Thoughts 2022

2022 started out awful with my sister suddenly dying of Interstitial Lung disease. It was so unexpected as she had been doing just fine and had never had a flare-up before. Her family was/is devastated. I still miss her even though we weren’t exactly ‘close’ we still had a good relationship and she was very kind and generous when Barclay was diagnosed with MDS. I miss her.

We were able to do many RV trips with Rubi and I’m grateful we bought this RV when we did and it fits us to a T. We really love that it is small but has everything we need( a bathroom). Our year started at New Brighton, then we went to Wrights Beach, Napa, and Tahoe and back to New Brighton. All our trips were great with no problems.

We had one tree taken out with a crane and it was expensive but worth it as we really couldn’t comfortably get Rubi out without being inches from the tree( or getting stuck, like the one time we were taking Rubi out and B couldn’t make the turn and had to inch by inch back it up. That was NOT fun.). A very worthwhile investment. Having the tree out makes going out with the trailer easy.

We’ve all been healthy this year and that’s the most important thing.

This year I learned to pressure can and was gifted a pressure canner thru out local ‘Pay it Forward’ group. It’s been fun and rewarding to can shelf-stable soups, beans, sauces, and more. I hope to buy an All-American this spring for more pressure-canning adventures.

I went to our local farm almost weekly and loved getting farm fresh veggies. Not inexpensive but it does support what they are doing right here in our little town.

I’m glad I started utilizing the gym at the Rec Center this summer. It’s part of my membership( which I was only using for swimming) and doing weights again has been very helpful in feeling stronger.

Our vegetable gardens did well thanks to my daughter and we had lots of good produce and herbs. I’m hoping we can add another raised bed this spring.

I didn’t do a lot of decluttering this year but there were still trips to the thrift store to drop off misc. I’m probably at a point where there is not a lot to declutter but always something that I find no longer useful or beautiful.

I’m sure there’s lots more that happened and I may add to this when I think about things as a record of 2022.

Simple Sunday, Rainy Sunday

We are getting lots of rain and we need it here in California. There’s a lot of snow in the mountains, which will help the snowpack for spring melt off.

I had a good swim yesterday and the pool was busy but I had a lane to myself for most of my swim and then shared a lane at the end( which is about 45 minutes). Saturdays are hit-and-miss. Sometimes it’s super busy and then sometimes mostly empty. Traffic was light too which was surprising since I thought more snowboarders and skiers would be heading up to Tahoe.

Then when I came home I started the chicken pot pie pressure canned filling. The chicken wasn’t really up to my standards but I thought I was being frugal buying the Safeway deal. I think I’ll skip that next time. It just wasn’t that great. I haven’t tasted the final product but hopefully, it’s ok. But I couldn’t get my pressure canner to not leak (drips) from under the rim and then it wouldn’t come up to pressure. I had to restart 3Xs. Finally, I googled it and someone said to use vegetable oil on the gasket on both sides. That finally did it and the pressure was fine at 15 lbs. It’s quite a learning curve doing this pressure canning. So then this morning I’m pressure-canning organic kidney beans that I got from Azure. I ended up with 7-pint jars. These will be great for soups like minestrone. I did see that All American has the pressure canner that I want back in stock but at $400, I need to wait till January. I just paid the property taxes so we need to regroup from that.

This week it’s the kitchen zone in Flylady and I’ll do that tomorrow or Tuesday. This is a mellow week for me with no appts. I think we’re going to do Costco and get that done well before Christmas. I plan to go to the gym at least once. I wish I could get there more but the cost of gas is an issue with it adding to the cost of the membership.

As usual, Christmas will be minimal with just a few gifts each. We don’t really exchange any gifts with other family members except Heid’s husband which I sent a Point Reyes Cheese selection. Heidi loved charcuterie so I think Richard will like this sampling. Point Reyes cheese is a women-owned cooperative. I’m sure Christmas is going to be difficult for him.

I looked up reservations for Nevada Beach and it looks like this week I’ll try for a spot in early June. Fingers crossed!

I’m about halfway thru reading Gone with the Wind. It’s over 1000 pages. It is so interesting her depiction of the South and life there. It seems it’s very much like looking thru rose-colored glasses that the ‘darkies’ as she calls them, were really people enslaved and owned by other human beings. It’s kind of weird to read it now from a different perspective. So then we watched the first half of the movie last night. It is an amazing cinematography feat especially when Atlanta is burning. I think we’ll watch the other half tonight which picks up after Scarlett is back at Tara.

