Tea and Chocolate

It was a nice Sunday in that it was relaxing and I checked a few things off my to-do list. The weather was ominous though. I like a good rain, and I love a good thunderstorm, but driving around in it isn’t so fun. Still, we survived to do laundry, run some errands, and attend the Habitat for Humanity Chocolate and Tea.

2014-04-13 14.07.38

Jon received tickets through this work, and since we’d never been before, we thought it would be a fun new experience. Besides the chance to drink tea and eat chocolate goodies, there were also silent and live auctions. I took a bid number…just in case. There were several silent auction items that looked interesting, but nothing I couldn’t live without.

2014-04-13 14.20.32

The snacks were tasty. There was a chocolate fountain and an array of baked goods. Jon pointed out that I failed at Strawberry Dipping 101 even though I stood right there when the person ahead of me was being shown the right technique. I don’t get enough quality chocolate fountain time I guess.

2014-04-13 14.47.47

I’ve only been to a couple live auctions, but I’ve enjoyed every one I’ve gone to. I love listening to the auctioneer. This live auction had several neat items. One of my favorites was the handmade quilt pictured above. It wasn’t in our budget, but I’m not ruling out the chance of bidding on a quilt in a future auction.

2014-04-13 15.23.02

 

Funnily enough, I did win something. They were passing this ring around and no one was bidding, so I threw a bid out. I thought someone outbid me, so I kind of lost track of what was going on. They finally closed it and…whoop…I won! The ring is not my usual style, but I’m going to rock it anyway. Jon suggested I go get it resized. It fits on my left ring finger, but not my right. However, that might not be an issue much longer, since my other rings are becoming increasingly loose.

All the proceeds went to Habitat for Humanity. We had a good time, and since they hold this every year, I’m hoping we can go again next year and maybe plan ahead money wise so we can bid on more things.

A.

Saturday Walk and Manhattan Running Company

I made it out this morning to take my 5k walk despite being tired from getting to bed so late. Jon didn’t join me due to a sore throat and looming cold, so I made it to the track solo after grabbing breakfast and a bottle of water. It was a tough walk today. It’s warmer, and the sun made things a little more uncomfortable. Not complaining in general…I love the sun and I’m glad to see it might stick around for a season. But this means I need to invest in sunscreen and get in the habit of carrying a water bottle while I walk.

Even though I was tempted to stop after every lap, I didn’t. I made it around four times…which I think is more than the 5k distance at that track…and I maintained the hour and a half walk time. It was slightly longer due to stopping to take a phone call and to text Jon, but it was close.

I also got to break in my new shoes!

Pay no attention to the old school carpeting.
Pay no attention to the old school carpeting and the super baggy sweatpants.

The Most Comfortable Pair I’ve Ever Worn Adidas shoes I bought for five dollars at Goodwill were too worn in the sole to be able to walk and jog comfortably. I have another pair of Adidas, but they’re not as comfortable for wearing in general.

About a week ago, I received an email from Manhattan Running Company that reminded me of their free gait analysis. I figured it would be a good idea to try it out. Plus, I’d like to start supporting some of the city’s small businesses and keep my money local, so Jon and I went up there to see what they had.

They did a test to see where I put my weight when standing (on my toes, apparently), then they had me jog on the treadmill so they could record what my feet do when I’m running. The woman who helped me showed me my video alongside the video of a runner with an overpronation. It looked so weird…like his ankle was going to snap. I know part of it was an optical illusion…but it was a little unsettling, even though I know it’s common and one of those things that differ with people.

I learned two things with my analysis: I don’t have a pronation and I strike on my toes, not my heels. Apparently there’s no right or wrong way to do it. The woman mentioned that runners who strike with their toes have to work harder. However, word on the street is that that’s how barefoot runners run. And while I have no intentions of running barefoot, I figure I’m just going to stick with what’s comfortable for me, even if it is the less efficient way to do it.

I picked from a few different shoes and ended up with the blue ones based on fit, comfort, and price. They were on sale, and I can’t say no to a discount. Because I mentioned the email, I also got a free pair of socks,They may be the most comfortable socks I’ve ever worn (besides hand knitted socks, which aren’t ideal for exercise). They’re really lightweight and soft. I didn’t “get” it before, but I think I see why runners invest in more expensive socks.

