Sunday, May 29, 2011

I've had better...


I was scheduled to work at the MP on Friday night, so like a diligent little worker bee, I left for work and arrived at 6:20 P.M.  My shift started at 6:30, so I was right on time.  I was having a pretty good evening and joking with my table when one of the hostesses came up to me and asked what kind of car I drive.  I asked "why, is my alarm going off"? She told me I needed to go outside, so I did.  My passenger front window was shattered, and my purse was stolen.  Now, I'm not stupid, and I didn't leave my purse on the seat or even in plain sight.  It was on the floorboard with my apron over it.  

Oh, goody.  I get to rearrange my life because some sticky-fingered jerk can't figure out that he's not supposed to take things that don't belong to him.  I have to say, it's a pretty violating feeling.  I immediately called Bank of America and cancelled my debit card.  The very nice lady on the other end of the phone let me know that my card had been authorized at the Hess gas station less than 150 yards from where my car was parked.  At 6:54 P.M.  So, I was at work less than 40 minutes when my car was vandalized and my purse, which houses my wallet, $75 in cash and all of my credit cards, and checkbook were stolen.  Fan-freaking-tastic.  I really hope the police find the bastard and cut his freaking hands off lock him up.  
Seriously, how darn difficult is it to just NOT TAKE THINGS THAT DON'T BELONG TO YOU??????  Now, my car is sitting in my driveway with a super classy black trash bag over the window and will remain there until Tuesday, which was the first day I could get it fixed.  Why, you ask?  Because it's Memorial Day Weekend.  This weekend is already hard for me, and now I get to deal with this BS.  Awesome.  

After dealing with all of the credit card people, bank people, car insurance people, and car rental people Saturday morning, I went to work at the MP again, in my tiny little commuter hyundai elantra.  I feel like I am driving a go-kart, but less fun!  I'm not used to being so low to the ground and having so little horsepower.

So, I think that all of the normal people were enjoying the beautiful weather Saturday night and didn't eat at the MP, because we had some real social rejects in the restaurant.  I have been in the restaurant business for 16 years, and have seen pretty much everything...or so I thought.  I had a large party come in and one of the adults was carrying a baby-doll.  Yes, folks, a doll.  I can't make this stuff up.  He had all of his wits and faculties about him, so I can't figure it out.  He asked the hostess to bring him a high chair for the doll.  He asked her to interact with the doll.  I'm pretty sure it was a full moon.  If the moon wasn't full, perhaps someone was filming an episode of the Twilight Zone...Bizarre to say the least.  Needless to say, I was ecstatic when it was time to clock out and go home.  I can safely say that I am ready for this weekend to be OVER.

Today, I attacked the tree in the front yard with my handy limb cutters.  These were a tool gift from 2 years ago.  Are we seeing a pattern here?  I like tools.  I know how to use them and like to have them handy when I get the itch to be destructive fix stuff.
Remember what it looked like before?  If not, here's a picture.

I gave him a haircut! If I only had a chainsaw, I'd be able to get those bigger limbs that are sticking out near the bottom!

I finished cutting the excess smaller limbs and was bagging them up to take to the curb when the mosquitoes attacked.  Now, I know that no one likes mosquitoes, but the stupid bugs are under the incorrect assumption that I am a free snack.  They LOVE me! Yay for me!  I'm the one who, when sitting with a group of people outside is swatting myself, because I am their prime target.  Last summer, I went to dinner with some friends and we sat on the patio.  I had 37 mosquito bites and the ladies surrounding me had a total of 3.  Between the 5 of them.  

I hope everyone has a great week ahead, and that the police catch the thief.  I wouldn't wish theft on an enemy, what a pain in the butt.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Pictures on the wall & Memorial Day Weekend

I finally got all of the pictures framed and onto the wall in the dining room.  With the shape of the mirror being awkward, it was actually hard to get the pictures centered and at the same height from one side to the other.  In the pictures it looks a little crooked, but I assure you, it's level and straight.  (perhaps the camera holder is a little crooked....)  I am pleased with the way it looks and am ready for the wine towers to come in (mid June) so we can be done with the Dining room completely.

This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend.  Many people think it's the start of summer and a great day to grill out in the back yard.  While those things are true, Memorial day is to remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice while defending our freedom, both home and abroad.  Until 4 years ago, I knew what Memorial Day was, but wasn't really affected by its true meaning.  I hope everyone will remember this weekend just why it is that they get an extra day off work.  Take the time to thank a member of service, or the families of the fallen.  This day isn't joyful for many.  Be safe and remember to give thanks that we still live in a free country.  The sacrifice of few has bought the freedom of many.

