Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June Goals and Balance Wheel in Review

Can you believe that June has already come to an end?  Time to review my June goals and the balance wheel.  The focus in June was the Environment and Health, since these areas were a bit out of balance in May.

Spiritual: Continue with daily devotions/meditations.  I will probably not be able to attend the monthly prayer meeting due to a schedule conflict.   Focus on gratitude and abundance - I didn't attend the monthly prayer meeting and I kept a list of things for which I was grateful, every day.

- Outside: Continue to landscape the front garden: plant more drought tolerant plants/succulents, etc. - Done
- Inside: Continue to clean and declutter;  go through each room; get the donations organized and call for a pick up - Need to call for a pick up

Daughter:  Continue to be there for her; enjoy her visit in mid-June  :) - We spent a lovely weekend together

Family:  Continue to keep in touch with family members: phone calls, letters, emails, etc. - I spoke with my sister and cousins; emailed other family members including an aunt and cousins

Friends:  Continue to keep in touch with friends through email/phone calls/video chat, etc.  - Done; got together with friends for meals, visited another friend, called/emailed other friends

Career:  Continue to manage work load efficiently; do 1-2 days of overtime- I did one day of overtime; managing work in a timely manner

Finances:  Revise budget to accommodate increased expenses related to daughter's rent.  Keep to the grocery budget of $75 - Unfortunately, I went over the $75 grocery budget because I bought some treats for daughter's visit/for her to take back with her.  But I'll make it up in July.

Health:  Big goal is better health!  I have a doctor's appointment coming up and some referrals to call and schedule appointments - Had the doctor's appt., lab test results were good; have one appointment set up and waiting for a call back on the other referral. 

Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies:  Continue to sew from fabric stash:  I want to make a set of placemats for everyday use, some summer nightdresses, and maybe a couple of other items.  Just have to make time to sew!  2 library visits, too - library visits done; nightdresses sewn; placemats cut out and partially sewn. 

Productivity and Time Management:  Continue to make efficient use of my time and be more productive: weekly cleaning routines; meal planning; bulk cooking; etc. - trying!

And that has been my month-end review of the various segments of my life.  All in all, not too bad.  I'm really happy about all the sewing I was able to accomplish.

Do you do a similar review of the month to see how you did with your goals for the month?  Do you think such a month-end review would be helpful?  How do you keep tabs on how you did during the month? 

Monday's Doings

It was another warm day, today.  91F downtown, 98F in the Valley where I live.  It was 91F when I came home at 6:30 p.m.

Fortunately, I spent the day in the air conditioned comfort of my office.  I ventured outside very briefly during my lunch break, to go across the street to the mini-mall to the post office to mail a bill payment, to the pharmacy to pick up a medication refill, and to the Japanese restaurant to get a teriyaki bowl for lunch.  I was happy to come back to the office and the coolness, afterwards!

On the way home, I stopped by the library to return the gardening books I had borrowed.  I checked the status of the book I had placed on hold, but it was still en route, I was told.  I shall receive an email notification when it comes in.

After I came home, I took the trash cans to the curb for trash pick up, tomorrow.  Then, continued to sew the bindings on the placemats, video chatted with daughter, returned my sister's phone call, and called a friend.  And ate pistachio ice cream to cool off!  Warm days have their compensations.  ;)

Today, I am grateful for:
- An air conditioned office
- Ice cream!
- Post office, pharmacy, etc. conveniently located near my office
- Keeping in touch with family and friends
- A cooler evening and night

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

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday: More Sewing Down the Stash

Placemats in Progress

Today, I started sewing the placemats I cut out, yesterday.

Some of you might recognize the fabric - it's the same as what I used to make my lunch bag.

Several years ago, one of my neighbors gave me several pieces this and other fabric.  Her husband worked in a garment factory, but the factory closed down.  I guess they were getting rid of partially sewn garments, because my neighbor gave me a huge bag full of the back halves of size 3X cotton blouses for my patchwork.  I've been dipping into this stash over the years and I still have about 50 pieces left!

Reverse Side of Placemat
I used one of the placemats I already have, as the template and cut around it.  Why am I making new placemats if I already have some?  The ones I currently have are plastic ones that my mother had bought; while they are serviceable, I thought it was time to replace them.  Besides, it was a good excuse to dip into the fabric stash!  I used the blue floral fabric for one side and a white floral fabric (also from the stash my neighbor gave me) for the reverse side.  The placemats will be reversible and either side can be used. 

I used a new roll of quilt batting I had bought on sale for the middle, between the two pieces of fabric.  The queen size quilt batting was bought on sale for about $5, and I used just a small portion of it.  The light green binding around the placemat is made from the leftovers from the green nightdress I sewed, earlier.  I had to patch some of them to make them long enough...but there was just enough for the six placemats I cut.  I would have made only four placemats, if I didn't have enough green fabric for the bindings for all six.  I machine stitched the bindings to the blue patterned fabric, but am handsewing them down on the other side.  It's a bit slow-going, but that's OK.  I will probably hand or machine quilt two diagonal lines, like a large X, once I've finished sewing the placemats. I am using thread I have in the stash.  The only cost for the six placemats is for the new batting and I estimate it cost less than $1 for the portion I used.

All the leftover pieces from cutting out the placemats have been neatly rolled up and stored with my other scrap pieces for another project, such as a quilt, later on.  And this is why I never run short of fabric for my scrap quilts!   

In between the sewing, I made pancakes for brunch and fried rice for dinner, made a quick stop at the garden center to buy a potted plant and visited a friend in the afternoon (the plant was my get-well gift to her), visited my mother's grave, watered some of the rose bushes with gray water I've collected while showering, and video chatted with my daughter.  It's back to work, tomorrow, but I've had a lovely relaxed day, today.

Today, I am grateful for:

- A seemingly unending fabric stash!
- Low cost placemats.
- A pleasant visit with my friend.
- The gift of a home-grown cucumber my friend gave to me
- Being able to spend another day sewing and relaxing

Anyone else having a fabric stash you are trying to sew down? 


Saturday: Sewing and Gardening

I stayed up till 2:00 a.m. on Friday night, so, slept in on Saturday morning!  I did wake up once, at 7:00 a.m., but decided I needed more sleep and slept till 10:30 a.m.!  I did a load of laundry to start the day, went on-line while I had my coffee, and video chatted with daughter for a bit.  Had hash browned potatoes and a scrambled egg for brunch.

Later in the afternoon, I sat down to sew!  First, I mended two skirts; one needed a stretched out elastic replaced and the other needed a fraying seam resewn.  Then, I cut out a set of placemats, but didn't sew them yet.  Instead, I sewed another nightdress!  I now have sufficient summer nightdresses, so I will move onto sewing something else.

In the evening, I watered the front garden.  Fried rice with chicken curry for dinner.

It was cloudy day and so much cooler as a result.  Some areas received a light rain, according to the news, but we didn't get any rain where I live.  But I was grateful for the cooler temperature.

So, I spent a very relaxed day on Saturday, sewing and gardening, instead of cleaning and attending to paperwork!  Will need to make up for it on Sunday.

