Sunday, April 30, 2017

April Balanced Life Goals Review

With April coming to an end (where did the time go?), it is time to review my goals for a more balanced life in April. The goal was to attend to each area, so that my life felt more balanced, while focusing more on self-care in all aspects of my life, during this period of extended recovery.

These were my goals for a more balanced life in April:

Spiritual:  The goal is to live a spiritually meaningful life.

- Continue with daily prayers and gratitude
- Continue to focus on blessings, joy, and abundance
- Take time for meditation 
Have been doing so;  In addition, I was able to attend the monthly prayer gathering, as well.
Environment:  The goal is a clean, tidy, uncluttered house and a well-maintained garden.
- Do some regular house cleaning, decluttering, and organizing  
- I have tidied and cleaned most of the house; there are a couple of rooms that need more work.  And I definitely need to work on my routines!

- Plant the new succulents I've been given - planted some and then, was given more which I haven't planted, yet.

- Plant the vegetables in the bed that has been prepared - planted the beans and okra seeds and the seedlings are coming up nicely.  The zucchini and patty pan squash seeds were planted, too, but the transplanted seedlings aren't doing too well.  I might have to buy more seeds and replant them, directly in the ground.  Two strawberry plants were planted and one even bore one fruit, but the other plant has withered and died!

- Weed and mulch - on-going; bought several bags of mulch, but haven't applied any to the beds, yet.

Daughter:  The goal is to continue to have a close relationship with her. 
- Daily texts, phone calls, email exchanges, and video chatting!  - on-going; one of the highlights of my day!

Family & Friends:  The goal is to keep in touch with various family members and friends.
- Communicate regularly - phone calls, texts, and emails
- Go out to lunch with sister?
- Wish friend on her birthday
- Visit neighbor 
- Had a lot of interaction with family and friends over the course of the month.  I didn't go out to lunch with my sister, but spoke with her, on the phone, a couple of times.  I spoke with one of my brothers, on the phone, too.  I gave my cousin a ride to the monthly prayer gathering which was held at another cousin's house and met several family members and friends there.  I visited one of my neighbors (and she gave me several cuttings from her garden), another neighbor visited me (and brought me Easter dinner), and I've exchanged several phone calls with a third neighbor (we were to get together to have coffee one afternoon, but it was postponed as she wasn't feeling too well).  Spoke on the phone with my aunts and cousins, several times, and one aunt and cousin came over to dinner, last night.  One of my cousins came over to tea, today.  I gave a ride to one of my friends to pick up some boxes she wanted and have spoken with her and other friends on the phone.  I've exchanged emails with another friend and wished her for her birthday.  This is one area in my life that is nicely plumped! 
Career:  The goal is to continue to do work which I enjoy (for the most part) and which enables me to support myself.
- Continue to ease into going to the office full time - On-going. I have been going in three days a week, on a regular basis, in April, and working from home or taking time off on the other two days.  Still go in later in the morning than my regular starting time (but leave at my regular time), but I make up the time by working from home either in the evenings or over the weekend. 

Finances:  The goal is financial security.
- Continue budgeting and spending mindfully - On-going.
Health & Well Being:  The goal is good health.  This will continue to be the focus, this month.
- Attend the appointments with my various doctors - 3 scheduled, so far, in April, plus a required blood test before one of them - I attended my doctors appointments and did the blood tests.  The blood test results were good, but I am still having an inflammation and some swelling.  I was prescribed some additional medications, which I have taken.  I have follow-up appointments, in May, June, and July!
- Continue to monitor blood pressure and sugar levels - On-going
- Continue to focus on a healthier diet (more vegetables!), drinking enough water, exercising regularly, and getting sufficient sleep - Getting in more vegetables, exercise, and sleep is a work in progress! 

Time Management:  The goal is having enough time to do all what I want to do!
- Organize myself and put routines into place so I have a more regular schedule - Another work in progress! 

Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies/Me-Time:  The goal is to relax doing something I enjoy doing for the pleasure of it.
- Put together a succulents planter to take to the office - Didn't do!
- Do a few things from the Spring Joy list - Did several things, including going to the farmers' market twice
- Cuddle a kitty!  - DONE! 

"Posing for my picture!"

So that has been my review and update of the April balanced life goals.  I did quite well in some areas and there is much room for improvement in others!  

Did you make any goals for April?  If so, how did you do?  Were you able to make progress on them?


Desiccated Patty Pan Squash Seedling

The transplanted patty pan squash seedlings are not doing well.  It think it is too hot for them.  The biggest seedling got desiccated!

Close Up

This one is doing a little bit better, I think, though not much (it's towards the bottom of the picture; look for the white arrow):

Struggling Squash Seedling

There is only one seedling that seems to be doing OK, so far. Well, I suppose, one plant is all I need as they are supposed to produce a lot of squash!

The One Plant That's Doing OK

I think I should have planted the seeds directly instead of transplanting them.  Anyway, I have now decided that I will transplant the two zucchini seedlings in this same planting area, and see if they survive.  If not, I'll buy another packet of seeds and start over.  I don't think I will need to buy tomato cages, after all.

I am still debating what to do about the grape vines.  If I should figure out another type of trellis and plant them or return them to the garden center and get a refund!  I've looked at grape vine trellises  on-line and there are a lot of ideas.  Maybe I can ask neighbor E across the street if he can build me one.

I spent a quiet, relaxed morning, today, reading blogs, listening to some music, and reading one of my library books.

In the afternoon, I put away the dried laundry, did another load and hung it up to dry.  Packed up some of the clothes that are too big for me and put them away in the 3rd bedroom (spare room) for now.  I need to decide if I will alter them to fit me, or donate them.  I am leaning towards just donating them and having one less thing to do!

