Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Well, I don't really have anything to type up tonight, but since one of my goals was double digit entries in my blog each month I have to get something down. I just did my bullet point run-through a couple of posts ago so can't really redo that either. I guess I will just touch on a couple of things.

First, my old mainstay for postings, what I am reading. I am still working on The Lord of the Rings and figure I will be for some time yet. Frodo and all have just left the Elf land of Rivenhall or something like that. Since I have seen the 3 movies, I know I have a very long way to go. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I am enjoying the book a lot, but it is not an easy page turner, it is slow going on reading.

The other book I am reading right now is Ten Thousand Lovers by Edeet Ravel. I need to start putting more time into it. Right now it gets very little attention with Rings dominating my time. I am around 80 pages in and still don't really know what to think yet. The two main characters don't seemed really defined and I am not sure the point or where this book is going. Don't get me wrong, those are not criticisms, I don't mind that things are not laid out cleanly in a book, it is just that I am not really sure yet what I have with Ten Thousand Lovers. I really need to spend a night/time and read about 40-50 pages all at once in this book to probably get into the flow better. The 5 to 10 pages every once in a while is not a good way to read a book.

The other thing I was going to touch on was my running or lack of it lately. Monday night PSR was a no go. It was a little chilly out and while I was dressed for running I just didn't feel like it after dropping off the kids. Instead I stopped at BK and got a couple of hamburgers and some onion rings and read the Monday newspaper and listened to the Cardinal game. I know just kind of lazy. Last week I did buy new shoes, but when I put them on Saturday afternoon--after being on my feet all morning--they seemed tight. I went tonight to exchange them for 4E size and of course those are not in stock. The store is ordering them in and sometime next week I should get them.

I need to print out a training schedule for a 5k and stick with it for a month I think. There is a 5k/10k race on Memorial Day at U-City that I want to look at doing so I really need to make this happen. Nothing being done on the bike front either. I has been about 3 weeks since I pulled the bike out for a ride also. I am off this Friday again so hopefully I can get a run in and a bike ride in that day.

Well, nothing exciting really but with this entry I am at 10 for the month. Need to enjoy the small victories sometimes.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Fishing on Friday

I was off work on Friday and since it was supposed to be a nice day, my wife, her parents, Angie and I decided to go to her dad's farm he grew up on. His brother and his wife live there and still run the farm also. On the farm is a nice little pond which usually has good fishing. First we had to take Thomas & Rose to school and then take off, it is a little over an hour south of St Louis. It was sunny and probably 70s, but also very windy.

We probably got started fishing somewhere around 11:00 or so and had to quit around 1:30 in order to get back to pick up the kids from school. Not a whole lot of time to fish. The fish weren't really biting that much either. The pond mostly has bluegill and large mouth bass and also a few channel catfish. Normally the bluegill are jumping on your hooks and you will occassionally get a bass as well. The catfish seem to usually bit late in the day and are good size since the pond is rarely fished. We ended up catching 4 bluegill that were decent enough size to keep, Debbie's mom caught the last fish of the day, a 14 inch bass which we also kept. Right before the bass though, I caught a 24 inch catfish. It gave a good fight for a few minutes before I was able to land it. We didn't have a net along, so I had Debbie's father take the pole while I reached in and grabbed him and brought him to the shore. Since I didn't think I would be able to help clean the fish and since I wasn't sure if other people fishing the pond liked catching the catfish, it was decided to throw him back in. If nothing else it should be fun to catch him again.

There were also a couple of large snapping turtles swimming around in the pond. I figure these are the reason for why there just doesn't seem to be as many bluegill as in the past. It has probably been about 4 years or so since we last fished the pond though and we were told the pond "turned over" a couple of years ago also. In "turning over" it basically means there was a large fish kill in the pond for whatever reason. This could also be the reason for fewer bluegill, but I like to blame the turtles myself.

Angie had a lot of fun at the pond. With it being as windy as it was, we couldn't let her walk around freely and also because we weren't sure she would stay away from the pond either. She sat in our laps and fish with us some and also sat on a blanket and ate a little lunch as well. She also played with the worms when Debbie was holding her. Debbie got a couple of pictures of this as well. We also got a picture of Debbie's dad, Debbie and Angie in front of the old house where he grew up. It is no longer being used, but is still sitting on the property.

Tonight we went over to Debbie's parent's house for the fish fry of the bluegill and the bass. It was good tasting fish and of couse plenty of sides. The kids ate chicken, none of them are fish fans yet. We brought the dessert of ice cream drumsticks. The kids like their ice cream and Rose was crying (literally) when the ice cream man drove by our house and we didn't stop him.

