Sunday, January 31, 2021

Balanced Life Monthly Goals: January Review and February 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.

These are my 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 and joyful.  I attended the Temple's virtual New Year's blessing ceremony and I have tried to be generous and others, as well.  I feel that I do live a spiritually meaningful life and I will continue to keep the rating at 10.

February's Spiritual  goals will be the same as January's.

House (9)(9.5):  The goal is a home that is pleasant, comfortable, and welcoming:
- Clean - Deep clean the house as the Christmas decorations are taken down 
- 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; call for a donations pick up by the end of the month

I did some deep cleaning (mostly in the living room and family room) when the Christmas decorations were taken down and have tried to keep things maintained (regular dusting, vacuuming, etc.)  Daughter helped me with organizing the dresser drawers.

I did some decluttering, too, and exceeded my goal of decluttering 31 items!  They were mostly small items, but, they included: 5 fridge magnets (Christmas themed), 1 glittery gold star ornament, 3 Christmas bears decorations, 1 broom, 1 long handled dust pan, 1 gallon size bag full of 3 D plastic snowflakes, 1 plastic shower caddy, 2 burnt out tea candles, 1 sponge paint brush, 22 pairs of bangles and bracelets, 4 dead house plants, 1 torn kitchen towel, some cards and sentimental items, plus several empty boxes.  I didn't call for a donations pick up, yet, though, because I felt that I didn't have enough to donate at this time (I usually like to have several bags and boxes of stuff to be donated before I ask them to do a pick up).

Allowing for the fact that my house is in need of a considerable amount of work (some repairs, a new coat of paint, etc., which won't be done until times are better) to be truly well maintained and deep cleaned, I am happy with how the house is, at present.   I am raising the rating to 9.5!  

February's House goals will be the same as January's, with deep cleaning as needed, maintaining, and decluttering. 

Garden (9)(9):  The goal is a garden that is productive, yet drought tolerant:
- Maintain (water 1- 2 times per week, depending on how much rain we get; weed)
Clean out the garden shed
- Discuss spring planting plans with M

The garden was maintained and watered as needed.  The roses were pruned, a few other plants were pruned, too.  I was able to pick some radishes, two sweet potatoes, and several oranges and lemons, in addition to curry leaves and flowers throughout the month.  I discussed spring planting plans with M and asked him to buy me several fruit trees to plant.  The garden shed, however, has not been cleaned out, yet.  I am keeping the rating at 9.  

February's Garden goals will be the same as January's.

Daughter (10)(10) The goal is to continue to have a close relationship with her:
- Enjoy her being home!

I am definitely enjoying having her home!  It has truly been a blessing and continues to be so!  I am keeping the rating at a 10 and look forward to another month of her being home in February!

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 through phone calls, emails, texts, etc.  One of my aunts and cousins dropped off their holiday gifts and I was able to give them theirs, as well, and one of my cousins blessed me with some clothes that she was decluttering.  Friends brought me breakfast on New Year's Day and other friends, too, have made sure that I have been well taken care of!  I am keeping the rating at 10.  

February's Family and Friends goals will be the same as January's.

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 and at least one other online community, spoke with the monks at the Temple on the phone, received many wonderful meals from my neighbor S and her family, spoke on the phone with neighbor T and called on neighbor E for his help with the water heater (he later came by to check if it was fixed).  I am keeping the rating at 10.

February's Community goals will be the same as January's.

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

I continued to spend mindfully in January.  I had to make some adjustments to my budget due to some new expenses, but, I continue to live debt free and within my means.  I am keeping the rating at 10.

February's Financial goals will be the same as January's.

 Health & Well Being (8)(8.5):  The goal is good health:
- Attend the medical/dental appointments (2) and lab tests (1) scheduled for this month 
- Continue to work on the following life style changes: 
  - better diet - eat more vegetables and complex carbs, less refined sugar
  - better hydration - drink 8 x 8oz glasses of water, daily
  - better sleep habits -  get sufficient sleep and try to adjust the sleep schedule
  - more exercise - continue with a walking schedule 
- Continue to strive for a healthier weight 

I attended this month's medical appointments, including a repeat mammogram and ultrasound.  There was good news about the mammogram/ultrasound and the blood test results were mostly good, too.  I have a routine follow-up appointment with the oncologist in April.  I am continuing to work on my life style changes (sleep patterns, exercise, better diet, etc.), although my weight seems to have remained the same, over all.  I'm raising the rating to 8.5 due to the good mammogram results!

February's Health and Wellbeing goals will remain the same as January's, except I have no medical appointments scheduled for February.

Time Management (8)(8): 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

This is still a work in progress!  I did manage to accomplish most of what I wanted to accomplish this month in a timely manner, without procrastinating.  There is very little time sensitive stuff that I have to do, these days, but, I do want to keep myself to a somewhat regular schedule when it comes to housekeeping tasks, etc.  I am keeping my satisfaction rating to 8.   

February's Time Management goals are the same as January's.

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

I have been engaging in daily joyful activities and did several of the activities listed in my January Joys list.  Currently, I am crocheting a granny square blanket and plan to continue to do it in February, too.  I am keeping the rating at 10.  

February's Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies/Me-Time goal remains the same as January's.  

January was a well balanced month, I think.  All my areas improved or remained the same; nothing got neglected to the point where I was dissatisfied with it.  I will continue to work on maintaining those areas that did well and try to increase the satisfaction rating in the remaining few areas.

