Friday, January 31, 2020

Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt: January Link Up

Time to link up with Eileen for the WPSH January link up.  I had every good intention to take lots of photos, but, time seems to have slipped away from me!  So, here are my rather paltry offerings:

#16. A barrier - the iron fence that is a barrier to accessing my side yard.  Not to be confused with prompt #5: A garden gate!  This is a fixed in place fence, meant to keep out people and larger animals from entering the side yard and, from there, the back yard.  The garden cats slip through the bars as if the fence panel was not there!

#16: A Barrier - iron fence panel

#17. A line - The curved line over or under notes on different lines or spaces on a music staff.  It is called a slur and it  indicates that the music notes under it should be played in a smoothly connected manner.  Something I keep forgetting and my piano teacher keeps reminding me to pay attention to!

#17: A line - a curved line called a slur
#20. Monochrome - I saw something else that I thought would be a better find for this prompt, but, I didn't have my phone with me and I couldn't take a photo.  So, I took this photo, instead - nature's version of monochrome.  The brown shades of the peeling bark of my eucalyptus tree

#20 Monochrome - eucalyptus bark

These are my only finds for January.  I hope to do better in February.

January Monthly Balanced Life Goals Review

Already, the first month of this year has come to an end!  Time to do a review of my monthly goals to live a more balanced life.  

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 beginning of the month ratings in black and the end of the month ratings in blue.

January Balanced Life Goals:

Spiritual: (10)(9.5):   The goal is to live a spiritually meaningful life:
- Continue with daily prayers, meditation, being grateful, positive, and joyful
- Continue to cultivate non-attachment to material things by donating/decluttering more
- Go to the Temple at least once
- Attend the January rosary prayer gathering, if possible (no date, yet)

I continued with daily prayers, meditation, gratitude, etc., and did some decluttering.  I was able to attend the January rosary prayer gathering, but, I was not able to go to the Temple, for one reason or another.  I am going to rate this area as a 9.5 because I didn't go to the Temple.  Otherwise, I am well satisfied with the spiritual aspects of my life.  

House (9.5)(9.5):  The goal is a home that is pleasant, comfortable, and welcoming:
- Clean - Clean the house for the New Year
- Organize - Continue to find a place for everything and keep everything in its place
- Well maintained - Keep "erasing the evidence"
- Decluttered - Declutter 31 items in January; call for a donations pick up by the end of the month

The house got cleaned for the New Year, especially since I had friends over on New Year's Eve.  I have been maintaining for the most part and trying to organize.  I went through several kitchen cabinets and organized the contents, I sorted out the shelves where I store my table linen, and my closet and dresser drawers, etc.  I also managed to declutter 31 items, so I met my decluttering goal, this month.  Items decluttered include:

3 blouses, 1 knitted sweater, 1 sweatshirt, 3 knitted/crocheted shawls, 1 nightdress, 1 robe, 3 T-shirts, 1 pair of pants, 2 draw string  bags, 1 wire basket, 1 teacup, 5 pairs of socks, and some brochures.

However, I haven't called for a donation pick up, yet, as my daughter wanted to see the items I set aside to donate.

I have also started my spring cleaning, by washing the family room sofa covers; not just the dust sheets, but, the removable sofa covers, as well.

I am keeping the rating at 9.5.   

Garden (8)(8):  The goal is a garden that is productive, yet drought tolerant:
- Maintain (water 1- 2 times per week, depending on how much rain we get; weed)
Clean out the garden shed
- Discuss spring planting plans with M

The garden is being maintained and is doing quite well.  I've been watering regularly as we haven't had  a lot of rain.  The garden shed got postponed, once again, but, I bought new plants for the garden.  I am keeping the rating at 8. 

Daughter (10)(10):  The goal is to continue to have a close relationship with her:
- Enjoy the rest of her visit home during the first week in January
- Daily texts, phone calls, and video chatting, etc., when she goes back, to keep in close touch with her

We had several fun days when she was home during the holidays.  We've had daily phone calls and video chats after she left.  Definitely a good area of my life and I am keeping the rating at 10.

Family & Friends (10)(10):  The goal is to have a close connection with family members and friends:
- Regular phone calls and emails
- Wish cousin R and aunt T on their birthdays
- Might see some family and friends at the monthly prayer gathering, if attending
- Get together with friend R, hopefully before daughter goes back
- Visit friend T

Another good month with lots of interactions with family and friends.  There were the usual phone calls and emails, etc., but, in addition, I had phone calls from family members in other states.  I attended a birthday party for cousin R and I visited aunt T for her birthday and met several members of the family and some friends at the prayer gathering.  I got together with friend R a couple of times, once to exchange holiday gifts and once to attend the free movie screening at the library.  I visited friend T, too, and her sister.  

Another good area of my life and I will keep the rating at 10.

Community (10)(10):  The goal is to be involved in my community:
- Continue to participate in the blogging community 
Weekly phone calls with neighbor T
- Visit neighbor S
- Continue to participate in the online group of which I am a member
- Participate in temple events

January has been a good month where being involved in my community is concerned.  I have participated in the blogging community and an online group, supported the temple with donations, exchanged weekly phone calls with neighbor T, visited neighbor S, and attended free events at the library.   I am well satisfied with this area of my life and will keep the rating at 10.

Finances (10)(10):  The goal is financial security:
- Continue budgeting and spending mindfully, with purpose

I continue to do well in this area of my life.  I continue to budget because I want to and I continue to spend mindfully, for the most part.  I am keeping the rating at 10.  

 Health & Well Being (7)(7.5):  The goal is good health:
- Attend the medical appointments (2) and lab tests (1) scheduled for this month 
- Continue to work on the following life style changes: 
  - better diet - eat more vegetables and complex carbs, less refined sugar
  - better hydration - drink 8 x 8oz glasses of water, daily
  - better sleep habits -  get sufficient sleep and try to adjust the sleep schedule
  - more exercise - get back on a walking schedule 
- Get back down to a healthier weight through diet and exercise.  I weighed myself, this morning; just under 160 lbs., according to my scales (I always seem to weigh more at the doctor's office!).  I have a good 20 lbs. to lose (and keep off!).  That is my goal for the end of the year, to weigh 140 lbs.  Even then, I'll be technically overweight as I am just under 5 ft., but, I haven't been at my "ideal for height" weight since I was 18!  My goal for January is to lose 5 lbs. by the end of the month.

My health spoke had some ups and downs, this month.  On one hand, I had one doctor's appointment cancelled due to the closure of the hospital and that had me worried.  On the other hand, I had two other doctor's appointments that went well.  The life style changes could have been better, but, one of my blood test results had me being taken off one medication which means some things have improved.  I didn't lose any weight, but, I didn't gain over the holidays, either, so that is good.  I have raised the rating to 7.5 because I am doing well enough to go off one medication.

Time Management (8)(8): The goal is to spend my time in a mindful manner:
- Keep to a more regular schedule
- Procrastinate less

I have a new "regular" schedule: go to sleep at 5:00 a.m. and wake up between 10:30 and 11:00 a.m.!  Sigh.  But, I am getting better about procrastinating less.  I will keep the rating at 8.

