How the prepper pantry is going.

I haven’t bought anything in the last few weeks. But our last Costco trip @2 weeks ago did add some stuff.73917E27-9CE3-45B5-8681-5AFB0CFE7863.jpeg

On that trip, I bought the 2 pack of vinegar, baking soda, dish soap, and TP, plus I was lucky enough to walk by the cleaning area and there were a few Clorox wipes still there.

So these restaurant shelves are out in our barn.  Some stuff in the bins has been vacuumed sealed and placed in there for safekeeping. We have the other set of restaurant shelves in the kitchen actually and once we get the Ikea pantry, that will go out to the barn as well.

Under the kitchen workbench, I have some wine crates with misc items too. I’ve been crazy about these Far Niente crates. So now I have 4.They fit under the shelves and the work bench.

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I went down to our local fruit stand, Ikeda’s, and bought corn to freeze. Here it is blanching. Then I cut it off the cob and froze.

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Then I made sourdough bread in the bread maker. But I always bake it in a regular pan.

Tomorrow I’m going to make some strawberry jam with some berries I got at Ikeda’s. If you’re ever in Northern Ca and going up I-80 stop at Ikeda’s. It is been there for many years. And Danielle Steel has written about it in one of her romance novels.

 

 

New Way of Movement

It’s been a while to post but this hasn’t slowed me down to handling the things I have on my plate. When COVID 19 hit like so many there was a huge concern, and still is in regard to what this virus means. It was also a concern in what It means for people with underlying issues such as myself. When we hit into the second month of quarantine did I move my concern to action by reaching out to my team to get my blood work tested. My greatest fear was would my present remission state change due to this virus? As I’m sure there are many people worried about similar thoughts. We were at a point where for many we could not reach our doctors for a one to one appointment, and that is scary and frustrating for anyone with cancer. What do you do when you’re totally alone in this or feel like you’re in it alone?
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I’ve been active on the circuit talking with other cancer survivors during this time, and I tell you it’s been quite scary listening to others express their feelings and for some defeat. It just proved to me how much we truly depend on our health team of doctors, nurses, lab techs, etc. to care for us, but when you can’t get that care when you need it exactly; well it just forms a whole bunch of emotions and anxieties. I didn’t react right away but after a while, I reached out to have a discussion on what should be done, and when it was suggested to get local labs at a lab site closer to my home I was pleased. I was pleased because I stayed vigilant asking the question and following up. I think in cases like this some tend to feel that they should be approached in care, and in this case that may not be the most ideal, as we are in an unprecedented time. Which proves the case the necessity for patient advocacy.
So I end this here to say stay forceful in your treatment process and know that you are not alone. If by any chance you don’t have a network that is strong in direction during this time, here are a few leads to get some assistance:
Be well and stay strong!
Yolanda

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Same Story, Different Day, Always Drama

6.30.20

Hello Friends :))

Yep, Same Story, Different Day. What a story it is, what a challenge it is everyday. Life just didn’t pose all these crazy challenges for me, us, our family back in the day. Yes I know, life changes all the time for everyone. But our story evolves on a level CRAZY daily. Yes, we all change mentally and physically daily. But I worked so hard to NOT HAVE DRAMA in my life, and now that’s all I have. Why? Why Life, are you doing this to me. Truly, I am not “doing this”, or “causing this”. I am so careful and cautious with how I live my life, and so are those around me. I’ve never been a “risk taker”, and always thrived on safety, security, happiness and moving forward in positive, thoughtful ways. We always took measured steps in most everything we did, just to avoid drama. Now drama seeks us out!

Everyday I wake up, wondering WTF will happen to us today! I’m still the positive, optimistic gal I always was, but “I know” things will never be calm and predictable again. As I’ve written before, I specialized in calming drama for everyone else in my personal life and professional life. I was a problem analyzer and solver for those that sought my counsel. But now so much of my life is totally out of my control in ways it never was before. I didn’t “cause” Myeloma to happen to me. My body biologically sabotaged me for whatever reason I will never know. Jim did not “cause” Alzheimer’s to happen to him. His body sabotaged him. We’ll never know why this happened, why our bodies changed on a biological, cellular level, but I do know, we did not do things to “cause” these awful deadly illnesses that have completely taken over our lives. Just so so sad…

