Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Couple of Busy Days

I love nothing better than spending days sewing, but when I do, everything else seem to pile up!  I am looking around my house as I type this and I know I need to spend some time tidying and cleaning!

Yesterday, I worked from home.  Afterwards, I put gas to the car ($2.75/gal; I put just over 10 gallons).  Then, went across the street to the grocery store and bought cat food ($6.99/bag with $2 off coupon), a birthday card ($1.00), a pint of milk ($.99) and bananas ($.59/lb = $.91).  Canned tuna was on sale for $.50/can and I wanted to buy some, but it was the last day of the sale and they were all out of stock.  However, the cashier gave me a rain check good for 10 cans.  I will buy the full amount, later this week.

I didn't take pictures of the groceries or do a separate grocery post because, well, when you spend under $2 on groceries, that's hardly worth mentioning, is it?  So far in August, I've gone grocery shopping four times, as follows:

8/1 = $2.81 (bread and grapes)
8/8 = $6.59 (bread, bananas, lettuce, cold cuts)
8/13 = $7.95 (bread, beef chuck steak, ice cream)
8/15 = $1.90 (milk, bananas)
Amount spent on groceries in August = $19.25
August grocery budget = $75 + $7 carried over from July = $82.00

After I came home and put away the groceries and cat food, I wrote out the birthday card, wrapped up the gifts I had bought earlier, picked a grocery bag of curry leaf sprigs, and went over to my friend's house to wish her daughter a happy birthday and to give the curry leaves to my friend.  I declined dinner, but my friend served my dinner into a container to bring home, anyway:

Rice and Curries

Rice, fish curry, mutton curry, water spinach, bitter melon, and green beans.  I had some last night, tonight, and there's enough for tomorrow, as well!  Everything tasted very good, except for the bitter melon, of course, which just tasted bitter! 

Today, I went to the office.  During my lunch break, I called the surgeon's office and left a message asking if I should do a biopsy; will wait and see what he has to say.  After I came home, I did a load of laundry (bath mats, etc.), commented on blogs, video chatted with my daughter, cut a few more pieces of fabric for the mountain climbing quilt, and called my brother's wife.  My brother suffered a set back on Monday - he's back in the ICU.  Poor sister-in-law sounded really stressed.  One of my friends phoned and I had a nice chat with her.

Daughter's conference ended today and she found some time to visit the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis campus, see the Stone Bridge, and visit the Mall of America, before her flight back.  She had a safe flight back and got to her apartment around 6:30 p.m.  She really enjoyed her trip, she said.

Today, I am grateful for:
- My friend's generosity
- My brother receiving all the medical care he needs
- My friend's phone call
- Rain checks
- My daughter had a safe trip and a safe flight home

Thursday's To Do List:
- Go to the office
- Dental appointment
- Water the front garden
- Call my sister
- Maybe go to the pharmacy (if dentist prescribes additional antibiotics)
- Tidy the house a bit

All depends on how I feel after the dental work, of course. 

How was your day?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Mile-a-Minute Quilt: On the Road to the Mountain

Sometime back, in 2015, I believe, I started sewing a quilt using a type of patchwork known as "mile-a-minute".  Basically, it was sewing an assortment of scraps to each other until one has made a big enough piece of pieced fabric to cut out a block of a preferred size.  These blocks are then sewn together to form the quilt top that is very similar to a crazy quilt.  It is called "mile a minute" because it was supposed to be a very quick way to piece a quilt top, although I didn't find it to be all that quick, myself.  But, I figured it was a good way to use up some of the scraps I had accumulated - the pieces of fabric that were too small and odd shaped to be used in other quilts but which I was loathe to toss because, well, tossing fabric is just not something I can bear to do!

I spent several days sewing blocks of scraps together.  My two bottomless baskets of scraps were plonked on the big dining table, along with my sewing machine, cutting mat and box of thread and I set up the iron and the ironing board next to my table, as each time a piece of fabric was sewn on, it needed to be ironed out before sewing the next piece to it (and this is where I found it to be most time consuming - as a rule, I rarely iron each and every time I sew a seam!).  Soon, the fabric scraps overflowed the baskets and onto the table top as I pulled out different scraps, and some spilled to the floor!  A much delighted Dancer, who was, of course, ever ready to lend a helping paw, would rearrange the piles of scraps and take naps on top of them, etc.  The whole place resembled one big MESS, but Dancer and I spent many happy hours, sewing.

Then, I put it aside for some reason.  I don't quite know why - most probably, I needed to tidy up the table for some reason.  The pieces I patched became yet nother "work in progress".  I mentioned it in a post on Works in Progress in February, 2016.

Mile-a-Minute Quilt Blocks

When Bushlady likened my cancer treatment to climbing a mountain, I decided to make a quilt I called my Mountain Climbing Quilt.  And I decided to incorporate the already in progress Mile-a-Minute quilt patches into the Mountain Climbing quilt, because, although I knew what I wanted that mountain to represent, I couldn't quite focus on it at the time.  On any given day, I could only focus on the steps I had to climb that day - the hour-long drive to the clinic, the 3-4 hours long chemo treatments which stretched longer, sometimes, due to the waiting time at the clinic, the drive back, the repeat visits on subsequent days for injections and hydration treatments, the nausea, the lack of appetite, the trips to the lab for blood work, the need to depend on others because I was unable to do certain things, etc.  All I could manage was mindless piecing of scraps of fabric to make 6 inch blocks which I attached with strips of solid colored fabric to each other to form long rows.  So, that's what I did, until I had pieced 96 blocks which I proceeded to sew into 8 rows of 12 blocks each.

