Sunday, May 31, 2020

Propped Up on Sunday

Propped Up Peach Tree

Standing Straight, Again!

The peach tree has been propped up!  I had managed to get it somewhat off the ground using the small step ladder (just two steps!) by myself, earlier in the morning.  My efforts caused three peaches to fall off, but, I picked them up to eat them, later.  Then, in the afternoon, M came over with a long piece of wood that he had to use as a stake and we tied the tree to it, using strips of fabric.  But, we doubted if the piece of wood would be strong enough to support the tree.  Then, I suggested we used three of the slats that had broken off the dilapidated garden bench that I have!  There were three pieces that had broken off and we propped them up in place using cinder blocks and a paving slab!  Hopefully, they will hold the tree up, at least long enough for the fruit to ripen!  Another three peaches fell off during our efforts, but, I gave M a couple of the riper ones.  I ate one of the less ripe ones with a mixture of salt and chili powder!

M brought me some gardenias from his garden:

Aren't they lovely?  They have such a lovely scent, too.

He also brought me a new houseplant:

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum "Valentine")
He said he bought it for someone who saw his plant like that and wanted one, too, but, changed her mind, later, and gave it back to him!  He asked me if I'd like to have it and I said yes!  It is supposed to be super easy to grow, doesn't need a lot of care, and is a good air purifier!    However, it is highly toxic to cats!  I put it on top of the tall shelving unit in the family room, next to the pothos plants (which are also toxic to cats) to keep it out of Dancer's reach.

Between trying to prop up the peach tree and watching the on-going TV news coverage of today's protests in my city and adjoining cities, I didn't accomplish much, today!  However, I updated my monthly balanced life goals and posted that, took some of the zucchini muffins I baked last night to neighbor S to share with her, chatted on the phone with neighbor T, aunt C, and friend R (and daughter, too, of course), and sewed up my newest hat:

Stripey Hat
There was just enough of the mustard yellow for this hat!  The yarn was leftover from one of my daughter's crochet projects.  She does "amigurumi", which is a type of Japanese crocheting of small stuffed items.  The blue, of course, is leftover from my sweater.

Today, I am grateful for:
- The peach tree didn't break or get uprooted
- M was available to help prop it up
- Gifts of flowers and a new houseplant
- Being able to share the muffins with neighbor S
- The garden in which to walk about during this time of sheltering at home

Today's joyful activity was propping up the peach tree!

I am not quite sure where this month went!  But, we start a new month, tomorrow! I hope it will be a better month for all of us! 

Monday's To Do List:
- Water the front garden
- Change bed sheets
- Load of laundry (bed sheets/towels)
- Dust living room & dining area
- Clean the fridge
- Take trash cans to the curb for Tuesday trash pick up

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

Balanced Life Monthly Goals - May Update and June Goals

Looking back on May and forward to June, here is the review of my May goals and the goals for June!

As mentioned before, I have chosen 10 areas of my life that I think are important to me, on which to focus.  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 which then become the starting ratings for the next month.

Balanced Life Goals:May Spiritual (10)(10):
- Continue with daily prayers, meditation, being grateful, positive, and joyful
- Continue to attend Temple prayer/blessing services online
- Attend May's prayer gathering if possible
- Continue to cultivate non-attachment by being generous and giving to the extent I am able

Once again, thanks to all the technology that is available these days, I was able to attend blessing services, including a special retreat, at the Temple, online, and to attend the monthly prayer gathering as well!  I also continued with daily prayers, meditation, being grateful, and I have tried to be positive and joyful.  I haven't done a lot of decluttering or donating; however, I have received a lot from generous family and friends and have tried to reciprocate at least in a very limited way.

I am keeping the rating at 10.

June Spiritual (10):
- Continue with daily prayers, meditation, being grateful, positive, and joyful
- Continue to attend Temple prayer/blessing services online
- Participate in the June prayer gathering if possible
- Continue to cultivate non-attachment by being generous and giving to the extent I am able 

May House (9)(8):  The goal is a home that is pleasant, comfortable, and welcoming:
- Clean - Continue with spring (deep) cleaning
- Organize - Continue to find a place for everything and keep everything in its place
- Well maintained - Keep "erasing the evidence"; implement daily and weekly cleaning schedules
- Decluttered - Declutter 31 items in May

The upkeep of the house has been inconsistent to say the least!  I have been rather lax with implementing my weekly cleaning routines, letting things go longer between cleaning, etc.   Things have been maintained after a fashion, but, not to my expectations.  I need a new housekeeper!   

I didn't declutter 31 items, either.  I decluttered some, but, I took back a couple of items I had previously decluttered!  One is a book that I took back to re-read (it will go back to the donations pile, later) and one is an oversized T-shirt because I needed something a little cooler than the sweatshirt I was wearing as a pyjama top, earlier this week!  I think I will continue to keep that T-shirt! 

I am reducing the rating to 8.  

June House (8):
- Clean - Do more deep cleaning
- Organize - Continue to find a place for everything and keep everything in its place
- Well maintained - Keep "erasing the evidence"; implement daily and weekly cleaning schedules
- Decluttered - Declutter a minimum of 15 items in June

May Garden (8.5)(9):  The goal is a garden that is productive, yet drought tolerant:
- Maintain (water 1- 2 times per week; weed)
Clean out the garden shed
Care for the seedlings
- Plant a few more vegetable and flower seeds

The garden is coming along nicely!  There was some concern about the peach tree with leaf drop and spots on the leaves, and, just this morning, with it falling over in the night!   But, the peaches are growing nicely!  The tomato and cantaloupe seedlings are growing and flowering!  We planted the sweet potato vine and, although it took almost two weeks to get used be being in the ground, it has just begun to grow a couple of new leaves and I am hopeful it will continue to grow!  I was able to get two moringa plants which seem to be doing OK and will be repotted in larger pots in a week or two.   I've been watering almost daily, and that seems to be making quite a bit of a difference to the garden, although I dread seeing what my water bill will be!  I made one or two baby steps in landscaping the side yard, too, putting down a few of the cardboard boxes as I acquire them and transplanting a few gazania plants to see if they will take.  The garden shed got postponed, yet again, but, that's not a priority.