I was supposed to play softball Friday night, but it got rained out. Just as well since I am not really good anymore and am just a backup on a team.

I did get a run in today of around 5 miles. It took around 1:04 and a few seconds. I don't have exact numbers because my Garmin screwed up on mile 3 and 4. That happens at Woodson Park once in a while, there is a government office there and I figure they have a lot of satellites and stuff that cause transmission problems for the Garmin. It was about the same story, first couple of miles were tough and then it got a little better and then just finished up the run for the last mile or so. The 3rd & 4th miles were probably my best and of course that is when the Garmin screwed up. Not sure yet if I will get a run in tomorrow, I would like to but we have a B-Day party in the afternoon to go to so, not sure if I will be able to work one in.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bullet Point Time

Don't really have any one or two things to talk about so I will just hit on a bunch of things going on.

--Running has really been a chore the last couple of weeks. I thought at first it was my not getting enough air into lungs--the first mile or two were really tough. Now I am figuring I am just more out of shape than I wanted to believe. I did 5 miles on a hilly course on Saturday and did 3 more on PSR night Monday. Both runs were still tough but I know I just have to keep at it and it will get better.

--No idea about upcoming races. For reason see above. I just don't know when I will feel I am in shape enough to pay for and line up to do a race. There is a mini-tri at the end of May a friend from work is probably doing. That would be interesting, but not sure I could get any swimming in or enough biking and even running to do it. It is like 6 laps of swimming, 6 miles of biking and 3 miles running.

--I haven't biked in over 2 weeks. With my running troubles, biking has gotten thrown into the background.

--Reading Lord of the Rings and Ten Thousand Lovers still. Getting a few pages in one or the other each night but overall progress is slow. I am enjoying Lord of the Rings a lot as I kind of thought I would. I just wish I could read it faster, but so far it is a slow read for me at least.

--No tennis since last post. I tried to get Rose out Sunday night but she wanted to stay home instead. We were together with family and playing outside all day Sunday so I didn't push it too much. Not sure when the next tennis get together will be.

--We did a trivia night on Saturday and our team came in tied for 2nd, 3rd after the tiebreaker figured in. It was fun and I had a few good answers that no one else at the table had. It was nice getting out of the house without the kids also. We do need to do that more than we have been.

--My fantasy baseball team is kind of coming around. I am still waiting on John Lackey to come back from injury, his addition should really help my pitching--which really needs it. I am also waiting on a couple of my hitters to get started, slow starts make it tough because you are not really sure how long to stick with them. Cano is probably my slowest starter, but given what I have heard about his stats--balls in play & line drive %, he should be out of this funk shortly.

I am sure there are other things, but since I want to get some reading in, this will do it for tonight.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tennis anyone?

Rose & I got back out there and played some tennis tonight. We were probably only out there around 45 minutes. We didn't mess around with just knocking it over the net as much as we did last time. This time we had the court which also has a large piece of plywood on the fence, so we hit it on that and played kind of off that. Rose had fun but probably struggled more tonight than the other time, that happens when just learning no big deal. There was another group playing on the court also and we talked to the wife of the person coaching some kids there. She even gave us some of their worn out balls, she said it would be easier for us just learning to use these since they won't be as fast and bounce as much. That was pretty good since I hadn't gotten anywhere to buy anymore. We now have 6 real balls and our one pink and green ball.

I died trying to run Monday night and was too frustrated to continue. I did mostly a walk of half a mile. Tuesday I was back out there and did a very slow 2 miles, somewhere around 13:15 a mile. While they were slow I wasn't in pain in my chest. I guess I am just badly out of shape along with being a little stuffed up so I can't breath all that well. I still want to get some breath rite strips and see if they help at all. I know some situps and pushups would probably also help, but so far I haven't been able to talk myself into those.

Reading mostly Lord of the Rings right now. I like it so far but it is not a quick read by any stretch for me at least. I am re-reading paragraphs and just in general reading the book slow right now. I have also picked up Ten Thousand Lovers by Edeet Ravel and read a couple of pages. I am not far enough to say I have really started it though so a change could still happen.

Our Pope is in the US now. A couple of thoughts about this. First, I read where he had a cousin growing up who was close to his age that also had Down Syndrome. The Nazis came to the cousin's house and took him away to be institutionalized and the cousin died there. What I read didn't say how he died, but certainly murder is a possibility with the Nazis and their desire for their perfect race. This is a sad story and I would also hope a wakeup call to people. Respect for life is not just an abortion issue because once life is devalued in the womb it will carry over to life outside the womb as well.

