Wednesday, February 27, 2008

TANSTAAFB: There ain't no such thing as a free breakfast

Tomorrow and the next day, at McDonalds, there is a free McSkillet if you buy a medium drink. You can read about it here.

My husband and I will probably do that. He just can't seem to get past that we're not allowed to go out to lunch for a while. The "free" breakfast will probably cost us about three bucks. That doesn't sound so bad. We missed the earlier "free" pancakes at IHOP.

Sunday, he just had to go to lunch. Okay. Well, we haven't even seen each other for almost a week, much less spent any time together. One lunch isn't going to kill us. He wanted to go to Chaps or IHOP. We had a coupon for IHOP, so we went there. And then he bought a bacon cheeseburger. He really wanted to go to Chaps, but he thought IHOP would be less, because of the coupon. Chaps without a coupon is usually about fourteen dollars. On Sunday, IHOP was twelve something with the coupon, plus tip, so it was almost sixteen dollars. So we paid two dollars more to get something that was almost what he wanted, and now we've wasted a coupon too.

Spring break is a bit over two weeks away. Usually we are talking about where we might go if he asked for a few days off, or if I might go with him if he gets an out of town assignment. This year I'm thinking of how much money we might spend if we had a free trip to Hot Springs or Kansas City. Just sitting in the motel room watching cable sometimes costs an extra five or ten dollars a day to take me along. Then we would probably eat out lunch or dinner or maybe both, so if I go too that expense doubles. And that's just if we don't really go anywhere or do anything. If we're ever near something interesting, we end up spending money doing tourist stuff. We go to a museums and state parks and such. It all adds up.

I'm used to the seasonal layoff and having to do without extra money for a bit. But this is the end of February. I don't remember it lasting this long before. This sucks, and I'm tired of it, but I haven't thought of anything brilliant to do about it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Today was my lucky day, sort of

Well, I started off the day having woken up at around 7:30, which was a pretty good time to start the day with my planned schedule. Lately, I have been waking up an or hour two earlier, blogging or something to pass the time, and then blogging a bit too much and getting a late start. So this was good, except that the reason for it was waking up a bit in the middle of the night, but that was alright since I got back to sleep within a reasonable amount of time.

So I'm about ready to leave when I realize that I don't have my tool box. And it doesn't seem to be in the car either. And I'm pretty sure that I didn't leave it at school, because there's all sorts of other things in the car that I wouldn't have bothered to take home if I didn't also take home the tool box.

Right. So I'm asking my husband if he's seen my tool box. No, he hasn't. But apparently he doesn't even know what it is that I'm looking for. He doesn't ever remember having seen a clear plastic box with tools and maybe a cookie cutter, about the size of a shoe box, but with a hinged lid. And I've used this tool box now for over a year, since this is my third semester back in school. So much for his photographic memory.

So, I can either go on to school and see what I might be able to work on without the tool box, or I can sit home and cry about it. I decide to go on to school.

I've pretty much confirmed that I didn't leave it on my shelf at school. So there are a few possibilities. First, I have probably brought the tool box into the house and then accidentally covered it with a sweater or a stack of newspapers or something and just can't find it. Second, I might have left it in the car and then did something like accidentally cover it with a coat or a box or plastic bag and just can't find it. The third possibility is less likely and less pleasant, since if I left it in the parking lot while I was loading the car, I am very unlikely to ever see it again, while if I just can't find it right now it will probably turn up in a few days. The fourth possibility is that someone just took it from me, and that is very unlikely.

So I started getting out all of my stuff and letting the pieces dry out a bit, wondering what I should work on while the tools were missing. A friend offered to let me use any or all of her tools. And then I remembered that my vase had probably been fired. So I went to get that, sanded it a bit, rinsed it, and then started applying wax resist around the edge. The wax resist will help keep glaze off of the parts of the piece that will actually touch the kiln shelf. If the bottom of the piece has glaze, the firing process will glue the piece to the kiln shelf and ruin both items.

Then the professor told us that he would prefer us to wrap up whatever we were doing in time to hear a guest artist give a lecture. So most of us did that right after I was able to apply one coat of glaze to the inside of my vase. And then after the lecture there was free pizza and soda and cookies. One of the nice things about being in the art department is there's free food once in a while. Then we went back to class, and I had time to apply a second coat of glaze inside the vase, so I'll only have to do one more coat on the inside and three coats on the outside before it is fired again.

So it wasn't a wasted day at all. And after the free lunch at school I didn't have to rush home to eat lunch and got to run an errand. While I was out, I bought my lotto tickets for the week. If this is really my lucky day, maybe I'll win the lottery.

Of course I still have to find my tool box. Unless I win the lottery and can buy a new one. Of course, if I win the lottery, I'm probably going to buy a whole new studio.

Monday, February 25, 2008

An update on this business of buying lottery tickets

I don't think that this should count as a Monday Morons post, even if it is Monday. Monday Morons posts usually make fun of someone, often myself. And I don't want to look like I'm making fun of other people who spend money on lottery tickets, even if I do wonder about the logic of spending my own money on them.

Earlier I wrote a post about how much money I spend on the lottery, and another post on how poor people have bad spending habits and how I've picked up some of these bad spending habits. One of the things that poor people do is buy lottery tickets.

Last week I saw a bit on the news about poor people spending money on lottery tickets, and how that some guy who used to work for the lottery felt so bad about it that he quit his job. It said something like the poorer you are the more money you are likely to spend on the lottery. The example given was that high school dropouts spend an average of 61 dollars a month, while college graduates spend only 8 dollars a month.

I admitted earlier to spending 8 dollars on an average week, so that means I spend about four times what other college graduates spend. But I don't know if they were including all lottery tickets sold in Texas, or if that included Mega Millions, or if was just Lotto Texas or what. I only play Mega Millions and Lotto Texas. I have two sets of numbers for both games, and they are played twice a week, so I spend eight dollars. If the study did not include Mega Millions, then I am only spending 4 dollars a week on Lotto Texas, so that puts me closer to the 8 dollars a month average. Now if we don't include Mega Millions, and we say that since there are two of us playing and divide the number by half, we now have my husband playing 2 dollars per week and myself playing 2 dollars a week, and that means that I myself am only playing about 8 dollars per month like the other college graduates.

But who am I kidding? I play 32 dollars per month. I play four times what other college graduates do, though I only spend about half of what the high school drop outs spend.

I just wouldn't be able to stop playing those numbers. What if I stopped playing those numbers, and then some time in the future those numbers were drawn? I'd just die.

What else could I do with 32 dollars a month?

Well, it wouldn't pay any major bills. It's only like ten percent of a car payment or a credit card payment and not quite even that much toward rent. It wouldn't quite pay the gas or the phone bill or the Internet.

It would buy a packet of birth control pills.

It would buy a nice lunch or dinner if I had a coupon, but I do too much of that already and I'm trying to do that less not more.

I could buy about 75 pounds of clay. On the other hand, if I was willing to do the work, I could probably make that much for free.

It would buy about ten twelve packs of Coke. Or maybe thirty 2-liter bottles of soda.

Depending on what I bought and whether or not I had coupons, it might buy a week's worth of groceries. But I don't think that I could ever stretch that to buy a month's worth of groceries.

It would buy a bit more than a tank of gas, but again it wouldn't stretch to last for the whole month.

It would buy about ten little bottles of ceramic glaze or underglaze. But again I'm trying to mostly use stuff that the class already has, so I rarely spend that much.

It would buy two pounds of glass if I decided to do another glass sculpture.

It would would probably buy a pair of pants. If I went to Walmarts or a clearance sale, it might buy a pair of pants and a shirt. But I really don't want to buy anymore pants until I lose some weight.

It would pay for both this year's club membership and a ticket to the Halloween party. I doubt that it would pay for whatever I end up wearing to the party.

I don't know. It all either seems like something I could do without, something that I've already budgeted for, or something that it wouldn't even make a dent in. It just feels like any other bill. It's something that I have to pay before I do anything else, unless I am that close to not being about to pay rent or something. Another 32 dollars would not get these people on the phone to stop reminding me that I haven't paid the credit card bill yet.

But what about those poor people spending 61 dollars a month? What else could they do with 61 dollars a month? Do they still spend the money if they are worried about the power or phone being cut off? If they had coupons and just bought really basic stuff, could 61 dollars a month pay for all of their groceries?

At some point I may have to rethink this whole lottery business. If we ever get a national lottery, will I spend another 4 dollars a week on that? Will I change my mind about things if it means spending 48 dollars a month instead of 32? If my husband were to lose the job he has or I lose my husband or otherwise not have as much money coming in as I have grown accustomed to, would I give up spending money on lottery tickets and just hope that if my numbers are called I never hear about it?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Freaky Friday

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:
pain (5x) hell (1x)

Maybe the blog rating thing needs maintenance?

