Thursday, February 05, 2009

Victory Gardens And Staycations

Hammered at work and with a bad cold. But there's an absolutely brilliant night sky outside tonight, with a half moon almost directly overhead and several constellations bright as can be.

Yesterday, Landscape Guy and I were talking about the bad economy and he told me that, although his business is really hurting, he's trying to look for good things that are coming from this economy. More time at home with friends, a less frentic pace, more home-cooked (and healthier) meals, less impulse spending. He was the first person I've heard who has had anything positive to say.

What are you doing to deal with these times? My madcap friend R. is teaching every First Aid class the county can schedule for her and putting away the fees in case her state job gets cut. Another friend has cut back on e-bay shopping to pay off credit card debt. Landscape guy and his cute new lover are planning a victory garden in the lover's yard. I'm knitting a lot more; I don't know why, but it makes me feel productive. List your strategies in comments below.

Normal blog-blog-bloggity-blog-blogging will resume shortly.

Poster found here..


thistle333 said...

I'm knitting more as well -- but mostly for friends or Afghans for Afghans. And planning a bigger garden and city chickens come spring.

Rhode Island Rules said...

I am one of those who has not much more to cut. After my divorce 5 years ago I have have been pedaling furiously backwards financially. Things were starting to look up after taking freelance jobs in addition to my full time job until the economic crisis hit. Now at 51 I am about at the same place I was at 20, choosing between brakes for the car or paying the rent. I feel lucky because I have been through tough times in the late 70's/early 80's and not being label or status conscious I can handle this. There will be tons of folks under 45 freaking out because they never had to deal with a down economy as adults.

sott'Eos said...

I had some techie gear (CD-changer magazines (CD holders)) that have been sitting next to my TV for about 11 years, even though the player that used those magazines broke ten years ago. They were completely useless, but I'm a packrat. I put them on eBay and got $40 for them. More important than the $40 was a) de-cluttering some space that was being utterly wasted and b) knowing that someone else is getting good use out the devices. It's economical, ecological, mutually beneficial, etc. I've always been decently frugal, but never creatively frugal. Let's see some more creative frugality.

Cosa Nostradamus said...

The so-called crisis exists only in our minds. All the money in the world didn't suddenly go to the Moon. It's just that the "full faith and credit" that everything runs on requires belief on the part of all of us. What we're really experiencing is a crisis of faith, and a lack of confidence in ourselves.

The "irrational exuberance" of our Great Denial of how things really were in the Bushco years was a kind of whistling in the graveyard we knew we were traversing. It was the whistlers-in-chief, our "masters of the universe," who quit whistling first. They looked around and realized that their great benefactor was about to depart the scene and leave them exposed. They feared that the rest of us would tear them apart for all their greedy, evil deeds. But that was all in their guilty minds. We didn't know or care how the System worked, as long as it worked, the rest of us. But now that the emperors have themselves realized that they are nekkid, we need new emperors. Or a new system that we can all believe in, one without emperors.

My solution is that we simply believe in ourselves, and do without emperors. We know our own tribes: The local butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. Aunt Tilly and Cousin Willy. And we know that in Iran and New Zealand, Senegal and Paraguay, the same sorts of tribes exist and function in the same way. By and large, we work just fine together, in our own little worlds. Once the great shadow of the dying Bush Administration has finished passing over us, and the filth has been hosed out of Wall Street, the new system we just put in place will begin functioning, and all of our little tribes can go back to working together. We can feel trust and confidence in each other, on a micro and macro level, and return to our lives the way they always were: Ups and downs, yes. But no falling skies or chasming earth. Just Cousin Willy going back to work for the candlestick maker, the butcher forgiving Aunt Tilly's arears, and the rest of us coming to the rescue of the baker, because she makes such wonderful bread, and we would all miss the smell of it baking, early early in the morning. And, look, there's the sun, coming up again, after all.

It was all just a bad dream. Isn't it good to be awake & alive? Toast, anyone?

The only thing we have to fear...

Lavanah said...

I'm expanding my kitchen gardens. Not only because of supermarket economics, but also because of food safety issues.

Sia said...

Well, I've been working part time since we moved so I am able to be there for my Mom who is hardy but frail and finding it harder to do it all for herself. It's odd to have this much time on my hands like this so I have added in more volunteer hours with two groups here in town. One good friend lost her job so I am helping her to arrange and sell her house. (Love your landscaping guy - he's so Zen).

Right now, I am cleaning out my closets and taking books into Powell Books for credit. Things I no longer want or need (see George Carlin on "Stuff") go to Good Will or to online auctions. I don't feel the need to buy clothes or tech toys this year (rare for me, I'll admit) and I spend free time in our local library and at dog parks.

We had very little debt going into this, thank goodness, and we are keeping it that way.

Let's see. I am taking online classes to keep my skills sharp and also take up a few new ones. I wuvs the internets....

We also use our home tech to stay in touch with friends and community - I'm so grateful to have that! Wifi and our cell phone plans are worth every penny.

I don't own and will not buy a big screen TV or HBO or any of that kind of stuff, as much fun as these can be. Between Netflicks, our local art houses and basic cable, my entertainment needs are being met. In fact, I am trying to do less that involves staring passively at screens and more that involves leaving my room.

We have cut out quite a few things, including our usual vacation plans, so we spend weekends going to concerts, cooking with friends, taking day trips (gas prices allowing) and generally finding our fun close to home.

All renovations/improvements on our house are on hold, and we are putting in a veggie garden and a water tank, instead. Some of this is survivalist thinking, I'll admit. Some of this is simply love of gardening. Right now, I'm reading up on keeping chickens.

When prices come down and efficiency goes up, we're putting in solar panels.

The semi-spendy thing I am doing this year is the Discworld Convention in Arizona in September. I hope to see some of the American Southwest after we leave the Con (time and pocketbook allowing).

Hang in there, folks.


Anne Johnson said...

I'm doing a lot more cooking these days. We used to eat out more. Also, back when we were in the chips, I had housekeeping help. Now I do that too. Haven't been to Berkeley Springs in almost a year, but I'm sure the water's still flowing, and will be flowing when I can return there.