Thursday, November 30, 2017

Back to Work Wednesday and Emergency Funds

I went back to the office, today.  I always find it hard to go back to the office after a vacation, but I had a fairly productive day. 

Daughter said it was 48F in Berkeley this morning; she wore the plum sweater and it kept her nice and warm.  I'm glad I gave the sweater to her because she needed it more than I (it was 64F here, this morning; our high was 75F while her high was 64F.)

After I came home from work, I did a load of laundry, did a load of dishes, emptied the kitchen trash can, and knitted another hat:

Hat #4
Nothing fancy; just garter stitch (knit on both sides). 

One of the things I talked about with daughter, today, was budgeting.  We were discussing emergency funds and how much one should have in an emergency fund. When I first started budgeting, I had read that one should have at least $1,000 in an emergency fund.  Then, I read that it should actually be at least one month's salary but single parents should have three months' worth of salary in an emergency fund, the presumption being, in a family with two wage earners, there was a higher possibility that if one is laid off, the other might still be employed and able to pay the bills, whereas in a single parent family, the single parent is the sole wage earner.  Later, when the economic slowdown occurred and it was harder to find re-employment as quickly, the accepted wisdom was to have three to six months' salary in an emergency fund and up to one year's salary for single parents.  I remember sitting down and going over my monthly budget to come up with a "bare bones" budget, in case I got laid off from my job!  Fortunately, I didn't get laid off and I was able to continue to pay for extras and small luxuries such as daughter's dance classes and our eating out on occasion.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being employed in a fairly secure job
- A steady salary
- Being able to live within my means
- Savings for emergencies and other planned expenses
- Being able to have these types of conversations with daughter.

Do you have an emergency fund?   If not, is it something you are trying to build up?  If you don't have an emergency fund, how would you handle an emergency?  How would you pay for it?  Would you put it on a credit card?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Giving Tuesday!

I do wonder who comes up with these names for the different days following Thanksgiving!  Today is supposed to be Giving Tuesday when we give to charity, after shopping to our hearts' content on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday! 

Today, daughter went back to Berkeley.  I gave her two of the packages of sugar, two boxes of cereal, two bags of chocolate chips I had bought for her, a bag of frozen meatball curry, and one of the mini apple tarts to take back with her.  She said she had some of the meatball curry for her dinner and the apple tart for dessert. 

I also gave her the plum colored sweater I had knitted!  I knitted it for myself, but I felt she needed it more than I did, as it is much colder up in Berkeley than it is down here.  It is a bit too big for her, but she doesn't mind that.  It is one of her favorite colors and it will keep her warm.  I will see if I can get more of that color yarn to make her a sweater that is slightly smaller; then, she can have that and I can take back my sweater! 

Daughter had some of the leftover Thai food for an early lunch.  I drove her to the airport in the early afternoon (her flight was at 2:00 p.m.) and came home.  I had considered going grocery shopping for milk and coffee creamer, but I decided I could manage till the weekend.   After I came home, I had some cucumber salad and a cold cuts sandwich.  Then, I took a nap on the sofa!

Today's hat:

Red Hat #3

Do you recognize the pattern?  It is the same as the pattern I am doing on my grey sweater, except, I changed the spacing to eliminate the stitches in between the pattern.  I like how the "little birds" form a honeycomb pattern. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Daughter had a safe flight back
- Being able to give her food to take back
- A restful day
- Afternoon naps
- Video chatting with daughter

Tomorrow, I will go to the office and "resume regular programming", as they say.

How was your Tuesday?  

Monday, November 27, 2017

NonCyber Monday

No Cyber Monday shopping, either!  Daughter and I are not very good at doing our part in keeping the economy going, are we? 

It was a cooler day today, and it had even rained very early in the morning.  Daughter worked from home, today.  When we booked her Thanksgiving flight home and back, the return fares were still very high for the Monday flights, so we booked her return flight for Tuesday and she arranged with her office to work from home on Monday (she'll take a vacation day on Tuesday to travel back).  Today's working from home included a meeting in which she participated by calling in. 

I felt a little tired, today, so took it fairly easy.  I knitted two red hats for the American Heart Association:

Hat #1
They appear dark pink in the pictures, but the yarn is called Cherry Red, by Red Heart.  The AHA didn't want any embellishments such as bows or buttons because they can come out and I figured they wouldn't want any pom-poms, either. 

Hat #2

I also knitted a bit on my grey sweater back:

Grey Sweater Back

The pattern stitch is called "Little Birds"

Looks better in the picture, doesn't it?

For lunch, we picked up some Thai food from one of our favorite Thai food places - beef fried rice,   chicken satay, and a glass noodles dish with chicken and shrimp.  Sorry, we were too hungry to take pictures! 

After lunch, I took a long nap, for about 3 hours!

After tea, I took the trash cans out to the curb for trash pick up in the morning.  We had leftover Thai food for dinner and are spending a quiet evening, enjoying daughter's last evening at home.  She will leave tomorrow afternoon and come back just before Christmas.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Early morning rain
- Cooler weather
- Afternoon naps
- Favorite Thai food for lunch (and dinner)
- Another day of daughter's company

How was your day?  Did you do any online shopping for Cyber Monday?

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Plum Colored Sweater

I finished knitting my sweater, today:

Sweater Front

The back of the sweater is plain:

Sweater Back (should have pulled it down a bit!)

I am not entirely happy with how the ribbing around the neckline turned out, but I don't know if I want to unpick it and redo it, at this point.  

I had four skeins of yarn (and bought two balls of black yarn, to mix and match in case they weren't enough).  Well, I had JUST enough of the yarn to make this sweater:

All the yarn that is left!
It took me just over two weeks to knit this sweater, which isn't too bad when one considers all the unpicking and reknitting I did to get the pattern and the sleeves, right.  Even now, the sleeves are a bit too big, but that's OK.  The sweater is nice and warm and that's what matters. 

On to the grey sweater!

Autumn Joy List - Review

Earlier, in September, I made a list of joyful things to do from then until Thanksgiving.  Now that Thanksgiving is over, I thought I'll review my list to see how many of the joyful tasks were achieved.

List of Autumn Joys:

1. Sew a quilt or two; or, rather, finish the On the Road to the Mountain Quilt (had to sew another row of patches to make the top fit the bigger comforter I'm using as the batting) and finish the Mountain Quilt (need to piece the side borders) - I more or less finished the Road to the Mountain Quilt, although I didn't finish tying it, as I found it hard to tug the yarn through all the layers of fabric; but the quilt is on my bed and I am using it as it is.  The Mountain Quilt was put aside when my sewing machine broke, although daughter said I could borrow her sewing machine.  I bought myself a new sewing machine just before Thanksgiving, so I should be able to get back to sewing the quilt, very soon.

2. Make a wall hanging for the cancer treatment clinic - Didn't get around to doing it, partly because the sewing machine broke down.

3. Decorate my house for fall (in October) - Decorated for Fall/Halloween

4 Decorate for Thanksgiving (in November) - Didn't feel like decorating, so didn't!

5. My daughter's visits home  (2 planned for in November) - Daughter visited for my birthday and is visiting now for Thanksgiving; she'll go back on Tuesday, but will be back for Christmas and New Year.

