Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Leaky Water Heater

These are the pictures I took of the water leak, Monday morning:

Water leaking from the water tank (inside the enclosure)

Trickle of water  (I didn't realize that one of the garden cats is also in the picture!)

At least the water heater is no longer located inside the house and I don't have to deal with a puddle of water inside the house!

At least it flows to the garden 

At least, some of it goes to the garden; the rest, pool on the other side of the wall:

The rest of the water flows in the other direction

Where it collects and pools!

The replacement part arrived this morning.  The repair person is supposed to come out this afternoon, before 4:00 p.m.  It is almost 2:00 p.m., now.

The Poor Car

I took some pictures, today, of the car after its encounter with the yellow painted metal pole:


It is on the rear left, on the driver's side of the car. 

Below is a picture of the rear right, on the side - showing the seam between the bumper and the rest of the car body (it's a wrap-around sort of bumper); other than the fact that the car has not been washed  (and I didn't try to clean it up for the picture), it looks fine.

The "good" side

Below is the left rear, side, where the impact caused the bumper to push out, a bit, after I tried to push it back, again:

Left rear, side

There is still a bit of a gap:

Close up of area closer to the tire

The gap is more noticeable towards the rear:

Close up of gap towards the rear
I can live with the gap - I just wonder how it will be in the rain with water dripping down into the gap!  I need to see if that water will drip straight down into the tire well and out or if it will collect inside the car, somewhere, and wet any wires!  Maybe I'll tape a trash bag liner over it, for now! 

Not the Best Couple of Days

I am glad to see the end of today.  Yesterday and today have not been the best couple of days I've had.

Yesterday (Sunday) wasn't too bad.  I chatted with my daughter in the morning - she told me she was going out with friends, later in the evening, and will be home late.  I had my weekly chat with neighbor T.

Cousin P called and we chatted for a bit.  She informed me that our aunt T had fallen in the bathroom and knocked her head on the toilet, and although she hadn't fractured anything, has been hospitalized for observation.  Later, I spoke with cousin V, who is aunt T's daughter; she said aunt was being kept in the hospital for another day or two.

Later in the afternoon, I went to pick up my medication refills.  Cousin P asked if she could ride with me to go to the dollar store that is next door to the pharmacy, so I gave her a ride and bought some bananas, popcorn, and cheese crackers from the dollar store, myself (spent $2.79).

Daughter called me as soon as she got back to her apartment, last night, at 11:30 p.m.  I got upset with her because she took the subway, and then, the bus, home, from San Francisco, alone, at that time of the night,  after an evening out with friends.  I had thought her friends would drive her home.  In my opinion, it was too late for her to be travelling alone by public transit at that time in the night.  She, of course, thinks I over-reacted, which I probably did!  After all, she is 25 years old.  But I am an over-protective mother; I admit that.  Daughter did say that she realizes it is because I care that I got upset.

I was still mulling over what she did and getting upset about it, all over again, this morning. 

Probably as a result of that, I backed up into a pole when I was trying to park my car in the parking garage, this morning, and damaged my car bumper!  It isn't badly dented, but scratched and the side panel of the car bumped out a bit!  I tried to push it back into place, but not all of it would go back!  I don't normally swear, but I did swear, this morning, when I realized I had backed into the pole!

And if that is not enough, I am still without hot water as no technician came out today.  I called the company in the morning and they promised to call me back with a date and time by the end of the day, today, but didn't.  So, I guess I will call, again, tomorrow.

As I said, not the best couple of days.

Anyway, I went to the office today and managed to get some work done.  I also tossed a few more items and recycled the 2013 day planner.  After I came home, I took the trash cans to the curb.  Aunt C called to ask if I had my hot water heater fixed and I said not yet.  Friend R called, too. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Daughter got home safely, last night
- We were able to talk about it and she understands (sort of) why I was upset
- My car was not badly damaged and no one got hurt
- I still have running water and I am able to boil some when I need hot water
- The day is done and tomorrow is a new day

I hope your Monday was better than mine!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Salad Garden!

