Friday, August 31, 2018

Paperwork and Patchwork on Thursday

Last night/this morning, I couldn't fall asleep until after 5:30 a.m.!  I was thinking that if I was still up at 6:00 a.m., I will just get up and do something!  That apparently did the trick, because I fell asleep shortly after that!  LOL!  I woke up just before 11:00 a.m. 

I texted with daughter for a bit, watched some news, replied to blog comments, etc., and had a cup of coffee.  Then, I put away the load of laundry from yesterday and did another load - the kitchen rug and the towels I use as bathmats, etc.  The reason why I use old towels for bathmats is because they are easier to launder than the regular bathmats.   Also, when I put one down in the family room or living room, Dancer uses it nap on!

I also did more patchwork piecing, in the afternoon.  This is a picture from the initial step, when I sewed several pieces of scrap fabric to a longer strip (the green gingham) and cut them apart:

Blocks after the 1st step
This is a picture of the block shown on the top left, in the above picture (green gingham and solid grey strip) after several other strips of fabric had been sewn on (the gingham and grey piece is in the center of the block):

Building up the block
The finished block, trimmed to size (and turned around in the picture):

Finished block
Many quilters buy their quilting fabric for the purpose.  The upside to that is one gets to choose some beautiful new fabric, some of which is color coordinated, or belonging to a collection, etc.  One of the down sides is such fabric can be expensive.  I use scraps leftover from various other sewing projects for the most part, buying fabric only as needed for sashings, backings, and borders.  As a result, almost all my quilts are scrap quilts, quite frugal, and many of my quilts are unintentional memory quilts, as well.  For example, the strip of blue floral fabric on right hand of the block, above, is leftover from a dress my mother sewed for herself.  The rectangle of fabric with the white background and tiny pink and yellow flowers to the left of the blue floral fabric is leftover from a dress my mother made for me.  The bit of lilac fabric is leftover from a nightdress I made for myself.  The triangle of green sprigged fabric is leftover from a nightdress my mother sewed for herself.  The strip of yellow is leftover from the baby quilt I made for my cousin's grandson.  And so on and so forth!  This is what one doesn't get when the fabric is bought newly, for the purpose of making a quilt! 

Another finished block
More leftovers and memories: the pink gingham was from a dress my mother made for me; the light green with the white and lilac design, next to the pink gingham, was from a dress she made for herself.  The brown/green/white patterned fabric above the pink gingham was from another dress Mother made for me, as are the two strips of blue and white fabric on either side of the block.  All the dresses were sewn back in the 1980s!  That's how old some of my scraps are! 

I have now made 20 of these blocks.  I will need at least 35 blocks, if I set them in rows of 7 by 5 across, and use my old blanket (twin/full size) as the batting.  Or, I could set them on point and that would require 32  full blocks and some triangular half-blocks to fill in the edges.  I haven't decided on anything, yet.  For now, I am just piecing along, just enjoying the process and the memories so many of these pieces of old fabric bring me! 

Finally, in the evening, after I had procrastinated as long as I dared to, I sat down to finish up my paperwork to file for retirement!  I need to file them 30-60 days prior to the retirement effective date!  I have now changed that effective date twice!  First, it was going to be 7/20; then, I changed it to 9/30 and, today, I changed it again to 10/15!  That will be the final date!  My plan is to go in to the office tomorrow, fill out my time sheets for this pay period, make photocopies of the retirement papers, and go into the retirement office to hand them in!  I will ask if it would be possible for a retirement counselor to look over the papers while I am there, to make sure everything is complete or I can fill out new or additional forms while I am there.  If not, I will simply hand them in and ask if I can get an appointment to meet with a counselor, next week, to go over the papers or ask that someone contacts me by phone, if necessary.  I just want to give them the papers in good time (they'll have 45 days to process them, when I hand them in, tomorrow). 

In the evening, friend R called me and, later, I exchanged emails with a friend and video chatted with daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:
- The memories associated with the scraps of fabric
- Sewing machines
- An afternoon spent sewing and relaxing (sounds better than procrastinating, doesn't it?)
- Chatting with my daughter
- Phone calls and emails from friends

Thursday's To Do List:
- Call and make the doctor's appointment (still procrastinating on that!)
- Paperwork - DONE
- Vacuum
- Put away laundry - DONE
- Do another load! - DONE

Friday's To Do List:
- Go to the office
- Fill out time sheets
- Make photocopies
- Hand in retirement papers
- Make the doctor's appointment!
- Vacuum
- Attend meditation session in the evening
- Do dishes
- Clean the litter box

How was your Thursday?  Do you find yourself procrastinating when you know you have to do something like paperwork?  What are some of the ways you procrastinate? 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Earthquake Preparedness on Wednesday

Yesterday's 4.4 earthquake was a good reminder that I live in earthquake country and should be prepared for an emergency.  If a major earthquake is to occur, we are likely to be without electricity, natural gas, running water and sewer service.  Without electricity, most grocery stores will close, gas pumps won't work, credit cards won't work, ATMs won't work, and probably, banks will close, too.  So, I keep some emergency cash on hand and I try to keep the car's gas tank at least half full.  I keep extra boxes of trash bags on hand, to line the toilet, if the water mains are damaged and there is no running water to flush the toilets/or sewers are broken (the trash bags maybe disposed of in a pit dug in the garden, until waste disposal services are restored).  We are supposed to have at least a 3 days supply of food and drinking water, preferably more, and I like to think that I have a well-stocked pantry, but, I checked today, and I saw that there are gaps!  I am all out of canned milk and fruits and I could do with a few more gallons of drinking water!  I have lots of cans of soup, but only one can of garbanzo beans (chick peas), and no peanut butter other than the jar I am currently using.  I also think a box or two of granola bars might be a good thing to have on hand.  So, this weekend, I will go grocery shopping to stock up my pantry with a few essentials.

The pharmacy had texted that my refill was ready for pick up, so I did that, this afternoon.  I also changed the sofa dust covers, lint rollered the sofas and sprayed them with flea spray, just in case, and washed the old dust covers.  I put away the laundry from yesterday, too.

I called aunt C to check on her and cousin P called to say that she took her car to the mechanic and he had told her that the repairs would be costly and probably not worth it given the age of the car and how many miles it has on it.  So, cousin and her daughter will be car shopping, in the near future.  One of the monks from the temple called, too, to check on how I am feeling after last week's procedures.

