Monday, March 27, 2017

Windy Monday

Spring Flowers

My arm feels much better, today.  Almost back to normal.  But I still rested and took it easy, today.  I had been up until 4:30 a.m., so I couldn't wake up when my alarm went off at 9:30 a.m. and slept till 10:30 a.m., instead.  It didn't matter, though, because I have the day off from work (due to Cesar Chavez Day; daughter's work place will observe it on Friday).

I spent a quiet morning.  Then, in the afternoon, I called my next-door neighbor and took her several pieces of the cake I baked last night.  She invited me in to have a cup of coffee and we sat and visited for about half an hour over a cup of coffee.  I was happy to see that she had the sunflower wreath I had given her last year for her birthday, on her front door.  When I was leaving, she said she really enjoyed the visit and told me we needed to do it more often.  Later in the evening, she called me again, to say she enjoyed the cake and the visit.  I shall try to visit her, again, next week.

It was a sunny but windy day, today.  Some oranges had fallen from the tree, so I picked them up and picked a few more off the tree, as well.  Then, I picked a few African daisies and some grass seeds from the garden to bring in (#10 on my spring joy list).

I had a tuna salad sandwich for lunch and some crackers with peanut butter in the evening.  Dinner was some of the frozen honey glazed chicken wings I had bought, corn, and a salad, followed by an apple and a slice of cake even though it still tasted bitter. 

I had wanted to water the garden today, but it was too windy to do so.  I did do the dishes and cleaned the litter box and took the trash cans to the curb.  I also renewed my library book, on line, and put a hold request on another book (I'm #19 on the waiting list, but there are several copies available).

 Monday's To Do List:
- Do the dishes - DONE
- Clean the litter box - DONE
- Water the indoor plants - DONE
- Empty the trash cans - DONE
- Take the big trash cans to the curb - DONE
- Water the garden, front (by hand) and back (sprinklers)

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Put away washed dishes
- Bring the trash cans in
- Water the garden, front and back
- Return my friend's containers
- Tidy the house a bit

Today, I am grateful for:
- Visiting with my neighbor
- The eucalyptus tree withstood the strong gusts of wind!
- More oranges from my tree
- Another restful day
- Easy meals

How was your Monday?  Did you have a good start to your week?

Feeling Better

Thank you for all your comments and concerns about my post, yesterday.  My arm is feeling much better, today.  There is still a little soreness, especially when I extend my arm, but not the pain I felt, yesterday.  I feel that I made the right decision yesterday, to rest my arm.

I spent the day relaxing and resting, today, too.

It has been a day of phone calls!  First, my daughter called to say she was going with a co-worker to a stable attached to a race tract to feed the cats there.  Apparently, some of the stable hands have pet cats that they leave behind when they go to other places and there are also some stray cats who hang around the stables; daughter's co-worker volunteers there and feeds the cats.  Daughter has gone with her a couple of times before, too.  Afterwards, they were going grocery shopping together.

After that, one of my aunts (not the one I was to give a ride to the prayer meeting) called to check on me and I told her about my arm.  She was concerned enough to call me back in the evening, too, to ask how I was.  I told her I was feeling much better.  On Friday, her daughter had called to say she and aunt were planning to visit me tomorrow (Monday), but today, aunt said that my cousin was having a cold and they will visit when she's feeling better. 

Then, I called my half-sister to wish her for her birthday.  After that, I called my neighbor for our weekly Sunday morning chat. 

In the afternoon, my cousin (whose daughter drove them to the prayer gathering last night) called to check on me.  I said my arm was feeling better today and apologized again for not being able to drive them.  She said not to worry about it.  

I spent the rest of the afternoon reading my library book.  I am almost at the end of it, which is good, because it is due on Tuesday!   Daughter called me when she came back to her apartment to tell me about the good deals she got at the grocery store and what she bought, etc. 

In the evening, the aunt I was to give a ride to the prayer gathering called to check on me.  As I said, it was a day of phone calls!

Later in the evening, I video chatted with my daughter.  She said her office friend had remarked on the close relationship we have.

Today, while I was chatting with my daughter, I had an urge to bake a cake!  So, at 10:30 p.m., I took out a box of yellow cake mix I had in the cupboard and half an hour later, I had a freshly baked cake:

Plain, Yellow Cake

I had to cut myself a slice:

Slice of Yellow Cake
I tried it and it tasted slightly bitter, but not too bad.  Tomorrow, I might make a glaze for it and see if that improves the taste.  It's not that the cake itself is bitter.  It's just that it tastes bitter to me. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- My arm feels better
- Everyone's care and concern
- Another restful day
- Phone calls with daughter, family, neighbor, etc.
- Freshly baked cake, still warm from the oven.

