Frugal Friday

I have my budget done for July, and everything is covered with our SS checks(our only income). It’s not a lot but it covers our mortgage, utilities, Rubi payment, gas, and food. Things like Home Depot etc come out of the rent that both kids give us. So we get by.

With the cooler weather, I’ve only had to turn the cooler on a few hours in the afternoon when the house gets stuffy and just a little too warm. Hopefully, that’ll help our PGE bill.

I’m undecided about swimming tomorrow with it being the 4th of July weekend. There was lots of traffic on I – 80 yesterday and this morning too. I think I’ll wait and decide tomorrow morning. Usually, Saturday morning is the least busy freeway drive to Roseville but because it’s a holiday w/e it might be busy. Other than that, my son is going camping at 2 different campgrounds so he won’t be home. I’ll probably do some sort of BBQ stuff on Webi.

Well, have a good and safe 4th of July.

It’s almost July.

Wow, where did the time go?? Tomorrow is July 1st. It’s been a very nice summer so far even without going out in the RV. This time of year I’d rather stay home than deal with everyone out in campgrounds and on the road. Right now the weather is lovely again and our temperatures will be in the 80s for the next week at least. We even sat outside after dinner last night.

I didn’t walk this morning. I just felt I needed a break from getting up at 4:45. But I am going down to the sports center to do weights. I’m not there yet, but I think a few more weeks and my muscles will be much stronger and back to where I was when I was going to the gym in Auburn(pre-Covid). It is a commitment though, that’s for sure.

Here’s an updated pizza picture, after the Ooni disaster. This one was perfect. As one person commented, Ooni is overly optimistic about the time it takes to heat up the oven to 900 degrees.

This was using OO flour too which made the dough very pliable and easy to work with.

The garden is doing well, and here’s some of the garlic harvest.

These were planted last about 6 months ago. A few bulbs are a really nice size. That’s one onion out of a few I’ve already used. I’m not sure how many onions will get with this second planting but I hope enough for a few months.

I dried some mint in the dehydrator and plan to do more so we can have mint tea. I also have quite a bit more parsley I will start today. The tomatoes are looking very good and I hope I get a bumper crop. I’d like to can some salsa and of course, do my freezer sauce. I’ve been watching a Youtuber” The Happy Homestead”, and she does a lot of pressure cooking canning. I’m kind of freaked about using a pressure cooker canner so I’m not sure that’s for me. But she does lots of broths and meat things which do need that type of canning. Does anyone reading here use a pressure cooker canner? and how does it work?? is it easy?? BTW, her youtube channel is very refreshing as she is honest and open with her information and quite informative. I’ve unsubscribed from a bunch of YouTubers, even my favorite Benita Larsson in Stockholm. When someone starts putting money ahead of content and adding the Patreon thing at 3 levels, I just see they’re doing it for the money. The content of her videos has gone way down the rabbit hole of now the ” 10 things to ……( fill in the blank). I find that supremely annoying. Of course, in her defense, she does say this is her job now but still. 😦

Simple Sunday

I’ve been really down about the Roe decision. Those states like Mississippi and Texas have so many poor women of color and that’s who’s going to suffer. So awful. There’s an excellent opinion piece in the NYT by Michelle Goodwin, I don’t know if this will copy and paste but basically, she lays out that Alioto is wrong about constitutional precedent on abortion. She herself was raped by HER FATHER, and had to endure his sexual predatory abuse for years. It’s worth reading.

The week other than that has been good except for the heat we’re still having. It’s been 98 now for a few days and looks like it’ll be that at least till Tuesday. We had just a Caprese salad for dinner last night with a piece of homemade sourdough toasted with cheese. Tonight I plan on zucchini fritters with stuffed peppers I have in the freezer I’ll put in the Instapot. The rest of the week, who knows. Maybe some take-out tacos.

I put all the garlic in our closet hanging on nails so it can cure some more. The garden shed was great to dry it but now is too hot to store it so the closet is the only cool dark place I have. Most of the onions I planted with the garlic haven’t done well but the ones in the front garden are doing fine. I hope to get a good harvest from them. No tomatoes yet though although the plants look good. I went out to the farm stand yesterday and picked up lettuce,zucchini,red onions, radishes, and, a bell pepper. We’re lucky to have this farm so close to us and they are doing a great job. It’s called Foothill Roots farm, in Meadow Vista if you want to google it.

