Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Warm August Days

Ice Cream and Gata from Geghard, Armenia

My wonderful neighbor S called me this morning.  Her niece had returned from a visit to Armenia and she had brought back some gata and S's sister-in-law brought them some of that gata and would I like to have some?  Also, she had some Armenian ice cream and would I like to try some?  Oh, would I ever!  Yes, please!  So, she brought me some!  LOL.  This gata is more like a sweet bread and according to S, it was from a place called Geghard in Armenia.  S said they specialize in making this type of gata in that city.  I did an online search and apparently, there is a medieval monastery that is carved into a rock, there, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  I feel very privileged to have received a piece of their specialty gata! 

Birthday Card

On Monday, I made a birthday card.  It was a very simple design and it took me longer to make it than I thought it should have taken, but, I had fun making it!  Later, I watered the garden, both front and back, took the trash cans to the curb, chatted with friend R, and video chatted with my daughter.  Monday's high was 95F, but, it felt quite warm; I had the fans on all afternoon and into the night.

Tuesday was another warm day, with a high of 95F.  I brought the trash cans in, enjoyed a salad and one of the ice cream cones that S gave me for brunch, cleaned the litter box, chatted with friend R, video chatted with my daughter, and spent several hours playing with fabric and watching TV!  The weekly grocery ads came in, but, I only gave them a rather cursory glance, because I am not planning to do any grocery shopping this week.  

Tomorrow (Wednesday) is supposed to be another day in the mid-90s.  Plans include watering the garden because M is on vacation this week and he will not be here to water the garden for me!

On these warm August days, I am grateful for:

- Fans and electricity to run them
- Neighbor S bringing me gata and ice cream!
- Salads and cool drinks (I made peach lemonade, again!)
- Time to craft and relax
- NOT feeling cold!  LOL!

Daily joyful activities have included card making, playing with fabric, and eating ice cream!  

How is your week coming along?

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Meal Plans: August Week 1 Review and August Week 2

August Week 1 meal planning worked out quite well!  These were my options:

Brunches: Milk rice with fish curry and seeni sambol, etc.✔, cereal, scrambled eggs, waffles, pancakes✔ Egg salad sandwiches, fruit (banana)

- Rice, fish curry, beetroot curry, cabbage thel dala ✔
- Tortilla with leftover fish curry ✔
- Shirataki noodles, stir fried with vegetables and sausage
- Rice with ground turkey mixture from freezer ✔
- Leftovers✔

This is how it worked out:
Brunch: Milk rice with fish curry and seeni sambol
Dinner: Tortilla with fish curry and seeni sambol

Brunch: Leftover milk rice, fish curry, and seeni sambol; grapes
Tea: Cheese and crackers
Dinner:  Rice, omelet curry, leftover zucchini, corn, and cabbage stir fry (thel dala)

Brunch: Pancakes, bacon, peach sauce
Dinner: Rice, fish curry, cabbage thel dala, beetroot curry

Brunch: Leftover milkrice, fish curry, seeni sambol
Tea: Apple slices and peanut butter; Sri Lankan snack mix
Dinner: Rice, ground turkey mixture, zucchini chutney

Brunch: Banana, egg salad sandwich
Dinner: Rice, ground turkey mixture with the last of the fish curry gravy, zucchini chutney

Brunch: Banana, egg salad sandwich
Dinner: Rice, the last of the ground turkey mixture, one okra! 

Brunch: Tortilla with the last of the seeni sambol
Tea: Corned beef (from a can) sandwich
Dinner: Rice, chicken curry from the freezer, leftover cabbage thel dala, beetroot curry; mango

I didn't make the shirataki noodles, but substituted chicken curry and rice, instead.

On to Week 2 and it is almost too hot to meal plan!  LOL.  
Brunches: Salads, sandwiches, and fruit; I might alternate between corned beef sandwiches and tuna salad sandwiches

- Rice with chicken curry, beetroot, chutney, etc.
- Shirataki noodles, stir fried with vegetables and sausage
- Burritos from the freezer
- Spaghetti with pasta sauce (from the freezer)
- Leftovers

How about you?  Did you make a meal plan last week?  If so, did you follow it?  Are you making a meal plan for this week?

Monday, August 8, 2022

Warm on Sunday


"This coffee table isn't big enough for both of us, Basket!"

Dancer pushed the basket off the coffee table, the other morning.

It was a warm day, today.  The morning was not too bad; it was 87F outside, but, only 78F inside.  But, in the afternoon, it went up to 100F outside and 86F inside and I switched on the fan!  

