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A lot of This, Some of That

March 2nd, 2022 at 01:10 am

I woke up feeling better today.  I slept in until 11:30 instead of 3:00 p.m. and was far less stuffy.  My voice still is scratchy when I talk, but my throat doesn't hurt.  Let's hope it's not a false spring situation where everything is starting to bud and then boom snow, like last week.  That's how this illness has been.  I know it is technically still winter, but you get my point.  But I got up, drank my water, and did my physical therapy exercises, plus some arm exercises I do to strengthen my shoulders.  It only takes 15 minutes, but when I am well I do them twice a day, so I get 30 minutes of exercise a day.  As I improve, I can start doing them 3 times per day.

After that I made lunch.  And not just soup.  I made stir-fry, which involves chopping things.  I don't remember the last time I made real food not out of a can and I didn't even do much of that the last 6 weeks.  DH did a little cooking, usually spaghetti, but mostly it was take out.  And I could really feel how detrimental that was to my body.  Not to mention how detrimental this has been to our bank account.  I mean, if it wasn't for the overtime we wouldn't be breaking even.  When I think where that money could have gone...well, I try not to, because that dog has already bitten someone.

After this recent bout of illness I am determined to change my health through proper nutrition and whatever exercise I can do.  I can't continue on this way with my weight.  I am literally killing my body.  My nutritionist has said to cut out a lot of carbs, but fat from dairy, tallow, lard, schmaltz, duck fat, goose fat, or healthy oils is fine. So when we do get our pig, I will get and render the leaf lard.  I'm going to make some ghee to make the butter shelf stable.  My nutritionist says that the government did the USA a world of hurt with it's old dietary recommendations for diabetics, people with heart disease, and extreme obesity.  That's why so few people actually got better on those diets and why so much more medical intervention was required.  Maybe 10% improved with a low fat diet.  I've believed that for a long time.

So I am cutting out sugar except on birthdays or holidays and replacing it with fruit, but only one serving of fruit a day.  And lots of vegetables and good quality protein.  If I have a starch it'll be a potato, sweet potato, winter squash, nuts, rice, or brown rice pasta.  I'm not the biggest fan of rice, but the family does like it.  Brown rice pasta is good, though and we have a lot of it to get through before I buy regular pasta again, if I can even find any.  The store shelves have been pretty bare of spaghetti or anything other than a few boxes of elbow macaroni, according to DH.  Pasta's not an end all for my family, though, and I can make noodles from scratch if I feel up to it.

I think I will try to avoid flour for a couple of weeks until the ball is firmly rolling and may then have it once a week in place of a starch, mostly so I can still have a slice of pizza here and there.  Depends on how good I feel.  I make a good gluten free pizza, though.  Either way, I pile on the vegetables and meat and cheese on my pizza anyway, and roll it quite thin, so it is pretty balanced, and add a salad.  In the summer I might allow corn, but it is extremely sweet and a grain so I'd have to be careful.  I will allow corn tortillas, but limited to once a week or less.

I would also like to eat more seafood.  We still have quite a bit of salmon and bags of spot prawns in the freezer that I need to get through before those seasons start up again and we'll have new stuff to put away.  DH has talked about maybe going for mussels, clams, and oysters this year and and also get the add on for gathering seaweed.  Seaweed is great in the garden when you are building new beds or for your compost heaps and is easy to harvest after a high tide as there is lots of dead stuff.  It doesn't have to be alive like for eating, it can just be what washes ashore.  He'll need to lose some weight, though, to be agile enough to do much of that. 

One day it would be fun to go for geoducks, (prounounced gooey ducks for non-coastal Washington and Oregon people), which I believe is the biggest of the clams in the world.  We'd have to buy a clam gun, though.  Which isn't an actual gun, but you can look that up if you are interested in knowing what it is.  It would be useful for other clams, too, but I'd have to look up the regulations on that.  It might be allowed only for geoducks.  My son would have to do the actual getting down in the sound and sticking your arm down the hole the clam gun leaves, but he says it sounds like fun.

I've been reading and thinking about growing my own peppercorns.  The same plant produces white, black, pink, green, and red peppers.  It depends on the level of maturity of the peppercorns.  It can be grown indoors, so I am thinking of trying it in a pot this summer that can be brought in when fall starts.  That may have to wait until next year.  The next time DH goes out fishing or prawning, I will have him bring back a couple of gallons of salt water as I want to try making salt, too.  As many spices and herbs as I can grow or forage, is what I think.  Has the salt shortage hit your grocery stores yet?  I have a good amount in my preps, but I want to know I can make it.  My food storage may be great, but I can't think how miserable it would be without herbs and spices to season it with. 

