Monday, December 29, 2008

CA Pizza Kitchen

We ate at a CA Pizza Kitchen last night.  It was Debbie's birthday so we were at the mall doing a little shopping and decided to try it out.  I had it once before as a carryout--it was many years ago and only one or two pieces of pizza.  I remember it having an interesting menu but not much else.

Well, the pasta we got was just okay.  The pizza was terrific though.  We got the wild mushroom pizza and it was very good.  This will probably be a place we will go to again especially for the pizza.

We then caught a movie, Seven Pounds with Will Smith.  Good movie but the book was probably better.  At least I am assuming it was a book first.  Will Smith gave a good performance and the rest of the cast kind of looked familiar but I couldn't place any of them, except for Woody Harrelson.

Not sure if this is the last post of the year or not, but just wanted to point out that this post gives me 10 for Dec.  I did achieve my 10 posts per month this year--2008--which was one of my goals.  You might be thinking that is kind of a stupid goal, but the idea was to force myself to somewhat organize my thoughts and type something every few days.  That idea if you want to be a writer then write.  I am certainly not a writer and odds are probably long that I ever will be either, but I still figured it is probably a good exercise in self improvement.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Few short lines

It is late, so I am not going to type much.  Just some quick words.  I ran 2.1 miles on the treadmill at the community center tonight & then lifted for a few minutes.  Nothing too great but trying to get something in.

A lot of rain today.  It has really been a wet year.  I am guessing the soil should be good next year.  Maybe I will expand the garden a little and see what happens.

I just got over 200 pages read in War & Peace, still a very long way to go.  I am somewhere around 250 read in Plague Dogs, that leaves me at just over halfway done.  Thinking about that 3rd book still but just not pulling the trigger on it yet.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More Books

I didn't have time to get a run in tonight so instead I stopped at one of the nearby libraries before going grocery shopping.  Picked up four books for one whole dollar.  It is a bargain even before I mention a name of a book.

First, I found King Jesus by Robert Graves.  I read Graves book, Goodbye to All That(I think that is the name) back in college.  It was an autobiography of his time in WWI.  I remember kind of liking it, but also the author being a little strange.  I also remember him being a well respected writer too, so I figured that was enough to buy the book.  Checking a wikipedia on it, it sounds like Graves has some out there beliefs and has kind of moulded the book into them.  In other words the book would definately not be considered accurate by the Catholic church.  Interesting but pretty far down my list of books to read.

Next, I found Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.  I recognized Atwood as a author I should probably be more familiar with than I am.  This sounds like again an interesting read, but not sure when it will be fit in.

Third, I found The Last Brother by Joe McGinniss which is supposed to be about Ted Kennedy, but more like Joe Kennedy & foreward.  I am not a big fan of the Kennedys so thought it might provide some info about them at least.

Finally, found Prairie Visions, The Life and Times of Solomon Butcher by Pam Conrad.  It is more of a kids book but it is about Solomon Butcher a photographer/everything else, guy in turn of the century Custer County Nebraska.  I saw some good photos of sod houses and the tough families that lived in them.  Was instantly attracted to the photos, the writing didn't matter too much on getting this book.  

Still working away at War & Peace and Plague Dogs but not going very fast on either.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Queen of Spades -- #30 finished

Yesterday I finished off book number 30 for the year.  The Queen of Spades and Other Stories by Alexander Pushkin.  As I said in the last post, I really enjoyed these short stories.  A good mix of happy endings & sad endings with them.  From reading them I think you can tell the writer probably had as much fun in writing them as the reader gets from reading them.  

Not sure if I will get another book started yet or not.  Probably not for a few days at least.  With Christmas coming up, I will probably be struggling for time to read anyway.  I am off work next week so I might look to add something then.  Of course, I also have a pretty long honey-do list too.

I was going to run tonight after work but instead went out for more Christmas shopping.  At least this time I did not get stuck in traffic but I had to go to 4 different stores looking for what I wanted and ended up buying something that sounded good but still not really sure if it is right.  I am calling Christmas shopping done, now I have to do some Birthday shopping.  That will have to wait until Friday or Saturday though.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I did pick out a 3rd book, The Queen of Spades and Other Stories by Alexander Pushkin.  It is a short book of 6 stories and I have already read 4.  I don't know what it is about Russian novels but I just like them and now I guess it goes for short stories as well.  I haven't read any Pushkin before but these short stories have just been kind of fun reading.  

I have pushing War & Peace and Plague Dogs to the background for now because I really want to make sure I get my 30 books read in 2008.  I have a stack of books I want to get read but finding 30 for 2009 might be a little tough.  I might just stick with my original goal of 24 or average 2 a month.

I really need to look back and find my post from the beginning of the year where I set out a few goals and see how I did this year.  The reading goal was the one that stuck out most in my mind.  I think there was a gardening one that I guess I barely did.  I think there was also a running one that I probably didn't do.  Some others that I kind of vaguely remember like going to a college baseball game and I think some other sport as well.

Well, I did to the community center tonight and put 2 miles in--lots of walking and some light jogging--on a tread mill.  I really don't like treadmills, just really boring.  Debbie took a nap this afternoon with Angie so I had to wait until they woke up and by then it was already dark.  I really don't like running on streets in the dark, especially during Winter when drivers are really not expecting anyone to be out and about.  Since I was at the community center, I also did some light weight lifting.  I know I mention this way too often, but I really need to start waking up early and doing this before work at least once or twice a week--maybe a new goal for 2009.

Well, it is very late, but I might put a few more pages in before calling it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Just a quick update on stuff

Again I am not really inspired to type up anything so I will just do a quick update on the normal stuff I talk about.

--Reading The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams.  I really enjoyed the other two books by Adams that I read, this one not so much.  I need to check the order in which they were written, but I know Watership Down was earlier.  The reason is, it almost seems as though, he--the author--has realized he is successful and wants to make every paragraph have special meaning instead of just furthering the story.  I am getting close to 200 pages in with a total of 480--long ways to go.

--Reading War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy.  Good stuff.  Around 150 pages in, so a very long way to go.

--Reading, 3rd book, don't know yet.  I have read 29 books so far this year and would like to get 30 done.  I know I won't finish War & Peace and it is looking doubtful that Plague Dogs will get done before the end of the year either.  I will probably look for a 3rd book to get on and finish right away.

--Haven't run since Sunday.  Feeling fat & sluggish.  I have been way over eating this whole week and really since Thanksgiving.  I need to really tone down my eating.  Not sure if I will get a run in tomorrow or not--I am off work.

--My car wouldn't start today so I had to barrow my father-in-laws pickup to get to work.  The battery was run down, but Advance Auto charged it and said the battery is still fine.  Don't know if this means an alternator or starter or something else.  I will have to see if it starts tomorrow or not & go from there.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Slow Running

I finally got a run in.  It was actually pretty nice day today, windy and in the 50's.  Tonight it is raining and will be freezing overnight with sleet/snow later.

Today though was good and I finally had a chance to get a run in.  It was only 3 very slow miles, something like 13:45, 13:30 and 12:40.  I guess I had run 2 miles on 12/5 at the Community Center, but otherwise nothing else since before Thanksgiving.  I want to get a couple more runs in this week and kind of see where I am.  I want to look at doing a Frost Bite Series race or two but want to be in decent enough shape to at least attempt them.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I do not like to shop

I do not like to shop, at least for Christmas stuff.  After work I was headed to a mall a few exits down the outer belt.  Well of course the outer belt was a parking lot, even after I had waited till what should have been late in the rush hour.  I only had to get to one store and after wandering around, I did eventually find what I needed.  A drive and trip to another store where I didn't find anything and then home.  This just means at least one more trip out shopping to get it done.  I know I will not be doing it after work though if I can at all help it.

Monday, December 8, 2008


I am tired & getting ready to be off to bed, but realized I hadn't posted much of anything in Dec yet.  Well, it is not happening tonight either.  This is just another checking in post--mostly to make sure I get to my 10 this month.

Not running recently & not reading enough.  Went to the Billikens game on Saturday at the new arena--pretty nice.  Good time & was impressed with the businesses that have started up in the area.

That should do it, I am off to sleep now.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Eaten too much

It all started with Thanksgiving and has just continued since then.  Eating too much.  Throw in the fact that I haven't run in over a week & a half, well I just feel like a slug.  Not inspired to blog or do much.  Busy at work and busy after work each day this week--no fun.  Well that is a start to Dec, got to get in 10 this month.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Rail--finished #29

Over the long weekend I finished book #29 for the year.  By the way to mention it again, this really crushes the most books I have read in a year, before this year I had read 18 in 1999 and 18 in 2001, last year was 16.  The one main reason I am figuring this is that I have really started reading 2 or 3 books at a time, before I was always a one book at a time person.  If the book got kind of tough to get through well I just read less and it took me longer, now I switch back and forth between books.  There are probably other smaller reasons as well, like less TV, not as much running and also setting that goal of reading 24 this year--2 a month--back in January.

Well, now onto The Rail, I really kind of liked it.  It was about a former baseball player that had a kind of screwed up life outside of baseball.  Once completely out of baseball, his life went even more downhill.  It was also about his family, that was also just as screwed up.  His birth dad, a well to do in town basically disowned him and his mom was forced to marry a jerk with a business.  Neil--the ballplayer, kind of kept in touch with his step-sister, his real dad's daughter--2nd married kid.  There was a daughter and a son by the son was killed while playing with his sister and their dog after the son ran out in the street.  Blanchard, the sister never really got over this and her life was also screwed up.  Well, there was also Blanchard falling in love with her older step-brother Neil and how Neil protected her thoughout her life.  Well, Neil even went to jail for 2 years for a drunk driving manslaughter charge, that was actually Blanchard driving.  Well, throw this all together along with Neil's son David trying to connect with his dad and you have this book.