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
- Participate in the Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt

This is another good area in my life!  After several months of thinking about taking piano lessons, again, I started lessons, this month, and I am enjoying myself (after I got over the initial nervousness!)  I have also attended two free movie screenings at the library and that has been a new leisure activity.  I have been engaging in daily joyful activities, too, which included doing jigsaw puzzles (with Dancer's help, of course!) and I've participated in the photo scavenger hunt.  I am keeping the rating at 10.

That is my review of my goals for a more balanced life in January.  My spiritual spoke rating went down a bit and the health spoke increased a bit; the other areas remained the same.  On the whole, I am pleased with what I was able to accomplish towards having balance among the different areas of my life, this month.  

Did you make any goals for a balanced life in January?  If so, how did you do?  Were you able to accomplish most of your goals?  Are you happy with what you were able to accomplish?  Will you be making new goals in February?

More Stickers on Thursday!

New Sticker!

I had my third piano lesson, today, and received several more stickers!  LOL!

More New Stickers

In addition to my piano lesson, I helped a neighbor pick some lemons from her tree, did two loads of laundry, sorted through my clothes in the dresser and chest of drawers, and put aside a few items to be donated.  I can say that at least three, possibly four, of the dresser drawers have been decluttered completely.  I am by no means a minimalist and there might be still more items in the "decluttered" drawers that can be got rid of, but, I maintain that a dozen pairs of socks and five summer nightdresses aren't too many!  LOL. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Stickers!
- Working appliances (washer, dryer, heater)
- Dancer "helping" again with the puzzle!
- Friends who call and send emails
- Video chatting with my daughter

Today's joyful activity was playing the piano.

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

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Celebrating Puzzle Day

Making Progress on the Jigsaw Puzzle
As Bushlady stated in her comment on yesterday's blog post, today, January 29, is Puzzle Day!  To celebrate Puzzle Day, I spent some time in the late afternoon-early evening, working on the puzzle.  My helper alternated between napping and grumbling because he thought I should be giving him more tuna to eat!  But, he didn't come to help, because he was sulking that I wasn't very impressed when he tried to show me that he was a mighty hunter and attacked my leg, earlier in the day!  Ouch!

I went to the home improvement store, this afternoon, to buy a new padlock ($14.97 plus tax = $16.39).  I also bought four euryops plants for the garden at $5.98 each, which, with tax, came to a total of $26.19.  At one time, I used to have a whole hedge of them growing in the front garden, along the walkway to the front door.  After several years, they died out.  I want to try growing them, again.  M will help me figure out a good spot in which to plant them on Friday.

They had lavender plants, too, for $6.98 each, and I was tempted to buy some.  The lavender plants I bought and planted a couple of years ago didn't do well and all but one plant died.  The one plant that survived looked more dead than alive, but, it is starting to come back. 

Today, I went through my closet and turned all the hangers around the other way.  Once a garment has been worn, washed, and returned to the closet, the hanger will be turned back the usual way.  The idea behind this is to be able to tell, at a glance, which outfits have not been worn, yet.  If, at the end of six months or one year, there are any garments hanging with the hangers turned the other way, indicating it has not been worn, then, it is time to ask myself why I haven't worn it and why I am still keeping it.  I did this at the beginning of last year, with my daughter's help.  After one year, the only three garments with their hangers turned the other way were three dresses that my mother had sewn for me.  I don't fit into them, anymore.  But, I keep them for sentimental reasons, because my mother sewed them.  This might be the year when I give them away, maybe. 

In the evening, I practiced the piano for a bit.  I wonder if I'll get any stickers, tomorrow!  LOL. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- A sunny, warm day
- New plants for the garden
- Fresh oranges from my tree
- My eyesight
- All the clothes my mother sewed for me (and for my daughter, too)

Today's joyful activity was looking at all the plants and choosing some for my garden.

Thursday's To Do List:
- Piano lesson
- Dishes
- Clean the kitchen
- Laundry

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

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Dancer Helps on Tuesday

Checking which piece to fit in, next
Hi blog friends!  This is Dancer, again.  Mummy said I should show you what a good helper I am when it comes to doing our puzzles!  This puzzle is called Christmas Bake Sale and it is all pictures of ginger bread men and snowmen cookies! They look so delicious that I am tempted to try and eat them!  

Mummy was so excited when she saw what I did!  "Dancer!", she shouted exclaimed!  "Look what you did!"  Aw, Mummy, it was nothing, really.  Didn't take me more than a couple of minutes!  I don't know why it takes you hours to put those pieces together!  

Posing with  my handiwork!

Oh, OK, then, go ahead and take a close up to show our blog friends.  But, you know they are going to be jealous that you have such a good helper and they will all wish they had a helper like me! 

Close up of what I did
What's that, Mummy?  What did I do with the rest of the border pieces?  They are on the floor, under the table, Mummy.  I prefer the puzzle not to have a border.  It looks more interesting without a border.  Don't you agree blog friends?

Mummy says that, today, she is grateful for:
- Having me help with the puzzle
- Waking her up in the morning with my meowing song
- Reminding her when it is time for her tea (and my tuna)
- Keeping her company
- Writing her blog post for her

Hope you enjoyed seeing how I helped Mummy with her puzzle, blog friends.  Do you think I did a good job?

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Car Service on Monday

Today, I called the car service center to schedule an appointment for a regular maintenance service.  I didn't call until 2:00 p.m., but, they had an opening at 3:00 p.m. this afternoon, so, I booked that.  I took the car in and opted to wait for it; they estimated it to take one hour, maybe 1 1/2 hours at the most.  I had taken a book to read while I waited, as well as my sudoku puzzles book.  Their waiting room also has a TV to watch if you prefer that and free coffee, etc.

There was one other customer waiting for her car and a salesman who was getting himself a cup of coffee when I went; he offered to get me a cup of coffee or hot chocolate from the machine and I asked for a cup of hot chocolates.  The other customer left soon after that, but the salesman stayed and struck up a conversation with me, the usual small talk, asking about my car, what make, which year, etc.  I assumed he was going to try to sell me a newer model (my car is a 2014 model), but, instead, he told me his life story!  Where he was from (born in Atlanta, moved to Florida with his parents when he was a teen), what his parents did, about his younger sisters and grandmother, how he moved from Florida to California, two years ago, at the age of 18, the various jobs he did before he came to work at the dealership, how he sat in his car for 10 minutes trying to gather his courage to apply for this job, last year, what his long term goals in life were, and showed me pictures of his parents, grandmother, and sisters, etc.  He was still telling me about himself when the service rep came to tell me my car was ready!  LOL!  I think, maybe, I reminded him a little of his grandmother that he told me so much about himself.

But, this seems to happen quite often, actually.  I go somewhere to buy something or do something and often, people tell me about themselves.  My daughter tells me that there is something about me that seems to encourage people tell me about their life stories.  Maybe they sense I am genuinely interested in them. 

The car had nothing wrong with it, I was told.  The service came to $49.95.  On the way home, I stopped at the pizza place and bought a pepperoni pizza for $5.48, including tax.

