Go Kansas City Chiefs! I’ve enjoyed the week of memes building up to this game. “Pat > Pats”, etc. While I watch tonight’s AFC playoff game, I’ll be wearing my vintage Chief’s jersey,
To keep my nervous hands busy, I’ll be knitting this fun scarf. The pattern is a free download from the Lionbrand website. I’ve made this pattern once before. It makes a handy, warm scarf that stays in place.
Here’s the SIP (‘scarf in progress’), in Lionbrand Hometown USA yarn. The color is ‘Tampa Spice’. I wanted it to be something red.
The weather forecast for the game is absurdly cold. It will be single digit windchill at game time, in the outdoor stadium. In the stadium, that will feel like sub-zero temps. Hopefully everybody there will have a way to stay somewhat warm.
I’ll have a cozy fire going in my room with the TV, and will make Honey-Sriracha Chicken legs in the Instant Pot and Air Fryer (stay tuned for future recipe post).
Go Chiefs! (I know, I said that once already.) Enjoy the game, fellow football fans.
The entrance to our 84-year old ballpark looked like this in September, when they announced it would be torn down.
They first tore the grandstand down. Here is the site in November, when only the box office and entry gate remained. Now those are gone too, and it’s a big flat dirt field.
In 2020, we are supposed to have a new ballpark in its place.
I finished reading “Sticky Fingers”.
After my blog post about the book, it took a couple of renewals from the public library, but eventually I finished the book. It is a well written book about a repulsive character. It was a repulsive read to the end. It made me want all of those hours back that I’d spent over the years reading Rolling Stone magazine.
The soiling of Page 393.
As I was pushing on to finish the book, a bad thing happened. I took the book with me to the movie theater to read while waiting for the movie to start. I bought a little bag of popcorn. Too late, I realized the bag was leaking butter. I soiled the library book on possibly the most important page, and maybe the only important page of the entire book.
When I returned it to the library, I confessed and showed them the page. I’m waiting to find out if they are going to bill me for the book. They certainly are within their rights to ask me to pay for it. Because I was up front with them, and the stain was confined to a couple of pages (it bled through to the next page), they will not ask me to pay for a replacement book. Lesson learned! Have I mentioned how much I ❤ our library? Well, this is just the latest reason.
The Poblano pepper plant that I’d planted and tended outdoors all summer, is now in a pot on the enclosed porch in the south sun. It gets cold on the porch but has stayed above freezing. When the sun is shining, the room can get above 70°. Three peppers are growing on the plant, albeit very slowly. I may be waiting all winter for a harvest of three peppers.
Aaand another holiday season is in the books. One of my favorite holiday songs goes from reflective to angry to a call for hopefulness. It sums up the end of the holiday season the way I feel it–looking back on the joyous gatherings of family and friends, and looking forward to the new year.
“And so I skate, across the Thames, hand in hand, with all my friends. And all the things that we planned…
“Goddamn this government, will they ever tell me where the money went? Protesters march out on the street, as young men sleep amongst the feet.”
“The end of Christmas day, when there is nothing left to say, the years go by so fast, let’s hope the next beats the last.”
Have a lovely Thanksgiving Day tomorrow! Yes, it is a US holiday, but this is me ignoring countries and borders, and inviting you wherever you are, to share in the gathering of hearts. And heck, have some people over for a big, delicious meal, too. 🙂
I’ve made pumpkin bread to take to our little gathering…the details of which are still being worked out. Little details such as at whose house, and who will be attending. Nothing like last minute planning. Again. This is how my family does things. And I’m deeply thankful for them.
My pumpkin bread recipe:
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 t. salt
2 c. white sugar
1 c. vegetable oil (or half unsweetened applesauce)
15 oz. pumpkin puree (homemade or canned)
1/2 c. water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or line with parchment paper three medium loaf pans, or two 9×5 inch loaf pans, (the smaller pans work better for me). Stir together the Bowl #1 ingredients. Set aside.
