Friday, May 31, 2019

May Balanced Life Monthly Goals - Update

It's the last day of May!  Time to review how I did on my goals for living a more balanced life in May.

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 current ratings for each segment are shown within the parentheses, with the end of the month ratings in blue.

May Balanced Life Goals:

Spiritual: (10)(9.5):   The goal is to live a spiritually meaningful life:

- Continue with daily prayers and gratitude; focus on being positive and joyful - Daily prayers and daily gratitudes are on-going; I have been trying to incorporate a joyful activity, each day.

- Take time for meditation - maybe attend some of the Friday night meditation sessions again - I attended one Friday night meditation session at the Temple and did daily meditation at home.

- Be more giving - I gave to the food bank, I gave of my time to a friend who needed someone to listen to her, I gave rides to a cousin and a friend.

- Attend Vesak celebrations (commemorating the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha) at the Temple - I didn't attend it, after all, due to the inclement weather.

- Attend the monthly rosary prayer gathering - Attended it and gave a ride to a cousin and a friend

I reduced the rating, slightly, because I didn't attend the event at the Temple.

House (9)(9.5):  The goal is a home that is pleasant, comfortable, and welcoming:

- Clean - do one deep cleaning task per week - I've been concentrating on the spare room, but that room has been deep cleaned (windows washed from the inside, furniture pulled out and floor and walls behind and under vacuumed, the floor vacuumed and damp mopped, etc.)

- Organized - focus on the spare room - It is no longer The Dump!  It has regained its status as The Third Room (crafts/guest/office room).  It is still being organized, but, I no longer keep the drapes drawn and the door closed!  

- Well maintained - continue to implement the cleaning schedule - The cleaning schedule is being maintained with some adjustments as needed and the occasional hiccup!  I am, actually, quite pleased with how well it has worked out!

I have raised the rating by half a point!  The only reason why I didn't go up to a 10 is because there is still more to do.  But, I am getting there!  It is not a very posh house (way too "shabby" to even be considered as "shabby chic", BUT, it is my home, I am comfortable and relaxed in it, I hope it is pleasant and welcoming, and, more than anything else, it is a peaceful home.  

Garden (8)(8):  The goal is a garden that is productive, yet drought tolerant:

- Maintain (water 2x per week; weed) - On-going.  I haven't needed to water as often due to more spring rain than usual and that has been a blessing.

- Plant additional seeds (vegetables and flowers) - I have been scattering more seeds, around, hoping they will grow. 

- Landscape - develop a landscape plan for the front garden - Didn't do anything more than just think about it!

I am keeping the garden rating at 8.

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.  She wasn't able to come down for Mother's Day, this year, but, we'll celebrate when she does come down next, in July.

Keeping the rating at a 10.

Family & Friends (10)(10):  The goal is to have a connection with family members and friends:

- Regular phone calls and emails - On-going; I'm in regular contact with many of my family members and friends.  I also had a phone call from a cousin who lives out of state and a phone call from my half-sister.  

- Visit aunt T - I visited Aunt T and invited one of my cousins to go with me, as well.

- Will be seeing several members of the family and friends at this month's prayer gathering - Attended the prayer gathering and met several members of the family and some family friends; gave a ride to the prayer gathering and back to a cousin and a friend.
- Get together for lunch with friend R - We had plans to go out to celebrate Mother's Day, but, she was not feeling up to it.  I called her, again, to see if she wanted to do something over the Memorial Day weekend, but she said she had other plans.  I will wait until she is ready to do something.

I am keeping the rating at a 10 even though I couldn't get together with friend R, as it was not due to a lack of trying on my part!

Community (10)(10):  The goal is to be involved in my community:
- Continue to participate in the blogging community - On-going.
- Participate in the Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt - In progress
Weekly phone calls with neighbor T - On-going
- Continue to participate in the online group of which I am a member - On-going

I think I did well in this area; I am keeping the rating at 10.

Finances (10)(10):  The goal is financial security:
- Continue budgeting and spending mindfully, with purpose - On-going; I went over budget in my grocery spending this month, but I stayed well under budget in all other categories.  I continue to live debt free and manage very well on my retirement income.  I am not a big spender and I love getting a bargain.  

The rating remains at a 10.

 Health & Well Being (7)(8):  The goal is good health:
- Attend this month's medical appointments - Done, except when the doctor's office calls and cancels my appointments, because they no longer participate in my insurance!

- Continue to work on the following life style changes:
   - better diet - eat more vegetables, less carbs - Um...yes, well, the more veg/less carbs fell by the wayside, this month!  
   - better hydration - drink 8 x 8oz glasses of water, daily - Struggling with this!
   - better sleep habits -  get 6-7 hours of sleep - Yes, managing to do so on most nights, even though it often means I wake up mid-morning rather than going to sleep earlier!
   - more exercise - implement a walking schedule - Work in progress!

- Lose 5 lbs - Didn't, but, at least, I didn't gain any weight, either!  I stayed the same weight, to the ounce!  Even the doctor remarked on how consistent my weight has been!  

In addition, my blood test results (checking for iron levels, mostly, but other things, as well) came out perfectly normal, so that was good news.  I don't have to continue with my iron supplements and I no longer need to see the GI doctor, until I am due for another colonoscopy/screening test, unless future routine blood tests give cause for concern (hopefully, not!) .

I raised the rating due to the good blood test results and the fact that my weight did not increase, even if it didn't go down!  

Time Management (7)(8: The goal is to spend my time in a mindful manner:
 - Make time to do what needs to be done (exercise, sufficient sleep, housework, etc.) - Making progress in this area, even if I haven't been exercising as much as I should.
 - Procrastinate less - Working on it!

I am raising my satisfaction level to 8 if only because I am getting my housework done!  I am still procrastinating on somethings (the energy just isn't there, some days), but, I am getting some things done!  Plus, I need the positive reinforcement!  LOL.

Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies/Me-Time (10)(10):  The goal is to relax doing something I enjoy doing for the pleasure of it.
- Engage in daily joyful activities - In progress; some days, I have a definite joyful activity, other days, it is more of finding joy in daily activities.