I am raising the rating to 9 (which is probably the highest it has been!).  

June Garden (9):
- Maintain(water frequently as needed, weed, fertilize)
Clean out the garden shed
- Continue with landscaping the side yard

May Daughter (10)(10):  The goal is to continue to have a close relationship with her:
- Daily texts, phone calls, and video chatting, etc., to keep in close touch with her
- Be supportive of her and be there for her

Daughter and I keep in contact daily.  She continues to work from home and seems to have adjusted well to the changes.  Our nightly online chats continue to be the highlight of my day.

I am keeping the rating at 10.

June Daughter (10):
- Daily texts, phone calls, and video chatting, etc., to keep in close touch with her
- Be supportive of her and continue to be there for her

May Family & Friends (10)(10):  The goal is to have a close connection with family members and friends:
- Regular phone calls and emails to check on family and friends

I have been interacting regularly with family and friends through phone calls, drop offs of masks and goodies, etc., and I was also able to "see" family and friends at the monthly prayer gathering as we did it online. 

I am keeping the rating at 10 because I feel that I have done my best to keep in touch under the circumstances.  

June Family and Friends (10):
- Regular phone calls and emails to check on family and friends

May 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
- Continue to participate in the online group
Continue to participate in Temple online services 

I participated in the blogging community and the online group, exchanged weekly phone calls with neighbor T, spoke with neighbor S a couple of times (and exchanged gifts of food a few times), and  was able to participate in temple services online, including recent funeral services for two members of the congregation who passed away. 

I believe I did what I could under the circumstances and will keep the rating at 10.

June Community (10):
- Continue to participate in the blogging community
- Weekly phone calls with neighbor T
Continue to participate in the online group
- Continue to participate in Temple online services

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

I spent mindfully and with purpose in May, although I went over my grocery budget of $75 as I decided to stock up on several pantry items.  I felt that the additional expenses I incurred were worth my peace of mind.  

I am keeping the rating at 10.

June Finances (10): 

- Continue spending mindfully, with purpose 

May Health & Well Being (7.5)(7.5):  The goal is good health:

- Call and reschedule this month's medical appointments and lab tests 
Continue to work on the same life style changes as before to the extent possible 
- Continue to strive to attain a healthier weight 

I rescheduled my medical appointments due to the corona virus and advice to stay at home.  My appointments weren't urgent.  I didn't lose any noticeable weight this month, but, I haven't gained any, either.  So, I'll take that as a success and leave the rating at 7.5!

June Health & Well Being (7.5):
- See if I can reschedule any or all of this month's medical appointments, too 
- Continue to work on the same life style changes as before to the extent possible
- Continue to strive to attain a healthier weight

May Time Management (8)(7): The goal is to spend my time in a mindful manner:

- Keep to a more regular schedule
- Procrastinate less

I keep feeling that I should be more efficient with my time and be more productive, that I am not getting as much done as I think I should.  I know I have slowed down quite a bit, but, surely I should have more to show for all this time I am spending at home?    

I have decreased the rating to 7, again.  

June Time Management (7):
- Keep to a more regular schedule
- Procrastinate less
- Spend time purposefully, mindfully

May 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
- Daily piano practicing
- Do a crafts project (finish knitting the socks; finish making one of the quilts in progress)

I finished knitting the socks and knitted two more pairs and several hats to donate!  I didn't sew the quilt, but I sewed several fabric masks.  I have been engaging in daily joyful activities, too, and Iarticipated in a mini photo challenge on the theme, "Curves"".  The daily piano practicing has faltered a bit, but, I am determined to get back to it.  

I am keeping the rating at 10.  

June Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies/Me-Time (10):
- Engage in daily joyful activities
- Daily piano practicing
- Do a crafts project (Knit a few more hats, sew a few more masks, finish making one of the quilts in progress so it can be gifted in July)

That is the review of my goals for a more balanced life in May and the goals for June.  May has been another pivotal month of changes and upheaval for many.  Virus-related restrictions were eased only to the replaced by protests-related curfew!  Who knows how things will turn out in June?  But, all we can do is take each day as it comes.  

Did you make any goals for a more balanced life in May?  If so, were you able to achieve those goals?  Will you be making any goals for June?

Peach Tree Down!

Sleeping on the Job!
This was my peach tree, this morning!

It had been leaning to the side, a little bit, earlier in the week, probably due to the weight of the fruit!  I showed it to M when he was here on Friday and we wondered if we should prop it up, but, decided it should be OK.  It was still standing upright, albeit leaning even more, when I watered it, yesterday.  After that, I didn't check on it, all day, until just before going to bed, very early this morning, when I happened to look outside and noticed that I couldn't see the tree!  So, I opened the back door and looked and I could see it leaning all the way over!  I wondered if the trunk had broken or it uprooted itself, but, decided to wait until morning to go and check on it.

Well, it hasn't uprooted itself and the trunk is intact, but, oh, the poor thing is bent over!  It is, after all, only a little tree.  The trunk is not even three inches in diameter at its thickest.  It is too top heavy with the branches laden with fruit!

I texted the picture to M this morning, although I hate to disturb him on a Sunday, his one free day in the week, asking him what I should do.  So far, (10:45 a.m. as I type this), I haven't heard back from him.  I don't know what, if anything we can do, at this point, other than let it be until I can pick the fruit.  Once the fruit have been picked, we can prune the tree and probably stake it or something!

