Saturday, August 27, 2016

Easy Peasy but Productive Saturday ~ 8/27/16

I woke up to a reminder that my daughter turns 18 in a week.  I'm stressing about it because I have nothing done or planned, actually. I don't have any presents for her nor do I know what to get her nor does she know what she wants.  My mom had made a big deal about my 18th birthday. I made a bigger deal than I usually do for my oldest when he turned 18, then was paralyzed for my middle son (because his birthday is after Christmas and by then I'm over the holidays/gift-giving!) and now paralyzed for my daughter. I think it's because I'm in denial that she's turning 18. Also, because I don't like birthdays in general and usually don't really make any kind of fuss: a cake, presents and we call it a day.

She had talked about going to The Cheesecake Factory but we're both watching what we're eating.  She doesn't seem too gun-ho about the ceramics painting anymore.  I might just give her cash in her college savings account.  I don't even know what cake she would want. Maybe I'll just make cupcakes. Last year she had wanted red velvet pancakes for her birthday so I had obliged.

Anyhoo, that's really causing me some anxiety!  I want her to remember her 18th birthday, I guess, but I have no clue of what to do. Plus it'll be Labor Day weekend so it's not really like we can go anywhere special without a lot of crowds.  She is only close to one girl who has serious health issues so going out with her to eat is out, and restricts the kind of activities they can do.

So today I'll be trying to come up with a plan of sorts.  I really wish I had something tangible to actually give her, darn it (the money can just be transferred online).  Arrgh. Have I mentioned that I hate birthdays?! It's a good thing my culture doesn't do Quinceañeros or Sweet 16 or Bat Mitzvah!

Update: well my daughter just informed me that she's meeting with her BFF on Monday to discuss her birthday plans.  So I guess she's planning her own birthday celebration after all. I can't decide if I'm relieved or miffed about it because it doesn't sound like we, her family, will be included at all.  She's already told her dad and stepmom that she didn't want to do what they had planned for her (a family outing to go on a zip line attraction).  Yes, I know, I'm never happy!

So on this note, I placed an order for a Christmas present.  While decluttering my printer stand yesterday, I came across a catalog that I had received several months ago and earmarked for a present that would be perfect for Middle Son's girlfriend so I ordered it and also ordered a bracelet for my daughter to give her at graduation time. No, it won't come in time for her birthday and I want to give it to her just before she leaves for college anyway. At least I'm ahead of the game for that.

I spoke with Greg late last night, after he'd had dinner with his sister and BIL.  His dad had chemo on Tuesday and then had been fine on Wednesday and Thursday but was very very loopy yesterday.  His sister is probably not going to be able to make it to the doctor's appointments in her state so the BIL said he would try to go instead. Yay.  Apparently, if the scan results (scan will be in a month) show that the tumors have shrunk, then Greg's dad will want to continue the treatment.  Greg didn't think to ask the doctor what the plan was going to be if the tumors didn't shrink (will the doctor want to continue the chemo or can his dad be transferred to Hospice Care at this point?) so we're not sure what will happen. Greg doesn't think that his dad will last the rest of the year anyway. Instead of going back right after his Canadian trip, he was thinking about going "for the end" and anticipates this being in October or November. I had to remind him that it might be winter-like in Ohio in November and we Floridians don't have snow tires on our vehicles so he probably should fly and not drive and not wait too long to make a reservation because of the Thanksgiving holiday travel nightmare. But again, you can't really plan in advance since there's no way of telling what's going to happen. So it's a little frustrating for someone like me who likes things plans and ducks in a row.  But it's not about me so I'm also going with the flow.  I don't think it's going to be a very festive Christmas this year between me not talking to my Oldest Son and Greg's dad's situation, whatever that might be at the end of the year.

Alright, time to post my To-Do List. It's actually shrunk a little! Well it had, until the late afternoon when I decided to add a boatload of projects to it. Grrr. I'm annoyed at myself :)