I’ve met many “risk takers” in my life and am fascinated with how they think and the challenges they take on, and how taking risks invigorates and energizes them. I think of extreme outdoor sports, people that just pick up and move to another state, another country, people that change careers often, travel all the time, those that redecorate their houses all the time, those that take business and personal risks often. Of course there are all the stupid and thoughtless risks people take, causing horrible, life changing results to themselves and others. But that’s just selfish stupidity. I never took big risks with riding horses, skiing, biking, lake sports, etc. I was always safe and cautious, and have only been mildly injured in the past. Ironically, no broken bones from fun. But now, how ironic, daily bone issues from stupid myeloma.

I observe others. Always have, always will. I think about all the risks and stupid choices some make. And so often, with little or no consequences. People that don’t take care of their bodies and minds. People that don’t respect themselves and others. And they’re well and doing fine. Drugs, drinking, not eating well, stupid choices, etc, and they’re doing fine. Me, diagnosed with deadly cancer at 50. Jim diagnosed with life stealing Alzheimers. Makes zero sense. We just wanted to enjoy the simple things in life, and all has been stolen from us.

I was awakened early yesterday morning with scuffling noises in the family room, where Jim sleeps in a chair. The little doggies sleep there with him. But as I heard the scuffling sounds, I also heard the little doggies coming down the hallway to my bedroom. I hear their cute clicking feet and clinking ID tags. Often they come separately, but this time, the 2 of them came together and wiggled at my bedside. Oh boy… something’s up, as I tried to clear the sleep fog away… yep something’s up… and it’s only 5:30am!!!

Grrrr, not happy… but up I went, and what do you think I found?? Yep, Jim had managed to scoot the wingback chair backwards towards the kitchen and managed to get himself out of the chair, and up the step, but then FELL ON THE FLOOR RIGHT BY THE GLASS turtle terrarium!! I have NO idea how he didn’t break the glass, as his head was on the side of the glass, and his body flat out on the floor. Crazy how every time he’s fallen, he never gets hurt! Sometimes bruised up, but never anything broken. Insane how strong his body still is. If only his mind hadn’t failed him. Well, I wasn’t happy, and I’m not the nicest person when woken up suddenly, especially with all the bone, muscle and nerve pain I have. And there he was flat out on the floor at 6am!!!

See Jim’s head on the GLASS Turtle Terrarium!!! 
OMG, what could have happened…

And all my stories need to be continued later, as I have my stikn head, brain, neck MRI soon… eeeekkkk, wish me luck that I don’t have a bad reaction to the Gadolinium contrast… wish me luck that it’s all a mistake and I don’t have a 36x37mm mass in my head…

And I have not so happy IGA news after 6 weeks on Elotuzumab Emplicity, Revlimid, Dex

And we have a new rescue doggie, and she has quite a story :)) 

Meet Coco :))
Best Buddies!!!

Promise I will update later today, unless I have DRAMA…. ahahahaa
==================
*****UPDATE!!!

OMG- I never asked how long the MRI would be today! Silly me, I always underestimate the “seriousness” of my situation, and go in thinking, “oh this will be nothing”, and then The Nothing, Turns into SOMETHING! This stinkn MRI took about 3 hours today!! I went around 1pm and didn’t finish the scan until a little after 4pm. I certainly did not expect that! I knew I would be doing the MRI “without” and “with” the Gadolinium contrast, but I never put 2 and 2 together, that it would be 2 full scans. Well logically I did, but in terms of time, never did. So long story short, I did the “without” contrast first, and all was fine for a while, but after while I developed a pressure point on my head, that drove me nuts with pain, while lying there perfectly still. Of course it did, as that’s the problem I’ve been having for months now, duh, and the reason why I’m getting the scan. I waited until I couldn’t stand it any longer, and when the Tech asked me if I was ok, I said “NO”! Problem with stopping the scan, is I would have to reschedule and come back… hellllooooo NO! So without making too much adjustment, he was able to put a little padding on the flat area, where the head  pressure point was killing me. If you’ve ever had a MRI you know how narrow the tube is, and how you have to lay there perfectly still… this became almost impossible for me to do with the pain. I’m not anxious or claustrophobic, this was real pain from the pressure of my head immobilized in the position it was.

