Monday, August 31, 2015

Quilt Top Update

Completed Quilt Top
Today, I pinned the rows to each other and sewed them together.  I did the sewing in two halves - the top 4 or 5 rows first and the bottom rows next, before putting the two halves together.  I sewed it in halves to make it easier to make it more manageable. Once the two halves were sewn, I spread them on the bed to pin them together.   Dancer followed me and gave the quilt top his special "Dancer's Seal of Approval"!

Dancer Likes It
And when I removed the quilt top to sew, he mewed his disapproval and jumped in front of the sewing machine, to force a temporary work stoppage!

"No, you shall not sew!"

I had to wait until he decided to go elsewhere for his afternoon nap!  But, eventually, I was able to sew the last seam and finish the quilt top.

Close Up: Corners Meet!
I am so happy to see that the majority of the corners meet! 

The next step is to "sandwich" the quilt with batting and backing and then, bind the edges.  But not today.  That will have to wait until the next free weekend. 

I am happy with the way this quilt top turned out.  I might make this pattern again, another time.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Another cooler day
- A day off from work
- Time to sew
- A project to keep me occupied in a productive way
- Video chatting with my daughter

How is your Monday coming along?  Are you taking time to do something you find fun and relaxing?


Quilt in Progress

Today was a little cooler than yesterday.  We were only in the mid-90s instead of 100+.  As a result, I didn't need to turn on the a/c in the bedroom. 

I went to sleep rather late, last night (past 2:30 a.m.), so, I slept in till mid-morning, today.  After I woke up, I did 2 loads of laundry to feel productive.  Then, I started to cut out the squares to go between the pieced blocks of the quilt.

First, I cut squares from a patterned fabric with a white background, but that pattern proved to be too busy and it was hard to see the pieced blocks:

Too Busy

 Then, I lay the pieced blocks on a solid white background fabric and a very pale green fabric:

Different Background Fabrics

They both looked fine, but the white background seemed brighter; the pale green seemed to tone down the pieced blocks.  Also, I wasn't sure if I had enough of the pale green fabric, as it was a piece of leftover fabric.  I had a 2-yard piece of the white fabric, which was just enough.  So, the white fabric was selected and I cut out the squares and spent the rest of the day sewing the squares and pieced blocks into rows:

Sewn in Rows and Placed in Position
The next step is to sew the rows together.  Hopefully, all the corners will meet and the pattern will work out well.   The entire quilt top has been pieced with fabric I had in my stash and sewn with thread I had in my stash!  I am planning to use an extra blanket I have on hand for the batting and more fabric from the stash for the backing.  It's going to be a very frugal gift.

Today, I am grateful for:

- A cooler day
- Phone calls with family members
- Time to sew
- Iced water
- An abundant fabric stash

Hope you've had a lovely Sunday. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Sewing on Saturday

9-Patch Blocks

It was already hot when I woke up this morning and I decided I didn't need to go grocery shopping.  Instead, I went to the library, picked up the book that was being held for me, and came home.

Had a late brunch of spiced garbanzo beans and video chatted with daughter.  After that, when the temperature inside the house had gone up to 88F (around 2:30 p.m.), I decided to turn on the air conditioner in my bedroom and sew.

I have a small folding table which is easily moved from room to room; I moved it from the family room to the bedroom and set up my sewing machine on it.  Then, I moved the ironing board and iron into the bedroom, as well.  And settled down to an afternoon and evening of sewing.  I sewed all the 9-patch blocks for the quilt top I am making.

The nice thing about having the a/c on in the bedroom is that I am able to be comfortably cool while I sew.  The bad thing about having the a/c on in the bedroom is that I don't want to leave the room because the rest of the house feels even hotter, compared to the cooler room!  I even ate my dinner in the bedroom!

Dancer cat alternated between meowing to be allowed into the room and meowing to be let out!  But now, it's night time and he's ready to cool off and sleep, he says:

Cool Cat!
Tomorrow, I will cut out the squares to go between the 9-patch blocks and sew them together. 

Today, I am grateful for:

- the a/c in the room
- ceiling fans
- electricity to run the a/c (and the ceiling fan and the sewing machine and the iron, etc.)
- libraries and free books to borrow
- video chatting with daughter

How was your day, today?  Have you had a good start to your weekend?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Trying to Keep Cool on Friday

Today was another rather warm day.  It was 84F inside the house when I woke up at 6:00 a.m.  It is 11:00 p.m. now, and it is 86F inside the house.  Daytime highs were in the triple digits.

At least it was nice and cool at the office.  I had two errands to run and I tried to do them both in the morning, during my morning break, while it was still relatively cool.  First, I went to the bank to transfer some money for daughter's rent.  Then, I went to the library to return the library books that were coming due.  I borrowed three more quilting-related books.  As I was checking them out, the librarian informed me about the library's quilting group!  Apparently, they meet twice a month to make quilts which are then auctioned off to raise funds for the library.  Unfortunately, they meet during the day time, when I am at work.  I won't be able to join them unless I take vacation time off to attend.  But maybe it's something I can look into when I am retired.

I've spent a quiet evening, today.  It was too hot to do anything!  At least, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!  LOL.

Tomorrow, I plan to go to the other library that's near my house, to  pick up a book that I had requested; I received an email, today, saying it was available for pick up.  After that, I plan to go to the grocery store for some fresh fruits and vegetables.  After that, I plan to sew!

How was your day, today?  Anyone else experiencing such heat?

I’m Just Crazy Like That - Guest Post by Daughter

Hi all, LittleMissBless here! Today I’m taking over my mom’s blog to make a post on time management and the crazy life of a second year grad student taking 22 units worth of classes while working part-time. (Just to put it into perspective, we are advised not to take more than about 14 units this semester).

I was talking with my mom about how I’m figuring out my schedule and study routine for the Fall semester which just started this past Wednesday and she asked if I’d make it into a guest post. So I figured, why not? I will warn you in advance though, that I tend to ramble and have a stream of consciousness writing style, so read at your own risk, haha. This is just the way I think about how to manage my time and keep up with all my obligations.

My schedule this semester is pretty full, with classes/work filling up my Tuesdays (11-6), Wednesdays (10-5), and Thursdays (11-6). Additionally, I have class on Mondays 12-2 and 4-6, and Fridays 10-2.

The first thing I decided was that Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays should not be study days – Tues and Thurs I have only one class (11-12:30), and then go to work 1-6. The good thing about this is that the project I work on for my job is actually my thesis project. So I can actually count this as doing “homework” since one of my classes is a seminar to guide us through the thesis writing and data analysis process. However, I already know that on these long days, I will not be in the mood to work on anything else academic once I get back home, so as much as possible I will try to finish things due on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays before the preceding Tuesday.

