Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February Balanced Life Goals - Update

Since today is the last day of the month, it is time to do an update on my February Goals for a Balanced Life:

Spiritual:  The goal is to live a spiritually meaningful life.
- Continue with daily prayers and gratitude; focus on being positive - I have been praying daily and trying to be positive.  I prayed for my surgery to go smoothly and for an easy recovery; I am grateful that my prayers have been answered.  I am trying to stay focused on the many blessings and positives in my life and not dwell on any perceived negatives.
- Take time for meditation- I have been meditating during my walks, while waiting at the doctor's office, when I say my prayers, etc.; this month, a lot of the meditating was on the subject of death and impermanence.  If I may share a little bit about it, this is a Buddhist stanza, in Pali (which is the language used in Buddhist scriptures), that is a meditation on the impermanence of all formations (beings, things, states of being, etc.) :

"Aniccā vatha sankhārā - Uppāda vaya dhamminō
Uppajjitvā nirujjhanti - Te san vūpa samō sukhō"

Translated into English, it basically means:
"All formations are impermanent - They arise (or come into being) and pass,
Having arisen/come into being, they come to an end - the ending of this is bliss (i.e. nibbana or nirvana)

Nibbana is Pali; nirvana is Sanskrit; to Buddhists, it is not a place one goes to, but, rather, a state of being, or, more accurately, a state of non-being, or non-existence!  The word nibbana or nirvana means "putting out" or "extinguishing", such as putting out a fire or extinguishing a flame.  It is a turning off of the endless cycle of life and death.

- Cultivate non-attachment  - declutter 3 items/day in February, too, for a total of 84 items - I was not able to continue decluttering in any disciplined manner, this month.  It was sporadic at best and I didn't push it.  I realize I still have an abundance of possessions - books, decorative items, enough plates for a small restaurant, etc. - but, it is hard for me to declutter for the sake of decluttering, if you know what I mean.  I am not a minimalist by any means!  It would be easier if I had to downsize, I think, because then, I would have a reason to declutter!  I know I won't take half these things with me, if I were to move into a smaller space.  So why am I keeping them?  Because I enjoy having them! I will be giving this another go, again, in March.

Among the items I did declutter this month was my catheter port!  I think that, in itself, was enough for this month, don't you? 

- Attend the monthly prayer gathering, if possible (don't know when it will be held, who will host, how I will feel after surgery, etc.) - Did so on 2/18 and there was no problem attending because it was held before my surgery.  I also gave a ride to my cousin P and friend F to the prayer gathering and back (F had called and asked if I could give her a ride and I called P and offered her a ride).

- Visit the temple and give a donation of alms in memory of my mother - Accomplished.

Environment:  The goal is a clean, tidy, uncluttered house and a well-maintained garden.
- Focus on decluttering and maintaining cleaned areas - House cleaning has been done, in fits and starts, but, nevertheless, accomplished!  I dusted, vacuumed, and mopped just before surgery, so, this week, I am just relaxing, but keeping up with the dishes, the laundry, and wiping down the kitchen counters.  The decluttering, not so much! 

- Maintain (water 2x per week; weed) - Between friend M and I, we've kept the garden watered (with a little help from Mother Nature who provided a well-timed shower of rain, this week, so I didn't have to water; more rain is in the forecast for Friday) and the weeds cut back, if not removed.

Prepare a planting bed & scatter some flower seeds - I went one better and bought some lavender plants for the front flower bed.

Daughter:  The goal is to continue to have a close relationship with her.
- Daily texts, phone calls, emails, and video chatting - Have been doing so

- Be supportive of her career plans by continuing to be a sounding board - Yes, and was supportive of her decision to renew her current lease, as well.

- Look forward to her coming to be with me during my surgery - She came down last Wednesday and has been taking good care of me since my surgery.  She's working from home this week and will take Friday off to celebrate her birthday.  She will fly back next Monday and I know I will miss her company.  

Family & Friends:  The goal is to keep in touch with various family members and friends.
- Call, email, etc.  (have already exchanged several emails with one cousin; called aunt C, this morning) -  With the goal of focusing on the positives, I am only reviewing what I did to keep in touch with family and friends (and making a note, too, if someone calls or visits me, as that is positive, too).  I called cousin V to wish her for her birthday, at the beginning of the month.  I called Aunt C and friend R a few times throughout the month (and they've called me, several times, and almost daily post surgery).  I called  cousin P to offer her a ride to the rosary prayer gathering.  I called my half-sister, last week, to inform her that I was going in for surgery; later, her daughter who lives out of state, called to ask how I was doing, after surgery.  I called one of my friends, yesterday, to check on her after I heard that she and her younger daughter had met with an accident (they are both OK).  And, of course, friend R visited me and brought us brunch on Monday, as I mentioned before.   

- Wish cousin and nephew on their birthdays - wished cousin, already; nephew's birthday is next week - Wished them both, and the husband of one niece and a couple of other friends, as well, on their birthdays.

- Will be seeing several members of the family and friends at the monthly prayer gathering, if attending - This month's monthly rosary prayer gathering was poorly attended.  Only one cousin and one friend attended, along with the friends who were hosting.  But, I enjoyed the more intimate gathering. 

- Weekly calls with neighbor T - Accomplished; in fact, she called me again, today, to check on me.

Community:  The goal is to become more involved in my community
- Continue to participate in the blogging community - Accomplished; thank you to all who blog and all who comment on my blog!  I generally read and comment on a few blogs on a regular basis, as that is all that time allows me to do.  Occasionally, like this week, when I have more time, I visit other blogs and sometimes, I leave a comment on those blogs, as well.  I truly enjoy reading what others have to share about their lives. 

Career:  The goal is to continue to do work which I enjoy (for the most part) and which enables me to support myself.
- Continue to do my assignments in a timely manner - I tried to clear my in box as much as I could before I took this week of medical leave; the one or two projects I couldn't complete (including the one that arrived in my in box at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, an hour before I left for the day), I notified everyone concerned.

Finances:  The goal is financial security.
- Continue budgeting and spending mindfully, with purpose - anticipated large expenses this month will include the second installment of my property tax - I continue to do well in this goal.  I have a good income, no debts of any kind, and savings, including retirement accounts.  Saving money isn't a problem for me; spending it, is!  

