Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Monthly Photo Challenge: January

January's Monthly Photo Challenge theme, hosted by Eileen, was Beginning with L.  These are what I found for this theme:

Lemon Tree


Love Cake

Leaves (Passionfruit Leaves)



(Solar "Good Luck" Jar Lantern)


(Traditional Brass Oil Lamp)


Leftovers for Dinner

(which almost got left out of the post!)

And last, but, not least, 

Lonesome, Lovely, Loving Kitty
(Who is missing daughter)

Thank you, Eileen, for this fun challenge!  Looking forward to February's challenge!

Meal Plans: January Week 4 Review/February Week 1

This was the meal plan for the last full week in January and how it worked out:

Monday: Salmon (from the freezer) sauteed, broccoli, rice - I sauteed the salmon with onions and tomatoes, steamed the broccoli, and cooked fried rice from a boxed mix; we had plenty of leftovers!

Tuesday: Chicken curry, green beans, dhal, with leftover broccoli and leftover fried rice; I ate patties that were made earlier in the day as a snack, and leftover cucumber salad

Wednesday: Leftovers from Tuesday - leftover chicken curry, cashew curry, rice.

Thursday: Hamburgers (there are 4 leftover hamburger buns to use up) Thai food take out (chicken fried rice, Thai pepper beef, mixed seafood).

Friday: Leftovers and mixed appetizers (gyoza, baked chicken wings, etc.) OR Thai food take out -Rice, sauteed curried green beans, leftover chicken curry, leftover cashew curry

Saturday: Leftovers - Salmon, rice, green beans, peach chutney

Sunday: Breakfast for dinner - egg, hash browns, bacon or ham or soup! Hamburger, salad (lettuce from the garden), fries

That worked out quite well, I think.  We switched a few things around, but, that was fine.

This week is the end of January and beginning of February.  Daughter has left and I am back to planning meals for one.  I want to finish up a few leftovers and then, make some soup.  The plan is to use up a few things that are in the freezer, such as chicken and turkey bones and bits and pieces of vegetables.  

Brunches: Choice of gyoza/pot stickers (Monday), toast with peanut butter or  scrambled egg (Tuesday); milkrice on Wednesday (February 1), leftover milkrice if any (Thursday), frozen burritos, pancakes, cup noodles, etc.


Monday: Leftover salmon, leftover half a baked potato topped with leftover green relish from the samosas, green peas

Tuesday: Leftover chicken curry, rice, green beans, potato curry

Wednesday: Leftover salmon, leftover fries, cucumber slices

Thursday: Hamburger and salad

Friday: Fried rice with ham

Saturday: Chicken or turkey & vegetables soup

Sunday: Leftover soup, drop biscuits (maybe)

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

Rainy Days and Mondays

Rain Drops on Blurry Peach Blossoms

It rained quite a bit, last night, but, this morning was sunny.  Then, by the afternoon, the clouds moved in and it rained again!

I called the doctor's office first thing in the morning and asked them to call in a new prescription to the pharmacy, explaining that I had just enough medication for today's dose.  I don't usually wait until the last minute like this, but, things got put off just before Christmas when I was worried about my daughter getting Covid, etc. and I got behind with my regular tasks.

Then, I did a load of laundry thanks to Dancer who had left a present for me on my bathmat even though his litter box was only a foot or so away.  And I dusted (living room, dining area, family room), swept (kitchen and bathroom), and watered the houseplants.  

I waited till one o'clock and called the pharmacy to see if they received the new prescription order from the doctor's office.  Yes, they received it, but, they claimed that it was too early to refill, that I was not due for a refill yet, and I should still have some pills left!  I assured them that I didn't have any more pills, just the one pill for today.  So, the pharmacy staff member said she will try to put it through again and apparently, this time, it worked!  She said it will be ready for pick up in two hours.

In the meantime, I started cleaning the fridge.  Halfway through that, the doctor's office called to say that the prescription was ready at the pharmacy (I guess the pharmacy notified the doctor's office?  I didn't know that they did that!)  Then, I received the text notification that the medication was ready for pick up.  I stopped cleaning the fridge and went to the pharmacy to pick up the medication.  I've been having them mail me the medications, but, this time, I didn't want to wait the two or three days that takes.  I wore my mask and although most of the people shopping at the pharmacy weren't wearing masks, the pharmacy staff were masked.  I didn't do any additional shopping at the pharmacy; just picked up my medication and came home!  

