Beltane, May 1st.

We always try and have a Beltane fire on or near May 1st. In cross-quarter on the Celtic Calendar, it’s the beginning of summer. Burning away the old and planting for the new. It is between the Spring Equinix and the Summer Solciste. We had a fire the night before so that was good enough. We might have one tonight if we sit out.

This week I finished reading Jane Austin’s ‘Emma’. 500 pages of Jane Austin and it was astonishingly good. We have all the JA’s in Easton Press editions. I also reread a couple of e-books. I like the author Meg Wolfe. She used to have a great minimalist blog that I really enjoyed but I guess having written 5 books in this series took all her time. The first is the ‘Uncollected Death’. Charlotte Anthony is downsizing and is commissioned to write the memoir of a woman who then is murdered. There are 4 other books in the series which I’ve read but this one is my favorite.

I’ve moved most of my house plants( and there’s a lot), out to the sun porch. I’m going to see how they summer over out there. It does get hot out there so I’ll have to see whether this is a good option.Then I moved all the LP’s under the Heywood Wakefield so they are near the turntable. I’ll see how this works too.  That freed up a wood crate I had so I may use that somewhere else. Mostly, I’m trying to reduce visual clutter in my office room/space.  I have the one wall with Grateful Dead LP covers framed, and our Woodstock original Life magazines framed, B’s Bob Dylan poster and my favorite Star trek poster. It’s all colorful and pleasing to the eye but I wouldn’t want to add to it.

We’re doing really well food /pantry wise. I finally was able to get Costco to deliver toilet paper here although they are 14 days out for delivery. We have enough though. Plus the other big thing is coffee. We all drink coffee so we go thru  a lot. So I ordered 2 Starbucks French roast as it is on sale. It’s still cheaper to go in to the store( Costco) to get it but that would mean going into the store. So it’s worth it for now to pay the extra $5.00.

I haven’t been too creative with cooking. Mostly just cooking to get by. We even didn’t do Friday night pizza because no one wanted pizza. So we had the frozen manacotti I did a week ago. It was good. I did try making a sourdough focaccia and it was ok. Not great but I think I will try a different recipe and see how that goes.

Speaking of Costco, I checked Instacart/Costco and it looks like I can get delivery here so I may try that when I need the next round of stuff. But for now we’re good.

This morning after our walk I went into the Holiday Market an got enough fresh stuff for the week and they had tofu so that was exciting.

Next week Barclay has to go down to UCD med center to see the doctor because he needs his port flushed and another IVG infusion. I’ll just sit in the car and read although this time I may go for a walk.Last time I didn’t but I think it should be ok.

I also had my Zoom video appt with my doctor and it was quick and easy. We’re in agreement that starting treatment while the pandemic is going on is not a good idea. But we did agree when my kappa light chains get to @ 500 then that will be a good place to start. It really depends on how quickly the cancer cells start to activate. This last time it only went up 18 points so  that was quite a bit less than the time before. Really it’s just a waiting game. I’m not happy about but WTF. Not much you can do. So we shall see. it’s out there in the future somewhere.

A few pictures from around the yard

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This time of year in May everything is nice and green and so pretty. My daughter does an amazing job as gardener!

Simple Sunday

It’s been a nice week with really glorious weather. We’ve eaten dinner out on the patio and it’s been great. The mosquitos are coming out though so that’s a pain. Just when it’s getting nice enough to sit out after dinner, wham, mosquitos buzzing. I guess I ‘ll try and find the bug spray today.

The chickies are growing and going outside in a new cage on the grass but still coming into the dog crate at night. They have t least another month of going back and forth and then they will still need to be separated from the big girls for a while. Getting chickens is actually a lot of work. But by September we will start getting some eggs so that’s nice.

This week I have my doctor’s appt and I will be doing a video appt. I’m not sure how they set it up yet but should know tomorrow( Monday).

I went down to our Holiday market the other day when they opened( 7 am). Spent a small fortune but got some extra things for the prepper pantry. Ever since we moved to this area in 1975, I have been a bulk buyer. Beans, rice, honey, oats, etc. We had a small co-op in Auburn at that time and we could order stuff. We also did a buying club with what is now UNFI( That Barclay just retired from after 25 years). It was Mountain Peoples Warehouse then and you could order bulk things even dairy like cheese. Then a group would get together and separate out orders.  I don’t think they allow buying clubs anymore but I could be wrong. Anyway, that’s what we did. Somewhere after embracing a minimalist house, I started backing off on having a prepper pantry. I still would buy Lundberg brown rice and a case of tomatoes from Costco but I had been trying to back off it. Then all this Shit hits with Covid-19 and yes, I am back in buying bulk in full swing.

