Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Basketball for Brother

Tonight we're watching our beloved Jayhawks on TV, and I have to say I'm thankful that we're not actually going to tonight's game since the windchill was about 15 at tipoff. Walking from the shuttle to the fieldhouse and back to the shuttle does not sound like fun at all in this weather. With that said, I'm actually a little sad about not being at the game for other reasons. If my brother had been able to come home for the holidays, tonight's game would have been the one that I tried to get tickets for, so that we could continue our tradition of going to a game together while he's in Lawrence for the holidays. If he would have been here then we would have be there!

Since I didn't get to take Eric to a game this year, when Chad and I were at the game last week I decided to take a few pictures especially for my bro, so he would at least feel like he was at the game virtually. There have been a lot of changes at Allen Fieldhouse in the last year--the biggest change being a new lounge area for all of the important donors that looks through to the practice gym. The far ends of this lounge area have these awesome and huge see through murals with a picture of Mario's shot from 2008. It's hard to describe, but hopefully you can kind of see what it looks like from the slideshow below. There's also a new hallway with a long timeline of our best players--a hall of fame of sorts. It's all pretty darn cool! If no one else enjoys the pictures (and the videos that you can watch if you click on the slideshow), hopefully my brother will!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My Public Apology

I would just like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to Joel Nichols, Gary Lezak, Bryan Busby, whoever does the Journal-World weather, and the whole darn team at Weather.com. Several days ago, when they predicted that we would have 6-8 inches of snow on or around Christmas, I completely poo-pooed their forecast. I did not believe for a minute that we would have any significant snowfall here in Lawrence, since in the 15+ years we've lived here, we've rarely had more than a couple of inches. I was completely wrong, and the weathermen and weatherwomen were completely right. I'm sorry to all of them for doubting their expertise!!

Seriously though, I can't even believe how much snow we've had! It started snowing soon after my first post on Christmas Eve, and it had snowed so much by the end of the day and was blowing so darn hard that every Christmas Eve church service in the city was canceled. It was still snowing pretty hard when we went to bed around midnight, and the blizzard winds continued throughout the night. All I could think when I woke up Christmas morning was "how am I going to get the dogs outside to potty in this mess?"

Thankfully, the drift on the back deck didn't form right up against the door, so the dogs had a little space to walk through and only a small drift to jump over to get to the stairs. I actually shot video of the event thinking it was going to be funny, but the only funny part about it was Hope balking about going outside entirely. She absolutely hates the cold and snow.

I have to say that while it was miserably cold and windy outside during all this, I absolutely loved having a white Christmas. I'm sure many people will hate me for saying so since they were trying to travel to see loved ones for the holiday, but since we'd already celebrated with all of our family members, we had no place to go and were totally happy! The more it snowed, the happier I was! We laid around the house and relaxed and watched movies and read and blogged and it was wonderful!

After being holed up for two full days, we were ready to get out of the house for a while on Saturday. We anticipated just driving over the snow covered driveway with our 4-wheel drive until Chad opened the garage door to find a huge undrivable drift. Although we'd probably only had 6 inches or so of snow, the snow was 27 inches at its highest point! Poor Chad spent over an hour shoveling just one half of the driveway so we could get out, and much to his dismay, by the time he was done it was snowing pretty hard again! It snowed off and on most of the day, and after we got home he took another hour and a half to shovel the other half of the driveway and the walk.

While we were out and about, we were kind of shocked at how horrible the roads were all over town. It looked like the snow plows had been through overnight, but there had been more snow after the plows, which hadn't really gotten much of the snow moved in the first place! There were cars stranded all over the place. Right on our own street a car had gotten stuck and been plowed into a 6 foot snow bank, blocking all but one thin lane of the road. Another car was stranded just around the corner on Bob Billings.The roads were a combination of packed snow, ice and fresh powder, so the hills out by our house were pretty treacherous! Today the sun came out a little bit, which meant that much of it turned to slush, which wasn't much better. Hopefully when the work week starts tomorrow the road crews will get out and get some more plowing and salting done.

Quite honestly, even though driving around town is a little difficult, I wouldn't mind if another big storm hit us tomorrow and snowed us in for another two days. All the laying around the house has gotten me really spoiled and I'm really not ready to go back to work!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Greetings

For those of you who didn't receive our Christmas letter in the mail, I wanted to post the online version before this lovely white Christmas is over. I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday!


