Thursday, August 18, 2016

Lowry Park Zoo ~ Thursday 8/18/16

Another night partially spent on tossing and turning and I don't know why!  I exercise, I don't drink caffeine past my 2 cups of morning coffee, and I'm tired. But I can't seem to sleep well.  I might just have to resume sleeping on the futon in the living room when I fall asleep there instead of going up to bed.

So I was tired this morning.  Then I got on the scale after my shower and the darn thing flashed at 225 lbs. Hooray, I lost over 2 lbs.  I got back on there to take a picture of the display and this time it said 226.2.  WTH?!  I tried 3 or 4 more times and on the last time it said 226.4, as if I was putting weight on just staring at the display!  I was so pissed. So I went to use Greg's scale (yes, we each have our own!). His told me 225.6 two times in a row so I'm going with that even though I didn't weigh myself on that scale last week.  It's ridiculous.

The first thing I did after that?  Wash the hummingbird feeders!  It's an odd thing to do at 6:30 a.m. but they'd be sitting on my counter for a couple of days so I needed to do that. I took everything apart (the flowers, the little yellow dome thingies) and scrubbed the mildew off as much as I could but they're still not pristine.  I need to get one of those tiny brushes that kids with braces use!  They're drying right now and I'll refill them tomorrow since we'll be gone today. Hopefully the hummers have found another source of food around the neighborhood.

It's 8 a.m. and I still haven't packed our picnic lunch and I had told my daughter that we'd leave by 8:30 a.m.  Ugh. I don't really feel like going to the zoo, to be honest with you.  Only because I feel pretty tired.  Oh yeah and my period still hasn't started (4 days late now), which sucks. So I need to pack extra protection too.  I'm only bringing my point and shoot camera, not the dSLR.

My daughter just got up. She's tired too and didn't sleep much either but since we're up we decided to go to the zoo anyway. But we'll buy lunch. I know, I know.  Oh well.

To Do List (which probably won't have anything crossed off by the time this posts tonight!):
  • 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
    • Make "No Soliciting" sign for front door and another one for the other front door (we have two)
  • Cleaning/Decluttering:
    • Dust the entry room, breezeway, bedrooms (including son's fan)
    • Declutter linen closet
    • Clean kitchen cabinets
    • Clean out the printer stand, including school paperwork folders
    • Declutter the top of the fridge
    • Mend items in mending basket (add Greg's hat)
    • Declutter exercise room (including storage bench)
    • Vacuum living room
    • Sweep breezeway
    • Sweep and mop downstairs bathroom
    • Spray bleach in shower stall
    • Scrub downstairs toilet
    • Put Greg's laundry away
    • Make a car deodorant pad for my SUV
    • Clean the fridge
    • Wash both cat litter boxes - Done
    • Clean hummingbird feeders - Done
  • Cooking/Baking/Preserving:
    • Dehydrate pineapples 
    • Pack picnic lunch for zoo - Didn't do
  • Entertainment
    • Plan an outing to Leu Botanical gardens or Bok Tower Gardens
  • 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
    • Spray water on the hibiscus for aphids and mealybugs
    • Pull the rest of the dead tomato plants 
    • Plant passion flower vine seeds
    • Check on the seedlings and water as needed 
    • Add water to pepper bins
    • Refill hummingbird feeders
    • Refill green bird feeder
    • Put more Vaseline on bird feeder poles
  • Health:
    • Call gyneco to make annual appointment
    • Use recumbent bike - walked at the zoo instead
    • Do 5 min of strength exercises 
    • Log food into My Fitness Pal - Done
    • Record exercise in Walgreens Balance Rewards - I didn't bother since I've already hit the 1,000 point maximum per month
    • Weigh myself (Thursdays) - Done
  • 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
    • 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
    • Plan on taking car for oil change this week or next
  • 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
    • 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
    • File paperwork
    • Write new letter to great grand aunt
    • Look at sample ballot and research local candidates
    • Remove daughter's pc from her room and decide what to do with it
    • Input receipts in spreadsheets

  • I brewed a pot of free coffee from Wawa.

