Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Errands and Groceries on Tuesday

It was another chilly morning, today, and I finally turned on the heater!  What I have is a natural gas wall heater, not central heating.  It is set into the wall between the living room and the passage way that leads to the bedrooms, with one side facing the living room and the other side opening to the passage way:

Heater - Living Room Side
Since the house is open plan, the heat diffuses from the living room and passage way to the other rooms (there is no fan to circulate the warm air).  When the heater is on, the living room is the warmest room, the family room and bedrooms are always cooler, and daughter's corner bedroom, with two outside walls, is the coldest!

This morning, I sat in the living room, in front of the heater, until both the house and I warmed up!  There was a call from my oncologist's clinic as they needed to reschedule my appointment, because the doctor will be out due to the holidays.  They also raised the issue of my insurance coverage as my former coverage as an employee has ended; the new coverage as a retiree is supposed to have gone into effect as of November 1, but I haven't received any information about it, including a card or member number.  I will give them another week or so and then, call to find out what is happening.  In the meantime, the oncologist appointment has been rescheduled for early December and, I might need to call and reschedule the podiatrist appointment to December, too.  I am not too bothered by this as both these appointments are follow-up appointments, but, I can't go without evidence of medical insurance coverage for too much longer! 

After having a slice of cold pizza for brunch, I drove downtown to my former office.  I had received an email stating that my unused vacation time (and part of my unused sick time) pay out check was ready for pick up.  Since I no longer had my parking permit, I parked in a public parking structure and walked the few blocks to the office.  It didn't take long to sign for and collect my check; I didn't linger to visit former colleagues as the parking meter was running! 

On the way home, I stopped to put gas to the car.  I had half a tank of gas when I left to go downtown and the gas level had gone down a little bit below half a tank by the time I came back.  I like to keep the tank at least half full, just in case there is an emergency, such as a fire or an earthquake, and I need to evacuate.  After hearing the news stories about all the people who were trying to put gas during the fire evacuations and gas stations being unable to operate due to lack of electricity, I know having a tank full of gas is important.  Gas was $3.49/gal. and I put $34 worth of gas to fill the rest of the tank.    The last time I put gas to the car was on October 12, when gas was $3.65/gal. and I put $40 worth of gas.  At the time, I had hoped that the tank of gas would last me for two weeks, instead, it lasted me a whole month!  For now, I will keep the budget for gas at $100/month (it used to be $200/month when I was working).  But, maybe, from January, 2019, I might be able to reduce it even more. 

Then, I went to the bank to deposit my check.

After that, I went to the grocery store for a few items.  I didn't take a photo, today, but I bought:

1 gallon milk = $2.99
1 box pancake mix = $1.99
3 lb. bag clementines = $3.99
Bananas @$.59/lb = $.62
Total = $9.59

11/13 Grocery Receipt
The clementines are a little treat for my daughter who loves them.

November grocery budget = $100
Spent to date = $20 + $6.47 + $19.86 + $1.50* + $9.59 = $57.42
Balance left in the budget = $42.58
* $1.50 for the loaf of bread I bought on 11/11

While I was at the grocery store, I did a little price checking.  Since daughter was able to find pure almond extract (1 fl. oz.) at the dollar store, I wanted to see how much they cost at the grocery store. 

Brand Name Extracts and Flavors

They didn't have the name brand almond extract, but they had the store brand:

Store Brand Almond Extract
$6.00 for a 2 fl. oz. bottle, which comes to $3.50 for 1 fl. oz.  More than 3 times what my daughter paid for the 1 fl. oz. bottles she found!

I also saw this can of apple pie filling, regular price of $3.69; on sale now for $2.99.  A bargain!  Except, I bought a similar can (same brand, but the label on the can I bought said "Wilderness" and not "Comstock") for $1 at the dollar store! 

Canned Apple Pie Filling
When I see price variations like that, I feel like buying the entire stock of the items I find at the dollar stores!  LOL! 

By then, it was 4:00 p.m. and I was getting hungry.  It had been several hours since I had my slice of pizza for brunch!  I was craving a hamburger, so I bought one for $1.78 (with tax), on the way home; came home and ate my hamburger and drank a cup of tea. 

