haven't been many TV shows that we both enjoy lately. Life on NBC is the exception. It is one show that we both want to watch. There were two new episodes this week, and some of the on-going story lines are being filled in while more are being made. A good show that is generally kind of fun to watch.

By the way we are a 1 TV household, although I am fighting the good fight on changing this. We have a satellite dish with no TIVO. Also our 1 TV we have has been slowly getting worse with its colors since this summer. I think I have finally gotten it to the point where we will be getting another TV and upgrade to a 2 receiver set for our dish. Will probably keep our failing TV around for a little while yet as we transition into 2 TVs. With our kids still a little rough on all of our electronics, I am pushing for checking Craigslist for a used TV as our fill in soon. Of course I should probably be checking Craigslist instead of making these posts also, but that isn't the way I work most times either.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Reading with a little run stuff

I forgot to mention in yesterday's entry that I did finish one of my books. I finished off Hemingway & Jake. Not a bad read, but not really one I would recommend unless you are really interested in everything on Hemingway. I bought this book at a used book store as one of my 3 for a $1.00 books, so couldn't really go wrong with it. The book didn't have as much about Ernest as I thought it would and instead had more about Leicester(Jack) who Jake spent more time with. Books like this always leave me kind of wondering about how much money the author actually made on this book. I wouldn't think it was a lot especially since there was no other book on the horizon, i doubt a publisher gave the best of terms on this book. However much it was though, it probably didn't lessen the high I would imagine one gets for having a book published. I have to admit getting a book published sometime in the future is one of those goals of mine tucked away in my head. I probably have to give that goal a little credit for also starting this blog. I think I mentioned in one of my first entries the book Adventures in the Mainstream, but Palmer(can't remember first name). It was basically a journal about his son with Down Syndrome graduating from high school and what his life and future would be like outside of the school environment. This book also has to be credit for doing this blog and kind of reminding me about that whole write a book someday thought I get once in a while.

I am still reading The Biography of Ancient Israel, no change in it for me. Not exciting and just kind of pushing my way through at this point. I am not sure yet what my other book will be, I have picked up and read the into to How to Talk Back to Your Television Set by Nicholas Johnson, written in the early '70s. I will probably go a few pages into it and see what I think at that point. There are also a few Michener books I am looking at along with many others among my bookcases. Of course I want to stop in at my local used bookstore and see if anything jumps out at me also.

I did get a short run in tonight, it is PSR night. I forgot a bag I had ready to take along which had my Garmin, stocking cap & gloves and reflector. Without those items, I drove back to my Community Center and used their jogging track to get 2 miles in, I am guessing somewhere around 24 minutes. This is the first week of the 18 week marathon training for the St Louis Marathon, I need to do 2-3-2 and an 8 long run. Because of this I didn't feel too bad about my 2 tonight.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Weekend stuff

Let me just run through the weekend.

Friday night was the get together with some old fraternity friends at J&A's bar in the Central West End. It was good to see everyone, probably 25 or so people were there & probably half a dozen from out of town that came in. I wasn't able to do any of the other things they were doing this weekend though.

Saturday was a work day the our church. The Holy Name group I am part of is getting lighting put on our outside monument as well as having electricity there for BBQs in the future. We had to dig a ditch for the electrician to run the wires & pipe. Even with a ditch witch, a much tougher project than we imagined. There was a lot of rocks that made the digging very hard, also had to knock through asphalt & concrete in one spot--I had to leave after taking more than a few hits so I am not sure how they finished it up, but I was told the ditch was done. Not sure if the electrician did his part yet, but I think it has to be done Monday.

Saturday night we had a babysitter & went out to eat & do a little shopping. Mizz lost to Oklahoma, missing out on their chance for playing for the National Championship. I know NE has lost many times to OK over the years in similar circumstances, so I kind of know how they feel.

Sunday the St Louis Down Syndrome Association had its Christmas Party at Tropicana Bowling lanes. It was a lot of fun and a packed house. Lots of cute kids running around and dropping/throwing/bowling. Thomas got one game in with our group and just wore me out. He just don't like waiting his turn so it was a fight to hold him and make him wait. Then the family next to us was smart enough to have juice boxes, and he went crazy wanting them. The line for drinks was too long and once our first game was done it was enough. I took Thomas walking around and found a vending machine and bought a lemonade, much better. Then after a couple of cookies, I found a open lane. Thomas bowled 2 games all at once, but I don't think he even knew score was being kept, he just likes to bowl and then bowl and bowl some more. He was pretty tired though at the end of that and he and his little sister feel asleep on the way home and continued their naps at home. I don't expect either of them to go the sleep on time tonight.

Finally, after we got home I went for my run. I was a slacker and didn't run on Saturday, of course my work at church went longer than expected and kind of ruined that. If I was thinking I should have run Sunday morning, it was beautiful, probably in or close to 50s. Instead at 5pm it was probably 30s with a stiff wind from the West. I did 6 miles on the streets by our house, 3 miles out and back. The first 3 miles was against the wind and throw in a few hills, well it was slow. The miles coming back in were just a little faster--tired and cold are the reasons I am giving. I am just glad I got the miles in even if they were slow & still needed to get them in.

Well, Debbie & Rose are out shopping & I am taping Amazing Race for her. Since we only have 1 TV and have Dish, I am stuck watching what is being taped--we don't have DVR or TIVO or anything like that. Of course, that is what I want & hopefully will get in the next few months. Thomas & Angie are playing nicely in the basement allowing me a little computer time. Well that should do it for now.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Speed work

I did my 2nd speed work run tonight. It wasn't too bad. I did 8 220's at a pace below 9:00 minute miles. The start of the 220 was around 9 and then went lower to under 8, around 7:45. The last couple I got it down to 6:20 range. I again surprised myself that I was able to get to and maintain that pace. Before doing the speedwork, I struggled through one mile. I don't know why it was a struggle, but luckily it didn't carry over to the speed work part. In total I got 3 miles in. Not sure when the next run will be, maybe Friday morning or might just do my long run on Saturday.

We did finally get Thomas' results from his sleep study and everything is good. He has no sleep issues or sleep apnea. He is still waking up between 3-5 and coming down stairs and getting in bed with us. I am thinking it could be potty issues going on here.

We also had our meeting with Thomas' team at school. It was a very good meeting. A lot of good things were discussed and kicked around. There will be some follow up and a few things will be changing somewhat. I am so glad that we have not had any real conflicts in Thomas' education so far.

Well, I am feeling kind of tired so will probably be turning in. I missed the Rep Pres debate tonight so I might try to catch a couple minutes of the re-run before calling it a night.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A trip to the dentist

I am behind on getting my checkups done with my dentist, but today it wasn't for me, it was for my son Thomas. Thomas had a small cavity that needed filling. Thomas is 6 and has Down Syndrome, so a trip to the dentist is usually not very much fun. He does not like anyone messing with his teeth. Brushing his teeth can usually be done with some fuss, but flossing is almost aways a wrestling match. Checkups with the dentist is also usually a wrestling match. I was a little worried how today would go with getting his cavity taken care of.

They had this neat device, it was a back board with large velcro strapes where they could strap in his whole body from neck down. While Thomas struggled with this and certainly didn't like it, I thought it was great especially since the alternative was probably me holding/wrestling him. They administered the gas on him and that did calm him down somewhat. Since it was a small cavity they did not use novacaine. This was another thing I was kind of worried about, I didn't want Thomas biting his tougue and maybe really hurting it while he couldn't feel what he was doing. Once it was over Thomas was very happy and told the dentist and the nurses & assistants thank you. They scheduled this at a time when Thomas would be the only patient in the office, I don't think they wanted his screaming scareing off any kids.

