Wednesday, November 29, 2023

On Wednesday...

 Iceberg Roses (Old Photo)

On Wednesday...

... I didn't take any new photos for my blog post, so I am reposting an old photo!  This rose bush used to be in the front garden where it didn't do too well and we transplanted it in the back garden where it did quite well for several years.  Then, this summer, it just withered up and died!  I haven't decided if I will replace it or not.

... M arrived in the late morning to tend to the garden.  He filled the yard waste bin with some of the branches he cut from the bottlebrush tree, weed whacked some of the overgrown areas at the back, and watered the garden which hadn't been watered since last Wednesday! 

... there was sunshine in the morning and then, it clouded up and we had some rain in the afternoon.  Not a lot of rain, 10 minutes or so of drizzle, but, even a little rain is welcome!

... the high temperature was 63F and I felt cold enough to have the big gas heater on almost all day!  It is set at 70F, which means the family room warms up to about 65F.  I spent most of the day in the living room (since it was the warmest room), but, moved to the family room in the evening to watch news.  Then, I took a short nap on the sofa, while watching the news!  

... I did a load of laundry (kitchen mat, bathroom mats, Dancer's rug, etc.).  The folding metal drying rack was put away before company arrived on Thanksgiving Day, but, I have set it back up in the living room, near the gas heater, and today's laundry was hung on it to dry.  

... I called the tree trimmers and left a message regarding trimming the eucalyptus tree.  Hopefully, they'll call back with a quote and I can schedule it for December or January.

... I made a pot of turkey broth from the turkey bones.  There was a little bit of turkey drippings and a bit of leftover gravy, too, and I added both to the broth!  I will leave it to cool in the fridge, overnight; tomorrow, I will remove any fat and either make soup or freeze the broth for later.  

... I replied to blog comments, read and commented on a few blogs, watched some online videos, and wrote this blog post, of course!  

... Looked up mailing costs for packages (trying to decide if I want to mail homemade gifts to family living out of state - the bulk of the cost will be for postage - or order something online and have it shipped).

... I chatted with my daughter; she said she went to the store to buy some half and half for her coffee and spotted a seasonal snack, thought that I would like it, and bought it to bring to me when she comes down next!  How sweet is that?

... I cleaned the litter box and swept the bathroom floor as usual,   

On Wednesday, I am grateful for:

- M's help with the garden
- The little rain we received
- Working appliances 
- A warm house
- My daughter thinking of me and picking up a treat for me

Today's joyful activities included picking some ripe serrano chilies from the garden, taking a nap on the sofa, and chatting with my daughter.

Tomorrow, I have a doctor's appointment with my primary care physician.  I am not looking forward to that because I am anxious about the blood test results.  Hopefully, all the numbers will be within the normal ranges!  

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

Errands on Tuesday

"Where's my other human, Mummy?"

Poor Dancer keeps going around the house, meowing, looking for his other human.  Earlier this evening, he was sitting in front of the front door, staring at it, as if expecting my daughter to walk in at any moment!  

I ran a few more errands today!  First, I went to the gas station to put some gas in my car.  I was down to quarter of a tank, although I usually try to keep the gas tank at least half full at all times.  I put $50 worth of gas, at $4.79/gal. and it was enough to fill the tank.  $50 is what I budget each month for gas, but, since I don't drive that much, anymore, I tend to fill up only every other month.  I am considering lowering my monthly gas budget to $25 per month, next year.  

After that, I went to the pharmacy to pick up my medication refill.  The line wasn't all that long, but, there was only one person at the counter and the line moved very slowly.  The store was rather busy, too, for a weekday afternoon.  I was almost sorry that I decided to pick up the medication instead of having it mailed to me!  But, mailing charges have gone up to $5; the medication cost $50.00.

Then, I went next door to the dollar store.  I was hoping to find a 2024 wall calendar - the kind with big squares in which to write appointments and times.  I was happy to find one for $1.00.  In addition, I bought 3 bananas (@ $.49/lb.), a bag of grapes (@$1.79/lb.), a package of dates (@$3.99), two rolls of wax paper (@$1.50), and a box of snack sized sandwich bags (@$1.50).  My total came to $14.08.

I was happy to be able to get about and run my errands, but, at the same time, I felt a little stressed about it, too.  Even with my mask on, I felt uncomfortable being exposed to so many people in the stores.  I think I'll continue to stay at home for the most part in the coming weeks.  

I spent the rest of the day relaxing at home.  I brought in the emptied trash cans, picked another handful of ripe cherry tomatoes, called friend S to check on her (she had burned her hand earlier in the month when hot oil splashed on her hand and forearm), watched news and the semi-finals of Dancing with the Stars and another musical program on TV, and looked through the week's grocery ads.  

Breakfast was half a bagel with butter, lunch was rice with the last of the beef curry, and dinner was sauteed turkey with the last of the butternut squash.  Snacks included a mandarin orange, some grapes, some preserved/dried pineapple, some potato chips, and the last piece of cherry pie for dessert.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Gas for the car
- Being able to drive
- My medications
- Finding the calendar I wanted
- A sunny day and a relatively warm afternoon

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

Plans for Wednesday include tending to the garden with M and reading.

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

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Resuming Regular Programs

Keeping Mummy Company

Daughter went back on Sunday.  She and her friend P had a safe drive back, although it took two hours longer than usual due to the post-Thanksgiving traffic. 

I spent most of Sunday doing a couple of loads of laundry, taking photos for my November garden post, blogging, watching a few online videos, and reading. 

Library Book

I finished reading this book I had borrowed from the library.  Another blogger had mentioned reading it and it sounded interesting.  It is a novel, based on the compilation and publication of the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.  The publication of the Oxford English Dictionary was a mostly male dominated enterprise.  However, there were some women who contributed, too.  Women like the wife of the editor who cared for their 11 children and ran the household while supporting her husband's efforts; three of their daughters who worked as assistants to their father with sorting the words that volunteers submitted; two sisters, one of whom was a published author, who, between them provided 15,000 quotations for words listed A and B (each word selected to be published had to have supporting printed quotations); and the daughter of one of the men in charge of publishing the Dictionary, who assisted her father.  Their contributions weren't really recognized at the time.  The novel is partially based on the contributions these women made to the publication of the Dictionary. 

