Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Witches of Eastwick--done

During vacation last week, I had taken along a Clancy book as my page turner, but it was ignored. Instead my full attention was given to The Witches of Eastwick. I will agree with a review on the cover that Updike is clever, at least with this book. Too me it seemed to end too abruptly with just a few short paragraphs explaining what happened to each of the witches and other main characters. I will give credit though to the characters in the book, they developed nicely throughout and some of the undefined or unclear issues I had early in the book, I now am guessing that was on purpose. It helped show the characters were also unsure of themselves or their powers. I also liked that some of the '60s came out in the book but was not thrown out there, it was only brought out in more subtle mentions.

Overall, not really a favorite book. I am glad that I have read it and I will certainly look to read more Updike in the future but to me it just wasn't all that good of a book. I would have a hard time recommending it to anyone. I might try to find a copy of the movie though and see how it looks in pictures.

I will now go back to reading Fatima some. I did take it along on vacation but never opened it. I will also be looking for another book, not sure if the Clancy book will fit the bill or not yet. I have quite a pile of books to go through and consider right now.

As far as other news. My son was tired from playing outside a lot today as well as still recovering from a weeks vacation. What this added up to was a very crabby boy. Because he was crabby, I didn't take him along when I did a quick grocery shopping trip and then picked up a pizza. Well while I was unpacking the groceries, Thomas slipped outside and threw a rock through my back passenger side door window. Either before or after this he stripped down and was naked as well. There goes $250 on my Comp deductible for getting the window replaced and the glass cleaned up, I am guessing. Pretty sure it will be over the $250 but will probably check it out first before turning in the claim. What fun.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Vacation was Good

Just got back from vacation this afternoon. It was good. Got to see some of my family. Did some fishing, reading, playing with the kids and eating too much for a week. It was all good. Now I just have to figure out when to start getting my running back in order to get into some kind of shape. It is nice that I still have Sunday to get a few things done before having to get back to work on Monday.

Going without a newspaper and computer for a week mean some catching up on the news now. We did have a TV but mostly it was used for checking the weather or kids shows--I didn't catch any news at all which was very nice.

Friday, June 20, 2008

More Books

A couple of days ago I had to return an overdue book that my son had checked out from the school book mobile. Of course when returning it I had to check out there "For Sale" books. I picked up 3 of them. First, The Complete Henry Bech by John Updike, I think I have a Bech book somewhere on the shelves and have read it or maybe I am confused with a Vonnegut book--not really sure. Even with not being entralled with Witches so far I figured this would be a good buy.

Second book is But Not To Keep by Roger Kahn. I have read book or two of his baseball stories and figured I would take a shot with this book. Not really sure what it is about, but I think this is not a baseball one.

Third is The Parent's Guide to Coaching Physically Challenged Children. Not sure if this will really apply to Thomas since physically he is pretty typical a many ways but for a quarter figured it could do no wrong. Yes each of the books was only a quarter.

Today I was out and about and was driving past the other library that is close & stopped in to check out their "For Sale" books. I found another 5 books, I might have a problem.

Anyway here they are. First, White River Massacre by Karl Lassiter a history fiction novel, should be interesting. Second, My 15 Minutes, Sara Faith Alterman, her first novel. It is kind of a Hollywood story--low expectations but might be surprised. Third is Earrings by Eric Koch again a historical fiction type novel about Baden-Baden a few hundred years ago. Fourth is The Rail by Howard Owen. Has a baseball on the cover and that caught my eye so I bought it not sure of much else but skimmed the inside cover--kind of a wasted life type story. Finally the fifth book is High Wire a Bill Clinton story by a reporter from Arkansas. Don't know much besides this but just hoping for a little insight with not too much of a slant either way.

By the way I think this is my first double post on one day. Number 100 & now this, what a day--ha ha.


Post number 100. Wow, kinda surprised about that. This has started and continued mostly as a journal type thing. I didn't think I would keep it up but I have--not that really anyone else has noticed.

