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Lunch with Tommy at Yokohama Ramen Izakaya

Posted on January 21, 2021 by under Food and Drink.    

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Stopped by Edgemoor Rec Center to give something to my friend Brooke a couple of weeks ago and ended up playing a couple of games before their time was up. After that, I had an hour to kill before the noon open play at Nahola so Tommy and I decided to have lunch at Yokohama Ramen Izakaya just down the street from the rec center. Here are some pics of our food…

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Tommy and I both had the ten-hour curry which was on special that day. It’s way different than any other curry I’ve ever had and also came with two pieces of deep-fried battered shrimp.

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Tommy also go the jalapeno popper starter. I didn’t have any of it because I don’t really like spicy things. It was served in a cute, square, wooden bowl on a rectangular platter with dipping sauce on the side.

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I also had a fruity milk tea, which was a bit expensive ($5) as non-alcoholic drinks go but worth every penny. I would go by there just for that drink. And, it was the perfect balance for the curry which, though it was too spicy, had really strong flavors. Now that I’m posting this, I kind of want to get that milk tea. Perhaps I can talk Brian into going back with me this weekend.

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Until next time. GNG.

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Niupipo Pickleball

Posted on January 18, 2021 by under Hobbies, Reviews.    

A few months ago the Niupipo people contacted me about posting a video review of their paddle on Instagram. I had never heard of this company before so I didn’t respond right away. In December, Frank Anthony Davis (FAD) announced his new partnership with the company so then I remembered that they had contacted me. I reached out to see if they still wanted me to post a video review. I think Brian has rubbed off on me in that I am always really careful when dealing with companies I’m not familiar with. It’s funny how an endorsement from a friend can make all the difference. Shortly after I sent them my home address, they sent me a pickleball set that included two pickleball paddles and four balls.

Here are some pictures of the pickleball set they sent me:

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The popularity of pickleball has exploded exponentially the last couple of years. It’s crazy how many new paddle companies are now out there and new ones continue to pop up. I remember when I was looking for a starter set a couple of years ago, there were only a handful of options on Amazon. I ended up buying an Amazing Aces pickleball set because it seemed like a good value and, honestly, there weren’t many options available. I really wish I had known about Niupipo at the time. Then again, they might not have been around yet.

Niupipo sent me their MX-19 set. I really wish that I would have seen this option back then because I might not have outgrown my paddle so soon. I got my Amazing Aces set for $70 and, for $10 less, I could have gotten this better set from Niupipo.

The set came with two high quality fiberglass and honeycomb paddles, four balls, and a carry case. The paddles felt lighter than my old Amazing Aces one and felt better in my hands overall. Though the grips felt too thick for me in both but the paddle grips are pretty standard and the issue of thickness can be easily remedied by removing the factory grip cover and replacing it with thinner grip tape.

Believe it or not, what I liked best about this set is that the two paddles came in different colors so it’s easier for me to tell which is Brian’s and which is mine. Our two Amazing Aces paddles were exactly identical. For someone who is just starting out with pickleball, who isn’t ready to invest in a $100-$200 paddle, this is a really great set to have. I highly recommend it.

These paddles would have been really great for me to have when I first started playing a couple of years ago. At this point, I’m really enjoying playing with my Electrum. After having played with a few different paddles (Selkirk S1C, Prokennex Pro Speed, and Encore Engage MX 6.0), I really like my Electrum Pro the best. However, I’m paying it forward and spreading the pickleball love by donating this paddle set to a lady who is helping some beginners at her church get into pickleball. Many beginners don’t have their own equipment so this will be a good set for them to have as loaners for those folks.

Until next time. GNG.

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Jimmy’s Umpteenth Going Away Party

Posted on January 16, 2021 by under Events.    

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We had a surprise going away pickleball party for Jimmy at Chicken N Pickle a couple of weeks ago. It was like his umpteenth one. Since he’d already had a few going away parties, I really think he was surprised by this one.

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I’m really going to miss this guy. I have learned so much from him and our 5 AM pickleball drills this past year. Jimmy always gave me good, constructive feedback along with encouraging words like, “You are most improved player and you have good hustle.” He calls me a hustler because I somehow manage to con better players into playing rec games with me. I’ll be like, “Hey, so and so played with us the other day.” And he’d reply, “You’re a hustler!” And start laughing. Jimmy opened my eyes to impregnable Wichita pickleball pyramid and I’ve been trying to make my way up ever since.

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I will really miss Jimmy —- his guidance and free pickleball drills (LOL), his laugh, his very distracting grunts and ninja moves on the pickleball court, and his totally random cookouts at Seneca Park (among other things). I wish him the best of luck in El Paso, Jimmy. Until we play again… I’m gonna keep on hustlin’.

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Lunch at Oak & Pie

Posted on January 15, 2021 by under Food and Drink.    

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Brian and I enjoyed a nice lunch at Oak & Pie after the group fitness event at VASA. The drink of the week was called “Adios 2020” and it was refreshingly delicious.

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The meatballs starter is our most favorite thing to get there. It doesn’t matter what we’re having. We always start with their meatballs.

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I was feeling adventurous that day so I talked Brian into getting the Cuban pie special on their feature board instead of the usual pizza that we get.

