Archive for "Hobbies"
About three months ago I decided that I needed a change to my morning routine. I didn’t have the time to look at the news on Google like I used to and I remembered my wife telling me that our local station 89.1 KMUW was an NPR station. I had listened to NPR before but it had been a long time and I had forgotten what a pleasure it was to listen to their programs.
One morning I decided that I was tired of listening to the rants of the Todd and Tyler show on T95. This was just after the election of Donald Trump and they were both big Hillary Clinton supporters (even though they say they aren’t). Now, I’m not really a political person. I mean, I haven’t even voted and I’m in my 40s. But at the time, I thought it was the only station that had talk radio and no music and I wanted to listen to a station that I could just turn on and let be background noise. So, on this morning I was listening to them rant on and on about the election and how America was screwed but then in the same sentence say we needed to give him a chance. I was fed up with all the double talk and stuff so I changed the station. After years of listening to them, I was finally done. I turned the radio over to KMUW and started listening to them instead.
Since then my radio has not changed from that station. I find it very relaxing to listen to the news on my way into work and on my way home. I feel that their commentary is very neutral (although, I have noticed a few people will write stories with a slight lean towards the conservative side) and they do a good job of sticking to the facts. I like the fact that they keep the articles short. This way they optimize the amount of articles they can fit into the time they have. About a month ago, I found their app and down loaded it. Now I have the ability to finish my news anywhere by streaming it from my phone. If I had a job that I didn’t have to take or make phone calls, I would probably just have NPR running all the time. I can say this, I do turn off the radio when they start playing music or that kind of stuff because I just like the news. It keeps me informed.
Once, when I was in college, I was told by my English Professor that I’m “a wealth of useless knowledge.” At first, I was kind of offended. And I think he could tell. He quickly came back and explained, “That’s not a bad thing. The world needs people like you. So many of us try to focus on the useful knowledge and push the useless knowledge out of our minds but what is useless to some is useful to others. If we all pushed out the useless knowledge then it would simply be gone. Then, in the event that we actually needed it, it wouldn’t be there. But because of people like you, people who like the useless knowledge, we will always have it in the world, available whenever it presents itself to be useful again.”
For a while I didn’t really understand it. However, as got older, I realized that he was right. My focus has always been on the stuff that most people don’t want to think about. My NPR addiction has helped me to keep up with that useless knowledge. I like the news that they cover. It’s not always the mainstream media news. Sometimes it’s obscure news that rarely gets coverage. I like that news. I find it more interesting than the regular news that I can absorb just about anywhere.
I really hope that KMUW will continue to be an NPR station and I hope that NPR will continue to report the news as they do now. As long as they continue down the same path, I will always be a loyal listener.
Posted on June 6, 2016 by Ching under Hobbies, Things to Do.
We opted to stay put over Memorial weekend because I didn’t want to have to search for subs for my Saturday and Sunday Zumba classes. Plus, knowing that we were staying in town, I volunteered to teach a class on Memorial Day. Yes, this girl does not take any days off. Everyday that you’re alive is a day worth being productive.
Anyway, since we weren’t leaving town but wanted to do something fun, Brian and I decided to check out Pinot’s Palette. We’d done painting parties at Paint the Towne a few times before but we’d never been to Pinot’s Palette.
We started the evening by having dinner at Sabor, one of our favorite restaurants. We picked it for a couple of reasons: great food and proximity to Pinot’s Palette.
After our delicious dinner, we headed over to Beyond Napa (next to Pinot’s) to pick up a couple of bottles of wine to enjoy for the evening.
Jarrica and her friend Sarah joined us. They’re a couple of Pinot’s Palette regulars.
Obligatory awkward selfie. 😉
I love how they write your name on your designated spot.
Me and Jarrica and Sarah…
Much better selfie…
Here’s a photo of our awesome instructor.
Here’s what we started with…
These are the paint colors we got to play with.
Jarrica watching the master at work. Brian was fixing my shadows.
Here’s what we had about an hour in.
Proof that I painted my own work of art.
My finished piece…
Brian’s finished piece…
Sarah’s and Jarrica’s… they’re pros so they weren’t afraid to deviate from the model.
All four of us with our respective works.
Afterward, Brian and I dropped our paintings off in his car and walked over to Oeno where we met up with Jen and her husband Brian and several others.
Hideki was there in a fancy suit.
Missy, Paula, Andrea (Ketner), Holly, and Meader were there too. It was too dark and I don’t take very good photos. Anyway, Brian and I had to be up early the next day so we didn’t stay late. We only stayed long enough to dance a few songs.