Called the pharmacy to request a refill of one of my medications, but they texted back to say the medication was out of stock and they will let me know when it comes in.  I will give them a couple of days and then, call to check. 

I vacuumed the bedrooms, too, and then, got a bit carried away and vacuumed the rest of the house, as well, except for the family room, since I vacuumed it just yesterday.  Dusted the furniture in the living room, dining area, and family room.  Still need to dust my bedroom; will do that tomorrow.  The door to the spare room will be kept shut until I can sort it out, but the rest of the house is more or less "company ready", which is a good thing because my aunt called later in the afternoon to ask if she and my cousin could visit this evening.  I said yes, of course, and invited them to dinner (although they are not coming until around 9:00 p.m.).

I cooked a fish curry,  sauted spinach, and rice, and served some of my homemade tomato chutney as well, with canned peaches for dessert.  Afterwards, cousin did the dishes for me.  I sent the leftover fish curry and a jar of tomato chutney home with them.  It was nice to see aunt and cousin, as we haven't seen each other since before Christmas!  So, we exchanged our holiday gifts today.  Cousin and I said they were our Christmas/New Year/Valentine's Day/her birthday/Easter/Sri Lankan New Year/Cinco de Mayo gifts!  LOL. 

One of my other aunts also called this evening and asked me when I was coming to see her.  I promised to visit her, one of these days.  She was married to my mother's younger brother; uncle died one year before my mother.

Today, I am grateful for:
- A lovely, sunny, warm day
- The strong winds have stopped and they didn't do any damage to my property
- A productive afternoon
- The house is tidy for the most part
- Aunt and cousin visiting 

Saturday's To Do List:
- Garden center for tomato cages - NOT NEEDED! 
- Put away dried laundry - DONE
- Do another load of laundry - DONE
- Vacuum bedrooms - DONE (and did the rest of the house, as well, except the family room which was done yesterday)
- Weed the rest of the planting bed- SUNDAY
- Transplant the zucchini seedlings - SUNDAY
- Plant the succulents - SUNDAY
- Paperwork/filing - DID SOME
- Call in refills - DONE
- Pharmacy to pick up refills - Won't be ready today
- Tidy kitchen counters - DONE
- Cook dinner - DONE
- Do dishes - DONE
- Bring in a new bucket of kitty litter from the garage - DONE
- Clean the litter box/add fresh kitty litter - Will do after I post this

Sunday's To Do List:
- Put away dried laundry
- Do another load of laundry
- Weed the rest of the planting bed
- Transplant the zucchini seedlings and tomato plant
- Plant the succulents
- More paperwork
- Dust the bedroom furniture
- Bake banana bread
- Mop kitchen

How was your Saturday?  What have you planned for Sunday? 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Friday's Accomplishments

I stayed up too late, last night.  Not because I couldn't fall asleep, but because I was watching music videos on-line and enjoying myself too much to go to sleep!  I used to dance to some of the songs I listened to, back when I took dance classes (ballet, jazz, aerobics), along with my daughter, several years ago!  When the dance school closed, daughter and I continued to take ballet classes from one of the former teachers.  But they came to an end when daughter was in her 2nd year at university because we didn't get home in time to make it to class.  As a result of going to sleep so late, I didn't wake up till mid-morning, today!

I finished putting together the trellis, this morning.  I spent some time trying to figure out what to do about the missing piece, but eventually, decided to remove that section of the trellis, altogether, and make it a little shorter.  Problem solved!  Later in the afternoon, when my gardener friend came over, we set it up so that the jasmine vine and asparagus vine can go up the trellis.  I forgot to take a picture. 

In the afternoon, I put away the dried laundry from yesterday and did another load of laundry.  Then, I tidied the family room and vacuumed it.  I also swept and vacuumed the kitchen (had to sweep first, because I knocked a glass off the counter by accident and there were shards of glass everywhere, and then, I thought it would be best to vacuum, as well).  Vacuumed the bathrooms, too.  I debated vacuuming the bedrooms, but decided to do it tomorrow.  

My gardener friend mowed the back garden for me.  Later, I watered the garden, both front and back.
Today, one of my cousins and an aunt called.

It has been another very windy day!  We are having what is known as the Santa Ana winds - they are strong, hot, dry winds that blow from the desert.  Some areas are experiencing wind gusts of up to 65 miles per hour, according to the news, and there have been some downed trees and power lines, and several areas are without power!

Today, I am grateful for:
- A day of vacation from office work.
- Getting some housework done.
- Phone calls from family.
- Electricity!
- No downed trees or power lines in my immediate neighborhood.

Friday's To Do List:
- Go to the garden center for tomato cages - Postponed for Saturday!
- Finish assembling the trellis - DONE
- Put away laundry - DONE
- Do another load of laundry - DONE
- Other items from the carried forward list!
  - Family room - tidy, dust, vacuum
  - Paperwork

Saturday's To Do List:
- Garden center for tomato cages
- Put away dried laundry
- Do another load of laundry
- Vacuum bedrooms
- Weed the rest of the planting bed
- Transplant the zucchini seedlings
- Plant the succulents
- Paperwork/filing

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

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Windy Thursday

Another fairly productive day at the office, today.  I gave the thank you card I made, along with a box of Ceylon tea, to my supervisor for all the plants she gave me.  She kept saying I didn't have to, but I told her I wanted to.  
During my lunch break, I went to the weekly farmers' market and my favorite bakery stall was there, this week, and I was able to buy a loaf of the crusty French bread that I like.  I also tried the Hawaiian barbecued chicken stall for the first time.  It was good, but not something I'd want to buy all the time.  I wasn't planning to buy lunch, but the peanut butter sandwich I had brought for lunch didn't really appeal (I had one yesterday, too, and found it OK; two days in a row was too much, I guess.)
It's been another very windy day, which might explain the sinus pressure headache I had.   I didn't feel like stopping at the garden center to buy the tomato cages, after work.  I just came home directly,  took a Tylenol, and rested for a bit.  But I couldn't fall asleep, so eventually, I got up and put in a load of laundry to wash.  That always makes me feel I was productive!  It is hanging up, now, to dry inside the house.  One of my friends called to ask how daughter and I were and we chatted for a bit.