I checked on Mama Cat in the morning and she was lying in one of the flower beds out front.  Either she or some other animal had eaten the dry cat food I had put in the bowl for her, so I put more dry cat food out for her and she started to eat it as I went indoors, again.  I watched her from the doorway and she was happily munching away at the food.  Later in the evening, I checked on her again and gave her more dry food and refilled her bowl with fresh water.  

Today, I did a load of laundry, washing my bed sheets; I usually wash them on Mondays, but, now, I've one less thing to do, tomorrow.  

Then, I made a birthday card; it will go out in the mail, tomorrow.

After that, I played with fabric!  I have two baskets of scrap fabric; today, I started cutting out some squares from them to use in a quilt.  Some of the squares are 3.5 inches square and some are 3 inches square.  Any usable bits that are leftover are being stored in a gallon sized plastic bag to go into a crumb quilt.  It's going to be a very scrappy quilt top, but I rather like scrap quilts. 

Today, I am grateful for: 
- Fans and electricity to run the fans
- Mama Cat seems to be eating and drinking
- Being able to do laundry when I feel like it
- My card making supplies stash
- My stash of fabric!

Today's joyful activities included card making and playing with fabric.

Plans for tomorrow include:

- Dust the living room and dining area
- Water the garden front and back
- Take out the trash cans
- Clean the fridge
- Meal plan
- Apply the new car registration decal to the license plate! 

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

Sunday, August 7, 2022

A Message from Eileen at A Bracelet of Days

Some of you read Eileen's blog, A Bracelet of Days and I've a message to pass on from Eileen.  She has been locked out from her blog and is unable to post new posts or reply to comments.  She is also unable to comment on other blogs!  She says she's been checking daily to see if she has access to her blog and will post as soon as she is able to.  In the meantime, she is in good health.  

A Restful Saturday


Saturday's Harvest: A Zucchini, a Passionfruit, a Tomato, and an Okra

Thank you, everyone, on your lovely comments on yesterday's post.  Snowball is missed.  Mama Cat, who is the other garden cat, is missing her companion, I think.  She was sitting by herself, looking rather forlorn, in the driveway, not coming to the back yard where I keep the cats' water dish and eating the dry cat food I had put out for her.  In the end, I took a fresh bowl of water and a bowl of dry food out to the front for her and she drank the water quite thirstily.  But, she didn't eat the dry food.  So, I put some of Dancer's tuna in another dish and took it out to her and she ate that!  Mama Cat is at least 10 years old; maybe the dry kibble is too hard for her.  Never let it be said that I don't cater to the cats!  LOL.  The dry kibble in the back didn't go to waste; Percy the Possum had a feast!  

I had a call from cousin V in the morning and we chatted for a bit.  Later, I spoke with my daughter.  In the afternoon, I relaxed, reading blogs, replying to blog comments, and playing several games of sudoku.  I took the kitchen compost to the garden and harvested the above fruits and vegetables.  A rather pitiful harvest, but, this is not the year of garden bounty.

In the evening, Aunt C called and we had a long chat.  Afterwards, I called friend R to check on her and had a shorter chat.  After which, I video chatted with my daughter!  Later, I ran the dishwasher and cleaned the litter box.  I also watched some online videos about gardening, organizing and decluttering, and hoarding.

Breakfast was a banana, lunch was an egg salad sandwich.  Dinner was rice with the last of the ground turkey mixture I had cooked earlier and the lone okra.

Today's daytime high was 97F and tomorrow's is supposed to be 99F.  I was quite comfortable with just a fan on. 

Today, I am grateful for:

- Kind blog readers
- The garden harvest
- Chats with family and friends
- Emails and texts 
- Restful days

Today's joyful activity was relaxing.

Plans for tomorrow include some cardmaking and playing with fabric.

How is your weekend coming along?

Friday, August 5, 2022

Remembering Snowball


Snowball Enjoying the Front Flower Bed on Wednesday

Snowball was one of the garden cats.  She was sweet and funny and loved to climb trees:

With Siblings Ginger and Stripey

Napping in the Feijoa Tree

Hugging the Curry Leaf Tree

Up in the Calamondin Tree

Napping in the Calamondin Tree

She Liked it up There

Climbing the Window Screen

She had survived a deep gash to the side of her neck, earlier this year, but, she had been a bit subdued this week.  Yesterday, she curled up in a flower pot, squashing the plant that was growing in there and I didn't have the heart to chase her away.  I heard her meowing outside my window this morning, but, didn't appear when I went to feed her.  I looked for her in the garden in the afternoon, but, I didn't see her.  Later in the evening, when M was watering the back garden, he found her body near the back wall  and we buried her.  You will be missed, Snowball.