Next, I looked at what days have the most room for studying – of course the weekend is free of classes, so Saturdays and Sundays are viable options, but Fridays also turned out to be a good opportunity to get things done. This is because although I do have two classes scheduled for Fridays, they are discussion sections which I rarely utilize as they do not always mesh with the way I learn. Don’t worry, I’m not just saying this to get a three-day weekend. One of the discussion sections is for a statistics class, and is focused on teaching us the way to use Stata (a statistics computer program) to analyze data. However, last year I had a different statistics class with the same professor, and the discussion section was set up in the same way, and I found that I learned how to program much quicker and more efficiently on my own than going to section. Similarly the other section I have on Fridays is for an epidemiology course, and mirrors the style of section used for an epidemiology course I took last year, basically taking the form of going over problem sets and answering questions about them. Last year, I attended section for the first third of the semester, found that I didn’t find them useful and they were not an effective use of my time, stopped going, and still understood the material and actually achieved higher marks on the exams after I stopped going. Therefore, my plan for this semester is to not attend sections except when I have some burning questions or possibly right before exams, if needed. Therefore, my Friday is freed up for other uses. Additionally, I do have a 2 hour gap in between classes on Mondays that would be perfect for getting small things done in.

Once I figured out what my time slots looked like, I started to look at what I needed to do in terms of specific classes, and more generally, for things such as housework. While I do not yet know all the assignment timelines for my classes, as I do not yet have all the syllabi for my classes, I have started thinking about how to schedule what I do know I need to do. I prefer to do my groceries on Fridays, since the main grocery store I go to, Safeway, has special sales every Friday (which go a long way in saving me money – and definitely help me to keep to my $25/week on average grocery budget!). Also, since it is practically a class-free day, Friday would be a prime day for me to get the household cleaning and chores done – laundry, cooking for the week, sweeping/vacuuming/Swiffer-ing (depending on the week), cleaning the toilet, wiping down surfaces with Lysol/Clorox wipes (I rotate which area of my apartment I do this for every week), etc. I chose Friday for household chores since it is right after a week of classes, so things less academically focused give me a bit of a break mentally. Additionally, I am considering using Fridays for doing work for two of my programming courses (I am in two self-paced online courses for Java and Python). I really enjoy programming and find it to be fairly intuitive, so working on this on Fridays would not lead me to being burnt out at the end of the week.

Going through my classes individually (that I know of so far):

-For my epi class, it seems as though we have weekly reading and problem sets. While I do not yet have a sense of whether it would be more useful to get the reading done before or after the Monday or Wednesday lecture, I am thinking of doing the reading on Sundays. The problem sets will be posted on Fridays and answers posted on the following Thursdays, so I am thinking of doing them as well on the Sundays after the answers have been posted, since I have found that I learn better when I can immediately compare my answer with the true answer as opposed to waiting for almost a week to check whether or not my answer was correct. This would also allow me a variety of activity on Sundays – not just reading but also problem solving, preventing me from getting fed up with doing solely one activity.

-For my stats class, I am not yet sure what the work schedule will look like as there are only 6 or 7 assignments (and a final project at the end) for the entire semester… but there is reading associated with each topic area covered, that I plan on doing the Monday after that topic is covered in lecture. (Based on the previous class I took with this professor, doing the reading after the topic is lectured on but before doing the problem set was the most effective strategy.)

-For my thesis seminar, I will mostly be working on it at work (10 hours/week), but can work on deliverables on Sundays, as needed.

- The other class that I know the assignment schedule for is my nutritional epi class, which meets on Wednesdays. While there are a couple of assignments, most of the work for this class is readings to be done by lecture on Wednesday, which I plan to do on Sundays and finish on Mondays, if needed.

-I do still have another course – Applied Epi Using R – but as I have not yet had the first class for it, I don’t know what it will require me to do.

By now you might have realized that I have not mentioned anything about doing work on Saturdays – this is because I am reserving Saturdays as the day on which I can rest, relax, and recharge on. While I COULD do any extra work/studying on Saturdays if needed (especially during midterms season), I will do my best to not have to do work on Saturdays so that I have one day off a week.

Hope you enjoyed my rambling explanation of how I’m thinking of scheduling my time, even though it is still very tentative – I don’t actually settle into a study schedule until about the third week of classes since it’s hard to get a sense of what works best until then.

Anyways, that’s all from me, feel free to let us know your opinions on time management and how you manage all the things you need to do!
Come back tomorrow for more regular posts from my mom. LittleMissBless signing off!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Heat Wave

It was 105F today, where I live.  I was very grateful to be in the nicely air conditioned office during the day, but it was hot in the house when I came home. 

I called my neighbor to see if she wanted to walk, today, as we had planned to on Tuesday, when we walked for about a mile.  She said she was too tired, so we agreed to postpone our walk.  Which was fine with me, because it really was too hot to walk.

Instead of walking, I video chatted with my daughter, watered the back garden, and watched some TV.  Not a very productive evening, but it was too hot to do anything much.  It is 11:30 p.m., now, and the house has finally cooled down to a comfortable 84F inside.  But now, it's too late to do anything, as I should be getting ready to go to sleep.  6:00 a.m. comes too soon!

Today, I am grateful for:

- Air conditioning at the office
- Air conditioning in the car
- Water for the garden
- A relaxed evening
-Video chatting with daughter

How was your day?  Is it hot where you are? 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Playing with Fabric

I went to the office today and it was hard to get back to working after being off for a few days.  But, at least, it was nicely air conditioned in the office.  Such a blessing!  It was 95F when I got home and it is still 81F at 11:30 p.m.!

I spent the evening playing with the fabric pieces I cut out!  This is the part I enjoy the most when making a new quilt - cutting out the fabric and trying out different combinations until I am pleased with the overall effect.  My daughter bought me a rotary cutter, cutting mat and a ruler as a gift about a year and a half ago.  But even now, I tend to prefer to cut my scrap fabric the old fashioned way: I make a template, trace around it and cut each piece with a pair of scissors.  I find it to be rather meditative.

I have put the cut pieces of fabric in tentative combinations, prior to sewing the blocks.   But I'll probably rearrange them again before I sew them.  I don't have a design wall.  Instead, I spread the quilt pieces on my bed and rearrange them there.

I'll probably wait until the weekend to actually sew the quilt pieces.  Until then, I'll play with the fabric.  :)

Today, I am grateful for:

- Air conditioning at the office
- Playing with my fabric
- A relaxed evening

How was your day? 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Scrap Stash

Scrap Stash!

