Thursday, June 30, 2016

Thursday: Blood Tests and Conference Calls

Went for my blood test in the morning; the technician who attended to me was very excited to see me without my mask and called out to her colleague, who came over to ask me how I was!  :D

On the way home, I stopped at the grocery store for the cans of coconut water that were on sale.  However, they were not the bigger cans that usually sell for $.99 each.  These were smaller cans and I didn't think it was much of a bargain, so I didn't buy any.

Also on the way home, I put gas to the car.  $2.79/gal. total came to $30.97.  Once I start going downtown every day for radiation treatment, I'll need to put gas more often, at least once a week.

When I came home and checked my work emails, there were several from my supervisor, including one asking when I'd be available for a conference call.  So, I responded to the emails and we had the conference call later in the afternoon.   I spent the rest of the afternoon and part of the evening doing office work.  I was determined to send back a completed assignment by the end of the work day, today, before I took my day of vacation tomorrow.  I was able to do that and I am happy.

In the evening, my neighbor across the street called and brought me some Armenian food her mother had made.  I had just finished having my dinner of rice and shrimp curry, so I just took a small bite to taste it.  Made of red lentils and couscous, with onions and some spices, it tasted quite nice.  I will keep it in the fridge and have for my dinner, tomorrow.

Speaking of my fridge, it seems like the seal around the fridge door is not sealing too well.  I looked on-line to see how to replace the seal, but it seems a bit complicated for me to tackle on my own.  I called Sears appliance repairs and they charge $99 for a service call, to have someone come out to take a look and give an estimate for parts and labor.  Of course, the fridge/freezer is almost 26 years old, so it might be time to replace it.  But so far, it has worked without any problems and the seal on the freezer side is fine.  I think I will ask my neighbor if he is capable of fixing it.  If not, it might be time to go shopping for a new fridge/freezer.

Today's decluttering:

June 30 Decluttering
4 lamp shades
6 brass cups

The lamp shades were removed from the ceiling fan/light fixture that used to be in daughter's bedroom, when I had it replaced with a new ceiling fan/light fixture.  The new fan/light fixture came with its own lamp shades.

The 6 brass cups were a gift from a cousin's friend who paid us a visit many, many years ago.

With these 10 items, I have decluttered 300 items!  I want to continue decluttering in July too.  But I am debating between continuing with decluttering 10 items a day which would result in 310 items by the end of July or trying a different method, where you declutter the same number of items as the date.  So, 1 item on the 1st, 2 items on the 2nd, 3 items on the 3rd, etc. until 31 items on the 31st.  If I do it this way, I'd declutter 496 items by the the end of the month!  Or maybe I'll do a combination of both.  Both ways result in 190 items decluttered by the 19th of the month, so I can continue to declutter 10 items a day for the first 19 days and then, switch to 20 items on the 20th, 21 on the 21st, etc.  Although, hopefully, by that time, I won't have 30 items to toss on the 30th and 31 items on the 31st!  Maybe I should do it in reverse order - declutter 31 items on the 1st, 30 on the 2nd and so on until down to 1 item on the 31!  That sort of makes more sense to me, but the thought of finding 31 items to toss, tomorrow, seems rather daunting.  Maybe I should just stick to my 10 items a day; slow and steady. 

Also in the evening, I put water to the front garden.  I will water the back garden tomorrow evening.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Blood test went well
- Being able to run errands for myself
- Getting my work assignment done
- Neighbor bringing me more food
- Video chatting with daughter

Today, I spent:

$1 for parking.
$30.97 for gas (car).

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wednesday: Tattoos and a Baked Garden

This morning, I went for my CAT scan and to get "positioned" for my radiation treatment, which included getting two tattoos to help the technicians focus the radiation in the proper area each time.  So now, at the age of 60, I am a tattooed lady!  :o  One of my nieces tells me that I should get a leather jacket to go with my tattoos!  Um...

When I came back home, afterwards, I found a bunch of work-related emails waiting for me!  So, spent the next hour or so responding to those.

Took a break for brunch - I had some toast with the rest of the tuna salad I had made.  It had tasted bitter, yesterday, but today, it tasted fine.  I had some diluted passion fruit juice with it. 

Nathalie had asked about my garden and I had replied it was baked.  I took some pictures of my baked garden today:

Sun baked lemons are dropping from the trees...

