Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Still Hot on Wednesday

Yet another hot day, but the morning wasn't too bad.  The afternoon and early part of the evening was hot.

I had a productive day.  I did office work, put away the washed dishes, watered the front garden, and cleaned my bathroom.  I am still trying to follow the cleaning schedule I made for myself, but I need to adjust it a bit more.

I boiled two eggs and made egg salad for lunch.  For dinner, I made honey sesame chicken:

I cooked rice and stir-fried some broccoli and carrots to go with the chicken. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being able to work from home, still
- A productive day
- Listening to music while I work
- Cool mornings and nights
- Phone call from aunt

How was your Wednesday? 

Another Hot Day

It was another hot day, today, but with a high of 96F, it was almost 10 degrees cooler than it was yesterday.   I kept the windows closed and the drapes drawn for the most part, to keep the house cool.  But there is one member of the household who still enjoys catching a few rays:


I open the drapes at this one window for the plant; it is Dancer's favorite spot in the morning:

"Do you mind?  I was sleeping"
I spent the better part of the day doing office work.  But I took a break from work to wash all the dishes that had piled up and to wipe the kitchen counters and stove top.  The counters have stayed clear for the most part, I am happy to say.  I also called my doctor's office and left a message for my doctor regarding one of my medications.  And I spoke with my daughter's doctor's office.

Later in the evening, I took a short nap and then, took the car for a drive.  After I came home, I watched Dancing with the Stars and video chatted with my daughter.  I also listened to some music.  :)

My monthly gas bill came in:  $19.78; I like the summertime gas bills.

The water and power bill (bi-monthly; for the period 7/19/16 to 9/16/16) came in, too:  $246.36; broken down as follows:
electric = $94.09 for 597 kWh (out of 1,000 kWh at Tier 1 rates of $.14/kWh + 10% city tax + State energy surcharge)
water = $55.33 for 12 hundred cubic feet (out of 16 HCF at Tier 1 rates of $4.61/HCF)
sewer = $24.10
solid waste (trash collection) = $72.84 

In comparison, the previous water and power bill (for the period 5/18/16 to 7/19/16)  was $277.39 ( electric = $89.57; water = $63.17; sewer = $50.62; solid waste = $74.03).  I used less electricity last billing period (584 kWh) and the charge per kWh was less at $.13/kWh (plus city tax and State energy surcharges).  I used the same amount of water (12 HCF), but the charge was higher at $5.26/HCF.

The sewer charge is based on the amount of water used during the winter, when we are least likely to use water for irrigation (since winter is supposed to be our rainy season) plus a "dry winter" surcharge added.  But the previous billing period's sewer charge was based on 12 HCF of water usage, using two different rate (one rate for the first 43 days; a second, higher rate for the last 19 days) while the current bill seems to be based on 5 HCF of water use.  I am very confused, but I took a quick look at prior bills to compare and it seems that sewer charges fluctuate from one bill to another.  I seem to stay at or around the same amount of electricity usage from billing period to billing period; water usage fluctuate depending on season and how often I water the garden, and the trash fees remain more or less the same.

I generally budget $150/month towards the water and electric bill, so as long as the bill stays under $300, I am fine. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- a slightly cooler day
- keeping the kitchen counters clear
- my neighbor bringing in my trash cans for me
- an afternoon nap
- video chatting with my daughter; she shared a new recipe (for honey sesame chicken) with me  :)

Wednesday's To Do List:
- office work
- put away washed dishes
- try the new recipe daughter shared
- water the front garden
- clean my bathroom
- water the indoor plants

How was your Tuesday?  What have you planned for Wednesday?

Monday, September 26, 2016

Too Hot!

Today's high was 105F.  It was already hot when I woke up, so I made the wise decision to take it easy, today.  There is housework that needs to be done, but it will have to wait until it is cooler.  It is past 10:30 p.m. as I type this and it is still 85F.

I spent a quiet morning, reading and posting comments on blogs, responding to comments on mine, etc.  In the afternoon, I retreated to my bedroom, where I put on the a/c, read and listened to music.

