Friday, May 5, 2017

Catching Up in Pictures: Saturday 4/29 through Thursday 5/4, 2017

I miss blogging! But at the same time, I'm enjoying the break. Thing is, I'm not being particularly productive, even though I did finish a couple of projects that I wanted to finish. But the lack of reporting back is hindering my productivity, and I feel even less motivated than I did when I was blogging. Ugh, this is maddening.  I don't know what's wrong with me.  I also feel very anxious, no doubt because of what's going on with this freaking administration, and I've bitten several nails off without even realizing it.  I haven't gone on a diet, haven't made an effort to exercise.  So far my blogging break doesn't seem to be improving things too much!

I decided to just post captioned pictures of some things that happened while I wasn't blogging, so I can have a record of at least part of those days.

Friday 4/28/17

More roses, yay!

The pineapples are getting larger

I hung the tray feeder from one of those mystery trees by the other feeders and
added freeze-dried mealworms to it.

Baby basil
At night, Middle Son called to say he was working on the "Orlando 48 Hour Film Project" with his
friends and asked if we happened to have a corded phone they could borrow for their movie.
Despite my decluttering, I had kept one "just in case" so he came over to borrow it.  I hope they win!

Saturday 4/29/17

Greg and I took an afternoon walk on the Lake Minneola Trail. It was
super hot (99F).
What a fun sight: an amphibian car on Lake Minneola!  I'd love to have one of those!  I posted the picture on Instagram and my brother from Marseille said that he had just watched a documentary on those the previous night on RMC (I think it's a Swiss TV channel) that had showcased a guy from the Orlando area that makes a living restoring those.  Come to find out,
the guy is from Tavares, our county seat that is just 20 minutes away from here!

The car drove off the lake, up the boat ramp.  They have those at Downtown Disney too, now that I think of it. Ooop, sorry "Disney Springs".

Native Green Anole, a rare sight as they have been steadily replaced by the non-native brown anoles.

I was very overheated, I think I had a hot flash as we were walking. Greg suggested we stop by Lily's on the Lake on the walk back to the truck, to get a drink and take a break.  I let myself be tempted by a Tropical Lemonade (lemonade, cucumber-infused vodka, basil) and oh my, it was soooooooooo good!  I'm not a drinker but I might just have to have one of those every time we go there!  It wasn't cheap though ($7!). We also split some calamari. It was a lovely break. We got to sit on the covered porch overlooking the lake again and there was a breeze so it actually wasn't too hot.

 I didn't feel like going home just yet, so afterwards we drove to Revel's Pond, in the Richloam Wildlife Management Area, to see how the drought had affected it. This is where Greg used to fish last year.  It's.... bad.

This used to be a large pond. It's about 1/3 of the size it was last year!

There were several people fishing there, though, first time we actually saw anybody else out there!

We walked through the woods all the way around the pond so we could have different vantage points.  We came across those weird fungi growing at the base of a tree.

Little Blue Heron

There was a lot of wild hog damage, all around the pond.  At some point, further down, where you see the grass, I was right at the edge of it behind Greg with my camera in-hand, when he turned around and bumped into my arm and my camera went rolling down the embankment into the grass. I gasped... very luckily, it was all dried up so no harm, no foul. Phew!

From the other side of the pond.  We walked on this grassy area. This is usually the bottom of the pond!

I think he caught something but the darn grass is in the way and I can't really tell!

We found this pretty, empty turtle shell.  Greg wanted to bring it home (why?!) but I convinced him that we might get in
trouble if the species was protected so he left it there.  

Then we drove to the small pond right outside the Florida Bass Conservation Center, further down the road. As we approached the pond, we saw a dune buggy and wondered about it. The driver was very friendly and ended up being from Clermont. He had ventured into the Richloam Wildlife Management Area from about where we usually hike on the Van Fleet Trail, and had gotten lost on the dirt roads without a map, but finally emerged here.  We told him how to get back to Clermont on the regular roads.  Now I want a dune buggy too. It was very cool and seemed like a lot of fun.

