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.

Frugal Friday

We are back home and had a great time in Tahoe. If you’re ever wanting to visit Tahoe, come in September. Most of the tourists are gone and it’s beautiful. Now some of this was due to the Caldor fire and lots of things cancelled/closed but in general September is amazing up there.

For B’s birthday lunch we went to Sprouts which is the main health food restaurant in South Lake. We both agreed it was so so. We’ve been there many times so maybe it was an off day. The sandwich was fair but not great. Oh well, we still had a lovely time and it was only $20 plus tip.

Here’s the 2 old people out at the beach without even combing our hair!!!!

We went to the grocery store and bought a few groceries but that was only $27 so a frugal win. We had brought most everything we needed and the fridge is so big that we had lots of room.

We should have a refund from the days we weren’t there but I haven’t seen it so I may have to call. It should be almost half of our original fee. BTW, if you get the Senior Parks pass( thru the US FS the fees at Nevada Beach and other places that are USFS and parks it is half off. That’s probably why there are so many seniors there. I mean where else are you going to go on vacation in one of the most beautiful spots in the world for $20 a night.

This toward South Lake at @ 7am.

I think this was the worst smoke toward SL Tahoe.

I went and did my labs this morning so next week I should know how much of an increase I’ve had. I wish it would level off but unfortunately that’s not the way my pattern has been.

Tomorrow, I’m excited to get back in the pool as it’s been a week. I’ll probably only do 35 minutes since it’s back to basics again at least until next week.

So, this was a very frugal week even on vacation.

This looking directly across the lake. Emerald bay is over there somewhere.

The smoke lifted as the day went on and it cleared up by afternoon.

Getting ready to go

We are getting things ready to head up to Tahoe Friday. The damn AC in the truck has stopped working just like I said it would. It wasn’t the freon. Well, now there’s nothing we can do till next week so we might as well not get too pissed off. But I think they are trying to pull a fast one on us and now that we have the warranty they have to fix it. Still a PITA to have to drop it off and so on. But on a positive note it won’t be hot in Tahoe and we certainly are not going to need AC. As a matter of fact the mornings are going to be quite cool with a low of 28.

I have most of the food organized and a menu plan done. I’m going to hit the store tomorrow for just a few things. Overall, very simple. There’s no wood or charcoal fires allowed so no Hibachi cooking or Dutch Oven. Also, no fires at night.

I’ve got a big bag of books from the used bookstore so that should fill up my days. Plus we plan on some hiking. Nothing too strenuous just some walking. We plan to not go even into South Lake because of the fire issue. (The fire is not threatening south lake but I want to stay clear anyway.

I need to get labs Friday so we will leave after that. Because we are trailering I suspect it’ll take a little longer than normal and we have to go slower too. As long as everything goes okay with the truck we should hit the campground by 1pm or so. September is lovely in Tahoe and it should be beautiful with nice days and cool nights. Barclay has a birthday next week so we might do a lunch out.

Simple Sunday

Because of the smoke and unhealthy air quality the pool has been closed both Friday and Saturday. It’s smart they do that when it’s so bad you can’t see 100 yds. Well, since all the die hard swimmers will be enmasse on Monday, I’ll wait and go on Tuesday and it’ll still probably be busy. That’s okay, I’m swimming because #1. I love it and always have, #2 it’s good for me, and #3 just because.

Yes, I just checked and it’s closed this morning but there isn’t lap swimming till 11:30 am and then it’s only an hour and a half so I haven’t tried to do a Sunday.

My son is still undecided about the Van but I think I will talk with him and just say, it’s really served it’s time but if he wants then we will have to sign title to him. Then he will need to do insurance etc, repairs. I’m not sure he really wants to take that on.

This week is two flylady zones, the LR and the entry ways. This should only take 15 minutes each.

I made one more jar of pickled jalapenos for the fridge( so that makes 3 jars in there). I looked up doing it in a water bath and it looks easy so I may do a few of those. We opened the one 3/4 full jalapeno jelly jar and Wow!!! It is delicious!!! I may do that this morning but I’ll see how I feel. The biggest part is deseeding and deveining the peppers. Then cutting them up and waiting for the sugar and vinegar to come to a full boil. So somewhat more involved.

I was experimenting making corn tortillas yesterday. I did one batch with a tablespoon of oil and one with just the hot water. I think the one with the oil was slightly better. I pressed but still didn’t get quite as thin as I’d like. Any tortillas makers out there with hints?? I remember the nurse at UCD who was hispanic, made tortillas every day for her kids and she said just keep trying till you get the feel for the right consistency. I ordered some Bobs Red mill masa harina so I’ll try that when it comes.