Getting ready for camping 2023

This would have been the week we were in Refugio. We canceled due to the cost of gas. ( gas is around $6.00 a gallon here but in the Santa Barbara area it’s probably higher. We both agreed that we didn’t want to add to the cc right now with the other things that are still on there. Plus, we felt we had done it last year and it was great but we didn’t really feel like we needed to go back there. Santa Barbara is always a draw for us but that’s still 30+ minutes away from Refugio so it’s not like we could just pop in. Anyway, we’re both ok with the decision.

My goal for 2023 is to go to one new place to camp and explore that area. I’d like it to be within 4-5 hours of driving.

So far for 2023, we have New Brighton booked in March and Wrights Beach in April. Both are 5 nights and that’s a nice amount of time. I think we’re going to book Napa at the end of each of these if we can get in. I’ll check that soon. My goal is to not drive more than 2-3 hours a day unless we are on an extended trip. I still have hopes that we can get to the Southwest, and then Pacific North West but with gas prices, we need to be budget-minded. I think I want to have a dedicated savings for travel and then that money will be in there for gas etc. We don’t spend a great deal generally once we’re in a location. So it’s really gas and the campground fees. We love the places we go to regularly so that’s all good. I mean Tahoe is my favorite place and where I want my ashes spread after I leave this earth.

Barclay is off to buy the concrete paint in a different color this morning down at Lowes. We decided to go with an earth tone in darker brown. Let’s hope we like it. Sort of an expensive mistake with the gallon being $50. Oh well… Then he’s going to pop into Winco for a few things. I think shopping at Winco has really helped my grocery budget. I can’t remember the last time I went into Safeway. Also, not running down to the Holiday Market for bits and bobs also is a money saver as it is definitely more expensive. I’m probably spending more at the farm but since it is produce just picked I’m ok with that. Last week I got potatoes, 2 cabbages, lettuce, spring mix, a leek and ?( I think it was some broccoli) it was $20. So pricey but ok.

I’m going to prep more apples this morning and get them ready for applesauce. I’m not sure I’ll cook them today but I’ll see how I feel when I’m done.

This time of year always is difficult for me remembering when I had the compression fracture in T 10 and didn’t know what it was or why. It was November 2003. Then later, in the fall of 2005, I was getting ready to do the SCT in February but was getting heavy duty chemo during this time. So difficult memories for me. Then Barclay’s MDS happened right about now too( early November). It’s an emotional time remembering these periods. Even when my last relapse was hitting numbers way too high, that was November of 2020 and I started chemo in January 2021. So lots of sad and difficult memories. Of course, I’m an optimist so right now things are stable. I’m doing well, Barclay is well and our kids are healthy and happy. So that’s all positive.

Simple Sunday

A lovely walk this morning with NO ONE there. Definitely unusual these days. Still, it was lovely and the stars and Jupiter were very bright.

We are having the most beautiful fall weather. It’s perfect. Cool at night and then the days are golden and warm.

So, I researched why there was some ‘siphoning’ with the Vegetable soups I pressure canned and the reason was the jiggling ( the weighted gauge)was going too fast and I didn’t reduce the heat. They are still safe to eat but did lose some liquid. So yesterday I got the pressure canner up to 10lbs of pressure and did that on high heat. Then when the gauge started jiggling( that’s what it’s called), I moved it to the middle burner which is a lower heat factor. I measured the jiggles at 4-5 a minute and that’s where it should be. So I wrote all that down in the pressure canner book. I also got a new book that is quite excellent with lots of recipes. The next one I’ll try is called white bean ragout. It has bacon in it but I’ll leave that out. There’s also a lentil soup with sausage but again I’ll, leave the sausage out and add that later if the meat eaters want that. Most of the time everything we eat is vegetarian.

You can see the reduction of liquid. It’s been fun to learn about all this.

Here’s a picture of us going over to Apple Hill. This is Sutter Mill where gold was discovered. We did our Rosh Hoshanah thing with the bread crumbs in the river. That is the South Fork of the American river behind us. Oh, and there were APPLES at all in Apple Hill because of the frost we had back in April.

