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Archive for "Events"

Pickleball Connection Anniversary

Posted on February 15, 2020 by under Community, Events, Hobbies.    

The Wichita Pickleball Connection Facebook group celebrated its first anniversary last month at the West YMCA, the place where the idea for creating a Facebook group was hatched. Our official one year anniversary was on January 19 but we celebrated a week later on the 26th with some cake and free pickleball for members and non-members. It was also a celebration of the new gym floor at the West Y.

The gym floor got damaged because of an issue with the swimming pool over Thanksgiving break. The gym was flooded and it took weeks for the floor to be repaired. West Y regulars were displaced and dispersed throughout the city looking for places to play. Everyone was so happy when the repairs were complete and they finally reopened the gym for pickleball. West Y is like the epicenter of YMCA pickleball because they have the most pickleball play times available of any of the Ys in our area. It’s so great to have it back!

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With the new floors came an expanded pickleball schedule. West YMCA now has pickleball every single day of the week. Isn’t that awesome?

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As the birthplace of the Wichita Pickleball Connection, West YMCA was the perfect location for our first anniversary celebration. However, we underestimated how many people would come to celebrate with us and, with only four courts, the waits were a little long that day. It’s a good problem to have though and, hopefully, we’ve successfully demonstrated the need for more pickleball courts and more play times throughout at YMCA branches the city.

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Ashley Sorensen at West Y was super nice and set up a birthday table for our cake. Brian was little bit confused at first and he didn’t think it was for us. He thought it was for a child’s birthday. LOL.

Anyway, besides the long line to play, the event turned out well overall. Lots of pickleball players came out to celebrate with us. Here are a few of my favorite pics from that day…

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Up close pic of the cake.

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Brian serving it up.

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Beth and Bruce.

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Being silly with Pam and Debbie.

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Aaron even stopped by bearing goodies from Chicken N Pickle.

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It was awesome to see the new floors put to good use. All four courts were going with several waiting to play.

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With Matt and Connie.

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With Debbie.

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Got some solo birthday/anniversary pics with the birthday balloon. Huge thanks to West YMCA and Ashley Sorensen for letting us have our party at the Y.

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Matt and Lucy Day at CNP

Posted on February 8, 2020 by under Events, Hobbies.    

I think I’m going to have to create a new pickleball category for the blog. I post about pickleball so much that I think it now needs its own category.

Anyway, Matt and Lucy day at Chicken N Pickle was seriously the best ever. These two are pickleball superstars. I can’t believe they live in Wichita. Even so, you don’t just run into them (unless you’re a Wichita Country Club member) so it’s quite special to be able to see them in the flesh. I’m so grateful for Missy covering my Aqua Zumba class that morning so that I could attend.

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The day started out with some open play and then Q&A with Matt and Lucy followed by an exhibition match. Matt and Lucy offered some great insights but my favorite part was hearing the story of how they got their pickleball start. In the beginning there was Matt Wright, Chris Heck, and Jack Oxler just messing around with an old tennis ball and then Lucy became their permanent fourth. I’m not going to tell the story because I’m afraid I will butcher it. It’s a neat story involving some amazing people who are now pickleball legends.

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Quite a few people showed up for the event despite the crummy weather.

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They held an exhibition match with Eric Rasmussen and Patrick Smith after the Q&A. I had heard these names before but I’d never seen or met them until that day. Patrick is probably one of the most handsome pickleball players I’d ever seen. The man is beautiful and so is his German accent.

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Here’s a short clip from the exhibition match. Patrick is playing with Lucy while Eric is playing with Matt.

The Q&A was great as were the exhibition matches but my most favorite part of that morning was the opportunity to play with the two superstars, Matt Wright and Lucy Kovalova. As soon as the exhibition was over, my friends Karen and Matt and I immediately nabbed Matt Wright for a game. I got to play on Matt Wright’s team and got to paddle-tap with him after a couple of good points, which made the fan-girl in me completely giddy. LOL.

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After that game ended, the three of us moved to Lucy’s court. This time Karen got to play with Lucy while my friend Matt and I played together. Lucy was super nice but it didn’t make me any less nervous playing against her. Anyway, it was so fun.

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So glad someone got a pic of us playing with Lucy!

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I totally fangirled it, and got a pic with Lucy. I’m so unabashedly dorky!!

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My friend Karen and I with Lucy.

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With Teri and Beth. We were the first ones to get there!

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The weather was actually not the best that day but I am so glad I went. It’s not everyday that you get to play rec ball with the pros. It was the best day ever!

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A Different Kind of NYE

Posted on February 8, 2020 by under Events, Hobbies.    

Last year we hosted a NYE party at our house. This year we decided to keep it pretty low key. We neither hosted nor accepted party invitations. Although, as the NYE drew closer, the prospect of sitting at home watching Brian play video games all night started to seem less and less appealing. Thankfully, I managed to finagle a last minute invite to Betty’s NYE pickleball party at the Andover Community Center.

