Friday, April 29, 2022

Monthly Photo Challenge - April: "Spring"

The theme for April's photo challenge, hosted by Eileen, was "Spring".  Here are the photos I was able to take:

Spring Flowers:

Cornflower/Bachelor's Button

California Poppies


Asian Pear

Spring Celebrations:
Bunnies and Eggs

More Bunnies and Eggs

A totally different type of spring:

Also a Spring

Another Spring


Dancer: Not Springing into Action!

Thank you, Eileen, for this opportunity to participate. 

Visiting on Thursday and Blueberries on Friday


Blueberries Are Starting to Ripen

Yesterday (Thursday) was visiting day!  I woke up a little later than planned and, by the time I had finished saying my morning prayers, showered, looked up driving directions from my cousin's house to friend A's house just in case cousin wanted me to drive, picked lemons, and packed up all the things I was taking with me (mallung, lemons, and two food containers to be returned to A; banana muffins, lemons, and a glass that had held some plant cuttings to be returned to V) I was feeling a bit rushed!  I had told cousin V that I'll be there around 1:30 p.m.  At 1:15 p.m., I was still closing up the house and getting ready to leave!  Then, V texted to say that lunch was ready!  I texted that I was running a bit late and just leaving the house!  I got to her house a little before 2:00 p.m.  

V had prepared a very nice lunch - ghee rice and various curries - chicken, shrimp, salted dried fish (karola), dhal, spicy sauteed potatoes (ala thel dala), and eggplant pahi (the eggplant is first fried and then, cooked into a dry curry).  Yogurt and treacle for dessert, although I was so full after lunch, that I postponed having dessert until later.  I enjoyed the lunch (V is a good cook) and afterwards, V handed me a container and told me to pack myself some food to take home with me, which I did!  Then, we sat and chatted for a bit, until it was time to visit A.

V's husband drove us to A's, so I need not have bothered with looking up driving directions!  We had a nice visit with A, too.   She seemed a lot better than when I last visited her.  I put the mallung in her fridge so she could have it, later.  We spent about an hour, visiting with her.  Before we left, A gave me the bowl in which I had taken some pudding to her on my last visit.

After the visit, we went back to V's.  She offered me tea, but, I declined and had the yogurt and treacle I hadn't eaten after lunch, instead. 

I didn't wear a mask when I visited V (it felt strange to be without a mask), but, I wore one when I visited A.  

After I came home, I had a cup of tea and spoke on the phone with cousin P (who had moved to Florida).

Then, my daughter called and we had a long chat.  She always gives me a very detailed account of her day and, yesterday, one of the papers that she helped to write was published (she does research about food and nutrition programs).  This is the third paper that has been published with her listed as the first author and counts towards her professional development.  She said she wore a different outfit to work, yesterday, than she had planned and said, "Don't worry, I took a picture for your blog post."  LOL!  

Thursday's Actual Outfit

The dress is one that cousin P had given her.  The beige-pink long cardigan is something daughter purchased, pre-Covid, with a gift card she received.  After work, she took another acrobatics class. 

Dinner was more of the leftover pasta and sausage stir-fry, leftover from the night before!  

Yesterday, I was grateful for:

- Visits with family and friends
- A safe drive there and back
- V preparing a lovely lunch and giving me a portion to bring home, too
- Friend A seems to be recovering well
- Daughter had a good day and another paper published

Yesterday's joyful activity was visiting family and friends.  It was nice to be able to do so, without worrying about it too much.  But, our new Covid cases daily count is back over 2,500, again, and I doubt I'll go visiting again for some time!

The First Blueberries

Today, Friday, I had a relaxed morning.  I picked the first ripe blueberries and some broccoli side shoots:

Friday's Harvest

It's not a lot, but, it is something and I'm glad to have it.  We will be under new water restrictions as of June, due to our severe on-going drought, so who knows what I might be able to grow this year in terms of fruits and vegetables.

M was here, this evening, to tend to the garden.  He planted the avocado plant in the ground, cleared the Japanese purple mustard greens which had bolted, and watered the garden.  I gave him some of the broccoli leaves mallung to try and, when he liked it, gave him a small container of it to have with his dinner.

Brunch had been the last bit of the pasta and sausage stir fry; dinner was the food that cousin V sent home with me.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- A relaxed day
- M continuing to tend to the garden
- Leftovers
- Today's garden harvest
- The first blueberries

Today's joyful activity was eating freshly picked blueberries!  

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

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Mid-Week on Wednesday

Wednesday's Outfit

This is the outfit my daughter put together, with items she had in her closet which still fit her, to wear to the office, on Wednesday.   She wore tights and boots with the dress and jacket.  She said she received several compliments on her outfit from various colleagues.  

Below is the outfit she's planning to wear on Thursday:

Thursday's Outfit

Maybe with the silk infinity scarf I sewed for her, with fabric from a sari my mother used to wear:

With Scarf

She said she will decide on the scarf in the morning.  

Yesterday (Tuesday), I took it easy and relaxed.  I brought in my trash cans from the curb after they were emptied and took neighbor T's bins in for her.  Cleaned the litter box.  Checked on the garden.  Called friend A and left her a message.  Called friend R and chatted with her for a bit.  Exchanged emails with a friend.  Watched some news and a few videos online.  Made my meal plan for the week and cooked sausages (with onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, and broccoli stems sliced thinly) for dinner.  Afterwards, I baked some banana muffins to use up the last two bananas that were getting a bit overripe; they got a little too brown, but, they tasted fine.  Then, did the dishes.  