  • My son packed a lunch to take to school.

  • He took the morning bus to get to school (OK so I'm really loving this!).

  • I earned Swagbucks while catching up on the news, email, etc, by running nGage and JunGroup videos. My team is still winning the Team Challenge, yippee!

  • Zinio emailed me that the latest issue of Weight Watchers magazine is available for me to read for free online via my library's subscription. I might even flip through it.  I used to love that magazine back when I was doing WW because it had lots of inspirational stories, but these days, it's mostly ads and recipes. I have tons of recipes already, including several WW cookbooks, I need the inspirational stories!  Although, I have to say that Tara inspires me these days. She runs with her kids almost every day. RUNS.  Wow.  I'd die if I tried to run.  But the thought of her running helps me get on the bike every day.  If she can run, surely I can get my butt on the darn bike in my air conditioned home and watch a TV show will I pedal, right? So thank you Tara, and keep running!

  • I had planned on getting the 1 day ticket that gives us free admission at the zoo for the rest of the year for $29.95 a person.  However, as we exited the interstate, my daughter spied a billboard that advertised a Florida resident special that gave us a 1-day ticket (without the free admission for the rest of the year) for $19.95 per person. We discussed it, decided that chances were we wouldn't go back before the end of December so we bought the Florida resident special and saved $20. Which was great since we ended up not packing a lunch so that helped pay for our lunch :) I charged them to my USAA Visa for 10% back in Rewards.
  • Parking was free.

  • We were going to split a large Caesar salad and then buy 2 sandwiches but we realized that the sandwiches came with either fries or a small side salad so we put the large Caesar salad down.

  • We bought 2 bottled drinks so we could refill the bottles at the water fountain.  I wish I had thought, though, to bring in empty water bottles and we could have refilled them before lunch as well! One of the drinks was a Diet Coke so I will earn 3 MCR points with the code.  We refilled our bottles at the water fountains throughout the zoo twice during the day. I charged out lunch to my USAA Visa for 10% back in Rewards.

  • I found a penny at the zoo!

  • I was very hungry in the afternoon and was about to buy some candy but my daughter made me put it back, lol.  So we walked cross the street to the restaurant that sold fruit cups but they were more than $5 each so she suggested we buy something outside of the zoo. I didn't want to stop again once in the car, but we did a search for a RaceTrac station and stopped at one just down the street, where we bought 2 fruit cups/fruit and cheese snack for less money than 1 fruit cup at the zoo and I earned RaceTrac loyalty points.  Again, I charged those   to my USAA Visa for 10% back in Rewards. I also have a receipt with which I will earn a freebie after taking the survey (I had brought survey reward codes to get free snacks but it would have had to be roller grill items or bakery items and my daughter reminded me that we were trying to be healthy so we didn't redeem them).
It was nice and cold and very refreshing too!
  • I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits and I'm at 97% of my goal now.

  • I reached my 1st Swagbucks Daily Goal.

  • Good thing that I had made a menu for the week... we haven't used it at all!  For dinner tonight there was still plenty of pasta leftovers so we had that and some of the chicken I had cooked yesterday.

  • I entered my weight into Walgreens Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 20 BR points.

  • Greg downloaded a free app to his Kindle Fire.

  • Gas to drive to Tampa and back. It would have been cheaper to drive the Focus but I went for comfort and decided to drive the SUV.  I'm glad I did because we were stuck in a very slow-moving traffic jam for about an hour on I-75 and it would have been annoying to drive a stick shift in that!

  • Admission to the Lowry Park Zoo, along with lunch, $6 for photo booth photos (a tradition for my daughter) and $1 donation to reintroduce vultures in Africa and India.

  • Snacks from RaceTrac on the way home.

  • A friend and I made plans to have lunch next week.

  • Was too tired to pack a lunch. We couldn't take it into the zoo with us anyway, we'd have had to come out of the zoo and eat in the parking lot.  So I decided to just buy lunch and hope there were some healthy options. 

