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Buy Us Some Coffee

Posted on March 10, 2021 by under Blog, Community.    

I’m experimenting with a new service called Buy Me a Coffee as a way to get a little bit of revenue from the blog. As you know, we kind of phased out our weekly coffee chats over a year ago when I really started getting into pickleball because we no longer had time to devote to it. Well, we are thinking of bringing it back for a limited audience. I’m still trying to figure out the logistics but I’m thinking that starting a BMC coffee club would be a step in this direction. Once we know how many people are looking for this content, then we can get to work on it.

We will also start posting members-only content (blogs and pictures) on our BMC page so you may start seeing fewer posts here and on social as we move our activity to the new platform. We always welcome your feedback so let us know if you have suggestions or ideas. Stay tuned because changes are coming.

Until then, you may click on the little coffee cup in the corner of the “Give us some love” button on the right. GNG.

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2020 Recap – Better Late Than Never

Posted on January 27, 2021 by under Blog, Life.    

I’m sure you’ve noticed that it is now the end of January and I still haven’t posted my normal end of year recap. I’ve really struggled with this because 2020 has been exceptionally craptastic. I am usually super excited to recap all the fun trips and exciting things that happened during the past year but 2020 has been nothing but depressing. I was whining about this to my friend Karen not too long ago and she reminded me that 2020 is the year that brought us all closer together so, besides the whole COVID19 pandemic (oh, yes, I thought I would get through the whole year without getting infected or that I would be one of the lucky ones to be completely asymptomatic but Brian and I both got it and we were sick for a good two weeks right before Christmas), there’s positive things that happened too. Inspired by her optimism, I sought out to recall all the positive things that happened last year.

First, I finally bit the bullet and started pickleball lessons. Mom and dad also picked up pickleball last year and, as a present, I got them a lesson with my favorite pickleball teacher too.

Pickleball is probably the only thing that has kept me sane throughout this past year. When the gyms closed during the mandatory stay at home order, I remember thinking I finally got what I wanted because I’d been gradually trying to get rid of Zumba classes to free up more time for pickleball.

I was good and practiced social distancing during the lockdown. I stayed home and isolated from everyone (except Brian) and started offering free virtual Zumba classes online to stay connected with my Zumba family. The ZOOMba kept me active during the month I wasn’t teaching classes at the gyms and wasn’t playing pickleball but it wasn’t the same. By the time the stay at home order was lifted, I was so ready to be around people again.

I resumed playing pickleball but decided not to plunge back into teaching a bajillion Zumba classes. I only brought back one class – my Monday night Zumba class at VASA. Pickleball became my primary outlet for all of my pent up energy and frustrations.

Some of the pickleball milestones from last year include the first anniversary of our local pickleball Facebook group and my officially becoming a USA Pickleball ambassador. I’d been growing the sport in my own way and so, when a spot came open, one of my friends who is an ambassador (Jeanie) encouraged me to apply and make it official.

Anyway, lots of fun pickleball-related stuff happened last year. I got to participate in my very first Nahola league (because, without all of those Zumba classes, I suddenly had time for it). I actually went a little nuts and joined a bunch of leagues and did pretty well in most of them. This is on top of my regular Friday night at Nahola and Sunday morning mixed play at the park.

Speaking of the park, Seneca was the place to be this past summer besides Chicken N Pickle, of course. CNP is like my second home and where several clinics and other fun pickleball events happened.

Besides the tournaments at CNP, I also played in some other fun ones in town:

I suppose now that I look back on it, the year wasn’t a total disaster. I had a lot of fun hanging out with my pickleball buds. Over the summer, we enjoyed pool pickleball at Brooke’s house. Our videos actually went somewhat viral on Facebook. LOL. And in the fall, a bunch of us had dinner together at Woodfire Grille (surprisingly, none of us got COVID from that event). I also had a great time hanging out with the gang when Noi (Michael’s friend who lives in Tennessee who is now my friend also) came to visit.

Other non-pickleball things that happened include:

  • Jenni’s Wedding – yes, she’s finally married!
  • Our New Mailbox – we’d been thinking about it for a while and with not taking any trips, we had an extra grand to spend on it.
  • Online/Virtual Mixology – I didn’t even know this was a thing until we did it for work.

Okay, so we didn’t avoid trips altogether. We just didn’t fly anywhere. We took some roadtrips this year and that was a departure from our usual but pretty fun overall. We drove to the Eureka Lake Waterfall and Coronado Heights Castle, within the state. We also went on a roadtrip to Eureka Springs in Arkansas where we stayed in a treehouse. And that was a unique experience.

