Friday, July 14, 2017

Bastille Day ~ Friday 7/14/17

July 14 is the most important national holiday in France as it marked the birth of democracy in my country of birth. Sadly, today marks the first anniversary of the Nice terrorist attack.  I am saddened that what remained a fond memory of my French childhood will now be a sad reminder of the madness that seems to have seized this entire planet in recent years and especially months.

As for celebrating here, I don't do much if anything at all, usually. I'm now an American.  I've lived here longer than I ever lived in France. My husband and children were born here.  I'm a little nostalgic for France, but my whole life is here.  Still, I told the kids I would make them crêpes as a snack today to mark the day.  Might as well celebrate with food, that is a very French thing to do :)

  • Well I did go to bed at just after 11 p.m. last night. Explorer cuddled with me a lot and also woke me up a lot last night, but I was ready when the alarm rang at 6:30 a.m. and I did get up!
But Tabby Kitten came in after I made the bed and made himself comfortable and didn't want to
  • Greg couldn't believe his eyes, LOL. I prepped his breakfast and packed his lunch.  He's taking leftovers to work, as he does 99% of the time.

  • I got on the scale after my shower this morning (I didn't wash my hair as we all know that wet hair makes us heavier!) and weighed myself and was delighted to find out that I had dropped to 211 lbs!  So I have lost a total of 19 lbs since May 22.  Woohoo!  I might even have a crêpe to celebrate this afternoon!

  • Last night after we dropped off the truck at the garage along with his keys, Greg put his now loose house key in his pant pocket. I told him to put it on the key ring for the spare key to my Expedition since he was driving it to work today. He said "nah, it's fine here in my pocket!" as he was planning on wearing the same pants.  So this morning I see him take MY keys from the key rack. Good thing that I saw that or he would have left me with NO keys to pick up his truck tonight since my daughter and I will need to be doing this!  I handed him the SUV's extra set of keys and suggested (again!) he puts the house key on the ring. Well, guess who's lost the house key since last night?!  Arrgh, I was so annoyed. He's like a little kid who's stubborn and always thinks he knows better.  He looked everywhere, I looked everywhere, we can't find the darn key. It's probably with the spare key to the fire safe which he swears I never gave him but that I know I gave him before my last trip to France. And then he has to gall to claim that he always does what I tell him to do! I guess I'll be needing to go to Ace Hardware and get a new house key made.

  • I earned a few SB and the maximum Microsoft Rewards credits, including some via an email newsletter they had sent me. I earned a 14 SB Search Award too but I'm not even going to try to meet my 1st goal of 105 SB. What?! They're crazy.  I'll wait a month or so and then my daily goal will drop back down to 30 SB :)

  • Today is the first day of the new Kohl's promo cycle. I got a 20% off code in the mail but a helpful Slickdeals user had posted the 30% off code (BBQ30) and the free shipping code if you have a Kohl's charge card (FREE4JULY) so I had planned on shopping on the Kohl's website today to use up the $20 in free Kohl's Cash that I received via our Discover cards' Discover Deals Kohl's offers. I wanted to buy another Under Armour exercise top but apparently those are excluded from using any promotional codes on them. Poop. The one I wanted was $24.99 so I figured I'd spend $5.00 on a top I wanted, not too bad (you can use the free shipping code but not the 30% off code on those).  But then I checked out the Tek Gear brand and found tops on sale for $9.99!  So I ordered two of those, forgot to apply the 30% off code (oh well) and was able to get them completely for free, woohoo!  I hope they're comfy.

  • I'm defrosting a link of Butterball smoked turkey sausage for dinner tonight. I'll cook the rest of the cabbage that's in my fridge too and steam some potatoes to make mock Cabbage and Kielbasa.  That's not French but in a sense it's a nod to my Polish heritage (my Polish grandparents immigrated to France before WWII). 

  • I won't be going to Aldi today either.  My daughter and I decided to go check out "The Longest Yard Sale" at Renninger's on Sunday and there is an Aldi in Mount Dora right next door to Panera's, so we will have lunch at Panera's with my other gift card that day, and then pop into Aldi to buy the couple of things that I wanted to buy and I won't have to make an extra trip to Clermont. Hooray!

