Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Aggravation, this is aggravation...aggravation, this is how you play...

I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure we are still in an economic depression.  Home prices have not yet recovered, gas is still ridiculously expensive, and most businesses are cutting their prices and fees to entice more customers.  Imagine my surprise when today, I went through my banking statement to see a $12 monthly maintenance fee.  Now, I realize it's only $12, but I haven't had a monthly maintenance fee before, and I've had this same account for 6+ years now. 

 So, I got on the phone and called the behemoth Bank of America.  The nice lady I spoke to her said, "yes, as of June, there will be a monthly maintenance fee of $12 even with direct deposit if your deposit is less than $250, or you can maintain a balance of $10,000 and there will be no fee".  I work in a restaurant.  I'm lucky to receive a paycheck at all.  I would squeal for joy if it were $250. If I had 10 grand in the bank, I wouldn't be bellyaching about $12.  I make my money in tips.  Now, my question is, why does a business that has 2.4 TRILLION (yes, you read that right) in holdings need to charge people like myself $12 a month to "maintain" my account?  I get that it's not a lot of money, but seriously??? Shame on you, you greedy, money-grubbing jerks.  

People who don't maintain a balance of 10 grand or more probably aren't making a fortune each paycheck, so let's PUNISH them with fees! They aren't struggling already to make ends meet, they need a monthly maintenance fee for their meager checking accounts. 

I just needed to vent that information.  I think it's a rotten policy and that they really should leave well enough alone, or that if you've had your account for 5 or more years, you should be "grandfathered" in and be able to remain under the terms that were set when you opened your account.  I am now shopping for a new bank that has branches nationwide.  If any of you know of any that don't have a monthly maintenance fee with direct deposit, or require you to keep an asinine amount in your checking account, please let me know via comment.

That is all.

I hope you have a good week, and a great 4th of July weekend!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ahh, Monday again... and dinner!

This past weekend went by quickly as usual.  I served Friday night and bartended Saturday night.  It was fun.  I was off all day Sunday, but Marc had OVERTIME!!! He was in Manhattan all day policing the Pride parade downtown.  It was a relatively quiet day.  When he got home, he and 2 of the guys he works with really wanted a beer, but being Sunday and all, (and 3 in the morning) all of the bars were closed.  They came in and we talked and enjoyed a beverage or 2 until we realized that the sun was coming up and it really was time to go to bed...We slept until 1:30!

So, I don't know how much many of you know about Long Island, but most of the houses here don't come with central air conditioning.  It's really hot and humid in the summer, much like Arkansas.  We have a window a/c in our bedroom, and the past 2 summers, we have basically lived in the bedroom.  It stinks when we have a whole house, but are relegated to the bedroom because it's the only livable room in the house.  We keep it chilly like a meat-locker. Ahhhhh.  We are SO not summer people.  Spring, Winter, and Autumn will do just fine, thankyouverymuch!

 Ah, back to my point! We were shopping at BJ's the other day and they had 12,500 BTU window air conditioners on sale, so we bought one to cool our living area! Totally worth the cost! 

  We're so glad to be able to use the rest of the house without being miserably hot!  

Neither of us had to work today, so we ran a few errands.  Marc really wanted Italian food for dinner, so I made linguine with homemade bolognese sauce, Italian sausage, homemade meatballs stuffed with fresh mozzarella cheese, steamed fresh broccoli, garlic bread, & red wine.  I had never made meatballs before, and I have to tell you, these are FABULOUS.  These will most definitely be repeated soon!!!  Here are some pictures of dinner!

I'm working the rest of this week, with the exception of Thursday (of course), and we're having friends over for a huge BBQ the 4th of July.  I love entertaining friends here at our house.  We bought the ribs the other day, we've got about 50 pounds.  Come and eat!! Marc will get the smoker going and we'll enjoy the birthday of our great nation! 

Hope y'all have a wonderful week ahead!!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

tonight's dinner and whatnot

I had the whole day off today, so I decided to make dinner. It's been a while since I've gotten to be creative in the kitchen!  One of my friends is about to go to Italy for a month, so I told him to come over and I'd cook dinner tonight, since we were both off work.

I made fresh tomato gazpacho, steamed artichokes with chipotle aioli, grilled marinated skirt steaks and london broil, steamed fresh broccoli with scampi butter, corn on the cob, and garlic bread.  It was delicious!  We made Georgia Tea to drink. I took a couple of pictures.  I forgot to take a picture of the gazpacho, but trust me, it's yummy!  

I had never made gazpacho before, so that was new and fun.  I tried in at one of our dinners on our cruise, and liked it so much that I ordered seconds.  I'll have to tweak the recipe a little bit, but it's a delicious chilled soup that's great for summer, and it's very healthy. The only fat in it is a little bit of extra virgin olive oil!

