Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Last Day of January ~ Tuesday 1/31/17

This morning, sunrise on the lake near our house...
Brrr, it was a little cold this morning and I suggested to my son that we bring a blanket to cover him in the car while I drove him to school, which he accepted.  My SUV is large and it takes forever for the cabin to warm up.  We're usually almost at the school before any significant heat is felt coming from the vent (because the school isn't that far, about 4 miles).  It was 41F/5C, which is cold for us!

Luckily, though, it allowed me to take this very pretty picture of the sunrise on the lake near our house when I drove home :)

Greg left super early this morning, as a matter of fact, he was already gone when I came downstairs. Since his VPN connection isn't working (and come to find out, whatever the problem is that they can't figure out only affects HIM, not anyone else!) and he has tons of work to do and can't do it from home via VPN, he figured he should head in early.   So he packed his own lunch (I had put the leftovers in a container but he assembled his lunchbox) and I pretty much had nothing to do but feed the kittens and drive my son to school... I am not complaining but I like seeing my husband in the morning and give him a kiss!  I'm going to have to start getting up even earlier if that goes on, which will make the kittens happy since they're now trying to get me to get up at 4:30 a.m.

Ugh, I don't feel motivated again although I'm wearing my walking capris again, both for comfort and inspiration, but right now all I'm inspired to do is sit on the futon, drinking my coffee while Explorer is purring on my chest, listening to the Rossini station on Pandora, and surfing the web!

Alright, this is my last day to try to meet some of my January goals. I've actually done a HUGE dent in them (report coming later on today in a separate post) so I don't feel too much urgency, but it'd be nice to be able to put some of these things to bed, like "finish putting away the Christmas decorations", jeez, Nathalie.

  • Mop or fake mop the kitchen
  • Fold the laundry - DONE
  • Put the laundry away
  • Check my son's back and decide whether to make a dermatologist appointment or not - Checked it. I need to make an appointment.
  • Start a list of the electric outlets that I want to get replaced
  • Read details of Diabetic Exchange program 
  • Do my foot exercises DONE
  • Exercise went on a walk with my daughter
  • Finish putting away Christmas decorations
  • Find USB drive (NOT an SD card!) and clear it so Teen librarian to put photos of Youngest Son on it
  • Read e-library book in progress
  • Make sure Greg assigns specific funds to his IRA account 
  • Move missing Music files from External Drive to my Laptop 
  • Move/reinstall missing software on new laptop in progress, moved all the files to the External Drive
  • Trying syncing my phone on new laptop
  • Clean litter box upstairs
  • Add Osmocote plant food to rose and hibiscus bushes
  • Put away the clipped articles from Kiplinger's magazine 
  • Iron Greg's clothes - ironed one outfit for him.
  • Take RaceTrac surveys
  • Sort coupons - DONE
  • Make lemon poppyseed muffins or/and lemon squares with the "grapefruits"!
  • Pick the oranges
  • Zest the oranges and freeze
  • Move fonts from external drive and reinstall on new laptop
  • Read the 2 library travel books
  • Read the e-magazines I borrowed from Amazon Gave up
  • Take my measurements
  • Sign up for Personal Capital?
  • Email my French BFF DONE
  • Start French blog for my mom and sister?
  • Inventory what I need to make new self-watering bins
  • Scrub patio pavers with bleach (wear old clothes and shoes, gloves and goggles)
  • Finish decluttering exercise room shelves
  • Mend at least one item from mending basket (Youngest Son's bag)
  • Open savings account with Discover Bank or other online bank
  • Check if Greg's W-2 is available PRINTED
  • Figure out how many other tax forms I'm waiting on and when they'll be coming in
  • Finalize list of goals for February 
  • Give Princess her medicine (twice) 1X
  • Try to hit my 1st Daily Goal on Swagbucks  in progress
  • Research which state park to go visit this weekend - DONE
  • Research Florida Prepaid College Fund to see if can increase the contribution DONE
  • Call my bank to consolidate my IRA accounts
  • Send my feedback to all my elected officials (city, county, state, Congress) in progress

  • Youngest Son packed a lunch to take to school.

  • Greg packed leftovers to take to work.

  • I stopped by RaceTrac on my way home from the school and redeemed a survey reward code for a free apple crumb muffin for my son's after-school snack.

  • I earned the daily Microsoft Rewards credits.  My 1st daily goal for Swagbucks is 80 SB.

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

  • I decided to open a 529 Florida Savings account for Youngest Son in which to deposit the chores money he earned in 2016 by taking care of the cats.  Hopefully the account will generate some growth and, if so, the earnings would be tax-free, although the contributions aren't.  Still, hopefully better than the close to 0% he would earn in his bank savings account or that we earn in ours!

