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New Year’s Eve at the Huntees

Posted on January 14, 2021 by under Events, Games, Life.    

Since large gatherings are kind of frowned upon right now, Brian and I didn’t really have any New Year’s Eve plans. We were prepared to spend the evening at home in our pajamas but got invited to join the Dills and the Huntees which, me being the social animal that I am, I gladly invited on our behalf.

Their son Cody and his wife Molly were there too. Mama Dill and Gronk joined the fun as well. Below is a picture of group playing Pick Your Poison, which is a cross between Cards Against Humanity and Would You Rather?

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The game was a bit more complex than Cards Against Humanity and you had to keep score using pen and paper because it wasn’t just one point per round. You could score a different number of points based on certain scenarios and each person would get their own score. Anyway, there are nuances of the game that can be a bit much specially after you’ve had a few drinks.

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Speaking of drinks, I decided to get the December Shaker and Spoon box (Rums of Origin 3) for our friends this year so I brought my drink kit to the Huntees that night and we made some more drinks.

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This is a picture of the Abukado Colada drink, which would have turned out much better had we read the instructions on how to properly use the can of coconut milk that was provided. It still tasted fine to me but everyone else was weird about it.

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Each Shaker and Spoon box comes with recipe cards like this one. We should have read the one for Abukado Colada thoroughly before making it. LOL. Kiss of the Oceans is the other drink that we made that night. When you follow the directions and measurements, it doesn’t make very much. That’s probably a good thing because it’s quite strong. Of the three recipes they sent, this one was the strongest.

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We didn’t stay at the Huntees very late. After a couple of drinks and a round of Pick Your Poison, we pretty much had to go — because, you know, we have that thing that we do at midnight on NYE every year.

Thank you so much to the Dills and Huntees for including us in their NYE festivities, and to the Huntees for being such wonderful hosts. I really enjoyed hanging out (which I’ve really missed doing since this pandemic started). It was tons better than just sitting at home and staring at Brian. LOL.

Until next time. GNG.

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Changes at Home

Posted on January 8, 2021 by under Home Ownership, Life.    

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We rearranged some furniture over Christmas break. Brian has been trying to talk me into doing this forever but I’ve always refused because it leaves the rest of our main floor living room quite barren. We used to have just the one chair here with the ottoman. We always either fight over who gets to sit in the chair (it’s a coveted spot in the winter because it’s right in front of the fireplace and literally the warmest spot in our entire house) or both uncomfortably squeeze in it.

I’d thought about buying a chair and a half specifically for this spot so we wouldn’t have to use our loveseat but our furniture is so old that they don’t make it anymore. And, I didn’t want to buy something that didn’t match because we all know how that goes — you end up replacing everything to match that one thing that you just got and it ends up costing you a fortune.

Brian and I are getting too fat to squeeze in the chair together so I finally caved and agreed to relocate the loveseat to the hearth and the chair to the living room. That’s all we swapped. We did have to reorient the furniture, though. Instead of placing the loveseat at an angle like the chair was before, we placed it parallel to the fireplace. We’ve spent so much time in this part of the house since we rearranged and it’s been so much nice that we both wondered why we waited so long to do this.

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Brian, the girls, and I are totally loving it. I think we will keep the house this way until the day we move, remodel, or replace all of our furniture — whichever comes first. Until next time. GNG.

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Christmas Break

Posted on January 6, 2021 by under Hobbies, Things to Do.    

I took time off work after Christmas and didn’t resume working again until the Monday after New Year’s Day. I was still checking emails and working on stuff, of course, but at least I wasn’t tethered to my desk like on a normal workday. Christmas break was a nice respite from my normal routine and I took advantage of the time off to play daytime pickleball, a luxury I don’t usually have.

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The day after Christmas, I played mixed doubles with Steve Vetter, Jon Maugans and Karen Fox. I had originally asked Tom Pham and Jimmy Cho but Tom was quarantining due to being exposed to COVID and Jimmy didn’t want to accept my invitation because he was holding out for the guys’ normal Saturday morning play at Chicken N Pickle. I should have told him not to get his hopes up because the girls couldn’t get courts and that’s actually why I arranged for a mixed game. That, and I prefer to play mixed anyway, so no having any courts available at CNP actually worked in my favor.