I'm off work tomorrow and am going walking again with Laura.  Another lovely lady that we work with is joining us, and we're going to walk at least 5 laps around the pond lake.  I'm glad to have someone to go and walk with; it helps me to be accountable.  

I hope you're all having a great week so far!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

To all of you dads out there, Happy Father's Day.  I hope you had a nice and relaxing day with your families.  

I called my dad this morning before Marc and I went to his sister's house for a cookout.  The weather today was just perfect.  It wasn't hot or humid, and I only got 2 mosquito bites!!!! 

We brought the appetizers.  I made cheesy sausage biscuit balls, and onion dip, then we picked up a veggie platter and some chips.  My sister & brother in law cooked steaks, chicken, burgers, bratwursts, and hot dogs, fresh corn on the cob, potato salad, pasta salad, and Nana's cucumber salad.  It was nice, and for dessert, we had summer fruit shortcake: fresh blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries with a healthy dose tiny dollop of fresh, homemade whipped cream. Yum!  The ultimate summer dessert.  We watched the dads open their gifts and then headed home.  

I am getting so excited about going home for the fundraiser!  One of my very best friends has been a busy bee, getting lots of the local businesses to make donations.  She sends me messages every so often saying that she got a new place to donate.  Love you, Shell!! You're going to make this dinner a great success with me! 

I'm looking forward to this week, and hope you all have a great one as well.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Woo-Hoo!! Can you tell I'm excited??

My wine towers came in yesterday, so this morning, Marc and I drove out to Direct Buy to pick them up.  I am LOVING them!  Marc and I got them unloaded out of the car and into the house, then he had to leave for work.  I had the feeling they were already assembled, so I went ahead and destroyed opened the boxes.  All I had to do was to put the deck onto the base and screw them together!  I even got to use my handy new drill again.  Ahh, how I love power tools! 

Because our house is limited on storage space, I wanted these towers because they also store wine glasses and have one drawer a piece.  They're the perfect size for coasters and napkin storage.  Now I've just got to buy a few bottles cases of wine to fill the bottoms!  The towers each hold 25 bottles of wine, and the sideboard in the middle holds 12.  Oh, Darn...looks like we'll have to order a few cases!  (Groupon comes in handy for this!)

I am really pleased with the way the dining room has turned out.  The only thing missing is the crown moulding, which is  a project for the whole house.  I love being able to cross another project off of my list.  Now I've got to vacuum the house and get rid of all of those little bits of styrofoam that came off the towers!

This Sunday is Father's day.  I hope all of you Dads out there have a great day.  We'll be at my sister-in-law's house for a cook-out.  

Have a safe and fun weekend!


Thursday, June 16, 2011


I got the call today saying that my wine towers have arrived!  Marc & I will go tomorrow morning to pick them up.  I can't wait to get them in the house and set up.  I'll post a picture once they're in place. 

Today, I went with my friend Laura and her 2 kiddos for a walk around Argyle park in Babylon.  It's a nice trail around the "lake". I say lake in quotation marks because Long Island's idea of a lake and mine are totally different.  I call what they think is a lake a pond.  It's too small to run boats, so therefore, is a pond in my eyes. Laura and I walked 4 laps, and it felt really good to get out in the sun and move!  I have had some serious lack of motivation days lately.  I told Laura to call me Monday and Thursday mornings, and we will go walk together.  The time flew by because we were enjoying talking to each other and catching up.  It was nice, and I'm looking forward to having a buddy to keep me accountable.  

I brought my little camera along on the walk,  but forgot to take a picture, so, sorry about that.  

We have received some more donations for the scholarship dinner.  Everyone is so generous to donate, it makes me smile to think that I know some truly inherently good people.  Thank you!!!

My whole week was thrown off because I worked last Sunday, I have been off all week by a day!  Today put me back on track, it is Thursday, so I went to the cake for my weekly glass of wine.  Yes, I only had one today.  Shocking, I know!

I hope everyone has a safe weekend.  I'll post again when my towers are up in the dining room! Can't wait!!!


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Keeping busy

This week was HOT and humid! Today is overcast and humid, so I hope it rains and knocks down the heat for a while.  I love summer storms.  

On Thursday, I got some fantastic news for the Fundraiser.  Tyson is a name just about everyone who eats chicken recognizes immediately.  We contacted them to see if they would donate some chicken for us to cook for the fundraising dinner. Tyson is going to donate 200 chicken breast fillets for us to use!  I am so excited about this news! Way to help out, Tyson!!! Their very generous donation brings our costs for the dinner down considerably.  Since we're trying to RAISE funds for the scholarship, we don't want our expenses to be very high.  What a great company!  We've been receiving donations for items to raffle off as well, such as: dinner for 2 at The Chopping Block in Mena, dinner for 2 at The Fish Net in Mena, 2 tickets to Magic Springs in Hot Springs, a Massage, some glass and metal jewelry, a framed canvas print of this picture I took in Turkey,

a $50 Wal-Mart gift card, some salon services from The Electric Chair in Mt. Ida, some embroidered items, and a few other items! I am thrilled!!! We have also received some cash donations from people who want to be there, but live too far away to be able to make it.  It's so generous of all of you who are so willing to help out! Thank you so much!!!

