Thursday, August 5, 2021


Pale Blue Agapanthus

My daughter's health care provider called her in the morning to ask if she'd prefer to have a phone consultation with the nurse practitioner instead of going for an in person visit and my daughter decided to have the phone consultation, in order to minimize exposure to the Covid virus (today's Los Angeles County new Covid cases amounted to 3,734).  She submitted photos of her hives online and the nurse practitioner asked her several questions including when she first started having them, does she have any food allergies (none that we know of), have there been any changes in diet, laundry detergent, etc.  At the end of the phone consultation, she prescribed a steroid cream to be applied to the hives twice a day and an over the counter antihistamine to be taken once a day in the morning.  If there is no improvement in two weeks (or if things get worse) daughter is to call for a referral to a dermatologist or allergist.  We picked up the medications in the afternoon and she applied the cream soon after that.  But, she is waiting until tomorrow morning to take the antihistamine (since she was told to take it in the morning).

In the meantime, I combed Dancer to make sure he didn't have fleas, just in case these are flea bites (he didn't have any fleas) and gave him his monthly flea prevention medication, as well.  Then, I washed daughter's bedding, including her quilt, in hot water and she remade her bed with the freshly washed sheets and pillowcases.

M stopped by in the late morning to tend to the garden.  He watered both front and back and put a screen around the serrano chili pepper plant to keep the rabbits from eating it!  Bun Bun, the big white rabbit, is a frequent visitor in my garden.  I have a feeling he belonged to the neighbors two doors down from me (the same people who were trying to round up a rabbit in my front garden several weeks ago).  The problem is, they rented that house and left at the end of July (and left the house in a very bad condition, according to the owners, who have been clearing rubbish from the house, this week).  If Bun Bun was their rabbit, they left it behind to fend for itself!   Which it seems to do very well in my back garden!  LOL!    

M sowed a packet of chili pepper seeds in the bed where the green beans had been growing.  They were some old seeds that I had, but, I hope they will germinate and grow!  M will be off on a couple of weeks of vacation, so I will be watering the garden until he returns.  

Daughter and I had leftovers for brunch - I had the last of the milkrice and mackerel curry; she finished the pasta.  We had more leftovers for dinner - the pork bulgogi, rice, and vegetables.  Strawberries for dessert.

In the evening, I chatted on the phone with friend R and with aunt C.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Health insurance
- Daughter was able to have a phone consultation with the nurse practitioner
- Prescriptions and the availability of medications
- Hives are a relatively minor medical issue
- M tending to the garden for me

Today's joyful activity was treating myself to a chocolate croissant and daughter to an iced coffee drink on the way home from the pharmacy!  

Plans for tomorrow include tidying up the family room.


August Decluttering Challenge: I've been keeping track of the items I'm decluttering in a separate draft post, but, I like how Eileen keeps a running tab on her daily posts, so I am copying her!

8/1 - 1 pair gardening gloves

8/2 - non-working heating pad

8/3 - old purse/handbag

8/4 - 1 computer CD containing a report 

Tuesday, August 3, 2021



Dinner: Pork Bulgogi, Rice, Vegetables

Another warm summer day, today.   I brought in the trash cans, shared some of the tomatoes with neighbor S, watered the indoor watched some of the Olympics on TV, and checked this week's grocery ads that came in today's mail.  I'm not planning to buy anything in particular, but checking to see if there was any good sales on beef; $4.99/lb. seemed to be the best price (for tri-tip roast or family pack of steaks).  

My daughter had milkrice with seeni sambol (onion relish) for brunch; I had potato salad!  Later, I made us smoothies using frozen bananas, peaches, and some apple juice.  

In the afternoon, our new laptops and the package with the printer ink arrived!  Daughter set up my new laptop for me and I am using it to do this post!  

In the evening, daughter did the prep work for the pork bulgogi, cutting the meat and making the marinade.  She kept it to marinate for 30 minutes and I cooked it and the rice while she had her piano lesson.   We had some of the pickled and marinated vegetables she had made earlier (for the Japanese meal to celebrate the Olympics Opening Ceremony) with the bulgogi and rice.  There are enough leftovers for another dinner.  After dinner, I ran the dishwasher (and washed the pans by hand).

We also called to make an appointment for my daughter at a medical clinic down here (her regular clinic is up in Berkeley), because she has been breaking out in hives!  They first appeared in mid-May, when I was experiencing my sciatica pains and she took over watering the garden for me.  At the time, she thought they were bug bites that were red and itchy.  But, she has not been out watering the garden recently and she's still getting new hives and they seem to be coming in clusters, now.  Of course, it could have been due to stress because I was in pain and she was tending to me, working, and trying to keep up with the housework.  But, I've been OK for several weeks, now and have been doing most of the housework other than vacuuming.  She shouldn't still be getting new hives due to that!  We realized that the hives first broke out about 3 weeks after she had her second dose of the Covid vaccination.  If my sciatica inflammation was a stress response to my vaccine (according to my doctor) then, could her hives be a similar response?  She was able to make an appointment to be seen by a nurse practitioner at the clinic, tomorrow.  I hope she can get a diagnosis and a prescription for something to take care of the itching.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Daughter was able to get an appointment to be seen at the clinic, tomorrow
- The hives are not painful, just itchy
- She was able to get time off from work to go to the clinic
- The new laptops arrived
- Online ordering and free delivery

Today's joyful activity was trying out my new laptop!

Today's decluttering was an old purse/handbag that should have been tossed a couple of years ago!  Yesterday's decluttering was a microwavable heating pad that malfunctioned!  It had pockets filled with a type of gel and one of the pockets burst when daughter microwaved it!  The instructions say not to use the heating pad if the gel pockets burst.  In that case, there is no point in keeping it.

Plans for tomorrow include taking daughter to the clinic and having M tend to the garden before he takes a couple of weeks off on vacation.

