Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Monthly Photo Challenge - October: The Changing Season

The Changing Season was the theme for October's Photo Challenge, hosted by Eileen.

I found this to be a very challenging theme to photograph!  In my part of the world, October is not a big season of change and even though I complain about how cold it is in the house in the mornings, the day time highs have been in the 70s, 80s, and even the 90s.  Even our daylight savings time doesn't change until November.

But, if you look really closely, you might be lucky and find a leaf or two changing color:

Peach Leaf

Plum Leaf

Bauhinia Leaves

Actually, the bauhinia tree is showing quite a bit of change:

Bauhinia Tree (10/22/23)

Bauhinia Tree (10/28/23)

Fallen Bauhinia Leaves
(the twisted branches hugging the bauhinia tree trunk are
the branches of my rosemary plant)

Leaves are not the only thing changing color in my garden:

Lemons Changing Color

It's the season for lemons to ripen and change color from green to yellow:

Lemon Tree

Inside the house, it is the season to change decorations!  

From this:
Old Wreath

To this:
Renewed Wreath

From this:

Version 1
To this:

Version 2

To this:

Version 3

And back to this:

Final Version
While this changed from this:

Fall Arrangement

To this:

Halloween Arrangement

Dancer says he doesn't know anything about a changing season; all he changes are his favorite napping spots:

Napping on the Sofa

Napping on the Bed

A lot of the changes in my home and garden during this changing season were small, but, there were changes to be found.

Thank you, Eileen for hosting October's Monthly Photo Challenge.  I had fun participating in it.

Monday, October 30, 2023


Dancer Reading Blog Comments

It was another sunny day and while the house felt cold to me (it was less than 60F inside, when I woke up), it went up to 81F, outside, during the afternoon.  I opened several of the windows to let the warm air in, but, the house remained relatively cool and I went outside, frequently, to warm up!

I had another email from Dancer's vet, stating that she had called in the new prescription and answering my questions about the x-rays that had been taken during the visit in September.  According to her, the x-rays were considered "unremarkable", which she said was a good thing; there were no signs of an enlarged heart or lung disease.  I was happy to read that!  

The pharmacy called, too, in the morning, to let me know that Dancer's new prescription was ready for pick up.  So, I drove there and collected the medication (and paid for it!).  No, I did NOT go to the doughnut shop for a doughnut!  Not this time, anyway!  LOL.

After I came home, I tidied the family room and pulled various items out of the laundry closet so that the gas company technician could have easy access to the dryer.  

He was here in the early afternoon and didn't like the "delayed ignition" in the heater.  I told him that the technician who installed the heater had said that a delayed ignition was normal  and he disagreed!  He made some adjustments to the pilot light and that seems to have helped; there is still a bit of a delayed ignition, but, not as bad as it was earlier.  He said that if it gets worse, to give them another call and someone can come out and check it, again.  The dryer was fine, he said (not that I use it that often, but, it's good to know that it is in good working condition).  He checked the water heater, too, and said that the water temperature had been set higher than what the gas company recommends for using less gas.  He reset it 10F lower and told me to try it; if the water isn't hot enough for me, he said I could raise the temperature (there is a knob to turn).  I believe the water temperature was set at that higher temperature either when it was first installed or when the water heater repair person was out fixing a leak; I'm perfectly willing to lower the water temperature to save on my gas bill, as long as I have hot enough water when I shower!  

As usual when someone comes to the house, Dancer hid when the technician was here, but, he came out to check if everything was OK, afterwards:

"I guess it looks OK"

You can see the gas heater on the wall behind the side chair.  That chair is not very comfortable; the chair seat has no cushioning left and you can feel the springs, but, I've placed a spare pillow on the seat as that is the warmest spot in the house during the winter when the heater is on!  

After the technician left, I put all the items back in the laundry closet (the drying racks, the little shelving unit holding laundry supplies, the laundry baskets, etc.)  I looked to see if there was anything I could declutter from there, but, I didn't find anything; maybe I need to look harder!

I took the trash cans to the curb in the evening (and this time, I placed them at the curb and not in front of the driveway; let's see if they get moved!), watched news, had leftovers for dinner, and watched some videos.  I realize that I didn't do a meal plan, but, I'll do so tomorrow.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Dancer's vet got back to me with his x-ray results and they were "unremarkable"
- The pharmacy had his new medication ready for me to pick up
- I had a safe drive to the pharmacy and back
- The gas technician checked on and adjusted the heater and it seems to be working better
- The gas company offers these free appliances checks to their customers

Today's joyful activity was getting the heater checked and deemed safe to use, this winter!

