Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Monday's Productivity

Brunch: Indian Style Cream of Wheat

On Monday, I called the clinic to reschedule my appointment to next week Thursday; then, I called the temple to arrange for a ride.

Later, I did a load of laundry and dusted and vacuumed the living room and the dining area.  I had wanted to do the family room, too, but decided to put that off till Tuesday.  In the evening, I did some grocery shopping (will do a separate post on that).

Friend R had called and asked if I could meet her in front of the grocery store, so after I did my grocery shopping, I waited for her and then, she came home with me to have a cup of tea.  I had bought some individual sponge cakes to have with our tea.  I shared the guavas with her and she shared some of the apple bananas she had bought.  Afterwards, I took her home.  Then, I took the trash cans to the curb and spoke for a bit with my neighbor T.

Brunch had been Indian style cream of wheat.  Sponge cakes and bananas for tea.  Dinner was a pita bread with the last of the beef curry I had made and grapes for dessert. 

I was video chatting with daughter and watching news on TV when I felt it - the jerk and roll which signaled an earthquake.  I watched as the houseplant on top of the entertainment center shake but the earthquake was only 3.6 in magnitude and I live a few miles away from the epicenter; nothing fell or broke.  I am just hoping that it was not a foreshock!  I'm sure that a major earthquake is something we could do without!  

Monday gratitudes:
- I was able to reschedule my appointment
- I was able to secure a ride for next week
- The earthquake was relatively small and there was no damage
- Having tea with my friend
- Getting more cleaning done

Monday's To Do List:
- Call the clinic to reschedule appointment - DONE
- Call the temple - DONE
- Grocery shop - DONE
- Take guavas to friend - DONE
- Load of laundry - DONE
- Dust/Vacuum living room (DONE), dining area (DONE), family room
- Paperwork/bills
- Take trash cans to the curb - DONE

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Put away dried laundry
- Water indoor plants
- Vacuum family room
- Dust/Declutter TV stand
- Paperwork/bills
- Bring trash cans in
- A trip to the home improvement center
- Cook another meat curry

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

Monday, September 18, 2017

October Prayer Gathering Preparations

It's my turn to host the Monthly prayer gathering, again.  I used to host it in November, usually the weekend before Thanksgiving, and prepare a Thanksgiving-type meal.  Then, after my mother's death, I switched with one of my cousins and chose to host it in October, since it is my mother's birthday month.  So, this year, I will host the prayer gathering on Saturday, October 21.  It will be in the evening, with dinner to follow; I prefer the evening because it gives me a little more time to prepare for it on the date, itself.

I have always prepared the food, myself, but, in 2015, when I hosted it just a few weeks after my lumpectomy, I asked if we could do a potluck, because I wasn't able to do much (surgery was on the right side and I am right-handed).  One of my aunts opined that I should have it catered, but everyone else was willing to do the potluck.  My daughter came down to help me and cooked sesame chicken.  My cousin P and friend R came over the night before and, with daughter's help, cleaned the house.  Everyone else brought a dish and, I think, everyone was quite happy.  I know it encouraged at least one or two others to also do potluck meals.

The following year, I did most of the cooking, although a friend of mine, who does catering on the side, helped with some of it.

This year, I will, once again, prepare most of the meal.  I haven't decided on a menu, yet, but I am thinking I'll make a roast dinner rather than rice and curries.  Or, perhaps a mixture, especially if my friend who does catering is able to help me out. I'll make roast chicken if she'll cook a fish curry and we can argue who will make the beef! 

I know that, most probably, everyone will not be able to attend, but, if everyone does come, there will be around 20 people, plus myself. In any case, I usually cater for about 20-25 people, because I send plates home for those who couldn't attend and to my neighbors.  My daughter will not be attending as she will be coming down twice in November (for my birthday and for Thanksgiving).

Usually, it is not the meal itself that stresses me out.  It is getting the house cleaned and tidy.  Yes, I know people are not coming to inspect the house; they are coming for prayers and dinner in the company of one another, but I know that people do notice things.   And, some of them comment!  I've had helpful family and friends comment on how dusty the chandelier is, or how old the valence is, or how the garden wouldn't look the way it does if my mother had been alive, etc.  I always tell myself that the next time someone says something, I will hand them the duster or the broom, but then, they might tell me I need a new duster or a broom!  LOL.

Anyway, I have almost 5 weeks to prepare.  That's longer than I had to plan my wedding!  It's not like I can dust the living room today and then consider that done!  But, I can declutter and do some of the deep cleaning, one room at a time.  Oh, and wash the chandelier!  It hasn't been washed for over two years.  But, I will not stress too much about it.  It will be close enough to Halloween, so, if I can't clear all the cobwebs, I will simply say they are my organic Halloween decorations!  Come to think of it, a packet of that artificial cobwebs stuff might come in handy. 