Grateful for:

- The cooler weather
- Time to sew
- Phone chats with friends
- Video chats with daughter
- Another new nightdress

How is your weekend coming along?  Did you have a good Saturday?  What are your plans for Sunday?


Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday: Resisting Procrastination

I've had a fairly productive day, today.  I had a good day at the office and accomplished the work I wanted to get done this week. 

On the way home from work, I stopped to put gas to the car and went to the grocery store across the street from the gas station to pick up a gallon of milk ($2.59).  I almost didn't, however.  The procrastinator in me wanted to just go home, directly, rather than run errands; put gas later, over the weekend, or even on Monday morning on my way to the office (I still had a quarter tank of gas, which would have been enough for any weekend driving I had to do), and buy milk later, too, again, either over the weekend or on my way home from work on Monday evening (I still had a little milk in the fridge).

But I told myself to just do it - it would be two less things to do over the weekend.  So, I made myself drive to the gas station and then, to the grocery store.  Put the gas, bought the milk (and a bag of cat food, too, so that's taken care of for the week), and then, came home.  Now that those two errands have been done, I probably won't have to leave the house at all, over the weekend (unless I want to).

I have spent the evening relaxing at home.  I watched some TV, went on-line, video chatted with daughter, chatted on the phone with a friend who called, and watered the house plants.  Had an easy dinner of scrambled eggs and toast.           

Today, I am grateful for:

- A productive day
- Resisting procrastination and getting my errands done

- A slightly cooler day
- A phone call from my friend
- The end of the work week and the beginning of the weekend

Weekend plans include getting some "should do" things such as housework and paperwork, some "need to do" things such as cooking and baking, and some "want to do" things such as sewing and gardening.  Ideally, I'll be able to find balance among these tasks.

How was your Friday?  Do you tend to procrastinate, too?  Are you able to resist procrastination?  

Garden in Late June

Today, too, after I came home from work, I weeded in the garden.  I am working on the circular planting bed around the little peach tree.

Peach Tree in Middle; Rose Bush on the Left; Grass Everywhere

Originally, this planting bed held several rose bushes.  All but one have died.  The one that is still alive looked like it might die, too, but it seems to be holding on.  I am thinking about transplanting this rose bush to one of the other flower beds, later, in the winter, when it is "dormant".  But, in the meantime, the peach tree was planted in the middle of this planting bed.  Once the rose bush is removed, I will make the circle smaller, so I'll have less to weed.  Once I have finished weeding, I will mulch the bed to conserve water and keep out other weeds.  The mulch won't keep out the grass, completely, however, because this grass spreads with long stolons, underground.  The stolons send up new grass through the mulch. 

3 Weeks After Weeding!
The picture above is the flower bed I weeded, 3 weeks ago!  As you can see, the grass is already starting to grow!  It thrives in the flower beds because the flower beds get watered.  The lawn doesn't get watered.  Can you tell?

Back Garden "Lawn"
Isn't it ironic, that I can't get the grass to grow in the "lawn" where I'd want it to grow (due to not watering) and it is growing nice and green in the flower beds where I don't want it to grow?

The side yard is also full of weeds, but, in this case, some of the "weeds" are the four-o-clocks that have self-seeded all over.  In years past, I've pulled them out, cut them down, and dug them up to keep them under control, but this year, they have been allowed to grow because they are growing without being watered and add a touch of color:

Four-O-Clocks in the Side Yard
I didn't photograph them, but I've more four-o-clocks growing under the lemon trees and along the driveway near the garage.

I hope you enjoyed the glimpse of my garden.  :)

Today, I am grateful for:

- Crusty French bread from the farmers market
- Volunteer four-o-clocks
- The white dove that sat on the telephone pole and coo'd while I weeded
- Another evening in the garden
-Video chatting with daughter

How was your day, today?  Did you have a good day?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Wednesday: More Gardening

I spent another hour and a half in the garden, after work, today, weeding one of the large flower beds and watering.  The only areas that are getting watered are the flower beds and so, that's where the grass is growing.  The "lawns" are more or less dead.

As I weeded, I watched a hummingbird hover over some of the flowers and listened to the songs of the other birds.  Later, as I watered, the hummingbird flitted in and out of the spray of water, taking a shower!  

I enjoy time spent in the garden, weeding, watering, planting, etc.  I get sunshine and fresh air, birdsong and the fragrance of flowers, some gentle exercise, time to think and meditate.  My mother loved to garden and I feel her spirit near me, whenever I am out in the garden.  And yet, I don't spend enough time out in the garden.  It seems like there's never enough time to do everything I want to do.  

This picture was taken earlier in the spring - when things were still nice and green.  All the grass has since turned brown. 

Today, I am grateful for:

- Time spent in the garden
- Hummingbirds
- The fragrance of lemon blossoms
- Fresh lemons from the garden
- Water for the garden

How was your Wednesday?  Do you wish you had more time to do everything you want to do in a given day?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Tuesday: Naps and This Week's Grocery Ads


Yesterday, in the evening, I put water to the front garden and cut a stem of gladiolus flowers to bring indoors.  I love it when I can pick flowers from the garden to display around the house, but I need to be careful to keep them out of the reach of the Cat Who Likes to Eat Flowers!  So the vase of flowers was moved to the top of a tall bookcase, well out of his reach, after I took the picture.

Up early, this morning.  A busy day at the office.  Home again in the evening.  I felt tired and took a nap on the sofa!

After I woke up, I called one of my cousins and had a quick chat with her, washed the dishes, video chatted with daughter, and went through this week's grocery ads.

There are several good sales: one store is selling 18 oz. blueberries for $1.99, 4 lb. package of cane sugar for $1.79, and corn on the cob 4/$1; another store is having mangoes 3/$.99; cherries for $1.69/lb., chicken leg quarters for $.49/lb., peaches for $.49/lb, and strawberries for $.97/lb.  Pork sirloin end chops are also on sale for $1.19/lb., this week.

However, I wasn't planning to go grocery shopping this week, except for milk, because I went over my grocery budget and I really don't need anything else.  I need to eat what I have already purchased!  Hopefully, there will be more good sales when I do need to stock up again.

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

Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday: Summer Nightdress No. 2

Today, I have the day off from work.  I was up early to call daughter and wake her up since she had to go to her summer internship job.  Then, a cup of coffee, some news on TV, a quick look around on the computer, and a small load of laundry - the old sheets I use as dust covers/cat fur protectors on the family room sofas.

After that, I cut out and sewed myself another summer nightdress:

Summer Nightdress No. 2

No yoke, this time.  Instead, I put a few dart-like tucks around the neck in front and attached an embellishment I've had since daughter was born!  (A friend had given several such embellishments when daughter was born, for my mother to use on the things she was making for daughter; this one embellishment had been extra and sat in the stash until now).  The lilac color of the rose matched the pale lilac fabric of the nightdress:

I attached it by hand, with a running stitch.  Everything else is machine stitched.

Again, the fabric (broadcloth) was bought on sale (70 or 75% off; $1.20 or $1 per yard, depending on the discount).  Assuming it was 70% off, then, the 3 yards I bought would have cost $3.60 (plus sales tax, of course).  I already had the thread and the embellishment on hand.  So, this is another fairly frugal nightdress.