Greetings dear friends and family!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season! You’re probably shocked and amazed to be receiving our Christmasletter so early this year–I’m actually starting it on Thanksgiving day, which I’m pretty sure is a first for me. This year I had to get my holiday greetings done relatively early, because as many of you know, we have a new address! Since I never got around to sending out change of address cards, I thought I’d better take this opportunity to let everyone know we moved. In July, after 11½ years on Golden Rain Drive, we sold our house and moved to a new home on the west edge of Lawrence.

It’s kind of amazing how much of our year was actually consumed with the whole moving process. We started shopping for a new home very early in the year, only because the buyer’s market made it a good time to invest in a new house. Our weekends were full of open houses and our evenings full of searching for houses online. After many months of looking, we finally found this house that seemed like a good fit, so we made an offer as a 15th wedding anniversary present to each other! We spent a few weeks getting our old house ready for the market before it was listed in early June, and it sold just 16 days later! We moved in mid-July and are so incredibly thankful. The new house has been a perfect fit for us and we just couldn’t feel more blessed! The pictures are still being hung and a few rooms are still being furnished, but overall we are feeling very settled after just a few months.

Although the year wasn’t a good one for KU basketball (we lost in the Sweet Sixteen) and wasn’t a good one for KU football (5-7 with all sorts of coaching drama), we still enjoyed attending all the home football games and a few basketball games as well. This year we’re splitting season basketball tickets with a group of friends for the first time, so we’re looking forward to seeing our #1 Jayhawks play a lot of hoops this winter! Although 2009 wasn’t good for KU sports, Chad was of course extremely happy to see his beloved Steelers win the Super Bowl in February! (Chad wants you to know that’s 6 titles, in case you’re counting at home.☺)

We didn’t do a ton of traveling this year, although we were able to take a nice weekend trip to Tulsa, which was a much needed break in the midst of our house-hunting frenzy in May. We met our friend Jason there and went to see my favorite band in the world (Old 97's) at an art and music festival. The next month we went to San Francisco/Sonoma county for our friends Nate and Leigh Ann’s wedding. Even though we were just there last year, it’s such a beautiful area with so much to do we didn’t do any of the same things we’d done the year before!

In August, our regular life was put on hold for several weeks while we dealt with the yet another cancerous tumor on our sweet girl Hope–-her third tumor in three years. After another expensive surgery she was declared cancer free again, but we know we have to be vigilant about watching the tumors that are bound to return. Thankfully she recovers quickly from the surgeries, so we’ll just have to continue to budget for our very expensive puppy and plan on another surgery next year! Thankfully, Celtic and Fresco are both doing well. We celebrated Celtic’s 12th birthday in June, and he’s still walking over a mile almost every day!

Speaking of walking, last month I walked in the 60 mile Breast Cancer 3-Day walk for the 4th year in a row, after raising over $3000 in support of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. This year, since I had no one to walk with, I decided to walk in the Dallas 3-Day because it was only a day’s drive. I trained relatively little compared to previous years, but the walk was still fairly easy and blister free! Chad drove along to Texas and went hunting with his cousin during the days that I was walking. I’m already looking forward to the walk next fall and am hoping to walk in the 3-Day in Washington, DC. Hopefully next year I’ll find some friends who want to come along!

Those are really the only highlights of our year–everything else is very much the same! Chad is still at Westar after 6 years, and I just celebrated my 11th year at KU Endowment. We are so thankful for the stability and security of our jobs and the blessings God has heaped upon us. We hope that this holiday season finds you and your family abounding in peace, love, joy and a multitude of blessings as well!

With Love,
Chad and Kim

Tulsa Mayfest

Here's one more blog post that I should have completed many, many moons ago, but since things were so busy with house shopping and packing and moving during the spring/summer, I just never could find the time to edit all the pictures from the weekend. When I was working on our Christmas letter for 2009 and thinking about all that we did during the year, it hit me that I'd never actually blogged about our trip to Tulsa!

It was a very quick weekend vacation, but one that was so needed at the time. We were just so overwhelmed with house hunting and trying to get ready to sell our house we just wanted to get away from it all just for a couple of days. It worked out perfectly that my favorite band just happened to be playing at a music/arts festival in Tulsa right in the midst of all our house craziness!

