Saturday, December 31, 2016

Last Friday of the Year!

Today is the last Friday of the year!  We won't have another Friday until next year! 

I had another relatively quiet day, today.  Daughter and I were up till quite late, last night, discussing various things and plans for the future.  She still doesn't know if her job contract will be renewed, next year, and, if so, if there will be a raise.  What she does know is that she needs to let her apartment management know if she will renew her lease by February and the rent is going up by another $105 per month (making her rent $2,300 per month for a 430 square foot studio apartment!)  She has been looking at other apartments in the area, but rents are steep in Berkeley (and the Bay Area in general) and the apartments with lower rents mean a longer commute for her.  Her current apartment is a 10 minute bus ride from her office and within walking distance.  Last night, she was also searching on-line for jobs in her field closer to home and there were one or two possibilities.  So, we had a lot to talk about.  As a result, we went to bed very late and slept till late today.

It rained a little, last night and early this morning.  Then, it drizzled a little bit in the evening and the forecast calls for more rain, tomorrow.  Which means I don't have to water the garden!  But the afternoon was dry.  Cloudy and overcast, but dry.

Today, daughter helped me to replace some burnt out light bulbs in the ceiling light fixtures in the family room.  I took the opportunity to wash the glass globe in the center of the ceiling fan light.  It reminded me on an incident that took place several years ago, when I washed a similar globe and broke it.  I told my mother that I'll need to buy a new globe for that light, and my mother, who was at the very beginning stages of dementia, insisted that she had a replacement!  Then she went looking in her closet and drawers for it!  It didn't matter what I said to the contrary (I knew we didn't have a spare glass globe), she insisted that she had a replacement.  Eventually, she triumphantly produced a stapler and handed it to my daughter who was working on a school project with a friend, saying she knew she had it, she had been a teacher and knew what my daughter needed!  Daughter, then aged about 11, looked very confused (as she wasn't needing a stapler).  But I told her to just accept the stapler so she did.  My poor mother was very happy.  Most days, when I reminisce about this incident, it makes me smile; today, however, it made me cry.

I also spot cleaned the family room area rug where a certain kitty had thrown up partially digested food!  He tends to eat too quickly at times and then throws up!

I called my supervisor in the afternoon to tell her that I was planning to return to the office next week, on Wednesday.  She told me not to stress myself about returning to the office before I was ready and to take my time!  I am both grateful and a little confused!  I thought she was anxious that I should return to the office but maybe I am the only one pressuring myself to do so?  Anyway, I told her I will call her again, next week.  Maybe I'll work from home next week, too?  It will give me a little more time to put away the holiday decorations and tidy up the house before I return to the office.  

In the evening, daughter and I went to the Armenian grocery store to buy a few items, including the 1 lb. of semolina I needed for the love cake (a Sri Lankan specialty cake) we are planning to make tomorrow.   After we came home, I cooked rice and a fish curry with tomatoes and a type of yellow chilies for dinner and did the dishes.

I felt tired afterwards and lay down on the sofa and took a 2 hour nap!  My neighbor across the street called while I was napping and spoke with my daughter. She wanted to give my daughter some Armenian meatballs called kufteh that her mother had made, since she knows my daughter loves them.  So daughter went over and brought home some kufteh, which she will freeze and take back to Berkeley with her. 

Today, I am grateful for:

- Memories
- My daughter's hugs
- The rain we had last night and this morning
- Naps on the sofa
- Neighbor sending over food because she knows daughter likes it
- My supervisor being so flexible about my return to the office

On the To Do list for tomorrow is baking a cake. 

How was your last Friday of the year?  What have you planned for New Year's Eve? 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Restful Thursday

I've had a very quiet day, today.  I decided to take a day of rest.  I didn't go anywhere or do anything!  I did call my office and left a message for my supervisor (even though I am on vacation this week) to indicate my availability for an up-coming project, but she emailed me back to say that someone else volunteered for it before I did and that they will keep me in mind for the next available project.  Suits me!  But, other than that, I didn't do anything!  I had planned to go to Costco to stock up on things, etc., but I decided to stay home and just rest.  I am glad I am able to do that!  I played on my computer (jigsaw puzzles), read blogs, emptied the trash, and washed a few dishes, but that was about it!  I guess I felt the need to make the most of being on vacation before returning to work!

My daughter has gone out to dinner with my neighbor's daughters.  They've known each other and have been friends since childhood.  One girl is two years older than my daughter and the other girl is two years younger than my daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:
- A lovely, sunny, relatively warm day.
- Being on vacation.
- A restful day.
- My daughter spending the evening with friends.
- Chatting on the phone with my friend.

How was your day?

Shopping and Errands on Wednesday

Dancer's Holiday Present

Today, daughter and I ran a few errands and did a bit of shopping.  First, we went to pay my homeowner's insurance and earthquake insurance.  I prefer to go in person and pay it in full and get a receipt, rather than mail a check.  I also paid my natural gas bill.  It wasn't due until January 12, but I like to start the New Year without any outstanding bills.

Then, we stopped to buy a new battery for my blood sugar monitor.  My physician assistant wants me to monitor and log both my blood pressure and my blood sugar daily for three weeks and bring the log to my next appointment. 

After that, we stopped at the pet store and bought kitty litter and a new cat tree for Dancer.  We got rid of his old cat tree some four years ago when he had a flea infestation and never bought a replacement, until now. 

Dancer's New Perch

It's not as tall as his old cat tree, but the taller one at the store was priced at $149.99!  The one we bought today was expensive enough at $79.99.  It was an indulgence, as he managed quite well without one for four years.  He was rather wary of it at first and daughter tied the raffia ribbon on it to entice him to investigate it.  Didn't take long for him to claim it as his perch!