I also spent some time sewing more patchwork pieces.  Eileen had asked me to post some pictures of the mile-a-minute method:

Step 1: sew random pieces of fabric to a long strip of fabric

Step 2: Iron to press out the sewn pieces

Step 3:  Cut to separate the pieces

Then, repeat these three steps, until you have pieced a big enough patch to cut out a square to the size you want.  Since I don't have lots of long strips of fabric, I just sew random pieces of fabric to each block until I have one that is big enough - for this quilt, I decided to go with 9-inch square blocks.  I have a hard time sewing 1/4 inch seams, so I am allowing 1/2 inch seams and my finished blocks should be 8-inch square.  I took some additional pictures of some of the finished squares, but they are taking their time to upload!

In the evening, I video chatted with daughter.  Today, I could see her without any problems, but she couldn't see me as I was frozen on her screen!  But we were able to chat.  They had a "healthy snacks" day at her office, today (that's what happens when you work in a nutritional policy-related office!) and she had made her spiced, roasted garbanzo beans and she said it was well received and a couple of her colleagues asked her for the recipe.  She uses canned garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed, and patted dry, spreads them out in a baking sheet with a little bit of oil, sprinkles seasonings on them (garlic powder, chili powder, etc.), and roasts them for about 30 minutes (or until crisp).

Today, I am grateful for:
- The opportunity to check my earthquake supplies
- My medication refill was ready for pick up
- There were no unwelcome pests on the sofas!
- Being able to spend a fun afternoon sewing
- Phone calls and video chats

Wednesday's To Do List:
- Call and make a doctor's appointment
- Pharmacy for refill - DONE
- Change the sofa dust covers - DONE
- Load of laundry - DONE
- Do the dishes - DONE
- Paperwork/filing - DID SOME
- Vacuum

Thursday's To Do List:
- Call and make the doctor's appointment
- Paperwork
- Vacuum
- Put away laundry
- Do another load!

How was your Wednesday?  Do you prepare for emergencies such as earthquakes or hurricanes or being snowbound for days?  Supposing you lost electricity for days, if not weeks, after a natural disaster in your area, and grocery stores are not open, do you have enough food and drinking water and other supplies to manage for the duration?  If you have pets, do you have enough pet food, etc., to manage for a couple of weeks?  How will you cook or reheat canned foods?  Do you have a generator?

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Earthquakes and Knitting on Tuesday

Yesterday's long afternoon nap messed up my already messed up sleep cycle, and it was 4:00 a.m. when I went to bed and about 4:30 a.m. when I fell asleep.  I woke up once at 9:00 a.m., but went back to sleep for another hour and woke up at 10:00 a.m.

I had a cup of tea, put away the dishes and the laundry from yesterday, and did a load of towels.  Then, I replied to blog comments and commented on a couple of blogs, did a little paperwork, had a long chat (for over an hour) with aunt C who called, and played the piano, a bit.  I ate one of the curry puffs for brunch - the picture of the baked curry puffs finally uploaded, after several tries:

Baked Curry Puffs

Later in the afternoon, I went to the pharmacy to pick up some medication refills.  I also spoke with the pharmacy staff and had them recheck to see if they received the refill authorization (for a different medication) from the doctor's office, because they had sent me a text, earlier, saying they hadn't heard from the doctor's office and the doctor had told me that she was going to call it in.  Well, they checked their system and, surprise!  They had received the refill authorization, after all!  So, they said they will process it and have the refill ready for me, tomorrow.

Then, I went to the dollar store next door to the pharmacy to buy more lint rollers.  I also bought two bottles of sparkling apple-peach juice and a can of peach pie filling to try.  The $3.20 for these items (including the bottle deposits) will come from the September grocery budget.

While at the dollar store, I met one of the ladies from the knitting group.  I greeted her and, at first, she didn't recognize me, but when I mentioned the knitting group, she remembered.  She is one of the Spanish speaking ladies, but, she understood enough English to know what I was saying and reminded me that the group met, today.  She asked if I was coming and I said, "Yes".  Earlier, I had been debating whether to attend today's session or not, but, I decided I would go, after all!

So, I went home, ate a peach, rested a bit, and, because I felt another headache coming on, took a couple of Tylenols to head it off.  Then, went to the knitting group.  Today, there were a couple of other ladies who spoke English, and I felt a little more comfortable.  The lady I met at the dollar store brought snacks, today - tortillas, refried beans, salsa, cheese, and a bottle of fruit juice.  We all ate tortillas with refried beans and salsa, and it was very good.  I'm not sure if people take turns to bring food or how it works, but, maybe I'll bake a cake and take the next time I go.  Later, I might make some rice and curry for them. 

I returned my library book when I went there, today, and borrowed two more books.  One is about quilting and the other one is about gratitude.  They were both displayed in the new books section and the titles caught my eye.


I left the knitting group around 7:00 p.m. (they go on till 7:30 p.m.), came home, and had a cup of tea.  Later, I had some soup for dinner.

Friend R called shortly after I got home and while we were chatting, she said there was an  earthquake!  She felt it and said her whole place was shaking; I didn't feel anything!  She's barely 6 miles away from me, so I don't know why she felt it and I didn't.  Later, I found out that it was a 4.4 earthquake, which took place at 7:33 p.m., followed by a 3.4 aftershock at 7:34 p.m.  As long as it is not a pre-quake to the Big One, I am fine with it! 

Every time I look at quilt books, I feel like making another quilt!  I still haven't finished the Mountain Climbing quilt (although that's on my Big To Do List) or the Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt, either!  But, this evening, I spent a blissful hour or so, seated at the sewing machine, mindlessly piecing some "mile-a-minute" patches!  It will be another scrap quilt and will be a wonderful way to use up some of my stash of scraps! 

Still later, I video chatted with daughter.  The screen froze after the first few minutes, so we didn't get to see each other for most of our chat, though. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- The earthquake wasn't a big one and didn't cause much damage, if any
- The pharmacy received the refill authorization, after all
- A bit of socializing and snacks at the knitting session
- I am able to go a couple of extra days without having to change the sofa dust covers
- An overflowing scrap basket!

