Sunday, April 14, 2024

Garden Additions

M Making the New Trellis

Earlier in the year, I had M prune the Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) vine which was sprawling all over the ground because the purchased trellis it had been growing on had deteriorated and broken down over the years.  I had planned to purchase another trellis, but, trellises are costly!  "Let's make one", I suggested to M.  "We can use some of the long branches we saved when you pruned the bottle brush tree!"  I think he was a bit skeptical, but, he always says it's my garden and I'm the boss!  LOL.  There's a reason why we get along so well and he's been tending to the garden for 31 years!

At first, I was going to do it, myself.  But, I didn't have the proper tools to trim the branches to size and, with one thing or another, the trellis didn't get built.  In the meantime, the star jasmine vine started to show new growth and flower buds started to appear.

On Friday, with rain in the forecast for the weekend, I told M not to bother watering the garden and we decided it was a good time to put together a trellis for the star jasmine.  Obviously, M did the work, while I directed and, occasionally, assisted with holding the cross pieces in place while he tied them.  I didn't want the trellis to be taller than the wall, so, M cut the poles to size.  This way, the wall will help protect the trellis from strong winds and minimize its chances of being blown down!

New Garden Trellis

Home grown, all natural, custom made, rustic trellis!  We decided to keep all the little branches in place as additional support for the vines.  Then, we draped some of the vines on the trellis to encourage them the grow up, instead of sprawling in a heap on the ground:

New Garden Trellis for the Star Jasmine Vine

I wondered if we needed to put some small rocks at the base to keep the trellis in place, but, M didn't think so.  We can always add them, later, if needed.  I told M that he should include "builds custom trellises" to his resume - he put together one with PVC pipes and chicken wire for my mother for her jasmine vine, several years ago, and now, he's put together another trellis for me.  

I love my new trellis!  What do you think?

In addition to the new trellis, we have a new plant for the garden:

New Tomato Plant

It's an heirloom tomato named "Berkeley Tie-Dye", which M selected in honor of my daughter!  

Tomato Plant Tag: "Caution: may cause flashbacks!"

Looking forward to seeing the "striking metalic green and red striped" tomatoes that are supposed to be a "delicious conversation piece" as described in the tag!  

We've had a rainy weekend, here, with rain on both Saturday and Sunday.  The garden has been well watered!  It's a bit chilly for me with night time temperatures of 46F and daytime highs of 55F, so, I've had the heater on all weekend.

I'm grateful for:
- M's willingness and help with the garden
- A new, very organic and homegrown trellis
- Rain for the garden
- A new tomato plant
- A working heater

My joyful activities have included supervising the making of the new trellis, gardening, celebrating the Sri Lankan new year, and phone calls with family and friends.

How is your weekend coming along?  What do you think of the new trellis?  Have you grown this type of heirloom tomatoes?

Happy Sri Lankan New Year!

Milk Rice, Chicken Curry, and Katta Sambol

Usually called the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year after the two main ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, (I prefer the term Lankan New Year), Sri Lankans celebrate their cultural new year on April 13 and April 14.  Based on the sighting of the new moon and the movement of the sun from the House of Pisces to the House of Aries, astrologers determine when the old year ends and the new year begins (not necessarily at midnight) and the duration of the time between the two events, usually lasting several hours, when all work should be stopped and people should attend to religious matters, visit family members, engage in traditional games, and enjoy the special food and treats associated with the new year celebrations.  Given the fact that I left Sri Lanka over 50 years ago, and the time differences between there and here, I don't observe the specified times and rituals.  However, when possible, I make milkrice for breakfast (or brunch).

So, on Saturday morning, I spoke with my aunt to wish her for the new year, cooked milkrice for brunch, and made my usual offerings at the altar.  Then, I spent the rest of the day, relaxing!  

I like having a second new year in April!  It gives me another opportunity to have a new beginning!  

It was cool and overcast in the morning and it rained in the evening, quite heavily at times.  I am glad we had more rain, because I had asked M not to water the garden on Friday, in anticipation of it raining on the weekend!

On Saturday, I was grateful for:

- Another new year
- Another new beginning
- Rain for the garden
- Phone chats with my aunt
- A lovely e-card for the new year from a dear friend

Saturday's joyful activity was celebrating the Sri Lankan New Year!

There is more rain in the forecast for Sunday; plans for Sunday include relaxing with some crocheting.

How is your weekend coming along?


Saturday, April 13, 2024

Balanced Life Monthly Goals - March Review and April Goals/The Late Edition

Better late than never, right?  

March started out well, I was joyfully anticipating my daughter's visit home, getting the house clean and tidy before she arrived, and planning to do a few fun things with her.  She arrived on a Friday and by Monday, I had discovered that I had a blood clot (it looks like I actually had two blood clots, on above the other; fortunately, both were superficial) in my leg!  Which led to an unscheduled visit to the doctor's, daughter extending her stay (which was wonderful!), and some concern and anxiety about my health, which affected several other areas of my life, as well.  March concluded with phone issues which lasted well into April! I was too distracted with writing about the phone issues to sit down and review my monthly goals, until now!

Here is my review of my March goals, followed by my goals for April: 

Health, Self-Care & Well Being (8.75)(6.0):  The goal is good health.
- Focus on continuing to improve my health through diet, hydration, adequate sleep, etc.
- Attend my medical appointments
- Continue to take my medications as prescribed
- Continue to take necessary precautions against viral infections

I had a blood clot (possibly two) in March, which required a visit to the doctor and being put on blood thinners.  My blood pressure was good when checked at the doctor's office and my weight was fairly stable (it has been fluctuating within a 5 lbs. range for at least a year).   There was no one cause for the blood clot, but, rather a combination of causes.  I am very thankful that the blood clot(s) were superficial and happened when daughter was already here to help me.  However, I am really not pleased with my health section and realize that I need to work harder to improve it.

