Random weirdness from a tattoo-artist gun-toting biker-chick knitting foodie supernatural whovian with seven kids. Ecstatically married to slashingdashingwolf!
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Broke is better than dying.

Being broke isn’t any new thing to me. We’ve raised/are still raising 7 kids on 30K a year with no aid. But this time around I was really broke. Way. Broke.

An almost-stranger, without being asked, gave me $200. This is so much money to me. I seriously don’t spend a dime that doesn’t go to bills, gas, or food for me or the kids. If this generous person hadn’t been so kind, right now I would have $70 for gas & groceries until the 20th. And a week’s worth of gas for the car alone is $50.

I need a new pair of shoes. I have a pair of Shape-ups I’ve had for nearly a year. For at least 200 days in the last year I’ve walked 2.5 miles a day. These shoes are shot.

My car insurance renews next week. I have a tattoo convention to attend next week. I think the hotel is paid for by the shop but it’s a tank of gas to get there & back.

My X called tonight from New Jersey, where he’s visiting his brother. A year ago they diagnosed John with mesothelioma. His lungs were already filling with fluid. Two days ago he fell, sloughed a silver-dollar size piece of skin off his arm, and didn’t even bleed. He’s down to 118 pounds. He has about a month to live.

X said he’d cover the car insurance renewal. He didn’t give me any money for the trip I had to take to NY to take our son to college so I guess that’s fair.

And I’m thankful to the generous stranger.

And I’m not dying.

But I still can’t afford a pair of shoes.

I spent 12 unnecessary dollars at the grocery.

But I couldn’t resist. They had little plastic porch chairs for $2.99 in primary & bright colors. I got 4yo Betsy a red one and 3yo Hannah a purple one. They can sit in them in the shade after our Easter egg hunt on Sunday.

I also bought so much meat today it was almost obscene. A pot roast and several pounds of hamburger were newly marked down. Skinless chicken breasts were on sale. And I bought TWENTY pounds (yes twenty) of ribs to marinate for Easter.

And here is the last extranneous $6 I spent. Very rare that I do this. But I bought myself a dozen roses. They were also on the markdown, and I love me.
[Insert pathetic chuckle]

There are some advantages to having to feed an army of locusts

One of those is NOT watching the rest of your bank account disappear.

However, I only paid $2.79 a gallon for gas today because I had enough Kroger fuel points to knock 50c off a gallon, which stretched all the rest of the money I had until Wednesday, to almost a full tank.

We got a LOT of food though. Even fresh spinach for putting on sandwiches, and Havarti cheese (be still my heart), and stuff to make fresh salsa, and 2 big chunks of beef to oven-roast.

And I drummed up 4 potential tattoos to do this coming week. Something to be said for being a walking advertisement of my work.

The groceries are all put away, which is fun to watch… like some kind of bizarre choreographed Harvest dance in my kitchen.

Now I get to scrub the tub, and sort laundry to wash, since that’s Mom’s permanently-assigned chore.

My life is so glamorous sometimes.

I have

  1. Beer
  2. Weed
  3. Money
  4. a new tattoo
  5. and no bra on

but I have to go grocery shopping.

I’ve been absent today (a Friday Five)

  1. I had a terrible time falling asleep last night, which is rare since I got divorced from R.  Usually I go right to sleep.  But it was 4 AM before I finally slept.  I had the alarm set for 7 to go walking before work but when it went off, I was like, no way is this happening.  I’ll get skinny another day.
  2. I got to work to find that the clients from out of state who said they’d be there at noon were there already (9 AM).  The guy decided on a different tattoo but did the SAME thing to me.  Oh can you add this, can you be sure to put that in, can you make it bigger? For the same price.  And then he wanted it on his ribs.  I told him that would be unpleasant but he was insistent.  Ok buddy whatever you want.  He barely made it through.  
    He threw the money on the table and promised they’d be back for more tattoo work.  Pay the girl at the desk, sir, I only do the art.  And Oh really?  You’re gonna do me that favor, huh?  And you didn’t tip, too.  Thanks a lot, man.  All these things (wanting more for nothing, showing up early and unannounced,  tossing money at me like I’m a hooker and the tattoo table is my dresser) tell me that guy is a controlling person.  And I *don’t* like being controlled.
  3. I came home early because Betsy is sick.  Drove over to Kohl’s where I paid my bill, got a shirt and leggings for B, went back to the store for milk and bananas and frosting oh my (because spending $300 on groceries/household supplies yesterday WAS NOT ENOUGH)
  4. We made homemade pizzas for dinner by splitting loaves of focaccia bread and putting toppings on it.  They were good.  Also The guys built Zaphod a doghouse today.  It looks pretty good, and is plenty big enough for him, even though he isn’t done growing.
  5. The plans to go to Gatlinburg to see my parents tomorrow have been scrapped.  B is still sick.  Artemas now has a fever, and Josiah is going metal-detecting with his dad.  My dad says the town is packed.  No sense dragging sick kids through that.

