Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August Monthly Goals: Review

-  Attend August Monthly Prayer Meeting; continue with daily prayers and gratitude: I attended the monthly prayer meeting and continued with daily prayers and gratitude.

- Continue to declutter; deep clean and organize the 3rd bedroom and family room:  Let's just call this an on-going project, shall we?  I had the best of intentions, but couldn't carry it through.  Will continue with this in September. 
- She has completed 2 months of full time employment and has adjusted nicely; as my treatments come to an end, she will not need to come down as often, either.  We will continue to keep in touch by phone and on-line: Daughter came down for a week to be with me during the last week of my radiation treatments and it was lovely to have her company and spend time with her.

- Call aunt on her birthday; make and send her a card; give a ride to cousin to monthly prayer meeting; meet family members at the prayer meeting:  I did all that and there was more, as one of my cousins blessed me by insisting on accompanying me to a couple of my medical appointments and cleaning my house for me, afterwards. 

-  Call neighbor on her birthday/make her a gift; meet other friends at monthly prayer meeting; keep in contact with other friends by phone and on-line:   In addition to all that, I had a visit from a friend.
-  Continue to work from home while treatments continue; make plans to go back to the office towards the end of the month:  I worked from home during the entire month, with some days of sick time and a few days of vacation interspersed.  Returning to the office will take place sometime in September. 

- Continue to be mindful of spending: August finances were well under control.  

-  I am almost 2/3 of the way through my radiation treatments; I've 11 more treatments to go.  I've also another appointment with the medical oncologist in August and an appointment with the dermatologist, as I've developed a rash on my face.  Also continue with healthy eating, getting sufficient exercise and sleep : I completed my radiation treatments!  There was a slight delay due to side effects, but everything was completed before the end of the month and I was seen by the radiation oncologist as well as the medical oncologist.  The appointment with the dermatologist went well, too; I was prescribed an ointment to apply to my face and the rash has cleared.   

Time Management:
- This month's focus will be managing my medical appointments, getting my office work assignments done on time, and developing a routine when it comes to accomplishing housework, etc.  I did well when it came to managing the medical appointments and work assignments completed on time.  Housework routines appear to be another on-going "work in progress" for me!

- Read one fiction and one non-fiction book; resume sewing the two quilts I have in progress, make birthday cards and gifts: I did some reading and made the cards and gifts but didn't sew.  Just didn't feel like it.   

How was your August?  Did you make any goals?  And if you did, how did you do?  Were you able to attain your goals?  

August Grocery Shopping: Recap

In August, I had budgeted $75 for groceries (food only, no paper goods, cleaning supplies, pet food, etc.; eating out is also budgeted for separately) plus $13.21 leftover from the July grocery budget, which I carried over to August.

So, my August grocery budget was $75 + $13.21 from July = $88.21.

Week 1:

August 8 Groceries

August 12 Groceries

I went grocery shopping three times in Week 1, on August 8 (pictured above), August 11 for 3 cans of condensed milk (not pictured), and August 12 (pictured above) and spent:  $15.65 + $5.37 + $10.72 = $31.74

Amount left in the August grocery budget at the end of Week 1:  $88.21 - $31.74 = $56.47

 Week 2:

August 16 Groceries

I went grocery shopping twice in Week 2, on August 16 (pictured above) and August 18 for a container of half and half (not pictured) and spent $22.62 + $1.79 = $24.41

August grocery shopping spending at the end of Week 2:  $31.74(Week 1) + $24.41 = $56.15
Amount left in the August grocery budget at the end of Week 2:  $88.21 - $56.15 = $32.06

Week 3:

I went grocery shopping once in Week 3, on August 22 (no picture) and spent $12.87.
August grocery shopping spending at the end of Week 3: $31.74(Week 1) + $24.41(Week 2) + $12.87 = $69.02
Amount left in the August grocery budget at the end of Week 3: $88.21 - $69.02 = $19.19

Week 4:

August 29 Groceries

I went grocery shopping once in Week 4, on August 29 and spent $6.24.

August grocery shopping spending to date:  $31.74(Week 1) + $24.41(Week 2) + $12.87(Week 3) + $6.24 = $75.26
Amount left in the August grocery budget: $88.21 - $75.26 = $12.95

I had spent $10 at the Japanese bakery (on August 23) for the melon buns, raisin buns, and cream buns (included $.10 for a bag to carry my purchases, since I hadn't a reusable bag with me at the time).  Initially, I had included that purchase in my Eat Out/Entertainment budget, but, since I have a surplus in my grocery budget, I will include that purchase in the grocery budget, instead.  

So, grocery spending in August amounted to $75.26 + $10 = $85.26
Amount left in the August grocery budget: $88.21 - $85.26 = $2.95

The $2.95 will be carried forward to September.

How did you manage with your August grocery budget?  Were you able to keep to your budget?  Did you go over or come under? 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The First Day of the Rest of my Life: Going Forwards with a Glance Backwards

Today is the first day of the rest of my life.  I feel blessed to be alive today.  I feel I should do something very profound to celebrate this day.

But I couldn't fall asleep, last night, until sometime after 4:00 a.m., this morning.  And when I finally fell asleep, it was a restless, intermittent sleep.  The trash collection trucks made their way down the street starting at 6:00 a.m. and each time they went by - three separate trucks, one collecting the garbage, one collecting the yard waste, one collecting the recyclables, once going up the street and once going down the street - I woke up.

When I finally woke up at 10:30 a.m., I did so with a headache.   It's a little difficult to do anything very profound when you have a sinus pressure headache.  Of course, one would think I'd know enough to take a Tylenol or something to relieve the headache, but no.  I don't like to take medications unless I have to.  So, I made and drank a cup of tea, checked emails, responded to blog comments, visited other blogs, and, in general, took it easy. 

I had requested today and tomorrow off from work, since I needed to use some vacation days, so I could relax without worrying too much about it. 