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

August Grocery Shopping Part 1: Monday

Date Filled Pastries from Neighbor S

I picked up more groceries today!  Partly because I forgot to order a few items in the previous grocery order (some of which will be shipped as the gallon size store brand vinegar is not available for pick up, apparently!) and partly because I wanted to take advantage of this week's advertised specials.  I've been reading some articles about food prices rising due to various reasons including inclement weather, new regulations, and Covid-related issues.  I no longer have a price book like I did several years ago, but, I've learned to recognize a good deal when I see one.  I suppose I could have bought more when I grocery shopped, last week, but, I didn't want to go over the July budget by too much!  We are in a new month, now, and I have all of August's budget to spend!

Speaking of grocery budgets, remember when my budget for myself was $75 a month?  Oh, weren't those the "good old days"?!  Going by that budget, my monthly budget for two people should be $150!  But, it isn't!  I raised my grocery budget to $100 during the first Covid lockdown because I started ordering groceries from one of the regular supermarkets.  The supermarket prices were often higher than the ethnic store prices, but, they offered free curbside pickup.  Later, I increased it to $125 because I started to stock up on things as the pandemic continued.  Then, when my daughter came home, I increased my budget, again, by doubling it to $250.  Some months, I managed to keep to the budget; other months, I went over.  More recently, when I was sidelined by the sciatica, I didn't even bother to keep tabs!  I want to keep close track of my grocery spending this month.

My current grocery budget is set at $250 for the month for my daughter and myself (human food only; does not include cat food, household supplies, health and beauty items, etc.).  Keeping to this budget should not be too difficult because I am fairly well stocked, right now.  It is the stocking up of things that put me over budget!  

Today, I bought:

1 tray (6 lbs; 4 pieces) chicken half breasts @ $.99/lb = $6.05
1 tray (4.6 lbs; 12 pieces) chicken thighs @ $.99/lb = $4.56
2 packs (3 lbs, total) pork loin @ $2.99/lb = $9.00
1 lb. ground beef = $3.99

1+lb bananas (4 bananas) @ $.65/lb = $.90
1 mini watermelon = $1.99
1 x 2 lb. container strawberries = $2.99
1 iceberg lettuce = $1.49

2 x 10 fl. oz. soy sauce bottles @$1.99 = $3.98
3 x 2 lb. white rice @$1.49 = $4.47
1 x 1 lb. potato salad = $2.50*
1 pk. (10 ct; 1 lb) tortillas = $1.00

2 x 1 gallon white vinegar @ $2.80 = $5.60 (will be shipped)

Total = $48.52

* I ordered the 1 lb. tub of potato salad, but, they didn't have that size and they substituted the 2 lb. container for the same price!  Since I love this type of potato salad, I have no complaints!  I offered some of it to friend R, but, she declined.  I had a big helping of it with my dinner, tonight!

In addition to groceries, I ordered some disinfectant spray and wipes, and some Health & Beauty items (shampoo, etc.), but, they are not part of my grocery totals.  

I froze 3/4 of each tray of chicken, the pack of ground beef and one of the packs of pork.  I cooked one of the chicken breasts and four of the chicken thighs (pan sauteed with onions and tomatoes).  Daughter and I had some of the chicken breast, sliced, in a salad for brunch, today, and two of the chicken thighs for dinner, with corn on the cob and potato salad.  My daughter has said she will make bulgogi with the second pack of pork, tomorrow.  

This week's very informal meal plan will include sauteed chicken (Monday and Wednesday), pork bulgogi (Tuesday and Thursday?), leftover ground beef (Friday), and perhaps stir-fry with smoked sausage over the weekend.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Being able to order groceries online
- Free (with minimum purchase amount) curbside pick up
- Water for the garden
- Neighbor S bringing us some delicious date filled pastries
- Her husband taking out the trash cans for me

Today's joyful activity was enjoying the pastries neighbor S brought over!  

Have you gone grocery shopping in August, yet?  Have you had to made adjustments to your grocery budget or shopping habits since the pandemic began?

Monday, August 2, 2021

Sunday: Starting August


August has started out sunny and warm (88F).  In the morning, I picked some roses - a red rose to place near my mother's picture and the double colored ones for the altars.  Then, I cooked milkrice.  Except, I burned the first pot of rice because I forgot that I had kept it to boil!  Making milkrice on the first of the month is supposed to be auspicious; I'm not sure what burning the pot of rice means!  I hope it's not a bad omen!  I set my timer on to check on the rice every five minutes for the second pot of milkrice and didn't allow it to burn!

In the afternoon, daughter and I did a little online shopping!  Daughter needs a new laptop as hers has giving her trouble (yesterday, for example, she couldn't even log on to her laptop, and it has been giving her error codes, etc.) and I have been wanting a new laptop for some time, myself.  Today, we put in the order for them.  We also ordered more printer ink, printing paper, and photo printing paper!  Never let it be said that we don't do our part to keep the economy going!  LOL!

I also put in another grocery order!  I had forgotten to buy a couple of items, such as more vinegar for the additional batches of zucchini chutney I have planned to make, during my earlier grocery order and  I wanted to take advantage of this week's sale priced items (chicken at $.99/lb., for example), before the sale prices change on Tuesday.  Plus, there were a few items that daughter will be needing since her stay has been extended.  In addition, with new Covid cases rising, once again (3,045 new cases reported in Los Angeles County, today), we decided to stock up on disinfectant spray and wipes while they were still available (there was already a limit of 2 sprays per order).

In the evening, I watered the back yard.  I've at least three watermelons that seem to be coming along nicely:

Baby Watermelon 1

Watermelon 2

Watermelon 3

These are about 2 inches in diameter.  I hope they will grow big enough to harvest them!

In the meantime, daughter and I picked some tomatoes, today:

Today's Tomato Harvest

We picked 50 tomatoes, today!  A mixture of Early Girl (at the back) and Roma (in the front).  A few green ones broke off when we were trying to reach the ripe tomatoes in the middle of the plant, but, I will use them in my cooking.   

Today, I spoke on the phone with neighbor T, friend R, aunt C, and cousin P.  That's my family and friends spoke of the Balanced Life wheel nicely plumped!  

