Thursday, March 31, 2022

March Room of the Month - The Garage

First of all, thank you, everyone, for your very kind comments about my March decluttering.  You were all very encouraging and congratulatory, maybe a bit incredulous (a possum skeleton?), but, not judgmental.  I appreciate that very much.  I don't consider myself to be a hoarder but, I readily admit to being a keeper-of-stuff!

Cleaning the garage had been on my To Do List for a very long time.  Years, in fact.  Well before it got to the stage it was in at the beginning of this month.  But, I postponed doing it because it was a big task and, every time I set out to do some cleaning, I felt overwhelmed by it.  It was too full of things that I wasn't quite sure I wanted to get rid of.  It was too messy, too dirty, too difficult, I didn't have the time, there were other things I should be doing inside the house or in the garden, too hot, too cold.  I am not making excuses; I am just describing how I felt. 

In the meantime, additional things got put in the garage.  When there was no room on the shelves, the items were set on the floor.  Then, one of the shelves tilted forward (a screw had come loose and fallen off) and after one of the small earthquakes we have from time to time, the stuff sitting on the tilting shelf fell down.  I probably left it where it fell until I could fix the shelf, except, I didn't fix the shelf.  So, the stuff sat on the floor and additional stuff were dumped on top of that stuff.  In addition, there was a small hole in the side door through which the garden cats and possums got in from time to time.  They usually found their way out, too, but, at least one possum didn't!  But, the cats would sometimes run around and jump on things and they knocked things down which didn't always get picked up.  I eventually got someone to replace the door so the animals couldn't get in - that was in November 2019.  Unfortunately, that door is already warped from the rain!  Obviously, the door was not meant for an outside door!  

Mary-Lou posted about "silent to dos" and "tolerances" and, as I mentioned in my comment to her, I have very high levels of tolerances when it comes to mess and clutter.  There is a reason why my online name is Bless My Mess!  

Finally, when Eileen asked me if there were any projects I could do outside (I had been trying to explain why I was letting some house projects were going undone because I didn't want workers in the house during the pandemic unless absolutely necessary, such as when the furnace needed to be replaced) and I successfully cleaned out the garden shed in February, I decided that I will clean the garage in March.  It was going to be my March Room of the Month.  I started out spending 15 minutes a day, just removing one or two items to declutter.  Deciding what to declutter and what to keep took most of that time!  Oh, the dialogs I held with myself over keeping and tossing! I posted some pictures after I had got started, here.  

Right Wall - Then
Right Wall - Now

Not much of a difference at first glance, but, the shelving units and the cabinet top have been scrubbed clean and all the large cooking pots (yes, they are used, especially when having large gatherings, jam and chutney making, etc.) and one or two baking pans have been moved to these two shelving units - easy to access from the side door.  I have not gone through the kitchen cabinet unit, yet, or the totes in the corner (Christmas decorations and some old files).

This is the left wall, my "wall of shame" which I didn't show in the earlier post because I felt too ashamed to show it; I am taking a deep breath and posting it now:

Left Wall - Before (March 12, 2022)

I spent half the month just steeling myself to deal with this mess.  The other half of the month was spent working on it! I really, really wished I had some help with this part of the cleaning (it would have been accomplished much faster with some help, too), but, I managed to do it, a little at a time.  These are the pictures I took while the cleaning was in progress:

March 14, 2022 - The lilac vinyl table cover 
is covering the window air conditioner

March 21, 2022

March 22, 2022 
Some of the donations ready to go

March 25, 2022

March 26, 2022: Tilting wall shelf
to the right of the yellow basket

March 26, 2022: Focus on the empty
lower shelves

And at the end of the month:

March 30, 2022

I asked M to put the box with the Christmas tree on top of the metal shelving unit.  It had been stored on the floor between the Christmas totes and the old kitchen cabinet on the opposite wall.  I realize it makes the top of the shelving units look very crowded, but, I am trying to get things off the floor, to make it easier to clean the floor and to minimize the opportunity for critters to get inside the boxes! 

March 30, 2022: Empty Shelves!

I might take these shelves down, too, eventually, but, I'm keeping these up for now.  

I haven't finished decluttering the garage, yet, but, I have brushed cobwebs down from the walls, washed the windows, washed each and every shelf and cleared quite a bit of the clutter.  I am now in the process of cleaning out the files and the newly ordered paper shredder should help with that!  

Still to do:
- Go through boxes of files and papers
- Go through the old kitchen cabinet and decide what to do with all the craft supplies stored in there
- Decide if I want to continue to keep the kitchen cabinet
- Find a better place for the stack of resin chairs (we use them in the garden in the summer)
- Go through the stack of plastic drawers
- Go through the Christmas items (might wait until closer to Christmas to do that!)

I am debating whether to continue with the garage as my room of the month in April, too.  It is, most definitely, a work in progress!

After the Rain

Iceberg Roses
After the rain, the garden plants are happy!

Rosa "Dr. Huey" (Root stock rose)

I didn't notice the bug on the pink rose bud, below, when I took the picture:

Pink Rose Bud and Bug!

The succulents growing along the side wall in the front garden are happy, too!


And the pomegranate tree is full of buds!

Pomegranate Flower Buds

The self-seeded phacelia plants are flowering, too!  


Yesterday (Tuesday) was a mostly sunny day, after Monday's rain. I didn't have to report in person for jury duty, so I got to relax at home.  I brought in the trash cans, checked on the garden, did a load of laundry, wrote my blog post about the decluttering (thank you, everyone for your very kind comments on that), ran the dishwasher, decluttered another file of my mother's old bank statements, watched news, spoke with friends and a cousin, and cooked dinner:

Glazed Chicken, Salsa Rice, and Vegetables

I pan sauteed the second tray of chicken thighs that I had bought, with some sliced onions and tomatoes, teriyaki sauce and a couple of spoons of a jar of ginger marmalade that I had received as a Christmas gift.  I also sauteed some carrots and broccoli go to with the chicken and cooked a pot of rice.  There was half a jar of hot salsa languishing in the fridge, so I added a couple of spoons of the salsa to the rice when I was cooking it, and gave a really nice flavor to the rice!  It's a good way to use up some leftover salsa!

