Friday, July 12, 2024

An EggSighting Friday!

A New Egg!

This morning (Friday) I went out to check on the eggs and there was a new egg!  It was eggciting to say the least!  It was easy to tell it apart from the others because the others had been marked.  I decided to claim this egg!


An Egg in Hand is Worth Four in the Nest?

I had read somewhere that one shouldn't wash freshly laid eggs, but, I went ahead washed it. Then I measured it:

Approx. 1.5 Inches Long



Approx. 1 Inch in Width

I didn't measure the circumference.  If it is a chicken egg, then, it is a fairly small one, I think. But, here it is, next to a store bought, size large egg:


Size Comparison

Most commonly available store bought egg sizes are small, medium, large, and extra large; sometimes, there is a jumbo size, as well.  The sizes are based on the weight (generally, the average weight of a dozen similar sized eggs), with "small" being 1.5 oz.

So, I had to weigh it:

Weighing the Egg

I weighed it using my ounces scales, which goes up to 16 oz. or 1 lb.

Almost 1.5 Ounces!

It's not as accurate (or should I say eggxact?)  as a digital scale, but, I think it is safe to say that the egg weighed just under 1.5 oz.  So, definitely a small egg.  But, that is fine.

Chicken Little

After all, Chicken Little isn't all that big, either!  It was walking around the garden quite happily, this morning, eating more of the cats' kibble and drinking from their water bowl.  Apparently, quite at home in my garden!  Thank you for the egg, Chicken Little, if it is you who is laying the eggs!

To be quite honest, I think Chicken Little looks more like a rooster than a hen, going by those tail feathers, but, it doesn't crow like a rooster and as it is the only chicken I usually see in my yard and if those eggs are chicken eggs, then, I guess Chicken Little is a hen and she laid them?

It's a much cooler day, today, with a high of 85F and mostly cloudy.  I haven't needed to switch the fan on, all day!  I checked on the eggs and the garden, did a load of laundry, and still need to clean the kitchen and the bathrooms.  I've just unlocked the gate for M who will be here to tend to the garden, in a little bit.

Brunch was a tuna salad sandwich and tortilla chips, plus a plum.  Haven't decided on dinner yet, but, there are leftover rice and curries to finish up.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- A new egg!
- A cooler day
- Working appliances
- M's help with the garden
- Leftovers

Today's joyful activity was finding and checking out the new egg!  

What do you think?  Is Chicken Little a hen?  If so, did she lay the eggs?  Would it be safe to eat?  Or should I cook it and serve it to the cats?

On Thursday

Berkeley Tie Dye Tomato

Apparently, there are two varieties of Berkeley Tie Dye Tomatoes - a green one which is supposed to have a mostly green skin with some pink stripes and a pink one with pinkish skin.  I think what I have might be the pink variety:

I picked one and it looked very pretty from the top, but, the bottom was spoiled.  I tried to cut off the spoiled part, but, it was spoiled all the way, inside.  I will try to save the seeds and maybe they will grow, next year.  
 
Ripe Berkeley Tie Dye Tomato

On Thursday, when I checked on the chicken (?) eggs, I was surprised to see that there were four eggs!  I only saw three in the nest, on Wednesday, with one outside the nest area! I couldn't tell which was was the new egg, of course and my daughter suggested that I marked them so that I'd know if there is a new egg, tomorrow.  So, I took a marker and scribbled on the eggs in the nest and the one outside:


Four Marked Eggs

I will check first thing in the morning to see if there is a new egg!


I marked the other egg, as well

Of course, I still don't know for sure if these are chicken eggs!  But, what else could they be?  They are too big to be mourning dove eggs and, in any case, mourning doves make their nests in trees and lay two eggs.

It was another warm day.  I waited until it had cooled down to 95F(35C) at 5:30 p.m. to go to the pharmacy to pick up a second medication that was ready.  I did a few household things during the day, putting a few things away and tidying up.  I also called Aunt C to check on her.  I walked for 15 minutes after it had cooled down even more (around 8:00 p.m.)  Later in the evening, I video chatted with my daughter.  

Brunch was a tuna salad sandwich.  Dinner was leftover rice and curries: rice, chicken curry, spicy sauteed potatoes, and cucumber salad.  Ice cream for dessert.

On Thursday, I was grateful for:

- Medication refills being available
- A safe drive to the pharmacy and back
- Tomatoes ripening on the plant
- Phone calls and emails with family and friends
- Fans and electricity to run them

Thursday's joyful activity was checking on the garden and seeing that the tomatoes are ripening (even if the one I picked was spoiled).

Plans for Friday include making a birthday card for a friend and tending to the garden with M in the evening.  It is supposed to be a cooler day, with a high of only 85F(29.4C).  

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

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Mid-Week on Wednesday

Santa Rosa Plums

I picked a few plums from the garden;, yesterday (Tuesday).  They are not fully ripe, but, as can be seen, the birds have been pecking at them to test for ripeness!  M picked three other plums from higher up in the tree and all three had been partially pecked. 

While I was picking the plums, I noticed this, a few feet away:

An Egg!

