A sure sign that you’re old is when your friends start celebrating their 50th birthdays. Last month we celebrated Connie’s 50th birthday at the Kansas Star Casino. A couple of weeks ago Uncle Roy had a huge birthday bash complete with ping pong and shuffleboard.
Here are a few pictures from the event…
I didn’t get to have cake but I bet it was yummy!
I had a cookie. It was delicious.
I loved all of the personalized touches…
Including the poker chip drink tokens!
The table decorations and center pieces were very creative and consistent with the theme. Some tables had chalkboards. A couple of tables had a bit of a debate going.
Brian and I had a great time celebrating with the old man. I was going to say “celebrating with the birthday boy” but, at the tender age of 50, you are clearly no longer a boy.
Bonnie did such an amazing job of planning and hosting the event. Thank you to Bonnie and Roy for their generosity and for sharing the joy of Roy’s birthday celebration with us. The best part for me was seeing so many people I hadn’t seen in years.
And also seeing people we still see on the regular, though not as frequently as we used to. These people are know as the Dills.
Bonnie and Roy sure know how to throw a party. The parting gifts were great.
We dream of being Bonnie and Roy when we grow up. Brian and I will eventually get old and turn 50 but we will probably never be as cool.
Cheers to Uncle Roy on his 50th birthday!
Since I was out of town on Veterans Day, I decided to shadow Kelsey on her birthday and experience a day in the life of a 25 year old. It’s been a lifetime ago for me so I can barely remember what it was like.
Step one was a leisurely breakfast at the hotel before heading to the mall for our MAC Cosmetics makeovers. This is what Kelsey had planned for her birthday/day off. She was nice enough to let me tag along and scheduled one for me as well.
They were so busy that day that we kept getting interrupted. It reminded me of why I don’t get makeup done at the mall. The end result was great, though. Misty did a fabulous job despite having to juggle customers and doing my makeup.
Here’s the finished product. For her birthday makeup Kelsey went completely glam, complete with fake eyelashes. I went pretty neutral but, even so, I felt like I had so much makeup on. I think it’s because I’m not used to wearing makeup.
Our next stop was downtown Kansas City. We had the rare opportunity to check out the PwC office there. The consultants didn’t get Veterans Day off so they camped out in one of the conference rooms and worked that day.
Good thing I was off that day because I don’t think I could have worked with the amazing view. I would have been day dreaming all day.
Not sure if you recall but it was super windy on Veterans Day. Kelsey and I got into a minor fender bender on the way to the hotel, which made us a bit late for our team building event. We weren’t the only ones late, though. The consultants worked late and got to the hotel much later than we did even after we waited for the Kansas City police officers to show up on the scene and release us.
We eventually made it to Top Golf. I’d never been there before. It’s really cool. Even though I sucked compared to everyone else, I still had a blast. I actually can’t wait to go back. I want to bring Brian there on a date.
You basically wave your club at this box thing that spits out a golf ball. You hit the golf ball as hard as you can while trying to make one of the targets. You earn points based on where your ball lands.
Radhika is a pro. She did the best out of all the women. She actually did better than most of the men, too.
This is a photo of Rahima getting ready to swing.
Here’s our two Project Managers: Andy (foreground) and Joey (background).
Since we were so late getting started we decided to cancel our dinner reservations and just eat at Top Golf instead. The food there is actually pretty good.
Here are some photos…
These donut things were delicious, specially with the dipping sauces. Serving the sauces in syringes was a clever touch.
Some people had already left by the time we remembered to take a group photo.
We all had so much fun that we ended up spending the entire evening at Top Golf. The time just flew by, though. It was a great team building experience.
Here are some pictures taken on the eve of Kelsey’s 25th birthday.
Kelsey hit the birthday jackpot. Her birthday is November 11, Veterans Day, one of the holidays we actually observe at work. She gets her day off every year without having to use a personal day or vacation. It’s a great holiday for a birthday because it’s not a major holiday; so unlike when your birthday falls on Valentines or Christmas, you don’t get gypped on presents. You get all of the perks and none of the downsides.
Kelsey and Radhika
I love hanging out with these two millennials. They make me feel not quite as old as I am. Although, they’re constantly giggling about something and I don’t quite understand it.
Me and the birthday girl.
Radhika, Ching, Kelsey, and Rahima
I don’t usually drink with coworkers but we were celebrating Kelsey’s birthday. I wasn’t going to be the lone party pooper.
They have this really yummy shark drink.
I have no idea where the mustaches came from.
Rahima and Me
We had our team building event in Kansas City on Veterans Day so I didn’t get to go home during the week. I pretty much just stayed up there (Lawrence on Monday and Tuesday night; and then Kansas City on Wednesday night) until Thursday. I had thought about going home on Tuesday and then driving back up for the team building activity on Wednesday but that was going to be way too much driving back and forth and didn’t make any sense. Plus, it’s not like Brian had Veterans Day off. He would be at work anyway so it wasn’t like I was going to see him. That made the decision wait until Thursday to come home much easier. And, I had the opportunity to hang out with these fine people and celebrate with Kelsey which wouldn’t have been possible had I gone home on Tuesday. It worked out great.
