Sunday, December 31, 2023

New Year's Eve

Fabric Coasters

On the last day of the year, I finished cooking the cashew curry and cooked the garbanzo beans.  The portions for the almsgiving have been taken out and frozen.  It is our custom not to eat any of the food prepared for an almsgiving, until it is served at the almsgiving or a portion has been reserved for the almsgiving.  What is remaining will be for our consumption and both daughter and I served ourselves small bowls of the cashews and the garbanzos for brunch.  

In the afternoon, neighbor S and her two daughters visited us for the season.  They were very considerate of us and wore masks and we wore masks, too.  I thanked them for being so considerate because I know that they don't usually wear masks.  We chatted for a little bit, took a couple of photos to remember the occasion, and exchanged gifts.  I received a set of bath and body products and a pair of warm, fuzzy socks.  My daughter received some make up and hair scrunchies.  We gave S's two daughters a set of bath and body products plus beaded earrings that my daughter made and S received a box of one of her favorite chocolates and the set of coasters.   They all liked the coasters.  

Then, later in the evening, neighbor S and her older daughter brought us New Year's Eve dinner:

New Year's Eve Dinner, Compliments of Neighbor S and Family

A variety of barbecue meats, salad, baked potato slices, a garlic and yogurt dip, and lavash bread.  Gata and walnut candy for dessert.  Plus kufta (a type of meatballs) and blinchik (filled pancakes) in the food storage bags.  I put the kufta and the blinchik in the freezer for later in the week.  Such a wonderful feast!  And such caring, generous neighbors!

It is still New Year's Eve, as I type this, although I know it is already New Year's Day and 2024 in other parts of the world!  Daughter and I will toast the New Year with sparkling cranberry/apple juice, boil milk, and make milkrice at midnight!

On this New Year's Eve, I am grateful for:
- Neighbor S and her family for being such wonderful neighbors and friends
- A New Year's Eve feast
- A warm house
- Being alive to see one year end and a new year begin
- The many blessings I've had this year
Today's joyful activity was having neighbor S and her daughters visit and exchanging gifts with them.

It's been lovely to have all of my blog friends with me as I journeyed through 2023 and I hope you will continue to be with me as we journey into 2024.  I wish all of you a very happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!  May 2024 be a year of blessings for all! 


After the Rain

It rained very early this morning.  Which is a blessing because I don't need to water the garden, today.  There is more rain in the forecast for Wednesday, which is when I am having my almsgiving!  I hope it won't impact the day's activities.  Depending on the amount of rain we get, some of the intersections in my neighborhood get flooded!  Well, we'll deal with it on the day, I suppose. 

The year is winding down.  There's just this weekend and then, it's a new year!  It's time for a review of the year and look forward to the new year, but, currently, I am not thinking further than the first week of the new year!  My focus, right now, is to get all the Christmas and New Year's gifts wrapped up and prepare for the almsgiving!

Today, I labeled the jars of jam and chutney I am giving as gifts to my cousins, put them in gift bags, and made some gift tags to attach to the bags:

Gift Tags

I made four gift tags, in total, although I am showing only two in the photo, above.  The other two are also in the shape of stockings, but, simply cut out from card fronts.  Cousin V has invited us to lunch, next week, and I will take all the gifts for my cousin R (V's sister) and for two of V's children and leave them at V's house, to be handed to them by V.  

I will need to buy more medium size gift bags for next Christmas.  

I also put a one pound bag of dried garbanzo beans to soak and boiled them.  Tomorrow, I will saute them with cut up onions, curry leaves, mustard seeds, green chilies, and a bit of curry powder and freeze them until needed for the almsgiving.  Tonight, I will put a packet of cashews to soak overnight, ready to be cooked, tomorrow.  I am trying to get as much of the cooking done ahead of time, in order not to get too tired on the day of the almsgiving.  

Daughter asked for oatmeal for her brunch and I made that for her (I am not a big fan of oatmeal).  Later, I made myself a sandwich with the last of the cold cuts.  For dinner, I cooked rice and broccoli for daughter to have with chicken curry and I finished the leftover turkey cottage pie.  I'm trying to make room in the fridge for the almsgiving food, but, I'm not having much success!

I also did a couple of loads of laundry which need to be put away, still.

Today, I am grateful for:
- This morning's rain
- Working appliances
- A warm house
- The summer produce from the garden, made into jam and chutney!
- Time spent crafting gift tags

Today's joyful activity was making the gift tags!

Plans for tomorrow include having a visit from neighbor S and her daughters and exchanging gifts with them.  Plus cooking some of the almsgiving food.

How was your Saturday?  What are your plans for Sunday and New Year's Eve?

Saturday, December 30, 2023


Holiday Card

On Friday, I called the monks at the temple to confirm that the almsgiving will be held on January 3.  Later, I did a load of laundry (daughter's bedding) and ran the cleaning cycle on the washing machine. 

In the afternoon, daughter and I visited friend R to exchange Christmas gifts with her.  It was a masked, curbside visit.  Covid numbers in my area have doubled since the beginning of November and I am taking as many precautions as I can!  We also took her a portion of the turkey cottage pie and roasted vegetables, plus some peanut butter cookies.

After we came home, we had tea and I made four more cards to mail.  I have three more cards I need to make!  Next year, I'm just going to buy a box of cards!  LOL!

The good news of the day is, I received the results from the mammogram and it said that no cancer was detected!  I am very thankful for that!

We had the last of the fish patties from the Sri Lankan restaurant and zucchini bread for brunch; dinner was some of the leftover turkey cottage pie and roasted vegetables.

On Friday, I was grateful for:

- Normal mammogram results!
- Working appliances
- Being able to sleep in
- A safe drive to friend R's and back
- Leftovers!