6. Host the October prayer gathering - Prayer gathering was hosted and everything went well.

7. Celebrate my birthday (November) - Birthday was celebrated with my daughter who came down to visit.  We went out to eat and she gave me several gifts of mostly practical and useful items I had wanted.  One of my aunts and cousins, too, visited me for my birthday (a few days before the actual day) with another practical gift of a new handbag/purse to replace my old purse which was starting to look very shabby.

8. Celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family - Celebrated with friends and with family; we were invited to two places and went to both!

9. Enjoy a week of vacation during Thanksgiving week - Enjoyed my week off.  I still have a few more days of vacation left, since I don't go back to the office until Wednesday.

10. Bake an apple pie - Daughter made the apple pie; I made two mini apple tarts with the leftover filling and pie crust.

Apple Pie

11. Visit the garden center - Visited and bought several potted plants.

12. Plant a fall garden - Not yet!  Too hot with temperatures in the upper 80s and low 90s!

On the whole, I managed to engage in many joyful activities.  I am debating whether to do a Winter Joy List or not.  Maybe just incorporate it into my monthly "balanced life" goals.  Joyful activities in the winter will include holding my almsgiving and preparations for the holidays.

Did anyone else make an Autumn Joy List?  If so, were you able to do the joyful things you wanted to do?  Is anyone else making a Winter Joy List?

Restful Saturday

Another warm, sunny day with a high of 86F. 

I did a little housework, today - dusted the living room and dining room, cleared the dining table, did the dishes, wiped the kitchen counters and stove top, etc.  I didn't decorate at all for Thanksgiving, this year, so I didn't need to take down and put away decorations!  I only have two decorations and both are what I made - a wreath and a wall decoration; I usually enjoy decorating, but I didn't feel like it, this year, so didn't! 

I also spent some time watching TV and knitting.  I finished knitting one sleeve on the sweater and started on the other.

In the afternoon, I dropped my daughter off at a tea cafe/art gallery where she had arranged to meet with one of her friends.  She was going to take the bus back home, but her friend gave her a ride home, instead.

Today, I felt the need for something light and fresh for lunch, so I made myself a salad:

Salad for Lunch
Lettuce, grated carrot, cucumber, and some leftover turkey for protein.

Later in the evening, daughter made us an apple pie:

Apple Pie
There was a little pie crust and apples left, so I made two little apple tarts to use it all up:

Mini Apple Tarts
I must say, daughter makes a good apple pie!  She used brown sugar and doubled the amount of cinnamon called for in the recipe because she likes cinnamon.  She and I ate half of the big apple pie between the two of us! 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Apple pie still warm from the oven
- Another sunny, warm day
- Daughter getting together with her friends
- A restful day
- Spending time with daughter

How was your Saturday?  Do you have a favorite apple pie recipe? 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Friday After Thanksgiving

No Black Friday shopping, here. Actually, I have nothing against Black Friday shopping, but I don't like shopping when it is so crowded and frantic.  That kind of excitement is a bit too much for me, especially these days.  Also, there's not much that I want to buy.  Yes, I want to buy a new washer and dryer, but I can wait a bit longer to buy them.  
It was another, hot, summer-like day, here.  In the morning, I did some knitting.  The sweater is coming along, slowly.  I joined the shoulders and did the ribbing around the neckline.
In the afternoon, I played chauffeur to daughter and her friend.  They had made plans to see a movie and her friend was going to pick up daughter, but something happened to the friend's car so, daughter asked if I could drive them.  Daughter couldn't drive herself and her friend because I've taken her off my car insurance while she is away from home since she doesn't need to drive me from chemo treatments, anymore.  So, I drove daughter to her friend's house to pick her up, then, drove them both to the movie theater, drove home for a couple of hours, then, drove to pick them up from the movie theater, dropped her friend off, and drove back home! 

In between driving them around, I knitted a bit more (started on the first sleeve), watched some TV, watered the front garden (several days of 90F+ weather and the garden is parched!), ate a piece of pumpkin pie, and tidied the dining table.  
Today, I am grateful for:
- Another warm, summer-like day
- A reliable car
- Daughter is able to get together with some of her friends
- Time to knit and to relax
- Leftovers for dinner

How was your day?  Did you go Black Friday shopping?  If so, did you get some good bargains? 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Even if you are not in the US, where it is Thanksgiving Day, today, I wish each and everyone reading this a very happy and blessed day. 

It is sunny and warm, here, in Southern California.  I'm having a relaxed morning.  One of my aunts called and wished me a Happy Thanksgiving and I called my sister to wish her.

In a little bit, I will bake my cornbread to take to my other aunt's home in the evening.  I need to look up the driving directions from my friend's house to my aunt's house and I need to put gas to the car before I leave.  

Today, I am thankful for:
- Being alive to celebrate this day, my 3rd Thanksgiving since my diagnosis!
- Being cancer-free and in relatively good health (yes, I have a few other chronic conditions, but they are being managed)
- Having my daughter here to celebrate with me
- Being invited to celebrate the day with family and friends
- All of you who read my blog and whom I've come to think of as my friends

May you all have a lovely day.

Wednesday: Pre-Black Friday Shopping!

How can it be the day before Thanksgiving already?  
Today, I emptied the dishwasher, put away the dried laundry from yesterday, did another load of laundry, washed more dishes, and watered the back garden.  I also finished knitting the front of the sweater.
In the afternoon, daughter and I went to the fabric store.  She had a coupon for purchases at the fabric store and the store was also having a Black Friday "Door Busters" sale, even though it is not yet Black Friday!  We went mostly to buy yarn, which was on sale for $2.33 a skein (regular price was $3.49).  

Red Yarn for Hats for Newborns

Several days ago, a friend of mine posted a link about the American Heart Association's project called Little Hats/Big Hearts.
Basically, the American Heart Association is looking for volunteers to knit red hats for newborns, to be distributed in various hospitals in February, to raise awareness of congenital heart defects.  My friend knows that I like to knit and she thought it was something I might be interested in participating.  Actually, several years ago, I participated in a similar project for another friend's daughter who was doing it as a Girl Scouts project.

Anyway, I contacted the local representative for the AHA in my area and asked for details such as the deadline for submitting hats.  She emailed me back, today, saying that they collect hats throughout the year, but the deadline for submitting hats for this coming February's distribution is at the end of December (in order to have enough time to wash and bag the hats - they are looking for volunteers to wash the hats, as well, as donations of yarn, etc.)

I bought the yarn today, since it was on sale.  I don't know how many hats I'll be able to knit before the December deadline, but, I'll try to make at least a dozen or so (hopefully, more).  My daughter, too, said she was interested in crocheting a few hats (she prefers to crochet than to knit).   I also bought three additional skeins of yarn for daughter for her amigurumi projects.

In addition to the yarn, I bought a new sewing machine to replace my old machine which is broken.  I might still take the old machine to a repair shop to see if it can be fixed, but, now, I have a new machine for my sewing (I had been using daughter's machine, but it is better to have my own machine).  
New Sewing Machine
Nothing very fancy because I don't need a fancy machine and, in fact, I'd be intimidated by one!  I just need something very basic and easy to use.  This machine was on sale for $69.99; with sales tax, it came to $76.30.   

