Thursday stuff

Yesterday was my doctor appointment and it went well. I’ll have my 8 week labs around the first week of December, then see him right after Christmas, then start Velcade/Dex in January. He did mention that there is a pill form of Velcade but since that would be a tier 5 drug, I just don’t want to deal with that. So the shot isn’t bad and neither is the drive. ( We got there in 50 minutes yesterday with NO traffic. So it’ll be 3 weeks on one week off. I’ll be ready!!!

I am having lots of anxiety about the election next week, along with the rest of the country.( well, intelligent people who can see Trump for what he is). It’s just a lingering underlying stress as to what’s going to happen. It’s not keeping me awake at night but still, I read the news compulsively for clues. Well, I guess we’ll know soon enough.

We shopped at Trader Joe’s in Roseville after the doctor appt( which was why B came with me). It was pretty packed with people but everyone HAS to wear a mask so it was ok. I loaded up on lots of things. Some prepper stuff like canola spray and tamari, and some just regular food. We were home by 12 noon so not bad at all.

As I mentioned, we adjusted our walk time till 6 so as to try and avoid jerk walker. He’s still there though and just as abrupt but at least walking the other way has made a huge difference. 6 am is nice because by 6:30 it’s predawn and the sky is lightening up. Sunday is daylight savings so I figure we will just walk when we feel ready and see what time that ends up being. I’m guessing the jerk will go by the darkness not the time. One example of him still being a jerk. So the confrontation was about his not using a flashlight, right? So he has been using one. Then this morning I saw him have it on and then as he approached us he turned it off. Uhh…passive aggressive anyone????

Tonight my son is going to make us an Oktoberfest dinner of Bratwurst something( not sure yet exactly what he’s doing) but at least I don’t have to cook.

I have a loaf of rye sourdough baking and it didn’t puff as much as I’d like but it still tastes great.

We are still getting lots of eggs and I’ve been keeping up on using them. I put it out on Nextdoor neighbor but no one answered. I’m guessing with the pandemic when everyone was buying chicks, and now they are all laying eggs. It’s okay, in a few months they will slow down once it gets cold.

I have loved lighting my beeswax candles for dinner time. I have lots of pumpkins on the table and around. We’ve been having a fire every morning too. It’s been about 45 degrees out, so chilly.

Budget Friday

I’m trying to come up with a good blog title for Fridays. I’m not sure Frugal Friday quite fits.

Overall, we are frugal because we have no income per se except SS. So maybe just Budget Friday would work. I’ll see. But budget-wise, all Octobers bills are in. We do have the 2 annual bills of house insurance and Allstate which is twice a year. With ALL the insurance companies getting out of insuring California property, for the most part, we are now having to do the California Fair Plan which is added to the AAA insurance. We went from our annual bill being slightly over $1,000 to now we are slightly over $2,000. Quite a jump.

Costco was just at $450, so that will go on October’s food budget. About $70 was wine and beer. I did buy a bottle of nice champagne for celebrating birthdays. Actually, it wasn’t expensive at $15.00. Plus there were a few prepper items and 2 bags of Starbucks coffee that was on sale. With all 4 of us drinking coffee we go thru quite a bit. But I don’t see us going back to Costco till the very end of October or even the first week of November which could then include any Christmas food or items. Prepper stuff included tuna, Cholula sauce, TP, another case of water, extra butter, and extra cheese. The only thing I didn’t get and I need is some tamari sauce. I’ll probably just go down here to the store and pay their price. The best place to get low sodium tamari is Trader Joe’s but I don’t think I’ll be getting there any time soon.

So far this morning I have made pizza dough, washed living room windows, cleaned the ceiling fan, and am just about ready to clean the rest of the sunroom.

Our lovely fall weather continues with absolutely beautiful days with temperatures in the mid to high 80’s. Next week does have a few 93degree days but this time of year that doesn’t seem so bad.

Budget-wise, I did my LLS for the UHC premium and my medicare which they cover for 2 months so that will be here in a week or so. I am very grateful to LLS for my grant (myeloma) as it does cover health insurance. If we had to pay OP for us both it’s almost $700 so I’m not sure how the budget would do. Probably we would be in the red. But there are gifts sometimes even with having cancer.

B did order the boards for the house ( 5 of them) so that was $120 about. But the siding needs to be fixed. Other stuff, even the fencing by the barn is optional and can be put off if we don’t have extra money.