Eventually, I began to sew the mountain.  In my mind, the way I had envisioned it, I had a quilt with a central panel containing the mountain and the mile-a-minute blocks surrounding it.  But, quilts evolve as they grow, piece by piece, block by block.  At least, my quilts do.  What I had envisioned was not working out the way I had planned.  The mile-a-minute blocks didn't really go with the mountain quilt block!  They demanded to be featured in a quilt of their own!  That's right, it was going to be not one but TWO quilts!

I have been working on both quilts these past couple of weeks!  Both tops are more or less completed, but I have to attach the final borders and buy the quilt batting and back and bind them.  But, in the meantime, I want to share the Mile-a-Minute quilt top:

Mile-a-Minute Quilt Top

I am calling it "On the Road to the Mountain"!

Another View

Dancer has given it his seal of approval, while it was still in progress, before all the rows were sewn together:

Dancer Approved!
Every single scrap is what I had in my stash!  Including the purple used in the setting; there's just enough of the purple fabric to put a border on the top and bottom.  All the thread is also what I had on hand - some of it was from my mother's thread collection!  I have a purple bed sheet that was given to me, that I might use for the backing (because purple is my color, as you know).  All I really need to buy for this quilt is the batting.  Unless I decide to use the blanket I have on my bed, already.  It is a twin/full blanket which just covers the top of my queen size bed, but that is just how big the quilt top is, right now.

Monday: Appointment with the Surgeon

Yesterday, Monday, I had an appointment with the surgeon.  It went just about as well as I had expected it to, which really isn't saying much!  The appointment was made for me by the oncologist's office.  I assume they didn't tell the surgeon's office of the reason for the visit and, apparently, the surgeon's office staff doesn't believe in pulling up patients' charts and reports prior to the appointment for the surgeon to review.  At least, not until the patient actually shows up at the appointed time, and even then, the file probably contained only the basic information, because, apparently, the file didn't include a copy of my ultrasound and mammogram results! 

Because, when the surgeon came in to see me, he asked me if this was a routine, follow-up visit, and I had to update him about the lump I felt, the ultrasound and mammogram results, etc.  Sigh.  I told him I had copies of the results with me and he asked me to give them to the receptionists to make copies for his files. 

Anyway, he examined me and gave me his opinion without the benefit of, or being biased by, the scan results!  LOL. He thought he felt more than one cyst, he thought it felt more like a thickening of the tissue, maybe even a clogging of a blood vessel, and that it was in the skin layer; he didn't think it was cancer, though.  He said he could remove it if I wanted and it could probably be done during an office visit, but he said, if it didn't bother me, to leave it in place because, due to the radiation treatment, any incision he might make will take a long time, from several weeks to several months, to heal!  Well, the cyst doesn't hurt me or anything and, as long as we are sure it is not cancer, it doesn't bother me, so I decided to leave it in place!  What I don't need, at this point, is another wound that won't heal for several weeks or months!

He, too, remarked on the redness and swelling and said it was due to the damage from the radiation.  He said my body was trying to heal and repair itself and there were a lot of new blood vessels as a result.  I assured him it looked worse, earlier (it is, after all, almost one year since the radiation was completed).

Anyway, I have an appointment to see him again, in two months.  I know his office staff made copies of my scan results from my copies.  What I don't have is a copy of the actual mammogram results, only the letter I received stating that the results were normal.  I shall be sure to request a copy of that, if there is one, when I go to see the oncologist, at the end of this month.  I shall also update the oncologist on my visit with the surgeon.

I felt physically and emotionally drained after my visit to the surgeon.  So, I just came home and rested and sewed.  In between, however, I replaced a burnt out light bulb in the family room ceiling fan light fixture, watered the indoor plants, cleaned out the fridge, took the trash and recycling cans to the curb, put water to the back garden, put away a load of laundry, and tidied one shelf in the linen cupboard, the shelf with the towels.

Tidied Shelf with Towels

I plan to do the shelf with the bed sheets and pillowcases, next.

Later in the evening, cousin P called to find out how I was; I was glad to hear that she was able to get a ride to the funeral with our other cousins, after all, on Saturday.  She said she left her house before 11:00 a.m. and didn't get back till after 8:30 p.m., as they attended mass, the burial, and the reception, afterwards!

Still later, in the night, daughter texted me and we spoke on the phone to say goodnight.  She said she had a full day of conferences/workshops, but later, she did a bit of sightseeing with her colleague who is attending the conference with her and they went out to dinner. 

Yesterday, I was grateful for:
- A good visit with the surgeon
- Having the foresight to bring copies of my scan results reports with me!
- A safe drive to and from the clinic
- A cooler day (only in the 80s!)
- Daughter is enjoying her trip

How was your Monday?

Monday, August 14, 2017


When one doesn't have a design wall and spreads the quilt-in-progress on the bed, and there is a resident cat, this is what happens:

First, there is a blur:

The Blur

There is much rolling around and squirming and then, the blur resolves itself into Helpful Designer Kitty:

Dancer Helps with the Quilt
Then, he proceeded to take a nap on the quilt top and, of course, I didn't have the heart to pull the quilt top from under him! 

I spent most of the day sewing my quilt.   The top is almost done, except for the final borders.  I need to buy the quilt batting and figure out what I am going to use for the backing.  I usually use a bed sheet or a single piece of fabric for the backing, but I am thinking a pieced backing might be another way of using up the stash! 

In between sewing, I did a load of laundry, washed the dishes, cooked the beef I bought yesterday, cleaned the kitchen a bit, cleaned the litter box, spoke on the phone with my neighbor T (our weekly Sunday morning chat), and watched TV.  I also called my friend S and left a message.

