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Archive for June, 2008

I am getting the promotion and a very nice raise!!!

July 1st, 2008 at 03:05 am

Woo-hoo!

It will be announced tomorrow...but as of the first of the year I will be getting a promotion and raise...and I get to keep the favorite parts of my current job!! I am sooo excited!!!

I am starting to rev up the plans for the hubs 40th birthday Luau that I am planning for the end of August. Tonight I put the invites together...I bought cute little "message in a bottle" invites from the Oriental Trading Company.(and got 500 My Points for doing so!!) They are little plastic bottles with a mini glass, sand, sunglasses, an umbrella and a scrolled message inviting the guests. They are adorable!

I have been saving all of the plastic containers that we have gotten at work when we order in platters of sandwiches and fruits...so I have plenty of FREE storage for the food.

I asked each guest to bring a lawn chair, their suntan lotion and a fav side dish...and we will supply everything else...drinks, meat, dessert, music, entertainment, etc. Does that sound reasonable??? The hub wants to roast a pig in the ground...and we are planning to make a huge pot of bbq pork for sandwiches...

I bought almost all of the decorations from the dollar store...

So...now it is meal plan- buying the food, drinks...and then putting everything together. My SIL is a DJ so music is done...

I think we are on our way to a very fun party!!!





Natures Freebies

June 29th, 2008 at 05:12 am

Today was fantastic!

The hub and I spent the day caring for GS who is 4. For years, GS and I have made homemade waffles when he comes to visit...and today was no different...except we made a double batch.

GS has done this enough that he is able to gather most of the supplies by himself...the mixer, waffle iron, flour, sugar, baking power, salt, eggs...etc. He can now crack eggs like a little pro...and he can count the number of scoops as he adds them in. And he has two special ingredients that he alone determines the amount of...cinnamon and madagascar bourbon vanilla (aka- cimanum and madagascoi boiben venewa). These are not in the recipe, but they are his to add as he sees fit...and he does a great job of pouring them slowly and seeing how the batter changes color and smell.

This morning, we had some fresh blackberries to add before we cooked them...and BOY did that add a fabulous flavor!

So, GS and I were alsmost done and he says "my other gramma makes waffle but she does it wrong and its not fun." apparently eggo waffles are just not the same. Big Grin

Because we made a double batch, there is plenty of batter for homemade waffles again tomorrow...we even have blackberries left over. YUM

We have been hearing reports of a thunderstorm heading our way for days...and sure enough, about 7 tonight it hit. We sat on the porch and enjoyed the show. It was quite a storm..a nice cold rain ( after our 100 degree day)...some wind and lots of thunder. We really enjoyed it. Mother Nature can sure put on a show...and its free to boot!

Today was a very blessed, very rich, no spend day that we thoroughly enjoyed...and GS went home with a bag of waffles to pop in the toaster...a reminder of his morning with gramma.

Smile

Catching the bad guys

June 28th, 2008 at 06:25 pm

In my prior post, I shared the news that a fraud team I co-created was reaching its 10 year anniversary next month.

Joan.of.the.Arch asked me to blog about some of the bad guys the team has caught.

It has been an interesting journey. When we first started the group, none of the associated agencies would talk to each other until a crime was committed and then, discussion was very 'protected'. We were leary of talking to each other.

A bad guy could actually hit every bank in town with the same type of crime and we would all independently lick our wounds.

NOW- a bad guy hits one bank and all of the agencies are aware of it within minutes....and there have been numerous occasions when the bad guy goes to the second bank and is apprehended because they are watching out for him. (Passing stolen checks is one example)

My favorite nabs have been caregivers who start to drain a senior citizens accounts...now when we are suspect of this activity, senior services and the police are very quick to act...AND we are able to tell if they are using more than one bank to commit the crime.

We are always careful of privacy laws.

Because the agencies work so close together, everyone is much better aware and trained on processes-- which speeds up the time it takes to catch the crime in action, take action against it and start the prosecution process.

Collectively, all of our communities bank staff are better trained on fraud because examples are discussed and shared at the monthly meetings on the hows, whys, wheres, etc.