To Do List
  • Crafty/Creative:
    • Finish painting squirrel sign and assemble it
    • Make a lightbox to take better pictures
    • Melt down old candles and make into one or two new candles - No, I've decided to just pitch them. I know it's not the frugal thing to do but I have a ton of candles to use up, still, and I really need to declutter the house.
    • Make "No Soliciting" sign for front door and another one for the other front door (we have two)
  • Cleaning/Decluttering:
    • Dust the bedrooms (including son's fan) - in progress
    • Declutter linen closet
    • Clean kitchen cabinets
    • Declutter the top of the fridge
    • Mend items in mending basket (add Greg's hat)
    • Declutter shelves over printer stand 
    • Declutter storage bench 
    • Declutter coffee table - in progress
    • Dust fan in exercise room
    • Clean the fridge
    • Declutter gardening supplies chest
    • Sweep laundry room - done
    • Sweep front porch  - done
  • Cooking/Baking/Preserving:
    • Dehydrate pineapples 
    • Bake a batch of Grape Nuts (Saturday)
    • Make Chicken Tetrazzini with chicken meat from fridge (Sunday)
    • Make new menu for next week
  • Entertainment
    • Plan an outing to Leu Botanical gardens or Bok Tower Gardens
    • Sign up for ranger hikes in local parks
  • Errands:
    • Take items to the dump
  • Gardening/outdoors:
    • Transplant ferns into bare patch in front lawn to make shady planter
    • Research cone flowers and their care and plant them somewhere - Transplanted them in larger pot.
    • Scrub patio pavers with bleach to remove mildew (this might have to wait until the months when it's not quite so hot!)
    • Fertilize the raspberries - I'm thinking about pulling them and putting more roses in pots in their place.
    • Add mulch to the vegetable garden - I will do this once I have replaced the broken self-watering bins
    • Pull unwanted plants from center "planter" in the backyard, add soil, plant flowers, add edging around it (watch out for large roots that would be in the way). Make planter with other materials if edging doesn't work. (this will have to wait until Fall when it's not so hot and when I can plant wildflower seeds).
    • Divide and repot the aloe plant
    • Plant more okra
    • Trim grass behind the hedge
    • Trim weeds alongside the berm
    • Find fish emulsion and use on plants
    • Pull the rest of the dead tomato plants 
    • Plant passion flower vine seeds
    • Check on the seedlings and water as needed - Done
    • Add water to pepper bins
    • Refill green bird feeder
    • Pour weed killer on weeds on patio
    • Water the potted plants - it rained  a little today
    • Water the zombie pineapples - Done
    • Replace batteries in solar lights in front of the house (need special batteries) - ordered the batteries today
  • Health:
    • Call gyneco to make annual appointment - I'll do that once I'm more comfortable with my weight because I know they'll be nagging me about it anyway.
    • Use recumbent bike   - done
    • Do 5 min of strength exercises  - moved the recumbent bike a couple of times
    • Log food into My Fitness Pal   - done
    • Record exercise in Walgreens Balance Rewards (in September)
    • Weigh myself (Wednesdays)
  • Maintenance:
    • See if I still have mildew-resistant white paint for bathroom ceiling
    • Get Greg to replace the ceiling tile in the entry room
    • Test the batteries in all 3 smoke detectors and replace as needed
    • Vacuum fridge coils
    • Vacuum AC vent in kitchen  - done
    • Greg to call plumber
    • Wash the bathroom ceiling with bleached water
    • Remind Greg to re-secure chicken wire to AC unit and also to block off opening under front of the house
    • Scrub mildew off front of the house (porch, behind bushes, front stairs)
    • Install white beadboard in laundry room (will need to measure and purchase)
    • Install new stick-on tiles in laundry room (will need to remove ancient ones first)
    • Paint laundry room cabinets
    • Get Greg to fix/remove rotten wood on front porch
    • Make a list of which outlets need to be replaced and call Duke Energy Homewire Protection to schedule appointment
    • Ask electrician for estimate on installing outlet on front porch
    • Ask Greg to make me new tiled table for electric roaster on front porch
    • Get on flat roof, sweep it, and clean out the front gutter
    • Ask Greg to install gutter screens on the front gutter
  • Technology/Paperwork:
    • Caption old pictures that have already been scanned
    • Scan more old pictures
    • Create spreadsheet to track IRA contributions using ALL our old tax returns - Started but need to do more research.
    • Figure out if we should contribute to regular  or Roth IRAs for 2016 and fund them - I guess I need to wait until tax time next year, actually. I'll have until April 15, 2017 to fund 2016 IRAs so I need to work on taxes way sooner than I did this year so I'd have time to fund the IRAs and THEN file my taxes.
    • Download all May-July photos to my external drive - in progress
    • Back up my external drive to my other external drive
    • File the remaining loose recipes that I organized already in appropriate recipe binders
    • Purge filing cabinet upstairs
    • File paperwork
    • Write new letter to great grand aunt
    • Research local candidates for Tuesday's local elections - Done
    • Remove daughter's pc from her room and decide what to do with it
    • Prep August Food Expenses post
    • Clip new coupons
    • Sort new coupons
    • Discuss ACS Road to Recovery volunteering with Greg
    • Track our net worth in a new spreadsheet (use AARP model and set up this one) - in progress

  • I used newspaper print from the recycling bin to pick up the cat barf that greeted me in the kitchen first thing this morning!