I had the opportunity to stay at the Eldridge in Lawrence a couple of weeks ago when I had to work in Topeka. I wouldn’t have stayed there were it not for everyone else staying there. I figured I should stay where everyone else is staying and take advantage of the opportunity to bond with my project teammates.
I was initially just going to stay in Wichita and call in to the meetings but our Project Manager convinced me that I needed to be onsite with the PwC Functional Lead Rahima (my counterpart) so that we could use the time in between meetings to prepare for the Enterprise Design (future state) workshops. I’m glad I decided to travel to Topeka that week, despite Wednesday being a holiday, because the time I was able to spend with Rahima proved truly valuable. We worked long hours but also had a great time since we all stayed in Lawrence.
I had a cute little room at the Eldridge with a great view of Mass Street. Here’s a picture of the separate sitting area that you walk into upon entering the room.
My room was small but comfortable. The room was just wide enough for the bed but I didn’t really spend much time there. Most of my time was spent at work.
This is the view from my hotel window. I didn’t really get to see it until Wednesday when I was off work because the entire time I was there I left well before the sun was up and didn’t get back to the hotel until late into the evening.
The hotel’s location is fantastic. There are lots of great restaurants and bars just right outside the door. The only thing I didn’t like about my room is that the ceiling fan wobbled and clicked and kept me up all night. Of course, it didn’t help that Joey, the PwC Project Manager, told me about the ghost in room 506. Incidentally, the PwC Project Director Pete actually got that room. He said he didn’t hear any funny noises and had no problems sleeping. I, on the other hand, because I’m highly susceptible to all forms of suggestion, dreamt that I had a ghost in my room and stayed up all night.
Anyway, I really like Lawrence and the Eldridge is a great hotel. I may have to go back and bring Brian. Perhaps on Valentines Day. It’ll be a lot like the time we stayed at the Oread over Valentines. It’s been a while since we’ve spent the weekend in Lawrence. It should be a lot of fun.
We first discovered Riverside Cafe seven years ago and then had completely forgotten about it since Wichita has had a slew of breakfast type restaurants open. We rediscovered it recently when we were looking for somewhere close to work to eat breakfast on the weekends that Brian and I were working on packing up and moving my office.
Riverside Cafe, amazingly enough, always seems to be really busy despite the plethora of breakfast options available in town. That was the case the two Saturdays that we went and were told that wasn’t even their busiest. If you go on a Saturday morning, the trick is to get there early – say around nine or even earlier. We got there about ten o’clock one day and there was already a long wait. We ended up sitting at the bar because we were in a hurry and we were very hungry. It wasn’t too bad. The place does get really packed as the morning wears on so be prepared to wait if you’re not an early riser.
One of the things I like most is a nice, warm cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream. Riverside Cafe makes a delicious one. I like their whipped cream also. It tastes homemade rather than out of a can.
Another thing that’s cool about Riverside Cafe is it’s very homey. They don’t have fancy mugs or anything. They just have random mugs that have been collected over the years. It’s really a lot like having breakfast at home, except the food is better and you’re around a bunch of strangers.
Here are some photos of Brian drinking his coffee. See what I mean about the mugs? They are totally random.
Here’s a picture of what I always get.
Here are pictures of what Brian always gets.
I really like Riverside Cafe. I’ve been to lots of different diners and breakfast joints and I really like the feel of this one. It makes me feel really relaxed.
We always end up at the Good Egg, which is Brian’s favorite breakfast place. The good is great but the place is little too yuppy for me. Brian is a bit of a snob so it’s right up his alley; whereas my style is more relaxed and down to earth. I enjoy fancy food every now and then but, when it comes to breakfast, I prefer it to be pretty basic. It doesn’t even have to look pretty because it will be in my belly in a matter of seconds.
We used to live by the Good Egg so it made sense for us frequent the restaurant. Now that we’re in a different part of town, it’s going to be a drive either way. The closest non-chain breakfast joint is Livingston’s Diner, which is another one of my favorites. I really like eating there as well. I just prefer the more relaxed atmosphere where I don’t think people will judge me for having gone straight from the gym or bed. LOL.
The last time we were at Riverside Cafe, we ran into local restaurateur Melad Stephan. He owns several restaurants and his own breakfast joint downtown. Either he lives around the corner and it was easier to get to or the food is good. I have no idea where he lives so I’m going with the latter.
They’ve since expanded so there are three locations now, including one in Derby. I’ve only ever eaten at the one on 13th Street so I can’t speak for the other locations. I really like the original one on 13th Street. If you’ve never been to Riverside Cafe, it’s worth checking out. Let me know how you like it in the comments.
I had to move my office a couple of weeks ago.
Here are just a few of the gems we found while boxing up my belongings.
I had old certificates, memos, and training manuals.
I had information from old rate cases.
And old annual reports…
I even had one of Brian’s old books from T-Mobile. I think I used it as a resource for when I was gathering information to start Quality Assurance in the CRC following our re-org.
