Saturday, December 31, 2016

Last Day of the Year ~ Saturday 12/31/16

I can't believe how fast 2016 went; No doubt it's a result of being older, seeing another child ready to leave the nest and feeling that time is escaping me, but it still amazes me that today is already December 31.

It was cold in Central Florida last night!  Marion County, just North of us, got some freeze warnings!  I'll bet Laura in Jacksonville did too.

When I went to bed, I brought up our old duvet cover that I had bought on clearance at Kohl's for a mere $10, several years ago, and I put the duvet in it since the outside of it gets cold and I wanted the kittens to be warm.  Anything for my kittens!  I was mildly worried about hot flashes for myself but I only had one quick one this morning.

Well, the kittens loooooooved the duvet cover!  Not only is it warm, but it also makes them walking on the duvet much quieter, thus resulting on less experimental pouncing.  A win-win, in my view.  Tabby Kitty went to sleep with Greg, as he always does, but Explorer and Princess settled themselves right away, one in the curve of my arm and the other by my feet; we didn't budge until 5:45 a.m. when I had to use the bathroom!  The kittens usually get up with me and have a snack (I keep food bowls and water ball out in the hall, along with a litter box, and Greg and I keep our doors open so the kitties can come and go) but today they stayed cozy and warm in bed. When I got back in it, Princess came to sleep on my neck, and then Tabby Kitty came in and wanted to bite my fingers to signal that he was ready to play but I told him "no!" so he settled himself near Explorer and partly on my arm and then I got HOT!  Woosh! Hot Flash!  I have to remove the PJ's, push away the duvet and let the cold room cool me off.  Then I thought, well, maybe I should get up, but everyone looked very comfortable so I recovered myself and Explorer crawled under the duvet and made himself comfy on my belly. Meanwhile, Princess had claimed my pillow and was cradling my head in her paws, so I was lying in a diagonal with my head almost hanging from the edge of the mattress so she would have the room she needed.  I tell you, they are so freaking spoiled!  But I had 3 purring and warm kittens surrounding me and it was as heavenly.

Finally, at 7:30 a.m., I felt guilty that the big cats were waiting for someone to wake up and feed them, and I knew it wasn't going to be Youngest Son (who seems to be content to let me feed them in the mornings when he's off) or Greg (who's been sleeping quite well the last few nights and he deserves it), so I got up and the kittens and I came downstairs.  I fed the older cats and made my coffee. This morning I remembered that I wanted to use my kitty cat mug that my daughter had given me so I've been using that and I love it.

Speaking of my daughter, she texted me from her dad's at 9:30 a.m. that she ate at Buffalo's Wild Wings last night and ended up being up most of the night with a really bad stomachache and nausea so she called in sick at work this morning and was going to try to sleep off the rest of the morning.  I suggested she stays at her dad's tonight instead of driving back here for the party she was supposed to attend, and she agreed. So she'll come back after her shift tomorrow afternoon.  I hope that she's OK.

It's 60F/15C in the living room this morning (we didn't turn on the heat) so I have a comforter on me.  The kittens came to cuddle and at one point I had all three on me, vying for the best spot.

Even New Kitty came to lie on the futon next to me and I covered her with a blanket so she would be warmer.

All those kittens on me meant that I had to push the laptop as far as I could down on my lap and type with my arms fulling extended while supporting sleeping and heavy kittens at the same time. What a workout!  I shall have nice strong muscled arms in no time!

Today is the last Double Microsoft Rewards Day, I believe, so I earned all the credits and reminded Greg to do the same when he woke up.  Oooh, last night, right before we went to bed, he started earning his credits and asked me to remind him of "my tricks" to earn them fast. Way to go, honey!  I kept on mentioning how much "Found Money" I had totalled up this year and how much we had spent in various categories for the whole year throughout the day, so I think that motivated him to try and be better about earning gift cards as well :)

I also played Swagbucks videos and reached my 1st Daily Goal by 11:00 a.m. and I'm stopping for the day.  Last night, I also ended up reaching my 1st Daily goal right before midnight so I was pleased with myself.