Later in the evening, I took the trash cans out to the curb and watered the front garden.   

Today, I am grateful for:
- I was able to get a same day appointment for the car service
- They didn't find anything wrong with the car that required expensive repairs
- A cup of hot chocolate and an interesting conversation while I waited
- Water for the garden
- Video chatting with my daughter

My joyful activity for the day was fitting a few more pieces in the puzzle.

Plans for tomorrow include some housework and paperwork. 

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

Monday, January 27, 2020

More Grocery Shopping on Sunday

Mourning Dove
There was a mourning dove looking for food in the back yard, today.  The picture was taken through the sliding glass door which is a bit dusty, but, I didn't want to open the door and startle the dove.  As it was, it had seen me standing there and was checking to see what I was doing.  It should have been looking in the other direction though:

Better Watch Out for the Kitty, Mourning Dove!
Do you see the white form in the second planting circle?  That's Snowball, one of the garden cats!  She had her back turned to the bird, so, I guess the bird was safe.  Nevertheless, it was a very brave bird!  It flew off shortly after I took this picture and Snowball turned to see what was going on.  But, she was taking a nap among the pruned rose bushes and not inclined to chase after birds, I guess.

Today, I washed my bed sheets, practiced the piano, and fitted a few more pieces in the jigsaw puzzle.

Later in the afternoon, I went to the pharmacy to pick up my medication.  The lower dosage flagged an automatic consultation with the pharmacist who checked with me to see if I knew why the dosage was changed.  I'm glad they check to make sure that the patient is aware of a change in the dosage.

After that, since the dollar store is right next to the pharmacy, I went in there and did some grocery shopping.  I bought bread, bananas, two bags of salad mix, 2 cans of apple pie filling, 6 cans of coconut milk, a 4-pack of lemon lime soda cans, and a box of microwave popcorn,  My total came to $14.26.

Dollar Store Receipt

Then, I went to the regular grocery store, which is also in the same shopping mall, and bought half a gallon of milk ($2.19), 1 box of brown sugar ($.99), and a small container of chocolate chip cookies from the bakery section ($1.49).  My total came to $4.67.

Grocery Store Receipt

I didn't take a picture of my groceries, though.

Today's grocery shopping came to ($14.26 + $4.67) = $18.93

January grocery budget = $75
Spent to date = $21.56 + $1.50 + $23.11+ $18.93 = $65.10
Balance left in the budget = $75 - $65.10 = $9.90

Well, obviously, I changed my mind about saving $20 from this month's grocery budget to buy tea!  But, that's okay.  I will wait until February and buy tea with February's budget! 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Drama-free medication refills
- Pharmacist checking to make sure I was aware of the change in the dosage
- Flexibility in the grocery budget
- Being able to stock up
- Freshly washed bed sheets

Today's joyful activity was playing the piano (after I did the practicing, I played a few songs that I knew by ear, for fun).

Monday's To Do List:
- Call to schedule a car service
- Take the trash cans to the curb
- Water the front garden
- Do the dishes
- Put away the rest of the laundry

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

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Relaxing on Saturday

Today was the 15th annual Free Museum Day, here, in southern California.  Over 40 area museums and botanical gardens offered free admission to their general exhibits (paid tickets were required for certain special exhibits).  Friend R and I had discussed taking advantage of the free admissions and going to perhaps a museum or a botanical garden.  But, every venue I checked out online had something to say about the higher than usual numbers of visitors expected to attend and potential difficulties with finding parking.  I don't like to visit places when they are too crowded, so R and I decided we'll visit the museums on another day!  There are several museums that offer free admission, either every day (the Getty Center, for example, offers free admission, daily, but, one has to pay for parking) or on various days of the month (such as the Autry museum that is free on every second Tuesday of the month).  I suppose I could have made the effort and gone, but, I was in the mood for a quiet, relaxed day at home!

I had gone to bed rather late, last night (4:30 a.m.; maybe I should say "early this morning", instead?).  I turned the alarm off when it rang at 9:00 a.m. and slept until almost 11:00 a.m.!  After a cup of tea and replying to blog comments, I made milk rice for brunch and had it with spicy onion sambol and pork curry.

Then, I practiced the piano.  First, I played the pieces I am learning in my book and then, I took out one of my daughter's beginner books and played through all the pieces in that book for a bit of variety.

Later in the afternoon, I fitted a few more pieces in the jigsaw puzzle.  My helper was taking an afternoon nap, so I had to manage on my own!

Then, it was time for a cup of tea with a slice of bread and butter, while I watched the evening news. 

Cousin P called in the evening and we had a long chat about various things.

Dinner was a salad, but, I'll probably have a snack before I go to sleep.  Some cereal, maybe.

Today, I am grateful for:
- A relaxed day
- Being able to sleep in
- Fresh lemons from the garden
- Learning new things
- Video chatting with my daughter

Today's joyful activity was doing the jigsaw puzzle.

Plans for tomorrow include going to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription refill that is ready and maybe a bit of grocery shopping.

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

Movie at the Library on Friday

Today was the day the library was screening the second free movie of the month.  In the morning, I debated going to see the movie.  I am not much of a movie-goer and staying home, watching the Senate hearings and doing the jigsaw puzzle seemed like a good idea!  But, I felt that I should make the effort to go.  After all, they are providing free entertainment and all I had to do was show up!  I called cousin P to see if she'd like to go with me, but, she said she needed to do a few things around the house. 

So, in the afternoon, I went to the library, by myself, to watch the screening of "Judy".  I am glad I went to see it, because I really enjoyed it.  Of course, I cried, but then, I always seem to cry at movies!  But, it was a good movie and I am glad I had the opportunity to watch it.  Next month, they are showing "Chinatown" and "Harriet".  I don't think I will go to see Chinatown, but, I will plan on going to see Harriet.  My daughter saw it with a friend of hers and said it was a good movie. 

I came home after the movie and a few minutes later, friend M came over to tend to the garden.  Afterwards, I spent a quiet evening, working on the puzzle, doing a load of laundry, and practicing the piano.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Free movie screenings at the library
- A fun afternoon watching the movie
- M tending to the garden
- Video chatting with my daughter
- Working appliances

Today's joyful activity was watching the movie at the library.

I don't have any big plans for tomorrow.  Friend R and I had made a tentative plan to get together, but, I called her, this evening, and we decided to get together another weekend, instead.

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

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Busy Thursday and Answered Prayers

I woke up about 15 minutes before my alarms went off, this morning.  I was tempted to go back to sleep for another 10 minutes or so, but, I forced myself to get up. I had my tea and got dressed without rushing too much.  Then, left the house at 10:00 a.m. to go to my 11:00 a.m. doctor's appointment - with the primary care physician, a routine check up.  I got to the doctor's office exactly at 11:00 a.m.!  There wasn't a long wait and the visit went well.  She didn't say anything about my weight (haven't lost any!), but, said my blood pressure was good.  She reviewed my blood test results and made yet another adjustment in my medications!  I have another routine check up in April and I have to do another blood test before my visit. 

