Sunday, June 30, 2019

Sew on Saturday

I slept most of the morning, on Saturday!  I woke up, once, at 7:30 a.m., feeling wide awake; I debated whether to get up, but, I hadn't gone to sleep until after 3:30 a.m., so decided to sleep a little longer.  Then, I slept till almost noon!

I spent the entire rest of the day sewing!  I turned the TV (in the family room) around so I could watch it from the dining room while I sewed.  Some people go away on quilting retreats; I had one at home!  The sewing machine stalled a couple of times, as the thread got entangled in the bobbin, but I managed to get the thread cleared and the machine going again, each time.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being able to sleep in
- Being able to spend a day indulging in sewing
- A seemingly endless stash of scrap fabric
- A working sewing machine
- Fun TV programs to watch/listen to while I sewed

The only productive thing I did all day was clean out the litter box! 

How was your Saturday?

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Doctor's Appointment on Friday

6/28 Book Decluttering

Friday's book decluttering was my copy of The Diary of a Young Girl.  Before I decluttered it, I checked with my daughter to see if she wanted the book kept, but, she said that, although she enjoyed reading it, she doesn't think she will re-read it. 

I watered the peach tree and the orange tree, in the morning.  Then, I watched the first half of the soccer match, between the USA and France, while I sewed a few more patchwork squares.  Then, it was time to leave to go to the doctor's appointment.

Before I left the house, however, I had a call from the nurse at the clinic.  She was calling to ask if I had received any calls from the pharmacy about the medication I was supposed to receive (the Prolia injection for osteoporosis).  The pharmacy was supposed to send it to the clinic in order for me to receive it and the clinic apparently hadn't received the medication.  She asked me to call the pharmacy and call her back.  

I called the pharmacy and received the confirmation that they will be sending the medication to the clinic.  The call took a few minutes as they needed to know all kinds of information from me.  By the time I got off the phone and tried to call the nurse back, the clinic was closed for lunch!    By then, it was past 1:15 p.m. and I had to leave to get to my appointment which was at 2:15 p.m.!

When I got to the clinic, the nurse said that they had spoken to the pharmacy and got it all cleared!  They would give me the injection using what they had in stock and they will replenish the stock when the pharmacy sends the medication to them.  If not, I suppose I would have had to go back for my injection after they had received the medication.

Today's doctor's visit went very well, too.  It was with the oncologist and he went over the lab test results with me and said it all looked well.  The cancer markers were well under the limit and all the other things they checked were within the recommended range.   I reminded him that I was due for a mammogram and he put in the request for one.  I will be notified when it is scheduled.  I also received my Prolia injection.  That thing hurt!  I have a follow up visit in three months' time.

By the time I left the clinic, it was 3:30 p.m. and I was getting hungry (I hadn't eaten before I went).  I stopped and bought a pizza on the way home and had some of that for my lunch.  Then, I watched news and rested a bit.

Friend M came to do the garden and we applied more Epsom salts to the plants.

Later, friend R called and we chatted a bit.  We had made some plans to get together tomorrow, but, she said she couldn't make it.  We made plans to get together for her birthday that is coming up in a couple of weeks, instead.

I spent the evening playing with fabric, again.  Another 12 squares have been added to the pile I've sewn so far.  

On Friday, I was grateful for:
- Another good doctor's visit
- The medication was sorted out with the pharmacy and I received my injection
- I had a safe drive to the clinic and back
- I don't have to go back another day to get the injection
- Good lab test results

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

Friday, June 28, 2019

More Errands on Thursday

Decluttered Book #21

I slept in, this morning and had a relaxed rest of the morning.  I had my morning cup of tea, responded to blog comments, played a few games of sudoku, and watched the soccer match (England vs. Norway).  Breakfast was the last of the bananas I bought earlier in the week.

Later, in the afternoon, I went to the pharmacy to get my prescription filled.  While they did that, I went over to the dollar store, next door, and bought three more bananas, which came to $.51.  Then, I went back to the pharmacy and waited until the prescription was ready.

