Simple Sunday

We have sunny skies and crisp cold air. We had a lovely walk this morning and I noticed that sunrise is now 7:22. So it’s starting to inch back slowly. Only one person trying to jog in the park( looked like a new years resolution). But hey, we gotta start somewhere. Then after some toast and coffee, we headed down to Costco for our monthly shop. My printer has died so I needed to check there for one and they had the inexpensive one I was looking at online. So that’s ticked off. I have to have a scanner for my LLS stuff although my daughter showed me how to do it with an app. We were in and out in under an hour.

I haven’t heard from Heidi’s family but imagine that they are planning the funeral. Being very Catholic I’m sure there’s some kind of mass being done. I got off some flowers and they should arrive early this week.

This week is the bathroom zone and I plan on doing that later or maybe tomorrow. Depends on how motivated I feel.

For dinner, I have white bean soup with brown butter pasta on the side. Growing up as poor as we were, my mother would make brown butter bow tie noodles. I kind of doubt it was butter but maybe it was. I’m not sure margarine would do the same. I know when my grandmother would come up from the Bronx she always brought a pound of unsalted butter to go with the Jewish rye. Anyway, I love noodles and brown butter.

Other than that, I need to go out to the prepper pantry in the barn and put away the canned tomatoes and coconut milk I bought. I need to make a current list of what’s out there as I’ve taken out quite a few things.

The update on my kappa light chains is that it went up a point to 20.6 so now out of normal range. 1 point is not a big increase so I’m not too concerned,yet. Next month , who knows??

In happier times!

Looking back at 2021

For us, 2021 was a really great year in spite of Covid. For lots of people, it was horrible but we managed to accomplish some very BIG Goals. # 1 was buying Rubi( the RV), which was exactly what we wanted), then Chevy, after realizing the Santa Fe was just not going to cut it with towing, and then going on camping trips especially the new addition of Refugio State Beach.

I started chemo in January, 3 weeks on 1 week off until June. My numbers went back into the normal range almost immediately after just the first treatment but you still need to do the full course of 6 rounds. I’ve had a great 6 months but my numbers are now slightly out of high normal so it’s a matter of how quickly they will increase. I’m waiting now for this week’s labs, so we’ll see. My guess is I’ll be back on Velcade in June. Amazingly, last time ( 2016) I had 4 1/2 years of remission. Not this time and it’s questionable how long Velcade will work before it’s on to the next treatment option. Well, that’s not today so…

I m swimming in March and I continue to love it. I wish I could get more than the 2-3 times a week in but it’s just too far and too much gas to do more than that. But it is incredible.

We did quite a few projects around the house and yard including the privacy fence along the driveway. We replaced the sunroom windows that were water damaged and will do the other 2 this summer. We redid the whole laundry room. It still needs some siding up around the window and I’ll bug my son to finish that when the weather is nicer. Let’s see, what else… I painted the bathroom, and ??? I’m sure there are more things…

Today is New Year’s Eve. We’re going to have the fondue we didn’t use for Christmas and I think to watch the new Witcher series. We had a lovely walk this morning and still no dog walker. That’s very odd, so we think either he got covid or moved?? We never knew his name so can’t check it out. But really it is wonderful to not have him stomping by or trying to run us off the path. Still, he is a dark walker( early morning) so there’s that connection. Not many people do that.

I plan to go to Target tomorrow as I need my calendars for 2022. I like their very simple inexpensive ones. Not sure they’ll have any left but I’ll try there first. I do plan a no-spend January but that’s just extra stuff that I don’t need( like candles). My January budget is set including the increase of our Part D Medicare plans.

I lost count of how many books I read , maybe 75? 100? I read a lot so I don’t think it really matters how many. Sometimes I read 3 books a week. It all depends on the type of book. Maybe I’ll keep count next year except I have tried that and then give up because it starts to be too many.

Simple Sunday

Another Christmas has come and gone. We really had lovely Christmas. I made a big breakfast of eggs (our own), mini-pancakes, fried bananas, bacon, veggie sausage, and hash browns. Fresh coffee on the table and I used my needles and pine Tepco plates. After breakfast, at the table, we opened a few items to share. I used the Santa fund to get a gift card for each kid and B got his in cash, chocolate from Trader Joe’s. My son shared a few presents: 2 jazz LP’s for Dad, an Easton Press book for me ” Tale of Two Cities, and a plaque with one of my favorite quotes from Tolkien” No Admittance except on official party business, and for his sister an Apple gift card. B got each of us one thing, a candle for me, chainsaw chains( a 3 pack) for Sachi’s electric chainsaw, and a gift card to Cherry records for Z which is his favorite record store in Auburn. Honestly, I think it was the nicest stress-free Christmas ever. I will definitely do this again next year with breakfast being the focus and then a couple of small things or GC’s as gifts to share at the table.