Let’s see… Sit on the couch all night while Brian plays video games or go to Betty’s party at ACC and play some pickleball. It was a no-brainer.

Michael, Bill, and Karen all went and got to play some games together. I also made some new friends that night. Brian even came out after he finished his livestream. It was a blast! Pickleball parties are the best.

Here are some pics…

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Looking Back at Almost 2 Decades of This Blog

Posted on January 12, 2020 by under Blog, Events, Life.    

As you know, I write a blog post each year around this time reflecting on the things that happened the year before. The good, the bad, and the ugly… but mostly good because I have a real knack from blocking out all the bad stuff that happens.

Before we look at last year (the year 2019), let’s look at all the years that this blog has been in existence…

2002: Everyone knows I’ve been online since before blogging was actually a “thing” but it wasn’t until after Brian and I got married that this blog officially started. It was actually about two months after our wedding.

2003: The first year of marriage is what they often call the “honeymoon” phase. We were young and naive and so cute back then. We would have these movie nights where we would bring the feather bed to the family room and watch movies all night long. We bought a few worthless things this year (like the Bowflex) and I discovered online poker but the biggest thing that happened was me going back to school after having dropped out in 2000 after my four-year scholarship ended.

Ching at Fingers

2004: Lots of drama happened this year but, besides that, this was the year that I discovered bar poker (because I got bored with playing online and wanted to play with people in real life). We also played some racquetball and did some sword-fighting. We added a live-streaming webcam (actually two of them) to the site. Lastly, I officially became a naturalized US citizen.

Our Sugarglider, Ginger

2005: We had a menagerie back then and, at one point, had seven sugargliders. We started hosting some home games and became good friends with Jay and Becca. I think this was the year the Ponderosa Poker Party started.

poker buddies at IHOP

Invisible Poker Players

Can you tell who was sitting at which seat by their drink of choice? Maybe. But everyone’s tastes have changed since then. I can tell which one was my seat though.

Robin, Justin, Ching, Jen and Dawn

2006: I completed my Business degree at Wichita State. My major was Management Information Systems (MIS) and I minored in Management and Accounting. I was going for a Computer Science minor as well but just couldn’t quite get it done. We got a couple of new family members: Molly, our Yorkipoo, and Bebot, my Toyota Corolla which is the first and only brand new car I’ve ever bought.

Molly as a Puppy

2007: I didn’t really take a break after completing my undergrad so I went straight into grad school in fall 2006. This year was pretty crazy. Grad school was so much more challenging. We also had some fun. I got my first American passport and we went on our first all-inclusive resort vacation. And, we got to experience the whole au naturel thing. Oh, and we taught our nephew how to play poker.

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The photo below was taken at Couples Resort in Jamaica (now Couples Tower Isle). We celebrated our five year wedding anniversary a month early because I was in grad school.

Brian and Ching

2008: We had some big changes in 2008. Brian started working for Viega and I completed my MBA at Wichita State. But, perhaps the most memorable thing that happened that year was the Halloween poker cruise. We had the opportunity to deal cards on a cruise ship.

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2009: We had some firsts this year such as our first Zoobilee, Brian’s first trip to Germany, and our first and only trip to the Philippines together. We haven’t been back since. This is also the year we really got into racquetball and even introduced our friend Jay to the sport. On the work front, up until this year I’d been going to school full time, so this is the first year that I had time to participate in leadership/professional development opportunities at work. I took the opportunity to complete Leadership Westar and Diversity Champions.

Cable Car Group Photo

2010: We spent a lot of time with the Dills this year, starting with the first day of the year because we were with them in Kansas City for New Year’s Eve. Other trips this year include San Francisco and New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas where Brian got to meet my biological father for the first time. This is also the year we moved out of our house and into a townhouse at Quarters at Cambridge.

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2011: We started the year by getting stranded in Vegas (we were supposed to be back in Wichita on New Year’s Day) and did a lot of traveling the rest of the year. We traveled to the East Coast with the Dills, got to see the Orbases when we visited cousin Tracy in Texas, and I got to visit Nashville for the first time (on a work trip). We joined Genesis Health Clubs and got on a health and fitness kick. I was very much into Zumba and just working out in general. We pretty much lived at the gym. This was also the year that we spent our wedding anniversary at the ER.

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2012: We attended a few weddings, most notably cousin Tracy and Jeff’s destination wedding at Coral Cove in Jamaica. I completed my Zumba Basic 1 training and started teaching Zumba for the City of Wichita (Parks & Rec), took Brian to Nashville for his birthday, bought a house (we actually closed on our 10th wedding anniversary), and ended the year with a thyroidectomy.