Besides the gait analysis (which I think is a really cool thing) and my wanting to support a local small business, MRC is just a cool place in general. They have all sorts of running gear. We’d gone there before because they were the only place in town we could find armbands to fit our phones. The service was great too, and the woman who helped me was nice and patient in answering all my questions. There’s always that thought that a place is going to get weird when I tell them I want to run at my size, but I didn’t get a judgmental vibe at all from them. If you’re in MHK, I recommend this store. If you’re not, definitely check your local listings for a good small business running store. Keep it local, peeps…if you can, of course.

When Jon needs new shoes, I think we’ll head back up there and get him fitted and analyzed too. Hopefully they have his shoe size. Dude’s got big feet. Either way, I bet I’m buying more socks.

I only tried out the new shoes with walking, so tomorrow I’ll test how they feel when I run. Even though the walk itself was rough, the shoes felt awesome. Side note: during my test, I realized that jogging on a treadmill is actually easier than jogging on the track. Didn’t expect that one.

After the walk, I was pretty much out of commission for the rest of the day. I showered, did some stuff online, and watched some movies. Beside this blog, I tried to do some other things that required thought, but I just couldn’t. Every once in awhile, I just need to let everything rest, and this was one of those days.

Here’s to hoping I’m a little bit sharper tomorrow so I can check some stuff off the to-do list.

A.

Tengaicon 2013 – I’m Calling it a Sucess!

It’s just after midnight, so I guess technically I missed my daily blog deadline, but I’m still awake, so it counts. We just got home a little bit ago, and I was tempted to put off yet another post so I could crash. But I wanted to get something out about today, so here goes, with apologies if anything sounds off or wonky…I’m really tired.

I don’t think I’ve talked much about Tengaicon, so here’s some back story. It’s a local, one day gaming convention in MHK that’s been going on for close to a decade. It’s had its ups and downs, and last year it had a streak of bad luck.  In an effort to help get it back on track, I headed the committee for this year’s event. At the time I volunteered, I was in what I like to call “crazy planning mode.”  I figured I’d eventually burn out, but the goal was to make sure everything was ready before that burn out happened.  I wanted the end goal to be a plan of action that could be followed and built upon the following years.

For the last year, our committee has been organizing and getting things in place. There were several meetings at the beginning of the planning period, but eventually, as things came together, they tapered off. By the time we were a week away from the con, I felt that everything was on track. Sure, I let the ball drop a little bit. We could have done more marketing and PR, and there were a few details regarding food that missed the mark. But that was really all in hindsight, and I was cautiously optimistic that we’d have a good convention (and by cautiously optimistic, I was worried and stressed that no one would show up).

For our crew, the con stuff started last night when we met at the hall to set up.  Set up was quick, as we had a good volunteer crew. This morning we were back at 8 to put the finishing touches on the hall and to pick up some last minute things at the grocery store.  From the time the doors opened at 9:30 to sometime in the afternoon, we seemed to have a steady stream of people.

The day was fun! We had several local gaming groups attend, and they each brought in a good number of players. We also had casual gamers show up who found something that interested them. We had Tab Creations, a local game maker/company, come and demo a new game that’s going to be a Kickstarter project. We had our dice table, our silent auction to raise money for Child’s Play, paint and take, local artists, and concessions.  Everyone I talked to seemed to be having a good time. We got a lot of positive feedback and everyone was really nice.

Besides the demo, I didn’t do any gaming since I was trying to make sure everything was going well. I wanted to make sure all my volunteers had breaks, that all of our vendors and GMs  were thanked, and that the gamers were having a positive experience. I’m not sure if I was able to really talk to everyone, and I think I accidentally let a few people go a little long without a break, but I think things were okay and nobody seemed burned out by the end of the day (I did have a few flashbacks of my days as lead cashier at Glens, though).

Jon and I made it out by 11, sticking around to make sure the last few groups made it out okay and doing last minute hall cleaning. I’m grateful to everyone who helped and played. In the final counts, we ended up making a profit and I believe we had over 100 attendees. For a small convention, this was pretty awesome.

We still have a few things to do, like contact the silent auction winners who weren’t there to pick up their stuff when it ended, and set up a post-con meeting to recap and make a plan for moving forward. I also want to email everyone with thanks and put some notes and schedules down on paper to pass on to whoever my successor is going to be.  Because seriously, I’m so happy with how this turned out, and I want any future convention to continue to improve on what we accomplished today.

But those things can wait for tomorrow. I’m falling asleep typing this, so I think it’s time for much needed rest. I don’t think our double day of working out is going to happen tomorrow, as my back is killing me tonight. But we’ll see. And while I realize I’ve failed on pictures for this post, I think I’ve persuaded Terry to give me some of the pictures he got today in hopes of putting together a special Tengaicon picture post.

