Saturday, October 22, 2016

Office Work Friday

Friday was another warm day, although a little cooler than Thursday.  I spent most of the day doing office work, trying to finish up the project I've been working on.  I had told people I should have it done by the end of the week and I was determined to get it done.  It took me a little longer than I thought, but I was able to complete the assignment and sent the completed product off by the end of the day.

On Friday, I was grateful for:
- Completing my office work for the week
- A working computer and internet connection
- A warm, sunny day
- Phone calls from my aunt and cousin
- Video chatting with my daughter

I didn't make a to do list for Friday.  I washed the dishes, wiped the kitchen counters, and put away the laundry from Thursday, but I didn't sweep and mop the kitchen floor or remake my daughter's bed.
Saturday's To Do List:

- Remake daughter's bed
- Sweep and mop kitchen
- Paperwork
- Dust - living room, dining area, family room
- Decorate for fall
- Vacuum if I feel up to it; otherwise, do it on Sunday

How was your Friday?  What have you planned for Saturday and the weekend?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

61 in 22!

Calendar Page

Can you guess what the post heading means?  I'll give you a hint:  the 22 refers to the number of days from today.  :)

Today, our day time high was in the triple digits:

100F in the Shade
This was taken in the shade, near my back steps.  It was hotter (105F) in the sunshine.  Inside the house, however, it was much cooler and quite comfortable:

74F Inside the House

Today's to do list includes the two items I didn't do yesterday:

- Put away serving dishes in bottom of china cabinet/tidy bottom cabinet - DONE
- Take inventory of papergoods for almsgiving - DONE (I was right; needed napkins)
- Put away washed dishes - DONE
- Put away dried laundry - DONE
- Do another load of laundry - DONE
- Go to pharmacy to inquire about medication refills - DONE (One will be ready only tomorrow; need to call the doctor on the other)
- Call the doctor's office re. prescription refill - DONE
- Go to dollar store next to pharmacy for paper napkins and quart sized freezer bags - DONE
- Office work - DONE
- Wipe kitchen counters - DONE
- Sweep/mop kitchen
- Remake daughter's bed once her sheets are dry

Today, I went to the pharmacy to find out what was happening with my medications as, earlier in the week, they said they couldn't process the refill for the antibiotics on the day they received it because insurance said it was too soon and that they hadn't received the authorization from the doctor's office for the other medication.  They repeated the same thing about it being too soon to fill the prescription for the antibiotics today, too, but I questioned how it could be when the antibiotics had been 14 pills to be taken 2 per day for 7 days and the first prescription was filled on October 10th.  So, the pharmacist tried to put through the request for antibiotics today while I was there and, I guess it went through, because she said it will be ready, tomorrow.  But I was told to call the doctor's office about the other medication because they haven't received the authorization; I believe that because I know how this doctor's office works.  So, when I came home, I called the doctor's office to tell them that the pharmacy hadn't received the authorization.  I'll check with the pharmacy again, tomorrow, and won't be surprised if I need to call the doctor's office again.

While I was out and about, I stepped into the dollar store located next to the pharmacy to pick up a packet of white paper napkins (for the December almsgiving; I use cloth napkins, too, but paper napkins come in useful, as well) and two boxes of quart size freezer bags as I was out of them (my last box was used up after the prayer gathering dinner). 

I also put away the last of the serving dishes and tidied the bottom of the china cabinet where I store these serving dishes.  According to my daughter and my friend who often helps me with the prayer gathering and almsgiving, I am the only one who knows how to put things away so that everything fits in this cabinet!  LOL.

As part of my tidying the cabinet, I pulled out a set of 8 placemats that I had stored in the cabinet:

Mother's Souvenir Placemats

They had been my mother's.  She had bought them as a souvenir when she visited the Philippines as part of a cruise to Japan and back in 1959.  My parents, three of my half brothers, and myself, then aged 3+, had gone on that cruise.  There were many ports of call en route, including Singapore, Burma, South Vietnam, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Japan, of course.  My parents brought back a lot of souvenirs from that trip.  My mother got rid of most of them before we emigrated, but kept these placemats, made of pineapple leaf fibers, and brought them with her.  I don't know why she chose to keep and bring these particular items, but the fact that she did makes it hard for me to get rid of them.  I don't use them, though, and this is at least the second or third time I've pulled them out, wondering if the time was right to toss them.  I still don't know if I am ready to part with them or not.