  • I made my breakfast: usually egg white omelet with onion, zucchini and spinach but this time I also added a green onion top that I had harvested a couple of nights ago for dinner and forgotten to use.   I also had a quarter of a papaya.

  • I saved the yolks as I plan on making banana chocolate chip muffins later on. 

  • I set about a cup and a quarter of strawberries to defrost for my strawberry shake. I haven't made it in a couple of days and I miss it. I wasn't sure how my blender blade would like to crush frozen strawberries so I figured it might be better if they were somewhat defrosted! hopefully they will be by lunchtime.

  • Then I got distracted by my garden. It poured in the late afternoon yesterday so my windows are still all fogged up. The camera kept on fogging up too, hence the haze on some of the pictures.  Arrrgh, weeds, weeds everywhere!  They are so abundant. I ought to pull them but they'll just come back twice as numerous! But if I don't pull them they'll just keep on spreading too. Right now there are so many of them, I feel defeated just looking at them.  I need to psych myself up to go pull them one morning next week.

  • In other news, I've hired a maid to do the dishes. He works for free, eh.

  • Speaking of chores... the problem with chores is that I don't feel like doing them today! But I need to make that banana bread so off I go.

  • So I used 3 bananas that were very ripe when I froze them last year, the 2 egg yolks left after breakfast this morning, some homemade baking powder and vanilla extract and for the rest of the ingredients, I just used store-bought. The batter made 17 muffins that I baked in my silicone muffin tins. I hope the bananas weren't freezer-burned!  My son prefers the banana bread vs the muffins (exact same recipe but different shape!) but the muffins take half the time to bake so... I'm saving on electricity and he can just have 2 muffins for every slice of bread he usually cuts off the loaf :)

  • My daughter got the email from her apartment complex last night letting her know which building/apartment/room and roommates she's been assigned to. She's already started talking to one of the other 2 girls (from Miami, freshman, will be studying biology) and wants to set up a chat session between the 3 of them, but the 3rd girl doesn't seem to have responded to any contact attempt yet. Maybe she's on vacation. Anyhoo, that makes it a little more real now, doesn't it?! We'll be driving to UF next week to go talk to Financial Aid (the word came out yesterday via the Orlando Sentinel that the fact that Bright Futures' Academic Scholars scholarships will be 100% for the coming school year has finally been officially communicated to the universities and colleges!) and we'll drive by her apartment complex too so I can see where she'll be living.

  • I unlocked a new offers on both our Amex cards for $10 off $50 at I guess I could order something with ship to store to avoid shipping fees?  We'll see. I don't need anything now that I've bought everything for my daughter's apartment already!

  • I did a chat with Target to find out when my credit card will be credited for the refund. The order now shows as "return received" in their system but no sign of the credit. The rep researched and found out it can take "up to 10 business days" after the return has been verified (which can take up to 4 business days) before the card is credited.  Those bastards. I'm really REALLY pissed off about this. That letter to their CEO is going to be excoriating. Update: oh wait, I just got an email from them this afternoon saying that refunds take 7 to 14 days.  It'd better be 7, people, it'd better be.

  • And to aggravate me further, I tried ordering the 10 free thank you card from Tiny Prints.  Remember the card I got from them that promised "10 Free Thank You Cards Plus Free Standard Shipping"?!  Well, each discount has its own code and they only let you use one discount code per order. So the 10 "free" thank you cards?  They wanted $20 in shipping for them!  Fuck off, Tiny Prints. I won't be using either of the codes. This really wasn't the way to get back into my good graces.  I can get thank you cards at Dollar Tree or even make them myself, right Susan?  If only I had an embossing machine :)

  • I tore through my purse and my wallet again, looking for that darn Home Depot gift card. I also looked in Greg's hidey holes. It's nowhere.  Arrgh, arrgh, arrgh. If I could kick my own butt, I would.