My scrap stash!  Two baskets and a gallon size plastic bag full!  I am blessed with an abundance of scraps!  All leftovers from other projects.  The bigger pieces of fabric are stored in the drawers of a dresser.

The two stacks of fabric squares in the front are what I have already cut out from the stash for the new quilt:  175  3.5 inch squares of colored fabric and 140 3.5 inch squares of neutral fabric.  I will join 5 of the colored squares with 4 of the neutral squares to put together a 9-patch pieced block which should measure 9-inch square (provided I sew accurate 1/4 inch seams!) 

Earlier, today, I tried to calculate how many blocks I'll need for a twin size quilt top.  Assuming a quilt size of 63-inches by 90-inches, and 9-inch blocks.  I figured I'd need 35 pieced blocks and 35 neutral squares.

The next step is to cut out the 9-inch neutral squares.  And sew the 9-patch blocks.

I think I have enough in my scrap stash for at least a dozen quilts, don't you?

Daughter went back to university, today.  I dropped her off at the airport in the morning.  I did a load of laundry and hung up everything to dry (need to put it all away, still).  Later in the evening, I went for a walk with my neighbor and, afterwards, watered the front garden.   Still need to do dishes and clean the litter box.

Back to work, tomorrow, after my short vacation break.

How was your Tuesday?  Anyone else with an extensive fabric scrap stash?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Apple Pie

Apple Pie

My daughter had requested an apple pie, so, I made one, today.

Apple Pie Filling
I peeled, cored, and sliced 3 large apples (2 Granny Smith and 1 Golden Delicious), added the juice of half a lemon, 1/2 cup sugar, some ground cinnamon (about 1 teaspoon, although I didn't measure, just shook some out of the bottle) and some ground nutmeg (about 1/2 teaspoon; again, I didn't measure.

Then, I made a basic double crust with 2 cups of flour, 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, 1/4 cup shortening:

Pie Crust Ingredients: Flour, Butter, Shortening
Mixed it up with my handheld electric mixer to cut the butter and shortening into the flour, until the mixture looked crumbly:

Pie Crust Mixture

Then, added in just enough water to mix the pastry to form a ball of dough.  I divided the dough into two portions and rolled one out to a circle large enough to cover the bottom of the pie pan.  Although I used butter straight from the freezer, it was warm enough (especially with the oven pre-heating) that the butter was already starting to melt, when I formed the pastry!

Bottom Crust

Next, I gave the sliced apples a stir to coat the pieces with the sugar/cinnamon/nutmeg mixture and dumped it into the pie pan:

Apple Mixture in the Pie Pan

I know one is supposed to add a little flour to the apple mixture to absorb some of the juice, but, guess what?  I had finished all my flour!  I used the last of it to dust the pastry board when I rolled out the pie crusts!  I need to buy more flour before I do any more baking!

Then, I rolled out the other half of the dough and made the top crust with it.  Trimmed off the excess and used the trimmed pieces to make an apple and leaf shapes to decorate the top.  Cut out vent slits to form the word "PIE" (just in case anyone was in doubt about what it was!)  :D  Brushed the top with a little milk and sprinkled a spoon or two of sugar on top:

Before Baking

Baked the pie in a 375F oven for approx. 40 minutes.  Turned the oven off and left the pie in there for another 15 minutes before I took it out.  

Warm Apple Pie
Daughter has gone out with one of her friends (best friends since middle school!), so the pie will wait until she gets home, later in the afternoon.  In the meantime, the whole house is filled with the aroma of apple pie!

Exactly forty-one years ago, today, I arrived in this country, as an 18 year old, to attend university on a scholarship.  It was an opportunity of a life-time and one that I have never regretted taking.  It seems very appropriate to celebrate that anniversary with an apple pie, doesn't it?

Anyone ready for a slice of apple pie?

Slice of Pie

Sunday: A New Quilt Project

Fabric Pieces
I had a relaxed day, on Sunday.  In the morning, I did two loads of laundry, which were hung up to dry.  I like how doing laundry makes me feel I've been productive, even if I don't do anything else!  Because I really didn't do much else that was housework related, today!   I did dishes and put away the dried dishes, I swept the laundry area floor, and I put away the dried laundry.  But that was about it.

In the afternoon, I started cutting out pieces of fabric for a new quilt - a 21st birthday quilt for my friend's younger daughter.  I had made a quilt for her older sister's 21st birthday, last year, and the younger girl told me she'd like a quilt for her birthday, too.  So, I've decided to make a Single Irish Chain quilt.  A scrappy Irish Chain, of course, because all my quilts are scrap quilts.  I am hoping that this will be a stash buster quilt, as well!  I will be making a twin size quilt and the squares I am cutting out are 3.5 inches square, with 1/4 inch seam allowances.  Once sewn, each fabric square will measure 3 inches square.   I haven't yet calculated how many pieces I will need for the quilt!

Later in the evening, I dropped daughter off at the movie theater in the mall to see a movie with two of her friends.  On my way home, I stopped at the grocery store to buy cat food and some grapes for me.  After I came home, I put water to the back garden and spoke with one of my neighbors; we've planned to go walking on Tuesday evening. 

Today, I am grateful for:

- the opportunity to start a new quilt
- my fabric stash
- a relaxed day
- water for the garden
- chat with neighbor

How was your Sunday?  Did you have a nice weekend?  Have you made a Single Irish Chain quilt?

Started on a new quilt project, today.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Saturday in Review

Saturday started out with an early morning phone call from the aunt who was hosting this month's prayer gathering, saying that the person who leads the prayers had to go somewhere else afterwards, and so, the prayers will start promptly at 8:00 p.m.  Normally, the prayer gathering is a very relaxed event and people tend to be rather casual about time with some arriving earlier and others arriving later and prayers starting whenever everyone has arrived.  I generally try to be punctual and the family knows that.  But aunt also knew that I was giving a ride to other members of the family, so, she called them to warn them, too.  :)

Later in the morning, daughter and I picked up a friend of ours to have lunch.  Initially, we had planned to go out to a restaurant, but daughter wasn't feeling too well, so, we went to our favorite Thai restaurant and picked up the food to take home with us.  Eating at home meant we could relax and chat and daughter could lie on the sofa if she needed to. 

While we were having lunch, there were several phone calls from one of my cousins regarding last minute changes to travel arrangements to the prayer meeting.  But, eventually, we got that all figured out. 

