Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thursday: Blood Tests and Iceberg Roses

Newly Planted Roses Blooming

I have had another good day, today.  No aches and pains, no nausea, no need for pain medications, appetite OK, etc.  So happy to have had another good day.

In the morning, I went for my blood tests.  When I came home, I took some pictures of the roses that were newly planted in the front garden, earlier this year.  They are burgundy iceberg roses and they are blooming!

Most iceberg roses are white, like this one, also growing in the front garden:

Iceberg Rose - White
But there are pink iceberg roses and burgundy colored ones.  The newly planted roses are burgundy iceberg roses and I love their color:

Iceberg Rose - Burgundy

I spent most of the day doing office work.  Later, I did a bit of tidying up, washed a pile of dishes, and did some reading.

Then, later in the evening, I picked up daughter from the airport!  This time she was only gone for three days and I barely had time to miss her!  I told her it was not necessary for her to come down again, but she doesn't want me to go to my chemo therapy sessions by myself, so she insisted on coming.  She's worried in case I get some of the more severe side effects.  Of course, I am happy to have her home for the weekend, as I enjoy her company.  Also, I can have her do some grocery shopping for me!

Another View of the Burgundy Iceberg Roses

Today, I am grateful for:

- Another good, side effects-free day.
- A safe drive to the lab and back.
- A productive day.
- Daughter had a safe flight home.
- All the pretty flowers.

How was your Thursday? 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Good Day

I have had a good day, today.  I felt fine and didn't have any aches or pains.  I was very happy about that.  Hopefully, I'll have another good day, tomorrow, too.  It will be nice if I can enjoy a couple of days of feeling well before the next chemo session!

It was a productive day as far as office work was concerned.  I made good progress on my current work assignment.  However, I didn't feel like doing my personal paperwork and filing, so I didn't! But I shouldn't procrastinate too much on the filing, otherwise the paperwork is going to start piling up again!

One of my neighbors sent me dinner, today.  She called me in the morning to say she was planning to make a rice dish that I liked the last time she made and sent me.  So, around 5:30 p.m., one of her daughters brought me a plate of rice that was cooked with onions, carrots, tomato, bell peppers, and chicken.  It was delicious, but I was able to eat only half of it.  I kept the other half in the fridge, for later.  Daughter will be coming home tomorrow night and she can have that half for her dinner, if she likes.

There were phone calls from two cousins and an aunt, today.  I appreciate them calling to check up on me.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Feeling well, without any aches and pains.
- Getting my office work done.
- My neighbor calling and sending me dinner.
- Phone calls from family. 
- Emails from friends.

How was your day?  


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

More Roses

Double Delight Rose

I went to sleep by 11:30 p.m., last night, but didn't fall asleep until after 1:00 a.m.  Even so, I woke up before the alarm went off at 7:00 a.m.  

I went for another injection this morning.  There was more traffic congestion, today, but I was on time for my appointment.

More Double Delight Roses

After I came home, I brought in the trash cans and then, took a walk around the back garden and admired the roses.  As you can see, I took more pictures!

Red Roses

I did some office-related work, today, but didn't feel up to doing any more paperwork and filing of my own.  I needed to take another couple of Tylenols for my aches and pains and, later, I took a short nap in the afternoon.

Pink Roses

It was a sunny, bright day for the most part, but, in the early evening, it became cloudy and we had a brief shower of rain and hail!  It wasn't a lot of rain, but I am grateful for what we received.  I tried to take a picture of the hail, but the cell phone camera didn't capture it.

White Roses in the Back and Lilac Roses in the Front

The rose beds really need to be weeded, but I've not been able to do much weeding, lately.

I had phone calls from three of my cousins, today, all calling to check on me.  In the evening, I video chatted with my daughter.  So it has been a good day for family interactions.

Pink Roses

Today, I am grateful for:

- A safe drive to the clinic and back.
- Another day of relatively minor side effects.
- Video chatting with daughter.
- Even a brief shower of rain.
- Calls from cousins.
How was your Tuesday?

Mixed Roses

Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday: Injection and End of Spring Break

Daughter's week of spring break is over.  She returned to Berkeley, this afternoon.  That week sure went by quickly!  But she managed to enjoy a nice break, sleeping in on several days, getting together with friends a few times, and relaxing in between accompanying me to the clinic and running errands for me.  I loved having her home.  But I won't miss her too much because she'll be coming back again to accompany me to the next chemo session on Friday! 

I managed to have a relatively good day, today.   I had no trouble falling asleep once I went to bed, but I didn't get to bed until after 1:00 a.m.  As a result, it was a bit hard to wake up when the alarm went off at 7:00 a.m.  But I had an appointment for an injection at the clinic at 8:30 a.m. and I wanted to leave the house before 7:30 a.m., as it takes about an hour to get to the clinic during morning rush hour.

I went to the clinic in the morning for my injection and back without any problems (I went by myself, leaving daughter to sleep-in a bit).  It rained a bit during the drive, but there weren't any weather-related accidents.  I was hoping that some of the rain would reach my home, but the ground was dry around my neighborhood.  It wasn't a lot of rain, but any rain would have benefited the garden.