Daughter's office closed early, today, and she and her colleagues were asked to work from home or a different, off-site location, in order to avoid the protests that were planned in Berkeley, later in the evening, and any potential violence that might have resulted.  I am glad she was able to go home a couple of hours early.
I have taken tomorrow and Monday as vacation days, so I will have a nice long weekend ahead of me!  I am hoping I will be able to both rest and get a few things done, as well!  It's going to be another hot weekend with temperatures in the upper 80s and low 90s, according to the weather forecast!  So, I am planning to be productive in the mornings when it is cooler and relax in the afternoons when it will be hot.  

Today, I was grateful for:
- Daughter was able to go home early and avoid the protests taking place this evening.
- Being able to treat myself to lunch out
- Being able to buy my favorite bread which I haven't had in 16 months! (And it tasting just as good as I remembered it being!)
- Being complimented on my dress and appearance.
- Being able to take a couple of days of vacation
Friday's To Do List:
- Go to the garden center for tomato cages 
- Finish assembling the trellis
- Put away laundry
- Do another load of laundry
- Other items from the carried forward list!

How was your Thursday?  What have you planned for Friday?

Wednesday's Doings

Today has been a warm and windy day.  I checked on the seedlings and watered them before I left for the office.  I had a fairly productive day at work.  I gave my supervisor an update on my work projects and told her when I have my next medical appointments so she knows.  So far, I've 3 scheduled in May, 1 in June, and 2 in July, plus I am supposed to report for jury duty in June, as well. 
I checked another garden center's website, today, and they have the tomato cages for a more reasonable price of $1.98 each.  They are shorter than the others I looked at yesterday, but that doesn't matter.  I am really not looking to give support to the plants; I just want to protect the seedlings until they are somewhat grown, so the cats don't dig them out, or "fertilize" them, or sleep on top of them!  I wouldn't want them to squash my squash plants!  LOL.   

I also looked at vegetable plants being grown in hanging planters.  If nothing else, I can get some hanging planters and grow my squash in them, off the ground and away from the cats!  I also loved looking at all the creative containers people have come up with for growing plants, such as plastic soda bottles!
Speaking of being creative, I made a thank you card, today:
Thank You Card
The thick white paper with the torn edges is handmade paper I made one year with old utility bills I shredded!  I added some rosemary leaves to it when I was making it, but they are not too visible.  The flowers are metallic sequins.  
Today, I raided daughter's closet and borrowed one of her blouses to wear to the office!  I needed a black blouse and my only solid black top was too big and droopy.  Her blouse fitted me perfectly!   I took a picture of myself and sent it to her, with the caption, "Borrowed plumes".  She laughed and said to help myself!  She left half her clothes down here, so I will be borrowing more from her closet in the future!

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being able to borrow from daughter's closet!
- A pleasant day at the office
- A safe commute to the office and back
- A drive through the park on the way to the office and back
- A sunny and warm day

I didn't do anything that was on my To Do list for today, other than going to the office and daily tasks such as the dishes.  I will just carry today's To Do list forward and work on it tomorrow and Friday.  
How was your Wednesday?  What have you planned for Thursday? 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

New Day Tuesday

Thank you, everyone, for your kind words of encouragement on yesterday's post.  I admit I was feeling a bit down about things.

But, today is a new day, isn't it?

Today, I woke up when the alarm went off at 7:00 a.m., but dozed a bit longer!  Thank goodness for snooze buttons!  Eventually, however, I went to the office and had a productive day.  But, before I went to the office, I brought in the trash cans and watered the seedlings.  Last night, I looked out the sliding glass door and saw that one of the cats had managed to get under the mesh I had placed to cover the newly planted squash seedlings.  So, this morning, I rearranged the mesh to cover that gap and hopefully, that will be enough to keep the cats away!  The seedlings looked more dead than alive, after being transplanted, but I am hoping they will revive and continue to grow.  If not, I will plant the succulents my supervisor gave me and call it done!

During my lunch break, I went to the pharmacy and picked up a container of low dose aspirin.  I just bought the 30 pills container, just in case the doctor tells me to stop taking them, again!  It cost $2.95 with taxes, but since I had received a $2 coupon good towards the purchase of medications, I had to pay only $.95.

After work, on my way home, I drove to the garden center to look for tomato cages.  I was thinking I would stick a tomato cage over the zucchini seedlings when I planted them, to keep the cats away.  The last time I bought tomato cages (many years ago, admittedly), they cost something like $.79 cents, I believe (must have been many, MANY years ago!  LOL!).  Well, today, the 54" galvanized steel tomato cage was priced at $4.99 and a 42" red painted one cost $5.99!     Generally, I don't buy even 10 lbs. of zucchini in a year.  Zucchini sells for $.99/lb. at the regular grocery store and for $.79/lb. at the ethnic store.  But, it goes on sale for $.39/lb. quite regularly, and that's when I usually buy it.  This week, it is selling for 3 lbs/$1.00 at one of the ethnic stores.  I could buy at least 15 lbs. of zucchini for the price of one tomato cage and not have to worry about watering the plants, or anything!  I decided not to buy the tomato cage at that price.  I will check the dollar stores and one of the discount stores in my area to see if they have any tomato cages for less.  If not, I will continue to buy my zucchini when it goes on sale!