Tomorrow, I have a blood test scheduled and, for some reason, I am feeling rather stressed and anxious about it!  I don't know why.  It's just a routine, quarterly check prior to my oncologist appointment on Friday.  I made sure to put the file folder with the lab request order in the tote bag I will be taking with me and I have change for the parking meter.  All I have to do is go and get the blood tests done!  

Plans for the rest of the day will depend on how I feel after the blood test.  Maybe I'll do some easy stuff like laundry.  

How was your Monday?  Any plans for tomorrow?  Will you be handing out candy to the trick or treaters? 

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Windy Sunday

Halloween Flower Arrangement

It is a windy day, here.  We are having Santa Ana winds, which are hot, dry winds from the inland desert areas which flow downslope over the mountains to the coast of southern California.  Gusty winds which bring a threat of fire danger.  At least one power company has cut off power to certain areas in order to prevent fires due to downed power lines.  Our temperature went up to 80F, very briefly, but, the house didn't warm up that much.  It was 62F inside when I woke up, this morning, and I opened the windows to get some warmer air in, but, it only warmed up to 66F inside.  I've since closed the windows. 

I walked for a short period of time in the early afternoon and checked on the garden to see if anything had blown over due to the winds, but, fortunately, nothing had!  I did find a small twig of eucalyptus that had fallen from the tree in the front garden and picked it up to bring inside.  Then, I cut some chrysanthemum flowers (from one of the plants that were in the second photo in yesterday's post) and put together the arrangement pictured above.  The green foliage is from the gardenia flowers that M gave me; the flowers had died, but, the foliage still looked fresh.

I made pancakes for brunch, today, put away the laundry from yesterday, tidied the house a little bit, and took a nap on the living room sofa (I had gone there to warm up in the sunshine that was coming through the front window; that is my favorite spot in the house during the cooler weather).  I haven't turned on the gas heater, yet; the service technician from the gas company is scheduled to come over, tomorrow afternoon, to check on the heater to make sure everything is OK.  Then, I'll stop going on about how cold it is and start complaining about the high cost of heating!  LOL.

Today, I am grateful for:

- There was no damage from the winds to the garden and the patio roof stayed on!
- Sunshine and a warm afternoon
- Flowers from the garden
- Warm clothes
- My electricity stayed on

Today's joyful activities included doing another flower arrangement and an afternoon nap on the sofa!

Plans for tomorrow include having the gas appliances checked by the gas company service technician.

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


Leggy, Sprawly Chrysanthemums

These are the chrysanthemums that are growing under the lemon trees; they were rescued from one of M's other clients who had bought them for a garden party and had put them in the yard waste bin, afterwards.  

More Leggy, Sprawly Chrysanthemums

They are looking very leggy and sprawling all over the place, now that the four-o-clocks have been removed.  But, they are flowering and I am enjoying seeing them.  Once they've finished flowering, we will cut them back and hopefully, they'll come back a bit bushier, next year.

It was a sunny day, today, but, it was a cool 62F inside the house when I woke up.  That's cold for me!  I dressed in layers and went outside, where it was warmer in the sunshine, to walk a little and to say my morning prayers.  I sat at my little patio table which I received from neighbor T, with the sun shining on my back, and it felt so good!  I'm a lizard, I think!  Eventually, it warmed up to 75F in the afternoon, and I opened several windows and the front door to let the warm air into the house, but the house stayed under 70F.

I did a load of laundry and hung everything up to dry.  I also ran the dishwasher (I collect the dishes over a couple of days in order to have enough for a load), wiped down the kitchen counters, and scrubbed the sink.  I will finish cleaning the kitchen, tomorrow.

I had an email from Dancer's vet with his blood test results.  Apparently, his thyroid levels are still not where they should be and the vet will increase his dosage strength.  She asked if any doses had been skipped and if that explains the blood test results.  I admitted that a few doses had been skipped (especially after he got so stressed after that earlier visit to the vet), but, I don't know if enough doses were skipped to make a difference.  The vet will call in the new prescription and she wants to recheck him in 3 weeks.  