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Here’s what the pizza looks like. I thought it was good but I honestly like it better as a sandwich. LOL. I don’t think Brian cared for it but was a good sport.

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The “Adios 2020” was so yummy, I had another, which I probably shouldn’t have because it made me forget all my obligations for the day.

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I had totally forgotten that I agreed to play with Janelle and her group from 1:30 to 4:30 PM at Nahola that day. Brian and I were on our way to running some errands after lunch when I got a text from Janelle asking where I was. That was around 1:49 PM. I decided it would take way too much time to go home and grab my gear so I had Brian drop me off at Nahola with nothing but a $10 bill. I didn’t have my bag so no paddle, no water bottle, nothing. Thankfully, they let me borrow one of the demo paddles so I played with their Selkirk Epic that day.

I felt really bad because this is the second time I’ve done this to Janelle. The last time I went to Chicken N Pickle instead of Nahola because I didn’t read my text carefully so I ended up being fifteen minutes late. She must think I’m super flaky.

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Play that day was super fun, despite not having my own paddle. Janelle and I played against Bill and Lonnie and we won against them twice. Lonnie was so shocked! It was hilarious! I was laughing the entire time.

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I liked the “Adios 2020” drink so much that I talked Brian into going back to Oak & Pie again over the weekend. It wasn’t their featured drink any more but they were nice enough to make it for me.

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Here’s a couple of pictures of food from that visit.

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I didn’t get the featured drink that week which was called the “Electric Smurf” because I really wanted the other drink but I did get the recipe so I can at least try to make it at home (I haven’t yet).

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If you’ve never been to Oak & Pie, I highly recommend it. I’m thinking of going each week now just to see what drink they come up with next! Until then. GNG.

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Group Fitness Kickoff Event at VASA

Posted on January 15, 2021 by under Community, Events, Health, Zumba.    

I did very little Zumba last year because of the pandemic and other things. By the end of 2019, my addiction to pickleball had reached new heights and I decided that I need to cut back on my Zumba and Aqua Zumba classes to free up more time to play pickleball. I had already given up my Sunday morning Aqua Zumba class at South YMCA (Brynden took it over) and so I started 2020 with only seven classes. I wasn’t going to stop there, though. I had already plans to get rid of other classes, the first one being my Saturday morning Aqua Zumba at VASA Harry. Liz had actually hired someone to take it over for me starting in March.

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I started 2020 with seven classes but I was gradually and systematically getting rid of classes one at a time to make room for pickleball. And then COVID hit. All the gyms closed (along with other local businesses) at the start of the pandemic. So I went from teaching seven classes to none. I guess I didn’t need someone to take over that Aqua Zumba class in March after all because, when March rolled around, there were no classes happening at all. Anywhere.

When the gyms reopened, I brought back only one class — my Monday night Zumba class at VASA Harry. I wanted to be available for pickleball in the evenings and weekends, and play a lot of pickleball is exactly what I did. Over the summer, in addition to playing in the evenings, I was even playing at 5 AM on most weekdays. Pickleball completely ruled my life last year.

But then as fall approached and the sun began to rise later and later, I couldn’t play before work anymore. We were mostly playing at Seneca Park, and we couldn’t play without the sun because there are no lights there (except for the one security light, which isn’t really enough). That’s when I decided to look for other options — enter my Wednesday morning (5:30 AM) Zumba class at VASA Woodlawn. This actually gave me the idea to add more classes. If I know exactly what days of the week I’m devoting to pickleball then I can teach classes on the other days. Seven classes was clearly too much but I could add a few more classes and maintain a good balance. This leads us to where we are today.

Last year I turned down a lot of Zumba events because I fully committed myself to pickleball. I decided this year my time would be split between the two so when the VASA team decided to have a group fitness sampler extravaganza on the first Saturday of the year, January 2, I volunteered to help. I’m really glad I did because it reminded me of how much I enjoy these Zumbathon events.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from that day…

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We had 30-minute sampler sessions of STRONG and the other formats in the studio and held two hours of Zumba in the gym.

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I got to lead a few songs along with my fellow Zumba instructors.

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And I got to see Jessie (above) and Charis (below). I hadn’t seen them in forever.

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Here’s a group pic of some of our Zumba instructors at VASA. Of course, it’s hard to tell who is who because of the masks. Not ideal but necessary given the current situation with COVID. I really can’t get infected right now because I’m still within my 90 days of immunity (some say you could even been immune for up to eight months) but I still wear my mask any time I’m around a group of people mostly for everyone else’s benefit and comfort.

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We didn’t wear our masks while exercising just when we were standing around together. Masks or no masks, social distancing or not, it was a great time. It made me realize how much I love group exercise and participating in these events. I’m glad I decided to devote more time to teaching my group fitness classes in 2021.

Here’s current group fitness schedule:

VASA Harry
Monday – Zumba at 6:30 PM
Wednesday – Aqua Zumba at 6:30 PM
Sunday – Aqua Zumba at 9:00 AM

VASA Woodlawn
Wednesday – Zumba at 5:30 AM
Saturday – Aqua Zumba at 9:00 AM

Seven classes was clearly too many and one was not enough so we’ll see how this balance thing works out with five classes a week this year. Until next time. GNG.

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