I didn't make a specific meal plan, this week, but, we will be having chicken in one form or another!  LOL.

I didn't have to report for jury duty, today (Wednesday), either!  So, I slept in, then, got busy in the garage!  I had almost come to the end of my cleaning when M arrived to tend to the garden.  But, first, he got roped into helping me a bit in the garage!  He wiped down a shelf that was too high for me to clean without standing on a chair, checked and washed the patio umbrella, tossed a partially used box of joint compound for sheet rock (left over from the family room addition nearly 25 years ago!), moved the box with the Christmas tree from where it was stored on the floor in a corner to the top of one of the metal shelving units (I'm trying to have fewer things being stored on the floor), and finally escaped to do some weeding in the garden!  LOL.  

I had thought I was done with decluttering in the garage, but, I found a lot more stuff to declutter, today:

3 more boxes
- Party favor bags
1 wooden expandable bracket
1 fabric protection care kit
2 round wooden boxes
3 metal bookends
1 book
3 vinyl records
1 binder
1 vinyl table cover
1 metal piece from the old water heater vent pipe
- assorted nails, nuts and bolts, etc. 
- partial box of joint compound
1 candle holder
1 package with 10 mini plastic food containers

Then, there was this:


When my daughter was in 2nd grade, she learned about fossils and made a "fossil" in class.  I showed it to her and she had no recollection of making it.  She told me to toss it, but, I kept it in one of the planters in the garden.  

And there were these two items, too:

University Flag and Button

I received these two items during my orientation session at the university, August 1974!  Blog readers from Wisconsin might be amused to see them.  Yes, I've kept them all these years, but, I tossed them, today.

I relaxed in the afternoon and later, I shredded my way through another couple of file folders of papers.  My daughter ordered a cross-cut shredder for me, today.  I think I am going to need it!

Later in the evening, I called to check if I need to report for jury duty, tomorrow.  The good news is: not only don't I have to go in tomorrow (a state holiday - Cesar Chavez Day), I have been deemed to have completed my jury service for this time around!  Hurray!

Today, I am grateful for:

- Garden flowers (and vegetables, too!)
- M helping me in both the garage and the garden
- More decluttering
- Memories
- I was able to complete my jury service without having to go to the courthouse in person!  

Today's joyful activity was more decluttering!

Plans for tomorrow include doing a bit of housework and maybe baking something.  

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

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

March Decluttering

The month has not ended, yet, but, I think I have done just about all the decluttering I want to do, this month!

My March Decluttering Goal was 31 items decluttered.  I can happily state that I decluttered a LOT more!  Much of what I decluttered were items I had stored in the garage.  Several items were donated, some were recycled, and the rest were tossed because they were too old, too worn, too dirty, etc., to be donated.

Decluttered items included:

7 bags of clothes
5 pairs shoes & boots
10 clothes hangers
5 purses
1 "leather" drawstring pouch the new shoes came in

16 VHS tapes 
16 books
6 magazines
1 magazine holder

1 punch bowl with 10 cups and the hooks to attach the cups
1 metal plant stand
7 plastic/vinyl table covers (most were being used as dust covers, shelf liners, etc.)
1 fabric sofa cover 
1 mini decorative screen 

3 former work related reports
1 old fridge drawer (used to store glass jars)
15 assorted glass jars
- plastic plant drip saucers
- several wood trim off cuts (from hardwood flooring and door trim

1 nylon scrub sponge
2 spray bottles
1 photo album cover
8 cardboard boxes
- some packaging materials

2 plastic laundry detergent scoops
1 metal pump used for squeezing out silicone sealant
- some car motor oil and half used cleaning supplies (given away)
2 old car floor mats
1 old rice cooker

5 stuffed toys
3 dolls
1 child's wheeled backpack
- several children's toys and games
2 child-sized brooms; replicas of Sri Lankan brooms used indoors with coir (coconut husk fibers) bristles and outdoors with ekels (the ribs of coconut palm fronds)l brought from Sri Lanka by my mother for my daughter 

3 jigsaw puzzles
1 plastic shoe box
1 gift wrap organizer (my mother sewed)
- several partial rolls pf gift wrap
2 bags assorted beads

5 wreaths
- assorted wreath making supplies including bags of fabric flowers, dried moss, floral foam, decorative items, etc. 
1 large decorative cookie tin
- some note pads
1 ruler

4 resin snowpeople family
1 bag plastic Easter eggs
1 plastic tray/container
1 pair rusted scissors
1 picture frame

- paint stirrer sticks
1 paint brush
- zippered bags that bed linen came in
1 set juvenile bedding (fitted sheet, flat sheet, 2 pillowcases)
1 mirror

1 box costume jewelry
2 hair bows
2 cassette tapes
1 set old Christmas bulbs
1/2 bag of sand (leftover from home remodeling project)

1 basket
2 old kitchen towels
- craft leaflets and booklets
1 craft activity kit
1 portable CD player

3 dried up paint cans
1 foil pie pan
12 x 3-ring binders
2 wall hooks
- Old tax preparation instruction booklets (from 1990!)

1 small roll of leftover vinyl flooring
- vinyl floor tiles
1 wall clock
- several egg cartons (kept to use for germinating seeds)
- several files of old bank statements and other personal papers (my mothers)l what I am working on, currently.

I didn't list some other bits and pieces such as dried out pens, broken sprinkler heads, an assortment of nails and screws, etc. 

Oh, and last, but, not least, the one item that made me thankful for my biology background and familiarity with handling skeletons:

The complete skeleton of an adult opposum that I pulled out from under one of the metal shelving units!  

(No, I did not take a picture of it!  No doubt you are all relieved that I didn't!  LOL)

What I did take a picture of is this - one of the wreaths I had made, which I tossed:

Notions Wreath - Decluttered

I am not quite done with decluttering in the garage.  There is still more stuff to go through and declutter.  But, I think I'll wait until April to do so.  
My April decluttering goal will be a minimum of 30 items decluttered.

