Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Clowder of Cats and A Kindle of Kittens ~ Saturday 10/22/16

The weekend is here!  The weekend is here!  I'm not sure why I was so excited for the weekend to finally get here this week, probably because Greg and I have been spending time together walking and visiting parks and festivals for the past couple of weekends so I thought we'd do the same again this weekend?

Well, it's 8:30 a.m. and we haven't actually made any plans and my lovely husband is still asleep. I know that he wants to watch the big Texas A&M/Alabama (I think?) college football game this afternoon so if we wanted to do anything, we'd have to do it pretty soon.

I opened the windows about 30 minutes ago and it's gloriously cool!  It was 59F outside at 8:00 a.m. and the temperature has dropped to 71F from 73F in the living room. I'm enjoying it until Greg comes down because I'm sure he's going to want to close the windows... there is a slight breeze blowing too. How lovely! For once no one is mowing, so I can hear the birds.

The kittens had a good night but were ready to come down at 7:30 a.m. This time they didn't even try to eat or drink upstairs, they ventured into the hallway right away (where they played for a long time last night before going to bed because they went upstairs on their own and then I guess couldn't figure out how to get back down without me being there?) and I put them in a laundry basket and brought them down.  Once in the living room, they started playing like crazy immediately!  I got on all fours to find all their little toys under the furniture and they went nuts. It was so cute to watch :)  Now they're settled for their first nap.  Princess was warming up my shoulder when I panicked, thinking that I hadn't heard my daughter leave for her Traditions class at Disney this morning so assuming that she had slept through her alarm... so I ran to the window (sorry, Princess!) to see if her car was gone.  And it was.  Phew!  I don't know how I missed her leaving, I must have been way more tired than I thought I was.  Princess moved in to the basket with her brothers, in the meantime.  Have I mentioned that they haven't slept in any of the beds that I bought for them since I've bought them? These stinkers!  Not even in their formerly favorite bed.  They slept on my bed upstairs and in that cat tree basket or on the couches downstairs. Or on me, sometimes.

Tabby Kitty wants to be a real boy!  He always wants to eat or drink whatever you're eating or drinking. It's funny but worrisome because he'll be the one jumping all over the kitchen table and countertops so I foresee him not liking me very much in the future as I don't allow cats to do that.  But for now, he loves chewing on my fingers and since he purrs and cuddles when he does it, I indulge him. I know, I know, I shouldn't do that. But it's not often and he's very gentle so I don't think it'll be a problem. Well, I hope not. He spent the day undoing my shoe laces yesterday, the stinker!  I must have retied them at least 10 times.

No To Do List for today since it's the weekend.  I want to run those errands that I didn't run yesterday and also make it to Walgreens to get more Purex so I can complete the SavingStar rebate and also earn 4,000 Balance Rewards points with a voucher that they had given me (I need to spend $15+ in order to use it). I hope they restocked.

I'd love to go on a walk or bike ride with Greg, if he ever gets up.  However, my foot was hurting last night, despite wearing those Rykä shoes most of the day. Yeah, they're not magical shoes, I still should do those exercises and, damn it, lose weight.  So since my foot hurts, I should be using my recumbent bike.  Sigh.  Every time I fall off the wagon, it gets harder to hoist myself back on it.

Update: well, he got up and started reading his book, so I went to run my errands.  The kittens were napping and with the windows opened it was 70F in the living room so Greg covered them with one of his flannel shirts so they would keep warm. Awww!

Right before I left, he said "I thought we were going walking somewhere after my finished my chapter?" so I told him he could finish it and get dressed while I ran my errands :)  I cut a couple of stops off my list, and when I got back, he was ready to go. He suggested something, I wasn't thrilled about it but then he complained that I never like what he suggests so I said "You're right. I plan everything else the rest of the week and I'm actually sick of it so from now on you suggest what we should do and I will do what you want me to do!".  And he ended up changing his mind and suggesting that we go eat lunch at a local restaurant that is excellent but that, for some reason, he never wants to go to, and then that we drive down to Lake Minneola in Clermont so he can try fishing some and then walk on the trail. I said "fine by me!".  Our plans changed a little... we had a delicious meal at the restaurant but then decided to drive down to the Green Swamp Road Trailhead (in Polk County) for the General Van Fleet Trail (the one I blogged about yesterday) but this time head North on the trail.  So we did that. It was a lovely day and we had a great time.

We got home right in time for the start of the football game so it was perfect timing!