I probably won't have access to a computer for a week while on vacation so I am kind of packing in some posts now in order to get to 10 for the month or at least get close.

Rained last night & this morning so my getting the lawn mowed may not happen. Since we are leaving tomorrow afternoon, I will have to see what Saturday morning brings.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Reading Update

Since finishing off Lord of the Rings my reading has taken a backseat to other things like mostly projects around the house & lawn care. With a vacation coming up I will probably be adding a 3rd book, something a little more of a page turner than the 2 I am working on right now.

First, I am still plodding away at The True Story of Fatima. I am not all that far into it yet, only 80 some pages, but it is interesting and kind of fun to see the reactions of the people around the children when the visions were starting. I will keep at it, but it is also easy to set this book aside for a few days also.

Next is The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike. I am somewhere over 100 pages read nearing on 1/3 of the way through but so far am not very impressed. I guess I just don't buy into or understand the witchcraft of the 3 main female characters. The main male character Darryl so far doesn't make much sense either--is he a witch(worlock?) or just a kind of weird person. Don't know at this point and that is fine--I don't mind having to read farther to find out, but I guess I just haven't connected with any of the characters enough to really be interested. I will probably push on, but I expect this book might take a while.

For my 3rd book I am right now looking at The Teeth of the Tiger by Clancy. My wife found this and a couple other books at a garage sale over the weekend for .50 each--not too bad. Another Clancy & a Grisham book none of which I have read--very good work by my wife. I expect the Teeth of the Tiger to be the nice vacation page turner I am looking for. Not sure if I will get started on it before vacation or not at this point.

Monday, June 16, 2008

6 miles Sunday

Sunday evening I was able to get a run in. I took my route which can go for 1 mile and back or extend out to 3 miles out & 3 back for six in total. There was a thunderstorm warning so I figured this was a good safe route so I could turn back at any time if needed. Well I started off thinking 4 or 5 miles would do but ended up doing the full 6 miles. It felt good. My times were slow probably averaging around 12:30 or 12:40 but all of the miles were under 13:00--2 or 3 were 12:50 something though. The fastest mile was around 12:10. I didn't take any water on the run and while that might have helped I also think it just gives me something else to think about and not just pushing on with the run.

I don't know when the next run will be. I was thinking about trying to get up early and run tomorrow, but since it is after 1am, I doubt that is going to happen. I did work out on the front lawn tonight after getting home from work. I was out there for about 2 & 1/2 hours, mowing, triming bushes, pulling weeds, raking the clippings, etc. While maybe not a strong workout, I probably burned a few calories at least.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Garage update

The long side outer wall of our garage has now been scraped and primer has been painted on where there was bare wood. I need to get the paint so I can actually have that wall painted hopefully before vacation. Still have the rear wall and front doors to get on but neither looks as bad as the side I think.

I had time for a short fishing trip to a local pond/lake. Because time was very limited, I didn't have time to get bait, instead I took a hot dog along. Mostly I was just checking the rods & reels to make sure they are in working order before vacation. One of the kids rods is okay after I put 4 lb test in it, the other smaller rod is just in sad shape. Well, once I was able to keep the piece of hot dog on the hook and cast, I did catch 3 small catfish and had 2 other good bites. I will definately keep a hot dog in mind for bait in the future.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Run Through Some Stuff

I don't really have time to type much out tonight so it will just be some bullet points. In no particular order:

--Reading has been slow since finishing The Lord of the Rings. I still have The True Story of Fatima and have also grabbed and started The Witches of Eastwick--Updike. I might add another before our upcoming vacation--something light and easy.

--Been scraping paint off the garage. I hope to get a primer put on this week and maybe if all goes well to paint at least one side this weekend.

--No running, biking or tennis or just about any exercise being done. I will get something in this week, but don't know where/when yet.

--Buddy Walk was last Sunday at Forest Park. It was hot, very hot. I think the kids had fun but we kept them from the blow up jumping things figuring it would be too hot for them to be inside those for very long. The walk happened first, probably a 1 & 1/2 or so, that kind of wore the kids out also.