Did you declutter anything in March?  Did you meet your decluttering goal?  

Rain on Monday

Rainy Monday

I woke up to rain, this morning.  It rained all morning, a good shower of rain that gave the garden a good soak.  In the afternoon, it stopped raining and the sun shone between the clouds for a little bit.  It remained quite cool, though, with the afternoon highs in the mid-50s.  Then, it started to rain again in the evening and it as been raining on and off all evening. 

I took it rather easy, today.  

Today was the anniversary of my father's birthday.  He was a doctor, he had been a widower with 5 children when he married my mother, and I was his youngest child and the only child from his second marriage.  He died when I was 7 years old so I didn't get to know him as a person, his likes and dislikes, etc.  This is one of the few pictures I have of the two of us, together.  

My Father and I

In the afternoon, when it stopped raining for a bit, I took the trash cans to the curb for pick up in the morning, picked a few oranges and some peapods, and checked on the garden shed.  Apparently, the rain had come in from gaps between the roof and the walls, because the floor was wet in areas.  Not that it matters much, but, it is good to know.

I didn't do anything in the garage, today, but, I continued to shred (cut, actually) the contents of the box of files I had brought in.  My mother's old bank statements, retirement papers, correspondence with the Social Security Administration, etc.  I had kept them just in case they were needed, but, they have not been needed and it is now time to dispose of them.  But, it makes me feel sad, too, in a way.  It's like I am erasing a bit of her history with every piece of paper I shred.  This is why decluttering is so hard for me.

Later in the evening, I called to see if I need to report for jury duty tomorrow and was told I did not have to report in person.  I will call again, tomorrow, to find out about Wednesday.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Rain for the garden
- A warm house providing shelter from the rain
- The few memories I do have of my father
- Working appliances
- Garden produce

Today's joyful activity was listening to the rain falling!

Plans for tomorrow include bringing in the trash cans, doing some laundry, and cleaning the kitchen!

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

Monday, March 28, 2022


Pink Rose

Yes, it is one of the pink roses I showed in the collage, yesterday.  

Today was a cooler day and would have been a good day to work in the garage, but, I took the day off from doing garage stuff.  

Daughter had come home late from the party, last night, and we had stayed up till the "wee hours" of the morning, discussing the party.  She brought me a plate of food and some desserts and I ate some of that while we chatted.  It was 4:30 a.m. when we went to bed.

I woke up at 6:30 a.m., needing to go to the bathroom and then, couldn't fall asleep, again!  So, I got up, got dressed, had a cup of tea, and said my morning prayers.  Then, around 8:00 a.m., I fell asleep, again, on the sofa and slept till about 11:00 a.m.  

In the afternoon, I chatted with neighbor T for a bit (our weekly phone call).  Later, I helped my daughter cook the food to take to friend A.  I cooked the kale dish, boiled the eggs, and cooked the rice.  Daughter cooked the dhal and made the milk gravy for the hard boiled eggs.  Then, we dished up the food and took it over to friend A.  She was resting so we handed the bags of food over to her younger daughter and spoke with her for a bit and came back home, stopping to get two ice cream cones on the way home!  Plain vanilla soft serve ice cream, this time, from a fast food drive-through!  We might have got a hamburger, chicken nuggets, and fries, too, but I am not admitting to anything other than the cones!  LOL!    Friend A called me later in the evening to thank us for bringing the food.

Daughter took a nap on the sofa after we came home and I watched most of the Oscars while I cut up some of the old bank statements I am decluttering.   

At 7:00 p.m., I called the jury service reporting center to find out if I am required to report for jury service tomorrow and I was told I didn't need to!  I was happy to hear that!  I have to call in, again, tomorrow evening, after 7:00 p.m., to find out if I need to go in on Tuesday.  

I asked A if she'd like me to come and stay with her while her daughters are working, but, she said her husband has the day off tomorrow.  Also, apparently, her brothers are flying in tonight, so she'll have their company, too.  I will stay home and tend to a few things around the house, instead.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Naps on the sofa
- Being able to prepare some food and take to friend A
- A safe drive there and back
- Not having to go in for jury duty tomorrow
- Working appliances

Today's joyful activity was enjoying ice cream cones with my daughter.   

The forecast is for rain, tomorrow morning!  I am hoping there will be enough rain to soak the garden,  Plans for tomorrow include some house work and paper work.

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

Saturday, March 26, 2022



Pink Roses
The pink roses are flowering!  

Today, I picked up the groceries at noon.  By the time I came home, my daughter had left to help her friend with preparations for his Hollywood themed birthday party (being held outdoors and she will be fully masked the whole time; although our county's new case numbers have been below 1,000 for several days, now we are not sure if that is because fewer people are testing or there is less spread!)

I put away the groceries and then spent about an hour or so in the garage!  Today, I spent a lot of time trying to clean two shelves at the bottom of the metal shelving units.  Something had spilled and made quite a mess and the shelves were filthy!  I will be posting some pictures of the garage, soon, but, not yet.  

Eventually, it got too hot to be in the garage, so, I came in to the house, cooled off a bit, had something to eat, ran the dishwasher, and replied to blog comments.  Then, I wrote up my March grocery shopping  part 3 post, watches some cooking shows and the news, called my half-sister to wish her for her birthday, etc.

I received the phone call in the evening, informing me of friend A's mother's death.  A's daughter had texted the news to my daughter who then called me to let me know.  I called A and spoke with both her and her daughter.  Her mother's passing was peaceful.  Unfortunately, she passed away before her sons could come from Australia.  A said one brother was arriving tomorrow, the other sometime next week.  Afterwards, I called one of my cousins and friend R to give them the news (they both know A).  

I haven't done much after that.  I had leftovers for dinner and have been going through a box of files, shredding the old bank statements (cutting them with a pair of scissors, actually), while I wait for my daughter to come home.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Roses blooming in the garden
- Family and friends
- Sunny days and the promise of rain in the forecast
- Memories
- What I was able to accomplish, today

Today's joyful activity was admiring the roses in the garden.