I defrosted some ground turkey for tonight. I've decided I'll make turkey tacos.  I had bought a turkey for Greg to cook for New Year's, but honestly, I can't face another huge amount of leftovers to eat so I told him I didn't want him to cook it just yet. Maybe in a few weeks... or Valentine's Day.

While catching up on Feedly, two things brought me joy this morning:

  1. This blogpost by Cat and Turtle entitled "Photographic Year in Review",  with amazing nature photos she took around Central Florida. She is such an amazing photographer. Truly gifted.  That post really made my day :)
  2. This article on NPR entitled "A Skeptic Fact-Checks Yoga's Health Claims And Goes With The Om" made me laugh outloud several times.  I can't even quote my favorite line because there are so many of them.
Oh, and today's Google Doodle too!  I couldn't take the excitement of the balloons jumping up and down in the net while anxiously watching the clock, waiting to be dropped!  It made me laugh.

Greg asked if we were going walking today but my foot hurts pretty badly so I'm all for resting. Plus I think I want to watch LOTR. Right now we're listening to the Brahms station Pandora and Greg is reading his library book. It's 11:30 a.m. and our son just got up.

Explorer is running away like crazy with a little orange mouse in his mouth, throwing it up in the air and batting at it until it goes under the TV stand and then I have to go retrieve it. He's very entertaining but I'm tired of having to get up all the time, so I blocked the opening with a towel that happened to be in the vicinity.  He seemed disappointed that "our" game is over :)

Yeah, those are VHS tapes that I can't seem to let go. One of them is of yoga (*snort, I never even watched it!).
I entered our walk into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 60 BR points. I earn far more BR points for biking so I need to get back on the bike!

I re-read some electric pressure cooker instructions in one of the e-books that I had downloaded for free and printed a couple of recipes for black eyed pea dishes in the pressure cooker so I will attempt that tomorrow night.  I'll start soaking the beans tonight and defrost the sausage as well.

At 1:15 p.m. it's 62F in the living room and 71F outside so I opened the windows!  The kittens are all playing quite enthusiastically with one another, they've been at it for several hours so I think they'll take a nice long nap this afternoon.

I went to get "dressed" which only means that I traded my PJ bottoms for my walking pants because they're more comfy, believe it or not.  I started doing a little bit of chores:

  • Cleaned out the upstairs litter box (my responsibility)
  • Put away my reusable bags in my SUV
  • Reused water collected in the shower to water the poinsettias in front of the house and the parsley and cone flowers on the back berm.
  • Started a new 2017 Spare Change jar by reusing an empty mini container of Parmesan cheese.
  • Texted my BFF to ask when if she was available later in the week next week and if she wanted my DVD set of the 1st season of "3rd Rock from the Sun" since I just bought the entire series. If not, I'll donate it to a thrift store.
  • Texted Middle Son to ask if he was available for lunch late next week or next weekend and wish him a Happy New Year and ask him how his move went. I think he's at work right now, though.

Greg decided to go fishing. He asked if I wanted to come along but I didn't feel like it because I'm stressing over how much cleaning I have got to do!  I hate ended the year (or actually starting the New Year) with a super dirty house.  So I might do a little more straightening around here...

A short time after he left, I noticed a puddle of something in the driveway. I went to check... thick red liquid!  Damn it, the transmission AGAIN.  We just spent $422 on it 2 weeks ago and when I looked at our records, we had spent $500 fixing it for the same problem back in December 2014!  I called Greg to let him know and he wasn't happy to hear it but I guess that didn't deter him from going fishing anyway because he didn't come back.

I called my daughter to check if she was feeling better (she was) and confirmed that she is staying at her dad's tonight and not driving anywhere. I also asked her if she was going to be around on Tuesday morning because I'm thinking that I'll need to drive the family car to the vet's for New Kitty's appointment if Greg takes his truck in to the garage again and uses my SUV to go to work.

I went to the backyard and harvested 6 small tomatoes and some lettuce for dinner tonight. I put the lettuce in cold water so it wouldn't wilt.