Health & Well Being:  The goal is good health.
- Schedule surgery - DONE!  Surgery went well and post-op recovering is going well, too.

- Attend the appointments with my various medical doctors - 2 scheduled so far, there might be a 3rd - DONE - I met with the oncologist on 2/19 and the 2nd appointment with the primary care doctor, initially scheduled for 2/23, was rescheduled for March 9, as it conflicted with the surgery date.  There wasn't a 3rd appointment, as I didn't need to see the surgeon prior to surgery, but I will be seeing him on 3/7 to get the stitches removed. 

- Continue to go for additional screening tests, as needed - 1 blood test scheduled - DONE; the results were good.

- Continue to monitor blood pressure, sugar levels, and weight - On-going; everything seemed fine during my doctors' appointments and pre-op checks.

- Continue to focus on a healthier diet (more vegetables!), drinking enough water (8x 8oz), exercising regularly (walk for 30 minutes), and getting sufficient sleep (11:30 p.m. bed time during the work week!) - Work in progress - I have been trying on the healthier diet, walking fairly regularly during the week, and drinking my water.  I haven't been able to keep to the 11:30 p.m. bed time, however!

- Focus on accomplishments and staying positive - Trying!

Time Management:  The goal is having enough time to do all what I want to do!
- Procrastinate less
- Implement routines and schedules
One of the areas I am struggling with the most!   - Yes; let's just say that it is a work in progress, still, shall we?!  

Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies/Me-Time:  The goal is to relax doing something I enjoy doing for the pleasure of it.
- Set aside 30 minutes a day to do something relaxing, such as reading books, or doing a craft, that is not blogging!  LOL!  I can easily spend the entire evening reading blogs and writing up a blog post! - I have taken up sudoku!  I have been doing at least one sudoku and one crossword puzzle a day (often, more than one!)

So, that is the February goals update!  I think it was a good month, overall.  Plenty of room for improvement, of course, but quite a few accomplishments, as well.  Did you make any goals for February?  If so, how did you do on them?

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Better on Tuesday

So, in my dream, last night (or, rather, early this morning), I cleaned out my garage!  I woke up when I took down a curtain that was hanging from the middle of the garage and was getting in my way!  I tell you, I am so productive in my dreams!

I spent another quiet morning, relaxing, while daughter worked.  I put away the laundry from yesterday, replied to blog comments and then, read several other blogs, including some I used to read but had stopped for one reason or another (usually, a lack of time).  I love reading about what other people are doing!  I guess I am just nosy!  

In the late morning, I walked around the garden, a bit, brought in the empty trash cans from the curb, collected the mail, and went through this week's grocery ads.  I also did a little (very little) paperwork.

When daughter took a break for lunch, we went out to pick up some Japanese fast food, with a coupon that came in today's mail - buy one teriyaki beef/rice/vegetable plate for $8 and get one free.  We couldn't finish our portions - daughter saved half of hers for another meal; I ate about 1/3 of mine, had some for dinner, and there's more for another meal!

I also had her pick up some grapes and raspberries from the little market that was there, next to the Japanese restaurant.  The raspberries were $.99 for the container, but the grapes were expensive at $2.99/lb!  We had some of the grapes, after lunch.

It drizzled a little bit in the afternoon, but not enough to do anything.  However, we are supposed to get a good shower of rain on Friday.  If so, then, friend M won't be able to do any gardening!

In the evening, daughter went out to lunch with neighbor S's two daughters, N and C.  N is two years older than my daughter and C is two years younger.  They have been friends since childhood and they try to get together every time daughter comes home.

While she was out, I ran the dishwasher and wiped down the kitchen counters.  Later, I did a load of laundry (and daughter hung it up to dry).  

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Put away laundry - DONE
- Do another load of laundry - DONE
- Do the dishes - DONE
- Have daughter bring the trash cans in - DONE (I brought them in)
- Do some paperwork - DID a little bit

(Sorry for the color change - I copied and pasted from yesterday's post, and the back ground color changed!)

Wednesday's To Do List:
- Put away the dried laundry
- Empty the dishwasher
- Do more paperwork
- Do some sewing/mending

One of my friends and her daughter had met with an accident while on the freeway on Sunday night.  Fortunately, neither of them got hurt, but the car was totaled, they said.  I called my friend, in the evening, to check on her.

Later, aunt C called to check on me (and admonished me to not do too much!)  

How was your Tuesday?  What are your plans for tomorrow?  Can you believe that tomorrow is already the end of this month?   

Monday, February 26, 2018

Still Recovering on Monday

Yesterday, Nathalie went hiking and last night, I dreamt that I went hiking!  LOL!   

This morning, when I woke up, daughter was already up and working!  I had woken up when her alarm when off, but I went back to sleep (I guess I was tired from my dream hike!)  Once I woke up, I had a cup of coffee and then, checked my emails, replied to blog comments, did some sudoku, etc.

I was just thinking about getting something for breakfast when friend R called to say she was on her way to visit me and she was bringing brunch!  She brought us three different types of pancakes (two each of banana nut, cinnamon roll, and cranberry-orange) with scrambled eggs, hash browns, and bacon!    What a feast!  I forgot to take a picture, but it was all very delicious!  We ate, visited a bit, and then, daughter returned to doing her office work and friend R, who had taken the day off from her work, left to do some shopping she wanted to do. 

Later in the afternoon, I made myself a salad and daughter finished up some leftovers that were in the fridge and we had a tangerine each.  After that, we had tea.  

Later, did a load of laundry and daughter hung it up for me.  She also took the trash cans out to the curb, brought in the mail, and paid the phone/cable/internet bills online for me.

For dinner, I baked a frozen turkey pot pie and we shared it.  

Today, I received a handmade get well card from a friend who was one of my very first supervisors at work.   I also had a phone call from one of my nieces (my half sister's daughter), asking after my health.  Later in the evening, I called Aunt C and she said cousin N is feeling better.  