  • I brewed a pot of free coffee from Wawa.

  • SavingStar credited me with the $1.29 for the cup of Riceroni bought on Thursday.

  • I was able to complete a 100 SB survey before 8:30 a.m. so I have already reached my 1st Daily Goal for Swagbucks, woohoo!  I might try to reach the 2nd one later on...

  • I completed the daily Bing Rewards credits activities.

  • I placed a catalog order and charged it to my USAA Visa to get 10% back in Rewards.

  • I signed us up for the Discover Bonus Rewards that will run from October through December (both cards).

  • Thanks to a poster on Slickdeals, I was able to print a coupon for milk off  While on the site, I logged into my account and saw that there were BOGO coupons for Red Star yeast strips and also for Cosequin Cat Joint Health Supplement so I printed those as well. I'm hoping that maybe Publix will have a BOGO sale on the yeast at some point in the next month, and my cats didn't like the joint supplement samples that the vet gave me so I'll look into the Cosequin at Petco.

  • I realized that I had another one of those cheese pizzas bought on clearance this week in the fridge, so we'll have pizza and salad again tonight and I'll make the tetrazzini tomorrow instead.

  • Target has issued a 10% off storewide purchase* (*with lots of exclusions, of course!) mobile coupon valid only tomorrow in store or online, FYI.  I can't imagine going to Target on a Sunday unless I have an urgent need for something (I don't), so I'll sit this one out.

  • Lifehacker has a good article about "Top 10 Clever Ways to Repurpose Your Kitchen Scraps."  You might already do some of those things, but others might be new to you. I do need to try the corn cream or corn stock recipe that you make with the corn cobs. I do have 3 ears of corn in the fridge right now!

  • Last night I was very tired and told my daughter that I wasn't sure that I still wanted to go to Lake Louisa to hike today. So, of course, now I'm rested and all ready to go and now she doesn't want to go.  Argh.  So I exercised for free at home today, using my recumbent bike. At first I was enjoying an episode of L&O: CI on a DVD from the library, but I got engrossed in a new blog that I had found so I turned the TV off so I could concentrate on reading some blog posts on my Kindle.  Not going to Lake Louisa saved us gas and the entrance fee, although I would have enjoyed walking on the trail, observing nature and taking pictures!

  • I put the exercise bike away. I've been wheeling it into the living room every day and wheeling it back to the exercise room afterwards because I'm enjoying biking in the more spacious living room more than in the tiny exercise room!  The wheels help a lot but it's still pretty heavy so I'm mentally counting this as my strength exercise.
  • I was considering the thrifted camera bag that I had bought myself several months ago for $5.00 but that was now too small for my dSLR camera since my new lens is longer.  I was feeling annoyed that I would have to donate the bag and find myself a larger one when... I realized that the compartment separators were actually velcroed to the inside of the bag so it was very easy to detach them and now my camera fits in the bag perfectly!  But what was I going to do with my older lens?  Well, it fits perfectly in one of the side pockets!  Imagine that!  I'm so thrilled that I can continue to use my thrifted bag and not have to buy another one :)

  • I decided to declutter the coffee table. But in putting one thing away in the breezeway, I got sidetracked by decluttering the countertop in the breezeway. In doing so, I gathered several items for the donation box, several of Greg's things that needed to be stored in his shed so I took them there, and found 2 items that I had been meaning on fixing for quite a long time:
    • A cheap picture frame from the Dollar Tree that had been knocked off a cabinet and had lost one of its sides. I could have just replaced the frame but why?  I used superglue from the Dollar Tree to put it back together. Since I didn't want to dribble glue on the countertop (I'm a famously messy crafter!), I fished a cereal box that we had just finished out of the recycling bin to protect the countertop. And it was a good thing that I did that, trust me!  The frame holds a printout of a sign that I had seen in an online catalog. I'm too cheap to buy the sign, but I loved it so I printed the picture in color, used a colorful sheet of scrapbooking paper that I had kicking around, and put them in the $1 frame. It'd been greeting our visitors for a couple of years now and I always chuckle when I see it :)  So glad I finally fixed it!

