Archive for August 2016
Posted on August 28, 2016 by Ching under Food and Drink.
I hadn’t been on many service anniversary lunches at work since heading up Quality Assurance in 2009 so I was super excited when Faith invited me to join her, Tara, and Karen for Tara’s 10th anniversary celebration lunch.
I used to go on these regularly when I was supervising a team of twelve to sixteen reps. Someone was bound to be having a milestone service anniversary (anywhere from 5 to 30 years in service). If the celebrant wasn’t someone on my team, one of the other supervisors would have a celebrant and so we’re constantly celebrating someone’s work anniversary.
In 2010 I was a one-person team. I didn’t end up with a couple of team members until the year after and it was only in the last couple of years that my team grew to three. The last service anniversary that I got to celebrate/organize was Nykole’s 15th service anniversary about six months ago. We went to Outback Steakhouse (celebrant’s pick) and then went bowling at the Alley afterwards.
Since getting assigned to the CIS (Customer Information System) project back in October, I was back to being a lone ranger. I was actually lucky that I got to go on Nykole’s anniversary because Gwen has been looking after the Quality Assurance team for several months now.
Anyway, it was kind of a fluke that I got to attend Tara’s anniversary lunch. It just so happened that none of the other supervisors were available so Faith asked me on their way out. I’d been listening to the new IVR all week at that point and needed a break so I gleefully accepted her invitation.
I hadn’t been to Larskpur in forever and had forgotten how delicious their food is. Here are some pictures of the food we enjoyed at Tara’s anniversary feast.
I think everyone enjoyed their meal. We shared the dip and crab cakes to start.
Both were delicious. I was almost too full to eat my tilapia entree by the time we were through with our appetizers. It seemed like I ate more that day that I had eaten all week.
Oh, and I recognized our server that day from Color Party X. She was part of a string duo that played music at the foyer as you entered the party. I caught another picture of her again later in the evening when she was quite happy.
Of course, everyone thought it was strange and borderline creepy that I had a picture of our server. I got quite a bit of ribbing for that. But it’s a small world and even smaller still for people, like me, who take lots of pictures.
After lunch we went to put gas in the filthy fleet car so we could run it through the carwash. We strategically picked the KwikShop next to Churn & Burn so we could have some dessert. Churn & Burn is currently my favorite place for a cold, yummy treat. Brian and I love their Swiss café mocha Churn & Burn. Anyway, I will never turn down Churn & Burn any time, any day. LOL.
It worked out perfectly because the four of us got to enjoy our Churn & Burn while we waited for the carwash to do its thing. We got back to the office a few minutes late but it was totally worth it. Plus, it’s not everyday that someone celebrates their 10th work anniversary (and not everyday that I get invited to go on the celebration lunch). Congrats to Tara and thanks to everyone for letting me tag along.
I had such a blast touring with the #WestarInMotion College Campus Tour this week. We were at Wichita State University on Wednesday, KU on Thursday, and K-State on Friday.
One of our senior officers, Greg Greenwood, stopped by while we were at Wichita State and even helped us draw our four gift card winners.
When we were at the KU campus, Derek, Mel, and I got a selfie with the Jayhawk in front of the KU Memorial Union entrance.
KU was the one school where our #WestarInMotion koozies actually matched the school colors. I wish we had yellow and purple ones made too but the blue and red are Westar colors so we will be able to use these koozies for other events.
We had a blast at all three locations. But, even though I’m WSU alumni and I’m partial to the school, I have to say that the K-State kids were the coolest. They even tweeted our event and took selfies with us.
I was a little bit worried because of the forecasted rain. We encountered rain when we were setting up the trailer at all three locations but, as luck would have it, the rain stopped in time for our event. We had a great turnout at all three schools. Although we ran into a few students who didn’t have electric service in their name, we had several people who installed the MyWestar app right on the spot.
We were on our feet the entire time and the soles of my feet hurt really bad at the end of each day but it was totally worth it. The last three days were a nice break from the office. I’m so glad Alicia invited me to help her with this project. I hope I get to help with it again next year.