I got an email from Recreation.gov saying that Nevada Beach was now closed thru the 16th. That is part of our reservation window. So we either need to cancel or modify. I’m going to wait till next week to modify and maybe something will improve. It’s really for the best they keep people out because people are stupid and do stupid things.

Simple Sunday

Our skies are still smokey and the sun is a red orb in the sky. It did clear up yesterday afternoon but it’s back in this morning. We had a good walk though although ‘he who shall not be named was there’. My God!, He is always there. I don’t think he’s taken a day off in the last year. Even I, OCD that I am, try and take a rest day.Oh well, he doesn’t bother us(right??after all that)… and does stay out of the way.

I went to Safeway to get the rest of the camping food for B and Sachi. One night spaghetti with garlic bread, the next night tofu burgers. It should be easy for them to handle. Then we went to Starbucks to get a pound of coffee ground for the press. It’s easier than trying to grind a large jars worth of coffee. We shared a tall Italian Roast coffee.

I finished the bathroom zone. I had bought new shower curtains last week so I put them up. With a claw foot tub, our shower needs 2 curtains to go around the ring at the top. I replace them about 3x a year due to mold issues. This time of year with everything so dry there isn’t much of a problem but in the winter it is more so. Still I cut the bottom off @3 X as well and wash in bleach.

I ordered the new Rosamunde Pilcher’s book.

She is one of my favorite authors. Will see if I like it. I have no qualms about returning a book if I don’t like it. I’m sure Amazon doesn’t want you doing this often but I have when I’m not happy with a book or a purchase.

This coming week will include swimming 2x, my labs on Friday , and taking Buggie in to check this wiring issue. The running lights on the left are not working and even after changing the fuses and bulbs it’s still not working. So we need to get it fixed as we drive out in the near dark at 5:45 am and the lights are not on. The brake lights work fine though. B needs to try and reschedule his IGIV for sooner as he is really feeling the fatigue. The anti-rejection drug he is on is causing his immunoglobulins to drop too low. Unfortunately, he will need to be on this drug a while so this is the treatment. At least it works. The cost is shocking at $41,000. Really?? I guess you’d just die if you didn’t have insurance.

I’m thinking seriously of painting our floors in the front room and bedroom white. I’ve always wanted white floors, very Scandish. But it would require some logistics as we would need to do half or a third at a time so we can access the bathroom and my daughter can get out of her room. Plus what I read is that it takes at least 2 coats maybe 3. We’ll see how it goes when the weather is cooler. It’s too hot now to do anything.

I think what I’ll do first is go to the Benjamin Moore paint store and find out about paints that can be put on a floor. Is it just regular paint and then a coat of varathane over it?? I’ll check.

Midweek Musings

I’m getting things ready for the camping trip B and my daughter are taking up to Salt Point next week. I went to Target and got 2 bins to put dry food and then one for pots and dishes. They are taking the tent trailer and since we took everything out when we were setting up the RV, so I need to get bins to put in there. Since we are undecided about the Coleman, we figured they could go to the coast and see how it goes. My daughter wants to keep it because it has separate sleeping areas that she can use whereas the RV is really only for us. The RV couch does fold down to a bed but it’s not private. We’re not in a hurry to sell it because once it’s gone it’s gone. We figure it will be good for a certain type of camping especially where there are facilities. I guess time will tell.

So I’ve got most of their food stuff ready and it’ll be easy things like spaghetti one night and then veggie burgers the next. This is my daughters only chance to get away before Sierra College starts.

I’ve got a Walmart order ready to go so the misc food stuff can be picked up there like a small peanut butter and jam. The stuff I use at home is Costco size so unless I scooped it out they are taking the giant container. Probably more expensive but definitely more convenient.

I picked a big bowl of jalapenos to make more refrigerator pickled jalapenos. they last way longer in the fridge than the recommended month. We used them all last winter and they were fine. Since the brine is just vinegar, water, a little salt and sugar there’s not much in there to go bad. I’d still like to check out ordering a lug of tomatoes from the farm but not sure I want to deal with canning it all. Next year we really need to order a truck load of compost/fertilizer for the soil. We’ve used turkey manure before and that worked great. Plus this year the moles really did a job on the plants and eating the roots. But then Ciri the cat came to live here and we haven’t seen much mole activity.

My son was planning on camping at Lassen National Park that same week, but the fires have closed the park and all reservations were cancelled. I’m not sure what he’ll do but he said he might go for an overnight in the high country.

I’ll be home taking care of kitties and the chickens. Maybe I can get thru some more magazines or look around for a project. Otherwise, probably I’ll be walking, reading and just doing what I normally do.