How was your January in terms of maintaining balance among the different areas of your life? 

Monthly Photo Challenge - January: The Letter 'B'

Eileen, at A Bracelet of Days had stated that January's Monthly Photo Challenge will be the letter 'B'.  Here are my finds for this month:

B is for Blanket - one that I crocheted, several years ago, when the leftover yarn in my stash needed to be used up and what's a blanket without a kitty napping on it?  

Blanket with Kitty
Dancer Loves a Blanket

B is also for Bare Brown Branches against a Blue Sky:

Bare Brown Branches of the Pomegranate Tree 

B is for Broken Tea Cup and Books on a Bookshelf in the Bedroom:

Broken Teacup and Books on a Bookshelf

B is also for Bangles and Bracelets:  These are the ones that were decluttered from the dresser drawer and will be donated along with a few other items.

Bangles and Bracelets

B is for Bears decorating their Christmas tree:

Bear Ornaments

These three ceramic ornaments were dollar store purchases bought when my daughter was little, but the tops of the trees and Mama Bear's ear have broken off and I have decluttered them from my collection.  

B is for Blossoms on the peach tree:

Peach Blossoms

And Bees Buzzing Busily around the peach Blossoms:


In Peach Blossom
Busy Pollinating!

B is also for a Bridge:

A Bridge 

As demonstrated by my daughter!

Thank you, Eileen, for this fun monthly photo challenge.  I enjoyed participating in it (my daughter did, too!)

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Grocery Pick up on Saturday

I picked up a grocery shopping order, today.  My daughter helped me place the order, last night, and we selected an afternoon pick up slot, between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.  Around 1:30 p.m., I received a text stating that some items were not available, but, I had the option of accepting substitutions for some of them, which I did.  Some of the items I ordered, such as salmon and plain yogurt, however, didn't have any substitutions available.  But, the pick up went smoothly and I was home within the hour.  My daughter quickly disinfected and put away the majority of the items for me, which was much appreciated.

My last grocery pick up was almost three weeks ago, on January 11.  I think the next grocery trip will probably be in another three weeks or so.

One of the items I had ordered had been a frozen pizza.  Regularly priced at $6.99, on sale for $4.99, with an additional $1 off digital coupon, it came to $3.99.  I baked it for a late lunch while daughter made us a salad to go with it.  According to the nutritional information on the box, a serving size was 1/4 of the pizza and had 320 calories!  We could have easily eaten half the pizza, each, in one go, but, we both paid attention to the recommended serving size!  The other half of the pizza will be for our lunch, tomorrow.

Later in the afternoon, M came over to tend to the garden.  He weeded and pruned and tidied the place up.  Afterwards, we sat and had a cup of tea and a chat.  

In the evening, daughter had a virtual watching party with a group of friends, where they watched a movie together, online.  I watched news, did a bit of crocheting, washed two more wool sweaters, poured baking soda and vinegar (followed by a kettle of boiling water) down a slow draining bathroom sink drain to clear it up, and cooked a cashew curry (had put the cashews to soak, earlier).  

Today, I am grateful for:

- A sunny day

- Being able to order groceries online and pick up "curbside" (in the parking lot, actually)

- A safe trip to the grocery store and back

- Daughter's help with disinfecting and putting everything away

- M's help with the garden

Today's joyful activity was having tea and chatting with M.

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

Friday, January 29, 2021

Old Schedules and Secret Admirers!

A Note from my Secret Admirer!

One of the items I had saved in my dresser drawer, among other things, was this note from my Secret Admirer!  "You kept this thing?" my daughter exclaimed.  Well, yes, I did!  I'm sure you will all agree with me that it is something that had to be kept!  Maybe in a better place than a drawer, though.  I think I will do a scrapbook page, this weekend, perhaps.  She tossed the letters to Santa and a few other items, but, I kept the Mother's Day cards she made!

Also stashed in that drawer was this old schedule I had made for myself, when my daughter was in middle school:

Old Schedule

The days of the week on the top, hours of the day on the left, from 12:00 midnight to 12:00 midnight!  Shaded in blue at the very top are the hours set aside for sleeping - from 12:00 midnight to 5:30 a.m.  Shaded in pink are the hours spent at work, including commute time.  Shaded in green were the times when I took my daughter to the school bus (in the mornings) or her extracurricular activities (evenings and Saturdays), which I considered as my "me time" because, depending on the activity, I was either taking classes myself ("Voice" on Monday, for example, was when I took a singing class and then, both my daughter and I took the ballet class, afterwards) or sat and read or knitted while she took a class (karate on Friday night).  Cleaning was scheduled for the evenings, but, in reality, it got done on the weekends!  I tried hard to manage my time and have balance between work, housework, parenting, and time for myself, back then.  The schedule changed when my daughter went to high school because then, I drove her to school on my way to work.  Ah, the "good old days"!  LOL.

These days, in contrast to back then, my time is less structured!  

Today, for example, I slept in till past 10:30 a.m.!  Partly because I couldn't fall asleep, last night, until almost 5:00 a.m., this morning!  It rained all night and I love falling asleep to the sound of rain falling, but, last night, I couldn't fall asleep!  It was still raining when I woke up!

I spent the rest of the morning replying to blog comments, etc., and then, practiced the piano.  Breakfast was leftover biscuits from last night; daughter ate leftovers from the barbecue and baked potatoes that neighbor S gave us for her brunch.