We stopped at the grocery store to buy more bananas and milk and bought some fried chicken on the way home for an early dinner.  Later in the night, I baked a batch of cornbread.  It still doesn't taste quite the same to me, but daughter assured me that it was delicious. 

Today, I am grateful for:

- A sunny day.
- Running errands and shopping with daughter.
- Being able to indulge in a new cat tree for Dancer.
- Freshly baked cornbread.
- Phone call from aunt.

Wednesday's To Do List:

- Make a few more holiday gifts - DONE
- Wrap more gifts
- Mail New Year gifts and cards
- Pay house and earthquake insurance - DONE
- Buy kitty litter - DONE
- Do dishes - DONE
- Bring trash can in - DONE

Thursday's To Do List:

- Wrap gifts
- Mail New Year gifts and cards
- Stock up trip to Costco
- Water the houseplants

How was your Wednesday?  Did you have a pleasant day?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


Today, I went to my doctor's appointment in the morning.   Traffic was very light as schools are closed for the holidays and a lot of people have taken time off from work.  I got to my appointment in good time and there was no delay in being called in.  The physician assistant went over my blood test results with me.  Everything had come back with a normal reading, so apparently, there's nothing wrong with me!  Good news, indeed!  I have a follow-up appointment with her in three weeks' time, but, in the meantime, I'm cleared to start going back to the office, next week. 

Coming back, there was some traffic delay due to the freeway on-ramp being closed for road construction and needing to take a detour.  But I was home by mid-morning, which was nice.  I spent a relaxed rest of the morning and took a nap in the afternoon.  I am going to miss my afternoon naps when I go back to the office!  I also did the dishes, tidied the kitchen, put away the laundry, spoke with my neighbor, a friend, and several family members, including my sister. 

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Dr's appointment in the morning - DONE
- Tidy the kitchen - DONE
- Put away the dried laundry - DONE
- Wash dishes - DONE
- Make a few more holiday gifts
- Wrap more gifts
- Mail New Year gifts and cards

Wednesday's To Do List:

- Make a few more holiday gifts
- Wrap more gifts
- Mail New Year gifts and cards
- Pay house and earthquake insurance
- Buy kitty litter

Other things to do this week:
- Stock up trip to Costco
- Water the houseplants
- Water the garden if it doesn't rain by the end of the week
- Go out to lunch with daughter
- Visit my neighbor?

Today, I am grateful for:
- The blood test results were all normal
- I may still go back to the office, next week, as planned
- Safe drive to the clinic and back
- An afternoon nap
- Phone calls from friends and family

How was your day, today?  

The Day After Christmas

Daughter's Emoji Mugs

Daughter and I spent a quiet morning, sleeping in and relaxing.  In the afternoon, we went shopping.  She wanted to buy some paint pens, a canvas, and plain white ceramic mugs to make gifts for her friends.  So to the crafts supplies store first, to buy the paint pens and canvas.  I went in with her and looked around.  I debated buying some yarn but walked out without buying a single thing!  Must have been a first for me!

Then, we went to the pharmacy to pick up my medicine refill and while I was at the pharmacy, daughter went to the dollar store nextdoor to get her mugs.  Except, they didn't have any plain white mugs.  We then went to the grocery store to buy some fruit (bananas and mandarins), some half and half, and more gift cards!

Then, we decided to try two other dollar stores and a couple of discount stores.  One of them had one single plain white mug, but that was all, and daughter wanted 12.  They had red mugs and blue, green ones and black.   She bought the single white one and we came home to put the half and half in the fridge before it spoiled.  Daughter was rethinking her gift ideas, but I suggested trying one other dollar store.  So we went there.  I stayed in the car while she went in and she came back out saying they didn't have any white mugs, only black mugs.  Briefly, we debated going to IKEA, but decided to buy the black mugs, instead.  It meant going back to the crafts store to buy a white paint pen, so we went back there.  Again, I stayed in the car while she went in as she didn't want me to get too tired.

After we came home, I took the trash cans to the curb, had a cup of hot cocoa, returned a friend's phone call, and had an early dinner.  Then, daughter came for a cuddle and we both took a nap on the sofa!

After we woke up from our naps, I did a load of laundry and daughter started on her holiday gifts.  She painted the emoji designs on the mugs and they need to air-dry overnight, she says, and she'll bake them tomorrow.  The baking sets the paint, apparently, and makes the mugs dishwasher safe, etc.

Today, I am grateful for:
- A relaxed morning
- A pleasant afternoon shopping with my daughter
- Feeling better; a little more energetic
- Friends who call and email
- Cuddles with my daughter  :)

I haven't made any to do lists these past few days because I was in holiday mood.  I have taken this week between Christmas and New Year off from work, but there are a few things I need to do, so I had better start making to do lists, again!

Tuesday's To Do List:

- Dr's appointment in the morning
- Tidy the kitchen
- Put away the dried laundry
- Make a few more holiday gifts
- Wrap more gifts
- Mail New Year gifts and cards

Other things to do this week:
- Pay house and earthquake insurance
- Buy kitty litter
- Stock up trip to Costco
- Water the houseplants
- Water the garden if it doesn't rain by the end of the week
- Go out to lunch with daughter
- Visit my neighbor?

How was your day?  Did you do any after-Christmas sales shopping?

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Day 2016

Christmas Mantel

We watched Midnight Mass from the Vatican and stayed up late on Christmas Eve.  Then, slept in on Christmas morning. 

We spent a quiet morning and afternoon at home.


