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).

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.

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.

Five on Friday

We finally got off our asses and drove up to the West side of the lake for a day trip. It was really glorious. The west side( Tahoe City, Tahoma, Meeks Bay is closer so that’s where we headed.

First we stopped along the paved trail that runs along the Truckee river and walked some. Beautiful fall foliage. The trail was pretty empty except for some bicyclists. Nobody else walking.

Then we went on into Tahoe City to our favorite coffee house, Tahoe house. It required everyone to wear a mask and use the lines spaced out on the floor. We got 2 coffees and a danish to share. All their food is made on site and quite delicious. It was cool that they had signs on the tables that showed green for sanitized and then when you left you flipped it over and it was red and said not sanitized. It seemed they were coming around frequently to wipe tables.

Then we went on down to Meeks Bay which is a forest service campground and beach. There were only a few other people on the beach and all a good distance away from us. We ate our picnic lunch and relaxed. the only thing we needed were our beach chairs( which I didn’t even think about) as the blanket was okay to sit on but not really laying down.

This is looking East toward Nevada Beach.

All in all, totally worth it.

I paid the property taxes this week. At least we had the money. There were many years where we had to make payment arrangements because we didn’t have the money. So I am grateful for that. I’d like to plan next year to pay the whole year at once as opposed to the twice schedule. But that wouldn’t be till a year from now. That would give me time to strategize that into the budget.

We also paid our PO Box fee for the year. So I think that is all our annual bills till next spring.

We’ve all voted!! If you get a chance to read the NYT editorial today about voting Trump out, you should. It is a superb write up about how dangerous he is for this country and how we as a democracy will suffer if he is reelected.

Today, I don’t have a whole lot going on. I’m feeding my sourdough starter with rye flour to make another rye loaf. I plan to go in to Target for shower curtains and that’s about it.

Simple Sunday

I just finished the bathroom zone. This past week I asked my daughter to use up the bathroom paint and touch up here and there. So it ended up about 1 pint and looks good. One good thing about keeping the same color and absolutely loving it is when you do touchups even a few years later it doesn’t show the beginning or end of the color if that makes sense. the color in the bathroom is called Rarified air by Sherwin Williams and we have had it in the bathroom for years and I never tire of it. It is a very pale blue with probably some grey in it.

The heat is exhausting. Yesterday it was 108. This morning it was 77 on our walk. The annoying dog walker is still there by 5:30 so we just step out of his way as he barrels on by. If I haven’t mentioned this before I will now.  Over the years we’ve been walking every day or near every day ( going into year 9), we’ve had lots of people come and go.  Some great people and others not so great. Recently, probably @ February or March, this guy shows up with a white, very pretty dog. The dog is muzzled and is not a friendly sort. So at first, we were all fine even once or twice said hello. But then he started really fast walking and would come up behind us without saying like ” on your left” or something so I started getting pretty annoyed. Then more and more he would just barrel by and even when we were walking side by side( B and I) he wouldn’t step off the path and just skimmed us. Then I started watching how he was with others and it seemed the same. Also, adding to my annoyance, is that he comes speeding down our main road( speed limit 25mph, he’s doing 45 at least) and then the park roadway to fast and the practically screeches in a 180 to park.  So, I kept hoping as sunrise is way later now, he would adjust and come later. But no luck. This morning we were using a flashlight so anybody else could see us but not him. Just barreling by in the premorning light. Oh well, I’ll adjust but it is annoying.

Last night I made a big Cobb salad with tofu, chicken, avocado, lettuce, carrots, cheese, and some leftover cabbage. It was good. Tonight is probably YOYO. Plus this heat makes cooking not fun.  Although, I made a peach pie yesterday and it was delicious.  It was the NYT recipe for peach pie.

This week is no appts for me but lots for B; he has labs, video conference with Dr. Abedi, and another one with the urologist he was referred to.  But at least it’s not driving to Sacramento so there’s that.

Today would have been the day we headed up to Tahoe but alas, no. The area lakes are being inundated with valley people and ven South Lake Tahoe had protesters telling tourists “go home”. Which says a lot since Soth Lake Tahoe depends on tourism for revenue. But they are coming in hordes and leaving tons of trash. Such a shame people have to be so such slobs.

Well, on that cheery note, I’m off to read or something that involves not moving a lot.

A nice little getaway

We left for Chico around 9:30 am. It was drizzling here but by the time we were heading up Hwy 99, the skies were clearing. A nice drive up.

We made good time and arrived just when I thought we would in time for lunch.

We had soup and a sandwich at the Tin Roof bakery and it was, as always, yummy. I  bought a loaf of their delicious sourdough to bring home. Then we cruised the upscale Salvation Army and then walked into downtown Chico. I was hoping to buy some closed in Birkenstocks but they didn’t have the soft sole in the style I wanted.  We checked out the bookstore too.

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One fun thing we did was walk around CSU chico, which was empty since it’s Winter break. Then we went into the Chico museum and had a lovely walk around.

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We checked into our room around 2 pm and relaxed. Around 4 we went down to the bar and had chardonnay wine and had a nice time just chatting about stuff.

We headed to the Red Tavern for our dinner reservations around 5:30. It’s a cozy place and fancy but not super fancy. Just right.

I had the Prix fix dinner of chicken scallopini, salad, and desert. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a good vegetarian option except for quinoa something so B had a lovely mushroom soup and a house salad with bread.  All in all really terrific.

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The next morning we had a nice buffet breakfast at the hotel although I thought it was free. We had a voucher so we ended up paying an additional $12. I guess that’s pretty cheap for two breakfasts.  Then we headed over to the Trader Joes since I thought it would be clever to do my weekly shopping there. I didn’t get everything I needed like some meat but other than that it was good.