Today, daughter left for Minnesota for a three-day work-related conference.  She called me before she left her apartment; she was flying out from San Francisco and had to leave her apartment before 9:00 a.m. to get to the airport on time.  She called me when she got to the airport and, again, when she boarded the plane.  I turned on the altar light once I knew she had boarded the plane.  It was a five hour flight; she arrived in Minneapolis at 5:00 p.m. our time which was 7:00 p.m. their time.  She found her way from the airport to the hotel and texted me to let me know she arrived safely and I turned off the altar light.  She's sharing the hotel room with a colleague, so we are not video chatting tonight, for the first time since she moved away, 3 years ago!  She went out to dinner with her colleague and called me to wish me a goodnight.  She was happy she was able to watch an in-flight movie and has already picked out the movie she wants to watch on the flight back! 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Daughter had a safe flight to Minneapolis
- She was able to watch an in-flight movie
- She was able to find her way from the airport to the hotel
- Weekly phone calls from neighbor T
- Being able to spend most of the day, sewing

Tomorrow, I have my appointment with the surgeon.  I am hoping I'd be able to make a trip to the fabric store for quilt batting, either before I go to the appointment or after.  

How was your Sunday?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Hot Water and Patchwork

Quilt in Progress

This morning, quite early, I went to Home Depot to look at water heaters.  One of the sales persons pointed out one that met my specifications (40 gallons, natural gas heater, etc.).  Then, I went home and waited for my neighbor.  Neighbor came over a short while later and told me that he, too, had been to Home Depot, earlier in the morning to get an idea of what they had and prices.  We agreed to meet at the store in half an hour or so.  I showed him the one I had picked out earlier, he agreed it would be OK, and he also picked out two new flexible pipes for the fittings.  Then, I paid for everything (water heater cost $535, the two pipes were $25 each; the total, with tax, came to $615.01) and neighbor loaded the tank into his van and brought it over to my house.   Then, neighbor proceeded to remove the old heater and install the new one.  It took him about 3 hours.  The new heater is bigger around than the old one was, but it still fitted into the little metal storage structure.  And now, I have hot water on tap, again!  Neighbor also reattached the handle to my sliding glass door as that had come loose (I had tried to fix it, but he wasn't happy with my efforts!)  Before he left, I paid him something for installing the water heater for me. 

In the afternoon, I rested a bit; then went to the pharmacy to pick up my medication refills.  Then, I stopped at the grocery store for some bread ($.87), a piece of beef chuck steak ($3.59 @ $4.99/lb), and a container of ice cream ($3.49); I didn't take any pictures, but my total came to $7.95.

After I came home, I cleaned the bathroom, took a warm shower (just enough hot water to take away the chill of the cold water), watched news, had a cup of tea, did some sewing, and chatted on the phone with one of my friends who called.

Later, I video chatted with daughter.   She has to attend a 3-day conference in Minnesota for her work.  She will be leaving tomorrow morning and returning on Wednesday night.   One of her friends has sent a package, addressed to both of us, from Hawaii (her home state).  Daughter wanted me to wait until she comes home next to open it, so I put it aside until then. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Helpful neighbors
- Hot water on tap!
- Warm showers!
- My prescription refills were ready without any drama!
- Playing with fabric.

Tomorrow, I have to do the dishes, do a load of laundry, cook the beef I bought, and call another friend to see if she'll be home so I can drop off a gift for her daughter who just celebrated her birthday. 

How was your Saturday? 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Slow Thursday

I've had a fairly slow day, today.

Last night, before I went to sleep, I double checked my calendar and I realized that the podiatrist's appointment was scheduled for next week, Thursday, not today!  But, it was scheduled for the same afternoon as the follow-up dental appointment, just two hours apart!  That's not enough time for me to go from one appointment at one end of town to another at the other end of town, especially if there was a delay at the first appointment or slower than usual traffic on the freeway!  So, I called the podiatrist's office, this morning, and rescheduled the appointment for the following week, as I didn't want to reschedule the dental appointment.

I went to the office today, but decided not to go to the farmers market.  I thought it would be too much to have a croissant on top of yesterday's hamburger and sundae!

I dozed a bit on the sofa after I came home.  Cousin P's phone call woke me up and after we chatted for a bit, I called neighbor E to tell him my decision to go with a regular water heater.  He said he will be able to install it on Saturday, but he wasn't able to tell me what time.  I said it was fine, whenever he could spare the time would be fine with me.

Then, I called cousin P to let her know that I needed to be at home on Saturday as neighbor E was installing the water heater then, and, will not be able to go to the funeral, in case she was counting on riding with me.  I suggested she asked one of our other cousins for a ride, but she said there won't be room for her.  I am sorry I am not able to give her a ride, but getting the new water heater installed is kind of important to me - I am not that fond of cold showers! 

Later in the evening, I watered the front garden and video chatted with my daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:
- My eye and tooth are feeling better, today
- I was able to reschedule my podiatrist's appointment
- A safe drive to the office and back
- A drive through the park on the way to and from the office
- A cool evening after a rather warm day

Plans for tomorrow include going to the office and maybe a trip to the bank.

How was your Thursday?  

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Hump Day Slump!

Just in case anyone is wondering (I know I have one or two readers who might not be familiar with our idioms), Wednesday is known as "hump" day because it is the middle day of the work week - it's an uphill climb on Monday and Tuesday to make it to the top of the hill or hump on Wednesday and after that, it is downhill all the way to the longed for weekend!  