We once had a hispanic gang coming to our community from Los Angeles...they would all enter the bank on Friday afternoon to cash their "paychecks' (stolen, of course)..and often the dollar amount of the hit would be 10-20K. But the word spread throughout the community, the banks and the police put a plan together...and the next time they came to town, the bad guys were arrested with no loss.

There are many, many stories like this. I wish I could say financial crime is decreasing, but because of the economic enviornment, it is increasing...we are just better informed and prepared when it happens. Smile







10 year anniversary of my "baby"

June 28th, 2008 at 03:40 am

Can I puff up with pride for a minute tonight???

10 years ago, I had a vision...to start a fraud team where all the local banks, law enforcement, senior services and prosecutors would work together to battle financial crime in our community....so I teamed up with a detective and hit the pavement...I went to every bank in town and invited the managers to attend a meeting, we started with a couple of cops, a few bank managers and met monthly. and before we knew it...senior services and the district attorney started coming...then cops from other local towns...

We started providing free seminars educating the elderly and the community on not getting scammed, how to protect their mail and identity, and how to be safe online.

Fast forward 10 years...we now have chapters in several counties, the team has collectively put dozens of bad guys behind bards, the seminars are attended from several states..and my baby is a household name. Smile

Because I am not in operations anymore, I do not attend the meetings ...but I am happy to say that the team continues to thrive---

Yesterday, I was invited to the 10th anniversary party for the group on July 24th. I am so eager to attend the party and hear all the wonderful things that have come out of this team!! Wow.

Thank you Jeffrey, Nate and Broken Arrow!!

June 25th, 2008 at 11:27 pm

I want to thank Jeffrey, Nate and Broken Arrow for responding to my last post so quickly. We have all expressed concerns and I am happy to say that they all checked in!!

It sounds like life is happening to a couple of them which has created needs to do things a little different than we are used to around here...but it is GREAT to know that all of them are well!!

I am happy to say that I might have some exciting news coming down the pike about my job. I really am blessed. We had a meeting today to talk about the future Org CHart and I am thrilled with the future of my position and the earning potential that comes with it!! I won't know for sure until Friday afternoon, but the current proposal looks terrific!!

I am eager to see how it all pans out!

Keep your fingers crossed guys!!

Jeffrey? Nate? Broken Arrow?

June 25th, 2008 at 04:06 am

What is up?? It doesnt seem like Jeffrey and Nate are keeping an eye on the blogs or updating the contests...and now Broken Arrow has completely disappeared...this is very weird...any ideas what is going on fellow bloggers?

I am concerned.

4 pounds, $1500 check and a whole lotta mosquitoes!

June 23rd, 2008 at 11:26 pm

I have not updated my weigh-in results. I lost 4 pounds this month. That is 10% of what I need to lose overall. However, the (BMI ?)index thingy did not change...so I still have much more work to do. But I am happy with the results as I am eating healthier but not feeling deprived in the process!!

We received our stimulus check today finally! The whole thing is going into the 09 vacation account at ING.-- This will pay the rest of the trip to PV entirely (yes!!) ...Now it is just a fun wait and get healthy 10 months to go!!

Our camping trip this weekend with the grandbabies was cut short. The mosquitos were just too many and too big (ouch!) I did not want the kids out in them (I have always been a stickler about little ones being victims to mosquitoes..and am even worse with all the encephalitis and bird flu scares)... so we decided to spend a great day boating, fishing, wading...and then we headed home so that the kids could play outside...or at least have more room to play inside. It ended up they fell asleep on the drive home and did not wake up until 5:30am Saturday.

I am on vacation today, but as luck would have it...I have been 'enjoying' a freakin migraine most of it. I am on my second vicodin---but am still hurting pretty bad. Oh well, at least I didn't have to try to focus at work...but I could sure think of better ways to spend a vacation day!!!

The hub and I sat down and figured out a food and drink plan for his birthday this August. I had budgeted $400 for food and drink...but the guest list is up to 80 and he wants some concoction called Jungle Juice...which will be fairly expensive to make (many bottles of liquor in it)...so I am going to save an extra $100 to cover the additional guests and extras.





