Frugal Friday

It’s hard to keep writing about my boring life after watching the news and the disgrace of Pro-trump supporters. As many have said, there are no words that can really express the outrage and horror of it all. I just hope they get him out before it’s too late and he does something else.

This week I spent $90 at groceries down at our market. It’s more expensive but more convenient too. Plus it supports our local Holiday market. Next week I plan on Costco, so that won’t be frugal but I haven’t been there since the end of November so I guess that counts for something.

We spent $99 on smog/oil change for the van and I will do the DMV on line next week. This is our 21 year old van and it’s still going even if it is ‘pinkish’ ( the red paint on the hood is all faded to a pale red/pink color.:) But we still use for Home Depot trips. I love my van even if I don’t drive it very much. I mostly use my VW which is also 20 years old but the paint on that is perfectly fine.

Speaking of which, half the fence is up and that was another $150 for wood. So at least that much more to finish it. But it really looks nice. I’ll post a picture soon.

We still haven’t gotten our stimulus check as there was a problem with Turbo tax and the accounts. I did receive an email saying they were fixing the problem so that’s good at least. I’m guessing we will use some of that to finish the fence.

We had our propane tank filled this week too and that was $230. That usually lasts us 3 months or so. Our electric bill is still up there but since we’re on the balance payment plan it averages out. The weather has been in the 50’s and low 40’s at night so we aren’t use space heaters in the bedrooms. That should help next months bill.

We started watching Bridgerton and it’s quite good if you’re looking for a series. Plus the Money Heist is intense and superb. We just started Part 3. It’s in Spanish but subtitled.

My no spend month is going sort of ok. I bought a cookbook( Midnight Chicken) which is terrific. So that wasn’t needed but I do love cookbooks and to justify it, I am the COOK here so…( I also bought air filters for the air purifier so that was household. And I bought a pair of Levis. I only have 2 pairs of pants and the one I wear out to town and to doctor appts. It’s a pair of Levis in a dark wash. The other is light denim and is my around the house jeans . So I decided I needed something else to switch off with the other pair. They didn’t have the light denim so I bought black. Not sure how they will go for everyday wear but I’ll try. So I guess overall, I’ll see how the rest of the month goes. NO spend months aren’t usually completely no spend for me but I am much more aware of not just hitting the Amazon button:)

Simple Sunday

We finally have rain!!

We had to use umbrellas to walk but that was fine. Nobody was there but us so that’s always a treat.

I made some sugar cookie dough this morning and it’s in the fridge for a few hours to harden some. So I’ll start those a little later. I used an Alton Brown recipe and it was pretty straight forward.

If you follow Flylady, we are in the bathroom zone. I can finish mine in about 15 minutes as our bathroom is so small. I might add on a couple of extra tasks this week as well. I consolidated the Christmas ornaments into 1 larger plastic bin that B had bought at Home Depot. So that’s most of the Hallmark boxes and some felted animals when I use to put them out at Christmas on the nature table. I don’t do that anymore but they’re cute enough to keep for now. In the future, who knows? right.

So, as expected, my kappa light chains went up over 600,( high normal is 26.4) and the ratio also doubled( It was 74.3 mg/l ) normal high is 26.3. So Velcade will start in January. So since it’s 3 weeks on 1 week off, I’m thinking @ the second week of January and then a break the first week of February and so on. I guess we’ll have to see how it’s working as to how many rounds it’ll be. That’s a wait and see kind of thing. But one would hope, if it works on the myeloma, 6 months of treatment. Again, big unknowns since we don’t know how things will go. Disappointing but reality.

Tonight I’m cooking a roast chicken in my cast iron pan and I think I’ll make some buttered noodles to go with it as we are potatoed out from latkes. i wanted to get down to Krispy Kreme for donuts( you know to keep the cooking in oil thing going for Hanukkah:) but that may not happen.

B is actually going down for a doctor visit this week as I think they want to see him in person. I’m going to write a list of things for him to bring up because they continue to bother him. He is supposed to get his pneumonia shot and soon he will start revaccinating. I never did revaccinations as back in 2006 it wasn’t common then. Now, I think with autos it is. It is absolutely necessary with an allo transplant though as he had donor cells.

Well, I think I’m going to finish my Sunday chores and read some more of the Obama memoir. BTW, it is a great book and so full of compassion and insight. Definitely worth buying . One thing that really stood out to me was how many times he went to Walter Reed to see the wounded soldiers and how he would interact with them. I tried to look up how many times trump did it but I only found the 1 time shortly after his inauguration. I guess he couldn’t handle seeing the soldiers with one leg or arm or whatever. What a guy!:(

some photos

This is the view out the ‘front’ish’door. By that I mean no one can ever really figure out that this is the front door as the driveway comes around to a fence and then thru the fence is the ‘front door’. This house sits oddly to the driveway so confusing.

