Frugal Friday

It’s been an okay frugal week. Nothing great but just ok. Most of our big bills for the month are out and just a few more are scattered later in the month.

I had a good swim on Tuesday and the pool was very unbusy which is very unusual. I came straight home afterward. Then Thursday B and I decided to do Winco for a few camping things and at the last minute added in Costco for some camping food as well. I needed Raos to bring and Costco has the best price for the 2 pack. I also got some WW bread for sandwiches. I spent about $175 between the two stores. We also filled up the truck with Costco gas which is the cheapest around. We’re definitely looking at traveling with gas prices. Next week, going to Capitola shouldn’t be more than 2 tanks of gas and the same with Nevada Beach in June. But we’re definitely reconsidering Refugio because that is much farther away. For now, we’ll keep the reservation but still think about it. Then I went to library and got a nice selection of books. Oh, and then we had a lunch date at Celestino’s pizza, which is the best New York pizza around in my opinion.

I went to the nursery with my daughter and bought all our tomato and pepper plants and a few ornamentals for her back garden area. That was her birthday present. We were trying to get a birdbath for her but they didn’t have any affordable ones. The cheapest they had was $110. The last time we were there they had a nice one for $80. I guess we should have bought it then.

I had my labs this morning so I should get results next week. Fingers crossed. I’ve been having some pain in my right leg but I think I over-stretched it doing some yoga. It was better this morning but then the ache comes back ( kind of in the hip and upper thigh area) by afternoon. It’s always something.

After we’re back our next big expense will be having the septic pumped. We’ll call once we’re back. As far as expenses for Capitola, it’ll be a few stops at Gayles bakery and probably one grocery store shop. We generally do not eat out but I thought maybe we’d find some place for a lunch near the Santa Cruz boardwalk. We’ll see. I know we’ll go walk the beach trail so that might be a good day to do that.

Oh, the tree guys came and ground out the stump so now there’s no issue with going out or coming in with Rubi. Yay! He didn’t charge us which was really nice.

April $$$$

I didn’t even bother with the Frugal Friday as April will be expensive. The bid for the ponderosa is $4500. That’s more than double what we paid for the last tree. The tree is in an awkward spot and will need the crane to take it down piece by piece. There’s just nowhere to drop pieces. Then the logs will be piled up in our neighbors spot down from us and then tree logger will need to bring his truck(big) in to get them.( These logs will be cut into 17 ft pieces and sold to a mill for wood). Things are never simple here with trees. After this, unless it’s critical, trees will have to go down the priority list. Unfortunately, we still have about 4 more that should be dropped but not anytime soon if we can help it. I plan to leave before the tree guys get here and I’ll go down swimming and then hang out and then go to the library at 10. I have too much anxiety around these things and I know myself well enough that if I don’t see it, the imprint won’t be there.

We’ve had some nice morning walks and it’s definitely lighter at 6:10 now. And sunset is now quite a bit later and it’s staying light till at least 7:30.

Tonight is pizza night but I don’t think we’ll do that. No one feels like a pizza so I’m not sure what we’ll do. Sandwiches??

I’ve been making the sourdough loaves every 3rd day. So I have quite a bit frozen so I’m going to put my starter in the fridge for a while. I have really enjoyed making these loaves and have learned quite bit about the dough and hydration. I think our favorite is the cheddar jalapeno loaf.

I started looking at reserving Refugio SB for the fall but so far it’s booked but, I’ll just need to check daily. It’s pretty far to go and with gas prices, it’s going to be expensive but I think if I can get a spot, we’ll go.

Next week I have labs and swimming and some grocery shopping to do.

Friday things

Yesterday we ventured out to Costco and it was fine. We were only among a handful of people wearing masks but heck, that’s ok. We spent $300 on food and $80 on nonfood. Overall, that’s a low $ trip at Costco for us. I still need a few extras and I think I’ll have Barclay do that next week after he gets his port flush. What I’d like to take advantage of is the Nasacort that is on sale. It’s 4 of them for $28. I pay $18 at the store for one. So that’s a big saving. Then I went over to Dicks’ sporting goods for earplugs. They didn’t have the Speedo ones so I got the TYR as a backup since last week I had to swim one time without earplugs because I thought I left them home. In actuality, they were stuck in my towel and when I lifted my towel they fell out. Oh well.