I have the day off from work, tomorrow.  I have made myself a very small to do list of mostly essential things I need to do.

Monday's To Do List:
- Do the dishes
- Clean the litter box
- Water the indoor plants
- Empty the trash cans
- Take the big trash cans to the curb
- Water the garden, front (by hand) and back (sprinklers)

There's a ton of other things that ought to be done, but it all depends on how my arm feels and how well I feel.  They include dusting, vacuuming, laundry, changing my bed sheets, tidying, etc.

How was your Sunday?  Did you have a day of rest?

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Painful Arm

I have hurt my left arm and I don't know how.

I am aware that a pain in the left arm can be a symptom of a heart attack, but this pain is not in my upper arm and there is no accompanying tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing, etc.  I checked my blood pressure in the morning and it was good, pulse was good, too.  So, I don't think this is due to a heart attack or anything serious.

The pain is near the elbow, but on the outside.  It started on Thursday night.  I am wondering if I strained a muscle or pulled a tendon when I carried the groceries in on Wednesday (unlikely) or when I went to open the jar of Miracle Whip on Thursday (more likely - I recall I struggled a bit to open it).  The pain wasn't too bad on Thursday night; I checked to see if there was any redness or bruising and I didn't see anything, so I just sort of ignored it.

On Friday, the pain was still there, but it wasn't too bad.  I went to the office and did my work and drove home without any problems.  In the night, before I went to sleep, I rubbed some heating balm on it (called Tiger Balm) and put some blessed water (Buddhist equivalent of Christian holy water)  and some holy water (from Lourdes) as well, for good measure!  *smile*  But the arm felt sore and painful, although there was no swelling or redness, etc.

This morning, the pain woke me up at 6:30 a.m.!  I could barely move my arm!  I rubbed more balm and went back to sleep again.  I am icing it now, hoping that will help.  I suppose I should take a Tylenol, too, but I haven't done so, yet (Update: took two Tylenols).

What bothers me most is that I had agreed to drive one of my aunts, two cousins, and a friend to this evening's prayer gathering at another aunt's house, some 40 miles away.  It is a 45 minutes to 1 hour drive (depending on traffic) and I am not sure if I am up to it if my arm is hurting.  In fact, to be quite honest, I would have preferred if someone else had offered to drive in the first place (and given me a ride!), but, apparently there was no one else willing or able to drive that distance on the freeway at night.  Aunt is in her 90s and isn't allowed to drive due to her age, cousins and friend won't drive on the freeway or at night, cousins' children aren't free on a Saturday night, etc.  So now, I am stressing about driving that distance with a painful arm and possibly over-exerting my arm instead of resting it.  If it was a shorter distance, I might not have stressed about it so much.

The problem is, as one of my friends has pointed out, my family is accustomed to me chauffeuring them around!  As she says, they managed to find their way to the prayer gatherings, etc., just fine, when I was too ill to attend them, but now that I am better, it's back to normal!  LOL.

For the most part, I don't mind.  If I can be of help, then, I am happy to do so...usually.  Occasionally, however, I grumble, because, after all, I am human.  There is much I don't say about our family dynamics, here, on the blog!  I try to focus on the positive and not dwell on the negative.  So, for example, I will write that a cousin visited me, but I won't say that it was after 6 months into my treatment, even though she had been to visit my other cousin who lives practically across the street from me, several times, or how that made me feel.  Or, I will write that my cousin brought me dinner, but I won't complain about the time she forgot to buy me the bread I had asked for (back when I was told not to go grocery shopping due to increased risk of infection). 

Anyway, I spoke with my daughter, who begged me not to over-do things.  Then, I called my cousin to tell her about my arm and that I was not sure if I could drive them tonight.  Cousin told me not to stress about it, that she will ask her daughter if she can drive them, instead.  (Earlier, she had told me that her daughter had plans to go out with friends.)  She asked me not to say anything to our aunt until she has checked with her daughter.  So, I will call her back, later (if I haven't heard from her before) to ask if her daughter can drive them.  In which case, I won't be going, since there won't be any room in the car for me - but that's OK.

Update:  Cousin just called to check on how I was feeling.  She said she spoke with her daughter but doesn't know yet if her daughter can drive them (daughter is out with friends who are visiting from San Diego).  I told my cousin, if her daughter can't drive them, to get one of those rides like Uber, if possible, and that I will pay for it.  Cousin said it was OK to call our aunt and tell her what was happening.  So, I called my aunt and told her I wasn't able to drive them and said that cousin is trying to get her daughter to drive.  I also asked aunt if her granddaughter can drive them, but aunt said her granddaughter was busy.  So, again, I told her, too, that if they can get a ride from Uber, I will pay for it, since I can't drive them, this time.  I feel bad about not driving them.  I feel like I'm being selfish, especially since I feel better after taking the Tylenol.  But, I don't want to over-do things, either.  I need to rest my arm and be well enough to do what I have to do.  I owe it to myself to limit my activities until I am fully recovered.  

