Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Cousins who Lunch


Gifts from Cousin M

Monday was Memorial Day, a day to honor and remember those who died while serving in the United States Armed Services.  It is also the unofficial beginning of summer.

I had been invited to lunch by cousins V and M and I was told that cousin R (V's younger sister) will also be there.  I pushed aside any misgivings I might have had about socializing and accepted the invitation because cousin M was visiting from Australia.  It was good to see her, again (her last visit had been three years ago).  M brought me chocolates, cookies, and Australian cheese as gifts; I gave each cousin a jar of my peach topping!   M's sister B had asked me if I could send a jar of the peach topping to her through M and I had said yes, but, M said that she had called her sister and explained that she had limited space in her suitcase and would not be able to take the jar.  So, I didn't give her the two additional jars of peach topping I had taken with me to give to her two sisters.  

I spent a lovely afternoon, chatting with my cousins and enjoying the Thai food that M had picked up for our lunch, as well as some dishes that V had cooked.  They had also invited a close family friend who had brought dessert to share.  

I came home around 4:30 p.m.  Then, relaxed.  The only item I did from my usual Monday tasks was take the trash cans to the curb for pick up in the morning.

I wasn't very hungry for dinner, so I had scrambled eggs on toast and half a mango.  Much later, I had some crackers with peanut butter.  

My daughter had done her weekly meal prep in the evening: 

Daughter's Weekly Meal Prep

She had made Japanese food, this week: chicken and vegetable soup with a sea urchin and soy milk soup base, shio koji karaage (fried chicken), bok choy ohitashi, simmered beef with onion and bok choy to be served on top of rice for gyuudon, cucumber pickle, green bean gomaae, and rice.  She said that normally, the simmered beef for the gyuudon would not include bok choy, but, she added it because she wanted to include more vegetables in that dish.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Being able to visit with my cousins
- Cousin M bringing me some treats
- Being able to share some of the peach topping with my cousins
- Phone chats with aunt C, friend R, and video chats with daughter
- A safe drive to and from cousin V's

Today's joyful activity was visiting with my cousins.

Tuesday's To Do List:

- Dust
- Tidy the family room
- Paperwork
- Water the indoor plants

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

Monday, May 30, 2022

Not Jamming on Sunday

Peach Topping

Today, I made a batch of peach topping.  Yes, that's just what it is!  I might have started out trying to make jam, similar to my "No Waste Peach Jam", but, the mixture would not set (I added less sugar than I normally add for making jam; maybe I should have added some powdered pectin to offset the reduced sugar) and I was not willing to unseal the jars and boil it all, again.  So, I am calling it peach topping for pouring over ice cream, waffles, pancakes, etc., or stirring into plain yogurt!  I made nine half-pint jars and the last little bit that was leftover was poured into another jar and kept in the fridge.  Several of the jars will be given to family and friends.

It was a sunny and slightly warmer (a high of 79F) day, today.   I spent a quiet, relaxed morning, made the peach topping in the afternoon, chatted on the phone with neighbor T, with aunt C, and friend R, watched the news, watered the back garden in the evening, and video chatted with my daughter.  

Daughter went to her favorite Japanese store, today, and bought several cherry blossom themed items for her apartment:

Daughter's Cherry Blossom-Themed Purchases

She bought a wash cloth, two kitchen towels, two garlands, an embroidered handkerchief, a little bowl with gold colored cherry blossoms, a fabric "tapestry"/wall hanging of a cherry tree in bloom, and a table cover.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- 9 jars of peach topping
- Water for the garden
- Sunny days
- Keeping in touch with family and friends
- Seedlings popping up in the garden

Today's joyful activity was making peach topping! 

Tomorrow (Monday) is Memorial Day, here, in the US.  I have been invited to lunch at cousin V's; another cousin is visiting from Australia and is staying with V for a few days.  V texted me earlier, asking if I would be comfortable going out to eat or should she bring the food home to eat in; I texted back saying it would be great if she could bring the food home because I was not comfortable going out.  Just going to my cousin's to have lunch with the family is already pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone!

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

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Canned on Saturday

Canned Peaches

Another grey and cool day, on Saturday, although the sun did shine in the afternoon.  I spent the morning replying to blog comments, responding to a couple of emails I had received, visiting a few blogs, etc. 

I spent the afternoon canning the peaches I had picked.  But, first, I took a few peaches over to neighbor S.   Then, I made a light sugar syrup (5 1/2 cups of water, 2 1/2 cups of sugar, some lemon juice and a piece or two of cinnamon stick), sterilized the jars, and prepared the fruit, peeling the peaches and slicing them.  I was disappointed to see that the perfect looking peaches had defective stones, inside them!  Quite a few of the stones were hollow inside and some of them were starting to spoil!  I'd cut into the peach and the knife would go straight through the hollow stone!  Fortunately, the peaches, themselves, were fine and tasted sweet.  A few were a bit bruised and I cut off the bruised portions.  Two peaches had started to spoil, however, and I added them to the composting pile.  It took me some time to prepare the peaches and then, I processed them in a water bath for 30 minutes.  I have leftover sugar syrup that I kept in the fridge; I might be able to use them for the rest of the peaches, when they are ripe enough to pick.

By the time I got the peaches in the water bath, it was already 4:00 p.m. and I realized that I had not eaten anything, yet!  I had snacked on a slice or two of peaches, but, I had not had my brunch!  I quickly toasted two slices of bread and ate them with a slice of cheese!  

