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Archive for "Hobbies"

Picklepalooza 2021

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

Last week I had the opportunity to do one of my favorite things while supporting a wonderful organization. Evergy sponsored Senior Services of Wichita’s Picklepalooza event and we put a team of six together.

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Our team consisted of (from left) me, Paul Haas, Chris Wilson, Anita and Jeff Harris, and Sarah Pearson. Paul is former Evergy. He retired from Westar Energy a couple of years ago. Everyone else is an active Evergy employee except for Anita who is married to Jeff.

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Despite our recent divorce, Chris and I reunited to play together for the advanced group. Our other team ups were Paul and Sarah, and Jeff and Anita (obviously). Our other two teams played in the recreational group.

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Here are a few more pictures from the event: Paul and Sarah in action.

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Anita and Jeff make a great team.

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Selfie with MariAnn. She played for the Great Harvest Bread Co. team – Professional Loafers. I actually teased Lesli Toubassi (owner of Great Harvest) for stacking her team with the best players: MariAnn and Tim Heeren, Jenny Cole, Scott Wolford, Zach Loomis, Michael Harris, and Vickie Hancock. She had a perfectly good explanation, though. With only eight employees, she would have had to close her store for the day to have her employees play.

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The advanced group consisted of Lesli’s four teams plus me and Chris (Evergy) and Mark and Hershel (Waste Connections).

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Don’t let their serious faces fool you. The event was a blast!

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A bunch of us stayed for the mingle party at the rooftop deck after the event. Pictured with me above are Jenny and Mark.

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I’m glad I stayed for the party because I won one of the door prizes.

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It contained a bottle of wine and a bunch of pickle-themed foods like this jar of Holmes Made sweet spicy garlic dill pickles. So fun!

I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in this event. To learn more about all of the services that Senior Services of Wichita provides to seniors in our community visit www.seniorservicesofwichita.org. I hope I get to play in this event again next year. Until next time. GNG.

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Noi, Ron, and Royce Visit Wichita

Posted on September 25, 2021 by under Hobbies, Life.    

Just a few pics from the Tennessee guys’ most recent trip to Wichita.

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Noi was the first to arrive. He arrived late on Wednesday night. I usually play pickleball on Wednesday nights so Michael Cheung picked him up from the airport and brought him to the house.

I took Thursday and Friday off work so I could be available and also because Noi was originally going to arrive on Thursday instead of Wednesday night. It actually worked out that he arrived a day early because he was able to play with Chris Heck, Erik Rasmussen, and Tony Swantek at Seneca Park on Thursday morning.

I dropped him off before I went to run errands and attend my Rotary luncheon. After Rotary, I met up with Chris and Noi at Wichita Brewing Company. Chris was off to a lesson down the street and Noi and I went to meet Michael and Matt Nola at Edgemoor Park.

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Matt and I unintentionally matched. Naturally, we had to take pic.

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The four of us split up briefly but they were back at Edgemoor Park again later that day for even more pickleball. I had to go teach my 5:30 PM Aqua Zumba class so Matt picked Noi up from our house and took him to his house for snacks before meeting the rest of the gang at Edge. I went to play with them after class before taking Noi home. Michael came over and the four of us enjoyed a Filipino spaghetti dinner lovingly prepared by Brian.

Noi and I started the next day super early. We went and played pickleball at Edgemoor Park from 7:30 AM to 9:30 AM before heading to the airport to pick up Ron and Royce. We picked them up and after a quick stop at home met Trung Ho and Mark Narongvate for “Lunch and Bowl” at West Acres.

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“Lunch and Bowl” is the best deal ever. For only $12, you got two hours of bowling, shoes (if you need them), food, and a drink. I’m so glad that Mark suggested it.

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We tried to get two lanes so we could bowl cross lanes like in league play but they were too busy that day so the six of us had to settle for playing on one lane. It worked out okay and we still had a great time.

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The reason why the bowling alley was so busy was because they had senior travel league that day. It only occurs every five weeks and that day just happened to be the week they were there so the only had the one lane available.

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After bowling, we went to Chicken N Pickle to play pickleball and then Edgemoor Park again once it was cool enough. I did have to leave the guys because Friday night is my Nahola night but I left them in great hands.

