Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Monthly Photo Challenge: May

The May monthly photo challenge was hosted by Eileen and the theme was "Beginning with N".

These are my "N" photos - 

Nectarines forming on the tree:

Baby Nectarines

Needles: Sewing & Knitting

Needles: Sewing and Knitting

Needles: Pine

Needles: Pine






Nuts: Cashews and Almonds

Nut Butter:

Nut Butter - Peanut Butter

Nut Shells: I guess the squirrel came back and dug up the walnut it buried a few weeks ago!

Nut Shells - Walnut Shells

New Growth:

New Growth on the Rose Bush


Nest (at the Vet's Clinic)

Naps:  Dancer shows how to take those necessary naps!

Naps - Step 1

Naps - Step 2

Thank you, Eileen, for hosting the monthly photo challenges.  
If anyone is interested in participating in these monthly photo challenges, Eileen has posted that the theme for June is Pink; details are on her blog.  

Memorial Day Monday

The First Peach of the Season

I picked the first peach of the season, on Monday.  It looks ripe, but, it isn't fully ripe yet.  It's firm to the touch and crisp.  But, I like underripe peaches, cut up and sprinkled with what we call "lunu kudu", a mixture of salt and chili powder, sometimes, with a little sugar added.  It was quite delicious.

It was rather hazy in the morning, but, not dark and grey, and by afternoon, the sun had burned off the haze and we had some sunshine.  It had been cool in the morning, but, the afternoon was warm and it cheered me up quite a bit!  

Dancer woke me up around 6:45 a.m. and I gave him some tuna, but, he didn't eat much of it.  Just a couple of licks and that was it.  I went back to bed and he slept for a bit, then, woke me up, again.  This time, I opened a new can of his salmon pate and again, he only ate a couple of mouths of it.  The third time he asked for food, I opened a can of mackerel and gave him a small amount; he ate a little bit, but, left the rest.  In the evening, when he asked for food, I tried giving him a little of the chicken soup, but, he didn't even try it.  I also boiled a few kernels of frozen corn for him.  He usually likes corn, but, not today.  However, he has been eating a little kibble from time to time, and he's drinking water and using the litter box, so, I'm not too worried about him.  Once we have the lab results for him, we'll know what is bothering him and what to do about it.

Today, I changed my bed sheets and did a load of laundry.  I dried them in the dryer and put everything away.  However, the load of laundry I did on Sunday, which I hung up to dry, has not been put away, yet!  

Later, I watered the back garden, picked more blueberries and the peach:

Monday's Harvest

Neighbor T's daughter K called me in the afternoon, saying she was at her mother's house, and giving me an update about what is happening.  They are planning to have an estate/yard sale, next weekend (her brother will drive down from Colorado midweek to help her set up and move some of the items they want to keep into the storage unit they have rented).  She asked me if I'd like to come over and see the progress she has made in clearing the house and I said I'd love to.  I went over and took the opportunity to return the key to the backdoor that they had given me some time ago, when T was still living in the house.  I had never needed to use it and there is no need for me to continue to have it.

K has done a lot of clearing.  She's boxed up a few things to store for now and go through later, but, she's hoping to be able to sell most of the furniture.  I saw a new looking 2 drawer file cabinet and asked if she was selling that, too, and if so, how much she wanted for it, as I could do with another file cabinet.  She said $10 and I asked her to keep it for me (I didn't have any money on me to pay for it right then and there).  She said she will ask her brother to bring it over to my house, once he has come down.  That would be great and I can pay for it, then.  I'll probably set it up in the family room, next to one of the sofas, and it will hold all the overflow files that are currently stacked on my desk.  

I'll attend the yard sale, too, just to check things out.  I don't want to end up cluttering my house with a lot of stuff, but, if they have the patio set for sale, I might buy that.  

Neighbor S called to ask if they could use my recycling bin as theirs was full; I said yes, of course.

Later in the evening, I video chatted with my daughter.

Brunch was the peach, followed by a mackerel sandwich.  Dinner was the last of the soup and a piece of toast with peanut butter. 

On Monday, I was grateful for:

- Dancer is eating some kibble, even if he isn't eating any wet food
- Sunshine!
- Working appliances
- Visiting with K and getting a new filing cabinet
- Peaches!

Monday's joyful activity was being out in the garden, watering. 

The Peach Tree

Plans for Tuesday include my doctor's appointment.  I'm not looking forward to that because I'm worried about what the blood test results will have to say! 

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

Monday, May 29, 2023

May Meal Planning: Week 4 Review and Week 5

This was the meal plan for Week 4: 

Brunches: Bagels with cream cheese✔, burek (Armenian cheese pastries)✔, scrambled egg and toast✔, leftovers from dinners✔

Dinners:   Soup (it's turned cold, again!)✔, leftover teriyaki chicken ✔with rice and vegetables, canned beef stew, leftovers/made overs✔ 

Snacks/Desserts: Fresh fruit✔, leftover Armenian sweets (trying not to eat too many of those!)✔

In addition, I received gifts of food from neighbor S: Rice, fried fish, fries, salad, Armenian bread, more cake, and strawberries, all of which were incorporated into this week's meals.

