Simple Sunday

The weather is going to be lovely this week again and temperatures will be in the 60’s so quite nice. Things are starting to grow and the flowering cherry tree is in full bud. Daffodils are starting to bloom too. My daughter has started a bunch of seeds and is cleaning up garden beds. We’re debating buying a garden shed from costco. It seems a good idea so that we can corral all the tools and mower etc in one spot. The barn works ok but things are scattered and it’s more of my son’s place for his tools. Plus the prepper pantry is on one side of the barn too. We have a carport type area but it’s full of my son’s junk( note to self: time to tell him to clean it up or toss it!)

This week I’m in the bedroom zone so I will paint the inside of the french door. I washed one blanket and a set of curtains. I am debating putting the curtains back up and just using the bamboo blind. I guess it depends on how cold it gets as the curtains do keep out some cold even these are dual pane windows. One of the projects for this year is replacing those windows. They are fine in terms of condition they just aren’t as insulating as they should be. You can really see the difference with the windows we did in my daughter’s room. Really like night and day with keeping the cold out.

I’ve done most of my Sunday chores except to vacuum so I’ll do that next.

I’ve got the Tucson stew in the Staub simmering away and later I will make some brown rice to go with it. I made a loaf of sandwich bread yesterday so we can have that on the side too.

Friday Stuff…

Well, the biggest excitement is that our county just opened up vaccines to over 65 so we were able to schedule both of us for next week. We have to drive to Roseville but that’s okay at least we have an appt. I do expect I’ll get a fever and headache since even with a regular flu shot I do. But I’m 100% ok with that and will just deal with it. I’m pretty excited!!

I dropped off our property tax payment this week. I was going to do it with a cc but there was a fee(apprx. $25) for that so I decided to just write a check. So that saved the fee.

We went to Costco also and it was @ $600. So $350 was food and the rest non food( including organic chicken food) and alcohol. I’m guessing the next time were back is March sometime. I was hoping they had their fruit trees out but they didn’t. It’s a great place to get citrus trees at a very reasonable price.

Cooking wise, I made a marmalade cake and Wow!! It was amazing. The recipe was from Nigel Slater. It was like a pound cake batter with the marmalade mixed in. It was absolutely delicious.

My son made a recipe from Mark Bittman’s How to cook Everything”. It was baked bread cod. It came out delicious. I had bought the Wild caught cod at Costco. It was pricey ($20)but it made enough for dinner and lunch so probably that made it about $3.00 a serving. We would eat more seafood if I bought it but usually I go with shrimp or salmon from Costco. So this was a nice change.

I’ve picked up the Benjamin Moore paint so I’ll be starting the 15 min. sessions this weekend.

New Fence

This is our new fence that you see when you drive up our hill. We are the last house and our neighbors( the old man, Leo) house is on the right as you drive up. The fencing that was there was just rusty old hog wire that the original owner had up. Sometime after the new neighbors moved in ( about 2 years ago now) we knew we wanted a more private fence. Their house is across the driveway and down some. They remodeled the garage to be a studio apartment for their adult daughter. It’s a great property and they bought it at a really great price from the original owners.

The boards are not redwood but stained fir. So they may not last 25 years but they should last a good long time.

So this is looking down the driveway and you can see our little house onthe left.

My daughter did an amazing job building this and digging the post holes with the help of her Dad.

So this shot is looking down the driveway to where we park. That’s my daughters Honda Fit. To the right is Leo’s house and we know once he dies and the house goes on the market we will build the same fence along this property line. His house and the yard are right there to the right and I don’t want to see new neighbors especially if they are noisy and have kids.

We’re actually thinking of coming down the one side so we can block off seeing the neighbors truck and hoarding yard filled to the brim with everything.

This is shot looking down toward the neighbors mess.

We’re planning on spraying it this summer with some kind of sealant or outdoor stain even though it is already coated.

Our property line actually comes straight out from the end post so the fence is not on the property line as that would close off the driveway too much for emergency vehicles. Our new neighbor was parking his RV across from this shot and it was limiting access. Interestingly, right after he moved it down by his garage Leo( our 95 yr old face planted right there and knocked himself out and is still recovering in the hospital from a brain bleed. I really don’t think he’ll be coming back to his house but we’ll see. We do feel bad for him living alone but he wants to die there and not in a nursing home so I understand that.

Here you can see the other driveway that leads to the barn and the sunporch entry way. We plan to put up another gate here in the summer. Our next fencing project would be back behind the barn to block the view of our very ‘unfriendly’ neighbors that built a huge workshop that we can see and hear him in all the time. He rebuilds cars and is always grinding away. Plus they moved up from the valley so they’re new to ‘country ‘ living.