Later in the afternoon, I felt tired and took a nap.  I also had some aches and pains and a headache in the afternoon, so I took 2 Tylenols.  A walk in the garden and some fresh air also helped with the headache.  As far as side effects go, they are not too bad.  I really can't complain. 

Daughter took out the green yard waste bin to the curb for me before she left in the afternoon.  Technically, we are not supposed to take the trash cans out until after 6:00 p.m. the night before trash collection day, but the yard waste bin was heavy and I needed a little help with it.  In any case, lots of my neighbors put out their trash cans much earlier in the day.  I took the black trash bin to the curb, later in the evening (it was only half full and not heavy, at all).

One of my friends called me in the evening to check on me and I enjoyed a nice chat with her.  And, of course, I've been video chatting with daughter, now that she's back in her apartment.

I have to go in for another injection tomorrow morning.  The appointment is at 8:30 a.m., again, so I plan to get up early.  I will try to get to bed before 1:00 a.m. tonight, so I can get a bit more sleep! 

Today, I am grateful for:

- Daughter had a safe journey back to Berkeley.
- I had a safe drive to the clinic and back in the morning.
- Relatively mild side effects.
- An afternoon nap.
- Video chatting with daughter.

Hope you have had a good day today and a great start to your week. 

Easter Sunday

I hope you all enjoyed a lovely Easter Sunday.

I didn't have anymore insomnia last night and fell asleep without any trouble.  However, I didn't feel very energetic today.  So I spent a quiet, restful day.  I did do a load of laundry and later, I went through a few more files and tossed a bunch of papers.  Also called one of my aunts and had a bit of a chat with her. 
Yesterday, a friend of mine called to invite me to Easter dinner, today.  But I declined the invitation, as she was having other guests, too, and I didn't know if anyone of them would have a cold or cough, etc.  I have been told that with my weakened immune system, I should be extra careful to avoid getting a cold, etc.  Today, my friend called me in the evening to say that she had dinner packed and ready, if daughter could come and collect it!  I went with daughter for the ride and stayed in the car while she went in to collect the dinner.  I sent a bottle of sparkling apple cider for my friend through daughter.  
My friend had made something we call "appa" in my native language, which is also known as "hoppers" in English.  It is a type of pancake made from a fermented rice flour batter.   It is cooked in a pan that looks a lot like a miniature wok, so the finished product is bowl-shaped.  A spoonful of batter is swirled around the pan and it forms a thin crisp edge with a puffy, pancake like middle.  Plain hoppers are made with only the batter.  Egg hoppers have an egg baked into the batter in the middle.  My friend included a fish curry and a spicy onion relish to eat with the hoppers and a piece of coconut cream pie for dessert!  Daughter and I enjoyed our dinner and there's enough leftovers for another meal.
Plain and Egg Hoppers
Today, I am grateful for:
- My friend blessing me with a special dinner.
- A quiet, restful day.
- Manageable side effects.
- Spending time with my daughter.
- Talking on the phone with an aunt.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Insomnia and a Completed Project

I experienced a new side effect, last night.  Insomnia!  Except I didn't realize it was a side effect at the time!  So I tried hard to fall asleep until, at 2:00 a.m., I decided to get out of bed.  I ate a leftover chili dog and read until 3:00 a.m.  Then, went back to bed to toss and turn until 5:30 a.m.!  I finally dozed off then, only to be woken up with Dancer cat jumping onto the bed at 7:00 a.m. (he does this every morning to see if I am awake yet to give him breakfast!) and daughter's alarm going off at 7:30 a.m.  By 8:00 a.m., I gave up trying to go back to sleep and got up.  And I've been up since then - didn't feel like having an afternoon nap, today!  Later in the morning, I looked up side effects and found out that insomnia, especially on the day of the infusion, was quite common!  I didn't experience it last time, so it was new to me.  Now that I know, I'll be ready for it with a knitting project or something, next time.

Finished Scarf

Speaking of knitting projects, I finished the scarf I had been knitting during recent chemo sessions!  I finished the last row this morning and sewed it up to make it an infinity scarf.  It is made from leftover yarn I had in my stash, so it is a stash-buster scarf and another completed project!  It will be added to the holiday gifts stash, and since it was made from leftover yarn, it is a very frugal gift.  I now need to find another project to work on while I am at chemo therapy - it has to be small enough to be easily carried back and forth and easy enough to start and stop without losing count of stitches or my place in the design.  So nothing too complicated.

Daughter went hiking with a friend, this morning.  On the way back, she put gas to the car for me.  I have a full tank of gas to drive myself to the clinic on Monday and Tuesday mornings, next week, for immune booster injections.

I did some paperwork and filing this afternoon.  My filing cabinet is too full, so I am taking the opportunity to go through the files and toss older information I no longer need to keep.  I have three more stacks of papers to go through before I will be up-to-date on my filing!

At 5:00 p.m., I went to my appointment with the tax preparer and finished filing my taxes.  Even made next year's appointment, so that is taken care of.