Dancer and Snowball, Chatting, Last Week

I hope you have found a lovely tree to climb and nap in, free from that mockingbird who was always chasing you!  Thank you for the memories.

August Grocery Shopping - Part 1

I picked up my order of groceries this afternoon.

I bought:

1 loaf of sandwich bread = $1.79

3 bananas (1.26 lb. @ $.65/lb.) = $0.82
4 mangos @$1 = $4.00
6 oranges (2.59 lb. @ $1.49/lb.) = $3.86
6 apples (2.21 lb. @ $1.49/lb.) = $3.29

1.06 lb. loose carrots @$.99/lb. = $1.05
1 cucumber = $0.99 (which they forgot to pack in my bags!)
1 iceberg lettuce = $1.49
4 yellow onions (2.55 lb. @ $.98/lb.) = $2.52

2 cans (24 oz. @) pasta sauce @$1.50 = $3.00

2 cans (15 oz. @) fruit cocktail in extra light syrup @ $1.50 = $3.00
3 cans (15 oz. @) sliced peaches in fruit juice @ $1.50 = $4.50

6 cup of noodles @2.25 oz; $0.49@ = $2.94

2 packs chocolate wafer cookies, on sale for $1@ = $2.00

1 pack (100 count) coffee filters = $1.69 + $0.16 sales tax

Total came to $37.10

My favorite store clerk, Jennifer, was there, today, training a new hire.  I chatted with her for a few minutes and asked her what's going on with all the "available for delivery only" items and she said it was because they were so short-staffed that they couldn't fulfill all the orders that were coming through for pick up.  She said that if there was an item I really wanted, which was marked as delivery only, to call her and she'll see what she can do, which was very kind of her.

She also said that the store was out of the cup noodles I had wanted (there was a notification that they were low on stock on that item when I ordered), but, she ran across to the dollar store in the same shopping mall and bought them for me!  Now, isn't that the sweetest thing?  

As a result, I received all the items I had ordered, except for the cucumber, which they had forgotten to add to my bag!  I didn't feel like driving all the way to the store again to pick it up, so I just let it go.  Especially after Jennifer had been so kind as to get me the cup noodles from another store!

August grocery budget is $100 - $23.50 (overspent in July) = $76.50.

Spent to date = $37.10

Balance left = $39.40

After I came home and put away the groceries, I ate a banana and put two eggs to boil.  I'm planning to make some egg salad, because I have bread to make sandwiches!  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Being able to order groceries online
- Free curbside pickup
- Truly lovely store clerks
- Being able to purchase groceries (both having food available to buy and the means with which to pay for them!)
- A safe drive to the store and back

Have you done any grocery shopping in August, yet?  How are you managing with rising prices?  Are you increasing your grocery budget or cutting back on certain items?



Moringa Pods

A cooler and cloudy day, today.  I spent a good portion of the morning speaking on the phone with family - my half-sister, cousin P and cousin V.  I also did a load of laundry and changed the dust sheets on the family room sofas.  

In the afternoon, I did some sewing,  Yesterday, I renewed an old skirt that had a very thin elastic sewn into the waistband; the elastic had stretched so much that the skirt could not be worn.  I unpicked the waistband and the stretched out elastic, sewed a new, wider waistband using a piece of fabric I had in the stash for the inside where it can't be seen, and passed a wide elastic through the new waistband.  Today, I sewed some mindless patchwork piecing with some of the "crumbs" of fabric in my stash.   

Then, I did some paperwork and cleaned out one of the file folders, shredding the papers that I didn't need, anymore.  

Later, I watched news and ordered some groceries.  My August grocery budget is $100, minus the $23.50 I over spent in July, which means I have $76.50 to spend this month (I am not taking into consideration the additional $68.23 that I spent at the Sri Lankan store in July, at this time; I am covering that with funds from another account!).  What makes the August budger more challenging is the fact that I need to order a minimum of $35 worth of groceries per order to qualify for free pick up (there's a minimum of $35 per order for delivery, too, in addition to the delivery fee).  I will have to limit myself to two grocery pick ups, this month, each totaling $38.25 if I am to keep to the reduced August budget and still make sure that I get enough fresh produce with each order to last me for a couple of weeks.  Failing that, I will need to have a stock of canned or frozen vegetables and fruits.  It's a bit of a challenge, but, I'm up to it!

