Sunday, August 31, 2008

Last day of August

Well August was a busy month & it is finally at the end.  Of course September looks to be just as busy if not worse than August.  I guess it is better to be busy than have nothing going on.  

I finally looked at a race calendar for running & saw the Track Club 1/2 marathon is Nov 2nd--a Sunday.  Since it is getting very close as far as training for it goes, I printed out a plan from Hal Higdon and saw I was already 2 weeks behind.  I think I am going to do a modified plan off of my marathon plan.  I was kind of looking at that tonight but didn't make any decisions.  I want to get to 3 runs a week & would ideally like to do 4 but just figure that won't happen normally.  I did get 2 runs in this week.  A 3.6 on Wednesday & a 4.0 on Saturday.  Both were slow but at least got the miles in.  By the way there is also a 5k with the 1/2 that day, so I have a drop back plan if my training just doesn't make it.

My reading slowed down also this week.  I got a few pages in of the Clancy book but it has been probably a week since I got to Uncle Tom's Cabin.  I might try to get a few pages of each in yet tonight.

I am golfing, just 9 holes tomorrow morning so probably shouldn't be up too late tonight.  I also got 9 holes in last weekend.  It was a round of a lot of 3 puts, too much time between getting out there.  We are playing Berry Hill GC, it has been 3+ years since I have been there.  It is not the easy course like St Ann, so not expecting anything great score wise.

Football is starting up.  NE won their game yesterday against the MAC school Western Michigan.  I haven't even read a writeup of the game yet so don't ask me anything.  I hope NE gets back to winning but it is something that has really fallen off my care about list compared to years back.  It usually only takes a game or two of football, either pro or college, before I see too many flags for pass interference or roughing the passer penalties to where I start wishing for baseball to return.

A couple of topics I will probably touch on in the future are:  my fantasy football team & of course politics with Sarah Palin being choosen as McCain VP pick.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Just a regular update

I don't have anything specific to type about today.  So I am just going to ramble on for a few lines & kind of get it over with.

Still reading Uncle Tom's Cabin--very good.  I have been very impressed with the writing and the feeling and emotions expressed so far.  It is a good read that I will have to devote more time for in the next few weeks.

Also reading The Teeth of the Tiger by Tom Clancy.  So far so good, not really classic literature or anything but a good story.  I expect it will get into a page turner type mode once all of the characters & plots are kind of laid out.  A good 2nd book to be reading.

PSR started last night for the kids.  Since I had to register them and it was a short intro, no real class--there was no chance of me getting a run in.  No run tonight either, maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

3 Miles In Today & the marathon

I forced myself to get in some kind of run today.  Just like last week, since the Olympics men's marathon was on tonight, I wanted to get a run in so I wouldn't feel like a slug watching it.  The 3 miles were slow of course, something like 12:30, 12:30 and 13:10 I think.  It was hot out and humid.  I went to the park close by and no one was there so I ran without a shirt today.  First time I had done this.  I figure people don't really want to see my hairy chest with a beer gut so I hadn't done this before.

I was really hoping the US men could have gotten a medal in the marathon, but 2 top 10 finishers is alright.  Ryan Hall was being touted but he didn't stay with the leaders when they really pushed the pace early.  It was an impressive performance by the Kenyan who won and the Morrocan who got silver, that they were not caught.  By the way the 2 top 10s, were Dustin Rits... at #9 & Hall at #10--again not great but also not that bad either.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I have noticed how I don't really like to title these things, especially when I don't have a whole lot to talk about.  Or in this case a few things but nothing that major.  I guess I will run through a little list thing that I like to do:

--Birthday was yesterday, 39, getting close to the 40.  I don't think 40 will bother me, 30 didn't and none of the years in between.  Of course, I have a full year to screw things up and then 40 might seem depressing by then as well.

--Went to the Cardinals baseball game yesterday for the B-day.  They lost what was a close game, it was 1-0 into the 9th.  The bullpen & defense gave up 3 runs in the top of the 9th basically ending the game or so we thought.  We stayed on to the end and the Cards did get the winning run to the plate.  Even though they lost you can see this team doesn't give up, they fought to the end.  Pujols almost hit against the right centerfield fence in the 8th also with one on that would tied it up, instead a very nice catch by the centerfielder ended the inning.