His recovery was great, almost instant once he was out off the strapping device. He got to pick out a toy from a special box of toys, he got the colorful spider type thing that sticks to walls and the middle lights up. He when right back to school afterward and had a good day even.

Tomorrow we are meeting with Thomas' teachers and therapists to find out in a little more detail exactly how Thomas is doing in school. We know that he is having more discipline/listening problems than last year. We also seem to be a little more out of the loop as far as some of the progress he is making. We had parent teacher night about a month ago and got some info but after talking to another parent who child is close to the same age as Thomas, we realized we probably needed more information. I don't know how this meeting will go and what exactly will be accomplished or should be accomplished even. I just hope that we will be more reassured about how he is doing and that real progess is being achieved.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Quick Post

Mizz really had a good game and held on to win against Kansas tonight. Mizz I don't think had a turnover, only real negative was a very large number of penalites. Mizz is setup with a revenge game against Oklahoma, they shouldn't be looking past a team that has beaten them once already.

I was able to get 6.2 miles in today also. Pretty happy with my pace, something like 11:20, 11:20, 10:57, 11:42, 11:49 and 12:05--dk pace on last .2. Did my normal 5 mile route and added another mile in a park. It was getting cold out, had 2 shirts(1 short sleeved & 1 long sleeved), which was fine for the start of the run and through most of it. The last couple of miles though noticed the cold, a 3rd shirt would probably have been needed/helped if I was going for longer mileage.

Also, as I kind of figured Callahan was fired at UNL. I haven't had a chance yet to read up about possible replacements or direction program is even looking yet. This will be a real important hire for the future of the program. I really have no names in mind about who it should be either. The next few weeks should be very interesting.

Creighton beat UNL basketball tonight also. Wasn't on TV around here, but I did read a couple of writeups on it. Sounds like CU took it to them early and kept them back in the 2nd half, even though CU didn't play well in the 2nd half. Good win for CU & the MVC.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Hope anyone who stumbles across this had a good Thanksgiving. It was all good here in St Louis.

Growing up in NE, you had to follow/cheer for NE football. Well today was a tough day for UNL fans. The first half against Colorado at CU was alright, not spectacular but the offense looked good and we had the lead. I was the beginning of the 3rd qtr, and it just kind of made you sick. Giving up the 10 pt lead and some. I stopped watching in that 3rd qtr and only saw the end score, 60 something to 50 something--that is just not UNL football. I have not been a Callahan fan for a couple of years now and haven't been a fan of the offense they have been running since Callahan was hired. I don't know if it is even possible to return to a run first type offense in the college game anymore, I know if can't be done in the NFL. I expect Callahan to be fired tomorrow or early next week. It is not an easy decision either way and I hope/trust Dr. Tom to make the decision for what would be best for the program.

Tomorrow is the UNL vs Creighton basketball game at the Quest Center in Omaha. I am a Creighton fan, but I also like to see UNL do well in all games but this one. I haven't gotten to see any of Creighton's games yet and won't get to see this one either. I mostly just read the writeups and check the message boards for my info. Creighton has a lot of new players, but it sounds like there is a lot of talent among them. I know Maric will be a tough matchup for Creighton, but I would expect Dana Altman has this gameplanned.

I am supposed to be going over to my brother-in-laws to watch the Mizz vs Kansas football game. No real thoughts on this, other than I will be cheering for Mizz to win. Since being in St Louis you kind of have to follow Mizz football somewhat and after their struggles for so many years it would be nice to see them win the North Championship.

I did get a run in this afternoon at Creve Coeur Park. I did a shorter route than normal and only put in 4 miles. I was happy with my pace with all 4 miles being under 12 minutes(something like 10:50, 11:05, 11:24 & 11:50). It was cold and flat, so I kind of credit that with my decent for me times--I just wanted to get it done. My plan is to get 6 or so miles in tomorrow also so I didn't want to push the mileage too much today. I also did a few pushups & situps today, something that I want to start doing at least a couple of times a week--kind of my crosstraining things. I also need to rake some leaves, another thing that is decent crosstraining, at least in my mind.

Well it is time for me to get a few pages read. Still just the 2 books. Good news on my book front though. My used book store just reopened within the last month of Page Ave in Overland. It had been closed for 6 months or so. While I don't purchase lots of books from the store, it is a nice outlet to check on some older & cheap books. Actually come to think of it, I have gotten quite a few books from that store over the years, so it is a very good thing that it has reopened.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I blew it

I just found out today by looking at other bloggers that there was a 31 for 21 campaign for Down Sydrome Awareness. That is what I get for not exploring around on different blogs. The last couple of days I have tried to skip around and see what else is going on. A lot of very interesting blogs, I just don't know where I would get the time to actually try to follow any of these.

I do want to go back to some of the DS blogs and read what was written back in October. I am not sure what I would have written about for 31 days in a row. It is sad, but I can't really remember if I went through and devoted an entry for each of my kids and one for my wife either. I know I introduced them a some point though, I guess.

What to say about Thomas. Whenever I am asked how he is doing by my parents in NE or friends at work, I am always kind of caught at not really knowing how or what to say. It is tough to sometimes put into words what Thomas is all about. There are plenty of moments where he will simply drive you crazy and these moments usually occur each and every day. He most times has to be carried into the bathroom to do #1 and #2 only happens in his pullup or worse his underwear. He has a real problem with sharing his toys with his sisters. He can be stubborn and loud. BUT those are just the not so good things. It is funny in the mornings to have him and Angie(2 & 1/2years old) sitting at our table eating breakfast. They will talk back and forth at each other like an old married couple--one will say something and the other will respond but it won't really be about what the other said and eventually one will get loud and the other will say "not so loud". It cracks me up still that Angie calls Thomas "Pap". We don't know why and she probably doesn't know either, but Thomas does respond to her when she calls him this. Thomas loves dancing and watching TV and doing both is great. He loves to laugh and loves to make people laugh also. All of his teachers and helpers say how they just love Thomas because he is funny and great to work with, even though I am sure they see plenty of his bad days as well. Thomas just brings joy to most everyone he is around and I think it is from his generally happy attitude. He loves me reading to him every night and I love how no matter how many books I read as soon as I start reading to him for The Lives of the Saints he falls asleep. Thomas is just a really interesting child, he certainly sees things in a different light than most people as well. He is also very perceptive if people are having bad days and will usually ask you what's the matter. He is also very good at asking questions and changing the subject when he is in trouble--the little stinker. He also likes to push me & mom together so we hug with him in the middle and also starts group hugs as well. I am also kind of stuck with the fact that a lot of how I feel about Thomas is just that a wonderful feeling and I have a hard time expressing that in words. I think part of it is that the little things about Thomas really do matter and how to you explain that to people in general. Little things like the funny way he dances or the goofy voices he will make or the little quirks about the foods he likes or the funny(at least to me & him) games & noises we make at stores and many many other things like this.

I know some of the blogs I read today were questioning if there were any parents out there that are not having a good time parenting a child with DS and/or questioning why they were given their child with DS. I think most parents ask these same types of questions, how can they not. There is a lot of stress in raising a special needs child. Thomas is 6 and I already am worried about what his future is going to be like through school and then after high school and beyond. Just thinking about those things kind of scare me. I also am just waiting for potty training to make some more progress. He has started wearing underwear to school and rarely has an accident there, at home not the same at all. I know of other local parents with a child with DS that are now divorced, I don't know if the stress got to their marriage or if it was something else. I don't see myself and my wife ever getting a divorce, but I would guess there are plenty of other couples that thought the same thing that ended there. One thought that has kind of remained with me since Thomas was born, is that how lucky both we are and he was that we live in the US. I think of us having Thomas as citizens of another country where we/he would not have even close to the same opportunities, the same medical care, the same education and so on. I also think about other countries where if found out prenatally abortion would be that much more likely, China always comes to mind for me, but I actually don't know if this would be the case or not.

