Archive for June, 2008

Botan, after numerous owners over the past year, is now Osaka. We went during the opening weekend about a month ago and it was okay. They had some creative menu options, but we weren’t happy with spending $90 on sushi. That did not include any kind of teppan or hibachi entree. So we hadn’t gone back until Matt told me they had a dinner special for the weekend… $25 all you can eat. We tried it out and it was definitely a good value. We’ll see what happens to Osaka. There were only 2 other customers while we had dinner. Really, our only complaint was how lifeless this beautiful little restaurant was. It’s time to do some mailers or flyers in the local neighborhoods!

Check out Osaka for yourself:
4076 Belfort Road (across from St. Luke’s hospital near the new Gate gas station next to the post office)

Click here for the Osaka website

A few pics I took with the pathetic camera on my phone! LOL!

Happy Birthday Carl!

June 29, 2008

It should be easy for me to remember birthdays. Most of my friends and family have had birthdays in the past week. Last Saturday was my brother, Monday was my dad (and Stephanie, I later found out), Thursday was Matt, and today was Carl. Craziness!

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to do what we had planned for Matt’s birthday. We were going to go to North Georgia and stay in a cabin with the puppies, but we had to postpone. Instead, we celebrated with a quiet night at home and made dinner. Then we were going to go to a show last night, but it didn’t work out. We settled for dinner at a sushi place by our house that had a great dinner special. I’ll post more about that later.

Tonight we headed down to Orlando for Carl’s birthday dinner. Japanese for the 2nd night in a row, but this time we had the teppan grill dinner. This place was by far the best teppan style cooking I have had. Most places everything you order tastes the same… just that grill flavor. But this place was so mouth-watering! I think it was the fresh squeezed lemon. I don’t know, but it had so much more flavor than any other place I’ve been to. And of course, it’s always very entertaining and perfect for group events. Carl’s friends filled two grills. His mom flew in from NY and it was great seeing her. Unfortunately, we had to head back and let the puppies out, but it was well worth the drive to celebrate Carl’s birthday!

Here are some pics from dinner! We had such a great time!

I finally made use of our little patio veggie garden! I wasn’t sure what exactly I was going to do with the mint we have until I realized we could make mint ice cream! I found a recipe that sounded great, but I didn’t have quite enough mint for it. I don’t typically follow recipes very well anyway, so I improvised!

My favorite ice cream is mint chocolate chip, but a very close second favorite would have to be Bailey’s ice cream, which I can never find. I just happened to have some mint chocolate Bailey’s on hand, so I decided to add some in. It turned out pretty well! Matt has already requested amaretto ice cream and I’m starting to wonder how Frangelico ice cream might taste! We bought our little ice cream machine yesterday for $20 and I’m surprised to say it actually worked!

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Extracting the mint flavor from the leaves was time consuming, but I think it was definitely worth it. And after trimming the mint plant yesterday it’s already growing like mad again, so I’m sure it won’t be long before we have enough mint for another batch.

If anyone is interested, you can find the ice cream recipe here: Elise Bauer’s Simply Recipes

Elise also has other great recipes and a fantastic website, so definitely check her out!

Yesterday, we also added some banana pepper plants and some more tomato plants to our little garden. Our strawberries are getting bigger and bigger every day. In a couple weeks we will probably get to have one each. Haha! It’s kinda sad that you do all this work and it yields such small results, but it’s fun. We picked our first tomato and it’s so small, but I’m sure we will enjoy eating it!

We fed the plants yesterday and between the feeding and the downpour of rain we had they grew so much overnight. It’s raining again so I hope it’s not too much for them. We have a few more buds on our bell pepper plant so I hope they start to grow, too. Our one pepper looks like it’s never going to get any bigger. Our cuccumbers had a growth spurt overnight, though. And we planted more lettuce because that seems to be doing very well for us. It’s just fun to go out there and see what has happened since we last looked.

Michigan

June 16, 2008

It has been such a long day! I started at 4am in Jacksonville, got to Michigan around 10:30am, and just got back to our hotel around 8:15pm. I took a nice cold shower… not because I wanted to, but because after letting the water run FOREVER it never got hot and I am too exhausted to try changing rooms right now. I got to bed last night around midnight after cleaning the house, doing laundry, and getting packed. I still have to do some homework tonight for tomorrow’s class, but I wanted to take a second to write a blog. I am NOT at all happy about the cold shower, but I think I used all of my favors from God today between getting to the airport on time, praying for safe flights, and praying to make it to my hotel in time to catch the van to our class. So I wasn’t about to ask for one more thing. :) But God, couldn’t ya have at least kept it slightly under luke warm instead of making it suddenly turn FREEZING cold when I was trying to rinse my hair??? :p

The weather up here is fabulous, though. I definitely can’t complain about that. It feels like late September in Pittsburgh. This evening it was chilly enough to need a sweater, but it was such a relief from the brutal Florida heat. Michigan (at least this area) is surprisingly pretty and the people are friendly. Our class facilitators are great. They are entertaining and informative and challenge us without making us feel intimidated. I know a few people in the class from previous classes and we spent a lot of time today getting to know one another, so we are all pretty well-acquainted. It should be a great week as long as I make up for the lack of sleep!