Around 9:15 p.m., it began to drizzle.  It is still drizzling, 30 minutes later; I hope it continues for a bit longer.  We can do with a little rain.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Another, pain-free day of recovering
- Friend R visiting and bringing brunch
- Daughter being able to work from home
- A shower of rain
- Paid sick leave

Monday's To Do List:
- Empty the dishwasher - DONE
- Handwash my tea cups - DONE
- Do a load of laundry - DONE
- Have daughter hang it up to dry - DONE
- Have daughter take the trash cans to the curb - DONE
- Do some paperwork
- Pay the phone bill - DONE

I didn't do any paperwork, today.  Maybe, tomorrow.

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Put away laundry
- Do another load of laundry
- Do the dishes
- Have daughter bring the trash cans in
- Do some paperwork

Dancer enjoying his newly washed towel

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

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Restful Sunday

I have had another restful day of recuperating.  My neighbor T called in the morning and I chatted with her for a bit.

Otherwise, daughter and I spent a relaxed day at home, just enjoying being together.  We discussed her apartment rent situation a little more and she checked online, again, to see what other apartments were available.  The cheapest apartment she could find near her workplace is $400 more than her current rent and she can't afford it.  We also discussed other alternatives, such as sharing with a roommate, working a part-time job to earn more money (any overtime she does at her current job has to be taken as time off instead of extra pay), etc.  Anyway, the decision has been made and she will continue to rent her current apartment and pay the $70 increase in rent and whatever internet service fees she will have to pay.  

Daughter watered my houseplants for me and ran the dishwasher.  Later, we watched the Olympics closing ceremony and I knitted another hat for the Heart Association.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Another pain-free day of recuperation
- Daughter being home with me
- Phone call from neighbor
- Dishwashers
- Options being discussed and decisions confirmed

Daughter will work from home, tomorrow.  I am going to go ahead and make a short to do list.

Monday's To Do List:
- Empty the dishwasher
- Handwash my tea cups 
- Do a load of laundry
- Have daughter hang it up to dry
- Have daughter take the trash cans to the curb
- Do some paperwork
- Pay the phone bill

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

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Recuperating on Saturday

I spent the day, today, recuperating.

Last night, daughter insisted that I took a Tylenol before I went to sleep, so I took one, more for her peace of mind than anything else.  She stayed up till 4:00 a.m., because she was nervous that I might get sick in the night and she might not hear me.  But I slept right through until about 10:30 a.m.  There was no pain, just a little soreness where the port had been.   

I was having a cup of coffee and checking my emails when friend R called to say she woke up with a bad headache and a runny nose.  We agreed that she shouldn't visit me, today.  She said she'll try to come tomorrow. 

I've spent a quiet, relaxed day, today.  I really didn't do anything, other than respond to comments on my blog, comment on a few blogs, and play online (sudoku, mahjong, etc.).  I called the temple to let the monks know that the surgery went well.

Lunch was a little more of the leftover Thai food.  Later, in the afternoon, I took a nap on the sofa.  When I woke up, daughter made me a cup of tea.

Later, in the evening, I recooked the curried pork chops and made it into a curry for dinner.  I had it with a warmed up tortilla; daughter had it with rice and cabbage.  I indulged in a little chocolate, afterwards (one Hershey's mint chocolate Kiss).   The sink is full of dirty dishes, but I've been told not to wash them!  I'll probably run the dishwasher, tomorrow. 

Daughter and I have been spending a relaxed evening, watching ice skating.  She also received her lease renewal to sign, so she's reading through it.  The new lease specifically states that the apartment is unfurnished, so we assume that the furniture that came with the apartment, originally, now belong to her!  In the prior lease, internet connection was included in the rent, but apparently, it is no longer included (the original lease included cable TV, as well, but that was dropped the last time the lease was renewed).  Daughter is now wondering whether it is worth it to renew the lease or to look for another place!  Oh, dear!  Here we go again!

Today, I am grateful for:
- Not being in any pain or discomfort
- A day of relaxation and recuperation
- Daughter being home with me
- Afternoon naps
- A sunny, warm day

No major plans for tomorrow, other than doing the dishes and maybe a visit from friend R.  

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

Friday, February 23, 2018

Surgery on Friday

First of all, thank you, everyone, for your thoughts, prayers, and well wishes, that were extended so generously to me and my daughter.  We are both very blessed to be wished well by all of you. 

The surgery went well, I am home now, and recovering.

Daughter and I both woke up at 6:00 a.m. and we were on the road a little after 6:30 a.m.  I drove us there.  Traffic was fairly light, it being Friday, and I pulled into the hospital parking lot by 7:15 a.m., well before the 7:30 a.m. arrival time I was given.  I checked in at the front desk and then, at 7:45 a.m., I was given papers to sign and admitted.  A short wait and they called me in, weighed me (70.2 kg - I've gone up!), checked my blood pressure (it was good), checked my sugar (it was 107), etc., and put an IV in.  My daughter stayed in the room with me and various nurses came in to check the charts, confirm when I took my medications, and so forth.

The surgeon was delayed as he had other patients before me, but he came to see me a little after 9:30 a.m., marked the surgery site, spoke to me and my daughter.  He said the surgery should take about 1 hour.  Then, the anesthesiologist came by and introduced herself and went over the charts, followed by the two surgery nurses.

Eventually, around 10:00 a.m., I was wheeled into the surgery and there were at least 5 other surgery staff there.  They flushed the port, then, the anesthesia was administered through the IV and I didn't know anything after that!  I was out like the proverbial light!

Afterwards, I was taken to the recovery room for about half an hour - I dosed on and off while I was there and then, they took me back to the out-patient section to finish recovery.  I was given some apple juice to drink (I had been fasting since midnight) and my blood pressure monitored, etc.  They told my daughter she could come in then (she had been in the waiting room; she said the surgeon had come to tell her that the surgery proceeded smoothly, which was very nice of him, I thought).

They didn't want me to leave until I had gone to the bathroom, so after I went to the bathroom, they brought me my clothes.  They were constantly asking me if I felt OK and I did, until I started to get dressed.  Then, I felt nauseated and started to throw up, due to the anesthesia.  But I felt well enough to leave and so we did.  I threw up again in the car, coming home - I guess the apple juice wasn't such a good idea?

I was prescribed a pain medication (Norco), which is a type of narcotic, to be taken if needed.  But I am not in pain and so, I told my daughter not to get it filled.  I can take a Tylenol if I need to (so far, I haven't needed it, but, maybe I'll just take one before I go to sleep).  