Marc and I are planning on a 4th of July BBQ here at the house.  I'm going to start getting that menu together soon.  We love to entertain friends and family here.  I love cooking, and especially for people who love to eat...I always cook for a crowd, even if it's just the two of us!  I'm looking up some new appetizer recipes.  Any summer friendly suggestions from anyone?  

I received my new driver's license in the mail yesterday.  I've gotten almost everything that was in my stolen wallet re-ordered.  You don't realize how many things you keep in there! I had to call my mom and ask her what she keeps in her wallet, or I never would have remembered my medical insurance cards until I needed them the next time.  

I hope everyone has a safe weekend.  I'm doing a good deed for someone and working tomorrow at the MP.  I can't tell you the last time I worked on a Sunday, but my co-worker needed to be off so he could go to his daughter's dance recital, and he didn't get the day off as requested, so he asked if I would work for him.  Sometimes, I'm nice.  ;)


Monday, June 6, 2011

Football game and whatnot...

This past weekend was the same as usual...FAST! I worked Friday and Saturday nights like I always do, then Sunday, Marc and I went to the NYPD/FDNY football game.  We went last year and it was a lot of fun.  This year, we were with some friends of Marc's and we tailgated in the afternoon, then went to the game.  For the past 3 years, the PD has beaten the snot out of the FD.  Yesterdays game was laughable, to say the least.  I have seen pee-wee high school games with more offense.  The score at the end of 60 (SIXTY) minutes of football was 3-0.  The fire department made 1 field goal and that was the only score of the game.  YAWN! I am so glad that there was good music and snacks at the tailgate, because that game was a serious waste of time.  My tailbone is killing me from those oh-so-comfy bleachers we sat on.  At least the weather was gorgeous, and I think the highlight of the day is that I didn't get sunburned! Woo-hoo!

I don't have any pictures to post this time; I forgot to bring my camera to the "game".  

I have been thinking about getting another tattoo.  I currently have 3: one on my left foot, one on my left-lower back and one on my right-lower back.  I am thinking about getting one on my right foot, but haven't decided for sure yet.  I think I want 3 little razorbacks with some scrollwork on either end and the words "woo....pig sooie!!!" below them.  We will see, I haven't decided for sure yet, but I am liking the idea a lot right now.  

I'm hungry, so I'm gonna go make some steamed broccoli and fresh corn on the cob and maybe a skirt steak or something.  Haven't decided on that either.  

Have a great week!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

This and that

This week has had me all messed up, since we were all off work on Monday for Memorial Day.  Today feels like Wednesday, but it's Thursday! I've been getting everything cleared up with the theft from last week.  I love hanging out at the DMV and bank going through each and every transaction I've made.  Grrrrrr.

Tonight, instead of going to Thursdays at the Cake (gasp!!) I decided to make dinner at home.  I had some very large boneless, skinless chicken breasts already, and also had some kiwi in the house so I decided to make grilled mojo marinated chicken breasts with kiwi & shallot salsa, fresh steamed green beans and fresh corn on the cob.  It turned out SOOOO well! I am most definitely making this again!  Here are a few pictures.

Hey! Stop licking your monitor, you're gonna break it, and that's just gross!  Hahaha, just kidding.

You can make a mojo marinade yourself, but the Goya brand one is so good and so inexpensive, and also has only 1 gram of sugar, so it's great if you're watching your sugar intake.  So many store-bought marinades are loaded with high fructose corn syrup that it's refreshing to find one that is really good and good for you as well!

For the kiwi shallot salsa, all i did was dice 1 shallot, 2 medium peeled kiwis, and about 5 large grape tomatoes.  Then I added a citrus sea salt and mixed it all up with my hands.  It's really tasty and adds great texture and freshness to the chicken.

I love that summertime means corn on the cob.  It is a quintessential summer veggie staple!  It's sweet and juicy and crisp, and so delicious when topped with a little butter and salt. I never overcook the corn, I bring water to a boil on the stove, then add the corn and cook for 3-5 minutes, until just hot throughout.  I HATE when corn gets overcooked and "wrinkled" and mushy. Yuck!

Green beans are always a favorite here.  I just rinse them off and put them in my steam pan and season them with garlic, salt, and pepper and cook until tender. I usually add a little butter also, because everything is better with butter!

I am thinking about grilling a banana for dessert and topping it with just about a teaspoon of brown sugar.  I've had it before and it's a yummy alternative to a calorie-laden dessert and just as satisfying.

In news of the fundraising dinner, we're rounding up more items to raffle. Wal mart donated a $50 gift card for us to raffle off today, so that was nice.  Things are really shaping up for this to be a successful fundraiser! I am so glad.

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!