As he was driving away.

Greg tried to fish. The water level was down too but not as badly as Revel's Pond.  We saw larger fish when we usually see, although they were still too small to keep. Not that Greg hooked any, lol.  Then we saw a huuuuge one, but it was too savvy for Greg and stayed in the middle of the pond.  We decided that next time we go there, we have to bring a kayak!

In the evening, we took our son to eat at Redwing Restaurant, off SR33. We love it.  Greg had the frog legs, gator tail and catfish.  I had a salad, which, actually wasn't great at all and definitely not worth the $10 we paid for it, but Greg loved what he ordered.  I like their lunch menu better :)

My daughter attended Grad Bash at Universal Studios with a million (or so it seemed, she said, it was very very crowded) other high school seniors that afternoon and evening. She and her BFF had a dreadful time and regretted going very much. They were ready to come home at 6 p.m., just 2 hours after they got there, but the buses weren't leaving until 2 a.m. and even if I had wanted to go pick them up, the park wasn't letting anyone in or out after a certain time.  I slept for several hours before I had to go pick them up at 3 a.m. so I was fine.  Between Prom and Grad Bash (neither of them were events she and her friend enjoyed at all), several hundreds of dollars have been wasted. Most of it wasn't my money (her dad paid for it) but it still pisses me off.

Sunday 4/30/17

I made pancakes for breakfast. Yum!

McDonald's released a new large fries with no purchase necessary coupon.
Greg was going to RaceTrac with our son to get Sodapalooza refills so I gave
them my phone so they could also get the fries for Youngest Son. My daughter
also downloaded the app and got her own when she went out with her BFF.

I had started purging a lot of files from my filing cabinet on Friday but didn't finish so I piled up the 2 boxes of files on top
of one another in the living room, and threw my kitty blanket over it to keep the curious kittens out.  Only Princess decided it
was her new bed :)

The boys were playing one one of the cat trees :)

Monday, 5/1/17

I stopped by Publix right after dropping off Youngest Son at school in the morning. I love that they're open at 7 a.m.

Daughter was awarded the Siemens Scholarship via the National Merit Scholarship Corporation!  She will receive $1,000 per year at college (up to 4 years).  They still showed that she picked UCF so she let them know she's now going to UF.

I harvested some grape tomatoes, jalapeƱos and serrano peppers.

I guess I'm not purging the rest of my files today either...

LOL. They stopped long enough to take the first picture and then resumed their playing :)
Tuesday 5/2/17

It rained!

Guess. Guess what was in the tree between my neighbor Jeff's and our front yard.  The same tree where he found Tabby Kitten.  And at the base of which he found Explorer and Princess.  Have you guessed yet?!
I was baking a cake, staring at the kitchen window while my Kitchen Aid mixer was doing its thing, when I noticed the kittens' (OUR kittens') mom walking towards the tree. Her belly looked swollen and then I noticed that her tits were very enlarged. Crap. She sat under the tree for a while so I kept an eye on her. She didn't see me spying. After a while, she climbed up the tree. A minute later, I saw her with a kitten in her mouth, rushing back across the street to the backyard from which Mean Kitty had emerged 8 years ago.  ARRGH. I texted Greg while I went to retrieve the ladder. My neighbor was at work.  Climbing up the ladder was difficult. The nest is just about 9 feet off the ground but the ground is wildly uneven and it had rained and small branches had regrown from the large limbs. I was able to take this picture with my camera. They meowed when they saw me, but I didn't touch them (oooh it was so hard!).  I texted the picture to Greg. He said "Circle of Life, we don't need anymore cats, go buy yourself some donuts right NOW.". He's right, we don't need anymore cats. I need to catch the mom and the kittens and turn them in to Animal Control.  Either that or we're gonna have another 3 cats at minimum running around, unfixed, in the neighborhood.  It was extremely hard for me not to grab the kittens, But the mom is feeding them, and I remember all the work, the expense, and also there would be a lot of complications if we were to take them in. And then when does it stop?!  I haven't seen the kittens or the mom since that day.  I warned Greg that my resolve might weaken if the kittens come crawling out of the bushes like Mean Kitty did all those years ago.  Sigh.  I didn't mention anything to the kids or my neighbor, although he must know as he parks his truck right under that tree!  