I left the doctor's office at 11:45 a.m. and got home by 12:30 p.m.  Aunt C had called and left a message, so I called her back and chatted with her for a bit.  Her daughter, my cousin N, was cleaning out the garage, aunt said, and aunt was helping her to decide what to keep and what to give away.  I need to do that, myself, one of these days! 

After lunch, I went for my piano lesson.  I had a good lesson, but, I have to repeat some of the pieces as I need to play them smoothly.  "Legato", she said!  And, "Play slowly".  I didn't get any stickers, this time!  LOL.

In the evening, I went to see my friend who had a stroke in early December.  She is home, now, able to talk quite well and walk unaided.  When I think of how she was when I visited in the hospital that first time, her recovery is nothing short of a miracle!  Definitely in answer to all our prayers!  I told them that we have all been praying for her recovery, including several of my blog friends.  She still needs to have dialysis three times a week and they had to replace the port through which they do the dialysis, this week, because the earlier one didn't work too well. But, she is doing so well.  Her sister has come down to look after her, leaving her husband and two babies back in Colorado (the older girl is 3 years old and the younger one is not yet 1 year old); it's hard for her, too.  She recently lost her job when the department store she worked in for over 20 years closed down, so she has the time to be with her sister, but, it means she is unable to look for another job, at present.

After I came home, I had dinner.  I had cooked the green beans and the pork chop, last night:

Sauteed Green Beans and Pork Curry
Yes, I cut up the pork chop and made a curry with it.

This is a photo of last night's dinner:

Later in the evening, I video chatted with my daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:
- The doctor's visit went well
- I had a safe drive there and back
- Free parking at the doctor's office
- My friend's recovery from her stroke
- Her sister is able to spare the time to be with her right now

Today's joyful activity was doing the second jigsaw puzzle.  As usual, I had some help:

Dancer Helps with the Puzzle
Plans for tomorrow include maybe going to see the free movie at the library and having M tend to the garden.

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

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Grocery Shopping on Wednesday

1/22 Groceries

Today, I put gas to the car ($3.35/gal; put $30 worth of gas) and then, went to the grocery store across the street from the gas station to do some grocery shopping.

I bought:
1 bottle canola oil = $1.88
5 Tangerines @ $.49/lb = $1.15
4 bananas @$.49/lb = $.57
4 mangoes @ $.50 = $2.00
Green beans @ $1.49/lb = $.57
1 salad kit = $.88
1 pork chop @$.99/lb = $.66
5 cans tuna in water @ $.79 = $3.95
1 pint milk = $1.69
3 boxes mac and cheese @$1.00 = $3.00
1 container iodized salt = $.89
Total =  $17.24

In addition to my regular groceries, I also bought:

Earthquake/emergency supplies:  some bottled water to add to my emergency/earthquake supplies:
2 x 1 gallon bottles of water @ $.89 (includes deposit) = $1.78
24 count 1 liter bottles of water = $2.89 + $1.20 deposit = $4.18
Total = $5.87

Household supplies:
1 box of dishwasher detergent powder = $4.49

Pet Supplies:
1 bag of cat food (13 lbs) = $9.99
1 bag cat food (16 lbs) = $10.49

On the dishwasher detergent and cat food = $2.37

My total bill came to $50.45

As always, Dancer came to inspect the groceries as that's part of his job:

"What did you buy, Mummy?"

As most of you know, the household supplies and pet supplies are not part of my grocery budget.  The water will be included in the grocery budget, simply because I don't have a separate earthquake/emergency supplies budget (although I could use the "Miscellaneous Items" budget category for them). 

My grocery budget, for groceries only (no household products, no toiletries, no pet food) is $75/month, for one person (it stretches to accommodate my daughter when she visits).

So far in January, I have spent:

Jan. 10:
2 - 10 lb. bags of sugar @ $5.79 = $11.58
1 frozen pizza = $3.99
1 frozen cheesecake = $5.99
Total = $21.56

Jan. 20:
1 loaf of bread = $1.50

Jan. 22:
Groceries + water = $17.24 + $5.87 = $23.11

January grocery budget = $75
Spent to date = $21.56 + $1.50 + $23.11 = $46.17
Balance left in the budget = $75 - $46.17 = $28.83

I am hoping to reserve $20 of that to stock up on tea, when the store gets a supply of my favorite tea. 

1/22 Grocery Receipt
Breakfast had been a cup of tea.  After I came home from grocery shopping, I had a tuna sandwich (shared some of the tuna with Dancer) and a tangerine for a late lunch.  Dinner will be part of the pork chop with rice and green beans. 

Cousin V called in the morning.  Later, I spoke with the sister of my friend who had a stroke earlier in December - she is home from the hospital and recovering.

I found the missing puzzle pieces under a piece of furniture, this morning!  I broke up the puzzle and put all the pieces back into the box - I will do it all over again, next Christmas! 

I also took things out of two shelves in a kitchen cabinet, wiped down the shelves, and put things back again. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- A sunny day
- My friend who had the stroke is now home from the hospital
- The doctor's office called and confirmed tomorrow's appointment
- Gas for the car
- Phone calls from cousins and friends

My joyful activity for today was finding the missing puzzle pieces!

Plans for tomorrow include the doctor's appointment and my piano lesson.

How was your day?  How is your grocery shopping coming along?  Are you able to keep to your budget, so far in January?

Jigsaw Puzzles and Earthquakes on Tuesday

Completed Jigsaw Puzzle (minus five pieces!)

Another rather cloudy day, although there was a little sunshine in the early afternoon.  I decided to have a quiet day at home.  I watched the Senate impeachment proceedings (had it going on in the background, all day), made a phone call and scheduled an appointment, called cousin P to check on her, brought in the trash can, cooked the rest of the canned corned beef with onions and tomatoes, cooked a pot of rice, too, did the day's dishes, and completed one of the jigsaw puzzles I received for Christmas!  Doing a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle was challenging enough, but doing it with five pieces missing made it that much more challenging!  I have no idea what happened to the five missing pieces, but, I rather suspect my "helper" kitty might have something to do with their disappearance!  I looked under the table, but, didn't find any missing pieces.

We just had an earthquake!  While I was typing the above sentence!  A magnitude 3.6 according to the USGS and situation not too far from where I live!  Nothing fell or broke at my house.  What a blessing that it was a small earthquake!  The lights didn't even flicker, but, once the shaking stopped, I went and got my flashlight to keep by my side!  I just hope it wasn't a fore-shock!  I was just talking about earthquake with a friend of mine, yesterday! 

Today, I am grateful for:
- The earthquake wasn't a big one
- No damages from it as far as I know
- A quiet, restful day at home
- A working heater
- Being able to watch the Senate hearings

Today's joyful activity was finishing the jigsaw puzzle.

Plans for tomorrow include putting gas to the car (since I didn't do that, today) and grocery shopping.

How was your Tuesday?  What are your plans for Wednesday?  Do you get earthquakes where you live?

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Cloudy Monday

It was a cloudy, overcast day, today.  The sun struggled to shine through the cloud cover without much success.