- Finish at least one, if not two, of the three quilts in progress! - Well, I almost finished one and made quite a bit of progress on another.  Then, I got distracted with excavating The Dump and that took precedence!

I am keeping the rating at a 10.    

That is my review of my goals for a more balanced life in May.  On the whole, I am pleased with the progress I made and what I was able to accomplish.

Did you make any goals for a more balanced life in May?  If so, how did you do?

May Decluttering

My decluttering goal for May was 31 items decluttered (put aside for donation, recycled, or tossed).  Items I routinely recycle like junk mail and empty cans or bottles didn't count, but, if I got rid of paper that had been filed or a box or jar that had been used for storage, then, I included it in my count.

In May, I decluttered:

2 books

Craft book

Story book

1 sewing machine

Sewing machine
1 binder organizer

Binder organizer

1 message board

Message board

1 bag of plastic Easter eggs:

Easter eggs
14 magazines
15 annual reports/brochures
1 calendar
1 long skirt
1 bed frill/skirt
10 file folders of papers (6 years worth of utility bills; 4 years worth of bank statements)
3 glass jars
1 food storage container
2 notebooks
1 empty box
1 plastic container
1 cat toy/laser
3 bottles of expired medications

60 items, total.  Yay!  I met my goal and made up for not meeting my April decluttering goal!  LOL.  A lot of it was paper clutter and small items, but, that's OK. 

In June, my decluttering goal is 30 books!  One for each day of the month.  I know some of you are planning to join me!

Did you have a decluttering goal in May?  If so, how did you do?  Did you meet your goal? 

Thursday's Happenings

I got a call, today, from the clinic of the former primary care physician, telling me I need to schedule an appointment to see the doctor since I cancelled my earlier appointment!  Excuse me?   Didn't you know that someone from your office called me on the morning of the appointment (after it had been confirmed the previous Friday), saying that the doctor was no longer accepting my insurance and cancelling my appointment?!  I've had to find a new doctor, as a result, and now you are calling to say I needed to make an appointment?  "Oh, do you have a new doctor, now?"  Yes, although it doesn't go into effect until June.  "OK, I'll put a note in your file."  Thank you.  Obviously, the right hand doesn't have a clue what the left hand is doing!  The sad thing is, I am not very hopeful that the new doctor's office will be any better!  Sigh.

I woke up with a stiff neck/right shoulder.  I must have slept at an awkward angle.  I applied some Tiger Balm and my new neck/shoulder warmer to relax the stiffness.  My neck still feels stiff, but, it is better, now.  However, I made that an excuse to take it easy, today.

I had a banana for breakfast.  For lunch, I cooked rice, dhal, sauteed/curried cabbage, and a ground beef curry (keema), and made a cucumber salad to go with it:

Lunch: Rice, Keema, Dhal, Sauteed/Curried Cabbage, and Cucumber Salad
You can add green peas or garbanzo beans or potato, etc. to the ground beef curry, but, I didn't, as I was having lentils and rice with it.

I spent a relaxed afternoon, pampering my stiff shoulder.  Cousin P called and I chatted with her for a bit.

Then, after tea, I watered the garden - I hand watered the front and turned on the sprinklers at the back.  I also scrubbed my toilet and finished cleaning my bathroom (I didn't mop the floor; that can wait until the next time).  I also went through another file folder of papers while I watched some TV.  I didn't clean the kitchen, however, and I didn't do any laundry or a craft project (just didn't feel like it).

I had leftovers from lunch for dinner.  There's more for tomorrow, as well.  Later, I video chatted with my daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:
- A sunny day
- My new neck/shoulder warmer
- A good lunch (and dinner, too)
- Video chatting with my daughter
- Fresh lemonade made with lemons from my tree

Thursday's To Do List:
- Clean the kitchen
- Finish cleaning the bathroom - DONE
- Paperwork/filing - DONE
- Water the garden, front and back - DONE
- Load of laundry
- A craft project

Friday's To Do List:
- Clean the kitchen
- Load of laundry
- More file clearing

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

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Doctor's Appointment on Wednesday

I set my alarm to wake up at 9:00 a.m., on Wednesday, so, when my half-sister called around 9:30 a.m., I was up!  She is back from her month-long cruise and was calling to check on me, which was nice of her. 

Meanwhile, someone had thrown up in the family room, on the floor and the area rug, and left it all for me to find and clean up!  This morning's nap was taken on another favorite napping spot - the back of the family room sofa:

"Why else would Mummy put a bed sheet on the sofa if not for me to sleep?"
I left the house by 12:30 p.m. for my doctor's appointment, which was at 1:30 p.m.  The visit went well.  My pressure was good, my weight had remained the same (I was afraid I had gained weight, but I hadn't), and, best of all, they had received a copy of the blood test results from the GI doctor and my iron level was fine!  The nurse gave me a photocopy of the report, so I have it for my own files.  The radiation oncologist wanted me to continue taking the diuretic he prescribed and to return for another follow-up visit in June.  I made the appointment before I left the clinic.

I got home a little after 3:00 p.m., had a late lunch, watched news, and shredded another couple of file folders of papers - my mother's bank statements.  Later, I vacuumed the house.

Today, I am grateful for:
- A good appointment with the doctor
- Good blood test results
- A safe drive to the appointment and back
- A sunny, warm day
- What I was able to accomplish, today

Wednesday's To Do List:
- Doctor's appointment (radiation oncologist - follow-up) - DONE
- Vacuum - DONE
- Clean the bathrooms - STARTED (I cleaned the guest bathroom on Sunday)
- Do one decluttering/organizing task in the spare room (file clearing) - DONE

- Clean the kitchen
- Finish cleaning the bathroom
- Paperwork/filing
- Water the garden, front and back
- Load of laundry
- A craft project

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

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Tuesday: May Grocery Shopping - Week 4

Today's wake up call came courtesy of Dancer, who meowed and meowed in a most pathetic way: "Meow, wake up, Mummy, I'm hungry, I haven't had breakfast yet, I haven't eaten since last night and that was yesterday, meow, I don't want the kibbles, I want some tuna, meow, wake up and give me tuna, Mummy, meow, aren't you awake, yet?".  I actually thought something might be wrong with him, the way he was meowing!  So, yes, I got up and gave him his tuna (he sure has me trained, doesn't he?).  He scoffed it up and settled down for his morning nap:

Nap Time
In this photo, behind him, are the stack of plastic drawers that should go to the spare/crafts room (once I make space for it) and the two shelving units that sit under the kitchen pass-through counter.  At one time, I used to have two bar stool type chairs at that counter, but, eventually, I got rid of them.  The shelving units used to be in my daughter's room and held her books until she needed taller bookcases.  Now they are being used as storage shelves and are due a good sorting.  Or, at the very least, I should get some attractive storage bins!  But, that's another project for another day.