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Call and make a doctor's appointment (new referral)
- Call primary care clinic (pharmacy claims they never received the refill authorization) - DONE
- Change the sofa dust covers
- Buy a gift for neighbor T - DONE
- Put away laundry/Do another load - DONE
- Paperwork/filing - STARTED
- Bring the trash cans in - DONE
- Attend the knitting group? - DONE

Wednesday's To Do List:
- Call and make a doctor's appointment
- Change the sofa dust covers
- Load of laundry
- Do the dishes
- Paperwork/filing
- Vacuum

How was your Tuesday?  Do you experience earthquakes where you are?  Do you see crafts/sewing books and want to do some, right away?

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Curry Puffs and Goodbyes on Monday

Today, I woke up with a headache that lingered all day, even after a nap.  It finally went away after I took some Tylenol for it.  I think I might have been dehydrated, or, the weekend's activities and a lack of sleep just sort of caught up with me.

In the morning, I cooked the ground beef I had bought, yesterday, and made curry puffs so daughter could take some for her lunches, this week.

Ground Beef Mixture
I added finely diced onions and celery and grated carrots to the ground beef, along with curry powder, chili powder, curry leaves that I cut into fine strips, salt to taste, etc.  Then, I mixed in the leftover mashed potatoes I had in the fridge. 

I placed a heaping table spoon of the ground beef mixture in the center of squares of frozen puff pastry that had been thawed.  The pastry is then folded over to form triangles with the meat filling inside and sealed by pressing the tines of a fork along the edges:

Filling and Folding the Pastry

After they were made, I placed them on foil lined baking sheets and brushed the tops of the pastries with some milk, before putting them in a 350F oven for about 20 minutes to bake.  It was finally cool enough to turn on the oven, today, in order to bake them!

Curry puffs ready to go in the oven

I took a picture of the baked curry puffs, too, but, for some reason, that picture is taking its own sweet time to upload!

All too soon, it was time to take my daughter to the airport.  Her flight was at 3:00 p.m.; I dropped her off at the airport by 2:00 p.m.  After I came home, I replied to my blog comments and commented on a couple of blogs.

After daughter called to say she boarded her flight, I took a nap.  I woke up once, when she called to say she arrived at the other end, and again, when she called to say she reached her apartment.  But I went back to sleep, each time and woke up at 7:00 p.m.!  All in all, I slept for almost 4 hours! 

Later, I emptied the waste baskets, took the trash cans out to the curb, watered the front garden, put away the laundry and dishes from yesterday, and did another load of laundry.  Afterwards, I video chatted very briefly with daughter.  She said she ate two curry puffs for her dinner; I'm glad she didn't have to worry about cooking a meal after she got back to her apartment.

Today,, I am grateful for:
- Daughter had a safe flight back
- I was able to send some food back with her 
- Tylenol!
- An afternoon nap
- Cooler temperatures

Monday's To Do List:
- Call and make a doctor's appointment (new referral)
- Call primary care clinic (pharmacy claims they never received the refill authorization) 
- Take daughter to the airport - DONE
- Cook the ground beef I bought - DONE
- Take the trash cans to the curb - DONE
- Water the front garden - DONE
- Put away the laundry - DONE
- Change the sofa dust covers
- Do another load of laundry - DONE
- Empty the dishwasher and dish drainer - DONE
- Buy a gift for neighbor T

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Call and make a doctor's appointment (new referral)
- Call primary care clinic (pharmacy claims they never received the refill authorization)
- Change the sofa dust covers
- Buy a gift for neighbor T
- Put away laundry/Do another load
- Paperwork/filing
- Bring the trash cans in
- Attend the knitting group?

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

Monday, August 27, 2018

August Grocery Shopping - Week 4

8/26 Groceries

I went grocery shopping on Sunday morning.  I went to the Armenian store and bought:
3 salmon steaks @ $4.99/lb
3 beef steaks @ $2.99/lb
1 lb. lean ground beef @ $2.99/lb
2 packets of raw whole cashews @ $8.99/lb = $3.87 + $3.64
4 lb. bag of jasmine rice = $2.99
bananas (6) @ $.49/lb = $.84
peaches (4) @ $.49/lb = $1.09
onions @ $.20/lb = $.34
beets @ $.39/lb = $.49
1 cauliflower @ $.49/lb = $1.10
2 yucca @ $.79/lb = $1.19
green beans @ $1.89/lb = $1,23 + $.77 (I bought 2 bags)
okra @ $1.99/lb = $.46
tomatoes @ $.49/lb = $.98
2 zucchini @ $.79/lb = $.68
Total = $34.45

(I don't have the receipt with me to give the exact amounts for each item and I didn't take a very good picture of the receipt, either!)

8/26 Grocery Receipt

In addition, daughter stopped by a favorite bakery after the movie and bought a loaf of French bread and two bagels for us, at my request, yesterday; she said the total came to $6.43.

August Grocery Budget = $100 - $12.92 overspent in July - $87.08
Spent to date = $35.89 + $2.86 + $7.47 + $34.45 + $6.43 = $87.10
Balance remaining = $87.08 - $87.10 = -$.02

I think it is OK to ignore that minus two cents, don't you?  Especially since I shared most of the groceries I bought yesterday with daughter!  I sent half of just about everything back, with her - except the cauliflower (there was no room in her case for it!) and the tomatoes (she said she had plenty of tomatoes).

I cooked the salmon steaks, yesterday, with onions and tomato and gave daughter two of the three salmon steaks to take back with her.

I cut the beef steaks into thin strips and stir fried them with onions and teriyaki sauce and gave daughter half of it to take back with her.

Then, today, I cooked the ground beef, added onions, carrots, celery, and the rest of the mashed potatoes my cousin had brought for me after my medical procedures, and made curry puffs using puff pastry squares I had in the freezer.  I gave half of them to my daughter to take back with her. 

I will be starting September with a grocery budget of $100.

Dancer inspecting everything, as usual

How did you do with your August grocery budget? 

The Weekend in Review

Saturday, I had a relaxed morning and afternoon and I made another "impossible" card, a belated birthday card for my neighbor T, whose birthday was last week:

Birthday Card

Then, in the evening, we set out to go to the Route 66/66th birthday party.  Party started at 6:00 p.m. according to the invitation, but daughter and I were going with my cousin P and her daughter and cousin said we'll leave at 6:00 p.m. and I was fine with that.  On the way, just before we got on the freeway, I treated cousin's daughter and mine to iced coffees from their favorite coffee shop, which was conveniently located next to the freeway entrance!