Later in the evening, I watched the presidential debate, cleaned out the fridge, took the trash cans to the curb for pick up tomorrow, and watered the back garden.  Then, video chatted with my daughter.  
The forecast for tomorrow says it'll be hot again, but the high will be only 98F, not in the triple digits.  They call it a "cool down"!  :D

Today, I am grateful for:

- a room with air conditioning
- music to listen to
- water for the garden
- the cooler night winds
- chatting with my daughter

How was your Monday?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Baby Shower Gifts and Card

Today, there was a baby shower for the daughter of one of my cousins.  I had started crocheting the gift shortly after my cousin told me the good news and had it completed in good time:

Baby Blanket
I used yarn I had in my stash and colors which were gender neutral, since my cousin didn't know if it was a boy or a girl, at the time.  Both yarns have a silky thread woven in, which adds a bit of a sheen, although it is difficult to tell from the pictures.

Close Up of Blanket
Later, my cousin told me the gender of the baby, but I decided to stay with the neutral colors for the blanket.  Yesterday evening, I made the card:

Baby Shower Card
Card stock, scrapbooking paper, a bit of lace that had a light blue ribbon down the middle, a teddy bear button from my button box, and cutouts using stencils I had bought earlier, when I was scrapbooking my daughter's baby pictures.  All items I had on hand.

The envelope looked too plain, so I decorated it a bit, too:

There's a gingham heart at the back, to seal the envelope closed.

I had debated getting the mother-to-be a gift card from the store she's registered at, but I decided to give a cash gift, instead, so she can buy whatever is needed from any store.  She lives in New York and flew in for the shower, so she can't carry a lot of stuff back with her, but I am hoping she'll find room for the blanket in her bag. 

One of my other cousins and her daughter and I went to the shower together.  My cousin who is the grandmother-to-be had asked us to come an hour and a half before the shower started, to help her with setting out the food, etc.  Afterwards, we stayed to help clean up, so I didn't get home till later in the evening.  But it was a lovely afternoon and evening, spent in the company of family and friends. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being able to attend the baby shower
- Being able to help my cousin with her party
- Seeing family and friends again
- My daughter lending me a blouse to wear to the party
- Getting some of the leftovers to bring home for my lunch tomorrow

How was your Saturday?

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Friday's Productivity

Friday was a productive day.  I spent a good part of the day doing office work.  I was able to complete this week's assignment and send it in by the end of the day.  I am now ready to relax over the weekend and take Monday off, without worrying about work.

I listened to some music for part of the day and even sang along, albeit a bit off key!  

Later in the evening, I spent a pleasant hour or so making a card for my cousin's daughter's baby shower, tomorrow.  I had some help with making the card, of course:

Selecting the Paper

He helped to select the paper by plopping down on it, tried to eat some of the trimming, swatted my hand when I took it away from him, and generally supervised me.

 Ah, but card making is tiring:

Sleeping on the Job!

I will show the gift and the card I made, tomorrow.

One of my aunts called and we had a long chat, which was nice.  I also video chatted with my daughter.  She was tired after a long week.

Friday's gratitude:
- Completing my week's works assignments
- Listening to music
- Video chatting with my daughter
- Having fun making a card
- Having help with the card making

How was your Friday?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pondering Joy Lists as Autumn Begins

The Daily Cup of Joy

Today is the first day of Autumn or Fall, at least in the Northern Hemisphere.  Here, in Southern California, the first days of autumn still feel like summer, with temperatures in the 90s and even 100+.  Today is the coolest day this week, with a high of only 80F; the forecast says highs in the upper 90s by the weekend.   

Laura has posted an autumn joy list in her blog, here.  It's a list of things to do that will bring joy to her.  When I read it, I thought, what a great idea!  We can all do with a little more joy in our lives!  I should make a joy list, too.  There are so many things that bring joy to me that I don't take the time to do.  But, on the other hand, I don't want it to be yet another "To Do" list, either!  I have enough of those, as well!  Still, I would like to make a list of things to do that is intended to bring me joy.  I will incorporate it into my goals for a more balanced life.