I did enjoy how the author only feed the details out piecemeal.  It left the reader trying to guess what blanks were out there and what was still coming.  I had figured early on that Blanchard was the one driving and that Neil took the fall.  I am sure some could have seen this as confusing but I think it added something to a story that might have been hard to swallow all at once.  I don't think the story was all that good, but the characters were interesting. 

I am right now reading The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams.  He also wrote Watership Down and Shardik, both books the really liked.  So far The Plague Dogs hasn't gotten on very fast but I will give it time, Richard Adams has earned that.  As far as the 2nd book, I have pulled out War & Peace.  I might add a 3rd book right away also, a Grisham type--will see about this.


After a few days out of town, it is time to do a little catching up.  First the family went to my parent's home in NE for Thanksgiving.  It was a really good time, kids love spending time with Grandma & Grandpa and some time on the farm.  I am probably going to do a couple/few posts of the long weekend so details on other stuff to come. 

First, I am going to update the many new additions to my book collection.  Last Monday, I didn't run so instead went to the library and picked up a few books.  Q is for Quarry by Sue Grafton, I like reading the series but I know my mom does also.  I had gotten this one to give to her but she already had it so it reverts to me now.  It is a large print book, I guess I am getting old because that also sounded a little appealing too.  Next, On Writing--A Memoir on the Craft by Stephen King.  I thought since the idea of writing a book has crossed my mind, that this is something to spend that quarter on & see if it helps.  Worst case is I read about the life of Stephen King which should also be interesting.  Third is Eyes Wide Open, a Memoir of Stanley Kubrick, by Frederic Raphael.  I don't know much about him so thought this could be a good way to learn a little and also get the throw in about making movies.  Finally, a biography of Mary McLeod Bethune by Catherine Owens Peare.  From the flap, Bethune was a child of slave parents, one of 17 children.  It talks about her success in life and the found of Bethune Cookman College.  She is somebody that I know nothing about, but sounds like a very interesting read.

While in NE, I grabbed 3 books from the ones still at home.  I took a Jack London book with both The Call of the Wild and White Fang.  The Pearl by John Steinbeck and then Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh.  I figure all of these are good for me to do a re-read but also might be books that Rose could read or might have to read in school.

Finally then, on Friday or I guess Black Friday, Debbie had to get at least some shopping in so after hitting normal stores we found a Salvation Army resale shop in Norfolk.  I picked up A Separate Peace by John Knowles--same reason as 3 in above paragraph.  Single & Single by John LeCarre', The Testament by John Grisham and The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough--all 3 for the quick read aspect.  Last was Selected Prose, Poetry and Eureka by Edgar Allan Poe.  This one kind of fits with that earlier paragraph, in that it is good for me to read but also could be something Rose will be reading as well.

A lot of additions to the book case, I will really need to join that Paperbook Swap sight and try to move a few of them if possible.  I am down to one book I am reading right now, but I was looking over my lists of books read and saw that it has been since 1999 that I read War & Peace.  It is time for another reading, only 3rd one.  I hope to be starting that tonight.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I hadn't given a running update in a while.  I ran 6 miles last weekend, I ran around Forest Park.  I then ran 2.2 miles Monday night, my PSR run.  I didn't run again though until yesterday--Saturday.  It was cold and I didn't have a whole lot of time.  I just did 4.3 around the house.  It was good to run streets again, I should probably do more of that.  The cold and getting dark early though make it tough to inspire myself to get out there.  I am sort of supposed to do a marathon relay in two weeks--I wouldn't mind finding a way out, but not sure I could at this point.

Surviving the Toughest Race on Earth--finished #28

Two books finished this weekend.  I guess with kids being sick last week and being stuck inside most of the weekend while kids got better gave me lots of time to read.  I really took advantage of it this weekend in polishing off the two books I had been reading.  

Surviving the Toughest Race on Earth is basically about adventure racing, something I hadn't heard of before this book.  Since in the US it was first introduced on MTV and then later variations on the X-Games, it is not surprising.  The book is basically about the author himself, Martin Dugard, and how he kind of was inter-wrapped in this sport.  Covering the Raid Gauloises is what gave him the push to quit his day job and become a free lance reporter and writer.  He talks about different people and teams in the early years of adventure racing and then when he catches the bug to do it himself, the 2nd half the book talks about his experiences.

An interesting read, but looking back on it, the whole adventure racing did seem to flame out.  Most of the book was written with the expectation that it would continue on, but there was one point were he kind of hedged it saying it could be a kind of fad like the Dance-a-thons, etc in the past.  I did a quick wikipedia check and don't see where adventure racing is continuing.  I would guess it is still somewhere but the luster is certainly off.

As far as how I see adventure racing, I don't really see any appeal to it for me.  Combining mountain climbing, rafting, kayaking, rappelling, hiking, mountain biking and putting altogether as a team effort, is certainly demanding but I guess I just don't see the point.  Of course most of those are things that don't interest me so that is probably my built in bias as well.  I guess though it is kind of an additional step beyond the triathalon or Iron Man competitions.

Glad I read the book, it certainly opened my eyes to something I wasn't even aware of but overall just an okay book.  It seemed as if it was written almost as much for trying to continue to build up adventure racing, a kind of advertisement as such as for being written for any other reason.  This is a book a friend from work had given to me to read, so it is one that won't be staying in my library.

I did start reading another book a couple of days ago, The Rail by Howard Owens.  About a former professional baseball player after his playing days and just after getting out of jail for some reason.  So far seems to be about how he has screwed up his life.  Need to get that second book figured out yet.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Survival in Auschwitz--finished #27

What an amazing book.  It really allows the reader to understand a small portion of what these many people had to go through in these camps.  This is something that I know I cannot fully grasp, living in America at this time with almost every want or type of food just minutes away.  I think most people believe and had a kind of base understanding of the holocaust but I believe reading a book like this is also needed.  People need to be knocked upside their head and be reminded of this.  I know there is a Holocaust Museum here in St Louis that I need to visit as well.  I am not sure if Rose my oldest at 9 is really ready for it yet though.  I will probably have to check into it first to find out.

Earlier this year I also read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich which talked about the gulags in Siberia under the Stalin times.  There are many similarities between the two camps, like the work being done, the food, the guards, etc.  The one big difference is that these German camps exterminated thousands both before even getting into a camp or once they outlived their usefulness and room was needed for more incoming prisoners.  Levi didn't go into much detail about the exterminations because he did not see it, instead he talks about right off the train being separated from the women & children and never seeing them again.  Later he talks about the selection process in camp where an SS soldier decides in the matter of a few seconds if you stay in the camp or will be taken from the camp.  The prisoners hope it is just moving to another camp, but all know it means death.

The inhuman nature of the people that set these camps up as well everything around them that supported them in one way or another is just mindboggling.  I sit here in my warm home and think that today something like this could not happen, but then I am reminded of the genocides that have gone on in Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and still happening in Dafur/Sudan and could easily happen in Somila, it is isn't going on yet.  I certainly don't have answers to solve these problems but just have a faith in God that for whatever reason these things occur that they do not happen in vain.  I believe that people will get their just due in the afterlife and that cuts both ways.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

#26 White River Massacre--finished

I finished up the western novel, White River Massacre by Karl Lassiter on Saturday.  After checking into it, it seems it was based on a true event, which kind of changes the perspective of the book in a good way.  It was a good read, nothing really exciting but made me think about how rough the Indians got it back then and how that has really continued through today.  It was a good kind of quick read.  I don't see myself re-reading it but I think it was worth reading this once.

I have another kind of adventure book from a co-worker that I am starting.  I don't have it in front of me to get the name & author though.  I am still working on the Primo Levi book as well.  I also grabbed my copy of Democracy in America--not sure if I will be starting it yet or not.  I still have the Ayn Rand book Anthem around also--one of those will probably be my 3rd.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A week later

I don't know if it was trying to post every day in Oct, but I am kind of feeling burned out on blogging/posting anything right now.  It has been a week since I typed up anything.  Not much really going on.  Reading White River Massacre by Karl Lassiter and still working on Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz.  Mostly reading White River, it is a much easier read and am trying to push through to finish it.  Somewhere under 100 pages left.  Survival in Auschwitz is also just under 100 pages, but is a much slower read--the type is really small along with just being a kind of depressing book to read.  While I call it depressing I also have to say a very important book to read--I would think almost required reading for college students.  The Holocaust is something almost everyone should be exposed to, too important for people to forget.

My running has been little.  Last night I ran for the first time in a week & a half.  I did a little over 2 miles, 15 minutes on first & just under 14 for the second.  I didn't push it at all since it had been a while since I had run.  I hope to get a good run in this weekend and maybe even 2 if possible.

Well, too late, so I must be off to sleep.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Alexander's Bridge - finished #25

I had kind of sat this book aside for a little while, while I was finishing the McCain book and while the election was taking place.  I liked it, but not as much as other novels by Cather.

It is about the main character Bartley Alexander who is a famous bridge builder.  He is middle aged and married to Winifred a women he loves but still has an almost desire to look elsewhere.  While on a trip to London, he becomes reacquainted with Hilda a former love and he falls back in love with her.  The love he feels for Hilda is not just for her though but also for the sense of youth they had previously and kind of what he sees as missing in his life.

He tries to break it off with Hilda on the 3rd trip to London but is too weak to do so.  Hilda had never married and feels Bartley is her one true love and basically tells him she cannot bear to lose him completely.  She will take whatever he can give her.  He says he has become 2 separate persons and the one that loves Hilda he fears will take over his life.  It is a true struggle for him.

