Friday, January 30, 2009

I think that I'm soon going to give up on this dollar a day thing

But the odd thing is, the reason for it is that I don't have enough money.

Not that I plan on trying to eat with less money than a dollar a day, but that I might give up on the dollar a day thing so that I can eat stuff that I already have in the freezer and pantry that would add up to more than a dollar.

While I'm having a bit of fun with the dollar a day thing, I don't think that my husband is enjoying it that much. And he's just been laid off for yet another week, so he's just not happy in general.

Tomorrow I will either go over a dollar anyway, or I will have to skip my friend's fiftieth birthday party. And that's a bit silly to skip a party just because I wanted to try to limit my food spending to a dollar a day, especially since I already had to go over on Sunday because of the annual meeting.

Still, I'm not going to totally go overboard. I'm trying to make some yogurt cheese, and if that turns out okay I'll take that and some veggies to the party. If it doesn't turn out good I'll just have to throw it out and look for something else in the discount bakery rack.

Maybe I'll start the dollar a day but not on weekends diet challenge.

I'm pretty sure that over two weeks I will have spent an average of a dollar a day or less, which is the important part.

Yesterday I ate:
.20 yogurt
.09 egg
.05 half cup of cola
.05 popcorn
.18 black bean soup
.04 half a tomato
.07 orange
.22 potatoes with olive oil
free brisket
free cookie
.90 daily total for Thursday

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I totally forgot

I have another social thing to go to this weekend. Someone in the club is celebrating the big five zero, and we have to go and harass him.

So first, I totally forgot about the event, and I had to be reminded earlier this week. And then yesterday, someone had to remind me that I was expected to bring something.

So this presents some problems with the dollar a day thing. First off, I'm going to have a hard time thinking up something to take that doesn't cost too much. Second, I am going by myself, so I can't claim that only part of it was mine and I shouldn't have to claim the entire amount against my daily total. And third, while this was supposed to be just an experiment, I really am short on money now, and I really don't have much money left to just go and get something. Right now I don't have enough left to go out with my friends on the fifteenth, but I should get a little more money between now and then. But still, the money I have left right now, minus the groceries I'm planning to go and buy today really only leaves me a few dollars that probably has to last until a week from Friday. And I can't go all crazy with that, because I'll need that money for rent and such.

I might just have to skip going out with my friends on the fifteenth.

We got more free sandwiches yesterday, which makes the food bill about the same, except for a little bit of ice cream. And I do mean a little bit of ice cream. My husband was eating it right out of the carton, and then he remembered that I hadn't had any all week and handed me an almost empty carton. I think I'll say the last few bites count as twenty cents.

Yesterday I ate:
.20 yogurt
.05 half cup cola
.05 popcorn
.18 black bean soup
.02 Christmas candy
.20 ice cream
.08 tomato
.07 sandwich (free with coupon from calendar)
free cookie
.85 daily total for Wednesday

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More free food

Okay, almost free food. I had some coupons that I forgot about. The coupons were in a RaceTrac calendar that cost seventy-five cents. I bought several, gave some away, and I still have at least five of them left. The free coupon for January is a free sandwich, and I hadn't used any of them yet. So yesterday we got these free sandwiches that are supposed cost about two dollars. Twelve coupons for seventy-five cents, so the coupons were about seven cents each.

For other people who started the dollar a day thing on the first of January, their month long project is nearly over. Me, I had sort of done some of it on the thirteenth and didn't do it for real until the twentieth. The plan was for two weeks, which would be over on the second day of February, but then I thought that I might try to make it till the fifteenth, which is the next day that I plan to go out with my friends.

While this was supposed to be a little experiment, just to see if I could do it if I had to, I now have to do it for real. At my husband's job they rarely have any work for anyone around the holidays. So he didn't work from about a week before Christmas until about a week after New Year's. And it isn't a paid vacation or anything. And we didn't save enough money for the time off, so when he went back to work he had to borrow some money to pay for the travel expenses.

He was supposed to work out of town for four weeks. Only all but two days of this week has been cancelled, and now we've been told that next week has been cancelled too. And the sales from the two weeks that he did work were not very good.

So that all sucks.

The other people I'm watching who are doing the dollar a day thing have decided to do something even more dramatic next month. I will not be joining them, but I will be watching.

Yesterday I ate:
.20 yogurt
.05 half cup cola
.05 popcorn
.18 black bean soup
.02 Christmas candy
.08 tomato
.07 sandwich (free with coupon from calendar)
free cookie
.65 daily total for Tuesday

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Free BBQ and the husband's pototoes

Okay, so I've sort of done the dollar a day thing for a week now, except that I went over by thirty-four cents on Sunday when I bought cookies for the annual meeting.

I would have started the week before except that a.) during the practice week I was eating a lot of leftover turkey from the freezer (which I didn't know how much it should cost), b.) I knew that I was going out with my friends that Saturday and that I would probably spend at least ten dollars, and c.) while I could have started the dollar a day thing on Sunday or Monday I blew it by eating ice cream with my husband and that put me over by at least twenty-five cents.

Okay, so I almost did it for a week, took a break on Saturday and started doing it again on Tuesday and didn't quite make it Sunday because of the meeting. But on other days it was under a dollar, so it balances out.

The other thing about Sunday was that the dollar I put in for cookies resulted in my getting back not only leftover cookies that I brought, but also leftover BBQ. So now I have free BBQ for the week if I ration it out.

While I tend to make black bean soup when I need to save money, my husband's favorite thing seems to be fried potatoes. Usually this involves a lot of Crisco, possibly eggs, and possibly sausage. And I usually eat the fried potatoes because a.) my husband was nice enough to do the cooking himself, and b.) this is the main thing he does to try to save money. Saving money just isn't his thing. (Going out to eat even if it means getting into debt is his thing.) So I eat the potatoes, and I'm glad to eat the potatoes, until after I have eaten the potatoes and see the Crisco on the counter.

While it tastes just fine, there is something about seeing fat that stays solid at room temperature that bothers me.

So he bought this whole bag of potatoes, and then we didn't do much with it, mostly because the last time he offered to fry potatoes I said that I didn't want any. And I guess he got tired of going to that effort just for himself.

Yesterday he tried something different, which required the potatoes to be baked instead of fried, and he used olive oil instead of Crisco. Olive oil is still a fat, but it isn't a fat that stays solid at room temperature, so it somehow doesn't look as bad.

So yesterday we had potatoes, which at forty cents a pound is more than I want to spend on the dollar a day thing, but it doesn't seem bad at all when served with leftover free brisket.

Also, I have now eaten the last of that horrible soup I made with the tomatoes, and I am glad to see the end of it.

Yesterday I ate:
.20 yogurt
.18 black bean soup
.05 half cup cola
.05 popcorn
.14 soup
.26 potatoes with olive oil
free brisket
free cookie
.05 half cup cola
.05 spoonful of peanut butter
.02 Christmas candy
1.00 daily total for Monday

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Annual Meeting

Okay, so if you've been reading this blog recently you know I've been trying to do the dollar a day thing. And if you've read my blog for a really long time, you may vaguely remember that I live in a weird place. Technically, I do not pay rent, I pay a membership fee. It seems silly to call this place a condo, since I think of a condo being a really nice place, and we're all at this place because it is really cheap. So I just can't think of my place as a condo.

