Saturday, February 4, 2023

WPSH - 1st Link Up

Eileen at A Bracelet of Days is hosting the Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt, which runs from December 1 to March 31.  These are some of the photos I was able to take in December and January:

#3 Shadows:

#3 Shadows

#7 Water:

#7 Water - A puddle of water in my driveway (thanks to the rain!)

#9 Wildlife:

#9 Wildlife: Urban Wildlife!


There were two, but, only one is showing well
(I have since cleaned the glass door!)

#12 This Season

#12 This Season: Christmas Tree

#16 Signs of Spring:

#16 Signs of Spring: Paperwhites

Osteospermum Seedlings

Cherry Blossoms

#17: Tree Bark

Eucalyptus Tree Bark

Feijoa/Pineapple-Guava Tree Bark

Bottlebrush Tree Bark

Pine Tree Bark

#18 Something Round:
#18 Something Round - Glass Bauble

#19 Something Red:

Red Rose - With Raindrops
Red Rose - Without Raindrops

#20 Something You Can See Through:

Peep Hole

Peep Hole Closer Up


Sliding Glass Door 
(After I cleaned it!)

Alt A: A Christmas Decoration

A Christmas Decoration

Alt  B: Winter Sun

Alt B: Winter Sun

1. Seeing faces everywhere

2. An essential item 

3. Shadows

4. Sporting Life

5. A peek inside

6. A religious item or building

7. Water

8. Upside down

9. Wildlife

10. Winter berries

11. Hand or foot

12. This season

13. Point/pointed

14. Keeping warm

15. The oldest thing you own

16. Signs of spring

17. Tree bark

18. Something round

19. Something red

20. Something you can see through

Alt A. A Christmas decoration

Alt B. Winter sun

Alt C. Free choice

More Productive on Friday

Another Look at the Peach Tree

Friday morning, I woke up as soon as the alarms went off and fed Dancer his salmon pate, much to his delight!  Then, after having my cup of tea, I called the clinic to confirm today's appointment and to verify that they had received the dose to be injected (since not receiving it in time was the reason the visit was postponed from last week to today).  The person I spoke with confirmed the appointment and tried to check their pharmacy to see if the medicine had been received but, he couldn't speak with anyone at the pharmacy and told me he will leave a message for them to call me back; of course, they never did!  Oh, well.  I still kept my appointment.

I left the house at 12:00 noon to be at the clinic (in downtown Los Angeles) by 1:00 p.m. for the 1:15 p.m. appointment.  The freeway was congested, but, no more than usual.  I was at the clinic at 1:00 p.m. The receptionist checking me in said my appointment was for 3:15 p.m. and I said, "3:15 p.m.!  I called to confirm the time this morning and I was told it was at 1:15 p.m.!"  Then, she looked on the appointment schedule and confirmed that it was at 1:15 p.m.!  Whew!  

I waited for a few minutes to be weighed, have my pressure checked, etc., (weight hasn't changed - but, then, I hadn't expected it to, after all the holiday treats and eating take-out food in January; the pressure was good).  Then, I waited a bit longer to be seen by the nurse practitioner.  She said that the lab results and mammogram, etc., were good, the bone density scan showed some bone loss (which is why I continue to receive the injections every six months), examined me and asked how I was feeling, etc., refilled my prescription and then I was given my injection, another appointment for a follow-up visit in three months' time, the lab work requisition, and, at my request, a copy of the lab report.  It was nearly 2:30 p.m. when I left the clinic and today's parking charge was $12.00.

Then, I drove home, stopping to put gas to the car on the way back.  I didn't put gas to the car in January and I had more than a quarter, but, less than half a tank of gas.  I budget $50.00 a month for gas (I don't drive much, these days) and today's top up came to $44.55 with gas at $4.35/gal. at the cheaper station near my house.  I did notice that gas was $4.25 at a different station closer to downtown; I probably should have gassed up at that station, but, I didn't want to be late for the doctor's appointment.  I also didn't realize that gas was cheaper at that station - I'll keep that in mind the next time I go for my doctor's appointment.