Lunch was more of the leftover fried rice and fried spicy shrimp from Saturday's outing.  Haven't decided, yet, what to have for dinner - I've chicken curry, smoked sausages, and lentils in the fridge, but I haven't felt like eating a big dinner, the past few days, due to the heat.

Today, I am grateful for:

- A day off from work, which gives me a long, 3-day weekend and an extra day to relax and sew
- Having sufficient sewing skills to make simple garments
- Ice-cold lemonade made with lemons from the garden
- Fans to keep me cool!
- Electricity to work the fans!

But Mondays, even if I have the day off from work, means that there are things that must be done, so
Monday's to do list:

- Laundry (done)
- Sew 2nd nightdress (done)
- Wash hair (done)
- Take trash cans out
- Water the front garden
- Water houseplants

 Other items to be done this week:
- Plant succulent cuttings
- Water back garden
- Put gas to the car
- Pay bills
- Car registration renewal
- Schedule mammogram
- Schedule eye exam
- Weekly house cleaning routines

How was your Monday?  What have you planned to do this week?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday: Summer Solstice and a New Nightdress

Today is the 1st day of summer, and the longest day of the year.  Today was slightly cooler than yesterday.  The house stayed a comfortable 80-84F; it's 82F right now (6:30 p.m.).

Today is Father's Day, too, of course.  My father died nearly 52 years ago (will be 52 years, next month), when I was seven years old.  My step-father died 28 years ago, this month.  So, I don't really do anything to observe Father's Day, except remember them and say a prayer for them. 

I had a relaxed day, today, and finished sewing my nightdress:

New Summer Nightdress

Pale green broadcloth.  With hand embroidered "lazy daisy" stitch flowers around the yoke:

Flowers on the Yoke
I love the lazy daisy stitch for when I want a touch of quick embroidery; the leaves are lazy daisy stitch, too, and the flowers have French knot centers.

I used an old nightdress my mother had sewn as my pattern; it was the last nightdress she ever sewed. I used sewing thread, embroidery floss, and a snap I already had (the yoke is fastened with a snap).  The fabric was bought on sale at 70% (or 75 %; I can't quite remember) off; I either paid $1.20 or $1 per yard (regular price, $3.99; it's on sale this week at 50% off, for $1.99/yd.).  I bought 3 yd. lengths for nightdresses, so, this nightdress cost either $3.60 or $3 to make (plus electricity, of course, for the machine sewing).  And, of course, I now have some leftover fabric for future patchwork projects.  :)

Today, I am grateful for:

- A new, low cost nightdress
- What first hand memories I have of my father
- My step-father who always called me his daughter
- More freshly picked cherry guavas, even if they were blueberry sized
- A slightly cooler day

How did you spend this first day of summer?  Did you do something special to celebrate Father's Day? 

Saturday: Keeping Cool

The temperature was in the upper 90s, on Saturday.  So, I opened the windows and doors, first thing in the morning, while it was still relatively cool (in the 70s), and aired the house.  Later, when it got warmer (around 11:00 a.m.), I closed the windows and doors to keep the cool air in and the warm air out.  The ceiling fan was switched on around noon.  I opened the windows and doors again, in the evening, to cool off the house.  And I ate some ice cream to cool myself!    And that is how I manage to keep the house (and myself) cool without central air conditioning.  LOL.

Right now, the house is 78F, which is a comfortable temperature for me.  I'm fine with indoor temperatures in the mid-80s, too.  It is only when the outside temperatures are in the triple digits and the temperature inside my house is in the 90s, that I feel uncomfortable.  Then, I'm known to whine and complain that it is too hot!  

I do have a small window unit that I put up in my bedroom window in the summer.  It hasn't been put up yet, this year.  It's too heavy for me to lift up to set in the window.  I have to take a day off from work on a day my gardener comes to do the garden and get him to do it.  Then, he takes it down for me, in October or November, when it cools down. 

I started the day making French toast for breakfast.  Then, I washed the dishes and did a load of laundry.  My neighbor T called to check on me because she hadn't seen me all last week.  She has invited me to come over to her house (cooled by a swamp cooler) if I find it too warm in my house!  I am so blessed to have caring neighbors.

After that, I pulled out several pieces of fabric from my stash, selected one, cut out a summer nightdress and started sewing it. 

Later in the afternoon, I took one of my friends to the fabric store and helped her to choose several pieces of fabric that she wanted.  We picked fabric, selected coordinating lace, matching thread, and the fasteners that were needed for the project she had in mind and spent an enjoyable hour in the shop.  The shop was nicely air conditioned, too, so it was a pleasure to stay there and shop!  I was very good and didn't buy anything.  I did pick up a hair band for daughter from the $1 bin, but my friend insisted on paying for it.  I did give her my coupons for 40% off on one regular priced item and 15% off on entire purchase.   

Afterwards, she treated me to lunch.  We bought Thai food from my favorite Thai food place and we brought it home to eat.  My friend was laughing because the laundry I did in the morning was hung from the doorways inside the house to dry.  I didn't mind - even if my dryer was working, I wouldn't have used it on a day when it was in the upper 90s!  It was an ideal day to air dry the laundry.

I dropped my glass butter dish, the other morning, by accident, and it broke.  So, on my way to drop off my friend, I stopped at the dollar store to buy myself another butter dish (a plastic one, this time, because they didn't have any glass ones).  I had given my friend the choice of going to the store with me or being dropped off at her apartment (I'd have gone to the dollar store on my way home, in that case); she chose to go to the store with me since she, too, had a couple of items she wanted to purchase.

Video chatted with daughter after I came home and sewed a bit more on the nightdress.  I will finish it, tomorrow. 

Today, I am grateful for:

- Caring neighbors
- An afternoon in the company of a friend
- Being treated to lunch
- Visits to the fabric store
- Time to sew

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

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Friday and Cherry Guavas

Friday, I had another productive day at the office.

Came home, had a cup of coffee, chatted with daughter for a bit, and then, went to the garden to do more weeding.  Even though I had watered the garden, yesterday, the ground was dry and rock hard, so I gave up on the weeding after a few minutes.  Instead, I took a few more cuttings from some succulents and picked the first of this season's cherry guavas.  I didn't take a photograph of what I picked today, but this is a photograph I took of the cherry guavas I picked last year:

Cherry Guavas
They are called cherry guavas because they resemble cherries in both color and size.  What I picked today, however, were the size of blueberries, not cherries.  The tree grows in my side yard and gets the full afternoon sun.  The side yard doesn't have many plants growing and doesn't get watered as often as the front and back gardens.  In previous years, I made it a point to water the guava tree, but this year, due to the continuing drought, I didn't water the guava tree.  As a consequence, the guavas didn't grow much in size.  But, I will enjoy eating them, nonetheless.  I will prune the tree later this year and, hopefully, we'll have some rain this winter and our 4-year long drought will come to an end.