Today, M tended to the garden in the morning.  He brought me four sunflower seedlings, which he planted out for me.  Then, he pruned a couple of branches from an euphorbia bush since they were going over the back wall into the neighbor's yard.  

I watched some videos online in the afternoon and crocheted.  Later, I watched news and crocheted.  

Cousin V called to confirm our planned visit to see friend A, tomorrow.  I called A and asked if she would like me to bring her something.  At first she said no, she's fine, but, I asked her if she'd like me to bring her some mallung, which is a dish of shredded leafy greens and she said she'd like that.  So, I picked some broccoli leaves from the garden.  I removed the central rib from the leaves before I shredded the leafy portions and cooked them with just a bit of water, finely minced onions, turmeric, and salt.  Mallung is usually cooked with grated coconut added to it, but, A can't eat coconut.  Then, I removed a portion for her:

A's Portion

I added a little bit of oil, grated coconut, and a little bit of spices (chillie powder, etc.) to the rest:

Broccoli Leaf Mallung

I will take most of that for A's family, but, I'll keep a portion for myself and a little bit for M to try, because he is very intrigued by the fact that I actually cook and eat broccoli leaves.  

As for the central ribs that I removed from the leaves, I put them into a zippered plastic bag and put them in the fridge!

Broccoli Leaf Ribs

I will add them to a stir fry or any other dish I will be making, later.  There is no need to toss them in the compost bin.  

I went off the meal plan slightly, at dinnertime, today!  After making the broccoli leaf mallung, I didn't feel like making the spaghetti sauce, too, and, besides, the ground turkey hadn't thawed, fully.  So, for dinner, I boiled pasta and had it with the leftover sausage and vegetables I had from Tuesday's dinner!  Somehow, it created more leftovers!  LOL.  

Later in the evening, I spoke with friend R and video chatted with my daughter.  She said she had a very productive day in the office and went for one of her acrobatics classes, afterwards.  She said that, starting next week, they will no longer be required to wear a mask at the office!  They will still be required to test at least once a week (daily if unvaccinated).

Today, I am grateful for:
- M tending to the garden for me
- Sunflower seedlings
- Garden produce
- Phone calls and video chats
- Daughter had a good day at the office

Today's joyful activity was crocheting.

Plans for Thursday include going to my cousin's to have lunch with her and visiting friend A, afterwards.

How was your Wednesday?  What are your plans for Thursday?  Have you eaten broccoli leaves?  

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

April Meal Planning - Week 4

Here's how the Week 3 Meal Plan worked out:

Brunch - Leftovers from Easter dinner - rice pilaf, fried fish, cabbage slaw✔
Dinner - Leftover chicken curry with lavash bread (a bit of Sri Lankan/Armenian fusion cuisine!)✔

Brunch - Egg salad sandwiches (using the Easter eggs)✔ Plus fruit salad
Dinner - Leftover fried fish, corn, cabbage slaw✔

Brunch - Egg salad sandwich✔
Dinner - Chicken fried rice (leftover sauteed chicken, leftover rice)✔

Brunch - Leftover fried rice✔
Dinner - Leftover shrimp curry with rice and sauteed vegetables✔

Brunch - Pancakes  Pepperoni pizza!
Dinner - Soup?  According to the weather forecast, it is supposed to be cold and rainy! ✔ Ham and split pea soup, even though the rain took place on Thursday night!

Brunch - Leftover pancakes pizza
Dinner - Leftover soup shrimp curry, rice, sauteed vegetables (leftovers from Thursday's dinner)

Brunch - Parathas with seeni sambol✔
Tea - Egg salad sandwich
Dinner - Spaghetti with meat sauce (using ground turkey).  Soup

Well, I followed the meal plan for the most part!  That's probably the best I've ever followed a meal plan!  LOL!

On to Week 4!

Brunch - 3 crackers while I waited for the car to be serviced!
Tea - Cheese, crackers, half an apple
Dinner - Leftover soup and a piece of buttered toast

Brunch: Tortilla with scrambled egg and katta sambol
Dinner: Sausages with vegetables and leftover rice 

Brunch: Banana muffins (have to bake)
Dinner: Spaghetti and sauce (with ground turkey); salad

Brunch: Banana muffins
Dinner: Leftover sausages with mashed potatoes and vegetables

Brunch: Pancakes
Dinner: Leftover spaghetti and sauce; salad

Brunch: Leftover pancakes
Dinner: Baked battered fish fillets with green peas and fries

Sunday (May 1):
Brunch: Milkrice and fish curry
Dinner:  Soup, maybe

Once again, this week's meal plan has been put together using what I have on hand in the fridge, freezer, and pantry.  I haven't done a grocery shopping trip and still have some fruits (oranges, apples, bananas, frozen berries) and vegetables (a cucumber, half a head of lettuce, a head of broccoli plus florets from the garden, peapods, a few carrots, plus broccoli leaves, chard, and Japanese spinach, and beets, although they are mostly leaves in the garden).  Enough for this week.  

