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Archive for "Hobbies"

Zumba Is and Will Always Be

Posted on January 29, 2024 by under Hobbies, Zumba.    

I’m not sure if anyone has noticed but, now that I’m less focused on pickleball (I don’t plan to play any tournaments this year – so far so good), I’ve had a bit more time for self-reflection. Today, I thought about reflecting on my Zumba journey. I’ve had many hobbies come and go over the years but Zumba is the one passion of mine that’s always been a constant.

Now that I’m back to teaching at the Y (will expound on this later), someone in class recently asked me how long I’ve been doing Zumba. Well, I’ve been teaching classes for about 12 years but I’ve been “doing” Zumba since the beginning of time. I first discovered Zumba through an infomercial (back when those were a thing) over 20 years ago. I bought the VHS tapes and started doing Zumba at home. A few years later, in-person classes became available. Much like my pickleball addiction, shortly after attending my first class, I found myself driving all over town to various gyms just to get my Zumba fix. There was a period of two years when I was a member of both Genesis Health Clubs and the YMCA and I was going to Zumba classes at independent studios and rec centers.

As with most of my hobbies, I tend to go all in so I was completely obsessed and was spending a lot of money on Zumba wear. In 2012, my friend and Zumba mentor Gina Ann encouraged me to join the Zumba Instructor Network. I didn’t necessarily want to teach classes. The biggest selling point was the 20% OFF discount on Zumba merch. I completed my training in April 2012 and joined the network but had absolutely no intention of teaching. However, in June of that year, my friend Patricia told me they needed someone to teach Zumba at Evergreen Recreation Center. I didn’t really want to teach classes but, because I was trying to learn Spanish at the time and the rec center is in a predominantly Hispanic area of town, I figured why not? That was my introduction to teaching Zumba and I haven’t looked back since. Nowadays, I get input from class participants on what songs I should add to the playlist but, at the time when I was first starting out, I didn’t really know any of that mattered so I just built my class playlist around all of my favorite songs. When I was a student, I used to take a water break or go to the restroom whenever the instructor would play a song that wasn’t really my cup of tea. Now that I was in full control of the playlist, I found it totally liberating. I thought, “This is awesome! I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner.” I only used my favorite songs. It was great.

I was enjoying it so much that I started to add more classes. At one point, I was working for Genesis, the Y, and the city of Wichita just teaching classes all over the place. Once I was more established, I quit teaching for the city (they paid the least), and mostly just taught at the Y. My regular full-time job was also a contributing factor to giving up some of my classes. There was a period from 2015 to 2018 when I was mostly working in Topeka and Kansas city so I could only teach classes on the weekends. By 2018, that project had wrapped so then I was back to mostly working from Wichita and not having to travel anywhere for work so then I could get back into a regular routine. When VASA opened in Wichita in August 2018, I joined their team. From then until 2020, when the COVID pandemic hit, I was teaching classes for the Y, Genesis, and VASA on evenings and weekends. I peaked at 9 classes a week at various locations — a class each night on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday; two classes on Saturdays; and three classes on Sundays.

I was also so obsessed with Zumba that I attended all the conventions, went on Zumba cruises, and completed training for nearly every form of Zumba imaginable. I even got licensed to teach Strong.


When I got into pickleball in 2019, I gradually started giving up classes so I would have more time to play. I got to play pickleball quite a bit before the gyms reopened in 2020 (after the “stay at home” mandate was lifted). When the gyms reopened, I decided to only return to VASA because I wanted more free time for pickleball and they paid the most out of all the gyms. For the last few years, I had been mostly teaching Aqua Zumba because we couldn’t find anyone else available who was licensed to teach that format besides me but there were many other Zumba instructors on the roster. I enjoyed teaching Aqua so I didn’t mind but, I have to admit, when I decided I wanted to pursue opportunities to teach Zumba again it was rough. I had forgotten all the land routines so I basically had to relearn and memorize choreography again. Thankfully, it’s a lot like riding a bike and it just comes back to you naturally.

