Sunday, December 4, 2022

Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt - 2022/23

 Eileen has posted the list of prompts for the Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt, which started on December 1, 2022 and ends on March 31, 2023.  All are welcome to join.  The only rules are: the photos have to be taken by you and taken between those dates.  

I have copied and pasted the list of prompts, if any of my blog readers wish to join.

1. Seeing faces everywhere

2. An essential item 

3. Shadows

4. Sporting Life

5. A peek inside

6. A religious item or building

7. Water

8. Upside down

9. Wildlife

10. Winter berries

11. Hand or foot

12. This season

13. Point/pointed

14. Keeping warm

15. The oldest thing you own

16. Signs of spring

17. Tree bark

18. Something round

19. Something red

20. Something you can see through

Alt A. A Christmas decoration

Alt B. Winter sun

Alt C. Free choice

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Monthly Balanced Life Goals: November Review and December Goals

It's time again for a review of my monthly goals for a more balanced life!

Very briefly, I picture my life as a wheel with ten spokes, each representing a different area of my life.  I have stated goals for each area and below each goal, I list how I plan to attain those goals.  The numbers within parentheses show my satisfaction ratings, with the beginning of the month ratings in black and the end of the month ratings being shown in blue. 

Spiritual (9.5)(10):   The goal is to live a spiritually meaningful life:

- Continue with daily prayers, meditation, being grateful, positive, resilient, and joyful
- Continue to cultivate non-attachment by being generous and giving to the extent I am able
- Visit the Temple

I finally visited the Temple in November and am happy I was able to do so when I did (Covid numbers, including testing positivity rates and hospitalizations have since increased!)
I have raised the rating back up to 10.

December's Spiritual goals will be the same as above, but, without a repeat visit to the Temple.  

House & Garage (7.5)(7.5):  The goal is a home that is pleasant, comfortable, and welcoming:
- Clean - Clean the house and garage as needed
- Organized - 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 cleaned and tidied the house prior to my daughter's visit for Thanksgiving.  I am very glad that I did so and the house has remained tidy for the most part!  I didn't declutter the 30 items I had wanted to, but, I am happy with what I did declutter, which included several magazines and brochures, glass jars and food containers, a cardigan, and a set of bath mats.
I am keeping the rating at 7.5.  

December's House & Garage goals:
- All the above (Clean, Organized, Maintained, Decluttered)
- Decorate for the season
Garden (6.5)(6.5):  The goal is a garden that is productive, yet drought tolerant:
Maintaining (water, fertilize, and weed)
- Start improving the parkway in the front

The garden is being maintained. M has been watering, tidying, weeding, pruning, etc. The parkway improvements haven't progressed much as M hasn't had time to buy the pebbles for me, but, so far, people haven't dumped any trash in the parkway since the pavers have been put in place! 
We put peas to germinate and they are just starting to do so and some self-seeded broccoli seedlings have popped up, too!   
I am keeping the rating at 6.5.

December's Garden goals will be the same as above.  

Daughter (10)(10) The goal is to continue to have a close relationship with her:
- Keep in daily contact with her

I continued to have a close relationship with my daughter.  She was able to visit over the Thanksgiving holiday and having her home was wonderful.
A definite 10!

December's Daughter goals will, hopefully, include another visit home over Christmas and New Year's Day!    

Family & Friends (8)(8):  The goal is to have a close connection with family and friends:
- Regular phone calls and emails to check on them

I kept in touch with family and friends through texts, emails, phone calls, etc., especially on my birthday!  Friend R treated me to a birthday meal which was delivered to me and which made me feel very spoilt!  I hadn't anticipated having any in-person get togethers in November, but, as things turned out, there were several visits to be by friend A's side at the hospital and to share a Thanksgiving meal with her family.  I'm very glad that I did so, though.  
I am keeping the rating at 8.0.

December's Family and Friends goals will be the same as above; I do anticipate a family gathering or two at Christmas.  I might just drop off gifts at one of the gatherings and attend the other, instead.  

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
  - Food exchanges with neighbors from time to time
  - Participate in temple events if and when I feel it is safe to do so

Once again, I participated in my community in the ways that I felt comfortable participating, online or on the phone for the most part.  Neighbor S has kept me well supplied with treats and provided my daughter and me with a Thanksgiving meal and I've exchanged regular phone calls with neighbor T who is still at the assisted living facility.      
I'm keeping the rating at 10.

December's Community goals will be the same as above.

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

I have continued to manage my finances, budgeting and spending as mindfully as possible.  The biggest expense in November was paying my property taxes, but, I budget for it throughout the year, so when the time comes to pay, there's money set aside for it.
I am keeping the rating at 10.

December's Financial goals will be the same as above. 

Health & Well Being (8.5)(8.5):  The goal is good health:
- Focus on continuing to improve my health through diet, hydration, adequate sleep, etc.
- Attend my medical appointments
- Continue to take my medications as prescribed
- Continue to take necessary precautions against viral infections

I maintained my health and well being in November.  I got my latest Covid booster, did some lab tests, had my annual appointment with the ophthalmologist and a follow up visit with my primary care physician.  Both appointments went well and my test results were mostly good.  
I am keeping the satisfaction rating at 8.5.

December's Health & Well Being goals will be the same as above.  I have one screening scan scheduled for December; otherwise, the month is free of medical appointments.