I already do a few things that bring joy to me on a daily basis.  One of them is drink my morning and afternoon cups of tea using a proper cup and saucer, as opposed to a mug, and using my good china to do so.    This particular china is special to me.  I had always admired the pattern and coveted it.  But it was pricey and I didn't feel right about spending so much on myself on something I didn't really need, especially when I had other china, already.  But my daughter observed how I'd stop by the china section of the store to admire this particular set, almost every time we went to the store.  So, she bought me the set for my 50th birthday!  It was a very special birthday, she told me, and deserved a very special gift.  The downside to using the good china on a daily basis is...accidents happen.  I dropped the sugar canister on the counter, one morning, and it knocked against the cup and broke off the handle.  I felt so bad about it, but my lovely daughter bought me a replacement cup and saucer, which is what I use now.  The rest of the set is in the china cabinet, to be used very occasionally and very carefully!

Another thing that brings me joy, which I do daily, is video chat with my daughter.  And I begin and end each day with prayer, which brings me more than joy.  I don't know if I should list these daily occurring joy-bringing activities on my list, but I guess I will.

For my initial list of joys, I shall follow Laura's example and make it a seasonal list, from now until Thanksgiving.

List of Autumn Joys:

1.  Continue to begin and end each day with prayer
2.  Continue to drink my tea using my special cup and saucer
3.  Continue to chat daily with my daughter
4.  Decorate my house for fall (in October) and for Thanksgiving (in November)
5.  My daughter's visits home  (1 planned for in October; 2 in November)
6.  Attend up-coming family gathering for cousin's daughter's baby shower
7.  Make some cards using items I have on hand
8.  Host the October prayer gathering
9.  Visit my mother's grave on her birthday (October) - both joyful and sad at the same time
10. Celebrate my birthday (November)
11. Celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family
12. Go to the Sri Lankan grocery store and indulge!
13. Go out to dinner with a friend
14. Go out to lunch with sister
15. Invite cousin and aunt to dinner
16. Spend more time gardening
17. Continue to work on on-going craft projects
18. Visit the library
19. Read a book (or two, or more)
20. Listen to music 
21. Play the piano
22. Sing
23. Bake something when it is cooler
24. Visit my neighbors
25. Go out to dinner with an aunt (and maybe a cousin)

So that is my Autumn joy list!    Yes, it includes several things to do, but, they are things that will bring joy. 

Today, I spent the day doing office work for the most part.  I did take a short break to stroll around the garden, to admire the hibiscus flowers and the few roses that are blooming.  Later in the evening, I took the car for a drive! 

Today, I am grateful for:

- Slightly cooler weather
- Inspiration from other bloggers
- Friends who keep in touch
- The garden continuing to limp along
- Video chatting with my daughter

How was your first day of autumn?  Have you made a joy list before?  Is it something you might like to do?  What are some of the things that bring you joy? 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

International Day of Peace

Day on the Calendar

Today, September 21, is designated as International Day of Peace by the United Nations.  My calendar marked the day and Angela posted about it on her blog, here.  Surely peace, both within ourselves and among all nations and people, is something we would all like to have?  Would wish and pray for?  Yet it remains so elusive.

An Offering of Flowers
I would like to think that I do my part to facilitate peace.  Today, I picked some flowers (plumbago flowers, in this case) from my garden and made an offering of flowers at my altar.  In Buddhism, the offering of flowers is a meditation on the impermanence of all things.  It is a reminder that just as the flowers fade and die, so do we and we have only this brief time in which to do meritorious deeds.   And I lit a candle, which is a symbol of the light of wisdom:

An Offering of Light
And I said a prayer for there to be peace and well-being within ourselves and among us all. 

Today, I am grateful for:

- A day devoted to the ideal of peace throughout the world
- An opportunity to pray for peace
- Flowers from the garden and what they symbolize
- The light of the candle and what it symbolizes
- Those who strive for peace

It would be lovely if every day was Peace Day, wouldn't it?