Here's how it all worked out:

Brunch: Bagel with cream cheese
Dinner: Instant soup noodles

Brunch: ??? Might have been a bagel with cream cheese  (can't remember!)
Dinner: Cheese filled puff pastry (burek), blueberries  

Brunch: Gyoza/potstickers (went off the meal plan!)
Dinner: Teriyaki chicken

Brunch: Scrambled eggs and toast
Dinner: Chicken and vegetables soup, Armenian bread

Brunch: S's fried fish and rice
Dinner: Chicken and vegetables soup with Armenian bread; strawberries

Brunch: Bagel and cream cheese
Dinner: Chicken soup with Armenian bread; fried fish and rice with salad; strawberries

Brunch: Cheese filled puff pastry, fries, salad
Dinner: Last of the fried fish and rice, fries, salad

Which brings us to this week, which I am going to consider as May Week 5.  Here's the plan:

Brunches: Mackerel sandwiches, milkrice and mackerel curry, tuna salad sandwiches, leftovers (my brunches are being determined by a finicky cat who has been turning up his nose at both the cans of tuna and the mackerel I opened to tempt him to eat)

Dinners:  Canned beef stew, macaroni & cheese with ham, salad, leftovers/made overs (the canned beef stew and the mac & cheese will give me several servings, each).

Snacks/Desserts: Fresh fruit, crackers with peanut butter or tuna salad, maybe cookies

How about you?  Did you make a meal plan, last week?  If so, did you follow it?  Are you making a meal plan for this week?  What's on your meal plan?  

Sunday, May 28, 2023

A Slow Start to the Long Weekend


Lately, Dancer has been waking me up early in the mornings (around 6:00 a.m.), either demanding to be fed or by throwing up near my bed.  On Saturday, however, he let me sleep in, so much so that, when I woke up, I worried if something had happened to him!  But, no, he walked into my bedroom and greeted me with a stretch before he started meowing for breakfast.  I opened a new can of tuna and he ate some.  I'm glad I stocked up on tuna when it was on sale!

I had my cup of morning tea and spent the rest of the morning saying my prayers, listening to some chanting of blessings, and replying to blog comments.  

In the afternoon, I sewed on the quilt I'm repairing and watched some videos.  Later, I watched the news and knitted a little bit.  But, I felt like I should be doing something different, it being a long holiday weekend and all, but, I didn't know what.  In the end, I just went outside and walked about a bit in the garden.  

A couple of weeks ago, I knocked over a big bottle of coriander seeds and half the bottle spilled out on the kitchen floor.  I swept up the coriander, but, I didn't want to put it back into the bottle and I didn't want to throw it out, either.  So, I scattered some in a pot and scattered the rest under the avocado tree.  The ones under the avocado tree haven't done anything, but, the ones in the pot are growing!

Coriander Seedlings

If they continue to grow, they could be harvested as cilantro leaves.  If I leave the plants to continue growing and they flower and form seed pods, then, I will be able to harvest some coriander seeds!  

Tomato "Early Girl" Plants

The two tomato plants have grown well and have flowers and at least one cluster of baby tomatoes!  They need more sunshine than we've been having, lately, but, I hope we'll get a good crop of tomatoes, this year.  

Speaking of crops, this is Saturday's harvest:

Saturday's Harvest

The single leaf at the top left is one of two lettuce leaves that I picked from one of the bolted lettuce plants; I had already given one of them to Dancer, as he usually likes lettuce leaves, but, today, he didn't want it.  I froze the broccoli side shoots, the pea pods, and the blueberries.  I need to reorganize my freezer, again!  

I checked on the peaches, too, but, they are not ripe enough to pick, yet.  Which is fine with me as it gives me a little more time to prepare!  I have the canning jars already, but, might want to get some fresh vinegar and ginger, garlic, etc., for chutney making, with my next grocery order.

In the evening, I called and spoke with friend R and emailed a couple of friends.  Later, I video chatted with my daughter.  She had gone grocery shopping in the afternoon and had found some good deals on produce.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Dancer let me sleep in and he ate a bit of kibble from a newly opened bag
- Access to the internet
- The garden and all the lovely plants growing in it
- What I am able to harvest from the garden
- The electric space heater

Today's joyful activity was picking blueberries and a few vegetables from the garden.

Brunch had been the last bagel, toasted, spread with cream cheese.  Dinner was a small bowl of my homemade chicken and vegetable soup with the last piece of Armenian bread, followed by a piece of fried fish, rice, and salad, and the last of the fresh strawberries for dessert.

No special plans for Sunday; it's supposed to be another cooler and cloudy day.  I'll finish cleaning my kitchen (it was the cleaning area of the week) and probably continue with the quilt repairs and knitting.

How was your Saturday?  Any special plans for Sunday?