I called the radiation oncologist's office to confirm they were open today and I could come down to obtain copies of my records.  Then, I drove to downtown and collected the copies I had requested.  I spent a little time chatting with the receptionist and the radiation technician and commiserated with them over the impact of the hospital closing down.  The hospital had been opened (at a different location than its present location) in the 1850s by the Sisters of Charity.  It is considered the oldest hospital in Los Angeles.

No matter what led to its bankruptcy, its closure affects not only the patients it served, but, also, over 1,000 people who worked at the hospital who are now facing unemployment.  The receptionist said he has been to a few job interviews and asked me to keep him in my prayers.  I told him that I will definitely pray, not only for him, but for others as well, including the nurse who has a son with disabilities, the lady in the hospital admissions office who takes care of her sister, and the parking garage attendant who informed me that although he's originally from South America, his father was from India.

I stopped at the little Armenian grocery store on my way home and bought a loaf of their bakery bread ($1.50).  I opened a can of corned beef when I came home and made myself corned beef sandwiches for lunch.  I made "lemonade" by squeezing the juice of half a Meyer lemon into a glass of water, no sugar required, to have with my lunch.

Later in the evening, I watched some news, although I dozed for a bit, during the news!   

Afterwards, I cleaned out the fridge - tossed some too-old food, washed/wiped the shelves and drawers, replaced the box of baking soda, etc.  I didn't do the shelves on the door, but, will do that, next time.  Then, emptied the kitchen trash and took the big trash bins to the curb for pick up in the morning.  Finally, I washed the dishes.

Friend R called while I was cooking my dinner and we chatted for a bit.  Later, I practiced the piano and video chatted with my daughter. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- I was able to get copies of my medical records without any difficulties
- The care I received at the hospital during my treatments
- A safe drive to the doctor's office and back
- Freshly baked bread
- Naps on the sofa

Today's joyful activity was video chatting with my daughter.

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Bring the trash cans in
- Water the indoor plants
- Make a couple of appointments
- Organize some of the kitchen cabinets
- Errands - put gas to the car

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

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Weekend

Saturday, I spent a quiet, relaxed day at home.  I fitted a few more pieces in the jigsaw puzzle (before my "helper" came and plopped himself right on top of all the pieces, scattering puzzle pieces with every swish of his tail!).  Later in the afternoon, I practiced the piano for a bit.  In the evening, I watched news and a couple of other TV programs and knitted (still working on the light blue sweater).  Finally, I did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen a little bit. 

Today, Sunday, was the monthly Rosary prayer gathering.   I was to give a ride to cousin P and friend F, but, cousin P called in the morning to say that she was having a cold and cough and would not attend the prayer gathering.   So, when friend F arrived just before 12:00 noon, she and I went to the prayer gathering.  The traffic wasn't too bad, today, and we were able to get to the prayer gathering by 1:00 p.m.

Today's prayer gathering was well attended, with about 15 people there, as well as the host and hostess.  I was happy to see Aunt T, there, as well as another aunt.  After the rosary was recited, lunch was served: noodles with vegetables and shrimp mixed in with it, roast chicken, and roast pork.  Plus an assortment of desserts.  After lunch, we sat around, talking and drinking tea, until around 4:30 p.m.  Then, I got up to leave, because it would take me at least one hour to drive home and friend F, who had parked her car at my house, would have to drive another hour almost to get to her home. 

After I came home, I had another cup of tea, chatted on the phone with my daughter for a bit, called aunt C to check on her, and practiced the piano.  Then, cousin P called and we chatted a little bit.  I made myself a salad for dinner.  (Live and Learn: I didn't bring any food home with me, this time! It does happen, occasionally!  LOL). 

This weekend, I am grateful for:
- Monthly prayer gatherings
- Seeing family and friends
- A safe drive to the prayer gathering and back
- Being able to give friend F a ride
- A working dishwasher

This weekend's joyful activities included attending the monthly prayer gathering and being with family and friends.

Monday's To Do List:
- Pick up medical report if dr's office is open
- Load of laundry
- Clean the fridge
- Take trash cans to the curb for Tuesday trash pick up

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

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Doctor's Appointment on Friday

It rained late Thursday night, after all!  A steady shower of rain which watered the garden, nicely.  I am glad I didn't have to water the garden.

Friday was sunny and clear.

I was woken up by a phone call from a niece on the east coast.  She was calling to thank me for the New Year's gift basket I had sent to her and her family.  I was late sending it and she didn't receive it until earlier this week, but, she was happy to have received it.  

I went back to sleep after that phone call, but, was woken up again by cousin P calling me to confirm that I can give her a ride to the prayer gathering on Sunday.  I said yes and we chatted a bit.  After that, I didn't bother to go back to sleep!  It was mid-morning and time to get up!

I had a doctor's appointment this afternoon at the cancer clinic.  After the oncologist greeted me and asked me how I was, I was entrusted to the care of his nurse practitioner, who gave me my injection to boost my bone density (the real reason for my visit).  While I was with her, I informed her about the situation with the radiation oncologist's office closing because the hospital was closing.  Last night, I had wondered what happens to my medical records with him when the hospital closes.  She suggested I contacted the radiation oncologist's office and request a copy of my medical records.  She said the most important piece of information will be the radiation dosage I had been given.

After I came home, I called the radiation oncologist's office and was informed that the medical records will be transferred to a different hospital where the doctor will continue to see his patients and if I want copies of the records, I will need to contact that hospital, after February 1, when the change over will become effective.  I asked if I could obtain a copy of the notes from my most recent visit (which was in November) and I was told that if I came in person, on Monday, I could get a copy.  So, that's what I will do; but, I'll call first, to make sure that they are open on Monday, as it is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  If not, I'll go on Tuesday.

Friend M came over in the evening to tend to the garden.  Something seems to be attacking the poor peach plant, so he sprayed it.  Then, I asked him to prune the hedge of lantana and plumbago growing along the side wall in the back garden.  It was rather overgrown and I didn't want it to block access to the utility pole at the very corner of my garden.

Today was apparently the day for phone calls, because my cousin in Florida called to check on me, cousin P called again, in the afternoon, and friend R called, too!  The "family/friends" segment of my balanced life wheel is getting very nicely plumped, this month!  Later, of course, I video chatted with my daughter.  She is feeling better, today, and went to the office.

Today, I am grateful for:
- The doctor's visit went well; I got my injection and answers to some questions I had
- A safe drive there and back
- Last night's rain watered the garden
- Phone calls from family and friends
- My daughter is feeling better

My joyful activity today was walking around the garden and seeing the new seedlings coming up, the peach plant starting to bud, and picking fresh lemons (made lemonade) and an orange to have after dinner.  

Plans for tomorrow (Saturday) include restoring some order to the kitchen, practicing the piano (didn't do it, today!), and maybe a load of laundry. 

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

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Mid-Month in January


Didn't we just celebrate New Year's Day?  How can it be mid-month, already?! 