10 things contest...is it still going or is it over???

June 21st, 2008 at 04:03 am

Hey, what is up with the monthly contest this month??? I thought the 10 things I regret contest was going to end May 31...and that we would see a new contest for June.

Anyone know whats up???


Checking in...

June 18th, 2008 at 02:50 am

Ugh. Tomorrow is weigh in day for our wellness challenge at work.. I KNOW I have lost at least a couple of lbs but I still have not found my comfort zone with the scale. I will post the results here nonetheless...I need to be accountable!!

Today was definately a SPEND day.. I have been wearing the same 2-3 tops at work and they are all at least 7 years old...so I bought 3 new tops (all on sale) I also bought some artichoke hearts and romaine lettuce...yummy summer salads!!

2 more days until we take GS (4) and GD (2) camping and fishing. They are both getting excited. I will try to remember to post pictures. I am taking another 4 day weekend...and am very much looking forward to it.

The check for the deposit for our PV vacation cleared the account today, which makes it feel real.

Why the heck does it cost $100 for a passport?????? Ugh. But I will pay the fee...not turing back now. uh-uh---too darned excited!! (and I only have 10 months to go!!)

Funny Pic- Gas Prices...

June 16th, 2008 at 07:53 pm

I thought this sums it up pretty well!!



It's about the only thing Ive found humorous about the gas prices.

Free HBO & Showtime this weekend

June 16th, 2008 at 12:25 am

This weekend we have had access to free movies that are on HBO, Showtime, etc. We do not subscribe to these--so it was interesting to have a few extra choices...but really, the freebies only confirmed what we already knew...it is not worth paying for. While we did watch a few movies, documentaries...There wasnt really anything that we would miss by not having it.

We do pay for satellite tv...but where we live there is NO reception without it...and we pay extra to have the east cost channels so we can watch our favorites at an earlier time...and my mom has free service to her home because we subscribe...so it is worth it for now.

I have been weighing my food and spending choices against the PV trip...and so far, I have made much better choices because of it...perhaps I should plan some kind of big trip each year if it helps me to get healthy (which I really want to do) and to save money (which is what I really want to do)...we will see how well I do after the newness of the plan wears off.

We borrowed my DS and DIL's bicycles...we want to try them out for a couple of weeks to see if they are something we will use if we have. IF so, we will probably buy a set...if not, well, we arent out any money to find out. We got them yesterday...and they both have flats...the hub promised to fix them when he gets home from golfing (which is where he is currently at)...again, we will see how it goes.

Four day work week this week for me. I took next Friday off as we are taking GS (4) and GD (2) camping in a YURT that we won at an auction a couple of months ago. Camping, fishing, row-boating, etc...should be fun. In any case, I am looking forward to ANOTHER long weekend next weekend!!!

Happy Fathers Day to all of our resident DADS!!!

$10 for 15 minutes?

June 14th, 2008 at 05:16 pm

I arranged for a massage therapist student to come to my job yesterday and provide 15 minute chair massages. I suggested that everyone tip her $10 (since she can't "charge" as a student.)

The turnout was amazing...we filled all spots and everyone was very pleased with their $10 of relaxation. I will probably schedule her to come back every-other Friday (payday) and see how it goes. The student was thrilled, as she was not expecting to make anything...and she left after 3 hours with $110.

This will give her a way to make up her tuition this summer...and give my co-workers an opportunity to wrap up their week a little more relaxed.

Unfortunately, she went over on time and most people got 18-20 minutes and so I had to forfeit my timeslot so everyone else could get fit in...next time, I am scheduling mine FIRST. lol.

I think it is a nice perk for staff...even if they do tip...and I think $10 is about right....

thoughts?


The CHECK is IN the MAIL

June 12th, 2008 at 02:43 am

I mailed the check for our deposit on the PUERTA VALLARTA trip today. We won't be going until May 09- so there is plenty of time to do things like passports, airline, etc...4 other couples are going with us...the final payment is due next March. YIPPEE! We really are going!!!

