Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Front of Card

Happy Halloween!

I made a Halloween card to send to my daughter, using items I had on hand.  I'm calling it an inside-out card, because the front of the card simply says Trick or Treat?  I used a stencil for the lettering.

The inside of the card was decorated with scrapbooking paper and sequins which I glued to the card:

Inside of the Card

I also made a pocket from some of the Halloween themed paper to hold the check I included in the card, the "treat":

The Pocket

I mailed the card on Friday, taking it to the post office to do so, anticipating it would be delivered today.  But, it seems the post office has decided to play a trick - daughter hasn't received the card, yet.  I guess I should have mailed it on Thursday, instead.

Daughter sent me this picture of her in her costume that she put together using items she had on hand:

Daughter in Costume

She's a strawberry!  She cut out the "seeds" from white felt and glued them to a red sweater that she had; the green bow on her hair is the "stem".  :)  She said she was the only person in costume at her office and someone thought she was a watermelon (wrong color seeds!) and someone else thought she was Minnie Mouse (no!  Minnie has polka dots!)

Today was a sunny day.  I did a load of laundry, dusted my bedroom, started on the paperwork, cleaned out the fridge, cleaned the litter box, swept the bathroom floor, emptied the waste baskets throughout the house, and took the trash cans to the curb for pick up tomorrow.  I will do the day's dishes a bit later.

I didn't hear from the pharmacy, today.  No call saying my prescription was ready.  I really didn't expect to hear from them today, anyway, especially if they had to order the medication.  I'll give them one more day and then call the doctor's office if needed.

I reviewed my October goals for a balanced life and came to the conclusion that I did OK, overall, although there were some areas that didn't get as much attention as I would have liked.  Hope to focus on those areas in November.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Daughter was able to come up with a costume using items she had on hand
- A sunny day
- A working washing machine
- A clean house
- Keeping in touch with family and friends

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Bring trash cans in
- Office work
- More paperwork/filing
- Put away dried laundry
- Do another load of laundry
- Work on November goals

How was your Halloween? 

October Balanced Life Goals Review

- Continue with daily prayers and gratitude; host the October monthly prayer gathering; focus on joy - I hosted the October monthly prayer gathering and continued with the daily prayers and gratitude; I had made an Autumn Joy List in September and I incorporated items from that list in October, to focus on joy. 
- Clean and tidy the house in preparation for the prayer gathering.  Focus on the family room and 3d bedroom.  Clean and put away things afterwards!
- Continue to work on establishing the cleaning routine! 
- Tidied and cleaned the house for the prayer gathering and have maintained it in the two weeks since.  I still have a couple of rooms requiring more attention, but hope to do that in November.

- Decorate for Fall - Decorated for Halloween

- Get donations ready for pick up in mid-October - Done; 21 bags of donations were picked up.

- She will be coming down to help me with the prayer gathering.  Looking forward to having her home again.  In the meantime, we'll keep in touch by phone and computer - Daughter came down to help with the prayer gathering and it was lovely to have her home for the weekend

- I'll see some of the family members at the prayer gathering (one cousin has already informed me she won't be able to attend).  Another cousin has offered to accompany me to my medical appointment this month - several family members attended the prayer gathering and they contribute to the meal, as well.  The cousin who offered to go with me to the medical appointment couldn't make it, but she visited me, later in the month.
- Visit my mother's grave (her birthday, this month; reason why I host the prayer gathering in October) - done.
- Maybe go out to lunch with my half-sister - couldn't manage it, but spoke with her on the phone.
- Maybe go out to dinner with one aunt and cousin - went out to dinner with aunt and three of my cousins, the husband of one cousin and their daughter! 
- Invite another aunt and cousin to dinner another night - they came over to dinner this past weekend.        
- I'll be seeing some of my friends at the prayer gathering.  One friend offered to come and help me with the preparations.  Will also try to out out to dinner with her - Saw several friends at the prayer gathering and a couple of them helped a lot with the preparations.  Saw some other friends at a funeral of a mutual friend's mother.  I couldn't manage to go out to dinner with the one friend, but  I did have brunch a couple of times with another friend.
- Continue to work from home for the first half of the month; make plans to go back to the office later in the month.  I might need to ease back into going to the office for the first week or two - I worked from home the entire month because my doctor didn't want me to return to the office until January.

- Continue doing what I have been doing - budgeting and spending mindfully - Did well; came under budget for grocery shopping. 

- Continue to focus on health:  I need to go for a blood test, next week, on Thursday.  I've an appointment with the oncologist on Friday, October 7.  I need to call and schedule an appointment with my primary care doctor, as well.  I need to continue to focus on a healthier diet, exercising regularly, and getting sufficient sleep - Doing OK for the most part.  Did the blood test and met with the oncologist; blood test results were fine and made a follow-up appointment for December.
Saw my primary care physician on October 12 and received my flu vaccinations.  She gave me a note for work, saying I may not return to the office until January.  I also required a new prescription for a medication I've been on for some time (the old prescription had expired) which the doctor is supposed to have sent electronically to the pharmacy but seems to have gone astray!  Several phone calls later, I am still waiting for it to be filled!
Another prescription, for a different medication, was denied by insurance, saying I've exceeded my plan limit for that particular medication.  I need to go back to the doctor for a different prescription, but I have chosen to wait until I get the other prescription resolved.
Time Management:
- Focus on establishing a work schedule and routines, especially as I return to the office.  I have a fairly long work day when I go to the office, leaving at 7:00 a.m. and not returning until 6:30 p.m., sometimes later, depending on traffic.  I generally don't feel like doing much once I come home.  Housework, grocery shopping, etc., all tend to get pushed aside until the weekend.  I really need to get myself organized and back on a schedule before I go back to the office - I've not been too concerned about this since the doctor told me not to go back to the office, yet! 