Today's joyful activity was visiting friend R.

Plans for Saturday include doing another load of laundry, making the last few cards, and maybe watering the garden if it doesn't rain (forecast calls for rain).

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

Friday, December 29, 2023

Tree Trimmers and Daughter's Friends on Thursday

Winter Flower Arrangement

I was woken up fairly early (by my standards) by a knock on the door, this morning.  The tree trimmers from the Department of Water and Power (my local utility company) had arrived to trim the pine tree in my backyard as it was beginning to reach the power lines and they needed access to the backyard.  There had been no advance notice that they would arrive today!  But, they trim the trees near powerlines, which can be a fire hazard, free of charge, so I didn't mind the fact that they arrived without prior notice.  I quickly unlocked the gate and they trimmed the tree and removed all the branches they had cut down.  They were done in less than 20 minutes!  

After they left, I locked the gate, again, and checked the area under the pine tree.  They had picked up and removed all the pine branches, but, a small sprig of a branch had been left on the ground.  I picked it up and the last of the chrysanthemums and put together a winter flower arrangement.  At first, I had the pine needles pointing the other way, but, then, I couldn't insert the chrysanthemum stems!  So, we have the pine needles pretending to be a spray of green tea coming out of the tea pot!

I spent a relaxed morning, catching up on some blogs.  Later, I made another couple of cards to mail.  Then, I did some tidying and dusting in preparation for daughter's friends arriving for their holiday get together while daughter baked the cottage pie and roasted the vegetables.  I cleared the table in the family room of all my cardmaking stuff, but, I might pull it all out, again, tomorrow, because I still have a few more cards to make before the new year!  

I retreated to my bedroom just before my daughter's friends arrived and Dancer came into the room, too, because he usually hides when people come!  Daughter's friends arrived around 6:00 p.m. and they were all here until about 9:30 p.m.  After most of them left, one friend stayed behind to help daughter clean up and put away the leftovers, etc.  

Daughter took a photo of the meal:

Daughter's Holiday Get Together Meal

Cottage pie and roasted vegetables, peanut butter cookies, zucchini bread, and chocolate chip cookies that one of her friends made (in the round container).

Today, I am grateful for: 

- The DWP tree trimmers trimmed the pine tree, free of charge
- Being able to order stuff (cat litter, cat food, fertilizer pellets for the garden, etc.) online 
- Free delivery of the above stuff we ordered
- Being stocked up on cat litter and cat food
- Daughter being able to get together with her friends

Today's joyful activity was listening to the sounds of my daughter and her friends talking and laughing. 

Plans for tomorrow include finalizing the plans for next week's almsgiving.  I have a tentative menu and I've started making a grocery list.  I'm not sure if the grocery store will be closed on Monday, New Year's Day (although the website doesn't say anything about the store being closed), but, I think I might do the pick up on New Year's Eve or on Tuesday, January 2nd.  The almsgiving is scheduled for the 3rd.  

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

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Shopping on Wednesday

Holiday Greeting Cards

One of the holiday greeting cards I made to send, this year.  I just freehand drew a pair of mittens and cut them out with a pair of scissors and, as you can see from the photo, I didn't make a clean cut!  But, I'm happy with how it turned out.  

Today, I did a quick sewing project in the morning and tidied one shelf in the one of the kitchen cabinets (I can assure you that I am well stocked up on pasta!)

Then, in the afternoon, daughter and I went to the Sri Lankan grocery store to buy some ingredients we needed to make the semolina cake we call Love Cake and to buy a few items I needed for the almsgiving.  Of course, we also bought lots of snacks and treats!  They didn't have the tea I wanted, but, I do have a stock of tea and I'll check with the store again, before I come to the end of my current stock.  If not, it is available to be purchased online for double the cost! 

We also went to the Sri Lankan restaurant and picked up some food to go - a stringhoppers (a type of rice noodles) and curries meal (my favorite) and some fish patties (daughter's favorite).

After we had lunch and rested a bit, we decided to try out my new robotic vacuum cleaner which was a Christmas gift from my daughter.  We had put it to charge, last night, and daughter set it up so it can be activated by my phone. Today, it vacuumed most of the rooms in the house.  It is not the most efficient of vacuum cleaners in the sense that it doesn't go up and down the room, methodically cleaning the floor; instead, it will go over a certain area several times and miss other spots altogether.  But, it will vacuum by itself, without me having to do anything, other than start and stop it (and empty the container of the vacuumed up dirt).  I think I will be vacuuming on a more consistent and frequent basis from now on!

Later in the evening, my daughter started preparing the food for a dinner she is hosting for a group of her friends, tomorrow.  One of them has dietary restrictions due to health reasons, so, daughter needed to come up with a menu that was dairy and seed oil free and not spicy, using items we have on hand.  She decided on a cottage pie using ground turkey (because I didn't have any ground beef in the freezer), with a topping of mashed potatoes made with chicken broth instead of butter and milk, and a side dish of roasted vegetables.  She prepped everything tonight so that all she has to do tomorrow is assemble the cottage pie and put the vegetables to roast.  

We are now relaxing.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Having a Sri Lankan restaurant within easy driving distance
- Having a Sri Lankan grocery store within easy driving distance, too
- Being able to indulge in some of our favorite snacks and treats
- A safe drive to the store and restaurant and back
- My new robotic vacuum cleaner

Today's joyful activities included going to the Sri Lankan store and restaurant.

Plans for tomorrow include tidying up the house a bit before daughter's friends arrive and making a few more cards.

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

Fun with Christmas Gifts

Baymax Santas?

My daughter made a set of round coasters based on the movie character Baymax, using punch needle embroidery.  She had glued on a felt backing to the coasters and had left them on the dining table for the glue to dry.  I saw them and decided to have a bit of fun with them, and placed them on my Santa place mats.

