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,