Monday, February 28, 2022

Balanced Life Monthly Goals - February Review and March Goals

As mentioned before, my monthly balanced life goals are similar to the spokes of a wheel, with the length of each spoke representing my satisfaction in that area of my life, from 1 to 10, with 1 being most dissatisfied and 10 being most satisfied.  Ideally, all the spokes are of equal length and the wheel will roll along smoothly.  If the spokes are of unequal lengths, then, the resulting wheel will be lop-sided and wobbly.  My ratings for each segment are shown within the parentheses, with the beginning of the month ratings in black and the end of the month ratings being shown in blue.

Monthly goals:

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

I continued with my daily prayers, meditation, and being grateful; I continue to try being positive, generous, and joyful.  I listened to some prayers online and to a discussion about the teachings of a Vietnamese monk who passed away quite recently (thanks to a friend who emailed me the link).  I feel that I do live a spiritually meaningful life and I am very pleased with this area of my life!  I will continue to keep the rating at 10.

March Spiritual goals will be the same as above.  

House (8.5)(8.5):  The goal is a home that is pleasant, comfortable, and welcoming:
- Clean - Clean the house as needed 
- Organize - Continue to find a place for everything and keep everything in its place
- Well maintained - Keep "erasing the evidence"; implement daily and weekly cleaning schedules
- Decluttered - Continue with the decluttering process
The focus this month was keeping the place maintained.  I have been keeping it maintained, although, I know there is room for improvement!  I took one small baby step to improve one or two of the situations that I am "tolerating", which was a step in the right direction!  Decluttering has gone well; I exceeded my goal of decluttering 28 items this month, although the majority of it was from the shed and garage!  I am keeping my rating at 8.5.  

March House goals will be the same as above, with the addition of cleaning out the garage.  I am not sure if the garage should be considered part of the house or the garden as it is a detached garage.  But, I will consider is as part of the house for cleaning purposes.  I am planning to continue with the decluttering in March, too; the goal is at least 31 items; more if possible. 

Garden (9.5)(7*):  The goal is a garden that is productive, yet drought tolerant:
Maintaining (water, fertilize, and weed)
- Focus on the winter vegetable and fruit plants
- Figure out a trellis for the passionfruit vine and repot it in a larger container
- Clean out the garden shed

The garden continues to do well.  The lemon trees and orange tree are still full of fruits, the peach tree is setting fruit, and I'm seeing a few flowers on the plum tree, too.  I've continued to harvest peapods and I picked the broccoli florets.  M decided to wait on transplanting the passionfruit vine until it is warmer.

The biggest achievement this month was cleaning out the shed!  It was something that had been on my to do list for a long time and finally, it is done!

* I am revising my rating system for the garden!  Cleaning out the shed would have raised the earlier rating to a 10 and I am not quite ready to raise it to 10 because there is still so much more to do!  The front yard needs some additional landscaping even though, right now, the osteospermum plants in full flower are making up for it, the front parkway needs attention, and the side yard needs some attention, too.  

March Garden goals will include:
Maintaining (water, fertilize, and weed)
- Focus on the winter vegetable and fruit plants
- Repot the passionfruit vine and set up a trellis for it

Daughter (10)(10) The goal is to continue to have a close relationship with her:
- Continue to enjoy the rest of the time together before she has to go back (not sure when, but, probably at the end of this month or beginning of February)

I have continued to enjoy having my daughter home with me.  It looks like she will stay down here until the end of March, with returning to the office in person scheduled for the first week in April.  I am keeping the rating at 10!

March Daughter goals will include:
- Celebrating her birthday 
- Continue to enjoy the rest of the time together before she has to go back

Family & Friends (10)(10):  The goal is to have a close connection with family and friends:
- Regular phone calls and emails to check on them
- Visit friend A when her health permits  

I interacted with family and friends mainly through phone calls, emails, texts, etc.  I declined another invitation to attend a family member's birthday party, but, I took gifts and went to see the family on the day before the party.  I was able to have several curbside visits with friend R, too.  I was finally able to visit friend A (and her mother, too, who is visiting from Sri Lanka) and I am very grateful that I was able to do so because A is back in hospital as I type this.  I am keeping the rating at 10.  

March Family and Friends goals will include:
- Regular phone calls and emails to check on them
- Wish those who are celebrating birthdays!

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

I participated in the blogging community and the online organizing group (to a lesser extent).  I interacted with my neighbors, too, although I was unable to come to neighbor T's assistance when she fell recently.  Neighbor S made sure that my daughter and I had plenty of delicious meals and treats throughout the month!  I chose not to attend any Temple events, but, have spoken with the monks from time to time.  I'm keeping the rating at 10.

March Community goals will be the same as above.

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

I continued to budget and spend as mindfully as possible in February.  I am keeping the rating at 10.

