Saturday, April 8, 2017

A Very Indulgent Day: Walking to the Spring Fever in the Garden Festival ~ Saturday 4/8/17

A disturbing pattern to my nights is emerging: the kittens come up to bed with me.  They proceed to start playing while I fiddle with my Kindle Fire and headphones (I've been falling asleep while listening to a show), then they go back downstairs for a few hours. In the meantime, I wake up to use the bathroom or what not and put the Kindle and headphones away. In the middle of the night, Explorer comes back and cuddles. He likes to sleep right against my face and, most of the time, wakes me up by trying to find a good position for him, which is never a good position for me!  Then I make him move and he finally settles somewhere close to my head and we both fall asleep.  Princess shows up at some point too but she just settles near my feet and I never even hear her come in. In the past, we would all three then sleep until maybe 5 or 6 a.m. and then one of them would get up to get a kibble snack (crunch, crunch, crunch, as I keep food bowls in my bedroom) and then come back to cuddle in bed until it's time to get up.

Speaking of cuddling... this was Princess, last night, as I was trying to type something on my laptop!
But now that the extra mattress is leaning against the wall, Explorer is up at midnight, climbing it, doing his claws on it, and generally making a nuisance of himself!  Arrrgh.  I don't have anywhere else to put the mattress, even if I'm going to trash it, so until we're ready to do something with it, it needs to stay there.  Anyhoo, last night I had had it, and kicked Explorer out of the bedroom and closed the door on him.  An hour or so later, he came crying behind the door. I let him back in so he doesn't wake up everyone.  He starts playing again. I kick him out again. He cries. Arrrgh. This time, I push his little butt down the stairs, but I leave my bedroom door cracked open.  His cries have woken up Tabby Kitten who barges in (he's not very delicate that one!) by ramming the door open and starts snacking (crunch, crunch, crunch). Meanwhile, Princess is asleep at the foot of my mattress and not budging or making a noise.

Finally Explorer comes back, resettles himself. We do the "don't sit on my face!" dance again.  Then we go back to sleep.  It's exhausting.

This morning, Greg got up early to go kayak fishing on the lake next to our house. That woke up Explorer, who went to have breakfast (crunch, crunch, crunch!) and then he came back to sleep but this time he settled himself in the crook of my arm. Ahh, better!  I have forgotten to mention that since we have a small cold front, I put the duvet (in my new-to-me thrifted duvet cover) back on my bed.  The cats looooove having the duvet on, they have much fun jumping on it and making it crinkle and imagine there are critters underneath from their hunting behavior. It's not so much fun when I'm trying to sleep!

Then I felt a weight settling between the V of my legs and I thought Princess had shifted positions.  An hour or so later, Princess apparently went to sniff Explorer's butt, he freaked out and scratched the crap out of my wrist trying to get away (ouch!) and then I realized that Tabby Kitten was the one sleeping in the V of my legs.  Everyone just settled back down again and we all cuddled.  Aaaah, that was nice, especially since it's Saturday and I didn't have to get up at a particular time. But, it was only 7:45 a.m.  We were able to cuddle for 15-20 minutes until all three kittens got antsy and started playing with the mattress so it was time to get up.

8 a.m. this morning: Princess is on top of the mattress, Explorer is jumping to catch her
tail, Tabby Kitty is watching them, trying to decide what to do!
So I sleep, my mattress is comfy, I have room, but I still wake up tired because of the interruptions.  I suppose I could scold Explorer when he cries but then he would end up like the older cats who have  other preferred humans and I like being his human, LOL.  Yes, I indulge him too much :) But he's a very lovely cat.