It rained some more!  I was fretting about the kittens.  Damn it.  Later on I did see the mom cat in the tree so I know she came back after I got up the ladder and presumably didn't abandon them.  But no sightings since then.  I didn't go back up the ladder. I was very happy that it rained, even though it didn't rain for very long.

I mixed several batches of seasonings.

I harvested some fresh thyme

Princess wanted to help with folding the laundry.

And then Tabby Kitten tried to iron the clothes by laying on top of them :)

Wednesday 5/3/17

I finally finished purging all the files, dismantled Princess's cardboard box "bed" and then ordered her this one from Amazon. I redeemed Discover Rewards and a $5 gc earned via Microsoft Rewards so it's only costing us $3.60.

Explorer spent the afternoon and evening cuddling next to me.

So comfy!

Later on, all three kittens played with their tunnel.  My daughter joked that it looks like they just invented the telephone, hahaha.

Empty boxes = happy cats!

Thursday 5/4/17

I went grocery shopping on Thursday this week. Greg was working from home and I had gotten an offer for $2 off a "Shorti" hoagie from Wawa so I stopped by to get us lunch.  I ordered and paid for two Shortis, but they handed me a Shorti and a Hoagie!  I guess someone made a mistake. Woohoo. Of course, it ended up being Greg's sandwich, which he said was "OK but not great", Whaaat? It was his first Wawa sandwich ever. Next time, I won't bother getting him anything!  I also got a free sample of French Vanilla coffee, to go.

At RaceTrac, I got a free Long-John donut for Youngest Son (with survey reward code)...

And a Sodapalooza refill, of course!
The $100 debit gift card that I had bought back from Youngest Son became $120 at Panera's since they're offering a $10 bonus gift card with the purchase of a $50 gift card.  Since Daughter and I are taking our trip in June and we love Panera's, it will all be put to good use :)


  1. More kittens! Be strong. You might check for individuals or charities around that capture feral cats and fix them. And if it looks like the cats are tame or could be tamed, they find them a home.

    1. Greg opened his big mouth yesterday and told our neighbor Jeff about the kittens. Then both men looked at ME and said "You should call Animal Control". Well... why don't THEY call Animal Control?! Grrr. Especially since the tree is on our neighbor's property, technically, so he should be the one calling the proper organizations, especially from a legal liability, IMO. Our county's animal control shelter is in the process of becoming a no-kill facility but I don't think they're there yet. The South Lake Animal League, where I donate stuff, only takes in animals from other shelters.

      It's easier when I don't see them, hahaha. Their mom seems to be taking good care of them and I haven't seen her or the kittens since. Maybe someone else took them in.

  2. The photo recap was beautiful, as ever. It gave a lot of information about your past week and was very entertaining. I really hope that mother cat and all of her kittens can be saved by animal control and given to loving homes before you are tempted to reach out to the poor creatures.

    Reading about your daughter being awarded the Siemen's Scholarship reminded me that I never wrote a word about your daughter's amazing results that were recognized at the luncheon last week. You must be bursting with pride. Congratulations to her for her wonderful accomplishments. You have much to celebrate this summer on your road trip.

    1. I was thinking about just posting one picture per day, like Pixel does on her blog, but I just couldn't do it, hahaha!

      I am determined not to take the kittens in. As for calling someone to get them... I'm getting tired of having to be the one taking care of the neighborhood cat problems all the time! I figured that the cats were on my neighbor's property so now that he knows about them (Greg opened his big mouth yesterday!), I'm going to let him take care of that... if we ever see the cats again. I don't believe that they're in the tree anymore. I haven't heard them or seen them (or the mother) around since that day, I'm hoping she moved them somewhere else and that another kind person took them in. Well, it's probably a pipe dream...