April Goals: One of the areas of focus in April will be my health, I am obviously not doing as much as I should be in this area.

Spiritual (10)(10):   The goal is to live a spiritually meaningful life.
- Continue with daily prayers, meditation, being grateful, positive, and joyful
- Continue to cultivate non-attachment by being more giving

I continued with daily prayers, said even more fervently due to the health issues, and remembered my father on the anniversary of his birth with special prayers for him.  I didn't visit the temple, however, but, I still feel that I am living a spiritually meaningful life.

April Goals will be more or less the same, with daily prayers, meditations, and remembering my step-father on the anniversary of his birth.

Daughter (10)(10) The goal is to continue to have a close relationship with her.
- Celebrate her birthday!
- Look forward to and enjoy her visit home
- Continue to keep in daily contact via phone calls, texts, and video chats before and after her visit home

My daughter came home for what was supposed to have been a week long visit which got extended by two additional weeks, due to concern over my health issues.  It was wonderful to have her home for three weeks, even if she had to work from home during the extended stay!  We celebrated her birthday by treating ourselves to several take out meals and a couple of shopping trip to a crafts supply store and the dollar store which is closing down, soon.  Plus, there were daily phone calls, texts, and video chats before she came down to visit.
April Goals include continuing to maintain a close relationship with her.

Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies (10)(10):  The goal is to relax doing something I enjoy doing for the pleasure of it.
- Engage in daily joyful activities
- Engage in leisure activities
- Do crafts and pursue hobbies

In March, I spent plenty of time relaxing and enjoying joyful and leisurely activities, daily.  I read, made a couple of spring time decorations to give as gifts, participated in a photo challenge, and crocheted.  

April Goals: I plan to continue to engage in fun, relaxing activities including reading and crocheting.

Finances (10)(10):  The goal is financial security.
- Continue budgeting and spending mindfully, with purpose
- File my income taxes

I went over the March grocery budget because daughter stayed home for three weeks instead of the planned one week and I didn't increase my grocery budget to include having an additional person for most of the month, but, I will deduct the amount overspent from the April grocery budget.  I also splurged a bit on take out and other treats, as we celebrated daughter being home for her birthday, but, I had already planned and budgeted for that.  I filed my taxes as planned, continued to spend mindfully, and lived within my means in March.

April Goals:  April goals include continuing to budget and spend mindfully, with purpose.

Garden (10)(10):  The goal is a garden that is productive, yet drought tolerant.
Maintaining (water, fertilize, and weed); M will continue to visit twice a week

The garden did really well in March with lots of flowers and new growth on the fruit trees.  We did quite a bit of pruning and weeding.

April Goals:  To continue with maintaining the garden.  To start planting the vegetables I want to grow this year, including corn, tomato, okra, and green beans.     

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

March was a good month for family, friends, and community.  There were several family birthdays, including my daughter's, my sister's, sister's grandson's, two cousins', all of which resulted in phone calls, messages, and cards being sent, in addition to regular calls and emails, etc.  There was also a phone call from a cousin in Australia, who is planning to visit later this spring.  

Daughter and I visited with two of my cousins one afternoon to enjoy some treats and receive some clothes that the cousins had decluttered and we had a brief curbside visit with friend R.  We also received visits from neighbor S who brought us treats and Easter dinner.  

April Goals: April goals will be the same as above. 

House (8.5)(8.5):  The goal is a home that is pleasant, comfortable, and welcoming.
- Clean - Clean the house as needed 
- Organized - Continue to find a place for everything and keep everything in its place
- Well maintained - Keep "erasing the evidence"; implement daily and weekly cleaning schedules
- Decluttered - Continue with the decluttering process

The house was cleaned prior to daughter's visit in March and maintained (more or less) for the rest of the month.  I was very appreciative of the robot vacuum which made it possible to vacuum while I was still recovering from the blood clots.  I didn't declutter quite as much as I could have and brought in more clothes and a piece of furniture (the plant stand).  There's always room for improvement, but, I am content with the current state of the house. 

April Goals: Will be the same as above.

Time Management (8.0)(8.0): The goal is to spend my time in a mindful manner.
Spend time purposefully, mindfully
- Continue to focus on making my schedule work for me
- Procrastinate less

Time management continues to be a challenge.  But, the important things are getting done - I filed my taxes without procrastinating until the last minute, paid my bills on time, and dealt with various issues as they came up.

April Goals: Continue to manage my time in a mindful and efficient manner!

March was a rather wobbly month.  On one side, I had a wonderful month with daughter being home, plenty of interactions with family and friends, the garden thriving, plenty of leisure time, etc.  On the other side, there were health issues which threatened to throw everything into disarray.  

My focus in April will be to improve my health.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Roses on Thursday

The Roses Are in Bloom!

We are having another lovely, warm, sunny day with a high of 83F.  But, tomorrow's high will only be 69F and there's rain in the forecast for Saturday (and maybe Sunday, too) and cooler weather for the following week.  It seems that the roses in the back garden have decided to make the most of the sunny and warm weather and bloom all at once!  Makes me want to sing, "Everything's Coming Up Roses", even if I don't have a voice like Ethel Merman (but, then, she had a voice that was one of a kind, didn't she?)  

The First Yellow Rose

My new neighbors next door are painting the outside of their house and doing more renovations.  I woke up once to the sound of their drilling as they took off their window security bars to paint the walls, but, I went back to sleep and slept through the noise!  The next time I woke up was when Dancer asked for breakfast.  It was 9:30 a.m.

Pink Rose  (blooming through the osteospermum)

The last rose is looking a bit distressed; we might have to thin out some of the osteospermum plants to give the rose bush more air and sunlight.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- The roses blooming in the garden
- Another sunny and warm day
- Being able to open the windows and doors to let the warm air in
- The scent of jasmine from the vine outside the door
- Working phones!

