Carpool Karaoke with Gwen Stefani

Surfing around YouTube this morning and came across this video.

James Corden, whose Carpool Karaoke sessions have become somewhat of a sensation since his ride with Adele, has done it again -- and this time he picked up a couple special guests.



Break Out the Chewbacca Mask and You Won’t Laugh Alone

So I awoke last Saturday, opened Facebook while I was still lying in bed and saw this video my friend Gina had shared …

The longer I watched, the more engrossed I became in Candace Payne’s glee and the harder it got to control my own laughter. I was nearly laughing so hard that the side of my body was hurting.

Well, in the ensuing days the video continued to light up the internet. And pretty soon Candace and her family were basking in the glow of gifts from Kohl’s to appearances on the morning talk shows. She appeared on the The Late Late Show with James Corden, took him to work with J.J. Abrams and will meet Chewbacca himself, Peter Mayew.

The phenomenon of it all reminds me of the wedding dance video that went viral several years ago.

Here’s a good read I caught from The New York Times last night. 

Another day, another Royals comeback

Just when I start thinking this Royals’ season is going down the tubes and I should be investing more time in watching or listening to the Cubs, they do something remarkable and remind me why I fell in love with this current cast of Kansas City baseball players.

I had returned to my office this afternoon after coming a commencement ceremony at the college and checked the Royals score. They were down 7-1 in the seventh inning.

I groaned. Not a chance, I thought and proceeded with my work.

Then I saw this tweet during the top of the ninth.

Now what, I thought, and scrolled a little further down my TweetDeck to see Salvador Perez was involved in a collision and had to be carried off the field.

But then …

What!? … That was enough to get me to turn it on. We watched their miraculous comeback last night, and now they were doing it again.

I’ll just let Rustin’s Twitter feed take it from here.

By this time, I had finished my work for the day and had packed up my belongings, ready to go home. But Brett Eibner, whose Major League debut we watched last night along with his first Major League hit, was at the plate with two outs and the winning run on third base. And I wasn’t going anywhere until he made the third out and drove in the winning run.

After an epic at-bat that seemed more destined to result in a walk-off walk, he lined a base-hit for the walk-off win.
I pumped my fist and walked out of my office with the radio feed still playing on my phone, my head high as listened to the roar of the Kauffman Stadium crowd.

Tonight it appears as though Salvy’s injury is a relatively minor one, considering how severe the collision appeared. Thank goodness.

Here's Rustin's full recap. ... And here's MLB's recap.

I love that Eric Hosmer said "It was one of the craziest regular-season games I've played in." Because we all know which game was THE craziest.


Stormy Night at the K

Well, last night was interesting.

Our university was set to join the Royals for a special “Northwest Night at the K, a gathering of our alumni, families, students and friends. The planning began months ago and we had really looked forward to it.

But severe storms have threatened our region for days, and the forecast heading into yesterday was not promising.

Figures. We haven't had much luck with Mother Nature and Royals games, considering it's rained at some point during all but one of the games we've attend during the last two seasons, the exception being this year's School Day at the K.

We drove briefly through pelting rain and hail on our way to Kansas City yesterday afternoon. When we arrived in the Kauffman Stadium parking lot, the skies were menacing and bright strikes of lightning flashed around us – but no rain.

The rain began, however, as we started our walk across the parking lot. And it got harder the closer we came to the large tent where our group was gathered for a tailgate party. Kates had an umbrella to carry over her and protect Phoebe, but I was stupidly unprepared for the weather and had Faye riding on my shoulders with her hoodie pulled over her head. Faye and I were drenched by the time we arrived safely under the tailgate tent.

There was some joy as we got settled and greeted friends. The highlight of the night was seeing the championship trophies. We had our football national championship trophies on hand, and the Royals graciously allowed the World Series trophy to join our party. Phoebe and I had our pictures taken with them, and it was good.

But the wind was picking up and the situation had begun to get a little dicey under the tent with food getting wet and the winds tossing some of our equipment. Phoebe – still affected by our mini hurricane several years ago – was reduced to sobbing as Kates tried to comfort her.

We were just getting in the food line with the girls when an announcement was made for all of us to take shelter. We moved inside the stadium concourse and took cover for a short time in the restrooms. Then, stadium staff instructed us to head for the basement of the Royals Hall of Fame. Not a bad place to be to wait out a storm, I suppose. …

We waited there for about a half hour, though it seemed much longer as we scrolled through our social media feeds and monitored our weather apps. Shortly after 6, we learned the game was being canceled and the stadium staff gave us the all clear to move back outdoors.

