Wednesday’s musings

Well, a disappointment with my labs. Kappa went up to 30.7 mg/L so a 3-point jump. And the ratio went up to 1.96mg/L from 1.76 so also a jump. I’m disappointed but such as it is.

The pool was busy but I did get a lane right away. It’s sort of hit-and-miss most mornings. But it’s still worth the effort. I went to the gym yesterday, which was pretty empty although I saw some new faces. Probably new years resolutions kicking in.

Today I’ve been playing around with a spreadsheet I downloaded for the budget. It’s taken me 6 different tries but I think I have it down and I like it as long as it works the way it’s supposed to. I bought it off Etsy on the recommendation of Minimom on Youtube. I do most of my budgeting in a notebook but I wanted to add something new.

After the pool, I went over to Winco for a few groceries. Honestly, you cannot beat the price of things there. It’s a bit of a learning curve because of the layout but I know it well now so I can just go to the areas of food I need. Their bulk area is amazing. Lots of bins of snacks, spices, grains, everything you could want bulk, even honey.

Today I need to vacuum and dust and then fall into a heap depressed about my light chains. It’ll take me a day to regroup.

Simple Sunday

A sunny Sunday but cold again. Still at 32 degrees and frosty on our walk this morning. The park was all frosty but it was a nice walk. It seems Great White Duck is now missing so we’re assuming it got taken by a predator. She/he has been around for maybe 4-5 years so that’s sad.

I worked on the bedroom zone and I plan on shampooing the carpet this week. I probably will also add in the LR zone too as there’s not a lot to do in that either. I do need to dust everything though.

I popped into the Auburn gym and felt the same about it as last week. The assisted weights are old and really dated compared to Roseville. The treadmills are also ‘dated’ to some degree. I was the only one using wipes on the equipment and it seemed most of the people there were ignoring wiping anything. I saw one old guy sneezing and snotting into his tissue and then go use a machine. Ewwww:(

Tomorrow I have my labs and then I might go down to the Roseville gym. I’m not committing yet because I may want to just come straight home and do some house tidying. The thing about being more minimal is it takes way less time to clean, tidy, or organize with a decluttered house. Still, things need to get done. Yesterday I washed the sunroom windows and washed the barkcloth cover I use on the couch out there. So everything in that room is done.

I also think having routines and daily to-do lists helps keep things organized. I almost always have my menu in place for dinner and I always keep my kitchen counters clear. If I had more storage space I definitely would keep my Kitchen Aid in a cabinet. Also, I think when our small microwave gives up the ghost I won’t replace it. I also keep the tea kettle on the counter. I really can’t change that as we use it a bazillion times a day.

The pantry challenge is going well and we are definitely using up things. This week I have some Dover sole to use up and from the big freezer, I’m planning on using the last ground turkey to make chili. I’m slowly bringing in all the pantry things from the prepper pantry and putting them in rotation. I’m pretty sure I won’t do a huge prepper pantry again. But I do want to keep doing pressure canned shelf stable foods. I don’t think I’ll do tons but I do enjoy the process and it is very convenient. So far the big winners are the BBQ sauce, enchilada sauce, chicken pot pie filling, and vegetable soup.

The pantry challenge also helped with my budget and I’m coming in way under what I planned. Our next month’s budget starts next week with our SS checks and then I’ll do a final tally. Let’s hope this debt ceiling shit doesn’t affect SS as that is all we’ve got!

Frugal Friday

We’re finally getting sunny days. It’s still very cold(32′) this morning but at least there’s sun!!

It’s been a good week. Barclay had his port out and that all went well. It was almost 4years to the date he had it put in. Lots of blood transfusions.Whew, what a story that was. But he’s 100% better and has no lingering GVH issues.

I had my annual Well care check with my PCP. It was fine although maybe a slight waste of time as I didn’t have anything to discuss and he didn’t have a lot to say. Oh well, it’s fine. I did say I still had some pressure in my left ear and he just said to go see the ENT doctor. Er, okay then.

After that appt, I went down to the Roseville gym and then the library. I also swam on Wednesday and it was busy but I did get a lane. Near the end of my swim, some guy came and shared the lane.