Today's joyful activity was walking in the garden, admiring the roses and other flowers.

Brunch was French toast; dinner will be spaghetti with meat sauce (I made the sauce last night for dinner; need to cook more pasta for tonight's dinner)

How is your Thursday coming along?

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The Phone Saga Conclusion


Yesterday (Tuesday), I returned to the phone store and spoke with R, the more helpful salesperson who had helped me much earlier, when I bought my new cell phone.  I explained the situation with the phone black box device and how I had received a new SIM card, which the previous salesperson said I needed to call the phone company to activate, and which I wasn't sure would even fit the device and, therefore, I didn't activate it.  He checked the card and said it was already activated!  Then, he inserted it into the device and I brought it home to see if it would work. I had already mentioned the option of having a second line put on my cell phone, but, I wanted to try everything else I could to get the device to work!  Before I left the store, I asked him till what time the store would be open and he said till 8:00 p.m., but, he leaves at 6:00 p.m.  He wouldn't be in the store on Wednesday, but, he'd be there on Thursday and Friday.

Well, unfortunately, the device didn't work!  The service indicator light remained solidly red.

Still Not Working

Well, boo and hiss!  So, I went back to the store (it's only about a 10 minutes drive).  And, to make an already long story short, I had the home phone line added to my cell phone.  According to salesperson R, it was a transfer of the number from one device to another and there was no additional cost!  He told me to use that number pretty much as I used the old home phone, just to make and accept phone calls and not try to text,  I'm fine with that. The cell phone number I had shows as my primary number and the transferred home phone number shows as "home".  

While I was at the store, another older lady came in asking for help and a different salesperson helped her.  I couldn't help overhearing the conversation - apparently, she, too, had to switch from a landline to a cell phone and she has never used a cell phone before and didn't know how to retrieve her messages and needed help to figure out how to use the phone.  I could really sympathize with her!  My current cell phone isn't my first, although it has new features; but, I have my daughter to show me how to set it up and use it, as she has the same type of phone.  

After I came home, I unplugged the home phone sets.  I need to find out where I can recycle them.  I will keep the black box device for a bit, just in case the phone company asks for it to be sent back to them (I had to send the old device back when I received this one, two years ago).  

It was around 5:00 p.m. when I got home from the store and it was 81F!  I watered some of the plants in the back garden - the blueberries, the newly planted out aloe vera plants, and some of the potted plants.

Then, I sat down to watch the news and unwind from the whole phone saga!  I guess I could have saved myself a lot of time and stress if I had been able to decide to go with a new cell line at the very beginning, when I first spoke with Salvador in Mexico City, but, I was resistant to that option at the time.  I felt like I needed to try everything else, short of having the phone company come out and rewire the house for a landline for double what I am currently paying for the basic services package or paying triple for the same services I had and that doesn't take into account the charges for the service call and rewiring, etc.  I shall give this a try (having the home phone number as an additional line on my cell phone) for now and see how it works out.  I guess it is a matter of getting used to it.  

Brunch was a scrambled egg on toast; dinner was leftover seafood potato balls.

On Tuesday, I was grateful for:

- Helpful salespeople
- Being able to have the home phone number transferred to my cell phone
- Safe drives to and from the store
- A sunny, warm day
- Garden flowers

Tuesday's joyful activity was getting the phone issue resolved (hopefully!)

Dogbane/Scaredy Cat Flowers

Today, Wednesday, is another sunny and warm day, with a high of 82F.  M was here in the morning and he watered the garden.  We also noticed that someone (the City?) had filled the irrigation bags in the parkway with water:

Filled Water Bag

It's the first time that I've noticed that they've been watered!  

M also bought me a packet of corn kernels to plant!  We have to figure out where to plant them and dig a new bed!  

Lunch/Dinner Compliments of Neighbor S

Neighbor S called me in the early afternoon and brought me a delicious meal of cooked salmon and bulgur wheat salad.  I warmed up a little of it and had for brunch; the rest is in the fridge for another meal.  I offered her some aloe vera plants for her garden, but, she didn't want any.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Another sunny and warm day
- M's help with the garden
- Neighbor S being as caring and generous as always
- Working appliances and equipment
- Electricity and gas to power those appliances

Today's joyful activity was spending time out in the garden. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Peach Leaf Curl

Peach Leaf Curl

Caused by the fungus Taphrina deformans.  

Spring rains and cooler weather are lovely for the garden plants, but, unfortunately, those same cool and wet conditions encourage this fungus to grow in the cells of the leaves of peach and nectarine trees as the new leaves emerge.

Peach Leaf Curl

They cause the leaves to grow unevenly in places, which creates these wavy deformed leaves.  Eventually, the fungus forms spores and the leaves turn yellow and fall. The experts don't recommend picking the leaves off the tree because the green areas of the leaves will continue to photosynthesize and make food for the tree.  However, fallen leaves should be removed and disposed of, so that the spores don't get into the soil.  New leaves will replace them and, provided the weather is warmer and dryer, the new leaves won't be affected.  However, if left untreated, the fungus can affect the fruit production, spread to fruit, and damage the tree, itself. 

More Damaged Leaves

The treatment recommended is to spray the tree with a copper and oil solution during the dormant period. once in the fall after the leaves have fallen and again, in the spring, before new leaves emerge.  M sprayed the tree, last year, but, maybe it wasn't enough.

So far, only the peach tree seems to be affected, the nectarine tree seems OK.  

The poor peach tree!  We will start thinning out the fruit, this week or next, and maybe we'll remove some of the more damaged leaves at the same time.  Maybe the early bearing variety wasn't such a good idea, after all, with the wetter springs we've had last year and this.