In the afternoon, I cleaned my bathroom (daughter said she will clean hers), dusted and tidied my bedroom, and did some paperwork and filing.  Then, I cooked some rice, a shrimp curry, and some broccoli:

Shrimp Curry and Broccoli

The shrimp curry has onions, tomatoes, and the radish leaves added to it.  I probably should have served them in dishes before I took the picture!  I guess I'm not much of a food stylist!  LOL.  I had some of the rice, shrimp curry, and broccoli for a late lunch (around 4:00 p.m.), then, watched some news, had tea, and crocheted a bit.  

M had texted in the morning asking if he could tend to the garden tomorrow instead of this evening due to the rain.  I was fine with that - tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and would be a better day for gardening.  

Neighbor T called and I also spoke with friend R and exchanged texts with cousin N.  Daughter is watching an online movie with a few of her friends (they all watch the same movie at the same time on their computers and text/chat with each other); I am glad she gets to virtually socialize with her friends.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Secret admirers!
- Having a more relaxed daily schedule than in the past
- More rain for the garden
- Daughter is able to virtually socialize with her friends
- Phone calls and texts with family, friends, and neighbors

Today's joyful activity was cooking a nice meal.

Saturday's To Do List:
- Practice the piano
- Tend to the garden with M
- A craft project (there's a quilt waiting to be finished!)
- Maybe pick up an order of groceries?

How was your Friday?  What are your plans for the weekend?  What does your weekly schedule look like, these days?

Rain on Thursday

Today's Harvest

I picked the last of the radishes from my little vegetable plot, today.  The radishes aren't very big, but, I will cook the greens, as well, and they will make a nice vegetable for a meal, tomorrow.  I also picked two more oranges, which my daughter and I had, just as they were, and another couple of sprigs of curry leaves for cooking.

I slept in, today, although my daughter woke up early for work.  Later in the morning, neighbor S called and, guess what?  She brought over another plate of barbecue for us:

More Kebabs and Chicken Wings

I boiled the two ears of corn that I had in the fridge and we had some of the barbecue and corn on the cob for brunch, followed by the freshly picked oranges.  Later in the evening, I made fried rice with leftover rice, the leftover smoked sausage, some of the corn, and an egg.  This time, I was able to crack the egg into the frying pan!  Ha, ha!  Much later in the evening, I baked some biscuits using a can of refrigerated dough for a snack for us; daughter ate hers plain and I had mine with a piece of cheese.

Today, it was clear and even a bit sunny in the morning and early afternoon.  But, the clouds rolled in by evening and it has been raining since around 6:00 p.m.  I am glad for the rain, because we really need it!

Today, I got the house vacuumed and cleaned the tops of the washer and dryer, including all the little crevices where soap residue and dust tend to collect.  I handwashed two of my wool sweaters and lay them out flat to dry.  I did a little paperwork, ran the dishwasher, put away a load of laundry, practiced the piano and had my piano lesson, as well.  Both cousin P and friend R called and we chatted for a bit.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- S bringing us more food
- Today's harvest from the garden
- The rain in the evening
- Phone calls from family and friends
- Having my daughter home with me

Today's joyful activity was crocheting.

I was able to do most of the items on my to do list for today and I am happy with what I was able to accomplish.

Friday's To Do List:
- Clean the bathrooms 
- Tidy and dust my bedroom
- Do one deep cleaning task (wash family room window and sliding glass door)
- Tend to the garden with M (if the rain permits)

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

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Cloudy Wednesday

Sleepy Kitty

It was a cloudy day, today.  I practiced the piano in the morning and dusted the living room, dining area, and family room (since I didn't get around to doing it earlier in the week).  I also watered the house plants and took the opportunity to toss four small plants that didn't survive my neglect!  I've sown the last packet of cat grass seeds in those pots and a certain kitty will be getting a treat in a couple of weeks, if they grow!  Later, I did two loads of laundry and I joined another row of 10 granny squares.  I even took a short nap on the sofa!

Neighbor E stopped by to ask how the water heater was doing and I told him it has been working well after it was repaired.  Neighbor S called, too, and, later, I called friend R.  

Daughter and I had doughnuts for breakfast and I had a bowl of soup for lunch.  She had leftovers from the dinner S sent over, yesterday, for her dinner and I had a tortilla with the last of the madeover roast beef.  The last of the pomegranates and tangerines for dessert.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Working appliances
- Warm wool socks (ones I knitted for myself)
- Caring neighbors
- Leftovers
- What I was able to accomplish today

My joyful activity today was crocheting (and napping, too!)

Thursday's To Do List:
- Vacuum
- Dust/tidy my bedroom
- Paperwork/filing 
- Do one decluttering/organizing task
- Practice the piano

It's supposed to rain, tomorrow, so I don't have to water the garden, this week!

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

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Sunny Tuesday

It was a sunny day, today, but, chilly!  It was 41F when I woke up in the morning and our daytime high today was only in the mid-50s.  Tonight's low is supposed to be 38F and there is snow in the higher elevations.  But, I enjoyed the sunny day and walked up and down the driveway for 15 minutes, brought the trash cans in after the trash and recycling were collected, and walked around the garden for a bit, too.  The aloe plants in the front yard are flowering:

Aloe Flower Stalk

I hadn't planned to scrub the stove top, today, but, this happened when I went to cook my brunch:

Runny Eggs, Anyone?