It started to rain just as I was leaving the house and it was raining quite steadily when I came home!  But, the rain ceased after I got home!  LOL.  

I finished cleaning the main part of the fridge after I came home - the shelves and the drawers.  But, I didn't get to the shelves on the door - I was going to do them after I watched the evening news, but, I didn't.  So, that will be done tomorrow.

I had a couple of items to toss from the fridge - one was half a jar of apple sauce that had been in the fridge for a long time and the other was a piece of cheese that had got moldy.  There were also some old lemons and one mandarin that had started to spoil - they went to the compost heap.  

Later, I took the trash cans and the recycling bin to the end of the driveway for pickup tomorrow.

What I didn't do was the freezer inventory; that, too, will be on tomorrow's to do list.

Still later, I chatted with friend R and video chatted with my daughter.  

Brunch had been some gyoza/pot stickers from the freezer; dinner was leftover salmon, leftover half a baked potato, and some green peas from the freezer.  I topped the baked potato with some of the leftover green relish that came as a dipping sauce with the samosas.  Mandarins for dessert.

Today, I am grateful for:

- The doctor's office called in the refill to the pharmacy promptly
- The pharmacy was able to fill the prescription (after the initial confusion that it was too soon to refill)
- The availability of medications
- Insurance to help pay for the medications
-A safe drive to the pharmacy and back

Today's joyful activity was collecting my medication!

Tuesday's To Do List:

- Clean the fridge door shelves
- Freezer inventory
- Dust and tidy my bedroom

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

Rain on the Car Windshield

Monday, January 30, 2023

Rain on Sunday

Sunday morning was partly sunny, but, the clouds moved in during the afternoon and evening until it started to rain around 9:00 p.m.  It is still raining at past 1:00 a.m., as I type this post.

I had a fairly quiet day.  I relaxed, watched some online videos, sorted through a few things, decluttered a few items, did a load of dishes, and cleaned the litter box.  Later, I chatted with friend R and exchanged emails with a friend.

I also chatted with daughter in the morning and again at night.  She did a bit of shopping in the afternoon, exchanging a pair of shoes she had bought online for a slightly smaller pair, buying another bottle of ibuprofen since she had forgotten to take her bottle back with her and left it down here, and buying a few groceries, especially the half and half for her coffee.  Then, she did laundry.  

Brunch had been a frozen burrito and I had a toasted cheese sandwich with my tea in the evening.  Dinner was a hamburger and fries.  I made too many fries, so I have some leftover to have with my dinner, tomorrow.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- More rain for the garden
- Daughter was able to exchange her shoes
- Working appliances
- Electricity
- Chats with daughter and friends

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

Monday's To Do List:

- Call the doctor's office to request a medication refill
- Dust the living room and dining area
- Freezer inventory
- Meal plan
- Clean the fridge
- Take the trash cans to the curb/end of the driveway

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

Saturday, January 28, 2023

The End of the Week

Aloe Flower Buds

The aloe flower stalks in the front garden are starting to separate into individual buds.  None of the buds have opened up, yet.

Yesterday (Friday) was another lovely sunny day with a daytime high of 68F.  I walked in the garden for a bit, tidied up a few things that the wind had blown over (including the now emptied water buckets and Mama Cat's box!), took some recycling to the big recycling bin that is kept outside, started the car and let it run for a bit while I did stuff in the garden and set up sticks for the snow peas to climb up.  I tried to make a teepee with three of the sticks (need to cut a piece of fabric to make a better tie than the circlet of long grasses I wound around it!)  M commented on it, when he was here, later in the evening, to tend to the garden.  He thought it was cute!  LOL. 

Teepee for the Snow Peas

H bought me two big bags of acidic potting soil for the blueberry bushes (he tells me what is needed for the garden and I ask him to buy whatever is needed at his convenience when he is out and about and then, I reimburse him; it works out well for me because he knows exactly what to buy and I don't have to go out shopping).  He repotted the three blueberry plants and set the pots up on pavers to get them off the cemented area; he thought it would be better for drainage, etc.