Grocery Ad for Zucchini

Tuesday's (and Beyond) To Do List:
- Water seedlings - DONE
- Go to the office - DONE
- Pharmacy to buy low dose aspirin - DONE
- Bring in trash cans - DONE
- Buy tomato cages - PRICED them and decided not to buy at that price!
- Weed the rest of the planting bed
- Transplant zucchini seedlings
- Family room - tidy, dust, vacuum
- Bedrooms - vacuum
- Finish cleaning the bathrooms - DONE
- Paperwork (at least 15 minutes)
- Put away laundry

Wednesday's (and Beyond) To Do List:
 - Go to the office
- Weed the rest of the planting bed
- Transplant zucchini seedlings
- Family room - tidy, dust, vacuum
- Bedrooms - vacuum
- Paperwork
- Put away laundry
- Daily tasks (dishes, litter box, etc.)

Today, I am grateful for:
- Kind, encouraging comments from all of you
- One of the nicest supervisors
- Safe commute to work and back (there was another horrible accident on the freeway I take to go to the office in the morning and the freeway was closed in that direction even during the evening commute!)
- Phone calls and emails from friends
- Feeling better than I did yesterday

How was your Tuesday?  Have you bought any tomato cages lately?  If so, how much did you pay for them?  Do you think $4.99 is a reasonable price for a tomato cage?  Would you pay that much?  Am I being unreasonable to expect to pay less than that?  Maybe I need a reality check?

Monday: April Grocery Shopping Week 4 - Part 2

April 24 Groceries

Today, in the morning, I had an appointment with my oncologist.  The nurse practitioner examined me and made some suggestions about additional things I could do for the inflammation and swelling, including applying a steroid cream (cortisone) and taking ibuprofen or aspirin.  She also went over my most recent lab test results and I had my catheter port flushed.  I have to go back in six weeks to have the port flushed again and I'll see the oncologist in three months' time.

My appointment was at 9:15 a.m.  I left home at 8:15 a.m. and got there just on time.  It was 11:30 a.m. when I left the clinic and I got home around 12:30 p.m.  I had intended to go grocery shopping on my way back, but I decided to come home first, as I was getting hungry.  I had milkrice and the rest of the beef curry for lunch.  After lunch, I felt tired and took a nap!

After I woke up from my nap, a little after 4:30 p.m., I went grocery shopping to buy bread ($.99), bananas (@$.59/lb) and ataulfo mangoes (@$.25).    I spent a total of $2.51.

April 24 Receipt

Amount spent to date = $22.24 + $21.87 + $4.55+ $23.48 + $7.40 + $2.51 = $82.05
Balance left in the April grocery budget = $83.07 - $82.05 = $1.02

After tea, I did a little gardening - I weeded half of a circular planting bed and transplanted the patty pan squash seedlings.  Then, surrounded the seedlings with some wire mesh.  I think, though, I will get some tomato cages for them and the zucchini seedlings, instead.  I couldn't finish weeding and planting because it got too dark and I got a little tired towards the end.

I am actually wondering if I bit off more than I can chew with trying to plant a garden this summer.  I am still not completely well and although I do enjoy gardening, all this effort to keep the cats out of the vegetable planting beds and making trellises for the grape vines is becoming a bit too much for me.  I can't do as much as I used to or would like to.  I am finding it very frustrating and a bit overwhelming.

I was in the garden from about 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Once I came in, I cleaned out the fridge, did the litter box, took the trash to trash cans and took the trash cans to the curb.  Then, I made an egg salad and had egg salad sandwiches for dinner.  After dinner, I put away the dishes I had done yesterday and washed today's dishes.  Then, I started cleaning the bathroom.  In between, I wrote to a friend, sent a message of sympathy to another friend whose husband passed away, and video chatted with daughter. 

I realize that the medical appointment took up practically the whole morning.  Then, when I came home, I was tired and needed a nap.  Once I woke up, I was as productive as I could be, under the circumstances, and accomplished a lot.  But still, I didn't do all what I had wanted to get done, such as the rest of the house cleaning, the paperwork, etc.  And that is making me feel impatient and frustrated.  Plus I am feeling a bit anxious and worried about the continued inflammation and wondering what it means and why my recovery seems to be prolonged.

Today, I am grateful for:
- the lab report showed my tumor markers were good
- the nurse practitioner made some suggestions that might help with the inflammation and swelling
- the port flushing went well
- a safe drive to the clinic and back
- time spent in the garden

 Monday's To Do List:
- Doctor's appointment in the a.m. - DONE
- Grocery shop for bread, bananas, mangoes - DONE
- Family room - tidy, dust, vacuum
- Bedrooms - vacuum
- Clean out the fridge - DONE
- Empty waste baskets - DONE
- Take the trash cans to the curb - DONE
- Weed one planting bed - DID HALF
- Transplant the seedlings - DID SOME
- Clean the bathrooms - STARTED
- Paperwork (at least 15 minutes)
- Put away laundry

Tuesday's (and Beyond) To Do List:
- Water seedlings
- Go to the office
- Pharmacy to buy low dose aspirin
- Bring in trash cans
- Buy tomato cages
- Weed the rest of the planting bed
- Transplant zucchini seedlings
- Family room - tidy, dust, vacuum
- Bedrooms - vacuum
- Finish cleaning the bathrooms
- Paperwork (at least 15 minutes)
- Put away laundry

I already know that the list is too long to get done in one day.  Then there's all the other stuff I want to do, including planting the succulents, putting together the trellis, and baking banana bread.  This might be a week-long to do list!  