The recent rains have been wonderful!  As a result, my garden is growing well.  Especially the various volunteer plants!  They always seem to thrive, as they make the most of the opportunities they find.  Nobody planted them and, in fact, some people may call them weeds.  My side yard is a case in point:

Volunteer Plants - Side Yard

And the parkway in the front:

Volunteer Plants - Parkway

At first glance, one might think, "Oh, it's being taken over by the weeds!"

But, a closer look reveals: a veritable salad, or, at least, a stir-fry!  For a lot of the volunteer plants are edible plants that maybe eaten raw in salads or cooked as greens!

Tender young dandelion greens and assorted others that belong to the dandelion family, such as catsear, hawksbeard, and sow thistle:


The bees are enjoying the dandelion flowers:

Bee on a Dandelion Flower


Hawksbeard with flower stalk

Cat's Ear

Sow thistle with flower in front, hawksbeard in the back

Sow thistle close up, with buds

Redstem filaree or Stork's bill or Crane's bill, which have purple flowers and seed heads that look like the bill of a stork or crane:

Filaree/Stork's Bill/Crane's Bill (the flowers are barely visible)

Filaree/Stork's Bill (showing the seed heads)

Close up of the seed heads

And, amaranths:


Common names include pigweed, although that name is also applied to lambs quarters, which are also known as goosefoot!  That's the problem with common names!  Fortunately, both amaranth and lambs quarters are edible, although lambs quarters should be cooked because the waxy coating on the leaves tend to be indigestible if eaten raw.


Then, there's henbit:


Which has tiny purple flowers, too:

Henbit Flowers

The shape of the henbit flowers reveal that they belong to the same family as mint, sage, rosemary, etc.

This is rocket:


Which has yellow flowers and seed pods that look a little like mustard:

Rocket with flowers

More rocket

Mallow or common mallow - which is also known as cheeseweed:


And day flower, which is actually something I planted, but it also grows as a "weed" and it is edible:

Day Flower

Later, there will be shepherd's purse and purslane.

If I didn't worry about the stray cats and their "fertilizing", I wouldn't hesitate to pick them and eat them (either raw or cooked).  However, there is a clump of amaranth growing inside the enclosure where I had planted my green beans and okra (which, by the way, is a member of the mallow plant family!), last year, that the cats can't get into - I might pick them, once they are a little bit bigger!

Amaranth in the enclosure

There is also some wild garlic, which grows in one area of my "lawn"

Wild garlic 
Other plants will make their appearance in the next few weeks.  As I said, before, I don't generally harvest and eat these plants because of the cats and so forth.  And, there is always the caution that everyone should heed - unless one is very confident of what one is looking at and knows that it is edible, DO NOT eat it!  But, for the person who knows, there's a salad growing in my garden! 

Does anyone else recognize any edible weeds growing in their gardens or along the roadsides?

St. Patrick's Day/Saturday

I must have been tired, last night.  I went to sleep at 12:30 a.m. which is relatively early for me.  And, although I woke up a few times during the night, and, again, this morning, when my daughter phoned to say she's going out for the day, I went back to sleep, each time, and I slept till 12:30 p.m.!  Yes, I slept for 12 hours!  I am glad I was able to catch up on my sleep and didn't feel I had to get up at a certain hour!

However, I couldn't take it easy and relax once I did wake up, because I knew I had to call my neighbor E to ask him to come over and take a look at the water heater.  So, after I had a cup of coffee and got dressed, I called him and he came over to check it out, even though he was in the middle of helping his daughter who was moving back home.  Well, there was water leaking and it had pooled under the heater and it had wet everything and the pilot light had gone out!  And, although he tried to drain out as much water as he could, he couldn't get the pilot light to light.  He thinks the water wet the wires.  It's not something he can fix.  I thanked him with freshly picked oranges from my tree for his time.

Then, I called the number on the water heater for technical support and they will send out a technician to take a look at the thing.  But, they couldn't tell me when the technician would be able to come!  All they could tell me is that the technician would call before coming out.  Well, that's not going to do me much good if they call and I am at work!  I am hoping they will be able to send someone out, tomorrow (although, that's doubtful, it being a Sunday).  I might have to call them, again, tomorrow evening, to find out if I need to take a day off from work, on Monday, to be here!  Otherwise, they might call and say they are coming in 30 minutes time and leave because I wasn't home!