Posted on August 21, 2016 by Ching under Events, Relationship, Things to Do.
We made some commitments last weekend that caused us to postpone (and as a result prolong) our anniversary celebrations this year. My work participated in the Wichita Corporate Challenge this year and, a few days before the start of the event, Ebony told me that we didn’t have any volunteers and we needed some otherwise we would lose some points. I decided put aside my anniversary weekend and take one for the team.
I couldn’t volunteer the weekend before because that was the weekend I had my Real Results Party (more on that next time) on Saturday afternoon and then I have my regular Sunday afternoon Zumba class. I already had stuff going on the other days so I had to give up my anniversary weekend.
Luckily, my boss granted my request to take a vacation day on August 10 — the Wednesday before — which is our actual anniversary day so Brian and I got to celebrate before the weekend anyway. This actually works out better because now, instead of doing everything on one weekend, we get to spread out the celebration for the rest of the month.
I had signed me and Brian up to help with the volleyball tournament on Saturday afternoon from 1 PM to 5 PM, which was perfect because it allowed us time to make dinner at Marc and Jess’ house in Derby by 7 PM. Anyway, there was a last minute schedule change and volleyball got pushed to Sunday, which we couldn’t do because Brian and I were already signed up for a bowling tournament at the Alley. I specifically subbed out my Sunday afternoon Zumba class for it so I didn’t want to miss it. When I found out that volleyball moved to Sunday, I emailed the WCC organizer to inform him of my predicament. I would still love to volunteer but I am only free from 1 PM to 5 PM on Saturday as I had previously committed. I would love to help with volleyball but we already were already committed to something else on Sunday afternoon. We all know that my schedule is like a jigsaw puzzle. We have all sorts of stuff going on ALL THE TIME.
Anyway, I was told that they didn’t need additional help with the softball tournament on Saturday afternoon but my work would still get credit for my volunteer time. It worked out perfectly because that was the main reason I had volunteered myself and Brian’s help. I just wanted to earn some points for my work.
Brian and I found ourselves in unusual territory. We actually had some free time on our hands. LOL. Naturally, Brian took advantage of it by taking a nap.
This was the sight at home that Saturday afternoon. It’s not very often this happens so Brian relished every single minute of it.
We hung out at home until it was time to head to the Stoddard’s for dinner. They made a delicious chicken dinner paired with a pasta salad. It was yummy!
They also made this dessert thing which was like pancake brownie but I didn’t get a picture of it. Brian and I brought vanilla ice cream to go with it.
After dinner, we briefly went Pokémon hunting but it was dark and the bugs were out in full force. We were all getting eaten up by mosquitos and then Brian’s phone quit working. We finally just had to call it a night. We didn’t want to stay out too late anyway because we had a bowling tournament the next day.
Zach and I qualified for the end of season bowling tournament right away. Brian was going to have to pay $10 to enter the tournament but he won a free entry on our very last week of bowling.
There were several prizes that we really wanted to win but our names didn’t get drawn, which was a bummer. The three of us didn’t bowl as well as we could have so we didn’t win top score prizes either.
At least I finally got a video of me picking up a 5-7 split so it wasn’t a complete loss.
Fast forward to this weekend… We had planned to take my little sister Nickira and the Phelpi to All Star Adventures for some unlimited go karts, rides, and mini golf but Mother Nature wasn’t cooperating. At least we were able to meet up for a belated birthday dinner for Gavin at Red Robin.
We felt bad for not making it to Gavin’s birthday and not getting him a present so we figured dinner would be his birthday present this year instead.
April said that it worked well because he has too many toys anyway and he got in trouble recently so she actually had to take some toys away. It’s a really funny story but it’s April’s story to tell so I won’t share it with you guys. You’ll just have to ask her about it next time you see her.
I think it was Nickira’s first time at Red Robin and she discovered the joys of freckled lemonade. It’s one of my favorite things to drink there. She originally asked for a Sprite but when Gavin asked for freckled lemonade, I had to veto her drink order and get her a freckled lemonade also because I knew she would love it because I know how much she loves strawberries. It’s her favorite fruit.