While I was there, I decided to water the plants and refill the self-watering bins. Most of them have a lot of weeds in them and also are falling apart, but there is some lettuce, tomatoes, serrano peppers and kale growing so I might as well give them a chance. I watered the pineapples, the beans, the vincas and all the plants in pots.

One of my hose to faucet connectors broke but it turns out that I didn't need one. Phew! I've decided, however, that I'm going to spend the $75 Home Depot gift card that I keep in my wallet on 2 hose reel thingies on wheels. I used to have some years ago but we stopped using them for one reason or another, and Greg threw them away.  The hoses keep on getting tangled and it's getting on my last nerve.

I reused water collected at the faucet/hose connection (in an old bin) to refill 3 cat litter jugs that I will use to water the plants at another time.

I also refilled the bird bath and pulled some weeds.

I repotted the pink verbena that I just bought at Lowe's a few days ago into the large pots on the berm that used to contain the other verbena.  I also planted the daffodil bulbs, in the "planter" that I had created alongside the back of the house for the raspberry canes that didn't take off.

Daffodil failures:

  1. I didn't realize that I bought 2 different kind of daffodil until after I had already planted the bulbs!  One has yellow and red flowers, the others are only yellow. One kind needs part-sun (where I planted them) and the other needs full sun. Grrr!
  2. Both packages were supposed to contain 8 bulbs but one only contained 7.  I guess I need to count everything before leaving the store, nowadays!  I have no idea which was missing one.

My son went to the park. When he came back, he told me he had found a penny on the road and put it on my laptop. Yay!  I asked him if he wanted to keep it but he refused. I remarked that he won't get rich, thinking that way :)

I also cleaned out my old fanny pack, which I threw away. I found a dime in it, and then 8 cents on the breezeway counter. I added all this coinage to our 2016 Spare Change Jar.

I continued to declutter the top of our coffee table that's been pushed away in the exercise room since we've gotten the kittens and that has become my "catch-all" for my coupons, and a bunch of other crap.  I also somewhat cleared out the printer stand, although more work needs to done on that.

In the mail, I received a coupon for a free pouch of Meow Mix Brushing Bites cat treats.  I'll donate those to our neighbors since our cats don't eat treats (they get sick each time I give them any).

I laminated the new cheat sheet that tells us which credit card to use when starting tomorrow and gave one to Greg to put in his wallet. I put mine in my wallet.  We'll get 5% back in Rewards on gas purchases with Discover for the next quarter, woohoo.  I only used about 1/4 of a laminating sheet for that.

I shredded all the junk but sensitive (credit card offers, etc.) mail that had come in. 

I put the small bottle of French lavender antibacterial gel that Oldest Son's GF had given me for Christmas in my purse, and one of the car vent fresheners that my daughter had given me for Christmas in my car. It's gonna smell so nice now :) I had asked for that as a present because I see it as a frivolous purchase (says the woman who spent a ton of money on scented candles this year!).  Speaking of which, I unsubscribed from the Bath & Body Works emails :)

I cleaned out the litter box that's in the kitchen because it was stinky.

I soaked the black eyed peas and defrosted some smoked turkey sausage for tomorrow.

My house is still too dirty and messy but I feel better having done the little that I did today :)

Greg came home and didn't catch anything, but enjoyed his fishing time with his new frog lure.

Now it's almost 4:30 p.m. and I'm relaxing with a bottle of hard cider.  Two kittens are taking a nap near me, I'm not sure where the 3rd one is.

Middle Son texted me back and we're going to meet for lunch next Saturday. Yay!  I'll need to remember my resolutions: drink water and watch what I eat :)  This will also serve as his birthday lunch. He wants to come visit the kittens so we'll probably just have lunch in town.

Greg wanted to order a part to repair his leaf blower and checked out a site. He was about to order it and it would have cost over $30 with shipping.  I remarked on the price and asked him to hold off on ordering it until I checked my email for a discount code for Repair Clinic.  In the meantime, he checked that site, found out that the part was cheaper there and shipping was cheaper as well!  I couldn't find the email with the 10% off code that they had sent me a long time ago ("good for your next purchase") but I checked RetailMeNot and was able to save 5% by using a link on their site. Woohoo!  The part ended up costing us $21.85 and I charged it to his Amex card for 1% back in Rewards.  Woohoo, teamwork!