I did water it, this morning.

I am grateful that the trunk didn't split and it didn't uproot itself!

Update:  M called just a few minutes after I posted this!  He'll be over in the afternoon, with something we could use as a prop!  Stay tuned!

Saturday - Curfew!

We are under curfew in the City of Los Angeles, tonight.  On the day when non-essential retail businesses, grooming services, and restaurants were supposed to open for business after being shut down due to the Covid-19 quarantining, we are under curfew for reasons other than the virus. 

My day started off fairly quiet.  I watered the peach tree, orange tree, the tomato and cantaloupe plants, etc., first thing in the morning.  Then, I checked on the front garden (didn't have to water it, because M watered it for me, yesterday).  I picked a rose from the climbing rose growing up the lattice; my cell phone camera doesn't capture it properly, but, but the outer petals look like red velvet!  I don't know the name of this rose, but, I'm going to call it Red Velvet!

Red Velvet

Dancer loves roses and came to take a closer look at it and, of course, tried to eat it!

Dancer says, "Take time to eat the roses!" 

I sewed two more masks, in the morning, to add to the four I had already made to give to the mail carrier.  I hung the bag with the masks on the mail box with a note to her, but, although someone delivered my mail and the medication refills from the pharmacy, the bag with the masks were not taken.  Maybe she didn't see the note.  Or, maybe a different mail carrier did the rounds, today.  I shall have to look out for her on Monday.

Later in the afternoon, I cut out and sewed four more masks.  I am keeping one of them for myself.  I only had one mask for myself and that was the prototype I had first made.  I needed a second mask to have on hand.  The rest will be for my friend's daughter - I will make three or four more masks for her and then, call her to come and pick them up.

M stopped by in the early afternoon with a bag of potting soil he had bought for me.  We wanted potting soil to plant the moringa plants in bigger pots.  I don't want to plant them in the ground until they are a little bit bigger. 

Later, I watched news and knitted.  I finished the new hat, but, haven't sewn it up, yet.  I'm afraid I sat glued to the TV for longer than I should have, watching the news as it unfolded. 

Brunch had been a scrambled egg, with bacon and hash browns.  Dinner was broiled chicken drumsticks with a salad.  Afterwards, I baked some zucchini muffins:

Zucchini Muffins
This time, I was careful to take them out of the oven before the bottoms got too brown! 

Today, I am grateful for:
- M bringing me the potting soil
- Video chatting with my daughter
- My fabric and thread stash
- The garden is coming along, nicely
- Zucchini muffins

Today's joyful activity was sewing.

Plans for tomorrow include more mask sewing. 

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

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt

The Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt starts on June 1 and ends on September 30, 2020.  It is being hosted by Patio Postcards.   There is only one rule - the photos used have to be taken between June 1 and September 30.  If anyone is interested in participating, please send a comment to the above link, so Mary-Lou can notify everyone for the first link up, on June 30.

I have copied the list of prompts:

  1. A favourite piece of jewelry
  2. Something with or in a knot
  3. Something with the colours of your country’s flag
  4. A toy you play with
  5. Something you have more than one of
  6. Something in the shape of a triangle
  7. Something that displays a rule(s)
  8. A leaf longer than your hand
  9. Something that starts with the initial of your name (first or last)
  10. Something smaller than a paper clip
  11. Something you need to throw away
  12. Something that holds your favourite beverage
  13. A rubber band/elastic in use
  14. Something with wheels
  15. Something inherited
  16. Something with rough texture
  17. Something naturally round
  18. Something that can go in the water
  19. A stone/rock/pebble with some colour in it
  20. Something with the number 7 in it

Alt A. An animal statue

Alt B. Something heavier than your shoe
Alt C. Something with four sides

Is anyone else planning to join the fun?  If so, leave a comment on Mary-Lou's blog, at the link above.

Friday - The Return of May Gray

The Return of May Gray - ha, that sounds like it could be the title of a novel, doesn't it?  But, no, it's not the title of a novel.  It's what the meteorologists call our weather in May.  The marine layer moved in, today, and with it, the cloud cover and overcast skies that is more typical of our weather in May, which is called "May Gray" (a precursor to June Gloom) and a 20F drop in the temperatures to the low 70s!

I spent the morning on the computer!  Later in the afternoon, however, I cut out and sewed several face masks.  I am running short of sewing thread!  My plan is to use up all what I have and then, if necessary, order more thread online and arrange for a curbside pick up!  Maybe I'll order some 1/4 inch elastic, too!  Our shops opened on Wednesday, but, I am not likely to go shopping in person, any time soon!

By the way, as of today, hair and nail salons/barbershops and restaurants may open for business in my county and city!  Imagine that!  We had 1,824 new confirmed cases (the increase in number is partly due to increased testing and delayed testing results coming in) and 50 deaths due to the virus in the past 24 hours in my county.  Not the entire state of California, but, in Los Angeles county (although L.A. county accounts for nearly half of the numbers for the state and the city of L.A. accounts for about half of the county numbers).  I guess the ratio of new cases and deaths per available hospital beds and ventilators, etc. is such that it has been deemed safe to reopen businesses with some restrictions.  Just how well those restrictions will be complied with and enforced is yet to be seen.  I guess we will find out in the upcoming weeks. 

In the evening, friend M came to tend to the garden.  He had taken last Friday off to have a long weekend over Memorial Day weekend, so he was seeing the garden after two weeks and he was surprised and pleased to see the peach tree with the fruits ripening on it, the tomato plant, and the cantaloupe plants, etc.  He mowed the back yard for me and tidied up the front.

Later, I watched some news and knitted, then, video chatted with my daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:
- M tending to the garden
- The cooler weather
- My sewing supplies stash
- Electricity to run the sewing machine
- Being able to video chat with my daughter

Today's joyful activity was sewing masks to give away.

