Five on Friday

I decided to not go with Frugal Friday today as it seems this has been an expensive week. It’s not daily stuff but more like the bigger things. Both DMV’s for the Rubicon and Chevy are due and it sure seems as if they are almost double what they were last year. Then our AAA membership will be due next week and that’s gone up. There is one other bill but I can’t remember right now. Oh, wait, it’s not a bill but I added on the camping trip to SeaCLiff in the fall on the CC and that was almost $500. SeaCLiff is the campground right down the beach from New Brighton but it is right on the ocean and double what New Brighton is. It does have full hookups so that’ll be nice. Anyway, that took the credit card up I’ll pay that in a few days. So lots of bills. The regular groceries, gas, etc is all okay.

I had my doctor’s visit yesterday and all is good. I’ll see him again in 2 months. There is nothing too much to discuss, but he’s always very attentive and asks about my issues( diarrhea, sleep, etc). After that, I headed up to the new Trader Joe’s.

I went to Trader Joe’s to get some snacks like corn chips, crackers, and salad stuff. I picked some wine, half and half, juice, some frozen things, and frozen fish. Last time I bought a piece of frozen salmon and it was really good so this time I picked up some ahi tuna to try. B went to Costco because they had a patio cover on sale. It was normally $159 and it was $40 off , so a very good deal. We have to have something over the patio as the sun in the summer blasts that area and we can’t eat outside unless there’s a cover. In the past, we’ve used the shade triangles but after a while, it just looks tacky. So this is a good thing.

We’re on a high wind alert and high fire danger today. It’s warm out @ 80 but it’s the dry wind that is potentially a problem. B did anchor the new patio cover with stakes but we might need to do some sandbags as well. Everything is drying out due to the wind. We try to keep the areas around the house green as a fire block but that means watering the yard.

Today is a home day with pottering around the house and yard. I want o clip the herbs and get started with drying. In our climate, oregano, and thyme are year-round plants but parsley, cilantro, basil, and tarragon are annuals. So I want to dry a good amount of each.

Here’s one of the cool rocks we picked from the beach. Lots of fossils and two cool holes. I try to always look for rocks with holes in them, not sure why.

Simple Sunday

We are home after a week at New Brighton SB. The weather really was outstanding and we left with temperatures expected to be in the 70s. That’s a perfect temperature for the Santa Cruz area. Sunday is always the and we whizzed thru San Jose and all the surrounding areas with very little traffic. Getting ready to go and putting stuff away takes about an hour and a half. We could probably streamline that a bit but overall stuff needs to follow a specific course: close the awning, close the slide-out, etc. We used the camp dump station for the first time and we did pretty good considering.

Everything looked great upon arriving home except it is much warmer. Temperatures are supposed to be in the 80’s all week. Still, the yard and house looked good and my daughter did a great job taking care of the stuff and she still worked all week.

So here are some pictures.

This is along the lighthouse trail in Santa Cruz. The rock formation was once a bridge.

This is looking back at the light house.

California poppies.

These trees are part of the Henry Cowell Redwood Park. Some of these giant sequoia are 2,000 years old.

Always good to be home.

Hello from New Brighton State Beach

We’ve been here since Sunday and it’s very nice. Our drive down went well trailering and going thru SanJose. I’m sure that being Sunday makes a difference. We found a Costco in Tracy to get gas so that saved us quite a bit on gas.

A lovely spot but I think I still like 62 and 63 better. if you’re lucky you are on the bluff side overlooking the ocean. Some of the spots weren’t even occupied but the website says everything is sold out. Go figure. Still new Brighton is a nice campground.

We did a nice beach walk yesterday

The weather is warming up and I suspect the campground will be fuller by Friday. Yesterday when I walked around half the spots were empty.

We’ve had great food so far, a Staub dinner of stuffed peppers and sauce, burgers on the Weber, and a quesadilla night. Tonight is another BBQ with some chicken for me and tofu for B. I have some potato salad I bought to have with that. We also stopped at Gayles which is a must in Capitola.

My daughter says the kitties are fine and all is good at home although it has been quite cold. Did I mention last week we lost a chicken to either a fox or coyote. We think a fox because we never heard anything. B lets them out to free range and generally they stay together and don’t go to far. But clearly one of them did. It’s always a little sad to lose one of the girls.