Have a safe weekend!



Sunday, May 22, 2011

Oh, Sunday, Sunday...

Another Sunday has come and gone again.  Today, Marc and I went grocery shopping, then to Target and Wal-Mart in search of movies.  I started to watch "How to Train Your Dragon" the other day before work, and I didn't get to finish before I had to leave for the office.  We picked it up and watched it, and I have to say it was SO cute! I am a HUGE fan of Craig Ferguson, and he is the voice of one of the characters.  I am loving that cartoons today have enough humor in them to keep adults entertained, and the jokes are a little too "high brow" for a 5 year old to get.  I highly recommend the movie.  

I also picked out the frames for the pictures I am going to hang alongside the new mirror in the dining room.  Marc and I chose 4 pictures that I took on our travels, I edited them to be the color (sepia) that I wanted and then printed them out on photo paper and am still in the process of framing them.  Check them out below!

Rose window from the cathedral of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy

Bridge in Padua, Italy

The Colosseum from Palatine hill, Rome, Italy

Greek Columns, Olympia, Greece
I love decorating the house! I can't wait until the middle of June when the rest of the dining room furniture comes in!  

Today, I also finalized some more of the plans for the Fundraising dinner I am doing to raise money for my brother's scholarship fund.  
The SSG Justin 'Dutch' Estes memorial scholarship is given to one graduating senior each May from Oden High School.  It's where both my brother and I graduated high school, and my brother's classmates decided to start it when he was KIA in Iraq in March of 2007.  The dinner will be at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, 2011 at the cafeteria at Oden school in Oden, Arkansas.  I will be cooking a few recipe favorites for the community.  We will be selling plates in advance so we can get an accurate head count and so people will be invested in showing up.  Plates are $10 for adults and $5 for kids (10 & under).  We are also gathering prizes to be raffled off, chinese auction style.  I hope it is very successful, and I think it will be a lot of fun. Kind of like a reunion, because my town is so small! I'm really looking forward to good food and good friends gathering to support a great cause!  If you're interested in coming or in donating either items for the raffle, or a monetary donation for the scholarship, please contact me at kwinkler08(at)gmail(dot)com.

I hope everyone has a great week ahead!


Friday, May 20, 2011

A Busy week

This week seems to have flown by.  Perhaps because I was pretty busy the whole week.  I worked every day except Thursday, but had to get errands run on Thursday, so I had to get up early to be able to get to the places I needed to go.  I had to get my oil changed in the car and also get my tires rotated, and the mirror I ordered for the dining room came in, so I had to go to direct buy to pick that up.  I called my friend Tex to come over and help me get the mirror into the house, (the box was large and awkward) so he came by and helped me get the box into the house and hang the mirror.

I'm still waiting for my two wine and glass storage towers to come in; they will go on either side of the buffet in front of the window.  They're supposed to arrive around the middle of June, then the dining room will be complete!  I can't wait!  

Once we got the mirror hung, Tex joined me for Thursdays at the cake.  We had a couple of glasses of wine, then went to Marble Slab for ice cream.  I don't believe I have mentioned before my love of Marble Slab.  I limit myself to one every couple of months, because it could get out of control! Their sweet cream ice cream is SO, SO, SO delicious.  I usually add strawberries or raspberries in a waffle bowl.  Yummmmmmmmmmmmy!  

Tonight, I took the night off from the restaurant so I could go to a Tupperware party at the home of one of the girls from the office.  It should be fun, and we all know how I'm always on the look for more kitchen gadgets!

Have a great weekend!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lazy, rainy Sunday

Today is a rainy, lazy Sunday.  I find that I am always very sleepy when it rains, and if there's thunder and lightning, fuhggeddaboutit...I'm completely useless.  Marc isn't home today, so I slept in, and then went to get my nails done and get a pedicure.  I made bacon and eggs for breakfast, and it was SO good!  I've been working so much lately that I have not been getting to cook much.  I don't think I've posted a "tonight's menu" on facebook in at least 2 weeks.  Grrrrrr... I haven't decided what's for dinner yet, but I think I will make some yummies later.  