In the book, the main character (a fictional character) Esme, is the daughter of one of the lexicographers assisting the editor.  At the start of the book, she is a child, playing under the sorting table where her father and other lexicographers sort and research the words that are being mailed in to be included in the Dictionary.  One day, a scrap of paper with a word written on it flutters to the ground and ends up under the table where Esme finds it.  No one seems to notice that this piece of paper had fallen, no one seems to miss the word, and Esme takes it.  Eventually, she realizes that not all the words being submitted make it into the dictionary and that the words being chosen to be included in the dictionary often didn't include words that pertained to women or words used by common people, especially if they had not been published or were considered vulgar, etc.  She sets out to collect these words that weren't being included in the dictionary, the "lost words", with the intention of compiling her own dictionary of lost words.  In the meantime, her own life evolves as she goes from being a child playing under the sorting table to an adult whose life is touched by the suffrage movement and World War I.

In general, I prefer non-fiction to fiction, but, I found this novel to be quite interesting.  I liked how the author wove in historic facts into the story.  

After I finished reading this novel, I started reading the book about decluttering.  I have finished reading the first half of that book and so far, I am finding it interesting, too.

Today, Monday, I did another load of laundry, ran the dishwasher, ordered a refill on one of my medications, took the trash cans to the curb for pick up on Tuesday morning, visited friend R (a quick, curbside visit with masks on) to drop off some packages she had ordered and had delivered to my address as well as a packet of Japanese curry sauce that my daughter had bought for R to try and some fruit I had bought for the Thanksgiving dinner, and stopped at the library on the way back to return "The Dictionary of Lost Words".  I also read for a bit and watched some TV.  

Meals over the weekend were mostly leftovers or snacks!  I had a bit of an upset tummy on Sunday, so, I had cream crackers for breakfast, half a bagel with a little butter for lunch, and scrambled eggs on toast for dinner.  Today, my tummy was fine and I had the other half of the bagel with butter for brunch, rice with leftover beef curry for dinner, and mandarin oranges for snacks.

I haven't made a meal plan for this week, but, I plan to make some soup with the turkey bones, some turkey fried rice, and, of course, there will be milkrice for brunch on Friday (December 1).  

I am grateful for:
- Daughter's friend gave her a ride back to Berkeley
- They had a safe journey back
- Library books
- A quick visit with friend R
- Dancer keeping me company

Today's joyful activity was reading.  Speaking of joyful activities, I reviewed my Autumn/Fall Joyful Activities list and while I didn't do some of the activities listed there (such as scrapbooking), I did other activities many times (such as arranging flowers) and I enjoyed doing those activities. 

Plans for Tuesday include putting gas to the car and picking up my medication refill.  

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

Sunday, November 26, 2023

The Garden in November

The Front Garden in November 

The garden continues to do well in November (if you overlook the bare ground between plantings).  

The Succulents Border (from the sidewalk)

The succulents are showing new growth and here and there, the paperwhites are flowering!


The pomegranate tree is starting to shut down for winter:

Pomegranate Tree Changing Color

But, the rest of the front garden is still quite green.

Meanwhile, in the back garden:

Back Garden

The citrus fruits are ripening-

Ripening Oranges

Ripening Lemons

The avocado plant I grew from a seed is thriving:

Avocado Plant

The nectarine tree is starting to shut down:

Nectarine Tree

While nearby, the roses are still blooming:

November Rose

And the serrano chilies are growing well (I'm waiting until they turn red to pick them)

Serrano Chilies

The chrysanthemums are starting to fade, but, they still provide a bright spot of color:


One of the passionfruit plants I grew from seed has been under attack:

Passionfruit Seedling

The Culprit, I Presume!

The original passionfruit vine is still bearing some fruits:

Ripening Passionfruit

And flowering:

Passionfruit Flower
(near the top of the picture)

While the papaya seedling is still growing in one of the blueberry planters!

Papaya Seedling

Thank you for visiting my garden with me.  I hope you enjoyed the visit.  

Friday, November 24, 2023

Thanksgiving 2023

Thanksgiving Dinner

We had a very nice Thanksgiving Day, yesterday.  I tried to pace myself throughout the day - I made the mashed potatoes in the morning and kept it in the fridge until needed.  The gravy was made early, too, and reheated just before serving.  The turkey went into the oven at 2:00 p.m. and was done by 5:30 p.m., although I let it sit in the oven, with the oven turned off, for another 30 minutes.  My daughter cut up and baked the butternut squash as a tray bake, with salt and pepper, and it turned out really well.  We all enjoyed it.  

In the afternoon, while the turkey was baking, I dusted the living room, vacuumed the main rooms, did a small load of laundry, and cut some chrysanthemums from the garden to arrange in vases.  In the meantime, my daughter tidied the family room and set the table.  

Friend R called in the morning and asked me to excuse her for declining the invitation to Thanksgiving dinner.  Of course, I understood her not wanting to join us; it was something I have done, myself, many times since the pandemic.  As it was, I had a window or two open for ventilation and three air purifiers on during the entire evening!

Late friend A's two daughters arrived at 5:30 p.m. and they brought two containers of stuffing and a loaf pan of cornbread, too!  I had made a double batch of cornbread, earlier, but, I kept that in the kitchen and served the cornbread the girls had made.  Later, when their father came over, he brought a cherry pie and some mini pumpkin muffins!

As you can imagine, we had quite a spread!  For hors d'oeuvres, I had bought a Sri Lankan/Indian snack called "murukku" from the Sri Lankan store and I had bought extra patties from the Sri Lankan restaurant, which I had stored in the fridge and heated up in the oven before serving.  They were enjoyed by all.  There was a choice of passionfruit juice drink, sparkling apple cider, and soda for drinks (I didn't serve any alcohol), and water, of course.