Five on Friday

Finally, it’s 2021. I’m not sure how great the year will be but I’m hopeful. I start Velcade mid month, as expected. I asked about getting my shots in Rocklin which is about 25 minutes away, and he said sure that would work. Mercy ( or Dignity Health),has a satellite facility there and it will make it easier. Unfortunately, I’ve fractured another rib so it’s smart that I’m starting now. Fractures, in case you don’t know about Myeloma, are one of the damaging aspects of this cancer. I’ve had multiple rib fractures, so I know what it feels like. Unfortunate, to have it happen right now and also quite painful. It limits how much stuff I can do around the house. With rib fractures there’s not much you can do. If it’s a vertebrate or another bone they can some intervention. Oh well, I’m just glad it’s not a vertebrate.

We had a fun New Years eve with sub sandwiches from our Holiday Market. We watched the newish Starsky and Hutch and it was fun. We didn’t crack the champagne but will today.

Budget wise, I came under $800 on groceries including holiday food and alcohol. This is the lowest I’ve had since the pandemic started and I was stockpiling every month. Into January I’ll try and keep it between $700-800. That includes food, non food, and alcohol.(mostly wine and some beer). I’m planning a Costco trip mid month so we’ll see how much that adds if I add in prepper stuff. I’m not planning to but will stockpile a few things like coffee, Rosarita veg. beans, TP, and a few other things. The rest is just stuff we need like cheese, fish, bread etc.

I’m starting another round of decluttering. Mostly this is paper stuff. I’m going thru all our old receipts, medical things and throwing away anything that isn’t needed. Also, little stuff in drawers, like old pens, screws etc. It probably won’t add up to a lot but I’m motivated to do another sweep. I also started a bag for the food bank with food I know we’re not going to really eat. ( I see you canned chicken:) ). There’s nothing big I’m decluttering like furniture since everything we have has already gone thru multiple layers of decluttering. Still, I always like to look at things from a fresh perspective.

I’ve made up my monthly meal plan.

I’m renaming Wednesdays, Pasta Wednesday since that will be my Velcade/Dex day. It’ll make it easier for the others to cook if they know what the plan is. 🙂 I also dashed out to Target to get one of their simple calendars. I loved the one from last year but they didn’t have quite that style. It’s funny how such a simple thing like a minimalist calendar is so hard to find. I checked all over and the nicest were like $20 and up. Even on etsy they were expensive. So Target had just what I wanted for $5.00. It was pretty empty just like I hoped.

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.

Ideas for 2021

Actually, I never set goals.

What I do is have a running list of things that are of interest to me and then consider setting them as priorities. Goal setting or resolutions, like losing weight or exercising more, just doesn’t work for me. I do better with an idea like ‘walk in the park most days’. Since I’m pretty structured I don’t have a problem accomplishing that because it’s just part of who I am. Or losing weight. I just eat healthily and even though I could easily afford to lose 20 lbs, I honestly don’t give a flying fig. We eat healthy and always have. We eat very little sugary stuff and a good basic vegetarian diet with meat on the side so to speak. So, my idea would be maybe adding new recipes into my rotation at least 2x a month. If I do great if I don’t’ meh.

Now that neither of us works at a job, we live a quiet life with the occasional camping trip(when we’re not in lockdown or dealing with a deadly virus).

I do plan on making some camping reservations so I guess we’ll see how that goes. We had really hoped to buy a newish closed in RV but honestly I’m not sure we feel like we have money to do that. So I guess that’s a goal or at least getting out camping is a priority.

other ideas may include:

Finding some new places to walk.

having coffee dates once we can

update: ha ha, half this blog didn’t post, and of course I can’t find the original so I’ll try and do a rewrite.

Modified edition:

I don’t do RESOLUTIONS as such like New Years resolutions.

I do set some goals such as Just Keep Walking! But putting down resolutions of lose 20 lbs or exercise more ,as I said, doesn’t work for me. Probably, because it doesn’t motivate me or interest me. But when I did the Just Keep Walking Project, I walked EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR 5 YEARS. It was only when I ended up with a hairline fracture in my foot I had to stop 😦

I do set FINANCIAL GOALS such as NO CC DEBT which we have kept to in all 2020. Also, trying to add little amounts to our mortgage principal. We,unfortunately, still have a mortgage but such is life. I’d like to reduce the principal. That way when we’re gone the kids( we have everything in a trust) they would have more equity if they want to sell and move somewhere else. But since there’s not a lot of wiggle room in the budget it is small amounts to add to it but still every bit does help.