After resting a bit and having a cup of tea, I cooked dinner - chicken curry, dhal, and beetroot curry, with the two small beets I had pulled from the garden:

Curried Beetroot (including leaves)

In case anyone is interested, I first cut off the leaves and boiled the beetroot; then, peeled and cut the beetroot into small pieces.  Then, I sauteed the cut up leaves and the beets in a little bit of oil, added curry leaves, chili powder, curry powder, salt, etc., and finally, added some coconut milk and lemon juice and cooked the beetroots until the milk was mostly absorbed.  This type of curry doesn't have a lot of gravy or sauce.  I had leftover rice in the fridge, which I warmed up when it was time to have dinner.

After dinner, I called Aunt C back; she had called while I preparing the peaches and I had told her I was in the middle of canning and I will call her back.  Afterwards, I called friend R and chatted with her for a bit.  Then, my daughter and I videochatted.

Then, I watched some online videos and lost track of time!  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Beetroot and peaches from the garden
- The four jars of peaches I was able to can
- Canned coconut milk
- Chats with family and friends
- Being well enough to do canning, etc. (last year, I couldn't do anything!)

Today's joyful activity was canning peaches!

How is your weekend coming along?

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Peachy Friday

Just Picked Peaches

I picked about two dozen ripe peaches, today.  There are perhaps another dozen or so peaches left on the tree and that is the extent of this year's peach harvest.  Nothing much, compared to previous years, but, I am grateful for each and every peach I am harvesting.  It is truly a blessing to be able to harvest fresh produce from the garden.  I plan to can these in a sugar syrup so that my daughter can enjoy them when she next visits.

Today has been a somewhat productive day.  I vacuumed the house in the late morning, put away the laundry from yesterday (I hung them up inside the house to dry, overnight), cleaned the stove vent hood, made some phone calls, checked on friend A, chatted with friend R, spoke with aunt C, chatted with neighbor T, cleaned the bathroom and Dancer's litter box, checked on the garden, and harvested the peaches (as well as some broccoli side shoots and a handful of blueberries).  M had requested the day off so he could enjoy a long weekend over Memorial Day; he had watered the garden on Wednesday and I think it can wait until Sunday to be watered, again.  

I made a salad for brunch and had leftover pizza from the freezer for dinner.  

Later, I video chatted with my daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Peaches from the garden
- The rest of the garden produce - broccoli and blueberries, etc.
- Working appliances
- Chats with family and friends
- What I was able to accomplish

Today's joyful activity was picking peaches!

Today's Harvest

Plans for tomorrow include canning peaches!

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

Friday, May 27, 2022

Sunny Thursday

Mama Duck and Ducklings 

Daughter went up to the roof garden on the 5th floor of her office building to have her lunch and she spotted a mama duck (on the corner of the raised flower bed) and her ducklings (all huddled in the corner by the door)!  According to my daughter, there is no water feature up on the roof garden.  Wonder what will happen when it is time for the ducklings to learn how to swim!  

Today was a sunny, warm day, with an afternoon high of 80F.  Very pleasant weather.  

I had my doctor's appointment scheduled for 12:00 noon, today.  I called the clinic at 10:00 a.m. to double check and confirm the appointment.  I got to the appointment in good time and the appointment went quite well.  The good news is most of my lab work had very good results (I was especially pleased with my Hemoglobin A1c results), there were one or two that were borderline/a bit higher than normal, but, according to the doctor, nothing to be too concerned about and nothing that can't be taken care of with diet modifications, an increase in activity, and a reduction in weight!  Where have I heard that before?    

Initially, I had thought I'll treat myself to some fast food on my way home, but, I actually didn't want to get any, today!  Instead, I came home and made myself a tuna salad sandwich, followed by a freshly picked peach!   Dinner was rice, baked fish fillets, and green peas.  

I did a load of laundry in the afternoon, but, other than that, I relaxed.  I didn't feel like doing housework, today, so gave myself the day off!  I will catch up on the daily cleaning, tomorrow!

Today, I am grateful for:
- A safe drive to the clinic and back
- Good lab test results
- Free parking
- Working appliances
- Chats with family and friends

Today's joyful activity was going over the lab test results with my doctor!

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

A Finished Project

New Rug

I've been busy sewing myself a rug, these past few days!  I started on it on Sunday, after I sewed the uneven cat blocks!  I used some of the thicker fabric that I had, most of which were denim weight. 

The Backing is Pieced, too.

I used an old bath towel that had been trimmed and bound, many years ago.  The binding was coming off and I cut it off and trimmed the towel, yet again.  Then, I used some of the trimmed pieces to reinforce sections of the towel that were worn thin.  I used fabric squares that I had cut out for another project, which didn't get used for that project, to make the backing, sewing them together to get a big enough piece of fabric.  

The new rug has been passed by Quality Control and given the Dancer Seal of Approval, as you can see:

Being Inspected by the Chief Quality Control Officer

Gets the Dancer Seal of Approval

He's been sleeping on it all evening!

In between sewing, I've been doing the usual housekeeping tasks - trash cans have been brought in, the family room and my bedroom have been dusted, M has watered the garden, dishes have been done, and the litter box has been cleaned.  I didn't vacuum, today, so that has been shifted to tomorrow.

Thursday's To do List:
- Doctor's appointment at noon
- Load of laundry
- Clean the kitchen
- Vacuum

Today, I am grateful for:
- M tending to the garden
- The fabric stash
- A working sewing machine
- Chats and texts with family and friends
- Dancer's seal of approval!

