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.

the week ahead…

4061F822-F8B8-4F20-A8B1-E047CF0F8AC0

This is Rose Campion that has spread all over our hill.

We have a few things lined up for this week.

Tomorrow we are having our septic being pumped.  I know very exciting. But really, our septic tank is under the 1200 required by law but is grandfathered in because it was put in a long time ago. Actually, we’re not sure when it was put in since the old man who lived here didn’t get a permit at least that we could find in county records. So about 5 years ago when the septic was overly full and we didn’t know it until the toilet wasn’t flushing down and we knew was wrong. So now we’re on a 2-year schedule. Once he opens and pumps we’ll know if we could’ve gone 3 years. I know, I know, so exciting and TMI.

Then I’m going to brave Costco since I want to use our rebate. I’m not too worried as Costco requires everyone to wear a mask so I’m good with that. I have a big list of things to get( again) but some are still prepper pantry stuff. For instance, I’d like to get a case of chili and some more marinara sauce. Plus I need washcloths and the 24 pack of white hotel washcloths are really the best for the money.

BDA000D3-2B70-4C72-900D-04DFDB4050DB

here’s my nifty food vacuum sealer which I LOVE!!!

1300AB34-719F-46F5-89B5-51A10F0BF94D

So cool.

 

Later in the week, we are going to drive up to Tahoe to go to the cannabis store so B can get some stuff. His plants are coming along but it’s a way off to harvest. Plus the ride will be nice. I’m thinking of bringing some coffee in our mugs and maybe sandwiches. The beach area in Kings Beach is quite lovely but I’m not sure if there will be lots of people or if it’s still closed.  So a nice day trip.

The weather is quite nice this week. No really hot days.

We are also going to call the tree guy because the giant tree is now leaning MORE!! At first, I thought I was just imagining it but the top is no longer straight up. This is a huge tree and is aiming straight at the barn.  We have the money in our emergency fund but now there is no extra money coming in so whatever we take out won’t get replenished. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. But I think, except for the giant oak near the barn, this would be the last tree for a while unless something else happens. We have 2 other huge Ponderosas that are leaning but they are leaning away from our house. Unfortunately one is leaning towards our neighbor’s house which is kinda scary.

This week is the kitchen zone if you follow Flylady and mine is done already. I just need to mop the floor later.

We are also planning a trip to Home Depot for wood. I’m conflicted about buying from Home Depot since the owner is a huge TRump supporter but the closest Lowes( liberal) is down by Costco. So for our old van a bit risky. ( The van is the only car that can hold wood on the roof and inside when we take the  seats out). So, anyway, it’s a conflict for me.  We are planning to get some fence posts so we can start the fence behind the barn to block out those neighbors.

That’s about it.

I’m so glad the protests are making such a difference and maybe we will see some real change. It is still so sad it has taken so many black lives though to get to this point.

 

 

Simple Sunday

What the fuck is wrong in America?

The awful murder of an innocent black man by 4 policemen.

The absolutely horrendous situation of the privileged white woman calling the police when a black man asked her to leash her dog( which was posted on a sign right behind her). Thankfully, this did not end violently and I’m glad she was fired from her job.

I’m glad there are protests going on. Something has to change in this country.  Of course, with a pandemic also going on, it’s tricky. I’m just depressed by it all. We have a racist president who is invoking violence, plays to his base, is a narcissist, and cannot feel anything except his own shit.

Something has to change.

In other news on the home front, we had another Instacart Costco order that was expensive but worth it. I spent @$375 for food and then a tip. Lots of stuff was prepper pantry stuff like bleach, cleanser, and toilet paper.  Some good food stuff like tuna, potatoes, avocados, bananas, and more. I looked at the receipt and then what I was charged by Instacart and most things were about $2.00 more that way. I ordered Sierra Pale ale for B and that was $4.00 more. So it definitely adds up but to not have to go into the store is worth it still.  The young man said the store was very busy and the checkout lines long. So I think a good choice. I’ll reevaluate in June about the time I need coffee. Of course, it’s a privilege that we can do this right now. There have been times in our past when I had $10. 00 a week for food.  And there have been times when I had zero money for food. So, for now, we can do this. Down the road, who knows. We’re living on a very limited income which will come in under $30,000 so… we shall see.