We have had lovely very cold walks. Some in the rain and wind and some with stars and then sunrises. It’s supposed to keep snowing and raining here and in the Sierras. I have my labs tomorrow but I may have to reschedule. I think I’ll wait till I’m up to see how it is. The Santa Fe is all-wheel drive so it shouldn’t be a problem. It would be more how is I – 80? It’s been closed off and on so it could be 7 am.

I’ve taken some of the Christmas decorations down and will finish tomorrow. I plan to go thru the one bin in the barn that’s Christmas and see if there’s a way to get it down even further. the bin has all the Hallmark ornaments we’ve collected over all these years so I don’t want to get rid of them but maybe pack it differently. Right now it’s too cold to go out there so it’s just something to do at a later time.

We’re staying snug and warm with a wood fire going pretty much non stop. I bought a stove top fan that works off the heat and it is very good at moving the air. We have one that is a 2 blade but this is 4 blade. I think I might get another one down the road.

I finished the last PD James I had from the pet bookstore, “Death comes to Pemberly”. It is a murder mystery using the Jane Austin’s characters. It was quite excellent.

We’ve been trying to get a spot at Nevada beach in June and it’s almost impossible. We gave up because now it’s too close to 4th of July and I never want to be in Tahoe on 4th of July. So I happened to look one morning and lo and behold there had been a cancellation. So I jumped on it and now we have 4 nights in the first part of June. I’d rather have a few more nights buts I’ll take it. It’s in a spot we haven’t had but we know it and it’s on the loop we like. Next up will trying to book in late August or September but that will have to wait or the timing ( 6 months out).

Living with Multiple Myeloma

It was right around Thanksgiving in 2003 when I hurt my back(so I thought). I’d been lifting many (40) boxes of Life magazines from an estate sale. A few days later I was doing some exercises and felt a weird pop in my back. The next day when I got out of bed I just collapsed. Extremely painful. I managed for a week and then went to see my PCP, but he was out for Christmas so I saw the NP. She basically misdiagnosed me with a strained back. Never ordered x-rays which would have told the story. So I presevered and lived with the pain for a year. Ultimately it did improve but since cancer was the culprit( not that I knew though), a plasmacytoma tumor was developing where the fracture had been( not that I knew it was even a fracture at this point). Eventually, I asked for a referral to a sports doctor to see if a Kyphoplasty surgery would help. This was now 18 months from the original fracture. He ordered the MRI and the rest is history so to speak.

I’m almost 17 years out from that March of 2005. I feel enormously grateful to have lived with this so long and managed. Lots of people don’t get that chance.

My labs are back and show a 1 point increase putting me out of normal range but by very little. 19.7 mg/l , high normal is 19.4 mg/l kappa light chains. So hopefully my increases stay small and we can be ready with a plan once they start jumping exponentially. I get my next labs at the end of December so, we’ll see. i had an increase in the Alpha Globulin as well. Not much but that might mean there is more protein entering the blood stream.

Cancer has taught me to take things in stride and never for granted. Also, each day has its own rhythm and to go with that flow. When you’re getting treatments, there’s no trying to make it go faster or slower, it is what it is and treatments will go according to the schedule. I’m certainly a more patient person because of my cancer treatments. Life is full of uncertainties and all we can do is do the best we can with the time that is given to us.

There’s always some anxiety with labs etc when dealing with cancer but I think knowledge is powerful and helps keep most anxiety at bay. Since I know what’s out there, I handle it better. At some point Velcade will stop working and I’ll be on to the next treatment which would be Darzalex. It is an IV to start and is given over 8 hours to start so that if you’re going to have heart issues they know. I believe after that initial one, it’s a shot like Velcade but I may be wrong. I think most people tolerate Daralex well. Well, that’s all speculation at this point.

Some photos from the trip and other misc stuff.

I got my P23 booster yesterday( pneumonia) and it was all good. No reaction, but I didn’t expect one as I’ve had the P13 before. So another medical thing ticked off. I still need to get a dtap but will do that soon. Always stuff. I also had my labs done by the phlebotomist from hell. Well, she was new and didn’t get the vein right. I’ve had thousands of draws at this point in my life and I know when they get and when they don’t. Anyway, I should know if I’m moving out of range on my Kappa Light chains by next Friday.

Here’s our Thanksgiving table using the dishes my dear friend Sara gave me years ago. The wine is from Monterrey County. It was quite delicious.

Here’s the husband looking happy with his nut loaf!!