Daughter drove us home and then, I had some lemon-lime soda (Sprite), changed into my pyjamas, and slept for a bit.  Later, I ate some plain crackers, had a cup of tea, and a banana.  I managed to keep everything down, so I felt it would be OK to eat some Thai glass noodle salad, warmed up, for dinner (it's been about an hour since I ate dinner, and I am feeling fine, so I think the side effects of the anesthesia have worn off). 

Friend M came to tend to the garden and he brought me some kiwis that I will share with my daughter over the next day or so.  He watered the lavender plants for me, since I couldn't do it, yesterday, and "mowed" (weed whacked) the back yard! 

Aunt C called to check on me in the evening and my friend R called.  R said she will visit, tomorrow, and bring lunch! 

Last night, after dinner, I did the dishes and mopped the kitchen.  Then, because the living room floor gets so dusty and I don't feel the vacuum picks up all the fine dust, I took the damp mop and went over the wood floors in the living room and dining area.  It has been a while since I last did that, but I felt good about being able to do so.  As I told my daughter, if I were to die on the operating table, I wanted to have a clean house in which to have the funeral!  LOL.  But, since I didn't die, I get to enjoy a nice, clean house (a bit untidy and messy, but clean!) while I recover from the surgery.  *smile*

Today, I am grateful for:
- The surgery was successful and everything went off well
- The thoughts, prayers and well-wishes that everyone offered
- Friendly staff at the hospital
- Daughter being there for me
- Not experiencing any pain this evening

I don't have a to do list for tomorrow, other than enjoying my friend's visit and my daughter's company!  I might water the indoor plants because I didn't water them at all, this week (or I might ask daughter to do so for me).  I might wash the dishes because I know daughter hates to do the dishes (or, I might leave them for another day and then, run the dish washer).  There's another load of laundry to be done (including the clothes I was wearing when I threw up), but that can wait another day or two.  Tomorrow, then, is for resting!

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

Thursday, February 22, 2018


Today, the hospital pre-admissions center called, again, in the morning, to confirm tomorrow's appointment and to go over the checklist of questions about my current medications, allergies, if I have someone to bring me home, if I am an organ donor, if I have a medical directive, etc.!  I I was still asleep when they called, but managed to answer their questions!  Afterwards, I tried to sleep a bit longer, but couldn't, so got up and had coffee, etc.  I spent a quiet morning, responding to blog comments, commenting on other blogs, etc.  I called my sister and informed her of the surgery and I called the temple and informed the monks.  

Later, daughter and I went out to pick up some Thai food for lunch (there's leftovers for dinner and for tomorrow, as well).  Daughter drove us to the restaurant and back, as she didn't want the drive home from the hospital tomorrow to be the first time she's driven in about a year or so.  

After lunch, I did two small loads of laundry and vacuumed the house.  I checked on my lavender plants, but didn't water them as it was both windy and cold.  Friend M will be coming to do the garden, tomorrow, and I will ask him to water the lavender plants, then.

Daughter and I are spending a relaxed evening, watching the Olympics.  Later, I will do the dishes.  I also want to mop the kitchen floor.  Then, the major house cleaning will be done for at least next week.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- The hospital calling me and getting the pre-admissions formalities completed over the phone
- Spending the day with my daughter
- Yummy Thai food (and left overs for another couple of meals)
- Getting the vacuuming done
- Being able to watch the skating on TV

Tomorrow, I will go to the hospital in the morning for the final surgery related to this journey I've been on for almost three years, since June, 2015.  This will be the last little bit of the climb on that mountain.  Please keep me in your thoughts.

Keeping Warm on Wednesday

On Wednesday, I called the surgeon's office in the morning to ask that the surgery be scheduled for the 9:30 a.m. time slot.  The lady I spoke with said she had already moved me to the earlier time slot, but when I explained that I'll have to leave the house at 5:00 a.m. to get there by 6:00 a.m., she agreed that that would be a very early start to the day.  She put me on hold while she called the hospital to reschedule and I was moved to the 9:30 a.m. slot, again!   So, I need to be at the hospital by 7:30 a.m.  I also need to call the hospital's pre-admission office, tomorrow morning, to confirm.

After that, I went to the office and had a fairly productive day.  I met with my new supervisor and gave him a list of all the projects I am working on and their status.  Then, I informed him that I will be out of the office all of next week.  In the afternoon, I spent a little time tidying up my desk.

The pharmacy had texted me saying my inhaler was ready for pick up, so, I went there on my way home and collected my inhaler.  Then, came home and rested a bit in front of the heater.  Just until the house warmed up a bit.   After that, I wiped down the stove top and kitchen counters, changed the chair covers on the family room sofas, and tidied the room a bit (mostly a matter of tidying the stacks of paper - someone really needs to sit down and do her paperwork and filing!)  Took out the trash and recycling, too.

Then, it was time to go to pick up daughter at the airport.  She had a safe flight home and we picked up some Chinese food for her dinner on our way home.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Daughter had a safe flight home
- Getting the surgery time rescheduled to a more reasonable time
- Pleasant staff at the surgeon's office
- Being able to take time off for the surgery
- Well wishes from people I work with

I am not going to make a to do list for tomorrow, but I do hope to get the house vacuumed.  And I need to water the indoor plants, since I didn't do it today.

How was your Wednesday?  What are your plans for Thursday?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Winter on Tuesday

Today, we had winter!  It was 48F when I left to go to the office, this morning.  I didn't wear my big winter jacket, but I wore my regular coat (worn over two sweaters and a blouse!) and a pair of knitted gloves!  

I brought the trash cans in before I left and took a quick look at the lavender plants - they seemed OK, so I am hopeful they will be fine.

