Thursday, November 23, 2017

Wednesday: Pre-Black Friday Shopping!

How can it be the day before Thanksgiving already?  
Today, I emptied the dishwasher, put away the dried laundry from yesterday, did another load of laundry, washed more dishes, and watered the back garden.  I also finished knitting the front of the sweater.
In the afternoon, daughter and I went to the fabric store.  She had a coupon for purchases at the fabric store and the store was also having a Black Friday "Door Busters" sale, even though it is not yet Black Friday!  We went mostly to buy yarn, which was on sale for $2.33 a skein (regular price was $3.49).  

Red Yarn for Hats for Newborns

Several days ago, a friend of mine posted a link about the American Heart Association's project called Little Hats/Big Hearts.
Basically, the American Heart Association is looking for volunteers to knit red hats for newborns, to be distributed in various hospitals in February, to raise awareness of congenital heart defects.  My friend knows that I like to knit and she thought it was something I might be interested in participating.  Actually, several years ago, I participated in a similar project for another friend's daughter who was doing it as a Girl Scouts project.

Anyway, I contacted the local representative for the AHA in my area and asked for details such as the deadline for submitting hats.  She emailed me back, today, saying that they collect hats throughout the year, but the deadline for submitting hats for this coming February's distribution is at the end of December (in order to have enough time to wash and bag the hats - they are looking for volunteers to wash the hats, as well, as donations of yarn, etc.)

I bought the yarn today, since it was on sale.  I don't know how many hats I'll be able to knit before the December deadline, but, I'll try to make at least a dozen or so (hopefully, more).  My daughter, too, said she was interested in crocheting a few hats (she prefers to crochet than to knit).   I also bought three additional skeins of yarn for daughter for her amigurumi projects.

In addition to the yarn, I bought a new sewing machine to replace my old machine which is broken.  I might still take the old machine to a repair shop to see if it can be fixed, but, now, I have a new machine for my sewing (I had been using daughter's machine, but it is better to have my own machine).  
New Sewing Machine
Nothing very fancy because I don't need a fancy machine and, in fact, I'd be intimidated by one!  I just need something very basic and easy to use.  This machine was on sale for $69.99; with sales tax, it came to $76.30.   

In the evening, daughter went out with one of her friends.  I did a little paperwork, watched news on TV, read blogs, etc.
I also called friend A to ask her what she wanted me to bring for tomorrow's Thanksgiving meal and all she wanted was a container of vanilla ice cream!  I called my cousin, too, as daughter and I have been invited to her mother's house, as well, for Thanksgiving; cousin wanted me to bring cornbread.  I will make the cornbread in the morning, so it will be nice and fresh for the evening (and maybe I'll make enough to take to my friend's house, too, in addition to the ice cream).  It's a bit difficult to go to two places but, we'll go to my friend's house around 3:00 p.m. and go to aunt's place around 7:00 p.m.

It was another hot summer day, today!  In fact, we broke several records for the day time high temperatures!  Today's record setting high was 95F in my area! It will be another warm day, tomorrow, and then, there will be a gradual cool down.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- An opportunity to volunteer and participate in the AHA program
- Another hot, summer day in November
- Yarn on sale
- A new sewing machine 
- Daughter was able to spend some time with her friend

How was your Wednesday?  Are you preparing Thanksgiving dinner, tomorrow?  Are you ready? 

Happy Thanksgiving; may you all have a lovely day.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Monday and Tuesday

On Monday morning, I had an appointment with the oncology nurse practitioner.  My blood test results were all very good, I was told; everything was within the normal range, with things that should be below a certain level being below it and things that should be above a certain level being above it.  My blood pressure reading was very good, too.  The oncologist will put in a referral for surgery to have the catheter port removed.  In the meantime, it was flushed.  I was given an appointment to return in February for a follow-up visit.

Monday afternoon, I did some grocery shopping and did a few things around the house, such as taking out the trash cans to the curb for pick up.  Spent the evening chatting with daughter.

