|This is for Dawn :) It was part of the Google Doodle today and I saw it right after I read her story about the encounter between the red fox and her cat!|
I woke up to a short email from my Paris brother reassuring me that he and his wife were OK and declaring that France is now a shithole. While I would argue the point, it's impossible for me not to sympathize with his frustration and anger and I'm also glad they're OK.
Blogger isn't working properly, at least for me. This morning I found two posts, that had been scheduled to be published on their corresponding days at about 10:30 p.m., in my draft folder. I had to publish them manually.
I didn't get enough sleep last night, for 2 reasons: I ate dark chocolate covered espresso beans in the afternoon and evening and I read "$2 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America". I finished it and didn't go to bed until 1:30 a.m.
I wrote this long essay about the book, only to delete it because it got very personal because of my own stint of of growing up in poverty in my childhood, and then I realized that I didn't feel like sharing that part of my life here. Sometimes the past is better left in the past. So I'll only say that I both appreciated the book's explanation of how the welfare system was set up historically and through the various administrations in the United States (and not "America" as the title states, this irks me so much, you'd think college professors would know better than that!), where it went completely wrong, and the consequences of it nowadays both for "the working poor" (although they are not the focus of this book) and for those who make $2 or less day because they can't get a job even though they might want to work very much. But I also was very irritated by the narration and the blatant manipulation by the authors, and I'll leave it at that. The fact is, you ought to read the book and form your own opinion. It is an important book to read with all its warts, and I'm "glad" I read it. I put quotation marks around glad because it's not the right word. It feels very crass to say I was glad I read about those people's miserable lives in abject poverty. But I just don't know what the right word would be. It was enlightening but it also made me realize that the steps needed to correct the situation are even more enormous than I suspected and that they're getting more enormous every day because of the current administration determination on destroying anything that could possibly help those people (and the rest of the population too!). Time to start observing the birds in my backyard because I get depressed just thinking about it all. Yes, poor me, right? I have so much to be thankful for. Don't you think I don't know that. I have privilege up the wazoo. Now imagine how much privilege those who are currently running our country have. It's unfathomable. It's obscene, is what it is. I don't begrudge rich people their money if they came upon it honestly and aren't crass human beings. I admire those people who were savvy enough to build their own fortune, or even those who inherited it and are very altruistic. But I don't think, based on what I know of the current administration, that any of those folks are the ones who are in power right now. Ooooh, I have to quit or I'm going to start working myself up in a lather again. But that's where my mood is this morning and I wanted to note it down here so I can remember this book and the feelings it engendered in me.
Well, it's 9:34 a.m. I've been on the patio for 2 hours and writing this last paragraph is all I have managed to do in that time. No, I wasn't really watching the birds, it's just how long it took me to put the thoughts that I wanted to commit to the screen, into actual typed words! Moving on to plans for the day: I don't have any. I only slept 4.5 hours and I'm tired. I have dishes to do (that will be my theme song if, one day, I star in my own sitcom!). Greg is leaving on his business trip on Monday so I ought to be ironing some of his business clothes. But right now I'm on the patio, enjoying a relatively cool morning, so far, in the shade. I don't think I'll stay as long as I did yesterday, especially since some close neighbors (and I hope it's not my next-door neighbors who, so far, have been the only quiet ones to inhabit that particular house in the past 15 years!) have gotten a yapping dog that has disturbed my peace and quiet several times in the past 30 minutes already. Maybe today the universe is conspiring to keep me inside so I can tend to my chores!
TO DO LIST
Defrost meat for dinnerDONE Iron Greg's clothes for next week's tripDONE
- Sweep/vacuum kitchen, breezeway, Cat Room
- Declutter battery drawer
- Make shopping list for hurricane supplies
- Wash Cat Room windows (outside)
- Schedule trip to Trader Joe's (need whipped cream) Next month when I take Greg to the airport
- Scrub the bathtub
- Research state park to visit next weekend - I think I'll have to wait until later in the week to see what fires are burning and if Greg's foot has stopped hurting
- Declutter the printer stand in progress
- Give a driving lesson to my son with the stick shift
- Take Youngest Son to get a haircut - Greg will take him next weekend unless I can't stand it anymore sooner than that!