And I made jelly:

Orange-Flavored Jelly
I used a different brand of gelatin, so I don't think I should call it jello.  Besides, jelly is what I grew up calling it.  :)  

Throughout the day, today, I thought about my journey so far and the journey yet to come.  The chemo and radiation phases have ended and now starts the long-term phase of the treatment.  Because the type of cancer I have is responsive to hormones (hormone positive), I've been prescribed a type of anti-hormone medication that I'll be on for at least the next 5 years, maybe 10.  Basically, the rest of my life, I think.  There will be side effects from that, including bone and joint pain, I've been told.  I'm already taking calcium supplements to mitigate any impacts on my bone density due to this next phase of the treatment.

In the more immediate future, there is a follow up appointment with the radiation oncologist on September 9, followed by an appointment, later that same morning, with the regular oncologist, which will be when I'll get the OK to start on the anti-hormone treatment.  I am sure there will be regular doctor visits for follow up, but the next major mile-stone on this journey will be my follow up mammogram in six months' time, sometime in February.  That's when I'll know if the treatments to date were successful or if I'll have another mountain to climb. 

In the meantime, today is the first day of the rest of my life.  A new beginning of sorts.  And I was reminded of the fact that, 43 years ago today, on August 30, 1973, my parents (mother and step-father) and I left our country of birth and set off on another journey, which was a new beginning for us.  It was a journey that led us through several countries in Asia (Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, back to Hong Kong, and, eventually, to the United States).  It seems somehow appropriate that I should start this new phase of my life on the anniversary of that former new beginning. I set off now, as I did then, with hope and faith that I will be led to my destination.

In the afternoon, I took a nap in the cool bedroom.  In my dreams, I was back in my childhood home in Sri Lanka, picking ripe jambu and rambutan fruits from the trees in the yard, and I dreamt of my mother, too, who was also there, with me.  I can buy canned rambutan and occasionally, frozen ones, from the Asian stores, here.  But I have never seen jambu in the stores here - the fruits are too fragile for shipping and, while my mother used to preserve them in sugar syrup, I have never seen commercially canned jambu.  My headache finally went away after the nap.

I had egg salad sandwiches for both brunch and tea.  For dinner, I baked two of the frozen battered cod fillets and warmed up some of the leftover macaroni and cheese, with jelly for dessert.  I used the counter-top electric toaster/oven to bake the fish, rather than use the big oven.  The fish is part of the frozen foods gift I received, earlier, from my supervisor. 

In the evening, I video chatted with my daughter.          

Today, I am grateful for:
- The first day of the rest of my life
- Another new beginning
- Having a day of vacation from work
- A relaxed day
- Memories

I am not posting my to do lists, because I really didn't do much and just about everything is getting carried over to tomorrow! 

How was your day, today? 

Mountain Climbing: Last Day of Radiation Treatment

I had my last radiation treatment, today!  One of my dear friends sent me two photographs, this morning, of a path leading into the distance and of a view from the top of the hill, with words of support.  I received them just before I left for my radiation session and they made me smile.  My friend was right; my path has been long and difficult, sometimes, but I made it to the top!

Afterwards, I was seen by the radiation oncologist, who confirmed that my active treatments have come to an end.  I will be seeing him again in two weeks' time and periodically after that.  He will be sending his reports to my regular oncologist, but, I guess nothing can be said for certain until I have my follow-up mammogram in six months' time.  That will be my real test of knowing if I've reached the top of my mountain or not. 

By the way, the nurse weighed me, today.  Looks like I've lost another 2 lbs.  Which is a good thing because I'm overweight and my doctor has been telling me to lose weight for years.  The downside of losing over 30 lbs?  My 60+ year old skin is beginning to show wrinkles since the fat cells that held it plumped up are shrinking! 

I stopped at the grocery store on my way back home and purchased bread ($1.29), bananas (@$.69/lb; $.95), frozen corn and peas (@$1.00), a box of macaroni and cheese ($1.00) and a can of tuna ($1.00).

August Week 4 Groceries
My total came to $6.24.

August grocery shopping spending to date:  $31.74(Week 1) + $24.41(Week 2) + $12.87(Week 3) + $6.24 = $75.26
Amount left in the August grocery budget: $88.21 - $75.26 = $12.95

After I came home, I boiled two eggs and made egg salad.  Lunch was an egg salad sandwich and a banana.  Dinner was macaroni and cheese (yes, from the boxed mix) with some of the grilled chicken daughter brought home.

It was another warm day (95F in the afternoon, when I came home after grocery shopping), so I spent a quiet afternoon, resting, since it was too hot to do anything much.  Later, however, I cleaned out the fridge, emptied the waste baskets, took the trash cans to the curb, and put water to the back garden.

Monday's To Do List:
- Go for last radiation session! - DONE!
- Clear the family room table - DID SOME
- Paperwork/Filing
- Clean out fridge - DONE
- Empty waste baskets - DONE
- Take trash cans to the curb - DONE
- Water back garden - DONE

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Clear the family room table
- Paperwork/Filing
- Bring trash cans in
- Do the dishes
- Clean the litter box

Today, I am grateful for:
- Completing my treatments
- My daughter who climbed every step of the mountain with me
- Friends and family who helped me along the way
- The concern, prayers, well wishes, encouragement, and hugs from all of you
- The blessing of this day

Thank you, again, for being there for me on this journey up the mountain.


Monday, August 29, 2016

Quiet Sunday

Spent a quiet morning, relaxing with daughter, on her last morning at home on this visit.  Later, she packed her bags and I gave her some food from the freezer to take with her - the packet of shrimp curry, another container of curry, and some Sri Lankan sweets that had a filling of sweet mung bean paste.  She cleaned the litter box before she left for the airport.  Her flight was in the early afternoon, so I dropped her off at the airport and came home to have lunch - some of the leftover grilled chicken she had brought home from the barbecue and some green peas and carrots:

Sunday Lunch

After lunch, I watched a program on TV on the National Geographic channel and then, took a nap!

Two of my aunts and a cousin called in the evening and later, I put water to the front garden.  I spent the rest of the evening video chatting with my daughter who was feeling a bit homesick after spending a little over a week at home.  Now that my treatments are coming to an end, she won't be coming home quite as often as she has been, but she'll visit again in October, and for Thanksgiving and probably over Christmas.  So, it's not too bad.

