Wednesday, June 8, 2022

The Week So Far...

Another Look at the Sunflower

My goodness, but, the days are whizzing by, aren't they?

On Monday, I spent the morning doing things around the house.  My sister called and we had a nice chat.  Then, around noon, I ran a couple of errands as I needed to put gas to the car and drop off my ballot (for the California primaries).  Before I left, however, I called friend R to see if she needed me to pick up anything for her while I was out and about, either something from the convenience store at the gas station or a drive-through, but, she wasn't home.  Then, I ran my errands.

First, I put gas to the car.  The average price for a gallon of gas in Los Angeles County is $6.37 according to the news.  But, I went to one of the cheapest gas stations in my neighborhood where gas was $6.159/gal. if using credit and $6.059 if using cash.  Since I usually pay with cash, I bought my gas at $6.06 (I always round it up).  I decided to fill the tank (I was between half and a quarter tank); I put 9+ gallons and my total came to $54.98.  Almost $5 over my monthly budget of $50 for gas, BUT, I didn't have to put gas to the car at all in May (according to my records, the last time I put gas was on April 14, and it cost $5.45/gal. and I put $50 worth), so, I had all of May's gas budget to spend.  

Afterwards, I drove to the library to drop off my ballot (for the California primaries) in the ballot box located there.  Exchanged greetings with the library's security guard who was standing on duty and drove myself home.  Earlier, I had considered buying something (burger, fries, milkshake!) from the hamburger place next to the library, using their drive-through, but, I decided to be good and go home, instead, and eat the leftover fried rice I had in the fridge!  And, instead of a milkshake, I had yogurt with peach sauce and felt virtuous!  LOL!    

Friend R called after I got home and we chatted a bit.  Afterwards, I did a load of laundry, cleaned Dancer's litter box, took the trash cans to the curb, checked the mail, and put in an order for groceries.

On Monday, I was grateful for:
- Gas being available, even if the price has gone up
- Being able to fill my tank and not being rationed to only a certain number of gallons
- Not needing to drive as much as I used to and being able to manage on a tank of gas for a long time
- Phone calls with family and friends
- Video chatting with my daughter
My joyful activity was chatting on the phone with my sister.

On Tuesday, I picked up my groceries in the late morning.  As I mentioned in yesterday's grocery post, I received everything I ordered and paid for!  LOL.  Not to mention the unexpected discount on the shrimp!  

I had a salad for brunch and had a nice long chat with Aunt C.  Shortly afterwards, I got a call from my late friend Irene's daughter M, who is also friend A's cousin.  At first, I was wondering if it was bad news, but, no, M, who lives in Colorado, was down in Los Angeles, with her family, for a visit.  She was passing by my house and was wondering if I was at home; she wanted to visit me!  Yes, I was at home!  LOL.  A couple of minutes later, there was a knock at my door - M, her younger daughter (aged 3), and the lady who looked after M and her sister when they were children and who now lives with her.  I had last seen M at friend A's mother's funeral (A's mother was M's maternal aunt), but, we didn't have time to visit, then.  They weren't wearing masks, but, I had my mask on during the entire visit, kept the front door open and there were two windows open, too, for ventilation.  These social visits are nice, but, still rather fraught for me!  Before they left, I gave M a bag of lemons picked fresh from the garden, a jar of my peach topping, and four children's books for the little girl to share with her older sister.  The books had been my daughter's that I had held onto for sentimental reasons.  I told M that they had been my daughter's and were not new, although they had been very gently used.  

Later, I called friend A and chatted with her for a bit.  She is doing OK; not good, but as well as can be expected.

In the evening, I watered the front garden (just a few select plants, including the red rose and the pomegranate tree) with water I had collected from the kitchen and shower.  Then, I watered the fruit trees, vegetable plants, and seedlings from the hose, because they were wilting from the heat (80+F).  Two plums had fallen, so I picked them up, too, and I picked almost one pound of broccoli side shoots!