    • The second thing that I fixed was the coffee mug that Middle Son gave me for Mother's Day 2 years ago.  It's very meaningful to me because Middle Son rarely spends his money on others and I loved that it was something that I would use every day (a mug) and that was cheeky in a sense.  I chipped it last year when I accidentally brushed the lip of it with a hammer, I think.  I had already superglued it back together but after a few months, the glue melted and the chip fell again. I'll admit that today I was thinking "I have plenty of mugs, I'll just pitch it..." but again... meaningful gift from Middle Son so I decided to rescue it.  I was nervous about possibly glueing my fingers together since the chip was pretty small and I have thick and bumbling fingers so I looked for the cheap tweezers that I had bought from Dollar Tree and that didn't tweeze anything. Darn it, I couldn't find them!  Then I checked my gardening supplies because I'm forever upcycling things to use when I garden and, sure enough, I found another pair of tweezers that I was using for small seeds.  So I used those to place the chip and hold it in place while the glue dried (20 seconds) and voilà! My mug is ready to be used again!  I'm very happy that I didn't throw it away!

  • By then I had completely forgotten about declutering the coffee table, but I did declutter the area near Greg's desk (well, not everything, there are still items to be taken to the "attic" but I'll have him do that since it's his former computer.  I took a cat scratching post/pedestal that I had bought at Aldi and brought it back to the cat room. I had placed it in the living room back when we got New Kitty at Christmas last year so she could hide in there and learn to do her claws on that and not on the furniture, but she never used it. Greg started piling stuff and there and then I did too so it had to go.  The stuff that was on there (our old router and the box for the new one) were put away. I'm not sure if we can just bring the router to the landfill or if we should destroy something on the inside first so people can't retrieve any of our info so I will ask Greg smash it to pieces. It doesn't work anymore but you can't be too careful these days.  I also put the house surveillance camera that had come with Greg's PC in the donation box. We never opened it and won't be using it so away it will go to benefit someone else.  Lastly, I found a crate of genealogical materials that I had printed many years ago. It's been sitting here in plain sight so long that I had become completely blind to it!  Tonight I will go through it and probably end up shredding most of the content since I know have everything in a database anyway.  If things need to be scanned, I will put them aside.

  • In decluttering the breezeway earlier, I found the Febreeze car clip that I thought I might have thrown away. Hooray!  I don't have to spend $2.97 to get a new one!  In the past I had used Velcro to attach the Glade freshener pad to the clip but today I found a box of "picture stickers" in one of my craft bins and decided that since it was double sided tape, it would probably work. It works for now but the heat in the car will probably made it fall and then I'll have to find another solution... like probably just using a rubber band, somehow.  I'm not big on aesthetics, it's the function that interests me.

  • Since I went outside to put the clip in the SUV, I decided to sweep the front porch on my way back in.  On my front porch, I keep a large outdoor broom that's being held to the handle with duct tape, and a small broom that used to be an angle broom that I used inside the house until Greg started using it to sweep the driveway. Its head is halfway gone now, but it still works fine for the front porch!  I collect all the dirt in an old large dustpan that doesn't have a handle and that we had thought of throwing away.  I love re-using items that have been fixed or that would have been thrown away!  Yes, I could buy new ones that would "look nice". But what do I care? This way, I keep items out of the landfill and I keep on using them until they can't be used anymore. And even more important?  I keep money in our pocket.  Also now the porch looks much nicer for Greg's return tomorrow. But the dry weather we've been having means a lot of dry leaves in front of the house again. You'd think it's actually Fall!  I need to get on the flat roof above the porch and clean out the small gutter that we have there. It's likely full of leaves and ant nests. Yuck. I want Greg to install the gutter screens that he put on the one in the back, this fall.

  • Then I swept the laundry room and since I had to put the broom back in the kitchen (I keep it next to the freezer), I swept the kitchen too. All of this counted for exercise since I was wearing my phone on my belt, woohoo. Plus, I was still wearing my exercise spandex  and it's well known that if you wear exercise clothes, then anything you do is exercise.  Oh yes. Look it up!  While I was sweeping the laundry room, I decided to buy some beadboard and just nail it over the walls. The room is still unfinished, several decades after it was built, and the walls are just particle board.  It worked to our advantage when we had to have the water heater changed because it's just on the other side of one of these walls and had been installed before they built the laundry room and they only put a narrow door to the space where the water heater is and it wouldn't fit through there. So Greg had to saw through the wall so the appliance guy could get it out. What a pain!  Then we glued the wall back in place, lol.  I'm thinking I'll buy white bead board, cut it to size and nail it to the particle board. Then I'll paint the natural wood grain cabinets and I also want to remove the ugly dark green and once-upon-a-time white linoleum tiles and just replace them with cheap stick-on linoleum tiles that will look nicer.  Small, inexpensive cosmetic changes. Who knows when they'll be done, though, I've been talking about doing this for years!

  • My last chore before taking a break was cleaning the furnace vent in the kitchen. It's white but a lot of grimy dust had accumulated so I used my homemade citrus vinegar degreaser and a washing cloth to clean it as best I could. It looks much better, especially since I'm the one who faces it when sitting at the dinner table!