In the meantime, I have no hot water!  It's always something, isn't it?  At least, I have running water and I can always boil a kettle on the stove and use that to take a sponge bath.  It's too cold to take cold showers!  I need one of those old fashioned tin baths!  I could set it up in front of the heater and be warm while I bathe! 

Today's walk in the garden showed me these:

They were growing where the old loquat tree was.  I guess it is a sign that the loquat tree's roots are decomposing.  I don't know what kind of mushrooms they are, though.

Sometime, last year, when the yucca plant was growing over the sidewall into the neighbor's garden, I had M trim it and we stuck one of the pieces we trimmed off into the planting bed.  It dried up during the summer, when it got so hot, and I wondered if it had died.  But I decided to let it stay in place, and today, I saw this - new growth!

Yucca Plant
As M said, "Mother Nature and Father Time" - they bring about wonders in the garden!

Today, I made it a point to open several windows and the front door to air out the house.  I kept them open for several hours, too, and closed them only when it started to get "cold".  As in, the inside of the house was about 60F.  Even then, I held off on turning on the heater until about 11:30 p.m.  I know 60F is quite comfortable for many of you who read my blog, but I was wearing a short sleeved blouse, a sweater over that, a cardigan on top of that, and a knitted poncho over everything, sweatpants, and fuzzy socks!  But my hands were cold! 

I cooked the beef I had bought the other day for dinner, today - I pan sauted it with onions, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce.  I had it with some frozen corn and steamed cabbage.  I don't celebrate St. Patrick's day, but, I guess the cabbage was a nod to the day (I had spinach I should have cooked, instead, but I chose the cabbage.)  The picture is blurry due to the steam:   

Don't be deceived by the fairly healthy looking dinner - I made up for it with a big piece of my cake for dessert!  But, I had forgotten to eat brunch because I woke up so late - only a banana in the afternoon, so I think the piece of cake was OK.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Neighbor E taking the time to check out my water heater for me
- I was able to thank him with fresh oranges from my tree
- I have running water, even if I don't have hot water
- I have the ability to boil some water if I need hot water
- I was able to sleep in!

Friend R called in the evening and I chatted with her.  Later, daughter and I video chatted.  She had spent the day with her visiting friends - they had done some sight-seeing in San Francisco and she said she rode the cable car for the first time. 

I didn't make a To Do list for today, other than to call neighbor E to take a look at the water heater.  But I did tidy the family room, in the afternoon and I finished knitting the front of the blue sweater.  I will clean the litter box as soon as I finish this post and then, get ready for bed.

Sunday's To Do List:
- Wash the dishes
- Chat with neighbor T
- Vacuum
- Quick clean of my bathroom

How was your Saturday?  Did you celebrate St. Patrick's Day? 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Friday - More Old Planners and New Water Heater Troubles

On Friday, I went to the office and had a productive day.  While taking a break from doing my regular projects-related work, I went through a few more items stored in the overhead bin and recycled another binder.

I also went through my planner for 2012 and recycled it.  There were several appointments noted, staff meetings (we were still discussing layoffs on March 28, according to my notes), and there were numerous to do lists, including a note to give a list of current projects and their status to my supervisor (see, that is nothing new!).  But very few personal notations, other than calling in to see if I needed to report for jury duty in June, a #29 in July to indicate I had completed 29 years of service, my mammogram appointment (oh, such a routine, mundane thing to do, back then!), doctors' appointments for daughter and myself, etc.