Why the slump?  Well, all the recent excitements of the last few days sort of caught up with me, today.  It has been practically non-stop since the mammogram on Thursday, July 27, almost two weeks ago, hasn't it?  The anxiety of waiting for the mammogram results, the appointment with the radiation oncologist on the following Tuesday (August 1), the root canal on Thursday (August 3), the development of the stye over the weekend, receiving the mammogram results on Monday, the water heater quitting on Tuesday   It's hard to maintain that level of intensity!

Today, I felt tired.  My eye was much better, but staring at the computer all day at work caused a slight headache and my root canal tooth ached a bit (I am hoping it is not an infection, although I took all the antibiotics I was told to take).

Before I left for work, I called my aunt to wish her a safe flight, as she was leaving for France, today.  Later in the morning, my cousin P called to give me the phone number of the company that installed her tankless water heater for her.   But I didn't call the company, because I have decided to go with a regular tank water heater.

I had taken cold cuts sandwiches, a banana, and cherries for my breakfast and lunch and some raw cashews for a snack, but, around 2:30 p.m. I wanted something different for a snack.  So, I went down to the drug store/pharmacy and prowled along the snack aisles.  The cookies didn't appeal, the chips didn't appeal, the chocolates and the candies didn't tempt.  Even the ice cream didn't appeal.  How sad is that?  I just talked to my friend who is the pharmacist there and shared the good news about the mammogram results with her and went back to the office without buying any snacks!

But I more than made up for it on my way home!  I stopped for a hamburger ($1; 260 cals) and a hot fudge sundae ($1.49; 330 cals - without peanuts)!  Not the healthiest choice of dinners, obviously.

Came home, ate my hamburger and sundae, took an ibuprofen, and took a 2 hour long nap!  Felt better after that, but it means I didn't do anything after I came home, other than reply to a friend's email and video chat with daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:
- A safe drive to and from the office
- Air conditioning at the office, even if it was too cold for me (I was wearing a sweater and still felt cold!); fans at home
- Hugs from colleagues when they found out about the mammogram results!
- Naps on the sofa
- A drama-free day

Tomorrow, I have an appointment with the podiatrist.  Usually, they call me on the day prior to my appointment to remind me, but this time, they didn't call!  After the earlier mishap with the appointment with the radiation oncologist, in July, I don't want to assume anything, so I will call the podiatrist's office in the morning to confirm the appointment.  My plan is to go to the office in the morning and then, go to the appointment in the afternoon, and then, come home.  I haven't decided yet if I will go to the farmers market in the morning.  It all depends on just how loudly I hear those croissants calling my name, I suppose!

How was your "hump" day?  Do you, too, experience a slump some days?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Cold Showers and Groceries!

Last night, I applied a warm, wet compress to my eye.  This morning, I woke up, unable to open the eye until I washed off the gunk!  I took another sick day off, today, because I knew I couldn't go to the office with my eye all swollen and tearing.  It's not contagious, but it didn't look too pretty. 

I couldn't really settle down to do anything.  I washed the dishes, replied to comments on my posts, and gave more thought to my quilt.  But, although I cut a few more strips of fabric for it, I didn't sew, today.

Later in the afternoon, I decided to take a shower, thinking it will help me cool off (it was another rather hot day).   It was a good thing it was such a hot day, after all, because that shower was a lot colder than I would have liked!  Even on the hottest of days, I like to add a little hot water to the mix to take away that initial chill of the water, although, very often, I will turn it back to only cold water at the end of the shower.  Well, today, there was no hot water at all!  Not even warm water!  My water heater runs on gas and I guessed that the flame had gone out.

After I got dressed, I checked on the water heater and noticed there was a small pool of water, as well.  I called my neighbor E across the street and he came over to check on the water heater for me.  As soon as he saw it, he estimated it was about 20 years old and I realized that, yes, it was installed 20 years ago!  It had a warranty of 8 years, but it has lasted much longer!  He said the water heater was broken and the leak had put out the flame.  He turned off the water and the gas and suggested I might want to look into a tankless water heater.  Otherwise, he said he could install a new water heater for me, but not tomorrow or the next day as he'd need to make time for it, which is quite reasonable.  I am blessed to have such a helpful neighbor.

My cousin P, who lives a few doors down across the street from me (E is her next-door neighbor) has a tankless water heater.  So, I called her and she said she can give me the telephone number of the company who installed it for her, just as soon as she located the paperwork.  Then, I looked up tankless water heaters and read up a bit about them.  They do sound good, but I am thinking I'll go with a regular water heater.  I like the idea of having 40 gallons of water on hand in the tank if there is an earthquake, in addition to the bottled water I store for an emergency.

My aunt C called in the late afternoon to check on me.  She is the same aunt who visited on Sunday.  After that, I had a cup of tea, watched the evening news, and replied to a friend's email.

I needed to go to the grocery store to buy cat food for the stray cats and to start my car, since I hadn't started it since before the weekend!  Didn't want that battery to die on me, again!  I called one of my friends to see if she needed anything from the grocery store, but she said she had gone earlier, today.

August 8 Groceries

 I bought:

1 loaf of bread = $.87
1 lettuce = $.99
1 package cold cuts, 7 oz. = $3.79
1 bunch of 4 bananas ($.59/lb) = $.94
Total = $6.59

August 8 Receipt
The receipt includes the cost of the cat food - it was selling for $8.99 and had a $2 off coupon.  The tax is for the cat food. 

