Sunday, February 5, 2023


The View from Daughter's Hotel Room

My daughter sent me this photo this morning, saying it's the view she woke up to this morning. Today is the day of her friend's wedding.  

Empty Pallet - No Pea Gravel

M sent me this photo from the garden supply store showing an empty pallet where the $5.99 bags of pea gravel used to be!  Apparently, they are all out of it, although they are expecting a new shipment to arrive next week.  I guess we will have to wait until they get some more.  Maybe he can pick some up next Friday.

I went to the pharmacy in the early afternoon to pick up the medication that was ready.  Afterwards, I debated going to the dollar store next door.  But, I didn't really need anything (although I'm sure I'd have found plenty of things to buy if I had gone in!)  Besides, I have already been to the pharmacy twice this week, to the doctor's office once, and to the gas station once, and that's more places than I've been to in a long time!  I decided it would be better to come home, instead!

After I came home, I prepared some fried rice for brunch:

Fried Rice for Brunch

Leftover cooked rice, one hot dog from the freezer, sliced up, a handful of green peas and snow pea pods (also from the freezer), an egg, and a handful of roasted peanuts to top it off.  The snow peas are what I grew last year and harvested towards the end of the growing season - they were a little stringy, but, they were OK.  Next time, I'll string them before I freeze them (or pick them when they are a little more tender).  I couldn't eat all of the fried rice that I made, so, I have leftovers for tomorrow.  This was a fairly frugal meal, using leftovers and items I had on hand.  I didn't cost out everything, but, the hot dog was from a packet of 10 for $2.50, so, $.25 for one hot dog, the green peas were from 12 oz. packet bought for $1.25, the peanuts were from a 1 lb. jar bought for $2.79 (although the same jar is now selling for $3.29); the egg at $.37 ($4.49 for 12) is probably the most expensive ingredient!   I used the drippings from yesterday's hamburger patty (I had saved it in a container in the fridge) for making the fried rice.  Oh, but the gas used to cook it would have doubled the cost of the ingredients put together!  

Have I mentioned my bill for natural gas, for this month?  It covers the period of December 19, 2022 to January 20, 2023.  It's nearly $700 ($693.34 to be exact).  I used slightly less gas/fewer therms (160 therms) during this billing period than I did during the same billing period last year (December 2021-January 2022; 165 therms), but, the cost of gas went up from $1.05/therm in December 2022 to $3.45/therm in January 2023.  The gas company says the cost of gas increased due to the increase in demand for natural gas as a result of the colder weather in other parts of the country.  

I like to think that I am fairly frugal in many ways, but, I need to be warm in the winter! That's my one luxury!  I'll happily go without air conditioning in the summer, but, I want to be warm in the winter.  I do bundle up in layers (I'm wearing four layers on the top, right now, plus a scarf and wool socks), but I feel cold easily.  I keep the thermostat, located on a wall adjacent to the heater, at 70F, which means the family room and the bedrooms are about 68F.  I keep the door to the spare room closed and when my daughter is not here, her bedroom and bathroom doors are also closed.  But, the house is mostly open plan so you can't close off any rooms other than the bedrooms and bathrooms.

I am not complaining about the high gas bill; I'm grateful that I have a way to stay warm!  However, it is three times what I've budgeted for, so, I will need to pay from savings.  I am thankful that I am able to do so!  But, maybe I should start using electricity to  cook my "frugal" meals!  LOL.  

I also did a load of laundry and video chatted with my daughter.   

Today, I am grateful for:
- The pharmacy was able to fill this prescription without any problems
- Medical insurance to help pay for the cost of the prescription
- A safe drive to the pharmacy and back
- The availability of natural gas and electricity 
- Having savings in place to meet an unexpectedly high gas bill!

Today's joyful activity was playing with fabric.  I didn't actually sew anything, but, I sorted through the fabric stash and did a little bit of cutting and trimming.  In other words, playing.  Eventually, I want to piece out a backing for a quilt top I have already sewn.  Not quite sure how that's going to work out, but, we shall see.

Plans for Sunday include more playing with fabric.

How was your Saturday?  What are your plans for Sunday?


  1. Lovely weekend - daughter and family arrived unexpectedly for a flying visit. Yes I save fat from sausages etc for frying other things. And yes, keep warm. Do you wear bedsocks? I love mine. If my feet are toasty warm I'm sure I fall asleep faster!