I cracked the egg on the side of the frying pan and, somehow, missed the frying pan, altogether!  I've always maintained that I'm a messy cook, but, this was a bit ridiculous!  Most of the egg was contained in the black liner tray, but, a little of it got under the tray, too.  A paste of baking soda and water left on for about 20 minutes or so and a scrub with a scrubby sponge and the stove top was clean:

Clean Stove Top

The black liner trays were scrubbed, too, and put back in place.  I was laughing at myself, because, the whole reason why I cracked the egg on the side of the pan instead of into a bowl, first, was because I didn't want to dirty a dish that would then have to be washed!  Instead, I had to wash the whole stove top!  The oven could do with a good cleaning, too, but, that's for another day! 

In the afternoon, I practiced the piano, but, I didn't have a piano lesson, today.  Neighbor S called me (she's my piano teacher) and said she won't be able to teach today because it is her older daughter N's birthday and they were having a family dinner to celebrate, but, she will try to reschedule me for another evening, this week.  Actually, my daughter and I were already aware that it was N's birthday.  S asked me if I was planning to go anywhere this evening and I said no; she asked if they could park their cars in my driveway so that their family, who would be coming to dinner, could park in their driveway.  Of course I said yes, they may park their cars in my driveway.  It's really hard to find street parking on our road because a lot of people park their cars there.

In the evening, daughter took over the gifts we had ordered for N for her birthday.  A few minutes later, daughter came back with N bringing us a feast!

Dinner, Dessert, and Breakfast!

S had sent us rice, lula kebabs, baked potato halves, salad, cheese-filled pastries, birthday cake, and doughnuts!  Yum!  My daughter enjoyed the kebabs and I really enjoyed one of the cheese pastries.  

Today, I picked up a crochet project I had started on, a long time ago.  I had been making granny squares with yarn leftover from other projects, over the years.  I've made over 100 granny squares and I think I have enough for a small blanket.  I raided my daughter's yarn stash to get a skein of grey yarn and started to crochet the squares together.   I put together one strip of ten granny squares, today.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- A sunny day

- S sending us a portion of N's birthday dinner

- Having a garden in which to walk

- Having a stove to clean

- Deliveries being made on time

Today's joyful activity was crocheting.

Tomorrow is supposed to be cloudy with rain in the forecast for Thursday and Friday.  Plans for tomorrow include more crocheting and cleaning the top of my dresser, which I haven't done, yet.

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

Cooking on Monday

Today's Harvest: Oranges, a Lemon, and Sprigs of Curry Leaves

It rained in the early hours of the morning, today, but, it stopped by mid-morning.  Then, the sun shone until late afternoon, when the clouds rolled in, again.  

Live and Learn had commented on yesterday's photo of the radishes and oranges from the garden and asked if I have ever thought of making an orange and radish salad!  I had not thought of making one, actually, but, today, I decided to make one!   

Orange and Radish Salad

I peeled and sliced the three oranges I picked today and sliced the four radishes I had picked yesterday.  Added the juice of half a lemon, salt, pepper, a teaspoon of sugar, and some shichimi (a Japanese spice mixture).  I left it to marinate for about 45 minutes and added a bit of chopped up radish leaves as a garnish (raw radish leaves are edible).  My daughter and I shared this salad for a late breakfast.  I liked how the radishes tasted in this salad (I don't like just plain, raw radish); my daughter, on the other hand, didn't care much for how the radishes tasted in the salad (she prefers the plain, raw radishes), but, she loved how the oranges tasted!  

Thank you, Live and Learn, for suggesting this salad!  

Afterwards, I cut up the rind of one orange to have on hand, to add to cakes or muffins I might bake:

Julienned Orange Peel 

Later in the afternoon, instead of making a meal plan for this week, I just went ahead and cooked!

Spicy Beef Saute

The leftover roast beef was sliced and sauteed with curry leaves, onions, and bell pepper strips, with curry powder and chili powder to make it spicy.  We had it with rice and curried green beans for a late lunch.  There is just enough of the roast beef saute for one more meal.  For dessert, we shared an avocado.

Smoked Sausage Saute

I also cooked a smoked sausage with onions, tomatoes, and the radish leaves.  We had that with rice for dinner.  Pomegranates for dessert, followed by a piece of cornbread (made with one of the boxes of cornbread mix we received from our neighbor N).

I am planning to make a shrimp curry, later this week, and that is about all the meal planning I am going to do for this week!  There are lots of leftovers to be finished.  We had discussed placing an order for groceries to be picked up, tomorrow, but, we didn't put in the order, after all.  I am a bit low on fresh vegetables, but, I have two ears of corn that need to be cooked, some carrots and tomatoes, frozen vegetables, and three or four more radishes that are ready to be picked in the garden!  

Today, I did a partial freezer inventory to see what meat I had and I cleaned the fridge, wiping down all the shelves and washing the drawers.  I got tired before I could get to the door shelves, however (my hands started to cramp).  I'll do the door shelves another time.  I also scrubbed the sink and the dish drainer.  Then, took the trash bins to the curb for pick up, tomorrow morning.  Finally, I practiced the piano and chatted with friend R.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Rain in the early morning (garden got another good soaking)
- Sunshine in the afternoon
- Oranges and lemons from the garden
- Weekly trash collection services
- A working heater (going down to 37F, tonight!)

Today's joyful activity was trying out a new salad and doing some cooking!

Have you tried orange and radish salad?  What are you planning to cook this week?