Sunday's To Do List:
- Take daughter to the airport - DONE
- Clear table in family room - STARTED
- Paperwork/Filing - DID SOME
- Water the front garden - DONE

Monday's To Do List:
- Go for last radiation session!
- Clear the family room table
- Paperwork/Filing
- Clean out fridge
- Empty waste baskets
- Take trash cans to the curb

Today, I am grateful for:

- Spending a relaxed morning with daughter on her last day home
- Daughter had a safe trip back to her apartment
- Afternoon naps
- Phone calls from aunts and cousin
- Just one last radiation treatment left!

This was Dancer, last night, waiting for daughter to come home:

He Loves his Towel
How was your Sunday?  Did you have a good day?  What have you planned for Monday?

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Relaxed Saturday

I had a very relaxed day, today.  I woke up at a reasonable time at first, but turned over and went back to sleep until later in the morning!  I woke up next when my neighbor called to check on me.  Her weekly Sunday morning calls seem to have switched to Saturday morning calls!  After I got off the phone with her, I had my morning cup of tea and, instead of cleaning and being productive, I relaxed and read blog posts and played computer games until early afternoon!

Daughter left to go to the barbecue her friends had organized, in the afternoon.  Instead of each one preparing a dish and taking, she and her friends were all getting together to prepare the food; much more fun to cook together than separately.  :)  You know the world's going to be OK when 8 young adults in their early 20s think getting together to cook and enjoy a meal is a fun way to spend a Saturday evening.  She took one of my Pyrex baking dishes with her for the sliders they were preparing.

She said the menu included, 3 types of chicken skewers (tikka masala, rosemary ranch, and lemongrass honey), 3 types of sliders (ground beef and onions with cheese, ground beef and onions without cheese, and pulled barbecue chicken, all on Hawaiian rolls), grilled veggies (asparagus, eggplant, sweet peppers, and zucchini), salad with romaine lettuce, spring lettuce mix, spinach, cucumber, and red onions, with choice of homemade ginger and herb dressing and a balsamic vinegar dressing, and garlic mashed cauliflower.  For dessert, there were jakfruit smoothies (made with fresh jakfruit) and haluhalo (a Philippino shaved ice dessert).  She brought some of the food home for me - I especially enjoyed the fresh jakfruit (she knows I love jakfruit).  I was laughing when she described how they cut and cleaned the fresh jakfruit.  The edible flesh is surrounded by non-edible fibrous stuff that exudes a very sticky substance.  In Sri Lanka, we used to oil our hands with coconut oil to avoid getting the sticky stuff on our fingers.  My daughter and friends, however, used disposable gloves!  Very clever!  

Some of the Jakfruit

I thought I'd be productive after daughter left, but, instead, I relaxed!  I did clean my bathroom, however, did the dishes, took some recycling out to the bin, and did a bit of paperwork (though not as much as I should have).  But I didn't clear the table in the family room.

Instead, I did a freezer inventory!  I won't need to buy any meat or fish for some time!  I have:

1 package (11 pieces) of battered cod
4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
2 packets of chicken curry
2 pork chops
1 package of smoked sausages
1 package (1 lb.) of cooked ground beef
1 cooked hamburger patty
1 package frozen shrimp curry
1 package of dried shrimp

Plus other items such as a packet of rice and curries wrapped in banana leaf, half a bag of chicken and vegetable pot stickers, several meat-filled bread rolls, half a bag of taquitos, a package of flat bread, 2 packages of spicy garbanzo beans, 3 packages of cashew curry, frozen strawberries, frozen bananas, frozen lemons (for making marmalade), 1 package of grated coconut, muffins, zucchini bread, various vegetables (asparagus, spinach, bell peppers, onions, blackeyed peas, green peas, chillies, etc.), flour, nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, macadamia), cranberries, tomato sauce, butter, etc.  I could probably eat for a whole month from just what's in the freezer!  I'll just need some fresh fruits and vegetables.        

Saturday's To Do List:
- Clear small dining table in family room - NOT DONE
- Clean my bathroom - DONE
- Water the indoor plants - DONE
- Paperwork/Filing - DID SOME
- Freezer inventory - DONE

Sunday's To Do List:
- Take daughter to the airport
- Clear table in family room
- Paperwork/Filing
- Water the front garden

By the way, my stomach was fine, today.  In fact, I didn't need to go at all!

I had leftover steak and corn from last night's dinner along with some cucumber salad for my lunch today.  Dinner was a scrambled egg on toast.  Later, when daughter brought me food from the barbecue, I had a slider and some fresh jakfruit.

Today, I was grateful for:
- A relaxed day
- My tummy was fine
- Daughter had a fun evening with friends
- She had a safe drive to her friend's home and back
- She brought me dinner

How was your Saturday?  Have you tried jakfruit?  It is available in cans (in syrup), as well.  There is a difference in taste between the fresh and the canned fruit, but it is not too bad. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Friday in Review

I've had a relatively quiet day, today.  I called my supervisor in the morning and left her a message saying I'm back from my three days of sick time off and will resume work today.  She called me back a bit later, and was very happy that I felt well enough to continue working.  She forwarded several work files to me and I will be working on them for the next couple of weeks.  Even though I finish radiation on Monday, I will continue to work from home for a bit longer.

Today's radiation session went well.  Both technicians who attend to me reminded that Monday's session will be my last.  :)  However, I seem to be having more tummy trouble; apparently something I ate yesterday didn't quite agree with me!

In the afternoon, I put gas to the car.  Gas was $2.45 per gallon, today.   Later, my gardener friend came and tidied up the garden, a bit.  Lots of weeding to do.  Still later, I took a nap!

In the evening,  I did a little cleaning and paperwork.  The family room coffee table has now been cleared and dusted.  Later, I cooked dinner (steaks, baked potatoes, corn and broccoli; food is actually tasting good, again) and did the dishes.  I had been planning to make a banana bread for a couple of days now but hadn't got around to it.  Today, I went to make it, but the bananas were beyond being just over-ripe!  So I tossed the bananas.  Food waste, I know; I should have frozen the bananas when I knew I wasn't quite up to baking the bread, earlier.

