Saturday, December 31, 2022

New Year's Eve 2022

New Year's Eve Dinner - Compliments of Neighbor S!

A very rainy New Year's Eve here in southern California!

My daughter and I had a rather relaxed day, today.  We picked up our last grocery order of the year at noon and I did another load of laundry in the afternoon.  During a break in the rain, I took some photos of the back garden:

Looking Straight Down from the Back Door

Looking Right - the trellis with the passionfruit vine

To the Right - all the way down along the wall

Another Look Down the Garden to the Back Wall

Looking Left - at the side of the garage
and a glimpse of the area behind the garage

Mama Cat Sleeping in the Blueberry Plant Pot

Daughter and I had some of the mini croissants we bought for brunch.  Then, in the evening, neighbor S provided us with a wonderful dinner of barbecued meats (pork ribs, beef, and chicken), chicken wings, rice, bread, lavash flat bread, and several desserts (jello, homemade gata, and homemade Napoleons)!  A feast!  I gave her a small packet of chocolate truffles in return.

It is 10:30 p.m., now, and daughter and I are watching the New Year's Eve countdown show on TV.  We will toast the New Year with cranberry juice or orange juice and I will boil some milk on the stove and make a little milkrice.

On this New Year's Eve, I thank all my blog friends for reading my blog and for taking the time to comment.  You have all been very kind and supportive and I consider you all as friends.  I wish you all a wonderful New Year's Eve and a very happy New Year. 

On this last day of 2022, I am grateful for:

- Having lived through another year in relative good health
- For my daughter's good health and being able to have her home during this time
- For family, friends and wonderful neighbors such as S
- For the community of blog friends
- For the blessing of rain at the end of a year of on-going drought

Today's joyful activity was enjoying the lovely dinner provided by S.

Happy New Year, everyone!

December Grocery Shopping - Part 3

I realized, yesterday, that I needed to do one more grocery shopping trip this year, after all!  I could have waited until the new year, but, I wanted to have a new container of milk to boil at midnight on New Year's Eve for good luck according to our traditions.  Once upon a time, I could have run into the store to buy a container of milk, but, these days, since I do curb side pick up, and one needs to order $35 worth of groceries to quality for free pick up (otherwise, there is a pick up fee of $6.95), I went ahead and ordered a few other items, too. 

My daughter and I drove to the store to pick up the groceries at noon, today.  Jennifer brought the groceries to the car and I apologized to her for having to come out in the rain to bring me the groceries.  She was very sweet about it and gave me a $5 discount off the total order, too!

I bought:

4 Bananas (1.33 lbs. @ $.65/lb.) = $0.92

1 Half Ham (8.57 lbs. @ $1.68/lb.; reg. price $2.99/lb.) limit 1 at sale price = $14.48

1 bag Chicken wings (frozen; 2.5 lb. reg. price $13.99; on sale with digital coupon) = $5.99

1 bag Gyoza/Pot stickers (vegetable and chicken; 21 oz.; frozen) = $6.99

1 doz. Eggs (white; the brown eggs were $.50 cheaper, but, was available for delivery only) = $4.99

1/2 gal. Milk = $2.69

1 pint half and half = $2.49

1 Yogurt (plain; 32 oz.) = $3.99

2 Soy sauce bottles, (@ 10 fl.oz. @$1.99; reg. price $3.79@) = $3.98

1 doz. mini Croissants (reg. price $4.49) = $3.99

1 Orange Juice (52 fl. oz., reg. price $4.49) = $3.50

Total = $49.01

December grocery budget = $100 + $52.22 carried over from November = $152.22

Spent to date = $52.65 + $53.71 + $49.01 = $155.37

Over spent = $3.15


Well, daughter is here for another week and some of the treats I bought (chicken wings, gyoza, ham) will be shared with her.  

I will bake the ham (it's already pre-cooked, but, I'll bake it again with a peach chutney glaze) and we'll have that for our New Year's Day dinner, with rice, green beans, etc.  Leftovers will be for sandwiches, etc. during the week and daughter can take some back with her (if there's any left). 

As always, I realize that it is a blessing to be able to buy the groceries I want and I an able to go over it by a little (if I had to keep to a very strict budget, I might have omitted the orange juice).  I'm grateful to be able to order groceries online, for curbside pick up, for Jennifer giving me a $5 discount, for a safe drive in the rain to the grocery store and back, for having enough to eat and being able to share it with my daughter.