In the evening, we went over to my cousin's home for a family Christmas gathering and dinner.  Afterwards, we went to one of my friend's house for a second Christmas gathering and more dinner!  Except, I was too full to eat another meal, so my friend served me a plate of food to bring home (she actually gave enough for both daughter and I for another meal, including dessert!)

Hostess Gift for my Friend

It was a lovely Christmas Day, spent with family and friends.  I tend to celebrate the full 12 days of Christmas, so the tree and decorations will stay up until January 6th.  Gifts will be exchanged well into the New Year, since some of the gifts I give are New Year gifts (to my Buddhist family and friends).

I am grateful for:

- Being well enough to celebrate Christmas Day my daughter, family, and friends

Happy Holidays to all.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, I picked some fresh flowers from the garden:

Flowers from the Garden

Wrapped some gifts:

Adult Coloring Calendars and Pencils

This year, I put all the gifts on the mantel in the living room, not under the Christmas tree, to keep them safe from Dancer, who likes to play with the ribbons and bows.

Gifts on the Mantel

Baked some gingerbread cookies with my daughter's help:

Christmas Cookies

Mine were all just Christmas tree shaped ones, using a cookie cutter.  Daughter got more creative with her cookies, cutting out the gingerbread boy and girl and the snowman free-hand.

Daughter's Gingerbread People

I sampled one cookie and daughter sampled a couple of them.  :)  The rest will be given as gifts.  I was going to make snickerdoodles, too, but got too tired after making the gingerbread cookies, so didn't make them.  Maybe tomorrow morning?

Daughter played the piano and we sang Christmas carols.  Later, my aunt called and we had a nice chat.  My neighbor called, too, in the morning, and I condoled with her.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Fresh flowers from the garden
- Gifts to wrap and give
- Baking cookies with daughter
- Singing carols with daughter
- Being able to watch Midnight Mass.

Wish you all the blessings of the season. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Avocado Seedling Christmas Tree

The Avocado Christmas Tree

I managed to find a picture of my avocado seedling Christmas tree!  I had apparently emailed a picture of it to a friend and retained the email.  :)  The year was 2012!  I guess my daughter was at university, not high school, as I had initially thought.  That's Dancer inspecting the decorations!

Here's what I had said in my email:

"Dancer checks out the Christmas tree, which is my avocado seedling (still in it's jar of water!)  :D  Daughter and I didn't feel like dragging out the fake pre-lit tree and decorating it - too much work, she said - but I still wanted a Christmas tree.  So, I decorated the avocado.  It's live, it's evergreen, it's our Christmas tree!  :D"

Yes, I put my gifts to my daughter under the avocado seedling Christmas tree!  


We are having a quiet day, today.  It's grey, drizzly day; a major storm is expected to move in tonight.  I am not complaining, since we need all the rain we can get.  I did office work most of the day; it is all done and sent off before I take some time off, next week.

I received the sad news that my neighbor's husband passed away, today.  I called and left a message of sympathy.  I will need to rethink my gift to her.  I don't think she'll be in the mood to celebrate Christmas under the circumstances.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Each new day.
- The blessing of rain for my parched garden.
- The packages that are arriving, as each one means that someone cared enough to send them.
- The holiday greeting cards I am receiving as they, too, mean someone cared enough to send them.
- Being able to celebrate this holiday season with my daughter.

How was your day?  Hope it was filled with blessings.  

2016 Holiday Gift List

2016 Gift List

I have made my holiday gift list and checked it twice.  Most years, I set myself a budget and keep to it by making most of my gifts - jars of jam, table runners, placemats, etc.  This year, I didn't feel well enough to do so.  Also, so many friends and family members have been so kind and helpful throughout the year that a jar of jam wouldn't have been enough of a gift to give them.  I don't have the stamina to go shopping for everyone on my list and I am not comfortable ordering gifts on the internet.  So, I have decided to give gift cards to several people on my list, this year.  I bought some the other day and today, I bought the rest.  Tomorrow, I will wrap the few gifts I did make or buy and check the list again to make sure I have something for everyone on my list!

Today, one of my cousins called to invite us to her house for Christmas!  She apologized for the last minute invitation, but said she hadn't been planning to do anything (her mother and sister and sister's family have all gone out of state to celebrate Christmas with her sister's first grandson who was born last month), but decided to host Christmas dinner at her house, after all.  I told her I had already accepted another invitation, but promised to step in and visit her, as well.  So, Christmas day will be spent with family as well as friends, after all.

Today, I am grateful for:
- The shower of rain we had last night.
- My daughter had a safe flight home.
- My cousin has invited us to celebrate Christmas with her.
- Another cousin visited me, earlier in the day.
- My holiday shopping is done!

Have you made or bought all your holiday gifts?  Or are you a last minute shopper like me?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

O Christmas Tree

2016 Christmas Tree

Today, I decorated the Christmas tree.  It is a pre-lit artificial tree that I have had for at least 15 years, if not more.  I used to buy a fresh tree every year, and loved the smell of a fresh tree, but the artificial one works out well enough for me, these days.

There is no theme to my tree, no color scheme.  Just an assortment of ornaments I've accumulated over the years.  For my daughter's first Christmas, however, I decorated the tree with baby shoes.  Another year, when she was about three and was learning her alphabet, I bought several sets of alphabet blocks and attached them with gold cord I hot glued to the tops to make loops.  I still have those alphabet block ornaments, but don't use them, any more.  The tree skirt isn't a really a skirt, either; just a rectangular piece of fabric printed with a Christmas tree design which my mother hemmed and which we first used as a table cloth!