Later in the evening, I called friend R and chatted with her for a bit.  Afterwards, I cooked the salmon with with onions and homegrown tomatoes I had frozen.  I'm going to freeze most of it, but, I had some of it for my dinner, tonight, along with some rice I had cooked with some vegetable soup powder added to the cooking water and the three(!) green beans I had picked earlier in the day.  I picked four green beans (there were no more to pick), but, one must have fallen out while I was still in the garden, because there were only three green beans when I went to rinse them!  My green bean plants didn't do too well, this year.  Maybe I'll plant a different kind of beans, next year.

Apparently, there was a small earthquake in my area in the early part of the night.  M texted to ask if I felt it, but, I didn't and nothing shook or rattled in my house.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- A sunny day and a warm afternoon
- Being able to sit in the sunshine to warm up!  
- Working appliances
- Dancer's vet emailing me about the blood test results
- I didn't feel today's small earthquake

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

Plans for Sunday include cleaning the rest of the kitchen.

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

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Friday - More Grocery Shopping!

Today, I decided to buy more groceries to take advantage of this week's grocery specials!

I bought:

3 bananas (1.34 lbs, @ $0.68.lb) = $0.92
3 apples (1.32 lbs., reg. price $1.99/lb., on sale for $0.89/lb.) = $1.18

1 lb. ground turkey (reg. price $6.99, on sale for $4.99, plus $1 off with digital coupon) = $3.99

4.76 lbs. salmon fillet* (2 whole fillets; reg. price $13.99/lb., on sale for $8.99/lb.) = $42.79!

3 cans tuna in water (5 oz. each; @$1.33/can) = $4.00

1/2 gal. milk = $2.69

1 doz. bakery chocolate chip cookies (reg. price $3.99; on sale with digital coupon) = $2.99 + $0.10 recycling fee

1 cranberry juice cocktail (64 fl. oz., store brand, reg. price $3.69, on sale with coupon) = $3.00

4 bags potato chips (reg. price $4.59@, on sale for $1.99 with the purchase of four) = $7.96

2 bags chocolate chips (12 oz.@; reg. price $4.29; on sale for $2.49@) = $4.98 (holiday baking season approaches!)

Total = $69.60 

In addition to my groceries, I bought for Dancer:
3 cans salmon pate (3 oz. each, reg. price $1.00@, on sale with coupon for $0.95@) = $2.85 + $0.26 sales tax

According to the receipt, my original total was $122.71

Savings with coupons and sales amounted to $50.26

Which brought my total down to $72.71 (with Dancer's cat food and sales tax, etc.)

My October grocery budget is $100 (for my groceries only; does not include Dancer's food, household supplies, etc.)

Spent to date: $12.35 (on 10/19) + $23.59 (on 10/23) + $69.60 = $105.54

Oops!  Looks like I went over budget, doesn't it?  

Ah, but, back in September, I had $76.52 leftover in my budget and I had decided to keep it to splurge on salmon when my daughter comes home for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This is what I wrote back then:

"Now, the question is, will I carry that $76 forward to October?  It seems ridiculous to carry that amount forward when my monthly budget is supposed to be $100!  Maybe I'll keep it and splurge on salmon when my daughter comes home for Thanksgiving and Christmas!"

So, that's what I am going to do!  I am going to add that $76.52 left from September's budget to my October budget, (to simplify the accounting) and I will still have almost $71 to carry forward to November!  That will cover Thanksgiving dinner and more!

I am grateful for:

- Being able to order groceries online
- Curbside pick up
- Being able to take advantage of sales and coupons
- I had enough leftover in September's budget to make up for going over October's budget
- A safe drive to and from the grocery store

How did you do with your October grocery spending?  Did you keep to your budget?  Did you go over?  Are you able to find good sales and bargains?

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Thursday: Another Visit to the Library

New Library Book

Some weeks, I don't leave the house and I start the car and let it run for a few minutes just to make sure the battery doesn't die!  This week, however, I've been going somewhere almost every day!  On Monday, I went to the grocery store to pick up an order of groceries.  On Tuesday, I took Dancer to the vet's.  On Wednesday, I went to the pharmacy to pick up Dancer's medication.  Today, I went to the library to pick up a book that I had requested and was waiting for me!  It is a book that Mary-Lou at Patio Postcards had mentioned, a couple of weeks ago.  I'm looking forward to reading it.  I'm hoping it will help me with my decluttering.  

