Sunday, April 17, 2016

☼☼ Beautiful Sunday! ☼☼

We have a gorgeous Sunday on tap here in Central Florida and it makes me so happy! I woke up to a cool morning, at 8:45 a.m.  New Kitty was ever so gentle in coming to nudge me to tell me it was breakfast time and meowing just quietly enough not to tick me off :)

I opened the windows for the kitties and decided to settle on the back patio.  Aaah! No humidity today and some wind but not too bad.  The sun is shining, the birdies are singing and the new neighbors (cross my fingers) don't seem to be the kind to be outdoors much. Yay!

I checked on the garden (need to water this afternoon), checked up on blogs, thought about making pancakes with strawberry syrup like Bless, but had a piece of my Strawberry Chocolate Chip Yogurt cake instead, with my coffee.  Greg got up a little bit later and made himself breakfast, and for once that he doesn't ask me if he can make me eggs, I started craving eggs, lol!

I went inside to get more coffee and ask him what his plans were because I was thinking about going for a walk or a bike ride, and he said that he'd like to go for a walk. So we'll be doing that at about noonish. He just wants to go walk around the lake since it's closer to our home than the trail in Oakland.  I doubt I'll go to Panera or even RaceTrac today, I don't feel like chasing freebies.  I know, what is wrong with me?  lol.

Since I was still hungry, I made myself a couple of fried eggs, toast, and I peel and shredded a red potato to make myself some hashbrowns.  As the article that showed how to cook hashbrowns in 3 minutes stated, less is more, and one potato was plenty and cooked to a crisp in just 3-4 minutes.  Oh it was so good!

I got the paper from the driveway and set it aside for later. I read the news online anyway so I'll probably just keep the coupons and various ads and recycle the paper. I do need to check if there is a write-up about the concert from last night, though. More about that in a couple of paragraphs...

The Orlando Sentinel sent me a notice that the "Daily e-paper" is ready for me to read.  Why would I want the e-paper when I get the real paper?  I guess if I was away from home... it might be worth it if indeed I could access it every day but I suspect my access will be limited to the days when I get the real paper (Thursdays and Sundays).  I'll have to see tomorrow. There are some local news articles that I definitely would like to read sometimes, as I see the headlines in Feedly but when I try to access the site it's behind a paywall... but not always.  Still, one should be aware of what's happening in her community, I think.

So, the concert last night. It was magical!  Let's back up a little...

We ate dinner at home and drove to downtown Orlando in the family car, which gets great mileage and is easier to park in smaller spaces than my SUV. I had been a little concerned that my GPS might fail me as I know a lot of road construction has been going on downtown in the past few years, but we didn't have any trouble finding the parking garage and paid our $10 fee. For just a couple of hours, what robbery!

The walk to the Dr.Phillips Center for the Arts took just a few minutes as it is just one block over. Oh my, downtown Orlando has changed a lot since I had last been there, several years ago.  It's almost nice, hahaha. Kidding, there are some nice parts of downtown Orlando but no one comes to Orlando for Orlando itself, Usually people come for the theme parks that are located on the outskirts of Orlando.

Borrowed from another site :)
The line to get into the Walt Disney Theater was very long but we had our tickets so we knew we would have seats.  As it is, they only filled the ground level of the theater and didn't open up the 2nd level or the balconies at all. I could have loved to be on a balcony!

The theater is gorgeous and the acoustics are incredible.  Just that helped make for a wonderful concert and then, of course, there was my gorgeous and talented son in the orchestra, a stupendous Big Band/Jazz orchestra at that, and T-Bone, the singer who came to participate in the UCF Jazz Festival back in 2014 and who I really really enjoy, was there to sing several tunes that he had sang with them back in 2014.  I was on cloud nine, truly!

This is a panoramic picture that I took. It makes it look like we were far away from the stage, but we really weren't.  Probably about half the distance that the photo is depicting!
My daughter and youngest son enjoyed the concert as well, although they don't particularly enjoy jazz, but they recognized the tunes since I've played them many times on my phone while I was doing the dishes or when we were in the car together and I know that my daughter has come to appreciate several of them so when they started playing them, we would look at each other with a little smile and knowing look and when we knew that they would play our favorite tune ("Wrinkles" by Miles Davis), we gave each other a little high five!

I wish I would have recorded the concert but I didn't want to distract people with the screen from my phone or camera (so I didn't even bring the camera with me). I regret it as my son had a very very cool solo and got to play it at the very front of the stage. It was amazing!