There was what looked like a small chicken egg!  It was on the ground between the orange tree and the feijoa (pineapple guava) tree.  And when I went closer, I saw this, at the base of the feijoa tree:

Chicken Eggs?

Chicken Little, did you do that?  Did you lay some eggs for me?  I didn't see the chicken sitting on them, so, I don't know if they are fertilized or not, if they are fresh or if they have been there for a few days, or, even if they are chicken eggs or not!   Since I am not sure, I am not going to pick them up; I'll leave them in place to see what happens.  Maybe a possum or a raccoon might enjoy them!  However, if I do see the chicken laying eggs, again, I guess it would be okay to eat them?  Or should I give them to my neighbor?  Chicken Little belongs to them, but seems to spend its days in my garden, feasting on the cat food and scratching around in the dirt. 

Yesterday (Tuesday) was a hot day and I didn't feel like doing much.  I brought the trash cans in, made an appointment for Dancer, accepted a couple of packages for my friend, called former neighbor T to check on her and left her a message as she didn't answer the phone, picked up one of my medication refills from the pharmacy, cleaned the litter box, and watered the back garden.  Then, I borrowed another ebook from the library and stayed up reading when I should have been sleeping!

Brunch had been a salad and dinner was leftover rice and curries.

Today, it has been even hotter!  M was here to water the garden and I told him to take it easy and not to exert himself too much (he said he was fine).  In the afternoon, I took Dancer for his arthritis medication injection.  I sedated him before I took him and he was okay for most of the journey there, but, at the last minute, he threw up.  Poor kitty.  Fortunately, the towel with which I lined his carrier absorbed most of it.  I had the car AC on during the drive to the clinic and back and the clinic was air conditioned, too.  I really should have put my bedroom AC on when I came back, but, instead, I put the fans on in the family room and took a nap!  

Today, I called former neighbor T again, because she didn't return my phone call from yesterday.  She picked up the phone, but, said she's sick so I told her to rest and I'll call her later in the week.  Then, I called cousin V and I called friend R, just to check on them.  

Brunch had been toast with butter and peach jam.  Dinner part 1 was tuna salad and crackers (I shared the tuna with Dancer).  Dinner part 2 (eaten a couple of hours later) was some of the spicy sauteed potatoes that had been forgotten during last week's dinner party.  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Dancer was able to get his medication
- I had a safe drive to the vet's clinic and back
- M's help with the garden
- Fans and the electricity to run them
- Chicken Little's gift of eggs!

Today's joyful activity was taking a nap!

Plans for tomorrow (Thursday) include doing some housework and a load of laundry.  

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




,



 

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Appearances Can Be Deceiving

The First Nectarine

A few days ago, I found this nectarine had fallen from the tree and picked it up.  It looks ripe and pretty, doesn't it?  

The Other Side

But, when I turned it over, I found that it was spoiled.  Not soft and rotten, but, hard and shriveled, as if it had been scorched by the sun.

Seeing Both Sides

I took the pictures and tossed the fruit in the compost heap.


Green Berkeley Tie Dye Tomato

Then, there was this tomato that had fallen from the plant.  There was a big hole at the top, but, the rest of the tomato looked fine.

Stem End Rot?

I've heard of blossom end rot, but, not about stem end rot..

Spoiled

Whatever caused the stem end rot, the spoilage had spread to the rest of the tomato and, it, too, had to be tossed.

So far, this was the only tomato with this stem end rot.  The other tomatoes are ripening and turning more orange than pink striped, but, they are also getting scorched by the sun!  I've covered the tomato plant with some tulle to try to shade the tomatoes a little bit.

We are under an excessive heat warning, currently, with triple digits in the forecast for tomorrow.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the rest of the ripening fruits and the vegetable plants will survive.

Are you growing any fruits and vegetables in your garden?  How are they doing?

Monday, July 8, 2024

Monday Medley

Corn Plant Starting to Tassel

My corn plants are not quite as "high as an elephant's eye", but, at least this one plant is as tall as I am (just under 5 feet) and is starting to form tassels!  The same plant is also showing some corn silk:

Corn Silk Forming

However, although there are one or two other corn plants that are starting to form tassels, there are no other fully formed corn tassels to pollinate this potential ear of corn,  Even so, I'm hopeful that we might be able to get some ears of corn as the summer goes along and the rest of the corn plants grow.

***************

Today was my daughter's last day at home, during this visit.  She had to work during the day and, as soon as she had finished her work for the day, I took her to the airport to catch her flight.  I gave her some food items to take back with her including the last picking of fresh blueberries, some plums from the tree, and a bunch of curry leaves.  She has enough cooked food to last her till the end of the week when she'll be able to go grocery shopping.

She had a safe flight back and called to let me know when she got to her apartment.

Provided everything goes as planned, her next visit home will be in late November for Thanksgiving.  Until then, we will keep in touch with daily texts, phone calls, and video chats.