On Monday


Going Out of Business Dollar Store Haul

On Monday, I woke up around 9:30 a.m., after going to sleep around 4:30 a.m., fed Dancer, decided I needed more sleep, and went back to bed!  I slept through whatever partial solar eclipse we were supposed to be able to see.  When I woke up close to noon, the sun was shining brightly.

Around 3:00 p.m., I finally decided to go to the phone store.  Unplugged the device (the backup battery light came on), put it into a bag with the file and user manual, etc. and left to go to the store.  The device started beeping on the drive to the store, but, I ignored the beeps.  

When I got to the store, there was a handwritten sign on the door saying the store was closed for lunch (apparently only one person was working there) and will reopen at 3:45 p.m.  I had over half an hour to wait.

So, I decided to walk over to the dollar store that is closing.  The sign outside said 10% - 30% off, final sale on all items, etc.  Most of the items were 10% off; some fresh produce was 5% off.  The store wasn't very crowded, but, there were long lines as only two checkouts were open; however, when I was standing in line, they opened a third checkout and I was able to get into that line.  The shelves were already getting emptied and I saw someone buying cases of canned items and bottles of sauces.

I was very glad that I had bought certain items such as a new broom on my last visit because there weren't any brooms available, today.  I was happy to get a new mop, though, as I had wanted a new one ($1.35 +$0.13 tax = $1.48).

In addition to the mop, I bought a 29 fl. oz. jar of coconut oil ($4.99), a pastry cutter (something I have always wanted; $2.70 + $0.26 tax), 1 package of chili mango ($2.70). 1 package of chocolate mints ($1.30), 1 can of corned beef ($3.60 and two packages of dried chilies ($1.99@) 

I spent a total of $21.04.

After I bought my items and put them in the trunk of my car, I went to the phone store.  The salesperson who was on duty was not very helpful, at all.  At first, he said he didn't even know what the device was!  I showed him the manual that came with it, but, he didn't know about such devices.  Of course, as luck would have it, all the lights, including the service signal light, were on and green in the store! Maybe the store was in a stronger service signal area!  But, I had taken photos of the lights flashing red at home and I was able to show him the photos.  Still didn't do anything for him and he was ready to dismiss me.  It was only when he saw the phone bill that he took me somewhat seriously.  Then, I told him that the phone company customer service agent had told me to buy a new SIM card and he gave me a new SIM card (it was $5, but, he was able to waive the fee), but, I was at once able to tell that this new SIM card wouldn't work on my old phone device as it was bigger for one thing!  He claimed he couldn't activate it for me at the store, that I had to call the phone company and have them activate it.   I asked for the earlier salesperson who assisted me when I bought my new cell phone from them, but, he was not in today, he will be in tomorrow, I was told, and I could return tomorrow if I wished to.  So, I took the SIM card he gave me and came home.

By this time, it was past 5:00 p.m. and I hadn't eaten anything except for the morning cup of tea and I was feeling tired and discouraged.  My daughter called to ask what happened at the store and I told her that although I received a new SIM card, it wasn't activated.  I had also received a letter from the phone company in the mail, today, that stated that my account information might have been compromised as a result of their recent data breach and I needed to reset my passcode, etc.  If it's not one thing, it's another, isn't it?

We tried to reset the phone and I moved it to a different location per instructions on the phone company website (to an outlet near a window on an outside wall) but, the red lights are still there.  At this point, I was ready to give up!

Anyway, daughter needed to go to her chorus rehearsal and I ate a sandwich and drank some diluted juice.  Then, I watched the evening news, replied to blog comments, visited a few other blogs, etc., took the trash cans to the curb, cleaned out the fridge of some leftovers that were too old to eat, and tried to put the phone issues out of my mind.

Later in the evening, I video chatted with my daughter and I have decided that I will go back to the phone store, tomorrow afternoon, and ask them to add a new cell phone line with my current home phone number, to my cell phone.  It is important for me to keep the current home phone number.  Once that has been installed, I will have two cell phone lines on my one cell phone.  I don't really need two cell lines, but, I want to make sure that the new line will work properly.  The plan is to go back in about a week or so, and remove the current cell phone line.  I don't like the idea of being without a landline/home phone, but, one has to move with the times, I guess.

On the positive side, if I do go with the cell line, I will be able to declutter three cordless phones and their charging bases plus the black box device and I can repurpose the small table in the hallway as a side table or another plant stand!  

Brunch was sandwich with the last of the leftover beef curry.  Dinner was leftover rice with the last of the leftover shrimp curry.  There is still a little leftover rice, but, I might make some fried rice with it, tomorrow.  I need to make a meal plan for the rest of the week; I'm not planning to go grocery shopping this week, so the meal plan is based on what's in the pantry and freezer:

Brunches: Scrambled eggs with toast or fried potatoes, pancakes or waffles, fried rice, French toast, toast with peanut butter, tuna salad sandwiches, muffins if I bake some

Dinners: Spaghetti with meat sauce (and leftover garlic bread); baked salmon with savory rice and broccoli or snow peas from the freezer; fried breaded shrimp with oven fried potato wedges and salad, leftovers from the spaghetti and the baked salmon.

On Monday, I was grateful for:

- A mostly sunny and warmer day
- A safe drive to the stores and back
- Getting a few bargain priced items from the dollar store
- My daughter's help and patience with me as I figure out the phone situation
- Having options

Monday's joyful activity was doing one final shop at the dollar store!  

Plans for Tuesday include another trip to the phone store!

How was your Monday?  Were you able to see the eclipse?  What are your plans for Tuesday?  

Monday, April 8, 2024

Sunny on Sunday, Too

Mama Cat Found Herself a Sun-Warmed Brick on Which to Nap!

