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Archive for the year 2019

Pickleball Events

Posted on September 11, 2019 by under Hobbies.    

Our little pickleball Facebook group has grown so much in the last few months. We started it in January of this year with just a handful of people and now we have over 500 members. It’s actually grown much bigger than the Wichita Zumba Facebook group that has been around for over four years. It’s pretty amazing.

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Over Labor Day weekend, a bunch of pickleball peeps decided to have an impromptu cookout at Seneca Park. I was surprised by the awesome turnout.

I actually hadn’t planned on going. I had a full day of teaching Zumba classes that Sunday and then afterwards helped move exercise equipment at South YMCA for an hour. The park is on my way home so I told Brian I would just swing by to play a couple of games and see what was up.

Well, everyone came and even brought kids and spouses. It turned into a real party. I called Brian and begged him to come out. He went to the store and grabbed some hotdogs and buns and some condiments from our fridge (which we didn’t really need to bring because there were plenty of condiments there). I ended up going home to drop of my car and we rode back together (that way we only had one car and also so I could drink and not have to worry about driving home after).

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There are several fun pickleball events coming up but there are two in particular that I’ve been looking forward to: the Franklin Pickleball Masters Tournament at Chicken N Pickle and the Bob Jackson Friendship Tournament at Edgemoor Park. I’ll be a spectator at the former and I’ll be a participant in the latter.

I’m so excited about the Franklin Pickleball Masters that I actually purchased a weekend VIP pass for me and Brian, complete with court-side championship seats. I also subbed out all of my Zumba classes for the weekend so that we can spend as much time as we can watching the games all weekend long.

The Franklin Pickleball Masters is an invite-only event so there will be some heavy hitters participating. I am looking forward to meeting them all and, hopefully, getting their signatures on my pickleball paddle.

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Here are the match-ups for mixed doubles. There are some really amazing teams but I have to cheer for the home team: Matt and Lucy. They live in Wichita but are nationally acclaimed.

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As for the women’s doubles, Simone and Lucy (two of the best in the nation, perhaps even the world) are playing together so that’s going to be really fun to watch. The Kyle and Matt team up in men’s doubles is another one that will be fun to watch as well. I am so excited for next weekend!

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Then I will play in the Bob Jackson Friendship Tournament the following weekend. It’s part of a series of tournaments the group is hosting to raise money for lights at the Edgemoor Park pickleball courts. Kathy, Gregg, and the rest of the gang have been selling t-shirts like crazy (I have bought several myself, actually) to raise money for lights. We are hoping to meet this goal next year. It will be nice to finally have lights out there. It will extend our play times considerably.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I joined a pickleball league at Chicken N Pickle (my first ever) and tonight is our first night of play. Until next time. GNG.

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Molino’s Taqueria

Posted on September 10, 2019 by under Food and Drink.    

We are so behind the times when it comes to new restaurants in town. So many have opened that we haven’t even tried it. Molino’s Taqueria is one that’s been around for some time but we haven’t gotten around to checking it out until recently.

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Brian got a burrito with some chips and queso.

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I had some street tacos and a side of elote. It is a taqueria after all.

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My tacos were delicious but Brian was not impressed. He is a diehard Qdoba fan. He thought the burrito was good but he felt they were a little skimpy on the fillings.

As for me, I really liked the idea of making my own street tacos. I got to decide what meats, cheeses, and other ingredients went in. That was all great until I realized that I had no idea what things go well together. When I go to Qdoba or Uno Mas or District Taqueria, I usually select something from their menu and make slight modifications (like no onions or jalapenos, etc.). Having to create a street taco from scratch is a lot trickier, specially if you are clueless about what flavors go well together like I am.

Of course, the concept is a lot like Chipotle. You decide what goes in your burrito, bowl, or taco so, ultimately, if it’s crappy it’s entirely your fault. LOL. However, since you are selecting the things that you like best, you can’t really go wrong. While I can’t go wrong, the downside for me is that it will take several visits to get it just right. Then again, maybe that’s the idea.

I feel like it’s so much easier to just pick something from the menu. Deciding everything that I want in my taco takes so much more time and effort when all you want to do is just eat already. LOL.

Also, their elote, though quite tasty, was not as good as the elote at Uno Mas. I think Uno Mas is still my favorite place to get tacos, hands down.

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I did really enjoy my cucumber lemonade drink. It was yummy and refreshing. I would go just for that! But also the food was decent and the price was right. I thought you got excellent value for your money.

Bottom line, Brian isn’t a fan. I thought it was just okay. Good value for your money, though. We may or may not be back but at least we’ve finally crossed it off our list. Until next time. GNG.

