The haves and the have nots!

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/05/my-secret-shame/476415/

This is an article on the sad state of financial affairs of many people. The author is quite honest in his evaluation of his own current financial affairs and how he got there. He has a loan modification and is paying off credit cards.

Honestly, I totally agree with him. I wish we had been more financially smart. We never made any smart decisions financially till really about the time I was diagnosed with cancer. But even in those first difficult years with treatment and A Stem Cell Transplant, we made plenty of mistakes. The biggest was refinancing when the market was at its height. We were foolish to believe the loan officer that this was a good deal to maximize money in equity. What a mistake. When the market crashed and we’ve been under water in this house, we are now on the other side that the market is coming back up. WE too had a loan modification and it saved us. This actually is just ending and then the interest rate is going up.

I think when I started to embrace being minimalist, budgeting, not spending money for things clicked for me. We’ve mad a lot of progress and are quite frugal in all expenditures. Yet, there are still expenditures that are outpacing income. We’re helping our son with money at junior college. We pay for his car insurance and food. It is not giving us much to put away but we want to help him right now. Smart move? I don’t know but we are making the decision to the best of our ability now. We also put our Federal taxes on a credit card and we’re having to pay that down.

All in all, everyone, I’m sure does what they can but sometimes keeping up with expenses versus money coming in is a struggle.

I also think that people who have received inheritances or who are wealthy, or have no mortgages , or maybe they’ve just done everything right and made enough money in their careers and have money to put toward savings etc,. Some of these people just don’t get it. Yes, we have family members who really don’t get it and of course live their happy go lucky lives with inheritances they received.

Yes, you can be frugal, budget, sing till your blue in the face, but sometimes there just isn’t enough money and how many of us are one pay check away from disaster. I’ve learned a lot in these last 5 years about being frugal and stockpiling pantry items, having a small emergency fund but there’s still a long way to go.

I don’t think it’s for us to judge others, though, maybe just some compassion and understanding.

Thursday Stuff

My doctor appt went well yesterday. No surprises,which I love, and then my shot went well too. All in all, in and out in around an hour. That’s a pretty good turn around.  We were going to go into the Walmart that’s on the way home just for cat food but decided to wait.

We stopped and share a coffee and roll at our local bakery that I had a gift card to. So no out of pocket expense there. Out budget really sucks right now.  We are just barely towing the line. So I’m seriously hoping going back to envelopes will help this month. Also, being realistic about what I put in the envelopes. I’m still going to have to pull something out of savings to cover the amount for the first months bills. I am also really hoping B gets a bonus in June so I can put all that back in the savings. But onward and upwards.

Our weather is going to get nicer and nicer hitting even 80 this weekend. Very nice except for the pollen.

Today I’m going over to the Koffee Klatch to see if anyone show up. I haven’t been in  two weeks so it’ll be nice to catch up.

Just finished another historical fiction about MFK Fisher. It’s an interesting book about her first marriage and then her love affair with another man, who was the love of her life. The writing style isn’t really compelling but I liked because of the content. MFK Fisher really brought the world of writing about food to a new level and for that I like it. I have read some of Fisher’s books and found them very difficult to read. So this gave me some insight into her life. The Arrangement

I wouldn’t buy this book, but glad I got it from the library.

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A day out…

Our electricity is off at home due to work on our road. ( new power poles or something like that). So B and I decided to hit town and go internet hopping. Right now we’re at Panera, and then we’re going to Home depot to get a few things. Then we’re going to find some lunch, go to the ASPCA bookstore and then the grocery store.

Hopefully, the power will be on when we get home.

Tomorrow is my doctor appt. IT’s so nice not to have to worry about getting labs there and be all nervous. My labs are good and today I had a CBC done. Since I’m starting Velcade tomorrow, they need to be sure my counts are good and my creatine(kidney function).

Well, off to the next stop!!

 

Pizza! Pizza!!

I grew up about an hour and a half from NYC. It was a very rural area and not a lot of anything. Of course, there was a grocery store, a couple of bars, The Library,(which saved me), and right up the road a pizza place. It was called Pepe and Eddy’s. Owned by two Italian brothers. Pepe’s son, Johhny was my constant friend, although older by a couple of years. Later, that became an issue when hormones start surging. ( Just saying). Anyway, Pepe and Eddy’s was and is the quintessential New york Pizza. Thin, foldable and delicious. I still have dreams about it. At least twice a month we ordered pizza, and someone (me alot) walked up the hill to Pepe’s and got the pizza. Geez, I’d love to remember how much but I don’t but remember this would have been the sixties. Anyway, since my cooking days many years ago, this last two years I’ve had the goal to perfect home pizza. To be like a New York pizza. Not Chicago, or Naples but NY pizza. so when I found out about being able to review this book I was pretty jazzed. I have read many many books on making the best pizza.514rVGbg3aL._SX400_BO1,204,203,200_

The book is ” The Elements of Pizza” by Ken Forkish.
He starts out with the history of pizza in Naples. He describes many types of pizzas and the beginnings of it NYC, Chicago, and even New Haven Conn, which I did not know about. He goes into minute detail about ingredients, tools to use and what works best. I was impressed with his summation especially about using a pizza steel since that was the conclusion I finally came to last year. Yes, folks, ditch the pizza stone and get a steel. He also discusses amounts and using a digital scale. Yes, I bought one too and in fact it is way more accurate when dealing with flour quantities.