In the evening, daughter went out with one of her friends.  I did a little paperwork, watched news on TV, read blogs, etc.
I also called friend A to ask her what she wanted me to bring for tomorrow's Thanksgiving meal and all she wanted was a container of vanilla ice cream!  I called my cousin, too, as daughter and I have been invited to her mother's house, as well, for Thanksgiving; cousin wanted me to bring cornbread.  I will make the cornbread in the morning, so it will be nice and fresh for the evening (and maybe I'll make enough to take to my friend's house, too, in addition to the ice cream).  It's a bit difficult to go to two places but, we'll go to my friend's house around 3:00 p.m. and go to aunt's place around 7:00 p.m.

It was another hot summer day, today!  In fact, we broke several records for the day time high temperatures!  Today's record setting high was 95F in my area! It will be another warm day, tomorrow, and then, there will be a gradual cool down.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- An opportunity to volunteer and participate in the AHA program
- Another hot, summer day in November
- Yarn on sale
- A new sewing machine 
- Daughter was able to spend some time with her friend

How was your Wednesday?  Are you preparing Thanksgiving dinner, tomorrow?  Are you ready? 

Happy Thanksgiving; may you all have a lovely day.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Monday and Tuesday

On Monday morning, I had an appointment with the oncology nurse practitioner.  My blood test results were all very good, I was told; everything was within the normal range, with things that should be below a certain level being below it and things that should be above a certain level being above it.  My blood pressure reading was very good, too.  The oncologist will put in a referral for surgery to have the catheter port removed.  In the meantime, it was flushed.  I was given an appointment to return in February for a follow-up visit.

Monday afternoon, I did some grocery shopping and did a few things around the house, such as taking out the trash cans to the curb for pick up.  Spent the evening chatting with daughter.

On Monday, I was grateful for:
- A good visit with the oncology nurse practitioner
- Blood test results were good
- I had a safe drive there and back
- I got some good deals on the groceries
- Good, meaningful conversations with daughter

On Tuesday morning, I had an appointment with my financial planner.  Daughter went with me as she, too, had some questions about a couple of things.  The appointment went very well.  I have known this financial planner for several years now and we work well together.  We generally meet twice a year to go over financial goals and plans.  I feel very blessed to know that I am well on my way to achieving my financial goals.  

Afterwards, daughter and I went to a favorite Cuban bakery/restaurant.   They are famous for their meat pies, potato balls, and pastries.  We bought some of our favorites:

Meat Pies and Potato Balls (with a meat filling inside)
and pastries:

Guava Strudels (left), Cheese Strudels (right)
We also bought a mini fruit tart and an almond croissant, but they were eaten before I could take pictures!

After we came home and had lunch, I ran the dishwasher and daughter and I both took naps!

Later in the evening, daughter made us some tea and I brought the trash cans in.

The weekly grocery ads had been delivered, so I took a quick look through them.  One store is selling avocados for $.50 each; another has advertised "small avocados" for $.20 each.  I don't know how small they are, though, to be that price. 

I did a load of laundry and daughter and I watched the season finale of Dancing with the Stars on TV.
I also made mango pickle (cut up not-quite-ripe mango, mixed with vinegar, salt, chili powder, and sugar). I suppose it is a bit like a salsa.  We eat this as a snack:

Mango Pickle
It was a gorgeous day as far as the weather was concerned.  Sunny and warm, with an afternoon high of 91F!  

On Tuesday, I was grateful for:
- A good meeting with the FP
- Treats from the bakery
- Afternoon naps
- The summer-like temperatures
- Spending time with daughter

Plans for Wednesday include a trip to Ikea and baking some cornbread for Thanksgiving. 

How was your day?  Do you have a favorite bakery and favorite pastries? 

Monday, November 20, 2017

November Grocery Shopping Week 3 Part 2

November 20 Groceries

Today, I went to the grocery store to redeem my rain check for the 4-lb. packets of sugar at $1.49 each,  My rain check allowed me to buy four packets, so I bought four, for a total cost of $6.00.  At least one bag is for daughter to take back with her. 

Daughter also requested for a type of tangerines known as Clementines or Cuties (sometimes known as Halos).  They were priced at $2.99 for a 3-lb. bag.

Then, since butter doesn't look like it will be going on sale ($2.50 or less per pound) anytime soon, I bought some margarine to use in holiday baking; two 1-lb. packages for $.79 each.

November 20 Receipt
My total came to $10.53; but I only had $9.44 left in my November grocery budget!  

November grocery budget: $75 + $5.66 (carried over from October) = $80.66
November grocery spending to date: $18.75 + $4.25 + $6.92 + $41.30 + $10.53 = $81.75
Amount left in the November grocery budget = $80.66 - $81.75 = - $1.09

Well, considering that daughter has been home for almost half this month (4 days over my birthday weekend and 11 days over the Thanksgiving holidays) I think this is not too bad.  I didn't increase my monthly budget to account for her being home and for the fact that I tend to buy splurge items when she's here.  :)  I will see how much I go over by the end of the month, and then, maybe make it up with some of that leftover prayer gathering budget. 

Daughter opened the bag of cuties and helped herself to them.  Someone heard her say "cuties" came to see what was going on:

"I'm confused; Mummy calls me a cutie, sometimes"

He looks a bit perplexed, doesn't he? 

He checked out the bag to see if these cuties posed any threat to him:

"What is so cute about you?"

He soon decided that they posed no threat to him and  his cuteness; his humans are silly, calling some tangerines cuties when everyone knows that he's the cutie!

If you are in the United States, have you shopped for all the items you need for Thanksgiving dinner?  If you are roasting a turkey and buying a frozen one, tomorrow is probably the last day to buy one and still have enough time for it to thaw!  Do the grocery stores in your area remain open on Thanksgiving day?  Most of the grocery stores in my area will stay open until 6:00 p.m. on Thursday. 

Sunday: Funerals and Tea

Cat Silhouette Pillow

Daughter made the above decorative pillow as part of her birthday gift to one of her friends, yesterday.  I told her I wanted one, too. 

Today, I attended the "celebration of life" gathering for the family friend who passed away a week ago.  My cousin and her daughter offered me a ride to the event and back, which was much appreciated.  There must have been at least 200 people at the event.  It was held in one of the reception rooms in a hotel.  This was the first time I had been to such a "celebration of life" event held at a hotel, although I had heard of them.  More often than not, our custom has been to go to the home of the deceased person and enjoy a special pot-luck type of meal, with everyone bringing food. 

That is what I did when my mother died - I invited everyone home, afterwards.  The temple, family, and friends helped to organize the meal as the custom is to refrain from cooking in the house from the time of the death until this special meal is prepared (generally, people bring food to the house, during this period, so that the mourning family doesn't need to cook).  We call this first meal after the funeral "mala bath", which, when translated literally, means "death rice".

This is one of the very few times that pumpkin curry will be served at the same time as a dry fish curry.  Usually, these two curries are not served at the same meal.  I don't know why that is, though.  I didn't have any dry fish curry at my mother's funeral, as the friend who had volunteered to bring the dry fish curry didn't bring it!  I remember one of my other friends being very upset about the lack of dry fish curry!  So much so that I asked one of the monks if it was still considered a "mala bath" if the dry fish curry wasn't there; he was quick to reassure me, saying that dry fish curry wouldn't be served in a vegetarian household.  We aren't vegetarian, but what he said made a lot of sense to me, so, I was comforted.