Cousin's daughter S was driving their car.  When we had gone about 15 miles or so, the car radiator started overheating.  S managed to pull off to the side of the freeway, safely, and we called the auto club and a tow truck came out.  Cousin and I both had the Automobile Club coverage, but she only had a regular membership, which pays for free towing up to 7 miles.  So, I used my card, instead, since I have the extended roadside assistance, which provides the added coverage of free towing up to 100 miles.  But the tow truck could take only 2 passengers and they didn't have a 4 passenger tow truck available.  So, daughter downloaded an app for a rideshare service to her phone (and cousin's daughter forwarded her a discount code which gave a $5 discount off the ride) and we got a ride home while cousin and her daughter got their car towed.   Daughter and I got home first, a little after 8:00 p.m.  That was my first experience with calling for a ride!  It cost us $15 with the $5 discount applied.

Cousin's daughter texted to ask if we still wanted to go to the party and I said not particularly, but, I'll treat us to dinner at a favorite restaurant, since we were all dressed up, anyway.  But cousin wanted to go to the party, so we decided we will go in my car.  So, at around 8:30 p.m., we set out, again!  I drove us there and we got there a little after 9:30 p.m.  We got there just in time for the cutting of the birthday cake!  The  others had already eaten dinner, but there was plenty of dinner available, so we had dinner and the girls danced a bit.  We were there till 11:00 p.m., then, I suggested we leave (invitation said the party was till 11:30 p.m. and people were starting to leave).  Cousin's daughter drove my car on the way back, so she and my daughter sat in the front while my cousin and I sat in the back.  We are calling the whole experience more family bonding time!

Today, daughter had arranged to meet with two of her friends to see a movie, so I dropped her off at the movie theater at 10:00 a.m.  Then, I did grocery shopping (came to $34.45; I will do a separate post) and put gas to the car (came to $37.17).  I called friend R to ask if she needed anything from the grocery store, but she said she didn't need anything.  After I came home, I called friend A to check on her and her family and then, neighbor T called for our weekly Sunday chat.      

Around 2:30 p.m., cousin P came over and I drove us to the monthly rosary prayer gathering, picking daughter up from the mall, on the way.  We had been asked to come at 3:30 p.m., and we were there at 3:32 p.m.  Then, we waited for another 30 minutes or so for some late arrivals!  But, finally, everyone was there and prayers were said and a late lunch/early dinner was served. 

We left the prayer gathering around 6:00 p.m. and got home around 7:00 p.m.  I rested a bit and then, changed my bed sheets, did a load of laundry, did the dishes, and cooked the fish and the beef I had bought in the morning.  Daughter will take some of it back with her (along with some of the fruits and vegetables I bought).   

This weekend, I was grateful for:
- Cousin's daughter was able to pull off to the side of the freeway, safely, when the car overheated
- Extended roadside assistance coverage
- Rideshare services
- A safe drive to the birthday party, eventually
- A safe drive to the monthly prayer gathering, today

Weekend To Do List:
- Change my bed sheets - DONE
- Laundry - DID SOME
- Do the dishes - DONE
- Wrap gift for friend's birthday (Saturday) - DONE
- Attend the birthday party (Saturday) - DONE
- Attend the monthly prayer gathering (Sunday) - DONE

Monday's To Do List:
- Call and make a doctor's appointment (new referral)
- Call primary care clinic (pharmacy claims they never received the refill authorization)
- Take daughter to the airport
- Cook the ground beef I bought
- Take the trash cans to the curb
- Water the front garden
- Put away the laundry
- Change the sofa dust covers
- Do another load of laundry
- Empty the dishwasher and dish drainer
- Buy a gift for neighbor T

How was your weekend?  Do you carry extended roadside assistance coverage?  

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Relaxing and Card Making on Friday

I must have slept too much, during the day on Thursday, because, in the night, I couldn't fall asleep until almost 5:00 a.m.!  Then, I slept till 10:00 a.m. on Friday!  Daughter was already working when I woke up.  

I spent a quiet morning, responding to blog comments and reading a couple of other blogs.  I felt much better, and my throat wasn't sore.  But, I took it easy and relaxed, anyway!


At noon, we ordered lunch from our favorite Italian restaurant, to go.  Soup, pasta, and desserts!  Daughter ordered  zuppa Toscana, seafood fettuccine Alfredo, and mini tiramisu and mini chocolate mousse; I ordered chicken and gnocchi soup, a lasagna/chicken parmigiana/fettuccine Alfredo combo plate, and mini limoncello mousse and mini chocolate mousse!  It came with garlic bread sticks, as well!  Daughter ordered it online and then, we drove over and picked it up.  It is a LOT of food, and it came to $55.22 with tax, but it was a bit of a celebratory meal and will be enough for several meals.  I had a little of my pasta and chicken for lunch and the limoncello dessert.  Later, I ate a bread stick.  Daughter had the rest of her pasta for dinner; I ate some of my lasagna.  We haven't even touched the soup, yet!  We'll probably have that for lunch, tomorrow.

After lunch, I took a nap! 

Friend M came to do the garden and he mowed the back yard for me.  He also brought me some fresh bay leaves from a tree he trimmed for one of his other clients.  I washed them and kept them to air dry.  Some of the leaves have some sun damage, but the rest of the leaves are good:

Fresh Bay Leaves
Afterwards, I turned on the sprinklers at the back to water the backyard.

Then, I made a card for my friend's birthday.  She is having a Route 66 themed party and I decided to incorporate portions of her invitation in my card.  The invitation featured a stylized map of Route 66 on a piece of blue patterned paper.

Angela at Tracing Rainbows had shown how she made a 'hypercard', which is also called an "impossible card".  It is a card made with one rectangle of paper with three cuts and a twist!  Angela gives excellent step by step instructions on her post, with lots of pictures, and she has included a link to a video on her post.  I wanted to make a card like that, the minute I saw her post, and that is what I made, today.  I cut out a 5" x 7" piece of brown cardstock and made the three cuts as she had shown (I'm sorry, I didn't take any pictures of that).  Then, I used the blue patterned paper from the invitation to cover the brown cardstock and cut out the central portion of the Route 66 map for the middle portion of the card.  There was also a sticker of a blue car (a Chevy?) on the envelope of the invitation, which I peeled carefully, trimmed a bit, and applied to the map, on the lower left hand corner.  Then, I cut out the "Route 66" banner that was at the top of the map and used that at the bottom of the card.

