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Archive for "Hobbies"

I Don’t Know Why I Do This To Myself

Posted on July 7, 2018 by under Dreams, Hobbies.    

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A few months ago I signed up for a couple of 5Ks on whim. I don’t know why. I’m not a runner. I mean, I dream of someday being someone who enjoys running but I truly and honestly suck at it. I don’t have the attention span, nor do I have the determination to run for longer than a couple of minutes.

I had a 10K running app on my phone that I was doing for a while last year but then I just kind of fell off and haven’t gotten back on it. I was doing pretty well too but, since I haven’t been doing it, I have to work back up to where I was. With running, it seems like I’m constantly starting over.

Anyway, I joke that I have no idea why I signed up for these 5Ks. I actually signed up for the KMUW one because I love NPR and KMUW is my favorite radio station (and Brian’s too). We both listen to the station all the time. It’s about the only station we listen to on FM radio these days.

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Here’s a picture of my finisher medal. I was so slow that, even though the race started at eight o’clock in the morning, I was actually concerned that I might not make my 10:30 AM Zumba class. I felt so bad for Brian who had to wait for me at the end. He had to wait for almost an hour. Yikes!

Oh, it didn’t help that I started having knee issues leading up to this event. Although, I think it was my body’s way of revolting for my stupid decisions like signing up for 5Ks even though I’m not a runner.

The KMUW run was on May 19. The same day as Logan’s graduation party. That was kind of a hectic day. We got up early and were downtown by seven-ish for the race then I had to teach my Zumba class then Logan’s graduation party then we were back downtown again for Zumba in the Square.

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It was the first one of 2018 and it was a great turn out. I didn’t end up leading any songs at the event because we knew we would be coming from Logan’s graduation party and we weren’t sure what time we would be able to get away.

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Fast forward to the Diva Dask 5K, which my friend Sarah posted about shortly after I’d signed up for the KMUW. It’s a fun run that benefits Girls On the Run. Since I easily get talked into things, I signed up for that one as well. Never mind that I haven’t been running at all and I suck at it. I’m such a joiner!

I could blame peer pressure but it wasn’t even that. I’m just an easy target.

I knew some people at the KMUW race but I was pretty much doing it alone. Diva Dash was the first race that I’d ever done with a group of people. I didn’t get our official group shirt. I should have so I can remember this day forever. I hate running but Diva Dash was actually a lot of fun.

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I did only a smidge better than the KMUW 5K so I was still super slow. But I didn’t die and I had a blast hanging out with my Zumba besties. Incidentally, we called our team “Zumba Divas” — super fitting, right?

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This is embarrassing but I’m posting it anyway just so you get the idea of how badly I suck at running. I would say I’m as slow as molasses but I think I’m probably even slower. LOL. But, hey, it was for a good cause and it was fun.

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Brynden got third place in her age group without even trying. Maybe she tried but she made it look so easy. Her mom Laurie did really awesome also. She got sixth in her age group, which is my same age group. She was one of the fastest and I was one of the slowest. Ugh. Thinking about it makes me sad so we’re moving on.

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Here’s a group photo of us with some princesses.

The craziest part about the races is that, besides not being a runner and completely sucking at running, I had so many excuses not to sign up. When I signed up for both of these events, the summer schedule hadn’t started so I completely forgot about my Aqua Zumba class. It wouldn’t have been a problem if I could run faster but there was no way I could complete the run and make it to Andover YMCA to teach my 8:45 AM class. Thankfully, my friend Eleanor was available to sub.

After the fact, I joked that I should have found a sub for the running and just stuck to teaching my class after I realized I had a schedule conflict because I’m actually better at Zumba. LOL. Speaking of, this is one of my life’s biggest mysteries. I don’t understand how I can do Zumba for hours on end and be unfazed and I cannot stomach two minutes of running.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I’ve cured myself of my running delusion for the time being. There should be no 5Ks or any type of running events in my future for a good long while. If I get any crazy ideas, I hope someone smacks me and talks sense into me so I don’t get myself in the same situation again.

I had fun and I didn’t die so I guess there’s that. GNG.

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Discovered Salsa Lessons in KC

Posted on May 19, 2018 by under Hobbies, Things to Do.    

One of my coworkers in Kansas City took me to a dance studio in Shawnee, Kansas last month for salsa lessons. We had been working together sometime before I realized that she loved salsa dancing as much as I do. We’d been talking about going salsa dancing for some time but never could work it into our busy work schedules. There’s not really anywhere to go salsa dancing during the week except for lessons. She told me about Viva Social Dance Studio where she used to attend salsa lessons regularly. They have an hour of social dancing immediately after the salsa lesson. I guess that’s the best we could do during the week.

The salsa lessons are on Wednesdays. We finally found a week that we could go so we put it in the calendar and I brought my special dancing shoes. My shoes are nothing compared to her shoes, though.

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Here’s a picture of Denise’s fancy dance shoes. I found out that night just how “into” salsa dancing she is. Denise is semi-pro!

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This next picture is kind of dark but it shows pretty much the whole studio. It’s not very big but they manage to hold five classes in it simultaneously during the hour. Each group has an assigned instructor. They pretty much just loop the music and we follow the instructor for our group. I followed Denise to the intermediate group. Since I know some basic salsa and teach Zumba classes, I was able to keep up pretty well. I guess this shouldn’t have been a surprise but I didn’t know what to expect.

At the end of the lesson there’s a showcase. Each group demonstrates the moves and combinations they learned that night to the other groups. It’s really pretty cool. I really like how they set up the classes.

Here’s a short video clip that Denise captured of me during the social dance at the end. My dance partner is one of the guys who took the lesson with us and we were practicing some of the moves we just learned.

I really enjoyed the salsa lesson that night. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to share the experience with Brian some time.

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

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My News Radio Addiction

Posted on January 14, 2017 by under 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.

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Painting Night at Pinot’s Palette

Posted on June 6, 2016 by 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.

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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.

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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.

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Jarrica and her friend Sarah joined us. They’re a couple of Pinot’s Palette regulars.

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Obligatory awkward selfie. 😉

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I love how they write your name on your designated spot.

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Me and Jarrica and Sarah…

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Much better selfie…

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Here’s a photo of our awesome instructor.

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Here’s what we started with…

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These are the paint colors we got to play with.

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Jarrica watching the master at work. Brian was fixing my shadows.

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Here’s what we had about an hour in.

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Proof that I painted my own work of art.

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My finished piece…

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Brian’s finished piece…

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Sarah’s and Jarrica’s… they’re pros so they weren’t afraid to deviate from the model.

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All four of us with our respective works.

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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.

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Hideki was there in a fancy suit.

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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.

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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.

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Warren 21 – It’s About Time

Posted on May 21, 2016 by 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.

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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.

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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.

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