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2013: I completed Leadership Elite at Wichita State, started teaching Zumba for YMCA, attended my first Zumba Instructor Convention (ZINCON for short), and made a few appearances on Splurge! magazine. In addition to traveling to Orlando for ZINCON, I also got to do some traveling for work (visited Minneapolis and Davenport). Besides all that, we also got each other his and hers handguns, and threw Brian’s parents a 40th wedding anniversary party.

2014: Brian bought his first tux this year. It was a big Zumba year for me. I attended both the Zumba Instructor Conference in LA and the Zumba Instructor Convention in Orlando. I started my short-lived Stella & Dot business. I joined the Adventurous Babes Society. We switched from Android to iPhone. Alex, my hard-top convertible, joined our family. But the biggest thing to happen this year is my completion of Leadership Wichita.

2015: Rex, Brian’s Lexus SUV, and Saki, our Shiba Inu that we won in the Heartspring live auction, both joined our family. Travels included trips to St. George (Utah), Washington DC, Charlotte (North Carolina) New Jersey, and New York. Brian and I both completed Citizen Police Academy.

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2016: Brian and I went on the first ever Zumba cruise where I met J. Perry (he sings many of my favorite Zumba songs) in person for the first time. I also got to meet Max Pizzolante at ZINCON. I got a tour of Zumba home office and finally made the Wichita Business Journal’s 40 Under 40.

2017: Brian and I kicked off the year with a Plank Challenge. I hosted a Zumbathon to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters. I committed part of my 401K to Wichita State through planned giving and we were inducted into the Society of 1895. We attended several amazing events. We visited Alaska and Great Exuma (Bahamas). And I became a Zumba Wear 3-Star Insider.

2018: We attended a ton of great parties like always. I started teaching Zumba at VASA Fitness. We went on another Zumba cruise and also went to ZINCON. We started “Coffee Chats” on FLIP + CHING. I discovered pickleball and we quit our bowling league (because pickleball was on the same night). I’ve since found other places to play but, at the time, it was my only option.

That pretty much catches us up. Next post will be all about the memorable things that happened in 2019. I didn’t really have great expectations for the past year but it turned out amazing. It’s been the best year we’ve lived yet. But I have a feeling 2020 is going to be pretty awesome too. Anyway, come back next time for the full 2019 recap. Until then, GNG.

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Final Employees’ Association Holiday Party

Posted on January 4, 2020 by under Events.    

It is the end of an era. As you know, with mergers come changes. One of these changes is to disband our decades old Employees’ Association (EA). Even though I can usually only make one EA event each year (the holiday party), it’s a fun group and I’ve enjoyed being part of it.

Here are some pictures for our final Employees’ Association holiday party last month at the Kansas Star Casino.

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With Suzanne…

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With Tony…

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With Leo and Tammie…

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Table selfie with (from left) Steve, April, Sue, and Tony…

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This time with Carly and her boyfriend…

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Another random selfie…

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With the Pointers and the Coins…

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With Bonnie’s daughter Maddy who is an event coordinator at the Kansas Star…

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Ladies’ ugly Christmas sweater contest…

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Men’s ugly Christmas sweater contest…

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It was Priscilla’s birthday that night and the band called her up on the stage to perform with them.

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It was a fun night overall. My favorite part of this holiday party is seeing people from all parts of the company, many of whom I used to work with years ago who have moved on to other roles in the organization. Retirees also join us sometimes. It’s nice to be able to get together, even if it’s just once a year.

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Brian and I didn’t stay too late (because we’re old and we don’t party hard anymore) but we did take a bunch of selfies.

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Every year the Kansas Star Casino has a Trees of Hope event where local nonprofits decorate Christmas trees for a chance to win $5,000 for their organization. Besides taking a few more selfies of the two of us, we took a few pictures of the amazing trees before we left.

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Wichita DAV #4

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Mulvane Public Library

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Mental Health Association

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Goodwill

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Legacy Community Foundation

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Tri-City Day School

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Exploration Place

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Sumner County CASA

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Alzheimer’s Association

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Passageways

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All of the nonprofits did an amazing job of decorating their trees so I’m not sure who won. But even if they didn’t win the prize money, they still got their name out there in front of thousands of casino-goers so hopefully it’s helping further their cause in some way (websites are linked above each tree photo).

Anyway, those are the highlights from this year’s holiday party. If you would like to see highlights from previous years, follow the links below:

  • 2016 was a trivia party at Joe’s in Old Town
  • 2013 was at Prairie Pines Christmas Tree Farm
  • 2011 was at Mosley Street Melodrama
  • 2010 was at Margarita’s Cantina
  • 2009 was at Grand Prairie Hotel & Convention Center in Hutch

There were a few years I missed, and other years I probably just didn’t post about. Sad to say goodbye to the Employees’ Association. The officers have done a great job over the years with the various events they host for members and non-members throughout the year. It’s been a good run. Until next time. GNG.

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