Simple Sunday

We are getting things ready in the trailer and I’ve been working on the menu and foodstuff. I’m making lists for Tuesday morning since we want to leave by 8:30. With one stop for gas I’m guessing arriving around 1 or 1:30.

I plan on doing 2 Lodge meals so that’ll be fun. Then at least 1 BBQ maybe 2. Cooking outside is so nice and then the kitchen doesn’t get messy.

I went to the Auburn gym this morning and then over to Target. I wanted to get some of the Stasher bags to put things in. They are a reusable silicone bag in lots of sizes. I got the snack size and then the sandwich size which I plan to use for sliced cheese camping, and then a 4 cup bag. They were on sale but still they are pricey. If I like using them I’ll get more slowly to build up a nice supply.

These are a daffodil hybrid. I can’t remember if I got these from Brecks or Johnny’s but they are so pretty.

Frugal Friday

It’s been an ok week budget-wise. We did go back to Costco for the things that were still on sale and other staples. I think we’re set until May sometime.

We leave for Wrights Beach next week so I will stop at Winco for just a few things. I usually take a premade mac and cheese, salad paks, peanut butter, etc. There are no stores really once you hit Bodega Bay except little convenience stores and there is one market but very expensive. It’s really better to have meals planned out.

We’re there longer than I thought, for 5 nights. Then we stay in Napa for one night too. It does help with the drive home to stop halfway. Going over to the coast is about 4- 4 1/2 hours so it’s a bit of a drive. Plus Napa has the full hookups whereas Wrights has no hookups at all. Not even available water. You need to have your water in the tank before parking. We’ll manage but probably need to be conservative.

I have a bunch of books to bring and I may bring my knitting. Of course, there’s the beach to walk on too, and the cliff trail. All in all, it should be nice weather and hopefully a nice trip.

I’m working on May’s budget and need to factor in Rubi’s DMV and insurance. That’ll take all our misc money for the month. May is my daughter’s birthday too so I’ll need to budget a birthday dinner of her choice.

I dropped off another bag of books for the FOL. Most were cookbooks that I finally decided I never make anything from so why was I keeping them? Also my copy of the Tightwad Gazette, which is fun to read but it’s pretty dated information. Plus I was never into extreme frugality like she was. Someone will probably love finding it at the used book sale.

This week both of our cars got a rock thrown at the windshield and put a star crack in them. I’m not sure if we’re calling to try and get it fixed or just wait and see if they get worse. Both were on the same area of the freeway so I’m guessing the road is rough from winter storms. Oh well, it’s always something.

Thankful Thursday

  1. A beautiful sunny day with everything green and lush. The park is very pretty now with the trees coming out. We now have 3 Canada Geese families.
  2. That I have wonderful adult children that I get along with so well. My daughter and I hit up our local nursery, Green Acres, to get some pony packs of tomatoes and some other veggie starts. She had sprouted an entire tray of tomatoes but that last frost got them even in the greenhouse. She picked out a bird bath that was her early birthday present.
  3. For the lovely indoor pool that is kept so perfectly by the Roseville Parks and Rec staff. I’m sure it’s a lot of work to keep an indoor pool at the right temperature and chlorine level.
  4. Even though we have a ( relatively) low income, it’s still enough to take care of our needs even with a mortgage for now. I still have some concerns about when one of us dies and that lower SS will go. We need both to make it so that is going to take some adjusting. But I’m confident life will find a way.
  5. For books and libraries. In spite of my very bad end of working at the library experience, libraries have always been important to me. Starting from when I could read, which was around 5 yo, books have held magic for me. Books have transported me to places I’ll never see. It is abhorrent that there is book banning going on in this country. If you don’t want to read a certain book or don’t want your kids to, fine, that’s your choice but don’t tell other people what they should read. Most of these ‘Mothers for Liberty’ have their heads up their asses and are just pushing their far-right Christian views on others.

10 things that simplified my life and/or what I wish I knew then that I know now!!!

I’m on this ongoing journey to simplify my life so it’s uncomplicated and streamlined. I truly only want what is useful to me or beautiful.

Hindsight is always 20/20 but still, I think my younger self would have benefited from minimalism, especially with young children. We never bought into keeping up with Jones and for that I’m grateful.