Sun baked peaches:

Peaches 1

Peaches 2
The one peach that escaped damage:

One Good Peach
It will be a peach harvest of one single peach!

The loquat tree:

Loquat Tree
The African Daisies:

African Daisies
The camellia tree:

The oranges look like they might be OK:

It is a sad excuse for a garden, isn't it? 

I am glad I didn't bother to grow any vegetables this year.  Nothing would have survived!  I might try growing some winter vegetables in the fall, though (and hope we won't have one of our rare freezes, like the one we had a few years ago, when my avocado tree died).

I did more office work in the afternoon and then, took a nap! 

Later, I did my decluttering for the day:

June 29 Decluttering

6 brass cups (I am counting them individually because they were a gift from my mother and are hard to let go of)
1 set of 5 placemats (also bought by my mother)
1 mandolin/slicer thing (received as a gift from a friend, but hardly used)
2 food containers (saved to reuse, but time to toss)
= 10 items

Today, I am grateful for:
- CAT scan and tattooing went well, without any problems
- Safe drive to clinic and back
- Validated parking at this clinic!
- At least one peach survived getting baked!
- Afternoon naps

Today, I spent:

$2 for parking with validation

This week's grocery ads came out yesterday and one of the grocery stores is having coconut water on sale for $.50 per can.  This particular brand usually sells for $.99 a can, so this is a good sale.  I will be passing by this store on the way to and from the lab where I get my blood tests done, so I might stop by to buy some cans of coconut water with the $5 left in my June grocery budget.

On the agenda for tomorrow:  Blood test and maybe grocery shopping for cans of coconut water.

How was your Wednesday?  What are your plans for the holiday weekend?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Tuesday's Productivity and More June Grocery Shopping

June Gloom was back, today!  There was a cloud cover and some humidity keeping the temperature under control.   It was 86F according to the car temperature gauge, when I was out doing the grocery shopping at 11:00 a.m.  It was 90F with 40% humidity at 3:00 p.m., according to the weather report.  It was 82F in my family room and I was quite comfortable with the ceiling fan on.

Today's To Do List:

- Office work: Send in completed work (DONE); Email supervisor about taking time off on Friday since I have two medical appointments, one in the morning and one in the afternoon (DONE); do more work - DONE
- Reset tripped fuse - DONE
- Bring trash cans in - DONE
- Grocery shop for cherries and chestnuts - DONE
- Tidy kitchen
- Tidy family room
- Bring in stand fans (2) from garage (DONE); clean fans (DONE)
- Daily decluttering - DONE
- Call medical insurance re. list of providers (DONE)
- Call auto insurance (DONE)
- Pay bills (DONE)
- Clean litter box

Did almost everything on the to do list (will clean the litter box in a bit), except tidying the kitchen and family room!

Tomorrow's To Do List includes:
- CAT Scan and radiation positioning; tattooing, too?
- Office work
- Tidy kitchen
- Tidy family room
- Daily decluttering

Not adding a lot of things to the list since I don't know how I will feel after my medical appointment.

I took another picture of yesterday's decluttered items this morning, because yesterday's picture was so dark:

June 27 decluttering - retake

Today's declutterings include these items that weren't photographed:

- 1 patio table
- 1 broom
- several broken terra cotta pots (was keeping to make a fairy garden, but decided to toss, instead)

 And these items that were:

June 28 Decluttering
2 quilting books
2 maps
1 user guide to my old phone
1 set of 6 blank note cards
1 picture frame

= 10 items

280 items decluttered, but the house doesn't feel any less cluttered!  I simply have an abundance of stuff.  But, it is getting harder to find things I am willing to declutter; I found myself picking up several items  and putting them back again.  I am not giving up, though.  I know there's more that can be decluttered and I shall keep at it.

This morning, I reset the fuse that had gone off, yesterday, and did some office work.  Later in the morning, I did a special, mid-week grocery shopping:

Chestnuts and Cherries
I don't normally make a return trip to the grocery store, mid-week, but daughter had asked me to pick up more of the packets of chestnuts for her and I wanted to take advantage of the one day sale of cherries at $.99/lb.  They were putting out new stocks of cherries when I went, so I got them as fresh as possible from a store.  Unfortunately, my taste buds are still a bit off, so I can't taste the true flavor of the cherries, but what I can taste is pretty good. 

6/28 Grocery Receipt
I spent a total of $8 for 2 lbs. cherries and 6 packets of chestnuts @ $.99.