Saturday six

  1. In honor of Caturday today, our retarded cat Luna (don’t get on my case, she is actually retarded somehow) jumped off the huge antique oak sideboard onto the lid of the half-full aquarium that needs cleaning and so is filled with unknown slime, and FELL IN.
  2. We were supposed to go to a flea market today.  But we went grocery shopping & Wolf went to the walk-in clinic in the Kroger.  They gave him a prescription, which then took their pharmacy almost 3 hours to fill.  We actually shopped, left, went to hobby lobby, picked up a Mcburger for him & Betsy, and went back for the *20* pills.  Wow.
  3. I did the shopping with Betsy and a mammoth headache.  After that I couldn’t face the flea market.  We’ll go tomorrow after church.
  4. Something I ate is wreaking havoc on my stomach.  I actually put a knitting project in the bathroom for the evening just so I wouldn’t get bored while I’m in there suffering.
  5. We had a great mixed green salad, spaghetti, and whole-wheat toasted garlic bread for supper.  Two meal ‘wins’ today one one last night.
  6. I hit a sale at Hobby Lobby today and got yarn to make Betsy’s knitted Christmas goodies, also a hat/mittens or hat/slippers for an “angel tree” kid, and a skein of cotton for Wolf to knit some cloths for his mom, for about $12.  Happy knitters all around.
Tonight I got an entire trunk full of groceries for $70  

Wonder Woman, I am.

Tonight I got an entire trunk full of groceries for $70

Wonder Woman, I am.

Am I over the hump yet? (a 10 list)

  1. I moved everything out of my tattoo room today and swept & scrubbed the floors, looking for piercing-appliance balls I lost yesterday.  The were under the desk.
  2. Got a call from the kids’ umbrella school to tell me we’ve been kicked out because I reported all of Di, Veronica, and Josiah’s current grades, and Di’s back grades, but forgot to add the back grades for the V & J.  The lady said to do them tonight and call her tomorrow and she’ll reinstate us
  3. Also made a supply run for the shop, then took all the inks out of the rack on the wall, put up a new hook to hang it from, and hung it back up.  And put up an extra fluorescent light.
  4. Did ONE tattoo
  5. Got gas, cold medicine supplies for Diantha, came home to pick up kids & Wolf, and hauled the kids to youth group.
  6. Went to Aldi and Costco and spent $250 on groceries.
  7. Came home, put away groceries.  Reported grades.
  8. Took more cough medicine and some antihistamines and drank two ciders.
  9. It might be time to quit.
  10. And I only got to hump once (so far…)

Wrapping up Wednesday

• I did two tattoos yesterday and a buncha piercings but today, nothing.

• I did, however, spend $250 on groceries

• I’m cold. Our trees are blooming but it’s supposed to get to 25•/-4C tonight and I discovered about 1/2 hour ago that our bathroom window was open. That explains how cold our room is.

• Some of my kids are abed and some not, but I’m 16 hours into this day and I’m done.

• G’night and may each of you be so lucky as to terminate this Hump Day properly.

Six or so

  1. We ran errands today.  We ended up making a few more stops than I had originally planned, during which I paid a couple bills and got the guys each a pair of pants for work and a cute sundress for me.  And a hat for B.
  2. Also we got so many groceries I wanna die.  About $250 worth and that was buying most of it at a discount grocery.  I’m beat.  The dog doesn’t like being outside so he’s barking at us.  I wish he’d shut up, because I have a headache.
  3. Because of the sudden drop in temp, my left wrist has been hurting me today, and I can barely bend my right knee.
  4. I’m going to have to sue for the medical bills from the motorcycle accident after all.  I only have 4 more months to have everything fixed, and I can’t afford the front money to do it unless a lawyer intervenes for me.  I hate that it has to be this way but I can’t go through the rest of my life with a bad knee due to someone’s negligence.
  5. It’s 4/20.  I have a lot of some inhalation therapy available.  Might take a deep breath or two after I get the kids to bed.
  6. I needed to do laundry today and take it somewhere this evening to dry it but I haven’t even gotten started.

Achievement Unlocked: Grocery Shopping


Congratulations.  You’re the one in charge of food.  Maybe your parents are sick or out of town.  Maybe you’re in your first apartment or dorm alone.  Maybe you’ve gone on vacation.  Maybe it’s your item on the chore list with your family or roommates.  The point is, the chips are down (or gone) and you’re staring at the kitchen with a growing feeling that there are live eels taking an ice bath in your stomach and every “rule” about “doing this right” fighting for superiority with MONEY and TIME and I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THIS.  Your hand is on the phone, about to press speed dial and cry out “Help me, Pizza-Wan, you’re my only hope!” 