What are some of the gatherings you host at home?  How do you prepare for them?  Do you go all out with the cleaning or are you more laid back? 

Focusing on What I Can Do on Sunday

Pomegranate Greenery

Another night of staying up till the wee hours; 3:45 when I went to bed.  Don't ask me what I do until so late.  It's not that I can't fall asleep.  It's just that I don't want to go to sleep and choose to stay up reading, watching TV, playing games on the computer, video chatting with daughter (last night, she was making microwaved peanut butter chocolate chip brownies in a mug as we chatted and I was debating whether to bake a cake as it was finally getting cool enough at night to turn on the oven), etc., instead!  I felt tired and sleepy around 2:00 a.m., said goodnight to daughter, said my nightly prayers, etc., and then, got my second wind and wasn't tired, after all!  I managed to fall asleep around 4:00 a.m. and slept until 9:30 a.m.

Once I got up, I fed the cats (Dancer and the strays outside), had a cup of coffee, and watched some cooking shows on TV while I caught up on some blogs.  It was a cloudy, overcast day and I felt unmotivated to do anything.

My neighbor T called for our weekly Sunday morning chat, around 11:00 a.m.  I told her I might go grocery shopping, today, and asked her if she needed me to pick up anything for her or run any errands for her (she doesn't drive), but she said her daughter was coming over today to take her grocery shopping, etc. She thanked me for asking, though.

Daughter called to say good morning and we chatted for a bit.  She's postponing doing laundry because her dryer doesn't work and maintenance haven't been to fix it, yet.  She doesn't want to hang things up to air dry because she's worried about the humidity,; she doesn't want to have to deal with anymore mold problems after her earlier bout with it, when she first moved in (although she has a dehumidifier, now).  In fact, her lease has a clause against air drying clothes inside the apartment! 

After that, I had my leftovers from yesterday's lunch for brunch: rice, chicken curry, coconut sambol, green beans, and sauted potatoes.  Avocado for dessert. 

I had thought of going grocery shopping in the afternoon, but felt too lazy to do so, today!  I still have plenty of food, including vegetables and fruit; the only groceries I am out of is bread and fresh milk, but I can manage without bread for a day or two and I have coffee creamer and condensed milk on hand (and yogurt and cheese).  So, I decided to stay home, today, and grocery shop tomorrow. 

Because I was feeling so unmotivated to do anything, I thought I will do a load of dishes in the dishwasher, partly to run the dishwasher (which hasn't been run in a couple of weeks, as I tend to wash my few dishes by hand), and partly to feel I was productive and did something!  There weren't a lot of dishes and I didn't want to run a half-full dishwasher, so, I decided to clean the top of the stove, including under the burners, so I could put the burner liners in the dishwasher to wash them, too.  Then, I swept and mopped the kitchen floor.  The kitchen counters need clearing and wiping, but that's for another day. 

Later, I watered the back garden and picked a few sprigs from the pomegranate tree to arrange in a vase.  There aren't many flowers in the garden to pick.

I had a cup of coffee in the evening and decided to finish dusting my bedroom and vacuum it.  And since I had the vacuum cleaner out and plugged in, I did my daughter's room, one bathroom, and the hallway. 

I want to clean the family room, this week.  It really needs a deep cleaning, including painting (it hasn't been painted since it was built, some 20 years ago!)  I tried to touch it up a bit, several years ago, when I was painting the other rooms, but it needs to be repainted properly.  Unfortunately, I am not quite up to doing it, myself.  I love to paint and would have done so if my health was a bit better.  That led me to think about all the things I still can't do for one reason or another (mainly due to my health) and began to feel a bit down about it.  Then, I told myself to focus on what I CAN do, rather than what I can't do.  Focus on the blessings - I'm alive, I am getting stronger, I am able to do more as my health improves, I don't have to do everything by myself, I can ask for help.

So, I called a friend's husband and asked him if he knows of someone who can paint my family room for me, between now and mid-October, as I would like to have the room painted before I host the prayer gathering in October. He said he will find someone. It's a first step, but at least, I did something more positive than fret that the room needs painting and I can't do it.  I will declutter the room as much as I can between now and then.  That is something else I can do!

Dinner was from the freezer:  some of the frozen ulundu vadai (made from lentil flour with onions, green chilies, etc., and deep fried) with green coconut sambol (grated coconut, mixed with green chilies and ground together).

