Monday, December 4, 2023


Anthurium Plant

Another sunny and mild December day.  I did my 30 minutes of walking, in two sessions, one in the late morning and one in the early evening.  The second walk might have lasted a bit longer than 15 minutes, because after I had walked for several minutes, I looked at the timer and noticed that I had accidentally paused it only a few seconds after I had started it!  There was still 14+ minutes left to go and I walked those 14+ minutes as well.  

I put away some laundry I had done earlier, cleaned the litter box and swept the bathroom, gave Dancer his medications, and took another look at my budget, but, otherwise, it was another fairly relaxed day, doing a bit of reading, watching some online videos, emailing friends, and watching TV.  I even took a short nap!

Brunch was leftover milkrice with the leftover turkey curry (it was better, today, having had a chance to a+bsorb some of the spices overnight in the fridge) and dinner was battered shrimp with tomato chutney.  Not a very healthy dinner and no vegetables in sight!  I need to make a better meal plan for next week!  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Another sunny and mild day
- Getting my two walks in
- Emails from friends
- A relaxed day
- Afternoon naps

Today's joyful activity was video chatting with my daughter.

Plans for tomorrow include calling and scheduling some appointments, meal planning, another load of laundry, taking the trash cans to the curb, and dusting/vacuuming the living room and dining area.

How was your Sunday?  What are your plans for Monday?

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Starting December


It's December, already!  

Yesterday, Friday, December 1st, was a sunny day, a bit windy, with an afternoon high of 63F.  I picked fresh flowers from the garden to bring inside, some chrysanthemums and a few stems of paperwhites (the latter for the altars).  Then, made my usual first of the month milk rice for brunch and enjoyed it with homemade seeni sambol. 

I called the pharmacy to ask if they could mail my medications that were ready for pick up.  I was told that because I am on Medicare, the prescriptions have to be picked up in person.  I suppose it is a way to minimize fraud?  Anyway, I went to the pharmacy in the early afternoon and picked up the medications.  There was still only one person at the check out counter, but, the line wasn't too long and I didn't have to wait for too long.  Or, perhaps, I'm getting more used to it, now?

On my way out of the store, I noticed that they had some potted plants for sale at the front of the store.  There were the obligatory poinsettias, but, also, some red anthuriums!  My mother used to love anthuriums and she grew many varieties, but, the red ones were her favorite!  The plants, in 6 inch pots, were $24.99 each, which I thought was a little high, but, I had a 30% off coupon!  I was able to purchase a plant for under $20.00 and I was happy!

In the afternoon, I did a little bit of mending and sewed on a button for M.  He was here later in the evening to tend to the garden.  He started pruning the fruit trees and watered the garden.  He also brought me an Opal apple.

Later in the evening, neighbor S brought over two cheese filled puff pastries (bureks) she had made.  She had called me in the morning to let me know that she was going to make them and to ask if I'd like to have some; I said, "Yes, please!"  I had one of the cheese bureks for my dinner.

One of my dear friends had gifted me an online Advent calendar, which is my first, and I enjoyed clicking on the first door to open it.  I did it while chatting online with my daughter and by sharing the screen with her, I was able to share the experience with her, too.  Then, we sang a Christmas carol, and, as I mentioned to my friend, Dancer joined us and meowed along!  

Today, Saturday, it was sunny, again, and the afternoon high was 67F (tonight's low will be 44F)  I walked for 15 minutes, today, but, did only one walk.  I will try to get in two walks, tomorrow.  I watched some online videos, sorted through some papers, and watched some music programs on TV.  I made a sort of curry with some leftover roast turkey - I say "sort of" because, in my opinion, adding precooked meat to a curry gravy, even when the curry gravy is made from scratch, doesn't make a good curry.  But, I wanted a curry to eat with the leftover milkrice and some katta sambol for brunch.  I had the second cheese burek for dinner.  

At the start of December, I am grateful for:

- Sunny, mild days
- Neighbor S bringing me treats
- M's help with the garden
- The gift of an online Advent calendar
- The start of a new month

My joyful activities have included enjoying the garden flowers and watching some music programs on TV.

Plans for tomorrow include getting started on making holiday greeting cards.  

What are your weekend plans?

Balanced Life Monthly Goals - November Review and December Goals

As always, my overall goal is to live a life that feels well balanced to me.  To that end, I have created several areas of importance to me to focus on.  I try to evaluate each area, rating my satisfaction in that area of my life from 1 to 10, with 1 being most dissatisfied and 10 being most satisfied.  Ideally, all the areas get equal and high rating, but, lower satisfaction ratings indicate that these areas need more work.  My ratings for each area are shown within the parentheses, with the beginning of the month ratings in (black) and the end of the month ratings shown in (blue). 

