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Archive for "Community"

Shock N’ Clause 2023

Posted on December 31, 2023 by under Community.    

Brian and I participated in our friends’ annual Shock N’ Clause breakfast. It’s basically a breakfast where each participant brings $50 in cash. We pool all the money together and, after paying for the group’s meal, everything else goes to the server. It’s something that our travel group started in 2019 and has become an annual tradition around the holidays. Brian and I don’t always get to attend but we are always glad when we do.

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Our friend Marc Shook organizes the event and this year he chose Doo-Dah Diner. Naturally, I had to take a pic with their iconic Wichita flag mural.

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We usually shoot for about 20 people but we ended up with 17 total on this most recent one. Because of the size of our group, it took a while to be seated. They had to wait for enough people to leave from the same part of the restaurant so we could all sit together. Brian and I knew most of the people but we had never met some of them. We had a nice time visiting in the waiting area while we waited.

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They ended up seating us at three different tables in the section in front of the bar and kitchen area. Here are pics of our three tables:

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There are no assigned seats so you just pretty much find a vacant seat and sit there. Couples usually try to sit together, though. It’s easier that way when it’s time to pay. I ended up sitting next to Justin and Tina Huntington. I love these two and I hardly got to see them at all the last couple of years so it was perfect.

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Here’s a picture of our group with the beneficiary (in black, between Alicia and Kirk Short) and her mom (next to Kirk in the red shirt).

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Normally, we would tell the restaurant what we are doing and then the owner selects an employee who is most in need of the financial blessing and our group gets put in that server’s section so they end up getting the large cash tip. It’s a complete surprise and the employee has no idea what is going on. This year proved a little tricky. The restaurant owner Timerie had chosen Autumn Armendariz, a deserving employee who has been through a lot this year, to be our beneficiary but, because of Timerie’s husband’s illness and a staffing shortage, Autumn had to work the kitchen line calling tickets that day. It is a lead position that not just anyone can do. Timerie said Autumn is so good at it that she is even better than her husband at performing this role. The downside for Autumn is that she wouldn’t make as much as she would serving tables, specially on a holiday weekend. But, there is no one else who can do the job better. Autumn was obviously not thrilled about this turn of events but was taking one for the team because she knows the success of the entire day depends on her stepping onto the line.

Timerie ended up assigning Autumn’s mom, who is a tenured employee at Doo-Dah, to serve our group that day and she agreed to give all the tips from our group to Autumn because of everything that Autumn has been through and everyone agreed she is most deserving of the financial blessing.

I think, after Marc calculated everything, our group gave about $800 to Autumn. Brian and I ended up giving $20 separately to Autumn’s mom because she’s the one who actually served our table and she was excellent. I think Marc gave her $25 and I think Summer gave her $20 also. That was just at out table. I think if others did the same, I’m guessing Autumn’s mom maybe could have earned $200 or so in tips from our group. It was a win-win all around.

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Here’s a photo of our three separate tables which, although separate, we still felt kind of together because people were able to be up and about and visit. Here’s a highlight video I made of our this year’s Shock N’ Clause breakfast:

I am really glad that Marc choose Doo-Dah because, not only is it owned and ran by good people, their food is excellent. Here are some pictures of our food:

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I didn’t get pictures of everything because some people had already started eating before I could get to them, specially the folks at the first/far table. Also, ironically, I remembered to take pictures of everyone’s plate but mine. I had the pork belly and grits special which was amazing. Everything looked delicious and, if the other dishes were anything like mine, they probably tasted even better than they looked.

I was glad Brian and I could be part of another successful Shock N’ Clause. Not only does it give us opportunity to spend time with friends who we don’t always get to see but it is a truly heartwarming and rewarding experience for all involved. Can’t wait to do it all again next year!

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Busy Christmas Party Weekend

Posted on December 18, 2023 by under Community, Events.    

Kicked off the weekend with Cindy Egan’s annual Christmas party and gift exchange for the pickleball ladies. She is an amazing host and always comes up with the most fun games!

Here are some snaps from that night…

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The next night, Brian and I went Chad and Laura Smith’s annual beer and wine gift exchange. I think we decided this was the eighth one.

Here are some snaps from that event…

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Brian and I always love going because then we get to try new beers that we’d never even heard of before, and we ultimately find new favorites. For instance, I had no idea that there was such a thing as slushie beers and they are yummy!