I will start with a new budget in January!

One Week Since Daughter Came Home!

Sushi Rolls

It's been one week since my daughter came home for the holidays!  How quickly the week has gone by!  We celebrated with lunch picked up from our favorite neighborhood Japanese restaurant.  Daughter chose two sushi rolls - the Sunset Strip roll and the house tempura roll.  I am a stick-in-the-mud when it comes to food - I chose what I usually get - the beef teriyaki lunch special which comes with miso soup (in the container), salad, pickled vegetables, rice, and the beef teriyaki!  

Beef Teriyaki Lunch Special

Last night, we stayed up working on a new jigsaw puzzle and it was past 3:00 a.m. when I went to bed.  This morning, I woke up at 8:00 a.m., turned off the porch lights, fed the cats, and went back to bed!  

It was a cloudy, overcast day, with a light drizzle now and then.  In the morning, neighbor T's daughter called me.  She was next door, checking on things at her mother's house and wanted to know if I knew whose car it was that was parked in their driveway!  It was a car I had seen parked there earlier, too, and both M and I had wondered whose car it was!  I have a feeling it belongs to their other neighbor!  Maybe they assumed that it was OK to park their car in T's driveway because T wasn't there anymore?  Anyway, I went over and chatted with T's daughter a bit, asking after T, etc.  I had my mask on; T's daughter didn't have a mask on, but, we stood outside in the driveway and I figured it was safe enough.

After lunch, I did some laundry, including daughter's bedding, and remade her bed (she gets to put away her clothes).  I replied to blog comments etc. in the afternoon while daughter took a nap.  

Dinner was an assortment of leftovers.

After dinner, I realized that I needed to order a few additional groceries for December, after all!   Especially since my daughter will be staying on for the first week of January (her friend P went back to the Bay Area, today with another friend as a driving buddy; daughter will fly back as originally planned).  I needed a new container of milk to have on hand to boil on New Year's Eve and we needed another dozen eggs to make our traditional holiday Love Cake.  And since I needed to bring the total up to at least $35 to qualify for free pick up, I went ahead and ordered a few more items I needed or had been wanting to get.  So, I will not have a surplus in my grocery budget in December, after all (but, year end charitable donations will still be made).

Later in the evening, I called friend R to check on her and I chatted with my aunt C.  

I thought I'll post a couple of photos of the items my daughter made to give to her friends as holiday gifts:

Cross-stitched Marvel Characters Fridge Magnets

Crocheted Earrings - Flowers and Kitty Paw Prints

Today, I am grateful for:
- Daughter is staying on for another week
- A lovely celebratory lunch
- Being able to support a local neighborhood restaurant
- Working appliances
- Being able to order groceries online

Today's joyful activity was enjoying a take out meal from a favorite restaurant.

According to the forecast, we will have another rainy day, tomorrow!  An atmospheric river is what it is being called!  

Plans for tomorrow include picking up the groceries in the afternoon and seeing the New Year in!  

How was your Friday?  What are your plans for tomorrow?  Do you have any special plans for New Year's Eve?  Do you stay up to greet the New Year?


Thursday, December 29, 2022

Other Holiday Visitors and Visits

Not Quite a Weathervane

The neighbor's rooster is a frequent visitor in my garden, usually scratching around and taunting Mama Cat who mostly ignores him, unless he eats her kibbles and then, she'll chase him.  Today, I noticed him up on the garage roof! Not quite sure what he was doing up there, but, if he was pretending to be a weathervane, he was not doing a good job of it!  

Still Not a Weathervane!

This has been a bit of a social week for us, although Monday's visit to see cousin V and my daughter's walk with a friend were cancelled.

It rained on and off all day on Tuesday and my daughter and I spent a relaxed day at home during the day.  In the evening, however, two of my daughter's friends from school days visited for their annual holiday get together.  These get togethers started when they were all in high school - my daughter and four of her friends would have a potluck lunch at school on the last day before the winter break.  Once they graduated from high school, they continued to hold their holiday pot luck at our house.  One year, just before the pandemic broke out, they held their holiday get together at a restaurant.  Over the years, one or two of the girls dropped out, making their excuses for not attending the holiday get togethers.  This year, it was just my daughter and her friends A and V, and V's 5 months old baby who is such a cutie!  Everyone wore masks (except the baby, of course) and this year, there was no sharing of food as that required masks to be taken off.  I stayed in the family room for the most part while they stayed in the living room, but, it was pleasant to hear them chatting and laughing.