***************

July Meal Planning:

This was the meal plan for Week 1:

Brunches: Milkrice, with katta sambol and jaggary (Monday, July 1)✔;  scrambled eggs, bacon, fried potatoes and/or toast;✔ cereal with milk✔; waffles with blueberry compote✔; mung beans again (as requested by daughter); hot dogs and buns; salad; egg salad sandwiches; leftovers✔

Dinners: Ground turkey keema curry and rice; salmon and rice with salad✔;  spaghetti and meat sauce and salad; beef curry. vegetables, and rice✔;  chicken curry, dhal, sauteed green beans, (spicy sauteed potatoes - they were forgotten on the day of the dinner, but, eaten later), pappadum, chutney, and rice (Friday dinner with friends)✔,  assorted leftovers✔ Sandwiches

Snacks/desserts: Avocado pudding✔, fresh fruits✔, ice cream✔, smoothies, chips✔, Armenian pastries

And here is how it turned out:

Monday (July 1):
Brunch: Milkrice with katta sambol and jaggary
Dinner: Assorted leftovers

Tuesday:
Brunch: Scrambled eggs, bacon, fried potatoes, toast
Dinner: Chicken curry sandwiches; avocado pudding

Wednesday: 
Brunch: Waffles and blueberry compote
Dinner: Sauteed salmon, rice, cucumber salad, cashew curry; Armenian pastries

Thursday:
Brunch:  Assorted leftovers; cereal and milk
Dinner: Corned beef sandwiches friend A's daughters had made

Friday:
Brunch: Assorted leftovers
Dinner: Rice, chicken curry, dhal, cashew curry, sauteed green beans, tomato chutney; ice cream for dessert

Saturday:
Brunch:  Croissants sandwiches with salmon and lettuce  
Dinner: Rice and beef curry with leftovers from Friday night's dinner

Sunday:
Brunch: Thai food - fried rice and beef salad
Dinner: Leftovers

I think that, on the whole, the meal planning worked out well enough.  I obviously didn't make all the different brunches I had planned to make, but there were lots of leftovers and we "foraged" in the fridge, quite a bit.

July Week 2 Meal Plan:  Leftovers!  I will keep a record of what I eat, but, the fridge is full of leftovers that must be finished!

***************

Today, after I came home after dropping daughter off at the airport, I relaxed for a bit as it really was too hot to do anything!  I watched the news and watched a couple of videos online.  Later, I took the trash cans to the curb and walked for a little bit.  

I wasn't very hungry, today.  I had part of a yogurt flat bread with some of the devilled beef for brunch. Later, I had some fresh mango and ice cream.  I'll have a beef curry sandwich for dinner.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Daughter had a safe trip back to her apartment
- Being able to have a lovely visit with daughter
- Being able to send some homecooked food back with daughter
- A safe drive to the airport and back
- The garden continuing to grow

Today's joyful activity was making sure daughter had plenty of food to take back with her, not just the cooked food, but, some other items, too, including cereal, granola bars, red lentils, and pasta.

Plans for tomorrow include bringing the trash cans in, watering the garden, making an appointment for Dancer to get his injection, and scheduling a SMOG test for the car.

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

Sunday

The New Stand Fans

Daughter assembled the new stand fans, today, and we tested them and they both work well.

Today, we spent a fairly relaxed morning.  In the afternoon, we visited one of my daughter's friends who had a baby at the end of June.  Daughter has been friends with V since high school and was one of V's bridesmaids.  V has an older daughter who will be two later this month and the new baby is also a daughter.  My daughter took two gifts for them, a toy for the older girl and a set of three onesies for the baby.  V's mother was also there, helping V to take care of the children and I was glad to see her.  As I told her, I will never forget the fact that she came over to my house twice a week to clean the litter box while I was undergoing my chemo treatments, because I had been told not to do it, by my oncologist.  That was such a blessing! She also put me on her church's prayer list and sent us a picture of my name on the list.

On the way back from the visit, we made a stop at our favorite Thai food place and picked up some fried rice and beef salad to bring home for lunch.  Daughter also bought herself a Thai ice tea.

After lunch, I felt very sleepy and as it was also rather warm, I put the AC on in the bedroom for the first time this summer and took a nap!  

Later, after I had woken up from my nap, I called friend R and chatted with her for a bit, then, cooked the beef chuck roast I had bought, earlier.  I made about 2/3 of it as devilled beef, with onions, peppers, and tomatoes and the balance became a curry with coconut milk gravy.  I froze most of each dish for daughter to take back with her, along with the rest of the sauteed green beans.  When she goes back on Monday night, she won't have time to grocery shop until the weekend, so having some curries from home will help.  All she will have to do is cook some rice.  

I took a short walk today and didn't experience any pain, so that is good.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Daughter assembling the new fans for me
- Electricity to run the fans and the AC in the bedroom
- Being able to visit daughter's friend's baby
- Daughter's friend's mother who helped me during my chemo treatments
- Afternoon naps

Today's joyful activity was holding a newborn!  

Plans for tomorrow include taking my daughter to the airport in the evening, watering the garden, and taking the trash cans to the curb.

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

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Still Celebrating

Friday Night Dinner

Thursday night's concert and fireworks display was exciting and that excitement meant I couldn't fall asleep until 5:30 a.m. on Friday!  As a result, I slept all morning on Friday!