--I saw a link to on a message board I check out.  I checked it out and it looks pretty interesting.  I might be signing up.  Not sure how up to date their book lists are, but I have a few I could probably send away so might see how it works.  

--No 2nd or 3rd book picked out yet.  Was kicking around Plague Dogs by Richard Adams, same author as Watership Down which I really enjoyed.  Not sure I want to start it now though.  Nothing else jumping out at me right now though.  Might look at that Clancy book.  Haven't read anything in Uncle Tom's Cabin the last couple of days either.

--New computer.  We got a new computer over the weekend, a MAC.  I haven't used a MAC/Apple since high school or so.  Right now it acts just like my PC so no problems.  I don't really do too much complicated stuff with my computer so all should be good.  Hopefully Debbie will figure things out so she can let me know all of the little things I need to know about this.  We also got an Ipod with the purchase.  Debbie has it going, not sure I will ever get to use it though.

I guess that works for now.  I might kick around my books some more & see what I can come up with.

Monday, August 18, 2008

See You Later Alligator-finished

Yes, I am doing a 2nd post tonight.  I finished my 19th book of the year tonight, the William Buckley book See You Later Alligator.  Not really that impressed with it, it was just okay.  I know the main character Blackford Oakes is a serial(if that is the right word) for Buckley--in other words there is a series of Oakes books out there.  So maybe my feelings of not impressed could have to do with not reading the series in order.  I don't think this is the case but I guess it could be.  Unless I find another book in this series at a very good cost--like a $1 or under, I probably won't be reading another.  

I was interested in it because it dealt with Cuba and Che--two very interesting topics.  It seemed to gloss over these though and instead deal mostly with Oakes and other characters around him.  I understand it is fiction so maybe my expectations should not have been very high.  Oh well, like I said it was okay but nothing special in my eyes.

Now I am reading Uncle Tom's Cabin.  A book a bought a few years back brand new.  It is one of those that I figured I should read.  I had started it before and gotten through a few chapters before it stalled out.  I am somewhere over 100 pages so a good start on it and am interested in it.  I will be finishing it this time.

No idea yet on what my 2nd book will be.  The usual suspects I am sure will be considered maybe a Clancy, or a Grisham, there is a Richard Adams book about dogs and a few others also.  I will look for one tomorrow, it is too late to be bothered with trying to pick one out now.


I had to get a run in last Saturday.  The women's Olympic marathon was being run Saturday night and I knew I would feel guilty watching it without getting a run in.  I was able to go Saturday afternoon to Creve Coeur Lake Park and do the short route around the Lake--4 miles.  It was slow, all miles above 13 minutes, but at least consistant in that all were below 13:35 I think also.  My legs felt a little worn during the 3rd mile, my lack of running is really catching up to them.  Of course my waistline is what is really growing since my lack of exercise most of this summer.

Tonight, Monday, I got a short 2 miles in.  This was even slower at 14 and 15 minutes.  The 2nd mile might not have actually been that slow though.  I ran in Woodson Park where my Garmin has acted funny in the past.  Of course, I am not too worried if it was really 14 instead of 15--slow either way.  I am just telling myself that I need to get these miles in, the time isn't that important.  

Tomorrow we are going to the Cardinals baseball game, so no running then and Wednesday is a maybe at this point.  Friday is my fantasy football auction and I think I just found out Thursday is a meet and greet the teachers at school or something like that.  My week is already about full.  I really need to stop staying up so late and start doing a little running in the morning.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

2 miles

Finally did a short run yesterday of 2 miles. It was slow, 13:30 & 13:03 I think. Just glad to finally get something done. No run tonight though. This was the night I finally mowed the front lawn. I also pulled some weeds & raked up the clippings. All in all not a bad workout either I guess.

