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Monday, April 30, 2012

[Earth Day Edition] pop-we Dinner Club Reviews Jaipur

Hot…Hot…Hot…Hot! This month Marv took us on a trek for some Indian fare, we headed to Jaipur located at 10922 Elm St. in Rockbrook Village in Omaha, NE. The Jaipur Restaurant is nestled in a shopping area that has boutique style shopping as well as few other restaurants and bars. When I walked in, I noticed the very well designed décor: etched glass, Indian paintings, wood room dividers and a huge mural on one wall. The mural depicts men with spears hunting tigers -- it is really amazing! They keep the bar in the back of the restaurant, so patrons can sit along the windows over looking the plaza.

My mystery dish at Japur.
This is what our population-we™ (pop-we) dinner club is all about -- going to a place that you would not normally think of trying; like this place, it was fun and quite the experience. I have never been to an Indian eatery before so looking over the menu I had no idea what I was ordering. Fellow foodie, Rick, and I were looking over the menu discussing some of the entrees. We both decided on ordering a Vindaloo dish, he was going to try the lamb and I the chicken. When the waitress came by to take our order we told her what we wanted. She asked if we had been here before and we both said no. She went on to say that dish was the hottest Jaipur had and that they had another dish that had more flavor. It is still hot, which also came in lamb and chicken. As she headed back to the kitchen Rick and I, looked at each other bewildered, because we both had no idea what we were getting. When the dishes came out mine had a very thick pink looking sauce and Rick's dish was a brownish sauce. Rick took a bite unknowingly into an Indian pepper, he exclaimed it was very hot. My dish was very delectable. Overall, we both enjoyed whatever she brought us. Still would like to know what it was?

Jaipur is also a brewery. They only make four beers: Wheat beer, Indian Pale Ale (IPA), Raspberry Wheat and Jalepeno Ale. I decided to try the Jalepeno Ale. The beer had a nice flavor and little bit of heat. On the side of the glass they garnished it with a dry jalapeno (drier the pepper the hotter). I drank about a quarter of the beer before deciding to drop the jalapeno into the beer. The longer it sat in the glass the hotter the beer became.

Not to get away from our Earth Day theme for April, my wife (Becky) and I carpooled with another dinner club participant, Conrad, to dinner.

After compiling the surveys from the other foodies the pop-we Dinner Club gives Jaipur: 4.28 star average on a scale of 1-5.

Atmosphere/Decor – 4.08

Cleanliness – 4.33

Wait Staff – 4.75

Menu – 4.25

Food Presentation – 4.42

Food Portions – 4.5

Food Taste – 4.42

Cost (was the cost worth meal?) – 3.83

Noise Level – 3.75

Overall Experience – 4.5

You can see more regarding their menu on their website at

Fellow population-we™ readers, if you’ve been to Jaipur leave us a comment and tell us what you thought?

Want to do this yourself? To review how to start your own dinner club, visit our January post about doing just that. Remember it is a template; tweak it to fit you and your friends’ tastes. pop-we Dinner Club: good food…good friends…good times.
Jaipur on Urbanspoon

In celebration of the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day population-we™ staffers will celebrate our love for planet earth with green posts the entire month of April! Thanks for reading our final Earth Day post. 
- population-we blog post by Brian Brown 
© 2012 population-we, LLC
If you enjoyed this post, make sure to leave a comment, 'Pin' or 'Like' it.

Monday, April 23, 2012

[Earth Day Edition] Arbor Day Brings Back Doggy Memories

This Friday, April 27, the U.S. will celebrate Arbor Day, a day set a side to remind Americans how important it is to plant trees. Growing up hearing of stories of the 1930s Dust Storms, trees have a different connotation for our family. However, when it comes to Arbor Day it might come as a surprise that it also brings back memories of a dog companion that my husband and I knew once. Read on to find out why.