I put out a package of sausages (5 sausages) and a package (1 lb.) of ground turkey to thaw.  I am planning to freeze some of the cooked sausages and spaghetti sauce in single serving portions for later.  

At least, that is the plan and plans are always subject to change!  

How is your meal planning coming along?

Car Service on Monday


Red Roses in the Front Garden

The last time I took the car in for a service had been in July, 2021.  I was supposed to bring it back for another service in November, but, our new Covid case numbers were on the rise and I postponed taking the car in.  I wasn't driving it all that much, anyway, so I ignored the dealers' reminders that the car was due for a service.  Finally, last week, I called and made an appointment to take the car in on Monday.  

My appointment was at 9:20 a.m. and I was there, at the dealership, on the dot!  The service technician ran off the list of services that were due - oil change, check fluid levels, tire rotations and alignment, etc., etc., etc.  It would come to $XXXX.  I handed him the coupons that I had received in the mail from them towards various services and the estimate was still, $XXXX - $xxx.  Of course.  This is why there is a line item in my monthly budget for car maintenance and repairs; I don't put it in a separate account, but, I have the funds earmarked for such expenses.

"How long will it take?", I asked.  "Oh, probably until lunch time, maybe later."  Sigh.  They used to offer a free ride back home, but, they didn't seem to do that, anymore, and, in any case, that would have left me having to find a way to get back to the dealership to pick up the car.  I was planning to wait for the car, no matter how long it took.  But first, I made sure he had my cell phone number - there was one time when I sat in the waiting room, for hours, until past 6:00 p.m. because the technician called my home phone number and left a message that the car was ready, even though I had told him that I would be in the waiting room!  Then, I made my way to the waiting area.

They had remodeled the building since I had been there, last; the big sales floor was now the waiting area and the former, rather small, waiting area was now some offices.  There were two seating groups with upholstered arm chairs and a big screen TV, individual tables with some not so comfortable looking plastic chairs,  high bar stool type seating along a counter with charging stations, etc.  I chose to sit in one of the arm chairs as that seemed the most comfortable seating option.  Except, these chairs had extra deep seats - good if you are tall, I suppose.  Shorty me, at barely five feet tall, would have my legs sticking straight out if I sat all the way back to lean!  I ended up putting my tote bag and purse behind me, as cushions so I could lean back!  

Once seated, I pulled out the crochet project I had taken with me and worked on that, while I watched the entire morning program on the channel being shown on the TV!  I normally don't watch daytime TV, but, now, I watched the talk shows and even an episode of a soap opera, before the afternoon talk shows came on!  All the while hearing the "soft rock" music being piped in, as well.  

I wore one of my N95 masks while I sat in the waiting area, but, I was about the only person with a mask, there.  The office staff and salespeople weren't wearing masks.  The vast majority of other customers waiting for their vehicles to be serviced or waiting to buy or lease a vehicle weren't wearing masks, either.  One or two customers came in with their masks on, but, they pulled them down or took them off while waiting.  I was very glad I had a N95 mask on and had recently had my 2nd booster!  

At noon, the service technician came to see me - they checked the car and changed the oil, but, my battery (from 2018) was low and my tires were worn (they are the original tires, I believe, and have 41,000+ miles on them); he recommended I replaced the battery and all four tires, of course.  They had a special on the tires, he assured me - buy 3 and get the 4th one free (I had seen the sign as soon as I walked into the building).  I've experienced dead batteries (once while on the freeway, which was rather scary; I managed to coast to a shoulder) and a tire blow out while driving (a previous car), so, I said to go ahead and replace both.  "How much longer would that take?"  "Oh, another 3 hours or so."  Well, it's a good thing I didn't schedule anything else for the day!  The good news was I didn't have to replace my brakes, yet.  Well, thank goodness for that!  LOL.

I asked him if there was anywhere with a seat outside to eat the crackers I had with me and he said there was a bench at the very back, in their parking lot.  I went there and took my mask off to eat a couple of crackers and drink my water.  Then, I went back inside to wait.  I finished the skein of yarn I had taken with me, so I couldn't crochet anymore.  Instead, I pulled out my crossword puzzle book and did a few of those.  Finally, the technician came to tell me the car was ready and I went to pay and collect my car.  I was admonished to bring it in again in four months, even if I don't drive it that much, to have the fluid levels checked and a tune up done!  Oh, joy!

It was 4:30 p.m. when I left the dealership - 7 hours after I went in and $2,275 poorer!  But, I did receive two free bottles of water while I waited and a coupon for a free car wash!  Yay!  LOL.  

I was tired when I got home!  But, I took the trash cans out to the curb before I came inside and rested a bit, ate a snack (crackers, cheese, half an apple) and had a cup of tea.  Later, I watered the front garden and did two loads of laundry.  I had the last serving of soup with a piece of toast for dinner, chatted with friend R, replied to blog comments, and video chatted with my daughter.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Getting the car serviced, new battery, new tires, didn't need new brakes this time
- A comfortable waiting room in which to wait
- Time to crochet while I waited
- N95 masks
- Being able to pay the bill for the car service and new battery and new tires, etc.

Today's joyful activity was crocheting while I waited for the car to be serviced.

