Sunday, January 8, 2017

Brr... ~ Sunday 1/9/17

My Canadian readers will chuckle at my saying it's cold, but it was 36F/2C at 7 a.m. this morning and my weather app said it felt like 28F/-2C.  It's Florida, it's not supposed to get cold. I haven't even looked at my pineapples and other plants, but it's probably not good for them. No, I didn't bother covering them. I'm a bad plant parent.

So my daughter had to be at work at Walt Disney World this morning at 7:30 a.m.  She didn't realize, nor did any of her management warn her, that today is the WDW Marathon.  She got there at 7:15 a.m.  Apparently she had to be escorted on property by the police because the roads were closed (well, she and a few other worker cars) for the runners.  She texted me at 7:45 a.m. that she was stuck in the Grand Floridian Cast parking lot, which is situated across the street from the Grand Floridian Resort because the police wouldn't let her and all the other workers cross the street to get to the Resort and told them they wouldn't be able to cross until 9:30 a.m.  Did I mention it's in the low 30's and we're in Florida so she didn't have a heavy jacket with her?  She only had a sweatshirt over her costume as she expected to have a short, brisk walk from her car to her work location!  So she texted me at 7:45 a.m. and told me she was thinking about just coming home.  And you know what? I said OK.  I mean obviously no one at the Grand Floridian thought to adjust shift times so their workers could actually be at their stations, it's the next to last day at work, and she was burning MY gas to try to keep warm in her car for 30 minutes already and having to wait another hour and 45 minutes!  We weren't sure she'd be able to leave at all but I guess only 1 side of the street was blocked for runners so they let her use the other side of the street and she came home. She couldn't access the portal from her phone to get the number to Management to let them know she wasn't going to be there, so she called them when we got home at 9:00 a.m.

Back when I worked at WDW, the marathon never impacted me, so I didn't even think about it when I heard on the news a couple of days ago that it was taking place this weekend!  An acquaintance of mine actually had the idea of hold a marathon at WDW and organized it the first year (she was in Marketing) but by then I was already working in a clerical position so I was off on weekends.  The only time I came face to face with the Marathon was the last time I ever took Youngest Son to the Magic Kingdom, on his 7th birthday.  We were using my very last employee complimentary tickets (I had already been laid off from WDW for a couple of years) and it took us forever to get into the Magic Kingdom because they were running very limited shuttles from the parking lot.  And then my son didn't want to stay so we spent one hour there and went home.  A sad ending to my Disney career, I think.  Since then Youngest Son professes to hate WDW and anything Disney so it's not one of my favorite memories.

Anyhoo, today won't be a No Spend Day since I'm meeting Middle Son at Olive Garden in 3 hours.  We're having lunch together to celebrate his upcoming 21st birthday. It just occurred to me that I didn't make him a cake or even think to buy one, but my daughter told me last night that Middle Son was on a diet as well so I'll ask him if he wants to go get a donut or something.  Then he'll come home to visit with the kittens and presumably the rest of the family.  Now that my daughter is home, she decided to come to lunch with us.

There are some things that I should try to get done today, despite having a visitor, so here is my...

  • Weigh myself - Done
  • Survey the fridge, freezer and pantry and write a menu for the week - Done
  • Look for an Olive Garden coupon in my organizer - Done
  • Put away the laundry
  • Clean the Cat Room litter box
  • Write check for Middle Son's birthday gift - Done
  • Give Middle Son his Christmas and birthday gifts - Done
  • Do my foot exercises 3 X 1X only
  • Exercise if Greg and I don't go on a walk Went on a walk!
  • Order Season 1 of the Jim Gaffigan Show - Done
  • Finish putting away Christmas decorations
  • Iron at least 2 outfits for Greg - Ironed one pair of pants
  • Wipe out a USB stick for library
  • Remind Greg to transfer money into the IRA accounts
  • When he does this, update the Net Worth document
  • Put DD214 away
  • Bake something with the rest of the sour milk

  • I've been using up sour milk in my cereal for the past couple of mornings.  There is still quite a bit left and my son just declined my offer of making him pancakes for breakfast, so I'll bake something else later on (or tomorrow) with it.

  • We turned the heat on last night but it was set for 67F and we're supplementing with blankets and long sleeves. And socks!

  • My paper was delivered so I went to get it and saw my neighbor Jeff so we exchanged New Year's wishes... I hadn't seen him since before Christmas, despite living next door to him! He thanked me for the card I had sent them.  There were 4 coupon inserts in the newspaper (I paid 1 penny for a 1 year subscription. Unless I can renew for another penny, which won't happen, I won't be renewing it), and a Publix store coupon insert.