I am currently teaching one class a week. I’m teaching Zumba at West YMCA on Wednesday nights from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM. I’ve been back for two months and I have enjoyed every minute of it. My friend Andrea Burk who was a regular at my Andover YMCA classes and also a former Zumba instructor has been coming to class and it’s been great reuniting with her. I also got a couple of my pickleball pals (Colby Fugit and Susie Ternes) to come and try class a couple of weeks ago.

With Colby and Susie With Andrea

Words simply cannot express how grateful I am to have Zumba as an outlet. I’ve had many hobbies over the years — hobbies that I’ve enjoyed for a time but no longer pursue (racquetball, crocheting, bowling, sword-fighting – just to name a few) — but there’s only one thing that has remained constant in my life over the last couple of decades and that is Zumba. Maybe years from now I can look back and add pickleball to my list of life-long hobbies. Check back in with me in 2030 but, for now, Zumba is and will always be my #1 passion.

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New Board Games

Posted on January 16, 2024 by under Games, Hobbies.    


Brian and I learned to play a new board game last week. Zach and Lisa taught us how to play Blokus, a 2-4 player strategy game using block shapes.

When Zach first told me about it a few weeks ago, I thought it sounded fun so I went ahead and ordered it (XL version) and Trigon (triangle shapes version) off Amazon. When my Trigon game arrived, we went over to Zach and Lisa’s place and they taught us how to play Blokus (that was our first time playing) and then we also played the Trigon version.

I’m not sure if this is a well-known fact but Brian and I love playing games. We love card games, board games, really any games. Brian’s actually playing chess with me again too (and kicking my butt, I might add).

Anyway, I thought I would share our most recent game purchases:

  • Blokus XL – This is the same as the Blokus game but with bigger pieces.
  • Blokus Trigon – Same as the Blokus game but with triangle shapes instead of squares.
  • Blank Slate – Super fun game that Colby brought to Susie’s house last month. I ended up ordering it that same night. We brought the game to Christmas Eve lunch at mom and dad’s and it was a hit. It was $25 was I ordered it but it’s actually on sale right now for $19 so if you want to buy your own game, now is the time to order it.
  • Qawale – This is a two player game Brian and I discovered via an online video. It’s quick and fun.

Are there any other games we should check out? We are open to suggestions. Let us know in the comments.

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Holiday Break

Posted on January 8, 2022 by under Hobbies, Pickleball.    

We had some great weather over the Christmas holiday. We had highs in the 70s! It was awesome! I pretty much played all day on Christmas Eve. First at Edgemoor Park with Jimmy Cho and crew and then later at Seneca Park with a bunch of other fellow pickleball addicts.


Jimmy Cho


Lonnie Lollar


I took advantage of vacation time between Christmas and New Year, and even made it to Mulvane to play some pickleball with mom and dad.

Others I got to play with during the break include Mason McCanless, Tom Pham, and Karen Fox. Mason arranged play for us at Edgemoor Park on a cold morning when we were the only people playing — five courts empty except for ours.

Here are some clips from our games that day at Edgemoor.


The next day I got to play with Jimmy Cho, Karen Fox, and Matt Nola. Matt and I are trying to get more games in together because we plan to play together in the US Open this year. That is, if we can make it through the lottery process.


I need to switch back to playing with an Electrum paddle, though.

Here are some of the fun points we had. This next video contains highlights from our 22-minute game. Would you believe all of these rallies happened in one game only? That was a crazy, fun game!

You can watch the full game on YouTube here. It’s so great to have Jimmy back. I can’t wait to play with him some more. GNG.

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Holiday Mixed League Recap

Posted on December 23, 2021 by under Hobbies.    

As many of you know, I love playing with new people so this past league session I was super excited to have the opportunity to team up with Dustin Herman. I totally would have played with Jamie again because I felt like I had the best odds of winning league with him as my partner. We were #1 seed going into the league tournament the previous session but he was out of town for the tournament so we didn’t really get to put our team to the test.

So anyway, I asked Jamie if he wanted to play in mixed again but he said he was undecided because Klee Watchous asked him to play in men’s super competitive. I was waiting to sign up until I heard back from him. In the meantime, Colby Fugit and Dustin Herman were already signed up but Colby got mono so she would have have missed at least two of the five weeks so she asked me to take her place. I’m all about playing with different people so I sent her $50 over Venmo and took her spot.