On Monday, I was grateful for:
- A good visit with the oncology nurse practitioner
- Blood test results were good
- I had a safe drive there and back
- I got some good deals on the groceries
- Good, meaningful conversations with daughter

On Tuesday morning, I had an appointment with my financial planner.  Daughter went with me as she, too, had some questions about a couple of things.  The appointment went very well.  I have known this financial planner for several years now and we work well together.  We generally meet twice a year to go over financial goals and plans.  I feel very blessed to know that I am well on my way to achieving my financial goals.  

Afterwards, daughter and I went to a favorite Cuban bakery/restaurant.   They are famous for their meat pies, potato balls, and pastries.  We bought some of our favorites:

Meat Pies and Potato Balls (with a meat filling inside)
and pastries:

Guava Strudels (left), Cheese Strudels (right)
We also bought a mini fruit tart and an almond croissant, but they were eaten before I could take pictures!

After we came home and had lunch, I ran the dishwasher and daughter and I both took naps!

Later in the evening, daughter made us some tea and I brought the trash cans in.

The weekly grocery ads had been delivered, so I took a quick look through them.  One store is selling avocados for $.50 each; another has advertised "small avocados" for $.20 each.  I don't know how small they are, though, to be that price. 

I did a load of laundry and daughter and I watched the season finale of Dancing with the Stars on TV.
I also made mango pickle (cut up not-quite-ripe mango, mixed with vinegar, salt, chili powder, and sugar). I suppose it is a bit like a salsa.  We eat this as a snack:

Mango Pickle
It was a gorgeous day as far as the weather was concerned.  Sunny and warm, with an afternoon high of 91F!  

On Tuesday, I was grateful for:
- A good meeting with the FP
- Treats from the bakery
- Afternoon naps
- The summer-like temperatures
- Spending time with daughter

Plans for Wednesday include a trip to Ikea and baking some cornbread for Thanksgiving. 

How was your day?  Do you have a favorite bakery and favorite pastries? 

Monday, November 20, 2017

November Grocery Shopping Week 3 Part 2

November 20 Groceries

Today, I went to the grocery store to redeem my rain check for the 4-lb. packets of sugar at $1.49 each,  My rain check allowed me to buy four packets, so I bought four, for a total cost of $6.00.  At least one bag is for daughter to take back with her. 

Daughter also requested for a type of tangerines known as Clementines or Cuties (sometimes known as Halos).  They were priced at $2.99 for a 3-lb. bag.

Then, since butter doesn't look like it will be going on sale ($2.50 or less per pound) anytime soon, I bought some margarine to use in holiday baking; two 1-lb. packages for $.79 each.

November 20 Receipt
My total came to $10.53; but I only had $9.44 left in my November grocery budget!  

November grocery budget: $75 + $5.66 (carried over from October) = $80.66
November grocery spending to date: $18.75 + $4.25 + $6.92 + $41.30 + $10.53 = $81.75
Amount left in the November grocery budget = $80.66 - $81.75 = - $1.09

Well, considering that daughter has been home for almost half this month (4 days over my birthday weekend and 11 days over the Thanksgiving holidays) I think this is not too bad.  I didn't increase my monthly budget to account for her being home and for the fact that I tend to buy splurge items when she's here.  :)  I will see how much I go over by the end of the month, and then, maybe make it up with some of that leftover prayer gathering budget. 

Daughter opened the bag of cuties and helped herself to them.  Someone heard her say "cuties" came to see what was going on:

"I'm confused; Mummy calls me a cutie, sometimes"

He looks a bit perplexed, doesn't he? 

He checked out the bag to see if these cuties posed any threat to him:

"What is so cute about you?"

He soon decided that they posed no threat to him and  his cuteness; his humans are silly, calling some tangerines cuties when everyone knows that he's the cutie!

If you are in the United States, have you shopped for all the items you need for Thanksgiving dinner?  If you are roasting a turkey and buying a frozen one, tomorrow is probably the last day to buy one and still have enough time for it to thaw!  Do the grocery stores in your area remain open on Thanksgiving day?  Most of the grocery stores in my area will stay open until 6:00 p.m. on Thursday. 