Speaking of decluttering, I forgot to post my weekly decluttering total on the weekend.

October Week 3 Decluttering:
2 medicated creams (both had been prescribed back in 2016)
1 Halloween decoration
3 blouses 

It was another cooler day with a daytime high of 73F.  But, it was sunny and pleasant.  I called my half-sister and chatted with her for a bit in the morning, texted one niece, wished a friend for her birthday, and felt I had been very social!  I received a couple of emails, too, from friends, that I will be replying to, later.  I walked up and down the drive way for a short time and watered some of the plants in the front garden using water I had collected while waiting for the shower water to warm up, etc.

In the afternoon, I went to the library to pick up my book (Frugal fun).  I had debated going to the burger place next door to the library, but, decided against it.  Instead, I came home and cooked some frozen chicken wings and made teriyaki chicken wings for brunch.

After brunch, I did a load of laundry (kitchen rug, bathroom mats, etc.) and cleaned the bathroom.  Then, I watched news, replied to blog comments, and watched some online videos.  The daylight hours are getting shorter, now, aren't they?  They'll get even shorter when daylight savings time ends and we return to standard time on Sunday, November 5.  I will need to train myself to wake up earlier to have more daylight hours!  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Sunshine and mild temperatures
- Phone chats, texts, and emails
- Time spent outdoors
- Library services
- Working appliances

Today's joyful activity was picking up another library book.

Plans for tomorrow include tending to the garden with M and finishing up the dining room (my room of the week).  

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

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Cool and Cloudy on Wednesday

Another Not Quite Ikebana Flower Arrangement

Tammy from the compounding pharmacy called me in the morning to let me know that the vet's clinic had called in Dancer's medication refill, but, it was only for five days and there was no note to say why it was only for five days.  She said she called the clinic to find out what was going on and I told her that yes, they are waiting for the blood test results to see if any changes needed to be made and this was just to tide us over until the results come in.  She said the medication will be ready whenever I want to come and pick it up and she will not charge me for this refill, but, will adjust the number of dosages from the next refill and I will pay then.  I was happy to hear that.  I told her I will pick up the medication in the afternoon.

It was a cloudy, overcast day (some areas experienced some light rain, according to the news) and a bit cool.  When gardener friend M arrived to do the garden, later in the morning, he said that last week had been my weather and this week is his weather.  He finished the weeding I had started, yesterday, when I pulled out some of the four-o-clocks (mirabilis) plants that were growing under the lemon trees.  They are not weeds, as such, but, they grow as weeds in my garden; they had more or less finished flowering and they were crowding out the chrysanthemums that were also growing in the same bed.  The chrysanthemums are starting to flower, now, and I want them to be seen and have room to grow.  The four-o-clocks self-seed and they will also grow from the tubers, later on.  He also pruned the lemon trees a little bit and watered the back garden.  We decided that the front garden didn't need watering today; it can wait until Friday.

After M left, I went to the pharmacy and picked up Dancer's medication.  There might have been a visit to the doughnut shop, too, and a purchase made!  LOL.

I am afraid that I wasn't very productive once I got home.  I watched news, watched some online videos, and read a few blogs.  I also went through the grocery ads and made a tentative shopping list (salmon is on sale for $8.99/lb. this week and I am thinking of buying some to cook and freeze for when my daughter comes home.  There's plenty of money left in this month's grocery budget to afford a few splurge items!  

 I felt cold in the evening, even with a cardigan over my knitted top, a scarf around my neck, and socks.  So, I put the electric space heater on for a little while.  

There had been a shooting incident a block or two from my daughter's office building, this afternoon; she said they were told not to leave the building until around 4:00 p.m., when the police had apprehended the suspected shooter.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- My daughter is safe
- Dancer's medication was refilled
- M's help with the garden
- My electric space heater and electricity to run it
- A safe drive to the pharmacy and back

Today's joyful activity was tending to the garden with M (and enjoying a doughnut!)


Plans for tomorrow include getting some tidying and housework done.  

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

Another Vet Visit on Tuesday


"Let me out, Mummy!"