We took off on Saturday morning and made the drive south on Highway 169, and taking the scenic route was so incredibly relaxing! The pastures were all so green and lush, the skies were beautiful blue and the air was unseasonably cool. After an enjoyable drive of about 4 hours we arrived at our hotel, right near downtown, where Mayfest was held. Our friend Jason and his girlfriend Tracy met us there, and we headed to the festival, walked through the artist booths, ate horrible fair food and listened to a few bands along the way.

We started moving towards the main stage as the Old 97's showtime neared. There was a pretty big crowd watching the band before them, but as soon as that group finished their set, the crowd started to thin out pretty quickly. We jumped at the opportunity and quickly filled into the front row, which was actually (unfortunately) at least 30 feet from the stage because of a barrier. Regardless, we snagged our four chairs and then moved them up right against the barricade, just to make sure no one else would be able to stand in front of us once the show started. We were determined to be in the front row, even if the front row was 30 feet away from the stage!

The show was excellent, but that pretty much goes without saying when it comes to the Old 97's. Despite the fact that it was downright cold in Tulsa that night, the 97's went all out and put on a terrific show on the outdoor stage. While they didn't play one of my favs (Nightclub), they did play The One, which I'd never heard in concert before. It was a bummer that we were so far from the stage, because that meant my pictures turned out pretty awful, but we still had a great time jumping around and singing at the show!

We regained our hearing on the way back to the hotel, and after a good night's sleep, we headed back over to the festival in the morning and browsed through the art again before heading to a local restaurant for lunch. After a great meal with our friends we hit the road and headed home, taking a different route back just for a change of scenery. The drive home was almost as relaxing as the drive down!

It was really a terrific weekend overall, despite the fact that my pictures of the show turned out so terrible! Most of the shots are so over-exposed they make the guys in the band look like ghosts. If only I'd taken my good camera they would have been a little better. Regardless, here are the pictures from the weekend if you're interested! There are also a few videos if you go directly to my Picasa page!

Merry White Christmas!!

Merry Christmas, everyone! Since my family couldn't be together today in real life, I gathered us all up for a virtual snowball fight online!

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Hope you and your loved ones are having a wonderful Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

San Francisco 2009

Obviously this is post that should have been completed many months ago, but better late than never, right?

When we traveled to the San Francisco area back in June for Nate and Leigh Ann's wedding, we went ahead and made a vacation of it, since we knew there was tons to do in San Francisco that we didn't get the chance to do when we were there the previous summer. Since I'm writing this post so many months after our actual vacation, I'm going to try to make it brief and just hit the highlights of our trip.

1. Aquarium of the Bay. I'm actually not a big fan of aquariums in general, but we'd purchased a San Francisco CityPass, and one of the things it included was admission to the aquarium. Since we were right down on Pier 39 anyway waiting for our cruise to start, we decided to check it out while killing time. We actually saw a ton of incredible marine life and found it all very interesting! Verdict: I would totally go back there again if we were in the Pier 39 area.

2. Bay Cruise Adventure. We thought this bay cruise would be interesting because it went underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. Even though it was a fairly nice day, we got on the water and it was absolutely freezing. It actually made the cruise fairly miserable, and most of it we felt like we'd seen before on our ride out to Alcatraz last year. Verdict: I would only take this cruise again if it were SUPER warm and sunny and I had a fleece jacket!

3. The Fairmont San Francisco. We booked this hotel because the Donatello that we loved so much the previous year was already full for the few nights we were in the city. They were having a sale one day on Hotels.com and we got it for half their normal price. The location was decent, but overall we just weren't that thrilled with our room. It was a fairly old hotel, and even though the lobby was beautiful, the room really showed its age. Verdict: I would only stay here again if it was on sale and other hotels in the area were already booked!

4. The Exploratorium. This was another place that was included in our CityPass, and although we were probably the only people in the place who weren't there with children, it was still actually pretty cool. There were tons of fascinating things to play with and see and do and explore, and we only made it through the first level and probably only stopped at 75% of the exhibits. You could spend days in that place and not get bored. Verdict: I would go there again and specifically check out the second level that we complete missed!