In the afternoon, daughter tidied up the house and I dusted and vacuumed, as we had invited my late friend A's family to dinner.  The afternoon was quite warm with the high being 97F ("feels like 99F" according to the weather report) and I must admit that I found it tiring (in contrast, today, Saturday, the high was 87F and I've felt quite comfortable).  Yesterday reminded me why I generally don't entertain in the summer!  It's just too hot!  But, with daughter helping me, we got all the dinner preparations done.  

M was here in the evening to tend to the garden and he watered and weeded and planted the raspberry canes in a wooden box a tree had been delivered to one of his other clients.  I had made some peach lemonade and M enjoyed a glass of it before he left.  

Our friends arrived shortly after 8:00 p.m. and the house had cooled off to a fairly comfortable level, with two stand fans set up in the living room and the doors and windows open.  

I served tortilla chips and potato chips as a snack and everyone opted for the peach lemonade instead of the sparkling apple cider that was also offered.  

When it was time for dinner, one of A's daughters said a lovely prayer of thanksgiving for friendship, for gathering together, remembering those who were no longer present and times past and looking forward to continuing friendships in the future, and I said a few words of remembrance of my friend.  

For dinner, we had rice, chicken curry, cashew curry, dhal, sauteed green beans (which my daughter cooked), and homemade tomato chutney.  I had prepared a spicy sauteed potato dish, too, but, I had kept it in the fridge and we forgot all about it until after dinner was over and our friends had left!  Oops!  I don't have an automatic ice dispenser in my fridge/freezer and the tray of ice I had made was buried under bags of frozen blueberries and peaches.  So, we put several bottles of water to cool and just kept the bottles on the table.  I had stacked the plates at one end of the table and kept the flatware near the plates; the girls then placed the plates on the table and put the flatware on the plates.  We didn't pull the table out from the wall and the three girls sat in a row on one side.  Everyone enjoyed the meal and we had  two flavors of ice cream for desser. 

Afterwards, I served some of the leftovers into containers (old yogurt containers that I had saved), added a new jar of tomato chutney, and gave them to take home.  I told them that I didn't need the containers back, so, that's 5 containers decluttered!  Friend A's older daughter's birthday had been at the end of June, so, we gave her the birthday gifts we had bought and made for her.  

I was feeling tired by the end of the evening and daughter put away the leftovers for me (which was when we realized that the dish of sauteed potatoes was still in the fridge) and loaded the dishwasher.  

Today, Saturday, daughter and I relaxed in the morning.  In the afternoon, we went to pick up two new stand fans that we had ordered.  The stand fans I have been using are over 20 years old (probably more like 25 years old) and while they both work, one is broken at the base and I've duct taped it to the stand and the plastic casing around the motor has a big piece broken off.  The other fan no longer holds the angle it is set at and the part with the fan blades tilts down and the wire cage knocks against the stand and makes a racket that sounds like a helicopter taking off!  So, yesterday, we ordered two new stand fans and today, we went and picked them up at the store.  One store was all out of them and the other store had only five left, but, we were able to purchase two of them.  They were on sale for 15% off and each fan cost a little under $28, including sales tax, which I thought was reasonable, although I don't think that they will last for 25 years!.

Then, we went to the grocery store and daughter went inside to pick up another half gallon of milk ($2.79), a pint of half and half ($2.69_, and a dozen mini croissants ( $4.29; I had a $0.70 off digital coupon for them).  My total came to $9.77, bringing my July grocery spending to date up to $80.08.

We had croissant sandwiches (with salmon and lettuce as the filling) for a late afternoon brunch.  

I did a load of laundry, watered portions of the back garden, gave Dancer his flea prevention medications, and called friend R to check on her.  Later in the evening, after it had cooled down, daughter and I went for a very short walk, just up and down our driveway and along the sidewalk.  Today, I developed a slight pain in my side, so, I stopped after less than 10 minutes of walking.  Don't ask me how I managed the walk up the incline on Thursday.

The neighbors are having another birthday party, but, the music is not as loud.  They are also sending up fireworks (which are illegal within city limits).

Tonight's dinner will be leftovers from last night.

I am grateful for:

- Being able to have friend A's family over to dinner
- Daughter's help with all the preparations and cleaning up, afterwards
- M's help with the garden
- Being able to order and pick up new fans
- Getting in even a short walk

My joyful activities have including having friends to dinner and spending time with daughter.

Plans for tomorrow include going to see daughter's friend who had a baby at the end of June.  Afterwards, daughter said she will need to pack.  She will work from home on Monday and fly back to Berkeley in the evening.

How is your weekend coming along?

Celebrating the Fourth

The Flyover in the Distance 

Thursday, the Fourth of July, was Independence Day, here in the USA, of course.  But, it was also the birthday of my late friend A.  When she was alive, she would often have us over to dinner at her house and then, we'd step outside to watch the fireworks, as she lived close to a place where they held a fireworks display, each year.  So, when her daughters asked what we were doing on the 4th of July and we answered that we had no plans, they invited us to attend the fireworks display at the venue with them.  It is an open air venue, so I felt it would be fine to attend it, as I would be wearing a mask.  It was a ticketed event and I offered to buy our tickets, but, A's daughters declined, saying not to worry about it.  They picked us up and gave us a ride to the venue and dropped us off, afterwards.  They had brought sandwiches, chips, and drinks, but, my daughter and I didn't want to remove our masks to eat or drink, so, we brought our sandwiches home and had them for dinner.