Sunday: Funerals and Tea

Cat Silhouette Pillow

Daughter made the above decorative pillow as part of her birthday gift to one of her friends, yesterday.  I told her I wanted one, too. 

Today, I attended the "celebration of life" gathering for the family friend who passed away a week ago.  My cousin and her daughter offered me a ride to the event and back, which was much appreciated.  There must have been at least 200 people at the event.  It was held in one of the reception rooms in a hotel.  This was the first time I had been to such a "celebration of life" event held at a hotel, although I had heard of them.  More often than not, our custom has been to go to the home of the deceased person and enjoy a special pot-luck type of meal, with everyone bringing food. 

That is what I did when my mother died - I invited everyone home, afterwards.  The temple, family, and friends helped to organize the meal as the custom is to refrain from cooking in the house from the time of the death until this special meal is prepared (generally, people bring food to the house, during this period, so that the mourning family doesn't need to cook).  We call this first meal after the funeral "mala bath", which, when translated literally, means "death rice".

This is one of the very few times that pumpkin curry will be served at the same time as a dry fish curry.  Usually, these two curries are not served at the same meal.  I don't know why that is, though.  I didn't have any dry fish curry at my mother's funeral, as the friend who had volunteered to bring the dry fish curry didn't bring it!  I remember one of my other friends being very upset about the lack of dry fish curry!  So much so that I asked one of the monks if it was still considered a "mala bath" if the dry fish curry wasn't there; he was quick to reassure me, saying that dry fish curry wouldn't be served in a vegetarian household.  We aren't vegetarian, but what he said made a lot of sense to me, so, I was comforted.

Although it is customary to have everyone come to the house for the funeral meal, I can see the advantage of having it at another facility.  First and foremost, one doesn't have to clean and tidy the house!  Or make arrangements to accommodate everyone and set up tables and chairs for all, etc.  And, afterwards, there is no cleaning up and putting away of leftovers, etc. 

I invited my cousin over to have tea with me after we came home from the celebration of life.  We drank tea and chatted about various things for about an hour or so. 

Daughter had gone out with her friend whose birthday it was.  They've been best friends since 7th grade.  After she came home, we spent a pleasant evening sitting and chatting.  She's feeling much better, today.  I was telling her about some of our funeral customs, for although she's been to a few, she doesn't know all the details (she was only 12 when her grandmother died and not too involved with the arrangements, although she delivered a beautiful eulogy that she had written by herself).  I told her that I wanted her to know certain things so that when the time came for her to arrange my funeral, she'll know what to do (although, hopefully, the monks at the temple will guide her).  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Daughter feeling better
- Cousin giving me a ride to the celebration of life
- Having cousin over to tea
- Chatting with my cousin and, later, with daughter
- Having a jacket with me at the reception, because it was so cold in the room

Tomorrow, I will go to my doctor's appointment in the morning.  I need to do a little shopping in the afternoon - I need a new cistern for the toilet, some flea prevention medication for Dancer, and see if a new stock of sugar has arrived at the one store which gave me a rain check for it a week ago.

How was your Sunday?  Did you have a good day?  What are your plans for the week?

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Saturday's Activities and November Grocery Shopping Week 3

I had a relaxed morning, today.  I woke up once, at 8:00 a.m., but went back to sleep and slept for another couple of hours!  Only woke up when my aunt called me!  After that, I had a cup of tea and went on-line for a bit and did some knitting. 

Daughter asked for rice and dhal (lentil) curry for lunch, so I cooked a pot of rice and a lentil curry.  My big jar of lentils was empty and I had a moment of panic, but I had another bag of lentils in my cupboard.  Lentils and rice are two things I don't want to run out of! 

Later in the afternoon, I went grocery shopping.  I needed milk (daughter had the last of the milk in her coffee, this morning), eggs (I have one egg left in the old carton), some vegetables, and some fruit.  Oh, and cat food for the garden cats.