5. The Cliff House. We specifically went to the Cliff House for lunch because we'd read so much about the history of the place, and the food was really good. We ate in the diner instead of the formal dining room only because we were hungry and the diner was easier to get into, and the ambiance was kind of cute.

6. California Academy of Sciences. This place had a Natural History Museum, and although that's generally not my thing, it had some interesting exhibits. The live penguins were great. It also had a lot of boring exhibits, but hopefully I learned something useful. The Academy also had a rainforest, which was close for repairs/upgrades, an aquarium, which we'd already seen, and a planetarium, which we missed because it closed a couple of hours earlier than the whole building and we didn't know it. Verdict: I probably wouldn't go to the Academy again unless I knew everything was open and we just happened to be in the area.

7. The Beach. It was such a nice day when we came back down from the wine country the beaches all the way down from the north were packed with people. We stopped at this beach at the edge of Golden Gate Park and miraculously found a parking place, so we just got out and took a nice stroll and watched the waves and people and flying kites and dogs. It was lovely and I could have stayed there for hours if I'd had a beach towel. Verdict: I would always go back to the beach on a nice day!

8. Mt. Davidson. This is actually the highest spot in San Francisco, but it's so far from the main city it's not very well publicized. There were absolutely no signs that we could see to direct us there--Chad just kept driving around in circles higher and higher towards the cross on top of its peak. It's a park with an interesting history, and the cross was actually burned down several times before being rebuilt in concrete and steel. The tiny area around the cross was actually sold by the city to a private group, because the city-owned park with a cross was considered to be a violation of the separation of church and state. Besides the interesting history, the views were absolutely amazing. The cross is actually really cool too because it's huge--103 feet tall. Verdict: I would most definitely go back to Mt. Davidson and would recommend it to everyone as well!

9. AT&T Park. The Giants weren't actually in town when we were in the city, but we took a walk down by their stadium, which was absolutely gorgeous. Even though I'm not a Giants fan, I think it would be super cool to see a game there. Verdict: I probably wouldn't go see the stadium again on a day that it wasn't open, but I'd definitely go back to see the Giants play!

We did also go back down to the Union Square area to get dinner and drop off our rental car, but since that was something we also did last year, it's probably not work blogging about. We tried to get Uncle Vito's pizza again since we loved it the first time, but the line was so long we ended up getting pizza at some other place that wasn't very good. Verdict: next time we'll stand in line for Uncle Vito's!

If you want to see lots (and I mean lots) more pictures from our trip, check out the full slideshow!

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful...

Seriously, the weather couldn't be much worse outside right now. A few hours ago I took this picture out the door to our back deck. In case that looks like lovely snow coming down, look again at the picture below. That's freezing rain, and it's not lovely at all! The good news is, we have no place to go, just like the song says! The bad news is, we can't get our gas fireplace to work. :(

Since today we'll be relaxing around the house until we head to church tonight (that is, if the weather allows us to make the 5 minute drive to our church), I have big plans to catch up on all the blog posts from this year that I meant to do but never actually finished (or even started). So, for anyone who is actually checking blogs over the holidays, be ready! Hopefully there will be more exciting posts to come later today!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Human Garbage Disposal

I have issues. None that prevent me from functioning as a normal adult (at least in public) mind you, but issues none the less. For one, I have a major issue with regard to not wasting food. I’m really not sure where this issue came from, but it absolutely pains me to throw food away unless it’s completely rancid or otherwise inedible. Since I’m not a picky eater and will eat/try almost anything (as long as it doesn’t involve black licorice), and since my tolerance for freshness is very high (meaning I’ll eat food that is several days old), there really just isn’t a ton that I consider inedible!

In restaurants, I will generally always either take a to-go box, or if there’s not quite enough to take home, I'll completely stuff myself in order to avoid throwing food away. At home, I tend to eat a lot of leftovers, which I absolutely love. I love coming home at lunch or after work and throwing something into the microwave and having a home-cooked meal without having spent all the time preparing it!