I made salmon cakes for dinner, tonight, with the last of the salmon, flaked and mixed with mashed potatoes and sauted in a bit of oil.  There were enough leftover for another couple of meals!  

I had planned to do a load of laundry today, but I never got around to doing it!  I did run the dishwasher, though.   Will do the laundry tomorrow.

Today, I am grateful for:

- No side effects other than the insomnia.
- Getting the taxes done and filed.
- Adding another frugal gift to the holiday gift stash.
- Getting more paperwork and filing done.
- Phone calls from friends.

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

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday

To all my friends for whom today is a day with special meaning and religious significance, I wish you all a blessed Good Friday.

It was another sunny and warm day, here.  I went to my chemo therapy session in the morning.  Two down, 10 more to go!  

Traffic was fairly light going to the clinic in the morning; I got there 15 minutes before my appointment, but I didn't get called in until much later.  The waiting room was fairly crowded.  The doctor saw me and seemed satisfied with my blood tests, but said the white blood cell count was a bit low and I am to have injections on Monday and Tuesday mornings, followed by another blood test on Thursday before next Friday's chemo.  He checked on the side effects with me and thought they were normal.  They really weren't too bad as far as side effects go.

The chemo session, itself, went well without any problems.  I read my prayer book again and knitted.  I am almost done with the scarf - on the very last row!  The length of it is being determined by the amount of yarn I have!

The chemo session took most of the morning.  I didn't get done until after 1:00 p.m. and it was almost 2:00 p.m. when we got home.  I had made ham sandwiches to take with me in the morning and I had eaten mine while I was at the clinic.  Daughter ate hers after she came home and I had a banana.  I had another ham sandwich around 4:30 p.m.  My appetite is OK, except I seem to want very specific things (and ham sandwiches seem to be one of them!)

I spent the rest of the afternoon doing office work and I sent the completed work assignment before 5:30 p.m.  I had reviewed most of it earlier, but I went over it again and added a few extra comments and updated it before I sent it.  I also sent in an account of my time and the number of hours I worked for time keeping purposes.  

This afternoon, my gardener mowed the front and back "lawns" and now the gardens look better maintained.  Next week, I will ask him to weed-whack the side garden.  The rain caused a whole heap of weeds to grow in the side yard.

Then, at 6 o'clock, daughter and I went to the tax appointment.  We got daughter's taxes completed right then and there; it took about 30 minutes.  Mine are more complicated.  Last year I sat there and waited while the accountant patiently figured it all out and it took a couple of hours.  This time, I asked if I could leave the papers with her and come back tomorrow evening.  She, too, preferred that, as she could work on it at her convenience.  I will go back at 5:00 p.m., tomorrow, to sign the completed tax forms and pay the preparation fees. 

After we left the tax office, we drove to Starbucks Coffee for daughter to redeem a coupon for a free coffee and then, went to our favorite hot dog place since I had a craving for their chili dogs.  We went to the drive-through, so there was no getting out of the car, etc.

I was given the usual mixture of steroids, anti-nausea medications, and anti-allergic reaction medications before the chemo session, so I am free from side effects this evening.  I hope it continues for another couple of days.  I seem to be in a better mood, happier, when I don't have side effects!

Today I am grateful for:
- Two chemo sessions completed.
- No side effects, so far.
- A good drive to the clinic and back.
- Gardener mowing the "lawns"
- A productive day.

How was your Good Friday?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thursday's Doings

Another sunny and warm day, here in Southern California.

I went for my blood test first thing in the morning, as I had to be fasting.  Two vials of blood are drawn at a time for these tests.  The results will be available for the clinic staff to check tomorrow morning, before my chemo therapy session, to determine if I need immune booster injections or not.

After I came home, I did some office-related work.  I've a bit more to go to finish up the old assignment, before I start on the new assignment.  Plan to finish it tomorrow.

In the afternoon, I had another nap!  It seems to me that I am getting used to these afternoon naps!

Later in the afternoon, daughter went to the pharmacy to pick up one of my medication refills.  She also did a mini grocery shopping trip for me and bought bread ($1.29), a packet of 6 bagels ($1.99), a package of ham cold cuts ($3.59) and some bananas (2.28 lb @ $.69/lb = $1.57).  The total came to $8.44.  We each had a banana and a toasted bagel with butter after she came back!

I spent some time in the evening doing paperwork.   I have all the tax papers ready for tomorrow.  I also paid a bill, did some filing, went through three file folders and shredded copies of old bills, etc.  I still have some paperwork left to do - mostly filing, but I'll work on it over the next few days.  I have a bad habit of putting papers aside to deal with later and they've been piling up!  Really need to get back into the routine of filing every week.

I made macaroni and cheese with some of the ground beef I had browned earlier, for dinner.  I packaged the rest of the browned ground beef and froze it.  I will send some of it back with daughter and keep the rest for if and when I feel like having spaghetti or a cottage pie, one day.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Not feeling any side effects.
- Safe drive to blood test and back.
- A productive day.
- Daughter running errands for me.
- A sunny, warm day.