I have decided the family is going to eat like me or fend for themselves.  We all need to lose weight and this is how it is going to be.  I'm sick of their bad food habits dragging me down every time I try to get my diet under control.  I won't buy junk.  My son is on board.  The others are paying it lip service.  We will see.  I don't want to fail this time.  I can't afford to anymore.

Today was a beautiful day and 55 degrees F.  I did take a short walk out to the garage and back.  It doesn't sound like much, but it's a start.  Maybe tomorrow I can do to the end of the driveway and back, weather permitting.  That's even longer.  I know that sounds sad, but for someone with two deviated discs in her lower spine, it's a lot of progress.  And I'm back to no cane.  So yay, me.

Also, I noticed the garlic was up about 3 inches and last week's snow didn't seem to do it much harm.  It was only here a day, though.  It looks like every single bulb I planted came up, so kudos to Fedco (for the Music garlic) and the grocery store (for the elephant garlic).  There are only a couple of weeds in the raised beds, which I will pull next time I go outside.  I didn't want to get my hands dirty and my garden gloves and shovel were on the porch.

I need to think up a meal plan with this new diet.  Good, healthy, tasty food that doesn't make us feel like we are giving anything up.  Tonight's dinner, at least, I know.  Rib steak, yellow potatoes, and green beans.

 

New Freezer Purchase, Christmas Bonus, Physical Therapy, and Mental Illness

December 19th, 2021 at 07:44 am

We purchased our new freezer today.  We decided on a 21.3 cubic foot capacity GE upright freezer.  I really didn't want to deal with Frigidaire again anytime soon and maybe for the rest of my life.  That was a nightmare experience we don't want to go through again.  I was just relieved that after a five month song and dance we finally got out money back from their lemon of a freezer.

We decided to get a five year parts and labor service contract.  If something goes wrong, they will deal with everything.  We won't have to spend hours and hours on the phone trying to find the right people to fix things.  They simply will.  I will never, ever by an appliance from a big box store again.  Customer service is important and worth the slightly higher price.

Anyway, the total cost of the freezer was $1392.52.  $112.63 of that was sales tax, yeesh.  And the service contract was $179.95 of it.  The freezer itself was $1049.  We only got back just under $900, so I took the rest out of our hog fund and we will just have to  build it back up again, or maybe buy half a hog to start instead of a whole one.

It won't come until sometime in February.  It could have been June, so not so bad.  Hopefully our freezer karma will improve and everything will go according to plan this time around.

DH found out what his bonus will be.  It's $1000, minus bonus taxes, so maybe $600 is what we will end up with and .75% of his eligible hours worked this year will be added to the 401k.  Eligible hours do not include paid vacation days or paid sick leave hours.  It should be aroudn $750 to $850, which is around what we put in every two weeks ourselves, so that will be nice.  The bonus check should arrive in the mail any day now.

DH also found out that they will be raising the matching to 3% next year.  It has been 2% this year.  I'm not sure if we'll ever get back to the pre-Covid 5%, but the fact that the company is doing a lot better this year than last year is a good thing and that 1% more will make a difference.  That and DH's raise, whenever that kicks in.  I am hoping on the next paycheck, but DH didn't think to ask that because he was just so blown away by the amount.

I had a good physical therapy session this week.  I was able to do every excercise he asked of me, a far cry from the week before when everything was hurting.  Everything still hurts, but at a much lower level, and I'm functional.

I also had an okay therapy session.  I kept talking around what I wanted to talk about, which I stated at the beginning of the session, but then kept avoiding it.  And then I'd catch myself avoiding and try to steer myself back, but...it was rough.  I've come to recognize that I have some PTSD from my abusive childhood, so facing some of the stuff that happened to me then is harder than I realized it would be.  Especially since I can't really let my anger out at the people who deserve it.  Hard to do that with a dead person and a person with early stage dementia.  But I need to stop using food to deal with it all.  Easier said then done.  It's been my coping mechanism for most of my life.

I wish the anti-depressant would hurry up and kick in.  I'm tired of feeling this way.  Mental illness is a B.  I could really use a bout of mania right about now.  Or even just a general feeling of okayness.  That'd be great, too.  I know I'm on the path to wellness, but it is taking too long.  I just want to be there already.  I just want to be me again.

Flooded

November 17th, 2021 at 02:48 am

Today was bright and sunny as the flood waters from the last several days of storming began to recede.  Yesterday the water in the basement covered the bottom step and was about halfway up the first step.  I've never, ever seen that happen and I've lived in this house off and on since I was 4 years old.  Two of the sump pumps stopped working, but the other one did.  We have them set up to go directly into the sewer line, but with two of them completely submerged they must have shorted out.  It's going down, but it might take a few days.  That's a lot of water to move.

