New Pet ID Tags

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We got the coolest pet ID tags for Molly and Saki from Tags for Hope recently. They’re made to look like Kansas driver’s licenses and are super cute.

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Here’s how Molly’s looks on her.

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No live action pic of Saki’s because she chewed hers up already. I was so bummed. I couldn’t believe it. Well, I should have known it wouldn’t last but a day.

At least the nice people at Tags for Hope are sending us a replacement. Will need to spray bitters on it so that she doesn’t chew up the second one.

If you need tags for your babies, I highly recommend getting some from Tags for Hope. The tags are high quality and look great, and every tag purchased provides an animal in need with food, treatment, and shelter. It’s a win-win for everyone!

One Crazy, Busy Week

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After spending most of the week in Madison, I came home to a private shopping party at Chic Street Boutique. It wasn’t well-attended but I was out of town the three days leading up to the event so I couldn’t really hound people to come. It was a combination of poor planning and just being super duper busy.

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For those of you who are not familiar with Chic Street Boutique, they’re located at Central and Rock next to the most awesome tailor ever – Quickstitch. Chic Street has unique clothing and accessories that you can’t really find anywhere else.

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They had some great clearance items the day of the party. I found a few things. I really wanted these pants but they were only available in XS. I was so bummed I couldn’t fit in them. And, then there was this one sheath dress I wanted but, again, it was not available in my size. I really wanted to buy it with the hope of eventually shrinking into it, but my friend Tammie talked sense into me and talked me out of it. Had it not been for her, I would have bought that dress and it would have been hanging in my closet, never being worn, for eternity. It’s important to have friends who will honestly tell you how it is and keep you from doing stupid stuff. Seriously.

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The very next day was the Whine About Wichita YPW event at Union Station. I made Brian go with me. He was a tad overdressed because we came straight after work. Well, kind of. We had to take care of the dogs first and then had a quick bite to eat at TSK.

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I had the chocolate bread pudding for dessert. It was amazing! It was probably the best bread pudding I have ever had. Hands down.

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Ebony was at the Whine About as well. It should come as no surprise because she is on the YPW Board of Trustees and Advisory Council so she is at just about every YPW event. Ebony is not just involved YPW, she’s heavily involved in the community. Everywhere we go, she meets someone she knows.

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She’s like a younger, prettier version of Don Sherman. LOL.

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We got a really cool tour of Union Station.

Here are a few pictures that we took during the tour.

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Obligatory selfie!

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Brian looked really good. He looked like he was part of Mayor Longwell’s entourage.

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I love that Brian humors me and goes to these events with me. I’m not sure if I would go by myself even though I did see quite a few familiar faces including our friend Cindy (@WichitaCindy). It’s crazy how we don’t see each other for years and we got to catch up and visit two days in a row!

I was looking pretty yuck because it had been a long day (more like a long week, actually). I’m glad that we went, though. We got to participate in the “whining” and “toasting” and met some cool people and we got these neat Wichita flag buttons. It was one crazy, busy week but totally worth it.

I love YPW events. YPW is definitely part of what makes Wichita great in book. Looking forward to the 2016 YPW Summit next week!

Doolittles Woodfire Grill

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Doolittles Woodfire Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ginger and I had a nice dinner at Doolittles Woodfire Grill while in Madison, WI a couple of weeks ago. The hotel shuttle service ends at 6 pm but the front desk rep was nice enough to pay for our cab to the restaurant.

All we had to do was pay for an Uber ride back, which didn’t cost very much because the restaurant is located pretty close to the hotel.

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Here’s a picture of the huge bar at the center of the restaurant.

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We had the parmesan artichoke dip as our starter. They were nice enough to provide some sliced veggies for us in addition to the grilled ciabatta bread.

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We also had the kinky mango sangria, which was super delicious.

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Service was a tad slow, probably because they had a few large groups that evening, but when our food finally came it was totally worth the wait.

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Ginger had the rib and chicken combo. She said they were the best ribs she’d ever had.

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I had the shrimp and crab stuffed tilapia, which doesn’t look like much, but it was very good. I really enjoyed everything but the kinky mango sangria was my favorite part. As sangrias go, that was probably the best sangria I’d ever had.

Doolittles kind of reminds me of Redrock Canyon Grill at Bradley Fair because of the rotisserie chicken and ribs. I wish I would have tried their specialty for comparison. There aren’t any Doolittles in Kansas. They’re only located in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. We have a lot of similar places here though.