August grocery budget = $75 + $7 carried over from July = $82.00
Amount spent on groceries in August = $2.81 (on 8/1 for bread and grapes) + $6.59 = $9.40

I had just come home from grocery shopping and taken the pictures, when my aunt C called again.  Her son surprised her by announcing that he will accompany her and her daughter on the trip to France! Aunt is thrilled that both her children will be with her on her birthday.  It's a nice birthday present for her. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Sick time off
- The hot day which made the cold shower bearable
- Helpful neighbors
- Family and friends keeping in touch
- The car started without any problems

Do you have a regular water heater or a tankless water heater?  What is your preference? 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Waffle Fail and Phone Calls

I wanted waffles for brunch, today, so I opened the new package of pancake mix and hauled the waffle iron out from the kitchen cabinet.  Then, I mixed up the batter per the recipe on the box (2 cups pancake mix, 1 1/3 cup water, 2 tablespoons oil), heated up the waffle iron, greased it with some vegetable oil as I usually do, poured in a ladle of batter and waited for the red light indicating it is baking to go off.

When the light went off, I tried to open the lid of the waffle iron.  And tried.  And tried again!  Finally, it opened and the waffle was stuck to the lid!  I tried to pry if off with the spatula and it wouldn't come off.  I tried to pry it off with a plastic knife and the knife began to melt.  I tried to pry it out with my fingers, but the iron was too hot!

So, I unplugged the waffle iron, turned it upside down to make it easier and began to chip at it:


I managed to get most of it off:

Waffle Crumbs
I ate the bits I pried off and wondered if I'd have to buy a new waffle iron.  But then, I poured some water onto the baked on waffle bits still left on the iron.  After several minutes, I was able to scoop out the soggy bits.  Then, I washed the waffle iron, dried it, re-oiled it with a LOT of oil and a bit of butter, as well, and poured another ladle of batter to see if it worked.  It broke apart and a small portion got stuck, but I was able to get most of the waffle out!

Then, I oiled the waffle iron again and finally:

That's more like it!
I guess I didn't oil the waffle iron sufficiently that first time?

I made two more waffles from the batter I had mixed up.  They are in the fridge for tomorrow's brunch (I reheat them in the toaster).   

In the afternoon, I called my sister-in-law to ask after my brother.  She said he's still in ICU, but they have removed the ventilator tubes.  He's still unable to speak; she said he might need speech therapy.  She said he's been very angry and frustrated, but that is to be expected, I suppose?  I wish I lived closer so I could help her in some way; as it is, all I could do was tell her that they are both in my prayers and urge her to take care of herself during this stressful time.

I also called the temple to give the monks the good news about my mammogram results.  The monk with whom I spoke said they will continue to pray for me.  My plan is to wait until after I've seen the surgeon and the oncologist and then, hold a prayer service in thanksgiving, at the end of the month.

I also received a phone call from one of my nieces.  She lives out of state, but she's planning to visit her mother (my half-sister) in a couple of weeks and wanted to know if I'd be free to get together for a visit.  We made tentative plans to meet for lunch, but we'll confirm plans closer to the date.  I haven't seen her in at least 5 or 6 years (we couldn't get together the last time she visited her mother), so it'll be nice to see her and her sons, again. 

My aunt called me in the evening to, once again, thank me for the birthday gift I gave her (in addition to the tote bag), and to say she really enjoyed the evening and the dinner, yesterday.  She wants to take me out to dinner when she and cousin return from their trip to France!  A celebratory dinner, she said. 

One of my other cousins called to give me the funeral details for the family friend who passed away.  It will be held this weekend, she said.  She's not sure if her daughter will be available to drive her, but if she is, then, I can ride with her; if not I'll drive us. 

I called one of my friends to check on her, but she was on the phone with one of her daughters, she said.  She called me back, later and we chatted a bit. 

Later I video chatted with my daughter.

In between phone calls, I sewed a bit more on the quilt, watered the back garden, took the trash cans to the curb, spoke with one of my neighbors who was out watering his front lawn, and applied a warm, wet compress to my eye as several of you suggested I do. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Good mammogram results in the mail
- I don't have to buy another waffle iron
- A slightly cooler day
- Lots of phone calls and keeping in touch with family and friends
- My brother is recovering as well as can be expected

How was your Monday?  Have you struggled to get your waffles out of the waffle iron? 

Monday, August 7, 2017

It's Official!

Mammogram Results

Received the mammogram results notification letter in the mail!  Even though the radiation oncologist told me the results after verbally consulting with the radiologist, I was waiting until I saw written verification for confirmation.

Now, I feel I can call myself a survivor and accept that I am in remission.  It has taken two years.  It was in July 2015 when I had the mammogram that detected the tumor.

I still have to have my catheter port removed - that will have to be done under anesthesia.  I will ask about it when I see the surgeon, next week.  And, there will be regular follow-up visits, of course.  But I feel very blessed and thankful, today. 

To all of you who kept me in your prayers and thoughts, encouraged me and virtually held my hand as I climbed my mountain, a big, heart-felt, "Thank you". 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being alive
- Having the prayed for mammogram results in writing
- The medical care I have received
- The support of family and friends
- A new lease on life

Sunday's Activities

I seem to have developed a stye in my left eye, on the lower lid!  I woke up with a swollen and somewhat painful eye, yesterday and this morning, I saw that there was a definite bump.  I hope it goes away on its own in another day or two.  It's always something, isn't it?

My neighbor called me in the morning and we had our usual Sunday morning chat.  Later, one of my cousins called to give me the news that a family friend/distant relative of my mother's had passed away.  Cousin said she'll inform me of the funeral arrangements once they have been finalized.