I took Dancer back to the vet, this afternoon, for a blood test to check his thyroid levels, to get his arthritis injection, and to get refills on his medications.  One hour before we left, I gave him the sedative I was supposed to give him.  He didn't like having stuff syringed into his mouth, but, it really helped.  He still meowed and panted and drooled on the way to the vet's clinic, but, he didn't meow as much or as loudly as on previous occasions and he was quite mellow on the way home.  I took the above picture while we were waiting in the examination room.

He's been sleeping it off under my bed since we came home, but, he has eaten some tuna and drunk some water from time to time and he seems to be okay.  The vet is supposed to call me with the results of the thyroid test to see if his medication dosage needs to be adjusted.  In the meantime, they are going to call in a five day supply of his current medication to make sure I have enough until they either refill the old dosage or a new medication is prescribed.

Before I took Dancer to the vet, I did some weeding in the back garden.  After we came home, I took a nap on the sofa!

Yesterday (Monday), I did laundry, made appointments for Dancer's check up for today, and my own blood tests for next week.  I also put in an order for groceries and picked them up, later in the evening. It wasn't a big order of groceries, I mostly wanted to pick up some of Dancer's favorite tuna and stock up on condensed milk which was on sale (I use it in my tea instead of regular milk).  

In addition to the tuna (4 cans @ $1.25 = $5), I bought:

1 dozen eggs = $2.99
1 loaf of bread = $1.79
2 bottles of apple juice ( 64 fl.oz@ for $1.69@ with coupon) = $3.38
2 boxes cereal (12 oz.@ for $1.69@ = $3.38
1 can (15 fl. oz.) coffee drink (for my daughter; reg. price $3.99, free with coupon + $.05 can deposit) = $0.05 
6 cans condensed milk @$2 = $12.00

My total (with Dancer's tuna) came to $28.59 (total before discounts and coupons = $46.78)

Only my groceries, without Dancer's tuna, came to $23.59

October grocery spending to date = $12.35 (on 10/19) + $23.59 = $35.94

I might do one more grocery shopping before the month is over; salmon fillet is on sale (as of Wednesday) for $8.99/lb.  I might buy some and freeze for when my daughter comes home.  

I am grateful for:

- Vet services for Dancer
- The sedative helped 
- A safe drive to the vet clinic and back
- The availability of groceries
- Working appliances

My joyful activity was taking a nap on the sofa!

Plans for tomorrow include tending to the garden with M and doing some tidying and cleaning.

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


Tuesday, October 24, 2023

October Meal Plans: Week 3 Review and Week 4 Plan

This was my October Week 3 meal plan:

Brunches: Corned beef sandwiches (canned corned beef sauteed with onions, tomatoes, and chilies), sauteed pinto beans, scrambled eggs and toast, soup, pancakes with leftover corned beef, leftovers from dinners, tuna salad sandwiches 

Dinners: Rice and curries compliments of friend S, hamburger patties and salad green beans and cheesy mashed potatoes, baked chicken with rice mashed potatoes and vegetables, fried rice, leftovers

Snacks/Desserts: Yogurt, apples/other fruits, canned fruit, popcorn, cereal, ice cream, cheese and crackers, peanuts and raisins "trail mix",  pastries if I bake them

Here is how it all worked out:

Brunch: Rice and curries (leftovers from what I had cooked)
Dinner: Rice and curries (what my friend S had cooked)
Snacks/Desserts: Apple, cereal, ice cream

Brunch: Corned beef sandwich (canned corned beef, sauteed with onions, tomatoes, and chilies)
Dinner: Rice and curries (leftovers from what friend S cooked)
Snacks/Desserts: Leftover soup, apple

Brunch: Corned beef sandwich
Dinner: Rice and curries (leftovers from what friend S cooked)
Snacks/Desserts: Canned peaches, homemade "trail mix" (peanuts and raisins).

Brunch: Corned beef sandwich
Dinner: Hamburger with leftover pot roast gravy, corn, cucumber salad
Snacks/Desserts: Dates, strawberries

Brunch - Tuna salad sandwich
Dinner - Pizza (black olives and jalopeno peppers) from the freezer (from neighbor S's daughter's birthday celebration)
Snacks/Desserts - Strawberries, yogurt

Brunch - Tuna salad sandwich
Dinner - Hamburger patty with leftover pot roast gravy, cheesy (instant) mashed potatoes, green beans (from the garden)
Snacks/Desserts - Cheese and crackers, banana, dates

Brunch - Tuna salad sandwich
Dinner - Baked chicken (from the freezer) with sauteed onions, celery, and tomatoes, cheesy mashed potatoes, cucumber salad
Snacks/Desserts - Banana, grapes, strawberries, cereal

I think I followed the meal plan for the most part.  The poor sauteed pinto beans didn't get cooked, yet again!  I had too many other things in the fridge!