In the evening, I walked up and down the driveway for 10 minutes.  Neighbor S was walking in her driveway, too, and we waved at each other and called out greetings across the street!   LOL.  Still later, I chatted with friend R, video chatted with my daughter, and cleaned the litter box.

Brunch was leftover milkrice, the last of the fish curry, and seeni sambol.  I had some apple slices and peanut butter for an afternoon snack, along with some of the Sri Lankan spicy snack mix at tea time.  Dinner was rice with some of the ground turkey mixture I had in the freezer.  The mixture was cooked with zucchini, bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, celery, etc., so contained a lot of vegetables as well.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- A cooler day
- Being able to order groceries online
- My paper shredder!
- Electricity to run the shredder, the fan, the sewing machine, the laptop, etc.
- Chatting with family and friends

Today's joyful activity was sewing.

Plans for tomorrow include:

- Picking up the groceries
- Gardening with M

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

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Keeping Track of my Days

Broccoli Plants in August

My summer vegetable plants - tomato, okra, etc. - are struggling.  However, my cool weather broccoli, if not exactly thriving, are still alive and sort of producing.  They are not the beautifully formed large broccoli heads that one expects to see, but, the side shoots keep shooting and I keep picking!

August 2 Broccoli Harvest

I picked this lot, yesterday (Tuesday).  It's not a huge amount, but, it is enough for me for a serving or two, depending on if I use it by itself or add it to a stir-fry.  I boiled them, briefly, and kept them in the fridge to use later in the week.

Yesterday, the roofers were back, working on T's roof.  I slept through the first couple of hours of their hammering and roofing!  LOL.  They finished working on the roof around 11:30 a.m. and I think that all that is left is the installation of the new swamp cooler (which will be done by a different crew, I believe).

It was going to be another relatively warm day (this whole week, our temperatures will be in the mid to upper 90s).  I decided to cook the beets M picked and the broccoli florets I picked in the early afternoon, before it got too hot.  I made another "thel dala" with the beets (including the beet greens) - cutting the beets in small pieces and boiling them in a little water, first, and then, adding a little oil to the pan and stir frying the boiled beets, stems, and leaves, with curry powder, spices, a little chili powder, and curry leaves.  I finished the dish with a little lemon juice.  The broccoli, I just boiled.

Brunch was leftover milkrice, with fish curry and seeni sambol.  I ate the last of the fresh grapes afterwards.

I spent the afternoon writing my blog post!  I guess I tend to edit as much or more than I write!

Aunt C called in the afternoon and I had a long chat with her and later in the evening, I called friend R and chatted with her (that's the family and friends area of my day checked!)

I brought the trash cans in and felt a moment's irritation with my next door neighbors because they had moved my recycling bin back up onto my driveway in order to park they van, before the bin was emptied!  I guess they assumed that the bin had been emptied, and maybe even thought they were doing me a favor by moving it up to my driveway, but, it had not been emptied and because it was out of reach of the recycling pick up van when it went by, it didn't get emptied this week.  Oh, well, I'll just take it back out next week!

I had cheese and crackers in the evening with my cup of tea and watched the evening news.  Afterwards, I walked for 10 minutes up and down the driveway and spent another 10 minutes or so in the back garden; I picked the chilies I had left to ripen and checked on the zucchini - one seems almost ready to be picked!

I cooked a fresh pot of rice for dinner and had it with omelet curry and leftover zucchini and corn and cabbage thel dala.  Some of my home canned peaches for dessert; they were delicious.

I video chatted with my daughter, afterwards, exchanged emails with a friend, and went to bed well after midnight!

This morning, I watered the front flower bed that M cleaned out, last week.  We've decided that he will transplant some of the sprengeri ferns that I have growing in pots, elsewhere in the garden in that flower bed.  These ferns store water in little tuber like nodules in their roots and seem to be quite sun tolerant; I'm hoping they'll grow well in that flower bed.  M had asked me to water the bed before he transplants the ferns, today.

In other news, as part of my August Time Management goal, I have decided to keep a time log, for at least the first week.  I am not really scheduling my day (not yet, anyway), but, rather, keeping track of how I spend my time.  I already know where a lot of my time goes - it is spent on the computer!  I tend to spend several hours, writing my blog posts, reading and responding to comments, reading the other blogs I regularly read and commenting on them, etc., all of which I truly enjoy doing.  Then, there are the online games I play (Sudoku and word games, mostly), and throw in a few online videos and it seems I spent the entire day relaxing (which is nice), but, not being very productive (which is not as nice). I started the time log on Monday and I shall see how it works out.