  • I have decided that I will have the soup and salad at Olive Garden and that I will limit myself to 1 breadstick.

  • I didn't have a birthday card to give to Middle Son in my stash so... Susan, hold on to your hat,  I made one! I did it the lazy way, though, using cardstock from an old pack of Avery blank greeting cards. I borrowed some clipart and printed the card on my inkjet printer.  It printed on the wrong side of the card, naturally,  but guess what?  Middle Son is left-handed so I wrote that I hoped he appreciates all the effort I put into making him a left-handed card, hahaha.  I reused a very old stamp and ink pad to print 3 little paw prints on the inside of the card next to my signature since the kittens had been trying to grab my pen as I was writing :)

  • In looking for the stamp, I came across a ton of memory book stickers that I had bought years ago. I called my daughter and passed on to her the road trip and baking ones pictured below, and then also a bunch of them school and soccer/volleyball related (she used to play both sports) so if she ever makes memory books for herself, she can use those.  I have so many crafts supplies from when the kids were little, I think I might pass them on to Greg's daughter for her little boy if she wants them. 

  • I also found some old lunchbox notes for a kid that I had bought many years ago. Well, Youngest Son and Greg still take a lunchbox to school/work so guess who's going to be getting little notes in their lunchboxes once in a while, hmmm??? Once upon a time my two oldest sons had homemade love notes from mom in their lunchboxes every morning... I had completely forgotten about that!

  • Daughter and I drove to Olive Garden to meet Middle Son for lunch.  The Soup & Salad aren't a Sunday menu item so I decided to have one of their lighter entrees, the Chicken Picatta.  I eschewed the bread sticks and asked for the salad without cheese and without dressing.  At the end of our meal, I noticed the lady at the table next to us packing up her leftover salad into to-go containers so I asked our waitress for a to-go container.  She said "Oh we have already packed salads back in the kitchen, I'll just bring you one of those!". But I told her that I didn't want our salad to go to waste so I just needed an empty box so I could take our salad home.  So she brought me one. I wonder how many people choose the pre-boxed salad if given the option?!  I drank water and so did Middle Son.  
It was very tasty and only 390 calories, according to MyFitnessPal!
  • Our meal came to $59 with the tip (alas, Sunday lunch prices) so I paid with Amex. I'll only get 1% back in Rewards, but it triggered the $10 statement credit from the offer that I had signed up for. Yay!

  • While we were driving to the restaurant, Middle Son had called me to ask where Daughter and I would be interested in going to see a movie after lunch with him. I hate going to the movies so I said no, but my daughter wanted to go. He wanted to go see "La La Land" without knowing anything about it other that the reviews were very good but my daughter knew that it was a musical and hates musicals so she wasn't too keen on it. Since she was driving, I looked it up on IMDB on my phone and found out that the starts were Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone... and she loves both so she agreed to go see it with him and I said I'd pay for the tickets. It worked out great as it meant that Greg and I would have time to go on a walk while they were at the movies!  I called him right away and made plans to just do that.  So after the meal,  Daughter went with Middle Son in his car and I took the Focus home.  They had about an hour to wait for the movie so since Middle Son had asked for donuts instead of a cake for his birthday, he and his sister went to Donut King to grab some donuts. I told my daughter to buy them with my Discover card (1% back in Rewards) and to make sure to get one to bring back for Youngest Son but NOT to get any for Greg or myself since we're watching our diets.

  • On the way home, I decided to swing by a CVS to see if I could buy 9 12-packs of Diet Dr. Pepper for Greg. I have $13 in ECB to spend and if you spend $30 on several brands of soda this week (other item are included too but I just need the soda), then you get $10 back in ECBs.  However, they only had 2 cases and when I asked the cashier whether there were more "in the back" he said no but that the delivery truck was coming tomorrow.  Well, bah, that doesn't help me!  So I had to disappoint Greg and come home without any Diet Dr. Pepper. Fear not, he still has (2) 12-packs at home, I just like stocking up in advance.  I'll go to my regular CVS on Wednesday and see if they have it there.  It's a very popular soda, apparently, because I always have a hard time finding it in stock at CVS when they run those sales.

  • I had grabbed the leftover salad in the to-go container and the last breadstick so I offered those to Youngest Son when I got home, who was happy to have all of it for lunch, lol.  Daughter also had leftover spaghetti and meatballs and she ended up having them for dinner tonight.