After that, I went to the crafts store to buy the paint my daughter had wanted to make an accessory for one of her cosplay outfits.  While I was there, I looked around and saw all the birdhouses to be painted.  I rather like the ones with the picket fences!  Since one of the alternative prompts on the Summer Photographic Scavenger Hunt was birdhouses, I took a couple of photos of them, just in case!

Birdhouses (SPSH Alternative)

There were a couple of other items I drooled over at the crafts store, but, they weren't on sale and I was good and didn't buy anything other than the paint for my daughter.  However, when I paid for the paint, I received a coupon for 40% off one regular price item, so, I just might go back and buy one of the items I coveted!

 I was tempted to buy some Chinese fast food for lunch, or even a hamburger, but, I resisted the temptation, came home, and made myself a salad, instead.  Then, I watched news on TV and sorted through more books to declutter.  I think I already mentioned that it is like pulling teeth!

After tea, I watched the Democratic candidates' debate and sewed more string quilt squares.  I have sewn 80 squares, so far, and I figure I need at least 120 squares for a twin/full size quilt.  The baskets of scraps are still quite full, if not quite overflowing!

Dinner was frozen battered fish fillets, baked, with a side of green peas.

Today, I am grateful for:
- My prescription was filled without any delays or drama
- Fresh lemonade made with lemons from my trees
- A sunny and warm afternoon
- Interesting programs to watch on TV
- An evening spent playing with fabric

My joyful activity for the day was playing with fabric.

Thursday's To Do List:
- Pharmacy to hand in new prescription - DONE
- Dollar store for more bananas - DONE
- Crafts store to buy paint for daughter - DONE
- Clean the kitchen
- Paperwork/filing - Respond to the Census survey on-line

I didn't clean the kitchen or do paperwork, today.  They will be carried over to Friday.

Friday's To Do List:
- Doctor's appointment
- Leave a note to M re. garden tasks
- Clean the kitchen
- Census survey

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

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Wednesday's Activities

Decluttered Book #20

I had a fairly relaxed morning, enjoying a cup of tea while I replied to blog comments.  Then, it was time to get dressed and go to my doctor's appointment.  The appointment was scheduled for 1:30 p.m.  I left the house a little before 12:30 p.m. and got to the clinic around 1:15 p.m.  There was just enough time to check in, get my parking ticket validated, read a couple of prayers in my prayer book, and watch a little bit of news coverage on the TV in the waiting room before being called in.

I was afraid I might have put on weight (the medication the doctor put me on to reduce the swelling has a tendency to increase the appetite, so I've been feeling hungry and constantly eating!), but the nurse checked my weight and said I had gained all of 4 ounces since my last visit, a month ago.  Of course, we would have both been happier if I had lost some weight, but, I was happy I hadn't gained as much as I had feared!

The doctor checked me and pronounced himself very happy with my progress.  The swelling has gone down a bit and I don't feel any discomfort, etc.  He wants me to continue with the medication (and gave me a new prescription) and to come back in six weeks' time for a follow-up.  I made the appointment before I left.

I came home a little after 2:30 p.m.  I was hungry for lunch, by then, so I made a tuna salad sandwich (I shared a little of the tuna and some of the lettuce with Dancer, who was very happy with his treat!).

Aunt C had called and left a message while I was out, so I called her back and left her a message in return, as she didn't answer her phone.  I was watching news and shredding the papers in a file folder when I remembered I hadn't taken the new prescription to the pharmacy!  But, I didn't feel like going out, again, so, decided to go to the pharmacy tomorrow morning.

Instead, I removed all the books on the bottom shelf of the bookcase in the family room and dusted the shelf and the tops of the books.  Then, I put the books back on the shelf.  There is about one linear foot of empty space on that shelf, now, after my recent decluttering!  Progress!  LOL!