Friday, May 26, 2023

A Visit to the Vet Clinic on Friday

Welcome Sign

Today, I took Dancer for his appointment with the vet.  Getting him into the carrier was not too difficult.  I had put his "lovey" (the fuzzy, white knitted scarf that he likes to drag around) into the carrier, first, along with a towel to line the bottom of the carrier, and I guess it's been so long since his last visit, he'd forgotten what happens when he goes into the carrier.  But, he protested loudly once he was in the car and all the way to the clinic.  He was quite vocal in the clinic too, but, eventually quietened down.

We were early, but, we were allowed to wait in the waiting room.  Several of the staff members there were masked and some of the other pet owners wore masks, too.  Others, including one staff member who was coughing into her jacket, were unmasked.  The vet was masked and so was I.  

Dancer was weighed and he weighed in at 8 lbs., he has lost 7 lbs., almost half his previous weight of 15 lbs.  Poor kitty!  I mentioned my concerns (off his kibble, not eating much, throwing up, etc.) and the vet checked him all over.  His teeth seemed fine, he has some plaque, but, no tooth decay, there were no obvious nodules or tumors, his ears looked ok, etc., but, he seems to have arthritis in his hind legs (which I had suspected since he no longer jumps up onto things, but, pulls himself up with his front legs).  Then, he was taken to the back, where they drew blood and given an injection for the arthritis.  They will do a comprehensive blood test panel and urinalysis and call me with the results, next week.  He is due for some vaccines, too, but, the vet said they could be given on a subsequent visit, since he's an indoor cat and doesn't come into contact with other animals. 

The appointment was at 1:00 p.m. and we were home by 2:00 p.m.  I gave him some tuna and had my own meal.  Neighbor S gave me more food, late last night (she had more visitors, yesterday, some of whom parked in my driveway), practically begging me to take some of the extra food because her fridges were full and she didn't want the food to go to waste.  Put that way, it seemed rude to decline!  I was given rice, fried fish, fries, salad, strawberries, Armenian bread, and cake!  I froze the cake for a later date.  I had already made and had some chicken and vegetable soup for my dinner, last night, so, I put all the food that S had given me in the fridge.  Today, I ate some of the fried fish and rice after I came home from the vet's appointment.  

Then, both Dancer and I took an afternoon nap!

Later in the evening, Dancer consented to eat a little bit of his kibble, but, tuna was still his preference.  I had some of my soup with some of the Armenian bread to accompany it and strawberries for dessert.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Access to vet services for Dancer
- He has no immediately noticeable ailments
- A safe drive there and back
- More food from neighbor S
- Phone calls and emails from friends

Today's joyful activity was getting Dancer's check up completed!

"Get me out of here!"

Plans for tomorrow will include some much neglected housework!  

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

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt (SPSH) 2023

 Mary-Lou at Patio Postcards has posted the list of prompts for the Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt (SPSH).  I have copied and pasted her post and the list; if anyone wishes to participate, please let her know.

Me On A Tuesday & A 2023 SPSH List

 As in previous years, the Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt/Search (SPSH) will run from June 1st to September 30th.  We'll have a couple of check ins throughout the summer so we can keep encouraging one another.  First check in will be Monday July 10th.

Just let me know in the comments if you want to participate. 

All photos should be taken by you or some one in your family. And as always, this is meant to be a fun activity, so if you only get one or two items on the list, great!  If you get all the items on the list, fantastic!

This year's list is a little shorter than previous years & most of the items can be found on or off your home patch. I think that the selections have an option of being easy or difficult.

2023 Summer Scavenger Hunt / Search Ideas

1. A Plant/Tree With Thorn(s)

2. A  Wordless Directional Sign

3. Something Netted or Webbed

4. Something Berry Berry Delicious

5. A Bridge

6. A School

7. Something That Dangles

8. Some Shadows

9. A Crack or Pothole in The Road or Sidewalk

10. A White Flower(s)

11. Extraordinary Water 

12. Summer Tools

13. A Sold or For Sale Sign (not necessarily a house)

14. Something That Rolls

Alternate A: Your Favourite Summer Taste

Alternate B: Your Choice

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

More Cooler Weather on Wednesday


Bauhinia Flowers

Another relatively cool day, with a high of 66F/19C and cloudy.  There had been some light rain in the morning and it was still drizzling when I left for my lab appointment.  

The lab appointment went well.  I was greeted with a hug by one of the staff members and had my blood drawn by another friendly staff member (who wasn't wearing a mask).  

After I came home, I put on more clothes to feel warm and when that was not sufficient, I put the gas heater on, with the thermostat set at 70F, once again.  Then, I turned the heater off.  

By the way, I received my May natural gas bill, today.  It covers the period of April 19 to May 18.  My baseline allowance for this period (it seems to vary from billing period to billing period) was 17 therms; I had used 16 therms (in comparison, during the equivalent period in 2022, I had used 33 therms).   The gas company's original estimate for the May bill was $52.62;  my actual bill is for $29.61.  I'm happy with that bill amount and hopefully, the bill will remain around that amount during the summer months.