Right now my 2nd book is Uncle Tom's Cabin. I had bought this book a couple of years ago and started it and just never got very far. I am still not sure if I will get far with it or not this time either. Now though I am into my reading multiple books though so if boredom sets in I can easily switch away for a day or two or longer. I don't know why I hadn't tried reading more than one book at a time much earlier than I did. It was only last year and it was because I was fighting to get through Brothers Karamozov which was followed a little later by Atlas Shrugged. Both of those books almost required books being read on the side. Don't get me wrong though, I like both books very much, but I just couldn't read them day after day for extended periods of time. I needed breaks in reading them. Oh well, I might still add a 3rd book yet, I kind of want to but just haven't found that right 3rd book yet.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Death of Ivan Ilyich--finished

I finished off The Death of Ivan Ilyich tonight. I am not sure when I last or even when I first read this book. I might have been during high school or maybe college. Anyway it has been on my shelf for a long time, too long to have not been re-read. It is kind of funny or maybe errie in how easy it is to relate Ivan Ilyich to a person today. Someone who is basically making middle class money but trying to live an upper class or high society life. Someone whose life is full of details like work, society living, redocorating and just in general doing what is expected of people in their position rather than even trying to think about what should be important in life. I don't think I am living that shallow life, but true self inspection is hard to do. Ivan I couldn't do it until on his death bed.

I also found it interesting that he gave little thought to dying before he became sick. I think this too is something very common of people today. I also thought it interesting how Tolstoy basically kept religion out of the story. I believe Tolstoy was highly religious and am guessing this was done on purpose to maybe show people how important religion should be. I bet the intro of thirty some pages probably covered this, I wasn't able to fight through that. I think I made it 2 pages and realized if I wanted to read this book, the intro wasn't going to happen.

This book is a nice small taste of Tolstoy. I want to read one of his other books, probably War & Peace now. I doubt it will be next but I think soon, at least starting before the end of the year. No idea on the next book though. I am still working on Alligator, I think somewhere around halfway read.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lots of things

I have been kind of busy these last few days so I think it is just type up a list time.

--Rose enjoyed her week in NE on the farm. I drove in Thursday & we returned on Saturday.

--On the trip in, I stopped at a Confederate Memorial State Park and also the Lexington Civil War Battlefield State Park. Both were really interesting. First the Confederate Memorial--it was a kind of retirement home for ex-Confederate soldiers that were down on their luck. It was started with private money back in the 1890s and eventually was switched over to the state running it. It closed once the last soldier died in 1950(I think) at the age of 107. There were still some widows that were moved to other homes. The grounds have a couple of nice lakes/ponds and a chapel and cemetary. There is also a large monument donated by the Daughters of the Confederacy--it was of a large lion that had been struck a deathblow but was still fighting to death. I enjoyed a peaceful walk through the cemetary and a nice talk with the park ranger(?) who seemed very informed and knowledgeable. I hope to return at some point. The chapel was under restoration and was not open.

The Lexington Battlefield had a main house, called Anderson House that was a Union hospital originally but the Confederates didn't realize this and charged and took the house. The Union troops retook it and then lost it again. I did not take the tour of the house but instead did the free walking tour. You could see where the house was damaged from gun shots. The other memorible part was how steep the hills were going up to the Union trenches. The Confederate soldiers had to charge literally uphill with little cover. Today there are lots of trees & brush around but it said most of the land was clear back then. Just in looking down that hill you get a real sense of how tough war really is. The Confederates won this battle on its 3rd day. Their winning strategy was to water down bales of hemp and carry them up the hill as shields protecting them from Union gunfire. Also the Union troops were badly outnumbered 3500 to over 10,000. As well as the Union troops were without water and supplies for the last 2 days of the battle. It was not a large battle as far was dead and wounded go, but it was an early victory for the South.

I mentioned it to Rose when I got to NE that I went there and she actually wanted to see it also. On the way back to St Louis we stopped there. We walked around the Anderson House and started to walk to where you could see the trenches and the steep hill, but it was too much walking. Rose had her crocs on so grass clippings and water were getting inside her shoes. I was able to show her one trench from kind of a distance though. She kind of liked it.

--While in NE, it was Cuming County Fair. My mom & I took the girls through the livestock barns and they actually liked it--seeing the sheep and goats. The pigs were being shown so we could go through those barns. We also walked through some of the other barns with displays of 4-H stuff. There were also rides in the afternoon and wagon ride that was slowly pulled by a tractor around the whole park.