If you’re looking for a new TV series, The Boys, is quite good. It’s super heroes that are darker more evil and is well done. We just started Season 2 on Netflix.

Well, that’s a wrap for now.

Frugal Friday

My doctor’s appt went well. He’s clearly aware of my increase in kappa light chains and now the m -spike. So I feel reassured that when we move forward with treatment it’ll be the right time. Again at this rate, probably by the end of the year.  I definitely will not let them get over the 1,000 mg/L mark which is where it was when the other treatment of Pomalsyt( an oral chemotherapy) wasn’t working. But for now, I have a few more months of “freedom”.

  I also had a brief dental appt to check on the cold sensitivity where she had done the crown. It seemed it was all ok and she recommended using Sensodyne toothpaste.

We’re heading to Costco so as to take advantage of the coupon sales. Dish soap, laundry soap, and a number of other things are on sale and I’d like to get them. It will probably end up another $500 shop but that will go on September’s food budget.  I’m planning on about $600-$700 including alcohol( wine for me, beer for B).  Plus it’s our birthday month so we may have a take out dinner or two.

I bought some books from Goodwill books online.

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Of course, cookbooks!! The prices were good but not exceptional. the Pioneer woman one was $15 I think. Goldy’s was $7.00. Still, with the pet book store closed( where books are $1.00 each) there’s not a supply of cookbooks coming into my house which for me is cheap entertainment.

Last night I made a breakfast bake with hashbrowns, eggs, cheese, and some sausage on the meat side. It was very good and a good way to use up the eggs were getting from the chickies.

Tonight is pizza night. I might get a take and bake from Costco.

This weekend I have more tomatoes to process and I’m going to do a large pan of baked tofu as I need to use some up. Baked tofu is good cold or in sandwiches.

The days are really getting shorter and sunset now is about 7:40 and sunrise is 6:30am.  We’re still getting out to walk at 5:30 am but I think fairly soon we will bump it out to 5:45am.  This morning was busy down there with dog(jerk) walker getting there at 5:40am. We were almost done and he came blasting by and I yelled at him saying” On your left”. He does irritate me something wicked.

Well, I’d better get some things done so we can leave to get to Costco by

 9am when they open.

Friday Stuff

There are fires everywhere here in California. There is smoke everywhere and it’s best not to be outside too much. We did walk this morning but only a mile as you could see the smoke haze as it got light.  Vacaville is around an hour and a half or less away so that’s where most of the smoke is coming from. There’s also the fire near Reno and the smoke is filling the Tahoe Basin. This was the week we were supposed to be in Tahoe so perhaps it’s all for the best. So many people were getting evacuated that I -80 was shut down in Vacaville and Fairfield. Pretty scary stuff.

I feel somewhat optimistic after the DNC that perhaps the winds of change is toward decency again. But after the last election, it’s hard not to feel like something awful could happen. I honestly do not think our democracy would survive another 4 years of Trump. Extreme? maybe or maybe not.  We’re planning on taking our absentee ballot down to Auburn and drop at the office of the registrar. Easy to do and we’ll know its there.

I needed to do a fill-in shop before I do Costco at the end of the month so I decided to do Walmart pick up.  It was actually great. I forgot how easy it is to do and I love I can add on since I forgot a bunch of things and then everyone wanted to add a snack or fruit or something. I ended up just over $100. So that’s great. If I bought the same stuff at Bel Air it would easily be $200. One new thing I’m doing that I got from the Tightwad Gazette is to keep track of price points. It’s quite interesting to see the price differences. I’m sure if I was a couponer I could do better. But so far Costco still has most store prices beat.  For example, a half-gallon of organic milk runs about $4.79 in the stores. At Costco 2 gallons is just over $10.00. That is a huge difference.  There are lots of other examples too but what is at issue is you need either a second refrigerator or a freezer or have 10 kids which will drink all that milk. We just freeze the milk till we’re ready to use it.  Anyway, it’s been a fun exercise it frugality.

My right side ribs are pulled again and I’m having limited mobility with it but since I’ve had chronic rib fractures due to Myeloma, I just figure It’ll pass. Of course, the concern with myeloma is it does affect the bones so fractures are a common result of this cancer.  I see my doctor next week so we’ll see what he says.

I’m still making some freezer salsa and waiting on the next batch of Roma tomatoes to ripen. Probably by Sunday I’ll be able to make some more tomato sauce.  We definitely will have plenty to get thru the winter. I’ve been drying basil too since we have a nice crop this year.