My super handsome son!!!

This is the Diestel turkey he brined and cooked!!!

This is the Paso Robles RV place.

My beautiful daughter ,Sachi.

Backing in to the spot. But he redid it so it was straight in.

All cozy inside. Having full hook ups does make a huge difference.

This is on the trail at Refugio. We walked this everyday about 2miles.It’d probably help if I combed my hair:)

Hello from beautiful Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara county.

This is the view from the best camp spot ever. Boy, did we ever luck out with this spot. It is amazing. Right on the beach edge with only those views in front of us. I kind of wished we booked for as long as it allows but 6 nights will be fine.

We had a good drive down and Chevy and the Rubi did great. We stayed in Salinas KOA and it was fine for one night. We didn’t even unhook. The spots were awfully close but we managed. From there the ride was also great and we landed here @ 1:15 and were able to get our spot. Everyone walking by says” Best place in the campground ” and boy are they right. When I made the reservation I had no idea that this spot was so great. So we’re hoping to make this an annual trip in November. The weather has been great too.

We went into Santa Barbara and the first stop was Renaud’s for their famous almond croissants. Truly amazing. We love their breakfasts but we had already had our breakfast in camp so we had the croissants and then bought some for the next day. State Street is now a promenade and no cars so we walked as far as we wanted and it was beautiful. Almost NO tourists at all. Santa Barbara really is so beautiful. Next, we went to Stearn’s wharf and Moby Dicks which was our go to place for happy hour. I had a bowl of clam chowder and B had fries. It was only fair and I think we both realized that being in the camp spot and having a glass of wine was better. But it’s only fair to say when we used to do Moby’s, we were in the Holiday Inn right off State Street , so different circumstances. –

We’ve walked the beach every day and it’s lovely. Today is a stay-in camp day and tomorrow we leave for Paso Robles. It’s more of an RV resort so we’re not sure how we will like it but it’s there for now. From there we were going to go to New Brighton and had reservations but it’s a bit of a detour( about 2 hours) and then we realized we’d be driving the day before Thanksgiving, so we cancelled that and will drive home on Monday. I suspect it will be busier than when we drove down but that’s the way it is.

We’re learning quite a bit more having stayed in this spot for 6 days. The solar panel is working great and the battery has stayed charged. We’re running the Honda generator about 2 hours in the afternoon to charge my mac and our phones. Overall, it is perfect for us and we really feel grateful for this chance in our lives.

Back to reality next week, I have my labs so that’ll be interesting to see if I go out of normal range. Plus, apparently CVS 2 years ago gave me the wrong pneumonia shot. I had had the 13 and was supposed to get the 23 but they gave me the 13 again, so now I need to go get the 23. What a PITA. And I’ve been having some hearing issues with my left ear that started about a month ago after swimming. The doctor checked and said there was any inflammation or water but behind the eardrum was some fluid so he recommended Flonaise. It hasn’t done much but I’ll let him know and he was going to send a referral to an audiologist. Ahhh, the joys of getting older. I am excited about getting back to swimming though. I miss the water.

Is it a Frugal Friday after a Costco trip…

No, not really but we did go mostly to get the stuff that was on coupon so that did help. Still, $300 later…. Not that anything will go to waste because I froze some stuff and a few things are for the camping next week. It rained super hard driving down to Roseville by the time we got out it was not pouring. I also picked up a $9.95 large pizza so I don’t need to think about dinner.

Let’s see, other frugal things this week… ummm…I got nothing. We didn’t do too much this week so maybe that was frugal. After watching this one YTer this week that is a hot mess( bipolar) and her awful pantry with strange food she bought for the pandemic, I came to the conclusion that I will go thru my prepper pantry and redo it. Watching these YTers is quite eye opening and makes me re-evaluate what I do have. I think I will start a box for the food bank and see what I end up with. I always do a food donation around Thanksgiving anyway wo this will motivate me to do more:)

The pool has been emptier than usual so I’m wondering if the cooler fall weather is keeping some people home. It’s still busy but not crazy busy. Lap swimming only goes to 9:30 am so it’s a limited period of time. Since I’ll be gone next week I’ll miss swimming for almost a week. Hopefully we can just walk more while were there.

I had my bloodwork done this morning but won’t know much till we’re back. That’s okay. It’ll be whatever it is.

The week ahead

Today will be bitter sweet as our beloved vannie is going to Cap Radio car donations. It still runs just fine and has never broken down . But, we did not want to deal with selling it even though I think it would have sold quickly. The only thing wrong is the blinkers not working right. But we must be realistic and let it go. Now that we have Chevy, that can do all the Home Depot stuff plus the dump runs etc. I’ll be sad but I think it’ll be good to not just have it parked in the yard.

