Can never underestimate the importance of travel, even if it’s just a 4 hour drive away. Sometimes you need to break away from your life to gain perspective on some decisions you’ve been wavering on. I’m always eager to see something new. Time spent with family is good too. As my cousins and I got older, our big extended family stopped getting together for various reasons that our parents never shared. Sometimes years went by. It takes effort to stay in touch, but when it happens you realize how important family can be, especially now that a younger generation is involved. The kids really do love to spend time with extended family. It’s often not “what are we doing” that gets asked at holidays, but “who are we spending it with?”
I also met a long time online friend for the first time this trip. I feel like I haven’t been doing this as much as I have in the past, maybe because I think there was a period of time when I was closing in, but sometimes these meetings just feel right, like picking up a conversation where you had left off in emails, but in person. My friend and I walked around Boston for miles and miles. She showed me some of her favorite streets including Commonwealth Avenue which reminded me of a prettier Eastern Parkway here in Brooklyn. The magnolias were in peak bloom all along the avenue and it felt good to be moving, talking, and enjoying the milder weather and sunshine.
I recently made a set of decisions that I’m unsure of. I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I coast solely on my gut and not on careful examination of the pros and cons. Well, let me back up because I think you all know I tend to overthink things. In the end though, even after endless deliberation, I go with my gut. I’m waiting to see if they were the right choices. It can be nerve-wracking.
Posted by Jenna | 3 Comments
I remember being 10, do you? It’s when memories start to have real traction and you can recount the details that make distant memories still alive.
I turned 10 the year we entered a new decade, the 80s. Life then was all about living on rollerskates every free minute that I wasn’t in school, skating around in circles in my basement to Donna Summer, Blondie and the Jackson Five.
I begged my mom for Jordache and Sasson jeans, Nike sneaks tricked out with the fattest color laces you can find and knee high tube socks with 3 stripes, not two. I also wore a lot of feathers, brightly colored and on clips that we attached to our hair. They were actually roach clips, but I didn’t know that at the time. Another must-have accessory was the braided satin headband in all sorts of colors. Depending on my mood, I would wear them on my head or hang 2 around my neck as necklaces.
I was obsessed with Different Strokes and the Facts of Life, but my favorite TV show hands down was What’s Happening. I thought Duane falling down on his skateboard during opening credits was the funniest thing ever. I had a little crush on Duane; I really liked his afro.
When Solid Gold came on in the Fall, I became obsessed with that too and watched it along with Soul Train and American Bandstand. I didn’t want to be one of the Solid Gold dancers, but I was mesmerized by them at least until we started mocking them as we grew into snotty teenagers. In my basement, I would choreograph dance numbers to “Fame” by Irene Cara.
My favorite songs of 1980 were “Upside Down” by Diana Ross and “Rock with You” by Michael Jackson. Then I heard “Heartbreaker” by Pat Benatar and that kind of blew my mind.
In 1980 I played with Weebles (they don’t fall down!) and Ker-bangers (also known as Clackers). I can’t tell you how many times I would hit and bruise my arm on that thing, even hitting myself in the eye a few times. Maybe that’s why they were banned in the mid 80s, or maybe I was just a super uncoordinated and clumsy kid. I kind of hated that toy, but I played with it anyway. I didn’t have any Barbie dolls except for a collectible Cher doll whose butt-long hair I chopped off at some point, but I did have Color n Curl Candi, you know, the toy where you can style hair and apply makeup on a creepy doll head. What I really wanted for years and years was the Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine and the Easy Bake Oven, but I never got either of those toys.
In 4th grade, I was obsessed with making dioramas for book reports and became somewhat competitive about them at school. I had to make the best diorama, each one more elaborate than the one before, topping all other dioramas in the classroom. What a brat. There was a fair amount of bullying in school when I was 10, and I joined in with most of the other girls in the class picking on some of the girls that the mean girls singled out. I was still sort of newish to my neighborhood and I wanted to fit in. The previous year, I was the one who got picked on, primarily by a girl named April who would follow me home from school, taunting me the whole way home.