Although it is customary to have everyone come to the house for the funeral meal, I can see the advantage of having it at another facility.  First and foremost, one doesn't have to clean and tidy the house!  Or make arrangements to accommodate everyone and set up tables and chairs for all, etc.  And, afterwards, there is no cleaning up and putting away of leftovers, etc. 

I invited my cousin over to have tea with me after we came home from the celebration of life.  We drank tea and chatted about various things for about an hour or so. 

Daughter had gone out with her friend whose birthday it was.  They've been best friends since 7th grade.  After she came home, we spent a pleasant evening sitting and chatting.  She's feeling much better, today.  I was telling her about some of our funeral customs, for although she's been to a few, she doesn't know all the details (she was only 12 when her grandmother died and not too involved with the arrangements, although she delivered a beautiful eulogy that she had written by herself).  I told her that I wanted her to know certain things so that when the time came for her to arrange my funeral, she'll know what to do (although, hopefully, the monks at the temple will guide her).  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Daughter feeling better
- Cousin giving me a ride to the celebration of life
- Having cousin over to tea
- Chatting with my cousin and, later, with daughter
- Having a jacket with me at the reception, because it was so cold in the room

Tomorrow, I will go to my doctor's appointment in the morning.  I need to do a little shopping in the afternoon - I need a new cistern for the toilet, some flea prevention medication for Dancer, and see if a new stock of sugar has arrived at the one store which gave me a rain check for it a week ago.

How was your Sunday?  Did you have a good day?  What are your plans for the week?

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Saturday's Activities and November Grocery Shopping Week 3

I had a relaxed morning, today.  I woke up once, at 8:00 a.m., but went back to sleep and slept for another couple of hours!  Only woke up when my aunt called me!  After that, I had a cup of tea and went on-line for a bit and did some knitting. 

Daughter asked for rice and dhal (lentil) curry for lunch, so I cooked a pot of rice and a lentil curry.  My big jar of lentils was empty and I had a moment of panic, but I had another bag of lentils in my cupboard.  Lentils and rice are two things I don't want to run out of! 

Later in the afternoon, I went grocery shopping.  I needed milk (daughter had the last of the milk in her coffee, this morning), eggs (I have one egg left in the old carton), some vegetables, and some fruit.  Oh, and cat food for the garden cats.

In addition to what I needed, I bought several other items, as well!  On mostly splurges - croissants (daughter loves croissants and so do I), a container of a smoothie-type juice drink (for daughter), 4 boxes of cereal (to share with daughter - the store had a deal where if one bought 4 boxes of cereal for $2.50 each, one could get a free gallon of milk; since the gallon of milk cost $2.65, it was like getting 4 boxes of cereal for $7.35 or $1.83 each) and 2 packages of roast beef cold cuts, ice cream, and whipped topping! 

Fresh Produce (Spot the Dancer)
Lots of Granny Smith apples to make an apple pie with daughter (the ice cream is to have with the apple pie).  Oranges for vitamin C to help fight her cold.  A green (unripe) mango to make mango pickle (a favorite snack - the unripe mango is peeled, cut into small pieces, and marinated in a mixture of vinegar, chili powder, salt, and sugar).

The Rest of It!

I spent $60.99 with the two bags of cat food!  The groceries came to $40.30.  Which is rather high, but, I am splurging with daughter being home!  But I am well within budget, since I had $50.74 left in my November budget.

Nov. 18 Receipt

November grocery budget: $75 + $5.66 (carried over from October) = $80.66
November grocery spending to date: $18.75 + $4.25 + $6.92 + $41.30 = $71.22
Amount left in the November grocery budget = $80.66 - $71.22 = $9.44

After I came home from grocery shopping, I watered the orange tree in the back garden.  Even with the rain we had the other morning, the tree was showing some stress from lack of water - leaves all curled up and drooping, etc.  

In the evening, I attended a memorial mass for my friend who passed away a year ago.  Daughter stayed home because she didn't feel well enough to attend and didn't want to infect anyone else, especially my late friend's husband who has just come home after being hospitalized for several days.  I called and offered my cousin a ride to the service, but she, too, was unable to attend.  So, I went by myself.

Afterwards, there was a dinner at the family's home.  I left shortly after the dinner, as it was held out of doors and I was feeling cold.  It had been a nice, warm day (high of 77F), but the evenings get cold (and I wasn't the only one there who felt cold).  Before I left, my friend's daughters insisted that I brought home a plate of food for my daughter.  When I served what I considered to be sufficient for her, they insisted that I took more!  Daughter ate some of it, but there's plenty more for at least another couple of meals!

Today, I am grateful for:
- A nice, warm day
- Grocery stores with an abundance of groceries
- Being able to attend my late friend's memorial mass
- Seeing family and friends at the reception, afterwards
- Being blessed with plates of food to bring home

Tomorrow, I will be attending a funeral.  My cousin will give me a ride there and back.  Daughter will not be coming with us as she had already made some other plans with her friend who is celebrating her birthday.  Depending on what time I get back from the funeral and how tired or not I feel, I might do that load of laundry I didn't do today.  

How was your Saturday?  Did you have a good start to your weekend?  Do you, too, sometimes splurge when you go grocery shopping, especially when your child/children come home for the holidays and you want to indulge them a little? 

Saturday, November 18, 2017


We actually had a little rain, early this morning!  I was still asleep when it rained and it must not have been much, because the ground was already dry when I went out, but there were some damp patches on the paved areas where water tends to pool.  Any rain, even if it is only a little bit, is good! 

I went for my blood test this morning.  They weren't too busy and I had to wait less than 5 minutes before I was called in.  They drew four vials of blood!  Hope all the results will be good.

Afterwards, I went to the office.  I took a different freeway than what I usually take to go to the office, but it really doesn't matter which freeway one takes, they are equally congested! 

I had a productive day at the office.  I completed my part of a project before what I had perceived as a deadline and passed it along to the next person to work on it.  They seem to have a different deadline, but that is OK with me.  Just as long as I am not the cause of the delay!  I was anxious to get it done before I went on vacation, next week. 

During my lunch break, I went to the nearby library to borrow a couple of magazines.  I used to subscribe to magazines, but don't do so now.  For the same reason why I no longer buy books: once I buy them, I tend to keep them!  At one time, I had to put up shelves in the garage to house all my magazines, from when I used to subscribe to them!  Eventually, I got rid of the lot and, ever since then, I've been borrowing from the library. 

I had planned to buy milk on my way home from work, today, but changed my mind and decided to come home directly, instead.  The commute home was long and, more than that, I was feeling very sleepy!  So, came home, had a cup of tea, and slept for about half an hour on the sofa.  There is enough milk for tomorrow morning; I will buy more milk later, tomorrow.

After my nap, I cooked a fish curry, using two pieces of the frozen fish I had bought from the Sri Lankan store.

One of my friends called and we chatted for awhile and made tentative plans to get together and go out to lunch, one day.  I also called the family friend whose husband passed away to sympathize with her. 

