A quick trip to Portland a few weeks back. Breakfast at Tasty n Sons. A visit to Schoolhouse Electric.
When we were tossing around ideas for our day in Portland, our friend Jen got a laugh when Mia suggested we “drink coffee and complain about how much our backs hurt”. Because from her perspective that’s the only thing adults ever seemed to do, but it was all in the delivery that made it so funny. Somebody is starting to understand sarcasm, I see. Later that morning, Jen let her sneak some sips from her iced coffee. She’s like the aunt who says yes to all the nos that we dish out (total tangent: what the hell is the plural of no? Nos? Noes?? No’s???).
We discussed childhood schoolyard games over breakfast the next morning and was sort of flabbergasted when Mia told us that in gym they played dodgeball with bean bags. WHUT?! Not only that but you’re only allowed to toss them at your opponent’s feet, not anywhere else. Oh man, that made us laugh so hard. Somehow a little part of me couldn’t help but feel a little cheated that kids these days didn’t have to go through the ritual of childhood gym torture like we did. I mean I hated dodgeball with a passion when I was a kid and always dreaded hearing that game called during gym (I did like Steal the Bacon and SPUD though). What a stupid game. So maybe a part of me wasn’t really that surprised at this wussified version of the game that the kids play nowadays (at least at their school), but sheesh. I mean, bean bags. We obviously had to tell her how dodgeball was properly played, with balls that hurt so bad because you could basically throw them as hard as you could and no body parts were off limits.
And this, of course, reminded me of one of the greatest scenes to ever air on television – the dodgeball scene on the pilot episode of Freaks and Greeks. The girls weren’t so amused when I showed them the clip; they didn’t think it was all that funny (how?!) I guess nostalgia really does play a huge part here because personally, I think this episode is one of the funniest things ever. But I guess you had to be there.
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I don’t want to end the week on a down note. In fact, things are not down at all – anxiety filled, yes, but not down. Just a state of continuous questioning, of which will emerge an answer, eventually. I’ve been asking myself, what am I good at? What do I want to be doing? Turns out these simple questions aren’t easy to answer at all, but I can now answer them in a broader, general sense. I’m prepared for a bumpy ride this year, but I accept the challenge. From talking to so many people the past 5 weeks, seems like many of you are too.
Onto more mundane things…oh, this rain! It didn’t put a damper on this sweet party we attended last Saturday, but we are getting killed with rainy, cool weekends at the markets. It isn’t good for business and we desperately need a nice sunshiny day for a change. The forecast doesn’t bode well for the Brooklyn Flea tomorrow, but Mark will still be there as it is rain or shine.
And finally…Father’s Day Gift Boxes and a pre-order sale all through Memorial Day weekend. Have a great one.
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I’m in one of these phases where I’m feeling out of sync with a lot of people right now. It’s nothing dramatic, but just a slight feeling like I’m out of step with everybody, online and in real life. The boundaries are blurred now anyway. I’ve also been thinking about some people who aren’t in my day to day life anymore. I mean they are there because of the “wonders” of the internet and I can see aspects of their lives that they choose to share, but it doesn’t have anything to do with mine. It almost feels voyeuristic when a friendship is reduced to a few status updates as the remaining thread that connects you. In this way, Facebook seems to magnify that loss of meaningful friendship rather than make us feel connected, when people drift away gradually from your life whether it’s just for a little while or permanently.
I know it’s perfectly natural for relationships to evolve and fluctuate, but sometimes it makes me wonder what happened. These are the things I think about when I sit in my room looking out the window on gloomy, rainy days.
Mia’s been doing this a bit too, something she calls her “dark time”, where she’ll sit in front of our bedroom window with the lights out after the sun goes down and look out the window. I wonder what she thinks about.
Maybe it’s this weather, this crappy no man’s land of weather where we’re somewhere in between Winter and Spring, that makes me want to cocoon myself at home and just listen to music (oh, it snowed again last night – wet, icy, slushy snow). Feels almost like those high school teenage days when shutting everything out but the music on your headphones was the only thing that seemed to make sense in the world.
But I know things are cyclical. March is always a weird, transitional month. Even the business slows down this month, a fact that we can map as a trend from our 5 years of monthly sales data. But sometimes we forget and we freak out over how slow it is and then we remember and go, oh…it’s March.
I know we’ll fall in sync again.