Today's joyful activity was sewing and finishing the rug.

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt

 Mary-Lou at Patio Postcards has posted the list of prompts for the Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt (SPSH), which runs from June 1st to September 30th.  I have linked to her post, above, and copied her instructions and the list, below:

Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt (SPSH) runs from June 1st to September 30th.  Photos should be taken by you or a family member, we don't want to get in trouble for copy right rules.

A list not too long; a list of finds to share; a list that works for those of us at home; a list that works for those who travel about; a list that includes some difficult to find; a list that includes some easy to find; a list that can be interpreted with our differences; a list for one find or a list for all to find ... or a list to see what everyone else finds.

I hope you have fun with what ever your level of participation is.  First link in will be Monday July 11th & the final will be Friday September 30th.  As in previous years, just let me know in the comments if you want to be part of the group & I'll list your link on July 11th.

The 2022 SPSH List:  

  1. Path
  2. Peek-A-Boo
  3. Stairs
  4. Faceless Selfie
  5. Something That Looks Like A Number or Letter
  6. A Corner
  7. Leaf Vein
  8. Sipping On
  9. Changes Shape When Wet
  10. OMG, The Shoes
  11. Yellow & Blue Together
  12. Fuzzy Wuzzy Texture
  13. All Gone, Empty
  14. Left Overs
  15. Wind Power
  16. Oh So Colourful
  17. Out of Place
  18. In The Distance
  19. Culture, Yours Or Another
  20. You Grew It, Made It
  21. Invokes A Childhood Memory
  22. Add, 1-2 To Change The Taste

Alt A: Recent Purchase

Alt B: Sunset

Alt C: Free Choice

If you wish to participate in the SPSH, please let Mary-Lou know.  The more participants, the merrier!  

A Good Day on Monday

Another Passionfruit Flower

The passionfruit vine is growing well and producing flowers.  Each flower lasts only one day, but, there are more buds on the vine:

Passionfruit Flower Bud

Purple passionfruits are self pollinating, yellow passionfruits are not and need beneficial insects to pollinate them (or some strong wind as the pollen is considered to be too heavy for regular wind pollination).  Or, one can hand pollinate them.  The variety I have is purple, but, I want to ensure I get a good crop of fruits and don't want to leave it all up to the bees and butterflies.  I admit I have been trying to play fertility goddess with them!  Not sure if my efforts are helping or if the insects are taking care of things for me, but, we do have at least two baby fruits on the vine!  This is the bigger of the two:

Baby Passionfruit!  

Hopefully, there will be several more fruits to harvest, later this year.  It is supposed to take about 70 days after pollination for the fruits to ripen.  

I went to have my lab work done, this morning.  They have a new self check-in system set up and a lab technician standing by to help people with it, because it was new and not working as well as it was supposed to.  Even with the technician's assistance, I had to check in twice before it worked.  I had to wait a bit to be called in (they were behind schedule because one technician was helping people check in rather than drawing blood) but, I had taken a crossword puzzle book with me and I was fine with waiting.  Eventually I was called in and had seven vials of blood taken!  At the end of it, the technician asked if I was doing OK and I said yes.  I had to be fasting, but, I had water and a snack with me, to have in the car, if needed (but, I didn't need it).  

My bigger concern was if I had enough cash to pay the parking meter!  It takes dollar bills (or a credit card) and I had only two $1 bills with me.  So, after my lab work was completed, I went into the pharmacy on the ground floor of the building and bought a candy bar to change the $20 bill that I had, explaining to the cashier that I needed some dollar bills for the parking meter.  He probably wondered why I didn't pay with a credit card, but, I prefer to use cash.  It all worked out fine because the parking meter only required $2, which I had on me, but, now, I have three $1 bills, as well, for the future.

After I came home, I ate the leftover sauteed garbanzo beans for breakfast.  A little later, I made some fried rice with leftover pork and leftover rice and had some of that for lunch.  

After lunch, I did a load of laundry, dusted the living room and parts of the dining room (not the dining table as it has my sewing and fabric spread out on it), and settled down to an afternoon of sewing!  The rug I am making is coming along nicely.  

If you had been in my neighborhood, today, you would have seen containers of soup and plates of cake going between our houses!  Neighbor T called in the late afternoon; I think she forgot that we had chatted, yesterday (or she got the days mixed up as she sometimes does).  Anyway, she mentioned that she wasn't having such a good day, so, to cheer her up, I warmed up some soup I had made and frozen, and took it over, handing it over at the doorstep.  She was happy and called me, later, to thank me, saying she enjoyed it for dinner and it was delicious.  In the meantime, neighbor S called to say she had forgotten to give me a piece of her husband's birthday cake and brought some over!  A piece of tiramisu and a piece of tres leche cake!  I enjoyed some of both after my dinner of leftover pork fried rice.  

It was a good day for social interactions.  In addition to exchanging food with neighbors, I called friend A in the afternoon and left a message, cousin N texted to check on me and her mother, aunt C called.  Later, friend R called and, of course, I video chatted with my daughter.  There were emails, too, with friends and that's always nice.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- A safe drive to the lab for the blood tests and back
- Medical insurance
- Helpful technicians
- Neighbor S bringing me cake
- Family and friends checking on me

Today's joyful activity was sewing.