In addition to what I needed, I bought several other items, as well!  On mostly splurges - croissants (daughter loves croissants and so do I), a container of a smoothie-type juice drink (for daughter), 4 boxes of cereal (to share with daughter - the store had a deal where if one bought 4 boxes of cereal for $2.50 each, one could get a free gallon of milk; since the gallon of milk cost $2.65, it was like getting 4 boxes of cereal for $7.35 or $1.83 each) and 2 packages of roast beef cold cuts, ice cream, and whipped topping! 

Fresh Produce (Spot the Dancer)
Lots of Granny Smith apples to make an apple pie with daughter (the ice cream is to have with the apple pie).  Oranges for vitamin C to help fight her cold.  A green (unripe) mango to make mango pickle (a favorite snack - the unripe mango is peeled, cut into small pieces, and marinated in a mixture of vinegar, chili powder, salt, and sugar).

The Rest of It!

I spent $60.99 with the two bags of cat food!  The groceries came to $40.30.  Which is rather high, but, I am splurging with daughter being home!  But I am well within budget, since I had $50.74 left in my November budget.

Nov. 18 Receipt

November grocery budget: $75 + $5.66 (carried over from October) = $80.66
November grocery spending to date: $18.75 + $4.25 + $6.92 + $41.30 = $71.22
Amount left in the November grocery budget = $80.66 - $71.22 = $9.44

After I came home from grocery shopping, I watered the orange tree in the back garden.  Even with the rain we had the other morning, the tree was showing some stress from lack of water - leaves all curled up and drooping, etc.  

In the evening, I attended a memorial mass for my friend who passed away a year ago.  Daughter stayed home because she didn't feel well enough to attend and didn't want to infect anyone else, especially my late friend's husband who has just come home after being hospitalized for several days.  I called and offered my cousin a ride to the service, but she, too, was unable to attend.  So, I went by myself.

Afterwards, there was a dinner at the family's home.  I left shortly after the dinner, as it was held out of doors and I was feeling cold.  It had been a nice, warm day (high of 77F), but the evenings get cold (and I wasn't the only one there who felt cold).  Before I left, my friend's daughters insisted that I brought home a plate of food for my daughter.  When I served what I considered to be sufficient for her, they insisted that I took more!  Daughter ate some of it, but there's plenty more for at least another couple of meals!

Today, I am grateful for:
- A nice, warm day
- Grocery stores with an abundance of groceries
- Being able to attend my late friend's memorial mass
- Seeing family and friends at the reception, afterwards
- Being blessed with plates of food to bring home

Tomorrow, I will be attending a funeral.  My cousin will give me a ride there and back.  Daughter will not be coming with us as she had already made some other plans with her friend who is celebrating her birthday.  Depending on what time I get back from the funeral and how tired or not I feel, I might do that load of laundry I didn't do today.  

How was your Saturday?  Did you have a good start to your weekend?  Do you, too, sometimes splurge when you go grocery shopping, especially when your child/children come home for the holidays and you want to indulge them a little? 

Saturday, November 18, 2017


We actually had a little rain, early this morning!  I was still asleep when it rained and it must not have been much, because the ground was already dry when I went out, but there were some damp patches on the paved areas where water tends to pool.  Any rain, even if it is only a little bit, is good! 

I went for my blood test this morning.  They weren't too busy and I had to wait less than 5 minutes before I was called in.  They drew four vials of blood!  Hope all the results will be good.

Afterwards, I went to the office.  I took a different freeway than what I usually take to go to the office, but it really doesn't matter which freeway one takes, they are equally congested! 

I had a productive day at the office.  I completed my part of a project before what I had perceived as a deadline and passed it along to the next person to work on it.  They seem to have a different deadline, but that is OK with me.  Just as long as I am not the cause of the delay!  I was anxious to get it done before I went on vacation, next week. 