Our weather has been crazy with over 100 degrees one day and then hail and thunder the next. today is partly cloudy and cool. At least we’re not running the coolers all day.

I had my eye exam and everything seems stable with my macular pucker. Can’t do much about right now.  I also decided to cancel my crown on Tuesday and wait a few more weeks. I’m nervous about the air filtration in the office and stuff drifting around. I’m not sure much will be different in 3 weeks but I’ll try.

Next week I have my labs so we’ll see what news I get there.

 Barclay has another Bone Marrow Biopsy on Wednesday( such fun) so hopefully, he’s still fully engrafted. He started the Jakafi and I really hope this fixes the GVHD stuff.

Well, that’s all the news here at home. We did finish Ozark and it ends pretty violent and setting up for a 4th season. It’s good drama and Laura Linney is one of my favorite actors.

Flylady zone is the entryway this week if you’re following.

Costco and Dr. Stangelove

Yay….., our Costco toilet paper order showed up yesterday. That means we’re set and won’t need to go into the store at least for a while yet. I have another home delivery of some prepper pantry stuff showing up. That includes brown sugar, regular sugar, and bakers yeast and chocolate.  I was talking with B that the last time we were in Costco was March 3. so if we can get to June 3 that’s 3months.  The home delivery, even though more expensive, has been a lifesaver. Time, gas, driving down to Roseville. So really a win-win.  I think I’m still going to do one more Instacart, but I’ll wait on that for now.

We used more of the LLS gift card at our little market yesterday and bought things to get thru the week, like hot dog rolls, burger buns, tofu, milk, and cream.

I also am expecting a farm to table meat delivery of some chicken and a small amount of beef. It’s called Crowd Cow if anyone is interested. They are 2 guys from Seattle who wanted to support small farmers.  I’ll do an update on how it is after it arrives. I kept the order small to check it out.

For anyone who drinks wine out there( we do) Darci Kent wineries have case sales going on. We have bought from them before and their wine and labels are quite lovely. I’m planning on buying the new case release( if it’s still available) of a rose, sauvignon blanc, and chardonnay.   Maybe I better go check right now.  Whew…. all good. I ordered it. Yeah, I love NOT having to go to the store to buy wine.

B has the gate ready to go up today so that will be one project down and lots more to go.

We watched Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove last night and wow, for a movie back in 1964?? it was great and so well done. Usually, I don’t really like Kubrick’s stuff but this was good and Peter Sellers was pretty phenomenal.

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

A573CC17-87FF-4AEA-9BC0-919A537868A1.jpeg

E8C3FEE6-9B6F-4FC8-B7BF-2B0566EB8A3A.jpeg

A7FD0F08-6AE6-4A89-A3F0-B793318F198C.jpeg

EFCF5DB6-695A-4111-A9D6-52F2BC957DD8.jpeg

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

Frugal Friday

It’s been a nice week. Very low key overall. The weather is cooler but still no rain. I guess I’m ready for some rain and we do it need it as things are quite dry.

The small fall garden we planted has given us some lettuce and chard and even a few radishes my daughter grew in a # 10 can. Too funny but they were the best radishes yet. We’ve had 2-3 nice salads and that saves a bit from buying store-bought.

I’ve been to the gym a few times to keep up on weights and treadmill but have been coming straight home and not having to go into Safeway. That really does save money. I think the Walmart pickup has really been excellent as I can see the amount of what I’m buying and planning meals too.

 Today I’m heading to Costco so that won’t be too frugal. This list includes Vanilla which for some reason is exorbitant.  It’s been that way for a while. Last year when B was still working I had ordered vanilla beans and made my own extract. But that is used up now.

I’m planning on getting a Costco pizza for dinner which is a money saver since it’s $10 for a huge pizza. I end up freezing some but that’s okay.