Daughter came home for the holidays, today.  Poor thing is still not feeling too well.  From what she tells me, it sounds a bit like she might be having a sinus infection.  But, she claims she doesn't have a fever.  I might have her make an appointment with her doctor, if possible, next week.  In any case, she enjoyed a good dinner of rice, fish curry, lentil curry, cucumber, and mango chutney.  Afterwards, I made coriander tea with ginger for us.  Coriander tea (made by boiling coriander seeds and letting them steep for a few minutes) is the Sri Lankan equivalent of chicken soup!  It is what we take at the first sign of sniffles, etc.  Adding a little fresh ginger to it boosts the benefits.

Today, I accomplished almost all the items on my to do list (the only thing I didn't do was buy milk) and a few things I hadn't listed (visit to the library, cleaning the litter box, doing the dishes, etc.)  And I knitted a bit. The pattern consists of 12 rows, so I usually try to knit at least one full pattern; that way, it is easier to keep track of where I am.

Today, I am grateful for:
- My daughter had a safe flight home
- The rain we received this morning
- Libraries
- Naps on the sofa
- Phone calls from friends

Saturday's To Do List:
- Grocery shop
- Do a load of laundry
- Attend my friend's memorial service and the monthly prayer gathering in the evening
- Maybe do some cooking?

How was your Friday?  What are your plans for the weekend? 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Speedy Thursday

Thursday seems to have sped past!  I didn't even do much, but, all of a sudden, the week is almost over!

I went to the office and had a fairly productive day.  But I began to feel tired around 4:00 p.m., so, rather than wait until 5:30 p.m., which is when I normally leave the office, I left around 4:45 p.m. and got home at 6:00 p.m.

It began to drizzle a little bit, just as I pulled into the driveway.  It drizzled for about 5 minutes and it wasn't enough rain to even wet the ground!  But it snowed on the mountains and that is what is important.  The depth of the snowpack is what determines if we will have enough water in the summer or we'll be in a drought, again. 

I spent a relaxed evening, knitting and watching TV.  I am coming along with my sweater front, even though I've had to unpick a couple of rows because I miscounted my pattern stitches!

I had rice and curries for my lunch, today, and the last of the chicken and gnocchi soup for dinner, along with a slice of panettone. 

Later in the evening, I video chatted with my daughter for a little bit.  She is feeling a little better, today, she said.  She went to the office in the morning because she had meetings she wanted to attend.  Everyone there had told her to go home, so, she attended the two morning meetings and rescheduled her afternoon meeting and went home.  I asked her to work from home, tomorrow, but I think she will go to the office.  I know her - she is very much her mother's daughter!  All I could get her to commit to was a "maybe".

Today, I am grateful for:
- Daughter is feeling a little better
- A safe drive to the office and back
- A productive day at the office
- A relaxing evening at home
- Video chatting with daughter

Friday's To Do List:
- Leave a note for my gardener friend
- Go for a blood test
- Go to the office
- Buy milk on the way home
- Cook some fish curry for dinner
- Pick up daughter from the airport in the evening

How was your Thursday?  Do you, too, find that the week seems to start out slow and then speeds up towards the end?  What are your plans for Friday?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A More Productive Wednesday

Well, I don't know if I was actually more productive today than I was yesterday, but I feel I got more accomplished!

I cooked a pot of rice, first thing in the morning, and packed some of that rice with lentil curry, meat ball curry, the last of the smoked sausages with spring onions, and mango chutney for my lunch, along with a container of yogurt and a banana.  Then, I went to the office and had a productive work day.  On the way home, I drove to the store that had advertised sugar on sale for $1.49/4 lb. package, last week - they didn't have any sugar when I went there on Sunday and I had been given a rain check, with a note saying to check back after the 14th.  However, they still didn't have any of the 4 lb. packages of sugar on the shelves and the store clerk said they haven't received the shipment, yet.  She didn't know when it will come in.  I guess I shall try again, this weekend. 

At home, I emptied the dishwasher, put away the laundry, cleaned the litter box, and, did some paperwork.  It was enough to feel that I had been productive.  Then, I caught up on some blogs.

One of my aunts called and invited daughter and me to Thanksgiving dinner at her place.  It will be a sort of potluck, so I will call my cousins sometime, next week, to ask what they'd like me to bring.  Most probably, I'll be asked to bring cornbread.  It's what I've been asked to bring for the past several years. 

One of my cousins, too, called me.  The husband of a family friend had passed away, last weekend, and the funeral will be held this weekend.  Cousin offered me a ride to the funeral/celebration of life, which was very nice of her. 

I also called one of my friends to check in with her.

I video chatted with daughter, too.  She is not feeling well - sore throat, headache, etc., but no fever.  She worked from home today, she said, as she didn't have any meetings to attend.  I suggested she takes tomorrow off, too, but she said she had several meetings.  All I could do was get her to agree she'd come home a bit early in the evening.  I hope she feels better soon. 

Dinner was a bowl of chicken and gnocchi soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.

Today, I am grateful for:
- A safe drive to the office and back
- A productive day at the office
- Daughter was able to work from home and rest when needed
- Aunt called to invite us to Thanksgiving dinner
- Cousin offered me a ride to the funeral

How was your Wednesday?  How are your Thanksgiving plans coming along?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Back to Work on Tuesday

Why is it so hard to go back to the office after a long weekend at home?  I wanted to take another day off from work and stay home, today!  Instead, I got dressed and went to the office and managed to have a fairly productive day.  For me, the hardest part of going to work is getting myself out of the house, in the morning!  Once I am in the car, on my way to the office, I am fine!  And when I get to the office, I enjoy myself, especially since I am no longer freezing at my desk! 

After I came home, I had a cup of coffee, watered the house plants, brought in the trash cans, checked the mail and the grocery ads (turkeys on sale for $.47/lb. with minimum purchase of $20 worth of other items at one store; $.48/lb with minimum purchase of $25 at another store), watched some TV and knitted.  Later, I video chatted with daughter for a bit. That doesn't sound like a very productive evening, though, does it?

Today, I am grateful for:
- A sunny, warm day (high of 80F)
- A good drive to the office and back
- Not being cold in the office
- Video chatting with daughter
- Keeping in touch with friends and family

How was your Tuesday?  When you have a long weekend or go on vacation, do you wish to extend your time off instead of going back to work in the morning? 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Monday: Seeing Daughter Off and Knitting

I had taken a day of vacation from work, today, so I slept in; then, had a relaxed morning with daughter.  Her flight back was in the early afternoon.  I don't like saying goodbye to her, but, she'll be back, again, at the end of the week for the week of Thanksgiving!  (I really should buy stocks in the airline!) 
After I dropped her off at the airport, I went to the library to return the magazines I had borrowed.  Then, came home, did a load of laundry, cleaned the bathroom, emptied the trash cans in the house, emptied the dish washer (had done a load of dishes, yesterday), and took the big trash cans to the curb for pick up in the morning.