Lastly, one of the best things to come out of 2020 (and this is going to make me sound like a lush) — to go booze!!! Admit it, y’all are happy about it too.

If this trip down memory lane wasn’t enough for you, you can review what happened in 2019 (we had so many fun trips that year) and also look back at 20 years worth of blogs. Anyway, as with these recap posts, I don’t have any pictures for you. There are plenty in the embedded links for you to enjoy if you click on them, though. Until next time. GNG.

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Looking Back at Almost 2 Decades of This Blog

Posted on January 12, 2020 by under Blog, Events, Life.    

As you know, I write a blog post each year around this time reflecting on the things that happened the year before. The good, the bad, and the ugly… but mostly good because I have a real knack from blocking out all the bad stuff that happens.

Before we look at last year (the year 2019), let’s look at all the years that this blog has been in existence…

2002: Everyone knows I’ve been online since before blogging was actually a “thing” but it wasn’t until after Brian and I got married that this blog officially started. It was actually about two months after our wedding.

2003: The first year of marriage is what they often call the “honeymoon” phase. We were young and naive and so cute back then. We would have these movie nights where we would bring the feather bed to the family room and watch movies all night long. We bought a few worthless things this year (like the Bowflex) and I discovered online poker but the biggest thing that happened was me going back to school after having dropped out in 2000 after my four-year scholarship ended.

Ching at Fingers

2004: Lots of drama happened this year but, besides that, this was the year that I discovered bar poker (because I got bored with playing online and wanted to play with people in real life). We also played some racquetball and did some sword-fighting. We added a live-streaming webcam (actually two of them) to the site. Lastly, I officially became a naturalized US citizen.

Our Sugarglider, Ginger

2005: We had a menagerie back then and, at one point, had seven sugargliders. We started hosting some home games and became good friends with Jay and Becca. I think this was the year the Ponderosa Poker Party started.

poker buddies at IHOP

Invisible Poker Players

Can you tell who was sitting at which seat by their drink of choice? Maybe. But everyone’s tastes have changed since then. I can tell which one was my seat though.

Robin, Justin, Ching, Jen and Dawn

2006: I completed my Business degree at Wichita State. My major was Management Information Systems (MIS) and I minored in Management and Accounting. I was going for a Computer Science minor as well but just couldn’t quite get it done. We got a couple of new family members: Molly, our Yorkipoo, and Bebot, my Toyota Corolla which is the first and only brand new car I’ve ever bought.

Molly as a Puppy

2007: I didn’t really take a break after completing my undergrad so I went straight into grad school in fall 2006. This year was pretty crazy. Grad school was so much more challenging. We also had some fun. I got my first American passport and we went on our first all-inclusive resort vacation. And, we got to experience the whole au naturel thing. Oh, and we taught our nephew how to play poker.

Logan

The photo below was taken at Couples Resort in Jamaica (now Couples Tower Isle). We celebrated our five year wedding anniversary a month early because I was in grad school.

Brian and Ching

2008: We had some big changes in 2008. Brian started working for Viega and I completed my MBA at Wichita State. But, perhaps the most memorable thing that happened that year was the Halloween poker cruise. We had the opportunity to deal cards on a cruise ship.

Picture 042

2009: We had some firsts this year such as our first Zoobilee, Brian’s first trip to Germany, and our first and only trip to the Philippines together. We haven’t been back since. This is also the year we really got into racquetball and even introduced our friend Jay to the sport. On the work front, up until this year I’d been going to school full time, so this is the first year that I had time to participate in leadership/professional development opportunities at work. I took the opportunity to complete Leadership Westar and Diversity Champions.

Cable Car Group Photo

2010: We spent a lot of time with the Dills this year, starting with the first day of the year because we were with them in Kansas City for New Year’s Eve. Other trips this year include San Francisco and New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas where Brian got to meet my biological father for the first time. This is also the year we moved out of our house and into a townhouse at Quarters at Cambridge.

2011-07-04 17.22.18.jpg

2011: We started the year by getting stranded in Vegas (we were supposed to be back in Wichita on New Year’s Day) and did a lot of traveling the rest of the year. We traveled to the East Coast with the Dills, got to see the Orbases when we visited cousin Tracy in Texas, and I got to visit Nashville for the first time (on a work trip). We joined Genesis Health Clubs and got on a health and fitness kick. I was very much into Zumba and just working out in general. We pretty much lived at the gym. This was also the year that we spent our wedding anniversary at the ER.

