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

A beautiful clear but cold day. the temperature was 32 this morning and probably had gotten into the high 20’s. We walked a little later because I was trying to do Nevada Beach for June. I hate their system now. In seconds of opening, every spot from May 15( when they open to June 19) was GONE. They really need to figure out something. It’s not fair when people can book all that much and then it’s gone. I’ll keep trying but now we’re at the end of June and we don’t do Tahoe in July or August because of tourists. Really pisses me off. Anyway, it was a nice walk after 7am.

I did the bedroom zone and tidied things up. Yesterday I had washed the LR floor around rug with a rag and it wasn’t too bad. I guess at some point I’d like to do the vinyl flooring as it stays so clean but that’s not on the agenda next year.

We’re actually looking at what projects to do and the money for them. We need to take the tree down in the driveway so we can get in and out with the RV easier. Maybe work on some fencing. We need to take out the wood windows in B’s office and replace with something like what we just bought for the sunroom. They’re not Anderson windows but are adequate. Plus that foundation around his office needs to be redone. I don’t think we can budget anything for the house but we do need the septic pumped and last time that was almost $700. We did plan on putting in the propane stove in the living room, replacing the woodstove but I think that will cost too much to do.

This week is pretty mellow. I plan on swimming Tuesday and then popping into the new TJ’s, I will go into Safeway Thursday morning early and skip swimming, and that’s about it.

I want to do some more decluttering in the barn if it warms up plus I have more canning jars to give to the thrift store. I only need so much.

Well, that wraps up the week.

Snow…

Whoo Whee…it is cold. We woke up to snow on Tuesday morning and it kept going off and on. We usually get a sprinkling of snow at our elevation a couple of times during winter. This was a big snowstorm for the Sierras and is much needed. Needless to say, I didn’t venture out to swim. I probably would have been fine on the freeway but with Caltrans discouraging any travel, I didn’t feel I needed to add to it.

It’s bright and clear this morning and 27degrees. So the trees in the park were very frosty.

I went into Winco after swimming yesterday for a few things. And next week I’ll hit Trader Joe’s for a few things including fondue, which is our traditional Christmas eve dinner. So far even with Costco, I’m under budget for food/alcohol( mostly wine). If my calculations are correct, a total of @ $550 is really quite good. So if I add the TJ’s trip at about $100 that brings me under budget. Of course, there will be the run to the market here for the odds and ends before the end of the year but usually, that’s not too much. Shopping at Winco and the new Trader Joe’s, and of course, Costco has definitely made a difference from shopping just Safeway.

Other than that there are no unusual budget expenses for the rest of the month. January is a NO SPend month so no projects or Home Depot trips. Anything that the house might need is excluded like vacuum filters or the filters for the air filter thing.

Today I’m planning on taking the couch covers and washing them. I do this around every 3 months. This Ikea couch has been absolutely fabulous and I love it. When it’s time for a new one I’ll definitely do Ikea but maybe a bit more of a midcentury look. I’ve been waiting for the two chairs forever( since the beginning of the pandemic). The Poang chairs still look good and quite comfortable.

My son is headed to Yosemite today and is going to be there a few days. It should be quite beautiful as it got a lot of snow.

I need to go make some pizza dough and I was going to make bagels but the Barley Malt I ordered from Amazon was lost in the mail so I need to find it in a store. I haven’t been too inspired with cooking lately but maybe over the Holidays or not???

My minimalist Christmas decor.

Frugal Friday

I made bagels yesterday and that was VERY frugal. When I go to Flour garden, it’s $22 dollars for a dozen organic bagels. We do like them a lot but that gets pretty expensive even if I do that twice a month. So I tried the King Arthur recipe and watched some Youtube channels. They came out pretty excellent but I didn’t get the rise I wanted. I think because 1. I didn’t use bread flour, just all-purpose, 2. I didn’t do a slow overnight rise. So tomorrow I’m going to try again and do both. it was fun making them. And probably the cost is maybe $2.00 for a dozen.

We’re not ordering pizza tonight. I’ll either do one of my frozen meals or I will make a breakfast casserole. We’re not getting lots of eggs ( which is great) but I have 3 dozen in the fridge. I think I even have a TJ’s frozen pizza if we want that and make a nice salad on the side. Ordering pizza out is nice once in a while but is WAY too expensive. $30 for a large pizza is crazy especially when it’s probably maybe $3.00 of ingredients. I’ve put the Ooni away for winter because by dinner time it’s too dark and cold outside to use it.