I kind of wish I had known about that 31 for 21 campaign but then again I struggle to find time to just type something every week or so here. One of the many things kind of floating around in my mind is that I should try to be more active at this whole blogging thing. Both in doing it daily or every other day as well as actually finding and reading some of those interesting blogs that are out there. Right now it is just a thought, it will probably be a few weeks(months?) before I actually start doing it--that is usually the way it works for me it seems.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Quick Update

Finished reading The Red Pony by Steinbeck. I really enjoyed it, easy to read and characters were interesting. It has made me want to read more Steinbeck, don't know how quick I will get around to it though. I think I have a copy of the Grapes of Wrath someone among all of my books. Right now I am just sticking with the 2 books, Hemingway & Jake and The Biography of Ancient Israel. I have complained enough about the Ancient Israel book so far, but I really do want to just force myself to get through it.

I wasn't able to run like I normally do on Monday night. The kids had Mass instead of class for PSR. Thomas fell asleep about 15 minutes in and was out until Mass was over. This saved my normal either wrestling match with him or continuously asking him to not talk so loud.

Since I didn't run Monday, I ran tonight. I went to the high school track which still has some lights on so I am not running in complete darkness. I ran there once last week and have kind of figured it will be my normal running spot for after work. Tonight I did some speed work. I have never really tried to do speed work before so I just kind of winged it. I probably need to tighten up my distances and speed so I can actually follow a little better about what I want to accomplish. Overall I did 3.3 miles, the 1st and 3rd miles are where I did my speed work. On the first mile I did 4 speed parts of around 300 meters but not very fast. I used the whole 2nd mile to basically recover with a very slow jog pace and walking. The third mile I did 200 meter speed parts with recovery of 100 to 200 meters. I at first wanted to keep my pace below 10:30, but actually kept it below 9:30 most of the time and even got it below 8:00 for a time or two, I think 7:44 was the fastest time I saw. I am very happy about this. For me it could mean that I do have some more speed in me and that I just need to work on this during training to bring out some of this speed. Of course this was only once, I will have to start doing this at least once a week to see results.

Well I am tired, I think it is from the running. It is time to call it a day, well maybe a page or two in one of my books first.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Stuff update

Not much time and since I have been slacking on this blog, I am just going to throw a little out there tonight.

--I finished The Bronx Zoo. It was not even as close to as much fun as it was back in jr high/high school. I think Lyle pretty much comes off as a whiny player. I agree it probably wasn't fun after coming off his best season and earning a Cy Young Award, the Yankees bring in another closer so Lyle has to split time and also paying an injured starter about 100k more. I had to keep reminding myself that free agency in baseball was still very new and some contracts and pay scales just hadn't hit their level yet. I also thought it was interesting reading about George Steinbrinner early on as the Yankee owner, while in real life he was stepping away from it & handing it over to his 2 sons. I did enjoy going to Baseball-Reference and looking up the stats on the players mentioned in the book, I just love that website.

--Now reading 3 books. The Red Pony by John Steinbeck, Hemingway and Jake by Vernon(Jake) Klimo and The Biography of Ancient Israel. The Ancient Israel book is definately last in order of excitment as well. It is not very long and I am still trying to tell myself to stick with it and just get through, so far I just don't enjoy reading it very much. I also don't really buy into the whole concept of a birth of a nation. I enjoy reading and learning about the history, geography and life of Israel so I was looking forward to this book, but so far it is just not there for me.

--I am kicking around the idea of a marathon this Spring again. I am not sure yet if it will be the St Louis marathon or maybe one that would be driving distance away. I am trying to ramp up my miles and running overall right now. I have about a week or so before the training plans will be starting. I ran 3 miles tonight on the track--it was cold and kind of boring, but at least there was some light there. With 3 & 1/2 from Monday, I now need to get in somewhere around 5-6 mile run this weekend. I am off work tomorrow so I might try to do a short 2-3 mile run then also.

--I have started watching The Office & it is funny and I like the characters. I have seen about 5 or 6 old episodes on TBS in the last couple of weeks and just sat through a new episode tonight. There are a lot of things I am missing as far as storylines but a good show. I will try to keep catching shows of this. The other repeats I have been trying to catch are Two & a Half Men and According to Jim--I like the kind of mindless comedies. My wife is definately a reality TV show person though. We really need a new/new to us TV, the color is going out and the picture quality is just not good. We have an 11 yr old Zenith 27". We might be getting a 26" flat screen from a friend of a friend who will be upgrading in the next month or so. I don't know if I can wait a month or so though. I should probably be checking Craigslist now instead of typing this. I really don't want to purchase anything new or expensive given our kids still fingerprint the TV up and also mess with putting movies/DVDs in. Our electronics have really taken a beating the last few years and I think we probably still have a couple more years to go before we can get nicer stuff.


Sunday, November 4, 2007

Running and stuff

I didn't run Friday or Saturday. Finally got a run in late Sunday afternoon. It was 4 miles at around 11:20 average. This was probably my best run that I had in over a month. I hope to get another run in somewhere these next couple of days.

I am also still kind of shocked and very saddened by the news of Ryan Shay's death while running the Olympic Marathon Qualifier race on Saturday. I am interested to know the cause of death, it sounds like it could be heart related. I have a heart murmur, a VSD, and after hearing about Shay's death, I will probably follow up and have it checked out again by my regular doctor and specialist--if insurance will let me.

Rose's VB team won their game today, actually all 3 sets. Rose did pretty good in getting a couple of serves over and a return also. She needs to practice more, there is a lot of room for development for her, but best of all she really seems to like the sport.

Thomas was playing in the front yard of Debbie's brother's house with me and some others. He had been playing for around 10 minutes or so with me basically shadowing and playing along a kind of football game/play. Well one of the other kids found a really old wiffle ball and threw it on the field, a piece cracked off and Thomas picked it up and handed it to me. I then went to pickup the rest of the ball, about 10 feet away. In the 30 seconds or so I was doing this, Thomas sprinted into the street and stopped right in front of a motorcyle. I am not sure if Thomas stopped first or the rider, but either way much too close for comfort. He got the stern talking to and had to sit out for a while, but I am still not sure he realizes what really happened.

Angie is sick tonight, no temperature just spitting/throwing up. I am guessing she ate something that didn't agree with her, but it could also be a stomach virus I guess too. We will keep her in bed with us tonight to make sure we are there if the throws up some more.

Rose is in a talent show tomorrow night. We didn't know it was on a Monday when we first let her sign up for it so she will be missing PSR. We will also be taking Thomas to watch so he will miss also. With Angie being sick not sure if we are getting a babysitter for her or not yet.

Also coming up this week, we are having a sleep study done with Thomas at Children's Hospital. The Down Syndrome Conference in April, one of the speakers mentioned this, that their suggestion was every child with DS should have a sleep study done. Sleep apnea is very common because of their generally smaller mouth. Thomas has sinus issues in that he is kind of like me and always kind of stuffed up or just junk in the nose. Not sure about sleep apnea because he doesn't really snore too much unless his sinus issues are really acting up. I am interested to know the results though. Tests are sometimes nice because Thomas can't really tell us what is going on with him, hopefully the test will be conclusive one way or the other and give us some piece of mind on the sleep apnea thing at least. The study is Wed night and I went ahead and took off work for both Thursday and Friday. I am figuring I will probably be awake most of the night Wednesday and will need a recovery day and with that no real reason to hurry back to work so I just took Friday off as well.

I am leading my matchup in Fantasy Football this weekend, I think by 14 points. The other team still has one WR to play yet. In our league for him to get past me he will really need 2 TDs. While this doesn't really seem likely, I know I have lost weeks in the past from unlikely occurances on Monday night games. Before this weekend I was just out of the playoffs, not sure if I win where it puts me yet, but maybe a step closer, at least can't hurt.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

First Nov Post

I think I am just going to do a quick bullet point thing again.

