Sunday, March 31, 2019

March Balanced Life Goals - Update

It's almost the end of the month (another month which flew by!) and time to update my goals for a more balanced life in March.

As I've explained before, my monthly balanced life goals are similar to the spokes of a wheel, with the length of each spoke representing my satisfaction in that area of my life, from 1 to 10, with 1 being most dissatisfied and 10 being most satisfied.  Ideally, all the spokes are of equal length and the wheel will roll along smoothly.  If the spokes are of unequal lengths, then, the resulting wheel will be lop-sided and wobbly.  My ratings for each segment are shown within the parentheses, with the end of the month ratings in blue.

Spiritual: (10)(10):   The goal is to live a spiritually meaningful life:
- Continue with daily prayers and gratitude; focus on being positive - On-going; daily prayers are a well-integrated part of my life, I look for at least 5 things for which I am grateful, each day, and, I try to be positive, although, occasionally, I struggle with that!
- Take time for meditation - spend 5 minutes meditating at night - On-going..
- Cultivate non-attachment - focus on letting go of attachment to material possessions - declutter 31 items - Accomplished; I decluttered more than 31 items, actually, but, a lot of it was paper clutter.
- Attend the monthly rosary prayer gathering (scheduled for March 10) - Accomplished.  I attended the prayer gathering and gave a ride to my cousin, as well.  I really enjoyed the discussion that took place, after the prayers were recited.

I am keeping the rating at a 10 because I feel I am doing very well in this area of my life.

House (9)(8):  The goal is a clean, tidy, uncluttered house:
- Keep up with routine maintenance - weekly dusting, vacuuming, mopping, etc.; schedule one task/room per day - well, the scheduling one task/room per day didn't quite work out, however, the house has been maintained and remarked upon by at least one cousin!
- Declutter 31 items - Accomplished!  Decluttered 41 items, actually.
- Continue to sort out the 3rd bedroom, a.k.a. The Dump! - I feel like I didn't make much progress in this room.  However, the file cabinet is in this room and I have been going through and cleaning out the files; that's a part of sorting out this room, isn't it?
- Do one deep cleaning task (kitchen cabinets) - I began the process of deep cleaning my file cabinet, instead.

I reduced the satisfaction rating to an 8, even though the house has been maintained, because, I just feel dissatisfied with my efforts!  I really need to rethink this goal and my expectations, because, it maybe that my expectations are unrealistic!

Garden (7)(8):
- Maintain (water 2x per week; weed) - I haven't needed to water twice a week, yet, as we've had one or two showers of rain, this month.  M is keeping the weeds down as much as possible, but there is one section that is starting to resemble a tall grass prairie!
- Plant the winter vegetable seedlings - The seedlings were planted, but they either drowned in the rain or the mourning doves ate them!  Probably a combination of both!

I raised the satisfaction rating because spring is when my garden is at its peak, with the osteospermum, jasmine, and orange blossoms all flowering.  

Daughter (10)(10):  The goal is to continue to have a close relationship with her
- Daily texts, phone calls, and video chatting, etc. - On going
- Enjoy her visit during the first weekend in March and celebrate her birthday! - Accomplished!

Family & Friends (10)(10):  The goal is to keep in touch with various family members and friends.
- Regular phone calls and emails - Accomplished
- Call and wish family members (4) with March birthdays/send cards - Accomplished; also attended a surprise birthday party for cousin P.
- Will be seeing several members of the family and friends at this month's prayer gathering  - Accomplished

In addition, visited Aunt T; cousin N accompanied me to the eye doctor's appointment; went out to dinner with cousin P and her daughter.  It's been a good month for family and friends.

Community (7)(7):  The goal is to be more involved in my community.
- Continue to participate in the blogging community - On going
Weekly phone calls with neighbor T - Accomplished
- Participate more in an online group of which I am a member - On going

In addition, neighbor S brought over some Armenian salad, one day and, on March 30, I participated in observing the Earth Hour, by turning off all unnecessary lights for one hour, between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.  I usually have only four lights on during the evenings - the altar light, the front porch light, the back porch light, and the light in the living room (or family room, depending on where I am seated).  During Earth Hour, I had only the altar light on.  

Finances (10)(10):  The goal is financial security.
- Continue budgeting and spending mindfully, with purpose - On going
- Get my taxes done! -DONE!