Thanksgiving dinner was roast turkey, with stuffing, baked butternut squash, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, sauteed green beans and crispy fried onions to go on them, cornbread, dinner rolls, and salad.  It was the first time I had tried the "brown and serve" dinner rolls and I must say I really liked them!  I will be buying more of that in the future!

I tried to say a little blessing before dinner and got all teary and choked up as I thought of my friend who was missing from our gathering, this year, and my mother who has been gone for several years.  But, A's husband and daughters were very kind and tried to comfort me!  

For dessert, we had pumpkin pie, pecan pie, cherry pie, and mini pumpkin muffins, plus fresh fruit (although no one wanted the fruit!).  There were two kinds of whipped topping (original and extra creamy) for the pies.  

There were quite a lot of leftovers and I packed up containers of the leftovers for friend A's family to take back with them.  I was cutting up the rest of the turkey when my hands began to cramp for the first time for the day!  I'm glad they didn't cramp earlier!  I was told to sit and rest and my daughter and the girls finished putting away the food and clearing up.  They loaded the dishwasher and my daughter washed the items that needed to be handwashed.  I ran the dishwasher after the girls left.

I am glad that I was able to host this year's Thanksgiving dinner.  It was a small, but, meaningful gathering.  My take aways from yesterday's gathering:

- Start the preparations well in advance, especially the cleaning
- Give myself plenty of time to accomplish even the simplest of tasks because it seems to take me longer to do things now than it used to
- Build in rest breaks because I get tired more quickly now
- And, if I decide to put some lipstick for the first time since the initial lockdown because I am not wearing a mask, make sure I buy a new tube of lipstick because the one I had bought prior to the pandemic is now a bit rancid!     

A Bouquet of Chrysanthemums

Today, my daughter went hiking in the afternoon with A's daughters.  They invited me to go with them, but, I declined (which was a good thing as the easy hike they were planning on going to was closed and they did a more difficult hike!)  I busied myself doing laundry (all the table cloths, kitchen towels, etc.), and putting away stuff.  Things like the turkey roasting pan, which is stored in the garage when not needed, the big platter that was returned to the bottom of the china cabinet, etc.  I also washed and put back the dust sheets on the family room sofas.  There are a few more items to put away, but, by that time, my daughter was back from her hike and we chatted and had tea.  

Later, she turned my mattress around for me and we made up the bed with my new polar bear flannel sheets (by the way, the other sheet set arrived, too, but I haven't taken a picture of it, yet, or opened the package).

Daughter is now making more beaded jewelry (earrings, this time) to give as holiday gifts to her friends.  

Beaded Earrings

Dinner tonight will be leftovers from Thanksgiving!

Today, I am grateful for:

- Being able to host Thanksgiving dinner this year
- How well everything turned out
- Daughter's help with setting up and cleaning up, afterwards
- Daughter got to spend some time with her friends
- Plenty of leftovers!

Joyful activities this Thanksgiving have included celebrating the day with my daughter and good friends.

Tomorrow will be my daughter's last full day at home; she will be returning to Berkeley on Sunday.  We don't have anything planned for tomorrow, other than taking some leftovers to friend R, along with a couple of packages she had delivered to my address.  

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

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving!

On this Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful for my many blessings, which include all of you, my blog friends.  You probably know more about my daily life and struggles than any of my in real life friends, and even family (other than my daughter)!  For reading my blog posts, for taking the time to comment, for always being so kind and considerate in your comments, for all the encouragement and the support over the years, I say, "Thank you!"  May you be abundantly blessed and may your hearts be filled with joy and may you continue to bless me with your friendships.

Sunny Wednesday

We've had a sunny day, today, with an afternoon high of 81F.  Tomorrow's high will be at least 10 degrees below that!

M was here this morning with a package of spicy cheese for my daughter to try and a scented geranium plant for my garden - it had outgrown its spot in the garden of one of his other clients who had asked him to remove it and he had asked me if I'd like to have it and I said yes!  I'm always happy to get free plants!

In the afternoon, I made the cranberry sauce for tomorrow's dinner and, later in the evening, I baked a double batch of sweet cornbread and cooked the green beans, as well.  Tomorrow, I will roast the turkey, make the gravy, boil and mash the potatoes, bake the dinner rolls, and reheat the patties to be served as a snack.  Daughter will bake the butternut squash and mix up the salad.  

I also did two loads of laundry, today, and daughter tidied up the place.

Late friend A's two daughters will arrive early in the evening, tomorrow, to spend some extra time visiting with my daughter.  Their father has to work until 5:00 p.m. and will come over afterwards.  I am planning to serve dinner around 6:30 p.m. so there will be plenty of time to roast the turkey and set the table, etc., tomorrow.

I warmed up a packet of beef smore that I had cooked and frozen earlier in the year for our lunch, today, along with leftovers (rice, green beans, garbanzo beans) and daughter had more of the leftovers for dinner while I had a roast beef sandwich.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- A sunny and warm day
- M's help with the garden and free plants for the garden
- Leftovers and freezer meals
- Daughter's help with the preparations for tomorrow's gathering
- Working appliances

Today's joyful activity included picking more ripe cherry tomatoes from the garden!

Plans for tomorrow include getting ready for the Thanksgiving meal.