Yesterday, Wednesday, I went for my blood test in the afternoon.  Afterwards, I had thought of going to the fabric store, as there was a sale going on and I had received a leaflet with coupons (the lab I go to for my blood tests is located a few blocks from the fabric store).  But, I hadn't eaten in the morning and had only had a cup of tea (with my usual milk and sugar, so I wasn't, technically, fasting) and I thought it would be wiser for me to go home and eat something.  Besides, I really didn't need anything from the fabric store, although, I would like to buy some white felt or fleece to make more snowman coasters/mug rugs for gift giving. 

I came home and made myself some tuna salad sandwiches for lunch.  Dancer got a bit of tuna as a treat, as well!  Then, I watched news, chatted with a friend who called, replied to a text from one of my cousins, and generally, relaxed.  Later in the evening, I video chatted with my daughter and practiced the piano.

Today, I went for my second piano lesson!  S was very pleased with my progress, because I answered all her review questions and played my practice piece without any mistakes!  So pleased, in fact, that she gave me stickers!  LOL!  This time, I wasn't as nervous and the lesson went better, although I still stumbled in places.  Even when I know the notes, my fingers play a different note, at times!  But, now, I have several new pieces to learn and practice for next week.  The first lesson, I went from page 4 (pages 1-3 were the table of contents) to page 13, before I stumbled and made a mistake.  Today, I went from page 14 to page 27, before my hour was up (we actually went over by 10 minutes). 

After I came home, I relaxed a bit, then, made something to have for a late lunch (steak, potatoes, and broccoli; breakfast had been a slice of toast with peanut butter; dinner will probably be more of a snack with a fresh orange from the garden for dessert).  Friend F called to ask if I can give her a ride to the Rosary prayer gathering on Sunday and I said yes. 

Daughter called, too, to say she came home from work and will not be going to her acrobatics classes this evening, because she is feeling the beginnings of a scratchy throat, again, and wanted to rest.  Apparently, it rained and hailed up at Berkeley, this afternoon!  I am still waiting for the rain that was in the forecast for today! 

Plans for the rest of the evening include watching news, practicing the piano, and doing the dishes! 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Stickers! 
- The piano lesson went well
- The back pain I've had all week is better
- A working heater
- A new magazine to read (a gift from my daughter)

My joyful activity for the day was the piano lesson.

Plans for tomorrow (Friday) include the doctor's appointment and M coming to tend to the garden.

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

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Free Movie at the Library

Yesterday evening, I picked up friend R and we went to one of the branch libraries in the adjoining city to watch a screening of Downton Abbey, the movie.

The library system in the adjoining city consists of three branch libraries and they show screenings of movies twice a month at different locations, one evening screening and one afternoon screening (different movies).  These screenings are free, thanks to funds made available through their Friends of the Library.  Although I am a member of the library (and have been for many years), this was the first time I've attended one of their free movie screenings.  But, it won't be the last!

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and so did friend R.  She is a fan of the Downton Abbey series on TV.  I have watched a few episodes and knew enough of the story to know who the main characters were.  This particular screening was closed captioned, too, for the benefit of anyone who needed it; one member of the audience objected to it, but, we were informed that it was part of the agreement under which the movie was to be screened.    I didn't mind the captioning, at all.

The movie was from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  Afterwards, I asked friend R if she wanted to stop somewhere for dinner (we were passing by one of our favorite cafes) but, she declined.  I dropped friend R off at her apartment and came home.  I was tempted to stop for a hamburger on the way home, but, resisted the temptation, came home, and made myself an easy dinner of a baked potato and a scrambled egg, followed by the last of the fresh tangerines (I had eaten rice, fish curry, dhal, and cashew curry for lunch). 

Since the movie was free and I didn't buy any dinner, afterwards, it was a very frugal evening of entertainment! 

The next movie they will be screening (at a different branch library) will be "Judy", based on the life of Judy Garland.  It is an afternoon showing, so friend R will not be able to attend as she is working.  But, I am planning to attend it. 

Yesterday, I was grateful for:
- Feeling well again
- Friend R being able to attend the movie with me
- Free movies at the library
- A very enjoyable movie and evening
- Frugal fun

My joyful activity for the day was going to see the movie with friend R.

Does your library have free movie screenings?  If so, do you attend them? 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

When Hospitals Close

The announcement came as a shock - I was watching local news, a week or so ago, and one of the news stories was that the hospital where I go to for my treatments was closing due to bankruptcy!  All the patients who were currently in the hospital as in-patients were being transferred to other nearby hospitals that could, or would, accept them.  Over 1,000 employees were losing their jobs!  Located in downtown Los Angeles, it is considered the oldest hospital in the city.  But, with over 70% of their patients being low income and on Medicare (federal medical subsidy), which reimburse the hospital at a lower rate than private insurance, the hospital was apparently unable to receive enough income to remain open.  It is where my various cancer screenings and surgeries took place. 

I had been wondering what would happen next.  That is the hospital I've been assigned to, according to the insurance I have.  It is where I had all my screenings and surgeries when I was being treated for cancer.  I knew my insurance will probably make other arrangements, but, that takes time, of course. 

This morning, I had a phone call from the office of my radiation oncologist.  I had an appointment for a follow-up visit in February, but, his office is in a building adjoining the hospital and, apparently, it, too, is closing.  The doctor will see patients at other hospitals, but the one he's moving to is a bit of a distance from me, in a different city.  The office staff person I spoke with was saying that he and the rest of the staff in that office will all have to look for new jobs!  I feel so badly for them.  I used to go to that office for my radiation treatments, five days a week until all 35 treatments were completed.  The staff there were all so caring and considerate!  What happens to the patients who are still receiving daily treatments?  Where do they go? 

After that phone call, I called my oncologist's office.  My appointment on Friday of this week is with his nurse practitioner, for a follow-up visit and my bone density booster injection.  I called to find out if they are closing too, but, they are located in a different building, and they will remain open!  Oh, big sigh of relief!  One of the reasons why I chose to keep my same insurance when I retired was because I wanted to keep the same oncologist!  Unless I receive another phone call telling me otherwise, I will still be able to keep Friday's appointment!  Maybe my oncologist could recommend another radiation oncologist, if needed. 

All I can say is, I am very grateful the hospital didn't close while I was in mid-treatments!  That would have been very stressful to say the least!

Feeling a Bit Under the Weather on Monday

Been feeling a bit under the weather, again, today.  I am hoping I am not getting a relapse.  I've been taking it easy and resting, today.  Didn't do much of the things I had wanted to do, but, I did clean out the fridge and I took the trash bins to the curb.

Neighbor T didn't call me, yesterday, for our usual Sunday morning chat and she didn't call me in the morning, today.  So, I called her in the afternoon to check on her.  She said she's fine, but her daughter came over, yesterday, and she lost track of the time, today.

Friend R called in the evening to ask if we are still going to see the movie, tomorrow.  I said yes; I hope I will feel better by tomorrow.  If not, I'll call her and let her know.