The Tech reassured me that this part of the scan was almost over, and could I make it thru the next one, or would I like to reschedule. Oh nooooooooo, I don’t want to reschedule and come back. Let’s do this, and get it over with, since I had put it off since January due to all of Jim’s issues, then the Virus complications, and also me just being me, and thinking this head thing wasn’t a big deal. Ha! Payback Julie. Never underestimate the power of Myeloma trying to beat me up and kill me.

So up next was the Gadolinium injection. Yes I was scared I was going to have a reaction, and here I was an immobilized sardine in a narrow tube, with a helmet like head gear thingy on me. Oh gawd, help me. What have I done to deserve all this torture for 10 and half years now… ok Julie, just shut up, put up, and battle on. Needle into my left arm, Gadolinium in… anticipation mounts… will I have a reaction, will I be ok… Here we go, scan #2…

And I was fine! Whew, no reaction then and still as I update you at this late hour. Thank you body for not betraying me today. So there went another 45 minutes of detailed scanning, anticipating something, but all went ok. Clink, clank, bing, bong, clickity, click of the MRI machine. Did I really do that for the length of time I did. Wow! I’m just so beat up from 4 hours of chemo yesterday, 3 hours of MRI scanning today, and the beginning of chemo crash symptoms. Ah Myeloma, your gift just keeps on giving.

My MRI tube
See the frame where my head had to be placed and remain perfectly still
and the head helmet brace thingy put over my face.
I guess I’m stronger and braver than I give myself credit for… 
So it’s done, and all my Gadolinium worry is now in the past… well I hope so. Let’s see what happens by morning. I did take 2mg Dex steroid this morning, along with non drowsy antihistamine, and some Tylenol. I’ve learned the advantages of “premeding” from all my years of chemo infusions. Smart, huh! I received a CD disc, and tomorrow I will try to make sense of it. Haven’t had much success in the past, as the scans all look like outer space alien views to me. Who knows what’s lurking in my head… have a Dr appt July 14, but maybe she’ll call me before then to give me a “head’s up” (ha ha pun there). 
And finally, look at these lovely IGA results showing that Elotuzumab and Revlimid are doing nothing to stop the forward march of Myeloma. Dang it… what to do next?? Maybe go backwards and try Velcade with Revlimid, as I never did that front line, first choice option back in the day… 
Ok, can all this just be over, and I go back to my pre-myeloma life…  maybe not, as numbers don’t lie:
Yikes, up up and away we go
So that’s my story. Jim of course is just fine from his fall, and doesn’t remember a thing. He never breaks anything, or hurts himself when he falls. Totally amazing, as most oldies wind up in the hospital from falls. Not my guy. And how he grazed the glass turtle terrarium and didn’t break it, and slice his head open, I’ll never know… wow! He’s gonna outlive me!
Thank you for reading and caring about my life and stories as you do :)) 

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A little bit of happiness

I thought I really ought to write to update after my last, fairly down, post.

Life is a little bit cheerier now. Not perfect, but then again, whose is? But I’ve increased my antidepressants and that has helped me to be able to pull myself out of that dark spot that was there. I’m so touched by the people who got in touch and who helped me during this spell too. Good friends are said to be hard to come by but I seem to be blessed to have lots surrounding us. And it goes without saying, that Nick was there supporting me fully throughout.

I’m definitely in a better place now, although I’m quite nervous about the easing of lockdown. It’s interesting to see on the news and on Facebook how many people are just quickly moving towards the old ‘normality’. We on the otherhand, are pretty nervous about the whole situation. At the end of the day Covid-19 is still there and just because the government tell us that we don’t have to shield anymore, doesn’t mean that we feel it is safe to stop everything that we’ve been doing for the past 4 months. After all, if we stop and one of us gets ill after all this time, how will we feel about it? Just for a bit of freedom.

I have to say, I have no wish to go clothes shopping, to go to the cinema or even to go to the pub. Not while we have to socially distance. If things are that worrying, there is no point in us risking those things. But I still miss catching up with friends and family, popping to the shops when we run short, playing netball and having the kids out and about. Oh, and the cleaner (as spoilt as that makes me sound!).