I had a good day at the office.  We had some new hires starting today and the recent promotions and transfers took effect, today, so people were moving in and moving out!  We will be moving to a different building, sometime in March, and we were asked to write down how many boxes of stuff we'll need moved and any other additional furniture, so I filled out the paperwork for that.  I need to clean out my shelves and drawers, especially my file cabinet, before we move!  
I called the surgeon's office, today, to find out what time I need to be at the hospital - right now, my surgery is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. and I need to be there at 7:30 a.m. (which means I need to leave the house at 6:30 a.m.).  There is a chance that the patient prior to me might be cancelling and I might be rescheduled to take her spot, in which case, I would need to be at the hospital at 6:00 or 6:30 a.m.!  I told that to my daughter and she almost had a heart attack!  For us to be at the hospital by 6:00, we'd have to leave home at 5:00 a.m.!  So, tomorrow, I might call the surgeon's office and tell the lady to leave me scheduled for 9:30 a.m. because I can't see us waking up at 4:30 a.m. to leave by 5:00 a.m.!  LOL.  Although, the traffic should be relatively light at that time in the morning! 

My cousin N had offered to accompany me to the hospital, but today, her mother called to say that N is not well and will not be able to go with me.  I had been grateful when N offered to go with me because then, my daughter would not have to wait alone during my surgery, but it can't be helped.  N needs to stay home and recover when she's not well.  Daughter and I will manage on our own. 

I really didn't do anything after I came home, today!  It was too cold to sit in the family room to watch TV (I turn the heater off when I leave in the morning), so I sat in the living room in front of the heater and went online!  At first, I set the thermostat at 70F, but, even though I was wearing fleece lined leggings under my slacks, a blouse and two sweaters, and a pair of socks, I was still cold!  So, I increased the thermostat to 74F!  I just checked the temperature in the family room and it is 65F!  (There are no vents to the different rooms - the heat diffuses on its own, with the living room being the warmest room when the heater is on.)  I should have done a load of laundry and tidied the house a bit, but I didn't.  I guess I'll do that tomorrow. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- A relatively mild winter, so far
- A working heater
- Being able to spend the evening relaxing in front of the heater
- Being able to pay the increased gas (heating) bill
- Chatting with my daughter

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Bring the trash cans in - DONE
- Go to the office - DONE
- Put away the laundry - DONE
- Call the surgeon's office - DONE
- Do a bit of tidying - NOT DONE

Wednesday's To Do List:
- Go to the office
- Tidy family room
- Clear kitchen counters
- Water the houseplants
- Pick up daughter from the airport

How was your Tuesday?  Are you managing to keep warm where you are?  Are you shaking your head about me feeling cold with the thermostat set at 70F?  

Monday, February 19, 2018

Monday: Medical Appointment and February Grocery Shopping - Week 3

A sunny day, but windy and cold (for us - daytime high of 54F; forecasted nighttime low of 33F!).

In the morning, I went to my appointment with the oncologist, for a routine check up.  The blood test results were all very good, I was told; everything was within the range they should be.  I was asked about my side effects and energy levels and was told they will continue to improve, just to give it time!  More time? I asked.  Yes, I was told!  Apparently, I am too impatient!   I am to return in three months' time, so I made the appointment before I left.

My appointment was at 10:30 a.m.  I left the house at 9:15 a.m., because I didn't know how the freeway would be.  But, since it was a holiday for some, the freeway was much less congested than usual.  I was checked in at the clinic at 10:00 a.m.  The elevators at the parking garage are still down!  Since at least last summer!  Although my appointment was at 10:30 a.m., I never expect to be seen on time!  I was called in to be weighed, blood pressure checked, etc., about 10:45 a.m., then, I waited in the waiting room for another half an hour or so before I was called in and there was another 10 minutes or so wait before the nurse practitioner saw me.  It was noon by the time I left the clinic.  My co-pay for the office visit was $15 and parking came to $8.

On the way home, I put gas to the car ($3.19/gal; I put $30.16 worth of gas).  Then, I went to the grocery store across the street from the gas station.  This is the no-frills Kroger affiliated store. 

Dancer Checks out the 2/19 Groceries
I bought:
1 gallon milk = $2.65
1 loaf 12 grain bread = $1.49
1 package (10 count) flour tortillas = $.99
1 head lettuce = $.99
1 cantaloupe @ 3 lbs/$1.00 = $1.19
1 bunch of 6 bananas @$.49/lb = $.88
2 cans tuna in water @ $.69 = $1.38
pork chops @ $1.49/lb = $3.78
Total = $13.35

(Plus cat food, of course, which came to $22.97!)

February grocery budget = $75 + $17.23 carried over from January = $92.23
Spent to date = $7.03 + $27.44 + $13.35 = $47.82
Balance left in the budget = $44.41

By this time, it was almost 2:00 p.m. and I was getting a little tired and hungry (I had a cup of coffee before I left for the clinic, but hadn't eaten anything).  When I found myself walking up and down the frozen food aisle, wanting to buy a package of Hot Pockets ($2.50; I can't remember the last time I had a hot pocket; I don't think I liked them all that much), or a beef pot pie ($1.99; I have turkey pot pies in the freezer) and cheese cake (on sale for $4.50, but when did they shrink so much?), I knew it was time to come home and eat something!  I should have come home directly from the clinic and eaten something, but I know myself well enough to know that once I come home, I am not likely to go out and run errands, again!

I came home, photographed the groceries, put them away, texted with my daughter, and a friend.  Then, I reheated the last bit of the beef steak I had cooked last week and added some curry powder and chili powder to it and had it with two of the tortillas.  For a treat, I squeezed a lemon and an orange (both from my garden) and made a citrus-ade drink (I added sugar to it, so I sipped a little bit and kept the rest in the fridge). 

Later in the afternoon, I took the trash cans to the curb and watered the front garden (with the garden hose).  The newly planted lavender plants were a bit droopy, but I am hoping they will perk up after being watered.   Hopefully they won't get too stressed by the low temperatures, overnight!   Later in the evening, when the wind died down a bit, I watered the back garden by turning on the sprinklers.

I had considered going to the other grocery store to buy the split chicken breasts on sale for $.77/lb., but I didn't feel like going out, again (see - once I come home, I don't want to go out, again).  There will be other chances to get chicken at that price.  I will cook the pork chops, tonight, for this week, and take it from there.  I will probably cook them in two different ways - half with teriyaki sauce and the other half with curry powder and chili, more like a curry.

Today, I accomplished my to do list (will do a load of laundry and clean the litter box a bit later).