Anyway, there are 300 members who live here, many with spouses and some with whole families. According to the rules of this place, we have to have at least an annual meeting of the members, and at least fifty of these members have to be in attendance or it doesn't count and there has to be another meeting.

This is very important, even if nothing really important gets done at the meeting. If we don't have fifty voting members at the annual meeting, we'd all lose our homes or something.

And in some years it has just been a lot of trouble to get fifty members to show up for the thing. So we've started trying to make it into something people would want to attend, so we have a potluck lunch thing right before the meeting. People bring their spouses and families with them. The spouses and families don't have to stay for the meeting.

In fact, a lot of voting members don't stay for the meeting either. But we don't really care that much, just so long as fifty of them sign in before they leave.

So I knew that on Sunday I was going to go off of the dollar a day thing for a bit. But I didn't go too much over, and in the long run I will be better off for going. Even if I had to do the dollar a day thing for real, I would still have gone to this thing Sunday, even if I had to spend much more than I did.

For breakfast I had an egg, half a cup of cola, and a cup of yogurt. For the meeting I bought three dozen cookies from the discount bakery rack. I spent two dollars on the cookies, so my half was only a dollar. My brother also planned to go with us, so my third would have been sixty-seven cents, but at the last minute my brother could not attend. We had more than seventy members attend, so that's okay.

Before I say what actually happened, I'd like to say how the meeting usually goes, as near as I can remember. First, the place buys some BBQ meat, paper plates, plastic forks, napkins, plastic cups, and iced tea. The individual members bring the vegetable dishes and the deviled eggs and the desserts. At about one o'clock we eat lunch, which is about two hours later than I like to eat lunch. About an hour after that some of the people leave, and then we start the meeting. We're given some papers, one with everyone's name and address, and one with a list of the money coming in and the money going out. An accountant who has gone over the books reads us the paper about the money coming in and the money going out and says that the numbers are all correct and are books are in good order and such. And then people ask questions, and people have to be reminded that the accountant is just here about the books and doesn't know specifics if it isn't about the numbers. He doesn't know anything about the guys who were hired to fix the roofs, just that the guys were hired and how much they were paid. So after a few people ask things that actually can be answered by the accountant, we thank the accountant for coming and let him leave. And then we have to nominate and vote on the members of the nomination committee. These people aren't even on the board, they just go around the neighborhood and find out if anyone would like to run for office on the board, and that election isn't until June or July. And then after we do that there are other questions. And there's always people upset about the parking, cause the parking is really bad. And we talk about the roofs getting fixed and fences being put up and what to do about trespassers, etc....

So if this all goes smoothly and there aren't many questions, this takes at least til three o'clock. But it usually takes longer and we're there til maybe four o'clock.

Yesterday did not go smoothly.

So we all had a pleasant lunch. I decided not to eat too much, but this is probably the most I've eaten all week. I ate a whole plate of food, and some of that was meat. I'm not really trying to go vegetarian, but the only meat I ate last week was the sausage that flavors the black bean soup, or about half an ounce per day. And then I went back for dessert and only had a small piece of chocolate cake and two cookies. I'm glad that I restrained myself from going back and getting more desserts, but I should have at least gone back for a salad.

So after lunch the meeting got started, and a lot of people left. Some people just don't care enough to stay for another hour or two, but I think that most of the people who leave are people with children who have to be taken home, or spouses and people who don't vote and don't have to be there anyway. My husband and I both stayed, though only I can vote.

And the accountant got up and read the report, and there were questions, most of which he couldn't answer, cause they were not accounting questions. And then he finished, and someone was supposed to say "Thank you, Mr. Accountant. We don't want to take up anymore of you time. We'll see you next year." Only people kept jumping up with more and more questions, and somehow nobody said that. So the accountant sat down.

There were more and more questions. Now, the way I remember it was that these questions are supposed to be at the end of the meeting, cause we have to elect this committee, and some people would like to leave after the committee is elected, and they don't care to hang around and hear all the talk about building fences and such. But people just kept talking.

About an hour later, I'm noticing that the accountant is still here, and he shouldn't be. And I'm thinking that if there is a break in the discussion that I should make a motion to thank the accountant and let him go home. And then some people got up to get a drink of water, and the accountant did that too, and some people didn't come back, including the accountant. My husband and I and a few other people went outside to thank the man for coming. Then we went back inside.

At one point it looked like four women were going to get into a physical fight. Someone on the board said that "as many of you know, all of the office workers have been let go", which was the first I had heard of it. And then he said that after getting some legal advice that it wasn't a good idea to have people who live here also work here, and from now on they would only be hiring outside help. So it sounded like all the employees had been let go just because of that. But then someone in the back of the room wanted to know why people were "fired." So now the word "fired" goes back and forth about ten times. "Fired" sounds different that other things like let go or laid off or terminated. "Fired" usually implies that the employee either wasn't doing a good job or did something really bad. Let go could just mean that the company doesn't have enough money to keep the employee, or the company is doing something different so that particular job isn't necessary, or whatever.

So people kept demanding to know why people were "fired", and the board kept saying that the employees were "fired" for "confidential reasons."

I think that is crap, but that is what everyone wants to say now. I think that if a person quits for personal reasons, or if there is a mutual parting of the ways, and the employee would like his or her personal reason kept confidential, that is fine. But if a person is fired for cause, then everyone should be able to know what that is. If a person is caught lying or doing something immoral, or if they were so rude that no one wants to be around them, or if the person is caught stealing, or the person is doing something that is just really bad for business, then they should be fired but it shouldn't be a secret why they were fired. Or they might have been fired because they disagree with how business should be done, and whoever is signing the checks wins that argument. So that might be a good reason to fire someone that doesn't mean that the employee did something bad, but it still shouldn't be a secret.

I tend to think that is what happened, but until I hear it from someone involved, I won't know. The board refuses to say.

So that was already an argument, and then someone else wanted to vote to allow members to sit in on board meetings. And then there was almost a fight, while we were voting. The vote against allowing people to sit in on board meeting had to be counted three times, but in the end the motion did not pass.

So that was all very exciting. We still had to elect a nominating committee. I voted, but I don't think that I knew anyone that I voted for. Mostly, I if I saw that someone was nominated by someone I liked, then I voted for that one. Otherwise I voted for the people who got less votes, so that they wouldn't feel bad that they didn't get voted for. It's just the nominating committee, not the actual board. It's just important to have a committee, even if you don't know who is on it.

So after that there was the normal talk about fences and parking. And then the meeting ended and we all got our stuff together and put away the chairs and such. And then I collected what was left of the cookies I brought, and I went to get some of the leftover BBQ. And then I waited a bit for other people to get BBQ, but most didn't and there was a lot of turkey left, so we went and got some more. And then we took our stuff home, and then we went to my brother's place to watch Friday's episode of Battlestar Galactica.

The expenses for Sunday were:

.20 cup of yogurt
.05 half cup cola
.09 egg
1.00 my half of the three dozen cookies for the potluck
free (sort of) lunch at the membership meeting
free leftover cookies
1.34 daily total for Sunday

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Choosing to stay in bed

Today is one of those days that I would usually stay in bed all day and drink Coke and maybe eat half a bag of cookies. Or maybe I'd eat the whole bag of cookies.