After pickleball, they had dinner at Thai Tradition followed by games at Round One. The guys came home super late and then, on Saturday morning, we were back at it at Edgemoor Park for 7 AM play. Edgemoor was definitely our headquarters that weekend because we were there so much during the guys’ visit.

I played with them until about 8:30 AM when I had to go to teach my Aqua Zumba class down the street at VASA Woodlawn. I ran some errands (picked up our team shirts for Picklepalooza and stopped by the kick off event at Seneca Park to drop off some pickleball over grips and stickers for Patti to hand out) and then met up with the guys for lunch at Twin Peaks sponsored by our high roller friend Zach Nguyen.

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Pictured from left: Zach, Michale, Trung, and Mark. Mark is always hiding from photos. Below, back to front: Noi, Royce, and Ron.

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After lunch I dropped the guys off at Zach’s house to watch football and then they came back around 4 PM to get ready for Ron’s birthday celebration.

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Here are some pictures of us hanging out on Saturday night.

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I love birthdays because we get to have cake! Chocolate is our fave.

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Zach and Lisa came by after the wedding. Michael attended the same wedding and came by after as well.

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That was the night I learned how to play Vietnamese 13. Anyway, we didn’t stay up too late because we all had 7 AM pickleball play the next day, once again at Edgemoor. And once again, I had to leave to teach my morning Aqua Zumba class. This time at the VASA Harry/Georgetown location.

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After my class and running some errands, I came back to Edgemoor just in time for everyone to wrap up. A few of us went to lunch around the corner at Yokohama Ramen Izakaya.

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After lunch, a quick shower, and a nap it was time for Ron and Royce to fly out. Noi couldn’t get a flight out until the next day but he packed up anyway because he wanted to spend some more time with Mark on his last day in Wichita. Also, Mark offered to take him to the airport for his flight the next day. Since Mark lives on the West side of town, closer to the airport, it actually worked out better.

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We went back to Edgemoor on Sunday night for one last play with Noi and that pretty much wraps up this most recent visit to Wichita. It was a fun filled weekend, loaded with lots of eating and playing and not much sleep. I can’t wait until these guys visit us again. Until next time, GNG.

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Road Trip Weekend

Posted on September 24, 2021 by under Hobbies, Travel.    

My friend Ramon Lozano invited me to play with him in a tournament in Lenexa on Saturday, September 11. It was the same weekend as the Kansas Senior Games so I decided to take that Friday off work and make a pit stop in Topeka to check on how my friends were doing.

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While at the park, I bumped into a former coworker, Denise Fundis, who retired from Westar Energy a few years ago. I was surprised to hear someone call out for “Cherrie” because everyone I know from pickleball knows me as “Ching” and when I turned around it was Denise.

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Here are some pictures of some of my favorite picklers. Can you believe these guys are seniors? Pictured above: Matt Conrad, Kim Blackmon, Tiffany and Donnie Lesperance. Below: Chris Wilson and Janelle Lindeman.

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After watching a few matches at the Kansas Senior Games, it was time for me to head to Mary Ann’s house in Shawnee to drop off my stuff before we met some of our friends for dinner at KC Daiquiri Shop.

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The tournament I played in was held at Bois D’Arc Park in Lenexa. It’s a great park with eight spacious, dedicated, and lighted pickleball courts.

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The tournament had a great turnout and was very organized. Jeremy Reimer and his team of volunteers did a fabulous job.

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Devon Fuller and I unintentionally reverse matched in the morning.

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Ran into Aaron Trost at the tournament. That was such a nice surprise.

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Mary Ann took her mother Judy for a walk and they came by the park and watched a few games. I think I might have convinced them to try it. Hoping to see them play at the next tournament.

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It was Michelle Dreilling’s birthday that day so we took a birthday selfie.

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Ramon found me an awesome women’s doubles partner, Karly Williams, for the 4.0+ women’s doubles division in the morning. After being nearly flawless in the round robin pool play (losing only to Rachel Chai-Wise and Suparna Garinger), we ended up not performing as well in the single elimination bracket and took fourth place. Not bad for our first time playing together, though.

Ramon and I struggled a bit in pool play (we were 4 and 3) but managed to take second place in 4.0+ mixed. The joke was that we were saving everything for the single elimination bracket which, in the end, is what really matters.