He has returned to the US and is having problems with a couple of bridges being built, one is a labor problem and the other suddenly becomes a structural problem.  Once to the bridge with the structural problem, he examines and starts to pull the workers off the bridge.  While doing so the bridge collaspes and eventually in a struggle to get to shore with the workers while in the river, Bartley drowns.

It is written in Cather's style, where a chapter will explain a point in time and then the next chapter leaps ahead a few months.  This is Cather's first novel so it is interesting that this style of hers was from the beginning of her writing of novels.  I would recommend other Cather novels to a person before this one.  It is a good read but not like a normal novel by her.  To get a real feel for Cather, I think Oh Pioneers or My Antonia would be the ones to start with and then Alexander's Bridge or my favorite Death Comes to the Archbishop.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Night

Barack Obama has won the Presidential election tonight.  I am really left with many feelings about this.  I am just going to throw some of them out there & maybe expand on anything that hits.

--Republicans had this coming.  GWB almost seemed like he quit fighting his low approval numbers.  I don't believe he was an under 20% approval rating bad, but he did enough bad stuff that the Dems & media could pin it on him.  I don't know if he wasn't out in the news because the election/primaries had started and he wanted to stay removed from them or if he had just kind of lost the will to fight back to save his & his administration's repuation. 

--House & Senate Republicans really had this coming by taking on no leadership on cutting spending and pushing the idea of while at war the country should cut back on things.  They instead launched spending well beyond common decency.  They & the administration took no tough stands on saving people's money--the prescription drug bill, getting beat at every turn on NCLB, spending on contractors in Iraq, and throw in a measure of corruption and here we are.  I cannot really argue with people about not trusting Republicans with our economy, they failed us the last 8 years.

--I also expect the Dems to start failing us on the economy almost immediately upon taking control.  I think taxes will go up and job creation will go down.  I expect tariffs and other protective measures will be taken to secure union jobs throughout the country and the cost of our money.

--I expect Obama will have a very very hard time trying to reign in Pelosi and Reid.  Pelosi & Reid are very experienced politicians with many more experienced politicians behind them--Obama will have trouble with them.

--I wonder how quickly our troops will be removed from Iraq.  If left up to Obama I would expect it to be a couple years.  I don't think the Dem party though will accept that and would want a much quicker timetable.  This will be an early fight where Obama might have to reach across the aisle for support from the remenants of Republicans left.

--Biden doesn't scare me.  I have talked to some people who have a real dislike for him and were even more scared of him than Palin.  Now I wasn't scared of Palin at all, I am actually more of a fan, but I think you still get the drift.

--What does the Republican party do now?  When the party cannot even run candidates for state Rep & Senate elections here in MO, you can see the party was hurting.  These local politicians are the ones that become the future stars of the party after cutting their teeth in elections.  This wasn't as big a deal this election season because any Republican was going to get knocked around bad but going forward this would have to change.

--The point above this makes me wonder if I should try to get involved in the County Republicans.  I haven't been very impressed when I have seen them on TV or read about them in news articles though.  I guess it kind of is "don't complain if you are not working to change it" kind of applies.

--How long before John Paul Stevens announces that he is retiring from the Supreme Court & how many others follow him.  Stevens was a Nixon appointee during the Watergate time so I can kind of understand why he ended up more Dem or liberal than what Nixon would have liked.  I just wish and will probably pray that whomever is nominated to replace him becomes the Dems Souter/turncoat justice.  The conservatives have been bitten by this too many times, it is time for this to happen to the libs.

--The above point was of course much to do about Pro-Life and also the genocide of happening with Down Syndrome babies.  I hope that Sarah Palin & Trig are able to stay in the news and help to reverse this genocide that is going on.

--One area that I hope actually gets some kind of plan pushed through is healthcare.  This has been an election issue for too long, it is time for something to get done with it one way or the other already.  It is one that I think the Republicans were wrong on it that some kind of government assistance to healthcare beyond Medicare/Medicaid is needed.  I think our businesses have lost some of the competitive edge against business in foreign countries where the state is providing healthcare.  While I am certainly against universal healthcare, I think there has to be something done to get the uninsured, insured.  I don't know if Romney's plan would work or not but I just want this solved.

Well, time to go back to the TV & see what updates have occurred.

5K 32:46 on 11/2

I ran the St Louis Track Club 5K on Sunday.  It was the smaller race, size & distance wise of the day.  There was also a half marathon that about 1600 people ran.  There was around 200 for the 5k.  

I was hoping to be around 33 minutes and my 32:46 certainly qualifies.  My PR is still 30:55 from the only other 5k that I have run.  I did a training run a couple of years ago at around 29 something though--I was in much better shape since I was in the middle of marathon training.  

The one thing that I really found out was that I need to do more hill training.  They had reversed the course, so instead of ending with a very long hill, you instead started going up that very long hill.  I don't remember my splits but I think the first mile was actually just under 10 minutes--way too fast for going up a long hill.  The uphill was probably for 3/4 of a mile at least.  While I still kicked out times under 11 I think, I was sapped from that first mile effort.  Oh well, live & learn.

There is another 5k coming up in a couple of weeks that I might look to do also.  Still not sure about what distance I will be targeting for the Spring.  Need to start looking at the Frostbite series races also--to do multiple this year.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Faith of My Fathers--finished

I finished off Faith of My Fathers on Thursday, but finally getting around to posting it tonight.  This is my 24th book read this year--a goal I had set at the beginning of the year & still have 2 months to go.

I thought it was a good book.  I didn't know much of the history of John McCain and it filled in a lot of the blanks about growing up and his time as a POW.  It is a very good account in that in many places it shows him in an unfavorable light, a basic punk growing up.  It also gets into how his course in life attending the Naval Academy was almost pre-ordained for him and how that might not have been what he would have choose.  The book also obviously, spends much time talking about his POW experiences and how that in many respects really changed him and made him probably more focused on his life.

The time period of what since getting let free from Vietnam is still blank, just not covered in this book.  I am not sure if it would be as interesting but would like to know, especially if he becomes President.  McCain was also on SNL at the beginning of the show.  I thought he was actually very good and SNL actually took some shots at Obama and the Dems for once.  I tried to watch a little more and just couldn't get through it.  That is probably good in that I am finally down here catching up.

I will not be post every day, October was just a special month.  Another goal of mine was to post at least 10 times each month so I figure I will fall back to somewhere in that range.

Makeup Posts

I missed posting the last 3 days of October for the 31 for 21 DS awareness campaign.  Well, here is something of what I would/should have posted but was too tired to do so.

Wednesday, was a run day.  Rose had VB practice like normal so I ran while she was there.  I got 6 miles in.  Good stuff, I averaged something like 11:40 miles, the last 2 were in the 12's.  A good run all in all.

Thursday, I finished up Faith of My Fathers by McCain.  I will do a separate post of this--I try to do this for each book I finish.  Not sure what else Thursday was about.  I was tired again so I didn't make it down to post then either.

Friday was Halloween.  Rose was Darth Vader, Thomas was Batman and Angie was a Care Bear.  It was dentists appointments for all 3 in the morning.  I was off work, but don't remember getting anything really done.  I took Rose & Thomas to the store, at least I think it was Friday but not sure about much else.

Today was a canvass day for the school district.  I walked a lot putting up flyers on door handles around my neighborhood.  I even grabbed a 2nd folder of streets to hit & still have one street to go--need to do tomorrow.  I also made my Catfish Jambalaya for our church's soup & salad.  My mother in law didn't have time to make her soup so I back her backup.  Debbie was going out right after I got back from church so I don't know how it went over.  Had some left here and it seemed good to me, but I am biased.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I am kind of struggling to get these posts in it seems.  Between just being kind of tired and also including just not having anything really exciting to talk about.  Well here it is.

Since I didn't get a run in yesterday, I went for a run tonight after work.  I planned on hitting Woodson Park, but with traffic on Page, I popped over to McDonnell Park.  McDonnell Park is much much hillier than Woodson, so it was a better workout for me.  I did 3 miles, something like 11:51, 11:45 and 11:35 with an overall average around 11:45 or something like that.  Not bad at all.  It was cold also, I really noticed it on the first mile, after that though it wasn't so bad.  I should get another run in tomorrow night and probably Friday--I have the day off again.  Those should be my lead up runs to the 5k on Sunday.  We will see how it goes.

Read some tonight in Alexander's Bridge and also Faith of Our Fathers.  I am closing in on finishing the McCain book-something like 38 pages to go.  I hope to finish it up this week, maybe even before Nov comes around.

By the way, I did finally get another comment on one of my earlier posts from a day or so ago, the one on Golf.  Of course it was spam so not that exciting but given the limited number of comments I get, I should at least recognize it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

PSR but no run

It was PSR night tonight, but no run for me.  Debbie had a class she was going to so I had Angie along for the night also.  Not sure yet if I will attempt to switch to a morning run today--Tuesday, to make up for missing tonight.  That is what Debbie had suggested but since it is supposed to be below freezing, not sure I really want to get out there.  

I did pick a bunch of smaller green tomatoes that were left on my plants.  This was a poor year for my tomatoes after the first promising bunch was eaten by squirrels and/or rabbits in June.  Not sure if any of these will turn red or not.  I might be looking for any kind of recipe for green tomatoes in a week or so if nothing turns.

I won my fantasy football game this weekend.  I am somehow 5-3 now, but with the lowest total points scored for our league.  Kind of pathetic but I will take every win I can get.  I will only get to the playoffs off my record so if it takes more than a little luck, so be it.