Broccoli Harvest!

I blanched and froze them, to share with my daughter.  

I also cooked the shrimp I had bought, the piece of frozen fish I had kept to thaw, a pot of rice, and some broccoli I had picked earlier.  I had some of the shrimp curry, rice, and broccoli for dinner.  Then, I packaged the rest of the shrimp in two portions and froze them to share with my daughter when she visits.  Did the dishes, watched election early results, chatted with friend R, and video chatted with my daughter.  

On Tuesday, I was grateful for:
- Being able to pick up my groceries (and receiving everything I ordered!)
- Surprise visits from long time friends
- Phone calls and video chats with daughter, other family members, and friends
- Water for the garden
- The broccoli harvest!
My joyful activity was the surprise visit from friend M.

Which brings us to today, Wednesday!  A sunny, warm (85F) day!  My kind of weather!  Gardener M was here in the morning and I asked him to dig up the volunteer potato plants that had been growing in the compost pit (I don't have a compost bin or a heap; I dig holes and bury the kitchen and garden compost and cover them with soil).  The potato plants had begun to die back.

Baby Potatoes!

There were two slightly larger potatoes which I gave gardener M before I took this photo.  They are very small, but, hey, they grew from stuff I had tossed out with the kitchen scraps!  I'm not complaining!  I cooked a potato curry with them and gave a little of it for M to taste and gave him a small container of turmeric powder and a few sprigs of curry leaves so he could try making a curry with the two potatoes I gave him.  He's going to end up with a Sri Lankan spice cabinet before long!  LOL.  Then, I had him plant the last six potatoes I had in the bag of potatoes I had bought, which had started to sprout.  We planted them in pots, this time, and hopefully, they will survive the summer temperatures and I'll have another potato harvest in the fall!

M also picked two more plums that were ripe and I've added them to the two that I picked up, yesterday:


They aren't that big, either, but, this is the first harvest of plums from this tree and I am happy!

Brunch was another salad.  The potato curry will keep till dinner (I did snack on a few of them after I had my salad!)

Daughter texted me earlier to say she decided to work from her apartment instead of going to the office, today (they are now allowed to go in only one day a week, instead of two, due to increased Covid cases and they are, once again, required to wear a mask in the office, which daughter has been doing all along).  Later, she texted to say that she was having a nasty headache and she called her supervisor and took the rest of the day off to rest.  Hopefully, it's nothing more than just a headache (she said she took a Covid self-test and it was negative).

Today, I am grateful for:
- M tending to the garden
- The potato harvest!
- The first crop of plums
- Daughter has paid sick leave and can take a day off from work to rest
- Sunny, warm days

Today's joyful activity was harvesting potatoes!  LOL.  M was so amused to pull up the volunteer potato plants and find they actually produced some potatoes!  We were both laughing as he pulled up the plants and picked off the potatoes!  

If you have read up to this, then, I thank you!  I was too tired to do a proper post on Monday night and Tuesday night.  Not that I went to sleep early on either night!  I was up till late (or should that be till early morning?) watching online videos of the Queen's Jubilee celebrations and old episodes of a British TV program about eating well for less!

How has your week been so far?


  1. I love the sunflower. Gas is expensive, isn't it? Not quite as expensive here and luckily we don't use a lot, but we are having to limit our trips out at the weekends. What a nice surprise to have a visit! The broccoli harvest is a nice one!

    1. Thank you, Sharon; the sunflower makes a cheerful splash of color in the garden. I think I might like to plant a whole packet of seeds, next year (these are some seedlings that my gardener M sprouted and shared with me).
      I'm very glad that I am no longer driving to work and back, daily.
      The visit was a nice surprise. And I was happy with my broccoli harvest. :)

  2. Not just days whizzing by but weeks and months, I can't believe it's June already. Petrol is so expensive here and at a record high now, I'm glad we don't do much mileage anymore. I hope your daughter has recovered from her bad headache now. Lovely for you to have surprise visitors and those potatoes, I think baby potatoes taste better than the big ones.