Today was the first day of the August decluttering challenge!  On Day 1, I tossed my old pair of garden gloves because I had bought a new pair which I had already started using back in May.  

August Decluttering - Day 1: Old Pair of Garden Gloves

Today, I am grateful for:
- The start of a new month
- Being able to shop online
- Garden produce
- Water for the garden
- Phone calls with family, friends, and neighbors

Today's joyful activity was picking the tomatoes.

I am going back to making daily to do lists, now that I feel I am more able to actually do things!

Monday's To Do List:
- Pick up grocery order (between noon and 1:00 p.m.)
- Clean the fridge
- Take the trash cans to the curb
- Make zucchini chutney
- Do the dishes
- Clean the litter box

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

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Monthly Photo Challenge - July: Many

The theme for the monthly photo challenge, hosted by Eileen, for July was "Many".  

Here are my selection of photos:

I have many tomatoes growing on my two tomato plants and I've taken many photos to try and capture the abundance:

Many Tomatoes

More Tomatoes

Green Tomatoes

Red Tomatoes

Of course nothing compared to the zucchini crop!

Many Zucchini

More Zucchini

Which resulted in many, many jars of zucchini chutney, some of which are shown:

Some of the Many Jars of Chutney!

Of course, I couldn't do a post on the theme of many without showing at least some of my many books!  

Many Books

Too Many Craft Books!

Finally, flowers in my garden:

Many Flowers on the Squill Flower Stalk

Many Flowers on the Oleander Bush

Pink Oleander

I had a lot of fun taking the photos and getting suggestions from my daughter!

The theme for August is "beginning with E".  I am off to compile a list of items to photograph!

Anyone else thinking of joining in the monthly photo challenge? 

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Monthly Balanced Life Goals: July Review and August Goals

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 being shown in blue.

Monthly goals:

Spiritual (10)(10):   The goal is to live a spiritually meaningful life:
- Continue with daily prayers, meditation, being grateful, positive, and joyful
- Continue to attend Temple prayer/blessing services online
- Continue to cultivate non-attachment by being generous and giving to the extent I am able

I continued with my daily prayers, meditation, being grateful, and I have tried to be positive, giving, and joyful in July.  I didn't attend any Temple services online (none were available, as far as I know), but, I have been watching blessing videos that have already been posted online and I feel that I do live a spiritually meaningful life!  I will continue to keep the rating at 10.

August Spiritual  goals will be the same as above.

House (8.5)(8.5):  The goal is a home that is pleasant, comfortable, and welcoming:
- Clean - Clean the house as needed 
- 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 - Continue with the decluttering process
I was able to do more housework in July, although vacuuming my bedroom caused my leg to twinge a bit the next day and daughter had to vacuum the family room for me later in the week.  Between the two of us, all the essential cleaning was done and the house was maintained.  Very little decluttering was done, but, I am OK with that because there is a decluttering challenge to look forward to in August!  I am keeping my rating to 8.5 because the house has been maintained.

August House goals will be the same as above; I am hoping to be able to go back to my weekly cleaning routines and to declutter 31 items!  

Garden (9.5)(9.5):  The goal is a garden that is productive, yet drought tolerant:
Maintaining (water, fertilize, and weed), with the bulk of it being done by M and my daughter.

The garden was well tended to in July.  M continued to tend to the garden twice a week and I was able to take over the additional day of watering from my daughter!  The garden has been doing well with all the watering, etc., but, my water bill caused me to wince!  I went over my allocated amount of Tier 1 water (lowest rate per unit of water, measured in hundred cubit feet), exceeded the allocated amount of Tier 2 water (next higher rate per unit of water), and went all the way up to Tier 3, which is the highest rate per unit!  Sigh.  Growing our own vegetables and fruit is lovely, but, a lush, productive garden requires a lot of water in our dry climate!  We pulled out almost all the zucchini plants, after harvesting a total of 130 zucchini!  The majority of the green bean plants have also been pulled out; they didn't produce that well, but, we are grateful for the almost 2 lbs. of beans that we did harvest.  I am keeping the rating at 9.5, because the garden has been doing quite well.    

August Garden goals will include:
Maintaining (water, fertilize, and weed); M will continue to visit twice a week in August, as well.
- Focus on the vegetable and fruit plants
- Schedule tree trimmers to trim the eucalyptus tree

Daughter (10)(10) The goal is to continue to have a close relationship with her:
- Enjoying the rest of the time together before she has to go back

My daughter's return to Berkeley, earlier scheduled for July 24, was postponed as renovations at the building her office is relocating to have not been completed yet!  As of now, she will probably stay down here until at least mid-October!  We are both pleased to have her stay here and continue to work from home!  She has also been required to report for Jury Duty, down here, in August, so the delay to return to Berkeley works out well for her.  I am keeping the rating at 10!

August Daughter goals will include:
- Continue to enjoy the rest of the time together before she has to go back
- Plan to do some fun (safe) activities together

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

I interacted with family and friends, mostly through phone calls, emails, texts, etc., but, there were also a few in-person visits!  We were able to celebrate friend R's birthday in mid July with lunch we bought from the Sri Lankan restaurant and brought home to enjoy; that was a planned visit.  There were a couple of unplanned visits, too.  Once to support cousin N and aunt C when their cat died and aunt called to ask me if we could come.  Once when cousin V's daughter's flight was delayed and they spent the additional wait time visiting us and joining us for dinner.  There was also a steady exchange of plates of food, treats, zucchini, etc., between myself and several friends and neighbors and a few family members throughout the month as well!  July was a good month for keeping in touch with family and friends. I am keeping the rating at 10.  

August Family and Friends goals will be the same as above. 

Community (10)(10):  The goal is to be involved in my community:
- Continue to participate in the various community groups to the extent possible in the following ways:
  - Participate in the blogging community
  - Participate in the online organizing group
  - Weekly phone calls with neighbor T
  - Participate in temple events

I participated in the blogging community, interacted with my neighbors, etc.  I didn't participate as much in the online organizing group as I didn't do a lot of organizing in July (since I was still in recovery mode) and I didn't participate in any temple events as there were no online services held this month.  I am keeping the rating at 10.