So far this morning, I've spent 45 minutes on my morning devotions, 15 minutes watering the front flower bed with shower water I had collected in buckets, and spent almost two hours checking emails, and blogging!  Then, spent another 30 minutes or so "gardening" with M - he transplanted the ferns, I stood around and chatted with him and supervised; afterwards, I watered in the newly transplanted ferns:

Newly Transplanted Sprengeri Fern in Front Flower Bed

On Friday, M will mulch around them and then, we'll see if they will grow and spread.  I feel that there should be some tall plants at the back of the bed, but, that will have to wait until I figure out what will grow well, there.

Pancakes for brunch, today, after the friend I exchanged emails with, yesterday, mentioned making pancakes and that sounded good to me!  LOL.  There's leftover rice and curries for dinner.

Today, I am grateful for:

- A daughter who is encouraging and supportive of me when I beat down on myself about things I feel I should have done and haven't
- Good friends who provide a voice of reason when I get carried away by things
- Being able to chat with family and friends
- M tending to the garden for me
- Garden harvests

Today's joyful activity is gardening with M.

How is your day coming along?  

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Monthly Goals for a Balanced Life - July Review and August 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.

Since the pandemic, I have scaled back on some of my plans to a bare minimum.  But, until I feel comfortable enough to do more and engage in more social activities, those scaled back measures will have to suffice.  I choose to think of it as focusing on what I can do under the circumstances!

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 my daily prayers, meditation, being grateful, positive, resilient, joyful, generous and giving, etc., in July.  I feel that I do live a spiritually meaningful life.
I will continue to keep the rating at 10.

August's Spiritual goals will be the same as above.  

House & Garage (7)(7):  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've kept up with the housework, cleaning, organizing, maintaining, and decluttering.  July decluttering included 8 bowls (although 8 new bowls had come in, earlier!), 8 cushion covers (no new cushion covers came in!), some clothes hangers, and some odds and ends such as dried up glue sticks and pens that wouldn't write.  I didn't do anything in the garage in July.  
I am keeping the rating at 7, because there is always room for improvement where the house is concerned!  

August House & Garage goals will be the same as above.  My Room of the Month will be the family room and my decluttering goal is 31 items.

Garden (8.0)(8.0):  The goal is a garden that is productive, yet drought tolerant:
Maintaining (water, fertilize, and weed)
Planting summer vegetables!
- Start improving the parkway in the front

The garden is limping along.  The watering restrictions (I managed to stay under the limit during the last billing period, which was June and July) and the high temperatures are taking a toll. Practically all the summer vegetables we planted have died and those that are surviving, including  three zucchini plants, are struggling.  
However...and this is why I am keeping the rating at 8...there were broccoli florets, serrano chilies, beetroot, passionfruit (7 picked so far; two more left on the vine), lemons, and sunflowers!  The three tomato plants are still alive and the okra plants, although they are barely 1 foot high, are getting flower buds!  But, best of all, the moringa tree has about a dozen or so pods on it!  Plus, I have 5 tiny pomegranates ripening on the tree in front.
M has been clearing the front garden and we have bought the paving stones for the parkway improvement project.  But, it has been too hot for him to do much and I told him to take his time.
I am keeping the rating to 8.0.

August 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 continue to have a close relationship with my daughter with daily texts, phone calls, and video chats.
A definite 10!

August Daughter goals will be the same as above.

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
- Celebrate a friend's birthday with a curb-side visit
- Observe my father's death anniversary

I kept in touch with family and friends through texts, emails, and phone calls in July.  I had to decline an invitation to attend my cousin's daughter's baby shower and I haven't been able to go to the post office to mail the blanket I crocheted for her.  But, I had a curb-side visit with friend R for her birthday and I observed my father's death anniversary.  I am content with what I have been able to do.
I am keeping the rating at 8.0.

August Family and Friends goals will include:
- Regular phone calls and emails to check on them

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 when safe to do so

I participated in my community in the ways that I felt comfortable participating, online or on the phone, with some limited in person interactions with neighbors.
I'm keeping the rating at 10.

August Community goals will be the same as above.

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

I have continued to manage my finances in a more or less responsible manner, budgeting and spending as mindfully as possible.  I have a budget set up with several different categories and although I sometimes go over budget in one category (as I did with my grocery spending in July), I am usually able to shift funds around to cover it. 
I am keeping the rating at 10.