Don’t panic. 

This can be done.  Even by you.  I’m going to break it down. 

  • Pantry
  • Planning
  • Prep


These are the basics; the stuff that you should always have on hand.  If you don’t have them or run out, just automatically add them to your shopping list for the week -

DRY GOODS: Lentils, rice, an assortment of pastas, flour, white sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, a basic set of herbs and spices (salt, pepper, and the kind of “16 herbs and spices starter set” carousel you find at WalMart), nuts, raisins or other dried fruit, saltine crackers, oats/oatmeal
WET GOODS: Peanut butter, apple cider vinegar, vegetable oil, olive oil, shortening, vanilla, honey
CANNED GOODS: Tomato sauce, tomato paste, canned veggies, tuna or canned fish, canned fruit, canned cooked beans, canned soup
PERISHABLES: Garlic, potatoes, onions, celery, carrots, bread, milk, eggs, butter or margarine, jam, soy sauce, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, hot sauce if you like it, 1 or 2 salad dressings

See, not so bad.  No, you don’t actually need sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and saffron in your basic pantry.  Those are for cooks.  If you’re reading this honestly because you need to learn, you’re not one yet. 


Get a piece of paper.  You’re putting together the week’s menu.  Seem daunting?  Not really.  Let’s start with breakfast.  A container of oatmeal or porridge costs almost nothing, is incredibly healthy, lasts forever, keeps you full, and tastes really good, especially with some fruit.  If you want to mix it up a little, have toast or yogurt or eggs some days.  Don’t go with cold cereal, pop tarts, donuts, etc; other than being not so great for you, they’re also expensive and don’t keep you full very long.  Hey, look; the only things that aren’t on the pantry list are fruit, so write those down for your list.  

Now let’s move to lunch.  Sandwiches with a side salad are always easy; especially pb&j and especially if the salad comes in a bag.  Lunch meat tends to be deceptively expensive, but you have tuna and mayo and mustard.  Canned soup is another great lunch, and leftovers from the previous night’s dinner are the easiest and best lunch. So, nothing to write down for lunches except salad; potato or macaroni salad from the deli counter if you need something a little heartier.

For snacks, you don’t need - and your body doesn’t need - the “snack aisle”.  Do yourself a favor and stick with fruit, single-serve yogurt, or a handful of nuts. So you only need to write something down if you want yogurt. 

Dinner! Ah, the scary part.  But not so much.  Google is your FRIEND, and so are cookbooks at the library.  Search “3 ingredient meals” or “4 ingredient meals” or “super easy dinners,” and then just see what looks tasty to you, putting priority on things that 1) have a lot of fruits and veggies, 2) don’t use a lot of super-processed foods or stuff you’ve known is unhealthy since you were six, 3) use mostly things from your pantry list, 4) doesn’t look like it’s a difficulty level for actually making that’s beyond your skills, and 5) don’t use things that are out of your price range like lobster.  It can help to peruse these with the local grocery store adds in one hand…if you find a recipe that looks good for something that’s on sale, that’s a winner!

Write down seven of these, adding ingredients to your list as you go for things that aren’t pantry items.  Now, the fun part: dessert.  You could be super-healthy and go back to our old friend, fruit, but this isn’t a diet program, it’s a don’t eat crap and know how to shop like an adult thing. So add one carton of ice cream, package of cookies, or bag of mini candy bars.  Just pay attention to the serving sizes.  There’s nothing wrong with having a treat for dessert…it just gets kind of skeevy when you accidentally have eight treats…three times a day.  Really, you should be paying attention to serving sizes in general.  It can be super eye opening.  It’s kind of amazing how much weight some of my friends have lost just by actually eating for one.

So now you have your list: pantry refills and specific needs for the week.  Go to the store.  Buy it.  Come home.  Put it away.  Congratulations! You just did the grocery shopping!


You already know what you’re eating, and you may have noticed that nothing in breakfast, lunch, snacks, or dessert involve a degree in Culinary Arts.  Seriously, the hardest thing there is the oatmeal, and that’s just add water and boil.  Instructions for dinner came with it when you chose them; so that’s pretty demystified as well.  

The only real “Protip” here crosses back to planning.  If you’re super busy all week, pick things that can freeze, like casseroles, soups, spaghetti, or anything else you’d see in a TV dinner: and make your own tv dinners.  Take just one day of the week, make your list, shop, then come home and cook like a crazy person for like three hours, wrap up your meals with plastic wrap on disposable paper plates or in tupperware, and for the rest of the week, you, your roommates, your family, or whoever can just open the freezer and grab the plate that has WEDNESDAY sharpied on it, nuke it, and go. 

WAY cheaper, WAY healthier, WAY better all around than living on ramen and take out, I promise…and see?  Surprisingly easy. 

I told you not to panic.