Plans for tomorrow include watering the back yard (M watered the front for me, today) and more sewing.  Need to start the car, too!

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

Friday, May 29, 2020


The First Peach - Top

The First Peach - Bottom

This morning, when I went out to water the back garden, I saw that a peach had fallen from the tree.  It was about two inches in diameter, slightly misshapen, and, although it had a nice color, it was still quite hard and under-ripe.  Not quite sure how or why it fell.  I had a choice to make - do I keep it to ripen in a brown paper bag or do I eat it as it was?  In the end, I decided to eat it as it was, because eating under-ripe fruit is nothing new to me.  In fact, eating under-ripe, sour fruit with a mixture of salt and chili powder used to be a treat when I was a child!  The peach was crunchy, a little sour and a little sweet.  In fact, it was just right!  I am considering this as the first peach of the season because all the other peaches that were thinned out or had fallen were too small and immature to be considered edible.

I spent a quiet day, today.  Barb's news about her daughter Whitney's passing made me feel pensive. I'm coming up on the five year anniversary of my own cancer diagnosis and the possibility of it returning is something I think of quite often.

I made a couple of changes to my meal plan, today, and had tuna salad sandwiches for brunch, instead of the French toast, because Susan had mentioned tuna salad sandwiches in her comment on my meal plan post and that made me want tuna salad!  Later, for dinner, instead of making coconut roti, I had frozen parathas with fish curry, as it was easier and quicker!  I think I can make a whole week's worth of meals, now, based on the meals I planned to make and didn't!  LOL.  

I did a few house keeping tasks, watered the few indoor plants, cooked a fish curry, etc., and watched news.  I also finished knitting another hat:

Hat No. 3
Today, I am grateful for:
- The first peach from the tree
- The rest of the peaches remaining on the tree!
- Bird song in the garden
- Chatting with my daughter
- A quiet sort of day

Today's joyful activity was enjoying the first peach!

Plans for tomorrow include vacuuming, which I should have done yesterday, but, didn't!

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

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Rest in Peace, Whitney

Whitney (taken about 18 months ago)

Whitney (more recent picture)

Barb in Texas sent me an email, this morning, to let me know that her daughter Whitney passed away, earlier this morning, just moments after she posted a comment on my blog post, yesterday, thanking everyone for their prayers.

This is what Barb said she shared with a group of friends:

For Whitney Lynn Goetter
“May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest … Give rest, O Lord, to thy handmaid who has fallen asleep …”
(from “Song for Athene” lyrics by Mother Thekla, 1993)

Whitney, my oldest daughter, brave and beautiful, died in Marysville, Washington, on 27 May 2020. She taught all of us how to live and die with grace, dignity, courage, and acceptance. She is met in Eternity by loving family and friends who went before her, and she is deeply mourned by her family and friends ...especially her son, Ryan Delaney who has been the joy and delight of her life. 
We will remember her spirit of adventure, her willing acknowledgement of being “the supreme catlady,” her kindness and compassion, and her wonderful laugh (often at herself.)
Rest in peace and comfort, sweet girl- I love you now and forever.

Rest in peace, Whitney. 

Barb, please know that I and those who read my blog send you and your family our deepest sympathies and condolences.  Our thoughts are with you at this sad time in your lives and we will continue to keep you and Whitney in our prayers.   (((HUGS)))

Wednesday, May 27, 2020


Front of Shelf Unit

Side View

My daughter has finished "papering" her shelving unit.  She only had a small amount of white acrylic paint, which wouldn't have been enough to cover the cardboard, so she used printer paper to paper the sides and top of her shelving unit and to cover the raw edges of the front.  She is going to leave the insides of the boxes as they are.  She is not sure if she will decorate the sides and the top of the unit (maybe paint some anime characters or some cherry blossoms), but, for now, the unit is done!  

Today has been another warm day.  Hot enough for me to turn on the ceiling fan in the family room in the afternoon!  

Today's big achievement was unpacking and putting away all the recent grocery and household supplies deliveries!  I also changed the sofa cover sheets and did a load of laundry.  Everything was hung up to dry; I will put them away before I go to bed.  I also did a load of dishes which need to be put away, too.  

Cousin V called while I was doing dishes.  She said that after seeing me online at yesterday's prayer gathering, they were trying to decide if I had got bored with staying at home and colored my hair!  LOL.  My family, who all color their hair, can't get over the fact that I refuse to color my hair and have been at me to color it for at least the past 15 years!  I am fine with going grey, naturally.  Showing my age doesn't bother me at all!  But, when my hair grew back after the cancer treatments, it grew back with less grey in it than before!  So, I guess, on the computer screen, my hair appeared even darker?

Today, I am grateful for:
- Video chatting with my daughter
- Working appliances (washing machine, dishwasher, fans, etc.)
- Being able to stock up my pantry
- Chatting with cousin V
- Being alive

My joyful activity today was knitting.

Thursday's To Do List:
- Water the garden
- Water the indoor plants
- Sew masks
- Paperwork

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

Tuesday, May 26, 2020


Cantaloupe Flower
I have two flowers on my cantaloupe plants!  I am so excited!  From what I could tell, they are both male flowers and the plant usually has more male flowers than female flowers to increase their chances of pollination, but, I am hoping that we might get some female flowers, too, eventually!

Second Cantaloupe Flower

I am not even sure if the plants should be flowering this early, because they are still baby plants, themselves!  But, yay!  I've cantaloupe flowers! 

Today was a hot day, so I watered the back garden in the morning.  My utilities bill came in the mail, today, and it includes charges for water, as well as electricity, sewer service, and solid waste collection.  It is for April and May usages and it came to just below $300, which is what I budget for the utilities bill!  I haven't checked the break down, how much for water, how much for electricity, etc., and our summer water rates haven't gone into effect, yet.  I know I'll get a much bigger bill, next time!  But, that is the price of trying to grow a lush garden in an arid place!

