Sunday, January 29, 2017

Rainy and Chilly Start to the Day but then Sun and a Walk ~ Sunday ~ 1/29/17

I stayed up late again last night, just puttering around the web, aghast at reading the news to be quite honest.  It was raining when I went to bed, but not a hard rain, more like a steady drizzle, so I don't expect my rain barrel's level to have increased all that much.

However, it continued to drizzle all night and at 8:45 a.m. this morning, it's still drizzling. I turned off the heat at 7:30 a.m. because I had to open the windows to air out the kitchen a little: I had left a couple of pans soaking for a couple of days and I guess turning on the heat last night helped gross stuff grow but the kitchen stunk this morning. So I did the dishes right away and aired out that part of the house for a while.  And then I figured I'd keep the heat off.

Our high today will only be 58F and it's supposed to rain for a while.  I don't think we'll go walking today.

I stepped on the scale this morning and, to my surprise, I had lost 0.4 lbs!  It's definitely a much smaller loss than the previous weeks, but keep in mind that I haven't really been dieting, logging my food, drinking lots of water or exercising for a week.  So I'll take the 0.4 lbs!  I thought the scale would tell me I had put on a couple of lbs.

So no plans for today. I really want to get off the laptop and do some reading. I have the magazines that I downloaded yesterday, the travel books for our trip and that fiction e-book from the library.  Oh, the pressure!

Still, I'm posting my To Do List in hopes I'll get the motivation to accomplish something.

  • Defrost meat for dinner DONE
  • Make a menu for the upcoming week
  • Read details of Diabetic Exchange program 
  • Do my foot exercises 2X
  • Exercise - we took a walk!
  • 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 reminded him this morning
  • 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 DONE
  • Add Osmocote plant food to rose and hibiscus bushes
  • Put away the clipped articles from Kiplinger's magazine 
  • Iron Greg's clothes
  • Take RaceTrac surveys  
  • Print coupons DONE
  • Upload coupons DONE
  • Clip coupons DONE
  • Sort coupons
  • Make lemon poppyseed muffins or/and lemon squares with the "grapefruits"!
  • Pick the oranges
  • Zest the oranges and freeze
  • Move fonts from old laptop and reinstall on new laptop
  • Read the 2 library travel books
  • Read the e-magazines I borrowed from Amazon
  • Take my measurements
  • Sign up for Personal Capital?
  • Email my French BFF
  • 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
  • Update January Food Expenses post 
  • Research Florida Prepaid College Fund to see if can increase the contribution
  • Call my bank to consolidate my IRA accounts
  • Send my feedback to all my elected officials (city, county, state, Congress)

  • I lost weight!

  • I turned off the heat at 7:30 a.m. and will try to keep it off for most of the day.

  • The paper was in the driveway and was double bagged because of the rain, which means I have 2 more bags to reuse for cat poop collection. Hooray!

  • And it contained 4 coupon inserts, yay! I didn't keep the Publix coupon inserts because I had already picked up 2 copies of each at Publix yesterday (forgot to mention it!).

  • I heated up some frozen pancakes for my son's breakfast this morning. I had made them with sour milk a few weeks ago. I think I'll just always do that from now on!

  • I defrosted some ground beef for dinner tonight as we'll be having cheeseburgers. Instead of making mashed potatoes, as I had planned, I'll steam the corn on the cob I bought yesterday.

  • I spotted 2 tiny birds eating seeds at my cardinal feeder, in the rain. Hooray!  I had to go out on the rainy patio, in my PJs, to snap from pictures because of the darn screens on the windows.  I used the digital zoom and didn't have a tripod, plus it was gloomy and rainy, so the pictures are a little blurry.

I'm pretty terrible at recognizing birds... I think these might be Pine Warblers, but I'm not positive.

  • I earned the daily Microsoft Rewards.