On Wednesday, I visited neighbor S very briefly as I wanted to give her the euryops plant I had bought for her (she had admired my euryops plants and said she liked the yellow flowers).  Then, we enjoyed our visit with Baby Yoda as posted, earlier.  

Today, Thursday, has been another rainy day!  Today, in the afternoon, we visited my cousin R.  Her planned visit to Scotland had to be cancelled because her son's passport was damaged and they couldn't get a replacement passport in time.  She was rather disappointed about it, but, was accepting of the situation.  I had met her briefly at her sister's house on Christmas Day and I gave her her Christmas gift then.  Today, I gave her an early birthday present (her birthday is next week).  My daughter and I wore our masks during the visit which lasted about 15 or 20 minutes.  When we were leaving, cousin R gave us three bags of clothes and a few other times that she had decluttered.  Some of the items still had their tags on (they were gifts that didn't fit her, she said).

I had worn one of the blouses she had given us the last time and she was happy to see that I was wearing it.

After we came home, daughter and I tried on the clothes that cousin R had given us.  The majority of them fitted daughter and some of the items fitted me.  Daughter chose the items she wanted to take to Berkeley with her, including a lovely warm jacket (something she had been wanting to buy for herself) and a purse.  I selected a few blouses for myself.  There were two blouses that were too tight for us and my daughter will offer them to her friend A and if she doesn't want them, I will offer them to my friend R.  Thanks to my cousin's generosity, my daughter and I will not need to buy any new clothes, next year!  Such a blessing!

The big question is, will I declutter my closet to accommodate the new clothes?  Or, will I add them to the existing clothes (and maybe buy another set of hangers for them?)  That might be a question to ponder in the new year.  But, for now, I have a dozen new to me blouses and cardigans to add to my wardrobe!

This evening, daughter's friend A is visiting and she and my daughter are doing some artwork together (once again, everyone is wearing masks).  

Later tonight, daughter's friend P is bringing more vegan Vietnamese food and lemons from his sister's tree!  I have a feeling that I might be making a batch of lemon marmalade this weekend!  LOL.  

In between visits and having visitors over, I've hemmed the dress my daughter will be wearing as a bridesmaid at her friend J's wedding (and gave her the rest of the spool of thread and a needle to take with her, just in case there are further repairs or adjustments that need to be made), done some laundry, and cleaned the kitchen a bit.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- The much needed rain
- Visits with friends and cousins
- A safe drive to my cousin's and back
- New to us clothes!
- The many blessings I've received

Today's joyful activity was visiting my cousin.

Plans for tomorrow include more laundry and some tidying.

How is your week coming along?  What are your plans for tomorrow?

Christmas Visitors

Baby Yoda

Baby Yoda paid us a visit over Christmas.  He lives with daughter's friend P, but, he was in need of a couple of stitches to mend a small tear and daughter did that the other day.  We enjoyed having him visit us.

First, we took a picture together with the Christmas tree:

Baby Yoda and the Christmas Tree

Then, it was time to have a little something to eat:

Baby Yoda Waiting for Lunch

"What's for Lunch?"

After lunch, he took a little rest:

Resting After Lunch

Then, it was time for a little entertainment:

At the Piano

Baby Yoda is an accomplished pianist!

Baby Yoda Plays the Piano

After that, it was time to go home and he waited patiently for P to pick him up.

Waiting for P

P brought us fresh lemons from his sister's tree and vegan Vietnamese food as a thank you gift for taking care of Baby Yoda:

Fresh Lemons and Vegan Vietnamese Food

A type of spicy soup, rice noodles, and vegetables: 

Vegan Pho

Bye, Baby Yoda.  Hope you come back for another visit, soon!

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Balanced Life Monthly Goals - December Review

It's time to do the last review of the year 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 (10)(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

I continued with daily prayers, meditating, being grateful, positive, and joyful.  I tried to be resilient!  I tried to cultivate non-attachment by being generous and giving to the extent I was able.  I spoke with the monks at the Temple, attended a funeral mass, and watched Christmas Eve mid-night mass from the Vatican on TV.  
I have maintained the rating at 10.