Friday's To Do List:
- Go for radiation - DONE
- Email the office - DONE
- Put away the dried laundry - DONE
- Put gas to the car - DONE
- Clear the coffee table - DONE
- Bake banana bread (bananas were beyond being over-ripe!)
- Paperwork/filing - DID SOME

Saturday's To Do List:
- Clear small dining table in family room
- Clean my bathroom
- Water the indoor plants
- Paperwork/Filing

I'm keeping Saturday's To Do List short on purpose to give myself plenty of time to do stuff and still take adequate breaks. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- #6 of 7 radiation treatments completed!
- The support of my colleagues and supervisors at work
- Afternoon naps
- Cooler temperatures
- Food is tasting good, again.

I don't have anything specific planned for tomorrow.  Daughter has been invited to a barbecue two of her friends are organizing.  I will do some tidying up and relax. 

How was your Friday?  Have you any special plans for the weekend?

Friday, August 26, 2016

Just Two More Left To Go!

I went for radiation in the morning.  #5 of 7 sessions.  Just two more left to go!
I asked at the radiation clinic how long I should use the ointment the nurse prescribed - the leaflet that came with it said to use for 14 days and I am close to that.  But I was told to use it for as long as the skin is peeling and the new skin underneath looks raw.  A whole bunch of skin peeled off, today, when I washed the area in the morning, so I guess I'll be using the ointment for a few more days.

Afterwards, we came home and had lunch.  Then, daughter went to run a couple of errands she needed to do.  She needed to get some groceries for herself for a potluck barbecue her friends are having on Saturday and a cashiers check for her rent, etc.  She ran an errand for me, too, while she was out and about.  I played on the computer a bit and then, later, took another long nap on the sofa!  I was tired after the radiation.

After I woke up, however, I had some energy and so, I did a load of laundry, did the dishes, took the trash and recycling out, cleared the dining table (and dusted and polished it, afterwards), washed the kitchen trash can, and did a bit of paperwork.  I still have a small stack of papers to deal with, tomorrow; mostly things to file, but also a couple of bills to pay.

Today, I decluttered a newspaper with an article about cancer that a friend had given to me and 3 old computer software disks:

August 25 Declutterings
I am not keeping an account of what I declutter this month.  But I am decluttering one or two items as I go along.

Thursday's To Do List:

- Go for radiation - DONE
- Put away dried laundry - DONE
- Put away dried dishes - DONE
- Clear dining table - DONE
- Clear coffee table
- Bake banana bread
- Do another load of laundry - DONE

Friday's To Do List:

- Go for radiation
- Email the office
- Put away the dried laundry
- Put gas to the car
- Clear the coffee table
- Bake banana bread
- Paperwork/filing

Today, I am grateful for:

- Completing #5 of 7 radiation treatments
- Another nice long nap
- Daughter running an errand for me
- A working washing machine
- Emails from my friends
How was your Thursday?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Wednesday: #4 of 7!

Today, I completed #4 of 7 radiation sessions!  Three more to go!

After radiation, daughter and I stopped at an Armenian bakery on the way home.  I bought a meat perashki for my lunch (it is a fried meat-filled bread roll; sorry, forgot to take a picture).  Daughter didn't want one.  We also bought two individual fruit tarts:

Individual Fruit Tart
And two pieces of cake (vanilla-mocha-walnut and Kiev) because daughter couldn't decide between the two.  :)

After lunch, I took a long nap on the sofa.

In the evening, I put water to the back garden, did a load of laundry and hung it up to dry, and did the dishes.  I started on clearing the dining table (went through a stack of papers and mail), but didn't finish.  I also picked the first fruits from the pineapple guava (feijoa) tree and shared with daughter.  There aren't a lot of fruit on my trees this year, due to the drought.

Wednesday's To Do List:

- Go for radiation - DONE
- Clear dining table - STARTED
- Clear coffee table
- Water back garden - DONE
- Wash dishes - DONE
- Load of laundry - DONE

Thursday's To Do List:

- Go for radiation
- Put away dried laundry
- Put away dried dishes
- Clear dining table
- Clear coffee table
- Bake banana bread

I had put a box lid on the floor and someone decided it makes a good bed:

Dancer Finds a New Bed

Today, I am grateful for:

- Completing #4 of 7 radiation treatments
- A nice long nap
- Returning taste buds
- My daughter cleaning the litter box for me
-Fresh fruits from the garden

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Out and About on Tuesday

I emailed my supervisor this morning and requested three days of sick leave this week and my supervisor emailed me back saying to take as long as I needed.  I'm so blessed where work is concerned.  

Went for radiation treatment #3 of 7 in the morning.  I had noticed some areas where the skin had started to peel, so I mentioned them to the technician who called the nurse over to take a look.  The nurse said it was OK to continue with the treatment and told me to continue using the prescribed ointment.

Afterwards, I went out to lunch with daughter.  We went to one of my favorite Japanese restaurants.  I ordered my usual favorite, which is chicken teriyaki with rice, a salad, and edamame.  For the first time in a long time, the food tasted good and the same as it used to taste.   I ate almost what I would have normally eaten, which is about half the tray of food!  I brought the rest home and will have it for lunch, tomorrow.  After that, we stopped by our favorite Japanese bakery and bought some melon buns for daughter and raisin buns for me.

After lunch, we went to the dermatologist's.  He diagnosed the rash on my face as an allergic reaction and prescribed a cream.  I am to apply it for a certain number of days and if the rash hasn't cleared I'm to come in again.

We stopped by the pharmacy to get the prescription filled and daughter ran over to the dollar store next door to pick up two lint rollers for me while I waited for my prescription.

I had a relaxed afternoon.  Daughter, however, went to a free cardio work out class at a nearby dance studio, where a certain pair of brother and sister professional dancers were making a guest appearance!  The highlight of the class, for her, was taking a "selfie" with them, afterwards!  :D

Later, daughter went out to dinner with my neighbor's daughters.  They went to a pizza place and daughter brought me a slice of her pizza, afterwards.  It had pesto sauce instead of the usual tomato sauce, grilled chicken and arugala, and no cheese because she doesn't like cheese.  A few minutes after my daughter returned from dinner, my neighbor called and she and her daughters came over for a visit.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Radiation #3 is behind me.

- An enjoyable lunch out with daughter.
- My supervisor and workplace being so understanding about my need for some time off.
- Visit from my neighbors.
- Phone call from my cousin and a nice, long chat.