Monday, January 25, 2021

Sunny Sunday

Today was mostly sunny, with clear blue skies, until late afternoon when the clouds moved in.  There is rain in the forecast for tomorrow.

Cousin P called me in the morning and asked me if I could come over for a minute, so, I masked up and walked over (she lives two houses down across the street from me).  I wore one of the dresses she had given me so she could see how well it fitted me.  The reason why she called me over was to give me another bag of clothes with a shirt, a sweatshirt, and a sweater!  I think they will be good for my daughter.  Now it is my turn to go through my closet and see what I can set aside to donate, to make room for the new additions to the closet! 

Neighbor T called in the early afternoon and we chatted for a bit.  Afterwards, I went out into the back garden and did a bit of weeding.  The ground was nice and soft after the rain so it was easy to pull up the weeds.  

Today's Harvest 

I picked two oranges and four radishes from the garden, today.  I have three or four more radish plants still in the ground and that will be the end of the radish harvest, unless I buy more seeds and plant them (these plants are from seeds that M shared with me).  Since I saute the leaves to be eaten as greens, the whole plant gets eaten and there is no waste.

Speaking of food...last night, before I went to bed, I put mung beans to soak and, this morning, I boiled them for our brunch. For dinner, I cooked the rest of the packet of rice noodles that I had.  I had some of the rice noodles with leftover Thai Green Curry soup and my daughter had rice noodles with leftover roast beef and vegetables.  I need to see what I have in the freezer and come up with a list of meal plan possibilities for next week.  

In the evening, neighbor S's daughter N brought us three boxes of cornbread mix!  Apparently, one of her cousins had ordered more than was needed and gave her some of the extras; she had texted my daughter to ask if we would like to have some.  We offered to pay for them, but, she declined.  Daughter gave her some of the flourless oatmeal peanut butter cookies she had made, in return.

Later in the evening, I practiced the piano and then, chatted with friend R.

Today, I am grateful for:

- A sunny day

- Today's garden harvest

- More clothes from my cousin

- Neighbors sharing the cornbread mixes

- Receiving a card from my oldest half-brother

Today's joyful act was harvesting some fruits and vegetables from the garden!

It's time to start posting my regular To Do lists, again, I think! 

Monday's To Do List:
- Dust: living room, family room & dining area
- Clean the fridge
- Take trash cans to the curb for Tuesday trash pick up
- Piano practice
- Laundry - handwash wool sweaters

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


Saturday, January 23, 2021

Rainy Saturday!


Flourless Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

With Raisins (for me)

The rains arrived late last night and it has continued to rain all day, today!  A much needed, slow, steady rain that is good for the garden as the ground has time to absorb it.  

It has been a bit cold, too, and I have had the heater on, all day!  I am SO thankful to have a working heater and the hot water heater was repaired, too!  Just in time!

Earlier in the week, it might have been on Thursday, cousin P blessed me with a bag of clothes.  She had been going through her closet and had set aside some blouses (some with the tags still on!) and dresses for me.  Today, my daughter and I tried them on.  They fitted both of us, although some looked better on her than they did on me!  I kept two of the dresses and a couple of the blouses for myself and gave the rest to my daughter.  She will keep them in her closet, here, so I could borrow them if I want to!  LOL!

Today, my daughter offered to help me go through and organize my dresser drawers, as an act of service.  The majority of the dresser drawers are well organized (in my opinion), but, there were two smaller drawers that had become more like junk drawers that I kept saying I needed to organize but hadn't!  Well, today, my daughter sorted through them and helped me to declutter and organize them.  She did most of the work, just asking me questions - keep? donate? toss?  Some items were relocated to better homes - tape measures went to my sewing basket, spare buttons went to my button box, some craft items to the craft supplies drawer, etc.

Things that had survived a prior decluttering session were decluttered this time around - a few pieces of costume jewelry (she took a few items for herself and put aside some bits and pieces that needed repairs), some sentimental items I had kept from her childhood, and some old letters, etc.  At one point, however, I started to cry when I found something my mother had written; I kept that, as well as the eulogy my daughter, then aged 12, had written to read at my mother's funeral.  I let her toss her karate patches and medals that I had saved for her (there's another box in the closet with all her karate belts), but, I kept her first pair of ballet slippers, bought when she was 5 years old!  

It took us about one hour to go through the two drawers.  I now have a small stack of old photographs and souvenirs to scrapbook and an empty drawer!  I think I might go through the top of the dresser, tomorrow; I think I'd be able to store some of the items in the now empty drawer and clear up the dresser top!  

Later in the afternoon, I did two loads of laundry.

Daughter requested French toast for brunch, today, which I made.  I had a bowl of her Thai Green Curry soup and an apple for dinner and she had the rest of the Hawaiian chicken with rice for her dinner.  For dessert, she baked the flourless oatmeal peanut butter cookies!  She added raisins to a portion of the dough for me, because she doesn't like raisins.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- The rain!
- A working heater and other appliances
- Clothes from my cousin
- My daughter's help with organizing my dresser drawers
- Cookies still warm from the oven!

Today's joyful act was having daughter help me with organizing the dresser drawers!  

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

Friday, January 22, 2021


Knitted Hats

Today, I had my oncologist appointment in the early afternoon.  I took the eight hats I had knitted since my last visit, which had been in October to give the cancer center to be given to anyone who might want one.  The appointment went well.  The lab results were mostly good and the cancer indicators were within normal range.  Most importantly, the recent mammogram and ultrasound results were normal!  I was so happy to hear that!  An answered prayer!  I had been worried when I was told a repeat mammogram was required.  I received my injection for osteoporosis (given every 6 months) and my next appointment, which will be in April.  