Plans for Tuesday:
- Relaxing
- Putting away the laundry
- Meal planning and cooking

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

Sunday, April 24, 2022

The Weekend Update


Blue Wool Worsted

The rest of my order of yarns was delivered on Saturday!  I was starting to wonder when I might receive it!  Blue ("Softened Pansy") wool worsted yarn.  I bought five 3.5 oz. balls of the yarn to make myself a sweater.  I have another sweater made from a similar colored blue ("Denim") wool, but, this yarn was on sale for $3.48 each (plus tax, of course) while the other colors (same brand, same weight) were selling for $8.99 each (this blue is now also priced $8.99 on the company website).  I am happy to have two sweaters in the same color for that price difference!  I'll just change the pattern or add a design with the ball of grey wool that I have leftover in the stash!  

On Saturday, I enjoyed a video chat with one of my friends who lives in Europe.  I tried to show her front garden, taking the laptop outside to do so, but, the internet connection wasn't very good and all she could see were indistinct blobs of color, so that didn't work!  

After the video chat, I had leftover pizza for brunch, took photos of the front garden (thank you, everyone for all the kind comments on the garden post!), did a little bit of house cleaning, texted with one of my cousins (we made plans to visit friend A on Thursday afternoon, pending how A is feeling on the day), spoke with friend R, watched some videos, and video chatted with my daughter.

As I've mentioned earlier, my daughter has resumed her in person acrobatics classes.  Yesterday (Saturday), she took an acro-yoga class.  There were just four people in the class, including the instructor, which was held in a large room with the wall of doors open and everyone wearing masks.

Afterwards, she did laundry and started sorting through her closet.  At her previous office location, everyone was very casually dressed unless they had to attend conferences, etc.  Her new office location is in the same building as the head offices and the dress code is business casual, with a lot of people dressed in suits, etc.  Not a big problem because my daughter has some nice clothes, quite suitable for office wear, but, like many of us, she, too, gained weight during the pandemic and her jackets, etc., are too tight!  She is trying to put together a "business casual" capsule wardrobe with what she has that still fits her, but, she might need to shop for a few trousers/slacks and jackets/blazers.  She said almost all the office friends with whom she went out to lunch that first day back (Thursday) had said they'll have to go shopping for suitable clothes and shoes!  

Dinner, last night, was leftover rice, the last of the shrimp curry, and the last of the stir fried vegetables.  I went off my meal plan over the weekend because I had leftover pizza and other leftovers that I wanted to finish.

Today, Sunday, has been a sunny and warm (afternoon high of 85F) day.  My kind of weather!  Neighbor T called in the morning and we chatted for a bit.  She wanted to know how my first week without my daughter went and I told her it went by quite quickly.

In the afternoon, I sat outside in the patio area since it was warmer outside (84F) than inside the house (72F) and replied to blog comments.

Later, after having a cup of tea and watching the evening news, I watered the back garden, per M's instructions!  LOL.  He didn't water on Friday because it had rained the night before, but, he was worried that the plants (fruit trees, in particular) would not be able to go until next Wednesday when he'll be here, again, without being watered.

Afterwards, I treated myself to a little bit of pampering by soaking my feet in some warm water, brushing my toenails and heels with a soft nailbrush, and putting some lotion on them.  I really need to remember to do this on a weekly basis!

My daughter went to San Francisco, this afternoon, and she and some of her friends had lunch out and did an escape room.  She is spending the rest of the evening cooking and meal prepping for the week!  I had planned to cook spaghetti for tonight's dinner, instead had some of my leftover ham and split pea soup!

This weekend, I am grateful for:
- Video chatting with my friend and with my daughter 
- The technology that enables us to do that
- The rest of my yarn order being delivered
- A replenished yarn stash!
- Sunny, warm days
- Water for the garden
- My daughter has enjoyed her first week back in the Bay Area
- We both got through the first week of being apart quite well!

My joyful activities this weekend included video chatting with my friend, playing with yarn, and gardening.

Plans for the week ahead include:
Monday - Car service in the morning
Wednesday - M to tend to the garden - late morning
Thursday - Visit friend A with cousin V in the afternoon
Friday - M to tend to the garden in the evening

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

The Front Garden in April

The Front Garden on April 23

It looks almost like I trimmed the two bottom corners of the picture, but, the driveway is in the left corner and the right corner is the sidewalk!  

Front Garden and Driveway leading to the Garage

The Succulents Border
(Along the side wall)

Succulents Circle

Top: Lantana
Middle Row: White Sage, plants in the bed along the walkway to the front door
Bottom Row: Purple fountain grass, agave, osteospermum

The star of the garden, right now, is the pomegranate tree which is full of flowers:

Pomegranate Flowers

More Pomegranate Flowers

This is the parkway in front of my house, that I keep talking about - the pole in the middle is a parking sign, saying no parking on Thursday mornings for road sweeping.  The parkway belongs to the City, but, homeowners are responsible for maintaining it.  

Parkway in front of my house 

Parkway in front of neighbor T's house

Here's how the garden looked in January:
The Garden in January

In February:
The Garden in February

And in March:
The Garden in March

Not a lot of change over the first four months of the year!  How are your gardens coming along?