I didn't get through my To Do List, today.

- Call/email office - DONE
- Go for radiation - DONE
- Go to dermatologist appointment - DONE
- Clear dining table
- Clear  coffee table
- Bring trash cans in - DONE
- Water back garden

All the undone tasks will be moved to tomorrow's list.

Wednesday's To Do List:

- Go for radiation
- Clear dining table
- Clear coffee table
- Water back garden
- Wash dishes

Hope you had a good day, today.  What are your plans for tomorrow?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Death by Cantaloupe!

The Culprit

On Friday, when daughter was getting ready to come home, she packed a container of cut up cantaloupe to bring with her, partly because she knew the cantaloupe would spoil if she left it in the fridge in her apartment for the week she'd be down here, partly because she didn't want to throw it away and waste food, and partly because she knew I liked cantaloupe.  She put the container in a plastic bag and then, put it in her backpack.  There was more cantaloupe in the container than what is shown above; I had already eaten some of it before I took the picture.

When she arrived home and unpacked her backpack, she discovered that the cantaloupe juice had leaked onto a file folder of work-related papers she had brought home with her (she's working from home, this week).  And, some of the juice had spilled on:

The Victim

Oh, no!  Her laptop! The juice had spilled in the area where the battery compartment is located.  Quickly she wiped it off, removed the battery and wiped it off, and tried to switch it on, but nothing happened.  She plugged it in and tried it, but it wouldn't turn on.  She kept it to dry overnight but it was useless.   There are a couple of spaces in the battery compartment and probably the juice seeped into the inner workings of the computer.  It couldn't be helped.  The laptop was declared "dead on arrival".

So today, after my radiation session, we went to the computer store and bought a new laptop.  She was going to buy it, but I told her I'll pay for it.

On the way home from the computer store, we picked up some Chinese food for lunch.  Came home and after lunch, we both did some office work.  Later, daughter took a nap with her head on my lap.  She says I make a comfy pillow.  :)

My doctor had prescribed some medication for me to take after radiation ends.  It is something I'll be taking for practically the rest of my life.  Someone from the clinic called me this afternoon to say that the prescription has been sent to my pharmacy and a short time later, the pharmacy notified me that the medication was ready to be picked up.  So, later in the evening, daughter and I went to the pharmacy to pick up the medication.  Since I have already met this year's co-pay maximum for medications, I didn't have to pay for my new prescription.  I also had a $5 rewards coupon from the pharmacy which was expiring today - I redeemed it towards some personal care items for daughter.

On the way back, we stopped at the grocery store to buy a few things: 2 loaves of bread, half and half, soda, and ice cream bars.  The total came to $12.87.  I didn't take a picture; when we came home, daughter took the groceries in while I took the trash cans to the curb and watered the front garden.  She had already put the stuff away by the time I came in afterwards.

I had thought of making steaks and baked potatoes (both from the boxed frozen items my supervisor had sent me, earlier) and steamed broccoli for dinner.  But daughter said she wanted to have a sandwich with the avocado/cucumber/egg salad one of her friends had made and given to her to try.  So I had a sandwich, too.  I'll make the steaks on another evening.

Today, I am grateful for:

- The radiation session went well.
- I was able to buy daughter her new laptop. 
- I didn't have to pay anything for my new medication.
- Redeeming a $5 coupon from the pharmacy
- Having my daughter's company all day.

Monday's To Do List:

- Go for radiation - DONE
- Shop for a new laptop for daughter - DONE
- Office work - DONE
- Take trash cans to the curb - DONE
- Water the front garden - DONE
- Tidy dining table
- Pharmacy - DONE
- Grocery Store - DONE

I did all but one item on my to do list for today.  The trip to the pharmacy and grocery store were new items I added to the list and I did them instead of tidying the dining table.

Tuesday's To Do List:

- Call/email office
- Go for radiation
- Go to dermatologist appointment
- Clear dining table
- Clear  coffee table
- Bring trash cans in
- Water back garden

How was your Monday? 

Taking it Easy

I have spent a quiet weekend, taking it easy.

On Saturday, daughter went to Universal Studios with two of her friends.  I strolled around the garden and took some pictures.

Then, I washed the 5 lbs. of strawberries I had bought:

Washed Strawberries

And cut them up for freezing:

Sliced Strawberries

A lot of slicing!  I froze the sliced strawberries.  They will be made into jam, later, when it is not as hot and I am more up to standing and stirring for an hour.

After that, I washed the dishes that had piled up in the sink.  The rest of the day, I watched Olympics coverage, played on the computer, chatted on the phone with my cousin and aunt, etc.

I had a very short To Do List for Saturday and it got done.

Saturday's To Do List:
- Clean litter box - DONE by daughter
- Prepare strawberries for freezing - DONE
- Do dishes - DONE

Today (Sunday), daughter went out with some friends to the mall in the afternoon and with other friends to an Escape Room and Korean barbecue dinner.  I watched more Olympics coverage and some cooking shows on TV, spoke on the phone with my half-sister who called and with my neighbor,  and enjoyed a visit from one of my friends and her family.

In the afternoon, I decided to tidy the computer desk in the family room.  It was piled high with work-related material - documents, reference material, etc.  I put everything back into the box in which I had brought them home from the office.  I can always take them out as needed and return to the box at the end of the day.  I found a couple of items that needed to be filed, so I went ahead and filed them.  I put some odds and ends into the pink basket  to go through and deal with at a later date.  Then, I dusted and polished the table.  I had originally planned to spend only 15 minutes tidying the computer table, but it took me a total of one hour.  This is how it looks now:

Tidied Computer Desk

I hope to keep it looking like this so that, in the future, it will take me less than 15 minutes to give it a quick clean.

Later in the afternoon, I sewed the cushion covers back on.  There are six cushion covers:

Cushion Covers

The cushions covers were made from the curtains I used to have in my kitchen window and fabric scraps I had in my stash (for the borders and the backs).  There is a matching table cloth, too.

Other items I'd like to get done:
- Sew cushion covers back on - DONE
- Tidy dining table
- Tidy family room - STARTED
- Round up dust bunnies  - DONE by cousin!