If you’re ever in Doolittles territory, I recommend checking them out.

Staybridge Suites Madison-East

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It doesn’t look like much from the outside but this hotel has probably been the best hotel I’ve stayed at this year in terms of cleanliness, customer service, and value. For perspective, the hotel I’ve stayed at this year include Hampton Inn (Fort Lauderdale, before our cruise), Hyatt Place (my second home in Topeka), Holiday Inn Express (it’s down the street from our training facility in Topeka), and Drury Plaza at the Arch (St. Louis). I may be missing some but these are the hotels I can remember off the top of my head that I’ve stayed at this year.

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Here’s a look at the inside where breakfast and social hour happens. This Staybridge provided breakfast daily and then also social hour, with real food and unlimited drinks, Monday through Wednesday.

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Here’s a picture of what I had for breakfast one day. They would have either pancakes or French toast. They also have a waffle maker so you can make your own waffles in the morning. There’s also, toast, bagels, breakfast pastries, muffins, fruit and cereal — lots of different options basically.

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Here’s a picture of the social calendar for the month that was posted on my fridge. They had a chicken fajita taco bar the night we were there and then soups and sandwiches the day we were leaving. It also appears that they partner with local restaurants to cater food in for the socials on some nights. The chicken fajita tacos looked pretty good. So on those bad weather days or other days that you just don’t feel like going anywhere, you can eat free hotel food and just stay in.

We were supposed to arrive around one o’clock on Monday afternoon but, because our flights were canceled, we didn’t arrive until midnight. The rep at the front desk, Nate, was super nice. Anyway, I think since we arrived so late all of the regular rooms were taken. Ginger and I both got upgraded to two-room suites (more on that in a minute).

Nate recognized me from talking to him to setup an airport shuttle pickup earlier that morning. “Weren’t you supposed to arrive this afternoon? I sent a shuttle to pick you up. What happened?”

I explained that our flights got canceled so we were rebooked on other flights later in the day. “I called back and canceled the shuttle. You were probably off by then. I talked to a woman and she told me there wouldn’t be shuttle service that late but that there would be lots of cabs at the airport. We just took a cab over. No worries.”

“She didn’t offer to pay for your cab?” he asked.

“No she didn’t mention it. That would have been nice though, because there weren’t any cabs waiting when we got outside. On the way here our cab driver was on the radio with home base asking to send cabs at the airport because there was a lobby full of people and no cabs to be found.” The was actually one cab when we got outside but it was already taken. I think the cab driver was going a different direction because she asked us where we were going and then told us that she couldn’t take us and that there would be other cabs coming. A guy who came out after us must have been going the same general direction she was because he was able to get in her cab. It didn’t take long for the other cab to show up. I suppose there are lots of cabs during regular hours or high traffic times but they don’t wait around at the airport until midnight. The airport in Madison is a small regional airport so that makes sense.

“She really should have offered. Next time just ask.”

Nate was very thorough. He made sure that Ginger and I both had our rewards number so we could get our hotel points. He told us about the upgraded rooms and gave us some options: whether we wanted our rooms to be on top of one another or be on the same floor on opposite sides of the building. We opted for same floor.

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I got room 330. I think Ginger either got 310 or 307 on the other side because she also got a two-bedroom and two-bath suite. I was amazed at all the space I had when I first entered my room. I usually hate getting a room with two beds in it because I feel like it’s a waste. Well, guess what. This time I had three beds! And an extra bathroom that I didn’t need. Talk about waste!

I wish I would have known about this option ahead of time. We could have gotten away with reserving three rooms instead of five separate ones. LOL.

Side note, it was clearly opposite day because everything that was happening was opposite of my normal preference. For instance, I ended up getting an exit row seat on our flight to Madison. Most people like exit row seats because they have more leg room. Not me. I don’t like the pressure of having to perform in case of an emergency, which I know isn’t likely but enough to stress me out. I mean, I’m not very strong. What if the door won’t open? Those are the kinds of thoughts that go through my mind.

Anyway, we were told it was a full flight so then I was like, “At least I have an aisle seat. There’s going to be two other people who will take care of the emergency door. I shouldn’t have to worry about it.”

Guess what. The flight wasn’t full after all. The two seats next to me empty!