Sometimes, however, my desire to make use of anything and everything in the fridge gets a little out of hand. I’ve been known to eat some bizarre food combinations just because they're there. Today was one of those days—and today’s lunch was not one that I’m proud of. Before I explain what it was, let me first say that with all of the entertaining we’ve been doing over the holidays, we’ve had lots of random leftovers of the Christmas party variety. Since I'll be doing some baking/cooking tomorrow for our next party tomorrow night, I was trying hard at lunch to eat anything that was almost gone so that I could make some more room in the fridge. I ended up eating the last tablespoon of a cheeseball, but since we were out of crackers, I ate it with tortilla chips. Then I finished off the last few tablespoons of our salsa with those chips. The I ate 3 or 4 slices of an eggnog bundt cake. It was soooo good, but that's seriously so disgusting that it made up the majority of my lunch. Thankfully, after eating so much of it, I knew I wouldn't want to eat it again, so I threw the last piece of it in the trash! Me throwing food away--it's a Christmas miracle!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Welcome, Coach Gill!!

I will admit that just over a week ago when I heard the news that KU had hired Turner Gill as our new head football coach, I wasn't very confident about the decision. I didn't know much of anything about Turner Gill as a person or a coach--I just knew his record at Buffalo this year was 5-7. I was hardly excited about replacing our 5-7 coach with another 5-7 coach. I know lots of other people here in Lawrence felt the same way.

Nine days later, my view on Turner Gill has completely changed, and I think every KU fan I've talked to is beyond excited about his arrival. He quickly and completely won over the KU faithful at his introductory press conference. His humble but confident demeanor was so refreshing and inspiring, and every subsequent article about his recruiting, coaching and character makes me like him even more. My friend Amy posted a link on Facebook today to a terrific article that explains how Coach Gill ended up where he is today. It's pretty long, but it's a great story. One of the most amazing and exciting things that I learned was that he was able to actually recruit players away from much bigger programs--including Kansas--just because he was so inspiring. I'm hopeful and confident that he can do the same thing here at KU!

Everything I've read so far about Turner Gill as a coach and a person is incredibly positive, and I'm so excited that he's here! I think he's exactly what our program needed and I have high hopes for the future of our program!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Early Family Christmas

Today we had the first of our family Christmas celebrations with Chad's mom and dad from Salina and his brother Mark and family from KC. The day started out super busy; I woke up, walked to the kitchen and started cooking straight away. I put together green bean casserole, fixed up some homemade mac & cheese, and we put a ham in the oven. I mashed up some garlic potatoes and boiled up some glazed carrots. I forgot to thaw the rolls, so Chad ran to the store and got some that weren't frozen. At Chad's request, I even baked one of my famous pumpkin pies, despite the fact that we had tons of desserts from other events this week still left over in the fridge.

We maxed out the dining room table for the first time, using all 8 chairs even though it was a tad bit crowded. It definitely wasn't the best meal I've ever cooked (note to self: adjust the cook time when your ham is smaller and don't use low sodium cream of mushroom in your green bean bake!), but it was still a decent meal, evidenced by the fact that I ate entirely too much. Hopefully our guests (besides the two under the age of 8 who ate about two bites each) enjoyed the meal as well! Chad and I will definitely be enjoying leftovers for at least the next three days!

We opened presents after lunch, and although I was designated as the official family photographer, I didn't really do a very good job taking pictures. In my effort to take more professional pictures, I tried to go without the flash, but there just wasn't enough light in our living room and the pictures are pretty marginal. :/ This was one of the few from the day that I really loved, and it was really more about the moment than the picture itself! This is such a great picture especially because today Quinn really turned a corner with regard to his reaction to the dogs. Normally he's very scared of the pups when he first arrives, and it takes him an entire day to warm up to their affection. Today he walked right in without any nervousness or apprehension at all! We were so proud of him!

After opening presents, everyone went downstairs to watch the KU game that we'd recorded earlier. The boys entertained themselves playing with the Lego set that Chad's parents had given them for Christmas. It was such a nice, relaxing afternoon. After everyone headed home, Chad did the second round on the dishwasher while I worked on finishing some Christmas gifts. We've had a really relaxing evening of him watching sporting events while I've worked on loading and editing the pictures from the day. A great end to a great first Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Week of the Christmas Party

This week has been a busy one, as we've been shopping and baking and decorating and preparing for various Christmas parties. The first was this evening's gathering with some ladies from work, followed by our church small group Christmas party at our house tomorrow, followed by our staff party for one of my offices on Friday afternoon (which I don't really have to prepare anything for, thankfully), followed by a family Christmas celebration at our house on Saturday, followed by another family Christmas celebration at our house next Wednesday. There's been lots to do! There are still a few random decorations that haven't found a place to live in our new home, but for the most part I think the house is coming together! Tonight I finished up a couple wreaths I was working on (amidst the mess of greenery on the craft table), and I think they turned out quite lovely, if I do say so myself! I'm also quite proud of how the dining room is looking for the holidays, even though it could definitely still use some art on the walls. I had to take a few pictures to share my holiday craftiness!