  • Youngest Son went to mow the front yard.  This way, he earns some money and I won't have to mow while he and Greg are away, win-win!

  • I completed my feedback so I'm eligible to order new samples next week. However, I'll be out of town on that day so I probably won't get any :(

  • Mowing is hard and hot work so I drove the Focus to RaceTrac to get a free Sodapalooza refill for Youngest Son... and one for me. I asked my daughter if she wanted to come along to redeem her coupon for a free drink (on her app) and she said no. I asked her if she wanted to come along to redeem her coupon for a free drink for her mom and she said no :(  It's probably for the best because I got really annoyed at how dirty the family car is. She never ever vacuums it or even cleans the trash out of it.  Ugh.  The first thing I'm going to do once she returns it on Labor Day weekend is take it to the car wash.

  • Dark grey clouds moved in while Youngest Son was mowing but luckily he was done before any thunder or lightning made their appearance. I hope it rains! Bad for the weed situation but it'll help the beans and hopefully the papaya seeds. Plus the vincas that I transplanted yesterday.

  • For my lunch, I had much the same lunch as yesterday: chicken spinach wrap with some of the chicken I cooked last weekend, the rest of the Tortellini Corn Chowder (might as well) and a quarter papaya.  I also made my strawberry shake with 1/2 cup of whole milk, 1/2 cup water, a scoop of stevia sweetener and a cup and a quarter of strawberries (yes, they were mostly defrosted!).

  • As I sat down to eat it, I remembered that Fridays is Law & Order marathon day #2 on ION TV, yippee!

  • It's 1:40 p.m. and it's raining, woohoo! Hopefully it'll last more than a couple of minutes. It's not a hard downpour but anything will help.

  • The truck was ready earlier than we anticipated so my daughter and I went to pick it up. $812 on the American Express, ouch, but we'll each ooh 1% back in Rewards, lol.  She drove the Focus further into Clermont to gas it up and I drove home.

  • Argh, I keep looking at my To Do List and there's just nothing that excites me and makes me want to do it today.

  • But I made crêpes for the kids and while they were cooking I did half the dishes.

  • It started to rain again while the kids and I were sharing a crêpe (or two or three for them!).  Woohoo, the garden is definitely getting watered for free. I love free.

  • Speaking of which, I somehow got on the Victoria's Secret mailing list, apparently, and got coupons in the mail today. One of them is for a free pair of panties, no purchase necessary. I gave it to my daughter since the mall in Gainesville isn't too far from her apartment and I'm sure she'll go visit.

  • More bureaucratic b.s.  My daughter has $1.05 left in her prepaid lunch account for high school. I want to transfer that amount to my son's account (even though he doesn't use it because they only get 30 minutes for lunch and the lines are so long, he'd never have time to eat if he bought lunch so he just packs a lunch). But the prepaid system (MySchoolBucks, a 3rd party vendor) is set up to replenish the account if it falls under $5.00  I'm not sure how it wasn't replenished when her account fell to $1.05 come to think about it but I just checked her account history and no meals were charged to her account since May 2016. Anyhoo, the school district wants me to disable the account's auto replenishment before they transfer the money but even though there's a way to specify an end date for the auto replenishment, when I put the date in and "submit", it doesn't show whether the system has accepted it or not. I can't delete my credit card information either. I could remove my daughter from my account but then I'm afraid they won't be able to find her in the system to transfer the money. Argh, I know it's only $1.05 but it's OUR $1.05, darn it!  So I emailed the help department for the third-party vendor and I have to wait on them to get back to me before I can submit the paperwork to our school district.  It'd all be much better if they automatically refunded the money remaining in graduating seniors' lunch accounts but they don't. You have to fill out paperwork to ask for a refund (same paperwork to ask for a transfer).  What a shady practice! Update: well, oops but good for me, since they didn't use their account at all this past year, I had completely forgotten that I had NOT set it up to auto-replenish. Rather, I used to get an email when their account fell under $5.00 and then I'd log in and add $10 manually. Doh. But I'm happy MySchoolBucks replied to me right away and it ended up being as easy as that. Now I'll send the paperwork to the school district to ask them to transfer the balance to my son's account...