- Read at least one fiction and one non-fiction book; resume sewing the two quilts I have in progress; resume crocheting the rag rug; listen to music; play the piano - Well, I read a fiction book, but not the non-fiction one; I did read a lot of blogs, though - that counts, too, doesn't it?  :)  I listened to music and played the piano a couple of times, but didn't resume sewing or crocheting.  Instead, I renewed a Halloween wreath and made a card.

That is the review of my goals for a more balanced life in October.  I think I did well on most areas.  Hope to continue to do well in November, too.  
Did you make October goals?  If so, how did you do? 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Weekend To Do List

It was a cloudy, overcast day on Saturday.  Outdoors looked like it would be cold, but it was actually quite warm.  I spent a relaxed morning watching sewing and cooking shows on TV and reading blogs.  Eventually, I made myself a to do list for the weekend:

- Do dishes/run dishwasher - DONE
- Put away washed dishes - DONE
- Clean stove top/under burners - DONE
- Clean vent hood - DONE
- Clean microwave - DONE
- Clear kitchen counters/wipe down - DONE
- Scrub sink - DONE
- Dust/Tidy - living room (DONE), dining area (DONE), family room (DONE), my bedroom
- Vacuum - living room, dining area, family room, kitchen, hallway, bedrooms - DONE
- Quick clean bathrooms - DONE
- Paperwork/filing
- Laundry
- Call and accept birthday party invitation - DONE
- Have aunt and cousin over to dinner - DONE
- Water the house plants - DONE

I usually do my dishes by hand, but the dishwasher needed to be run and so, I let the dishes pile up for a couple of days to have enough to justify running the dishwasher.  While the dishes were being washed, I cleaned the rest of the kitchen.  

Then, I tidied and dusted the living room, dining area, and family room and vacuumed those rooms, the kitchen, and the hallway.  I wanted to do the bedrooms, too, but felt I had done enough for one day.  I didn't want to overdo things and get too tired as I was expecting a visit from my aunt and cousin.

I also walked around the garden and picked some pineapple guavas (feijoa) and cherry guavas:

Pineapple Guavas and Cherry Guavas
There are still more pineapple guavas on the tree, but the cherry guavas are almost done (a lot of them dried up on the tree during the heatwave).  

My aunt and cousin brought me samosas from the Indian restaurant and I had two of them for my dinner.  My aunt and cousin had rice, honey-sesame chicken, dhal, green beans and the last of the biscuits I had baked earlier; fresh guavas for dessert.  Cousin washed up the plates and dishes we used for the dinner and later, after aunt and cousin left, I put away the dried dishes and pots and pans, including the ones I had washed earlier.

It rained again, this morning!  Maybe we are going to have a wet winter this year!  Even after it stopped raining, it's been cloudy and cool (today's highs only in the upper 60s).  We are supposed to have a cloud cover for the next couple of days, but the forecast says the Santa Ana winds will be back by Wednesday and temperatures will be in the low to mid 80s.   

My aunt called to thank me for a lovely evening and dinner, last night, saying she enjoyed herself.  Later, my neighbor called for our weekly Sunday morning chat.

I vacuumed the bedrooms and cleaned the bathrooms, today.  Still need to tidy and dust my bedroom and do paperwork.  I think I will wait to do the laundry until it gets warmer, later in the week, so things can air dry without any problems.

I am so glad I was able to clean most of the house over the weekend, this time, without getting too tired.  I will concentrate on tidying and dusting my bedroom and doing paperwork over the upcoming week.  I am kind of "done" with housework for the weekend.  :)

This weekend, I am grateful for:
- More rain for the garden (splitting oranges notwithstanding)
- A pleasant visit with aunt and cousin
- A call from my neighbor
- Getting the housework done!
- A mostly clean and tidy house!

How was your weekend?  Do you make weekend to do lists, too?

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Friday: Prescription Saga and Other Tales

On Friday, we had another shower of rain in the early morning!  I woke up to the sound of rain and lay in bed listening to it for a bit before drifting off to sleep, again.  I love listening to the sound of rain, especially when I know I don't have to go out in it!  The rain cleared later in the morning and the rest of the day was cloudy but clear.  The rain did play a real "trick or treat" on me - on one hand, it was a blessing to have some much needed rain.  On the other hand, all that water caused some of my oranges to swell faster than the rind could grow and they split!  I guess Mother Nature does have a sense of humor?

Split Orange

I spent most of Friday doing office work.  But, in the afternoon, I went to the pharmacy to pick up a medication (not the one I've been having problems obtaining), that I had called in for a refill the previous night.  I asked if they had my other  medication and they claimed they haven't received anything from the doctor's office.  Well, what else is new?

After I came home, I called the doctor's office and spoke to the person in charge of prescriptions.  She said my chart was with the doctor and said she'll check with the doctor.  She asked me if I wanted to hold or did I want her to call me back.  I said I preferred to hold, for who knew when she'd call back?  A bit later, she came back on the line to say that the chart notes state that the doctor gave me the prescription.  This is generally what the doctor does, but this time, the doctor told me she will send the prescription electronically and I gave her the pharmacy info. (phone #, store #, address, etc.)  I even double checked my purse to make sure I didn't have a paper prescription and I didn't - only the letter she gave about going back to work in January.

The prescriptions lady checked again and then said they had faxed the prescription to the pharmacy and there was a confirmation slip in the file.  Um, didn't she say that the chart states that the doctor handed me the prescription?  But they faxed it too?  Never mind; she said she will fax it again and to call and check with the pharmacy in 15 minutes.  Which I did.  But the pharmacy again said they didn't receive the fax.  So, I called the doctor's office again.  To be told that the pharmacy had received the fax, and had called and spoken with the doctor!

About 45 minutes later, I received another call from the doctor's office, saying they had spoken with the pharmacy, the pharmacy had said they didn't have the item in stock and needed to order it, but it should be ready by Monday.  She said to check with the pharmacy on Monday and call back if they don't have it.  So we shall wait and see!  Stay tuned!