Time Management (8.0)(8.0): 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

After slacking off quite a bit in October, I did better in November!  I did the paperwork and tidying up that I had been procrastinating on and, more importantly, I made the time for the important things such as being there for friends as needed.   
I am keeping the rating at 8.0.

December's Time Management goals are the same as above, with the addition of getting ready for the holidays (Christmas and New Year).

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
- Engage in leisure activities
- Do crafts and pursue hobbies

I had another good month in this area of my life in November, too.  I started on a craft project, but, didn't finish it, which was fine; I participated in the monthly photo challenge, I did a bit of gardening, and relaxed.  
I am keeping the rating at 10.  

December's Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies/Self-Care goals will be the same as above.

November was a good month, overall, when it came to maintaining balance in my life.  The majority of the ratings stayed the same and I raised the rating for my Spiritual area with the long delayed visit the Temple!   I am rather pleased with my ratings, too, even if there is room for improvement in certain areas.  I am looking forward to December.

Do you make any monthly goals for a more balanced life?  If so, what are your goals for December?

It Rained!

Raindrops on Succulents

It rained last night and this evening, too!  A gentle rain, but, it soaked the ground and we didn't have to water the garden!  Such a blessing!

It was cloudy, but, dry, during the day.  I made seeni sambol (spicy onion relish) to have with leftover milkrice for my brunch (yesterday, I had the milkrice with chicken curry).  Later, when M was here to tend to the garden, I served him a plate of milkrice and seeni sambol and gave him a small container of seeni sambol to take home.  I gave him a small container of the chili powder I use, too.  

M did some weeding and tidying up in the garden and pruned the plum tree.  We are going to wait another week or so to prune the peach tree.  I mentioned to him that I want to extend the edging along the length of the front yard and he said we could do that.  We might encounter some problems with the roots of the eucalyptus tree, though!

Later in the evening, I chatted on the phone with friend R and video chatted with my daughter.

Brunch had been milkrice and seeni sambol; dinner was leftover mac and cheese with leftover turkey.  Yes, I shared the turkey with a certain spoilt kitty cat!


"I don't see anything wrong with being spoilt!"

Today, I am grateful for:

- Rain!
- M tending to the garden
- A working heater
- Warm sweaters and blankets
- Phone calls, emails, and video chats

Today's joyful activity was tending to the garden with M.

Plans for tomorrow include doing some laundry and starting on shortening daughter's dress!

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

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Starting December

It has been a very cloudy and relatively cool day, today.  Rain was in the forecast, but, it didn't rain in my area.  Now there is rain in the forecast for late tonight/early tomorrow morning.  We didn't water the garden on Wednesday in anticipation of the rain; if it doesn't rain tonight, however, we will water the garden, tomorrow.  There is another chance of rain on Sunday, but, otherwise, no rain in the forecast for the rest of December.

I had planned to take the meal I had prepared to A's family in the morning and texted her older daughter to ask if it would be OK to stop by around mid-morning, saying I could just drop it off at their door step if they were busy.  She texted back saying they were just about to leave the house, but, they could stop by my house to pick up the meal around 12:30 p.m.  That suited me very well.  A's younger daughter came over around 12:30 p.m. to collect the food, thanking me for being there for them.  A short time later, one of A's cousins called to ask me if I knew what arrangements have been made.  There is some family drama going on between A's children and A's cousin and I happen to be friends with both of them, but, I definitely don't want to be drawn into their family drama!  I was happy to be able to honestly say I didn't know any of the arrangements (I don't think they have even had time to make any arrangements!)

It being the first of the month, I made milkrice for brunch.  When my aunt called me in the afternoon and, during the course of the conversation, asked me what I had for breakfast, I said I made milkrice and she commented on the fact that I continue to observe the traditions.  Of course, I didn't always make milkrice on the first of the month, especially when I was working, but I try to do so now.  Dinner was good old boxed mac and cheese, with some leftover turkey!  

Today, I am grateful for:
- I was able to give the meal I had cooked to A's daughter
- A relaxed day spent at home
- A working furnace
- Phone calls from family and friends
- A chance of rain!

Today's joyful activity was giving the meal I had prepared to A's daughter.  

Plans for tomorrow include doing a load of laundry, tidying the house a bit, and tending to the garden with M.

Monthly Photo Challenge - November: Food

Time to post the photos I took for the November Monthly Photo Challenge, hosted by Eileen at A Bracelet of Days!  The theme was "Food":

Birthday Lunch 

The "lunch" that my friend R had delivered to me, which lasted me practically all week!

Birthday Ice Cream

The "Birthday Cake" ice cream from gardener friend M!

Thanksgiving Dinner

The lovely Thanksgiving dinner provided by neighbor S.

Rice and Curries

One of the home-cooked meals my daughter and I enjoyed during Thanksgiving week when she was home - rice, shrimp curry, asparagus "thel dala" (sauteed), cucumber salad.

Passionfruits on the Vine

There's food growing in the garden, too!

Oranges Ripening on the Tree

A very small crop of oranges, this year.

Food for the Honeybees (Rosemary Bush)

Do you see the bee in the sort of center of the photo on one of the rosemary flowers?  It was flying around too fast for me to get a good photo, but, it was enjoying the nectar!


And finally, the brunch I made for myself on Tuesday.  

I'm sorry I completely forgot to take photos of the Thanksgiving pies and cornbread, etc.  I was too distracted by other things that were happening at the same time.  