I really haven't done anything, today, as I've tried to rest my arm.  I slept in, after I woke up at 6:30 a.m., till almost noon!  My daughter calling to check on me woke me up!  Then, I cleaned the litter box, since I didn't do it last night.  I had a cup of tea and a banana for brunch, then, three Ritz crackers just before I took the Tylenol.  I haven't felt hungry, but I'll have a cup of tea in a bit and there is leftover rice, green beans, and chicken curry for dinner.  It was sunny, earlier, but later, a few clouds moved in.  We were supposed to have a 20% chance of rain, today - I hope it does rain, because the garden could do with more rain.  But, I doubt very much if it will rain.  The clouds have moved away and it is sunny, again.

Today, I am grateful for:
- The pain in my arm appears to be due to a sprain or something, rather than a heart attack.
- Cousin said she'll try to get her daughter to drive them to the prayer gathering.
- The balm, Tylenol, and the icing helped; there is still some pain, but not too bad.
- A good cup of tea.
- A quiet, restful day.

Thank you for reading through all that!  This post is a bit all over the place, isn't it?  How was your Saturday?  


Thursday, March 23, 2017

March Grocery Shopping: Week 3 Part 2

March 22 Groceries

I did some grocery shopping, yesterday. I am going to consider it as March Week 3 Part 2, because there is another week left in March and I might go grocery shopping again before the month is over.

First, I went to the dollar store (I wanted to look for some hair bands and see if they had any vegetable plants or seed packets; they didn't) and bought:

3 cans table cream, @ $1 = $3.00
1 box cheese crackers = $1.00
1.49 lb. bananas @ $.49/lb = $.73
3- 5 oz. jars Miracle Whip @ 3/$1.00 = $1.00
Total:  $5.73

I thought the little jars of Miracle Whip were the cutest things ever!  I am one of those people who prefer Miracle Whip to mayonnaise, but I admit I bought these more for the jars than the contents!  I would have loved it if they had been glass jars, but they are plastic.   No matter; I  know I will be reusing those jars for storing various things.  I see myself making a lot of egg salads and tuna salads in the near future!  LOL.  In fact, lunch today, was an egg salad sandwich! 

Then, I went to the regular grocery store, also in the same shopping mall and bought:

2-6 packs of soda (only one is pictured, above), @$2.50 + $.30 deposit = $5.60
2 lb. pack ground beef = $3.99
Tax on soda = $.49
Total =  $10.08

The ground beef was on sale because the sell-by date was March 23 (today).  There were two packages and I debated getting both, but that's a lot of ground beef for me, so I bought only one package.  I want to brown it and freeze most of it for future meals. 

Total spent = $5.73 + $10.08 = $15.81

March grocery budget = $75
Spent to date = $5.50 + $21.90 + $15.84 + $15.81 = $59.05
Balance left in the budget = $15.95

That's plenty for more bread, some milk, and fresh produce, next week. 

How is your March grocery budget coming along? 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spring Joy List

Spring is here!  It is definitely a season with plenty of joy as the days become longer and warmer, the trees leaf out and the flowers start to bloom.  Even when one lives in a climate where winters are relatively mild, spring is a season of renewal and awakening.  I have prepared a Spring Joy List, to cover the period between now and the start of summer in June.

New Leaves on the Jasmin Vine

1.  Daily prayer and contemplation: take time to appreciate this time of renewal
2.  Continue to drink my tea in my favorite cups
3.  Continue to chat daily with my daughter
4.  My daughter's next visit home (in April or May)
5.  Savor my last jar of homemade apple and pomegranate jam!

6.  Visit the temple
7.  Do a craft project: make a birthday card for my sister
8.  Do more gardening: plant a vegetable garden, scatter some flower seeds
9.  Celebrate Sri Lankan New Year (April 13)
10. Bring in more fresh flowers and greenery

Hibiscus after the rain

11. Play with fabric
12. Visit the farmers' market
13. Visit the library
14. Read a book or two (or more)
15. Do more sketching
16. Naps on the sofa!
17. Take in the sunsets
18. Music - listening and singing
19. Arrange to video chat with a friend
20. Indulge in strawberries! 

Biscuit with some of my apple & pomegranate jam

What brings you joy?   