These are the individual areas of my life and their ratings for November:

Spiritual (10)(10):   The goal is to live a spiritually meaningful life:
I continued to live what I consider to be a spiritually meaningful life, in the ways I am able to.  I am happy with this area of my life. 

My goal in December is to continue to live a spiritually meaningful life in the ways that I am able to.  

Daughter (10)(10) The goal is to continue to have a close relationship with her:
Daughter came home over the Thanksgiving week and that was the highlight of my November!  We spent a lovely week together.       

My goal in December is to continue to have a close relationship with her and look forward to her upcoming visit over Christmas and New Year!

Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies (10)(10):  The goal is to relax doing something I enjoy doing for the pleasure of it.
Leisure activities in November included putting together a few flower arrangements, reading library books, and doing some of the things I had listed in my Fall joyful activities list.  

My goal in December is to continue to engage in fun, relaxing activities including making holiday cards and gifts.

Finances (10)(10):  The goal is financial security:
I continued to budget and spend mindfully, with purpose, in November.  There were some big expenses including paying property taxes, but, everything was budgeted for and there were no surprises.

I will continue to budget and spend mindfully in December, too.  December expenses include homeowners and earthquake insurance and Christmas/New Year celebrations and gifts.  I also want to do an end of the year budget review and set up the 2024 budget, or spending plan as I prefer to call it.  

Garden (9.5)(9.5):  The goal is a garden that is productive, yet drought tolerant:
Maintaining (water, fertilize, and weed); M will continue to visit twice a week

The garden continued to do well in November, too.  I harvested my butternut squash and my daughter baked it to serve as part of the Thanksgiving meal!  There were flowers to be picked and brought indoors, M brought me a couple of additional plants for the garden, I was able to contact the tree trimmers regarding the eucalyptus tree (work is scheduled for January), and the citrus fruits are starting to ripen.

December garden goals include more clearing and pruning with M's help; he has already started on the stone fruit trees, pruning the nectarine tree which has shut down.  

Family/Friends/Community (9.0)(9.5):  The goal is to have a close connection with family and friends and be involved with my community:
- Regular phone calls and emails, etc., to keep in touch
- Participate in the blogging community and the online organizing community

There were regular phone calls, texts, emails, etc., with family, friends, and neighbors in November.  I was spoiled with treats, calls, cards, etc., on my birthday which was lovely! But, the highlight was having my late friend A's husband and two daughters join us for Thanksgiving dinner!  It was the first time I've had people over to a meal and been without a mask, etc.  It was a small, meaningful gathering, and I am very glad that I was able to step out of my comfort zone and have people over!

I participated in the blogging community and in the online organizing friends group.  I was also able to do some small acts of service for friends, including doing some mending for M who needed a tear darned and a button sewn on.   

I have raised my satisfaction rating to 9.5 on the strength of having friends over to share Thanksgiving dinner!

Goals for December will include remembering family and friends over the holidays, sending greetings, and exchanging gifts.  

Health, Self-Care & Well Being (8.5)(8.75):  The goal is good health:
- Focus on continuing to improve my health through diet, hydration, adequate sleep, etc.
- Attend my medical appointments
- Continue to take my medications as prescribed
- Continue to take necessary precautions against viral infections

November was a good month where my health is concerned!  I had three medical appointments - an appointment with the oncologist at the beginning of the month (blood test results were mostly good), an appointment with the ophthalmologist just before Thanksgiving (eye exam was good; vision was about the same, eye pressure was good, cataracts didn't need any surgery, yet; return for another check up in one year), and an appointment with the primary care physician at the end of the month (again, most of the blood test results were good!).  In between, I took my Covid booster and didn't feel any side effects.  I still need to focus on life style changes such as being careful with my diet, exercising more, getting adequate sleep, etc.  

I am raising my satisfaction rating to 8.75 based on the two blood test results and the generally positive medical appointments.  Yes, there is a lot of room for improvement, but, I am feeling better about my health than I have in a long time!

Health goals for December will be to continue improving my overall health.  I have a mammogram scheduled for mid-December, and I need to schedule appointments for a RSV vaccine and a check up with the gynecologist.  I want to strive to get in two 15 minutes walks each day and some weight loss would be welcome, too!  

