Wednesday, April 17, 2024

April Meal Planning - Week 3

I've been very lax with my meal planning, this month!  The first week in April, I had leftovers from when daughter was here and we had a lot of take outs and treats.

This was the meal plan for the second week:

Brunches: Scrambled eggs with toast or fried potatoes, pancakes or waffles, fried rice, French toast, toast with peanut butter, tuna salad sandwiches, muffins if I bake some

Dinners: Spaghetti with meat sauce (and leftover garlic bread); baked salmon with bulgur wheat salad (compliments of neighbor S)  with savory rice and broccoli or snow peas from the freezer; fried breaded shrimp with oven fried potato wedges and salad, leftovers from the spaghetti and the baked salmon and bulgur wheat salad.

Here's how that worked out:

Brunch: Beef curry sandwich with the last of the leftover beef curry
Dinner: Leftover rice and shrimp curry

Brunch: Scrambled egg on toast
Dinner: Leftover seafood potato balls, reheated in the oven

Brunch: Sauteed salmon and bulgur wheat salad, compliments of neighbor S
Dinner: Spaghetti and meat sauce

Brunch: French toast
Dinner: Leftover spaghetti and meat sauce

Brunch: Toast and peanut butter
Dinner: Leftover salmon and bulgur wheat salad

Brunch: Milkrice, chicken curry, and katta sambol
Dinner: Spaghetti and meat sauce

Brunch: Leftover milkrice and chicken curry
Dinner: Fried breaded shrimp (no oven fried potato wedges), salad

There were a few changes, but, it worked out quite well.

On to Week 3:

Once again, this week's meal plan is based on what I have on hand in the freezer, fridge, and pantry. 

Brunches: Leftover milkrice and chicken curry (Monday), ham and bread rolls (Tuesday), pancakes with sausages, scrambled egg and fried potatoes, leftover pancakes and sausages, more ham and bread rolls

Dinners: Cup of noodles soup (Monday), leftover spaghetti and meat sauce (Tuesday), ham fried rice, ham and potato soup, leftovers.

At least, that's the plan!  No doubt there will be some changes as the week progresses!

Are you making a meal plan this week?

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Midway Through April

Pink Rose - Starting to Fade

After a weekend of rain, Monday was sunny and it warmed up nicely to 72F in the afternoon.  I did a load of laundry, walked around the garden, and did a few things around the house.

In the afternoon, I went to the pharmacy to pick up two prescriptions that were ready.  I looked around the store a little bit, but, didn't buy anything.  Instead, I went over to the dollar store that is closing and looked around, again.  I bought a packet of hot glue sticks ($1.04), a pack of two 100% cotton kitchen towels ($1.80), and a bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling apple cider ($2.85); with taxes and deposit on the bottle of apple cider, the total came to $6.06.  

I'm finding myself feeling more comfortable going shopping in person, these days (fully masked, of course).  

After I came home, I took the trash cans to the curb, watched the evening news, video chatted with my daughter, and relaxed.

Brunch had been the last of the milkrice and chicken curry.  Dinner was a cup of noodles soup.  I didn't do a meal plan, yet, but, I took a package of sliced ham from the freezer and kept to thaw, to have with bread rolls for my brunches during the week.  

On Monday, I was grateful for:
- A sunny and warmer day
- The availability of medications
- The car started
- A safe drive to the stores and back
- Exchanging emails with friends

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

Tuesday is supposed to be another sunny and warm day, with a high of 76F,  I've no special plans for the day, but, might do another load of laundry and some housework.

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

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Garden Additions

M Making the New Trellis

Earlier in the year, I had M prune the Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) vine which was sprawling all over the ground because the purchased trellis it had been growing on had deteriorated and broken down over the years.  I had planned to purchase another trellis, but, trellises are costly!  "Let's make one", I suggested to M.  "We can use some of the long branches we saved when you pruned the bottle brush tree!"  I think he was a bit skeptical, but, he always says it's my garden and I'm the boss!  LOL.  There's a reason why we get along so well and he's been tending to the garden for 31 years!

At first, I was going to do it, myself.  But, I didn't have the proper tools to trim the branches to size and, with one thing or another, the trellis didn't get built.  In the meantime, the star jasmine vine started to show new growth and flower buds started to appear.

On Friday, with rain in the forecast for the weekend, I told M not to bother watering the garden and we decided it was a good time to put together a trellis for the star jasmine.  Obviously, M did the work, while I directed and, occasionally, assisted with holding the cross pieces in place while he tied them.  I didn't want the trellis to be taller than the wall, so, M cut the poles to size.  This way, the wall will help protect the trellis from strong winds and minimize its chances of being blown down!