We’re in between projects and since it’s been too hot outside to work on fences or anything for that matter. In the house, I still want to get painting done but we need to go get that paint at the Benjamin Moore store and that’s down by Trader Joes in Roseville. So maybe next week. Also there are a few pine boards in my office that need replacing so I’d like that to get done.  We are also planning on redoing our outside laundry since the floor is in bad shape. It’d be nice to have laundry somewhere in the house but there isn’t any space for a washer and dryer unless we built an addsition which we don’t have money for. Well, I’m grateful for what we do have.

 

Well, not good on the labs.

Well, I figured another increase. Up to 239.9mg/L from 176. So another almost 70 point increase. Lamba went down to 10.2mg/L so of course, that means the ratio went up. Up to 23.4 mg/L.

The bigger news is now there is finally a monoclonal protein showing:( it’s at .3  I haven’t had a M protein in over 4 years so that is a bit unsettling.  Well, as I’ve said, the blood tells the story. Not much I can do about it except plan on the timing of Chemotherapy. I’m guessing when I see him at the end of August he will still say, wait.  I’m predicting by November/December will be a good time to start.  If you figure about a 70 point increase each 8 weeks, that puts it at 4months apprx.

This will be my 4th relapse( well technically my 3rd, since I counting when I became refractory to Revlimid and started Pomalyst.) so I guess I know the drill.

 

Catching up

We got the tree quote and it came in at a good price. Plus we’re adding in having the very large oak that hangs over the barn trimmed. That will cost $1,000 but partly that’s because he needs to bring in his boon. I’m good with the cost and it’ll be a relief for the big tree to go. We still have the 2 other leaning Ponderosas and the one that leans toward our neighbors is a concern as the soil there is much softer as it is downhill. But I just cannot deal with that right now.  If it gets worse, then we will need to do something.

I had an exhausting trip to Costco but I got almost everything I wanted/needed. Of course, the next day I realized I hadn’t used the coupon that was tucked quite nicely in my wallet and I didn’t see when I went to pay. Oh well, next week maybe. Costco seemed to have most everything except no liquid hand soap or Clorox wipes. I have plenty of regular CLorax that I can mix with water if I need to make up a disinfectant.  The hordes were after toilet paper that apparently you have to make a beeline for the minute you enter the store and the meat counters were crammed with people trying to get stuff. I didn’t need any meat at all so I avoided it. I suppose I could have bought something as back up but I think with what I have, we’re good.

B’s biopsy came back great. No blasts, no MRD disease, no sign of MDS so that is really a gift. Hopefully, this GVHD will get resolved with the new drug. But since it is so expensive and they are( well, the hospital aid fund) paying for it, that it will do the job and then he can get off it.

I’m planning on driving down to see my doctor at the cancer center instead of doing a video chat. I just want to touch base with him and get his impression of my light chains going up so much. It’s not a good trend and I really would rather start Velcade than risk fractures or other horrible things. There’s no guarantee about anything but at least it’s the logical thing to do. I really hate the thought of dealing with dex and pretty much losing 2 days a week but at some point that will be the reality.  I can tell though, my energy shifting and I’m more tired and less energetic.

I also have my delayed dentist appt at the end of the month to replace a crown. Not looking forward to that.

Such strange weather we’re having. It’s hot then cool, then hot again. Today it’s quite cool and we even have a twinkly fire going just to warm up the house. Weird.

http://magnonsmeanderings.blogspot.com/2020/06/j-k-rowling.html 

I was reading this guys post as he’s on someone’s blog list that I read( I read lots of British blogs), but he was commenting on JK Rowlings’ comment about transwomen and I really flipped at what he was saying that he agreed with her that whatever sex you’re born that’s what you are. Really? How narrow-minded. Trans women are women and trans men are men. Period. He also said he had never read Harry Potter or seen the movies and I thought how weird he’s got this appreciation for JK R and hasn’t even read her stuff but when she goes off the rails about trans women he’s all for it. What astonished me is his comments were all agreeing. Well, I commented he needed to learn about transgender people and that it had nothing to do with ” the clothes” they wear. ( He was saying they can dress like a woman but they’re not real women). Anyway, my comment posted, and then, just like that, he took mine down and the other person who also tried to clue him in.

Go check it out.

 

Friday things

well, not good news on my labs:(

My kappa light chains went up to 176mg/L so a 66 point increase.