  • I opened the windows this morning and turned off the AC. Yay!  It's supposed to be in the 70s this weekend. THE SEVENTIES!!! and in the 80s the rest of the week. I just said yesterday that we don't actually get Fall in Florida, well I guess I lied :)

  • I brewed a pot of half decaf coffee with the free bag of decaf that I had won from Wawa.  (yes, it is taking a long time to use up that bag! I have a small coffee maker that only makes 2 cups at a time since Greg no longer drinks coffee).

  • I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits.
  • Greg surprised me: he did complain about the cold when he got up, but didn't insist on me closing the windows!  He actually said to leave them opened and went to grab a flannel shirt and snuggled in his comfy blanket on his lounge chair!  Yay. 

  • It's the weekend so chances are I won't feel like cooking dinner.  I should always put something in the crockpot on the weekends, darn it. Anyhoo, I grabbed 2 packages of beef that I'm defrosting. They are various steaks that I had bought on 50% clearance. Once they're defrosted,  I plan on marinading them (I have various bottled marinades that I ought to use up) and then I'll grill them outdoors. I also plan on making mashed potatoes and opening a can of mustard greens that I'll cook in some bacon fat.

  • In order to reward my son for not insisting on me closing the windows, I cooked him (and me!) eggs and breakfast sausages and toast for breakfast.  Greg didn't want any.  

  • While Greg was reading his library book, I decided to go run a few errands.  I didn't make all the stops I had planned because I knew he would want to leave as soon as I got back:
    • Walgreens:
      • I looked for the Jiffy corn muffin mix but they didn't have it.
      • They did have 3 large bottles of the Purex laundry detergent on sale for $5.99 so  grabbed those and redeemed a $3.00/2 coupons.  My total was going to be $14.97 after coupon and I needed to spend at least $15 to be able to earn 4,000 Balance Rewards thanks to the voucher that had printed during my last trip, so I grabbed...
      • a bag of Popchips. I finally found them!  I had a coupon for a free bag but it specified "up to $2.99" and they were $3.49 but I figured 50 cents wasn't too bad. 
      • My OOP was $16.73 after tax and coupons. I earned 210 Balance Rewards points on my purchase and the 4,000 BR points bonus. My total BR points is now 9,020 which means that soon I will qualify for $10.00 off my next purchase, woohoo! I charged it to my USAA Visa card for 10% back in Rewards. I also qualified for the $5.00 off $25.00 SavingStar offer on Purex and I'm stocked up on my favorite laundry detergent for several months.

    • Publix:
      • They did have the Jiffy corn muffin mix.
      • I also grabbed 2 containers of my favorite gum (Mentos) because they were on BOGO at $3.49.
      • I paid for the $4.29 OOP with USAA Visa for 10% back in Rewards.
      • I got the new store coupon brochures as well.

    • Habitat for Humanity thrift store:
      • I was looking for cat carriers and a cat litter box but they didn't have either.
      • I did find a pair of brand new navy blue shorts in my size, with the tags still on!
      • I had forgotten that Saturday is 50% off all clothing day, which made my shorts... $0.93 after tax!  Woohoo!

    • Library:
      • I returned one set of Law & Order DVDs and the Harlan Coben book that I had finished.
      • Looking at the new releases, I saw a copy of Tana French's "The Trespasser" that I had put on hold earlier in the week, so I borrowed it and cancelled the hold on my account.

  • I submitted my receipts for rebates from SavingStar immediately when I got home.

  • When I got home, Greg had a plan for our outing.  After some negotiating, I agreed to just let him decide what we were doing because it is true that I'm tired of always planning everything else.  After an excellent but pricey lunch (see "Splurges"), we drove to Polk County to take a walk on the General Van Fleet Trail, which is free to use.  I brought tap water and crackers. We were too full from lunch to eat the crackers but the water was appreciated by us both.

Part of our clowder AND our kindle, all enjoying  the Ripple Rug and the open window

  • I reused rainwater from the rain barrel to water the peace lily, hibiscus, and rose bushes.

  • I returned the library e-books that I was finished reading.  They would have been returned to the library automatically when the loan expired but why keep them if I'm done with them?  This way, other people can check them out.

  • The football game was shown on OTA TV so it was free for Greg to watch it. He's not watching the NFL this year.

  • My dinner plans changed. Greg's stomach can't handle beef twice in the same day, so he suggested I made grilled cheese sandwiches and soup for dinner. However, at dinner time, neither he nor I were terribly hungry. I used a can of Aldi tomato soup concentrate and a can's worth of milk to make tomato soup for the kids and I made them grilled cheese sandwiches. Greg and I split the rest of the butternut squash soup that I made yesterday with one of the 99-cent butternut squashes. We all put oyster crackers in our soups and it was delicious and filling enough.