In the afternoon, I went to the pharmacy to pick up my medication refills and then, I went to the Armenian grocery store to take advantage of this week's sales and the one-day-only Tuesday specials:

5/28 Groceries
Roasted, salted cashews were on sale for $4.99/lb., this week, which is an excellent price, as cashews have been selling for $7.99/lb., recently.  I splurged and bought four packets of them!  I am definitely dipping into my June grocery budget!

Cherries were $.79/lb. as part of their Tuesday specials.  Although I had some cherries leftover from when I bought some, earlier, on Friday, I decided to buy some, today, as well.

The other items I bought were all weekly specials.  Cucumbers were 5 for $1.00; lettuce was $.50 each, apples were $.39/lb. (for the large Red Delicious; other types and sizes cost more), and apricots were $.79/lb.

5/28 Receipt
My total came to $20.99

My May grocery budget was $75 + $6.40 carried over from April = $81.40

Spent to date: $15.72 + $1.50 + $32.92 +  $21.02 + $1.99 (oil; on 5/15) + $2.50 (bananas, crackers, popcorn on 5/19) + $8.58 + $20.99 = $105.22

Balance left in the budget = $81.40 - $105.22 = - $23.82

I will be deducting the $23.82 from my June grocery budget.  My June grocery budget will be $75 - $23.82 = $51.18.  Or, I could just say that I paid for today's groceries from June's budget and I have $51.18 left in the June grocery budget.

After I came home, I emptied the dishwasher, put away the laundry from yesterday, did the dusting, and did more file clearing.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Dancer is meowing, even if it meant he woke me up with his meowing!
- Another sunny day
- Refills were ready without any drama at the pharmacy
- Being able to dip into next month's grocery budget to take advantage of this week's specials
- Bargains at the grocery store

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Dust - living room, dining area, family room, my bedroom - DONE
- Errands: grocery shopping - DONE
- Water the house plants - DONE
- More paperwork/file clearing - DONE

Wednesday's To Do List:
- Doctor's appointment (radiation oncologist - follow-up)
- Vacuum
- Clean the bathrooms 
- Do one decluttering/organizing task in the spare room (file clearing)

How was your Tuesday?  How did you do with your May grocery budget?  

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day Monday

A sunny day after yesterday's rain and grey clouds.  I slept fairly well.  I woke up once, when I heard my cell phone ring - the GI doctor's office usually calls me on my cell phone.  It took me a minute to realize that today was a holiday and they wouldn't be calling me on a holiday.  I didn't recognize the number, it was from a different area code, and I didn't answer.  Whoever it was  left a voicemail message and when I played it back, it was in Tagalog, I believe.  I made out, "hello", "holiday" and "goodbye".  I went back to sleep and woke up for the second time when the phone rang.  It was cousin P, calling to thank me for the coupons to a department store I gave her, yesterday; she said she and her daughter went shopping and bought some shoes and other items, using the coupons.  By then, it was mid-morning and time to get up.

I spent the rest of the morning having a cup of tea, replying to blog comments, commenting on a few other blogs, myself, and easing into the day!

I had leftover spaghetti for brunch.  Then, I changed my bed sheets (Mr. Dancer immediately settled himself down for a nap on the freshly made bed!) and did a load of laundry.  Since it is a nice, sunny day, I felt guilty about putting the load to dry in the dryer!  Instead, I hung it up to dry, inside the house, as I used to do.

Then, I boxed up several years worth of tax files to store in the garage.  Yes, I know, we are only required to keep 7 years worth of documents, but, I like to keep things like bank statements and tax files for a longer period of time.  I just don't need to keep them all in my desk drawer! 

Later in the evening, I did the dishes and ran the dishwasher, took the big trash cans to the curb, collected more flower seeds and scattered them in the side yard, and cleaned the refrigerator.

Had some of the yellow rice and chicken curry I brought home from the prayer gathering, yesterday, for dinner.  Fresh strawberries for dessert.

Today, I am grateful for:
- A sunny day
- Being able to sleep in
- Waking up well and alive
- Working appliances - washing machine, dishwasher, etc.
- All what I was able to accomplish

Monday's To Do List:
- Do the dishes/run the dishwasher - DONE
- Change my bedsheets - DONE
- Do a load of laundry - DONE
- Dust the living room & dining area
- Clean the fridge - DONE
- Take the trash cans to the curb - DONE
- 30 minutes of file clearing - DONE
- One craft project

I did most of my to do list, today.  I didn't dust the living room and dining area, however, because I sort of ran out of steam!  I also didn't do a craft project, because I didn't feel like it; I read another chapter in my book, instead.  My joyful activity for the day was clearing up more space in my desk drawers by boxing up the files and reading.

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Dust - living room, dining area, family room, my bedroom.
- Errands: grocery shopping
- Water the house plants
- More paperwork/file clearing

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

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Sunday: Prayer Gathering and Lunch

I didn't sleep that well, last night.  At first, I couldn't fall asleep and then, I kept waking up every so often.  As a result, when the alarm went off at 9:00 a.m., I woke up with a headache.  I hit the snooze button a couple of times, but, finally, got out of bed a little after 9:30 a.m.  After a cup of tea and a hot shower, my headache felt better.  If not, I would have taken something for it.

