Simple Sunday

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

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

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

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

All in all a beautiful day.

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

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

A quiche

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

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

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

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

Friday Things

The most exciting news is my labs came back and my kappa light chains actually went down slightly INTO THE NORMAL RANGE!!! I’m pretty shocked really. I don’t know if I can remember when I started going out of range( increasing) that it ever went down. Well, I’m thrilled for another month of emotional freedom.

I was going to skip swimming tomorrow since my new suit didn’t show up but decided to just go for it. My current suit is fairly chlorinated and not in good shape but I figure no one is there to look at me and when I get out I’ll put my towel over me. Hopefully, my suit shows up next week.

Today is a home day and just pottering around. My daily chores are done and I might do a quick vacuum. I made the pizza dough for tonight, so that’s done. I have a few new books to read from the library so that’ll be fun.

I’m working on a small embroidery project from Posie in Oregon. I bought a PDF of her March pattern in which all the proceeds were going to Ukraine. I like embroidering but my hands can only do so much until they start cramping. Not much going on in the decluttering world. I’m in a good place with what we have and use. There’s always more but then that takes another level of what I want to keep and what I want to pass on. I have a great vintage turquoise blue typewriter but it’s been shuffled around for years with me thinking ” oh it’ll be a great display”. But honestly, I probably won’t do that, and plus I don’t have any room for it on a shelf. So, I’ll put that aside for the hospice thrift store.

I’m beyond thrilled at Ketanji B. Jackson getting confirmed for the Supreme Court. At least some good news.

We spent @ $400. at Costco which included $50. for lawn fertilizer, beer( $29.00), and something else that was non-food?? Oh, I think it was AAA batteries( $18.00) and gallon freezer bags($ 15). So, I’d guestimate that @$300 was for food.

It feels like it’s been a spendy week. And of course, the tree is going to be $$$$. But what can you do? If we didn’t have the money, I guess we wouldn’t do it. We’ve been there so…Plus, everything seems so much more expensive.

Friday things

Yesterday we ventured out to Costco and it was fine. We were only among a handful of people wearing masks but heck, that’s ok. We spent $300 on food and $80 on nonfood. Overall, that’s a low $ trip at Costco for us. I still need a few extras and I think I’ll have Barclay do that next week after he gets his port flush. What I’d like to take advantage of is the Nasacort that is on sale. It’s 4 of them for $28. I pay $18 at the store for one. So that’s a big saving. Then I went over to Dicks’ sporting goods for earplugs. They didn’t have the Speedo ones so I got the TYR as a backup since last week I had to swim one time without earplugs because I thought I left them home. In actuality, they were stuck in my towel and when I lifted my towel they fell out. Oh well.

OMG. good news!! LLS just opened funding for Myeloma so I jumped on and submitted my application and was approved. They have it very streamlined and it was easy to do. I was definitely getting concerned about funding. LLS covers our medicare and UHC so it’s a good chunk of change a month.

Today I need to go drop off food at the food bank, Goodwill, check on my prescription at Bel-air, and then drop books off at the bookstore.

I plan to make pizza tonight but I’ll use a Trader Joe’s dough. I’m going to top with the fennel sausage I bought in Napa. I think I’m going to pull the Ooni out and use that so one with be cheese and the other will be the sausage.

Our weather has been spectacular and we ate dinner on the patio 2 nights in a row. Next week does look quite a bit cooler.

I’ve been reading the book ” High on the Hog” that the Netflix original was based on. I’d highly recommend it just for the history part. What we did to Africans is shameful. All that history SHOULD be taught in high schools so students can learn about ALL of our history, the good, the bad, and the ugly. NOT just what the good White people did. Arghhhh, don’t get me started.

We’re working in the garden areas and decided to buy 2 galvanized water troughs that people use for raised beds. B filled one with garden soil and is ready to plant. We bought some things at the nursery to plant like onions, and parsley, cilantro, chives. My daughter has lots of seeds to plant too. The garlic in the barrels we planted is doing great. We do have the front garden beds almost ready. Those will be things like chard, lettuce, kale, etc.

Everything is starting to pop with this warm weather. It’s been a very pretty spring.

Middle of the week and hopefully not WWIII.

As I’m sure all of you are, I’m trying to find some hope that the situation in Ukraine turns around and Putin is kicked on his ass. It’s a scary situation when there’s nuclear capability. I refuse to be upset by gas prices or higher prices for anything. If that is the cost of freedom in Ukraine then so be it. I can’t stand the Biden haters who think gas prices are because of the pipeline from Canada. That has NOTHING to do with it. Oh well, since I am not that well versed in oil exchanges, I’ll leave it at that.