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

To all my blogging friends who are celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, may you have a wonderful day with family, friends, and loved ones.  Safe travels to those who will be traveling.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Tuesday's Adventures

Homemade Gata (Armenian Cookies) from Neighbor S

Last night, after dinner, I did the dishes and ran the garbage disposal.  There was a bit of a whoosh sound and a lot of black debris spurted out!  I assumed it was coffee grounds - my daughter has a metal reusable coffee filter called a phin coffee filter (apparently used to brew coffee in Vietnam) and while I try to dump the coffee grounds into the kitchen compost container when I wash it out, there are still some coffee grounds that get washed down the sink drain.  Later, my daughter was in the kitchen and said she stepped in some water near the kitchen sink and asked me what it was and I said I probably spilled some water when I did the dishes.  She put the kitchen rug over the water and we forgot about it.  Still later, I went to rinse out a dish and afterwards, I noticed water leaking out from the cabinet under the sink!  I opened the door and water was dripping from the garbage disposal and it was all quite wet in the cabinet!  Oh, no!  We pulled out the plastic totes with bottles of dishwashing detergent, and other cleaning supplies I keep under the kitchen sink and put down towels to mop up the water!  I was rather upset to have a non-functioning garbage disposal just days before I was supposed to cook Thanksgiving dinner!  Fortunately, the sink is a double sided sink and the side without the garbage disposal was not leaking and could be used.  And my daughter reminded me that we had two bathtubs if we needed to wash the pots and pans in one of the bathtubs, instead.  Anyway, I decided that I would place a call to the plumbing company I have used before, in the morning.  

I was up relatively early and called the plumbing company at 8:30 a.m.  I explained the situation and asked if they could send a plumber out this afternoon, because I had to go to a doctor's appointment at noon.  They said they could send a plumber out right away and they should be able to repair or replace the unit before I needed to leave for the doctor's appointment.  It was $150 minimum charge and $225 if the unit was hardwired and they needed to replace it, plus cost of the new unit.  My leaky disposal is several years old and I thought it was better to replace it.

While I waited for the plumber to arrive, I brought in the one trash can that had been emptied and accepted the delivery of the second sheet set.  Then, I set about making a cup of tea for myself.

The plumber was here before 9:00 a.m. and took a look at the disposal unit and told me I needed to replace it.  He asked if I would buy it and I asked if he could buy it for me and I will reimburse him.  He was agreeable to do that and said it would come to about $145.  I might have got it a bit cheaper if I had bought it, myself, but, I was willing to pay a bit more for the convenience.  Besides, by this time, I was starting to feel a bit shaky and faint!  I recognized the signs of low blood sugar and I knew I needed to sit down and drink my tea!  

It has been a long time since I last felt the symptoms of low blood sugar, but, I think I have been not as careful with my diet in recent days and my sugar levels probably spiked and dropped rather rapidly.  I rested a bit and felt fine, afterwards.  

The plumber was done with installing the new garbage disposal by 10:00 a.m.  Parts and labor cost $145 + $225 = $370.  I reimbursed him for the parts with cash and paid the rest with a check.

Then, I rested until it was time to go to the ophthalmologist appointment.  The appointment went well.  My eye pressure was fine, my vision was only a little worse than it had been last year, the eye scans for diabetic retinopathy were clear, and my cataracts were still the same size and not ready to be removed.  I was asked to come back in one year's time.

It took all afternoon for my eyes to recover from being dilated.  I lay on the sofa with the blinds closed and my dark glasses on and dozed a bit.  

While I was resting, neighbor S brought over some gata she had baked.  She knows that my daughter loves her homemade gata.  I had a small taste of one, but, I'm leaving the rest of it for my daughter.

Later, I washed all the towels and the kitchen rug that we had used to mop up the spill from the garbage disposal and daughter relined the totes with fresh paper towels and put everything back under the sink.  

Brunch today was half a bagel with cream cheese (me) and a bagel with butter (daughter).  We had leftovers from earlier meals for dinner.

Today, I am grateful for:

- My low blood sugar episode abated after I had a cup of tea and rested
- The ophthalmologist visit went well
- Daughter was here to drive me home, afterwards
- The plumber was able to arrive this morning to tend to the garbage disposal
- The gift of homemade gata from neighbor S

Today's joyful activity was resting all afternoon and feeling better in the evening!

Plans for tomorrow include tending to the garden with M, making the cranberry sauce and cornbread ahead of time, another load of laundry, and tidying the house a bit.

How was your Tuesday and what are your plans for Wednesday?

Monday, November 20, 2023

More Groceries on Monday

Daughter and I had a relaxed morning, today.  She slept in and I confirmed my ophthalmologist appointment that is scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday), mended a rip in daughter's jacket, and unpicked the waistbands of some fleece pyjama pants she had brought down so I could replace the stretched out elastics in them.  I used the new longer handled seam ripper she had bought for me (my old seam ripper has been coming out of the handle).

In the afternoon, we picked up the Thanksgiving groceries I had ordered last night; Jennifer brought them to the car, this time.  I bought:

1 Turkey (frozen; 13.7 lb. @ $0.79/lb. with $25 additional purchases) = $10.82

10 lb. bag russet potatoes = $5.99

1 bag Caesar salad kit, 11.4 oz. = $4.49

12 count pack brown and serve dinner rolls = $2.00

1 can (6 oz.) crispy fried onions = $4.49

1 carton passion fruit/white grape juice cocktail = $3.99

2 bottles sparkling apple cider ($3.50@) = $7.00
2 bottles sparkling apple-cranberry cider ($3.50@) = $7.00
California redemption value on four bottles = $0.40

1 Pecan pie (8 inch/19.5 oz.) = $9.99 + $0.10 redemption value (for the foil pie plate) 
1 Pumpkin pie (8 inch/21.5 oz.) = $5.00 + $0.10 redemption value (for the foil pie plate)
2 cans of dairy whipped topping (one original, on extra creamy; @6.5oz.; @$2.50) = $5.00

Bag fee = $0.30

$5 off store coupon = -$5.00

Total spent = $61.67

My November grocery budget is $100 + $71 carried over from earlier = $171.00

Spent to date = $57.72 (on 11/17) + $32.89 at the Sri Lankan store (on 11/19; I spent $36.89, but $4 of that was on non-grocery items) + $61.67 (on 11/20) =  $152.28

Balance left in the November budget = $18.72

I don't anticipate going grocery shopping again during the rest of this month, though!


After we came home, we had leftovers from the Sri Lankan restaurant meals for our lunch.  Then, I gave my daughter's hair a hot oil treatment and watched the evening news while she took a nap.  

