Our sweet Ollie…

The time finally came and Ollie was put to ‘sleep’ yesterday. Not sure why we say’put to sleep’. Really he’s dead now but his little body just couldn’t go on.

Ollie was almost 17 and part Maine coon. At one point he weighed over 20 pounds and was a big boy. He was also my daughter’s surrogate child so the loss is keen.

About 5 years ago he started getting a lump on his neck. She paid over $5,000 in diagnostics ( yes that is correct). And everyone agreed it was too dangerous to operate on and it was only a matter of time. Well, he fooled everyone and made it that long.

Almost 2 years ago in the summer, he had an episode where he couldn’t swallow. He was a goner …almost. We called the mobile Vet and she came out. But right before that, I whacked him on the back for 2-3 minutes and he spit up a huge gob of spit. When the Vet got there he was doing much better and we left it at that.

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Ollie loved everyone and was the sweetest cat. He was a rescue and now his rescue buddy Finwe( Winnie) is alone and he too is 17 so, I guess, he’s next.

Sad days.

Friday stuff…

Well, it’s Friday.  It seems like it’s been a weird week with Super Tuesday and then with all the Covid-9 stuff going on.  Maybe I’m just feeling off by it all. I kind of feel unmotivated and not doing much. Yesterday I didn’t even go to the gym. I just didn’t feel inspired.  I picked up a prescription for my daughter and then went to Goodwill.  I found a few cookbooks and a white t-shirt.

I don’t think I’m going to the gym today either. Fridays are super busy in there so… germs?

This was not a frugal week with the stockpiling shop we did but I do feel good about it. We rarely waste food and what’s in the pantry will last. If we do have a 14-day quarantine we would be fine. One thing I think I’m going to go get though is evaporated milk. Maybe some powdered milk too. I don’t drink milk but I like cream in my coffee. So it might be good to have some on hand. Milk freezes fine so I will get a few quarts to freeze. I just googled can you freeze heavy cream and even David Lebowitz said “YES”. So, I’ll get some heavy cream to freeze too. He did say shake it well though and defrost in the fridge.

It’s pizza night!

 

Stockpiling for the Covid-9 virus.

So after some discussion, we decided to do a major pantry stockpile in case there is a shut down around here.

I’m already freaking out that at UCD med center there are dozens of health care workers home and in self-quarantine.  Barclay has a clinic appt next week and I’m thinking he should cancel. I’ll have him call to check. If I drive him, I plan to sit in the car or outside and wait for him.

So first we went to Winco and bought an assortment of canned goods like beans and salsas. Then I got 5 boxes of pasta as a backup plus some canned tomatoes. We tried to get hand sanitizer but it’s sold out everywhere. We did buy a gallon of bleach just in case.

Then we headed into Costco and Toilet paper was completely gone and so were any hand sanitizers.  We were able to get Kirkland wipes though so that was good. We picked up 2 bags of coffee and other assorted things.  As we were leaving the parking lot was packed with people pouring into the store. It was a little scary to see that many people stockpiling( hoarding maybe).

We spent my whole food budget for the month so all I will have to get is fresh stuff as needed.

This outbreak is very scary especially for people like us that have health issues.  We plan on staying away from Costco etc for a while. I had planned an Ikea trip for my new pantry but that’s on hold now.

Today is vote day and unfortunately, my vote for Buttigleg is wasted so to speak. I mailed in my ballot 2 weeks ago so there’s no re-voting. Oh well, it’ll be down to the final vote in November.  Anyone but Trump. He is destroying this country.  I’m not sure about Sanders as he is pretty extreme too but as I said, anyone but Trump!

We had a super scary racist incident right here in our little town. Actually up the road near Weimar which is maybe 3 miles away.  A pickup stopped in the middle of the road and 2 white men jumped out and began assaulting a Mexican tree crew that was trimming trees.  How is this blatant racism NOT a result of Trump speaking in racist terms about Mexicans and just about anyone not White!!! I am horrified at this kind of behavior that has clearly been escalating since Trump does it.  Fortunately, the 2 were arrested later and it turned out it was a father and his 25-year-old son.  Is that crazy or what?

Simple Sunday and a review of our first month of full retirement.

 So it’s been a month since Barclay ‘officially’ left UNFI. With only now SS as our income, it went ok. We did get our tax refunds, which weren’t big but it was added income and I was able to pay our April property tax early.  So that’s a big win.

Essentially, our basic income with be under $3,000.  Moving is not an option and plus in the housing market here we couldn’t rent a place for what our mortgage is. SS does take out our Medicare and that’s good.

We can do it if we’re careful. Annual bills will need to be paid with the small savings we have. Also, by mid-year, I’ll expect our 2 adult children who live here( well, my son lives in the Studio) but still, there are utilities,  etc, to bump up what they’re paying in rent.  That will give us the padding we need.