--Reading now: The Bronx Zoo, Sparky Lyle & Peter Golenbock. I read this book back in high school or maybe jr high & figure it is probably as good as time as any to re-read. Still a funny and interesting read so far, just trying to figure out how much I missed/didn't understand first time through. Also plodding away still at Ancient Israel book.

--Halloween was good & bad. Kids generally had fun. Rose got to go with some of cousins for some extended trick or treating--good for her. Thomas had a really tough time. He wanted to go inside each house we went to and would scream & fight then when we didn't. He was fine just playing at Grandma's. Thomas & Angie liked helping mom hand out candy when we got back home. I don't know how Angie really was doing trick or treating since I was mostly wrestling Thomas at that time.

--I don't know if I have mentioned this earlier or not, but I am a member of our local parish's Holy Name Society and also the secretary of the Archdiocesan Union of the Holy Name Society or AUHNS. As an organization, it is old style and old membership in general. The national president is from St Louis and also part of the AUHNS. At our last meeting it sounds as though a real change in how things are going to be done at the top is happening. It is a good organization, but it really needs a shot in the arm to be able to be reintroduced throughout the US.

--I ran 4 miles last Sat & 3 on Monday. Nothing since, although the plan is to run after work tomorrow. The 4 on Saturday were all under 12:00 minute miles, probably my best run in the last month or so. Hopefully, I will get in the Friday run and a Sat or Sunday run also. No races or anything in the horizon, need to put more miles in before I can really think about that.

--Some alumni from my fraternity at SLU are talking about getting together the first weekend of Dec. Some emails going back and forth. I will probably try to get to at least one event so I can say I was there, but really not too excited about it overall. Probably because most of the guys are from 2 or 3 or more years after I joined. I know them but they were really not who I was hanging out with in college.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Quick update

I tried to do an entry earlier this week, but my computer froze up on me & I never got back to it. Couple of things to post--I received my first message--thanks for the post & I will certainly be checking out your site. It looks like there is a lot of interesting stuff there.

Also, I finally finished off Atlas Shrugged. I kind of have mixed feelings on it as a whole. I don't think it is even close to good literature, the whole character development and story line were nothing special. The overall theme of the book though, I do find myself agreeing with and even watching for it in the news. A few months ago, while reading the book, I remember hearing a story about the civic leaders in East St Louis, IL wanting a new hospital in their city. They basically wanted it built there even though the hospital had almost no chance a making any money. I know there have been other instances of the same type news, where I sort of apply it to the theme of the book. My thought is the book was written as a defense against Communism, but I think it also applies against the smaller steps being taken toward Socialism today. In today's globalization, business owners are not getting out, but instead maintaining their profits by switching production to 3rd world type countries. It is definately a book that makes you think and overall I would recommend it to most people to read. It is a tough read though, small type and many pages along with some seemingly never ending passages. It is certainly more of a make you think type book than an entertainment type read.

I have started another book about Ancient Israel, it is upstairs so I don't have the exact title or author's name at the moment. I thought it would be a little more informative than it is though so even though I have started, finishing is not assured. It reads too much like a not very good textbook at this point. I am looking for a 2nd book to get started on still. I have a few that I am considering, hopefully get one started this weekend though.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Another Week

Another week has gone by and all I really have to type up is the what happened. Kind of boring. First off though the flea market for Down Syndrome is done, that was on Saturday and had caused much stress and worry leading up to it. It was reasonably successful, all or most spots were rented. It started raining just before noon, at which point most vendors closed up. The BBQ also called it a day since the customers left. Because it ended early we didn't make as much on the BBQ and at my wife's table, but again overall it went well.

I didn't get a run in over the weekend. I finally got a very slow run in on Monday, yes a week between runs. This is not a good idea if I really want to actually get in shape for a race in the next month or so. On Monday I was able to at least get 4 miles in, the first 13:30 or something around that, 12:20, 12:40 and 12:12--just like last week the last mile was the fastest. I am guessing this is because there were just too many days between my runs. Not sure yet when I will be running next--I really need to wake up early and run before work/anyone else wakes up, but I just can't do that yet. I like staying up late too much.

Still hacking away at Atlas Shrugged, very little progress this last week. Also haven't picked out another book yet but will probably start looking this week--maybe even tonight.

I guess this should do it for now. Again I really need to expand more in my thoughts and topics on this blog to not only make it interesting enough to read but also to challenge myself. I figure at some point I will also have to start attaching pictures and actually telling people about this place as well. This stuff is all in my head, but just hasn't gotten to the point of doing yet. Oh well.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Just Stuff

Again not too inspired to write/type anything much. I think I will just do a few quick bullet points for now.

*Reading. Still working on Atlas Shrugged. I am caught in John Galt's neverending speech. It seems the most I can read is about 2-3 pages at one time. I know I have to keep pushing at it, but it seems too much like work.

*Nebraska football fan. I have really been following the team less and less the last few years. I only saw a few minutes of the USC game before watching most of the Mizz game. Wow, they were really beaten soundly by Mizz. I give Mizz a lot of credit, simply they were easily the better team. For me I want Callahan gone and I want a return to a run first type offense.

*My Fantasy Football team won for the 2nd time this year. I got a very good game from my backup(now maybe starter)kicker Brown from Houston. Witten iced the game for me tonight. Still only sitting at 2-3 but that is 2 straight wins. Now if Brees & Alexander can get going and I get Harrison & Bolden healthy I could still make the playoffs.

*Christmas will be in NE this year. Should be fun, not sure how the kids will like not being at home for Christmas, but being spoiled by Grandma is always a good thing. Will need to check the Creighton schedule & see if any home games around that time--not that I would go and leave my wife & kids at home, but something to think about.

*Running has been tough lately. It was hot and humid this weekend. I hadn't run since last Monday until this Saturday. I only got out late on Saturday getting 3 miles in at Woodson Park before it got too dark to continue. Sunday I went out around 11am and wanted to get five, but only did 4.5--with mostly walking the last 1.5 miles. I was worried I was getting dehydrated so I really backed it off. Should have taken water & also stopped for water at a park 2 miles into it. Did 4 miles tonight, first 2 were 13:00 & 13:30, then a 12:59 & a 12:10. Overall slow and tough, was cooler but still just could seem to breathe very well at beginning. I will take Tues off & try to get a run in Wed & see how it goes. Race on 11/11 is up in the air at this point.

*Still eating bad food and too much of it. I did have a couple of salads for meals last week and one over the weekend. I will need to do more of this and cut back on my portions of the bad food. Of course, right now I want to eat some ice cream also--probably about a 50% chance I do once I finish this up.

*Wife is putting on a Flea Market at our church this Saturday with proceeds going to Down Syndrome Association. This is part of the fundraising we are doing to get Thomas on the field at next year's buddy walk. Debbie said that all of the spots and more are taken--somewhere around 60. Just need to finalize the BBQ details and hope for good weather.

*I haven't picked out my next book yet, have a few that I am considering but will probably wait till I finish Atlas Shrugged. With that I am going to try to get my 5 or so pages in now before going to bed. Good night.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Welcome to October

I am finding it harder to actually write about anything these days. I should go back and get more detail of things about my life, before I forget those things--whatever they may be. Lately, it has just been the same story, busy during the week and on weekends. Kids are all doing well, Rose has been doing cello lessons for about a month now. Thomas had a fever for a couple of days last week, but is okay now. We are really working with him on his potty training, but it doesn't seem like any progess is being made. He is wearing underwear to school, but is just holding #2 until he gets home and we aren't paying attention. Debbie bought some more puzzles for Angie & she just loves doing them. She has been just funny lately also. I think she likes that she has mommy all to herself for part of the day with Rose & Thomas at school. Debbie is working on the Flea Market coming up the 13th.