I'm not really sick, I just feel rather blah. Due to the miracle of modern science and the invention of several over the counter drugs and birth control pills and other things, I am not confined to bed today.

But I don't much feel like getting out of bed either.

I did however, get up and make the black bean soup that I will eat for lunch today and most of next week. And I did go to the grocery store and spend about two dollars and fifty cents, but I'm kicking myself for not running that errand yesterday when I was already out. And I did wash a few dishes and such.

But I'm not doing much in the way of serious work. I'm watching a lot of TV.

I've already had a nap.


But I've only had the one cup of cola, and I haven't eaten any cookies.

Yesterday I had lots of errands to run, and I did get most of that stuff done. But I forgot to do a few things. And I had lunch a bit late. And then I sort of forgot to eat dinner.

Yesterday I ate:

.25 black bean soup
.05 half cup of cola
.11 soup
.05 popcorn
.20 yogurt
.05 spoonful of peanut butter
.71 daily total for Friday

Okay, so I did not mean to do that. But maybe that will make up for tomorrow. Sunday I have someplace to be, and I won't quite be doing the dollar thing, though I hope to not spend much more than that.

Today I ate:

.11 soup
.10 cup cola
.20 cup yogurt
.09 egg
.18 black bean soup
.06 half cup broccoli
.14 soup
.05 popcorn
.02 Christmas candy
.95 daily total for Saturday

Friday, January 23, 2009

Like scenes from CSI

Okay, so I haven't quite done all the work I had hoped to do, but I've gotten some stuff done, and I've also had some fun watching old TV on YouTube.

I've sorted through most of the Halloween stuff and packed it away. And I've done some of the usual stuff like wash dishes and clothes. And I've started to sort through the Christmas stuff.

And I have a mostly clean bathroom. The bathroom is clean except for the bathtub. And the bathtub is mostly clean. I doubt that it will ever be completely clean again, due to some red hair dye I spilled just before Halloween. It is really red hair dye, not normal hair color red. So the bathroom briefly looked like a scene from CSI. Now there is just the one streak of red on the outside of the tub, but I doubt that it is ever going to go away. Or, at least, it is going to go away very slowly. Like geological slow.

Also, quite a while back I bought five gallons of red paint. Not the really red like the hair dye, but more of a barn red. Still, it is red enough. The five gallon bucket is difficult for me to deal with, so I wanted to put what I didn't use in the original project into smaller containers. And I wanted containers with screw tops, so I tried putting most of it in half gallon milk jugs.

At some point, one of the jugs starting leaking, and there was this big pool of red liquid in the closet. So that was annoying. Anyway, I guess it isn't a good idea to store leftover paint in empty milk jugs, cause yesterday I found another one leaking, and there was another big pool of red liquid on the closet floor.

I've found that sometimes it is best to just let the last of the paint dry and then peel it off the floor. So right now I'm just waiting for the rest of it to dry before I can peel it off the floor. And until that is done I can't finish putting away the Christmas stuff. But I got about half of that done before the problem with the paint, so that's okay. And I spent most of the rest of the day watching stuff on YouTube, mainly Strange New World from 1975, which was the third pilot for Gene Roddenberry's Genesis II series.

It's one of those things that I really liked, but I don't think that I ever bothered to record it because they often showed it on Saturday afternoons. I don't think that I've seen it in fifteen or twenty years. I'd found Genesis II and Planet Earth about three years ago, but I didn't find Strange New World until yesterday. I also found The Questor Tapes and some other cool stuff.

The other thing that I did while waiting for the paint to dry was try to make soup, since the soup that I wanted wasn't something I could have while trying to do the dollar a day thing. Instead of hot and sour soup I have mixed a quarter cup of vinegar with four teaspoons of hot sauce and a dash of sesame oil and a spice packet from some ramen noodles and four cups of water. It isn't great, but it is okay. And it is cheap, about eight cents a cup. Then I tried making more soup from noodles and tomatoes, but that didn't turn out as well. Still, since I made the stuff, I guess that I should eat it. Maybe if I combine the two it would be better.

It would be nice if I could keep this going until the fifteenth of next month, when I am planning to go out to dinner with my friends. I have some other social stuff before that, and I have this thing that I have to go to Sunday. I am thinking that I can still count Sunday if I personally don't spend more than two dollars on the two of us, and I'm pretty sure that I can find something for two dollars.

Yesterday I ate:

.08 hot and sour "soup"
.04 half a banana
.17 half cup yogurt
.25 cup of black bean soup
.13 cup of Pepsi
.05 popcorn
.14 cup of tomato and noodle soup
.02 Christmas candy
.05 spoonful of peanut butter
.93 daily total

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Alone for another week: Day Three

The first thing I thought this morning was I might be getting a cold.

Okay, that's not quite right. The first thing that I thought this morning was, damn, I'm awake, or something like that. But pretty soon after that I wondered if I was getting a cold.

And then pretty soon after that I was thinking about what would make me feel better. Like maybe I should go buy some hot and sour soup, and maybe before that I would just see if there was chicken soup in the cabinet.

And then after that I remembered that I was trying to do the dollar a day thing.

No soup for you.

Okay, I can have soup. In fact, I've had soup everyday for almost two weeks. But that isn't the kind of soup that I eat when I think that I'm getting a cold. If I'm doing the dollar a day thing I can't go to a Chinese restaurant and get soup, cause that would cost at least $1.25. And if I have a tummy ache I can't open a can of chicken soup, cause that would cost like $1.50. And I certainly can't by Chinese food or even just a hamburger to make myself feel better.

I can't even have the chicken broth from the dollar store. It just isn't in the budget.

So I'm really glad that I am not yet at the point where I have to do this for real, that this is just a test to see if I could do it.

Wednesday I ate the following:

.17 half cup yogurt
.25 black bean soup
.13 cup of Pepsi
.05 popcorn
.10 pasta
.15 broccoli and tomato
.85 total

Also I had some Parmesan cheese, but I don't know how much that should be. Less than ten cents, if I go by how many servings it says on the label. So I think that I'm still just under a dollar.

I had more to write, but now I'm going to watch Smallville, so I guess that I'll write the rest of it tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dollar Days

So I've said before that I've wanted to see if I could get by with only spending a dollar a day for what I eat. I read a blog where someone did that for a month, and I'm now reading another blog of someone trying to do the same. I think that a month would be a bit long for me, but I was going to try it for a couple of weeks.

But, unless you are doing the dollar a day thing with someone, it is pretty hard to do by yourself, unless you are actually by yourself. That is, the dollar a day thing is hard to do by yourself if you live with other people, and the other people you live with are not doing the dollar a day thing. But if you live by yourself you eat alone and eat whatever you want to anyway, so it would be easier.

So I had thought that I would do this for the next two weeks, when I would have the house all to myself. Only the schedule has been changed and I will only have the house to myself for five days. So I'll be recording what I eat for five days, and we'll see if I can keep doing it after that.