Later in the evening, I called my friend who had asked for a ride to the fabric store and made arrangements to take her shopping on Saturday afternoon.  Then, I video chatted with daughter; she had gone grocery shopping and told me all the specials she picked up.  She gets personalized coupons sent to her and the store has "$5 Friday" specials with some items going on sale for $5 (such as a whole roast chicken, 3 boxes of cereal, 12 oz. fillet of frozen salmon, etc.)  I, too, went through this week's grocery ads, just to see if there were any "too good to miss" sales; there weren't, so I'll stick to my plan to not grocery shop this weekend.

Today, I am grateful for:

- A drive through the park on my way to work and back
- More fresh fruit from the garden
- Ceiling fans! (It was in the upper 90s, here, today, and I don't have central air conditioning)
- Cool evening breezes
- The weekend is here!

Looking forward to a relaxed weekend.  Oh, there will be house cleaning and laundry and so forth, that needs to be done, but, there will also be, getting together with a friend, a trip to the fabric store, and more guava to pick.

Did you have a good day, today?  What are your plans for the weekend?

Friday, June 19, 2015


Today was a typical work day - up at 6:00 a.m., morning devotions and routines, a cup of coffee, a quick shower, give daughter a wake up call, and drive myself to the office; spend the day at work, then, drive myself home in the evening.  Sometimes, I try to vary the routine a bit, by running errands during my lunch or breaks, or on my way home from work.  But, for the most part, my day varies only after I come home.

Today, after I came home, I video chatted with daughter while I had a cup of coffee.  Then, I spent an hour and a half in the garden, weeding and watering.  Afterwards, I put away the laundry from yesterday. 

Dinner was the last of the Brussels sprouts salad - I added some slivered almonds to it and it was very good.  And then, I cancelled out all the benefits of eating a salad by eating ice cream for dessert!  LOL. 

A little TV, a little reading, an email or two and just like that, it's time to clean the litter box and get ready for bed!  Seems like the day has just whizzed by! 

Today, I am grateful for:

- An ordinary day
- Time spent in the garden
- Ice cream!
- Exchanging emails with friends
- Bird song

How was your Thursday?


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Busy Days: Tuesday and Wednesday

Yesterday (Tuesday) and today (Wednesday) have been busy, productive days.

Yesterday, I went to the office and, on the way home, I stopped to put gas to the car and went to the store to buy cat food.  Came home and did a load of laundry, video chatted with daughter, etc.

Today, I went to work in the morning and came home at 7:00 p.m.  Called and checked in with daughter, had a cup of coffee and weeded in the back garden until 8:30 p.m.  I also watered the orange tree and peach tree.  Came in and rested a bit, put a load of laundry to wash and cooked a chicken curry.  After I finished cooking, I spoke with a friend who called, hung the laundry up to dry, had dinner, paid the phone bill, emailed a friend, and video chatted with my daughter.   It is almost midnight now, so I guess I had better post this and get ready for bed!

Today, I am grateful for:
- Time spent gardening
- Automatic washing machines
- Keeping in touch with friends
- Video chatting with daughter
- Safe commutes to the office and back

How was your day?  Has it been busy?  

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Brussels Sprouts-Mandarin-Carrot Salad/Slaw

Brussels Sprouts-Mandarin-Carrot Salad/Slaw

Yesterday, for lunch, I decided to make a Brussels sprouts salad.  I had seen a recipe for a Brussels sprouts, red onions, and mandarin salad in a magazine, but it called for Pecorino cheese and olive oil for the dressing, which I don't have.  Besides, daughter doesn't like cheese.  So, I decided to adapt the recipe.

I cut the Brussels sprouts finely and added a grated carrot, as well as a can of mandarin segments.  I added a little of the syrup from the can of mandarins as well as the juice of a fresh lemon, a few drops of sesame oil, a little salt and a little sugar to balance the lemon juice.  Gave it a good stir and it made a Brussels sprouts salad/slaw.  This is the first time I've eaten Brussels sprouts raw and the first time I made this salad.  It tasted a lot like cabbage, to me.   

In addition to the salad, I cooked rice, smoked sausages with onions, and a lentil (dhal) curry for our lunch, yesterday.  Then, we had the freshly picked peaches for dessert.

I stored the leftover Brussels sprouts slaw in the fridge and took some to the office for my lunch today.  It had marinated in the lemon juice dressing overnight and had lost some of that cabbage taste and become mellower.  But it was still nice and crunchy.  I still have more left, but I can see myself making this slaw again, maybe with some other variations.

Have you had Brussels sprouts made into a salad/slaw like this?  Is it something you might try?  

Monday, June 15, 2015

Peach Harvest and Monday's Activities

Today, I picked this year's peach harvest:

First Peaches

Yes, there were only two peaches, since I planted the tree only this year and it is not quite four feet tall.  In fact, I didn't expect to have any fruit from it, this first year, and was pleasantly surprised when it set fruit and two actually developed.  They are small fruits, of course, but, again, since I didn't expect any at all, I am very pleased to have them.  I am even happier because they ripened enough to pick when daughter was also here.  So I got to share them with her.  We enjoyed a peach, each, for dessert, after our lunch, today.  They were sweet and juicy; sun-ripened and freshly picked.  I'm looking forward to next year, when, with any luck, I'll have more peaches from the little peach tree. 

Today, daughter went back to Berkeley.  We spent the morning relaxing at home.  I baked the curry puffs in the morning.  I used two packages of puff pastry and made sixteen curry puffs.  We had two of them for breakfast.  I kept two for me and packed the rest for daughter to take with her.

Later, after lunch, I dropped daughter off at the airport with strict instructions to call me at various times during her trip, and came home.  Daughter, very dutifully called me, when she cleared check-in, when she boarded the plane, when she got off the plane, and when she got to her apartment!  :D  Yes, she's twenty-two, but I am a born worrier.  Unlike Saturday's trip home, this journey went smoothly without any problems.

In the evening, I took the trash cans to the curb, watered both front and back gardens (I hand watered with a garden hose), did a load of laundry, and video chatted with daughter.

It was a rather warm day, today (highs in the low 90s); more warm weather is forecast for the rest of the week with triple digits for Saturday.  Summer is here.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Daughter had a safe, uneventful trip back
- Fresh peaches from the garden
- Daughter is understanding of my worrying about her safety and is good humored about it
- The close relationship my daughter and I have
- Being able to spend the extended weekend with daughter

How was your Monday?  Hope you all had a lovely day.

Grocery Shopping - June, Week 2 Continued!

Oh, no, you didn't, Bless!  You didn't go grocery shopping again, did you?  I'm afraid I did!

Sunday morning, I took out the meat (chuck steak and ground beef) to thaw and realized that I needed carrots and celery, and perhaps an onion, to make the curry puffs for daughter to take back with her.

I went to the ethnic grocery store where fresh produce is inexpensive.  They had a sale on chicken drumsticks, too.  So, I decided to make a chicken curry, too.   I got some of her favorite vegetables, as well, to share with her (vegetables are cheaper, down here, than they are, up there.)

More Groceries!

Not the best picture, I know.  But I think it's the best of the three that I took.