When I came home, the letter from the radiology clinic with the mammogram results was in the mail box!

I had eaten a frozen burrito for brunch before I left for my appointment.  After I came home, I had a bowl of the Thai Green Curry soup.  Later, I had some cheese and crackers with my evening cup of tea.

In the evening, M came to tend to the garden.  We are expecting some rain over the next couple of days and he moved some potted plants to where they could get rained on and did some tidying.  Clouds have been gathering all day, but, so far (typing this at 11:20 p.m.), no rain, yet.

Daughter prepared Hawaiian Chicken for dinner, tonight:

Hawaiian Chicken with Vegetables

I added some sliced carrots, broccoli stems, and canned pineapple chunks to the sauce and prepared a cucumber salad to go with it.  We had it served over rice:

My Dinner

Dinner was delicious!  I really like the sauce daughter prepared for the chicken - she mixed it up as a marinade and kept the chicken to marinate overnight; once cooked, the marinade turned into the sauce.  

I had some of the canned pineapple chunks for dessert.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Good mammogram and blood test results
- A safe drive to the clinic and back
- Health insurance
- Daughter cooking dinner
- M tending to the garden
- Answered prayers

Today's joyful activity was donating the knitted hats to the cancer clinic.

Plans for tomorrow include doing a load of laundry and some paperwork.

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

Yesterday and Today (Wednesday and Thursday)

On Tuesday, the Gas Company sent out a technician to service the heater and he was able to relight the pilot light for me.  

On Wednesday, I discovered that I didn't have any hot water!  The water heater pilot light had gone off!  I didn't make the discovery until after I had watched the inauguration and some of the coverage of the events that took place immediately afterwards.  I checked the water heater in the afternoon and there was a red indicator light that was blinking at a fairly rapid pace (the indicator light is blue when the water heater is running well).  There is a panel of trouble shooting instructions on the front of the water heater, which stated that if the red light blinked 3 times a second, it meant X, if it blinked 5 times, it meant Y, if it blinked 7 times, it meant Z, etc.  Well, I really couldn't tell how often it blinked, but, it was blinking fairly rapidly.

I called neighbor E and left him a message, then, went about the rest of my day, putting water to the front garden (couldn't water, at all, on Tuesday because it was so windy - at least, that's my excuse!) and chatting on the phone with a friend from my university days.

Neighbor E came over a little later in the evening and took a look at the water heater.  He said the pilot light wouldn't stay on and there might be something wrong with the gas valve.  It was not something he was able to fix, however.  

So, this morning, I called the Gas Company, once, again, and asked for another appliance service!  Again, they sent out a technician an hour or so later.  He checked it out, told me the red light was blinking 7 times a second, which meant that the gas valve control panel needed to be replaced.  But, it was not something he could do and I would need to get a plumber to attend to it.  He filled out a form indicating what he checked and what needed to be done.

After that, I called the same company who had replaced the water pressure regulator when the water heater was leaking, back in 2018.  They were the plumbing company that the water heater manufacturer had referred to me.  I called and left a message and, in the process, discovered they needed the model and serial numbers which were on the heater; so, I rang off and went to check the numbers.  While I was doing that, they called me back and left a message!  Then, I called back and left another message!  But, they called back a few minutes later and we were able to connect!  I gave the model and serial number and said I needed the gas valve control panel replaced.  The person I spoke with asked what made me think that was the problem and I told her that that was what the Gas Company technician had written down on the problem diagnosis form (there was a form number which I also gave) and read it out to her.  She said they had a service truck in my neighborhood and the repairperson would be able to check it out, sometime today (but, she couldn't tell me when).  

The repair person actually showed up within the hour!  I showed him the form the Gas Company technician had given me and he took a look, himself, and replaced the part.  It was a flat, round thing at the bottom of the water heater.  On the work order statement copy he gave me, he wrote that he replaced the valve control panel and readjusted the gas pressure which had been too high.  The work is guaranteed for 30 days, I was told.  The whole job took him less than 15 minutes and the bill came to $98, which I thought was reasonable.  Having hot water on tap is a luxury and something we often take for granted!

In between waiting for the water heater to be fixed, I watered the back garden, did some paperwork (bill paying, filing, etc.), and confirmed my oncologist appointment for tomorrow (and answered their Covid-related questions).  

Neighbor S called me around noon and offered to bring me a plate of chicken and rice her daughter had cooked; she included two chocolates for dessert:

Chicken and Rice

Daughter and I enjoyed it with some vegetables I had cooked previously for our lunch.

Later in the evening, daughter cooked a Thai Green Curry soup with chicken, vegetables, rice noodles, and coconut milk for dinner:

Thai Green Curry Soup

I didn't serve a lot of the broth into my bowl, but, later, I took another serving of mostly the broth.  

Then, daughter texted neighbor S's daughter N and it was our turn to share some food with them!  

Later in the evening, I washed the hats I had knitted to donate to the cancer center.  I will take them with me when I go, tomorrow.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Hot water on tap!
- The gas company sending a technician so promptly
- The plumbing company sending a repairman so quickly, as well
- Neighbor S bringing over lunch
- Working appliances!

Today's joyful activity was getting the hot water heater repaired!