We don't keep anything down there, except the tankless hot water heater, which is well above it and some old shelves that are mostly empty except the canners which are on chest-heigh shelves.  And an ancient, unworking chest freezer.  And that's because of the flooding always having been an issue.  We've tried to fix it, but I think it is going to require a lot of dirt and concrete.  The problem is their is an old set of stairs under the house, which was originally an outdoor opening to the basement.  But Mom and Dad never had it filled in, they just built the addition over the top of it, thus creating a low spot where water can run down into the basement.

So I think the solution there is to fill it in with dirt so the water has no place to get into the basement, which will mean removing the outside stairs and taking buckets or bags of fill dirt down the inside stairs to fill that in, or maybe sand bags, and then building a form and filling the old doorway in with concrete or using cinder blocks and filling them in with concrete and then mortaring them into place.  If we don't fill it in with dirt, water would just collect behind the wall and if enough water did that, it would put a lot of pressure on the new wall.  I'd love to just fill it all in with concrete, which is what they should have done before they built a house over it, but I don't think there is any way that is possible, other than one bag at a time and that is so expensive.  Fill dirt we can get for free.

My parents have cut so many corners with this house, with the additions, with the wiring, to save money.  Now it is stuff we will have to deal with fixing for who knows how many more years.  I would really like a flood free, useable basement one day.  I'd like to use it as a root cellar, but can't if this issue isn't solved.

I had my second physical therapy session today and my first one since I fainted and fell on the floor last Thursday.  I did okay.  I'm still stiff and sore, especially in the hips, but also the knees, elbows, and wrists, which took the brunt of the impact.  I still feel bruised on one side.  Although I hit my head I'd slowed down my fall so much that it didn't leave a bump or bruise and definitely no concussion.  I am thinking quite clearly.

My referral has finally gone through so I can see the neurologist to see if we can get to the bottom of these fainting spells.  I need to remember to call and make an appointment.  I am starting to wonder if it isn't late onset epilepsy.  It could just be migraine onset, but I didn't have a migraine with this last one.  I had a lot of the symptoms, but no headache.  Maybe my body was too busy being in pain everywhere else.  I have been very careful about eating, but I don't think it is a blood sugar issue.  I guess we'll find out.

Tomorrow I start mental health therapy for the first time since I was fourteen.  It will be interesting to see how that goes.  I don't trust therapists due to what happened to me as a kid, but my daughter had this one and really liked her so that helps a lot to ease some of my fears.  Still, I need to get on some sort of medication for depression, so it has to be done.  It's an eight week program and I don't have to do the full program to be medicated.  I really hope it goes well.  My stress levels are at an all time high and I can't really let it out at home.

Then on Friday I see the doctor for my yearly wellness exam and he fills out the paper to send into my insurance for the discount for having a yearly wellness exam.  DH has his in a couple of weeks.  The kids don't have to do it for the insurance, but they still get them.

I'll also take my turkey out to thaw on Friday.  We want it thawed a little early so we can do a 24 hour brine.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but I am going to need a lot of help this year to pull it off.

I Think Next Time I'll Just Wait

January 29th, 2021 at 02:30 am

With all of DH's messing around trying to figure out our taxes and freaking me out about owing taxes, once he actually got his forms from work with all the real numbers, we don't owe.  I couldn't figure out how we would have based on our withholdings, but at least we have the answer now.  He was just wrong.  Next time I'm just going to wait and not let him jump the gun and get me all worried for nothing.

We will be getting back around $800 and I'd like to ear mark some of that for the garden.  Not all of it, though.  Mom is getting all weird about the house and talking about splitting it three ways again instead of giving us the house and each sister getting $100K from a mortgage we would take out on it, so we've decided to precede as if we aren't getting the house after all.  I should have known she'd break her word.

It's hers to do what she wants with, even though my sisters have done nothing for her all these years.  She doesn't care about the fairness of that all being on me anymore, but suddenly she's worried about fairness in estate planning.  So I'm not going to build the cinderblock garden I had planned on if I don't get to use it for the rest of my life.  We'll use free pallet wood instead, paint it with linseed oil to protect it from the elements, and line it with black plastic to protect the inside wood from the dirt.  Each wall panel will be easily replaceable in the future as the dirt will hold it's shape if the wood is removed from one side.

I am trying to pray and be pragmatic, but I am getting awfully tired of Mom taking us for granted.

Hopefully we can get the 6 month EF fully funded by the end of the year and start working on a down payment for a house.  I know it'll take a long, long time, but hopefully we will have enough time before my mom dies that we can go into a house purchase and move before that happens without having to rent.

Stolen Account

January 18th, 2021 at 03:29 am

I had my Hulu account stolen on the 16th, but didn't notice until today when my daughter tried to log in and couldn't.  It turned out someone had hacked my account, changed the email address and the password.  I wish these companies would get it together with their data breaches.  Anyway, I called Hulu and got it straightened out and made a ridiculously strong new password I will never remember, but I have a passwords file so in it went.