Okay, I'm getting a lot of traffic to the post about the Terminator and time travel theories. There were questions about the movies and the new series, and there were two searches specifically for the grandfather theory. Not that I don't appreciate the interest, but it would be nice if someone left a comment once in a while (other than the appreciated regular readers, that is). While you're looking around at Terminator stuff, you might look at this site.
I think that I'll answer one question today--why doesn't the terminator kill Sarah's mom? I think that the terminator does kill Sarah's mom in the original movie, but I think that the question was about why do the terminators only try to kill Sarah Connor or John Connor? Why don't the terminators go further back in time and try to kill Sarah's parents, or go back further than that and try to kill Sarah's grandparents, etc.... In the first movie, Reese tells Sarah that Skynet had limited records to work from, that Skynet knows John's name and Sarah's name and that Sarah lived in LA. Skynet didn't know the name of John's father, or have a picture of Sarah, etc.... So Reese had a bit more info to work with than the first Terminator, and Reese could find Sarah first, while the Terminator was just going through the phone book killing women named Sarah Connor. I'm not sure what the Terminator was supposed to do after killed the women in the phone book. I'm not sure how it was supposed to know that the right Sarah Connor had been killed and the mission was over. I mean, the Terminator wasn't carrying around a picture of John Conner that would fade if his parents never got together, right? Anyway, that's all the information that the Skynet had, so Skynet couldn't choose a different target like Sarah's mom, because Skynet didn't even know who Sarah was much less have anyway of tracking down Sarah's mom. If Sarah had an unlisted number, or ran out of money and had to move back in with her parents, I guess the Terminator would have killed the two women in the phone book and then waited for further instructions.

There were also a lot of Cloverfield searches, but I don't think that I have anything else to add to that right now.

This post is still attracting people who were still looking for dick costumes and penis molds and such. I still don't remember where I saw the penis mold kit, but it really can't be that hard to find, since I found it and I wasn't even looking. I am almost certain that it costs ninety dollars, and of course there's also shipping costs and such, so if you're not prepared to spend a hundred dollars or so you should give up on the idea. And to be clear I was just reading about the product, I didn't actually try it myself. So I can't advise anyone on whether or not it is a quality product, only that from what I've read people tend to get a little upset with the molding process but are usually very happy afterwards with end result.

There were a lot of searches here for Rudy's, but I can't say I have anything to add on that. I still haven't found coupons, and the only nutritional info I have is that a serving of the sauce is either 30 or 35 calories. But remember that a serving of sauce is like a tablespoon, not like half a cup. My overweight brother is still expected to die in less than ten years at about age 45. And remember that for the most part, turkey is good for you, so if you go to Rudy's please at least ask for a sample of the turkey. Try it, you might like it.

Other restaurant related searches included a couple of people were looking for Olenjacks. I wrote a post about going there, and their website has a menu, so that's very useful. A few people were looking for Jimmy Dips, which was a nice Chinese restaurant in Fort Worth that has been closed now for at least ten years. Someone Googled abuello's arlington. So I guess that I spelled that wrong, it should be Abuelo's, and for the record we went to the location in Hurst. It was very nice, and for the Hurst location there are often coupons in one of those little pamphlets you pick up from the tourist info places. And someone Googled campo verde black bean soup, so I guess that I have to apologize because I said that I would write up a recipe for my attempt at copying it, and then I didn't. So if you already know how to cook beans here's the general idea. You need a pound of dried black beans, and once you've got that going you add between a quarter pound and a half pound of smoked sausage, and then a bit later you add one large chopped onion, and then about six sliced jalapenos, and about ten minutes before you're ready to serve the soup you add a bunch of chopped cilantro, though you might put a bit of the cilantro and maybe a few slices of jalapeno aside for a garnish.

I wrote this post about not having enough money and not being smart about the money we have, about his family being poor, and him having totally different ideas about spending money, and about my current bad spending habits, etc... It's getting a lot of traffic from these searches-- where do rich people spend money Why do we need to spend money on shelter for poor people why do the poor spend money fast "dropped my health insurance" rich people save poor people spend poor people money and do poor people spend money on good things I thought that housing in the past and now was another search that led to this post, but as it turns out it goes to a post I wrote about haunted houses.

A couple of people were searching for monday's and wednesday's texas kfc chicken fried steak. In the Dallas/Fort Worth area, there's a Monday $1.99 lunch special for chicken and on Wednesdays there's chicken fried steak for $1.99 (and for the record medium drinks are supposed to be one dollar on those days, but most of the time they seem to "forget" to give the discount). Anyway, I wrote a post about going to Arkansas, and on the way there we stopped at KFC and asked for the Wednesday chicken fried steak special. And some kid told us that "this is KFC, and we don't have chicken fried steak." So it's just annoying when you go to a national chain and find that things are not just like the restaurant you have back home.

I sure that someone looking for alcohol gift baskets did not want to hear my Monday Morons lecture against giving alcohol.

I have no clue what one would buy with freaky fridays coupons.

Someone would like to know how to get even with a homewrecking woman Well, I think that I'm going to keep all of my really good ideas to myself. Seriously, though, whoever you are, we can talk if you think just talking to someone would make you feel better.

I'm not quite sure how that this search how robotics could fit into the rapture locust led to my blog. But it sounds just really cool.

im no longer getting my emails someone is hacking into them led someone to a post I did recently in which I linked to another post and gave a condensed version about something that happened, and I thought that someone had hacked into some of my husbands stuff and changed his blog just a tiny bit. It was my theory that either the Homewrecking-slut or someone working on her behalf had done it. Anyway, somebody did it, for no aparent reason. And if it was supposed to be a joke, no one took credit for it.

The search everyone is going to be are right leads to my post about almost everyone is going to hell, which in no way implies that everyone is going to be alright.

I also got searches for stuff like Freaky Nylons and remembering valentine And I had a lot of art related searches. On the same day I had someone searching for an Altrusian and someone else searching for ganectic. Apparently oklahoma is not for freakys I don't have an argument either way for that one. There were two searches for joke gifts diets no thanks i'm on a diet I'm not quite sure what the search is really about, but this could lead to either my post about diet drinks or why I'm not exactly fat. People Googled truth about body works and victoria's secret christmas tree I just like Bath & Body Works, so I get a lot of searches like that.

So I'm not sure if whoever was looking for bimbo friend was looking for the one I mentioned. Now, this is not my bimbo friend, but the Homewrecking-slut's friend. I may have to give her her own section.

There were searches for picture of insidious and insidioustruth I had all kinds of fun playing with that second one. As for the first one, well, there's rarely any pictures over on this blog. The few so far have been of scarves and an art project, and one of the actors from Space: Above and Beyond and 24. So that probably was a disappointment.

Okay, here's this week's count:

Cloverfield-- 33
People going to hell--3
Diet Drinks--5
Popcorn-- 5
Bath & Body Works--2
Terminator/Sarah Connor--16

And the top twelve keyword are now: cloverfield, rudys, costume, bbq, penis, marlene, the, going, dick, giant, hell, calories

Now I feel all warm and fuzzy

This was just supposed to be the opening for this week's Freaky Friday. Only it got kind of long, so I decided that it needed to be a post all by itself. I will still try to do the Freaky Friday thing a bit later.

Okay, so my husband is a serious blogger. He is under the delusion that someday this silly stuff is going to make him some real money. That's what he thinks about a lot of things, and he's usually wrong. Anyway, I don't know if he enjoys the blogging anymore, but he's seriously obsessed with it and won't stop doing it even though it upsets me very much. And I was already pretty upset to start with.

One of the things that he does is submit absolutely everything that he has ever written to Digg and Fark and a bunch of other places like that. Not that this takes as much time as actually writing posts, but it does take some time, and it adds up. So he gets a lot of Diggs and some Farks and some other stuff and that one time he made the front page of Fark. For all of this effort he makes about a dollar and a half per day, and once in a while he writes a post for someone and makes about ten dollars. I'm thinking that if he does this during every spare moment of his the day, he might make about half of the money that we spend eating lunch.

Anyway, I don't do any of that. Blogging is supposed to be fun. I think some people make money blogging, but for the most part, that ship has sailed. You have to be in the right place and the right time for that sort of thing to happen, and we weren't. For the most part, if you just sit around trying to think of ways to make money, it just isn't going to work out. Sometimes you think of something that helps you or helps someone you know, and while you helping yourself you might as well see if other people are interested in what you're doing or what you've made, and sometimes this becomes a business opportunity. And sometimes you are very lucky and make enough money that you can quit your job. But even then, when you have a good idea that could help people, it just usually doesn't work out like that.

So I have this blog, which I don't think will ever make any real money, and it is way too much work to get a blog to make even pocket change. So I don't read books on how to increase traffic to my blog and all of that. And I don't submit stuff to Digg and Fark and all of that. And if I ever do submit anything to Digg or Fark or something like that, I'm certainly not going to submit every single thing that I write, unless I cut way back on writing.