2011-12-11 11.11.25.jpg

2012: We attended a few weddings, most notably cousin Tracy and Jeff’s destination wedding at Coral Cove in Jamaica. I completed my Zumba Basic 1 training and started teaching Zumba for the City of Wichita (Parks & Rec), took Brian to Nashville for his birthday, bought a house (we actually closed on our 10th wedding anniversary), and ended the year with a thyroidectomy.

20121213_095810.jpg

2013: I completed Leadership Elite at Wichita State, started teaching Zumba for YMCA, attended my first Zumba Instructor Convention (ZINCON for short), and made a few appearances on Splurge! magazine. In addition to traveling to Orlando for ZINCON, I also got to do some traveling for work (visited Minneapolis and Davenport). Besides all that, we also got each other his and hers handguns, and threw Brian’s parents a 40th wedding anniversary party.

2014: Brian bought his first tux this year. It was a big Zumba year for me. I attended both the Zumba Instructor Conference in LA and the Zumba Instructor Convention in Orlando. I started my short-lived Stella & Dot business. I joined the Adventurous Babes Society. We switched from Android to iPhone. Alex, my hard-top convertible, joined our family. But the biggest thing to happen this year is my completion of Leadership Wichita.

2015: Rex, Brian’s Lexus SUV, and Saki, our Shiba Inu that we won in the Heartspring live auction, both joined our family. Travels included trips to St. George (Utah), Washington DC, Charlotte (North Carolina) New Jersey, and New York. Brian and I both completed Citizen Police Academy.

Untitled

2016: Brian and I went on the first ever Zumba cruise where I met J. Perry (he sings many of my favorite Zumba songs) in person for the first time. I also got to meet Max Pizzolante at ZINCON. I got a tour of Zumba home office and finally made the Wichita Business Journal’s 40 Under 40.

2017: Brian and I kicked off the year with a Plank Challenge. I hosted a Zumbathon to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters. I committed part of my 401K to Wichita State through planned giving and we were inducted into the Society of 1895. We attended several amazing events. We visited Alaska and Great Exuma (Bahamas). And I became a Zumba Wear 3-Star Insider.

2018: We attended a ton of great parties like always. I started teaching Zumba at VASA Fitness. We went on another Zumba cruise and also went to ZINCON. We started “Coffee Chats” on FLIP + CHING. I discovered pickleball and we quit our bowling league (because pickleball was on the same night). I’ve since found other places to play but, at the time, it was my only option.

That pretty much catches us up. Next post will be all about the memorable things that happened in 2019. I didn’t really have great expectations for the past year but it turned out amazing. It’s been the best year we’ve lived yet. But I have a feeling 2020 is going to be pretty awesome too. Anyway, come back next time for the full 2019 recap. Until then, GNG.

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Nokia and Backorder Hell

Posted on April 17, 2009 by under Blog, Life, Reviews, Wishlist.    

If you have not been following my Tweets then let me fill you in.

On April 3rd I ordered a new phone through Nokia. I had some difficulties through their web site previously but through the assistance of the Nokia customer service center I was able to resolve the issue and get the phone ordered properly. However, Nokia failed to mention that I would be in backorder hell and would possibly never receive my phone. Below is a letter that I just send to there web site.

Let me start by saying that I have been a faithful user of Nokia for over 10 years. I have had just about every Nokia phone ever released. I know this probably does not amount to much since there are several people in this world that are just like me, but I thought I would say it anyway.

I recently attempted to purchase a Nokia E71. Due to some confusion on your web site my order was messed up and rejected. Despite this Nokia held almost $800 on my credit card for a week before releasing the held funds. The rep that I called (Rob) helped sort out the situation and assisted me in placing another order for the phone I wanted. He also offered me a free headset due to my phone being on back order (it was originally in stock when this whole mess started). Overall, I was pleased with the resolution and was advised that the phone would be in within 2 weeks and should ship shortly after that. This was the end of the good customer service. Things all down hill from here.