      I passed your congratulations on to my daughter last night when I first saw your comment and she thanks you :) Yes, much pride and celebration are in order. The road trip might not happen, though. Her laptop just stopped working. I tried fixing it. Greg worked on it for a whole day and night and couldn't fix it. It looks like her graduation present might need to be a new laptop instead of the road trip... I need to talk to her dad about it.

  3. More baby kittens!

    Lovely photos, as always. I especially liked the one with the water lily. You have such helpful kitties, assisting you with laundry, ironing, filing, making sure the grocery bags are emptied, etc. :)

    Congratulations to your daughter! How wonderful that she received a scholarship!

    I just read the news about the French election. I think it is good news? I hope so.

    Take care and enjoy your blogging break. :)

    1. Yes, more baby kittens! Arrgh. It was hard resisting taking them in, I'll tell you. I'm a sucker for small baby animals. But we can't have any more cats.... or so I thought until my daughter (who doesn't know about those latest kittens otherwise it would have been even harder for me to resist them!) announced last night that one of her friends' family had taken in a stray kitten yesterday, bringing up their total number of cats to... TEN cats. Arrgh. I'm fairly competitive (!) so I need to forget about this bit of information right away, hahaha. But in all seriousness, I couldn't have anymore cats because the older females would REALLY be stressed now that they've finally accepted our kittens and they all seem to be living in peace, finally, most of the time (there's just some residual spitting and hissing once in a while but it also comes from the kittens now!) and the kittens would probably batter and bully the newer kittens, which would drive me bonkers. So we're DONE. And yes, their "helpfulness" is sometimes tiresome (cute, but tiresome... they've chewed through several grocery bags!) but makes for good pictures :)

      Thanks for the congrats, as always! I will let Daughter know that you sent them. It was really nice that she got this scholarship, she expected the letter to be a rejection letter as she thought the scholarships had been granted back in February.

      I think the French election results were much better news than they would have been if the far right candidate had been elected. My family is probably not feeling too happy as they hate being part of the European union but I don't get the sense that they would have wanted Le Pen to win either. I haven't asked them and no one has written to say how they felt. My BFF from France, however, wrote to me yesterday for the first time in months and mentioned that she was relieved that Le Pen hadn't won. I tried not to discuss religion or politics with people with whom I'm prefer to continue having a relationship!

  4. So sorry you are feeling a little 'blue.' I'll be that way next weekend but I bounce back quickly and have a lot planned for the week of the 15th. We spent Saturday night at Disney- lots of fun but $$ as usual and Saturday it was CROWDED at MK! My daughter from California was there with her inlaws and our granddaughter. They (daughter, soninlaw and GD) will be here later today and are spending the week with me- well, they leave Saturday AM for DC to see my son. GD is so cute- she was here in October but what a difference 6 months makes. She's talking plainly now and inquisitive as she should be! Thursday she turns 3. Guess I'll bake a cake but need to find out what kind first. GS went to Universal last year as 8th grade graduation but he loves those kinds of things. I'm thinking your daughter doesn't know as many kids there since she was in college the last 2 years. Congrats on her National Merit- every little bit helps. Did you know Hillary Clinton won it back in 1965? GS was already saying if he gets the merit and with Bright Futures, college will be free if he attends in state. Did your daughter get a job for the summer? Mine worked at Target that summer before college and really enjoyed it! I was surprised since she had really never worked before but volunteered at the library. Well I should get busy- have you thought about cutting your to do lists down so they aren't so overwhelming? Honestly, mine are short and there are a lot of things I should attend to but hey, I don't want to!! PS I read about the French elections- what does your family say?

    1. Happy birthday to your granddaughter! 3 is a great age, they're so cute and interesting already! Middle Son texted me yesterday to ask if I wanted to go to Epcot with him on Friday for a photography lesson but I have to get Greg from the airport on that day (and also pick up Youngest Son from Driver's Ed) so I had to decline. We were both disappointed, lol.