Anyhoo, all this mindless blabber about my darn cats to say that it's Saturday, yay!  Greg had talked about going out to brunch at Flapjack Johnny's when he comes back from fishing so I'm trying to hold out on eating anything but I'm hungry! It's 9:00 a.m.  Then we're supposed to go walking on the West Orange Trail from downtown Oakland to Downtown Winter Garden (about 3 miles one way) and visit the Spring Fever In the Garden gardening festival.  "We" never did put the wagon together  (I had asked Greg to do it) so I doubt we'll bring it.  Looking at Oakland's website, though, it looks like they're having their own event today so our plans to park there (it's a tiny town) might be thwarted. We'll see.  I'm not going to post a To Do List today. I'm giving myself the day "off" or as "off" as I can ever be.

Daughter is driving to her dad's for the weekend today. I tried to get her to only spend the afternoon there tomorrow instead so she could drive Youngest Son to and back from the D&D game because I'm not feeling like going this week, but she declined :)  So I'll go to D&D, darn it.

  • It was 52F when I got up this morning so I opened the windows and we're chilly but 6 out of 7 of us who are up right now have fur so we don't care.  Technically, I also have fur since I haven't shaven my legs in a while:)

  • Greg got to spend time fishing off the kayak just a few hundred yards from the house :)

  • Swagbucks is pissing me off. I noticed, yesterday, that the NGage videos weren't crediting properly and just stopped using them. This morning again, I watched the videos, but no credits!  So I opened a ticket. Then I tried another "Watch" activity and once again, no credit. Arrgh!  I'm over them and not messing with them again today. I've earned only 8 SB out of my 80 SB goal for today and that's because I got a 6 SB Search Award and I did the poll (1 SB) and checked out the Deal of the Day (1 SB).  I hate wasting my time like this.
  • I earned the maximum credits for Microsoft Rewards.

  • A now familiar sight at the cardinal feeder... sigh.

  • I just heard Greg pull up in the backyard to put the kayak back in the rack... it's 9:44 a.m.  I was thinking he'd be gone until 11 a.m. so I went ahead and had a bowl of cereal!  I hope he's not ready to go out to breakfast or brunch now!

  • Well, he thought I had said I wanted to leave at no later than 11 a.m. so he was aiming to come home by 10 a.m.  He took a shower and was ready to go...  I asked Youngest Son if he wanted to come along but he didn't so we left him at home with the cats.

  • We had a delicious brunch at Flapjack Johnny's and once again, I completely forgot to take a picture of our food!  I had a "Philly cheesesteak omelet" which was stuffed with roast beef, peppers, onions, mozzarella cheese and covered in hollandaise sauce. It came with 12-grain buttered toast and then I had a fruit cup instead of hashbrowns. Oh my, it was soooo good. I had already drank coffee so I had some OJ.  Greg had the breakfast special with a huge waffle with blueberries, scrambled eggs, sausage links and homefries, and coffee. He was super tired for some reason but coffee perked him back up! We paid for the bill with Amazon Visa for 2% back in Rewards.

  • From there we drove to Oakland. Their event was going on but in the back of City Hall, it was an Easter egg hunt and other kid activities. We parked at Speer Park, which is gorgeous, and made our way to Winter Garden on the West Orange Trail (3 miles).  The trail was very busy, much busier than last year!  There were tons of people biking, walking, skateboarding, there was even a guy in-line skating while pushing his little boy on some type of wagon.  The weather was gorgeous, though and the trail is mostly shaded.  Guys, I don't have house-envy per se, but I definitely have town-envy. I want to live in Oakland so badly.  Not in one of the subdivisions that have popped up near Oakland, but in Oakland proper, in the old neighborhood  surrounding the trail. It is so calm, pretty and overall lovely!

  • Once at the festival, we took our time touring around. There were so many people pulling wagons and buying plants and stuff! It was crowded so I'm glad we actually didn't have wagon. Well Greg would have had to wait to the side with the wagon while I went in to buy the plants... and then pull it 3 miles back to the car!