It was 4:00 p.m. by the time I came home and I was getting hungry (I was still on that one cup of tea from morning; I had some crackers with me, but, I didn't eat any).  I had considered picking up a hamburger or a pizza on the way home from the doctor's appointment, but, I decided not to!  I also decided not to pick up anything from the convenience store at the gas station (they sell hot dogs, pizza, etc.)  Instead, I came home and cooked myself a hamburger!  A cheeseburger, in fact!

Homemade Cheeseburger

Just the way I like without onions or tomatoes.  I didn't have any pickles, so I used up the last bit of sweet relish I had in a small jar (cleaned out one jar from the fridge door shelves), plus Miracle Whip, ketchup, and lettuce.  Not the best picture, but, I was too hungry to try to take a better photo!  Dinner was a bowl of soup because I was too full after the hamburger for anything else!  

M was supposed to tend to the garden this evening, but, he called to say that he got delayed at another client's house and could he buy the bags of gravel tomorrow and drop them off, instead.  I said that was fine.

I relaxed a bit in the evening, after that, then, did a load of laundry, watched a movie on TV ("The King's Speech"), and chatted with friend R.  The pharmacy texted that the prescription that the oncology nurse practitioner refilled was ready to be picked up, but, I will collect it tomorrow.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Having access to medical care
- Medical insurance
- Good lab work results
- A safe drive to and from the clinic
- The availability of gas for the car

Today's joyful activity was watching the movie.  

Plans for Saturday include picking up my medication (two visits to the pharmacy in one week!), having M bring the rest of the bags of gravel for the parkway, and maybe another load of laundry.  

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

Friday, February 3, 2023

In Search of Thursday

Turkey and Vegetable Soup

What happened to Thursday?  I blinked and the day vanished!

Dancer woke me up in the morning, demanding his breakfast, but, I didn't want to wake up.  I told him to eat his kibbles and let me sleep in!  He went away and ate some of his kibble, which I keep out for him so he can eat anytime he wants.  Then, he came back to my room, stood right by my bed, and threw up!  When I complained, he went to the family room and threw up a bit there, too!  Dancer!  So, of course, I had to get up and clean up everything and he was happy because I gave in and gave him his wet food!  Such a spoilt kitty!

I had turned off the heater before I went to bed, last night, and while I felt nice and warm under all my quilts, the house felt cold when I woke up.  So, I turned the heater on and sat in front of it, most of the day!  I felt quite unmotivated to do anything, today.  I started a new knitting project, but, ended up unpicking the whole thing!  I just wasn't in the mood to knit, I guess.

So, I just did little bits of housework, read blogs, watched online videos, watched the news, chatted on the phone with friend R, exchanged emails with a friend, and spoke on the phone with my daughter.  She had gone on a hike with her friend in the morning, then, visited Waikiki Beach in the afternoon, and attended the wedding rehearsal in the evening, followed by dinner and karaoke!  Tomorrow, she and the other bridesmaids will hold their bachelorette party for their friend; apparently, they have organized various activities to do as a group.

I had leftover milkrice and seeni sambol for breakfast.  Lunch was a bowl of the turkey and vegetables soup I had made as I wanted something to warm me up.  Dinner was leftovers, too: rice, salmon, green beans, potato, and some peach chutney (although that was not a leftover, as I opened a new jar of chutney; it is my last jar of peach chutney, I think).

Today, I am grateful for:
- Dancer is fine even though he threw up in the morning
- Daughter is enjoying her time in Hawaii and being with her friend
- Being able to take it easy on a day when I don't feel like doing much
- Working heaters
- Leftovers!

Today's joyful activity was chatting with my daughter.

Plans for tomorrow include my doctor's appointment in the afternoon and tending to the garden with M in the evening.  I might also put gas to the car on the way back from the doctor's office.  