I also accomplished everything on my To Do List for today, too:

Monday's To Do List:
- Fasting lab test in the morning ✔
- Change bed sheets ✔ (Actually, I just put back the same sheets after washing and drying them - less folding!)
- Load of laundry (bed sheets/towels) ✔
- Dust living room & dining area ✔
- Clean the fridge ✔ (There was nothing to clean; I checked the shelves and drawers; wiped the door handles)
- Take trash cans to the curb for Tuesday trash pick up ✔

In addition, I cleaned the litter box, swept the bathroom, did the dishes, wiped down the kitchen counters and stove top, etc., which I've listed as my "dailies" in my cleaning schedule that I linked to, in yesterday's post.

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Bring the trash cans in
- Dust the family room and my bedroom
- Check on the newly planted seedlings and water if needed
- Water the indoor plants
- Tidy dining room shelving unit (This week's cleaning focus is the dining room and laundry room; since I did the laundry room, earlier, I am focusing on the dining room)

How was your Monday?  What have you planned for Tuesday?

Monday, May 23, 2022

May Meal Planning - Week 4

This had been the meal plan for last week:

Brunches: Leftover Armenian pastries (Monday), salads, toast and scrambled eggs, pancakes, etc.

Dinners: Roast pork (from the freezer) made over with onions, tomatoes, broccoli, etc. (Monday and Wednesday), leftover ham and split pea soup (which needs to be finished - Tuesday), stir-fry with cooked sausages from the freezer and noodles or rice (Thursday and Friday), roti and chicken curry (Saturday and Sunday). 

How did it work out?


Brunch - Leftover Armenian pastries (so good!)
Dinner: Roast pork (from the freezer) made over with onions, tomatoes, etc.

Tuesday: Pizza!  For both lunch and dinner!

Brunch: Salad (oh, I feel so virtuous!)
Tea: Shredded pork sandwich
Dinner: Ham and split pea soup; cookies!

Brunch: Banana, Salad
Dinner: Leftover soup, strawberries (there might have been a dollop of whipped topping, too)

Friday:  Frozen ravioli - for both lunch and dinner!  I guess I liked it, after all!  Also, it was easy and I didn't feel like cooking!  Strawberries for dessert (yes, whipped topping, too).

Breakfast: Banana
Lunch: Soup, slice of buttered toast
Dinner: Rice, broccoli, omelet curry; strawberries for dessert (without whipped topping!  Ooh, such self control!)

Brunch: Sauteed garbanzo beans
Dinner: Barbecue and other goodies, compliments of neighbor S

And that is how it worked out!  LOL.

On to Week 4:

Once again, I am going with options and no set meal plan by day.  I've some leftovers to finish, too.

Brunches: Leftover garbanzo beans and pork fried rice (Monday), scrambled eggs on toast, or egg salad sandwiches

Dinners:  Leftover pork fried rice, Spaghetti with cooked ground turkey (from the freezer); Stir-fry with cooked sausages (from the freezer) and rice, Coconut roti and chicken curry or Kotthu Roti with chicken curry (depends on what I feel like making), Leftovers.    

Let's see how that works!  LOL.

Did you make a meal plan, last week?  If so, how did it work out for you?  Are you making any meal plans for this week?

Sunny on Sunday

Dinner Compliments of Neighbor S

Neighbor S called me in the evening and said they were celebrating her husband's birthday and asked if one of their guests can park in my driveway as she wasn't sure if there would be enough room in her driveway.  I said yes, of course.  But, the guest was able to park in S's driveway, after all.  S called back a few minutes later and asked if I would like to have some barbecue for dinner and I said I'd love to have some.  A few minutes later she brought me a feast!  A plate of barbecued meats with a side of eggplant (I think), with onions, tomatoes, etc., Armenian cheese and spring onions, lavash bread, and fresh fruits.  Everything was so delicious!  I couldn't finish all what she brought me; the leftovers are in the fridge for another meal.  

It was a sunny day, today.  Not that much warmer than the last couple of days have been, but, it was sunny!  I was woken up in the morning by a kitty paw patting my face!  I brushed it away and tried to go back to sleep, but, no, it patted my face, again!  "Meow!  Breakfast!"  LOL.

So, breakfast for him and the outside cats and tea for me.  Then, morning prayers, followed by responding to blog comments (thank you, everyone, for your comments), and catching up on a few blogs.  Aunt C called to check on me and cousin N texted.   Then, I checked on the garden and picked a sprig of curry leaves and a handful of blueberries.  I froze the blueberries and used the curry leaves to make spicy sauteed garbanzo beans for brunch.  

In the afternoon, I sat down to sew.  I had cut out the pieces for six additional cat blocks and I sewed them, today.  I know I cut the pieces fairly accurately, but, I am hopeless at maintaining proper seam widths when I sew on the machine.  All my finished cat blocks came out in different sizes!  LOL!  I trimmed them down to more or less the same size, but, it is going to be interesting!  I prefer hand sewing to machine sewing for this very reason, but, machine sewing is faster!  

I still felt like sewing a bit more after I finished the cat blocks, so, I cut strips of some thicker fabric that I had in my scrap basket and started sewing them together with the intension of making a rug.  Maybe for Dancer to sleep on, instead of the folded towel he sleeps on, now (when he's not sleeping on my bed or the sofa or his cat tower, that is!)