Monday's To Do List:
- Appointment with the oncologist - DONE
- Grocery shopping - DONE
- Clean out the fridge - DONE
- Put gas to the car - DONE
- Take trash cans to the curb - DONE
- Put away laundry - DONE
- Another load of laundry (will do a bit later, tonight)
- Water the garden (front and back) - DONE
- Litter box (will do a bit later)

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Bring the trash cans in
- Go to the office
- Put away the laundry
- To a bit of tidying

Today, I am grateful for:
- The blood test results were all good
- The medical appointment went well
- A safe drive to the clinic and back
- Bargains at the grocery store
- Being able to get my to-do list done

How was your Monday?  How are you coming along with your grocery budget for February?  Have you made a meal plan for the week? 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Weekend Review

Yesterday (Saturday) was a warm, sunny day.  Even the lemon tree needed a little shade:

Lemon tree trying to get a little sun protection

(Actually, friend M put his hat there on Friday, and then, forgot it!  He came by, later, after I texted him the picture, and collected it!)

I spent a fairly relaxed day on Saturday.  A friend called to confirm if I was still planning to attend the prayer gathering on Sunday and if I could give her a ride.  Later, I called my cousin P to offer her a ride and we had a long chat, as we hadn't spoken all week.  Then, I stripped daughter's bed and remade it with new sheets.  And I did a load of laundry.  I also ran the dishwasher and washed the pots and pans and my tea cups by hand.  My decluttering included a saucer I dropped and broke!  In between, I watched some TV and knitted.  Later in the evening, I video chatted with my daughter and cleaned the litter box. 

Daughter had gone grocery shopping earlier in the day:

Daughter's Dollar Store Haul
She said it all came to $25 and some change.  I think there is an apple pie being planned!  The 2 lb. bag of cuties (mandarins) cost $1.99.

Today (Sunday), I attended the monthly prayer gathering, hosted by my friend who leads the prayers.  I gave my cousin and friend a ride there and back.  There weren't many members of the prayer group, today.  Just five of us and, since I don't actually recite the rosary, my friend's husband had to say two decades.  But it was a nice little gathering and we were able to engage in some good conversation that is more difficult when there are more people. 

In the morning, before I left to go to the prayer gathering, I put away the laundry from yesterday, emptied the dishwasher, and swept the living room.  After I came home, I returned my neighbor T's phone call and did a load of laundry.  Now, I am watching some Olympics figure skating as I type this.

This weekend, I am grateful for:
- Sunny days
- Being able to give a ride to the prayer gathering
- Getting together with family and friends
- Flowers blooming in the garden
- A safe drive to the prayer gathering and back

Monday's To Do List:
- Appointment with the oncologist
- Grocery shopping
- Clean out the fridge
- Put gas to the car
- Take trash cans to the curb
- Put away laundry
- Another load of laundry
- Water the garden (front and back)

How was your weekend?  What are your plans for the week ahead?

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Front Garden in Mid-February

Yesterday, I bought five lavender plants and my friend M planted them for me.  I took pictures of the front garden today:


They were planted in the flower bed that runs along the driveway.  I had planted roses, there, but only one rose bush has survived.  The African daisies or osteospermum have self-seeded from the adjoining flower bed and I am letting them grow because they add some color.

The flower bed with the lavender and self-seeded osteospermum

Another view of the bed with lavender

The lantana is flowering all along the edge of the garden along the sidewalk; looks pretty, doesn't it?

The row of lantana all in bloom

The flower bed along the walkway to the front door 

The bed under the living room window - newly planted with euphorbia cuttings

Euphorbia growing along the side wall

Not the best picture; the sun was shining behind them.

The side wall is my succulents garden.  M decided to add the stones in front to set off the plants to make an edging.  He found them in the garden.  There are more stones - maybe we'll make a rockery!

The aloe plants we planted a couple of years ago are doing well:

We need to add more stones in front of them.

The jade plant in the middle is dying.

The circle of succulents in the middle - some of the aloe plants are doing well, others have died

Another look at the flower bed leading to the front door


On Friday, I went for my blood test.  They drew six vials of blood!  That was a lot!  Afterwards, I debated going to the fabric store (which was a few blocks up the road from the lab) to buy quilt
batting, but decided to do that another day.  I had been fasting, so, on the way home, I stopped by my favorite hot dog place to get a chili dog.  Back when I experienced loss of taste, their chili dogs were one of the few things I enjoyed eating!   I had some cantaloupe as well, and I saved some of the seeds to plant, later.  I don't know if I'll get any cantaloupe, but, if the seeds germinate, the plants will add a bit of greenery,

After brunch, I went to the garden center to get some plants for my garden.  I spent a pleasant half hour or so, walking around and looking at what they had.  I wanted something that would be water wise, sun loving, had some flowers, and, if possible, be edible, as well!  That was a tall order, wasn't it?  In the end, I bought five lavender plants, on sale for $5.98 each.  My total came to $32.74, with tax.  My gardener friend M planted them for me in one of the flower beds in the front garden, where the roses we planted a couple of years ago had died.  Hopefully, they will thrive and I'll get lots of lavender flowers.  I forgot to take a picture, but will do so, tomorrow.

Friend M also changed the bulb in the garage door opener overhead fixture, replacing the LED bulb with a regular bulb.  Then, I re-engaged the automatic opener (I had disabled it and had been opening and closing the door manually) and tried it.  It worked fine when I pressed the button on the wall, but the remote didn't do anything.  So, I guess it wasn't the LED bulb or the battery in the remote (I had put in a new battery), after all.  Which means it is something with the remote, itself.  I probably need a new remote.  I will look into that, tomorrow.

Neighbor T came over to talk to M (he does her garden, too) and I handed her a piece of mail that had been addressed to her but was delivered to me, instead. 

In the evening, friend R called and we chatted for a bit.  Another friend called, too, to ask for a ride to the prayer gathering on Sunday.  And, of course, I video chatted with daughter. 

I spent the evening watching the Olympic games coverage.  Dinner was some of the leftover beef steak I had cooked earlier, with half a baked potato (it was a big potato) and broccoli.  More cantaloupe for dessert.


Today, I am grateful for:
- Getting the blood tests done
- Insurance coverage
- Friendly staff at the lab
- New plants for the garden
- A sunny day

Plans for tomorrow include doing some much needed housework!