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I’m glad we medaled because I didn’t want to let Ramon down. I felt like this was my audition and I had to perform well to be invited to team up again.

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Of all my medals, this is my favorite one. First, because it actually says what event it’s for on the back and none of my other medals do. And secondly, because it is my first one with my friend Ramon. I’m hoping there will be others.

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Anyway, the tournament was super fun. I’m definitely going to try and play in it again next year (or whenever they have another). I’ll try to bring some more people from Wichita next time too. Until then, GNG.

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Happy Hour with Pickleball Pals

Posted on September 20, 2021 by under Food and Drink, Hobbies.    

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We managed to talk Jody into coming out for drinks on her birthday weekend. We had happy hour at the Belmont, my absolute favorite place to drink pretty drinks.

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They also make very photogenic and delicious bruschetta.

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I didn’t get pictures of drinks this time because I already have several pictures of all of their fancy cocktails from previous visits. I did get pictures of some of our food.

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After happy hour, Jen and I had the brilliant idea to go to Seneca Park for singles. Janelle apparently had the same idea because she was playing when I arrived. It was a nice night so the park was full of players. There wasn’t an empty court for singles so we ended up playing doubles with Dan Kautz and Erik Rasmussen.

I was very confused why Erik was there but, as I had already consumed a few drinks, I didn’t let the thought occupy my brain too long. Erik did manage to rattle my brain fog when he hit me with his serve. I’ve unintentionally hit people with my serve before but I’ve never been a victim of a Nasty Nelson myself until now. What hurt more than the impact of the ball on my belly was that he did this to me on purpose. What the heck?

Anyway, people started to leave and a couple of courts opened up so Jen and I were eventually able to play our singles as we planned. However, I caught Erik about to hit me again from the next court over. I gave him the evil eye and, much to my surprise, it was an effective deterrent.

A couple of days later, in a quest to figure out how I became a victim of a Nasty Nelson, I asked Dan what the heck Erik was doing at open play. I guess the two of them had the same idea as Jen and me. They went to the park hoping to find an open court for singles. I would say great minds think alike but I refuse to elevate Dan and Erik’s brains in that way. This was pure coincidence.

By the way, for someone who doesn’t play much singles, Jen is really good at it. Either that or, since singles leagues have ended, I’ve started to really suck at it. I refuse to believe that I’m awful at singles (because I enjoy it so much) so let’s just say Jen is a natural and leave it at that.

Random visits to Seneca Park are fun but that day reminded me of why I don’t drink and play pickleball (or why I shouldn’t). Until next time, GNG.

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Picklemania in Oklahoma City

Posted on September 13, 2021 by under Hobbies, Travel.    

I spent the weekend in Oklahoma City a couple of weeks ago to participate in the Picklemania pickleball tournament held at Lifetime Athletics at the end of August. Sometimes I wonder why I never made pickleball its own category on this blog because that’s mostly what I write about these days. Zumba has its own category but I don’t even spend as much time doing that anymore.

Anyway, Picklemania was a three-day event. Women’s doubles was on Saturday and mixed doubles was on Sunday. There were no singles events but they had a split-age event called 50/50 on Friday night. It didn’t cost that much more to play in extra events so I decided to play in all three. Chris Wilson was my partner for both 50/50 and mixed. Kimberly Howe was my women’s doubles partner.

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Part of the fun of going to tournaments is seeing some pickleball friends that you only get to see at these events. I bumped into Julie and Antonio (pictured above) — a couple of friends I made when I was at the OKC Chicken n Pickle a few weeks ago for Lauren Stratman and Patrick Smith’s clinic. It’s always so fun to reconnect with pickleball pals from other states.

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Several friends from Wichita came down to compete but we mostly hung out with Kimberly and Eric Howe because they were our doubles partners. Eric played with Chris in men’s doubles and Kimberly and I were women’s doubles partners. The two of them, Kimberly and Eric, also played in the 50/50 tournament. We were all in the same division for 50/50 but, thankfully, we were in different pools. Kimberly and Eric were in Group 3 and Chris and I were in Group 2. So we didn’t have to play each other during pool play.

There were 15 teams altogether and they divided us into 5-team pools for the round robin. The first and second place teams in each pool advanced into the single elimination bracket. Kimberly and Eric ended up third in their pool missing bracket play by a few points. Chris and I cruised through our bracket for the most part. There was only one team that gave us a challenge and we ended up having to play them again in the championship.