The parking lot was a short distance away from the venue and there was a shuttle for "Seniors and Disabled" that I could have taken from the parking lot to the venue.  But, I didn't want to be separated from my daughter and the other two young women, so I decided to walk with them.  It was a bit of an uphill climb, but I surprised both myself and my daughter by managing the walk, without feeling any pains!  I did need to stop to catch my breath, halfway up, and I did lift my mask to take a sip of water a bit later, just before we went up the last incline to the seats, but, it felt safe enough as there were very few people around.  


The Flyover Overhead

There were two tribute bands playing before the fireworks show, the first one being a Fleetwood Mac cover band and the other being  Billy Joel cover band.  Both bands played some good music. 

Tribute Band in Concert: Earlier in the Evening

Later in the Evening

And then, there was the fireworks display, accompanied by patriotic music:


Fireworks

More Fireworks

It was very exciting and fun.  Afterwards, the walk downhill to the parking lot was much easier than the walk uphill!  

On Thursday, I was grateful for:

- Being able to celebrate Independence Day
- Memories of friend A
- A's daughters inviting us to the fireworks display and
- Giving us a ride there and back
- Being able to walk up the incline without any pains

My joyful activity was attending the celebration in the company of my daughter and my friend's daughters.  It was a fun evening and I enjoyed it very much.  

Thursday, July 4, 2024

July Grocery Shopping - Part 1

I picked up an order of groceries, yesterday, Wednesday July 3.  Partly because I needed a few items for the dinner on Friday night (I've invited three family friends) and partly because I wanted to take advantage of the sale on salmon and beef so that my daughter could enjoy them and maybe take some back with her.  Sorry, no pictures of what I bought (daughter put away the groceries for me, right away).


I bought:

1.16 lb. broccoli @ $1.94/lb. (with $0.40 off coupon) = $2.26

2 lb. green beans @ $1.99/lb. = $4.00

2 lb. bag carrots = $1.99

1.35 lb. onions @ $0.91 with coupons (reg. price $1.49/lb.) = $1.24

10 lb. bag potatoes = $4.99
(the 5 lb. bag was $3.99)

2.16 lb. salmon @$8.99/lb. (reg. price $14.99) = $19.42

3.21 lb. beef chuck roast @ $6.99/lb. (reg. price $8.99) = $22.44

1 loaf sandwich bread = $1.99

2 ice cream, butter pecan, 14 fl. oz. each, buy 1 get 1 free = $5.99

2 ice cream, pistachio, 14 fl. oz each, buy 1 get 1 free = $5.99

Total = $70.31


According to the receipt, my original cost, without sales = $103.34
Amount saved with sales and digital coupons = $33.03


My July grocery budget is $100.00 + $23.64 carried over from June = $123.64

Spent to date = $53.33

Balance Remaining = $123.64 = $70.31 = $53.33

I might need to pick up another small container of half and half for daughter's coffee in the next day or so (I asked her if she needed more when I placed the grocery order and she said no, but, today, she said that the half and half is starting to go off).  But, other than that, I don't anticipate needing more groceries for at least another week or two.  

As always, I am grateful for the availability of groceries and being able to afford the occasional splurge item.

Have you done a grocery shop in July, yet?  How do the prices I pay compare to what you pay in your area?  Curious minds want to know!  LOL.

On Wednesday

Flowers

I was asked if I would post a picture of daughter's painting; the photo she took of it last night came out with a yellowish tinge because it was taken under artificial light and I chose not to publish it.  This photo was taken today, in natural light, and the colors photographed better.  

Today, gardener M was here to tend to the garden.  He watered the garden, tidied it up a little, and planted the last six potatoes I had left in the bag of potatoes I had bought earlier in the year since they had all sprouted while still in the bag!  It's hard to keep potatoes from sprouting when it is so warm.  Today's high was 94F (34.4C).

I made waffles and blueberry compote for brunch, today, and M enjoyed a waffle with the compote before he left.  

I put in an order for groceries and picked it up, today.  I wanted to buy more salmon while it was still on sale and one or two items for Friday's dinner.

Later, I cooked a cashew curry and froze most of it for Friday night's dinner (left a little out for our dinner, tonight).  I also prepared a dhal (lentil) curry for Friday.  Later I cooked the salmon I bought and a pot of rice for tonight's dinner.  Daughter made a cucumber salad to go with it.  Neighbor S's daughter brought over four pieces of gata (Armenian pastries) and daughter and I had a piece each for dessert.


The New Area Rug

This is the new area rug I bought for $60 (plus tax, of course).  I think that the dark blue of the borders go well with my blue and white china collection and daughter says that the yellow bits go well with the brass accessories in the room.  I like the muted colors in the lighter area in the middle.  I think the rug goes well with my rather shabby upholstered furniture, where Dancer and the cats before him have sharpened their claws and shredded the fabric.  

Brunch was waffles and blueberry compote.  Dinner was rice, sauteed salmon with onions and tomatoes, cucumber salad, and tomato chutney.  Snacks included cherries and gata (Armenian pastries).  