I spent a little time decluttering my emails, from my laptop, today.  I've been saving some emails for longer than I need to, "just in case", but, I figured I could delete them, now.  I also deleted a few things like old voicemails and text threads from my phone.  My phone has not been sending any of my recent photos to the computer, so, I wondered if that was because I had too many things stored on the phone.  At first, it didn't seem to work and I wondered if I needed a new phone.  I checked to see when I bought my current phone (a go-phone, whatever that means - according to my daughter, it is a cheaper version of a smart phone; I think she paid $40 for it, plus tax), on January 16, 2016.  But, then, I deleted the thread with all the texts between my daughter and I and, suddenly, my phone sent me all the photos that didn't get sent earlier!  LOL.  A good reminder to delete our daily texts on a more frequent basis!

This is a drawing my daughter did in her planner for the days following Christmas, when she was feeling ill:

When she was feeling ill

And this is the drawing for the first three days after she returned to Berkeley - she had taken the day off on Jan. 6, took a long nap after the first day of being back at work, and got her gymnastics back tuck back at her acrobatics class the next day (she used to be able to do the back tucks when she took gymnastics earlier, but, she had to stop classes after she went to university due to class/work schedules).  She's taking acrobatics, now, which includes some gymnastics moves as well.

The first week after returning to Berkeley

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being able to rest and take it easy when I feel under the weather
- Neighbor T is OK
- Warm knitted blankets
- Nothing wrong with the phone - just too much stuff being stored on it!
- Video chatting with my daughter

Today's joyful activity was relaxing on the sofa and watching TV!  There might have been a "bon-bon" or two, as well - Belgium truffles I received as a Christmas gift from neighbor T.  It's what retirement is all about, isn't it?  LOL!

Tuesday's to do list (including things I didn't do on Monday, as well):
- Change bed sheets
- Load of laundry (bed sheets/towels)
- Paperwork
- Water the houseplants
- Pick up friend R and go to the library to watch the movie

Hopefully, I'll feel quite well, tomorrow.

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

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Visiting on Sunday

Earlier in the week, when I called my aunt to wish her for her birthday, I told her I'll visit her this weekend.  Today, I called her to see if it would be OK for me to visit her this afternoon and she said yes.  Then, I called cousin P to see if she'd like to go with me, but, she couldn't leave her husband who is recovering from knee surgery.  So, I went by myself.

I knitted her a shawl for her birthday, because she feels cold all the time.  I gave the shawl and a jar of my jam as her birthday gift from me.  She was so happy with the shawl that she took off the scarf she was wearing and put on the shawl, right away, saying it was exactly what she wanted.  I was happy that she liked her gift.  When her older daughter, my cousin V, came in, aunt showed her the shawl and said, "See what Bless gave me".  I also took a bag of freshly picked lemons and several sprigs of curry leaves for her, to be shared with her daughter, etc.

I didn't stay too long, but, aunt insisted that I ate something before I left, so, cousin V served me some stringhoppers (similar to rice noodles) and curries.  I came home around 6:30 p.m. and have been relaxing and taking it easy.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being able to visit my 93 year old aunt
- She liked the gift I made for her
- Seeing cousin V, as well
- A safe drive there and back (plus, the car started and had a bit of a run)
- A relaxed evening

Today's joyful activity was visiting with aunt and cousin.

Monday's To Do List:
- Change bed sheets
- Load of laundry (bed sheets/towels)
- Clean the fridge
- Take trash cans to the curb for Tuesday trash pick up
- Water the garden, front and back
- Paperwork

On the calendar for the week ahead:
Tuesday: movie at the library with friend R
Wednesday: blood test
Thursday: piano lesson
Friday: oncologist appointment, M to do the garden

How was your Sunday?  What are your plans for Monday and the week ahead?

Budgeting on Saturday

Saturday was a fairly relaxed day.  I slept in, chatted with friend R and cousin P, did a bit more on the puzzle, did some paperwork, practiced the piano for 30 minutes, and did the dishes.  In the evening, I watched some TV - the evening news and the Jeopardy-Greatest of All Time contest.  They showed the first three episodes back-to-back, this evening, which was nice, because I didn't watch it during the week.

While I watched the Jeopardy show, I revised my budget for 2020.  As I mentioned before, the piano lessons are a new expense  and my property taxes and homeowners/earthquake insurance have increased.  These bigger bills are paid annually, but, what I do is add up my annual expenses and divide them by 12 to come up with a monthly amount, which is then allocated towards them, so that I have the funds in place when those bills come due. 

Some people don't like the word "budget"; they feel that having a budget is a constraint.  If that is so, then, I suggest calling it a "spending plan".  I have a very detailed budget/spending plan, with several spending categories, simply because I feel better about spending money on something non-essential like piano lessons, as long as I've budgeted for it!  My initial tendency is not to spend!  Having a budget/spending plan, enables me to feel more comfortable about spending money on non-essentials.

I accommodated the additional expenses by increasing my budget and reducing the amount I was saving, each month.  I am comfortable with this decision.  I am still saving, but, just a little bit less than earlier.  Since I have no debts or financial obligations, I am OK with that. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- What I was able to accomplish today
- Being able to accommodate the increased expenses by increasing the budget
- Chatting with friends and family
- Video chatting with my daughter
- A working dishwasher!

My joyful activity today was watching the game show on TV.

How was your Saturday?  Do you have a budget/spending plan? 

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Stocking up on Friday

Today, I ran a couple of errands in the afternoon.  I went to the bank and then, to the warehouse type grocery store across the street from the bank.  Unlike a lot of other warehouse type stores, this one doesn't require you to be a member and pay a membership fee to shop there.

There were a few items I needed to stock up on - sugar, cat food, and toilet paper, mainly.  I had been using my previous stock of sugar for everyday use, to make jam for gift giving, and, finally, the love cake.  I don't like it when my stocks run low, because I want to be prepared just in case we have a major earthquake or other emergencies, when roads may be damaged or closed, grocery stores might be closed due to structural damage or lack of electricity, or new deliveries can't be made due to damage to the infrastructure, etc.

Today, I bought two 10 lb. bags of sugar for $5.79 each; advertised as a "weekly special", regular price was $5.99, a 30 roll package of store brand toilet paper (when did they start calling it "bath tissue"?) for $16.99, two bags of cat food for $9.99 each, and a bag of a different brand of cat food for $10.99.  That was my stocking up part of the items I bought.  In addition, I bought a frozen pizza for $3.99 and a frozen cheesecake for $5.99 as a special treat!

Finally, I also bought a candy thermometer, that was on after Christmas clearance, for $1.00; regular price was $3.99.  Now, I've made different kinds of candies all my life without the benefit of a candy thermometer, and none of my traditional candy recipes have any specific temperatures listed, but, it's one of those kitchen gadgets I've always wanted, but, didn't want to pay full price for one.  I figured that, for $1.00, I couldn't go wrong.  The only problem is, I am supposed to be decluttering and, already, I've acquired two new kitchen gadgets! 

My total bill came to $74.73 with sales tax.  The sugar, pizza, and cheesecake will come from my grocery budget.  The other items will be paid from household/toiletries and pet supplies budgets. 

Speaking of budgets, I need to redo my budget for the new year.  My earthquake insurance went up and the piano lessons are a new expense. 