Sunday Golf

Sunday was nice enough that I actually got to play 9 holes of golf.  It was chilly & windy but the sun was sort of out most of the afternoon.  It wasn't a great round or anything but being able to knock the ball around at the end of October is always a good thing.  I think I had a score of 52 for the 9 holes--not too good.  Too many 3 putts, that is what I get for not golfing in over a month and before that it was probably another month.  I didn't play much golf this year.  I guess that is not such a bad thing though.  I enjoy playing it but there are much higher priorities than golf most weekends it seems.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Finally getting around to typing something up.  It was mostly a day of reading I guess now that I think back on it.  Debbie went to some garage sales in the morning--so I read.  Then I took Thomas & Rose out to a store & park while Debbie and Angie napped.  Then grocery shopping with Thomas.  Make supper, a pasta & chicken thing with a white sauce--not too bad but kids didn't really eat it either.  Read more during baseball game then.

I am under 100 pages to go on McCain's Faith of our Fathers.  I have also started Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi.  This is a book from a class I had back in college.  I think I basically scanned it in college and then read it a year or two after college.  Certainly time for a re-read.  Today I also just started my new Willa Cather book Alexander's Bridge--only a few pages in.  That takes me to read current books being read.  Should have McCain's book finished before the election, that is kind of my goal.

Thomas was really cranky today.  He just was focused on wanting Baby Einstein.  All day long he was asking for it and building up to screaming about it.  It was his first day on his new medicine, I hope his crankiness is not from that.  Hope tomorrow is much better.

Missed Again

Here I am again doing a day after post.  I was pretty tired last night & just didn't make it downstairs to type something up.  I had the day off, so after getting the kids to school, I went for a run.  I did around 4.4 miles at a park I hadn't been to before.  It had a couple of upgrades/medium hills.  It was cold yesterday.  The times were around 11:10, 13:20, 11:20, 10:55, 11:20 for the last .4.  I stopped on the 2nd mile and got an extra shirt out of the car, but I had also taken an extra walk break or two that mile.  Good run overall.

We had a meeting at school with a couple of Thomas' specialists about goings on with him.  We actually heard good things about his progress this year, something we rarely here normally.  Parent teacher conferences are next week, but only have like 15 minutes so not sure have time for much.  Should be setting a meeting though for the full IEP team to get together soon after that.

Trunk or Treat was last night at school then also.  It was the first time the school had done it and it seemed like a big success.  Lots of kids and people there.

Not sure what is all happening yet today, but I will save that for tonight's post.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bicycling Beyond the Divide--#23 finished

Book #23 for the year is finished.  It was Bicycling Beyond the Divide by Daryl Farmer.  It is about a man who at 20 went on a bike trip from his home in Colorado to Washington/Canada border and down to San Francisco and across Nevada & back home.  Now 20 years later at age 39 is redoing this bike trip.  The first time through it was a kind of self-discovery trip that made memories that lasted ever since.  The 2nd time is an attempt to recreate almost recapture part of his youth.  Of course the other reason is the opportunity to gain enough info/journal entries to write a book.

Overall a good book, does a nice job of mixing in memories from the first trip and contrasting it with what is happening on 2nd.  You get an idea of how hard the trip is effort wise as well as locating camping sites or motels.  It sounded like the 1st trip was more camping on roadside type though.  

A couple of thoughts that I had from reading the book are:  (1) cities and towns growing away from the old centers of town and (2)some of the stranger people he meets compared to the homeless people he encounters in San Francisco.  First on the cities, he mentioned this a few times in the book where cities grew since he was there last or more strip malls on outsides of the town or new home developments.  It is kind of sad to think about this because I am guessing the population of the city may have stayed the same but rather than rebuilding the downtown or older neighborhoods people and businesses are looking to move out.  On a small scale in small town America maybe not as big a deal, but certainly a big deal in large cities.  Just an attitude that seems too prevalent in this country.

Second, was the few kind of mobile/not attached type people he met on his trip, usually at camping sites.  People that seemed forever on the move and kind of lived off the land types.  Real kind of free spirits that decided to live an completely non-traditional lifestyle, almost living off their wits.  Compared these people to the many homeless people he encountered in his days in San Francisco that seemed to barely function beyond shaking a cup, begging for change.  While the obvious answer is drugs is a very probable cause for the homeless and/or a mental illness, it kind of hit me about how close both sets of people really are.  I have no great insight into solving the homeless situation but just wish a little of the free spirit the travelers had could be given to the homeless.

Like I said a good book, not outstanding but certainly good.  It makes you want to get on your bike and start seeing the country.  While biking is not my thing, it has kind of inspired me to up my running and try to focus in on some running goals for this Fall, Winter and Spring.

This was book #23 read this year.  My goal from back in January was to read 2 a month or 24 for the year.  It looks like this is one goal that I will accomplish.  I still have around 270 pages to go in the McCain book--not sure if I will get it done by election day or not--hopefully I will.  I will probably take a few minutes tonight and look for that next book as well.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wed Run

It seems like all I am posting about is my running & what I am reading or books I have bought.  Throw in a couple of tidbits about the kids & that seems to be my blog.  Sorry if anyone is actually out there reading this, kind of boring stuff.  I think I posted something similar about a month or so ago as well.

Well, now that my disclaimer is out of the way, the run.  I did 5.25 tonight.  It was a good run and the average was under 12:00.  I don't have the average minutes per mile memorized but it was something like 11:10, 11:40, 11:20?, 10:50, and 12:15 and 12:20 the last .25.  Yes one of the middle miles was under 11 minutes, not sure if it was the 3rd or 4th mile though.  Again, I am happy with this.  Maybe I can go below 33 minutes for the 5k coming up in a week & a half.

We took Thomas to see a Dr today about looking into ADHD.  Going into the meeting I would say I was mostly against trying medicine, but after talking it over we are going to give it a try for a week or so.  Basically, per the Dr, we will be starting him on a low dose and it is a type of medicine that leaves the system in 10 to 12 hours, so taking him off at any time shouldn't be a problem.  He said that 70+% of children that start on the medicine show pretty quick results.  Since he is a handful, if this helps keep him focused to where he can do more in the classroom, I think it would be a real positive.  I am still a little torn about it though, because I don't want the medicine to take away Thomas' personality either.  We won't know until we try and there is really no reason not to try it either, at least in the short term.

Tampa lost the first game of the World Series to Philly.  I don't really have a horse in this race, but am cheering for Tampa.  They are a team with a lot of young talent that I have been kind of following for the last couple of years.  It should be a good series to watch.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Quick Note

It is already pretty late so just a quick note.  I wasted time here late checking out and also some ultra-marathon stuff.  I know I finally get a couple of decent runs in & already way over planning.  I am going to be signing up for the 5k on 11/2.  It also sounds like I could be doing a 4 person marathon relay on 12/7 in Forest Park--still working out team/teams but sounds like enough interest to at least get one team together.

I know that if I commit to a Spring marathon or ultra or both that morning running will become a must.  I have been thinking about that for the last couple of days and I know I would need to get to sleep much earlier.  By the way here it is 1:30am and I am still just thinking about that.  Of course, with Rose's VB practice I already have a scheduled run tomorrow night so tomorrow morning would already be a bad idea.

I also did a little reading tonight in Bicycling Beyond the Divide.  An interesting book, it kind of bounces between how he is feeling and notes about where staying & who he meets.  I kind of like the whole no real format or structure to it, reads like a cleaned up journal.  I guess part of the appeal is that it is the kind of book I could see myself writing at some point.  Not the bicycling part but the style of book--unstructured thoughts and occurrences that just kind of happen & flow.

Monday, October 20, 2008

PSR night run

It was my Monday PSR night run tonight.  I had been really struggling on these runs for the last month or so, both in being slow & in just not getting the miles in.  Tonight wasn't anything great but I was able to get 3.5 miles in at a pace around 12:20.  My legs were pretty stiff on the first mile, probably because I had pushed it pretty good on Saturday.  It also seemed a little warmer or maybe more humid than Saturday also.  Overall though, glad I got the run in and it was certainly a lot better than what had been happening on Mondays.

I won my fantasy football game this week.  I am something like 4-3 but the lowest scoring team in the league so far.  Season is halfway through so can still get it put together and maybe squeeze into the playoffs.  It has been kind of a weird season so far with injuries to key players and some players seemingly falling off the cliff production wise across the NFL--not just on my roster.

Oh, good news tonight.  I found Thomas' glasses.  They were back against the wall where all of the backpacks get put after school.  There are also some Leap Pad packs back there.  I kind of remember looking in that corner but I don't think I ever actually picked up each bag & moved it out of the way.  I was under the belief they were in the basement or one of the rooms upstairs--those seem to be the more normal locations.

Well, time to read a few pages & then call it a night.  

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I have more books now.  Last night, we had a babysitter so we went out to dinner & then to a couple of book stores.  The bookstore in the Loop changed, it became much smaller & no longer a used book store.  We then went to Borders.  Borders now has a section of cheaply produced smaller classics that I just went to town on.  

First, on the greatly reduced tables I found 2 books.  One is the Baseball Prospectus 2008--it was only $3.99.  Since I check this website often but have never bought one of their books before, I figured this was a cheap way to get one & see if it would be something I would want in the future.  I also found a Hemingway book--A Moveable Feast for $3.99.  This one is critically acclaimed at least that is what the back of the book says.  I was also published after his death.  About the whole 1920's scene in Paris and the many American artists & writers over there--sounds interesting.

It was then onto the cheaply produced Dover published books that I spent most of my time.  I picked out 7 books that ranged from $2.00 to $3.50.  I could have probably picked out another 5+ books easily as well.  I picked up a copy of the Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum.  This was mostly so I could read it to the kids--I started tonight & read a couple of chapters, but after a couple of pages they went to playing and not really listening--oh well.

The next book is The Queen of Spades & other stories by Alexander Pushkin, a Russian writer that influenced later writers Tolstoy & Dostoyesky & probably Chekhov.  Which leads me to the next book, The Duel and other stories by Anton Chekhov.

