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Monday, May 26, 2008

My Favorite Olive Garden

Olive Garden is my favorite place to go out to eat.  I could have the Tour of Italy dish every day for the rest of my life.  I'd especially love it if I could have the fresh Olive Garden Salad, the nice warm bread sticks and the world's best tiramisu for dessert.  I developed my love for Olive Garden in Utah but little did I know that the world's best Olive Garden would be out here in the East in Tyngsborough, Massachusetts.Tyngsborough olive garden outside

The outside of the restaurant is striking.  It's a huge stone terraced garden area facing the street.  It looks kind of like those pyramids in Mexico.  The outside of the store is completely covered in stone, I would love to have a house like this.olive garden bar area

The effect continues inside in the bar area.  Doesn't this look like the perfect place to stop after work and have a drink?  Too bad it's nowhere near my way home and besides that I can't afford to be going out for drinks after work anyway lately.

foyer

I love the exposed beams and the granite coffee area.  To top off all this architectural wonder the service here is top notch.  Every time we've gone there we've been treated very well and they even pay special attention to the kids.  That's a rarity in restaurants altogether and it seems like I've seen it even less often in the East.  Great service, a great view and a fantastic interior is what makes this the best Olive Garden in the world.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Vacation 05/10 to 05/18

When I have had vacation in the past if we haven't gone out of town we've wasted it.  Joanna hate spending my vacation time by having nothing better to do than go to the mall every day.  This year we had a family meeting and decided what to do every day so that we would feel like we had done something with my time off.

Sofia was in school and since we didn't go out of town we didn't pull her out this year.  She complains that the boys always get to do fun stuff while she has to go to school but those are the breaks!  It's hard to explain that there was a time when she sat around at home and played all day.  She actually used to get to go out more than the boys because there was a time that we didn't have three kids.

One day we went to the beach.  It wasn't crowded at all since the season hasn't started yet and the water is freezing cold up here in the North.  I read a book while the kids ran around.  I got a horrible sunburn on my legs and lower back.  I guess those parts of me haven't been exposed to sun since I lived in Lake Powell.

Sofia had her portfolio night on Thursday, she's growing up so much!  I'm so happy that math is her favorite subject.  It was mine when I was younger and I wish someone would have explained to me better what being good at math can do for you.  I've got to remember to do that for her.

I was finally able to play some poker.  It's been months since I was able to slip down to Foxwoods.  Again like the first couple of times I went the game was good but I was totally unable to capitalize on it.  My run of cards was horrible, my straights didn't catch, my flushes were busted and I folded for hours and hours.

I did play a sit and go tournament on Saturday night.  I sat right to the left of a guy who looked just like Larry David.  I finally got my good cards in the tournament, my first good hand was a QQ and I went all in on the small blind against a raiser and 4 callers.  No one called me and the rest of the tournament was the same.  I didn't have a showdown until I had a commanding chip lead and I call an all in from the short stack with KQo.  He had A6o and ended up going home after the Q came on the flop.  When the fourth to last player busted out to the Larry David lookalike I offered a deal.  Larry and the guy across the table from him had about 3500 chips and I had 13000.  I offered to take $450 and they each would get $275.  I didn't want a bad run of cards to send me home with the $200 prize and after the punishing limit sessions I needed the cash.  They were both happy to just be in the money and took the deal.  We went downstairs and got paid out and I came home to lick my limit hold-em wounds.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

MOS and Mother's day

I'm in vacation this week and rather than lay around and do nothing like we usually do we planned activities for each day of the week.  Yesterday was designated as either a beach day or a trip to the Museum of Science in Boston.  It was rainy so off to the museum we went.  We started off the trip by viewing the animal exhibit.  The kids were kind of interested in the animals but were absolutely fascinated with a poster on the wall that showed what kinds of food the different animals ate.

After the animals we went to a planetarium show called What Happened to Pluto.  It's been years and years since I saw a planetarium show and I absolutely loved it.  Sofia and Coleman were pretty happy with it but Joaquin spent half of the show lying on the ground in front of me.  He may have been uncomfortable in his chair, his legs weren't heavy enough to hold the seat cushion down so it kept flipping up and putting him in an awkward position. I'd love to get one of the planetarium projectors and have home laser shows someday.

Planetarium Projector

After the show we went to the human body exhibit.  Sofia got to touch a sheep heart and lung.  I'm surprised she actually touched it since she complains about anything that may have germs.  She won't even touch silverware after it's been in someone's mouth.  The boys spent their time running around crazily but I think they all learned something.

One of my favorite parts was the reading room at the back of the human body area.  It had a nice view of the river.  I have no idea which one but the view was outstanding.  I wish I had enough money to live in Boston itself, especially if I could have a view like this.

Boston View

Today was mother's day and we had our traditional dinner of KFC.  Joanna is a KFC addict.  She hasn't had it a whole lot since we moved to New Hampshire but she would have it every night if she could.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

It's over!

With a huge victory in NC and a marginal loss in Indiana it looks like Obama will be the Democratic Party nominee.  I wonder if I should have put down $20 on an online gambling site rather than giving it to his campaign.  He was 4-1 to win the nomination when I did it and 8-1 for the presidency.  Well hopefully good government will be worth more than whatever I would waste the money on. 

If you thought Obama Girl had a crush on Obama you should see Olberman and Matthews.  Sheesh.  It's like watching a political Brokeback Mountain.  I keep expecting Olberman to say "I wish I could quit you Obama".

So I've been working on a refinance on the house.  When I bought it I got a 10 year interest only option with a 30 year fixed.  The rate was a mighty pricy 6.85% but I did it because I wanted the extra room to clear out some debt.  Well most of the debt is gone and I'm trying to figure out if I want to clear out the other debt or refinance.  I think I've decided to double down on my market timing skills and refinance.  The extra payment will be a little stretch at first but I'll be done paying for the second car in a year or two at most, less if the overtime comes back next tax season.  I think that It will be a pretty tight stretch over the near term but my 9 year older self will thank me when I don't have the payment jump in a few years.  Besides that I know there are some things we can cut out of the budget still, after all I'm up watching MSNBC instead of the 25 movie channels I'm paying for that all have nothing that I care to see.