We paid off the car last year so that was a big payment.

Food is the variable that gets me. If I add in a Costco trip my food budget gets blown. Even though most of that stuff is bulk such as coffee, TP, rice, etc. It still adds up. I’ve tried to separate nonfood and that helps some.  Still, if I combine that with a Trader Joes in the same month the food budget easily goes over $600.

This week was really nice and our trip to Tahoe just perfect.

Today is a gym day.

I’m also making Joanna Gaines Chocolate chip cookies. We’ll see how they compare to Tollhouse.

For dinner, I’m making crepes again with my new Lodge pan. I also ordered the crepe spreader from Amazon to spread the crepe mixture. I used the spatula last time and it did work ok but this tool allows you to have a broader surface to spread. I’m planning on ham and cheese for the meat-eaters and spinach mushroom for the veggies.  I’ll also make a gruyere sauce.

This week we are in the entryway zone and dining room if you’re following Flylady.

Be sure to clean off patios and front doors. I put up the spring wreath I have that is forsythia flowers. Plus I bought a few pots of pansies and violas. So perhaps just tidy and freshen up your entryways.  I try and keep shoes in a wood crate.

My 14th re-birthday!

So it was February 28, 2006, when I entered the Sutter Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in Sacramento. It is a small unit compared to what Barclay just had at UCD med center.

I had Melphalan that day and then

it was March 1st that the stem cells were reintroduced.  For such a huge event it is very unimpressive. The Stem cells are given in an IV that is just a drip and that’s it. Of course, it’s the melphalan that gets you sick and everything else. I had a rough time with it all.

That transplant gave me 4 years without chemo and in remission until 2010. Some people do a second transplant but I wasn’t interested.

Now that I’m out of remission again, it’s a wait and see time as to when I’ll start treatment.

It’s been a long strange trip!!!!

 

It’s been a busy week.

It’s been a full week with a mini trip to Tahoe.

Barclay had 2 appointments this week. One was clinic to check on his rash which seems to be gone now. Of course, we’re slightly freaked out that the one case of coronavirus is being treated at UCD med center. I think I’ll wear a mask next time I’m there.

Then Wednesday we headed up to Lake Tahoe for an overnight at Lakeland. Our big thing was to walk the new trail that opened last year. It is an amazing feat of engineering and goes right along the lake where people never had access before. ( Well, the Maidu and Washoe did) but that’s a long time ago. The trail is over 3 miles all the way to Sand Harbor. I had hoped to rent bikes at the trail but it was too early in the season. So we walked. I actually didn’t think we would make it all the way but we did. Of course, here it is Friday and we are both still recovering. My calves and legs still are sore.   BUT, IT WAS SO WORTH IT. Just beautiful!!

The lake was like glass and the smoothest I think, I have ever seen. The water an incredible blue.

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These last two photos are at Sand Harbor. In the summer, this beach is wall to wall people and the line of cars waiting to come in can be miles long. They limit how many cars can park.

We got to Lakeland and 1 bedroom suite was ready.  It was great. Very nice.

We went out later for a glass of wine at Riva’s which has a view of the lake. Not too crazy as again it’s off-season in Tahoe which in my opinion is the only way to go although we will be camping in August which is high season. But generally, we stay out of town and only hit up the Safeway which is a few blocks from the campground.

 

The next day we drove the other side of the lake past Emerald Bay and I swear I had only one car behind me the whole way to Tahoe City. Just great.

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Simple Sunday

Our beautiful weather continues here. Today we’re supposed to reach low 70’s.

Spring is in the air. Although it would look like we’re headed for another drought so that’s not good. The daffodils are up and there are violets in the yard. I like violets as they will spread and pop up in the most unlikely spots.

I finished the living room zone already. Since there’s not a lot to do in there it goes fairly quick.

Yesterday, I potted 4 starter plants and today I have 2 more to do. Mostly pothos and Monstera and

Syngonium podophyllum. I have at least 2 more of these.

I also decided to repurpose a little table my daughter took out of her room to put the plants on since now I have at least 4 more to put somewhere.  I’m painting it white so it’ll blend in more.

We’re looking at stove hoods and found one on amazon we like so we’re going to order that. This begins the very minor kitchen remodel. We can’t change the configuration of the kitchen due to walls and doors so we just have to make do with the way it is. I suppose if we had money, a contractor could do it but we don’t so that’s that.

I’m also going to get a new kitchen island in stainless. Basically, the same as we have that’s from Ikea but they don’t carry this one anymore and the one I found ( AMazon)has the shelf straight across whereas the one I have it’s split.