Growing up in Sri Lanka, I had a Christmas tree as a child.  My mother's side of the family were/are all Catholic and they celebrated Christmas in a big way.  According to my cousin, I had wanted a Christmas tree of my own after I had seen the one they had.  I suppose my parents found it difficult to explain to a 3-year old why her cousins had Christmas trees and she didn't.  I don't quite remember exactly when I was allowed to have a Christmas tree, but I remember going with my father to a neighbor's house, one year when I was about 6 or 7 (my father died when I was 7+, so it was before that), and asking for a branch of one of the pine trees growing in her garden.   Looking back, I am sure my father compensated her for the tree, but I wasn't to know that.  I continued to have a tree until I was 11 and then, I didn't have another tree until I was in my 20s.

Live and Learn had a post where she shared the stories behind some of her Christmas ornaments and I enjoyed reading it so much, I decided to do a similar post about some of my ornaments, as well!

Handmade by Daughter

My daughter made this salt dough ornament when she was 3 years old and in the child care center.  It was her Christmas gift to me, that year.

Felt Stocking
My daughter made this felt stocking when she was in 1st Grade.  That was the year when she wrote her letter to Santa Claus at school and requested "something nice for my Mom to wear" because she had heard me complain about not having anything nice to wear when I went to family gatherings, etc.!  Her class teacher called me aside one day and showed me her list.  Santa really had to scramble to fulfill her request, that year!  The next year, she listed "something nice for my Mom to wear and something for my Grandma, too".

Porcelain Angel

One of three porcelain angels my mother bought for me, one year.  She gave me two brass angels another year, and the angel on top of the tree is also what she bought for me.

The very first year my parents and I came to California, my mother was given an artificial Christmas tree by the parent of one of her students, but she gave the tree to her sister.  I helped my aunt decorate her tree and then, came home and decorated a potted pothos plant with with paper ornaments I cut out from some Christmas cards we had received and some red yarn I had on hand.  My mother asked me why I hadn't told her I wanted a tree of my own, but I knew it was important to her to give the tree to her sister.  The next year, my mother managed to obtain another artificial tree (the school in which she taught had bought a new tree and was getting rid of their old tree) and she brought that home for me and a box of red, silk covered plastic ornaments.  I decorated the ornaments with bits and pieces of trim we had on hand.  I still have about six of those ornaments and this is one of them:  

Decorated Silk Wrapped Ornaments

A couple of years later, I bought some glass baubles during an after-Christmas sale.  Two boxes each of plain gold, red, blue, and green baubles at $1 per box (12 per box).  Then, I drew designs on some with glue and added glitter to them:

Glittery Glass Baubles

I left the gold baubles plain, but attached felt bows to the top of them.  A few of them have fallen and broken over the years, but I still have quite a few remaining and I hang them on the tree, every year I put up one.

I didn't put up a tree the year my mother died.  Another year, when my daughter was in high school, I didn't put up a Christmas tree because I was waiting for her to help and she wasn't interested!  That year, I decorated an avocado seedling that I was growing from a seed!  I had to use the smallest of papier mache apples and some strands of tinsel because the poor seedling couldn't bear the weight of anything heavy!  But most years, I do put up a tree and decorate it.

Those are the stories behind some of my Christmas tree ornaments.  Each one brings memories of Christmases past as we celebrate Christmas present and look forward to future Christmases. 

Do you have stories and memories behind your Christmas ornaments? 

Tuesday Before Christmas

I had a productive day, but didn't do much that was Christmas related, other than buying two gift cards for the daughters of one of my friends.

I spent the morning doing office work.  Then, brought my trash cans in and went over to my neighbor's house.  She had called me in the morning to ask if I was planning to go grocery shopping in the next couple of days and, if so, could I pick up a few items for her.  Her husband is in hospital and she no longer drives.  I told her I was planning to go in the afternoon and she said she'll write out a list for me.  So I picked up the list from her and went shopping.

First, I went to the pharmacy to pick up some magnesium supplements and another bottle of Vitamin D supplements as the pharmacy was having a sale on the supplements - buy one, get the second at half-price.  Then, I went to the grocery store and bought the items my neighbor wanted and did my groceries, too.  I bought a few other things, including the two gift cards, so I need to sort through my receipt before I post about my groceries.

I had a disturbed night of sleep, last night (woke up at 3:45 a.m. and couldn't fall asleep again until after 6:00 a.m.) and the shopping tired me, so I took a nap after I came home.  After I woke up and had a cup of tea, I settled down to do more office work and finished only after 10:00 p.m.  I did take a break to have my dinner of soup and a sandwich and I video chatted with my daughter while I did the last bit of my office work.

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Office work - DONE
- Pharmacy - DONE
- Grocery shop - DONE
- Bring trash cans in - DONE
- Write cards
- Trim the tree?

Didn't write any cards and didn't trim the tree!

Wednesday's To Do List:
- Office work
- Trim the tree
- Tidy the living room and dining table
- Start writing the cards!

Today, I am grateful for:
- Feeling OK
- Being able to help my neighbor
- Afternoon naps!
- A flexible work schedule
- Phone calls from family and friends, emails, video chatting with my daughter

How was your Tuesday?

Monday, December 19, 2016

Monday Before Christmas


Today, I started to decorate for Christmas.  I always like to set up the Nativity first.  I don't have a stable so I thought a pine tree makes a nice backdrop.  Yes, I am Buddhist and Christmas isn't my religion's holiday, but I do try to honor the spiritual aspects of it.  

Then, I hung up the wreaths I've made over the years.

This one is on the front door:

Wreath for the Front Door

The snowman wreath is in the dining area:

Snowman Wreath

My mother had seen a picture of a similar wreath in a crafts magazine and liked it.  We found the snowmen at Woolworth's one year and she bought them so I could make the wreath for her.  It was her favorite wreath and the only one I put up the year she died (along with a throw I had crocheted, which she liked, and the cushion covers she had made).