House (8.0)(8.5):  The goal is a home that is pleasant, comfortable, and welcoming:
- Clean - Clean the house as needed 
- Organize - Continue to find a place for everything and keep everything in its place
- Well maintained - Keep "erasing the evidence"; implement daily and weekly cleaning schedules
- Decluttered - Continue with the decluttering process

The house got a good cleaning and tidying in time for Thanksgiving!  For days, afterwards, I just sat and looked around and felt incredibly pleased!  I still don't have a place for everything, but, I've found temporary homes for a good number of things!
met my goal of decluttering 30 items in November.  The decluttered items included some clothing (a blouse, a sweatshirt, two jackets, holey socks), some decorative items, a frying pan, two movies on VHS tapes,  several dried up pens and markers, assorted jars and storage containers, some craft supplies, a tote bag, the doll house and the box of trim to finish the doll house, some potholders, and more expired medications.

I feel good about what I managed to achieve and I'm raising my satisfaction rating to 8.5.

December goals for this area include maintaining and improving the state of the house.  I will continue to do some deep cleaning and decluttering as I decorate for Christmas.  My decluttering goal for December is 31 items.  I would like that to include some books and some Christmas decorations.  

Time Management (8.0)(8.0): The goal is to spend my time in a mindful manner:
Spend time purposefully, mindfully
- Continue to focus on making my schedule work for me
- Procrastinate less

I think I did OK when it came to managing my time in November.  I've managed to do most of the things I've needed to do without much procrastinating.  However, I am aware that there is a lot of room for improvement in this area and I am keeping my satisfaction level at 8.0

The goal in December is to get my holiday preparations done on time while keeping up with my appointments without getting flustered or stressed!  Towards that end, I am listing some of the things I need to do/schedule:
- Schedule my RSV vaccine (early part of December)
- Schedule shingles vaccine (towards the end of December)
- Schedule gynecologist appointment
- Mammogram (12/15)
- Schedule Dancer's check up
- Schedule the car service
- Bill payments
- Make holiday greeting cards, address, mail
- Make and/or order gifts
- Schedule almsgiving in early January
- Decorate for the holidays

I am really happy with November's progress because at least three areas (Family, Health, House)  increased in my satisfaction ratings!  And no areas decreased!  I think it turned out to be a very good month for me.  I'm looking forward to December with the holidays and my daughter's visit to look forward to!   

Did you make any goals for November and were you able to meet those goals or, at least, work towards them?  Will you be making any goals for December?

Friday, December 1, 2023

On the Last Day of November

On the last day of November, I still didn't take a picture to post on the blog!  Tsk, tsk!  Dare I offer yet another old picture?


I had a phone call at 9:30 a.m. today, from the tree trimmers I had called, yesterday.  They could have someone come out to give me an estimate, this morning, between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.  I said I needed to leave for a doctor's appointment at 11:00 a.m. (the appointment was at 12:00 noon), could they be here before that?  I was assured that someone will be here before 11:00 a.m.  Rene was here at about 10:45 a.m. and I told him that, in addition to the trimming, I wanted at least 5 feet taken off the top, as well.  The last time I had the eucalyptus tree trimmed, two years ago, it cost me $800.  I was expecting the estimate to be higher, this time around.  But, Rene said he will charge me the same amount!  I was so happy!  I guess it pays to be a repeat customer!  There was a $100 deposit, due today, and the remaining $700 will be paid upon completion of the trimming.  We went ahead and scheduled the trimming for January 12, 2024.

As soon as he had left, I left to go to my doctor's appointment.  There wasn't a lot of traffic, today, and I arrived at the doctor's office with 15 minutes to spare.  The appointment went very well.  My weight had stayed stable and my blood pressure, heart rate, etc., were all good.  I had been concerned about my blood test results, but, they, too, were within normal ranges for most of the things that were checked.  There were two things that were out of the normal ranges, but, both can be managed with life style changes - mainly diet and exercise with some stress reduction as well!  Well within my control!  The previous areas of concern had resolved themselves and were no longer areas of concern, for which I am very thankful.  My next appointment will be in six months, unless I needed to see her before that for whatever reason, in which case I am to call and request an appointment.  

I bought myself a hamburger on the way home and, after lunch, walked for a bit, up and down the driveway.  Then, I took a nap!  

In the evening, I watched news and some music programs on TV.  It was not a very productive evening, but, that's OK.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Good blood test results and doctor's appointment
- Answered prayers  
- Health insurance and access to medical care
- A safe drive to the doctor's office and back
- The tree trimming has been scheduled at the same charge as previously

Today's joyful activities included an afternoon nap, chatting with my daughter, and reading the results of my blood test report!

Plans for Friday include making milkrice for brunch and tending to the garden with M.  