Anyway, the thing about Digg and Fark and such isn't necessarily that you wrote something really cool. It's just that you've found something really cool. Maybe the really cool thing is something you wrote, or maybe it's just something you happened to come across while surfing the web. So you can find an amateur movie review from some college guy who got sneak preview passes to some movie you've really been looking forward to, or you really like someone's post on the greatest vacation spot, or whatever. And you think that's just so cool, and you think that other people will think that it's cool, so you submit it to Digg or whatever. Or you can have a whole blog of stuff that you didn't even write. You can just copy or link to something you found, and as long as you give credit and you weren't asked not to do that, it's probably okay. Flattery will get you...well, as least a word of appreciation.

Okay, so I have a link on this site, which I don't think I'd ever heard of before, and I don't think that I know this person. And I'm pretty sure that the post doesn't really fit in with the rest of it. But there it is, and it was submitted to Digg and got five Diggs.

Isn't that sweet?

On the same day I also found out that my post about going to the state fair was copied and translated into German. I'm afraid that I don't get why, and it wasn't that good of a post, but it's still kind of cool.

There was some other stuff I found that were supposed to have links to my blog, but then they either just didn't seem to work or they had been deleted. Maybe someone linked to my posts because of the name, without actually reading them, and then later decided they just didn't fit.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Nobody cares what you had for lunch, and nobody cares about art class either

I have already forgotten what week this is in art class. I should know, since the professor keeps reminding us. The first semester people are right on schedule, for now, and the rest of us probably aren't making him very happy.

Two girls quit recently, because they weren't having fun in Ceramics II like they did in Ceramics I. Okay. Whatever. You can't make all the people happy all of the time. A lot of other people have just stopped showing up for some reason. I hope that they remember to officially drop before it is too late. My friend, who has cancer yet again, has missed a few classes. I thought it was because of the chemo, but I've been told that is only on Fridays, so I guess that isn't it.

I have missed one class on purpose, and another class was cancelled when the professor was sick. So I haven't missed that many official class periods, but I haven't put in much extra time either. I used to be in the lab whenever the door was open. Now I'm just too tired. Poor little me. Did I mention that my friend has cancer?

I have finished the green stage (that is, I've finished the work that needs to be done before the bisque firing) of the first two projects. The first vase has been underglazed and is now in the kiln and should be fired before I go back to class. The second vase will be left out to dry next. Except for that, it should be finished, unless something breaks. You wouldn't think that twenty pounds or so of clay would make something delicate, but sometimes there are very small parts or parts at an angle or parts that only attach at one point. Anyway, I'll feel better after we get it into the kiln in one piece.

The third and fourth projects keep changing. This is such a cool idea. But so is this other thing. I should skip ahead to the fifth project. The fifth project is a two or more part relief sculpture (mostly flat, like a sculpture on a big tile), and I keep changing my mind about that too. I had ordered a book of dragon patterns before Christmas, but there was a mix up and they still haven't sent me the right book. I guess that I'll have to give up and do something else. Then I thought that I'd make before and after views of the Lost City from Land of the Lost. But I can't find any good pictures of either view to work from.

Maybe I should skip ahead to the last project. I am pretty sure that I'm going to try to make a sculpture in the round version of the same dragon head that I've done in the other two classes. Maybe I should just work on that for a while, and then use whatever time I have left to make Halloween party dishes for the third and fourth projects. If I have to I'll find another dragon pattern for the relief sculpture, or maybe another sea turtle.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Monday Morons: Just a few things that annoyed me this week

It's Monday, so I should be writing Monday Morons. But there was nothing that really got to me that much this week, other than just the usual stuff.

There were some little things here and there. Thursday I was in class about thirty minutes early, and there were already four other students in the lab. And most of us are getting out our clay and tools and such, but sometimes there's someone just bent over a book. And there are plenty of good reasons why a person might be into a book instead of working with clay. Like the first semester students actually have to study for quizzes and such. Or you might be looking at a pottery book to get some ideas. Or you might be looking at pictures in other books while trying to find a pattern for your next project. Or maybe you have to draw something in your sketchbook. And sometimes you have a book open that has nothing to do with ceramics class, cause you have a test soon in some other class, and you look over occasionally at your biology textbook or your notes from history class.

So as I am walking past this girl who is bent over a book, I look over to see what she is doing. And I think that she is playing sudoku.

Sudoku? We have very limited lab time. The teacher is supposed to arrive an hour before class is scheduled to start, so those of us who don't have a class in the previous time period can get a little more work done. but I'm afraid he isn't always reliable about this. But Thursday the lab was open before class officially starts, and here sits this girl who is working on sudoku puzzles.

I'm not her mother, so I didn't say anything. If she can get her work done in only the allotted six hours a week, good for her. If she can, she isn't actually required to do anything with the clay until ten o'clock. But it was just really irritating to see someone in the lab wasting time and using a table to do something so trivial that had nothing to do with class.

There was some other annoying thing that had to do with class, but I've already forgotten what it was, so I don't think it was that important.

Wednesday, I got a bit ticked off with my husband's bosses. It turned out okay, but this sort of thing is so annoying.

We're still a bit short on money after the recent seasonal layoffs, and now that the holidays are over, there are still gaps in the schedules. So my husband sometimes works a full week, and sometimes not a full week, and sometimes there's a whole week off. But last week's schedule was for four days with Wednesday being a day off. Fine. Wednesday we will have an early Valentine's Day. We will take some of the gift cards we received for Christmas and have a lovely lunch somewhere and maybe go to a movie or something. That way we do something nice without spending too much money.

So the day was supposed to start off with lunch at Olenjacks, and I'm trying to pick something to wear that isn't a dress and is mostly casual, but not something so casual that I've ruined it by wearing it to art class. I finally find something that I'm comfortable with, and then the phone rings. My husband's boss needs to get a camera from my husband and take it to someone who is working that day whose camera isn't working. Right. My husband's boss is more than an hour's drive south of Fort Worth, and he wants my husband to bring the camera to someplace in Fort Worth and then the boss will drive from Fort Worth to one of the places where the other photographers are working.

Okay. It isn't lunch time yet. So if I go with my husband to meet his boss, we'll still have time to turn around and go to Olenjacks for lunch. Fine. So we're stuck at home waiting for this boss to drive to Fort Worth, and when he's almost there he'll call and we'll suggest someplace to meet. And there's nothing really at the place that he wants to meet, and I already think this whole business is lalready unreasonable enough without us just having to wait for this guy in a parking lot or something. I think he can meet us down the road a bit at a McDonald's or something. It least we can wait for him indoors and have a soda or something. So my husband thinks about it for a bit and decides that a certain Whataburger is the best place to meet. So I get dressed and we wait for the boss to call back.

And then the boss calls, and he and my husband discuss where to meet and they agree on someplace. But now it's a bit later, and we can still turn around and have lunch at Olenjacks, but later than we planned, and I'm already not feeling so good and I don't want to have lunch late. So we decide maybe just having lunch in Fort Worth might be better, and then we can go to Olenjacks for dinner.

Now what is my husband getting paid for having our day disrupted like this and wasting at least two hours of his time driving to and from Fort Worth? Absolutely nothing. On a day that he works but doesn't make enough to draw commission, he is only paid fifty dollars. But this isn't counted as a work day, and he won't get anything for his time, and I'm not even sure if there's a place on the expense report to get back his money for the gas. I was a bit ticked off and thinking that they should just give the other guy the day off and pay my husband to take his shift. But that isn't fair to the other guy either, because at the end of the shift the guy will still have to go in and get the rest of his equipment, and they won't pay him for that either. But there should be some way of paying a person for wasting their day off like this. This sort of thing has happened before, more than once, and it isn't fair to anybody.

So we're just about to walk out the door, and the phone rings again, and the boss now has another change of plans. One of the other photographers has to take his wife to the doctor. Luckily, this is one of the photographers with a broken camera. So maybe my husband could just take the camera and go work this other guy's shift instead of meeting the boss in Fort Worth. So that was a better deal for us, even if he was only going to make fifty dollars, cause at this point we need even fifty dollars. But I was still a bit rattled for having my day interrupted like that. And then my husband made commission, and it was the best day of work that he's had since before Christmas. Unfortunately, the rest of the schedule still sucks.

I guess I ended up writing Monday Morons after all.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Poor people do not know how to spend money

Earlier I had written a post about my husband having a problem with his foot and not going to see a doctor about it. There are reasons people don't want to go to see a doctor. For some of them, fear is a major factor. They think something might be wrong, but they don't really know for sure, and they feel better not knowing. For other people there is just something about being at the doctor's office that they can't stand. The whole hurry up and wait thing is a bother. Going to the doctor should take about an hour but usually takes up half of the day. People don't want to waste all that time in a doctor's office, probably doing nothing. And for some people money is a major factor, and perhaps lack of insurance is the problem.

So part of my husband's problem is the money part, and perhaps the time part. For once in our lives, lack of insurance doesn't enter into it. But even with insurance, going to the doctor isn't actually free. There's either a twenty-five or fifty dollar co-payment at a regular doctor's office, more than that for a minor emergency place, and way more than that for the actual emergency room. If it turns out to be something that can be helped with a reasonable amount of money, you are then sent off to the drugstore and perhaps told to go on a particular diet for a while. If it isn't something simple like that, who knows how much it might end up costing you.

