Category Archives: Weekdays

Golf Newbie!

In the beginning of our relationship, we talked about playing games together, and Donald wanted to teach me how to play cribbage.

We bought a cribbage set and would play every so often.

A couple of weeks ago, I brought up that I remembered having fun playing Gin Rummy with my Dad as a kid. We looked up how to play on YouTube and played a couple times.

This afternoon, after work, I felt like learning a new card game. I was anticipating researching one online, but Donald had a suggestion ready to go: Golf. He remembers playing it with his Dad.

It is kind of like a game of Memory, as you keep your set of 4 cards face down and have the opportunity to swap one out each turn, but have to remember what you had. The goal is to have less points than your opponent. When you think you are as low as you can go (or lower than your competitors), you can “knock,” which signals the last round. Then, all players turn over their cards and count the points. Number cards are their value, Aces =1, J and Q are 10, and K=0.

Donald is both lucky and a great strategist. It looked while playing that he had a commanding lead over me. But when the round of Golf (9 “holes”) was completed, he had won by the slimmest of margins! 😀

Gameplay is very quick and the game is easy to learn. We will have to teach this to Gabby when we are in town; that little card sharp will love it!

Early Morning at Lake Ella

We had talked about making nutrition and exercise a priority, and thought that – on an ideal day – we could go for a walk in the morning, hike a bit at a local park during lunchtime, and then get some additional activity after work (maybe another walk, tennis, swimming, etc.).

We were both up early this morning and were still motivated for this, so Donald made us coffee and put it in travel mugs, and we drove over to Lake Ella. It is about 0.6 miles to walk around the lake, so that was our goal for the morning.

All of the Crêpe Myrtle trees were flowering and so pretty! We want to learn more about the flora and fauna we see around us, and become more familiar about what is indigenous and what is invasive to Tallahassee/Northern Florida. I did just a quick search, and it appears that the variety of Myrtle trees which have white flowers are known as Natchez Crêpe Myrtles (sometimes spelled Crape, but I prefer the French spelling 😉).

It was a beautiful sunrise, and many of the ducks and geese had little baby ducklings and goslings following them around. Lake Ella is known for its population of Muscovy ducks, but they also have common Mallards and Canadian geese. According to All About Birds, male Muscovy Ducks frequently mate with other species and often produce sterile hybrid offspring – we think that we have seen some of these hybrids around the lake!

We’ve been to and around Lake Ella dozens of times so far, but this is the first time I was paying attention enough to the signage to see that there was a map of the area! What we did take more notice of was the proliferation of Spin scooters in the area. There was a *lot* more scooters around the park now than before we left for Michigan. It’s as if they knew we are a little hesitant to ride them again (at least not before we get helmets!) after my tumble, and they are trying to entice us to ride them. 😊

This is probably one of my favorite views of Lake Ella. I love all of the Spanish moss in the trees!

After our leisurely stroll around the lake, sipping on our homemade coffees, we headed back home to start the work day. Mornings here tend to be a little cooler and less humid, so they are great for taking walks outside. We both really enjoyed our outing and hope to do it more frequently. Such a great start to the day: caffeine, exercise, fresh air, and beautiful views!

A New Chapter Begins at Elinor Park!

Today was our first full day back in Tallahassee after an extended stay in Michigan. Donald woke up happy and excited to get back to some of our routines.

Recently, we celebrated 6 months since I showed up on his doorstep unexpectedly. The next day, Donald took me to Elinor Knapp-Phipps park, which is nearby and one of his favorite parks to go hiking and enjoy nature.

So when lunchtime came and he asked me where I wanted to go, I picked Elinor. On the way, we talked about how this felt like a new chapter for us, and discussed some goals we had. We both want to use this feeling of a new chapter to motivate us to exercise more and establish more of a routine to our days. We want to track my diabetes more closely and spend more time reflecting on our days and recording the everyday adventures that we cherish so much.

Florida winters are far from barren, unlike Michigan, where most of the trees lose their leaves and the days are frequently overcast and cold. When we left, the Florida forests were beginning to brighten with the bright green of new growth and the azaleas and dogwood trees were blooming.

Being back, we noticed that the wooded areas have filled out to become even more lush with vegetation and there is so much more green to see wherever you look.