March Financial goals:
- Continue budgeting and spending mindfully, with purpose 
- Do my taxes! 

Health & Well Being (8.5)(8.5):  The goal is good health:
- Focus on continuing to improve my health through diet, hydration, etc.
- Go for my primary care physician appointment scheduled for later this month

My health goals are on-going.  I went to the doctor's appointment, which went well, although I need to do some additional tests.  My weight remained unchanged.  I am keeping the satisfaction rating at 8.5.

March Health & Well Being goals: 
- Focus on continuing to improve my health through diet, hydration, etc.
- Do the additional tests my doctor wants me to do

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

Time management is still a bit of a struggle for me as I still tend to procrastinate!  I spend too much time on the computer, I think!  I will keep the rating at 7.  

March 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.
- Continue with craft projects that are in progress
- Participate in the Monthly Photo Challenge and the Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt
- Watch some videos with my daughter

I continued with some of the craft projects that were in progress, but, I didn't finish many, other than a bit of card making.  I participated in the Monthly Photo Challenge, and I need to take more photos for the WPSH.   I didn't watch videos with my daughter, but, we both started doing word games online!  I am keeping the rating at 10.  

March Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies/Self-Care goals include:
- Continue with craft projects that are in progress
- Participate in the Monthly Photo Challenge and the Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt
- Watch some videos with my daughter

February was a good month, overall.  My ratings remained the same for the most part while the garden rating was readjusted.  Health/Well Being and Time Management will continue to be the focus areas in March, too.      

How was your February?  Did you make any monthly goals for a more balanced life?  What are your goals for March?

Sunday, February 27, 2022

February Decluttering

My February decluttering goal was 28 items decluttered.  I more than met my goal, although many of the things I decluttered were from the shed and garage.  

During February, one item came in from outside - a pair of shoes and I immediately tossed out the pair it was replacing, so no net gain.

The items I decluttered in February include:

2 gift bags from the stash (reused)

2 crushed bows (tossed)

1 roll of rusted wire (tossed)

several PVC pipe connectors (used to make a trellis, that has since been taken apart; tossed)

1 lamp fixture/switch (the type that could be fitted to the top of a bottle; tossed)

1 plastic plant tray/saucer (recycled)

1 foil baking tray (recycled)

1 tennis ball (tossed)

1 piece of floral foam (tossed)

1 small plastic bucket (recycled)

1 plastic flower pot (recycled)

1 metal towel bar (dented; recycled)

1 push mower/manual lawnmower (donated - left by the side of the road with the trash cans and someone took it to probably recycle the metal)

Old Push Mower/Manual Lawnmower

1 pair shoes (tossed)/replacement pair came in

4 plates (used under potted plants as drainage containers; tossed)

1 cracked mug (tossed)

1 plastic bowl (recycled)

2 pieces of pipe insulation foam (tossed)

1 chimney from the old water heater (tossed)

1 stand lamp (recycled)

1 lamp shade (tossed)

several broken sprinkler heads (tossed)

several new sprinkler heads (given to M for his use)

several plastic planting trays (the kind in which 6-8 seedlings can be bought; I've reused them to start seeds, but, I don't need so many of them; I kept the peat pots as they can be planted in the ground, directly).  

2 exam preparation books that daughter used in high school (recycled)

2 big recycling bins full of cans and bottles (recycled)

1 jar used to root cuttings (recycled)

1 expired cough syrup bottle and dosage cup (recycled)

dried out pens, glue sticks,

1 sweater (donated)

My goal for March is 31 items decluttered.  I'd like them to be from the house, but, I've a feeling that the majority will be from the garage!

Did you have a decluttering goal in February?  Were you able to meet your goal?  Will you be joining me in decluttering in March?

Meal Plans: February Week 4 and March Week 1

This was the tentative meal plan for Week 4 (February 21 - 27) and how it turned out:

Brunch: Banana, peanut butter on crackers (me); daughter had a banana only 
Dinner: Leftovers from Sunday's dinner and baked potato wedges (daughter); roast turkey wing, the last of the stir fried vegetables, and potato wedges (me).  I cut up the potatoes into wedges, coated them with oil and spices (onion powder, garlic powder, salt, parsley flakes, and paprika) and baked them at 350F until they were nicely browned, turning them over halfway through (about 15-20 minutes cooking time)

Brunch: Salad and sandwich with sliced turkey breast (leftovers from the Thanksgiving dinner)
Dinner: Pol Roti (coconut flat bread) with leftover chicken curry and vegetables

Brunch: Leftovers from Tuesday dinner
Dinner:  Turkey noodle casserole Salad with turkey slices

Brunch: Scrambled eggs and toast 
DinnerLeftover turkey noodle casserole Turkey fried rice (leftover turkey, leftover rice, leftover onions and bell peppers from the salmon, some of the broccoli from the garden, some frozen corn, a scrambled egg, and a handful of roasted peanuts); dolma/stuffed vegetables compliments of neighbor S!