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

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Quiet but Productive Wednesday

Today had been a quiet but productive day.  I received my new work assignment, so there were files to download and emails to send, etc.  Later, after I had put in a day's work, I did some paperwork and got all my tax-related papers ready.  I also confirmed my tax appointment for Friday evening.

I have had minimal side effects today, for which I am very grateful.  Very little aches and pains and no cramping.  Didn't need to take a Tylenol.  I did, however, take a nap in the afternoon and I will not grumble about needing it. 

In the evening, I put water to the back garden; well, at least, I turned on the sprinklers.  I am not quite up to hand watering the back garden.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Minimal side effects.
- A new work assignment.
- Getting my paperwork done.
- Phone calls from family and friends.
- A quiet but productive day.

How was your Wednesday?  Have you made plans for Easter?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Quiet Tuesday

Spent a quiet day, today.  It was a very windy day, so stayed indoors and didn't water the back garden as planned.  Will need to water the back garden tomorrow, instead.

I had fewer side effects today, which was a blessing.  But I still needed to take Tylenol for the aches and pains.  At least I didn't have any cramps, today.

I spent the day doing office work and some paperwork.  I have an appointment with the tax preparer at the end of the week, so I am trying to get all my tax-related paperwork ready.  I had made a file for the taxes, so it would be easy to gather all the papers as they arrived in the mail, but hadn't kept up with the filing!

Once again, I needed to take a nap in the afternoon.  I wasn't very happy about that, but daughter assured me that it was because I needed the rest.  I feel like I am just wasting time, sleeping, when I could be doing something!  Except, there was nothing that I wanted to do!  I didn't feel like sewing today, either, which is not good.  I just didn't have the inclination or the energy.  Oh, well, at least I got the office work and some of the paperwork done.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Getting my office work and some paperwork done.
- Having fewer side effects.
- An afternoon nap on the sofa.
- No damage to the garden or house due to the winds.
- Neighbor bringing in the trash cans for me.

How was your Tuesday?     

Monday's Doings

I had a fairly productive day on Monday, as far as the office work was concerned.  I both emailed and phoned my supervisor to go over the status of various assignments and also to inform her that I am almost done with my current assignment and to request additional work.  She will assign me a new project during the course of this week, she said. 

However, I have started to feel some side effects from Friday's chemo session.  Bone/muscle aches and some lower abdominal cramping.  I took some Tylenol for the pain, which is what I was told to do, and dozed on the sofa with a heating pad for the cramping.  At least I wasn't nauseated.  But the aches and pains meant I didn't feel like doing anything much, such as my sewing.  So I had a quiet day apart from the office work.

Daughter, too, had a quiet, restful day.  She did one of her homework assignments, took the trash cans to the curb for me and generally kept me company. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Getting the office work done without any problems
- An afternoon nap on the sofa
- Relatively mild side effects
- A quiet, restful day
- Daughter keeping me company

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

Sunday, March 20, 2016

March Grocery Shopping

This Week's Groceries

Daughter went grocery shopping for me, yesterday.  I had looked through this week's grocery ads and made a list which required her to go to three different stores (one of which was on the way from Store 1 to Store 3).   Not pictured above are the two bags of cat food she bought for me, as I don't include pet food in my grocery budget.  Speaking of grocery budgets, I'm afraid I've been very lax lately!  I've been getting daughter to buy what is needed, without paying too much attention to cost and I have been sharing some of the groceries with her.  For example, the three bags of coffee and the two snack bars in the photo above are for her.

So here's what she bought:

Store 1:

10 lb. bag of potatoes = $.99
Ground beef (2 lbs. @ $3.39/lb.) = $6.76
3 Salmon steaks @ $3.99/lb. = $10.49
4 Pork chops @ $1.69/lb. = $2.95
Bosc pears @ $.49/lb. = $.74
Papaya @ $.69/lb = $2.48

Store 1 Total = $24.41

Store 1 Receipt

I wanted her to go to Store 2 because Gold Medal flour was being advertised on sale for $1.99/5 lb. bag, but when she got to the store, she called to say that they were all out of the Gold Medal flour, but store brand was available for the same price.  So I had her buy the store brand flour, as I am down to half a bag of flour, and I like to have enough flour on hand should I decide to bake something.  And I had her buy the two bags of cat food from there, as well.

Store 2:

5 lbs. bag store brand flour = $1.99
(plus 2 bags cat food, @ $11.99 + tax; not included in the grocery budget)

Store 2 Total = $1.99

Store 2 Receipt

Store 3:

2 6-bottle packs of soda @ $3.29 + $.30 redemption value = $7.18
18 Eggs = $2.99
3 bags coffee grounds @ $6.99 = $20.97
1/2 gal. milk = $1.79
1 can pasta sauce = $.99
1 jar pasta sauce = $2.50
2 Quest bars, @ $2.79 = $5.58
Tax on soda = $.65

 Store 3 Total = $42.65

(The soda helps when I feel nausea; the 2 liter bottles are much cheaper, but they go flat before I can drink it and I don't like soda that is flat, so the more expensive smaller bottles.)