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

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

On Wednesday...

 Iceberg Roses (Old Photo)

On Wednesday...

... I didn't take any new photos for my blog post, so I am reposting an old photo!  This rose bush used to be in the front garden where it didn't do too well and we transplanted it in the back garden where it did quite well for several years.  Then, this summer, it just withered up and died!  I haven't decided if I will replace it or not.

... M arrived in the late morning to tend to the garden.  He filled the yard waste bin with some of the branches he cut from the bottlebrush tree, weed whacked some of the overgrown areas at the back, and watered the garden which hadn't been watered since last Wednesday! 

... there was sunshine in the morning and then, it clouded up and we had some rain in the afternoon.  Not a lot of rain, 10 minutes or so of drizzle, but, even a little rain is welcome!

... the high temperature was 63F and I felt cold enough to have the big gas heater on almost all day!  It is set at 70F, which means the family room warms up to about 65F.  I spent most of the day in the living room (since it was the warmest room), but, moved to the family room in the evening to watch news.  Then, I took a short nap on the sofa, while watching the news!  

... I did a load of laundry (kitchen mat, bathroom mats, Dancer's rug, etc.).  The folding metal drying rack was put away before company arrived on Thanksgiving Day, but, I have set it back up in the living room, near the gas heater, and today's laundry was hung on it to dry.  

... I called the tree trimmers and left a message regarding trimming the eucalyptus tree.  Hopefully, they'll call back with a quote and I can schedule it for December or January.

... I made a pot of turkey broth from the turkey bones.  There was a little bit of turkey drippings and a bit of leftover gravy, too, and I added both to the broth!  I will leave it to cool in the fridge, overnight; tomorrow, I will remove any fat and either make soup or freeze the broth for later.  

... I replied to blog comments, read and commented on a few blogs, watched some online videos, and wrote this blog post, of course!  

... Looked up mailing costs for packages (trying to decide if I want to mail homemade gifts to family living out of state - the bulk of the cost will be for postage - or order something online and have it shipped).

... I chatted with my daughter; she said she went to the store to buy some half and half for her coffee and spotted a seasonal snack, thought that I would like it, and bought it to bring to me when she comes down next!  How sweet is that?

... I cleaned the litter box and swept the bathroom floor as usual,   

On Wednesday, I am grateful for:

- M's help with the garden
- The little rain we received
- Working appliances 
- A warm house
- My daughter thinking of me and picking up a treat for me

Today's joyful activities included picking some ripe serrano chilies from the garden, taking a nap on the sofa, and chatting with my daughter.

Tomorrow, I have a doctor's appointment with my primary care physician.  I am not looking forward to that because I am anxious about the blood test results.  Hopefully, all the numbers will be within the normal ranges!  

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

Errands on Tuesday

"Where's my other human, Mummy?"

Poor Dancer keeps going around the house, meowing, looking for his other human.  Earlier this evening, he was sitting in front of the front door, staring at it, as if expecting my daughter to walk in at any moment!  

I ran a few more errands today!  First, I went to the gas station to put some gas in my car.  I was down to quarter of a tank, although I usually try to keep the gas tank at least half full at all times.  I put $50 worth of gas, at $4.79/gal. and it was enough to fill the tank.  $50 is what I budget each month for gas, but, since I don't drive that much, anymore, I tend to fill up only every other month.  I am considering lowering my monthly gas budget to $25 per month, next year.  

After that, I went to the pharmacy to pick up my medication refill.  The line wasn't all that long, but, there was only one person at the counter and the line moved very slowly.  The store was rather busy, too, for a weekday afternoon.  I was almost sorry that I decided to pick up the medication instead of having it mailed to me!  But, mailing charges have gone up to $5; the medication cost $50.00.

Then, I went next door to the dollar store.  I was hoping to find a 2024 wall calendar - the kind with big squares in which to write appointments and times.  I was happy to find one for $1.00.  In addition, I bought 3 bananas (@ $.49/lb.), a bag of grapes (@$1.79/lb.), a package of dates (@$3.99), two rolls of wax paper (@$1.50), and a box of snack sized sandwich bags (@$1.50).  My total came to $14.08.

I was happy to be able to get about and run my errands, but, at the same time, I felt a little stressed about it, too.  Even with my mask on, I felt uncomfortable being exposed to so many people in the stores.  I think I'll continue to stay at home for the most part in the coming weeks.  

I spent the rest of the day relaxing at home.  I brought in the emptied trash cans, picked another handful of ripe cherry tomatoes, called friend S to check on her (she had burned her hand earlier in the month when hot oil splashed on her hand and forearm), watched news and the semi-finals of Dancing with the Stars and another musical program on TV, and looked through the week's grocery ads.  