I’m definitely a little sore today from swimming yesterday as it had been 10days since we were gone. I did walk this morning and that was good. Today I’m just pottering around and doing some rearranging of things. I filled 2 bags with food for the food bank that was in my wine crate pantry. It’s stuff that’s been in there and I know I’m not likely to use. I emptied one Far Niente wine crate and used that for DVD’s and put that under my little Ikea couch I have in the sun room. As always, I try to keep like with like and the other crate of DVD’s in under there to so it’s the logical place for it.

Tomorrow I have my appt with Dr. L . My labs came back with virtually no change so that was VERY EXCITING. I am just slightly above high normal. If it can stay that way or near that till June it’ll be 1 year since my last Velcade so I’d be happy with that.

With spring bursting everywhere it’s hard not to go spend a ton of money on plants and seeds. We are buying 2 galvanized steel container to try as garden planters. The garlic in the barrels is doing great so I should get a good harvest of garlic.

Friday things

I just got back from getting my labs. It’s great that Quest is by appt. only. I was the only one in there and was done within 10 minutes.

There’s still no funding for myeloma at LLS so that’s not good news. I keep checking daily but there’s only mantle cell leukemia and Waldenstrom ( sp is probably wrong)( which is pretty rare.)So means February won’t be covered as that was my look back month meaning if I was funded in February, they would cover it even though my grant ended Jan 31. Tough break for us as that covers all my insurances.

Back home I put the sourdough cheddar jalapeno bread in the oven. This will be my last bread till we’re back. I’ll put my starter in the fridge tomorrow. I tried a sourdough rosemary baguette this week and it turned out great. I have a baguette pan I bought eons ago at Williams Sonoma and used that. The trick I think with sourdough and bread-making is just to keep doing it over and over. I can definitely tell by the feel of the dough how the hydration is. I had gotten a copy of Nancy Silverton’s Bread-making and read it thru. Overall, though, recipes look good, but they all make 2 loaves at a time and I don’t do that. Also reading about how she feeds her starter seemed too complicated to me. What I do is just keep adding equal amounts of flour and water at least once a day. Probably not as ‘scientific’ but it works for me. I also hate to throw away discard sourdough starter so I end up with 3-4 jars in the fridge. Oh well.

Then I’ve made the pizza dough for tonight and that’s in the bowl doing the first rise. It’s almost time to get out the Ooni for spring. Last night I used our new gas Weber that I bought for camping. I wanted to try it before we left. So I made BBQ chicken, BBQ tofu, roasted mini potatoes, and roasted veggies. WOW. It all came out delicious. I’m pleased and am looking forward to cooking with it camping.

It’s a cloudy day with rain expected off and on but it feels warm out. But it’s supposed to get very cold tonight with the possibility of snow. I plan on swimming tomorrow so I guess I’ll wait and see how it is in the morning. After swimming I was going to go over to Winco for some camping supplies. If that doesn’t happen, I’ll just go to Safeway. I actually don’t need a whole lot but things like peanut butter and some veggies and cream for coffee.

In good news, AAA settled my claim for a fair amount. The depreciation was factored in and then the $1000 deductible. I can’t buy a new Louis Vuitton for what they gave me but at least the $500 in cash was covered. I miss my Louis but I certainly can’t spring for a new one. sigh….:( Maybe down the road I can get a used one. There are a few sites that sell authentic LV and they look good. Still more than the amount they gave me but not the cost of a new one.

The situation in Ukraine is so devastating. Almost a million people leaving Ukraine. I hope the sanctions President Biden is implementing work to cut off the money. No money = No war. I shudder to think what the asshole Trump would be doing. I still keep hoping he gets indicted for something. I made a small donation to World Central Kitchen that is providing food trucks on the borders to feed people. Here’s the link if you want to donate too. It’s a small thing we can do to help the Ukraine people.

Simple Sunday

We had a nice walk this morning and wow, Venus was right above the crescent moon. Very beautiful. Nobody was there initially and then the Le Foret guy( he comes out of the woods, honestly), showed up and then 2 others later. But we were done by that point.

This morning I’ve made the olive sourdough bread, a chocolate cake is baking, and I have a turkey breast in the crockpot. I’m just about done with the living room zone which BTW is just today and tomorrow and then Tuesday starts the entry zone. I would like to go to the nursery and get some kind of flower, like maybe some pansies. Our violets have gone crazy this year and are all over.