Total spent on groceries so far in June = $9.78 + $11.16 + $7.35 + $33.33 + $8.00 = $69.62
Amount left in June grocery budget = $75 - $69.62 = $5.38

I really don't anticipate going grocery shopping again, before Friday.  So, I think it is safe to say I came under budget in June and will be carrying $5.38 forward to July. 

Today, I am grateful for:

- Cooler temperatures
- It was only a tripped fuse, not something bigger/worse, and I was able to fix it (I'm afraid I don't know how to replace a fuse)
- Supervisor was fine with me taking Friday off
- Helpful, pleasant customer service reps. 
- Video chatting with daughter

Today, I spent:
$8.00 for additional groceries
$67.76 for gas (heating and cooking)
$132.70 for cable and internet

How was your Tuesday?  What have you planned for tomorrow?

Monday's Productivity

It has been another rather warm day.  A bit humid, too.  I started off the morning by doing a load of dishes and putting away the laundry from last night.  Took the opportunity to straighten out the bed linen shelf of the linen closet.  I keep the queen size sheets for my bed on one side, the twin size sheets for daughter's bed and the guest bed on the other side, with the pillowcases in the middle.  I need to straighten out the other shelves another day.

Then, I settled down to do my office work. 

Today, the ham sandwich I had for breakfast tasted bitter.  However, a slice of bread with some of my homemade strawberry jam tasted OK. 

Later in the afternoon, around 4 o'clock, I cooked the shrimp (made a curry), some rice, and some green beans and had that for a late lunch.  I cooked the ground beef later in the evening.  I browned half of it and froze it.  I made four hamburger patties with the other half, had one for dinner, and froze the other three.

I also took the trash cans to the curb, watered the garden and the houseplants, did my decluttering, and video chatted with daughter.       

To Do List Update:
- Office work - DONE
- Laundry (Started!  Writing out the list motivated me to do a load tonight!) - DONE
- Dishes/run dishwasher - DONE
- Tidy kitchen
- Tidy family room
- Cook/freeze shrimp - DONE
- Cook/freeze ground beef - DONE
- Water the garden - DONE (both front and back)
- Water houseplants - DONE
- Empty kitchen trash/waste baskets - DONE
- Take trash cans to curb - DONE
- Daily decluttering - DONE
- Call radiation clinic - DONE
- Call medical insurance - DONE
- Call auto insurance
- Pay bills

Well, I got most of my To Do list done.  The rest will be carried over to be done tomorrow.

June 27 Decluttering
I apologize for the dark picture.  I went to turn on the overhead light and there was a flash and the lights on that part of the house went off!  I guess I "blew a fuse"!  It was too late (after 11:30 p.m.) to go outside to take a look at the fuse box.  Will do that tomorrow morning.  Fortunately, the fridge is working, and the lights in the rest of the house.

Anyway, the items decluttered were:

1 Hello Kitty car seat organizer (to hang on the back of one of the front seats)
1 pair pants
1 cloth drawstring bag
2 empty coffee creamer bottles (saved to make snowmen I saw on some craft sites; decided not to)
3 empty boxes
2 old cameras (one is a disposable camera bought for daughter to take with her on a field trip when she was in 3rd grade!)
= 10 items

Total decluttered to date = 270.  The push is on for the last 30 items needed to make it 300 items decluttered! 

Today, my aunt called to say the power went off in her neighborhood and she was told it would be 3:00 a.m. before it comes back on.  She said it was very hot because she couldn't use the fans without any power.  I invited her to stay the night with me, but she declined.  This was before I tripped a switch and lost power in part of my own house!

 Today, I am grateful for:
- Electricity!
- Cool mornings and evenings.
- A productive day.
- Video chatting with my daughter.
- My appetite is slowly returning.

Plans for tomorrow include a quick trip to the grocery store for more chestnuts and some cherries.  Plus fixing the fuse (hopefully).  And doing the rest of the items on my to do list.

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


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sunday: June Grocery Shopping Week 4

This morning, daughter and I went to one of the ethnic stores to do our grocery shopping.  Fresh produce is much cheaper down here than up in Berkeley, so daughter picked up some produce to take with her.  She fully intended to pay for her groceries, but I just went ahead and paid for it all.  The total came to $33.33.  I didn't take a photo because daughter was already separating her items and packing them up. 