Kates and I pondered staying for what was left of the tailgate, but the girls were done and wanted to go home. So we made the long trek across the parking lot back to our car and headed for home. … Starving, Kates and I stopped for food at an Arby’s. I tried the new Bourbon Steak and Bacon sandwich, which makes my mouth water every time I see the commercialand oh, it was awesome.

We drove through a hard rain and lightning all the way back to The ‘Ville. Faye fell asleep, while Phoebe listened to her iPod – and asked every 10 minutes “how many more minutes until we get home?” … Obsessed with counting minutes and steps, Phoebe knows the GPS shows our ETA and counts down the minutes. As we drove through last night’s storm, the answer was especially important to her.

By 8:30 we were back home and unloading the car. It felt like we just returned from a vacation. … The girls “got cozy” and turned on the TV.

This morning comes the news that Mike Moustakas tore his ACL last weekend and is likely done for the season … which is rapidly growing into a bummer of a championship defense.
The Moustakas news offered a second, unexpected, gut punch. In seconds, on an inconsequential foul ball in a 3-2 loss, the Royals lost an All-Star left fielder for a month and an All-Star third baseman until 2017.

“To lose two All-Stars on one play,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “it’s kind of tough.”

The news cast a pall over the clubhouse as the Royals, 24-22, prepared for a weekend series against the Chicago White Sox. (Thursday night’s game was rained out, with a makeup date coming later this season.)

The reality cut deep into a close-knit room. In March, the Royals spoke confidently about their motivations this season: Another American League pennant, another championship, an improbable mini-dynasty in one of baseball’s smallest markets.

Seven weeks into the franchise’s first World Series championship defense in three decades, the Royals must trudge on with the left side of the diamond gutted by injuries.

But, hey, we also got a trip to IKEA out of the ordeal. We visited One of the Greatest Stores Ever before our trip to the stadium and purchased a new desk and shelving unit for Phoebe’s room. It’s long overdue and will be a welcome addition to her room and tween life.


So long, Kit Kat?

Our hearts our heavy tonight as – after two oh so fun weeks – we may have lost Kit Kat.

I’m taking it particularly hard, feeling guilty that I didn’t do more to help her.

The episode began this afternoon when a roofer showed up at our house to install a long-awaited pair of downspouts. This – like the sounds of a lawn mower nearby, or Phoebe and I playing one of our nightly games of basketball – startled Kit Kat from her spot on our deck. … After this happens, we’ve come to expect her to show up again around meal time. But tonight there was no sign of her.

We went to the free Tuesday night movie on the university campus – the movie was “The Good Dinosaur,” which I found slightly ironic, considering its themes in light of tonight’s events – and found still no sign of her when we returned home around 8:30.

With some daylight left, we opted to play outside for a while. Though I think all of us were really hoping Kit Kat would come out of hiding if she knew we were there.

With no sign of her, Faye and Kates eventually went inside. Phoebe and I began shooting hoops. Phoebe said, “I really wish Kit Kat would come back. She’s a really sweet kitty.”

That’s when the fat, menace-looking, calico cat that we’ve dubbed Blondie showed up. She made her first appearance a couple nights after we began our conscious effort to care for Kit Kat and has returned consistently around nightfall. On some of the first few nights, Blondie tried some intimidation with Kit Kat by scaling our deck and perching herself on the railings. Kit Kat would sit in her tub, eyes fixed on Blondie.

But on more recent nights, Kit Kat took command of our deck. She sat perched on our deck table, the deck railing or even at the top of the stairs. A couple nights I caught her standing her ground on the deck and howling at Blondie. I tried to shoo away Blondie on several occasions, but she kept coming back and all I could do was trust she wouldn’t try to hurt Kit Kat.

After all, Kates and I made an observation last night that Kit Kat had become bolder in the last 24 hours. “She’s becoming a teenager,” Kates said. In addition to her more aggressively protecting her kitty territory and climbing on the deck, we arrived home Sunday afternoon to find her prancing across the yard with a robin in her mouth. When the robin got away briefly, Kit Kat chased it across the yard and swatted it down again, proceeding to bat it around for a few moments and stand over it. “Girls, this is nature,” Kates said as Phoebe and Faye stood in a sort of stunned confusion.

* * *

Tonight, nature showed its ugly side again. I’m afraid Kit Kat was on the losing end this time and I’m beating up myself for not doing more to keep Blondie away. When I spotted Blondie tonight, I never should have let her in our yard.

Phoebe and I finished playing basketball, and I took a seat on the deck, waiting to see if Kit Kat might still show. A few moments in, I noticed Blondie take a prowling stance and begin slowly across the middle of our yard. I thought maybe she was about to give chase to a bird or critter.