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It’s been a bit quiet around here, not because I’m so busy with work, but because I’m out having fun. Maybe a little too much fun since I’m actually really looking forward to being reunited with my couch again this week after having gone out 5 out of the last 7 nights, with many of those days full of coffee meetings with friends as well. The weather has been unseasonably warm and we’ve been spending much of that outside, even in the evenings. There have been drinks and food and long chats with friends and even an awards ceremony. I’ll tell you more about one aspect of the Martha Stewart American Made Awards later, but you can imagine how good the food and drink spread is at any Martha event. It was pretty spectacular and I strategically positioned myself in front of the oyster bar for much of the evening. But the highlight of the week was a New Order concert on Thursday night at Roseland (Anna took some great photos of the concert on her blog here). I mean holy crap. I don’t think I had that much fun in a really long time. The venue was packed and the lighting and visuals, which was stunning by the way, made us feel like we were back in clubs again; we danced and jumped around like fools. I don’t remember doing that in a really long time and I wasn’t in as much pain the next day as I thought I might be, so hey, that’s a plus. Maybe we aren’t as geriatric as we sometimes feel like we are, what with all our aches and pains and herniated discs. Not yet, anyway.
I haven’t been the only member of the family on a social binge. It’s birthday season around here and the girls have been going to endless birthday party after party. The kids nowadays (at least around here) express their interest in playing with your children by informing you that they’re “available” for a playdate on such and such day, making me feel sometimes like a personal assistant and social planner. Between the 2 kids, all the parties and playdates can be really hard to keep track of. Other parents can back me up, but I feel like a big part of being a parent is shlepping all over town to drop off, pick up, and transport your offspring from one location to another. Am I right??
And then there’s Mark, who has not been having as much fun as the rest of us. Fall is cookie season so wholesale orders have been rapidly coming in and the markets, which we’ve been consistently doing pretty much every weekend since September, are busy. But it’s nice to come home with empty bins and drink containers after a busy day of selling, so he’s been content in that regard.
Happy Monday. I’m looking forward to a quieter week.
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What is it about maps that are just so fascinating? I’ve been long obsessed with how the intricate network of streets create these complex patterns, totally unique to each city, and creating maps have often been a recurring theme to some of my work projects. I think that’s why I’m so fascinated by Claudine’s obsessive map-like maze drawings because of this long standing fascination with urban typography.
And then this book.
Lena is an artist and designer who I’ve known about and long admired for a really long time, but had only met earlier this year. We have quite a few mutual friends in common so I’d like to think that it was only a matter of time before we would meet. And when we did have dinner way back in the Spring, she was gracious enough to give me a copy of her book, Maps, a book she self published last year. Maps is a collection of beautifully hand drawn illustrated maps of 40 cities around the world, 20 here in the US and 20 abroad. She started making these illustrations back in 2004 for a magazine and they are wonderfully charming and peppered with landmarks and points of interest. It’s the perfect book to share with the girls because of their love of maps, no doubt fostered through nightly bedtime routines of looking at maps and atlases with Mark since they were babies. It’s also fun to look through different cities and talk about places we hope to visit in the future. I love Lena’s aesthetic sensibilities in everything she creates and this book, with her artistic interpretations of that urban typography that I love so much, is no exception.
Lena’s book is now available in store at Anthropologie.
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Our trips down to Portland while we’re out in the Northwest are usually limited to day trips to meet up with friends, but this year we stayed for 3 days at my friend Jen’s house in our old neighborhood close to where we used to live when we were there in the mid 90s. Jen’s another friend who I met on the internet through various blogging/twitter circles and we hung out when she was in town earlier this year in NY. She’s been wanting to meet the girls for awhile and when we arrived, she put together the best welcoming care package full of notebooks, crayons, lip balm, colored pencils and mini slinkies. Jen’s the sweetest!
I’ve mentioned my neutral feelings towards the city of Portland before and I may very well be the only person in the world who feels meh about it, but we make the drive down to Portland because some of our oldest friends still live there, including one of my oldest childhood friends from my East Village days. And now, we’ll be putting Jen and her husband Jim on our list of must visits every time we’re in town. So even though the city doesn’t pull at my heart strings like I feel like it should, our visits to Portland are full of friends and fun times hanging out, reminiscing, and food of course! Lots and lots of food. Mark baked everyone a cake at Jen’s house – a light cake with lavender buttercream and blueberries that we picked that day. Jen and I got to lounge around at night on her couch after the kids and boys went to bed, staying up way to late eating cake while watching the Gilmore Girls reruns like we’ve been talking about doing for months.
But I think the most surprising thing about our trip to Portland is how Mia bonded with Jen’s dog, Zelda. We’ve always been more “cat people”, the girls included, and I don’t think the girls really ever played with dogs before even though my parents have a dog. But man, did Mia ever play with Zelda. She’d chase and toss toys with her for hours every day and took her for walks to the park down the street. I think Zelda was in heaven. I hear she slept solid for 2 straight days after we left.
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