I made zucchini bread in the new Lodge. The Lodge loaf pan is a real star for crisping up the edges.

Well, I have to go get food and stuff ready to take out to Rubi, and then we’ll leave for Tahoe. Trailering does take longer and usually, it’s about 1 hour 45 minutes to South lake but with the trailer, it takes well over 2 hours- 2 /12 hours.

September 30th and another turn around the sun.

I’ve got to say it is VERY Weird to turn 70. I’m not sure if that means anything at all since you can’t stop time unless you’re dead and gone, I suppose. Well, I’m at a good place in my life. I’m swimming and doing the weights(although I’d like to be at the Rec center more), walking, and going out with the RV whenever possible. We have our SS and that covers most of what our monthly bills are and our 2 children pay us ‘rent’ and that covers the incidentals. I feel very grateful to have what we need at this point in our lives. Down the road , who knows really.

Yesterday I used the pressure canner again and made vegetable soup. For my birthday, my daughter bought me the ALL-Clad stock pot which is 16 qts and needed to make large amounts of prepared food for canning. I also got from her the new Alexa which is fun. My son got me a Lodge loaf pan which looks great. Very sweet of him. He really always thinks of the greatest gifts. I’m terrible at coming up with ideas.

I’m getting more comfortable with the pressure canner. This recipe made 7 qts and processed for 85 minutes. I bring a chair into the kitchen and keep an eye on it although nothing seems untoward. This morning I’ll wash the jars and label. I had one jar ‘siphon’ a little which is some seepage. It doesn’t make the canned product unsafe just slightly lower liquid in the jar so I’m planning on using that in the next few days. I’m really excited about learning this new skill. The Mirro canner seems to be working fine. I went and checked out the All American but still not ready to do that. Maybe next year. I ordered another pressure canner book so maybe they’ll be some new recipes to try. Ball has a few in their book and online but it seems limited.

B bought me some lovely flowers too.

On to Frugal Friday…

We went to Costco last Sunday and stocked up with coffee, bagels, bread, and lots of other stuff I can’t remember and,non food stuff like AA batteries, laundry soap, dish soap, TP etc. This all goes on October’s food budget. I decided to up our budget to $800 and I think that will be the right amount. We’ll see:)

We took Buggie in for that alignment that was needed but the mechanic( a different garage) couldn’t do it because he couldn’t get the bolt or something undone. So I guess we’re going to just leave it for now. He said it would be @ $900. After the expensive other garage stuff, I’m kinda done for now. I only use Bugs to go to Auburn and maybe drive 1500 miles a year at the most. So I’m not too worried. We did get the 2 new front tires though.

We were able to get a reservation at Nevada Beach for next week so we’re heading up there for a few days. The weather looks perfect. I also booked New Brighton for March. It might a little early to go there but you never can tell with March weather.

Simple Sunday on a Monday

We left Tahoe in the smoke and came home to smoke. Ugh….One day the AQI was 500, which is pretty bad. Today is also not looking good. Our weather is cooler so hopefully, that will help the firefighters.

My daughter went and picked up my VW on Friday and didn’t notice the fan was on full blast, and when I went to turn it down it wasn’t working. I tried a few times and then just decided I would need to confront the garage because it was working fine when I brought it in. So I went in this morning, a little defensive, and said this was working when I left my VW here and now it’s not. She said, we didn’t work on that and I said that may be but my fan control is not working now and it was when I brought it in. I said I would like it fixed. I haven’t heard back from them; hopefully, it is a minor thing. I better not get charged. And there was a diagnostic charge I said don’t bother with and they have it on there so another confrontation, which I do not do well.

I canned BBQ sauce yesterday with the last of the tomatoes. It’s way early for them to be done but this summer has been so weird that it’s just one more thing. It’s thinner than I wanted so I wrote on the lid to add ketchup to thicken it.

Yesterday was my sister, Heidi’s birthday. She would have turned 74. It is so strange how she just had a flare up of the interstitial lung disease and died. She had been coping with it for a number of years with no flare ups. Well, I guess when it’s time, it’s time. ( that’s just me rationalizing).

Tomorrow I have my labs and so I should have my kappa light chain numbers by Friday. I see my doctor next week. Then I scheduled my omicron booster for Friday. I didn’t have any reaction last time so fingers crossed this time. But each time is probably different so who knows.