  • Made my bed
  • Cleaned the hummingbird feeders
  • Went to visit the zoo with my daughter
  • Called Greg
  • Corresponded with Middle Son via texts
  • Washed the 2 cat litter boxes
  • Fed the cats
  • Fixed dinner for the kids and myself
  • Rinsed cereal bags and hung them to dry
  • Watered indoor seedlings

  • Weighed myself and decided to use 225.6 as my weight for today
  • Made good food choices at the zoo with the help of my daughter
  • Walked at the zoo for 4.5 hours, in 102°F temperature

  • Regardless of the scale I used, I have lost some weight, yay!
  • A wonderful day with my daughter :)
  • For finding a penny
  • For my daughter helping me make good food choices today
  • For my son still getting 6 participants at his Dungeons & Dragons Club meeting even though our middle school's free after-school program has started their own D&D Club this week!


It was very hot (102F with the heat index) and, thankfully, not busy at all.  I don't think I could have taken the heat AND crowds too.  We got there at 11 a.m. due to the traffic jam. My daughter wanted to watch the Birds of Prey show slated for 3 p.m.  I was thinking that there was no way we were going to spend 4 hours there, but we did!

The zoo was... disappointing, in many ways.  We had gone there several times when the kids were little.  Of course, there is something magical about watching little kids get excited about seeing animals, but being there with my daughter today was also all kinds of magical today and we had a great time. But a lot of areas were shut down.  Many restaurants, snack places, the water attractions, some animal exhibits. Since it wasn't busy at all, it made the place look kind of... abandoned, in a way.  We didn't visit the kids' area at all so there was still plenty to see, but I was still a little disappointed and glad that we didn't pick the "Come Back Free for A Year" option.

Of course, I still took tons of pictures!

Planning our day
 The first area we visited had animals found in Florida.

Sandhill cranes

Wild turkey

This little Pepe le Pew was fast asleep

The skunk and the sandhill crane were guarding the castle, I guess.  They both kept pacing in front of the back gate to their enclosure, crossing each other in the process.


Florida panther

My daughter told me "look, this owl is just like you!". I told her maybe
I should rename my blog to "The Opportunistic Homemaker".  Hmm?

Well, what animal could this be?!

An alligator, of course!

Awww, it was asleep!

Manatee hospital where they rehabilitate injured and orphaned manatees (there are several tanks, not just this one).


What do you think this is?!

It was hard to take a picture of it because of the sun's reflection on the scarred window... but this was the river otter area and this little guy was sleeping on its back, with a little paw up in the there that would twitch from time to time. So cuuute!

The other otter was also asleep. A lot of animals were asleep or lethargic because it was so hot.

A train of turtles

These kept fighting under water. Oh my!  I took a whole video of them going at it. It was like Turtle Fight Club!  I had never seen that before.

Sea horses

Lion fish, terribly invasive and venomous.

I was taking a picture of these gopher tortoises since you usually don't see them just sitting there at the entrance of their burrow, when I realized that there was a slight pumping motion going on... so I looked closer and that turtle at the bottom of the picture was actually mounting a smaller turtle and was going at it... slowly, of course.  I guess not ALL the animals were sleepy!
 Then we went to Asia.

I asked if they had cut off her horn on purpose so she wouldn't be poached, but the volunteer who talked to us said that she's the one who did it, she keeps on rubbing it against a tree every time it grows back!

I'm afraid that if I lose all the weight I need to lose, that's the way my whole body will look like... my skin isn't very elastic, anymore!


Not sure what kind of tree this was. No leaves, just those pink orchid-like flowers all over it!  They were beautiful.

Oh my!

Gorgeous creature, though!
We went back to the Florida area since we hadn't seen everything the first time.

This Bald Eagle cracked us up, especially when it awkwardly walked around, in a hurry. We laughed at it and then it looked at us like that ("Are you laughing at ME?!") and we stopped laughing.  LOL.

The Eastern Indigo Snake is a federally threatened species in Florida.  We have one that hangs around our house.  I saw it 2 years ago and it came out of the bushes and hissed at me and rattled its tail!  It's all for show, though, and I left it alone.  