A prepper pantry though just isn’t bulk rice but enough food that could last you anywhere from 3 – 12 months. Now I don’t want a bunker with guns and food but I do want to build up my pantry.

Some stuff I’m putting out in the barn on the restaurant shelves( stainless steel). Extra dish soap, laundry soap, canned goods are going out there. Some packaged goods are going in bins to store. I’m planning on buying a food preserver thing that seals the contents of the bag but I want to wait and see what Costco’s looks like before I commit to it.

So far my plan is to have a dozen boxes of Pasta, a case of kidney beans, a case of cannellini beans, a case of refried beans, a case of tomatoes, and other smaller quantities of condiments, sauces. Mostly stuff I know would eat normally. I did buy 8 freeze-dried meals but I’m not sure about doing that again as that is not something we would normally eat.  I’ve been meaning to try one just to see how it is. Also a couple of boxes of tea and sugar. I keep some extra coffee in the freezer but in a shut down that wouldn’t last long. Maybe I’ll check into instant or freeze-dried coffee as a backup.

Right now the freezer is being eaten down and I haven’t bought a lot to replace things till I get to Costco which I’m thinking will be mid-May.

Dinners have been uninspired like spaghetti and sauce, meatloaf( I bought as I don’t know how to make a good one), rice and beans, grilled chicken, salad, and just normal stuff.  Tonight I am grilling chicken outside and will make a potato salad I think. I made a nut loaf with brown rice yesterday so I will serve that to B.

Well, life goes on, or as the chaos theorist in Jurassic Park says” Life finds a way”.

Flylady has two zones this week. Living room zone and entryway zone. I did the living room already but still need to vacuum.

 

Keeping on…

Things are still in lockdown in California, for which I am grateful. Gov. Newsome is doing a great job of keeping ahead of things with basically shutting everything down. I honestly don’t get the Trumpers hating him so much when all he is doing is trying to take care of California. The negative comments on the local the newsfeed on Facebook are nuts.  Crazy!!

Since I’m an introvert and don’t go out to movies or things often it hasn’t bothered me to be home except maybe going out for coffee.

The park has posted signs to walk 6 feet apart and the playground is now taped off. I’m guessing the park is getting overwhelmed with people trying to just get outside. Since we walk early there is only the new dog walker guy and he walks very fast and not near us. He’s been coming for about a month now. Many people over the 8 years I’ve walked there have come and go. It changes with the seasons too. Lots more people as the weather gets nice. So we always start backing it up and going earlier. In summer even 5am is not too early.

I made some more oatmeal chocolate chip cookies yesterday and they are almost gone today. Humm…rationing  next??  We had fun individual pizzas last night although my son said each person was supposed to top their own. I did it because nobody was coming in to do it.

Tonight I’m making some chicken tenders with pasta on the side. I  think I even have some Quorn chicken tenders for B. I don’t have any salad stuff but I do have chard in the garden I can use.  Oh, BTW, Amazon prime has Julia Child’s the French cook original on and it is so fun to watch. It’s in black and white which is too bad since you can’t’ see the browning and sauteing she describes. I’ve actually learned a thing or two and I wonder how much I saw originally as her style of cooking is similar to mine although she is maybe a little more strict. Anyway, check it out as it’s fun.

I haven’t really started any projects except working on notes for a “prepper” pantry. I was trying to move away from stockpiling but now, no way.  If anything I’m going full throttle. Yesterday, I ordered from Mountain house which does freeze-dried stuff.  They didn’t have the #10 cans I wanted( all sold out) but they did have some servings of 2-3 available. I bought some to try and of course, they really last forever probably.  I’ll give an update when they arrive. Also, I’ve ordered from Costco, but they are sold out on most things and some they are not shipping to my zip code right now. I wanted a case of Rosarita’s beans but that’s not available as of yet. I’ll do a write up down the road when I get it together.

I need to schedule my labs for next week or maybe the following week. I don’t see Dr. Laptalo till the end of April and even then if things are only the same( my numbers going up but still not starting treatment), I’ll ask to just pass on seeing him physically.

BTW, Finnie seems to be doing better and eating a little more. I’m still not sure how long he will last but at least there has been an improvement.

Oh, and I think we are going to get some chicks as we know we’re not going traveling anytime soon so we will be home to take care of them.  I may order online so as to avoid the feed store though.

Well, I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.

 

Simple Simple Sunday

Well, life certainly has slowed down for most everyone. It’s such an interesting phenomenon that I’m sure sociologists will be studying this period of time for many decades to come.