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Pickleball Outing

Posted on September 7, 2019 by under Food and Drink, Hobbies.    

All of my Zumba classes ended up being canceled on the weekend of the cancer crawl, so I went from being super busy on Sunday to being super available. I checked with my friends/coworkers visiting from Topeka if they wanted to do brunch before heading back but they already ate at their hotel. Next, I checked with my pickleball friends to see if people were playing anywhere.

As luck would have it, Bill and Trixie already planned to visit Jeanie in El Dorado. Michael and I decided to tag along. It was my first official pickleball road trip and it was a ton of fun!

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From left: Bill, Jeanie, Michael, and Trixie.

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Jeanie is our pickleball friend we were visiting who lives in El Dorado. Bill, Trixie, and I carpooled over to the El Dorado Activity Center where they play from 2-5 PM on Sundays. It was great to be able to carpool because it made the hour-long trip go so much faster. We had great conversations on the way there and back.

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We were famished after playing for three hours so we decided to grab dinner together. Jeanie recommended Fiesta Mexicana Cantina in downtown El Dorado.

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Here are some food pics…

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The food was portions were generous, prices reasonable, and food delicious! This is another one of those restaurants that I can wait to go revisit with Brian.

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While we were there, we ran into a local couple who we played with that afternoon so we all ended up dining together. We had a lovely time eating and visiting.

I don’t know when I’ll be able to play with the fun El Dorado group again because I normally teach Zumba on Sundays until 3 PM but I really appreciated having a free Sunday. I’m glad I took advantage of the opportunity to check out their open play. Everyone was super nice and welcoming.

For now, I’m back to my normal Sunday schedule:

  • 10:30 AM Aqua Zumba at South YMCA
  • 12:00 PM Aqua Zumba at North YMCA (on hold during the month of September due to pool remodel — will resume again in October)
  • 2:00 PM Zumba at Andover YMCA

I don’t foresee myself making it back to El Dorado on a typical Sunday but I do hope to squeeze in some pickleball play at either Seneca Park or Chicken N Pickle on some Sundays (barring any staff meetings at the Y or VASA, which are typically on Sunday afternoon/evening).

I am so grateful I get to indulge in my favorite pastimes and making new friends along the way. Until next time. GNG.

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Dinner Date with the Hubs

Posted on September 6, 2019 by under Life.    

We finally got around to checking out Lola’s Bistro, our friend Michael Abay’s restaurant. It’s been open for a couple of years but, since we don’t live on the Northeast side of town anymore, it wasn’t as convenient to go. After trying their food, I regret having waited so long to find time to check it out.

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For those who don’t know, lola is a Tagalog word that means grandmother so the restaurant’s name basically means “Grandmother’s Bistro.”

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When we went last Friday, we got there early enough that they weren’t busy. It could have been the holiday weekend also. Perhaps people were doing end of summer cookouts so the restaurant was unusually slow. Either way, we appreciated not being around a mob of people.

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The restaurant isn’t very big. The interior is nicely decorated and, though they have enough room to accommodate larger groups, it still feels somewhat intimate.

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My delicious drink…

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We didn’t put the bartender to the test (I ordered their rosie peach sangria) but the bar seemed to be well-stocked.

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Here’s the specialty cocktail menu.

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Here’s a glimpse of the food menu.

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Lola’s does nice touches like complimentary breaded artichoke hearts (below) at the beginning of your dining experience and little shortbread cookies at the end.

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Brian didn’t care for these fried artichoke hearts but I thought they were great.

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For our starters, we got lumpia, chicken skewers, and pork belly boa buns.

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All three appetizers were great but the pork belly bao buns (pictured above) were definitely our favorite. The best way for me to describe this is if the Filipino siopao (steamed dumpling which consists of a sweet white bun filled with meat) and Vietnamese banh mi (baguette sandwich with pickled vegetables) had a baby. It was so good, I would go just for it.

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You’d think three starter dishes would be sufficient, and it was, but we really wanted to try one of the amazing entrees. Everything sounded delicious but we had to go for the chicken adobo. It’s a Filipino dish that Brian and I both enjoy.

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Lola’s beautiful rendition of the adobo tasted as good as it looks. I have never had chicken adobo presented as magnificently. But the dish was definitely not all looks with no substance.

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All of the unmistakable, delicious adobo flavor was well represented. We are far from food experts, but Brian and I were both very impressed.

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We shared a slice of their delicious cheesecake for dessert. As with everything else we tried that night, the presentation was impeccable. We enjoyed every last bite.

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Of course, we took a couple of obligatory selfies.