It was wonderful to see the Phelpi because it had been forever since we’d gotten together. We used to see them quite frequently when they lived down the street but it’s harder to spontaneously swing by these days since they now live on the West side of town. After dinner we all agreed to have an All Star Adventures do-over next month and parted ways.
I originally wanted to ride go karts with Nickira at the Alley but then changed my mind after it started raining. I didn’t want to be out and about in case it started raining even harder. Nickira decided to stay in and play Jenga instead.
Nickira’s mom said they would be home around 8:30 PM so we took Nickira home around that time. Brian drove to ensure that we would be safe in case something happened because the weather was terrible.
The next morning (yesterday) my Aqua Zumba class was canceled because the water was too cold from the rain. I got to sleep in a little bit before my 10:30 AM Zumba class. After that we had to skedaddle because we had tickets to Mamma Mia! at 2 PM. I showered and changed quickly so we could grab a quick bite at Felipe’s Jr. down the street from us before heading to the show.
Since I missed the half-priced season tickets sale in April, I’ve been relying on free tickets from KMUW. However, I didn’t want to take a chance this time so I splurged and bought our tickets ahead of time. Brian loves Music Theatre Wichita as much as I do so I just called it an anniversary present for both of us. I’m so glad we bought tickets because I didn’t see an email about free tickets this time. This has been a really great MTW season for us in that we were able to see all of the shows except for one. It’s the one that Brian wanted to see most, Jesus Christ Superstar, but it couldn’t be helped because it ran while we were in Orlando for ZINCON 2016.
Since I paid for my tickets this time, I made sure to pick good seats. We were tired of sitting behind tall people or people with big hair so I went a little bit overboard and got us front row seats. We were in C3 and C4 for the show, front and center. At first Brian was like, “I thought you got us front row seats?” He was thinking there would be rows A and B ahead of us, but row C is the first row for this show.
I loved being super close to the stage and performers but I’m thinking that I’ll probably get three or four rows back next time I have my choice of seating because the first row is a little too close for me.
Here’s a picture of the main cast. I took a picture because when they start coming out like this, it’s usually the end. I don’t take pictures during the performance out of respect but sometimes I like to take pictures of all of the performers at the end when they do their final bow. I thought it was over but you really have to stick around because after the usual ending part there was another fifteen minutes of singing and dancing. It was awesome. Best show finale ever!
But that wasn’t the finale of our day. We still had Dudegrass Six. We went home to hang out and take care of the dogs before heading to our next event. This was our first time attending Dudegrass and I’m glad we went because it was awesome.
Facebook said the event started at 5:30 PM but didn’t actually start until 6 PM. I should have checked our tickets because I really thought we were running late. Come to find out, we were just in time. We got there at about a quarter till and, although there were already a lot of people there, there were still a few lanes open. As luck would have it, lane 22 was open so we parked ourselves there.
They had me at two-plus hours of unlimited bowling. The Big Lebowski screening, $5 White Russians, and entertainment factor were an added bonus.
Lamphouse Photo Company also had a photo booth there with an awesome rug backdrop and props. Because we are rebels, we did our photos prop-less.
Jenni talked us into getting a large pizza but it was way more pizza than three people could eat. Brian and I picked the flavor since we bought and we went with all-meat (neither of us like veggies in our pizza).
Lucky for us, we ran into Lisa (she teaches a yoga class before me on Saturdays) and her husband so we got to share our large pizza with two others.
We were off to a great start with bowling but I started bowling crappy once the White Russians kicked in.
They were cheap and delicious. Lisa, who has been attending the event for years, told us one year the White Russians were only $2. I bet they had some lessons learned that year. LOL.
Brian doesn’t drink White Russians so he bought a pitcher of Fat Tire and shared it with Jenni. That made them both happy.
Brian was completely amazed at how many Big Lebowski fans turned out for the event. The costumes were phenomenal.
There were some really awesome costumes. The ultimate winner of the costume contest was the Stranger. I think partly because there was only one of him and there were several Dudes, Walters, and Maudes. There was a really good Jesus Quintana, though. She had the purple outfit down.