Second, is some of what is going on here in St. Louis with our Archbishop Burke and the ongoing fight with the Polish parish/former parish St Stans--I don't know how to spell the full name so forgive me for using a shortened version. Archbishop Burke issued an official statement refusing to recognize Cannon Lawyer Doyle for reasons he didn't basically follow through on paperwork on representing the 2 new board members and also not meeting with A Burke. From what I can tell it sounds like Doyle was already representing the other members of the board in their appeal to the Vatican and this sounds like just a technical reason to further punish St Stans. There were a couple of powerful quotes from Doyle in the Post-Dispatch against A Burke. Sorry for the long background, but now what I was thinking about this is, Why doesn't the Vatican act on this appeal for once and for all and get this issue resolved at least from the standpoint of what the Vatican says. I am wondering if it is because the Vatican is realizing that while A Burke might be correct in Cannon Law, he is embarassing and receiving plenty of bad press in his handling of this issue. Could it also be that the Vatican is planning a reorganization type thing, since this is not even close to the only issue A Burke has received plenty of negative press for.

Oh well, I think I have a little time yet for some reading still so good night.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Partner -- Done & Fish caught

Well, this blog has fallen into a "what am I reading/finishing reading" rut lately. Today is really not different either, I finished The Partner, a Grisham book. I mostly covered it yesterday with my explanation of it as "mind candy". Not really much else to add, other than it is kind of fun to knock through a book like that once in a while.

Saturday morning was also a fishing day. It was cold and snowy in the morning but since the Pujols Family Foundation was part of a fishing day at Busch Wildlife, I talked Debbie into letting me & Thomas go out. We had RSVP'ed earlier in the week and the plan was to get a babysitter for Rose & Angie so Debbie, Thomas & I could all go out fishing. Well with it being cold and windy, there was no way Debbie wanted to go and she had to be convinced before she agreed to let Thomas go also. It was cold and windy and there wasn't much action, fishing wise either.

It was a nice event though. I think it was a construction company that put it on, but I am not really sure either though. It had a few different children's groups involved, liked Big Brothers & Big Sisters that I know of for sure. Checkin was from 9-10 and then fishing from 10 to 11:30, then break for lunch for an hour and then more fishing in the afternoon. They did keep count of how many fish each participant caught also. For lunch, they had fried catfish, baked beans, coleslaw and chips, the coleslaw was the only thing Thomas didn't want. He seemed really like the catfish, I am not sure if he has had it before or not. They also had a band playing music, which he really liked. He bounced his way through lunch.

As far as the fishing went, Thomas did catch one fish, a bluegill. We first started on lake 2 I think. There were about 3 other groups out there when we pulled up. Thomas got a fishing rod and a kit with hooks, lures, etc, that I opened and looked at. I did not buy any bait and just figured I would see how we did with this first. The grass and dirt around the lake was soaked and muddy, so we had to setup on a rock part. This meant that Thomas had plenty of rocks to throw into the lake which he did as often as he could, no matter how many times I stopped him and told him no more. I didn't bother setting up his new rod and instead just used one I brought along. I put a hook on it and used a small plastic lure and bobber. We got nothing. Eventually the other groups left but luckily for us one of them had bought nightcrawlers and gave them to us as they left. Even with the nightcrawler though, nothing at this lake.

We moved then to lake 15 where everyone else was fishing it seemed. I saw a kid carry a bass over to the officials when we pulled up, I would guess around 12 inches--not bad. Also this lake had an asphalt sidewalk around part of the lake, this is where we setup--I learned my lesson with the rocks. This is where we caught our one fish. Thomas reeled it in all by himself and was pretty happy about this. In fact he kept mentioning it all day long that he caught a fish--that is just fun and worth sitting in the cold. We had one more good bite but lost it right before lunch. I was glad Thomas caught his fish because after lunch we called it a day, it was too cold to go back out there. While Thomas had fun reeling in, he doesn't have the patience to fish very long. I think we need 2 people with Thomas for fishing for best results, he is really too much for one on one. Trying to change bait or put a new hook on, he just doesn't sit still enough for that. Also with 2 people you could use 2 poles, so he there would be more reeling in and casting and hopefully not as much just sitting.

Friday, April 11, 2008

All Moms Go To Heaven -- done

I finished up the short book I was reading, All Moms Go To Heaven. Not really anything earth shattering about the book. A good reminder that moms don't have it easy. The writer & his family are Morman which means the good old fashioned values type things and that is what the book certainly stressed. My wife really liked it and made me read it once she finished. I felt kind of bad because to me it was more ho hum and I think she thought I would have a bigger reaction to it. I may have mentioned this in my entry last night, but it is very similar to Finishing Strong, that I read last year except the focus was on men/husbands/fathers instead of moms.