Later in the afternoon, I dropped my friend off at her home and put gas to the car on my way back.  Then, it was time to get ready for the prayer gathering.  My daughter decided to stay home since she still wasn't feeling well, and if I hadn't agreed to give other family members a ride, I might have stayed home with her.  But, as it was, one cousin dropped off her mother at my home to go with me to the prayer gathering and another cousin came over to go with us.  So, we left a little after 6:30 p.m. and arrived at the prayer gathering a little after 7:30 p.m., well in time for the 8:00 p.m. start of prayers.  :)

There was dinner, after the prayers, and we left shortly thereafter.  I drove my aunt to my cousin's home to drop her off and visited for five minutes with my cousin.  She gave me a cutting of a plant from her garden, so I now have a new succulent plant for my garden (just need to pot it up).  Then, dropped off my other cousin at her home, and came home.  Then, daughter and I chatted for a bit and I went on-line for a bit.

So, Saturday was a full day, with lots of interaction with family and friends.  The spiritual, family, and friends segments of my balance wheel are well plumped!

I was grateful for:

- being able to attend the prayer gathering
- spending time with friends
- spending time with family
- being able to drive myself and give others a ride
- free plants for the garden

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

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Friday: Baking Day and Friends to Dinner

Very Puffy Pita Bread!
I took a day of vacation from work, on Friday.  Actually, I'm on vacation till Tuesday, as I want to spend the last few days of daughter's vacation with her.  Had a nice, relaxed morning, playing some on-line games, visiting blogs, etc.

Later in the afternoon, I decided to make another batch of regular white bread (made two loaves, this time, but didn't take any photos) and, a batch of pita bread.  I followed the pita bread recipe in my old Better Homes and Gardens cook book.  I mixed up the dough, divided it into 12 sections, rolled each section into a ball, and let them rest for 10 minutes.  Because it was a rather warm day, the dough rose quite a bit while it rested:   

Four of the Resting Dough Balls

Then, flattened each ball of dough and rolled it into a thin, flat disk, about 6-7 inches in diameter and put them on baking trays:

Flattened Disks of Dough

Baked them in the oven, at 450F, two trays at a time, for 3 minutes on one side, then flipped each one over and baked for another 2 minutes on the other side

Puffy Pita Bread
Each one puffed up nicely, and, for some reason, they stayed puffy!  I baked the next batch for slightly less time, and didn't allow them to turn quite as brown, but, they, too, stayed puffed!  I think, maybe my oven is too hot?  Or, perhaps, it is due to the dry weather?  I even covered them with an upturned mixing bowl, hoping the trapped steam will deflate them, but it didn't work.  But they tasted wonderful and daughter liked them.   She liked my regular bread, too, and ate several slices.  :)

I had invited one of my friends and her family (husband and two daughters) over to dinner.  This is the same friend and daughters who visited my daughter, last weekend, and drove her back home.  For dinner, I served rice, chicken curry, beef curry, spicy sauted potatoes, sauted water spinach, tomato chutney and pita bread.  I had planned to make a flan for dessert, but, all that bread baking in the afternoon sort of took up too much of my time!  I didn't have time to make a flan.  So, I decided to make a quick "rustic" apple tart, instead!

I sliced up two of the apples I had bought, earlier, and was still mixing up the pastry when my dinner guests arrived!  But that was OK.  It only took a few minutes to make and roll out the pastry, arrange the apple slices on it and sprinkle it with sugar and powdered cinnamon.  It baked at 350F for 30 or 40 minutes while we chatted and started on dinner.  My friend asked if she might say a blessing before we started on the dinner, and when I invited her to do so, said a lovely blessing. 

My friend had also made a dessert - a cherry and pineapple dump cake - which was also warm from the oven when she brought it!  I had no idea she as bringing a dessert, so it was a nice surprise.  So we had the dump cake and the apple tart, with ice cream, for dessert, along with some of the walnut pastries I had bought earlier.

I forgot to take a photo of the apple tart.  Oh, well, I guess I'll have to make another one another day and take a photo of it then!  :D  Daughter said to me, "You like to bake; that's your "me" time" and I agree.  I do love to bake. 

Today, I am grateful for:

- Vacation time off from work
- Spending the day with daughter
- Time to cook and bake
- Time spent with friends
- Gardener brought me another new plant cutting for my garden

How was your day?  Do you like to bake?  Have you ever run short of time to make a dessert when entertaining?  What is your "fall back" dessert? 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Thursday: Farmers Market and Water Spinach

Water Spinach

Today, I went to the office and, during my morning break, I went to the bank and to the farmers market.  I made a stop at the bakery stall and bought two croissants ($1.75 each), one for me and one for daughter.  Then, I stopped by the Asian vegetables stall and bought a bunch of water spinach ($1.50).  Water spinach is a leafy vegetable that is usually sauted and served with rice and curries.  I plan to cook it for Friday night's dinner.

Daughter met up with one of her friends (friends since middle school) and they went out for sushi in the afternoon.  She and her friend came home soon after I got home and her friend went through my button box to get some buttons for a costume she was sewing. I have a collection of buttons my mother and I have bought on sale, over the years.  There used to be a clearance bin full of buttons selling for 10 cents a card at the fabric store.  We used to pick up 10 or 20 cards of buttons for a dollar or two and have them on hand.  We'd rarely pay full price for buttons.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Another, air conditioned day at the office
- Farmers markets
- Homemade strawberry jam to spread on my homemade bread
- Daughter's good friends
- Helpful colleagues at work

How was your Thursday?  Have you tried water spinach? 

We've spent the evening relaxing and talking. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wednesday's Doings

Today, I called the radiology center to make the appointment for my diagnostic tests.  They are scheduled for Tuesday, September 1.  I am blessed to have access to health care.

I went to the office, today, and enjoyed the blessing of free air conditioning.  There was an emergency preparedness awareness fair across the street and two colleagues and I went to check it out.  We picked up some literature and some free goodies.  I live in an earthquake prone area, so emergency preparedness is something I try to keep on top of.  I have emergency supplies at my desk at work (water, food, thermal blanket, hard hat and work gloves, etc.) and emergency supplies at home (at least 3 days worth of water, food, first aid kit, flash lights, etc.)

Daughter met up with one of her college friends for lunch, and, afterwards, they both came to my office.  Daughter rode home with me and we dropped off her friend at the bus stop on our way home.

Once home, I put water to the orange tree and the peach tree, as they were starting to wilt.  Will water the rest of the back garden, tomorrow.  Need to water the indoor plants, too.

Later, I cooked a chicken curry with the 8 lbs. of chicken leg quarters I bought yesterday.  There is enough for Friday's dinner, when I've invited friends over, plus some for the freezer.  A little bit of bulk cooking now means I won't have to cook as much later.