This morning I’m making some sauerkraut and doing a general tidy-up. I’m making a pizza for dinner and need to defrost the dough. Last night I made my first ever meatloaf and it came out really good. I did follow a recipe and I suppose that does help. I decided to make this since I had a lb of local pork sausage I had bought at the farmers market this past summer and as part of the pantry challenge wanted to use it up. I also had some organic ground beef to use up too. I topped it with my canned BBQ sauce and it was excellent. The pantry challenge is going splendidly and I may continue into February. There are 11 more days in January so I’ll decide then. I do plan on doing an Azure order in February so that will be some pantry restocking.

I got the new Marie Kondo book from the library. What a waste. It’s mostly repeat stuff but there’s so many photos of her. It seems the book is really about how many photos can she have taken of herself.

And here’s a shot of the sauerkraut wilting and about ready to go into a jar with the fermenting lid on.

This was one head of cabbage. It does shrink down.

I haven’t spent a lot on groceries this week except $80 at Trader Joes. Since I was going in for a few things I added some extras like pita bread for falafels, OJ, micro greens, and some other random stuff.

I also tackled washing the couch covers and saw that one corner at the bottom was ripping so I will need to get a new cover eventually. I’mgoing to pull some embroidery thread out and sew it for now. I think these white covers are over 5 years old probably more. I’m not ready to buy a new couch so a new cover will be fine. Next time I go to Ikea I’ll check it out.

Frugal Friday

It is miserable out with rain, rain, and more rain. I decided after I got up at 5:30 am I wasn’t going to risk driving to Roseville to swim. It’s not the rain, although that is a factor, it’s more the crazy New Years’ eve drivers going up to Reno or Tahoe. So I worked on my batch of pizza dough to freeze and one for tonight.

Barclay came with me to Safeway to get the sub sandwich things( our New Years Eve tradition) and surprisingly it wasn’t too busy. Then we thought we’d have a coffee date at Starbucks with peppermint mochas, but alas, they had no peppermint syrup so we just had plain coffee.

I’m going full steam on sourdough bread making and here’s today’s loaf: a walnut raisin loaf with some KA white wheat.

I ordered a bread slicer thing to get even slices but I’m not sure that I’ll keep it. I can cut pretty good slices with my bread knife, but I thought I’d try it to see whether I like it. Now for the sandwich bread in the Zojuruishi, it’ll probably be great. It won’t be here till next week, but that’s ok.

For January, I plan on doing a pantry/ freezer challenge that the Youtuber, Three Rivers Homestead started. Basically, you set how much you want to spend in the month, like for dairy or fruit/ veggies, and then the rest of your meals come from the pantry or freezer. I think I’ll put in $100 and see how far that gets me. I do need to go to Costco once for some non food items like laundry soap and allergy pills but I’ll keep it to a minimum and not add that to the grocery bill. The idea is to start using what you’ve canned or processed so you can reduce your pantry in preparation for the coming year.

All the Christmas stuff is away and at Safeway, I bought a bunch of Eucalyptus branches to put in a glass jar.

Well, Have a safe New Years’ eve. I’m working on my list of goals for the year, some for house stuff, yard and, some just for myself to work on.

Happy Hanukkah

We are atheists and I’m sure some people would be puzzled as to why we like to celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas. I think with Hanukkah, it is the meaning of the festival of lights and the beauty of the candles in a menorah. I think religious holidays can be secular if you enjoy the festivities and food etc but not the religious stuff.

Even though we are not Jewish, I really enjoy the beauty of the Festival of Lights. We’ll be lighting our candles tonight for the first night and exchange some little gifts. I always make latkes and we have homemade applesauce too. By the same token, as non-Christians, I still love the spirit of Christmas things, the tree, the lights, and the little decorations. So I do enjoy both without the religious attachment. Strange? maybe!!!

This morning started out with a walk and it was magical with the frosty fields and even frost on the Canada Geese’s back. Then back home to assemble the Christmas lasagna. I did two pans and they are now tucked into the freezer. Then my daughter peeled the potatoes for the latkes and they are hanging out in some water till it’s time to shred them. I plan on doing a spinach quiche too with some gruyere cheese.