I also went to the post office on my way home from the pharmacy, to mail the Halloween card I had made, because I wanted to be sure that I had sufficient postage on it (I did).  I had wanted to include a gift card as well, but didn't feel like going to the grocery store to buy one (should have thought of it and bought one the other day, when I was at the grocery store).  Instead, I enclosed a check for a small amount.  But when I was in the post office, I saw that they had a selection of gift cards for sale!  How very convenient!  This is the first time I've actually been inside this particular post office.  Prior to this, I used to go to the post office near the office and they didn't sell gift cards there (unless that has changed since I was there last, which was almost a year ago).  Next time I want to mail someone a gift card, I can buy it from the post office!

I did more office work later in the afternoon and sent off the completed week's work by the end of the day.   I'm always pleased when I can finish the week's work by Friday evening; then I can send it off and not worry about "making up" over the weekend.  

On Friday, I was grateful for:

- A shower of rain in the morning
- The rest of the day being clear (if a bit cloudy)
- The pharmacy having my other medication ready for me
- The doctor's office making an effort to process my other medication
- Getting my work done and sent off

So, that was my Friday.  I hope you had a good day, yesterday and are having a good start to your weekend, today.

Splitting Oranges

The oranges on my tree are splitting. 

At first glance, they look just fine, starting to ripen and turn color:

Ripening Orange

 But then, a closer look reveals something troubling:

Splitting Orange

The tree survived the summer with minimum amounts of water.  The fruit developed OK.  Then came the heatwave and the hot, dry Santa Ana winds of early autumn.  The heat and lack of water caused the tree some stress, but the fruit seemed fine.

Another Split Orange

And then, it rained.  We had a shower of rain last week and another one this morning.  We were happy to have rain, as the garden really needed it.  The thirsty little tree drank up the water and the water helped to swell the fruit.  But it was too much water, too quickly.  The pulp filled with juice and swelled too fast.  The rind couldn't grow fast enough to keep up with the expanding fruit.  And so, the fruit split.

Yet Another

These are navel oranges and they split more than other types of oranges, I've read, because the rind around the navel is thinner.  A few fruits fell a couple of days ago and I tossed them.  Three more fell today and I tossed them, too.  I left the others on the tree, but I should probably pick them and toss them.  Insects have already discovered the split fruit.

One More

My fault.  I really should have watered the tree more during the summer so that the rain wouldn't have caused so much damage.  Sigh.

Friday, October 28, 2016

October Grocery Shopping Week 4!

Where does a person go when she needs to drive the car so the battery won't go down again?  Why, the grocery store, of course!

But first, I went to the gas station to fill up; I put $26 worth of gas at $2.51/gallon.  Then, because I felt the drive to the gas station wasn't long enough, I drove to the grocery store.  I thought I'll get myself some frozen corn because I was out of it and maybe another couple of bread rolls.  But the rolls in the bakery section didn't look too good, so I didn't buy any.

October 27 Grocery Shopping
Instead, I bought a can of refrigerated biscuit dough.  This particular item sells for $3.99 regularly, but it had a use by date of November 4, 2016 and was on sale for $.75.  I will not buy biscuit dough for almost $4.00, but when it is on sale for under $1.00, then, that's a good buy.  There were several cans of dough on sale at $.75 each, and I was tempted to buy two or three, but what would I do with all of them?  It's not like I can freeze them for future use.  So I just bought the one can.

I also walked around the grocery store, but didn't find anything else I wanted to buy.  So I paid for my two items (1 bag frozen corn = $1.00; 1 can biscuit dough = $.75) and came home.  My total came to $1.75.

October 27 Receipt
I only had one bag with me; I don't know why the cashier credited me with so many points!

Amount spent on groceries in October = $73.23 + $126.93 + $16.34 + $1.75 = $218.25
Amount left in budget = $261.59 - 218.25 = $43.34

I baked the biscuits once I got home and had two of them for dinner (along with leftover steak, from the other night).   I also cooked the rest of the strawberries before they spoiled and made strawberry syrup; I ate some of it with yogurt for dessert.

Flaky Biscuits Fresh out of the Oven

Today, I am grateful for:
- A warm, if cloudy day
- The three drops of rain that fell in the afternoon!
- An invitation to a party (a cousin's daughter's "sweet 16")
- Chatting with an aunt
- Video chatting with my daughter

How was your day?  Where would you have driven if you needed to drive but didn't have a particular place you needed to go?

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Wednesday's Doings

Spent most of the day doing office work, today.  In between, I wiped down the kitchen counters (I'm trying to do that on a daily basis), responded to comments on my blog and commented on others blogs, and spoke with my aunt and a cousin.

In the late afternoon, I took a short break from office work to go for a walk around my block.  As I was coming back, I noticed something in the front rose bed:

When I went to take a picture of it, I noticed another one, just starting to push through the ground:

Baby Mushroom

I am always intrigued any time I find mushrooms growing in my garden.   :)

Later in the evening, I made a Halloween card using items I had on hand.  I was tempted to leave everything out on the dining table to make another card tomorrow, but I made myself tidy it all up!  I am determined to keep the dining table clear!

I am waiting until I mail the card to post a picture of it.  Instead, here's a picture of my succulents planter near the front door, which is ready for Halloween:

Halloween Planter

Today, I am grateful for:
- Lovely weather (sunny and in the low 80s)
- A nice walk in the warmth and sunshine
- A pleasant hour spent making a card
- Talking with my aunt and cousin
- Video chatting with my daughter

How was your Wednesday? 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October Grocery Shopping Week 3

After saying I didn't need any groceries, I went grocery shopping yesterday (Monday), after all!  I didn't need any of the items I bought (except perhaps the butter, as I was down to less than half of my last stick of butter), but they were things I wanted!  And like to have on hand.  I bought them now because I had money in the budget.  If I didn't have the money in this month's budget, I would have waited for the majority of these items until next month, and made do with what I had on hand.