After banging my head against the wall for awhile waiting for a reset password link to be sent that was never sent, I decided to search my email and for some reason the last message they sent me was in the spam folder.  Hulu should never go to spam as it is on my white list.  That's how I found out.  It made me wonder if somehow they had gotten into my email as well, so I changed the password on that, too, again with a ridiculous password.

Whoever did it signed us up for Disney Plus and the Espn package, so I got those taken off and we'll get a refund for the $5.01 that had been charged so far.  I don't watch Hulu much, so if it hadn't been for someone else in the family wanting to watch it today, it could have been a long time before I figured it out.

These companies really need to get on top of their cyber security.  As annoying as it is, I think I am going to start changing all passwords quarterly and no more easy to remember ones at all.  Numbers and letters mixed are not enough anymore.  Lots of symbols going in.

I'm glad there was no issue in refunding us.

Change of Plans

January 10th, 2021 at 02:38 am

What is that old expression about making plans and then God laughing at them?  Well, my plans for 2021 just got thrown for a loop.  Not completely, and it is something we can cash flow through March for, but it means only putting $195 a month into the Emergency Fund.  For the first time ever we will be owing taxes.

It isn't an exact amount just yet, and won't be until DH gets his W-2, but with the numbers we do have, he estimated we will need to pay $2304 in taxes.  It might vary.  That means saving $768 a month for the next three months.  The only place to take that money from was what we planned to put into the Emergency Fund.

If I want to hit our goal of six month's expenses by the end of the year, that means I will need to save $1018.55 a month from April through December.  What I had budgeted for was $950 a month before all this.  So that is a shortfall of $68.55 a month or $616.95 total.  We might be able to make up for that on 3 paycheck months where medical would not be taken out so the checks are bigger.  There is one in April and one in October this year.  I would know how much it would be by April to know if it was enough in October to make up that difference.  If not, I'll just have to find the money somewhere.

I'm not sure what our tax situation will be for 2021.  We will be almost maxing out our 401K which one would think would lower our taxes by quite a lot.  We only did 5% in 2020 and are doing 15% this year, which is $17,160.  The max is $17,500 for 2021, although since we are over 50 we could do the catch up rate of $19,500.  But we're not, at least not this year.  Once we have our six month's expenses saved, the plan for 2022 is to max out to the catch up rate if we can.

I don't know if they will eliminate that tax cut Trump put in or not, but if they do that will affect everything, too, so until we see what they will do in Congress, it is kind of tilting at windmills to even try to think about taxes for 2021.  Of course, that drives my planner's mind crazy.  I am going forward assuming it will be eliminated, though.

I guess if we do have to pay taxes in 2021, we will probably be fine just doing what we are doing this time, altering the budget to cashflow the taxes.

You know what?  I am so grateful we have no debt.  So, so grateful.  This would have made me so upset a year ago, but now we can just absorb it.  Yes, it makes me annoyed, I don't like change, but not "Oh, my gosh, what are we going to do?" freaked out.  I knew exactly what we could do and how to manage it without even blinking.  That peace of mind, after so many years under the burden of debt, is priceless.

I don't know if I mentioned here about my little grand niece, but she was in the ICU at Children's for a couple of days, then one day out of the ICU and today she got to go home, but she's still not great, just not life-threatening anymore.  There is something wrong with her blood sugar, like she's not absorbing enough sugar or something and it just got so bad because she stopped drinking for a day and got dehydrated.  They had genetic testing done, but won't get that back for a week or so.  Meanwhile they gave my nephew and his wife some sugar paste that absorbs directly into her gums if she won't drink enough juice to keep it up.  They haven't mentioned diabetes at all, so I don't think that is the issue.  Hopefully they will get it figured out soon.

Are We Working Yet?

October 22nd, 2020 at 07:51 pm

Testing

Getting Ready for My Sister to Move in

October 9th, 2020 at 11:28 pm

My plan for the weekend is to get the rest of the potatoes dug, so I can get them curing for 3 weeks so we can bag them up and store them in the basement. We also need to move the piano from the great room to the living room. My sister will be moving into the great room soon. She's not going to have an easy time of living here. There won't be any privacy for her and Mom is already making things difficult, not wanting to give up an inch more of space than she has to. She's always been kind of stingy with space, like that. It took us years to actually have full use of the cabinets in our own kitchen.

Mom is a bit of a pack rat. She holds onto things well past when she should. She still has a lot of my dad's clothes and he's been dead for years. She's also been hanging onto my Dad's dresser. Not because she needs it, it is empty, but because it was his. It takes up a lot of space, though. I get that it holds sentimental value, I suppose, but its been like 10 years. She won't let anyone refurbish it and use it, either. It's a nice, solid wood dresser, but it is very dark. We would have liked to have stripped it and done a nice pine colored varnish or a pretty paint or something and actually used it, but she's a little irrational about that idea. Bringing it into this century would make it useful.