So here are 10 things I think would have helped me then that I do now:

#1. Have a specific routine for morning and evening house resets. I started this with Flylady and the 15-minute rule which is to do what you can in 15 minutes. I use to house clean sporadically usually on Saturdays. Now I swish and swipe the bathroom daily, clean after each meal, do sheets on Monday, and generally do a house tidy every morning. I always clean as I cook so nothing piles up and that’s a game changer.

#2. Whenever I leave a room I look around to see if something needs to go somewhere else. I almost never leave a room without taking something. It could be some paper, or a pen, or a canning jar, but whatever it is I try and move it to where it is supposed to live.

#3. Declutter, ongoing…. never seems to stop. Really though, I’ve decluttered probably 75% of what we had including at one point a baby grand piano!! ( in our tiny house). Decluttering is like an onion, there are layers and layers. I got rid of so many ‘collections of things’ from vintage buttons to vintage fans. I think as we age we see things differently and value things differently so letting go of things that may have been significant a few years ago is easy.

#4. Less is more. I try and only have the minimum necessary. For instance, we only have one set of linen sheets, one towel each plus I have my swim towel. We have one set of utensils but I do have a very large set of sterling silver from Tiffany’s that was my husband’s mother’s wedding silver.

Previously, I would have had multitudes and back-ups.

#5. I have only monochrome colors such as white, gray, and black for the most part. I I have lots of wood accents and lots of green plants. The only color I generally have around is my Catherine Holm collection and the Easton Press books( in the living room). I learned thru this whole process too many colors or patterns are stressful for me.

I think it’s never too late to change how we do things and even why we do things. Now, at my age, I value white space, less clutter, and the ease of keeping my home tidy and clean.

#6. I meal plan and have a rotation of meals weekly. this structure helps me stay on track with food budgeting and grocery shopping. I like that it’s Friday pizza, Tuesday tacos. pasta Wednesday etc. It seems gimmicky but it saves me from mental fatigue.

#7. I have a very specific wardrobe. I know what I like to wear and don’t sweat the rest. I don’t own a dress or a skirt or any dress shoes. I wear Bombas T shirts in white, black or grey or striped. I wear black leggings or Levis. I wear demin button down shirts.I don’t have any dressy things except one or two shirts that could be used as dressy in a pinch. I have one pair of Merrells for the gym, one for walking , and a pair of Birkenstocks. That’s it. Again, I do this because I hate spending time thinking about things like what to wear. 🙂

#8. I try and keep visual clutter to a minimum. I don’t have lots of Tchotchkes around. I have some things like my Arhoj Ghosts, but I do love them.

#9. I don’t have much in the way of seasonal decor. I’ve whittled down Christmas stuff to a few small boxes, Easter a few vintage postcards and a few bunnies. Halloween is just my few vintage items which I do love too. Anything else I try and use things from nature to make up seasonal stuff like pumpkins, flowers, river rocks, driftwood ,etc. This is probably a carry over from my Waldorf days with the nature table.

#10. Only buy it if you can afford it. Only use a credit card if it can be paid in a short period of time. I don’t say if I can pay it in one month because sometimes like with our taxes, it took a couple of months to get it paid. In the past ( mostly in our 40’s and 50’s,) we had lots credit card debt. Now, I just can’t do that. We still live ( at our age) with a mortgage because we did stupid refinancing right before the mortgage crisis in 2008. We’ve come a long way with it but unfortunately, we still have a mortgage although I am extremely grateful that it’s affordable on our fixed income. We couldn’t rent a place for what our mortgage is.

Simple Sunday and blog anniversary

I started my blog in April 2012. I really wanted to document how my life with Multiple Myeloma was. At that point, I had been on Revlimid for 2 years and would stay on that for 3 more years till it was no longer working.

I had already begun becoming more minimalist and had been decluttering using Flylady for a few years. I mostly wanted to journal using the blog as the forum because writing( in a notebook), a journal never appealed to me. It’s been a fun outlet for me. So here I am 11 years into blogging and about ready to start another round of Chemo( well, I hope not till fall).

Spring has sprung here in Northern California and it’s been quite nice. The trees are starting to pop out and our white camelia tree is blooming( very late I may add). We had the Ooni fired up for Friday night pizza and last night used the charcoal Weber for chicken and veggie dogs. Tonight, I plan on Spanish rice, chips, and Pico de Gallo, and some main dish. I might open a pressure canned jar of veggie stew.