I had been fasting for the blood tests, so, after I came home, I cooked some frozen gyoza for brunch.  I had planned to have a scrambled egg and toast, but, I was wanting something different.  I will have the scrambled egg and toast tomorrow.

M arrived around that time and tended to the garden.  He brought me a morning glory seedling to plant in the front garden, going up one of the trellises.  I hope the plant will grow; I like morning glories.  

In the afternoon, I took a nap on the sofa. Afterwards, I watched the evening news and knitted until my fingers started to cramp.  Some days, I can knit for a good hour or so; other days, only for about 30 minutes before my fingers cramp.  

I've had a relaxed evening.  I watched a couple of programs on TV, played sudoku games, called and chatted with friend R, and will video chat with my daughter a bit later.  Dinner was the leftover teriyaki chicken.  I was going to make soup, but, I'll probably do that, tomorrow.

Today, I'm grateful for:

- The lab test appointment went well
- Friendly staff at the lab
- A safe drive there and back
- M helping with the garden
- A low gas bill

Today's joyful activity was relaxing!  

Plans for tomorrow include some housework and cooking.

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

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

"Cold" on Tuesday

Raindrops on Rose Leaves

Yes, I know, "cold" is a relative term.  We were promised a high of 70F, but, it only reached 66F and it drizzled a bit in the morning and the day has been cloudy.  After bundling up in layers (sweatshirt and sweater, socks, scarves, and fingerless mitts) and still feeling cold, I switched on the gas heater, with the thermostat set at 70F.  Once the house warmed up, I switched the heater off.  I have the electric space heater on, right now.

Today, I called the vet clinic and booked an appointment for Dancer.  I think he's got another tooth that is bothering him as he's been off his dry food.  In any case, he's overdue for a check up. I took the first available appointment, which is for Friday afternoon.  Getting him into his carrier and taking him in is going to be quite a song and dance, as he does not like being in the carrier and the car ride.  Then, at the other end, he refuses to come out from his carrier and can't wait to get back into it!  Oh, and he screams his displeasure, all the way there and back!

I brought the trash cans in, did the dusting and cleaning  I didn't do yesterday, watered the indoor plants, cleaned the litter box, took the kitchen composting to the compost heap in the garden, checked on the garden, picked more blueberries, and ate them all!

Neighbor S called to offer me more food, but, I declined as I still have some of the food items she gave me.  Neighbor T called and we chatted a bit.  She asked me if I'd like to have any of her records and CDs; she told me to go over to her house and choose whatever items I might like to have!  I thanked her, but, I have enough of my own stuff that I am trying to declutter, myself.  However, if I did want anything that she has and is getting rid of (her daughter said they had rented a storage space for the household items they are still deciding what to do with), I will wait until they have their yard/garage sale and then, buy the item!  Friend R called, too, and we chatted a bit. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Whatever precipitation we had this morning
- Neighbor S offering me more food (even if I didn't accept the offer, this time)
- Neighbor T offering me anything I wanted from her house (again, I declined the offer!  People are too generous!)
- More blueberries from the garden
- Working heaters

Tomorrow, I have more lab work to do for my appointment with my primary care physician on Tuesday.  I printed out the code the lab issued with my appointment confirmation to help with checking in.  Last week, I couldn't open up my email from them on my phone to access the code when I was at the lab.  Of course, now that I printed it out, my phone will probably allow me to open the email without any problem!  LOL!

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

May Weekly Meal Plans: Week 3 Review and Week 4

This was my meal plan for Week 3 and the changes are in blue:

Brunches: Leftover sauteed garbanzo beans✔(for dinner, instead, as part of some fried rice), leftover waffles with peach jam/curry✔, scrambled eggs ✔(for dinner, instead) or omelet, mini cheese pizza (from the freezer), salad with the last of the lettuce from the garden, muffins (if I bake some), bagels (if I buy some!)✔ 

Dinners: Lavash (Armenian flat bread) with a scrambled egg and katta sambol✔; chicken curry, rice, vegetables,  chutney, cucumber slices, etc.✔; teriyaki chicken (from the freezer)✔, rice, stir fried vegetables; macaroni and cheese with tuna, leftovers (made into fried rice ), pizza

Snacks/Desserts: Fresh fruit✔, leftover Armenian sweets✔, Korean red beans and rice cake, stewed apples✔, crackers and cheese or tuna salad or peanut butter.