How was your Monday? 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Sunday: Strawberry Harvest

Ripe Strawberry

I had arranged to video chat with one of my friends this morning, but my laptop didn't corporate!  I got an error message saying I couldn't chat on-line using the particular program I wanted to use and had to download something, which I tried, but couldn't get to work.  So, I spoke with my friend on my cell phone, instead.  I could hear her, but couldn't see her because I don't have a state of the art cell phone, just a very basic one.  It was a little frustrating to me, and I was rather disappointed, but happy that I got to chat with her.

After that, I did a load of dishes in the dishwasher and washed my special china cups and one or two non-stick pans by hand.    Then, I cooked milkrice for brunch and had it with some of the beef curry I had brought home from last night's dinner at my cousin's house. 

It was another warm day and in the afternoon, I felt tired.  I lay on the sofa and read for a bit and tried to take a nap, but couldn't fall asleep.  While I rested, my half-sister called to check on me and we had a nice conversation.  Around 5:30 p.m., I gave up trying to nap and had a cup of tea.

The messy house was getting to me, so, I decided to do some cleaning.  I tidied, dusted, and vacuumed the living room and dining area and vacuumed the hallway and the kitchen.  I will do the family room and the bedrooms tomorrow. 

After that, I watered the front garden and the back.  When I was watering, I noticed that one of my two strawberry plants had a ripe strawberry and picked it!

My Strawberry Harvest!

Yesterday, my aunt had wanted to come for a visit in the evening, and when I told her I was going to a cousin's house, she said she might try to visit today, instead.  I had spent some time in the afternoon wondering what I could prepare for dinner should she and my cousin visit.  Aunt usually says don't worry about dinner, but that is just one of our cultural conventions.  It is just one of those social niceties.  One doesn't take that to mean anything.  Our custom is to offer a meal to anyone who visits.  Aunt has some dietary restrictions, I was out of a couple of meal items including bread, and I didn't feel like going grocery shopping in the afternoon or cooking in anticipation of them visiting because aunt hadn't called to confirm they were coming.  Eventually, I decided that, should they visit, I could cook a pot of rice, make a fish curry using canned fish, and saute the spinach or some of the cabbage I had bought for a quick meal that could be prepared in 30 minutes (it would take aunt and cousin a little more than 30 minutes to get to my house).  Eventually, around 8:00 p.m., I called aunt to see if they were planning to visit and she said my cousin was still teaching piano and it would be too late to come after that.  We agreed that they'll visit on another day, instead.  I was glad I hadn't actually cooked anything in anticipation.

Instead, I cooked a quick, one pot dish for myself, using part of the beef smoked sausage I had bought (aunt and cousin don't eat beef, otherwise I could have made it for them).

Smoked Sausage Meal

I sliced a medium potato and sauted it with some sliced onion; added about one third of the smoked sausage, sliced, and half a large carrot.  Finally, I added some shredded cabbage.  I sprinkled some chili flakes to season.  I ate about half of it for my dinner and the rest will be for tomorrow's dinner.

For dessert, I had:

Strawberry and Cream!

LOL!  I felt like Curly Locks in the nursery rhyme, who was told all she'd have to do was sit on a cushion, sew a fine seam, and eat "strawberries, sugar, and cream"!  I only had the one strawberry, but I savored it! 

Today, I am grateful for:

- I was able to chat with my friend
- Phone call from my sister
- Resting on the sofa
- Getting some housework done
- A strawberry from my garden!

Sunday's To Do List:

- Dishes/run dishwasher - DONE
- Living room - tidy, dust, vacuum - DONE
- Dining room - clear table, dust, vacuum - DONE
- Hallway - vacuum - DONE
- Kitchen - Wipe counters and stove top, put away dishes, shine sink, vacuum floor/mop - STARTED
- Water the garden - front and back - DONE
- Water indoor plants - DONE

Monday's To Do List:

- Doctor's appointment in the a.m.
- Grocery shop for bread, bananas, mangoes
- Family room - tidy, dust, vacuum
- Bedrooms - vacuum
- Clean out the fridge
- Empty waste baskets
- Take the trash cans to the curb
- Transplant the seedlings
- Clean the bathrooms
- Paperwork (at least 15 minutes)
- Put away laundry

How was your Sunday?  What are your plans for tomorrow and the rest of the week? 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Warm Saturday

Warm, as in 90F!  It was already quite warm when I woke up in the morning.  So, although I had watered the seedlings and a few other plants by hand, yesterday, I turned on the sprinklers and watered the back garden, in the morning. 

One of my aunts called me in the morning and we had an hour-long conversation!  Aunt had much to say and I was a willing listener.  She wanted to visit me in the evening, but I wasn't going to be free in the evening, so she said maybe she'll visit me tomorrow evening, instead, if her daughter is free to bring her.

Later in the morning, I gave a ride to a friend who wanted to get some packing boxes from a moving truck rental company.  On the way back, we stopped at a grocery store as I needed to buy a dessert to take to the prayer gathering, later in the evening.  I had been wanting to make a dump cake, but I didn't feel like baking when it was so hot.  So, I bought a box of 40 assorted mini cream puffs and eclairs and I bought a flan.  I picked up a bag of cat food, too, and a packet of tea as a gift for my friend.  I asked my friend if she'd like to go out to lunch or come to my house, but she declined, so I dropped her off at her apartment and went home.