August Financial goals:
- Continue budgeting and spending mindfully, with purpose 

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 had a blood test and a follow up appointment with the oncology nurse practitioner.  The blood test results were mostly good, we made a slight adjustment to the frequency of one of my supplements, decreasing it to every other day instead of daily, and I received my Prolia injection.  A request for a bone density scan was put in, approved, and an appointment was set up for me although I am trying to change the test location.  My weight remained the same and my blood pressure reading was good.  I had one day with an upset stomach during the last week of July, but, I have recovered from it.
I am keeping the satisfaction rating at 8.5.

August Health & Well Being goals will be the same as above.  I am also planning to be more diligent about a daily walk in August.  Currently, I get a pain in my left hip (same leg as the one with the sciatica pains, last summer) when I walk for 10 minutes and then, I have to rest.  I am hoping to be able to walk for 30 minutes without stopping by the end of August.

Time Management (7.5)(7.5): 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 another area of my life that I am trying to improve.  I think I managed my time well enough in July, but, there were a couple of projects I wanted to do that I didn't make time for and I am not happy about that.
I am going to keep the rating at 7.5.

August Time Management goals are the same as above.

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

I feel I did  well in this area in July.  I finished crocheting a baby blanket, I made a few cards, I gardened, and participated in photo challenges.  There were a couple of fun crafts projects I wanted to do that I didn't get around to doing (as mentioned above in the Time Management section), but, I'm hopeful that I'll do them in August.
I am keeping the rating at 10.  

August Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies/Self-Care goals will be the same as above.

I feel that July was a fairly well balanced month.  I kept my ratings the same because I am feeling nothing really changed that much. 

Did you make any monthly goals for a more balanced life?  What are your goals for August?

Monday, August 1, 2022

Starting August

Auspicious Brunch: Milkrice
with Fish Curry and Seeni Sambol
(Spicy Sauteed Onions)

Today, being the first of the month, I made milkrice for brunch, to ensure an auspicious start to the month!  LOL!  I made a fish curry and seeni sambol to go with it.  

I had a good ending to the month of July, yesterday.  I did a load of laundry, swept my bathroom floor, cleaned the litter box, walked up and down my driveway for 10 minutes (I stopped when I felt a twinge in my leg; it is my hope to gradually build that up to 30 minutes by the end of the month), spoke on the phone with friend A who is doing well and with friend R, who is also doing well.  

I also called K, who is neighbor T's daughter, to check on her mother.  She said that T is now in a convalescent care center and she's recovering and receiving physical therapy.  K said that, due to Covid restrictions, visiting her mother requires making an appointment at least two days in advance and although she was able to manage a visit on Friday, a day after T was taken to the center, her next appointment isn't until Thursday of this week!  I asked her for the name and address of the place so I can send T a get well card and a birthday card, as well.  K informed me that the roofers will be back on the job this week (they had to stop for a few days until the City's building inspector came out and approved the work done so far).  True to her words, the roofers started working around 8:00 a.m., this morning!  They stopped their work for the day at noon.

It's a mostly sunny day, today, although it was partly cloudy in the morning.  According to the forecast, our high today will be 95F; it's 94F right now as I type this at 2:45 p.m.  I have a fan on low.

The doctor's office called to inform me that my bone density test has been authorized (that was quick!) and scheduled for the end of September.  It's an early morning appointment in a downtown location; I've called a different location in the other direction, where I've been to before, to see if I can get an appointment there, just to avoid driving to downtown during the morning commute hours.  I had to leave a message and hopefully, they'll call back; if not, I'll call again. 

On the To Do List for today:

- Give Dancer his flea medication
- Take the trash cans to the curb
- Water the garden
- Pay the utilities and gas bills
- Cook the beetroots that were harvested on Friday
- Send T a get well card

There are other things, too, but, I'll only do them once I get the above items done!

Today, I am grateful for:
- An auspicious beginning to the month!
- The bone density scan was authorized and scheduled
- Relative good health
- Having health insurance
- Working appliances and the energy to run them

Today's joyful activities will include some card making.

Hope everyone is having a good Monday and a good start to the month of August.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Meal Plans: July Week 4 Review and August Week 1

First, a review of how July Week 4 turned out.  These were my options:

Brunch: Leftover ravioli ✔, cereal ✔, French toast ✔, muffins (if cool enough to bake), tortillas with spicy onion sambol

Dinners:-  Shrimp curry (from freezer), rice, sauteed/curried cabbage✔; Baked battered fish fillets (frozen) with sauteed zucchini, leftover sweet potato hash, and corn✔; Omelet curry, rice, leftover sauteed cabbage, leftover zucchini, chutney; Fried rice; Leftovers and madeovers! ✔