Today we’re taking a drive to see some Redwoods so that’ll be nice and then a beach walk later.

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.

Simple Sunday

It’s been a nice week with even a trip up to Lake Tahoe. I’ve wanted to try and stop at the Ritz Carlton in Tahoe to buy one of their signature candles. Each Ritz has its own signature fragrance. So that was our first stop. If you know Tahoe it is right next to Northstar on 267. It’s quite a ways back and feels a little like driving to the Overlook in “The Shining’. But it’s very beautiful. There was no one out front but the valet and he asked were we checking in? There’s NO parking at all in front of the hotel. So I said we were hoping to go to their gift store. He sort of hemmed and hawed a little and then said ok, pull over there on the right, and to give him our keys, and told us how to get to the spa. I practically ran in. It was really nice of him to let us do this. So anyway, long story short, I got the Tahoe Candle.

Barclay actually has enough points from his Marriot account for one night there so we will do that during an off-season time. Right now is perfect but we’re going to Capitola next week so it seemed too rushed to try and do it now.

From there we went to NuLeaf for B to get some chocolate and gummies. NuLeaf is in Incline, so you drive down to Kings Beach and then over to Incline going around the lake. Next, we stopped at Potlatch gift shop for some postcards of Tahoe I wanted to get you YouTuber Minimom who has asked subscribers to send postcards of the area they live in. She’s in New Zealand. I thought she’d enjoy Lake Tahoe. And we also picked up some stickers’ Keep Tahoe Blue”.

Next, we got sandwiches at a new to us place in Incline and then headed to Sand Harbor. Sand Harbor is one of the most beautiful beaches around Tahoe. There was pretty much no one there, maybe 5-6 other people. So it was glorious.

All in all a beautiful day.

Next Sunday we leave for a week at New Brighton State Beach. We have one of our favorite spots. It’s not an ocean view spot but it is open and near the bathrooms, if we need them. No hookups though. There are a few spots with hookups but they are hard to get.

I’ve cooked some great meals this past week from ‘The Le Creuset ‘ cookbook. The french onion soup.

A quiche

This week Flylady zone is the entryway. I did the windows and B replaced some pavers out the sunroom porch room so that was a nice improvement.

Our weather is going to be beautiful this week with temperatures in the 70s and even one day with an 80-degree day.

I have labs on Friday so I should get results next week while we’re gone. I’m not too worried about my numbers this time but I hope they are still in the normal range.

Here’s a view of the yard. Everything is very green and lush right now.

Simple Sunday

It’s been a productive week with taking down the tree, shopping at Costco, swimming, the library and lots of cooking.

Out of the Le Creuset book, I made both the French onion soup and the cheese souffle. The french onion soup used a chicken broth as a base and I don’t think it had enough rich flavor. Next time I would do a homemade vegetable stock and/or a beef bouillon cube. Yesterday, my son surprised me after I got home from swimming by starting the Lodge and making biscuits and sausage gravy. We had fun together and he really likes Lodge cooking. I’ve actually never had biscuits and gravy and it was delicious.

Today is a home day with cleaning the living room zone and probably I’ll add the sunporch in. Actually, I think this week, which is a light week with no appts, I’ll do a whole house zone cleaning. I’ve done this a few times and I like it. I don’t do it all in one morning but 2-3 mornings.

I read Greg Mckeon’s book Essentialism this week and am finishing his latest book, Effortless. I liked them both and felt he has some really good thoughts on living simply and with your best intentions. I also read “Oh, William” by Elizabeth Strout. Very thought provoking, and written in a clever narrative.

Budget wise everything is paid for the month and the ginormous check for the tree is cashed. So it’s all good. I do hope the neighbor doesn’t decide to change his mind about the logs because then we’d be on the hook for them.

Our weather looks lovely and sunny for the next 10 days and then we leave Mother’s day morning to go down to Capitola. I still haven’t booked anything at Refugio and in October after were back at Capitola we are going to stay 3 nights in Napa at the Expo RV place we stayed in before and really liked. So I’m not sure at this point if Refugio is going to happen. I almost think I’d rather try and plan our trip to San Diego early next year. I’m not sure we could afford Refugio and San Diego. The camping spots are not expensive it would be the gas.