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
- Decorate for the season
I cleaned and tidied the house prior to decorating for the season.  I slacked off a bit on the decluttering, but, items decluttered included a couple of holiday ornaments that fell and broke, some yarn and other items from the craft supplies stash, gift bags, and plastic plant pots from the shed.  A few kitchen utensils came in, but, I decluttered some of my old kitchen utensils and gave some to my daughter.  A new sweater and a new jacket were added to my wardrobe (gifts from my cousin and from my daughter), but, I decluttered a couple of other clothing items.
I am keeping the rating at 7.5.  

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., and he planted out some of the snow pea seedlings.  The parkway improvements have begun as M bought and spread a bag of pebbles.  We will continue to work on that in the new year. 
I am keeping the rating at 6.5.

Daughter (10)(10) The goal is to continue to have a close relationship with her:
- Keep in daily contact with her
- Hopefully, include another visit home over Christmas and New Year's Day!
I continued to have a close relationship with my daughter.  There were a few anxious days when she came down with Covid two weeks before she was meant to come down for the holidays, but, prayers were answered and she recovered in time to come home, especially since her friend, who was giving her a ride home, delayed the trip down by a couple of days to give her additional time to recover and test negative!
A definite 10!

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
- A family gathering or two at Christmas

I kept in touch with family and friends through texts, emails, phone calls, etc.  In addition, I attended my late friend A's funeral and there was a quick visit to exchange gifts with family members on Christmas Day, even though I didn't stay for the lunch and larger family gathering. 
I am keeping the rating at 8.0.

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 kept me well supplied with treats, I exchanged regular phone calls with neighbor T and sent her a little Christmas gift through her daughter, and I spoke with the monks at the Temple on a regular basis.      
I'm keeping the rating at 10.

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.  
I am keeping the rating at 10.

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 December.  I had one screening scan in mid-December which turned out to be normal, according to the doctor's office.  
I am keeping the satisfaction rating at 8.5.

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
- G
et ready for the holidays (Christmas and New Year).

I struggled a bit with my time management in December.  I was not quite as ready with my holiday gifts and card making, etc., as I would have liked!  I think this was due to the fact that my daughter got sick and I found it hard to get into the holiday spirits as I was worried about her.  Even so, I made and mailed my cards in good time and all the gifts that I normally give on Christmas Day were ready for giving on the day or mailed.  Two gifts were mailed the day after Christmas, because we didn't meet the recipients on Christmas Day.  The rest of the gifts are New Year's gifts and I have to finish one of them.   
I am keeping the rating at 8.0.

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 December, too, with some holiday gift crafting.  I participated in the monthly photo challenge, did a bit of gardening, and relaxed.  
I am keeping the rating at 10.  

December was a good month, overall, when it came to maintaining balance in my life.  All the ratings stayed the same!   There is room for improvement in certain areas, but, overall, I am content.

I have been doing this exercise for several years now and I am wondering if I will continue with it in the new year.  I always seem to score high on certain areas and struggle with other areas!  I guess I am consistent, if nothing else?  

Christmas Monday


Dancer Under the Christmas Tree

Dancer looks like he partied a little too much, yesterday, doesn't he?  

Today was slightly cooler than yesterday with a high of only 78F.  It was a bit overcast, too, which made it seem colder.  I had made tentative plans to visit cousin V, again, this morning, but, I texted her and made my excuses; I'm sure she was tired after having a big family gathering yesterday, and appreciated a chance to relax.  

Instead, I had a long phone chat with my late step-father's younger sister.  She has had some health issues and had been in and out of the hospital since June, but, at 92, she is still as sharp as ever!  Later, I called my half-sister and left her a message and called and chatted with friend S (not neighbor S).

My daughter had made plans to go walking in the early afternoon with friend A's younger daughter, but, apparently she was feeling a bit under the weather, so they canceled their plans.  My daughter didn't mind because she was feeling a bit tired, herself, and she took an afternoon nap on the sofa instead!