Me, well I am mostly just working. I am trying to get some running in where I can fit it. I would still like to do the half but I will need to see some progress in the next couple of weeks or it will be the 5k for me instead. I have a bad habit of eating too much damn food--maybe if I write it down it will help me from contining to make the same bad mistakes.

As far as reading, I finished up The Light in the Forest by Richter. I had read it once before(maybe twice) during my big reading period of high school I think. It is a short read and an interesting story about a white boy that was kidnapped and raised as an Indian. He was forced to return to his white family and never settled back in with them. An opportunity arised to return to his Indian village with a friend and he was off. While he enjoyed being back there were tensions in the tribe because of him. While with the Indian war party that was returning to revenge a killing, he stopped an ambush for fear of it being his white family. His Indian father saved his life but also forced him out from the Indians, basically forcing him to assume a life among white people. The story ends there. There are many questions that go unanswered and it is kind of up to the reader to decide what really happened I guess. A good read and it was a good break at times from Atlas Shrugged. I haven't picked out a 2nd book yet and may not--I am somewhere around 140 pages left in Atlas Shrugged and might just put full effort to finish it. Of course if next week at this time, I am still not done, don't be surprised if I have added a 2nd book to my current readings.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Just Checking In.

If anyone is noticing, I haven't checked in for awhile now. Life has continued to be busy with lots of stuff going on. Rose has VB practice & games, Thomas did Challenger Baseball this past weekend and Angie is working on new puzzles, potty training and doing tumbling during the day with mom.

I am trying to ramp up my running. I want to do the 1/2 marathon in Clayton, MO--I think the date is 11/11. I had a training program somewhere around here that showed me I was already 3 weeks late in starting. I ran 6 on Sunday at Forest Park, then 4 on Monday during kids PSR and did 3 tonight after work. I will take a day off Wed and probably try to get a workout or short run in Thurs--Rose has VB from 6-7:30, but she will leave early around 7 to go to Girl Scouts. I will probably do some kind of run from 6-7 then. Since it is Thursday which is Survivor night, I will be doing the transportation, my wife hates missing Survivor.

I am still plugging away at Atlas Shrugged. I am making what seems to me good progress on it, hopefully get past page 900 before I go to sleep tonight. The Light in the Forest is only getting a few pages here and there, Atlas is my main focus right now.

I am sure there are other things, but that should do it for now.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Weekend Stuff Again

Here it is a Monday and all I really have is an update from the weekend happenings. This was the weekend of the Holy Trinity carnival. Friday night & Saturday late afternoon & night were spent there. Lots of fun rides for the kids. Didn't really go through the game tent much--I only made it inside once on Friday and never did make it the whole way through. Kids had a lot of fun doing the rides--all of them. Rose liked Starship 2000--the fast spinning thing and the mo mo???/octopus thing. Thomas liked the Dragon rollercoaster & riding it with Rose. Also we only did the bumper cars once, but he liked it--the line was just too long to take him on more. He also liked the kid ferris wheel, which he did with Rose or other cousins. Rose, Thomas & Angie all did the cars. Angie & Thomas the carasol and train. All three also did the big slide thing. All in all a very good time and it didn't seem too expensive to me, but Debbie bought the tickets so I am not sure how much see actually spent.

Saturday morning I did a 2 man scramble for St Rita parish Holy Name, which I am a member at Ruth Park. It was only a 9 hole tourney, so it was short enough I could get done and get back home so Debbie could get a few things done before we all went to the carnival. I golfed with the father in law, together we had fun, but not very good golf. I think we shot a 42 with par being 35. We each ended up with a gift cert to a restaurant though so not too bad.

Sunday was really nothing much. After church we went to my in laws for Sunday lunch, kind of a normal happening when everyone is not too busy. I watch a little football, a little baseball and played with the kids some.

Tonight Debbie & I went with Debbie's brother Dave & his wife Joann to the Cardinals game. We used the tickets I won in the All Souls golf tournament a couple of weeks ago. The seats were very good, 3 rows behind the camera well on the homeplate side of the Cardinal's dugout. The Cards fell behind 11-0, but managed to get back into the game and get to 12-11 before the 9th inning. Izzy came in and gave up a solo shot, 13-11 and the Cardinals were not able to score in the 9th--got runners on but couldn't get a big hit. It was fun seeing the game from close seats like that--the 1-2 games a year we get to are usually nose bleed seats.

As far as what is going on with this blog, I am not really sure. I probably need to make some decisions about what I feel like talking about beyond just these journal type entries. I know I want to talk about Running more--it is just that I have been inconsistant with my running which in turns makes it hard to even mention. With the elections coming up in a little over a year, I might talk some about Politics since I am very much interested in this, but even there my thoughts seem to be more gray--kind of hard to put down in words a lot of the time. I should work in more about Sports, I do enjoy following many different sports also.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What I am reading--update

I finally finished one of the books I have been reading lately. I finished up My Brother, Ernest Hemingway, by Leicester Hemingway. A short read of 256 pages only that gives some good info on Ernest. From having only a very basic knowledge of EH, the book certainly provided more insight, but it also seemed to gloss over or ignore quite a bit as well. The period from the end of WWII to EM's suicide provided little. You do certainly get plenty of info about EM's love of fishing and writing. While EM's four wives are talked about, there really isn't much in the way of detail on these relationships and almost nothing about EM's children. Since I bought the book used for 33 cents, I guess I can't really complain. I don't think it was a waste of time, I just think it could have been much better. Of course the book was written soon after EM's suicide in 1961--point being that personal things that would now be discussed just weren't back then, I would guess. From reading the wikipedia entry on EM, I also learned that the author committed suicide late in his life. Another just tragic ending among many in the Hemingway family.

I am still plugging away at Atlas Shrugged. It is still almost a chore to continue, but I am too far invested in it now to quit. I have also picked up The Light in the Forest by Conrad Richter. A short read that I started very slowly about a week ago when my EM book was missing for a few days(it turned up behind our couch). I know that somewhere in the past, probably around high school times, I have read The Light in the Forest. I saw it on one of my bookcases and after checking my books read lists--have been keeping pages of books read each year since 1997--and not seeing it on any of the lists, I figured it was time to read again. I fully expect I will have it finished long before Atlas Shrugged gets completed, so I will be looking for another book shortly.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Another review of past weekend

I have noticed how my weekends seem very busy both when I am living them and when I am typing them out.

Friday was Light the Night in St Louis at Forest Park--same location as last weekend's Buddy Walk. It was supposed to rain, but since others were going, we figured we could go and see what happens. By the time I got home from work and then loaded the van with the kids and left, we probably didn't get there until around 6:30. They had some games for the kids--those blow up bouncey things. Thomas & I hit the lines for those while Rose went off with some others to do the same. After some time at that, Debbie had gotten the hot dogs & drinks, so we took a break and ate. Then we were supposed to walk, but that is when the rain came down hard. We parked along the beginning of the route and once to the van loaded up and waited for everyone to pass before we could leave.

Saturday was golf day. It was for All Souls Parish. Start time was at 12:30, but we got there early enough to eat lunch. Of course it started to rain right before we started and continued for at least the first hour. We were pretty much soaked. For some reason they never stopped us from golfing and we got the whole 18 holes in. Our team shot 4 under, which is very good for us--4 birdies and the rest pars--no bogeys. I was able to write my name on a closest to the pin hole, but it didn't last for the prizes. I did win a raffle and took a Cardinals basket which has 4 tickets to the green seats for the game on 9/17. Those are very good tickets, probably about the best tickets I will get maybe in my lifetime--at least that is what I was thinking when I grabbed the basket.