Later, in the afternoon, my aunt called to confirm that she and cousin will come late in the evening (after 9:00 p.m.) - she and cousin will be visiting Lourdes, France, later next week and I wanted to send a donation and a letter of thanksgiving through them.  I asked about dinner for them and aunt said not to prepare anything because they were coming for a quick, 15 minute visit, as it was a working day in the morning.  It's aunt's birthday, next week, so I quickly made her a card:

Birthday Card
Yes, those are real birthday candles, hot glued to the card.  :)

I gave aunt one of the tote bags I had made:

Apples Tote Bag

And cousin got another tote bag:

Kitty Cats Tote Bag

I spent most of the afternoon sewing.  I sewed one side of the central panel, but when I went to lay it out on the bed to pin the other side (I don't have a "design wall", the bed is my design wall), I found the bed being occupied:

"Silly, Mummy!  Beds are for sleeping, not for designing quilts"
After I finished sewing for the day, I tidied the house a bit, washed the dishes, and cleaned the kitchen.

Aunt and cousin came over around 9:30 p.m.  The visit lasted much longer than the 15 minutes aunt had intended!  Cousin played the piano, I sang, and I quickly made some fried rice for a snack dinner!  It was past 11:00 p.m. when they left!  But it was a lovely evening of celebrating the good news of my mammogram results and aunt's birthday to come.

After they left, I video chatted with daughter for a little bit.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Aunt and cousin's visit
- An evening of music and celebration
- Being able to put together a quick meal!
- Phone calls and emails from family and friends
- A lovely day

I hope each and every one of you have had a blessed day, too.  Are you ready for Monday?

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sewing on Saturday

A phone call from a friend woke me up, this morning.  She was calling to ask how I was feeling and I gave her an update of my health.  She and some of her office friends have a prayer circle and they have been including me among those for whom they pray.  We made tentative plans to get together at the end of the month when my daughter comes down for Labor Day weekend, since my daughter is friends with her two daughters.  My friend has recently bought a house and this will be the first time I'll be going to her new house; I need to think of a housewarming gift for her.

Once again, I spent most of the day, today, sewing my quilt and watching/listening to the TV (Saturday morning sewing shows, afternoon cooking shows, oldies music shows, etc.).  The quilt is  taking me longer than I thought it would, but it's OK.  I enjoy the process as much as anything else.  I thought I'd give a glimpse or two of what's to come:


I cut the template from the lid of the box of tea, I opened the other day.

Template, Again

This is the other side of the template, against the black skirt I am wearing.  I like the graphic quality of the picture.  Yes, I am easily amused.  

A Glimpse of the Quilt

I am working on the central panel of the quilt, right now.  I am using fabric from the stash.  The top is being pieced entirely from scraps leftover from other projects!  The picture above shows fabric leftover from earlier quilts!

Another Glimpse
The picture above contains a piece of floral fabric from a dress my daughter had and another piece from a plaid shirt my mother made for me, back in the early 1980s! 

It was another very hot day and humid, too (by our standards, at least).  But it cooled off in the evening and I went for a short walk.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Another day of sewing
- An abundance of scraps!
- Daughter had a fun afternoon with two friends who are visiting her
- Electricity for all the appliances I'm using
- Video chatting with my daughter, phone calls and emails from friends

And a picture of Dancer, sleeping on the sofa, clutching his catnip sock in his paws:

Holding on to his sock!

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

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Rest on Friday

I had requested the day off from work to recover from the root canal, so I slept in this morning and took it easy.  The tooth, however, didn't hurt me.  I didn't need to take any pain medication until late in the evening. 

In the afternoon, I did a load of laundry (the sofa dust sheets), lint rollered the sofas to remove cat fur (not sure how it gets through the dust sheets, but it does!), and put the other set of dust sheets on the sofa.  Later, I took a nap on the sofa!  My gardener friend came over to do the garden and he tidied and watered the front garden for me. 

I spent most of the day sewing on my Mountain Climbing quilt.  I've been sewing on it in fits and starts, because I couldn't quite decide on how to do the mountain, but I think I've got it figured out.  Sorry, no pictures, yet.  I am just making this up as I go.

Today, I was grateful for:
- A day of rest to recover from the dental work
- Time spent sewing on my quilt
- The abundance of the fabric stash
- My gardener friend doing my garden
- Afternoon naps

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

Friday, August 4, 2017

Root Canal on Thursday

Today, I had a root canal done and made a complete fool of myself crying at the dentist's after it was over!  I don't even know why I cried.  I have had root canals done, before, and this one didn't hurt all that much, either.  But, there I was, crying!  I think it was because the dentist said that the root canal will preserve the tooth for another 20 years and I wondered if I'd be alive that long.  I have a follow-up appointment in two weeks to complete the root canal.  Hopefully, I'll be a little more composed at that appointment!

Anyway, the dentist prescribed an antibiotic and pain medication (prescription strength ibuprofen), so I went directly to the pharmacy to get them filled.  Wonder of wonders, they filled them after only a short wait, without any drama!  I was told it would be a 30 minute wait.  I sat in a chair just outside the door the employees use to go into the pharmacy area (same area where I sat that previous occasion when the 30 minutes wait stretched to a couple of hours!).  One of the pharmacy workers who was returning from her break saw me waiting there and  asked if I was waiting for a prescription.  I said, "Yes" and that it was a new prescription (in case she thought it was a refill and went to look for it in the refills area).  About 5 minutes later, she opened the door and told me the prescription was ready!    I had barely opened the magazine I had taken off the shelves to look through while I waited!

I had just come home when my half-sister called with the news that the younger of our two surviving brothers had suffered a stroke.  He's in hospital, recovering, but they don't know the extent of damage.  I will be calling his wife, tomorrow, to get an update.

One never knows what each day holds, or what's in store for us, tomorrow, does one?