Store 3 Receipt

Total Grocery Spending:  $24.41 + $1.99 + $42.65 = $69.05

I cooked the pork chops, last night, and had one for my dinner with a baked potato and green peas (daughter went out to dinner with some friends). 

Last Night's Dinner

The remaining pork chops are in the fridge, and we'll have them for dinner another night, this week.

I plan to cook the salmon steaks and ground beef, today.  I might freeze two of the salmon steaks to have on hand for later or for daughter to take when she goes back to Berkeley at the end of spring break and freeze half of the ground beef, as well.  I want to make a Shepherd's Pie with some of the ground beef and make spaghetti sauce with the rest.  It all depends on how much of an appetite I have and for what. 

And in case anyone is wondering at the lack of vegetables among the groceries bought, I didn't need any because I have cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, and beets in the fridge, plus some corn, etc. in the freezer. 

How is your March grocery shopping coming along? 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Patchwork and Roses

Pink Roses

I woke up feeling well this morning.  No side effects, as yet!  Thank goodness!  After a cup of tea, I went for a stroll around the garden, and because they looked so lovely, took yet more photos of the roses!  The pink roses are almost six inches across!

More Pink Roses

In the next bed over, the lilac-colored roses are starting to bloom:

Lilac Roses

And in the front garden, the red roses are blooming:

Red Rose in the Bed by the Drive Way

And against the the trellis by the front door:

Climbing Red Rose

After admiring the roses, I spent some time sewing on the patchwork quilt.

First, however, I organized my scrap fabric and put all the solid colors into one basket:

Solid Fabrics

And all the print fabrics in the other basket:

Print Fabrics

In the process, I also managed to pull out another bag of assorted scraps!

Overflowing Bag of Scraps!

I've plenty of scraps for making more pieced squares:  

Sample Squares

More Sample Squares

I have been attaching 12 such patchwork squares into a row and have made 6 rows, so far:

Rows of Squares

They are shown spread out on the bed.  I plan to attach them to each other with long strips of solid colored fabric. 

More Rows of Squares

The way I am envisioning this quilt is having a small, central panel of a pieced mountain, with the rows of patchwork forming the borders.  I have a few pieces of the mountain cut out, but I am not too sure how they will work.  I'll cut a few more pieces and play around with them to see.  In the meantime, I am having fun assembling these scrappy squares!

And while I am having fun sewing, daughter is out doing the grocery shopping for me!  I sent her to three stores with a list.  She called me from store #1 because I hadn't stated the amount of ground beef I wanted on the list (decided to get 2 lbs.) and from store #2 because they were out of the advertised brand of flour, but the store brand was the same price, so decided to go with the store brand.  I'm glad she called to verify, because it reminded me that I had forgotten to put cat food on the list!

Today, I am grateful for:

- Feeling well without any signs of side effects, yet!
- Another, sunny, warm day.
- The roses!
- Playing with my fabric and doing patchwork.
- Daughter doing the grocery shopping for me.

I am having a lovely day.  How is your Saturday, so far?  Hope you are having a lovely day, too. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Another Chemo Friday!

I started on the second phase of my chemo therapy, today, and had the first of 12 Taxol sessions.   The treatment went well.  I first saw the doctor, who went over the treatment and the side effects of Taxol, etc., and reviewed the lab report results with me (white blood cell count was normal, red blood cell count was fine, etc., so I didn't need an immune booster injection).  I was a bit nervous about the treatment and possible allergic reactions.  So I did what I usually do when anxious - I prayed.  After that, I knitted, as that's a great stress reliever, too.  There were no allergic reactions (they do give anti-allergy medications, before hand, but still there was still a chance of an allergic reaction within the first 10 minutes and the nurse came by to check that everything was OK.)  I had taken a protein drink before I left to go to the clinic in the morning, yet, halfway through the treatment, I got hungry, so daughter went out and got me a hamburger!

We were home by 1:00 p.m. and I have felt fine the rest of the day.  I did some office work, had my gardener plant the gladioli bulbs which were starting to sprout in the bag they were in, and spent some time sewing.  I cut out some strips to use to attach the pieced blocks together, and, of course, created more scraps in the process!  LOL. 

So far, I have felt no side effects (they also gave me preventive medications such as anti-nausea medications and steroids along with the anti-reaction drugs; their effects last for at least a day or two.) 

Because I was feeling so well, daughter accepted an invitation to spend the evening playing card and board games with some of her friends.  The evening is supposed to last until 10:00 p.m.  But I have been instructed to call her if I start feeling ill before that.  But I am feeling OK, so I don't anticipate needing to call her.

I will see how I feel tomorrow before I plan to do anything.  If I feel any side effects, I will take it easy and rest.  If not, I will sew and do paperwork and maybe do a bit of decorating for Easter.

Today, I am grateful for:

- A good chemo session (no allergic reactions, no side effects yet).
- The power of prayers.
- Daughter having a fun evening with friends.
- Having a good appetite.
- Kitchen counters still clear!

How was your Friday?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Thursday's Doings

Today was another nice, sunny, warm day.  It was a productive day, too.