Jimmy eventually found out there was no King of Courts that weekend and I got a text from him late on Christmas Day asking if I’d found players. Shortly after he declined my original invite, I started working on locking in Steve and Jon and so at that point we already had our group set. I’m glad Steve and Jon were available to play that day. They are so fun and I had a great time.

Karen, Brian and I had lunch at Carrabba’s after and while at lunch I had the foresight to check Playtime Scheduler. I actually got in to the Brunch & Bingo open play at Chicken N Pickle for once. All the spots usually fill up less than five minutes after the play time is posted. It is very hard to get in because you have to time it just right. I think I experienced a Christmas miracle.

After open play on Sunday morning, a bunch of us hung around for Brunch & Bingo. I never really win but it’s a fun way to pass the time.

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The week following Christmas, I had the opportunity to play pickleball with lots of people. Karen set up several play times for us to practice women’s doubles. On Monday we played with Chandi Bongers and Lori Belew. On Thursday, we played with Chandi and Kristen Conrad. On Friday, we played with Brooke Ayala and Krista Crawford. We were trying to set up games with Chandi and Kristen because they were originally going to play in our division in the Arizona tournament in February. However, now that the tournament has been extended, Chandi is playing with Krista in the 50+ division instead.

We also had some mixed games. On Tuesday, I arranged for us to play with Tony Swantek and Logan Schrag. That was another Christmas miracle. I’d only ever played four games in total with Tony – ever. I fully expected him say no and I was ready to on move down the list but he accepted. Getting two hours of play with Tony was definitely one of the highlights of the week. On Wednesday, Karen set up a game for her friend Lucas who was in town from Utah. I’m never one to turn down games so, even though I was already playing later that day with Debbie and Dave Fanning and Tom, I couldn’t decline. So on Wednesday, I played with Karen, Lucas and Andy Bloyer from about 11 in the morning to shortly after 1 in the afternoon, and then with Deb, Dave, and Tom from 2-4 pm. And then since our court was still open Tom talked me into a partial game of full court singles. And, despite my feet killing me from playing all day, I couldn’t say no.

Besides the games that Karen set up, I also had other games set up. On Tuesday evening, I played with Janelle Lindeman’s group. And on Thursday morning (New Year’s Eve), I played with Brooke and Monty Ayala and Kim Knotts first thing in the morning before my play time with Karen, Chandi, and Kristen.

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Coincidentally, we all had our Chicken N Pickle skyline shirts that day. Naturally, we had to get a group pic.

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Here’s our group pic from New Year’s Day. (From left: Karen, Krista, Ching and Brooke.) I couldn’t believe how many people were CNP that morning despite the weather. The roads were so bad that I was amazed I made it to CNP without getting stuck. When I arrived, I expected the four of us to be the only ones there but no – all the courts were actually full.

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After pickleball, Brooke, Karen and I stayed for the special New Year’s Day bingo event. Brooke and Karen both won stuff but I did not, which is probably how this entire year is going to go. I went home briefly after bingo and then came back to CNP again later that afternoon for my 5-7 pm game with Debbie’s group. We relocated our normal Friday night mixed to CNP because Nahola was closed for the holiday, and in doing so we also moved the time up a couple of hours.

No pickleball for me on Saturday morning because I committed to helping with the VASA group exercise sampler event at the Harry location. Did that, and then went to lunch and run errands with Brian and completely forgot about the Saturday afternoon play with Janelle’s group that I had agreed to over holiday break. Had she not texted me, I would have missed it altogether.

On Sunday, I started my Aqua Zumba class at VASA (Harry), played pickleball at the open play at Nahola, and had a pickleball lesson with Chris Heck. In the evening, I attended the pickleball farewell party for Jimmy at CNP (more on this later). And then it was back to work on Monday.

I got to do lots of pickleball and also some Zumba (my normal classes and the New Year event – more on this later too) during my time off work. It was wonderful! The only thing that would have made it even better is if I didn’t have to work at all.

I guess that’s all for now. Until next time. GNG.

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Christmas Day 2020

Posted on December 30, 2020 by under Family.    

We had a really simple Christmas again this year, much like last year. Except, unlike last year when we didn’t even pull out our Christmas decorations, we actually decorated this year. And, David and Donna came up from Oklahoma and spent a couple of days with us. It was a simple, quiet, relaxing Christmas.

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Here are some of my favorite photos from Christmas day.

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Grandma loves her chocolates and her cookies.