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


Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Starting February


M brought me a camellia flower from his garden, today!  The above photo is my attempt at taking a close up!  I could almost hear my phone saying, "What on earth is she trying to do now?"  LOL.  

Monday was a rainy day, but, Tuesday was sunny.  I brought the trash cans in, cleaned the shelves on the fridge door and organized them a bit, and started on the freezer.

What I have is a side-by-side fridge/freezer and that is the only freezer I have. The last time I organized the freezer and took a proper freezer inventory was in July 2022.  Since then, I've taken things out and put things in and tried to keep a record, but, I was not very consistent.  So, yesterday, I took everything out, shelf by shelf, wiped down the shelves and put things back, trying to keep things organized.  I've seen some freezers with pull out drawers, but, what I have are shelves that don't pull out and one bin at the bottom which does pull out!  

I have it organized so that I have mostly dairy items (frozen milk, butter, a small container of ice cream) and some nuts on the top shelf; mostly cooked items (including two packets of chicken curry and several small packets of moringa curry) and some fruits (the last packet of frozen peaches and a bag of quartered lemons) on the second shelf; vegetables on the third shelf (I have a shoe box sized plastic storage container to hold the packets of frozen corn and peas, etc., in one place so they are easy to find); several packets of grated coconut and at least 8 bags of grated and chopped zucchini still left from the summer of zucchini on the fourth shelf (time to make another batch of chutney, I think!); some meat (small packets of ham and a few packets of turkey meat, plus a ham bone for soup) on the fifth shelf.  The bin at the bottom also contains meat - 3 packages of sausages,  a bag of chicken wings, half a packet of hamburger patties, some turkey bones for soup, a small package of bacon (4 slices); and half a package of hot dogs!    

I also cleaned out the shelves on the freezer door although they were already fairly well organized.  I actually have one empty door shelf!  

Now, I have a better idea of what I have and what I don't have in the freezer and what items I might want to buy when they go on sale (chicken and ground meat or ground turkey).  I am also thinking of eating mostly from the freezer in February.  With that in mind, I made a turkey and vegetables soup for dinner, using some of the turkey bones and freezer vegetables (with leftovers for later).  

I feel I ended January on a good note because doing a freezer inventory was on my to do list for at least a couple of weeks!

On Tuesday, I was grateful for:
- What I was able to accomplish in terms of cleaning the fridge and organizing the freezer
- The blessing of a well stocked freezer
- Working appliances
- Electricity and natural gas to run the appliances
- A sunny day

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

The Peach Tree on February 1

Which brings us to today - Wednesday, February 1.  My maternal grandmother's birthday.  Also, the birthdays of two of my cousins!  It was a sunny day, today, and I took a couple of photos of the peach tree.  The bees have discovered the flowers!

Bees in the Peach Flowers

As is my custom on the first of the month, I made milkrice and seeni sambol for brunch.  I was careful not to make too much milkrice because I didn't want to have a lot of leftovers, but, then, when M arrived to tend to the garden, he detected the smell of the seeni sambol that I had just finished making and asked me if I was cooking something, so, of course, I offered him some milkrice and seeni sambol, which he enjoyed.  The interesting thing is, even though I cooked less and had plenty of milkrice and seeni sambol for my brunch and served a bowlful to M, there is still plenty leftover for my brunch for tomorrow!  Maybe I didn't cook that much less, after all!  LOL.

I spent a fairly relaxed day, today.  I cooked the milkrice and seeni sambol in the morning, did a bit of weeding, walked in the driveway for 15 minutes (had the timer on), did a little walking meditation as well (walking with awareness of each step being taken), did the dishes, peeled and ate some of the homegrown pomegranates I had stored in the fridge (the peels had hardened and I had to soak them to soften them enough to cut them, but, the seeds inside were still fresh and juicy), watched the news, and spoke with my daughter.  She flew out to Hawaii, today, for her friend's wedding (daughter is a bridesmaid, again).  The flight was very turbulent, she said, but, she arrived there safely.  It's her first visit to Hawaii and she'll be there for a week.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Daughter had a safe flight, even if it was turbulent
- M's help with the garden and being able to share
- Bees to pollinate the peach flowers
- Traditions and customs 
- Memories of my grandmother

Today's joyful activity was speaking with my daughter after she reached Hawaii.

