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 Marathonguide.com 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 or...you 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.