This is one of the many Japanese maples my daughter has planted. Probably long after I’m dead these will be nice and big. The color is better in the sun.

This is looking out to the front yard and to the left you can see the big Japanese maple. That on is 25 years old( planted when we moved her). So that’s why the reference to the above one. 🙂

Another shot of the front.

Here’s the bowl with the nut loaf mixture.

This is the base of the nut loaf, brown rice, walnuts, later you add the cheese and cottage cheese and eggs as a binder.

This is the mushroom onion mix with the herbs.

I use cheddar cheese but you could really add any cheese you have.

I actually generally use a regular loaf pan but this time I used these so we could have the second one at another time.

I serve with all the regular sides, green beans, potatoes, etc. Then I make a tamari gravy as none of us like turkey/ chicken gravy plus then B wouldn’t have it. But even with turkey we make the tamari gravy, we just like the flavor better.

This the view from my sitting area( the room where we re-did the pine floor).

Frugal Friday

It was a frugal week overall. The grocery shop at Trader Joe’s will go on November’s grocery bill. So far October has been around $800 all inclusive. That’s food, non food and alcohol. So actually I’m ok with that total. For 4 people eating 3 meals a day, I’d say it’s quite good.

Gas has been quite reduced since we don’t really drive anywhere. I fill my VW up about every 6 weeks and that runs around $30. The Santa Fe fills up about once a month at $50. So really that is a big savings.

All our annual bills are done for the year so that’s also a savings as we wont have property tax or Allstate till next spring. I paid the property tax way early( for once) and that’s kinda nice. Usually I’d wait till the first week of December to do it.

We don’t have family to buy gifts for so that reduces Christmas spending. I usually get my brother a GC to either Tractor Supply or Starbucks. Then I send my sister a consumable gift usually wine or something a little fancy.

For us, I keep it simple. For each of us, one book(almost always an Easton Press), one piece of clothing, something fun, and something they need. My son will get a GC to Home Depot since he’s working on the barn and rebuilding/strengthening part of it. I still end up spending more than I’d like but it’s not bad. I try and buy all year long when I see something then I don’t have to think about it. Pre pandemic, I would often find things at the thrift store all year to put away for Christmas but not this year. I’ve gone into Goodwill 2x since the pandemic started and it wasn’t all that interesting.

Tonight is pizza night and I think we’re going to order something. I need to check but I think we’ve done 2 takeouts this month. Well, I know one was the free pizza from the store and my daughter bought Tacos one day so I’m not sure what else we did this month. Anyway, I don’t have the pizza dough made so that kinda settles it anyway.

I finished the Return of the King yesterday. The trilogy takes me about a month to get thru and is thoroughly enjoyable everytime I read it. This is my 3rd or 4th time. Next up I’m going to re read, To Kill a Mockingbird as part of that takes place at halloween( BOO Radley!!). Anyway, I was going to start Dracula which I also read once a year but maybe later.

Frugal Friday

There have been some frugal things this week so here goes:

* We just returned home from picking up a trailer load of free oak. Beautiful wood that a friend offered. It won’t really be ready to burn right away but it’s lovely wood. There’s a lot more to get but we will need to see if my son can help as a lot of it is on a downhill slope which is too slippery for me.

*We had leftovers for all our lunches this week including today which is the left over chicken and wild rice soup.

*Since we have so many eggs I made egg salad for lunches too.

*I picked up a free pizza and salad for dinner tonight with the coupons from the Holiday market. Each month they have a coupon you can use. It’s a handy thing to have .

*We didn’t really go anywhere this week or do any big shopping just picking up a few fillers. Next week I plan to hit Costco to get a few things. We don’t need a huge amount but some things like cottage cheese and cream cheese are just too expensive at the store.

Overall, it’s been a nice week. I’m slowly getting a few Christmas items together plus asking what people want or could use. My son wants the Witcher books that the TV series is based on. I’m looking at some gardening stuff for my daughter.

I’m halfway thru my fall re-reading of the LOTR trilogy. I’m in the Two Towers. Everytime I read it I love it more and more.

