Officially a Member of the 200 Club

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I finally bowled my first 200 game on league night. Brian did it a few weeks ago when he bowled a 204. I kept telling him that I’m capable of bowling a 200 game also, but I’d never been able to prove it until last Sunday. I’ll usually start out really well but then I choke halfway through so I never quite make it to 200. I’m so glad it finally happened.

Brian said he believed that I could bowl a 200 game though he’d never seen me do it. However, I still felt like I needed to prove myself. I bowled a 208, 4 pins higher than his highest game ever. I just had to prove my bowling prowess. LOL.

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I wish that I would have bowled better on my first two games because I only bowled a 499 series. I really wanted to break 500. That’s going to be my next goal.

Either way, I’m excited for league night this Sunday. I’m hoping to see my name in weekly stats sheet. Oowa! Oowa!

My Favorite Chess Matches

Our recent vacation to the Dominican Republic revived my love for chess. Brian’s game has really improved a lot making the game more enjoyable for both us. He used to be really easy to beat, which made the game frustrating for him and not really that enjoyable for me because it wasn’t much of a challenge. He is a much more formidable opponent these days. Either I’m really rusty or he’s tremendously gotten better. I’d like to think it’s the latter but it’s probably a little bit of both. I’m not as strategic as I used to be and tend to move pieces on whim rather than careful planning.

Though he hasn’t won a chess game since we returned from Dominican Republic, I can’t say that I’m easily dispatching him as I did before. I’ve found that I can no longer take it easy. Our chess matches (we’ve been playing regularly on our old school chess board — about three to four times a week) have required much more concentration on my end.

Anyway, all of this recent chess playing has made me wax nostalgic over the good old days on Red Hot Pawn. I used to play on RHP ten years ago as PerverseAngel. I used that screen name because Brian used to have DarkAngel as his username for several things and I thought PerverseAngel was a clever oxymoron that sort of matched his screen name. You guys know how much I like oxymorons and puns. LOL.

But I digress… I still remember my very first match on Red Hot Pawn. I posted a screen shot for you guys below because it was so awesome. I was able to get a checkmate in six moves. That doesn’t happen often.

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Joeyshirt and Piper11521 used to work with Brian when Brian worked for Cox Communications. They were my favorite opponents on RHP because they played regularly. Both were very good.

I played regularly in 2005 and then started playing less and less. I only played a couple of times in 2006 and a handful of times in 2007. We tried to get back into RHP a couple of years ago but it didn’t have the same appeal. After Brian left Cox Communications (he worked for LSI for a few years before moving to Viega in 2008) there was no one to play with on RHP except for Brian and, if we’re just playing against each other, it’s just as easy to play on a traditional chess board. We’d play at home, at the drive-in (while waiting for the first movie to start), at Bradley fair (during the summer jazz concerts), etc. Chess is a great way to kill time, and it’s great for making wagers also.

I’ve been wanting to get back into Red Hot Pawn so that I can start playing chess with other people again. Not that I’m tired of playing with Brian but we’re starting to get used to playing each other and the games are starting to get predictable. That, and he never wants to play black so I’m usually stuck playing black, which I don’t like either.

I wish there was a Red Hot Pawn phone app. I did find a multi-player chess game app that’s available on both iPhone and Android. It’s working pretty well so far but I only know a couple of people who use it (Brian and Isaac). If anyone wants to play, you can find on Chess Time as Chingay. I’m always up for a game.

Starlite Fun with Friends

We had so much fun at the Starlite drive-in last weekend. Brian and I hadn’t seen the movies they were showing and we also hadn’t been to the drive-in in several years. We were glad that Becca came up with the idea to go to the drive-in and invited us.

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Brian and I were running later than usual because we had to stop and pick up some supplies on the way. The Dills were already in line when we got there. We couldn’t have planned it any better because we got in line right behind them.

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Though we ran later than usual, we were still early enough to get some prime spots. We were smack dab in the middle and had perfect view of the screen. Cory and April were running even later so we saved a spot for them. I was amazed that the security people who kept patrolling the rows didn’t chew us out for saving a spot.

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The blue chairs on the left is how we saved the spot for Cory and April.

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Brian and I broke in our new anti-gravity chairs (also sometimes called zero gravity chairs) that night and they worked out great. They were super comfortable and elevated us enough above the tops of cars that I didn’t have any issues. When are lower on the ground the tops of the cars sometimes get in the way. I had no problems at all last Saturday.

If you would like to get your own set of these amazing zero gravity chairs you can get a pair from Amazon by following this link. These chairs fold for portability. They really are the perfect outdoor chairs to tote around to events like the summer jazz concerts, drive-in, camping, etc. After you get these chairs you’ll find yourself going to the drive-in or just plain sitting around outside more. I guarantee it. I’m actually ready for another trip to the drive-in. LOL.

All Star Adventures

Big Brothers Big Sisters hosted a friends and family event last week at All Star Adventures. The cost was $7 per person for all you can play — go karts, carnival rides, and mini golf. Brian and I hadn’t been there in ages so we couldn’t pass up the deal even though it was a work night. Lucky for us, the event fell on a Thursday so I didn’t have to teach Zumba. We wouldn’t have been able to do it otherwise.