I wrapped the last couple of gifts I had to wrap and tag and then worked on pinning and hemming daughter's dress.  I had her try it on to pin in, then, after I basted it and had her try it on again, I had to undo some of the basting and re-pin it!  The dress has a double skirt, so, there's a lot of pinning to do!  But, I think I've got the correct length now.  I started to hem it, but, it was hard to see the dark blue thread against the dark blue fabric in artificial light.  I will try to hem it tomorrow, when there is daylight.

I had put mung beans to soak last night and boiled them this morning for brunch.  Daughter ate hers with sugar; I ate mine with katta sambol (a spicy mixture of onions, powdered dried Maldive fish - a type of cured tuna, actually - chili powder, lemon juice, etc.).  Dinner was rice with chicken curry, lentils (dhal), curried green beans, and peach chutney.  There might have been some pie for dessert!  LOL.

Today, I am grateful for:
- The warmer than normal weather
- Phone chats with family and friends
- A relaxed day at home
- Plenty of good food to enjoy
- Having my daughter home with me

Today's joyful activity was chatting on the phone with my step-aunt.

Plans for tomorrow include hemming daughter's dress and doing a bit of housekeeping.  My daughter is expecting two of her friends to drop by in the evening for a little masked get together. 

There is rain in the forecast for tomorrow evening.  I'm hoping it will rain because the garden could do with some rain.

How was your Christmas Monday?  What are your plans for tomorrow and the rest of this week?  Do you celebrate the 12 days of Christmas?

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Christmas Day

Christmas Greetings

Happy Christmas, everyone.  Hope your day has been filled with joy and peace.

My daughter and I had a relaxed morning.  I called family and friends to wish them for Christmas.

Then, at noon, we made a couple of gift deliveries.  First, to my daughter's friend P's parents' home to drop off their gifts and the baby blanket.  I stayed in the car while daughter took the gifts to the doorstop, but when P's parents came out to greet me, I got out of the car.  They invited me in, but, I declined the invitation and we stood outside, in the warm sunshine, fully masked, and chatted a bit.  They had gone to one of the Sri Lankan restaurants, yesterday, to pick up lunch and they were telling me how much they enjoyed the food (they are not Sri Lankan).  

After that, we went to my cousin V's house to drop off their gifts.  We went before the rest of the extended family arrived for Christmas lunch and visited with them for about 30 minutes.  My daughter and I had our masks on.  I was able to wish my cousin V, her husband, my cousin R (who is V's sister), V's twin daughters, the husband of one of the daughters and their two sons and personally hand them their gifts.  I left the gift for V's son and his wife there for them.  Poor cousin R was planning to fly out to Scotland, yesterday, to spend Christmas with her husband and daughter who are in Scotland, but, there was something wrong with her son's passport and so, they couldn't go.  R was very upset, but, didn't want to go without her son.

After we came home, daughter and I had leftover pizza for our Christmas lunch, followed by a slice of pie and some fresh pineapple.  Then, we both took naps on the sofa!  

By the way, the raccoons were back, last night, and daughter got to see them.  This afternoon, I discovered that they had dug up around my apple seedling:

Raccoon Activity

Not quite sure what they were digging for, but, they dug deep!  Maybe there were some grubs?

They almost dug up the apple seedling!

I smoothed out the soil and put some small rocks on top to try and deter the raccoons from digging in there again:

Replanted Apple Seedling

I kept the hand spade stuck in the pot hoping that the scent of my hand on the handle might help to keep the raccoons away.  Not sure if that will work or not!  I hope the little apple seedling will survive being almost dug up!

Today, I am grateful for:

- Having daughter home for Christmas
- Visiting with family and friends and exchanging gifts with them
- Another sunny and warm (82F) day
- A safe drive to cousin's house and back
- Christmas greetings and well wishes from family and friends

Today's joyful activity was celebrating the day with family and friends.  Such a blessing to be able to do so.

Plans for tomorrow might or might not include a return visit to cousin V's depending on how we are all feeling and some tidying up around the house.

What are your plans for tomorrow?

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Christmas Eve

Christmas Tree 

My daughter and I have had a relaxed day, today.  It was sunny and 80F!  My kind of weather!

I made French toast for brunch and daughter and I both enjoyed it.

I spent the afternoon and early part of the evening wrapping up some of the gifts (the rest were put in gift bags), making a couple of additional cards, and writing out gift tags.  This year, I am using the fronts of old Christmas cards as my gift tags.  

