Fun Saturday Afternoon with Nickira

Fun pictures from a fun Saturday afternoon with my little sister Nickira… Incidentally, these were taken a couple of weeks ago. The blog is a few weeks behind and I’m just now getting around to catching you guys up.

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First stop, the ICT Pop-Up Urban Park for some ping pong.

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And then we were off to Botanica.

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I love the colorful shadows that this archway casts.

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It was a beautiful day and we got some great photos.

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Last stop, Churn & Burn.

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I have a sinking feeling that I’m going to regret introducing Nickira to my all-time favorite ice cream joint. She’s probably going to want to go there all the time now. Wait, that can’t be bad because then I’ll have a reason to go all the time now too!

Help Me Support Big Brothers Big Sisters

It’s that time of year again when I’m obnoxiously raising money for Big Brothers Big Sisters. There’s not many fundraising events that I aggressively seek out donations for… This happens to be one.

I’ve been “bowling for kids” on and off for almost 15 years. I’ve been a team captain a few times, team member a few times, and donor/supporter every time. I’m involved in the event for a couple of reasons: a) I enjoy bowling; and b) I believe in this program.

Even before I became a Big Sister myself, I was already an avid supporter of this program because I believe the children are our future… Teach them well and let them lead the way… Give them a sense of pride to make it easier… Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be… Everybody’s searching for a hero… People need someone to look up to…

LOL. I can’t keep going with a straight face. See what I did there? I just Whitney-rolled you. If you’re not familiar with the song, watch this video:

Alright, back to seriousness. I really and truly believe in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and the power of having positive mentors and role models in your life. I know I would not be the person I am today if there had not been caring adults in my life. I’m sure you can remember a teacher, coach, or other important adult that made time for you. You remember that in between the cooking lessons or fishing trips, that person helped you find your way.

Today (just like last year and the years before that and probably every year after until I die), I’m asking you to support me and Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Bowl for Kids’ Sake. Your gift will help match another child with a mentor that will help him or her find the confidence he/she needs to overcome problems and make good choices. Click on one of the many links that I’ve spattered all over this blog post to make a donation and start a child on the path to success in school and in life.

Just do it. It’ll make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I promise. And, if you don’t, at least you got a tax write-off out of it. Thanks in advance for supporting a program that is close to my heart. You are wonderful and generous and I appreciate you.

Citizen Police Academy Graduation Day

It’s the end of another journey.

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I was in Topeka for Citizen Police Academy graduation night but they were nice enough to make a certificate of completion for me and gave it to Brian.

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Everyone also got a copy of our class photo which, incidentally, I’m not in either because I was, again, in Topeka that week. I promise I really did participate in the class. If it weren’t for work commitments, I wouldn’t have missed any of the sessions at all.

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I am so grateful for all the things we learned and experienced in Citizen Police Academy. I will take the knowledge with me for years to come. The time I spent with Sgt. Hein, Sgt. Kimble, and all the other law enforcement officers who volunteered their time to teach our class has given me an even greater appreciation for law enforcement.

I’m not sure what it’s like in other areas of the nation/world but our law enforcement officers in Wichita and Sedgwick County are amazing. They are the some of the best people you will ever meet.

Moving My Office

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I had to move my office a couple of weeks ago.

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Here are just a few of the gems we found while boxing up my belongings.

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I had old certificates, memos, and training manuals.

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I had information from old rate cases.

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Old surveys…

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And old annual reports…

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I even had one of Brian’s old books from T-Mobile. I think I used it as a resource for when I was gathering information to start Quality Assurance in the CRC following our re-org.

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I fully intended to get rid of the thesaurus but Brian convinced me to keep it.

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We actually had a funny conversation about this.

ME: I need to get rid of this.
BRIAN: You’ll never know when you’ll need a thesaurus.
ME: Why? I use the thesaurus on Word; and everything is online.
BRIAN: It will look good on your desk and make you look smart.
ME: I think it makes you look “un-smart” because you actually have to look words up.

“Un-smart” isn’t even a word, which only goes to prove Brian’s point that I should keep my thesaurus. So, yes. The thesaurus made it to the new office. It’s out of sight in one of the upper cabinets, though.

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Besides helping me decide what to discard and what to keep, Brian also cleaned my glass walls for me. He is the best hubby ever.

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Anyway, I don’t have any more pictures of the new office for you guys because there’s heavy construction going on right now on that side of the building. Check back in a few weeks and I should have everything put up and organized.

WPD Crime Lab

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Brian and I got to spend time at the WPD Crime Lab a couple of weeks ago. It was one of the coolest sessions of Citizen Police Academy, second only to the time we spent at the Wichita Sedgwick County Join Training Facility at Lake Afton.

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We got to see the various ways that they can capture finger prints.

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Did you know that they can even finger print the inside of duct tape?

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We also got to see various gory crime scene photos that night, which Brian got to see more of the following week when they talked about homicides. I missed that session because I was in Topeka for work.

