Sunday, June 24, 2018

Sunday - Daughter Leaves Again

Daughter and I spent a quiet, relaxed morning, enjoying each others company.  After breakfast, she packed the food leftovers I was giving her to take back with her - the rest of the Thai drunken noodles, a piece of the baked chicken breast, some of the potato wedges and some of the leftover salad from last night's dinner, etc.

One or two people have asked me about how she takes the food back with her.  We just pack it in plastic food containers and zippered plastic bags.  If I put something in a container, I put the whole container in a plastic bag, too, just in case.  If it is in a zippered plastic bag, then, I double bag it.  She carries the food in her carry on luggage, mostly because, that's all she has; she doesn't take any checked luggage.  She is allowed to carry cooked and fresh food with her as long as there is no liquid.  If I send curry with her, then, I freeze it before hand, and it remains frozen for the duration.  However, she isn't able to take any peanut butter in her carry on luggage, even if it is in an unopened sealed jar, because that is considered "liquid".  That would have to be in checked luggage.

I dropped her off at the airport just after noon, as she needed to be at the airport an hour before boarding.  But, after she got to the airport and had checked in, etc., they announced that her flight had been delayed.  They didn't board until 2:00 p.m. and then, there was a delay in deplaning at the other end!  She called me once she had disembarked and it was around 4:00 p.m.  By the time she took the subway to Berkeley and walked from the station to her apartment, it was 5:00 p.m.  Since I sent food home with her, she won't have to cook tonight and there will be enough for her to take for her lunch, tomorrow. 

After I dropped her off at the airport, I came home and had lunch (leftover milkrice with the last of the meatball curry).  Then, I put away the laundry from yesterday and did another load, which I hung up to dry.  Then, I emptied the dishwasher and put away the other items I had washed by hand and kept in the dish drainer to dry overnight.  Later, I dozed a bit on the sofa, as I felt tired.  After tea, I took the trash out, watered the front garden, watered the house plants, and cleaned the litter box.  I also wrote out an updated list of medications and supplements I take and the dosages to take with me to the doctor's appointment, tomorrow (consultation for a colonoscopy).  I had a sandwich for dinner with yogurt for dessert, washed the last few dishes, and tidied up the kitchen, a bit. 

Friend R called and I spoke with her for a bit.  I also replied to my friend's email.  Later, daughter and I video chatted for a bit. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Daughter had a safe flight back, even if it was delayed a bit.
- She had a safe rest of the journey back to her apartment.
- I was able to send back some food with her for her dinner, tonight, and lunch, tomorrow.
- An afternoon nap
- What I was able to accomplish, today.

Monday's To Do List:
- Go to the office
- Make a photocopy of the list of medications
- Get driving directions to the clinic
- Go to the doctor's appointment
- Call the insurance/medical billing office re. the bill I received (which I thought was taken care of, earlier)
- Pharmacy to pick up refill
- Take the trash cans to the curb
- Water the back garden
- Put away the dried laundry from today
- Do another load of laundry
- Call aunt C
- Wish friend's daughter for her birthday

How was your Sunday?  What are your plans for tomorrow?

Dancer Says, "Hi"


Saturday's Accomplishments

Daughter and I spent a relaxed morning on Saturday.  I made milkrice for breakfast.  Later, I cleaned the kitchen - cleared and wiped the counters, swept and mopped the floor, and emptied the trash.  Then, I swept and mopped my bathroom and did a load of laundry.

In the afternoon, daughter and I went shopping again!  She needed more leggings, some black pants, and a new pair of sneakers.  She also bought a green t-shirt and some lilac colored fabric to make costumes to wear to the Anime Expo, next month.  While we were shopping for her stuff, I was able to buy myself two new pairs of black pants, as well; Danskin straight-leg pants, on sale for $9.00 a pair.  They are considered "active wear", but I think they'll be well suited for "casual wear", as well.  I suppose we can say that I am getting my retirement wardrobe ready!  I also bought more yarn to knit us more sweaters!  A bright blue for myself and a mint green for daughter.  