Saturday, April 23, 2022

April Rain


Do you see it?  It's well camouflaged, isn't it?  The first time I saw it, I thought it was dead because it was so still, even when I got really close to it.  I am not very good at identifying lizards, but, it might be a Western Alligator Lizard (Elgaria).  On the other hand, it could be a Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus); the western fence lizards have a blue under side, but, I really didn't feel like turning it over to check!  Whatever it was, it was long!

April rain is supposed to bring May flowers!  I hope so, because, it rained on Thursday night!  It started at 11:00 p.m. and it was a good shower of rain, too, which lasted for about 45 minutes.  Enough rain that the garden didn't need to be watered, today, when M was here.

It was quite cold (for me, anyway), on Thursday, with a high of only 66F.  It was cloudy, too, and felt colder than it was.  It took me some time to get started with my day, but, eventually, I vacuumed the house, started tidying the family room, cooked rice and stir fried vegetables and had them with leftover shrimp curry for dinner, and chatted with friend R.

Daughter said her first day in the office went well.  She will work from home Mondays and Tuesdays, go into the office on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and work from home, again, on Fridays.  They are having staggered schedules to go into the office because the building can't be occupied at full capacity yet (one of their Covid precautions) and all have to take Covid tests before they go into the office on their first day, each week. 

My appointment with the oncology nurse practitioner on Friday turned out to be a waste of time and gas!  I had received an automated call from the clinic on Sunday evening, reminding me of the appointment and asking me to press #1 to confirm that I will attend, etc., which I did.  I also usually call the clinic in the morning, before I leave the house to confirm, but, I didn't do so this time and guess what?  I showed up at the clinic and the receptionist said the appointment had been cancelled!  Someone is supposed to have called me and left me a message!  Except, I didn't receive that call!  There was no message left on my answering machine!  So, we checked the phone numbers they have on record for me and they do have my home phone number listed as primary contact and my daughter's phone number as my emergency contact.  But, they also had my old office number still listed, even though I had notified them when I retired that it was no longer a valid number, and I suppose they called that number instead of my home number?  The receptionist removed the old office phone number and we rescheduled my appointment for mid May.  I shall be sure to call and confirm that before I leave the house on that day!  I did ask for and receive a printout of my lab report; some numbers have changed, but, on the whole, most of my numbers are within the normal ranges and the report is OK.  

So, I paid $3.00 parking fees for being parked there for approximately 30 minutes and drove myself back home, again!  Oh, well, at least the car got a good run!

By the way, it was another rather cool day (high of 65F) and Lady Ella will be interested to know that I wore a cardigan over my blouse and a jacket on top of that, with a scarf around my neck!  LOL.  We are supposed to warm up over the weekend and Monday's high is supposed to be near 90F, so, I'll have a chance to thaw out, then!

On the way home, I stopped at a nearby pizza place and bought one of their ready-to-go pizzas.  It came to $6.08 with tax.  I had some of it for lunch and then, another slice a bit later for a snack!  

After lunch, I dusted and finished tidying the family room.  I did a bit of paperwork, too.  

M spent most of his time cleaning the front parkway area, weeding it, etc.  He still doesn't seem convinced that planting it with succulents will keep the neighbors from messing it up, but, we can only try and hope for the best.  

I made some soup for dinner - my version of ham and green split peas, using a ham bone I had in the freezer.  It turned out quite well, I think, although there isn't a lot of ham in the soup. 

Cousin V called and so did friend R.  Later, I video chatted with my daughter.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- A safe drive to the clinic and back
- The car got a good run
- The lab test report seemed to be OK, with mostly normal results
- M tending to the garden for me
- Phone calls and video chats

Today's joyful activity was starting to crochet a baby blanket.  

Plans for tomorrow include video chatting with a friend of mine, more paperwork, and crocheting.

What are your plans for the weekend?

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Replenishing the Stash!

Guess What's in the Box!

A box was delivered the other day...what could be inside?

Here's a peek inside:


Oh, my!

Yarn, Replacement Rotary Cutter Blades, Embroidery Thread

I have used up most of my yarn stash - I have a few balls of novelty yarn and some odds and ends of wool and acrylic yarn left, but, not enough to make any of the things I want to make!  In the meantime, my daughter's friend V is expecting her first baby (a girl) in June, my cousin's daughter is expecting her first baby (a boy) in September, and one of my friends has been hinting that another pair of knitted socks will be very welcome!  I usually make neutral colored baby blankets - lemon yellow or mint, for example, but, all the yellow yarn was sold out and mint looks more blue than mint, but, it will work.  I ordered some blue 100% wool yarn, too, for a sweater for me, but, so far, it has not been shipped!  I'll probably need to call about it, because the tracking information simply says it's waiting to be shipped.

Even without the wool, my yarn bin is quite full, again, and my stash has been replenished!  But, the difference is, this time, I bought the yarn with projects in mind and not simply because it was on sale!  I am looking forward to some knitting and crocheting in the evenings when I watch the news, etc.

The black and pink embroidery thread is to replace the embroidery thread that I used up and the replacement blades for my rotary cutter are much needed because the blade on my rotary cutter is too blunt to cut anything!  

Do you have a yarn stash?  Do you buy yarn simply because it is on sale, knowing you can always find something to make with it?  Or, do you buy yarn because you have a project you want to make?  