Here's how it all worked out:

Brunch: Waffle, half with chicken curry, half with homemade peach jam; blueberries
Dinner: Lavash (Armenian flat bread) with a scrambled egg and katta sambol
Snacks: Armenian sweets

Brunch: Waffle with peach jam
Dinner: Rice, chicken curry, last of the vegetable stir fry, cucumber slices
Snacks: Tangerines, Armenian sweets

Brunch: Waffle (plain, by itself), glass of chocolate milk
Dinner: Fried rice (leftover rice, leftover garbanzo beans, leftover chicken curry, broccoli, egg)
Snacks: Macadamia nut chocolate

Brunch: Bagel with cream cheese (I went grocery shopping!)
Dinner: Gyoza (pot stickers)
Snacks: Banana

Brunch: Bagel with cream cheese
Dinner: Pizza (2 slices; compliments of neighbor S)
Snacks  Banana, blueberries, cheese filled puff pastry

Brunch: Bagel with cream cheese
Dinner: Cold teriyaki chicken with ketchup (electricity was out)
Snacks: Banana, Armenian sweets

Brunch: Bagel with cream cheese
Dinner:  Breakfast for dinner: toast, scrambled egg, bacon
Snacks: Apple slices

On to Week 4!  

Brunches: Bagels with cream cheese, burek (Armenian cheese pastries), scrambled egg and toast, leftovers from dinners

Dinners:   Soup (it's turned cold, again!), leftover teriyaki chicken with rice and vegetables, canned beef stew, leftovers/made overs 

Snacks/Desserts: Fresh fruit, leftover Armenian sweets (trying not to eat too many of those!)

How about you?  Did you make a meal plan, last week?  If so, did you follow it?  Are you making a meal plan for this week?  What's on your meal plan?  

Monday, May 22, 2023


Monday's Harvest

I had my regular check up with the oncology nurse, today, and the blood test results were mostly good, especially the cancer markers.  My weight had crept up instead of down, which was disappointing, but, my blood pressure was very good.  I mentioned the pains I've been having when walking and the minute I showed her where the pain was, she told me it was sciatica!  I was afraid of that!  She showed me two stretching exercises to do before walking; I hope they will help.  I will follow up with my primary care physician when I see her, next week.

My appointment was in the afternoon, at 1:00 p.m.  In the morning, I called the clinic to confirm the appointment, watered a few of the plants in the front garden with water I had collected (usually, while waiting for the water to warm up when showering, etc.), cleaned up some Dancer messes, and did a load of laundry.  By noon, I was on my way to the appointment and I arrived at the clinic 10 minutes before my appointment.  I was pleased to see that they still required people to wear a mask, but, half the people in the waiting room were not wearing their masks properly (wearing it with the nose exposed or below the chin doesn't really do anything!)  I had to wait for over one hour before I was seen by the nurse practitioner.  Afterwards, there was another short wait while the office staff refilled the printer paper tray and changed the ink cartridge before my paperwork for the next appointment could be printed (lab request order, etc.)  It was past 3:30 p.m. when I got home!

I ate a bagel with cream cheese for brunch (after I got home), did a little quilt repairing, and took a two hour nap on the sofa!  I was tired from my appointment, I guess!  

Afterwards, I cleaned the litter box, swept the bathroom, took the trash cans out to the end of my driveway for pick up in the morning, picked blueberries (unfortunately, I accidentally broke off some unripe berries, too, but, I kept them except for the greenest ones) and a handful of snow peas, did the dishes, fed Dancer and Mama Cat, and had soup noodles for my dinner.  

I didn't do a meal plan for this week, yet.  I'll probably do that, tomorrow.  I didn't do my regular Monday cleaning, either.  Another thing to be done tomorrow.  Tomorrow's to do list is getting long!

Today, I'm grateful for:

- Access to medical care
- Having medical insurance
- The blood test results were mostly good
- A safe drive to the clinic and back
- Afternoon naps

Today's joyful activity was picking blueberries.  

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

Sunday, May 21, 2023

The Front Garden in May

The Front Garden in May (5/20/23)

Here's the latest installment of the monthly photos of the front garden, taken on or around the 20th of the month!  The osteospermum have stopped flowering but the lantana is making up for that!

The Lantana Border

The other day, when I was out walking, one of my neighbors across the street from me commented on the lantana, admiring the colors. 

Lantana in Bloom

A look at the garden from the other end:

The Garden from the Other End

This side of the garden is where I have planted most of the succulents and M brought me another new succulent to add to the collection on Wednesday: 

New Succulent

He didn't tell me the name of the plant, but, he said it gets spikes of orange or red flowers.  I think I might have to widen the succulents border!  

My Favorite Section of the Succulents Border

In front of the succulents border, I have the succulents circle where I have aloe plants and aeoniums growing, plus the newly planted jacaranda seedling which seems to be doing fine.  

Jacaranda Tree and Aloe Plants

Closer to the driveway, I have a couple of native plants growing, including this White Sage.  It had remained fairly compact for the past couple of years, but, this year, after all that rain we had, it really shot up!  M is over 6 ft. tall and this plant is at least a foot taller.  We believe it is getting ready to flower and apparently, bees love the flowers.  

White Sage

Another plant that is flowering now is the pomegranate tree:

Pomegranate Flowers

I'm hoping to get a good crop of pomegranates, this year.  

And finally, closer to the front door, the pink geraniums are still flowering:

Pink Geraniums

Thank you for visiting the front garden with me.  Do you have a front garden?  If so, what do you have growing in it?