Baymax Variation

And Baymax in his armor:

Baymax in Armor

She gifted them to one of her friends as a Christmas gift, yesterday.  

I made a set of coasters, too, using pre-printed fabric I had in my stash, but, I haven't gifted them yet.  I don't think my friend checks my blog, but, just in case she (or her daughter) does, I won't post a picture of them, yet.  

Today, I took care of some bill paying in the morning (homeowner's and earthquake insurance), did the embroidery details on the coasters I made, and did several loads of laundry.  I've been experiencing some acid indigestion issues the past couple of days (too much of spicier than usual food, I think) so, I had some bread rolls with cold cuts for brunch and a baked potato for dinner.  Daughter had bread rolls with cold cuts for her brunch and leftovers (sausage, cauliflower, etc.), for her dinner. 

She also baked a batch of peanut butter cookies and a loaf of zucchini bread in preparation for a holiday dinner she's hosting on Thursday for a group of her friends from middle school and high school days.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Time spent with my daughter
- Being able to pay my bills
- Working appliances
- Cards from friends and family
- Antacid tablets!

Today's joyful activity was making Christmas gifts.

Plans for tomorrow include maybe going to the Sri Lankan store to buy some of my favorite tea if they have any, some ingredients for the semolina cake (Love Cake) that we make at this time of the year, and a few items for the almsgiving.  

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

Monday, December 25, 2023

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas

A joyful Christmas to all my blog friends. 

My daughter and I had a relaxed day, today.  It was sunny and the afternoon high was in the mid 60s.  Very pleasant weather.  We weren't going anywhere or doing anything special, but, we spent a lovely day.

My friend S surprised me with lunch: 

Christmas Lunch from Friend S

She brought us yellow rice, a meat curry (not quite sure what kind of meat - pork, perhaps, or maybe mutton), cashew curry, two fish cutlets (the round balls - mashed fish mixed with potato and spices, breaded, and deep fried), eggplant curry (with the green chili on top), and Sri Lankan mixed pickles (with carrots, shallots, dates, and green papaya).  There were pappadums as well (fried lentil wafers). Daughter and I enjoyed our lunch.  We had the leftovers for dinner!  

Later in the afternoon, one of daughter's friends dropped off Christmas gifts as well as a big box of "imperfect produce" that another friend had shared - there were three spaghetti squashes, three zucchini, a cauliflower, several green bell peppers, two Napa cabbages, three eggplants, a 2 lb. package of green split peas, and a small package of pinto beans!  The fridge is full, because I had picked up groceries on Saturday and had bought a bunch of produce, then, too!  The imperfect produce seemed mostly perfect to me.  One zucchini had a soft spot, so I cut that part off, grated the rest of the zucchini and froze it to make zucchini bread, later.  The cauliflower needed to have some spots cut off and cooked right away.  I sauteed it with curry leaves, mustard seeds, turmeric, and salt.  I would have added a green chili or two, as well, but, my friend's food was spicy enough and I thought the cauliflower would be fine without chilies (and it was!)

I will deal with the rest of the produce, tomorrow!

I called a few family members and friends to wish them for Christmas and wrapped a few more gifts.  One of my cousins shared a video of her grandsons opening the gifts we sent them; they were so excited and happy!  That is what giving gifts is all about, isn't it?  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Spending Christmas at home with my daughter
- Friends bringing Christmas lunch (and dinner)
- Friends sharing their slightly "imperfect" produce
- Phone calls with family and friends
- My cousin sharing the video of her grandsons' opening their gifts from us

Today's joyful activity was celebrating Christmas!

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

The Garden in December

Front Garden in December

Time to post the last garden update of the year!  I waited until the rain was over and the clouds cleared to take the pictures and after four days of rain, the garden is looking very green!

The Succulents Border

The succulents are much refreshed by the rain and the jade plants are flowering.

Flowers on the Jade Plant

The aloe plants are sending up their flower stalks.  The buds are tightly closed right now, but, they will start opening up in mid-February or so.

Flower Buds on the Aloe Plants

The succulents circle with the jacaranda seedling in the middle - I seem to have captured a sun beam!

Succulents and Jacaranda

The rosemary plant in the front garden is thriving:

The Rosemary Plant 

Going to the back garden:

The Back Garden

The back garden is getting ready for winter!  The vegetable patch that used to be in the foreground, where the butternut squash and the cherry tomatoes grew has been cleared and several of the fruit trees have been pruned:

Peach Tree

You can see how, when the top of the peach tree broke off a couple of years ago, the side branches sent up some of their branches to make up for that!

Plum Tree (foreground) and Nectarine Tree
(behind, to the left)

The avocado tree (grown from seed) is doing well and the nights have not been cold enough to affect its leaves:

Avocado Tree
I wonder if it will ever set fruit?  I've read that some avocado trees won't produce fruit if they are grown from seed.  

The loquat plants that neighbor S gave me were also grown from seed and they are doing well:

Loquat Plant 1

Loquat plant 1 is being grown in the shadier part of the garden and seems to be thriving.  Loquat plant 2, in a sunnier spot, is not thriving as much, but, it is still alive:

Loquat Plant 2

The orange tree is growing well and we've already picked and eaten some oranges:

Orange Tree

I don't have many flowers in the back garden, but, the crocosmia plants are coming up and will start to flower in the early spring:

Crocosmia Plants

The starts in the December garden are the lemon trees:

Ripening Lemons

I have three established lemon trees and one seedling (a sucker from the root of one of the other trees that I am allowing to grow).  I had M prune one of the lemon trees all the way down and it is growing back, but, there are no lemons on it, this year.  The other two trees are full of lemons, although M is a little concerned about the yellowing of the leaves.  We have ordered some fertilizer that is meant for citrus trees and hopefully, that will take care of the yellowing of the leaves.