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Wednesday's Happenings

Yellow, Again!

The newest rose on the yellow rose bush is very solidly yellow, again!  Not even a tinge of pink!  The pink-tipped rose was just Mother Nature having a bit of fun, I think.  

Today's question is, if you go to bed after 3:00 a.m. and don't fall asleep until almost 4:00 a.m., does turning off your alarm at 9:00 a.m. and sleeping until 10:00 a.m. count as sleeping in?  Well, anyway, that's what I did!

Once I was up, I did the usual morning routines - turning off the porch and altar lights, feeding the cats, saying my morning devotions, opening the drapes, etc.  This morning, when opening the drapes, I also did a bit of unintended decluttering:  


When I was growing up, if something fell and broke accidentally, my mother used to say that it was a sign that all the bad luck went away!  If so, then, I do hope that any bad luck hovering around my house went away!  I swept up all the pieces and tossed them!

Then, although it was M's day to tend to the garden, I watered the front garden because I felt like it!  LOL.

Once M was here, I had him trim some of the euphorbia branches that were reaching through the side fence into the neighbor's driveway (the noisy neighbors, who sometimes dump their unwanted furniture, etc., on my portion of the parkway).  One of the neighbors was in their front yard;  I apologized for the branches coming onto their side and told her to push them back to my side if that happens again.  She was quite polite and said it was OK.  Then, I took the opportunity to tell her that I was planning to plant a few things in the parkway to make it look better.  I didn't say that I hoped that the plants will be allowed to remain in place, though!  I told M that we could plant some of the euphorbia cuttings in the parkway - they are drought tolerant once established, they seem to grow well for me, and I can always take new cuttings to replace them if needed.    

I also asked M to pull down some of the jasmine vine tendrils that had crept up to the gutter!  Afterwards, he watered the back garden and trimmed the plumbago hedge.  

After he left, I noticed that the avocado plant had fallen over again!  This time, I was able to get it to stand again.  I think it is time to get that plant in the ground!  It's getting too top heavy for the pot it is growing in!  

In the afternoon, I went to visit friend R - another curbside visit, with both of us wearing masks.  I gave her a bag with a few of the items of clothing my cousin had given us; she will send them to Sri Lanka for her daughter and granddaughter.  R gave me some bananas and apples!

After I came home, I dusted the living room and dining area.  The big dining table, where my daughter did her office work (better internet connection in the dining area than in her bed room) has been converted back to being a dining table!  

In the evening, I watched the news and called friend A to check on her; she said she's keeping well and her younger daughter, who is on spring break (she's a teacher) stayed home with her, this week.

Brunch had been an egg salad sandwich; I had one of the bananas that R gave me in the afternoon.  I tried some of the Moderna brand Maria cookies at tea time and they were good!  For dinner, I made chicken fried rice.  There is more egg salad for brunch, tomorrow, as well as leftover fried rice.  

This evening, my daughter took one of her acrobatics classes, in person, for the first time since the first lockdown!  She has been taking some virtual classes, during that time, but, she will be taking in-person classes from now on.  Today's class, an aerial class, was a vaccine-required, masks-required class, in a large room with only 6 people (including the instructor); the classes are held in a former warehouse type building and the room that was used has a wall of doors (similar to garage doors) that were kept open during the class, she said.  She said it was a bit challenging to exercise in masks, but, she had fun.  I know she has missed taking her acrobatics classes and the community of friends she has made at that studio.  Tomorrow, she is scheduled to go to the office in-person to set up her cubicle.

Today, I am grateful for:

- M tending to the garden
- Friend R giving me some fruits
- A safe drive to R's and back
- Daughter had a fun evening at the acrobatics class
- What I was able to accomplish today

Today's joyful activities included gardening and visiting R.

Wednesday's Decluttering:

1 broken bowl
1 long handled scrub brush
4 Easter decorations
5 jars/bottles that previously stored items in the fridge (I decided not to wash and reuse them)

Plans for tomorrow include tidying the family room and vacuuming.

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

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

On Tuesday

Yellow Grasshopper

The Blurry (but more complete) Version

I found this yellow grasshopper enjoying one of the osteospermum flower heads; I believe it is an immature Gray Bird Grasshopper (Schistocerca nitens).  I've seen the adult grasshoppers, but, this is the first time I've seen a juvenile.

Today, I spent some time in the morning replying to blog comments.  Thank you, everyone, for your wonderful, supportive comments on Sunday's post about my daughter's return to her apartment and yesterday's post about meal planning.  

Then, I brought in the trash cans that had been emptied, earlier.  

After that, it was time to go for my blood test which had been scheduled for 12:15 p.m.  I got there a bit earlier than that and there was no one in the waiting room; I was called in a couple of minutes and had my blood drawn.

I had been fasting for the blood draw, so, when I came home, I made my egg salad and had a sandwich for brunch, followed by a bowl of fresh fruit salad (apples, orange, kiwis, raisins, cashews).  I have finished all the fresh fruits that I had in the fridge and have only the oranges on the tree until I order some groceries.

I had various plans to do some cleaning in the afternoon, but, the only cleaning I did was scrubbing the kitchen sink and the dish drainer.  Instead of cleaning, I took a short nap on the sofa!