Well, I picked out The Partner to go along with The Lord of the Rings as my next books. Well The Partner has taken off. I was off work today so I was able to spend some very good time reading it. I am somewhere around 280 pages read right now. I am around 50 pages in The Lord of the Rings. The Partner is a good Grisham read, a page turner with a constantly moving plot. Someone once referred to these type books as "mind candy" and I really think it fits. Not too much thinking going on, just simple enjoyment of reading the story. No third book yet, but might have to start looking since The Partner isn't going to take very long.

I haven't mentioned my running much at all lately, probably because there is little good news to mention. I have really been struggling on my runs, especially the first mile or so. My chest/lungs are in pain and while in the past I could run through this, not any more. It could be that I am just badly out of shape and just need to keep at it. I also think it could be a sinus thing since I am blowing my nose constantly while I am running. I want to pick up breath rite strips and see if that would help. Since my nose is usually partially stuffed, this might help open it up enough to increase my oxygen intake which could help my breathing/lung problem. That is the theory I am working at right now, along with the one with me just being badly out of shape. Anyway I did get 4.1 miles in today, first mile around 13:15, 2nd 12:50, 3rd 12:09 and 4th 12:23 or somewhere in that ballpark. Kind of ugly times, but at least I was able to get something in. Not sure if there will be any other running this weekend.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Drifters - done

Book #9 for this year is now finished. I wrapped up The Drifters by Michener tonight. I always feel that I learn a lot whenever I read a Michener book and this one is not different. While my main criticism is probably that the characters seem a little too perfect in fitting into stereotypes, overall a very fun read. It follows a group of around 18 to 20 somethings that travel together through Spain & Portugal and then into Africa during the late 1960s. He wrote it as a kind of contrast to the generations with Fairbanks and Holt being part of the WWII generation vs the Vietnam/'60s generation kids. I think he presented most of the arguments in a fair manner, that generally showed while the '60s kids lacked perspective, they certainly had feeling and an almost like "movement" sense about them.

While reading The Drifters, I kept thinking about how Michener viewed the '60s generation later on say in the '90s when they were turning 50. I might have to see if I can find any answers on this, because it seemed like some of the characters would not sell out as he presented them in the book, but I don't know if he would have felt the same over time. Good read, interesting stuff on the time period and what many of the American students did while in Europe at that time. I have enjoyed other Michener books more than this one, Centennial(I wish I had spell check) & Poland off the top of my head, but this is certainly a solid work. I am glad that I finally got it read.

Next to be finished is the short book recommended to me by my wife, All Moms Go To Heaven. It is just okay for me. It reads similar to a book a read a year ago or so, Finishing Strong. That was about being good dads and husbands. All Moms is written by a man who took a summer in 1973 and became a stay a home dad. While little in the book is about that actual summer it is more so on his family--wife, kids, their spouses and grandkids. Nothing earth shattering in the book but I guess it is good to read this occasionally and remind oneself to be a better person. I am down to a mere 10 pages to go, but will save it to finish tomorrow. I will give the day/blog entry to The Drifters.

I have started my next books, The Lord of the Rings and The Partner--Grisham. Just getting started tonight on both so only a few short pages into each.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Planet Wizard--done

Book number 8 is now done this year. It is The Planet Wizard by John Jakes. A good piece of science fiction about a far off planet in a far off time. It is a generation or two after a nuclear war hit the main planet and a neighboring planet. A wizard, his daughter and a companion are sent off to the neighboring planet, because the leaders of the home planet believe the wizard is a true wizard. A sto-away with seemingly mad designs on restarting the neighboring planets large corporation/city is also found on the way. A 2nd team also with their designs of restarting the city steal a ship and join in the fun. The neighboring planet has these reptile like creatures with Brothers that ride them--kind of like little people I guess, that kind of protect the city. These creatures are what supposedly have become of the survivors of the nuclear war. Also more than a few scenes with these creatures didn't really seem to make much sense, but oh well. The madman gets the city restarted after the wizard scares the reptile creatures out of the city.

I guess it ended on a up note with humanity surviving a nuclear holocost(I wish I had spell check on this computer). Overall not a bad read if you are a fan of science fiction. I don't think joe average reader would really enjoy it though, a little far fetched and glosses over things quite a bit. Much better stuff out there but not a waste of time either--just a middle range book for me.