Lemons and Yellow Leaves

I hope you enjoyed the visit to my December garden!

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Showery Friday

Santa Placemat

These are placemats I sewed out of preprinted fabric panels, back in the 1990s. The mittens are pockets to hold napkins and cutlery.  I made several sets and gave some as gifts and I kept a set of four for my own use.  

Today, it continued to rain on and off, with periods of sunshine in between rain showers.  The rain stopped in the evening and Saturday's forecast says there will be sunshine.

The last of the gifts I ordered were delivered today and I wrapped a few gifts and made a few cards.  I am rather behind with my cardmaking, this year.  I always say I will start early, but, then, I procrastinate!  

Wrapped Gifts

In addition to cardmaking and gift wrapping, I did a load of laundry, ordered some groceries to be picked up on Saturday afternoon, and did a little bit of house cleaning.  

M was here in the evening to tend to the garden.  He brought us a Pink Lemonade blueberry plant as a gift!  We potted it up and made room for it next to the other blueberry bushes.  We gave him his gifts and he said he will open them up on Monday.  I hope he will like the hat!

We had assorted leftovers for our meals, today.  We had leftover hot dogs for brunch and daughter had rice with chicken curry, green beans, and peach chutney for dinner; I had a cold cuts sandwich because I was not very hungry.  Neighbor S sent over some gata (Armenian cookies) and baklava!  I had a piece of baklava, but, kept the gata for my daughter.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- The rain we've received
- M tending to the garden
- The gift of a pink lemonade blueberry plant
- S sharing some treats with us
- Being able to order groceries online

Today's joyful activity was wrapping gifts and making cards.

"All these holiday preparations are exhausting!"

Plans for Saturday include picking up the groceries and more gift wrapping and card making.  

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

Friday, December 22, 2023

Another Rainy Day on Thursday

Knit Hat

It has poured with rain all day, today!  We are having another 'atmospheric river' flowing through our region, apparently!  I heard on the news that some areas have received over 5 inches of rain - that is more rain than we had all year not that long ago!  In 2020-2021, for example (our rain "year" is from July 1 to June 30), we had 4.85 inches of rain, total.  The average annual rain fall is 15 inches.  

Daughter and I had a very relaxed day, today.  I finished knitting a hat to be given as a Christmas gift.  Gardener friend M lost his knitted hat a couple of weeks ago and he had asked me to look around my garden to see if I could find it, but, it wasn't in my yard.  He might have lost it in a different yard, too, but, the last time I asked him, he hadn't found it.  So, I thought I should knit him a hat.  I considered adding a bobble to the top, but, decided against it.  

We had hot dogs for brunch, today and for dinner, I cooked a chicken curry and green beans, while daughter put the rice to boil.  Fresh pineapple for dessert, afterwards.

Today, I am grateful for:

- More rain for the garden
- A snug roof!
- A warm house
- Working appliances
- Spending a relaxed day at home

Today's joyful activity was knitting. 

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

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Rainy Wednesday

Holiday Scarves

The two scarves I knitted are done (unless I decide to embroider some snowflakes on them - still debating on that).  They are both knit very simply with garter stitch (knit on both sides).  I cast on 25 stitches with medium  weight, worsted acrylic yarn (Red Heart brand) and US #7 needles.  US #8 needles are the size recommended for this weight of yarn, but, I seem to have misplaced one of my US#8 needles (still have the pair of UK #8 needles), so used the #7 needles, instead.  The red yarn was leftover from when I used to knit red hats for newborn babies for the American Heart Association (they stopped asking for hats a few years back).  The blue yarn and the white yarn were leftover from when I crocheted a baby blanket for my cousin's grandson.  I had added the yarn to my daughter's stash, but, took them back for this project!  The scarves are going to two sisters, so, the same pattern, but, different colors!

It rained very heavily during the night and has rained on and off all day, today.  M was able to fertilize some of the fruit trees during his visit (the rain had ceased for a bit when he arrived, but, then, it began to drizzle while he was here; then, it rained quite heavily shortly after he left). He brought me two small bunches of variegated azaleas from his garden. 

Today, I decorated the Christmas tree:

Christmas Tree 2023

My daughter was sleeping off a migraine headache most of the day, but, she placed the tree topper after she woke up and felt better.

We had leftover French toast and bacon for brunch.  For dinner, I cooked a spicy "devilled beef" - thinly sliced beef sauteed with onions and tomatoes, etc., with plenty of chili powder and other spices.  Daughter cooked the rice to go with it.  

I am also cooking another beef smore (which is like a pot roast of beef cooked with lots of spices in coconut milk).  

I am also marinating the chicken I bought on Saturday to make a chicken curry.  I might leave it to marinate overnight and cook it tomorrow.  I didn't make a meal plan this week, but, those will be our main meals this week and there will be leftovers, as well.  

My daughter is playing the piano as I type this - the piano is very out of tune, but, getting it tuned will have to wait until the new year!  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Rain for the garden
- M was still able to tend to the garden 
- Daughter's headache is better
- Daughter playing the piano and filling the house with some lovely music
- Getting some batch cooking done

Today's joyful activity was decorating the Christmas tree.

Plans for tomorrow include some more knitting!

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

Rain on Tuesday

Holiday Treats!

One of my nieces sent us a gift of an assortment of holiday treats!  The tin looks like a peppermint!  

We had some rain, today!  One shower of rain in the morning and one later in the evening.  In between, it was cloudy and a bit drizzly from time to time.  There is more rain in the forecast for Wednesday.  The garden needs the rain, so, I am happy.