Ulundu Vadai with Green Coconut Sambol
The package contained 9 vadai, so there's enough left for at least two more meals.  

I had some guavas for dessert.  Tomorrow, I will take some of the guavas to my friend R; I phoned her today and asked if she'd like some.  I offered to bring them over this evening, but she said she could wait until tomorrow.

Aunt called to check on me; she's concerned how I will manage to go to my eye doctor's appointment since her daughter is not well enough to drive me back.  I told her not to worry, I will manage, and that I am going to try and reschedule the appointment and will take it from there.   

Later, daughter and I video chatted.  She had made a Japanese style curry, using some curry paste I had bought for her.  She likes to prepare a couple of dishes on the weekend in order to have enough for lunches and dinners throughout the week.

Today, I am grateful for:
- The things I can do
- Baby steps 
- Phone calls with family and friends
- The cooler temperatures
- Getting most of my to do list done

Sunday's To Do List:
- Put away laundry - DONE
- Finish dusting the bedroom - DONE
- Vacuum the bedroom - DONE
- Do the dishes/run the dishwasher - DONE
- Put away washed dishes - DONE
- Clean the stove top/scrub under burners/wash the burner liners - DONE
- Sweep & mop kitchen - DONE
- Grocery shop
- Water the back garden - DONE
- Call friends (2) - DONE

Monday's To Do List:
- Call the clinic to reschedule appointment
- Grocery shop
- Take guavas to friend
- Load of laundry
- Vacuum living room, dining area, family room
- Paperwork/bills
- Take trash cans to the curb

How was your Sunday?  Do you sometimes find yourself focusing on what you can't do rather than on what you can do?  If so, how do you handle it?  What do you do?

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Saturday: Guavas and Prayer Gatherings

Daughter and I didn't say goodnight, last night, until after 3:00 a.m. this morning!  I went to bed around 4:00 a.m. and she, apparently, stayed up till 6:00 a.m.!  I slept until 9:00 a.m. and woke up only because a certain kitty was crying outside my bedroom door, demanding his breakfast!

I watched some sewing and knitting shows on TV while I responded to blog comments.  Then, it was time to get ready to attend the monthly prayer gathering.  Cousin P came over a little before noon and brought me a bag of guavas from her tree and we left to go to the prayer gathering. 
I put gas to the car on the way and got to the prayer gathering by 1:15 p.m.  We had been told to come by 1:30 p.m.; we were there on time, but, as usual, we had to wait for several others, some of whom didn't come till close to 2:30 p.m. (there had been some last minute mix up which delayed them).  By the time they said the rosary and served lunch, it was past 3:00 p.m.  
Lunch was rice and curries wrapped up in banana leaves.  One of the little girls present (the hostess's great granddaughter, 7 or 8 years old) asked why the rice was wrapped in leaves and someone told her that it was because they ran out of plates and then explained it was actually to give a nice flavor to the rice.  But, originally, the reason for the banana leaves was a lack of plates, especially when there was a big gathering.  Not everyone had several dozen plates in their cabinets (we didn't have paper plates, back then), but almost everyone had several banana trees in their back yards.  Afterwards, one didn't have a mountain of plates to wash - the used banana leaves would be composted (or fed to the cattle that wandered around the place).  Also, it was a convenient way to wrap up food to go without carrying plates to the office or school.  I couldn't finish my parcel of rice and curry, so I brought the leftovers home.  I stopped at the pharmacy on the way home to pick up my inhaler refill.  By the time cousin and I got home, it was close to 6:00 p.m. 

I will be hosting the October monthly prayer gathering.

Later, I watered the front garden, put away the laundry from yesterday, did a load of laundry, and called the monks at the temple.  My aunt C also called and we had a short chat.  Later in the evening, I video chatted with daughter.

Saturday's To Do List:
- Put gas to the car - DONE
- Attend the prayer gathering - DONE
- Pharmacy - DONE
- Put away the dried laundry - DONE
- Finish dusting the bedroom (put on a dust mask!)
- Vacuum the bedroom
- Clean the litter box - DONE
- Do dishes
- Water the front garden - DONE
- Do another load of laundry - DONE

Sunday's To Do List:
- Put away laundry
- Finish dusting the bedroom
- Vacuum the bedroom
- Do the dishes/run the dishwasher
- Grocery shop

Today, I am grateful for:

- Cousin's company during the drive
- Guavas from her tree
- Safe drive to prayer gathering and back
- Leftovers for dinner
- An afternoon of prayer, family, and friends

Cut Guava
 How was your Saturday?  Did you have a good start to your weekend? 