We’re still walking early like 5:10 but I think we may start to go a little later starting next week. Mostly, I’m avoiding the jerk dog walker but he shows up anyway sometimes early too. So maybe there’s no getting around it and we just have to avoid him and when we do it doesn’t bother me. Mostly, I get irritated because he’s not using a flashlight and comes up behind us it is startling. Go figure.

simple Sunday

It’s much cooler today and some clouds rolling by.

We walked early and the only one there was dog walker. We name everyone who comes to the park. Oh, not to them, just between us. Some have been less than nice like clodhopper runner. but there’s Sprite who is a long-distance runner and seems very nice. We say hi as she goes by. There are now 5 sets of babies at the park. They are very protective so we stay out of their way.

I finished the kitchen zone.

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Here’s part of my kitchen pantry and some of my vintage Pyrex. I washed them all today which is something I don’t do every time.

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Here’s on the window sill. A vintage Ball jar. I love these and have quite a few. You used to be able to pick these up at Flea markets for about $1.00 , not anymore.

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This is looking back at what really is the front of the house but because of how are driveway is no one ever comes to this door. When I used to do Feng Shui it would drive me nuts. Now not so much.

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This is another shot and you can see the patio table where we eat most meals now that’s it nice out.  To the far right is the laundry room we added on. You have to come out to get to it. Not sure how that will be when we’re older but heck for now it’s fine.E26CC31D-0E8D-487B-858D-C240267711CD.jpeg

Here’s a comfrey plant. When I was doing herbs I would harvest this and make teas. Good for bones.

The rest of the day is open and I have brownies baking in the oven but other than that it’s open.

I may go look for an ebook since I feel like reading something mindless.

Simple Sunday

We walked this morning and it was noticeably warmer @ 46 degrees. I think we’re going to get close to 70′ today and mostly sunny.

A few more books I got at the pet bookstore.F6FAF8BB-8500-4D03-A711-DD270A923F05.jpeg2539EA24-DD46-4DED-A5B8-519CEC359967.jpeg

My Culinary Journey was excellent. She actually lives in Provence part of the year and right near Sacramento the other part. I think she said Winters. She moved to France in 1970 so quite the adventurer. I was just starting U of A that year. So some perspective.

The ‘Everyday Greens’ cookbook is one of my favorite and this is a signed copy.  Greens is the vegetarian restaurant run by the Buddhist monks from Tassajara and Green Gulch. Back in the day when I was practicing Buddhism, this is the Sanga I belonged too.  We’ve been to Greens a number of times and if you’re in San Francisco you should definitely go. The food is delicious and beautiful.

I’m also reading ‘Me Elton John’. Wow, it’s a terrific book and boy did he go thru some drug-crazed years. It’s amazing and even more so what he overcame and is now such a philanthropic person. He gives generously to many causes.

This morning I’m making some Butterscotch Oatmeal cookies. They smell good.

I’ve been doing some embroidery so I picked up a few little books too although it’s not quite what I was looking for. I mostly like doing edging and little spots of color on things like my linen napkins.

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Today is a gym day.

This week is Flylady’s bedroom zone if you follow. If you’re new to it. Start by decluttering ANYTHING that doesn’t belong in your bedroom and any excessive furniture. Yes, the treadmill being used to hang clothes on needs to go.

I have only one Heywood dresser and a side table and that’s it besides the bed. The side table I need to hold the pills I take at night. Plus my water glass.

Last night I made falafels with tahini sauce and a delicious recipe that was Castelvetano olives, lemon zest, shallot, and garlic and fresh thyme.  You cook the shallot, garlic, and thyme in some olive oil. Then add the olives and lemon zest. Cook for a few minutes then let cool some. Then add a block on feta cubed up. I’ve found the feta from Costco in the brine from Greece is the best.

This is supposed to be served with a grilled rustic bread but I just put it over the brown rice and it was delicious.

Tonight I’m making a quiche of some sort as I have eggs to use and some gruyere cheese as well.

 

 

Books, Lots of Books

Everyone on different blogs is talking about books so I thought

 I’d add some of my recent ones. Here’s the first stack from the library

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I really have enjoyed the Cat Sitter series that takes place in the Florida Keyes. Lots of descriptions.  MC Beaton is always a good read with Hamish.

The library series”Something Read something” was okay.

Joanna Fluke’s books are always good for some new recipes. The Aunt Dimity books take place in the Cotswolds and I love that area of England so… Not that I will ever go there in real life but that’s the joy of books and traveling in your imagination.

There were cookbooks in the load too but I didn’t get a picture of them.