The funny part was that not only were we there, but my ex, his wife, his mom and stepdad were also there.  During the concert, the conductor (who is the Jazz Studies professor), would announce the names of the musicians who had solos, but he completely neglected to announce my son's name.  My daughter and I were annoyed, considering that it was the last time we would see him play with that orchestra and he is the only senior in it right now (I think).  It wasn't malicious on the part of the professor, and indeed he high fived my son several times after his solo to show what a great job he had done, but we were annoyed.  But you know how I said yesterday morning that I woke up cranky, right?

So after the concert,my daughter and I had to go to the bathroom really badly and I joked that we would probably meet her stepmom or grandma in the bathroom (and by the way, the line was long but the fastest moving bathroom line I have ever been in because there were tons of stalls.  So you see, we had a great experience even in the ladies' room, hahaha!). Sure enough, we bumped into my ex MIL while we were all washing our hands and hugged and the first thing she told me was "Can you believe that he didn't announce Alex's name?!?" (Alex is my oldest son's first name. I just know that he's going to be a famous musician some day so the cat might as well be out of the bag, right?!) so we all agreed that it had been a raw deal for Alex and especially for us, lol.  Then we left the bathroom and rejoined my ex, his wife, and my former FIL and each of them said "Can you believe...!!" LOL. So I guess it wasn't just me being cranky :)  The professor left the theater at that point and walked right past us and I considered stopping him and jokingly pointing out that he has completely overlooked Alex but thought better of it. The poor guy didn't do it on purpose and Alex needs the connection and goodwill from him, not crankiness because he got ambushed by the mom, right?  But my former MIL was egging me on to go mention something to him. So funny.

Then T-Bone walked by and I completely geeked out and made an embarrassment of myself by tapping him on the shoulder and gushing, telling him how much I loved him, how I had sent CDs to everyone in France and they loved him too (he sang on the CD that the Flying Horse Big Band released late last year), how I listened to him singing at the UCF Jazz Festival and recorded it and played in on my phone all the time, etc. I was like a gushing teenager, hahaha.  He was very gracious and since I had told him I was Alex's mom, he paid me a lot of very nice compliments about Alex, which is always great to hear.

I also stopped several of my son's friends who played in the band as well and told them how much I had appreciated their performance, especially the guitar player (who had many many solos) and the drummer, because they were both very awesome and on top of their game last night.  I know my son appreciates it when people tell him how much they enjoyed his performance so I wanted to make sure to let the other musicians know as well.

We were looking for my son for a while afterwards.  The conductor had announced that several musicians would be autographing the CD (that was for sale) at the exit after the concert.  We finally found the table where they were signing but there was a line and someone telling people that only those who had bought a CD could get in line. Well, she doesn't know me, does she?  I had my program out and went to her and said "I want my son to sign my program. He was part of the orchestra and I already bought 10 CDs last year!" so she said "uhhh..." and I said "thank you!" and waltzed into the line, following by my 2 kids and my ex-family.  The line was very short anyway and my son was delighted to see us. He is a complete airhead sometimes and despite my telling him on several occasions that I and 2 of his siblings would be at the concert, he had no clue that we would be there or even that his dad and the others would be there as well!  He told me that he only knew I was there because T-Bone, who was signing the CD next to him, had told him that he has been "ambushed" by his mom.  Oh no, lol.  So funny, though.  I don't care, maybe that's help him remember Alex a little more if he ever has a concert where he needs a trumpet player, right?  I did my part, lol.

We chatted with him a little and then went back to our car.  On the way home, I asked the kids if they wanted me to stop at McDonald's to get a snack and they were very enthusiastic about it so we did that and got them McFlurries/milkshakes at 10:30 p.m.  I called Greg to see if he wanted anything but he demurred. I got 2 apple pies for $1 for me and ate one in the car.  When we got home, I offered it to Greg who declined but my son gave me puppy eyes so I gave it to him and he shared it with his sister (well, she commandeered half of it, is more accurate. We are strong, assertive women, my daughter and I!). My OOP at McDonald's was about $7.

I'm going to go get dressed for our walk now.  I haven't seen any birds at the feeder this morning (they probably had breakfast before I got up) but I just spotted a yellow-breasted bird in the grass at the far end of the backyard and was able to photograph it with my digital zoom. Oh, he just flew into the orange tree.

Not much is happening in the garden, but I do have more roses that opened up (2!) and several more buds getting ready as well.

The Roma tomatoes are starting to ripen.

I actually have 15 tomatoes on that one plant!
Oh, I just spotted the male cardinal in the orange tree but by the time I focused the camera on him, he took flight and then flew right over me!  I was too late to photograph him though.  He's flitting about the backyard, I just saw him get back to the orange tree and then fly into one of my neighbors' trees. The female is flying behind him. I wonder if he's doing some reconnaissance to make sure it's safe to go to the feeder. The lizards are out and about as well, chasing each other. I think this black make has some designs on the small female resting on the bottom rung of my "greenhouse".