August Community goals will be the same as above.

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

I continued to spend as mindfully as possible in July.  I went over some budget categories, but, didn't spend as much as budgeted in other areas, so, overall, I stayed within the monthly budget.  I need to review and revise my budget, though.  I usually do a mid-year review at the end of June, but, wasn't able to do so this year.  I will redo the budget in August.  I am keeping the rating at 10.

August Financial goals:
- Review and revise budget as needed
- Continue budgeting and spending mindfully, with purpose

Health & Well Being (6)(7.5):  The goal is good health:
- Focus on continuing to recover and regain strength
- Follow up blood tests
- Doctor's appointment (oncology follow up)
- Monitor weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, etc.  

The good news is, I continue to recover from the sciatica inflammation.  The lab tests I did for the oncology visit came out well, for the most part and I have received my bone density booster injection  after some back and forth with the insurance company about the timing.  My blood pressure and blood sugar readings have been good and my weight has remained stable, which was the best I could have hoped for, considering I have not been able to be very active.   I'm raising the rating to 7.5 based on how well I feel and the good blood test results.

August Health and Wellbeing goals
- Focus on continuing to recover and regain strength
- Follow up blood tests
- Doctor's appointment (primary physician follow up; August 24)
- Monitor weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, etc.

Time Management (6)(7): The goal is to spend my time in a mindful manner:
Spend time purposefully, mindfully
- Continue to focus on making my schedule work for me
- Procrastinate less

I have been spending my time a little more mindfully, although I am not so sure about the "purposefully" part!  I still seem to spend an awful lot of time staring at a screen, especially with the Olympics games to watch!  I was still resting and taking it easy in July, so, I will not be too critical about how my time was spent and managed.  Time sensitive things like paying bills and renewing the car registration were accomplished.  I  am raising my satisfaction rating to 7.   

August Time Management goals are the same as above.

Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies/Self-Care (10)(10):  The goal is to relax doing something I enjoy doing for the pleasure of it.
- Engage in daily joyful activities

I have been engaging in daily joyful activities in July; they've included painting with my daughter, celebrating my friend's birthday, having some special celebratory meals, etc.  I am keeping the rating at 10.  

August Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies/Self-Care goal remains the same as above.  

July turned out to be a good month!  My health improved as the sciatica pain faded and as a result, I was able to do more and my overall sense of wellbeing improved!  I felt better about a lot of things, there was more social contact during a brief window of time when I felt physically better and Covid numbers were down!  My Health and Wellbeing area and Time Management area went up and the others remained at a high rating.  I feel that it was a well balanced month.  I am looking forward to seeing how well August turns out to be.  

Anyone else making monthly goals for a more balanced life?  If not, how do you try to maintain balance in all the different areas of your life?  

An Item A Day Keeps The Clutter Away: August Decluttering Challenge!

 It's the first day of August, tomorrow, and I am joining with Eileen in a month-long decluttering challenge!  The goal is to declutter at least one item a day, every day, for a total of 31 items decluttered in August.  Anyone else interested in joining us?  You can declutter at your pace - one item a day or 31 items in one day.  You can even declutter more than 31 items, if you like!  

As many of you know, I've been on a decluttering journey for longer than I'd like to admit!  I'm a "collector" of various items, although some may say I'm a packrat!  I don't consider myself to be a hoarder, but, I do like to hold onto things, often due to sentimental reasons, or under the impression that it might come in useful someday/I might need it, or with the intention of making something crafty with it.

In the past, I've decluttered 10 items a day, I've decluttered as many items per day as the date (that was easy to do at the very beginning of the month, but became increasingly more difficult towards the end of the month), and I've decluttered with a set goal of X number of items that month.  That's what this month's challenge is - 31 items for the month of August.  

This is a very informal challenge.  There is no decluttering police coming at the end of the month to check if we've decluttered!  What you declutter and how you declutter is entirely up to you.  

I like to keep track of what I decluttered by posting about it on my blog - either simply mentioning what I decluttered or posting a picture, either on a daily blog post or doing a month-end post about it.  I also choose not to count what I would normally recycle, like paper, bottles, and cans, unless it is something I had been collecting for reuse (like empty jars) which I've decided I don't need to keep anymore.  

Is anyone else thinking of joining the August decluttering challenge?

Friday: The End of the Summer of Zucchini

The One that Almost Got Away


'Today, M picked the last two zucchini and pulled out all but one zucchini plant!  It is the end of the summer of zucchini!  Next year, we will plant two or three zucchini plants at the most!  LOL.

We pulled out most of the green bean plants, too, as they were not doing all that well. I think, next time, I will plant pole beans and not bush beans.   In the meantime, the tomatoes are doing well and I might pick more tomatoes this weekend.

Today, I am grateful for:
- All the zucchini we've harvested this summer
- Being able to share some of the zucchini with friends, neighbors, and family
- The jars of zucchini chutney we were able to make
- The opportunity to try so many zucchini dishes
- M helping with the garden

Today's joyful activity was selecting six more zucchini to give to my daughter's friend!  LOL.

How is your garden growing?   Did you plant any zucchini this year?

Friday, July 30, 2021

Groceries on Thursday

I picked up another grocery order, today.  