The house had stayed relatively cool, so it felt quite comfortable, after the heat outside.  After lunch, I read for a bit and then, took a nap on the sofa! I had a cup of tea after I got up and then, it was time to get dressed to go to the monthly prayer gathering.

One of my cousins was hosting it for the first time and I gave another cousin a ride to the prayer gathering and back.  This was the first time I went to the monthly prayer gathering since January.  I was too sick to attend the February gathering and I hadn't felt up to driving to the March gathering.  I am glad I was able to attend this month's gathering.  The cousin who was hosting had prepared most of the meal (biriyani rice, chicken curry, lentils, sauted squash, and fresh fruits for dessert) but others also brought a dish or two to contribute to the meal, so there was a beef curry, eggplant, sausages with peppers, and another vegetable curry, as well.   Afterwards, my cousin urged me to serve myself a plate of food to bring home, but I chose to bring only a little of the beef curry another cousin had prepared. 

I left the prayer gathering around 11:30 p.m.  I dropped my cousin off at her house and came home and spent an hour or so video chatting with my daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being able to help my friend with picking up her boxes
- Being able to attend the prayer gathering
- Being able to help my cousin with a ride to the prayer gathering
- Being able to contribute a couple of desserts to the meal
- Phone call from an aunt

Plans for tomorrow include video chatting with a friend, cleaning the house, and maybe transplanting the vegetable seedlings.  Hopefully, it will be a cooler day; otherwise the poor seedlings are going to get baked!

How was your Saturday?  What are your plans for Sunday?  What is the weather like in your part of the world? 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Friday: April Grocery Shopping Week 4

This morning, I was woken up by a phone call - it was my oldest half-brother, calling from Sri Lanka to check on me!  That was a nice surprise!  He's 16 years older than me, and my mother used to say that when I was a baby and I'd cry, he was about the only one who could get me to stop! 

Later in the morning, I took the car in for a service as the "maintenance required" light had come on.  They did the usual oil changes, tire rotations, etc. and said everything was fine.  It was good to hear that!  It was all covered under the extended warranty, so I didn't have to pay anything today. 

Afterwards, I did my grocery shopping.  I rarely make a meal plan and then go grocery shopping for the ingredients; I tend to do that only for special meals like the prayer gathering dinner or the almsgiving.  Usually, I just buy what appeals to me from what is on sale that week and then, plan meals based on what I bought and have on hand.   I went to the Armenian ethnic store, today, to get some fresh produce and milk because that's what I needed.  

As usual, I bought what I needed to round out what I have on hand, and I chose to buy that from what was on sale this week.  I needed some bananas (the two remaining bananas from the Week 3 grocery shopping trip have become a little too ripe for my liking) and at least one additional fruit for the week (still have 1 pear and several oranges in the fridge).  So, I chose to buy the apples that were selling for $.39/lb. this week, as opposed to other varieties of apples that weren't on special that were selling for $.89/lb.  I might go to a different store over the weekend for cat food and they are advertising a type of mangoes that I like for $.25 each, so I might buy some mangoes, as well.

I didn't need any meat (I have chicken, ground beef, fish, ground sausage, and shrimp in the freezer), yet, when I saw that the smoked sausages were on sale for $1.89 each, I bought a package!  Bacon was on sale for $2.89/lb. and I was tempted to buy some as I don't have any bacon on hand, but I  decided to wait on it, since I was getting the smoked sausage.  They had eggs on sale, too, for $.99/doz. and I put a carton into my cart and put it back, again, as I still have most of the dozen eggs I bought earlier. The prices are good through next Tuesday, so I might change my mind and go back for those, over the weekend! 

April 21 Grocery Shopping

I bought:

1 pkg. (12 oz.) smoked sausage = $1.89
1/2 gal.(1.89 L) milk = $1.99
1.3 lb bananas (4 bananas) @$.49/lb = $.64
2.08 lb. apples (3 large apples) @ $.39/lb = $.81
1 cucumber = $.20
.54 lb. tomato (2 tomatoes) @ $.69/lb = $.37
.52 lb green beans @ $1.39/lb = $.72
1 cabbage (1.4 lb) @$.20/lb. = $.28
1 bunch spinach = $.50
Total = $7.40

April 21 Receipt

Amount spent to date = $22.24 + $21.87 + $4.55+ $23.48 + $7.40 = $79.54
Balance left in the April grocery budget = $83.07 - $79.54 = $3.53

Cutting it close, this month, aren't I?  But that is OK.  I don't think I'll be needing much more, next weekend, other than more fresh produce.

I was tired after grocery shopping, so, after I finished my work for the day, I took a short nap!  I woke up when my gardener friend came over to do the garden.  We spent the next hour or so trying to put together a trellis I had in the garage - it was bought years ago and I never assembled it!  We couldn't finish putting it together as one piece was wrong (the item was bought too long ago to try and return it!)  I spent another hour or so, trying on my own, before I got too tired and gave up for the night!  I'll work on it more, tomorrow. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Phone call from half-brother
- The car was serviced and didn't need any additional work done
- Afternoon naps
- Time spent in the garden
- Texts from cousin, emails and phone calls from friends.

How was your Friday?  How are you coming along with your April grocery budget?