I’m glad we got to go because we had a blast playing with Faith and her kids, Becca, Jay, Addison, and my little sister Kira.

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Addy and Kira got along fabulously.

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I think Jay had more fun than the kids. LOL.

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Here’s a cute one of Addy.

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This is my favorite pic of me and Kira. Don’t let that angelic smile fool you. This child is a dare devil. She wanted to do all of the really crazy rides. After we rode the go karts (I had to ride with her because she wasn’t tall enough to drive herself), we did her favorite carnival rides. After the second one, I had to start looking for rides that she could do by herself because I couldn’t take anymore. I seriously felt like throwing up my dinner if I rode another dizzying ride.

She said this was her favorite because it scared me the most and made me scream a lot. Though she told me later that if another ride scared me more, that would have been her favorite instead. Can you believe such an angelic child could be so mischievous?

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This a photo of Kira that I took when we rode bumper boats together. She tried to make me dizzy in the bumper boats too. LOL.

Aqua Zumba at Andover YMCA

My goal this summer is to learn enough Aqua Zumba routines for a full class. Since I got my license to teach Aqua Zumba earlier this year I’ve really been somewhat reluctant to start teaching it. Unlike after my Zumba Basic 1 training when I just jumped right in to teaching classes, I’m a bit apprehensive about teaching Aqua Zumba. I think maybe some of it has to do with my limited experience taking these classes. I have only taken a handful. All of them have been very good so that’s made me feel somewhat intimidated and inadequate to teach the format. On top of that, Aqua Zumba is really physically taxing on the instructor. We were taught this in training but then I thought, it can’t be that bad. I learned just how exhausting it can be to teach Aqua Zumba first hand when Alexa let me teach one song in her class last Wednesday. Holy cow! I was so winded after teaching just one song. I came to the conclusion that (a) I need to get in better shape in order to teach the format without dying or throwing up at the end of class, (b) I need to learn techniques for conserving my energy throughout class so I can survive, or both.

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Here are some pictures and videos from Alexa’s class last Wednesday.

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These videos will give you a sense of what taking an Aqua Zumba class is like. It really is super fun and a great workout. I highly recommend trying the class if you’ve never taken one before. Or if you have, I recommend checking out Alexa’s class on Wednesday nights at Andover YMCA because she is a fantastic Aqua Zumba instructor.

I feel very fortunate to be able to shadow Alexa and have her as my mentor. She is so talented. I know that I will learn a lot from her. Come join us this Wednesday at Andover YMCA. The class meets at 7 PM outside in the waterpark. See you all there!

USA vs. Philippines

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It was USA vs. Philippines last week at bowling. Team Alobaker, representing the Philippines, won 3 points to 1. I wish we could have won 4 points and wiped them out. No such luck on the third game, though. Eddie (photographed) and his teammates pulled out all the stops in the third game. They all bowled better than their average. Unfortunately for us. At least we got 3 points that night though. Hopefully that’s enough to either keep our ranking or move up. Until next week…

Family Brunch at Cracker Barrel

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Jenni and Ben were in town visiting this weekend. They spent the night on Thursday night before heading to Kansas City on Friday and spending the night there coming back on Saturday. Since they were in town, they joined us for the monthly poker game at Rune’s. I was worried about taking them to poker for fear that they would be bored. Little did I know, Ben is an avid and skilled poker player. He took third last night. As for me and Brian, let’s just say it was an expensive evening and leave it at that. LOL.

It took us about an hour to get home last night, but that’s a story for another time. Needless to say, we were up too late and had to be up early to meet everyone for brunch. I’m glad I’m a morning person or I would have been cranky about the wait.

Jenni and Ben got there first. They were told there would a 35 minute wait, which is long but not unreasonable. Anyway, we find out later that a group of nine who arrive after us got seated before us while we continued to wait. After waiting almost an hour, we were finally seated. In the mean time, the wait gave me a chance to play Ben a game of checkers. I’m thinking that I might switch to checkers because I’m actually not bad at it. I have a better record at checkers than chess this year.

Brunch was good despite the slow service. Our server was nice. I can’t really blame her for the mix up with the seating. It took a long time for our food to arrive but that could have been the kitchen’s fault. They were probably just busier than usual that day. I didn’t want to let these things affect the rest of my day though, so I chose to be more tolerant about the whole situation. Plus, I was just really grateful for the wonderful company (and free lunch because mom and dad paid – LOL).

After brunch Brian and I took grandma to Kohl’s to pick out a watch. We had promised her one for her birthday but didn’t get a chance to buy it because we had a busy week following our trip. This actually worked out better because then grandma got to pick out the exact one that she wanted.

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Overall it has been a great day so far. We had a great time with family, got grandma’s watch, and Brian fixed her computer. Hope the wonderfulness of the day continues tonight at bowling. I’m looking forward to winning some points again tonight so we can start moving up in the rankings.

Old Friends

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We had a busy weekend last week. We had the Annual Filipino Ball on Saturday and then hosted breakfast at our house for the Sharons since they were in town. Brian and I got to meet Richard and Amy’s kids for the first time. Misty came over and join us for breakfast also. We had a nice time visiting and catching up.