This week I plan to swim and also go to the rec center. Hey, B checked with UHC and we can get a free gym membership at a local gym with just the cost of buying the key fob( it’s for the door when no one is there). So he’s going tomorrow to sign up and then I’m going to do it too. Since it’s free with our UHC health care we can take advantage of this. Then I can go when it’s too much to go down to Roseville. That’s exciting news at least.

I was reading an article about the 90/90 rule for decluttering. There are lots of these little hacks to help with decluttering but this one caught my attention. So if you’re looking to declutter things ask yourself:

” Have you used this in the last 90 days? And will you use it in the next 90 days”. it’s a great way to look at why we hold on to things. Exceptions are probably seasonal decor and such. I started going thru each room again with this in mind. I still feel the need to ‘par down to the essentials but keep the poetry”.

Simple Sunday

Another beautiful walk this morning although chilly at 37 degrees. No one at the park but us. It’s always a thrill ( okay that may be an exaggeration)to get there and walk by ourselves. The trees are lovely fall colors and the geese have been around too.

The pie came out really terrific. I might tweak the recipe some and use heavy cream instead of evaporated milk but overall it was delicious. It was soft but after refrigerating it firmed up nicely. I think I will make another next week or maybe pumpkin cheesecake.

This week we are in the Bathroom zone and 1 other room so I’ll probably tidy my office area.

We had one of our dead snags fall over the neighbor’s fence down in the woods so B has been chainsawing that up. We have 2 other dead snags that we’ll need someone to drop. We hadn’t planned on that as they are down on the very lower edge of the property but the neighbor indicated he’d like them down. As long as it is very little $, I’ll do it. If it’s more than $100 no, they can just fall. These trees have been dead for about 7 years from bark beetle so it’s natural that they would eventually fall. Our other 2 neighbors have lost about 12 large trees and supposedly PGE will take them but who knows when? PGE is so backed up with keeping lines clear of trees that it could be a while. These trees are not near any lines so I’m surprised PGE said they’d do it.

I’m not planning any extra cooking today. I’ve pulled a bunch of things from the freezer for the week. Some chicken, frozen lentil soup, spaghetti sauce, and frozen eggs. So I’ll plan some dinners from that.

Tomorrow I plan to go to the gym and Tuesday I have a dental appt. That’s it for this week with probably a swim day Thursday.

Here’s Friday’s pizza. I’m using Tony Gemignani 00 flour and it’s a game-changer for pizza dough. Plus I’m making 1 large batch and dividing it into 4 balls and then freezing it. It’s working great.

Good news for Democrats holding the Senate. At least something positive is happening.

Simple Sunday

The clocks turned back so that means we walked later than our usual time. We got out there at 5:50 am which would have been 6:50. It’s just getting light at that time so it ended up quite nice and no one was there. Just as we left ‘Mercedes Lady'( who has been there almost every day walking with no flashlight( one of my pet peeves), arrived and it was already light out. It was a really nice walk though, kind of misty fog. The trees in the park are shades of reds, oranges, and yellows, as most of these trees are maples and liquid ambers. We’ll see how the rest of the week goes. We’re expecting rain so that can change things.

When I got back I did the kitchen zone and tidied a few things. This week is pretty open with only Costco on the to-do list. I’m thinking Wednesday but we’ll see if we can plan a non-rainy day. My son will be using the Santa Fe on Friday and Saturday as he’s going up to Mt Shasta so I’ll need to figure out my swimming schedule. Yesterday the pool was really busy which is a bit unusual for Saturday.

I have most of Thanksgiving planned. A simple menu with just basics and a nut loaf. We rarely eat dessert so I may skip trying to figure out a pie/dessert. I plan on making the nut loaf in the next week and just freeze. I do like Costco’s pumpkin pie but we never finish it.

A picture of the sunroom and you can see the golden leaves out the windows.

Tomorrow I plan to can cranberry sauce. It’s an easy recipe to make.

Frugal Friday

The biggest Frugal Fail was going out for the worst breakfast ever!!! We decided to go to a new place near Trader Joe’s after we shopped called Early Toast. Wow, so awful I should have taken the $50 bill and burned it in the parking lot. Oh well, it does not reinforce my wanting to go out for meals. 😦

But TJ’s shop was good and I really was just going in for their snacks( the best potato chips ever) and curry sauce, misc items, and some wine.