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I could have crawled into a fetal position and taken a nap since I had so much space but I got engrossed in watching The Great Gatsby (relevant because we’re going to a 20s murder mystery party at the end of the month and I wanted some outfit ideas but also because the movie is quite entertaining). I didn’t really get to take full advantage the situation. Oh, well.

And then I get to the hotel and I have three beds, two more than I really need. It was a freaky Monday indeed. Everything that was happening seemed to opposite what I like.

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My suite consisted of a common living-dining-kitchen combo and two bedrooms with each their own bathrooms. The living room area was actually quite spacious.

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The kitchen was equipped with a full-sized fridge, stove, microwave, sink, coffeemaker, toaster, and dishwasher.

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In the cupboards you had pots, dishes, glasses, utensils, and everything else you could possibly need for a comfortable extended stay.

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Here’s a picture of one of the bedrooms with its own adjoining bathroom.

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I obviously didn’t stay in this one. Here’s the bedroom I slept in. This bedroom had its own adjoining bathroom as well which was exactly like the other one.

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I also took a picture of the breakfast buffet and social hour info.

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Here’s a picture of the taco bar.

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And the drink bar.

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There’s also a really nice apartment complex next to the hotel with a great walking path. It looks like the path goes all the way around the apartment complex. I didn’t follow it all the way around because I didn’t want to creep out the residents.

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I really enjoyed staying Staybridge Suites Madison-East. The location was nice and quiet. They had shuttle service to take you wherever you need to go within a two-mile radius. It was very clean. The hotel staff was nice. The free breakfasts daily and free food and drinks during social hour made for an excellent value. I liked it so much I actually looked online to see if they had a location in Topeka. I would rather stay somewhere like this than at Hyatt Place, specially if I’m going to be there all week.

There’s a Staybridge in Wichita but not one in Topeka. I guess Hyatt Place is going to be stuck with me for a while.

Freaky Monday

Before I go into my Staybridge Suites review, allow me to tell you the story of how we got there. We’re in the planning stages of our Customer Information System (CIS) replacement project at work and one of the tasks we need to do in this stage is benchmark with other utilities so we can learn from their experiences. Alliant Energy in Madison, WI is one of the utilities we identified for a site visit.

Our site visit team consisted of Kim, Jerry, Mike, Ginger, and me. Kim and Jerry are from Topeka and flew out of Kansas City. They had no issues. Mike hates flying and drove. He had no issues getting to Madison as well. Ginger and I (both flying out of Wichita for obvious reasons) had all sorts of issues.

Since Brian’s office is really close to the airport, our plan on Monday morning was for him to drop me off on his way to work. We are super early as usual so I manage to talk him into stopping at Panera for breakfast. While we’re having breakfast I get this crazy idea to install the American Airlines app on my phone. We usually fly Delta so I only had the Delta app prior. Anyway, once I get the app going I get weird alert message saying I’m flying to ORD which I mistakenly read as Orlando. ORD is actually Chicago O’Hare.

Not realizing that there’s anything wrong with my flights, I think to myself “I really need to tell American that their app sucks. I can’t believe it’s broken the very first time I try to use it.” Then it dawns on me that I should check on my flights just to be sure.

“This app says I’m going to Orlando. Can you please call customer service and find out what’s going on?” I asked Brian as I eat my breakfast sandwich while still messing with the app. “It’s asking me to accept the changes but I need to go to Madison, not Orlando! I can’t accept this!”

Brian found out from customer service that my flight has been canceled. They can get me to Madison via Chicago but I wouldn’t get there until the next day. “That’s not going to work. Our meeting starts at eight o’clock!” Brian and I agreed that this will be easier dealt with face to face so I quickly finish my breakfast sandwich and we head to the airport. In the meantime, I receive a text from Ginger confirming what we just found out.

They didn’t give us any specifics about why our flight was canceled other than “airport issues,” which made me wonder if Kim and Jerry had similar problems. Ginger and I debated whether we should still go considering we may not get there until halfway through the meeting. I tried to call Kim but her phone kept going to voicemail. They were already in the air and enroute. Mike, Jerry, and Kim will be there. We had to get there somehow. Ginger worked with the American Airlines rep at the counter and got us both rebooked on flights via United Airlines. Instead of arriving in Madison at 1 PM as planned, we’re arriving at midnight. We’re missing dinner with our hosts but at least we will get there for the meeting the following day, which was really reason for the trip.