Fried Rice

Stuffed Peppers and Desserts from S!

Brunch: Uppuma (Indian style cream of wheat) Leftover dolma
DinnerSomething with leftover roast pork from the freezer!   Soup 

Friday Night Soup

Brunch: Waffles Leftover dolma (me); soup (which had turned into stew in the fridge!) (daughter)
Dinner:  Leftovers from Friday's dinner Baked chicken thighs, spicy potato wedges, steamed broccoli

Brunch: French toast Salad with sliced chicken
Dinner: Mac & cheese with tuna Salmon fillets, sauteed green beans, rice

I did say that most probably we will modify this menu plan as we go! LOL.

The meal plan for the first week in March includes the last day of February.

Brunch: Salad with sliced chicken/last leftover dolma half
:  Leftover salmon, rice, broccoli, green beans, etc.

Brunch: Milkrice and seeni sambol
Italian sausages with bell peppers and onions, mashed potatoes, broccoli 

Brunch: Japanese take out
Stringhoppers, coconut sambol, chicken curry

Brunch: Leftovers
Assorted leftovers 

Brunch: Salad 
Leftover Italian sausages with carrots, snowpeas, and rice or potatoes

Brunch: Scrambled eggs and toast
Leftovers made into fried rice or soup 

Brunch: Waffles
Spaghetti and meat sauce (using ground turkey instead of ground beef)

Once again, this meal plan is subject to change!  But, the important thing is, there are options and nothing is set in stone!

Did you make a meal plan for last week?  If so, were you able to follow it?  Are you making a meal plan for this week?  Or, do you decide what's for dinner on the morning of the day?

Monthly Photo Challenge: February - Circles/Circular

The theme for the Monthly Photo Challenge, hosted by Eileen, is "Circles/Circular".  These are what I have photographed for this month:

Circle of Edging Stones Around the Hibiscus 

Circular Flower Pots with the Kent Family of Mangos:
Lois, Clark, and Conner 

Pea Vine Tendril

Loop of Rusted Wire 

Grocery Store Pick Up Parking Spot Number

Dial Inside my Dusty Car

A Wreath I Made Years Ago

A Circular Rug I Crocheted

Sri Lankan Brass Wall Plaque

Black Bangles
The bottom one is plastic and I wear it all the time, 24/7;
the other three are glass, bought on a trip to Sri Lanka in 1979;
I wear them occasionally as I don't want them to break

Emblem on Daughter's Backpack

Circular Frame

Mini Muffin Pan

Sugar Jar Rim

Mama Cat (one of the garden cats) Trying Her Best to be a Circle

And, last, but not least:
Dancer: NOT being a Circle

Thank you, Eileen, for hosting this challenge.  Once I got started on taking the photos, I was seeing circles everywhere I looked!  It reminded me of the song, "Windmills of Your Mind"!

Saturday, February 26, 2022

February Grocery Shopping Part 3

Today, Saturday, February 26, I did my third (and last) grocery pick up for the month!  I wanted to take advantage of this week's sales and also to stock up on some items before prices go up as they are sure to do in the coming days and weeks.  As always, I am aware that it is a blessing to be able to stock up.

Today, I bought:

Asparagus, @ $.88/lb. (reg. price $2.99/lb.; I would not have bought it at that price) = $0.93
1 Cucumber = $.99
1+ lb. Green beans @ $1.99/lb. = $2.31
1 Iceberg lettuce = $1.69
2.58 lb. yellow onions (4 onions) @ $.98/lb. = $2.55
1 lb. kale = $1.49
2 lb. whole carrots = $1.99
2 cans red kidney beans, @15 oz, @$1 (reg. price $1.25) = $2.00
4 cans garbanzo beans, 15 oz., @$1.00 (reg. price $1.25) = $4.00
1 bag (12 oz) frozen whole kernel corn = $1.25

Bananas (6) @ $.65/lb. = $1.37 (and this time, I actually received them!)

1/2 gal. milk (reg. price $2.59) = $2.29

10 individual Greek yogurt cups, @ 5.3oz, @$1.00 (reg. price $1.25) = $8.00 (with a $2 off coupon)

1 bottle (64 fl. oz.) cranberry juice (reg. price $3.59) = $3.29

9.53 lbs. (2 trays) chicken thighs @ $1.19/lb. (reg. price $2.19/lb.; buy1get1free sale) = $11.41
2 packages Italian sausages (5 ct., reg. price $6.99@; on sale for $3.99@) = $7.98
2.38 lb. salmon fillets, @ $7.99/lb. (reg, price $11.99) = $19.02
1 box (10 ct.; 19.45 oz.) frozen breaded fish fillets = $5.29

2 packets chocolate wafers (buy1get1free) @ $.59 = $1.19
1 box saltine crackers (16. oz.) = $1.99

2 boxes (12 oz.) cereal, @$1.27 (reg. $3.99) = $2.54

4 cans coconut milk @$1.50 (reg. price $3.49) = $6.00

5 lb. AP flour = $2.19

1 packet (10 ct.; 16 oz.; reg. price $3.29) flour tortillas = $1.00
1 loaf multi-grain bread (reg. price $2.49) = $1.99

2 containers iodized salt (@26 oz.; $1.19) = $2.38

10 lb. sugar = $5.39

Total = $102.52

The original item total, according to the receipt, was $149.74.  I saved $47.22 with discounts/sales/coupons. 