Now I've already said that I don't like wasting time and money going to see a doctor when I think that I already know what I am going to be told. I don't want to go if I'm just going to be told some common sense thing that I already know to do. If I'm going to be told to take some over-the-counter meds and get some rest and drink liquids, I don't need to hear that from a doctor.

But I think sometimes it is different with my husband. I think sometimes that he doesn't go to the doctor when he needs to because he doesn't have that fifty dollar co-payment.

And why doesn't he have that fifty dollar co-payment? Because he spends like a hundred dollars a week on lunch. And this, in part, has something to do with not growing up middle class.

I had noticed that his family wasted a lot of money. I thought this was an odd thing, since my family had more money to start with, and we didn't spend money like they did. But I had thought that they must be some sort of anomaly, that people who didn't have much money had better spending habits than his family.

When I was growing up and didn't get something that I wanted, I heard the dreadful stories of my parents having to walk to school in the snow, uphill, both ways. People only washed their hair once a week. And whatever thing that I didn't want to eat was something that they had to eat several times a week instead of once in a while. And maybe for a while they lived on a lake and didn't have indoor plumbing. I was being ungrateful. I didn't know what hard was. And of course, there were people starving in China.

Things that I wanted and couldn't have were clearly defined as luxuries. Soda was a luxury. Candy and other desserts were luxuries. Going to McDonald's was a luxury. Toys were luxuries. My parents bought necessities first, then put money in savings, then thought about buying some luxuries. We certainly had the luxuries, just not as much as I would have liked.

Even the luxury of going to eat at McDonald's was often ruined with the phrase "you'll have to share a drink." Sharing a drink was just awful. My little brother had germs.

I thought that a girl I went to school with was rich. She had more toys and other luxuries than I did. My parents tried to explain that they just decided to spend their money on other things, that her parents were older, and that she was the baby of the family and her older sisters had moved away. Maybe they should have just told me that the girl question was spoiled (which she was), and that probably would have made more sense to me.

So I grew up thinking that rich people bought whatever they wanted, and middle class people were like me and mostly spent their money the way that my parents did, and that poor people just didn't waste any money at all and possibly had some special knowledge of money and what things to buy to make it last longer. This must be especially true of people who had been poor for several generations, and that there was this special knowledge of how to live cheap and still have all the necessities. So I assumed that poor people never drank sodas, never went to the movies, had few toys that they only got for Christmas and birthdays, never went on vacations and trips to see grandma, etc...

Sometimes, this is true. There are people out there who buy really basic things in bulk and know how to make hundreds of things from fifty pound bags of rice and oatmeal. Fajitas were originally invented to use up an almost inedible piece of cheap meat. Some people grow their own vegetables. Some people live places where they can fish and collect other wild foods. Some people still mend socks and other clothes. Some people clip coupons and get several bags of groceries for less than a dollar a bag. Some people read the Tightwad Gazzette and find something useful to do with everything.

But I think that there's a lot less of that sort of thing now (except maybe for the coupon thing).

I had noticed that there were people (both poor and not so poor) who complained of not having enough money for something, but they always seemed to have cigarettes, beer, and/or soda. But it never seems to occur to anyone to give up those things. Soda, depending on where it is bought and how it is packaged, might be less expensive than milk. But milk is one of those necessities, while soda is not. Too much soda is bad for you. The cigarettes and beer are even more expensive and worse for your health. Sometimes people finally get it through there heads to give the stuff up for health reasons, but I've rarely heard of anyone trying to give them up to save money.

I would have thought that this sort of thing that I had noticed was a recent trend. Not so, though it is probably getting worse. The whole thing about poor people and money came up a few times in school. In British History we read George Orwell's The Road to Wigan Pier. Everyone, no matter how poor bought some sort of tobacco, some sort of alcohol, either coffee or tea or both, and then the things that go with coffee and tea such as sugar and cream. There were several studies done, trying to show people how they could spend less money on food that was better for them and most of it even tasted better, but very few people changed their spending habits. And fewer still gave up the tobacco and alcohol. Often, if anyone did have a bit of money leftover, it was spent on lottery tickets.

The other bit about how people spend money came up in Adolescent Development. The teacher had most people divided into nine classes, and explained how the different classes spent their money. Rich people do not save money, because there just always seems to be more money. And poor people don't save money either, because they just never have any extra money for a long enough period of time to develop that habit. If you have good spending habits and learn to save your money and such, you were probably raised middle class. She had this chart, and it all made sense. It was brilliant. Except that a couple of things were starting to mess up her chart. Rich people who got rich playing basketball often were people who used to be poor. So the spending habits of rich basketball players didn't mesh with the other people on that line of the chart. And credit cards are messing up everyone's spending habits, even if you were raised middle class.

I think that when I lived with my parents my spending habits were pretty good. I saved money. I didn't have a credit card. I didn't eat out all of the time. I didn't buy a lot of things that were really stupid. But I didn't make much money either. I had a minimum wage job that did not have benefits, and I had to pay for my health insurance and the gas and maintenance for my car, and my clothes. I didn't have to pay for all of my food, but I did end up paying for a lot of it. I made enough to take care of myself, as long as I didn't have to pay rent, and I didn't have to worry about little things like toilet paper.

Before I got married, little stuff like toilet paper and toothpaste and stuff in the medicine cabinet just magically appeared. After I got married, it took me a few months to get used to remembering to budget for such things. Aspirin and soap and shampoo all cost money, and it adds up, and it really sucks when you forget to buy something before it runs out.

And, after I got married, I discovered that one could buy a lot of luxuries with a little money, but no matter how you tried to save money, some of the necessities were aways out of your price range. It didn't matter if you totally gave up sodas and chocolate and going to McDonald's, it wouldn't make enough difference to afford a safe place to live and health insurance and a reliable car. If I gave up every luxury that I could think of and totally made myself miserable, I might could have some of those necessities, but never all of them.

This made me panic a bit. This was business as usual for my husband, and he didn't take any notice of it except when one of the cars actually needed to be repaired. Possibly he never had health insurance. He grew up in a worse neighborhood than the one we moved to. And he was used to driving older cars that might not have working air-conditioners.

I started to spend money on things that I didn't need to make me feel better about not having enough money. We bought pizza on Wednesdays, when they were half price, and often they were cheese pizzas that I added my own toppings to. The pizzas were a good deal, but not something we really needed. Other than the pizza, we probably went out at least once a week, but it was usually either a fast food place or a place that had sent us coupons. And we could mostly afford to do that, after I dropped my health insurance.

In the past fifteen or twenty years, the money required to buy pizza has almost doubled. In the same amount of time, the money required to buy health insurance has more than tripled. You can reason out that you can buy a lot of food for the same amount of money that insurance cost. You can reason out that insurance will only help you if you happen to get sick, but food is something that you need everyday. You can reason that eating pizza makes you happy, but that getting that monthly insurance bill causes a lot of stress. If you drop the insurance, you can buy pizza and still have money left over. In theory, you can even save some of that money for a doctor visit, just in case you get sick.

I had a part time job that paid for most of our food, my health insurance, and the maintenance on my car. I have very little left over after those things were paid for. After a couple of years, the insurance cost more, and the maintenance on the car cost more, and I was contributing very little towards buying food or paying other bills. At some point it was suggested since we would not be able to pay for the next major car repair, and I didn't like my job anyway, that I should just leave the job, give up the car, and not renew the health insurance. It was a dumb thing to do, but at the time it seemed to make sense.

I have since picked up a number of other bad habits, mostly involving money. And during most of that time I didn't have a job. Only two of the jobs that I've had made enough money to pay most of the bills.

We do a lot of dumb things now. When we feel bad we go out to dinner, usually with a coupon. But dinner with a coupon still costs about twenty or even thirty dollars. If we forget to pay a bill for something that is three hundred dollars, and we only have two hundred and fifty, we usually don't do anything about the forgotten bill. We ignore it until the next month and pay late charges. The two hundred and fifty dollars will probably get spent on something else, probably something that we could have done without like pizza or movie tickets. We don't put the two hundred and fifty away, knowing that we will still owe money next month. Next month there will be more money, probably.

So this is one of those months were there is more money, but not as much as we hoped for, and we are a little short because we bought pizza and such. There are a couple of credit cards that didn't get paid, I hang up on about four people a day who think that I've found some money under the bed since the last time they called, and I'm not sure that we'll have enough money for me to have my annual exam when it is normally scheduled. And I skipped seeing the dentist this year.

All this is going on when on paper we are making more money than ever. Last year my husband made twice as much as the year before that. Partially, the money is going towards paying for cars. We both had ten year old cars that needed to be replaced, so he bought one last year, and I got a new one this year. And then he was in a wreck, and had to get another car, and he still had to pay for the wrecked one because no one would sell him gap insurance. So that is part of the problem. But a lot of it is credit card debt from the previous five years, and a lot of it is going out to lunch. Going out to lunch is about the only time that my husband acts like a normal person. I realize that the going out to lunch is a luxury that we cannot afford, but I usually don't even suggest not going. At lunch, away from the house, he is normal, and we have to eat something for lunch anyway.