Today, I brought in the trash cans from the curb, cleaned my bathroom, did a load of laundry, ran the dishwasher, and knitted (I might have a picture of what I knitted to post, tomorrow!)  My daughter made more bead earrings as her Christmas gifts to her friends.  My daughter and I also did a little bit of shopping in the afternoon, going into one store that was not at all crowded. 

We had leftover salmon, rice, green beans, and peach chutney for brunch and leftover pizza for dinner.  We also picked the first two oranges of the season from the tree and enjoyed them after brunch.  

I've a few lovely bruises from Monday's fall, and still a bit achy, but, otherwise, I'm OK.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- The rain for the garden
- A safe drive to the store and back
- Good customer service at the store
- Weekly trash collection services
- Working appliances

Today's joyful activity was knitting.

Plans for Wednesday include decorating the tree, maybe setting up the winter village, and M tending to the garden if it doesn't rain too hard!  I need to do some cooking, too and cleaning the kitchen floor.

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

Monday, December 18, 2023

Cloudy Monday

View from the Cemetery

It was cloudy on Monday; we are supposed to get some rain over the next few days.  

I spent the morning knitting and then, it was time to go to my neighbor E's funeral.  I got to the cemetery in good time and followed the cortege to where the burial was to take place.  I parked the car, crossed the road, and was walking towards the rest of the group and didn't realize that the road was uneven due to tree roots lifting up the asphalt.  I tripped and fell!  Fortunately, several people helped me up and they were very kind, asking me if I was OK.  I was unhurt, just a bit winded from the fall.  

The grave side service was in both Spanish and English.  We were all given flowers to put into the grave and I waited until the casket was lowered into the grave and I had dropped in my flowers and condoled with the family.  Then, I left. 

The funeral was at the same cemetery where my mother's remains are interred, so, I drove over to that section of the cemetery and visited my mother's grave site, very briefly.  I was sad to see that her gravestone was all scratched - the grounds keepers drive their mowers over the gravestones when they mow the grass and I'm sure that's how the gravestone got scratched:

My Mother's Scratched Gravestone

The design was a heart with roses on either side.  Maybe I'll speak to someone in the mortuary office and ask what can be done; most probably, they'll tell me I'll need to get a new gravestone.  

After I came home, I made French toast and bacon for brunch and I finished knitting the scarf I was making.  Then, I started on a second scarf (they are for two sisters).  My body was starting to hurt from the fall, so I took a couple of Tylenols and that helped.  

For dinner, I was going to cook a chicken curry, but, instead, I splurged and ordered a pizza and breadsticks to be delivered!  Daughter and I enjoyed our dinner and there are leftovers for later.  I will cook the chicken curry, tomorrow.  

Later in the evening, I chatted with friend R and I took the trash cans to the curb.

Today, I am grateful for:
- I didn't hurt myself when I fell (I have osteopenia, so falls can be a bit hazardous to my bones!)
- The kindness of the people who helped me up after the fall
- I was able to attend E's funeral and visit my mother's grave site as well
- A safe drive to the cemetery and back
- Phone calls and emails from friends

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

Plans for tomorrow include decorating the Christmas tree and cooking the chicken curry I didn't cook today!

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

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Home for the Holidays!

Dancer Finds a Comfy Spot

Today, my daughter came home for the holidays!  She was all stressed about flying down and exposing me to any germs she might bring home from the crowds at the airport and on the plane, although she wore a mask the entire time, but, she flew down this afternoon.

I spent the morning doing a little more tidying (dusted the family room and cleared the table) and making her bed with the sheets I washed yesterday.  Then, it was time to drive to the airport to pick her up.

After we came home, we had croissant sandwiches for brunch and she took a nap while I replied to blog comments.  We've spent the evening relaxing.  For dinner, I cooked salmon sauteed with home grown onions and tomatoes, rice, and sauteed green beans.  We had some of my peach chutney with the dinner.  Fresh pomegranate for dessert.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Daughter is home for the holidays
- She had a safe flight down
- A safe drive to the airport and back
- I was able to get the house tidied 
-  A working heater and a warm house

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

Plans for tomorrow include attending my long time neighbor E's funeral in the early afternoon.

"Hi, Blog Friends!"

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

Productive Saturday

Dancer - Always willing to pose for a photo!

Saturday was a lovely sunny and warm day with an afternoon high of 80F!  We have rain and cooler temperatures in the forecast for next week, but, the weekend is beautiful.

I put in an order for groceries before I went to bed, last night, and picked up the items this afternoon.  The store was out of the 'brown and serve' bread rolls I wanted, but, everything else was there.  I bought milk, half and half, bread, mini croissants, hot dog buns, two kinds of cold cuts, two 12 oz. packages of bacon, a beef roast (a splurge at $6.99/lb., and that was the sale price!), a piece of salmon (another splurge at $9.99/lb.), a family pack of chicken thighs (for a curry), cranberry juice, a pineapple, bananas, two pomegranates, green beans, a packet of hot cocoa mix, more whipped topping, and 18 eggs.  My total came to almost $94.00, which is almost all of my grocery budget for December, but, there's $18.72 carried over from the November grocery budget, too, and my daughter is coming home for three weeks!

I did a quick clean of the fridge as I put the new groceries in, wiping down the main shelves, etc.  

I also did three loads of laundry, including the bed sheets from my daughter's bed and one of her quilts.  Dancer helped:

Do you see him?

"Here I am!"

Then, I started decorating the house and vacuumed the family room.  After that, I ran short of energy and I watched TV and knitted.  Later, after I had rested for some time, I did the dishes, wiped the top of the stove, the kitchen counters, and cleaned the microwave.  I also hand washed one of my knitted wool sweaters and a pair of wool socks.  They have been spread on towels to dry.