    1. How lovely that your daughter and family paid you a visit over the weekend! They got to see your newly painted dining room, too! Glad to hear that someone else saves the fat from sausages, bacon, etc. to add when cooking other things! :)
      As for keeping warm, yes, I do wear socks to bed! Currently, I'm wearing the wool socks I knitted - the two pairs that I felted are especially warm!

  2. The price of your gas going up threefold is quite a shock for you. The temperature in my living room that is comfortable for me is 19.5C about 67F so much the same as what you find comfortable and my house is open plan too, the staircase in the living room. I don't heat the bedrooms I don't use. I hope the wedding is wonderful and what a beautiful view from your daughter's hotel room. The pea gravel must be in demand so I hope you are able to get more of the same next week.

    1. I do get weekly bill estimates from the gas company - they send emails showing how much as was used and the amount of the bill to date and the estimated bill based on the amount of gas used to date. So, the actual bill was not too much of a surprise, but, I couldn't just not heat the house to keep the bill low! Especially when my daughter was home (she likes things to be warm, too). Oh, well, I am generally very frugal in most other areas and hopefully, the warmer weather will be here, soon!
      My daughter said that the wedding went well and she was glad that she was able to be there for her friend.
      I guess people are landscaping their gardens more and more with pea gravel! Or, this particular place didn't have that much stock on hand. Anyway, hopefully, I'll be able to get more, next week. If not, the other half of the parkway might have a different type of gravel! :D

  3. We got our water bill yesterday and it is three times more than it usually is. Like you, I'm glad we can pay it. The budget keeps getting stretched these days with higher prices, so we may need to rethink some things. Your daughter's view is beautiful. I've never been to Hawaii, but I'd like to go someday.

    1. Sorry to hear about your water bill, June. My water bill was a little lower than usual because we've had so much rain this winter that I haven't had to water the garden as much. Stretching the budget can be challenging, so good luck with that!
      I haven't been to Hawaii, myself, except in transit, at the airport (it was my port of entry when I first came to the US). It does sound like a lovely place to visit. :)

  4. Hi Bless! 👋🏻 I about fell over when I saw your gas bill! I thought mine was bad at $146.50 (“predicted” to be $197). I hate being cold, too, but I hate paying a gouging company even more. I’m sure I fall into the category of cutting off my nose to spite my face! Is your daughter in Hawaii for the wedding? What a beautiful view! Take care. Judy in Anaheim.

    1. Hi Judy! I have So. Cal. Gas and I couldn't quite believe it when they first estimated that my bill will be $700! Especially when I wasn't using more than I normally do! I will have to think of other ways to keep warm - maybe put on my electric space heater to warm up the room I'm in and not turn the the gas heater?
      Yes, my daughter is in Hawaii for her friend's wedding. The wedding took place yesterday (Saturday), but, daughter is spending a few extra days there, before going back to work.
      Hope you've had a good weekend and the week ahead will be a warm one. :)

  5. I'm now officially envious of your daughter ... that's a beautiful view from her hotel window. I hope she's enjoying herself and also that the wedding goes smoothly.

    It's a shame about the pea gravel. I hope the price doesn't increase when the new stock arrive. Your gas bill sound horrendous but you have to keep warm. We have the same sort of price increases over here but at least the government has issued grants of money to help out a little.

    Look forward to seeing how your playing with fabric turns out. You always come up with really good designs.

    I've been practicing the piano this morning and have been for a walk around the block. This afternoon I'll do some crocheting and then settle down to watch Dancing on Ice and The Great Pottery Throwdown on TV tonight. xx

    1. It is a lovely view, isn't it? The wedding went well, she said, and she's enjoying herself.
      I wouldn't be surprised if the price of the gravel does go up! As for the gas bill, it is the highest utility bill I've had to pay to date, but, I am not willing to go without heat. M, on the other hand, has a gas bill of $29 because he doesn't put his heater on!
      I sewed a bit on the Triangles quilt, today, as I need to finish repairing that.
      Sounds like you've had a lovely day. Hope the crocheting is coming along nicely. :)

  6. I hope the wedding went well, and I hope you don't have to wait too long for your pea gravel. Isn't it handy when someone can send you a photo just like that? You did well to resist going into the dollar store. I was going to visit the thrift shop the other day and then changed my mind. I'm glad you are making sure you keep warm, even if it is expensive to heat the house. At least you can shut off some rooms.
    We have a lot of snow waiting to be plowed again, that's one of our big bills in winter. At least I was able to get out to church. The temperature is more moderate now, about 20°F.