I had been following the web site waiting for the backorder flag to fall. Sure enough it fell off about 2 weeks later just as I was advised. However, I did not receive a shipping confirmation. In an attempt to find out why my phone did not ship I called customer service and spoke to another rep. This rep did not speak English very well and I had difficulty understanding everything that he was saying. I did not even get his name. I asked what was holding up my order and he advised that the phone was in but they could not ship my order because the headset was now on backorder. I was frustrated by this and asked what could be done. The only thing that he could do was apologize, nothing was offered to make amends for the error. Nothing was done to appease me for the inconvenience. Nothing was done at all. To make matters worse, the rep tried to tell me that I was offered a special deal by the previous rep. I had to immediately stop him and advise that the phone price is the same that is offered to every person that orders through the web site. I went on to advise that the headset offer was the one that is currently being promoted on the web site as well and that the free shipping is something that is offered through your company if you order anything over $200.00. I stated that nothing that I received was any more special and it was something that any other customer would have received if they had placed the same order. He then apologized, he did not say what for, I can only assume it was for trying to mislead me and getting caught.

I called again the following day and requested a supervisor. I received Jessica, a floor supervisor. I have worked in Call Centers before, I know that a floor supervisor is not a TRUE supervisor; their authority is limited (which I found throughout the conversation with her to be true). However, I gave her a chance. The only thing that she could offer was to remove the headset and then the phone would ship. I don’t see how this benefits me as a customer. I have to sacrifice something in order to get something. So now I am stuck in backorder hell. I am supposed to receive a phone with a headset but I cannot receive the phone because the headset is back ordered, then there is no guarantee that I will even receive the phone when the headset comes in because the phone may be on backorder again. The only option I seem to have is that I will have to sacrifice a portion of my order in order to get my phone, thus making my devise only partially useful in my opinion.

I have purchased many devices over the years from numerous companies and I have never had this much difficulty getting a device as I have through your company. I advised the supervisor that I would give it another week. I am sorry to say that if I do not see any progress from your company in this week I am going to cancel my order. I am also going to make sure that everyone that I speak to (Twitter, Facebook, blog, forums, text or e-mail including everyone I know in Wichita), is made aware of the trouble that I have had with your company and advise against ordering any Nokia products in the future. As it stands, my wife now refuses to purchase the 5800 Express. I had her convinced that this would be a viable replacement for her T-Mobile Wing and she was going to purchase it as soon as I had received my phone (she wanted to look at mine first before deciding) she now does not wish to purchase anything and suggested a week ago that I should cancel my order. I am trying to give your company the opportunity to correct its mistakes, but at the moment I do not see that you care to fix your error or even care about the customer at all. You seem to feel that a simple apology will suffice regardless of the situation or circumstances.

With the upcoming expiration of the contract between Apple and AT&T, the iPhone will soon be the most sought after phone on the market (more than it is currently) leaving companies like yours clamoring for business in the handset market. Exceptional Customer Service and customer loyalty are going to be the only things that will save a company in near future. At the moment my loyalty is fading by the day and if things do not improve I have no choice but to seek a new cell phone manufacturer.

I hope that this does not fall on deaf ears and I hope that someone takes and interest in the actions that took place.

After sending the letter I was shown the following message.

Your e-mail has been submitted. A Nokia Customer Care representative will respond promptly. Your questions and comments are important to us.

Since I am not satisfied with the service to begin with, I found it comical that the letter would go to the very people that I am complaining about. I guess my last little statement at the bottom is true after all. Some little CSR at Nokia will look at this and decide that its not a good thing for the rest of the CS group and can it. Which means I will most certainly cancel my order by Friday if nothing happens.

Lack of customer service and a decline in customer loyalty must be why Nokia’s earnings have declined by 90% in the last year according to Gizmodo. Looks like I will become one of the many iPhone Sheeple soon.

All hail the iPhone.

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Y2K Remix

Posted on April 5, 2009 by under Blog, Family, Life, News.    

My dad sent me a link to Wikipedia about a new computer scare. No, its not the Conficker Virus. It’s the Y2K scare all over again. This time it’s Y2k38 and it effects more than just the PC world. According to the article in Wikipedia, The problem affects all software and systems that store system time as a signed 32-bit integer, and interpret this number as the number of seconds since 00:00:00 January 1, 1970.

What does this mean to us. Probably nothing, I have a feeling that all the programmers that worked on the Y2K issue will resolve this issue as well. We have way to many smart people on this planet to allow something like this to happen. Below is a count down for those of you that want to bite your nails for the next 29 years.

Countdown

For the rest of us in the real world, I think there are more immediate thing that we need to be concerned with. Things like the deteriorating climate due to the excessive use of fossil fuels, the failing economy, the link to child related illness due to pollution levels across the planet or for those really far reaching worriers, how about the proposed end of life as we know it by the year 2012 based on the Incan/Mayan Calendar.

Me, I am simply going to live each day and worry about the things that I can change. I try not to let things that are out of my control interfere with my every day activities. If I did, I probably would never leave the house.

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