It was raining pretty steadily while I was making breakfast at 1:00 p.m. after I got up, and I got my camera out to take a picture of our front walk to show you.  We have a tree in the front yard that takes up the ENTIRE left side of the yard.  It's really pretty for ONE week out of the year, then it dumps its flowers all over the yard.  Generally, I wouldn't have any issue with a tree, but this one has a trunk that is about 2 feet tall, then it branches outward.  It's huge, but such a pain because A) it takes up half of the yard, and B) it's too short to just enjoy the shade it provides.  

Don't you love my pretty pink sidewalk??? I just love tracking flower petals across my hardwood floors. This tree is really lucky that I don't own a chainsaw.  If I were living in Arkansas right now, this tree would be firewood! Since I currently live on Long Island, I have to pay someone to take out the tree and haul it away, then grind the stump.  Basically between $800 and $1200.  Yippie! More money for something I could do myself if I had the right tools and a pick-up truck.

I hope you all had a great weekend.  I can't believe it's already the third week of May.  CRAZY.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Soapboxing again...

I HATE it when people purposely try to take advantage of others.  Perhaps I should back up a little bit and explain from where this post stems.
My grandpa is almost 86 years young and lives outside of Los Angeles in a town called Bellflower.  He has been having some issues with his teeth lately and decided to go ahead and have the rest pulled and get dentures.

Image courtesy of the Willful Caboose

 Ok, fine.  It's his mouth and he can do as he pleases.  What I DO mind, however, is the dentist who is trying to pull the wool over his eyes and tell him that "to extract your remaining teeth and get you set up with full upper and lower dentures will cost you $14,875.00".  Seriously?!?!?!? I work for a dentist.  You've got to be smoking crack high if you think that it is not highway robbery.  This dentist thinks that it is a morally sound decision to charge exorbitant fees for one of the least expensive dental procedures out there.  Extracting a tooth generally costs around $125-$225. Let's say for argument's sake that he has 16 teeth remaining and it's $175 per tooth for extractions.  That comes to $2800.00.  A full upper denture costs about $1200.00 here in NY and $800.00 in Arkansas; since California's cost of living is similar to NY, we'll use the $1200 figure.  The lower denture is also $1200.00.  So, it's about $2800 for all of the extractions and about $2400.00 for the dentures.  The total is $5200.00 (give or take a couple hundred dollars for fee differences in different regions of the country).  The difference in this dentist's fees and what the procedure should cost is $9675.00!!!!!! Almost 10 grand??? I think I just threw up in my mouth.


The patients you're going to treat in that neck of the woods will NOT LIKELY have that kind of money just laying around.  People choose dentures because it's an inexpensive alternative to having dental implants.  The population who has dentures is generally elderly and on a fixed income.  If they could all afford dental implants, I'm sure they would do that.  It's a much nicer alternative to dentures, but not always feasible for everyone.

I am mostly just appalled that someone would try to do this to anyone, but especially to my Grandpa.  He's a cool old man, and this just stinks.  I'm so glad he told my mom and aunts before he just trusted this dentist and believed that she had his best interests in mind.  They called me and faxed me his treatment plan, and I showed it to the Dr. I work for.   I got on the phone to Grandpa and told him to run screaming in the opposite direction of this dental office like his hair is on fire.  They're trying to rob him blind, and take advantage of a trusting patient.

I looked up the dentist online, and she has no reviews or website, according to Google.  I guess this should serve as a warning to people to always get a second opinion when it comes to Dental work.


Monday, May 9, 2011

I'm Spoiled...and other tidbits.

Tonight, Marc cooked dinner since I had to work at the office until 8pm.  I got home about 8:30 and he already had his new toy fired up.  New toy, you ask?? Yes.  Marc got a brand new stainless steel gas grill, and tonight was the inaugural dinner.

 He grilled a beautiful inch and a half thick ribeye for me, and a whopping porterhouse of the same thickness for himself.  He also grilled bacon wrapped scallops in a ginger-soy glaze and made baked potatoes and steamed fresh green beans.

It was delicious, and WAY too much food for me to eat, so I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow!!

I have to say that steak is my all time most favorite food.  Seriously, if I were stranded on a deserted island and I was allowed to choose one thing that I would have to eat every day for the rest of my life, it would definitely be steak.  It's so delicious and rich, and it better never be overcooked be medium-rare!  I guess that's a little picky for a deserted island, but you get my point.  Y.U.M.

This week I am working a lot. All day at the office tomorrow, then closing the MP tomorrow night, and repeat on wednesday and Friday.  Thursday I'll have to clean and do the laundry and go see a friend I haven't seen in probably 20 years.  I can't believe I can say 20 years ago and remember it.  My, how time flies.