During my lunch break, I went to the nearby library to borrow a couple of magazines.  I used to subscribe to magazines, but don't do so now.  For the same reason why I no longer buy books: once I buy them, I tend to keep them!  At one time, I had to put up shelves in the garage to house all my magazines, from when I used to subscribe to them!  Eventually, I got rid of the lot and, ever since then, I've been borrowing from the library. 

I had planned to buy milk on my way home from work, today, but changed my mind and decided to come home directly, instead.  The commute home was long and, more than that, I was feeling very sleepy!  So, came home, had a cup of tea, and slept for about half an hour on the sofa.  There is enough milk for tomorrow morning; I will buy more milk later, tomorrow.

After my nap, I cooked a fish curry, using two pieces of the frozen fish I had bought from the Sri Lankan store.

One of my friends called and we chatted for awhile and made tentative plans to get together and go out to lunch, one day.  I also called the family friend whose husband passed away to sympathize with her. 

Daughter came home for the holidays, today.  Poor thing is still not feeling too well.  From what she tells me, it sounds a bit like she might be having a sinus infection.  But, she claims she doesn't have a fever.  I might have her make an appointment with her doctor, if possible, next week.  In any case, she enjoyed a good dinner of rice, fish curry, lentil curry, cucumber, and mango chutney.  Afterwards, I made coriander tea with ginger for us.  Coriander tea (made by boiling coriander seeds and letting them steep for a few minutes) is the Sri Lankan equivalent of chicken soup!  It is what we take at the first sign of sniffles, etc.  Adding a little fresh ginger to it boosts the benefits.

Today, I accomplished almost all the items on my to do list (the only thing I didn't do was buy milk) and a few things I hadn't listed (visit to the library, cleaning the litter box, doing the dishes, etc.)  And I knitted a bit. The pattern consists of 12 rows, so I usually try to knit at least one full pattern; that way, it is easier to keep track of where I am.

Today, I am grateful for:
- My daughter had a safe flight home
- The rain we received this morning
- Libraries
- Naps on the sofa
- Phone calls from friends

Saturday's To Do List:
- Grocery shop
- Do a load of laundry
- Attend my friend's memorial service and the monthly prayer gathering in the evening
- Maybe do some cooking?

How was your Friday?  What are your plans for the weekend? 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Speedy Thursday

Thursday seems to have sped past!  I didn't even do much, but, all of a sudden, the week is almost over!

I went to the office and had a fairly productive day.  But I began to feel tired around 4:00 p.m., so, rather than wait until 5:30 p.m., which is when I normally leave the office, I left around 4:45 p.m. and got home at 6:00 p.m.

It began to drizzle a little bit, just as I pulled into the driveway.  It drizzled for about 5 minutes and it wasn't enough rain to even wet the ground!  But it snowed on the mountains and that is what is important.  The depth of the snowpack is what determines if we will have enough water in the summer or we'll be in a drought, again. 

I spent a relaxed evening, knitting and watching TV.  I am coming along with my sweater front, even though I've had to unpick a couple of rows because I miscounted my pattern stitches!

I had rice and curries for my lunch, today, and the last of the chicken and gnocchi soup for dinner, along with a slice of panettone. 

Later in the evening, I video chatted with my daughter for a little bit.  She is feeling a little better, today, she said.  She went to the office in the morning because she had meetings she wanted to attend.  Everyone there had told her to go home, so, she attended the two morning meetings and rescheduled her afternoon meeting and went home.  I asked her to work from home, tomorrow, but I think she will go to the office.  I know her - she is very much her mother's daughter!  All I could get her to commit to was a "maybe".

Today, I am grateful for:
- Daughter is feeling a little better
- A safe drive to the office and back
- A productive day at the office
- A relaxing evening at home
- Video chatting with daughter

Friday's To Do List:
- Leave a note for my gardener friend
- Go for a blood test
- Go to the office
- Buy milk on the way home
- Cook some fish curry for dinner
- Pick up daughter from the airport in the evening

How was your Thursday?  Do you, too, find that the week seems to start out slow and then speeds up towards the end?  What are your plans for Friday?