I’m loving going to the pool and adding in the weights at the gym. But with gas prices so high, it’s adding to the expense of my $40 membership. I’m hoping gas goes down some. I do get almost 27 miles a gallon in the Santa Fe and my daughter did say I could use her Honda fit which gets almost 50mpg but still it is adding to the cost. So I guess I’ll have to weighhit out.( no pun intended):)

Next Monday is the 4th of July and honestly, I don’t think we have a lot to celebrate. Sad really.

Frugal Friday

We went to Costco an that was over $400. Granted, lots were items that will be used for all of July and beyond. The sale items are where the deals are and I got the giant Windex bottle, Cholula 2 pack, San Marzano tomatoes( the best for pizza sauce), and lots of other pantry staples. Some of those things will last a year( think the giant jug of Windex), and others will last 6 months (think Cholula). So, all in all, it was good. The store was busy as usual and I sort of thought with the issues with gas prices and inflation there would be fewer people but that didn’t seem to be the case. We also filled the Chevy truck up with gas at Costco as that’s the cheapest anywhere.

We’ve had all our meals at home and some tasty ones. Last night even with our heat wave, I used the Weber and cooked BBQ Chicken. It came out great. I don’t know what it is with that small gas Weber, but everything comes out excellent. Maybe it’s the control dial. Anyway, if you’re looking for a great tabletop BBQ this is the one and worth the price. One night we just had egg salad sandwiches, and another night was just some hot dogs with homemade potato salad. Simple meals when it’s this hot.

I stopped at the library yesterday to pick up a hold and picked up a few more books. It is such a nice library and the self-checkout is convenient.

Today’s another hot day and in a little while, I’ll close all the windows to keep the cool in. I’ve been turning on the coolers around noon. I usually start with just the one cooler in the entryway and then the front room one later.

How I learned to live with an incurable cancer.

This past week marked my 17th year of living with Multiple Myeloma. I was diagnosed on June 15, 2005. But it’s clear that when I initially had the compression fracture of T 10 in November of 2003, Myeloma probably had been roaming around my body for a couple of years. But by the time of diagnosis, it was now a plasmacytoma on T 10. So that’s almost a year and a half from when I had the fracture. The course of treatment was 17 rounds of radiation, followed by 6 months of chemo every 3 weeks. Induction treatments now include Revlimid and Velcade which wasn’t available at my time of diagnosis. I had Doxil, Vincristine, Cytoxan, and dexamethasone. After that, it was preparation for the STC. I had the SCT in March of 2006.

I think part of the shock for me was, that I’d never really ever been sick, nor did I hardly ever use traditional medicine( since I was never really ill). Even at the time of diagnosis, my compression fracture was healing to some degree and I was not anemic, a common symptom of myeloma. In fact then and even now my CBC panel and CMP panel are all normal. But add in a light chain test and Spep test and there you go. At diagnosis, my SPEP was at 3.9. Not terribly high but high enough.

All of this was certainly foreign to me and I felt like a ‘stranger on a strange planet’. The first time I entered the chemo room, I cried. It truly was bizarre to see so many chemo Iv’s and patients ‘hooked’ up. After a time I did better and came to appreciate the hard work of the chemo nurses. Even now, last year going down to Rocklin Infusion, the nurses are just the best and it takes a special person to be a chemo nurse.

The first year was the hardest. The Stem Cell Transplant was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone thru. Some people sail the SCT, but I was pretty miserable. I couldn’t eat( I had to get 1 insure down a day), I had constant diarrhea, and just was barely conscious. But I did get thru it and it took almost a year to recover. But I did. I was stronger and wiser.

So what have I learned?

First, take each day as it comes. We really only have this moment and how we live in that moment takes us to the next moment. I still try to gauge how I feel each day and what I need to do that day or not.