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

New Year Joy List Update

This is my New Year Joy List, meant to cover the period from the New Year till the end of March, when it becomes officially Spring.  Since today is the first day of Spring, I thought I'll do the update today. 

New Year Joy List:

1.  Greet the New Year with my daughter - Done!  We watched the count down on TV, toasted the New Year with sparkling apple cider, and I made the traditional milkrice. 
2.  Prayer and contemplation - Daily prayers and some contemplating and studying, as well.
3.  Continue to enjoy using the special china - I have continued to enjoy drinking my morning and evening tea in my special cups.
4.  Continue to chat daily with my daughter - Definitely one of the highlights of my day.
5.  Visit my neighbors for the New Year - Visited two of them.
6.  Do a craft project - I started some but didn't finish!  Seems like I am very good at starting projects but not at finishing them!
7.  Attend the monthly prayer gatherings - I attended some, but had to miss others due to health issues.
8.  Spend a little more time in the garden - Have been doing more gardening.  Planted new plants in the front garden.

The Newly Planted Aeoniums
9.  Continue to enjoy some candle light in the evenings - Not as often as I wanted to.
10. Continue to listen to music - Have been listening to a variety of music.
11. Play the piano more often - Not as often as I wanted to.
12. Sing more often - Not as often as I wanted to; my voice is still rather hoarse from my cough. 
13. Daughter's next visit home for her birthday (early March) - Had a lovely visit with her.
14. Go out to lunch or dinner at a favorite restaurant with daughter to celebrate her birthday - We ordered take out from our favorite Italian restaurant and ate at home.  Daughter did go out several days for brunch and dinner with friends, though.
15. Invite a friend out to lunch or dinner - Invited my friend, but she was unable to make it.  Was invited out to friends' homes to meals, instead, and other friends brought me meals! 

I didn't do some of the items as often as I wanted to, but I engaged in some joyful activities during this time.  I will be back with a new list for Spring. Did you, too, make a joy list?  If so, were you able to do some of the activities you planned to do?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Quiet Sunday


I have had a quiet Sunday.  I had planned to run some errands and do more grocery shopping, today, but, last night, I had another asthma attack and so, I thought it would be prudent to stay home and take it easy, today.  Any excuse to stay home in my pyjamas!  LOL.

I baked one of the cans of biscuits I bought yesterday.  I used the toaster oven to bake them, instead of heating up the big oven.  I had two of the biscuits, sandwiched with some of the beef steak I had cooked earlier, for brunch.  They tasted very good.  Later, I had another spread with a little butter and some of my homemade strawberry jam and that was very good, too, if not better!

In the morning, I had my usual Sunday morning chat with my neighbor.  In the afternoon, I did some reading and then, took a nap!  My aunt's phone call woke me up from my nap, but that was OK.  I didn't want to sleep for a long time, anyway (yesterday, I slept for about 3 hours in the afternoon!). 

In the early evening,  my late friend's older daughter returned the dish in which I took a dessert to the memorial rosary dinner, last month.  She also brought me a plate of food for my dinner:

Dinner from my Friend's Daughter

It is our custom not to return an empty dish; always return it with something.  It's something I've made sure my daughter knows, too.  Of course, this was way too much food for me for one meal; I ate some and kept the rest in the fridge for another day.

Later in the evening, I tidied the kitchen and did a load of dishes. This is actually the "after" picture!  I've way too much stuff on my counters, but it's all used often enough to be out.  I took a "before" picture, too, but I am not brave enough to share it with anyone other than one of my very good friends!  The green plastic bag hanging from one of the cabinet knobs is for recyclables - plastic bottles, cans, etc.  Once it is full, I empty it into the big recycling bin, outside.

The "Tidied" Kitchen! 

Then, I cooked the green beans I had been planning to cook for the past several days!

Sauted (Curried) Green Beans
I cut them diagonally into pieces and sauted them in a little oil with some dark roasted curry powder, onions, a handful of curry leaves, salt, and a sprinkle of Maldive fish pieces (a type of dried fish used as a seasoning).  It's my favorite way to prepare beans.  The cutting takes longer than the actual cooking!  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Rescue inhalers for when the asthma acts up
- My friend's daughter bringing me dinner
- Phone calls from neighbor and aunt; emails from friends
- An afternoon nap
- Chatting with my daughter

This is a picture of a desk organizer my daughter made this weekend, from two empty cereal boxes, following instructions and templates she found on-line:

Hogwarts Desk Organizer

Monday's To Do List:
- Go to the office/office work
- Clean out fridge
- Empty waste baskets
- Take trash cans to curb
- Daily Tasks (dishes, litter box, etc.)

Not sure how much more I'll be able to do, so I'll leave it at that.

How was your Sunday?  What are your plans for next week?