My late friend A's daughter texted me in the evening asking me what I'd like them to bring.  I said nothing, just bring themselves, but, then, she texted back saying her dad might roast a turkey breast to bring!  I quickly replied that I have bought a whole turkey to roast!  I asked her to bring a dish of stuffing if they liked and she said they'll do that.

I have also invited my friend R to join us on Thanksgiving day; she said she'll let me know on Wednesday if she's coming.  There will be plenty of food if she decides to join us.  

Later in the evening, I watched a TV program.  We had more of the leftovers for dinner.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Being able to order groceries online and pick up, curbside
- All the groceries I ordered were available and there were no substitutions
- A safe drive to the grocery store and back
- Daughter is cleaning the litter box while she's here!
- A relaxed day

Today's joyful activity was spending time with my daughter.

Plans for tomorrow include going for my medical appointment and later, once my eye dilation wears off, making the cranberry sauce ahead of time.  

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

Sunday, November 19, 2023

She's Home!

Birthday Gift - Beaded Necklace

My daughter came home last night!  After all the uncertainty if she'd be able to come home or not, she and two of her friends drove down, late last night.  While I waited for her to come home, I made her bed with flannel sheets and washed the sheets I had on her bed, earlier.  I had help making the bed:

Dancer Helped

Then, I vacuumed the house and tidied the place, doing all the little things I had procrastinated doing until I was sure that she was able to come down and was on her way home!  

Daughter came home at 11:00 p.m.  I had dinner ready and waiting - sauteed salmon, garlicky sauteed green beans, cucumber salad, and rice.  Then, we stayed up and chatted for a bit.  She gave me the beaded necklace that she had made as part of my birthday gifts from her, a souvenir T-shirt from her trip to Hawaii in February, and a few other items she had picked up for me.  She also brought back all the empty canning jars from the jams and chutney I had sent up to her.  

Today, after a leisurely morning, we went to the Sri Lankan restaurant.  I had called ahead and ordered a meal of stringhoppers (a type of noodles made with rice flour and steamed) which comes with coconut sambol, kiri hodhi (coconut milk based gravy with turmeric) and a hard boiled egg added to it, and a choice of fish, chicken, beef, or mutton curry (I chose chicken) and a meal of pittu (finger millet flour, made into little balls of dough like couscous and steamed in a hollowed out bamboo) which comes with katta sambol, coconut milk, and the same choice of curry (I chose beef curry).  I also ordered some cutlets (the round balls - they have a spicy fish filling and are breaded and fried) and patties (pastries with a spicy fish filling), and for dessert, a pudding called watalappan, made with coconut milk, jaggery, eggs, and spices.  

Dinner and Snacks

Dessert: Watalappan Topped with Crushed Cashew

On the way home, we stopped by the Sri Lankan store (a few blocks from the restaurant) and did a little shopping.  I mostly wanted a bottle of palm treacle, a bottle of chili sauce, and some incense sticks, but, we bought some snacks, as well.  This is the one store where I will buy what I want without looking at the price!  I spent $36.89 at the Sri Lankan store.  

After we came home, my daughter took some of the patties over to neighbor S and visited with S and her daughters for a bit.  

Today, I called and invited my late friend A's husband and two daughters to share Thanksgiving dinner with us.  When A was alive, we used to go to her house for Thanksgiving.  Last year, she was in the hospital on Thanksgiving day and we had dinner in her hospital room, seated around her bed.  This is her family's first Thanksgiving without her.  This is the first time I'm having people over when I know I will be without a mask (hard to have people over to dinner and wear a mask!), but, I couldn't be without inviting them to Thanksgiving.  I ordered the turkey and the rest of the items needed for Thanksgiving dinner this evening and will pick up tomorrow.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- My daughter came home safely
- Her friend for driving her down
- The gifts my daughter brought me
- Having a Sri Lankan restaurant and store nearby
- Being able to invite friend A's family to Thanksgiving dinner

Today's joyful activities included spending the day with my daughter and eating some delicious Sri Lankan food!

Plans for tomorrow (Monday) include picking up the groceries and some WD40 (a lubricant - my sliding glass door has stopped sliding!)

Saturday, November 18, 2023

November Grocery Shopping Part 1

I picked up an order of groceries on Friday.  I bought:

1/2 gallon half & half (in anticipation of daughter coming home) = $5.49

2 cucumbers, @ $.59 with coupon = $1.18
2.19 lb. green beans @ $1.99/lb. with coupon = $4.36
1 bag (10 oz.) frozen corn (substitute for 12 oz. store brand bag of corn) = $1.25
1 bag (12 oz.) frozen green peas = $1.25

1.99 lb. bananas (6 bananas) @ $.68/lb. = $1.37
1 pineapple = $1.99
3 lb. bag mandarin oranges, reg. price $5.99, on sale with coupon = $2.99
2.27 lb. apples (4 apples), reg. price $1.99/lb; on sale with coupon for $0.89/lb, = $2.03

1 bag, 12 oz. pecan halves, reg. price $8.99, on sale with coupon = $5.99

4 boxes, 9 oz. each, frozen breaded shrimp (reg. price $5.99@, on sale for $3,99; store substitute for 1 bag, 32 oz.; reg. price $12.99, on sale with coupon) = $7.99 (I think I got a very good deal, here!) 

2 cans tuna, @$1.19 = $2.38

1 doz. large eggs = $2.99

1 package (6 count) plain bagels = $2.49
1 loaf multi-grain bread = $2.99

1 package 12 oz. ground coffee, reg. price $13.99, on sale with coupon = $5.99
1 package 18 oz. ground coffee (reg. price $15,99; substitute for 12 oz. package!) = $5.99  (another good deal!)

1 box frosted flakes cereal, 13.5 oz., reg. price $4.99; free with "best customer" coupon! = $0
(just about every month, I get a "best customer" coupon for a free item and I've been taking advantage of it!)

According to the receipt:

Original price total = $96.98
Coupons and sales = -$39.26
Order total = $57.72

My November grocery budget is $100 (plus $71 carried over from earlier!)