Four in One Cake


We bought this cake that is one-quarter chocolate cake, one quarter German chocolate cake, one quarter carrot cake and one quarter red velvet cake!  We sampled a small slice of each type with our tea!  Daughter liked the German chocolate cake, the best, followed by the other chocolate cake (she doesn't like cream cheese frosting, so found the carrot cake and red velvet cake to be a bit dry after she removed the frosting).  The rest of the cake will be frozen and kept for another occasion.

Dinner: Baked Chicken, Baked Potato Wedges, Salad
Daughter made her potato wedges for dinner, and doctored up two of the chicken breast halves I had cooked and frozen, earlier (she coated them with a glaze made of plum sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and ground black pepper and baked them again) and made a salad with lettuce, cucumber, carrot, peaches and strawberries: 

Salad

She'll take some of the leftovers with her when she leaves, tomorrow, so she won't have to cook dinner and there'll  be something for her to take for lunch, on Monday.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Spending the day in daughter's company
- More yarn for knitting!
- Daughter making dinner
- A fun shopping trip
- Cake for tea!

How was your Saturday?  What have you planned for Sunday?

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Clothes Shopping on Friday

Today, I woke up a little after 10:00 a.m., after having stayed up with Dancer until 4:00 a.m.  He threw up one more time, very late last night/very early this morning (a little after 3:00 a.m.).  Daughter had gone to sleep, but I was still up.  So, I cleaned it up and then, stayed up with him a little longer to keep an eye on him.  But he was fine after that and he hasn't thrown up, at all, today.  I've brushed him a couple of times, today, to remove as much loose fur as I could.  I tried giving him a pat of butter as that is supposed to help the fur balls pass through his system more easily, but he wouldn't eat the butter!  He very carefully ate the tuna around the bit of butter in his dish and left the butter intact!  Tomorrow, I might try mixing the butter with the tuna, but I don't know if he'll eat it that way (he wouldn't eat tuna in oil when I tried giving him that!).  I should get him some wheat grass as that will give him some added roughage to help him pass his hairballs.  

Daughter worked from home, again, today, including participating in a conference call in the afternoon.  I did a little bit of paperwork.  I received another bill from the same medical billing service for that earlier bill that the insurance people and I had dealt with in that three-way call, earlier!  I thought it was all taken care of, but apparently not!  I need to call them again, on Monday!  

Later, I did a load of laundry and did a load of dishes in the dishwasher.  Friend M came to do the garden, but I didn't have much gardening for him to do.  So, he watered the back garden, washed the back steps, removed cobwebs around the back door, and washed the sliding glass door for me!  He also found a wasps nest and knocked it down!  The wasps weren't happy and were flying around wondering what happened to their nest!  

Today, daughter and I went clothes shopping at the discount store near our house.  This is where we go for good bargains!  She found several tops, a couple of skirts, an anime T-shirt, and a couple of dresses - 9 items for just under $45, with tax.  I bought myself 3 blouses:

Grey/Floral Print Cowl Neck, $5.99
I wasn't sure about this grey/floral blouse, but daughter assured me it looked nice and urged me to buy it, so I did.  It will go with any of the black skirts and slacks I have, as well as my red skirts (the flowers have some red in them). 


Olive Green Top, $3.99
This and the blue one below are more my standard type of blouses I like to get!   If they had red, I would have bought a third blouse, but they didn't have red.  They had orange and two shades of pink, but I settled for the green and blue.  They will go with several of my skirts and pairs of slacks. 

Blue Blouse, $3.99

I bought this skirt thinking the blue blouse will go with it, nicely, but the skirt didn't suit me, when I brought it home and tried it on (the discount store doesn't allow you to try on clothes at the store).  However, daughter liked the skirt and it looked much better on her than it did on me, so I gave it to her!


Skirt, $5.99

My four items came to a little under $22, with tax.

Receipt

We stopped at the grocery store on the way back and daughter ran in and bought another half gallon of milk ($1.99) while I stayed in the car.  We had more of the leftovers for our dinner.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Dancer seems to be OK
- New clothes at discounted prices
- M did some cleaning for me
- Leftovers for dinner
- Having daughter home and being able to spend time with her

How was your Friday?  Do you have a favorite clothing store?   Do you have a favorite style of clothing?