My male cat is staring at them from behind the screen door. I bet he wishes he could run after them. He loves lizards.

I did see a helicopter fly over us earlier on this morning. It was very very loud and wasn't flying very fast. I don't think it was a military helicopter, maybe a police one?

Well, there's a "new" bird that the feeder and it also sauntered over to the bird bath to get a drink. Awesome!  Those little things make me happy :) The whatever tree that is growing was in the way, though, so I don't think my photo will show him at the bird bath.

I started hearing one of the woodpeckers but I don't spot him.  I guess noon-ish is when a bunch of birds come to have lunch too, like us humans!  Well I hear lots of bird calls but nobody else is coming to the feeder and "nature calls" so I reluctantly have to go back inside now.  I think that when we come back from our walk, I'll settle on the patio again with my "Quiet" book.  Can you believe that, even after reading it for an hour yesterday, it doesn't seem like I have done any progress on it?!  I'm only at the half point!  I'm definitely going to ask our librarians if they'll allow me to check it out again.  I don't think anyone has it on hold and I do want to finish it.

I finally went to get dressed and Greg took a shower. I chatted with my daughter a little bit while I was waiting on him. I did put surgical tape on my old blisters from last week to see if it would protect them from reopening and on other parts of my feet too to try to prevent the formation of new ones... well, the verdict is "kinda works" on this tip. I didn't get new blisters and I think my feet were a little more comfortable in the areas where I had blisters, but most of the tape didn't stick well to my feet and were rubbed off by the edge of my shoe and then fell off. Maybe if I had worn longer socks instead of the low-rise?

We didn't take a long, long walk. It was pretty windy and there were waves on the lake!  There must have been a catamaran race this morning as we saw an unlucky catamaran "captain" being rescued from the lakeshore weeds by a boat patrol...

and a bunch of catamarans being put away when we were at the boat ramp.

I took pictures of the flora...

and fauna.

We saw several ducks taking flight at various times and in various places, but they were too fast for me.

As we approached Lilly on the Lake, the delicious cooking smells made us hungry so we decided to have lunch there: surprise, surprise, but we've got to maximize our enjoyment of those lovely days when we can still take walks and enjoy a delicious lunch on their wrap-around porch overlooking Lake Minneola. So I don't feel guilty about it one bit!

We're going to have to come back for happy hour on a Saturday!
When we first got there, though, the only table left on the porch was one near toddlers and overlooking the parking lot, so I declined that, explaining to the waiting staff that we were done raising our own toddlers so we'd rather not eat near others', lol.  He said he understood and sat us at a booth indoors but I asked him to keep us in mind as soon as another table outside opened us because I really wanted to eat outside. Greg though the wind would be a bother so he wasn't as keen. We sat at the booth and within a minute, the waiter had reappeared and showed us a table outside that had just opened. Score!  I heard him apologize to the party that had just reached the podium and tell them that we had put our names on "the list" before them. Hahaha!  I'm so glad I asked.

I had the Island Basket once again, which was a lot of coconut fried shrimp, battered mahi, a lot of fries, and small cup of mango cole slaw. It was very good and plentiful and I just couldn't eat the fries so I asked for a box to bring them back to my son.  I carry a string bag with me, which once again proved very useful!  Greg had the pulled pork sandwich and a beer. Every time we go I wish I could have a tropical cocktail, but walking back to the car (a good couple of miles away) would not be enjoyable (I don't hold my liquor well!) so I always abstain.  So I had water.  We had a good time chatting lunch away and trying to think of a really good restaurant to visit for our upcoming 15th anniversary.  Greg suggested going to the Grand Floridian Resort at Walt Disney World and I countered with the restaurant at the top of the Contemporary Resort and trying to time the dinner with the fireworks over the Magic Kingdom. The only problem with that would be that those times are usually booked many months in advance.  Also, we tend to be "no reservations" people to keep our options open.  So we'll see what happens.

After lunch we walked back to our truck and I took more pictures of birds and flowers.  We drove straight home since neither of us felt like going anywhere else.  I pointed out the bus stops closest to our home to him, as we had been talking about our son possibly taking the bus into Clermont on his own.

When we got home, I remembered to check the family car's windshield wipers because when we drove to The Villages on Thursday I had noticed that one of them seemed to be coming off the arm.  Well sure enough, one of the rubber blades seemed to have come apart at the seam, so to speak, and was splitting itself in half.  I think the salesperson who told us, back when we bought the car in October, that the windshield wipers had just been changed was lying.  I'll explain why shortly.