I bought: 
3 lbs. chicken drumsticks @ $.69/lb = $2.07
1 package raw cashews @ $6.99/lb = $3.60
1 package raw cashews @ $6.99/lb = $3.74
2.26 lb. seedless red grapes @ $.79/lb = $1.79
1 bunch spinach = $.69
1 bell pepper (.48 lb), @ $.79/lb = $.38
1 bunch celery = $.69
1.06 lb. Brussels Sprouts @ 1.49/lb = $1.58
1.2 lb. Mediterranean cucumber @ $.39/lb = $.47
1 cauliflower (1.75 lb) @ $.39/lb = $.68
2 onions (1.06 lb) @ $.33/lb = $.35
1 lb. carrots @ $.40/lb = $.40

Another Blurry Receipt!

I spent a total of $16.44.

I had $5.99 left in my June grocery budget.  $5.99 - $16.44 =  $ -10.45

I'm in the red, again, this month!  But it is OK.  I will either carry it forward into July OR I will adjust my grocery budget to $100, since I am sharing some of this stuff with daughter.  I am blessed that I am financially able to make such adjustments, as needed.

This sharing of groceries is not one way, either!   Daughter brings me goodies when she visits me.  On this visit, she brought me 2 packages of a favorite granola bar, 2 packages of a favorite spicy Indian snack, a package of Indian sweets and a loaf of specialty bread, which she paid for from her grocery budget.

Today, I cooked the ground beef filling to make the curry puffs and made the spicy sauted beef.  We had some of the spicy sauted beef for our dinner and I packaged the leftovers and froze them for her to take back with her.  I will make the curry puffs in the morning, tomorrow.  I had meant to make them tonight, but we had a full day with one of my friends, whose older daughter graduated from university today.

Daughter attended the graduation ceremony as she's good friends with my friend's two daughters.  I joined them, later, to go out to lunch with them and afterwards, we visited a couple of recreational areas and landmarks.  After that, we had tea and cake at my friend's home and then, we sat around and chatted until after 7:00 p.m.

Came home and did the cooking; had dinner and I did the dishes, etc., and cleaned the stove top.  Cleaned the litter box, too.  Called a friend who is recovering from a stroke.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Being able to adjust my grocery budget as needed
- Celebrating another young lady's graduation
- Going out to lunch with friends
- Spending a fun afternoon, sightseeing and enjoying the company of friends
- Another lovely day spent with my daughter

How was your Sunday?    

Sunday, June 14, 2015

An Answered Prayer (Or Coincidence?)

The day started off with quite a bit of drama!  Daughter boarded her plane with 2 minutes to spare!

Her flight was at 7:35 a.m., with boarding starting at 7:05 a.m. But the subway station doesn't open till 6:00 a.m. (she got there at 5:45 a.m.) with the first train to the airport leaving at 6:06 a.m. Which would have got her to the airport in time, EXCEPT, a stretch of the track was closed today for repairs and passengers had to take a connecting shuttle which added an extra 30 mins. to her ride. As a result, she didn't get to the airport until 7:15 a.m. and then, there was a LONG line to check in. 

She called me from the airport.  She didn't know if she'd get through the line in time to make her flight.  She doubted it very much.  I immediately lit the altar light and said a prayer for her; for the line to move fast so she'll be on time for her flight.  She called me a little after 7:30 a.m. to say she was in the plane.  She said that just after she called me, they suddenly opened another check-in line and she was among the passengers who were allowed to go through that "express" line. She reached the gate just as they were getting ready to call her name.  Of course, it could have been a coincidence, but I rather suspect that a mother's prayer was answered.

In any case, she arrived safely and I picked her up and made waffles for her breakfast.  Then, we went to buy cards for her two friends who are graduating (one today, one tomorrow).  After lunch, we attended the graduation of one friend.  The parents of the new graduate had invited us to dinner, afterwards.  We went to a Japanese restaurant and we all had shabu shabu.  It was my first time having this particular dish - basically, it is a type of hot pot - a dish of thinly sliced raw meat and a platter of fresh vegetables and noodles are brought to the table along with an assortment of sauces in small bowls.  There is a small pot of boiling broth, as well (one per diner).  One takes the vegetables and the meat and dip them in the broth to cook them before eating them.  It was an interesting dining experience.

Today, I am grateful for:
- The blessing of an answered prayer!
- A safe flight for daughter.
- Hugs given and received.
- New experiences.
- Celebrating a young lady's graduation

How was your day, today?   What do you think?  An answered prayer or coincidence? 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Grocery Shopping - June Week 2

June Week 2 Groceries

I stopped by the grocery store, after work, today and bought a few things to take advantage of a sale.  Blueberries and raspberries were on sale for $1.28/4.4-6 oz. packs; I bought them mostly for my daughter who will be visiting this weekend.

The juice was on sale for $.88 each, provided one bought 5.  I bought 4 bottles of apple juice and one cranberry-raspberry, which is daughter's favorite.  I now have enough juice for the rest of this year!

I also bought a loaf of sandwich bread ($1.29) and 2 lb. bananas (@ $.69/lb.= $1.38).


I spent a total of $11.01.

I had $17.00 left in my June grocery budget, so now, I have $5.99 left!  Oh, dear!  Somebody had better stay out of the grocery stores for the rest of the month!

Lunch, today, was rice, salmon, green beans, and tomato chutney, with grapes for dessert.  Dinner was a scrambled egg (1 egg), bacon, and potato.

Today, I am grateful for:

1. Grocery bargains
2. Being able to stock up when bargains are available
3. A well-stocked pantry
4. My job and all the benefits it provides me (a steady income, health insurance, etc.)
5. My daughter

How are you coming along with your grocery budget, so far, this month?  Have you, like me, spent most of the budget in the first half of the month?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Thursday's Activities and Bucket Lists?

Today, I had a doctor's appointment in the morning for my physical and to go over lab test results; things were good for the most part.  Somethings could have been better, of course.  My weight, for example.  But various other on-going conditions I have are all under control and within acceptable levels, so, that was good.  However, I was dehydrated, according to the blood tests, so I need to up my water intake!

After the doctor's appointment, I went to the office and had a good day.  I didn't go to the farmers market, today, but did treat myself to teriyaki chicken and rice for lunch from a nearby Japanese restaurant.  I had the leftovers for dinner.

On my way home from work, I put gas to the car.  I had a little over 1/4 tank of gas but less than 1/2 tank.  I try to have at least half a tank of gas at all times; I live in earthquake country and if there's a big earthquake and the electricity goes off, one can't get gas because there are no hand operated gas pumps anymore.  At least, not in this area.  I'm really dating myself, aren't I?  Anyone else remember hand operated gas pumps?  Or full service gas stations?  The cheapest gas was $3.45/gal. and I put for $30.  I now have an almost full tank of gas.

I was very sleepy when I got home, so I took a short nap on the sofa.  As a result, I didn't do any weeding, today.  Instead, I washed the dishes, scrubbed the sink, and cleaned the kitchen.  And video chatted with daughter, of course.

Today, I am grateful for:
1. A good doctor's visit and check up
2. Good lab test results
3. No co-pay required for a physical
4. They even validated 1 hr. of parking, today (not a consistent happening) 
 5. Naps on the sofa

So, what about bucket lists?  In exactly 5 months from today, I will turn 60.  I read somewhere about people making a bucket list of X things before X birthday.  I don't have any bucket lists, as such, unless it is to lose the extra weight I've gained over the years.  But I am wondering if I should have a bucket list.   If I were to have a bucket list of 60 things to do before my 60th birthday, what would they be?  Do you have a bucket list?  If you were to come up with a bucket list before your next birthday, what sort of things would you have on your bucket list?  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wednesday's Productivity

Today was a very productive day, overall.