This grocery order included a few substitutes.  I received a text in the morning notifying me that some of the items I ordered weren't available and the proposed substitutions (in each instance, the proposed substitution was more expensive as I usually select the items that are on sale or store brand, etc.).  I authorized all the substitutions because this store will adjust any price differences and charge me the lower prices.  For example, I had ordered the store brand frozen fish fillets and they substituted the brand name frozen fish fillets, which were priced at $6.79, but, charged me the price for the store brand, which was $5.29.

My February grocery budget was $200 plus $28.17 carried over from January = $228.17.

My grocery spending for the month came to:

$86.05 (Feb.2) + $28.39 (Feb. 18) + $102.52 (Feb. 26) = $216.96

Balance left in the February grocery budget = $11.21

It will be carried over to March.  I am pleased with how I spent my grocery budget, this month.  

I baked one of the trays of chicken thighs, tonight.  There were 10 thigh pieces.  Daughter and I had some for our dinner, with baked potato wedges and steamed broccoli.  Leftover chicken will be kept in the fridge for meals over the next couple of days. I will divide up the other tray of chicken and freeze them.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Being able to order groceries online
- Free curbside pickup
- The store policy to charge the lower price on substitutions
- Being able to stock up
- The availability of groceries and other supplies

Today's joyful activity was being able to pick up all the groceries I wanted!

How did you do with your grocery spending in February?  Did you stay within your budget?  

Chilly on Friday

Well, maybe not that chilly, but, it was definitely a bit cool!  M said it was 37F in his area when he went outside, early Friday morning.  I waited until afternoon, when it was warmer, to go outside.  

By the way, for those of you who say you should have eaten breakfast before reading my posts, this is an alert that this post might contain a food picture!  Consider yourselves warned!  LOL.

Friday was a good day!  I did a load of laundry, swept the bathroom, cleaned the kitchen floor, did a load of dishes, transferred some gardening-related items from the garage to the shed, decluttered a few items, called and checked on neighbor T (she's very sore, she said, and black and blue from the bruises), called friend S, chatted with friend R, too, did a little gardening with M when he was here in the evening (we dug up a spadeful of the phacelia seedlings from near the moringa tree and transplanted them in a spot near the back wall to see if they will grow there), and ordered groceries!

In between, from time to time, I watched news, because there is a lot going on in our world right now, and in a way, we are all eye witnesses to history!  I am blessed in that I can witness it from a distance, from the safety and comfort of my home, and not have to experience it first hand.  

Daughter and I had leftover dolma for brunch, today.  In the evening, I decided to make a small pot of soup.  There was a small container of leftover pork pot roast that needed to be finished.  But, first, I needed some broth, so, I took out a packet of chicken bones from the freezer and boiled that to make the broth.  Then, I added a carrot, a potato, some bell pepper pieces, the leftover pork roast, half a can of red kidney beans, a handful of frozen corn, a couple of cloves of garlic, some sliced onion, a couple of kale leaves chopped up, salt and pepper, and a couple of teaspoons of tomato paste and let it all simmer:

Friday Night Soup

I'm not sure why it appears so yellow in the photo - the soup was red from the tomato paste.  Daughter and I enjoyed the soup; some crusty bread would have gone well with it, but, I didn't have any and I didn't want toast with it.  There is a small serving of soup leftover - we'll probably finish it, tomorrow.

Today, I am grateful for:
- A safe home
- A working heater
- A sunny, if cool, day
- M tending to the garden
- Being able to order groceries online

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

Plans for tomorrow include picking up the groceries.

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

Friday, February 25, 2022

Thursday's Blessings

Dolma (Stuffed Vegetables) and Assorted Cookies and Chocolates
Compliments of Neighbor S

We had a sunny day with a high of 63F, but, there is a frost warning in effect for tonight.  

I went to my doctor's appointment in the morning.  The visit went well, for the most part, which was a blessing, but, there will be follow-up bloodwork and a scan.  I have a follow-up appointment in three months' time, too.

I had a pleasant drive to the doctor's office and back and the car got a bit of a run to charge its battery!  The weekly or so drive to the grocery store and back or to friend R's and back don't really do much as they are short drives.

I made scrambled eggs on toast for brunch for myself after I got back from my appointment; daughter opted for the last frozen burrito, instead.

