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Archive for the year 2021

Low Key Birthday Weekend

Posted on November 4, 2021 by under Confessions, Life, Movies.    

I’ve been feeling a bit down lately and so I haven’t really been my usual jubilant self. This translated into a pretty low key birthday — unlike previous years when I’m celebrating my birthday every single day of the month for three months straight until the end of the year. It’s just weird. Maybe this is what a mid-life crisis feels like? Anyway, I’m trying to be as normal as possible despite not feeling completely like myself. It might be time for therapy again. I haven’t done anything because it’s not really negatively impacting my health and those around me but I do feel strange so perhaps I should do something about it?

But I digress, in an effort to be normal, we decided to have people over last weekend. As you know, my birthday usually falls on Halloween weekend so, whenever we have a get together around the time of my birthday, costumes are usually encouraged. I love costumes but I’m not one to go all out either so I try to keep things as simple as possible while still trying to be clever. One year I was little too clever with my “domestic goddess” costume idea I kept having to explain to people what I was dressed as all evening.

This year, no one understood what I was — yet again — so I ended up renting 13 Going On 30 for $4 just so people would see “the dress.” I was supposed to be Jenna Rink (Jennifer Garner) and Brian was supposed to be Mattie (Mark Ruffalo), which is a super easy costume for him since it’s just jeans and a button-down shirt. Brian has outgrown the whole costume thing and doesn’t really like dressing up for Halloween anymore. Not sure he ever really enjoyed it, though he seemed to a long, long time ago. Maybe we are just old and not fun anymore?

Speaking of the movie, I rented it so I actually sat there and watched some of it. It came out almost 20 years ago (2004) so I didn’t remember much of it except for the iconic scenes. I really enjoyed watching it again and it even made me cry in parts. And, no, it’s not because I’m depressed. Movies have always made me cry — even the ones that are supposed to be funny. I’m not exactly sure why.

Here’s a preview of the movie for those of you who have never seen it.

So yeah, it’s a romcom (aka romantic comedy) and not a drama but I still cried. But There’s Something About Mary made me cry too; as did Shrek and a bunch of other movies. I think I’ve yet to watch a movie that didn’t make me cry or move me in some way. Even stupid movies make me cry. Maybe in those situations it’s because I’ve lost two hours of my life I will never get back. I don’t know. I’ll pay better attention next time and try to figure out exactly what is going on and why my face is suddenly wet with teardrops.

At the risk of ruining the movie for you, it’s a happy ending. She comes to her senses, rewrites her future, and marries her best friend. I actually really like this movie. It had enough funny parts to keep me entertained. It’s cute and, even though I’d seen it before, it still made me cry. Happy endings always make me cry.

I sometimes wonder if happy endings make me cry because I don’t understand how it’s always the most mundane things that supposedly bring people happiness. The ending showed them moving into a pink house in the suburbs and it looked like she might have turned out to be a school teacher or maybe a housewife and not a big time magazine editor with a fancy New York apartment. Maybe I cried because even though she had everything she’d ever wanted in her alternate life, she ended up hating herself and wasn’t happy? Once she realized what she had become, she decided she didn’t like herself very much, and I guess I didn’t understand it. I mean, it’s entirely possible to have everything you want and not hate yourself. Why couldn’t she be a big time magazine editor with a fancy New York apartment AND still marry her best friend? I guess that wouldn’t make for a very dramatic movie but it makes me sad that you can’t have both.

Anyway, I forgot that the whole alternate future thing happens while she’s in the closet at her birthday party so I thought it was perfect that I watched the movie on my actual birthday. Maybe it’ll start an annual tradition of watching it every year on my birthday just to remind myself of what happiness looks like because I tend to forget sometimes. Until next time, GNG.

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Birthday Lunch with Mom and Dad

Posted on November 1, 2021 by under Family, Food and Drink.    

Had a nice birthday lunch with mom and dad on Saturday at P.F. Chang’s. It was just going to be only me and Brian at first because we had to go to the store for a few things before the get together at our house but mom and dad happened to be available. We owed mom a birthday lunch and we owed dad a lot for helping Brian with the electrical work in the basement storage room.

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Mom got me a present and the birthday card had a hair clip.

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The shirt she got me is absolutely perfect but it will probably turn into a tank top.

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Here are some pictures of our food.

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We started with the starter sampler which had perfect portions of everything for the four of us. We got four of each of our favorite appetizers — egg rolls, crab wontons, pan-fried pork dumplings — and a handful of edamame.

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The crab wontons are still my favorite.

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Mom enjoyed her coconut mojito.