Update: I just got spot 35 which is on the beach and next to the one we had last year. It’s just as nice a spot as 34 although 34 is the best. Now we just have to figure out do we still go to Capitola and then Refugio or skip one. I think since we have both booked I’ll just wait on it and think about it. We would need a stop over going down and back.

I can’t quite remember when we got his poster but I’m guessing in the early 1970’s as the VietNam war was happening. Somehow this poster survived all our moves and was hanging out in the barn till recently. I asked B to bring it in so I could frame it. Right now it’s just on a bull clip.

Friday Things and Croque Madame

For an early Mother’s day present my daughter bought me a Le Creuset cookbook. I love all things French and I love the Le Creuset cookware I have. Of course, I love Staub too and the All Clad set I have is superb and I have had that set since 1987 when we finished building our house in Foresthill( Foresthill is where we landed from Tucson in 1975 and bought property in 1981.. Foresthill is about 20 minutes from Auburn. ) Just some back history here.

I have gone thru all my cookbooks and did get rid of about half. ButI do love looking thru cookbooks and getting ideas. This book is OUTSTANDING. There are lots of recipes I will actually make. So last night I made Croque Madams. It’s made with a Bechamel sauce , ham and gruyere.

Before being plated with salad. Barclay’s was minus the ham. It was great. Tonight instead of pizza I plan on making Pommes Dauphinoise perhaps with some chicken. I haven’t thought that thru yet. I’ll do salad at least.

Barclay has an MRI on that hip that keeps bothering him today. Not sure what it’ll say or really what they do about it but at least he’d know what is going on. I had my 2nd covid booster and that went well. No reaction except a tiny bit of arm soreness.

I plan on swimming tomorrow unless it’s really raining hard. I don’t like driving in the rain and our son has the Santa Fe for a camping trip so I’d need to use my daughters Honda. I guess I’ll just wait till I get up tomorrow and check the weather. Other than that not much else is new. Plus my new suit isn’t here yet. The first Speedo I ordered got lost in the mail, then the TYR I ordered was WAY too small( who sizes these things anyway), and now the cheap one I ordered ( not speedo or TYR is lost in space or on a truck somewhere). It’s supposed to be here today.

We are having a heck of a time getting or as the case may be we are NOT getting any camping spots in Refugio. Somehow the algorium must randomly select and so far we haven’t had any luck. They get locked instantly and then there’s no seeing the spot open. It’s a really awful website and system but I wouldn’t know how to change it. There’s just too many people out and about. Last year when I got the spot we had I don’t remember it being this difficult. That was November but still. Anyway, we may try for a private RV place in Pismo Beach somewhere.Any RV’ers out there that have been in or around Pismo?? or even half moon Bay??

We’re in for more rain and that’s a good thing for California. We did have a lovely walk this morning. the baby geese have just been born and so far there are 3 families of them. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but never get to close to a Canada goose and her babies. Anyway they sure are cute.

Frugal Friday

No walk this morning because I had to be in Auburn at 7:45 to get my hearing test and then see the ENT doctor. So I do have some hearing loss in the left ear but I could repeat all the words so there’s no distortion of hearing. He said to come back and check in 6, months to see if’s worse or the same. Uhh, well okay!

Then I went over to CVS to figure out why CVS Caremark( mail order) keeps getting my cholestyramine wrong. They’re sending the brand Prevalit which I do not like at all. I think we figured it out but I’ll have to wait for the doctor to reorder.

I bought 2 pairs of Okibashi at CVS and my Nasocort for my sinuses. I also spent over $100 at Safeway on Monday so I’ll need to figure out a menu for next week and then go to the store again maybe Sunday. I plan on swimming tomorrow so I could do Winco but I don’t have a list ready.

I ordered and received 6 1lb bags of Rancho Gordo beans which just happen to come from Napa. These are really lovely heirloom beans. I made the King City beans this past Tuesday and they were delicious. They cost more than regular beans but I think the flavor is superior. I froze a good size container for next week.