Lambda only to 13. mg/L ( normal as I am not Lambda myeloma)

ratio up to 13.44 so a 4 point increase.

Not happy but what can you do. I will see my doctor at the end of June. Not sure if I’ll do the video conference or just go down to Sac. Probably I’ll go down. I mean he isn’t going to start treatment yet anyway, but I’d like to check in physically.

We’re still looking at when I hit 500 mg/L so that maybe January. Or if things speed up sooner. You can’t really tell how it will go except it won’t go down.

I won’t lie that it doesn’t upset me but since this month is my 15 year since diagnosis( I’ll write about that later), you do get somewhat hardened to the fact that remission isn’t forever.

Other matters, B had his BMbiopsy Wednesday and was pretty loopy from the drugs but he said it went well( if enduring one of the most painful procedures you can go thru, can be ok).

I haven’t done any grocery shopping since the Costco Instacart last week. But I will go tomorrow as I need salad stuff and milk. I’d like to get to Trader Joes maybe next week.  I guess it all depends.

We’re in for a cool down here in Northern Ca. It’s been hot but not 100 degrees hot, just 95 degrees hot.

I read in the WP another Confederate statue was taken down. It was some Admiral. They did it either at night or early morning and it was whisked away. Good Riddance.  I also read that Lafayette Park where the peaceful protesters were attacked by the police used to be a slave market. One of the biggest. maybe Trump should read( ha ha ha) some history about the cruelty of selling black people.

That’s all I’ve got.

Friday Stuff

I’m not sure that Frugal Friday works anymore since groceries are much more pricey and I’m still buying to build up the prepper pantry.

I added some Bob’s Red Mill polenta to the pantry in the vacuum seal bags. Also in the Costco home delivery order got the 2 pack of Lemon Juice, Rosarita beans, and a case of their corn. I have a Costco Instacart order ready to go but will wait till next week.  That way that will take me almost into June. Oh yeah, they had SAF instant yeast and I also got some really nice powdered cocoa for baking.

 

For the prepper pantry, I’m making a list of dinners that I could put together from what I have to see how many months/weeks I would have. I have some combinations of dinners we eat normally like beans, tortillas, salsa, pasta with sauce, rice-based meals.  Mostly, I’m trying to have meals that we normally have so things aren’t weird like Spam for dinner:(  From the freezer, I am adding some meals like chicken, or organic beef, but that would really be stockpiling unless I bought a 1/8 of a cow from a farmer. If I knew someone that did that I would consider it. Right now, I’m good with Costco’s organic ground beef and chicken.

In other news, Barclay is continuing to have GVHD with intestinal stuff and skin rashes. His doctor ordered a new drug call Jafaki.  The drug is enormously expensive and the co-pay was coming in at $1500. a month. ahh, there is no way we can pay that now we are on a fixed income with no extras coming in. Our Medicare prescription plan had it for slightly less. So he talked with the financial coordinator and UCD Medcenter gave us a grant for $7000 that is JUST for the Jakafi. Let’s hope this does the trick.  Tomorrow is his 1-year re-birthday and I would really like to have the GVHD be gone. Well, I guess we will see but at least we’re not going bankrupt from a drug cost.

Today we walked and it was refreshing. I have the pizza dough ready to go in the bowl. I also cut up a whole bag of Vidalia onions to freeze.  Last week I made the mistake of trying to make a larger pizza and it was not good. It was too big for my pizza steel and was a mess. It tasted fine but it was falling into the oven because it was too big. You’d think I’d learn:(  So this week it’s back to 2 pizzas.

I just finished reading Adam Savage’s ” Every Tool’s a hammer”. He’s the guy from Myth Busters.  Quite interesting.  Check it out.

 

 

Thunder and lightning, oh my!

We had a huge rain cell come thru yesterday in the afternoon. There was thunder( a lot) and lightning, hail, and torrents of rain. Quite the spring storm. There was snow in the Sierras which is not that unusual in normal times. Well, everything is soaking wet.

We just got back from a nice walk. I wanted to do another round but nature was calling or maybe it was my cup of coffee so we left. But it was really nice and fresh out.  All the geese families are getting big.

Our chicks are getting big too and the others seemed okay with them but the 2 Auracana are being mean to the black one so we’ll need to see if we have to separate them more. It’s a pecking order but they can do harm to an outed chicken so we don’t want that.

Barclay has labs today and then a video conference. This time last year he was in UCD med centers Bone Marrow Transplant Unit getting chemo conditioning for the actual transplant. A whole year has gone by, wow.  Except for ongoing GVsH intestinal stuff he’s doing well although still too thin.

