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Archive for "Events"

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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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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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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Online Virtual Mixology with On the Rocks

Posted on December 7, 2020 by under Events.    

I got to participate in a super fun online virtual mixology team building experience last week. I honestly didn’t even know this was a “thing,” but apparently, because everyone is isolating and social distancing because of the pandemic, people are finding creative ways to connect and experience things and now this whole industry has exploded. Here are some pictures from our fun virtual event last week.

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This is Ariel Bruckner, Director of Beverage for On the Rocks. She led our cocktail seminar last week. She taught us how to make a couple of different cocktails using ingredients that they sent in a cocktail kit in advance of our event and then we all just provided our own spirits/liquor (unless we wanted non-alcoholic versions of the cocktails, which she showed us how to do as well).

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We’ve had a few Hump Day Happy Hour events since most of us went remote (started working from home full time) and this one was the most well-attended happy hour we’ve had to date.

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Everyone seemed to really enjoy learning how to make the cocktails.

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Here are some pictures that my coworkers posted in the meeting chat.

Kim Savage Setup

This is my boss Kim Savage’s fancy mixology setup. Some people have very nice bar equipment and mixology tools.

Tom Setup

Here is Tom Grace’s bar setup.

Jared Rudy Setup

This is Jared Rudy’s mixology setup.

Jennifer Perry

And here’s Jennifer Perry’s.

Josh Mai Tai

This is Josh Belisle’s fancy setup. You can really tell those who enjoy making fancy cocktails apart from everyone else.

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This is Alicia Grissom’s finished cocktail number one. Cheers!

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The first cocktail recipe Ariel showed us how to make was the “Champagne” Cocktail. Each kit came with everything you needed besides the alcohol (including detailed recipe cards) for two deliciously fun cocktails.

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This is Kim Johnson’s “Champagne” Cocktail.

Kim Johnson Champagne Cocktail

This is the same drink made by Jessica Fundis.

Jessica Champagne Cocktail

For our second drink, we made a Blood Orange Mai Tai.

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This is April Coultis’ mai tai.

April Mai Tai

I’m pretty sure Emily Marquart doctored her mai tai because it looks different and a lot more plentiful than everyone else’s.

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Jona Urquizo’s mai tai.

Jona Mai Tai

Kim Johnson’s mai tai.

Kim Johnson Mai Tai

Here’s Mariaha Sweany’s mai tai. I had the same problem when I made mine. It didn’t make very much either. I think I may not have shaken the mixture in my cocktail shaker vigorously or long enough. I have some other theories too.

Mariaha Mai Tai

Here are Melinda Ivey’s finished drinks and her cute cat.

Melinda Ivey Drinks

Here are some pictures of my mixology setup.

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I couldn’t make my drinks during the happy hour because Wednesday night is women’s competitive doubles league at Chicken N Pickle and we always play two matches. I had to wait until I came home from league to make and enjoy my drinks.

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So here’s my “Champagne” Cocktail. I think it didn’t fill up my flute for a couple of reasons. I used a spoon to juice my lemon because I didn’t have a juice press so I don’t think I got as much juice out of my lemon as everyone else. Also, I didn’t want my drink to be too strong so I shorted my whiskey by an ounce, which on a skinny champagne flute can make a big difference on how far up your drink goes in the glass. I should have compensated by adding more of the sparkling apple cider to make up for the difference. I didn’t think of it that night, though.

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These next two pics are of my finished mai tai. I had the same issue. I felt like it didn’t make as much. I think it was mainly because I didn’t get enough juice out of my lime because I did add the correct amounts of all the other ingredients. Also, I think that I didn’t shake my drink in the shaker long enough. And, Alicia said that I should have filled my glass with ice all the way to the brim.

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Both drinks were really yummy. I plan to make them both again because I have enough of everything besides the star anise and the cinnamon stick garnish and you can easily enjoy the drinks without these. Besides making the drinks prettier, the garnish makes the drinks more aromatic but they’re enjoyable just the same. I am going to wait to make these again when I’m better though, and can actually taste these amazing cocktails because I fell ill on Thursday and I have absolutely no taste or smell right now.. Otherwise, it will be a waste.

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As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I didn’t even know these virtual mixology events were a “thing.” It’s definitely a unique experience. I’ve been thinking about how to share the it with friends and family. Perhaps I could host my own personal event.

They say experiences make better presents than material things. We have several friends who enjoy drinking just as much as we do and I think this type of event or online experience would make great Christmas presents for them.

Until next time. GNG.

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Pickleball Clinic at Chicken N Pickle

Posted on November 27, 2020 by under Events, Hobbies.    

Brian attended his first pickleball clinic at Chicken N Pickle last week. The clinic was taught by the beautiful and talented Lauren Stratman who plays for Team Electrum with Patrick Smith and others.

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Since I am a huge fan, Brian took my dud Electrum paddle that I don’t play with and got it autographed. Now I really cannot play with it because I don’t want to mess up the signature.

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I would have attended the clinic myself but I had a meeting until 5:30 PM that night. I also committed to playing with Bruce at Rolling Hills Country Club and I’d been wanting to check out their new pickleball courts. The courts are beautiful but super hard to find. I actually got lost trying to get there. The courts are tucked behind an apartment complex and super hard to find if you’ve never been there and completely impossible to find at night. Thankfully, Bruce came out to the street to get me. Here are some pictures from that night.

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The weather was perfect and it was a beautiful night for playing.

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