October 24 Groceries

I bought:
1 saltines-type crackers (unsalted tops) = $1.49
1 lb. butter, regular price $4.49, on sale this week for $2.99, less $.40 coupon = $2.59
1x 4 ct. fruit cups, $1.99, less $.40 coupon = $1.59
4 cups 6 oz. yogurt, regular price $.50@; on sale for $.39@ = $1.56
2 boxes hot cocoa mix (6 envelopes per box), $.99@ = $1.98
.63 lb. beef steak @$4.99/lb. = $3.14
1x7oz. container roast beef cold cuts = $3.49
2 bread rolls, $.25@ = $.50
Total = $16.34

October 24 Grocery Receipt

The grocery store receipt total shown above includes non-grocery items, which I deduct from my grocery totals because they come under different budgets (household; toiletries, etc.); I like to keep track of my spending by various categories.  But I left the total showing because I know some others include household products and pet food, etc., in their grocery budget.

I also bought some non-grocery items from both the grocery store and the dollar store:

Non-food Shopping

The dollar store receipt:
October 24 Dollar Store Receipt

October grocery/prayer gathering budget = $261.59

Total spent on groceries in Week 1 = $73.23
Total spent on groceries in Week 2 = $126.93
Total spent on groceries in Week 3 = $16.34

Amount spent on groceries in October = $73.23 + $126.93 + $16.34 = $216.50
Amount left in budget = $261.59 - 216.50 = $45.09

I had a roast beef sandwich made with one of the bread rolls for dinner last night, along with a yogurt.  Another roast beef sandwich with the other bread roll for lunch, today.  Dinner was part of the steak which I pan fried, and a boxed rice/wild rice mix; yogurt for dessert.

How is your grocery budget coming along?

Monday's Productivity

On Monday, I did some office work, responded to work emails, and exchanged emails with my supervisor. 

Since Monday is when I am supposed to clean the kitchen (according to the cleaning schedule I made back in September), I tidied the kitchen cabinet where I store various things including kitchen sponges, spare rolls of foil, boxes of food storage bags, trash bags, etc.  This cabinet gets messy rather quickly as I pull things out and it's been awhile since I last tidied it.  I generally like to keep at least one spare box of different sized food storage bags, foil, wax paper, etc., so I took the opportunity to take stock of what I had and what I needed to buy for the rest of the year, especially with the almsgiving coming up in December.

In the early evening, I went to the pharmacy to find out what is happening with my medications.  Well, apparently I've reached my insurance plan's limit on that particular type of antibiotics, which is why that particular prescription hasn't been filled.  They claim they never received the other prescription request from the doctor's office even though I called the doctor's office last Friday.  It was too late to call the doctor's office when I came home, so I'll need to call them tomorrow.

After the pharmacy, I went to the dollar store to stock up on foil, wax paper, cling wrap, and snack bags.  And then, I did some grocery shopping (will do a separate post on that) and picked up some air fresheners.  They were the same price at the grocery store ($.99 each) as at the dollar store, but I had a store coupon for $.60 off on the purchase of 3, so it was cheaper for me to buy them at the grocery store.

October 24 Non-food Purchases
After I came home, I took the trash cans to the curb for trash pick up on Tuesday and exchanged greetings with one of my neighbors who was taking out his trash cans, too.

I spent the rest of the evening relaxing.  One of my aunts called and I chatted with her.  Once of my friends called and I chatted with her, too.  Then, I video chatted with my daughter.  In between, I read blogs and commented.  And watched TV.

On Monday, I was grateful for:
- A cooler day
- Getting the kitchen cabinet organized
- A safe drive to the shops and back
- Phone calls from family and friends
- Video chatting with daughter

Tuesday's To Do List:

- Office work
- Call the doctor's office
- Bring trash cans in
- Dust/tidy/vacuum my bedroom
- Water the front garden

How was your Monday?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Quiet Weekend

I've had a fairly quiet weekend. 

On Saturday morning, a friend called me to tell me that she had made milkrice (rice cooked with coconut milk, a little like rice pudding, but not sweet) and fish curry and invited me to come over for brunch.  So, I took two items I had for her daughter and my postage stamp collection for her husband - he had seen it where I had stored it in the garage and had told me if I was getting rid of it, to let him know.  I no longer collect postage stamps and my daughter is not interested in them, so it is better for it to go to someone who will enjoy it. I took the two stamp albums and a box of extra stamps.   My friend also gave me more milkrice and fish curry to bring home with me and she gave me a lemongrass plant she had growing in a pot since my lemongrass plant died this summer.

After I came home, I dusted the living room, dining room, and family room.  I wanted to do more cleaning, but I started to feel tired, so I decided to stop.  Last Saturday, I pushed through the tiredness to get all the cleaning done and it took me practically the whole week to recover!  So, on Saturday, I listened to my body and stopped before I got too tired.  Also, my daughter begged me to leave the cleaning for at least a few more days because I am just getting over the asthma flare up.

So, instead of doing more cleaning, I decorated for Halloween!

Halloween Mantel

I "refreshed" the wreath by hot gluing the mini jack-o-lanterns to it.  At first, I propped the wreath up on the mantel, but then, I changed my mind and hung it up on the dining area wall, instead:

The Wreath on the Wall

I put the Halloween table runner on the coffee table and placed daughter's trick-or-treat pumpkin (bought for her first Halloween) on it as a centerpiece.

Coffee Table

I took it easy on Sunday.  It was a cool, cloudy day and it even drizzled a little in the evening!  I remade daughter's bed in the morning and, as usual, Dancer claimed the freshly made bed!   He slept on it all day!

Dancer Claims the Newly Made Bed!

I also hand washed a lace doily my mother had crocheted (it has been on the coffee table all summer) and swept and mopped the kitchen.  Otherwise, I watched TV and played on the computer, all day!  One of my aunts called and I video chatted with my daughter, who said she did laundry and cooked, today (glass noodles with butternut squash sauce; quinoa and black bean burgers; carrot-oatmeal cookies).