Health & Well Being (7)(7):  The goal is good health.
- Attend this month's medical appointments (3 scheduled, so far!) - Accomplished; everything was good
- Continue to work on the following life style changes:
   - better diet - eat more vegetables, less carbs - The carbs are creeping back in!  I feel I spent more time falling off the wagon than getting back on it!
   - better hydration - drink 8 x 8oz glasses of water, daily - Work in progress
   - better sleep habits - earlier bed times/get at least 7 hours of sleep - I have been getting my 7 hours of sleep, but by sleeping in, rather than going to bed earlier.
   - more exercise - walk 30 minutes 5 days/week - Not accomplished.  I haven't walked much, at all.
- Lose another 5 lbs - Not accomplished; considering the fact that I've been eating carbs and not walking much, it's a miracle I didn't gain 5 lbs.!

I am keeping the rating at a 7 only because the doctors' appointments and all test results were good.

Time Management (6)(7) : The goal is to find a good balance between what I have to do and what I want to do.
- Plan my days/balance the "leisure" with "productivity" - implement a schedule - I wasn't able to implement a schedule; however, the important stuff got done - taxes were filed on time (I didn't reschedule the appointment!), I kept the doctors' appointments, I attended events and family gatherings, etc.
- Procrastinate less! - Yes, well, still working on it! 

I am raising my satisfaction rating to a 7 because the important things got done without any procrastination (no appointments were rescheduled or postponed!)  However, I feel that I am not making the most efficient use of my time!

Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies/Me-Time (8)(8):  The goal is to relax doing something I enjoy doing for the pleasure of it.
- Continue to participate in the winter photo scavenger hunt - Accomplished!  I enjoyed doing this!  
- Finish embroidering the 2 T-shirts - Not done; I sort of lost my incentive to do this!
- Work on one of my many "works in progress" knitting projects (green/black knitted top) - I started on a new black sweater, instead, and added to my works in progress!  Oops!
- Finish one of the quilts in progress - Not done.  I have been putting this off because I feel I shouldn't be playing with fabric when there are other things to be done - at first, it was getting the papers ready for filing taxes, then it was organizing the filing cabinet, cleaning out the files, etc.  I need to work on my thinking process!

However, I made some birthday cards which I hadn't listed as a leisure activity for this month (my sister phoned me to thank me for the card I made and sent to her - she sounded very touched that I had sent her a handmade card and said she keeps all the handmade cards she receives and will add mine to her collection!).  And, I did some reading, watched several TV programs, played the piano and sang a couple of times, and took naps, too!  I also spent an afternoon visiting the Japanese Garden and attending an ikebana exhibition and demonstration.  

I am keeping the satisfaction rating at an 8.

Those were my goals for a more balanced life in March.  Everything went up or stayed the same, except the House area, even though I made progress on some of my tasks under that area.  For some reason, I feel I didn't accomplish quite as much as I wanted to or could have or should have in this one area.

Did anyone else make goals for March?  If so, have you done your end of the month review?  How did you do on them?  

Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt - Final Selections

The Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt listed 20 prompts plus two alternatives for photos.  You were supposed to take any photo that corresponded to each prompt.  Some of the prompts provided a bit of a challenge to me as I couldn't find a single item to photograph for those prompts!  Other prompts resulted in several possibilities and I had a hard time deciding among them!  These are my final selection of photos for the Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt, which ended today (March 31):

1.  At the end of the day

#1 At the end of the day
The candles I lit, one night, as part of my Winter Joy List.

2.  Pool of light

#2 Pool of light
Taken one afternoon in December, after a shower of rain.

3.  Fastener

#3 Fastener
The padlock on the side gate.

4.  Nail

#4 Nail
A close up of a wooden telephone wire post on the road side, where people have used both staples (permitted) and nails (not permitted) to post notices, usually notices of yard sales, lost pets, etc.

I had a hard time deciding on the photo for this prompt!  I took a photo of a regular nail by itself, of my own thumb nail, a close up of the nails on the carved elephant (below; prompt #19), but, finally decided on this photo.

5.  A group activity

#5 A group activity - watching an ikebana demonstration
Or, should this be re-titled a group inactivity?  It's a group of people watching an ikebana demonstration, a rather inactive activity!

6.  Water dispenser

#6 Water dispenser

The still broken earthenware water vessel called a "guruleththuwa".

7.  Horse

#7 Horse
Decorative panel of wrought iron horses on a fence in the neighborhood.

8.  Chocolate

#8 Chocolate
A display of chocolates at the shop in the mall.

9.  Peel/Peeling

#9 Peel
Pomegranate peels from a fruit I picked from my tree.

10. Holly /Substitute Alt A - Keyring

#10/Alt A: Keyring 
I wasn't able to locate any holly, although there used to be some growing in a nearby school yard, several years ago.  I decided to substitute Alternative A for this prompt.  This hand carved and hand painted elephant keyring is from Sri Lanka.  It represents the elephants, draped in colorful and decorated fabric, that parade in the annual procession known as the Kandy Perahera.