I hope everyone is enjoying all the craziness of the holiday season!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Downward Dogs

Yesterday I did my P90X workout for the first time in two days after being sick Thursday and Friday. Normally I workout super early in the morning, while Chad and the dogs are still sawing logs in bed. Yesterday, however, Chad was in Salina deer hunting (without any luck) and I didn't work out until later in the morning, so the dogs insisted they needed to come downstairs and help me complete Yoga X. Since I had my phone right next to me, I decided to capture a few pictures of my helpers on my yoga mat.

This would be me trying to do "bridge" with the boys both using my mat as a pillow.

I think here I'd given up whatever I was trying to do because they were all over the place.

Hope didn't actually ever come get right on my mat, but she paced around downstairs crying at least half of the hour I was down there. I have no idea what she wanted--I guess just attention. I think she was feeling rather needy since Chad had been gone since Thursday morning. After I'd told her to be quiet about 20 times I think she was feeling a little sad, because here's what I caught her doing while I was doing "frog."

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Farewell to the Fat Man

This post has taken me so long to write it's completely untimely, but I feel like it would be downright neglectful of me to not comment on the major shakeup and shakedown of The Fatman that went on here in Lawrence during the last few weeks. In case you've been secluded from the sports world and have no idea what I'm talking about, our football coach resigned under intense scrutiny and pressure last Thursday. Apparently the internal investigation into some of the accusations of misconduct from players and former players didn't go so well for him, although even if it had, after having his name dragged through the mud, he probably would have chosen to leave anyway.

You know how people say there are two sides to that coin? Well this coin has so many sides it's like a polyhedron, which I guess means it's not really a coin at all. There are just so many twists to the story I don't even know where to begin.

If you're not up on the details of all that went down, you can check out the full LJ World article here, but in a nutshell, a player came forward to say that coach poked him in the chest a few weeks ago. This sounded ridiculously and absurdly whiny at first. As Chad pointed out, he's never had a football coach who didn't scream, yell, cuss and grab his players--he even had a coach who regularly kicked his players in the rear with cowboy boots. But after this one kid came forward, the allegations grew. Players current and past started accusing our coach of inappropriate coaching tactics--not just yelling and screaming, but taking very personal attacks on their families and other private issues. The wheels of the Fat Man's program came off after that--and quickly!

Here are my personal thoughts and feelings on the whole situation (because I know inquiring minds want to know), in no particular order and in no coherent fashion:

1. Coach has some major issues that need to be addressed. He has anger management issues and weight/eating issues (I know you're shocked by this revelation). In a very interesting article from a KC sports reporter, these two issues are totally related and perhaps one in the same--think a particular character from Austin Powers (and make sure you do not watch that entire clip if you're easily offended--start at the 50 second mark!). Regardless, the man needs some serious help.

2. The weight problem has definitely gotten worse over the years, as you can see from pictures of the fat man which span his time at KU. While there could certainly be some metabolic issues going on here, I'm pretty sure the guy has an overeating problem. I heard from a friend of a friend the other day that coach has been known to order two entrees at fundraising events. At restaurants. In public. That's disgusting.

3. KU fans have laughed at our coach's appearance for the last 8 years because deep down inside we were all horrified. Fans embraced his girth because there wasn't really anything else we could do. I mean half the KU football t-shirts at Joe College downtown were making fun of his size! We all played it off as funny even though we were actually completely disgusted. We fully expected that he would eventually drop dead of a heart attack on the sidelines while we were all watching!

4. Although I'm obviously not a fan of his appearance nor some of his behaviors, I (and many other KU fans) do give him credit where credit is due. He is the reason for the turnaround of our football program and we are very thankful for those great years and the Orange Bowl win. He must have done something right as a coach, although I'm totally unclear about how he could walk into a high schooler's home and talk to him and his parents about coming to the disciplined program at Kansas. Discipline? Really? I'm not sure he knows what that means.