A.

 

Slots, Putts, and Kicks

I think the days of lazy weekends are officially diminishing.  In follow up to yesterday’s activity, we ended up going out and doing more stuff today.  I was wide awake at 7am but let Jon sleep in longer. Still, we were out of the house before 9.

The plan was to go to Topeka to buy shoes and maybe geocache, but I realized that we’d have some time to kill because the mall didn’t open until later, and I’d only seen a few caches on the list.  I remembered that yesterday we picked up a trackable that came with a message that it “wanted” to visit casinos, so I suggested we go out to Prairie Bend.

We decided to each spend 20 dollars, and I hit the quarter slots per the usual. My money disappeared in a hot minute.  When I was done, I went to find Jon. In the tradition of his lucky streak, his machine was going nuts. He hit for almost 400 bucks. We cashed out and ran, not even tempted to stay and return it. We decided to use the winnings for the day’s spendings, deciding that whatever was leftover would go into our travel account.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find any caches in that area, so we still have the trackable, but hopefully we’ll get that way again. I should clarify – there are caches that way, but our signal was bad and we hadn’t had the foresight to save any beforehand.  We did find a couple caches near the mall, and we pinpointed where a couple other ones were, but there were too many muggles. For our next trip to Topeka, we’ll go super early again to hit those ones up, then kill time at the zoo or something.  The ones we found were micros…no room for a trackable.

The stores in the mall hadn’t yet opened when we got there, but the mall itself was open so we walked around and got a snack. We split a cinnamon roll from Subway. It wasn’t great and probably not worth a recommendation, though maybe other Subways have better ones? I won’t recommend them from the Subway in the Topeka mall, at any rate.

When things finally did open up, we went and played a round of Lunar Golf (located on the second floor of the mall, if anyone is interested).  I won, which was my one victory for the day since Jon was the casino winner and spotted both caches.

2013-08-25 12.24.26

 

We only played one round (even though you can play up to three on one admission) before heading to the shoe store and picking up new walking shoes for both of us. I did some looking back in Instagram to pinpoint when I’d bought my last pair, and it had been about 18 weeks. To me, that felt like a really short time, but it was about average for walking shoes, I think, and I had put a lot of miles on those ones. I probably don’t need to justify how long I had them…they were starting to hurt my legs and feet because they’d worn down so much…but it’s kind of interesting to know how far they’ve come.

For my new shoes, I went with New Balance runners. They’re really light and comfy. I wore them to the gym today, which wasn’t a long time to break them in, but I’m not sure if they’re going to need a lot of breaking in.

2013-08-25 13.13.48

 

Jon was also able to find a good pair of walkers on clearance. They’re one of the minimal types, which works for him since he hates wearing anything on his feet other than flip flops…and if they’d let him walk barefoot everywhere, I’m pretty sure he’d ditch those too.  Unfortunately, the store didn’t carry any hiking type shoes, but I think we’ll be okay with what we have.

From there we headed to Red Lobster. I went with the maple glazed chicken and roasted veggies. Not sure why I went with the veggies…I hate veggies. But I was craving them, and they were okay when eaten with pilaf and chicken.

2013-08-25 14.05.11

We controlled ourselves and managed to not eat three baskets of cheddar biscuits…but it was tempting. It was a good meal and I didn’t overstuff, so that was good. The only iffy part was that RL has little booths, which I generally avoid for obvious reasons. But the working out and activity was beneficial because sitting in one was not bad at all.

Jon ended up taking some of his meal to go, so we stopped back at home to drop it off before heading to MHK to do laundry and go to the gym. The laundromat was busy, likely because the students are back for the fall semester, so our plans of playing Dungeon Roll while we waited for our clothes was thwarted.  To kill time, we went to Radina’s on the Hill and had drinks: lemonade for him, an iced cafe mocha for me.  I was in my own little world and didn’t notice my friend, V, sitting there reading until she noticed us on our way out. We chatted for a bit, but we had to go get our laundry and I have a phobia of leaving our clothes too long unattended (if you’re reading this, V, we’ll have to get together and catch up soon!).

Due to the fact that the evening was getting later, we ended up going to the gym while the clothes dried, back to get them when we were done, and then back to pick up some things at the store. Yeah, it was extra driving, but it didn’t seem like a huge deal considering all the driving we’ve done anyway this weekend.  Once we made it home, I played DI:R for about an hour, then put the clothes away, finishing in record time. Once this post is done, I’m going to have watermelon and some cherry juice for dinner and watch a little more of The Missing, then it’s shower and sleep.