Saturday's Weekend To Do List:

- Remake daughter's bed - DONE
- Sweep and mop kitchen - DONE
- Paperwork
- Dust - living room, dining area, family room - DONE
- Decorate for fall - DONE
- Vacuum if I feel up to it; otherwise, do it on Sunday later in the week

This weekend, I was grateful for:
- Friends who cook and invite me for brunch and send me home with more food!
- Sunny, warm day on Saturday
- Cooler day on Sunday
- A drizzle of rain
- A new lemongrass plant

How was your weekend? 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

October Grocery Shopping: Week 2

I did more grocery shopping, on Thursday, October 13 :

October 13 Groceries
I went to two stores, both located in the same strip mall, one at each end.

Store 1:
- 1 loaf of bread = $1.29
- 1 container half and half = $1.79
- 1.98 lbs. bananas @ $.69/lb = $1.37
- 18 eggs = $1.29
- 4 2-liter bottles of soda @ $.98 (includes redemption value) = $3.92

Total = $9.66

Store 2:
3 trays of chicken thighs @$.79/lb; $3.80, $3.82, $3.76  = $11.38
6 cans tuna @$.59 = $3.54
1 6-ct. frozen beef tamales (not pictured) = $6.39
1 box tea (80 tea bags) = $3.59
2 x 10lb. bag of cane sugar, @ $4.99 (not pictured) = $9.98

Total = $34.88

The box of tea is for my friend who likes this particular brand.

On Friday, October 14, I did the rest of the grocery shopping for the week:

Half of the October 14 Groceries

Rest of the October 14 Groceries

(the 2 air fresheners were included in the picture, but not included in the grocery budget)

October 14 grocery spending:
2x1 lb. strawberries @ $1.99 = $3.98
2 cucumbers @ $.50 = $1.00
1.94lb. red lentils @ $1.29/lb. = $2.50
4x100g. packets chestnuts, @ $.99 = $3.96
2.24 lb. bananas, @ $.49/lb. = $1.10
1 Papaya, @ $.49/lb. = $.79
1.58 lb. tomato @ $.99/lb. = $1.56
1.68 lb. onions @ $.20/lb. = $.34
1.20 lb. Gala apples @ $.49/lb. = $.59
1 3 oz. package plaintain chips = $1.99
 2.1 lb. red grapes, @$.99/lb. = $2.08
0.69 lb. red onion, @$.49/lb. = $.34
.43 lb. garlic, @ $2.49/lb. = $1.07
.21 lb. ginger, @$.39/lb. = $.08
3 lb. jar honey = $16.99
38 oz. ketchup = $2.50
6 oz. sesame oil = $2.19
2x6 oz. blackberries, @$.99 = $1.98
2 frozen mini chocolate cakes, @$1.00 = $2.00
6 pack beer = $6.19 + $.30 CRV + $.58 Tax
Total = $54.11

On October 15, I bought ice and soy sauce:
7 lb. bag of ice = $.99
1 bottle soy sauce = $2.29
Total = $3.28

And I paid for the meat curry ($20) and container of curry powder ($5) my friend made for me = $25

Week 2 grocery totals = $9.66 + $34.88 + $54.11 + $3.28 + $25 = $126.93

October grocery/prayer gathering budget = $261.59

Total spent on groceries in Week 1 = $73.23

Total spent on groceries in Week 2 = $126.93
Amount spent on groceries in October = $73.23 + $126.93 = $200.16
Amount left in budget = $261.59 - 200.16 =$61.43

Some of the grocery items I bought in Week 2 were for my daughter to take back with her  (one of the bags of sugar, the packets of chestnuts, etc.)

I haven't gone grocery shopping so far this week, as I have so much food leftover.  There is nothing that I need, but I might buy some yogurt and cold cuts, next week.

How is your October grocery shopping coming along?

Office Work Friday

Friday was another warm day, although a little cooler than Thursday.  I spent most of the day doing office work, trying to finish up the project I've been working on.  I had told people I should have it done by the end of the week and I was determined to get it done.  It took me a little longer than I thought, but I was able to complete the assignment and sent the completed product off by the end of the day.

On Friday, I was grateful for:
- Completing my office work for the week
- A working computer and internet connection
- A warm, sunny day
- Phone calls from my aunt and cousin
- Video chatting with my daughter

I didn't make a to do list for Friday.  I washed the dishes, wiped the kitchen counters, and put away the laundry from Thursday, but I didn't sweep and mop the kitchen floor or remake my daughter's bed.
Saturday's To Do List:

- Remake daughter's bed
- Sweep and mop kitchen
- Paperwork
- Dust - living room, dining area, family room
- Decorate for fall
- Vacuum if I feel up to it; otherwise, do it on Sunday

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

Thursday, October 20, 2016

61 in 22!

Calendar Page

Can you guess what the post heading means?  I'll give you a hint:  the 22 refers to the number of days from today.  :)

Today, our day time high was in the triple digits:

100F in the Shade
This was taken in the shade, near my back steps.  It was hotter (105F) in the sunshine.  Inside the house, however, it was much cooler and quite comfortable:

74F Inside the House

Today's to do list includes the two items I didn't do yesterday:

- Put away serving dishes in bottom of china cabinet/tidy bottom cabinet - DONE
- Take inventory of papergoods for almsgiving - DONE (I was right; needed napkins)
- Put away washed dishes - DONE
- Put away dried laundry - DONE
- Do another load of laundry - DONE
- Go to pharmacy to inquire about medication refills - DONE (One will be ready only tomorrow; need to call the doctor on the other)
- Call the doctor's office re. prescription refill - DONE
- Go to dollar store next to pharmacy for paper napkins and quart sized freezer bags - DONE
- Office work - DONE
- Wipe kitchen counters - DONE
- Sweep/mop kitchen
- Remake daughter's bed once her sheets are dry

Today, I went to the pharmacy to find out what was happening with my medications as, earlier in the week, they said they couldn't process the refill for the antibiotics on the day they received it because insurance said it was too soon and that they hadn't received the authorization from the doctor's office for the other medication.  They repeated the same thing about it being too soon to fill the prescription for the antibiotics today, too, but I questioned how it could be when the antibiotics had been 14 pills to be taken 2 per day for 7 days and the first prescription was filled on October 10th.  So, the pharmacist tried to put through the request for antibiotics today while I was there and, I guess it went through, because she said it will be ready, tomorrow.  But I was told to call the doctor's office about the other medication because they haven't received the authorization; I believe that because I know how this doctor's office works.  So, when I came home, I called the doctor's office to tell them that the pharmacy hadn't received the authorization.  I'll check with the pharmacy again, tomorrow, and won't be surprised if I need to call the doctor's office again.