I bought:

1 loaf sandwich bread = $1.50
1/2 gal. half & half = $3.99
1 bag hot cheese snacks = $3.49
6 frozen burritos @ $.49 = $2.94
2 mini seedless watermelon @ $1.99 = $3.98
4 bananas @ $.65/lb = $1.16
2 x 32 oz. strawberries @ $2.99 = $5.98
2 peaches @ $.98/lb = $.96
2 smoked sausages, store brand, 14 oz. each. @$2.50 = $5.00
1 tray (5.27 lbs) chicken thighs @ $.99/lb = $5.22
1 tray (6.09 lbs.) chicken breasts @ $.99/lb = $6.03
1 lb. lean ground beef = $3.99
1 tray (1.82 lbs) pork loin chops @ $2.98/lb. = $5.44
1 bag (9.5 oz) romaine salad mix = $2.50
1 lb. carrots = $0.99
1+ lb. green beans @ $1.99/lb = $2.09
2 corn on the cob @ $.50 = $1.00
0.97 lb. broccoli @ $1.98 = $1.93
2 x 1.5 qt. ice cream @ $3.00 = $6.00|
32 bottles (@16.9 fl. oz ) purified drinking water = $3.34 + $1.60 deposit = $4.94 

Total = $69.13

Obviously, a lot of the items I bought today will be eaten in August, as July is almost at an end.  But, I spent the money in July, so I am considering it as part of the July grocery spending.

July grocery spending:

Grocery store:

July 3: $36.18
July 11: $34.90
July 29: $69.13
July grocery store total = $140.21

Japanese store: $13.25
Sri Lankan store: $103.63

July Groceries Total = $140.21 + $13.25 + $103.63 = $257.09

Obviously my monthly grocery spending has increased in recent months, especially since daughter has also been home.  The trip to the Sri Lankan store, where I stocked up on tea, curry powder, and condiments, etc., as well as treats, put me over my grocery budget, in July.  But, it was a bit of a planned splurge and I am OK with that.  It is a blessing to be able to go over budget from time to time and I fully appreciate that!  I do plan to stay under budget in August.

Today I am grateful for:
- Being able to order groceries online
- Curbside grocery pick up
- A safe drive to the grocery store and back
- Being able to go above the budget from time to time
- A full fridge and freezer

How about you?  Did you keep to your grocery budget in July?  

Wednesday, July 28, 2021



Red Rose

Yesterday's long drawn out medical appointment left me feeling drained.  I rested and took it easy today.  

M stopped by in the late morning to water the garden.  He pulled out several more zucchini plants and we found a huge zucchini hiding under the leaves of one plant and I found another one under another plant, later!  

M was concerned that the sun was causing the bell peppers and tomatoes to burn:

Sun Damage on Bell Pepper

He found two screens to try to minimize the sun burn:

Tomato Plant Under Cover

Bell Pepper Plant Under Cover

They are actually net food covers that one of his other clients was throwing away.  Hopefully, the screens will help to prevent sun damage!

I offered M some of the pasta sauce I made, but, he declined saying tomato based sauces don't agree with him.  

Later in the evening, I went outside to check the mail and saw Snowbunny and Pirate Bun enjoying the "all you can eat buffet" at their favorite restaurant, The Front Garden!  LOL!

Snowbunny and Pirate Bun

Table for Two at The Front Garden Restaurant

Today, I am grateful for:
- A day to relax
- M tending to the garden
- Sun screens for the plants!
- More zucchini from the garden!
- Working appliances

Today's joyful activity was taking some photographs for the blog.

Plans for tomorrow might include picking up groceries, if I ever get around to ordering them.  

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

Medical Appointment on Tuesday

Squill (Drimia maritima) Flower Stalk

It feels like all I did today was drive to the clinic, wait to receive my injection, and drive back!  But, I did manage to get a few other things done, too.  My appointment at the clinic was for 1:00 p.m. and I was asked arrive 15 minutes early.  The drive usually takes about one hour, depending on traffic.  At 11:40 a.m., I pulled the car out of the garage and noticed the tire pressure gauge light was on!  I walked around the car and noticed that the right front tire looked a bit deflated.  I was so glad I decided to leave a little bit earlier than I had to!  I drove to a tire shop/service center that I've been to before and they checked the tire pressures and inflated the right front tire.  I was glad it was not a puncture.

Even with the slight delay to get the tire pressure checked, I arrived at the clinic at 12:45 p.m.  The waiting room was practically full (only every other chair was available for seating), but, I was able to get the last available seat.  There was a short wait and I was called in to be weighed, my pressure taken, etc.  Then, I was asked to go back to the waiting room until an examination room was available.  I explained that I had been seen by the nurse practitioner on my earlier visit, that I was only there to receive my injection which hadn't been available at the earlier visit, but, apparently, I needed to be seen by the nurse practitioner again before the injection could be given!  

When I went back to the waiting room, it was packed!  There was a line of people waiting to check in and others waiting to be called in.  Not a single seat was available!  There were at least two or three people standing, waiting to be called in.  I joined them and stood for some time.  I was glad that I could stand without my leg hurting.  Eventually, I was called in and shown to an examination room and I sat and waited.  I had taken a book of sudoku to work on while I waited and I was able to amuse myself while I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  The assistant who had called me in noticed me waiting and asked me if I was still waiting to be seen and I said, "Yes".  He said he will find the nurse practitioner and notify her.  Another 15 minutes or so passed and the nurse practitioner came in, with another person who was in training or observing, and apologized for the long wait time.  She didn't do another physical examination, this time, just asked a few questions to see if everything was the same and I had no new concerns, and authorized the administration of the injection.  It was 2:45 p.m. (I texted daughter to let her know that I had just been seen by the nurse practitioner).  There was another short wait for the nurse to come in and actually give me the injection and have me sign the form stating I received the injection.  After that, I was able to leave the clinic.  It was 3:00 p.m.!

Of course there was quite a bit of traffic on the freeway on the way home, but, at least it was moving.  I was getting tired and hungry by the time I got off the freeway (I had a cup of tea in the morning and, although I had some cheese crackers with me, I didn't eat while at the clinic or in the car).  I mentally reviewed what we had at home for a quick lunch, but, everything required some sort of preparation (plenty of pasta sauce, but, have to cook pasta to have with it, etc.) and  decided to pick up a pizza on my way home (there is a chain of pizza shops that have pre-made pizza to go, no need to order ahead of time).  I bought the pizza and got home just before 4:00 p.m.

Daughter hadn't eaten, either; we had some of the pizza for our lunch.  Afterwards, I rested a bit and watched some of the Olympics.