Frugal Friday

I think overall it was a frugal week. Costco was a bigger shop at $600, but $120 of that was non food, and $20 was wine. So, that meant food was $460. Plus, the coffee, bread, flour sugar, etc will last to the end of July.

My food budget is still $600 . but with Costco at $460. I think I will end up slightly over. But that’s still $140 left. I spent another $30 at Safeway so the balance is $110. We don’t need anything immediately so I can see what veggies we might need next week.

At Costco I bought a box of large tomatoes and one night we had stuffed tomatoes and they were delicious. I made Julia Child’s Sole Meuniere with Dover Sole I got at Costco too and man, it was delicious.

I’ve been decluttering odds and ends from the barn( again) and have decided to sell the Robin Egg Blue mallow ware Melmac.

It’s really a lovely set but I just don’t have any use for it. It would make a great picnic set or a dinner set for someone with a vintage trailer. I’m going to list on Ebay first. I also have a Star Trek console that lights up and I’m going to list that too as it’s just been kicking around the barn.

We decided to hold off selling the tent trailer this summer as one of us may want to sleep out there and we thought that on occasion there might be some campgrounds we’d take that too. We’ll see, nothing is set yet , and we’re flexible. If we don’t use it all in the next 6 months then next spring we’d sell it.

I submitted my LLS reimbursement for May so that should help next month. It covers our health insurance so that’s a big deal. We wouldn’t be making it on just SS without that LLS grant money. I am grateful to all those that donate to LLS so they can help so many people with blood cancers. It is a gift for sure.

Overall, I think it was a frugal week. No unnecessary spending, just essentials.

Friday things…

We are back home from our ‘maiden voyage’ and it did have some snafus.

So here we are leaving the driveway. Up ahead on the left is one of our big ponderosas and B didn’t take the turn wide enough so he hit the corner of the awning and snapped off the cover. Fortunately, it didn’t damage anything except the plastic cover which can be taped or replace. The awning worked fine in camp. The drive up to Tahoe was perfect. Not a lot of traffic and we went 55-60 most of the time and the Santa Fe did great. Controlling the steering is something to pay attention to probably because of the weight on the hitch. I don’t know if having a truck resolves that or what but we can’t really entertain the idea of a truck at this point. We have anti sway bars but it’s still something to pay attention to. B did a great job driving though.

So we got up there early and asked if we could check in and Yes, we could. So, here is our spot.

We’ve stayed in this spot before and like it as it is across from the bathrooms.

The campground had way more people than when we were there 2 years ago. I’m guessing pandemic fatigue and everyone wants to be out doing something. Of course, there has to be the one group of campers that are noisy, loud, obnoxious with too many kids running around. Sorry, but I do think one needs to be respectful of Other campers!!! They were certainly not and they moved picnic tables that are NOT meant to be moved together, and were hacking at tree stumps for firewood. Geez, I’m glad they were far enough away that I couldn’t see all there crap. I would not want to be there this weekend with them blaring music.:(

The first night we did a Lodge dinner of stuffed peppers.

I love Lodge cooking and forgot how fun it is to just put the food in and sit back and relax.

The second night we used the Hibachi and I cooked some chicken for me and a Dr. Praeger burger for B. We had potato salad as our side. Quite yummy.

So the second snafu was concerning the battery charge. We were under the impression that the battery and the solar charging would last easily 2-5 days. Well, we were running the frridge all day and by 7pm the battery charge was low and we turned off the fridge. No lights or water pump either. So the next morning we hooked the Santa Fe back up and charged the battery. Then we ran the fridge 2 hours in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. Then we used the water pump as necessary. That seemed to do the trick and the battery held the charge overnight. It was frustrating to have it happen and like I said, we were told the battery was fine for days. Nope. So we are going to have to buy a second battery and they are not cheap. But it should make a difference.

We hooked up Thursday and left by mid morning and had a lovely ride home. I 80 was not too busy so we did fine. Trailering is quite different with this as opposed to the tent trailer and I’m leaving it open till next year whether it is for us at all. I think the difference would be getting a used truck early next year and then seeing how the trailering feels. The SF can do it and it was fine but I think the uptake is a bigger vehicle with a V-8 will make the difference.

Here’s the bed. Comfy and great windows to look out of. That front window is tinted and you can’t see in at all.

Here’s the totally cool kitchen. We can’t use the microwave unless we’re hooked up to a 30 amp( I guess, not too sure of that).

On our way out we stopped at the Donner Party Memorial.

She was a survivor, I think.

So, today(Friday) I went for my first shot of Velcade in this final round. How long it will keep in remission is anyone’s guess but I hope for a while at least.

WEll, I’m off to take DEX and probably rest.