  • I turned off the heat at 11:30 a.m. and opened the windows to calm the kittens a little as they were being hyper. The open windows give them something to do :)  Plus, it's 63F right now and beautiful outside!

  • My daughter paid her share of the car insurance for February (we only charge her a little less than 1/3 of the cost, though, i.e. $30)

  • I texted my BFF to invite her to a Starbucks date to use up the $10 they sent me (she loves Starbucks). She and I made a date for Thursday morning :)
  • I started the SB videos again, gingerly, but didn't get the fake virus message again and was able to reach my 1st Daily Goal.  Now it's jumping to 190 SB so I'm not even trying for the 2nd goal. 

  • Gas:
    • to drive my son to school
    • and tolls for Greg's commute
    • to drive to the General Van Fleet Trail and back
    • for my daughter and BFF to drive to their college classes

  • I was researching contact information for my elected officials when suddenly a fake "Zeus Virus Warning" pop-up appeared and I had to restart my PC and run Malwarebytes and Windows Defender to make sure I didn't have, in fact, a virus. Grrr. Not sure if the page that  triggered the warning was indeed the .gov page that I was visiting, or due to the Swagbucks videos I was running. Now I'm leary to go back to that .gov page to finish my research or to run Swagbucks again, even though both MalwareBytes and Windows Defender told me I didn't have any viruses...

  • I made a calculation mistake when figuring out the amount to contribute to my son's 529 savings account, resulting in crediting him too much money. Oh well, he will earn this in 2017 so I will just contribute less at the end of 2017.

  • I got so involved with the research on what to do with our son's chore earnings that I forgot to turn off the heat at 9 a.m., as I had planned to do! I turned it off at 11:30 a.m.

  • I gave up on trying to read magazines on my Kindle Fire. The text is way too small and I have to constantly zoom in and out, causing me to only see a tiny portion of the page at once. I might try to redownload the Kindle app on my laptop to read them there, but I might just limit myself to the ones I can read via my library.

  • So I checked, again, the magazines that are available on Zinio via my library system, but they don't have either Birds & Blooms or any hiking magazines :(

  • When it was time to cook, I STILL didn't feel like cooking. I had started coughing again and suddenly I started to feel like I felt last week (like I was coming down with something, completely out of the blue!). Greg suggested soup and grilled cheese but I really didn't feel like standing at the stove.  Funny how I didn't mind driving to Publix to pick us up dinner though.... $43 later... arrgh!  I got a fried chicken dinner that only our son ate because Greg's been watching his weight and wanted sushi.  But I'll pack him fried chicken and potato salad for lunch tomorrow anyway.  Then my daughter got a sub, and I bought 3 trays of sushi, which was the most expensive component. I had already published the January numbers so I'll count that as a February expense.
  • Allocated $2,436 to our son's new 529 Savings Account
  • Tolls: $25 (Greg's Sunpass account replenished itself)
  • Dinner: $43.95 (Publix)


  • A 2L bottle of Diet Coke at Publix, with a "free with purchase of a family dinner" store coupon

  • Fed the kittens
  • Drove son to school
  • Went to RaceTrac to get him an after-school snack
  • Reviewed and published January Food Expenses Report
  • Earned rewards on my Rewards programs
  • Gave Princess her medicine
  • Researched which state park or trail to visit this weekend
  • Texted my daughter to ask for car insurance payment
  • Tried researching my elected officials' contact info
  • Ran Malwarebytes
  • Ran Windows Defender
  • Researched and opened 529 savings account for our son
  • Transferred money into our checking account and wrote check for 529 savings account
  • Updated all my spreadsheets
  • Wrote an email to my French BFF
  • Texted my BFF and invited her to a Starbucks date
  • Researched what new e-magazines might be available via my library system
  • Chatted with daughter
  • Went on a walk with daughter
  • Folded the laundry
  • Went to pick up dinner
  • Gave Princess her medicine
  • Cuddled with kitten
  • Sorted coupons into organizer

  • Sleep was OK although my fitness tracker shows I had more light sleep than deep?!

  • Breakfast was a cup of Rice Krispies, a banana and a cup of ~2% milk.
  • Lunch was a cup of butternut squash soup, 1.5 cup of ziti, a small wedge of focaccia bread
  • Afternoon snack was Hershey kisses and a large pretzel stick
  • Dinner was sushi and a Hawaiian roll
  • Water consumption didn't happen. I need to limit myself to just 1 Diet Coke a day, I have no willpower!
  • Exercise was walking on the trail for 30 minutes (1.65 miles)

  • Foot exercises were performed.
  • For witnessing a beautiful sunrise on the lake this morning
  • For a short but very interesting walk with my daughter on a beautiful day
  • For not having to cook tonight

NATURE: A Short Walk on the General Van Fleet Trail

I was telling my daughter that I was thinking about getting on my recumbent bike this afternoon while I still had some energy because I've been bad at feeling like biking at night this past week or so, but then I thought "the weather is so nice, I should go for a walk!". So I asked her if she wanted to go walking with me and she agreed. I was thinking we'd walk in the neighborhood, by the lake, and she was thinking we'd go walking on the General Van Fleet Trail since Greg and I always go there and she's never been.  So we decided to go there, even though it was going to have to be a short walk since she had an evening class and it takes about 15 minutes to get to the trailhead and then 15 minutes to come back.

