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Thanksgiving 2021

Posted on December 1, 2021 by under Family.    

For many years I’ve been trying to convince Brian to just go to a Thanksgiving buffet for Thanksgiving lunch instead of making food at home and he never would agree. This year, I finally managed to convince him. We looked over several restaurants offering Thanksgiving buffets and finally settled on YaYa’s.

It was the best idea ever. We didn’t have to spend hours preparing or cooking food and cleaning up after. We just went and enjoyed lots of amazing food (and a pitcher of mimosa) and then went home and enjoyed some games with grandma. It was absolutely perfect since it was just the three of us.

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After lunch, we taught grandma how to play Mexican train dominoes and then finished with ten rounds of Uno. Grandma was off to a great start and won three games straight. Brian and I eventually caught up and were in a three-way tie with three wins each. Brian won the final round and was the ultimate winner.

However, the real winner of the day was me because I finally got my way of simply going out to eat for Thanksgiving. We are going to YaYa’s for Thanksgiving every year from now on. LOL. Until next time. GNG.

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Meredith’s Visit

Posted on November 30, 2021 by under Community, Hobbies.    

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Meredith Novy was in town last weekend (she’s currently working in Baltimore, MD) so her boyfriend Brian Harshman brought several people together at Chicken N Pickle on Sunday afternoon for some pickleball fun. Some people couldn’t make it (Ev Kim had volleyball and Anna Le had to stay home and watch Sophia) but we got enough players to fill three courts for a fun ladder.

Debbie and Dave Fanning, Tiffany and Donnie Lesperance, Michael Harris, Lori Below, Karen Fox, Kim Knotts, Fong Witte, Brian Harshman, and Meredith Novy (our guest of honor) came out to play. Here are some pictures that we took at the end of our play session.

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But the fun didn’t end there. After our pickleball session, a bunch of us went up to the Snowbound Ski Lodge (trip #2 for me) because several people hadn’t experienced it yet. The Snowbound Ski Lodge is located at Chicken N Pickle’s rooftop and it’s the perfect place for a holiday gathering.

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It was so great to have Meredith back, even just for a weekend. It’s so much fun to play with and against such a talented pickleball player. We had a great time visiting but also hearing how difficult it is to get good pickleball play in Baltimore made me realize just how special our pickleball community is in Wichita.

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Cheers to the best group of picklers ever! Can’t wait to have Meredith back! Only a few more months to go. Until next time. GNG.

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Another EPIC Night with PB Friends

Posted on November 29, 2021 by under Life.    

Brian and I went out with the pickleball peeps last weekend when EPIC had a gig at Mordecai’s. EPIC is a favorite among this group.

I’m not into going out these days because I just want to play pickleball but Donnie sold it to me this way – Mordecai’s is only five minutes from our house. Also, I did want to get Brian out because he’s been staying home too much lately. He needs to show his handsome face every now and then just to remind people he exists.

It was our first time at Mordecai’s even though it’s so close to where we live. Not a surprise since we don’t really do the going out thing anymore. I think the last time we were out there was over ten years ago. The place was called the Lizard’s Lounge and went probably because another friend’s band had a gig. That’s usually the reason we go out to these things — peer pressure. LOL.

Here are some pictures from that epic (pun intended) Saturday night.

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It was Tim Hereen’s birthday weekend so everyone was in a festive mood. These wild picklers spent most of the night on the dance floor. One of my new friends Mitch Spencer, lawyer by day and dance floor king by night, was dancing his heart out and showing off his awesome dance moves.

Brian was like, “I didn’t know Mitch was like THAT.”

“Like WHAT, babe?” I ask him, “An avid dancer?”

It’s so much fun to hang out with people off the pickleball court because you get to learn so much more about them and get to know them as people and not just as targets to body bag. I’m kidding about that last part. Maybe.

Seriously, though. I learned that night that most pickleball people also love to dance. It explains a lot. It does require a good amount of coordination in order to play doubles pickleball. That cat and mouse at the non-volley zone (kitchen) is kind of like a dance. Odds are, if someone is graceful on the court, they probably have some funky fresh dance moves to go along with it.