Then tomorrow he has to go down to UCD med center for a urology appt with a new guy. My daughter has volunteered to drive him down. It shouldn’t be a long wait and I suggested she pop over to Corti Bros. We could use some Mikes Blend meat for chili or burgers. I made the burgers with the Crowd Cow burger meat and it was good. I’m not sure I’d say exceptional but I’ll wait to make a final evaluation after I make the chicken and the one steak I bought.  It was delivered quickly and with dry ice, so that kept it all frozen.

We’ve been having game night on Wednesdays and here’s one of the games that is hysterical to play.4839DF99-8862-4F19-A414-BF84DD9E2496

It is not for children so be aware.

This is one of the cards that I thought was beyond funny.

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too funny:) You kinda need to be where we are to appreciate it.

We’re planning to do take out Mexican tonight. The first time in 3 months. Hope it’s good and safe:(

Oh, and our idiot president is taking Hydroxychloroquine.  What a complete idiot. How can we even have a president that is so stupid? It is beyond me.  Good grief, Charlie Brown. Vote Blue, no matter who so we can move on to some sense of normalcy. Or at least someone who isn’t a third-grader.

 

Beltane, May 1st.

We always try and have a Beltane fire on or near May 1st. In cross-quarter on the Celtic Calendar, it’s the beginning of summer. Burning away the old and planting for the new. It is between the Spring Equinix and the Summer Solciste. We had a fire the night before so that was good enough. We might have one tonight if we sit out.

This week I finished reading Jane Austin’s ‘Emma’. 500 pages of Jane Austin and it was astonishingly good. We have all the JA’s in Easton Press editions. I also reread a couple of e-books. I like the author Meg Wolfe. She used to have a great minimalist blog that I really enjoyed but I guess having written 5 books in this series took all her time. The first is the ‘Uncollected Death’. Charlotte Anthony is downsizing and is commissioned to write the memoir of a woman who then is murdered. There are 4 other books in the series which I’ve read but this one is my favorite.

I’ve moved most of my house plants( and there’s a lot), out to the sun porch. I’m going to see how they summer over out there. It does get hot out there so I’ll have to see whether this is a good option.Then I moved all the LP’s under the Heywood Wakefield so they are near the turntable. I’ll see how this works too.  That freed up a wood crate I had so I may use that somewhere else. Mostly, I’m trying to reduce visual clutter in my office room/space.  I have the one wall with Grateful Dead LP covers framed, and our Woodstock original Life magazines framed, B’s Bob Dylan poster and my favorite Star trek poster. It’s all colorful and pleasing to the eye but I wouldn’t want to add to it.

We’re doing really well food /pantry wise. I finally was able to get Costco to deliver toilet paper here although they are 14 days out for delivery. We have enough though. Plus the other big thing is coffee. We all drink coffee so we go thru  a lot. So I ordered 2 Starbucks French roast as it is on sale. It’s still cheaper to go in to the store( Costco) to get it but that would mean going into the store. So it’s worth it for now to pay the extra $5.00.

I haven’t been too creative with cooking. Mostly just cooking to get by. We even didn’t do Friday night pizza because no one wanted pizza. So we had the frozen manacotti I did a week ago. It was good. I did try making a sourdough focaccia and it was ok. Not great but I think I will try a different recipe and see how that goes.

Speaking of Costco, I checked Instacart/Costco and it looks like I can get delivery here so I may try that when I need the next round of stuff. But for now we’re good.

This morning after our walk I went into the Holiday Market an got enough fresh stuff for the week and they had tofu so that was exciting.

Next week Barclay has to go down to UCD med center to see the doctor because he needs his port flushed and another IVG infusion. I’ll just sit in the car and read although this time I may go for a walk.Last time I didn’t but I think it should be ok.

I also had my Zoom video appt with my doctor and it was quick and easy. We’re in agreement that starting treatment while the pandemic is going on is not a good idea. But we did agree when my kappa light chains get to @ 500 then that will be a good place to start. It really depends on how quickly the cancer cells start to activate. This last time it only went up 18 points so  that was quite a bit less than the time before. Really it’s just a waiting game. I’m not happy about but WTF. Not much you can do. So we shall see. it’s out there in the future somewhere.

A few pictures from around the yard

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This time of year in May everything is nice and green and so pretty. My daughter does an amazing job as gardener!