In a large bowl (Bowl #2), beat together sugar, oil, eggs, and pumpkin. Stir in contents of Bowl #1, adding alternately with water. (‘Add alternately’ means to add the remaining ingredients in portions a little of each at a time. For example, add about 1 c. dry with 1 Tbsp water, several times, until there’s nothing left to add.)
Divide batter evenly between the prepared loaf pans.
Bake for about 40 minutes (up to 60 or 70 minutes for larger pans). Use toothpick test for doneness. For best flavor and slicing, store wrapped overnight before serving.
Does anyone besides me have to wipe away tears at the last scene in Raising Arizona, with the Thanksgiving dinner?
Black Friday is for Football!
The morning after Thanksgiving, you’ll find me at the football stadium, shivering in the grey, chilly weather, and cheering the Kansas Jayhawks vs. Texas. It will be a sort of rematch of the game with the awesome finish two years ago. Texas has a different coach this time around. For Kansas, this will be the last game for a beloved, talented, competitive group of seniors, and the farewell game for our hard-working coach of the past four years. Lots riding on the line for both teams.
There is no cold like stadium cold. When it is 50 degrees and cloudy, it feels like 20 in the stadium. We froze at this game two years ago. That’s why my video was shaky at the start. I couldn’t stop shivering. This year, I’m prepared, with a totally awesome ‘Aldi Find’, a wearable sleeping bag!
Unfortunately, my family has strongly hinted that they won’t sit with me at the game if I wear this, so … other options are being considered.
After the game I’ll shop some of the best-ever small businesses, that just happen to be less than a mile from the stadium:
This towering light scaffold is one of the originals installed in the ballpark.
The old scoreboard was really fun. When the opposing team failed to score in an inning, a goose would travel across the board and drop a goose egg for that inning.
The stadium is also home to the National Baseball Congress World Series, which has been held annually for 84 years–the oldest baseball tournament in the country. Many, many famous MLB players played in the NBC World Series in the early days of their careers. I wrote about the tournament in 2016. It’s not every day that Roger Clemens, Adam LaRoche, Jeremy Guthrie, and more ex-MLB stars form a team and show up to play in your tournament. They brought their families and spent the week with us at the ballpark. They did it again in 2017, and brought Chipper Jones, Roy Halladay, Heath Bell, Joe Nathan, and some more memorable players with them. That’s over now too.
Coming back to 2018 and this last game ever. There was a good crowd in attendance. Rain threatened all day, but stayed away during the game.
The first few innings progressed like any game.
In the 7th inning, the crowd’s singing of ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ was particularly spirited. “And it’s root, root, root for the Wingnuts!”
The ‘Garbage Gremlin’ made his last pass through the stadium.
Kids who have collected a bag of trash in the stadium get to walk in a procession behind the Garbage Gremlin near the end of the game.
Too soon, it was the top of the 9th inning. The ‘Nuts were ahead 4-1. Their opponent, the Sioux City Explorers, had 2 outs, so this was likely the stadium’s last batter ever.
The crowd stood.
Then it was all over but the handshakes and hugs.
In 2019, there will be no stopping at the ballpark to watch some baseball before heading home from the office. There will be no more yelling, “Go ‘Nuts!” The NBC World Series will have a temp home at the university.
After 2019, we don’t know for sure what the new stadium/venue will look like, but we have now been given an idea. It may be designed to accommodate other uses too, such as soccer and outdoor concerts.
I’m a fan because this was the view from my front yard as a kid. That wall at the end of our block is the university’s football stadium. If I didn’t attend the game, I could still hear the roar of the crowd when a touchdown was scored. My parents turned our yard into a pay parking lot for extra income on game days. Growing up here, I always knew I’d be athletic. The inspiration to be athletic has led to a lifetime of fitness; all a gift from living on this street. Every year, the autumn colors and the rustle of leaves on the sidewalk take me back to this street.
Back then, a kid’s season football ticket was $6, which worked out to $1 per game. I’ve been to a lot of games there.