Then he goes int the basic doughs for the pizza. I like he gave options for a slow rise in the refrigerator but also one you want to use for Saturday night that you start that morning. He gives lots of different pizza recipes, some basic and some gourmet. I like he also gives pan pizza recipes, which I’m definitely going to try. I also like that he gives a couple of different tomato sauces to try. The one I’m trying tonight is just tomatoes blended with salt.IMG_0276 (3)

The Pizza came out great. The dough was very easy to stretch and shape. I like the simple sauce too. We had cheese and pepperoni. I’m going to try and freeze the other dough and then test how well it cooks after that.

IMG_0273I would highly recommend this book for anyone serious about perfecting pizza at home.

I received this book from Blogging for Books program at no cost in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own.

Routines

IMG_0278Well, we’re back from Santa Cruz/Capitola. WE had a really fun time and lots of good food. We had an incredible spot with an ocean view. Pretty nice. We went bike riding along the coastline to natural Bridges state Beach. It started raining on Friday morning so we packed up and drove the 4 hours straight home. Big mistake. We should have took a break. I know it’s like how many times does it take to figure out , we need to STOP and take breaks. It was raining pretty hard almost to Sacramento, so probably that had something to do with not stopping. Overall a great trip. We saw a couple of small trailers we liked. One was a coachman Clipper. Very light weight and seems like our Santa Fe would pull it. So maybe down the road, we can go check one out.

Our house sitter did a great job with the cats and chickies. It was nice not to have to worry.

I received the book from ‘blogging for books’. It’s about pizza so that should be fun to read. I started it and there’re lots of good ideas. I’ll do the review at a later date. I’m not sure if I return the book or not??

Back to routines today. Wipe down the bathroom, start and process some laundry, prep for dinner.  Routines keep me going. I like the continuity and it just makes my life easier. Tomorrow the new zone is the living room and that’s a quick one as it’s pretty minimalistic.

I started Season 8 of ‘the Murdoch Mysteries”. So great. We had to subscribe to Acorn to get it but since I love most anything on Acorn it seems like we will get our amounts of money worth out of it.

Tonight is the new pizza recipe. This one doesn’t use olive oil in the dough , so I will have to see how well it stretches out.

BTW, if anyone is interested, a blogger I follow who has ALS and is at end life, has written a book about her experience. She lives in Paris and she is very humorous and brave. The money from he book sale will help, I assume, her daughter and husband after she is gone. And some proceeds will go to ALS research. Her blog has been quite something to read.  I can’t afford to buy the book now, but maybe down the road. Here’s the link:

http://havesomedecorum.blogspot.com

 

Monday stuff

We’re almost ready to leave tomorrow. I still need to do the food and some clothes. The tent trailer is all cleaned out by B. The weather still looks mostly nice thru the week but possible rain/showers on Friday.

Hopefully, the chickies and cats do okay. A friend of my son is going to stay here and do the regular chores as my son is literally at school all day and evening. He doesn’t even get home til 10pm so we really needed someone to put he chickens away etc. We are paying him so it is a win/ win deal.

I haven’t started a new book yet. I have 3 my daughter brought home from the library but haven’t started. Sometimes it’s good to take a break especially since I do read a lot!!

last night we had enchilada bake with tofu that needed using up. And refried beans. Tasty !Tonight, I’m not sure, maybe spaghetti with marinara and I have meatballs too. Or ????

the budget is still tight but doable. Everything is paid for the month except Verizon which is automatic  and the water bill both come out @ the 26th. After reading back through Gail Vaz- Oxlade book ‘Debt Free Forever’ i decided to use cash envelopes again. She uses the ‘magic jars’ but I like the envelopes better. Same idea. I used cash yesterday for the chicken food and cat food.  I’m not sure how it’ll be as I’ve done this before. I think generally I underestimate the budget items and then there’s not enough in the envelopes. Since our budget is pretty limited anyway, sometimes it’s hard to do enough in the categories. I’ve been trying to pay a little extra on the car payment(principal) and our second. I would like to get both under 20,000 by the end of the year. It seems once their under 20 the motivation will be even stronger to get them done. They have to be gone by the time B retires. So we are definitely on a limited time frame.  We cannot have a car payment when the retirement rolls around. And we won’t be able to do the house payment unless my daughter decides to do a portion in which case basically she would then be investing in this house for her future. Looking back is 20/20 hindsight and there are many financial mistakes we made. All we can do is go forward and be realistic about what we’re going to be able to do.  Of course, there’s the big question of my health and how my treatments go in the future.

Well, on to the day. I have the bedroom zone to clean, and I have to get my next set of Invisalign from the dentist. f

Getting ready to go camping.

Next week we are going to camp at New Brighton State Beach. It is a great campground but extremely hard to get into since it’s right near Santa Cruz and on the bluffs above the ocean. It has showers and nice bathrooms. I made these reservations @ 6months ago.

Right now you couldn’t get in even all the way through September maybe even October. We’d still like to buy a hardbody light weight trailer, but out tent trailer will have to do.

I just need to get some food ready and that’s it. Even with food ,we’ve learned to just go to the store and get what we need. It’s not like we’re out boondocking.  WE’re going to take the cruiser bikes as Santa Cruz has an incredible bike path along the ocean. Or it’s above the ocean but very nice.

My labs came in for the SPEP and light chains and they are GREAT!!!! I have no detectable m spike and the ratio of the light chains is better than before at 1.17

I am so happy and I do want to do this next cycle of Velcade to at least have 2 cycles with no m -protein. I think that’s wise but I will see what my doctor says at the end of April.

Yesterday was Costco and I got what I needed plus the sale items. I also bought 2 beach towels that were also on sale and we needed some new ones.  Today, I going to town mostly for cat food which seems to be ongoing… cat food…bird food… chicken food…