I read a lot so read more doesn’t make any sense. I would like to be more creative but cooking is my creative outlet so that’s good. I enjoy knitting but my arthritis in my hands kicks in and causes some cramping after a while so I don’t do that often.

Anyway, other goals or things to try and accomplish are:

Replacing the 2 bedroom windows. They were replaced 25 years ago but since redoing my daughter’s windows and seeing how much better they are at insulating I can see those 2 need doing.

Next, a modified kitchen redo. The window, and the sink and counter. That all depends on whether we want to take on ripping all that out. We couldn’t afford to have someone do it so it would be what can we accomplish ourselves. So that’s up in the air.

After weget vaccinations and can travel, I ‘d like to try and go up the Oregon coast again. Just slow and camping here and there. But it all depends on my Velcade shots and how soon I can go do those things. So again, kind of wait and see sort of thing.

Finish the fences in the front and out by the barn. That’s doable and we can budget that in.

So, it’s some goals mixed in with wants and a to do list.

Frugal Friday

It’s been an okay week. I was supposed to go to the eye doctor yesterday for my 6 month retinal scan for my macular pucker in my right eye but I woke up feeling lousy from allergy stuff I’m guessing. I called at 8am and asked to reschedule. Usually I just ‘plow‘ thru as is my nature but this time I just wasn’t up for ‘plowing’ thru. Fortunately, they were very nice and rescheduled me. Today I feel pretty much back to normal. Still a little sinusy.

Tuesday we had a fun day getting our Christmas tree in the Tahoe area. We stopped for coffee at our favorite place in Tahoe City, Tahoe House. They are a local establishment that’s been there as long as I can remember. There coffee is made with some fancy Swiss machine and is almost like a cappuccino with crema on top. Delicious. After that we headed down the lake and found the tree area and a nice tree.

This time of year in Tahoe is one of my favorite. Hardly any traffic and no tourists. Really lovely!!

There wasn’t much snow on the ground but what was there was very icy and made walking a bit treacherous. But it was fun and now the tree is up.

Obviously, we’re not using this whole tree.

Obviously, we’re not using that whole tree in our small house. You still need to cut the base off at 6 inches and the diameter can’t be more than 6 inches. We cut about 4 feet off and put that in the car to bring home for a Yule log. When we got home we cut an additional 4 feet to make another log and then I used the branches for wreath making and around the house.

The permit was $10. I bought it online and when I checked the next day they were already sold out. I think that happened one other year when we were too late.

I made a delicious beef stew in my new white Staub Cocotte. I waited since Black Friday last year for this deal to come up again. The pot is smaller than my Le Crueset and the design is somewhat different. Under the top are small points that catch the moisture and so the liquid doesn’t just evaporate. I simmered it on the stove most of the day and very if any liquid evaporated. I don’t know if the sale is still on, but if you’re looking for a small dutch oven this one is great.

I paid one of our cars DMV this week and the ‘ole’ van is due at the end of January. I budget these in to annual bills.

Today I’m doing a Walmart pickup for some fill ins like salad stuff and half and half. I think my next in store shop will be Trader Joes in a week or so. That way I can get what ever small things I need for Christmas dinner. We always do fondue Christmas eve and TJ’s has a very good fondue mix. I’m not planning on Costco till mid January and that will be because of coffee. I bought an extra bag last time so we should be set till mid January.

I’m planning to do a No spend month or even a No Spend couple of months. I don’t include groceries in that but NO AMAZON!!!! I’m sure, like most people, Amazon is so easy to just click buy and voila, it shows up. So that’s where I need to just stop that except if it’s a need for the house( like garbage bags or the filters for the air purifier).

Tonight is a pizza night, so I want to get the dough made before I go to Walmart so I’d better get going.

Five on Friday( ok, it might be more)!!

What a week it has been, but I think with Arizona now going for Biden officially, it’s a done deal.

Trump and his narcissistic personality just can’t admit defeat. Sad, really. Like a kid who just can’t/won’t grow up.

And how his loyal believers even think what they think is beyond me. Honestly, I think they are missing some DNA strand the rest of us have that filters humility, honesty, civility and on and on.

Well, on to this week. Today it’s supposed to rain and right now it’s cloudy but the temperature is nice, mid forties. Earlier things week we were at 32 degrees and it was freezing and walking was tough. The path had some ice and was tricky to navigate. We haven’t seen ‘the jerk’ so either he’s very early or on vacation. Either way, it’s lovely to walk with his frantic weird energy. As a matter of fact, there are 2 other couples that walk and they are so pleasant and nice with a “good morning” or “hello”.