Later in the evening, neighbor T called for our weekly Sunday chat and I called friend R and chatted with her for some time.  Afterwards, I video chatted with my daughter.  She had a productive day, doing some cleaning, laundry, and cooking.  I know that Debra, enjoys seeing my daughter's weekly meal prep:

Daughter's Weekly Meal Prep

She made Sri Lankan curries, this week - dhal (lentils), kale mallung, mackerel curry, spicy sauteed garbanzo beans.  We thought it funny that we both made garbanzo beans, today!  She didn't take a photo of the rice she cooked to go with the curries.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- A sunny day
- S bringing me dinner
- Phone calls, etc., with family and friends
- Good neighbors
- Working appliances and the power to operate them

Today's joyful activity was sewing, wonky seams and all!  

Susanne had asked about my daily cleaning schedule.  I try to follow the one that I made back in 2020, with a few tweaks as needed.  I usually list the day's tasks as part of my daily to do list, but, I don't always list the "dailies" such as cleaning the litter box. 

Monday's To Do List:
- Fasting lab test in the morning
- Change bed sheets
- Load of laundry (bed sheets/towels)
- Dust living room & dining area
- Clean the fridge
- Take trash cans to the curb for Tuesday trash pick up

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

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Relaxed Saturday

Front Garden in May

Following my new tradition of posting a picture of my front garden taken on or around the 20th of the month, here is how my front garden looked on May 20th, on an overcast, "May Gray" day!  I took the picture around 3:00 p.m., when the front garden would have normally been a very sunny area.  The osteospermum have mostly finished flowering and M is itching to trim them back.  The clumps of fountain grass still look more dead than alive, but, there are tiny new blades of purple grass growing, hidden behind the dried yellow stalks.  The lantana are flowering, although the flowers on three of the plants look like they got burned!  

Neighbor T's jacaranda tree, however, is flowering and looks lovely:

Jacaranda Tree

I have a small jacaranda seedling growing in a pot in the backyard; M wants to plant it in the front, maybe this summer.   I just have to find a good spot for it.

I have had a relaxed day, today.  It was another overcast, cool day.  I slept in (after getting up once to feed Dancer), replied to blog comments, visited a few blogs, walked around the back yard and checked on the plants, watched some online videos, wrote a couple of emails, texted with one of my cousins, had a long phone chat with my aunt C, chatted on the phone with friend R, and video chatted with my daughter.  In between, I did some crocheting.  I had planned to play with fabric, but, I didn't feel like doing so.

Breakfast was a banana (the last of the three bananas I bought), lunch was a bowl of soup and a slice of buttered toast, and for dinner, I cooked rice, stir fried broccoli, and an omelet curry.  Omelet curry is exactly what it sounds like - a cut up omelet in a curry gravy or sauce (I always call it a gravy, but, I know that some people call it a sauce).  It is something my mother used to make from time to time and she said it was something her mother used to make (Granny had 9 children to feed and eggs cost less than meat, poultry, or fish).  You make the curry gravy (or sauce, if you prefer) the usual way, with onions, curry leaves, curry powder, chili powder, etc., in milk (either coconut milk or dairy milk) and make the omelet separately, then, cut up the omelet and add it to the curry gravy and let it absorb some of the gravy and curry flavors.  Or, if you have leftover chicken curry gravy as I did, then, you make the omelet and add it to the warmed up leftover gravy!  LOL.  It was a very frugal meal, especially since the broccoli came from the garden.  Fresh strawberries for dessert.

I did the dishes after dinner and wiped the stove top (I tend to be a messy cook) and kitchen counters with the damp sponge.  A nightly wipe down of the stove top and counters go a long way towards keeping the kitchen clean, but, I don't always do that.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being able to sleep in
- Chats with family and friends
- Exchanging emails with friends
- Access to all the wonderful videos online
- A very relaxed day

Today's joyful activity was relaxing and taking it easy!  LOL.  

Plans for tomorrow include playing with fabric.  

How was your Saturday?  How is your Sunday coming along?

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Cloudy Friday

Back Yard on a Cloudy Day

Friday has been a cloudy, overcast, and cool day, with a high of 68F.  Typical May Gray weather.  I'm not a fan of this weather, but, at least the roses are able to bloom without getting scorched:


Friday has been another productive day.

As some of you already know, I follow an 8-week cleaning cycle, which focuses on different areas of the house, in addition to my daily cleaning schedule.  I've posted this before, but, the last time I posted it was two years ago, so, here is the cycle if anyone is interested:

Week 1 - Entryway and Living Room
Week 2 - Dining Room and Laundry Room
Week 3 - Bathrooms and Front Porch
Week 4 - Kitchen and Back Porch
Week 5 - Children's/Guest Rooms and Closets
Week 6 - Family Room and Room of Choice
Week 7 - Master Bedroom and Closet
Week 8 - All House Clean

I try to follow this schedule, consistently, although I don't always manage to do so.  I have noticed that I tend to feel happier about the state of my house when I follow the schedule.  This week is Week 1, and I have been tending to the living room (in between other areas with the daily cleaning).  I dusted the living room on Monday and I dusted it again, today, including the window sills, vacuumed under the sofa cushions, and vacuumed it, along with the rest of the house.  The way the cycles work is, from now on, I will continue to dust and vacuum the living room, once a week, until it comes up again after eight weeks and then, I'll give it another deep clean (maybe wash the windows or remove cobwebs from the corners, etc.)  Afterwards, I cleaned my bathroom, which is on Friday's cleaning schedule.  