So we are still poor, even though we are not, and my husband still has not seen a doctor about his foot.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Remembering Valentine's Day

Now I know that I said that I was going to post about people who don't know how to spend money, but I think that I might put that off yet again. Maybe I'll post that instead of doing Freaky Friday tomorrow, or maybe it can just wait until next week. Anyway, I have this idea that I should post something else, since it's Valentine's Day.

I used to really like Valentine's Day when I was a kid. When you're in grade school you buy these silly cartoon Valentines and give them to other kids. Not that you just go up and give them stuff. Everyone had a decorated box, and you put the Valentines in the boxes. We had a contest to see who could make the prettiest box. I never actually got first place in that, which I didn't think was fair. It was obvious that either the other kid's parents had done most of the work, or else it was mostly a store bought thing to begin with. My box was my own work, except for when my dad had to glue something for me, since the project often required some toxic chemical that I wasn't allowed to use by myself.

So that was fun, and it lasted three or four years. I don't remember the school after that making a big deal of the day. By sixth grade, I hardly did anything fun with the holiday at all. Funny that the day meant less as I got closer to the age that it was supposed to mean something. In seventh grade I had a boyfriend, but I don't remember him getting me anything special that year. After breaking up for about a year and a half, we were together again, and it seems like that year we tried to make a big deal of it. But he didn't have any money and I think I was grounded for something anyway.

There were a few years when the holiday just seemed to remind me that I didn't have anybody. When I was seventeen I had someone, but he didn't have any money. I think maybe he made me some fudge or something.

When I was nineteen, finally, this was the year that I expected to get a pretty red box of candy and so forth. My fiance presented me with a stuffed animal, which he assumed that I would like better than candy. And normally, he would have been right, but I'd had just been wanting one of these silly heart shaped boxes for so long I was a bit disappointed. He saw that, and later he went and got me chocolate too.

The next year, the fiance was still around, though the actual engagement had been put on hold. He supposedly didn't have time for me, so I didn't think that I should sit around and wait for him. I didn't want to be engaged anyway. I wanted to get married. Being engaged is just this stressful period of time when you are waiting to get married. I was in college, and I was supposed to be having fun and dating, not waiting around for this guy who I might or might not get married to later. So I went back to dating, and it seems like there were about four guys in the picture, and they all seemed to disappear for a week or two right around the middle of February.

When I was twenty-one I finally broke it off with the college fiance, and found myself back with the guy I was with when I was seventeen. I'm sure that there were the traditional gifts and and nice dinner and such, but I don't remember that stuff. What I remember was that I had gone through a bit of a crisis in December, and he was really there for me. But after the crisis was over, we were talking about getting married, and I realized that I couldn't marry him. I was very much in love, but he wasn't a Christian. Since I knew that I wasn't going to marry him, and the purpose of dating was to figure out who I would marry, I really shouldn't date him anymore. Having come to this conclusion, I thought that I would leave it to him how we should deal the break-up. Should we just immediately stop all contact? Should we try to stay friends? Should we just gradually see less and less of each other? Should we still date sometimes but also see other people? He didn't get it, and he had to hear again. We weren't going to get married, so we were eventually going to break up, so we should do it sooner than later so we didn't get hurt any more than absolutely necessary. He could choose how to handle that, but if he didn't choose then I would. At that point he lied to me and told me that he was a Christian but that he just didn't feel comfortable in church. And then he lied to me about some other really important things.

And then we were engaged. Not anything official, since we hadn't picked out rings or set a date or anything. But we would be getting married sometime, whenever we had the money. And I was in college and there didn't seem to be any rush, but I did expect to be married in a year or two.

So I don't think that we really ever made a big deal of the holiday. Until these past two years, I was very much in love and always happy to see him. Even with the financial problems and figuring out that he'd lied to get me to marry him, I was still very happy. I was a happily married woman and didn't need a special day for it.

So Valentine's Day itself was no big deal. The following week was somewhat special due to buying a lot of clearance sale chocolate. But except for that it was really just life as usual.

The thing that I really associate with February and Valentine's Day is buying stuff for my dad. His birthday was less than a week away from the holiday, so he was often presented with heart-shaped Mylar balloons that were on sale, or heart-shaped cake, or red tins of popcorn. If I took him to lunch or dinner, there were hearts and flowers decorating the restaurant. Stuff like that.

Dad would have been 66 this year. I miss him. I know that he was in pain and probably ready to go, and I know that he is in a better place now. I have totally gotten used to the fact that he isn't here, but there are times when it is especially irritating. I can't tell him about some movie I've seen or some thing that happened at school. I can't ask him if he likes the new Terminator series. I can't ask him what he thinks is wrong with the car. I can't ask him to tell me again about the giant checker-playing computer that one of his rivals entered into a high-school science fair.

Happy Valentines Day. And Happy Birthday Dad.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sometimes I really wonder what is wrong with his brain

Yesterday I went on a bit about my husband not seeing a doctor. I meant to go into something else, but an hour later I had already written a long enough post without even getting into the money part of the situation.

So I was going to blog about that part today, only I think I'll save that for maybe tomorrow. I want to write about something I noticed last night. Another side of, what's the matter with him anyway?

Yesterday I notice that my husband mentions in his blog something about it being National Pancake Day. If you had gone to IHOP yesterday, between like 7 and 10, you would have been offered three pancakes for free. The idea is that you get free pancakes, and then you donate the money that you would have spent on the pancakes to some charity the Shriners are involved with. So far as I know, only the pancakes are free. It doesn't come with free coffee or milk, and you might want to buy some eggs to go with those pancakes, etc... So the charity makes money, and probably IHOP still makes some money, and everybody's happy.

We learned about this last Friday. It was one of those times last week that we ate out somewhere when I didn't plan to. My husband skipped lunch, waiting for me to come home, which didn't happen until after 4pm. We had no plans to go to lunch, but he thought we did, so he just sat at the computer and skipped lunch, waiting for me. So by the time I come home he doesn't feel so good, and he doesn't feel like eating whatever was in the fridge that he was supposed to eat. So we had this coupon, and we went to IHOP.

So we knew about National Pancake Day, and I thought about it, but didn't actually make any plans. I just sort of thought if we remember and we're out, we'll think about it. But I didn't remember yesterday morning when I was getting ready for school. And he didn't exactly get up early. We did talk for a bit, mostly to confirm that he would probably have to leave for work before I got done with school, so he shouldn't be waiting for me to eat lunch, and I should go run some errands instead of rushing home to see him. While I was out, I remembered, but I didn't want to go by myself. And he got home too late to go that evening.

I'd assumed he'd forgotten about it too, only there it was in his blog. So when he came home I said something like, we missed National Pancake Day. And he said something like, I didn't know anything about it until this morning.

Now, that's not right. We knew about it Friday. We went to IHOP on Friday. But after I mentioned it, he still didn't remember.

My husband will go on about this nonsense of having photographic memory. He can't remember anything real, he can't remember anything important, but he remembers some dumb things in movies and some stuff he's read. And then he thinks he has really good memory.

But even after I remind him about Friday, he still doesn't remember. He should remember after I tell him that we were there Friday. He doesn't. He remembers that we went there Friday, but he doesn't remember seeing anything about National Pancake Day.

I could understand if this was last month we were talking about, but this was less than a week ago. We saw the ad. We talked about it. We noticed that the Shriners were involved, cause we used to have a job where we worked with a lot of Shriners.

And while we are in IHOP talking about National Pancake Day, I reach over and pick up the ad so that I could see what hours the free pancakes were available and stuff like that. And then I dropped the ad in my soup.

I was sort of funny. It was not hilarious. Years from now, we will not be telling our friends about the time that a dropped the National Pancake Day ad in my soup. But at the time, it was funny.

And it was less than a week ago, and he doesn't remember. After I tell him all of that, he sort of vaguely remembers.

Sometimes I really wonder what is wrong with his brain.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My husband is lame

Seriously, he's lame today. Not in the sense that he's been a lame husband for the past several years and I didn't really notice. Not lame in the sense that when I ask him to do something to make me feel better his response is to do the exact opposite. Lame in the sense that he can't walk very well. He's been limping along for about a week.

He complains about his feet hurting and his back hurting, etc.... He does that a lot. What he doesn't do is actually go see a doctor about it.

I know that there's this whole thing about men not going to the doctor. I wouldn't think that this would apply to my husband. He's a big baby. I'd think that he'd want to go to the doctor, if he thought the doctor could actually do anything.

I don't go to the doctor that much either. If I feel bad, I stay home and do common sense stuff. There's no reason to go to the doctor and waste time and money to have him tell me something that I already knew I was supposed to do. Your foot hurts? Wrap it and try not to walk for a while. You don't feel well? You probably have a cold. Go home and have some chicken soup and some orange juice. Get some rest.

So I don't go to the doctor that much unless there is something wrong, and I don't know what it is. Or there is something wrong, and I know exactly what it is and need antibiotics. Or I've fallen or had some sort of accident and need X-rays. Or I feel really bad and need to be told that my appendix isn't about to burst.