When I was 10, my best friends were Cecilia (but she was really kind of a frenemy) and a girl named Giselle. But I really wanted to be friends with a tomboy named Irene. She had the best tube socks and cut off jean shorts and rode the skateboard as well as any boy in the neighborhood. She didn’t really hang with any one crowd; she was way too cool for that.
In 4th grade we would make each other friendship pins which were tiny colored beads that you would bead onto tiny safety pins. You’d then collect those and hang them from bigger safety pins and wear it on your shirt or attach it to your bookbag (cross shoulder, of course. We didn’t wear backpacks in the 80s). The more pins you had, the more popular you were. We would also obsessively make braided ribbon barrettes in as many color combos that we could think of so that we could match every outfit. My favorite combo was green and purple.
When I was 10 I was still obsessed with unicorns and had a velvet black light unicorn poster up in my room. It hung there for years until I took it down and replaced it with band posters, probably Duran Duran and Def Leppard.
I have a 10 year old in the house now. I’m thinking back to all my 10 year old memories because I want to remember what it was like and to have some sort of window on what it feels like to be that age so I can understand her world better. Still a kid, but somehow different, older, definitely testing the boundaries of adolescence.
Is being 10 in 2014 so much different than 1980? Yeah, maybe. We were explaining to the kids what life before the internet was like, how we had to search in our Encyclopedia volumes (I had Funk & Wagnalls) to do book reports or actually leave our house and go to the library if we needed to look up something. NYC is also worlds apart from when I was a 10 year old. But trade in the friendship pins for Kid Robot Yummy keychains (kids are obsessed) and feather roach clips for Rainbow loom bracelets, and being 10 is still being 10.
I remember being 10. Life was still uncomplicated, but the world was certainly getting bigger.
Happy 10th birthday, kid.
Posted by Jenna | 17 Comments
Where does all the time go?
I love this little girl so very much.
Posted by Jenna | 12 Comments
I think we may have found a new family tradition.
The weather didn’t exactly cooperate so we didn’t spend as much time out on the beach at La Push like we thought we would (including roasting marshmallows over bonfires at night on the beach which we were really looking forward to), but we had a great time just the same. There’s something about staying in a cabin by the ocean with lots of family that makes it the quintessential family vacation. Most times the days center around meals. You cook, eat, drink and clean and in a few hours you do it all over again for the next meal.
On our way over to the coast from Olympia, we stopped to get seafood at a place near Aberdeen. We had an empty cooler packed with ice and we were looking forward to getting crab and clams for dinner, and then halibut and scallops for ceviche another night, but we were told that there were no crabs that day. Kind of funny when the whole trip at one point seemed to center around this crab cookout. With some last minute brainstorming, Mark decided to make a seafood chowder. We ate it with corn and lots of pre-dinner appetizers like some smoked salmon that a family member caught and smoked just 3 days before, and some really good olives, brie, home-canned pickled beans and home-brewed beer.
There isn’t any cell signal or wifi out at the coast. And you know what? I didn’t miss it. Sure, we’d all whip out our phones the minute we drove through town (Forks – you know, twilight and vampires and stuff), but the rest of the time we played board games and talked.
A huge storm passed our way our last night in La Push. It was windy and cold and raining sideways. We probably spent all of about 2 hours total on the beach the whole time we were there. We didn’t see any sunsets, we didn’t have a cookout and we didn’t roast marshmallows over bonfires, but it was probably the most memorable part of our entire vacation. Within the first 30 minutes of being settled in our cabin, we all simultaneously agreed that this should be a new family tradition.
Posted by Jenna | 20 Comments
One of the great things about our annual Pacific Northwest trips are the mini trips that we often plan within our vacations. Since we come out here every year to visit and stay with family, we like to revisit places that we haven’t been to in 20 years and we get to share some of these places with our girls. This year we decided to drive to the Washington coast. A road trip! Driving our cousin’s big van with family, the trunk filled with suitcases and food, we set out for a 5 day adventure.
Ruby Beach was our first stop on our way to our final destination. We ate brie and pear sandwiches and explored the beach while we had a break from the misty rain. It would be our only dry day on the coast. More photos to come…
Posted by Jenna | 12 Comments