This is how it worked out:
Monday: Left over ravioli (brunch), shrimp curry, sauteed curried cabbage, rice, zucchini chutney
Tuesday: French toast, bacon, grapes (brunch), baked battered fish fillets, sauteed zucchini, leftover sweet potato hash, corn; ice cream!
Wednesday: Stomach complained!  Saltine crackers, lemon lime soda, an apple eaten half at a time, a small bowl of dry cornflakes
Thursday: Cup of tea and two saltines for breakfast; rice and dhal curry for lunch; cup of tea in the afternoon, rice, dhal curry, and leftover sauteed curried cabbage for dinner.  
Friday: Cup of tea and two saltine crackers for breakfast; more crackers and grapes for lunch; rice, dhal curry, cabbage, and some shrimp curry for dinner; mango for dessert.  Dry cereal and cheese toast for snacks.
Saturday: Dry cereal (breakfast), rice, dhal, cabbage, shrimp curry leftovers (lunch); scrambled egg (dinner); mango and cookies for snacks
Sunday: Apple slices and peanut butter (brunch); Sri Lankan snack mix and cookies at tea time; omelet with leftover corn and zucchini (dinner); freshly made passionfruit lemonade to drink

On to August, Week 1:

Brunches: Milk rice with fish curry and seeni sambol, etc., cereal, scrambled eggs, waffles

- Rice, fish curry, beetroot curry, cabbage thel dala
- Tortilla with leftover fish curry
- Shirataki noodles, stir fried with vegetables and sausage
- Rice with ground turkey mixture from freezer
- Leftovers

I have made this meal plan based on what I have on hand.  I will probably need to put in an order for groceries, next week, however, because I need bread, fresh fruits, and some vegetables.

How about you?  Did you make a meal plan last week?  If so, did you follow it?  Are you making a meal plan for this week?

Saturday's Visitors

Saturday Visitor

Saturday morning, I slept in, then, did my usual morning routines, feeding the cats, having a cup of tea, saying my morning devotions, etc.  I had some dry cereal for breakfast as I was feeling hungry.  I replied to blog comments and commented on a couple of other blogs.

Around 1:30 p.m., I happened to look outside and noticed I had a visitor:

Not Gustavo

Every now and then, the neighbor's chickens fly over the wall into my garden.  I didn't think too much about it, but, I didn't want it to eat my zucchini, so, I decided to go outside and check on the zucchini.  I noticed the visitor had been on the porch steps, already, because he had left a couple of presents there!  

The rooster appeared to be very tame and allowed me to get quite close to him.  I thought he would fly back over the wall, but, no, he settled himself down on a pile of leaves under the feijoa tree.   I left him there and went to check the zucchini - they are still very small, but, seem to have a tendency to turn yellow at the tips (they are not a yellow variety).   I decided to pick three of them:

Saturday's Zucchini Harvest

I spent the afternoon video chatting with my daughter (she had gone grocery shopping and to the Japanese store and wanted to show me her purchases) and finalizing the monthly photo challenge blog post.  I also called friend A and left her a message, checking on her.

I looked outside a little later, around 3:45 p.m. and noticed that the rooster was still under the feijoa tree.    I texted my daughter and said that he was taking a long nap!  I went outside to add the kitchen compost to the garden compost pile and checked on the rooster again:

Rooster Under the Feijoa Tree

That rooster was too still for my liking, but, I left it as it was.  Every now and then, I'd go to the back door and check and it wouldn't have moved.  

I had a very late lunch around 5:00 p.m. (leftovers), had a piece of mango, had a cup of tea, watched the news, and checked on the rooster.  At 6:40 p.m., I texted my daughter that the rooster has not moved.  Just before 8:00 p.m., I checked on it again and texted my daughter that I think it is dead!

So far, no one had come around looking for a missing rooster!  Finally, at 8:00 p.m., I went next door, called out until someone came to see what I wanted, mentioned the rooster to him, and said that I think it is dead.  He came over and agreed that it was dead, scooped it up, and took it away.  He said maybe a cat attacked it - well, the garden cats weren't anywhere near the rooster as far as I could tell; they rarely even attack birds (quite the other way around, with the mockingbirds attacking the cats, especially Snowball):

Snowball and Mockingbird
(taken through the glass door)
(Yes, that's the watermelon, next to the bird)

It's more likely that a dog attacked the rooster.  Maybe even one of their own dogs.

I had not noticed any obvious injury, otherwise, I would have gone next door earlier and notified them about the rooster.  I was touched that the rooster sought a resting place in my garden and, yet, sad that he had died.  Poor rooster.  I hope you found my garden a peaceful place in which to spend your last few minutes on earth and that the shade of the tree and the pile of leaves provided a comfortable place in which to rest.