Next weekend probably won’t be as active since it’s Fall Juice Fast 2013 weekend and we’re going to stay safely put in the house for the most part. However, there will be house cleaning and extraneous item purging and probably some gaming…all in the air conditioned back room if this heat keeps up. We’ll make the most of it though. We always do.

A.

 

Sunday Treks

I posted on FB this morning that we weren’t going to go geocaching today. It rained all night and we assumed things would be muddy and gross.  We figured we’d walk the zoo instead and then do some grocery shopping.  The mistake we made, however, was in saying “Let’s just find one geocache before going to the zoo.” Which then lead to no zoo and a full day of hunting.

There were several we didn’t find, including one that asked hunters to look casual around the general populace so people wouldn’t see the cache when you found it (to deter thievery, I believe). Yeah, I’m sure we looked real casual strolling up and down the sidewalk by Wal-Mart and studying the trees a little more than a normal person would or should. After awhile, we just gave up, and that’s partially because I was a little uncomfortable there.

But there were a few we did find, and another few that we just decided to hold off on until the ground dries up and/or winter gets here.  We were right on the ground being wet and mushy. I came home with wet feet. I may need to invest in a good pair of hiking boots one of these days. We hiked through a nature trail in the woods and made our way through plenty of trees.

In our searching, we found a new trail to walk and saw some really pretty scenery.

2013-08-04 14.32.37 2013-08-04 14.37.28 2013-08-04 15.04.00 2013-08-04 15.47.09 2013-08-04 15.53.41

 

It wasn’t too hot today, and I really wanted to get out and move to prove I could after yesterday’s excursion. It wasn’t that difficult. Ibuprofen and rest work miracles on a sore body.

I’m not sure if geocaching will be a long term thing or if we’re going to gorge on it for a couple weeks and then be done, but fair warning: until we get tired of it, it may feature heavily on this blog. Of course, then again, it may not.  I just want you to be prepared and understand that I already understand the ways my little obsessions take form, and this may be one of them.

As for our day, that’s really all that happened. We decided to procrastinate going  shopping until tomorrow night after the gym. We did make a drop off at Goodwill though. The rest of the world waited for the reveal of the new Doctor Who. I Googled it during a rest stop on our walk.  I can’t say I feel one way or the other about it. I’m sad that Matt Smith is leaving. He’s my favorite. But I trust Moffat and Crew to bring the awesome, and so shall reserve judgement until I see the new guy in action.

Monday comes early, so it’s shower, then reading, then bed time for this sleepy girl.

A.

Tallgrass Brewery in Manhattan, KS

I posted on Facebook last week that I’d thought up a surprise outing for me and J. I’d planned it for later in April but decided to go ahead and do it sooner, as our original plans fell through due to places we wanted to see having closed.

The surprise outing was a trip to Tallgrass Brewery in Manhattan. J likes beer, and though he doesn’t drink it a lot, he has a deep appreciation for the taste and the process. I, on the other hand, have turned into a wine drinker. But I remember the days when beer was my thing, and I figured going to an old fashioned beer tasting and tour would be fun.
IMG_20130406_134642
Let me say first that we didn’t actually get around to the tour part. We’d wanted to, but at that point, my foot had already started to hurt, and I didn’t think I was up for the walk. Instead, we sat down at one of the tables and started with the tasting.
IMG_20130406_134807
Tallgrass tours are free, but for tasting, you pay five dollars and get a sampler glass and six tickets for samples. Tours start at 2, 3, and 4 on Saturdays and go for about a half hour. The rest of the time, you can sit in the sampling room or stand at the bar and taste away.
IMG_20130406_142307
The atmosphere was good and the staff was friendly. The stool type chairs were a little uncomfortable for my big butt, but they weren’t horrible. Sitting on the outside edge was better, especially when people started coming in. Because when they did, it got crowded in there really fast.
I’ll be honest…I don’t even remember what I sampled. Not because I got drunk (I was driving, after all), but because I really have lost my taste for beer. I know there was a grapefruit beer that I didn’t like at all. The last one I tried was actually really good and suited my taste buds. Tallgrass makes a brew called Buffalo Sweat, and the sample was a Vanilla Bean version of that stout. I really liked it. J said that even if I’m not a beer drinker in general, I may have an affinity for stouts.
IMG_20130406_143708
J had a great time and really enjoyed most of the beers he tried, which was what I was aiming for. We had fun sitting and chatting and people-watching. Before we left, we met another couple who were out for the day. We visited for awhile, then decided to take off to hang with some friends for the rest of the evening.
We’re definitely planning on going again, though I’ll likely curb my drinking to a stout or two and then volunteer as designated driver. Next time, we’ll also take the actual tour. If any Manhattan friends want to join us, it’s definitely the kind of place to have a good friendly gathering.