  • I did buy, right as we left, 2 new signs from the same guy who sold me the "Every Birdy Welcome" sign last year. His wife designs then, he cuts them out, she paints them and he sells them as festivals just like these.  This year, I was looking for a squirrel sign since I never finished mine.  But he didn't have any. I told him that next year, I fully expected to find a squirrel sign :) He said he would suggest it to his wife.  I couldn't decide between 2 other signs, so Greg told me to get both.  So behold:

The Garden Friends sign that I first saw featured a dragonfly instead of a butterfly and I'm proud of my husband for having learned so much about nature from my babbling that he told me right away that we couldn't get that one since dragonflies, the predators of butterflies and bees, aren't exactly garden-friendly. He's right!  But I looked through the display and found one with a butterfly instead so I got that one. They were $15 each this year ($12 in 2016).

  • And then we passed a tent manned by some church where they were giving small plants for free so I got one :) I'm not sure what kind of plant it is, but Explorer started chewing on it as soon as I set it on the table so I had to take it outside in case it's poisonous. 

  • He wanted a soda but all the food booths at the "food court" were out of food and closing up!  So we ventured into the Plant Street Market and found him a can of Diet Coke there. I had seen a juice bar that sold interesting cold pressed juices in bottles so I was in line to buy my "carrot ginger pineapple lemon" bottle of juice when he came back with his Diet Coke, incredulous that he had been charged $2 for it (i.e. expensive). This is a man who doesn't think twice about buying a box of cereal for over $5 so I'm not sure why he thought $2 was very expensive. So I joked that my juice was probably going to be $10, because there wasn't a price posted. And then the cashier told me "$10 plus tax!" and I was so dumbfounded... that I handed her my $20 bill instead of telling her "never mind!".  Can you believe it?!? I can't believe I spent $10 for a small bottle of juice! Oh my word.  Greg joked that he was rich and I told him that since he wasn't going to buy me a house in expensive Oakland, he couldn't complain about the juice :) We each paid cash for our drinks.

  • We both decided to pass on kettle corn.  So we walked back to the truck, 3 miles, pretty leisurely.  I thought that for sure we'd have walked over 7 miles but my app only said 6.51 miles when we got to the truck. We were pretty sore, though!

  • We drove around Oakland a little, reminiscing about the houses we wanted there back 15 years ago when we were looking at buying a house but couldn't afford Oakland.  Then he asked if I minded if we stopped at Lowe's in Clermont before coming home because he wanted to check on decking materials. We never did get them last weekend when they were 10% off!  Hopefully they'll go back on sale for Memorial Day. 

  • I was just wondering if Youngest Son was missing us as we hadn't heard from him at all (we rarely do, when we go somewhere, unless he's about to walk to the park or go somewhere else), when he texted me to ask how the festival was. That's a lot more than he ever wants to know about our outings so we were floored!  I called him back to ask if he missed us and he said "Yes!" and that he was bored.  So I told him we'd be home shortly.

  • At Lowe's I remembered that I wanted to buy an oregano plant so I got that ($3.79 + tax) and Greg charged it to his Discover because we get 5% back in Rewards this quarter.  Then we went to price decking materials.

  • Before we went home, though, we decided that we wanted ice cream!  So we went to BrĂ¼ster's, where we totally indulged!  I had a Hot Fudge Brownie and Greg had a mint chocolate chip waffle cone.  Yum, so very good. The ice cream is made on the premises with full cream and you can really taste the cream.  I had printed a coupon that they had emailed me but bringing your coupon organizer is pointless if you left the appropriate coupons on the coffee table at home, Nathalie!  Sheesh.  So we paid full price. Gulp. Greg charged it to Amazon Visa for 2% back in Rewards. I felt bad about not bringing our son anything back but Greg said "tough, he should have come to walk with us!".  Meanie.

  • Back home we chatted with our son for a little bit. He was happy we were home but didn't have much to say. He just was happy we were home. Awww.  Later on, he walked to the park.