We’ve been taking our morning walk and in the afternoon just walking around the property. I’m planning on walking down our hill to the mailbox or even the post office when I get up the gumption to tackle the hill coming back up. It’s about a 45degree angle so quite steep.

This week is the bedroom zone. I took down the velvet curtains and put up the light white ones from Ikea, washed the windows, dusted and watered the plant in there. I think I’m going to hang out the quilts in the sun today too.  It is supposed to rain again but today is sunny and nice.

Some meals I’ve been making:

  • turkey chili with white beans plus some cornbread and a big green salad
  •           pizza that was a sourdough crust(and quite good, I might add) with sausage, mushrooms, peppers, and pineapple
  •         buckwheat crepes with fruit
  •         penne pasta with chicken sausage,  spinach, and cheese.
  •         Next week:
  •         Brinner
  •         Grilled chicken with potatoes and a vegetable
  •         Tofu burgers
  •         ????

Well,  all in all, a nice day.

The state of affairs.

Things are good this week with 2 doctor appointments down.

B had clinic on Tuesday and I drove him to UCD med center as it was an early appointment so there was traffic.  He’s back on prednisone for a rash but it is minor and seems gone now.  I sat in the car dealing with the financial fallout from the Cobra.  What has happened is this: His group insurance ended as of 7/31 and that’s when we initiated the Cobra thinking at $700 a month that would take care of all the bills.

Ha!!! NOw UHC Cobra is still saying because he was Medicare ELIGIBLE they won’t cover the full costs. WTF????? Well, long story short, after numerous calls we are on the hook for the August appointments.  I made payment arrangements while I was waiting for him to finish up at clinic.  All his appointments from then on were covered by Medicare. But we still were paying the Cobra till actually just the end of last month( January). Not sure this was necessary but open enrollment hadn’t quite started so even though we could have signed him up with special circumstances, we just left the cobra in place.

All I can say is if you’re ever faced with losing group coverage and have to go on Cobra …DON”T.  Overall, the cost factor doesn’t cut it or you need to absolutely clear what the cover. In our case, I just assumed everything was covered.

So then yesterday, I had to drive back down to Mercy cancer center for my appointment.  It’s kinda what I thought he would say is yes, it’s going up but too soon to start treatment and to keep thinking of this as smoldering myeloma.  So it’s watch and wait. That’s okay and when the time comes and my numbers are going up faster, I’m sure we will move ahead.

Today, I’m going to do some cooking. I’ve made hardboiled eggs and I’m going to make the olive and feta topping again. Plus I ‘going to grill some chicken for lunches and dinner. I think I’ll grill some onions while I’m at it.

I have some house chores to catch up on and then I’m going to hit the gym.

 

Simple Sunday

It’s been a nice week although weird again with the holiday in the middle of the week. I kept thinking Thursday was Monday. Oh well, it seems that we’re back on course and today is Sunday.

We did a shop a Costco on Friday and didn’t overdo it. I bought extra coffee and TP so we won’t need to ‘run’ down there for those things. We are eyeing a new TV though. Ours is about 8 years old and still works but the sound quality isn’t the best. There are some sales for the super bowl so if I think we can swing it, I will.

B’s last SDI was this last week too. He did get a notice to have his doctor fill out a form about not returning to work, so I’m not sure if they would extend his benefits to use up the little he has left or if it’s just paperwork. What I read is the maximum award is 12months, so we’ll see. We’ll try and do that next week although he sees his doctor on Tuesday and I’m sure it won’t be in the mail by then.

This month will be the big test of how we do without the SDI. I know it’s going to be an adjustment. But at least we have no big bills in January just the car tags for the old van. Still, that’s $150. I have been saving quite a bit of the SDI so that I know I won’t be adding to the savings.

Also, we had to call on his Cobra as, just as expected, the Noxafil prescription came in at$1200.  This amount was the Medicare Part D prescrpiton plan that I’m not planning on using that’s why we’re paying the Cobra amount. I am not paying that much money when last month it was 0.00 co-pay.  So he called and the Cobra payment letter was just going out. So we did it online and then now we have to wait for it to get activated by the prescription plan. After that, we still don’t know what the co-pay will be since we haven’t reached any yearly deductible.  It’s all unsettled right now but next week we should know and hopefully, it’ll be resolved.

Plus we know that within a few months Noxafil will be reduced or eliminated so then we will cancel the Cobra and just use the Medicare Part D as all his other drugs are Tier 2. I think it’s only Noxafil that is Tier 5. What a Fucking scam is all I have to say.

Today is a gym day and we will go for our walk shortly.

Flylady zone is the kitchen and I’ll start that today but finish tomorrow.