A week from today we’re heading to Bodega Bay. My son and daughter will hold down the fort. Both have to work so they’re here anyway. The weather looks nice enough with some wind which isn’t unusual. There are no hookups at Bodega so it will be l or solar.

I have my labs later this week and then I’ll get my results next week. I see Dr. L in mid-March. I would be pretty darn happy if my numbers stay about the same. Speaking of which, March 1st is my 16th re-birthday. Hard to believe, I was going in today and then getting Melphalan, and then on the 1st was when I got my stem cells. It’s really the melphalan that does you in It was hands down, the worst episode of my life. I remember we had terrible storms and looking out the window from the BMT unit over to the freeway and watching the rain and wind go sideways. That part of Sutter hospital has all been redone since then and actually the whole building I first got my chemo in was torn down and is now the Children’s Hospital.

Frugal Friday

It’s been interesting not thinking about groceries on this low-budget food month challenge. This week, so far, I’ve spent 34.99. The 34.00 would have been even lower but B went to Safeway and bought 3 giant oranges for 4.97. It was an honest overlook as per pound it wasn’t too bad but they were very large so it weighed more. The same with apples. That’s ok, it was still a low-cost shop. Today I need to get some mozzarella for pizza night and I have a coupon for some free bananas. I think the biggest challenge is just mental and adjusting to I don’t need anything at the store or to build up the prepper pantry. Like I said, I’m trying to have us eat down both the freezer and pantry. Next week I plan on using some turkey for chili and then look at what else is in there. Overall, it’s been a good challenge.

We did fill up both buggie and the Santa Fe and gas is pretty steep at$4.59 to 4.79. per gallon. I try and fill Bugs up only once a month as I only drive that to Auburn and back.

Last week was an unexpected oak firewood purchase since we needed it and we saw it down at the corner where someone had a trailer full to sell. I wasn’t super happy that it wasn’t quite a cord when he dropped it off and the guy should have known. But he did drop off some extra after we complained. But even then I still don’t think it made up a full cord which is 4x4x8 and looks pretty impressive when you see it.

So far this morning, I’ve made the pizza dough, fed my sourdough starter, washed 3 shelves in the refrigerator. I’ve done some email stuff and checked LLS( Leukemia Lymphoma Society). Sadly, right now there is no funding for myeloma so my grant can’t be re-upped. I’ll keep checking every day because funding does come in on a daily basis. Still, that’s a big hit for us if I’m not getting my insurance covered. Hopefully, it’ll come in soon.

I don’t have any projects going on right now and feel a little adrift. I like to be working on something and nothing seems to be jumping out to be done. I’ll think about what can be reorganized or done differently. The kitchen always can use some organizing.

Here’s the last amaryllis bulb that’s blooming. I think this one is the prettiest so far. I’m still not crazy about them and won’t order bulbs next fall.

I plan on going into the pet bookstore this morning and dropping off some books and seeing what looks good. I still have a few PD James in my bedside table.

Simple Sunday

Another week of beautiful weather. I’m sure glad I don’t live in ‘snow country’ back east. Having grown up in NY, I remember snowy roads, ice storms, etc. But at 18, I left for Arizona and that was that.

The sourdough olive bread came out delicious.

I am having tons of fun trying these new bread recipes. I’m slicing and freezing about half of each loaf. I may need to experiment what’s the best way to freeze. Double wrap? aluminum foil? Not sure. Any bread bakers out there with suggestions? Up for today is cran-walnut sourdough!

I plan on dropping off Goodwill this morning and then hitting up Target for a wastebasket for the laundry room. I also want to pick up a faux sprig of apple blossom for the front/side door grapevine wreaths since I’m in the entryways this week. I think the week is split with the kitchen zone on Tuesday the first.

My favorite Youtuber, Minimom, in New Zealand was trying out a new cleaning system from Clean Mama. She’s very popular and has a huge following. I copied some PDFs for cleaning weekly and thought I’d try it but after writing it down, I felt it wasn’t going to work for me. Basically, she does have daily tasks and weekly ones. But for instance, once a week it’s the bathroom, once a week vacuum, etc. She also has monthly ones. I think it’s a good system if you have a large house and or family. For me, I felt it was over-complicated. here’s the link Clean Mama. Funny, you open the page and it says “cleaning doesn’t need to be complicated.” I think she has a good method, just not for my house.

Tomorrow I have my labs so I should know by the end of the week how much of a rise my Kappa light chains go. I hope it’s just small. If it follows the previous pattern it took, the rise is slow at first and then picks up and rises more quickly. I have a pretty good sense of how my body feels so that will also be an indicator. I don’t think it will be as long as last time since I’ve come out of remission so much faster( 6 months as opposed to 4 1/2 years. ) Oh well, it is what it is.