On Wednesday, I was grateful for:

- M's help with the garden
- Being able to order groceries online and contactless pick up
- A safe drive to the grocery store and back
- Neighbors bringing gata (Armenian pastries)
- Daughter doing the dishes

Today's joyful activities included gardening and reading.

Plans for tomorrow include going to watch a fireworks display with daughter and friends.

How was your Wednesday?  What are your plans for Thursday?  What are your plans to celebrate the 4th of July/American Independence Day?

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Starting July

New Painting

On Monday, July 1, the second half of this year began!  I did my usual "first day of the month" rituals, making milkrice for brunch and offering flowers at the altar.  The flowers I cut were bunches of pale pink oleander as they are one of the few flowers I have blooming in the garden, currently. 

Daughter had an appointment to get copies of a document she needed; I drove her to her appointment and waited for her at the nearby library, taking advantage of the free parking for library patrons.  I looked through a magazine until daughter came to the library after her appointment.  We put gas to the car on the way home; my budget for gas is $50 per month and I put $50 worth of gas in the car.

After we came home, we had milkrice for brunch.  Then, we went to the crafts supplies store so daughter could look at beads and I could buy another skein of white yarn for my crocheting.  The craft store had a sale on area rugs (we had no idea they sold area rugs!)  I had been looking at area rugs, online, earlier in the day, but, they were rather expensive.  However, the rugs in the crafts store were 50% off and I found one that I liked for $60 for a 5' x 7' rug.  It will go in the living room area. 

In the evening, daughter went for a walk with neighbor S's daughter and I took the trash cans to the curb, watered the back garden, and made my weekly meal plan.  We had assorted leftovers for dinner

On Tuesday,  daughter and I had a relaxed day.  Cousin V called in the afternoon and we had a nice chat.  Then, she asked me if I had any photographs of our grandmother, and if I did, could I take photos of them and send them to her.  So I sent her photos of the photos I had and told her that I will give the photos I have to her when I see her next.   Later in the evening, when it had cooled off a little, I vacuumed the living room and daughter put down the area rug and put the furniture back in place.  Daughter went for a walk, again, with neighbor S's daughter and I read a library book I had borrowed.  Afterwards, we had a "paint night" and I painted the picture shown above.  

Brunch had been scrambled eggs, bacon, fried potatoes, and toast.  Dinner was chicken curry sandwiches and avocado pudding.  

As we start the month of July, I am grateful for:

- Daughter was able to obtain the documents she needed
- Free parking at the library
- Bargains at the crafts store
- Ceiling fans (and the electricity to run them)
-  Spending time with my daughter

Joyful activities have included painting with my daughter, visiting the library, going to the crafts store, and reading.  

Plans for Wednesday include:

- Tending to the garden with M
- Picking up an order of groceries
- Doing a load of laundry

What are your plans for Wednesday?

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

June Week 4 Meal Plan & July Week 1 Meal Plan

This was my June Week 4 Meal Plan:

Brunches: Cold cuts sandwich✔, waffles with peach or blueberry compote✔, cereal and milk, salads, boiled mung beans with katta sambol✔, scrambled eggs with bacon and fried potatoes✔(for dinner), or something else!  French toast, tuna salad on crackers, sauteed garbanzo beans, roast pork on hamburger buns

Dinners:  Chicken curry (from the freezer) and vegetables with rice✔; sauteed salmon (from the freezer) with rice and cucumber salad green beans or broccoli✔; roast pork (from the freezer) made over into a stir-fry and served on hamburger buns ✔with rice or, chicken curry with yogurt flat bread✔; leftovers✔, smoked sausage stir fry with rice

Snacks/Desserts:  Fresh fruit/✔fruit salad, peanut butter and crackers, granola bars, ice cream✔ if I buy some. kotta kilengu (dried Palmyra palm sprouts)

After I made the meal plan, I realized that I didn't have anymore salmon in the freezer!  So, I bought a piece when I ordered my groceries.  And even after listing green beans and broccoli, I forgot to order them when I submitted the grocery order.

And here is how it all worked out:

Monday:
Brunch: Cold cuts sandwich
Dinner: Breakfast for dinner: scrambled egg, fried potatoes, sauteed ham slices
Dessert: Peach compote

Tuesday:
Brunch: Tuna salad on crackers
Dinner: Ditto (tuna salad on crackers)
Snacks: Apple, kotta kilengu (dried Palmyra palm sprouts)

Wednesday: 
Brunch: Sauteed garbanzo beans
Dinner - Salmon, sauteed with onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers; cucumber salad; tomato chutney; rice
Dessert: Ice cream

Thursday:
Brunch: Roast pork on hamburger buns
Dinner: Chicken curry, rice, cucumber salad, tomato chutney
Snacks/Dessert: Fresh peaches, a shared first strawberry of the season, a blueberry pastry (that daughter was given by a friend of hers who works in a bakery), ice cream

Friday:
Brunch: Boiled mung beans with katta sambol
Dinner: Smoked sausage stir fry (with onions, carrots, snowpeas, and cashews) and rice

Saturday:
Brunch: Waffles with peach compote
Late Lunch (daughter): Leftover smoke sausage stir fry and rice 
Dinner: Roast pork remade into devilled pork curry with onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers) on hamburger buns
Snacks: Cherries, plums, leftover waffles

Sunday:
Brunch: French toast
Dinner: Chicken curry and yogurt flat bread
Snacks: Grapes, peaches, cherries, ice cream

I had originally planned to have salmon on two days and ordered a 1 lb. piece, but, I was only given a 0.5 lb. piece of salmon, which was just enough for one meal (with some of the onions/tomato/bell peppers I cooked with it leftover).  So, I cooked the smoked sausage stir fry, which was not on the meal plan.  But, it all worked out quite well.