Repotted Blueberry Bushes on the Paver Platform

We took the pavers I already had elsewhere in the garden - I no longer have a path leading to nowhere in particular at the back, just a ghostly imprint of what used to be!

The Ghost of a Path

He also placed another bag of mulch on top of the patio roof panels to hold them down the next time the winds pick up.  We are supposed to get more rain on Sunday and Monday, so I set the rain water collection buckets in place!

M tried the yogurt muffins I had baked and liked them.  He gets to try the random baked goods I make!  He's a good sport about it.  

Daughter and I had muffins for breakfast, leftover Thai food (from Thursday) for lunch, and freshly cooked rice, sauteed curried green beans, and leftover chicken curry for dinner.  I froze some of the green beans for my daughter to take back with her and then, I baked another batch of the yogurt muffins, too, for her to take with her.  

Today, Saturday, another sunny, bright day, but, with a daytime high of only 60F with rain in the forecast for tomorrow. Daughter and I were up fairly early and she did her last minute packing, including the frozen food items she was taking back with her.  Then, I drove her to the airport, dropped her off, and came home.  Her flight left at 11:45 a.m. and she said she had a safe, smooth flight to Oakland airport and a safe subway ride from the airport to downtown Berkeley and a safe bus ride from the subway station to her apartment (she called me when she got to her apartment).

After I came home from dropping her off at the airport, I did two loads of laundry (daughter's bed sheets and her quilt) and remade her bed.  Then, I covered the remade bed with a sheet to keep dust and Dancer's fur off the bedding.  I will remake the bed with fresh sheets just before daughter comes home, next, whenever that will be, but, I like the beds to be made up with sheets in between visits, as well.  I tided the living room (there were some cardboard boxes from a couple of packages of cat food that were delivered, which needed to be broken down and recycled) and cleared the top of the coffee table in the family room.  I walked a bit in the garden and took some photos.  Later, I spoke with former neighbor T; she said she's doing well and she and her daughter were in the process of going through some of her belongings to clear out the house.  From what she said, it sounds like they will be putting the house up for sale in the near future.

I had a piece of toast with peanut butter and a little peach jam for brunch; dinner will be leftovers.

I am grateful for:

- Daughter was able to visit for just over a month
- She had a safe journey back to her apartment
- M's help with the garden
- Sunny, spring-like weather
- Working appliances

Joyful activities have included spending time with my daughter and being in the garden.

I haven't planned anything specific for tomorrow (Sunday).  I'll see what I feel like doing once I am up.  

How is your weekend coming along?  Any special plans for Sunday?

The Peach Tree Thinks it's Spring

Friday, January 27, 2023

Bake on Thursday

Yogurt/Mixed Berries Muffins

When I was tidying the shelves in the dining room, I went through a binder of recipes I had copied or cut from magazines, tossing those that I don't think I will make.  These days, I am more likely to look for recipes online, but, this binder still contains a few recipes that I want to try.  One of the recipes I had was for muffins using yogurt to replace eggs and oil.  I still have most of the huge container of yogurt I received in one of my grocery orders, earlier this month - I had ordered a 32 oz. container, but, I received a 64 oz. container, instead!  That's a lot of yogurt for one person to eat (my daughter doesn't like yogurt)!  Today, I tried that muffin recipe and both my daughter and I agreed that the muffins were delicious.

The recipe called for 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, 2/3 cup plain nonfat or low-fat yogurt (I used full fat yogurt as that's what I had), 2/3 cup skim milk (again, I used whole milk), and 1/2 cup blueberries or grated apples (if desired; I added frozen mixed berries).  Combine the dry ingredients, gently stir in the yogurt and milk (and fruit - recipe omitted that step!), fill greased or paper lined muffin cups 3/4 full, bake at 400F for 18 minutes or until well browned.   Makes 12 muffins (I made 11 because my muffin tin has only 11 cups; the 12th cup broke off).  I sprinkled the tops of the muffins with a little sugar before baking them.  The muffins turned out really well and as I said, my daughter, who doesn't like yogurt, said they tasted delicious.  I will keep this recipe and make these muffins, again.  Next time, I might reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup, especially if I am sprinkling some on the top.