She also needs to get rid of some books that were Dad's, but won't. He read a lot of westerns. Mom doesn't read westerns and no one else does either. Mom doesn't really read much at all. She still has all of her books from college, which she went to in the 60's. I don't even have all my books from college. I kept the history book. She says she'll never read any of them again, but she doesn't want to give them away.

She also has a bunch of dresses from the 80's she doesn't want to part with. Like ten of them. She'd have to lose 100 pounds to wear them again, which is never going to happen, the woman lives on carbs and won't touch most vegetables, but she is keeping them because she might lose the weight. At 81, I don't see that as happening. And yet she goes on to complain that she doesn't have enough space in her closet. She has two closets, plus one in the upstairs full of useless clothes.

She's said over and over she doesn't want to leave a bunch of stuff in the house for us to have to deal with when she dies, but then she holds onto it with a vice grip. It's weird and maybe a mental issue. I figure there will just be a lot we have to deal with when the time comes.

There has not been much going on in the financial realm for me this week. It's been 7 days since the last time I spent any money. I've been working on the pantry, or rather, on filling it. There was a great sale last Friday on chuck roast, so I canned 10 quarts of chuck roast and 2 pints of chuck roast. And I helped Mom with 9 pints of chuck roast for herself. Meat takes a long time, so there is a lot of baby-sitting the canner involved. It's about half an hour waiting for it to vent, 10 minutes venting time, 5 to pressurize, 90 cooking time, and then a half hour to come down from pressure, and 10 minutes with the lid cracked to equalize to room temperature before taking them out. A regular canner will hold 7 quarts or 8 wide mouth pints or 9 narrow mouth pints. So it was a lot of work and wait time. And that doesn't even include the amount of time to cut all the meat up.

There is a new sale on chuck roast at a different store this week, so I will break my no spend streak and pick up some more roasts. Depending on the limit, I'd like to get at least 4 for a canner load, or 8 if they will let me for a double canner load. Fred Meyer didn't have any limits, but Safeway usually does. Right now I have sixteen jars on the shelf, but I would like to double that before winter hits. I also want to do at least another 14 jars of chicken.

Today, however, I have to do tomatoes. I cut them up last night, so all I need to do today is heat them, fill the jars, and get on with it. Tomatoes are quick in the pressure canner, just 25 minutes for pints (plus all the wait time at the beginning), so they are not a several hour process.

I also think I have enough green beans for 4 pints, so will hopefully get that done tomorrow. There might be enough still in the garden to pick more. We have gotten nowhere near a frost yet and they will keep producing right up until. If we are lucky we will have a late frost. Generally it is on Halloween, but there have been years we didn't get one until Thanksgiving. The tomatoes have slowed way down, though, because the nights have been in the 50's and they don't like that. I am tempted to just go strip them and let them ripen in the house, so I can be done with that part of the garden.

It has definitely turned into sweater weather here. Long pants and socks, too. So far we have not turned on the heater or the heated blankets, but I have added a second blanket to the bed. It is also getting to the point where I have to wear my hair down and not up or the back of my neck and shoulders is goosebumpy. The leaves are turning and we have some really pretty yellow ones going on right now. The red and orange ones usually take longer to show. The roses are still blooming, though. It is very pretty. Stew weather is here. I think that's what I'll make for dinner tonight.

Why I Lost my Cool

September 18th, 2020 at 01:21 am

Okay, I've had a few days to think about it, and some encouragement from you guys, and if I let these people drive me off my blog, they win. I want to say right out that this was not caused by any regular bloggers or regular comment leavers. Even if I don't agree with the regulars sometimes, I can deal with their comments.

This was caused by a few people who are not regular recognized comment leavers who took it upon themselves over the last two years to go through and leave comments on nearly every blog entry I have made. I only know comments are left if it is an entry I have responded to and then SA sends me a notification. If it is an entry I never responded in the comments to, I don't know they've left it.

I have been working on going through every entry to remove these comments for the last two months. That's 3299 entries and a lot of time spent. A little more because I outright deleted a few of the posts. Then I found out some of them had started all over again. I just got so frustrated because I have been working so hard to clean this up.

A lot of these comments have been political, far left political, even though for the most part I keep my moderate political views off my blog. Once in a while I will say something and it just seems to trigger a new round. That happened after the post I wrote about the fires and ended up deleting. I wish we could moderate our comments here like you can on nearly every blogging site out there. Then I'd at least know which entries to look at and could keep up with it.