What are your favorite foods? I'd love to know, I am always looking for new things to make and try.

Hope your week has started off well!


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

To all of you Moms out there, Happy Mother's Day! I hope you had a nice day where you didn't have to cook and clean.

Marc and I went to his parent's house for a cook-out.  We had london broil, chicken and bratwursts.  We visited with the family for a few hours and had gorgeous weather.  We headed back home about 7 p.m. and have been pretty lazy ever since.  Sundays go by so fast! I feel like I am saying that every week, but they're especially fast when we're not at the house or getting errands done!

I miss spending Mother's day with my Mom.  It's different when you life half-way around the country from your family.  My grandparents were with the rest of my Mom's family today celebrating both Mother's Day and my cousin's college graduation. (Congratulations, Brett{ski}!!!) I love getting together with all of them because I see them so infrequently.  We live on opposite coasts, so getting everyone together is really hard. This is a picture from my wedding of my Mom, my Grandma, and me.  It's one of my favorites, and I had it framed for Mom for Christmas this past year.

I hope everyone has a great week!


Friday, May 6, 2011


Just a little forewarning, this is going to be opinionated.

I have been reading all of the news the past few days since osama bin laden was killed.  Why are there people (Americans, especially) who are so concerned with whether or not the terrorists in his compound were armed when SEAL team 6 went in and killed them? These "people" (that's a loose term here) killed THOUSANDS of innocent people, and thought nothing of it.  In fact, they spent most of their time planning how they could murder thousands more. It took us almost TEN years to locate the SOB who masterminded the murder of so many innocent Americans, and who launched a war that we are still fighting in the middle east.  Why are people upset that there was a codename for osama? Why are they offended that it was Geronimo? Would they be happier if we had used Waldo?? The point is that he is FINALLY dead, and it is a blow to the infrastructure of Al Qaeda. Why does it matter whether or not they were armed? Who freaking cares? The most important thing is that our military went in and got the job done.  Do you think the terrorists cared that the Americans in the Towers in NYC weren't armed? That the people aboard all of the planes weren't armed??? That the flights that hit the Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania contained innocent people? They didn't.  They don't care.  Even in warfare, they are COWARDS.  They plant bombs and wait for someone to drive over them.  The bomb goes off whether it's a bus filled with children or a Humvee filled with soldiers; it doesn't discriminate.  Then, they hide in the hills and remote detonate secondary bombs to kill those who are trying to help those hurt by the first.
There is a reason they're called terrorists, and I think that a lot of the population has become numb to what that word really means, so I'll include Webster's definition here.

Terrorist: adjective of Terrorism: The act of terrorizing; use of force or threats to demoralize, intimidate, and subjugate, esp. such use as a political weapon or policy.

Al Qaeda doesn't care one iota if they hurt, maim, murder, defame, demoralize or insult ANYONE.  They are zealots, so fundamental in their beliefs that they are sure that murdering innocents will get them into heaven and more quickly to their awaiting 27 virgins (or whatever crap they think is there).

I think we need to worry a lot less about being "Politically Correct" and offending people.  Seriously, life has disappointments.  All kids don't make the team, everyone keeps score, and your feelings are going to get hurt every now and then.  It's called growing up and we have all been there.  Now, dry your tears and put your big girl panties on and DEAL WITH IT.  We have had thousands of men and women die while trying to hunt down this abomination called bin laden.  Be thankful that one less murderer is free to hurt us.  God bless our troops.

Now, I'll hop down off my soapbox and continue about my evening.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Just another manic Monday

Don't you want to sing the rest of the line now? I do, so I will!!! ...Wish it was Sunday!! that I got that out of my system...
Mondays mean back to work for me and most of the rest of the world. Marc had the day off today, which he usually does, (unless he has overtime {woo-hoo!!!}) so he brought leftovers from yesterday's bbq to the office so I could share with the girls.  They loved it, and asked for  recipes.  Mondays seem like such a long work day because we don't close the office until 8 pm.
Tomorrow, I get to go in later, so I can clean the kitchen from the festivities, then I'll go to the office for a few hours, then onto the MP for the rest of the evening.  I guess I just figured out where all my time goes!
I have started planning a fundraiser for my brother's scholarship foundation.  The Justin M. Estes memorial scholarship is a $1000 scholarship given each May to one graduating senior from our little school, Oden High School.  It's not based on scholastic aptitude, but instead on an essay. I was home to present the first one, and have since been on the selection committee each year.  It's important to my family and me to keep it going as long as possible, so in July I am going be doing a fundraiser.  I'll post more about it in a few days when I have more of the details ironed out.  I'm excited to be doing something to help others.  I didn't take any pics today, so I'll leave you with one I took a little while back.