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Some good cookbooks to look at and maybe find some new recipes.  Mark Bittman usually has some good recipes.  “Real food “is one used before. Some stuff is the same old same old but she does have good ideas to help you take a look at what you’re buying and eating.

I’m almost done with the Marcia Muller ” the Break”. It’s good and her descriptions of SF are great.

I walked yesterday and it was absolutely freezing( 27′). That’s cold for here. We don’t usually have temperatures like that. At least later it was sunny but still cold.

I went to the gym yesterday finally and it was busy with lots of ‘new’ people still. I only used the recumbent as my ribs are really sore from coughing which is kinda weird as I haven’t really had much of a cough with this cold.

Today I’m planning on going to the koffee klatch with the library friends. I guess our FOL is kaput and dismantling. Really sad since this group was responsible for buying the building the library is in now. Well, all things do change and this little branch went downhill after I left. I’m not renewing the website which is under my name and even last year I told them no one was even going to it but no listens to me. So now, I will just not renew it.  The money left in the FOAL fund is substantial so that will need to be donated to the library for materials.

I’m making another batch of marmalade this morning before I go out.

I’ve vacuumed, swish and swiped the bathroom and got out things from the freezer for the rest of the week.

Simple Sunday

I ended up having this head/sinus cold thing.  Not debilitating but still not great. I haven’t been to the gym as I don’t want to be THAT person I glare at who’s snotting away over by the weight machines.  Maybe tomorrow if my nose dries up:)

The only logical place I got this was the hospital as I didn’t go out Monday, Tuesday was the procedure,  went to the gym Thursday but then starting getting sickish Thursday.  so that’s about the right incubation time 2 -3 days. Oh well, it’ll pass.

I changed my labs till tomorrow but I’d guess my WBC will be affected with a cold. The other tests aren’t really affected by a virus.

I did walk this morning and that was ok.

Barclay’s official last day of work was Friday. The end of 25 years with UNFI. I still wish it had been different that it wasn’t because of getting MDS and then having an allo transplant but life is what it is. Since we don’t have a much in the way of retirement it’ll be challenging but  I guess we’ll do ok. If not we could always sell and go rent. Although rents are way more than our mortgage in this area. So who knows really.

Today is the super bowl and my son has a Hulu account so he’s going to log in and maybe we can catch some of the game. We used to love Super bowl and back in the day watched the games. I guess we stopped that, maybe 10 years ago. It started to just seem like they were Roman games with gladiators and kinda weird.

This coming week is open and that will be nice. I’m going to go to the Nevada Co library for some holds.

I might go to Ikea this week if the pantry I want is in stock. It comes and goes pretty quickly. Our space is so limited that it has to be a certain size and this one has on an open shelf for a microwave. We don’t use the microwave much except for popcorn and heating leftover coffee. I can make popcorn on the stove and its quite easy but sometimes the convenience of a bag wins.

I finished our taxes which were very easy as there wasn’t much in taxable income. With SS income and the money paid out from B’s sick leave( he had taxes taken out on this, thus the refund) so we’ll get a small refund. That’s why I feel okay getting the Ikea pantry which is about $200.

Here’s the marmalade I made.

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the one jar lid is one from last year and I will put this one in the fridge.

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It came out really well and has a beautiful color. I stopped at Whole Foods but they did not have Sevilles.  These were just navel oranges from the store.  Next time I would slice the rind super thin.

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Plus 2 small jars for the fridge as well. I still have 4 more organic navels from Whole Foods so I might do another batch.

This week is the kitchen zone if you follow Flylady.  I will start but probably wait till I feel better to finish it.

 

No appointments week

Finally, where we have NO appointments.  It’s crazy such a little thing can mean so much. ( sounds a bit like Gandalf the grey). (Also, we just finished watching the trilogy and I’m halfway thru the last book “Return of the King”), hence the reference.

Seriously, it is nice. So today I’m going to get the oil changed in my VW.  If the wine sale is still going on at Grocery Outlet I might stop there. I had picked up a Malbec last week and tried it last night and it was quite good.

We haven’t heard back from the tree guy so who knows but it’s only Wednesday.

Out neighbor hasn’t gotten home from the hospital yet. We haven’t heard anything but I hope he is okay and gets to come home even if it’s only for a short while. His doggie misses him. The son is coming 2x  day to feed and walk him. I’m not sure where the son is staying as he lives in the bay area.

Tonight both my adult kids are going to see LOTR part one on the big screen. It’s the extended version so it’ll be long. I’m sure it’ll be great to see.

I’m planning just some jasmine rice with vegetable spring rolls for dinner.