I had a bit of a headache after I returned from the doctor's visit (tension headache, I suspect, as I was a bit anxious about the appointment) or caffeine withdrawal since I didn't have my usual cup of tea in the morning before I left, choosing to drink a cup of hot water, instead.  Or, maybe it was a sugar withdrawal!  Anyway, I walked in the garden for a bit to get some fresh air and sunshine; then, took it easy for the rest of the day!  

I called neighbor T to check on her and she said she's doing OK, other than some pain from the bruises.  Called friend A, too, and left a message.  Later, chatted with friend R.  

I had planned to make a turkey-noodle casserole for dinner, but, changed my mind and decided to make turkey fried rice, instead, because there were a few things in the fridge that needed to be used up!  So, I diced the remaining part of the turkey breast, added it to leftover rice, tossed in the leftover onions and bell peppers from the salmon I had cooked last Sunday, some of the broccoli I had picked from the garden, some frozen corn, and a scrambled egg to make fried rice!  Topped it with a handful of roasted peanuts:

Turkey Fried Rice

While I was dicing the turkey and cutting up the broccoli, neighbor S called to ask if we would like to have some dolma she had made as well as some gata (Armenian cookies) that she had been given.  Of course I said, "Yes, please!" and she brought over a plate of dolma and a plate of cookies and chocolates!  Oh, my!  I gave her a small sandwich bag of freshly picked snow pea pods from the garden in return.  Daughter and I had some of the dolma with our fried rice and afterwards, enjoyed some of the cookies for dessert!  

Today, I am grateful for:
- A safe drive to and from the doctor's office
- Access to health care
- Medical insurance
- Neighbor S sharing more delicious food with us
- The garden and what I am able to harvest from it

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

Plans for tomorrow include
- Vacuuming the house
- Taking some of the gardening items from the garage to the shed
- Tidying and cleaning the kitchen
- M tending to the garden in the evening

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

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Sunny and Cool on Wednesday

Garden Shed: New Look

Today, I asked M to move the old computer desk into the shed.  He wasn't sure if it was a good idea to do so, but, I think it will work well to hold all the garden supplies that are in the garage.  The item in the black trash bag pushed into the corner by the side of the shelving unit is the Christmas tree stand and I will try to find a better place for it, later; maybe on the shelf unit, itself, once some of the empty planters have been planted out.  I want to keep the corners clear for easy sweeping.  

I have a few things stacked along the shed wall to the right:

Along the Right Wall

The old yellow recycling bin holds a couple of bags of potting soil and a bag of lawn fertilizer (from when there used to be a lawn!).  The blue bucket holds a couple of  wooden poles and the child-sized garden tools I had bought for my daughter, one year!  A spade, a hoe, and two types of rakes.  I use them, from time to time, as long handled spades and forks, etc.  I think I will store the ladder that is behind them in the garage, along with the other, taller ladder.  It can stay in the shed for now.

The barbecue grill is still sitting outside.  It needs to be scrubbed and brought inside the shed.  

I called and checked on neighbor T, this morning; she said she had some problems, but, didn't say what they were and I didn't want to ask as I didn't want to pry.  But, I told her to let me know if there was anything I could do.  I told M about her fall and he, too, called to check on her (he does her garden, too).

I've had a quiet rest of the day. I had made coconut flat bread for dinner, last night, but, cooked only some of them.  I kept the remaining five flat breads and cooked them, this morning, for our brunch.  Later, I did the dishes and did a little tidying up.  It was a mostly sunny, cool day, with a high in the mid 50s.  Tonight's low is supposed to be 38F (it'll be colder, tomorrow night, according to the forecast). 

Today, I am grateful for:
- M helping me with the shed and the garden
- A sunny, if cool, day
- A warming cup of hot tea
- Handknitted wool sweaters and socks
- A working furnace

Today's joyful activity was getting the shed set up a little more to my liking and spending time in the garden, checking on the plants, and picking peapods and oranges.

Tomorrow, I have a doctor's appointment at noon for a check up and to go over my blood test results from the end of December.  I am not looking forward to that!

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

Tuesday's Update

The Front Garden in February

I had taken a photo of the front garden on January 20th and I thought I'd take another one on February 20th, too.  The garden is in full bloom, now, with the osteospermum, lantana, and euryops all in flower.  Some of the osteospermum have self seeded among the lantana, but, I don't have the heart to pull them out!  I am especially happy with the flower bed that borders the walkway to the front door:

Osteospermum Border

I called neighbor T, this morning, to check on her.  She said she was bruised, but, otherwise OK.  I told her I was very sorry I hadn't realized she was calling to me for help, yesterday.  She told me that I was the only neighbor she knew of to call, which made me feel even worse!  I also told her not to worry about trying to bring in the recycling bin; that I will bring it in.  Later, I took her recycling bin in for her and she called me to thank me.  I asked her if she was OK for dinner and she said yes.  