I was kind of excited to find Alexander's Bridge by Willa Cather there.  This was her first novel and for $2.00 you really can't beat it.  Always fun to find another book by an NE author that I don't have.

The other 3 books I kind of picked out as a way to expand some of my reading.  First was Favorite Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  I haven't read any poetry since probably high school or maybe college, but wasn't a fan back then either only read it because I had to.  My mind has kind of been telling me I should get into reading some poetry to at least give it a chance.  I have a couple of other poetry books so adding a Longfellow certainly doesn't hurt either.

Next was The Imitation of Christ by Thomas Kempis.  This is the one book that I have not heard of before picking it out.  The back cover says it helps people on the path to prayer & spiritual guidance.  Both are noble goals that I should probably spend more time and thought on, so I am hoping this book would be a good step in that direction.

Finally, I picked up Dubliners by James Joyce another short story collection.  I didn't have any Joyce in my books so thought this would be a good addition.  Ireland or Dublin more specifically around 1900 sounds like an interesting place, especially with Joyce's focus being on the poorer people of the time.

I am still kicking away at the 2 books--The Faith of my Fathers--McCain & the biking book(can't remember the name) by Daryl Farmer.  Both are going good but still have a long way off on each.  I might do a 3rd book yet besides The Wizard of Oz also.  I had grabbed Anthem by Ayn Rand but haven't started it yet.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Fast Mile--for me

I was able to get a run in today.  I went for 4 miles.  Again it was a cooler day, temp somewhere in the 50's.  The first mile started downhill so I pushed it some from right at the beginning and just kept going.  It did have an uphill also and a stoplight I had to wait at for 10-15 seconds as well.  That first mile checked in at 10:11--my fastest mile in a very long time--not even close.  I finished up with the remaining 3 miles in the 11:50 range.  It was a very good run overall.  Not sure it was good enough to rethink my 5k time yet, but enough to make sure I ramp it up a little more during my upcoming runs.  

I would like to get another run in tomorrow but I am not expecting it.  Monday is PSR so I should be back out there then.  It will be interesting to see if I can keep up a decent speed on Monday since for over the last month Monday runs have been bad.  

Friday, October 17, 2008


We caught a spider tonight crawling on our Elmo chair in our basement.  At first I thought it could be a Brown Recluse, but after checking several websites and staring at the spider long enough, I am guessing it is either a Common House Spider or a Barn Funnel Weaver.  

It is probably in the 2 to 3 inch range with legs included, Brown Recluse is supposed to be around 3/8 inch.  It looks like from underneath the body is one color while where the legs attach it is a different color. Brown Recluse is supposed to be one color underneath.  Finally the spinnerets on the back make it seem more like the Barn Funnel Weaver than the brown recluse.

I am not sure yet if I will release it out in the yard somewhere or flush it.  Right now leaning to releasing, but maybe not in my yard--might look for a park instead.  Of course we have plenty of crickets in our basement, I should probably release it back there and let it go to work cleaning up my cricket problem.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Double Post--Again & Again

I didn't make it to the computer last night so here I am doing a double post again.  The last few days we, as in everyone in our house, has been looking Thomas' pair of glasses.  It has been lost for about 4 days so far, which isn't that long when looking for glasses that Thomas has thrown.  In the past it has gone into weeks before finding them.  Last May, Debbie had called about getting an eye appointment because we figured he needed a new prescription anyway and his glasses had been gone for at least 2 weeks.  Well, they turned up.  

It was a good thing she called though because the next available appointment was in September.  After getting his new prescription, we got 2 pair of glasses for him.  The one pair that was to be his main pair just haven't fit right and about a week or so ago got bent out of shape, we haven't run them back by the store to get them fixed and adjusted again.  The backup pair had become his main pair & it seemed like he didn't mind wearing them--rarely threw them off and actually would wear them most of the day.  Well Monday after school something happened to them and wherever they went, they are still there.  Thomas is now wearing that old pair now.  Not sure if Debbie will get by the optical store to get the other pair adjusted tomorrow or not, it might end up being a weekend project for me.


On Wed, Rose had her VB practice so I was able to get a run in.  I ended up doing 5 miles with times something like 11:45, 12:50, 12:20, 12:30, 11:58 & 13:40 or somewhere like that.  Overall a good run for me.  It was cold and a light mist, perfect running weather.  It is getting darker much earlier already so I had my reflective jacket on.

I am looking at doing a 5k on 11/2 and it sounds like I will know a few other people running in that also.  No idea yet what time I should be hoping for--under 35, then under 33 would probably be my 2 guess right now.  Should get a few more runs in with hopefully a little speed included to get a better idea. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What I am reading

I am still working on Faith of My Fathers by John McCain & Mark Salter and have also started Bicycling Beyond the Divide by Daryl Farmer.  I have also grabbed Anthem by Ayn Rand but only read the intro so far--still deciding if I want to get into a 3rd book right now.

Anyway, on Faith of My Fathers, it is kind of interesting so far.  McCain's grandfather & father sound like tough Navy men, that persevered and attained the rank of Admiral in the Navy.  There are some good stories in the book so far, but it is just kind of getting into the current John McCain's life.

Bicycling Beyond the Divide is a true story about a guy that rode his bike from Colorado to the Pacific coast & back as a 20 year old and decided to do it again 20 years later.  Good stuff so far, only about 50 pages in though.  I got this book from one of my work friends that has really gotten into biking big time lately.  I am not much of a biker but the story of his journey should be interesting.

I only need 2 more books to get to my goal of 24 this year.  This goal should be in the bag.  By the way, I still haven' t looked back on my other goals yet, so just bare with me.

My Should Have Been Monday Post

Yes, I know I missed another day, what can I say, it is tough to get this blogging every day thing down.  I am going to do another double post to make up for it.  First this post will scan over Monday.

No PSR so no hurrying home to get Thomas & then get Rose from VB & then PSR for both.  Followed by my struggling through a Monday run and then back home to force them into bed.  Instead there was no PSR & no VB practice.  That actually meant a family dinner, salmon patties, corn, and green beans--I liked it, the kids well not so much.

Rose's Girl Scouts are meeting on Mondays this year so she hasn't been at all because PSR is the priority.  So she was able to make it yesterday.  Right after dinner I mowed our front yard, hopefully for the last time this year, raked up most of the clippings & then walked Rose over.  I was stuck at the meeting for a while hearing about what was coming up so I could relay it on to Debbie.  It does sound like Rose should be able to make some of the events they are doing which is good, she likes being part of the group.

I think that does it, so time to type up something else to count for Tuesday.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

2 Post Day

Since I am sure you saw, I missed posting on Saturday.  I promised myself I would do a double post today to make up for missing Saturday.  Actually I finished my book, Desert Light on Saturday & had planned to do the writeup on it that night.  Instead I started watching the Rays & Red Sox and once again feel asleep during the game.  I woke up somewhere around 12:30 or 1am & figured I would rather go to sleep than type up another sleepy post.

Anyway, I did get a run in today of 5 miles.  The miles were something like 12:33, 12:40, 12:50, 12:40 & 13:45--not too bad.  It was kind of hot today & we had taken the kids to the park earlier & I ran around watching Thomas & Angie for an hour & half.  Then it was concession stand work for a couple of hours & then I got my run in.  I should have been drinking some water at the park, but instead just had a good drink right before running.  I also didn't carry any water on the run, so I am going to chalk that last slow mile up to that.  My legs actually felt okay still.  I was kind of stuffed up in the nose & was blowing snot rockets the whole time, but actually that is kind of normal for me at least on the first few miles.  I should probably get a checkup done & mention this to my doctor to see what the cause of this is.  It might help my running since I know in the summer it gets worse.

Not sure when I will be getting runs in this week, probably Wed & probably not Monday--no PSR this week.

Desert Light--finished, #22

As far as novels go this one isn't very good.  I had a very hard time staying interested in the beginning and had to re-read a few chapters until I realized it didn't really matter and kind of glazed over it.  Somewhere around mid-way through though the book picked up.  I think it was around when Jenny, the female main character finally started playing a real part in the novel.  Unfortuately, even at this point actual details were seemingly left out, I guess so the reader can imagine and feel them in on their own.  Even the end of the book just kind of dropped off and left you with no answers.  Overall this is a certain not recommend for anyone at least from me.  

Now I will say that this was a first novel & guessing from when I check the author's own website, it appears he is a very successful writer.  I am glad to see that & I am sure that influenced why I read this book.  I think there is a real lesson here that writing like most things is a learning experience, the more you do hopefully the better you get.

If nothing else, I have read it & I can put it on the Paperback swap website if I ever get around to joining up.  Also this is book #22 read this year, only 2 away from my goal for the year.  I know I mentioned it a month or so ago, but I really need to look at that goal list & see what if anything has been done or is even possible to get done yet.  I guess I should make that one of my new goals--ha ha.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I am kind of tired so this will be short tonight.  If it wasn't for committing to do 31 for 21 I would probably be asleep right now.  I actually was asleep missing the 9th inning of the Rays & Red Sox game and just woke up a couple of minutes ago on the couch.  I remember I needed to post today so here I am.

Rose had a VB game tonight so right after getting home from work, it was back out the door.  I went early with Rose & Thomas so Rose could warm up.  Thomas played on the court for a while before the other team got there.  He played nice but I am worried that he will now expect to play some every time we go to the gym.  He doesn't like being told "no" when their is a ball or playing involved.