Sunday, we did Mass at Holy Trinity at 10:30. This is usually a very long Mass and Sunday fit that profile. We were leaving the church at 11:55. In the past, I didn't really mind long Masses and still don't to a degree. The problem is that with Thomas he gets very restless and starts making noises, etc because it runs long. Holy Trinity does not have a quiet room/kids room so I have to take him to the vestibule where there are no benches or speakers. I was back there with him for a good 15 minutes at least wrestling him. From Mass, we went out to St Charles County for Rose's first VB game. It started at 1:30, but we had to get there at 1:00. A quick stop at the drive through at McDonalds for a light lunch and we found where we were going. Rose's team won--I think--they played really well. Rose is doing good and seems to really be having fun playing. She needs more practice to get better, but VB is certainly better than soccer was in the past.

Monday is also one of our busy days--actually it seems like most days now qualify for busy days it seems. Mondays though will be busy for some time. Rose has VB practice starting at 5pm, which means Debbie drops her off. I leave work at 5pm and come home and change into my running stuff. Then take Thomas and go pickup Rose at 6:15ish and take them both the PSR from 6:30 to 7:45. While they are in PSR, I go for a run. I did a slow 3.75 miles. I guess all of my runs are slow right now, I am just out of shape and need to put more miles in. Rose also has VB practice this week on Thursday at 7:00, so I might be able to get another run in then. It is not getting my long weekend run in which is probably what I miss most. With the weather cooling off, I might be able to start getting them in again.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Weekend Recap

Well it has been over a week since I have typed anything so another recap is probably in line. Friday was my fantasy football auction night. If you are into fantasy football and still doing a draft instead of an auction, you are missing out. An auction is the only way to go. I will not bore you with the details, but will say that I am happy with my team. I will probably talk more about fantasy football during the season.

During the auction, a couple of people were also following the Cards game. Rick Ankiel hit a grand slam to give the Cards the lead late which they would hold for the victory--just an amazing story.

Saturday was Buddy Walk day for Down Syndrome awareness. This year they had added an event in Forest Park and then on Sunday they had the Cards game. The Saturday event had a walk of maybe a mile & half, with some games, food & stuff for the kids to do afterward. We got there a little early, but no problem, they were playing music and Thomas wanted to dance. He is kind of a little show off. Of course once the walk started it didn't take long before he wanted me to carry him--I guess I carried him at least 80% of the walk--good work out for my arms and shoulders I guess. Thomas is really doing a lot better at not running away from us and waiting in line. The waiting in line on Saturday though was not there--I figure he was tired from dancing and walking that waiting was just too much. He would wiggle, scream, twist, etc to get away to get into/on the big bouncy things they had. Taking turns throwing balls or bean bags to get prizes was also too much & he didn't really care about prizes, he just wanted to keep throwing. All in all it was a good time and the weather was about perfect for an outdoor event in St Louis.

Sunday was the Cardinals baseball game. The Buddy Walk participants could walk around the field before the game and then make the way to our seats. We were in no hurry so we were near the end of the whole group which I think was around 3k people. The big highlight for my daughter Rose was getting an autograph from a Cincinnati Reds player--Thomas Shearn pitcher. Of course I couldn't make the name out on the autograph, but read it on the back of his warmup jacket. Players are not really supposed to sign autographs at this for obvious reasons they would be swapped with people, but since we were near the end and he was coming off the field he stopped to sign a few. It really made my daughter's day. From what I understand about Thomas Shearn is that he has been in the minors a long time and has just made it up recently, Friday being his 2nd game in the big leagues. He started the game Friday but didn't give up Ankiel's grand slam. After toiling in the minors I would guess he is more than happy to sign autographs and enjoy his big league time--best of luck Thomas Shearn. Cards ended up winning on Sunday 3-2, a good game and again great weather.

Monday, I went to Forest Park and got a very slow run in of 5.5 miles. It was the hottest of the 3 days that weekend, but of course the only day where I had a chance to get a run in. The first couple of miles were fine, but I took a long water break after the 4th mile and a slight route change to cut the run a little shorter, but by 1/3 of a mile--just to get it over with a little sooner. I was feeling the heat and lack of running for over a week and needed the run the just end. After the run, we did lunch at my in-laws, of course BBQ on Labor day which I always eat too much of. Then I was able to talk my father in law into playing 9 holes of golf. I shot a very good for me 43 at a par 34 course--a couple of 4 put holes and a couple of other duff type shots and I could have had an outside shot at under 40. My best is either a 40 or 41--not really sure.

Tomorrow, our youngest Angela, is having eye surgery to tighten the eye muscles. She has had the surgery once earlier this year and it was determined she would need it done a 2nd time. Since Thomas has strep throat, I will be staying home with him while my wife takes Angie for her surgery.

I am still reading the two books, Atlas Shrugged and My Brother Ernest Hemingway. My Brother book was lost behind our couch for about a week so just getting back into it again. Atlas Shrugged is just tough work--cannot seem to read much more than maybe 20 pages a night. It just seems hard to make any real progress with the book--I am somewhere around page 670 though so the end is getting closer. I might start looking for a 3rd book to start slowly on also just to make sure I have options.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Recent things

Just some notes on what we did over the weekend. On Friday, I was supposed to play in a doubleheader softball games. I am not a regular but a backup and the team was a couple players short, my wife was also going to play. We even lined up our babysitter for the night. Well, of course it rained and rained hard--games were cancelled. That meant we actually had a babysitter & an night to ourselves. Mostly did shopping, looking for new TV--current one is slowly going out colorwise. Didn't find a TV or really much of anything. Ended up doing a late supper at St Louis Bread Co in the Loop. It was out of the bread bowls & pannai sandwiches--Wash U students moved in that day & then hit the Loop running them out of several things.

Saturday, Thomas had a temperature in the afternoon, so it meant sitting around with him a lot. My wife didn't go to a babyshower for a cousin, because we were babysitting for a niece. Since Thomas was sick, I stayed home with Thomas & Angela while Rose & Debbie went to babysit. Angie is really into puzzles which is kind of fun, until you are doing one of these kid's puzzles for the 5th or 6th time and once you convince her to stop she grabs another puzzle and here we go again.

Because Thomas was running a temperature, he was out for going to Debbie's uncle's house for a pool party on Sunday. Debbie took Angie & Rose to the party while I stayed home with Thomas. He was acting fine, but his temp was just a little high--low enough to go to school though. Sunday night was an event with the Albert Pujols Foundation, Hitters & Splitters I think they called it. It was for dad's and son's with Down Syndrome. It was a packed house & Albert took the time to go through the whole place meeting everyone there. This was the 2nd year for the event, we were there last year as well. Thomas likes watching sports in limited spurts on TV. When baseball is on, he knows to cheer for Pujols. So when Albert came by to say hi, Thomas said hi and then kind of watched the Sunday night game on TV, not really realizing or paying attention to Albert--which Albert I think kind of thought as funny. Fredbird was also there, but Thomas just wanted to watch and not get too close to him. We also bowled some, didn't really keep score though. Thomas got a split on his own and a strike from off of a push bar thing. By the end he was wanting to toss the bowling ball and I kind of let him as safely as I could for both himself and the alley. Thomas received a backpack with many things inside including an autographed Pujols card as his goody bag as well. It is really nice to know and be able to mention to people the good things Pujols & his family do for the DS association in St Louis.

