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Archive for "Travel"

Dinner at the Desert Ridge Yard House

Posted on February 26, 2021 by under Food and Drink, Travel.    

Here are some pictures from our dinner on Thursday night at Yard House.

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I usually prefer to eat local when I’m out of town so I stay away from chains but Karen had never been to a Yard House before, I knew they had an extensive menu that would not disappoint, and the restaurant was literally just a mile away from our hotel (about 3 minutes by car or 15 minutes on foot). The crazy thing about dinner that night is the whole Uber situation in Phoenix. Because of the pandemic, a bunch of Uber drivers quit because they weren’t making any money (because everyone was staying home and people weren’t traveling) so there’s a shortage of cars available. Anyway, it took us almost 45 minutes to get from our hotel to the restaurant because, after waiting 20 minutes, our first driver canceled our trip and so we got another driver who we also had to wait a long time for. We seriously could have walked to the restaurant in less time. However, Karen was nursing her heel and, after playing singles all afternoon, I really didn’t feel like walking anywhere so we were stuck waiting on the Uber I ordered. I didn’t have to order the Uber back because Matt had his Uber drop Karen and I off at our hotel on his way home.

The whole Uber situation in Phoenix is horrendous. On our last day, I saw on Facebook that Melissa McCurley gave her Uber to Simone Jardim because Simone had the same situation with her Uber driver canceling the trip and waiting on another Uber would have made her late for her flight. Thankfully, Melissa’s Uber was already there and I think she had more flexibility so she gave up her car to Simone. Both of these experiences (our dinner one and Simone’s trip to the airport) made me grateful that I had prearranged a car service with Execucar. Granted it cost over $200 just for two rides — from the airport to the hotel and then from the hotel back — but the guarantee of having a car available at the scheduled time (our ride to the airport was actually early) is totally worth it.

Anyway, more about the trip on my next post. Until then, GNG.

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Singles Tournament Results

Posted on February 26, 2021 by under Hobbies, Travel.    

Singles

We had a pretty small field for 3.0 singles, as you can see from the above bracket. Since there were so few of us (4 players in 35+ and 2 players in 19+) they decided to combine both of our divisions. As it turns out, the older women actually prevailed. Gold (Jimena) and silver (me) went to women over 40 years old. I thought Christina (she took bronze) was actually under 35 so I assumed everyone would get a medal because there were only six of us total. But since Christina was part of the 35+ group, one of the ladies didn’t medal. However, both of the 19+ girls got medals — yes, even the one who had to withdraw.

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Here’s a pic of me and my new friend Jimena from Gilbert, AZ. We both play with Electrum Pro paddles. I thought that was neat.

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Here’s our podium pic:
– Jimena got gold.
– I got silver.
– Christina got bronze.

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I was super nerdy and brought my Wichita flag to the podium with me.

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Even though they combined our divisions, they awarded medals for both age groups. They basically just gave you a medal based on your performance so my new friend Marla also received a gold medal.

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I think the best part of playing singles was having my Wichita pickleball friends there to cheer for me. At one point, Patrick Smith even came over. It made me feel super nervous but also special — because how many people can say they have Pat in their corner? Although, he just poked fun at us for our five-minute long timeouts. Without a ref there to enforce the 60-second limit, we weren’t really timing ourselves so we were basically having a good ol’ time during timeouts chatting about random things like what we’re having for dinner that night, plans for the evening, and what we’re wearing tomorrow. There was some talk of pickleball strategy but not much. LOL.

Speaking of refs, I did get my first experience with reffed matches when I got to the medal round. I learned that refs don’t watch the lines for you. You’re responsible for calling those yourself. If they see it, they’ll chime in but it’s not their responsibility. Mainly the ref is responsible for calling the score, making sure that you’re serving from the correct spot, and they watch for foot faults.

In the bronze match against Christina, I hit an overhead winner and had to steady myself to make sure I didn’t fall in the kitchen (I didn’t) but ref Andy was ready to pounce and call a foot fault. He had this look of “I’m going to get you!” on his face. We had a good laugh about it.