It was another sunny day, on Sunday.  I slept in and spent a relaxed morning, watching some online videos about gardening, frugal living, and money management. 

Later in the afternoon, I walked around the backyard and checked on the plants there, and saw Mama Cat enjoying a nap on a sun-warmed brick!  She had a piece of grass root or something on her, but, I didn't try to remove it because I didn't want to disturb her.  Even so, she got up, soon after I took this picture.  

I did a tiny bit of weeding while I was in the backyard and took some pictures:

The Newly Planted Bed of Aloe Vera
When M divided up the aloe vera plants growing in the planter, he replanted most of them in this area near the side wall.  He planted over two dozen plants there and a few more elsewhere.  Then, he put the rest of the plantlets into this container until we decide what to do with them!  There are at least another two or three dozen of aloe vera plantlets in there!  

Extra Aloe Vera Plantlets!

I might offer some of them to my neighbors and maybe put a "free" sign on the rest and leave them out by the curb.

In the evening, I took another 10 minutes or so walk up and down the driveway.  Then, I did a load of laundry (the dust sheets on the family room sofas) and covered the sofas with the other set of sheets.  I paid some bills that were coming due and scrubbed the toilets.  Later, I video chatted with my daughter.  She had gone to the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco with a friend:

Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco

Brunch had been an egg salad sandwich using the hardboiled Easter egg neighbor S gave me.  For dinner, I had leftover rice with leftover General Tso's chicken.  Some chocolate pudding for dessert. 

On Sunday, I was grateful for:
- A sunny day
- Daughter had a fun morning out with her friend
- Online videos
- Being able to pay my bills online
- Working appliances (even if the phone is not working!)

Sunday's joyful activities included being in the garden and enjoying the sunshine.

Plans for Monday include:
- Going to the phone store to see about a new SIM card
- Maybe a quick trip to the dollar store, depending on how crowded it might be
- Watering some of the fruit trees
- Taking the trash cans to the curb

How was your Sunday?  What are your plans for Monday?  Will you be able to watch the eclipse of the sun where you are?  If so, do you plan to watch it?


Sunday, April 7, 2024

Sunny Saturday

The Front Garden on a Sunny Saturday Afternoon

Looking down the front garden from the driveway; the pink flowers in the foreground are the geranium plants that M planted in the ground (they had been growing in pots near the front door).

The phone is still not working, although I tried to reset it a couple of times, today.  I must say, however, that it is nice and quiet without all the telemarketers and spam calls!  I called  my aunt to let her know that the home phone was still out and to call me on the cell phone when she wants to call me.  I also called my former neighbor T to let her know, too; she usually calls me on the weekend and does so on my home phone.  Then, I called T's daughter K to give her my cell phone number to call.  I suppose, if the new SIM card doesn't work (once I go and get a new one), I could call everyone and tell them to call me on my cell phone, instead.  

It was a lovely, sunny day, and I walked for a short period of time, up and down my driveway and sidewalk, chatted briefly with one of my neighbors, and admired the flowers! 

Later, I watched some videos online, chatted with my daughter who had gone grocery shopping in the afternoon (she said that there was a small earthquake in her area, this morning), ran the dishwasher, and handwashed another wool sweater I had knitted.  I had leftovers (the last meat pastry) for brunch and for dinner (leftover rice, leftover shrimp curry, leftover eggplant).  Then, I made some chocolate pudding for dessert, to use up the last of the milk before it went sour.  All in all, a nice, relaxed day!

On Saturday, I was grateful for:

- The earthquake in daughter's area was small, there was no damage, and daughter is safe
- The sunny day
- Garden flowers
- Chatting on the cell phone with family and friends
- Cell phone and internet services!

Saturday's joyful activity was walking out in the garden, enjoying the sunshine, fresh air, bird song, and the flowers blooming in the front garden.

I don't have any special plans for Sunday.  I hope to have another relaxed day.

How was your Saturday?  Any special plans for Sunday?

Saturday, April 6, 2024

The Phone Saga Continues on Friday!

Dracaena Plant

I moved the dracaena plant to this end of the dining table to make room for the plant stands at the other end.  This plant originally had three branches, but, one of them died and the other two were rather spindly looking, except for this side shoot that sprang from one of those side branches.  This side shoot is growing vigorously!  I cut off the dead branch and the other spindly looking side branches; the good branches have been cut into shorter lengths and put in a vase of water, to see if they will grow roots.  If they do, then, I'll pot them up and there will be some baby dracaena plants!  

The phone was working just fine this morning.  In the afternoon, I was on the phone with one of the monks at the temple when the call dropped and then, I couldn't call him back!  I checked the black phone box and, yes, the network status light was a solid red.  Later, I tried to reset the phone.  I unplugged it and plugged it back - no luck.  I turned it off and on again, and still, the red light was still there.  Finally, I pressed the reset button with a paper clip and that worked!  I had phone service, again!  My daughter called a little after 5:00 p.m. and there was no problem.  Friend R called around 8:00 p.m., and I was able to chat with her.  Later, however, after dinner, I checked on the phone and the red light is back!  My daughter thinks it might be the SIM card, so, I will be going to the phone store to see if I could get a new SIM card for it and see if that works.  If not, I guess I will be getting a new phone system!

It rained on Thursday night/early Friday morning, but, there was not rain during the day on Friday.  It was cloudy and cool though.

I spent a relaxed day.

I did some laundry, including washing one of my wool sweaters by hand (it is now laid out flat on a towel to dry).

I had a brief phone call with my cousin who moved to Florida - she has dementia and is almost non-verbal right now, but, her daughter called to say that my cousin had mentioned my name and when asked if she wanted to talk to me, had indicated yes.