Today, I am grateful for:
- A good visit with the radiation oncologist
- A safe drive to the clinic and back
- I hadn't gained much weight, after all
- Validated parking at this clinic (I have to pay only $2 and not $8)
- Conversations with my daughter

Wednesday's To Do List:
- Dr's appointment - DONE
- Clean the fridge - DONE
- Clean the bathroom - DONE

Thursday's To Do List:
- Pharmacy to hand in new prescription
- Dollar store for more bananas
- Crafts store to buy paint for daughter
- Clean the kitchen
- Paperwork/filing - Respond to the Census survey on-line

How was your Wednesday?  What have you planned for Thursday?

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Errands on Tuesday

Three More Christmas Books Decluttered
Today was another overcast day, until mid-afternoon, when the marine layer finally lifted and the sunshine came through.  I spent a relaxed morning.  Brunch was a scrambled egg and a rasher or two of bacon with a slice of toast, followed by the last orange I had picked from my tree (I had been keeping it in the fridge, all this time).

The radiation oncologist's office called and confirmed my appointment for Wednesday.  The appointment with the oncologist is on Friday.

In the afternoon, I went to the pharmacy to pick up another medication refill. Apparently, I've met my deductible for prescription co-pays for this year, because I didn't have to pay the usual co-pay.

After that, I went to the dollar store, next door to the pharmacy, and bought some bananas (@ $.49/lb), a can of corned beef ($2.99), a packet of Kraft string cheese ($1 for 12 pieces), a can of condensed milk ($1.99), some candy, and a laser so Dancer can chase the light.  I didn't take a picture of the groceries and I haven't done a grocery post in a long time, either, have I?  My last grocery post was done in the first week in June, here.  I bought some groceries on 6/16 at the dollar store - some pasta, a can of spaghetti sauce, a can of corned beef, bananas, a couple of boxes of crackers, and some snacks for $12.94 and a loaf of bread at the adjoining grocery store for $.50.  Today's grocery shopping came to $8.00.  I have spent most of the remaining $22.64 in my grocery budget for this month.  $22.64 - $12.94 - $.50 - $8 = $1.20.  I doubt I'll need to buy anything else between now and the end of the month, so I did well this month.

After I came home, I watered the garden, did the dusting, and shredded more papers while I watched some TV.  I also decluttered three more Christmas books.

Today's joyful activity was reading.

Today, I am grateful for:
- A relaxed morning
- Birds singing in the garden
- Drama-free prescription refills!
- Dollar store bargains
- Sunshine in the afternoon

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Clean the fridge
- Bring the trash cans in - DONE
- Dust family room and my bedroom - DONE
- Errands, if any (grocery shopping, etc.) - DONE (Pharmacy & Dollar Store)
- Water the garden (front and back) and house plants -  DONE

Once again, I didn't get around to cleaning the fridge! 

- Dr's appointment
- Clean the fridge
- Clean the bathroom

How was your Tuesday?  Did you have a fun day?  What are your plans for Wednesday?

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Prayer Gatherings and House Cleaning

Koi Fish in Pond
On Sunday, I went to a friend's house as she was hosting the monthly prayer gathering and lunch.  I gave cousin P a ride there and back.  I offered a ride to another cousin, as well, but she was busy with visitors, she said.  It looks like the monthly prayer gatherings are starting to come to an end since a number of the other participants keep finding excuses to not attend.   The friend who hosted yesterday's prayer gathering read a story from this book:

All the Women of the Bible
It's a collection of biographical stories of the women mentioned in the Bible.  I expressed an interest in reading it and my friend lent it to me.  I read portions of it, last night.  I found it very interesting, but, someone didn't proof read the book properly, before it was published, because I found some spelling mistakes!  For example, "... a soldier born and bread".  Indeed!  LOL!  Somewhere else, "heir" instead of "hair".  Maybe they used a computer spell checking program, instead of someone actually proof reading it!

My friend's husband has a fish pond in their backyard and I took some photographs of the fish:

Reflections and Fish
Too bad I had already chosen my mother's fish platter as my photo for the Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt's prompt #11: Fish.  But, maybe the photo above, might qualify for prompt #4: "Blurred Vision"?