Balance remaining in the November grocery budget = $100 - $57.72 = $42.28 (+ $71 = $113.28)

I am holding off on buying the Thanksgiving turkey until my daughter actually gets here!  Turkey is selling for $.79/lb. with the purchase of $25 additional groceries which should not be difficult to spend (I'd want to get potatoes, a pumpkin pie, some whipped cream, etc., to round off the Thanksgiving meal).  So, there might be another grocery shopping post in a couple of days!

As always, I am grateful for:

- Being able to buy groceries
- Being able to order online
- Curbside pick up
- The store's generous substitution policies
- Sales and coupons!

How is your November grocery shopping coming along?  If you are celebrating Thanksgiving, are you hosting it?  Or, will you be taking a dish to share?  

Sunny on Friday

It was sunny and mild on Friday.  A bit cool in the morning, but, the afternoon high was 70F.  

I went for my blood test at noon and on the way home, stopped at the library to pick up the other book on decluttering that I had requested.  

After I came home, I called aunt C (she had called and left a message), and after I got off the phone with her, I prepared some sauteed garbanzo beans for brunch (I had to be fasting for my blood tests, today).

Then, I ordered some groceries in anticipation of my daughter coming home this weekend.  I put in my order at 3:00 p.m. and the earliest pick up slot was between 5:00-5:30 p.m., which was fine with me.

M came to tend to the garden around 4:00 p.m. and he did some pruning and tidying.  He left at 5:00 p.m. and I went to pick up the groceries.  Ricky brought the groceries to the car and assured me that everything was there, although they substituted four smaller boxes of breaded shrimp for the larger , 32 oz. bag, but, he assured me that the four boxes added up to 32 ounces.  I didn't mind that, and I thought it would help with portion control!  

When I came home and unpacked the groceries, I discovered that there had been a couple of other substitutions, as well - a 10 oz. bag of name brand frozen corn instead of the 12 oz. bag of store brand frozen corn (I suppose they were out of the store brand frozen corn) and a larger (18 oz.) packet of ground coffee instead of the 12 oz. packet (at the same price of the smaller packet!).  I will do a separate post on the grocery shopping, but, my total came to $57.42.

Today, I boxed up several years worth of tax files that I had been keeping in my desk drawer and moved them to the garage.  I now have an empty desk drawer!  Most probably it won't stay empty for long!  But, for now, it is empty!

I spent a quiet rest of the evening, watching news, and chatting on the phone with friend R.  My daughter called too - the friend who is giving her and another friend a ride home for Thanksgiving is feeling a bit under the weather; so far, all Covid tests have been negative, but, my daughter was not sure if they will drive down tomorrow or on Sunday, in order to give her friend another day to rest and recover.  She will call me as soon as she finds out.  As my mother used to say, "There's many a slip between cup and lip".  I am hoping that my daughter will be able to come home for Thanksgiving, after all.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Access to medical care, having health insurance, etc.
- Being able to order groceries online and pick up just a couple of hours later
- Libraries 
- M's help with the garden
- Phone calls with family and friends

Today's joyful activity was reading.

Plans for tomorrow include vacuuming, remaking daughter's bed (once I know she's coming down), and maybe a load of laundry.  There's rain in the forecast for tomorrow (we already had some rain, tonight).  

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

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Bed Sheets and Doll Houses on Thursday

New Flannel Bedsheet Set

When my daughter asked me what I wanted for my birthday, my initial response was I didn't need anything.  After further urging on her part, and an offer to buy me the electric jam maker she wanted to buy me last year (which I had declined), I decided ask for a new set of cotton bed sheets because I was down to one set of summer sheets (I had recently relegated the other set, with its threadbare flat sheet, to sofa dust sheets status).  Daughter told me to select the sheet set I wanted and she would order it for me. 

While I looked for the cotton summer sheet set, I saw that there was a clearance sale for a line of cotton flannel sheets, as well.  And I was reminded of the old worn out flannel sheet sheet set that I had patched and mended back in March and April 2019.  The old patches are still holding, but, new tears have developed.  I could mend them, but, I also knew that my daughter would also ask what I'd want for Christmas and I decided that I'll send her a link to a new flannel sheet set, as well, as what I would like to have for Christmas (she'd be able to save on shipping if they were ordered together and, also, the clearance sale might not be in effect closer to Christmas).

When she received my email with links to my "Birthday gift" and "Christmas gift", she laughed.  She said that one set wasn't enough for a gift, so, she was going to order both sets as my birthday gift (plus, she's making me a surprise gift, as well!)

I received the flannel sheet set this week (the cotton summer sheets have not arrived, yet).  Today, I opened the package and checked to see if there were any tears (there weren't, but, I hadn't forgotten the new sheets I bought for my daughter's bed in December 2021 which came with tears and which I mended).  Then, I laundered the new sheets.  

I am planning to turn the old torn and patched sheets into beds for Dancer and for Mama Cat.

It was a mostly sunny day, today, and the temperature was a little warmer.  I walked for a short time (my left knee is giving me some trouble, so I didn't want to make it worse by walking for a longer time), waved hello to neighbor S, picked a few more ripe cherry tomatoes from the garden, did two loads of laundry, did a bit of paperwork, and decluttered a couple of items.

Unfinished Doll House

Sigh.  I bought a wooden doll house kit to make as a gift for my daughter for Christmas, when she was about 3 years old.  I assembled most of it, but, never finished it - there were pieces of trim that had to be glued in place to cover the joints and the window shutters had to be painted and trimmed, and although I assembled the front door, I never attached it.  I think I played more with the doll house, putting it together, than my daughter ever played with it!  I displayed it, in its unfinished state, on the top of the entertainment center in the family room for years.  I kept saying I would finish applying the trim, but, I never did.  I knew I should declutter it, but, I couldn't bring myself to do it.  Until today.  Today, I dusted it off, took down the box with the rest of the pieces of trim, including the door and the set of assembly instructions, attached a note to the box to indicate what it contains, and put them  into a bigger box to be donated.  