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Friday's Activities

Voodoo Lily 

I took another picture of the spent voodoo lily, today.  Even the spadix is hanging down, so, I doubt if there will be any seeds.  The leaves, too, look like they are drying up.  Looks like the plant is just about done for the year.  But the flower was lovely, wasn't it?

Elsewhere in the garden...

Peaches Ripening

The peaches are starting to ripen!  The individual fruits are on the small side, this year, but, I am looking forward to fresh peaches, soon!

Meanwhile, the blueberries are ripening, too!


As I mentioned in yesterday's post about having garden produce to pick, this was today's garden harvest:

Friday's Garden Harvest

Snow pea pods, a few broccoli side shoots, and blueberries (not counting the blueberries I ate while picking these!)
Washed and Sorted Out

I washed everything and sorted them out.  The blueberries were bagged up and frozen to be shared with my daughter when she comes home next (whenever that might be; probably not before Thanksgiving).  The broccoli and snow pea pods went into the fridge drawer, to be cooked over the weekend.  

I also received more food from neighbor S, today - cookies, baklava, cheese filled puff pastries, and two slices of pizza.  Her mother-in-law's funeral will be next week; meanwhile, family and friends calling on them to condole are bringing more gifts of food than they can eat, so she's distributing the extras.  I will share some of the cookies and pastries with my friend R and gardener M.  I also froze some of the cookies to share with my daughter.  

Brunch had been a bagel with cream cheese; dinner was the two slices of pizza that S gave me.  I had a cookie with my cup of tea in the evening.

Housework included cleaning out the fridge drawers: took everything out, washed the drawers, relined them with paper towels, and put everything back.  There was one dried out lemon that I put in the compost bin.  I also cleaned the shelving unit in my bathroom - it is a plastic shelving unit with 5 shelves.  I took everything off the shelves, removed the old wax paper I had used to line the shelves, washed the shelves, relined four of the shelves with recycled white paper that had been used as a filler in a package I had received and the fifth shelf with some leftover wrapping paper as I ran short of the white paper, and put everything back.  I checked to see if I could declutter anything, but, didn't find anything I wanted to declutter.   Items I store on those shelves include a package of toilet paper, the first aid kit, a box with Dancer's flea prevention medication, brush, and flea combs, a box with disinfectant wipes, a box of disinfectant sprays, and a basket of spare toiletries.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- More treats from S!
- Garden harvests
- A working freezer
- Phone calls and emails from friends
- What I was able to accomplish in terms of housework

Today's joyful activity was picking blueberries.  I have three blueberry bushes growing in containers and they are providing me with some tasty treats!

M wasn't able to tend to the garden, today, and asked if he can do so tomorrow (Saturday) morning, instead.  So, plans for Saturday include, tending to the garden with M, finishing up the bathroom cleaning, and tidying the kitchen.

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

Thursday, May 18, 2023

May Grocery Shopping: Part 1

I ordered groceries this morning and pick up the order in the afternoon.  This is the first time I've grocery shopped this month; my last grocery shopping pick up was on April 21st, so almost 4 weeks ago (I thought it was 3 weeks ago!  No wonder I was out of bread!)

In addition to being out of bread, I was out of cereal, too, and half way through the last jar of peanut butter.  I was waiting for the peanut butter to go on sale at $0.99/jar, but, it hasn't been on sale at that price in a while, so, I decided to buy one jar on sale at $1.99 for now.  

Once again, I mostly ordered things that were on sale, this week, along with a couple of treats (bagels & cream cheese, frozen gyoza).  I bought:

3 Bananas,1.27 lb. @ $.69/lb. = $0.88
Oranges, 3lb. bag, reg. price $4.99, on sale with digital coupon = $2.99

1 Cucumber = $0.79

2 boxes cinnamon cereal, 12 oz., reg. price $5.59 (!), on sale with coupons @$1.49 = $2.98
1 box multi-grain cereal, 13 oz. reg. price $4.49, on sale with coupons = $1.99

1 Smoked sausage, 14 oz., reg. price $5.49, on sale with coupon = $3.49
2 lb. Bacon, store brand, reg. price $6.49/lb., on sale with digital coupon for $3.99/lb. = $7.98
1lb. Ground turkey, reg. price $6.99/lb. = $3.99

1 Peanut butter, 16 oz. jar, reg. price $3.69 on sale with coupon = $1.99

1 Cream cheese, 8 oz., store brand = $2.39

Bagels, 6 ct. bag, 18 oz., store brand = $2.49
1 loaf sandwich bread, 20 oz., store brand = $1.99

Frozen Gyoza (Potstickers), 20 oz. = $5.99

Total = $39.94

In addition, I bought some canned cat food for Dancer, but, that doesn't come from my grocery budget.

My monthly grocery budget is $100.  Plus, I had $4.40 carried over from the April budget. So, my May grocery budget is $104.40.