Buddleia Flower Spike
I noticed that there are a couple of other flower spikes starting to form on the buddleia plant and I am looking forward to seeing a bush covered with flowers, eventually.

In the afternoon, I chatted with cousin P, did some (very little) housekeeping, and read.  Later, I watched news and knitted.  I had started another hat, yesterday, and today, I finished it:

Red Knitted Hat (sorry, it's a bit blurry)
I looked through my yarn bin, yesterday, and discovered, to my surprise, that I didn't have quite as much leftover yarn that is suitable for these types of hats as I thought I had!  I have yarn that I had bought for specific projects and leftover wool (not suitable for these hats as they need to be machine washable and wool will felt if washed in a washing machine - ask me how I know!  LOL!).  But, my daughter said I could use any of her yarn that she had bought for her craft projects.  So, maybe I'll raid her yarn stash, next! 

In the evening, I attended this month's rosary prayer gathering, online.  It was nice to see everyone and, after the prayers were said, we stayed online and chatted a bit.  Later, I called friend R and chatted with her. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Flowers on plants in my garden
- Water for the garden
- Being able to attend the monthly prayer gathering online
- Phone calls with family and friends
- Chatting with my daughter

Today's joyful activities included attending the monthly prayer gathering and chatting with family and friends.

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

Memorial Day Monday

Memorial Day Dinner (Compliments of Neighbor S and Family!)

I spent a quiet morning, today, and made milk rice for brunch, mostly to use up half a can of coconut milk that I had stored in a jar in the fridge.  Then, I updated my meal plan for last week and made a new one for this week, mostly because I need to use up a few things I have in the fridge before they spoil.  I spent the afternoon relaxing, reading, etc.

Then, in the evening, neighbor S called to ask me if I'd like some cheeseburgers and a piece of homemade gata (a type of sweet bread, sometimes made with puff pastry) that her sister-in-law had made!  Guess what my answer was!  LOL!  S brought me two huge cheeseburgers (the tops of the buns are underneath, but I took the photo before I added the condiments and put the tops on the buns) and fries. Two cheeseburgers are too much for me for one meal.  I ate one and kept the other in the fridge for my lunch, tomorrow.  S and her family are so good to me!  Have I mentioned how blessed I am when it comes to my neighbors?

So, day 1 of this week's meal plan and I've already made changes!  LOL!  I must admit that the cheeseburger and fries were so much more satisfying than the scrambled egg on toast that I had planned on having for dinner!

Later in the evening, I watered the front garden and waved "Hi" to S's mother L.  Still later, I video chatted with my daughter.  All in all, it was a good day as far as I am concerned.

Today, I am grateful for:
- A relaxed day
- Good neighbors who always try to include me even when I am not there in person
- A delicious dinner
- Water for the garden
- Video chatting with my daughter

My joyful activity today was chatting with my daughter.

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Dust: living room, family room, and my bedroom
- Water the back garden
- Water the house plants
- Unpack and put away the boxes that were delivered, last week
- Change sofa dust covers and wash them

This week, I will be focusing on the family room to clean and tidy.

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

Monday, May 25, 2020

Meal Plans: Week 4 Update and Week 5

I started Week 4 with lots of leftovers in the fridge!  My plan was to incorporate them into this week's meal plan.  I think I was somewhat successful, but, things got changed around a bit, anyway!

Brunch: Pasta with sauce; orange juice
Dinner: Salad, curry puffs (have to make; put the frozen puff pastry to thaw)

Brunch: French toast  Curry puffs!
Dinner: Rice pilaf, green beans

Brunch: the last of the pasta and sauce
Dinner: Vegetable soup with toast curry puffs

Brunch: Curry puffs, salad
Dinner: Rice pilaf, green beans, lentils

Brunch: Uppuma (Indian style cream of wheat, made with semolina)
Breakfast:  The last curry puff
Lunch: Rice pilaf, green beans (finished the rice pilaf)
DinnerCoconut flat bread, Paratha (Indian flat bread), chicken curry (from the freezer)

Brunch:  Coconut flat bread, probably,  Paratha with chicken curry
Dinner:  Maybe fried potatoes and scrambled eggs (breakfast for dinner!) Potato salad; toast with peanut butter (no jelly)

Brunch: Waffles Paratha with chicken curry
Dinner: Rice with leftover chicken curry, green beans, lentils cashew curry

Snacks turned out to be mostly the banana muffins I made with the last ripe banana, fruits such as banana and grapes, and cereal, with or without milk (I was trying to finish the milk before it spoiled!)

Well, I've meal planned for four weeks, mostly in an attempt to not let any food go to waste, and this is what I have learned:
- I opt for easy over variety!  I've become an incredibly lazy cook!   I'd rather eat the same thing several days in a row if it means I don't have to cook!  Even if I do feel like cooking, I'd rather do something quick and easy than something more complicated and time consuming!

I wondered if it was even worth making meal plans for the upcoming week, but, this is going to be a week when I have to cook, because I don't have a lot of leftovers in the fridge and I have some things that need to be used up before they spoil!  For example, the last loaf of bread I bought has been sitting out too long (there was no room in the freezer to freeze it!) and I discovered a spot of mold on one of the end pieces!  I tossed that piece and the next couple of slices, froze some of the bread, a couple of slices per sandwich bag (managed to find a little space in the freezer) and kept the rest of the bread in a gallon sized zippered bag in the fridge!  I see lots of toast and maybe a bread pudding in my future!  So, with that in mind, I decided to make a meal plan for this week, too!  The items in bold print, below, are meant to indicate things I need to use up before they spoil!