More Koi Fish
Sunday morning, before I left to go to the prayer gathering, I did some tidying and swept the area near the dining table where small snippets of fabric from my sewing had fallen on the floor, instead of  into the waste basket, and the family room where bits and pieces of paper from my file shredding had fallen on the floor.

Today, I dusted the living room and then, vacuumed the whole house.  I also did two loads of laundry, including the sheets and towels covering the family room sofas (the towels cover the sofa arms).  I went over the sofas with a lint roller brush to remove the fur that had still managed to get on them, even with the covering sheets, sprayed the sofas with flea spray as a precaution, and re-covered them with the washed and dried sheets.  I flea combed Dancer, too, but didn't find anything on him.  I hope it continues to stay that way!   Later, I washed the dishes (some by hand, some in the dishwasher), took the trash cans out to the curb, cleaned the litter box, and read.   

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being able to sleep in
- Making a good start on the weekly house cleaning
- No signs of fleas on Dancer
- Labor-saving appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers
- Electricity and indoor plumbing

Monday's To Do List:
- Change bed sofa cover sheets - DONE
- Load of laundry (bed sofa cover sheets/towels) - DONE
- Dust living room & dining area - DONE
- Vacuum the house - DONE
- Do the dishes/run the dishwasher - DONE
- Clean the fridge
- Take trash cans to the curb for Tuesday trash pick up - DONE
- Water the garden, front and back

Cleaning the fridge and watering the garden will be carried forward to Tuesday.

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Clean the fridge
- Bring the trash cans in
- Dust family room and my bedroom
- Errands, if any (grocery shopping, etc.)
- Water the garden (front and back) and house plants

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

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Garden in June - Part 2: Back Garden

The second part of my garden tour is the back yard.  It is a little more sheltered than the west-facing front garden, receiving morning and afternoon sun, but being shaded by the shadow of the house in the evenings.

White Agapanthus

The white agapanthus, planted under the bottle brush tree, are blooming.  I had blue agapanthus in the front garden, but they died during the drought.  The front garden gets more sun, as it faces west.  

The hibiscus plant grows in a little circle, all by itself:

It was dropping its leaves and we fertilized it with Epsom salt; I hope it helps.

In the bed under the orange tree, the radish plants are still flowering:

Radish Flowers
I am seriously considering growing radishes just for their flowers!

Above them, there are new oranges forming on the orange tree:

Oranges Developing

A bit further down the garden, the rosemary bush is flowering, too:

Rosemary Flowers

Along the back wall of the garden, the pink oleander trees are doing well:

Pink Oleander

Nearby, the calamondin tree is producing a new crop of fruit:

Calamondin Fruit

They look like miniature oranges or tangerines, but they are very sour!

Most of the roses have finished blooming, but the iceberg rose bush is still flowering:

Iceberg Roses

The back yard is surrounded by a wall.  This is the wall along the north side of the garden, where the lantana and plumbago "hedge" is growing:

Lantana/Plumbago Hedge

At one time, they were separate plants.  But, I've allowed them to grow together into one clump that is over three feet deep!  This is after M trimmed it back, about a month ago!
Plumbago Flowers

Lantana Flowers (a different shade than the ones in the front garden)

This part of the backyard is behind the garage and the garden shed.  Currently, it is rather overgrown and wild!  The garden cats love to prowl around here.  This is their "jungle"!

"The Jungle"

Another part of the Jungle!

The purple Martha Washington geranium is still flowering.  I haven't taken any cuttings yet, to try to root them:

Purple Martha Washington Geranium

The curry leaf trees (Murraya koenigii) are also flowering and their berries are starting to form:

Flowers of the Curry Leaf Tree
The leaves are used in our cooking; we add it to curries, to a type of rice porridge, or made into a type of relish.  The berries, which turn purplish-black when ripe, are also edible, but we don't normally eat them (they have a licorice sort of taste).