I am also starting on the last chapter in The Drifters. Still have a 120 pages or so, but getting there. I might spend a little time and try to figure out my next two books--will try to see if Lord of the Rings can be worked in yet.

Attempted running tonight, but it wasn't good at all. I didn't even get 2 miles in, going 1.75 with much walking. I am struggling to breath for the first mile or so and am just getting frustrated with this. I am wondering if I have some kind of allergy type thing since I am constantly blowing/launching my nose while running especially in the beginning. Maybe I will pop in a WebMD & see if I can find anything out.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Goals -- check in

Well, #6 got started, that is play tennis with my daughter Rose. Tonight we knocked it back & forth for probably an hour. It was a lot of fun for both of us. Rose used her new Barbie racket and I found an old racket at my in-laws. I thought we had a can of balls somewhere around our house, but I couldn't find it. All I could find was a pink & yellow tennis ball for a velcro paddle game. It worked alright, but afterwards we found another ball in the bushes, so now have at least one ball. Hopefully will get to the store and pick up a new pack as well. I hope we find time to get out at least once a week to play a little. Still not sure if Debbie wants in on this or not, her knees aren't the best so maybe not.

Next could be #8, the fishing with the kids one. Debbie will be calling the Albert Pujols Family Foundation on Monday about an email she got from them. They are sponsoring a fishing day/tournament at Busch Wildlife this coming Saturday. Not sure if it is only for the kids with Down Syndrome or for the whole family yet. Also don't know time, but Debbie is pretty excited about this. I think we will find a babysitter for Angie either way, I don't think she is really ready yet for this. Also it would then be one on one with Debbie & me with Rose & Thomas, a lot easier to handle.

On the running front, not sure which number that is. I ran a terrible 2 miles on Thursday in the rain. I could not figure out why it was so bad, I could hardly breath the whole first mile and when it started raining harder on the 2nd, I called it. Afterwards I remembered I gave blood on Wednesday, so I am kind of chalking it up to that. On Saturday, I went to Creve Coeur Lake and did the short route around for 4 miles, the last mile including up and down the stairs near the entrance--these were around .12 up. The first mile was tough still, but it did get easier as it went, at least until the stairs. I need to check the race calendar and find a good 5k in the next month or so to get my training focused on that.

No bike riding this weekend, throwing it on the back burner for now to get my running and other stuff underway.

Still reading my two books, The Drifters and The Planet Wizard and started a 3rd All Moms Go To Heaven. The All Moms book is a library book that Debbie read and said that I had to read. I have gotten a couple of chapers into it and so far okay just. I am down to around 40 pages left on The Planet Wizard so should wrap it up in the next day or so. On The Drifters, I still have around 140 pages, so a week or two to go or somewhere in that range.

I watched the 2nd Lord of the Rings movie with Rose Saturday night and she enjoyed it and even better no nightmares. I don't know if she will start reading The Hobbit or not but could be a step closer to doing so. The 3rd part was on tonight but didn't realize it until the kids were all in bed. That is probably for the best since they have school tomorrow. Also I want her to be interested in The Hobbit and reading it before watching all of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Well I think I will try to get a few more pages in before calling it a night.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Big News

Thomas went #2 in the potty. Well, maybe finished up #2 in the potty might be more like it. Rose had her concert tonight at the high school with 3 groups, the elementary kids, middle school kids & high school kids all doing songs. It started late and went past 8:30. It was pretty good, probably as good as it could sound in a gym. Well once we got home, Thomas took off for the basement, once I realized where he was at, I knew what he was up to. I caught him squatting at the bottom of the stairs. I grabbed him and carried him into the bathroom. Part of it was already in his pull up, but I set him on the toliet anyway figuring more could come. It did come also, about 5 minutes later. We, the whole household, was so excited. Thomas seemed excited also. He got a cookie tonight then and he will also get to watch Sponge Bob now. I don't know if this will carry over and continue, but it is a start, something we have really been needing.

We also had Thomas' IEP today. It went really well, everyone in the room was very supportive and wanting what was best for Thomas. I have heard/read about horror stories at IEPs but we really have had no problems. While our school district might not be seen as one of the top in the area, I certainly see it as one with the way our kids have been treated. Of course all we have seen is early childhood classroom and one grade school, but they have certainly been impressive. Also throw in the music program that Rose is part of that is district wide as well.

I am getting tired, it has been a long day. I am not sure if I am going to read any more tonight either, that is how tired I am feeling. Of course, I did read a little before stopping to get on the computer.