While I was out and about, I stepped into the dollar store located next to the pharmacy to pick up a packet of white paper napkins (for the December almsgiving; I use cloth napkins, too, but paper napkins come in useful, as well) and two boxes of quart size freezer bags as I was out of them (my last box was used up after the prayer gathering dinner). 

I also put away the last of the serving dishes and tidied the bottom of the china cabinet where I store these serving dishes.  According to my daughter and my friend who often helps me with the prayer gathering and almsgiving, I am the only one who knows how to put things away so that everything fits in this cabinet!  LOL.

As part of my tidying the cabinet, I pulled out a set of 8 placemats that I had stored in the cabinet:

Mother's Souvenir Placemats

They had been my mother's.  She had bought them as a souvenir when she visited the Philippines as part of a cruise to Japan and back in 1959.  My parents, three of my half brothers, and myself, then aged 3+, had gone on that cruise.  There were many ports of call en route, including Singapore, Burma, South Vietnam, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Japan, of course.  My parents brought back a lot of souvenirs from that trip.  My mother got rid of most of them before we emigrated, but kept these placemats, made of pineapple leaf fibers, and brought them with her.  I don't know why she chose to keep and bring these particular items, but the fact that she did makes it hard for me to get rid of them.  I don't use them, though, and this is at least the second or third time I've pulled them out, wondering if the time was right to toss them.  I still don't know if I am ready to part with them or not.

By the way, I collected two souvenirs on that trip, all by myself!  I picked up two small stones from the garden of one of the temples in Japan and insisted on bringing them back home with me!  :D  I had them until I was 17 and decluttered my belongings before emigrating.  I remember there was a box full of papers too - brochures, ticket stubs, menus, railway time-tables, etc. - from that trip and the places we visited.  I tossed them all before I left Sri Lanka.  The only items I kept were a couple of bookmarks and some photographs, including this one of me with my mother:

Mother and I

On the back, my father (I find it hard to imagine my father inscribing the back of photographs, but it looks like his writing and it's not my mother's handwriting) had written:

Back of Photograph

I wonder if this was where I picked up my two souvenir stones?  I have a page in my baby book, written by my mother, describing the trip, but there is no mention of the stones.

Baby Book Description of Trip to Japan

Today, I am grateful for:
- Souvenirs
- Memories
- Old photographs
- Inscriptions on the backs of photographs
- My baby book

Today, in the evening, I video chatted with my daughter and had a phone call from one of my aunts.  My mother had mentioned, in the description she wrote about the trip to Japan, that this aunt was one of the family members who was waiting to welcome us back upon our return from the trip.  I mentioned it to my aunt when she called today and I could tell that she was quite touched by it.    

OK, so have you figured out the 61 in the title?

I shall be celebrating my 61st birthday in 22 days from today!  :D 

When I turned 59, I wanted to do 59 things that made me happy - such as having fresh flowers in the house, spending an hour crafting, etc.  They were going to be 59 gifts to myself.  Then, I found out that I had cancer and all those good intentions fell by the way side.  When I turned 60, my only focus was on recovery.  I didn't know if I would even live to see my 61st birthday.  But now, here I am, going to be 61 in 22 days!  Not sure what I want to do for the countdown, though.  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Mid-Week Catch Up!

21 Bags of Donations Waiting for Pick Up

Early Monday morning, around 3:30 a.m., I woke up to the sound of rain falling outside my window!  A steady drip-drip.  At first, I couldn't believe it was rain I was hearing, so I got out of bed, walked over to the family room and looked out the sliding glass door.  The back porch light revealed that it was, indeed, raining!  Not a very heavy rain, but a steady shower.  Enough to wet the ground.  It was still raining when I fell back asleep just after 3:45 a.m., but had stopped when I woke up later in the morning.  We needed that rain so much, especially since the temperatures are back up in the 90s, this week (tomorrow's highs are supposed to be in the triple digits). 

Monday afternoon, my daughter went back to Berkeley.  I sent her back with one of the 10 lb. bags of sugar I had bought last week and lots of leftovers from the prayer gathering dinner.  I put away a few more items and took the trash cans to the curb, but for the most part, I rested.  I was having some problems with my asthma flaring up, so, took it easy.

Tuesday, my nextdoor neighbor called and came over for a visit.  I sent her home with the rest of the pineapple pie.  She laughed and said I was always giving her food.

I also called my doctor's office to request a refill on the antibiotics, as my sinus infection hasn't cleared, yet.  I was told that the doctor will want to see me if the infection doesn't clear after the second round of antibiotics.  Between the sinus infection and the asthma flare up, I decided to take it easy and did the minimum. 

Salvation Army called, too, on Tuesday morning, to remind me that I had scheduled a pick up for today (Wednesday).  So, last night, I kept all the bags ready at the door for pick up in the morning.

This morning, they came and collected the donations.  I had told them 15 bags when I called to schedule the pick up and that's what they put on the receipt.  But I actually had 21 bags, because I found a few more items to add to the donations.  They didn't mind having to carry 6 additional bags of stuff to the truck.

The two young men who came to collect the donations were funny!  I had piled some of the bags on the sofa, as can be seen in the picture, and they pretended to lift and carry out the sofa along with the bags!  LOL.  I told them I'll be getting rid of the sofa set eventually, but not today!

