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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.


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.

Picture 042

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.


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.


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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Nokia and Backorder Hell

Posted on April 17, 2009 by under Blog, Life, Reviews, Wishlist.    

If you have not been following my Tweets then let me fill you in.

On April 3rd I ordered a new phone through Nokia. I had some difficulties through their web site previously but through the assistance of the Nokia customer service center I was able to resolve the issue and get the phone ordered properly. However, Nokia failed to mention that I would be in backorder hell and would possibly never receive my phone. Below is a letter that I just send to there web site.

Let me start by saying that I have been a faithful user of Nokia for over 10 years. I have had just about every Nokia phone ever released. I know this probably does not amount to much since there are several people in this world that are just like me, but I thought I would say it anyway.

I recently attempted to purchase a Nokia E71. Due to some confusion on your web site my order was messed up and rejected. Despite this Nokia held almost $800 on my credit card for a week before releasing the held funds. The rep that I called (Rob) helped sort out the situation and assisted me in placing another order for the phone I wanted. He also offered me a free headset due to my phone being on back order (it was originally in stock when this whole mess started). Overall, I was pleased with the resolution and was advised that the phone would be in within 2 weeks and should ship shortly after that. This was the end of the good customer service. Things all down hill from here.

I had been following the web site waiting for the backorder flag to fall. Sure enough it fell off about 2 weeks later just as I was advised. However, I did not receive a shipping confirmation. In an attempt to find out why my phone did not ship I called customer service and spoke to another rep. This rep did not speak English very well and I had difficulty understanding everything that he was saying. I did not even get his name. I asked what was holding up my order and he advised that the phone was in but they could not ship my order because the headset was now on backorder. I was frustrated by this and asked what could be done. The only thing that he could do was apologize, nothing was offered to make amends for the error. Nothing was done to appease me for the inconvenience. Nothing was done at all. To make matters worse, the rep tried to tell me that I was offered a special deal by the previous rep. I had to immediately stop him and advise that the phone price is the same that is offered to every person that orders through the web site. I went on to advise that the headset offer was the one that is currently being promoted on the web site as well and that the free shipping is something that is offered through your company if you order anything over $200.00. I stated that nothing that I received was any more special and it was something that any other customer would have received if they had placed the same order. He then apologized, he did not say what for, I can only assume it was for trying to mislead me and getting caught.

I called again the following day and requested a supervisor. I received Jessica, a floor supervisor. I have worked in Call Centers before, I know that a floor supervisor is not a TRUE supervisor; their authority is limited (which I found throughout the conversation with her to be true). However, I gave her a chance. The only thing that she could offer was to remove the headset and then the phone would ship. I don’t see how this benefits me as a customer. I have to sacrifice something in order to get something. So now I am stuck in backorder hell. I am supposed to receive a phone with a headset but I cannot receive the phone because the headset is back ordered, then there is no guarantee that I will even receive the phone when the headset comes in because the phone may be on backorder again. The only option I seem to have is that I will have to sacrifice a portion of my order in order to get my phone, thus making my devise only partially useful in my opinion.

I have purchased many devices over the years from numerous companies and I have never had this much difficulty getting a device as I have through your company. I advised the supervisor that I would give it another week. I am sorry to say that if I do not see any progress from your company in this week I am going to cancel my order. I am also going to make sure that everyone that I speak to (Twitter, Facebook, blog, forums, text or e-mail including everyone I know in Wichita), is made aware of the trouble that I have had with your company and advise against ordering any Nokia products in the future. As it stands, my wife now refuses to purchase the 5800 Express. I had her convinced that this would be a viable replacement for her T-Mobile Wing and she was going to purchase it as soon as I had received my phone (she wanted to look at mine first before deciding) she now does not wish to purchase anything and suggested a week ago that I should cancel my order. I am trying to give your company the opportunity to correct its mistakes, but at the moment I do not see that you care to fix your error or even care about the customer at all. You seem to feel that a simple apology will suffice regardless of the situation or circumstances.

With the upcoming expiration of the contract between Apple and AT&T, the iPhone will soon be the most sought after phone on the market (more than it is currently) leaving companies like yours clamoring for business in the handset market. Exceptional Customer Service and customer loyalty are going to be the only things that will save a company in near future. At the moment my loyalty is fading by the day and if things do not improve I have no choice but to seek a new cell phone manufacturer.

