Sunday, May 31, 2009


From Friday to Sunday night, the key focus: relaxation. From my private happy hour with white wine, a yellow peach and a book on Friday evening, to our dinner composed of almost everything local (potatoes, spinach, cucumbers from the market and herbs from our garden), we spent the entire weekend relaxing.

Which pretty much means, I have nothing major to report! On Saturday, we slept until noon. We took a million walks all around the Village, spending a ton of time strolling on Hudson Street. We read outside, down in Hudson River Park. We worked out, me and the gym and Michael with long runs by the water. It was wonderful!

Friday Night's Happy Hour

Our Sunny Sunday Spot

My Studly Husband

Naomi, John & Anna's beautiful baby girl

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mental Health

Today I took a mental health day. Initially, I was hesitant to do it. Michael has been working so much harder than I and he couldn't join me. And work has been really stress-free this week. But I decided to go for it anyway, after some support from a colleague and seeing the outstanding weather forecast. And I must say, I'm so glad I did!

My day has been filled with gardening. This morning, after sending Michael off to work, dropping off laundry and dry cleaning and doing a couple other odd chores, I set off for the farmers market. My goal was solely flowers and herbs - and I think I went a little overboard...

I planted some herbs for our fire escape - parsley, rosemary, dill, basil and mint - as well as some flowers. The herbs smell wonderful!

Then, convinced by my friend Melissa that I could do it, I picked up some tomato plants!! I thought I would give it a try - what's the worst that could happen, right? So I purchased 4 different types and, after encouragement from neighbors, put them up on our rooftop. We will see how it goes!

This is the fourth year I have planted our "garden" over Memorial Day weekend. The first time Mom was here to guide me, and each year since I've been expanding little by little. I take my planters outside and dig and fill on the front steps of our building. With each passing year the experience has become more and more communal. Several neighbors that we know stopped by and told me how beautiful everything looked. A couple of German tourists meandering the Village commented on the herbs. And all of these little interactions helped me remember how amazing this experience is. While I think both Michael and I are getting ready to live in a slightly bigger apartment (one, perhaps, with a door or two), I know we will always romanticize our time here. I love this apartment, and this life we've built. I hope that our next place will become what this is to us - a community and a home.

And one more picture from the water:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Also, can we note the contrast? Just a month apart, about the same time of day:



Signs of Summer

Today was a brilliantly sunny, warm day. The kind of day when everyone discusses how glorious the sunshine feels, how summer really is just around the corner.

A promising start. Green, happy trees along my route to work, just before walking by Jon Stewart and his very friendly driver.

After work, down by the water. Everyone in bikinis and swim suits. Our "pools."

The brilliant boardwalk in the Hudson River Park on my walk home. Every time I walk this path, I feel grateful for taxes.

Finally, my new favorite flowers. Anyone know what they are called? They are growing taller than me all over the city.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Bright Side

Today is the first day of abundant, not-a-cloud-in-the-sky sunshine we've had in approximately 1 month. I'm attending a graduation today, and hearing Paul Farmer (who will no doubt tell us we should be working harder to address AIDS around the world). There is a chance I could also make it to the gym this evening, and a dinner at home seems once again possible.

Today could be a very good day...

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Can I tell you how excited I am for dinner tonight? We are having a baked chicken, sweet potatoes, spinach and a salad (with tomatoes! we're risking it tonight...). It's going to be colorful and delicious!

On My Mind

May has not been a great month for the Dunn household. Michael and I have both been struggling with work, trying to find some sort of balance between our personal and professional lives. Some thoughts I've been thinking about through this ordeal:

1. I seem to either be on top of everything - going to the gym 5 times a week, reading for pleasure, working hard, cooking dinners at home, blogging - or not really achieving any of those things. The past two weeks, we've had few dinners at home, I've been more sporadic about the gym, have barely posted here, and have struggled to stay focused at work. Strange how these desired behaviors seem to reinforce themselves for me. Hmmm...

2. This amazing, personal and painful article in the Times this weekend is absolutely worth the read. In it, an economics reporter for the Times discusses how he and his new wife fell into massive credit card debt. It left me thinking quite a bit about what we can easily feel entitled to as members of the educated class. I think my generation, especially those of us who grew up in the upper middle class, assume that we can afford summer vacations, Starbucks coffees, clothes from J. Crew or the Gap. We think that because we're educated, we can afford anything our parents have. I include myself in this because I fight to remind myself that just because Michael and I have higher degrees, that doesn't mean we can afford everything. Anyway, I found this article very thought-provoking.

3. This reporting is utterly terrifying.

4. Babies, and in particular John and Anna's lovely newborn, Naomi, are so beautiful!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Best Show on TV

Last night, on the second to last Biggest Loser of the season, the remaining 4 contestants completed a marathon. It was the most moving hour of television I've seen in a while. Tara, Helen, Mike and Ron all pushed themselves to the limit, and each did something they never thought they could. Ron, the slowest of the bunch, in a great deal of pain from bad knees and legs, crossed the finish line after 13 hours, 15 minutes and 48 seconds. For the final couple of miles, former Biggest Loser contestants, the trainers and the other finalists from this season joined Ron, encouraging him to keep pushing through the pain. When he crossed the finish line, with his son, simultaneously crying and beaming with pride --- wow. Not a dry eye in this house, I tell ya!

It's impossible to talk about this show without insane platitudes. But it is the most inspiring television we watch. Unlike, say, Daisy of Love or The Hills or Real World/Road Rules Challenge, we want to participate in the action. We want Jillian or Bob to beat the crap out of us in the gym. We are inspired by what we see. Not only that, but the show seems to have a social conscience beyond the gym - encouraging people to drink tap water or give to a local food bank. Ohhh, how I LOVE it.

Vote for Mike here.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Nuclear Option

A week like this leaves me dreaming of our nuclear option.

After we both started working, Michael and I needed to remind ourselves that we are not stuck. If we're unhappy, we have options. New York is an amazing place to live, and it is also incredibly difficult. We look around at friends who live in Virginia or Florida or Texas or Barcelona to remind ourselves that our lives could be very different. We could live somewhere affordable, somewhere drivable, somewhere even just slightly slower and less... demanding. We daydream about packing our bags and moving to some small, liberal university town, say Chapel Hill or Charlottesville or Asheville or (yes, dare I say) Austin. We dream about having regular dinners with family members, sharing day-to-day routines with siblings. We talk about leaving the city, Michael passing the bar in another state, and us living a less expensive, more reasonable existence. This is our "nuclear option."

This week left me dreaming for it. Gone are the glory days of last weekend! This week, Michael worked until 8, 9, 12, 10, 7 and just headed in for a Saturday at the office. I worked until 6, 7:30, (sick day), 7 and 8. And I could (and maybe should) put in another few hours this weekend. We make a good living, but it seems so hard to believe we could ever buy an apartment, let alone a house, in this area. I still feel guilty taking a cab or buying clothes. Sometimes it feels like we're working this hard just to tread water.

And so on a week when we never left work - where we were always anxious and thinking about what we had to do and who we needed to approach - the nuclear option is incredibly appealing.