Breakfast was half a bagel with butter, lunch was rice with the last of the beef curry, and dinner was sauteed turkey with the last of the butternut squash.  Snacks included a mandarin orange, some grapes, some preserved/dried pineapple, some potato chips, and the last piece of cherry pie for dessert.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Gas for the car
- Being able to drive
- My medications
- Finding the calendar I wanted
- A sunny day and a relatively warm afternoon

Today's joyful activity was video chatting with my daughter.

Plans for Wednesday include tending to the garden with M and reading.

How was your Tuesday?  What are your plans for Wednesday?

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Resuming Regular Programs

Keeping Mummy Company

Daughter went back on Sunday.  She and her friend P had a safe drive back, although it took two hours longer than usual due to the post-Thanksgiving traffic. 

I spent most of Sunday doing a couple of loads of laundry, taking photos for my November garden post, blogging, watching a few online videos, and reading. 

Library Book

I finished reading this book I had borrowed from the library.  Another blogger had mentioned reading it and it sounded interesting.  It is a novel, based on the compilation and publication of the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.  The publication of the Oxford English Dictionary was a mostly male dominated enterprise.  However, there were some women who contributed, too.  Women like the wife of the editor who cared for their 11 children and ran the household while supporting her husband's efforts; three of their daughters who worked as assistants to their father with sorting the words that volunteers submitted; two sisters, one of whom was a published author, who, between them provided 15,000 quotations for words listed A and B (each word selected to be published had to have supporting printed quotations); and the daughter of one of the men in charge of publishing the Dictionary, who assisted her father.  Their contributions weren't really recognized at the time.  The novel is partially based on the contributions these women made to the publication of the Dictionary. 

In the book, the main character (a fictional character) Esme, is the daughter of one of the lexicographers assisting the editor.  At the start of the book, she is a child, playing under the sorting table where her father and other lexicographers sort and research the words that are being mailed in to be included in the Dictionary.  One day, a scrap of paper with a word written on it flutters to the ground and ends up under the table where Esme finds it.  No one seems to notice that this piece of paper had fallen, no one seems to miss the word, and Esme takes it.  Eventually, she realizes that not all the words being submitted make it into the dictionary and that the words being chosen to be included in the dictionary often didn't include words that pertained to women or words used by common people, especially if they had not been published or were considered vulgar, etc.  She sets out to collect these words that weren't being included in the dictionary, the "lost words", with the intention of compiling her own dictionary of lost words.  In the meantime, her own life evolves as she goes from being a child playing under the sorting table to an adult whose life is touched by the suffrage movement and World War I.

In general, I prefer non-fiction to fiction, but, I found this novel to be quite interesting.  I liked how the author wove in historic facts into the story.  

After I finished reading this novel, I started reading the book about decluttering.  I have finished reading the first half of that book and so far, I am finding it interesting, too.

Today, Monday, I did another load of laundry, ran the dishwasher, ordered a refill on one of my medications, took the trash cans to the curb for pick up on Tuesday morning, visited friend R (a quick, curbside visit with masks on) to drop off some packages she had ordered and had delivered to my address as well as a packet of Japanese curry sauce that my daughter had bought for R to try and some fruit I had bought for the Thanksgiving dinner, and stopped at the library on the way back to return "The Dictionary of Lost Words".  I also read for a bit and watched some TV.  

Meals over the weekend were mostly leftovers or snacks!  I had a bit of an upset tummy on Sunday, so, I had cream crackers for breakfast, half a bagel with a little butter for lunch, and scrambled eggs on toast for dinner.  Today, my tummy was fine and I had the other half of the bagel with butter for brunch, rice with leftover beef curry for dinner, and mandarin oranges for snacks.

I haven't made a meal plan for this week, but, I plan to make some soup with the turkey bones, some turkey fried rice, and, of course, there will be milkrice for brunch on Friday (December 1).  

I am grateful for:
- Daughter's friend gave her a ride back to Berkeley
- They had a safe journey back
- Library books
- A quick visit with friend R
- Dancer keeping me company

Today's joyful activity was reading.  Speaking of joyful activities, I reviewed my Autumn/Fall Joyful Activities list and while I didn't do some of the activities listed there (such as scrapbooking), I did other activities many times (such as arranging flowers) and I enjoyed doing those activities. 

Plans for Tuesday include putting gas to the car and picking up my medication refill.  

How was your Monday?  What are your plans for Tuesday?