In between, I continued to read the book a friend had given me.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Access to health care
- Air conditioned offices
- My daughter having good friends
- Water for my garden
- Time to read

What was your day like?  What were you grateful for, today?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

August Grocery Shopping - Week 3

This Week's Blurry Receipt

Went grocery shopping, again, today, with daughter accompanying me.  :)

I bought:

8 lb. chicken leg quarters, $.49/lb = $4.01
1+ lb. beef shoulder steak, $3.49 = $4.17
4 salmon steaks, $3.99/lb = $10.11
2+ lb. nectarines, $.49/lb = $1.09
2.66 lb. apples, $.20/lb = $.53
2.54 lb. onions, $.25/lb = $64
1.55 lb. bananas, $.49/lb = $.76
5x4 lb. bag sugar, $1.99/4 lb bag= $9.95
1 package walnut pastries (10 oz) = $5.49
1 packet raw cashews = $3.48
1 packet raw cashews = $3.45
Total = $43.68

I had $44.65 left in my grocery budget after Friday's grocery shopping, so I came in just under budget! Of course, that is without the additional $25 I was planning to take from my miscellaneous category.   

So, grocery spending to date: $30.35 + $43.68 = $74.03.
Amount left in the budget:  $75 - $74.03 = $0.97!

I bought extra chicken partly because I have invited some friends to dinner on Friday night; 20 lbs. of sugar because I shall be making more jam and/or chutney, later.

I cooked the salmon with onions, a tomato, and some teriyaki sauce for tonight's dinner (with leftovers for the rest of the week).  Cooked the beef, too, as a spicy curry.  Will cook the chicken tomorrow.

I have plenty of fish and meat for the rest of the month, and probably into next month (there's still a package of 3 frozen fish fillets, 2 pork chops, and 1 lb. hamburger patties in the freezer).  The only things I will need to buy are more fresh fruits and vegetables.

Apart from grocery shopping, I did a load of laundry and vacuumed the house, today.  I had taken the day off from work, so I was able to do all that and get in an afternoon nap, as well!

I also received a call from the clinic saying that my referral for additional diagnostic tests has been authorized and the paperwork will be mailed to me.  I called the radiology center and left a message; I will call again, tomorrow, to try to set up the appointment.

It's back to work, tomorrow.  Daughter will be meeting up with one of her college friends while I am at work.

How is your grocery budget coming along?  Are you staying within budget for the most part?

Monday, August 17, 2015

Being Together

Today, daughter's first full day at home, I had the day off from work.  We slept in until 9:30 a.m. and had a rather leisurely, relaxed morning.
I had changed the bed sheets, last night; so this morning, I washed the sheets and did another load of laundry.  Made milkrice for brunch.
Daughter played the piano most of the morning - she's learning to play a new piece.  Also, her former piano teacher wants daughter to participate in her winter recital.  So, she practiced her recital pieces. 
In the afternoon, we went to the mall (where it was nice and air conditioned!  Such a blessing!)  Daughter needed some new clothes for the fall semester - pants, tops, long sleeved turtle necks, etc.  She was able to buy herself two pairs of pants, two pairs of leggings, 3 long sleeved turtle necks, and a sweater, all for under $40.  She also bought me a new handbag and a pair of black pants as part of my birthday gift!  My birthday isn't until November, but she won't be home for my birthday, so, this is an advance gift.  My current everyday handbag is also what she bought me for a previous birthday, but it is well worn and looks a bit battered.
After we came home, I took the trash cans to the curb for trash pick up tomorrow.  Then, watered the front garden.  Called and chatted with a friend.  
Daughter went out to dinner with two of her friends, who are my neighbor's daughters.  They've known each other since they were babies and played together since childhood.  They are still good friends. She brought me a piece of cheese pie for my dessert.  :)
Today, I am grateful for:
- Time spent with my daughter
- Leisurely mornings
- Air conditioned malls
- Bargains
- Friends

How was your day, today? 

Souvenir Mug

New Mug

Daughter came home today.  :)  She brought me a souvenir mug from her visit to San Francisco!

Golden Gate Bridge!  And when you look inside, you can see the cars driving along the bridge:

Cars on the Bridge!
I love my new mug!

Saturday, August 15, 2015


I decided to go ahead and mend the curtains as it was the easiest, fastest thing to do.  Definitely a temporary fix, as they'll rip again, the next time I wash them! I hand-sewed, as that's easier for me, than machine sewing.

 I sewed up the long rip, using a whip stitch:


There was a rather worn, starting to tear area at the other end of the same panel, so I sewed that up, too, but with a backstitch:

Not the Neatest Repair
The smaller tear near on the second panel gave me more trouble; I tried to whip stitch it together, but the fabric was so worn that it kept tearing when I pulled the thread!

So, given the fact that the design incorporated cutwork embroidery, I decided to try a different approach:
It turned out a bit wider than first intended, because the fabric kept tearing!

Not the neatest mending, but, I didn't want to invest a lot of time and effort as I realized that whatever I did was going to be a very temporary fix.  The curtains are too worn to survive the next wash.

I ironed them and hung the up; the repairs are not that noticeable:

The Mended Curtain Panels

With the valance and side panels in place: the dark area is the window a/c unit (you can see the power cord behind the headboard; the other cord hanging half way down is the pull chain for the ceiling fan).  I move the curtains aside when the a/c is on.

Window with Curtains
I will start thinking of new curtains.  But for the time being, the mended curtains will suffice.  I won't be washing them again until at least the end of the year.

What would you have done?  Would you have mended them?  


Long Rip

No, not my physique!  (More's the pity!)  LOL.  My bedroom curtains!

Smaller Tear
I washed my bedroom curtains today, and when they came out of the washing machine, I noticed that there were some rips and tears and other rather worn areas which are about to tear.

First of all, these curtains are at least 15 years old.  They were a set of "cafe" curtains, probably meant for a kitchen or a breakfast area, but they fitted my long, narrow bedroom window and I chose them because the appliqued roses echoed the roses on my wallpaper border: 

Wallpaper Border (at ceiling height)
They are cotton and unlined; I didn't want any heavy drapery because the window is north facing and I didn't want to block any light.  I remember fretting about paying $50 for the set: four curtain panels (needed four because of the length of the window), valance, and end panels.  That was a lot to pay for bedroom curtains, but I really liked them, because of the roses.  They've lasted me a long time, so they've given me my money's worth of use from them.

I am debating whether to mend the rips or make new curtains.  Only two of the four panels are torn; I could mend them and put them at the ends of the window where they'll be somewhat covered by the end panels.  However, the fabric is so worn in other places that they'll tear again, the next time they are washed.  I usually wash them twice, maybe three times, a year.

If I make new curtains, I would like them to be eyelet, but I'd have to buy the fabric.  I do have plain white fabric in the stash, however.  I could make the plain white panels for the two ends and use the other two rose appliqued panels for the middle.  And replace them as and when they rip.