Plans for tomorrow include cooking and taking the food to friend A and, later in the evening, calling to find out if I need to report for jury duty on Monday!

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

March Grocery Shopping - Part 3

March grocery shopping Part 3 happened in two sessions!  LOL.  On Thursday, I ordered regular groceries, taking advantage of the week's specials, and picked them up on Friday.  Then, Friday evening, I ordered some additional groceries after speaking with friend A and picked them up on Saturday!

Both orders had items that were not in stock and they couldn't substitute: shrimp and red lentils; I am glad that I had stocked up on red lentils, earlier!  The groceries I picked up on Friday also included one substitution (name brand sausages for the store brand that I ordered, which was fine with me; the name brand sausages, which were not on sale, were priced at $7.99 per package!).  I also noticed price increases in at least two items that I purchased on this trip (kale and soda).

But, guess who was back doing the morning/early afternoon shift?  Yes, Jennifer, who gave me a $5 discount off my grocery order on Friday!  Today (Saturday), I finally gave her the card I had written to her along with a small gift of a scarf that I had knitted.  

Back to the groceries...

Friday's groceries included:

Bananas @ $.65/lb. = $1.35
Grapes @ $1.98/lb. (reg. price $3.29) = $1.65
Peaches @ $.97/lb. (reg. price $2.49) = $.97
Nectarines @ $.97/lb. (reg. price $2.49) = $1.45

Chicken thighs @ $1.11/lb. (reg. price $2.19/lb.; buy 1 get 1 free sale) = $9.79
Sausages 2 pkts. @ $3.99 = $7.98
Frozen battered fish fillets, 10 count, 19.45 oz. (reg. price $6.99) = $4.99

Salted peanuts, 16 oz. jar = $2.49
Peanut butter, 2 x 16 oz. jar @ $1.67 = $3.34

Half & half, 2 x 32 fl. oz. @ $2.39 = $4.78
Milk, 1/2 gal. = $2.29

Tomato paste, 12 oz. cans, 2 x $1.29@ = $2.58
Frozen corn, 12 oz. bags, 2 x $1@  (reg. price $1.25) = $2.00

Tortillas, 10 ct., 17.5 oz. (reg. price $2.69) = $2.50
Multi-grain bread = $1.99

Semi-sweet chocolate chips, 12 oz. (reg. price $3.99) = $2.47 

Total = $52.62

Saturday's groceries included:

1 cucumber = $.99
1 lb. kale = $1.99 (price increase - used to be $1.49)

1 doz. large eggs (reg. price $3.79) = $1.90

1 Oat milk, 52 fl. oz. (reg. price $4.29) = $3.50

1 Fruit juice blend, 59 fl. oz. (reg. price $3.29) = $2.99

4 x 6 pack lemon-lime soda, 16.9 fl oz. bottles; $3.25@ (must buy 4; otherwise $5.49 = $13.00 
(price increase; used to be 4/$12)
soda bottle deposit = $1.20

Total = $25.57

(Non-grocery item - 1 bottle hair conditioner $4.99 + $1.82 sales tax; not part of the grocery total.)

My total for this week's groceries came to $52.62 +$25.57 = $78.19.

March grocery budget (food items only) = $200, plus $11.21 carried over from February = $211.21

Spent to date = $63.42 + $41.29 + $78.19 = $182.90

Balance left in the budget = $211.21 - $ 182.90 = $28.31

I doubt very much if I will go grocery shopping again this month, but, one never knows!  If I don't have to shop between now and April 1, then, I will carry the balance forward. 

I had planned to budget $100 for groceries in April, because I had expected my daughter to return to northern California by the end of this month.  However, since she will be staying with me for most of April, I will continue to budget $200 for the month for the two of us.  

As always, I am grateful for:

- Being able to order groceries online and pick up, curbside
- The availability of groceries in general
- Being able to afford to buy groceries
- Friendly grocery store workers
- The store's favorable substitution policies

How is everyone doing with their March grocery shopping and budget?  Are you noticing a lot of price increases?  Have you been able to stay within your budget or have you had to adjust your budget?  

Friday, March 25, 2022

Friday's Happenings

Cat Naps

I spent a relaxed morning and then, went to the grocery store at noon to pick up the groceries I had ordered, yesterday.  They didn't have one item I had ordered and they substituted a different brand of sausages for the store brand sausages I had ordered, but, otherwise, everything was fine.  I will post my grocery totals in another post because I have put in another order of groceries, today, to be picked up, tomorrow!  I'll explain the reasons for that, later.

After I came home and put away the groceries, I did a little more garage cleaning.  I am still working my way down the left wall of the garage.  Today's decluttering included three dried up paint cans, one foil pie pan, the box the microwave came in (I had used it to store some wreath-making supplies), four 3-ring binders, and a bag of artificial flowers.  

I had planned to take a few things over to friend R, this afternoon, but, by the time I finished in the garage, it was past 2:30 p.m., I was feeling hot (it was 87F, today), a bit tired, and hungry as I hadn't eaten anything yet (had a cup of tea in the morning).  So, I called R and postponed my visit for another day, came inside, ate a fruit, relaxed a bit, and then, had leftovers from last night's dinner for my brunch!  

Afterwards, I cleaned my bathroom (and Dancer's litter box) and relaxed for a bit while my daughter packed a box with some clothes and other items to take back with her.  Her original plan had been to go up to Berkeley this weekend, on Sunday, getting a ride up with her friend P.  But, her office move in day has been postponed from April 4th to April 20 and she has decided to stay down here for those extra three weeks.  However, her friend had offered to take a box of stuff up for her so, daughter will send some of her clothing and other items with P and then, fly up later, closer to the move in date.

M came by, a bit later, around 4:30 p.m. and put up the trellis for the passionfruit vine, which we transplanted into a bigger pot, today.  Hopefully, it will grow and produce lots of fruit!  