Today, I am grateful for:

- A call from my sister
- My neighbor calling to check on me
- A visit from a friend
- Hugs from my daughter and her friends
- Being able to watch the Olympics

Monday's To Do List:

- Go for radiation
- Shop for a new laptop for daughter
- Office work
- Take trash cans to the curb
- Water the front garden
- Tidy dining table

How was your weekend?

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Garden in August

I took a stroll around the back garden, today.  Much of the garden is parched and sun baked!  These two pictures of the back garden are taken from the back door:

Looking Slightly to the Right

It's depressing, isn't it?  Once upon a time, I had almost 100 rose bushes growing here (98 to be exact!).  But, we are currently in our fifth year of severe drought and watering restrictions have taken a toll.    Not to mention my recent ill-health (I was told not to actually do any active gardening while undergoing chemo, to minimize being exposed to soil bacteria, etc.)

Looking Slightly to the Left
The white building to the left of the picture is my detached garage, with two of the lemon trees growing in front of it.

Next year, I will start re-landscaping the garden with more drought tolerant plants.  In the meantime, the garden will limp along as best as it can!

The jasmine plant I had pulled out from behind the shed (the main plant had died, but this was growing in a sheltered spot) and transplanted in a pot is growing:

Jasmine Transplant

The lantana/plumbago hedge that was trimmed:

Trimmed Hedge
I wish I had remembered to take a "before" picture.  But it was taller than the top of the wall and sprawling out at least two feet into the garden.

There are some colorful berries on the schefflera plant:

Schefflera Berries

The poor peach tree, struggling to stay alive after it got scorched during the heatwave earlier in the summer:

Peach Tree
And the loquat tree which was pruned to encourage recovery from being scorched, earlier:

Loquat Tree

The oranges are still holding on:


One of the plants that seem to be thriving in the garden is the Sprengeri fern.  It has self-seeded itself in various places and, although it is considered a weed in some parts of the country, I have been allowing it to grow wherever it pops up, as it adds a bit of green to the garden.

Such as, at the base of the loquat tree:

Sprengeri Fern

Or a corner of the agapanthus bed:

Sprengeri Fern and Agapanthus

Or the corner of the garden shed:

Sprengeri Fern

Where it is flowering:

Sprengeri Flowers
The flowers will form berries that birds will eat and drop the seeds which will grow into more plants, if the conditions are favorable. 

On the other side of the shed, the purple flowered geraniums we cut back almost to the ground are starting to regrow:

There was something in the middle of one of the older leaves:

Butterfly on Leaf

It looked like a butterfly but it didn't move!  At first, I wondered if it was sleeping? Or maybe laying eggs?  But something didn't seem right and I put on my glasses to check it out. 

Butterfly at Final Resting Place
Unfortunately, it wasn't moving because it was dead!  In fact, an adjoining leaf held a dead bee!

And that's my back garden in August.

How is your garden coming along? 

Mountain Climbing - the Last Phase

I started on the last phase of my mountain climbing, today.  I had the first of seven "booster" radiation treatments, today.

But first, I had to go for a hydration session.  My cousin accompanied me (and insisted on paying for the parking at each clinic).  The hydration session went well.  I was weighed before the nurse practitioner saw me.  As of this morning, I have officially lost 30 lbs. since last October, when I went for my lumpectomy.  I will have another hydration session in 3 weeks' time.

Afterwards, I went for the radiation treatment.  That, too, went well and I'll have the weekend to recover from it.

When we got home, there was a message on my answering machine, reminding me of an upcoming appointment with the dermatologist, next week.

By the time I listened to the message and wrote down the information, my cousin had taken the broom and started to sweep!  At first, I told her it was OK, not to bother, it was something I had been meaning to do for the past couple of days but hadn't got around to doing.  But she was telling me not to worry, she will sweep, it was OK, etc.  And then, I started to cry, again!  I'm so emotional, lately!  Anyway, the long and short of it is, my lovely cousin swept the whole house and rounded up all the dust bunnies for me.  :)

Oh, and she brought me a larger cat carrier that she had and no longer needed, as the carrier I have is getting too small for Dancer.  Hopefully, it will be easier to get him into this larger carrier than it was to stuff him into the smaller one! 

Later in the afternoon, my gardener friend came to do the garden; I asked him to trim the lantana/plumbago hedge at the back.  I forgot to take a picture, but I'll try to take one, tomorrow.

I spent part of the afternoon responding to office emails.  I forgot all about preparing the strawberries for freezing!

Went for a walk around the block in the early evening and then, it was time to pick up daughter from the airport!  We've spent the evening just enjoying being together.

 Friday's To Do List:

- Make sandwiches to take with me - DONE
- Go for hydration session - DONE
- Go for radiation, afterwards - DONE
- Home and rest! - DONE
- Email the office - DONE
- Put away dried laundry - DONE
- Prepare strawberries for freezing
- Call to reschedule eye appointment (find phone number first!) - DONE
- Pick up daughter from airport - DONE
- Clean litter box

Saturday's To Do List:
- Clean litter box
- Prepare strawberries for freezing

Other items I'd like to get done:
- Sew cushion covers back on
- Tidy dining table
- Tidy family room
- Round up dust bunnies  - DONE by cousin!

Today, I am grateful for:

- My cousin who has been so loving and helpful
- A new, larger cat carrier
- Hydration and radiation sessions went well
- My daughter had a safe flight home
- All the prayers and well wishes

How was your Friday?  What have you planned for the weekend?

Friday, August 19, 2016

Thursday's Happenings

I went for my blood test in the morning.  The waiting room was full, so I had a bit of a wait.  But it wasn't too bad.

On the way home, I stopped at the dollar store.  I was hoping to buy a lint roller to remove cat fur from the sofa, but they didn't have any.  Instead, I bought a few other items I needed, such as night light bulbs, zippered sandwich and freezer bags, a roll of duct tape, etc.  Then, I went to the grocery store (located next door to the dollar store) and bought a container for half and half ($1.79) for daughter's coffee (she's coming home tomorrow night).  Neither stop was on my to do list for today (I had originally planned to buy the half and half tomorrow), but I decided to do it today as I was passing the stores on my way home from the clinic and it would be one less thing to do tomorrow; I added them to the to do list after the fact! 