  • I worked on Swagbucks by playing videos and attempted to take some surveys since my 1st goal is 107 SB today. As usual, I filled out a whole survey for 100 SB only to be told at the end that they were over quota. So I fired up an email request to Customer Service. However, it's the weekend, so I doubt I'll be credited today, which would make me miss my 21-day streak :(

  • Greg left for his breakfast date and said he would gas up his truck in Clermont since I had warned him it was 12 cents cheaper there than in our corner of the woods! 

  • I fired up the old laptop and printed coupons from both.

  • I uploaded digital and store coupons to my CVS and Publix apps.

  • Since we hadn't eaten lunch out yesterday, I offered to pick up lunch from Hardee's for Youngest Son, who accepted gratefully. I checked my coupon organizer but I didn't have any Hardee's coupons.  However, in the drive-through line, I "checked in" with my Hardee's app, so I earned 100 points that I can redeem for a free small item "with purchase" or keep on accruing. I charged his lunch to our Amazon Visa card, which will earn us 2% back in Rewards.

  • I had planned to pick up something from Hardee's for myself as well, but then I remembered there was one portion of meatball soup left over so I decided to eat lunch at home instead. I heated up the soup, made myself a cheese quesadilla to use up a tortilla that I had defrosted and that was crumbling and some shredded cheese a little past its prime.  But then I also added a wedge of focaccia bread (because it's burnt so no one else will eat it!), a piece of string cheese and one Dole Mixations fruit cup because I need to finish them before they all fizzle again.

  • I keep my jars of gravy in a cardboard tray in my pantry but the tray was falling apart (I've used it for years!) and it made moving the jars to reach the cans underneath very treacherous.  I noticed, when I walked into the house, that the cardboard box used to hold the donations for the thrift store was the right size and that I needed a larger one for the donations anyway. I had a larger one waiting to be used on the porch, so I swapped boxes and now everything is housed in the proper box and secure where they are... and I'm reusing 2 cardboard boxes that I got for free, yippee :)

  • My new AT&T bill came in, and despite what the guy at the AT&T store had said, it does already include our price reduction for dropping Greg's line, woohoo!  Our bill is now $116.68 (used to be about $149 on a regular month) and we were able to roll over 1.98 G of data, giving my son and I almost 4 G to use up this month.  We have a 2G plan and we never go over the plan or even close to it!

  • Thanks to a tip from CouponPro, I was able to order a pack of CoverGirl make-up applicators for free after applying a digital coupon and picking store pick-up. Those will go in my daughter's stocking for Christmas :)

  • As I was clipping the coupons that I had printed, Tabby Kitty came into the living room and looked bored, so I threw the paper clippings on the floor for him and he had a great time dancing, jumping and attacking the paper.  I asked Greg to take this picture from the other side of the room as he had a better angle.  Free entertainment both for the kitten and for us!And then the other 2 came to join him and I ended up on the floor making the paper bits rain on them and having them catch and chase them. It was a lot of fun :)
Gotta catch'em all!
  • Greg did gas up the truck at RaceTrac in Clermont where he paid $2.19 a gallon.  Thus, I have another receipt that will get us a new freebie.  He charged the gas to his Discover card, which will earn us 5% back in Rewards.

  • As expected, he picked up the tab for everyone's breakfast, but he charged it to our Amazon Visa, which will earn us 2% in Rewards.

  • I uploaded a couple of new offers to my SavingStar app.

  • At about 2:20 p.m. it was sunny and Greg suggested we go for a walk.  So we suited up and drove to Lake Hiawatha Preserve in Clermont, where we left the truck, and we walked on the Lake Minneola Trail.  Details and pictures at the end of this post.  We walked for 4 miles on a paved trail and my foot doesn't hurt at all!  I'm soooo happy :)

  • We smelled delicious smells coming out of Lily's on the Lake, our favorite on-the-water restaurant, as we were walking back towards the truck, but we resisted the temptation go in and buy a drink and a snack :)

  • I wrote my menu for next week in the car in fewer than 5 minutes, as Greg was driving. I knew what I had in the fridge so it was pretty easy :)  It'll be posted tomorrow.

  • For dinner I cooked cheeseburgers, corn on the cob, and I made a spinach, tomato and cucumber salad. Greg topped his cheeseburger with a slice of blue cheese that I had gotten for free, and we both used homemade zesty pickles that I made last July.  Yum. 