Front of Neo's card from our vet and Arbor Day Foundation.
Neo, a Shar Pei/Chow mix, was 13-years-old when he passed away in 2010. He was a misunderstood dog by most. Aggressive and territorial  to strangers but as sweet as a teddy bear to those closest to him. He would be my husband's second dog ever. At the time, Brian's cousin Brenda was a breeder and told us about a litter of puppies they had. I told Brian, I'd let him pick out the puppy. When we walked in I already had one picked out that looked like our first dog, Veruca. However, Brian got down on the floor and in seconds a black puppy picked him. That would be Neo. Brian got to pick him but I got to get to pick his name. As a sci fi and Keanu Reeves fan, I suggested "Neo," and Brian agreed.

Neo's life on this earth did not come without difficult times. At a young age he suffered a seizure. I always thought the heat brought it on because they tended to be in the summer months. Off and on he'd have seizures which was such a hardship to watch him endure. At 10-months we heard Neo's shrieking cry from the kitchen at our Benson home. Brian and I ran down the stairs to find Neo's mouth was stuck in the kennel's gate. He looked like a little baby gorilla through the gate. Brian was able to get him free from the gate. As we picked him up his little heart was beating so rapidly. Our hearts melted and he slept with us all night.

We often thought in another life Neo was a hockey player. We witnessed this often at our 100-year-old house in Benson. His sister, Veruca, would be barking near the front door and Neo would come barreling down the stairs and slide across our hardwood floors and check Veruca into the wall. Later his love of hockey would come into play.

Christmas with Neo.
Neo would get to enjoy two years in our new house we built on the edge of town. Our fondest memory had to be the very first time Neo saw our neighbor's horses. We came up the hill and there they were, which stopped Neo right in his tracks. We could see him trying to process what he was looking at. Brian and I still think he was saying, "That is the biggest dog I've ever seen."

Unfortunately about a year later, Neo had a tumor on his neck that ruptured. We took him to an emergency animal clinic where they did surgery. I made the decision after his first surgery that we'd sleep in the kitchen; since, he could not walk up the stairs. We had purchased a futon cushion months earlier, which Neo and his sister Pepper would sleep on. We all slept there night after night in a dog pile. I know it was the love and modern medicine that allowed him to live for a few months. His brother Moose had the same ailment. Sadly, Neo would be taken months earlier.

We found a wonderful veterinarian and animal hospital near our house. Because of the care they gave Neo we got to enjoy Christmas and several more months together. Dr. Paul Dritley treated Neo. I still remember when Dr. Dritley gave us the terminal diagnosis the tears in his eyes. According to their website, "The philosophy at the Elkhorn Animal Hospital has always been to treat each pet (and pet owner) like one of the family." Brian and I can attest to this fact. After Neo's second surgery we knew he was in good hands. We got to visit him at the hospital until he was cleared by Dr. Dritley. Neo came out, we got to pet him and he gave us kisses then the visit was over. He turned away and walked back to the kennel without even looking back. I knew he was enjoying his adventure there.

The saddest thing about Neo's last days was that he could no longer go on long walks. He started to retain water on his paw which would split open -- so it was painful for him to walk. The last night he was on earth was a special one. We watched UNO Ice Hockey on television together, which we had done time and time again. Afterwards, Brian carried him upstairs to bed and he passed away during the night. His passing was the most difficult for Pepper. To this date, she still moans which started right after his passing.

The Elkhorn Animal Hospital staff are the kindest people. Months after Neo's passing a card would speak for their actions. The Elkhorn Animal Hospital planted a tree in the memory of Neo. Inside the card it read: "The Arbor Day Foundation has received a donation in honor of Neo from Elkhorn Animal Hospital. In tribute, a tree will be planted and registered in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. This tree will be a living monument to your friend. May it comfort you during this time of sorrow." So, every Arbor Day we reflect on the wonderful holiday and the life and times our family got to enjoy with our dog companion. Neo, still lives on through the countless pictures of him, too. To view a couple pictures of Neo, visit population-we™  Pinterest Dog Companion Board.