My living room sofas are 20 years old and need replacing, but that's for another day!  I am well aware of how these things go - once the old sofas are replaced, the shabby drapes will need replacing and then the walls will appear even more in need of a coat of paint and so on and so forth!  I am not well enough yet, to do any major redecorating.  So, "shabby chic" shall be my decor for another year, or so. 

I have been working on office stuff for the most part, today.  In between, I did a load of laundry and ironed one square table cloth; over the years, I've found that it is best ironed while still quite damp. 

Wednesday's To Do List:

- Office work - In Progress
- Donations pick up - DONE
- Load of laundry - DONE
- Iron table cloth - DONE
- Empty dish drainer/put away dishes - DONE
- Put away big rice cooker
- Put away big serving dishes in bottom of china cabinet/tidy bottom of china cabinet
- Take stock of items (paper goods, etc.) needed for the December almsgiving (I think all I need are some white paper napkins)
- Watch tonight's debate.

Today, I am grateful for:
- The donations being picked up
- Being able to donate more than what I said I would
- Being able to work from home
- Sunshine and warm weather
- Leftovers!

How is your week coming along?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Remembering Mother


Today would have been my mother's 96th birthday, had she lived.

The picture above was taken when she was 70.  I'd love to look like that when I am 70!  I still remember the time when I had to take her to Urgent Care for some reason when she was in her early 80s and the doctor on duty came into the room, looked at her, apologized saying he was in the wrong room and went back out...only to come back a minute later, looking rather bemused, apologizing again for having made a mistake!  He said the chart said an 82 year old woman and my mother didn't look anything like what he expected an 82 year old woman to look!  :D 

I like this picture of her.  It was taken during a happy time in her life.  Just after she had achieved her long-time ambition of seeing her daughter married, but before that marriage disintegrated.  It was a good time.  But then, with my mother, every day was a good day.  She believed in living each day to the fullest.  That was one of the many things she taught me.  

Monday, October 17, 2016

Easy Gelatin Dessert

This is a recipe one of my cousins shared with me, many years ago.  I don't know where she learned of it.  It is one of the easiest desserts to make and one which can be varied depending on the flavor of gelatin that is chosen.

I made it for the prayer meeting, using raspberry flavored gelatin, since it is one of my daughter's favorite flavors.  I prefer it made with lime flavored gelatin, both for the taste and the color!

Step 1:  Make the gelatin according to the instructions on the box (mix with 1 cup of boiling water and then, add 1 cup of cold water); refrigerate until set.  One can do this in the morning of the day if the dessert isn't needed until later that day.  I chose to do it a day or so early, as it was easier for me - one less thing to do on a busy morning.

Raspberry Gelatin

Step 2:  Spoon the set gelatin into a blender and blend for a few seconds; then, add a can of sweetened condensed milk and blend!

Gelatin and Condensed Milk

Step 3:  Pour the resulting mixture into a mold or serving dish.  I poured it into my Bundt cake pan:

Gelatin Mixture in the Mold

The mixture will already be rather "gloppy" (nice, descriptive term, isn't it?); refrigerate it until needed.

When it was time to serve the desserts, I placed a plate over the Bundt pan and turned the whole thing up-side-down to un-mold the dessert on to the plate.  Then, I filled the middle with some blackberries and placed more blackberries around the base of the gelatin to decorate it.  If I had raspberries, I'd have used them, instead, but the store I went to buy the fruits didn't have raspberries.

I'm sorry, but I didn't remember to take a picture of the finished dessert before it was served.  But I took a picture of some that I served to a bowl, today:

Raspberry/Blackberry Gelatin Dessert

If you can get past the neon pink color, it is a light, refreshing dessert.  :)

I have also made this dessert with orange flavored gelatin and used canned mandarin orange segments to decorate it.  And, as I mentioned earlier, the lime flavored version is my favorite.

I've had a similar version of flavored gelatin mixed with cottage cheese, which was served as a salad at a luncheon I attended.  I suppose one could use yogurt or sour cream, as well. 

Have you had a similar gelatin dessert (or salad)?  Is it something you might consider making?  What are some of your easy desserts?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Prayer Gathering

The Altar

Yesterday's prayer gathering went off very well.  I cleaned the house in the morning and picked up my friend in the afternoon.  She helped to make the salad and assembled the fruit platter, while my daughter cooked the cocktail sausages and I cooked the garbanzo beans, lentils, and rice.  My other friend, who made the fish curry and meat curry for me, came over around 7:30 p.m. with the food she had prepared.  The other participants arrived later.  There were a couple of last minute calls from people saying they will not be able to attend (and a couple of people never bothered to call to let me know they were not attending).  We were about 15 people when we sat down to say the prayers.

The cocktail sausages and sauted garbanzo beans were served as snacks when guests arrived.  A dish of each was set on the coffee tables in the living room and family room, so guests could help themselves.  The various drinks were set up in the family room.  All the prepared food was kept in the kitchen or on the table in the family room until after the prayers were said.

Once the prayers were over, my daughter, cousins, and friends helped me to place the food on the dining table:  basmati rice, honey-sesame chicken, beef curry, fish curry, green beans curry, salad of hard boiled egg halves placed on a bed of sliced cucumber, tomato, and red onions and lentil curry.  There was tomato chutney, as well, but I didn't have the papadums I had earlier planned to serve, because I got too tired to fry them. 

There were one or two comments on earlier posts about the variety of food items I was planning to serve.  This is how my mother entertained and this is how I learned to entertain: a variety of dishes, a choice of meats (some won't eat beef, some won't eat pork, others won't eat chicken), enough vegetarian dishes, and plenty of everything! 

The dinner was served buffet style; one or two of the aunts and uncles sat at the table to eat; the rest of us sat around in the living room and family room.

Afterwards, the desserts were brought to the coffee table in the living room: my friend brought a pecan pie and a pineapple pie, one of my cousins brought a pumpkin cheesecake, my daughter helped me make the gelatin dessert, and my friend assembled the fresh fruits platter (grapes, strawberries, and blackberries).  Usually I love cheesecake and pies, but sadly, they still don't taste so good to me.  I persuaded my cousin to take the remainder of the cheesecake home with her, since my daughter doesn't like cheesecake. 