My daughter called me after she finished her work for the day and said she was going to buy her bus pass, since she will have to take the bus to the office on Thursday.  On the way back, she stopped at Trader Joe's and bought her half and half, a dozen eggs ($2.49 - cheaper than at the dollar store!), an English cucumber, and a bag of arugula.  She said her total came to $9 and some cents.  She had a headache all day, she said, but, it went away when she walked to the store to buy her bus pass.  On the way home, she took the bus; everyone on the bus was required to wear a mask, she said, which is good to know.  Berkeley's new daily Covid numbers are a lot fewer than Los Angeles numbers, in the single digits up there whereas we are happy if the numbers are around 1,000!  

The weekly grocery ads arrived today and I looked through them.  I am weighing the risks of going in person to the ethnic store or the dollar store here, to buy some groceries, now that it has been almost two weeks since I had my second booster.  Something to think about.  

In the evening, I boiled some frozen corn to have with the last piece of fish and the last bit of the cabbage slaw from the Easter meal.  It's only the second day, but, the meal plan is working well, so far!  LOL.

After dinner, I chatted with friend R for a bit and video chatted with my daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:
- A safe drive to the lab and back
- Pleasant staff at the lab
- No long wait at the lab
- Medical insurance
- Daughter had a good day 

Today's joyful activity was taking an afternoon nap!

Plans for tomorrow include M's visit to tend to the garden and maybe dropping off some clothes for friend R to send to her granddaughter.

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

Monday, April 18, 2022

April Meal Planning - Week 3

Meals during daughter's last week at home evolved around leftover Thai food (it lasted practically all week!) and some of daughter's favorite homecooked meals: chicken curry and parathas (Thursday dinner), salmon with rice and broccoli (Friday), shrimp curry, chard, and rice (Saturday).  Leftover chicken curry, salmon, and shrimp curry were frozen and sent with daughter.  On Sunday (yesterday), I finished the last of the Thai leftovers (fried rice), and had the fish, rice pilaf, and cabbage slaw that neighbor S brought over for my dinner.  

Today, I cleaned the fridge; I am sorry to say that I had to toss out a few things including some produce that had spoiled before I could cook them, but the fridge is now nicely cleaned and organized.  Then, I did my meal plan for this week, based on the leftovers I still have!

Brunch - Leftovers from Easter dinner - rice pilaf, fried fish, cabbage slaw
Dinner - Leftover chicken curry with lavash bread (a bit of Sri Lankan/Armenian fusion cuisine!)

Brunch - Egg salad sandwiches (using the Easter eggs)
Dinner - Leftover fried fish, corn, cabbage slaw

Brunch - Egg salad sandwich
Dinner - Chicken fried rice (leftover sauteed chicken, leftover rice)

Brunch - Leftover fried rice
Dinner - Leftover shrimp curry with rice and sauteed vegetables

Brunch - Pancakes
Dinner - Soup?  According to the weather forecast, it is supposed to be cold and rainy!

Brunch - Leftover pancakes
Dinner - Leftover soup

Brunch - Parathas with seeni sambol
Dinner - Spaghetti with meat sauce (using ground turkey).  

At least, that is the plan and plans are always subject to change!  

Are you making a meal plan for this week?  What's on your meal plan?

Easter Sunday

Easter Dinner

Neighbor S brought me Easter dinner, this afternoon - a type of cabbage slaw/salad,  fried tilapia which her mother made, I believe, rice pilaf, a pastry with spinach (I think) filling, lavash bread, two Easter eggs, and there were cherry tomatoes hidden under the lavash bread that I didn't see until after I took the photo!  Such generous neighbors!   I couldn't finish it all in one sitting; leftovers are in the fridge for another meal (or two).

My daughter left this morning, after her much extended visit home!  I dropped her off at the airport around 10:15 a.m.  There was a bit of a line at the curbside baggage check in, so she decided to go inside to check in and she said there was no line, inside!  She was able to check in her big suitcase without any problem, she said.  The TSA agent was very friendly, she said, and was curious in a friendly way about the jars of curry powder, etc. that she was taking back with her.  She dislikes flying (gets nervous about being in the air), but, the flight itself was smooth, she said, and in any case, it is only one hour long.  She had no trouble collecting her checked in luggage at the other end.  She did have to wait a bit for her friend P to pick her up because there had been a road closure due to an accident, and that caused a delay, but, it was not a long wait.  P had helped her carry her stuff up, including the 2 boxes he had taken up with him for her, earlier, which had been stored in P's garage.  One of those boxes was full of jars of chutney!

She was pleasantly surprised to find that her apartment was in good state for not having been occupied for over a year!  We had been worried that there might be mold growing in the toilet, etc., but, she said there was nothing in the toilet or in the dehumidifier reservoir, no musty smells, nothing spoiled in the fridge, etc. (although she had removed all perishables from the fridge before she left).  She did open the window to air out the place a bit while she put away the frozen food I had sent up with her, and then, she went across the street to the dollar store to buy some groceries for the week.  She said she bought some milk, some salad mixes and a bottle of salad dressing, some bananas and apples, potatoes, mushrooms, and carrots, and a couple of other items.  Her total came to $35 and some cents she said.  She didn't buy eggs, she said, because they were selling for $4.49/doz. and that's more than what I pay for eggs at the grocery store!  She might go to another store, next weekend, to buy eggs and maybe bread.  