But then Kit Kat appeared walking along our fence from the bush beside our shed, where we spotted her for the first time. I had barely exclaimed “Kit Kat’s back!” to the girls inside when Blondie sped toward her. They came eye to eye at the gate to our yard. A flash later they were in a hissing and snarling cat fight. Kit Kat took refuge in a sea of ferns along the side of our house, but all I could see was Blondie looking to pounce further.

Kates suggested we go inside and let them work it out. But I was desperate to try anything to scare Blondie away and save Kit Kat. So I grabbed a small umbrella we mounted on the deck last night to protect Kit Kat from the rain and banged it against the fence. But it did more harm than good because it not only startled Blondie, but Kit Kat, too. And when Kit Kat ran, Blondie chased again. They ran into the neighbor’s yard and out of sight, but we could hear the fight continuing on the other side.
The sun set and we haven’t seen any sign of them since.

No doubt, we’ve come to adore Kit Kat these last couple weeks. Feeding her every morning and night. Having her keep us company and run around with us in the backyard. Admiring her as she curled up in her bed and slept. Laughing as she swatted and pounced on the beetles that buzzed around the deck at night. And loving the way she galloped across the back yard when we called for her and practically talked to us with her meows.

We were set to adopt her and officially make her a part of our family. On a nightly basis for the last several days, we allowed her inside for a few minutes to explore our kitchen and living room. On Sunday afternoon – when we came home to find her hunting robins – we had returned from buying a litter box, cat toys and other accessories. The only thing holding up the adoption process was arranging for a visit to the vet; Kates left a message for one of the local vets, but we hadn’t yet received a response.

My prayer tonight is that Kit Kat is ok and we wake up tomorrow morning to find her sitting at our back door, meowing for her breakfast – something I’ve come to look forward to every morning since she came to us. We want her to remain a part of our family.


Can't stop the feeling!

So I finally took some time to take in Justin Timberlake's new single today.

Hello, Song of the Summer.

I can't get it out of my head. I could hardly to wait to get home tonight to show it to the girls. And they loved it, too.


(Update 06.09.16)

While I don't think this song sucks, here's a good read about our inclination to define songs of the summer.


So we have a cat

So we’ve adopted a kitten. Sort of.

More like she adopted us. As least we’re pretty sure it’s a she.

We’ve named her Kit Kat.

It began Saturday evening while Phoebe and I were outside and playing a game of Frisbee – one of her new favorite pastimes. 

I heard what sounded like crying coming from a bush alongside our shed. I turned toward the bush to try to figure out what was making the sound.

Then, after a couple minutes, a small gray kitten peered out from under the bush. She came out a few feet and then retreated to the bush. She was meowing non-stop, seemingly desperate for some attention and care. She had no collar and we have no idea where she came from.

This went on for several minutes as Phoebe and I stood at our fence watching her. She wouldn’t come too close to us, and after a while we headed inside and went on with our night.

Last night, we headed outside to play again and she appeared almost immediately, coming from the opposite side of our yard. Quickly, she was walking alongside us, brushing up against our legs and prancing from one side of the yard to the other while we threw the Frisbee.

She was extremely skinny and obviously hungry. So Kates and I broke down and gave her a couple slices of ham and cheese, which she wasted little time eating.

The girls had taken to her, and she seemed to be relishing our company.

Finally, though, it was time for us to go inside. But the bond had been formed, and the kitten sat perched on our deck while Kates and I prepared for the start of our work week.

Oh, and Kates made a run to the grocery store and returned with cat food. Stuff was getting real.

This morning, Kates opened a bathroom window and noticed she was still on our deck. We all got ready for school, left the house and went on with our days – though I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about her throughout the day.

So tonight, I came home from work and arrived in the house to find the inside quiet but the door to the deck open, and I knew. I found Kates and the girls in the yard with Kit Kat, who was dining on a bowl of the food Kates bought last night.

For the second night in a row, she walked alongside us, around and in between the legs of the girls like an old friend while they played in the yard. … And when we brought our supper to the deck for an outdoor dinner – despite our attempts to block entry points with baby gates – she found her way to our table and paced around the deck while we ate.

After we had the girls in bed, Kates and I met in the living room – and there was Kit Kat outside our deck door, meowing to beat the band. Begging for attention, or to come inside the house …

We’re holding strong on keeping her outside. But with a storm brewing tonight we retrieved a plastic tub from our basement and outfitted it with a blanket and an old sweatshirt for her. As the storm came in, she took to it and curled up inside.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings. But it looks like she’s here to stay … for at least a little while.