The year is winding down and I’m glad that 2019 will be over. It’s been a hard year with everything. B still hasn’t decided about going back to work but I think it’s about 90% that he doesn’t want to deal with all the stuff again. We’re not sure how the disability payments will go in January. They’re due to end Dec 31st so if there’s an extension, I don’t know yet. It’ll be harder with just SS $ but I think it will work although Costco’s trips will be MUCH smaller:)

A bit of catch-up.

Not sure where the time has gone. I missed Five on Friday and Simple Sunday.

I haven’t actually been doing anything all that different although I have been making lists of things to do and then ticking them off. Maybe that’s where the time went.

We went to Costco on Thursday and did a huge shopping that completely blew my grocery budget for the month but I did get plenty of food for the rest of the month. Plus some things were big items that last a long time like laundry soap, dish soap, nuts( 2 bags), case of pineapple, case of olives, and lots of other things for the pantry.  so I won’t be ordering Walmart groceries for 2 weeks and hope that catches me up on my grocery budget till October 1st.

The windows and trim are done and just need painting.

I painted a small dresser that was white a darkish grey. Not sure where I’ll put it but it is useful and pretty as it has carved acorns on the handles. This was a thrift store find many years ago. I’ve done 2 coats but will do a third this morning.

I made a lovely sourdough sandwich loaf yesterday and it was almost gone by dinner. Plus I did make grilled cheese so half the loaf was used there. I had taken my starter out of the fridge and had been feeding it for 3 days. I wasn’t sure if it would revive but it did. I tried a recipe I had printed a while ago. Quite simple but I have another I want to try this morning. Both are started in the bread machine and then cooked in a pan. I like doing it this way. Of course, the best way is in the dutch oven using the slow rise method. but sometimes you just want sandwich bread.

IMG_0653.jpeg

I cleaned out a lot of things from the chest freezer over the weekend too. That was on my to-do list. It looks better. There’s only so long I can keep bags of spinach I thought I use for smoothies. Plus some ‘burritos’ I made (4) that no one ever ate and were lingering at the bottom of the freezer.  I still have 2 bags of walnuts in there that need to be shelled. I bought those last summer from a friend so I need to use them soon in baking.( I probably overestimated how many walnuts we can realistically use).

We’re actually supposed to get rain/thunderstorms today. I guess we’ll see.

This week is the bathroom zone if you’re following Flylady. I’ll do that this morning plus it’s towel day. ( I wash our 4 towels on Mondays).

Tomorrow B has clinic and labs. My daughter has offered to drive so I get a break. Last week we had to drive down to get the prescriptions that had finally been cleared with the Cobra insurance. We let here around 8:40 and were down there by 9:30( amazing when there’s no stop and go traffic). Tomorrow though we need to leave by 7:30 and that will be morning commute traffic.

Five on Friday

Not sure I have 5 things as nothing much is going on.

Let’s see…. My daughter is taking B down to the UCD med center pharmacy since we forgot his pills on Tuesday. Kinda a bummer since that’s all we needed. Then they are going to Costco to pick up a few things. B is actually going in but staying away from people but that’s a first.  Then they are going over to Celestino’s to get a pizza for dinner. Yummm.

I going to the gym just to do weights.

Oh, I didn’t update the rib Xrays. So as I mentioned, I had really intense rib pain about 2 weeks ago. I was quite concerned as it felt like in the ‘old’ days of my Myeloma rib fractures. Fortunately, my doctor is very responsive and ordered x rays. So it showed no acute fractures but ‘chronic bilateral fractures’. In other words the ‘old ones’. SO my guess is I pulled muscle around the old fractures and that was the intense pain.  Also, good news is that it seems to be almost gone. But I’m still being careful at the gym and only doing very light weights.

We’ve been walking every morning and it’s definitely darker each day. Or the sun is coming up later:)

Barclay and Sachi finished repairing the dishwasher so that’s very exciting!!!! We now have a working dishwasher again and the part was just under $200. So better than buying a new one.

Both of them, together, finished the cement step outside the front door. As I mentioned, we had hoped to put a deck out there to match the front door level but that would have cost quite a bit, so B came up with the idea of expanding the cement step and leveling the unevenness of the pavers that were there. (  kinda hard to explain but it was not good for ‘older ‘(us) people to step out onto uneven pavers.)