Card Front

There was just enough of the blue patterned paper to cover the back of the card; you might be able to tell where I had to patch it, though!  I decided not to decorate the back panel.

Card Back

I needed a space to write Happy Birthday (and my friend's name and my daughter's and my names).  Since the blue paper had stars on it, I used a star stencil and cut a star from yellow cardstock and wrote the birthday wishes and names on it.  The pen is placed to hide the names!  Then, I used some gold foil stars I had to place over the white stars that were printed on the paper.  And, finally, a fabric flower and twine bow was hot glued to the corner to dress up the card a little bit:

The Finished Card
This is the first time I have made this type of card and I am pleased with how it turned out.  Looking at the card now, I am thinking I should have cut the blue paper a little bit smaller, so that the brown cardstock could have appeared as a frame, all around.  It just didn't occur to me, at the time.  Oh, well.

In other news, we received daughter's new driver's license!  This time, there was no fuss about no body being home to sign for it!  It was just left in the mail box and that was that!  I'm glad it came while she was home, because now, she can take it back, with her.  

Also, I combed Dancer and for the second time, this week, I didn't find anything on him!  Yay!

Friend R called in the evening and I had a nice chat with her.  Aunt C called, too, and, later, cousin N.  

I didn't go to the meditation session today, since daughter was here and we were enjoying each other's company, she playing the piano while I was making the card.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Feeling much better
- Daughter's driver's license arrived without any problems, this time
- Our favorite Italian food for lunch (and dinner!)
- Dancer seems to be free of fleas (hopefully)
- Phone calls from family and friends

Saturday's To Do List:
- Change my bed sheets
- Laundry
- Do the dishes
- Wrap gift for friend's birthday
- Attend the birthday party

How was your Friday?  What are your plans for Saturday and the weekend?  Have you made a 'hypercard/impossible card'?

Friday, August 24, 2018

August Grocery Shopping: Update

I have not been posting grocery shopping totals these past couple of weeks, mainly because I haven't done a big grocery shopping since the first week of August, (on August 10, actually).

My August grocery budget is $100; however, I went over my July grocery budget by $12.92 ($96.22 - $109.14 =  -$12.92), which is being deducted from the August grocery budget.

8/10 Groceries

On August 10, I did a big grocery shopping and bought coffee for my daughter when her favorite brand of coffee went on sale; I spent $35.89 (of which, $24.95 were for the coffee).

Five days later, on August 15, after my doctor's appointment, I stopped at the small Armenian grocery store and bought bread and grapes:

8/15 Groceries

I spent a total of $2.86 for the bread and grapes.  I suppose this could have been called my Week 2 groceries.

Then, on 8/20, I did another grocery shopping trip:

8/20 Groceries
Bread, milk, oil, and bananas.  The total came to $7.47.  I suppose this could be considered my Week 3 grocery spending?

In case anyone is wondering about my meals, I promise I have been eating quite well.  I am not going to list all the meals I've had, but I've had steak, salmon, and ground beef, eggs, vegetables such as broccoli, tomato, and zucchini, and fresh fruits such as pineapple, cantaloupe, bananas, apples, and grapes.  Plus rice, bread, and pasta, of course.  And the occasional indulgences such as French toast, and take out food (Thai, Japanese, and, Italian).

In addition, there is another package of beef steak, a little ground beef, and half a smoked sausage (plus tamales and turkey pot pies) in the freezer.  I will need to buy some fresh vegetables and fruit, this weekend, but otherwise, I think I am OK for the rest of August!  The beef steak can be made into a curry or a stir fry, the smoked sausage can be made into a stir fry, too, and the ground beef can be mixed with rice to make fried rice, or paired with leftover mashed potato to make potato balls or curry puffs, or used as an omelette filling.

August Grocery Budget = $100 - $12.92 overspent in July - $87.08
Spent to date = $35.89 + $2.86 + $7.47 = $46.22
Balance remaining = $87.08 - $46.22 = $40.86

How is your August grocery budget coming along?

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Recovering on Thursday

Last night, I went to sleep at 10:00 p.m.!  Imagine that!  I woke up once at just before 1:00 a.m. and daughter (who was still up) brought me a drink of water.  Then, I went back to sleep and woke up at 5:30 a.m. and had another sip of water.  Then, I slept again until 9:00 a.m.!  I slept for 11 hours!  

Today, I'm feeling OK, just a bit tired and my throat is still a little sore.  I had a cup of tea in the morning, some leftover rice and curries for brunch and ate a cup of gelatin for dessert.  Cousin P called to check on me and aunt C.  Also, there was a very sweet email from my former supervisor, reassuring me about the procedure and wishing me well.

Daughter worked from home, today, and I read blogs and commented on them.  In the afternoon, I took another nap!   I finished reading my library book, which is due tomorrow, but I renewed it online so I could return it next week, just in case I don't feel like driving to the library, to return it, tomorrow. I also did a little knitting (another hat for the Heart Association).

Today, I am grateful for:
- A long, restful night of sleep!
- Feeling OK
- Afternoon naps
- Being able to take it easy
- All the kind concern and well wishes from everyone

I am not doing a to do list for tomorrow, either.  Just going to take it easy and relax.  Maybe, just maybe, do a load of laundry and some paperwork, if I feel like it.  

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

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Medical Procedures on Wednesday

I felt miserable, yesterday.  The stuff they had me take tasted nasty and I was gagging on the fluid I had to drink.  

Today, my cousin N was here by 6:40 a.m.; she has been such a blessing to me!  She canceled or rescheduled her piano students in order to be there for me!  She also brought me some pre-made jello cups to have after the procedure.  I owe her a nice thank you gift, but for now, I gave her some CDs of classical music that I had, unopened and still in their wrappings.