I made a new recipe last night from another blogger( Teresa Kasner)

She lives along the Columbia River in an old beautiful farmhouse. Her pictures are outstanding. So the recipe was for Chicken with potatoes and spinach in a creamy parmesan sauce. It was good.

This week is Clinic for Barclay and our overnight trip. Plus whatever stress with the prescription stuff comes up.:(

I started a list of projects for the year and we’ll see how far we get.

  1. to drop the wood stove to floor level so that the footprint is lower and less of an eyesore. We built the platform specifically so we wouldn’t be bending to put wood in but it does take up a lot of floor space. This won’t cost a lot except added stove pipe( which is pricey) but we won’t need a lot. And some stone for the floor. Our woodstove is quite efficient and we will keep it for a few more years. Eventually, we will put in a gas/propane stove. But that’s maybe 5 years out still.
  2. We will be replacing windows in my daughter’s room. This will be maybe @ $1000 as it will be 2 windows replacing one large one. The Anderson windows we bought last summer are great and very energy efficient. So that ended up @ $800( I think).
  3. I’d like to also replace the bathroom window. Same size but just more energy efficient. All the windows in the house we’re replaced when we remodeled but they are now 25 years old so an upgrade will be nice.
  4. I don’t think we will get to any bathroom remodel this year.
  5. I think we are going to try and redo some of the kitchen. The biggest thing is the counters and sink( pipes underneath) really need to be redone. Getting a new pantry system from Ikea will be first on the list as that will be freestanding.

There’s always garden work and yard work. That’s kinda ongoing.

Barclay’s official retirement date is January 30. That’s 25 years. It’s hard to let go of, I think, because of the way it all happened with him getting sick. But how incredibly lucky we are for modern science that has given him a new chance without cancer. Even I can’t say that, although I have been extraordinarily lucky that my Myeloma has responded to treatment. Well, it is what it is.

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This was our dinner the other night. A small piece of filet mignon and a Beyond Meat sausage( which are delicious BTW).

 

 

Simple Sunday on Monday

The days of the week are a blur with Christmas last Wednesday and now NY on Wednesday this week. I am definitely off track.

Yesterday was a nice day though with going to the gym and then doing the LR zone. If you do Flylady there are 2 zones this week LR and then on Wednesday Entryway. That should add to all the confusion.

I made a broccoli cheddar soup for dinner last night and tweaked a Moosewood Cookbook recipe. I added some cream cheese to the soup as I didn’t have heavy cream. It came out really good although it was as thick as Panera’s it still had excellent flavor.

Today I’m going to brave driving down to Galleria area to Old Navy to pick up a partial order. I’m going to try their leggings and I also got two dressy blouses to wear on our dinner date in Chico. Well, I’m only going to wear one, of course. I had hit up Goodwill and Cancer thrift to find something and there just wasn’t a thing. Our Goodwill has gotten so bad. it’s mostly junk and things are picked over daily. I’m not sure what is happening in that store. There isn’t another Goodwill nearby so maybe that’s it. Plus our Salvation army store closed this year as well. I was actually trying to find something by JJill which is one of my favorite but no luck. I like Old Navy and the price, with sales, is pretty good. Anyway, I think I will try them on before I leave and if they don’t fit right I can return right then and there without a second trip.

Then that will be my big excursion. Tomorrow I am getting groceries for NYE ( we always do sub type sandwiches) and for the Chruscikis. They are Polish or Russian or basically European cookie that is a very rich dough that is fried.  They are not sweet but powdered sugar is sprinkled on top. My brother loves these and it’s one of the good memories he has of his childhood. So I’m the only one in our family who makes them.

I’m determined that we will do some traveling this year as we are both ( hopefully ) well enough. I’m going to plan our annual Santa Barbara trip that we missed last year. Of course this year B’s company won’t be paying the hotel for work. But that’s okay we will figure it out. Santa Barbara is about 7-8 hours drive but it’s doable. We have the things we like to do there and the beach trail is the best.

 

Simple Sunday

A calm and rainy day ahead. Rain is indicated for most of today but at least it’s not too cold yet. We managed a walk in the park yesterday between storms and it was pleasant. I’m not used to being there in the late morning so things looked different:)

Yesterday, the baking bug hit and I made some chocolate chip cookies, the dough for sugar cookies( in the refrigerator now) then I prepped dinner, which was chicken with mushrooms and finally assembled two casseroles of enchiladas for tonight’s dinner.

 

The week ahead is not too busy. B has clinic on Tuesday and then after that, we’re going to shop Trader Joes. I plan to do Costco later in the week.  I plan o getting what we need for Christmas dinner. Our tradition is fondue Christmas eve and then cheese lasagna Christmas day.