OMG. good news!! LLS just opened funding for Myeloma so I jumped on and submitted my application and was approved. They have it very streamlined and it was easy to do. I was definitely getting concerned about funding. LLS covers our medicare and UHC so it’s a good chunk of change a month.

Today I need to go drop off food at the food bank, Goodwill, check on my prescription at Bel-air, and then drop books off at the bookstore.

I plan to make pizza tonight but I’ll use a Trader Joe’s dough. I’m going to top with the fennel sausage I bought in Napa. I think I’m going to pull the Ooni out and use that so one with be cheese and the other will be the sausage.

Our weather has been spectacular and we ate dinner on the patio 2 nights in a row. Next week does look quite a bit cooler.

I’ve been reading the book ” High on the Hog” that the Netflix original was based on. I’d highly recommend it just for the history part. What we did to Africans is shameful. All that history SHOULD be taught in high schools so students can learn about ALL of our history, the good, the bad, and the ugly. NOT just what the good White people did. Arghhhh, don’t get me started.

We’re working in the garden areas and decided to buy 2 galvanized water troughs that people use for raised beds. B filled one with garden soil and is ready to plant. We bought some things at the nursery to plant like onions, and parsley, cilantro, chives. My daughter has lots of seeds to plant too. The garlic in the barrels we planted is doing great. We do have the front garden beds almost ready. Those will be things like chard, lettuce, kale, etc.

Everything is starting to pop with this warm weather. It’s been a very pretty spring.

Simple Sunday

After a cloudy Saturday, today is bright and sunny. The rest of the week looks fabulous with temperatures in the 70s. I think I see BBQ this week.BTW, the series on Netflix, High on the Hog, how Black American cuisine changed America, and how we eat is truly phenomenal. So much history. If you have the chance watch it.

We had a nice walk this morning with no one around. We didn’t try to get there too early being Sunday I like to take my time.

Today is sheet day for us. We only have one set of sheets for our bed so we wash and put it back on. These linen sheets are about 4 years old and still wonderful. I’d definitely recommend linen sheets. I think these were only about $130 but lots of high-end sheets are way higher. IKEA has a nice set that we have out in Rubi.

I’m feeding my sourdough and think I’m going to do a nut one next. Walnuts, pepitas, and maybe sunflower if I get some unsalted ones. I’m averaging 2-3 loaves a week. One day to make the dough and then refrigerate overnight, then bake and enjoy for a few days. Then when that one is almost done I start the dough for the next one. Of course, this is now. Once summer hits I won’t be baking as it’s too hot to use the oven generally.

Tonight I plan on doing a stir fry with some leftover veggies. I need to get some tofu at the store though. This week is the bedroom zone and I finished that already.

Barclay has a busy appt week but I don’t so I’ll see what I get up to. I know doing some garden stuff and tidying up the garden shed. But I think I’ll plan a trip to the pet bookstore and maybe the library. Well, that’s a wrap up for today.

I thought you’d enjoy a picture of me after I got out of the hospital. This was dated March 26, so i’d been out of the hospital about a week. Heidi was with us for 2-3 weeks helping with everything. You can see my wig in my hand. My sweet boy was 10 and my daughter was 19 even though she looks younger.

Friday things

I just got back from getting my labs. It’s great that Quest is by appt. only. I was the only one in there and was done within 10 minutes.

There’s still no funding for myeloma at LLS so that’s not good news. I keep checking daily but there’s only mantle cell leukemia and Waldenstrom ( sp is probably wrong)( which is pretty rare.)So means February won’t be covered as that was my look back month meaning if I was funded in February, they would cover it even though my grant ended Jan 31. Tough break for us as that covers all my insurances.