On to July meal plans!  My daughter will be with me for the first week in July and we are planning to invite a few friends over to dinner on Friday, July 5.

Brunches: Milkrice, with katta sambol and jaggary (Monday, July 1);  scrambled eggs, bacon, fried potatoes and/or toast; cereal with milk; waffles with blueberry compote; mung beans again (as requested by daughter); hot dogs and buns; salad; egg salad sandwiches; leftovers

Dinners: Ground turkey keema curry and rice; salmon and rice with salad;  spaghetti and meat sauce and salad; beef curry. vegetables, and rice;  chicken curry, dhal, sauteed green beans, spicy sauteed potatoes, pappadum, chutney, and rice (Friday dinner with friends),  assorted leftovers

Snacks/desserts: Avocado pudding, fresh fruits, ice cream, smoothies, chips

That is the plan; we shall see how it turns out.

Did you make a meal plan for the last week in June?  If so, how did it work out?  Are you making a meal plan for the first week of July?




Sunday, June 30, 2024

Balanced Life Monthly Goals: June Review and July Goals

June, and with it, the first half of the year, is almost over!  Time to review my monthly goals for June and post my goals for July (although I am wondering if I should try a different format for the rest of the year.)       

Health, Self-Care & Well Being (6.0)(6.5):  The goal is good health.

June Health Goals Review:
My June health goals included taking my prescribed medications, more regular exercise, and a better diet.  I have been taking my medications and the supplements my doctor recommended that I take, the exercising could be more regular and the diet could always be improved.  Improving my health is a work in progress!  But, the blood clot is being reabsorbed slowly, I haven't had any new health issues. and I am still alive, so, I'm giving myself a little raise in my satisfaction level!  

July Health Goals include more of the same! 

Time Management (7.5)(8.0): The goal is to spend my time in a mindful manner.
Spend time purposefully, mindfully
- Procrastinate less

June Goals Review:
Once again, I think I was a little bit better when it came to managing my time in a mindful and efficient manner.  I still procrastinated doing some things (filing/paperwork), but, the important things got done.  I am keeping the rating the same.  

July Time Management Goals: To continue to spend my time in a mindful manner and to procrastinate less.

House (8.5)(8.75):  The goal is a home that is pleasant, comfortable, and welcoming.

I was able to get some of the rooms cleaned and organized to a degree that satisfied me and I've kept the rest of the house maintained.  Cabinets and shelves have been cleaned and organized and a certain amount of decluttering have been done, as well.  As always, there's more that can be done in terms of cleaning and decluttering, but, in general, I have kept up with my cleaning routines.  I have raised the satisfaction rating just a little bit, which pleases me very much. 

July House Goals: Continue to keep a pleasant, well maintained house and keep the horizontal surfaces cleared.  

Finances (9.0)(10.0):  The goal is financial security.
- Continue budgeting and spending mindfully, with purpose

June Goals Review:
My June goal was to continue to budget and spend mindfully, with purpose.  I believe that I have been doing this and my finances are fine.  I am on fixed income, but, I continue to live well within my means.  I have raised the rating because, with the credit monitoring in place, I feel that things are secure.

July Financial Goals: Continue to budget and spend mindfully, with purpose.


Spiritual (10)(10):   The goal is to live a spiritually meaningful life.

June Spiritual Goals Review:
My June spiritual goals included continuing to pray daily, meditate, cultivate gratitude, etc.  I continued doing the things I consider as important to live a spiritually meaningful life with daily prayers, meditation, being kind and helpful to others, and cultivating gratitude.  I'm keeping the same rating.    

July Spiritual Goals: Continue to pray daily, meditate, cultivate gratitude, etc.

Daughter (10)(10) The goal is to continue to have a close relationship with her.
 
June Goals Review:  
My goal was to continue to maintain a close relationship with my daughter, and I believe I did that.  There were daily texts, almost daily phone calls and video chats (we didn't video chat when she was away on a holiday with friends) and, she is currently home on a visit.  There is no change in the satisfaction rating.   

July Goals: Enjoy her visit home during the first week in July and Continue to have a close relationship with my daughter.

Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies (10)(10):  The goal is to relax doing something I enjoy doing for the pleasure of it.

June Goals Review:
My June goals included engaging in more fun, relaxing activities including crocheting, reading and gardening and I did all of those in June.  I finished crocheting another blanket , I enjoyed reading several ebooks, and I did some gardening.  I am keeping the rating the same.   

July Goals include more of the same. 

Garden (10)(10):  The goal is a garden that is productive, yet drought tolerant.