By the way, I collected two souvenirs on that trip, all by myself!  I picked up two small stones from the garden of one of the temples in Japan and insisted on bringing them back home with me!  :D  I had them until I was 17 and decluttered my belongings before emigrating.  I remember there was a box full of papers too - brochures, ticket stubs, menus, railway time-tables, etc. - from that trip and the places we visited.  I tossed them all before I left Sri Lanka.  The only items I kept were a couple of bookmarks and some photographs, including this one of me with my mother:

Mother and I

On the back, my father (I find it hard to imagine my father inscribing the back of photographs, but it looks like his writing and it's not my mother's handwriting) had written:

Back of Photograph

I wonder if this was where I picked up my two souvenir stones?  I have a page in my baby book, written by my mother, describing the trip, but there is no mention of the stones.

Baby Book Description of Trip to Japan

Today, I am grateful for:
- Souvenirs
- Memories
- Old photographs
- Inscriptions on the backs of photographs
- My baby book

Today, in the evening, I video chatted with my daughter and had a phone call from one of my aunts.  My mother had mentioned, in the description she wrote about the trip to Japan, that this aunt was one of the family members who was waiting to welcome us back upon our return from the trip.  I mentioned it to my aunt when she called today and I could tell that she was quite touched by it.    

OK, so have you figured out the 61 in the title?

I shall be celebrating my 61st birthday in 22 days from today!  :D 

When I turned 59, I wanted to do 59 things that made me happy - such as having fresh flowers in the house, spending an hour crafting, etc.  They were going to be 59 gifts to myself.  Then, I found out that I had cancer and all those good intentions fell by the way side.  When I turned 60, my only focus was on recovery.  I didn't know if I would even live to see my 61st birthday.  But now, here I am, going to be 61 in 22 days!  Not sure what I want to do for the countdown, though.  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Mid-Week Catch Up!

21 Bags of Donations Waiting for Pick Up

Early Monday morning, around 3:30 a.m., I woke up to the sound of rain falling outside my window!  A steady drip-drip.  At first, I couldn't believe it was rain I was hearing, so I got out of bed, walked over to the family room and looked out the sliding glass door.  The back porch light revealed that it was, indeed, raining!  Not a very heavy rain, but a steady shower.  Enough to wet the ground.  It was still raining when I fell back asleep just after 3:45 a.m., but had stopped when I woke up later in the morning.  We needed that rain so much, especially since the temperatures are back up in the 90s, this week (tomorrow's highs are supposed to be in the triple digits). 

Monday afternoon, my daughter went back to Berkeley.  I sent her back with one of the 10 lb. bags of sugar I had bought last week and lots of leftovers from the prayer gathering dinner.  I put away a few more items and took the trash cans to the curb, but for the most part, I rested.  I was having some problems with my asthma flaring up, so, took it easy.

Tuesday, my nextdoor neighbor called and came over for a visit.  I sent her home with the rest of the pineapple pie.  She laughed and said I was always giving her food.

I also called my doctor's office to request a refill on the antibiotics, as my sinus infection hasn't cleared, yet.  I was told that the doctor will want to see me if the infection doesn't clear after the second round of antibiotics.  Between the sinus infection and the asthma flare up, I decided to take it easy and did the minimum. 

Salvation Army called, too, on Tuesday morning, to remind me that I had scheduled a pick up for today (Wednesday).  So, last night, I kept all the bags ready at the door for pick up in the morning.

This morning, they came and collected the donations.  I had told them 15 bags when I called to schedule the pick up and that's what they put on the receipt.  But I actually had 21 bags, because I found a few more items to add to the donations.  They didn't mind having to carry 6 additional bags of stuff to the truck.

The two young men who came to collect the donations were funny!  I had piled some of the bags on the sofa, as can be seen in the picture, and they pretended to lift and carry out the sofa along with the bags!  LOL.  I told them I'll be getting rid of the sofa set eventually, but not today!

My living room sofas are 20 years old and need replacing, but that's for another day!  I am well aware of how these things go - once the old sofas are replaced, the shabby drapes will need replacing and then the walls will appear even more in need of a coat of paint and so on and so forth!  I am not well enough yet, to do any major redecorating.  So, "shabby chic" shall be my decor for another year, or so. 