Rose & her whole time played very well.  The other team was just overmatched, only 5 players showed up.  Thomas did a good job of watching for the first couple of sets but by the end was just tired of sitting and then he proceeded to wear me out also.  After a walk around outside he wasn't really ready to sit either.  He was tired though.  After we got home and I ate supper & him a snack it was only a couple of books later & he was asleep.  Speaking of sleep, I am going there now.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

6 mile run

I was able to get a good run in today.  I had the day off work and just kind of goofed off in the morning.  Rose was running a temperature the last two days so she was home from school.  Debbie had some shopping to get done so I hung out.  I picked up Angie from pre-school at 11:30 and then after getting home got ready to head out for my run.

I decided I would go to Forest Park and do the loop around the park, which is just under 6 miles.  I figured I could cut it short at a couple of different points if things were going bad or my ankle started acting up again.  Well I was able to do the whole loop and added a little more to make it an even 6.0 per my Garmin.  I am pretty happy with my times of around 12:30, 12:40, 12:50, 13:19, 12:50 & 13:15.  I was a good kind of tired after finishing.  This shows me that I haven't lost all of my endurance but I do need to keep at it to get it back a little stronger.  I really need to get 3 runs in a week at the least, 4 would be better and 5 would just be dreaming.  Of course I should probably lose about 15 to 25 pounds also to really help my running.

After dinner we did a short walk to the playground behind our grade school and let the kids play for a while.  There was an extra kick ball out there so we played a little kick ball also.  Thomas & Angie were tired and a little cranky, alright so Thomas was a lot cranky.  That pretty much ended it and it did start getting dark so we just used that excuse.  Snacks and baths and bed for the kids.  I doubt I will be up too late tonight, I am feeling a little tired after that run today still.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Son

I am struggling tonight to think of anything to type about.  I am doing the 31 for 21 so I have committed to doing a post a day this month for Down Syndrome awareness.  I guess this is a good time to talk just a little about my son Thomas then.

Thomas is 7 years old and is in 1st grade after having 2 years of Kindergarten.  He seems to enjoy school at least most days.  He is in an normal classroom but does get pulled out throughout the day to work with his therapists and also to get extra support on what is being taught in the classroom.  Thomas is easily distracted in the classroom so moving to a one on one setting or a small group setting(2 or 3 other kids) has seemed to help him.  Transitions can be a major issue for Thomas but it seems as if reminding him of changes coming up helps, of course coming in from recess is always going to be a struggle.

Thomas has started reading more lately.  I think part of this is his little sister is reading and sees how excited we are about her that he wants to join in as well.  His handwriting skills are not very good yet.  He can write his first name for the most part but not within lines and not very clear.  He has short kind of stubby fingers that make gripping pencils more of a chore for him.  He has never really liked coloring either, unlike our other two kids.

Potty training is still a work in progress with Thomas.  He goes to school in underwear because he will hold #1 and go when taken.  He very rarely tells us that he has to go.  #2 is just not happening, but he doesn't do this at school.  He fights sitting on the potty for #2 so we have kind of backed off on this.  We are trying to now have him tell us when he needs to go #2 so we can put a pullup on him, no success on this but just started it.  He wears pullups to bed and is usually wet in the morning.  Has also been waking up wet in the middle of the night also and coming downstairs to get changed.

Thomas is very active in that he loves to play, dance, run etc.  He has been doing Challenger Baseball for a year now, but only really gets into batting.  Sitting out in the field is usually forced, he just has no real interest in this.  He used to like shooting basketball, but has kind of gotten away from that and instead likes to throw things onto our roof and have it bounce back to him.  

Well, I think that is enough for tonight.  I am kind of tired and want to get to bed at a decent hour for once--meaning around midnight instead of 1:30 or 2 or later.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Uncle Tom's Cabin--finished

Wow, what a powerful book.  I have probably learned more from this book than any other that I have read in a long time, although Atlas Shrugged is probably close.  The heartache and just being generally pissed off at the injustice of slavery is something that will really stick with me.  Slavery is something I remember studying some in high school and seeing a few things on TV like the History Channel and of course watching Roots a long time ago.  I never delved into it like Uncle Tom's Cabin did.  The heartbreaking scenes where parents and their children were ripped apart and sold separately or possibly even worse when a child was removed so early they couldn't even remember having parents.  It is also tough not knowing where to really direct your anger, the churches in the South that supported the system, the many white people that needed the labor and money from the slave trade, the Northerners that didn't fight hard enough early enough to end this and so on.  This is a book that I must highly recommend to any and everyone.

This now brings me to 21 books read so far this year.  That means only 3 more for my goal of 24 read this year at least--should be do able.  Still working on Desert Light and Faith of My Fathers, might look for a 3rd book now as well.

By the way, I missed the debate tonight, so might try to read up on it.  We did DVR it so I might watch some of it also.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Book Shopping

Well, I ended up at a nearby library tonight and had a few minutes to do some book shopping on their tables out front with the books they are selling.  I was almost embarrassed at the books I was buying for so cheap, but I just couldn't pass them up.  Oh well here they are:

The Matarese Countdown by Robert Ludlum

Orlando by Virginia Woolf

Demons by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Pudd'nhead Wilson and The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg by Mark Twain

Across the River and Into the Trees by Ernest Hemingway

By-Line:  Ernest Hemingway.  edited by William White

Men at War edited & intro by Ernest Hemingway

Some good stuff there, at least I think so.  Demons by Dostoyevsky, it ends up I already have under the title The Devils.  I remember reading it and seem to remember liking it.  I now have a nice hardcopy of it, always good.

I don't know much about the Ludllum book, but I liked the Borne book I read so figured I would get this one & see what it's about.

I think I saw parts of Orlando the movie and know of Virginia Woolf.  I have A Room of One's Own somewhere amongst all of my books, a leftover from a college class.  Figured it should be one to add to my growing collection--don't know if it is right yet to call a bunch of used books a collection though.

Mark Twain is probably the one author that I should probably feel most guilty about not reading at least since grade school or junior high.  This book also doubles as a possible book for the kids in a few years.

The Men at War is a rather large collection of short stories that Hemingway put together about men fighting at war.  It also includes an intro by Hemingway.  Since I have been developing a real interest in Hemingway I couldn't just pass this one up.

The other two Hemingway books are more exciting though.  The novel, Across the River and Into the Trees was not very favorably critiqued per wikipedia at least.  While it might not match up to most of the other Hemingway works, I have it now to read and decide for myself and some point in the future.  By-Line is a collection of articles and dispatches that Hemingway wrote in his lifetime.  Sounds pretty interesting, maybe not exciting but still another Hemingway thing to have.

By the way all of these books came for the price of $1.75--just amazing.  $.25 each book, I even told the librarian checking me out that I felt a little guilty getting all of these books for that amount and she just kind of laughed it off.  

I did get 2 miles in tonight before going to the library.  I stopped at two because my right ankle was kind of tight like I rolled it or something.  I don't remember doing anything to it so I figured on not pushing it and seeing how it feels if I get to run on Wed.  

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Sunday

This was a special Sunday in the household.  It was the first time our oldest Rose was an altar server at Mass.  Grandpa was the lector & stayed on the altar to help her out.  She did really good for the first time, I could tell a couple of points where she was a little unsure of herself but with a little help from either grandpa or our priest she got through it.  She was so excited this morning, she was awake & dressed for church by 7:30 and she didn't have to be at church till 9:30 for 10am Mass.  Rose is normally a sleep in and move slow kid, a typical 9 year old I guess.

Thomas was excited to see Rose on the altar also.  Even though I tried to explain to him what was going on, he kept saying, "I want to go get Rose".  I had to take him into the Cry Room a couple of times to get him to settle down.  After Mass, Thomas did his usual routine of checking out the statues in church, Angie came along also.  Thomas really loves looking at the statues and calls the baby Jesus' Angie and the Mary statues Rose.  I guess his sisters are about perfect to him, well except when they have a toy he wants or switch channels or sit in his seat get the idea.

I was a great day out, so the kids were able to play outside at grandma & grandpas a lot.  It made the two younger tired and cranky so when it came time to go to Rose's VB game, they stayed home.  I took Rose and it was just the two of us.  It was nice, but it was also like something was missing with just me watching her game.  I am normally attached to Thomas to make sure he doesn't go running off.  Rose's team won 2 of 3 games and played pretty good except the one game they lost.  Rose was getting her serves over and made a few good bumps also.

I have a lead in my fantasy football.  The guy I am playing has a kicker left and has to make up something like 19 points, should win but put whatever saying you want her--don't count your chickens till they hatch, it's not over till it's over, etc.

Nebraska got stomped by Mizz last night also.  I endured watching 3 quarters of that and finally went over to the baseball game for good.  I have enjoyed many many years of good NE football so enduring a few of these games has to be expected I guess.  I really don't follow it much at all now with the kids and everything so wins and losses don't matter that much now.

I got some good reading in on Uncle Tom's Cabin today also.  What a sad story and a lot of respects.  I cannot even imagine that when this book first came out slavery was still legal and the Civil War was looming.  It is really painful to think that much of what the book talks about really did happen.  It is making respect the Union soldiers that much more for fighting to end slavery, as well to maintain the Union/USA.  It is just a powerful book and am glad I am reading it but at the same time wishing I had read it back in either college or high school days.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Normal Stuff

I am going to hit on the normal stuff that I usually blog about for today.  I finally got a run in, 3.2 miles.  It was slow somewhere around 14:40, 13:40 & a 12:40 for the miles.  The last mile I did 3 interval type runs of under 100m at a faster pace.  It was good, I had to remind my muscles/body that I am capable of faster speeds.  Hopefully, Monday will be a good run and can start building off this.

This was also a garage sale day for Debbie.  I was able to get some reading in this morning and afternoon in.  I mostly hit Desert Light and Faith of My Fathers.  Slow going on both but at least got some progress growing.