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Brian decided to try the orange chicken instead of getting his usual Chang’s spicy chicken. It was okay but both agreed we still like the Chang’s spicy chicken better.

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Mongolian beef and eggplant. It’s our most favorite dish that’s not even on the menu. I mean it is but the Mongolian beef doesn’t usually come with eggplant. I ask them to add substitute it for the green onions.

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We shared a great wall of chocolate and vanilla ice cream for dessert. It was perfect because it’s hard to eat an entire slice of that chocolate cake by yourself. Even with the four of us helping (well, maybe mostly me), we couldn’t finish the cake.

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The four of us had a lovely lunch.

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The best part is always the fortune cookies at the end. Our server gave each of us a fortune cookie instead of just putting all four of them in a pile in the middle so in a sense she picked our fortunes for us.

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Dad got a typical cryptic one. I wonder what truth he will discover.

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Mom’s is actually fitting because I have no doubt that she will master pickleball (her new hobby in the coming years).

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Brian is convinced he got the wrong fortune cookie and this was meant to be for me. He would never describe himself as an optimist and, frankly, neither would I. LOL.

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Lastly, my fortune cookie tells me that others will seek my talents in the coming months. I’m a woman of many talents so I’m not sure which specific talent this is referring to. I hope that, in addition to seeking my talents, the people seeking my talents are willing to pay me for my services as well. It would be nice to be able to do something with my talents like make a little money on the side, if not actually make a living. One can dream. Until next time. GNG.

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2021 Tallgrass Film Festival

Posted on October 27, 2021 by under Events.    

I was super excited for Tallgrass Film Festival this year because in person events were back. Last year it was all virtual and I couldn’t figure out how to watch the movies online. This year, they had both in person and virtual and I was determined to take advantage of both channels. This is also the first year that I got a second Tallpass. Usually, work only gives me one pass so I have to purchase a separate pass/ticket for Brian (or get one through my sister who was working for Tallgrass Film Association on the side). Jenni didn’t work for them this year so she actually had to buy her own Tallpass as well. Knowing this, I asked my work for a second Tallpass for Brian if there were any extras or if someone at work who was offered a Tallpassed happened to not want theirs. I guess fortune favors the bold because my work gave me two Tallpasses. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

In the past, I’ve usually gone to one or two movies at most and maybe one of the film gala parties on the weekend. It’s not really making the most of my Tallpass but since I’ve only ever had one, I’ve never been that gung-ho about going. This year, since Brian and I both had Tallpasses, I wanted to make the most of our experience. We tried to hit as many movies and parties as our schedules would allow which, considering our schedules, still wasn’t very much but we actually got great use of our Tallpasses this year.

We missed the Wednesday night festivities (FREE showing of Shrek at Naftzger Park and VIP reception before the screening) because I always have Aqua Zumba (at VASA Georgetown/Harry location) followed by late night pickleball (at Riverside Tennis Center). I didn’t know about it until that day so it was too late for me to change my plans. Brian and I did manage to coordinate our schedules so that we could attend the gala party at Botanica on Thursday night, though.

He ended his gaming early and picked me up at Riverside (so I wouldn’t have to drive all the way back home to drive all the way back downtown — Botanica is like five minutes from Riverside Tennis Center) and then we both went to Botanica in his car. After the party, we swung back by RTC to pick up my car and then drove home separately. The plan was efficient and worked out great.

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Here are some fun pics from Thursday night.

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DJ Carbon was there. I also ran into my friend Teresa Veazey from #LeadershipWichita and some friends from pickleball. We didn’t stay at the party late because it was a weeknight and, although Brian was off the next day, I was not. We did plan to attend the VIP breakfast at the Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University but decided to change our minds last minute. Instead, we used the time to check out the Tallgrass Film Festival VIP Lounge.

I’d never gone in there before and clearly I’ve been missing out. They have snacks and drinks in there pretty much all day long, there’s a photo booth, and lots of swag. They even feed you lunch (which we didn’t stay for because I had to go back to work) and host a happy hour from 3-5 pm in the afternoon. I’m not sure if the schedule changes daily but that’s what they had posted that morning when we stopped by. I’m thinking in the future, if we do this again, I’m totally taking time off work to get the full experience.

There was an awesome party on 1st Street by the Orpheum on Friday night. Brian didn’t want to go because he was streaming but I stopped by on my way home from pickleball. The food and drinks were plentiful, there was a DJ spinning music (not Carbon), and they even had fire dancers on the street. It was really neat. I really wish Brian would have gone with me because Jenni decided to skip the party, and it’s definitely not as fun going to these things by yourself.

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On Saturday we carved out some time to attend TFF events in the afternoon. We went to Groover Labs for the EPA Reception (free food – LOL). Lunch was pretty good! Then it was off to Orpheum to watch Poser.