This coming week is just regular stuff. I plan on trying to go to the gym and pool twice each. We’ll see. That’s a lot of driving so, I’ll just see how I feel.

I’m making a loaf of sandwich bread right now. I’ve been trying to not eat bread but the rest of the fam needs it so I used the Kitchen Aid and made a King Arthur recipe. My son thought his partner might like the Zojirushi so he took it down to their place. I actually feel good about letting it go. I guess the final question was did I have the space for it and really I didn’t. It was in the closet but now I’m using that space for something else. Plus, most of the bread I make is sourdough in the Dutch oven and I only used the bread maker for the dough cycle for sandwich bread.

I sorted thru most of my canning jars and I have plenty for this season. I think I’ll buy some lids though so I have extra. Probably Winco is the best place to get them.

Well, I’m off to finish the bedroom zone and get the bread in the oven.

Friday Things

I decluttered 2 bags of books at the library yesterday. I’ve been hemming and hawing at should I let certain ones go and finally decided that although I like to look through them I rarely use them for recipes so I let them go. Now I have 3 shelves empty and waiting to be repurposed. I have a few more to donate. My thinking is along the lines of Swedish Death Cleaning, that when I’m gone, are either of my kids going to want this. It definitely helps me see what I can let go of.

B did the small Costco run and that ended up @ $125. that included non-food items as well. I don’t plan on going to the store until I need produce. Right now I have lots of tomatoes, avocados, spinach, and a small bag of salad mix. I have a free coupon for a salad mix and olive oil at the Holiday so I’ll go down and do that today or tomorrow.

I thought about ordering a pizza but decided to make up the large batch of dough. It makes 4 big balls and even those can be cut in half. I have all the toppings I need so I set to go. If it’s nice I’ll have B get out the Ooni. The Ooni does take some adjusting to so I may need a few dough balls to try. Plus you don’t put a lot of toppings on because it’s a fired pizza and it makes it too heavy. ( I know it’s happened a lot in the past).

The budget is going well and all the bills are accounted for. We had an emergency money need as our 12 yo water heater gave up the ghost and we had to buy a new one at the tune of $800. So that sucks but now we know we’re set( I hope for the next 12).

This was one of the wines we bought in Napa. We probably wouldn’t have bought it except the wine clerk said it was his favorite. It was delicious!!! I will get more.

Today, I headed out to the garden shed to organize my canning jars. I need to put quarts,pints and half pints together instead of thrown together.

Yesterday was nice enough to open windows and I got out our rug shampooer and did the rugs. Sometimes I wonder how I get thru a day since the last time I used it( the only time as it’s new) I didn’t see that you’re supposed to go back over the area with hot water so I just had shampooed:( Still it looked good and was nice and clean). This time I did it right and it looked better:) Oh well, I guess it all works out somehow:)

A Fun Napa getaway!

We really enjoy going to Napa Valley now that we’ve been there a few times with Rubi, the RV. This time though Barclay had points to use at Marriott hotels from when he traveled for work( those were the days).

The weather was perfect and there was light traffic going down. It’s only about an hour and a half from here to Napa( closer to 2 if driving slower). We planned on getting there around 10:30am and we did. The first stop is the famous Model Bakery. It was busy as usual but we got coffees and I had one of their famous English muffins toasted. After we regrouped, we decided the one thing we wanted to do was drive up to Calistoga. Years ago, Calistoga was one of our go-to places at the Golden Haven Hot Springs. This was when S was a toddler and maybe up until she was 6 or 7.

The drive up was beautiful with spring flowers and everything emerald green just like Oz. St. Helena was as I remembered it too with lots of old historic buildings. When we got to Calistoga we parked and walked up and down the streets. It was not busy and I certainly would not want to be there during a holiday or summer season. We popped into a great bookstore ad a few other shops.

Every winery you can think of is on this main road( 128). We stopped at Mondavi to check out buying some wine but the cheapest bottle was $35 so, out of our price range. After returning to Napa we went to Safeway and bought 6 bottles of local wines. Chaulk Hill is a favorite that they serve at the pizzeria, so we got that and I think that was the most expensive at $15? If you buy 6 you get 30% off so we got some good deals. And we did pick up a Mondavi private reserve but it was only $8.09 after the 30%.

From there we parked by Oxbow and had our favorite pizza at Live Fire. Oxbow is fantastic when not busy. When it’s busy/packed with people, I get claustrophobic. Fortunately, this was a non-busy day. I also went to the spice shop and got some Tellecherry peppercorns I’ve been wanting.