--My boss at work retired. Good for him, sucks for me and coworkers. He was a very good boss in the since he just let you do your job and did not micro-manage at all. Not sure yet who his replacement will be. Overall not too worried because I think I can work for just about anyone, but I don't want worst case scenerio either.

--Tomato plants are doing okay. Starting to get little flowers on them already. Probably need to get chicken wire out and keep rabbits away soon.

--Been thinking about biking to work, but haven't gotten any farther than just thinking about it.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Lord of the Rings - finished

Well it took some time, but I finally finished up The Lord of the Rings very late Tuesday. It is a very good read but for just pure enjoyment of the story as well as the characters. The interesting cast of characters and how they develop throughout the story add so much to the story. It is not just a fun read but one of those books that everyone should enjoy. It will join my list of top 100 books read if I ever decide to make that list.

While I did keep referring to the maps in the back of the book, it was still hard to keep in mind the overall layout of where everything was happening. This was also an instance where seeing the movie before hand helped me picture the cities, the towers, the Shire, etc. I do want to re-watch the 3 movies now though, I think I will understand a lot more of the details in the movie now than I did before.

One thing I have realized from reading this is that I seem to enjoy long epic type books more so than shorter reads. I am sure part of it is the sense of accomplishment one gets from finishing a book like LOTR or War & Peace or a Michener book. Of course those books also take a lot of time and energy so only reading epics just isn't realistic for me either.

Since LOTR is done, I am only reading The True Story of Fatima by Father DeMarchi. Father DeMarchi researched and wrote the book from 1943 to 1950 while living in Fatima. Interestingly he was able to Lucia as well as many other people that were around at the time of Our Lady visiting Fatima. LOTR kind of shoved all of my other reading far into the background so I am only on page 61 right now. I have not picked out a 2nd book yet, I have a few that I am considering but probably won't make a decision or get started on one until this weekend.

Monday, June 2, 2008


I haven't done much of an update on my running lately. That is probably because there just isn't much of an update to do. I don't have my calendar in front of me, so working off memory kind of. The week of May 19-25, I think I got 3 runs in totaling around 12 miles. I didn't get another run in then until 5/30 and then another run 6/1. On Friday 5/30 I was able to go to Forest Park and do a lap around the park for 6 miles. I was only able to get out at around noon though, it was very hot. The first 3 miles were okay--on the 3rd I did a gu so it was a little slow. After that though I really started feeling the heat and did a lot more walking. The last 3 miles were 14+ minutes. Given that I hadn't run in 5 days I was happy to just get the miles in.

On Sunday after chasing the kids at the park, I went for my run around 5:00pm. Again it was hot. This time I did my Woodson Rd to Olive to Midland & back home again route. It is around 6.5 miles. This time the first 4 were okay, slow in the 12:30+ range but not too bad. The last 2 & 1/2 miles were not very good. One of them included a stop to refill my water bottle at a park restroom, but again a lot more walking than I wanted.

I think both runs ended up around an average mile time of 13:40 while not near where I want to be, given the heat I will take it at this point. Also the other positive is that I felt okay after both runs and also the next days. On my Friday run I was kind of worried about dehydration and that causing a general weardown for me but that didn't happen. Now I do need to push myself through these runs and get myself acclimated with the heat much better than I have done in years past, but I will take the results from these two runs and build on them.

No plans yet on upcoming races. I would still like to get a 5k in sometime, somewhere. Also I am still thinking about the 1/2 marathon in Sept and the other one in Nov here locally.

My other fitness goal is one that I have talked about but not accomplished yet--riding my bike to work and home. With the weather getting better and the gas prices going higher I think I am getting closer to talking myself into this. I also want to get up and do a little workout--run or bike ride in the mornings once or twice a week also.

June is here so some of these things I have kind of put off until the weather got better can no longer be put off. By the way, the scraping of the garage has started--no date yet on when it will be painted though. I guess the garage will now fall into my regular updates as well.