There are days when I think I’m crazy for trying to do too much. I don’t usually get to everything that I’d like to do in any given week (close enough, however) and this is almost always a set up for failure, yet I can’t help myself. Maybe it’s a great quality to have – ambition and drive, blind faith that it will all get done – or maybe it’ll be my greatest downfall. Overcommitment. Crash and burn. I haven’t yet and this fuels the perception that it can always be done, so I push on a little more; pile more things on to the list; say yes to everything.
I will say that even though this has been a year like no other, I did accomplish a goal I set out to do, or at least the start of one. Back when I wrote this post about career change, I didn’t have a plan or vision aside from a sense that for the first time, I could make out a foggy path. Sometimes the universe does orchestrate things to open doors that were previously unknown. Or maybe I was fed up enough with stagnation that I willed things to happen. It could be a little of both.
So in addition to running our business and freelance designing, this part time summer job thing got a little more permanent (though what job is secure these days, right? I’m still a little cautious, I guess). This means that I’ll be spending more time at this job, and less time freelancing while I finally attempt to steer my career into a different direction.
The thoughts that sometimes keep me up at night? That I’m crazy to take all of this on. Managing our business while freelancing often pulls me in different directions because I’m essentially running 2 businesses that consist of multiple clients, customers and accounts, so am I crazy to add a third in the mix? Maybe! But I also don’t want to walk away from an opportunity to create something with a smart team of people. With all the risks involved in an early-stage tech startup, I know that there are no guarantees for anything and the likelihood to crash and burn is high if you pay close attention to statistics. It’s a rollercoaster ride, but one that I apparently want to be on.
So why would I want to join another company when I should probably focus on growing my own business rather than someone else’s? I ask myself this all the time, especially since I had all but made up my mind to do just that earlier on in the year. I can’t say that I know the answer, but sometimes you have to go with a gut feeling and trust that it doesn’t let you down when something else crosses your path that compels you to make a decision. Our business is such that it runs fairly smoothly and we know what to expect every year. What we’re not really doing is growing or expanding and we probably won’t unless I turn more of my attention towards helping to make that happen. I’m fairly sure I will at some point in the future, but for now, this other thing feels right. I don’t know if the events this summer steered me towards this decision because I badly needed a change; it was symbolic of how I viewed life now – before and after my brother. I certainly wasn’t looking for a job that I had to commute to (and indeed, the commute a few times a week is the worst part. Getting dressed for work, on the other hand, doesn’t suck despite the fact that the incubator space we share with other startups is mostly guys in hoodies), but I’m enjoying being part of a team that is sort of like family now. This dynamic is something I haven’t experienced in a while. The next 6 or so months should be interesting. I really have no idea what the picture looks like for the first time in a long time. But that is sort of exciting, is it not?
Posted by Jenna | 8 Comments
Do you know how sometimes among friends it can be hard to collectively agree on plans? Everyone throws out ideas and then you do this back and forth dance until a decision is finally made. It ends up sounding a little something like this:
So what do you guys want to do today?
Do you want to go to a museum?
Do you want to go to the street fair?
Do you want to go to the East Village? I think there’s a traveling circus performing today.
Do you want to go to Dumbo? There’s an art festival there.
I don’t want to go to Dumbo, I don’t want to go anywhere.
When your kids get older and start expressing their opinions about weekend plans, it gets much harder to motivate the family out of the house sometimes because there’s always that one person who disagrees and throws everything off when you have 4 people trying to make decisions. Sure, we can exercise our parental powers and make all the decisions – and we often do otherwise we’d be going to Coney Island every single weekend if they had their way – but we do like to give the kids a vote on how we spend our weekends sometimes. But holy hell! It can be a painful process.
When we finally got out of the house in the afternoon on Sunday after much group deliberation, Dumbo was already teeming with people. The Dumbo Arts Festival is an annual three day art event with exhibits, open studios and plenty of tables and supplies on the street to make your own little pieces of art. Despite the crowds, it was one of those weekend days that made the effort of getting out of the house quite worth it. Sometimes crowds can be draining and other times it can be energizing, and Sunday was one of those days where it felt good to be out in the city amongst other New Yorkers, looking at art, getting inspired and enjoying what is probably the last of the lingering summer weather. NY was full of energy last weekend; so many different kinds of events happening all over the city. And thank you to those who stopped by our booth at the Chile Festival on Saturday. If we appeared frazzled, I apologize. It’s always our biggest event of the year and this year proved no different. It isn’t often that I’m at these events, so it makes me really happy to hear people come back to say that the Chocolate Curry Fudgsicles were the best thing they had at the Festival or that they had never tasted this flavor combination before. And to that man who enjoyed the Massaman Curry Peanut Butter Sandwiches so much that he saved the last bite in a napkin to enjoy later because he didn’t want the cookie to end – you made my day.
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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.
Posted by Jenna | 15 Comments
Discovering a gem like we did on Sunday makes you wonder how many other little known places remain hidden. You know how we love to visit old mansions and estates in the New York area. This one was never on our radar until we happened to casually do a last minute search on things to do within an hour’s drive of the city. Untermyer Gardens may currently be in a period of restoration, but there’s no denying that the state of ruins add to the magic and nostalgia of days gone by (the foggy weather helped too).
You know a place is really special when you turn a corner and find something unexpected that completely surprises you. I was taking my time looking at all the flowers in the walled garden when the girls excitedly called me over. I didn’t expect to see the the long vista of stairs leading down to a view of the Hudson River. We didn’t expect to come across a rocky tower capped with a lacy filigree temple either. A maze of narrow stairs, little alcoves and tunnels made of stones lead you up to a landing overlooking a curious arrangement of rocks. The graffiti reminds you that this place was neglected for some time, but it doesn’t take away from the charm at all. I think I’d even be a little sad to see all the graffiti washed away if this part of the gardens get restored.
This place is for fantasy, perfect for the girls to explore and pretend play and perfect for a short break from the city. It felt like we were the only ones there. We’re coming back when the leaves reach their peak; with only the edges of a few trees turning color, we saw just a hint of what could be.
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Glorious weather here in NY–the stuff that September dreams are made of. The last bits of summer linger with the plums and tomatoes still found at markets, but soon those will be gone too in favor of apples, gourds and pumpkins. The cycle of life, the cycle of seasons.
We’re wearing sweaters, light jackets and boots. I’ve given up on finding weather appropriate shoes for between seasons now that I no longer wear ballet flats. It’s either sandals or boots and nothing in between. The girls grew over the summer in ways you can’t notice if you are with them everyday. It was only when they slipped on pants and boots that were stored and put away for the summer that I was able to tell that everything was a few inches short and a size too small. M seems to have grown whole shoe sizes this summer and we were shocked to discover that her feet and my size 7’s are nearly identical in size. Even more shocking is that Miss C’s are only a tad smaller than ours. When did this happen? Seems like overnight.
When they come over to the couch for good night hugs, the weight of their bodies is a reminder that in time–maybe even in a few short years–I will be the smallest person in the house. Can you imagine? I’ve noticed now when I’m cleaning out my closets that I’ll save certain things for the girls rather than throw them into donation bags. And it’s already started. Gave the kid some earrings that I no longer wear, her first pair of dangling earrings made from small drops of jade green glass. Her excitement over them made me smile. The little things, right?
I’m trying to conjure up enthusiasm for my favorite season, but it’s a little harder this year, I’ll admit that. Maybe because it signifies that time is indeed passing and whatever state of suspension I’ve felt I was in for awhile is loosening its grip. Ready or not, the season is changing.
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