Peters describes herself as a strong "independent woman" type -- not someone who gets emotional or asks for help. That's all changed lately, though.
Friends have recommended she seek treatment for depression. There are some days, she told me, when she feels like all of the vigor is gone. It's hard to get out of the chair.
She grew up in the Bronx dreaming of becoming a detective. Now she's undercover in a different way, hiding as much as she can the fact that she's struggling to make it.
She's embarrassed about the fact that her daughter's school class donated Christmas presents for her family last year. But it meant the world to her because she wouldn't have had a holiday otherwise. "That keeps me strong," she said.
It's common knowledge these days that the longer you've been out of work, the harder it is to find a job. Depression is one outcome of long-term unemployment, and it can cause a job search to be dead on arrival. Then there's also the fact that, as several reports have shown, employers prefer to hire the already-employed.
Job listings sometimes tell the unemployed not to apply at all (some states have toyed with legislation to prevent this).
For others, it's simply understood that the resumes of unemployed people will be tossed in the trash first. In a competitive job market, it's a quick way to weed out applicants.
Not only is this discriminatory, said Maurice Emsellem, policy co-director at the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group. "It's not in the interest of employers to artificially limit the applicant pool."
'I want to go back to school'
"That gentleman in the back -- with the pink tie," Peters said, looking at House Speaker John Boehner, who was seated behind the president on the television. "He's always so angry! Gosh! He can't stand that president. Look at his attitude!"
Peters blamed Boehner's apparent lack of interest for holding back Obama's more aggressive attempts to push through job-creating reforms.
Boehner leaned to one side, almost out of the frame. He did look pretty bored as Obama argued that America needs to bring in new-era manufacturing jobs and invest in technologies to fight climate change and promote clean energy.
Peters said she felt unprepared for most of those jobs, anyway. She finished high school in New York and went to college for one semester before dropping out, she said, for financial reasons. After she was laid off in 2008, she told me, she became certified to work as an administrative assistant in a medical office. She never was able to use that certification because she never could find a company to hire her to use those skills.
She has some gaps in her resume, but told me she was employed fairly steadily until the recession hit. While she used to be able to choose among jobs, now she can't find any.
Her financial troubles may hurt her kids' opportunities, too.
As Obama turned to the topic of new investment in schools, so that all kids will have an equal shot at a great education, Peters said this to me:
"Every parent's dream is to send their kid to college, and now it's like, 'Is it worth it?' Why send 'em to college? They won't be able to get a job after it."
She questioned whether she could afford school for her 7-year-old.
And Peters' other daughter, who is 19, dropped out of high school and hasn't earned a GED diploma, she said, in part because they can't afford to pay the test fees.