Nothing much worth noting, other than I was still identifying species in May - on May 15, I had written down the names of several plants - I've noted them below, more for my own information than anything else.  In black is what I had written in the day planner; in blue is a description (new) of what the plants (I looked them up, again):

Labiatae or Lamiaceae  (plants in the mint or deadnettle family to which mint, basil, rosemary, lavender, etc. belong)
Ornithogalum (a genus of plants grown from bulbs, with star shaped flowers, often known as "Star of Bethlehem")
  brevistylum  (one of the species of Ornithogalum)
  umbellatum  (another species of the same genus)
Acinos alpinus (Common name, rock thyme; one of the plants in the Lamiaceae family)
L. Moench  (sorghum bicolor)
Hornimum pyrenaicum (another plant in the Lamiaceae family; it is a genus with a single species; common name is Dragon Mouth)
Butterwort (this is the common name for the family; the genus name is Pinguicula and it is a carnivorous plant that traps insects, etc.)

Then, there was this, written on July 19:

3/2 102.86
5/4 181.89

I've no idea what that was, but, hope it wasn't a record of my weight gain!  LOL.

It was clear during the day, but it started to rain in the afternoon.  Friend M had called around 4:00 p.m. to let me know that he would not be able to do my garden, as it was starting to rain and he'll make it up, another day.  It was still dry on my drive home, but it started to drizzle almost as soon as I turned into my drive way and then, it rained steadily through the evening and into the night.  I don't mind when it rains during the night, when I am safely home!

The drive home was notable only because I almost met with an accident during a lane change!  I had my signal on, to indicate a switch to the left lane; a car in the left lane, decided to switch to the right lane, without a signal!  Fortunately, I saw her in time and managed to swerve back to avoid hitting her.  I think she saw her exit coming up, because she continued to switch lanes, still without any signals!

When I came home, I realized that my relatively new water heater was leaking.  I had been noticing that there seems to be a a trickle of water coming out of the water heater, which is located outside and enclosed in a sheet metal structure.  I saw it for the first time on Wednesday, I believe, but I wondered if it was excess rain water, so didn't pay it much attention.  It was a bigger stream of water on Thursday, and I wondered if it was a leak.  Then, on Friday, I realized that yes, it was definitely a leak and, not only that, I didn't have any hot water on tap!  Which explained why the shower water never warmed up in the morning!  LOL!  It really was too cold to have a cold shower, too!  I decided to call neighbor E, but by then, it was raining, so I knew I had to wait until Saturday to call.

In the evening, I chatted with daughter on the phone (as soon as I came home), replied to blog comments, etc., and wrote the Thursday update.  Later, I video chatted with daughter.  By then, around 11:30 p.m., I was starting to feel the effects of not enough sleep the last couple of nights and too much computer time, I suppose.  I was having a slight headache, which was more of an eye ache than anything else.  Also, my dinner (the leftover pork chops and sauted vegetables) gave me some indigestion in the form of gas pains!  I took a couple of antacids and that helped.

I also wondered if the headache was due to the heater that I had running.  I usually open the windows when I come home from work and air out the house before I turn the heater on; then it stays on all night and comes on whenever the thermostat kicks in.  But, because it was starting to rain when I got home, on Friday, I didn't open the windows to air out the house, and since the heater is gas, I wondered if the carbon monoxide level in the house was going up (I don't have a monitor for that, although, I mentioned to my friend earlier, today, that I should probably get one and set it up).  So, in the night, before I went to sleep (at a relatively early time of 12:30 a.m.!) I turned the heater off and bundled up with a sweater over my sweatshirt that I wore to sleep in!  With fluffy socks and two quilts and two blankets on my bed, I managed to stay warm during the night!

On Friday, I was grateful for:
- A safe commute, especially on the way home
- More rain
- The fact that the rain held off until I was home
- Chatting with my daughter
- More oranges from my tree

How was your Friday?  Do you have a carbon monoxide monitor in your home?

Friday, March 16, 2018

Thursday's Recap

On Thursday, it rained in the morning, but the rest of the day was sunny and clear.  I went to the office and spent a productive morning and early afternoon.  In addition to sending portions of my project for review, I started cleaning my storage cabinets at the office, in preparations for the anticipated move.  I tossed a few items, including an old day planner/appointment book, which I wrote about, earlier.  Thank you, everyone, for all your comments on that post! 

In the afternoon, I had my appointment with the podiatrist, which was scheduled for 3:00 p.m.  When I left the office, I informed my supervisor that I will not be returning to the office after my appointment, because, by the time I drove back and forth, it would be time to leave, again!  My appointment went well, everything was fine, and I was given an appointment to return in June for another check up.