      Yes, every little bit helps when it comes to college! However, I had to warn my daughter that any scholarship money that she receives that doesn't go to tuition or books will be taxable as income to her so she needs to keep that in mind and save some money to pay the taxman. We're still not too clear on what scholarship will pay for what (she will have Bright Futures, the Siemens/National Merit one and also the 2+2 scholarship that I had won for her) so I told her she needed to go to see the Bursar at UF and ask them to help her figure it out. Thanks for the congrats, I'll transmit the message! She apparently didn't get the summer job that she had applied for. They told her they would call her with their decision but I warned her that they probably wouldn't call those who they weren't hiring. She called them a couple of weeks ago to find out one way or another and once again was given the run-around ("We'll call you...") and never heard back so we figured she didn't get it. Then she decided not to apply for another one but is thinking about getting one in Gainesville once she knows what her schedule and workload will be.

      Since my husband's employer gets us Universal tickets once a year and Middle Son (and her stepsister) used to work at Universal, my daughter has been there many times. She enjoys the parks very much. But she's like her mother: she hates crowds (and said it was extremely crowded. I don't know how many high schools were attending) and the fact that she wasn't allowed to leave Grad Bash at all until the event was over since they were all bussed in and out. When she visited before, she could leave whenever she wanted and had a great time!

      I don't think that cutting down on my To Do Lists would be particularly helpful as I really need to do all those things. The thing is, a lot of them are daily tasks that other people do without thinking and don't consider "to do's" but I'm very forgetful and more than a little lazy with old age, and if I don't write those down to nag me, they might never get done. So I keep a long To Do List.

      Enjoy your week with your daughter and family! It'll be hard for you when they leave, but you'll have tons of happy memories too. Are you planning on going to visit them in San Francisco?

    2. Nan, I forgot to reply to your question about the French elections. I was happy to see Le Pen NOT being elected. I had a real fear that she would be. I don't discuss politics with my family. When I go there, they lecture me at nauseam about the fact that they, regardless of how they align themselves ideologically (which is unknown to me, I don't ask details!) aren't happy at all with being part of the European Union. They say that their standard of living has greatly decreased since becoming part of it, prices have risen, they are now held to European standards for a variety of things, which makes life more difficult for them (for instance, my dad was complaining that he was forced to replace his septic tank because it didn't conform to European norms, something that cost him thousands of euros), they don't like that the labor market has been flooded with Eastern European who will work for less, the increase in crime, etc. Honestly, I agree with a lot of their concerns, if not all of them. When I went back to France in 2013 and 2015, France was much different than when I had last been there (in 1995) and not for the better, in my opinion. But I don't live there so I didn't experience the good sides of being part of it either... like being able to go work in another European country for instance. Despite all of this, I would hope that they didn't vote for the extreme right. Those who did vote in the 1st round, probably didn't vote in the 2nd round. I didn't ask. Since I'm not on Facebook, I either have to ask them how they feel about the election or wait until they talk to me about it. I usually avoid initiating political discussions with family as I feel that nothing good can come out of it. We're all very opinionated :) I hope that the Macron presidency will be a good thing for the country. We, as civilized people, can't afford another right winger in power. There are enough of those in power in other countries already!

  5. It was so nice to see a recap of your last few days in the form of beautiful photos!

    1. Aww, you're very kind, Daisy, thanks!

  6. I, too, love the photo recap!

    I've seen the amphibian car at Disney Springs. They usually have a few amphibian cars at the Lake Mirror Classic, the big car show in Lakeland that takes place each October. They just are so crazy to watch.

    Your tropical lemonade looks and sounds delicious! I don't drink a lot (it doesn't take a lot of alcohol before it goes to my makes me tired quickly), but I could see myself having a tall, cool glass of that kind of refreshment!

    1. We are eerily similar... alcohol goes right to my head as well! Usually I can feel it working (I have to focus my eyes more forcefully) within a couple of minutes of my first sip. I could easily get addicted to that Tropical Lemonade, though, so it's a good thing that I'm too lazy to make it at home!


Anything you'd like to add? Share away!