After I came home, I did office work.  In between, I remade daughter's bed, did another load of laundry, finished dusting my bedroom, and later, watered the back garden (another item I added to the to do list, today!)

However, I didn't get to the other items on my to do list.  I sort of ran out of energy.  I felt rather frustrated by my lack of energy (enough to shed a few angry tears about it!), but one of the comments by Hon Min on an earlier post mentioned loss of energy due to radiation treatments and it reminded me that even though I am not as fatigued as I was when I was undergoing chemo, the radiation was also tiring me.  So, I need to be more patient with myself and allow myself more time to sit and rest.    

Thursday's To Do List:

- Go for blood test - DONE
- Office work - DONE
- Put away washed dishes - DONE
- Remake daughter's bed - DONE
- Do a load of laundry - DONE
- Grocery store and dollar store - DONE
- Prepare strawberries for freezing
- Finish dusting my bedroom - DONE
- Call to reschedule eye appointment
- Tidy family room
- Round up the dust bunnies!

 Friday's To Do List:

- Make sandwiches to take with me
- Go for hydration session
- Go for radiation, afterwards
- Home and rest!
- Email the office
- Put away dried laundry
- Prepare strawberries for freezing
- Call to reschedule eye appointment (find phone number first!)
- Pick up daughter from airport
- Clean litter box

Other items I'd like to get done:
- Sew cushion covers back on
- Tidy dining table
- Tidy family room
- Round up dust bunnies

Today, I am grateful for:

- Being able to get my shopping done on the way home from the clinic
- The reminder that the lack of energy is a side effect of the radiation
- Phone call from my aunt
- Daily emails from my friend
- Knowing I can let some things go undone for another day or two

How was your day?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Wednesday's Productivity

I went to the radiation clinic in the morning.  I was seen by the radiation oncologist who marked the area he wanted radiated - basically, the entire scar area from the lumpectomy!  After he was done, the technicians took pictures and traced the area marked by the doctor onto clear plastic sheets similar to the ones used with overhead projectors.  I don't have any treatments, tomorrow, but I do have to go to the lab for a blood test.  The radiation "booster" treatments start on Friday.
After I came home, I emailed my supervisor to request a sick day off on Friday.  I have a hydration session scheduled for Friday morning, followed by the radiation treatment.  This way, I can come home and rest without having to worry about making up the missed work time.
After that, I washed the piled up dishes and cooked the shrimp I had bought yesterday.  I made a "dry" curry, without a lot of gravy.
Shrimp Curry
Cooked some rice, too, and made a cucumber salad.  That was lunch.
Strawberries for dessert. 

Dinner was a bowl of soup and a slice of bread.
Spent the rest of the afternoon and early part of the evening doing office work. 
Later, I washed daughter's bed sheets.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to do all the items on my To Do list.  I think I was too optimistic about what I would be able to accomplish! 

Wednesday's To Do List:
- Go to radiation appointment - DONE
- Office work - DONE
- Wash dishes - DONE
- Wash daughter's bed sheets (DONE) and remake her bed (NOT DONE)
- Do one other load of laundry - DONE
- Cook the shrimp - DONE
- Prepare strawberries for freezing - NOT DONE
- Dust my bedroom - STARTED
- Call to reschedule eye appointment - NOT DONE
- Tidy family room - NOT DONE

Thursday's To Do List:

- Go for blood test
- Office work
- Put away washed dishes
- Remake daughter's bed
- Do a load of laundry
- Prepare strawberries for freezing
- Finish dusting my bedroom
- Call to reschedule eye appointment
- Tidy family room
- Round up the dust bunnies!

Today, I am grateful for:

- Radiation marking went well
- Safe drives to and from clinic
- A slightly cooler day
- Cousin texting to confirm she will accompany me on Friday
- My stomach is well again

How was your Wednesday?  Did you accomplish all what you wanted to?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Grocery Shopping Week 2

Another very hot day, here, today (Tuesday). 

In the morning, I did some office work before going for my radiation treatment.  Today was treatment no. 28 and the last of the whole breast radiation.  Tomorrow, I will be seen by the radiation oncologist who will mark out the area to receive the booster treatments.  I will have Thursday off and the booster sessions will start on Friday.  There will be seven such booster treatments.

On the way home from radiation, I put gas to the car, at $2.29 per gallon.  Spent $24.85 for gas.

Then, I went to the ethnic grocery store where strawberries were on sale for $.99/lb. on Tuesday, only.  I figured this would be the last time strawberries went on sale for that price, this year.  I took advantage of the sale and bought 6 containers!  One for me to eat now and the rest to freeze to make jam for holiday gifts.  I also went ahead and bought a few other groceries.  Broccoli was on sale for $.25/lb., which is the lowest price I've seen in years.

August Week 2 Groceries

I bought:

1 loaf of bread = $1.99
1 8-oz. package chicken cold cuts = $1.49
6 lb. strawberries @$.99/lb = $5.94
1.13 lb. broccoli @$.25/lb = $0.28
Shrimp @$4.99/lb = $5.76
2 bottles mango drink @1.09 = $2.18
1 cucumber = $0.50
1.65 lb. bananas @$.49/lb = $0.81
Grapes @$.79/lb = $1.28
1 packet cookies = $1.39
2 packets crackers, @$.50 = $1.00

Total = $22.62

August grocery shopping spending to date:  $15.65 + $5.37 + $10.72 + $22.62 = $54.36

Amount left in the August grocery budget:  $88.21 - $54.36 = $33.85

After I came home from doing grocery shopping, I had lunch (chicken cold cuts sandwich) and did office work.  Later, put back the sofa covers, watered the back garden, did a load of laundry (bath mats, etc.) and video chatted with daughter.  Dinner was a bowl of my beef and vegetables soup, with a slice of bread.  Snacks were a banana, some grapes, some strawberries, and one cookie, which I didn't like the taste of, after all.

My to do list for today:

- Go to my radiation appointment- DONE
- Put back the washed sofa covers - DONE
- Bring back the trash cans - DONE
- Water the back garden - DONE
- Dust my bedroom - NOT DONE!
- Wash bath mats, etc. - DONE
- Buy strawberries, on sale Tuesday only, for $.99/lb. - DONE
- Put gas to the car- DONE

Well, I did everything on my list except dust my bedroom!