That is all for now. Until next time. GNG.

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Nahola Team Tournament

Posted on November 28, 2021 by under Community, Hobbies.    

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Karen Fox, Ramon Lozano, Bo Tolbert and I played on the team tournament at Nahola last weekend. I played in the event last year and recalled how much fun I had so, when Karen and Ramon invited me to be on their team, I immediately said yes. Bo, who was my partner in the ICT Fall-out pickleball tournament, agreed to be my mixed partner.

The day of the tournament, November 20, happened to be Ramon’s birthday so, to surprise him, I got “EVERYBODY LOVES RAMON” shirts made for our team. It’s kind of an inside joke because they kept butchering his name at the PC Smash tournament last month. They were pronouncing it “Ray-mon” instead of “Rah-mon” with a short A sound.

Karen got a matching cake made. It was delicious!

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There were seven amazing teams that played in the tournament. Typically, Kayla only allows six teams because there are only two courts. Allowing for a seventh team made for a really long day and quite a bit of waiting in between matches. We started at 9 AM and didn’t finish until 5 PM, which people ended up leaving near the end because of other commitments (we all thought we would be done by 3 o’clock – Brian and I had a nail appointment at 4 PM that we ended up rescheduling for another day). It was still a lot of fun despite all the waiting and even though we didn’t get to complete all of the matches.

Here are some pictures of the teams that participated in the team event.

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Steve Vetter, Jen Reifschneider, Jen Tiano, and Jon Maugans (the winning team)

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Michael McLemore, Greta Siemens, Denise Brinkworth, and Mike Adams (second place team)

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Zach Nguyen, Fong Witte, Amy Jaramillo, and Matthew Rochat

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Donnie and Tiffany Lesperance, Kimberly Howe, and Mark Armstrong

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Mike Maloney, Shawna Geist, and Cindy and Ed Egan

Chris Wilson, Ian Carr, Michelle Dreiling, and Sharon Steimel also played but I missed getting a picture of their team. I actually didn’t get the pics of the first and second place teams. I stole those pics from the Nahola Facebook page. LOL.

Anyway, this format is really fun. I wouldn’t mind doing it again but probably not if there are seven teams because that was the reason for the extended waits between matches. Seven teams would work if you had three courts.

We are doing something similar at Chicken N Pickle next weekend on December 4. It’s going to be a team event patterned after Major League Pickleball. I’m playing just because it’s a different format and I was want to try something new and different. I’m kind of excited for it and will let you know how it goes. We might even livestream it. Stay tuned!

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Executives of the Year Awards Lunch

Posted on November 28, 2021 by under Community, Leadership.    

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Former VP of Customer Operations at Evergy Jeff Beasley (he retired in June) was recognized by the Wichita Business Journal as one of its 2021 Executives of the Year. A bunch of us from work attended the awards lunch at the Hyatt last week. It was a wonderful celebration of several amazing leaders in our community.

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After almost two years of working remotely, it was great to see some colleagues face to face. Most of our meetings have been virtual and video cameras aren’t always on so it was refreshing to actually see everyone. We will all be returning to working from the office in January so we will be back to seeing one another in person again very soon. Hopefully, it’s a sign that things are finally returning back to normal.

There were several executives honored at the lunch. I had met a few of them through events such as these in the past, before the pandemic brought gatherings to a screeching halt, but there were a couple of honorees who I actually knew personally. Ron McMahon, CEO of the Greater Wichita YMCA, was one of the honorees. I had met him through my stint as a group fitness instructor for the YMCA. Margaret Dechant, CEO of 6 Meridian (an investment advising firm formed in 2016 by 6 former Morgan Stanley wealth advisors), was another honoree. I met Margaret through pickleball. Incidentally, Ron is also an avid pickleball player.

It’s amazing to me how impressive many of the pickleball players are in our community. So many of them are successful entrepreneurs or business people. You could be playing with the President of a billion-dollar company or a professional poker player or some other multi-millionaire. You never know. That’s one of the great things about pickleball. Players from diverse backgrounds and all ages have so much fun playing together.

That’s all for now. Until next time. GNG.

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