  • So after all of that, I input my food and exercise intake into My Fitness Pal and decided to relax with the last piece of angel food cake (my daughter has been having some too!) with sliced strawberries and some plain nonfat yogurt on top. Yum!

  • The sky has been getting dark and it's 5 p.m.  I hope we get some rain, my garden needs it so badly. If it doesn't rain at 6 p.m. I have an alarm to go water it. My potted plants are almost dead and I'm not joking.  Ugh.  5:11 p.m.: thunder and lightning just sounded and it's indeed raining!  I hope it lasts a while! Arrgh, at 5:20 p.m. it's already not raining anymore :(

  • I need to replace the solar batteries in my solar lights in front of the house.  Those things were cheap to purchase at Aldi but the replacement batteries aren't that cheap.  Ace Hardware has them in stock at my local store, but I'm going to order them through their website via Swagbucks so I'll earn 2 SB per $ spent.  I don't want to place the order today because I won't be picking them up until Wednesday, so I'm putting a reminder on my calendar to place the order on Monday. Never mind, I went to check Amazon and saw that I could buy 12 of them for less than $10 (so cheaper than Ace) with free shipping and I can use my Amazon Chase card rewards to get them free anyway. Yes, it makes more sense to apply the rewards to my balance at the end of the month (we pay off all our credits cards every month) but I like the rush of using my rewards to buy THINGS.  I just need 6 batteries for now and I'll keep the other 6 for the next time they die.  I don't use Amazon Pantry so I didn't bother with the No Rush Shipping.

  • Oh hey!  Since we didn't go anywhere today, I can count this as a No Drive Day, woohoo! 

  • I reached my 2nd Daily Goal in Swagbucks after all, woohoo :) I decided to keep on going a little bit longer since I'm on the laptop anyway. I just need to click a banner every 30 seconds, not a big deal. I'm only running nGage for now as JunGroup was giving me trouble and crashing.

  • I found a penny on the floor of my living room. which I think came from the box of genealogical materials that I have heaved onto the couch so I can go through it. I added it to my 2016 Spare Change Jar.

  • So for dinner I cooked that 2nd cheese pizza bought for just $2.50. My son will have 4 slices and my daughter and I each will have two. The kids wanted theirs plain and I sliced a whole bunch of homegrown jalapeños and serranos that had been in my fridge for quite a while, it might have been too much!  We'll see.  I made a side salad too. I finished a jar of homemade Dijon vinaigrette that was starting to get a little rancid and I added 1/4 avocado to my salad. The kids don't like avocado but I do :) I might have some cherry pie later on (bought on clearance as well), I need to see how many calories I have left for the day :)
The pizza, before I baked it. I really piled the hot peppers on... I had to take a break in between slices when I ate it because it was so hot! But also: yum!
  • While the pizza was cooking, I went to refill a pitcher with rain water collected in the rain barrel (so warm, it's like a bath in there!) and used it to water my indoor zombie pineapples, the peace lily (the flowers have died so it's just greenery for now) and the seedlings that are still growing. But my heart isn't on gardening this fall. Unless I get a boost of energy soon as I did this Spring, I might just not have a vegetable garden at all this season.  We'll see.

  • I placed an order for a Christmas gift and a graduation gift.

  • While I was catching up on the news online this morning, I saw a story about the American Cancer Society being in dire need of volunteer drivers to take patients to and from their chemo appointments.  I checked out their website and it seems pretty flexible, as long as you don't skimp out on the patients at the last minute, which I'm very unlikely to do unless there is a true emergency. With my son now taking the bus to and from school and my daughter driving herself to her classes, I should be able to put in a couple of "shifts" a week, I think.  Before I fill out the application and view the orientation video, I need to discuss it with Greg and also find out if my son is ever going to be participating in after-school activities when he would need a ride home.  I would have to use my SUV so we would be responsible for the gas expense, wear and tear on the car, etc. I don't think I would need to increase the insurance coverage on the car since I already carry quite a bit on it because it was mandated by the school board back when I volunteered with my daughter's FFA club and I never changed it back.  I wish I could watch the orientation video without filling out the application so I can better judge if that is something that I can truly commit to. For instance... if their chemo session is several hours long, can I just leave and come back to get them or do I have to stay at the hospital with them the whole time? I'm not good at waiting, to be honest. But if I could go to the library, or find a local park to take pictures, etc., that would be good.  I also wonder what a typical route for someone who lives in my area would be. If they are treated in Clermont, then it's only a 15-minute ride. But if they have to be treated in The Villages or in Orlando, then it's a 45-minute to 1 hour drive, with tolls.  So I'll discuss it with Greg this week to make sure he's on board with the expenses.  We won't be able to deduct anything on our taxes since we don't itemize, although I'm wondering if that might change in the future as we will be losing my daughter as a dependent next year (we don't claim the kids on our taxes once they are out of the house since they are expected to pay for their own studies and housing anyway).  I hope it works out as it sounds like the type of volunteering that would be rewarding and would allow me not to work in a team. I'm not a good team person. Well. I'm awesome at it but I really don't enjoy it.