Week 5 (Use it Up!) Meal Plan:

Brunch: Milk rice and chicken curry - I had half a can of coconut milk in a jar in the fridge, that needed to be used up before it spoiled.  I used most of it for the milk rice and added the rest to the chicken curry I already had in the fridge to make more gravy.
Dinner: Scrambled egg on toast, with or without bacon (depends on how much I want to dig through the freezer!); maybe a salad

Brunch: French toast
Dinner: Rice, chicken curry, the last serving of cooked green beans, curried sauteed cabbage. cucumber salad

Brunch: French toast
Dinner: Rice, chicken curry (if there is any leftover) or curried garbanzo beans, curried sauteed cabbage, cucumber salad

Breakfast: Scrambled egg on toast?
Lunch:  Salad
Dinner: Coconut flat bread and fish curry

Brunch:  Coconut flat bread, fish curry
Dinner:  Salad, broiled chicken drumsticks (have to remember to take chicken out to thaw!)

Brunch:  Coconut flat bread, fish curry
Dinner: Salad, broiled chicken drumsticks

Brunch: Pancakes
Dinner:  Pasta with meat sauce, or, if I feel ambitious, then, lasagna!

Planned baking for the week: zucchini muffins, maybe bread pudding

I still have some salad stuff (lettuce, cucumber, carrots), fresh fruits (grapes, a tangerine, apples, fresh oranges from the tree), and frozen vegetables.   I won't be needing another fresh grocery pick up for at least another week.

How are your meal plans coming along? 


Sunday lived up to its name and was a sunny day!

I spent a relaxed morning.  Neighbor T called to check on me and we chatted for a little bit.  Later in the afternoon, I did a load of laundry and hung everything up, inside the house, to dry.  In the evening, I watered the back garden.

Tomato Flowers!
There are flowers on the tomato plant!

The cantaloupe plants, the ones I didn't transplant, are growing, too:

Cantaloupe Plants
They are still fairly small, but...some look like they might be forming flowers!

Cantaloupe Flower Bud!
The real test for these plants will be later next week, when we are supposed to have a mini heatwave!

I also watched some news in the evening and a couple of other programs on TV and knitted.  Three hours of TV watching and this is the end result:

Knitted Hat
I used leftover yarn from two sweaters, but they are both the same type of yarn.  I think it might have looked better if I had started the hat with the darker blue, but, I am not going to redo the whole thing.  This used up all the lighter blue yarn, but, there is a little bit more of the darker blue yarn.  One hat ready to be taken to the cancer center on my next visit.  I hope to have a dozen or so hats made by then.

In the meantime, my daughter has been busy making stuff, too:

Cardboard Shelving Unit
She is using the boxes her grocery deliveries came in!  She plans to paint the shelves and store her DVDs and things.  I was reminded how, when we first came to this country and didn't have money for furniture, we covered cardboard boxes with fabric and used them as tables and for storage.

Today, I am grateful for:
- A sunny day
- Calls from neighbor and friends
- Working appliances
- Water for the garden
- Video chatting with my daughter

Today's joyful activity was knitting.

Tomorrow is Memorial Day and a holiday.  My plans for the day include watering the front garden and maybe some sewing. 

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

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Friday and Saturday

Third Pair of Socks
Guess what I finished knitting, today?  Yes, the third pair of socks from the leftover sweater yarn!  I shouldn't have any reason to complain of cold feet, next winter! 

Friday was a relaxed day.  I spent the morning writing my blog post, responding to comments, etc.  I received another delivery; this time the 20 lbs. of sugar I had ordered.  Now, I have enough sugar to make jam, later this summer, when the peaches ripen and if I should have another crop of pineapple guava (feijoa), later on.   In the afternoon, I watched some TV and, later, I watched news, knitted, watered the front garden, did the dishes, etc., and video chatted with my daughter.

Today, Saturday, I watered the peach tree, etc., in the morning and did some weeding.  I read a bit in the afternoon and tried to take a nap, but, didn't fall asleep.  So, after about 30 minutes, I gave up trying to nap!  Instead, I cleaned the litter box and swept the bathroom, watched news, and finished knitting my third pair of socks.  Then, I started the car and, while it was running, I did a little more weeding and watered some of the other plants.

Neighbor T called and asked me if I would like to have an unopened container of potato salad; she said her daughter went grocery shopping for her, yesterday (I had seen her daughter's car pull in to her drive way when I was out watering, on Friday) and bought her two containers of potato salad, but, she said that she couldn't eat both and she would have to throw away the second container if I didn't want it!  I can't imagine anyone wanting to toss food, especially these days!  So, I told her I would be happy to have the potato salad.  She kept it out on her front door step and I put on my face mask and collected the container of potato salad.  It had a "use by" date of June 12 and I told her she could keep it in her fridge and nothing would happen to it, but, she was adamant that she couldn't eat that much of potato salad!  I had some of it for my dinner, tonight, and enjoyed it.  One way or another, my neighbors are making sure I am fed!  LOL!

I am grateful for:
- Another pair of socks
- Potato salad from neighbor T
- The car started without any problems
- A delivery of sugar
- Being able to stock up

Joyful activities have included knitting, gardening, and watching TV

Plans for tomorrow include sewing more fabric face masks, as I've been asked for a few more. 

How is your weekend coming along?

Friday, May 22, 2020


The heading was just about all I was able to manage when it came to a blog post, yesterday!  LOL.  That saying about molasses in January comes to mind when I try to describe yesterday.   Wednesday had been no better, but, I did manage to clean the kitchen, on Wednesday evening.