  • Lunch at Red Wing restaurant.  We had the best waitress, who was the only staff in the whole restaurant and was incredible!  Greg had his two beers. I was going to have sweet tea but then I changed my mind because sweet tea makes me pee a lot and I knew we'd be walking for a while.  So I had water. It's free!  I had a snow burger, which is a burger, topped with snow crab meat in remoulade.with a side order of fries. Oh my. It was so delicious.  Greg had a bacon and blue cheese burger, which he said was incredible.  The OOP? Well after the 2 beers and a 20% tip for our awesome waitress, it was just above $50.  Yikes.  But it was wayyyy more worth it than the lunch we had in Leesburg last week.  So that was his make-up birthday lunch:)

We asked what the gator head garnish was. It's an actual gator head that you can take home.
Greg wanted one. I said no.

Yum. It was very, very good.
  • Gas for my daughter to drive to her orientation session at Walt Disney World and lunch for her at one of the cafeterias.

  • Gas to run errands and then to drive to the General Van Fleet Trail for our walk.

  • Like many Americans, I feel depressed, worried and stressed about the upcoming elections. I looked over my ballot yesterday and there are so many things to vote for and I don't like any of my choices in any race.   And there is so much research to be done for the smaller races and yet at the same time, I feel like none of it is going to matter. My city elections, especially, are distressing me.  We're surrounded by idiots and all of them are running for office.  I am NOT looking forward to voting, am thinking about only voting for certain positions and not others, then I feel guilty about it.... it's a clusterfuck of a mess.  I wanted to do early voting next Wednesday when I'll be out and about.  I've been throwing away ALL flyers as they come in the mail. no matter who the candidate it. Why?  They all lie.  And I can't stand it. It could be worse, I could NOT have the freedom to vote or not, right? Alright, maybe I'll list that on my gratitude list.

  • I composted one and a half container of strawberries.  I need to get back to Food Waste Friday posts because it's ramping up again.  I have no excuse for the strawberries. As soon as I realized that they were more mushy than they looked (i.e. the same day I got them), I should have processed them or frozen them (not that I had any room to!) or done something with them. But I just kept staring at them and not thinking... so today I had to compost the whole thing, it was just gross. Ugh.

  • Kitten duty (such as it is nowadays... make sure they have food and water and access to a litter box, find their toys, stand back and enjoy the show!)
  • Cooked breakfast for our son (and me)
  • Composted rotten fruit :(
  • Made Greg's bed
  • Cleaned the upstairs litter box
  • Ran errands
  • Submitted rebates
  • Had lunch with Greg
  • Took a walk with Greg
  • Cuddling with the kittens
  • Chatted with my daughter and son
  • Cooked dinner
  • Researched flora and fauna from today's pictures

  • Greg and I took a 3-mile walk on the General Van Fleet trail.  I wore my new Rykä shoes. My foot still hurt, but I was able to complete my walk in a little less pain than with my other shoes that had the plantar fasciitis sole in them.  We walked slowly so it took us about 90 minutes to complete our walk.
  • that I have the opportunity to stress over this election cycle since there are people who don't have the freedom or right to vote, throughout the world.
  • that Greg was OK with having the windows open
  • for an unexpected sale at the thrift store!
  • for a lovely lunch and walk with my husband
  • for our son's care of the kittens while we were gone

NATURE: General Van Fleet Trail, Green Swamp Rd Trailhead (Polk County)

Today we once again drove to the Green Swamp Road Trailhead for the General Van Fleet Trail down in Polk County, but we decided to walk North this time.

Due to my foot hurting, we only walked 1.5 miles North and then turned around.  It wasn't as scenic as the other parts of the trail that we have walked on, and we barely observed any interesting flora and fauna. But the temperature was lovely and there were more people using that trail than we had seen before, although we were the only walkers. Everyone else was on bikes, including a whole family with their 5 kids!

Here are some pictures that did turn out:

Start of the trail. I had decided to walk about a mile and turn around. I did end up going a mile and a half.

Nothing special about this part of the trail... it's straight and there's really not much to look at.
The vegetation on each side, past the part that they do mow, is overgrown.
These tiny birds were quiet and not scared of us as they were perched right above Greg when he was tying his shoe. I don't know what type of birds they are but they were almost like miniature birds, they were so small!

There is a ranger station surrounded by a metallic fence and I spotted those vines with yellow flowers and fruit growing on the side of it...

