Sundays are the best, aren’t they? But I have to admit, now that I have to get on the train every Monday for the morning commute, those Sunday night blues got a little more real, not to mention how doubly hard it was after a long holiday break. It was hard to motivate this week; even the girls had a difficult time those first few days getting out of bed. We’d all gotten used to waking up an hour or 2 later than usual, and the luxury of savoring those first moments of awake time without having to jump out of bed with an agenda of getting everyone out the door in 40 minutes was golden.
But a few days in and it’s business as usual. As with most years, we’ve scheduled out our summers and vacation plans already, including signing the girls up for summer camp. Mark is back at the Winter Flea on Saturdays at their new Crown Heights location until the outdoor market season begins in April, which only leaves us with Sundays for family lounging and adventures.
On our first Sunday of the year, we took a walk through Central Park because despite the misty overcast day, it was 60 degrees and glorious to walk around. The city does moody very well. But it’s been unbelievably cold the rest of the week, with temperatures and wind chills that bite through your gloves and any other part of your body that’s not double or triple layered. Welcome to January.
PS. I just started the Serial podcast and will likely finish by the weekend. Anyone else?
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I’ve always liked New Years Day. What’s not to like? The start of the new, a clean slate, all that stuff. I was blindsided by how tough the holidays were this year. I didn’t really expect it to be that hard and I’m relieved it’s over. As the day wore on yesterday, I felt a weight being lifted after feeling depressed for weeks. So strange! But if that’s how holidays are going to be from now on, at least I know and I’ll brace myself for next year.
This New Year’s Day we made sure to make rice cake soup, a tradition for good luck in the coming year. I admit to being superstitious enough that I feel out of sorts if I don’t have it on New Year’s Day, and I didn’t want to jinx myself this year, superstitions aside. I also realized that upon reflection of last year (which is really hard not to do, despite the desire to look forward and not behind), I felt isolated and lonely. Some of this was circumstantial and of my own doing as a way to cope and grieve, and I don’t know if some of my relationships will ever be the same, but I’m hoping to climb out of this. Despite it all, I woke up this morning feeling pretty okay. Isn’t this what New Year’s Day is for?
We ended our day (and holiday season) with a drive to Dyker Heights to see the crazy Christmas houses. I’ll confess that it was my first time. If we’re in the mood for a show of crazy decorations, we usually go to Queens – less famous for the lights maybe, but equally mind-boggling. I think I was more intrigued by the houses though, since it was my first time in the neighborhood. I walked around with my jaws dropped pretty much the whole time. Clearly the bigger mcMansion-style homes with Roman columns, landscaped yards and outdoor fountains (apparently, if you have money in Dyker Heights, your house has a fountain) are newer than the typical brick rowhouses that define so much of Brooklyn and Queens. These newer homes looked so odd nestled between these semi-attached houses and older turn of the century mansions. It was fascinating; I didn’t feel like I was in Brooklyn at all.
P.S. There’s a new year’s sale on our site.
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The kids have this thing when we drive through small towns (which seem to be one of our favorite weekend pastimes) of calling out all the big houses we pass and “claiming” the ones they like as future houses they want to live in. It isn’t a surprise that they get curious about living in houses since all they’ve ever known is apartment living. I wonder too if we’ll ever live in a house someday, though we’re most certainly staying in the city for the foreseeable future. But it’s been on my mind more lately. I’ve admitted on more than a few occasions that I’m not cut out for home renovation, at least not in the lives that we live right now, but I also know that we won’t be living in this apartment forever. It’s a bit strange to think about where we might retire someday and I can’t believe I’m already thinking about life after the kids leave home, but it’s not *that* far away when you think about it. Maybe that’s why we like bumbling around small towns on the weekends because you know, the grass is always greener…
Two towns that stood out to us in our recent adventures coincidentally have the same name: Cold Spring. One is north of the city along the Hudson and the other on a harbor on Long Island. When I daydream about living in an old Victorian house in a charming town, these are the kinds of places that come to mind. They’re both near water and have small, walkable Main Streets full of shops and cafes. Seems idyllic and quiet, but I also know it’s because it’s a nice change coming up from the city. So the questions always remain: would I get restless in a small town like this? Would I feel isolated? When I think about the girls, I know that where we are is the right place for us. They’re both homebodies by nature; sometimes they need to be motivated out of the apartment. I fear that if we raised them in a small town they would be too isolated, but that assumption could be because it’s all we know. So we remain, city folks, with a weekend hobby of visiting old estate mansions, antique shops, and charming small towns along the water.
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Sometimes on weekend days when Mark isn’t working, we wake up with an urge to look for an adventure. This is about as spontaneous as we get these days. Like most families with school-age kids, our lives can feel over scheduled. We’re bound by school days and vacations, and boxed in by the kids’ extracurricular activities and our work lives. I know it’s just temporary since the years that we have with the kids before they turn into teenagers who’d rather do anything but hang out with their parents are running short, but for now, these impulsive weekend drives satisfy that itch (well, almost).
Locust Grove was Samuel Morse’s old estate – a summer house like so many of his fellow wealthy contemporaries used to own. The daughter of the new owners who purchased the house in 1901 set up a foundation to preserve the house and stated in her mandate that nothing was to be removed, nor anything brought in. So the walls have the original fading linen wallpapers, the cupboards are full with liquor and medicine bottles half full, and shoes were left peeking under the beds. It almost makes you feel like you’re a voyeur and it’s kind of a trip to think about how old everything is.
I’m pretty sure that when the girls grow up, they’ll remember how their crazy mother dragged them to all these old mansions along the Hudson River and Long Island. I don’t think they’re quite old enough, however, to know what it means to humor somebody, so I’m going to take their attentive attitude on these tours as genuine interest. They’re also studying American history at school so the details of this era are pretty fresh in their minds already. Me? I just like going into old houses.
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That first day after the holiday rush is over is both a relief and a strange letdown. It’s fairly hard to explain because it’s such a weird mix of feelings and I wonder if other business owners feel the same way. I walked around all day yesterday in a haze – this after getting excited the night before about wrapping up another holiday and thinking about all the business related projects I want to get started. I think it’s a combination of not knowing initially what to do with myself and the crash from a high. But it’s done, another holiday done!
Next year is the year I turn my focus back on the business; we have plans – we’ve always had plans – but they always seem to get derailed by other life things. But as we move into year 8 of the business, it’s time. I’m working on making this a priority for 2015 and trying to clear my schedule to make it happen (despite the fact that I now have a job). In the scheme of things, they’re small changes. We’re not opening a store or writing a cookbook, though those two things always come up when we think about how static we feel sometimes, particularly since pretty much all of our friends have opened up their own spaces and written a book, but I suppose we’ve always moved at our own (snail’s) pace. But I can tell you that earlier this year I was in meetings about a book; then life happened and it just didn’t seem like the right time anymore.
I also think about how in past years I always ended my day writing a post, even during holiday madness times. What that means is that I made it a priority back then. And now? Well, I’ve expressed before that it’s been a struggle. Even with good intentions to write, it’s been harder to put the words down. I think like a lot of bloggers, Instagram has replaced the blog. It’s easier and spontaneous, less commitment and the engagement is better (so if you’re instagram, let’s connect!). But I won’t give up on this space. Posts will be fewer and farther between and there’s a far smaller circle than there used to be, but it I’ll still hang around if you will.
We’re looking forward to a quiet weekend. Actually, no…a LAZY weekend! We’ve usually done holiday markets the last shopping weekend of the season, but this year we decided to skip it – and I’m glad. A weekend of pajamas, hot chocolate, games, and maybe a little holiday adventure sounds really good right about now.
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