Time to do my homework so I can go to bed! My alarm is set for 6am!

Update on the Garden

June 16, 2008

Yesterday I added on to our garden with some strawberries and raspberries! I drove all over town looking for them only to get them from the place I originally saw them. I was hoping to find some better looking plants, but no luck. I got home and realized I didn’t have big enough pots for them, so I had to go back out and get those. I made it home just in time because it rained the rest of the afternoon.

The most exciting garden news is that my lettuce (one of the few plants I started from a seed) is already growing! I can’t believe it! It’s sprouting like crazy! So I was very excited about that.

I’m in Michigan this week for a class and I miss home. But it’s just a week and I’m sure I will have lots of fun here! Will keep you posted!

I am so excited! Matt and I decided to start a garden. I’ve been thinking about it for the past couple weeks and more seriously this past week, so on Thursday we went to Target to get some supplies for our garden and ended up buying plants that were already growing. We also bought some seeds, but since it’s so late in the year we wanted plants that were already established. Some of them even have fruit! It’s so cute.

Say hello to my little tomato! We have two Better Boy tomato plants, but this is the only one that has fruit.
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Our other tomato plant is a patio hybrid and has two little maters growing!
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Mmmm… basil! We also got some oregano, but I forgot to take a pic of it.
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It must have been mint to be! We are going to get an ice cream machine so we can make homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream (my fave)! The smell of my little mint plant is amazing.
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We also have two bell pepper plants, both which have one nicely developing pepper and are working on more.
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Everything looks so much bigger now that I have transfered them to new pots! Or maybe they really did grow a lot overnight! We also have chives, two red bell pepper plants (no fruit yet), and two marigolds (supposedly they keep bugs away, but I found a couple flies on my plants today).
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I already want to add on to our little garden! I planted some seeds for cuccumbers, sweet baby lettuces, and more peppers (from a pepper on my other pepper plant). I have a couple others I really want to try out also, but I want to read up on how well they do in containers first.

I enjoy sitting on the back porch and tending to the plants. We’ve bonded. I will miss them so much while I am gone this week, but it will give Matt a chance for some alone time with them. :)

Wasabi!

June 8, 2008

Matt and I met up with our friends (the Lukases and the Bristows) at the Wasabi Steakhouse at SJTC. While we were waiting for them, we ran into some friends of friends that we haven’t seen in a while. As luck would have it, we all ended up at the same table! Small world.

It was so nice hanging out with our dear friends again! Wasabi is a pretty decent place. It looks pretty cool from the outside:

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It was good, but it was pretty much the same as most places like it around town. I am still looking for a place that will match what we found at the old Botan!!!

Like other Japanese steakhouses, we were entertained throughout our meal:

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What will make me go back to Wasabi again is the prices. It has small sushi restaurant prices with the whole teppanyaki experience, which is cool. And they make a decent crab salad! Everyone makes it different and I liked how Wasabi did it (and for only $3.50… sweet!).

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I always have to have my salmon! I had salmon and yellowtail (I think) nigiri and a salmon roll.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get a pic with the girls! We went outside to chat and the guys ended up paying the bill and meeting up with us. We went for a walk around the Town Center and were chatting about anything and everything. It was a blast! While we were walking around, we decided to do a girls night soon and go shopping then see Sex In The City. I don’t watch the show, but I’m sure it will be entertaining and a very fun night. Can’t wait!

Marié Digby Concert

June 7, 2008

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The Marié Digby concert was AWESOME!! This guy Justin Nozuka opened up and he was really bad ass. He was very soulful and had great vocals. Check out his myspace: http://www.myspace.com/justinnozuka

Eric Hutchinson played after Marié, but we only stayed for a few of his songs because my feet were killing me (who wears heels to a concert where you have to stand??). He was very good, though. www.myspace.com/erichutchinson

Tour bus outside Jack Rabbits:
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After Nozuka left the stage to meet and greet his fans, we were able to move closer to the stage. There were just two girls in front of us for the first performance, so we ended up right in front. It was a little weird, because when Marié was at the keyboard she was directly in front of me. I’m a little too shy to be that close! I could actually reach out and touch her keyboard if I wanted.

Too close for my camera to focus hahaha!
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She opened with “Stupid For You,” which is such a cute and fun song. Here’s a clip of her last night:

What was really cool was that Marié explained a little about each song. The small venue and Marié’s interaction with the crowd made it such an intimate show. It was definitely one of my favorites concerts EVER! I wish every concert I went to could be so personal.