Friday, June 22, 2018

Thursday: Summer Solstice!

Daughter worked from home today and I took a day of vacation.  I spent a relaxed morning, responding to comments and reading and commenting on other blogs.   I also received a call from the health insurance people, in response to my call regarding the bill I received from the surgeon's office, saying that the bill has been taken care of and no "patient action" was required.  I also received a call from the other clinic reminding me that I have a consultation scheduled for Monday afternoon with the other doctor.

Shortly after noon, daughter took a lunch break and we decided to order Thai food from our favorite local Thai restaurant.  They were a tiny little "hole in the wall" place with a few tables set outside when I first moved into this neighborhood, but they had the best beef fried rice, ever.  Over the years, they expanded their restaurant a little bit - now there is a roof overhang where the tables are placed, but they are still located in the same place and they still make some of the best Thai food, around!  We ordered some of our favorites over the phone and went to pick up the order.

Except, there's some road construction going on on my road, from neighbor T's house to the top of the lane.  Fortunately, the road in front of my house could be driven on, provided I could leave my driveway!

Yes, yet another construction vehicle blocking my driveway!

I spoke to one of the construction guys and he raised the skids so I could pull out of my drive way!  I don't know why he couldn't have parked with the skids raised, but, I guess it was easier for them to have the skids down.

Anyway, I was able to go with daughter to pick up our lunch:

Spicy Glass Noodle Salad, with chicken and shrimp
This glass noodles salad is one of my all time favorites!


Even spicier Drunken Noodles with chicken
This was daughter's choice as she likes this spicy dish.

Beef fried rice
And both our favorite - the beef fried rice (made without the addition of diced tomatoes at our request). 

These pictures were taken after daughter had served herself!  As you can see, the containers were still almost full!  We had leftovers for dinner and there's still enough for at least another couple of meals for us.

In the afternoon, daughter continued to work and I took a nap! 

Later, after we had tea, we went to the mall to do some shopping for shoes for us both to wear with our saris to the weddings and for a couple of outfits for daughter. 

I bought a pair of flat, gold colored shoes for myself:

My Shoes
I can no longer wear heels, so flats are a must for me.  They were originally priced at $30, but on sale for $20 (well, $19.99, but I always round that up to the next dollar. 

Daughter found a pair of high heeled strappy sandals:

Daughter's Shoes
They were originally priced $40, but were on sale for $15.00  Then, since the store had a "buy one get one 50% off" sale, her shoes were further reduced to just $7.50!  Altogether, I paid $30.10 for both pairs of shoes, including sales tax. 

Daughter's shoes
We came home to a Dancer who was throwing up!  He was trying to dislodge a hairball, I think, but instead, threw up his food!  Poor kitty was not feeling well at all, and was heaving and crying.  Daughter and I were both worried, but he recovered and is cuddled next to me on the sofa and purring as I type this.  I brushed him again, a little while ago - it's getting warmer now and he's shedding like crazy.  I'm giving him his hairball formula cat food, but still, hairballs are a fact of life for us!

Today, I am grateful for:
- Insurance called back saying the billing has been taken care of and I don't need to pay it
- Dancer seems to have recovered from his earlier distress
- Having daughter home, even if she has to work
- Being able to take some vacation time off to enjoy being home when daughter is home
- Afternoon naps!

How was your Thursday?  Did you do anything to celebrate the solstice?  Do you like Thai food? 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Wednesday: Retirement Counseling and Dim Sum

Daughter and I woke up fairly early, this morning and were out of the house a little after 6:20 a.m.  I had wanted to leave by 6:15 a.m., but, it took us a few minutes longer to actually leave.  But, that was OK.  The drive to downtown was not bad - traffic was fairly light, and I got to the parking garage just before 7:00 a.m.  Then, we walked the 2 1/2 blocks to the building where the counseling session was held. The counseling session went very well and we had all our questions answered.  I have changed my mind about when I will retire and have postponed it till the end of summer/beginning of fall.  I think this will work out best for me.  As a result, I didn't hand in any of the paperwork, yet.  I will be doing that, closer to the actual date.