I have only done the Winco shop so far this month and that was on the 2nd so grocery wise things are in line with the budget. I plan on going to Costco Monday( it’s always the coffee) to get some things. I want to avoid Costco too close to Christmas as it is a madhouse. On my way to swim though, at 7am, I’ve gotten Costco gas which is a huge saving. I do not plan on a big stock up at Costco, just basics.

Today is a home day for me and there’s a few pottering things I want to do. I plan to iron a few linen napkins, mop the kitchen floor, wash a few windows and maybe a few other things.

I finished another PD James mystery. This one was an early one of hers called ‘Innocent Blood’. Very compelling story. Now I started another Dagliesh one. She is a superb writer.

Well, off to make a cup of tea.

Frugal Friday, I suppose.

We are back from our Rv adventures. Paso Robles turned out great. At first, I thought, well, it’s all big Rv’s and maybe we won’t stay the second day, but we really needed the day to just decompress. We had a great spot on the end with only an RV on our left. So that was a big factor. We really like space around us so that spot made a big difference. We will go back next year if everything works out. Refugio SB was only a 2-hour drive. So that was good. The only crazy thing was going into the grocery store( Albertson’s). It was a madhouse and really stressed us out. But we got what we needed. I especially wanted some local wine from Paso Robles and they did have a whole aisle of just Paso Robles wine so that was cool.

The next day we hooked up and left for the drive home. We were concerned that it would be too long but we came under 5 hours. Without trailering it probably would have been just under 4. We stopped 3 times to stretch. I-5 is great for rest stops. All major interstates should have them. We had snacks and peanut butter sandwiches. Well, I sat on mine so I just nibbled at it.

Getting home was fine and we navigated past the tree that needs to be taken down for us to have easier access in and out. Going in is much easier than going out. Next year we’ll figure that out.

Budget-wise, traveling is expensive. Not the SB or even the RV resort, but GAS was pretty outrageous. We never eat out so that saves money. But for next year I will add to my extra savings for gas.

All I have left of with annual bills is our property tax and I’ll pay that next week. Then we get a good size break from annual bills till March/April.

Thanksgiving was low-key. I actually used the Diestal Turkey I bought last year on sale. My son brined it and cooked it. I did the sides.

No Black Friday sales for us. Tomorrow I plan on swimming and maybe putting up the small Ikea tree I bought. We’re not doing any ornaments, just some small lights. Hanukkah is Sunday evening so I plan to put out a few little decorations. One is a blue glass ornament my son actually did in, I think, 6th grade at a local glass blowers studio.

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.

Frugal Friday and other things…

It’s been an okay frugal week. All the first of the month bills are out and done. The rest like PGE,water, ATT come a little later in the month.

We had the house insurance due and if you live in California you know that in our area most insurers have cancelled policies so you have to do what’s called the California Fair plan. This is in addition to the rider with AAA. This year it went over the $2,000 mark but for some people it’s WAY higher like in the 10,000 and up range. I’m not sure but I think it’s related to the size of your house and maybe the fire risk in your area. Anyway, that’s a big expense.

After swimming I went to Winco which is across the street and did a small shop. It has been very convenient to do this and except for Walmart, you cannot get groceries etc cheaper. Winco is employee owned which I think is great and they do not take cc, only debit.

I had my dental cleaning and all was okay. sitting in that chair for an hour though really takes a toll on my back. I wonder about people even older and what they do to accommodate them. Anyway, I don’t need to do anything right now and go back in about 5 months.

I filled out the online form to donate Vannie( the dodge Caravan) to Capradio so she’ll be gone probably with in a week. Actually Vannie runs fine and I think would keep going but there are electrical issues and the blinkers don’t work so safety is the main reason we’re donating. Plus, we bought the truck to do the things Vannie did ,so there’s that. Plus, I just don’t want something sitting in the yard if we’re not using it. My son still had ideas about camping in it, which he did many times, including taking it all the way up to the greater Seattle area to visit a friend. But now the time has come. I’ll miss you VanGo.