What's that?  Where's Dancer?  Well, he enjoyed a bit of turkey at Thanksgiving and by the time I remembered to take a photo, he was, sleeping it off!

Dancer Sleeps it Off

(Yes, I know, I posted this photo collage earlier, too; it's just been that kind of week!)

The Last Day of November

Blueberry Leaves

I texted my friend's daughter in the early afternoon, today, to ask how her mother was doing and letting her know that I was cooking a meal to bring to them, a little later in the afternoon.  I prepared a chicken curry and dhal (lentils) and was waiting for the pot of rice to finish cooking, when she texted back, saying that her mother, my friend A, had passed away a few minutes ago.  It had been a peaceful ending, she texted.  She wasn't sure how much longer they would be at the hospital and asked me if I could stop by their place tomorrow and I said yes.  I cooked some broccoli, too, and packed the food into containers to take to them.


Self-Seeded Broccoli Seedling

Earlier in the morning, while I was waiting for M, I walked around the back yard and noticed that, among the weeds that were springing up in the planting bed where I had grown peas and broccoli, there were a handful of broccoli seedlings, too, growing from seeds that had fallen!  I pointed them out to M and he weeded that planting bed, around the seedlings.  I have some broccoli seeds that I had collected, earlier this summer, but I have not sown them yet - I guess I should start them in some seed pots and see what happens.  The peas we planted are starting to germinate, too!  

Today, we also did a project in the front garden - the front garden slopes ever so slightly towards the sidewalk and, without any grass roots to hold the soil in place, I've been noticing that the soil washes down to the sidewalk whenever it rains enough, especially in one area.  I asked M if we could put some of the scalloped flowerbed edging to form a barrier.  But, when he dug down to put the edging in place, he discovered that there was some areas with the concrete from the sidewalk extending into the garden so that the edging stones could not be placed flush against the sidewalk.  That left a little gap between the sidewalk and the edging stones.  So, I collected some small stones from the back yard and filled in the gap with them.  

The New Edging in Place

We didn't edge the whole length of the front yard, today, just part of the way.  It might be something to consider doing in the future, to give it a more finished look.  

Looking Down, Along the Edge of the Sidewalk

The back yard is full of small stones - every time we dig another flower bed, we find stones and I've been piling them in places; they are coming in handy!  

When I cooked, today, I cooked a little extra chicken curry and dhal for myself.  Brunch was rice, chicken curry, and dhal.  Dinner was rice, chicken curry, dhal, and broccoli.  There are another couple of servings of chicken curry and dhal left for tomorrow and maybe Friday.  

After dinner, I ran the dishwasher.  Later, I chatted with friend R and video chatted with my daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:
- A's friendship over the years
- She passed away peacefully at the end
- I was able to visit her, several times, last week
- M's help with the garden
- The self-seeded broccoli seedlings!

Today's joyful activity was gardening with M.

Plans for tomorrow include visiting A's family and taking them a meal.  

How was your last day of November?  What are your plans for Thursday, and the start of December?

Wednesday, November 30, 2022


More Yellow Roses

I had my doctor's appointment at noon, today.  In the morning, I called to confirm the appointment and then, drove myself to the doctor's office in good time.  I had a good appointment - my blood pressure and blood oxygen levels were good, my weight was stubborn and had stayed the same (I thought the doctor might have to say something about not losing any weight, but, she merely commented on how stable my weight has been), my lab results were mostly good, and my ECG was good.  The doctor also said that the gall stones were fairly small and apparently nothing to worry about, which is a relief.  The doctor wants me to do one more screening scan so I have an appointment for that in mid-December.  Then, a follow-up visit at the end of February.  

On the way home from the doctor's office, I stopped to put gas to the car since I was closer to quarter tank of gas than to half a tank and I like to have at least half a tank of gas at all times.  I put $40 worth of gas at $4.75/gal. at the cheapest gas station in my neighborhood.  

Later in the afternoon, I did another load of laundry, texted friend A's daughter to check on A (she's still holding on, but, there is no improvement in her condition), spoke with friend R, and video chatted with my daughter.  

Brunch had been a scrambled egg with bacon and fried potatoes.  Dinner was the last of the turkey soup I had made earlier.  I haven't really meal planned for this week, but, I took out some frozen chicken to thaw.  My plan is to cook a chicken curry and, depending on how A is doing tomorrow, maybe take some rice and curry to her daughters.  I will text them, first to see if they are up to having a visitor.  I don't want to intrude on them at this time.

Today, I am grateful for:
- A good visit with the doctor
- The lab work results were mostly good
- A safe drive to the clinic and back
- The availability of gas
- Working appliances and a warm house

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

Plans for tomorrow include tending to the garden with M, cooking, and maybe visiting A and taking a home cooked meal to her family.

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

Monday, November 28, 2022

Post Thanksgiving Monday

Dancer Sleeps it Off!

Eating turkey makes you sleepy, they say - I guess they are right!  Dancer didn't even make it to his usual perch on the top of the sofa back!

I, on the other hand, couldn't sleep last night, even after eating leftover turkey for dinner.  It was past 4:00 a.m. when I finally fell asleep.  So, when I woke up at 9:00 a.m., I turned off the porch lights, fed the cats (Dancer and Mama Cat), went back to bed, and slept for another couple of hours!