I think the run has me a little tired also so calling it early.  By the way I did watch part of the NU vs Mizz game until it just started getting ugly.  Neb has delivered enough of these types of beatings over the years so can't really say this was unexpected.  Only chance Neb had was for Mizz for start turning the ball over and hoping a loud road game would shake them up.  None of that happened.  Knew coming in that Neb just didn't have the talent so just take the beating and hope things get better over the next couple of years.

Friday, October 3, 2008

What to type today?

This is where trying to do a blog entry for 31 days is going to get tough.  While I don't mind typing up stuff about my mundane days, to do it day after day will be tough.  I doubt there are many people out there reading this so I guess it is not punishing that many people.

A couple of weeks ago my wife picked up a copy of The Wizard of Oz VCR tape.  The kids & especially Thomas, love it.  Most days it is getting played, at least a few minutes here and there, not the whole movie generally.  Thomas has certain parts memorized and loves repeating them.  He has been saying, "I want to go home", it took me some time to piece it together that he was just saying a line from the movie and not really wanting to go home.  He likes to dance and act out parts of the movie--it is just funny to see and he really enjoys it as well.  

When Debbie first brought the movie home, I remembered it from the book, Adventures in the Mainstream by Greg Palmer & his son Ned who has DS.  I seem to remember from the book that The Wizard of Oz was one of his favorite movies growing up.  It has been a couple of years since reading that book but I think there were more than a few similarities between Thomas and Ned, in their likes and actions.  I will have to put this book on the re-read fast-track I think.

By the way, it was at a St Louis Down Syndrome Conference 2 or 3 years ago that Greg & Ned Palmer were the keynote speakers and did an excellent speech/presentation of themselves.  It was after that speech that I bought a book and they both signed it.  I know if you would check my very earliest posts I gave credit to this book for my starting to blog.  The book is basically diary entries of Greg, the dad, about his son growing up.  While Greg is a writer and producer of documentaries, the book is written in a style that I think most people would believe they could do that also.  Of course that is selling the author short, but I wouldn't mind writing something sometime, besides a blog no one reads.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Day 2 of 31 for 21

It is another late night, just like I predicted.  I had a class to go to after work tonight and then when I finally got home around 10pm, I spent 2 hours watching the VP debate.  A little listening & reading what people are saying & now here.

I thought it was a good debate.  The big story is that Palin did very well.  I think she was able to connect with the viewers and stuck to simple topics and stayed on campaign messages.  She avoided or at least side stepped some of the questions and follow ups that were not to her liking.  After the debate, her family and parents came up on stage.  Trig was there also and I got to see a momentary shot of his face, what a cute chubby face.  

I was probably at least as impressed with Biden as Palin though.  I wish the race was between him and McCain, I would probably still be voting for McCain but I would feel better about losing to Biden than Obama.  I think Biden did enough in the debate to hurt McCain, especially where he listed why McCain was not a maverick on the issues that matter today.  Maybe it was just Biden reminding me why I was not a supporter of McCain and really have more enthusiasm about voting for Palin than McCain.

I don't know if this does much for the overall campaigns as far as changing the percentages.  I think Palin's solid showing was disparately needed to change the momentum of the McCain campaign.  Should be interesting to see if any bounce comes from this in a few days.  I think it is next Tuesday for the next debate, so that is where McCain needs to do well to get back into this.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Rough Start

This is the first day of 31 for 21 & I almost missed posting something on my blog already.  That is what I get for falling asleep on the couch.  Luckily(?) my wife woke up to go to the bathroom & when I sort of woke up I saw my son Thomas sleeping on the floor in the living room.  I guess somewhere after  I nodded off he came downstairs.  A quick trip to the bathroom ourselves and here I am struggling to get something down on the blog.

Oh well, tomorrow will probably be about the same.  I have a class tomorrow after work on something about cars--one of those classes I need to take to help my job & it's yearly performance record.  Anyway I will miss the VP debate live so Debbie will be taping it.  Once I get home I expect to watch that & then if still awake back here posting something.

Sorry if anyone is expecting any great insight because I doubt it will be found here.  More of just everyday goings on.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

31 for 21

I am going to try to do the 31 for 21.  That is blogging for all 31 days in Oct for Down Syndrome awareness.  I just signed up or at least hope I did.  One of these days I will have to figure out how to add photos and all that other stuff people add to their blogs as well.  

Since I have to come up with 31 different things to blog about I better save whatever thoughts I have for the next few days.


Well, I have gotten started on Desert Light by Williamson.  Not much there yet but again just getting started.

Debbie bought me a book today that she found cheap at Borders maybe.  It is The Faith of My Fathers by John McCain & Mark Salter, selling for $3.99.  It says it is a family memoir.  I started reading it tonight.  His family history certainly sounds interesting and with the election coming up figured it couldn't get more timely than now.

Uncle Tom's Cabin is still on going also.  I plan to get a few pages at least in on it before calling it a night also.

By the way I took home the league title in my fantasy baseball.  Nice win, I think this is something like 4th in 6 years so a nice run that I have been having.  After last year's 2nd place finish, it is good to return to the top.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Teeth of the Tiger--finished

I finally finished another book, number 20 for the year for those counting.  It was the Clancy novel The Teeth of the Tiger.  A good solid Clancy spy book.  Since it has been a while since I have read anything by Clancy I am kind of behind on the plot lines that kind of run through his books, especially with what Jack Ryan Sr is doing.  In this book Jack Ryan Jr and his two cousins are the main good guys and Islamic terrorists are the bad guys.  It is post 9/11 in the book, which is kind of nice because that is just such a mind changing event.  Overall like a said a solid Clancy book.

I had pushed through the last couple of nights trying to get it finished so I would have at least one book done in the month of Sept.  No thoughts on next book yet, many to consider though.  I am looking forward to getting back into Uncle Tom's Cabin though as well.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I had to take a couple of kids DVDs back to the library and one of Debbie's books that was due tonight.  If anyone out there is a regular reader, which I doubt there is anyone, they would know what is coming next.  That is of course the books that I bought at the library on their for sale tables up front.  I ended up picking up 4 books for the price of a whole one dollar--what a deal.

First, I picked out Desert Light by Chilton Williamson Jr.  A lawyer story from the late '70s.  A NY lawyer kind of chucks it and moves to Wyoming and gets involved in a murder investigation and then involved with one of the female suspects.  Thought it sounded interesting enough.  I just did a check on the "internets" about it and did a quick read through about the author, a very interesting life and still going on.  Book didn't get great reviews on Amazon but not a bad pickup overall, at least at this point before reading it.

Next I grabbed Mirage by Bandula Chandraratna.  A book based in Saudi Arabia something to do about marriage.  Since the Mid-East is an area of interest I pretty much was getting it at that point.  Again checking it out, it actually sounds kind of boring from people who reviewed it at Amazon but the people with stuff on the book cover make it sound good.  Not sure at this point but not a long book so will probably get read at some point.

Bearing Witness by Michael Kahn was next.  I recognized Kahn as a St Louis writer and so this was a pretty easy one to get.  I read one of the other Rachel Gold books a few years back and remember it as being at least okay.  Again from checking, there are now up to 9 books in the series, so might start trying to read all of these if possible.  Might even mention them to my mom who is always looking for something to read.

Finally, running out of time and needing a 4th book, the old by one get one free sale thing, I found The Yellow Sailor by Steve Weiner.  Looks and sounds kind of weird but could be a book that surprises me.  Again the book jacket makes it sound kind of eclectic or however that is spelled and that is about what Amazon was saying too.  This could be the darkhorse out of all 4 that make them worthwhile.  Of course at 25 cents a piece they would have to be really bad to not be worth it.

I did put some time in last night on Uncle Tom's Cabin--just a good book.  I really like the characters and like that it almost seems over the top in places because it was sort of written to show how wrong slavery was.  I still have around 300 pages to go. 

Tonight I read the Clancy book while also watching a little of the Cards game.  The terrorists just struck so I am expecting the action to be ramped up from here on out.  I have around 180 pages left.  I will probably focus on finishing this over the next few days.  It has been over a month since finishing a book, 8/18 for that Buckley book.  It is time to get one done.  Next one done will be number 20 for the year--getting closer to that goal of 24.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Quick Rundown

I really don't feel like typing much so I am just going to rundown the normal boring things.

--I tried to run tonight but didn't try very hard.  Only did a little over 1 mile with most of it being walking.  Somewhere over 15 minutes.  Not sure why Monday nights have been a struggle the last couple of times.

--No change on my books and in fact few pages have turned since then either.  I am really kind of caught in a rout(I don't know if that is spelled correctly or not).  Too lazy to look for a 3rd book also.

--Lost this week in fantasy football.  Only a week left in fantasy baseball and I am leading the league in that one.

--I need to cut out the late night snacking and also shorten up the portions I am eating.  Of course, I keep saying this to myself and get little results.  Maybe if I type it somewhere I can make it happen.  Doubt it.  Dropping 10 lbs or so would probably help my running.

Well, I guess that is enough.  I am going to try and get a few pages read in those seemingly never ending books now.

Friday, September 19, 2008

This Week

This is the week that the markets have really crashed then bailed out and now a slight rebound.  I still expect bad times ahead but hope that things straighten out down the line.  I am not a financial person at all though.

Monday, I only did 2 miles and they were mostly walking.  I think they were around 15:45 & 14:45 or something like that.  I am not sure if it was from the busy weekend catching up to me or the cold that I was still trying to get over.

On Wednesday, I got 6 miles in that felt great.  All 6 were under 13 with the fastest right at 12 minutes.  It was good to finally get a run in that actually felt very good.  I hope I can build on this run and get a few more like it in the coming days.

I am still working on my two books, Uncle Tom's Cabin & the Clancy The Teeth of the Tiger or something like that.  I like both books, but neither one has turned into a must keep reading page turner, so still kind of slow going.  I probably need to check back on my blogs but it is probably a month since I have finished a book.  I think I am still okay for getting 24 read this year but probably need to check on it.