Thank you for being supportive. Now that I've had a chance to cool down, I've decided that I need this group too much for financial accountability and I don't want to give up something I enjoy, the community we've built here, for trolls. Maybe I'll just have to let go of trying to clean it up on old entries. Easier said than done, because I don't want it there, but sometimes you just have to let go for sanity's sake.

I have a very, very long fuse and seldom blow, but this time I did. I am sure not being able to go outside because of the smoke is contributing. We still aren't fully open because of COVID and the only thing getting me through was being able to be out in the garden. I need to get my zen back, and then I can cope with these stupid spammers again. Meanwhile, I am back. Sorry for my crazy.

Grain Mill, Skillets, Future Purchases Planned, and Sister Update

September 10th, 2020 at 06:20 am

I have had a grain mill in my shopping cart save for later section for months and it was finally back in stock today. It has an attachment for fine grains like millet (sorghum) and one for big beans. So I will be able to grind my own chickpea flour, sorghum flour, and rice flour, finally. We will save so much money making our own. I had more than enough money in my allowance envelope so I bit the bullet and bought it.

Also, I bought a Michaelangelo blue granite non-stick induction 12 inch skillet a while back. It has a ceramic stone type of coating. It is made in Italy, not China. Well, we have been loving it. It cooks so well. It hasn't scratched at all, it has remained non-stick, and it beats those tacky copper skillets that end up burning and not being cleanable after about 2 months. Clean up is a dream with a sponge. Even if they food seems like it is sticking and forming a crust you can wipe it away with the cooking utensil.

Well, when I bought it, they only had the 12 inch skillet in blue and they had a 10 inch skillet in what they call red, but it looks like purple. And they had grey. I didn't want to mix and match. Today I saw that they had an 11 inch with a 9.5 inch set, and an 8 inch skillet in blue. I also had enough money in my allowance folder to get those, so I did. I can retire my cast iron for all but baking gluten free cornbread and gluten free biscuits and corn tortillas. They are so heavy and that is painful on my wrists which can't take much due to the RA. These are also lighter than stainless steel, but not by much.

I ended up spending $425.97 with tax and I still have $177 in my allowance folder. I am so excited to finally be replacing cookware and things for the kitchen that I have made do on for a decade or longer while we were getting out of debt.

I have put some things on my save for later list, namely a 4 quart, a 6 quart, and an 8 quart 360 brand stainless steel cooking pots. They are made in America and they are expensive, but I think they will be worth the investment long term. I will have to save up and buy them one at a time. The most urgent need is the 4 quart as I don't have one and have been making do with my huge stockpot for a long while. I'd like something I can make stew in on my induction burner that is smaller.

The 4 quart pot is $229, so with sales tax will cost $246.86. So it will take two paydays for me to have that in my allowance folder. Then I got start saving for the other ones. I think it is worth the investment because I do spend so much time cooking from scratch. I could never justify it before, but this is what the allowance is for. I may actually save up for the electric citrus juicer before the 6 quart and 8 quart pots. It's $99. I was thinking how handy it would have come in today when I was making pico de gallo and had to squeeze the limes.

My eldest sister is going to be moving back in with us, for good this time. She has had to miss so much work with the time she took off for her cancer surgery that she just can't make rent anymore. She'll have to live in one of the living rooms and won't have privacy, but she's willing to make do and we are happy to have her here.

She has until the end of the month. Her landlord is working with her. Her kids don't want to take her. Most kids don't want to deal with aging parents. I am the only one of my siblings who was willing to take on Mom. Even if Mom was gone, I'd take on my sister. That's how I am with the full support of my husband. You take care of your own for as long as you can.

Garden Produce is Coming out my Ears

August 19th, 2020 at 02:14 am

It's been a rough week because I twisted something in my knee, the knee formerly known as the good knee, and it swelled up with a ton of fluid which made it hard to walk. I've been icing it and finally took some water pills to help with the excess fluid and the pain has eased up a little. I hope I didn't tear anything. If it is still bugging me next week I will go to the doctor. My doctor isn't in this week. It's finally easier to walk today and I was able to get out to the garden.

The weeds are ridiculous, but I was able to get some of them pulled and I got my first green bean harvest. It filled up a dishwashing basin that is 3 gallons. I think that is enough for a canner load and there is enough out there for another one in probably two days, maybe one.

I've also harvested 60 odd cucumbers so I need to get to pickling. I picked up some dill and garlic so I can do that tonight. I think I will get at least one canner load of pickles and do some refrigerator pickles as well. I'll can the green beans tomorrow. If I have the energy, though, I will snap them tonight. That will make tomorrow go much easier.

These cucumbers are amazing. They are so sweet they taste almost like melon. Which makes sense since botanically they are pretty closely related. It is nice to be noshing down on a cucumber every day. I love this time of year.