Went home to take care of Saki and then went back out to catch another movie. We were going to see Shaft but decided to watch one of the indie films instead so we went to watch Adventures in Success at Mama Films next to the VIP Lounge. The movie was weird and disjointed. I’m pretty open minded but I really didn’t like this one. The silver lining is, since we cut through the VIP Lounge, we got to take some fun photo booth pics.

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The reception on Saturday night was at the WAVE, an outdoor concert venue downtown. We ran into Will, who I know both through Brian (they used to work together at Viega) and also pickleball. We sat and visited a while and mused at the fact that the awards ceremony is much cooler when it is held at the Orpheum. Hopefully they’ll go back to that next year.

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I was not a huge fan of the WAVE party because there was no free event food (besides popcorn and candy) and the drinks were limited. I know some people go to these parties to rub elbows with other pretentious hipsters but I mostly go for the free food and booze. LOL.

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Brian and I weren’t fans of the boxed wine they were serving so Brian and I took off early (Brian wanted to drink his own, better wine at home). Jenni was thrilled that we gave her our extra drink tickets.

We ended up staying up all night watching Dune — because Brian had been anxiously awaiting its release. Of course, he couldn’t get over how they were pronouncing the word “Harkonnen” so I had to listen to him complain about it. Come to find out, this version actually pronounces it right (consistent with the author’s pronunciation) and it’s the 1984 David Lynch movie that got it wrong. Brian still can’t accept it.

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I still have my Aqua Zumba classes that I’m teaching in the morning so we’re just squeezing in activities in between obligations. I actually overbooked on Sunday because we schedule a pickleball cookout so we couldn’t watch any movies. The ironic thing is we had Cargill burgers at the pickleball cookout and Cargill burgers again at the Tallgrass Film Festival closing party at Old Cowtown Museum. I’m pretty sure they’re the same burgers because Cargill is an event sponsor and probably donated the meat.

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Here are some of the pics we took at Cowtown…

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You couldn’t go inside most of the buildings (except for the Empire House Theater, where the party was held, and the outhouses) but it was kind of fun having run of the place. We didn’t have to fight a ton of people for pics.

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I actually had to take a picture of this sign outside the restroom. I was worried it was an actual “exhibit” and we weren’t supposed to use it. Thankfully, it’s an actual restroom with running water and plumbing that works. I think the sign is just to limit the number of people inside for COVID reasons.

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The party had a great turnout and it was the perfect end to another fun film festival.

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Can’t wait until the next one! Until then, GNG.

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Drinks with Leadership Wichita Classmates

Posted on October 19, 2021 by under Food and Drink.    

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Met Bill Ramsey, Jessica Dunbar, and Teresa Veazey at the Candle Club for drinks before Nahola league yesterday. I normally live in pickleball gear but figured I should try to look somewhat normal last night. I had to figure out something to wear that looks like streetwear but I could still play in. I decided to go with my Vuori lux romper. It’s super comfortable. I’ve actually played pickleball in it before. However, paired with a jacket, it looks like regular street clothes. If you didn’t realize it already, “athleisure” really is a thing.

If you’re wondering why I didn’t have Aqua Zumba last night. I gave up teaching on Monday nights starting in October. A few months ago, the Nahola owners announced they were selling.

I’m not sure what the place will be when it gets sold and the new owners take over, so I decided to pull the trigger and give up my Monday night class. For as long as I’ve been a member at Nahola, my Monday night class has been the biggest obstacle that’s prevented me from participating in the league. When Nahola gets sold and pickleball there is no more, I don’t want to have missed out on playing in the Monday night league. I decided that it’s now or never. I’m going to try to play on Monday nights going forward until it’s no longer an option. #NoRegrets

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The Candle Club actually has pretty good happy hour. We had egg rolls and onion rings. The other cheap food option was chicken livers which is not really my thing. Honestly, I’m not a fan of onion rings either. Teresa was the one who ordered it. Jessica and I both ordered egg rolls.

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They gave you a decent amount of onion rings for $6.

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Some of their drinks are half-priced during happy hour so I ordered a $4 glass of red sangria. I really didn’t need it before league but it was cheap and I wanted to see what their sangria is like. It’s not as good as mine so I’m glad I only paid $4 for it.

Only the four of us made it this time. We usually have a better turnout. It’s still pretty good though. I think we are the only #LeadershipWichita class that continues to meet on a regular basis. We were in the class of 2014. To have survived the pandemic (we really didn’t meet at all last year) and still be meeting regularly seven years later is a tremendous feat. Our “cruise director” Jessica is a rockstar and deserves all the credit.