We left 5 minutes later, at 6:45 a.m.  I drove us to the clinic and cousin drove us back, afterwards.  There wasn't as much traffic at that time, so we got to the clinic in good time; by 7:30 a.m.  So, a bit of a wait until I was called in, but not a long prep. time, afterwards.  They gave me a sedative, but I was awake during the procedure (which I much prefer to being put under anesthesia as I worry that I won't wake up, afterwards!) and I could watch the whole thing on the computer monitor!  Afterwards, there was a bit of a recovery period, because my blood pressure was very low.  But, I felt fine and because I didn't have to go under anesthesia, I wasn't throwing up or anything. 

The procedure went smoothly.  They took two samples from the esophagus and a polyp from the colon for biopsy; I am go go back on Sept. 12 to find out what the results are.  If the samples are benign, I get to repeat the procedure in 3 years, again!  Joy!

My cousin and daughter stayed in the waiting area for me (daughter went and got coffee for them) and afterwards, the nurse explained what was done and about the follow-up appointment to them, and any side effects to watch for - fever, etc.  I was to avoid coffee and tea, today, and eat soft food.  So, after we came home (around 11:30 a.m.), my cousin went to the grocery store and bought me a container of mashed potato.  She also brought some pre-made jello, as well.  I rested on the sofa, while daughter cooked rice, mackerel curry, and dhal for lunch.  I ate some of the mashed potato (it was just a bit too salty for my taste), and some of the rice and curry, too.  Cousin and daughter ate some of the rice and curry with tomato chutney, and daughter packed a container of lunch for cousin  to take to her mother, my aunt C.  

Cousin left around 2:00 p.m., and both daughter and I took naps.  We slept till 6:00 p.m.  After I woke up, I ate one of the cups of jello and a slice of bread with butter.  My throat is a bit sore, but, otherwise, I am OK.  Just a bit tired, overall.  I might go to bed, early, tonight.  No plans for tomorrow, other than resting.

Today, I am grateful for:
- The procedures went off smoothly
- Cousin N, who has been such a blessing
- I was able to be awake during the procedure 
- As a result, the recovery afterwards has been good
- The whole thing is behind me for the time being!

I am not making a to do list for tomorrow.  Daughter will work from home.  I will rest and maybe, if I feel up to it, do some paperwork and filing.

Hope you all had a good day, today.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

First Month of Vacation: Highlights and Itinerary

As of today, I have been on vacation for one month!  One whole month!  Some people go away on vacations, visit places, do things, and post lovely vacation pictures.  Mine has been more of a "staycation".  But, the first question people ask when you say you've been on vacation is, "What did you do?"

In fact, I asked myself that same question, this morning - what did I do during this month of vacation time off?  I looked at the calendar I had kept, and here are the highlights:
- I got together with family and friends (attended two weddings, twice visited aunt C and cousin N, spent a Saturday with friend R, spent some time visiting with cousin P and her daughter).
- I pursued good health (several doctors' appointments, lab tests, etc.) and well being (meditation session, knitting group, manicure, naps, visits to the library).
- I went places - various doctors' offices, the car service place, the Auto Club and DMV, the grocery stores, some shops, the temple, the library, the pharmacy, the bank, two hotels, the L.A. Times Building, etc.
- I saw some "sights" of interest (a trimmed eucalyptus tree, several historical monuments including the hotel where one of the weddings was held, Mt. Laundry and Mt. Washmore)
- I went hunting (fleas, dust bunnies/dust kitties)
- I excavated (under layers of dust and clutter) and discovered long hidden places (the tops of my desk and dressing table!)

Here is my day-by-day vacation itenerary:

Start of Vacation
July 20: Last day at the office; daughter came home, I finished a sewing project (my sari blouse and underskirt).

Week 1:
7/21: Cousin's son's wedding - shopping and pampering the morning (daughter had her eye brows done and we both got our nails done!), followed by frantic, last minute packing and ride to hotel with cousin and her daughter, and a wonderful evening of celebrations.  Spent the night at the hotel with cousin and cousin's daughter.  Family bonding time!

Painted Nails

7/22: Return from the wedding
7/23: Eucalyptus tree trimming and grocery shopping

Trimmed Eucalyptus Tree

7/24: Relaxed, laundry, nap, etc.

Dancer showing how to nap and relax

7/25: Cleaning, shopping
7/26: More shopping and relaxing
7/27: Grocery shopping, bath tub scrubbing, soup making, and visiting aunt C and cousin N

Week 2:
7/28: Friend's daughter's wedding - another evening of celebrations!
7/29: Daughter went back
7/30: Car service done; laundry
7/31: Renewed car registration, watered the garden, discovered fleas!  EEK!  Sprayed the sofas and area rugs, laundered dust covers and sheets.

8/1: Flea abatement/laundry
8/2: Podiatrist appointment and shopping; mopped kitchen floor
8/3: Post office, bank, pharmacy, library; sprayed the garden

Library Book

In the meantime, Dancer went "camping" under the quilt tent:

Dancer "Camping" 

Week 3:
8/4: Took friend R to get shipping boxes, had lunch together
8/5: Laundry, vacuuming
8/6: Appointment with financial planner, more laundry
8/7: Card crafting and visited aunt C and cousin N:

Card for Aunt

8/8: Paperwork, cleaned the kitchen, watered the garden
8/9: Groceries, pharmacy
8/10: Meditation session, dusted the living room, watered the backyard, laundry

Week 4
8/11: Laundry, dusted the dining room
8/12: Vacuumed the house; laundry
8/13: Laundered daughter's bedding; scrubbed kitchen sink & dish drainer; watered the indoor plants
8/14: Cleaned the bedroom, knitting group at library

Gift from the Knitting Group 

8/15: Received 35 years of service pin; radiation oncologist appointment; more bedroom cleaning - discovered the top of the desk!

The Cleaned Desk

8/16: More bedroom cleaning (fan); watered the front garden, laundered bed sheets, mattress cover, dust sheets

Cleaned Fan

8/17: Primary care physician assistant appointment, blood tests, shopping; 2nd spraying of garden

Week 5:
8/18: Started cleaning the family room
8/19: Laundry room cleaning; more family room cleaning; cleaned sink drains (baking soda/vinegar)

Cleaned Laundry Room

8/20: Oncologist appointment; cleaned the family room (2 small bookcases & computer desk); changed and washed sofa covers; grocery shopped; mopped kitchen floor; daughter came home
8/21: Colonoscopy prep:

The name says it all!