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

Friday, February 16, 2018

Quiet Thursday

I stayed up late, last night, and had a late night snack, as well, but slept well and woke up feeling much better, this morning!  Maybe I was trying too hard to sleep early and getting stressed about it that I couldn't sleep deeply? 

I had another productive day at the office.  I had planned to buy lunch from one of the stalls at the farmers' market, today, so, at lunch time, I went to the farmers' market and bought some Thai food (fried rice and barbecued chicken) for lunch.  It cost $9.00, but I had it for both lunch and dinner, and there's still some chicken left for tomorrow's lunch!  Next time, I think I will try their chicken curry. 

After I came home, I called my neighbor T to check on her and then, settled down to watch Olympics coverage.  Later, I video chatted with my daughter. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- A better night of sleep
- Waking up in the morning
- A safe commute to work and back
- A sunny, warm day
- A relaxed evening at home

Tomorrow, I have to go for another blood test.  I took the day off work so I am hoping to get a few other things done, as well.

How was your day?  Have you been watching the Olympics?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Wednesday: Love, Ashes, and Bullets

It rained a little, early this morning!  It had ceased by the time I woke up and got ready to go to the office, but I'll take whatever rain I can get!

I had another somewhat disturbed night, last night, but had a good day, overall.  I had a fairly productive day at the office.  After I came home, I had a cup of tea, watered the indoor plants, spoke with my daughter, called my aunt C, spoke with friend R who called, played the piano for a bit, and watched Olympics coverage.

Nathalie sent me a link to a site for coupons for cat food - thank you, Nathalie!  The stray cats thank you, too.

I was sad to hear about the shooting in the Florida high school.  I read that this is the 18th school shooting, so far in 2018!  We are barely mid-way through February! 

Today, I am grateful for:
- The little rain we received
- A productive day at the office
- Nathalie sending me a link to the coupon site
- Talking on the phone with family and friends
- Emails from friends

How was your Wednesday?  Did you celebrate St. Valentine's Day?  Did you observe Ash Wednesday?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Ran Out of Steam on Tuesday

I didn't have a very restful night, last night - I indulged in some late night snacking, which caused some heart burn/gas pains that woke me up at 3:00 a.m.  I took an antacid which helped, but I kept waking up every hour, after that, with more of my weird dreams. Just before my alarm went off in the morning, I heard someone say, "Mummy".  I woke up and thought I had dreamed it.  But it was Dancer - he had meowed in such a way that it sounded like "Meowmy".  He was seated by my bed and then I heard the familiar sounds of him hacking and throwing up!  I guess he came to tell me he didn't feel too good?  So, of course, I had to get up and clean up after him!  Not my favorite way to start my morning!

If I hit the ground running, yesterday, today I was crawling.  I brought the trash cans in, went to the office, and had a productive work day.  At lunch time, I went for a walk.  I stayed close to the office, though, because there were some dark clouds and rain was in the forecast - I didn't want to get rained on, but it didn't rain, after all.

Clouds Moving In
After I came home from work, I rested and took it easy.  I cooked a potato to go with the leftover meat and vegetables from yesterday for my dinner (lunch had been a tuna sandwich), exchanged emails with a friend, looked through this week's grocery ads (whole chicken or chicken breasts for $.77/lb), and chatted with daughter.   I will clean Dancer's litter box before I go to bed.

Today, I am grateful for:
- A safe commute to work and back
- A productive day at the office
- Dancer is fine after throwing up in the morning
- It didn't rain when I was out walking
- A relaxed evening at home

How was your Tuesday?  

Monday, February 12, 2018

Hitting the Ground Running on Monday

I love Mondays when I don't have to go to the office!  I slept in, had my cup of coffee, responded to comments on the blog, swept the bathroom, took my shower, trimmed my toe nails, and planned my day. 

First, I went to the auto club to have my daughter put back on my insurance so she can drive my car when she visits, as she will need to drive me home from the hospital.  That was done without any difficulty and I received a free tote bag, as well! 

From there, I drove to the dollar store to buy a few items I wanted - two more lint rollers (helpful to remove cat fur from the sofas), a packet of cotton swabs, a package of 2 "D" batteries to replace the batteries in one of the flash lights, and a packet of elastic hair ties.  Yes, my hair has grown out long enough (almost shoulder length) for me to gather it up in a sort of pony tail!  It looks like the tail of a cotton tail rabbit, when I do so, but I don't care!  I have hair, again!  I also bought a bouquet of artificial (fabric) roses, just in case my mother's grave hadn't been cleaned up and I couldn't place fresh flowers due to the lack of access to the in-ground vase. 

Then, I stopped by the cemetery.  I thought today would be a better day to visit, rather than over the weekend, because, if they hadn't cleaned the grave, I could go to the office to complain to the manager, since she would be working during the week (she's not there during the weekend).  However, the grave site had been cleaned and the vase was accessible!  I was so happy.  I left the bouquet of artificial flowers, there, today, but I will return with fresh flowers, another day.

Daughter texted me while I was still at the grave site, with a picture of her lunch:

Salad, Chicken Taquitos with Pico de Gallo, and Plums, Pomegranate Dressing.

That's it!  I need to get this girl to come home and fix lunch for me!  I was also reminded that I hadn't had any breakfast or lunch, yet! 

I went to the grocery stores, next.  I had checked the store ads and decided to go to the Armenian grocery store for the majority of my items, as they had some good sales and then, to the Kroger store for milk ($1.99/half gallon; $2.99/half gallon at the Armenian store) and cantaloupe ($.50/lb; it was more at the Armenian store).

At the Armenian store, I bought:
Bread (24 0z) = $1.99
1 can (15 oz) mackerel = $1.49
1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk = $.99
1 container (16 oz) yogurt/kefir cheese = $1.49
1 bottle (44 oz) ketchup = $2.99
1 lb (approx) beef shoulder steak (4 pieces) @$2.99/lb = $3.17

2 peaches @$1.99/lb = $1.09
Apple bananas @$.99/lb = $1.34
1 bunch spinach = $.79  ($1.49/lb. at Kroger)
3 potatoes @3 lb/$1 = $.61 
1 yucca root @$.79/lb = $.61 ($.99/lb. at Kroger)
1 zucchini @$.39/lb = $.12 ($.99/lb. at Kroger)
Green beans @$.79/lb = $.29 ($1.79/lb. at Kroger)
1 cabbage @$.20/lb = $.18
Onions @$.20/lb = $.30
Broccoli crown @$.49/lb = $.17
Total = $17.62

 I forgot to check the prices of other items at Kroger, but most were more expensive than at the Armenian store, this week, except for the cantaloupe.