Then, I returned phone calls I had missed because I had been out all afternoon. 

Dinner was a bowl of soup and a slice of toast.  Later, I video chatted with my daughter, who was feeling a little achy after her flu shot, yesterday. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- The pay out check
- Being able to put it into savings
- A working heater
- Bargains at the dollar store
- Phone calls from family and friends

I haven't posted any To Do Lists, lately, and it is starting to show!  Time to start posting them, again!  Posting them keeps me accountable!

Wednesday's To Do List:
- Do the dishes
- Clear the kitchen counters
- Water the indoor plants
- Tidy the family room
- Change bed sheets and chair covers
- Do laundry
- Renew or return my library books

There is some shopping to be done, too, but, my daughter asked me to wait until she comes home, because she, too, wants to go shopping! 

How was your Tuesday? 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Chilly on Monday

It is starting to get a bit chilly, here!  I haven't turned on the heater, yet, and this was the temperature inside the house when I woke up this morning:

Brr!
The afternoons are still nice and warm, in the mid 70s, but the mornings and evenings are chilly.   I have been bundling up in sweaters and shawls (I am currently wearing a blouse, a sweater, a cardigan, and a shawl) but I think the heater will be turned on, this week, probably when my daughter comes home on Thursday. 

I spent a quiet day at home, today.  I seem to have pinched a nerve in my hip, because there was a pain.  I tell you, you celebrate a birthday one day and the next day, your body lets you know it's a whole year older!  LOL!   I rubbed some Tiger Balm, which is a pain relieving ointment, and the pain went away, eventually.  But, I made it an excuse to take it easy, today.  I played on the computer for the most part, although, I did scrub the bathtub, took the trash cans to the curb, and watered the front garden.

Today, too, there were several phone calls from family and friends.  Later, in the evening, I called friend R to check on her and offered to bring her some soup I made for dinner, but she said she felt better and had some soup that she had made.

Chicken and vegetable soup
I made a chicken and vegetable soup, from the bones of the roast chicken I had made for the prayer gathering, with onions, tomatoes, carrots, and green beans.  Breakfast had been a corned beef sandwich, lunch had been a tuna sandwich, and soup for dinner.  There's enough leftover for several more meals. 

Afterwards, I baked some pastries for dessert:

Raspberry Filled Puff Pastry
I used frozen puff pastry to bake the shells, then, filled them with fresh raspberries with a little melted raspberry jam poured over them.  I sprinkled them with a little sugar, too.  Powdered sugar would have been pretty, but I don't have any powdered sugar on hand. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Warm, woolen sweaters and shawls
- Sunny, warm afternoons
- A relaxed day
- Phone calls from family and friends
- It's cool enough to turn on the oven to bake, again (after a summer of not using the oven)

How was your Monday?  How cold does it have to get inside your house for you to turn on the heater? 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

November 11

On November 11, 1918, at 11:00 a.m., a declaration of armistice, a formal agreement to stop fighting, was signed, to end what was then known as the Great War, which we now call World War I.  Apparently, the day and the time were selected because of the saying, "at the eleventh hour", which means "at the very last possible minute".  I suppose it seemed appropriate that the armistice should be signed on the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour.   At the time, it was called Armistice Day.  Eventually, it came to be known as Veterans Day in the United States and Remembrance Day in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth countries.  It is also known, informally, as Poppy Day, after the poem, "In Flanders Field" by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, which refers to the red poppies growing on the graves of fallen soldiers.  Today, we commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the signing of armistice.

November 11 has another significance to me.  It is my birthday!  And because I was born on Poppy Day, my mother selected a name for me that paid tribute to those special flowers. 

Last night, daughter and I video chatted and she insisted on staying on until midnight so she could sing Happy Birthday to me!  LOL! 

This morning, I woke up to the sound of the phone ringing - Aunt C, calling to wish me a Happy Birthday!  The phone rang all day, with family and friends calling to wish me.  There have been emails, too, and several of you have posted well wishes, too.  Thank you.  I have felt much love and I know I am truly blessed.