Something else that is edible is the tomato:

Baby Tomato
The two tomato plants I bought from the dollar store are growing and forming baby tomatoes!  I hope they will grow a bit bigger before the real heat of the summer starts!  I planted them in the same planting circle as the peach tree.

The peach tree is doing well, even if it lost all the little peaches that were forming, earlier in the spring!

The Peach Tree
I feel like singing my version of that old nursery rhyme:  "I have a little peach tree and nothing would it bear, not even a silver nutmeg or a golden pear"!  LOL!  Maybe next year.

The chrysanthemum I planted under one of the lemon trees is growing well and has been flowering for some time, now:


So are the mirabilis or four o'clocks that self-seed and grow back, every year:

Mirabilis/Four o'clocks

Meanwhile, the new crop of lemons are forming on the Meyer lemon trees:

Baby Lemons

There are fruit forming on the feijoa or pineapple guava trees, as well:

Feijoa or Pineapple Guava
I have three feijoa trees, all growing along the south side wall, two in the back garden and one in the front.  Unfortunately, my cherry guava tree died during the drought.  I haven't decided if I will plant a replacement tree or not.

More raindrops on spiderwebs!
That is the garden in June!  No manicured lawns or well planned out flower beds!  But, things are growing after all the winter rains and I hope you enjoyed the tour!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

The Garden in June - Part 1: Front Garden

On Friday, the first day of summer, I took a walk around my garden and took a bunch of pictures.  We had had a shower of rain, earlier in the morning, and, because the day was overcast and cool, the raindrops were still on the plants and on spiderwebs, which I thought looked pretty.

The lantana growing along the walkway in the front:

Lantana Flowers

That mini heatwave we had killed all the flowers on the pomegranate tree.  There is one, lone baby pomegranate, though:

Baby Pomegranate

The osteospermum have stopped flowering for the most part.  But, I am leaving the plants in place as they are still green and provide a bit of color:

Mixed Planting Bed - Osteospermum and Dusty Miller, among other plants

The mini heatwave caused the burn on these aeonium plants:

They are the ones grown from cuttings one of my former supervisors gave me.   I have more of them growing in more sheltered, shadier areas and they are doing well.

This variegated aeonium is in one of the more sheltered spots, and it is didn't suffer too much from the heatwave:

Variegated Aeonium

The cuttings of echeveria I took from the plants growing in front of a neighbor's house are growing well, too:

I took the cuttings with my neighbor's permission and I am glad I did so when I did, because her husband took out all those plants, last year! 

I was happy to see that one of the gladiola plants has sent up a flower stalk:

Gladiola Flower Stalk

The alstromeria. or Peruvian lily, growing under the pomegranate tree, is also flowering:

Alstromeria: Peruvian Parrot Lily
This particular species of alstromeria (Alstromeria psittacina or A. pulchella) is also known as Peruvian parrot lily or, simply, parrot lily.

The flat leaf parsley plant I bought from the dollar store has set seeds!  I should move the pot to one of the beds so that the seeds can fall into the bed and start new seedlings!  Right now, the pot is on the steps near my front door.

Parsley Seed Head
That is a tour of the front garden on the first day of summer!  I will do the back garden in a separate post.

How is your garden coming along?

Friday, June 21, 2019

On the First Day of Summer

Rain Drops on Cobwebs

On the first day of summer, it rained in the morning!  It is afternoon, now, and we are having a day of June Gloom with overcast skies, cool temperatures, and no sunshine to speak of!  I went for a walk and, then, did a tour of my garden.  I took photos of the garden and will do a garden post, later.  

I had a phone call from my aunt (step-father's sister), this morning.  She was returning my call from earlier in the week.  I told her that I had the Princess Mary Christmas Box and her father's medals with me and asked her if she would like to have it.  She told me that, as much as she would like to have it for sentimental value, she wanted me to keep it, because, in her opinion, I appreciated it more than anyone else in the family!  However, she did ask me to send her a photo of it and the medals, and she said she will show them to her niece with whom she lives and ask her if she wants them.  That sounds good to me.    