I also have a recipe for a loaf cake using yogurt, that I want to try, but the muffins take less time to bake!

Apart from baking muffins, it has been a fairly relaxed day.  It was sunny with a high of 68F, a bit windy at times.  I did two loads of laundry, watered some of the plants in the front garden with water I had collected from the shower while waiting for the hot water to run, helped my daughter set up the small charcoal grill she had bought for me as one of her Christmas gifts to me (the one I plan to use as an alternative cooking source if I don't have access to natural gas or electricity; I have a big grill, as well, but, the smaller one is more convenient). did a bit of paperwork, and chatted with my aunt.  I also froze some of the chicken curry and the cashew curry for daughter to take back with her.  

The clinic called and rescheduled my Friday's appointment to next week Friday, because the medication for my bone density injection has not been received yet.  It gets shipped from a lab in another state and they've been having some severe weather, which might be the cause for the delay.  I was fine with the appointment being rescheduled, but, I do need to start the car and let the engine run a bit, since I won't be driving to downtown and back, tomorrow.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being able to try out a new muffin recipe and having it turn out well
- Working appliances
- Chatting with family and friends
- Relaxed days
- Sunny and warmer days

Today's joyful activity was baking muffins.

Plans for Friday include starting the car, cleaning the bathroom, and tending to the garden with M.

What are your plans for Friday?  Have you tried baking muffins or cakes with yogurt replacing some or all of the eggs and oil?  Is it something you might try?

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Cook with Bless: Chicken Curry and Cashew Curry


Bless' Chicken Curry

I have been asked if I had a recipe for curry and considering how often I make chicken curry, I was positive I had posted a recipe earlier, but, when I did a search of my past posts, I didn't find one!  So, as I was making a chicken curry for dinner, last night, I thought I will take some photos and write out a few directions.

First, a few side notes:

Curry is the term for a type of dish, just like stew or casserole and just like stew or casseroles, you can have different curries and different ways of preparing the same type of curry.  So, my chicken curry is different from my friend's chicken curry and my daughter's chicken curry.  Some of the changes are due to the spices other ingredients used as well as the method of cooking (I add tomato to my chicken curry and saute the chicken pieces a bit at first and then, cook them; others don't add tomato or saute the chicken).

Curry is usually made with curry powder, which is a blend of various spices, but, the basics are a blend of coriander, cumin, and fennel.  To this basic blend, various other spices are added to make different blends of curry powders.  If the ingredients are roasted first before being powdered, you get "roasted curry powder", if they are not roasted, you get "raw curry powder".  You can also get something called "dark roasted curry powder" which gives a darker curry powder with a stronger taste and this is usually my favorite blend for the majority of my curries. 

I used to buy all the different spices and make my own curry powder, but, that was years ago.  These days, I have become lazy and I buy premade curry powders, usually from a Sri Lankan or Indian store.  

And finally, when it comes to curries, I don't have a specific recipe that I follow and I don't measure my ingredients.  What I have is a method and approximations.  It drove my daughter crazy when I first taught her how to cook because I'd say, "Add some curry powder" and she'd ask, "How much?" and I couldn't tell her the specific amounts.  So, I'd say, "About this much" and shake some out of the bottle into a dish and she would measure it.  These days, she is a more experienced cook and she, too, eyeballs the amounts of curry powder and other ingredients.

Having said all that, here's my chicken curry "recipe":

Ingredients - for each 1 lb. chicken, 

1 heaping teaspoon of curry powder (I use a regular teaspoon, not measuring spoons)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. chili powder/cayenne pepper powder (depends on how hot you want it)
salt to taste
1/4 -1/2 small onion, sliced or chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled, cut up or left whole
curry leaves, fresh or dried, about 4 or 5 leaves; substitute a bay leaf if you don't have curry leaves or can be omitted, too
1/2 - 1 small tomato - optional (can use canned tomatoes, too)
a few pieces of pandan leaf (I used frozen) - optional
1-2 green chilies (such as serrano peppers) if you like more heat
1 small piece fresh ginger (I didn't have fresh ginger, so used ground ginger)
1 small piece lemon grass - optional (I didn't have lemon grass, so skipped it)
1-2 cardamom pods
1-2 cloves
1 tablespoon of oil (any type of oil; I use vegetable oil)
1/4 - 1/2 cup coconut milk or equivalent (dairy milk, nut milk, oat milk, etc.)
a little lime or lemon juice (I use lemon because that's what I have)