In between, I knitted.  Yesterday, I finished knitting the back of my sweather:
Sweater Back
It measures 23-inches in length.
Then, I tried a couple of different patterns for the front, but ended up unpicking them, as they didn't look how I thought they would (I have a book of knitting stitches, with the pattern directions and  pictures of how the pattern is supposed to look like after knitting and blocking; "A Treasury of Knitting Patterns" by Barbara G. Walker).  Today, I tried a different pattern and I think I will continue in that pattern:
Sweater Front in Progress
The pattern calls for quite a lot of slipping off of stitches, dropping stitches (in front), yarn overs, carrying the yarn in the back, dropping off the yarn overs, picking up dropped stitches and knitting them, knitting back what was slipped off, etc..  There was a fair amount of unpicking and re-knitting because I made mistakes and miscounted, dropped the wrong stitches, and picked up the wrong ones, but I think I have a pattern that will work for me.  I did find out that I can't knit for long stretches of time, though, as my hands start to hurt!  
Today, I am grateful for:
- Daughter had a safe flight and journey from the airport to her apartment 
- Libraries
- A day of vacation
- Phone calls from cousin and aunt
- A choice of knitting patterns 
I had a banana for breakfast, a cold cuts sandwich for lunch, and the rest of daughter's chicken and gnocchi soup with bread (the last of the baguette), for dinner.  Daughter had a curried meat balls sandwich for lunch, before she left.  I forgot to give her a package of the frozen meatball curry to take back, with her, but she took all the packets of coffee I had bought for her and a box of tea, as well.   

How was your Monday?  Did you have a good start to your week?

November Grocery Shopping - Week 2

November 12 Groceries

I went grocery shopping, late Sunday morning.  I went to two stores.  I went to Store 1 because they had advertised 4 lb. bags of sugar for $1.49.  But, when I went to the store, they were all out of it!  However, I was able to get a rain check and I was told they'll have the sugar in on Tuesday.  I bought two packets of hot cocoa (6 pouches in each box) for $.99/box.  One for the house and one to take to the office to keep at my desk for those days when I want a warm drink.  I spent $1.98 at Store 1.

Store 1 Receipt

Then, on my way to put gas to the car ($3.05/gallon; I put $40 worth of gas), I stopped at the grocery store across the street from the gas station and bought bread ($.59), bananas ($.49/lb = $.88), lettuce ($.99), a cucumber ($.50), and 2 mangoes ($.99@; $1.98).  I spent $4.94 at Store 2.

Store 2 Receipt
Total spent on groceries today = $1.98 + $4.94 = $6.92

I had also spent $4.25 at the farmers' market on Thursday on a baguette and an almond croissant; I am adding that to Week 2's grocery spending.

November grocery budget: $75 + $5.66 (carried over from October) = $80.66
November grocery spending to date: $18.75 + $4.25 + $6.92 = $29.92
Amount left in November grocery budget = $80.66 - $29.92 = $50.74

Lunch, today, was leftovers from yesterday's lunch.  For dinner, I thawed and warmed up a packet of meat balls curry and the last of the smoked sausage sauted with spring onions, cooked some dhal curry (lentils), and made a cucumber salad.  We had that with rice, mango chutney, and pappadum (lentil wafers).  Mangoes for dessert and I had a banana, as well.

The fridge is full of leftovers, once again!  I probably won't have to cook all week, unless I want to!  I'll be sending some food home with my daughter, too.

Did you go grocery shopping this week?  How are you coming along with your budget, so far, this month?

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Sixty Two

Today was my birthday.  I celebrated turning sixty two.  Two years ago, I wasn't sure if I'd live to see sixty, so I felt very blessed to be able to celebrate my birthday, today.

I was woken up early by one of my friends calling to wish me a happy birthday.  It was the first of several phone calls throughout the day from family and friends, including a cousin from Australia.

Later in the morning, I video chatted with one of my friends; we've been doing this on my birthday for several years now.  It has become one of the highlights of my birthday celebrations.

Daughter and I had tossed around various ideas of what to do on my birthday - suggestions had included going to the beach, going to one of the botanical gardens, going out to eat at a Japanese restaurant, etc.  In the end, we decided to keep it low key.  I am still not quite up to doing a lot of things and just staying home and relaxing is very attractive to us both.  We ordered food to go from our favorite Italian restaurant (Olive Garden) and then, we went back to Michael's to pick up two additional skeins of wool, still on sale for $4.59 per skein and daughter had a 20% off the entire purchase coupon, as well.  I bought two skeins of black wool, to add to the plum wool, if needed, since I was able to buy only four skeins of the plum wool and I am not sure if that will be enough. 

I started on the plum sweater back, last night, and did a little more, this evening:

Plum Sweater Back

I am still on the first ball of yarn.  I think I'll be able to do several more inches, before the yarn ends.

I am doing the back with a plain stockinette stitch (knit on one side, purl on the other) with a mock cable ribbing.  The ribbing is done with US #6 needles and the body is being worked with US #7 needles.  I haven't decided on the front, yet, but my friend suggested that a central cable will be nice.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Living to celebrate my 62nd birthday
- My daughter being home to celebrate with me
- Being able to video chat with my friend
- Birthday greetings and well wishes from family and friends
- A sunny, warm day (high of 73F)

How was your day?  Did you celebrate Veterans Day/Remembrance Day/Armistice Day/Poppy Day, today?  

Friday, November 10, 2017

Out to Lunch and Shopping on Friday

Zucchini Flower

The one zucchini plant that survived the summer is flowering again!  Poor, confused zucchini plant!

Spent a relaxed morning, just enjoying a cup of coffee and chatting with daughter.

Later, daughter took me out to lunch.  We debated where to go, but eventually decided to go to our favorite diner!  We used to go to this one diner all the time when my daughter was small and my mother was alive.  It was a child/family friendly place and the food was good, too.  Over the years, it has become the place where we go for my birthday.

After lunch, we came home to put away the leftovers from lunch and then, we went shopping. 

First, we went to the craft supplies store (Michael's) to buy some yarn.  I wanted to buy 100% wool yarn to knit myself a couple of sweaters.  The yarn I liked was regularly priced $5.99 per skein (3.5 oz/100 g; it was priced $6.99 at another store), but today, it was on sale for $4.59 and daughter was able to download a coupon for an additional 20% off the total purchase, including sale items.  I bought 9 skeins of yarn, 4 skeins of a color called plum heather and 5 skeins of a dark grey color.  I am not sure if the 4 skeins of the plum color would be sufficient, but that was all they had of that color.  Now, I am thinking I should have bought a skein of black, too, to mix with the plum, if what I bought wasn't enough.  But I think the 4 skeins of yarn will be enough.  At least, I hope so!

Worsted Wool Yarn

In the past, I used to buy lots of yarn when it went on sale, even when I didn't have a project in mind.  I had a huge bin of yarn, as a result.  Several years ago, I put myself on a yarn diet - I told myself I wouldn't buy anymore yarn until I used up all the yarn in my stash, unless I really needed the yarn for a specific project.  I didn't buy any yarn for over 2 years.  I have used up most of my yarn and what is left is not 100% wool.  Today's yarn purchase was the first yarn purchase in a long time.  I shall go back on my yarn diet, unless I find I need another skein of yarn to finish my plum sweater.

I also bought two solid colored t-shirts (on sale for $2.50 each) to embroider to give as gifts, this holiday season.  I have the embroidery floss in my stash, so nothing more will need to be bought to finish these gifts.