It was a cold, drizzly day.  The type of day I'd have preferred to have stayed home, next to the heater, but, a member of the extended family was hosting the monthly prayer gathering to commemorate her father's first death anniversary, today, and I had promised cousin P (it was her paternal uncle's death anniversary; I'm related to her through our mothers who were sisters) and friend F a ride to the prayer gathering and back.  I had asked them to come to my house by noon and they did!  We left at noon and the drive took just over an hour, as I had estimated it would (we had been asked to arrive around 1:00 p.m.).  There was quite a bit of traffic on the freeway, as usual, but it was flowing. 

It was nice to see several members of the extended family and family friends.  After the prayers were said, we had lunch.  The hostess had originally said it was going to be brunch, but, I guess she was persuaded to change her mind as several friends offered to help with the cooking, and so, we had lunch, instead - yellow rice, curries, several types of salads, and a variety of desserts! Later, as I was about to leave, one of my cousins thrust a paper plate into my hands and said to serve myself a plate of food to bring home, so I did!  LOL. 

We got back to my house a little before 5:00 p.m.  Neither cousin P nor friend F wanted any tea, so I made myself a cup after they left. 

Later in the evening, I made myself a rice-filled neck and shoulder warmer:

Neck/Shoulder Warmer
I've been wanting one of these for a long time.  I used a piece of fabric from the stash, of course.  I heated it for two minutes in the microwave and used it, this evening, and it felt so good!  It relaxed the tightness I was feeling in my neck and shoulders.  I am planning to make another one.  Later, in the summer, when it gets to 90F+ inside the house, I can freeze them and use them to cool me off.  Having two will mean I can keep one to chill while I use the other and interchange them.

Today, I am grateful for:
- The rain for the garden
- A safe drive to the prayer gathering and back
- The car got a good run
- I was able to give a ride to my cousin and a friend
- My new neck warmer

I didn't do any file clearing or any other type of cleaning, today.  One of my friends has been telling me I've been working too much and she might be right!  Tomorrow, however, I need to do the dishes as they've piled up over the past couple of days!  Tomorrow is Memorial Day, here, in the U.S.  I called friend R to see if she wanted to get together, but, she said she has some shopping to do.  I think I will spend the day relaxing at home and attending to a few things around the house.  Today's joyful activities included attending the prayer gathering and making the neck warmer.

Monday's To Do List:
- Do the dishes/run the dishwasher
- Change my bedsheets
- Do a load of laundry
- Dust the living room & dining area
- Clean the fridge
- Take the trash cans to the curb
- 30 minutes of file clearing
- One craft project
(I don't have to water the garden, normally scheduled for Monday, since it rained, today.)

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

Still Tweaking the Spare Room

Uppuma - Indian Style Cream of Wheat
On Friday, I cooked uppuma for my breakfast - this is made with cream of wheat, to which I added curry leaves, chilies, and peanuts.  I posted how I make it, here.

Later, Friday afternoon, I removed all the large cooking pots and cake pans, etc., that were being stored on the bookcase I had in the garage and got friend M to carry it outside, where he and I cleaned it (so much dust and cobwebs, etc.!)  I thought I could bring it inside the house to use as storage space in the spare room.  However, upon closer inspection, I realized that the bottom portion of the unit was water damaged and the particle board had begun to split.  It was still useful in the garage, but, not something I wanted inside the house.  So, M carried it back to the garage and set it up there, now nicely dusted and clean!  Well, that answered that question!  Now I know that if I want a taller shelving unit in the spare room, I will have to buy one.

In the meantime, I found a different container for my button collection:

Old Button Box
My mother and I used to buy buttons when they went on sale for $.10 per card, many, many, years ago.  Plain buttons, decorative buttons, in all sizes and colors.  Plus all kinds of trimmings, too.  My mother stored them in this repurposed wet wipes container.  I used to store it in one of the desk drawers.  On Friday, I pulled out this other container, a small round thin wood box that I had covered with gift wrap paper, several years ago (I used to store spare batteries in it), and dumped the button collection into it:

New Button Box
Everything fits in nicely and, best of all, I can close the lid!

Closed Button Box
There's another round box like that, covered with the same paper, which holds all my decorative edged pairs of scissors for scrapbooking.  I'm thinking of gluing a button to the top of this box to make it easier to tell them apart.  For now, the button box is placed on the chest of drawers, with the other sewing supplies and the scrapbooking scissors box is on the desk, near the scrapbooking papers.  

If I get additional shelving in the spare room, these would be the sort of things I'd store on them.

In addition to playing with buttons and cleaning the garage shelves, on Friday, I scrubbed my bathtub, did some grocery shopping, and decluttered these plastic Easter eggs and bunnies:

Plastic Easter Eggs and Bunnies
The Easter Bunny no longer comes calling at this house since there is no little girl to get excited about waking up to find trails of glitter leading to hidden eggs containing treats (she didn't like candy, so, she received things like hair bows, novelty erasers, coins, etc. in the eggs).   These days, the only bunnies one is likely to encounter here are dust bunnies, of which there are plenty!

Today, Saturday, I pulled the desk and the chest of drawers away from the walls and swept behind them!  Then, I swept the floor again and went over it with a damp mop.  The main reason for pulling the furniture out was to reach the outlets behind them - I plugged in a radio I had in another room and set it on the chest of drawers, and I plugged in an extension cord to the outlet behind the desk, to make it easier to plug in the sewing machine or a hot glue gun, etc.  I also need to buy a desk lamp for the table.  

After that, I went through another file of papers (car insurance and auto club membership) and tore up everything other than the most current ones.  I took a full bag of paper to the recycling bin!  

Breakfast, today, was a rice cake spread with peanut butter.  For lunch, I pulled out a container of spaghetti  sauce I had in the freezer and a package of ground beef I had browned and frozen.  It was a matter of thawing them in the microwave before heating them together in a saucepan while the water boiled and the spaghetti cooked.  There is more meat sauce left for a couple of meals, as well.  For dinner, I had a sandwich with the last of the beef steak I had cooked earlier.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- A sunny day
- Chatting on the phone with aunt C
- Lunch from the freezer
- All what I was able to accomplish
- No phone calls from the doctor on Friday, either

Tomorrow, a member of the extended family is hosting the monthly rosary and a brunch to commemorate her father's first death anniversary.  I will be giving cousin P and friend F a ride to the event and back.  I haven't made any other plans for tomorrow, but, I'll probably sort through more files in the evening, after I get back.  The forecast calls for scattered showers, tomorrow.  Depending on how much rain we get, I might not have to water the garden for another couple of days.