5. While he clearly was doing some right during those winning seasons, part of me is wondering now if he just knew how to surround himself with good offensive, defensive and special teams coordinators. I'm thinking maybe his winning ways fell to pieces when he couldn't keep his coordinators around for more than a couple of seasons because of his horrible treatment of his staff and players (and everyone else within a 10 mile radius). This insightful article reported that one former staffer lasted for only two games before quitting. Coach chastised him in front of the whole team during halftime of his second game, and he resigned immediately after returning to Lawrence. It kind of makes me think he has a habit of blaming others for his failures. Clearly, he's not much into his own personal responsibility.

6. Despite my criticism, I really don't fault him for being a tough coach and screaming at his players. Had this whole investigation been just about the poking incident, I would have thought it was just a witch hunt. But there's just so much more to it. Some of the things he's been quoted as saying to his players (commenting on alcoholic fathers and brothers who've been shot in gang incidents) have totally crossed the line, in my opinion. One of the former players was quoted in the UDK as saying that Coach's way of motivating people was by "demotivating" them. How sad that he felt like he had to demoralize his players to be effective.

7. If the Fat Man had just been a really tough and borderline inappropriate coach who had one bad year after winning Coach of the Year two years ago, he probably wouldn't and shouldn't have been pressured out of his job. However, when you couple that behavior with so many incidents of bad behavior off the field, you don't leave yourself much room for error. I mean seriously, the man should have been watching his every step after this debacle with the parking attendant a couple of years ago. After reading that story (you'll have to download the PDF and then scroll down to the typed version), you'll never again feel sorry for our coach for being railroaded out of here. He can be almost as tough as he wants on the field, but it's absolutely unacceptable for him to treat people that way off the field. The administration should have taken major disciplinary action against him after that incident and forced him to seek psychiatric help. Instead, the athletics department hired a student for him whose sole job was to move his car when he parked illegally. Seriously.

8. Our athletics director (whom I've been known to refer to as the Orc) has obviously known about the Fat Man's anger problem since he arrived here (since the first public outburst happened the first year he was coach), and chose to do nothing serious about it because our team was successful and winning. It makes our A.D. and chancellor look like we don't really care about the means to an end, which is kind of disturbing. Disturbing, yes; surprising, no. The Orc is pretty much known for making money and building programs at the expense of anything and everything in his way.

9. On the other hand, had the A.D. actually taken any action against the Fat Man during the height of his football success (which is actually when the parking incident happened), the fans would have been calling for the Orc's head. Although I initially didn't like the way our A.D. was handling this situation--leaking it to the press instead of just handling it internally--after reading and pondering this article (also cited above), I think I better understand why he did it this way. Had he never aired all of Coach's dirty laundry, he never would have gotten the fans and friends of the football program to buy into a coaching change.

10. As you may have guessed, I'm thankful that the Fat Man is moving on. Obviously, after the entire world was made aware of his anger issues and coaching "style," he wasn't going to be able to recruit effectively at all, so his success here was pretty much finished. Even if this whole poking incident hadn't caused the anger issue to rear its ugly head though, I (along with many other KU fans) would have been calling for the Coach's job. He made so many questionable coaching moves and decisions this year that I think cost us wins on the field. From punting/kicking choices (kicking it out of the end zone against Texas Tech) to quarterback choices (playing an injured QB but refusing to admit he was injured) to running back choices (continually trying to run my boy Jake up the middle), there have been issues all year long. To put the icing on the cake, he came up with some atrocious play-calling during our last possession against Missouri. A win in that one game could have salvaged the season, made us bowl eligible, and given our incredible seniors something to be proud of at the end of their careers. I completely blame the Fat Man for not just running the clock out, since everyone in the entire world knew that's exactly what he needed to do. In my mind, that major mistake in the biggest game of the year was cause enough for his dismissal. Clearly, he'd lost whatever coaching edge/expertise he had back when he won the Orange Bowl.