I spent some time doing office-related work and finished my assignment.  I have a new assignment I will start on tomorrow.

After that, I cleared the kitchen counters.  Now comes the task of keeping them clear!  Seems like I always end up with stuff on the kitchen counters.

I also vacuumed the house.  The one thing I didn't do was paperwork!  Maybe I'll feel up to doing some tomorrow.

Instead of doing paperwork, I spent a couple of happy hours sewing!  I finally finished most of the bag of scraps!  I am feeling very happy about that!  I will need a few more squares before I have enough for a quilt top, but I have two baskets of bigger pieces of leftover fabric that I can use for them.  The next step is to cut out the solid colored fabric strips I'll need to attach the squares into rows.  All will be done with leftover fabric, of course.

I spoke with one of my aunts and a cousin on the phone in the evening.  And I picked up daughter from the airport.  She had a safe flight and she thinks she's finally getting used to flying!  Said she didn't feel as nervous about it today as on previous occasions.

 Tomorrow, I go in for the second phase of my chemo therapy.  I am not looking forward to it.  Hopefully, I won't have any bad side effects.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Another warm, sunny day.
- Daughter had a safe flight and is home for a little over a week!
- Completing my work assignment in a timely manner.
- Being able to work from home during this period.
- Getting the kitchen counters cleared and the vacuuming done.

How was your day?  Anyone else having trouble keeping the kitchen counters clear?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Productive Wednesday

Flowers from Friends

We had a summer day, today, with temperatures in the upper 80s! 

I had a quiet, but busy day. I called the clinic in the morning to find out about the blood test results.  They said the test results were good and I didn't need an injection before chemo.  I was very happy to hear that.

Later in the morning, one of my friends and her daughter, who lives out of state but was home on a visit, dropped by to visit me.  I was in the middle of putting away laundry when they knocked on the door!  They brought me the bouquet of flowers in the photograph above.

After my friend left, I did a load of laundry (daughter's bed linen) and did some office work.  I finished one assignment and did most of another assignment.  I plan to finish that assignment tomorrow and send it in.  Later in the afternoon, I sewed on my quilt.  I am finally starting to see a dent in the bag of scrap fabric!  Not the two baskets of bigger pieces; just the zippered gallon size bag of small scraps!  LOL.
In the evening, I watered the front garden, especially the newly planted rose bushes.  They seem to be doing well as they all have buds forming!  Then, I ran the dishwasher even though I didn't have a full load after collecting two days' worth of dishes!  And I remade daughter's bed with the freshly washed  sheets; I had hung them up to dry during the day and they had dried by early evening.

Still later in the evening, I called one of my aunts to check on her (she is having bronchitis) and one of my cousins called.  And, of course, I video chatted with my daughter.  She was busy making a birthday gift for one of her friends.  She will be flying down, tomorrow night, for a week of spring break (although she will work at her part-time job from home on Tuesday and Thursday).  Of course she will go with me when I go for my chemo session on Friday morning (and probably hydration on Monday morning), etc., but, hopefully, there will be time for her to relax and get together with some of her friends, as well, during her spring break.

Today, I am grateful for:
- A warm, summer-like day.
- A visit from a friend.
- A lovely bouquet of flowers.
- Blood test results were OK.
- A productive day.

How was your day? 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Sunny Tuesday


Today was a lovely, sunny, warm day.  The roses in the garden are loving this weather.  I took a walk around the garden and took more pictures, today.

I went for my blood test in the morning.  Before I went, I picked a bag of lemons for the staff who work in the lab.  I've been going there so often that the majority of them know me by name and greet me like a long-time friend!  They were very appreciative of the fresh lemons.

More Roses!

I had to be fasting for the blood test, so, by the time I came home, I was feeling very hungry.  I decided to bake a frozen, individual size pizza and I ate most of it!  It was definitely brunch, as it counted for both breakfast and lunch!

And Even More Roses!

After brunch, I did some office-related work for the better part of the afternoon.  After that, I settled down to sew.  I like to sew when there's daylight, while I can do office work at night (last night, I was up until 1:00 a.m., doing office work, to make sure I put in a proper day's worth of work; I'll be putting in several hours tonight, too).   I have sewn several additional squares of "mile-a-minute" patchwork, but the bag of scrap fabric is still as full as ever!  

Today, there were several phone calls from and to family and friends.  So that segment of my life is well balanced.  

This week's grocery ads came in the mail, today.  This week's bargains include cartons of 18 eggs on sale for $2.99, salmon steaks on sale for $3.99/lb, Bosc pears and Granny Smith apples on sale for $.49/lb, and 10 lb. bags of russet potatoes on sale for $.99/bag.  I am coming to the end of my last bag of potatoes (there are 3 small potatoes left).  My problem is using up all the potatoes before they start to sprout!  Extra lean ground beef is advertised for $3.39/lb. and pork chops for $1.69/lb.    I will ask daughter to go grocery shopping for me when she comes home this weekend.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Lemons to share with others.
- Friendly staff at the lab.
- Roses and other garden flowers.
- The sunny, warm day.
- Talking with family and friends on the phone.