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Today is a gym day.

Plus it’s the kitchen zone for those that follow Flylady.  I’ll do some today and some tomorrow. It’s raining so no walk this morning.

Midweek Musings

Still no call from the podiatrist office. I’ve called a dozen times and it’s always an answering machine. WTF???? Today is day 7 of not walking every day. Still, a bummer for me but my foot does feel a smidge better though. Plus today they’re closed, so that leaves tomorrow and then their closed Friday.  I think I’m going to call for a different referral down the hill.  Which for us is toward Sacramento!

My brother flies out tomorrow to Conn. to visit our sister and her family. They are having a huge summer party and he decided to go now. The ‘new sister’ arranged his flight and Heidi paid for his hotel. So he should be set. He doesn’t have computer access so I think that’s why he did that. The sister keeps in close contact with him but not me. I guess I’m too stand offish. Oh well, just as fine.

Last nights dinner was a disaster. I haven’t had one of them in many years.  First, I had been to the Davis co-op and decided to buy skirt steak for tacos. I marinated it yesterday and put on the grill. Then toasted corn tortillas.  It was HORRIBLE and DISGUSTING. It had a weird texture and taste. Gross!!!! So I ran into the house and made some cheese quesadillas up for us. Then B had bought this nut loaf thing at another co-op a while ago and I had frozen that. WHOA, also gross.  So much for adventures in cooking.  I think I’ll stick to what I know how to cook.

Today is supposed to be warm @ 95 so I’ll turn the coolers on after a while.  I’m not going to town but  I will go down to the Holiday Market. ( which is at the bottom of our hill). I’d love to walk but can’t right now with the foot thing going on. I need some fruit and I wanted to get a few veggies. I found the exact spiralizer ( Paderno) at the thrift store yesterday for $4.00 .I was quite jazzed.  So I want to make some zoodles and then stir-fry them. ( Maybe not tonight).

My upcoming project is back to the black hole of the barn….(.scary music playing).   It’s really not that bad just it has stuff all over the floor on my son’s side and ALL of that is coming out to be put on tarps and then dealt with. He has the whole back wall of shelves that B built for him.  The rule was, his stuff had to fit on those shelves. So this summer it’s happening. It was a year ago I said and did the same thing and it just got put back in. 😦

The shelves in the middle of the barn which is our seasonal stuff, actually look good.  I’m down to 4 bins of Life magazines and 2 bins of Christmas, 1 bin of the kids Waldorf books and paintings and main lesson books, 1 bin of their LOTR playing cards, and 1 bin of our ‘history’ stuff.  So, it fits nicely and wouldn’t be that hard to move if we ever did move to condo or whatever.

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This is the south side of the house. You can see the window cooler and these plants are Rose Campion. They are an ‘old’ garden flower. They spread nicely and are a lovely rose pink color. They have spread all down our hill into other peoples yards too!!

 

 

 

Simple Sunday

For Christians, it’s Easter Sunday.  For the rest of us, just a beautiful day without religious embellishment.  Our walk was lovely despite the sunrise Christians out to worship some long ago person who supposedly came out from behind a rock and rose from the dead.

I’m taking a wild educated guess, that there was undoubtedly a scientific reason for it, or maybe it was just a story that kept going and getting more outrageous.  The first Gospels weren’t even written until 70 A.D., so that’s an awfully long time to embellish the story!! The first gospel was written by Mark but some scholars believe Matthew may have written his earlier than 80-90 AD.  Anyway, one simply must put into context this was over 2000 years ago and there certainly was no internet. Science was a mere blip. The earth was flat and religion was a good way to have something to believe in. Oh well, enough of my meanderings.

No gym today as it is closed. I’m going to work on a few projects. The laundry room is tidied but I still need to wash the floor.  I did paint the shelves so they are clean and bright now.  I’m going to cook some southern fried tofu with a potato bake and some strawberries for desert.

FLylady zone is the entryways and dining room. I will wash the sunroom windows and front door. We moved all the geraniums outside so that brightens it up. Everything is growing wildly.  Mowing will be a weekly event.

Next  week does bring some rain on Friday but it shouldnt be too bad and we could use it.

I need to call down to the cancer center and see when my doctor ordered my labs. He’s away this week, and I cant remember if he said he’d order them for this week or next. Since I see him next week I’d like to get them done sooner. This week I have a dentist appt for a dental cleaning and then a birthday lunch on Friday. So my week is open.

I’m reading an excellent book by Barbara Ehrenreich ” Living with a Wild God”. So far it is compelling.