Add the curry powder, chili powder, and a little salt to the pieces of raw chicken, stir to coat the pieces and leave aside to marinate for 20 to 30 minutes (or longer in the fridge; can be left overnight in the fridge, if you prefer).  This step is not an absolute must, but, I like to marinate it a bit before cooking.

Chicken Pieces Marinating

While the chicken is marinating, prepare the other ingredients - peel and cut the onion, peel the garlic, cut the tomato, etc.  I am using some of the last of my homegrown tomatoes (from the 2021 garden!) that I cut up and froze; I didn't thaw it prior to cooking.

Additional Ingredients: A sprig of curry leaves, a few pieces of 
pandan leaves, green chilies, garlic, chopped onion, tomato

Add a small amount of oil (I used vegetable oil) to the pan you are using to cook the chicken:

Vegetable Oil in Pan

Add the curry leaves, pandan leaves (if used), green chilies, cloves, cardamoms, lemon grass (if used) fresh ginger (I used ground ginger and added it to the chicken marinade) and onions to the oil and saute for a minute or so (doing this will flavor the oil), then, add the chicken and the garlic and saute for a few minutes:

Chicken and Other Ingredients Being Sauteed

If you choose not to saute, then, add the chicken and other ingredients to a pan with a little bit of water and bring to a boil, covered.

Once the chicken has sauteed for about 5 minutes, I added a little water (about 1/2 cup for this amount of chicken), covered the pan, and let it cook for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked, inside.  The chicken will release some water as it cooks and covering the pan will retain the moisture.  I stir the chicken once or twice while it cooks, to make sure it is cooking evenly.

The Chicken As It Cooks

After it has cooked for about 15 minutes, add the coconut milk (or any other milk of your choice).  

Immediately after the coconut milk was added

Stir to distribute the milk evenly and bring it to a boil, then, add a little lime or lemon juice.  Taste test to see if more salt is needed.  If the curry is too spicy, add a little more milk to tone it down a bit.  

Chicken Curry

This would be served with rice and side dishes of vegetables.  Or, with roti or any other type of flat bread.  I don't remove the curry leaves or the pandan leaves before serving; if any get on the plate, then, they may be moved to the edge of the plate (curry leaves, however, are edible and are supposed to be very good for you).

This same basic "method" could be used to make any other meat curry.  I would, however, add some tamarind to a beef curry (to soften the meat; tamarind can be added to a chicken curry, too, but, I don't).

Today, I made a cashew curry as requested by my daughter.  I put the raw cashews to soak overnight (about 3/4 lbs.), then, drained that water, rinsed the soaked cashews, added enough water to cover them, and boiled them with turmeric, salt, curry leaves, chopped onions, a couple of green chilies, and a little bit of raw curry powder.  Once they had cooked, I added some coconut milk and lemon juice to it:

Cashew Curry

This type of curry would be considered a "white" curry, even though it is yellow in color, because it doesn't have any dried red chili powder to color it red.  Potatoes would be cooked in this manner to make a potato curry.  

Hope you enjoyed the recipes and maybe try them.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Sunny Days


We call these meat or fish filled pastries "patties" and they are traditionally deep fried although I baked this batch.  They are, I suppose, a little like empanadas.  I used the last bit of leftover ground turkey keema curry as the filling, adding some mashed boiled potatoes to the leftover keema curry to extend it (and to make the filling stick together).   I brushed the tops with a little milk to glaze them a bit before baking them.  They made a nice tea time snack and I ate some for my dinner, as well!