We do plan a trip to costco on Wednesday so we can hit the sales before we leave next week. They have some soup on special and some other things I can’t remember now what I wanted to get. It’s best to hit the Costco sales as that is the best way to really save money.

I’m planning on swimming Tuesday and Thursday so that’ll be get up and go. I’m in the water by 7:15 am. Probably, a little crazy but that’s the way I roll. ( or swim, I guess).

Then I have my labs on Friday. I’m sure I won’t know about any results till the following week when I see my doctor. I am bracing for my kappa light chains to go over the high normal mark. My ratio had actually gone down which is good. That’s because the lambda went up too. My lambda is always and has always been in the normal range it’s the kappa that increases. So with the ratio decreasing that’s quite good even if I go out of normal range with the kappa light chains. Still it’s a waiting game. Maybe I should title this blog a lesson in Multiple Myeloma and what to expect when you have an incurable but treatable blood cancer. No, that’s too long of a story.

Friday things and a nice birthday for me.

First, another turn around the sun. I had a lovely day and we got Panera for dinner which is a treat for us. All in all, a nice day especially with this beautiful weather. My son got me two albums by a really great artist,sarah jarosz.

I actually didn’t want anything for my birthday as we just got the truck and the RV this summer but he’s a generous son and bought it for me anyway.

As a matter of no gifts, this will be the FIRST christmas ever I don’t buy presents. I think I’m just done trying to figure out gifts for everyone and so I decided to not do any. I don’t think I’ll put up the tree either. What I will do is give both kids some money and call it good.It’ll be weird on Christmas morning because we are use to some presents but it’s a good time to start a new tradition of no gifts.

Hey, speaking of budget stuff/spending did anyone else get enormous increases in Part D prescription plans. Mine is going from $28.50 to $68 and Barclay’s is going from $26 to $71. WTF is that about?? Did I miss something about increases in Part D prescription plans??? Anyway that is going to increase our budget stuff.

I’m off to get my flu shot this morning and maybe do another Goodwill drop off. I still have a few more things to take out to buggie so I might wait till next week.

I’m still waiting on my labs which is annoying me as i still can’t get in the patient portal to see the results so I have to call. Kind of a PITA really.

I finished paying the UCD final bill from August of 2019 where B was in the month in between Medicare and Cobra. What a joke that was. The cobra was supposed to pay for all the coverage and did squat and we were still paying $700 a month. My advice is NEVER do a cobra. Well, it’s done so that’s a nice feeling. Of course our house insurance has increased, I guess, because of all the fires in California especially in our area. Well, it’s always something!!!

I have my monthly menu plan done for October so I just need to laminate it. Tonight is pizza night but I don’t feel like a pizza so I think I’ll do something with an Italian theme. We had an Ooni last week, two actually, and so that made 30 pizzas with the Ooni which at $10 a pizza paid for itself. I plan on keeping it in the garden shed so if it’s not too cold or rainy in the fall or winter we can pull it out and make some Friday night pizzas.

This was last weeks!

End of September

It’s been a good month and ending even better that we had RAIN! It was only for a few hours the other night but everything was washed off and watered. Summer has ended I think. This morning is the first woodstove fire ( we call a twinkly) because it’s just a few small logs to take that morning chill off. The kitties aren’t too sure what is going on in that”box”. I’m sure before too long they will all be underneath it to take advantage of the warmth.

I’ve had to call the bank twice about the camping refund and there is no record of it despite rec.gov saying they did the refund. So it has to be disputed. I’m not worried about it. It’ll get resolved one way or another.

I went swimming yesterday and it was still darkish when I left. Hmm… I’ll have to see if I want to still keep going that early. The pool is fine once you’re in but it definitely is cooler outside. I walked this morning and it was cool but nice.

I made black beans yesterday and have lots to freeze for soups or a black bean chili. I’m trying to build up some easy freezer meals for the next couple of months. We had one of the enchilada meals I’d froze and it was really good although most of the sauce had been absorbed so next time I’m thinking of adding more right before I cook it.

I’m waiting for my labs to come in. I’m thinking today or tomorrow. I’ll call down to Mercy tomorrow if they don’t call me. Usually my doctor is very good about getting my results to me. I am prepared that my numbers have increased but hoping it’s not anything like a big increase then I’ll freak out. ( well ,freak then accept it).

I’ve been doing a few small projects around the house. Mainly some reorganizing of pantry stuff and stuff in the closet. I did the Goodwill run the other day with the small dresser and other misc. I already have another small pile in the car but I’ll wait till there’s more to go do it.

well, that’s a wrap for me.