I have been working on office stuff for the most part, today.  In between, I did a load of laundry and ironed one square table cloth; over the years, I've found that it is best ironed while still quite damp. 

Wednesday's To Do List:

- Office work - In Progress
- Donations pick up - DONE
- Load of laundry - DONE
- Iron table cloth - DONE
- Empty dish drainer/put away dishes - DONE
- Put away big rice cooker
- Put away big serving dishes in bottom of china cabinet/tidy bottom of china cabinet
- Take stock of items (paper goods, etc.) needed for the December almsgiving (I think all I need are some white paper napkins)
- Watch tonight's debate.

Today, I am grateful for:
- The donations being picked up
- Being able to donate more than what I said I would
- Being able to work from home
- Sunshine and warm weather
- Leftovers!

How is your week coming along?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Remembering Mother


Today would have been my mother's 96th birthday, had she lived.

The picture above was taken when she was 70.  I'd love to look like that when I am 70!  I still remember the time when I had to take her to Urgent Care for some reason when she was in her early 80s and the doctor on duty came into the room, looked at her, apologized saying he was in the wrong room and went back out...only to come back a minute later, looking rather bemused, apologizing again for having made a mistake!  He said the chart said an 82 year old woman and my mother didn't look anything like what he expected an 82 year old woman to look!  :D 

I like this picture of her.  It was taken during a happy time in her life.  Just after she had achieved her long-time ambition of seeing her daughter married, but before that marriage disintegrated.  It was a good time.  But then, with my mother, every day was a good day.  She believed in living each day to the fullest.  That was one of the many things she taught me.  

Monday, October 17, 2016

Easy Gelatin Dessert

This is a recipe one of my cousins shared with me, many years ago.  I don't know where she learned of it.  It is one of the easiest desserts to make and one which can be varied depending on the flavor of gelatin that is chosen.

I made it for the prayer meeting, using raspberry flavored gelatin, since it is one of my daughter's favorite flavors.  I prefer it made with lime flavored gelatin, both for the taste and the color!

Step 1:  Make the gelatin according to the instructions on the box (mix with 1 cup of boiling water and then, add 1 cup of cold water); refrigerate until set.  One can do this in the morning of the day if the dessert isn't needed until later that day.  I chose to do it a day or so early, as it was easier for me - one less thing to do on a busy morning.

Raspberry Gelatin

Step 2:  Spoon the set gelatin into a blender and blend for a few seconds; then, add a can of sweetened condensed milk and blend!

Gelatin and Condensed Milk

Step 3:  Pour the resulting mixture into a mold or serving dish.  I poured it into my Bundt cake pan:

Gelatin Mixture in the Mold

The mixture will already be rather "gloppy" (nice, descriptive term, isn't it?); refrigerate it until needed.

When it was time to serve the desserts, I placed a plate over the Bundt pan and turned the whole thing up-side-down to un-mold the dessert on to the plate.  Then, I filled the middle with some blackberries and placed more blackberries around the base of the gelatin to decorate it.  If I had raspberries, I'd have used them, instead, but the store I went to buy the fruits didn't have raspberries.

I'm sorry, but I didn't remember to take a picture of the finished dessert before it was served.  But I took a picture of some that I served to a bowl, today:

Raspberry/Blackberry Gelatin Dessert

If you can get past the neon pink color, it is a light, refreshing dessert.  :)

I have also made this dessert with orange flavored gelatin and used canned mandarin orange segments to decorate it.  And, as I mentioned earlier, the lime flavored version is my favorite.

I've had a similar version of flavored gelatin mixed with cottage cheese, which was served as a salad at a luncheon I attended.  I suppose one could use yogurt or sour cream, as well. 

Have you had a similar gelatin dessert (or salad)?  Is it something you might consider making?  What are some of your easy desserts?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Prayer Gathering

The Altar

Yesterday's prayer gathering went off very well.  I cleaned the house in the morning and picked up my friend in the afternoon.  She helped to make the salad and assembled the fruit platter, while my daughter cooked the cocktail sausages and I cooked the garbanzo beans, lentils, and rice.  My other friend, who made the fish curry and meat curry for me, came over around 7:30 p.m. with the food she had prepared.  The other participants arrived later.  There were a couple of last minute calls from people saying they will not be able to attend (and a couple of people never bothered to call to let me know they were not attending).  We were about 15 people when we sat down to say the prayers.