Plans for tomorrow include tidying up the kitchen, a bit.

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

Monthly Balanced Life Goals: January Review and February Goals

My monthly balanced life goals are similar to the spokes of a wheel, with the length of each spoke representing 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 spokes are of equal length and the wheel will roll along smoothly.  If the spokes are of unequal lengths, then, the resulting wheel will be lop-sided and wobbly.  My ratings for each segment are shown within the parentheses, with the beginning of the month ratings in black (later, when I do reviews, the end of the month ratings will be shown in blue.) 

The following four areas of my life continued to receive a high satisfaction rating of 10, so I am just going to skim over them:

Spiritual (10):   The goal is to live a spiritually meaningful life:
I continued with daily prayers, meditation, and being grateful; I tried to be positive, joyful, and to cultivate non-attachment.  I will continue to do the same in February, in addition to making a donation to the Temple in memory of my mother on her death anniversary.

Daughter (10) The goal is to continue to have a close relationship with her:
Daughter spent most of the month of January with me and we enjoyed our time together.  Now that she has returned to her apartment, we keep in touch by phone and video chats.

Community (10):  The goal is to be involved in my community:
My community involvement in January included visiting with neighbor S and her daughters, visiting with neighbor T and her daughter as well as weekly phone calls with T, and participating online in the blogging community, etc.  I plan to continue to do the same in February, too.

Finances (10):  The goal is financial security:
I continued to budget and spend mindfully, with purpose, in January.  I will continue to do so in February, too.

The remaining areas of my life continued to receive a satisfaction rating of 7 or above and they are the areas I will be focusing on:

House (7.5)(7.5):  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

I'm doing better about keeping the house cleaned and maintained although I continue to struggle with finding a place for everything and keeping everything in its place!

My decluttering goal for January was 31 items decluttered and I am happy to say that I met that goal!  I decluttered:
1 sweater, 2 old trash cans which had holes in them, 5 magazines, 1 plastic storage box (shoe box sized), 2 file folders (each containing 3 years of bill statements), 1 flower pot, 1 blue and white china bowl (gifted), 9 CD cases  (Daughter kept the CDs), 1 CD (without a case), 1 old kitchen towel, 3 calendars, 1 glass jar from a jar candle (after the candle was burned and the leftover wax removed). several brochures (counts as 1 item), several cardboard boxes (counts as 1 item), some recipes I had clipped from magazines, etc.; not likely to make them (counts as 1 item) = 31 items

February's decluttering goal will be 30 items.

Garden (6.5)(7.0):  The goal is a garden that is productive, yet drought tolerant:
Maintaining (water, fertilize, and weed); M will continue to visit twice a week
- Focus on the winter vegetable and fruit plants

Mother Nature did quite a bit of watering for me in January and I am very thankful for that!  We planted snow peas, celery, onions, and lettuce; there are four self-seeded broccoli plants growing, as well, and a new mint plant that M gifted me.  We repotted the blueberry bushes and added soil amendments to the fruit trees.  I've plenty of volunteer osteospermum seedlings sprouting up everywhere as well as several phacelia plants.  But, the thing that raised the rating is the progress M made with the parkway in the front, putting down 12 bags of pea gravel!  We will need another 15 bags or so of pea gravel to finish the parkway and I am hoping that we will be able to do that in February.