The main thing that I eat when I am trying to save money is black bean soup. I was attempting to copy something they make at Campo Verde. To make the soup you need a pound of dry black beans, about a half pound of smoked sausage, one large onion, four to eight fresh jalapenos, and a bunch of cilantro. Soak the beans overnight, slice and quarter the sausage, dice the onions, cut up the cilantro as fine as you can, and slice the jalapenos. (The first time you should use four peppers, and then maybe add more the next time you make the soup. I like six, and I've gotten complaints when I used eight. Also, you might want to put aside some of the cilantro and jalapenos for garnish.) Put the beans in a crockpot or stockpot or dutch over, and cover the beans with water so that there is about two inches of water over the beans, then add the sausage, and then cook the beans and the sausage and maybe a bit of the onion, probably four hours high setting on a crockpot. During the last hour add the rest of the onion and jalapeno, and add the cilantro during the last five or ten minutes. Depending on how much water you use, you should get about twelve cups of soup.

So I figure I make this for about twenty-five cents a cup. Beans cost about a dollar a pound. I buy smoked sausage at about two dollars a pound (or 14 ounces now on some brands), because it is almost always either on sale or there's a two for one deal or sometimes they mark down stuff that's about to go out of date. You can use less sausage if you want to, as I have sometimes made it with only a quarter of a pound. And Kroger's has this really cheap sausage for $1.29, which I don't like as much, but you can get more, and it doesn't make that much difference in this recipe after it has been cooked for four hours. The onion and cilantro and jalapeno I get at a Mexican market, and usually all three cost less than a dollar (onions between twenty-five and fifty cents a pound, peppers are between twenty-five cents and a dollar per pound, and cilantro is between twenty-five cents and fifty cents per bunch) or sometimes there's a sale at other grocery stores. So a dollar for beans plus a dollar for sausage plus a dollar for veggies is three dollars, divided by twelve cups is twenty-five cents per cup.

Okay, so that's my soup recipe. Yesterday I ate black bean soup for lunch, a bit of popcorn, a half cup of yogurt, popcorn, one piece of Christmas clearance candy, and noodles with bean sprouts and broccoli and hot sauce. I had half of the noodles for breakfast and the other half for dinner. I also had a cup of Pepsi with my soup because a.) I really like a cola with my soup, and b.) I had already opened the bottle for a social thing and didn't want the rest of it to go to waste.

.25 soup
.05 popcorn
.13 Pepsi
.13 noodles
.05 bean sprouts
.12 broccoli
.04 hot sauce
.17 half cup of yogurt
.02 piece of candy
.96 total

And I had a few things that I can't calculate like salt on the soup and the popcorn and a dash of sesame oil on the noodles, but I think that's still under a dollar.

Okay, so if people were looking from the other blog, that's what I did, and maybe you can make something similar with what you have left.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Alone for another week: Day One

Okay, so this was supposed to be the first day of the second week of what was going to be a three or four week job. We even have the paperwork for the third week, only we've been told that there isn't enough business for a full third week. In fact, he may not even work Saturday, and we have no idea what is going to happen next week.

So that sucks a bit. The original plan was for me to stay here the first two weeks, and then depending on how much work I got done and how I felt (and also how much money would be involved) we would decide if I was going with him the third or fourth weeks. I'm not sure if I would have wanted to go, even if I had sufficient work done to feel good about the idea, but not having the option anymore bothers me.

And of course, they may not have any other work for him to do instead of going to Shreveport, so that sucks too.

The other thing that I was going to do was attempt to do the dollar a day diet thing for two weeks, but it is best to do that sort of thing when I have the place to myself. I came very close to doing it yesterday, except that we had ice cream, and I'm not sure how much the ice cream adds to the daily total, but I think it was between twenty-five and fifty cents, which is way too much if you can only spend a dollar.

It is easier for me to do without such things when I am alone, so I might have to settle for having just doing the dollar a day thing for the next five days instead of the next fourteen.

Or, if my husband is out of work for another two weeks, we may end up both doing it, not as an experiment, but just because we don't have any money left.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I stole pizza

Okay, so I watched Friday's BSG episode and found it interesting enough. I got all the laundry done. Now I'm a bit behind on the dishes, but that's okay.

So Saturday morning I changed the sheets and all of that. I found that I could live without some of my DVDs, so I planned to leave early so I could see about selling three of them to Half Price Books.

Now, I have been trying to watch what I eat and not eat junk and not waste money, etc.... One of the things I did for about a week was eat yogurt. I would eat the yogurt sometime in the afternoon, after lunch. And since I was going to be gone after lunch, I didn't want to forget to eat the yogurt, so I figured that I should eat that first.

And then after I ate the yogurt, I forgot to eat lunch.

I had to go through construction in a couple of places. The first wasn't too bad, but the second was this whole detour, which is bad enough, but then we were all down to one lane each direction for most of the detour. And then someone hit me. Just a bump, but it felt like a real hard bump.

Okay, so I'm not really paying attention to who hit me, just trying to figure out what we should do. Cause we have to get out of our cars and exchange names and I need his insurance info and all of that. But since I don't think that there is serious damage to the car (if there is any damage to the car) I don't want to get out of the car right then and block everyone else. Unless maybe we can be really fast about it and do it in between lights. And I start to think that we could do that, but once I get unbuckled the light changes. So then I just think that I was about to make a left turn anyway, and right after I make a left turn there is an empty parking lot where we can get out of our cars and look at the damage and all of that.

So I turn left, and I think that he's going to follow me, but instead he burns rubber and turns right.

Okay, so I was in an accident, and whoever hit me fled the scene.

I couldn't tell you who hit me or even if it was a man or a woman or anything. The vehicle was black or dark blue. I just couldn't focus on that stuff, cause I was trying to focus on getting out of everyone's way and getting to that parking lot.

So I get to the parking lot, and I get out of the car and there doesn't seem to be any damage. And I'm not hurt, just really rattled. So I rest for a minute and then get back in the car and go on with my plans.

I get three bucks for the three DVDs. Not that great, but that's okay. Now I know.

And then I go on to the pizza place for the club meeting. And I don't buy any pizza, just a soda. I almost never buy anything from them anymore, except for the sodas. Their prices go up, and the pizza isn't as good as it used to be. The supposed improvements to the building are not anything that helps me. So I don't buy their overpriced food anymore.

So I go in to see my friends, and I buy a soda. And this man that I don't know walks into the room, looks around, and walks out. And then he comes back in again. So I ask if he's one of us, or if he's just lost.

So he says he is one of us, and he sits down next to me. And he's talking to me and someone at another table, and after a while he gets tired of turning his head back and forth, so the other person comes to sit with us. And then two more people sit down, which pretty much fills up the table.

Now, I usually save seats at the table for other people, but there was another empty table, and I figured that they could just sit there. The new guy is funny.

So then two of the people I usually wait for show up and squeeze into the table. And of the others one wasn't coming bacause she was straightening the house so that we could come over later, one was stuck in traffic, one was running late and finally decided not to bother with it, and my friend with the allergies had to cancel because of a serious family illness.

New guy is headed back to the buffet for more pizza and asks if he can get anything for anyone else. We say no thank you. One guy has just gone through the line, and the rest of us didn't buy any food.