New Garden Trellis

Home grown, all natural, custom made, rustic trellis!  We decided to keep all the little branches in place as additional support for the vines.  Then, we draped some of the vines on the trellis to encourage them the grow up, instead of sprawling in a heap on the ground:

New Garden Trellis for the Star Jasmine Vine

I wondered if we needed to put some small rocks at the base to keep the trellis in place, but, M didn't think so.  We can always add them, later, if needed.  I told M that he should include "builds custom trellises" to his resume - he put together one with PVC pipes and chicken wire for my mother for her jasmine vine, several years ago, and now, he's put together another trellis for me.  

I love my new trellis!  What do you think?

In addition to the new trellis, we have a new plant for the garden:

New Tomato Plant

It's an heirloom tomato named "Berkeley Tie-Dye", which M selected in honor of my daughter!  

Tomato Plant Tag: "Caution: may cause flashbacks!"

Looking forward to seeing the "striking metalic green and red striped" tomatoes that are supposed to be a "delicious conversation piece" as described in the tag!  

We've had a rainy weekend, here, with rain on both Saturday and Sunday.  The garden has been well watered!  It's a bit chilly for me with night time temperatures of 46F and daytime highs of 55F, so, I've had the heater on all weekend.

I'm grateful for:
- M's willingness and help with the garden
- A new, very organic and homegrown trellis
- Rain for the garden
- A new tomato plant
- A working heater

My joyful activities have included supervising the making of the new trellis, gardening, celebrating the Sri Lankan new year, and phone calls with family and friends.

How is your weekend coming along?  What do you think of the new trellis?  Have you grown this type of heirloom tomatoes?

Happy Sri Lankan New Year!

Milk Rice, Chicken Curry, and Katta Sambol

Usually called the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year after the two main ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, (I prefer the term Lankan New Year), Sri Lankans celebrate their cultural new year on April 13 and April 14.  Based on the sighting of the new moon and the movement of the sun from the House of Pisces to the House of Aries, astrologers determine when the old year ends and the new year begins (not necessarily at midnight) and the duration of the time between the two events, usually lasting several hours, when all work should be stopped and people should attend to religious matters, visit family members, engage in traditional games, and enjoy the special food and treats associated with the new year celebrations.  Given the fact that I left Sri Lanka over 50 years ago, and the time differences between there and here, I don't observe the specified times and rituals.  However, when possible, I make milkrice for breakfast (or brunch).

So, on Saturday morning, I spoke with my aunt to wish her for the new year, cooked milkrice for brunch, and made my usual offerings at the altar.  Then, I spent the rest of the day, relaxing!  

I like having a second new year in April!  It gives me another opportunity to have a new beginning!  

It was cool and overcast in the morning and it rained in the evening, quite heavily at times.  I am glad we had more rain, because I had asked M not to water the garden on Friday, in anticipation of it raining on the weekend!

On Saturday, I was grateful for:

- Another new year
- Another new beginning
- Rain for the garden
- Phone chats with my aunt
- A lovely e-card for the new year from a dear friend

Saturday's joyful activity was celebrating the Sri Lankan New Year!

There is more rain in the forecast for Sunday; plans for Sunday include relaxing with some crocheting.

How is your weekend coming along?


Saturday, April 13, 2024

Balanced Life Monthly Goals - March Review and April Goals/The Late Edition

Better late than never, right?  

March started out well, I was joyfully anticipating my daughter's visit home, getting the house clean and tidy before she arrived, and planning to do a few fun things with her.  She arrived on a Friday and by Monday, I had discovered that I had a blood clot (it looks like I actually had two blood clots, on above the other; fortunately, both were superficial) in my leg!  Which led to an unscheduled visit to the doctor's, daughter extending her stay (which was wonderful!), and some concern and anxiety about my health, which affected several other areas of my life, as well.  March concluded with phone issues which lasted well into April! I was too distracted with writing about the phone issues to sit down and review my monthly goals, until now!

Here is my review of my March goals, followed by my goals for April: 

Health, Self-Care & Well Being (8.75)(6.0):  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

I had a blood clot (possibly two) in March, which required a visit to the doctor and being put on blood thinners.  My blood pressure was good when checked at the doctor's office and my weight was fairly stable (it has been fluctuating within a 5 lbs. range for at least a year).   There was no one cause for the blood clot, but, rather a combination of causes.  I am very thankful that the blood clot(s) were superficial and happened when daughter was already here to help me.  However, I am really not pleased with my health section and realize that I need to work harder to improve it.

April Goals: One of the areas of focus in April will be my health, I am obviously not doing as much as I should be in this area.

Spiritual (10)(10):   The goal is to live a spiritually meaningful life.
- Continue with daily prayers, meditation, being grateful, positive, and joyful
- Continue to cultivate non-attachment by being more giving

I continued with daily prayers, said even more fervently due to the health issues, and remembered my father on the anniversary of his birth with special prayers for him.  I didn't visit the temple, however, but, I still feel that I am living a spiritually meaningful life.