We bought:

Small white potatoes, $.25/lb = $.67
Red bell peppers, $1.29/lb = $1.14
Spaghetti squash, $.99/lb = $.71
Italian bread = $2.39
2+ lb. Ground beef, 15% fat, $3.29/lb = $7.04
1+ lb. headless white shrimp, $4.99/lb = $5.14
6 oz. chili powder = $1.99
Chestnuts, grilled & peeled = $.99
2 Variety packs chicken cold cuts, @ $1.99 = $3.98
.2 lb green beans, $1.69/lb = $.34
2 bundles green onions, 7/$1.00 = $.30
Broccoli crowns, $.99/lb = $1.31
4 cans coconut juice, @ $.89 + $.05 tax = $3.76
4 mangoes, @ $.50 = $2.00
Apples, $.49/lb = $.58
1 doz. large brown eggs = $.99
Total = $33.33

Total spent on groceries so far in June = $9.78 + $11.16 + $7.35 + $33.33 = $61.62
Amount left in June grocery budget = $75 - $61.62 = $13.38

Daughter wanted me to pick up several more packets of the chestnuts for her plus cherries will go on sale for $.99/lb. on Tuesday only, so I am planning to go back on Tuesday to buy more chestnuts and some cherries.

We stopped by a friend's place on the way home after doing the grocery shopping to pick up a jar of "seeni sambol", a spicy onion relish, she had picked up for me from the Sri Lankan store.  

Brunch was bread with the onion relish.  Afterwards, I oiled and trimmed daughter's hair at her request.  Then, it was time to take her to the airport.  She called me later to let me know she arrived safely.  She'll be down again when I am scheduled for my radiation treatment.

It was 97F outside, when I drove to the airport.  But I managed to keep the house at 80F for most of the day (it went up to 84F later in the afternoon).  I haven't needed to turn on the a/c unit in the bedroom, yet.  But tomorrow is supposed to be 101F, so I might need to turn on the a/c then.

After I came home from dropping daughter off at the airport, I went on-line for a bit.  Later, I took a nap.  Unfortunately, I didn't feel very motivated to do anything after I woke up.  As a result, I have a long To Do list for tomorrow!

To Do List:
- Office work
- Laundry (Started!  Writing out the list motivated me to do a load tonight!)
- Dishes/run dishwasher
- Tidy kitchen
- Tidy family room
- Cook/freeze shrimp
- Cook/freeze ground beef
- Water the garden
- Water houseplants
- Empty kitchen trash/waste baskets
- Take trash cans to curb
- Daily decluttering
- Call radiation clinic
- Call medical insurance
- Call auto insurance
- Pay bills

I did do my decluttering for today:

June 26 Decluttering

7 magazines (the last of the stacks of magazines)
1 quilt (one that I made as a stash busting project, several years ago; I have plenty of other quilts)
1 crocheted shawl
1 Universal Studios autograph album (daughter said she didn't want it)

Dinner was a previously cooked and frozen pork chop with some of the white potatoes and salad.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Daughter had a safe flight back and a safe trip from the airport to her apartment
- Being able to cool down the house at night
- Getting some good bargains at the grocery store
- Daughter is able to take both groceries and cooked (frozen) food in the plane
- Afternoon naps

Today, I spent:

$33.33 for groceries
$266 for daughter's renter's insurance

All in all, it was a good Sunday.  How was your day?  What are your plans for tomorrow?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Saturday's Doings

I had a hard time falling asleep, last night; the last time I checked the clock, it was almost 4:00 a.m.  I am wondering if it was because I had to use my rescue inhaler due to an asthma flare up, last night.  I woke up at 9:00 a.m., this morning, but felt tired.  However, I didn't need a nap in the afternoon.  So, hopefully, I can go to sleep at a decent time, tonight. 

My daughter and I had been invited to lunch and an afternoon out at one of the piers to celebrate a friend's daughter's birthday, but I didn't feel quite up to it.  So I stayed home and rested while my daughter went on her own.  But I made a card for the birthday girl, using supplies I had on hand:

Birthday Card
I keep meaning to make about a dozen cards and keep on hand, rather than rushing to make one an hour before it is needed.  Might be another project to do when I have the a/c on in the bedroom!

I spent a quiet day, resting.  My feet are swollen from the heat, I believe, so I've been sitting on the sofa with my feet up for the most part.  I watched some TV and cut more strips for the rag rug.