I had a busy day at the office.  During my lunch break, I went to the pharmacy to pick up my medication refills.  I received a $5 "extra care bucks" coupon and used it to buy a small jar of dry skin cream, which was priced $5.49.  With the coupon, I had to pay just $.53 (balance $.49 on the jar of dry skin cream plus $.04 for the sales tax).  A very frugal skin care item.  :)

Later, during my afternoon break, I went to the bank.

On the way home, I stopped at the DIY store to buy a battery operated LED light for daughter.  She was without electricity in her apartment on Monday, and although she used her flash light and cell phone for light, she could have done with another source of light.  This was about the 3rd or 4th time the electricity has gone off in the year she's been up there!  We hadn't realized just how often Berkeley experiences power outages!

While I was at the DIY store, I bought a bag of potting soil; I wanted to get some mulch, too, but the bags of mulch are too heavy for me to carry.  I will ask my gardener to pick up some mulch for me.      
After I came home, I spent another hour and a half in the garden, weeding one of the rose beds.  The lawns are a type of Bermuda grass, and since I don't water the lawns as much, the grass is growing in the flower beds, because that's where I water!  They spread through long underground runners and it's quite difficult to pull them out.  I finished weeding one flower bed and started on another.  Once I get th mulch, I will mulch the flower beds to keep the weeds down and moisture in.

The rest of the evening, I've video chatted with daughter and written to friends, etc. 

Tomorrow, I have a doctor's appointment in the morning and I'll go to the office, afterwards. 

How was your Wednesday? 

Update on Weekend To Do List

I didn't get around to doing everything on my weekend to do list, but I did some of it.  I spent most of my weekend resting and sewing (repairing a quilt).  As a result, not much of the to do list got done during the weekend and some of it got carried over into the week!

- Laundry (sofa dust sheets, bed sheets, etc.) -  I did the laundry and changed the dust sheets, etc.

- Grocery shopping (milk, bread, fruit, maybe chicken) - I did the grocery shopping on Monday and bought beef instead of chicken.

- Meal planning for the week -  I didn't do any meal planning as such, but that's not such a big deal, when it's just me.  What's more important is to have options in the fridge, freezer and pantry so that I can make something I like as needed.

- Cooking/baking for the week - I did some bulk cooking (a big pot of rice, some sauted green beans), but didn't bake as it was too hot!

- House cleaning (bathrooms, bedroom, kitchen) - I cleaned the two bathrooms, and I spot cleaned the floors, which included pulling out the bed and one of the sofas to clean under (Dancer cat had furball issues on Sunday!) but I didn't dust or vacuum.
- Decluttering (file folder of cards, recipe binder) - Not done

- Dishes - Done, but they are never really fully done, are they?

- Gardening (buy mulch; re-pot some plants; weed; etc.) - I watered the garden (front and back) on Monday and spent over an hour weeding on Tuesday.

- Sewing (placemats, repair/redo quilts, sew on hexagons quilt)  - I spent most of the weekend repairing one of the quilts.

- Shopping? (fabric store sale!)  - I didn't go shopping for fabric, after all!  The sale lasts until this Saturday, but I think I will resist going.  I still have most of the fabric I bought on a 75% off sale after Christmas a year ago (not this past Christmas, but Christmas of 2013!)  I really, really need to use up what I have in the stash before I add to it!

I will continue to work off the list (and add things to it as needed) throughout this week.  Maybe I should have called it a "weekly" to do list instead of weekend to do list!

How is your week coming along?

Monday, June 8, 2015

June Grocery Shopping - Week 1

On Thursday, I bought a loaf of French bread from the farmers market for $2.50.  But I did the first "proper" grocery shopping, today.

I spent a total of $58.60 after loyalty card discounts and coupons, but that included a bag of dry cat food ($9.99), 3 air fresheners ($.80 @ after coupon), and $1.18 taxes on the cat food and air fresheners (food items are not taxed). 

I purchased:

1 gal. milk ($2.55)
1 qt. half & half/creamer ($2.29)
1 doz. large eggs ($2.99)
5 lb. flour ($2.29 - $.40 coupon = $1.89)
1 bottle oil ($1.99)
1 17-oz. box cereal ($3.99; free with coupon!)
1 box saltine-type crackers; unsalted tops ($1.50)
1 2-liter bottle soda ($1.99; free with coupon! Paid only $.10 deposit)
1 bottle apple juice ($2.99 - $1.00 coupon = $1.99)
1 bag potato chips ($2.99)
2 cans peaches ($1.25@ - $.40 coupon on purchase of 2 cans = $1.05@)
2 12-oz. bags frozen corn ($1.00@)
1 12-oz. bag frozen green peas ($1.00)
1 4-pack fruit cups (mango; $1.99)
3 cans tuna ($.89@ - $.45 coupon on purchase of 3 cans = $.74@)
2.25 lb. red grapes (@$1/lb;= $2.23)
1 bag of 6 apples ($.99)
1.42 lb. bananas ($.69/lb; = $.98)
1 pkg. chuck steak ($3.99/lb; = $4.63)
1 pkg. ground sirloin ($3.99/lb; = $3.51)
1 loaf French bread ($1.59)
3 bars chocolate ($1.50@ - $1.00 coupon = $1.166@)

Total = $45.03
With the $2.50 for the French bread earlier in the week, June Week 1 grocery totals = $2.50 + $45.03 = 47.53

My grocery budget was set at $75 for myself.  I went over the May budget by $10.47 (partly because I bought some stuff for daughter when she visited).  I will be deducting that from my June budget, so my June grocery budget is $75 - $10.47 = $64.53.

Balance left in June grocery budget: $64.53 - $47.53 = $17!

This is going to be an interesting month!  I don't want to increase the grocery budget because I am making special treats for daughter, every month!  But I just might have to do that!   

Blurry Receipt!

The potato chips are a total indulgence, but I've been craving potato chips for well over two weeks, now.  The chocolates are an indulgence, too.  I am well aware that I could have saved almost $6.50 from the grocery bill if I hadn't given in and bought these two items.  On the other hand, these items are cheaper at the grocery store than at the convenience store near my office, where I sometimes buy them from my eating out/miscellaneous budget.  :p

The chuck steak is to make the spicy beef stir fry that daughter loves - I'm planning to make it this weekend when she comes home and will probably send the leftovers back with her.  The ground sirloin is to make more curry puffs, because, you guess it - daughter was craving curry puffs when she saw that I had made some for myself the other day!  LOL.  Regular ground beef (30% fat) was the same price as the on-sale ground sirloin (10% fat), so I bought the lower fat version, which is usually priced higher (ground sirloin, reg. price = $7.49/lb., per package)

For brunch, today, I had a sandwich made with some of the French bread, the last of the turkey cold cuts I had bought earlier, potato chips and grapes.  Haven't quite planned my dinner, yet, but it will probably be something with leftovers - rice, green beans, and some of the leftover curry puff filling from earlier.