I need to tally up food costs for the month excluding camping. That comes out of travel money. I know gas for our trip was @ $300 maybe slightly less. With gas prices so high I imagine it’s restricting some RVers. Eating out camping was @ $ 110. The champagne tasting was $80 for both of us and the bottle we bought was $42. Groceries were @ $ 150. I’ll need to double-check my receipts. Plus Wrights Beach was $105 for 3 nights and Napa was $165. for 3 nights. Those were paid in advance.

This month is expensive because of property taxes and Allstate and we owed IRS this year. All in all, it was a lot. Our next annual bills are small ones like Costco membership, AAA membership, and ??? Plus there’s still no funding from LLS for myeloma so that’s quite a bit we count on that’s not there. I keep checking daily.

Here’s a picture of the kitties who are now almost 1 year old.

From left to right: Gus, Cherry, Bean, Smudgerton. So cute and they all have unique personalities. little Cherry is the only girl and the smallest.

Simple Sunday

We got back from Napa around 12noon. A good drive through the valley. Some traffic but nothing unusual for Vacaville or Sacramento. There are crazy drivers everywhere. We got into the driveway with no problem. Going out is another matter and when we left B didn’t pull enough to the left and spent an hour backing up and trying to get it into position. So I left a voice message for our tree guy and we just need to get the tree down. I just don’t see it worth the stress of going out every time. There are only maybe 4-6 inches between the trailer and the tree when it pulls out and it’s way too close. Our next trip out is New Brighton so it needs to be done by then. Another expense:(

Speaking of expenses it’s bi-annual bill time with property tax and Allstate. So they need to be factored in for next month.

Daylight savings started today and we didn’t get out to walk til 7am which is really 6am but that was ok, nobody was there anyway, which is perfect for me.

This is a busier week for me than my normal. I have Dr. Latalo on Thursday and then Friday I have an appt with the audiologist to test hearing. I’m fairly certain that the one time I had water in my ear it affected my eardrum. After that, I started using earplugs. I can hear but it’s not as clear as my right ear. So we’ll see. I plan to swim Tuesday and I need to go to the library too.

I need to tidy up the house although my daughter did a great job keeping up with things. My son helped by doing 3 dinner nights so it evened out. I also need to shop tomorrow for a few things and plan my menus for the week. I have my basic plan but need to see what’s in the freezer to use up.

I started a list of things for Rubi too. The Ikea towels we bought are way too thick and do not dry quickly so I plan to switch to a Turkish towel. We had an extra cooking pot in there I don’t use so that’s going. I have 2 wine glasses we don’t use as we use the same Ikea glasses for juice and or wine/water. We also discovered we didn’t have any laundry soap so I’ll pick up something when I shop.

Here’s where we went for the tasting. Delicious.

They give you a taste of 5 champagnes. It was quite interesting and delicious.

This was our wood-fired four cheese pizza with arugula. The place was called Live Fire Pizza.

Just look at those leopard spots of char on that. Amazing.

Napa Valley

Right now we are in the Expo RV campground and it’s really nice. It’s all big RVs with a few small ones like ours. Full hookups are pretty damn nice though. Some of these big ones are almost obscene though, like 30 ft. Where can you go in those things and then pulling seems really crazy to me but hey each to their own?

Napa is a beautiful area and we discovered we were only a few blocks from some great restaurants. We went to Model Bakery which is good enough to be in the Goldbelly order online system. We had a lovely coffee and almond croissant. I also bought a baguette for later but it does seem a little hard. Maybe I can put it in a pan and warm up.

So to back up. We landed in Bodega @ 1:30 on Sunday. Our spot was empty and we were set up within half an hour. The weather was spectacular. Sunny and almost no wind. Monday was also no wind and sunny. We ventured out to Bodega bay and went to the Kite store and bought some twirling wind things that we like to have in the yard. The last time we bought those must have been 15 years ago. Then we went down to Fishetarian for lunch. It was delicious and a 10 out of 10.

We had lovely beach walks and walks on the bluffs above the beach. When we left on Wednesday the wind was picking up and there was a wind warning.

So this afternoon we’re going to Mumm Champagne for a tasting. We planned on doing 3 but they are just too expensive. Oh, get this, we thought it would be fun to do the Napa Wine train which we’ve always wanted to do BUT IT WAS $420 per PERSON. AHH, not for us.

Anyway, so far it’s been a lovely trip.