  • I also brought him home several chocolate mints that they had given me but that I didn't eat :)

  • Greg had lunch at home (he didn't want to go to Olive Garden because he doesn't like eating there, that was news to me quite frankly!  You think you know someone...) and was ready to go walking when I got home so I changed into my walking clothes and grabbed a scarf and jacket because it was chilly, especially in the shade, and we headed to the General Van Fleet Trail. I thought there would be a lot of people there just like last weekend, but we were the only ones there, woohoo!  One cyclist went by at some point and more people were cycling as we came back to the truck. Today I wore my hiking boots and decided not to bring my camera so I left my fanny pack at home as well.  I'm glad that I didn't bring it because it was so cold that barely any wildlife was out and about, although we did see several vultures, some type of a bird of prey and several small birds including a group of 3 cardinals that were eating something off the ground near the paved trail.  So we were able to walk at a good pace, and indeed when we turned around, after close to 2 miles, to walk back to the truck, our pace at that time was 13.29 minutes to the mile and my foot wasn't hurting!  I don't know if it was the hiking boots or the fact that I had been drinking so much water this week and doing my foot stretching exercises, but my heel didn't hurt at all after my walk, woohoo! However the ball of my left foot started getting really tender by the end of our walk so I think I'll have a big blister tomorrow. Our pace had slowed down by the end of the walk since my foot was hurting and I was getting tired, LOL!  We had an excellent time chatting and joking and the weather was perfect. Cold but not too bad and sunny. Brisk.  Lovely. Like Greg :)

  •  Back home, we... well shoot, I don't remember what we did when we got home. I think Greg called his mom and daughter... Oh yes, and I surveyed my fridge, freezers and pantry and then set about writing a dinner menu for the upcoming week.  Once again I was able to plan a menu that won't require me to buy anything so I'm hoping to be able to keep my grocery shopping to a minimum on Wednesday, although we will need items for lunches.

  • Middle Son and Daughter came home with the donuts so they enjoyed those as a mid-afternoon snack and I presented Middle Son with his Christmas stocking and presents (I had given him his birthday card and check at the restaurant).  I think he liked his gifts.  Then he started talking about movies and critiquing them, a very favorite past time of his so I sat with him and we chatted for a long time. Greg came to join is at one point to ask him about the latest Star Wars movie so they got into a discussion about that.  It was getting close to dinner time so I invited him to stay for dinner and he accepted.

  • For dinner I cooked 4 hamburger patties out of a chunk of ground beef that I had bought on 50% clearance several months ago, and the 2 chicken breasts that I had defrosted earlier in the week but not cooked yet. I cut them length-wise to make chicken cutlets and pan-fried them in some butter with some homemade Montreal seasoning. I used the same seasoning on the burgers.  I also nuked 3 large baking potatoes.  After dinner, I still had a piece of chicken and a couple of burgers left over as well as 1.5 baking potato,  so I packed Greg's lunch and there is a potato and a couple of hamburgers left for meals during the week.  Middle Son chatted a little bit more and then left to go back to his dad's in East Orlando.

  • Since we used paper plates for dinner, I only had a few dishes to load in the dishwasher so I'm not running it tonight and will wait until tomorrow night to do so.

  • I earned my Microsoft Rewards credits for the day and only 19 Swagbucks so I'm not meeting my 1st Goal today and that's fine.

  • I uploaded new coupons to my CVS app. 

  • I used my 50% off any TV Show Season coupon on Google Play to purchase the 1st season of The Jim Gaffigan Show.  I did check the library first but they don't have it. I hope it's good!


  • The heat has been on all night and will stay on today (set at 67F, though).

    • Gas to drive to Olive Garden and back. We took the Focus, though, for better gas economy.

    • Lunch and donuts to celebrate Middle Son's birthday.

    • Movie tickets for Daughter and Middle Son as part of his birthday celebration.

    • Gas for Greg and myself to drive to the trail and back.

    • As a reward for having lost weight this week, I treated myself to the 1st season of the Jim Gaffigan Show :)


    • Gas for my daughter to drive to work and back (for no reason!) and the gas she burned in the car while waiting for the police to let them cross the street before deciding to just call it a day.

    • Did anyone else have issues with Blogger today?  All of a sudden I couldn't enter spaces in between words in part of my original post so I had to recreate it here so I could enter spaces but now my spacing is all messed up. If I weren't so darn lazy (and loved change!), I would migrate to Wordpress.