Brr, I'm cold again and I had to wrestle a blanket from underneath Explorer who had plopped himself on top of that blanket AND the comforter that I've been keeping on the couch too!  Now we're both warm and toasty. Our temps are supposed to be in the 40s again  tonight but our high tomorrow will be in the 80s and going up every day through Tuesday. Grrr. I'll have to turn the AC back on tomorrow afternoon.

For dinner, I cooked turkey tacos with ground turkey meat I had bought on 50% clearance, Ortega soft tacos bought at Dollar Tree with coupons, shredded cheese bought at Aldi well over a month ago and that hasn't spoiled yet (which is kind of suspect, if you ask me!), some light sour cream and the bottom of a jar of salsa.

I made a side salad from lettuce and tomatoes picked from the garden and cucumber slices cut from a shriveling cucumber that we'd better finish tomorrow. More salad!

In the failure department, I had to compost 2 very brown bananas and most of a can of black olives that I had saved in a plastic container but that went bad anyway :(

I reused the water that I had soaked the lettuce in to refill the pitcher used for watering the indoor seedlings and the rest of it went to water my rosemary pot outside.

At dinner, I asked the men to reminisce about their milestones for the year and neither could think of anything, which quite honestly, was a huge let-down.  And then my son made a snide remark and I started crying out of the blue.  Dinner was over and no one listed any milestones for me either, or any accomplishments.  Then I did the dishes and started thinking about how much I miss my Oldest Son and how I'm starting a new year on the odds with him and I'm getting sad all over again, damn it.

But at least I end the year having done the dishes.  So yay for me, I'm counting that as an accomplishment.  I washed a length of foil that I had used to cover some wedges of cheese, so I can reuse it. We still have so much "bad food" that I'm going to have to avoid eating starting tomorrow, it's going to be tough.  I've hidden the rest of the chocolates and hopefully will forget about them :)

 I might go to bed early and turn the pedestal fan on so I don't hear the neighbors exploding their fireworks.

Bonnie, one of my readers, challenged me to lose 5 lbs by January 31 and she will do the same (we're actually encouraging each other as we both need to lose the weight). It's a manageable goal, I think. Well, I hope.  Does anyone want to join us?

Overdrive emailed me to say they had renewed "The Passenger" by Lisa Lutz for me as I had requested them to, but since then, I've lost interest in the book. So I went to my Amazon account and returned it so someone else can read it.  The next book that I will start reading will be "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them". It's actually the screenplay, which is... odd, I suppose.  Greg suggested, jokingly, that we play act it as a family, which drew a deep sigh from our son who, for some reason, has an aversion to anything Harry Potter, even though he's never read any book in the series.  I thought it would have been fun :)

I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year.


  1. OMG. That salad looks so good. I would love to join you and Bonnie in trying to lose 5 lbs by month's end, but I won't commit. I still have so much Christmas food/treats in the house, I will have to scarf those down first. But I will weigh myself this afternoon and report on the 31st whether I went up or down. My Sweetie isn't eating much of anything these days, so maybe I can limit my meals to soup.

    1. I was thinking that you probably lost a lot of weight from just being sick anyway, so you'd have a head-start. I'm ignoring the goodies, even turned down a little bottle of alcohol-filled dark chocolate that Greg offered to me (from the box I gave him) and was quite annoyed that he tried to make me fall off the horse on the 1st day!

      We'll see how well I resist once everyone is back at work/school.

  2. Nathalie, I am sorry your menfolk couldn't list a milestone and your son's remark made you cry. (((HUGS)))

    But Susan is right - that salad does look delicious! Good luck with the weight loss challenge. 5 lbs. by the end of the month should be doable. Just don't deprive yourself of the occasional treat. It is more likely to cause you to give up. Even if you do over-indulge one day, don't consider that as a failure, just do better the next day.

    1. Thanks, Bless. As for the diet, yes, one baby step at a time but I do need to keep my eye on the prize because I've failed too many times in the past.


Anything you'd like to add? Share away!