A busy few days between get-togethers, kid activities, and prepping for Thanksgiving.

How about a few notes?

M. has kicked off her volleyball career. She’s been to one skills session and another evaluation session as the fourth graders at St. P’s get slotted onto the appropriate team for their first year of CYO play. I haven’t watched any of her practices, but I’m hopeful that she can hang in there and make the occasional pass or serve it over the net, rather than be fearful of the ball.

Last week I told her how I played a ton of volleyball in my 20s, often in two leagues at once at my former employer, and that seemed to interest her. She was especially impressed when I told her my team won the 4-on–4 league one year.

“So did you get, a really big trophy?”
“Nope. Just a t-shirt that said ‘Champions’ on it. But we wore them to the gym all the time so everyone knew.”

I’d love it if she got some of her dad’s hyper-competitiveness on the court. But I just hope she has fun.

Saturday was fairly warm here, so I spent a solid chunk of the day cleaning up leaves and doing some pre-winter trimming of bushes. I was following the KU score, but didn’t feel any urgency to get inside and watch as Oklahoma pounded them. Of course, when I saw how many yards Samaje Perine had, I made it inside to see his record-breaking run.

A pretty pathetic performance by the KU defense, which had shown marked improvement in recent weeks. Also a shame to see Tony Sands fall two places in two weeks on the all-time, single-game rushing list.

Which brings up a good story. The day Sands ran for his then-record 396 yards, it was cold and nasty in Lawrence. A lot of people stayed home as KU played a pretty weak MU team. A few of us, though, stayed through the final rush that put Sands above Marshall Faulk’s record. We even slapped Tony on his shoulder pads as he walked off the field.

But one friend was apparently very sick that day. He claims he had pneumonia, a terrible fever, and could barely breath. He tried to make it out the door when he heard Sands’ yardage building up on the radio. But he was too weak to make it out. Or so he insisted.

We still give him grief about that. We have downgraded whatever illness he had to sniffles and a tickle in his throat, while he now claims he was on death’s doorstep.

So, of course, I sent out a message yesterday wondering if any OU students sneezed a couple times and decided to stay in their dorm room and watch the game rather than walk to the stadium and stand in the rain for 3+ hours and thus missed seeing Perine go off first hand.

Good times.

A week ago we went out on a snowy Sunday and bought a bunch of new outdoor Christmas decorations. Don’t worry, they’re neither put outside nor lit up yet. There are plenty of people around our neighborhood who flipped theirs on over the weekend. It’s one thing to put them up on a warm day when you know you may not have another chance. It’s another thing completely to go ahead and turn them on before Thanksgiving. When will this war on Thanksgiving cease?

I do have to admit, though, I’ve already checked a bunch of our lights, I have things organized for easy unpacking on Friday and Saturday when it is time to get all the decorations out. But not until I watch my Cheers “Thanksgiving Orphans” episode and drink something tasty!

Our Thanksgiving preparations are pretty locked in. Still some cleaning to do around the house, but we’ve had an overnight guest and a small gathering over the past week so a lot of the heavy cleaning has already been knocked out. We’ll have 17 or 18, I can’t keep track, for a late afternoon dinner. We’re only doing a few of the sides and some of the dessert, so while I’ll be busy getting those things together, it won’t be a full day of cooking for us.

I’m sure many of you have been holding your breath for this news, but I believe I will begin unveiling my favorite songs of the year on December 8. This year I’ll share two songs a day so we’ll be wrapped up on Dec. 19, when I imagine a lot of you will be knocking off for a week or more. I’m listening to the song that will be #1 right now, no hints though. The top 10 is very strong. The second ten, well there’s some significant drop-off there.

Boys high school basketball began last tonight in Indiana. Tonight I’m covering one of my southern teams that is coming up north. I have a few girls games logged already, but it’s always interesting to do the boys for the first time. The girls team I’ve covered is very fast up-and-down the court, but the boys are usually a couple steps faster and it takes a quarter or two to get used to the pace so I’m getting my stats recorded while also keeping an eye on the action.