After I woke up for the second time, I had my morning tea and got going with my day.  I did another load of laundry, hung everything up to dry, dusted the living room and dining area, took down and put away the fall decorations, and took the trash cans to the end of the driveway.

Later, I sewed on a few more replacement patches to the quilt.  I think I will have to cut out a lot more triangles!  

I had Thanksgiving leftovers for brunch, today, and more leftovers (salmon, mashed potatoes, cucumber salad) for dinner, along with the last piece of sweet cornbread for dessert.  I believe I'm coming to the end of the leftovers, other than a small piece of turkey and a tiny bit of cranberry sauce!  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being able to sleep in
- Working appliances
- Hot water on tap
- Leftovers
- Keeping in touch with family and friends

Today's joyful activity was playing with fabric.

Tomorrow, I have a doctor's appointment at noon.  I'll do another load of laundry and some housekeeping in the afternoon.  

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

The Weekend


Yellow Rose

Friday morning started off with a text from my friend's daughter with a status update on her mother, saying she was more alert and asking if we will be stopping by.  I texted back that we had a few things to do as it was my daughter's last day at home (she needed to set up the new printer and to try on her bridesmaid's dress that she will be wearing to her friend's wedding early next year so I could hem it), but, we will stop by in the early evening.  My friend was much more alert than she had been earlier, which was good to see.  We made it a short visit of about half an hour as we didn't want to tire her too much.  Also, our new Covid case numbers have gone up to over 5,000 on Friday with a test positivity rate of over 7% and those numbers made me feel very uncomfortable being out and about.  Even though masks are required in the hospital, and we kept ours on even on the walk to and from the parking lot, the numbers were too high for my comfort.

On Saturday, daughter went back to Berkeley.  Initial plans had been for her friend to pick her up around 10:00 a.m., but, her friend had to attend a family event and picked her up around 4:30 p.m.  Which was fine with both my daughter and me because it gave us more time to spend together.  She reached her apartment around 11:00 p.m. and we were both thankful that she had a safe journey back.  I did a load of laundry after she left, but, otherwise, had a quiet evening.  Friend A's daughter texted an update on her parents as her dad had some chest pains (he has a heart condition) and was kept in the hospital (same hospital, different section) for observations.  He is OK; I think the pains were due to stress and anxiety. 

On Sunday, I spent a relaxed morning and played with fabric in the afternoon.  I cut out some replacement triangles to repair the triangles quilt top and started on the repairs.  I replaced three triangles, today.  I watered the garden, both front and back, this evening, and cleaned the litter box.  Spoke with neighbor T and with friend R and texted friend A's daughter to find out how A is doing (not as alert, today).

My daughter, in the meantime, went grocery shopping to buy bread, milk, and some fruits and vegetables.  She said that the dollar store that she used to go to all the time has closed (they had announced they were closing by the end of the month).  Daughter will miss all the bargains she used to get from there and the sheer convenience of being able to go across the street to buy groceries.  The nearest grocery store now is a short bus ride away and their prices are a little higher.  

This weekend, I am grateful for:
- Having had my daughter home for Thanksgiving
- Daughter had a safe trip back
- Friend A had a couple of days of being alert 
- Thanksgiving leftovers!
- An opportunity to play with fabric!

This weekend's joyful activities included spending time with my daughter.

Plans for Monday include 
- Laundry/change my bedsheets
- Dust the living room and dining area
- Put away Fall decorations (only two items, so that should be easy)
- Take the trash cans to the end of the driveway
- Meal plan

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

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Triangles Quilt

"Thousand Pyramids" Quilt

This is a quilt I made back in 1980.  My mother used it and more recently, my daughter has been using it.  I repaired it once, in 2015, replacing some of the torn patches and wrote about it, here.

Well, daughter brought it back down with her on this trip.  It's due for more repairs!

Worn and Torn

I don't know if cutting out more triangles and piecing them individually on top of the torn patches will work, this time around.  There are too many sections that have been worn and torn:

At least five patches need to be replaced in just this section

My daughter doesn't mind what the quilt design is; she only wants it to be soft!  

In the meantime, I've given her another quilt to take up with her.  It's one that I made in 1990, called Texas Star Quilt

What would you suggest I do?  Should I make a new quilt top and attach that over the existing quilt top?  Or, should I sew triangles to cover the torn ones?  What would you do?

Friday, November 25, 2022

The Front Garden in November

Front Garden in November

I'm a little late with my monthly photos of the front garden, but, not much has changed in the front garden since I photographed it in October.  One of the euryops bushes around the eucalyptus tree has flowers:

Flowers on the Euryops Plant

The planting bed with the various asparagus ferns is doing well:

Assorted Asparagus Ferns

The plants have not filled in the bed, yet, but, at least they are growing and seem to be doing well.

Looking Up Along the Planting Bed

In addition, all the pavers are still in place in the parkway!  Yay!  M applied some weed suppressant spray to the soil a week or so ago and we will eventually buy some small pebbles to fill in the spaces between the pavers.  In the meantime, I've been picking up any small stones I find in the back yard and dumping them to get things started!  LOL.

The Pavers are Still in Place, Too!

Thank you for visiting my garden, today.  

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

I wish all my blog friends a very happy Thanksgiving!  Even if it not an official day of celebration in your country or your Thanksgiving was observed in October, it is good to have a day set aside to give thanks for all our blessings.  