We’re trying to prioritize what we can do and how much we can spend as there is no more ‘extra ‘ money coming in.  That SDI was pretty great.:)  😦 sad it’s over…..

Well, off to the gym and then Safeway.

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

We walked this morning and it was noticeably warmer @ 46 degrees. I think we’re going to get close to 70′ today and mostly sunny.

A few more books I got at the pet bookstore.F6FAF8BB-8500-4D03-A711-DD270A923F05.jpeg2539EA24-DD46-4DED-A5B8-519CEC359967.jpeg

My Culinary Journey was excellent. She actually lives in Provence part of the year and right near Sacramento the other part. I think she said Winters. She moved to France in 1970 so quite the adventurer. I was just starting U of A that year. So some perspective.

The ‘Everyday Greens’ cookbook is one of my favorite and this is a signed copy.  Greens is the vegetarian restaurant run by the Buddhist monks from Tassajara and Green Gulch. Back in the day when I was practicing Buddhism, this is the Sanga I belonged too.  We’ve been to Greens a number of times and if you’re in San Francisco you should definitely go. The food is delicious and beautiful.

I’m also reading ‘Me Elton John’. Wow, it’s a terrific book and boy did he go thru some drug-crazed years. It’s amazing and even more so what he overcame and is now such a philanthropic person. He gives generously to many causes.

This morning I’m making some Butterscotch Oatmeal cookies. They smell good.

I’ve been doing some embroidery so I picked up a few little books too although it’s not quite what I was looking for. I mostly like doing edging and little spots of color on things like my linen napkins.

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Today is a gym day.

This week is Flylady’s bedroom zone if you follow. If you’re new to it. Start by decluttering ANYTHING that doesn’t belong in your bedroom and any excessive furniture. Yes, the treadmill being used to hang clothes on needs to go.

I have only one Heywood dresser and a side table and that’s it besides the bed. The side table I need to hold the pills I take at night. Plus my water glass.

Last night I made falafels with tahini sauce and a delicious recipe that was Castelvetano olives, lemon zest, shallot, and garlic and fresh thyme.  You cook the shallot, garlic, and thyme in some olive oil. Then add the olives and lemon zest. Cook for a few minutes then let cool some. Then add a block on feta cubed up. I’ve found the feta from Costco in the brine from Greece is the best.

This is supposed to be served with a grilled rustic bread but I just put it over the brown rice and it was delicious.

Tonight I’m making a quiche of some sort as I have eggs to use and some gruyere cheese as well.

 

 

Friday Stuff

Happy Valentine’s Day!

We don’t do much special since I hate crowds and would not even consider a dinner out on VD day. I did buy some nice carnations at Safeway and some roses at Costco so they are on the table looking pretty.

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It’s been a maddening week trying to get a camping reservation. Every single morning ( including today) I have been on the computer at 7am on the dot( watching the second hand) to reserve a spot and absolutely NO LUCK!

There are so many people trying to get reservations for August that it’s almost impossible. Today, I’m trying for 5 different spots and not sure if that will slow down the computer. But if I don’t do the 5 then there’s no chance. I’ll update after 7am.

NOPE>>>>>NADA>>>>>ZILCH

Let’s see what else. Barclay had to go back down to UCD med center to pick up an immunosuppressant drug because he’s had skin itching and slight rash.  That’s the one he’s been off of since December so they don’t want any GVSH happening.  We’re also dealing with medical bills from August that the Cobra was supposed to cover and they don’t have it straight. I’m ready to just chuck it and make payments. We’ve been trying to get this squared away for months and they just aren’t getting it.   They keep saying he had 2 insurances but he didn’t an only had the Cobra. What a PITA>!

I’ve applied to the LLS for my grant for 2020 and that will pay my AARP supplemental insurance.  They do such an amazing job and I’m grateful for the grant. If I ever have to go back on Revlimid they would help with that co-pay as Revlimid is a tier 5 drug and runs about $20,000 a month. With insurance you need to go thru the donut hole and then still it runs about $1500 a month.  I can’t see me going back on Revlimid but who knows.

Speaking of which, my labs came back very disappointing. They almost double!! ( well the Kappa light chains did) so that is a very bad thing.  I see my doctor next week so I’ll see how he sees this change. My ratio went up too but still is overall low at 6.58 mg/L. It’s the ratio that is more important. Still, it freaks me out that myeloma cancer cells are activating and multiplying. WTF….  well, I knew it would happen sooner or later as Multiple Myeloma is incurable but can be held in check.

Today I’m just planning on staying home and doing somethings around the house. I need to mop the kitchen floor and wipe the bathroom.

Tonight I think I’ll make a pizza Margherita although I ‘d need to run to the market for some fresh basil.