How is your weekend coming along?  What are your plans for Sunday?

Friday, May 24, 2019

May Grocery Shopping: Week 3

5/24 Groceries
I did a little grocery shopping, today.  I went mostly to buy bananas, but, when I was at the store, I realized that the cherries were on sale for $.99/lb., and the salad dressing was on sale for $1.99.  I also bought a pineapple for $.99 and a packet of frozen corn since I had finished the packet I had.

I spent a total of $8.58, which put me over this month's budget!  Oops!

5/24 Grocery Receipt

My May grocery budget is $75 + $6.40 carried over from April = $81.40

Spent to date: $15.72 + $1.50 + $32.92 +  $21.02 + $1.99 (oil; on 5/15) + $2.50 (bananas, crackers, popcorn on 5/19) + $8.58  = $84.23

Balance left in the budget = $81.40 - $84.23 = - $2.83

I will carry the negative amount forward to June and deduct it from the June grocery budget.  It's OK, because some of the things I bought this month, such as the tea, oil, salad dressing, etc., will last me well into June.  I will need to buy more bananas and probably bread, next week, but, as long as I can keep the amount I go over budget to under $10, I shall be fine. 

How is your May grocery shopping and budget coming along? 

Books, Glorious Books

According to my mother, on my first birthday, when I was fed rice for the first time, as part of that ceremony, a mat was spread on the floor with several different object placed on it and I was placed on the mat to see which objects would attract my attention.  It was supposed to be a foretelling of my future interests.  Apparently, I went for gold jewelry and a book!  As far as the foretelling is concerned, it turned out to be quite accurate!  I do like gold jewelry and I love books!

Throughout my child hood, I received books as gifts for birthdays and other holidays.  I grew up in a time and place where there was no television.  I was 17 when I first watched television and that was after I had left Sri Lanka!  We would go to see movies at a cinema theater, but that was not an every day event.  As a result, reading was a main pastime.  I had a collection of my own books, I would borrow books from my cousins and friends, and I would borrow books from various libraries, including the British Council's and the United States Information Services'.  When I left Sri Lanka, however, I gave away all my books.

I had access to the university's library when I arrived in the United States, which was good because I didn't have money to buy books, other than text books.  Once I had some spare money, however, I began to buy books.  I used to belong to several mail order "book of the month" clubs: cook book of the month, craft book of the month, history book of the month, romance book of the month, etc.  Plus, there were all the book shops, including one across the street from my office!

At first, my books were kept in boxes, which we covered with table cloths and used as occasional tables because we didn't have money for furniture!  Later, I made book cases with some pieces of wood I found and cement blocks and bricks.  This was back in the 70s when wood and cement block (or brick) shelving units were quite common, especially in student housing.  Eventually, my mother acquired a small bookcase which someone was giving away.

Later, in the early 1980s, I bought bookcases.  A set of three for $19.99, each, that came in a flat package which I assembled - I still have two of them!  Considering that they are chipboard furniture, that's not too bad!  One of them is in the dining area:

Bookcase in the Dining Area

Table Linen in the cupboard 

I display some of my blue and white china collection on some of the shelves, my cookbook collection on one shelf, and table linen, kitchen towels, ect. in the cupboard part behind the doors.

The other one, which has all shelves and no doors, is in the garage.  I am thinking of bringing it back in to use in the spare room, but, I need to check it for damage to the bottom (which is why I put it to use as storage in the garage). 

Later, still in the early 1980s, when I worked in an office space design/office furniture company, I bought two more bookcases, with my employee discount (cost + 10%, deducted weekly from my pay check).  I have those two with me, as well.

This one is in the living room:

Living Room Bookcase

Two shelves for display space and three shelves of books.  Mostly history-related books, with one or two classics.

The other, matching bookcase is in the family room:

Family Room Bookcase
This one has gardening and religion books on the top shelf, mostly crafts books on the next two shelves, and decorating and Christmas books on the bottom shelf. 

In addition to these bookcases, there are three shorter ones, including the one in the spare room, two wall mounted shelves in my bedroom (for my collection of paperback romance novels!), plus two tall bookcases in my daughter's room, with her books. 

According to one of my friends (L), it is not a bookcase unless each shelf is crammed full of books, with paperbacks set two rows to a shelf, and there are books lying horizontally on top of other books!  LOL!  That is exactly how these bookcases looked, several years ago!  I had about 9 linear feet of cookbooks, alone!  Also, according to her, there's no such thing as having too many books.  I am rather inclined to agree with her, but, I began to feel that I had an over abundance of books.

I have stopped buying books.  Instead, I have been borrowing from the library system, which consists of 72 branch libraries (the City of L. A. is very spread out).  If your local branch doesn't have a particular book but, it is in the system, you can request it and it will be sent to the local branch, or any other branch you specify (sometimes, when I was working, I used to request it be sent to the branch near my office, as it was convenient to pick it up during my lunch break).  In addition, I am a member of the public library system in the adjoining city, too (they have four branches); membership there is free, even if I am not a resident of the city, because I am a member of my city's public library system.

I have been going through and decluttering a few books at a time, over the past several years.  My books no longer overflow the shelf space I have for them.  But, I still have about 350 books (give or take a couple, and that doesn't include my daughter's books!).  I am looking at how many I have and am wondering why I am keeping so many.  Just how many gardening/landscaping books does one need?  How many knitting books?  How many cookbooks?  Especially, these days, when there is so much online?  How much is too much?

Which is why, in June, I want to challenge myself to declutter 30 books.  One book a day.  My friend L suggests decluttering one book for every 10 books I have, but, I don't think I can just go across the shelves and pull out every 10th book and put aside to donate!  It might be easier to do so, but, that is too random for me!  I have read most of the books on my shelves, but there are a few that I haven't read or finished reading, yet.  There are a few that I would like to re-read before I give them away, and that is OK, too.  But, the goal for June is 30 books to be decluttered. 