Later in the evening, I chatted with friend R and told her about the rooster.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being able to provide the rooster with a quiet garden in which to rest
- The neighbor took it away and I didn't have to deal with its disposal
- Today's zucchini harvest
- Video chatting with my daughter
- R calling to check on me

Today's joyful activity was being in the garden with the rooster, taking photos, before I realized it had come to die!

Rooster wasn't the only garden visitor, today:

Mourning Dove

There was a mourning dove, too, in a different part of the garden.  They are frequent visitors in my garden.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Monthly Photo Challenge - July

Eileen's monthly photo challenge for...

(not a good photo, is it?)

was "Beginning with J".

Here are the photos I took for this challenge:

Jade plants:

Jade Plant (Common)

Jade Plant ("Gollum")

Jasmine plants:

Jasmine (Common) Vine

Star Jasmine

Jacaranda flowers:


Jars of Jam:

Jars of Jam

A Jar candle

Jar Candle


A Door a-Jar

(Oh, the joys of the English language!)

Then, there is the Joy of Cooking:

Joy of Cooking

Jugs - one from my grandmother, one from my step-grandmother:


Joss sticks (also known as incense sticks):

Joss Sticks

Jewelry my daughter made for me:


 Junk Drawer:

Junk Drawer

Jigsaw Puzzle:

Jigsaw Puzzle


And finally, just because he's "Johnny on the Spot"!

Dancer, aka "Johnny on the Spot"!

Thank you, Eileen, for hosting the monthly challenges!  I had fun participating.  

Doctor's Appointment on Friday

Watermelon Harvest

The compost heap grew a watermelon vine, this year, which was very exciting to me, but, it didn't do well during our heatwaves and today, M picked the only melon that had grown on it - it was bug eaten on the underside, but, I had to take a photo of it before I threw it back on to the compost heap.  That is a quarter (25 cents) coin, next to it, for size comparison.  I think the melon was about two inches in diameter!  Definitely not the year for growing watermelons!

Today, I had my appointment with the oncology nurse practitioner for a regular quarterly check up.  I called the clinic in the morning to confirm my appointment, just to make sure there were no last minute changes or cancellations.  It was confirmed and I got ready.

My appointment was for 1:00 p.m. and I left the house at 11:45 p.m.  The first part of the drive was good, but, there was traffic closer to downtown.  I reached the clinic at 12:50 p.m., with 10 minutes to spare (they ask you to come in 15 minutes early to check in, etc.).  This time, the clinic wasn't crowded and everyone in the waiting room and all the staff were properly masked.  

I didn't have a long wait before I was called in, weighed, blood pressure checked, etc. and shown to an examination room.  There was a short wait for the nurse practitioner to come in, but, she popped in for a moment to let me know that she had one other person to see before she could see me, which was nice of her to do.  I did a crossword puzzle or two while I waited.

Once she was able to see me, she went over my recent blood test results with me.  Most of the results were good, one thing was too low, a few things were too high, but, the cancer markers were within normal range and overall, things were fine.  She made an adjustment to the amount of vitamin D supplements I was taking, instructing me to take one every other day instead of daily.  Then, she put in a request for a bone density scan for me (I'll be notified when insurance authorizes it) and I received my injection to boost bone density.  I left the clinic at 2:00 p.m. and drove home.  I enjoyed the drive home because I could relax, as there was no rush to be anywhere on time and I had the air conditioning on!  It was 95F when I got home at 3:00 p.m.

I rested a bit after I got home and responded to blog comments, etc.  M arrived around 4:00 p.m. to tend to the garden.  He tidied the place a bit, weeded, watered, and got stung by a wasp when he went to prune one of the lemon trees!  Apparently, there was a wasps' nest in the lemon tree, after all!  I felt awful about it, but, he brushed aside my concerns, saying he applied some aloe vera gel from the plant growing in the pot on the back steps.  I'll text him, tomorrow, to check on him.

In the evening, I checked on my cousin who is still recovering from Covid (she said she's doing a bit better) and chatted with friend R.  Later, I video chatted with my daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:

- M seemed to be OK after being stung by a wasp
- A safe drive to the clinic and back
- A relatively good blood test report
- Having health insurance
- Chats with family and friends

Today's joyful activities included gardening and video chatting with my daughter.

Plans for tomorrow include tending to a few things around the house that were neglected over the past couple of days!

How was your Friday?  What are your weekend plans?