Here is my Week 4 Meal Plan:

Brunches: Corned beef sandwiches (canned corned beef), scrambled eggs and toast, pancakes, tuna salad sandwiches

Dinners: Left over baked chicken with mashed potatoes and vegetables, soup, some kind of pasta dinner (mac & cheese or spaghetti and meat sauce).  

Snacks/Desserts: Bananas, strawberries, grapes, apples, popcorn, cereal, pastries if I bake them

Since I'm posting this after midnight on Monday, here's what Monday's meals were:

Breakfast: Peanut butter toast
Lunch: Scrambled egg with corned beef and toast
Dinner: Chicken cup noodle soup
Snacks: No snacks!  Gasp!

Are you planning your meals, this week?

Monday, October 23, 2023

The Garden in October

The Front Garden in October

It's time again to post the monthly garden pictures.  I've been taking pictures of the front garden on or about the same date every month to see the changes from month to month.

The Parkway

Technically not part of the front garden, but, I wanted to show that the pebbles and paving stones are working and still in place!  Every so often, a weed or two will show up, but, they are easily dealt with.

The View from the Other End

The succulents are doing really well (and so are some of the self-seeded osteospermum!)
The Succulents

The asparagus ferns have filled in most of the bed along the walkway to the front door:

Asparagus Ferns (and Other Plants)

A quick look around the back garden:

The Back Garden

The back garden is looking a bit overgrown and there's a bit of cleaning up to be done.

The squash vine is continuing to grow:

The Squash Vine 

As you can see, the vine has reached the second step!  The butternut is starting to turn color!

Lemon Grass (top left), Volunteer Cherry Tomatoes (top right)
A Loquat Plant (bottom left), Volunteer Tomato Seedlings (bottom right)

The celery seedlings that M planted earlier bolted before the stems grew big enough to harvest and I let them go to seed.  Looks like one of those seeds germinated:

Celery Seedling

The plumbago hedge is looking like it needs to be pruned back:

Plumbago Hedge

It's at least four feet deep at this point!  It has almost covered up the sweet potato vine that is growing in front of it!  

The garden continues to grow and evolve, and I am glad I am able to have a garden.

Today, I am grateful for:
- A sunny, if cooler (high of 73F) day
- Having my garden 
- M's help with the garden
- The garden produce I am able to pick
- The garden flowers

Today's joyful activities included being out in the garden and redoing the Halloween wreath:

Renewed Halloween Wreath

I reused the wreath base, the scarecrow, and the other items from the old wreath and some artificial greenery that I had on hand (some of which had been used in and removed from previous wreaths).

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Saturday: Decorating for Halloween

Halloween Decorations

Today, I decorated the house for Halloween.  The Jack-o-Lantern mug (a gift my daughter received when she was a little girl from my sister) took the place of the blue vase with the fading squash leaf in the arrangement with the silver grey pumpkin and the white lantern.

I put the trick-or-treating teddy bears runner I had sewn on the living room coffee table and placed the plastic Jack-o-Lantern candy bucket I bought for my daughter for her very first Halloween.  Not pictured is another plastic trick-or-treating bucket which I bought for my daughter when she was 5 years old - we were on our way to trick-or-treat at her piano teacher's house and we realized that we had forgotten to bring her Jack-o-Lantern bucket with us, so, we made a quick stop at a grocery store on the way and picked up another bucket.

The decoration hanging on the back of the door and the scarecrow on the mantelpiece are items my mother bought for my daughter.  

There seems to be a theme here, doesn't it?  Almost all the decorations are items that were bought for my daughter!  LOL.  

There is an old wreath, too, which I put together years ago, with another scarecrow (again, something my mother bought for my daughter) and other bits and pieces:  

Old Halloween Wreath

But, stuff was falling off the wreath and it was looking very old and tired.  I am planning to redo the wreath and I'll post a picture of it once I've done it.  