At noon, one of my long time friends and I video chatted, which was one of the highlights of my day! 

Friend R and I had planned to go out to lunch, today, to celebrate my birthday, but she called me in the morning to say she wasn't feeling well.  We decided to postpone the lunch date for another day. 

Instead, I treated myself to a pizza!

Pepperoni Pizza
My favorite pepperoni pizza!  $5.48 with tax for a large pizza.  I had two slices for lunch and another slice for dinner!

I also bought a loaf of my favorite bread from the nearby Armenian store.  They've been out of that particular bread on recent visits, so I was happy to see they had some available, today.  I said so to the cashier and she said it was my lucky day!  I told her that's good because it is my birthday!  LOL.  I had two slices of the bread with my afternoon cup of tea. 

In the meantime, my daughter went shopping at the dollar store and bought, among other items, brand name pure almond extract (lower right in the photo):

Daughter's Groceries
She sent me the photograph of what she had bought and I sent her right back out to buy some almond extract for me, too!  LOL!  I haven't seen them at my dollar store and they cost more than $1.00 at the grocery store!  Each bottle is under the amount of liquid allowed in carry on luggage, so she'll be able to bring them with her.

The air quality was much better, today.  But, after going out to buy the bread and pizza, I decided to wait at least one more day before I resume my walks, as we are still under an air quality advisory. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Living to see my 63rd birthday
- All the well wishes from family and friends
- Being able to video chat with my friend
- Better air quality
- Warm sweaters and knitted blankets!

How was your Sunday?  Do you have a holiday, tomorrow?  If so, what have you planned for tomorrow?

Smoky Saturday

Saturday morning, my daughter's phone call woke me up.  She apologized for waking me up, but she was getting ready to go out to see a musical ("Waitress") and have lunch with a friend, and I had asked her to call me when she was leaving. 

After her phone call, I got up and had a cup of coffee.  Then, I opened a window to air out the house and I could smell smoke in the air!  It looked so hazy, outside, and the smell of smoke was so strong, that I went out into the garden to see if there was a new fire, close by, but there wasn't.  It was just the smoke from the other fires that had destroyed all those homes, already.  Apparently, the wind directions changed over night and we had an on-shore wind, which brought cooler temperatures but also blew all the smoke from the fires, inland, into the valleys and even, downtown.  The  air quality was so bad that  I couldn't stay outside for any time, at all, because I felt I couldn't breathe!  I came inside and closed the window I had opened, earlier, as I didn't want to trigger my asthma.

I spent a very quiet day, because I didn't feel like doing much.  I put away the washed dishes, played on the computer, watched cooking shows on TV, and relaxed.  I had a banana for breakfast, cheese toast for lunch, and a turkey pot pie from the freezer for dinner.  Pitted dates for dessert, as they satisfy my sweet tooth!

Aunt T called in the evening, when I was making a cup of tea, and I spoke with her for a bit.  Shortly after that, daughter called to say she was back from the show and lunch.  Still later, friend R called and we chatted for a bit. 

Later in the evening, daughter and I video chatted.  She said the air quality up there is bad, too, because of all the smoke from the northern California fires! 

Today, I am grateful for:
- No new fires
- Firefighters
- Being able to stay indoors during bad air quality days
- Daughter enjoyed a fun afternoon out with her friend and came home safely
- Phone calls and emails from family and friends

How was your Saturday?  

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Windfalls

Pomegranates and Oranges
On Thursday, the winds known as the Santa Ana winds blew all day.  Hot, dry winds from the desert, blowing 20 to 40 miles an hour.  They fanned the brush fires that continue to burn, tonight, as I write this.  They also blew down some of the fruit from my orange tree and my pomegranate tree.  I collected the windfalls, on Friday.  I was very glad that I had had the eucalyptus tree pruned, earlier, in July.

I'm afraid I spent most of Thursday and Friday watching news as coverage of Wednesday night's shooting deaths gave way to the fires that were burning out of control.  In between, however, I did a load of laundry, cooked the salmon I had bought, ran the dishwasher and washed some dishes by hand, watered the garden, had friend M prune one of the curry leaf trees when he came to do the garden, did some decluttering, checked with aunt C (her son lives in one of the areas that was threatened by the fire, at one time, but he's OK, she said), spoke on the phone with friend R and neighbor T, video chatted with my daughter, and had someone come out to check on a leaking sprinkler valve.