Afterwards, daughter and I went to Chinatown to have dim sum.  Unfortunately, our favorite dim sum place had closed - they were in a mall and it looks like the entire mall's businesses had vacated; most probably, the mall will be torn down and something else built there - either a bigger mall or maybe housing.  So, we went to another restaurant, but their dim sum wasn't quite as good.  The other restaurant used to remind me of the dim sum restaurants I've been to in Hong Kong, where servers push carts filled with various dim sum items from table to table for the diners to select.   Still, we enjoyed some of our favorites:

Dim Sum Favorites
 
Char siu bao (steamed barbecue pork buns), pork shumai, and shrimp dumplings.  We also had some scallion pancakes (which we brought home because we couldn't finish it all):

Scallion Pancakes
And for dessert, we had sesame balls:

Sesame Balls

They have a sweet red bean filling, inside a chewy rice dough (mochi):

Sesame ball, cut open to show the red bean filling

On the way home, we stopped to get ice cream cones, as well, as a treat!

At first, we had thought of going shopping for shoes in the afternoon.  But I was too tired to go shopping and daughter was, too.  We both took naps after we came home! 

Later, I took off and washed the sheets I use to cover the family room sofas (to try to keep Dancer's fur off them) and used a lint roller to remove any fur that had still got on the sofas.  Then, covered them with the 2nd set of sheets I keep for the purpose.  Daughter applied the flea prevention medication to Dancer, because I was unable to do so, earlier.  We had leftovers for dinner and spent the evening just relaxing.  Tomorrow,  daughter will work from home and I will try to do some tidying (I took two days of vacation while daughter is home).  

Today, I am grateful for:
- A good, retirement counseling session
- Having all my questions answered
- Going out to lunch with daughter
- Afternoon naps
- All the help my former supervisor has given me

How was your day?  Do you like dim sum?  What are some of your favorite dim sum dishes?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Tuesday

This morning, on my way to work, there were several cars waiting for the light to change at an intersection and, when it changed, we all took off driving along a rather deserted stretch of road, at more or less the same speed, which might or might not have been the posted speed limit!  No body noticed the motorcycle police officer watching from the other side of the street, until he turned on his lights, did a U-turn and drew up behind the first car.  It was that driver's unlucky day and I am sure the rest of us thanked our lucky stars!

I had a busy day at the office.  Lots of little fires that needed putting out!  It didn't help that I got two projects mixed up in my mind and, as a result, there was some confusion about a document!  But my supervisor pointed out the fact that I had got the projects mixed up and so, that was sorted out!  I told him this is why I think it is time for me to retire!  But he was kind and told me that anyone could have made that mistake, that that is why two pairs of eyes are better than one.  I am so glad I had rescheduled my doctor's appointment that was scheduled for this afternoon!  Otherwise, I would have been very stressed trying to do everything and still make it to the appointment on time!

I also spoke to my immediate supervisor and the supervisor above him to inform them about a slight change to my retirement plans.  I will talk about that, more, later, in another post.  But for now, I will be taking some vacation time off, first, before I retire, so the retirement date has been pushed back, a bit.

Today's lunch salad:

6/19 Salad
I promise I am not showing the same picture of the same salad!  It's mostly the same ingredients, though, except, I used iceberg lettuce, today.  I had finished the "artisan" lettuce I had bought earlier.  I put their stems in a container of water to see if they will root.  The last time I tried that, the whole thing just rotted!  In addition to the salad, I had a roast beef cold cuts sandwich and some mini crackers.  I didn't eat the yogurt I had packed for breakfast; I had it for dessert, after dinner, instead.

I received a bill from the hospital for one of the surgeon's services from when I had my catheter port removed, saying they haven't been able to resolve the bill with the insurance and for me to either pay the bill or contact my insurance.  So I called the insurance and they say that it wasn't that they rejected the claim, they asked the hospital to submit the bill through the clinic, because that is how it works, since I belong to an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization).  They tried to call the hospital billing department while I was on hold but I guess the billing department was closed.  So, the insurance person said they'll try to call tomorrow and call me back with the information.  I will follow up with another call, if I don't hear from them, tomorrow.  Again, the bill is not for a large amount and I will definitely pay it if it is my responsibility to pay, but if the insurance can take care of it for me, then, that's better!