11. Dressed for the season

#11 Dressed for the season
Snow people all dressed for the season, in their hats, ear muffs, and scarves!

12. Glitter

#12 Glitter
A glitter covered apple ornament.

13. An instruction

#13 An Instruction
Instructions at the beginning of a piece of music, pertaining to how it should be played.

14. A crossing place

#14. A crossing place
One of several bridges in the Japanese Garden. 

15. Flight

#15 Flight (of steps)

A flight of steps leading up to the Tea House in the Japanese Garden.  What I wanted to take was a picture of a bird taking flight, but, I was not able to do so.

16. A measurement

#16.  A Measurement

One cat length long!

17. Orange

#17 Orange
Oranges ripening on my tree.

18. A Natural feature/Alt B Show and Tell - something you made:

#18/Alt B: Show and Tell - something you made

The grey sweater I knitted.

19. A carved object

#19 A carved object

This carved wooden elephant came from my father's childhood home.  He is quite battered with age, with the wood cracked in places, and the finish peeling off.  He's lost one of his tusks, too.  On the other side of his stomach, a piece of wood has been wedged in place to cover up a damaged area.   It was one of the few things that were left behind when the family home furnishings were disposed of.  The people who occupied the house after we left stored it for me and I brought it back with me on one of my return trips home.

He deserves to have his face shown, too!

20. A method of communication

Telecommunications Pole
This telephone/cable wire pole is located in the corner of my back yard.

I have enjoyed participating in this photo scavenger hunt!  Thank you, Eileen, for organizing it and encouraging me to participate.

March Decluttering

My March goal was to declutter 31 items.  I am counting those items I recycled (brochures, boxes, etc.), items I tossed (broom head), as well as items I gave away (book, memo pads), if they are items I had stored, either in a file cabinet, or a drawer, etc.  But, I didn't count the stuff I regularly recycle (cans, bottles, junk mail) or toss (empty lotion/toothpaste tubes, etc.)

I had hoped to declutter one item a day, but that wasn't quite how it turned out.  I found myself decluttering several items one day and then, going several days without decluttering anything!  So, here's what I did declutter in March:

1 broom head (handle was cut down to repurpose as window security devices!)

1 calendar
1 cracked food storage container (plastic)
3 used up notebooks
4 boxes (I tend to hold on to boxes, thinking I can reuse them for something or the other!)
20 magazines/brochures/annual reports, etc.
several file folders and contents (= 1 item)

Gave away/donated
1 book (gave to a friend)
2 cat-themed memo pads (gave to cousin)
1 plastic food container (gave with fish curry to cousin; told her I didn't want it back)
6 packages pantyhose (unopened; I haven't worn pantyhose in years!  Not sure why I kept them - just in case?)

Total = 41 items.

A lot of it was paper - magazines, brochures, financial reports, etc., and files, although I counted all the files as one item.

This total does not include the bag of shoes and bag of clothes that my daughter decluttered when she was down, earlier in the month.  Those bags haven't left the house, yet, as I want to add more items to them before I call for a donations pick up.

I feel like the house should be decluttered by now, but, of course, it isn't!  So, I will continue to declutter in April, too.

Did anyone else declutter in March?  Did you keep a tally of what you decluttered?

Saturday, March 30, 2019

A Measurement

One of the prompts in the Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt was A Measurement (#16 on the list of prompts).  Since I am knitting a new sweater, I thought, I would take a photo of the measurement of the garment.

Of course, I should have known that Helper Kitty would be at hand, as usual:

"Let me help you, Mummy!"

He was there the minute I lay the knitting down on the table!

"It's too long,  Mummy, let me bite off a piece of this measuring tape!"

It never fails!  He's such a helpful kitty!

"It's all measured, Mummy"
Yes, Dancer, thank you!  I have the measurement, now.  Exactly one cat length wide!

Friday, March 29, 2019

Family Time on Thursday

Thursday was my father's birthday.  I was a child when he died, but I always remember him on his birthday and the anniversary of his death.   I have written about him in various other posts, including this one and this one about the bunny.   

Cousin P called me in the early afternoon to say that her daughter was off work and they were planning to visit Aunt T in the nursing home, if I'd like a ride.  I happily accepted the offer.  They picked me up at 3:00 p.m. and we went to the nursing home.  We were with Aunt for about 2 hours, chatting with her and another member of the extended family who was also visiting.  Aunt looked well, but, she has two hairline fractures in her spine and she is in some pain, even though they give her pain medications.  But, she was sitting up in a wheel chair and was quite alert.   