New guy comes back with a lot of extra pizza anyway, and he's not going to eat it and neither is anyone else. And I never steal stuff from a buffet. And I know that someone else "shared" a buffet last year and was warned not to try that again.

So again I say that I don't want anything, and I'm a good honest person anyway. And the new guy is saying how much he paid for the buffet and he should get that much from it, which he isn't going to get eating by himself.

And then I remember that I forgot to eat lunch. And the pizza is just sitting there, literally getting cold now. No one is going to eat it. I might as well eat a little of it since it is just going to go in the trash anyway.

After eating two pieces of stolen pizza, we have a trivia contest, which I won.

Next I drive a couple of cities over, on part of the freeway I never drive on, but I do want to hang out at my friend's house, and that's where she lives now. I almost went home first and took the long way around, but I figure that we'll be making a lot of trips between the pizza place and my friend's house, so I might as well get used to the drive. I missed an exit and had to turn around, but the drive wasn't near as bad as I thought.

We stopped to have dinner, only three of the normal six or seven. And after that we went to my friend's house, and I didn't leave til almost two in the morning.

So that's just the best fun I've had since the last time I won a trivia contest and stayed at a friend's house until almost two in the morning.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Alone for the week: Day Four

Today is the last full day of my having the place to myself for almost a week. Tomorrow I have someplace to be right after lunch, and my husband will be home tomorrow evening.

And while the most of the mess still hasn't be dealt with, I have made progress in one room. And the mound of dirty laundry is now smaller than the stack that has been washed and folded. So it was good that I stayed here. I can pat myself on the back for getting a bit of work done.

I can also pat myself on the back for not sitting around eating junk food. I've hardly had any sugar this week. I have had only one coke per day (and a really small one at that), and once I had a snack size candy bar, and the only other processed sugar that I have eaten was the vanilla pudding that I used to flavor some of the yogurt.

So while I didn't start either the dollar a day thing or a diet this week, I don't think that I've been that bad either.

Tomorrow will be a different story, as I am going out with my friends to possibly three different places, and there will be stuff to eat and drink at all of them. And I suspect that my husband will want to go someplace on Sunday or Monday to reward himself for not spending too much money the rest of the week, if he actually has any money left, which he probably does not.

Since I have actually stayed in the house since Monday morning, there isn't much else to say. I was watching a tape of LOST yesterday, and I stopped the tape, and there was a plane crash on the news. Weird.

Tonight Battlestar Galactica is back on. Ten episodes left. I think that I am glad it is almost over. Still, I have to keep watching so that I can participate in the discussions, so I'll try to invite myself over to my brother's place tonight.

Time to go back to work.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Alone for the week: Day Two

Okay, so I've had the place to myself for two days now, and as usual I didn't get much done on the first day, and the sleeping by myself takes some getting used to. This disrupts my normal routine somewhat, as I now have no one to yell at to get off of the computer and come to bed. I suppose I could yell at myself, but somehow I don't see that as being an effective way of preparing to sleep.

So not much done the first day, and I got most of what I wanted to do done the second day. So I'm about a third or fourth of the way done with what I hoped to get done this week. I forgot that I have plans Saturday, so if I want to get done I have only today and tomorrow and a few hours on Saturday to do it.

Better get busy then.

Hopefully, my mom will not call and invite me to go shopping or anything. She called yesterday, but did not talk long and did not get around to asking me to go anywhere. She did ask what my husband's schedule would be on the first week of next month.

No matter how often you explain something to her, she never seems to get that the rest of us don't work Monday through Friday from nine to five, and we don't always know when we're going out of town, etc.... We know that someone will be working in Shreveport that week, but we don't know who. We only know about two weeks ahead of time, and even then the schedule might change, even after that they might change their minds and send him somewhere else.

And I explained that we didn't know, but that he was in Shreveport this week, probably next week, and possibly two weeks after that.

From that she concluded that my husband would be out of town for four weeks, not even two minutes after I explained that we didn't know.

I wasn't pleasant to talk to after that. Probably just as well. Lengthy phone calls with my mother are rarely a good thing anymore.

So, got my mom off of the phone, and I went back to work on the mess.

Well, now that I've made a clean spot, I'll have to try to make the rest match.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Day Thirteen

Okay, so I'm still not doing anything.

I had thought that it would be good to start the new year off with a diet.

And then I saw this blog, One Dollar Diet Project, and I thought that instead of the diet I might try something like what they did and see if I could eat on just one dollar a day for a certain length of time. Only I thought two weeks was a better goal for me, where they decided to try it for a whole month.

Some other people thought they would also start off the year doing the dollar thing, like the people at 1-dollar-a-day. Only they have already put their plan into action and are currently on the thirteenth day of their 31 day plan.

If I had started on the first, I would now be on the thirteenth day of my fourteen day plan. But that isn't what happened.

So I thought that a better idea would be to start on a day that I had the house to myself. And today I have the house to myself, and will probably have the house to myself for five days, and possibly a couple of days after that I will have the place to myself again.

But again, I am not really ready to do such a thing. Last week's aliments made me decide to start eating yogurt again. When I am really trying to eat right and lose weight and all of that, I spend more than a dollar a day on just the yogurt. So eating yogurt and doing the dollar a day thing probably won't work out at the same time, even if I only had one serving of yogurt per day instead of two or three like I would want if I were on a diet.

The other thing that I was thinking about the yogurt is that I used to make yogurt, but I haven't tried that in a long time. It didn't seem worth the effort for the little bit of money I saved.

But since I wasn't feeling well, and I hadn't tried it in a while, I made yogurt last week. And I was telling a friend about the cost, but I was kind of vague. I wasn't trying to be vague, just that I wasn't sure about some measurements and I don't do math off the top of my head anymore. So I got some stuff wrong. Let me try again here.

I bought some milk that was on sale for two dollars a gallon. Now, for however much yogurt you want, you have to buy that much milk. Half a gallon of milk will make half a gallon of yogurt. Sort of. I actually end up with just a little bit less yogurt, because a little bit gets wasted when you move the milk and yogurt to different containers, and then the yogurt sort of shrinks a little bit and separates into whey, and if you drain off that liquid you end up with a little bit less. But it is a very little bit, and I really can't measure it very well. So half a gallon of milk makes half a gallon yogurt, or a quart of milk makes a quart of yogurt, or five gallons of milk makes five gallons of yogurt, or whatever.

Then you have to buy starter culture, or just go to the store and buy some yogurt. I splurged on Stonyfield, and they didn't have any plain so I bought vanilla and crossed my fingers. That cost a dollar.

Okay, making yogurt isn't rocket science, but it does take time and is somewhat annoying.

I left about four cups of milk in the container, just in case one of us needed milk for cereal or mac and cheese or something. I poured the milk into a couple of crockpots. I figured this would take longer than the stove top, but I would also be less likely to burn the milk and ruin the whole thing. You have to heat the milk to about 180 or 190 degrees, without really making it boil a lot or get burned at the bottom of the pot. Then you have to cool the milk down to about 110, and then you add the yogurt or starter culture. After you've really mixed in the starter, you either put the milk/yogurt into the little containers of the yogurt machine or in the crockpot set on warm or some other method of keeping the mixture at this warm temperature for a long time. I like twelve hours.