When we first went into the store, the checkout line extended all the way to the back of the store and I almost walked out, without buying anything, because the line was so long and I didn't want to wait in such a long line!  However, by the time we looked around (daughter looked at a display of planners while I looked for the yarn) and made our selections, the line was quite short and it moved quickly.

Now I get to look forward to knitting myself a couple of sweaters!  I will start with the plum colored yarn - something simple that will be quick to knit. 

Then, we went to WalMart (in the same mall).  Daughter found some tank tops ($1.69 each), a sweater ($7), and a pair of boots ($19.99); I bought a bag of cat food for Dancer (specially formulated to prevent hair balls) and a pack of toilet paper.  I looked at the boots, too, but didn't buy any; the pair I have is starting to crack at the top, but I can wear them for a little longer.  These are not boots worn for inclement weather, but, rather, for style.

By then, I was getting tired.  We made one additional stop to pick up a free smoothie (I had a gift card); I stayed in the car while daughter went inside the store to get the smoothie.  

Came home and made tea for us.  After that, we had the leftovers from lunch for dinner.  Then, daughter took a nap on the sofa for a couple of hours (guess I wasn't the only one who got tired from shopping!). 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Daughter is home for the weekend
- Being treated to lunch by daughter
- Yarn on sale
- Fun afternoon, shopping with daughter
- A sunny, warm day

How was your Friday?  What have you planned for the weekend?  Do you knit or crochet?  If so, do you have a yarn stash? 

Thursday: Daughter Comes Home!

Today, I went to the office in the morning and had a productive day.  During my lunch break, I mailed my property tax payment (1st installment; the 2nd installment is due in the spring), then, went to the pharmacy to buy some vitamin D capsules, and finally, to the farmers' market to buy a baguette and an almond croissant. 

After I came home from work, I put away the dried laundry from yesterday and did the dishes.  Later, I picked up daughter from the airport.  She is home for the holiday weekend.  We had dinner after we got home and she liked the sweet and tangy pork ribs I had made.  We shared the almond croissant for dessert.  Then, we sat on the sofa, together, talked, and cuddled.  She had me laughing so hard I was almost crying. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- My daughter is home, visiting
- She had a safe flight home
- Hugs and kisses
- Baguettes and croissants
- Shared laughter

I am looking forward to spending tomorrow in the company of my daughter.  We don't have any big plans, but most probably, we'll go out to lunch and then, maybe do a bit of shopping.  It won't matter much what we do; it'll be fun because we'll be together.

How was your Thursday?  Do you have a holiday tomorrow? 

Thursday, November 9, 2017


Wednesday was another sunny, warm day.  64F in the morning and in the 70s in the afternoon.

I went to the office and had a fairly productive day.  In the afternoon, we had our monthly celebration of that month's staff birthdays, etc.  There was chocolate cake and pumpkin pie!  Yum!  I had a slice of the cake and passed on the pie.

On my way home from work, I went to the pharmacy to pick up one of my medication refills.  Felt tired after I came home, so had a cup of coffee to hopefully feel less tired and dozed off on the sofa!  So much so for the caffeine keeping me awake!

After I woke up from my nap, however, I made my daughter's bed with fresh sheets, cleaned her bathroom, and did a load of laundry (and put away the previous day's load of laundry).  I called my neighbor S to check on her and then, one of my cousins called and I spoke with her for a bit.

Dinner was more pork ribs, broiled with mango chutney as a glaze, which was good, too.

Wednesday's gratitudes:
- A sunny, warm day
- Safe commutes to the office and back
- Chocolate cake
- Naps on the sofa
- Keeping in touch with family and friends

The weekly grocery ads came in and I checked to see what was on sale this week:

4 lb. bags of sugar for $1.49
Canned vegetables, canned broth, canned cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soups for $.49 each
1 lb. butter for $2.88

5 lb. flour for $1.99

I might buy some sugar to stock up, as that is a good price.  I have a bag of flour in the freezer and I still have some of the canned vegetables and soups I bought two years ago, when they went on sale!  I am just not using them as much as I thought I would.

There are a few other items on sale for $1 (cake mixes, brownie mixes, canned frosting, etc.), but that's the price I'd normally pay for them at the dollar store, so not a stock up price for me.  I am going to hold out for butter at $2.50 (I still have 2 lbs. in the freezer).

Tomorrow, I plan to go to the office, go to the farmers' market for a loaf of French bread, pay a bill, run the dishwasher and, in the evening, pick up my daughter from the airport!  She's coming home for the long weekend and I'm really looking forward to her visit. 

How was your Wednesday?  If you had a choice of chocolate cake and pumpkin pie, which one would you choose?  Do you have "stock up prices" at which you'll stock up on certain items?

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Tuesday: More Cooking with Bless

Sweet and Spicy Sticky Ribs
Remember the pork ribs trimming I bought and boiled with some onions, garlic, and pepper corns the other day?

Boiled Rib Trimmings
Today, I took about six of the pieces and finished cooking them for my dinner (and tomorrow's lunch).  I had something like a sweet, tangy glazed ribs in mind, so I set out to create a sauce:

A splash (about 2-3 tbsp; I didn't measure) of white vinegar
A smaller splash (1-2 tbsp; I didn't measure) of white wine (leftover from the prayer gathering dinner!)
A bigger splash (about 3-4 tbsp; again, I didn't measure) of soy sauce
Juice of 1 rather dried out lemon (maybe 2 tbsp?)
About 3 tbsp. sugar
About 1/2 tsp. honey (my honey had crystallized; maybe 1 tsp. liquid honey)
A little water (about 4 tbsp)
A little chili pepper flakes (maybe 1/2 tsp; next time, I might add a little more as it wasn't very spicy)

I stirred it and brought it to a boil, then, added about 6 pieces of the previously cooked rib pieces, lowered the heat, covered the pot, and let the rib pieces simmer in the sauce for about 15 minutes (until the rice cooked).  I stirred it once or twice and turned the rib pieces over to coat them with the sauce.  Then, removed the cover and raised the heat a little to allow the sauce to boil a little until thickened. 

It smelled wonderful and tasted pretty good!  I think, next time, I might add a little ginger to the sauce or a piece of lemon grass for some extra flavor.

I had some of the rib pieces with rice and the last of the cucumber, for dinner:


I was happy with how the dish turned out.  Although I enjoy cooking, lately, I haven't always enjoyed eating what I cooked.  Tonight, however, I enjoyed eating what I cooked. 

Today, I was grateful for:
- The sunny, warm day
- A productive day at the office
- A yummy dinner
- Video chatting with my daughter
- A relaxed evening at home (i.e. didn't do anything!)
How was your day?  Have you made something similar to this glazed pork ribs?