This wreath is in the family room:

Family Room Wreath
Some years, I attach clear glass balls to it, but this year, I didn't.

I have one other small wreath which I normally put on the inside of the front door, but I haven't put it up, yet.

I took a short walk up and down my block in the afternoon, but it tired me out!  I ended up taking a nap, afterwards!

Later in the evening, I took the trash cans to the curb and did a load of laundry.

Monday's To Do List:
- Put away washed dishes - DONE
- Take the trash cans to the curb - DONE
- Holiday related things depending on how I feel - DID SOME
- Laundry - DONE

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Office work
- Pharmacy
- Grocery shop
- Bring trash cans in
- Write cards
- Trim the tree?

Today, I cooked a fish curry using canned mackerel (I read that mackerel was a good source of magnesium, although I am not sure if canned mackerel was as good as fresh) and cooked the frozen vegetable called murunga (also known as moringa or "drumsticks") I had bought from the Sri Lanka store.  I had them with rice for dinner.  A tangerine for dessert.

Dinner: Rice, Fish, and Murunga

I also picked a pomegranate from my tree:


There are a couple more pomegranates still on the tree, but they are too high up for me to reach.  I shall ask my gardener friend to pick them for me, later this week. This year's fruits are small in size due to the drought, but I am grateful to have them.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Feeling better
- Being able to start decorating for Christmas
- Pomegranates from my tree
- Phone call from aunt and cousin
- Video chatting with daughter

How was your Monday?  How are your holiday preparations coming along?

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Sunday Before Christmas

Morning Tea

'Twas the Sunday before Christmas and all through the house,
Not a single decoration in sight, not even a felt mouse!

I woke up feeling better today than I did yesterday. Since I hadn't done the dishes, yesterday, I took out a different tea cup from the china cabinet for my morning tea.  This tea set had belonged to my step father's mother.  I never knew her, but I remember drinking tea from these cups when we'd spend weekends in my step father's house in his home city.  There's an imprint of a geisha at the bottom of the tea cup; it appears plain white when one looks down on it, but once the cup is held up to light, the geisha appears in color, as if by magic.  There are only two tea cups remaining from the set.  So, after I drank my tea, I carefully washed it and put it back in the china cabinet!

Today, I cooked milkrice for brunch.  After brunch, I washed all the dishes from Friday night's dinner and yesterday.  Then, I called one of my neighbors to check how things were with her, as her husband was rushed by ambulance to the hospital, late last night, and to ask her if she needed anything.  She said her husband was still in hospital but her daughter was with her and she didn't need anything.

Afterwards, I went to the pharmacy.  While I was there, I got a cramp in my right index finger, and thought, not again!  I got scared because that time when I fainted, I had just finished doing a bunch of dishes and had a cramp in my right thumb.  So, I went and sat down on one of the chairs for a few minutes and checked my blood pressure on one of their machines.  My pressure was OK; a bit on the low side for me, but similar to the readings I've been getting at the clinic the last couple of times.  So, I waited a little longer, texted my daughter, and then, drove myself home.  Then, I spent the afternoon on the sofa, resting.

I was worried that the cramping was somehow related to fainting.  But my daughter says no, the fainting was due to dehydration and I am no longer dehydrated; the cramping was due to something else.  It was just a coincidence that I had the cramp and then fainted, last time.  I guess I shouldn't handwash a bunch of dishes at one time!  Maybe it's time to open that package of paper plates I bought for the almsgiving!  Bad for the landfills, but saves water!  In Sri Lanka, we often serve food on banana leaves, partly because we consider the flavor it imparts to the food as a good thing but mostly because we didn't use to have paper plates and banana leaves were plentiful.  It is also a more environmentally friendly alternative to paper plates. 

I hadn't bought the magnesium supplements that were recommended for cramps and this was the first time I've had a cramp since the time I fainted.  I will buy some as soon as possible and start taking them.  In the meantime, I ate a banana since bananas have magnesium as well as potassium and I remember my mother's doctor recommended she ate up to three bananas a day after she fainted and fell, once.
One of my friends called me today and invited my daughter and me to Christmas dinner at her home.  Another friend, too, called to check on me.  

For dinner, I made pasta with a portion of the frozen shrimp scampi I had bought on sale for $2.99, and a salad:


Considering I still can't taste things that well, the frozen shrimp scampi wasn't too bad.  There's enough leftover for two more meals - I will share with my daughter when she comes home, next week.  A tangerine for dessert (but I didn't take a picture of it).

Then, I washed the dinner dishes and video chatted with daughter.
I had planned to decorate the tree after I returned from the pharmacy, but the cramping frightened me  and I decided it would be more prudent to rest, instead.  So, the tree remains bare, except for the angel on top.  Well, they do say that less is more, don't they?

Today, I am grateful for:

- I didn't faint! 
- I was able to drive to the pharmacy and back, safely.
- My friend inviting us to Christmas dinner.
- Friends who call and email.
- Video chatting with my daughter.

Monday's To Do List:
- Put away washed dishes
- Take the trash cans to the curb
- Holiday related things depending on how I feel
How was your Sunday?   Are you just about done with all your holiday preparations?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Front Garden in Mid December

The front garden is doing well after all the rain we had on Thursday.  For those of you who are having snow and ice:


The lantana is flowering!  I hope our night-time temperatures don't dip too low to cause any frost damage.

Aloe Flower Stalks

The aloe plants all have flower stalks.  It will be awhile before the flowers actually open up.  In the meantime, they look a bit like antennae, don't they?