After we left the nursing home, we went to a nearby shopping mall since cousin P needed to buy a gift for a friend.  On the way back to the car, I bought us all some chocolates from the chocolate store.  You can pick and choose your particular favorites and buy them by the piece, you can buy them by the pound, or you can buy the boxed assortments that were on the shelves.  I took a photo of some of the chocolates in the display case for the Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt, as well, since one of the prompts was "chocolate":

#8 Chocolate

Then, we went out to dinner at a nearby restaurant.  Cousin and her daughter have been there, before, but, it was the first time I've been there.  It was a bit too crowded and noisy for my liking, but the food was good and quite reasonably priced (we ordered off the Happy Hour menu).  I had a salad and coconut shrimp, which came with its own coleslaw, as well.  Cousin P ordered clam chowder and I gave her my coleslaw, as well, since I didn't want any more salad.  Her daughter ordered an individual size cheese pizza and hot wings, which I sampled, too.  We sat and talked for a long time about various things, even long after we had finished eating!  It was a nice, family bonding time.  It was past 8:30 p.m., when we left the restaurant. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Memories of my father
- Cousin giving me a ride to see aunt
- Aunt is recovering
- Going out to dinner with cousin and her daughter
- Spending time with the family

Today's joyful activity has to be spending time with family and going out to eat.

How was your Thursday?

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Garden Visitor on Wednesday

Giant Swallowtail Butterfly

Today, as I walked around the garden, I happened to see something on the side of the garden wall:

Butterfly on the Wall
It was the striking color contrast that caught my attention, first, and then, the size.  Easily, four inches across!

I wasn't sure how close it will let me approach it, so I took photos, with my cell phone camera, at each step, in case it flew away before I could get close:

A little closer

Another step or two closer
Closer still

Until I took the close up that I posted at the very top of this post.  It fluttered its wings a little but, it didn't fly away.  I think it was just resting, or, maybe, extracting some mineral from the cement blocks that make up the wall. 

The reason for its visit is close at hand:

Orange Tree
The Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) likes orange and other citrus plants in which to lay its eggs!  In fact, the caterpillars can cause quite a bit of damage to young citrus plants.  I shall be on the look out for the caterpillars and see if I can move them to the lemon trees, instead!  Oh, but the adult butterflies are so pretty! 

As far as I know, this is the first time I've seen one of these butterflies in my garden!  I might have easily missed it, too, if I hadn't been outside, checking on my flowers!  Definitely one of today's joyful activities!

In addition to photographing visiting butterflies, I did a load of laundry, today, watered the garden, and drove to the post office, because the birthday card I mailed to my sister was returned to me for additional postage!  It wasn't overweight, though, and, at the post office, the workers there couldn't figure out why it stated it needed additional postage!  I wondered if it was because I had written, "Hand cancel, please" on it, because I thought the rhinestone-like things I had stuck on the front on the card might cause the card to get stuck in their machines.  But, I was told that there is no additional charge for that!  They just hand cancelled it while I was there and put it in the outgoing mail basket for me.

I had eaten some of the bulgur salad for my brunch, today, followed by an orange.  For dinner, I made a chicken and pasta stir fry (using spaghetti instead of noodles):

Dinner: Chicken and Pasta Stir Fry
No, not low carb, but, it has some vegetables, at least!  I have plenty of leftovers for at least another three meals.  I had some yogurt for dessert.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Butterflies!
- Garden flowers
- Helpful post office workers
- A relaxed day
- Sunshine

How was your Wednesday?  Have you seen Giant Swallowtail butterflies in your garden?

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Salads on Tuesday


I checked on the dish of yogurt before I went to bed, early this morning, to see if I needed to reheat the oven, and found that it had already set!  There were a few cracks where the whey can be seen, forming yellowish streaks.  I put the dish in the fridge before I went to sleep.

I went to bed a little after 4:00 a.m., this morning.  I woke up, once, at 7:15 a.m., and debated whether to get up, but decided to sleep in.  Joyful activity of the day: sleeping in!  LOL!  I woke up at 10:30 a.m., instead, had a cup of tea, and spent the rest of the morning relaxing, reading and replying to blog comments, and trying to decide what I wanted to have for brunch!