Monday I was off work which was good because both Thomas and Angie were up throughout the night. Neither Debbie or myself got a whole lot of sleep--kind of in the 4 hour range I would guess. Thomas stayed home from school because of his lack of sleep. His temp is about the same as it was on Sunday, but with little sleep and being stuffed up now, we figured it best for him not to go to school. Since Thomas & Rose go to public school, they also then goto PSR. PSR is Parish School of Relgion, which happens to be Monday nights. Well at around 4:00, I got a call from Rose's new volleyball coach who said practices are Monday's from 5-6:30. Rose & another girl going to PSR would be let out early since PSR starts at 6:30 as well. My wife had talked with someone about VB who was supposed to pass a message along, but I guess this never happened because they have already had 3 practices before this. Well it is the end of the night now. I didn't get a run in at all this weekend--3 days and no run is a bad thing. Thomas & Rose both made it to PSR & had a short intro class & ice cream so they were happy. Everyone else is in bed now and at least so far still in bed. Good night.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Myself continued

I don't want to get into as much as I did earlier. Anyway, I went to college at SLU for 4 years, graduating with a BA in History/Political Science, a double major. I have always enjoyed studying & following politics, so that is why I majored in that. History was an easy add on since many of my electives were in History. I joined a fraternity my first semester there, the ADGs. This was probably for the best in that I am not a real outgoing person & this allowed me to get into a group of guys I could hang out with. I lived in the dorms for all 4 years and looking back on it, I cannot believe half of the stuff that was allowed to go on. Those are stories for another time though. Ted Koppel was our graduation speaker--nothing really important, just wanted to mention it.

I did workstudy jobs during the 4 years. My first year I did office work for the Dept of Dietics(sp?)--an office of all women. I kind of enjoyed it, boring work, but I was able to get my hours in. I stayed in town each summer and was able to get a job at the student center, where I was able to get enough hours to pay for staying in town. I didn't take any summer classes any of the years--just worked and goofed off basically.

After graduation, I kept working at the student center that summer and was accepted into grad school at SIUE for a master in Political Science. I got a parttime market research job at Fact Finders and went to class. Basically I just didn't know what I wanted to do & this was a way to prolong making any real decisions. Me & some friends from the fraternity rented a house on the Hill. My college life was extended. The 2nd year of grad school I did get a graduate assistantship in the student center that paid for some/all(not really sure) of my tutition. I did get student loans though to help live on. It also paid some and I was still getting hours at Fact Finders. I continued for a 3rd year of grad school but somewhere around the end of 2nd year they annouced they were going to discontinue the master program in Poli Sci. It was probably at this time I realized that I was not going onto get a PhD nor going to law school--it was time to get a full time job. I am not sure, but I think I only did the grad assist thing one year, not two. Also somewhere in here I worked as a bank teller for about 6 months at Roosevelt Savings & Loan. I then got a full time position with Fact Finders as a project manager. I will really have to sit down and do a whole timeline on all of this, I am not sure what overlapped and dates on these jobs. Anyway, I did the project manager job until Jan 1999, when I was hired as Insurance Adjuster for American Family & have continued in that ever since.

I dated my wife for about 5 years before we were married, 9/21/96. We have 3 children, Rose born 2/24/99, Thomas born 6/18/01 and Angela born 5/5/05. I will go into more about each on other posts. We bought our house in Overland in April of 1996, I moved in then & Debbie once we were married. Debbie was living in an apt with her sister for a year, summer of 1995 to summer of 1996. Before and after that she lived at her parents house, which is only about 5 minutes from our house. Our kids, Rose & Thomas, go to school almost right across the street from us at Wyland Elementary school, our public grade school. We are practicing Catholics and goto St Rita's church for the most part. There are many other parishes in the area that we visit depending upon our schedules.

Well, I am leaving it at this point now. I guess a decent background for myself.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What I am reading

I went on & on last night about myself, now I need a break before I attempt that again. Just a quick note on what I am reading. I just finished Willa Cather's One of Ours. A good read, but not one of my favorite Cather books, favorite is Death Comes to the Archbishop(of course I read this during a vacation in Florida and maybe that influence my liking it best so far). One of Ours really seems like two books, a boy with a lot of potential grows up into an unsatisfying life & marriage on a farm in NE. The US gets into WW I & this now man enlists and the 2nd half is about the trip to France and time there. Spoiler alert, he dies in France and that is basically the end of the book. I don't think there was really another ending for this book and Cather even mentions this by way of saying many vets that returned ultimately ended up commiting suicide once they returned to their normal life. I would certainly recommend it to Cather fans. If you have not read anything by Cather yet, try one of the other more popular books first, My Antonia & Oh Pioneers being others that I have read.

I am still working on Atlas Shrugged, somewhere around page 500 of the 1080 pages. In other words still a long way to go. I looked through my bookcases last night for another book and realized that I am running short of options right now. The used book store nearby closed just a month or so ago and I really don't like spending full price for my books if I can help it. There is a used book store in the U-City Loop, but it seems to be more of a collectors type bookstore, so still a little pricey. I will have to look around for other used bookstores soon.

Anyway I did pick out another book, My Brother, Ernest Hemingway, by Leicester Hemingway. Ernest Hemingway is one of my favorite authors, but I haven't really looked into his life so I thought this could be an interesting read. Hopefully light enough that I will still be able to put time in on Atlas Shrugged as well. Well it is getting late and I do want to read a little yet before bed so I had better get at it.

Monday, August 20, 2007


A little info on who I am. I just turned 38. I have been married for getting close to 11 years. We have 3 kids, Rose age 8, Thomas age 6 and Angela age 2. I live in St Louis County, in an inner suburb called Overland.

I grew up on a farm near Wisner, NE. My parents are still there and still farming. Growing up we raised cattle for a few years, I think my dad got out of feeding cattle somewhere around when I was 7 or 8. Hogs was the main animal that we raised, but we also had chickens and also got into raising sheep for a few years. We did have some horses, Ginger & she had Princess & King. Ginger was scared of a saddle and would run off whenever she seen one, as you can guess we didn't ride her much at all. King was a good & friendly horse that died young--maybe 1 year old. I think it was from the anastesia(sp?) the vet gave him when making him a gelding, at least that is how I remember it. Princess was never broken and it was shortly after her that dad gave the horses away. We had a pet dog, Tippy and also many cats.

I am the 3rd of 4 kids, 2 older brothers & 1 younger sister. We all went to a 1 room school house for grade school--k-6th. The school was in the middle of farmland. It has been closed down for 20 some years now--they moved the building to the West Point, NE fairgrounds for a museum and the kids in the area now go to grade school in town. The memories of this school are kind of flooding back now, it is almost enough to put a book about it--I am not a writer but sometimes dream/think I could be. My first teacher was Mrs Hornbeck, who was a teacher in these small schools her whole working life I think--I think she is still living in Wisner, but not sure, my mom would know for sure. She had been a long time teacher at Dist 34--probably over 20 years, but just before I went into 2nd grade, she left or the school board forced her out. My next teacher was Mr. Eisenach(sp?), just graduated from UNL and in 1978 probably as close to a hippy as Wisner would allow. He was not into textbook teaching, instead we were always taking field trips along the country roads or playing/learning outside. He was only our teacher for one year before the school board ran him out, his teaching style certainly didn't fit with conservative small town way. He joined the Peace Corps and went to Ghana for quite a few years I believe. When he returned to NE, he & his wife moved to a group house in Boys Town, I think he also taught there as well. Mrs. Wilson from nearby Stanton was hired as the new teacher. I remember getting A's in K & 1st, no idea if grades were even given in 2nd and I think from 3rd to 6th I probably got C & Bs. I know she took away things like playing baseball because we didn't have the proper equipment and generally took a safe route to recess altogether. I know I didn't really like school then and I can't really tell you why.