My daughter and I will celebrate this Thanksgiving day with my friend A, her husband, and their daughters as we have done so often in the past, but, in a different setting, under less than ideal circumstances.  We will, nevertheless, give thanks for being able to celebrate one more Thanksgiving together.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Midweek on Wednesday

This morning, my friend A's daughter texted me with an update on her mother's condition, saying that her mother seemed a little more alert this morning and the nurse was able to give her a few sips of water.  But, she is still unable to swallow anything (they were trying to give her some applesauce).  Then, she asked if my daughter and I could come to the hospital, today, too, even for a short time because "mom seems calm when you are with her".  Of course, I said yes, I'll come!

I left a note to my gardener M, made some sandwiches and packed them along with some mandarin oranges and a packet of cookies, and we went to the hospital.  I took my prayer book with me and said my morning prayers while seated by my friend's bedside.  She seemed pleased to see me, smiling and trying to say, "Hi".  She drifted in and out of sleep, but, they were able to remove the big oxygen mask that she was wearing (which she was trying to pull off) and replace it with a cannula (she would occasionally try to remove that, too!)

We spent the entire afternoon with her, from noon to a little after 5:00 p.m.  She was more alert, but, she was unable to drink anything more or eat anything and the doctor ruled out inserting a feeding tube because her body is unable to process any nutrients as her systems are shutting down.  Her husband and daughters are still holding out hope for an improvement in her condition, but, it truly seems like it is just a matter of time.  

After we came home, we had a cup of tea and rested a bit.  Brunch had been a sandwich; dinner was assorted leftovers - daughter had rice with the last of the Thai chicken stir-fry; I had soup and some of the baked potato wedges, warmed up.  Afterwards, I called and chatted with friend R.

Today, I am grateful for:

- The opportunity to be there for A and her family during this difficult period
- Safe drives to the hospital and back
- M tending to the garden for me
- Working appliances
- Leftovers

Today's joyful activity was being present for A and her family.

Plans for tomorrow include roasting the turkey and preparing a very simple Thanksgiving meal.  Depending on A's condition, I will take some plates of food to her husband and daughters, tomorrow afternoon.  A used to have us over celebrate Thanksgiving with her and her family for years, prior to the pandemic; it will be my turn to take a Thanksgiving meal to them, this year.  

To all of my blog friends who will celebrate Thanksgiving, tomorrow, Happy Thanksgiving!  May you enjoy the day in the company of family and friends and other loved ones.

Eye Appointments and More Visits

I had an appointment with the ophthalmologist, today.  This is an annual appointment which had originally been scheduled for October, which I had rescheduled for when my daughter would be here to drive me home, afterwards, since my eyes would be dilated.  The appointment went well.  My eye pressure was good, I have no glaucoma, no retinopathy, and the cataracts (in both eyes) are still quite small and nothing to worry about.  The doctor was quite pleased with my most recent A1c blood sugar levels (although they had gone up a little bit from the previous reading; my primary care physician won't be quite as pleased when I see her, next week!)  I am to return for a follow-up next year in November.  I made the appointment before I left the clinic and asked for, and received, a copy of my report.   Then, my daughter drove me home.

Earlier in the morning, before I went for my eye appointment, I had texted my friend's older daughter to ask for a status on her mother.  She texted back that her mother was unresponsive, the doctor had been to see her, and they are monitoring her situation.  Later, when we were in the waiting room at my eye doctor's clinic, my friend's younger daughter called my daughter (my daughter went out of the waiting room to take the call) saying her mother was receiving end-of-life care, the doctors have given her 24-48 hours; now would be a good time if we wanted to visit to say our goodbyes.  My daughter had explained that I was at the doctor's office, myself, and that she'll call back.  I told her we could go after my appointment.  

But, first, we went home so we could eat something.  Then, we went to the hospital (my daughter drove since my eyes were still feeling the effects of being dilated).  We took some food for my friend's husband and daughters so they could have something for a late lunch.  And we basically spent the rest of the afternoon and early part of the evening at the hospital.  My friend drifted in and out of consciousness.  She was mostly unresponsive, but, there was a period of time when she was alert, smiled, and tried to communicate. The doctor came in and checked on her twice while we were there.  

Eventually, we came home and had a cup of tea.  The new printer we ordered had been delivered while we were out and it was waiting for us by the front door.  My daughter was too tired to set it up, today, but, she'll do that tomorrow.

Later, I cooked the salmon fillet while my daughter made a cucumber salad, cut some potatoes into wedges and baked them for our dinner.  Then, we ran the dishwasher.

After dinner, I fell asleep on the sofa! I had an almost 2 hours long nap, waking up a little after 11:15 p.m.  Of course, I am wide awake, now, at 1:30 a.m.!  LOL.

Today, I am grateful for:
- My eye appointment went well and there's nothing wrong other than the cataracts
- My daughter being here to drive me home afterwards
- Safe drives to and from the doctor's office and the hospital
- Being able to visit my friend and be present for her family
- The new printer was delivered 

Today's joyful activity was seeing my friend being responsive for at least a brief period of time.  

Plans for tomorrow include M tending to the garden and I might ask him to do a couple of jobs for me inside the house, too (ceiling fans need to be cleaned and the smoke alarm batteries need to be replaced; M is tall while I am vertically challenged and my daughter isn't much taller than I am!)

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Daughter is Home!