I also have some red tomatoes. Just two, but one is not far behind it. I can wait to pick them and eat them. I'll probably make a nice pico de gallo with them. I like that better than salsa. I just need to pick up some cilantro since mine has flowered and will soon go to seed.

The strawberries look like they need another picking and I've got to harvest herbs and tea flowers and dry them. I can't believe how much the garden exploded in just a week.

It looks like the potatoes I planted first are starting to die back. Maybe in another week or two I will be able to start digging up potatoes. I hope we get a lot out of it. I plan on canning most of them since I don't know if any of them are keeping potatoes. I waited too long to get seed potatoes and had to buy and sprout organic ones from Trader Joe's. I have no way of knowing if they are determinate or indeterminate, either. Next year I will be better prepared. I hope.

I am thinking about getting an electric weed eater, the kind that plugs in. We have battery operated ones, but the battery pack makes it too heavy for me to operate with my arthritis. This is also my problem with gas powered ones. Plus those ones are too long for me. I want to get a shorter one with a cord. I always hated dealing with a cord when we had one in the past, but it was so lightweight and it was short so fit my arm length better. That one is long gone, but they don't cost too much and since my husband and son don't get around to it when I need it done, it might be the best option. I have enough in my allowance envelope, even after buying a new laptop. I had been saving for almost a year.

Oh, yeah, I got a new computer! It was $600 plus tax. It has a DVD player in it, which is pretty hard to find anymore. It is not touch screen, which takes some getting used to, but I really like it. My old one is still going, but the DVD player has been broken for almost two years and the speakers don't work well, so I had to use regular speakers.

I figure I will continue to use that one for writing and for video editing because it has the software and I will use this one for everything else, which is basically watching videos and movies, and doing research. I couldn't justify a big expensive computer like my last one was if that was all I was going to use it for even if I had enough money to buy one.

We are still eating out too much. It is hard to cook when I am in pain. I need to try to push through and do it, but I just have no motivation.

New Diet Goals, Motivations, and End of Life Planning

August 11th, 2020 at 11:26 pm

DH and I decided to sign up for a dietbet. We've gotten so far off track and I am now at a higher weight than I have ever been in my life. I don't know if he is or not, but it looks like he is. I am ruining my knees at this weight and am in constant pain. So the dietbet we joined was $35, so that is $70 out. It starts on the 13th and is a 4 week kickstarter. The goal is to lose 4% of your body weight in that amount of time. So that is my goal. I know sometimes people on here do one, so if you want to join the same one as me the invite is here: http://dbet.me/lrobbins

Now that my focus does not have to be on paying down debt anymore, I do think this is an area where I need to target my focus. I need to get my motivation going again and I think that if I start being successful at weight loss again I will also want to work towards being more successful at working towards saving goals.

Right now I need something strong to focus on. Mom isn't doing too well healthwise right now. It's to do with her arteries and her heart. She does not want me to tell my sisters. She had a talk with us last night about what we want to be passed on to us. My answer is simple, keep living 20 more years. Then after that the knives and the canning equipment, and some of the paintings I gave her. She has already given me the Christmas ornaments (most of which I gave her over the years) and told me to take them to storage so my middle sister doesn't try to steal them. She already said she wanted them and my mom said no, they were mine since I gave them to her, but that sister can be persistent. She has long since given me Grandma's bowls and china.

Mom is going to get her will done up. She's kind of annoyed with my sisters, though. She is insisting on there being no funeral and the cremation is already set up and paid for. Her figuring on the funeral is that no one came and saw her while she was alive, they don't need to see her when she is dead. My figuring is that I have been here while she is alive, so if those are her wishes, so be it. I know my sisters might be mad at me, but if they wanted input they could have been here helping all along. And if they want a funeral than they can put it together and pay for it. Mom wants me to dispose of her ashes.

I think we need to revisit what is going to go on with the house, though. I need to make sure we can continue to live here as long as we want after she dies. She has always said we could and that my sisters won't be allowed to force a sale, but I need to make sure that gets in the will. Although the way my sisters have been acting all these years, I'll be surprised if they even end up in the will at all. It is sad when they only see her when they want something from her. It is also frustrating because they never come give me a break despite knowing I have these autoimmune diseases.

Yesterday was DD's 24th birthday. We made a gluten free chocolate cake. It was from Bob's Red Mill and it was very good. It tasted just like regular cake, maybe better. It doesn't rise as high, but it is not dense at all. I made homemade vanilla buttercream icing. It was way past the level of bakery icing in my opinion. The trick is to whip the heck out of it at every level.

We also did a barbecue with steelhead trout, corn on the cob, and zucchini and ate dinner outside. It was good birthday dinner for her and she picked everything that she wanted.