Second, I learned to be more patient. There’s a time for all things and you can’t push time. So when I was in the midst of appts, treatments, etc, there was no rushing or trying to do something before it was time to do it( if that makes sense).

Thirdly, your blood is your blood, and the same with facts. The numbers are the numbers and you can wish, scream, pray, jump up and down but it won’t change a thing. Your blood is your blood. So, of course, be positive but no imaginary person in the sky is going to help you. It might make you feel better for doing it (the praying part) but it’s not going to change your blood or take away the tumors or whatever. This is not to say be reckless, or eat junk food( only occasionally:) ) or whatever but be sensible, eat healthy things and try and do some exercise even if it’s just walking.

Four, around five years into my journey, I started becoming more minimalist. As I’ve mentioned before, I had 4 great years with no treatment and my cancer was in remission. But myeloma just doesn’t go ‘away’. There are always some rogue cells and then you relapse. Flylady jump-started my decluttering and doing a daily ‘tidy up’. I started always having a clean counter and sink. And it really does work.

Fith, it is what it is. Always.

Becoming minimal really changed, although slowly, how I felt about everything. Money, bills, life, buying things, not buying things. and so much more.

When there’s always the “what if, when??”, it’s very hard not to obsess. Early on in this journey, I got a prescription for anti-anxiety medicine. It was a life saver. I stopped obsessing over everything. So, I suppose that obsessing taught me to not worry about what was going to happen but just BE with it. Although in truth, I needed the anti-anxiety medicine just to cope. Now, I don’t and figure, it is what it is.

In some ways, living with incurable cancer, it’s always there somewhere lurking in your mind. ( and unfortunately)in your body. You just have to acknowledge it and get on with living.

Since 2005, I relapsed in 2010, 2015, and 2019. Each time I’ve been lucky the treatments have worked although I suspect each time between relapses will lessen. That’s ok. It’s not my first rodeo.

To quote Mary Oliver:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” — Mary Oliver, The Summer Day

and this one…

“Instructions for living a life.

Pay attention.

Be astonished.

Tell about it.”

― Mary Oliver, Sometimes

Simple Sunday

HAPPY JUNETEENTH TOO!

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL DAD’S OUT THERE, of kids, and furry kids too.

After the fiasco with the Ooni, yesterday we lit the pellets again and did get the temperature to 990 degrees. So that was working and probably what we did wrong was not wait long enough for the temperature and I think I need to scale the toppings way back. I did go and order Ooni pellets just to have the right specific ones they have.

This morning we had a nice walk with only one other person who has been showing up all week. He’s nice and seems to be enjoying walking. I’m planning on making a Father’s Day brunch of baked eggs with spinach in the individual lodge pans, bacon, both real and veggie, biscuits ,and homemade jam. I’m not sure what I’m planning for dinner but I might do Praeger burgers with corn, and I have some potatoes to use.

Our weather turns very hot by Wednesday, so today is probably a good day to BBQ and sit outside. When it’s 95 out it’s just too hot.

The pool was really nice yesterday because there were not a lot of swimmers. Almost everyone had their own lane which is rare. I enjoyed it immensely. After that, I went to the newish Trader Joe’s for a few things mainly wine, and bagels. I also got milk and juice and microgreens which I love on sandwiches. I was out of there in 15 minutes. We are planning Costco this week, but my son loves his bagels for breakfast.

This week is mellow, no appts or anything, just normal day to day stuff and a trip to Costco. I’m sure Costco will be pricey as so many prices have gone up. Even their bagels which used to be 5.99 are now 7.99. and that was 6 weeks ago. There’s not much you can do except try and hold to a budget and not freak out.

Flylady zone is the bedroom, if you follow the zones. She had a good description of decluttering the bedroom on her website which is really awful aesthetically. But the person who runs her website does a good job describing how to start under the bed, then to the right of the bed then left. And she always says, just do 15 minutes. I think Flylady works if you modify it to fit your circumstances.

Here’s a few pictures from the week, a funny video of Ciri the ‘mama kat’.

That’s a vulture sunning itself.

The Gus(ter)!!!!

She’s playing with a TOY mouse!!!

Ha, The Ooni pizza disaster.