Next, I ordered the 2 windows to replace the ones in the front entryway. They had whatever it’s called when the dual panes get cloudy in between and there is nothing you can do.  So it’s been on our list for a while. Now it’ll take a month to get done but they are at least ordered.

That’s it for now.

Five on Friday

Another good week.

The doctor’s appt went well and he’s graduated to doing clinic just once a week. That’s really great. His labs all look good and the prednisone is controlling the diarrhea. I’m pretty sure it was a mild case of Graft vs Host in the gut but it’s under control now. He will slowly taper off the prednisone next week.

I used the IP again and made polenta and the next night did chili. I guess as long as it’s under my Heywood Cabinet and not taking up real estate in the kitchen, I’m okay using it for certain recipes. Polenta in the Instant Pot is particularly good if you haven’t tried that. When you made polenta on the stovetop it is hands-on stirring for about 30 minutes. So this is a really great way to make it and it is very creamy. I put it in a loaf pan and chill and then cut in slices and fry with a little tamari and then I top with cheese.  So I’m glad I didn’t just get rid of it without giving it some time.  Time is an amazing thing!

I’m going to Costco this morning for a few things and to bring my receipt where I was double charged.  I feel kinda weird about it but I’ll try.

We’re adjusting to life without Bonnie. Rocky seems better than at first. He’s getting a lot of attention, so that helps.

I finished a few really excellent psychological thrillers by Dana French. ” In the woods” and ” Broken Harbor”. She’s a great writer but the stories are dark but compelling. I also picked up a few books at the book exchange at the Cancer clinic. First, this is a terrific idea to have a bookshelf for patients to pick up books and drop off. Kiwanis house has quite a few bookcases thru out their facility and I definitely used them. So I picked up Ernst Hemmingway’s ” A moveable Feast” which was published posthumously. I ‘ve never really like Hemmingway’s stuff but this was really great. It’s a collection of essays about when he lived in Paris in the 1920s. I would highly recommend it. It is a masterpiece of writing.  I’m interested in going back an rereading some of his other books.

I dropped off about 8 books including some very new books I had bought but really didn’t want to keep. Flylady’s new book “CHAOS” was one. And some others too.

We received the first Cobra insurance bill and it’s a whopper.  Part of the bill still has our son on for medical, but that will come off as of 9/1 when his Kaiser Permanente kicks in so there will be another very large bill in August as well. Big as in $1200. Yes, that’s big! But then it should drop by about $600, I think… we’ll see:(

 

Simple Sunday

Ha, it is a miracle!!!

Just when I sent a priority letter to NYC Corrections the next day, my documents were in the priority envelope I had paid for from before. So I now have in hand my brand new birth certificate, my original marriage license and the court documents for my legal name change. What a miracle!!! All in all, it only took 8 months.  Now I can get a passport and the new real ID from California.

Today B has a transfusion early. He needs both blood and platelets but it’s been 18 days for the blood so that is an improvement. Like I said we see the transplant doctor Thursday but we know he has tentatively scheduled him for another chemo in April. I also, did not quite register the co-pay issue or maybe I was in denial but 20% of 500,000 is $100,000. I just can’t get it in my head that we would be responsible for that. I mean we don’t even have any retirement money to speak of so WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO???  I hope this is wrong and I’m going to have B call UHC and talk to the coordinator to find out.  Somehow it just doesn’t seem right.

I’m heading to Costco this morning too. I need some greens, avocados, almond milk and a few other things which I’m sure will morph into a bigger shop. Oh, and I need to return 2 items. One is the Instant Pot Cookbook which is, in my opinion, a waste. I’ve never returned a book and feel kinda weird about it. Like what read the book and then give it back. Heck, I may not do it after all.

Here’s a few pictures of the snow in Tahoe:

IMG_0605.jpeg IMG_0604.jpegIMG_0602.jpegIMG_0607.jpeg

Well, off to do laundry. It’s sheet day!