  • Greg talked to his mom. She found out that her daughter's MIL had the same procedure done 10 years ago so she made an appointment with the MIL's doctor for him to review her own MRI next week and give her a 2nd opinion on the surgery. So Greg and our son will proceed with their original plans for their trip and will go to her house late next week.

  • A Slickdeals user posted an alert about a target Google Play coupon for $7 off $7 in the books section so I went to check it out. I do have the coupon but none of the books are $7.01, of course (the small print states the book has to be at least $7.01) and anyway I would just borrow the book from the library. I was tempted to buy the Game of Thrones books (I've already read them) but with the TV series now being far beyond the last book's plot and also so different, I don't know that I would appreciate re-reading them. Plus they're $9.99 each.

  • Well, it's a good thing that I didn't email that "commission". I sure hope you didn't, unless you wanted your email address plastered all over the internet. I didn't email them because it's pointless.  Our governor is a close ally of 45 so of course he's going to hand them whatever they want. He also plans on running for Senator next year, I sure hope that  if you're in Florida, you'll join me in defeating him!

  • Every time I look up and realize that my large screen TV is now working, I feel all warm and gushy :) It's so much nicer to be able to see everything clearly from across the room, LOL!

  • Dinner was the cabbage and kielbasa and I also steamed a few potatoes to go with it.

  • Greg and I watched 2 episodes of Peep Show on Amazon Instant Video.

  • 4 Sodapalooza refills for Greg, at RaceTrac
  • 2 Tek Gear exercise tops from Kohl's, with sale, free shipping code, and Kohl's Cash from Discover Deals
  • A coupon for a free pair of panties from Victoria's Secret
  • A coupon for $7.00 off a $7.01 book on Google Play (so almost a freebie if any of the books actually were $7.01!).
  • I continue to lose weight, which is awesome!  I'm down to 211 lbs.
  • Once again my stomach became upset while drinking the usual morning coffee this morning so I ate half a whole wheat hamburger bun to settle it since I wasn't hungry for breakfast yet.
  • Breakfast was a 2-egg white omelet with salt-free seasoning, onion, zucchini, spinach and green onion top, along with 1/4 of a papaya.
  • Lunch was a chicken spinach wrap (2 oz chicken breast, multigrain flatbread, 1 tbsp light mayo, 1 cup spinach), a large bowl of Tortellini Corn Chowder, and 1/4 papaya (about 1 cup).
  • I had one crêpe with a couple of spoonfuls of lite generic Cool Whip as an afternoon snack.
  • For dinner, I had a serving of Cabbage and Turkey Smoked Sausage and one small steamed potato. Then I had a yogurt.
  • I haven't tracked my exchanges or calories for the past 2-3 days. I need to start doing this again because right now I'm just eyeballing everything.