No one right now but we actually saw quite a few people!
It  has rained quite a bit since we last walked there, Greg and myself, and now the ditches are full of water again. But we didn't spot any alligators.
For a weekday afternoon, there were quite a few people there, notably a couple of groups of bikers and an older couple who was walking behind us and passed us as I was trying to photograph some birds.

And boy, were there birds!  Tons of small birds, of all different sorts, that I wasn't able to photograph because they moved so much and my camera just isn't good for that!  But we also spotted a blue heron flying away from the forest ahead of us on the trail, and then landing in the marsh and playing peekaboo with me from behind the trees.

See his blue butt?!

And his reddish beak just above the arrow?!  I had to zoom in on the picture to actually show you the heron because he
was so well camouflaged between the trees!

I also spotted a Downy Woodpecker, which I had never seen in the wild.  Unfortunately, the sun was behind it and there were lots of branches between him and us and my camera took forever to decide to take the darn picture so he had moved by the time the shutter clicked :(

But I swear it was a Downy Woodpecker!
And then a couple of Red Shouldered Hawks hunting together, that we had a hard time photographing at first, but then one indulged us by landing on a branch not too far.

My daughter caught his one with her phone

And one picture of flowers :)

The temperature was perfect (70F), we talked about our trip and her plan to try to take Calculus this summer now that she wants, once again, to major in Computer Science.  We only walked 30 minutes and for 1.65 miles, but it was lovely :)

Here is another flower picture: one of the azalea bushes across the street :)

So lovely :)


This afternoon, they were still quite interested in their cat grass. They always pull it out of its pot and roll it around on the carpet, though.

Tabby Kitty is enjoying it a whole lot!

Yum :)

They were a little chilly this morning so Explorer and Princess huddled together in the "basket" of their cat tree.

So I took pity on them and put a nice warm towel on top of them, which kind of startled them :)

Explorer: "Whatcha doooooin?!"

Tabby Kitty took this pair of underwear from the laundry basket and I swear he was trying to fold it all by himself. It kind of
looks like when Greg tries to "fold" his underwear, come to think of it. Must be a guy thing.

If you trying to figure out if a purchase is worth it, you might want to use this calculator that will tell you how many hours you will need to work in order to afford it. It's a little more involved than just dividing the cost by how much you make per hour.


  1. Beautiful sunrise! The stickers came in yesterday and Bubby has done been using them of course. He loves them. Thank you!

    1. They took much longer to get there than USPS had told me, but I'm happy he finally got them and he's enjoying them!

  2. That's a lovely picture of the sunrise over the lake!

    Sounds like you had a pretty good day on the last day of January! Brr, your morning was cold! Hope it warmed up some, later in the day. Glad you got to take a walk with your daughter and celebrating the end of the month with take out for dinner sounds pretty good to me! Now why didn't I think of that?

    Hope you don't come down with anything - you just got over what you had last week! Hope you feel better, tomorrow.

    1. Yes.. celebrating the end of the month... that's exactly why we ordered in. Leave it to you to put a positive spin on my laziness, hahaha.

      I think allergies are what's bothering me. I find myself sniffling and coughing and not feeling good at night, but I'm fine during the day. Weird.

  3. I love your sunrise photo!

    About ...finish putting away the Christmas decorations... one year (the year my ex-husband moved out) I took my Christmas tree down on Valentine's Day. It was a real tree. I vacuumed up needles until Easter. At least.

    Also, I'll have you know that we finally checked out the General Van Fleet Trail on our end! Thanks to your postings about it, I wanted to see it, too (had never been before).

    1. I saw that you mentioned it in one of your posts or comments. We haven't been to the trailhead at your end yet. Was it enjoyable? Did you see anything worth mentioning?

      Wow, that tree must have been deader than dead by Valentine's Day, ha! That's one of the reasons why I stopped buying live trees years ago, I hated having to deal with the needles.

  4. We liked the trail and it was a nice walk. We didn't see any interesting wildlife, and the only thing worth mentioning is the bathroom there (don't use it, drive to the nearest gas station instead, you can hold it....realllllly!).

    I might have had one more real tree after that, then I switched to artificial.


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