My daughter came home, safely, on Sunday night.  Her trip down was delayed by a couple of hours because first, her friend who was giving her a ride discovered that one of the car tires had a puncture and needed to have it repaired and then, got caught in traffic on his way to pick her up as another car had overturned on the road and, although no one was badly injured, there was quite a traffic jam as a result.  She got home around 9:00 p.m.

I spent a productive day on Sunday while I waited for my daughter to come home.  I changed the sofa dust sheets and did a load of laundry in the morning, picked up the groceries at noon, and spent the afternoon tidying my bedroom (the dresser top and the top of my desk aren't completely cleared, but, they have been tidied and dusted), remaking my daughter's bed, and cooking dinner (daughter had asked for chicken curry and rice and I made sauteed asparagus to go with them).  

Monday morning was spent doing tasks on the "honey do" list I had prepared for my daughter!  I needed her help with quite a few tasks around the house and with my phone and computer.  We found out that the reason I couldn't change the ink cartridges in the printer was because the printer itself was broken!  Daughter ordered a new printer and will set it up for me before she leaves.  The reason I couldn't text a new contact I had added to my phone was because I had unintentionally clicked on the email button, so while I could call that person, I couldn't text her!  Daughter cleared that and added a few other contacts to my phone list for me.  The big screw nail that I had found under the table had fallen from the leg of one of the chairs (and not the table as I had initially thought - daughter crawled under the table and fixed the chair leg for me).  

While all that went went, there was a moment of panic when I couldn't find two documents I knew I had received and I had put aside!  They weren't in the places where I had placed them!  Did I accidentally toss them when I was sorting through my papers?  Did they fall into the bag with the recycling that I had already dumped in the recycling bin?  Had I put them somewhere else?  Eventually, we found both documents - they had fallen behind a piece of furniture!  Whew!  Those documents were dealt with and I have them both securely tucked away where they should be kept!  

Afterwards, we had leftovers for brunch.

We relaxed in the afternoon and watched a short video together, then, watched the evening news.  Daughter did the litter box and I took the trash bins to the end of the driveway to be collected in the morning and walked for 10 minutes.  

A short time later, we received a phone call from the daughter of one of my friends.  My friend was in the hospital, unresponsive, and the doctors had said that if she didn't show any improvement by morning there wasn't much they could do for her; could we come to the hospital?  Yes, of course we could.  We put on our N95 masks and daughter drove us to the hospital.  My friend was hooked up to all kinds of machines and fitted with a big oxygen mask.  She was restless, pulling at the various tubes and the oxygen mask.  When I approached the bed and spoke to her she opened her eyes but didn't say anything. I held her hand and said some prayers for her and it might have been a coincidence, but, her condition seemed to improve!  Her pressure came down, her heart rate which had been high came down and her blood oxygen levels increased to the point where she was taken off the big mask and a smaller one was placed.  Earlier, she had not been able to breathe well with the smaller mask.  A little while later, my friend smiled at me and said something which sounded a lot like, "Thank you".  Then, she fell into a natural sleep.  My daughter and I stayed at the hospital for a few hours and came home.  

I had planned to cook the salmon for dinner, but, it was past 10:00 p.m. when we left the hospital, so we stopped to get some hamburgers and fries on the way home.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- The power of prayer
- Having my daughter home
- Being able to be there for my friend and her daughter
- Finding the documents I thought I had misplaced
- A safe drive to the hospital and back

Today's joyful activity was being able to be present for my friend and her family.

Plans for tomorrow include my eye appointment at noon.  The rest of the day's activities will depend on how soon the dilation in my eyes wear off!  But, I do plan to cook the salmon, tomorrow.  

Sunday, November 20, 2022

November Grocery Shopping - Part 2

I ordered groceries online, last night, and picked up my groceries, today.  

I called the store in the morning (in plenty of time to bake a pan of brownies before my scheduled pick up time) to find out if Jennifer was there today.  Her coworker, Eric, said Jennifer was off today.  So, I didn't bake the brownies.  I'll have to call and find out from Jennifer when she'll be there next and see how I can get the brownies to her.  

Eric brought the groceries to the car when I went to pick up my items and I received all the items I ordered and there were no substitutions.  

Today's groceries included one or two stock up items, but, mostly, Thanksgiving week splurges! 

I bought:

.74 lb. bananas @ $.68/lb. = $0.51
3 lb. bag mandarins = $2.99
2 bags cranberries (12 oz./bag; @ $1.49 with coupon) = $2.98
1 pineapple = $1.49
2 x 6 oz. containers raspberries, @ $1.50 = $3.00

.74 lb. broccoli @ $1.98/lb. = $1.47

10 lb. bag russet potatoes = $4.99 (5 lb. bag was $3.49)

1 bottle (64 fl. oz.) cranberry juice = $2.99

1 quart half&half = $3.49
1/2 gal. milk = $2.69
3 lb. butter @ $3.99/lb. with digital coupon = $11.97 (stock up item for baking season)

1 loaf multi-grain bread = $2.49

1.12 lb. salmon fillet @ $9.99/lb. (reg. price $13.99/lb.) = $11.20

2 cans SPAM canned meat, 12 oz. cans @ $4.29 = $8.58

1 whole turkey, frozen, 13.22 lb. @ $.79/lb. (with $25 minimum purchase) = $10.44

1 pecan pie (my daughter's favorite) = $8.99
1 pumpkin pie (my favorite) = $5.99

1 container (8 oz.) non-dairy whipped topping (with coupon) = $2.00
1 container (6.5 oz.) dairy whipped cream topping (in a spray can) = $3.50

2 brownie mixes @ $.99 with digital coupon = $1.98
2 yellow cake mixes @ $.99 with digital coupon = $1.98

Total spent (with sales, coupons, etc.) = $95.72

(Original order total was $140.38; I saved $44.66 with sales, coupons, etc.)