Plans for tomorrow include going to my doctor's appointment and having M tend to the garden.  

How was your day, today?  What are your plans for Friday?

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Windy Tuesday

Last night, I put another knitted blanket on my bed for extra warmth and slept very well (daughter had a small space heater on in her room).  The house registered 64F when I woke up, this morning, which is not horrible.  Of course, you all know that I prefer the house to be at least 70F.

This morning, even before I had drunk my morning cup of tea, I called the gas company and explained about the heater going off.  They asked a series of Covid-related questions, which I appreciated very much, because, according to our latest numbers, one in every three people in Los Angeles county is testing positive for Covid and, last week, there was one Covid-related death every 6 minutes in the the county; the more people taking precautions the better, in my opinion!  They promised to send someone over today.  They couldn't give me a time, but, assured me that it was on today's list of service calls.  I verified that the technician will be wearing a mask and assured them that we will be masked up, too.

Approximately one hour later, one of their service technicians showed up!  He checked the heater (a 15 point check, he said), found everything to be fine, the heater was venting properly and no gas leaks were detected, and relit the pilot light.  He was a bit concerned about some soot marks on the wall on either side of the heater and asked me about them, but, I told him that they had been there for at least a couple of years.  He said that it was an indication that there had been some earlier problems, but, everything seemed fine, now.  He urged me to get a carbon monoxide detector and also to call for an annual service check, in the fall, that a technician will come out and make sure everything is fine before the winter heating season began.  I shall definitely do that.  There was no charge for the service call, which was an added bonus! 

It has been a windy day, with gusts of strong winds blowing from time to time.  Today's daytime highs are supposed to be in the mid to upper 60s, which is about the normal temperatures for this time of the year for us.  Last week's 80s were unusual.     

I made uppuma (or upma) for breakfast, which is made with semolina.  Then, I brought in the trash cans from the curb (trash was collected this morning), practiced the piano, and did a load of laundry (the dust sheets from the family room sofas - I call them kitty fur protectors!) 

It is afternoon as I write this.  Plans for the rest of the day include watering the houseplants (garden might have to wait until tomorrow when it might be less windy), doing some paperwork, watching a little news, and piano lesson in the evening.

Today, I am grateful for:

- The gas company technician's visit

- A working heater

- The heater didn't need to be replaced

- No charge for the service call

- Weekly trash collection services

Today's joyful activity was getting the heater to work again!

How is your day progressing?


Last night, I was tired and went to bed at 10:30 p.m.!  Not only that, I even fell asleep almost right away!  Practically unheard of for me!  I woke up a couple of times in the night, especially since daughter was awake and moving around, but, I fell asleep, each time.  I woke up when the alarm went off at 8:00 a.m., but, I could have slept a little longer if I didn't have to get up.  However, I had an appointment at 9:15 a.m. for my blood test, so, I got up, got dressed, had a cup of hot water because I needed to be fasting for the blood test, and drove to my appointment.

I got to the lab a few minutes before my appointment time and there were about four other people in the waiting room, but, I was called in right on time.  After the blood was drawn, I came home and had breakfast - a slice of toast with slices of cold roast beef and a second slice of toast with butter and some of my homemade apricot jam.  Daughter made herself a smoothie with a frozen banana, tangerines, and an apple and shared some of it with me.  

Then, I did a little weeding, looked for more sweet potatoes (didn't find any), added the kitchen compost items to the compost pile, and spent a little time sitting in the garden while I finished another knitted hat.  

In the afternoon, daughter helped me with tidying up the family room.  I sorted through the last box of Christmas stuff (crafts supplies, for the most part) and repacked it; it is ready to go back to the garage to wait until needed.  Daughter broke down several cardboard boxes for me and I spread them in the side yard.  Then, I did three loads of laundry and remade our beds with clean sheets.  

Later, I cut up and cooked green beans and we had rice, chicken curry, and green beans for dinner.  

In the evening, the heater quit working!  We think the pilot light has gone off (it is a gas heater).  But, we don't want to try and relight the pilot light because daughter thought she had smelled gas, earlier.  I shall call the gas company, tomorrow, and see if they can send someone out to take a look at it.  Fortunately, we've been having some nice warm weather, lately.  It is supposed to be colder, tomorrow (highs in the mid 60s), but, we have two small electric space heaters and plenty of quilts for the beds.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Health insurance

- The blood test appointment went well

- Another productive day

- Daughter helping with the tidying

- The washer and dryer

Today's joyful activity was finishing another knitted hat.

Tuesday's To Do List:

- Call the gas company

- Paperwork

- Water the garden and houseplants

- Bring the trash cans in

- Piano lesson

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

Sunday, January 17, 2021


Peach Flowers (with orange tree in background and feijoa tree behind it)

The unusually warm days have tricked the peach tree into thinking it is spring and it has started flowering and even leafing out!  

Flowers and Buds

I just hope the colder weather in the forecast (there is a frost warning for the nights) won't damage the flowers!  I am hoping for another plentiful supply of peaches, this year, too!

Today has been another warm, sunny day.  I was woken up by a kitty batting at my nose!  His strategy worked and I got up from a dream in which I had returned to work because I was bored with being retired!  LOL.

I finished dusting the living room, today, and returned the blue and white china to the fireplace shelves.  I also picked some fresh flowers for the altars and made a small arrangement for the mantel:

Winter Flower Arrangement: Paperwhites, Pine Branch, and Rosemary Sprigs

When I was out in the garden, I noticed something near the sweet potato vine - it was the top of a sweet potato!  I dug around it with my fingers and found, not just one, but, two sweet potatoes!