My cousin had invited us to Christmas lunch at her home, tomorrow, but, I told her that I wasn't comfortable attending a large gathering (I know that none of them will be wearing masks) and she understood.  But, I'm planning to go in the morning, to drop off gifts.   My cousin's two grandsons (aged almost 4 and 6) will receive books.  Gifts for the adults include peach chutney, herbal teas, jar candles, a plaid scarf, and a table runner.  They are mostly token gifts, but, I 1 like to give at least a little something to everyone.  

Table Runner

The table runner is reversible and has a plain beige back, making it suitable for use during the rest of the year.

In the evening, we ordered pizza to be delivered - a bit of a splurge, but, it's Christmas Eve!  There's plenty of leftovers for later in the week, too.

I will be watching midnight mass from the Vatican, tonight, and then, we'll go to sleep.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being together with my daughter on Christmas Eve
- A warm, sunny day
- Being able to give gifts to family and friends
- Delivery people
- Being able to afford the occasional splurge

Today's joyful activities included relaxing with my daughter and getting the Christmas gifts ready.

I hope you all had a peaceful Christmas Eve and may your day be filled with joy, tomorrow, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.  


December Grocery Shopping - Part 2

I picked up another grocery order, today.  Jennifer, the friendly store clerk brought the order to the car and she said she knew my daughter must be coming home, because I had ordered half and half creamer for her coffee!  LOL.

I bought:

1 quart container half and half = $3.50
1/2 gal. milk = $2.69

1 x 3 lb. bag mandarins (with $2 off coupon) = $3.99
1 pineapple (with $2 off coupon) = $1.50
4 mangos, @ $1 = $4.00

2 x cranberry juice, @ 64 fl. oz. @ $4.49 = $8.98

1.73 lb. green beans @ $2.49/lb. = $4.31

2 x pasta shells, @ 7 oz., @ $.39 = $.78
1 loaf multi grain bread - $2.99

1 chocolate satin frozen pie = $6.99

2 x 10 lb. sugar, @ $6.99 = $13.98

Total = $53.71

In addition, I bought three 18 oz. jar candles (regular price $8.99@, on sale with coupons for $3.99@), which came to $11.97 + $1.14 sales tax, to add to the holiday gifts.  But, that's not part of the grocery budget.

My December grocery budget = $100 + $52.22 carried over from November = $152.22

Spent to date = $52.65 + $53.71 = $106.36

Balance left in the December grocery budget = $45.86.  I will not be carrying that over to the new year; instead, I will round it up to $50 and make a donation to a food bank.  According to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank website, a donation of $25 can feed 100 people.   Not quite sure how they manage to do that, but, if I can help feed even 10 people, then, that is a good thing to do and I am thankful that I can help.

By the way, I tried to order a can opener, but, according to the store website, they were available in store, only. 

What is everyone planning to make for their Christmas meal?

Friday, December 23, 2022

Home for Christmas!

My daughter came home, today!

She tested negative for the first time on Wednesday evening.  She tested herself twice, just to make sure, and she tested negative, both times. 

Even so, she tested herself again on Thursday, too, to confirm, before finalizing plans to drive down with her friend P.  She tested negative on Thursday, too.

She tested herself this morning, too, before she left on the long drive home, which took longer than usual due to several accidents and resulting road closures.  But, eight hours after they left Berkeley, they arrived home, at 3:30 p.m.  She tested herself once she got home, too, and tested negative.  I'm not quite sure what she would have done if she tested positive after she came home!  

But, the CDC Covid guidelines for ending isolation requires two subsequent negative antigen test results, taken at least 48 hours apart.  That's what my daughter was going by.  

She is home for the holidays and will be down here for at least a week.  Originally, she was planning to stay for two weeks and fly back.  But, P has offered to drive her back, except he will leave before New Year's Eve.  Daughter will decide closer to the date if she will return to Berkeley with P or stay another week.  We are going to plan our activities with the assumption that she will return to Berkeley before the New Year.  

This morning, I picked up an order of groceries I had placed last night.  I knew that my favorite store clerk, Jennifer, would be there, today.  With all that has been going on the past couple of days, I didn't make the time to bake her brownies, but, I took her a jar of my peach topping as a holiday gift.  The brownies will have to wait for another day.  