Scrambled eggs would have been easy, and I even pulled out the saute pan, but I'd want a piece of bread or a fried potato with it!  A bowl of leftover soup would have been filling, but it was not quite what I wanted.  A cold cuts sandwich, perhaps?  But I had that for dinner, last night.  What I really wanted was pancakes with fish curry gravy; that would be delicious (in my opinion; I know pancakes and fish curry is not everyone's idea of a delicious meal, LOL!).  But that would have been indulgent (all those carbs; I wouldn't be able to have just one pancake).  Maybe milk rice with fish curry.  But, that would be carbs, too.  A salad would be healthier!   Yes, I know I am blessed to have such a wide range of choices for a meal.  Eventually, I had a salad (butter lettuce, grated carrot, cucumber slices), with canned tuna and salad dressing.  Dancer approved of my choice as he got both a piece of lettuce leaf and a teaspoon of tuna!  His tummy satisfied, he went off to have an afternoon nap!  Brunch was eaten at 2:30 p.m.

I called my half-sister in the afternoon and wished her for her birthday. 

Later, I strolled around the garden, looking at the plants.  Most of the osteospermum have fuller petals, but, this one plant seems to have narrow petals.  I don't know if there is something wrong with the plant or if this is a new cultivar!

Narrow Petals

Occasionally, friend M brings some seeds or bulbs and plants them in my garden to share with me.  Some Sparaxis tricolor (also known as Harlequin Flowers) he planted has flowered - colorful red flowers with brown and yellow centers :

Sparaxis tricolor or Harlequin Flowers (red with yellow centers)
I hope they multiply and establish themselves.  I might have to plant them in another spot, though, so they don't get overwhelmed by the osterospermum!

In the meantime, the osteospermum has self-seeded itself in the middle of what should have been the lawn:

Colonizing the Lawn

I have asked M to leave it to grow there - maybe it will take over the lawn!

Around 4:00 p.m., neighbor S from across the street called me and asked if she could bring me some Armenian salad, made from bulgur wheat, sauted with onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, parsley, etc.   It is called "eech" (sometimes spelled as "itch").  Of course, I said yes, so she brought some over, along with a cookie her mother had made and some ginger candy:

Armenian Bulgur Wheat Salad, Cookie, and Ginger Candy
I had some of this salad with my evening cup of tea.  It was very flavorful!  The cookie was delicious, too - not very sweet, but with a coconut flavor.

In the evening, I vacuumed the house.  I decided to wait until tomorrow to do the laundry and mop the kitchen. 

For dinner, I had red rice, green beans, and fish curry.  Afterwards, I had some of the yogurt I made, for dessert.

Aunt C called to say she enjoyed the fish curry I sent home with cousin N.  A bit later, cousin P called to ask how my doctor's appointment went and friend R called, too.  Later, I video chatted with my daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:
- My half-sister and the relationship we have
- The blessing of having a choice when it comes to meals
- Neighbor S bringing me food
- Phone calls from family and friends
- A sunny, warm day

How was your Tuesday?  Have you eaten bulgar wheat salad? 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Clear Eyed on Monday

Petersen Automotive Museum

My eye doctor's appointment on Monday went very well.  Cousin N got to my house by 11:00 a.m. and we left soon after that. We went in my car, with me driving us to the clinic and cousin N driving us home, afterwards.  My appointment wasn't until 12:40 p.m., but I had been asked to arrive 10 minutes before that, and I wasn't sure how congested the freeways (I had to take two freeways) and the surface roads might be, so thought it best to leave early.  We got there shortly after 12 noon, much earlier than I had anticipated.  I thought we might have to wait, but the technician was very pleased that I was early, because it gave her plenty of time to perform the peripheral field vision test and other preliminary tests in good time before the actual doctor's appointment.  Everything was pronounced to be fine - good eye pressure, no retinal damage due to diabetes, the cataracts are negligible, and the peripheral vision was good!  Yay!  I am to return in 1 year and we made the appointment before I left.  My copay was $20 and parking cost $14 (higher parking rates at this clinic because it was located in Beverly Hills).

As my cousin drove us home, we passed by the Petersen Automotive Museum with its distinctive appearance, and I was able to take a couple of photos to share.

Close up 

We got home shortly after 2:00 p.m.  I offered N some lunch, but she declined.  She also didn't want to take her birthday card, because, her mother, Aunt C, had told her not to accept anything until they can both come with their Christmas gifts (no, we haven't exchanged our Christmas gifts, yet!).  I told cousin N that it was just her belated birthday card, not a Christmas gift, but she called Aunt C and was told to leave it until they could both visit!  So, I just gave her the fish curry I had cooked and two jars of jam (a jar of strawberry jam and a jar of apple/cranberry jam).  She asked Aunt C about them, too, and was told that it was OK to bring the food!  LOL!   Apparently they will come to visit and exchange gifts, next week!  I am to prepare a nice meal, I was told, by my aunt!  LOL!  She is so funny!