After the twelve hours of being warm, you should have plain yogurt. Then you decide what you want to do with it and put it into containers and into the refrigerator. I spent about about a dollar and thirty cents on stuff to flavor the yogurt, but that was stuff that I bought a while back when it was on sale, so sometimes that part would cost more.

Okay, so here's where I got vague with my friend, but I didn't mean to be vague. A serving is about a cup, and I was trying to figure out how much it costs per cup. So I left about four cups of milk in the frig, and the rest I made into yogurt. I have a couple of containers that hold about four or five cups each, so let us say nine cups for the two, and I have four other cups, but I have to keep one plain and save as the starter for the next batch. And then I had some leftover yogurt that I put into a strainer for a couple of days to make yogurt "cheese", and I got about half a cup of that.

So for spending about four dollars and thirty cents I have about four cups of milk, twelve cups of flavored yogurt, half a cup of "cheese", and a cup of starter for the next batch. Not sure how to divide that up. If I just count the 12 cups of flavored yogurt, that's like paying 36 cents a cup and then having the "cheese" and the leftover milk and the starter for free. If I do the same with the next batch and get the same results, that would end up being 12 cups of flavored yogurt at 28 cents a cup with leftover milk and "cheese" and starter for free.

But that's assuming that I can find more milk and similar flavoring stuff on sale at the same price. The flavoring stuff I can stock up on when there is a sale, but for the milk you just have to pay whatever it happens to be at the time.

Homemade yogurt never seems to be as thick as store bought yogurt, unless you do something to it. It will firm up during the 12 hour warming process, and it might firm up a little more in the frig. But then when you flavor the yogurt, maybe by putting it in a blender with chocolate syrup, it all turns liquid again. For it to really firm up you have to strain out some of the liquid or add gelatin or something.

Okay, so that's it for the explanation of the yogurt.

Anyway, if I was doing the dollar a day thing, and even one cup of yogurt would cost 28 cents or 36 cents or whatever it would cost when milk is more than two dollars a gallon, then that's already a big chunk out of the dollar. Eating two of three cups a day would take up the whole dollar and leave nothing for actual meals.

I suppose that it still isn't impossible. I make this black bean soup for about 25 cents a cup. I've been told that the soup by itself isn't a complete protein or some such thing, and that I at least need to add some rice, and I don't know off the top of my head what that costs. Plain hot dogs also cost about 25 cents. Frozen burritos are often on sale for 39 cents. Eggs are frequently on sale for about 10 cents each, and ramen noodles are 6 for a dollar.

At least, ramen noodles used to be 6 for a dollar. I saw them at 3 for a dollar yesterday. I'll have to check the other stores later to see if it is just that one store or if the cost has gone up at all of them.

Okay, so 36 cents for yogurt, 25 cents for soup, 10 cents for an egg, and 16 cents for ramen noodles adds up to 87 cents, which leaves 13 cents for stuff like drinks and rice and peanut butter and bread and vegetables and maybe another egg.

I'm not sure how much of that other stuff I could get with 13 cents. Probably not enough that I would want to try it right now.

A 2-litter bottle of Coke costs a dollar on sale, which adds up to about 13 cents for an eight ounce glass. An eight ounce glass is very small. Even a kiddie cup is usually twelve or sixteen ounces. But I really like Coke or Pepsi or something with my black bean soup, and going without any cola causes headaches. The store brand soda is usually 80 cents or less, or 10 cents for that eight ounce glass. Store brand sugar-free lemonade mix is 30 cents for the 2 litter bottle, and diet Tang is sometimes on sale for 55 cents. So that's 4 cents a glass for lemonade or 7 cents a glass for the Tang. When milk is on sale for two dollars a gallon, that's about 13 cents per cup.

Rice is about 75 cent a pound, which is about 35 cents a cup dry, which makes about three cups. At least, I think that's the way it adds up. Store brand peanut butter is often on sale for a dollar for about a pound, or about 4 cents per tablespoon. A twelve ounce bag of mung beans costs less than a dollar from the Asian market, and there's about 23 tablespoons per bag, or less than 5 cents per tablespoon if you want to make bean sprouts.

Some stuff is harder to figure out. The 17 ounce bottle of hot sauce says that it has 96 teaspoons. But the bottle is half empty, so I must use a lot more than a teaspoon. The bottle costs two dollars, so that's about 2 cents per teaspoon.

Fruits and vegetables are hard to figure out in a budget, unless they are in cans. If I bought a 15 ounce can of tomatoes or corn or something for 50 cents, I would want half of the can. But that would be 25 cents, which would be too much to pay on the dollar a day thing. If a fresh vegetable is two dollars a pound, I have trouble figuring out how much that is for a serving, but again, probably too much. On the other hand, the over-ripe bananas are often twelve for a dollar, or about 8 cents each. And on rare occasions oranges are on sale twenty for a dollar, or 5 cents each.

I record all of this to figure out my own budget. If someone else used my numbers it would probably come out all wrong, since food might not cost the same in other parts of the country. And not everyone has an Asian market or a Mexican market.

Okay, so today isn't such a good day to try the dollar thing. But I haven't given up on the idea of trying it at some point. And this week I plan to really watch how much I spend and what I eat, even if I can't keep it down to a dollar a day.

Alone for the week

Okay, my husband went out of town on business, and I have the place to myself. We usually discuss the idea of me going with him, but it wasn't much of a discussion this time.

The house is a mess, and I have no excuse to go out of town when there is so much work here for me to do.

Also, we are very short on money, and in despite of all the plans we make to not spend money when we are out of town, we usually end up spending anyway. He still spends some without me, but not as much. When I am with him we are tempted to act like we are on vacation.

And, when I stay home by myself, I am also less likely to spend money. He likes to eat out at every opportunity, even if it just going to get a fast food hamburger. If he is going, I like to go with him, but I don't feel like I need to do that when I'm here by myself. I will still go out with my friends on Saturday, but I will try not to go out until then.

As for the work around here that I should be doing, well, that is off to a slow start as usual. You can see that it is about one, and I'm wasting my time on the computer. We went to Whataburger for breakfast, and then after that I've had the place to myself since just before nine. I haven't done much except blog and check email and such.

But I usually don't do much the first day, which doesn't always mean that I waste the whole week.

I'm writing another post, but I must take a break from blogging now. Time for lunch.

Friday, January 09, 2009

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired

I don't feel well today. I don't have the flu or a cold or suspect that I have food poisoning or any of that stuff. I have a bit of a queasy stomach off and on, mostly off this week, but Monday wasn't a great day. I had another annoying aliment to deal with Tuesday and took something for it and should have been good to go by yesterday. And now today I seem to have yet a third thing to deal with.

This stuff used to happen to me all the time twenty years ago. I was convinced that something was really wrong with me, that no matter how smart I was or how good a person I was, I would never be able to keep a job because I just seemed to feel bad so often. And of course when there was nothing really wrong with me and I was starting to feel good enough to go out and do stuff, then it would be that time of the month, which meant a lot of pain and usually three days in bed.

Really, who wants to hire someone who spends at least three days a month in bed?