Today's declutering was fairly easy - a stack of 10 magazines:

June 25 Decluttering
I held back the December issue to look through for ideas, but it will also be decluttered, later.

In the evening, I went over to my friend's house to wish her daughter a happy birthday and have a slice of cake.  Other than going to the clinic for treatments and the lab for blood tests, this was the first time I went visiting since November!  

Now I am home and doing a small load of laundry. 

Today, I am grateful for:

- A quiet, restful day.
- Daughter being able to have a fun afternoon with her friend.
- Going visiting for the first time since November!
- A relatively cool day.
- 250 items decluttered to date.

Plans for tomorrow include taking daughter to the airport.

Hope you are all having a lovely weekend.

Mountain Climbing: the Next Phase

This morning, daughter and I went to my appointment with the radiation oncologist.  It was a very good consultation, with the doctor answering a lot of the questions we had before we could even ask them!  He went over the treatment, what to expect, possible side effects, etc.  I have an appointment for a CAT scan, next Wednesday, and was introduced to the technician who will be performing it.  I will be scheduled for the radiation treatments (daily, Monday through Friday, for 6 weeks, for a total of 30 treatments) after the doctor has seen the results of the CAT scan.  The next phase of my mountain climbing has started.

After we came home, daughter and I decide to get Japanese food for lunch.  Teriyaki chicken sounded good to me and I am glad to say that it tasted OK.  Later in the afternoon, I made some faluda, which is a drink made with rose syrup and sweetened milk:


Also in the afternoon, the gardener set up the air conditioner for me.  I didn't need it today, but I know I'll be glad of it when we have the next heatwave!

I did some office work, too, but I didn't get as much done today as I wanted to.  Instead, I took a nap!  I will make up for it over the weekend.

In the evening, I did my decluttering for the day:

June 24 Decluttering
I had to wait until daughter came home to ask her before I decluttered stuff above, because they were her stuff.  The items included:

2 lunch boxes
1 old planner (from her 1st year at UCLA)
1 expired anti-virus software
1 Halloween costume accessory
2 unopened craft kits
1 electronic dictionary
2 books

I stripped my bed and remade it with fresh sheets.  As I did so, I considered the number of bed sheets I have for my bed, with an eye towards decluttering them.  I have one set of flannel sheets (flat and fitted) for winter and two sets of cotton sheets for the summer.  There is also a third set of cotton sheets which I use as dust covers on the family room sofas, to keep Dancer's fur off the upholstery.  And an extra flat sheet (the matching fitted sheet wore out years ago).  I know some people recommend having just two sets of sheets per bed, but I like having two sets of cotton sheets for the summer, because it allows me to remake the bed without having to do laundry first.  I can always remake the bed with cotton sheets in the winter, if needed, but I really don't want to remake the bed with flannel sheets in the summer!  Three sets of sheets isn't excessive, is it?  I guess I could donate the extra flat sheet although I use it occasionally as a dust cover for my bed if I don't want my quilt dirtied (such as when I'm cleaning the ceiling fan).  

 Took this photo today - Dancer playing with an empty brown bag; you can see the sheet that is covering one of the sofas:

Dancer "Hiding"

Today, I am grateful for:

- A good consultation with the doctor
- Validated parking!
- The air conditioner is set up for hot days
- Being able to enjoy teriyaki chicken and a glass of faluda
- Daughter's company

Today, I spent:

$15 medical copay
$2 parking with validation
$5.98 for two teriyaki chicken bowls with "buy one get one free" coupon

Friday, June 24, 2016

June Grocery Shopping: Week 3

Another nice, cooler day.  I was busy with office work, but during a break in the morning, I stripped daughter's bed and did a load of laundry.  During a break for lunch (the fried chicken my friend had brought for me, yesterday), I confirmed my appointment with the radiation oncologist.

Later in the evening, after I had finished office work for the day and it was cooler, I went grocery shopping.  I really didn't need much, just some fresh fruit, half & half, bread, and juice.  I was planning to get the strawberries that were advertised at $1.25/lb., but they were all sold out and I didn't feel like going to the service desk to get a rain check, etc.  I decided to get the corn while I was in the store.  