Box with Rest of the Pieces and Instructions

Maybe someone will finish it and give it to another child to play with.  At least, that is what I hope will happen.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- A mostly sunny day after Wednesday's rain
- New bed sheets
- Working appliances
- Tomatoes from the garden
- What I was able to accomplish today

Today's joyful activity was listening to music - mostly old Sinhala songs that I grew up listening to.  

Plans for tomorrow (Friday) include going to get some lab tests done in the early afternoon, some housework after that, and M tending to the garden in the evening. 

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

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Rainy Wednesday

Homegrown Butternut Squash

A rainy day, today.  Very gloomy and chilly, too.  It didn't rain until around 11:30 a.m., and just when M pulled into the driveway, it began to pour with rain!  I told him it was too wet to do any gardening, but, the rain eased a bit and he insisted on doing some cleaning up around the garden.  We also harvested the butternut squash; there is more rain in the forecast and I didn't want the squash to rot in the rain.  It measures a little over 7 inches in length and weighs about 2.5 lbs.

About 2.5 lbs.

I don't know if that is the average size of a butternut squash or not, but, considering the fact that I grew it from a 10 year old packet of seeds, I'm thrilled to have it!  Now, according to what I've read, it needs to cure for one week before it is ready to be cooked and eaten.  We will probably have it roasted with our Thanksgiving meal!  I hope it will taste good!  If it does, I might consider getting a new packet of seeds and planting more butternut squash, next year.  

After M left, I went to the library to return one book and borrow another.  Later, after a brunch of leftover rice and curries, I did a little paperwork and filing, dusted the family room, and settled down to read.  I also called former neighbor T to check on her and to thank her (and her daughter) for the birthday card they sent me. 

It's been a chilly day, but, I've been reluctant to switch on the gas heater and have been using the electric space heater, instead.  I think Saturday will be the day when I'll turn the gas heater on, to warm up the house before my daughter comes home.  It will be another cool and rainy day, according to the forecast and she will want the house to be warm.

Today, I am grateful for:

- The rain - always needed and appreciated
- M helping with the garden
- The butternut squash we grew
- A safe drive to the library and back
- The electric space heater and electricity to run it

Today's joyful activity was harvesting the butternut squash!

Plans for tomorrow include tidying the kitchen and sorting out the spare bedroom which has turned into a storage room!

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

Sunny on Tuesday


Make Space for Happiness

It was mostly sunny, today, with some clouds moving in.  There's rain in the forecast for tomorrow!

Yesterday (Monday), I had dusted the living room and dining area.  I was going to dust the family room, today, but, I didn't.  Instead, I brought in the trash cans after they had been emptied, went through this week's grocery ads (it paid to hold off on buying the coffee my daughter likes when it was on sale for $7.99 a package a couple of weeks ago; this week, it's on sale for $5.99 which is my current stock up price), did two loads of laundry, picked a few green beans and one ripe cherry tomato from the garden, watered some of the plants in the front garden with water I had collected in buckets while waiting for the shower water to warm up, etc., had a phone call with one of my cousins and exchanged texts with another, and finished reading this library book, pictured above.

This book examines the acquisition cycles that keep our homes cluttered and identifies seven "emotional clutter magnets" that attract clutter.  These clutter magnets pertain to seven important feelings which are: purpose, love, connection, wisdom, confidence, self-respect, and ease.  Then she goes on to describe how we try to assuage those feelings with  buying things that become clutter and suggests how to fulfill those feelings in ways other than buying things.  

All very good insights and useful, proactive steps to take, but, I found it difficult to connect with this book.  Why?  I think it is because of the author's premise that we are constantly buying things.  I used to buy things - mostly books, decorative items, collectibles, craft supplies, etc. No so much clothes, but, definitely fabric for my various sewing projects.  They were things that I enjoyed having.  I no longer buy a lot of things.  I have stopped buying books, I no longer buy decorative items and collectibles, and I rarely buy craft supplies unless I have a specific project in mind (I bought yarn to knit sweaters a few months ago, after I more or less used up my yarn stash).  My current clutter comes from items I have bought previously or was given over the years, which I have continued to keep.  

Apparently, the author had written a previous book about the seven emotional clutter blocks which prevent us from letting go of our possessions.  I think that is the book I need to read, because that's where I am right now - stuck with being unable to declutter what I have.  I have requested that book, Making Space Clutter Free, from the library and am waiting for it. 

In the meantime, I received an email notification this evening that another library book I had requested has come in.  So, the plan is to go to the library tomorrow to return the book I finished reading today and borrow the new book that's waiting for me. 

Today, I am grateful for:

- Phone call and texts from cousins 
- Weekly trash collection services
- Library books and free library services
- Working appliances
- Video chatting with my daughter

Today's joyful activity was reading.

Brunch was leftover rice and curries; dinner was a tuna salad sandwich (went off the meal plan, a little bit!)

Plans for tomorrow (Wednesday) include M's visit to tend to the garden (if it is not too rainy), a trip to the library, dusting the family room.

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

Monday, November 13, 2023

November Meal Plans - Week 1Review and Week 2 Plan

This was the meal plan plan for November Week 1

Brunches: Scrambled eggs (Monday), salad, boiled mung beans (haven't had that in a long time), waffles, leftovers

Dinners: Turkey soup and salad (Monday); sausages with sauteed vegetables; mackerel beef curry with dhal, moringa curry, chutney, and rice; leftovers, birthday meal compliments of friend S

Snacks: Fruit (apples, pomegranate, dates, canned peaches), popcorn, cheese and crackers, roasted peanuts, roasted almonds, birthday goodies compliments of friend M and neighbor S!

That is the plan.  Let's see how it works out!