Still, this week’s game was special. It was the second win this season, after a winless season last year, under the new coach. He’s the right guy, as is shown by the methodical way he is developing a talented, respectable team of future stars. This was his first conference win, which he and the team accomplished with a most exciting overtime ‘walk off’ field goal. (Do they say ‘walk off’ in football? They need to for this game.)
At the winning moment, the fans rushed the field and swarmed the players and coach; an emotional ESPN interview with the coach took place among the ecstatic crowd; and then a goalpost came down and was carried up the hill to the university’s lake.
The crowd for the game was pitiful in size. True it was a chilly day. But not that chilly. This picture is just plain embarrassing.
Our defense was a force the entire game. The offense came through to keep us in the game, and when we most needed it at the end of the game.
Our kicker hit a field goal to tie the game with seconds to go.
In overtime, an interception right away set us up to win the game with another field goal. The winning field goal triggered the roar of the crowd, and an emotional rush onto the field to embrace the team and coaches. All captured here, thanks to the phone in my shivering, excited, mitten-covered hands.
We had the lead for most of this game, and had some brilliant plays; one that went viral and was featured on ESPN.
But in the end, the ‘Clones rallied and denied us the win.
After the game I headed downtown to the really cool vintage clothing store, where I made one great purchase and two gambles.
This fully-lined wool dress needs nothing done to it. I can wear it to work tomorrow. $20.
This dress is too large in the chest and upper bodice, so I’m going to attempt to alter it from the shoulders. This has potential failure, as I’ve never altered from that end before. If I ruin the dress I’m out $12.50, and a potentially cute summer dress.
The sweater is a $15 gamble. It is huge on me. Think of using a big lawn and leaf bag in a little kitchen trash can. It is almost dress length but not quite. I think I can make it work, over a simple knit dress.
It was early August, and the annual National Baseball Congress World Series was underway. The 81-year old tournament spans two weeks, and brings to town talented young adult players and teams from the far corners of North America. I look forward to it each year, and try to get to at least a few games. On weekends, they play round-the-clock. I managed to stay until morning once … back in 2009.
This year an amazing thing happened. A group of ex-MLB players formed a team and entered the tournament. They called their team the Kansas Stars.
We saw RogerClemens pitch, with his son Koby Clemens as his catcher.
Roger also played catcher one night, to ceremonial first-pitch thrower, Toby Keith, who also suited up and helped manage the team.
The games were sold out; the stadium was packed, and people were watching through the outfield fence.
We saw KC Royals World Series pitcher JeremyGuthrie pitch…
… and 1st Base/batter extraordinaire and super-dad AdamLaRoche play first base and hit home runs.
Drake LaRoche was on the field warming up with his dad and other Stars.
The team rosterof former pros who came to town tells the story. Check it out. I can’t adequately express my appreciation and admiration to them for coming.
But the thing is, with all of this star power, it wasn’t seeing the Stars play as much as it was seeing them form a team together, and being competitive again for love of the game, and for their fans’ love of the game, and love for a historic tournament. The former MLB stars were personable and accessible; posing endlessly for selfies and signing autographs with complete generosity, taking their time with kids and adult fans alike.
On the field, they were competitors to the core. Each game was a good one. In the tournament semi-final game, the Stars fought for 17 innings against a young, uber-talented team from Hays, KS. The Stars went through pitcher after pitcher; ultimately drafting players from the field to pitch to keep the game going. Just after midnight, Hays sent the Stars packing, with a run that broke the 10-10 tie score. The next night in the tournament final, Hays fell to the Santa Barbara Foresters.
This special team and the tournament got a lot of attention in the press and in baseball blogs. The final game of the tournament was carried nationally by ESPNU and WatchESPN. Those writers and commentators have captured the magic of the moment so much better than me. But for me it was a privilege to have experienced those seven straight magical nights in the ballpark in August 2016. It was an emotional thing I won’t ever forget.
Summer is over, and we are well into a gorgeous Autumn. But the Summer of 2016 is one of those I will hold onto in my heart.