CPA is really cool. I look forward to joining the alumni association if they let me graduate. So far I’ve only missed one session. We are not allowed to miss more than two. Our next session involves canines. Looking forward to meeting some highly trained dogs. I’m glad I will be in town for it.

Anyway, I highly recommend CPA. I hope you guys consider signing up for it.

Ride Along with Sedgwick County Sheriff

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A few weeks ago, Brian and I had our ride alongs with Wichita Police Department – Patrol North. Recently we had our ride alongs with the Sedgwick County Sheriff. I really enjoy ride alongs because you learn so much, especially what not to do. LOL.

Brian and I both asked for 5 beat but I guess only one of us could do it. Brian ended up being assigned to the ride along on that beat. I ended up assigned to 609, which actually turned out better because we were assigned to the jail and could go anywhere we wanted to go.

One of the surprises of the night was finding out that the shift sergeant went to high school with Brian. They were actually in ROTC together. The way the sergeant told me about how he recognized Brian’s name and asked if Brian went to Derby High made me think that they actually liked each other back then and weren’t sworn enemies. That was cool.

Dinner was another surprise. I didn’t expect that we’d be able to have dinner together, let alone eat at all. The deputies on the South side apparently try to meet up for dinner when they can so Brian and I ended up having a nice dinner with five of the Sedgwick County Sheriff deputies: the deputies that he and I rode with, met up with three other deputies one of whom also had a rider. There were eight of us altogether at dinner. Though we had to eat pretty fast, none of the deputies had to be called away so we were all able to enjoy a nice dinner together with great conversation. And, I was glad that I got to spend time with Brian last night without having to run into him at a crime scene.

Ride alongs are always educational. Here are just some of the gems I filed away in my brain from last night’s adventures.

• Sheriff deputies see everything. Even things we don’t even notice.
• They can quickly change direction by making some crazy u-turns of the “don’t try this at home” variety. It doesn’t matter if it’s a main road with a good amount of traffic. Before you even realize what’s happening, you’re going in the opposite direction. We did this a few times. It was wild. Brian said that during one of the times his deputy did it, he actually had to brace himself against the dash because it was so swift.
• If you have any warrants and somehow end up driving in front of a Sedgwick County Sheriff squad car, you’re hosed. They run almost every license plate they come across. Yes, they do this while they’re driving down the road.
• Do not drive slowly in the fast lane. As annoying it is when this happens to me, it’s a hundred times more annoying when you’re a law enforcement office who’s trying to get somewhere quickly. If the deputy is in a hurry to get somewhere, you won’t get a ticket; however, if they’re just riding around, you will get a ticket because this really pisses them off. Be smart and move to the middle or right lane because the deputies like to drive fast and you’re not going to be able to pace them. Trust me.
• They’re not allowed to pass on the right, which is why the slow drivers in the fast lane are even more frustrating.
• Some deputies are really funny. Brian and I were lucky enough to ride along with a couple of really cool ones. The deputy I rode with had an awesome personality and we got along great.

I’ve done three ride alongs now — WPD Patrol South last year, WPD Patrol North a couple of weeks ago, and Sedgwick County Sheriff last night. I have to say, the one last night was the most memorable and most fun one I’ve had.

It’s not very often that you get to ride in a car that’s going 100+ miles per hour.

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Guess Whose Birthday is Just Around the Corner

In other news, mom got us new bedding as my early birthday present.

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Molly likes it.

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For Boss’s Day last week my team got me a deliciously beautiful fruit bouquet. Brian doesn’t really eat fruit so I just shared it with everyone at work. The chocolate covered strawberries were my favorite.

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Brian and I went to the opera for that evening.

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He’d never been to the opera and neither have I so it was a first that we got to experience together. We saw The Grand Duchess , which is a great introduction to opera because it’s light hearted and comedic rather than tragic.

Kaitlyn Costello was marvelous in the lead role. None of the other actors were even close to the level of performance that she gave. They do such a good job with makeup and costumes that I didn’t realize she played Anita in West Side Story last year, which was my absolute favorite show last year.

Speaking of music theater, while we really enjoyed the opera, Brian and I decided that we prefer music theater because then we don’t need subtitles. LOL. Jokes aside, Music Theatre Wichita does a phenomenal job of bringing the best productions to town.

Speaking of performances, I really wanted to see Norah Jones on Thursday but we were not lucky enough to get tickets. They sold out within a couple of hours. Instead I got some tickets to Light in the Piazza, which is another opera incidentally.

I’m hoping that Nickira will want to go to it. We’ve seen a couple of Music Theatre Wichita performances together (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Big Fish) but this will be our first opera if she agrees to go. I hope she does.

Lots of things going on this coming weekend, as is typical these days in Wichita. However, the event I’m looking forward to most is my vacation day off work on Friday!

