Simple Sunday

A simple day to start the new year.

My daily chores are done and the FL zone this week is the kitchen. The entry way was only 2 days so I missed that. But, I think I’ll sweep the patios and tidy up the fir boughs.(my daughter already did all this so it’s done!!) I’m going to leave them thru january as it seems wintery. My door wreath is bay laurel so that can stay up too. I also have some nice pinecones we collected up in Tahoe on the bench outside the front door.

One thing I’ve learned with being more minimal is to use natural things for decor or seasonal decorations. It makes it easier for me to not have think about the decorations in bins. I definitely used to keep bins with seasonal stuff but not so much any more. Now I only have my vintage Halloween, and some Easter stuff and Christmas in some Ikea boxes. Works for me.

I used my Staub again for a braised short rib recipe. It cooked beautifully but we ( the meat eaters) were not too into the dish. It was good but not great. It will not go into rotation even though it really is an easy one pot meal. This pot though has cooked everything I’ve done to perfection. If you’re looking for an all around pot this is it. Staub should sponsor me as I cannot say enough good things about this pot. And that’s coming from a die hard fan of Le Creuset.

I am doing a Walmart pickup so that should get us thru till we get to Costco about mid month. I’m planning on trying to use the Instant Pot to make yogurt. It seems easy enough so on the Walmart order I have some whole milk yogurt to use as a starter. We’ll see. I’ll post how it goes.

My rib feels pretty good. Maybe still a little tender where I probably pulled the muscle around the rib. I’ll be sure to mention it to my doctor. He did ask whether I wanted to do PET scans and a bone marrow biopsy to see it there were any hot spots and/or if the myeloma has morphed. I declined since it is what it is regardless. I think if I had more symptoms I might but at this point I’m fairly asymptomatic except for blood work that show the increases.

This week I see the eye doctor for my 6 month macular pucker scan. I’m hoping to not have to get my eyes dilated as they stay dilated for hours. I’m also thinking of getting the surgery when the pandemic is over and things are back to normal so probably a year from now.

I added some more ” things I hope to accomplish” list. :

find 3 new hikes to try

paint the living room and kitchen( this was supposed to be done last year)

find 2 new places to camp( I was thinking either private or maybe just Forest Service campgrounds)

keep up with the prepper pantry but streamline what I stock( and know we will use).

Simple Sunday and Christmas is over.

It was a really nice simple christmas.

Everyone got some nice things. I got my son a Pendleton National Park wool blanket from Goodwill Seattle. It’s the Glacier one that is white with color stripes. Very nice and a fraction of the cost new. He also got a used copy of Easton Press” A Tale of Two Cities”. B got a new Leatherman knife since a few years ago when he went to board a plane he had is quite expensive Leatherman in his pocket and they took it away. My daughter got 2 pairs of pruning shears, an Easton Press Grimm Fairy tales and some other stuff including these made in Japan Sound Collection plates… I discovered these by accident about 2 years ago at Goodwill when I found a bowl and fell in love with it. They are quite hard to find and the only place apart from Japan ,I guess, is Ebay.

I got a lovely sweater, a Kitchen Aid hand mixer( I asked for this), and some great gifts from my son, artisan flour, and a scone mix.

All in all a really nice and somewhat minimalist Christmas. It could have been scaled back even a little more but in the end I think it was perfect.

I made a NYT recipe called the Big Lasagna.

This is just the first page of the recipe, there are 2 more pages if you’re interested you can google it. It actually was huge and must have weighed 5 pounds. Lasagna is always our Christmas dinner. Not sure quite when this started but I remember when we were first married making lasagna since it was vegetarian.

It really was delicious.

I took all the Christmas stuff down and put away. I start to feel it looks a little cluttered up after 3 weeks of decorations. So now it’s all tidy and things put back in place.

I’m cooking up the scone mix this morning. It’s a ginger cranberry and it was a nice mix. I’m thinking scones are a nice easy thing to bake so maybe I’ll do this more often. This mix was from the Vermont Store but King Arthur has some lovely ones to choose from.

Our walk was lovely at 6:10am this morning. Still dark, but by 7am we’re getting a nice light and the park is all frosty.( well, it’s frosty before that but then we can see it!).

If you follow FL, we’re in the Living room zone. That was one reason I wanted to put Christmas stuff away. I’ll wash the inside windows and dust everything.

Well, this is the week I go to Sacramento to meet with my oncologist. My first question is going to be” when can I get the Covid vaccine? the second will be when do we start treatment.” 😦 Really, I’d rather start than have myeloma cells multiplying and then risking fractures or worse.

Looking back at the year… and ahead!

The year that shall not be named, oh F#ck it, 2020, was certainly difficult.