I fully intended to get rid of the thesaurus but Brian convinced me to keep it.
We actually had a funny conversation about this.
ME: I need to get rid of this.
BRIAN: You’ll never know when you’ll need a thesaurus.
ME: Why? I use the thesaurus on Word; and everything is online.
BRIAN: It will look good on your desk and make you look smart.
ME: I think it makes you look “un-smart” because you actually have to look words up.
“Un-smart” isn’t even a word, which only goes to prove Brian’s point that I should keep my thesaurus. So, yes. The thesaurus made it to the new office. It’s out of sight in one of the upper cabinets, though.
Besides helping me decide what to discard and what to keep, Brian also cleaned my glass walls for me. He is the best hubby ever.
Anyway, I don’t have any more pictures of the new office for you guys because there’s heavy construction going on right now on that side of the building. Check back in a few weeks and I should have everything put up and organized.
Brian and I had a blast hanging out with coworkers and friends at the ninth annual Brew Ha-Ha event at Flint Hills National a couple of weeks ago. There were a couple of extra tickets because Lacie didn’t end up going so Darcy’s whole team got to go this year.
Here’s a photo of Brian with Darcy’s team member Josh and his partner Alicia.
Here’s the menu along with the list of beer and wine pairings.
Brian and I paid extra to get the commemorative wine snob tumblers. I’ll have to remember to bring a purse next year because toting around our beer mugs and wine tumblers was a bit tricky.
This was everyone’s favorite food item.
Our obligatory party bus selfie.
There was a car accident at the Flint Hills National entrance so we got stuck on the bus while the driver had to figure out another way back to the lodges. Thankfully, there was plenty of beer on the bus so, while we were missing out on food and the rest of the party, we didn’t get to miss out on beer drinking. Brian and Derek both showed off their pole-dancing skills. I didn’t get a photo of Derek, though. I only have this one of Brian.
Here’s a picture of the great-looking CRC group.
Brian and I left earlier than usual this year. I didn’t bring a jacket and it was a little chilly outside. We normally stay all the way to the end to claim our silent auction winnings but I got outbid on several things and assumed I didn’t win anything. However, I actually did win something.
I got a call from Shelly while I was in Topeka this week. I took a vacation day today to take care of errands so I stopped by the Big Brothers Big Sisters office this morning to pay for and claim my silent auction basket.
Among my silent auction goodies is $70 to Pinot’s Palette so there’s painting event in my future. Anyone else want to go?
Here are some pictures from our most recent dinner at Sabor.
Thanks to all of our goofy friends who joined us for dinner.
We are so busy that we rarely ever get to see these guys anymore.
Here are some pictures of delicious food.
Afterwards some of us walked over to Oeno for some Latin dancing.
Some of us even went all out and donned masquerade masks.
And, I got to break in my Sneaky Cards game by using a couple of cards including the “selfie with a stranger” card. See below. I have no idea who this man is but he was super nice and gracious about doing the selfie. However, I think he and his female dinner companion found me a bit odd.
Here’s to another fun-filled and memorable year!
Hyatt Place Topeka has quickly turned into my home away from home. Been staying here for days at a time as I work on my new project assignment. It’s not the greatest hotel in terms of how comfortable the bed is and how clean the rooms are but the staff members are friendly and they’re starting to get to know me. I think that counts for a lot. Unless the place is absolutely gross like that time that Carmen and I got stranded in Atlanta and had to stay at that terrible hotel, I think I’m pretty tolerant of minor misgivings.
Anyway, the Hyatt Place does some pretty cool stuff. For instance, they had a staff pumpkin carving/decorating contest over Halloween. The staff members got really creative. Here are some photos of their unique designs.
I actually voted for the towering cupcake pumpkin one.
There were actually two winners. The witch and the cupcake tied for first place. What do you guys think? Which one is your favorite?
I found a great place to eat while I’m in Topeka, Juli’s Coffee & Bistro. It’s just across from our Topeka office on 8th Street. I eat there almost everyday, whenever there’s enough time to grab lunch.
It’s got unique decor and really cool ambiance.
Even their salt and pepper shakers are cute. There are different ones at each table.
And, they serve breakfast and lunch.
Here are some pictures of food from Juli’s.
I would have more pictures of food except most of the time I’m grabbing my food to go and eating while I work. As you can see from my parking voucher below, ten-hour days are not unusual. I think we’ve had a couple of thirteen-hour days already so ten hours is about average.
I’m still straddling my regular job and my role in the CIS project right now so I’m kind of doing my old work while I’m working on the project. Fridays are pretty much dedicated to getting caught up on what’s happening with the Customer Relations Center, and training my coworkers and team members who have been gracious enough to take care of some of my duties while I work on the CIS project. I’m finally at a point where my major responsibilities are covered so I can start focusing most of my attention on the project.
I’ve been spending most of the week (Monday through Thursday) in our Topeka office. While I’m starting to get used to driving from Wichita to Topeka, I’m not really fond of driving so I’m glad I found a place within walking distance of the office that serves great food. I highly recommend Juli’s if you’re ever in downtown Topeka.