Monday, June 13, 2011
Bits and Pieces
In no particular order:
* I've been making small but steady daily progress on the new draft.
* We had a lovely dinner tonight with a friend of mine from the hospital, an RN, and her husband. They have comp credits at one of the local casinos and treated us to a splendid meal at a fancy steakhouse there. Yum! It was really fun, and we hope to reciprocate by having them over here for dinner soon.
* On the way home, we stopped at Home Depot so Gary could buy various home-improvement items. While I waited for him, I started wondering if any hardware could be converted to knitting use. And, indeed, it turns out that o-rings used for plumbing repair are perfect stitch markers (although I'm not sure they're much less expensive than the stitch markers sold by knitting suppliers, which are already very reasonable).
* I'm in the process of trimming monthly expenditures, since this is my last month on full salary (next month is paycut plus the furlough that's being applied each of the next two years, plus sabbatical reduction). I reduced my Audible subscription from two credits to one each month; I'd been planning to cancel it entirely, but Gary said I should keep it. Then I started cancelling, or asking how to cancel -- since not all organizations make it easy -- my four small monthly donations to Modest Needs, the Humane Society, Doctors Without Borders and First Book. Modest Needs allows you to cancel a pledge from the website; I sent the others e-mail explaining that I'll reinstate my pledge when I come off sabbatical, and will also make occasional one-time donations during the sabbatical year as I'm able, but that I need to cancel the automatic pledge for the next twelve months. (I'll still be doing my ten percent tithe on discretionary purchases, so that's where one-time donations will come from.) This is prudent and fiscally responsible, but made me feel so wretched that I decided I really need to cancel the Audible subscription entirely too, as long as Audible can assure me that my wish list, and the books I've already purchased, will remain accessible. I've been stocking up on audiobooks in preparation for sabbatical, so it's really a purely symbolic sacrifice.
I'm not a big fan of "I can't have fun if anyone else is unhappy" thinking -- see recent yarn purchases, for instance -- but I decided I just wasn't comfortable buying audiobooks every month if I wasn't also, you know, helping starving cats and buying mosquito netting for field hospitals.
Note: In some quarters it's considered very tacky to talk about money, and especially to admit to charitable donations (that whole "when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret" Ash Wednesday thing). However, I've come to the conclusion that our society would be a lot healthier if more people were comfortable discussing finances, and I think an open discussion of how and where and why we give -- or don't -- is part of that. And I certainly talk openly about how much I shop, so this is just balance, yes?