So that's my two (or ten) cents. If anyone is actually still reading, thanks for listening to me rant! Clearly I'm passionate about my KU football, and I'm also hopeful for a new and better coach that will take us to the next level!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


I took this picture the day before Thanksgiving but completely forgot about it until last night when I opened a bottle of wine. Before I went to the grocery store that day to get all of my turkey dinner fixings, I stopped at the liquor store next door to get a bottle of wine for our meal. While I was there I decided to just stock up on bottles to have for future events and special occasions (like last night's card-making session at home on a freezing cold evening). The selection took me at least 30 minutes, because my method of picking out wines is not exactly scientific or organized. I pick wines almost exclusively because of their fun, silly or interesting labels. Clearly, I'm not much of a wine connoisseur!

While I might not buy expensive (obviously) or very highly rated wines, you can't tell me that some of these labels aren't totally fun!! First of all, I had no idea Paul Newman had a wine. Second, anything with chocolate in the name has to be good. I've also always had a thing for monkeys, so the Barrel of Monkeys was a no-brainer for me. Fat Bastard and Wrongo Dongo were just funny, and I liked the hand print on the Crios label. Fetzer just ended up in my box because I couldn't find any white zin that was interesting!

The funny thing is, I think I forgot to add the bottle that we drank for Thanksgiving dinner to this picture! I remember it was a pinot noir and that it was good, but I don't remember what it was. I guess that's why I'll always go back to choosing wine because of its label!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Welcome Home, Old Friend

This was a picture Chad took of me as soon as I got home from work today, right after I changed into my comfy clothes.

Can you tell how incredibly happy I am? Can you see what it is that brought such a huge smile to my face? My wonderful, beloved sweatshirt that I once thought was lost has come home with a brand new zipper!!

I dropped my dear sweatshirt off at the alterations shop the week that we left for Dallas, and even though it was finished a week or so ago I finally just picked it up after work this afternoon. Just in time too--it was bone-chillingly, mind-numbingly cold today. I can't tell you how good it felt to put that sweatshirt on and zip it up when I got home!

It seemed slightly ridiculous that I just paid $22 for a new zipper in a sweatshirt that I'm pretty sure cost me $17 at least three years ago. It seemed slightly ridiculous--that is, until I put my sweatshirt on and remembered how warm, snuggly, comfy and reversible it is. You'll think I'm exaggerating, but I really did kind of give it a hug when I put it away tonight. Chad witnessed it, and I think he was slightly embarrassed for me. I can't help it--I love it so much!!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Why I Need A Craft Room

Clearly in the last week I’ve been too busy for blogging, and this—the incredible mess in the craft/guitar/extra bedroom room—is the reason why. I've been spending every evening and every other free moment working on my Christmas greetings!

As some of my friends know, I have several crafty traditions during the holidays, one of them being the design/creation of my own Christmas cards. As I mentioned in my post on Thanksgiving, this year I’m breaking all personal records with regard to the timeliness of my holiday mailing. Hooray for ME, Billy!! (If you’re not Chad, identify that reference and you’ll win big brownie points from me, which are worth a lot, I know.)

Tonight I finished up about another 20 cards to add to the 30 or so that I finished during the week. I have the remaining 30 or so about 80% complete, so I should be 100% finished in the next couple of evenings! It will be such a relief getting them done early this year for a change--now I just have to worry about my Christmas shopping, which is only about 5% complete!

While I am getting my cards done more quickly this year, I will admit that my design/execution left a lot to be desired. There are some years that I love the way my cards turn out--this year is not one of them. They're kind of crappy, but it actually wasn't because I rushed through the design process. I decided this year that I would try to use up excess and leftover materials from other craft projects, so my design options were a little limited. I found about 30 leftover white envelopes and a bunch of white card stock, so generic white was my boring starting point. I used tons of scraps of colors and patterns that were leftover from previous years, but since the only adhesive I had in the house was Elmer's glue, all of my cards got warped and wrinkly as they dried! I think they look pretty awful, but I'm trying to remind myself that they were part of a cleanup/recycling job, so I was helping to save trees by not buying more paper that I really didn't need!

I did end up having to go out and buy more envelopes and about 10 sheets of paper and some better adhesive over the weekend, but I was able to get more than halfway finished with just the paper and rubber stamps I already had around the house. Because I used so many scraps, just about every card was different than the last, so some were a little better than others. Here are just a few examples of what my friends and family will be getting (or have already gotten) in the mail.

On the inside, there's another stamp with a little decoration of one kind or another, and then of course our annual Christmas picture.

So if and when you get our Christmas card this year, try not to laugh too much! Just think of it as being good for the environment!