Balance remaining in my May grocery budget = $104.40 - $39.94 = $64.46

In case anyone is wondering about the small quantities of fresh produce I purchased - I still have 8 apples in the fridge, plus 8 mandarins and the garden blueberries are starting to ripen (I am picking a small handful almost daily, now), I am still picking lemons when I need some and there will be fresh peaches, soon.  There are carrots in the fridge, as well as a bit of fresh broccoli from the garden, and there are fresh snowpea pods to be picked almost daily, and broccoli leaves for greens, as well as the last of the lettuce.  The 3 celery plants are starting to bolt even though the stalks are thin, so I might harvest those and use for cooking (I can't eat raw celery as it gives me indigestion).  I also have frozen vegetables and fruit, as well as canned.  

Have you gone grocery shopping this month?  Are you finding good sales on the items you buy?  Are you able to keep to your grocery budget or have you had to adjust it to accommodate price increases?  

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Voodoo and Done!

Voodoo Lily is Done!

The voodoo lily has done blooming!  This is how it looked, today.  It stayed open only for a couple of days!  

Another Look

Ah, but, when one flower closes another two bloom:

More Roses

And they smell sweeter, too!  LOL!

I woke up early today - at 6:00 a.m.!  And couldn't fall asleep, again, even though I tried.  So, I got up and fed Dancer, had a cup of hot water because I was fasting for my blood test, showered, dressed, and said my morning prayers.  All before my wake up alarm went off at 9:00 a.m.!  

My blood test appointment was for 10:40 a.m., and I had been told to arrive 15 minutes before that.  I was at the clinic in good time and the waiting room was not crowded.  Most of the people who were waiting had masks on, a few didn't; the female staff at the clinic had masks on, the male staff, including the one who drew my blood, didn't.  I had my mask on as I am not yet ready to go without a mask.  The County Health Department is now reporting cases on a weekly basis, instead of daily, but, there were 2,266 new cases as of last week, with a 7-day testing positivity rate of 3.3%, and 46 deaths (new numbers are posted on Thursdays); even though Covid is no longer considered an emergency, it is still present and people are still getting sick and dying from it.  However, the number of people hospitalized due to Covid have gone down to 250, which is good.

After I came home, I had the last waffle for brunch (just a plain waffle, without any curry or jam, this time) and a glass of chocolate milk.  

I had set out the old recycling bin with the broken lid by the curbside late last night, because it had to be out by 6:00 a.m.  But, it was not picked up and replaced until after 11:30 a.m.  I now have a brand new pristine looking recycling bin!  

M arrived shortly after that; he watered the garden and we chatted a bit.  I picked more snowpea pods while we chatted.  

In the afternoon, I felt sleepy and took a nap on the sofa, until Dancer's meowing woke me up; it was 5:30 p.m. and he was reminding me that it was his tea time!  I fed him and had a cup of tea.  Then, watched news.

Later, I made some leftovers fried rice for dinner: leftover rice, leftover garbanzo beans, leftover curried chicken, shredded, some broccoli side shoots from the garden, and an egg added to the mixture, everything cooked in leftover fat from cooking the last hamburger patty, saved in a container in the fridge.  I call this a frugal meal:

Leftovers Fried Rice

There were macadamia nut chocolates for dessert!   

Unfortunately, falling asleep on the sofa in the afternoon meant I didn't get any cleaning done, today.  So, I will carry those tasks over to tomorrow.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Access to medical care
- Health insurance
- A safe drive to the clinic and back
- M helping with the garden
- Leftovers!

Today's joyful activity (or, should it be inactivity?) was taking a nap on the sofa, with the afternoon sun warming me up!

Plans for tomorrow include catching up on the cleaning I didn't do today, in addition to Thursday's tasks of cleaning the kitchen and a load of laundry.  I might put in an order for groceries, too.

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

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

This and That on Tuesday


Ornamental Strawberries Ground Cover

My daughter sent me photos of some ground cover being grown in the 5th Floor roof garden in her office building where she usually eats her lunch. We've determined they are a species of strawberries, some with white flowers and some with yellow flowers, and small fruit, but, we don't know if they are ornamental strawberries being grown as a ground cover mostly for their flowers, or some sort of wild strawberry being grown as a ground cover and fruit for birds.  This is the same roof garden where a mama duck had her ducklings, last year.

She also sent me a picture of what she thinks might be a blueberry bush in flower, but, I really can't tell from this photo:

Blueberry Bush (behind the lavender)?

I told her to check it from time to time to see if it forms any berries.

Today, I had another fairly relaxed day; it felt a bit chilly in the morning, but, it warmed up nicely in the afternoon.