Week 3 Groceries

1 loaf of bread = $1.29
1 half & half (for daughter's coffee) = $1.79
1 passion fruit juice = $2.49
2 ears of corn @ 3/$1.00 = $.66
bananas @ $.69/lb = $1.12

Total spent:  $7.35

Total spent on groceries so far in June = $9.78 + $11.16 + $7.35 = $28.29

After I put away the groceries, I put away the laundry, remade daughter's bed, wiped one of the window sills in her room, and did my decluttering for the day:

June 23 Decluttering

4 more crochet magazines
3 food storage containers with lids
1 group of 4 condiment containers
4 lids without containers
= 12 items

Still later in the evening, I picked up my daughter from the airport.  So good to see her again and have her home for the weekend! 

Today, I am grateful for:

- Daughter had a safe flight and is home for the weekend.
- Another cooler day (forecast says another heatwave this weekend!)
- Being able to do my own grocery shopping again!
- Getting my office work done.
- A working washing machine.

Tomorrow, I will be having a consultation with the radiation oncologist to start on the next phase of the cancer treatment. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Cooler Wednesday

It has been much cooler, today.  Highs in the 90s is nothing compared to what it was on Monday!

I've had a busy, productive day, today.  Spent most of the day doing office work (trying to meet a deadline on a project - did my part on time; the rest is up to someone else at the office).

In between, during breaks, I decided to do a bit more tidying and dusting in my bedroom.  I was unhappy because, even with all the decluttering I did, my room still looked cluttered!  I like to see relatively clear surfaces, but, while better than before, all the furniture still had stuff on them.  So, I started with my bedside table - took everything off, dusted it, put some items in the drawers, put the brass bell away, and put the other things back.  I still have a lot of things there: table lamp, cordless phone and charger, box of tissues, clock radio (electric), a second clock (battery operated, in case the electricity goes off in the night and the other clock's alarm stops working properly), etc.  But the lotions, my bottle of antacids, etc. are now in the drawer.  Then, did the same with the top of the chest of drawers and my desk.  I left the dressing table for another day.  This weekend, perhaps, when it's supposed to be hot, again.  I'll have the window a/c set up and I can work on the dressing table in the nice, cool room. 

While I cleaned the bedroom, I also decluttered 10 items to make up for not decluttering, yesterday:

Decluttering meant for June 21

1 dictionary
1 thesaurus
1 3-ring binder 
1 box
2 scarves
1 glass heart-shaped box
1 metal bookmark still in its box
1 metal sculpture of a dancing couple
1 collection of toy/party favor mirrors (5) and combs (2)
= 10 items.

Later in the evening, I decluttered another 10 items for today:

June 22 Decluttering
8 crochet magazines
1 booklet made of magazine clippings of recipes that I had cut and pasted 
1 notebook containing newspaper clippings of recipes that my mother had cut and pasted
= 10 items.

I do have, and intend to keep, another notebook in which my mother had hand written recipes she had copied from various sources. 

I had leftover spaghetti from last night's dinner for my brunch, today.  Then, around 4:00 p.m., I gave into my craving for a hamburger (have been craving it since yesterday) and drove to a nearby fast food place; I had a coupon for a $3 double cheeseburger meal.  I could eat only half of the cheeseburger, though.  I kept the other half in the fridge for later. 

One of my friends called in the early evening and asked if she and her visiting mother could drop in for a visit a bit later in the evening.  I said yes, of course, then did a quick tidying, dusting, and vacuuming of the living room and dining room and a quick clean of daughter's bathroom, which is also the one visitors use.  My friend brought me fried chicken for dinner!  :)  Except I was too full from the cheeseburger, so I put the fried chicken and biscuit in the fridge. 

After they left, I video chatted with daughter, wrote to a friend, did today's decluttering, etc. 

Today, I am grateful for:

- A cooler day! 
- Meeting my project deadline.
- A visit from my friend.
- My friend bringing me dinner.
- Getting some house cleaning done.

Tomorrow, I would like to clean the kitchen, tidy the family room, wash daughter's bed sheets and remake her bed; she's coming home tomorrow night!  :)

Today, I spent $3.27 for a cheeseburger meal plus sales tax.

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

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Story of the Brass Bell

Brass Bell

My mother got this brass bell during the five years she lived and taught in Hong Kong in the mid-1970s.  I don't know if she bought it or if she received it from someone.  It is in the form of what is commonly called a "laughing Buddha", which is a symbol of prosperity and good luck.  She brought it with her when she came to this country and kept it near her altar.  There is a custom in Buddhism to ring a bell or sound a gong at the beginning and end of prayers, meditations, etc. to help focus the mind.  Ringing the bell at the beginning is a reminder that it is time to put aside everyday thoughts and concerns and focus the mind on prayers and meditations.  The ringing at the end indicates the end of such focused concentration and a return to everyday cares.