I don’t usually take my birthday off but it happened to fall on a Friday this year so it’s the perfect opportunity for a three-day weekend. Brian and I were initially going to go to New York until we realized it’s the weekend of the great New York City marathon, which explains why we couldn’t find a decent hotel for less than $600 a night in the entire city. Even though our travel plans got nixed, I decided to keep my vacation day because I really need a break from work. The long days have finally caught up to me.

I still won’t get to sleep in because, in true Ching fashion, the day is already jam-packed. Meeting at the YMCA at 8 AM, massage at Sveta’s at 10 AM, taking Brian to District Taqueria for lunch, quality time in the afternoon, dinner at Sabor, then dancing at Oeno. Don’t even let me get started on Saturday and Sunday activities.

I may need to have a makeup vacation day after this vacation day. LOL. Until next time. Have a fantastic week, everyone!

My Office Makeover

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Brian and Molly worked hard at converting the office from a two-person office (though it had been looking more like a junk trap of late) into a single-person office. He wanted me to have a nice office to work out of when I’m at home.

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He did a great job. It actually looks way neater than my desk at work.

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He snapped this pic of me when he came home on Thursday. He found me slaving away in the office. I don’t mind. It’s such a nice space. I feel like working all the time now – after work and on my days off.

Speaking of offices, I was told I may have to move offices at work so I can be closer to the project work area. While I don’t really mind leaving my fabulous view of the brick wall of AT&T, I am dreading having to move. I’ve accumulated a bunch of stuff over the years. I guess I better start downsizing. Time to “Konmari” my office at work.

My New Favorite Lunch Spot

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Since it opened a couple of weeks ago, the ICT Pop-Up Urban Park has quickly become my favorite lunch spot. I ate there four times last week! On one occasion I even made a new friend (Jimmy Vo, Kan-Grow Hydro Farm, pictured right).

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Naturally, I had to share the park with Brian (because I share everything with him). We grabbed Thai House food one night and decided to eat dinner there. It was too chilly, though. We caved and brought our takeout home instead.

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Determined to share the magic of the Pop-Up Urban Park with Brian, I dragged him out there again before our Citizen Police Academy session at the Sedgwick County Detention Facility. This time the weather was better. We got to play some ping-pong.

I’ve been to busy this week to walk over there during lunch. I’m hoping that I’ll have some time next week. I’d really like to enjoy the park a bit more before the weather starts getting colder.

If you haven’t been to the park yet, I highly recommend it. If you go, holler at me so we can meet up (if I’m free). I may even play a game of ping pong with you.

Fun Times at the Alley

Brian and I had a crazy idea to complete September reward cards in one visit to the Alley. We had to complete two hours of bowling, two hours of billiards, and eight go kart rides. Though the task seemed daunting, given that we only had a couple of hours to spare, we were up for the challenge. It didn’t cost us a dime and we got free soda to boot!

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First up was bowling. So, we kind of cheated a little bit. Rather than spend two hours bowling, we decided to take one lane each for an hour. We asked for adjacent lanes so that we could cross-bowl (league style) which is what we prefer anyway. We completed four games and still had plenty of time to complete all of the other items on the list before closing time. It was brilliant.

For our go kart rides, the attendant allowed us to take the remaining rides in the form of coupons so we didn’t have to actually complete all eight rides. Brian and I raced one time. Since it was a slow night and, it was just the two of us, the attendant cranked the go karts up to the top speed. Not being much of a daredevil, one race was enough for me. Each race lasts four minutes so it would have taken a bit longer to complete four races, and we still had to play some billiards. Neither of us really wanted to be there all night so we cheated at the go karts part as well.

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We didn’t even last an hour when we played billiards. We played a couple of games and we were done. Brian lost both games but he didn’t care because he bowled a 252 that night and he was still euphoric from that. Anyway, they signed our cards anyway so we could turn it in at the front desk for the raffle. We didn’t quite finish the task but at least we gave it our best effort. And, we had a blast!

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As for the remaining go kart tickets, we ended up using them with my little sister Nickira on Thursday night. Nickira said she wanted to eat somewhere she’d never been before so we took her to Cheddar’s right by the Alley.

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After dinner we raced go karts a couple of times. It was perfect because we had exactly six rides left so the three of us got to race twice. The best part was that we were the only three people there so we had run of the track.

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Brian and I had to take turns taking pictures. The first time we went in the following order: Nickira, me, then Brian. Brian was able to pass me but he couldn’t pass Nickira.

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The second time it was Nickira, then Brian, then me. I was able to pass Brian but, again, I couldn’t pass Nickira. Who knew that my little sister was such an expert go kart driver? She knew exactly what to do to keep us from passing her.

Anyway, I can’t believe that school is several weeks in and Nickira still doesn’t have any homework. I’m beginning to wonder about her teacher. LOL. Kidding aside, I’m glad we got to do something fun last week because I have a YMCA dinner this week and won’t be able to get Kira this Thursday. We’ll just have to make up for it next week. I’m hoping that we will have some homework to do by then!

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