So I told my daughter, who was still in her PJs and studying for her Economics class, to get dressed so she could come with me to buy new windshield wipers. We drove to Advance Auto Parts, just down the street, and I showed her how to use their computer to specify the year, make, and model of the car and how she needed to buy a different size for the driver side than for the passenger side.  I chose to by RainX Weatherbeater blades because I have been using those on the SUV and also on the truck and they're good.  It cost about $30 for both sides and they install them for free, which is always a plus even though it's not that hard.  I asked to keep the packaging so I could check back at home if a manufacturer rebate was being offered on them but it wasn't. However, American Express emailed me a congratulatory message that I had used an offer that I had uploaded to my card and I was all excited to have saved $10 until I read the fine print and the offer had been for $10 off a $50 purchase and the message does specify "if your purchase qualifies" so... never mind. Grr.

The reason why I think (well, I know) that the used car salesman lied to us about the wiper blades being new, is that when I drove the car home that day, it was raining, and the wiper blades made a very loud and scraping noise.  They did wipe well, so I thought maybe whoever had looked at the car at their service area might have tightened the tension on them too much. (I don't know much about cars, can't you see?!).  So my daughter and I mentioned to each other a few times how annoying it was that the wipers were so loud, but since they seemed to be doing the job, we just grinned and bore it. So, as we were leaving Advance Auto Parts today, my daughter asked "Aren't you going to try them?" and we did... NO NOISE!  It was amazing!  We looked at each other slightly shocked and delighted and we both exclaimed at the same time "It's like a brand new car!".  It's the little things, isn't it?!  Now she can't wait for us to get a rainstorm so she can drive with her new, quiet, windshield wipers on.  LOL.  Of course now there isn't any rain in the forecast the rest of the week.

I spent the rest of the afternoon on the back patio, reading "Quiet".  After reading an additional 2.5 hours this afternoon, I'm finally at the chapter that deals about how to handle introvert children.  I just realized that the book is due on Tuesday, not tomorrow, so it gives me 2 more days to finish it. Yay!  I should be able to get that done.

At 6 p.m. I stopped reading to water the garden,

The darn ants have finally found the hummingbird feeder with its "nectar"
I have 4 Ichiban eggplants growing right now.

The 2 Black Cherry Tomato plants that I bought at Home Depot this past week are doing quite well.

The black raspberry canes have just one  stem that is flowering.  Pretty, no?

We'll see if I get to eat this strawberry before the lizards do!
The pineapples keep on growing!

Then at about 6:45p.m. I grilled 2 lbs of ground beef that I had shaped into 8 burgers, along with some slices of one of the sweet onions that our neighbor had given us.  I made a side salad to go with it.  My daughter was in the middle of a school project so she elected to eat later.  Greg and I ate while watching 2 episodes of Fargo, Season 1.  I think we liked it much better the first time we saw it, I have to say, because now we're nitpicking every inconsistency.

After the 2nd episode ended, I went to put the dinner's leftovers away and did a load of dishes. I still have a bunch of pots and pans to wash, but I'll do those in the morning.


  1. I am so glad to hear that you had a lovely time at your son's concert. Too bad the professor/conductor neglected to announce your son's name, though.

    Lovely, lovely pictures of your garden and all the flora and fauna! You are such a good photographer!

    1. Thank you, Bless. The camera does all the work and since it's an automatic I can't even claim that I'm awesome at picking any of the settings, lol. I do need to start reading my DSLR For Dummies library book so I can take better pictures with that camera.

  2. Hi Nathalie, The place that your sons concert was held looked amazing. How funny that you and your ex's family were all upset about your sons name not being mentioned. I would have found it difficult not to say something but I can see why you didn't especially as he is a senior. Its great that he had a solo and it sounds as if he has a good future ahead of him especially if his mum chats up any prospective employers ha ha. (Truly I keep my fingers crossed that he gets a good offer from someone).

    Your meal at Lily's on the Lake looked amazing. Oh and please book somewhere amazing for your 15th Anniversary so that you can tell us about it - oh and so you can enjoy it too.

    Have a great day xxx

    1. LOL, Tara, you just want me to post pictures of WDW restaurants! I have to say, though, I doubt we'll go there. I was a VIP tour guide at WDW for several years so I've been to all those restaurants for free. It would be extremely painful for me to spend money there now!

      I need to think of something else.

  3. Love the review of the concert and super proud that you spoke up to talk to the person that you liked. I would have pointed and not said anything but I love that he went right back and told your son!! Super funny!!! Out of all the strangers in the whole place, it seems totally right that you would run into the only people you didn't want to see in the bathroom line :) Love that you guys went to McDonalds so late at night to get treats. Sounds like a super fun day for everyone! I would have shared the pie with you but I really like their old (really unhealthy fried) pies that were like eating hot lava when you bit into them. The new ones don't have the same fear of burning your face off :)


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