Wednesday's To Do List:

- Go to radiation appointment
- Office work
- Wash dishes
- Wash daughter's bed sheets and remake her bed
- Do one other load of laundry
- Cook the shrimp
- Prepare strawberries for freezing
- Dust my bedroom
- Call to reschedule eye appointment
- Tidy family room

Today, I am grateful for:

- Finishing the first 28 radiation treatments
- Safe drives to the clinic and back
- Grocery bargains
- Water for the garden
- Cool evenings

How is your grocery spending coming along?  Are you more or less on track?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Monday in Review

It was another warm day, here, today.  Already 86F when I left to go to the clinic at 10:30 a.m. and 97F when I came back home at 12:15 p.m.  It had cooled down to a much more comfortable temperature when I went out to water the front garden a little after 8:00 p.m., though.

I've had a relatively quiet day.  One of my cousins called in the morning to ask if she could borrow my cat carrier.  I said yes, so she came over and collected it. She needs it to take one of her cats to the vet.

After she left, I went for my radiation treatment. The two days of treatment I missed last week (due to the radiation burns) will be made up this week - today and tomorrow.  Then, on Wednesday, the radiation oncologist will mark the area to receive the booster treatments.  I will have Thursday off (so they can calculate the dosage I am to receive, according to the technician) and I will start the booster treatments on Friday.   There will be a total of 7 booster treatments.  If all goes well, provided I don't have any breaks due to additional skin burns, etc., I should be done with the radiation just before the end of this month!  Just a few days short of the one year anniversary of my biopsy!  It has been a long year.
After I came home, I had some of the rice and the last of the trout I had cooked earlier, for my lunch.  Then, I washed the covers of the other sofa in the afternoon, watched Olympics coverage, and took a nap!  Later, I went through the fridge and tossed some old food, took the trash cans out to the curb, watered the front garden, watered the indoor plants and video chatted with daughter.   Dinner was scrambled egg on toast.

I had planned to put back the washed sofa covers and dust my bedroom, but didn't get around to doing them.  They'll be added to my to do list for tomorrow:
- Go to my radiation appointment
- Put back the washed sofa covers
- Bring back the trash cans
- Water the back garden
- Dust my bedroom
- Wash bath mats, etc.
- Buy strawberries, on sale Tuesday only, for $.99/lb.
- Put gas to the car

Today, I am grateful for:

- Radiation #27 completed.
- Safe drives to the clinic and back.
- Friendly staff at the clinic and parking garage.
- Afternoon naps.
- Cooler evenings to make up for the day time heat.
How was your Monday?  What have you planned for Tuesday?

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Quiet Sunday, Too

I took it easy, again, today. and had a quiet Sunday.  I woke up several times in the early hours of the morning, needing to go to the bathroom.  Apparently my stomach isn't quite recovered, yet.  Or, it didn't like all the fiber from the vegetables in yesterday's soup!
So, I mostly rested and took it easy.  I slept in until mid-morning, when my neighbor's phone call woke me up.  She was checking up on me, as usual.  Had a cup of tea, responded to comments on my blog, read some other blogs, etc., and watched Olympics.
I did wash the covers of one of the two sofas in the family room and hung them up to dry.  I'll do the covers of the other sofa, tomorrow.  I also cleaned my bathroom, did the dishes, and took out the kitchen trash and the recycling.  And I unpicked the covers of the cushions I have on the family room sofas so I could wash them,too.  When I sewed the cushion covers, I didn't attach zippers to them, partly because I am intimidated by the thought of sewing on zippers!  :o  So, I just sewed them closed with an over-and-over stitch.   Which works well, except I have to unpick and sew them back up each time I wash the cushion covers!

It was another hot day, today.  But I didn't feel like going to the bedroom and putting on the a/c (no TV in the bedroom), so I just stayed in the family room with the fans on.  The forecast says it will be 100+ tomorrow, though, so I might retreat to the bedroom tomorrow afternoon.

Today, I am grateful for:

- My neighbor calling to check on me.
- My friend's phone call.
- Another quiet, restful day.
- Getting a few things done.
- The refreshing coolness of iced water.

My to do list for tomorrow include:

- Going to my radiation appointment
- Putting back the washed sofa covers
- Washing the covers of the other sofa
- Taking the trash cans to the curb
- Watering the front garden
- Watering the indoor plants
- Dusting my bedroom

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

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Quiet Saturday

I've had a quiet day, today.  I slept in a bit in the morning and when I woke up, I didn't have a lot of energy and didn't feel like doing much.  So, although I had planned to do housework, I just took it easy!  Instead of dusting and vacuuming and scrubbing toilets, I replied to comments on my blogs, read other blogs, watched Olympics, read a bit, and made a pot of soup!


Beef and Vegetable Soup
I made the soup with the beef neck bones I bought, yesterday.  There was almost a pound of beef neck bones in the package I bought, consisting of four pieces.  I didn't follow any recipe, as such; just added what I had on hand.  I added about four cups of water (sorry, didn't measure); about half an onion, sliced; some celery, sliced; two carrots, sliced; salt, about 6 or 7 pepper corns, and brought it to a boil.  Then, reduced the heat and simmered it, covered for about 30 minutes.  At which point, I added two small potatoes, cut up; some diced red bell pepper; and a handful of spinach and simmered for another 30 minutes or so.  

I had two bowls of soup for my lunch!  My daughter says that only I would crave hot soup when it is 97F outside!  But it was only 85F inside the house.  :D

The afternoon was rather warm, though, so I switched on the air conditioner in the bedroom and read for awhile.  

Dinner was another bowl of soup with a slice of bread.

I put the rest of the soup in the fridge for another day.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Being able to sleep in.
- Words of encouragement from a friend, that were very timely. 
- Yummy homemade soup.
- Air conditioning when it is hot.
-Video chatting with my daughter, texts from my cousin, phone call from aunt.

Tomorrow, I need to make an effort to get to the housework.  The forecast says it will be another hot day, with a high of 97F.  So, morning would be the best time to clean the house, before it gets too hot.

Do you like beef and vegetable soup?  Do you have a favorite recipe?  Or do you tend to throw stuff into a pot like I do?