I checked the grocery ads for this week, but, I have not decided, yet, if I will order some groceries, yet.  Store brand bacon is on sale for $3.99/lb., with a digital coupon, which is a good price, and ground turkey is also $3.99/lb.  Ground beef is $5.99/lb. and there is a buy 1 get 1 free deal on chicken.  Cherries are $4.99/lb. (they are $1.99/lb. at the ethnic store!) and strawberries, sold in 2 lb. packages, are $7.99/container, so almost $4.00/lb.  I will not be buying any cherries or strawberries, this week!  Cereal is on sale for $1.99/10-12 oz. box if you buy 5 participating items, which include name brand peanut butter for $1.99/1 lb. jar, smoked sausages at $3.49/14 oz. package, among other items (these are the items I might consider buying).  As I've mentioned before, I buy what's on sale and then, base my meals on what I've bought.

On Saturday, although I had left the bag of food for the post office food drive in good time (the night before, actually), it was not picked up!  I didn't have any mail and I suppose the letter carrier didn't notice the grocery bag kept by the mail box, with the food drive postcard stapled to it.  No mail delivery on Sunday and yesterday (Monday), I didn't see the mail carrier.  Today, however, I stood outside and waited for him, and told him that no one collected the bag of food and asked him if he would be able to accept it, today?  He seemed surprised (I guess not too many people had complied with the request for food donations?), but, he accepted the bag of food.  It wasn't much, but, I hope it helps someone!

Today, I did most of the tasks on my to do list:

- Dust & vacuum the family room ✔
- Do a freezer inventory
- Water the house plants✔ (and the garden, if needed)
- Bring in the emptied trash cans✔
- Clean the small bathroom✔

In addition, I took the old recycling bin out to the curb, tonight (they said to leave it out before 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday and you know I'm not going to be awake that early in the morning!)  And I cleaned the litter box.

I didn't do a freezer inventory and I decided that the garden could wait to be watered until tomorrow when M will be here.  I also didn't walk, today.

Brunch was a waffle with peach jam.  Dinner was rice, chicken curry, the last of the vegetable stir fry, and cucumber salad.  Tangerines for fruit.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Refrigerators (without which one can't keep food without spoiling, especially cooked food)
- A working vacuum cleaner!
- Sunshine in the afternoon
- Online videos to watch
- Time to sew

Today's joyful activity was sewing on the quilt I'm repairing.

Plans for tomorrow include:
- Blood test appointment in the morning
- M tending to the garden
- Freezer inventory
- Dust and vacuum my bedroom
- Paperwork/filing 
- Do one decluttering/organizing task (the shelves in my bathroom)

How was your Tuesday?  What are your plans for Wednesday?  Can you believe that the first half of May is over?

Monday, May 15, 2023


Voodoo Lily on Monday

The smell has mostly dissipated from the voodoo lily, when I checked on it, today.   The spathe is about a foot long.

In addition to the voodoo lily, the poppies are doing well:

California Poppies

Although the phacelia are coming to the end of their flowering season:


The apple seedling that I grew from a seed has leafed out, too:

Apple Seedling

Guess who I saw when I went out to check on the garden, today?  Chicken Little! It was back, eating the cat food!  It ran down the garden and hid in the corner behind the yucca plant before I could take a picture!

Today was a fairly productive day and I got most of my to do list done:
- Dust & vacuum living room & dining area✔
- Fresh flowers for the altar✔
- Clean the fridge (took everything off the main shelves and wiped down the shelves; door shelves didn't need to be done this week) ✔
- Take trash cans to the curb for Tuesday trash pick up✔
- Water the garden
- Start the car✔
- Meal plan✔

I didn't water the garden because it didn't look like it needed to be watered, but, I did a bit of weeding and mulching.

I also didn't order groceries, yet; I'm going to wait until I can preview next week's grocery ad tomorrow to see if there are any better deals than what's available this week.  All I really need are bread and breakfast cereals, with maybe another jar of peanut butter if it is on sale.  I am hoping to find peanut butter on sale for $.99/16 oz. jar, which is my stock up sale price.  Store brand is currently $2.19/16 oz. jar, but, a brand name peanut butter is on sale for $1.99/16 oz. jar if you buy 5 participating items ($2.99/jar otherwise).

In addition, I walked for 20 minutes in the evening, repaired the quilt a little, handwashed a doily my mother had crocheted (it was dusty after being displayed on one of the side tables in the living room) and did a bit of knitting (I'm making a pair of socks with leftover wool yarn).  I emailed a friend and spoke on the phone with friend R.  Later, I video chatted with my daughter. 

Brunch was a leftover waffle; I ate half of it with leftover chicken curry and the other half with some of my homemade peach jam.  There were freshly picked blueberries, too.

For dinner, I had a scrambled egg and katta sambol with two lavash flat breads.  I had some Armenian sweets for dessert.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- A sunny afternoon after a cloudy morning
- A productive day
- The car started
- Phone calls and video chats
- Garden flowers

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

Plans for tomorrow include:
- Dust & vacuum the family room 
- Do a freezer inventory
- Water the house plants (and the garden, if needed)
- Bring in the emptied trash cans
- Clean the small bathroom (this week's cleaning cycle focuses on the bathrooms and front porch; I don't have a front porch as such, just the walkway and area near the front door).

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