Today, I am grateful for:
- My daughter
- My home
- Being alive
- Windfalls
- The eucalyptus tree was pruned

What are your plans for the weekend? 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

When Words Fail

I was writing an email to a friend, prior to doing a post, last night, when the TV program I had running in the background was interrupted with a "Breaking News" item about an active shooting in progress at a bar and grill restaurant in a nearby city.  It was, apparently, college-night at the bar and grill and the place was full of young, college-aged kids who were enjoying an evening out when the shooting occurred.  I kept picturing my daughter, out with her friends to have dinner as she does, sometimes, and my heart ached for the parents and families of the victims.  I finished the email to my friend, but after that, any post I wanted to write seemed too trivial. 

So, what does one say?  It's not often when words fail me, but, all the platitudes that are said under similar situations seem so banal.  Thoughts and prayers seem inadequate.  But, under the circumstances, thoughts and prayers are all that I can offer.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

November Grocery Shopping - Week 1

11/5 Groceries

I went to the dollar store, on Monday, to see if they had the scarves that daughter had found in her dollar store up there, but they didn't have them at this dollar store, here.  Instead, I picked up some groceries:

1 container of 4 assorted lettuce = $1.00
1 bottle salad dressing = $1.00
1 jar minced garlic = $1.00
1 box cheese crackers = $1.00
1 loaf multigrain bread = $1.00
4 cans mackerel in brine @$1 = $4.00
1 can pork & beans = $1.00
3 packages of 4 cans of tuna in water @$1.99/4 pack = $6.00
2 cans apple pie filling @$1 = $2.00
1 package cookies = $1.00
1 package rice cakes = $1.00
Total = $20.00

The single cans of tuna were $.99 each, but the 4 packs at $1.99 comes out to $.50 per can!  There were three such 4 packs and I bought all three.

In addition, I also bought two packages of nail polish for my daughter:

Nail Polish
Each package contained seven bottles of nail polish for $2.99 per package.  Daughter is on a nail polish kick, lately, and I foresee a manicure session in my future, when she comes down for a visit!

With the nail polish and the tax on them (no tax on food items), my total came to $26.52.

11/5 Receipt
But the nail polish is not from the grocery budget.  The total for groceries came to $20.00.

Then, today (Tuesday), I did the rest of my grocery shopping.  I went to two stores.  At the first store, I bought:

11/6 Groceries: Store 1
1 bag (12 oz) frozen green peas = $1.00
1 container flavored coffee creamer = $2.49
1 container salad dressing = $.99
1 container (12 oz) raspberries = $1.99
Total = $6.47

I also bought 3 bags of cat food @$8.99 = $26.97 (plus $2.56) = $29.53; the cat food, is not part of the grocery budget, however.

11/6 Receipt, Store 1
Later in the afternoon, I went to the Armenian store, mainly to buy the salmon steaks which were on this week's special of $4.99/lb.  I bought six salmon steaks, to share with my daughter who will be visiting later, this month.  I will cook and freeze them, so she can take some of them back with her. 

11/6 Groceries: Store 2
I bought:
3 persimmons @ $.99/lb = $1.44
1 cucumber = $.50
4 bananas @ $.49/lb = $.65
2+ lbs. green grapes @$.49/lb = $1.13
6 salmon steaks (3+lbs) @$4.99/lb = $16.14
Total = $19.86

11/6 Receipt: Store 2
Cousin P went to the Armenian store with me as she wanted to pick up a few items, as well.  So, I was able to combine grocery shopping with a little family time, as well, which was nice.

As I mentioned, my daughter will be coming down for about 10 days over Thanksgiving, so I have increased the grocery budget for November to $100.

November grocery budget = $100
Spent to date = $20 + $6.47 + $19.86 = $46.33
Balance left in the budget = $53.67

How is your November grocery budget coming along?  Have you been finding good sales with Thanksgiving specials?