I had a phone call (the one that got dropped) with one of the monks at the temple - he had emailed me a speech he needs to make in English at a funeral and asked if I could read it over and make any edits as needed to correct the grammar, etc.  I made the edits and sent it back to him; I consider it a blessing to be able to assist them in this way.

Later in the evening, M was here to tend to the garden.  He planted two geraniums I had growing in pots in the front garden and divided and planted some of the aloe vera plants in the ground, too.  There are dozens of baby aloe vera plants!

I watched news in the evening and later, chatted on the phone with friend R.  The phone was still working; it went off sometime after that phone call.  Still later, I video chatted with my daughter.

On Friday, I was grateful for:

- Being able to talk with my cousin
- Being able to help the monks at the temple
- The phone working at least part of the day!
- Other working appliances
- M's help with the garden

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

Plans for Saturday include more laundry and maybe some baking (I've some overripe bananas that need to be turned into banana bread or muffins).

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


Friday, April 5, 2024

Rain on Thursday!

Raindrops on Blueberry Leaves

There was rain in the forecast for Friday (there still is rain on the forecast for Friday), but, it rained on Thursday, too!  The morning was mostly cloudy with the sun trying to shine through breaks in the clouds, but the rain clouds moved in during the late afternoon.

I was woken up by the sound of the phone ringing and, although it was identified as "suspected spam" and I didn't pick it up, I was happy to know that the phone was still working!  LOL.  

In the afternoon, the pharmacy called to let me know that Dancer's medication was ready for pick up.  So, I drove to the pharmacy to pick up the medication and then, went to the doughnut shop next to the pharmacy and bought myself a treat!


I enjoyed my doughnut and a cup of tea after I came home and then, watched the evening news.  It was then that I heard the rain and went outside to take a photo or two, with this month's monthly photo challenge theme of "weather" in mind!  

One of the news items in the local news today was the announcement that my favorite dollar store will be closing!  All their stores in the four states in which they are currently located will be closed and liquidation sales will start as of Friday!  I was sad to hear that as I like shopping there and they have good bargains.  I'm glad that I was able to shop there when my daughter was here.  Daughter suggested that I go back and stock up on a few more of the items I regularly buy from them, but, I don't know if I will.  I feel so sorry for the store employees who will be out of a job, very soon.  

On Thursday, I was grateful for:

- The availability of medications for Dancer
- Friendly pharmacy staff
- A safe drive to the pharmacy and back
- Rain for the garden
- Working appliances and equipment!

Thursday's joyful activity was eating a doughnut!  LOL!

Plans for Friday include paying bills and tending to the garden, provided it doesn't rain so hard that M will not be able to garden!  We had planned to divide and repot the aloe vera plant, but, it can wait until next week.  

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

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Phone Saga Part 2 on Wednesday

Wireless Phone Device "Black Box"

This is the wireless phone device that plugs into the wall outlet and my home phone charging base connects to this box and gets plugged into the outlet, as well.  You can see that the phone service indicator light is red.  Yesterday, the battery charge light was also red and blinking.  None of the phone signal strength lights are lit.  This is how the phone device looked this morning.  I tried to reset it, again, this morning, but, the phone service indicator light remained red.

Salvador from the Mexico City phone service center called me this morning and apologized for not calling me back on Tuesday evening.  He asked if I had a chance to discuss things with my daughter and if I had decided what I wanted to do.  I asked him a couple of questions about the basic services offered as part of the new landline and then, told him and I wanted to go to the phone store in the afternoon to see if they had a newer device.  He told me that, even if I get a newer device, the phone company no longer services these devices.  But, he said, maybe I could buy a new SIM card and insert that and see if that helps.  I thanked him and he said he will call me back later.

Today being Wednesday, it was gardener M's day to tend to the garden in the morning, so my plan was to be here when M arrived, then, drop a few things off at friend R's place, and then, go to the phone store.  M arrived in the late morning as usual, and we spent some time chatting, as usual, and he cut the grass in the back garden (he actually had to use his lawn mower, as opposed to the weed whacker!)  He also brought me a variegated succulent cutting which he potted up before he left.

After he left, I had some leftover milkrice with friend S's chicken curry for brunch.  Then, I gathered all the clothes I was taking to friend R (some of the clothes that my cousin had given us, which my daughter and I decided we didn't want; R will pick what she wants and then, probably send the rest to Sri Lanka for her daughters and granddaughter to select what they want and give away the rest).  I also took her some pastries I had kept aside to give her and a pair of compression socks I had bought for her to try.  

Then, I gathered the file folder with all the phone related literature I wanted to take to the phone store (the user manual for the phone device, etc.) and unplugged the device to take it with me (so they could insert the SIM card for me).  Of course, all the various indicator lights went off when I unplugged the device, but, then, the backup battery kicked in, I heard a familiar beep that the phone makes after power goes off and comes back on, and the lights lit up, again, including the service indicator light and signal strength lights!  I quickly plugged the device back into the outlet and the lights stayed on!

All Green Lights All the Way!

Oh, my goodness!  I picked up the phone and there was a dial tone!  I called my aunt to see if I could make a call and yes!  I could make a call!  I could access my voicemail!  I had my phone service back on!  The first call I received was a telemarketer, and I let it go to voicemail, but, I was receiving calls!  I hadn't even gone to the phone store to see about a new SIM card!  I was so happy!  

I decided that I didn't need to go to the phone store, after all!  I am not sure how long the service connection will work, but, I will not worry about replacing the phone service until it goes off again!  And if it goes off again, then, I'll know to go through the different steps I took to reset the phone and if it still doesn't work, then, I'll go to the store to see about a new SIM card!  And that's what I told Salvador when he called me back in the evening to see if I bought a new SIM card!  I told him that the phone was working now and I didn't need to buy a new SIM card.  He then said that maybe there had been a service outage in my area, even though there was no indication of it on the website.  Yes, my daughter had already checked to see if there was a service outage in my area and the website hadn't said anything.  But, it could just be that they hadn't updated their website.  