The White Russians group costume was also a clever idea although I’m not sure how they could have split the prize, which was a rug.
Brian said, if we go next year, he wants to dress up Jackie Treehorn, the porn director, because we didn’t see anyone dressed as him at all.
Although Brian made a comment that we were probably the only two people there who came for the bowling, we had such a great time at Dudegrass. I can’t believe that we’d never been to this event before. It’s going on my list of things to do next year for sure! What a great idea for a fundraising event!
Finally go to try LoLo’s Crepes thanks to Jenni. She was paying me back and we agreed that she would just buy lunch instead. Since we both work downtown now, we decided to meet up at the pop-up park which is just a short walk from both of our workplaces.
I’m so glad everything worked out and fell into place that day. I’d been wanting to try LoLo’s Crepes for a while but the last time I saw them at the park and wanted to buy their food, there was something wrong with their batter so they couldn’t sell any crepes. I had to buy my lunch from another food truck.
They had a couple of really good specials that day. I couldn’t decide which one to get. Jenni ordered the bacon lover and I got the black forest ham. It would have worked out better if we could have stayed at the park and ate because then I could have tried Jen’s and she could have tried mine but we both went back to work to eat our lunches there.
For one, Jenni only had a 30 minute lunch and LoLo’s took forever. They told us five minutes but our food really took a lot longer. I’m not sure if that’s the typical wait for them. If it is, they definitely need to get faster. Secondly, it was super hot that day. We have had pretty mild temparatures the last couple of weeks and that was the one token day that Mother Nature decided it should be hot.
Other than the long wait, my crepe was really good. I’d be willing to give them another try and perhaps get one of the sweet crepes like banana Nutella. That’s my favorite flavor from the other crepe stands that I’ve tried.
If you want to try their crepes, you can find their schedule here. Happy chowing!
Posted on August 14, 2016 by Ching under Events, Relationship.
Happiness is… being able to spend time with your loves. This is a picture of me and Brian with our babies, Saki and Molly, taken last Sunday.
Happiness is… bowling a really clean game. Brian, Zach, and I were at the Alley on Monday night for the final night of our Summer Trios bowling league. It wasn’t a regular bowling night. It was awards/prize night but the Alley was nice enough to let us bowl for free that evening.
I’ve been bowling really crappy lately. My normal 160 average has actually decreased by almost 10 pins over the last year. I bowled the cleanest game I’ve ever bowled in a long time that night. Too bad it didn’t count.
Happiness is… celebrating your 14th wedding anniversary with your amazing husband. We didn’t make any major anniversary celebration plans this year for a couple of reasons. First, we spent a lot of money at ZINCON just a couple of weeks prior. Second, we had committed to several things over the weekend that we couldn’t get out of… But, as luck would have it, Brian and I were both able to take off work on Wednesday, our actual anniversary day, to do some celebrating.
Our anniversary celebration consisted of a day trip to TopGolf in Overland Park and riding around Country Club Plaza in Kansas City (just a few miles down the street) for some Pokémon hunting.
Brian has been wanting to go to TopGolf since last November when I told him about our team building event there. I’ve wanted to return too but we have been too busy to make a trip up to the Kansas City/Overland Park area. I’m glad we could finally make it happen last week.
It wasn’t until Monday when I brought the idea up to him and asked my boss Ginger for permission to take a vacation day on Wednesday. This was pretty spontaneous for a couple of people who plan everything weeks (and sometimes even months) in advance. This is as spontaneous as it gets for us, folks. I feel tremendously grateful and blessed that it all worked out.
Here are a few more pictures from our mid-week anniversary day trip.
The food at TopGolf is actually pretty good so we had lunch there while we were playing. I knew I hit it out of the park when Brian told me how much fun he had that day. “Thanks for suggesting this. I had a lot of fun. Did you?” he asked me. “Yes,” I replied. “Are you sure?” He asked again. I was like, “Just because I sucked at it doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun. I had a blast!”
Happiness is… coming up with great ideas every now and then. The best part for me is seeing Brian’s face and knowing how much fun he had on our little excursion. It has been a thoroughly fulfilling and joyful week.