Later, I remade my daughter's bed with flannel sheets and cleaned her bathroom.  I made some fried rice for my brunch and cooked a fresh pot of rice for my daughter; she had it with chicken curry and broccoli when she came home.

M was here in the evening and he brought me a couple of native plants for the garden as his Christmas gift to me (as well as another plant I had asked him to get, which I paid for, that I wanted to give as a gift).  I forget the name of one of them, but, the other one is a Matilija poppy, which is also sometimes called the 'fried egg' poppy.  He also brought us two chocolate croissants which were delicious!  We planted out the snow peas, today.  I will be watering them in the coming days, as M is off next week.

We've spent a quiet evening at home.  Neighbor S sent us more gata and puri bread and I called the Temple and aunt C to tell them that my daughter has tested negative and is home for the holidays.  I didn't make any gifts today, but, some of the gifts I had ordered were delivered.

Today, I am grateful for:

- My daughter has tested negative
- Daughter and P had a safe drive home
- My daughter is home 
- M tending to the garden and gifting me two new plants
- Neighbor S sending me more goodies!

Today's joyful activity has been having my daughter home.

Plans for tomorrow include wrapping up the gifts and tagging them.

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

'Tis the Season

Treats from Neighbor S

Neighbor S stopped by on Wednesday afternoon with some homemade gata (Armenian cookies, foreground, on the festive paper plate), that she had made, slices of pound cake, and slices of Armenian puri bread.  Her gata are delicious and the puri bread was very much to my liking!  I had some of the bread with chicken curry for my dinner!

I had been putting together a couple of Christmas decorations and I gave one to S in return for all the yummy goodies she's been giving me (she had brought two other pieces of cake for me on Tuesday, too - a slice of the pound cake and a piece of bird's milk cake!)

Christmas Decoration

I had the basket and the greenery, etc. in my stash.  I put together two baskets and gave one to S and the other one to neighbor T's daughter to take to neighbor T.  

Another item I made with supplies in my stash is this pair of crocheted candles, similar to the ones my mother used to make:

Crocheted Candles

They are ready to be gifted to a friend of mine, along with this item I made for her first grandchild, expected to arrive in January:

Another Pink Baby Blanket

That is the end of the pink and the white yarn I had in the stash!

I have now set up the sewing machine on the dining table!  I started on the next lot of holiday gifts which will be sewn with fabric in my stash!  I'm almost running out of time to make the gifts!  Every year, I tell myself that I will get started on the gift making early and every year, I seem to wait until the last minute!  Then, again, when it is 100F in the summer, I don't feel like making Christmas and New Year's gifts.

In between making holiday gifts, I have done laundry, cooked more chicken curry, done some essential cleaning of bathrooms and litter boxes, chatted with family and friends, and spent more time on the computer than I should have!  Also, the doctor's office called with my scan results - everything was normal, they said, which is a big relief!

Today, I am grateful for:
- Neighbor S sharing more treats with me
- The great Stash!
- Being able to crochet, sew, knit, etc.
- Hot glue sticks and glue guns!
- My recent scan results were all normal per the doctor's office.

Are you making any of your holiday gifts?  If so, have you finished making them or are you still working on them?  Do you procrastinate doing them as I tend to do?

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

The Front Garden in December

The Front Garden in December

The lantana is flowering again, even though a few leaves have been damaged by the 38F nights we've had:


The euryops is flowering, too:


The aloe plants are sending up flower stalks which will open up to display orange colored flowers:

Aloe Flower Stalks

The Asparagus Sprengeri ferns are doing well, too:

Asparagus Sprengeri Ferns

 That makes it a year of monthly photos taken of the front garden!












And, today's photo:


A year in the life of the front garden!  Mostly subtle changes except in the spring when the flowers were blooming.  

M brought me two bags of pebbles for the front parkway, today; two different types, one bag with bigger, smoother pebbles and one bag with slightly smaller, rougher pebbles.  I prefer the smaller ones, I think.  We will buy more bags of them in January and work on that in the new year.

Hope you enjoyed seeing how my front garden did during this year, with the on-going drought and increased water restrictions.

What do you think?  Should I continue to take and post monthly photos in 2023, too?