  • The kittens were happy we were home too!  Youngest Son said they had cried for us when they realized we weren't home!  So I spent some time playing with them. Well, really teasing them with those feathers on a long stick that I bought at Petco yesterday. I'll tell you, for $5.99, this is the best toy ever!  There's a small bell in it so the noise drives them wild, and since it's on a long flexible plastic stick, it's easy to make the feathers "bounce" around and have them jump pretty high.  They were thoroughly exhausted when we were done and are taking a nap now :)

  • Youngest Son brought me a pair of jeans and a pair of shorts that both have holes in the seat that can't be mended so we'll have to go get him new clothes soon.  Probably at SuperTarget for the jeans since he's tall and very lanky and they seem to carry his size but it's harder to find it at Kohl's.

  • When it was dinnertime, Greg saw that I didn't feel like cooking (yeah, I forgot to schedule a crockpot meal for tonight!) so he suggested we do Chinese take-out.  Youngest Son came with me to pick it up. Told you it was an indulgent day!

  • We qualified for 2 free cans of sodas with our Chinese food order, yay!

  • On the way back home, I asked Youngest Son if he would mind if I didn't play D&D tomorrow, but I would drive him there and then go visit a state park or nature preserve in the area, and then pick him up when he was done.  He confessed that he didn't feel like going to play tomorrow either!  So we decided that we'll probably go kayaking in the afternoon together. Back home, we changed our Meet-up RSVP's to "no".

  • Greg and I ate our dinner while watching some more episodes of Seinfeld while our son played video games.

  • As we were eating, Greg spotted one of the black and white stray/outdoor cats that visit our garden once in a while, limping badly on 3 paws, walking down the street in front of our house.  We observed him and one of his front paws must have been hurting very badly as he wasn't putting any weight on it.  I was torn since we don't know if it belongs to someone or not (he was hobbling back toward a couple of houses he always seems to go to when I chase him from our yard and I have no intention of talking to those people), it's the weekend so even if we could get him to let us catch him our only option would be to take him to the emergency animal hospital in Leesburg, 30 minutes away and super expensive, and we don't know if he might have feline leukemia or other horribly contagious disease that we wouldn't want our own cats exposed to.  Greg said that he probably wouldn't let us get near him anyway as he's been skittish, and then the cat disappeared between those 2 houses.  I wish he hadn't said anything when he saw the cat, now I'm going to worry about it all night...  I hope it does belong to someone and they take care of him.

  • Greg developed one of his headaches earlier today and it got worse tonight :(

  • Flapjack Johnny's: $29.27  (brunch for 2 plus 20% tip, the service is excellent there)
  • $2.00 Diet Coke for Greg
  • $10+ tax juice for me (arrgh!)
  • Lowe's: $4.05 (oregano plant)
  • BrĂ¼ster's: $11.86 (ice cream for two)
  • Chinese restaurant: $29.69 (dinner for 3)

  • A free plant courtesy of a Winter Garden church
  • 2 free sodas from the Chinese restaurant

  • Fed the kittens
  • Aired out the house
  • Worked on Rewards programs
  • Researched parking situation in Oakland
  • Had brunch with Greg
  • Went on a long walk with Greg 
  • Visited the gardening festival
  • Went to Lowe's to price decking materials
  • Had ice cream with Greg :)
  • Chatted with our son
  • Played with the kittens
  • Researched homes for sale in Oakland (so expensive!)
  • Ordered dinner
  • Fed the kittens
  • Went to pick up dinner with Youngest Son
  • Watched Seinfeld with Greg

  • For a delightful day with Greg
  • For beautiful weather
  • For the delight of kittens at playing with a toy
  • For Youngest Son always being willing to come help me with take-out food pick-ups!

NATURE: A Walk on the West Orange Trail, Oakland, FL

Greg and I did the same walk last year to go visit the same festival.  As a matter of fact, my pictures and comments were much better last year, lol.  So I'm going to skip posting the pictures that are similar and just post the different ones :)  And yes, we're still drooling over the same house (plus a few others) but it's not for sale. There are actually very few houses for sale and most of them are in newer subdivisions and cost $375K+, all the way up to over $769K! Our current home's price tag was $145K and I can't imagine that we would pay more than twice its price for our next home, even in lovely Oakland, unless we won the lottery.  Still haven't won, btw!

