Month: January 2008

At Last, A Turn For The Better

Things are finally getting better here. C. was sick again all night last night. I finally broke down and got sick. A rough morning for some of us, but I’m feeling almost normal again and C. was looking much better before her nap. M. went back to school and was her now-normal bossy self upon her return. Now if we can just keep S. from regressing and getting sick tonight, we should be out of the woods.

The Hits Keep Coming

I was hoping for a laid back weekend. A rest from the sickness of last week. Surprise, surprise.

(Warning: more puke talk ahead.)

Saturday, M. was feeling a little better, although certainly not her normal self. She ate a little bit, but didn’t seem to be into the food that much.

I went off to cover my basketball game. That was cool. There was a big event down at the Pacers’ arena that featured five high school games. I was covering the second one of the day. It was a much cooler event than the football game I did at the RCA Dome last fall. I got to sit in press row, or right at the edge of the court. I tossed a loose ball back to a player I was so close. There were official box scores that were handed out after each quarter, which is great for us journalists. And there was food in the media room! A kick ass nacho bar at that. I could get used to this.

The game ended up being quite good, though low scoring, and I stayed to watch a little of the next game, which featured Eric Gordon’s, the IU super-freshman, younger brother.

I headed home, we packed up the Sienna, and headed to Costco. We figured if C. isn’t sleeping all night, she might as well get out of the crib and into a big girl bed. That way if we have to sit with her, we can lay down and go to sleep while she works her issues out. She loves to play in M.’s bed and likes to pretend she’s asleep in it, so we hoped the transition would be smooth. M. went into her bed at 20 months, so it was time anyway (of course, S. isn’t pregnant at all, let alone seven months pregnant like she was then).

So S. took the first night’s putting to bed duties and I put M. down. When I put her down, she said she felt ok and didn’t need to go to the bathroom. I was down in the kitchen cleaning dishes up for about two minutes when I heard her screaming on her monitor. I raced up, she said her stomach hurt and needed to go to the bathroom. I picked her up, raced that direction, and just as I got in the door….well, let’s just say the puking she did earlier in the week was nothing compared to this. All over her, me, the bathroom floor, door, wall, sink, etc. So she’s screaming, I’m trying to hold onto her, avoid stepping in it, hold my breath, and figure out how the hell to get her cleaned up. Fortunately, C. heard the screaming, started saying “Shisher!” over and over, so she and S. came in and I had some assistance.

We eventually got M. cleaned up and down, and C. down as well. Around 2:30 AM, C. woke up, so I took my first shift sleeping in the twin. That shift lasted almost six hours. It’s a very comfortable, if cramped, bed! I’m sure I set us up for 20 more months of sleeping issues, but oh well.

S. was working today (her final shift of seven straight days) so today was much like the end of last week: M. on the couch, alternately moaning, sleeping, and being crabby while C. ran around and played happily. I tried to finish up my story before my noon deadline in the midst of this, then read the Sunday New York Times. I got my story done. I barely cracked the paper.

Fast forward to the evening. M. finally started acting and feeling a little better and I’m hoping for a nice, relaxing night. I notice I have a voice mail on my iPhone from a strange Kansas City number. I listen, and it’s St. Luke’s telling me my step-dad was brought into the ER after passing out. It took two hours to track him down, as he was transfered from one facility to another, but turns out he’s been sick ever since he visited us earlier this week. He decided to go out to dinner, realized he was still feeling bad, and next thing he knew, he was on the floor and people were tending to him. He’s had some heart issues, as many of you know, and had some abnormal scans tonight, so he’s being observed overnight and they’ll run more tests tomorrow. Hopefully it’s nothing more serious than complications from the flu.

SO…S. takes C. to bed again tonight. I get M. down super quick and head down here to the office to do some eBay work. After a few minutes I hear S. yelling for me. Yep, C. has soiled her new bed and her mother. And like M. the previous night, it was a mega-puke.

So here we are, almost 11:00 PM Sunday. S. is sleeping with C.. M. has yet to make a peep. And I made a quick trip to the grocery story to get some bread, Sprite, and Pepto because you know S. and I are next.

There’s your weekend wrap-up. Wasn’t that more interesting than talking about the South Carolina primary?

Just Like Her Old Man

It’s a very sad day. M. was supposed to go to her first birthday party for a friend from school today. It is going to be at one of those places where they sell playground equipment, but rent it out so kids can go crazy inside on cold days like today. She was very excited. Then she started puking this morning. We’re staying home now.

Shades of me on Halloween, when I was a kid, and got sick every other year and had to stay in rather than go trick or treating.