I had a cold cuts sandwich and half an apple for brunch and dinner was the last piece of sauteed chicken with vegetables and leftover mashed potatoes.  I had the other half of the apple after dinner. 

On Saturday, I was grateful for:

- Being able to order groceries online and curbside pick up
- A safe drive to the grocery store and back
- Working appliances
- Dancer's help!
- What I was able to accomplish!

Saturday's joyful activity was starting on decorating the house.  

How is your weekend coming along?  

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Friday's Happenings

Japanese Green Dragon Apple

M brought me a new variety of apple to try - it's called Green Dragon and is reputed to have been developed in Japan in 1920.  It looked a bit like a Golden Delicious apple, to me (and, apparently, it is a cross between a Golden Delicious and another variety).   I thought it had a very pleasant, mild taste.

On Friday, I had my mammogram and ultrasound.  My appointment was for 1:00 p.m., but, I was required to be at the clinic by 12:45 p.m.  I got there on time and there wasn't a long wait for the mammogram, but, there was a bit of a wait for the ultrasound.  Even so, I was home by 3:00 p.m.  I will be notified of the results by mail, just a general letter; the more detailed report will be sent to my oncologist and I will find out the details during my February appointment (unless the letter indicates something is not quite right, in which case, I will probably call the oncologist to find out what is going on).  

After I came home, I had a slice of toast with cream cheese and peach jam for brunch.  Dinner was some of the sauteed chicken and vegetables.

I was reading through the comments on Thursday's post when M arrived to tend to the garden.  But, first, I asked him to bring in the Christmas tree (it is an artificial tree, although it sheds its "needles" like a real one!)  Setting up the tree in the family room requires one of the sofas to be moved, from their usual L-shaped arrangement to facing each other with the coffee table between them.  I like this arrangement, too, but, with the bigger folding table acting as a dining table, the family room now has three large pieces of furniture parallel to each other, like a Roman numeral I I I !  The room feels a bit overcrowded!

I was going to knit on the scarf in the evening; instead, I replied to blog comments, caught up on some blog reading and commenting, chatted with my daughter, and ordered groceries to be picked up on Saturday.  I guess I will knit, tomorrow.

On Friday, I was grateful for:
- A warm, sunny day (afternoon high of 77F)
- A safe drive to the clinic and back
- Access to health care and screening/diagnostic exams
- Health insurance
- M's help with the garden and other tasks

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

Plans for Saturday include picking up groceries, doing laundry, decorating the house, and knitting!

What are your plans for the weekend?

Friday, December 15, 2023



Cherry Tomatoes

Finally, we have a photo to go with the post about Thursday!  Yay!  I picked the last of the cherry tomatoes grown from the 10 year seeds!  Most of them are still green, but, the plants were looking half dead and I thought it was better to pick the fruit and compost the plants.  Maybe some of the unripe ones will ripen.  If not, I can make a version of salsa verde with the green tomatoes, instead of the traditional tomatillos.  Or, I could make a green tomato curry.

I woke up this morning to the sound of a chainsaw and a leaf blower!  New neighbor E and his crew were cutting down the big bottlebrush tree that was growing in his front yard.  There used to be a branch over hanging my driveway and the person with the leaf blower was blowing leaves that had fallen onto my driveway.  Then, he very kindly blew off all the leaves that had fallen on my parkway (some of which were from my eucalyptus tree) and the curb in front, as well!  My own bottlebrush tree grew from a seed from this tree and I have another seedling growing in pot, as well.  

I unraveled the scarf I was knitting and made it narrower (25 stitches instead of 35). Then, I spent most of the day reknitting the scarf! It is looking better and I think I will have enough yarn now.  If not, I'll knit a snowman face at one end!  Fortunately, my hands are not cramping, this time, and I am able to knit for longer stretches at a time.  I took a break to pick the tomatoes and uproot the tomato plants, to water some of the plants with water I had collected in buckets, for meals, to text with my cousin V (she replied to my text asking her what her grandsons are into these days), and to order the final gifts I needed to order.  I've completed my gift shopping and I've managed to stay under budget.  I just need to finish the gifts I am making.    

On Thursday, I was grateful for:

- Neighbor E's crew cleared leaves off my parkway and in front of the curb, as well
- The tomato harvest
- Being able to knit
- Daughter helping me with ordering the last of the gifts
- Hot water on tap!

Today's joyful activities included knitting and harvesting the last of the tomatoes.

Plans for Friday include going for my mammogram screening and having M bring in the artificial Christmas tree and set it up (which means I need to rearrange the family room to accommodate the tree!)

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

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Still Photo-less on Wednesday!

There's nothing that interesting to photograph, right now! 

It was a relatively quiet day.  I woke up feeling a bit light-headed due to stuffed up sinuses and I decided to take it easy.  I did walk for 15 minutes in the morning, so that was something.

M was here, today, to tend to the garden.  He didn't see anything on the roof, so, I'm not going to worry about it.  He pruned the peach tree, spot watered the garden, and brought in the bin with the Winter Village items from the garage so I can set it up.  

I spent a good portion of the day knitting on the scarf.  I am running short of the red yarn!  I am not sure if I should use the other red yarn that's in the stash (a different brand), buy more of the same brand of red yarn, or try something different!  Maybe I should have made the scarf a little narrower, But, that would mean unpicking the whole thing and redoing it.

Anyway, I got most of the rest of the gifts ordered, today, again with my daughter's help.  I'm just waiting to hear from my cousin about gift ideas for her grandsons.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Feeling better as the day wore on
- A working heater
- M's help with the garden, etc.
- Daughter's help with ordering the gifts
- Online shopping and delivery!

Today's joyful activity was knitting!

Plans for tomorrow include deciding what I want to do about the scarf and setting up the Winter Village.

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

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Photo-less Tuesday!

