I know, I know, the economy is showing signs of life. Wake me up when it's dancing around the block! Until then, remember these words, reposted from last July, when the future looked especially bleak: 

Several once-comfortable, highly educated, high-salaried, middle-aged friends of mine were caught in today’s perfect storm of deep recession, real estate bust and offshore outsourcing. If you have followed their demise over time on Twitter, here’s what you might have read:  

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Late 50s, still fit, married 25 yrs, 2 grown kids, mortgage almost paid. Life is good!   

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Will work another 10 years, then semi-retire to sunny condo life.  Ahhh!  

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Lost 1/3 of IRA on Wall St but can recoup over time. Must be careful w/$. 

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Boss promises big raise this yr. Got 30-yr pin @employee recog dinner 2nite! 

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Important project at work so cancelled vacation, but big $$$ ahead.   

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This just in: Company lost contract/was sold. Job went pffft!   

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How can I compete for work against 30-somethings w/0 mouths 2 feed?  

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Signed up for unemployment today. Job prospects dim. Spouse blue.  

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COBRA expired. Bought lousy insurance @$1,000/mo/pp! Don’t get sick! 

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Goodbye vacations, motorcycles, condos, golf, tennis, fun. Trying to stay hopeful.  

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How long can this go on?

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UI ran out. Took PT job at less than ½ usual pay, but working, at least.  

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Our neighborhood turned chic so taxes sky high. Home value tanked.  

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Taxed out of our house + underwater!  Can’t believe this is happening. 

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Almost 65, so going on Medicare. Never thought I’d really, really need it.   

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Finally old enuf for SS. Medicare $ taken from monthly check, thank god. 

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GOP rattling sabers over entitlements. Spouse worried

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Biggest fear: 75 yo + eating dog food. SS hasn’t kept up w/COLA. 

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Is all of this just a bad dream? Can I wake up now?  

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Trying to look on bright side: more time w/kids, simple pleasures, etc. 

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Took kids/grandkids 4 pizza + walk. Learning 2 love Monopoly. Spouse unhappy.   

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Not what I expected for my “golden years” but will make do. Still healthy

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Thank goodness, college kid will finish + married kid got great job nearby. 

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Kid graduated but NO jobs. He’s stuck w/huge college loan. I’m stuck w/him. 

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New grad landed job in Tokyo, other son transferred to Brazil. Spouse walked.

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I’m looking for a little space on a passing ice floe. 


 
 
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I know several once-comfortable, highly educated, highly salaried, middle-aged folks who are caught in today’s perfect storm of deep recession, real estate bust and offshore outsourcing. If you follow their demise over time on Twitter, here’s what you might read:

1.     Fit and 55, married 25 yrs, 2 grown kids, mortgage almost paid. Life is good! 

2.     Will work another 10 years, then semi-retire to sunny condo life.  Ahhh!  

3.     Lost 1/3 of IRA on Wall St but can recoup over time. Must be careful w/$.

4.     Boss promises big raise this yr. Got 30-yr pin @employee recog dinner tonite.

5.     Important project at work so cancelled vacation, but big $$$ ahead.   

6.     This just in: Company lost contract/was sold/went bankrupt. Job went pffft! 

7.     How can I compete for work against 30-somethings w/0 mouths 2 feed? 

8.     Signed up for unemployment today. Job prospects still dim. Spouse blue.  

9.     COBRA gone so bought lousy health ins @$1,000/mo/pp! Don’t get sick!

10.   No more vacations, motorcycles, condos, tennis, dining out but still hopeful.

11    Our neighborhood turned chic so taxes sky high. Still, home value dropped.  

12    Taxed out of my home + underwater!  Can’t believe this is happening.

13.   Took early SS at reduced rate. Stuck w/lower checks 4 life, but need it now.  

14.   1 yr on SS, so can go on Medicare. $ will be taken from SS check, thank god.

15.   GOP rattling sabres over “entitlements.” Spouse worried.

16.   Biggest fear: 75 yo + eating dog food. Please, let SS keep up w/COLA! 

17.   Is all of this just a bad dream? Can I wake up now? 

18.   Look on bright side: more time w/kids, etc.  Spouse miserable.  

19.   Took kids/grandkids 4 pizza + walk. Learning 2 love Monopoly.    

20.   Not what I had in mind 4 “golden years” but will adjust. Still healthy.  

21.   Thank goodness, college kid will finish + married kid got great job nearby.

22.   Kid graduated but NO jobs. He’s stuck w/huge college loan. I’m stuck w/him.

23.   New grad lands Tokyo job, other one transferred to Brazil. Spouse walked. 

24.   I’m looking for a little space on a passing ice floe. 



 
 
from The New York Times
January 5, 2010

Op-Ed Columnist
An Uneasy Feeling

By BOB HERBERT

I’m starting the new year with the sinking feeling that important opportunities are slipping from the nation’s grasp. Our collective consciousness tends to obsess indiscriminately over one or two issues — the would-be bomber on the flight into Detroit, the Tiger Woods saga — while enormous problems that should be engaged get short shrift.

Staggering numbers of Americans are still unemployed and nearly a quarter of all homeowners owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. Forget the false hope of modestly improving monthly job numbers. The real story right now is the entrenched suffering (with no end in sight) that has been inflicted on scores of millions of working Americans by the Great Recession and the misguided economic policies that preceded it.

As The Washington Post reported over the weekend, the entire past decade “was the worst for the U.S. economy in modern times.” There was no net job creation — none — between December 1999 and now. None! 

To continue, click on "Read More."
 

Big box

04/14/2009

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Coming soon: Your take on big box stores. Love them or hate them, they've changed our lives. Which ones do you swear by, and which can you give up?

Will the recession/depression be the end of the big box phenomenon, or has it just begun?

Leave your comments here, and be sure to leave a list of your favorites or the ones you love to hate.



 
 

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick holds a bear cub in his jacket while another is weighed in a hat Friday.

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Cub scout: Fisheries and Wildlife officials take Gov. Patrick on mission to meet Whately bear, make a happy discovery

The Massachusetts governor came out our way yesterday, and went on a wildlife hunt for bear. Found him a few. To read the entire story, from the Greenfield Recorder, follow the link in the headline above. 


What a refreshing story for these depressing times!



Here's a photo from the Springfield newspaper, and  a link to their story and video. It's worth a look if you like bears! 

http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/02/gov_deval_patrick_comes_to_wes.html


 
 

Liz suggests starting a garden this year, as buffer against high food prices. Great idea! Tell us more, Liz.

We have a freezer, so we're still eating food bought at last year's prices. I buy from local farms, package and freeze. That works for many of our meals,  except for the obvious stuff you need to buy fresh.

This year, I knitted scarves as Christmas presents. Now I need to learn some new tricks for next year's gifts. Any ideas?

What are you doing to prepare for or fend off the pain of a deep recession?