Back home I put the sourdough cheddar jalapeno bread in the oven. This will be my last bread till we’re back. I’ll put my starter in the fridge tomorrow. I tried a sourdough rosemary baguette this week and it turned out great. I have a baguette pan I bought eons ago at Williams Sonoma and used that. The trick I think with sourdough and bread-making is just to keep doing it over and over. I can definitely tell by the feel of the dough how the hydration is. I had gotten a copy of Nancy Silverton’s Bread-making and read it thru. Overall, though, recipes look good, but they all make 2 loaves at a time and I don’t do that. Also reading about how she feeds her starter seemed too complicated to me. What I do is just keep adding equal amounts of flour and water at least once a day. Probably not as ‘scientific’ but it works for me. I also hate to throw away discard sourdough starter so I end up with 3-4 jars in the fridge. Oh well.

Then I’ve made the pizza dough for tonight and that’s in the bowl doing the first rise. It’s almost time to get out the Ooni for spring. Last night I used our new gas Weber that I bought for camping. I wanted to try it before we left. So I made BBQ chicken, BBQ tofu, roasted mini potatoes, and roasted veggies. WOW. It all came out delicious. I’m pleased and am looking forward to cooking with it camping.

It’s a cloudy day with rain expected off and on but it feels warm out. But it’s supposed to get very cold tonight with the possibility of snow. I plan on swimming tomorrow so I guess I’ll wait and see how it is in the morning. After swimming I was going to go over to Winco for some camping supplies. If that doesn’t happen, I’ll just go to Safeway. I actually don’t need a whole lot but things like peanut butter and some veggies and cream for coffee.

In good news, AAA settled my claim for a fair amount. The depreciation was factored in and then the $1000 deductible. I can’t buy a new Louis Vuitton for what they gave me but at least the $500 in cash was covered. I miss my Louis but I certainly can’t spring for a new one. sigh….:( Maybe down the road I can get a used one. There are a few sites that sell authentic LV and they look good. Still more than the amount they gave me but not the cost of a new one.

The situation in Ukraine is so devastating. Almost a million people leaving Ukraine. I hope the sanctions President Biden is implementing work to cut off the money. No money = No war. I shudder to think what the asshole Trump would be doing. I still keep hoping he gets indicted for something. I made a small donation to World Central Kitchen that is providing food trucks on the borders to feed people. Here’s the link if you want to donate too. It’s a small thing we can do to help the Ukraine people.

Simple Sunday

We had a nice walk this morning and wow, Venus was right above the crescent moon. Very beautiful. Nobody was there initially and then the Le Foret guy( he comes out of the woods, honestly), showed up and then 2 others later. But we were done by that point.

This morning I’ve made the olive sourdough bread, a chocolate cake is baking, and I have a turkey breast in the crockpot. I’m just about done with the living room zone which BTW is just today and tomorrow and then Tuesday starts the entry zone. I would like to go to the nursery and get some kind of flower, like maybe some pansies. Our violets have gone crazy this year and are all over.

A week from today we’re heading to Bodega Bay. My son and daughter will hold down the fort. Both have to work so they’re here anyway. The weather looks nice enough with some wind which isn’t unusual. There are no hookups at Bodega so it will be l or solar.

I have my labs later this week and then I’ll get my results next week. I see Dr. L in mid-March. I would be pretty darn happy if my numbers stay about the same. Speaking of which, March 1st is my 16th re-birthday. Hard to believe, I was going in today and then getting Melphalan, and then on the 1st was when I got my stem cells. It’s really the melphalan that does you in It was hands down, the worst episode of my life. I remember we had terrible storms and looking out the window from the BMT unit over to the freeway and watching the rain and wind go sideways. That part of Sutter hospital has all been redone since then and actually the whole building I first got my chemo in was torn down and is now the Children’s Hospital.

Simple Sunday

We had a nice walk this morning. The sunrise was all pink and orange. No one else there but the guy who comes out of the woods( it actually used to be a Christmas tree farm when we first moved here in 1995.)

I’ve tidied the house and the bedroom zone is done. I washed and ironed the closet curtain( an old Ikea canvas one). Then I made the sourdough bread that had done a slow rise in the refrigerator. This one is just sourdough, no jalapeno or olive.

Then I put a chicken in the oven to roast and now that’s done sitting on the counter. I also have cut up 2 delicata squash that I bought at the farm last fall, russet potato, and sweet potato. Then I washed all the dishes and put them away.