It was a mostly sunny but cool day, today.  Some areas received rain and other areas received snow and hail, but, we didn't receive any rain. I had a fairly relaxed day, today.  I brought in my trash cans and T's recycling bin, made turkey sandwiches for brunch and coconut flat bread for dinner (had them with leftover chicken curry), checked on T, chatted with cousin P, and with friend R, exchanged emails with a couple of friends, checked on the garden, and picked oranges.

In the back garden, we had to enlarge the heart around the moringa tree because some of the wildflowers we planted last year have self seeded and there were several phacelia seedlings growing just outside the planting bed:

A Bigger Heart!

In another part of the back garden, more wildflowers from last year have self seeded and the first calendula flower is blooming!  Calendula are also known as pot marigold and the leaves and flowers are edible.  

Calendula Flower

In the evening, I watched news, watched a couple of new episodes of a favorite TV program, and relaxed.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Neighbor T is doing OK
- I was able to bring her recycling bin in for her
- Weekly trash collecting
- Garden flowers
- Self seeding wildflowers

Today's joyful activity was spending time in the garden.

Sunset Skies

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

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Presidents' Day Monday


Although there was rain in the forecast and the morning was a bit cloudy, we didn't get any rain in my area.  I spent a happy and productive morning in the back yard, cleaning all the pots and planters, etc. that were stored in the shed, hosing everything down and keeping them to dry before putting things back in the shed.  The only thing I haven't put back is the grill because I want to scrub it, properly, before putting it back.  That's on the agenda for tomorrow.

Neighbor T had called me while I was in the back yard, so I called her back around noon.  She had a bag of recyclables that needed to go in the recycle bin, which her daughter had already taken to the curb for her and she was not sure if she could take it to the bin, herself.  I told her to leave the bag on her back doorstep and I went over and put the bag in the bin for her.  Afterwards, she called to thank me and I told her not to worry about it, that I was glad to be of help. 

Later in the evening, I heard someone shout, but, I couldn't quite hear what they were saying.  I asked my daughter if she heard anything and she said it sounded like one of the children, next door and I didn't pay any attention.  Then, I heard the sound of a truck engine running, but, one of the neighbors across the street is a truck driver and, sometimes, he parks the truck he is driving, outside, with the engine running for a few minutes, so I didn't pay much attention to that, either.  Then, I noticed the unmistakable rotating red lights of a fire truck parked outside and I rushed outside to see - two fire trucks were in front of my house and T's house and an ambulance was just pulling up!  A few seconds later, the paramedics went into T's house!  I quickly called T's daughter and then, spoke with one of the firefighters who spoke with T's daughter.  Apparently, T had fallen near her back door and the shout I had heard was her calling out to me!  Fortunately, her neighbors on the other side had heard her and they had called the paramedics!  Even more fortunately, T was not injured!  Just bruised her shin, but, otherwise OK.  The paramedics were with her for sometime and had checked her out.  I stood outside and waited until her daughter arrived, just a few minutes after the paramedics left the house (but, the ambulance remained parked by the corner, waiting for her, I believe).  Then, I went inside my house.  T's daughter called me, later, to give me an update and I spoke with T, as well.  Apparently, she went to pick up something and lost her balance.  I must suggest to her daughter that they get one of those medicalert devises for T.  I shall call her, tomorrow, to check on her and see if she needs anything.  I feel so bad that I didn't realize she was calling out to me!  

The rest of the evening was quiet.  I watched news, prepared dinner, did the dishes, etc., called and checked on friend R, and made my meal plan for the week.    I also harvested the garden broccoli, today:

Broccoli - Just before harvesting

After Harvesting

The biggest head of broccoli is about 3 1/2 inches across; the rest are less then 3 inches.  But, there's enough for a meal and there is one plant that didn't produce a head of broccoli yet, so there is still the possibility that there might be another, bigger, head of broccoli in the future!

Today, I am grateful for:

- T didn't get injured from her fall
- The neighbors on the other side of her heard her and checked on her
- Paramedics and other first responders
- I was able to contact T's daughter
- Broccoli harvest!

Today's joyful activity was finishing up the shed!  The gardening supplies that are in the garage still have to be moved over, but, I might wait until Wednesday, when M is here, to do that, so he can figure out where to place them (since he's the one who uses them!)

Plans for tomorrow include doing some housework and baking.

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

Monday, February 21, 2022

February Meal Plans - Week 3 Review and Week 4

Pizza: chicken, bacon, onion, pineapple, kale, and cheese

This was the meal plan for the week of February 14- 20, and how it all worked out: 

Brunch: Fast food! Hamburgers and fries from the drive-thru! 
Dinner: Leftover pork roast and vegetables, salad

Brunch: Leftover spicy chickpeas (me) or fried rice other leftovers (daughter)
Dinner: Sauteed chicken thighs with broccoli and carrots, rice   Leftover pork roast and vegetables (me), leftover pork roast turned into a shredded barbecue pork sandwich (daughter)

Brunch: Salad with shredded chicken
Dinner: Chicken curry, rice, cooked greens, cucumber salad, etc.