Looking forward, during the second month of vacation:
8/22: Endoscopy/colonoscopy procedures
8/23: Recovery
8/24:Another day of recovery/M will do the garden/library book due
8/25: Friend's birthday party
8/26: Monthly prayer gathering
8/27: Daughter goes back; *Need to hand in retirement papers, this week
8/28: Attend knitting group
8/29: Nothing planned, yet
8/30: Nothing planned, yet
8/31: Meditation session, M will do the garden

The results from tomorrow's procedure might be available by next week and there might or might not be a follow-up doctor's visit.

I think I need to take a vacation to recover from my month of vacation, don't you?  Do you go away on vacations?  Do you take "staycations"? 


Last night, I didn't even bother to try to get to bed early.  Instead, I put the fact that I was still awake to good use and continued to clean the family room!  I cleared the top of the pass through to the kitchen.  I finally went to bed after 2:30 a.m. and fell asleep a little after 3:30 a.m.  I woke up when the alarms when off at 8:00 a.m. because I needed to.  

I left the house just before 9:00 a.m. and got to the clinic by 9:55 a.m.  My appointment was for 10:00 a.m., but I knew I wouldn't be called in at the appointed time.  I had gone, prepared to wait, and had taken my knitting with me.  The oncology nurse practitioner examined me and said the blood test results were good.

I brought up my concerns with the medication she had suggested to help with the bone density loss (risk of cancer in the esophagus and necrosis of the jaw bone, among others) and asked about the medication the radiation oncologist had recommended, instead.  She said she suggested the medication she did because the HMO health insurance companies usually ask if that particular drug or another similar one was tried first before the one the radiation oncologist suggested, due to cost concerns.  But she said she will ask the oncologist if they can request authorization for the more expensive drug.  Later, she called me back to let me know that the oncologist had said to go ahead and request the authorization for the more expensive drug, without trying the other one, first.  So, we will keep our fingers crossed that insurance will approve it.  If not, I'll have to go on the other, cheaper medication.  In the meantime, I am to increase my calcium supplement dosage and get my dental work done!   I am to return for a follow up in 3 months, which will be in November.  It was after 11:30 a.m., when I left the clinic.

On the way home, I stopped at Sears to buy the vacuum cleaner bags.  A package of 3 bags costs $5.99, so, $2 per bag.  I picked up two packages, but when I went to pay for them, the cashier asked me if I wanted to pay for them with my points, so that's what I did.  I didn't have to pay anything out of pocket .

By this time, it was 1:00 p.m. and I was getting hungry.  I was near my favorite Thai food place, so picked up an  order of shrimp fried rice (their beef fried rice is better, but I am not supposed to eat beef before the procedure on Wednesday), and an order of chicken satay (I didn't eat any of the peanut sauce that came with it because I am not supposed to eat any nuts, either).  Came home and had lunch and rested a bit.  Replied to blog comments and commented on one or two blogs.

Then, I wiped down the shelves of the two smaller book cases in the family room and the computer desk.  Yes, I still have the desk top computer, even though it no longer works!  I need to take the whole thing to the computer store and ask them if they can wipe off the memory and dispose of it for me.  And then, get rid of the desk, itself.  But, in the meantime, I keep things like the bottles of flea spray on it (they are too tall to fit in the bottom basket of the 4-tiered wire rack in the laundry area).  Then, I put new dust covers on the family room sofas and washed the covers that were on them.

I also mopped the kitchen floor, as I am trying to get on a cleaning schedule where the mopping, etc., will get done on a regular basis.  

The GI doctor's office called and left a message reminding me of Wednesday's procedures and the need to fast, tomorrow (clear liquids, only) and to take the medicines to flush my system.  I called them back, but they were closed and I got the telephone exchange.  Need to call back, tomorrow.  

Then, Aunt C called to confirm that cousin N will come to take me to the clinic on Wednesday (both she and my daughter will accompany me).  After that, it was time for a cup of tea and a quick run to the grocery store to buy milk, bread, bananas, and oil:

8/20 Groceries
I spent a total of $7.47 on groceries (I also bought 2 bags of cat food, which came to a total of $19.69, with tax!)
8/20 Receipt
I realize I haven't done an August Week 2 grocery post!  Will do that, tomorrow.

Daughter called after I got back from the grocery store to tell me she was boarding the plane.   I rested a bit and then, it was time to go to pick her up from the airport.  She will work from home, tomorrow, but take the day off on Wednesday, and work from home again on Thursday and Friday.

Daughter had dinner almost as soon as she got home, but I waited until later, since I may not eat anything after midnight, tonight, until after my procedure on Wednesday.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Another good doctor's appointment
- Lab test results were all good, I was told
- The oncologist said to put in the request for the other medication to see if insurance will approve it
- Daughter had a safe flight
- Having daughter home for the rest of the week

Monday's To Do List:
- Oncologist appointment - DONE
- Buy vacuum cleaner bags - DONE
- Mop kitchen - DONE
- Grocery shop - DONE
- Buy a gift/gift card for friend whose birthday party is on Saturday - Maybe on Friday; if not, I have a gift I could give her
- Continue to clean and tidy the family room - DONE
- Paperwork/filing
- Take trash cans to the curb - DONE
- Pick up daughter from airport - DONE
- Clean the litter box - DONE

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Call the GI doctor's office
- Paperwork/filing
- Bring the trash cans in
- Put away the laundry from today

Not going to do a big long to do list for tomorrow; might just work on a craft project instead of paperwork and filing, too.

How was your Monday?  

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Sunday's Doings

I went to bed a little after 2:00 a.m. and read for awhile.  I thought reading in bed would relax me so I could fall asleep sooner.  But it didn't work quite that way!  It was after 4:30 a.m. when I finally fell asleep!  I didn't hear when my daughter texted me at 6:45 a.m. to say she's at the airport (her flight wasn't till 9:00 a.m., but her friends had an earlier flight and so, they all went to the airport together).  But I woke up when she called me at 8:30 a.m. to say she was boarding her flight.  Then, I fell asleep again.  My alarm went off at 9:00 a.m., but I turned if off and slept till 10:00 a.m., much to Dancer's displeasure - he nipped my leg when I wouldn't get up to his meowing!  I shouted at him and chased him away!  And then, he sulked and didn't come to greet me when I finally woke up, not even when I served his food to his plate, so I poked him as he slept on the chair and woke him up!  Ha!  Two can play at that game, Dancer!