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Here’s a pic of the little shortbread cookies (which remind me of my favorite cookies from the Ambassador Hotel in Kansas City that I used to stay at) that I mentioned earlier. They’re the perfect meal finishers.

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Before we left we took a pic with the owner, Michael Abay.

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This was one of our most memorable dining experiences from start to finish — great service, amazing food, and lovely ambiance. We will definitely return!

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Crawl for Cancer 2019

Posted on September 5, 2019 by under Events, Things to Do.    

This is the story of how we got roped into participating in our first cancer crawl, ever. Brian and I don’t typically participate in these for several reasons: (1) Brian is very picky about his beer, (2) I’m always too busy, and (3) he won’t do something unless I make us. So what happened this year?

Two Words: PEER PRESSURE

We have several people at work who always participate in the cancer crawl every year. For the last few years, they’ve had two teams. I’ve never really felt the desire to do it because I don’t particularly like drinking beer and I usually have my Zumba classes that keep me tied up all weekend.

This year my friend Tom from Topeka wanted to do it, so he started a team. He needed four more people so he asked if Brian and I could join and invite two of our friends. Well, when I started asking around, everyone wanted to do it. Tom didn’t have room on his team for all of us, so we ended up forming a whole other team.

Tom eventually filled his four vacancies so, in the end, we ended up with four teams consisting of 12 crawlers each. We had a total of 48 people signed up to crawl with our mega group.

I originally still had my Zumba classes so I was just going to join the group late after my last Saturday class; however, as luck would have it, my classes in Andover ended up getting canceled that weekend because the floors were being refinished. I didn’t know this at the time we signed up. It was just a lucky coincidence. It was the same weekend I went from four classes to just one class (my Aqua Zumba class at North YMCA) to none — because my Aqua Zumba class ended up being canceled because of bad weather.

It was a gift from the universe, which decided that I really need to slow down. It was welcome break from my usual Zumba-filled weekends.

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On the eve of the cancer crawl, a bunch of us met up at the Pumphouse (across from the shirt pick ups at the Courtyard Marriott). Our team captain Reniece picked up our shirts and distributed them to us when we met up that Friday night. I really wanted my shirt the night before because I wanted to be able to customize it. Nothing too fancy. I just wanted to turn it into a tank.

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In keeping with our #VacayWithJayJay theme, I busted out my Jamaica bag and straw hat. I also got some leis and floral hair clips for everyone. I looked so legit in my white sarong, bag, and hat getup that, as we were leaving the house that morning, our neighbor Tommy asked if we were going on another vacation.

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But the pièce de résistance was my picture frame prop. Brian and I assembled it just a few days prior. We ran out of As though, so #VacayWithJayJay turned into #VacayWitJJ. Regardless, no one really cared. Most people probably didn’t even know the reference.

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Brian couldn’t believe I was willing to lug this thing around with me. It was made of foam board so it was pretty light and we got a bunch of great pics like these so it was totally worth it.

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Here’s a couple of pics of our small cancer crawl team within the mega group.

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Here are a couple of selfies of me and Brian.

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Yuvina and me.

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Becca and me.

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Kishon and Alex.

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Tina and Justin.

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Brian and Jay.

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Darcy and Jeff were part of the big group from work.

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With Chris.

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Reniece behind bars.

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More pics of our group…

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Brian wore his straw baseball cap from Costa Rica and his favorite Hawaiian shirt.

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These three crack me up.

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My lovely props that I carried with me from bar to bar. No joke.

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This was at Fever Night Club — midday party. LOL.

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When we got to Lucky’s, which was a long walk, we got to have the back patio all to ourselves. There was just enough room for all four teams back there.

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Here’s our big group at Lucky’s.

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Not everyone could make it but we had over 40 people between the four teams.

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Jay tried to get everyone in an ultimate selfie.

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We had a ton of fun but it was also a lot of walking for pitchers of Coors Light. I’m looking forward to Haus of Brews on the 21st, which is a much better event overall. We will have good beer (no Coors Light) from seven Kansas breweries (Aero Plains Brewing, Norsemen Brewing, Nortons, River City Brewery, Third Place, Walnut River, and Wichita Brewing), two wineries (Grace Hill Winery and Mabel’s Homestead Vineyard), and delicious food… Oh, and no “crawling” because everyone will be at Treescapes.

Anyway, I’m grateful that we had an opportunity to participate and help raise money for some great causes but our #VacayWithJayJay team actually ended up skipping the whole after party. We’d had enough Coors Light and we were all hungry so we all opted to go to River City Brewery instead. We held our own after party there.

I hope you enjoyed the pics. Until next time. GNG.

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