I thanked Salvador for his assistance and told him that I will give him a good review if I receive a survey from the phone company about my recent experience with their customer service.  He seemed very pleased about that!  I was very happy that I decided to wait and not cancel my current home phone service and get a new landline or cell phone line at a higher rate than what I am currently paying.  If I continue to have problems with the services, I'll consider making a change, later.  But, right now, I have a working home phone!  

In the afternoon, I took the clothes and other items to friend R and dropped them off (it was a curbside visit and I had my mask on).  Then, I came home and relaxed.  

I had a call from Dancer's pharmacy regarding the change in his medication and I was told that the medication should be ready tomorrow (Thursday) and they will call me when it was ready for pick up.  As I told my friend, I might treat myself to a doughnut when I go to pick up the medication; I feel like I could do with a treat after all the stress about the phone!  All evening, I've been checking the phone device to make sure that the lights were still on!  LOL.  

On Wednesday, I also gave Dancer his flea prevention medication (I usually give it to him on the 1st of the month, but, I had other things on my mind with the phone being out of order).  

Dinner was some leftover chicken croquettes from the Cuban bakery; daughter was going to take them back with her, but, she changed her mind and took only the chicken empanadas.  

On Wednesday, I was grateful for:

- Having my home phone service back on again!
- I didn't have to change any of the phone services!
- M tending to the garden and bringing me another cutting of a plant for my garden
- A safe drive to friend R's and back
- Working appliances!  Did I mention my phone is working again?

Wednesday's joyful activities included chatting on the home phone with family and friends!  I was even happy to get a couple of "suspected spam" calls (which I didn't answer)!  But, it was joyful to hear the phone ring!  LOL!

Plans for Thursday include picking up Dancer's medication when ready, doing some house cleaning and tidying, and some laundry.  I also need to catch up on some blog reading and commenting, as I am a bit behind on that!

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

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

The Phone Saga on Tuesday

Eurasian Collared Dove

At first glance, it might look like a mourning dove, but, the dark ring on the neck and the more squared tail reveals that this is an Eurasian Collared Dove.  Apparently as happy to eat the cat kibbles as Chicken Little and Rocky Raccoon!  I don't put out birdseeds to feed the birds, with garden cats around (although Mama Cat tends to ignore the birds for the most part), but, the birds don't seem to mind the lack of birdseeds!

Tuesday didn't go quite as planned.  For one thing, I couldn't fall asleep until 5:00 a.m.  As a result, I changed my plans to get up at 9:00 a.m. to call the phone company and went back to bed until 10:00 a.m.  I had a cup of tea and called the phone company about the home phone.

To give a little background about my home phone:  It used to be that I had a regular landline for the home phone.  Then, I switched to a phone/cable/internet bundle, back in the early 2000s, and I was told that the phone company was replacing wired landlines with fiber optics.  So, we switched to a fiber optics home phone, with a service box that the phone plugged into.  Then, in 2022, that box needed to be replaced and they were no longer doing fiber optics, it was replaced by a wireless phone service and we received a new, smaller, sleeker box to be plugged into an outlet and the phone plugged into that.  I know it was in January 2022 because I have the invoice for the new box.  That is the box that was showing that there was no service signal.  

Anyway, I called the phone company and asked to be transferred to a service agent and after a wait of less than 5 minutes, was connected through to Salvador in Mexico City.  I explained the situation with the phone, what daughter and I tried to do (reset it, plug it to another outlet, etc.) described which lights were green, which lights were either flashing red (battery, indicating that the backup battery was at 20% charge or less) or solid red (service status, indicating that there was no service) and the total lack of signal strength lights.  We went through the routines of unplugging and plugging in the device, turning it on and off, removing the battering and inserting it again, pressing a reset button with a paper clip (as it was inside a small hole), then, when nothing changed, taking the battery out, removing the SIM card, wiping it with a tissue, and replacing the SIM card "exactly how it was placed before" and the battery and pressing the reset button again.  And, hurray!  The battery light changed to green!  Woo hoo! 

But, the service status light remained stubbornly red and there were no signal strength lights.  

After over one hour of being on the phone with Salvador and fiddling with the box, he said that the phone company no longer serviced this model of wireless phone service boxes.  Had I been thinking a little clearer, I might have asked him if they could replace the box with a newer model, but, I didn't ask him that and he didn't mention anything about replacement equipment.  According to him, I had two options.  Cancel the home phone and get a new cell phone line or get a new landline (which would cost double what I am currently paying, of course).   But, wait, I thought I had to switch to wireless phone service because they no longer provided landlines?  Well, apparently they do still provide landlines!  Really?

I found the whole thing to be rather stressful and I no longer like to make quick decisions about such things as which phone service option to pick.  I told Salvador that I wanted to discuss the options with my daughter and he said he'll call me back in the evening, around 7:30 p.m., my time.  I discussed things with my daughter after she got off work and I decided that I would get a landline with the most basic of services at the higher rate (the more comprehensive phone package cost three times as much as what I'm paying now), if I could keep the same phone number.  I use my home phone number for most of my contact information and giving it up and using my cell phone number would mean notifying so many people and businesses, and making changes to documents, etc.  It seems overwhelming.  

However, Salvador didn't call me back in the evening.  So, I am wondering if he would call me back in the morning, instead?  If not, I want to call the phone company again (but, I don't want to go through the whole rigmarole of unplugging, plugging, resetting, etc., of the phone service box!)  Another option might be to go to the phone store and ask if they have a newer, replacement box that they do service and see if that works! Or, switch my cell phone number to the home phone number and use that for all my phone uses?  If not, I'll get the new landline, provided I can keep the same phone number!  