Later in the evening, I called friend A to see how things were.  No change in her mother's condition, she said.  We spoke for a bit and I asked her if she needed anything.  At first, she said no, but, then, she asked if my daughter could possibly make her the dhal (lentil) curry she had made for her, earlier, with oat milk, and kale mallung made without coconut; of course I said yes, and daughter offered to make an egg curry, too.  We needed to buy more oat milk and fresh kale, so, we put in another grocery order to be picked up tomorrow and we included a few other items I didn't order, yesterday, in order to bring up the total to waive the pick up fee.   I asked friend R if she wanted me to order anything for her, but, she said, no.

I will pick up this new order of groceries at noon, tomorrow.  Daughter has made plans to attend her friend P's 30th birthday celebration, tomorrow, but, she will cook the dishes A wanted on Sunday morning and we will take them to her in the afternoon.  That is the plan.  

For dinner, tonight, I baked some chicken thighs and potato wedges, and steamed some broccoli side shoots picked from the garden.  Plenty of leftover chicken thighs for the weekend.  

I also did two loads of laundry, this evening.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being able to order groceries online and pick up curbside
- A safe drive to the grocery store and back
- Daughter's friend has offered to take some of her stuff up for her
- M putting up the trellis for me
- What I was able to accomplish

Today's joyful activity was making more progress in the garage.

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

Thursday's Activities

California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)

The California poppies that self-seeded, last year, are starting to flower in the garden!  There are only a few flowers, right now, but, hopefully, there will be more, later.

Purple Martha Washington Geraniums 

In another part of the garden, the clump of geraniums in front of the garden shed are in flower, too.  I love their color.

Today, I picked another handful of peapods. 

Later, I did more cleaning in the garage.  I am going through some of the metal shelving units, wiping down each shelf and reorganizing what I am storing there.  I also tossed the giftwrap organizer my mother sewed for me, years ago:

Hanging Gift Wrap Organizer

It had one large pocket for rolls of gift wrap, and smaller pockets on the other side for storing ribbons, bows, folded pieces of gift wrap or small gift bags, etc.  It was old, faded, and starting to tear in one corner.  I tossed some of the rolls of gift wrap that I still had in it and the small child-sized broom that you can see sticking out from the pocket - my mother brought it from Sri Lanka for my daughter - a replica of the type of brooms we used there, with coconut fiber bristles.  Then, I wiped down that wall (so many cobwebs!) and washed that window.  

I pulled out one box containing some files that can be shredded and disposed of.  Since I don't have a shredder, it means I need to tear and/or cut the documents by hand.  I didn't want to take the time to do that, today, since I was still in the process of sorting things out.  Clearing out the boxes of files is something I will do, later.

In the evening, I decided to cook pasta with ground turkey sauce for dinner.  I cooked a 1 lb. packet of ground turkey with about half an onion, a few cloves of fresh garlic, a little celery, some diced bell pepper, a grated carrot, and 2.5 cups of grated zucchini that I had frozen.  All the extra vegetables bulked up the ground turkey:

Ground Turkey and Vegetables

I added about 3/4 of a can of tomato paste (leftover from cooking the frozen kufta) and a small container of homemade tomato sauce that I had frozen, earlier. If I didn't add the tomato paste and sauce, the turkey and vegetable mixture would have been good with rice or potatoes, I think.  Daughter and I had some of the ground turkey with pasta for our dinner and there are leftovers for tomorrow.  The 1 lb. of ground turkey cost $2.99 and I didn't even try to add the cost of the other ingredients, but, I consider this to be a relatively frugal meal.

After I had cooked dinner, but, before we ate, I called friend A to check on her.  Yesterday, friend A called me in the morning to tell me that her mother, who is visiting her, has had a stroke, sometime in the night or early morning (A's daughter found her grandmother unresponsive when she went to wake her up in the morning) and was in the ICU.  I called to check on her condition, again, yesterday evening, and spoke with A's daughter who had been with her grandmother all day; she updated me on her grandmother's condition - paralysis on the right side, not much voluntary movement on the left side, either, and unable to open her eyes or speak.  Today, when I called, A said her mother had taken a turn for the worse and the doctors have told the family to prepare themselves for the inevitable.  A is in shock and I tried to comfort her.  Her daughter C was with her grandmother, again, and apparently, she will sit with her grandmother until tomorrow morning when her younger sister and father will relieve her.  I offered to take her some dinner and daughter spoke with her, but, C declined the offer, saying she can't eat in the ICU room and she didn't want to step out of the room for even a few minutes.  Provided I don't have to report for jury duty in person, next week, I have promised to stay with A for a few hours in the afternoons, to keep her company while her husband and daughters go to work/attend to grandma, etc.

Later, I chatted with friend R, too.

Finally, I ordered some groceries to be picked up, tomorrow.  Earlier this week, grocery store workers in southern California began to vote on whether to authorize a strike or not.  The results of the vote will be announced on Sunday, I believe.  An authorization to  call a strike does not necessarily mean that there will be a strike, but, I thought it would be better to get the grocery shopping done sooner rather than later.    

Today, I am grateful for:

- Flowers in the garden
- Today's garden harvest
- The garage cleaning accomplishments
- Being able to order groceries online
- Digital coupons!

Today's joyful activity was checking on the flowers in the garden and picking peapods.

Plans for tomorrow include:

- Picking up the groceries
- Taking some items to friend R
- M tending to the garden
- Continuing with the garage cleaning

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

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Wednesday's Adventures

Sunday's Garden Harvest: Peapods, Broccoli Side Shoots, 
Japanese Spinach Leaves

The garden keeps giving some wonderful harvests!  This is what I picked on Sunday - peapods, broccoli side shoots, and Japanese spinach leaves.  Then, yesterday (Tuesday), I picked a bunch of Osaka purple mustard leaves and purple mizuna leaves to take to my friend N and today, (Wednesday), I picked more purple mustard leaves and purple mizuna leaves to take to my tax preparer.

