I have to laugh at the universe sometimes. This May is looking a lot like last May, an odd and off month that really set the tone and schedule for the rest of the year. I’m finding myself in a similar place. Okay, I get it universe, I get the message. Sometimes things happen, often beyond our control, that are hard to ignore as signs. So instead of waiting around passively for things to reset itself as I did last year, this year I’m taking control because I’m starting to accept that things may never reset itself. But I’m taking this as a challenge, much like when we started the business 5 years ago when our backs were against the wall. In a lot of ways it almost feels like that time, when we were motivated by equal parts fear and determination.
Coincidentally, all this talk and writing of quitting for the past week led to this podcast through a twitter friend of mine – The Upside of Quitting. It’s long, but an interesting listen to have in the background as I did yesterday ironing and folding tea towels to mail out. I also realized yesterday that it’s a continuation of something I’ve been thinking about since last September when I read the book, “The Dip”. So this is nothing new and almost humbling to discover after reading that post that I’m not really any further along than I was 8 months ago. Why is it so hard to get unstuck? As I was archiving some old photos off my computer, I saw this photo of the The Wizard of Oz taken from a ride at Hollywood Studios. What is the moral of that movie? That we often have the answers that we seek inside us all along? That everyone has the power to overcome their own obstacles from within? Yeah…that.
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The dogwoods are in bloom. I love how the flowering trees bloom in succession, peaking at different weeks. So much color in the city right now, but soon the flowers will give way to green canopies as the trees fill in with leaves. We can already imagine what summer will be like; there’s already a feeling of closure with the school year and activities slowly settling in the air.
We had a low key weekend and stuck close to home, nursing various ailments and Spring allergies. As such, I missed out 2 days on my workout and I must admit that it’s a hard thought trying to motivate back on it this morning, but I will. I’m on day 11 and just a quick update, but yes. Yes, I do see a difference. For those of you who have decided to join me, how are you doing?
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I’m finally taking some time to focus on my neglected print shop beginning with a new series of typographic food quote prints. The first three are up in the shop in 2 different size prints, an Irish proverb and two Oscar Wilde quotes. Hopefully more stuff to follow soon, including photos (oh you know, it takes me forever…)
I’m also phasing out the kitchen conversion tea towels. I won’t be printing them anymore, but I do have a fair number of seconds – towels that are slightly faded at the top of the print. For the most part, the imperfections are pretty minor, but I’m clearing them out at 50% off for $12 each. Would be great for Mother’s Day.
Speaking of Mother’s Day, ordering deadline for cookies is tomorrow for Mother’s Day delivery.
Have a great weekend!
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I think I’ve decided that I kind of dislike zoos. The kids like going to zoos, so we go, though not often. I think the last time we were at the Bronx Zoo was about 5 years ago when Claudine was a baby, though Mia’s been much more recently through camp. All those animals in cages. I guess it was a reflection of my own mental state when we went over the weekend that made it a bit of a downer. That and getting that Smashing Pumpkins “despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage” song stuck in my head over and over again. Sheesh.
I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries lately, some on second and third viewings, finding comfort in watching the creative process of others: The September Issue, Beauty is Embarrassing, Bill Cunningham New York, and Last Days Here (interesting even if you don’t like that genre of music). I always admire people who have lifelong passions and I think about this guy I knew back in art school days who had volumes of sketchbooks with nothing but Grover drawings in them. Can you imagine? But you sort of have to be in awe of something like that, no matter how crazy it is.
You know something? I never try and take myself too seriously. I look at the future and see a big question mark, but for now, I just take it one day at a time and sometimes, all it takes is a long talk with a friend to see things a little more clearly. What would we do without our friends?
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I’ve been in between work projects for about 2 weeks now, and I’ve taken that time to sort through and clean every closet and junk drawer in the house. Yes, OCD at its finest. I’m an expert purger, unforgiving when it comes to cleaning out the clutter from our house. Toys, clothes, books, knick knacks, games – anything that we haven’t used in a year gets boxed up and put out on the street. In New York, you can put things out on the curb and 98% of the time, everything will be gone in a matter of hours. But there are 2 things that I can never give up despite thinking that one day I might let them go: my old art supplies and boxes of old letters from various friends, some of which date back 20+ years. The most recent letters, aside from a few holiday and birthday cards are about 10 years old. I guess that was around the time my friends and I stopped writing letters and started emailing instead. The art supplies? Well, the thinking is that I would use them again. I look at the old calligraphy nibs from way back to sophomore year at Cooper and realize they were last used 24 years ago, but here they still are, in the art box, stored away with other relics. It’s funny that they’ve moved with me a few times across country.
I know why I get so zealous with the purging and organizing during down times; I’m not fooling myself. It’s both a distraction and a metaphor for what’s going through my mind when I’m not working, busy and occupied – a distraction from dangerous thoughts and a metaphor for decluttering the insecurities and doubts that inevitably work its way in.
The weekend was interesting. Little did I realize that when I wrote that “don’t give up” post on Friday, I’d be repeating it to myself over and over all weekend, but that’s exactly what I did. I questioned a lot of things. I questioned whether I was holding onto something that has worked for us in the past, but may not be working for us anymore. I questioned if my motivations for holding on were based on fear and selfishness, rather than the belief that this was the right thing to do. I questioned if the path that I had taken was the right path, now that I am here and looking back. I questioned whether or not I was living up to my potential; I already knew that I wasn’t living up to my expectations. I know I raise that bar high, maybe unrealistically so, but I questioned everything.
I’m struggling. Sometimes I feel like I don’t really know who I am anymore and that is a dark and scary place to be, but I emerged from the weekend determined to give myself the time and space to try and sort it out. This is the year. I came to the realization, finally, that one part of my life that I was holding onto was not going to play a part in my future much longer, despite both my efforts and denial. I am giving that up. So don’t give up, I wrote on Friday, unless you know that there is nothing left for you and it’s time to move on.
It’s time to move on now.
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Cherry blossoms are now at its peak here in the city, and like thousands of other New Yorkers we flocked to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens to revel underneath fluffy pink and white blossoms. It was sandal weather too, and the girls and I walked a million miles over the weekend. Along our walks, they like to collect clusters of blossoms that have fallen off trees and bring them home to place in shallow bowls of water.
The blossoms will probably be gone in another week or two. After that, summer isn’t far behind. 2 more months of school left in the year. Time doesn’t stop for anyone, does it?
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