Brian’s handy dandy travel packet that he puts together with a list of alternate flights wasn’t useful in this case. All of the alternate flights listed went through Dallas, which was the issue. None of them worked. Our new flights through United had us going through Denver instead. That was a good lesson for putting together the next travel packet. The list of alternate flights Brian had would have worked if the reason for the delay or cancelation was just mechanical issues but, in the rare event of airport issues, it’s helpful to have alternate flights listed that go a different route and even on another airline altogether (because each airline has their respective hubs which is the route that most of their flights take).

So now that we had flights for that evening, there was no reason to stick around at the airport. Brian took me back home (clear across town) before going in to work. I felt really bad because not only was he late for work that day but then he would also have to leave early to take me back to the airport later. Had things gone according to plan, he would have gotten to work on time and not needed to leave early.

Whatever. You just have to roll with the punches sometimes. Back at home, I dock my laptop and start working in the office. I recently got rid of my desktop PC at work so instead of having a laptop and a desktop PC and worrying about the files not syncing (I was having all sorts of issues with One Drive) then I’ll only have the one central repository for my files. Desktop support consolidated all of my desktop PC stuff into my laptop. That morning was the first time I was actually seeing everything together and I was doing some clean up.

Guess what. I managed to permanently delete my entire My Documents folder. It would have been in the recycle bin and could have easily been put back but I’m me. I don’t always screw up but, when I do, I screw up royally. In the process of deleting the folder, there was a pop up alert that appeared that said something like “Some of the file names are too long for the Recycle Bin. Would you like to permanently delete?” Not taking the time to process what I had just read (this would have been my opportunity to say “Oops!” and hit cancel), I clicked OK and plunged myself into the abyss.

To top it off, I somehow managed to jack up my Windows Explorer so I couldn’t even browse the other folders (that I managed to not delete). I chatted with our desktop support guy Seth via Lync. Since he still had my desktop PC, I was wondering if he could just grab the My Documents folder from it and plant into my laptop. No such luck. I think there were too many files for VPN. I really needed my laptop fixed though, since I was going to be away from the office for a few days. I thought I could just go to work and work at my desk the rest of the afternoon until I have to go to the airport. It actually works out better because instead of driving all the way home to get me and take me to the airport then Brian only has to go halfway.

Seth and I agreed to meet at my desk at 1 PM.

In the meantime, I had let the dogs out to go to the bathroom and allow them to enjoy the beautiful weather outside. I didn’t think it would take long to get them back in their crates so I ordered my Uber on my phone and then called them back inside. I was a little bit rushed and frazzled from everything else that had happened that day so I forgot to shut our bedroom door. When Saki came inside, she zipped right past me into the living room. Molly was no problem. I got her bumper collar off her and got her back in crate with no issues. Saki, on the other hand, made me chase her all around the house. I was chasing her around so much I was running out of breath.

I called Brian in a panic, “My Uber is almost here and Saki won’t get in her crate!”

“Leave her,” he said. “I will take care of her when I get home.”

Defeated, I walked back in the bedroom. As I stood there, Saki followed me in. I guess she was wondering why we stopped playing. Anyway, I quickly shut the bedroom door. It’s much easier to catch her within the confines of our bedroom so I took advantage of the opportunity. I managed to get her, get her bumper collar off, and put her in her crate just in the the nick of time. I grabbed my stuff, ran outside, and hit the button to shut the garage door. The car pulled up as the garage door closed.

Whew! What a day! And to think it’s not even over yet.

Back at work, Seth was able to fix my laptop but it took quite a bit of work because I managed to screw it up spectacularly. I really didn’t want to be seen at work because I was in travel attire (leggings and sneakers) and not work-appropriate attire but I did get a lot of work done.

Our United flights to Madison were pretty uneventful. I was a little worried about being stuck in Denver but the rest of the trip went smoothly. We arrived at the hotel around midnight and the front desk rep Nate was super nice.

Speaking of the hotel, I’m going to have to save my Staybridge Suites review for another blog post because this one is super long already. Come back tomorrow for the hotel review and pictures!

Fort Worth — Down and Back

I missed posting pictures of our trip to visit Sheryll and the kids while they were in Fort Worth a couple of weeks ago. It was a really fruitful trip achieving a couple of objectives: (a) seeing Sheryll and the kids who we haven’t seen in a few years, and (b) testing road trip or potential vacation options with the dogs.

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Since we were doing a down and back, we left really early on Saturday morning. Above is a picture of the dogs watching intently as Brian filled Rex up with gas.