    • I noticed that my coupon for Olive Garden expired 2 days ago :(  However I found a new one in today's paper!  However... it's only good on weekdays :(  I do have an Amex offer uploaded for $10 back on $40, but I'm not sure that we'll make it to $40 since none of us drink alcohol and we might just all get soup and salad.  Arrgh.  Am I above ordering something slightly more expensive  if I'm close to $40 so I can save $10 but then eat more calories than I intended to?  Hmmm, maybe not.  I can't even order an alcoholic beverage for Middle Son to celebrate his 21st because not only does he not drink, but his actual birthday isn't for another few days.

    • Lunch for 3 people at Olive Garden, including 20% tip: $59.27 (but will get back $10 on Amex statement)
    • Birthday donuts: $8.74
    • Movie tickets for Daughter and Middle Son: $16.50
    • 1st Season of Jim Gaffigan Show on Google Play: $7.49

    • None today :(

    • Fed the cats
    • Defrosted ground beef, tortillas and ham (for dinners and lunches)
    • Replied to blog comments
    • Texted with my daughter
    • Cleaned the upstairs litterbox
    • I'm blanking out on what I did this morning!
    • Went to lunch with Middle Son
    • Stopped by CVS to look for Diet Dr. Pepper
    • Went on a walk with Greg
    • Visited with Middle Son some more and presented him with his Christmas presents
    • Fed the kittens
    • Cooked dinner
    • Unloaded the dishwasher and reloaded it
    • Provided nap support to a couple of kittens throughout the evening
    • Placed an order on Google Play
    • Ironed some pants for Greg tomorrow
    • Set out homemade chicken broth, a package of bacon and some naan bread to defrost for tomorrow's dinner
    • I weighed myself this morning.... I'm down 4.2 lbs!  Wooooooohoooo!

    • I drank 2 cups of water before drinking my coffee this morning.
    • Breakfast was a cup of generic rice crispies with half a cup of sour ~2% milk and a banana. And coffee!
    • Lunch was at Olive Garden. I picked an entree from the Light Fare menu (chicken picatta) and had a big plate of plain garden salad. I drank water.
    • Went on a brisk walk with Greg: we walked for 1hr and 11 minutes (3.94 miles)
    • Dinner was 2 oz of grilled chicken breast on a hamburger bun and 1/2 a large baking potato with 2 tbsp of light sour cream and some chives.
    • After inputting my exercise into MyFitnessPal, I still have 568 calories to eat!  Woa. I'm not even hungry. However I am cold and I need to drink more liquids tonight so I just made a hot cup of instant decaf coffee with some hazelnut powdered creamer in it.

    • For a warm house when it's cold outside.
    • For having lost weight this week, hope I keep it off in the coming weeks!
    • For a good meal and visit with Middle Son.
    • For a great walk with my hubby!
    • For Youngest Son's greeting when I came home from lunch "Hi Mom!  The kittens missed you and so did I!"

    I didn't take any pictures of the trail save one at the beginning of our walk, but I did take a picture of some sandhill cranes by the lake near our house when we were on our way home.  There were police sirens in the distance and all three birds turned towards the noise and were listening intently. I wonder if they thought it was some kind of foreign bird language?  Greg thinks that it's freaky that we can see through their beak.  I never noticed that until he made that remark.
    No one on the trail but us!  Hooray!

    See the hole in the middle of their beak?

    By Andrea Westmoreland from DeLand, United States - Sandhill Crane at Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge in Florida, CC BY-SA 2.0,

    If you were being healthy this week, how did you do? Any progress? Any achievements?  Disappointments?  Ah, I completely forgot to read the Diabetes Exchange documentation, I just realized that!  I'll be putting it on my To Do list, then :)


    1. Sounds like you had a nice day, even with the temperature dipping so low! Brr is right! Sorry your daughter had a wasted trip to work and back! You'd think they would have notified their employees about the road closures.

      Glad you had a nice lunch out and visit with your Middle Son. Olive Garden is a favorite of ours too. Your lunch looks delicious! Congratulations on your weight loss! That's very good for just one week!

      I am not being very healthy as I haven't walked as much as I wanted to, but I have been drinking my 8 cups of water a day, I haven't drunk any soda in over a month, and I have resisted a craving for potato chips and donuts (neither will taste good; I know from trying them before).

      Hope you have lovely start to your week, tomorrow. Stay warm!

      1. Thank you! You did well by drinking all your water (this has always been the hardest thing for me, even harder than exercising!) and resisting foods that are bad for you, even if they don't taste too good. I need to not drink soda as well as the sweetness will just make me crave some more, so I plan on redeeming my RaceTrac soda freebie coupons to Greg.