This was today's garden harvest:

Today's Garden Harvest: Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes

Just a handful of green beans (most of the bean plants are done producing and I pulled them up) and cherry tomatoes from the volunteer tomato plant.  I froze most of the cherry tomatoes, but, I cooked the green beans to have with my dinner, and I added a couple of the cherry tomatoes to the green beans:

Saturday Dinner: Hamburger Patty, Green Beans,
and Cheesy Instant Mashed Potatoes

There was a packet of cheesy instant mashed potatoes that neighbor S's daughter had given me a long time ago (towards the beginning of the pandemic; she gave me two packets).  They have sat in the cupboard all this time and I decided that I should make up one of them to go with the hamburger patty and the green beans from the garden.  I think I would have enjoyed regular mashed potatoes to the cheesy ones, but, it wasn't too bad.  There's leftover mashed potatoes for future meals.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Another sunny and warm day
- Today's garden harvest
- Books to read
- A relaxed day
- Online videos to watch

Today's joyful activity was decorating the house for Halloween.

How was your Saturday?  Do you decorate for Halloween?


Friday: A Keeper and a Maybe Not

A Keeper

I wore this blouse that my cousin had given me, the other day, and I decided that it is definitely a keeper!  It's soft and a bit floaty, and I have a light blue cardigan than goes well with it.

I'm not so sure about this other top, though:

Maybe Not 

It is a mock twin set with three quarter length sleeves.  First of all, I am not a very big fan of three quarter length sleeves.  I like short sleeves and long sleeves; with three quarter length sleeves, I keep pulling them down!  I like the white lace insert, but, the arm holes are a bit too big!  If I decide to keep it, I need to put two darts to make the arm holes a little smaller.  I am also wondering if I might have more use for the cardigan part of it (even with the shorter than I like sleeves) if I remove the white lace insert!  Or, maybe I should just donate it!  For now, I have put it aside in the "Undecided" pile!  

It was another hot day, today, with the temperature going up to 95F in the afternoon.  I'm loving it!  When M was here in the evening to tend to the garden, he said it was a custom made day for me!  LOL.  He knows that I like it warm.  My heating budget likes it, too, because the longer it stays warm the less I need to heat the house!  

I didn't feel any side effects from the flu shot - just a little bit of soreness in the arm, at the injection site.  Even so, I took it easy and relaxed, today.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- The sunny and warm day
- Minimal side effects from the flu shot
- M's help with the garden
- An abundance of clothes from which to choose, thanks to my cousin
- Texts and emails from family and friends

Today's joyful activity was picking cherry tomatoes from the garden.  

Plans for tomorrow include decorating for Halloween and reading.

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

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Thursday: Flu Shot, October Grocery Shopping Part 1, and a Trip to the Library!

October Grocery Shopping Part 1

I went to get my flu vaccine, today, and I had my usual vaccine side effect (the urge to shop!)  LOL!  I walked around the pharmacy for a bit and didn't see anything I wanted to buy.  

Then, I went next door to the dollar store!  There were a couple of non-food items I wanted to buy from there (a broom. and a string mop) and I wanted to see what they had in terms of groceries, check their current prices (gone up from $0.9999 to $1.4999, which I am rounding up to $1.50!), and see how they compared to the grocery store prices.    I haven't grocery shopped in three weeks (last time I picked up groceries was on September 26) and wanted some bread and fresh fruit, mostly.

I bought:

1 loaf bread = $1.50

4 cucumbers (the bag said 3 count, but, all the bags had 4 cucumbers in them!) = $1.50

Dates (8 oz. container) = $2.00

2 x 1 lb. containers strawberries @$.80 = $1.60

.94 lb. bananas @ $.49/lb. = $0.47

2.1 lb. green grapes @ $1.79/lb. = $3.78

1 pomegranate = $1.50

Total = $12.35

Plus the broom ($1.49), mop ($1.50) and sales tax on them ($.28) = $15.62


I wore my mask, of course, and the store wasn't very crowded and I felt comfortable enough, shopping there, today.  I didn't walk up and down the non-grocery aisles as I didn't need anything else other than the mop and the broom.  I took a quick look at their refrigerated and frozen food sections as I passed them and didn't see anything of interest and I walked down the packaged/canned foods, snacks and beverages, too, and didn't see anything I wanted.  I think I can get the same or better bargains at the grocery store when they have a good sale.