April Goals will be more or less the same, with daily prayers, meditations, and remembering my step-father on the anniversary of his birth.

Daughter (10)(10) The goal is to continue to have a close relationship with her.
- Celebrate her birthday!
- Look forward to and enjoy her visit home
- Continue to keep in daily contact via phone calls, texts, and video chats before and after her visit home

My daughter came home for what was supposed to have been a week long visit which got extended by two additional weeks, due to concern over my health issues.  It was wonderful to have her home for three weeks, even if she had to work from home during the extended stay!  We celebrated her birthday by treating ourselves to several take out meals and a couple of shopping trip to a crafts supply store and the dollar store which is closing down, soon.  Plus, there were daily phone calls, texts, and video chats before she came down to visit.
April Goals include continuing to maintain a close relationship with her.

Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies (10)(10):  The goal is to relax doing something I enjoy doing for the pleasure of it.
- Engage in daily joyful activities
- Engage in leisure activities
- Do crafts and pursue hobbies

In March, I spent plenty of time relaxing and enjoying joyful and leisurely activities, daily.  I read, made a couple of spring time decorations to give as gifts, participated in a photo challenge, and crocheted.  

April Goals: I plan to continue to engage in fun, relaxing activities including reading and crocheting.

Finances (10)(10):  The goal is financial security.
- Continue budgeting and spending mindfully, with purpose
- File my income taxes

I went over the March grocery budget because daughter stayed home for three weeks instead of the planned one week and I didn't increase my grocery budget to include having an additional person for most of the month, but, I will deduct the amount overspent from the April grocery budget.  I also splurged a bit on take out and other treats, as we celebrated daughter being home for her birthday, but, I had already planned and budgeted for that.  I filed my taxes as planned, continued to spend mindfully, and lived within my means in March.

April Goals:  April goals include continuing to budget and spend mindfully, with purpose.

Garden (10)(10):  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 did really well in March with lots of flowers and new growth on the fruit trees.  We did quite a bit of pruning and weeding.

April Goals:  To continue with maintaining the garden.  To start planting the vegetables I want to grow this year, including corn, tomato, okra, and green beans.     

Family/Friends/Community (10)(10):  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 with family and friends
- The occasional in person visits as and when I feel comfortable with doing so
- Participate in the blogging community and the online organizing community

March was a good month for family, friends, and community.  There were several family birthdays, including my daughter's, my sister's, sister's grandson's, two cousins', all of which resulted in phone calls, messages, and cards being sent, in addition to regular calls and emails, etc.  There was also a phone call from a cousin in Australia, who is planning to visit later this spring.  

Daughter and I visited with two of my cousins one afternoon to enjoy some treats and receive some clothes that the cousins had decluttered and we had a brief curbside visit with friend R.  We also received visits from neighbor S who brought us treats and Easter dinner.  

April Goals: April goals will be the same as above. 

House (8.5)(8.5):  The goal is a home that is pleasant, comfortable, and welcoming.
- Clean - Clean the house as needed 
- Organized - 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 was cleaned prior to daughter's visit in March and maintained (more or less) for the rest of the month.  I was very appreciative of the robot vacuum which made it possible to vacuum while I was still recovering from the blood clots.  I didn't declutter quite as much as I could have and brought in more clothes and a piece of furniture (the plant stand).  There's always room for improvement, but, I am content with the current state of the house. 

April Goals: Will be the same as above.

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

Time management continues to be a challenge.  But, the important things are getting done - I filed my taxes without procrastinating until the last minute, paid my bills on time, and dealt with various issues as they came up.

April Goals: Continue to manage my time in a mindful and efficient manner!

March was a rather wobbly month.  On one side, I had a wonderful month with daughter being home, plenty of interactions with family and friends, the garden thriving, plenty of leisure time, etc.  On the other side, there were health issues which threatened to throw everything into disarray.  

My focus in April will be to improve my health.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Roses on Thursday

The Roses Are in Bloom!

We are having another lovely, warm, sunny day with a high of 83F.  But, tomorrow's high will only be 69F and there's rain in the forecast for Saturday (and maybe Sunday, too) and cooler weather for the following week.  It seems that the roses in the back garden have decided to make the most of the sunny and warm weather and bloom all at once!  Makes me want to sing, "Everything's Coming Up Roses", even if I don't have a voice like Ethel Merman (but, then, she had a voice that was one of a kind, didn't she?)  