So here is what I saw today...

An older house, bordering Speer Park that I kind of like. Mostly because it's right by Speer Park!

Someone stuck this momma and baby plastic flamingoes right at the entrance of the park, under some bushes!

Why the park is dedicated to Mr, Speer

"Celebration Amongst the Oaks" spring festival at Oakland.  When we came back at 2:45 p.m. everything was already gone even though the festival ended at 2 p.m. It's as if it had never happened!

When we first set on the trail, we were alone. That didn't last long. There were a lot of people on the trail today!  It was nice to see it used so much and yet, Greg and I wished we had been alone :)

Wild grapes are forming

In someone's backyard bordering the trail. I need to find some of whatever that is for my own backyard!  It grew tall, over 6 ft!

This is the unfurled version of the furled Moon Flower that I saw at the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive last week....I think.

Lantana. They were selling pots of it at the Festival!

I think this Zebra Long Wing was laying its eggs on its host plant


A newer home with the back of it looking like its front and bordering the trail.  I love that style, actually.

That part of the trail will have houses like these on each side, probably by next year as all the lots on the left side of the trail seemed to have been sold already.  For a community with "back porch living", on a beautiful day like today, only 1 house actually had people sitting on the porch.  There were people on the trail but the other houses were silent and looked empty, I hope the owners were on the trail or at the festival and not indoors watching TV, quite honestly. Because that would be sad.

We stopped by this lake to observe all the wildlife on it and then we walked around it a little. There were lots of Common Moorhen families, ducks, and other aquatic birds!  And the water was surprisingly clear.

It would be lovely to live in one of those large homes bordering the lake!

baby common moorhens

A parent and its baby

This picture reminds me of an illustration of  the tale of "The Ugly Duckling" by Hans Christian Andersen in a book that I owned when I was a child.

Ibis eating algae or muck from the lake


I think this squirrel looks pregnant, don't you? It also looks like it's smiling.

We walked to the fishing pier on the lake as it wasn't marked as private property.

Turtles trying to balance on a branch

Little blue heron in a tree

Another angle of the alligator carving we spotted last year. I didn't realize there were TWO alligators carved from the old tree trunk!

A random squash was growing on the side of the trail!

The 'Noles building is still there but no witticism on the sign board this year :(

After a 3-mile walk, we're finally in downtown Winter Garden!

The boardwalk chalk drawing contest was in full swing.  Look at that kitty!

Greg is partial to cows

So talented!

Bunny! Love his long ears!

Lots of plants were for sale, I wouldn't have known what to buy. I'm always very indecisive when it comes to buying plants because I don't know what I'm doing.

There was a kiddie pool with this pink water lily in it. I think it's very pretty.

One of the funky food spots in downtown Winter Garden.

This little Asian-inspired bamboo dishes were so cute!

The self-watering bin guy was there again. His bins are much sturdier than the ones I do buy so I have no doubt they survive longer than the 2 years mine do. I didn't ask for the price this year. ($97 a bin last year).

Greg and I really loved this fountain. It would look so cool where we have the bird feeders. I want it!  I thought the whole thing was $515.00...

But only the portion made of the 3 smaller leaves on the left was included in that price, as Greg pointed out. The other part was another $1,100. Gulp. Still, I want it!  The guy says you could buy a solar power inverter thingie at Harbor Freight for something like $129 so you don't even have to hook it up to the electric grid for it to work!  The name of the business is Leaves by Jenney.

Those, in another booth,  were fun too!

They even had a sandhill crane!

"My" sign guy's booth, where I hope to find a squirrel sign next year because no, I don't think I'll be done painting the one sign that I started to make last year, Susan!  I love those whimsical signs!

Inside the Plant Street Market

Youngest Son would have loved it!  They had a list of add-ons that you picked from and they made it to order.  I need to take him there.