To Do List
  • Plan today's food intake
  • Exercise
  • Record today's food intake into MFP 
  • Make crêpes for kids DONE
  • Pick up Greg's truck at garage DONE
  • Do the dishes IN PROGRESS
  • Make banana chocolate chip muffins DONE
  • Explore Vanguard's Personal Advisor Services webpage and get started on process 
  • Create Greg's online Social Security Account (with him) and update my documents
  • Continue checking Target's Redcard account to see if they credited my refund. Then schedule payment (due 8/2)  - Return was recorded, credit should be issued by 7/27?! Keep checking every day.
  • Post trip pictures on French blog
  • Finish backing up all pictures to my external drive (when Greg and our son are on their camping trip)
  • Figure out where I was in the process of backing up my external drive!
  • Make hummingbird nectar
  • Trim bushes in front of the house (next week)
  • Transplant ferns from bin into front yard (next week)
  • Transplant all basil seedlings from berm and patio to the empty garden beds (next week) 
  • Mulch the berm again (next week)
  • Decide what to plant in the garden this fall and where
  • Water potted begonia
  • Clean upstairs litter box 
  • Wash all the litter boxes
  • Mend some items from the mending basket
  • Take Youngest Son driving 
  • Vacuum fridge's coils
  • Explore Will and Power of Attorney forms on LegalZoom and discuss with Greg
  • Find a good picture of our cats and order bag from Shutterfly for Daughter with freebie code
  • Inventory what batteries we need for hurricane season
  • Finish the 2014 Powerpoint document for Daughter
  • Add clip art to all 2012, 2013 and 2014 pages that I created and print them
  • Declutter this past year's school files and prep new files for this coming year
  • Check if there is any money in Daughter's school lunch account and if so, request that it'd be transferred to Youngest Son's - IN PROGRESS
  • Tape the Strength Training videos and put on dedicated SD card (once the large TV is reconnected)
  • Put bleach in furnace drain line for maintenance
  • Pour Drano down kitchen sink for maintenance (check to make sure I have any!)
  • Clean the inside of the dishwasher
  • Clean exercise room vent
  • Vacuum kitchen vents
  • Vacuum the downstairs
  • Vacuum the upstairs
  • Fix kitchen sliding drawer
  • Wash bathroom and hall ceiling, door jamb (next week)
  • Write letter to Target CEO (once refund has been issued)
  • Call SunTrust and Chase re: bonds
  • Reconcile FSA records to make sure we're not missing money in the account
  • Write groceries post for the week IN PROGRESS
  • Freeze half the milk (waiting to clear room in the freezer!)
  • Add Osmocote plant food to hibiscus and roses
  • Check on beans and papaya seeds (daily) and water as needed  DONE
  • Order rain barrel from Home Depot (find gift card first!)
  • Dehydrate apples (next week)
  • Declutter the old coffee table IN PROGRESS


  1. It sounds like you had one of those days where everything is aggravating. Hope tomorrow is better. And that's a really cute picture of Tabby kitten.

    1. Nah, I just get aggravated very easily :)

  2. I'm back from NYC- we had a great time but I spent too much money of course- no souvenirs except a hat and Evan Hansen Tee for the grands. Thankfully, the flight, hotel and play tickets were paid for in February. Honestly, I get so tired of tipping but that policy won't be changing anytime soon!!! We mostly walked so didn't have a lot of cab/uber/subway expenses and the one time we were going to take the subway, we figured a cab was cheaper. We did have one great meal at an Indian restaurant and I had a couple of mojitos on the trip. Now I am doing laundry and will head for winn dixie soon. I am just buying a few things- daughter and granddaughter will be here Wednesday. Son was here last weekend before we left- $$$$. The tree man came yesterday while I was gone but I am holding off on the big tree since he quoted me $2200 to cut down. I think it's cool you are French. My son dated a French girl for at least 3 years; they met at UVa. Her father worked for the World Bank in DC. She had a beautiful accent too and is now an acupuncturist- very smart gal. Oh we spent over 2 hours on the runway at LaGuardia last night UGH! I think it was just a backlog- when we got to the gate, pilot told us we were 25th in line. The grandsons were starved- we had given ourselves plenty of time to get to the airport, but the van made several stops so we only had time to check in and board- no food! They survived. Off to the store now.

    1. I'm glad you had a good time in NYC! I hope they were running the AC while you were on the runway! I was reading a blog the other day where the blogger was flying back from Japan and they sat on the tarmac for SEVEN hours without any AC and it was super hot. Stories like these make me want to never fly anywhere ever again!

      Your son is the one who's dating the girl from the UK now, right? He likes a certain international flavor, doesn't he? he he he.

  3. I have a stack of those Tek Gear t-shirts from Kohl's. I always get a few when they are 50% off. I love them!

    And wow, 19 lbs - that's a lot of weight! Keep going!

    1. Ah thanks. I actually went on a break after that and I'm supposed to get back on the horse tomorrow. I put on about a pound and a half, probably mostly because I watched a lot of TV and wasn't active at all. Back when you asked me how I was going to reward myself I said I had no idea... well I guess taking a break from the diet WAS my reward, ha.


Anything you'd like to add? Share away!