The First Yellow Rose

My new neighbors next door are painting the outside of their house and doing more renovations.  I woke up once to the sound of their drilling as they took off their window security bars to paint the walls, but, I went back to sleep and slept through the noise!  The next time I woke up was when Dancer asked for breakfast.  It was 9:30 a.m.

Pink Rose  (blooming through the osteospermum)

The last rose is looking a bit distressed; we might have to thin out some of the osteospermum plants to give the rose bush more air and sunlight.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- The roses blooming in the garden
- Another sunny and warm day
- Being able to open the windows and doors to let the warm air in
- The scent of jasmine from the vine outside the door
- Working phones!

Today's joyful activity was walking in the garden, admiring the roses and other flowers.

Brunch was French toast; dinner will be spaghetti with meat sauce (I made the sauce last night for dinner; need to cook more pasta for tonight's dinner)

How is your Thursday coming along?

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The Phone Saga Conclusion


Yesterday (Tuesday), I returned to the phone store and spoke with R, the more helpful salesperson who had helped me much earlier, when I bought my new cell phone.  I explained the situation with the phone black box device and how I had received a new SIM card, which the previous salesperson said I needed to call the phone company to activate, and which I wasn't sure would even fit the device and, therefore, I didn't activate it.  He checked the card and said it was already activated!  Then, he inserted it into the device and I brought it home to see if it would work. I had already mentioned the option of having a second line put on my cell phone, but, I wanted to try everything else I could to get the device to work!  Before I left the store, I asked him till what time the store would be open and he said till 8:00 p.m., but, he leaves at 6:00 p.m.  He wouldn't be in the store on Wednesday, but, he'd be there on Thursday and Friday.

Well, unfortunately, the device didn't work!  The service indicator light remained solidly red.

Still Not Working

Well, boo and hiss!  So, I went back to the store (it's only about a 10 minutes drive).  And, to make an already long story short, I had the home phone line added to my cell phone.  According to salesperson R, it was a transfer of the number from one device to another and there was no additional cost!  He told me to use that number pretty much as I used the old home phone, just to make and accept phone calls and not try to text,  I'm fine with that. The cell phone number I had shows as my primary number and the transferred home phone number shows as "home".  

While I was at the store, another older lady came in asking for help and a different salesperson helped her.  I couldn't help overhearing the conversation - apparently, she, too, had to switch from a landline to a cell phone and she has never used a cell phone before and didn't know how to retrieve her messages and needed help to figure out how to use the phone.  I could really sympathize with her!  My current cell phone isn't my first, although it has new features; but, I have my daughter to show me how to set it up and use it, as she has the same type of phone.  

After I came home, I unplugged the home phone sets.  I need to find out where I can recycle them.  I will keep the black box device for a bit, just in case the phone company asks for it to be sent back to them (I had to send the old device back when I received this one, two years ago).  

It was around 5:00 p.m. when I got home from the store and it was 81F!  I watered some of the plants in the back garden - the blueberries, the newly planted out aloe vera plants, and some of the potted plants.

Then, I sat down to watch the news and unwind from the whole phone saga!  I guess I could have saved myself a lot of time and stress if I had been able to decide to go with a new cell line at the very beginning, when I first spoke with Salvador in Mexico City, but, I was resistant to that option at the time.  I felt like I needed to try everything else, short of having the phone company come out and rewire the house for a landline for double what I am currently paying for the basic services package or paying triple for the same services I had and that doesn't take into account the charges for the service call and rewiring, etc.  I shall give this a try (having the home phone number as an additional line on my cell phone) for now and see how it works out.  I guess it is a matter of getting used to it.  

Brunch was a scrambled egg on toast; dinner was leftover seafood potato balls.

On Tuesday, I was grateful for:

- Helpful salespeople
- Being able to have the home phone number transferred to my cell phone
- Safe drives to and from the store
- A sunny, warm day
- Garden flowers

Tuesday's joyful activity was getting the phone issue resolved (hopefully!)

Dogbane/Scaredy Cat Flowers

Today, Wednesday, is another sunny and warm day, with a high of 82F.  M was here in the morning and he watered the garden.  We also noticed that someone (the City?) had filled the irrigation bags in the parkway with water:

Filled Water Bag

It's the first time that I've noticed that they've been watered!  

M also bought me a packet of corn kernels to plant!  We have to figure out where to plant them and dig a new bed!  

Lunch/Dinner Compliments of Neighbor S

Neighbor S called me in the early afternoon and brought me a delicious meal of cooked salmon and bulgur wheat salad.  I warmed up a little of it and had for brunch; the rest is in the fridge for another meal.  I offered her some aloe vera plants for her garden, but, she didn't want any.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Another sunny and warm day
- M's help with the garden
- Neighbor S being as caring and generous as always
- Working appliances and equipment
- Electricity and gas to power those appliances

Today's joyful activity was spending time out in the garden.