Well, it was the first time using the Ooni this season but still. 😦

I don’t have a picture but suffice to say the one pizza came out in pieces and the first came out in one piece but not really charred on the bottom enough. My guess is one of two things: the pellets are not heating up the pizza stone enough and we need to look at a different pellet, and two the oven just wasn’t coming up to temperature(it’s supposed to come up to 925 ‘) and that’s why the second one wasn’t cooking right.

I went in the house and put together the third one, which was gouda cheese and jalapenos, and that cooked better and came out in one piece. I’ll need to check with Ooni about getting it up to the right temperature as it had enough time to do so. Also, check out different pellets at the store or online.

I only know of one other blogger who has an Ooni, but does anyone else use a pizza oven like this with any tips. Barclay did feed the pellets for almost 15 minutes but maybe that wasn’t long enough.

Oh well, cooking disasters can only make you stronger or get rid of the cause:(

Friday things

We woke up to very cool temperatures and a breeze. It’s a nice break. It looks like 90-degree weather is back for the rest of the week. The park was nice with just a few other walkers.

I just finished making the pizza dough for tonight and we’re going to use the Ooni. That should be fun. I also was working on my menu list for the week. I’m using food from the freezer and the pantry. So far I have spaghetti with meat sauce/plain marinara for the veggie. Then a tofu curry, taco night will be bean tacos and I think we’ll do a brinner this week too. I also have some shrimp to use so maybe a shrimp scampi. B will eat shrimp so that makes it easy.

I went to the Roseville gym yesterday and it was a little busier than the other 2 times but still nothing like the gym we used to go to. I like that it’s small but well laid out and has all the weight machines I like. My plan is to go 2x a week. If/when I have to go back into treatment then all this will change but for now it is what it is.

After the gym, I stopped at a Safeway near the gym and thought I could get the Boars head lunch meat for the week but they didn’t have anything I wanted( no turkey, chicken,) which I thought was really odd. But I did get some ham. We are planning a big Costco trip next week. I’m thinking Wednesday as their ad starts and coffee is on sale. Usually, I avoid the first sale days as it’s busier but we need coffee so that’s the best day for me.

I canceled our Delta Dental of California plan as our dentist dropped Delta dental as in- network. So my last cleaning was like $150 with fluoride( which they don’t cover anyway) but Delta Dental paid $20 on the claim. So it’s not even worth it to be paying $70 a month. I guess we’ll just pay out of pocket for 2 cleanings a year and then xrays. We just aren’t interested in looking for an in network dentist. I honestly don’t know why Medicare wouldn’t have some dental plan for seniors. I’m going to do the same with VSP (vision) but that’s set up differently as a contract so I’m not sure if I can cancel that or not. I’ll probably check next week.

It’s just a few days to the summer Solciste. It’s kind of been a weird start to the spring and summer. We don’t have any RV trips till September which is probably a good thing with gas prices. We also decided that if Santa Barbara is too expensive( gas wise) in October we’ll cancel that as it’s our furthest destination. But there’s still time to contemplate that.

We finished harvesting all our garlic and it’s a bumper crop. This was garlic we planted last fall in barrels. That did the trick and I must have 3 dozen bulbs. After they cure some I’ll probably store them in a dark cool place. I need to look up other ways that I could preserve them. I could maybe mince them and freeze them in ice cube trays??

Sunday is father’s day and I’ll do a big brunch for Barclay and the kids can give their presents to him. Being a Dad was a great joy for him and he’s always loved it.

So, we’ve not had any messages back from our tree guy about moving the logs with the wire in them that they left over on our neighbors property. I texted the guy 4 times and B also called and left messages. Nothing. So finally I was fed up and worried the neighbor was getting pissed, so B rented a small trailer that had a drop-down ramp. Both my son and daughter rolled them up on the trailer and then B drove the truck over to our property and rolled them off. It’s very strange that Brian( the owner) didn’t call us back. He’s always been super responsive. I hope nothing has happened to him. Anyway, it’s all complete now. It has been absolutely great to have that tree gone and when you look at where we drive out it’s right thru where the tree was:) So it’s a good thing it’s gone.