Monday, January 28, 2013

What it's like working at home...

...after 27 years of the corporate life.

1) Some days I stay in my pajamas.
2) Most days I exercise.
3) Often I get to focus for four hours at a time without interruption, a luxury. (No meetings! No incessant email! )
4) A 9 AM cup of coffee followed by granola and fruit or toast and peanut butter or eggs (when cooked by my husband).
5) A mix of taking care of business (insurance, the occasional errand, a doctor's appointment with prolonged bursts of productivity)
6) A real sense of what my time is worth--and what I aim for it to be worth
7) The freedom to close my laptop when I please
8) A six hour work day. Which equals a nine hour work day sans meetings and emails
9) Greeting my husband with a martini at the door when he got home from the office. How Mad Men!

The view from my NYC home office...

...and my country office...

Monday, January 7, 2013

The sound of ice cracking

Tonight, my husband beckoned me out onto our deck at 9:30 pm to look at the stars and listen to...something. He wouldn't tell me what it was; just cautioned me to keep still and listen. Very soon, I heard a timpany-like wave of sound that reminded me of a doppler or ultra sound machine--a kind of whoosh, whoosh that was other-worldly. "That's the sound of cracks in the ice propagating," explained my engineer-spouse. (We were overlooking our pond, which, for the first time all year, had frozen solid enough for ice fisherman to patiently wait for a bass to trigger their tip-ups. I must have heard it at various points in my life, but I never heard it like that, in my own backyard with the stars blazing overhead. (To hear what it sounds like, click here.

I feel very  lucky.

A lone ice fisherman on our frozen pond

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The swapping life

No, I'm not talking about couples swapping. I'm talking about apartment swapping. I spent a good part of the evening prepping my place for a swapper who will occupy my pad starting tomorrow through part of next week, in exchange for letting me and my husband stay in his 300 year old stone house in the Basque country. Oh, and their apartment in Biaritz. Beyond the fact that this is an insanely affordable way to travel well (my site of choice is, I'm prompted to streamline, polish up and put away at home, to make my apartment guest-ready. Very motivating, when you think about the kind of cleanliness you hope for when you're residing in someone else's home.

Of course, I'm willing to splurge for the occasional resort, too. There aren't too many swap options like Jakes, a funky little resort in a fishing community called Treasure Beach, in Jamaica. My honey and I spent the holidays there and we loved learning a smattering of patois, eating jerk everything, and meeting lots of cool people. Below, a local rasta fisherman cleaning a kingfish on the beach. I had a piece for dinner later that night. Can't get more local than that.

Lata, mon! (Pronounced lay-tah, mahn, patois for "see you later!")