The ref for the gold match Diahann was super animated. She would call the score like it was baseball. Here’s a video of that match. This is the match where I learned the refs really don’t help you on the line calls. They’re not really watching for this and so you’re pretty much on your own. With me not being confrontational, I didn’t fight for some bad calls that I really should have and missed some opportunities (because every single point matters, specially in singles). Oh, well. It was a learning moment for me. At least I’ll know how to handle these things for the next tournament. And, I’m happy with my silver medal.

More from the PPA tournament next time. Until then, GNG.

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Breakfast at Mimi’s Cafe

Posted on February 25, 2021 by under Food and Drink, Travel.    

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I didn’t have to play until 3 PM on Thursday so Karen and I decided to have a nice leisurely breakfast that morning. We took an Uber to a quaint cafe in the Desert Ridge shopping area called Mimi’s Cafe. It was really only a 15 minute walk but neither of us wanted to walk to be honest. LOL.

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The place is super cute. And, at 8 AM, we were the first customers there. They used to open at 6:30 AM before the COVID pandemic but they reduced their hours and still haven’t changed it back.

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I’ve never been to France but I think they were going for the French cafe feel based on the interior decor.

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I had the option of a side of toast, muffin, or croissant with my breakfast and, after our server Jessie told us that they bake their own muffins fresh daily, I had to get a muffin. This was probably the most delicious chocolate chip muffin I’ve ever had. It was so fresh that steam came out when I cut into it.

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This was a good-sized muffin too — plenty for both me and Karen to enjoy. Here’s a pic of it with Karen in the background for perspective.

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Here are some pics of Karen’s delicious French toast. The first one wasn’t done all the way so they had to remake it and bring her out another. It came out perfectly gooey the second time around.

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I got to try a couple of bites and it was amazing. I will definitely go back and get this next time. I think Karen was happy with her meal. 😉

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Here’s a picture of my meaty omelet.

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Our server overheard us raving about the delicious muffins and wanting to bring them back to Wichita that he gave us four muffins to go – for free!

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We gave one box to Lauren for her and Lea, and then we kept the other box. It came in handy over the weekend as we enjoyed them courtside while watching the pro matches. The Arizona sun heated them up perfectly and they were as amazing as they were had we eaten them fresh out of the oven.

The resort gave us a 50% OFF coupon code to use by the end of the year. I’m seriously contemplating going back with Brian. Until next time. GNG.

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Traveling to Arizona

Posted on February 24, 2021 by under Food and Drink, Hobbies, Travel.    

Last week I traveled to Arizona for my first out of town pickleball tournament. It was one of the big ones too — the first Pro Pickleball Association (PPA) tournament of the year — with over 1200 registered players. It was a bit stressful trying to get out of Wichita with so many flight cancellations due to the winter storms. My 7 AM flight on Wednesday actually got canceled but luckily Brian was able to rebook me on an noon flight. The only downside is, instead of arriving in Arizona around noon, I wouldn’t arrive until 6 PM but I was grateful to be able to get there at all.

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Obligatory airport pic. (Photo credit: Brian)

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This is what Wichita looked like when I left.

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Massive construction at the Denver airport.

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Quickie airport lunch — hotdog and fries.

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The first order of business upon my arrival at the resort — dinner and drinks at Roy’s. The drinks were delicious and pretty but expensive.

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Karen was completely hooked on these lobster potstickers.

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I got us some calamari to share.

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My katsu chicken dinner.

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Special bread pudding dessert.

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Chocolate souffle.

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Lauren Stratman joined us for that first dinner.

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We had a nice time visiting over delicious food. I was so grateful I made it to the resort without any issues. I heard about the problems everyone was having with their car rentals and Ubers and I’m glad that Brian and I prearranged a car service pickup for me. Anyway, more about the trip next time. GNG.

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Downtown Eureka Springs

Posted on July 4, 2020 by under Travel.    

While we were in Eureka Springs a couple of weeks ago, Brian and I decided to ride the trolley and check out the downtown area.

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Here are some pictures that we took that day.

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Face coverings are the new norm these days.

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We did take a few mask-less photos too.

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Here’s a panoramic photo of downtown.

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Brian found a fun store that he liked.

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We also found some “shit” at Silly Chile.

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Here’s a couple of pictures of Brian.

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It was fun exploring downtown. We did miss out on Local Flavor, a highly recommended downtown restaurant, because they closed that weekend because of some health issues. We still had a great time overall, though.

That’s all for now. Until next time. GNG.

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