Have you gone grocery shopping in June, yet?  How is your June grocery budget coming along?  

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Garden in June

White Agapanthus

My garden is undergoing change due to our continuing drought (in our 4th year of drought).  We have mandatory water conservation measures in effect, including how much water we are allocated per month, how often we may water the garden (3 times a week), when (odd or even days based on if your address is odd or even; before 9:00 a.m. and after 5:00 p.m.), for how long (10 minutes per station, if using sprinklers), etc.

I've more or less stopped watering the lawns, reduced watering frequency down to once or rarely, twice a week, planted succulents along the wall in the front, and have started replacing more of my plants with succulents.  I used to have almost 100 rose bushes; now I am down to less than half and I discovered 3 more rose plants that are dying.  I don't plan to replace them.

The gardener cleared out another flower bed last week.  It used to be filled with geraniums, but now, just two plants are still alive (he left them in). I will probably plant more succulents there.

But all is not doom and gloom.  On the positive side, the white agapanthus has started to  bloom:

I used to have blue agapanthus, too, in the front garden, but, although agapanthus are considered drought tolerant and heat hardy, the front garden gets such strong afternoon sun, with the reduced watering, they died.  These white agapanthus are in the back garden, where they get the morning sun and relative shade in the afternoon.

And there are two tiny peaches on my newly planted peach tree, which is not quite 4 feet high:

Peach #1
Peach #2
Peach #1 gets the sun and has turned rosy, already.  Peach #2 is in the shade and hasn't acquired much color, yet.  I am planning to harvest these two peaches next weekend, when daughter comes home for a visit.  I just hope the birds don't discover them before that!  I didn't expect to get any peaches this year as this little tree was planted only this spring, so this is a wonderful surprise and a gift. 

There are little pomegranates forming on the pomegranate tree, too, but I didn't take a picture of them.  Not all of them will grow to full size, as some will drop before they become bigger.

Do you have a garden?  How is your garden coming along?

More Quilt Repairs

Roman Stripe Quilt

I made this quilt back in 1981, with scraps leftover from various other sewing projects (mostly from my mother sewing our clothes).  The pattern is called Roman Stripe; each piece of fabric measures 1 inch by 3 inches and the finished block measures 3 inches square. The patches were machine sewed and half the quilt is hand quilted with simple squares.  The other half of the quilt was never quilted!

The pattern directions I used said to make the patch with a patterned fabric strip in the middle with solid colored fabric strips on either side.  However, I had more patterned fabric in my stash than solid fabric (still do!) so, I decided to use two strips of patterned fabric with a solid fabric in the middle, instead.

I actually made two quilts in this pattern; the first quilt was given away to a friend and this quilt was made from the patches I had leftover.  This was one of the quilts my mother used all the time.    

Close Up

The fabric is now faded, worn, and fraying.  I am repairing it, instead of replacing it with a new one, because it is one of daughter's favorites. After my mother died, my daughter claimed it.  Partly because it was used by grandmother, but mostly because, after several years of use and laundering, it is very soft to the touch.  And daughter, like her grandmother, prefer soft items.  Of course, it is soft because it is worn, and that's why some of the fabric is fraying.  So, I am cutting out new patches and sewing them on top of the old fabric.  Other than cutting them out in the same shape, I am not making any effort to hide the fact that these are new patches.

The original cotton backing tore a couple of years ago and I replaced it with a new flannel backing.

I suppose, at a certain point, I'll have to stop repairing the quilt.  But until then, I'll keep adding new patches to cover the frayed ones.  

Saturday, June 6, 2015

1st Weekend in June To Do List

This weekend, I'm back to making a To Do list; I think I'll reserve "weekend plans" for next weekend when daughter will be visiting.

So, on the to do list for this weekend:

- Laundry (sofa dust sheets, bed sheets, etc.)
- Grocery shopping (milk, bread, fruit, maybe chicken)
- Meal planning for the week
- Cooking/baking for the week
- House cleaning (bathrooms, bedroom, kitchen)
- Decluttering (file folder of cards, recipe binder)
- Dishes
- Gardening (buy mulch; re-pot some plants; weed; etc.)
- Sewing (placemats, repair/redo quilts, sew on hexagons quilt)
- Shopping? (fabric store sale!)

The fabric store sent an ad in the mail - they are having a sale on broadcloth for $1.99/yd (regular price $3.99).  I usually wait for the $1.99 sale and then, stock up.  But I still have some broadcloth I bought during an earlier sale in my stash, so I am debating whether to stock up some more or wait for another sale, later in the year (by which time, hopefully, I would have used up at least some of what's in my stash).  Daughter is encouraging me to stock up, but I remember telling myself I won't buy more fabric until I use up what's in the stash!  The sale doesn't start until tomorrow, so I have the rest of today to debate with myself!  LOL.

In the meantime, if I am to get anything done, I had better get off the computer and actually start on my to do list!

What's on your to do list for this weekend?  What would you do if you have a stash of fabric and there's a sale going on?  Should I buy more fabric or should I give it a miss?

Friday, June 5

Friday started bright and early with Dancer meowing his usual morning song to wake me up.  I did my usual morning rituals and routines, left a note to the gardener, and drove myself to the office.  I had a very productive day at work, but, I was tired by the time I came home. 

So, I spent a quiet, relaxed evening.  I video chatted with my daughter, called and spoke with one of my friends, replied to another friend's email, watched some TV and did a bit of reading.

Today, I received a compliment on my outfit and the fact that it was all nicely coordinated down to my matching purse.  I thanked the person but I was laughing to myself, because if I was coordinated, it was entirely by accident.  There was a time, several years ago, when I tried to have matching/coordinated outfits and accessories, including shoes and purses.  I had several pairs of shoes in a rainbow of colors, with matching purses.  These days, however, I have black shoes that go with everything and one everyday purse, which is burgundy colored.  I carry this purse no matter what color outfit I'm wearing, but I just happened to be wearing a burgundy and black outfit today.  So, yes, everything matched and was coordinated.  :)  Being complimented was a highlight in my day, though. 

Today, I am grateful for:

- A productive day at the office
- A relaxed evening at home
- Catching up with friends
- Compliments!
- Technology which enables me to keep in touch with others

How was your Friday?  What was your highlight of the day?   

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Good Enough on Thursday

Well, yesterday's post had some formatting issues, because I used two different computers and different programs to type it over the course of two days.  By the time I typed the first part and copied and saved it as a draft on one computer and retrieved it and finished typing it and copied it again, on another computer, and posted it to the blog, fonts and background colors had changed!  But it's OK, I think.  It's not perfect and I've been known to get stuck on perfection at times; but it's good enough.  And sometimes, good enough is perfectly fine.     

We've all heard the saying, "If something is worth doing, it's worth doing well".  We've had it said to us by others, perhaps a parent or a teacher; we might have said it to ourselves or to others.  Often, it acts as a positive motivator, inspiring us to do a good job, to do the best we can.  Sometimes, however, we strive for perfection and we become discouraged, because, there are times when perfection can't be attained.  And sometimes, we don't do anything because we are worried that we won't do it perfectly and we don't want to be less than perfect. I've had times when I've tried for perfectionism and not managed to get much done because I couldn't achieve perfectionism.  But, these days, I am learning to accept that good enough is OK, too. 