African Daisy Seedlings

The African daisies have self-seeded and the little seedlings are starting to grow.  I will leave the old dead stems in place for a few more weeks, as they provide a bit of cover for the seedlings.

The climbing rose seems to think it is summer, again!

Climbing Rose

And the purple African daisies and dusty miller growing at the base of the climbing rose are doing well, too:

Dusty Miller and African Daisies

Yes, it was a sunny day and the afternoon was warm.  I walked a bit, up and down my block, and enjoyed the sunshine and the fresh air.  Visited two of my neighbors, as well.

But, other than that, I wasn't too productive.  I slept in as I felt tired; had half a roast beef sandwich for brunch because I didn't feel like eating the other half, read blogs, checked the lights on the Christmas tree (they work), called my friend who is hosting this month's rosary prayer meeting tomorrow and made my apologies for not being able to attend (just don't feel up to making the long drive there and back), and just took it easy.   Haven't accomplished anything on my To Do list for today, although I will make myself put away the laundry, at least. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being able to sleep in
- Sunshine and pleasant weather
- The garden is doing well
- A little bit of a walk this afternoon
- Visiting two of my neighbors

How was your Saturday?  Hope it was more productive than mine!

Deck the Walls

Daughter's Christmas Decorations

It rained all night, last night, and it was still drizzling when I drove to the clinic for my hydration.  The freeway was bumper to bumper and there were many accidents.  At least one other freeway was completely closed due to an accident and another had two lanes closed.   I left 15 minutes early and was still 5 minutes late to my appointment.  My oncologist was running late due to traffic, too, but I was seen by the nurse practitioner, so there wasn't any delay.  Today's hydration session took a long time, however, as they gave me a big bag of saline solution!  But I don't need to go for additional hydration.  My next appointment with the oncologist is in one month's time.  I worked on another Christmas gift while I was having my hydration.

It stopped raining, mid-morning, and by the time I left the clinic, the sun was shining.   Today's afternoon high was 63F.  My gardener friend was in a T-shirt; I was bundled up in a sweater, coat, and a scarf!  He brought in the Christmas tree and set it up in the family room for me.  I also had him bring in the bin with the tree ornaments, the bin with the winter village, and the wreaths.   But I haven't started decorating yet. 

I felt tired after my hydration session.  So, I spent a quiet afternoon and evening, doing office work, changing my bed sheets (put on the flannel ones!) and doing a load of laundry.  I will clean the litter box before I go to sleep, but everything else on my To Do List will be put off till tomorrow!

Friday's To Do List:
- Hydration appointment - DONE
- Office work - DONE
- Paperwork/filing
- Change my bedsheets - DONE
- Do a load of laundry - DONE
- Start writing my holiday cards!

Saturday's To Do List:
- Write the holiday cards
- Decorate the tree
- Start decorating the house
- Paperwork/filing
- Put away the dried laundry

The photo above and the ones below are of my daughter's holiday decor.  She bought the wreath base, ornaments, and picture frame (from the dollar stores).  

Flying Reindeer

 She found the reindeer template on-line, she said.

Reindeer Close Up

This is the girl who once asked Santa for a bell from his reindeer as proof that they could fly and took him on his rounds.  Santa brought her a whole strand of bells!  I usually hang it on the front door knob during the season and it jingles every time the door is opened. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- The rain we have received
- A safe drive to the clinic and back
- A good hydration session
- My gardener friend helping me with setting up the Christmas tree
- Flannel bed sheets!

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

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Rainy Thursday

Christmas Gift in the Making

We had a mostly overcast day with just a bit of hazy sunshine in the late morning.  It started to rain around 4:00 p.m. and it has rained all evening into night.  It is just past 11:00 p.m. now, and it is still raining.  A slow but steady rain.  The garden is getting a good watering; I am glad.

I spent most of the day doing office work.  Later, I started to crochet a Christmas gift, using yarn I had in my stash.  I haven't finished it yet and I don't want to reveal too much of it, just in case the recipient is reading my blog!  But I'll take a picture of it and post, later.

Thursday's To Do List:
- Office work - DONE
- Paperwork/filing
- Change my bedsheets
- Do a load of laundry

I am afraid I didn't do much of my to do list, today!  It will all be carried over to tomorrow, instead!

Friday's To Do List:
- Hydration appointment
- Office work
- Paperwork/filing
- Change my bedsheets
- Do a load of laundry
- Start writing my holiday cards!

Today, I am grateful for:
- The rain!
- Being able to make some of my Christmas gifts
- The yarn in my stash
- Knowing how to crochet
- Cousins checking on me

How was your Thursday?  Are you done with all your gift making and gift buying? 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Wednesday: More Medical Appointments and Blood Tests

Today, I went to my first doctor's appointment in the morning.  My appointment was at 8:00 a.m., so I left the house a little before 7:00 a.m. and was there on time.  But I didn't see the doctor until 9:00 a.m.  It was a good visit, though.  She went over the lab test results with me.  The pap test results were all clear and normal.  A couple of the blood test results were higher than normal, so the physician assistant wanted me to do some additional follow up blood tests.  I went to the lab and got those done, right away.  I have a follow up appointment to go over those results in two weeks' time.

On the way home, I stopped at the pharmacy and bought another bottle of Tylenol to have on hand.

Came home and responded to office emails.  Even though I had informed my supervisor that I had medical appointments scheduled for today, she had forgotten about them. 

After that, I went to my second doctor's appointment and was seen by the radiation oncologist.  He, too, went over the MRI results and blood test results with me, but he didn't seem overly concerned about the higher than normal results.  I have a follow up appointment with him in two months' time.