I hope that this does not fall on deaf ears and I hope that someone takes and interest in the actions that took place.

After sending the letter I was shown the following message.

Your e-mail has been submitted. A Nokia Customer Care representative will respond promptly. Your questions and comments are important to us.

Since I am not satisfied with the service to begin with, I found it comical that the letter would go to the very people that I am complaining about. I guess my last little statement at the bottom is true after all. Some little CSR at Nokia will look at this and decide that its not a good thing for the rest of the CS group and can it. Which means I will most certainly cancel my order by Friday if nothing happens.

Lack of customer service and a decline in customer loyalty must be why Nokia’s earnings have declined by 90% in the last year according to Gizmodo. Looks like I will become one of the many iPhone Sheeple soon.

All hail the iPhone.


Y2K Remix

Posted on April 5, 2009 by under Blog, Family, Life, News.    

My dad sent me a link to Wikipedia about a new computer scare. No, its not the Conficker Virus. It’s the Y2K scare all over again. This time it’s Y2k38 and it effects more than just the PC world. According to the article in Wikipedia, The problem affects all software and systems that store system time as a signed 32-bit integer, and interpret this number as the number of seconds since 00:00:00 January 1, 1970.

What does this mean to us. Probably nothing, I have a feeling that all the programmers that worked on the Y2K issue will resolve this issue as well. We have way to many smart people on this planet to allow something like this to happen. Below is a count down for those of you that want to bite your nails for the next 29 years.


For the rest of us in the real world, I think there are more immediate thing that we need to be concerned with. Things like the deteriorating climate due to the excessive use of fossil fuels, the failing economy, the link to child related illness due to pollution levels across the planet or for those really far reaching worriers, how about the proposed end of life as we know it by the year 2012 based on the Incan/Mayan Calendar.

Me, I am simply going to live each day and worry about the things that I can change. I try not to let things that are out of my control interfere with my every day activities. If I did, I probably would never leave the house.

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Companies on Twitter

Posted on December 19, 2008 by under Blog, Web.    

It’s funny. The other day when I was tweeting a lot about Carrabba’s I had told Brian jokingly, “Just watch. Carrabba’s is going to start following me any day now.” Jason’s Deli and a few other companies had found me the same way. One day I was tweeting about them (in the case of Jason’s Deli, I had posted a couple of food pictures), the next day they’re following my updates. Sure enough, I received an email notifying me that Carrabba’s is now following me. In return I started following them, too.

There are a lot of companies already utilizing Twitter to creep out their customers. Comcast being one. I remember I had posted a link to an article about this exact same thing, and I received an @reply back from them saying something to the effect of it’s not being creepy per se but more good customer service than anything else. Anyway, since I’ve been posting a lot about my dissatisfaction with FedEx and not delivering my package as scheduled, I wonder if they’ve noticed. Does anyone know if FedEx is on Twitter? We’ll find out soon enough I guess.

Click here for an extensive list of companies who are on Twitter. Here are some relevant articles:

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Real-Time Blog Traffic Feeds

Posted on December 11, 2008 by under Blog, Web.    

I’m usually against cluttering the blog with useless crap. I’m deviating from my usual MO this time, though. FEEDJIT doesn’t seem competely useless. 🙂

The live traffic feed on the bottom right corner of the page tells me where the last ten visitors are from. Pretty interesting info. Plus, isn’t this map thing kind of neat? Okay, so it will be neater once the visitors start registering on there. =P

I also added the WassUp WordPress plugin, but you can’t see it because I didn’t enable the widget. I’m just gathering data right now. I’ll process all that info later. Mostly it’s just for my own use. So I don’t think I’ll be adding the widget at all. The charts and stuff are cool. I like the mini one that appears in my dashboard. All that info is just strictly for me, though. No need to share it with the rest of the world. 😉

[ Jenni: Let me know if you want me to load the plugin in your WP also. The database can get huge for sites with lots of traffic so, if you decide you want it, please be sure to set the database to automatically empty the tables on a fairly regular basis immediately after activation. Come to think of it, let me know if you want any of my plugins and I will load them in your plugins folder also. ]

Speaking of traffic and stats, I think I broke something on my web site because my Awstats haven’t worked since the end of May. Not that it matters any. I can count the number of people who visit this site in one hand. I just want to be prepared with data gathering tools for when traffic starts piling in. =P

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