  • None!

  • I picked up cat barf right after getting up, ugh.
  • Ordered some presents
  • Researched all the local candidates on my ballot for the local elections slated for this Tuesday
  • Looked up information about volunteering as a driver for the American Cancer Society
  • Printed some coupons
  • Tried to change my daughter's mind about going hiking but she really didn't want to go :(
  • Made my bed
  • Caught up on blogs and news
  • Exercised
  • Glued back a couple of items
  • Decluttered the breezeway counter
  • Partly decluttered Greg's rat nest on the breezeway counter
  • Put away his stuff in his shed
  • Put together the air freshener clip in my car
  • Swept the front porch
  • Swept the laundry room
  • Swept the kitchen
  • Cleaned the AC furnace vent in the kitchen
  • Placed an Amazon order
  • Cooked dinner
  • Watered the indoors plants
  • Started a new spreadsheet to track our net worth every month

  • I didn't have breakfast until 10:30 a.m.  My internal clock is 2 hours behind, I thought it was 8:30 a.m., lol!

  • I used the recumbent bike for 55 minutes (10.88 miles) and today I took the phone off my belt so I wouldn't cheat with the step counter inadvertently.

  • I recorded all my food and exercise intake into My Fitness Pal.

  • That the League of Women Voters of Florida made it so much easier for me to research my local election candidates by publishing the questionnaires that they sent each candidate! Most people only vote in the national elections but the local elections are usually far more important.

  • The tropical wave that seemed like it would impact us this weekend will be passing over South Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico so Greg's flight shouldn't be disturbed at all.  We do need the rain, though.

  • For the light rain that we experienced for a few minutes in the late afternoon. It wasn't long enough but it was better than nothing!


It was raining when I took this picture. The lizard seemed to enjoy this shower very much!
Re-zombie celery on the left might have finally croaked, while new zombie celery on the right is doing quite well!

Male cat has already claimed the "platform" that I moved from the living room back to the entry room.

Mean Kitty, just waking up from her nap, taken right next to my son while he was doing some homework,

New kitty's posing for me on her favorite spot :)
How was your Saturday?


  1. First of all, happy (upcoming) 18th birthday to your daughter! It's a milestone birthday, isn't it? The start of her adulthood. I suggest getting her a nice piece of jewellery. She might or might not be "into" jewellery, but something like a pearl necklace will be timeless. Or a necklace with her birthstone as a pendant (September's birthstone is sapphire). And go ahead and go out to dinner (or lunch) at her restaurant of choice. Even if you are both watching what you are eating. This is a special occasion and you are allowed to set aside the calorie counter for one day. Or, if you'd both rather not eat out, then, how about a trip to a day spa? That should be diet friendly! Or maybe put together a memory book/scrapbook? Or a letter? Your memories of the day she was born, some childhood milestones (first day of school, etc.), some of your favorite things to do with her, what you appreciate the most about her, what your hopes and dreams are for her future as she transitions from a little girl to a young woman, etc. If she's doing something with her friend on her actual birthday, celebrate as a family on a different day!

    That's great that you were able to figure out how to fit your new camera into the carrying case you already had!

    If you can volunteer to drive cancer patients to treatment and back, that would be a lovely service. One which would be much appreciated by patients and their families. Getting to and from my treatments were a big headache for me, but I was blessed to have a daughter who was able to fly down to drive me (and I had enough money to pay for all those plane tickets!) and family and friends who could take me on days when my daughter couldn't do so. I did talk to the Cancer Society to inquire about rides, but I wasn't able to find someone. My treatment place was an hour-long drive each way and treatment sessions generally lasted 4 hours. I think you could arrange to drop off and pick up (the patient would call you when treatment was over). It's something I've been considering doing, myself (once I've retired!)

    1. Thank you Bless. I would think that something like a nice piece of jewelry would be the perfect gift for a very feminine girl. But my daughter is more of a tomboy and has always been. She doesn't wear earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets or chains. I expect that she won't wear the bracelet that I plan on giving her for her graduation but I wanted to give it to her anyway because it's engraved with a sentiment that will remind her of a special ritual that she and I have had together since she was a toddler.