Brunch: Scrambled eggs and toast or leftovers
Dinner: "Homemade" pizza using ready-made pizza crust; salad  Leftover chicken curry, rice, eggplant, zucchini chutney

Brunch: Muffins or toast Ramen noodles with chicken and snow pea pods added
Dinner: Leftovers - either sauteed chicken or chicken curry and sides Homemade pizza!  Using the premade crust that friend R gave.  Daughter assembled it with tomato paste mixed with a little barbecue sauce, shredded chicken, two rashers of bacon cut up, onions, garlic, kale, and fresh pineapple chunks, topped with cut up mozzarella sticks (string cheese).:

Pizza - ready to be baked



Brunch: ??? Ramen noodles??? Bread rolls with leftover sauteed chicken (me), leftover pizza (daughter)
Dinner: Koththu roti to use up leftover chicken curry, etc. Lahmajoon (Armenian pizza), bread rolls

Lahmajoon (Armenian Pizza) and Treats

Brunch: Waffles Salad 
Dinner: Salmon, rice, stir-fried vegetables (sauteed salmon with onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers; wild rice and rice boxed mix; stir fry of garden peapods, carrots, broccoli, and pineapple):

Salmon, Rice, and Stirfry

I think it all worked out well, even if the meal plan was tweaked a bit!  

Here's the tentative meal plan for Week 4 (February 21 - 27):

Brunch: Banana, peanut butter on crackers (me); daughter had a banana only 
Dinner: Leftovers from Sunday's dinner and baked potato wedges (daughter); roast turkey wing, the last of the stir fried vegetables, and potato wedges (me).  I cut up the potatoes into wedges, coated them with oil and spices (onion powder, garlic powder, salt, parsley flakes, and paprika) and baked them at 350F until they were nicely browned, turning them over halfway through (about 15-20 minutes cooking time)

Brunch: Salad and sandwich with sliced turkey breast (leftovers from the Thanksgiving dinner)
Dinner: Pol Roti (coconut flat bread) with leftover chicken curry and vegetables

Brunch: Leftovers from Tuesday dinner
Dinner:  Turkey noodle casserole 

Brunch: Scrambled eggs and toast 
Dinner: Leftover turkey noodle casserole 

Brunch: Uppuma (Indian style cream of wheat)
Dinner:  Something with leftover roast pork from the freezer!

Brunch: Waffles
Dinner:  Leftovers from Friday's dinner

Brunch: French toast
Dinner: Mac & cheese with tuna

Most probably we will modify this menu plan as we go!  But, this gives me an idea of what to make with items I have in the freezer and pantry.  As always, I am grateful for the blessing of having enough food to eat, never mind the luxury of having a choice of what to eat!

Did you make a meal plan for last week?  If so, were you able to follow it?  Are you making a meal plan for this week?  Or, do you decide what's for dinner on the morning of the day?

Sunny on Sunday

Blueberry Flowers

The blueberry bushes, growing by the back door, are flowering!  We bought them last year and picked quite a few blueberries.  I am hoping for another good crop, this year, too, although my daughter might not be here to enjoy them fresh.  

It was a sunny day, today.  Still warm, in the low 70s, but, the weather forecast calls for some showers and cooler temperatures in the coming week.  

I spent a little more time in the shed, today, too. So, what is this shed that I've been talking about so much?  It isn't one of those cute "she sheds" that look like tiny cottages and are very pretty!  It is a very utilitarian metal shed, which was a pristine white when we bought it 30 years ago, but, it has since rusted quite a bit (the inside is grey and not rusted):

Garden Shed

It sits right behind the garage and backs up against the side garden wall; it is about 8' x 10', I think, and sits on a cemented area that was poured for the purpose.

This is how it looked inside once M had removed all the cans and bottles (which had been stored in plastic shopping bags which had disintegrated!):

Inside After the Recyclables Were Removed

This photo was taken on Friday, after things were taken out and I had started to sweep the floor:

Clean Up in Progress

Swept Floor and The Old Metal Shelving Unit

This next photo was taken after the floor and walls were hosed down, on Saturday.  There are still some stains on the floor, which I was unable to remove with just hosing it down; it's not pretty, but, I know it is relatively clean, now. 