Today was DD3s first day of summer vaca. She called and asked me to bring her home Arby's for dinner. They have a deal of $5.95 for 5 items...so I bought her 4 sandwishes and an order of fries...she can have leftovers tomorrow..and her dad will probobly want one or two when he gets home (about 1am)

I also spent $2 on a large passion tea at lunch.

My mom gave me $20 to buy an eye pillow for my birthday and I found one at Kohl's on sale for $7!! The other $13 was used to buy the tea and dinner for DD3 (I ate left overs)...so I have $5 left- I will be adding that to my TRIP fund!!!

I ate healthy today...Although my employee stopped and as a surprise, bought us each a frappacino...she is on such a tight budget, I know this was a very sweet splurge for her...so I ENJOYED the treat...

Good day today!!






Stimulous check is finally on the way!!

June 11th, 2008 at 04:04 am

Our stimulous check is finally showing as in progress on the Where's my stimulous payment website. Because of how we filed this year, we had to wait for a paper check...But it is not really a big deal that we did. The money is going to be used for our first big vacation ever...we are planning to go to Puerta Vallarta next May with 4 other couples (yeah!)

My DD2 called today and asked if I could go to lunch. I debated whether to go for two reasons..1. I am trying to save money...and 2. I am trying to lose weight...neither are very easily achieved by eating out. But she rarely asks...so I happily went and had a great time. I spent $15 and had a nice Harvest Salad (grilled chicken, lettuce, artichoke hearts, feta cheese, dressing on the side and an iced tea). I did not offer to pick up the tab, but I did split the bill--which still helped her as her and GS's portion was substantially more than mine.

I felt weird NOT picking up the tab, but I need to make changes--and it was OK for us to split the tab. (Isn't it??)

Then, tonight my mom asked if I could go to dinner with her and her brother/his wife who are in town for a visit. I went and was going to (again old habit) pick up the tab...but my son/his wife were there too and he said the business would buy tonight...wow- the kids are having a FANTASTIC year and are finally doing so well that they feel comfortable doing something like this...which I really appreciated. It saved me just under $100 for the tab I thought I was going to pay. (Thank you JJ)

So...my days spending - $15.

We will see how the rest of the week goes. It is a busy, stressful week this week at work...so I am staying plenty busy there and will not likely spend much else.

What I spent today....

June 10th, 2008 at 02:47 am

Ugh. Needed gas. $70.07 to fill up. While I was paying, I got to thinking...I wonder if employers might offer some sortof offset for gas...I know I am paying ALOT more to get to work these days.

Well, I got back to work...and my boss says...I have been thinking about doing something to help our staff with gas expenses....HUH??? No wonder he and I get along so well, I honestly think we share a brain sometimes!!!

So, I spent part of the afternoon researching what employers are doing to help their employees cope with the higher cost of getting to/from work.

I spent $9 at the library...I knew I had some overdue books...but I was anticipating a higher fee...thankfully, they stop charging after 21 days and just mark the book 'lost'. Since I still had the books, I just took them in and paid my fee. I now vow to return ALL books on time!!!

I spent $36 at Walmart. We needed a few groceries. I bought enough to get us through the week---and $36 to get us through is ALOT cheaper than eating out.

So...that is the days expenses. I should be able to make it through the week with little other expenses!!

Lunch: leftover chicken on a salad- with blue cheese crumbles.
Dinner:leftover steak on baked potato with green beans.


Good day!


New $$ Perspectives

June 9th, 2008 at 01:43 am

I spent a great deal of time thinking about our financial choices this past weekend.

I am going to make a committment this next week to the Puerta Vallarta trip with the others who will be attending(which we have a year to save for)...We will be taking that family trip to the resort house next New Years, followed by the DC trip that my job is paying for...We would also like to remodel our downstairs to create a nice Master Bedroom/bath out of our current family room/patio. And surprisingly, the hub would love to go back for another spa treatment...which can be an occasional treat.

So...to accomplish all of this, somethings gotta give.

Our biggest expense lately has been eating out...so we have agreed to forego this habit in exchange for more important wants.

The next thing to go will be my new do. I will go back to having my hair cut only and so the coloring myself.