But there are times when even though you're pretty sure that you know what is wrong and you know that you're going to be sent home with some common sense instructions, you just can't take it anymore and you go to the doctor anyway.

So I come home from school yesterday, to find as usual my husband is glued to the computer. And usually he says hello and other things of that nature before asking about lunch (or dinner, or breakfast, or midnight snack, or whatever is appropriate for that time of day). But this time he says something like "I think I need to go see the doctor about my foot."

Okay, so when I go to the doctor (except for stuff like my annual exam) I feel so bad that I can't drive. So I would have to wait for him to get home to drive me to the doctor if I decided that I needed one. Or if it was something sudden and I didn't think I could wait for him, maybe I'd call my mom or someone else for help. But he wasn't sick, and he didn't need me to drive him. He's been driving around just fine. And it isn't that he needs me to walk him to the car either. The last time he was complaining about his foot, I bought him a cane just to be on the safe side.

So he's apparently decided that he is in such pain that he can't take it anymore, and he's going to go to a doctor just in case there's something that can be done, or maybe some better pain meds that can be prescribed. But then he decides to sit there and wait three hours for me to get home from school.

And, although he's spent three hours sitting in front of the computer, he doesn't bother to look for the doctor's phone number or office hours or do anything else that one might do if one wanted to see a doctor.

I don't like our doctor. Our insurance company randomly selected one close to our home when we didn't know which one to write down. I should like to change doctors, but I have no better idea what name to write down now than I did before, except that it wouldn't be this one. So I saw her two or three times almost a year ago, decided she didn't have a lot of sense, and didn't go back for the six month follow-up. My husband also skipped his six-month follow-up and his three month follow-up, etc....

About the only good thing I have to say about her is that she has some walk-in hours, which we had a vague idea was after one on Monday-Thursday. So at about 12:30 we went over there and notice that there weren't many cars in the parking lot. Well, most of them are at lunch, but I'd have thought that there still would have been a few more people around. Maybe we were just lucky, but I didn't think so. I decided to go have a look around.

I couldn't remember the doctor's name, but I was pretty sure that I would recognize it on the board, and I pretty much knew where I was going anyway. It was the office just past the lab. The office just past the lab was very dark. I know that they turn out a lot of the lights when they go to lunch, but this seemed too dark for that. I think that office was empty.

My husband then decides that what will make him feel better is a new larger pair of shoes. So we go to Payless and buy him some big shoes with Velcro. He's still in pain, but he says that now he doesn't sweat every time he takes a step.

He's in such pain that he sweats every time he takes a step? And he just yesterday decides that he should see a doctor?

He decided that he needed to see a specialist instead. But, after being home for four hours on the computer, he only manages to look up the names and numbers of three foot specialists in the area. He still didn't actually call any of the numbers. He still doesn't have an appointment.

I had this whole other thing that I was going to get into, about how some people just don't know how to spend money. But this is getting long already, and I have to go to school in an hour, so I think that I'll save that for tomorrow.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday Morons--Why am I wasting my valuable class time?

So it is Monday, and what I would really like to do is stay home and do nothing. Not literally do nothing; that is what I did yesterday. I'm afraid that Sunday is just like any other day now, but out of habit I usually sit around and do nothing and wait for my husband to tell me how he'd like to spend his day off. Yesterday neither of us felt up to doing anything, so we mostly did nothing.

So today I should stay home and maybe do a bit of work around here that I should have done yesterday, and then think about the mess, though it is unlikely that I would actually get anything done about it. But I would like to stay home today and not waste my gas driving anywhere except maybe the grocery store, since yesterday I forgot a few things like cough drops and tissue paper. I don't have a cough or sore throat at the moment, but I just have this feeling I should be prepared for one or both of us to get one.

I have to go to class today, even though this isn't my scheduled day to be there and I don't really feel like going. It's only a two hour class, and I don't feel like wasting my time and my gas. By the time I get into it, class is nearly over and I have to start cleaning up and putting things away. It's annoying that I can't just go in and stay all day or come back after lunch if I want to.

Friday was one of those rare days that I almost got to stay as long as I wanted. Professor was there for the two hour morning class, had office hours for half an hour after that, and then stayed almost another half hour after that. Then he had three more hours after lunch, and I had sketches to work on during lunch, so that all worked out rather well.

Having finally decided on a second project, I got started on a vase after lunch. And I thought that I'd use a turntable. And then I did something stupid and started to build up my vase directly on the turntable. So now the vase is stuck to the turntable. So now the turntable is sitting on my shelf and no one else can use it, and the professor isn't happy about that. So I'm going to class today and will either find a way to get the vase unstuck from the turntable, or else go to class every time so that I'm at least actively working on the project while other people are unable to use the turntable. He can't really complain that other people can use the turntable when I'm actually in class making use of it myself.

I should have put something between the vase and the turntable. And I did briefly think about a couple of things, one was two small and one was two large, and then instead of finding something that would work, I just shrugged and started working. The last time used the turntable I put the clay directly on the turntable and had no problem getting the vase unstuck. But now that I'm thinking back on that project, it tapered to the bottom and was only two and a half inches at the base. The bottom quickly dried enough to be removed, and if it hadn't it could have been cut off of the turntable. The bottom of this vase is more like seven or eight inches wide, and there's delicate stuff at the bottom that I would not want to try and cut. I'm not very good with the wire anyway.

Okay, so I might go in today and find that it has dried enough to be removed. Or I might get it off with this other tool that I left at home Friday. Or I may have to leave it on the turntable until it is completely finished and dries, and then it will mostly come off by itself. But that will mean going to about four more classes this week than I meant to attend, wasting a lot of time and gas, etc....

The really bad thing is that a bit of newspaper and masking tape would have fixed this problem. And it's not like I didn't have the paper and masking tape, since I'd already wrapped the thing that I used to brace the inside of the vase while I work on the outside. So that's all a bit annoying.

The other annoying thing is that I'm now about two weeks behind where I hoped I would be. The first day of class, nothing gets done. It is a time honored tradition that nothing gets done on the first day of a college level class. You sit around and talk, and that's about it. The second day of class, I rolled out some slabs and smoothed them out. There's really not much to do after that, unless you've got another project ready to work on, which I didn't. The third day of class I was still waiting for the slabs to be at a workable stage. Other people get out paint dryers to speed things along, but I'm always afraid that will cause cracks, so I usually avoid that. I wanted to skip ahead to the third and fourth projects, except that they also involved slabs, and I had no space for them. The fourth day of class put the slabs together and mostly finished that stage of my first project, which then needs to dry, be fired, glazed, and fired again. The project cracked a tiny bit, but I hope that has been repaired well enough. I don't want to fire the vase just yet, until after I buy the glaze, in case I might also need to underglaze.

Fifth day of class I skipped. I figured that I could either roll out a slab, or I could go to Shreveport. I decided that I would rather go to Shreveport. Sixth day of class was cancelled after the professor called in sick.

Here's the dumb part. I spent the seventh and eighth days of class dealing with recycled clay. I didn't do any art at all. I'm guessing that I've spend about eight hours on this recycling clay business. There are several reasons I am trying to deal with recycled clay. For one, I just like the idea of not wasting anything and getting something for free. Another thing is that I commented last semester that some of the kiln room could use some straightening up, hoping that he would give me some of the leftover clay, which he did. So now that he gave me all this clay I'd feel bad about not using it. The third thing is that I took all this clay home over the break and should have done most of the work then, but I didn't, so the clay was just in the way. I needed to get it out of the house so I could have my kitchen back and not trip over stuff left in the hallway. And the fourth thing was when I started to think about financial problems and such I said that I wouldn't buy any new clay until it was absolutely necessary, so I said that I would use this stuff first.

So, while I am trying to deal with recycled clay so that I don't unnecessarily spend ten dollars here and there on bags of clay, last week we spent about a hundred dollars going out to lunch. Going to Arby's was entirely my fault. I don't even remember now why we went to Humperdinks. We didn't really need to go to Burger King before we went to the dollar theater; we could have just had a couple of dollar hotdogs at the theater, or we could have just skipped the movie and gone home to eat. Thursday we ate out at a Chinese buffet, but that was something that we actually planned to do, and we sold some stuff to Half-Price Books to get the money. Friday I had planned to eat lunch at Jack-In-The-Box so that I could stay close to school, and that only costs three dollars. But I did not plan on the twenty dollars we spent at IHOP after I went home. Saturday we did not eat out, and Sunday I was supposed to go out with my friends, but I didn't. Mainly I just didn't want to spend the money cause I felt guilty about the other times we ate out that week that I didn't plan to.

Here's another thing that sucks about the recycled clay. I'm almost done with it, or at least I'm almost done with about half of it that I started on. So the white modeling clay that I will use on the third and maybe fourth projects is almost ready to use. I have some mud still in a bucket under the kitchen table, and I'm told that it's probably white stoneware and I'll find something to do with that later. And then I had half a bag of red stoneware left from last year that I mixed with a bag of the stuff I was given to recycle. And I'm almost done with that, only the professor then says something like, "You did know that was terra cotta, right?"