Cousin N looked around the house, when she was here, today, and told me that the house is looking  nice!  It made me feel very happy.  Not that she would have said anything if it had been messy!  In fact, she has seen it messy, many times, and when I was undergoing chemo and didn't have the energy to clean, she used to sweep the house for me.  But, it made me happy that she noticed my recent efforts at keeping it maintained.     

I had my lunch (red rice, fish curry, green beans curry) after cousin N left and then, took a nap on the family room sofa, since I needed to rest my eyes (it was darker in the family room).  Later, I took the trash cans out to the curb, helped neighbor T with her trash, and handed her the emergency contact information she had requested from me.  Then, I did dishes and made a batch of yogurt - at least, I boiled the milk, added the last bit of yogurt from the container I bought, as the starter, and put it in the prewarmed oven to set, overnight.  I might warm up the oven, once more, before I go to sleep, to make sure the yogurt has a warm enough place in which to set. 

I called cousin R, in the evening, to check on her mother, Aunt T.  Aunt T fell on the Sunday after cousin P's surprise party and had to be hospitalized for a few days.  She is now recovering in a nursing home.  I plan to visit her one day, this week; I'll ask cousin P if she'd like to go with me.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Good results from the eye examination
- Cousin N making herself available to drive me back
- Cousin saying the house looked nice
- Another afternoon nap
- Daughter helping me with paying a bill online

Today's joyful activities included spending time with cousin and playing the piano in the evening.  I even croaked out a song or two as I played!  LOL!

Monday's To Do List:
- Eye doctor's appointment - DONE
- Take the trash cans to the curb - DONE
- Change my bed sheets - DONE
- Do a load of laundry
- Mail sister's card - DONE
- Make nephew's card
- Vacuum - SWEPT as needed

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Do a load of laundry
- Bring the trash cans in
- Call and wish sister
- Make and mail nephew's card
- Vacuum
- Clean the kitchen/mop

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

Monday, March 25, 2019

Sunny Sunday

Birthday Cards

Friday and Saturday were cloudy and overcast.  Today, however, was truly a sun day.  I had a relaxed morning, drinking my tea, replying to blog comments, chatting on the phone with my daughter who called to wish me a good morning and with neighbor T who called for our usual Sunday morning chat.

I finished making the birthday cards; they are variations of the basic design I've been using for a majority of my cards, recently.  I think I need to find another design I like because this one design is getting a bit stale!  I still need to make the card for my niece's son, as I didn't  make it, today.

I had planned to do some vacuuming, today, in the afternoon; instead, I took a nap!  The living room sofa, with the late afternoon shining through the lace curtains, is my favorite place for a nap!  Dancer's grumbles about his dinner getting late is what woke me up!  LOL!  I gave him his soft food (he has plenty of dry food in his bowl, available to him at all times, so, it's not like he doesn't have food, but he looks forward to his soft food in the morning and evening).  Then, I had a cup of tea, myself.

I cooked a fish curry, today, with onions and tomatoes in it, and I had that for my dinner with leftover rice and leftover cashew curry.  I set some of the fish curry aside to send home with cousin N, tomorrow.  That way, she will have one less thing to cook for dinner, herself, after spending most of the day taking me to the eye doctor's and back.  I took out a piece of chicken breast to thaw for tomorrow night's dinner.  I might make a stir-fry with it. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- A sunny, warm, relaxed day
- Afternoon naps on the sofa
- Having fun making cards
- Being able to pick more fresh oranges from the tree
- Emails and phone calls

Today's joyful activities included card making and a nap!

Sunday's To Do List:
- Finish cousin N's birthday card - DONE
- Make or buy a 16th birthday card for niece's son
- Get driving directions to go to eye doctor on Monday - DONE
- Vacuum

Monday's To Do List:
- Eye doctor's appointment
- Take the trash cans to the curb
- Change my bed sheets
- Do a load of laundry
- Mail sister's card
- Make nephew's card
- Vacuum

How was your Sunday?  What have you planned for Monday and the week ahead?

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Friday and Saturday: Groceries, Flowers, and More!

Jasmine Flowers

Friday morning, I called the pharmacy to ask about my refill; I was told that it would be ready in the evening.  Evening came and, of course, it wasn't ready!  In the meantime, I did a load of laundry (the sofa dust sheets), watched news, knitted (finished the front of the black sweater and started on the sleeves), and spent some time chatting with friend M when he came to tend to the garden.  I really didn't feel very motivated to do anything much on Friday.

Saturday morning, I called the pharmacy again, and the medication still wasn't ready!  I made a bit of a fuss and the pharmacist asked me to give them one more hour and the medication will be ready.  This was around 11:15 a.m.  I called cousin P and told her I will be going to the pharmacy around 12:30 p.m., if she still wanted to go with me, and she said she'll be ready.