They were tiny!

More like a giraffe eel, if you ask me!

I don't know what kind of fish that was, but it was sitting there on its fins at the bottom of the tank, looking at me like a put-upon principal.

Rattlesnakes. I was hoping they would tie themselves into a knot, but it wasn't to be.

A lot of the birds kept their beaks open, probably because they were hot.

Nicobar Pigeon. Look at those colors!

A duck.  His little face cracked me up!

We loved the white mustaches of the Inca Tern!

This is how they look, seen from behind.  He looks like he has piggy tails, lol!

I loved the feathers on this Red-Legged Seriema.

Scarlet Ibis. I'd love for those to visit my backyard!

Sacred Ibis

Mother and baby Orangutan

All fluffed up, coming out of the water. It looked like a stuffed animal!

LOL, those make me laugh :)

Kind of reminds me of New Kitty!

It wasn't moving so we're hoping it hadn't drowned.

Look at how huge this one is!

Those are two different breeds of giraffes. One is reticulated, and I forget the name of the other.

African elephant

Love the baby elephant!

Gorgeous! I have no idea what this is.
 We attended the Birds of Prey Show.

Harris Hawk

Barn Owl, coming in!

Barred Owl

Martial Eagle

Look at how fierce he looks!  Those are pretty rare and only 4 facilities have a specimen (I didn't catch if it was in the world or in the USA, though).

This little hornbill would take your dollar donation and place it in the box!  My daughter donated a dollar that I gave her.
 We'll finish our visit to the zoo with a couple of pictures for Bless.

He was just hanging there on the railing... when suddenly a toddler walked by...

And the squirrel went flat as a plank!  We think he was trying to hide from the toddler, lol.
Did you have a nice day today? When was the last time you went to the zoo?


  1. Congratulations on your almost 2 lbs. weight loss! You are almost half way to your mini goal in just one week! And good job with making healthy choices with your food!

    Thank you for posting all the lovely pictures of the inhabitants of the zoo! It's been several years since I've last visited a zoo. I mentioned the kookaburra picture to my daughter (I was video chatting with her while reading your blog) and, of course, we both had to sing the kookaburra song! (Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree...) :D

    The pink flowers are palo borracho flowers (Ceiba speciosa). The leaves come in after the tree flowers. The yellow flowers look like the candlestick plant (Senna alata).

    Aw, look at that poor squirrel hiding from the predator toddler!

    I'm glad you got to spend time with your daughter, visiting the zoo.

    1. I can always trust you to know the names of plants that are foreign to me! Thanks!

      I sang the song to my daughter too but she didn't remember it at all and I only know the bit you posted, ha.

  2. Kudos to your daughter for helping you stay on the straight and narrow. I think it is easier to reach your goals when you use a buddy system. You had a lovely day at the zoo and those are gorgeous photos. The little duck's face "quacked" me up too. *groan*

    1. HAAAA! I can't believe that I missed that pun! You would get along famously with my daughter, she's the queen of lame puns. Not that yours is. Yours is perfect!

      Yes, the buddy system is better! I walked into the kitchen last night at 6:25 p.m. and she had a bowl of Special K in hand so I took it away from her because she didn't let me buy gummy worms but she was about to eat cereal just 10 minutes before dinner! She was whiny but I fixed her a plate of leftover pasta and chicken that she could have easily fixed herself so then she ate that and peace was restored. LOL.

  3. I love all your pictures from the zoo. Now I really want to go there. I guess now I know I need to do it before September 30th (thanks for the tip!). I've never seen a scarlet ibis. How cool! And I'm laughing about the squirrel lying down flat in order to "hide" - I've gotten some pictures of a squirrel doing exactly that.

    Congratulations on your weight loss! When you weigh yourself, you should do it after you pee but before you shower (wet hair and damp skin weigh more than dry, you know), and definitely after you exhale...

    1. So weigh myself on dry and empty and try to exhale as much as I can... got it!

      Can't wait to see your pictures when you go to the zoo :)


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