This morning, I experienced a little vertigo when I first woke up.  I think I might have been a bit dehydrated.  I stayed in bed for a little longer and got up when I felt better.  

The donations hadn't been picked up when I first woke up and checked.  I thought I could add one more item that daughter was ready to declutter, but, by the time I waited for the vertigo to go away and got dressed, etc., the donations had been picked up, so I couldn't include the last item.  Not a problem - it can wait for the next donations pick up.  I am challenging myself to have at least another six bags or boxes for donation by the end of June.  The donations pick up team didn't accept the six dance magazines I had included with the books - they had left them in a neat pile by the door step.  I tossed them in the recycling bin, right away.  I didn't want to bring anything back into the house!  

M came by, later in the morning, to tend to the garden.  He bought me a trellis for the passionfruit vine, a role of wire mesh to keep the garden cats out of any new vegetable bed we might make, this year, and a packet of burgundy okra seeds (he buys me the stuff and I reimburse him).  We will try planting them in a sunnier spot in the garden, this time.  Last year, it took awhile for the seeds to germinate and the plants to grow.   

In the afternoon, I went for my appointment with the tax preparer.  I opted for an in-person visit, but we were both masked and I think it was alright.  

When I came home, I managed to lock myself out!  M had been here, still watering the garden when I left and I had asked him to close the garage door for me, which he had done, but, he hadn't locked it and I assumed he had left the gate unlocked, too, but, I didn't check to see.  Instead, I parked the car, closed the garage door, and locked it with the padlock.  Then, I realized that M had locked the gate!  My keys were inside the car, which was inside the locked garage!  I called my daughter (luckily, I had my cell phone on me!) and when she didn't answer, I texted her, and knocked on the front door.  But, daughter was doing an online interview and she couldn't leave the interview to unlock the gate for me!  So, I waited outside, walked up and down the drive way, checked on the garden, greeted the mail carrier when he brought the mail, and sat on the low section of the sidewall between my house and T's until my daughter was done with her interviewing, which she did a few minutes later.  What a blessing that she was home and could let me in!

Daughter asked me what I would have done if she hadn't been home to let me in, and I told her I would have texted M to ask him to swing by on his way home to unlock the gate for me (he has a spare key).  A long time ago, I had left the back door open, but, gone out the front door which shut itself and locked me out - I was able to climb over the side wall and let myself into the backyard, but, I am not about to try that, now!  But, this is a good reminder for me to be extra vigilant and not lock the garage door until I've made sure the gate was unlocked!  LOL.

I've spent a relatively relaxed evening.  Today's meals were mostly leftovers - I had a slice of toast in the morning, daughter had leftover rice and chicken curry; I had the last of the leftover rice for dinner and daughter had leftover kufta.  We both snacked on oranges and she had some cereal and I had some lady's finger cookies.  I sorted through the top three shelves in the freezer and put a packet of ground turkey and a packet of grated zucchini to thaw to cook tomorrow.  

Today I am grateful for:

- M purchasing the garden supplies for me and saving me the trouble of shopping for them
- Donations being picked up
- Taxes are done and filed for another year
- A safe drive to the tax accountant's office and back
- Daughter was home to unlock the gate for me (after a short delay)

Today's joyful activity was getting the taxes done!  Not sure if joyful is the correct term (I owed taxes), but, at least, it is done for another year!

Plans for tomorrow include making and posting a birthday card for my half-sister, taking a couple of items over to friend R, doing a little more garage cleaning, and cooking.  

How was your day?  What are your plans for Thursday?  Have you locked yourself out, accidentally? If so, what did you do?  How did you manage to get yourself back inside?

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

The Front Garden in March


The Front Garden in March

I forgot to take a picture of the front garden on the 20th, but, I took one, today.  The lantana is flowering, the osteospermum is still flowering, too, but, the star of the garden, right now, is the climbing rose by the front door:

Red Roses

I think this is the most number of flowers it has ever had at one time!  

The front garden in January and February 

Yesterday, I did a little more cleaning in the garage.  I am by no means done in there, but, I am making progress.  Later, I called for a donations pick up and scheduled it for Wednesday!  

Today, I brought in the trash cans after they were emptied, watered the front garden, and did a little more cleaning in the garage!  This little fellow supervised me:


I'm not very good at identifying lizards, but, I would say that this is a Western Fence Lizard, even though it is on the garden wall and not a fence!  LOL.

In the evening, after my daughter finished work for the day, we dropped off a bag of garden grown greens and peapods at a friend's house (we left it at their front door and texted them to let them know; afterwards, my friend called to thank me).  

After we came home, daughter took neighbor T's trash can in for her and T called to thank her.  Later, I chatted with friend R.

Finally, I put the bags and boxes of donations out by the front door for pick up, tomorrow.  They will be picked up any time between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., I had been told; I do not want to wake up early in the morning to set out the donations before 8:00 a.m., so, I put them out, in the evening.  There are nine bags and boxes of donations, including a box containing a punch bowl and 10 punch cups, plus the hooks for the cups.  I went back and forth with the bunch bowl set as it had been a gift from my mother.  But, I have another punch bowl (a bit larger, but, without the cups).  I decided to keep that one and donate the one with the matching cups.  My daughter sorted through her closet and donated a huge trash bag full of clothes, as well.  She also gave me two purses (one with the tags still on) to give to friend R to send to her granddaughter.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Being able to share garden produce with friends
- Feeling better
- Phone chats with friends
- What I have been able to accomplish in the garage
- Weekly trash pick up!

Today's joyful activity was taking a bag of garden produce to drop off at a friend's house.

Plans for tomorrow include M's visit to tend to the garden (he is bringing me a trellis for the passionfruit vine!) and an appointment in the afternoon with the tax accountant to go over my tax documents.

How was your day?  How is your garden coming along?  What are your plans for Wednesday?