Yesterday (Monday) was sunny, but, windy!  The daytime high was supposed to have been 65F, but, it felt much colder than that.  The loose roofing panels in the patio were being rattled by the wind gusts, but, the bags of mulch held them down!  I was very thankful for that!  I had a productive day; I dusted the living room and dining room, changed the bed sheets and did a load of laundry, made my meal plan for the week, cleaned the fridge, took the trash cans to the end of the drive way for pick up in the morning, watered the front garden (mostly to encourage the seedlings to grow), cooked dinner (sauteed salmon with onions and tomatoes, steamed broccoli, and a packet of flavored rice mix), did the dishes, and cleaned the litter box. I also called friend R to check on her.

Today (Tuesday) was sunny and still; it felt warmer without the wind.  I brought the emptied trash cans back, made French toast for brunch, dusted the family room and my bedroom.  During daughter's lunch break, we walked outside in the garden for a few minutes to check on the plants and get some sunshine and fresh air.  Later, I made the patties and I cooked a chicken curry.  I took some pictures of the process because I was asked if I had a recipe for it, but, I'll do a separate post.  I thought I had done a post on how I make chicken curry, earlier, but, a search didn't bring it up, so, I might have only imagined that I did an earlier post!  For dinner, daughter had chicken curry with leftover rice and broccoli from yesterday; I ate more patties and the leftover cucumber salad from Friday.  

I called neighbor S to offer to bring her some of the patties, but, she explained that she was taking care of a family member who was having a cough and sore throat and she didn't want to risk infecting me.  I thanked her for being so considerate and said I'll bring some patties over the next time I make them.  

I am grateful for:

- Sunny days
- Monday's winds didn't do any damage to the house or garden
- Weekly trash collection
- Working appliances
- Productive days

Joyful activities have included gardening and baking.

Plans for Wednesday include vacuuming, tending to the garden with M, and clean the bathroom shelving unit.

How was your start to the week?  What are your plans for Wednesday?

Monday, January 23, 2023

January Meal Plans - Week 3 Review & Week 4

This was the meal plan for last week's dinners and how it worked out:

Monday: Chicken curry (from the freezer), rice, leftover spicy potatoes, steamed broccoli, cucumber salad, peach chutney

Tuesday: Leftover chicken curry, sauteed green beans, dhal, rice, leftover cucumber salad, if any, peach chutney

Wednesday: Ground turkey(from the freezer) made into a keema curry (with added vegetables - tomatoes, onion, carrot, zucchini, celery, bell peppers, green chilies) and served with rice

Thursday: Leftovers from Wednesday (plus green beans and dhal from Tuesday)

Friday: Hamburgers (need to buy buns), salad (buns were bought)

Saturday: Mackerel (canned) curry, lentils/dhal, green beans, rice Samosas and leftover keema curry and rice, cucumber salad, etc.

Sunday: Beef stew (canned) and mashed potatoes, broccoli Leftover keema curry, rice, cucumber salad, peach chutney

Brunches will most probably be leftovers or toast/sandwiches; I also boiled mung beans on Thursday.

Desserts will be fruits, cake, ice cream, etc.

That meal plan worked out well during the week, but, we ate leftovers during the weekend, partly because they were there and partly because I didn't feel like cooking.

On to this week's meal plan:

Monday: Salmon (from the freezer) sauteed, broccoli, rice.

Tuesday: Chicken curry, green beans, dhal, rice

Wednesday: Leftovers from Tuesday

Thursday: Hamburgers (there are 4 leftover hamburger buns to use up)

Friday: Leftovers and mixed appetizers (gyoza, baked chicken wings, etc.) OR Thai food take out - It's daughter's last night at home; she flies out on Saturday afternoon

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Breakfast for dinner - egg, hash browns, bacon or ham or soup!

Once again, this is a tentative meal plan!  I have taken the last package of chicken from the freezer to thaw, so there will be chicken curry sometime this week, there will be salmon for dinner, one night, and there will be leftovers!  Everything else is subject to change!  LOL.

How is your meal planning coming along?  If you don't meal plan, then, do you decide in the morning what you might make for dinner that evening?  

The Weekend

Indian Treats: Jalebi, Samosas and Sauces, and Mango Lassi

We have had a lovely, sunny weekend, with day time highs in the mid 60s (F).

On Saturday, daughter went on a hike with two of her friends (my late friend A's daughters).  On the way back from the hike, they had stopped at an Indian restaurant to pick up some items to go.  Daughter bought some samosas with the dipping sauces that come with it, a cup of mango lassi, and a container of jalebi (a type of sweet) because she knows I love it.  We shared the samosas and the mango lassi; the jalebi is all mine because my daughter finds it to be too sweet! 