All the Covid deaths, the necessary lockdowns, enormous food bills, canceling all our trips including Yosemite, Yellowstone, etc, and all the rest. Certainly, the election was totally anxiety-filled and still is until Biden is sworn in. The stuff trump is still pulling is appalling. ANd all the GOP spineless idiots. Some of the stuff that comes out of their mouths is truly mind-boggling. I read in the WP that the idiot( he’s a newly elected representative) that is possibly going to challenge the votes recently said,” he found out that there were three branches of government”. WTF? are you mentally challenged?

At least we’ve been healthy so there’s that. Both of my kids have their jobs, so that’s excellent.

Climate change is worrying with California fires and really no rain. We’ve had a few days but nothing like normal.

Barb, over at “Living Richly in Retirement”, is a great blogger. She recently moved to Texas( very brave in my opinion) and was just writing about going over her budget categories for the new year.

So I got to thinking that I’d like to do that too. I’m going to look back at food( of course the pandemic meant Instacart a number of times), what I spent on Amazon stuff( scary amount), and Home Depot( home improvement). Then I can realistically set some numbers for 2021. Like do we want to set a certain limit? I’m not sure. Basically, I usually look at , Can we afford it? So set amounts might be a good new way forward.

Catagories could be:

home improvements/ this might be just stuff around the house or bigger like the window replacements/

outside/yard stuff( especially in spring and summer we do spend a lot on seeds, plants, dirt/soil.

dining/take out. This isn’t too hard. I usually give us $50. which is pizza night and a taco night.

travel/camping, In a normal year when we go camping, it is paid for in advance, and usually, I bring or give us @ $200 for food or fun. I’d have to add up a normal year but based on 2019 I’d say $1,000.

Annual bills are fixed amounts so I know those numbers.

I’ll keep thinking of other areas too. Clothing etc is generally not a category as we really only buy something if we need it. I need some new Birkies this year and a new pair of jeans. Birthdays, anniversary, we don’t do much but it might be good to designate something.

Medical/ we have Medicare and supplemental plans so those amounts are in the monthly budget. We did get a SURPRISE ( not good) letter from UCD med center saying we still owed $2500 from Barclays transplant. I freaked out. So we’re waiting till she sends what it is in a letter. But I will call and challenge whatever it is as we were told over and over after we reached the deductible it was 100% covered so I have no idea where they are coming up with this. When we did the GoFundMe, $6000 of the 10,000 we got went to that deductible. So???? I’m not as freaked now since it usually takes me a few days to calm down but still it will need to be dealt with and how much going back to that paper work am I going to have to do??? Not happy about this. Plus, WTF, it’s now 18 months later.

Well, I’ll start my list with those things and see what else should be added.

Simple Sunday

A cold but bright sunny day. I don’t think it got barely in the low 50’s. When we walked this morning everything including trees and bushes were frosted over.

I baked the Tartine walnut kalamata olive loaves and they turned out beautiful and delicious.

The above picture is my starter( Tart) and she’s really lovely.

Here’s my December menu plan. I fill in the regulars like Taco Tuesday and Pizza night and then see what is in freezer /pantry. I don’t make the menu on the day except for the regulars so like spaghetti might be listd on the 7th but was made on the 14th. It jsut depends. Holidays I do keep to the menu since that’s different.

Tonight though we’re having a frittata and that’s not even on there because I have an abundance of eggs. So flexibility is the key.

We( California) are on stay at home orders so even going to the big stores seems risky. I went down to our Holiday Market this morning and was going for milk and some other things and totally forgot the milk. Go figure. I guess I ‘ll go again in a few days. I did get 1/2 and 1/2 so that will suffice.

We just found out our neighbor has covid along with his lady friend. So that has me completely freaked as they don’t really go anywhere. He said( on Facebook) he thought it was Costco but I don’t know. Costco is pretty safe unless maybe he went when it was really packed. Scary:( Hopefully they will be ok.

This week we are in the bedroom zone if you follow FL. I did most of it this morning but I still need to dust and tidy up the closet some. I took all the Christmas stuff out of the closet and put it under the tree so the closet isn’t so stuffed.

So tomorrow night is the big conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter. I looked last night and it was behind some big pines so I’m not sure we’ll have a good view. I’m going out tonight to check again. I have an app on my phone that locates stars and constellations so I found them but they were not obvious to me. If you have a clear view I imagine it’s impressive.

This week is low key with Christmas and all. No appts so just the same old same old.

Is 2020 over yet?

What we have 15 days left till January 1st. Honestly, some things about 2020 were awful and some less awful. I’m an introvert in a house of mostly introverts(my son is pretty outgoing) so staying home wasn’t a biggie for me. Not being able to go on camping trips was an inconvenience especially with all the reservations I had and that are frankly a PITA to reserve. Going into stores just for a few things is a thing of the past except maybe our market at the bottom of our hill. Literally I could walk down there in 3 minutes. It would be the walk up that would do me in. Our driveway is probably a 45 degree angle. Okay maybe slightly less. I wonder how you could figure that out?? Anyone? with an engineering degree? The political shit was too much to bear and still is with Trump not conceding and still whining like a toddler that he didn’t get his way and the sycophants that should be removed from office for supporting him.