        It's cold this morning but not as cold as I had feared. It's 43F right now at 6:45 a.m. but it feels like 37F. I'm about to drive Youngest Son to school because I'd rather he doesn't wait for the bus in the cold, especially since he just told me that the warmest jacket that he has is a fleece-lined hoodie. Not exactly really cold weather garb but it's the rare person in Florida who actually owns something warmer, ha. I hope you have a good week, Bless!

    2. Congrats on the weight loss!

      1. Thanks, Judy! It was really nice to have a good loss for my 1st week, I expect that the following weeks will slow down considerably, but as long as I keep losing and keep exercising, I hope to reach at least my January goal of 5 lbs and make a dent into my year-long goal!

    3. Nathalie,
      Wow you are doing great on the diet! I ended up down 3lbs for the week. Keep up the great work ( :

      1. Bonnie, that's wonderful! Congratulations, you must have been so pleased! Look at us, already halfway through our first challenge! Thanks for inviting me to join you in doing this!

    4. 2 degrees is downright balmy. Probably easy to point out the Cdn tourists eh, they are the ones in shorts and t-shirts out on the beach :).

      Your visit with your son sounded lovely.

      1. Ah, I think you're right Theresa! Here we break out the scarves and gloves when the temps dips to 45F/7C!

    5. I have not commented on anyone's blog since Sunday. That doesn't mean I haven't been checking in each day. I whooped and hollered when I saw the card you made for Middle Son. It is GREAT! I love it. That is both creative and crafty. And I trust he was most impressed by the effort you put into making a left-handed card. Your kids are so lucky.

      I like "brisk" to describe the weather you had for your walk. I use the word "crisp" to describe the temperature that most people would describe as pretty damn cold. I had to laugh at Theresa's comment about being able to pick out the Canadian tourists. In January of 2010, my dad and "D" took my sister and I on a Carribean cruise. In was snowing in Fort Lauderdale when we left. After a week, when the cruise was over, we stayed another week at a resort in Kissimee. People talked about how it was one of the coldest winters in recent memory, but that didn't faze us as we were in the pool swimming every day. We are a hardy bunch....fool-hardy that is.

      Maybe your daughter was right in leaving that place? That experience wouldn't leave any fond memories of a great place to work. That is too bad.

      Glad that you had a wonderful day with your son and that you gave him a great movie to see as part of his birthday celebrations. Olive Garden is great. It is a "must-do" whenever the girls go down to the States. We do have several favourite restaurants, but if there is only one meal, it has to be at Olive Garden.

      I love, love, love that photo of the walking trail.

      1. Remind me to send you my kids' email addresses so you can tell them personally how lucky they are, hahaha.

        I'm so glad you were tickled by the fact that I made a card! It's not a crafty card like yours, but I was pretty pleased with myself :) He mostly liked what was inside the card. You know boys, well at least mine, they're not very sentimental! Cash is king :)

        It snowed in Fort Lauderdale?! Oh, you stayed in Kissimmee?! I used to live in Kissimmee! It's just an hour away from my house! I'm laughing at you guys swimming when everyone else was freezing, ha. They probably shook their heads and muttered about those crazy Yankees. Everyone who's not from the South is a crazy (or damn) Yankee, you know :)

        I think my daughter was right to quit the job because it was causing her too much stress with the long commute and all the people contact and was unnecessary. However, I think she should get a part-time job closer to home so she can continue to earn some pocket money. Right now I'm seeing her burn through what she earned at Disney and I'm concerned. She has packages coming in every day and tonight she bought herself 3 cans of soup for the pantry. Well, darn, we HAVE soup and she still lives at home so if she tells me what soup she wants, I'll buy it for her! I mean, it was Campbell's soup, nothing fancy!

        I like the Olive Garden too, I was surprised that Greg doesn't. They've revamped their menu in the past couple of years so I think he would be surprised. My dish was really excellent. But Red Lobster is right next door and we love Red Lobster so if we go that way, we'll always end up at Red Lobster!

    6. Congratulations on your weight loss! Your lunch at Olive Garden looks delicious - prove you can splurge and eat out and still eat healthy and lose weight.

      Isn't it freaky about the Sandhill cranes beaks? I never knew until I started taking pictures of them and had a closeup of one.

      And you are so creative, coming up with a homemade birthday card for your son on the spur of the moment!

      1. Thanks, Pixel! I don't think I would have ever noticed the beaks on the sandhill cranes had Greg not mentioned it. My pictures aren't that great that it's noticeable on them, that's why I had to go find a picture of it online!


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