We’re still on the fence about going to Southern Ca next month. I guess we’ll just keep sifting through our feelings and fiances about it.

My son is off on a cool adventure staying in a fire lookout up in the McCloud district( way Northern Ca). This can be booked like a camping spot and is fairly hard to get a reservation. Back in the 70’s we often went to the Duncan Peak fire lookout especially since our friend Shelley was the lookout person. I haven’t been in years and years and my son said all that’s left is the foundation as all lookouts are done with remote viewing.

I just looked outside and everything is a weird yellow color from the fire. I’m sure the air quality is awful. I was going to swim today but the pool is closed also due to the AQI.

I still need to plan some meals this week and write a grocery list. I need salad stuff so maybe I’ll do Winco for organic spring mixes. I did see a recipe on a youtube channel for a green soup. Lots of veggies and spinach and then blended. Green soup is one of my favorites and this one also had cauliflower and broccoli.

Simple Sunday

It’s already hot out so I started one of the coolers on low. Today is only 103! haha,, but Tuesday still looks like the worst at 108. There’s a big fire up near Mt Shasta, in the Weed area. That is a lot of cattle/ranch land. I saw that some structures burned:( What a difficult weather pattern we’re in with global warming. I hope it’s not too late to reverse some things.

Our walk was very nice with only us and the stray kitties. That doesn’t happen very often anymore. I’m not sure if we’ll walk tomorrow or just wait till we’re settled in camp and then go for a walk up there. B has Rubi ready to go. Tomorrow I’ll put all the food in and clothes and prescriptions etc. No hurray as we won’t leave till @ 9:30-10am.

I’ve done a quick go thru go all the zones so my daughter just has to keep up on swish and swipe and vacuuming. She takes care of the litter boxes anyway. Food is up to them although there is plenty in the fridge and freezer. The only night she works late is Tuesday but my son will be home to take care of kitties and things.

This morning I made the brown rice to stuff the peppers. The peppers are from Costco, the organic ones. So the mix is brown rice, some tomato confit, sauteed onions,( I forgot garlic), a bit of grated cheese, some green hatch chile sausage crumbled and sauteed, and finally some chopped nuts. The veggies ones are the same minus the bit of crumbled sausage.

So this is in the crock pot with some San Marzano tomatoes. In camp, I will use the Staub and simmer for an hour.

I finished another dishcloth,#3. It’s gray and my favorite so far.

Here’s the ecru-colored one.

I’m planning on taking my knitting camping and also my embroidery. I bought a kit from Walmart ( very inexpensive, like 4.99,) and it’s a cat so that’ll be fun.

We watched Jaws last night. Such a great classic summer movie. We haven’t watched the new Amazon Tolkien one yet. Maybe we can stream it up at Tahoe.

Well, that’s a wrap for today. I’ll have a full week off from swimming and the gym. Then it’ll feel like I’m starting all over :(. We will walk a lot in Tahoe but that’s quite different from doing weights and the pool. When I get back I have labs on Tuesday so I won’t swim that day( Tuesday is my regular swim day). The pool is only open for lap swimming till 9:30 so it’s too rushed to go down after labs. I’ll go Wednesday.

Frugal Friday, and the heat is coming:(

The heat is on its way.

Today is around 103 degrees; by Monday, we’re looking at 108. That’s pretty much unheard of in the Sierra foothills. We get 100-degree days, maybe even 103 but I don’t remember 108. We’ll be leaving for Tahoe Monday morning @ 10 am so we can get up there by 12:30. Checkout is noon so we don’t want to get there too early. We’ve never had a problem with early check-in but it does depend on the camp hosts.

Even in Tahoe, the temperatures will be in the 80’s, and for September that’s hot. I’m looking forward to just getting up there.

I have most of the meal ideas planned and will make a list of what to go buy at the store. This week was another lower spend week with B going to Costco but that was only $85 and $20 of that was champagne to bring with us. But he filled the truck at Costco gas and that was the main reason for going. No extras from Amazon or Winco this week. I stopped at our market yesterday to pick up cilantro for the salsa I was going to make this morning.