And I guess I can’t ignore that I’ve relapsed and cancer is back. So starting treatment in January 2021 may not be the best start to a new year. 😦

Well, anyway, I find myself somewhat depressed these days. Maybe it’s all the political crap finally taking its toll on me or not sleeping well or who the F*k knows. I’m sure that this too will pass at some point.

We have been having some nice walks in the early morning and haven’t seen the jerk for quite a while. I think he’s just taken to getting there earlier so as to avoid everyone that shows up a little later. That’s fine with me.

I’m half way thru the Obama book and some of the political stuff is a little over my head but some stuff is so poignant and really speaks to how much he cared about this country. The other book I’m reading that I picked up at the little free library at the park is Chris Bohjalian’s book ” the Guest Bedroom” . His books always have a controversial topic and this one is no exception. It’s about the sex slave traffic from Russia of under age girls. Pretty tough reading but well done. Maybe I need a cozy mystery next.

Last night we had chicken tortilla soup made in the Staub. It was quite good. I’m seriously loving this pot and would highly recommend. Actually, I think I saw the sale was still on ($99.00). I’m convinced it has something to do with how the top is made that is keeping the liquid from evaporating and just deepening the flavors.

Tonight’s dinner is unknown right now but probably something easy. I have salad stuff and maybe a pasta? Or I do have some chicken brats, that would work too.

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.

Clear skies but noisy generators….

I swear I’m ready to go buy 160 acres somewhere just for quiet. Yes, we have a generator but it’s a Honda and very quiet. Plus, we don’t run it all night just a few hours a day to keep the fridge cold and the freezer. Oh and charge our phones.

The new neighbors are the culprits. Why???? Do you really need to have every light in your house on????? It really drives me crazy.

We did check on our very old neighbor and he said he was ok but I don’t know. He doesn’t have back up lighting and only cooks with a microwave. Today, Meals on Wheels should show up at least for his lunch. It just goes on and on with his stuff only because his family is so negelient.

Well, on a positive note the skies are a brilliant blue. Our winds so far haven’t been too bad but we’ll see what today brings. Fingers crossed we don’t get a fire anywhere.

Personally, I’m all in on PGE turning power off. If it saves lives and property. Lots of people complaining and blaming Governor Newsom. What’s he got to do with it?? Is he making the wind??? I think he has done an amazing job with fire stuff and the pandemic. It’s the god damned Republicans that can’t handle it. Well, I guess that was the end of my positiveness.

Today is a sad day for Americans and women with the nomination of Barret to the SC. I feel we are going back to some hard times for women because of her ultra conservative views on gender, Roe, and just all of it. It just makes me want scream and then throw up .

Simple Sunday

We are on extreme fire alert today thru Tuesday. Power will be shut off this afternoon. Scary stuff. Plus everything is so dry. These winds are supposed to be quite bad all the way to the Bay area. Geez. We really need a break here.

The winner of the bread recipe so far is the No knead sourdough. Both the rye and the white were superb. I may just keep tweaking it so it’s perfect. Of course, come next summer, I’ll abandon bread making and forget it all. Hummm…. maybe that’s why I blog about bread, so as to have a written history.

Success!!! We are walking a little later at 6am. The jerk is still there, but we are walking in the OPPOSITE direction and it makes all the difference since he’s not storming up behind us. Now he just storms by with his dog. It has been GREAT!

I had my biennial mammogram and will get the results next week. Since I didn’t hear anything I’m guessing it’s ok. I was in and out in record time as they have scheduled everything with Covid in mind so appts are spaced.

This week is my oncology appt. I’m not too concerned since I know it’s another 2 months before I’m starting something. That puts me after Christmas. So if all goes accordingly, I’ll wager January. After my appt, I plan to hit up Trader Joe’s in Roseville on the way home. I haven’t been there in months. There’s a few things I specifically want from there ( besides the Charles Shaw), tamari, hash browns, some frozen stuff which TJ’s does a great job of. That will go on my November food budget.

I was out in the prepper pantry in the barn the other day, and it looks great. I have to say, we did a great job on both food and nonfood. I can see periodically adding stuff but for the most part we are using stuff on rotation and then replacing.

The gardens are all cleaned up for winter. My daughter does a great job pulling everything up and putting it in the compost. We haven’t planted anything else yet but I may encourage her to start some chard and cold weather stuff. She did plant all the bulbs I ordered. I ordered 3 giant bags. We have one designated bulb area and in the spring it is very pretty.

This week is the living room zone, so I’ll wash windows and do a deeper dusting.

Halloween stuff..

Lanterns for later when the power is out.

