Old nursery rhymes

“Doctor Foster

went to Gloucester

in a shower of rain.

He stepped in a puddle

right up to his middle

and never went there again.”

I learned this one today, after reading a Fox News note on the manhole covers in Gloucester having gone missing. I’ve never heard it before and had to look it up.

I can’t find the book I used to read in Europe over twenty years ago, I think an Oxford Press book, that explained where nursery rhymes came from. I would love to own it.

I kept looking and found a 2nd edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes. Since the original was published in 1951, I am assuming this is the book I read in Geneva at the English library there. The book is $55 which is a lot for a book. Especially given the only extended review being very negative. But I read the book over 20 years ago and I still remember things from it.

Did you know that Hickory, Dickory dock was once, hundreds maybe thousands of years ago, an old counting rhyme? Hickora, dickora, dock were three numbers in a counting thing.

Of course most people have heard that Ring around the Rosie is from the years of the Plague and refers to the fact that people often carried flower petals in their pockets to mask the smell of the dead and dying in the city. “We all fall down” refers to everyone being dead.

Why having a grandmother helps

According to this Reuter’s article, women whose mothers live longer have more children and have them earlier. That would mean that bigger families happen to people whose moms survive a long time. Another thing that the article said is that grandmothers tend to die when their grandchildren start having children–when their role as helper is gone.

I think it is interesting that the article says they have findings for this. My mother’s mother died when my children were 2 and 3. I was the first of the grandchildren to have children. My father’s mother died long after the first grandchildren were having children. And her mother died when she was just two or three. Yet she had six children.

So it may be true, but it hasn’t held true in my family.

My mother’s grandmother was alive until I was through college, long after her daughter had children.

But I think the idea has impact on my novel that I am working on. Or, more truthfully, that I have been working on.

Show me the money

I’ve been feeling very so-so about getting out of debt. (Strange thing to admit.) I am trying to have a more positive attitude.

There are some very good things. We’ve made a budget and have pretty much stuck with it for over six months. We’ve done phenomenally well in paying down our debt.

We actually have enough money that I don’t need to spend my birthday money buying something we need. I can spend it on stuff I want.

I think part of the reason I am so-so about it is I am no longer taking care of the money, so I don’t know exactly where we are and how we’ve been doing. That means that my husband says we’re “here” but I don’t know if his here is the same as my here.

When we first got married and I took care of the money, I would always designate money before it was due to pay our bills. Then he would spend money that wasn’t budgeted and I would juggle the money to cover it. He thought I was lying or hiding money. I wasn’t. I just liked to have all the bill money before it was due.

So now I wonder whether what he says is there is really there. And how it got there. And what’s happened to some of it. It seems to me that he doesn’t like me to ask about the money. And I don’t think he likes showing me the money either. It’s not that I think he’s lying. It’s just that I’m not sure his definitions and mine match. After years of them not matching it’d be amazing if they did.

Guess I’ll ask to see the money tonight.

Getting out of debt without declaring bankruptcy

It is a conundrum. No one reads this site, so I don’t write. I don’t write, so no one reads this site.

Today, however, my life has made a huge shift and I want to think about it. Since I think better in writing, I’m going to do that here. It may be more than you ever wanted to know about finances and my life. That’s okay. You don’t have to read it.

I was poor when I was little. Poor. Like, not enough food to eat. This had improved dramatically by the time I was in sixth grade and I remember freaking out over some of the cafeteria lunch food and not eating it. My family was doing well when I was in middle school, mostly by not being consumers, and that continued through my high school years. My parents retired in the upper class.

My husband has always been middle class. His parents were lower middle class when he was born and middle middle class when he was growing up. I am not sure they qualify as upper middle class now; they are retired and on a pension. But whatever their class they are doing well.

I don’t know that it has anything to do with the situation as it exists, but it’s background.

I went back to work part time last year. The little bit of money I made kept us from going in the hole. This school year we decided we wanted to get out of debt. We knew it was going to take us a while. We created a budget. We looked at our actual spending and went with it. And we managed to make a significant dent in our debt.

We paid off my husband’s car. It was the less expensive of the two, but we did it. We paid off some other things, though I don’t remember what, and paid down even more. We have paid down our debts an entire year’s gross salary for me when I was working full time in this last twelve months.

We were given a gift (sometimes it is more blessed to receive) and we no longer owe any credit card debt. This year we have retired almost two-thirds of our debt. We still have a way to go, but we still have a few more months till the school year is over (May). By that time, we plan to have my car paid off as well.

That will leave us our mortgage and one payment– a school loan consolidation where the minimum payment only pays the interest for the loan. We’ve been paying on it for over seven years and have not even paid off $500 of the loan itself. We could easily keep paying it forever. But we’re not going to. In June we are going to start paying at least two extra payments a month. The more we can do, the faster it will go away.

I am hoping that by my birthday next year–a year from tomorrow– the only debt we will have will be our mortgage. Hopefully we’ll be able to start building our future at that point rather than bailing out our past.