  • After dinner, Greg and I watched a couple of episodes of "Bob's Burgers" on Netflix. Still love it!

  • Somehow I was able to reach my 1st Daily Goal without getting credited for that survey. Yay! My streak goes on :)

  • And I guess SB does have people working on the weekends after all because they did credit me with the 100 SB for that survey after all so I exceeded my 2nd Daily Goal after all.

  • I watched a show on PBS about Alzheimer's and specifically the impact of this disease on Florida. As a very forgetful person, I'm terrified of ever getting Alzheimer's or dementia so I'm obsessed with watching shows about this.

  • I entered my weight for yesterday and today into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned another 40 BR points.

  • Gas for Greg to drive to breakfast with his daughter
  • Breakfast with the daughter and family
  • Lunch for Youngest Son
  • Gas to drive to Lake Hiawatha Preserve and back
  • We turned the heat back on at 7 p.m. as it is going down to 45F/7.2C tonight. The kittens were cold so I had to cover them up with a blanket!
These is the cat-themed blanket that Oldest Son and his GF made for me at Christmas 2015 :)

  • Youngest Son broke New Kitty's ceramic food bowl :(

  • Swagbucks enraged me with their surveys again by telling me they were over quota when they had already gotten all the details they needed.  The fact that their Customer Service team doesn't work on weekends will cost me a 200 SB because if they credit me, it won't be today and I won't meet my 1st goal.

  • The Swagasaurus Run game continues to not let me earn any SB, despite trying all the tricks that other users have suggested. Grrr.

  • Greg transposed the last 2 digits of his phone number when he tried to put in his Customer Loyalty number into the RaceTrac pump to earn loyalty points, and therefore he didn't earn any points for his purchase at all :(

  • Greg and his daughter and family's breakfast: $33.85 (Bob Evans)
  • Gas for truck: $45.63 (RaceTrac)
  • Youngest Son's Lunch: $8.33 (Hardee's)

  • 3-ct pack of Cover Girl Eye Make-Up applicators from Walgreens

  • Scrubbed the upstairs toilet
  • Weighed myself
  • Fed the cats
  • Unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher and started it
  • Retrieved the newspaper from the driveway
  • Worked on Rewards programs
  • Emailed SB Customer Service
  • Heated up pancakes for Youngest Son
  • Took pictures of birds at the feeder!
  • Printed coupons from 2 laptops
  • Uploaded digital coupons
  • Moved files needed from old laptop to External Drive
  • Administered medicine to the kittens
  • Picked up lunch for Youngest Son
  • Reorganized one area of the pantry
  • Cleaned up the upstairs cat litter box
  • Took a walk with Greg
  • Continued earning SB
  • Cooked dinner
  • Packed leftovers
  • Watched a couple of episodes with Greg
  • Administered medicine to a kitten
  • Watched a show on PBS
  • Published and replied to blog comments
  • Commented on other blogs

  • Sleep was good!
  • I lost 0.4 lbs for a total of 8.8 lbs his month. Woo!
  • Breakfast was a bowl of Rice Krispies with a banana and 1/2 cup of ~2% milk. I drank coffee.
  • Morning snack was a few taffy candies :(
  • Lunch was a bowl of leftover meatball soup, a wedge of focaccia, a cheese quesadilla, a piece of string cheese, and a Dole Mixations cup.  I drank Diet Coke with Lime.
  • Afternoon snack was an apple.
  • Dinner was a burger, an ear of corn, and a small side spinach salad.
  • Water consumption was sub-par again.
  • Exercise was a 4-mile walk.
  • Foot exercises were performed.
  • For having lost weight this past week!
  • For a lovely walk with Greg this afternoon
  • For being able to see quite a few birds!


Greg suggested we go walk and I was happy that his suggestion included the Lake Minneola Trail because I didn't feel like traipsing through the sandy trails of a state park today :)  So I put on my walking shoes and a light jacket (it was about 59F when we left) and we were off. From the dismal grey and rainy morning that we experienced, we went to a very nice and sunny, albeit cool, afternoon.