On the way, she asked me if I could drop her off at the bank (it's in the same shopping mall) and she'll meet me at the pharmacy.  I had wanted to go to the bank, myself, so, I went in with her.  I had expected there to be a long line at the bank, it being Saturday, but there were only two people in the line ahead of us.  I was surprised as this bank has been crowded on previous occasions when I've gone on weekdays.

Afterwards, we went to the pharmacy and my prescription was ready!  Finally!

3/23 Groceries

I needed to pick up a few groceries, too, so cousin and I went to the grocery store that is located in the same shopping center.  I bought:

1 loaf whole wheat bread = $1.99
1/2 gallon milk = $2.19
red grapes @ $.99/lb = $1.52
Total = $5.70

The price of milk had gone up by $.20 since I last bought some, but the grapes were on sale (the green grapes were priced $1.99).

March grocery shopping budget = $75
Spent to date = $1.79 + $7.74 + $5 + $23.29 + $4.07 + $5.70 =   $47.59
Amount left in the March grocery budget = $75 - $47.59 = $27.41

I also bought a gift card for cousin N, partly as a belated birthday present and partly as a thank you for accompanying me to the eye doctor, next Monday.

Cousin P, too, bought a few groceries.

In the morning, before I went to the pharmacy, I had dusted the living room, dining area, and the family room.  After I came home, I washed the dishes - some in the dishwasher and some by hand. 

I also picked some flowers from the garden.  I arranged some in a vase for the altar and tried to do another Ikebana-inspired arrangement:

Spring Flower Arrangement

I am not sure if you can see it, but I inserted a sprig of the orange blossoms, too:

Sprig of Orange Blossoms

I have been watching a few videos and learning more about the principles of Japanese flower arranging.  There are certain guidelines to follow, when it comes to the height of the materials used and the angles of placements, etc.  I am sure I am not doing it correctly, but I  am having fun playing with flowers and, I think, this arrangement is a little better than my previous attempt.  What do you think?

Later in the evening, I made a couple of birthday cards.  One for my half-sister, which I finished making, the other for cousin N, which I didn't finish, yet. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- I was able to pick up my medication, finally!
- My cousin's company as we ran some errands together
- Garden flowers
- What I was able to accomplish, today
- Conversations with my daughter

My daughter thinks I should challenge myself to do a daily joyful activity and things like drinking tea from a favorite cup, etc., don't count!  She thinks it should be something more in the line of a fun activity or project, something that I wake up looking forward to doing.  It doesn't have to take a lot of time, she assures me; it can be something that takes five or ten minutes.  Hm.  I shall have to think more about it.  But, today's joyful activities were spending some time with cousin P, flower arranging, and card making! 

Aeonium Flower Cluster

Sunday's To Do List:
- Finish cousin N's birthday card
- Make or buy a 16th birthday card for niece's son
- Get driving directions to go to eye doctor on Monday
- Vacuum

How is your weekend coming along, so far?  What have you planned for Sunday?

Friday, March 22, 2019

Spring Joy List

Spring.  Warmer, longer days and all the joys of this season of renewal and growth!

At the end of my Winter Joy List Update, I asked if anyone will be doing a Spring Joy List of their own.  Angela, at Tracing Rainbows, has, and has taken it up a notch, too, by posting an acrostic Spring Joy List!   I love it and the picture and quote, too. 

I already do several things on a daily basis that bring me joy.  They include:
- Prayer and contemplation
- Drinking my tea in my favorite cups
- Chats with my daughter
- Exchanging emails with a good friend
- Blogging

The spring joy list consists of additional joyful activities that I hope to engage in, during the period of March 21 to June 20.  I don't want to make this another "to do" list, as such, but, rather, ways in which to enjoy each day more fully. 

1.  Open windows to let in the fresh, warmer air
2.  Garden flowers and greenery in the house
3.  Time spent outside, in the garden
4.  Playing with fabric
5.  Evening walks
6.  Oranges fresh from the tree
7.  Reading (and, perhaps, napping!)
8. Taking the time for craft projects

What brings you joy?

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Rainy Start to Spring

Orange Blossoms

It rained during the morning and part of the afternoon, today.  I guess our wet winter is turning into a wet spring!  The garden is loving it.

The podiatrist's office called me at 9:15 a.m., to let me know that there were morning appointments available, today, if I preferred that.  Well, no, I didn't want a morning appointment, but, I was happy to move my 3:00 p.m. appointment up to 2:00 p.m.  I got to the clinic around 1:45 p.m. and the podiatrist's office was closed for lunch!  So, I went to the oncologist's office (down the hallway) and picked up a copy of my lab report, as I had forgotten to do that when I was there on Monday.