Decisions, decisions, decisions!

What do you think?  Should I mend them or replace them?  What would you do?

Friday, August 14, 2015

August Grocery Shopping - Week 2

Today's Grocery Receipt

Earlier this month, on August 2, I spent $10.12 on groceries.  And the next day, I spent another $5.55 to buy 1 gallon milk ($2.59), 4 bread rolls (4/$1.00), 1 cantaloupe (@$.25/lb; $.97), and 1 lettuce ($.99), making my grocery spending for week 1 total $15.67.

I didn't grocery shop last weekend.  But today, I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from the office and bought:

1 box crackers (unsalted tops saltines) = $1.50
2 cans refrigerated biscuit dough; $.50@ = $1.00
1 gal. milk = $2.69
1 quart ice cream = $2.50
2 cans tuna, $1@ = $2.00
1 package bacon (12 oz.) = $2.49
1 kielbasa sausage (14 oz.) = $2.50

I also bought 2 cans of cat food, $.89@ = $1.78

The total came to $16.46; but when I deducted the cat food, my grocery total came to $14.68.

So, my August grocery spending, so far, totals:  $15.67 + $14.68 = $30.35.
My grocery budget is $75 (although, I might take $25 from my Miscellaneous category and raise it to $100, with daughter coming down to visit for 10 days; I'll see how it goes)
Amount left in the budget:  $75 - $30.35 = $44.65

I can see myself buying some salmon steaks ($3.99/lb) over the weekend, since daughter loves salmon, raspberries ($.99/6 oz.), and stock up on sugar ($1.99/4 lbs.).  Perhaps more fruits, as well.

How is your grocery budget coming along?   

Thursday, August 13, 2015

All Moved In

Daughter had me call her early to get an early start.  She called me later to say that the two workmen arrived a little after 9:00 a.m. and they moved all her stuff to her studio apartment by 12:45 p.m.  She was surprised at how quickly they were able to move her stuff - furniture and boxes!  She has spent the rest of the day unpacking and putting away her things.  Poor thing is tired.

It's been a warm day, today.  Fortunately, I was in the air conditioned comfort of the office, all day.  But it was 99F outside at 6:30 p.m.  The house had remained relatively cool at 85F.  I kept the windows closed and drapes drawn until after 7:30 p.m. and then, opened the windows to cool the house down.  I haven't been able to put up the air conditioner, again, after I had it taken down when it rained, several weeks ago.  I will ask my gardener if he could stop by on Saturday to install the air conditioner, again.  It's going to be 104F on Saturday through Monday, according to the weather forecast.

I watered the back garden in the evening.  I should have watered the front, too, but I was busy talking with daughter.  Maybe, if I wake up early tomorrow morning, I can water the front before I leave for work.

Plans for tomorrow include:

- Watering the front garden
- Going to the office
- Having the gardener continue to mulch flower beds
- Paperwork
- Call cousin

Today, I am grateful for:

- Daughter's move going so smoothly and quickly
- Helpful workmen
- Narrowly avoiding an accident in the parking lot
- House staying relatively cool
- Cool evenings

How was your day, today?  What are your plans for tomorrow?  What are you grateful for, today?

Moving Again

Last Saturday, daughter went down to the apartment management office to ask them if they knew when renovations in her studio apartment will be completed and she'd be able to move back, because she was planning to come down home at the end of this week and won't be back in Berkeley until August 26.  She didn't want to be notified that her apartment was ready when she was down here and couldn't do anything.  But they told her that they didn't know when it would be done.  And, in any case, we have paid for the 2-bedroom apartment until the end of this month, so we felt she had time.

Then, today, around 11:00 a.m., she got an email - the studio apartment is ready and they need the 2 bedroom apartment she's in currently, by Friday!   I guess they rented out the apt. and that's probably effective from Saturday!  However, the good news is, because they are at fault for not giving her sufficient notice, they have said they will have two of their workmen move her furniture and stuff for her.  So, she'll have help with moving her furniture.  Which is a blessing. 

Funny how things work out.  The timing couldn't have been better.  She had stayed on an extra week at her internship, at the request of the people there; otherwise, she would have already been back home by now, and wouldn't have been able to do anything when the email came asking her to vacate her new apartment.  Also, today was her last day at the internship, which means she's free to pack and move her stuff tomorrow, so she can be out of the apartment by Friday!  The internship finished just in time!  

 And she'll be all moved into the studio before she comes home for the week of vacation!  She won't have to worry about receiving the notice to move when she's home.  And she'll be all moved in before her Fall semester classes start.  She might not be all unpacked, but she'll be moved in.  

Today, she was able to pick up the key to the apartment she'll be moving back into (it was her former apartment, but she had to give in the key when she moved out).  She went down to take a look and give it a quick clean (newly painted and new flooring installed, so fairly clean).  She's spending the evening packing up the kitchen, etc. 

Today, I went to the office and stopped by the pharmacy to pick up some medication refills.  In the evening, on my way home, I dropped off my piano keyboard at my friend's house and had a cup of tea with her.  She and her daughters (who are friends with my daughter) are planning to visit daughter over the weekend and will take the keyboard to her.  They will also give daughter a ride home.

Afterwards, I put gas to the car and came home.  Have spent most of the rest of the evening talking over the day's events with daughter, so not much else done. I tried to see the meteor shower, but saw only one "shooting star".  Too much ambient light from all the city lights.

Today, I am grateful for:

- The blessing of good timing!
- Daughter being able to move into her remodeled apartment sooner than expected (an $800 per month savings!)
- The blessing of having help moving the furniture!
- Friends who will take things up to her for us.
- A glimpse of a "shooting star"!

How was your day?  Do you have times when things seem to fall into place with perfect timing? Were you able to see the meteor shower?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

"Me" time

There was a time when I felt that I didn't have any time to get some "me" time. I worked full time, I was a single parent to a young daughter who was very involved with extra-curricular activities (dance classes, karate, Sunday school, piano, etc.), I took care of my then semi-invalid mother, plus, I was involved in my daughter's school and my temple, and there was all the regular housework, grocery shopping, cooking, etc.

It took me some time to realize that I could have "me" time - only it wasn't going to be a long stretch of uninterrupted time, which was what I was looking for. The luxury of a whole Saturday to myself, or even a whole morning or a whole afternoon, was simply not to be.

What I could have, instead, was 30 minutes while I waited for daughter to have her piano lesson on Saturday morning; 45 minutes while she took her karate class; 1 hour while she was at Sunday school; 15 minutes in the doctor's waiting room until they called in my mother, and so on and so forth - little bits of time. Often not enough to work on a project of any size, but, long enough to knit a few rows on a scarf, or read another page or two of a book, to look through a magazine, etc. I learned to have a couple of portable projects with me at all times. A book and some knitting or hand-sewing. I turned all my "waiting" time into "me" time!  And learned to take full advantage of all the small bits of time, when that was all I had.