I'm sorry, but, I don't have any new pictures to post, today!  Some bloggers do a Wordless Wednesday; I'm doing a Photo-less Tuesday!

I woke up at 9:00 a.m., on Tuesday (after going to sleep around 4:00 a.m.), switched on the gas heater, turned the porch lights off, fed the cats, etc., and...went back to sleep!  When I woke up for the second time, it was almost 11:00 a.m.  But, I managed to get 7 hours of sleep and I guess I need that amount of sleep.

I fed Dancer again (he was carrying on as if he was starving!), had my morning cup of tea, said my morning prayers, brought in the emptied trash bins, walked for 15 minutes, did the housework I had planned on doing, replied to blog comments, and made pancakes for brunch (had them with leftover bacon). 

Then, I settled down to watch some videos and started knitting a scarf to give as a Christmas present.  As usual, there were a couple of false starts while I decided how wide to make it, if I wanted to do a basket weave pattern or not, and so forth.  In the end, I decided on a plain garter stitch.  I'll take a picture of it when I am done.  I'm dipping into my daughter's yarn stash (with her permission) to make this scarf (and the next one that I need to make), since I used up most of my stash (other than the yarn I bought to knit us sweaters).  

In the evening, there was a knock at my door and it was neighbor B, coming to inform me of the funeral arrangements for her husband E (not my new neighbor E!).  She wanted my cell phone number to send me a picture of the leaflet they had prepared with the details; the viewing will be on Sunday and the funeral will be on Monday.  E had been another very helpful neighbor over the years.  

Later, I watched news and some TV programs while knitting and then, I read some blogs and commented.  I'm a bit behind with my blog reading and commenting, but, I'll catch up, soon!  

Dinner was leftovers from Monday's meal.  I still have enough leftovers for another meal, but, need to make more gravy!  

After dinner, I video chatted with my daughter and she helped me choose and order a few gifts for some of the people on my gift list.  I need to text my cousin V to find out what her grandsons are interested in, these days, to get their gifts!  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Being able to sleep in!
- Weekly trash collection services
- My daughter sharing her yarn stash with me
- Being able to shop for gifts online (and daughter helping me with that)
- Being able to knit

Today's joyful activity was knitting.

Plans for Wednesday include more housework, tending to the garden with M (I'll have to pick all the green cherry tomatoes, I think, and compost the plants as they are starting to look more dead than alive!), and continuing to knit!  I hope I can finish the scarf!  

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

Tuesday, December 12, 2023


Monday's Dinner

Tammy from Dancer's pharmacy called me in the morning to let me know that the new prescription will be ready for pick up after 2:00 p.m. She said that the vet had authorized a 60 days of medications and asked if I wanted a 60 days supply or a 30 days supply.  I opted to go with the 30 days supply, just in case there was another change in the dosage at the next vet visit.  

I made my weekly meal plan in the morning and took out a couple of items from the freezer to cook for the week.  I also did a quick clean out of one of the fridge drawers - my carrots, a half a head of lettuce, and a cucumber had frozen in there!  I kept the carrots, but, composted the cucumber and the lettuce.  I also realized that I had a lot of apples!  I might have to make an apple pie!  Or, at least, some applesauce!

In the afternoon, I went to pick up the medication.  The pharmacy had complimentary calendars in two designs ("Harvest" with pictures of fruits and vegetables, and "Puppies"; I was told to help myself to one of each, so I did!  I had considered buying myself a doughnut from the doughnut shop next to the pharmacy, but, my visit to the pharmacy coincided with the ending of the school day and the doughnut shop was full of high school students buying snacks.  I decided that I didn't need a doughnut, today, and came home.  

After I got home, I decided that I should get my walk in before it got too cold and dark.  It turned out to be a very social walk because I met two of my neighbors.  One neighbor lives about three houses down from me.  She used to go walking with my cousin P, when P lived across the street, so she and her sister-in-law who was also with her, asked about cousin P and we chatted for a few minutes before they continued on their walk.

I continued to walk for a few more minutes and then, I met my new neighbor E, who has bought former neighbor T's house!  I had seen his car a few times and I had seen him around a couple of times, but, I wasn't sure.  Today, he parked his car near my drive way and when he got down, I greeted him and asked him if he was the new neighbor and he said yes and introduced himself.  Apparently, he is a contractor, himself, and that's his crew working on the house!  He also has a wife and three children, but, I haven't met them, yet.  He expressed some concern about the bottle brush tree that is growing in front of what is now his house -it is growing too close to the corner of the house and has already caused some damage to the foundation!  He said he wanted to trim it or cut it down; I mentioned that I was having the tree trimmers coming to trim my eucalyptus tree and offered to give him the contact information.  He also told me to let him know if I have any work done on my house, he'll be happy to help me.  I will keep that in mind!  We all know that there's a ton of work I need to do around the house!  

After I finished my walk, I put the trash bins out to be collected in the morning.

Once I had come inside, I realized that I had not eaten anything yet!  I had a cup of tea in the morning and I was thinking I'll buy a doughnut for brunch, but, I didn't do that and I had been busy walking and socializing after I came home!  I decided to make dinner at once and have an early meal.  I made mashed potatoes, cooked the sausages I had kept to thaw, and boiled some vegetables (just carrots and snowpeas; no broccoli).  I also made some gravy to go with the mashed potatoes.  I had some diluted cranberry juice with my meal and, afterwards, I had grapes and some dates.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Dancer's medications
- The car started, even though I hadn't driven or, even started it, for a week
- A safe drive to the pharmacy and back
- Complimentary calendars from the pharmacy!
- Being able to order gifts online!

Today's joyful activity was meeting and chatting with neighbors!

Plans for tomorrow include all the cleaning I didn't do today, scheduling more appointments, and starting on some holiday gifts.