I replied to blog comments and responded to a friend's email while I had my morning coffee.  Neighbor T called for our weekly chat; she said she was going to spend the day with her daughter to celebrate her (T's) birthday.  I wished her a happy birthday; now I really owe her a visit!

Later in the afternoon, I cleaned the bathroom sink drains by pouring baking soda and vinegar down them. followed by a kettle of boiling water.  Then, after I had procrastinated long enough, I cleaned the laundry area.  I did a post about that, earlier.  Then, after a cup of tea, I vacuumed the house.  I tried to vacuum my bedroom ceiling, but I was just half an inch or so too short!  So that will keep until maybe the fall, when I can ask friend M if he'd vacuum the ceiling for me - maybe when he takes the window a/c unit down.  When I vacuumed, I wore a long, light colored dress and put on my reading glasses so I could see if anything got on me, but I didn't see anything.  What's the bet that one little flea managed to escape being vacuumed and tomorrow evening, five minutes after my daughter comes home, she and that one flea are going to discover each other and she's going to say that I didn't clean enough?!  LOL!

After I vacuumed, I took a shower and did a small load of laundry.  I also cleared the small dining table that is in the family room and hand-washed the embroidered table cloth that was on it.  This is the table where we dump everything when we walk in through the door (since I use the back door to come in from the garage).  It is also where we dump things that need to go out.  It gets cluttered very quickly. 

Brunch had been the last of the leftover pasta and salmon.  For dinner, I made a chicken salad using the can of white chicken meat I had bought from the dollar stores to try.  I just put mayonnaise and some sweet pickle relish and freshly ground black pepper.  It was OK, but I think it would taste better to me if I used Miracle Whip, since I prefer that to mayonnaise.  I am not sure if I will buy more of that particular chicken, though.

Daughter called me in the evening, after she came back from her trip to Seattle and Tacoma.  She had a fun weekend with her friends.  On Friday, they went to Seattle to see the sights, including the Gum Wall:

Gum Wall
On Saturday, they toured the sights of Tacoma, including a visit to the Museum of Glass:

At the Museum of Glass

Today, I am grateful for:
- Daughter had a safe flight back to Berkeley
- She had a good weekend with her friends
- The cleaning I was able to accomplish today
- Friends and neighbors who call and email
- The pleasure of a good cup of tea

Sunday's To Do List:
- Vacuum - DONE
- Buy additional vacuum cleaner bags - MONDAY
- Paperwork/filing
- Continue to clean the family room - Vacuumed; cleared the small dining table
- Clean the laundry area, too - DONE

I am happy with what I was able to accomplish, today.  Whatever didn't get done today will be carried over to tomorrow.  Tomorrow's main item is the appointment with the oncologist at 10:00 a.m.  Which means I need to leave home before 9:00 a.m., which means I need to wake up at 8:00 a.m., which means I had better fall asleep before 4:00 a.m.!  LOL!

Monday's To Do List:
- Oncologist appointment 
- Buy vacuum cleaner bags
- Grocery shop
- Buy a gift/gift card for friend whose birthday party is on Saturday
- Continue to clean and tidy the family room
- Paperwork/filing
- Take trash cans to the curb
- Pick up daughter from airport

How was your Sunday?  Did you have a good weekend?

Laundry Room

Today, I cleaned the laundry room, which is right off the family room.  It is really more like a large closet than a room and it doubles up as a storage area, as well.  There is a pocket door which slides into the wall on the left.  I keep it open most of the time, as one of the screws that connect it to the rollers on the tract on the top is broken, so it doesn't slide as easily; but close it when I have company over:

Sliding Pocket Door

This is what you see when you open the door:

Laundry Room

It is a rather utilitarian space.  To the left from the doorway, there is my top loading washing machine; tucked into the space between it and the wall is my ironing board and the big drying rack also slides in there, when it is not being used practically every day!  Currently, it is permanently set up in the family room!

Washer and Ironing Board

Overhead, directly above the washer is the access to the attic space - it is not a finished attic and I don't store anything up there.  The only time anyone goes up there is when some roof or electrical work needs to be done:

Access to the Attic

I had these wire racks installed on the wall for storage, but now, I am thinking that I should have had cabinets installed, instead, as that would have resulted in less visual clutter:

Storage Shelves

I should get some baskets or something to store the items, so that it looks less chaotic.  The bath rugs and floor towels are being stored up here after being washed, until the flea situation is more under control.  The brown grocery bags under them (we pay $.10 per bag) will come in handy when I bag up stuff for donations.  On the other side of this long wall is my bathroom.

To the right of the doorway, opposite the washer is the dryer, with the laundry baskets stacked on top.


There is a window above the dryer, so this space is quite bright during the day.  The only problem is, I keep the dryer pulled a bit away from the back wall because the vent hose is behind the dryer and I don't want it to get too twisted and kinked up (although, since the dryer doesn't heat and I don't use it, I suppose that should not be a concern, anymore), and being short, I can't quite reach over the dryer to open the window!  I have to keep the step stool in front of the dryer and climb up to sit on top of the dryer and twist around in order to reach the window handle:


I store one of the two smaller plastic drying racks in the space between the side of the dryer and the wall (the second plastic drying rack has been set up in the bathtub in daughter's/visitor's bathroom, so really wet items can drip, if needed).

Small drying rack

These two smaller drying racks were bought from Woolworth's when my daughter was born!  Still going strong!

I have this small wire rack in front of the washer, to store the container of laundry detergent, bottle of bleach, iron, box of dryer sheets, and some other miscellaneous items (a plastic clothes line, the broken dial knob from the washing machine, a roll of wall paper border); the bottom basket is empty, right now, but I used to store some extension cords there and I might store the bottles of flea sprays, etc., there.

Storage Rack

Today, I wiped down the walls, wiped the  washer and dryer, washed the wire rack, wiped all the things I store there to remove dust and cat fur, and swept and mopped the floor before I put everything back.  I tossed an old sponge, but that was all I found to declutter from here, today.

It took me longer than I liked to wipe down everything, but, I am hoping that now that I've deep cleaned it, I will be able to keep it up with regular maintenance.

What does your laundry area look like?  Any suggestions as to how to keep the visual clutter to a minimum?