But I found that birth control pills helped with that, and I've been taking them most of the time since I was eighteen. With that problem under control, I found that I felt better the rest of the month too, and I had a few jobs in college, mostly during the summer break.

About a year or two after I got married, I had some other problems. I won't go into them. Just that I know other women have had to deal with similar things once in a while, but I seemed to have to deal with them all the time. One problem would clear up and a week or two later I would have to deal with something else. I would get very tired after having done little or no work. Twice I was taken off of the birth control pills and told that a rest from them might help. I didn't have a job then, but with my husband's weird schedule it was hard to have a job anyway.

Most of it just seemed to be nerves or something. Except for having to take birth control pills and getting colds and such occasionally like everyone else, I thought that I was all better.

And then I seemed to get tired more than I used to. And then all this stuff happened to me. And then I started having problems that I haven't had in years.

And I wonder if there's something really wrong with me. But it is probably just nerves like before.

Only before I thought that I was really happy. I had a reason to want to feel better and go out and do things. I don't feel like that now. I just don't want to feel bad, but when I do feel bad I don't have any desire to do anything. I'll fine with staying in bed all day if that's what it takes. I would rather not feel bad, but I have no plans to do much of anything once I feel better.

So last night I realized that I was having the symptoms of yet another ailment. I haven't had this particular problem in such a long time that I was a bit slow in trying to do something about it. I don't go the the doctor a lot, cause I figure that mainly I'm going to get a lecture on prevention and then told to stay in bed and drink lots of fluids. I don't need a lecture, and I can stay in bed and drink fluids without paying a doctor to tell me that. But there are a couple of times that I have to go to the doctor, and I was thinking that today might be one of those times. I usually wait a couple of days, but I didn't get much sleep last night. Maybe I should just go. And today is payday, so we should have some money coming in. Not much money cause of the seasonal layoffs, but some.

I've checked, and there's no money. He is going out of town next week, and there's not enough money for him to go out of town and for me to go to the doctor.

So I guess that I'm not going to the doctor after all.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Only two months ago, the end was in sight

I thought that I was finally going to have a clean and orderly house. Or, at least, I would have something pretty close to a clean and orderly house. Possibly I would need different furniture and such for it to really be what I want, but I was doing a lot of cleaning and I thought that I would soon have all of that done.

And that was only two months ago that I thought that. I had done some really major cleaning, the kind that requires bookcases and such to be moved so that I can clean next to the walls and such. So I had done all of that, and I had thrown away tons of stuff. I still needed to deal with one room, but all the major stuff in most of the other rooms was done, and I imagined myself next going through some of my book collection and possibly taking some of that to Half Price Books before trying to reorganize the arts and crafts supplies.

And then I took a break from the serious sorting and cleaning to get ready for Christmas and finish up with the ceramics stuff. And somehow taking this break has resulted in there being an even bigger mess than there was to start with.

I realize that that isn't entirely true. I did all the serious work of moving the bookcases and cleaning behind the furniture in most of the rooms, and that part will not need to be done again this year. But it does look like the rest of it is a bigger mess than before I started. And I realize that really can't be true either, but it certainly does look that way.

Christmas was two weeks ago, but somehow I didn't get much work done during that time. I didn't try to tackle the mess again until the day before yesterday. Why is there still so much stuff to deal with? I could almost just sit there and cry about it.

I can't even think why I have done so little work since Christmas. I had a few days that I didn't feel well, and there's always a bit of after-Christmas packing up to do that I put off until after all the clearance sales. I think that Targets went down to 90% off on Monday, but I'm not sure, cause I didn't go on Monday. There's not enough left to drive to any of them unless I'm going there for something else anyway. There's candy canes and a bit of wrapping paper and lots of cards. I have enough candy canes, and I don't think I'll need much in the way of wrapping paper, and I'm not a card person. I tried doing the cards one year, and then I realized that you could end up spending more on the cards than I could afford for the actual gifts, so that was the end of my sending cards.

So I suppose that I traditionally don't do much in the way of cleaning during the two weeks after Christmas, but that doesn't seem to be a good excuse this year, since I didn't have much money to buy clearance stuff.

Anyway, after two days of serious cleaning in the one room, I have finally made a dent in the mess. But that's all it is, a dent. There's still a large mess to deal with before I'll be turning my attention back to the rooms that I thought that I'd already dealt with.

My husband is scheduled to go to Shreveport for a week. There's really nothing exciting about going to Shreveport anymore, but I usually go with him anyway to relax and/or do some serious knitting. But I probably won't go this time due to the mess. In theory, part of the reason I don't get much work done is that when he is here we find reasons put off work. Wouldn't you like to go to lunch? And you think that whatever you were going to do can wait til after lunch. And of course after lunch you go to the library, or you do some shopping, or you run some other errands. By the time you get back from "lunch" you are tired, maybe you actually take a nap, and by the time you feel like doing anything else it is time for dinner. And that's what happens on a day that we really had nothing planned. Sometimes we actually have plans and go to a movie or something.

So the fact is that I don't get that much done when he's at work, and I get even less done when he's not at work. And he's usually not at work much around Christmas.

Big, huge mess. If I were in college, I could win awards with this mess. I realize that after years of collecting junk it gets this way, but how did it get this way again so soon after cleaning so much of it two months ago?

Monday, January 05, 2009

Not really a moron, but...

Well, that's okay, cause by the time I finish writing this it won't even be Monday when you get to read it.

I used to go out with my friends about three times a month. That was on a normal month, when there was nothing special going on and it wasn't Halloween or Christmas or New Year's Eve or someone's birthday ending in zero, etc.... So sometimes I used to go out with my friends more than three times a month. But there were three regularly scheduled things every month, and I used to go to all of them. One of them was a dinner on a Sunday night for just anyone who could make it that month, and that would be at a different restaurant, just depending on what was suggested. One of them was a club meeting, and after that ended several of us would go to dinner afterward at a certain restaurant, and maybe we would still go someplace else after that. Then the third thing was a meetup at a bookstore, usually followed by going to dinner at a certain other restaurant. The thing at the bookstore was kind of dull, and I sometimes wonder why we bother with it. We should just find out who is going and head straight to the restaurant. Or we should only stay at the bookstore for half an hour or so, and get to the restaurant sooner, before we have to wait in line.

Due to the price of gas and other money problems and such, I decided that I didn't have to go out with my friends that often. I would still like to see them, but I wouldn't treat it as an obligation, just something that I would try to do if I had the money and the time and such. I still tried to make the main meeting and dinner afterward, but I did not think that I needed to be at every single Sunday night dinner, just the ones that were at a restaurant that I wanted to go to and when I knew that I had enough money for it not to be a problem. The thing at the bookstore was a bit of a drive, and the fun part was dinner afterward, and dinner requires money and often a long wait to get into the restaurant. So I wouldn't miss the thing at the bookstore that much if I stopped going.

One of my friends never goes to the Sunday dinner thing anyway. For one thing, she has allergies and such, and usually just doesn't want to go wherever we are going anyway. The other thing is that she refuses to go anywhere on a Sunday night, unless it is a long weekend and she doesn't have to go into work on Monday morning. I don't quite get that. I understand not wanting to stay out late Sunday night, because most of us have to get up in the morning, so the Sunday night dinner rarely goes past eight or nine, depending on what time of year it is. But regardless of what time the evening is scheduled to end, she just refuses to leave her apartment. It's like she's already feeling sorry for herself for the bad day at work she assumes that she will have on Monday.