June Goals Review:
My June garden goals were to continue to nurture the fruit trees and vegetable plants and to maintain the garden.  To that end, M and I have continued to feed and water the plants.  We've also added a tangerine tree, two strawberry plants, and two raspberry plants to the garden this month, as well as a few flowering plants that M has shared with me.  I harvested several pounds of blueberries, almost two pounds of Serrano chilies, and several pounds of peaches and shared them with friends and neighbors, as well.  The garden has been very productive this month.  I am keeping the rating the same.

July Garden Goals:  Continue to nurture the fruit trees and vegetable plants and maintain the garden.  

Family/Friends/Community (10)(10):  The goal is to have a close connection with family and friends and be involved with my community.
- Regular phone calls and emails, etc., to keep in touch with family and friends
- The occasional in person visits as and when I feel comfortable with doing so
- Participate in the blogging community and the online organizing community

June Goals Review:
June was another good month for keeping in touch with family and friends.  There weren't any in person gatherings with cousins, but, my daughter came down at the end of the month for a 10 day visit!  There were food exchanges with some friends and neighbors, I very briefly attended one neighbor's party, and there were regular phone calls, emails, messages, etc., with other family members and friends, and I participated in the blogging community.  I am keeping the rating at 10.

July Goals will continue to be the same as above.  I have invited my late friend's husband and daughters to dinner in memory of my friend whose birthday would have been this month, so there will be some entertaining in person, as well.



Overall, I am quite pleased with how June went; no area went down in satisfaction ratings, Time Management and Finances ratings increased, and the rest remained the same.  I am continuing to feel a little more balanced.  I hope that July will to be another more balanced month.

My focus in July will be my health.  I need to improve my satisfaction in that area.  

Did you have a good month in June when it came to feeling that there was balance in the different areas of your life?

Saturday, June 29, 2024

The Front Garden in June

The Front Garden in June 2024

I took the photos earlier in the week, but, had other things to write about, so, this post is a bit late.  Not that it matters much.  As you can see, the front garden is starting to shut down for the summer.

Even the Gladioli faded fast

Summer is the time for the succulents to come into their own, unhindered by osteospermum and other spring flowers.

The Stumpery

The stumpery is still looking like a pile of logs that were just dumped there, but, I have high hopes that it will become part of the landscape, over time.

The succulents glow in the late afternoon sun

This is looking up the succulents border from the sidewalk - the osteospermum "river" has dried up!

Succulents Border

There's a lot of cleaning up to do, but, right now, we are leaving things as they are as M is having enough to do in the backyard with the fruits and vegetables.

There aren't a lot of flowers in bloom in the front garden, but, I like to focus on the ones I do find, such as this Dusty Miller:

Dusty Miller Plant and Flowers

Thank you for visiting the front garden with me.  I hope you enjoyed it, even though there wasn't much to see.

On Friday

Berkeley Tie Dye Tomatoes

The Berkeley Tie Dye tomatoes are getting big!  According to what I've read online, they are supposed to get a pink stripe on the outside when ripe.  But, I might pick one while still green to make a green tomato curry, this weekend.

On Thursday, daughter had back to back meetings all day, with a short break for brunch.  I did a load of laundry and sorted through my clothes closet, moving the winter clothes to the left side (the side I rarely open) and shifting the summer clothes to the right side (the side that I open most often).  As I shifted the clothes, I decluttered a few items that my cousins had given me, which I've tried and decided didn't fit me or suit me.  I've put them aside to offer to friend R to send to her daughters.  I will continue to try on and declutter the summer clothes, too.  We spent a relaxed evening at home and I watched the presidential debate.  Dinner was chicken curry, cucumber salad, tomato chutney, and rice. We also picked and shared the first ripe strawberry before the birds could get it! 

On Friday, daughter had another full day of work.  I put away the laundry I had done on Thursday and tidied another shelf in the linen closet (I had previously tidied the shelf with the crocheted table covers my grandmother and mother had made and the shelf where I keep the towels).  Today, I tidied the shelf where the bed sheets and pillowcases are stored.  

M was here in the evening to tend to the garden and we picked the last of the peaches (leaving a few half pecked ones at the top of the tree for the birds to finish).  I washed and sorted through the ones we picked and now, I have some set aside to eat fresh, some to make into a compote, and some for a small batch of jam.  That's on the to do list for Saturday.  Daughter also picked the first two plums and we shared one.

I made a smoked sausage stir fry for dinner, with onions, bell peppers, carrots, snowpeas, and cashews; we had it with freshly cooked rice.  Later, I cooked a chicken curry with the package of chicken thighs I had bought.  The majority of it will be frozen till next Friday, when I am having my late friend A's husband and daughters over to dinner (A's birthday would have been on the 4th of July).  

On Friday, I'm grateful for:

- Daughter being home
- M's help with the garden
- This year's peach harvest
- Water for the garden
- A sunny and warm, but not too hot, day

Friday's joyful activity was picking the rest of the peaches.  We had a good crop of peaches, this year.

Plans for Saturday include processing the rest of the peaches and maybe finishing up the linen closet (have to put away the quilts for the summer and tidy the bottom shelf where I store the sofa dust sheets and there are a couple of quilts in progress that are being stored there, too).

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