Daughter's original flight was cancelled, but she managed to catch an earlier flight, which worked out better.  I picked her up from the airport, we had dinner, and then, as usual on her first day home, she fell asleep on the sofa!  I've remade her bed with fresh sheets, washed today's dishes, and will be going to bed, shortly, myself.  Just need to sort through one or two documents for tomorrow's retirement counseling session before I do that.

Hopefully, I can fall asleep early, tonight.  I need to wake up early, tomorrow morning!  I want to leave the house by 6:15 a.m. to get to the counseling session in good time.  They start at 7:30 a.m. and I want to be there a few minutes before they start.  It'll take me about 15 minutes to walk from the parking garage to the building where the counseling session will be held.

Today, I am grateful for:
- It wasn't my turn to get pulled over, today!
- My getting my projects mixed up didn't have any consequences.
- My supervisors were agreeable to my change of plans.
- My daughter was able to get an earlier flight home.
- The insurance company will work with me to get the hospital bill sorted out.

How was your Tuesday?  Have there been occasions when you've thanked your lucky stars that it wasn't your day to be pulled over by a traffic officer?

Monday, June 18, 2018

June Grocery Shopping - Week 2

June Week 2 Groceries


This has been a weekend of grocery shopping!

On Saturday, I went to the dollar store after picking up my medication refills at the pharmacy, and bought 2 containers of low-fat yogurt (140 cal.) to try, since it was not a brand whose yogurts I've tried before (in fact, I didn't even know they made yogurt; I thought they only made butter, which I have bought!).  They were 2/$1 and turned out to be very good.

So, on Sunday, when I had to go to the pharmacy again, for another refill that was ready (I had asked about it on Saturday, because it was overdue!), I went to the dollar store again and picked up more yogurt!  Let's just say I stocked up, because I bought 12 containers!  With the dollar store, you can never be sure that they'll have a given item the next time you go; so, it's best to buy it when you see it.  The sell by date is at the end of July, and these yogurts will be eaten long before then!  I like them for breakfast with some granola type cereal or for a desert.  I also bought a box of mini multi-grain crackers to try.  The box says 17 mini crackers are a serving and have 70 calories.  I tried them and find them to be addictive! 

I also bought a few other items at the dollar store, including a packet of sponge cloths, but that is not in my grocery budget.

Dollar store grocery purchases:
2 containers of yogurt on Saturday @ $.50 = $1.00 (receipt not shown)
12 containers of yogurt @ $.50 = $6.00
1 jar plum sauce = $1.00
1 jar garlic salt = $1.00
1 jar dried basil leaves = $1.00
1 box mini multi-grain crackers = $1.00
Total = $11.00


Dollar Store Receipt


The garlic salt and basil leaves are for the baked potato wedges my daughter has said she will make for me when she comes to visit!

Then, since I needed milk, bread, and bananas (the bananas at the dollar store were too over-ripe for my taste) and wanted green beans if they were still on sale for $.99/lb. (better price than what I paid at the Armenian store, last week!), I went to the grocery store in the same mall.

I bought:
bananas @ $.59/lb = $.77
green beans @ $.99/lb = $.85
1/2 gal. milk = $1.99
1 loaf bread = $1.25

I should have stopped there, but, I also bought:
2 containers packed cold cuts (roast beef) @$2.50* = $5.00
1 package popped caramel flavored rice/corn cakes = $.99*
1 bag potato chips (sour cream and cheese flavor) = $1.99*
1 box crackers = $1.99*

Total = $14.83

* "Mix and Match" - buy 6 participating items/save $.50 per item; prices shown above are the sale prices I paid after buying 6 participating items

(My 6th mix and match item was a bag of cat food and I also bought 3 cans of tuna for Dancer, but those items are not part of the grocery budget.)

Grocery Store Receipt

As soon as I came home, I hid that bag of potato chips in the cabinet, so I am not tempted to eat it!  LOL!  I am eating the multi-grain crackers, instead, and counting them out so I have a serving of 17 crackers.  As I said earlier, they are very addictive, too!  I could easily eat half the box at a sitting, just mindlessly munching on them!