And we will be more aware of our frivulous spending.

I started to beat my budfgeting up this weekend...and then reminded myself that we are saving 15% in the 401k, and $500 per month to an emergency fund...so it is not like we arent saving, we are.

The final piece is going in and asking for the raise. I have procrastinated long enough. I will do this by the 15th of June.

So, that is our simple plan for making our short term goals occur. I will be updating progress.

While we were at the rental, we ate no meals out. Tonight, we used up the leftover breakfast supplies and ate yummy omlettes....so far, so good.

Great day

June 8th, 2008 at 04:59 am

We spent $21 today to restock some of our supplies here. We needed olives, steak sauce, a few potatoes, zucchini...and a fun ice cream dessert for our last night.

Today we worked a jigsaw puzzle...went for a bike ride, watched a movie, enjoyed the jaccuzi twice, made omelettes, bbq-d and took a nap and a drive. The hub even hit the driving range.

I am sad to see our mini vaca come to an end tomorrow.

We had a message tonight that my dads only surviving sibling, a sis, passed away yesterday. A very sad event...that is the last of my dads generation...but Aunt Betty has battled cancer for years..she was my dads older sis...and was heartbroken when her "little" brother died this past December.

I am relaxing and enjoying this last night away...why does time fly so fast when you are away and having RnR????

Oh well, this has been a great long weekend...and we are starting to plan our next getaway already.

Hugs all. Have a great rest of the weekend.

Hola from Vacation!!

June 7th, 2008 at 05:22 am

Hi Everyone!

The hub, my mom and I are at the rental house for 4 days and having a great time. We got here yesterday afternoon and invited the hubs dad and his wife for a barbque last night...We found steaks on sale for $1.99lb and baked some potatoes...yum. then we sat in the hot tub.

Today my mom and the hub went to town. My mom to dialysis, the hub took her and then went to visit his dad. I stayed home and relaxed- watched some TV, read, tidied up the house...

Tonight we enjoyed grilled chicken salads...took a long walk and then enjoyed another soak in the hot tub.

Tomorrow will be more barbquing, walks and hot tubs...sigh. Blissful rest!!

I read the news about oil, Dow, etc...but that is a concern for another day. Tonight...its all about carefree and loving it!!! Big Grin

What a great (birth) day!!

June 4th, 2008 at 03:57 am

I had a wonderful day today!!

I was treated to lunch, afternoon pies, dinner...work buddies were so kind with wishes, cards, balloons, flowers, gifts and gift cert for a pedicure!!! My family was also very kind, thoughtful and generous with cards and candles and dinner...

The little guys thought they were so big singing happy birthday to gramma. WOW

I just went to Walmart.com and requested several free samples. I love the freebies...I keep a little basket of them and use them whenever I want a free pamper session.

I truly feel blessed tonight. Fantastic day.

(missing you papa)

This is going to be a short work week for me!!!

June 2nd, 2008 at 12:57 am

I am only working Mon-Wed this week and taking a long weekend next weekend away at a resort. We rented the same house that we stayed in back in February...and this time, we are taking Nana. She has been very lonely lately, so I think the get-away will do her good. (Ive been trying to plan mini-trips for her since my dads death to keep her looking forward to something.) We are taking a puzzle and will have a couple of movies, some books and I am taking a knitting project...so it should be a relaxing fun trip.

I am looking forward to the break.

Today was a pj day. I stayed home and got some laundry done, took an afternoon shower, and just recharged the batteries.

The hub spent the day finishing up a "tree foit" - the name our 4yo gs gave it. He doesnt do "r's" yet so fort sounds like foit. (log play house for the rest of us)...out in our yard. A friend recently remodled and had a truck full of wood shingles that the hub used to top off the foit.

They have been working on it for a couple of months. It is about 8 X 10 and is adorable!!! Because he is so into that wood business, our expense was only nails and a little gas to pick up things...so under $20. GS is VERY proud of the tree foit that he and papa built together!! The hub put up a couple of shelves and built a little table for them...too cute!


Today was our first no-spender in a while!! yay!