I would harp on about it, but I’d imagine the people reading this are linked to us or myeloma anyway and probably aren’t the people going to the beach or holding parties. But if you are, all I’d ask, is please be careful. Otherwise everything that we (and especially our teenage children) have given up, is almost pointless if we end up back where we were in March when lockdown started. Now isn’t the time to have drinks parties in the back garden just because no-one can see, or to stop thinking about the fact that even if you don’t get ill, you can pass coronavirus on to those that could get seriously ill.

Anyway, this wasn’t meant to be a rant about that, but more to say that things are a little happier in this household. Still bloody hard, but a little easier than they were! I’m back to hospital tomorrow for the next round of Dara…hopefully it will keep me on the straight and narrow until my Stem Cell Transplant is back on the cards.

Mila Grace

Three years now...this beautiful, sassy, determined girl came into our lives!

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She was my compass, my measure of time as I journeyed through months of difficult chemotherapy, sleepless nights, endless prayer to overcome fear and uncertainty.

I was still celebrating the good news of my daughter’s pregnancy when I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.  I was in Dublin on business when I got the call.  I wept as I walked along the Liffey processing the magnitude of change that lie ahead.  I pondered life on the shoulders of my driver and doorman, and prayed in a pint of Guinness.  I wondered if I would be alive to meet this baby…and then did the one thing that would distract me from this cancer diagnosis and went shopping.  I bought the cutest baby girl outfits in my favorite shops on Grafton Street, not even knowing if the baby was a girl.  And over it all, I prayed for peace, trusting God to carry me through the uncertainty.

Life changed in an instant.  I left work, started treatment, studied all I could about multiple myeloma and was shaken to the core by the dreadful odds I faced!  I was not going to get trapped in worry…I was determined to survive, determined to meet this new little one.

As we all awaited her arrival, I thought of her, I focused on life!  Her life!  My life!  How this child would bring abundant joy just as her brother Reid had done a season before.  I dreamed of the hugs and smiles and happiness that only a grandchild can give.

Chemo was killing the cancer but not my hope.  It tried to steal my joy but it could not.  In the midst of the hell of it all, I was at peace…I trusted God’s timing, as inconvenient as it seemed, and His grace to sustain and restore me and bless our family with two new lives…mine and Mila’s.

A good doctor knows the best medicine is balance. Balance between treatment and living!  I was given options to live in this moment.

I chose to wait until after baby was born to have the stem cell transplant. I was determined to hold this child right away!  To meet her fully coherent and not in recovery or worse.  I would have an ally to begin a new life with…to be bald with and that was the one surprise!

Mila Grace was born that June day.  Full of spirit…full of love…full head of hair!

Now she is three!  And I have been gifted three years “new” life too!  Stable and strong! She is still my compass.  My measure of time.  My reminder that life is a gift and hope lives in the heart of those who believe.

So on this birthday, I celebrate all it is, that by the grace of God I am still here to love her…the sweet, brave, smart, funny and beautiful girl that delights us with her charm. She is a force…adventurous and fearless and I dare to say I see a little of my spirit in her!

 

 

Photos with permission from my daughter!

Simple Sunday

Well, back to my regular programming here:)

Wow, our weather changed on a dime yesterday and now it is breezy and cool and just lovely. The high is supposed to be 82 degrees so really nice.

It was a busy sort of week with the dentist and oncology doctor but it all went well. My crown copay turned out less than I thought at $550. So that was good. The crown seems pretty sensitive to hot/cold so not sure if that will pass or ?

We ordered pizza out and that was pricey. I’ll go back to making my own pizzas next week. It was very hot Friday so it was convenient but too expensive just for pizza. ( well in my estimation)

Yesterday, I made zucchini lasagnas. I plan on cooking them tonight as it will be cooler and I can use the oven.  We’re just getting lots of zucchini from the garden, so I thought I’d try it. Then I had a lot of sauce leftover so  I made a regular noodle lasagna and then I ran out of lasagna noodles so I just threw some flat noodles in a pan topped with sauce and cheese and called it good.  Those I put in the freezer.

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The FlyLady zone this week is the Living room and then on July 1st, the entryway.

I’m debating going down to the big stores this week to shop. But, I think I might try and wait a week and just get milk and cream and a few things down at our Holiday Market. I have plenty of stuff to use from the pantry. There are a few more prepper pantry things I’d like to stock up on but there’s no hurry at this point. I usually like to wait till we need coffee or TP to go to Costco so that’s still a few weeks out at this point.