Afterwards, she put away her groceries, unpacked some of the other stuff, washed all her bedding including the quilts and remade her bed.  In the middle of all that, her supervisor called to ask for her help with a computer issue!  

After I dropped her off at the airport, I came home and did some laundry, washing all the bedding on daughter's bed.  I remade her bed and put some of the extra blankets and quilts back in the linen closet.  Neighbor T called to ask if daughter left and how I was doing.  Later, friend R called, too.

Later, daughter and I video chatted for a bit and it was just like old times!  LOL.  I think she's finding it a bit strange, being back in her apartment after such a long time.  But, she'll get used to it and Dancer and I will get used to being on our own at this end.   

Today, I am grateful for:

- Daughter had a safe flight back
- Her friend gave her a ride from the airport to her apartment
- The apartment was in good condition after being closed up for over a year
- Neighbor S bringing me Easter dinner
- Modern technology

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

Plans for tomorrow include tidying up the house a bit and more laundry.  I need to get back to actively decluttering, too, since I didn't do much decluttering these past few days. 

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

Sunday, April 17, 2022


A Blushing Yellow Rose

This rose is supposed to be yellow!  It is flowering on the yellow rose bush.  But, this particular rose has pink-tinged petals!  It does have a red rose growing next to it - maybe that had an impact on the yellow rose?  I must say I like the resulting color!

It was daughter's last day at home and the day was a busy one, packing, re-packing, and packing some more!  The big suitcase wasn't quite big enough for all the things she wanted to take back, so, I suggested she took the smaller carry-on suitcase, as well.  She is allowed to take two checked in pieces free of charge as long as they weigh less than 50 lbs., each (or pay $75 for each piece that is overweight), as well as two carry on items.  She didn't want to check in two suitcases, but, she will take two carry on items.  There was quite a bit of weighing of suitcases, unpacking, packing, and re-weighing, but, now she has a suitcase weighing a little less than 50 lbs. to be checked in and two carry on items.

In between the packing and weighing and repacking, she picked lemons and oranges to take back with her, took a plate of cookies and a little Easter bunny figurine over to neighbor T and down the side window drapes so I could w/ash them and rehung them for me.  She also took down the pothos plant that was on top of a shelving unit in the family room and set it on the kitchen pass through counter, to make it easier for me to water it without having to climb up on the step stool.  

In the meantime, I did another load of laundry, trimmed daughter's hair, picked some chard leaves, cooked dinner, and did the dishes.

Chard Leaves

We had leftovers for lunch (I finished the Thai green curry and my daughter had some of the leftover salmon with rice).  For dinner, I made a shrimp curry, sauteed the chard leaves, and cooked a fresh pot of rice.  I froze most of the leftover shrimp curry for daughter to take back with her.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Daughter was able to pack all the things she wanted to take back with her
- Garden produce
- Daughter helping me with a few last minute housekeeping tasks before she leaves
- Phone chats with friends
- Being able to send some home-cooked food with daughter

Today's joyful activity was spending time with daughter and preparing one of her favorite dishes.

Plans for tomorrow will include taking my daughter to the airport.  

Hope you all have a lovely weekend.

Saturday, April 16, 2022


Friday's Harvest: Oranges, Passionfruit, &
Broccoli Side Shoots

Today, I picked some oranges and broccoli side shoots from the garden.  There were two small fruits that were ripe on the passionfruit vine (they had already formed when the vine was bought), too, and I picked them so my daughter can enjoy them before she leaves.  


There was about a teaspoonful of pulp in each half.  Maybe, next year, we will get a few bigger fruits with more pulp in them to enjoy.

Today, I washed all the new-to-us clothes that cousin R had given us, as well as the regular laundry.  Then, I tried on some of the new clothes and picked out 12 new tops to add to my wardrobe!  Do I need 12 new tops?  No, of course, I don't!  It wasn't that long ago that I decluttered my closet, because I felt I had too many items of clothing!  At the same time, it is hard to decline free clothing!  I will be going through my closet, again, however, to see if I can release a few more items, perhaps things I've had for several years. 

Daughter has already picked a few of the new clothes to take up with her. The rest will be kept in her closet, to be worn on future visits home and/or to take up with her on future visits.  

Today, we had more leftover Thai food for brunch.  I cooked some salmon for dinner, sauteed with onions and tomatoes, and cooked rice and the broccoli side shoots that I picked today for the sides.   

The Roofed Patio 

This is the patio with the roof panels that flapped in the wind, the other night.  You can almost see one of the two edging stones that my daughter set on top of the panels on the near edge.  M was unable to buy the nails before he came to tend to the garden, today.  But, he hopes to be able to buy them over the weekend.  Today, he fertilized some of the fruit trees and watered the garden for me.  He also brought some chocolate bunnies for us and a package of ghost pepper roasted cashews for my daughter!  A word of warning - ghost pepper cashews are very hot!

Chocolate Bunnies

Today, I am grateful for:
- New to us clothes
- Working appliances (washer and dryer)
- Electricity to run them
- Garden produce
- M tending to the garden for me

Today's joyful activity was trying on and picking new to me clothes.

Plans for tomorrow include enjoying daughter's last day at home! 

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