This week is again not too busy. We need to get buggie( the VW) smogged this week. I plan on swimming Tuesday and then going to Winco. I do need a few things but not a huge amount. My menu for the week includes the roast chicken, tortellini with Rao’s sauce, potato and sausage bake with scrambled eggs, pizza night, and the rest will be ‘fill in the blank’.

I’ve been using my daughter’s old Coach bag as my purse and decided to buy a Coach wallet. I doubt I will replace my Louis Vuitton. I’m just in a different place now than I was then. Even though I never thought of it as a status symbol or anything like that because I dress in jeans and T-shirts. But I loved it and because it was the monogram one it always was discrete. Plus no matter how the settlement goes, a new Louis is @ $2,500. So I really doubt I would/could justify that. When Barclay bought that for me, I was 6 months out from my SCT and it was kind of a life reaffirming gift. I think he paid less than $1000 for it then. It has gone to many places including Florida, Hawaii, all our camping trips, Seattle, and lots more. Now unless I can find a used one, I sort of doubt I would buy anything new. Unless I win the lottery, which I don’t play, … so??

My sister had a number of LV’s but of course, they are all probably going to the daughters as they should. Although, I used to joke with Heidi to ‘bequeath’ me her LV wallet which I did love.

I’m working on another small load for the hospice thrift store. It worked out great to drop off the Fiesta ware there and they were very friendly. I plan on giving them my two vintage fans and my original Waring blender circa 1985( which still works great).

some cherry blossoms from our tree.

Wednesday things

A beautiful walk this morning under the Snow moon. Quite bright and no one showed up whilst we were there. Sunrise is definitely getting earlier now. Venus is very visible too.

I didn’t swim yesterday as the Santa Fe’s window is still not fixed. It should get sorted this afternoon though and I plan on swimming tomorrow. When we went to Costco on Monday, I went to the service counter to get a new card and the person asked where I had my purse stolen. So I said right down the road at the Mike Shellito pool and she said wow, I was the SECOND person in the last two weeks that had their car broken into there. WOW, is all I could say. Nothing new with the claims but it’s early yet.

Yesterday I made sourdough cinnamon/cran bread.

It was good. I think next time I’d use brown sugar and a little more. My favorite is still the jalapeno cheddar.

My pantry challenge is moving along and I figured out breaking down the Costco shop into categories( non -food, food) and then I separated all the food for just this week such as strawberries,half and half) and then all the longer term items like coffee, blocks of cheese, I calculated the cost per week and how many weeks would it take to use and then added those totals. So that was kind of a revelation. So if I broke down just this week’s food it came to $43. Then the breakdown of food for the month(like the coffee) was $20 a week. That’s things like tofu, coffee, cheese, ramen. Then B went to TJ’s and spent $25 on food.( Well,some how two TJ’s chocolate bars ended up in his cart, but that’s ok. So, that’s @$88 give or take a few dollars. I usually round up so, $90 with $10 left over. Our meals have been delicious with tamales one night, Tucson Stew another night, pasta with homemade alfredo sauce tonight.

I still think this $100 a week for 4 people would be very hard if you didn’t have some sort of pantry or freezer back up. I’m not planning on doing any major restocking for the prepper pantry. I think I’ll just keep getting some things that I like to keep extras of and call it good. For some people the idea of a year’s worth of food is comforting. For me, it seems slightly fear driven ( I totally did this too) but maybe the lesson out of it all was FOR WHAT YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES ARE, keep some pantry in case of emergency and decide how much that is. For us, I think a reasonable balance is maybe a months worth of stuff. Now remember, I have always ( since 1975) bought in bulk my beans, rice, flour,etc. So that’s nothing new to me. But all the extras was somewhat recent with the pandemic. ( Think extra soup cans, condiments, etc). Well, life is a journey and we can only hope to learn from where we’ve been to where we are going.

Barclay had a good visit with his transplant doctor and the good news is he will go off Jakafi. That’s an anti-rejection drug that runs @ $7,000 a month(OOPS, Barclay said it’s$17,000 a month). Fortunately, he has the grant actually from the drug company and UCD charity.