It's called a Wild Balsam Apple and it is part of the gourd family. The ripe fruit and seeds are toxic and this is considered a noxious and invasive weed in Florida. It's pretty, though.

Morning glory, I think.

A wasp was enjoying this Peruvian Primrose Willow


Gopher tortoise!  Why do we get excited to see them? Because their habitat has been decimated and most of them are found in Florida nowadays, where they aren't necessarily thriving either.

Marsh Mallow of some kind (although I like to call it the Flacid Penis Flower myself!)

Those were laying in the open... I think they are gopher tortoise's eggs.

Partway through our walk, this screened-in pavilion with benches was offered for weary travelers. However, the screen didn't keep the spiders out...

I told Greg I was ready to turn around at this point. I still felt pretty good but as soon as we turned around and I realized that I
needed to walk another 1.5 mile back to the car, my foot started hurting.  Thankfully, I can talk for the both of us so try to distract me from the throbbing of my heel.

Greg was distracted by the chattering and almost stepped on this tiny snake that was across his way!

I looked at books and websites tonight to try to identify it but I don't really know. I think it's some kind of juvenile water snake and those are usually non venomous. Still, we didn't know so I told Greg to make sure to stay well away from it!

This was interesting... this guy had a bike rack (possibly homemade) on his motorcycle.  We wish we had seen how he mounted his bike on the back of the motorcycle!

Almost home... we spotted these sandhill cranes enjoying a shady patch of grass in one of our neighbors' homes!
How was your Saturday?  Did you know a group of cats was called a clowder?  How about a kindle of kittens?  I had never heard of either...


  1. Collective nouns are fun aren't they? I once read a book called An Exultation of Larks which was one long list of collective nouns! I always wonder, who came up with the terms?

    Looks like your clowder of cats are starting to tolerate the kindle of kittens! :D

    1. Fun or torture! I wish there would just be one word it would be easier :) But yes, it's also fun to read about them. I also wonder who came up with the names. I was reading an article yesterday that said that a group of buffalo is called an obstinacy. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat? Why?! LOL.

  2. Saturday sounds like a perfect day. Enjoy your "fall".

    1. It was a gorgeous weekend in Florida. My only regret is to not have sat outside today but since we had the windows open throughout the house, it was almost as if I had been on the patio, albeit without the sun hitting on me. I hope you had a nice Fall weekend as well!

  3. Well, probably no surprise that I did know those two things! ;) Can't believe how big they're getting and how independent. Your restaurant meal looks delicious! I've been loving the weather this weekend, too.

    1. Owner of 6 cats and used to work in a library? Yeah, I should have figured out that you would know! The kittens are growing up too fast. I wanted them to remain little and adorably defenseless :) Wasn't this weekend gorgeous?! We had the AC off the whole time. It was awesome!

  4. I had no idea about the clowder of cats and a kindle of kittens! Learned something today! I once posted a photo of a bunch of pelicans on my blog and someone told me that it was called a "squadron of pelicans."

    Funny about Mentos - I bought some last night, too, after we got back from a short walk on Fort Fraser trail near us. I'm snorting on your name for the marsh mallow flower...

    Since I'm not a citizen I can't vote, but I'm with you on this election. Well, I know for whom I'd vote in the race for president, but all the other stuff...ugh. Dave voted a few days ago by mail-in ballot. Just make sure you vote "no" on Amendment 1 (the solar one). It's written in a very confusing way and everyone around me started talking about it to figure it out. It was pretty much written and sponsored by the Koch Brothers and is very much in favor of the big utilities, not the consumers.

    1. So we have the Mentos gum in common too? Which reminds me that once again I forgot to look for the coffee and nut M&Ms. I'm putting them on my shopping list right now as Target has a store coupon for M&M's I think and there was a coupon in the paper this week or last one too. Oh and Walgreens has them on sale this week, I think.

      One of the Orlando Sentinel columnists said in his column today that if you can't make sense of an amendment, you should vote "no" because (hopefully) you would never sign a contract that you don't understand. I thought that kind of made sense.

      I read an article about voting by mail in Florida (Tampa Bay Times, 10/6/16) that says "Casting a ballot at home requires voters to take simple steps to prevent fraud, yet a surprising number of them get it wrong. As a result, their ballots are not counted.

      In the statewide primary on Aug. 30, several thousand ballots were rejected by county canvassing boards because voters neglected to sign their ballot envelope, or because their signature did not match the one on file."

      So I'll be voting early but in person. I want to make sure that my vote DOES count and isn't rejected for some inane reason. However, I hope I don't have to stand in line forever. I hate standing in line!


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