Then, today (Monday), I went to the Armenian store to buy the potatoes and one or two other items:

More Groceries (and for those who are still playing "Spot the Dancer", he came to inspect what I bought)
I bought:
10 lb bag of potatoes = $1.49
Mediterranean cucumbers @ $.49/lb = $.21
Peaches @ $.69/lb = $.41
1 papaya @$.49/lb = $1.31
Total = $3.42

I could have just bought the potatoes and not bought the other items, but that is a good price for papaya and not a bad price for peaches, and I enjoy those little cucumbers in my salads.  One is just enough for a salad and there is no waste, unlike the bigger cucumbers which are too much for just me and go soft before I can finish them. 

Total spent this week = $11.00 + $14.83 + $3.42 = $29.25

My June grocery budget = $75 - $16.21 overspent in May = $58.79
Total spent to date = $31.33 + $29.25 = $60.59
Balance left in June budget = $58.79 - $31.33 - $29.25 = - $1.79

Well, I did say this was going to be an interesting month when it came to my grocery budget, last week, didn't I?  Half-way into the month and I am already over budget!   I don't mind going over budget, though.  I have the luxury of adding to the grocery budget, if needed.  But I want to keep track of how much I am spending, so, will continue to show the negative amounts as I go.  This is partly so that I can see if I need to increase my grocery budget. 

I did a quick check of this year's grocery spending:


Month
 Budgeted $
 Spent $
 Carried Over $ (+/-)
 
 
 January
 75
 57.77
 17.23
 
 
 February
 75+17.23=92.23
 91.57
0.66
 
 
 March
 75 + 10 from gifts/misc.
 85.69
-0.69
 
 
 April
 75 - .69 = 74.31
 79.36
 -5.05
 
 
 May
 75 - 5 = 70
 86.21
 -16.21
 
 
 June 
 75 - 16.21 = 58.79
 60.59
 -1.79
 
 

Please ignore the two empty columns; this is a table format I had saved, which I copied and pasted.

I think it was the stocking up I did in May which has sent me over-budget.  But I am not too worried.  Being over budget by less than $2 almost midway through the year is not bad, is it? 

Brunch, today, was a roast beef cold cuts sandwich and 17 mini crackers!  I had a banana for a snack in the early evening, with my cup of tea.  For dinner, I made fried rice with the last bit of chicken left on the chicken breast half I had in the fridge, stripped off the bone and cut up, one rasher of bacon I had cooked and frozen, earlier, cut into small pieces, and some veggies - shredded cabbage, a grated carrot, a finely sliced stalk of celery, and some finely sliced green beans.  Added an egg to it as it cooked and finished it off with a handful of roasted peanuts.  Grapes for dessert.

Fried Rice
There's enough fried rice leftover for tomorrow night's dinner, with the last of the meatball curry, to share with daughter.

Tomorrow's lunch will be a cold cuts sandwich and a salad, with a banana for dessert and some of the mini crackers for a snack.  Dinner, tomorrow, will be leftover fried rice and meatball curry.

Wednesday, daughter and I will go out to lunch after the retirement counseling session.  We are planning to go to Chinatown for dim sum.  Or, if I am too tired and wrung out after the counseling session, we might go to Little Tokyo and have some lunch there.  Dinner might be the potato wedges daughter wants to make with maybe some baked chicken breasts from the freezer and salad.

Thursday's lunch might be sandwiches and dinner might be fish cooked with onions and tomatoes, served with rice or potatoes, and either vegetables or salad.

Not sure about Friday - I might get us some Thai food for lunch and there'll be leftovers for dinner.

It's not exactly meal planning, but it works for me. 

Today, I had the day off from work, so, slept in, spent a relaxed morning, did the last of my grocery shopping, put water to the front garden, took the trash cans out, ran the dishwasher and washed some other dishes by hand, spoke on the phone with cousin V and aunt C. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being able to go over budget, if needed
- Lots of good grocery bargains
- Getting more feedback from my former supervisor
- Being able to chat with cousin and with aunt
- Video chatting with daughter

How was your Monday?  How is your June grocery budget coming along?  Are you managing it a bit better than I am managing mine?