This year seems to be the year where I’m making good on some promises I made to myself early in the year. Some promises have come up empty when they don’t get fulfilled year after year, but for whatever reason, this one’s has been different. Maybe it’s some cosmic force at play that tries to balance the good with the bad – isn’t that a nice thought? Or maybe things come into your life only when it’s the right time.
The ironic thing about having a job is that I feel like I have more “free” time. Ok, scratch that because things are always busy around here no matter what, but what I mean is that I feel like I can schedule things without fear of every plan getting usurped by a last minute freelance assignment. What some people don’t realize about freelance is that even though you’re your own boss, you’re sort of a slave to your clients. It’s its own brand of “golden handcuffs”. You don’t want to say no because you don’t want to risk losing that client and you don’t want to say no because you might regret it when work dries up. What often happens is that you find yourself in an impossible schedule where you’re juggling too many things and working non-stop. It’s a perpetual cycle that breeds it own version of being on that hamster wheel.
So imagine my surprise when I realized that having a set schedule begets a different kind of freedom I haven’t had before (more or less – I’m still freelancing a bit on top of my job right now. What was that I just said about not being able to say “no”? Oy vey). I got rather excited when I realized that some of my time away from the office would be entirely mine again. That meant carving out regular time to work on our business, something that always seem to end up getting pushed to the back burner, and also making things with my hands.
I met my friend RJ in the early years of Etsy when the community seemed much smaller and we were all stumbling our way around twitter. I’ve been wanting to play in her studio, on her invitation, for quite a while now, but I was never able to find the time. I finally cleared my schedule this month for 2 sessions of studio time and it was the best time I’ve had in a while. Art therapy, I guess. There’s something really therapeutic about working clay in your hands and hand building objects. Can’t say whatever I made is good, but who cares. It wasn’t about making anything good and I suppose that’s the point of it all. Drawing and painting is still a bit too intimidating because these are things I studied for years, in a highly rigorous academic setting, no less. I *should* be able to do these things, right? Wrong. Insecurity, self doubt, and lack of practice does a number on anything that should make sense (hi, piano), no matter how many degrees you’ve earned. All of that goes out the window. But clay. It’s something I’m not familiar with aside from a wheel throwing class I took while in college (doesn’t everybody take a pottery class at one point?). So here’s another check mark on the list of positives this year. I’ll take what I can get, but it was a big one.
Posted by Jenna | 4 Comments
These are new things we’re bringing to the weekend markets this Fall – pecan pie bars with a shortbread crust. I have a distinct association with them which I won’t share at this time, but they are quite delicious and I think everyone who bought them last Saturday would agree. It’s always nice when people come back to the table for seconds. This week we’re getting ready for the Chile Pepper Festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. It’s our biggest event every year and one of the only events where we “work” the booth as a family, and I put work loosely in quotes because well, let’s face it – Mark does most of the work. The kids get super excited about the Chile Festival every year and this year we’ll have our friend Megan working the table as well. Come say hello if you attend – it’s supposed to be another gorgeous warm day on Saturday.
But this post isn’t about cookies or the business. Fall is officially here. I feel like summer is bookended by months of complex emotions and transitions. September in particular is a month of change and renewal, but also when the natural world around us dies down and retreats into deep hibernation. It isn’t surprising then that it’s often a time for re-evaluation – of life, career, friends, relationships. I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships in particular these past few weeks and how it can feel like it’s in constant flux. All these online relationships complicate things too. It’s easy to come under the illusion that you have a lot of friends, but who, really, are your friends? I find myself digging deep, back to older friendships lately because there’s history there and the familiarity is comforting.
A few different fiends of mine and I have debated this theory on whether or not social media and texting contributes to an increase in flakiness among people. I’m totally generalizing here, but because we’re always (over)connected all of the time and chatting on various platforms, plans get loosely made, but sometimes lack follow through and there’s this general acceptance that it’s par for the course these days. Would you agree? I could be wrong, but I don’t remember this being so prevalent in ancient times before the internet. When you made plans or agreed to get together, you really meant it back in those days (or so it seems)! It’s sort of unthinkable now to pick up a phone and talk to someone to make plans. The irony of it all is that sometimes all the chatter and online noise magnifies our loneliness.
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It’s hard to believe how much bigger the kids are since the last time we visited our friend Sara’s lakehouse 2 years ago. They seemed so little the previous years we’ve spent our Fourth of July here. So much has happened to both our families in the past year, but there’s nothing like sitting out on the dock in the first morning light, taking in all the sparks of light that reflect off the water’s surface. This year the girls were able to swim across the lake to the other side of the dock, with flotation devices of course, but still an accomplishment. They marked their names on the inside of the living room closet, adding their names to the list of family and friends who have completed that swim in past years (never mind that they technically cheated). They’re etched now into the history of the house.
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A visit to the opening of our friend Fany’s little’s storefront adjacent to her production space last weekend in Red Hook. If you’ve been to the High Line, then you may have had La Newyorkina paletas before. We cruised by just as the pinata was raining down confetti and candy. It’s all about the little communities that form, that make us feel like we belong somewhere. I’m trying to see the light in that again.
Bubbles, Pinatas, Confetti. Just another weekend in NYC. Summer’s in full swing. School’s out tomorrow and we rub our eyes in disbelief that the 4th of July is already next week. June was a blur for obvious reasons, but also a month of changes and a shift in plans that were starting to take root a few months before. Somehow, the change seems fitting.
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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.
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