- Clean bathroom ceiling
- Clean hallway ceiling right outside the bathroom
- Clean downstairs bathroom sink
- Sweep downstairs bathroom
- Take down the "seed nursery" and try to store it in little shed
- Make my bed
Earn Microsoft Rewards creditsDONE
- Input weight into WHBRHC
- Set 15 minute timer and try to accomplish as many chores as possible in that time
- Unload dishwasher
- Do the dishes by hand, drain/dry in the dishwasher (AFTER DINNER)
- Put mattress out with the trash (Tuesday morning)
- Make a dermatologist appointment for Youngest Son
- Back up external drive to its own external drive!
- Start a list of the electric outlets that I want to get replaced
- Exercise at least 35 minutes on my bike (weekdays only)
- Clean upstairs litter box
- Put away the clipped articles from Kiplinger's magazine
- Inventory the pantry
- Inventory the freezers
- Purge the top drawer of the file cabinet
- Take RaceTrac surveys
- Scrub patio pavers with bleach (wear old clothes and shoes, gloves and goggles)
- Finish decluttering exercise room shelves
- Call my bank to consolidate my IRA accounts
- Ask Discovery Gardens staff about the trees from my backyard or look at the Audubon site that Pixel shared.
- Clean the barbecue (as in scrub it because I sprayed the inside with wasp spray)
- Mend sliding door window screen - get cat resistant screening material?
- Plant and water the tree
- Track my and Greg's IRAs for the IRS
- Download all March pictures from Canon camera, and Panasonic camera to external drive
Reply to blog commentsDONE
- Purge the dresser in the upstairs hallway
- Purge the top drawer of the file cabinet
- File all the pending documents
- Use brush on fridge coils
- Schedule maintenance appointment for my SUV
- Try making yogurt in yogurt maker
- See if can mend Youngest Son former backpack straps
Read a library bookDONE
- Start reading the next library book
- Preserve the peppers and tomatoes that are on my counter
- Take cuttings of the jasmine and root them
- Ask to take cuttings of the neighbor's hibiscus and root them
- Sew headphones in place
- Add bleach to furnace line
- Add Drano to kitchen sink plumbing for preventative maintenance
- Trim the hedge
- Trim the bushes
- Reset the new hose reel in a better position (make sure handle is accessible)
- Take Youngest Son shopping for jeans and shorts
- Mix more Chicago Steak Seasoning
- Mix more Ten Things Farm Seasoning
- Mix Chili Seasoning for Friday
- Add zippered plastic bag to fanny pack to protect camera if it rains
- Dice and freeze green peppers
- Get cash to exchange for Youngest Son gift debit card
- Buy retail gift cards for graduated with gift card debit card
- Bake peanut butter sheet cake (Baking notebook for recipe)
- Return library books
- Order graduation announcements - Middle Son Waiting for him to email me his picture, sent him another reminder today
SUCCESSES AND FAILURES OF THE DAY
- As usual, Youngest Son packed a lunch to take to school and I dropped him off there. I was twice as careful as usual, driving there, because a kid on a cross motorcycle was weaving in and out of traffic and was, at some point, right in front of me (and I was tired so I wanted to make sure I didn't overlook the tiny motorcycle in front of my big SUV!), and then I was driving behind a completely refurbished Chevelle, complete with "antique" license plate and NO seatbelts to secure the two young teens in it (one driving it, the other its passenger in the front seat), which turned into the junior lot so those were teens who are 17 or younger. Which parent thinks it's a good idea to let kids drive a car without any seatbelts?! Anyhoo, there weren't any accidents and I got home pretty quickly. My son will ride the bus home.
- I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work. I suggested his hiking boots (which he wears day in, day out) might be causing his foot pain, so yesterday he wore his sneakers to work. This morning he reported that his foot felt better so he wore his sneakers again. Hopefully the problem is as easy as replacing his hiking boots and not something actually wrong with a bone or tendon in his foot.