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It’s really hard to pick a favorite song from the show. The crowd really enjoyed the sing-a-long to “Umbrella.” I think what I enjoyed most was hearing “Unfold” and “Fool.” I knew the songs, but hearing Marié sing them live I felt like I really connected with them.

but i dont wanna go on living
being so afraid of showing
someone else my imperfections
and even though my feet
are trembling
and every word i say
comes stumbling
i will bare it all… watch me unfold
unfold

After the show, Marié took some time to say hello to everyone. People kept jumping in front of me in line, but I waited patiently. I felt a lot like “Miss Invisible,” especially after two people interrupted my conversation with her. It’s hard enough for me to talk to people and even harder when that happens. But… she did sign my CD and take a pic with me and she was so sweet. I can’t wait until she comes back to Jacksonville! www.myspace.com/mariedigby

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By ALAN ROBINSON

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Dwight White, the Steel Curtain defensive end known as “Mad Dog” who helped lead the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl titles in the 1970s, died Friday. He was 58.

The Steelers said White died at a Pittsburgh hospital. The cause was not disclosed. The team said White was released from the hospital after having back surgery, but then was readmitted with complications.

White is the second member of the original four-man Steel Curtain to die this year. Defensive tackle Ernie Holmes died Jan. 17 in a car accident in Texas.

White, a two-time Pro Bowl player, was chosen as one of the 33 members of the Steelers’ 75th anniversary all-time team last season.

White was best known for climbing out of a hospital bed to play in the Steelers’ first Super Bowl victory, 16-6 over the Minnesota Vikings in 1975. White lost 18 pounds after being diagnosed with pneumonia and a lung infection, yet played nearly the entire game.

White made three tackles for no yards as the Vikings ran seven of their first eight running plays his way and went on to finish with only 17 yards rushing on 21 attempts. White also accounted for the only points of the first half when he sacked Fran Tarkenton in the end zone for a safety.

White, a former player at East Texas State (now Texas A&M-Commerce), gained his nickname because of his intensity. He often said that playing on the defensive line was like having “a dog’s life.”

Steelers chairman Dan Rooney said that inner drive was the reason the 6-foot-4, 250-pounder could play so well only hours after being hospitalized.

“He played with a relentlessness that led us to four Super Bowl titles in the 1970s,” Rooney said in a statement. “Dwight refused to be denied, as was evidenced when he walked out of the hospital with pneumonia to play in Super Bowl IX and had an outstanding game. Dwight will be remembered by those who knew him even more for being a wonderful and caring person.”

Rooney’s son, Steelers president Art Rooney II, said the organization “lost an important member.”

“He always seemed to rise to the occasion when it counted most and added an element of toughness that was synonymous with our teams of the 1970s,” Rooney II said.

White’s death follows a trend in which former Steelers players have died at an uncommon rate. At least 38 former Steelers players have died since 2000, with 17 of them 59 or younger, as was White.

According to a Los Angeles Times survey in 2006, one-fifth of the former NFL players from the 1970s and 1980s who died through that year were former Steelers.

White was a fourth-round draft pick in 1971 after being a first-team All-Lone Star Conference player and team captain at East Texas State as a senior.

White made his first Pro Bowl in 1972, playing on a Steelers defensive line that also featured Hall of Famer Mean Joe Greene and defensive end L.C. Greenwood.

White repeated as a Pro Bowl selection in 1973 and his 46 sacks from 1971-80 are the seventh most in Steelers history. He had 33 1/2 sacks from 1972-75, with three in the Steelers’ 21-17 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the January 1976 Super Bowl.

White was chosen by The Associated Press as a first team All-AFC player in 1973.

White retired after the 1980 season — one of the first players from the Steelers’ Super Bowl teams to do so — and became a prominent stock broker in Pittsburgh and one of the most successful former Steelers in the business world.

Most recently, he was senior managing director of public finance for Mesirow Financial in Pittsburgh. Before that, he was a partner and principal operator of the Pittsburgh office of W.R. Lazard & Co., plus a company board member, and worked for investment firms Balche-Halsey and Daniels & Bell.

“Let’s just say, like Yogi Bear used to say, I’m smarter than the average bear,” White told Pittsburgh author Jim O’Brien in 1991. In the same interview, he said his one vice was he smoked too much.

White, the oldest of three children who grew up in Hampton, Va., and Dallas, also was involved in numerous community events and charity activities.

“He had a special gift that enabled him to liven up any room that he entered,” Rooney II said.

White also was chairman of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

“His NFL nickname, Mad Dog, belied the fact that he was a true gentleman and an accomplished business leader,” Gov. Ed Rendell said in a statement. “After retiring from football, he entered the financial services industry with the same tenacity and determination he showed on the football field.”

Funeral services are scheduled for Wednesday in Pittsburgh.

Mr. Wiggles

June 4, 2008

My Peanut is home from the vet! He had 10 teeth removed and was neutered today. Poor little guy. He’s sleeping right now, but early I snapped a few pics of him. He’s the sweetest little dog ever! I love my little Nutter Butter!!!