After I came home, I baked the pizza for a very late lunch/early dinner, chatted a bit with M who pruned the rose bushes (we reminisced about the time when it would take him at least four visits to prune all the rose bushes!), fitted a few more pieces in the jigsaw puzzle (with the "help" of Dancer!), and practiced the piano (for 30 minutes - I played through all the beginning pieces and played the one piece where I stumbled a few times; as I progress, I will increase my practice time).

Later, of course, I video chatted with my daughter. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Family and friends calling to check up on me
- Being able to stock up
- M continuing to help with the garden
- The car started without any problem!
- New gadgets for the kitchen!

Today's joyful activities included doing the jigsaw puzzle, eating cheesecake, and playing the piano!

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

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Piano Lesson on Thursday

I had my first piano lesson in probably over 50 years, today!  I was so nervous!   I don't even know what I was nervous about, but, I was a bundle of nerves and made the silliest mistakes because of it!  LOL.  But, S was very patient and kind.  She took me from the very beginning, which I much appreciated, because I needed that refresher course.

Then, she had me play from the book and I admitted to her that I had played the first few pages at home.  She was happy and had me play on until I got to a point where I stumbled a little, getting my fingers all mixed up!  So, my "homework" is to practice that piece until I am able to play it without stumbling and to go over the previous pieces, as well. 

As part of our conversation, I mentioned to her that I play a few songs by ear, but would like to learn better left hand accompaniments for them.  She wanted me to play one of the songs I play by ear for her and I played Whispering Hope.  It's a song I've played so often that I could play it with my eyes closed.  Except, today, I was so nervous, I almost forgot the melody!  I was so mortified!  But, S assured me that I did fine and she is going to teach me some arpeggios for the left hand. 

I had a restful afternoon, after I came home from the piano lesson.  After brunch, I worked on the jigsaw puzzled for a bit, did just a little bit more tidying, and went online for some time. 

In the evening, the piano tuner arrived and tuned the piano.  He said that, not only did he have to tune it, he had to raise the pitch a little, because it was so out of tune!  He thinks it is because of all the rain we've had, which has raised our humidity levels.  I said maybe I'll schedule the tuning every 6 months, instead of waiting for over one year! 

Later, I called aunt T to wish her for her birthday and video chatted with daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:
- A good first piano lesson
- A well-tuned piano
- A relaxed afternoon and evening
- A working heater on a cold evening
- Warm wool sweaters

Today's joyful activity was starting piano lessons (as nerve wracking as it might have been!) and doing my jigsaw puzzle.

Plans for tomorrow includes running a couple of errands.  I need to start and drive the car, since it has not been driven all week, do a bit of grocery shopping, and buy cat food. 

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

January Roses

January Roses
One of my goals for this year is to bring in flowers and/or greenery from the garden on a more regular basis to enjoy inside the house.  Today, I picked some more roses from the garden and arranged them in a vase for the mantelpiece.  What a blessing to be able to pick roses in January!  Later this month, however, the rose bushes will be pruned so they can rest until spring.  This is not an ikebana inspired arrangement, but, roses, lemon leaves, and a couple of crocosmia leaves make a nice arrangement, I think.  The vase was a gift from my sister, several years ago.

I called the piano tuner this afternoon.  This is the same piano tuner the store from which I bought the piano sent out to tune it a few days after it was delivered, 21 years ago!  He's been tuning the piano for me since then and I've not had another tuner!  We scheduled the piano tuning for tomorrow evening.  Then, I dusted the piano, again, because, it was already dusty after being dusted on Monday.

In the evening, I called neighbor S to inform her that my piano book had arrived and confirmed the first lesson for tomorrow afternoon.

It has been a relatively quiet day.  I did some tidying and putting away, but, not as much of cleaning as I had planned on doing. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Roses in January
- Piano tuner was able to fit me in sooner than later
- How excited S was when I told her my book had arrived and I can start tomorrow
- Friend R calling to check on me
- Video chatting with my daughter

Today's joyful activity was arranging flowers.

Thursday's To Do List:
- Piano lesson
- Vacuum the bedrooms
- Tidy the kitchen
- Have the piano tuned

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

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Music Book Arrives on Tuesday

Music Book and Coffee/Spice Grinder
My new piano music book arrived today!  Along with it, the coffee/spice grinder I ordered as mine had broken.  While using the pestle and mortar to pound the spices for the love cake worked out pretty well, a coffee/spice grinder is a useful gadget to have and buying it enabled me to qualify for free shipping.

The piano book is called "Alfred's Basic Adult Piano Course Lesson Book Level One":

New Piano Book
I sat at the piano and played the first few pieces without any difficulty.  S, who has no idea what I can or cannot play, has already said that we can skip ahead if she thinks I can handle it, but, I don't mind starting from the very beginning.  I will call her, tomorrow, to let her know that the book has arrived and confirm that I will have my first lesson on Thursday.  I should also call my piano tuner!

Today, I watered the garden, front and back, watered the house plants, put away a few things, and video chatted with my daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:
- The piano book and spice grinder arrived sooner than estimated
- No "porch pirates" stole my package!
- Water for the garden
- Hearing from a blog friend I haven't heard from in several months
- Other friends I keep in contact with on a more regular, often daily, basis.

My joyful activities included moving to music!

Wednesday's To Do List:
- Call neighbor S
- Call the piano tuner
- Vacuum
- Finish tidying and dusting my bedroom

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

Tuesday, January 7, 2020


Dancer is Missing Daughter

Today, I was determined to get back to my regular cleaning routine.  I did a load of laundry, dusted the living room, dining area, and family room, took down the holiday greeting cards, cut up some of them to make gift tags for next year, cleaned the fridge, took the kitchen trash out, and took the big trash bin and the yard waste bin to the curb for pick up on Tuesday morning.

When I went into my daughter's room to put away some of her laundry, I found a certain kitty cat on her bed.  He wasn't sleeping, his eyes were open, but, he didn't move, not even when I came back to the room to take a picture!  Just look at that face!  Someone is missing his favorite person.

I also sat down at the piano with one of my daughter's first piano books (my piano book hasn't arrived yet) and played a few of the pieces.  I definitely need to brush up on my sight reading, especially when it comes to the notes that are above or below the ledger lines (other than Middle C!).  LOL!  But, I know that I will eventually be able to know my notes, again.  Then, I played a couple of the songs I play by ear, just for the pleasure of it!

Later in the evening, I video chatted with my daughter.  She said she had a restful day before going back to work, tomorrow.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Caring, concerned friends
- Working appliances
- What I was able to accomplish today
- Video chatting with my daughter
- Access to online videos and music

Today's joyful activities included playing the piano.

Monday's To Do List:
- Load of laundry - DONE
- Dust living room, dining area, family room - DONE
- Clean the fridge - DONE
- Take trash cans to the curb for Tuesday trash pick up - DONE
- Water the garden, front and back
- Walk for 30 minutes - DONE

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Dust and tidy my bedroom
- Water the garden and the house plants
- Bring the trash cans in
- Do dishes

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