Okay, so I had stopped going to at least half of the Sunday night dinner things, and then I was going to stop going to the thing at the bookstore. It was a longer drive than I liked, and then the price of gas really went up. I think that I said something along the lines of I had planned to stop going, and I mentioned that I really shouldn't spend the money to go to dinner afterwards, and it really wasn't as much fun if I skipped the dinner.

Knowing that I was short on money, one of my friends got me a gift card to the restaurant we normally went to after the bookstore. So that was a nice thought, and I figured that I could at least go two more times so that I could use the gift card. Only the next time that we got together, the wait at the restaurant was really long, and the group decided to go to a steak place down the road instead. I don't really like steak, and it usually costs more money than I want to spend. They serve a few other things, but most of the other things cost just as much as a steak, so if I'm going I usually end up buying the steak. And the smell of the steak is wonderful, and the first few bites are pretty good, and then I sort of remember that I don't really like steak that much. But I figured that once in a while it was no big deal.

And then the next time that we were at the bookstore, someone who isn't really one of my close friends but more of a friend of a friend jumped up and said that we should go to the steak place again. And I explained that I didn't have much money, but I could go to the regular place because I had the gift card. But this guy really wanted the steak place, and I got talked into going with them and buying a hamburger. Hamburgers are not my favorite thing either, especially when they cost seven dollars or more.

After we went to the steak place a third time, I decided I didn't need to go back to the bookstore thing for a while. And so I've had this gift card for the restaurant a whole year, and I've resisted the urge to just go to the place some other night and just have dinner with my husband.

So I've just been going to the regular meeting and the dinner afterwards. The restaurant has changed three times over the years, because my friend with the food allergies will only go to certain places, and a couple of those places have closed. She has a few really serious allergies, and if she has those foods she might have to go to the hospital. And then there is a ton of other stuff that she won't eat, because it might give her an upset stomach later. So no spicy foods, and most of the time she has to make a special order, and she'll only go to restaurants she thinks will let her make special orders. So we never go to a barbecue place, because barbecue is prepared for several hours before the customer even gets to the restaurant, and you can't special order barbecue with no spices. And we can't go to a Mexican restaurant because of the spicy food, and we can't go to a Cajun place because of the spicy food, etc.... And even though some stuff on the Chinese buffet is very bland she just doesn't like the idea of buffets anyway, and so we can't go there either.

After our first two restaurants closed, we are now regulars at Outback Steakhouse. Only I still really don't like steak, but that is the closest place that will let her special order stuff and everyone else in the group seems to like it okay. I have decided that I have had enough of steak, and from now on I am going to just order the clam chowder, even if that does make me look cheap. My friend with the food allergies doesn't seem to like steak that much either, and she special orders the chicken.

So after all of this time, the price of gas has gone down, and I decide to go to this bookstore thing and go to dinner with them afterwards, assuming that they are going to the regular restaurant and not the other steak place. After the Christmas shopping, I really have no money left, and most of my friends know that. But I've still got that gift card, so I can still go to dinner with them if they go to that restaurant. And I am relieved when the friend's friend who really likes steak doesn't show.

So after some time at the bookstore and getting distracted with conversations on subjects I care nothing about, like TV shows about dance competitions, it is time to decide what if any purchases we are going to make and then head over to the restaurant.

Only my friend with the food allergies jumps up and says that she is dying for a steak.

Since when does she like steak? We go to Outback Steakhouse every month, and she always orders the chicken.

So I said something about going to the other restaurant, cause I had this gift card, but I only had about ten dollars of cash left and I didn't want to spend it.

Instead of saying something like she didn't realize that going to the steak place was a problem for me, my friend then tries to talk me into going to the steak place and buying a seven dollar hamburger.

No, I don't think so. If we're not going to the regular restaurant I'll just go home. I don't want to spend the last of my cash on a hamburger that I don't even want.

So she is fine with going to the steak place without me. And they didn't vote or anything, she just decided that was where they were going. And my other friends came back from buying their books and asked which place we were going to, and I said that I was going home because the other girl had to have a steak. One of my friends just shrugged. If they had been there when she decided where we were going, they would have seen my problem and suggested going to the other restaurant. But if we tried to talk her out of it now, after it had been decided, even though she was the only one who decided, it would get ugly.

My friend with the allergies kept talking about getting a steak and how hungry she was, etc.... This was on a Saturday night, but somehow having a steak on Saturday night would help her feel better at work on Monday morning. Besides how stupid this statement sounds, if having steak on a Saturday night helps her have a better day at work on Monday morning, why doesn't she have steak every month when we go to Outback Steakhouse? The friend who bought me the gift card is looking from me to my friend with the allergies, like she doesn't know what to say without one of us getting upset. I say that I don't have much cash money left, and I can't use my gift card at the steak place, and I might as well just go home rather than spend the last of my money on something I really don't want.

The friend with the allergies says that's a good idea, and she doesn't blame me a bit for not going.
One of my friends tries one last time to get me to go, saying that I can just use her credit card to buy dinner. But I don't want to owe her money, so I say no thanks and go home.

I really don't think that I need to go to this bookstore thing anymore.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Day One

Okay, so it's the first day of the year, and the whole New Year's resolutions thing is already messed up. Not that I was making specific resolutions, but I was going to try doing a number of different things just to see what would happen, and I was planning to start with two weeks of trying to do the dollar a day diet thing.

Not that I planned to be as strict with the whole thing as the couple who did that back in September. But I was going to start planning what I eat, not just eat anything that I happen to want at the time. I was going to start with the dollar a day thing for a bit, just to see if I could do it, and that seems to be the thing to start with due to the seasonal layoffs and the lack of money that follows. Then I could move on to trying to eat mainly things that are good for me and cutting back on sugar. And then I might finally try to actually count calories and lose some weight.

So the two weeks of eating a dollar a day should have started today, but it won't. Tuesday night I got sick. Not I'm afraid I'm going to die sick, but the kind of sick that keeps you from getting to sleep because you keep running to the bathroom just in case you need to throw up. And since I had feel asleep before dinner, there really wasn't anything to throw up, just I kept feeling that way and couldn't back to sleep. I finally gave up and decided to watch some TV. I finally got two hours or so of sleep, watched some more TV, and then spent most of Wednesday in bed trying to take a nap but never really getting comfortable enough to get any real sleep.

So after getting sick like that, and for several days afterwards, I generally do not even try to eat what I am supposed to. I will eat whatever will probably not make me sick, even if it is something that isn't good for me in the long run. So I might eat a whole sleeve of crackers, followed by an entire box of cookies and a bottle of ginger ale and a few Cokes. The only thing good for me that I might manage to eat is chicken soup. After a day or two of that, I feel like I am starving, and then I go out for hamburgers or pizza.

I did still manage to get to the party last night, and I ate a lot of chips and desserts and such there too. The only good for me thing I ate yesterday was a few celery sticks and some humus.

Well, maybe I can watch what I eat next week.