This month is my renewal for LLS and there is no funding for myeloma so I’m trying to not panic too much. I just keep checking daily as the funding can come in and then be gone quite quickly. Hopefully by the end of February which is my renewal month.

Today I’m planning to drop off the last of my Fiesta ware that I know I’m not going to use at the Hospice Thrift. Then a few other errands like an Amazon return.

Friday Things

It’s been a tough week after the car break in. We still don’t have the window fixed and it won’t be till next Thursday. I plan on driving my daughter’s Honda Fit tomorrow to the pool. I finished all the paperwork for the claim but I’m certainly not holding my breath.

I made the pizza dough for tonight and also have my sourdough starter getting ready for another loaf of jalapeno cheddar bread. I’ll mix up the dough later and then refrigerate overnight and bake tomorrow morning.

So far the grocery challenge has been pretty easy. I went to Winco Tuesday and spent a little more than I wanted at $61. Then Barclay spent another $15 at Safeway for bread flour and cream and something else I can’t remember now. So I don’t need anything today or tomorrow so I’ll end the week at almost $80. I’ve got most of the menu for next week done. Monday we plan on going to Costco because we will need coffee. I’m still not sure how I will separate Costco in the weekly budget since some things will last more than a week. Maybe I’ll try and divide it up but that seems like more trouble or effort than it’s worth. So, I’ll need to think about that.

I was working on a spreadsheet form from a Youtuber. But, even though I enjoyed figuring it out for budget stuff in the end it was just too complicated. I do a daily budget sheet in my notebook, so I know exactly what’s going out and coming in. I might play with it some more but I doubt I’ll use it.

In March we will have some bigger expenses. Barclay is having some dental work and that’s going to cost @ 900. Then we have property taxes due and Federal taxes too. We will owe IRS a small amount this year. I’m okay with that as we did use some retirement savings(withdrawal) to do the half payment for the RV. So that will all add up and it will be a pricey month.

If you have Disney Plus, the Mandalorian show is quite good and we’re enjoying it. Oh, and the Amazon Prime new Reacher was EXCELLENT. The actor is perfect for how you visualize Jack Reacher.

Well, I’m off to town to drop a load at Goodwill so I better get a move on.

Simple Sunday

Another week of beautiful weather. I’m sure glad I don’t live in ‘snow country’ back east. Having grown up in NY, I remember snowy roads, ice storms, etc. But at 18, I left for Arizona and that was that.

The sourdough olive bread came out delicious.

I am having tons of fun trying these new bread recipes. I’m slicing and freezing about half of each loaf. I may need to experiment what’s the best way to freeze. Double wrap? aluminum foil? Not sure. Any bread bakers out there with suggestions? Up for today is cran-walnut sourdough!

I plan on dropping off Goodwill this morning and then hitting up Target for a wastebasket for the laundry room. I also want to pick up a faux sprig of apple blossom for the front/side door grapevine wreaths since I’m in the entryways this week. I think the week is split with the kitchen zone on Tuesday the first.

My favorite Youtuber, Minimom, in New Zealand was trying out a new cleaning system from Clean Mama. She’s very popular and has a huge following. I copied some PDFs for cleaning weekly and thought I’d try it but after writing it down, I felt it wasn’t going to work for me. Basically, she does have daily tasks and weekly ones. But for instance, once a week it’s the bathroom, once a week vacuum, etc. She also has monthly ones. I think it’s a good system if you have a large house and or family. For me, I felt it was over-complicated. here’s the link Clean Mama. Funny, you open the page and it says “cleaning doesn’t need to be complicated.” I think she has a good method, just not for my house.

Tomorrow I have my labs so I should know by the end of the week how much of a rise my Kappa light chains go. I hope it’s just small. If it follows the previous pattern it took, the rise is slow at first and then picks up and rises more quickly. I have a pretty good sense of how my body feels so that will also be an indicator. I don’t think it will be as long as last time since I’ve come out of remission so much faster( 6 months as opposed to 4 1/2 years. ) Oh well, it is what it is.