    1. The wedding went well, according to my daughter. The bride is of Korean ancestry and they had a traditional Korean wedding ceremony first, followed by a more western style exchange of personal vows.
      Yes, it's great to have someone send a quick photo on the phone; what did we do before we had cell phones with text and camera functions?
      Thank you, Bushlady; I really didn't need anything from the dollar store and now is not the time for recreational shopping in person! As for keeping warm, yes, I will do what I need to do to stay warm, even if it means a higher gas bill.
      I'm glad you were able to make it to church, today, and the temperature is more moderate, although 20F is not my definition of moderate! :D

  7. I had to check my gas usage to compare! It's $1.47 a therm here, much less. I only used 111 therms, but I think my house is a lot smaller. I keep it at 66F. I think staying warm is important. Your stir fry looks delicious. I have chicken hot dogs in the freezer, I'd not thought of using them that way. Thank you for the idea!

    1. Maybe your house is also better insulated than mine! Your windows probably have double glazing, for example. Hot dogs are convenient to have on hand and I have used them in fried rice quite often. Another thing I do is slice hot dogs and fry them up with onions, chili powder, and ketchup and serve it with rice. :)

  8. That is stunning, Bless. Reading through the comments, I see you were prepared for the bill from your weekly usage and info from the gas company. Thank goodness because opening that bill would have been a shock otherwise.
    I just cannot get over the difference in one year. And I'm sorry but that sounds like a lame excuse too. Maybe I'm not understanding but what does cold weather in other parts of the country have to do with your gas consumption in LA? Does California purchase their supply somewhere else making your California price related?
    Thank goodness you are frugal and have money in your savings for just this sort of thing. And yes, you need to be warm.
    You mentioned using electric to cook your meals if possible so I'm assuming your oven is gas. I'd be thinking of that too. Crock pot, toaster oven, etc. Are your burners gas too? I guess they'd be the same as your oven. Can you turn down your hot water heater or do anything with that to affect it's usage? You mentioned in a comment about using your electric heater to keep warm so you can cut back on the gas heater and I think that's a good idea too.
    $700 is crazy. I feel for families struggling to keep up and then to get a bill like that.
    Okay - back to the good stuff.
    What a view your daughter has. If you wanted a picture that says vacation that's it!
    That was a really nice frugal meal you made yourself.
    You were wise to stay out of the Dollar Store. You need every dollar to pay your gas bill ! lol

    1. Yes, isn't that bill something else? I've already received the first weekly notification for the current billing period, dated Jan. 27; apparently, in just 6 days into the current billing period, I had racked up a bill for $130.28 and they estimate that this month's bill to be $607.99. I laughed when I saw the 99 cents! Oh, yes, I'm glad I didn't go to the dollar store on Saturday! LOL!
      I am honestly not sure how much of the gas we use here in California is supplied from elsewhere and how much is produced in state. But, apparently, the colder winter in the Midwest and Northeast increased demand for natural gas for heating, driving up the commodity price for gas and that higher price is being passed on to us, the consumers.
      According to the news, the state's energy commission is now demanding that the two gas providers (Pacific Gas and Electric and Southern California Gas, which is my provider) pass on the state's clean air energy credit (for carbon emission offsets) to their customers now, rather than later in the spring, which is when they usually give it. The credit is around $70 for customers of PG&E and around $50 for customers of So. Cal. Gas and will help (it is usually applied towards their bills, directly). So Cal Gas is also offering payment plans for those who are unable to pay the bill in full; I don't know if PG&E are doing the same. I assume some people will default on their bills this year.
      Yes, my stove is gas - burners and oven, both; so is my clothes dryer (I don't generally use that every time I do laundry, but, I did use it more when my daughter was home); I suppose I could lower the temperature in my water heater - I'll have to ask M if he can do that for me. Yesterday, I used the electric space heater when I was in the family room and did not use the gas heater at all. This morning, when I woke up, the temperature in the family room was 54F, and I switched on the gas heater for a short period of time while I said my morning prayers. Then, I switched it off. Now, at 1:45 p.m., it is 67F and breezy outside and 62F inside - I opened a couple of windows and the front door to try and get the warmer outside air inside! :)

  9. That is a gorgeous view!
    I don't envy your energy bill, but much like yourself I cannot bear to be cold. I am not wasteful, nor will I walk around in just a t-shirt, but I will put the central heating on if I feel in any way chilly when I'm at home. X

    1. Isn't it? Now I want to go to Hawaii!
      I've lowered the thermostat, but, there are only so many layers one can wear!


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