Guilty

I like to say that music keeps me young. I’ve managed to stay in touch with what the cool indie kids are listening to despite the fact I’ll officially push into my late 30s this year. As my tastes have changed over the past four years, getting younger as I grow older, I’ve in turn pushed some of the mainstream music I grew up on out of my library. But there are the guilty pleasures I can’t get rid of, no matter how uncool they might be. This is the story of a song from way, way back I recently rediscovered.

First, a note about how I ran across this track. If you don’t know about <a href=”http://hypem.com/”>The Hype Machine</a>, you need to check it out. They check the world of music blogs and track everything that’s being posted so that you don’t have to. It’s a great way to keep up with new artists (Try before you buy!) and coming across the occasional track from way back.

A couple weeks back, as I was running through my daily scan of what was on THM, I saw an entry for Dolly Parton. For some reason – kitch, memories of my youth, boredom – I decided to check it out. After going through a few Dolly Parton jokes (Wasn’t the first dirty joke just about everyone my age told somehow related to Dolly Parton?), the blogger offered up a few of Ms. Parton’s late 70s pop hits.

The only one I listened to was her #3 hit from early in 1978, “Here You Come Again.”

I know I’ve heard this song a few times in the past 30 years, mostly at a small, crowded, sweaty bar in Kansas City, but I probably had not really listened to it since it was spinning in high rotation three decades ago. I’ll admit it: it’s a genius little piece of pop music. A bouncy little piano intro, which could have been on a Billy Joel song. Sweeping strings that pull you into the main body of the song. The slightest bit of twang in the guitar lines to satisfy her country fans, but overall a perfect example of 70s pop. For added emphasis, it checks in under 3:00, which I think qualifies it for gem status.

I will admit, I probably heard this song a million times when I was a kid. An aunt and uncle that had been in Germany for several years brought me a very sweet, very Euro clock radio for Christmas 1977. Although it was only AM, that’s all you needed back in the day. So I spent just about every waking moment listening to whatever I could pull in. During the day, that meant the local stations, which were mostly pure 70s pop. At night, I could get stations from St. Louis and Chicago, which meant I usually fell asleep to bands like Styx and Queen. Living in southeast Missouri at the time (one of the three TV stations we could pick up was from Kentucky, just to put it into geographic perspective), the local stations ate up that strange late 70s genre of pop-country. I’m moderately ashamed to admit I know a few Crystal Gayle, Kenny Rogers, Ronnie Milsap, and of course Dolly Parton songs. But hey, that’s the way I rolled then, a slave to what the radio stations gave me. And I was six, cut me some slack.

But I’m not ashamed to admit that after listening to it a few times over the past couple weeks, that I have a soft spot in my heart for this magical little ditty.

Fun Things For A Cold Day

Two fun things.

First, C. puked all over the couch this morning. Well, that’s not really fun for any of us, but if you think your day was bad, at least you didn’t have to clean that up.

Second, Stephen Colbert is finally getting the recognition he deserves.<a href=”http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gG6ETB-rL6LIKTh1J0P1cwwZV9UgD8U7ENMG0″>This is brilliant</a>.

Searching

If anyone knows how to get a 20-month-old to sleep through the night, we’re open to all suggestions. As if it wasn’t bad enough that C. still can’t master sleeping, and in fact has gotten worse over the last month, she’s come down with a mother of a cold that is making things even more fun at night.

Still My Favorite Ever

“If you live in Kansas City, you kind of have to be a KU fan.”

George Brett, 1/14/08, ESPN.

Thank goodness he married a KU alum!

When I was in school and he came to a game, it was always a big deal, with the students pointing to where he was sitting and chanting his name. I wonder if the kids today even notice a guy who quit playing 14 years ago?

Oh, and this just in: we’re getting old.

Redemption

A lot of ground to cover today. I’m sure you won’t be surprised that it was well after 2AM before I was finally able to relax and go to sleep last night. It didn’t help that literally the moment the Orange Bowl ended, C. started her mid-night act.

So forgive me if this is even more disjointed than usual.

The Game: I have spent the last month reminding myself that this was a great, great season for KU football, the bowl game was a reward for what happened over the first 12 games and an exhibition, and that no matter what happened against Virginia Tech, it would not change how I feel about this team or what they accomplished this year.

That said, there was a little extra riding on this game. The need to silence the doubters who knocked KU because of the schedule (And as all KU fans must note, have said nary a word about Ohio State’s schedule). The need to prove ourselves worthy of a BCS bid, even more so after Missouri’s destruction of Arkansas (As nice as it was to be the team that kept MU out of the BCS, and add another notch to Mizzou Fan’s belief that the sports gods really do hate him, to be fair, it was the corrupt BCS system that screwed Mizzou. Illinois and Hawaii were far less deserving than KU to be in the BCS, but because the conference commissioners and university presidents who control the BCS don’t want anyone getting a competitive advantage, they put the two teams per conference rule in, which requires that someone gets screwed rather than rewarded in a year like this.). And, frankly, despite the way we played in the second half against Missouri, there were the lingering doubts from that first half that had to be addressed.