Then, I brought in the trash cans from the curb, collected the empty food containers from neighbor T (the ones I had given the pasta and sauce in, yesterday), and  cooked a mackerel curry, with canned mackerel.  I took some of the mackerel curry and a container of the pasta sauce I had made to friend R, who gave me some of the stringhoppers she had ordered.   

Daughter and I enjoyed the stringhoppers with some of the mackerel curry for dinner.  Afterwards, she helped me put away the leftovers and I did the dishes.  I also froze some of the pasta sauce for another time.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Helpful workers at the tire place and the tire was not a flat!
- A safe drive to and from the clinic
- The injection was approved and administered
- Medical insurance
- Friend R sharing stringhoppers with us
- Being able to do all what I did without any sciatica pain!

Today's joyful activity was taking some curry and pasta sauce to friend R and receiving some stringhoppers in return.  When I called friend R to thank her, again, for the stringhoppers, she said she had just finished eating some of her stringhoppers with the mackerel curry and enjoyed the curry very much.

Plans for tomorrow include having M water the garden and maybe mopping the kitchen.

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

Monday, July 26, 2021

Catching Up on Monday


Freshly Picked Tomatoes 

Sunday was a good day.  My leg felt fine after resting on Saturday.  I did three of loads of laundry, made French toast for breakfast, ham fried rice for lunch, and watched some of the Olympics games on TV.  Daughter watched the women's gymnastics with me, as that's the event she's most interested in (having done gymnastics as a child and doing acrobatics, now).

In between watching the games on TV, we picked some of the ripe tomatoes.  We picked a colander full!  I didn't weigh them, but, I wouldn't be surprised if there were at least 5 or 6 lbs.  There are more tomatoes on the plants, too!  What an abundance!  This year's garden produce have been such a blessing!

In the evening, I cut up the tomatoes and made a pasta sauce.  I didn't follow a particular recipe, but, I added two onions, chopped up, part of a bell pepper (also from the garden), several cloves of garlic, some dried basil leaves, a little lemon juice, and salt.  Brought everything to a boil and then, simmered for about 30 minutes.  I know some people cook their pasta sauce for a long time, but, I wanted to preserve as much of the fresh taste as I could.  It made quite a lot of sauce!  I also browned some ground beef with onions and garlic, but, didn't add it to the sauce as daughter likes to be able to adjust the amount of meat to sauce.  

Towards the end of the sauce making, around 9:00 p.m., the phone rang - it was my cousin V.  "You don't go to sleep early, do you?"  "No, we are night owls!"  She and her husband were at the nearby airport (a smaller airport than the Los Angeles International Airport), dropping off their younger daughter K, who had come for a weekend visit and was flying back to New York where she lives with her husband and 2 sons.  Except, her flight was delayed by 3 hours.  And rather than have her hang around the airport for 3 hrs., V asked if they could come to my place to wait, instead.  I said, yes, of course.  I did warn her that the house was a mess!  Which it was, because there was the last load of laundry hanging up to dry, dirty dishes in the sink after cooking, etc.  And there was very little time to tidy up.

But, there was a huge pot of freshly made pasta sauce and the browned ground beef.  I put a pot of water to boil for pasta just before they arrived and we were able to offer them an impromptu pasta dinner!  K said she had packed a sandwich with her, but, I told her to keep it to eat in the plane if she gets hungry later!  K, whose mother-in-law is of Italian descent and, by all accounts a good cook, said my pasta sauce was very good!  Not that she could have said anything else, under the circumstances, but, it pleased me to hear that.  LOL.  I didn't have anything to offer for dessert, but, I had Lemon Puffs, which is a type of Sri Lankan cookies, so, served those, instead.  Later, when we were putting away the leftovers, I remembered that there was a rum cake that someone had given us, still in its box, in the fridge!  Oh, well, I'll keep that for the next time I get some unexpected visitors!

V and family were here for about one hour or maybe a little more.  We didn't wear masks and that bothered  me a little bit, but, I felt awkward to ask them to wear masks (and we'd have to take them off to eat, anyway).  In any case, we were all fully vaccinated, I had the living room window and front door open, with the fan on, and the air purifier on, so, I think it was alright.  We left the window open and the air purifier on for some time after they left.  As I mentioned to one of my friends, visiting with family in the age of Covid is a bit of a minefield to say the least!  

But, it was nice to see them all again.  Plus, I sent a bag of zucchini home with V who said she loves zucchini!  LOL!  Trust me not to lose an opportunity to get rid of  share the abundance of zucchini!  In any case, there won't be many more zucchini from the garden from now on.  When M was here on Friday, he started pulling out some of the zucchini plants.  He will probably pull out most of the rest this week.

After my cousin and family left, daughter put away the leftovers while I loaded the dishwasher and wiped the stove, etc.  then, I cleaned the bathroom and put the bathmats I had washed earlier on the floor.

I had spoken with neighbor T and called Aunt C earlier in the day.  Friend R had called while V and family were here; I called her back after they had left.

It drizzled a little bit, late last night and early this morning.  It was also rather cool when we woke up (I felt cold enough to wear a long sleeved blouse, leggings, and socks!)  But, the afternoon was sunny and 75F; my socks came off!  LOL.  

Neighbor T called, again, this morning.  Yesterday, she had mentioned that she had a box of stuff to go in the recycling bin, but, her daughter had taken the big bin to the curb for her, already, so I offered to take her stuff to the recycling bin if she puts it out by her back door.  Today, she called to say that it was not necessary to take the stuff to the recycle bin, as what she had could wait until next week.

I asked T if she'd like to have some of the pasta and sauce that I had made and she said she'd love some if it wasn't a bother, but, said to give her only a little sauce because sometimes her stomach reacts to tomatoes.  So, I served her a bowl of the pasta with a little sauce  and put some extra sauce into another container in case she wanted more and took it over, keeping the bag with the food at her front door and knocking to let her know that it was there;  She called out a thank you as I walked back to my house.  Later, around 6:30 p.m., she called to say she had it for her supper, it was delicious, and she ate every bit of it, including the extra sauce!  LOL.  I'm glad she enjoyed it.  