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Finally, Sunday night (last night) was Katelyn and Susie’s game night at Grant and Susie’s house. I played a couple of games I’d never played before and it was so fun!

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Birthday Pickleball

Posted on November 19, 2023 by under Community, Pickleball.    

The girls surprised me at pickleball a couple of weeks ago. Although, the funniest part of this is that the surprise happened at lunch when I saw some group texts come through about needing this or that for play that evening. I really wasn’t sure what was going on until Kimberly texted, “Whose birthday is it?” And then Karen or someone else replied, “Ching.” I almost spit out my lunch and busted up laughing because I was in the group text. LOL.

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Chie, Tami, and Stacy are missing from the group photo because our last game went into serious over time. We finished at 13-11 but it was getting really late.

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It is so nice to have thoughtful friends who celebrate you even when you’re not in a celebratory mood. You can’t be too upset with life when you are surrounded by people who love and care about you. #feelinggratefulandblessed

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Monster Smash 2023

Posted on November 13, 2023 by under Community, Pickleball.    

We had so much fun having a Halloween cookout last year celebrating the new pickleball courts at Sedgwick County Park last year that the Thorne brothers wanted to do something similar again this year. We originally planned for it to be at Edgemoor Park because of the six new courts there but Mother Nature had her own ideas. Thankfully, David Thorne worked with West YMCA leadership and got the event relocated indoors to the Pickle Center so we were able to still bring everyone together. It was a ton of fun! Here are some highlights:

After hanging out at the Monster Smash open play for a bit, Nicole Mathis, Kyle VonAnh, and I headed down the street to the Pickle Club for our mixed doubles practice session with Jenny and Austin Corley, Kendra Wicks, Ian Carr, and Ryan Kellenbarger. Ryan and Nicole and Kyle and I all wanted to practice together before Nationals so those were the team ups: Nicole and Ryan, Kendra and Ian, Jenny and Austin, and me and Kyle.

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The next day Nicole and Ryan continued their practice weekend/team bonding by playing in the Chicken N Pickle Halloween pickleball tournament and taking it down. It was a nice, productive pickleball weekend overall. GNG.

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Making My Zumba Comeback

Posted on November 13, 2023 by under Community, Zumba.    

Guess what, friends. I’m gearing up for my Zumba comeback. As you know, I started teaching Zumba over ten years ago and, at one point pre-COVID, was teaching nine (9) classes a week. I started dialing it back after I discovered my passion for pickleball in 2019 and then really cut it back after COVID to the point where, for the majority of this year, I’ve only had one regular class – my Wednesday night Aqua Zumba at the East Harry Genesis Health Clubs location.

We eventually canceled that class as of October 1, 2023 due to low numbers (I could never get my 21st and Woodlawn regulars to come over, so I would have people between both locations but not enough at either location to warrant keeping the classes going). So as of the beginning of October, I have had zero (0) regular classes each week, which has never ever happened since I started teaching in 2012.

Anyway, the universe knows how much I like to keep busy so I was presented with an opportunity to sub a couple of Missy and Todd’s classes while they were on their two-week Panama Canal cruise a few weeks ago. I ended up subbing a class for each of them. I hadn’t taught land in nearly four years. I’ve been stuck teaching Aqua Zumba because they could never find anyone licensed to teach water but we had a plethora of regular Zumba instructors who could teach land so I ended up giving up my Monday night Zumba class to help cover Monday night Aqua Zumba and it ended up eventually becoming my regular class, which I eventually gave up to make more time for pickleball. But I digress, getting my playlist ready for subbing (pretty much starting from scratch because I hadn’t had a regular Zumba class for years) rejuvenated my passion for Zumba and so now I’m ready and actually kind of excited to get back at it.

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I attended Missy’s Halloween weekend class a couple of weeks ago and cameo’d three songs. I’ve been so obsessed with pickleball the last few years that I had forgotten how fun and exhilarating it is to let go and just dance like no one is watching. I think it’s the jolt I need to find a new regular Zumba gig.

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I’ve been talking to the leadership at West YMCA and it seems like they will have a spot for me there so I am now going through the process of getting rehired. I’ll share updates as things progress and, of course, I’ll be sharing my schedule and promoting my classes here and everywhere. Until next time, GNG.

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