We had a nice walk at 5:40-6:20 am and then I came home and started chopping stuff for the salsa. The recipe calls for chopped onions, tomatoes( peeled and cored), bell peppers, and jalapenos, cilantro, and garlic. After all that I cooked it down for 30 minutes and then put it in the jars. Processing was 20 minutes.

That was 10 lbs of tomatoes. I think probably I’ve done @ 50 lbs so far. There’s not a lot left on the plants but if there is I’ll just do some quick sauce and maybe freeze that.

Except for the excessive heat, it’s been a nice week.

Simple Sunday

Our day started with a lovely walk with no one else until our last round. This past week every day we walked there were way too many people for me. I don’t mean just one or two but probably 8-10 people and that’s at 6am. Oh well, today was nice and the temperature cool.

We only have a week till we head up to Tahoe and I’m sure looking forward to it. We don’t have any plans to do anything yet but we’ll do a lot of hiking, beach time, walking, and just camp stuff. I’m working on our menu and know we’ll do a few meals on the Weber. I’ll also use the Staub for a few meals too.

This morning I’ve done some meal prep for the week. I’m marinating the tofu for the “Superiority Tofu burger , this is from a restaurant in Greenwich Village NY. It’s marinated overnight in a pickle brine and then fried. Then I’m soaking some black beans for a recipe my daughter found of’One pot Rice and Beans”, I made up two w.w wraps with cheese, spinach, tomato and, a slice of ham.( no ham on the veggie one). And finally, I made our favorite chard soup. ( there are 2 jars of this in the fridge).

I think I may still grill the chicken up and then we could have that in a few dishes like tacos, or bean bowls.

Yesterday I made another batch of tomato sauce. I cooked it down for about 2 hours and it had a lovely consistency.

I prefer not to use the quart jars as it takes more water in the canner to cover them but I wanted the larger size this time. I think I have close to 12 jars of sauce right now down.

I’ve been having fun with a few house projects. One is simply using one of my vintage tablecloths to make a curtain to cover the one opening under the counter. Who knows if we’ll ever be able to afford a kitchen remodel so trying to make it more functional and yet less cluttered is important to me. Behind this curtain are all my cooking oils and vinegars.

Then I’ve been enjoying knitting some dishcloths. I really like the repetitiveness of knitting. It’s probably a right brain/left brain thing.

This week is low key with only my regular gym and swim days. Barclay is going to take the truck to Costco to fill up with gas and then get a few items in Costco. If I need to get anything, I’ll go into Winco which is across the street from the pool.

Flylady is the LR zone and the entryways. I bought this really lovely Tartan print runner from Target and love the fall colors of it.

The napkins are a nice linen blend which is always my favorite.

Simple Sunday

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes!! No, it’s not that bad yet. We are getting a great crop of tomatoes this year as opposed to last. This morning I made 4 more pints of tomato sauce from the Ball canning book. I used citric acid instead of lemon juice. The next batch of tomatoes is ripening in the box. I’m guessing at least 5 more days. This reduced for about an hour.

At the farm, I picked up 2 zucchini to shred and freeze some and make zucchini bread with leftovers. I also picked up some more cucumbers to make a dill refrigerator pickle and I also want to make some tzatziki for falafels and pita bread. This week I’ll do some white beans maybe as a dip, salads, tofu something, and probably some BBQ chicken. Anniversary day (Tuesday) we probably will get an early dinner or late lunch depending on where we go. Hard to believe it’s 52 years. Honestly, it doesn’t seem like that but there it is. It’s been a pretty wonderful life.

I have been thinking of trying to sell my wedding dress on eBay to hopefully a museum. When I sold the very old Quaker dresses I had it was to a museum in PA that bought them and that was so right. My dress was handmade in Poland ( probably before she immigrated to NYC)and was my great grandmother’s. My mother repaired the lace panels and added a starchy fabric to the bottom so it would hold its shape better. It’s not doing me any good in a box under my bed. So I guess this year would be a good time to deal with it. My daughter, who is non-binary, certainly wouldn’t ever use it.

We’ve got 2 weeks before we go up to Tahoe so that’s exciting. It’s our favorite spot so that’s something to look forward to. September is still busy in Tahoe but most of the true tourists have left.

This week the Flylady zone is the bedroom and master closet. Since we only have one closet in this house, I guess that’s the master one!!!:) I’ll probably add the LR zone too as that’s easy and I’ll have the time.