Blurry picture because it was taken while I was walking... this car was driving down the trail!  It was about 1/4 mile before they realized they were on a pedestrian/walking trail and made a 3-point turn. They must have felt really dumb. Good thing they didn't run down any of the younger kids that we had seen earlier!  There is usually a post at the entrance of the trail (it intersects a street 1/4 mile away) but it's a plastic pole that's bolted in the ground and when we walked the other way earlier in the day, the lady walking in front of us smacked the post as she walked by (why would anyone do that?!) and to her great surprise, it fell to the ground!  I said "How in the heck did you do that?!" and she was embarrassed. Anyhoo, I guess it wasn't bolted in place properly. She put it back in place, but I'll bet it was taken away a little later and that's why the car thought this was a street.

A pretty pink/peach hibiscus growing on the side of the trail

I still don't know what kind of tree has blooms like these (white flowers with purple pistils), the first time I saw one was when I walked part of the Little Econ Greenway with Middle Son a couple of months ago. UPDATE: Thanks to Bless, I now know this is a Chinaberry Tree. It's considered invasive in the South and the "cherries" are poisonous to humans.
How was your Saturday?  What plans do you have for Sunday?


  1. Those kittens are naughty but adorable! I'm surprised they haven't pulled down that mattress! I like that Every Kitty Welcome sign! Your pictures are lovely as always. I've had a quiet Saturday. I did a little shopping and a lot of wasting time, I mean, resting! :D

    1. Greg and my son both said "Why would you want a "Welcome every kitty" sign when you said you didn't want any more cats?! So I told them I was hanging the sign inside the house so the stray cats still in the yard can't read it and make themselves at home, hahaha. I also joked that I would hang it in front of our neighbor's front door as a payback for being responsible for the last 4 cats that we took in :)

  2. What a lovely town and park. Make your own Mac and Cheese. I've never seen that before but an interesting idea.

    1. An idea that I wish I had had myself! I guess I'm a boring person as I never thought to add anything to my mac'n cheese. The kids did like the Kraft Deluxe Mac'n Cheese meals that you make with bread crumbs on top and you bake, though. I wish I had thought to take a picture of the list of add-ons that you could pick from...

  3. I forgot to say that the tree with the white flowers and purple pistils is a Chinaberry (Melia azedarach). There are two trees growing in the back yard of my neighbor behind me. They grow into big trees and have yellow fruit. The fruit drop into my backyard and I have seedlings growing all over the place. I am constantly pulling them out because I don't want them growing everywhere! If the fruit had been edible, then, I wouldn't mind, but they are not edible. The leaves drop, too, in the winter. But the flowers are pretty.

    1. You are my personal flower and tree encyclopedia! I was hoping you might know what it was. Now I'll have to remember it myself for the next time I photograph one since it's not in any of my reference books. I should add a note! I read the Wikipedia article on it and they do say the fruit is poisonous to humans although some birds gorge on it (it's not poisonous to birds but they do get "drunk" on it, I'd love to see drunk birds!) and, as you said, it regrows everywhere. It's considered invasive down here, apparently. Why do all the pretty flowers and trees end up being invasive?! Thanks again, Bless!

  4. Oh, you had a perfect Saturday. All that fun stuff AND a long walk!

    And now I'm wandering...when I lived in South Carolina, I had a co-worker with the last name of Speer. Wonder if he was any relation to the guy in your sign.

    1. If you're bored one day, you should do the genealogy of the Oakland Speer guy and see if one of his descendants is your former co-worker :) When I was working on Greg's genealogy, I came across a relative named "Zell" and for some reason (a long-shot hunch), I looked up the history of Zellwood, a tiny town just about 45 minutes NW of here. Well sure enough, the founder of Zellwood, Elwood T. Zell, is Greg's 4th cousin, 4 times removed. That makes him a distant relative, but still, I couldn't believe it. Especially since Greg's family isn't from Florida at all!


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