After I got off the phone with Salvador, I had a long chat with my aunt who called me on my cell phone since the home phone is out, brought the trash cans back in, checked the mail, etc., and had a cup of tea.  Then, called Dancer's pharmacy and left a message giving them my cell phone number to call me when the new prescription is ready for pick up, because they won't be able to reach me through my home phone!  

Later, I watched the news and chatted with my daughter.  Then, chatted with friend R.  Somehow, I feel that the day got away from me!

Brunch had been a piece of the raisin bun.  For dinner, I warmed up leftovers from the Easter dinner that neighbor S gave.  

On Tuesday, I was grateful for:

- Having a cell phone!  
- Getting a service agent who talked me through the steps to reset the battery part of the phone box
- Daughter helping me with discussing the various options available for the phone service
- Phone calls with family and friends
- Leftovers!

Tuesday's joyful activity was playing come computer games.

Plans for Wednesday include hopefully talking to Salvador or someone new at the phone company to discuss my options, maybe going to the phone store to see if they can help me, tending to the garden with M, maybe pick up Dancer's medication if ready, and drop off a few things for friend R.  I also want to do some cleaning and tidying.

How was your Tuesday?  What are your plans for Wednesday?  Do you still have a landline or home phone?  Or, do you use your cell phone only? 

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

On the First Day of April

Surprise Dinner from Friend S

On the first day of April, I made my usual milkrice for breakfast and I cut fresh flowers (red roses and jasmine) to place at the altars and on the mantelpiece next to my mother's picture.

Then, it was time to drive daughter to the airport.  There was a long line of vehicles to get to the airport. with people traveling after spring break and Easter, but, we had left in plenty of time and daughter wasn't late for her flight.  I dropped her off in front of the Departure's building and drove back home.  Later, she texted me to say that her check in luggage was 12 pounds over the weight limit and she had to repack her suitcase, transferring most of the food items I had given her from the suitcase to her carryon luggage (her backpack and purse).  She also said that the TSA agent had asked her if she was going on a camping trip, after inspecting her carry on luggage, because she had so much food with her, but, she had laughed and explained that she was going back to her apartment after visiting her mother and her mother always gives her food to take back.

Daughter had a safe flight and journey to her apartment.  Then, she unpacked her suitcase and put away the food, went to the corner convenience store to buy a small container of half and half for her coffee, and went to chorus practice.

I came home after dropping her off at the airport and realized that my home phone was not working!  It had stopped working, yesterday, but, my daughter was able to reset it and it worked until this afternoon.  She talked me through the steps to reset it again, this evening, but, it is still not working and I think it is due to an equipment malfunction.  I need to call the phone company, later, and put in a service request.

There was also an email from the vet about Dancer's blood test results and apparently, he needs his thyroid medication dosage increased.  She will call it into the pharmacy and wants to see him again in two weeks.

I had planned to visit friend R in the afternoon, but, I spoke with her (at least my cell phone worked!) and we decided to postpone the visit till Wednesday.  

Later in the evening, my Sri Lankan friend S (not neighbor S), and her husband visited and brought me the lovely rice and curry meal pictured above!  There's basmati rice in the covered container, fish curry and dhal in the small plastic bags, coconut sambol, cashew curry, chicken curry, and fried eggplant in the divided container!  As usual, friend S said it was nothing much, just some rice and a few curries!  She asked if she could have some curry leaves and we picked a bag of curry leaves and some lemons for her to take back.

After they left, I took the trash bins out to the front of the driveway to be emptied, tomorrow.  Later, I called and chatted with aunt C (I had called her, earlier, and left a message explaining that my home phone was not working, so she wouldn't worry if she tried to call me and couldn't get through to me).

After dinner, I video chatted with daughter for a bit.  She has to go into the office, tomorrow, so, she'll have an early start to the day.  I, too, want to wake up early so I can call the phone company to book a service call.

Weekly Meal Planning:

I didn't do any meal planning when daughter was here as we were treating ourselves to take out and snacks, etc.  I was planning to go back to meal planning this week, but, with friends bringing me dinner and plenty of assorted leftovers in the fridge, I think my meal plan for the first week in April will be...leftovers!  LOL. 

On the first day of April, I was grateful for:

- The start of a new month
- Daughter had a safe flight and journey back to her apartment
- Cell phones!
- Friend S bringing me dinner
- The vet contacting me with Dancer's blood test results

Joyful activities on April 1st included spending the morning with daughter before she had to leave, making milkrice and picking fresh flowers for the altars, and a visit from friend S and her husband, bringing me dinner!

Plans for Tuesday include calling the phone company to report the home phone malfunction.

How was your first day of April?  What are your plans for Tuesday?

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Monthly Photo Challenge - March

Eileen is hosting the March Monthly Photo Challenge (although she is currently unable to access her blog!) and the theme is "Begins with Q or R" and "there must be at least two photos for the letter Q!"

These are my finds for the March Photo Challenge:

"Begins with Q":


Fan Quilt Drying on the Rack

Scrap Quilt on the Bed

Quarter(s) - Money:

Quarter Dollars or Quarters
Each is worth 25 Cents

Quarter(s) - Music:

Quarter Note

Also known as "crotchet" in the UK, but known as a quarter note in the US.


Quavers or Eighth Notes

Known as a quaver in the UK and called an eighth note in the US!

And here they are together!

A Quaver and a Quarter Note!


Quality Street

"Begins with R":


Red Stemmed Celery Stalks


Red Roses

Rose Leaves:
Rose Leaves




And last, but, not least:


Dancer Demonstrates "Round"

Thank you, Eileen, for this opportunity to participate in the Monthly Photo Challenge.  I had a lot of fun with this challenge!

April's Monthly Photo Challenge theme is "Weather".