I found a really great cooking blog called Just one Cookbook,

She is Japanese and her recipes are pretty good. I’ve made the yakisoba twice already.  Her YouTube is good also. I’m kinda on another Japanese kick right now. I’ve ordered a vintage Tenugui to use as a window covering. And also from eBay, a furoshiki to use as a window covering too. I’ve been looking at some Japanese fabric to make some pillows but haven’t found what I want yet.

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This is the west side of our house and it gets very sunny in that window. You can see the window cooler which is a lifesaver in our bedroom. It is removed in the fall.

 

Frugal as in necessary vs frugal millionaire because it’s hip.

This is my blog and my opinions. If you don’t want to read my rant about frugal necessity vs it being a luxury for millionaires( or asset millionaires) don’t read it then.

Recently, I followed a blog trail and ended up at someone’s site that was dedicated to being very frugal and ways to save a buck. Some of it was weird and using really cheap food stocks. ( think the blue box of mac and cheese and Krusteaz pancake mix). Ok, perhaps they’re not all bad but still.

Anyway, then this blogger is writing about being debt free and their monthly expenses. I was still on board here at this point. Then they go on to talk about net worth and assets. So she says, well our net worth went up $69,000 from the stock market taking  our net worth to over @ $2,000,000. I just about threw up.  Why are you even taking about trying so damn hard to be a cheapskate when you have that much money to draw from if you need it.

So then I started really thinking about this in relation to some other bloggers that do the same thing. The most famous is probably Frugalwoods. She wrote a book about  how being frugal lead them to be FIRE and independently wealthy.  What she doesn’t say is that her husband has continued to work from their home for an IT company whose salary is over $250,000 a year and benefits on top of that. Her salary comes from her blog, book and some independent consulting.

You know what? It’s easy to save 75% of your salary when it’s that big. Or even 50%. Honestly, it really seems to me pretentious and dishonest. Yes, it’s terrific you can grow kale on your 66 acre farm in Vermont to save money. And you eat the same thing for lunch every day. But it’s another thing is that YOU DON”T HAVE TOO> You have the savings to fall back on but what about the people that don’t.

How many low-income people eat beans/rice/pasta while struggling to pay the rent. They can hardly make ends meet and being frugal is a necessity.  They have no savings, retirement, etc. They live paycheck to paycheck.  We’ve been there.

Even now, we have Social Security and a small amount in retirement that we started way too late. Yes, that’s our fault but remember when you have no money to save because your bills/income are the same, ( actually bills out numbered income) so there is NO wiggle room.

PS. We still have a mortgage so that didn’t create the asset!

There are a few other bloggers like that, that I’ve just stopped reading because it’s ridiculous to read about trying to sell stuff on eBay to make a few bucks when you own multiple homes worth millions. Why not just donate that stuff to Cancer thrift or something?

Now they whole Frugal thing is so popular right now and I totally support it especially ones that really do give genuine advice because they are NEEDING to be frugal. I remember Frugal Queen in the UK. She had a terrific blog and had to be frugal.

I don’t know…  clearly this is a rant of mine which I take full responsibility for and that it clearly hits a nerve.

I think it is important to be frugal and careful with money and really everything including ones resources. But it’s another thing to have a blog about being frugal when all the while it is just white privileged rich people needing to pretend they need to save a buck because that’s how they got their money?? Not!

And BTW, it’s a great thing to pick up pennies or whatever change you find on the ground especially when your annuities and income are almost $6,000 a month. Whew, that must be tough.

And BTW, Thrifty Mom from Boise is really thrifty because that’s how she survives as a single mom with 2 adopted children. Now that’s real.

 

Okay, enough ranting. I’m going to go figure out my budget for our fixed income and see where I get too.

 

Please, do not respond in any nasty way. I won’t post those and it’s not worth it.

 

Friday round-up.

I’m really glad this week is over.

It’s been hot and that’s made it hard to be outside. I’ve been going out to the pool every day at 4pm so at least it’s a cool down to some degree.

My dentist’s appt went really well and they are taking every precaution so I felt safe. The crown was done in around 3 hours, start to finish.