- I opened the windows at 7:15 a.m. and turned off the AC. It's now past 10:15 a.m. and none of the kittens climbed the screens today! Maybe their loss of window privileges early on yesterday did do the trick? LOL. Well, I need to go close them now because it's getting warmer and my daughter is home, which means she's going to start being really hot in her upstairs bedroom really soon.
- I started automatic Swagbucks videos before I took my son to school this morning and left my laptop running when I left. When I checked my team points, I was past the 400 needed to qualify for the bonus and my team is still in the lead. If we win, I'll qualify for a 50 SB Swag-up reward, provided that I order a gift card within the deadline. I have close to 1,800 SB so far.
- I have drank two cups of coffee so far but I'm still feeling really tired so I'm going to brew myself another 2-cup pot. Brb.
- I refilled two of the hummingbird feeders this morning and made another batch of nectar that is cooling as we speak.
- I reused the water collected from the hanging pots by the planters I had placed under them before watering them yesterday, to re-water them this morning. They used potting mix for the fuchsia and the water runs through it instantly. I probably should replace the potting mix with potting soil, if I have any, because I don't think the fuchsia will last very long with a soil that hold the water longer than that, even though I have placed it in the shade.
- Instead of using water to flush the aphids off the hibiscus this morning, I used my fingers to crush them. There weren't as many as yesterday morning.
- Then I found my water sprayer handle had broken :( I'll need to buy a new one. I'll have to see if Tractor Supply Co. might have one that I could get with my $10 Rewards.
- Dinner tonight is a chicken dish so I defrosted boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
- Oooh, the new season of Bosch is out on Amazon Prime Video today! I guess I don't have an excuse to avoid doing the ironing. I still haven't watched the latest season of Grace and Frankie. And, for that matter, I still haven't watched the 4th season of "The Americans" (even though I paid for it!) or the 2nd season of "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" (and the 3rd season comes out on Netflix on 5/19).
- The automatic debit for Youngest Son's Florida Prepaid (college tuition) account was processed today. Greg and I don't pay for college and we don't give out allowance just for the sake of it, but our son has been in charge of taking care of the cats for many years (feeding them, brushing them, daily cleaning of the litter boxes). Last year I decided to put the money that he earned doing those chores into a small Florida Prepaid account to lock in some college costs for him. It'll cover maybe only his first year of tuition only, but it's better than watching him waste it on take-out food (as I'm giving the side-eye to my Daughter who pretty much eats out every day mostly with the allowance that her dad gives her). Instead of putting a lump sum into that account (that doesn't pay us any interest), I just told them how much I wanted to end up with in that account (corresponding to how much money he had earned thus far) and they told me how much we'd have to pay each month through his graduation, to fund that account, and then I set up the automatic debit. It's only $150 per month. I'm also very strongly encouraging him to maintain his grades (he's an A student), volunteer (he's already earned the 100 hours that are required), and participate in outside activities (he is a member of FBLA and leads his own D&D group at the library) so he can qualify for Bright Futures, and we're constantly talking as if Dual Enrollment isn't an option but an expectation for him (provided that it's still a possibility in 2 years, seeing how the Florida legislature is poised to cut funding to colleges and universities in the state). So that's my college strategy for our son.
- This year, I established a 529 Savings plan to invest the money our son continues to earn by taking care of our cats. So far, he has earned more in that account that he would have earned had I left it in a regular savings account, so I'm pleased with that. Of course, the downside is that the money in that account isn't FDIC guaranteed, so we (he) could lose it all as well.
- I earned the maximum of Microsoft Rewards for the day and was able to order a $5 Amazon gift card. Bonnie (and anyone who doesn't see the Amazon gift card in the list of rewards they can order), you might want to email Customer Service to ask them what the deal is. Update: a few hours later I still hadn't gotten my gift card but I did get an email from Microsoft saying they had ran into trouble trying to fill my order and I could contact them if I wanted them to look into it. When I tried to, they wanted an order number but I hadn't noted it down. However, the points were still in my account so I tried to redeem them again. This time, it did go through and I got my gift card within seconds.