Today, I am grateful for:
- Time off from work to attend to my various medical appointments
- Getting the much neglected dental work done
- My half-brother is recovering from the stroke
- Phone calls from aunt and cousin, emails from friends
- Being alive

How was your Thursday?  What are your plans for Friday?

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Wednesday's Activities

We are in the triple digits, again, and there's quite a bit of humidity, too, with rain in some areas (but not where I live).  

Today, I went to the office where it was nice and air conditioned.  In fact, it was cold enough to me to need to keep my jacket on all day!

I met with my supervisor, in the morning, and gave her the good news about my health diagnosis.  Then, I updated her on all the upcoming medical appointments for this month!  There are four, currently, one each week!

Someone had brought some buns from an Asian bakery for a breakfast treat.  I chose one with red mung bean filling as I like it, best:

Bun with Red Bean Filling
The red bean filling is slightly sweet.  In Sri Lanka, we make a similar paste with green mung beans (roasted and ground into flour) and treacle, which is then rolled out and cut in diamond shapes, dipped in a rice flour batter and deep fried.  It is one of my favorite treats.

After I came home, I did a load of laundry, called a friend to check on her, read some blogs, replied to a friend's email, did the dishes, and video chatted with my daughter.  We are trying to coordinate her next visits home and book her flights.  I still need to water the indoor plants and clean the litter box.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Continued good health
- Air conditioning at the office
- Red bean buns for breakfast
- Emails from friends
- My daughter will be coming home at the end of the month

How was your Wednesday?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Good News!

Today has been a lovely day, filled with blessings!
To begin with, I received a phone call in the morning from the oncologist's office; they, too, received notification of the authorization to see the surgeon (it was the oncologist who put in the referral) and they went ahead and made an appointment for me!  Mid August was the earliest available date, they, said; but that is fine.  I am so glad that has been taken care of for me.

I also received a text from the pharmacy saying one of my medication refills was ready for pick up, without me having to do a whole song and dance number to obtain it!

Later, I called the radiation oncologist's office and confirmed my afternoon appointment.  The nurse asked if I had done the mammogram and I said yes.  When I got there, she said she's been trying to get the mammogram reading results, but, apparently the doctor who normally reads them is on vacation and, although there was another doctor filling in for him, the mammogram done on Thursday hadn't been read yet.  However, when I informed the doctor that we didn't have the reading, yet, he said he had seen the doctor who normally reads the mammograms, earlier in the day.  Then, he called him on the phone and got him to pull up the pictures on the computer and do an initial reading.  Based on that initial reading, what I have is an oil filled cyst.  According to my doctor, it is nothing to be concerned about.  Apparently, these things occur after breast surgery, trauma to the breast, radiation treatment, etc., as a result of fat necrosis as the breast heals itself.  I feel so relieved!  It seems that the prayers have been answered and the well wishes have worked!  What a blessing!  The first thing I did was text my daughter to let her know.

Maybe the official mammogram report will be available when I go to see the surgeon.  I'll see what the surgeon has to say - maybe he'll do a biopsy or aspirate the cyst.

On the way home, I bought rice/teriyaki beef bowls for a celebratory lunch.  I had a BOGO coupon, so bought two rice bowls for $6.43 with tax.  I also bought a loaf of bread ($1.50) and some grapes ($1.31 @ $.99/lb) from the tiny little Armenian grocery store that is located next to the Japanese restaurant.   They have the best bread!  I spent $2.81 for the bread and grapes:

August 1 Groceries

After I came home, I said a prayer of thanksgiving at the altar.  Then, I had lunch, and took a nap!  Later in the evening, I put gas to the car and went to the pharmacy to pick up my medication refill (initially, they couldn't find it, as it had been put in the wrong basket by someone who was putting them into baskets by the last name of the patient!).  I also did a quick stop at the dollar store to pick up a couple of items.

I had texted the good health news to my cousin who had requested candles to be lit on my behalf and her mother called to say she was happy to hear about it.  One of my friends called, too, and I updated her.   

Today, I am grateful for:
- Answered prayers!
- Good news about the mammogram results.
- The appointment with the surgeon being made for me.
- The medication refill being made available without too much of a fuss.
- Everyone's support as I climbed this portion of the mountain!

It has been a lovely start to this month!  Once again, thank you for being there for me.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

August Balanced Life Goals

As I have mentioned earlier, the goal, as always, is to attend to each area of importance to me, so that my life feels more balanced and I am not neglecting any aspects of my life that are important to me.  Health will continue to dominate, however, as it impacts all areas of my life.  Having said that, these are my goals for a more balanced life in August:

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(doesn't have to be an extended period of time;  even 5 minutes of intentional, mindful meditation is good)
- Cultivate non-attachment and patience!
- Attend the monthly prayer gathering if possible

Environment:  The goal is a clean, tidy, uncluttered house and a well-maintained garden.
- Do some regular house cleaning in order to maintain what I have been able to achieve - implement cleaning routines to the extent possible
- Declutter -  Cultivate non-attachment to things by decluttering at least one item a day during the month of August
- Do some organizing  
- Water and try to keep the plants alive as we approach the hottest time of the year (August and September)
- Continue to weed and mulch

Daughter:  The goal is to continue to have a close relationship with her. 
- Daily texts, phone calls, emails , and video chatting! 
- Possible visit at the end of the month? 