We also picked up the Walmart order and the only thing I didn’t get was the turkey breast which was the only thing I really wanted in that order. 😦

Overall, a frugal week though with just the above-mentioned groceries and breakfast.

I had a good swim yesterday and the pool was really nice. The last 2 times it was quite cool which is unusual. But they must have gotten a few complaints and it was back to the way it usually is. Tomorrow I haven’t decided if I’ll swim or possibly go to the gym. I think I’ll wait and see how I feel later today.

Our weather is much cooler now but still no rain. It shows rain next week so fingers crossed. We really need the rain. We’ve been having a fire most mornings and evenings just to take the chill off the house.

I picked up 4 Ann Cleeves books from the library and started one. I have seen Vera on Brit Box so some of these books are adaptations of the series. The writing is good though. I stopped counting books I’ve read this year after 125 and that was in September. So probably I’m close to 150 books for the year. I just finished ‘A Tree grows in Brooklyn’ which was THE BOOK that influenced me the most growing up. If Francie could go to college, so could I. I was the first person in my family to ever go to college and later graduate school. Heidi, my sister, eventually earned her degree at the Catholic college she was working at. And all of her children are college educated with her oldest daughter holding a Ph.D. in nursing. ( I think it would be DNP??) not sure but she teaches.

Well, that’s all I got this morning so I’m off to do some chores and tidying up.

September 30th and another turn around the sun.

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

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

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

B bought me some lovely flowers too.

On to Frugal Friday…

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

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

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

Friday Things

It’s been a weird week. It started off with me having to take Buggie back to the garage because my fan speeds were not working. The girl at the desk became very defensive and I was also defensive that my fan wasn’t working and I wanted it fixed. It boiled down to when I brought my car in my fan was working when I picked it up(well my daughter did),the fan speed was stuck on high. I asked Sachi and she said the fan was on when she picked it up and just thought with the smoke and fires the garage had it running high. So the whole escalated the next day with the owner calling me and really ripping into me about how I was rude and ‘an awful person’ for confronting his daughter. Of course, I said look at it from my side,that I just spent $3000 on the car and I get home and my fan is not working. Well, it volleys back and forth that no way did they do anything to my fan and it must have been my daughter driving it home( which is 10 minutes folks) and cranked the fan on and broke it. Really??? are you kidding me.? no I didn’t say that. I just said, I don’t know what happened but she said the fan was on high when she drove it home and she didn’t touch the dial. I apologized that I offended his daughter but again, my point was my fan is not working. So, in long run, he said he spent ALL DAY fixing something( the switch??). I said thank you and took my keys and left. Obviously, I will never go back for service there. It’s always so weird to me how things can turn into an event when I simply went in saying I want my fan fixed since when I brought it in it was working and when I drove it next the fan was not working. I’m sure I was intense to a degree but not ‘rude’. Oh well, I thought of doing a negative Yelp review, but then just figured why bother?

Other than that, Tuesday I had my labs and my CBC, CMP are all the same pretty much and my Kappas just came in this morning and went up to 22.3 mg/L from 20.1. so an increase but not too dramatic. It seems my numbers are holding steady for the time being.

This morning is my covid booster so I’m planning on doing that and then going to Safeway for a few things and then home. Usually, Saturday is my swim day but I’m leaving that open as I don’t know if I’ll feel lousy or not.

Budget-wise, it was a good week with nothing extra spent except some salad mix, wine, and bananas. bb

I’ve been doing some batch cooking for the freezer. I made beef stew in the Instant Pot and then froze 2 quarts, lentil soup, and froze 2 quarts. A yummy quiche from Le Creuset cookbook. It came out really good with fresh thyme.

I got a lot done around the house yesterday and felt good about that. I changed the shower curtain, we put the rug back down in the bedroom, made the lentil soup, and washed all the couch covers. So everything is fresh for fall. I’m having B take out the cooler in the bed room this weekend and I’ll put up the fall/winter cutains soon.