But, the fresh fruits and the cucumbers were good bargains.  1 lb. strawberries at the grocery store cost $3.49 this week, with a coupon ($3.99 without a coupon); green grapes are $3.49/lb., bananas are $.69/lb., cucumbers are $.79 each, store brand bread is $1.79 and the brand I bought at the dollar store sells for $4.79, dates are $3.99 for 8 oz., but, they do have a sale this week on 1 lb. dates for $7.99, buy 1 get 1 free, so that would be $4/lb., which is comparable to my $2/8 oz. purchase of dates from the dollar store.  

Cabbages at the dollar store were $1.99 each; cabbages at the grocery store are $.99/lb.  I didn't weigh the cabbages that were available at the dollar store, but, they might have been a little over one pound.  Cauliflower at the dollar store was also $1.99 each and at the grocery store, they are $1.99/lb.  

I'm not sure if I am ready to go back to grocery shopping in person at the dollar store or the ethnic store where produce prices are equally well priced, on a regular basis, but, I think I got some good bargains, today.

On the way home, I stopped by at the library to pick up a book that was waiting for me:

New Library Book

After I came home, I put away the groceries, made myself a sandwich for brunch, texted with my daughter who has been spending the last three days attending a conference in Las Vegas (she's returning to Berkeley, tonight), and took a short nap on the sofa!  Afterwards, I ate some strawberries and had a cup of tea while I watched the news.  So far, I am not feeling any other side effects from the flu shot!

I didn't want to take both a flu shot and the Covid booster together.  I am planning to wait another couple of weeks and then take the Covid booster.  That way, I'll be at peak immunity from the booster around Thanksgiving when I might or might not meet up with other people!  Maybe I'll do another dollar store shopping trip at that time, too!  LOL.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Health insurance to cover vaccinations and the availability of vaccines
- Bargain prices on produce at the dollar store
- Library services
- Safe drives to the pharmacy, library, and back
- My daughter had a safe flight back

Today's joyful activity will be video chatting with my daughter, later tonight, to find out about her trip (we usually don't video chat when she's at conferences when she's sharing a room with a colleague).

Plans for tomorrow include tending to the garden with M in the evening.  

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

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

More Fun with Pumpkins


The Preferred Arrangement

Thank you to all who commented on Monday's post about which pumpkin arrangement you preferred!  I love it when you participate like and the interaction!  

Almost everyone who commented seemed to show a preference for the first arrangement, shown above, with the white planter, black lantern, and the orange pumpkin.  It's the arrangement my daughter preferred.  Only one person said she liked them both!  I liked them both, myself; in fact, I think I preferred the second arrangement, which my daughter said is more me!  LOL!

Not the Preferred Arrangement

Everyone seemed to like the black candle holder/lantern!

One person suggested keeping the first arrangement and placing the grey pumpkin off to the side, on the right, as it was "a bit of an "outlier":

The Outlier!

I thought the grey pumpkin looked a bit like it was left out!  Maybe I should have placed it on its own little plate!

So, I wondered if I should try to include it, too:

All Squash(ed) Together!

But, that violated one of the rules of arrangements which says one should group things together in odd numbers, in groups of three or five, and I didn't want to look for a bigger platter to include another tall candle or something.

Instead, I opted for what another person suggested; she said she thought I might have some other things in my collection to create a second display with the grey pumpkin:

New Arrangement

I made a new arrangement, starring the grey squash, for the formal dining table, using the white lantern and a blue vase holding a freshly cut squash leaf!  Once the squash leaf dies, I will replace the vase with the orange jack-o-lantern mug that I have.  It will be closer to Halloween, then, and I would be decorating for Halloween (I generally don't decorate for Halloween until closer to the date).  

I showed the two arrangements to M when he was here to tend to the garden, today, since they both feature the pumpkins and the lanterns he gave me.  He thought they were cute.  He brought me some gardenias and champak (Magnolia champaca) flowers from his garden, today:

Gardenia (front) and Champak Flowers

I placed some of the gardenias at the altar and arranged the rest of the flowers to place on the mantelpiece near my mother's picture.  It's the anniversary of her birthday, today.   

Today, I am grateful for:
- All of you who read my blog and participate by commenting
- M bringing me more fresh flowers from his garden
- Another sunny and warm (94F) day
- Water for the garden
- My mother and all what she did for me

Today's joyful activities included playing with pumpkins and arranging flowers.

So, what do you think of the new pumpkin arrangement?