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Chris and I ended up with gold, followed by William Chaing and Cindy Minard from Tulsa, and then Gene Click and Barbara Mock from Edmond and Oklahoma City in third. William pulled out his chainsaw serve in the championship and really made me look like an idiot. That serve is ridiculous!

Anyway, the format is a bit different. They only play two games in the round robin and the team with the higher total score wins that match. They award bonus points for each game and match you win. And then in bracket play, you played two games in the quarter finals and the team with the higher total wins the match but then in the semi finals and finals the points don’t matter and if it’s split then you play a third game but only to 7 points. It was so different and that one game to 7 is kind of stressful. I mean, sometimes I’m down 7 points before I even start actually playing. It turned out okay for me and Chris, though.

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The 50/50 tournament was on Friday night. The next day was mens and women’s doubles. Kimberly and I looked pretty spiffy in our team uniforms. Our shoes even matched! There were 20 teams in the 3.0-3.5 skill level so they divided us into four 5-team pools. Kimberly and I cruised through pool play. But, unlucky for us, we ended up with several 3.0 teams in our pool so we didn’t really get much preparation for bracket play.

We ended up having to play the gold medal team in the first round. After playing against some lower skilled teams, we really weren’t prepared to crank up our game and didn’t adjust fast enough. Committed too many errors, which we would have gotten away with had we been playing the same caliber of teams as in pool play. Bottom line, we didn’t play our best.

It was really unfortunate because it was a single elimination bracket so, once you lose, you’re out, and I feel like we were fully capable of beating both the third and second place teams. We had already defeated the third place team in the round robin portion, 11-7 and 11-8, so we knew we could beat them. And the second place team were Brandi Richardson and Parrish Gumeringer from Wichita. We play with these girls all the time and I feel like we had a great chance against them as well. Honestly, I think we could have beat the gold medal team too, had we not played so poorly. We really beat ourselves with all the errors we made.

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The guys did much better and ended up with bronze in 50+ men’s doubles. They won their pool and got third based on their total points in bracket play.

Mixed doubles on Sunday was interesting because there were so many teams. There were four teams from Wichita: Brandi and Ty Richardson, Parrish Gumeringer and Ryan Kellenbarger, Rachel McMahon and Kyle Long, and then me and Chris. There were five pools in the round robin portion and each of us were in our own pool so we didn’t have the potential to run into one another until bracket play.

I kind of wish they separated 3.0 and 3.5 because we ended up in a super easy pool and cruised through the round robin (which is not always a good thing). We ended up getting a bye in the first round and had to play a team that came out of a tougher pool and also had to play in the first round so they had some momentum going with a bracket win under their belt already as our very first match. Same story as the previous day. Just made too many errors and got eliminated.

Wichita still took home medals, though. Rachel and Kyle ended up getting silver in 3.5 mixed and Parrish and Ryan ended up with gold in 3.0 mixed. They ended up in the 3.0 bracket because they were third place in your pool. They basically pooled all the 3.0 and 3.5 teams together and then first and second place in the pool advanced to play in the 3.5 bracket and third and fourth place advanced to play in the 3.0 bracket. Parrish and Ryan are a solid 3.5 team so they pretty much smoked everyone in the bracket.

In some ways, since there were more than enough teams, I kind of wish they separated 3.0 and 3.5 rather than pooling them together. It’s great that you get a lot of games but, depending on the group you’re in, they may not be very challenging. And then, when it really matters you end up not being ready to play your best. I know this sounds like a really lame excuse for my poor performance in women’s and mixed but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. LOL.

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As tournaments go, this has to be my most favorite one in terms of cost and location. The entry fees were reasonable and they even provided food — breakfast and lunch! The venue was also top notch. Lifetime Athletics is probably the most amazing gym I’ve ever set foot in. It smells so good in there (probably because the spa is right by the front door). It doesn’t smell like a gym at all.

I loved that we got to play indoors on outdoor tennis court surface so we got the best of everything. We had the perfect playing surface but didn’t have to worry about the sun and wind. I’m totally adding this to my list of tournaments to hit next year, along with the Sunflower State Games (another one that is indoors).

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Anyhow, that’s all for now. Until next time. GNG.

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