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This is by far my favorite picture of Brian because he never smiles in photos and I caught him in such a genuine moment of joy in this pic.

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Our basement is always too cold so we got David and Donna each their own Comfys. Brian and I got these for each other last year and thought mom and dad might like them too. Specially for cold winter nights or even that time they were without power for two weeks.

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We also got Donna a baby Yoda (really “the Child” but everyone else calls it baby Yoda) throw because she is obsessed with it.

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Grandma always asks for a jumbo print calendar on her Christmas list so it’s always our job to get her one each year.

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In keeping with the cold wintry theme, we also go Donna some comfy, knit slipper socks.

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At 98 years old, grandma still has a great sense of humor.

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She also loves her Christmas day mimosas.

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Grandma also always asks for popcorn. David and Donna got them for her this year.

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We got David mostly gun stuff because that’s what he’s into.

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Part of the fun of Christmas day is trying on your presents. Here he is trying on his new cardigan from Donna.

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I’m so glad that Brian and I recovered in time. I’m not sure what Christmas would have been like if we were still sick with COVID. It was a really nice, leisurely day with family. I hope everyone had a wonderful, relaxing Christmas day!

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COVID Ruins Everything

Posted on December 24, 2020 by under Hobbies.    

This last league session was the most challenging ever. My normal mixed league partner Tom decided to take a break and so I talked my friend Steve into playing with me. I so wanted to play in league with Steve that I even agreed to his demands – no matching outfits and only one league picture posted on social media.

Besides having a new mixed league partner, I also had a new women’s league partner. Having new partners is nothing new for me because I switch partners all the time. But this is the first league session ever that I actually missed league nights, which really tore me apart because I do not ever like missing pickleball if I can help it. The worst part is this was a short league session (only five weeks instead of seven) so I really only got play half of the league.

My mixed league was on Sunday nights so I couldn’t play on December 6 because my COVID symptoms started on Thursday, December 3, and, not only was I feeling very sick that weekend but we were also waiting for our COVID test results so we had to be in quarantine. Luckily, my friend Kim (Knotts) was available to take my place and it was a good league night because she and Steve won both matches that night. Since the two of them played really well together, we planned to have Kim play in my place again the following weekend for our league tournament. Michael approved it and everything. December 13 would have been the 10 day since my symptoms started and, while I technically would have been free to be out of quarantine, I didn’t think I would feel up to playing in a pickleball tournament (even if it is just a silly league one).

Anyway, fast forward to the following weekend and then Steve now has some COVID symptoms and is waiting on test results so he has to isolate. So then if neither of us can play our mixed team has to forfeit. I hated the idea of forfeiting. I actually thought about playing long and hard. I even asked my friend Chris (Wilson) to play with me but he couldn’t because it was on a Sunday evening. It’s a good thing he couldn’t play because I really shouldn’t have been playing anyway. Even though it was day ten and my quarantine was technically over I was not in any shape to play. When the doctor told us we would be free from COVID jail in ten days, I really hoped with all of my heart that all of my symptoms would be gone by day ten because what would be the point of being free if you’re not well enough to be upright? On Sunday I still had some body aches so, even though I told myself that our team would forfeit “over my dead body,” we really had to forfeit because if I insisted on playing it would have been literally over my dead body.

I heard that we weren’t the only team to forfeit on league tournament night. Only five out of the nine teams actually played on tournament night so three other teams besides us forfeited. So that’s pretty much how this last session of mixed ended.

The women’s doubles league was even worse. My partner and I only got to play together twice. And almost not even that. On the very first night of league, less than a couple of hours before our league match, my partner Anna texted me and told me that she tested positive for COVID. Thankfully, she was asymptomatic but she still had to quarantine. That meant she had to miss the first two Wednesdays. I managed to get great subs for those two weeks but I was so excited for this league session (as I am for every session, I suppose) that I even got special league uniforms for me and my partner which I couldn’t even wear for the first two weeks because she was sidelined. We finally got to play together on the third week of league, December 2, which is the day before my symptoms started.

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But, hey! At least we got to take these fun pics.

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Aren’t our uniforms cool? Even though we did only get to wear them twice.

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Dawn filled in for me the following week because I was sick with COVID. We planned to have a sub lined up for me the following week because we weren’t sure how I would feel but thankfully by Wednesday, December 16, I felt up to playing. It was the thirteenth day since the onset of my symptoms so I was officially done with my quarantine and, unlike on Sunday when I didn’t feel well enough, I was actually feeling pretty strong on Wednesday.