I bought the turkey mostly because it was cheaper, per pound, than chicken when it goes on sale (usually at $.99/lb. for me and $1.89/lb. for my daughter); I plan to roast it, then, freeze the majority of it for later.  Daughter will take some of the cooked frozen turkey back with her. 

November's monthly grocery budget = $100.00 (+ $93.75 carried over from October) = $193.75

Spent to date = $2.58 (on 2 brownie mixes at the drug store when I went for my Covid booster shot) plus $43.23 (for groceries earlier this month) plus $95.72 for today's groceries.

$2.58 + $43.23 + $95.72 = $141.53

Balance left in November's budget = $193.75 - $141.53 = $52.22

In a way, what I carried over from October paid for today's grocery shopping!  

I doubt very much if I'll need more groceries during the rest of this month.  Most probably, the balance will get carried over to December and will go towards holiday baking supplies!

As always, I am grateful that I can afford to buy the monthly groceries including a few seasonal splurges.  I feel truly blessed.

Updated to add "cranberries" to the 3rd item on the list of purchased groceries!

Saturday, November 19, 2022

More Productivity on Saturday


November Rose

Another sunny day with an afternoon high of 73F.

It's been a good day, today.  A friend of mine called in the morning and we chatted for a bit.  Later, I called friend R and spoke with her.  

M got delayed at the dentist's office, but he eventually showed up around noon and tended to the garden.  He brought me a persimmon someone had picked from their tree and given him and he brought me a cutting of a sedum which he potted up so it could root.  We transplanted my apple seedling  and pineapple plant to bigger pots and cut back one of the oleander bushes.  I offered him a bowl of soup, but, he had another garden or two to do and was running behind schedule, so didn't want to take the time to stop for soup.  Nor did he want it sitting in his truck all afternoon until he got home in the evening.  

After M left, I did the rest of the vacuuming.  Then, I did the last bit of paperwork that I had planned to do, cleared the files from the dining table. and put my autumn leaves table cloth on the dining table.  After that, I tidied the family room and dusted it.  Tomorrow, I plan to wash the sofa dust sheets.

Then, I put together a grocery order, but, I haven't finalized it yet.  I want to discuss the order with my daughter, first, when we video chat tonight, as there might be one or two things she might want (besides half and half for her coffee!)

Brunch had been coconut roti with some of the corned beef mixture I had made; dinner was rice and the made over chicken stir-fry.  Grapes and a piece of brownie for dessert.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Another sunny day and warm afternoon
- M tending to the garden and sharing a sedum cutting with me
- Roses in November
- Phone calls and emails from friends
- What I was able to accomplish 

Today's joyful activity was gardening with M.

Plans for tomorrow include picking up the groceries, washing the sofa dust sheets, remaking my daughter's bed with fresh sheets, and tidying my bedroom, especially the desk and the top of the dresser ("Hi, my name is Bless and I can't keep horizontal surfaces cleared.")  

How was your Saturday?  What are your plans for Sunday?  How do you keep your table tops, counters, etc., free of clutter?

Friday, November 18, 2022

Productive Friday, Too

Blurry Blueberry Leaves

I was trying to get a photo of the sprig of red blueberry leaves, but, I couldn't quite focus on it (probably held the phone too close).  But, it was either a blurry photo or no photo and since I already did a photo-less post this week, I decided to go with the blurry photo!  LOL!

Today, I confirmed my appointment with the eye doctor (scheduled for Tuesday, late morning).  Then, I did a load of laundry and some vacuuming.  If I lived in a two story house with the living room, etc., downstairs and the bedrooms upstairs, I' be able to say that I vacuumed the downstairs and left the upstairs for tomorrow.  But, since I live in a one story house, I will say that I vacuumed all but the bedrooms!  I wanted to do the bedrooms, too (at least my room), but, I ran out of energy!   Probably because it was mid-afternoon by then and I hadn't eaten anything (other than a cup of tea in the morning).  So, I had a corned beef sandwich and watched some videos.

Gardener M was scheduled to come by and tend to the garden, this evening, but, he texted me saying he's running behind and could he tend to my garden tomorrow morning, instead?  I said, yes, not a problem.  Then, I locked the gate that I had unlocked earlier, anticipating his arrival.  

I spent a good portion of the evening sorting through paperwork and filing!  I have a horrible tendency to go through the mail as it comes in, pull out the bills to be paid, etc., and just toss the rest of the mail aside to be dealt with later.  Except, later can often be several weeks later!  Then, I end up with small piles of paper which become bigger piles of paper and then, I feel guilty if I start a craft project or something fun because there's paperwork to be dealt with!