So while I tried to stay mellow and enjoy the game for what it was, I couldn’t help but work up some nerves as we stretched out the lead, then looked utterly hopeless for about 20 minutes in the middle, and then worked up my usual football watching lather for the fourth quarter. By the time we scored our final touchdown, I was thinking, “Exhibition game my ass,” as I hopped around the room and silently celebrated.

It was a strange and fascinating game. Why Tech didn’t run the ball down our throats the entire game I can’t understand. Perhaps Beamer, seeing his receivers were getting downfield on our secondary, wanted one quick score to take the lead and then sit on the ball and run out the clock. Or maybe he was setting things up for next year. Or maybe he’s just dumb. I don’t know. Our defense did adjust and was much better against the run late, but I have to think giving the ball to Ore about 25 more times in the third and fourth quarters might have changed the result.

The strangest sequence ever just about killed me. In the third quarter, a dubious, as best, pass interference call against KU. A sure interception gets taken away as teammates fight for the ball, only to see Tech come out with the ball inside the 10. Keeping Ore out of the endzone followed by the easiest block of a kick you’ll ever see. The long drive down the field on KU’s resulting drive, including a fake punt for a first down, that landed us inside the one, only to have 25 yards in penalties assessed against us. And, finally, the merciful interception when Todd Reesing attempted to force the ball into traffic. Despair, excitement, disbelief, elation, anger. All in the course of about five minutes.

In the end, KU got a gutty, defensive-fueled victory over a team that was bigger, faster, more talented, and had a better pedigree (Virginia Tech is scary talented. All the hype about their speed was accurate. Admittedly, I’ve mostly seen Oklahoma this year when they’re mildly interested, but Virginia Tech looked a lot better on defense than OU. Which, of course, leads to more thoughts of what we could have done if we got a few breaks in the first half at Arrowhead…). In short, everything that KU was criticized for not playing/beating this season. It truly was redemption, even if it came in a game that didn’t matter much. The Missouri game was far bigger, as a chance to play for a conference and national title would come from a win there, but this win was a hell of a lot of fun. It cemented this year as the greatest in KU football history, made a statement to the country about the quality of this team and the program as a whole, and left a fantastic foundation to build on. This was a great season and it was the perfect ending to it.
Oh, and Fox sucked ass.

One more time, Rock Chalk, bitches.

Now, to Iowa. I was pleased my man won. That’s right, I’m a huge Mike Huckabee fan! I’ve been saying for years this country needed an evangelical socialist in the White House. Now if New Hampshire can get on board, we might get somewhere…

I kid, of course. I was not terribly surprised by the results. Huckabee and Obama seemed to have all the momentum, and on the Dem side, Obama seemed well positioned to win the votes of those who supported the unviable candidates (or is it non-viable?). I’m not sure how much we learn from Iowa. It does set the tone for the next week before New Hampshire, but all the blowhards who were drawing hard conclusions last night need to relax a bit.

I found it hilarious that, at least on MSNBC, the coverage focused on the spin factor. All the talking heads prattled on about how each campaign would spin the result to their favor (See Clinton, Bill, New Hampshire 1992). Their tone was mocking and cynical, but, over the course of the night, those same talking heads accepted the spin as fact. It’s amazing how lazy the “experts” can be.

Now we launch into the real guts of the campaign, a sprint over the next 5-6 weeks that should leave us with two candidates that we get to pick apart for the next nine months. I’m having trouble (especially this morning) separating heart from mind, but I think an Obama-McCain matchup is the most likely. Defeating Hillary is going to be very difficult, but Obama has shown himself to be more than capable at every step of the process so far. His win last night is a sign for people who want to vote Democratic but are having trouble supporting Hillary (I counted myself in that camp until not too long ago, although Barack has always been my first choice) that he is worthy of their votes. John Edwards ran a valiant campaign, but if he can’t win Iowa, he’s done. It’s time for him to move on and do good things outside of government.

On the Republican side, it’s a mess. Where Democrats seem energized and excited, I don’t sense that R’s are in love with their candidates. They’ll circle around whoever gets the nomination, but there doesn’t seem to be one person who is poised to take control of the contest. The secular folks can’t stand Huckabee. The evangelicals have issues with Romney, Giuliani, and McCain. I think Fred Thompson may actually be dead. Huckabee can’t last, Romney is too damaged, and Giuliani is waiting too long. McCain will win by default and assume the old warhorse role that Bob Dole played in 1996.