Brunch: Scrambled egg
Dinner: Turkey soup and cucumber salad

Brunch: Apple slices, grapes
Dinner: Sausage with green peas and corn

Brunch: Toast and seeni sambol
Dinner: Scrambled egg on toast

Brunch: Toast and seeni sambol
Dinner: Sausage with green beans and tomatoes sauteed, toast

Brunch:  Boiled mung beans and katta sambol
Dinner: Salad, some of the treats for dessert

Brunch: Boiled mung beans and katta sambol
Dinner Rice, beef curry (from the freezer), dhal, tomato chutney; some of the treats for dessert

Brunch: Rice and curries from friend S
Dinner: Leftover rice and curries from friend S; some of the treats for dessert

All in all, it was a good week and I'm very pleased with how the meal planning turned out, with some birthday treats thrown in!

On to this week - November Week 2

Brunches: Scrambled eggs, salads, sauteed chick peas, French toast, Sri Lankan style pancakes, leftovers

Monday: Leftover rice and curries 
Tuesday: Soup and toasted cheese sandwich
Wednesday: Leftover rice and curries
Thursday: Hamburger patties with vegetables
Friday: Leftover hamburger patties with vegetables
Saturday: (Daughter comes home) - Sauteed salmon with rice and vegetables
Sunday: Maybe take out or leftover sauteed salmon!

I am not going to do a meal plan for the week when my daughter will be home; I anticipate we will be getting some take out and there will be a Thanksgiving Meal on Thursday and leftovers from that!  I will try to keep a record of what we ate, but, I am not making any meal plans.

Are you making a meal plan for this week?

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Birthday Weekend Continues

Lunch: Rice and Curries

I had a phone call from my friend S in the early afternoon, asking me if I was at home.  I answered, "Yes", and asked why.  "Oh, we just want to stop by for a minute to drop something off."  She is the friend who makes some of the most delicious Sri Lankan rice and curries and I had a suspicion what the "something" would be.  I quickly picked a bag of fresh curry leaves from the garden to give her.

She, her husband, and their daughter came by a few minutes later, and brought me a homecooked Sri Lankan rice and curry meal - rice, jackfruit curry, mango curry, and salted dry fish fried with onions and tomatoes.  When I thanked her, she brushed aside my thanks, saying it was just half a meal as she couldn't make half the things she had planned to make!  I told her that it was more than enough!

I noticed that my friend's right hand was bandaged up and I asked her what happened.  She was in a fight, she joked, a boxing match.  Apparently, she burned her hand when a pan of hot oil spilled over while she was cooking, last night!  Oh my goodness!  And she still brought me a birthday meal?  She was going to see a burn specialist, tomorrow, she said.  We visited for a few minutes (I had my mask on).  As always, before she left, she told me to let her know if there was anything I needed!  I told her to let me know if there was anything I could do to help her, at least until her hand healed!

It was another sunny day, and it was warmer outside than it was inside the house.  I sat outside at my little patio table to have my morning cup of tea and to say my morning prayers.  

In the afternoon, I read a few more chapters of the library book and chatted for a bit with friend R.  Friend S had taken her a container of food, as well.  

Later, in the early evening, neighbor S called me - she had made some baklava and would I like to have some?  How could I refuse homemade baklava?  

Homemade Baklava for Dessert

I told neighbor S that I will share it with my daughter when she comes home, next week.  She said that's why she gave me four pieces - two for me, two for my daughter.  I put the pieces in a container and put them in the fridge.  

Thank you, everyone, for your lovely birthday wishes.  I appreciate them all.  I know that some people don't like to celebrate their birthdays as they get older, but, I want to celebrate each and every one!  Each birthday is a milestone, I think.  When I was diagnosed with cancer at 59, I was unsure if I would live long enough to see my 60th birthday, later that year!  I think of each birthday since then as a blessing, a gift to treasure, and a bonus. 

Moving forward, I want to make the best of each day I'm privileged to live.  Not quite sure how I'm going to do that, but, I want to have no regrets about each day when I go to sleep.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Friend S and her family bringing me a birthday meal
- Neighbor S bringing me some of her homemade baklava
- An afternoon spent reading
- A warm and sunny day
- Being able to order something online (Dancer's favorite cat food) and have it delivered to the doorstep

Today's joyful activity was having my friends visit me. 

Plans for tomorrow include doing a load of laundry, some tidying and cleaning, and taking the trash cans to the curb for Tuesday morning pick up.

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

Saturday, November 11, 2023


Birthday Treats!

Friend M brought me birthday goodies when he came to tend to the garden, Friday evening: a strawberry slice, a tres leches cake with berries on the top, a chocolate mousse, and a creme brulee.  Needless to say, the birthday celebrations started on the birthday eve!

Today, I've had texts, phone calls, and emails from family and friends, wishing me a happy birthday, and neighbor S stopped by with gifts of a container of wafers, a lavender scented jar candle, and some treats:

More Birthday Treats!

Everyone has been so kind and thoughtful.  

It was a sunny day and quite warm during the afternoon.  I took it easy and relaxed, enjoying my birthday.  I walked for a bit in the early afternoon and then, spent the rest of the day, reading one of the library books I had borrowed. This is a book of fiction and I am only in the first few chapters, but, I am enjoying it.  

M had forgotten the long handled loppers he had used to cut down some of the branches, yesterday, and left it behind, so, he stopped by on his way home to pick them up, apologizing for disturbing me on my birthday.  I told him it was perfectly fine. 

Brunch had been leftover mung beans and I went off the meal plan a little bit and had rice, beef curry, and dhal (lentils) with tomato chutney for dinner.  The beef curry was something I had cooked and frozen, earlier, so all I had to cook today was a pot of rice and the dhal curry.  I have leftovers for tomorrow and probably for Monday, as well!

Today, I am grateful and thankful for:

- Being alive and relatively well to celebrate this day!
- My parents for having me, especially my mother who really wanted me (my father hadn't wanted a child from his second marriage; he thought my mother would ill treat her stepchildren if she had a child of her own)
- Family and friends (including blog friends) who took the time and made the effort to call, send cards, texts, emails, and bring me treats and gifts
- Dancer who woke me up, bright and early, with what I choose to think of as his rendition of Happy Birthday!  LOL
- My many blessings

Today's joyful activity was celebrating turning 68!

No big plans for tomorrow.  Maybe I'll do a craft project or read more of my library book.

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