Neither one of us wanted anything to eat so we headed out and took the more country way back home. Tons of migrating birds in the rice fields. This is where Lundberg Farms has many of their rice fields. If you know the brand, then that’s where some of the rice comes from.

Travel plans

Now that Christmas and NY are over, it’s back to my regular things.

I’m already planning some trips for us and what I’ve lined up so far is

  • Chico to stay at the Diamond Hotel( a restored old hotel) and dinner at the Red Tavern which is kinda fancy.
  • Yosemite and a stay at the Ahwahnee which is on my bucket list. Plus I’d never go to Yosemite during the tourist season. We did that camping when our kids were young and it was busy but not insanely so as it is now. We’re staying only one night due to the cost factor. It should be about a 3 1/2 hour drive so quite doable.
  • I still need to book the dates for Santa Barbara. I’m thinking early March which should be lovely down there. This will be 3 nights as it is too far just for 2 nights. Although we might just stay 2 nights and then the other night in Monterey as that’s about the half waypoint. ( it is a long drive)
  • April, I’m hoping we can get into New Brighton Stat beach and will look at that this weekend actually. It always books out that time of year so I don’t know yet.
  • Update on New Brighton. Just made a reservation for April so we’re set there. It’s after Easter and there were only a few spots with 3 nights. So I took one.
  • May has nothing, maybe camping?
  • June -nothing yet. Everything at nevada beach is booked:(
  • July we usually stay home
  • August nothing yet

The rest is open and I’ll see where we are.

 

As 2019 comes to a close

It has been a year of highs and lows.

Lots of things were awful with B’s diagnosis and then being transfusion dependent. Lots of chemo visits weekly. But in spite of that, there have some great things. His brother was a 10/10 match for the BMT and that was amazing.

Being at UCD med center in the BMT unit for a month was hard, very hard, but it all went way better than expected. Staying at the Kiwanis in our friends RV was also great and made the whole experience of having to be there almost 3 weeks delightful. Being able to be just minutes from the clinic made it all worth it.

Recovery and gaining strength and energy back has been slow but sure. B is doing amazing and he is almost 7 months post-transplant.

There has been no major graft vs host although he must remain vigilant as that can happen even down the road.  Now he is tapering off immunosuppressants and that means less prescriptions. He will still need his vaccinations sometime next year.

So the year really was a mixed bag of emotions but overall I feel very positive about it. We did fine financially with the extra GoFund Me and the SDI. This week will be his last SDI and I am totally grateful to have had NOT to worry about money. After my transplant in 2006 and that following year, we were in serious,serious debt and it was awful. There were no GoFundME things or networks to receive financial help. I did have 2 friends that were very generous and that was a blessing.

At the end of this year, I feel grateful for my health and my children’s health. Both of my children have excellent jobs that they earned this year.

B will also officially retire as going back to full time just isn’t going to work for him. I will miss the paychecks and being able to travel with him, but honestly, he is 69 and with everything that has happened, life is just too short to go back to a job even if it’s only for another year. Who knows what will happen and he has this chance to retire. Social Security will be tough but hey, so what! We have struggled before and made it and if we can only do so much then so be it. Actually, I’m just grateful we have the little we will have coming in as it will cover our basics.

WE didn’t do any traveling and that was okay. We are planning something once a month for  2020. Next month we are planning an overnight to Chico where B has a free room at one of the nicer hotels downtown. We are planning to have dinner at a place I’ve wanted to go forever called the Red Tavern. I can’t remember where I read about it over 5 years ago, but it’s supposed to one of the best restaurants around.

House wise, we didn’t do anything major except outside and tree removal.  We did replace two windows and they look great. Next year we will replace a few more windows in the bathroom and kitchen and my daughter’s room as well. Next year, we hope to work on the kitchen and do a minor remodel( mostly the sink and counter as it is 25 years old this summer and the sink connections are pretty rusty.

So life keeps on keeping on and it really is a wonderful life.

Birthday trip

We did it!!

This is our birthdays’ gift… B’s is September 22( the same as Bilbo’s and Frodo’s, ( so lucky) and mine is next week on the 30th…..  we are getting ‘older” ( ha, ha, no really we are now old!!

I had reserved 2 nights at Tahoe at Nevada Beach( our favorite). I wasn’t 100% sure that this was a good idea with Barclay just 4 months post-transplant but it turned out brilliant.

The weather was cool at night but the days were picture perfect fall in Tahoe. Plus the campground was almost all ‘old’er people and not a ton of kids running around or riding bikes. The beach was almost empty as was the beach parking lot.

In a word, it was my idea of perfect.

This was also a big deal as B hasn’t really driven any length since really his diagnosis so also a big accomplishment. Next week we see the transplant doctor and he should be able to tell us more about the BMB results which looked great. No MDS, no leukemia, the part we didn’t get yet was the donor cells amount. So hopefully that’s all good too. UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_398.jpg

We certainly hope it’s all good.

Today, Barclay has his labs in Auburn instead of UCD med center Sacramento. Then we plan to do a call to AARP to sign him up for supplemental plan F. I’m hoping to get Part D signed up at the same time.  So we may be on the phone for a while.  There is still some billing issues we’re dealing with when the Cobra wasn’t activated. I’ve called twice but it still seems to show we owe that money. I’ll wait to deal with that as I can really only handle one thing at a time.

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This is our sweet tent trailer that we really love and our anniversary present you can see there is the Honda generator. Wow, so quiet and definitely worth it.

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The handsome transplant patient 4 months post-transplant and almost a year since the horrible diagnosis. A new life.  A huge shout out of a” thank you” to his brother, Rodman, for the gift of life. A true gift.

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Here’s the happy camper with morning coffee!!