Sunday, April 27, 2008
The effing changes that have happened are multifold

In case you wish to look back, this week sees the 25th anniversary of then-Cubs manager Lee Elia's classic rant against the Wrigley Field masses (such as they were in 1983):

(Update: There is a better take on this episode here.) Not to be outdone, though he totally is, Cincinnati broadcaster Marty Brennaman this season added his thoughts:

Posted by Chris at 10:55 PM | 0 comments

Stitches Out

On Friday, Chris and I made our way down to the hand surgeon, a weekly ritual we had begun to dread. As I might have mentioned before, it's no fun trekking all the way across town to have someone poke around your fingers for five minutes, give you a band-aid, charge an exorbitant amount of money, and then ask you to do it all over again the following week.

While we were sitting in the waiting room I was telling Chris "I'm not coming back here," trying to build up my frustration to the point that if need be I could confront this so-called-doctor with my complaints. Just to rub a little salt in the wound, Chris pointed out a picture of George and Laura Bush hung in the office hallway, only fueling my anger that my hard earned money was going to fund that idiot.

After seeing three patients (within the span of 20 minutes) come in and out of his office with the recommendation that they see him next week I was ready for my turn. Once he called me in, I announced with purpose that "I'm ready to get my stitches out today," figuring a little assertiveness might push him in the right direction. And to my delight, I actually got them removed! A few snips of the thread and I was stitch-free and more importantly doctor-appointment-free.

He said I'll have to apply some cream to prevent scarring and do some exercises to get the strength and flexibility back (you can see in the pictures just how far I can bend and straighten the left hand) but otherwise, I shouldn't need any further treatment. Yippee!

Posted by Kelley at 10:43 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Living vicariously

In less than a week our friends Chris and Tiffany will be off on a trip to China (and Thailand). Because I traveled there a couple years ago and loved it (see below), because I was tantalizingly close to going again this summer for the Olympics, and because two magazines I like recently put out issues on the country and its people, I am terribly envious and hope they will be blogging all about it. Have fun, guys.

Posted by Chris at 9:02 AM | 2 comments

Saturday, April 19, 2008
Bread: Good

Last night, Chris and I baked a loaf of bread. I never thought the simple act of preparing and cooking something that is such a part of our daily diets would be so satisfying, but it was. Once we saw the loaf come out looking like one you might buy at a bakery, and then tasted it to find it tasted like one you would buy at a bakery, we were pretty pleased with our ability to make something so basic yet seldom prepared.

It seems odd that baking your own bread has become, well, odd. Shouldn't something that we eat everyday be something that is prepared with regularity and ease?

The bread is a product of our obsession with Cook's Illustrated and my new feeling that basic foods shouldn't contain a bunch of ingredients we can't pronounce (a direct influence of the book In Defense of Food). Plus, it seems that anything that is time consuming is generally thought of as a hassle--in this case preparing food--when in fact, it was really fun and pretty rewarding once we saw the finished product.

Having said all that, I think any day spent baking bread with your love is a good one and I would recommend everyone give it a go.

Here's the recipe from Cook's Illustrated:

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsps. instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 tsps table salt
3/4 cup + 2 tbsps water at room temperature
1/4 cup + 2 tbsps mild-flavored lager
1 tbsp white vinegar

1. Whisk flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl. Add water, beer, and vinegar. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours.
2. Lay 12- by 18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times. Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam-side down, to parchment-lined skillet and spray surface of dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.
3. About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place 6- to 8-quart heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (with lid) on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one 6-inch-long, 1/2-inch-deep slit along top of dough. Carefully remove pot from oven and remove lid. Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into pot (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover pot and place in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.

Posted by Kelley at 3:14 PM | 0 comments

Saturday, April 12, 2008
Animal House

For the last couple days, we've been relaxing in Big Sur and visiting my mom and her man, Ken. They live in a California State park, where their home is surrounded by Redwood trees, green hillsides, and some of the most beautiful beaches. Chris and I have said many times how nice it is that we get to visit them in such a wonderful place; our first wave of 80 degree weather only added to the atmosphere.

Most of the time was spent eating out in Carmel, walking the dog on the beach, BBQing out back, and viewing photos from their recent trip to Kauai. Being the shutterbug I am, it was hard not to be constantly snapping photos when you're surrounded by such sights. There were too many great pictures to only post a few so I created a slide show below.

In the midst of the beach photo frenzy, Chris lured me down to the water to try to capture our feet in the surf. (The Pacific is freezing, so I was a little hesitant.) It took forever to get a shot that was halfway decent, and by the end of it all, a quarter of my pants were soaked, but we laughed so hard it was worth it.