Looking back at 2021

For us, 2021 was a really great year in spite of Covid. For lots of people, it was horrible but we managed to accomplish some very BIG Goals. # 1 was buying Rubi( the RV), which was exactly what we wanted), then Chevy, after realizing the Santa Fe was just not going to cut it with towing, and then going on camping trips especially the new addition of Refugio State Beach.

I started chemo in January, 3 weeks on 1 week off until June. My numbers went back into the normal range almost immediately after just the first treatment but you still need to do the full course of 6 rounds. I’ve had a great 6 months but my numbers are now slightly out of high normal so it’s a matter of how quickly they will increase. I’m waiting now for this week’s labs, so we’ll see. My guess is I’ll be back on Velcade in June. Amazingly, last time ( 2016) I had 4 1/2 years of remission. Not this time and it’s questionable how long Velcade will work before it’s on to the next treatment option. Well, that’s not today so…

I m swimming in March and I continue to love it. I wish I could get more than the 2-3 times a week in but it’s just too far and too much gas to do more than that. But it is incredible.

We did quite a few projects around the house and yard including the privacy fence along the driveway. We replaced the sunroom windows that were water damaged and will do the other 2 this summer. We redid the whole laundry room. It still needs some siding up around the window and I’ll bug my son to finish that when the weather is nicer. Let’s see, what else… I painted the bathroom, and ??? I’m sure there are more things…

Today is New Year’s Eve. We’re going to have the fondue we didn’t use for Christmas and I think to watch the new Witcher series. We had a lovely walk this morning and still no dog walker. That’s very odd, so we think either he got covid or moved?? We never knew his name so can’t check it out. But really it is wonderful to not have him stomping by or trying to run us off the path. Still, he is a dark walker( early morning) so there’s that connection. Not many people do that.

I plan to go to Target tomorrow as I need my calendars for 2022. I like their very simple inexpensive ones. Not sure they’ll have any left but I’ll try there first. I do plan a no-spend January but that’s just extra stuff that I don’t need( like candles). My January budget is set including the increase of our Part D Medicare plans.

I lost count of how many books I read , maybe 75? 100? I read a lot so I don’t think it really matters how many. Sometimes I read 3 books a week. It all depends on the type of book. Maybe I’ll keep count next year except I have tried that and then give up because it starts to be too many.

Living with Multiple Myeloma

It was right around Thanksgiving in 2003 when I hurt my back(so I thought). I’d been lifting many (40) boxes of Life magazines from an estate sale. A few days later I was doing some exercises and felt a weird pop in my back. The next day when I got out of bed I just collapsed. Extremely painful. I managed for a week and then went to see my PCP, but he was out for Christmas so I saw the NP. She basically misdiagnosed me with a strained back. Never ordered x-rays which would have told the story. So I presevered and lived with the pain for a year. Ultimately it did improve but since cancer was the culprit( not that I knew though), a plasmacytoma tumor was developing where the fracture had been( not that I knew it was even a fracture at this point). Eventually, I asked for a referral to a sports doctor to see if a Kyphoplasty surgery would help. This was now 18 months from the original fracture. He ordered the MRI and the rest is history so to speak.

I’m almost 17 years out from that March of 2005. I feel enormously grateful to have lived with this so long and managed. Lots of people don’t get that chance.

My labs are back and show a 1 point increase putting me out of normal range but by very little. 19.7 mg/l , high normal is 19.4 mg/l kappa light chains. So hopefully my increases stay small and we can be ready with a plan once they start jumping exponentially. I get my next labs at the end of December so, we’ll see. i had an increase in the Alpha Globulin as well. Not much but that might mean there is more protein entering the blood stream.

Cancer has taught me to take things in stride and never for granted. Also, each day has its own rhythm and to go with that flow. When you’re getting treatments, there’s no trying to make it go faster or slower, it is what it is and treatments will go according to the schedule. I’m certainly a more patient person because of my cancer treatments. Life is full of uncertainties and all we can do is do the best we can with the time that is given to us.

There’s always some anxiety with labs etc when dealing with cancer but I think knowledge is powerful and helps keep most anxiety at bay. Since I know what’s out there, I handle it better. At some point Velcade will stop working and I’ll be on to the next treatment which would be Darzalex. It is an IV to start and is given over 8 hours to start so that if you’re going to have heart issues they know. I believe after that initial one, it’s a shot like Velcade but I may be wrong. I think most people tolerate Daralex well. Well, that’s all speculation at this point.