In celebration of the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day population-we™ staffers will celebrate our love for planet earth with green posts the entire month of April! Thanks for reading our fourth Earth Day post. 
- population-we blog post by Becky Bohan Brown 
© 2012 population-we, LLC
If you enjoyed this post, make sure to leave a comment, 'Pin' or 'Like' it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

[Earth Day Edition] Recycling Electronic Devices

ecoATM at NFM.
Being green is not always the easiest and most convenient thing to do. You have the casual person that recycles: newspapers, aluminum cans, mulches the lawn and other easy to do’s. Then there is the extreme with the alternate fuel car and house with everything in it such as geo-thermal heating systems. When it comes to electronics; computers, mobile devices, televisions and other gadgets, most of us think to just throw them in the trash. That isn't the case anymore.

Recently, I purchased a new iPhone from Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM), a local mega store, and noticed what looked like a vending machine where you can recycle your old phone. Important to note, I would recommend resetting your phone back to the factory settings before selling any phone. Once I reset my iPhone, I went through the prompts on the Automated eCycling stations' (ecoATM) screen. Questions included: the make, model and space capacity. It was pretty simple steps to go through; however, the last screen I could not get to work. I spoke with a NFM sales representative about using the machine, who informed me that they have to enter their sales ID number; since, it gives you an in-store credit. The NFM rep also needed to determine the condition (if it works). After that, she plugged it into the ecoATM which stated how much the phone is worth and gives you an in-store credit. I had the original 8g iPhone, which was worth about $20. 

There are other places in which you can cash in old mobile devices. Gazelle is a website that will pay you for your old smart phones and other devices. You can go to their website At the site, enter the device information to get a quote; ship the device to Gazelle; and they will send you the funds. Best Buy will take a variety of electronics in which you can receive an in-store credit. I took an old tube monitor to Best Buy. I had to pay $10 because of the tube but received a $10 store credit. These are just a couple of the websites and local vendors that will take used electronics. I have seen a few companies that will charge you a disposal fee but there are many free services, too. Check out the National Center ElectronicsRecycling (NCER) for additional information regarding recycling.

So, before you toss old or broken electronic equipment in the trash remember to recycle and make a difference.

In celebration of the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day population-we™ staffers will celebrate our love for planet earth with green posts the entire month of April! Thanks for reading our third Earth Day post. 
- population-we blog post by Brian Brown 
© 2012 population-we, LLC
If you enjoyed this post, make sure to leave a comment, 'Pin' or 'Like' it.

Monday, April 9, 2012

[Earth Day Edition] Committing to a Green Commute on 'Ride the Bus to Work Day!'

During the work week Brian and I commute to work via a carpool; however, March 13, 2012, one of us decided to catch the bus instead.

Dodge Express.
Let me set the stage, Omaha's City Council passed a resolution establishing Tuesday, March 13, as "Ride the Bus to Work Day!"

One of the goals of this "Ride the Bus to Work Day!" is to encourage mixed and balanced transportation options for everyone in the Omaha Metropolitan area. We already carpool; so this was my chance to experience another means of green transportation for myself.

I had made a pact with a fellow coworker to participate. Patrick Wheeler is the champion of sustainability at my day job. We both serve on the GreenUNO Task Force (he is the chair), which encouraged the entire University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) campus to participate in this community sustainability initiative. So, we both decided to lead by example and take the bus to work that day.

There was some legwork involved; since, both of us live in west Omaha and have not rode a bus in years. Patrick originally found a route for us but it would take us 1 hour and 20 minutes with transfers. After more research he found what we would agree on — a Park and Ride Program — offered by metro, the transit authority of the City of Omaha. We both agreed on Route 92 Dodge Express with a travel time of 27 minutes.

I did have to rise a little earlier than most days on the 13th. Got in my Chrysler and drove to Village Pointe. Patrick and his wife had scouted the parking situation out before hand. So, I knew when I pulled into the parking lot southwest of the Village Pointe theater and spotted Patrick I was in the right place. Pretty soon after our arrival the bus pulled up. The bus driver greeted me with a chipper, "Good morning!" I whipped out my crisp dollar bill and two quarters for admittance. And, Patrick and I found our seats and we were off to work. Not quit yet, there were two more stops on the north side of Dodge at a couple business parks before we were officially on our way. We traveled down Dodge Street the heaviest traveled street Monday through Friday in Omaha. Where we'd usually be greeted by bumper to bumper traffic, sun glare and pot holes.
Patrick and I riding the bus to work.