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Immediately after our guests took off I had to take off as well to attend Etaf’s bridal shower. She’s a friend from grad school who I hadn’t seen in years. Thankfully we have Facebook so we can still stay in touch. Anyway, Mary was at the bridal shower as well. It was great seeing both of them.

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Etaf’s bridal shower was super fun. I normally don’t like playing games but the games her sister came up with were great. I wish I could have stayed for the opening of presents except I had to drive back to Wichita for bowling league night with Brian and my folks.

We actually had a great night last Sunday. We didn’t bowl particularly well but the opposing team was having an off night so we won all four points. It’s the first week that we actually won. We tied our opponents on the first night and have been on a losing streak since. It was so refreshing to finally win. I can’t wait to bowl again next week and win four more points. Woot!

Pictures From the Annual Filipino Ball

The Filipino Ball is a celebration of milestones — debutantes, wedding anniversaries, achievements — in the Filipino community. It’s a chance for us to relive prom night in that we get to wear our fanciest clothes. Women are in beautiful gowns and men are in colorful and stylish barongs. It’s a pretty formal event so you can be as fancy as you want to be. Brian opted to wear his tux this year. Yeah, we’re still trying to get our money’s worth. LOL.

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These are some of my favorite photos from last night. Huge thanks to Jennifer Cannady for taking the photo above. I’ve put on some weight in the last couple of years and actually don’t look too bad in this photo. LOL. Brian, my very own James Bond, looks amazing as always.

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If you recognize my dress it’s because I recycled it. It’s the same dress that I wore to the American Heart Association benefit earlier this year. I would have preferred to have worn a new dress but life has been hectic and I didn’t have time to shop. Rather than stress about it, I figured I’d just wear one of the ones I already had hanging in the closet. I wore new jewelry to freshen it up a bit. This is the Kahlo line. If you’d like to see it up close or want to schedule a trunk show, contact me.

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Mom and dad with the Cannadys at the Filipino Ball.

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Obligatory selfie… because we have to take at least one of the two of us.

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The Filipino Ball is the one time a year that we get to see people who we don’t normally see on a regular basis. Kids babies and children grow up to be adults almost overnight it seems. It’s like one year they were children and the next they’re hosting the event. Yes, I’m talking about Jenna. She was a baby when Brian and I first started attending the gala and now she’s a grown woman. Amazing. Brian and I still feel pretty youthful but this is the one event that’s guaranteed to make you feel old. Before the evening is even over I always end up wondering, “Are we really that old?”

We must be because I actually enjoy the event now and I didn’t used to. In my youth I used to dread having to attend. “Do I really have to?” This was one of those parties that was forced upon you by your parents. I don’t know how the other kids felt or how the kids today feel. It was not a fun party for me. It wasn’t really that much fun watching old people drink and make fools of themselves on the dance floor. Now I’m one of those old people. It’s awesome how time can change your perspective.

It used to that you couldn’t pay me to attend now and I’m actually paying to go. If you told me years ago that this would happen, I never would have believed you. LOL.

The Filipino Ball has become one of those events that I actually look forward to attending each year. I love watching the kids grow up and watching families expand as they welcome new family members. As long as I can look youngish and have my handsome James Bond by my side, I really don’t mind feeling old for a night.

Grandma’s 92nd Birthday

We celebrated grandma’s 92nd birthday at Firebirds last night. It was also a late birthday dinner for Brian and late Father’s Day celebration. We didn’t have time to figure out what to do for gifts for everyone so we just decided to buy everyone dinner. It was a little lazy on our part, I know; but what can you do when you’ve just gotten back from traveling and you have to get on with everyday life real quick? I was back to my day job and teaching my Zumba classes right off the bat.

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Without further ado, here are some of the pictures from last night.

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Mom and dad were able to join us so that was great.

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Brian got a card that makes noise and some cash for his birthday from his mom and dad. He is so easily amused.

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Mom really thought this was a half portion.

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Brian got ribs. He said they were very good.

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Grandma got pasta.

Dad got a wood grilled salmon.

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Kevin got a cheeseburger.

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I had a Fireside BLT with grilled salmon.

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Donna got meatloaf.

David got a steak filet and fries.

We all shared a couple of slices of the banana cream pie.

Close up!

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Grandma got a nice card from the Firebirds staff.

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We had to take a selfie!

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Here’s a photo of the Brubakers outside the restaurant after dinner.

Picture from last night.

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill on Urbanspoon

Food at the restaurant was actually better than I remembered. I have always liked their bread because it reminds me of pan de sal. The servers brought us several loaves well before we could even finish one.

I’m not sure about the others but my food was pretty good. The last time I had salmon at Firebirds it was a little overdone. It seemed that way anyhow. I thought I would give them another chance and get salmon again. This time to just add to my salad. The salmon was done absolutely perfectly. It didn’t dry up so that was great.

Our server recommended their seasonal dessert, a banana cream pie on steroids. We shared two slices of the pie. It was delicious. I hope Brian learns how to make it because I would love to have some again. LOL.

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