Flint Hills Discovery Center

Our original plan when visiting the Flint Hills Discovery Center was to check out the place where they’d be holding a lecture later that week. The problem with public lectures is often seating and comfort, so we wanted to check beforehand to make sure this was going to work for us.
Flint Hills Discovery Center
Flint Hills Discovery Center
After arriving there, we decided to go ahead and by a day pass to explore the museum. We started by seeing their film, which includes features such as blowing air and smoke to “immerse” the audience in the narration of the film. Then we explored the areas and looked at the exhibits about the Flint Hills and Kansas in general.
IMG_20130330_141612 IMG_20130330_142825 IMG_20130330_143410  PANO_20130330_143728
It was a fun place to visit, and it would be fun to take my nephews or niece there if they were to come this way for a visit. It gave me a new perspective on Kansas, and the exhibits were interesting. There are certain areas that are free to the public, including the lobby, which has a kiosk that lets visitors plan an itinerary of other places to see in Kansas, and a third floor terrace which overlooks part of Manhattan and gives a distant view of the Hills.
At the time I originally wrote this blog, there were a few things I was kind of bummed about. One was the fact that the art gallery portion wasn’t open, but in order to visit it again, we’d have to pay the admission fee or purchase a membership. Because it didn’t strike us as the kind of place we’d visit multiple times, both options seemed a little iffy. I was also a little disappointed when they said they used “youth chairs” for their lectures. I can’t imagine anyone being comfortable in what I perceived as kid chairs, even smaller people than J and I.
However, in a weird twist of events, my point of view has changed a bit. Part of that was the fact that we did attend a lecture there and it turned out to be really comfortable. Kudos to the DC for having really good, sturdy chairs for their visitors.
The other part was that as part of one of his classes, J. ended up getting a membership, and we found out that the FHDC is part of a large network of museums, so this membership will allow us to visit other museums all over the country. And the privileges mean that I can attend other museums with him at no charge because it gives family benefits too.
However, after thinking about it, I’ve decided to go ahead and get a membership as well. It works out to less than a couple dollars a month, and it will allow us to see all the exhibits (the family benefits only kick in at museums that are over 90 miles a way from where we live). Plus, the charitable part of me wants to be able to say I contributed to something cool, and we can incorporate the Discovery Center as another place to take walks.
I’ll be signing up for a membership in a couple days, when the FHDC has its Discovery Day to celebrate being open a year. Admission is free, so even though signing up for the membership won’t really allow us to take advantage of that, we’re going to see some of the cool things they’re doing (plus we’ve planned for this to be our museum day in Manhattan. I’m currently nursing a bum foot, but praying it’ll be better in the next day or so, so I can go exploring).
Also, the terrace is amazingly calm. I plan to utilize this space for “down time” in the future.
IMG_20130330_145718

Exploring MHK: Strecker-Nelson Art Gallery

The trip to Fort Worth really flipped a switch, and I’m riding it out until the switched gets flipped back the other way.
I didn’t think Manhattan had that many places to look at art and such. While the Manhattan Arts Center isn’t someplace I go for events, they do have regular exhibits that are fun to view. Beyond that, I thought most things were on campus, which is territory I’ve avoided for the most part. But upon doing some research, I found some really neat places.
Down on Poyntz Avenue is The Strecker-Nelson Art Gallery which houses a permanent collection for sale on the lower level and a rotating exhibit on the second floor. Not rotating as in it moves, but they change it out every 6-7 weeks.
IMG_20130330_122842
Besides loving the art they had on display, I was thrilled with out friendly the people are. Not everyone in this town is friendly, and some places we’ve visited have had an air of pretentiousness that’s really off-putting. But the staff talked to us about the displays, about the art, and everyone greeted us warmly as we walked through.
IMG_20130330_123237IMG_20130330_123251
  IMG_20130330_123720 IMG_20130330_125258IMG_20130330_123956  IMG_20130330_125601
I’m excited to make this gallery a regular stop to see new art and new exhibits. I recommend it as a spot to visit and as a source of presents for my upcoming birthday (just in case you were looking).