Ironically, super competitive didn’t have enough teams so that league was canceled this last session. Jamie and I totally could have played together had I signed us up before all the spots were filled but I kinda sensed that he wasn’t feeling up to it so I didn’t want to sign up with someone who didn’t really want to play.

I absolutely loved playing with Dustin. On our first night of league, we played against Steve Vetter and Jen Tiano (Steve and Jen) and Ian Carr and Jen Reifschneider (Volley Llamas) and beat both teams in 2 games. Those were two of the toughest teams in league and we were able to beat them on our first time playing together. The session looked very promising.

Of course, most people don’t really try as hard until the league tournament night so that was the true test. We ended up being seeded #3 going into the tournament, which wasn’t really ideal. Byes are kind of hard because, for your first match, you end up playing against a team that’s already got one win under their belt. I wouldn’t have minded being a #1 or #2 seed with a bye because those teams are not as tough as the other ones but in the mixed competitive league the top six teams are all equally tough. Any of those teams could really win the league. It just depends on who makes the least amount of errors or who’s on fire that night.

We ended up having to play Scott Wolford and Jenny Cole (J & S) as our first match, which is unfortunate because they are super tough. We actually lost to them in pool play. Not only are they the defending champions from the last session, but they practice and drill together daily and they almost exclusively play with one another so they have tons of experience as mixed doubles team.

After that match we dropped to the opportunity bracket where we won against Bread and Butter (this would have been Adam and Kristina Korfhage but Daryn Hayner was subbing for Adam who was out of town that night) and also Double Trouble (Zach Nguyen and Fong Witte) before meeting back up with Volley Llamas, who were sent to the back draw by Steve and Jen. We ended up losing to Volley Llamas which ended our tournament run.


Steve and Jen won league this session which is pretty familiar territory for these two. They’ve won this league once or twice before and when they don’t win, they are usually in the finals. Here’s a video of some of the matches that night if you’d like to watch them. I always like to rewatch these and try to learn from them.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to play with Dustin. He is so much fun to play with. We got a few freebies off his serves and his drives which helped a ton. Colby is back this next session so I will be facing off against him at some point. As much fun as he is to play with, I have to say that I will probably have even more fun playing against him. I just thrive on playing against players who love to drive the ball and drive it hard. I enjoy using their own power and spin against them.

I’ll be teaming up with Tony Mathews this time. This is a new team up but we were actually supposed to play together the previous session when Jamie ended up taking Tony’s place last minute because he fell through. This time Tony and I are also playing in the Monday night Nahola league together so we will get to prepare for Tuesday night league by playing on Monday nights. It is shaping up to be another promising session. I can’t wait to get started!

Will let you know how it goes in a few weeks. Until then, GNG.

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And That’s a Wrap

Posted on December 19, 2021 by under Hobbies.    

The women’s advanced league tournament finished last weekend and I’m happy to report that my doubles partner Anna Le and I won the league. It was a far cry from our last league together a year ago, when we only got to play together twice because COVID wreaked havoc on everything.

She missed a couple of weeks and I missed a couple of weeks and it was only a five week league so it was really rough. We did get to play together for the tournament but, as we hadn’t been playing together, we didn’t fare as well.

This time around, I was in great health and I didn’t miss any weeks at all. Anna missed a couple of weeks ago because she had a wedding out of town and I got my friend Brooke to fill in that night.


Brooke and I have played together in women’s league before too and she’s always down to be matchy-matchy so it was a lot of fun having her sub.


Brooke had never been to Snowbound so we went up there after for some post-pickleball league cocktails and of course some fun pics.



The following week Anna was back and we had a great tournament run. We lost to Sassy Cats (Susan and Janet) in pool play but the Social Dinkers (our team) prevailed on league tournament night. We had an undefeated run and didn’t drop a game until the championship. Despite losing the first game in the best 2 out of 3 match, we ended up winning the next two games so we didn’t need the game to 15 (which was nice to have in our back pocket, just in case).

This session has been super fun. Unfortunately, the women’s advanced league moves back to Thursdays next session and the time doesn’t work for me so I will be out at least until around this time next year when it moves back to Sundays.


Until then, that’s a wrap! GNG.

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