I was in the garden, taking some photos on Saturday afternoon, after daughter had left to go on her hike, when the phone rang.  It was neighbor T's daughter calling from next door!  She and T were at the house to pick up a few things and would I like to come over to say hi to T; they'd love to see me!  Of course I said yes!  I put on my mask, took a few mandarins from the fridge and put them into a blue and white china bowl that I had set aside to give away, and went over to visit.  T was seated at the dining table and it was lovely to see her again.  She looked quite well but her daughter explained that they had decided that T will live at the assisted living center for the foreseeable future as she was unable to live on her own without assistance.  They had stopped by the house to pick up a few more items to take back to T's room at the assisted living center.

They are not sure yet what they will do with the house, whether to rent it or sell it.  They are also not sure what they will do with the contents of the house - T has lived there for nearly 50 years and while she probably has fewer items than I do, there's still nearly 50 years worth of belongings to sort through.  Her daughter said they will probably store the contents of the house in a storage unit while they decide what to do.  She said T will not have enough space in her room at the Center for everything (and probably will have no need for things like china, etc.) and there's no room in her own apartment for anything.  She also doubted if her brother, who lives in a different state, will want much, either.  

They did, however, admire the blue and white bowl I put the mandarins in and asked me if I wanted the bowl back.  I said I didn't want to add to their possessions they were having to dispose of, but, I really didn't want it back; they were welcome to keep it or pass it along.  They remarked on the fact that the bowl matched the vase I had given T with some flowers, earlier, and I explained how I used to collect blue and white china and how I was now trying to declutter some of my stuff, myself.  T's daughter said they would love to keep the bowl, that they could always find a use for a bowl, but, if they ever have a yard sale to dispose of some of T's household items, I was welcome to bring some of my items and participate!  I thanked her.  My cousin P (who used to live across the street from me, who has since moved to Florida) and I used to hold joint yard sales many years ago; we never made much money, but, we had fun!  

I didn't stay long, visiting T and her daughter, but, I promised to visit T at the assisted living center, one day.  I felt a little sad to think that T will no longer be able to live in her own home.  I hope if they rent or sell the house, whoever moves in will be good neighbors!

Afterwards, I finished sorting out the shelving unit in the dining area.   I had posted about these shelves earlier, too, back in February 2020.  Gradually, these shelves became easily accessible space to store items and this is how it looked earlier in the week:

The decorative items got pushed aside, food items took up shelf space at the top; the lower cabinet continued to be used to store table linen, kitchen towels, place mats, hot pads, etc.


I found room for most of the food items in the pantry cabinets.  But the middle shelf still has jars of peach jam/sauce and a big Tupperware container holding a 5 lb. bag of lentils! I will have to reorganize several kitchen cabinets to find room for them. The other two containers stacked on top of the Tupperware container will go back with my daughter.  I sorted through the table linen and kitchen towels, etc., too, but, didn't declutter anything.

Daughter and I spent a relaxed evening.  Daughter and I had leftover hamburgers for brunch; I didn't cook the meal I had planned to make for dinner and we had samosas and leftovers, instead.

On Sunday, I changed the dust sheets on the family room sofas and did a load of laundry.  Much later in the evening, I ran the dishwasher.  I had a ham sandwich for breakfast and later, daughter and I had some soup for a late lunch.  Dinner was leftovers, again - rice, keema curry, cucumber salad, and peach chutney.  It was a low energy day for me so I took it easy.  The oncologist's office called to confirm the appointment for later in the week (it's an automated call and you press numbers to confirm you are able to keep the appointment or not).

This weekend, I was grateful for:

- Daughter was able to enjoy a hike with friends
- Indian treats to share
- An unexpected visit with neighbor T and her daughter
- Working appliances
- Phone calls and emails from friends

This weekend's joyful activities included visiting with neighbor T and her daughter.

Monday's To Do List:
- Dust the living room and dining room
- Change the bed sheets
- Load of laundry
- Clean the fridge
- Take the trash cans to the end of the driveway
- Maybe water the front garden?