Friday, April 21, 2017


I've had a good day, today.  In the morning, I checked on my seedlings and watered those that needed it.  
Lone Zucchini Seedling
Then, I went to the office.  Sometime in the afternoon, I noticed that the Easter Bunny had visited me and left me an Easter egg filled with jelly beans on my desk!  Then, I noticed a second Easter egg!  I rather suspect the lady who is our clerical staff - she tends to spoil us with treats!  But she had left for the day when I went in search of her to thank her, so I sent her an email, instead. 
During my lunch break, I went down to the pharmacy located in the underground mall in the adjoining building to see my pharmacist friend.  She was so happy to see me! She said I made her day!  And then, I went to the bank, and the two tellers on duty remembered me from before greeted me with cries of, "You cut your hair!" I explained what had happened, and they were very kind and said my short hair suited me.  I've been hearing that from a lot of people, but I still prefer my hair long.
I also visited the weekly farmers' market (#12 on my Spring Joy List), but my favorite French bakery stall was not there.  There was another bakery stall, but they didn't have the French bread and the croissants that I was looking forward to buying. The Asian produce stall wasn't there, either, and no one else had the water spinach and the baby bok choy I had been planning on buying.  The Armenian store has baby bok choy, but I'll have to go to a different Asian store to buy the water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica).
I saw a sign at one of the newer stalls that sold baked goods, which said, "A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand"!  I rather like that sign! 

I stopped at the library on my way home (#13 on my Spring Joy List) to pick up the book I had placed on hold (The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman).  I now have 4 library books (2 I'm currently reading and 2 waiting to be read; #14 on my Spring Joy List).  

Two Patty Pan Squash Seedlings (and Another One Starting to Sprout)

One of my friends called in the evening; I'll be taking her to get some shipping boxes tomorrow evening.  One of my cousins called, too, and came over to get some help with some documents she is preparing.  Afterwards, we chatted for a bit.
Then, it was time to prepare dinner.  I boiled the second ear of corn I had bought, reheated some shrimp I had cooked earlier and frozen, and prepared a very simple salad of lettuce and cucumber (no salad dressing, just pepper and salt):
Thursday's Dinner
I couldn't finish the whole ear of corn, so I put the leftover part in the fridge for later.   Lunch had been the leftover koththu roti from last night with half an apple for dessert; breakfast had been a banana; wafer cookies for an afternoon snack.  A bowl of cereal and milk for a late night snack.   
Today, I was grateful for:
- Feeling well enough to go to the office
- My pharmacist friend being so happy to see me.
- The tellers at the bank greeting me like a long-lost friend
- Easter eggs and jelly beans!
- Library books

Thursday's To Do List:
- Go to the office - DONE
- Go to the bank - DONE
- Pharmacy - DONE
- Library - DONE
- Farmers' Market - DONE
- Check the seedlings and water if needed - DONE
- Water the indoor plants
- Dishes
- Litter box
Friday's To Do List:
- Work from home
- Take the car in for a service
- Grocery shop
- Water indoor plants
- Plant succulents
- Tidy the house
- Take friend to get the shipping boxes
- Daily tasks
How was your Thursday?  What have you planned for Friday?  

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Wednesday's Happenings and Koththu Roti for Dinner

Woke up feeling OK, this morning, although I didn't want to get out of bed!  Once I was up and about, however, I was fine.  Had my tea, packed my lunch, watered the seedlings, said goodbye to a sad Dancer (he always jumps on the bed when he hears me getting ready to leave), and drove myself to the office!

He Knows I am Going to the Office

Had a productive day at the office, including attending the monthly staff meeting.   I had intended to go to the bank on my lunch break, but I didn't take a lunch break as such (went in late and needed to make up the time) and ate at my desk.  And I didn't feel like stopping at the bank on my way home.  So, going to the bank will have to wait until tomorrow.

I felt tired when I came home.  So, I had a cup of tea and rested.  Watched some video clips on-line, listened to some songs, and read.  One of my cousins called and we chatted for a bit and, of course, video chatted with my daughter.

For breakfast, today, I had a banana.  Lunch was more macaroni and cheese, with half a large apple for dessert.  Some raw cashews for afternoon snack.

Koththu Roti

For dinner, I made a version of "koththu roti" (sometimes spelled kottu roti, but the "t"s should be pronounced like the "th" in bath, not like the "t" in bat).  It is made with flat bread, cut into strips, and stir fried with vegetables, eggs, and meat.  It is usually made with gothamba roti, but I used the Armenian flat bread or lavash, my neighbor gave me, because I wanted to use it up and didn't want it to go to waste.  One could also use flour tortillas. 

Aromatics Sauteing

First, I sauted some sliced onion, green chilies, minced garlic, and curry leaves.  Most recipes also call for ginger and various other spices, but I didn't bother because I was going to add some chicken curry and my chicken curry has all the spices. 

Add Cooked Chicken

I took a "short cut" and cut up some of my curried chicken and added to the sauted aromatics.  One can add any kind of meat, or, make a vegetarian version, as well.

Sliced Flat Bread

While the chicken was sauteing, I rolled up the pieces of lavash and sliced them into thin strips and grated a carrot.   Then, added the strips of flat bread, the grated carrot, the last of the broccoli, some of the chicken curry gravy, additional curry powder and a little chili powder and sauted everything until the vegetables were tender.  I added a little salt at the end.  The choice of vegetables to add to this dish includes cabbage, leeks, mushrooms, etc.  Normally, a scrambled egg is also added to the dish, but I forgot to add it!  Oh, well.  It tasted quite good to me, even without the egg!

Koththu Roti

I served a portion for my dinner and there's enough leftover to take for my lunch, tomorrow.  

Wednesday's To Do List:

- Go to the office - DONE
- Call for a car service appointment - DONE
- Go to the bank
- Water the seedlings - DONE
- Plus the remaining items from Tuesday's list!