I probably need to also check on those goals that I had ran through early this year and do a review of how it is going.  This year seems to be flying by, so might not have much time to get some of those things done.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Not Sure

Not really sure what I should or want to type about tonight but that goal of doing 10 of these a month is forcing me to get something down.

I tried another beer from Aldi, this time one from Holland, Klassic or something like that it is called.  It is actually pretty bad, it will be really tough for me to get down the other 5 bottles.  I had been buying a Guatemalan beer from Aldi that is very similar to Corona or so I have been told.  It is kind of tasty.  Since the price on it went up a whole 50 cents, I figured I would try something else, good idea, bad product.  Oh well had to give it a try otherwise I would have been left wondering about it.

Rose had a VB game today & she did very good.  She got most of her serves over, something she normally struggles with.  She also bumped it back over a couple of times.  She had a lot of fun and the team won all 3 games.

I won my fantasy football game this weekend also and still have 1 player going tomorrow night, Witten TE.  This will take me to 2-0, the good start I needed especially since I am not yet convinced the talent on the team will get me to the playoffs.

I think I will be heading upstairs to get a few pages read before going to sleep.  Still working on the same 2 books.  Going slow on both, too much other stuff going on right now--just doesn't seem like much time to get any reading done.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Good Run Tonight

I was able to get a good run in tonight of 4.1 miles.  It was while Rose was at VB practice.  I ran down Midland Blvd, which is pretty flat which made it easier but still glad to get the miles in.  I think the miles were 13:00, 12:58, 12:19, 12:34 or something close to that.  So for me the times were good, it felt great actually feeling myself able to maintain a good pace for a few minutes at a time on the last couple of miles.  Still a long way to go to get into shape, but tonight was a good step.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Other stuff

Finally after those long posts I will do a quick run through on my normal stuff. 

Running--I did 3 miles tonight after not running in over a week.  The first was very slow on purpose at 14:44.  I have been fighting a cold for the last 5 or 6 days so didn't want to push it.  Next mile was around 13:30 not too bad at all, less walking and more running.  The 3rd mile was just not planned, I figured on only doing 2 and then talked myself into 2 & 1/2 during the 2nd mile and only pushed through for 3 after 2 & 1/2 were basically done.  The last was around 13:15 or somewhere, again slow but got them in.  It was an excellent night to run, windy, overcast and cool with a slight sprinkle of rain.  Next run hopefully Wed night during Rose's VB practice.

Reading--Also hadn't gotten much reading in the last week.  I did read a chapter in each book last night but still many pages to go before either gets close.  Debbie did pick up Runaway Jury by Grisham at a garage sale this weekend, so my to read pile got a little taller.  I don't mind Grisham books though because they are always a quick read.  Have been thinking about starting a 3rd but haven't got beyond just thinking at this point.

No blogging--Not that anyone reads this, but the reason I wasn't typing up anything was my parents being in town get the basement with a pull out couch.  That means no late night stays on the computer like tonight.  

Probably other things but that is all that I can remember for now.

Buddy Walk 2008

Yesterday was the Buddy Walk in St Louis at the Cardinals game.  This was where after a couple of years of hard work--almost all by my wife, Thomas threw out the first pitch.  The weather was perfect for a baseball game, not hot and overcast.  Our group got separated while in line to get inside and walk around the park.  My parents came in for the game and they were able to stay with me though while Debbie & her parents got a little ahead of us on the field.  I had both Angie and Thomas and they had fun doing the walk after being stuck in line for around a halfhour trying to get into the stadium.

At home plate, Thomas & I had to break off and go underneath the stadium to a waiting room till we came out for the pregame ceremonies.  Thomas at this point was just not too happy about this, he was struggling with me and getting loud saying "no" and "I want to go home now".  I did about everything I could to calm him down but nothing really was working.  Finally we lined up and went out into the stadium and he just got worse.  Debbie and our parents were able to get down to the first row and helped calm him down some what.  We were offering anything to him at this point, ice cream, hot dogs, etc, finally I said we would go grocery shopping afterwards and he kind of went for that.  Then Fredbird came along and mostly all was well then, Thomas could focus on him and not everything else going on.

Thomas and his friend Cade were the top 2 fundraisers so they got to each throw out the first pitch.  Catching it was Jason Motte, a rookie pitcher who throws it hard--96+ fastball.  We both got his autograph on the ball.  Then we went back out with the starting lineup and stood on the pitcher's mound when Adam Wainwright came out.  He also autographed the balls and gave the kids high fives.  Both Adam and Jason were nice and seemed to enjoy seeing our kids.  Thomas ran off the mound when it was over and gave Debbie a big hug behind homeplate.  It was great to see because of all of the hard work she had put in to get him to this point.  

We made it to our seats to then see Albert Pujols hit a 2 run home run in the first inning.  Wainwright gave up a hr to Jacobs I think the next inning and that was all the scoring until late when the Cards added another run.  Wainwright went 8 innings and got the win.  

We had a very good crowd of people there including many relatives and teachers of Thomas--it was fun.  Rose liked taking pictures of everyone and about anything interesting she saw.  I don't know if Angie even knew there was a baseball game going on, she was just playing around the whole time.  Thomas settled in with his clapper and kind of decompressed from all of the excitement from earlier.

My parents went back early today.  They are only home for a couple of days before taking off for MN to stay a night at my sisters and then for a few days of fishing in WI with my brother from Chicago.


I haven't talked much politics on here even though it is a topic I enjoy following.  I guess I don't like attempting to carry out arguments over emails and message boards--kind of pointless.  So if anyone disagrees with my politics, statements, etc, let me know but don't expect much give and take.

I am really excited about McCain picking Sarah Palin as his running mate.  While obviously she lacks much in experience, she does seem to have some solid conservative credentials as well as an outside of Washington or the Beltway appeal.  I, as many did, watched her speech at the convention--it was an impressive giving of a speech.  You can see why she was certainly one to be considered by McCain.  Given that it had to be her largest audience ever and most important speech ever, she really came off confident and self assured.  That was simply test #1 though.  She still has a long way to go before most of the general voting public will feel safe with her as a VP.

I had heard about Sarah Palin first in April on a Down Syndrome message board, where articles were linked after the birth of their 5th child Trig who happens to have DS.  I remember feeling happy because she had gone right back to work and that Trig did not have some of the more common health defects at birth, especially the heart defects that somewhere around 50% of children have, Thomas included.  I also remember thinking that it is nice for children with DS and their parents to have another person kind of "in the news" that will share an idea of what others are going through as well as expressing positives about having a child with DS.

When I first heard that McCain was picking her, I was really surprised because I knew of her and heard she was being mentioned as a dark horse for the VP.  The day before I had read about Kay Bailey Hutchinson being someone he should consider and was actually kind of excited about that--having a good conservative female on his ticket.  I still wonder why Palin over Hutchinson, to me it seems Hutchinson might have come without the fears of lack of experience and without the fears of stuff lurking in the closet.  Palin's energy, ethics battles(in the positive sense) and able to fashion as a maverick to fit with McCain are probably what won out although I wonder what the history is between McCain and Hutchinson really is.  

It is kind of funny the negatives the left is reaching for on Palin, I guess the lack of experience doesn't really stick because that just points to the lack of experience Obama has also.  The whole business with Palin's oldest daughter expecting and dating/engaged to a "red neck" high school hockey player is really no big deal, at least for me.  The rumors that Trig was actually her daughter's child were just absurd, but did push the pregency to the open.

Now it seems they are trying to stick labels like banning books and creationism onto Palin.  I would guess both of those are dispelled by this weekend once the ABC interview comes out.  From what I understand on the banning books, she was asking a series of questions as mayor to the city librarian about which banning books was part of it.  It doesn't sound like she actually wanted to ban any, more like just a policy question.  I haven't seen anything beyond this and no lists of books so again a non-issue to me.  On creationism, all I have seen was a copied transcript from an interview where she says something to the effect that evolution should be taught but she would encourage a classroom discussion of creationism.  Again like the book banning, neither issue ever came up to where she tried to change anything.

I am expecting her education to come under attack also, but if the Dems are smart they might want to avoid this.  While she only has a bachelor's degree from a state university in Idaho--can't remember which one & too lazy to look up--attacking her on this would make it too easy to counter attack the Dems as elites, Ivy league educated, out of touch with the common persons.  

I found it interesting and I am not sure where I heard this, but they expect her to do real battle for female votes, especially the non-college educated females.  I guess the ones that really don't follow politics and all of the insides and guts but those that get most of their info from those 30 second commercials.  Kind of scary but I guess those voters could be the deciding voters in some key states.  

Sarah Palin will still have at least a couple of real tests yet ahead of her, the interviews being #2.  I expect them(the news media) to hit her hardest on foreign affairs where they would expect her to be weakest.  I would expect simple memory things like countries and leader's names to be asked, while I don't know if memorizing them really shows she is ready for the VP job, any mistakes will be blown up and run with by the media.  From her one speech it would seem she has a idea of how not to get caught in some of the media traps where they try to define her in the question, but still knowing this and answering correctly hundreds of times a week are two very different things.  I still have plenty of doubt that she will come through this process unharmed in her image.  Obviously, the debate would probably be test #3.  This might be the easiest of all though.  While Biden is experienced and knowledgeable about everything inside the Beltway and foreign affairs, I think she might have the presence and one liner type answers that will keep him on his heels.  Cheney I think always looked great in the VP debates vs Liberman and Edwards, just because he had a confidence about him.

That was a lot of typing, but I needed to get some of it out.  It is always good to get some thoughts on paper/close to it, it kind of clarifies things at least for me.