Saturday, September 16, 2017


It has been one week since the new fridge/freezer was delivered and it seems like the whole week has felt a little bit off kilter.  I think all the happenings of the past few weeks sort of caught up with me.  It seems that September has been non-stop: my daughter's visit home, discovering Dancer had fleas, the nearby brush fire, my brother's death, the tooth extraction, the purchase and delivery of the new appliance; finding that it didn't fit into its space as well as I had thought it would was almost too much.

The weekend was busy going grocery shopping, running errands, etc.  Saturday morning, I was woken up by some sounds outside my bedroom window, which overlooks the drive way.  Sometimes, my gardener friend works on my neighbor's garden on a Saturday morning and, occasionally, if he's trimming the bushes in her side yard, which adjoins my drive way, he keeps the yard waste bin on my drive way, so, when I herd the noises, I just assumed it was him and was just about to fall back asleep when the phone rang.  It was my cousin P, from across the street, calling to tell me that there was a stranger, a woman, who was picking through my trash cans, which were all the way inside, near the garage!  Often, when the trash cans are taken to the curb, people wander up and down the street picking through the recycling bin and trash can looking for recyclables.  It is supposed to be illegal to do so, but it happens and I feel sorry for the people who try to earn a little something by picking through the trash for recyclables to redeem them.  But this is the first time that I've known of that someone has actually come all the way in, to go through my trash cans!  That's almost trespassing, in my opinion.  I opened the window and asked her to stop going through my trash (there was a lot of stuff I had tossed from the fridge and freezer which had thawed and I was concerned that things would leak and make a mess at the bottom of my trash cans).  I don't know if she even understood what I said, but she waved the bottles she had picked out from the recycling bin, already, and walked off - I watched her from the window and saw her walk down my neighbor's driveway!

Saturday afternoon, I did some grocery shopping.  I called my friend R to see if she would like to come over to have some tea with me (she lives near the grocery store), but she wasn't free.

Sunday, I went to the pharmacy to pick up my medication refill, went to the other grocery store to pick up coffee for my daughter, and stopped by yet another grocery store to pick up a bag of cat food.  The same brand of cat food sells for $11.99 at the regular Kroger-affiliated grocery store (the Armenian grocery store doesn't carry pet food); this store, which is also Kroger-affiliated, sells the cat food for $8.99 regular price, but I was able to find one bag with a $2 off coupon attached to it, so I paid $6.99 (plus tax).  

On Monday, I forgot that I was supposed to have a day off from work and went to the office.  My supervisor was very surprised when I went in to her cubicle to say good morning to her!  We agreed that I would work on Monday since I was already there and take another day off, instead. I walked to the library during my lunch break and borrowed some magazines.  In the evening, I took the trash cans to the curb.

Tuesday and Wednesday were productive days at the office, not so productive at home.  But the everyday tasks still got done - trash cans which had been taken to the curb for pick up were brought back, the garden got watered, the litter box got cleaned, dishes got washed, laundry got done, phone calls were made, etc.

Thursday, I worked part of the day and had my dental appointment.  In the evening, I changed the dust sheets on the family room sofas and laundered the old sheets.

Friday, I worked from home.  I took a break around 1:00 p.m. to cook lunch.  I had put a piece of the marinated beef steak to thaw on Thursday; I sliced the steak into thin strips and sauted it with onions, tomato, garlic, and spices to make a spicy sauted beef, along with rice and broccoli.

Lunch: rice, beef, and broccoli

In the evening, my gardener friend replaced the battery in the smoke detector in my bedroom (it had been beeping for a couple of days, indicating that the battery needed to be replaced, and I had tried to remove the old battery, but couldn't reach it even when I stood on the top step of the 2-tier step stool and I didn't feel like bringing the step ladder from the shed).  While he was up on the step-stool, I had him wipe down the blades of the ceiling fan for me.  And then, I had him take down the window air conditioner unit.  We have cooled down quite a bit and the house has been in the low 70s; I doubt very much that it will get hot enough for me to need the a/c again until next summer.  The air conditioner is being stored in the garage until needed again.  Then, I dusted the window sill and started to dust the bedroom furniture.  I didn't finish the dusting.  I forgot to wear a dust mask when I dusted and that was silly, because I needed to take my rescue inhaler, later.    I did change my bed sheets and washed the old sheets.

I called my sister and left her a message, asking if she knew about the arrangements for our brother's funeral/memorial service.  She hasn't returned my call, yet.