    1. I know, Eileen! Not only are we in June already, we are almost 1/3 of the way into the month!
      I, too, am glad I don't have to drive to work and back, any more, now that the gas/petrol prices are so high!
      Thank you; my daughter texted that she is feeling better, today.
      I enjoyed the surprise visit, although I do wish they had worn masks!
      The baby potatoes were delicious! Especially since they were from volunteer plants! :D

  3. Gas is about a dollar more there than here. I don't how much of that is location relative to a refinery and how much is because of different state taxes. But it's all too high.

    1. I read that California has the highest gas prices. Partly because we have to have "cleaner burning" gas in the summer, due to our poor air quality conditions, and partly because of the gas taxes and surcharges. The environmentalist in me recognizes that gas is a finite natural resource which should be conserved and higher prices do result in some conservation due to economic reasons; but, higher gas prices often result in higher costs of living, too.

  4. Lovely garden produce Bless. It tastes so much nicer doesn't it :)

    Regarding the cost of diesel. I just passed our local fuel station and the price has shot up to £192.7 per litre which works out at £8.76 per gallon. This is the highest price ever....

    Very well done on your food shop!

    1. Thank you, Pensive; yes, the garden produce is much fresher and tastier than what one can buy from the grocery stores. :)
      £8.76 per gallon is a lot! Of course, the UK gallon is a little more (4.546 liters) than the US gallon (3.785 liters). Even so, according to my calculations (math is not my strong point!), the price we'd pay for a 4.546 liter gallon would be $7.28, which, since today's exchange rates are US$ 1 = UK£0.799, would be around £5.82.
      Thank you! I was pleased with how the grocery spending turned out! :)

  5. It sounds like you had a few good days with a nice balance between errands, chores, gardening, family and friends. Surprise visits are always lovely and I hope the anxiety didn't ruin it too much for you.

    I'm assuming your case number must have risen considerably if your daughter's working arrangements have been revised again. Sorry to hear she had to take the rest of the day off work with a bad headache and hope that it cleared up the same day.

    The sunflower is lovely. I agree that they add a bright splash of colour in the garden. I'm enjoying the yellow plants I've chosen for the summer although I didn't get any sunflowers this year. Also good to see that your garden continues to be productive ... well done on the volunteer potatoes!

    It's been a good week for me so far. I visited the garden centres today but still didn't find any suitable plants so will be ordering online instead.

    1. I did have some nice, well balanced days, didn't I? :) I enjoyed the surprise visit; I do wish they had worn masks, though! (They have all had Covid, around Christmas, including the little one; mild cases, apparently, thank goodness).

      My daughter texted saying she's feeling better, today. She gets migraine-like headaches (nausea, etc.) every now and then. Yes, the case numbers are rising. Daughter and I are in two different counties and the numbers up there are lower than the numbers down here. But, Los Angeles county's new case count yesterday topped 6,000 (today's numbers will be available only after 6:00 p.m.) and our 7-day average for testing positivity rate is 4.26%. It's a little too high for my comfort!

      Thank you; I was thrilled with my potato harvest! Let's hope the ones that I planted, yesterday, will do as well, if not better!

      I'm glad your week is going well, Eileen. Too bad the garden centers didn't have the plants you wanted, but, hopefully, you'll be able to order the plants, online. Looking forward to seeing what you get!

  6. How nice to have a surprise visit. I find it so confusing right now as some people wear masks and some don't and are happy to be without them. But even if the latest Covid variety is more like flu, I hate flu and it can lead to pneumonia, so I'm still with the mask and trying not to forget! We are due for our booster shots next week.