I couldn't fall asleep on Wednesday night until past 5:00 a.m.  I was in bed, but, I was wide awake!  Then, I woke up to the sound of Dancer being sick.  Not my favorite way to wake up, but, once I had cleaned up after him, I didn't want to go back to bed.  It was already 10:00 a.m., anyway.  Dancer was fine, the rest of the day, although I restricted his access to his dry food.  I left the bowl out for a short while, then, took it away until later.  He was still able to reach the dry food in the bag, but, he had to work for it, getting it out a piece at a time with his paw, so he was not as likely to overeat!  

I spent the rest of the morning replying to blog comments, reading and commenting on a couple of other blogs, etc., and checking on the garden.  The peach tree is doing well; no more leaf drops, although there are plenty of damaged leaves.  Makes me wonder if the original leaf drop was due to a lack of water (I've been watering it practically daily, since then, rather than twice or trice a week!).   I checked on the fruit, too, although, according to the label that came with the tree, the fruit won't be ready for picking until late June to mid July.

Peaches Ripening on the Tree

I received a partial delivery of my latest grocery shipment, yesterday.  They are mostly canned items and there is a packet of new socks, in there, too!  I sprayed the boxes with disinfectant and kept them to air for a couple of days before I open them.  

In the early evening, I watched news and knitted a bit.  Friend R called and we chatted for a bit and then, I took one of the corrugated boxes the earlier deliveries had arrived in, flattened it, and put it down in the side yard.  It is my intention to use these delivery boxes as part of the weed barrier for the "path/stone creek" I am hoping to have in the side yard.  I have another box waiting to be broken down and then, I'll have to see if I can scrounge up more boxes!  I'll have to check my neighbors' recycling bins on Monday!  LOL!

Afterwards, I watered the back garden and practiced the piano, after a long time!  Shh!  Don't tell neighbor S, as she asks me if I am practicing and I have been telling her, yes!  LOL!

Later, I called friend S (the one who works in the grocery store) to congratulate her daughter on graduating from high school.  The graduating class held a parade around the school block, my friend told me, being driven by their parents and applauded by the neighbors.  

Still later, I video chatted with my daughter, exchanged emails with a friend,  played a few games of Solitaire on the computer, and decided to go to sleep at a decent hour (read 2:00 a.m.) instead of writing a blog post!

Yesterday, I was grateful for:
- Dancer was fine the rest of the day
- Daughter had a good work day
- Deliveries of groceries and other items
- Water for the garden
- The peach tree is coming along well

My joyful activity was being out in the garden.

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

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Slow Days

Holey Peach Leaves
The centers of the spots fall off and leave holes

Yesterday, Tuesday, my biggest achievements were bringing in the trash cans, cleaning the litter box, washing my bed sheets, and remaking my bed!  LOL.  I also walked about my garden, checking on things, and knitted (yes, I am making yet another pair of socks!) while I watched news.  Dancer threw up, twice, yesterday, choosing to go under my bed the second time, which meant I had to push the bed to the side to clean up, under; not an easy task due to the rest of the furniture in the room.  I limited his access to his dry food, yesterday, and he was most unhappy about it.  But, he seems OK, today. 

Today, Wednesday, I checked on the garden, again, and watered the peach tree, the orange tree, the sweet potato vine, the moringa plants, and the buddleia.

Buddleia Flower Stalk
So far, there is only this one flower stalk on the bush.  But, I am hoping that there will be more flowers, later. 

The seedling that wasn't supposed to be a tomato plant is now starting to have flower buds:

"Non-tomato" Flower Buds
I don't have a tomato cage and haven't got around to making one, so M stuck a stick next to it for a little support. 

Under the tomato plant and the nearby cantaloupe plants, I found these seedlings:

Curry Leaf Seedlings?
At first, I got excited thinking they might be papaya seedlings, because, in addition to the cantaloupe seeds, I tossed out a handful of papaya seeds, as well.  But, going by the looks of the seedling to the lower left of the picture, I think these might be curry leaf seedlings!  If so, I am going to have a forest of curry leaf trees!  I think I might try to dig these up and transplant them elsewhere.  Perhaps along the wall in the side yard.  I really don't need any more curry leaf trees, but, if these grow, then, they will be easy, relatively care free plants for the yard!  The hard part will be to remove them without disturbing the roots of the melon seedlings and the tomato plant.

Cousin P called me this morning and we had a nice, long chat.  Then, she mentioned she and her daughter were going shopping and I asked her, if they are going to a grocery store, to please buy me some bananas, preferably green ones.  A short time later, they brought me a bunch of bananas.  My cousin wouldn't accept any payment from me for them, saying the person ahead of them in line paid for them, but, her daughter admired my face mask, saying she liked the color (dark blue) so I said I will make one for her.  I hope I have more of the dark blue fabric - I had used a scrap piece that I had!

So far, today, I have watered some of the garden plants and all the house plants (I was careful not to over water the pothos plant on top of the shelving unit!), chatted with aunt C, and put away the last delivery of two bags of cat food and several cans of tuna.  It's a bright, sunny day and I am hoping to have a more productive afternoon! 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Cousin bringing me bananas
- Water for the garden
- Slow, relaxed days
- Dancer seems OK
- Being stocked up on cat food

Today's joyful activities were strolling around the garden and chatting with cousin P.

How are your days coming along?

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Rain on Monday

Rain Drops on a Double Colored Rose
It rained all Monday morning!  According to what I read about the bacterial leaf spots on the peach tree, it apparently spreads from leaf to leaf on drops of water and is prevalent during wet winters and springs!  My daughter suggested I rigged up an umbrella over the peach tree to protect it from the rain, but, I wasn't able to do so!  LOL!  Now that would have been a picture worth a thousand words, would it?  The rain ceased in the afternoon and we had nice sunshine; hopefully, the peach tree leaves dried up nicely without too much spreading of the leaf spot bacteria!