On Monday (day eleven) I was feeling pretty good but I knew not to get too excited because I felt pretty good the first Sunday after my symptoms began (on December 6) and then the symptoms were back with a vengeance the very next day. I pretty much rode this crazy roller coaster where I was sick, felt better, and then felt sick again over the course of two weeks. I was very cautious on Monday because I wasn’t sure if my body aches (which were the worst of my symptoms) would return. My friend Ramona subbed my Zumba class that night and then I also had Sydney sub my 5:30 AM class on Wednesday. On Tuesday, I woke up and still felt fine. I felt better than Monday and so I thought, hey, I can probably play in the tournament on Wednesday night and so I did.

Pickleball with Anna

We didn’t win but it was great be reunited with my partner and we took a few more fun pics. Anna even took one for the team and wore the matching shorts I got for us which she didn’t like because she said it made her feel like she had a wedgie. The shorts don’t feel like that to me but, after looking at this pic, it does kind of look like I have a wedgie. I must just be numb to it. LOL.

Pickleball with Anna

My favorite part of our league uniforms is that it has our names on the back.

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It was really fun playing with Anna. I wish we could have played together more than twice. Oh, well. That’s what happens when COVID ruins everything.

Pickleball with Anna

It was pretty much the same story on tournament night. Only seven out of the thirteen women’s doubles teams played. The rest of the teams had to forfeit for one reason or another. It was the same with the men’s doubles league too. It was so weird. Chicken N Pickle is usually abuzz with all of the pickleball players milling about and that night it was almost like tomb. There was hardly anyone there.

I promised Brian I wouldn’t overdo it but with hardly anyone there I actually got to play a little bit extra. Anna and I even played singles against each other while we were waiting for our first match. That was my first day back to playing pickleball and, with the exception of Monday when I taught my Zumba class, I’ve played everyday since.

On Thursday, Michael Harris put together a mixed group and we played for three hours. On Friday, I had a pickleball lesson with Chis (Heck) and then played in the 5:00 PM open play at Nahola before my 7:00 PM mixed play group.

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On Saturday, my friend Chris (Wilson) and I played in the ugly sweater pickleball tournament at Chicken N Pickle. There were only five teams in the competitive pool (compared to twelve in the social pool later that day) and we only came in third but I had a lot of fun playing. Anyway, the top two teams were men’s doubles teams so I didn’t feel too bad. Chris actually got COVID right before I did and the day he returned to our Friday night play group was my first night off. We decided to call our team for the Saturday tournament COVID Survivors. LOL.

I finally managed to get into the much coveted Chicken N Pickle brunch and bingo open play so I played from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM on Sunday, followed by a few rounds of bingo, and then I hightailed it to Nahola for the 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM open play. I didn’t plan to play bingo and was just going to grab a quick bite before going to Nahola but Michael and Jeff talked me into it.

I figured instead of eating elsewhere I could just eat at Chicken N Pickle over bingo. I told Michael I would stay for one game. Michael walks by four rounds later and goes, “So much for only staying for one game. You might as well stay for blackout so you can win that Electrum Pro paddle.”

Part of the reason I stayed so long is I got to hang out with these two kool kats — Bill Schantz and Lonnie Lollar.

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I stayed way longer than I should have and was actually 15 minutes late for the Nahola Open play but I’m so glad I went because we had exactly eight players and, not only that, this past Sunday was the very last open play at Nahola. They canceled open play indefinitely because of the rise in COVID cases.

I took a break from pickleball on Monday but I did resume teaching my Monday night Zumba class. On Tuesday, I signed up for “newbie night” which turned into the most awesome open play ever. They extended the “newbie night” deal to everyone so for $5 we got to play pickleball and have a free appetizer.

Yesterday Janelle invited me to play with her and Mel and Melissa at Nahola — except I misread my text message and went to Chicken N Pickle instead. I have never gotten from CNP to Nahola so fast!

And that brings us to today, Christmas Eve. I’m pretty much back to normal. Just in time for Christmas! And, while COVID ruined several plans this month (our poker tournament and my friend Lauren’s visit for starters), I’m really glad that we’ve gotten it out of the way and have immunity for at least 90 days.

Until next time. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

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