Most of it is filing - notifications, statements, etc.  In the past couple of months, I've been inundated with elections-related material and with health-insurance related material (it's open enrollment period for both my health insurance through my retirement system and for Medicare) as well as the regular bank statements, etc.  I got rid of most of the elections-related items as soon as I voted on November 7 and today, I tossed most of the health-insurance related papers.  I still have a small stack of papers to deal with in a basket, but they are mostly current items - this week's grocery ads, for example, which I will toss once I order the groceries; some grocery coupons and fast food coupons which I will toss if I don't use them, the fabric store's add for Black Friday deals and coupons, etc. (not that I am likely to go shopping at the fabric store, this year, but, there was a sale on something my daughter had expressed an interest in buying, so I'll keep it for her to see; at least, that's my excuse for keeping that particular piece of paper!  LOL!)

I de-fatted the soup I had made earlier and had a bowl of soup for my dinner, followed by a brownie for dessert!  I had frozen the remaining brownies and warmed one up in the microwave for a few seconds and it was delicious!  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Another productive day
- Working appliances
- Online videos
- Chats with family and friends
- Hot water on tap

Today's joyful activity was making a dent in the paperwork! 

Plans for tomorrow include:
- M tending to the garden
- Vacuuming the bedrooms
- Ordering groceries
- Doing the last bit of paperwork/filing

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

Productive Thursday

Another sunny day with an afternoon high of 74F; I'm not complaining!  The nights are in the low to mid 40s (tonight's low will be 46F according to the forecast), but, the daytime highs are nice.

I had a productive day, today, and got several things crossed off my to do list!

I did the home lab test, filled out the required forms, and put it all in the mail box to be collected;
Called the doctor's office about the outstanding lab test and left a message (didn't get a call back)
Called and scheduled a mammogram and ultrasound:
Scheduled the next oncology blood test;
Did a load of laundry (bathroom/kitchen rugs);
Did a Random Act of Cleaning and wiped down the washing machine, under the lid, etc. (it's a top loader);
Swept & mopped the kitchen;
Cleaned the bathroom;
Started on the paperwork I've been procrastinating doing

Later in the evening, I called and chatted with friend R and video chatted with my daughter. 

Brunch had been French toast; for dinner, I "made over" the leftover Thai chicken from my birthday lunch, adding carrots and asparagus tips to it and had it with freshly cooked rice.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Sunny days and warm afternoons
- Working appliances
- A productive day
- Phone calls and video chats
- Exchanging emails with friends

Today's joyful activity was crossing off a few items from my To Do List!

Plans for tomorrow include:

- More paperwork/filing
- Continuing with the freezer inventory
- Tending to the garden with M

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

Thursday, November 17, 2022


The Blueberry Bushes are Showing their Fall Colors

The day started off with a surprise phone call from a friend I haven't spoken with in a long time!  She used to be the pharmacist at the drug store located near my old office building - I used to pick up my medications from there and we became quite friendly.  I had called her quite early in the pandemic, but, hadn't spoken with her after that.  Well, today, she called to wish me a happy, if belated, birthday!  I was happy to hear from her and we brought each other up to date on what's been going on in our lives since we last spoke.  

Later in the morning M arrived to tend to the garden.  He brought me three additional chrysanthemum plants his other client had tossed more recently!  Two of them were purple and one was bronze.  He planted them with the other mums; if these plants establish themselves and grow, I should have a very colorful bed of mums under the lemon tree!  He also planted the snow peas I had soaked overnight in little 6-pack trays and small pots I had saved; we will transplant them to the beds once they've sprouted (hopefully, they will sprout!)  I think the packet had about 25 peas and we planted them all!  Assuming at least half of them germinate and grow big enough to produce pea pods, I might have the summer of snow peas!  LOL!  In addition, I have all the peas I saved for seed from the ones I grew last summer...

It was a lovely sunny day, today, with an afternoon high of 73F.  I aired the house and walked outside for 15 minutes.  I had planned to walk for 20 minutes, but, last night, I woke up a couple of times due to body pains/bone aches, (one of the side effects of the medications I take) and when I started to feel tired after walking for 15 minutes, I decided to stop and not push myself to do the final 5 minutes.  I was not in pain, but, I figured it would be better to stop then.

Today, I started updating my freezer inventory.  I don't always keep track of things when I take stuff out or put stuff in.  I have a side-by-side fridge/freezer and this is the only freezer I have.  The freezer has five plastic coated wire shelves and one pull out bin at the bottom, plus 5 shallow shelves on the door.  The only problem is accessing a particular item that is stored on one of the shelves without pulling everything out from that shelf!  Especially when the item is on the bottom of all the other items!  

While I went through the freezer, I pulled out two containers of soup ingredients I had frozen, added some carrots, celery, and tomatoes to them and made a pot of soup.  But, I will have to keep it in the fridge, overnight, to defat it.  Brunch had been a sandwich with the madeover corned beef (I cooked it with onions, curry leaves, tomatoes, and chili powder)  as the filling.  Dinner was the same corned beef mixture with coconut roti.  

Later in the evening, I did the dishes and accidentally decluttered one of my small Corningware dishes when it slipped out of my hand, fell on the floor, and shattered.  I was not happy about that, but, comforted myself with something my mother used to say, that when something shatters and breaks accidentally, it's a sign that all the bad luck went away!

Still later, I chatted on the phone with friend R and video chatted with my daughter.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- A surprise phone call from friend N
- M helping me with the garden and free plants
- A sunny, warmer day
- A working heater and a warm house
- Electricity for all the appliances that need it to run!

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

Plans for tomorrow include calling the doctor's office and tending to a couple of projects I've been putting off.

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