No, I did not know that was terra cotta. Whatever it is, it's exactly the same color as red stoneware. The terra cotta we use is a grey-brown color, with an almost greenish tint. After it's fired, it's terra cotta orange, but when it's wet it doesn't look anything like red stoneware. There are other companies that sell terrra cotta that's red when it's wet, but we rarely buy any of it.

So I have about thirty pounds of either red stoneware, or something that's about half red stoneware and half terra cotta, or something that's mostly red stoneware with a bit of terra cotta stuck in it. So, whatever it is, I'm going to have to make sure that it is really well mixed. And then I won't be using it for most of the projects I was thinking about. I'll make a vase or something that can be burnished instead of glazed, and then I'll make some little test pieces to find out if it can be glazed fired to cone 6, or if it needs low-fire stuff for terra cotta.

The mixed up red stoneware/terra cotta aside, if I've spent eight hours dealing with recycled clay, and I think that my time is worth ten dollars an hour, this recycled clay has so far cost me eighty dollars. So not only did I spend two thirds of my valuable class time recycling, I feel like I'm in the hole about sixty dollars.

Now I know that isn't really true. I know that when I get my projects done that I will not only have art that I'm proud of, but I can also feel good about having cleared away some of the clutter in the kiln room. But this week, I'm just not feeling it. This week I'm just frustrated about being behind schedule.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Freaky Friday

Sorry it was late. I left for school before I finished this post, and I stayed out most of the day.

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

sex (12x) hell (6x) slut (5x) sluts (4x) dick (3x) crack (2x) penis (1x)

Well, as you can see I received credit for both slut singular and sluts plural. But I did not get credit for Homewrecking-Sluts, either singular or plural. I don't think that the blog rating thing can read that word. Oh, well. Earlier in the week I was number one in the Google search for Homewrecking-Sluts and various forms of the same, but now it seems that I have slipped to second place.

I think that I should take a moment to explain to my new reader that I do this post about Google searches on Fridays, maybe every week, but lately only once or twice a month. I was inspired by a post Killer wrote called Welcome Confused Gyno Patients. Before reading that I didn't even have a tracker on my blog. But his post was just so damned funny that I had to get one. Now I share the joy. Sometimes people leave comments on what their most interesting recent Google search was.

The big thing for the past few weeks has been Cloverfield. I wrote a review of cloverfield. People come here after Googling cloverfield truth and cloverfield marlene and cloverfield spaceship and so many other things about Cloverfield that I'm not going to list them this time. One search in particular caught my attention, not from the way it was phrased, but because of where it came from--Cardiff, UK. I'm sure that most of you don't even get why that would be funny. I really know nothing about Cardiff, except that's where the TV series Torchwood is set. Now, if you're not from the UK, and you're not an evil person who downloads TV shows, let me explain. It's a spin-off of Doctor Who, and it's sort of like Men in Black, only not as funny. So now we all know where the monster came from. It fell through the rift in Cardiff, found it's way to the ocean, and then swam to New York.

As usual, there were a lot of Google searches involving Rudy's BBQ. Again, there were just so many variations on that I won't list them today. I still have very little info on that. The sauce is between 30 and 35 calories per serving. Now remember that a serving is only like a tablespoon, not half a bottle. If I ever get any more info I promise to post it. Here a post about Rudy's.

Next we have some Google searches for sluts. We have fat freaky sluts, extreme freaky sluts, sluts in footless tights, freaky sluts, sluts corsets, slut husband, and russian sluts 4 sale. Until recently, most of the slut search traffic came to my blog because of a post I wrote about buying nylons at a place I called the Sluts R Us store. That really isn't the name of the place. Electrique Boutique is in Arlington, in Lincoln Square, between the Half-Price Books and Olenjacks Grill.

On a related note, someone was looking for "dumb things said by bimbos." I know a lot of dumb things said by one in particular. But we're not going to talk about her today.

Someone found my blog by Googling build men restroom. I have a post about vandalism at the school's men's restroom. Gross.

Here's one I haven't seen for a while--Marie Callender semi-annual pie sale. They probably should have gone here instead, but it's nice that they stopped by. We don't have a Marie Callender's here, but there are two in Oklahoma, and we just happened to be near one last October, and also the year before that. I doubt that we have any trips to Norman before the 29th when the sale ends, and I probably should spend the money on pies anyway. If you happen to be near one this month, you can get a whole pie for 5.99 (plus tin deposit), unless you are in Washington or Oregon and you have to pay a dollar more.

Again this week we have some interest in popcorn. Popcorn at the movies calories, popcorn diet, can you eat popcorn while dieting, and what food is better to eat at the movies popcorn or ice cream. The searchers were directed here, because I described the one time that I lost weight (on purpose) and it did involve eating a lot of popcorn. I still do not know the calories for movie popcorn, just that it must be a lot more than the air popped stuff with butter flavored spray that I had.

Here is someone looking for a bucket of dirt. I'm not sure if they wanted a bucket of dirt for making clay, or a bucket of dirt one buys looking for gems at a tourist place. I have done both.

There's still more interest in the Terminator this week. Can a future like terminator happen? Yes. Another search was terminator story line John Connor father. The third was how does Reese get a photo of sarah terminator? John gave it to him. Maybe John was doing a little matching making, but I've also read some excellent T2 books by S. M. Stirling suggesting that all the resistance fighters were given that same picture of Saint Sarah. The forth search was who got sarah connor pregnant? I thought that everyone knew that. But then I saw that there's also a singer named Sarah Connor, so that person might have been looking for something else entirely. Odd that someone was also looking for terminator series refrigerator. And I had two other refrigerator searches, 31 inch refrigerator, and why does white refrigerator cost more than black? I would have thought it was the other way around, as in my case, but the answer is just because some of us will pay the extra money. Here's a post about time travel theories and Terminator, and here's a post about buying a refrigerator.

People reading my review of diet drinks came looking for truth diet pepsi, how many calories in glass dr pepper, diet big red good for you, and minute maid light lemonade 2 liter bottle. Also, someone was looking for beer in a tree. But beer in a tree is not a diet drink, but a Christmas song.

Perverts stopped by to look for giant dick costume, homemade penis mold, make mold of penis at home, how to make a homemade penis mold, penis molds, and freaky penis. Here's an odd one--pottery mold for penis. Okay, I still don't remember where I saw this, but a kit for making a mold of your penis will cost you about ninety dollars. And I still haven't tried it, so I can't really give you any advice.

Not sure how this came to my blog, but here's a search for dmarks applebees. Also, a search for kelloggs factory tour came here, but that was because of dmarks leaving me a comment.

Art related searches include homemade coil vase, buy cheap vase plaster molds, "mosaic" "stargate design", paper-cast relief sculpture, plaster tile molds, mosaic sea turtle tile mold, how much do I charge to knit someone a scarf? I charge at least eighty dollars, which is probably why I have only sold the one. Also, there was a search for insidious clip art. I am thinking that they were disappointed.

Here's a search for sex list pictures. You can read the list if you want to, but there are no pictures. I'm thinking that they were disappointed too.

Fellow shoppers were looking for f.e. body butter and half price bathandbodyworks stuff. I look for that myself. But I'm taking a break since I have no money at the moment. But I still have plenty of stuff I haven't used yet.

I also had searches for diamond arkansas getting there, fun stuff to do in Joplin, decline in family traditions, and "international wildlife park". I used to work for International Wildlife Park in Grand Prairie, but it's been closed for almost twenty years. There were other parks, but I'm not sure if they are still around. I have been to the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, and I did find some fun stuff to do in Joplin. I shouldn't get into the decline in family traditions.

Fellow sci-fi fans were looking for "vorlon" "costume", vorlon costume, "star trek" "o'riley", and neville chase me. Neville can chase me if he wants too; all three versions of him. I don't have a vorlon costume, but I did meet the guy who wore it in the show. And if you don't know, Keven O'Riley is the man who sang "I'll take you home again Kathleen..." on Star Trek. We were voting on who was the most hated man on Star Trek, so I voted for Kevin.

Someone was looking for the tribulation and was directed to a post a made after a blogger made the remark that people shouldn't be praying for her. She was being prayed for (not by me) because she's going to hell, just like almost everyone else. In the discussion that followed, I accidentally wrote Post-Tribulation when I meant to write Pre-Tribulation. My obvious error pops right up on the Google search. I wish I could fix that.

Fellow fans of eating out were looking for Jimmy Dip's Chinese Fort Worth and olenjack's grille review. I have gone to Olenjack's a few times and I like it, but really I shouldn't spend that much money. We have a gift card for the place, so we'll be going at least one more time. Jimmy Dip's was a great place, but it's been closed for like ten years.

