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What I Did Last Night

This. I have never successfully learned Gemara without a teacher, so we'll see how it goes.

In other news, I found my keys today. They had gone into hiding for several months, and I had, in the meantime, made copies from other people's keys, but it was still nice to find them. (I knew they were in my apartment, since the last time I used them was to let myself into the apartment.) The key-finding is part of a larger operation to clean my room and file lots and lots of papers. I think that I may be keeping too many papers, but I don't know what to throw out. Thoughts, anyone? Paid cell phone bills? Paid cable-modem bills? The same from last year? I feel like I must have paid bills going back several years, along with credit card statements, bank statements, receipts, etc. I can probably toss most of it. Or maybe I should toss the box of old New Yorkers that I never read. Or I can toss all of it! After the papers are more or less sorted out, I plan on finally going through all of the boxes of miscellaneous things that I haven't unpacked since I last moved. (Don't ask when that was. It was awhile ago.)

Also, today is the second day of Rosh Chodesh Elul, aka 1 Elul. I don't feel spiritually ready for Elul at all. I kind of wish we could skip it and Tishrei this year. What are the odds?


Regarding records, here's some guidelines -

keep personal identity items forever (birth certificate, marriage license, divorce decree, etc) - both yours and any relatives/spouses/dependents.

keep tax info for 7 years. This means "anything you sent to the IRS, including copies of the W2s and any supporting documentation" - i.e. if you deducted home-based business expenses, keep the ledger. - note - you only need one copy! don't keep duplicates.

keep bank statements for 5 years, unless you need them longer.

keep utility bills for about 1-2 years - you definitely want to be able to historically compare year-to-year, but won't need them longer than that.

Don't keep newspaper bills, or receipts, or cancelled checks any longer than it takes to balance your checkbook, unless it's a warranty-type item (i.e. if you would want warranty coverage).

Those rules will get you through an IRS audit or a house purchase.
did you here the shofer blowing already?
Nope, haven't heard a shofar blow yet. I meant to try to go to shul one of the mornings of Rosh Chodesh (actually, I don't think shofar starts until 1 Elul, the second day of Rosh Chodesh?), but I didn't. Partly because I was staying in a neighborhood where I didn't feel comfortable going to shul wearing pants, my normal non-Shabbat attire. And partly because it seemed nicer to stay in bed a little longer. As it usually does.
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