Thursday's To Do List:
- Go to the office
- Go to the bank
- Check the seedlings and water if needed
- Water the indoor plants
- Dishe
- Litter box

On Wednesday, I was grateful for:
- Feeling OK
- Safe commutes to work and back
- A productive day at the office
- A sunny and warm day
- Being able to listen to music on-line

How was your Wednesday?  Do you think you might give koththu roti a try?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Reminiscing on Tuesday

This morning, before I left for work, I took a few minutes to water the newly emerging bean seedlings.  I was reminded of a line or two of a poem I learned when I was in school, when I was in the 8th grade, I believe.  “Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee” (W.B. Yeats, “Lake Isle of Innisfree”).  I have often wondered why he was going to plant nine rows of beans.  Why not ten?  Or eight?  I only have two rows of beans and no hive at all, although I’ve plenty of bees humming around the lemon flowers and the bottle brush flowers.  Oh, and wasps making another nest under the eaves; this time, just above my bedroom window!  I noticed that, too, this morning, as I was bringing in the trash cans from the curb, after they had been emptied. 
The snippet of poem led me to reminiscing, first about the various poems we were taught at school and then, the schools I attended. 
My first experience of a school was when I went to pre-kindergarten, when I was four years old.  It was a private school, originally founded as a Christian (Anglican) school, but which later admitted students of other faiths, as well.  I don’t remember a lot about it – it was in a big house like building with the lawn adjoining a man-made lake.  My teacher, Miss Monica, whom I adored, was English; there is a photograph of me standing next to her, in my childhood album.  I was joined there by my cousin who is 4 months younger to me; I think I must have started attending the pre-school first, because I remember bossing my cousin around and telling her what to do and how things were to be done at school!  I remember us sitting together and coloring at a table.  I also remember there were two other girls who might have been a bit older and who might have been trying to make friends with me – they were always asking me which one I liked better and I found that to be most annoying!  And then, one day, Miss Monica got married (and apparently I was invited to the wedding, along with my mother), but somehow, her getting married made me not want to go to that school anymore!  I remember crying and refusing to go back!  I don’t know if Miss Monica left the school after she got married or if she continued to teach there.  But somehow, her getting married changed her forever in my 4-year-old mind.  My mother withdrew me from the school and entered me into a different pre-school – this time, it was a public school and the one associated with the public Buddhist school I would attend from kindergarten until I graduated.  Eventually, my cousin must have joined me, because I remember we were both in the same kindergarten class at the main school, afterwards.
I don’t remember much about the pre-kindergarten (known as nursery school at the time) at the second school.  But I remember the kindergarten class and my teacher, Miss F (who also got married, and again, I was invited; it might have been after I had already promoted from her class, though, because I remember attending her wedding.)  We recited nursery rhymes in kindergarten, and learned the Sinhala alphabet (54 letters + diacritics).
I don’t remember learning any English poems in 1st and 2nd grades.  But, in 3rd or 4th grade, I learned “Mr. Tom Narrow” by James Reeves.  “A scandalous man was Mr. Tom Narrow", for he pushed his grandmother around the town in a wheelbarrow, and tried to sell her!  “Grannies to sell!  Old Grannies to sell!”  But no one would buy his Granny as the neighbors thought she'd be of little use and a poor bargain as well;  so he sent her back to bed and sold his wheelbarrow, instead, for half a crown!  LOL.  I loved this poem.  Later, I forgot some of the words and one of my cousins, who teaches elocution and uses this poem among others, wrote it out for me.
In every grade, we had to memorize our poems and recite them.  One year, it was “Lochinvar” by Sir Walter Scot.  And “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes.  I loved learning and reciting poems and I read many more at home, too, other than what was taught in school.  Eventually, I would try my hand at writing poetry!  I still have two books of poems I wrote as a teenager, in a box in the garage! 
Today, I woke up feeling more energetic than yesterday.  As a result, I went to the office and had a rather productive day.  On the way home, I stopped to put gas to the car (and this time, I did not go to get a hamburger!).  By the time I came home, however, I was starting to feel tired.  So, I spent a relaxed evening.  I called my neighbor T who had called and left a message.  Then, I called my neighbor S to tell her that the fish she brought over on Sunday, which her mother had made, was delicious.  I also received a phone call from one of my cousins in Sri Lanka, the one who wrote out the Mr. Tom Narrow poem for me; I reminded her of it and she laughed.  She is now teaching adults and uses different poems. 

Today, for breakfast, I ate the last piece of the beef steak, shredded and made into a wrap with a piece of the lavash flat bread, along with a banana.  Lunch was macaroni and cheese, with the half a pear leftover from yesterday.  Dinner was the second piece of fish my neighbor S had brought for me, with the leftover half of the baked potato and some broccoli:

Tuesday Dinner
Followed by an orange for dessert.  I eat plenty of fruit, but struggle to eat enough vegetables!

Today, I am grateful for:
- Feeling better 
- My veggie seeds are sprouting!
- Memories of poems and school days
- Safe commutes to the office and back
- No ill effects from the medications
Tuesday (and Beyond) To Do List:
- Go to the office - DONE
- Call the oncologist's office - DONE
- Put gas to the car - DONE
- Bring the trash cans in - DONE
- Water the seedlings - DONE
- Put away laundry
- Continue to tidy
- Dust
- Vacuum
- Paperwork/filing
- Plant the new succulents

Wednesday's To Do List:

- Go to the office
- Call for a car service appointment
- Go to the bank
- Water the seedlings
- Plus the remaining items from Tuesday's list!

How was your Tuesday?  Did you have to learn poems when you went to school?  Do you still remember some of them?  What do you remember about your early school days?