Today, I woke up with a stiff neck and shoulder.  I must have slept awkwardly, or it might be because I carry my rather heavy purse by its shoulder strap on that shoulder, or even because I sit under an air vent at the office.

I had a productive day at the office.  There was a department-wide meeting in the morning followed by an annual group photo.  I got quite a bit of work done during the day, so it was a good work day.  During my lunch break, I went to the post office to mail my utilities bill payment and went to the weekly farmers market to buy a baguette of French bread ($2.50).  I had taken some butter, mustard and turkey cold cuts in containers and made myself a sandwich with some of the French bread for lunch! 

I had another sandwich for dinner - I really enjoy this crusty French bread.

I've had a quiet evening at home - video chatting with my daughter and relaxing.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Crusty French bread
- Farmers markets
- A relaxed evening
- Safe commutes to the office and back
-  Video chatting with daughter

How was your Thursday?  Are you a perfectionist?  Or are you OK with "good enough"?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

An Account of My Time

We are already on the 3rd of June.  One tenth of the month has already passed!  The days seem to just whiz by, don’t they?    
For the most part, my days are filled with everyday, routine, ordinary, activities.  Going to work, doing housework, gardening, cooking, visiting on-line with daughter, etc., etc., etc.  These ordinary tasks take up practically the whole day and, sometimes, it feels like 24 hours are not enough.
I like to keep an account of what I did each day.  I feel it is important.  Because it is how I spend my time.  These are the activities (or inactivities, as the case may be) that fill the hours of my days, the days that add up to the weeks and months and years of my life.  How I spend my days is how I spend my life.  And I want each and every day of my life to count.  Not just the days when milestone events took place.  But also those days when only the mundane tasks were done.
So, here’s an account of how I spent the first 3 days in June:
Monday, June 1 – It was an overcast day as “May Grey” gave way to “June Gloom” – both actual weather terms used to describe the effects of the marine layer which results in cloudy, overcast skies, here in Southern California.   The day started as most of my working days tend to do – I woke up to the alarm going off at 6:00 a.m. (and 6:15 a.m., because I tend to hit the snooze button), along with Dancer cat jumping on the bed and meowing to tell me it’s time for his breakfast.  Then, I turned on the altar lights (morning ritual; a small prayer of gratitude for a safe night and waking up in the morning) and turned off the porch lights, fed Dancer and the outdoor stray cats, made and drank my coffee while watching the morning news on TV.  After that, I got dressed, packed my lunch (used my new lunch bag!), phoned daughter to wake her up (she has her alarm set, too, but likes to be woken up by me and we go through our morning ritual of wishing each other a good morning and saying I love you), turned off the altar lights, and drove myself to the office.  It’s an hour long commute – I say my morning devotions, then listen to the radio or a CD. 
I had a productive day at the office, but came home with a bit of a headache.  As usual, I turned on the altar lights upon returning home, called daughter to let her know I came home safely (something she has requested I do because she worries about me as much as I worry about her), explained I had a headache, and took an hour-long nap on the sofa.  After I woke up, I emptied the waste baskets, took the trash cans to the curb for trash pick up the next morning, and hand-watered the front garden. The mama bird sat in her nest and watched me; I hear her chirping every morning – hopefully, the babies will be hatching very soon.  One of my cousins lives one house down across the street from me; she saw me out in the garden and came across to return a bottle of ground nutmeg she had borrowed, earlier, and we chatted for a few minutes.
Then, I went inside, to spend the rest of the evening video chatting with daughter, watching some TV, going on the computer, etc.  I also phoned a friend to check on her (she was recovering from a cough), phoned an aunt to check on her (getting over bronchitis), emailed relatives in Texas to see how they were managing with all the flooding in their area (they were OK), exchanged a couple of emails with other friends, had dinner, watered the indoor plants, did the dishes, packed the next day’s lunch, cleaned the litter box, etc.  Then, said my nightly devotions, blessed the house (a little ritual I do every night), bid goodnight to daughter, and went to sleep at 12:30 a.m.
On Monday, I was grateful for:
  • Naps on the sofa
  • A quick visit with cousin
  • Phone chats with aunt and friend
  • Emails with other family and friends
  • A new lunch bag

Tuesday, June 2 – Again, it was another typical work day morning.  Did all the usual things I do before leaving for work, and drove myself to the office.  During my morning break, I went to the pharmacy to pick up a refill on one of my medications (asthma inhaler, this time).  I am on a few different medications which were prescribed and filled at different times, so the refills become available at different times.  Which means a few trips to the pharmacy during each month.  Fortunately, the pharmacy is located across the street from my office, so, easy access.  Plus, the pharmacist and I have become friends over the years and we always chat a little, if there isn’t a line of customers waiting. 
On the way home from work, I stopped at the library near my house to return a book and then, stopped at the gas station to put gas to the car ($3.59/gal.).  My nextdoor neighbor had already brought in my trash cans for me, so I didn’t have to do that.  I video chatted with daughter who was feeling a bit under the weather, watched some news on TV, went through the grocery ads (boneless/skinless chicken breasts @ $1.79/lb; chuck roast @ $3.49/lb; cane sugar @ $1.79/4 lb), phoned another cousin to check on her (she had called me on Sunday to tell me that she had been taken to hospital due to an on-going heart condition; she was feeling better when I called), wrote to a friend, posted on-line, gave the cat his flea prevention medications, did the dishes, etc.   I started this post, but couldn’t finish it, since it was already past 12:30 a.m. and I needed to go to sleep.  By the time I said my nightly devotions, blessed the house, bid goodnight to daughter, etc., it was close to 1:00 a.m.
On Tuesday, I was grateful for:
  • Easy access to the pharmacy
  • A friendly pharmacist
  • Libraries
  • Helpful neighbors
  • Being able to keep in touch with family and friends
Wednesday, June 3 -   It was hard to wake up at 6:00 a.m., today!  Then, when I got on the freeway, it was a parking lot due to an accident and lane closures!  I was late getting to work, this morning, but I made up for it by not taking a lunch break.  In any case, I usually eat my lunch at my desk, anyway. 
Today, after I came home from work, turned on the altar lights, called daughter, etc., I put water to the back garden.    Then, made "breakfast for dinner" - bacon, fried potatoes, and a scrambled egg; chocolate pudding for dessert!  Perhaps not the healthiest of dinners, but just what I was wanting.  :)  Later, one of my cousins called me and we had a chat on the phone.   In a little bit, I will do the dishes and clean the litter box and get ready for bed.  

Today, I am grateful for:

  • A flexible work schedule
  • A safe commute
  • Leftovers for quick and easy to pack lunches
  • The 5 minutes or so of misty-fine drizzle this morning (not enough to do anything, but still, it was precipitation, and other areas of the City might have received a bit more than what we received in my neighborhood!)
  • June Gloom and the cooler temperatures it brings
 Do you keep an account of your days?  Even those days that are filled with mostly routine, everyday activities?