Monday, March 21, 2022

March Meal Plans - Weeks 3 and 4

 This was how the Week 3 meal plan turned out:

Breakfast: Fresh oranges; daughter had the last of the ground turkey mixture, as well
Lunch: Chicken fried rice (1 leftover sauteed chicken thigh, sliced up, leftover rice, leftover bell peppers from the Italian sausages, freshly picked peapods, the last bit of frozen corn left in the old bag, the last egg in the old carton, and a handful of roasted peanuts from a jar)
Dinner: Breakfast for dinner - American style pancakes, breakfast sausages, syrup/applesauce/jam, etc.; cucumber salad, later

Brunch: Scrambled eggs on toast Bananas, leftover pancakes and sausages
Dinner: Chicken (sauteed) curry, rice, kale mallung (kale shredded and cooked with grated coconut), lentil curry steamed broccoli

BrunchStringhoppers with chicken curry and lentils Scrambled eggs on toast; banana
Dinner: Baked chicken thighs with garbanzo beans and greens Chicken curry and stringhoppers

Brunch: Tortillas and chicken curry
Dinner: Kufta (from the freezer); salad

Brunch: Fried rice (me) or leftover kufta (daughter)
Dinner:  Pork curry, rice, broccoli chicken curry and tortilla; daughter had Japanese food take out (from the bachelorette event)

Brunch: Toast and eggs or jam
Dinner: Leftovers  Rice cooked with green split peas and grated carrot (daughter will be attending her friend's wedding)

BrunchWaffles  Pancakes with sugar and lemon - daughter requested pancakes instead of waffles
Dinner: Salmon, rice leftover from Saturday, green beans or broccoli  (I had saltine crackers, applesauce, and a slice of toast as I had a bit of an upset tummy)

And that is how that meal plan worked out!  LOL.

On to Week 4!  I'm going to do this week's meal plan a little differently, listing meal options simply because I don't know when I will be able to eat regular food.  The fridge is full of leftovers, so daughter can warm up things for herself.

Brunch Options for the Week:

Leftover rice and salmon (what daughter had on Monday; I had toast)
Toast and eggs/jam
Oatmeal/cream of wheat/cereal

: Choice of leftovers!
- Chicken curry and rice (what daughter had on Monday; I had saltine crackers and applesauce)
- Salmon and rice and veggies
- Kufta and rice or salad
- Toast, soup, mashed potatoes, or applesauce for me 

I'll try to keep a record of what we do eat.  

As always, the meal plan is subject to change!  I am grateful to be fortunate enough to plan and change the plans as I wish, secure in the knowledge that there is plenty of food to be prepared, shared, and eaten.  It is a blessing which I appreciate very much. 

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? 

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Story Book Wedding

Once Upon a Time

Imagine if you will, a medieval fantasy castle, with winged ice dragon maidens and knights.  That was the theme of my daughter's friend A's wedding.  The theme was carried out, throughout, with much of the props made by the bride, herself.

The bride's dress had a train (tail) made of silver and blue dragon scale (chain mail hand crafted by her), the maid of honor and bridesmaids wore ice blue and white Lolita-style dresses (design modified by the bride and custom made), and they all had wings made by the bride.  The groom, bestman, and groomsmen wore medieval knights' attire and the guests were encouraged to come in medieval costumes as well and, according to my daughter, almost everyone did!  It was held at a venue that looked like a castle (ceremony held outdoors with the castle as the backdrop) and was officiated by the "Elder Dragon" who was also in costume.  My daughter doesn't have any of the official group pictures, yet, but there is one informal picture of her with the bride.  My daughter doesn't have her wings on yet in the picture.  

Dragon Princess and Maid of Honor

The bride carried a bouquet, but, my daughter and the bridesmaids carried floral lanterns (flowers arranged by the bride):

Maid of Honor/Bridesmaids Lantern Bouquet 

The tables featured centerpieces reflecting the theme:

Table Centerpiece

And so did the cake:

Wedding Cake
(Cake toppers and circling dragon made by the bride)

The meal was a catered buffet - my daughter, who kept her mask on throughout the event, took her plate of food up to the bridal suite (at the bride's suggestion), ate a little of it up there (didn't want to be away so long that her absence would be noted) and brought the rest of it home to eat.   

Daughter said that the wedding went well, more or less according to plan, with one or two hiccups that were quickly covered up by her friends.  For example, when there was a slight delay for the bride to climb up the stairs to the podium before the ceremony started, one of her friends who was dressed as a jester entertained the guests, juggling (and, apparently dropping the balls because he is not a juggler, but, the guests thought it was all part of the act), joking, etc.

Towards the very end of the evening, around 8:30 p.m. (it was scheduled to end at 9:00 p.m.), it started to drizzle a bit, but, people were already starting to leave, so, it didn't matter.   Daughter stayed behind to help the bride to change, etc., and was one of the last to leave.  Her friends dropped her off and, shortly thereafter, it began to rain in earnest.  We had a good shower of much needed rain and I was grateful that my daughter and her friends (who live just a few blocks away) got home before it rained.

It truly was a very personalized wedding and I do wish the young couple all the best as they start their "Happily ever after"!  

Saturday, March 19, 2022


Garden Flowers

According to my daughter, yesterday's bachelorette events didn't go quite according to plan!  As maid of honor, she had done most of the planning, working with several constraints.  First of all, two of the bridesmaids live out of state and for various reasons, they were able to be here only during the wedding weekend, with one of them flying in on Friday morning and leaving on Sunday morning!  Since the bride-to-be didn't want to have a bachelorette event without two of her bridesmaids, daughter had to arrange it for Friday afternoon, between the time the one bridesmaid's flight was scheduled to arrive (and estimating how long it would take for her to get to the bride's place from the airport) and the wedding rehearsal scheduled for later that evening.  Another constraint was how much people were willing to spend for activities.  

The schedule daughter put together after much checking of plans, preferences, availability of venues, etc. was to meet at the bride's apartment building  parking area at 12:00 noon, carpool to a ceramics painting venue which had been booked from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (2 hour slots were the minimum, but daughter was thinking they would be done with their painting by 2:00 p.m.), drive to Little Tokyo (a section of downtown) where she had reserved a private booth at a karaoke place from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., picking up some dinner on the way to have while there.  Then, they would leave downtown around 5:00 p.m. to go to the wedding rehearsal which was scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m.  She also looked up some games they could play such as guessing the title of a series of love songs from the emojis provided, etc., printing them out to hand out to the other girls.  