Daughter's week of vacation has ended and she started work, again, today.  It looks like her return to the office will now be delayed until at least mid-October!  Yay!  I'm glad she can stay down here even longer!  I think she's happy, too.  We joked that she could always go back early if she needed a break from me or I could maybe spend a week or two at her apartment if I wanted a break from her!  LOL.    

Cousin V called me this morning to thank me for letting them come over on short notice and serving them dinner, as well.  She said her daughter made it back safely to New York, after an unscheduled stop over in Utah to refuel (apparently the plane was carrying more passengers and/or luggage than expected and they needed more fuel!).  I told her that I was glad to see them and be able to offer a simple meal.

I've had a fairly productive day, today.  I put away the washed dishes and pots, etc., put away the last load of laundry from yesterday, removed the dust sheets from the family room sofa, vacuumed under the seat cushions, put new dust sheets on them, and washed the other sheets.  Watered the back garden (last night's drizzle wasn't enough for them)and picked three more zucchini and a small handful of green beans.  Then, I took the trash cans to the curb.  

Neighbors took down their tents!  I guess we won't have another party in the next week or two!

Neighbor S brought us two ears of fresh corn and more ice cream cake, leftover from earlier!  She offered some garlic, too, but I declined because daughter had bought a lot of garlic for the chutney making (I had told her to buy 1 lb. of garlic and she bought 1 kg.!)  I gave S one of the bags of lentils we had received from daughter's friend A, in return!  LOL.

Daughter vacuumed the family room, today, after she had finished her work for the day.  

I am grateful for:
- The tomato harvest!
- Seeing cousin V and family and being able to offer them a simple meal
- The zucchini harvest
- Daughter might be able to extend her stay until mid October!
- The drizzle we had last night
- S bringing us corn and more ice cream cake
- Daughter vacuuming the family room for me
- The air purifiers and other working appliances

Sunday's joyful activities included picking some of the tomatoes, making the sauce, and having cousin V and family visit and have dinner with us.

Monday's joyful activities included sharing food with neighbors and being in the garden.

Plans for tomorrow include going to the doctor's office for my injection.  I received written authorization from my insurance for the injection; according to the letter, a copy was sent to the doctor's office, but, I'll take my copy, too, just in case.  

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

Sunday, July 25, 2021



Completed Painting

I finished my painting, this morning. Both daughter and I started off following a Bob Ross tutorial online, but, I veered off the tutorial midway and simplified the scene!  The more I look at the painting, the more faults I find!  By the way, that is supposed to be mist between the rows of trees in the background!  Oh, well, I didn't set out to create a masterpiece!  It was meant to be a fun activity to do together.  I think we achieved that goal.  My daughter was very amused by my comments during the tutorial as I had quite a few things to say about what we were being told to do!   LOL!

Cousin P called me in the early afternoon and I chatted with her for a bit.  I had just kept a pot of rice to boil and when it had finished cooking, I served her a plate of the Japanese food that daughter had cooked, yesterday, along with a bowl of the cream stew, and took them over to her to try.  Later, she called my daughter to say the food was very tasty.

I spent the day relaxing and watching the coverage of the Olympics games on TV.  My leg was a little twinge-y (probably from moving the bed and vacuuming, yesterday) and I didn't want to aggravate anything, so I took it easy.  The only housework I did was wash the dishes.  

The neighbors tested their amplifiers in the early afternoon, but, the party started at 5:00 p.m.  We closed all the windows on that side of the house, including the family room window which looks out into the back yard.  Only my bathroom window (on the other side of the house) was open for a little fresh air.  Fortunately, today was not a very hot day; the daytime highs were only in the mid 80s.  The ceiling fan was sufficient to keep us cool and comfortable.  It is 12:40 a.m. as I type this and the music is still going full blast.  Yes, it's noisy, and mariachi music is not my favorite type of music, but, it is a happy noise, not angry noise; for that, I am grateful!

We had ham sandwiches for brunch and leftovers from last night for dinner.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Being able to share some of what daughter cooked with my cousin
- Doing a fun painting activity with daughter
- Working appliances
- Being able to watch the Olympics on TV
- The sound of exuberant music from next door!

Today's joyful activities included taking some lunch to my cousin and watching the games with my daughter.

Plans for tomorrow include doing some laundry and watching more of the games.  We are looking forward to watching the women's gymnastics which will be shown tomorrow.

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

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Friday: Olympics and A Special Meal

Dinner Prepared by Daughter 

Guess who stayed up all night to watch the live broadcast of the Tokyo Olympics, last night?!   If you guessed Bless and Daughter, you'd be right!  LOL!  The live broadcast started at 4:00 a.m., our time!  Sensible people would have simply watched the recorded rebroadcast on Friday evening, but, we are not necessarily that sensible!  LOL.  We watched the first two hours of the broadcast, until about half of the athletes had entered the stadium.  When we saw the delegation from Sri Lanka enter the stadium, we both gave a big cheer!  But, by 6:00 a.m., we were getting tired and decided it was time to go to bed!  We would watch the rest of it, later.  We had breakfast before we went to bed!

I woke up around 11:30 a.m.; daughter slept in a bit longer. 

I had a fairly relaxed day.  After my morning tea, I washed the dishes from last night, tidied the kitchen a bit, read blogs, etc.  In the early evening, I picked more green beans from the garden and three more zucchini.  Later, we watched the rest of the Opening Ceremonies.  I watched the whole thing from the start, but, daughter spent the first part of it in the kitchen, busy preparing our dinner (pictured above), which she planned based on what we had at home and coming up with substitutions as needed.

Daughter cooked us a lovely Japanese meal:  Japanese cream stew (which is actually a creamy soup with meat and vegetables), teriyaki chicken, tsukudani (a dish traditionally made with dried sardines, but, since we didn't have any, she substituted dried anchovies, instead), green bean goma-ae (green beans with sesame paste), edamame with soy and sesame sauce, pickled zucchini (in lieu of cucumber!), tsukemono (pickled mixed vegetables - she used radishes, carrots, and zucchini), and rice, of course.