Suavemente usually gets played a few times. We were there for the first round. It was hilarious! If you’ve ever seen the hilarious Suavemente video making the rounds on Facebook a few weeks ago, you’ll understand why this is so funny.
What a fun evening! You all should come join us next time.
Posted on May 21, 2016 by Ching under Confessions, Hobbies, Things to Do.
When Brian and I first started dating almost 20 years ago, we went to the movies a lot. Probably at least once a week. Sometimes even twice. This diminished over time partly because of the rising cost of going to the movies (after paying for the astronomically price movie tickets and buying concessions, you’re completely broke) but mostly because the experience of watching movies in the theater really wasn’t that great.
I mean, don’t get me wrong. There was a period of time between 2004 and 2007 when we didn’t go to the movies at all and it was strictly because of our finances. We were paying off debt (we kind of did the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace thing even without knowing about him or the concept) and going to the movies was one of the luxuries (among other things like monthly massages and dining out) that we decided we could live without on our journey to becoming completely debt free.
It’s amazing how much disposable income you really have when you’re not a slave to credit card bills and outrageous interest. I think one of the moments of clarity for me was when I looked at a statement and saw $600 in interest. You can buy a lot of stuff with that! And that was only one card! Granted, it was the one with the highest balance, but it should give you an idea of how much debt we had accumulated after a short amount of time. We were paying so much money in interest and not getting anything for it. We both realized that the amount we were paying in interest could pay for the things we wanted/needed outright instead of buying on credit.
Long story short, we paid off all of our credit cards by 2007 and decided to never again borrow money for stuff. We lived a pretty minimal lifestyle. If we couldn’t pay cash for it, we didn’t need it. By 2008 we didn’t have any car payments. And, after not having monthly debt payments, we used the extra money to pay off my student loans. We missed our goal of paying off my loans by 2012. I think it was January or February 2013 when were finally fully paid.
We don’t buy new cars because we don’t like the monthly payments so when I got a car a few years ago, we pretty much paid for it outright. We didn’t want to wipe out our savings account so we financed it for a year and then a year later, when we had saved up enough, we paid it in full. In the case of Brian’s car last year, we just saved and saved and saved until we had enough to buy him his car. That’s pretty much our MO these days to maintain our debt-free lifestyle, we just don’t incur any new debt.
The only thing we owe money on is our house which is the only monthly payment we make besides utility bills. Without two $400 a month car payments, $500 a month in student loan payments, and however much in credit card payments, we really can go to the movies as much as we want. The cost is no longer in the equation. Why then we’re we going more frequently, considering that it’s Brian’s favorite pastime?
One could argue that after a couple of years of forcing ourselves to not go to the movies, we’ve worked it out of our system and simply had no desire to go. If you look at our busy schedule, you could also argue that we’re just too busy to go the movies. Yes, we are super busy but we still found time to watch movies at home. We both really enjoy watching movies (Brian probably more so than me but, I’m not going to lie, I enjoy it too) and nothing is better than watching it on a giant movie screen.
The bottomline is that watching movies at home was a far better experience than watching them in the theater (giant screen and all). We don’t have a giant TV but it’s a decent size. It looked bigger in our old townhouse than it does in our basement. We could probably get a bigger TV but this one works so we don’t need one. The basement is really comfortable and we have the best seats in the house. Even the balcony experience at the Warren doesn’t compare.
Don’t even get me started about the regular theater. Crying kids, chatty teenagers, and (for the movies that we really want to see) you’d have to endure waiting in line or get there early for good seats (because everyone else wants to see them too). I have to be smack dab in the middle of the theater. I’d rather just watch the movie when it’s released on video than watch it in the theater with bad seats. It really doesn’t take long before movies are available on DVD any more these days.
When Warren 21 opened a few weeks ago, we didn’t clamor to it on opening day. I guess we were a bit skeptical. How much could it have improved the general movie watching experience? Honestly? We’d probably still prefer to watch movies at home, right?
Brian and I decided to test this theory last weekend. I owed him a reward for helping with the map painting project at Prairie Creek Elementary with Old Town Rotary. Brian’s favorite rewards are video game playing time and going to the movies. He’s easy that way. Plus, he’d been wanting to see Captain America: Civil War.
We were originally going to take Nickira to see the Jungle Book but she was in trouble for keeping her room clean. Her mom said she had to stay home and clean her room instead. Brian lucked out and got to pick the movie.
Warren 21 is like a theater within a theater. You still enter the theater through the main entry doors like you usually do but then, to get to your theater auditorium, you enter another set of doors. These doors remind me of the entrance to an exclusive, fancy nightly club only accessible to very special people. When the theater attendants simultaneously open both sides of the door in unison, you suddenly hear the sound of angels and it’s like the gates of movie watching heaven just opened.