That was the plan.  We all know what happens when we make plans, don't we?  My daughter arrived at the bride's apartment building a little bit before noon, and the girl who was going to drive them to the various venues arrived exactly at noon.  The other two bridesmaids were a bit late, but, that didn't matter too much because the bride-to-be was unable to join them until 12:45 p.m.!  So, when they left to go to the ceramics painting venue, they were already behind schedule!  Then, two of the girls wanted coffee, so they got coffee for them from a drive-through place and it was already past 1:00 p.m. when they got to the ceramics place.  So, obviously, they couldn't finish painting their pieces by 2:00 p.m. as daughter had hoped they would!

However, according to daughter, the bride-to-be really enjoyed painting the ceramics pieces and wanted to come back, another time, to do more of it. In fact, she had wanted to pay for them all, but, they had assured her that it was their treat!  What the other girls had agreed that they would do was gift their pieces to the bride.  So, they each chose a piece of a place setting - plates, cups, bowls, etc., to paint, personalizing them as they wished to, but, A will receive the finished products as a memento of her bachelorette event, which I thought was a nice thing to do.  

However, apparently, they didn't leave the ceramics place until almost 3:00 p.m. and that meant, they got caught to the evening commute and it took them almost an hour to get to downtown.  Then, by the time they picked up something to eat, it was already 4:30 p.m. and there wasn't much time left for karaoke, so they decided to skip that.  Instead, they sat outside on benches and the other girls ate, while daughter (who wasn't planning to remove her mask), kept her food to bring home!  They played a couple of the games that daughter had printed out and then, the friend who was driving checked the traffic report to see how long the drive to the wedding rehearsal would take.  Every other time, when daughter had checked the drive time, during various times of the day, she had been informed that it would take between 35 minutes to 1 hour at the most.  Well, apparently, yesterday, there were three separate accidents on the freeway they needed to take and the drive time estimate was 1.5 hours!  They should have left by then, already!  

She said that was a rather stressed drive to the rehearsal, but, they still played another game in the car and did some YouTube karaoke.  They arrived at the rehearsal 15 minutes late, but, at least they arrived safely and the rehearsal, itself, went well. Daughter was disappointed that the plans she had made so carefully hadn't quite worked out as scheduled, but, these things to happen and I was thankful that they were all safe.

Later in the evening, we put together a small emergency kit including a small sewing kit (needle, thread in colors to match the bridesmaids dresses, a pair of scissors, some safety pins, etc.) for daughter to take with her to the wedding.  The emergency kit included a tube of super glue because at her other friend's wedding, the bride's shoe heel broke off and her wedding planner had a tube of super glue and glued the shoe heel back on!  Other items included some clear nail polish  (for small tears in tights/pantyhose) and extra pairs of tights if needed.  Daughter asked me if I had a stain remover laundry detergent stick, but, I didn't and she asked one of the other girls if she could pick one up.  Then, because the weather forecast predicted rain, tonight, she packed a small folding umbrella, as well, in her backpack that she was taking with her!  Oh, and she printed out the speech for another friend who was officiating as his printer wasn't working! 
This morning was a bit hectic, too, as she kept getting calls and texts while she was getting dressed, asking her to bring this and that, including paperclips, a pair of tweezers (daughter included a mirror, too, just in case) and, the bride, already at the venue, had forgotten her earrings, did daughter have a silvery, dangly pair to bring for her? Daughter and I went through my jewelry box, picked out a couple of items and sent pictures to the bride who selected the pair that daughter was going to wear, so, daughter selected a different pair for herself.  LOL.  

Her friend who was giving her and another friend a ride to the wedding and back picked her up a little after 11:00 a.m. - they all had to be at the venue by noon for the photographs.  The wedding is being held outdoors, but, daughter was planning to wear her mask throughout - not quite sure how that worked out.  I packed some crackers into a container and gave her to take with her, because she didn't have time to eat anything in the morning.  I am hoping that she had time to eat at least a couple of them in between posing for the photos.  I am also hoping that she managed to eat something at the wedding dinner, but, if not, I have some rice and chicken curry for her.  

I had a rather relaxed day after the morning's excitement!  Picked some flowers from the garden, called to check on neighbor T, tried to call to schedule a donations pick up, but, being the weekend, there was no one available to speak with, so, will have to do that on Monday, did a bit of this and a bit of that and, since I was feeling a little tired, decided not to do any cleaning!

I had a scrambled egg on toast for brunch and decided to try something different when I cooked rice in the evening.  I added some dried green split peas to the rice (after soaking the split peas for about 20 minutes), along with a grated carrot, and I cooked it in some of the chicken stock I had made yesterday (after I defatted it).  It turned out quite well.  But, if one makes this with vegetable stock (or, even just water), then, it would be a vegetarian dish.  It is a relatively low-cost meal, too, since split peas are currently selling for $1.00 for a 1 lb. bag at the grocery stores, here.  I used half a cup of dried split peas (measured before soaking) to about half a cup of uncooked rice.  Also, since I used homemade stock with chicken bones after I removed and used the meat, the cost of the stock was minimal, too (just the gas used to simmer the stock).  It can be a main meal or a side dish.  One could also add more vegetables, such as celery and onions to the rice and split pea mixture, too.  I took a photo of the bowl of rice/split pea mixture after I cooked it, but, my photo didn't turn out well (very blurry).  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Daughter had a safe day out with her friends, yesterday, even if plans went a bit awry
- She was able to get a ride to and from today's events
- A relaxed day for me
- Flowers from the garden
- Working appliances

Today's joyful activity was picking flowers from the garden.  

Nothing specific planned for tomorrow.  If I feel up to it, I will do a bit more cleaning in the garage.  

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