My aunt called to say that her daughter, my cousin N, has a sore throat and won't be able to accompany me to my eye doctor's appointment on Tuesday and drive me back.  I had been counting on cousin to drive me, but I told aunt not to worry about it; I'll manage.

My cousin P called to check on me and to ask if I was going to attend the monthly prayer gathering, tomorrow.  I said yes; I will be giving her a ride.  The prayer gathering is being held at an honorary aunt's house; it'll take 3 freeways and about an hour to get there.  

I combed Dancer and didn't find any fleas on him.  I am hopeful that we have won the war against the fleas.   

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being able to work from home
- Cooler weather
- My gardener friend who does odd jobs for me inside the house in addition to taking care of the garden
- Gaining the upper hand over the fleas 
- Rescue inhalers

Saturday's To Do List:
- Put gas to the car
- Attend the prayer gathering
- Put away the dried laundry
- Finish dusting the bedroom (put on a dust mask!)
- Vacuum the bedroom
- Clean the litter box
- Do dishes
- Water the front garden
- Do another load of laundry

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

Friday, September 15, 2017


 On Thursday, I went to work in the morning.  Paid a quick visit to the farmers' market and bought myself an almond croissant for brunch.
I had my dental appointment in the afternoon to have my stitches removed.  I had left the office around 2:15 p.m. and got home by 3:00 p.m.  My dental appointment was for 4:00 p.m. and I was feeling very sleepy.  So, I set the alarm for 3:40 p.m. and took a nap!  Then, I went to the dental clinic.  There was no waiting, today.  I was seen as soon as I went in and the assistant clipped and removed my stitches.  It took all of 5 minutes.  My immediate dental needs have been taken care of.  I will return next year, once I get my insurance changed to one where I will have more coverage, to get the crown put on my root canal tooth and deep cleaning, etc., done. 

Afterwards, I stopped in at the small Armenian grocery store near the dental clinic to see what they had.  One of the fruits they had that I haven't seen anywhere else is red currants.  A tiny container is some $3.99, though.  I just bought some green grapes for $.99/lb.  It came to $1.24.  

I have now paid $8.49 + $1.24 = $9.73 on groceries this month.

After I came home, I changed the dust sheets on the family room sofas and washed the old ones.  Then, I called my half-sister and left her a message.  After that, I called my nextdoor neighbor and  took some zucchini bread over to her.  I had thought of doing a couple of other things, but began to feel tired, so I just watched TV, answered blog comments, read and commented on other blogs, etc.   
It was a cooler day, today.  An afternoon high of only 85F.  The house was 70F when I woke up and even in the evening.  The cooler weather reminds me that it is time to plant a fall garden, and, if I am going to plant any replacement fruit trees, now would be a good time to buy some.  I want to plant another peach tree, I think, and maybe a tangerine tree.

Plans for tomorrow include having my gardener friend replace my smoke detector battery.  It is beeping to indicate that it is time to replace it and I tried to do it myself, but, even standing on the top step of my 2-tier step-stool, I can't reach it! 

I have been very lazy and not done much cooking, this week.  I had scrambled eggs on toast one night, cheese and toast one night, egg salad sandwiches, some fried rice, roast chicken (from the freezer) and corn on the cob, etc. for lunches and dinners.  My daughter, however, cooked this wonderful pasta dish for herself over the weekend and sent me a picture:
Daughter's Pasta Dish
Lentil pasta, smoked sausage, onions, and kale.   Looks good, doesn't it?

Daughter also did some other shopping besides groceries and she bought herself a box of water paints for $1.50 and a paint brush ($1.00).  She sent me a picture of her painting:

Water-Color Panda
I believe she found the inspiration for the painting on-line.

How was your Thursday? 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Still Talking Groceries

This Week's Grocery Ads

This week's grocery ads came in the mail on Tuesday.  Nine different sales flyers, plus I looked up one on-line for one other store I go to on a regular basis. 

I no longer look through each and every sales ad.  I toss the flyers from the stores I don't usually go to and keep only the 3 or so from the stores I do go to on a regular basis. 

Once again, the Armenian store seems to have the best advertised prices on fresh produce:
cabbage for $.25/lb., green bell peppers, tomatillos, red onions, and beets for $.39/lb., plums, apples, and pears for $.49/lb., and red grapes for $.99/lb.

Grapes are $.99/lb. at another store as well, and that store is closer to my house, but their apples and pears are $.99/lb., and plums are $1.49/lb. And they haven't indicated any prices for their vegetables except for ears of corn and cucumber at $.50, each.

I haven't decided yet, which store I will go to or what I will buy.  I do want to get some milk, grapes, and maybe some bread.

Which store would you choose?