Family & Friends (8)(8.0):  The goal is to have a close connection with family and friends:
- Regular phone calls and emails to check on them

I started off the month with wishing family and friends a Happy New Year over the phone and online and exchanged several phone calls with them in January.  There were no in-person visits with my friends, but, several of daughter's friends (including my late friend A's daughters) visited her (all wearing masks at daughter's request) and it was nice to see them.  There were, also emails with several friends.  
I am content with how things stand in this area of my life.  There is room for improvement, of course, but, I am not that comfortable with in-person visits, especially since the majority of my family and friends don't believe in wearing masks.  

Goals for February will remain the same, with the addition of a phone call or two to wish people for their birthdays.

Health & Well Being (8.5)(8.5):  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

In January, I had a blood test, a mammogram (results were normal, thank goodness!) and an ultrasound done.  My appointment with the oncologist and the injection for bone strengthening were postponed till February.  
February's goals will remain the same as above and will include two doctors' appointments (one with the oncologist and one with the primary care physician).  There will be additional lab work for the second appointment and I need to schedule that.  

Time Management (8)(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 with my time management in January.  I still tend to procrastinate, but, things do get done, eventually.  I'm getting better at doing things when I have the energy and taking it easy without feeling guilty about it when I don't!
The goal in February is to keep at it.  

Anyone else making monthly goals for a more balanced life?  

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Monthly Photo Challenge: January

January's Monthly Photo Challenge theme, hosted by Eileen, was Beginning with L.  These are what I found for this theme:

Lemon Tree


Love Cake

Leaves (Passionfruit Leaves)



(Solar "Good Luck" Jar Lantern)


(Traditional Brass Oil Lamp)


Leftovers for Dinner

(which almost got left out of the post!)

And last, but, not least, 

Lonesome, Lovely, Loving Kitty
(Who is missing daughter)

Thank you, Eileen, for this fun challenge!  Looking forward to February's challenge!

Meal Plans: January Week 4 Review/February Week 1

This was the meal plan for the last full week in January and how it worked out:

Monday: Salmon (from the freezer) sauteed, broccoli, rice - I sauteed the salmon with onions and tomatoes, steamed the broccoli, and cooked fried rice from a boxed mix; we had plenty of leftovers!

Tuesday: Chicken curry, green beans, dhal, with leftover broccoli and leftover fried rice; I ate patties that were made earlier in the day as a snack, and leftover cucumber salad

Wednesday: Leftovers from Tuesday - leftover chicken curry, cashew curry, rice.

Thursday: Hamburgers (there are 4 leftover hamburger buns to use up) Thai food take out (chicken fried rice, Thai pepper beef, mixed seafood).

Friday: Leftovers and mixed appetizers (gyoza, baked chicken wings, etc.) OR Thai food take out -Rice, sauteed curried green beans, leftover chicken curry, leftover cashew curry

Saturday: Leftovers - Salmon, rice, green beans, peach chutney

Sunday: Breakfast for dinner - egg, hash browns, bacon or ham or soup! Hamburger, salad (lettuce from the garden), fries

That worked out quite well, I think.  We switched a few things around, but, that was fine.

This week is the end of January and beginning of February.  Daughter has left and I am back to planning meals for one.  I want to finish up a few leftovers and then, make some soup.  The plan is to use up a few things that are in the freezer, such as chicken and turkey bones and bits and pieces of vegetables.  

Brunches: Choice of gyoza/pot stickers (Monday), toast with peanut butter or  scrambled egg (Tuesday); milkrice on Wednesday (February 1), leftover milkrice if any (Thursday), frozen burritos, pancakes, cup noodles, etc.


Monday: Leftover salmon, leftover half a baked potato topped with leftover green relish from the samosas, green peas

Tuesday: Leftover chicken curry, rice, green beans, potato curry

Wednesday: Leftover salmon, leftover fries, cucumber slices

Thursday: Hamburger and salad

Friday: Fried rice with ham

Saturday: Chicken or turkey & vegetables soup

Sunday: Leftover soup, drop biscuits (maybe)

Did you make a meal plan for last week?  If so, how did it work out for you?  Will you be making a meal plan for this week?