On my drive home, I gave into temptation and visited the fish and chips restaurant!  Their d├ęcor includes old maps of the UK on the walls and a route map of the London Underground running along the counter.  But they make good fish and chips and other items such as breaded/fried shrimp.  I don't indulge too often, but I had been craving it for a few days.  I managed to not give in to temptation last week, when I was returning from the surgeon's after my suture removal, but this week, I gave in!  I couldn't decide between the fried shrimp or the more traditional fish and chips, and, while they had various combinations, they didn't have the particular combination I would have liked: fish, mini shrimp, and chips.  Although, I suppose I could have ordered it as side orders.  Eventually, I decided to go with the mini fried shrimp - 21 mini shrimp for $6.95; with tax, it came to $7.54 or something.  I know I am going over my budget for eating out, this month, but I've given myself permission to do so!  The cashier who took my order was new, I think, and seemed a bit flustered - he bagged up my order with another customer's order and then, ran out of the store, behind her, to the parking lot and got it back from her!  Then, he put it back down on the counter and continued on as if nothing had happened!  LOL.  I was just happy I didn't have to wait until another batch of shrimp got fried!  I was hungry!  I ate half of it when I got home and the rest, later in the evening, for dinner. 

After I came home, I took some pictures of plants growing in the garden.  Things are coming up, nicely, after the rain!  I was very happy to see that my cherry guava tree, which had practically died, last year, and which I had friend M cut down practically to the ground, had sent out a little shoot of new growth!  It will not grow enough to produce fruit, this year, (at least, I don't think so), but, if it survives the summer heat, it might continue to grow and produce fruit, next year!  As my friend M said, when he saw the picture I texted him, "Mother Nature and Father Time!"

New Cherry Guava Shoot

My avocado seedling is growing, too!  It grew to be about two feet inside the house, last year, and then, the house got too hot and it dried up!  Again, I cut it down, almost all the way and set it out in the garden to see if it might regrow, and it is doing just that!  I doubt very much if I will ever get any avocados from it, but, it will be another fun thing to grow.

Avocado Seedling

It had been a sunny day with clear blue skies, but, by evening, things were changing and the clouds were moving in:

Looking East - the clouds were moving in from the west

Looking West - rain clouds

I found a windfall of five oranges under the orange tree as a result of the previous night's rain and the wind!  One or two were rather small, but the others were average size.  Later, in the evening, I baked a cake, using a boxed mix I had in the cupboard, and I added some grated orange rind to the cake batter for added flavor.

Yellow Cake with Orange Zest
I didn't have any powdered sugar, otherwise, I might have made a glaze with powdered sugar and orange juice to drizzle on the top.  Need to put powdered sugar on my shopping list!

As I mentioned to one of my friends, my oranges are organically grown, without any pesticides being sprayed, and I hate to see the rinds go to waste.  I've bags of frozen zest in the freezer to be added to baked goods, etc., but I don't use them as much as I should.  Maybe I should make some orange marmalade!  Just not sure if I am up to it, yet. 

I spent a relaxed evening, reading blogs and commenting, etc.  I called my cousin and wished her for her birthday.  Later, I video chatted with my daughter.  Some of her friends from elementary and middle school days are up there, visiting, and she's been going out with them in the evenings, having dinner, visiting places (on Thursday, they went to a place called the Ice Cream Museum - not a real museum, but rather, an indoor playground where they had rooms with different themes - a 50's diner/ice cream parlor with a juke box, a room decorated with cherries on the walls and clouds of "whipped cream with a cherry on the top" hung from the ceiling, an animal cracker carousel, etc., and got to taste different flavors of ice cream and freshly made cotton candy!  I told her I wanted to go there!)

On Thursday, I was grateful for:
- The trip down memory lane brought about by the old planners
- Fresh oranges from the tree
- The cherry guava plant is regrowing
- The avocado seedling is growing, too
- Daughter is having fun with her friends

It rained on Thursday night, so those clouds did bring rain!

How was your Thursday?  Did you have a good day?