Friday's To Do List:
- Clean the bathroom ✔
- Do one deep cleaning task ✔ (vacuuming under the sofa cushions)
- Tend to the garden with M ✔ 
- Put away laundry ✔ 
- Paperwork ✔ 

M was here to tend to the garden, this evening; it is coming along, nicely:

The Peach Tree

The Broccoli Patch

Broccoli Side Shoots

The rather weedy beetroot patch
 (taken earlier in the week on a sunny day)

Today's Garden Harvest

I picked most of the oranges that were left on the tree - there are two more oranges left on the tree.  I picked most of the broccoli side shoots; I am planning to freeze these.  I also pulled up one of the bigger beetroot plants to see, but, the beetroot is very small still.  Some blueberries that were ripe and three serrano chilies from the plant that we planted last year and overwintered.  It is full of flowers, again, and small chilies:

Serrano Chili Pepper Plant (and California Poppy)

Another plant that is full of flowers is this guara plant:  

Gaura Plant

Last year, the rabbits ate it down to a nub.  This year, there are no rabbits (I don't know what happened to them - maybe someone managed to catch them or maybe something ate them) and the plant is full of flowers.  It shares the same planting circle as the peach tree and the zucchini seedlings.

I tried the frozen ravioli I bought yesterday, with canned pasta sauce.  The recommended serving size was 9 ravioli and the bag is supposed to contain 5 servings.  I boiled 9 of the ravioli as directed and added it to some of the sauce.  It was good, but, I wasn't too impressed with the beef filling.  Next time, I think I'll try the cheese filled ones, I think they'll have more of a flavor.  

Later in the evening, I called friend R and video chatted with my daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Warm, woolen sweaters!
- M helping with the garden
- Today's harvest
- The technology that enables me to video chat with my daughter
- What I was able to accomplish

Today's joyful activity was gardening and harvesting some garden produce.

Plans for tomorrow include playing with fabric.  

How was your Friday?  What have you planned for Saturday and the weekend?

Friday, May 20, 2022

Productive Thursday


Lunch Salad

Yesterday (Thursday) turned out to be quite a productive day.  I didn't experience any more cramps and I made it a point to drink at least 8 cups of water!

I picked up my groceries in the late morning, which required two trips to the grocery store as I've already mentioned in my previous post.  After I came home, I had one of the bananas I had bought and then, made myself a salad for lunch - iceberg lettuce, a carrot cut up into sticks, the last of the old cucumber, and some canned garbanzo beans (or chick peas as they are also called), and bottled salad dressing.  

After lunch, I did another Random Act of Cleaning (RAOC) - I took my long handled duster and dusted the tops of all the doors and the tops of the door frames!  It's not something I remember to do every time I clean a room, which is why I call it a RAOC.  Then, I washed the duster.  

On Monday, when I did laundry, the washing machine did a little jig and angled itself:

"Spin your load and do si do"

I couldn't budge it, but, on Wednesday, M was able to get it back into position.  Since my laundry "room" is actually closet sized and there isn't much space to move around in there, he had to move a couple of things out in order to have enough room to shift the washer.  So, on Thursday, I pulled everything else out, swept and mopped the floor, and put everything back in place, again.  

Laundry Room

There are two plastic coated wire shelves above, which store various items, including the cat carrier, new bath mats, and odds and ends.  The attic access space is directly over them!

Looks messy, doesn't it?

New pack of extra hangers are hanging from the edge of the top shelf (bought after we received all those clothes from my cousin) and the hangers on the lower shelf are used when I hang up laundry to dry indoors, from the door frames.

Then, since Thursday is my kitchen cleaning day, I scrubbed the stove top including under the burners (I use baking soda as my cleanser of choice), cleaned the toaster (where did all those crumbs come from?), cleaned the microwave, wiped down the counters, and scrubbed the sink.  Finally, after a break for tea, I swept and mopped the kitchen floor.  I didn't get to the vent hood, but, that's for another day. 

I didn't accomplish all the things I had listed on my To Do list for Thursday, but, I did a couple of things that weren't listed (RAOC and laundry room) and I am happy with what I was able to accomplish.  

Thursday's To Do List:
- Pick up groceries ✔
- Clean the kitchen/ continue tidying the drawers ✔
- Vacuum if up to it
- Paperwork/filing
- Do more mending
- RAOC - dust door frames and tops of doors ✔
- Clean the laundry room ✔

Dinner was soup (I guess I made more soup than I thought I did!) and strawberries for dessert.  I had some cereal as a late night snack.

On Thursday, I was grateful for:
- Being able to receive all the groceries I ordered, even if it took two trips!
- Safe drives to the store and back
- Not getting any more cramps
- Phone chats and emails with friends; video chats with my daughter
- What I was able to accomplish

Thursday's joyful activity has to be receiving all my groceries!  LOL.  

How was your Thursday?  How is your Friday coming along?

Thursday, May 19, 2022

May Grocery Shopping Part 2

Yesterday, I put in an order of groceries to be picked up, today.  I usually receive emails that my order has been received and reminders that it is ready for pick up, etc., but, this time, I didn't receive any emails or text notifications.  I was concerned when I didn't hear from them by 10:45 a.m. and checked my order online, just in case I had made a mistake with the date and time of pick up, but, the website stated that my order will be ready for pick up at 11:00 a.m., today.  So, I went ahead and notified them that I was on my way (they ask you to notify them and how long it would take you to arrive there). 

Then, I drove to the store to pick up my grocery order.  I parked in one of the pick up service spots and called the store, as usual.  As usual, the automated check in service said the pick up team will be notified and to call back in someone doesn't bring my groceries out within 10 minutes.  I waited for 20 minutes and two other vehicles pulled up, too.  Still no groceries, so, I called again, and eventually, Tiffany brought over my groceries as well as the groceries for the other two customers.  She verified my name, apologized for the delay saying the store's system was not working properly, put in the bags of groceries in the trunk of my car, told me I was good to go, and went over to load groceries in one of the other vehicles.