      I have kept a journal for each of my children since (sometimes before) they were born, in which I relate what was happening in their lives, their likes and dislikes, friends, milestones, etc. Unfortunately for the last 3 children, I didn't have as much energy to do this as I did for my oldest so theirs are very incomplete and I'm embarrassed to give it to them! Plus my daughter is very messy so I would hate that something like this might end up in a corner of her room, on the ground. Because it will. So I'm waiting until she's older to give it to her.

      She and I don't enjoy being touched by other people so things like spas are a no-no. Poor Bless, you're going to think that I'm shooting down all your ideas! It's just that they're perfect ideas for a certain type of girl, just not my girl, lol.

      I told her tonight that I was planning on making cupcakes instead of a cake and asked if that was OK with her and she said it was perfect. She wants the Hershey cupcakes that I used to make when she was little so that's very easy and we can each have as little or as much as she wants. I think that, at this point, giving her cash is the best option. I would like to take her back to France with me whenever it's safe to do so and she really wants to go back too, so maybe paying for her plane ticket then will be a belated 18th birthday present. In the meantime, if her friend and her want to go somewhere on or around her birthday (theme park, possibly), I'll just pay for it.

      You will be a natural to volunteer for the American Cancer Society! Unfortunately, you've had the experience of going through it yourself but you also have a lot of empathy. Thanks for the information about how long your sessions were, it's very helpful. If I had to drive someone to Clermont, I could just go home to wait for the 4 hours. But if I have to drive them to The Villages (a huge retirement community about 45 minutes north of where I live, where a lot of medical facilities are located) or Orlando (45 minutes to 1 hour) then I'd have to find something else (other than shopping!) to do for 4 hours. Luckily we live in a pretty area where we have nice weather almost year-round, and there are lots of parks (and Paneras!) around, libraries, etc. It shouldn't be hard to find something to occupy my time while I wait. Anyhoo, I talked to Greg about it tonight and he agrees that I should look into it some more so I will be doing that this week.

    2. No problem, Nathalie. You know your daughter's likes and dislikes the best. :)

  2. Thank you for coming to my blog a while back. We traveled since then and I have been trying to de-clutter the house and get things together for our upcoming move this winter. I read your to do list and was impressed – you certainly have enough to do for months. In my to do list I usually have only 3 or 4 things that are a priority, but they may stay on it for a long time, such as – get eye check-up – this has been on my to do list for 3 years now ….

    1. Bonjour Vagabonde, thanks for stopping by! I enjoy your blog and recollections of France very much! I always learn a lot when I read your posts and you've lived quite an interesting life.

      I was very surprised to see your comment because I know that you don't have much time to visit other blog and comment on them so I appreciate you taking the time to do so. And also, I had been thinking about you all day! I read your latest post on the nightmare that was your trip to California to attend your daughter's wedding this morning and I was horrified by all that you and your husband went through on that trip! I couldn't stop thinking about it, and I even talked to Greg about it while I was driving him back from the airport this afternoon. He couldn't believe it either and we're both glad that in the end you made it there and back safely and that you were able to attend your daughter's wedding and not have to wear your jeans!

      I tend to put too many things on my to-do list but I have found that if I post it at the top of my blog every day, then I feel more accountable and I'm more liable to actually do some of the tasks, ha. Your eye check-up is my "make a gyneco appointment". It's been on my mind and on my list for a couple of years now at least, mostly because my doctor went from having a single practice to being part of a group that now requires you do share a lot of information online with the insurance, which, paradoxically, I don't like at all. Until then, I went every year like clockwork and it wasn't a big deal. I really dislike all doctors and dentists so I always drag my feet for those. However, I don't seem to have a problem with the eye doctor, possibly because I need glasses to see anything, whereas I can muddle through if I don't see the other doctors... for now.

      I wish you the best with your move. It's got to be very stressful, even if you're excited about it.

      Merci encore de votre visite. Je suis votre blog regulièrement et j'attends vos prochains postes et vos photos avec impatience! Bonne soirée.

  3. Yay! More de-cluttering. Isn't it great? You found some things that were lost. You fixed things that were broken. You are re-purposing stuff. By de-cluttering, you are saving money and feeling good in the process. Can you tell that I am trying to keep up my own motivation by cheering you on? I did some more clearing out yesterday but took a break today in order to get some work done in the kitchen. The problem with decluttering I find, is that you start thinking of things you could do to help with organizing your stuff. In my case, I had a shelf built over the window. Or you want to bring in another piece of furniture to store things, etc. I think that is why YOUR to-do list got longer. You started thinking of more "maintenance" things that needed doing. Does it ever end???