These days, my mother is no longer alive, my daughter is away at university and I have lots of time to myself.  Of course, I spend a lot of that time video chatting with daughter, but, I still have time to play a game of solitaire on the computer, or read, or watch TV, or write to a friend.

This evening, for example, I did minimal housework after I came home from work.  I watered the indoor plant, did the dishes, looked through this week's grocery ads, but that was about it.  I didn't even need to make dinner as I warmed up some of the leftover soup from yesterday and toasted two slices of my homemade bread to have with it.  Instead, I watched some television programs, wrote to a friend, and relaxed.  Practically the whole evening was "me" time!

Today, I am grateful for:

- A relaxed evening/"me" time
- Video chatting with daughter
- Safe commutes to and from work
- A few cooler than normal days (we'll be having triple digits later this week)
-  Helpful neighbors (they brought my trash cans in for me, again)

What do you do to take some time for yourself in your busy day?  Do you long for larger blocks of time?  Or do you make use of smaller bits of time to do something fun and nice for yourself?

Monday, August 10: Striving for Balance Daily

We are already one third of the way through this month!  The days seem to go by so quickly.  It is hard to make sure that each day is balanced with attention being paid to each of my balance wheel segments.  So, today, I will review the day's activities in terms of being balanced.

Today, as always, the day started with devotions (Spirituality).  Later, I went to the office (Career) and had a productive day.  During my lunch break, I walked to the nearby library (Health/Exercise; Hobbies/Crafts).  I borrowed two magazines, a book on quilts and a book about washi tape Christmas crafts.  My daughter has been using washi tape to decorate some things, including the planner she made for herself, so I thought she'll be interested in the Christmas crafts book.

After I came home, I wrote an email to one of my nieces (Family), cleaned out the fridge (Environment), took the trash can and recycling bin out to the curb (Environment), visited a bit with one of my neighbors (Friends/Community), and watered the back garden (Environment).

I also video chatted with my daughter (Daughter).  We paid her fall semester tuition, today (Finances) and discussed plans for her visit home.

For dinner, I made a chicken and vegetable soup, using the remainder of the chicken breast I had pan roasted, some time ago, some chopped celery, a carrot and two small potatoes, cut up.   It made a very frugal meal (Finances) and the vegetables made it healthy, too (Health);  there's enough for tomorrow's dinner, as well (might add some frozen corn to it, to vary it a bit).  

So, while it was an ordinary day, I was able to touch on several segments: Spirituality, Career, Health, Hobbies/Crafts, Family, Daughter, Friends/Community, Environment, and Finances.  So, all in all, a pretty good day.

Today, I am grateful for family, friends, libraries, orange blossoms which make the garden smell wonderful, and a balanced day.  :)

Do you strive for balance each day?  Do you review your day to see if you were able to touch upon each segment of your life?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Feeling Accomplished: Bread Making Success!

Three Loaves of Bread

On my to do list this weekend was a rather tentative "Bake bread?"

I first tried making bread from scratch several years ago and I think I added too hot water and killed the yeast!  The dough never rose and I ended up with a brick.  I tried another time, after that, and again, I baked a very dense loaf that was not how bread was supposed to be.  After that, I sort of gave up baking yeast bread from scratch.

But I have been longing to bake my own bread from scratch.  A proper loaf of hand-kneaded yeast bread.  

And today, I did just that!  I used the recipe for White Bread from my old Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (they all say "New Cook Book", but this copy is an older edition; I don't have the page with the publication year information, but I've had this book since the early 1980s).  I followed the   "Conventional Method" where the yeast is "proofed" first; my previous efforts had been using the "Easy-Mix White Bread" recipe where the yeast was added to the flour, directly.  The newer BH&G cook book (copyright 2006; 14th edition) I have only gives the recipe where the yeast is added directly to the flour, and it's simply called "White Bread".  I had bought the newer cookbook to replace the older edition, but I am glad I kept the older copy, too, although the step-by-step photographs in the newer book were very helpful.

Recipe directions, in brief:  1 package of yeast softened in 1/4 cup of warm water.  2 cups of milk, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 teaspoons salt (I reduced it to 1 1/2 tsp), and 1 tablespoon of butter heated till warm and mixed with 2 cups of flour.  I used all purpose flour since that is what the recipe listed and that is what I had on hand.   The recipe called for 5 3/4 to 6 1/4 cups of flour, total.  Add the yeast mixture to the milk and flour mixture and beat well.  Add as much flour as can be mixed with a spoon.  Then, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic.  I needed a little more than 6 1/4 cups, as my dough seemed rather sticky; I think I used about 7 cups.

I admit to feeling a little nervous about kneading the dough by hand, as I was not sure if I'd be able to knead it sufficiently.  I do have a mixer with a dough hook that I could have used, but I wanted to try it by hand (less things to pull out of cabinets, set up, wash, etc.)  Knead for 6-8 minutes, said the recipe; I think I kneaded for a bit longer.  Shape into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, cover and keep in a warm place to rise until doubled (1 1/4 hours; mine was doubled in less than 1 hour).  

Punch down, turn out onto a lightly floured surface, divide dough in half, shape into two balls.  Let rest for 10 minutes, covered.  Grease two 8x4x2 inch loaf pans, shape each ball of dough into a loaf.  My loaf pans are slightly bigger (8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2), and I had enough dough for another, slightly smaller loaf pan, as well.  Place in pans, brush with some melted butter, cover and allow to rise until nearly doubled (45-60 minutes).  Bake in a 375F oven for about 45 minutes or till the bread tests done (sounds hollow when tapped).

My bread was done in 45 minutes.  I let it cool a bit and then, sliced the smaller loaf to see how it looked.  I think it turned out well:

Sliced Freshly Baked Bread

I had the bread, spread with a little butter, while still warm!  It was good.  I froze one loaf to keep for daughter to try, when she comes home, next week.  I might freeze the 2nd larger loaf, too. 

I feel very accomplished and proud of myself for finally being able to make bread from scratch!  LOL.

In addition, I did another load of laundry, mended daughter's knit top, continued to repair her quilt top, washed dishes, and did a little paperwork.  Still need to wash all the baking pans and mop the kitchen.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Successfully baking bread! 