They’ve really tried to elevate the entire experience (and succeeded). Concession is even upgraded. You can order things that aren’t available at the regular concession stand like real food and alcoholic beverages.
In the auditoriums you sit in recliner seats that are amazingly comfortable. It’s reserved seating so you never end up in a bad seat unless you intentionally choose it. Obviously, Brian and I picked seats in the middle because that’s how we roll. LOL.
There are no screaming kids or unruly teenagers. It doesn’t take long to figure out how to lay back in your motorized, fully-reclining, heated seat (though we didn’t need the heated part last weekend). The only thing left to do is kick off your shoes and enjoy the movie. Bill Warren is definitely on to something.
Yes, the tickets cost more: $12 matinee and $16 evening. After concessions, you’re going to spend upwards of $50. Going to the movies these days is definitely not cheap but, if you enjoy the experience, then it’s worth every penny.
After our Warren 21 trial run, Brian and I came to the same conclusion. We’re putting going to the movies back on the regular date night rotation.
Posted on March 10, 2015 by Ching under Hobbies, Projects, Things to Do.
I have the most awesome coworkers who have taught me a lot, including make up and crafts. Here are some pictures from our outing at Backstage Makeup Studio.
Besides learning about make up, I also learned to crochet. Thanks to Jodi and Krystee’s lunch time lesson a couple of weeks ago.
Crocheting is actually helping my bowling. I’ve bowled a 500 series twice since I learned how to crochet. I consider it cross-training.
Here’s a picture of my 200 game last Wednesday. I hope I can repeat it tomorrow. It’s the cleanest game I have bowled in a long time.
My newly acquired skill allowed me to create this beautiful scarf for grandma.
I foresee handcrafted Christmas presents for everyone this year!
I just ordered a new ball. I haven’t bought a bowling ball in 20 years. Things must be getting serious. The next thing you know I’ll be sporting a wrist brace and everything.
Speaking of, we debuted our new team uniforms at bowling on Sunday. You can’t see them very well in this photo but this is what the outfits look like.
Brian and I already had the sweatpants. We got them at the last Zumba Convention. Brian actually found the sweatpants when he was shopping at the store while I was in one of my training workshops. When I got back to the hotel room and saw them, I sent him back to the store to get me a pair also. They are so comfortable that we’ve been wearing them to bowling every Sunday. Rather than buying a whole new set of uniforms for everyone, I ended up just ordering the same sweatpants for mom and dad. So then I just had to buy us all some black shirts to wear with them. Voila! Bowling uniforms.
Mom and dad really love the new bowling outfits. I shouldn’t have been so surprised, though. How can you go wrong with comfy sweats? I joked today that if we start doing really well, I will spring for “real” bowling uniforms. Like legit bowling polos (complete with our embroidered team name and logo) and maybe khaki pants for the guys and khaki skirts for mom and me. But then, after getting used to wearing sweats to bowing it’s going to be hard to go back to wearing regular clothes. Our current bowling uniforms are super comfy.
Anyway, I saw some videos of the jet black Hammer Taboo bowling ball and it really made me want to buy one. However, dad said that drilling will run me around $60 and it might not even be the right ball for me. He suggested that I talk to someone from the local pro-shop about a suitable ball and if I buy the ball from them then the price of the ball usually includes the cost of drilling.
I still really like the jet black Taboo but after talking to both dad and Kevin Andes at Wichita Bowling Supply I realized that the Taboo may be too much ball for me. I ended up just ordering a Blur Pearl because it’s going to give me more predictable results and will suit my style of bowling better. I’m really optimistic that the new ball will improve my game. Anything is better than my ancient Columbia 300 Quantum, which is at least 20 years old. Surely.
Incidentally, the Blur Pearl is also manufactured by Columbia 300. And, this entire time I thought I was using a 12-pound ball but my current ball actually weighs 13 pounds. I wanted to go up to 13 pounds anyway so I get my wish. LOL. Eventually I’m thinking of going up another pound but it may be a couple of years before I’m ready to throw a 14-pound ball. I need to get stronger first.
Speaking of strong, I’m off to a great start this year. I bowled a 500-series last night. It felt great. I was the only one on our team who consistently bowled above my average every game. I earned my new bowling ball, I’d say!
When I bowl a 600-series I’m totally getting that jet black Taboo! I don’t care if it’s too much bowling ball for me. It will serve as a trophy to commemorate my achievement. LOL.