This morning I’m helping B load up the truck and go to the local drop off, which conveniently is right at the end of our road about 3 miles. This must be our 6th trip this year with stuff!!! I threw in quite a bit. I tend to be more ruthless than B, who thinks,sometimes, maybe something can be reused. Which in itself is fine unless it really is just junk:)

I finally saw my labs and they were all in the normal range still but my Kappa was close to the high normal, so I’m guessing next month it’ll go over. I guess after that it’ll be month to month watching if the increases start getting bigger which is what eventually happened last time. I can’t say I’m not disappointed that I only had from June to November in remission but I’ll take what I get. It’s a strange place to be knowing once again, I’ll be back in some kind of treatment. sigh:(

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!

Frugal Friday( for the most part)

I suppose the biggest save this week was shopping at Winco . I haven’t been in quite a while and ,once again, really shocked at the low prices as opposed to Safeway/BelAir.

I probably saved $50 at least on what I bought. I didn’t really go item by item but it was significant. What happened is, after swimming I decided to go over there and it wasn’t too difficult at all. Usually after my swim I come directly home. No stops. So this time I swam 35 minutes so I wasn’t too wiped out and it was perfect. Plus I was in there at 8am. So there were just a few shoppers( big bonus for me who dislikes people). All in all, I was quite pleased and will do it again, probably before we head to Tahoe ( if it is even open).

The truck AC we as fixed, we think, at no cost to us as we have the warranty. I’m still not sure it was just the freon but I’ll wait and see.

We haven’t done any take out in a while and that always saves money. Just haven’t been interested in other people’s food. Tonight is pizza night and I’ll do an Ooni. I’m down to 4 more and it’s paid for itself. If I were to order it again, I would definitely go for the gas one so if you’re thinking about an Ooni do the gas one. The pellets take more work and getting the temperature right is tricky. Not hard, you just have to keep adding the pellets at the right time.

I’m planning on going down to Ikea this morning as I have a 10% coupon I want to use. I tried to do the click and collect which is nice and easy but the item I wanted they said they couldn’t do that due to low stock. Oh well, it shows 4 in stock so I hope it’s there.

The laundry room is still torn apart but getting there. I decided to buy the less expensive window to replace the one that broke and was all fogged anyway. That hopefully will go in this weekend. I want it all done including being painted by the time we leave for Tahoe so that should give my son and B a timeline.

Friday things…

I’ve added some things to the prepper pantry that I got at Walmart the other day. I think most of what I think we can use/ need thru the winter months is in there now. I also bought 8 Mountain High freeze dried meals as emergency meals if ever needed due to fire or other disaster. I still need a few things from Costco that I forgot the other day like maple syrup, tomato paste, and ? So I may pop in there or have B pop in some time after he gets back from Salt Point.

Today B is going to the bank to get the copy of our bank statement for LLS. You , of course, need to provide proof of payment. I’d like to get it done by Sunday so it’ll come in before the end of the month. It usually takes 2 weeks minimum. I am grateful to all the people who donate to LLS as they give us these grants for reimbursements for insurance, prescriptions, and lots more. When I was on Revlimid( an extremely expensive Tier 5 drug) they covered my OP expense. Thankfully, I’m not on Revlimid anymore and Velcade was covered by Medicare as it is in clinic infusion.

I just finished the pickled jalapenos and am about to start charring the Hatch chilies. I’m planning on just freezing those and not do the whole relleno thing. They do freeze well.

I sold a few Waldorf books to the young mom who bought most of my Waldorf toys. Nice young woman and I gave her all my wool roving and needles so she can make some felted animals from the book I sent to her. I have some wood toddler toys as well but her kids are older so I’ll donate them to Cancer Thrift.

Budget wise, Costco took us right to the $550 mark for the month. So I’ll end up probably close to $650 I think. Except for the small Costco trip, I don’t need too much except maybe some veggies. I might go out to our local CSA farm and get some. They are more expensive but totally worth it as it is all grown right out there in the fields that used to be Simpsons Ranch. The Simpsons homesteaded this property in Meadow Vista sometime in the early 1900’s. The Maidu Indians lived on this land seasonally and there are many grinding rocks in the fields where they would crush the acorns to make a flour for winter. Mr Simpson wrote a book called”OOTI” about the Maidu. What is wonderful is that instead of selling and making a shitload of money the land went to the Placer Land Trust and the people farming it are ‘renting’ it as a farm.

Our skies continue to be filled with high smoke clouds. It’s not down low but it is our there and the sun is a ball of orange.

I plan on using the Ooni tonight for pizza though as the temperature looks to be @ 93. So not too bad.