My mom lives overseas, so in our recent discussions she has been asking what signs we see of the global economic crisis. Of course, we've seen fewer people out shopping and lots of empty storefronts. Rent prices are almost reasonable and there are more empty apartments for sale.
But the most powerful economic indicator for me is the new nightly ritual that dominates our apartment every weeknight: for the first 30 minutes after arriving home, Michael and I discuss all of the ways in which we were almost laid off that day. We both talk about the scares of the day, the conversations about funding or billable hours, the terrifying emails and closed-door discussions that send shivers through our offices. Although we both believe we should be safe, these are terrifying and unpredictable times. We're scared.
This was not what I expected. Between us, Michael and I have 6 YEARS of graduate school education. We're both employed and enjoying the benefits of a dual income household. We're relatively young, cheap labor. All the doors should be open for us. The future should look bright.
But here we are, each and every night, talking through how we would survive unemployment - where we would live, how we would pay bills, what plans we would re-evaluate.
I suppose there are lessons to be learned from this uncertainty, but honestly, after living on next to nothing for the last few years, I don't care. I would be terribly grateful to be able to come home and swap stories of professional futures filled with promotion and wealth.
I feel like all I do here is talk about food, but Leonard Lopate had a fantastic segment on NPR the other day about Obama and food policy. Much of the time is spent discussing the proposal to put an organic farm on the White House lawn. You can download the show onto your ipod here or listen to it below:
Today, at the farmers market, I took the plunge. I purchased milk and yogurt for the first time! It just looked so good, I couldn't hold back. So for the first time since leaving the farm in Greece, I will be drinking milk out of a glass bottle!
I also purchased carrots, onions, and some crocuses that are just about to come up! Very wonderful!
I woke up for the gym at 6:15 this morning. The sky was already a royal blue, as the sun was on its way up. The signs of life were a little bit louder than usual. And I was able to walk back home with my jacket unzipped.
Yesterday I seriously debated buying a bunch of new glasses for the kitchen.
Not because we need new glasses, mind you. Because we have six different KINDS of glasses - some from the fabulous Martha Stewart collection, some plastic ones from college races, some plastic ones from my college apartment and then some other random ones from who knows where.
And every time I take out a glass, it drives me CRAZY that all of ours don't look the same or come from the same glassware collection.
After a glorious five days in Florida, Michael and I are back in New York, a little heavier, a little redder, a little less patient for summer to arrive. We had a wonderful weekend with Michael's grandparents, eating every two hours, spending time in 80 degree weather, and enjoying the Florida wildlife.
Traveling down to Ft. Myers has become somewhat of a tradition. This was our third Presidents day weekend, and each time it gets harder to leave. Michael's grandparents dote on us constantly, and it feels lovely.
I spent a lot of time this weekend sitting right here, out on the lanai, watching birds and marine life and chatting:
My lovely husband, soaking up the sun at Marco's Island:
And Michael with his grandparents at Port of the Islands Marina, after taking a boat cruise to see the manatees:
In addition to the physical pleasure that comes from a vacation in Florida - the sunshine, the sleep (oh, the glorious amount of sleep!), the food, the comfort - we both felt such gratitude for the quality time we had with family. There is something so unique about the relationship between grandchild and grandparent, and I'm grateful that I've had the opportunity to know Michael's.
After two hectic weeks and with the prospect of a beach vacation on the horizon, I'm sick. I stayed at home from work today in the hopes of keeping the illness in New York while Michael and I are in Florida. I hope it works!
In the meantime, since I'm ill, I've purchased - and devoured - two delicious bags of Salt & Vinegar Kettle Chips. Heavenly!
Well, another weekend has come and gone faster than I wanted! After another exhausting (and somewhat traumatic) work week, the weekend was too brief to fully recharge. Despite this, we had a great time sleeping until 1 on Saturday, playing poker with John & Anna & Ashesh, joining John & Anna's neighbors for a "stranger party," and had a super hard workout with Arnold. I've been fighting a cold this weekend, so spent quite a bit of time sleeping too!
AND, today, Michael and I went to two open houses! There were two one-bedrooms open in the building right next door to us, both of which had already reduced their prices. Of course, they were $675K and $450K. One of the apartments had been remodeled, the other was in a pretty sad state. It was fun to check out new places, but surprisingly depressing to see what a lot of money will buy in NYC - not much at all!
Here it is, Friday evening. I'm sitting on the couch in our apartment, debating next steps. I know I should go to the gym and then to the grocery store. I can already feel the relief of having knocked these two chores off of my to do list.
But after another long, exhausting week, all I want to do is pour myself a glass of red wine, curl up on the couch and read my book. I want to change into my winter pants and be slovenly.
What a week! Michael and I both put in a 6-day week (although mine was significantly less stressful). I helped lead a full-day training, presented 4 times, went to the Bronx three times, interviewed a bunch of folks... it was an exhausting work week and I'm glad it is over!
All that said, it was so rewarding. And it is always more fun to be busy at work than slow! I am so grateful for my work environment right now - I've worked with so many wackos in the past. I feel incredibly blessed to have the colleagues I do now.
The insanity left me with less time to catch up with friends and family than usual. But I did manage to keep going to the gym, which is quite a change. Usually when work picks up, it's the first thing to go. But this time I kept saying to myself that if Barack finds the time to work out, if the leader of the free world can do it, I can too! And it worked! I love having a president I look up to...
Not much else to report. We had a great night out with Ashesh & Mona last night. We consumed a great deal of Indian food and danced at Mixx. It was so nice to just be out and about with friends we don't see enough of. It made us happy.
"But when she stepped off the train in New York, her plain little face looked beautiful for a moment, as if the future were opening before her and its glow were already upon her forehead, as if she were eager and proud and ready to meet it..."