The big thing for me was being able to visit District #34 school house. This is my grade school from K through 6th. The county moved it from where it sat south of Wisner to the county fairgrounds and have it as a museum. It was the first time I had been in there since probably my younger sister was going there. I have some distinct memories of the school and also very many kind of fuzzy memories. Some of the same furniture was there but most was donated from other schools in the area that had also closed. Overall it was funny how small it seems now. Even though I know it is only a one room school house it always seemed larger to me, at least in my memories. Rose seem to really enjoy it also. I would like to get back again with the whole family so they could all see it.

Also while riding the wagon around the park, a dad and two of his children got on. His daughter has Down Syndrome and he was even wearing a Buddy Walk shirt. I also had on one of my Buddy Walk shirts. He grew up in West Point but now lives in LA. His daughter, who I cannot remember her name, is 7, born a month after Thomas. This is just another reminder of how small this world is, just imagine the odds of the two of us bumping into each other in West Point NE, when we now live in St Louis & LA and having in common children with DS that are only 1 month apart in age.

--After the fair, had to stop at the Diary Keen in Wisner for ice cream. It has been there since the '50s I think with the same name that whole time. I don't have it memorized if it was first or Diary Queen but I just know it was a high school hangout for me.

--No running. It is bad. I really need to but don't know when I will get it in yet.

--Reading my 2 books, The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Tolstoy and See You Later Alligator by William Buckly. Making progress on both. Will probably finish Tolstoy first because it is a very short book. While in NE I checked through some of the Reader's Digest condensed books my mom has. I found a Horsecatchers by Mari Sandoz in one & brought it back with me. I don't like condensed books but beggars can't be choosers either. I have been wanting to read another Sandoz book and this is what came along for me. Don't know when I will get to it but it should be soon.

--Olympics started. I do enjoy them a lot. My main complaint is usually too much fluff and not enough of actually showing the events. So far it hasn't been too bad, but will have to see. I really like the more minor sports and usually they don't get near enough TV time for me. I can do without the basketball, baseball, tennis etc, sports where there is already a professional league going. I can watch the pro's do it during the season, I do not need to see it during the Olympics.

--School starts tomorrow. I know my wife is especially ready for the kids to be off to school. Angie, our youngest, is doing preschool--half days in the morning. That means Debbie will have a couple of hours free. Should be interesting to see what if anything gets accomplished.

I am sure there is probably more but that has been a lot of typing and it is getting late.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Not much

I just can't think of much to type lately. I am reading the Buckley book, Alligator something or other and the Tolstoy book The Death of Ivan Ill.. I am just getting a few pages a night in so progress is slow on both.

No running, I am just a slacker right now.

It is late so this does it. A very short post tonight, oh well.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Lots of driving

Rose is now on the farm with my parents and her two cousins. We left our house right around 7am and made it to Des Moines around 12:30 where we met up with everyone else. The trip there went very smooth, no wrong turns or anything.

The trip home, well not so good maybe. I had realized on the way up, that I hadn't been checking my overall mileage on the vehicle and seeing when an oil change was due. Well it should have been do probably a month ago. I found a Firestone on the way back that could get me in right away so that was done. I filled up the gas tank--I made something like 33 mpg--very cool. The I made a wrong turn that took me about 10 miles in the wrong direction. It actually wasn't that bad, because I then kind of looked for a different route just to be able to see something different.

I found a Catholic church in Ottumwa and made 4:30 mass. An older looking church from the outside but the inside looked okay, not as old or maybe gothic as I expected. Well speaking of gothic, I then stopped at the American Gothic house in Eldon. It was kind of neat. The house was still there and there was a little museum and gift shop there. The place was also nicely landscaped and done fairly recently. It sounds like they probably got a nice donation a few years back making this all happen. I wasn't really sure how to take it. Part of the exhibit talked about the importantance of the artist Grant Wood and how he tried to develop artists in Iowa during his lifetime. The other part of the exhibit talked about everywhere this painting has been used in pop culture, kind of a comedic look at it. I guess the painting does belong both as a series painting and also it's influence in pop culture. Well I didn't take any pictures because I didn't have a camera and it was also just me. I did grab a couple of brochures though. Staying on the 2 lane hwy I then eventually made it to Houghton, Iowa. I didn't stop but just passed through.

On Thursday I drive to NE to pickup Rose & then drive back on Saturday. So even though today was a lot of driving, it was really just the beginning.