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Molly is like, “Where did daddy go?”

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Molly isn’t much of a lap dog at home but, when you’re driving in the car, she definitely wants to be in your lap. She’s a front seat kind of dog.

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Saki, on the other hand, was quite content at the back of the car.

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Here’s Molly keeping an eye on daddy’s driving.

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Saki and mommy selfie time!

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Saki is such a pretty dog.

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Saki’s turn on daddy’s lap.

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Isn’t she just adorable?

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Molly on my lap.

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I know you’re probably sick of seeing dog pictures but it was a long drive and I had nothing better to do.

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Quick pit stop at the first Texas rest area. It was meant to be a short bathroom break for the dogs and the humans, but we had to take a photo at the rock thing because I guess it’s the thing to do at this rest stop. Anyway, we had to stop a few times for potty breaks making the five hour drive take almost seven hours.

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It didn’t matter how comfy we made the back of the car, they both wanted to be with us.

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It didn’t take long before we were in Fort Worth. We went to our hotel but our room wasn’t ready so we ended up going to see Sheryll and the kids first.

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We hung out with them briefly before returning to our hotel to check in and dropping off all of our stuff. I was pleasantly surprised. We had never stayed at a La Quinta Inn before and didn’t really know what to expect.

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Our room, which was clean and spacious, consisted of a bedroom with a separate living room, and bathroom next to the entry way.

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We had the perfect space for the crates in the bedroom area.

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We loved being able to take the dogs with us.

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There was also a nice walking path behind the property, which was a perfect place to walk the dogs to get them to do their business.

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There was also this cute little bridge.

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Later that day we met back up with Sheryll and the kids, her mom, and her mom’s boyfriend. We had dinner at Dickie’s.

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Their Dickie’s is a lot bigger than the Dickie’s we have here.

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After dinner we went back to her mom’s boyfriend’s house to hang out and catch up some more, and also take a few selfies.

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We had a great time visiting with Sheryll and her family.

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We didn’t stay out too late though because we had to get back to our babies.

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I need to give a shout out to La Quinta for the accommodations. They didn’t charge us extra for bringing our two dogs with us. The hotel rate was reasonable as well. I was super pleased with our experience. I’m likely to stay at a La Quinta again next time that we’re travelling with the dogs.

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Saki liked it so much she refused to leave. LOL.

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Sheryll wanted to make breakfast for us so we went back to their house again the next morning before driving back to Wichita. Sheryll made these yummy breakfast burritos. And then we were on our way back home.

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It was a really short trip but very productive. We thoroughly enjoyed visiting with everyone. Also, we’re super glad to have discovered La Quinta. I can’t wait to take the dogs on a real vacation!

The Burger Stand – Lawrence and Topeka

The Burger Stand at the Casbah Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Burger Stand is hands down the best burger joint in Kansas. Not just because of their hip ambiance but the burgers are amazing. They’ve come up with the most creative and delicious combination of flavors. They offer a variety of different types of fries, which are flavorful enough to stand on their own, but they also have lots of different sauces you can try.

I had dinner at the Burger Stand at the Casbah last month, which is their Lawrence, KS location. Here are some pictures.

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I know that menu is hard to read so here’s a link to their menu online. They have burgers (meat and veggie) and hotdogs (made with Nathan’s Famous all beef hotdogs) and a variety of fries to choose from. They even have poutine fries, which aren’t very common unless you’re in Canada.

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These are the truffle fries, which are my absolute favorite kind of fries to get there. Even though the sweet potato fries and the duck fat fries are quiet popular as well. I hear the Cajun fries are yummy as well but I tend to go with what’s familiar so I always end up eating the truffle fries.

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They have some salad selections too, if you’re not a burger eater but you gotta try their burgers because they are super delicious. I’m not much of a burger eater myself but these burgers are amazing. Beyond amazing. They are life-changing. LOL. The one pictured above is the Smoke which consists of a super thick burger patty, applewood-smoked bacon, gouda cheese, and chipotle-cocoa ketchup. I have never tasted a more delicious burger in my entire life.

The Burger Stand Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We had our team builder at the Topeka location this past week. The Topeka location is officially named the Burger Stand at College Hill, probably because of its proximity to the Washburn University campus. Getting there is kind of weird because you drive by a bunch of houses. Parking is kind of iffy at times and the one way streets can be confusing but, I have to say, it’s totally worth the trip. I think the Topeka location actually has a more extensive menu than the Lawrence one in terms of burgers. For instance, I don’t think you can get Holy Jalapeño or Thai Turkey in Lawrence. It doesn’t matter to me either way though, because I just want the Smoke burger which I can get at both places.