Sweet Potato Harvest!
With my hand for size comparisons

I looked to see if there were more, but, I couldn't find more and I didn't want to pull up the vines as they are still growing.  I plan to root the tops of these two, as well as the two that we bought from the grocery store, and plant them.  Maybe I should have M make a proper planting bed for them!  

Today, my daughter made tamagoyaki (a Japanese rolled omelet) and a fresh fruit salad with apples, tangerines, blueberries, and pomegranate, for brunch.  She had rice and some of the chicken stir fry as well with hers; I had the rice and chicken stir fry a couple of hours later, for my lunch.  I am not making a formal meal plan for this week, but, we have a little bit of the chicken stir fry left, some chicken curry, a couple of hamburger patties, and most of the roast beef that I made, last week (I really should slice and freeze some of it for another time).  I might have to cook some vegetables to go with them, but, we will finish up the leftovers before we cook something else for meals, this week.  

In the afternoon, neighbor T called and we chatted a little bit.  Later, I vacuumed the family room and daughter put second sofa back in its usual place under the window, to make an L-shaped seating arrangement (I had moved the second sofa to face the other sofa to make room for the Christmas tree in front of the window).  The room needs to be tidied a bit, but, I am keeping that for tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I have an appointment to do a blood test in the morning.  Plans for the rest of the day include tidying the family room and maybe doing a load or two of laundry.  The front garden should be watered, too.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Sweet potatoes from the garden!
- Fresh flowers from the garden
- Daughter making brunch
- A working vacuum cleaner
- A sunny, warm day

Today's joyful activities included harvesting sweet potatoes and picking flowers from the garden.

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


Saturday, January 16, 2021

Winter Interrupted

Our winter has been interrupted by summer-like days, with temperatures in the mid 80s (F)!  Yesterday's day time high was 86F; today's is 87F!  Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 80s, too.  My kind of weather!  Especially welcome in mid-January!

On Thursday, we had the first warm day with a high of 85F.  Aunt C and cousin N dropped off our Christmas/New Year gifts and I was able to give them their gifts.  I put away part of the Christmas decorations in the big bin in the garage.  I have too many Christmas decorations, but, I enjoy decorating the house with them, so I keep them all!  I did declutter four small decorations and daughter contributed a set of 5 holiday magnets that had been a gift to her when she was a child.  I cooked a chicken curry in the night and we had rice and curry for dinner.

On Friday, I put away the wreaths and the small Christmas trees, etc. in their bin.  Then, I took down the Winter Village and packed it all away for another year.  Gardener friend M took down the big Christmas tree and boxed it up for me and he put away the bin of tree decorations and the bin with the Winter Village.  There is a third bin with a bunch of other things - mostly Christmas craft supplies that I want to sort through before putting it away, so that's still in the family room waiting for my attention.

M pruned the rose bushes and we reminisced about the time when I had almost 100 rose bushes and it would take him practically all month (he tends to the garden once a week) to prune them all!  Now, there are only a handful of rose bushes and it just takes him less than one hour.  Afterwards, I made us a cup of tea and we chatted for a bit while we had our tea and he sampled my daughter's Chinese chicken dish that she made the other day.  He liked it well enough to ask her for the recipe.  

I had a tortilla with some of my chicken curry for brunch, yesterday,  Later, I picked two more radishes and daughter made us a salad with the last of the mixed salad greens, sliced radishes, carrots, cucumber, some fresh corn kernels,  and a tangerine.  I sauteed the radish greens to be eaten with rice and curry at another meal.  For dinner, last night, I cooked some hamburger patties I had in the freezer and daughter made the oven baked potato wedges to go with it and freshly pickled jalapeno peppers (she sliced them thinly and added enough fresh lemon juice to cover them - she didn't de-seed them because she likes the heat; they tasted very good).  Pictured is daughter's hamburger - I didn't put quite as many jalapeno slices on mine!

Friday Night Dinner

Today, I slept in and then, made Sri Lankan style pancakes at my daughter's request - they are thin pancakes, similar to crepes, sprinkled with sugar and lemon juice and rolled up.  Daughter enjoyed at least a couple of them with Nutella and banana slices, as well!  

Saturday Brunch

Then, taking advantage of the fact that it is a sunny, warm day and the living room mantel was bare, I did a bit of spring cleaning!  I washed the front door, both inside and out, and the insides of the living room windows and window sills.  Then, I washed and polished the mirror over the mantel and all the shelves on either side of the mantel and polished two brass decorative items that go on the wall on either side of the mirror.  Afterwards, I vacuumed (the living room, dining area, and kitchen).

I still need to dust the rest of the room and put back the items I usually display on the mantel and shelves.  But, first, I need to have a cup of tea!

Bare Shelves!

The shelves won't remain empty for long, however, as I return things to their places.  But, it does give me a glimpse of how things could look if I declutter some more!

I am very pleased with what I was able to accomplish, today.  I had been wanting to do a little deep cleaning in the living room for a long time! 

Today, I am grateful for:

- Summer-like weather!

- Getting started on the spring cleaning!

- Fresh lemons and oranges from the garden

- Having plenty of leftovers in the fridge for dinner

- What I was able to accomplish today

Today's joyful activity was making pancakes for brunch!

How is your weekend coming along?