- Woah! I don't know how that happened but it's now almost 1 p.m. and I'm still on the patio! Time to pack it in and head back indoors... Bye bye Birdy/ies!
- I had chicken nuggets for lunch, and I dipped them in Thai Chili sauce that I had gotten for free. It was delicious. Then I had half a papaya, after chasing the kittens that were circling it.
- After I had cooled off enough, I ironed Greg's business clothes while watching the first episode of "Bosch, Season 3" on Amazon Prime. I'm glad I won't have that chore hanging over me this weekend!
- I tried watching more of Bosch but I gave up on episode 3 as I was too tired for it to hold my interest. So I just re-read some of my old blog posts. I like doing that once in a while. Meanwhile, Tabby Kitty took a nap next to me on the couch. That's what I should have done too!
- Greg left work a little early; when he got home, I didn't feel like cooking what I had planned on cooking. Instead, I offered to make omelettes and he was fine with that. I'd been snacking so I wasn't hungry. I made cheese omelettes and a salad for everyone. I topped it with some of the tortilla strips that I had bought at Aldi. It took me about 5 minutes to throw together and actually looked pretty good, lol!
- Then Greg and I put on some Seinfeld episodes. It's been a very unproductive day for me. I might forego going hiking tomorrow.
- RaceTrac: $57.88 (Greg filled up his truck)
- A $5 Amazon gift card from Microsoft Rewards!
- Fed the kittens
- Packed a lunch for Greg
- Prepped his breakfast
- Caught up on email and news
- Dropped off my son at school
- Aired the house out
- Thought about the book I read last night and tried to synthesize my feelings about it
- Refilled hummingbird feeders
- Made new hummingbird nectar
- Watered the hanging pots
- Reminded my daughter to put her wet laundry into the dryer
- Researched a fuel cost calculator spreadsheet example and posted the link for Susan
- Replied to blog comments
- Ironed Greg's business clothes
- Started watching "Bosch" season 3
- Vegged out on the interwebs
- Fed the kittens
- Cooked dinner
- That my brother and SIL are safe in Paris.
- That my family makes (way) more than $2 a day
- That my mom worked hard to get us out of our dire circumstances but also that she had the opportunities that she did in order to accomplish that goal
It looks like today is mostly a repeat of yesterday: crows atop the trees, cardinals & hummingbirds coming to the feeder, the brown-crowned flycatchers crisscrossing the yard with their stolen bits of mulch in their beaks, and the red-bellied woodpeckers are flying from tree to tree as well. A couple of black vultures are flying over the backyard. I've mostly missed good opportunities to take pictures, my already slow reflexes dulled even more by the lack of sleep from last night.
|Female Ruby Throated Hummingbird|
|This is one of the gray ones. I couldn't get the reddish one to stand in place long enough to take a picture of it.|
The breeze that is blowing is bringing the wonderful scent of the Confederate Jasmine that is growing at the southeastern corner of my house. I smells so good!
A huge bumblebee came to quench its thirst at the pechoas.
There are only wispy clouds in the sky right now at 10:36 a.m. and I cam still see a sliver of the moon. I opened the patio umbrella to provide shade. Our high today will be 86F/30C. There is no chance of rain in our forecast for the next 10 days. After that? It's still unknown.
The word must have gotten out that we have quite good mulch in our planter near Greg's shed because it's been a hot bed of activity all morning, with numerous brown-crested flycatchers coming to get their load repeatedly. They fly right over the big pile of mulch by the bird feeders so I'm laughing. Maybe they just want to gather it in the shade and with the cover of large trees for protection?! I think I managed to snap a picture of one of them with a beakful of mulch. I hope it turns out!
It did! I texted it to Greg with the warning that he might have to add more mulch to our shed's berm this weekend if the activity kept on going. He suggested adding a cash register lane... I might put a tip jar :)
|Red Bellied Woodpecker|