You'll notice all the animals: one Welsh Corgi, two kitties, turtles, a tortoise (and a partridge in a pear tree). My mom is a veterinary tech--animal nurse in layman's terms--at an avian and exotic clinic (and loves all things four-legged), so her house is practically an animal sanctuary.

For still frames of any of the photos click here.

Posted by Kelley at 5:52 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Giants Home Opener

With all the excitement surrounding Kansas winning the NCAA tourney, I haven't had a chance to post about what we did earlier that day, which was attend the Giants' home
opener. I can't say we watched much of the game (and what a game it was; the Giants lost 8-4 to the Padres), but we had a great time wandering around the park with our friends Tiffany and Chris (Grandstaff).

As of tonight the Giants are 3-6, and from the looks of it, it's gonna be a long season. But hey, I can always jump on that Fukudome bandwagon. The Cubs are on a four-game winning streak.

(Shhhhhh. Don't worry, Dave Roberts, I still heart you.)

Go Giants!

Posted by Kelley at 11:20 PM | 0 comments

One Shining Moment

It's been two days, but this will never get old.

Posted by Chris at 9:12 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, April 8, 2008
The Hand Report

Quick update on the hand: We went to a hand surgeon today to make sure I had not severed any tendons and possibly remove the two stitches. Doc says the stitches stay in for another week until the swelling and bruising goes down but it doesn't look like I caused any permanent damage (whew). A week from Tuesday I'll see him again, probably get the stitches out, and hopefully not need any further treatment/surgery.

Quite the price to pay for homemade guacamole:

-Emergency room trip for hand laceration: $2,600+

-Seeing a hand specialist for 15 minutes: $140

-Having two working hands: Priceless.

Posted by Kelley at 8:15 PM | 0 comments

KU wins!

Kansas 75, Memphis 68

Here is Chris's reaction throughout the game:

Still nervous as KU leaves barely leading after the first half.

Memphis is up 60-51 with 2:12 remaining.

Mario Chalmers hits the tying three, the bar goes crazy, and they win in overtime.

Being flooded with calls from KU friends.

Experiencing his first national championship win.

He still can't believe it...

It took him a few minutes to start reacting (and for all the alcohol he had consumed to kick in) but once he did, I think Chris had a really great time finally seeing one of his teams win it all. Some things that followed: hugging a strange lady in a Jayhawks jersey, skipping to the train station, singing Rock Chalk on the train, breaking sand bags like little boys with Grandstaff, and drinking far too many shots of whiskey. I think he summed up his feelings best while on the phone with Scott when he yelled "KU Jayhawks, Fukudome, Obeezy in the White House...This is our year baby!"

Catch video and more photos over at the Grandpease blog...

Posted by Kelley at 11:29 AM | 0 comments

Saturday, April 5, 2008
...and breathe

In the ninety-eight years before I enrolled at the university, Kansas' men's basketball team won more than sixteen hundred games and was twice the national champion. In my four years there, the team lost in the third, second, second and second rounds of the NCAA tournament. In the eight years since my, um, departure, the Jayhawks have reached the Final Four three times and, now, the national championship game twice. (Not to mention what the football team did this season.)

I do not mean to complain, especially after KU gathered itself tonight against North Carolina and claimed victory from what was shaping up to be a terrific embarrassment. It's just: scenes like this one, from Mass Street after the game, make me jealous.

Go Jayhawks. Beat Memphis.

Posted by Chris at 10:34 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Recovery is Boring

I thought I would update those reading on the condition of my hand. The swelling has gone down considerably and been replaced by bruising. The pain is almost gone but I'm starting to become annoyed with all the things I can't do--barely can cook, crocheting is impossible, typing with one hand is terribly slow--I'm really getting bored being so useless.

Chris has been very good in the pampering department. Since the moment we came home from the hospital, he has been getting my medicine, helping change my bandages, and being very considerate all around. Nothing makes you feel more like a 3-year-old than when your boyfriend has to wash your hair under the faucet because you can't get your arm wet.

My friends (who I was supposed to meet when I decided I'd rather go to the ER) sent me a very nice card today. They joked that the next time we are set to meet up, since it's a rarity, they're bubble wrapping me and putting me in quarantine for the days leading up. Both my mom and Chris's helped bring a little peace of mind. Somehow moms just have that way about them. My Aunt Rebecca has called to check on me several times and insists I get some rest.

One last thing about Chris. He makes a comment below about having "never felt like less of a man." That couldn't be more inaccurate. It was a stressful, scary situation and he took care of me all the way. Believe it or not, the physical pain was not that intense but the uncertainties going through my mind were. He held my hand and kept my eyes off the wound the whole time and just knowing he was there alongside me made it easier to endure. I'm going to try desperately not to be so clumsy in the future but should anything stressful/scary happen, he is just the man I want by my side.

Posted by Kelley at 8:39 PM | 0 comments