Other searches include buy superbowl tickets for 2011, "Susan_25", january 2008 "my kid" "until march" london, and freaky fridays. Freaky fridays makes perfect sense. Super bowl tickets for 2011 leads to a post I wrote about them being dumb enough to schedule the Superbowl in a place that isn't even built yet. I have a friend named Susan, but she isn't 25. Not even close. I have no idea what january 2008 "my kid" "until march" london is for. We are on blogspot, and it was January, but I can't make much sense of the rest of it. Unfortunately it led to a post where I was venting a bit, about when my husband was talking nonsense about Maine and London, and how I have to wait until March to do something.

Okay, here's this week's count:




People going to hell--0



Diet Drinks--3




Bath & Body Works--2

Terminator/Sarah Connor--5


And the top twelve keyword are now: cloverfield, costume, rudys, penis, bbq, the, marlene, dick, going, giant, hell, diet

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Most of this week sucks

Okay, so the don't spend money bit isn't going very well.

So the plan was to buy some groceries on Saturday and Sunday, and then not spend any more money on food. We were supposed to eat at home and not go out to lunch and spend money, stay home and clean house, etc.... So Saturday, with list in hand, I went to the grocery store and did not buy anything that wasn't on the list. In fact, several things that were not on the list I didn't buy cause I thought that I could get a better deal somewhere else. Sunday, we went to another store, mainly intending to buy potatoes and pork chops, and maybe a few vegetables that I forgot to get at the other store. I thought that would would spend less than ten dollars.

Somehow we spent almost twenty. I told him what I'd already bought, but I don't think he was listening cause he bought several of those things again. He bought three bunches of cilantro. I don't think that I've ever used more than one or two in the same month, and I'd already bought one, so now we have four. Same thing with onions and avocados and peppers, though I suppose a few more of those things never hurt anybody.

Still, that's only about forty dollars on groceries. I thought that I did pretty good with that.

Sunday was the Superbowl. We were just supposed to eat stuff we'd bought from the store, but it was the Superbowl and my brother invited us over. We ate some pizza, which we did not pay for. I think that all we brought was some sodas. My brother's nice like that. "I'm going to buy food. Do you want some?" He does that a lot. So we didn't eat what we were supposed to eat, but we didn't spend any money either.

Monday, I didn't feel so good. Normally to feel better, I go and eat Chinese food, and then maybe eat a whole bag of cookies. I don't think that doing either thing is particularly good for me, but I do it anyway. And this week I'm not supposed to spend any money, so doing either of those things wasn't a good idea. But I still didn't feel so good that afternoon, so we went to Arby's. Not as bad as eating a whole bag of cookies, and not as expensive as Chinese food. I still felt bad, but a little better. But that was another ten bucks that we weren't supposed to spend.

Tuesday, my husband got a bonus at work. It's supposed to be two hundred and fifty dollars, but by the time everything is taken out the check is only for like a hundred and sixty something. And I don't know why they sent a check, since everything else is direct deposit. So we had to go out to deposit this check, and we decided that one nice lunch wasn't going to kill anybody, and we had a coupon. So we went to Humperdinks. Some of their food is really good, and some of their food is really boring. I still wasn't feeling too good, so I decided not to buy anything that sounded spicy. So I got one of their create your own pasta things. Very boring. It did make me feel a little better, but I could have gotten better boring food for a lot less money. Like I could have bought something just as good or better at the frozen food section of the grocery store. So now I'm kicking myself for spending twenty-five bucks on boring food.

So I bought all this food, and I think that the main thing that we've eaten is a few pork chops and some hotdogs. Yesterday, I still didn't feel so good. Not that I felt bad enough to justify spending most of the day in bed, but somehow that's what I ended up doing. I got up, did some blogging, had a bath, did a few more things, and then was mostly in bed watching TV. At some point I realized it was lunch time. I thought it was a lot earlier than that. So I've mostly wasted half a day, and I don't know why. I get up to do stuff, mostly forget what I was going to do, and go back to bed. So it's time for lunch, and I should fix lunch, but I'm not really hungry and fix more of a snack. Then my husband suggests going to the library, and then maybe we can see a movie. Movies are not part of the don't spend money plan, unless maybe they are at a dollar theater. But there is one in Irving, so that's okay. And there's a library and other stuff that we want to do in Irving, so off we go. Only by the time the movie is about to start, we both suddenly get very hungry. So go to Burger King. Again, no one will die if we go to Burger King once in a while, but it was another ten dollars or so that I didn't plan to spend.

Okay, so after eating at Burger King and watching vampires kill everyone is Smallville Alaska, I feel better. But now it seems like it's too late to really do anything. So like an hour later I am back in bed again, watching TV.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Lottery Tickets

Yesterday I stopped by a gas station to buy some lottery tickets. This is something that I have to do every week. I spend at least eight dollars. I'm guessing that I spend about five hundred or so a year.

My big mistake was picking my own numbers. I picked some numbers several years ago when we first got the lottery. I think that first year I won a hundred dollars. At the time I was really happy to have an extra hundred dollars. We were so excited that we had won something. We barely got to sleep that night. We just couldn't wait for it to be morning so we could go and cash in that ticket.

So the that was one set of numbers that were played twice a week. That came to one hundred and four dollars a year, plus maybe the occasional extra quick-picks if there was a really high jackpot. That's not so bad. I figured that if we had a state income tax it would cost us that much, and the lottery was way more fun.

Then I got a second set of numbers. So now that's two dollars twice a week so that's two hundred and eight dollars played on Lotto Texas. Plus we occasionally bought extra quick-picks if there was a really high jackpot, and if we went out of state for the week we bought our state lottery tickets before we left plus we bought tickets for the week in whatever state we were visiting.

And then Texas got Mega Millions. So I played that game too, with the same two sets of numbers that I played Lotto Texas. So now that's four dollars twice a week, and that adds up to four hundred and sixteen dollars. Plus those occasional extra quick-picks and other state lotteries and Powerball tickets if we go out of the state for the week.

I hardly win anything anymore. It seemed like I used to get three numbers once in a while and win between two and ten dollars. Nothing to get excited about, but once in a while it paid for the next week's tickets. And I think I've won a hundred dollars maybe five or six times. Which is nice when it happens, but a hundred dollars just doesn't seem like much now. I spend more than that a week when I'm "not spending any money." A tank of gas, some stuff at the grocery store, and maybe a bag of clay, and there goes a hundred dollars.

So it doesn't seem like much fun anymore, though I still think a state income tax might cost that much, and this is still more fun than a state income tax.

But I still have to spend this eight dollars a week on these two games with these two sets of numbers. Because I have these numbers. If I didn't have these numbers, if I just got quick-picks and I missed a week or so, everything would be just fine. But I have these numbers that I picked out, and if I ever stopped playing them, then those numbers would win, and I'd be just miserable.

So yesterday I went to the gas station to buy lotto tickets. And I have these numbers, and I already have a form filled out. One of the forms didn't seem to work, and I had to fill out another one to get it work right. Now there's a bit of dilemma for me when they actually print out the wrong ticket. If it has the right numbers but something else is wrong, like it's cash option instead of annual payments, then I go ahead a buy the ticket. Or if I wanted it for two weeks but it's only for one week, if I'm not going out of town I can just come back the next week. If it comes up for more than a week or two then I probably don't have that much cash on me and they have to print me another ticket.

But once in a while they print out a ticket with one of the numbers wrong, and then I wonder about that. What if these are the winning numbers, and I don't buy the ticket? But I usually don't buy the ticket, cause I don't have enough money to buy that ticket and the ticket that I meant to buy, so if I only have money for one it needs to be the one with my regular numbers.

So I'm buying my tickets, and I have to fill out an extra Mega Millions form because there was some problem with the one I had first. That ticket wasn't even printed out, but the lady told me that it couldn't read one of the numbers and was suggesting that the unreadable number might be 56. 56 isn't one of my regular numbers, so I filled out the form a second time. 56 wasn't one of the numbers called last night, but what if it's called on Friday?

So while that was going on, an older guy in the other line is also trying to buy tickets. Only he's just getting quick-picks, so he decided to just say how many he wanted instead of filling out the form. He wanted five of Lotto Texas and five of Mega Millions, both cash option. But the tickets never seemed to print out correctly. I think that there was a new guy trying to work the machine. I think first he got five of Lotto Texas and then five of Mega Millions, but the Mega Millions were the annual payment option. I would have just bought the tickets, but he said that he didn't want them, cause he was too old to wait for payments. So the guy tried again, but I think that he printed off another Lotto Texas ticket by mistake. So he asked for help from another employee, and the other employee didn't know that the guy wanted five quick-picks, so he just printed one. And then he printed another four, but again he forgot the cash option thing. So he had to print those four again.

So now the older guy has the five Texas Lotto he wanted and the five Mega Million that he wanted, and there's another fourteen dollars worth of tickets that were printed off by mistake that the guy didn't buy. And you don't want to spend twenty four dollars on lottery tickets when you only meant to spend ten dollars, but if you heard later that the winning ticket came from that store, but you didn't have it, wouldn't you always wonder if it was one of those tickets that you didn't buy? Wouldn't it have been better to just go ahead an buy the annual payment option ticket?