For years, the bell remained part of the items placed at the altar.  However, when my daughter was little and stayed home from school because she was ill, my mother would place the bell near her to ring if she needed Grandmother.  My daughter remembers that.

Then, after my mother returned home from hospital after her hip replacement surgery, I kept the bell by her bedside to ring if she needed me.  Later, when she recovered enough to walk using a walker, I tied the bell to the walker so she'd have the bell with her at all times and also to alert me when was up and about, especially in the night.  After her death, the bell was returned to the altar.

Last year, when I came home after my lumpectomy, my daughter brought the bell to keep by my bedside, to ring if I needed her.  :)  It stayed on my bedside until today.

Today, I decided that I didn't need to keep the bell on my bedside any longer and returned it to the altar.  But, before I did that,  I polished it with a cut lemon dipped in a little salt, washed, and wiped it.  The acid of the lemon juice mixed with the abrasion of the salt makes a good brass polisher that is all natural, environmentally friendly, and since I have an abundance of lemons in my garden, frugal, as well!  I have a lot of brass items and this is the only polisher I use.  

Who knows, maybe someday, I'll be blessed enough to hand the bell to a little one and say, "Ring if you need Grandma!"  :D


The Garden in Summer

It was a bit cooler today than it was yesterday and the day before.  But it was still quite warm inside the house when I checked around 9:00 a.m.:

Inside Temp. at 9:00 a.m.
I had a rather busy day with office work. 

Later in the evening, it was cool enough to take a walk in the garden to see how the plants fared after  a couple of days of  107-110F temperatures.

The back garden:

Camellia Bush
Camellia Close Up
Burnt to a Crisp!

Asparagus Fern
Rose Bush 1
Desiccated Roses
Baked Peaches
Loquat Tree
Another View of Loquat Tree
Another Rose Bush


The front garden:


Even the Succulents didn't Escape Damage

And then, there was this (in the back garden):

White Agapanthus

There will be more hot days; summer has only just begun.  But plants are resilient for the most part.  The gardener and I will prune and fertilize and re-landscape if needed.

I didn't do any decluttering today.  I will declutter 20 items to make up for it, tomorrow.

Today, I am grateful for:

- A slightly cooler day.
- A productive work day.
- Electricity to run the appliances.
- Video chatting with daughter.
- Resilient plants.

How was your Tuesday?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Hot Summer Solstice Monday

I couldn't cool the house down as much as I would have liked on Sunday night.  It was already 80F inside the house when I woke up on Monday morning.  And it steadily got hotter and hotter.  I guess you could say that summer arrived in full force, today!  According to the weather site I check, it was supposed to be a high of 109F, but at least a couple of friends, who live about 5 miles from me, said it registered 115F where they lived (one posted a picture of the temperature gauge in her car, showing 115F).  It was just over 92F inside my house, around 7:00 p.m.

June 20 Inside Temperature 
It was so hot today that I wiped down Dancer with a damp towel to cool him off!  I wish I had remembered to ask my gardener to set up the window a/c unit when he came to do the garden on Friday.  Well, the weather forecast says today was the hottest day in this heatwave.  Tomorrow is supposed to be 10 degrees cooler.  Yay, 99F instead of 109F!  :D

I had a quiet day, today.  I did office work for the better part of the day.  Then, started to cut strips from some of the fabric I have in the stash - I have decided to make a crocheted rag rug.  It is fabric that was given to me and I have quite a lot of it.  The rug will be a good way of using it up.  It'll take me some time to cut all the strips, but it can be done while watching TV, etc.  Later in the evening, I hand watered the front garden and took the trash cans to the curb.  I didn't do the paperwork/filing I had planned to do.

June 20 Declutering
 Monday's decluttering included:

2 skirts
2 blouses
1 jacket
2 3-ring binders
1 necklace
1 phone charger (to a phone I no longer have)
1 bundle of 11 bangles

This makes a total of 200 items tossed so far this month.  :) 

On Monday I was grateful for:

- Ceiling and stand fans
- Electricity (several communities were without power, today)
- Popsicles, iced water, and a cool shower
- Water for my garden
- Phone calls from my sister, aunt, and a friend

Plans for tomorrow include office work and the paperwork I didn't do today. 