I need to get on top of the garden again. I need to go harvest a bunch of cucumbers and berries. It has finally cooled off enough, but it has been hard since my knees are both swollen and DS has been sick. He's feeling better today, though.

Quiet Week and No Motivation

August 6th, 2020 at 12:01 am

There really is not that much going on this week financially. I am pretty much in a holding pattern waiting for payday, which is Friday, to come. Then the bills get paid, the funds get funded, the groceries get bought, and I settle down to wait for the next payday. Lather, rinse, repeat. I guess that is life for all of us these days. I really just want to go do something and there is nothing we can go do because none of the fun stuff is open. I miss our former world so much these days.

Heck, I'd be happy with the library being all the way open so I can go browse books. Using the online catalog is not the same. In real life browsing, you discover some of the best books by accident. You really can't do that on their system. And I can't use the library recommendation page, because all the books there are political and suck. It is weird because the book store is open to the public, but not the library. How is it different? Maybe volume.

Since becoming debt free on June 12th I seem to have lost my motivation. I know we need to be saving for things, but the more life unravels, the more I think we may never move away from here while Mom is alive. She can't be left alone anymore. I mean, she can for a few hours, but someone needs to be here on a daily basis. I don't know if we should be worrying about saving for a house. Maybe instead we should just be socking it to retirement and the EF. It's a tough decision, but we will always have this house to live in, even after Mom dies. We will only own 1/3 of it, but the will stipulates we don't have to move out until we want to, but make interest free payments to my sisters on their portions until it is paid or we sell the house and they get their remainders.

We did some looking at freezers and while we can order them, they won't be available until November or December. I don't figure we will have the money by then and when we do have the money, it will be several months further out at that point. So definitely no buying a beef this year.

Knowing we can't buy another freezer as soon as we have the money is going to change how I store food, though. We will can a lot more chicken and beef so I don't have to worry so much about the space I do have and may be able to get a lamb and a half a hog. And of course as much fish and shellfish as we can catch and freeze.

Sorry, I'm rambling all over the place. I have no focus. I really need to decide what I am going to do, so I can retarget my goals and find the oomph to follow them.

To Beef or not to Beef

July 10th, 2020 at 07:54 am

DS and I inventoried the big chest freezer a couple of days ago, which was a lot of work and we also got the sides defrosted. It doesn't frost up too much, but enough that we had to use a butter knife to break it lose. It take about six months or so to build up about an inch and it only does it on the back side. Anyway, we have a lot of food in there and now I know what it is exactly, so I will better be able to meal plan.

I made up an Excel spread sheet to track it as we use it. We still have to inventory the smaller freezers, but I am working on eating down the two shelves we have in Mom's freezer so she can have use of all of it, because she wants to buy some beef come the end of summer. Like a quarter.

I guess my eldest sister wants to buy a quarter as well and Mom is trying to push me into buying a half. First of all, I don't have room for it, and once I do have room, I want to get half a hog, not necessarily half a beef. If I were to get beef at some point, I would want a whole one, not a half or at least not a half I was splitting with her.

I know my mother. She would want to pick and choose her cuts out of the entire beef, not just the quarter she would be entitled to. My mom would take all the best cuts for herself and more than the amount she was entitled to and we'd be left with all the tougher cuts. No, thank you. I saw the way she divided up the chickens we raised together and I don't want that happening again.

Another issue is that I don't have the money for it right now. She's pushing saying that it is a couple months from now. Sorry, no. I have other priorities. DH's driving lessons, a handicapped ramp for the back porch (our entrance), and an upright freezer are what is next on my agenda. Then building the Emergency Fund. I might be able to get a whole lamb, though, but that is neither here nor there.

Right now I feel like I can just get loss leaders for beef. I have been doing fine with that this year. I want to keep at least two month's worth of meat in the freezer during the upcoming virus season, but I can't do more at the moment. Maybe if MIL gives us more money, but I have no idea if that is even going to happen. She hasn't given us any money this year at all and since it hasn't been a great stock market year, she may not.

Oh, well. I made a fantastic Japanese Chicken Curry for dinner last night. I've never made a curry before and I did it completely from scratch, even the curry roux, which can be bought in stores but has MSG and other nasties in it. It wasn't hard, not much different from making stew really. I used gluten free flour to make it gluten free. It's fantastic with rice, which we have a ton of, and gives it a good flavor.

It uses warming spices as opposed to the hot spices. It is aimed at the Japanese flavor palate as opposed to the Indian flavor palate. Now I would like a mild Indian curry myself, but my daughter would never be able to eat it, so it is easier to find stuff she does like. This was a hit. It is here

Text is https://www.justonecookbook.com/simple-chicken-curry/# and Link is
https://www.justonecookbook.com/simple-chicken-curry/# if anyone is interested.