I picked a small order from Walmart yesterday. Mostly we needed the small Coleman propane bottles for our “Buddy” heater which we use when we sit out on the sun porch and it’s cold. Walmart has the best prices with a 4 pack at $13.57. I picked a few groceries but not much.

I also went into Target for Christmas lights but they didn’t have the Target brand out yet, so the next day I did a pickup for them as it showed on the website. I did pick up some blue lights that we use throughout the winter on the outside by the front door. Right now the orange/fall ones are still up but I’ll have B take them done this coming week. I’ve moved most of the pumpkins away from the 2 doors and have put the small Christmas type trees by one.

I’m thinking of doing a bay laurel wreath for the front door as we have a nice big tree in the front yard that we planted when we first moved here so it is 25 years old. I will add a red ribbon.

The bread making frenzy continues and the loaves and my starter is doing great. Again, it’s truly the Tartine recipe that does the best bread.

Each recipe does make 2 loaves, so I just cut the second one and freeze the slices. Speaking of which, I knicked my finger cutting the top of the loaf the other day. Not a bad cut but the top of the loaves are very crunchy and so I bought these gloves so it wouldn’t happen again. so far they work great.

I dropped off a Goodwill load this week. No waiting this time. I guess the great purge of 2020 is over for now. They even brought a cart for you to put your stuff in. Before you had to take everything out of your bags and separate it. It was kinda a pain.

I also decided to take the TV in my office space off the wall and get rid of the DVD player there too. I bought( at Target) a quite compact Sony DVD blu ray for the DVD’s I want to keep. ( Shirley Valentine,I see you).

One of my absolutely favorite YouTubers is a young woman in New Zealand ,who is the most sincere person I’ve seen on YT yet. She is the ultimate minimalist and quite inspiring. Minimom really walks her talk and does not put out regurgitated stuff like some YT’s like Life at Home Taoist style who doesn’t even really know what a Taoist is.

Even though she(Minimom) is only in her 30’s with 2 small children she really puts it out there without the other crap. So it took her saying her house/condo was too small for 2 TVs and the light bulb went on for me. I don’t need that 2nd TV when I walk 20 feet into the front room and watch a DVD. We did need the new player though as this TV is newer than the old one and wouldn’t hook to old DVD player.

Anyway, if you are into minimalism and watch youtube, go to her channel.

Frugal Friday

It was a frugal week overall. The grocery shop at Trader Joe’s will go on November’s grocery bill. So far October has been around $800 all inclusive. That’s food, non food and alcohol. So actually I’m ok with that total. For 4 people eating 3 meals a day, I’d say it’s quite good.

Gas has been quite reduced since we don’t really drive anywhere. I fill my VW up about every 6 weeks and that runs around $30. The Santa Fe fills up about once a month at $50. So really that is a big savings.

All our annual bills are done for the year so that’s also a savings as we wont have property tax or Allstate till next spring. I paid the property tax way early( for once) and that’s kinda nice. Usually I’d wait till the first week of December to do it.

We don’t have family to buy gifts for so that reduces Christmas spending. I usually get my brother a GC to either Tractor Supply or Starbucks. Then I send my sister a consumable gift usually wine or something a little fancy.

For us, I keep it simple. For each of us, one book(almost always an Easton Press), one piece of clothing, something fun, and something they need. My son will get a GC to Home Depot since he’s working on the barn and rebuilding/strengthening part of it. I still end up spending more than I’d like but it’s not bad. I try and buy all year long when I see something then I don’t have to think about it. Pre pandemic, I would often find things at the thrift store all year to put away for Christmas but not this year. I’ve gone into Goodwill 2x since the pandemic started and it wasn’t all that interesting.

Tonight is pizza night and I think we’re going to order something. I need to check but I think we’ve done 2 takeouts this month. Well, I know one was the free pizza from the store and my daughter bought Tacos one day so I’m not sure what else we did this month. Anyway, I don’t have the pizza dough made so that kinda settles it anyway.

I finished the Return of the King yesterday. The trilogy takes me about a month to get thru and is thoroughly enjoyable everytime I read it. This is my 3rd or 4th time. Next up I’m going to re read, To Kill a Mockingbird as part of that takes place at halloween( BOO Radley!!). Anyway, I was going to start Dracula which I also read once a year but maybe later.

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.