How was your Summer Solstice Monday?  Hope it was cooler than mine!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Warmer Sunday

It was relatively cool (75F) inside the house when I woke up this morning, but today's high was 107F!  I stepped outside for a couple of minutes at 8:30 a.m. and it was already hot!  I kept the windows closed and the drapes drawn to keep the house as cool as I could for as long as I could.  But, the temperature inside the house continued to go up as the afternoon wore on.  It was 86F inside at 5:30 p.m. but peaked at almost 88F at 6:30 p.m.

June 19 Inside Temperature
I must admit it felt a bit warm at that point and stuffy.  I opened the windows then, even though the outside temperature was still warm, to get some fresh air.  It is just past 11:00 p.m. now and it has cooled off outside.  I'm sitting in front of the window, so I feel the cool air.  But it is still 86F inside the house (I just checked).

So, what does one do on such a warm day?  Well, I spent the morning relaxing, chatting on the phone with my neighbor and an aunt, reading blogs, texting with my daughter, and putting away the load of laundry I did yesterday.  In the afternoon, I did some paperwork, put away the washed dishes from yesterday, and washed some other dishes.  In the evening, I turned on the sprinklers to water the back garden, did a load of laundry, did some decluttering, cleaned my bathroom, and video chatted with daughter.

Speaking of decluttering, I must admit to a bit of a failure.  Remember the pile of nightdresses I decluttered?  Well, I went back and took back the nightdress my mother sewed.  I am not yet ready to let go of it.  Instead, I decluttered 11 items today, to make up for it.  So my overall total will remain the same.

June 19 Decluttering
Today's items consisted of:

- 1 old handbag
- 2 sweaters
- 1 3-ring binder
- 2 books
- 5 crochet magazines that had belonged to my mother

= 11 items

Today, I am grateful for:
- The house was cool in the morning.
- I didn't have to go anywhere/be outside in the heat.
- It is not humid in addition to being hot.
- Cooler evenings.
- Video chatting with my daughter.

Plans for tomorrow include office work, a little more paperwork, more decluttering, and, above all else, staying cool!  It's supposed to be even hotter than today!

How was your Sunday?  What are your plans for tomorrow and the rest of the week?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Warm Saturday

I've had a quiet day, today.  Slept in, in the morning, and took it easy for the most part.  But I also did a load of laundry, did some paperwork, a bit of dusting, rearranged a couple of shelves, and did my decluttering.

We are having a bit of a heatwave in So. Cal. this weekend.  Today's high where I live was 99F, but the house was a cool 75F when I woke up and I managed to keep it at around 82F later in the afternoon, which was quite comfortable for me:

Temperature Inside
I did turn on the ceiling fan in the family room in the afternoon and kept it on all evening as well.  I kept the windows closed all day to keep the hot air from coming in.  But opened the windows at 8:00 p.m., when it cooled off.   Tomorrow, I will bring in the stand fan from the garage - it is supposed to be hotter, tomorrow, and 105F on Monday.

I had half a bagel (plain, untoasted, without any butter or cream cheese) for brunch and made some of what we call mango pickle for an afternoon snack - fresh mango cut up, mixed with salt, sugar, chili powder (I didn't put as much as we normally do), and vinegar:

Mango Pickle
I couldn't finish all of it, so the rest was put in the fridge for later.  Dinner was half a bolillo roll sandwiched with a scrambled egg and a slice of ham cold cuts.  The bread tasted bitter to me, though.  :(  Some fresh grapes for dessert.

Today's declutterings:

June 18 Decluttering
1 fabric bag
2 blouses
1 pair knitted leg warmers
1 3-ring binder
5 books
= 10 items

One of my friends called me to invite me to a prayer gathering she will be hosting next Sunday afternoon.  I'd love to attend; I haven't been able to attend any while I was having chemo.  But daughter will be visiting next weekend and her flight back is on Sunday afternoon.  I'll need to drive her to the airport at about the same time as the prayer meeting.  If my friend lived closer, I could still go to her house after dropping daughter off at the airport and not be too late.  But it's an hour long drive to her house. 

Today, I am grateful for:

- Being able to keep the house at a comfortable temperature even without a/c.
- Phone call from aunt and a friend.
- Video chatting with daughter.
- Ceiling fans.
- Electricity to work the ceiling fans.

How was your Saturday?  What have you planned for tomorrow?