My oncology appt also went fine except he was really late. He apologized as a family he had an appt with was having some issues. Nothing new, just wait till my numbers go up to 500. 😦  I sorta feel like a ticking bomb.  I was home by 12:15 so not too bad. Geez, people are driving CRAZY!!!

Tonight we’re ordering pizza out. It’s too hot to turn the oven on. So that will be a nice change.

I’ve done our budget for July and the only BIG expense will be the trees at @ $4,000. Geez, I really hope that’s it for a few years but probably not.

I put a yard sign up BLACK LIVES MATTER. I like it and it just shows some support. I would be out there protesting if I could. I did for VietNam but now I can’t risk getting COVID or bringing it back to others. So, just a small way of showing some support.

There’s a great news story trending about a young barista at Starbucks in Southern California who told a guest they had to wear a mask in the store. She went on a verbal rampage and then took his picture, posted it on Facebook while continuing to shame him. Tons of people came out in support of him and NOT the privileged white woman and then someone started a GO FUND ME tip jar. At last count, it’s up to $32,000. Wow, that is a really heartwarming story. That is some lucky kid.

B is still working on our daughters room windows and they really look nice. These new type windows have a UV tint which is amazing.  It definitely cuts down on the sun’s heat coming in. Plus he’s working on getting the ceiling fan up but that is requiring new wire so kinda a pain. But at least there will be some new wiring. When we had the guy do the wiring when we remodeled, he must have been on drugs and the wiring is screwy. Why he didn’t replace all the old wiring is unknown.

I probably won’t be going to the store till next week and haven’t decided where. I might just go to Safeway but I’ll need to write a list and see what I need.

 

 

Dexamethasone and Covid-19

I meant to write this post earlier but…stuff happens, such as our blocked kitchen sink pipe (We spent all day Sunday trying to “unblock” it using a bunch of different methods, including a high-pressure cleaner!, but to no avail. So today I’m waiting for the plumber to come fix it…), and I didn’t get to it until now. So you have probably already read about the Dex-Covid-19 connection. I’ll write this bit of news anyway, for those of you who might have missed it.

Last week Stefano asked me if I knew what dexamethasone was. Do I know what dexamethasone is? Hah! You can imagine my reply… 😉 

Anyway, he’d just read the news that Dex, as it’s more familiarly known to us myeloma people, has recently been found to reduce Covid-19 mortality by, drum roll!, a whopping 35% in hospitalized patients who are on ventilators. It’s all here, in this BBC article: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-53061281

Well, it’s good to know that there’s an option out there for very ill, hospitalized Covid-19 patients, even though Dex does come with its side effects (the “Dex days” that many myeloma patients have to endure…).

Still, yes, very good news!!!

Personal note: I’ve slowly been venturing outside the house to run a few errands. I wear TWO masks–a surgical mask AND a good cloth mask made by friends to raise money for the cat shelter (these cloth masks are very pretty, colorful, and full of, what else?, cats!).

So, everything is peachy in my little world…oh, except for the bloody drain pipe in the kitchen! 😉

Stay safe, everyone, and wear a mask!!!

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Simple Sunday and the best $15.00 I spent this year.

Hot!

A hot week in Northern California. I guess we will need the coolers all week. Fortunately, we can and do turn them off by 9pm. I got out in the pool on the floatie yesterday and it was nice.

Happy Father’s Day to B.

I made pancakes, scrambled eggs, and some veggie bacon. Plus fresh coffee. It was pleasant to sit out on the patio.

This week is the bedroom zone for those that follow  Flylady. I want to declutter the closet some and wash the bed covers. I do the sheets every Sunday but the covers only once every couple of months. The linen sheets from Ikea have held up well( they are a year old) and the cost is very reasonable for linen.

 

The best $15 I spent this year was for the Lodge crepe/ low side griddle pan.

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I bought this at Target so I could make crepes this spring. Now I use it for almost everything I used the other two cast iron pans for. I still use my vintage cast iron that I’ve had for 40 years.  When I was given these they were already antique. So I’m guessing they’re @ 80 years old.

It’s not at Target right now but at Amazon

It is a great pan for crepes, pancakes, chicken, tofu, and lots of other things that benefit from a small edge.

 

Tonight I’m going to make the Impossibe burgers with all the trimmings. Safeway has just started selling the block( looks just like beef). I’ll let you know how it is.