From there we checked into the fancy Westin Hotel. Very nice but not too pretentious. We were treated very nicely and even got an upgraded room which was lovely. If you’re going to Napa this is a great spot to stay because you can walk everywhere from the hotel. We walked over 5 miles that day and boy, could I feel it.

We rested and were still too full from pizza so we decided to just go back down to Oxbow Market and find a glass of wine at C Casa and have some chips and guacamole. It was perfect and their house wine was delicious. It didn’t say what it was but it was nice. We walked around some and then headed back to the hotel.

We listened to music in the room( Jazz) our favorite and then fell asleep being pretty tired from the day. We’re not spring chickens anymore that’s for sure.

The next morning we were back at Models for delicious breakfast sandwiches and coffee.

This was the upgraded room with a really nice kitchen. If we had known that we would have gone to Trader Joe’s for some food. But all in all, it was fine what we did. Next time we’ll ask for a room like this.

Simple Sunday

We got to the park earlier than normal to avoid the Easter sunrise Christians. :)Whew, we made it out just in time before the singing got going:)

The weather for the next week looks wonderful. Today should be around 70 and tomorrow 72. Napa looks just as nice. It’ll be interesting to a hotel after all this time since we got Rubi but I think it will be fun and there is a heated pool so I plan on doing maybe 20 minutes of swimming. B even bought a pair of googles to swim with.

Here’s what the pool looked like when I got there yesterday at 6:50am. By 7:45 when I was leaving people were waiting for any lanes as they were all doubled up. So I had a lovely swim.

There’s the new spring babies at the park.

I’m sure these had just hatched!! So cute.

Since we’re atheists, Easter doesn’t mean anything special to us but for lots of people, it is a significant religious thing. I do appreciate that Easter still follows the calendar of the first Sunday after the full moon after the spring equinox. At least I think it’s pagan. This was decreed in the council of Nicaea but the original Easter is Eostre, from the goddess of fertility.

We’re going to fire up the Weber for the first time and BBQ some veggie dogs, chicken and veggies too. We will probably eat out on the patio for the first time if it gets cleaned up.

I’m in the bathroom zone this week.

Frugal Friday

So far this budget period, I’ve spent $400 on food. I had a coffee and snack at Nugget after the gym one day but other than that no eating out.

I’ve filled up the Santa Fe 2x and will need another fill up next week. So gas is right on budget.

We did spend some money on 2 pear trees. One was from Costco and the other Home Depot. The one at Costco was $42 and the HD was $55. This is the time of year when we throw money at the yard.

Next week we have a fun excersion back down to Napa but this time B got us room using hotel points from he was still working. It’ll be different since we’re used to our Rubi but fun. We plan on driving up to Calistoga as it’s been years since we’ve seen the town. We might stop at a winery but we want to keep this trip low cost so we may just do what we did last time which was buy an assortment of Napa Valley wines from the store. It was fun to taste different wines and it was a fraction of the cost of going to the winery.

My doctor visit was uneventful so that was good , I guess. I’ll see him in June.

Tonight is pizza night.

Thankful Thursday

I’m thankful I had the money to order the right Dyson vacuum part the other day since all 4 knock-off filters were defective and actually went flying off the top of my V 8 vacuum. The Dyson filter was $30 and only one as opposed to the knockoffs that were 4 in the package. Oh well, I can use Bender( the robotic vacuum) until it shows up.

I’m very thankful that our daughter is such a help around the yard and does most of the gardening. She’s a librarian and the author of many supernatural books involving gay werewolves and vampires. She’s always been one to make up stories even as a child. Now she’s paid, and pretty handsomely too, to write stories.

I’m grateful that our barn kitties are doing well in the house. They do get to go out to their yard which is fenced and protected from predators. My daughter totally spoils them and even bought a catio for them which attaches to her bedroom window. I also am grateful that Chester found his way here from( we think) the hoarder neighbor’s house. He’s a funny cat and has a big personality.

I’m thankful spring is here and everything is turning green and growing!! We would still like to drive up to Tahoe and see the snow pack but the timing just hasn’t been there. I’m guessing that snow will be around for a while. What a winter!!

Oh, let’s not forget, I am so grateful tRump is indicted and that DA Bragg is a brave man.