How was your Tuesday?  When do the grocery ads come out in your area? Are you finding good sales?

Monday, March 14, 2016

Pi Day!

Today, March 14 (or 3/14), is pi day because 3.14 is the value of pi!  And pi day is celebrated with pie, of course!  I briefly considered making a pie in honor of pi day, but decided not to.  It seemed more work than I wanted to do, especially with only myself to eat it. 

Today was another, rather relaxed day.  I slept in again (for some reason, my alarm clock, A.K.A. Dancer, didn't wake me up at 7 a.m. for his breakfast!).  It was OK to sleep in because I didn't have to go anywhere.
It was a cloudy, overcast morning, but we never did receive the rain that was forecasted for last night/early this morning.  Maybe it rained in some other areas, but we didn't get any where I live.  Later in the afternoon, however, the clouds cleared and it turned out to be a sunny, warm day.
After my morning cup of tea, I went on-line for a bit, and then, settled down to do some office work.  
Later in the afternoon, I did a load of laundry and, as usual, hung it up inside the house on clothes hangers and a wire clothes dryer/airer to dry.  I am drying my laundry this way partly as a frugal, environmentally friendly way to dry the laundry and partly because my tumble dryer doesn't heat up and I haven't got it repaired or replaced!
Still later, I sewed.  I've set up my sewing machine, so I am working on the quilt that is one of my unfinished projects.   It's sewn using a method called "Mile a Minute" where pieces of fabric are sewn in a random manner and then, a patch is cut to your desired size.  I am cutting squares that are 6 1/2 inches on each side.  I am using up the bag of tiny scraps of leftover fabric from various other projects.  The majority of these scraps are too small to be used for anything else.  I have decided that this will be my "Mountain Climbing" quilt. 

"Mile-a-Minute"/Mountain Climbing
In the evening, I video chatted with daughter and spoke on the phone with one of my aunts.

Tomorrow, I have to go for a blood test in the morning.  More office work in the afternoon and maybe more sewing.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Being able to sleep in!
- A sunny, warm day.
- Time to sew.
- Being able to air dry the laundry.
- Video chatting with daughter.

How was your Monday?  Did you have pie to celebrate pi day?

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Cloudy and Cool Sunday

Today has been a cool, cloudy day, with temperatures in the 60s.  I slept in this morning, which, due to the time change, turned out to be even later (old time 8:30 a.m., daylight savings time 9:30 a.m.).  I didn't change the clocks last night, so changed them this morning, instead.

I had planned to do some paperwork and filing today, but, instead, I did a load of laundry and sewed on my quilt.  I shall do the paperwork, tomorrow.

In the evening, I plan to do some knitting and video chat with daughter. 

There is rain in the forecast for tonight.  After which, we shall have sunshine and warm temperatures again (in the 80s by midweek).

Today, I am grateful for:

- A working heater
- Time to sew
- Rain in the forecast
- Another relaxed day
- Hot chocolate

How was your Sunday?  Do you change the clocks on the night before or do you wait until the morning? 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Relaxed Saturday

Today was a bright, sunny day after yesterday's rain.  I had a day of rest and relaxation.  I sewed and knitted and watched TV - cooking shows, sewing shows, travel shows, etc.  The only thing I did that even remotely resembled housework was making my bed, washing the dishes, and cleaning the kitchen sink!

I cooked myself a substantial breakfast (eggs, potatoes, and ham, followed by a fresh orange) and had a late lunch of a type of flat bread with sauted, spicy onions.  Dinner was a noodle dish that a cousin brought over.  She also brought me a loaf of bread I had asked her to buy for me when she went grocery shopping.  
I spent the evening video chatting with daughter and listening to my neighbor's loud party music!     

Today, I am grateful for:

- A day of rest and relaxation, sewing and knitting.
- Cousin bringing me dinner (and the loaf of bread I requested).
- Phone call from out-of-state cousin.
- Video chatting with daughter.
- Daily emails from a friend.

How was your Saturday?

Friday, March 11, 2016

Friday's Doings

I went for a hydration session this morning and received several pages of literature about the next chemo drug, Taxol - side effects, what to do if certain side effects are experienced, etc.

In the afternoon, I did some office-related work and managed to send in another completed assignment.

We were blessed with rain this afternoon!  We received a good shower of rain and I heard on the news that they have started seeding the clouds to increase the amount of rain we receive from these forecasted storms!  The garden got a good watering.  There is a 30% chance that it might rain again on Monday, according to the forecast, but the rest of the week will be sunny with temperatures in the 80s.  We normally get 12 inches of rain a year; so far this year, we've received a little over 6 inches, according to the news weather report.  Not enough rain to end our drought.

One of my friends called in the afternoon, asking if it would be possible to come by to pick some curry leaves from my tree.  I said, yes, of course.  A short time later, my friend and her husband showed up to pick the curry leaves and they brought dinner for me!  Rice, cashew curry, sauted egg plant, green beans, and what I first thought was potato curry, which turned out to be fish!  All cooked without any chilies, so the curries weren't spicy.  I am so grateful and blessed to have such good friends.  There was enough food for several meals, so I won't have to cook over the weekend.