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

Monday, December 11, 2023

December Meal Planning - Week 2

I guess this is Week 2 (December 11 - 17)?  I didn't do a Week 1, though.  Which worked out well enough, but, it became very obvious to me that I do better when I have a meal plan of sorts because then, I remember to take things out of the freezer in time to thaw!  

So, here's this week's meal plan, based mainly on what I have in the freezer and pantry as I haven't gone grocery shopping since before Thanksgiving: 

Brunches: Pancakes and bacon (bacon leftover from Sunday's brunch of scrambled egg, bacon, and hash browns); Uppuma (Indian style cream of wheat); toast and cream cheese; scrambled egg and hash browns with or without sausage; sauteed garbanzo beans; doughnuts(?), leftovers

- Sausages (from the freezer), mashed potato, and vegetables (carrots, snowpeas, broccoli), gravy
- Sauteed chicken (from the freezer) with baked potato wedges and vegetables
- Mackerel curry, moringa curry, dhal (lentils) served with rice and tomato chutney
- Leftovers, as each of the planned dinners will result in leftovers

Snacks: Fruit, nuts, cranberry swirls, leftover cornbread from Thanksgiving, plus cream crackers, Lemon Puffs biscuits(cookies), and murukku (a spicy fried snack) all from the Sri Lankan store!

That is the plan.  How it works out is anyone's guess!  However, I have taken out a package of sauteed chicken thighs (3 pieces, I believe) and a package of mild Italian sausages (5 sausages) from the freezer to thaw, so, there will be some chicken and some sausages, this week!  

Are you making a meal plan this week?

Sunday, December 10, 2023

A Third of the Way into December!

Cranberry Sauce Swirls
(sorry the picture is so dark)

First of all, how can we be one third of the way into December?!  Next thing you know, half the month will be gone!

Late last night, I decided to bake, partly because it was so cold in the house and I thought having the oven on for a bit would warm up the house a bit.  I had bought a packet of refrigerated puff pastry dough some time ago.  I was going to make curry puffs, but, it was too hot to bake at the time and so, the pastry stayed in the fridge all this time.  Yesterday, I rolled it out, spread the last big of cranberry sauce that was leftover from Thanksgiving over the rolled out dough, sprinkled a little more sugar and some pieces of pecan over the cranberry sauce, rolled up the dough, again, to form a sort of pastry Swiss roll, and sliced it, more or less evenly into nine slices.  I placed each slice in a muffin tray (lined the cups with pieces of parchment, and baked the pastry at 400F for 15 minutes.  They would be good with a little powdered/icing sugar glaze drizzled on them, but, I didn't need the extra sugar, so, I've been eating them as they are.  

I went to bed at 4:00 a.m. and woke up once at 7:30 a.m., then, again, at 10:00 a.m.  I turned off the porch lights, opened the drapes as there was bright sunshine, fed Dancer and Mama Cat, and then, I'm afraid, I went back to sleep!  I only woke up when Dancer came to see if there would be a second breakfast and my daughter called to check if I was feeling OK, since I had not replied to her morning text!  I really, really need to work on my sleep schedule!

Once I was up, I fed Dancer again, had a cup of tea, said my morning prayers, opened the windows to get some fresh air in (it was warmer outside than inside the house, where it was 60F), and walked for 15 minutes.  I also went to the side of the house to check on the back of the chimney to see if I could see any openings where an animal could have entered the attic space, but, other than some wasp nests under the eaves, I didn't notice anything.  I will ask M to knock down the wasp nests on one of his future visits - they all looked empty and old.  I haven't heard any noises up there since Thursday night, so, I hope whatever got in managed to get out, again!

Today, I washed the dust sheets on the family room sofas, dried them, and covered the sofas, again.  That was the only housework I did today!  Plus cleaning Dancer's litter box, of course.

Brunch, eaten around 4:00 p.m., was a slice of bacon, a scrambled egg, and a potato made into hash browns.  I had a glass of cranberry juice with it.  Later, I had two of the cranberry swirls.  I didn't feel very hungry for dinner, so I just had some crackers and some fruit.  There's soup if I want something else, later.

Although there was sunshine in the morning, it became rather cloudy in the afternoon and the afternoon high of 73F was very fleeting.  By around 7:00 p.m., I was feeling very cold.  I was dressed in a long sleeved knit top, a wool sweater, and another wool cardigan over that, a scarf, sweatpants, and two pairs of socks (a pair of regular socks and a pair of my knitted wool socks over that).  I suppose I could have worn a knit hat and my fingerless mittens, but, instead, I turned the heater on!  The thermostat was set at 70F.  Then, once the house warmed up to 70F (in the living room area; about 66F in the family room) and the heater went off, I turned it off.  My gas bill for the last billing period, from mid-October to mid-November, was $30.83.  According to the most recent bill tracker notification, received December 8, my current bill stands at $101.45 for the first 20 days of this billing period with 11 days remaining; they estimate my bill will be $150.15 (I love how they can estimate it to the penny!)  I'm currently budgeting $200 per month for gas, but, I can go above that if I need to. 

Former neighbor T called in the evening and I had a nice chat with her.  She said she's doing okay.

Today, I am grateful for:

- A relaxed day
- A working heater and other appliances
- Warm clothes
- Phone calls and emails from friends and former neighbors
- Internet services

Today's joyful activity was playing some games online.  My Advent calendar has a peg solitaire game that I am trying to play.  I might have to resort to online tutorials in order to play this game!

Plans for tomorrow include picking up Dancer's prescription (and maybe a visit to the doughnut shop?) and doing a meal plan.  Also, start doing a little deep cleaning before decorating for Christmas.  

How was your Sunday?  What are your plans for the coming week?