The podiatry appointment went well.  Apparently, the podiatrist I've been seeing will be relocating to San Diego and a new podiatrist will be taking over his patients at the end of the month.  I will be seeing this new podiatrist on my next visit in two months' time.

I had kept the last two ground beef and grated zucchini burgers I had made, earlier, to thaw for my dinner, but I didn't feel like eating them as they were; I was wanting soup. So, for dinner, I made "hamburger" soup:

Hamburger Soup

No, it wasn't the version where you brown ground beef and add freshly chopped vegetables and homemade broth.  This was the "quick and easy" version!  I made some broth with water and chicken bouillon powder, added a can of mixed vegetables, and the ground beef and zucchini burgers, cut up in small pieces.  It wasn't the best "homemade" soup I've had, but it was not too bad, considering I really didn't feel like cutting fresh vegetables and cooking.  There's more left for tomorrow's lunch or dinner - maybe I'll doctor it up a bit more, tomorrow.  I had a fresh orange, that I picked earlier, for dessert.

Their scent is so wonderful!
The orange tree is covered with buds that are just starting to bloom.  I wish I could capture their perfume!  The whole garden smells wonderful, with three lemon trees, the orange tree, and the calamondin tree all starting to bloom! 

In the evening, I watched news and knitted.  Cousin P called, aunt C called, too, and I called friend R to check on her, and texted cousin N to confirm that she is still able to drive me back from my eye examination on Monday (my eyes will be dilated for the examination and I am not supposed to drive myself home, afterwards). 

And, I lit some candles:


Today, I am grateful for:
- More rain for the garden
- A safe drive (in the rain) to the clinic and back
- A good appointment with the podiatrist
- Orange blossoms
- Keeping in touch with family and friends

Tomorrow, I need to call or go to the pharmacy to find out what happened to the rest of my medication refill!  When I was at the pharmacy, earlier this week, they said they didn't have enough in stock to give me a 30 days supply and gave me enough for three days, saying they'll text me when they fill the rest of the order.  Well, the three days are up and I need more medications!  Cousin P said to let her know if I am going to the pharmacy as she'd like to go, too. 

How was your day?  What are your plans for Friday?

Winter Joy List - Update

I made this Winter Joy List shortly after Christmas.  I picked 15 joyful things to do to enjoy the winter days in January and February, until Spring arrives in March.  Since Spring has now officially arrived, I thought it was time to post the update.

Winter Joy List:

1. Greet the New Year with my daughter (and maybe some friends) - Had friends over to dinner on New Year's Eve; they left before midnight, but I greeted the New Year with my daughter.  Later, on New Year's Day, daughter and I went over to an aunt's house to her annual New Year's Day luncheon/open house, for what turned out to be the last time, as aunt died just three weeks later.

2. Hot chocolate - with whipped cream! - Couldn't do that due to dietary changes!

3. A warm house - Oh, yes!  And don't I have the heating bills to prove it!  LOL!

4. Cozy knitted blankets and throws - I had them all out on various couches, within easy reach!

5. Winter decorations - The Christmas decorations stayed up well into January!  After that, I had some winter flower arrangements with pine branches and paperwhites (and the occasional rose).

6. Homemade soup - Several pots of homemade soup - chicken and vegetable, beef and vegetable, tomato, etc.

7. Candle light in the evenings - For one reason or another, I didn't light any candles in the evenings.  I don't know why, because I like seeing lit candles. 

8. Continue to enjoy the rest of daughter's holiday visit - She was home for two weeks and I enjoyed every moment of it; she also came home for the weekend in early March for her birthday weekend!.

9. After-Christmas sales! - Didn't really do a lot of after Christmas shopping.

10. The Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt - Participated to the extent possible

11. Reading - Borrowed a few books and magazines from the library; received a book from a blog friend, which I am currently reading

12. Afternoon naps - Not as many as I would have liked, but spent many afternoons relaxing on the sofa, reading.

13. Relaxed days after the holiday rush - Um, perhaps a bit too relaxed!  Feel like I didn't accomplish much!

14. Afternoon walks - Not as many as I should have taken!

15. Winter gardening - Planted a new peach tree; put down some vegetable seeds, some of which sprouted!  And the front garden is simply delightful with all the flowers blooming:

Flowers in the Front Garden

Did anyone else do a Winter Joy list?  Will you be doing a Spring Joy List?  Will I do a Spring Joy List?