We usually park at the Lake Hiawatha Preserve and walk toward Jaycee Beach, along Lake Minneola.  Since the weather was cool but sunny, I expected to see a lot of birds by the lake but at first we didn't see anything, really, just a few small brown birds here and there. I was very disappointed!

The Citrus Tower in the background...

I think this might be an immature Prairie Warbler.
But as we approached the first bend in the trail, we spotted seagulls and crows.  They were flying over a picnic area by a small playground, and as we approached the jetée to see them better, we realized that they had been attracted by the remnants of a picnic that someone seemed to have scattered on the little beach (not so cool), or perhaps they just picked the trashcan and made a mess.

These are actually Ring-Billed Gulls.

Crow eating food detritus on the shore.

A bunch of gulls! 

As we continued walking towards the beach, we saw more and more people walking, a lot of them with dogs, a couple of them with small kids riding their training wheels.

There was a sailing competition wrapping up at the Sailing Club, but later on we did see one of the sailboats on the lake.  It was quite windy so the sailor was having a nice time :)

We ended up seeing quite a few birds, actually:

I think this is a Snowy Egret.

A blackbird (its call was very high-pitched and piercing, not at all like the caws of crows.

A Little Blue Heron

A Great Egret.

American Coot

White Muscovy Duck

Mottled Duck

Another Little Blue Heron and  a couple of American Coots.

No Purple Martins at the hotel...

But they'll start arriving soon!

Clermont is considering changing a lot of the waterfront at that point, and turning what is now the main boat launch area into a large retention pond that will be designed as a "wetland park".  We saw a map of it and it seems that there will need to be a lot of construction as they will need to move the boat launch somewhere else in order to turn the whole parking lot into a large water retention area. But across from it is a small undeveloped area that we've never really paid attention to.  Today, as we walked by, we heard the tock tock tock of a woodpecker so we stopped and scrutinized the tree in front of us and right there were not just one but two Pileated Woodpeckers, happily pecking away, as other birds were flying around the tree and beyond, and then we became aware of a lot of bird calls indeed. It was lovely and I wish we had been able to see more of the birds.

Pileated Woodpeckers

Funny how we never paid attention to this patch of land, but today, it was teeming with birds. You just can't see them in the

Further down, we spotted a water plane practicing its landing and take-off again on Lake Minneola. Unfortunately, I had just put my camera away so by the time I got it out and it started, the plane had just landed on water.  Rats!

We didn't see a lot of flowers, but I took pictures of these:

I don't know what they are, but there were a couple of patches of those tiny light purple trumpet flowers in a field of grass...

In somebody's yard, a cactus was flowering...

It was the largest one that we'd seen, growing up into the tree to the left!
How was your Sunday? Were you able to spend any time outside at all?


  1. How nice that the weather cleared and you were able to go on a long walk, after all. Such lovely pictures! Glad you are feeling better, too, and no longer under the weather.

    Congratulations on the weight loss! All this unsettling news has me feeling anxious and when I feel anxious, I want to eat! It's a stress reliever, for me.

    I hope you have a lovely day, tomorrow, Nathalie.

    1. At least it's nice that you're getting an appetite back? I'm trying to look at the silver lining here, but it's hard. In dieting news, I need to get back on the horse and do it properly: drink water, enter my food intake to track my calories and exercise every night. Much like taking a rest in the middle of a long walk, now it's harder to get started again!

      I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures! When we first started walking and no birds were to be seen and the lake and trail were empty, I thought "Well, I won't have anything to post on the blog and where are the birds?!" so I was happy that in the end, we saw more variety of birds than we've ever seen around that lake before :)

      Have a great Monday!

  2. Yay on weight loss and a freebie Christmas gift!

  3. Oh wow, that cactus does look like a sibling of the cactus that I posted! How awesome you got a picture of a woodpecker! And how awesome you got pictures of egrets. Even awesomer they weren't on top of a cow... :-p


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