The weather was beautiful! It got up to 93 degrees today and was a little humid. We definitely worked up a sweat hiking around, but it was so worth it! The air was filled with the sound of cicadas and cardinals as we walked and bright green dragonflies flitted around.

I opened my Merlin app to identify some of the other bird calls we were hearing. We heard:

  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Great Crested Flycatcher
  • Carolina Wren
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Northern Cardinal
  • White-eyed Vireo
  • Northern Parula

We saw a small black and white woodpecker and spent a bit of time trying to see the Northern Parula. The app showed it as being a bright colored bird with a yellow belly and teal body. We never saw it, but we knew the general area it was in: about mid-height on a tree about 20 feet into the tree line.

The magnolias were so pretty with their dark and light, glossy leaves. This orange flower was all alone on the side of the path.

We came upon this field just as we decided to turn around to head back. We would have loved to stay longer, but somehow the lunch hour had come to a close and it was time to get back to the work day.

We both really enjoy getting out into nature and hiking around whenever we can.

After I finished work, we were going to take a swim in the pool, but it was closed. We ended up switching gears and playing tennis. It was warm and sweaty, but it felt so good to play together again.

Overall, it has been a fantastic day! We are hoping to get some movement in 3 times tomorrow: before work, lunchtime, and after work.

I can’t imagine anyone else I’d rather adventure through life with. Donald, you are the best, and I love you! 😘❤️ I can’t wait to see what this new chapter holds for us!

Quarton Lake: Lunchtime Walk

It has been rather chilly in Michigan these past few days, and while the temperature was still on the low side, the lack of cold winds and bright sun made it feel good to be outside.

So, when lunchtime came, Donald and I decided to make a quick trip down the road to Quarton Lake for a walk around the water.

These bright blue flowers were blooming in yards surrounding the lake. Siri thinks they are called Scilla. 😀

The birds (mostly robins) were chirping away and foraging, and the squirrels (both black and red/gray) were having fun running in and around the trees.

Quarton Lake is in the middle of a residential area in Birmingham, surrounded by large houses of varying architectural styles.

There are so many different species of pine tree here in Michigan. This one reminded me of the Torreya pines in Florida which are very rare. However, the needles on this one were a lot softer than on the Torreyas.

On the Maple Rd side of the lake, there is a small park that includes this white fish sculpture. And, of course, the waterfall. 😀

The watershed from Quarton Lake feeds into the Rouge River (or so I would assume from the signage on the bridge 😜). Some of the houses in the neighborhood were lucky enough to have the river on their backyard.

I’m no nature expert, but I think these yellow flowers may belong to a Forsythia bush.

This pine tree had thin, delicate branches with soft, short needles. Very pretty!

At the south end of the lake, there is a grist wheel and a plaque to let people know that Quarton Lake used to be called Mill Pond and was the site of a grist mill which ground grain into flour for the Birmingham community.

Just a couple of the beautiful houses surrounding the lake.

Looking back at the park entrance and Maple Rd
Yet another species of pine tree. This one had cool pinecones forming.

This view is from the north side of the lake. Our lunchtime walk took us completely around the lake. It was great to get out of the house for a bit and enjoy the sun on our faces!

Love, Jenn and Donald

Florida – Lake Ella

After work today, we decided to get out of the house and spend some time at Lake Ella. We stopped by Black Dog Cafe and got a couple of their Lattes of the Day and some small snacks. We sat on their deck (which has a new roof/awning) and enjoyed our bagel and pastry and read awhile. Once our pastries were finished, we wanted to walk around a little.

Muscovy Ducks that live by Lake Ella
All of the trees are greening up with the new growth of spring
Spanish moss in the afternoon sunlight
Plants at the edge of the water near the gazebo
View from the east side of the lake, looking west
Cypress tree with all the knees – so pretty!
Bench swing

We stopped for a moment and sat on this bench swing, taking in the peacefulness of the afternoon. We saw a couple Spin scooters nearby and I joked about renting one for another ride. They are a lot of fun, but after Donald’s near-miss and my accident (which I’m still recovering from), we think that we should invest in some helmets (and perhaps other protective gear) before we ride the Spins again.

View from the bench swing
Low-hanging branches, near Black Dog Cafe

I hope you enjoyed seeing a few of our photos from our walk! We will certainly have more adventures to share soon!

Love, Jenn and Donald