Simple Sunday

We’re busy getting the Rubicon set up for camping at Donner State park this week. I have most of what I need in there at this point.

I still need to prep some food as I plan on using the Lodge this time to make stuffed peppers with a tomato sauce. I might do a mac and cheese in the Lodge the 2nd night but still undecided. I like to use the small hibachi for BBQing so I might do that instead. We went thru all the stuff from the tent trailer and whittled it down to what we want in the new trailer. We have the white corelle dishes, bowls, and a serving platter, 2 pots, and 2 fry pans. I’m not sure I need 2 fry pans so when we’re up there I’ll see what we’re using.

This is a very quick trip and I’m not sure if we’ll be able to really tell what we need or don’t need. We’re hoping to find some place with hook ups in the next month so we can try out the things that run with power and the sewer hookup.

The kittens are growing and are now annoying tweens running around the barn. We are pretty sure we are not going to bring them in the house. The main reason is my daughter( who is really the one taking care of them) is actually allergic to cats so she has to wear a mask out in the barn. They are really cute though. MamaKat is quite friendly and we’re planning on her spay next week after we’re back from camping. Hopefully, we can get her in the cat carrier.

We had a nice BBQ of burgers, chicken and a veggie burger for my daughter’s birthday with a fruit tart for dessert. It was all yummy. I bought the Dr. Praeger burgers this time and I think they are way better the the processed Beyond meat stuff.

This week Flylady’s zones are the entry way and the kitchen. Our entryways are fine and maybe just need a spruce up but i’m not sure I’ll get to the kitchen zone till later in the week. It seemed like I just did it as the same thing happened last month when the week had 2 zones.

It’s supposed to be quite hot tomorrow with temperatures hitting 100. It’s way too early for such hot weather but I guess global warming is to be blamed. We are watering a lot so our water bill is going to go up.

I’m working on an idea for a series of posts about cooking. What I want to do is pick one or two recipes from every cookbook I own. If it passes the test of tastes good, ease of making, etc, I’ll keep the cookbook, if not, I’ll donate it back to the pet bookstore. I just feel I have way too many cookbooks that I’ve never made a recipe from. I like to look at them but not cook from them so that’s the challenge.

Frugal Friday

It’s almost the end of the month and I’ve come in on budget with groceries. $600. for the month , so I’m very happy with that.

Tomorrow is my daughters birthday, so that extra food stuff will come out of the sinking funds for birthdays. She wants a fruit tart for her birthday cake so that will be bought and then some sort of BBQ food. How the years go by. I’m grateful she lives with us as she does so much in the garden( well, all of it really), and is such a great person. Smart, funny, well educated( librarian), and is fun to be around. Happy Birthday, Sachi!!!

Gas prices are going up here in California so I filled up the Santa Fe and it was $50. Towing the Rv will certainly add to the gas bill but that’s what it takes. Next week we plan on going up to Donner Lake for the maiden voyage. Only 2 nights since I scheduled my Velcade shot for Friday. I could have bumped it out a week but didn’t really think that far ahead so it is what it is.

We’ve been putting things in the Rubicon and it is so great that there will be a place for everything. There was in tent trailer, but everything was in bins that needed to come out and often it got a little messy with bins on the bench. In the Rubicon, the bathroom stuff will be in the bathroom and kitchen stuff in the kitchen. So cool.

After my appt with Dr. Laptalo, that went fine BTW, we headed over to Ikea to get some things for the Trailer. We needed kitchen towels,Ikea’s .79 towels are the best) bath towels, a paring knife, and a comforter and pillows. In the tent trailer we just slept in our down bags, no sheets. So since this is an actual bed we needed a top blanket. I don’t keep extra sheets or blankets in the house just what I use on the bed. Same with towels. We have 4 towels in the bathroom. That’s it. Ikea was busy even at 10:30 in the morning. Crazy.

Today, I’m making an Ooni pizza for dinner. I’m also making a loaf of sourdough sandwich bread in the Zojirushi. I have a few house chores and then I plan on going to the pet bookstore to get some paperbacks for camping.

Flowers by the front door.

.I did the budget for June. We still have 4 more UCD payments from the copay big mistake of August 2019. But since there’s no interest on this , that’s ok. Plus, they did the UCD grant for quite a bit of that month. It was extraordinarily high because Barclay had an IGIV which is $41,000 ( yes, you read that right) each time. So I’m more than happy to pay this copay amount over time.

We have 2 annual bills in June as well. AAA roadside assistance and Costco membership. I put these on auto pay so they will go on our credit card, I hope. If not, it’s the checking acct. Can’t quite remember which I did.

I plan on keeping the food budget to $600 again. That might be a little low for 4 people but I’m still using freezer food and pantry so that should help.