Most of the guests left shortly after 10:30 p.m.; some of them had an hour-long drive home.  Two of my friends stayed behind to help put away the food and wash the dishes.  Actually, they and my daughter did most of the cleaning up.  I was too tired by then to do much.  It was a lot of work to prepare for the prayer gathering, but I did it in memory of my mother, who would have turned 96, this week, had she lived.

Today, I woke up feeling tired, so I took it easy and rested.  I put away one or two of the washed items, washed the stem glasses, and did a load of laundry.  One of my neighbors called to check on me and later, I called my friend who came to help me with the preparations, yesterday, to check on her and thank her for her help.

Later in the evening, my daughter's toilet flush stopped working!  I called one of my neighbors across the street; he came over and said I needed a fill valve and offered to get one from the hardware store nearby.  I gave him the money for the part and he replaced the whole thing for me.  Have I mentioned that I am blessed with good neighbors?

One of my daughter's friends dropped by to see her this afternoon and we sent a container of the honey sesame chicken and some of the pineapple pie home with him.  I will take more of the pie to my neighbor, too, tomorrow.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- A good prayer gathering and get together
- Being well enough to host the prayer gathering
- All the help I received from friends and family at yesterday's prayer gathering
- Helpful neighbors
- Spending the day relaxing at home with my daughter

How was your weekend?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Saturday's To Do List - 4 O'Clock Update!

Roses from the Garden

Saturday's To Do List:

- Put away washed dishes
- Take the big pans to the garage
- Dust living room
- Finish dusting family room (including cleaning ceiling fan)
- Clean the bathroom
- Vacuum
- Remove the sofa dust sheets
- Set out guest towels in bathrooms*
- Put the table cloths on the tables*

- Make the rest of the gelatin dessert
- Cook the sauted garbanzo beans
- Cook the lentil curry
- Cook the cocktail sausages
- Hard boil the eggs and peel
- Make the salad*
- Assemble the fruit platter*
- Cook the rice

- Pick up my friend
- Grocery store for soy sauce, a bag of ice, a bouquet of flowers
- Set up the altar
- Take out serving dishes*

My gardener friend brought me flowers from his garden and I cut one or two roses from my garden so I don't have to buy anymore flowers.  :)

All the cleaning has been done; only the cooking is left.  I didn't want to cook too early; I don't have room in the fridge to store all the cooked food.

* 6:45 p.m. update.  I kind of ran out of steam a little after 6:00 p.m. so daughter had me sit down and made me a cup of tea.  So, we've been taking an extended tea break.  Will do the final bits and then, rest until the guests arrive.

Thursday and Friday - Preparations Under Way

Thursday was a semi-productive day.  I did some office work during the day, but I found it hard to concentrate and didn't accomplish as much as I would have liked.  Later in the evening, I remade daughter's bed and did some grocery shopping.  I bought a few things for the house and the chicken for the rosary dinner; three packages (each package was almost 5 lbs.) of chicken thighs at $.79/lb.  Then, I dusted my bedroom and cleaned a bit more of the family room.  The coffee table has been cleared and one of the side tables.  I started on the bookcase, but then it was time to go to pick up my daughter from the airport.

All the dusting resulted in an asthma attack and that put an end to more cleaning.  I also felt a bit achy and as if I was coming down with something.  I think it was in reaction to the flu shot - they did say that one might feel some flu-like symptoms as a result of the flu shot.

I had requested the day off from work on Friday, partly because I knew I had quite a lot of things to do.  But, again, I felt a bit achy and a bit under the weather, so I took a Tylenol and took it easy.  I did make the gelatin for the dessert and kept it to set.
Later, in the afternoon, I felt better and daughter and I went grocery shopping for the rest of the items I needed.  Daughter needed to go to the bank, so she went to the bank (adjoining the grocery store) and did her banking while I began on the grocery shopping.  She joined me less than 10 minutes later and we finished the shopping together.  

After we came home and had a cup of tea, daughter started to cook the chicken.  She cut up and cooked all the chicken - nearly 15 lbs. of chicken!  I cleaned and minced 30 cloves of garlic for her chicken dish and washed all the dishes, pots and pans, afterwards.  She also cleared the dining table in the family room for me and took down some of the items I'll be needing, tomorrow.  

I called everyone I had invited to the prayer meeting and left messages reminding them.  6 people have let me know that they will not be able to attend and at least 2 others won't be able to come.  I know that at least 12 people will be here.  If everyone else shows up, there will be 19 or 20 participants.
I will finish the cleaning, tomorrow, and cook the rest of the meal.  In the afternoon, I will go to pick up my friend and a few last minute items (we ran short of soy sauce for daughter's chicken, for example, so need to buy another bottle).
Today, I am grateful for:
- daughter having a safe flight home on Thursday night
- daughter being home to help me with the preparations
- cooking together
- pleasant weather
- my friend being willing to come early, tomorrow, to help

Saturday's To Do List:
- Put away washed dishes
- Take the big pans to the garage
- Dust living room
- Finish dusting family room
- Vacuum
- Make the rest of the gelatin dessert
- Cook the sauted garbanzo beans
- Cook the lentil curry
- Cook the cocktail sausages
- Hard boil the eggs
- Make the salad
- Assemble the fruit platter
- Clean the bathroom
- Pick up my friend
- Grocery store for soy sauce, a bag of ice, a bouquet of flowers
- Set up the altar
- Remove the sofa dust sheets
- Put the table cloths on the tables
- Take out serving dishes
- Cook the rice

People will start arriving between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m.  The prayers will be said once everyone is here, around 8:30 p.m.  Dinner will be served as soon as prayers are over.  People will start leaving around 10:30 p.m.  I am hoping that at least one friend will stay a bit to help put away the food, etc.  We'll see how that goes.

Hope everyone has a lovely day, tomorrow.