At the Kroger store, I bought:
1/2 gal. milk = $1.99
1 cantaloupe @$.50/lb =  $1.85
2 lb. butter @$2.99 = $5.98
Total = $9.82

Dairy: Milk, Yogurt, Butter

Butter was $2.99/lb., which seems to be the best price, so far.


I decided to buy the apple bananas for a change, this time, for $.99/lb.; regular bananas were $.87/lb at the Armenian store (expensive!) and $.49 at the Kroger store.

I mostly bought the vegetables that were on "loss leader" sale, this week.

Bread and Beef

I bought 4 beef steaks, which came to a little over 1 lb.; each steak was approx. 4 oz.

Pantry Items

I had come to the very end of the ketchup (bottle is set upside down in the fridge!); I also decided to buy the canned fish and the coconut milk to replace what I used, last week.

2/12 Receipt - Store1

2/12 Receipt - Store 2

Total spent today = $17.62 + $9.82 = $27.44

February grocery budget = $75 +  $17.23 carried over from January =  $92.23
Spent to date = $7.03 + $27.44 = $34.47
Balance left in the budget = $57.76
I also put gas to the car; gas was $3.15/gal. and I put $28.01 worth of gas - I now have a full tank of gas for the week ahead.
By then, it was almost 4:00 p.m. and I was starting to get hungry!  So, I came home, took pictures of the groceries, put away the perishables, and ate a banana and some of the bread I had bought, followed by a cup of tea.
Later in the evening, I took the trash cans to the curb, put water (with the garden hose) to the front garden and with the sprinklers, to the back garden.  Folded and put away the quilt I washed yesterday and put another quilt to wash (it is draped on the drying rack in the living room, in front of the heater, to dry overnight).  

Then, I cooked dinner:
Beef Steak
I sauted the steaks with onions, tomato, salt, pepper, curry leaves, and Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce.

Mixed Vegetables

I cut up two carrots, half of the head of broccoli I had bought, some of the green beans, and boiled them in a little bit of salted water, along with a handful of frozen green peas.

A whole steak was too much for me, so I served myself half of one with about half of the vegetables:
I had a slice of bread with butter and golden syrup for dessert, along with the orange that fell from the tree, today, and another banana. 

There's enough leftover steak for the week, unless I decide to freeze some of it and cook a fish curry, midweek.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Getting all my errands done!
- My mother's grave has been cleared
- Daughter is now back on my insurance and can drive the car
- A free tote bag
- Bargains at the grocery store

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Go to the office
- Bring the trash cans in
- Water the indoor plants
- Another load of laundry?

I am very pleased with what I was able to accomplish, today.  How was your Monday? 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Restful Weekend

I had planned to get a few things done, this weekend, but it was not to be.

On Saturday, I woke up to an overcast day, feeling a little tired and decided to take it easy in the morning.  I was still planning to go grocery shopping, etc., in the afternoon, but, in the afternoon, I experienced one of those ocular migraines that I get, occasionally.  This was followed by a headache that didn't go away until much later, after I took a Tylenol, drank extra water, and rested. 

The lady who leads the monthly prayer group called to let me know that she's hosting this month's prayer gathering at her house, next Sunday.  My friend R called and we chatted for a bit.  I also received an email from one of my long-time friends, which was nice.

Later, I washed the dishes - a load in the dishwasher and the rest (pots and pans, etc.) by hand.

Brunch had been a scrambled egg, a fresh orange from the tree, and a slice of panettone; dinner was pasta with shrimp curry and cucumber salad.   An apple and chocolate-hazelnut spread for dessert.  Later in the night, I wanted a savory snack, so I made a batch of cheese "crackers":

Cheese "crackers"
I didn't use a recipe, but mixed about half a cup of flour, about two ounces of margarine (half of a stick), grated into the flour, about the same amount of grated cheese, some salt and a little chili powder, and enough water to make a dough which I rolled out on a floured surface, pricked with a fork, cut into rectangles and baked at 350F for about 12 minutes.  I probably should have added an egg yolk to the dough because the "crackers" came out a little too hard, but they satisfied the craving I had for a savory snack; the rest of the crackers are in a container, to be snacked on during the week.

I could have gone grocery shopping, today, but decided to stay home and relax, instead.  I put away the washed dishes from yesterday, watched coverage of the Olympics games, did a load of laundry (a quilt from daughter's bed), and knitted more hats for the American Heart Association.

My neighbor T didn't call me in the morning, as usual, so I called her in the evening.  Another friend called to ask if I was going to the prayer gathering, next weekend, and, if so, could I give her a ride.  I told her that I was planning to attend, but I will confirm closer to the date.

Brunch was sauted garbanzo beans (from the freezer) and another fresh orange from the garden; chicken and vegetable soup for dinner with a slice of panettone.   

Even if I didn't go grocery shopping, my daughter did:

Daughter's Grocery Shopping
She went to the dollar store, again, and bought:
4 cans of garbanzo beans
1 package instant noodles
1 package of 6 K-cups
3 pouches of freeze dried peaches
1 small can of condensed milk
1 bag of potatoes
1 bag of salad
2 plantains
1 bag of tangerines
1 can of coconut cream
1 can of something in tomato sauce (she told me what it was, but I forgot!)

She said her total came to $17 something (under $18); later in the week, she will go to Trader Joe's for milk or half and half.

This weekend, I am grateful for:
- Being able to stay home and relax
- Fresh oranges from the garden
- The headache went away, eventually
- An email from my friend
- Chatting with my daughter

I have the day off from work, tomorrow, so I plan to run all my errands, then.

How was your weekend?  Do you sometimes make plans and have them all fly out the window because you don't feel up to doing anything?