In the evening, I video chatted with daughter who had spent the day cleaning her apartment and rearranging the furniture.  I plan to knit a little before going to sleep.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Getting another work assignment completed.
- Rain!
- Free water for the garden.
- Friends who bring me dinner!
- Phone calls from friends and family.

How was your Friday?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Zucchini Bread

Grated Zucchini

I had two zucchinis in the fridge that were going to spoil if I didn't do something with them.  So, as I was feeling well, I decided to make zucchini bread.  There have been times lately, when I've let food go to waste because I didn't feel up to cooking it. 

I used the recipe in my Better Homes and Garden New Cook Book 14th edition (copyright 2006).  The recipe, as given, calls for 1 cup of grated zucchini and makes 1 loaf.  I needed to use up both zucchinis and grated, they amounted to just over 2 cups.  So, I doubled the recipe and made two loaves.

The quantities I am giving below are the doubled recipe and will make 2 loaves of zucchini bread.

First, I preheated the oven to 350F and greased the bottoms and 1/2 inch up the sides of two 8x4x2-inch loaf pans.  And, while the oven was heating, I spread 1 cup of walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and put in the oven to lightly toast.  I keep my walnuts in the freezer, so it took about 7 minutes for them to toast.

All the Dry Ingredients

In a large mixing bowl, I combined 3 cups all purpose flour, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg:

Dry Ingredients Mixed Together

Next, in another, medium sized bowl, I combined 2 large eggs, beaten; 2 cups sugar; 1/2 cup vegetable oil and the 2 cups of zucchini:

All the Wet Ingredients

Once everything was stirred together:

The Wet Ingredients Mixed Together

Add the zucchini mixture all at once to the flour mixture and stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy says the recipe, but I think I stirred it a bit more than that):

The Mixed Batter
Fold in the chopped toasted walnuts:

Walnuts, Toasted and Chopped
Spoon into the prepared loaf pans:

Zucchini Bread Batter Ready for the Oven
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  My bread was done after 55 minutes:

Zucchini Bread after Baking

Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes; remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.  The recipe says to wrap and store overnight before slicing, but in my house that never happens, as I like to have a slice fresh from the oven!  I will admit that storing it overnight makes it easier to slice.

Slice of Warm Zucchini Bread!  Yum!

I will freeze one of the loaves and keep for daughter when she comes home for spring break, or to take back to Berkeley with her.  The other loaf will be for breakfasts and snacks for me during the week.  According to the recipe, one loaf should make 16 slices.  Hm.  Not according to the way I slice my zucchini bread!  I'll be lucky if I can get 10-12 slices!  LOL. 

I have used this same recipe before to make apple bread, too.

Do you make zucchini bread?  If you haven't made any before, do you think you might make some now? 

Today, I am grateful for:

- Feeling well enough to bake again.
- Turning two about-to-spoil zucchinis into two yummy loaves of bread.
- A warm, sunny day before tomorrow's forecasted rain and cooler temperatures.
- Being able to work from home.
- Emails and phone calls from family and friends.

How was your day?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Wigs and More!

Wig Plus Goodies

Today, I went in for my wig fitting.  I wanted a black wig because my natural hair was black (with some grey), but although my own hair was long, I was fine with a short haired wig for a change.  I tried on several wigs, but the choice was a bit limited because, apparently, my head was very small!  Many of the wigs I tried were too big!  I finally settled on the one pictured above - a black/very dark brown wig with dark red highlights! 

In addition to the free wig and a cap to wear under it, I also received all the other items pictured above!  2 hats, 2 hairbands to wear with the hats (to cover any exposed scalp under the brim of the hats), 2 scarves (one of which was pre-tied), 3 turban-like caps, and a crocheted blanket to use when having chemo and hydration sessions (the treatment room is always very cold), all in a blue tote bag!  I told the two ladies who helped me fit on the wig that I knew to knit and crochet and didn't need the crocheted blanket, but they insisted that I take it!  There were ponchos and knitted scarves as well.  Apparently a group of ladies make them and donate them to the cancer center.  It has given me a new idea - when all this is over, I shall make a few items, myself, and donate to them to give to other patients.

Going to the wig fitting and back took up 2 hours of the morning.  I spent some time before the wig fitting, all afternoon and part of the evening working on office related work and submitted another completed assignment.  That is the nice thing about being able to work from home - I can work around the cancer-related appointments and still do a full day's work.

I took a short break from work in the afternoon to walk in the garden.  I picked two oranges from the tree and took another picture of some roses:

Yellow Roses

Of course, it meant I didn't have enough time to do any sewing, today.  Instead, I will do some knitting after dinner.  I need daylight for sewing, but can knit at night without any problem.

Today, I am grateful for:

- My new wig.
- All the other goodies I received in addition to the wig.
- A safe drive to the cancer center and back.
- Oranges from the tree.
- More roses blooming.

How was your Wednesday?