    It's good that your daughter is going to decide with her BFF how she wants to celebrate this special birthday. It does take some of the stress away from you. You mentioned before that your daughter doesn't often wear jewelry, but I was going to ask if she would wear a ring (her birthstone perhaps?) Then I noticed you are giving her a lovely piece for graduation so
    nix that idea. Maybe an idea will come to you when she relays her plans to you about the celebration. Do you have time to put a photo album together?

    I'm intrigued by your wanting to make a volunteer commitment to drive patients to their chemo appointments. That is a very worthy endeavour. If you decide to go through with it, I would suggest starting out slowly. It could take a large chunk out of your day and you don't want to face burn-out doing something so admirable.

    Your kitties are adorable. Why is she "Mean Kittie"?

    1. You DO know that I got started on this whole decluttering project this weekend because you inspired and CHALLENGED me first by documenting your own decluttering efforts with pictures (something that I forgot to do this weekend, I was too busy!) and by telling me to relax since I had done some cleaning during the week, lol. I don't like being bossed around so you telling me to relax made my want to do the opposite. That's some powerful reverse psychology that you apply via your comments, my dear. You're like the Decluttering Whisperer :)

      A photo album is a great idea, I should make time to work on one this week. There are a lot of pictures that she never saw because once I got digital cameras I never got prints of the pictures. I do have photo paper to use and a set of new ink cartridges. I might even have the photo album. She might not get it in time for her 18th birthday but that wouldn't be the main present so it's OK. Thanks, Susan!

      I'm also taking your advice to heart regarding the volunteering. Ideally, I'd like to just do it once a week at the most. However, I do not know what their requirements are. I do know that they want you to be available Mon-Fri from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and that you know of your "shift" 4 to 5 days in advance, but I don't know if they require you to put in x number of hours a week or what. I shall fill out the initial volunteer application so I can access the rest of the information before I commit to anything.

      "Mean Kitty" isn't her real name. I call her "Mean Kittie" for the purpose of the blog because this is why all of us describe her. She's not particularly mean, actually, she's just a bully probably because she lived the first couple of months of her life on her own outside. She doesn't like people and hisses at them. But she's never bitten or scratched anyone. She just wants to be left alone. She does bully New Kitty once in a while but for the most part she does her own thing, which is sleep all day. Ah, to be a cat!

  4. OMG! Bless and I must be cut from the same cloth. I can't believe how closely we thought alike about celebrating your daughter's eighteenth birthday....right down to the piece of special jewelry with her September birthstone. And the memory book. Holy Moly. We gave you some excellent ideas. *laugh* Bless, I am giving you a pat on the back. I loved the idea of a Spa Day, as well. In any event, I am so happy that we inspired an idea for you Nathalie.

    Yes, I knew your cat wasn't really named "Mean Kitty", but I wondered what inspired the blog name. She looks so adorable. But you answered my question. So she is a bit of a bully is she? Well I guess she has to assert her dominance from time to time. She sounds like my son's cat, Brucie. He came to us as a feral kitten, having been abandoned at 3 weeks. He doesn't much like people either except for my son and myself, who acted as his surrogate mother(s). He doesn't run from visitors, but won't allow anybody to touch him. He accepts having Hannah and our Boxer around but he lets them know he is the dominant one in the household.

    1. Yes, it was pretty uncanny how you both had the same suggestions! I do love the idea of a photo album but now with the latest development of having to take care of the kittens, I'm not quite sure when this will get done. Once again, it might become a graduation gift instead of a birthday gift.

      Brucie and Mean Kitty are twins! There is something about cats who weren't socialized in their first few weeks of life, or at least didn't have the benefit of having their mother raise them, I guess. Is Hannah your son's GF?

  5. Yes, Hannah belongs to my son's GF. She is a female (obviously) but is a late comer to the household so last one in the pecking order. Satchel, our male Boxer, was here first and is also dominant, but takes a lot of crap from Brucie. Sometimes there is a lot of drama here in our household of pets.

  6. ...if you wear exercise clothes, then anything you do is exercise. <-- I think this will be my new motto!!!

    I like your two slices of that pizza the best!

    And I'm intrigued about you possibly volunteering as a driver for cancer patients. Keep us posted.

    I'm no help with any presents, especially not for girls. I had three games or money for video games was always a correct choice. Sigh.

    1. My video gaming sons would all agree and my videogaming husband who works for the videogame industry agrees and thanks you! Keep on buying those games, lol.

      Kids have so much nowadays, and especially kids from divorced middle class households, because they receive presents from 2 families, all the time. It makes it hard as they grow older because it leaves either very expensive things that I'm not willing to buy, or cash. It's appreciated but it's kind of boring to give :)


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