I also asked her about a second medal I found in the box with the initial of someone else (not her father's initials) engraved on it, and she said it must have been her father's brother's, who was killed during the war.  She also said that there was a family story that her father was thought to have been killed, as well.  I will write to her and ask her for more details.  She also said that she had some family records, but, no one was interested in them!  I know the stories my step-father told me about his family, but I don't have any documents (other than his birth certificate).  Maybe I will ask aunt to send me copies of what she has.  Genealogy might become my new hobby!  LOL!

I am having a quiet day, today.  Yesterday was relatively busy.  I had an appointment with my financial planner, in the morning.  She gave me an update of where things stand and we discussed a few details.  All that took less than 10 minutes.  Then, we spent another 30 minutes or so just chatting about various other things!  I now have a request for a quilt, from her! 

On my way home from the appointment, I stopped by the public library in the adjoining city.  I had joined their library, years ago, but I hadn't been there to borrow a book for some time, now.  Yesterday, when I went in, I asked if my card was still valid and the librarian looked it up and said it was no longer valid because it had been inactive for over a certain period of time.  But, she issued me a new library card and I borrowed three library books!  

In the afternoon, I went for my blood test (and took the photo of the car park patio set up).  

After I came home, I had lunch, went through two more file folders, watched some TV (news, mostly, but, also an episode of Dr. Phil which featured a woman who was a hoarder), and read one of the library books.  Cousin P called and I chatted with her for a bit and, later, called friend R, who, in the course of the conversation, asked when I was going to make a quilt for her!  Two requests for quilts in one day!  I now have an excuse to go to the fabric store!  LOL!

Speaking of quilts, I washed this one that was on my bed, earlier in the week, when Dancer threw up on it:

Star Quilt
The pattern for this quilt was in one of the Christmas books I decluttered a few days ago.  I made this quilt in 1990.  When I washed it, this week, I noticed that the edge of one border was starting to tear: 

Torn Border Edge
I folded the quilt and stored it for now.  I need to sew on some new binding to repair the torn edges.  There will be lots of quilt making and quilt repairs this summer!

Today, I am grateful for:
- Rain for the garden
- My finances are in good order
- Phone conversations with family and friends
- Warm knitted shawls (did I mention it was a bit cool, today?)
- A relaxed day

Garden Preview - White Agapanthas

How is your Friday?  Are you enjoying the first day of Summer? 

Umbrellas, Open or Closed

Patio umbrella, inside the store

One of the Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt prompts was "An Umbrella, open or closed" (number 6 on the list of prompts).

Summer is the season for patio umbrellas, and, living in southern California, as I do, I'd expect to see them in various outdoor patios.  But, I have been amused to see where I am finding them.  The one pictured above was set up inside the store, in a bin filled with other (closed) patio umbrellas.

Then, I looked up and saw this:

Summer Display
Today, I went to the lab to get some blood work done (for my upcoming doctor's appointment on Monday) and saw not one, but two, patio umbrellas: 

Indoor Patio
This is a "patio" area, set up inside the car park, on the second level, right next to the elevators.  Two patio tables and two umbrellas, set up in front of a wall painted to look like a green meadow, with a mountain range in the background, a patch of blue skies, and a little white cloud.   I thought the artificial plant near the pipes on the left added a nice touch!  The glare to the right of the photo is from the roof level parking area.

I don't know, but, I think this might end up being my selected photo for this prompt!  What do you think?

Thursday, June 20, 2019

It's Like Pulling Teeth

My book decluttering, that is.  I've a whole stack of books pulled out from the shelves to go through, but, I've only managed to declutter these two:

I've had this book on houseplants for several years.  It escaped a previous decluttering effort.  But, there aren't that many houseplants that are safe for cats and Dancer insists on eating plants.  Besides, these days, one can look up all the information one needs on plants online, so I think I can let this book go, now.