Of course, that could all change next week after New Hampshire. Don’t hold me to any of it.

Big Day

Orange Bowl. Iowa Caucuses. A pretty big day coming up on Thursday. And, if you live on the east coast, you apparently think that the two might interfere with each other.

It started about a month ago in <span style=”font-style:italic;”>Newsweek</span> magazine. In a column that laid out where each Democratic candidate’s support was coming from, Jonathan Alter claimed that Barrack Obama might be in trouble because he had a lot of young people supporting him, and they might decide to stay home and watch the Orange Bowl, featuring fellow midwesterners Kansas, than go out and vote.

I laughed, thinking, “Silly East Coaster. Does he really think people from Iowa are going to miss out on the chance to determine who wins the first step in the nominating process to watch a team from another state? Does he know that Kansas and Iowa are different states?”
This week, an AP story highlighted some campaign dirty tricks, in which Iowans were receiving phone calls reminding them of an important football game that would be on TV Thursday night. The article pointed out that the Jayhawks from <span style=”font-style:italic;”>neighboring</span> Kansas were playing that night. Now Iowa and Kansas are close, but they don’t share a border, so can you really call them neighboring? Did anyone look at a map before sending that story out?

And it continues. Apparently Mike Huckabee, who should know better, said he wasn’t worried about people watching the game because it wasn’t going to be a good game anyway. I assume as an Arkansan he was inferring that he expects KU to roll over VaTech, but still he should understand that the game is not going to make a difference in who comes out and votes tomorrow. The weather, yes. An exhibition game that involves neither of the home state teams? No.

But, as I was catching up on my New York Times Magazines, I discovered I might be wrong. In a profile of Huckabee, a reporter sat in on a group of older gentlemen in Pella who meet each day to eat breakfast and talk about this and that. While going through the prospects for the various candidates, one of the locals said, “The Orange Bowl is that night. People might not vote.” So if even people from Iowa are thinking it, might it be true? Might Jon Alter and the rest of the east coast media elites have learned, in the weeks in Iowa, that KU is everyone in Iowa’s second favorite team? Or being the agreeable folks that they are, the Iowans, inspired by the dramatic change of fortunes for KU football, are genuinely interested and excited to see how the Fighting Manginos do in Miami?

All I know for sure is that I’ll definitely be switching away from the game during commercials to see what’s going on in Iowa.

Sleepless In Carmel

There’s a slight dusting of snow tonight, leaving the remaining holiday lights in the neighborhood to look particularly dazzling. It feels like the week before Christmas instead of the first week of the new year.

So, hey, happy New Year to everyone. I hope you all made it through the holiday unscathed. Our girls apparently resolved to not sleep in 2008, because we had much screaming last night until we gave up at 3AM and I ended up in the basement with C. and S. snuggled up with M. in our bed. It’s an ominous start to the year when I have a 19 month old’s feet pressing into my head at 4:30 AM.

Speaking of the holidays, M. quickly picked up on one of my favorite Christmas songs, “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” last month. By the middle of December, she was singing along to the chorus each time we heard it. I tried to get it on video today, but she was in a very wankish mood and refused to cooperate. But trust me, it was cute up until then.

C. added a few new vocabulary words over the holidays. She loves Christmas trees, and yells “TREE!” and points each time she sees one. “Santy” is one of her favorite people ever. And she’s crazy for candy canes. One of the neighbors has candy cane decorations in their yard and she was super excited to see them still out this morning. “Candycane! Dah! Candycane!” (Dah meaning dad.)

She has another hilarious verbal routine. She likes to inform us when she’s dirtied her diaper. “Ah pooped!” (Ah meaning I.) She does get a little overzealous, though, and often says that when she’s just gassy. It’s even better when, after saying, “Ah pooped!” she adds, “Ah happy.” Who isn’t? It’s hard not to laugh.

She was very cute when she fell asleep in her high chair at lunch today. I could see it creeping up on her, as her chewing slowed, her eyelids grew heavy, and she stared off into space. M. caught her and said something to make her laugh, and she leaned her head off to the side, as if she was playing peek-a-boo with me. She smiled, closed her eyes, and fell asleep with the smile stuck on her face. I didn’t take a picture out of fear of waking her up.

I do have a hilarious photo of her I will share soon. She got somewhere she wasn’t supposed to be.

Oh, and thanks to the cranky, sleep-deprived girls, I think I saw a total of an hour of football today. Nothing is sacred anymore.

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