On our ride, I kind of took it all in like an outsider looking in. Easedropping on conversations and getting quick glances of what shoes or business attire other women were wearing. I literally felt like a big city person taking a bus to work. My favorite passenger the whole day had to be a little girl next to me. She got on the bus with her dad and sat in his lap clutching onto a cheese stick. She didn't look awake at all. I wan't to tell her I was sleepy, too. Patrick commented on the guy who sat in front of us who greeted all the regulars by name. We continued to whisk down Dodge. We were not the first to leave the bus. A college co-ed would be the first to push the button. I knew when she got on the bus she was a student. These kids and their sumo hairdos. I was okay getting off the bus at her stop but Patrick insisted we wait. Glad we did because we got let off practicially at our building's front door.

Catching the bus back was a whole different story. Originally a bus was spotted but it was not ours. I told Patrick look for the one with the bike. I was right. A guy got on with us earlier in the day with bicycle shorts and all. It was also a little behind schedule. We would find out when we got on why. This made me anxious. We both had to stand most of the way until we reached the business park stop. The bus driver even commented about there being too many people on the bus. My anxious feeling soon melted away seeing all of the green commuters of all ages and ethnicities choosing alternate transportation. I was excited that the bus was full. Which I loudly decreed to Patrick. Who enthusiastically smiled back. Even for a Tuesday, people seemed to be firing on all cylinders on their way home. People had cellphones, laptops and iPads out. We continued down Dodge and made the two stops and at number three would be greeted by our cars nestled into Village Pointes' parking lot. Patrick and I said our goodbyes and drove off.

So, Patrick, myself, Omaha's city council members and others throughout the metro took the bus to work that day. The cost for the entire day's commute $3. Great with a friend, conversation, people watching and a little girls' cheesy smile made for a priceless green memory. We can all be proud in our actions that we helped ease congestion and reduce emissions on our commute to work. Most importantly, Patrick and myself have committed to continue be green and take the bus in the future.

Whether a novice or a first-time bus rider, visit Metro or ModeShift websites for tools on riding the bus in Omaha. Park and ride options are also available. For details, visit

In celebration of the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day population-we™ staffers will celebrate our love for planet earth with green posts the entire month of April! Thanks for reading our second Earth Day post. 
- population-we blog post by Becky Bohan Brown 
© 2012 population-we, LLC
If you enjoyed this post, make sure to leave a comment, 'Pin' or 'Like' it.

Monday, April 2, 2012

[Earth Day Edition] Celebrate Earth Day 2012 with pop-we Summer Get Active Adventures

What a great way to commemorate the 42nd Anniversary of Earth Day this April than to get active outside and enjoy all of what mother nature has to offer. Inspired by our current Urban Active (UA) "Get Active" Challenge, where Brian & I have committed to blog about our new healthier lifestyle choice to hit the gym. During the challenge, we've also teamed up with UA Trainer Mike Good whose helped us adopt a new workout regimen and diet. In celebration of Earth Day 2012, Brian & I decided to take the UA challenge beyond the gym walls and take our new active lifestyle outdoors.

Join us as Brian & I blog about our new  population-we™ (pop-we) Summer Get Active Adventures.

Here's the adventures we have planned for this summer:

  • April - Volleyball 
  • May - SCUBA
  • June - Warrior Dash
  • July - Hiking/Geo Caching
  • August - Fishing

Besides both our volleyball teams (Hot Rodz and Donkey Punch), to date, two pop-we staffers and a DiVentures Scuba Instructor have committed to participate. We welcome others to sign up, create your own pop-we Get Active Adventures of your own or offer us suggestions for next summer's list. Contact us at Don't forget to follow our summer activities on our official population-we™ Facebook and Twitter Pages.

This summer, join us as we blog about our new population-we™ Summer Get Active Adventures. Let the adventures begin.

In celebration of the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day population-we™ staffers will celebrate our love for planet earth with green posts the entire month of April! Thanks for reading our first Earth Day post. 
- population-we blog post by Becky Bohan Brown 
© 2012 population-we, LLC
If you enjoyed this post, make sure to leave a comment, 'Pin' or 'Like' it.