It was a sunny, warm afternoon, today, but I didn't go for a walk.  Instead, I spent the rest of the afternoon and early part of the evening doing office work. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Safe drives to the medical appointments and back
- Mostly good test results
- Additional blood work to further test the other results
- Good medical care
- Phone calls from family, emails from friends, and video chatting with daughter

I had to be fasting for my blood tests in the morning, so I had a nutritional drink for breakfast, afterwards.  Lunch was a banana and some crackers, eaten on the run.  Dinner was a salad (Romaine lettuce, carrots, cucumber), two more baked breaded fish fillets, and the last of a bag of frozen corn, with blackberries and yogurt for dessert.


Wednesday's To Do List:
- Doctor's appointment with primary care physician in a.m. - DONE
- Doctor's appointment with radiation oncologist in p.m. - DONE
- Pharmacy - DONE
- Office work - DONE
- Mop kitchen - DONE

Thursday's To Do List:
- Office work
- Paperwork/filing
- Change my bedsheets
- Do a load of laundry

How was your day, today?  

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Today was a quiet day.  I did office work, most of the day, and not much else.  I stayed indoors all morning because it felt cold outside, but the afternoon was pleasant and I walked a bit in the drive way and opened the windows to air out the house.   I brought my trash cans in and took my neighbor's trash can in for her.  She called me later in the evening to ask if I had any Tylenol, as her husband needed some and she didn't have any in the house, so I walked over and handed her what I had.  I will buy myself another bottle of Tylenol, tomorrow.

I didn't feel up to mopping the kitchen floor, today, so I didn't attempt it.  Instead, I took it easy, did a bit of crochet, chatted on the phone with one of my aunts and a friend, and video chatted with my daughter. 

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Office work - DONE
- Bring trash cans in - DONE (took neighbor's trash cans in for her, too)
- Paperwork and filing - DID SOME
- Mop kitchen floor
- Clean litter box - DONE

Breakfast was a banana and a slice of buttered bread.  Lunch was the last of the tomato soup.  Dinner was baked breaded fish fillets with rice, green peas, and carrots, with a tangerine for dessert:


Today, I am grateful for:
- Being able to help my neighbor
- A working heater
- Daughter had a safe trip to Sacramento and back to attend a meeting
- Phone calls and emails from family and friends
- A quiet, but productive, day

Wednesday's To Do List:
- Doctor's appointment with primary care physician in a.m.
- Doctor's appointment with radiation oncologist in p.m.
- Pharmacy
- Office work
- Mop kitchen

How was your day?

Monday: Hydration and December Grocery Shopping Part 1

Today, I went to the clinic for hydration in the morning.  The good news is: my MRI results have come in and it is all clear!  I am so thankful and relieved!  It looks, more and more, that I was very severely dehydrated and that's what caused me to faint and fall.

On the way home, afterwards, I went to the bank and then, to the Armenian grocery store that is located next to the bank.  And I realized that I haven't posted any of my December grocery shopping! 

I had done some grocery shopping on December 1.  The whipped topping, apple juice, eggs, etc., were meant for the almsgiving.  The other items were for my personal use.  

December 1 Groceries

Purchases included the following items from the dollar stores: 
1 packet of 3 Cup Noodles soup = $1.00
1 bag mini marshmallows = $1.00
1 bag pistachios = $1.00
2 boxes instant pudding mix @$.50 = $1.00
Total = $4.00

And these items from the regular grocery store:

2 packets of hot cocoa mix, @$.99 = $1.98
18 eggs = $2.89
Frozen breaded fish fillets = $3.99
2 whipped topping, @$2.49 = $4.98
1 apple juice = $1.99
1 package of 4 ground beef patties = $1.49
1eye of round roast = $9.36
1 frozen shrimp scampi = $2.99
Total = $29.67

Bargain Ground Beef Patties

I also bought a box of brand name storage bags, because the bargain ones I bought from the dollar store didn't close properly!  I do not include the price of that in my grocery budget, however, as I count it as household items.

December 1 Grocery Receipt

I got a good bargain on the frozen shrimp scampi too, I think.  Originally priced at $8.99 (I wouldn't have bought it at that price!); on sale for $3.99 and another $1 off because it was a participating item in a buy 4 items and save $1 per item sale.

December 1 grocery shopping total = $4 + $29.67 = $33.67

I had intended to go grocery shopping on the Saturday after that for fresh produce, but then, I fell on Friday and  plans changed.

Today, I went grocery shopping again and bought a lot of fresh produce:

December 12 Groceries

 I bought:

1 can 15 oz. of fish (mackerel) = $1.69
1 container (1 lb.) yogurt = $1.99
1 lb. unsalted butter = $2.50
1 package sesame crackers = $2.54
1.66 lb. small white potatoes, @3 lb/$1.00 = $.55
1 lb. carrots = $.45
1 Romaine lettuce = $.34
1 zucchini (.35 lb.) @ 3lb/$1 = $.12
.55 lb. broccoli @ $.49/lb = $.27
1 cucumber = $.34
.35 lb. green beans @$.99/lb. = $.35
1 container (6 oz.) blackberries = $.99
2.15 lb. apples @$.39/lb = $.84
1.52 lb. bananas @$.49/lb = $.74
.85 lb. Bosc pear, $.49/lb = $.42
1.49 lb. Satsuma tangerines @$.79/lb = $1.18
Total = $15.31

December 12 Grocery Receipt

I bought small quantities of a variety of fresh produce, today. 

Total spent on groceries in December so far = $33.67 + $15.31 = $48.98

I had almost $41 ($40.91 to be exact) leftover from my November/almsgiving grocery budget.   I will carry it forward to December.