Anyone else wants to join the 30 books decluttering challenge?  You can declutter more than 30 books, if you like, of course, but, for me, for now, 30 is a good number to start with. 

Overcast Thursday

It's been another cloudy, overcast day.  There was a slight drizzle in the morning when I went outside to pick some curry leaves, but, no real rain.

I had a hard time falling asleep last night because I was excited about cleaning my spare room!  It was past 4:30 a.m. when I finally fell asleep.  As a result, I slept till after 11:00 a.m., this morning.  I spent a relaxed rest of the morning and early afternoon, replying to blog comments, visiting a couple of other blogs, having cream of wheat for brunch, and playing a few games of sudoku online.

Later in the afternoon, I returned to clearing the spare room.  I went through the rest of the desk drawers.  I put the box of scrapbooking/card making supplies into one of the empty drawers.  I put some files to be sorted through in the same drawer as the old bank files.  As a result, I now have a total of three empty drawers in that desk, and one drawer that is only half full.  I have plans for those empty drawers, though, so they won't remain empty for long!

Then, I took a break and had a cup of tea and some food.  I watched the evening news and decluttered another magazine (I look through the magazines one last time before decluttering them).

I returned to the spare room and cleared the top of the chest of drawers/dresser where I store the fabric stash.  It was piled with sewing stuff and the box of scrapbooking/card making supplies.

Dresser - Before
What a mess!  I moved the scrapbooking/card making stuff to the desk.  The half finished quilt went into the linen closet for the time being.  Then, I put everything else on the bed and dusted the top.  I put back the baskets of fabric scraps - these are the smaller pieces that I am trying to use up in quilts and other projects.  Then, I put all the reels of thread and other sewing notions from a smaller plastic shoe box type container into a larger pink plastic basket that I had freed up, earlier, when I filed all the papers that were in that basket:

Blurry "After" Picture
One of the items I had stored on top of the dresser was this box of sewing patterns:

Sewing Patterns
I only have about 7 sewing patterns and some of them are for various craft items, not clothes, and they were all mixed up with some patterns my mother had.  Sorting through the patterns and putting them in this plastic shoe box was a first step in organizing them, several years ago.  Today, I put them all in some page protectors I had and put them in a binder:

Organized in a Binder

The binder of sewing patterns is now being stored in the bookcase next to the desk.  I cleaned and tidied that a bit, too.  

I am thinking of replacing this bookcase (bought for my daughter, when she was a little girl, for her books) with a taller one (more storage space!), but, for now, this is what I have.

I also reorganized one of my own dresser drawers, as I found a sturdier box than what I had been using to sort my socks.  I also decluttered four unopened packages of pantyhose from that drawer, as I no longer wear them.  Plus, I "decluttered" one lone sock by turning it into a catnip toy for Dancer.

Among the items that I decluttered, today, are:

Message Board
This message board has a magnet so that it can be mounted on a fridge.  It came with a calendar in the upper half.  I couldn't find a replacement calendar, so we just wrote messages on the plastic board!  The message written on it that you see, written by my daughter, reminding me to eat, was from the time I was undergoing chemo and would forget to eat!  No wonder I lost weight!  LOL!   I took it down when I bought the new fridge - when was that?  September 2017!  Almost two years ago!    

I also decluttered this binder organizer that my daughter had when she was in high school:

Binder Organizer
I love anything with pockets and pouches!  But, I am not using it, so, it needs to go.

So must this small sewing machine:

"Tiny Tailor"

I bought it for my daughter, when she was still a little girl, because she wanted a real sewing machine.  But, she has a regular sewing machine now (well, I am using it, as mine doesn't work) and this was just sitting on the dresser, gathering dust.  I put it into a bag and set aside with the rest of the bags of donations.

By the time I sorted through all that, I was too tired to do anything else.  There's a little bit more to do in the spare room, and, as I told one of my friends, today, the closet in that room is still a scary place (even though I sorted through it, once), but, it is no longer The Dump!

Today, I am grateful for:
- No call from the doctor's office, again!
- Being able to sleep in
- All what I was able to accomplish
- Phone calls and emails from friends
- Chatting with my daughter

Thursday's To Do List:
- Clean my bathroom 
- Clean the kitchen 
- Paperwork/filing - DONE
- Do one decluttering/organizing task in the spare room - DONE (did more than one task!)

I didn't clean my bathroom or the kitchen, as I didn't want to lose my momentum in the spare room.

Friday's To Do List:
- Clean my bathroom
- Clean the kitchen
- Paperwork/shredding
- Start the car (at the very least)/drive it around a bit

How was your Thursday? 

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Rainy Wednesday

It rained, on and off, today.  There was even some thunder, which is rather unusual for us.  Around 4:30 p.m., however, it stopped raining and we had a little bit of sunshine.

Dancer woke me up, this morning, with that strange sound he makes when he is about to throw up!  Sure enough, he came right next to my bed and threw up his undigested breakfast of kibbles!  He has a tendency to eat very fast and then, he throws up.  Just why he has to do it right next to my bed (or, sometimes, under it) is something I haven't figured out, yet!  At least he didn't throw up on the bed!  I am very thankful for that!

I had a slow start to my day, but I made up for it in the afternoon and evening.  I watered the indoor plants (I only have two, so it takes all of two minutes to do that!  LOL.)  Then, I vacuumed the house, cleaned one bathroom, sorted through the second stack of papers I had put aside to go through, today, and cleared the desk in the spare room:

Cleared Desk Top and Empty Drawers!  
There are no "before" pictures, because I was too ashamed to take any!  But, this was how the desk looked just a couple of days ago, after I had already done some clearing:


I boxed up the old bank files I had stored in those drawers, using two boxes I had saved when some gifts were mailed to me over the holidays.  I will sort through the other drawers another day.  I need to find a better place to store the boxes that are under the desk, but, they can stay there for now.  By the time I cleaned the top of the desk, I was tired.