Family & Friends:  The goal is to keep in touch with various family members and friends.
- Communicate regularly - phone calls, texts, and emails
- Wish aunt for her birthday
- Go out to lunch or dinner with a friend
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 do my assignments on time

Finances:  The goal is financial security.
- Continue budgeting and spending mindfully, with purpose
Health & Well Being:  The goal is good health.  This will continue to be the focus, this month, as my longer than anticipated recovery continues!
- Attend the appointments with my various medical doctors and dentists - 3 scheduled, so far, in August.  There might be at least one more!
- Continue to go for additional screening tests, as needed
- Continue to monitor blood pressure, sugar levels, and weight (now that my taste buds and appetite have returned!)
- Continue to focus on a healthier diet (more vegetables!), drinking enough water, exercising regularly, and getting sufficient sleep

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.

Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies/Me-Time:  The goal is to relax doing something I enjoy doing for the pleasure of it.

- Do a few things from the Summer Joy list
- Do another sewing project
- Work on another unfinished project (and finish it!)
So those are my goals for August.  They aren't that different from my previous monthly goals but that is OK.  Anyone else making monthly goals? 

July Balanced Life Goals Review

Time to review July's balanced life goals!  This month had a lot packed into it, I think.

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

- Continue with daily prayers and gratitude - On going; daily prayers are being said; have been listing 5 things for which to be grateful, daily.
- Continue to focus on blessings, joy, and abundance - Have been trying to do so.  All it takes is a look at my fabric stash to know what abundance is!
- Take time for meditation(doesn't have to be an extended period of time;  even 5 minutes of intentional, mindful meditation is good) - Have been trying.  I am finding that sewing and watering the garden are good meditative activities.
- Cultivate non-attachment and patience! Trying!
- Attend the monthly prayer gathering if possible - Attended the monthly prayer gathering and gave a ride to a cousin, as well.

Environment:  The goal is a clean, tidy, uncluttered house and a well-maintained garden.
- Do some regular house cleaning in order to maintain what I have been able to achieve - implement cleaning routines to the extent possible - House is being maintained, more or less, but the cleaning is being done in "fits and starts", so to speak; a bit here, a bit there; nothing as regular as a weekly cleaning routine, I'm afraid.
- Declutter -  Cultivate non-attachment to things by decluttering at least one item a day during the month of July - Ha! Didn't happen, but, I have decluttered some.
- Do some organizing  - Not much.
- Plant the poor succulents before they die! - Even my gardener said it was too hot to plant them!
- Plant the grape vines and get a trellis for them - They are still in the pots!  But they are alive and seem to be doing OK.
- Continue to weed and mulch - Gardener friend has been weeding; we used up all the mulch.

Daughter:  The goal is to continue to have a close relationship with her. 
- Daily texts, phone calls, emails , and video chatting!  There is no plan for her to visit this month - We have a routine: we text good morning when we wake up; we call each other when we get home from work (she usually gets home before I do, so she texts me to say she's home and I call her when I get home); we video chat in the evening.  Occasionally, in between, we send emails, or pictures, etc.    

Family & Friends:  The goal is to keep in touch with various family members and friends.
- Communicate regularly - phone calls, texts, and emails - Have been doing so.
- Wish two friends for their birthdays - Called and wished them both; took one friend out to both lunch and dinner (on two separate days) to celebrate!
- Go out to lunch or dinner with a friend - Did both with one friend!
Career:  The goal is to continue to do work which I enjoy (for the most part) and which enables me to support myself.
- Celebrate my 34th anniversary!- I completed 34 years of service in July!

Finances:  The goal is financial security.
- Continue budgeting and spending mindfully, with purpose - Have been doing so; also, spoke with my financial planner who called to touch bases and give me an update.  
Health & Well Being:  The goal is good health.  This will continue to be the focus, this month, as my longer than anticipated recovery continues!
- Attend the appointments with my various doctors - 4 scheduled, so far, in July, there might be at least one or two more!  Have been doing so. 
- Continue to go for additional screening tests, as needed - Had an ultrasound and a mammogram done
- Continue to monitor blood pressure, sugar levels, and weight (now that my taste buds and appetite have returned!) - Have been doing so.

- Continue to focus on a healthier diet (more vegetables!), drinking enough water, exercising regularly, and getting sufficient sleep - A work in progress!  I started out the month well, especially with the exercising, but it all sort of petered out towards the end of the month!

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 - Yet 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 - Nope!
- Do a few things from the Summer Joy list - I did quite a few things including: daily prayers, drinking my tea from my favorite cups, interacting daily with my daughter, going out to lunch/dinner with a friend, doing crafts projects (tote bags and baby quilt), playing with fabric, and visiting the farmers market.
My life wasn't very balanced in July; I had too many medical issues for that, but, I think I did OK, all things considered.  There were a lot of positives to balance out the negatives, I think.

How was your July?  Did you achieve what you wanted to accomplish in July?

Monday's Activities

I received a phone call from the clinic, first thing Monday morning, in response to the message I left on Friday.  I have an appointment to see the doctor, tomorrow afternoon. 

Later, I received, in the mail, the missing paperwork authorizing the mammogram that I have already had and additional paperwork authorizing a consultation with the surgeon who did the lumpectomy.  I have to call his office to get an appointment.  I will call tomorrow or, perhaps I should wait until after I've seen the other doctor and got the mammogram results? 

Today, after I posted pictures of my fabric stash, I sewed on one of the quilts that I am making.  I also did a load of laundry, brushed Dancer and made him a catnip toy from an old sock (nothing fancy - I just put a little bit of catnip in the toe of the sock and tied it up; he's been playing with it all afternoon and evening!), cleaned out the fridge, took the trash cans to the curb for trash pick up in the morning, and watered the front garden. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Getting an appointment to see the doctor, tomorrow
- Getting the authorization for a consultation with the surgeon
- Another day off from work
- Time to work on my quilt top
-  Prayers and well wishes

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