Wow, if I keep up with this detail, this post will never end. Anyway from 7th to 12th, we went into town for school. I played sports(football, wrestling & track) in school & baseball in the summers. I did 2 musicals, Anything Goes & Oklahoma, I really cannot sing, but being small town & small school they needed boys in the chorus/small parts. I detasseled corn for 3 or 4 summers, easily the worst job that I have ever done. I religously lifted weights--had to be strong for football & wrestling. I was pretty good at football even though I was small, I weighed around 130 and was 5'5" and started at linebacker as a Jr & Sr, making all conference my senior year. Our football team made state playoffs all 4 years. I was a varsity wrestler for all 4 years, freshman year at 112(Iweighed around 105 but a good senior wrestler already had that weight class), 119 as a soph & 126 as a Jr & Sr. I qualified for state my Jr & Sr years and placed 3rd as a senior. There are a lot of good memories/stories from my wrestling days, far too many to even attempt to put here. Track, for me, was mostly a stay in shape & avoid chores at home sport. I never really took it seriously enough to get good at it. I was about 4th best in many events which kept me on JV most of the time unless someone was injured or switched events for a meet. I remember mostly focusing on distance 1& 2 mile events, also long jump, relays, and hurdles 300 & 110 high. Baseball I was a good defensive outfielder, could hit enough and had enough speed to be decent. My team won state one year in legion ball, I scored the winning run in another long story for another time. I do remember eating a very good steak at a restaurant on the way home also--I had it rare & it was good.

I went to college at SLU. How I ended up there is something I am not really sure about. My oldest brother went to Creighton, Jesuit school in Omaha. My other brother went to Univ of Chicago. It was kind of expected that I should go away. I really didn't want to even consider a large state school. I guess SLU sent something in the mail and I liked what I saw. SLU is very similar to Creighton, but of course without my brother being there. It would be somewhere new & it was. Also, I can't forget that SLU gave me more money/financial aid than Creighton--this was probably the deciding factor after all.

I am getting pretty long winded here so I will call it enough for now. If anyone has happened to read this or any of the other posts here, please feel free to leave a comment. I am mostly writing this as a journal/thoughts blog so probably not the most interesting read.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Trying to figure out this whole blog thing

I am one of those people that when going swimming, I have to put my foot or hand in the water and see what it is like before getting in. Well, I kind of did it the opposite way with this blogging. I have heard of blogs and had a basic understanding of them and just a few days ago started blogging without really reading or understanding it. I still don't really understand the whole blogging experience, to me it is mostly just a journal. I haven't even mentioned to my wife yet that I have started this up, still like a diary and those were supposed to be private weren't they. Well, the last couple of days I have been popping through some of the other blogs here and there is some interesting stuff, but I just don't have time to read a lot at each site and wander through archives. I am amazed that there seems to be many people that write something each day, I don't know if I will be that inspired to do that. I will have to explore this whole blogging thing more in the days to come, but for now if anyone is out there, I think this blog will probably continue in the same way.

I will have to sit down and do write ups on my wife and kids here shortly. I will just have to get started on it, I am overthinking it right now. This is not the time though, it is 2am here in St Louis and I need to get some sleep. I am an old man, I guess--I just turned 38 today.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


I am an auto insurance adjuster, I review estimates & photos for our direct repair shops. Not a bad desk job to have. I have been with the same company for around 8 1/2 years. Today, we--my unit, had breakfast with a co-worker of ours that is currently in Iraq as part of his Army reserve unit. He is on leave and will be returning to Iraq this weekend. I wasn't able to talk with him all that long to really get an understanding of what it is like over there from his perspective. I know he was saying things like it wasn't nearly as bad as our media portrays and there are many good stories that never get mentioned. He also said he thinks the Iraqi military will be strong, sees a lot of positives with it now, but not ready to take over. I certainly believe him when he says these things. I am just left wondering how much of the retoric going on politically about Iraq is just that politics. Each side, the Dems & Reps, seem like solving the problem/s over there is not as important as which party is in charge of our system. While there are many important issues going on besides the war, it just seems like the war has become a political football, that each side is using to shore up their base. Of course, I guess the war has always been a political football in that sense. I just wish our politicians could be believed and could also take tough stances instead of always falling in line with their party's wishes.

Sorry for rambling on this, but talking with my friend, just kind of brought some of these thoughts to the fore front for me. It is getting late so I will end this one. I do plan on doing some kind of intoductory post I guess to give a little background on myself & family at some point, if anyone is reading this besides myself. Of course, not a bad idea to sometimes put in words our thoughts about the people closest to ourselves either, even if it is just for my compumpsion.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Power went out last night around 1am and just got back on around 7pm. This was also the first day of school for the year--Rose is in 3rd grade & Thomas is repeating kindergarten. Angela is only 2, so she has a couple of years yet.

Right now I am reading 2 books. Earlier this year I started this reading 2 books at once and have really enjoyed it. It all started with my re-reading The Brothers Karamotzov(sp?). I had started it around Thanksgiving & it was taking me well into 2007 to get through it--I think it was into March, maybe April before I finally finished it. Because it was just taking too long for me to finish, I started another book--Finishing Strong. This book was by an evangelical talking about how fathers/men need to live a good life, etc. I had received the book at a bowling night hosted by the Albert Puljos Family Foundation. It was for fathers & son's with down syndrome & was included in the free packet of stuff they gave away. I am signed up for this event again this year, I think it is 8/26. The book was okay, not something I was really interested in reading, but certainly something that was a nice & easy break for the The Brothers K.

Anyway back to the reading 2 books at once thing, it has allowed me to read one more serious book along with one that is a little to a lot easier to read at the same time. I did Adventures in the Mainstream(a book about a father & son, where the son w/ DS was becoming 21 & what his life would/could be like as an adult) & The Story of the Conferacy--a good civil war book & a more serious read. I then read Summer of '49(baseball book) & Watership Down--sad but I don't think I read them at the same time, but I can't really say for sure either at this point. I usually have a pretty good memory, but this was only a couple months ago & would only be guessing. Right now I am reading Atlas Shrugged--Ayn Rand--one of those books that I figured I should read but just had never gotten the urge up enough to put forth that much effort. I am at 400 & so pages & have enjoyed it for the most part, but does too often seem like work to get through. The 2nd book is One of Ours--Willa Cather. Growing up in Nebraska, I think it is mandated that I would have to enjoy reading Nebraska writers. I really have enjoyed the Cather books I have read so far--Death comes to the Archbishop(title?) is probably my favorite so far. I also really liked Old Jules by Mari Sandoz. I also have to mention A Cry of the Soul, by Anna Newbigging--a story about Morman immigrats in the 1880s. Anna Newbigging wrote the book in the 1910s while living on my now parents farm in Wisner, NE--the same house I grew up in. You can tell the landscaping and fruit trees in the large yard were well planned & probably maintained. My parents & us kids had no real desire or effort to maintain these and now the trees, etc are mostly gone. Still it is kind of interesting to think I grew up in a house built and lived in by a writer, even if she never really developed anything more than local noterity(sp?).

By the way I really should credit Adventures in the Mainstream along with the Cardboard Gods blog for probably being the two reasons I have started this blog. Adventures in the Mainstream was written in a journal style and was something that I not only enjoyed reading but also thought something I could certainly do. Not that what I would write would ever get published, but just that writing & putting my thoughts down would be a good exercise. Also the Cardboard Gods blog is about baseball cards from the 1970s & maybe into the early '80s--the same time I was collecting. I have some of the same cards he has written about, but I really have to say I never looked at them the way he has. I haven't pulled out my cards yet to walk through them with the new perspective he offers, but will probably do so at some point. Right now I fear if I would get my cards out, my son would probably destroy them and my wife would certainly question and not understand why I was pulling them out after so long.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

First Blog Note

I have been thinking about starting a journal for some time now and instead have jumped into the whole blog stuff. Still not too sure how all of this works, but since it is free I am giving it a shot.

This one is more of test type entry just to see how it works & what it looks like. Till later,