I decluttered a magazine and another book, today:

Another Book for Donation
I bought this book for my daughter when she was a little girl, partly because it was about an Indian girl and partly because it was a story about the power of doubling.  In it, an Indian girl is offered a reward by the raja (king) for a good deed.  It is a time of famine but the raja is hoarding all the rice in the storehouses.  The girl asks for a single grain of rice, to be doubled every day for 30 days, as her reward.  On the first day, she receives a single grain of rice, on the second day, two grains, and so on, until, on the 30th day, she has received over one billion grains of rice, in total!  The royal storehouses have all been emptied by then and the girl shares the rice with the people of the land who were starving.  There is a table at the end of the book, showing how the grains of rice multiplied:

Over a billion grains of rice

I thought it was a cute story and held on to the book long after my daughter had outgrown it.  Time to release it for another little girl to enjoy.

Today, I am grateful for:
- No phone call from the doctor's office!
- Dancer seems back to normal.
- The rain we received (don't have to water the garden, this week!)
- My new insurance card, with the new doctor listed, arrived in the mail
- All that I was able to accomplish, today

My joyful activity for the day has to be clearing the desk in the spare room!

Wednesday's To Do List:
- Water the house plants - DONE
- Vacuum - DONE
- Clean the bathrooms - STARTED
- Do one decluttering/organizing task in the spare room - sort through the basket of stuff - DONE
- Paperwork/filing - the second stack - DONE
- Shopping? (I want to get some storage boxes for some files and maybe a better desk chair)  - NOT DONE; I used boxes I had and will shop for a chair, later.

Thursday's To Do List:
- Clean my bathroom
- Clean the kitchen
- Paperwork/filing
- Do one decluttering/organizing task in the spare room

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

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Overcast Tuesday

A cold, drizzly, morning; the drizzle stopped, later, but the day remained overcast and cool.

Dancer seems to be doing better.  He meowed around noon and led me to the kitchen!  I was so happy to hear him meow that I rewarded him with some tuna!  He vocalized his thanks when I fed him, again, around tea time.  Then, later, when I was making my dinner and I wouldn't give him more tuna, he meowed his complaints for a few minutes before going off to eat his kibbles.

Thank you to all who commented and said to keep the bed in the spare room.  I think Dancer is happy about it, too!  In the afternoon, he decided that the freshly made bed in the spare room was an ideal spot for his nap:

Dancer Approves!
There was no phone call from the doctor's office about the blood test results, today; since no news is good news, where this is concerned, I hope that it continues to be so!

I spent a good portion of the afternoon sorting through a stack of paper.  This was more recent mail and other paperwork which needed to be filed.  I got through that pile.  There is a second stack of paper to go through, tomorrow.

Then, I dusted the furniture in the living room, dining room, family room, and my bedroom.  It's getting easier!  I also did a bit of decluttering, including this book:

For the Donations Bag
Craft books are next to impossible for me to declutter!

Later, I washed the dishes and scrubbed the kitchen sink.  That was the extent of my productivity, today.

Today, I am grateful for:
- The doctor's office didn't call!
- Dancer seems to be better.
- What I was able to accomplish today
- Warm clothes to wear on a cool day
- Phone calls from family and friends

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Call the vet's office if Dancer is still not meowing - He's better, today.
- Take Dancer for a check up?  - Didn't need to
- Bring in the trash cans - DONE
- Dust the living room and dining area - DONE
- Dust family room and my bedroom - DONE
- Water the house plants
- 30 minutes in the spare room (sort through big basket of stuff) - Did other paperwork, instead

I forgot to water the house plants, today.  All two of them!  Now you know why I have only two left!  LOL!

Wednesday's To Do List:
- Water the house plants
- Vacuum
- Clean the bathrooms
- Do one decluttering/organizing task in the spare room - sort through the basket of stuff
- Paperwork/filing - the second stack
- Shopping? (I want to get some storage boxes for some files and maybe a better desk chair) 

How was your Tuesday?  What are your plans for Wednesday?  Do you find it difficult to declutter books?

Monday, May 20, 2019

Productive Monday, Too

I was up by 9:00 a.m., today, even though I couldn't fall asleep until after 3:30 a.m.  I had a cup of tea, replied to blog comments, and commented on one or two blogs.  Then, it was time to get ready to go to my doctor's appointment, which was at noon.  But, I left the house by 11:00 a.m., because, depending on the traffic, the drive can take one hour.  Today, however, traffic was not too bad and I arrived at the doctor's office a little after 11:30 a.m.  The receptionist told me, rather apologetically, that I will have to wait as the doctor didn't come in until noon, today; I assured her it was fine, I didn't mind waiting.

I was seen by the doctor shortly after noon.  Since this was a follow-up appointment, he had me do a blood test to check my iron levels.  If the results show there is an iron deficiency, then, he said, his office staff will call me and schedule another appointment for further testing.  If everything is OK, however, the office staff will not call me and there won't be any further appointments!  That, of course, is what I am hoping for! I did ask if I should call to find out about the test results, but was told not to do that.  He told me, "You'll hear from us if something is wrong".  I guess I will have to be content with that!  In the meantime, I am praying that I won't get a phone call!

On the way home, I stopped by my favorite fish and chips place and ordered a piece of fried fish and mini shrimp to go, no chips!  Came home and had the fish and some of the shrimp for my lunch, along with a banana for dessert.

Aunt C had called and left a message while I was out, so I called her back and chatted with her.

Then, I started on the laundry.  I did three loads of laundry.  I washed the sheets and blanket from the bed in the spare room (I washed the quilt, last night).  Then, I washed the comforter I use as a mattress pad on that bed and I did a load of regular laundry, too.  I'm afraid I dried everything in the dryer, instead of hanging them up to air dry!  Then, I made up the bed in the spare room with the freshly laundered bed linen.

One of my favorite quilts
When not being used as a dump, the spare room functions as a guest room for occasional overnight visitors!  I go back and forth on whether to keep the bed (convenient if I have a guest sleep the night) or get rid of it (I'll have more space!)  I guess the bed stays for now!

While I did laundry, I also went through more papers.  I cleared the stack that was piled on top of the filing cabinet and other papers that were stored in baskets.  Most of it got recycled, the rest filed.  I now have three empty baskets and one empty plastic shoe box.  I also did some mending and replaced an elastic on a pair of sweatpants. 