I took this in Turkey in March.  The flower was really bright orange, but I liked it better in black and white.   There's just something so classy about black and white pictures.

Hope your week started out well!


Bin Laden Dead. Finally

It has taken almost 10 years, but our military (GOD BLESS YOU ALL!) has finally found and killed the mass-murderer, bin laden.  Ten years is a long time to be vigilant, but we have been successful.  That man is responsible for the pain and suffering of so many people.    My own family suffers because of his idiocy.  It brings me great joy that he is dead at the hands of one of our own special forces, and not a drone attack.  I don't really care if that makes me a bad person, my own brother died trying to protect our freedom from tyrannical terrorists.  Remember that we are the land of the FREE because of the BRAVE. Thank a member of the military for their selfless service, and God Bless the USA.

We must now remain vigilant and keep the watch for the countless al-qaeda terrorists that will undoubtedly lash out.

Rest in Peace SSG JUSTIN M. 'DUTCH' ESTES 12/28/81 KIA 03/05/07. Your dedication and sacrifice will never be forgotten, and I will love miss you forever.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

zoom...and it's gone again.

Oh, Sunday.  You're so spry and fleeting. You've barely arrived when you're gone again and I'm left scratching my head and wondering where you went.  I even got up early to cook today because we had friends coming over for deeeeee-lish barbecue! I worked last night and got home at about 2am, then rubbed a 15 pound pork shoulder with spices and put it in my handy-dandy crock pot overnight so it would be ready to make pulled pork with today.  YUM.  It's so easy and comes out so great every time.  I put about 2 cups of apple juice in with the meat and spices and let it cook.  Once it's done, I remove the fat and bones and it falls apart so nicely.   I found this absolutely fabulous applewood-smoked sea salt and I toss it with the meat when it's pulled apart to add some nice smokiness and flavor.

I made cheese & sausage biscuit balls, and onion dip with fresh crudites for appetizers. I love how bright and colorful the vegetables are, and they taste so good too! The biscuits only have 3 ingredients and are always a big hit here at our house.  They're good for appetizers or breakfast!

I got lots of compliments on the bowl that the biscuits are in.  We bought it in Turkey when we were on our cruise.  I love it! The shape is unique and the bright, vibrant colors make me smile.

I also made potato salad and cole slaw to accompany our pork feast of meat.  Having grown up down south, some might say I am a little snotty particular about Barbecue.  Just grilling is not Barbecue.  I make my sauce from scratch; it's sweet and has a sneaky little kick to it, courtesy of some fabulous chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.  I am really, really, really picky about cole slaw though.  So far, I have only found 3 recipes that I like: (and 2 of those are probably the same ones) Mom's, mine, and Smokin' Al's in Bayshore, NY.  The dressing has to be a little bit sweet and tangy. It has just enough vinegar in the sauce to just almost take your breath for a second.  My potato salad has some garlic and a secret ingredient that make you wonder what it is in the sauce that makes it so addictive.  I also add bacon on top for color because everything is better with bacon.

 Marc does the ribs.  He rubs them down with spices then puts them on the smoker for hours to make them tender and juicy.  He used hickory wood chips today, and let me tell you, the whole neighborhood smelled good today!!! I forgot to take pictures of the ribs "before". Sorry about that.  I got excited to eat after slaving away cooking for hours to get ready. This is what was left of the baby back ribs he smoked today.  He smoked 3 racks of baby back ribs, 2 racks of country style ribs, and then we had the aforementioned 15 pound pork shoulder, and there was bacon in the potato salad and sausage in the appetizer.  I think it's safe to say that pigs should run screaming from our house.

For dessert, I made 4 layer chocolate delight.  It's so good, and so easy to make.  Every time I eat it I remind myself to make it more often.  I also forgot to take a "before picture of it, so here's an "after". 

One of our friends is quite the baker, and she made some really yummy cupcakes for dessert also.  Thanks, Cheryl!

Dinner and company were both fabulous.  I love entertaining guests here at our house.  I love to cook, and especially for people who like to eat; as if you couldn't tell by the amount of food we made! 

Now I've got to try to find space in the fridge to store all of the left-overs.  We'll be eating well this week!

I hope you all have a great week!