A Child's Garden of Verses
I had a different edition of this book as a child (the poems were the same, but the illustrations were different) and it was a favorite.  I can still recite a few of the verses from memory.  I bought this edition for my daughter, but, she didn't care that much for it.  When she decluttered it from her bookshelves, I kept it in my bookshelf.  Re-reading the poems, now, however, I can see how much they reflect the attitudes of the times in which they were written.  This book has been put in the donations bag.

How are you coming along with your book decluttering?  Are you finding it easy or hard?

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The Princess Mary Christmas Box

The Princess Mary Christmas Box

Sunday, June 16, Father's Day, was also the death anniversary of my step-father.  Among his possessions was this brass box.  It was one of the very few personal items he brought with him when we left Sri Lanka.  I must have been 9 or 10 when I first saw it, back in Sri Lanka.  I was told it was  an old toffee tin and I knew his father's service medals were kept in it.

But, it was much later that I found out exactly what it was - a Princess Mary Christmas Box.  I was reading a magazine and I came across a picture of a similar box and I recognized it!  Apparently, the then 17 year old daughter of King George V and Queen Mary wished to send a Christmas gift to all the soldiers and sailors in service on Christmas Day 1914.  As a result, a fund was set up, donations to the fund were solicited, and these boxes were made and sent along with tobacco and cigarettes to some, a bullet shaped pencil and sweets to some (non-smokers), sweets and spices to Indian troops, and chocolates to nurses.  All, apparently included a greeting card and a picture of the Princess.  Only some received their boxes on Christmas Day; others received theirs much later, especially as the list of those receiving them expanded.

The box is brass, about 5 inches by 3 inches by 1 inch, embossed, according to one source that I read, based on a design by Messrs Adshead and Ramsey. 

The surface of the lid contains a portrait of the Princess Mary, in the center, surrounded by a wreath of laurel leaves and her monogram "M" on either side:

Portrait of The Princess Mary

At the top edge of the lid, there is a decorative cartouche containing the words, "Imperium Britannicum", with a sword and scabbard on either side.

Top Edge of the Box
On the lower edge, there is another cartouche with the words, "Christmas 1914", with the bows of battleships on either side:

"Christmas 1914"

Close Up of the Battleship Bow

In the corners and on the side edges are the names of the allies: France and Russia on the two sides and Belgium, Japan, Montenegro, and Servia in the corners.

I don't know when my step-father's father received his box.  The original contents are long gone.  What is inside the box, now, is a collection of badges, medals, and deteriorating ribbons, that he had received:

The Collection
Apparently, he was in the service of the Ceylon Sanitary Company, which, from the little research I've been able to do, were attached to the Royal Army Medical Corps (according to the British National Archives) and served in the "Mesopotamian front (Iraq) from 27 September 1917 - 31 January 1919"

Medals and Ribbons

Which helps to explain this particular medal:

"Baghdad 1917-1918

And why this medal mentions service during the Great War of 1914 - 1919:

"The Great War of 1914-1919"

When my daughter was in school, studying about World War I, I gave her the box and the medals to take to school with her as a "show and tell" item.  I hoped that seeing (and touching) these items from a long ago war made what they were learning in a book seem more real.

I haven't done a lot of research into this, but, I might look into the British National Archives to see if they have more information.  I have his name, service/serial number, and the company he served in.  I wonder if my step-father's sister knows more about it.  I should check with her (I called her, just now, and left her a message as she didn't answer her phone; I'll call her back another time).  I shall also ask her what she wants me to do with the box and its contents.  My step-father didn't have any biological children and neither does his sister.  However, they had other siblings who had children.  I shall ask my aunt if she would like me to send these items to her to be given to her nieces or nephews or their children.   After all, these items belonged to their grandfather and great-grandfather and should be their heirlooms to cherish.  There is a photograph of my step father's mother, too, among all the various papers I have, as well as photographs of his grandparents' graves.  I need to find them and send them off, as well. 

Have you seen one of these Princess Mary Christmas boxes?