The cocktail sausages and sauted garbanzo beans were served as snacks when guests arrived.  A dish of each was set on the coffee tables in the living room and family room, so guests could help themselves.  The various drinks were set up in the family room.  All the prepared food was kept in the kitchen or on the table in the family room until after the prayers were said.

Once the prayers were over, my daughter, cousins, and friends helped me to place the food on the dining table:  basmati rice, honey-sesame chicken, beef curry, fish curry, green beans curry, salad of hard boiled egg halves placed on a bed of sliced cucumber, tomato, and red onions and lentil curry.  There was tomato chutney, as well, but I didn't have the papadums I had earlier planned to serve, because I got too tired to fry them. 

There were one or two comments on earlier posts about the variety of food items I was planning to serve.  This is how my mother entertained and this is how I learned to entertain: a variety of dishes, a choice of meats (some won't eat beef, some won't eat pork, others won't eat chicken), enough vegetarian dishes, and plenty of everything! 

The dinner was served buffet style; one or two of the aunts and uncles sat at the table to eat; the rest of us sat around in the living room and family room.

Afterwards, the desserts were brought to the coffee table in the living room: my friend brought a pecan pie and a pineapple pie, one of my cousins brought a pumpkin cheesecake, my daughter helped me make the gelatin dessert, and my friend assembled the fresh fruits platter (grapes, strawberries, and blackberries).  Usually I love cheesecake and pies, but sadly, they still don't taste so good to me.  I persuaded my cousin to take the remainder of the cheesecake home with her, since my daughter doesn't like cheesecake. 

Most of the guests left shortly after 10:30 p.m.; some of them had an hour-long drive home.  Two of my friends stayed behind to help put away the food and wash the dishes.  Actually, they and my daughter did most of the cleaning up.  I was too tired by then to do much.  It was a lot of work to prepare for the prayer gathering, but I did it in memory of my mother, who would have turned 96, this week, had she lived.

Today, I woke up feeling tired, so I took it easy and rested.  I put away one or two of the washed items, washed the stem glasses, and did a load of laundry.  One of my neighbors called to check on me and later, I called my friend who came to help me with the preparations, yesterday, to check on her and thank her for her help.

Later in the evening, my daughter's toilet flush stopped working!  I called one of my neighbors across the street; he came over and said I needed a fill valve and offered to get one from the hardware store nearby.  I gave him the money for the part and he replaced the whole thing for me.  Have I mentioned that I am blessed with good neighbors?

One of my daughter's friends dropped by to see her this afternoon and we sent a container of the honey sesame chicken and some of the pineapple pie home with him.  I will take more of the pie to my neighbor, too, tomorrow.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- A good prayer gathering and get together
- Being well enough to host the prayer gathering
- All the help I received from friends and family at yesterday's prayer gathering
- Helpful neighbors
- Spending the day relaxing at home with my daughter

How was your weekend?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Saturday's To Do List - 4 O'Clock Update!

Roses from the Garden

Saturday's To Do List:

- Put away washed dishes
- Take the big pans to the garage
- Dust living room
- Finish dusting family room (including cleaning ceiling fan)
- Clean the bathroom
- Vacuum
- Remove the sofa dust sheets
- Set out guest towels in bathrooms*
- Put the table cloths on the tables*

- Make the rest of the gelatin dessert
- Cook the sauted garbanzo beans
- Cook the lentil curry
- Cook the cocktail sausages
- Hard boil the eggs and peel
- Make the salad*
- Assemble the fruit platter*
- Cook the rice

- Pick up my friend
- Grocery store for soy sauce, a bag of ice, a bouquet of flowers
- Set up the altar
- Take out serving dishes*

My gardener friend brought me flowers from his garden and I cut one or two roses from my garden so I don't have to buy anymore flowers.  :)

All the cleaning has been done; only the cooking is left.  I didn't want to cook too early; I don't have room in the fridge to store all the cooked food.

* 6:45 p.m. update.  I kind of ran out of steam a little after 6:00 p.m. so daughter had me sit down and made me a cup of tea.  So, we've been taking an extended tea break.  Will do the final bits and then, rest until the guests arrive.