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

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Fun Weekend and with Friends

Posted on October 18, 2021 by under Food and Drink.    

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It was great catching up with everyone this weekend. Between everyone’s busy schedules and traveling, it’s been difficult to get together. However, the stars magically aligned this weekend and we were able to catch up with our #vacaywithjayjay travel pals.

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We started out at Oak & Pie on Saturday night. We all met up for dinner in honor of Reniece’s birthday.

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I know I look sloppy compared to my posh pals but I pretty much live in pickleball gear these days. Exhibit A – oversized Chicken N Pickle sweatshirt, which I probably should have gotten in a size small. I got the large one in a Chicken N Pickle auction basket that I won on World Pickleball Day. The large was entirely too big so I exchanged it for a medium, thinking that would fit correctly, but it’s still a tad too big. Unfortunately, there’s no exchanging it now that I’ve worn it.

I like things baggy on me but, looking at this pic, I’m thinking a small or extra small would look so much better on me. Oh, well.

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I just love these ladies. I can’t wait to travel with them again. Speaking of travel, they’re all going to Jamaica in December, which we will miss because we are going in January with pickleball peeps.

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Reniece and Alicia are too cute. They make me miss my long hair.

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Here are some pictures of the food we enjoyed on Saturday night.

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These nachos don’t look all that appetizing but they were actually really good. I’m not much of a nacho eater, but I really liked this plate of nachos.

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These wings were also quite good. They’re the perfect combination of sweet and spicy. I’m sure the dressing that it came with was good but I didn’t need it.

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You can never go wrong with cheese balls.

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The calamari was excellent. I’m so glad we went with a group of people don’t have an aversion for seafood. Honestly, every time we’ve gone to Oak & Pie, I’ve wanted to get a plate of the calamari starter but, since Brian doesn’t eat it, and I can’t eat an entire plate by myself, I never can get it without it going to waste. I’m so glad that Marc ordered it to share with everyone.

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Brian and I ordered our usual pie baby pizza and some pepperoni rolls for the two of us to split. However, because I gorged myself with all the appetizers that Marc ordered, after a couple of pepperoni rolls, I had no room for any pizza. Brian ate half of it there and took the other half to go. He ate the rest for lunch on Sunday. Safe to say, Brian ate an entire pizza by himself. LOL.

I love the pie baby pizza but I couldn’t help him eat it this time. I guess I didn’t really have to because he was able to consume it all himself quite effortlessly.

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Possibly my favorite pepperoni rolls in town. I wish they would also make a cinnamon sugar one like they make at AJ’s in Topeka. It would be so good.

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Here are some pics of everyone else’s food.

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I think this is the gangster panini.

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I didn’t see a Hawaiian pizza on the menu but apparently it’s a thing. I’m determined to get it next time. I love ham (or, in this case, Canadian bacon) and pineapple on a pizza.

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When you can’t decide between two pizzas, ordering half and half is always a great idea. Smart move by Cory and April.

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I honestly don’t know what all the dishes are called but everything looked delicious.

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Reniece shared her strawberry shortcake dessert with everyone. It was amazing!

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I would seriously go back for one of the specialty drinks, pepperoni rolls, and the strawberry shortcake dessert. That would be good enough for me.

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On Sunday night we got back together with gang for s’mores by the fire at the Short’s. They have created such a great space in the city where they have space for their chickens, a vegetable and herb garden, and the best hangout spot.

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They are so smart to buy all that land behind their house. Brian and I are not huge campers because we’re not really rugged people so we joked about just camping in their backyard. LOL.

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It was great to catch up with April and Cory because we hadn’t seen them in forever. It’s been entirely too long.

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I brought a bottle of my new favorite wine, Langman Estate Winery’s muscat canelli, to share but, besides the glass I poured for Becca, I drank pretty much of all it. It had been a while since we hung out with these guys and I had no idea that people weren’t really drinking anymore. Well, Kirk is still drinking except he wasn’t last night because he’s on antibiotics. Alicia did a dry January that’s somehow extended all the way to October because she found it agreed with her. In a couple of months, she’ll have achieved a completely dry 2021.

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I had my first s’mores experience that night which made me realize that, while I like s’mores-flavored things, I really don’t like s’mores all that much. LOL. What I do like are shrimps on the barbie. Kirk had cocktail shrimps that were still slightly frozen so we decided to warm them up in the fire. It worked out great because it gave the shrimps some really good smoky flavor. You didn’t even need the cocktail sauce at that point. Although, we all agreed we wished we had some butter.

It was such a great weekend. Brian and I had a such a wonderful time catching up with our pals. Until next time. GNG.

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