Washed Floor

Today, I spent about an hour in the shed, removing the items that were on the metal shelving unit, pulling the shelf unit out, and hosing it down.  Then, I hosed down the shed wall that was behind the shelf unit and that part of the floor needed to be washed, again, too.  I moved the shelf unit to the opposite wall, just for a change!  Then, I decided I had to rinse out the old pots and planters before I put them back inside and that created a bit of a muddy mess just outside the shed!  I left the shed doors open to help the inside dry a bit faster, while I picked a few snow pea pods.  The doors were open for less than 5 minutes, but, it was long enough for Stripey cat, as curious as ever, to go inside to check out this interesting place!  So, I chased him away and closed the doors, again!  Later, I put a few things back, because the forecast said there might be a chance of showers in the morning.  I didn't want the ladder, etc. to get wet.  

I am wondering if I should put the old computer desk (that is still sitting outside) in the shed to make a sort of potting table.  

In the afternoon, I took some muffins over to friend R and she gave me some bananas she had bought for me (after I had told her about the missing bananas, yesterday!) and shared some homegrown tangerines a friend had given her!  I also chatted on the phone with neighbor T.

Later, my daughter connected the new modem, without any trouble!  So glad that went well.

In the evening, we watched the Olympics Closing Ceremony.  I cooked salmon, a stir-fry of vegetables, and a boxed rice and wild rice mix for dinner and did the dishes.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Friend R giving me bananas and tangerines
- The shed clean up is coming along nicely
- Harvesting more peapods from the garden
- Daughter was able to connect the new modem without difficulty
- What I was able to accomplish

Today's joyful activity was a quick curbside visit with friend R.

Daughter is off work, tomorrow, for Presidents' Day.  She is happy to have a long weekend.  My plans for tomorrow will depend on the weather - if it rains, for how long, etc., and any activities daughter might want to do.  I will try to wash the rest of the pots and planters and put them back in the shed, tomorrow; M will have to help me with the grill (it probably need a good scrub, too, although I hosed it down, today).  

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


Sunday, February 20, 2022


Lahmajoon (Armenian Pizza) and Treats

Today, Saturday, was a lovely, sunny, warm day, with a high of 79F.  However, according to the weather forecast, we will have cooler weather next week, with daytime highs in the 50s and 60s and night time lows of 34F on Wednesday night.  I hope there won't be any frost damage to the plants in the garden!

This morning, we visited my friend A, at long last!  I called her, first, to find out if she was feeling well enough for us to visit and she said yes.  It was lovely to see her and her mother, who is visiting from Sri Lanka, again, and my daughter enjoyed visiting with A's two daughters.  We all wore our masks and they understood when we declined to eat or drink anything.  We didn't stay too long, just under one hour, as I didn't want to tire A too much.  As we were leaving, A's daughter and mother gave us a bag with some bread rolls from a popular Cuban bakery and some sesame and jaggery (palm sugar) candy from Sri Lanka!  

On the way home, we stopped to put gas to the car as I was nearing the quarter tank mark since I last put gas to the car at the end of December, on 12/28 to be exact.  I put $50 worth of gas, today, since that is what I budget for gas, each month.   

When we got home, we noticed that the modem had been delivered!  Hurray!  Daughter will install it, tomorrow (she was going to install it this evening, but, I pointed out that the customer service help line would have closed by then, in case she needed to call them; we decided it would be better to wait until they were open to install the modem).  

After we came home, we had a late brunch of leftover pizza from last night's dinner (daughter) and bread rolls sandwiched with sliced sauteed chicken (me).  Freshly picked oranges for dessert.

Daughter's friend A stopped by in the afternoon to have daughter try on an accessory to go with her maid of honor dress for A's upcoming wedding.  I was wearing the scarf she had given me for Christmas and she noticed it, when I went to say Hi to her (once again, we were all wearing our masks). 

Later in the afternoon, I washed the shed, washing down the inside walls and the cement floor.  Plenty of spider webs and spiders, including a few black widow spiders, got washed away, along with the dust and dirt on the floor.  I'm leaving it to dry, overnight.  Tomorrow, I plan to clean the steel shelving unit that is still inside and rinse out the empty pots and planters, before putting things back in place.

Then, around 4:00 p.m., neighbor S called to say her mother had just made some lahmajoon and would I like to have some.  She brought over the still warm lahmajoon, some gata (cookies) that her sister-in-law had made, and two pieces of bird's milk cake, which is a sort of torte with layers of cake and cream topped with chocolate ganache!  Absolutely delicious!  

Later, I did two loads of laundry, watched some figure skating on TV, did the dishes, tidied the kitchen a bit, and did the litter box.  Called and spoke with friend R, as well, and I had a socially distanced chat with neighbor T's daughter, when we were both outside.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Being able to visit friend A and family
- A safe drive to A's and back
- The availability of gas for the car
- Receiving so many delicious food treats, from Cuban bread rolls to Sri Lankan sesame candy to Armenian pizzas and baked goods!
- What I was able to accomplish

Today's joyful activity was visiting friend A.

Plans for tomorrow include cleaning the stuff that have to go back to the shed.

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