Monday, November 6, 2017

Relaxing on Monday

I had the day off, today, and, although there were lots of things to do, I decided to take it easy.
The heater worked well last night - maybe a bit too well!  I turned it on around 2:30 a.m., and set it at 70F.  I think it was on all night and the thermometer in the family room registered 80F when I woke up!  It was another sunny, warm day, today, with the highs in the mid-70s!  I opened the windows to let the fresh air and sunshine in and felt warm enough to change out of my sweatshirt into a short sleeved blouse and take off my socks!  LOL!
I spent the morning catching up on blogs.  Then, I replied to an email a friend had sent.
I tried to take a nap in the afternoon, but I couldn't fall asleep, so I lay on the sofa and read one of the magazines I had borrowed from the library.  They are due next week, so I need to finish reading them.  I can read the same magazine over and over again without getting tired of it, sometimes reading the decorating articles, sometimes the gardening stuff, sometimes the recipes, so it takes me a long time to go through a magazine!   

Dancer decided I was spending too much time on the computer and not enough time cuddling him:

"You have to reach around me to type, Mummy"
I think he has forgiven me for giving him the flea meds, yesterday (he no longer has any fleas, but I am applying the meds as a preventive measure!)

In the afternoon, I called and made an appointment with my financial planner for later this month.  Then, I called the monks at the temple and settled on a date for my almsgiving in December.  Later, in the evening, I called my aunt and my friend to tell them the almsgiving date.  I will call the other friends and family members later.  I also did a load of laundry and hung it up to dry and took the trash cans to the curb.  I started doing some paperwork, but, by then, I had a bit of a headache/eye ache, so I didn't finish the paperwork. 
Breakfast was a banana, lunch was a cold cuts sandwich, dinner was some of the chicken chili and a cucumber salad, grapes for dessert.  I also ate some chocolate, which I probably shouldn't have, but it helped with the headache!  At least, that's my story and I am sticking to it!  (I also drank a couple of glasses of water, in case the headache was due to dehydration.)
Today, I was grateful for:
- The sunny, warm day
- Having the day off from work
- Relaxing at home
- Dancer coming to me for cuddles!
- Getting a few things done, after all

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Go to the office
- Pay property tax bill
- Put away the washed dishes
- Put away the dried laundry
- Paperwork
- Another load of laundry

How was your day?  Did you have a good start to your week?

Weekend Review

Saturday dawned sunny and warm.  I opened the windows to air the house and, on a whim, tried the heater, again, and it came on!  Yay!  At least the pilot light hadn't gone off!  That was a big relief for me to know that, because I was worried if the pilot light had gone off, then, that meant that the gas might be leaking!  I didn't smell any gas, but I'm glad to know that the pilot light was still burning.  So that meant, it was the thermostat that wasn't working properly - it doesn't always register that I've turned it on.

Sandy Expat had asked me about my space heater - it is a gas wall unit:

Space Heater
One side faces the living room, the other side faces the hallway which leads to the kitchen and bedrooms.  There is no fan to circulate the warm air - the heat diffuses and spreads throughout the house.  The warmest spot is directly in front of the heater, the coldest spots are the family room and the bed rooms. 

So, early Saturday afternoon, I went to the nearby home improvement store (Home Depot) and bought a replacement thermostat.  Then, I wandered around their garden center and eventually bought two pink flowered zonal geranium plants for the front garden.  For now, I placed them in terra cotta pots that I already had and placed on the steps leading to the front door. 

After that, I did the grocery shopping that I posted about, earlier.

All the shopping tired me out a bit.  After I came home, I ate a late lunch (bread and meatball curry) and rested on the sofa for about an hour or so.  I wanted to take a nap, but I didn't allow myself to do so, although I might have dozed a bit.

I had a cup of tea after that and then, took down the Halloween decorations.  I decided to wait on the Thanksgiving decorations until closer to the day. 

Then, I started to cook the chicken chili.

Later that evening, my aunt and cousin came to dinner.  After they left, I video chatted with daughter and changed the clocks before going to bed.  I was able to get the heater to come on again, in the night, so I was happy. 

Sunday, my daughter's phone call woke me up.  She was going to volunteer at a fund raising event and was waiting for her colleague who was giving her a ride there and back. 

After her phone call, I got up and had a cup of coffee, replied to blog comments, read blogs and commented on them, etc.  Sometimes, I read blogs during my lunch breaks at the office, during the week, but, usually, don't post comments from the office and I don't always have time to post comments during the evening, either.  At least, if I take the time to comment, then, I might not get anything else done!  So, often, even if I keep up with the reading, I get behind in my commenting.

My neighbor T called me in the afternoon and we chatted for a bit.  Last time I visited her, she showed me a figurine of an angel which her dog had knocked off the table and she was so upset about it, I told her I will buy some super glue and glue it for her.  But I haven't had time to buy the glue.  When she called me today, she said she bought a tube of crazy glue, so I went over in the evening and glued the figurine for her.  She asked me if I needed to rush back or if I had time to sit and visit awhile, so, of course, I sat and chatted with her for about half an hour.

After I came home, I started to cook the rest of the chicken breast strips - I made a sort of teriyaki chicken.  First, I marinated the chicken strips in a little teriyaki sauce (about 1/4 cup):

Chicken marinating in teriyaki sauce

Then, sauted the marinated chicken strips in a little sesame seed oil  and vegetable oil mixture and added some freshly grated ginger and a couple of cloves of garlic (also grated):

Grated garlic and ginger
I added a little (about 1 teaspoon) of honey to the chicken mixture and cooked for about 15 minutes.  Then, added a little cornstarch to thicken the sauce.

Teriyaki Chicken
I wanted to sprinkle a little sesame seeds on top, but the jar of sesame seeds I had in the cabinet had turned rancid!  So, I tossed the sesame seeds!  Next time, I will store the seeds in the freezer!

In the meantime, I cooked some rice and sliced some cucumber:

Dinner: rice, teriyaki chicken, cucumber
Dessert was yogurt with brown sugar.

Breakfast had been a banana.  Lunch had been a cold cuts sandwich.  I also had an apple for a snack.

There were 9 chicken strips; I ate one for dinner and kept 2 in the fridge.  I froze the rest in two packages with 3 pieces each.  Just enough for a meal for daughter and me or for a couple of meals for me.  

My aunt and cousin who visited me yesterday, called me today, too, to check on me; aunt in the morning and cousin in the evening.  They both said I had looked tired, yesterday, and they were concerned.  I also spoke on the phone with a friend (she called me on Saturday evening when aunt and cousin were visiting, so I told her I'll call her back, but it was too late to call her last night, so I called her today, instead).  Later, I video chatted with daughter.  She was tired after her day of volunteering at the fund raiser.

I cooked the pork trimmings, too - or, at least, started the process:

Pork Trimmings Being Boiled

I put the pieces in lightly salted water with about half an onion sliced, 3 cloves of garlic, and a few pepper corns.  Then, I covered it and boiled it for a good hour and a half, until the meat was very soft and the fat had rendered out.  Then, I put it in the fridge!  Tomorrow, I will decide exactly what I want to do with it!  Some sort of braised pork, maybe, or a stew, or broiled with a glaze.  I'll probably freeze half for later.  It's not meal planning, exactly, but knowing I have options in the freezer is a good thing. 

This weekend, I was grateful for:
- The pilot light in the heater hasn't gone out
- The heater works (sometimes)
- Aunt and cousin visiting
- Friends calling
- Being able to help my neighbor by gluing her figurine together

How was your weekend?  Did you have a nice weekend? How are you doing with the time change? What are your plans for Monday?