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

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Weekend To Do List

This weekend's to do list: Updated Saturday night

- Renew car registration - done
- Buy mulch - done
- Laundry - done
- Dust - done
- Vacuum - done
- Mop kitchen
- Tidy- started
- Paperwork/filing
- Bake bread?
- Water garden - Watered the front
- Sew - mend daughter's knit top; quilt top
- Clean out purse

I renewed the car registration, first thing this morning; instead of mailing in the payment and waiting for the tags to be mailed back to me, I went in person to the Department of Motor Vehicles counter at the local Auto Club office and paid the registration fee and received the tags right away.

Then, I drove to the garden center and picked up four bags of mulch, on sale for $3 per bag.  It wasn't as good a sale as earlier, when I bought five bags for $2 per bag (same brand of mulch).  But there is no guarantee that the mulch will go on sale for $2 per bag, again, and I need the mulch, so, I decided to go ahead and buy it at that price.  I allocate $25 per month, over and above what I pay the gardener, for garden supplies such as mulch, fertilizer, potting soil, etc.  The four bags of mulch plus sales tax came to $12.95, today.  I still have another $12 to buy more mulch, later this month (hoping it'll go on sale for $2 per bag, again).

What have you planned for the weekend?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Slow Thursday

Today has been a slow, rather non-productive day.  I went to the post office in the morning and mailed the letter I had written to my mother's friend.  This lady and my mother became friends when they were both in teacher training college, back in the early 1940s.  My mother boarded at her friend's home for her last year of training and they stayed friends after each completed her training as teachers.  My mother's friend got married and moved overseas with her husband, but she and my mother stayed in touch and visited each other occasionally.  I last saw my mother's friend, who is sort of an honorary aunt to me, in 1987.  But I phoned her when my mother passed away and we've kept in touch.  She recently celebrated her 95th birthday.  My mother would have been 95 this year, had she lived.

I had a productive day at the office, but haven't done much since I came home.  I've video chatted with daughter, spoke on the phone with my friend, and wrote to another friend.  But I haven't done the dusting and vacuuming I had wanted to do - it was too hot to do anything earlier in the evening and now, it's too late (11:00 p.m.) and I am too tired.  I think I will simply wait until Saturday morning to do the house cleaning.  I don't have much on my to do list for tomorrow - I'll water the front garden and relax!

Today, I am grateful for:

- Keeping in touch with old friends
- New friends, too!  :)
- Safe commutes to and from work
- Phone calls, emails and letters that say, "I care about you"
- Being able to take the evening off, if I want to

How was your day?  Did you have a productive day, today?  Or, did you have a slow day like I did?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wednesday, August 5: To Do Lists and Productivity

Today's To Do List
I've several to do lists, written in various places.  I have a set of monthly calendar pages, where I write down all the things for the up-coming months, like when various payments are due, appointments, etc.  Then, I have a notebook (pictured above) in which I write down each day's to do list (and doodle!).  Here's what I wrote in my book for today:

- Write to mother's friend/mail - Wrote the letter, will mail tomorrow
- Mail aunt's card - Done
- Post Office for above - Done (had to have the card hand cancelled due to embellishments)
- Bank - Done
- P.M. - Dust - Not Done
- Paperwork - Not Done
- Laundry - Done
- Dishes - Done

In addition, I post a version of my to do list here, on the blog.  Here's what I posted, yesterday, as my to do list for today:

- Go to the office - Done
- Post office to mail card to aunt - Done
- Bank - Done
- Water camellia bush and potted plants - Done
- Paperwork/Filing - Not Done
- Laundry - Done
- Dust bedroom - Not Done

Slight differences between the two, but that's OK.  Most of the items on my lists got done.  The dusting and the paperwork/filing which didn't get done will get carried forward.

In addition to the above, I also video chatted with daughter and wrote an email to a friend. 

Today, I am grateful for:

- A drive through the park on my way to and from the office
- Video chatting with daughter
- The sweet fragrance of orange blossoms on my tree
- Hummingbirds enjoying the orange blossom nectar
- A cool evening after the day's heat

How was your day, today?  What was on your to do list?  Were you able to get most of it done?    

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Trying New Fruits - White Sapote

White Sapote
Last year, I had the opportunity to try a couple of new-to-me fruits - jujube and jazz apples.  This year, however, I haven't tried any new-to-me fruits until today.  Today, I tried what is known as a Sapote in general and, more specifically, White Sapote.  I was given the fruit when I went to the temple, last week, on Wednesday.  It is from a tree on the temple grounds.  It was still a little under-ripe when I received it and firm to the touch.  I was told it will soften when ripe.  I left the fruit on my kitchen counter to ripen and decided it was ripe enough to try it today.  I think I might have let it get a little over-ripe!

I cut it into quarters and this is what it looked like:

Very Ripe White Sapote Pieces

The skin is supposed to be inedible, so I just scooped out the flesh with a spoon and ate it.  It was very soft and custard like, somewhat sweet, but a little bland.  There were three big seeds and two small seeds in the middle; I saved the seeds to see if they will germinate if I planted them.  It might make an interesting plant.

I have eaten yellow sapotes, as a child - there was a yellow sapote tree in my neighbor's garden - but the texture and taste of yellow sapotes tend to be different; I remember them being more chalky, less sweet.  I have also eaten sapodilla, which is another type of sapote, but they, too, tasted different to the white sapote.

I have not seen white sapote on sale (the skin is very thin, especially when ripe, and bruises easily, so not a good fruit for being transported, etc.)  But it is a fruit I wouldn't mind eating again.

Today, in addition to trying a new fruit, I went to work, paid 3 bills (gas, internet, utilities), went to the post office to mail the bill payments (yes, I'm still old fashioned about writing checks and mailing in payments; I'm doing my bit to support the postal service!), picked up medication refills from the pharmacy, brought the trash cans in, went through the grocery ads, watered the orange and peach trees, watered the indoor plants, and finished writing out the card for an aunt's birthday (addressed and stamped and ready to be mailed, tomorrow).  I did everything on my to do list!

Have spent the evening trying to video chat with daughter - she's having trouble with her internet connection; her account keeps getting disconnected (internet connection comes with her apartment) and she's been calling the service provider.  They get her connected, it works for not even 5 minutes and goes off, again!  Very frustrating for her.  It's a good thing she's on summer break, right now, and not having any homework for her classes; all her homework requires access to the internet as assignments are done on-line and submitted on-line, etc.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- A new fruit to try
- Water for my plants
- Dinner from the temple
- Internet connections 
- Phones when the internet doesn't work properly!

I'll go ahead and post my to do list for Wednesday:  
- Go to the office
- Post office to mail card to aunt
- Bank
- Water camellia bush and potted plants
- Paperwork/Filing
- Laundry
- Dust bedroom

How was your day, today?  Have you ever tried sapote?