December grocery budget = $75 + $41 = $116
Amount left in December grocery budget = $116 - 48.98 = $67.02

After I came home and put away the groceries, I had a late lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening doing office work.  I also emptied the waste bins and recycling and took the trash cans to the curb for trash pick up tomorrow.  Dusted the living room coffee table and piano.  Did the dishes.  The referral to the neurologist was approved and I received the authorization in the mail, today.  So, I called and made an appointment.  The earliest they had available is in mid-January.

I had made a cheese sandwich for my breakfast today and had taken it with me to the clinic, but I wasn't very hungry and so ate only half of it for breakfast.  I brought the other half home with me and grilled it and had that with a bowl of tomato soup for my lunch.  A banana for dessert.  For dinner, I pulled out some of the roast beef I had prepared and frozen, earlier (with the eye of round I had bought on December 1), added some of the potatoes, carrots, and green beans I bought today, and made myself a sort of pot roast:

Pot Roast Dinner

There is enough leftover for another meal, later this week.  Yogurt and gelatin for dessert (I made the gelatin yesterday).

Today, I am grateful for:
- Good MRI results
- Hydration
- Referral for neurologist was authorized and I have an appointment
- A safe drive to the clinic and back
- Answered prayers

Monday's To Do List:
- Hydration appointment in the morning - DONE
- Office work - DONE
- Bank - DONE
- Grocery shop?  Need fresh vegetables and fruit - DONE
- Empty waste baskets and recycling - DONE
- Take trash cans to the curb - DONE
- Paperwork and filing
- Call and schedule new doctor's appointment - DONE
- Dust the living room (at least the coffee table and piano) - DONE

I didn't do the paperwork and filing; will carry it over to tomorrow.

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Office work
- Bring trash cans in
- Paperwork and filing
- Mop kitchen floor
- Clean litter box

How was your Monday?

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sunday's Activities

Flowers from the Garden and a Photo-Bombing Cat!

I had a fairly quiet day, today.   I slept in a bit, then, called my half-sister, since she had called twice and left messages asking how I was.  Put away the laundry, cleaned the other bathroom, washed the dishes, took pictures of the garden and picked some flowers and pine branches to bring in.  Swept the kitchen, too, since some of the pine needles fell on the floor.  The kitchen floor needs mopping, but will do that another day.

It didn't rain, after all, today, although it remained overcast for the most part.  So, later in the evening, I put the sprinklers on and watered the back garden.  The front doesn't need to be watered yet because my gardener did that on Friday.

Later in the evening, one of my cousins called and brought over Christmas gifts from another cousin, who was going to be out of state for Christmas.  Since I haven't put up a Christmas tree, yet, this year, and really don't know if I will (all depends on the state of my health, I guess), I swept the living room fireplace hearth and set the bags of gifts there.  Even if I don't do a lot of decorating, this year, the fireplace will look festive.  I also made my initial gift list; I have managed to keep it to 30!

Today, I scrambled an egg and had that with a slice of toast for my breakfast.  Later, I had a bowl of tomato soup for my lunch.  A cup of tea in the evening, with a handful of pistachio nuts.  Dinner was two pieces of breaded frozen fish fillets, baked, with rice and green peas, followed by the last of the grapes for dessert.

Today, I am grateful for:
- The garden still growing and giving me flowers and fruits to enjoy
- Having an internet connection, again!
- Eating the pine needles didn't make Dancer too sick!
- Gifts from my cousin
- Speaking on the phone with my sister, aunts, cousins, and a neighbor; exchanging emails with a friend; video chatting with my daughter

Sunday's To Do List:
- Put away laundry from Saturday - DONE
- Clean the other bathroom (sink and toilet; sweep floor) - DONE
- More paperwork and filing - NOT done
- Call sister (she had called twice and left messages) - DONE
- Check weather forecast (DONE) and water the back garden, if needed - DONE
- Start thinking about holiday gifts! - STARTED!  Made my list!
- Sweep kitchen - DONE
- Sweep fireplace hearth - DONE

Monday's To Do List:
- Hydration appointment in the morning
- Grocery shop?  Need fresh vegetables and fruit
- Empty waste baskets and recycling
- Take trash cans to the curb
- Paperwork and filing
- Dust the living room (at least the coffee table and piano)

How was your Sunday?  Did you have a nice weekend?

The Garden in December

Took a walk around the back garden, this afternoon (with my cell phone in hand), to get a little fresh air and see what is happening in the back yard.

The hibiscus is blooming:

The Hibiscus

So are the few paperwhites that are left:


 The oranges that didn't split open and fall are starting to ripen:


Ripening Oranges

 A bit further down the garden, the rosemary bush is flowering:


 There are buds on one of the lemon trees:


Lemon Buds

 Flowers on the second lemon tree (as well as a new crop of lemons):


Lemon Blossoms

 And more fruit ripening on the third lemon tree:

Ripening Lemons

I decided to pick the paperwhites to bring them inside, along with a few branches I broke off the pine tree which grows near my back garden wall.  I arranged them in three vases; one for the altar, two for the fireplace mantel:


Flowers for the House

 Do you see him, investigating the vases?

Dancer Camouflaged by the Greenery

I placed two of the vases on either side of the living room mantel, along with the two holiday cards I have received so far:

Flowers for the Mantel

I had also picked enough pine branches to arrange in a vase to place on the hearth:

A Bit of Winter Decor

But a certain kitty couldn't keep away from the pine needles and ate some!  And promptly threw up!  So, I had to move the vase of pine branches out of his reach!  On top of the bookcase, where I have my living room altar, along with the third vase of flowers:

Living Room Altar with Flowers and Pine Branches

I might move the vase of pine branches to the dining area (on top of the bookcase or china cabinet), later.