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Our team building activity last Wednesday consisted of pounding some burgers and playing a single-elimination ping pong tournament.

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I’m not any good at ping pong but I think it’s super fun and wish I could play more often. My first match up was against Darcy. I don’t think she’s ever played ping pong before. I was able to advance to the next match which was against Miranda. I also won that match. My next match was supposed to be with Nathan but he withdrew because he felt bad about winning against Jenni despite his illegal serving style. I ended up playing against Jenni instead. She was pretty good and I lost that match.

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Anyway, I had some pretty easy matches. I’m glad I didn’t have to play any of the pros like Kim, Dan, Andy, or Sam. I think Sam was the ultimate winner that night which is funny considering he’s not even on our project team. He was just tagging along with our Project Manager Andy who also works for the same consulting firm. Andy’s first match was with Kelsey and he was being really mean and smashing the ball every chance he got. I’m glad I never had to play him. Our Project Director Kim was really good and she held her own against Sam. Sam played ping pong the best out of everyone.

Even though I’m not as good at playing ping pong as the others, I really enjoy it. It’s a shame that we already have some furniture in the basement. If it was still fairly empty, I would totally ask for a ping pong table for downstairs. LOL. I wonder if there are any restaurants in Wichita that have ping pong tables you can play on. I know that there’s a ping pong table at the ICT Pop-Up Urban Park because I’ve played there before but it has been too windy and cold to play, and I haven’t really been in town enough.

Do you guys have some suggestions as to where Brian and I can go and have some food and play some post-dinner ping pong? Please post them in the comments. Otherwise, I may just have to take him to the Burger Stand in Topeka one of these days.

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.

Our Youngest is Growing Up So Fast

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It’s been a while since we gave an update on Saki. She recently graduated from puppy school at PetSmart. She would have finished sooner except we had to move her to another class. We enrolled her in the 2 PM class on Saturdays over the holidays last year. Things were going swimmingly until Brian and I both went back to work and then she started not wanting to pay attention and refusing to perform commands. After a couple of sessions like this, we figured it out. It wasn’t that she didn’t understand the commands. It was because she wanted to take a nap. On every single day of the week, 2 PM is her nap time (since she and Molly are locked up in their crates while we are at work) so, on Saturdays, that’s what she wanted to do as well.

Saki started falling behind since she didn’t want to pay attention in class and I was really worried about her. Luckily, there was another puppy training class at the same location with the same trainer, Mike Miller, on Tuesday nights at 7 PM. Mike was nice enough to allow Saki to transfer to that class. They started later so Saki got to review some of the things that she was already supposed to know. The time worked out better as well. Saki was more attentive and she responded to commands a lot better.

I was really worried about Saki but she seems to be turning out okay. In this aspect, anyway. She still has some behavior issues that I’m a bit concerned about. No dog is perfect, though. Actually, no one is. None of us are perfect. We all have our issues.

Molly is kind of a bitch. Well, she literally is; but she’s also a bitch in another sense. When Saki tries to love on her and be friendly, she’ll randomly snarl at her and pick a fight. Most of the time it’s uncalled for but sometimes I wonder if it’s in response to Saki’s attitude. Saki can be a bully. She already knows that she’s much bigger so she likes to pounce on Molly and body check her. Sometimes it’s nice and playful and sometimes it’s rough. I bet that can be annoying to a senior citizen dog like Molly, which doesn’t really do anything to improve her bitchy attitude. It just makes it worse.

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Here’s Molly’s adorable RBF.

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Saki got spayed last week and I was hoping that would slow her down. It only lasted a couple of days. Even though she’s still recovering, her energy is back in full force. Brian says it comes in bursts now so rather than being super hyper 100% of the time, she has a few moments of calm in between bursts of energy. She still has a lot of energy, though. I’m hoping that she’ll start to calm down because that will be the key to her and mellow Molly getting along.

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The dogs usually play with our neighbors dogs, Nikki and Ellie, but we’ve been keeping them apart so Saki can take it easy and recover quickly. Well, the weather was super nice the other day and the dogs missed each other so much they were anxious to play together. We let them and I think Saki overdid it.

