It’s back to semi-normal today. L returned to school after her Christmas break. M and C still have one more week of J-term, so they go in a little later and get out a little earlier. But all three have to get up in the mornings again.

Last week I had to get up to make sure C was up, so my alarm was 7:15 instead of my normal, school-day 6:55. Still, it was a little weird coming down this morning and finding the house dark instead of two Christmas trees already turned on filling the living room and front office with their soft light.

We took all the holiday decorations down Saturday. Since they went up earlier than normal and stayed up a little longer than normal, this was our most decorated Christmas ever.

We all have dentist appointments this afternoon, which wraps up a busy run of visits to health professionals over the past few weeks. I’ve been to the orthodontist three times, optometrist, sports medicine, MRI center, physical therapy, and had my annual physical.

I’m good, all that middle stuff was for C. She’s been having back pain for a few months, and even resting it plus a few visits to a chiropractor last fall didn’t help. Walking around in Italy was awful for her, and she was generally miserable at the end of each day, and progressively worse as the week went on. We finally got her in to a sports medicine doc three weeks ago. X-rays were clean but her MRI showed two interesting things. First, she has a bulging disk, the likely cause of her pain. Second, she is missing a vertebra and one set of ribs. That diagnosis got S into super medical research mode and she found about 4–5% of the general population has this issue. Weird!

The sports med doc said while there’s no research that would definitely tell us the bulging disk is directly tied to the lack of that vertebra, she also said it sure didn’t help. She also said it likely cost C an inch or two of height, which makes her topping out at 5’2” while her sisters both made it to 5’4”-ish make sense.[1] She took some teasing for that.

She started physical therapy last week and will do that for a month or so, with the hopes that helps her avoid anything more invasive to correct the issue.

Big 12 Hoops

Another crazy-ass weekend in the best conference in the country. Three teams are tied for first place at 3–0, all three getting there on the strength of two road wins. KU is not a huge surprise to be in that group. Kansas State and Iowa State, though? HUGE surprises. These were picked 8th and 9th in the preseason polls!

I think it’s too early to draw broad conclusions about any team. Especially in a conference like the Big 12. The Wildcats and Cyclones might be mid-tier teams a month from now. But they are off to great starts, and those road wins are huge bonuses in a conference that will likely be tightly bunched much of the season. 14–4 is always my default answer for what it takes to win the Big 12. Could this be the year that something like 12–6 guarantees you no worse than a tie?

More Jayhawks-centric talk later this week.


The Indiana Pacers were expected to win right around 20 games this year. They just played their 41st game of the season, the exact midpoint of their schedule. After grabbing two more close wins this weekend, they stand at 23–18, good for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

It’s been a remarkable first half. They are hella fun to watch, as my friends in Cali might say. Tyrese Haliburton is a legit All Star, and plays with a joy that is infectious. Buddy Hield leads the league in 3-pointers made, connecting on nearly 20 more than the second-most prolific shooter. Rookie Bennedict Mathurin is going to be a star. Second-round pick Andrew Nembhard could be one of the steals of the draft, an ideal backup to Haliburton who can also play next to him. Aaron Nesmith is beginning to show why he was a lottery pick two years ago.

But the biggest surprise is Myles Turner, a player most expected to have been traded by now. Turner is playing the best, most complete, most inspired ball of his career. I’ve always thought he was a little immature and disinterested in doing the hard work it took to be a star. At least for now he seems fully invested. To the point where the Pacers have made him a contract extension offer, attempting to capitalize on the big chunk of salary cap space they still have open. Turner has, for now, said he’s not interested.

That will set up an interesting game of chicken. Can the Pacers really trade their second-best player when they are in the running for a playoff spot and far too good to have a realistic shot at the #1 pick if they suddenly decide to tank? Can Turner turn down more money than any other team will be able to give him next summer no matter how badly he wants to end up in LA?

A year ago I would say the sides will come together and find an agreeable extension before the trade deadline, and Turner will quickly get injured. He’s always getting injured, and it would be just the Pacers’ luck for that to happen after they lock him up.

I think the Pacers’ luck has changed, though. So I think they either re-sign him and he stays healthy, or they can’t agree to terms, he plays out the year, signs with another team over the summer and that inevitable injury pops up in training camp. Meanwhile the Pacers use all their cap space to plug some other holes and immediately turn back into the solid 40–50 win team they usually are.


What a finish to the regular season! The cLots began the season with that humiliating tie in Houston, one that required a furious comeback just to get to overtime. They ended it with an even bigger embarrassment, losing to the Texans at home in the final minute of the game. Houston had a 10-point lead three times, but the cLots rallied to take a seven-point lead late in the fourth quarter. The Texans, who should have been satisfied with the loss and the #1 pick in April’s draft, for some reason decided to play full-out, converting on fourth and 20+ two different times on their final drive, including the touchdown that cut the lead to one. Then they went for two and the win and got it.


In the process they allowed the Bears to jump them for the #1 pick. The Texans’ owner was on the sideline after the game and he seemed to be the only person not celebrating. A few hours later he fired coach Lovie Smith. I like to think Lovie and his players knew what was coming and the final drive was a big Eff You to ownership.

The L could be good for the cLots. The Bears don’t need a quarterback, so perhaps they will entertain flipping that pick for Indy’s #5. Or at least that’s what speculation is around here. The Bears can certainly use the top pick to select someone other than a QB, and the cLots will have to hope either they can get a decent candidate in their fifth slot, or focus on one of the teams between them and Houston to swap picks with.

I heard at least four times yesterday that the cLots’ pick will be #5. Turns out they snuck into #4 thanks to Denver’s win.

I don’t know. It sure feels like the cLots will be stuck at five, reach for someone who is not ready to be an NFL QB, and remain mediocre, at very best, for the foreseeable future.

Not that I’m convinced either Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud are sure-things. Maybe it’s better not to pick them.

  1. And L is still growing.  ↩