Of course, we have out generators too but we’ll use them tomorrow for a few hours for the freezer and fridge.

The week ahead…

We both felt really awful yesterday. It seemed like an allergy type thing as we know it’s not Covid. ( no fever, no cough,) But still kinda headachey, and low energy. Sometimes I’ve had days like this out of the blue, but not on the same day as B. He just took it easy all day. I pushed thru and did most of the kitchen zone. I thought maybe it was a reaction to the air quality since we had been out walking but I’m not sure. When were out we always have masks on and we use sanitizer. Plus, everywhere we went people were 99% masked. So kinda a question mark.

We both feel better this morning but I still feel slightly off. I had plans to get my labs this morning but rescheduled for tomorrow. If this is allergy thing, my counts will show lower so I thought better to wait a day. I don’t see my doctor till the very end of the month so I have time to get my labs and results before hand. I don’t like the surprise of waiting. It reminds me of when I was first diagnosed and all the tests and waiting and then the dreaded phone calls. Now I’d rather know before hand and adjust my headspace.

I did make a lovely smoky lentil soup( William Sonoma recipe)( you can get from their website.) for dinner but that’s it. Usually I’ll make grilled cheese or have some homemade bread but that didn’t happen. I put together my monthly meal plan. I write it out but I don’t follow the days exactly. So we had the lentil soup Sunday not the frittata. I just use the template as a guide. Then I check off what we have eaten.

You can see I still have a few squares to fill in. I plan on looking at some cookbooks today. I also try to do one or two new recipes a month.

We are in cooler temperatures today and the air looks good. I keep thinking that maybe walking in the park with the air quality unhealthy affected us. On the other hand we’ve been doing it now since the fires started and haven’t been affected so who knows. It’s a mystery.

I was laughing maniacally( joke) when I read Trump was on Dexamethasone. How funny!! As anyone who has been on Dex,off and on for years, you know it masks aches and pains and other ills because it is such a high dose steroid. The problem is what goes up must come down and when he’s off it, then the problems could resurface especially his coughing. Oh well, he deserves it and more. Honestly, driving around in his armoured car infecting others or at least the possibility, is pure evil. Just for a photo op.

The week has B’s video appt with the nurse practitioner and labs. If the air stays nice we might do that drive up to Tahoe to see the lake. Maybe pack a picnic.

Five on Friday

*Let me be the first to say, Trump and Melania testing positive is just what he deserves for not taking any precautions or even taking Covid-19 seriously. We never go anywhere without masks and sanitizer. We don’t mingle in crowds or go to Target to browse. Nada!! ” So stupid is as stupid does” Forrest Gump!!

*My son is very creative and loves to build things related to movies/props/video games. So using a 3D printer he built this

and another angle

This is from The Portal Game; The Aperture Science handheld Portal Device. ( For us non gamers, this is a video game)

Pretty amazing! and he figured out the electronics so it changes colors,red to orange to green to blue.

Way beyond my comprehension. Maybe all that homeschooling and building projects did something?? nah, I think he’s just super smart.

*Yesterday I made a very yummy applesauce cake with the left over apples I had. It turned out way better than I thought it would.

I dusted powdered sugar on top to make a finishing touch. It’s almost gone this morning!! The recipe also did not use eggs and I wasn’t sure about that but it was fine.

*Budget wise, things are pretty good. Except for the Ikea trip we didn’t spend any extra. Since we do Ikea maybe 2x a year, I’m okay with picking stuff there like extra kitchen towels, pantry jars etc. Plus, if you have an Ikea near your Tuesdays and Wednesdays they open at 9am for over 65. It was great to get in there and there were only a few people in there. No kids! Very worth it! We will need to still pay the AAA fair California bill but we haven’t gotten it yet. I’m guessing it’ll be there any day in the mailbox. Plus the other big expense will be property tax. I’m planning on paying that when we drop our ballots off at the county voting box.

*I spent a little down at the market for milk and a loaf of rustic bread and Guiness Stout for the Welsh Rarebit I made for dinner last night. I love Welsh rarebit. It’s basically cheese sauce on toast. The recipe was form the NYT (mark Bittman). It was a little strong on the stout.

Since we had pizza on my birthday, tonight I will do either breakfast for dinner or a frittata with some potatoes or???? mystery night!!

*BTW, if you follow Flylady this is a 2 zone week. Yesterday started the Entryway/dining room zone. Always a good time, if you have a dining room to declutter,simplify and minimize what you have. I don’t have a ‘real’ dining room. Our table is in the main room. I have the Heywood wakefield hutch which holds my Tepco pine cone ware. So all I do is wash the glass on it and dust. I also make sure the table is clear except for my beeswax tapers and seasonal decor( right now it’s the little white pumpkins from the garden, and our linen napkins in a bowl.

Ok, that was 6 things with a lot mixed in:)