I drove home and just as I was turning into my drive way, my cell phone rang.  But, by the time I had stopped the car and looked at who was calling (a number I didn't recognize), it had stopped ringing.  I opened up the garage, drove in, parked the car, closed up the garage, and took in the two bags of groceries into the house - only two bags?  I thought I had ordered more groceries than would fit in two bags.  But, the bags were heavy and I thought maybe they packed everything in.  I got inside the house and started to unpack the bags.  That's when I realized that I had received only some of my groceries!  Where were the strawberries?  And the eggs?  And the lettuce?  And the frozen ravioli?  I checked the website to check my receipt (once again, I didn't receive the email notifying me that my receipt was available), to check if anything was unavailable, but, no, the receipt showed that I had received everything I had ordered.  

That's when I checked the phone call I had received on my cell phone, a few minutes earlier.  Yes, it was the store calling; Tiffany had left a voicemail message apologizing that she had left three of my bags of groceries in the refrigerator.  So, I called the store back and I was put through to Jennifer who apologized again for the forgotten groceries.  Then, I drove back to the store and Jennifer brought the rest of the groceries out to me and apologized, again.  I teased her that surely this would merit me a discount, but, of course, the payment had already been made and she couldn't give me a discount retroactively.  She did thank me for my patience and good humor.  

Then, I finally came home with all my groceries and put them away.  

I bought:

0.92 lbs. bananas (3) @ $.65/lb. = $0.60
1.19 lb. papaya (1 small "Caribbean Red") @ $.99/lb. = $1.18
2 mangoes @$1 = $2.00
1 lb. organic strawberries = $3.99 (I thought I was buying the 2 lb. non-organic strawberries that was on sale for $3.99, but, apparently, I clicked on the wrong strawberries; I was not very happy about that mistake as I wouldn't have bought strawberries at that price)

1 cucumber = $0.99
1 iceberg lettuce = $1.49

1 package (25 oz.) frozen beef ravioli = $4.29
1 doz. eggs (cage free) = $3.49 (reg. price $3.99; eggs have gone up in price)

2 cans (8.1 oz.) baking powder @ $1.99 = $3.98
4 x 1 lb. boxes baking soda @ $1.19@ = $4.76
1 container corn starch (16 oz.) = $1.29

2 boxes yellow cake mix @ $1.27 (with digital coupon; reg price $2.49) = $2.54
1 box pancake/waffle mix (32 oz.) = $2.59 (another item that has gone up in price)

1 bottle vegetable oil (48 oz.) = $3.79

1 loaf sandwich bread = $1.69

Total = $38.67

That was not the best grocery pick up, but, I am grateful that they had the corn starch that was out of stock last time and I received all the items I ordered.  The store website had stated the baking soda was in short supply, but, I still received the four boxes I wanted (I use them for a lot more things besides baking).  The frozen ravioli is something I have not had before; I wanted to try it.  

May grocery budget - $100
Spent to date = $44.01 + $38.67 = $82.68
Balance = $17.32

I ate a banana as soon as I came home, then, had a salad for lunch.  Dinner was leftover soup, followed by some of the expensive strawberries for dessert.  

How is your grocery shopping coming along, this month?  Are you staying on budget?  

May Gray on Wednesday


I was worried that the branch with all the peaches on it might break for the weight of the fruit as it was already hanging rather low on the tree, so, I tried to prop it up with a folding chair and knocked off three peaches!  They were firm to the touch - seasoned, but, not quite ripe.  No matter - I sliced half of one and added it to my salad for lunch (along with a few freshly picked blueberries):

Salad for Brunch

I sliced up the other half of the peach and offered it as a snack to M who was tending to the garden.  I also gave him one of the other peaches that broke off and kept the third one for me.  We planted some papaya seeds that I had saved; hopefully, they will germinate.

Today's weather was what is known as May Gray, over here, when the marine layer moves inland and forms a cloud cover; the temperatures drop and it is overcast and gray, until the late afternoon sun burns off the marine layer.  May Gray is a precursor to June Gloom.  

I woke up with a cramp in my left calf muscle, this morning, and there has been on and off tightening of the calf muscle all day.  I might have been dehydrated, so, I've been trying to drink more water.  But, I changed my mind about vacuuming, today, as I didn't want to risk aggravating the cramping.  Instead, I took it easy and cleaned three of the kitchen drawers and tidied two of the kitchen cabinets.  I made the appointment for the blood tests my primary care physician wanted me to do prior to my appointment with her, next week, did some paperwork, cleaned the litter box, and ordered groceries to be picked up, tomorrow, but, I didn't feel like playing with fabric, so I didn't.  Cousin P called me in the afternoon and we had a nice chat (she's adjusting to living in Florida), chatted with friend R in the evening, and video chatted with my daughter.  

Brunch had been a salad, but, I was hungry by tea time, so I had a shredded pork sandwich with my cup of tea.  Dinner was a bowl of ham and split pea soup and cookies for dessert!  

Today, I am grateful for:

- The cramping didn't get worse
- M tending to the garden
- Being able to schedule appointments and order groceries online
- Chats with family and friends
- What I was able to accomplish

Today's joyful activity was enjoying the first peaches from the tree, even if they weren't quite ripe, yet.

