Happy Thanksgiving!

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:


PUMPKIN BREAD

Bowl #1

  • 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

Bowl #2

  • 2 c. white sugar
  • 1 c. vegetable oil (or half unsweetened applesauce)
  • 4 eggs
  • 15 oz. pumpkin puree (homemade or canned)
  • 1/2 c. water
  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. Divide batter evenly between the prepared loaf pans.
  4. 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!

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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:

Update:  Looks like I’ll do a little online small business shopping, too.  Tilly and the Buttons is having a Black Friday sale on her sewing patterns. ❤  Link: https://shop.tillyandthebuttons.com/collections/all 

They decided to tear down the baseball stadium

This was the last game ever for the Wichita Wingnuts professional baseball team.  After eleven years as a team, they have called it quits, because they are losing their stadium.  This was also the last game to ever be played in the historic Lawrence-Dumont baseball stadium.  The city plans to tear down the 84-year-old stadium and put up a new structure.

The view from the tailgating-picnic lawn outside:

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This towering light scaffold is one of the originals installed in the ballpark.

L-D light tower

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.

National Anthem

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.

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The first few innings progressed like any game.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The crowd stood.

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Then it was all over but the handshakes and hugs.

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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.

New Lawrence Dumont Stadium rendering 9-2018

It’s also been confirmed that a new baseball team will move in and take up residence in our new stadium.  Wichita will be the new home of the New Orleans Baby Cakes, the AAA affiliate of the Marlins.  Not too shabby.  Stay tuned….

A conference win! And why I’m a home town college athletics fan.

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.

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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.

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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.  img_20161119_1739194_rewind-rsr-mark

Our kicker hit a field goal to tie the game with seconds to go.  img_20161119_1809279_rewind-rsr-mark

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.

Next year I predict even more wins.

College football and another trip to the vintage clothing store

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The summer I went to the ballpark seven nights in a row.

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.

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National Anthem

We saw Roger Clemens pitch, with his son Koby Clemens as his catcher.

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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.

Outfield Fence audience

We saw KC Royals World Series pitcher Jeremy Guthrie pitch…

… and 1st Base/batter extraordinaire and super-dad Adam LaRoche play first base and hit home runs.

Drake LaRoche was on the field warming up with his dad and other Stars.

The team roster of 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.

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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.

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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.

Pure Fun at the NBC World Series

Former White Sox 1B/DH Adam LaRoche returning to the field for the NBC World Series

Roger Clemens, Other Former MLB Players Scratching the Itch

Roger Clemens takes the mound again, in Kansas

Roger Clemens among former MLB players to play in NBC World Series

There’s something cool about big-league has beens still playing ball

Roger Clemens, Adam LaRoche headline NBC World Series team

Larks knock off stars in 17 innings; advance to NBC title game

 NBC Mascot