After dinner, I washed more dishes!  Some went into the dishwasher, but, I washed all the pots and pans by hand.  Dinner was delicious, but, I told daughter, the next time she cooks, she has to make a one-pot meal!  LOL! 

We were able to share some of the dinner with M, too (he politely declined the dish with the anchovies).  Today, he set up the window AC unit for us.  Since I had to move the bed to get access to the window, I swept and vacuumed my bedroom (swept it first, but, then, decided to vacuum, as well).  Then, I changed the bed sheets and remade the bed.  We don't need the AC right now, but, it is nice to have it in place for when it does get hot.  

Today, Los Angeles County reported that there were 3,058 new Covid cases!  Those numbers are starting to get scary!  In the meantime, my "noisy" neighbors, next door (the ones with at least two white rabbits), seem to be preparing for a big party, this weekend!  They've set up two tents in their yard and I saw a stack of folding tables and chairs waiting to be set up!  Somehow, I don't think we'll see a lot of face masks or social distancing!  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Daughter preparing a really delicious dinner 
- M putting up the window AC for us
- Garden produce
- Being able to watch the Olympics coverage
- Leftovers

Today's joyful activity was watching the Olympics Opening Ceremony with daughter.

Plans for tomorrow include watching what there is to see of the Olympics, doing some laundry, and maybe tidying the family room a bit.

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

Friday, July 23, 2021



Napoleons and Fruit Skewers

Today has been another relaxed day.  I had a phone call from my half-sister in the morning, checking on me, and we chatted for a little bit.  It had been our father's death anniversary a couple of days ago; although neither of us mentioned it (it's been 58 years since father died), I felt that was part of the reason why she called me today.  

In the afternoon, daughter and I painted a little more.  I am still working on the painting I started yesterday, while daughter began (and completed) another one!  She is working painting number three, right now!  

In the early evening, neighbor S brought over some goodies - Napoleons, fruit skewers, and two pieces of ice cream cake.  The weather was so hot, the ice cream had started to melt by the time she walked over from her house across the street to mine!  Daughter had a piece of the ice cream cake, right away, but, I put the second piece in the freezer for later.  I gave S the three zucchini we picked, yesterday.  She said she was going to make some soup with them.  

Dinner was gyoza (potstickers) from the freezer.  Afterwards, I did the dishes, cleaned Dancer's litter box, chatted with friend R, and relaxed doing some online sudoku.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- My sister calling to check on me
- S bringing us more goodies!
- Zucchini to share with S!
- Frozen food
- Electric fans

Today's joyful activity was painting with my daughter.

Plans for tomorrow include tending to the garden with M and watching the Olympics Opening Ceremonies.  

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

Thursday, July 22, 2021

One Potato, Two Potato

Potato Harvest!

"One potato, two potato, three potato, four,
Five potato, six potato, seven potato, more!"

Today, M and I harvested some of the potatoes I had planted!  I had planted three regular russet potatoes that had started to sprout (even though they are supposed to have been treated to resist sprouting) in some two gallon pots that I had, one potato per pot.  It was an experiment since potatoes I've planted in the ground have never done well for me.  As such, I just used some soil I dug up from the garden and didn't even bother to amend the soil in any way.  The plants came up quite nicely, but, they didn't flower.  They have now started to wither in our nearly 100F heat.  I asked M to tip out one of the pots - the one with the most withered plant - to see what we might find and this is what we found!  Small potatoes ranging in size from about two inches for the bigger ones to about quarter inch for the smallest!   Not a remarkable harvest by any means, but I was thrilled!  M was happy, too (he had his reservations about planting them in pots rather than in the ground).  We kept the other two pots to harvest them another day because those potato plants still have some green leaves on them.

Today's Vegetable Harvest

The rest of today's harvest consisted of six ripe Early Girl tomatoes and two Roma tomatoes, one green Early Girl tomato (broke off when we were picking the ripe ones), and three zucchini!  That makes it 102 (what I've counted/kept track of) or 122 (including what I guestimated for those that I didn't count/keep track of)  zucchini since June! We've probably given away half of it, but, even so, we are getting a little tired of zucchini in all its forms!  I think we might start pulling up a few of the zucchini plants in the next week or so.  Many of the plants are now getting powdery mildew on them and it's best not to let it spread to the roses, etc.

In the afternoon, daughter and I went to pick up two more boxes of canning jars (24 jars, total), two bags of Dancer's dry cat food (formulated for indoor cats), and two containers of all purpose cleaning liquid, which I usually use for mopping the floors.  We had ordered them, yesterday, and the pick up was curbside and contactless.  It was 97F when we went to collect the items and maybe it was even hotter in the trunk where the canning jars were placed for the drive home, because at least two of the canning jars sealed themselves after we brought them into the house and placed them on the table!  It was only about 85F inside the house, but, both daughter and I heard two jars making that pinging sound they make when they seal!  We were both surprised!  It was the first time I've had that happen!  

In the evening, daughter persuaded me to join her in doing another painting!  She finished her painting, but, I stopped mine, halfway, in order to prepare dinner:

Tonight's Dinner

Salmon fillet with onions and tomatoes, sauteed green beans (from the garden) and the last of the carrots we grew, and the new potatoes, boiled and fried in a little butter with garlic and a sprig of flat leaf parsley, also from the garden!  Notice the absence of zucchini!  LOL.

By the way, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health website, today's (July 21) new Covid cases count was 2,551.  On Tuesday, it had been 1,821. I think we will continue to stay at home and only do curbside pick ups as needed for the rest of the week, at least!

Today, I am grateful for:

- The potato harvest!
- The rest of the garden produce (yes, even the zucchini!)
- M tending to the garden
- Being able to order stuff online and curbside pick up
- Electric fans

Today's joyful activities included harvesting the potatoes and painting with my daughter.

Plans for tomorrow include finishing up my painting.  

How was your day?  Have you planted potatoes before?  If so, have you had a good harvest?  What are your plans for tomorrow?