Wednesday's To Do List:

- Tend to the garden with M ✔
- Vacuum
- Paperwork/filing - DID SOME
- Tidy/organize some of the kitchen cabinets and drawers ✔
- Continue to play with fabric

Thursday's To Do List:
- Pick up groceries
- Clean the kitchen/ continue tidying the drawers
- Vacuum if up to it
- Paperwork/filing
- Do more mending

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

Wednesday, May 18, 2022


Peaches Ripening

This year's peach crop is a lot smaller than in previous years, with the tree still recovering from the trauma of having the main trunk break off, last year, but, almost half of this year's peaches seem to be on this one branch!  They have at least another couple of weeks to go before they are ripe and so far, the birds have not pecked at them.

Today, I called the clinic in the morning to reconfirm my appointment for the afternoon.  My appointment was for 1:00 p.m. and I was asked to be there 15 minutes prior to that.  So, I left the house at 11:45 a.m. and arrived at the clinic at exactly 12:45 p.m.  There was a short wait before I was seen, which was fine as I had taken my crocheting with me.  I was able to do a couple of rows before I was called in.  The check up went well and there was nothing to be concerned about.

On the way home, I treated myself to a pepperoni pizza ($5.99 + tax) and had some of it for both my lunch and my dinner!  I packaged up the rest of the pizza and froze it.  I am going to try my best to forget that it is in the freezer!  LOL.

I rested a bit after I came home and cut out more pieces of fabric for six more cat blocks.  Then, I dusted my bedroom, watered the fruit trees and seedlings, ran the dishwasher, and put away the laundry.  I also committed a "random act of cleaning" and washed the bedroom and bathroom doors, the door frames, and the linen closet doors!  

 Tuesday's To Do List:

- Dust my bedroom ✔
- Doctor's appointment ✔
- Water the fruit trees and seedlings ✔
- Water the house plants ✔
- Bring the trash cans in ✔
- Put away the last load of laundry ✔
- Run the dishwasher ✔

Later in the evening, I spoke with friend R and video chatted with my daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:
- The doctor's appointment went well
- A safe drive to the clinic and back 
- Blueberries from the garden
- Working appliances
- Water for the garden

Today's joyful activity was playing with fabric!

Wednesday's To Do List:
- Tend to the garden with M
- Vacuum
- Paperwork/filing 
- Tidy/organize some of the kitchen cabinets and drawers
- Continue to play with fabric

How was your Tuesday?  How is your Wednesday coming along?  Do you commit random acts of cleaning from time to time?

Monday, May 16, 2022

Happy Vesak!

Fresh Roses for the Mantel

Vesak is a Buddhist celebration, commemorating three events: the birth of Siddhartha, his enlightenment and becoming the Buddha, and his death.  Vesak is observed on the full moon day in May, so the date is not a fixed date.  It is the biggest, most important religious event on the Buddhist calendar.  It is a day for religious observations, for going to the Temple, for illuminating the homes with candles, oil lamps, and lanterns, and for distributing food.  I participated in Saturday's food drive which was held by the postal service (an annual event which was put on hold for the past couple of years due to the pandemic; it has nothing to do with observing Vesak, but, just happened to coincide very nicely with it), said my morning prayers, and offered fresh flowers at the home altars.  

Dancer insisted that I woke up early today!  I tried to go back to sleep, but, gave up after 30 minutes of trying, made my morning tea, and got going with my day's activities!  I dusted the living room and dining area (except the dining table that is piled with scraps of fabric!); the dusting didn't take long because most surfaces were clear, so, I went ahead and dusted the family room, as well (on my weekly schedule for Tuesdays, but, I will be going to the doctor's appointment, tomorrow, so, the fewer things to do tomorrow, the better).  Then, I picked a few roses to bring inside, for the altars and the mantel where I display photos of my mother.

Most of the roses looked like this:

When You Try to Bloom and it's 96F


Afterwards, I changed the bed sheets, did three loads of laundry, and remade the bed.

Later in the afternoon, I played a bit more with my fabric scraps!  Remember I said I needed to trim some of the larger scraps?  Well, I might have done a bit of sewing, as well:

Cat Block

I found several cat block patterns and tutorials online and decided to try a tutorial by the Missouri Quilt Co.  

After tea, I cleaned the fridge (it was pretty clean, just had to wipe up some crumbs and the only item tossed was a half eaten tortilla that had dried out), cleaned the litter box, took the trash cans to the curb, picked blueberries, and made my meal plan for the week.  The only item that remained on my Monday's to do list was to spot water the fruit trees and seedlings, but, I checked on them and they were okay (it wasn't as warm, today, as it had been over the weekend); I will water them, tomorrow.

 Monday's To Do List:

- Change bed sheets ✔
- Load of laundry (bed sheets/towels) ✔
- Dust living room & dining area ✔
- Clean the fridge ✔
- Take trash cans to the curb for Tuesday trash pick up ✔
- Clean the litter box ✔
- Spot water the back garden (fruit trees and newly planted seedlings) - Tuesday
- Meal plan ✔
- Trim some fabric ✔

In the evening, I spoke with friend R and chatted with my daughter.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being able to observe Vesak in my own way
- Roses from the garden
- Working appliances
- Online tutorials
- My scrap fabric stash

Today's joyful activity was more patchwork piecing!

Tuesday's To Do List:
- Dust my bedroom
- Doctor's appointment
- Water the fruit trees and seedlings
- Water the house plants
- Bring the trash cans in
- Put away the last load of laundry
- Run the dishwasher

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