    1. It was nice to have the surprise visit, even though I wished they had worn masks! I tend to wear my mask wherever I go. It's safer! Like you, I, too, hate the flu or even the common cold. Glad to hear that you will be getting your booster shots next week. You know the drill - be well hydrated before and after to minimize side effects. :)

  7. You're teaching M to appreciate good food! You have done really well with your broccoli, and it's so good for you. Sending hugs x

    1. M loves my curries! He says I should sell jars of the curry sauce! LOL. I'm so pleased with my broccoli harvest! I am planning to harvest some of the leaves, next, and cook them. Our temperatures are expected to be in the 90s, in the next few days (it is 88F right now), and the broccoli doesn't do too well in that heat. Thank you for the hugs; hope all is well with you, Lyssa.

  8. The broccoli harvest is quite something! Broccoli might be my favourite vegetable. I am glad you have been keeping nicely busy and seeing a few different people. It seems strange to me that people would visit without offering to put a mask on, specially if you had yours, but it sounds as if you took all necessary precautions and I'm sure there will be no fallout. In any case, who could resist some time with a 3-year-old! How lovely. I used to like Noddy - the illustrations were charming.

    1. Those broccoli plants have kept on producing, even if the main heads of broccoli were very disappointing in size. I'm glad I kept the plants for the side shoots and leaves (most of M's other clients pulled their plants out after they harvested the main heads of broccoli). I let one plant bolt and I plan to collect the seeds to see if I can get them to grow, next year. :)

      People are strange when it comes to mask wearing, aren't they? I used to keep a pile of masks by the front door to hand out to unmasked visitors, at the beginning of the pandemic, but, didn't replenish the pile; should probably do that. The container of hand sanitizer is still there, by the door, for what it's worth! The little 3 year old was cute! A head full of curls just like my daughter used to have! Noddy was my favorite book character when I was a child. :)

  9. That was a lovely surprise visit, and I imagine you had a lot to catch up on.
    I am envious of your broccoli harvest - it is one of my favourite vegetables. X

    1. It was a lovely visit and we were able to have a nice chat. The broccoli harvest has been really good, this year! I'm going to try to save some seeds from the one plant I've allowed to bolt!

  10. What a nice newsy post. Your week was off to a good start - I will read on and see what else you've been up to.
    Yes, gas is going higher by the hour it seems. We are lucky the we are retired and largely unaffected by it. We don't drive all that much. My husband goes out daily but doesn't go many miles. Me? I'm happy to stay home where I like to be - weeks will go by sometimes before I need to dust myself off (literally from the garden) and face the world, preferably in a garden center or the library. My local thrift store closed so that's off my usual list :(
    How nice that you had a surprise visit - it seems like you had a nice time. I'm going to be nosy here because you didn't specifically say - or maybe I missed it - when your guests saw you were wearing a mask, did they too wear one? You mentioned being a bit nervous so I am curious. What's the etiquette of it all?
    If I went to someone's home and they had a mask on, I would also put one on or at least ask if they wanted me to.

    That's a really good broccoli harvest and the plums look really nice. Were they tasty?
    I'm glad to read from your responses that your daughter feels better :)

    1. Glad you enjoyed the newsy post, Debra. I wondered it if was too long!
      You are like me; I'm perfectly happy saying home. :)
      No, my guests did not wear masks or offer to wear one; I don't think they had any with them and I realized, only after the fact, that the small pile of new masks I keep by the door had been all used up and I had forgotten to replenish it. They had all had Covid (mild cases, apparently) around Christmas time; I don't know if they are still immune or not, but, I think they can be transmitters. However, I did have the front door open and a couple of windows were open, too, so I think there was sufficient ventilation. At least, I hope so! It's almost a week since the visit and I feel OK (except for a headache, yesterday). I know I sound paranoid, but, Friday's new case count in my county was 6,200+ and the 7-day average testing positivity rate was 4.2%. Yes, it is the most populous county in the state, but, still, that's a high testing positivity rate, I think. I don't want to come down with even a mild case! I would think the etiquette would be to wear a mask or offer to wear a mask; and if a guest came wearing a mask, I would put one on, myself. That is what I would do.
      The plums are delicious! I had one and I'm saving the rest for my daughter to enjoy. :)


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