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


Sunday, January 22, 2023

The Back Garden in January

Viewed From the Back Porch/Steps

This year, along with the front garden, I want to take monthly photos of the back garden, too.  I might pick and choose various plants and areas to feature in each post.  Not quite sure how it will evolve!

This is the new mint plant that M gave me as a gift; I know that mint is supposed to be very invasive, but, I've managed to kill mint plants in the past!  In any case, M planted it in a planter to keep it contained!

New Mint Plant

Nearby, there is another planter with various plants growing in it - some are gazania seedlings.  Some are weeds.  And then, there's this cluster of seedlings - I am not sure if they are papaya seedlings or passionfruit seedlings.  I have a suspicion that they are passionfruit seedlings if only because the papaya seeds I put in two other containers have not spouted yet!  At least, I am hoping that they are passionfruit seedlings!  Just exactly where I'd plant them if they are passionfruit seedlings, I don't know, but, I'll worry about that, later!  

Seedlings: Passionfruit or Papaya?

Next to that, there is Lois Lane Mango (the white stuff in the pot is Epsom salt or magnesium sulfate/sulphate, being used as a soil conditioner/fertilizer) and the pineapple top that I am growing and some flowering bulbs that M planted (I need to ask him again what they are):

Lois Lane Mango, Pineapple, and Flowering Bulbs

The trellis has the passionfruit vine growing on it on one side; on this side, there is a lemon grass plant in the blue pot and an aloe vera plant (another gift from M) that has sent up a flower spike!  

Aloe Vera Plant and Lemon Grass Plant

Directly in front of the back steps, the snow pea seedlings and lettuce seedlings are growing in their mesh enclosure:

Snow Peas and Lettuce

And behind them, the three tiny celery seedlings are growing:

Celery Seedlings

Way in the back, behind the garage and in front of the garden shed, there are some gazanias growing, scattered about here and there, mixed in with other plants - these are plants that seeded themselves from a few plants that I had planted years ago and the pictures are not of good quality, but it gives an idea of what's growing in this area:


Gazania (mixed in with the iceberg rose and curry leaf plants)

The star of the garden, even now, is the peach tree:

Peach Tree (and Mama Cat bottom left)

It seems to think that spring has arrived early and is trying to flower and leaf out, already!  

Peach Tree Branch

 Hope you enjoyed the quick tour of the back garden.  

Saturday, January 21, 2023

The Front Garden in January

The Gravel After Drying Out

Last year, I took photos of the front garden, every month, on or around the 20th of the month and it was quite interesting to see the changes from month to month.  I've decided to do that again, this year, too, and maybe compare the photos.

Front Garden. January 2023

Here's how the garden looked in January, last year:

Front Garden - January 2022

Taken from slightly different angles, but, the lantana plants are flowering earlier, this year, with all the recent rains we've had.

Aloe Flower Stalks

The aloe flower stalks are still in bud, this year (last year, they were already in bloom).  

Yucca Plants

The yucca plants are growing well, with several plantlets growing from the main stems.

This is how they looked in July 2021, several months after the cuttings (taken from a plant in the back yard) were planted, with the new plantlets forming:

Yucca, July 2021

Then, some time in November 2021, someone cut off and apparently helped themselves to  several of the new plantlets and I was not very happy about it:

November 2021

November 2021

But, the plant seems to have recovered and is doing well, now.

The succulents bed along the side wall - not good photos as I was photographing against the sun (I know that the photographers among you are probably wincing!):

Probably a good illustration for "how NOT to photograph"!

Succulents Bed

More succulents from the cuttings my former supervisor gave me from her garden:

More Succulents

The asparagus ferns in the planting bed along the walkway to the front door:

Asparagus (Sprengeri) Ferns

I don't have many plans for the front garden once the front parkway is fully covered with gravel.  I still have two seedlings growing in pots in the back yard that should be transplanted in the front - a jacaranda seedling and a bauhinia seedling.  Need to consult with M about when and where to plant them.

I took some photos of the back garden, too; that will be another post.

How are your gardens coming along?  I know that not everyone is able to garden year round, but, perhaps you are planning your spring planting and looking at plant catalogs, etc.?