Later in the evening, I cleaned the fridge and took the trash cans to the curb.

Poor Dancer is a bit under the weather - yesterday, his meows sounded hoarse; today, he's not meowing at all!  He's eating, drinking, and using the litter box, so I am not too worried, but, if he continues to be silent, tomorrow, I will call the vet and ask if I should bring him in for a check up.

Today, I am grateful for:
- A good appointment with the doctor (hopefully, the blood test results will be good, too!)
- A safe drive to the clinic and back
- A working washer and dryer!
- Phone call from aunt C
- What I was able to accomplish today

Monday's To Do List:
- Doctor's appointment (at noon; need to leave the house by 11:00 a.m.) - DONE
- Change bed sheets - DONE (did the spare room bed)
- Load of laundry (bed sheets/towels) - DONE (did the spare room bed linen)
- Dust living room & dining area
- Clean the fridge - DONE
- Take trash cans to the curb for Tuesday trash pick up - DONE

I didn't dust the living room and dining area because I was busy sorting through papers.  I did dust the top of the filing cabinet which is in the spare room, but that was all.

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Call the vet's office if Dancer is still not meowing
- Take Dancer for a check up?
- Bring in the trash cans
- Dust the living room and dining area
- Dust family room and my bedroom
- Water the house plants
- 30 minutes in the spare room (sort through big basket of stuff)

Basket of Stuff!

When I was tidying up the spare room, I put some stuff into this basket to sort through later.  The majority of it belongs to my daughter.  I have this basket and a big plastic storage box in which I have kept some sentimental items to be sorted through, next.  Once they are done, the desk area will be cleared. 

How was your Monday?  Did you have a good day?  What are your plans for Tuesday?

Productive Sunday

It rained, Sunday morning, but, the rain had ceased by the time I woke up.  I had a relaxed morning, replying to blog comments, etc.  Neighbor T called for our Sunday morning chat and we spoke for a bit.  Then, I chatted with my daughter and discussed our plans for the day.

The pharmacy had texted me saying two of my prescription refills were ready to be picked up, so, in the afternoon, I went to collect them.  Afterwards, I went to the dollar store, next door, and bought some bananas, a box of crackers, a box of microwave popcorn, and a package of toilet paper.  On the way home, I picked up a pizza for lunch (and dinner, too; plus there are leftovers for another couple of meals).

After I came home, I had some pizza and watched some TV.  I tried to sew, but I didn't feel like sewing.  I looked through and decluttered a few magazines, but I felt restless.  So, I decided to do a little more cleaning and organizing in the spare room.  That room has had so many things dumped in there, that I have been referring it to as The Dump!  I usually get overwhelmed when I try to organize it.  I simply don't know where to start!

Today, I started with the drawers where I store part of my fabric stash.  I had pulled out some fabric when I was choosing the backing for my current quilts and I hadn't put them all away.  That was a good place to start.  I put the fabric away and tidied the drawers a little bit, then, put away a couple of quilts that are in progress until I am ready to work on them.  I found a frame for a photograph I wanted to frame and took a minute to put the photograph in the frame.

Next, I wanted to put away some files that were on the bed.  In the process of finding room for them on the desk, I took everything off the desk, dusted the desk, and put everything back on top of the desk - there's a lot to be sorted through (lots of papers), but that is for another day.

As usual, one thing led to another.  When I dusted the desk, I noticed that the window sill was covered with a layer of fine, black, road dust, that had blown in, even though I keep the window closed!  I cleaned the window sill which led to washing the inside of the window and the door to the room!    Finally, I vacuumed the floor and washed the quilt that was on the bed (it is in the dryer as I type this).  By that time, I was tired.  I had spent one and a half hours, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., tidying the spare room.  I think I made good use of my restless energy!

I spent a quiet rest of the evening, feeling well pleased with what I was able to accomplish today.

Today, I am grateful for:
- The prescriptions were refilled without any problems!
- More rain for the garden
- What I was able to accomplish today
- Making progress in the spare room
- Phone calls, emails, and video chats

Monday's To Do List:
- Doctor's appointment (at noon; need to leave the house by 11:00 a.m.)
- Change bed sheets
- Load of laundry (bed sheets/towels)
- Dust living room & dining area
- Clean the fridge
- Take trash cans to the curb for Tuesday trash pick up

How was your Sunday?  Did you have a productive day or was it a day of rest?  What are your plans for Monday?

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Saturday's Highlights

Fabric Store Purchase

On Saturday, I drove to the fabric store to buy grey thread.  I took a small piece of the fabric with me and this was the closest shade of grey I could find to match it.  

While I was at the store, I spent a little time walking around and looking at things..  I liked this sign they had in their yarn section:

Sign Above the Yarn Bins
They had broadcloth on sale for $1.99 per yard and I was very tempted to buy some.  They also had some 100% cotton fabric on clearance that had a very pretty floral design in blue and purple that I liked.  But, I managed to resist the temptation to buy any new fabric!  Instead, I purchased only the reel of thread I had gone for.  

However, at the check out counter, the cashier pointed to a bin of notions beside him and said that I could pick any item in there for free!  I took a quick look and chose this packet of ruched elastic:

I am not sure what I'll use it for, but, it was free!  I'm sure I'll find some use for it!  If not, I'll put it in the donations bag.

Lunch was another salad:

Lunch Salad

Dinner was a steak sandwich.
In the late afternoon, I watched a movie on TV, "A Passage to India".  It was made in the 1980s, I believe, but this is the first time I've seen it.  I enjoyed watching it.

I took the quilt out to sew on it, but someone else laid claim to it:

"Mummy is making another quilt"
"And I am helping!"

It's been drizzling on and off, all evening.  I won't have to water the garden for another couple of days!

Today, I am grateful for:
- A relaxed day
- The rain we are getting
- A visit to the fabric store (even if I didn't buy any fabric!)
- A good movie on TV
- Chatting with my daughter

I don't have any firm plans for Sunday.  The forecast calls for rain.  I will probably stay home and sew.  

How was your Saturday?  What are your plans for Sunday?