I slept in on Monday morning and finally got a good 8 hours of sleep after a long time!  As a result, I didn't get a headache or an eye ache all day (lately, I've been experiencing some eye strain towards the end of the day - too much screen time on the computer, no doubt!)

I found a lovely surprise in the mail, yesterday:

Three No. 3 Knitting Needles!
A friend had read in one of the responses to comments on my blog that I had knitted the socks with three #3 needles and one #4 needle because I only had three of the #3 needles.  She sent me these three #3 needles that she had, which she received free with the purchase of some yarn (apparently, she, too, had lost the fourth one!).  They are about four inches in length and are the cutest little needles I've ever seen!   The shortest needles I've had in my collection, prior to this, are 7 inches long!  These needles will be a pleasure to use when I am working on the heel and the foot part of the socks.  The longer needles I currently use make it awkward to knit when there are only a few stitches to work on.  Thank you!  (You know who you are!)

Later in the afternoon/early evening, I did some baking:

Curry Puffs with Chicken and Potato Filling
I had shredded and cooked the rest of the roast chicken breast, the other night, with onions, curry powder and a little chili powder and turned it into a curried version of shredded chicken. On Monday, I boiled and mashed three potatoes and added them to the curried shredded chicken, with a few more spices, salt, minced green chilies, and lemon juice to make a tasty filling for frozen puff pastry triangles.  The puff pastry came in four inch squares; I cut each in half, diagonally, to make two triangles.  I placed a heaping table spoon of filling on each triangle which was then folded over and sealed by pressing along the edges with the tines of a fork.  I brushed the tops of the pastry with some milk and baked them at 350F for about 20 minutes or so.  I didn't time the duration of the baking, but, checked on them every now and then and took them out when they were puffed and golden.  I had enough filling for 32 curry puffs!  As I mentioned to one of my friends, no one will believe just how far I was able to extend that one chicken breast half!  LOL!

Then, it was my turn to spread some blessings!  I took six of the curry puffs to neighbor S.  I called her, first, and asked if her daughter could come to their gate and I handed over the dish to her daughter.  We both had our fabric face masks on and I think it was safe enough.  S stood on the door step and thanked me.  She was very pleased with the pastries and called me back, later, to say her husband and daughters enjoyed them.  They make a similar pastry known as borek (or byorek), which has a salty cheese filling, so she told me that I made borek with a chicken and potato filling!  LOL.

I took another six of the pastries over to cousin P, who lives across the street, a couple of doors down from me.  Again, I called her and asked her to meet me near the gate.  She didn't have a mask on, but, I had my mask on.  I left the container on top of the wall and stepped back while she took them from the wall.  She thanked me for the pastries and I hurried back home. 

After that, I took six more pastries and part of the soup that S had given me (I told S that I was sharing the soup with a friend), along with a few sprigs of curry leaves, over to friend R.  Friend R had told me, the previous evening, that she doesn't have much of an appetite, she's eating only because she knows she needs to, etc.  That sort of concerned me, but, I thought it was probably because she was tired of eating what she cooked (we all know that she does not like to cook!).  I had placed the food in a bag in the trunk of my car and R took them from the trunk, so we didn't have any physical contact.  She called me later in the evening to say she immediately ate one of the pastries (they were still warm from the oven) and was heating up the soup for her dinner!  I'm glad she enjoyed them.

I, too, ate some of the pastries for my dinner, last night, and some for my brunch, today!  There are enough left for another couple of meals during this week. 

Later in the night, it started to get cold and, instead of turning on the heater, I decided to do a little more baking!  There was one last banana that had got a little too ripe for my liking and I was determined not to let it go to waste!

Banana Nut Muffins
I baked a batch of banana nut muffins, with the one banana and a handful of walnuts from the freezer.  My recipe said to bake them at 400F for 20-25 minutes.  They were done in 15 minutes, however, but, I turned off the oven and left them in the oven for another 5 minutes and that was a mistake, as the bottoms got a bit burned!   I had been planning to take some of these to friend S, but, I can't give her burned muffins!   I will keep these for myself (I just cut the burned bottoms off and they are fine) and bake something else for friend S.

Yesterday, daughter found out that her salary will be frozen, next fiscal year.  But, we have a lot to be grateful for - at least she still has a job, she doesn't have to go on furlough, and it is not a pay cut.  Her rent will increase as of July while her salary remains stagnant, but, she is careful with her spending and will still be able to manage.

I remember back in 2008, when I had to go on furlough and had a 20% cut in pay!  I reworked my budget and slashed discretionary spending down to a minimum.  Not that easy to do when one was already fairly frugal and there weren't any extras like eating out, hair cuts and manicures, etc., to cut out of the budget!  There were also talks of layoffs and we all had to fill out a survey about our years of service to determine seniority, etc.  As result, I also made two other budgets, based on state minimum wage and federal minimum wage (lower than state minimum wage and our governor at the time was talking about doing away with the state minimum wage and adopted the federal minimum wage, instead) to prepare for being laid off and having to accept a minimum wage job.  I remember realizing that, even if I were to slash all my spending to the absolute bare minimum, given that I still had a mortgage to pay, I would have had to have two full time minimum wage jobs to make ends meet!  Even if I gave up my house and rented an apartment, my rent would have been higher than what my mortgage was at the time, so that was not a good option.    Thank goodness that they were only exercises on paper! 

On Monday, I was grateful for:
- Rain to water the garden
- The gift of knitting needles from a friend
- Being able to make the curry puffs and share them with family and friends
- Daughter still has a job and doesn't have a pay cut
- The car started without any problems

My joyful activities on Monday included receiving a gift in the mail, baking, and sharing the baked goods!

I didn't do anything on Monday's To Do List, other than taking the trash cans to the curb and making the curry puffs!  I also washed what felt like a mountain of dishes, both before and after I baked!  LOL. 

Dancer is ready for a nap!