We noticed some blood clots in her stitches that weren’t there before. It was probably too soon. No more playing and rough-housing with the other dogs again for a while. They’re not going to like it but Saki just can’t resist being all wild and crazy and she’s liable to hurt herself if we don’t stop her.

By the way, I found this really cool site last night when Brian and I were shopping for a new harness online for Saki. She’s quickly outgrowing the one that she has now. I didn’t want to buy the wrong harness, have her outgrow it, and have to buy another in a couple of months so we wanted to figure out how big she will get as an adult dog. Puppy Chart lets you do that. They have info on just about every breed imaginable. You just input some information such as your dog’s birthday and their last known weight and it will estimate how big they will get over the next couple of years. It’s pretty neat.

If the site’s prediction proves to be accurate then Saki will top out at about 18 lbs, which is perfect for me. I’m not really a big dog person. I was hoping that she wouldn’t get any bigger than 25 lbs. If she stays under 20 lbs then she’s technically still within small dog realm. She’s gigantic compared to Molly but still quite small compared to other dogs. I may just get my wish after all.

My Room with “Boo” at the Haunted Eldridge Hotel in Lawrence, KS

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I hit the jackpot on a recent stay at the Eldridge Hotel in Lawrence, Kansas. I normally don’t request a specific room so, when I checked and they asked me if it’s okay that I got room 506, I was surprised in a good way. I’ve always been curious about this room and have wanted to stay in it, just not enough to specifically request it. I lucked out this time and it got assigned to me by chance.

The hotel, which started as Free State Hotel in 1855, has had a long history of getting torn down and being rebuilt. It became Hotel Eldridge after it was rebuilt in 1865 following an attack from William Clarke Quantrill and his band of raiders. This wasn’t the first time that the hotel was rebuilt and also not the last. The hotel has fallen into disrepair and been rebuilt a few more times since then.

The entire hotel is supposed to be haunted but there’s something eerily special about room 506. Reportedly most of the paranormal activity happens on the fifth floor with 506 being a portal to the spirit world. Guests have claimed to have seen breath marks on recently cleaned mirrors, doors opening and shutting by themselves, and lights turning on and off on their own. It’s all very creepy.

Here’s little video about the hotel that I found on YouTube:

I knew the hotel was haunted but I’m really glad that I didn’t have all of this information before because I would have had an even more difficult time sleeping. As it was, I hardly slept that night without imagining all of this ghostly paranormal activity. I’m highly impressionable so it’s pretty easy to put crazy ideas in my head.

In doing some reading after my stay, I also learned that the hotel was featured in My Ghost Story, a show on A&E’s Biography Channel.

Above is a short preview of that episodes that I found on Facebook. It’s Season 3, Episode 1 of My Ghost Story. You can watch the full episode from Amazon Video.

Here are a few more photos from my stay…

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I had taken a couple of pictures of the view across the street.

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When I talked to Brian that evening, as we do every night when I’m away from home, he was like, “I saw the picture you posted on Facebook. It looked like there’s someone standing behind you.” He thinks he ‘s funny.

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Here’s the layout of the fifth floor.

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Here’s my very nice, un-creepy bed.

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Here’s the lovely bathroom. The creepiest thing about it is that the shower area is kind of dark because the light is outside the shower curtain. There’s not a light directly above you in the shower.

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The weirdest thing that happened to me during my stay is I couldn’t get any hot water to come out. I was actually not very happy about that. I wasn’t upset enough to complain, but it felt like I was showering in the Philippines where your water only has one temperature — cold.

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Here’s a picture of the cute, little sitting area that you see immediately upon entering the room. The room is actually quite spacious and has two TVs that probably rarely get used, if at all. The second TV faces the bed.

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I was smart this time and didn’t turn on the ceiling fan, although it would have been nice when I got hot in the middle of the night. I didn’t turn it on because, the last time I stayed at the Eldridge (granted, I was in a different room), the ceiling fan wobbled and made a clicking sound and kept me up all night.

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I had a hard time sleeping again but I couldn’t blame the ceiling fan this time. I don’t really know what to blame for my insomnia other than I’d been having a rough time at work since one of my mentors and one of my most favorite people in the entire world announced that he’s leaving the company.

But I digress… There was no paranormal activity the night of my stay unfortunately — or fortunately, I suppose. As cool as ghost stories might have been, I’m not sure I could have handled it.

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