random things: cacti, succulents, selfies, loose change

July 3, 2013 |  Category:   life








Cacti and succulents are so weird. I mean, just look at them. Some of them look like the stuff of nightmares. Speaking of succulents, the ones that I bought earlier this year are doing well. So far, they have been the only ones to survive in my many attempts at keeping succulents, but I think the main difference is that I’ve been able to place them on windowsills where they get more sun. Wasn’t able to before because of our cat who was a notorious plant eater.


I’m also growing a big fiddle leaf fig plant for the first time. I was sent one for my birthday and it came taped inside a long box – essentially just a twig with roots. I always assumed that if you bought plants on the internet you would, you know, get something in the mail that resembled the photo on the website, but I suppose the logistics of shipping a big, lush plant is tricky. The few times that I’ve received plants in the mail have always been met with a reaction like, “this is it?? This is the plant??”, but almost as soon as I planted the fig in a pot it started sprouting big leaves. It’s still kind of Charlie Brown Christmas-treeish, but it’s a great addition to our living room. Also in plant news (I know, thrilling stuff), an orchid that lay dormant for many years suddenly flowered. Yeah, my green thumb is starting to get a swelled head.

I don’t understand this whole “selfies” obsession. Maybe because I’m old. I can’t think of anything worse (relatively speaking) than taking photos of myself all day long and then posting them on the internet for the whole world to scrutinize.
On a related note, I am scared of the day my girls open Instagram accounts (or whatever happens to be the photo app of the moment). The stuff that I’ve casually read about mean girls, cyber bullying and creepy people doing creepy things have made me think twice about posting photos of them on Instagram (and on a lesser scale, here). I’ve only been posting photos of the girls from far away or if they aren’t really identifiable, and will only occasionally Instagram full photos of their faces. Ugh. I am trying to be more conscious of it all. But I guess this is the reality of growing up with social media and we’ll have to teach them to use it responsibly because if I know anything about teenagers these days, it’s the fact that they’ll post a million photos of the same thing. This includes party scenes and selfies. Fortunately, none of this stuff is on their radar yet, though Mia desperately wants a phone. Ha! Not for a few years at least, kid.
Whenever we’re outside, Claudine’s eyes are glued to the ground because she is always looking for loose change. She is so zoned in that she does manage to find change nearly everyday (I guess being short and closer to the ground helps too). She clutches onto those pennies and dimes and puts them in her piggy bank when we get home. She refuses to spend it, whereas Mia will take some money out of her piggy bank when we go to the Farmer’s Market, for example, to buy a wedge of cheese (don’t ask, and no arguing with her about spending her own money on cheese). Miss C, on the other hand, is saving up for a phone and a computer when she grows up. All with found money on the street, apparently.
Is blogging dead or dying? Sometimes it certainly feels that way.
I really hate the words “amazeballs” and “furbaby”.

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  • Angela July 3, 2013 at 4:17 am

    I wish I’d had Miss C’s foresight when I was her age. I’d be able to afford a house by now!

  • cantaloupe July 3, 2013 at 7:27 am

    What a lovely mix of topics here. I’ve also felt that blogging is dying recently. But perhaps it is just summer. Either way, this showing up on the reader (which I’m refreshing and getting very little) was a lovely escape from my boredom.

  • jackie rice July 3, 2013 at 8:33 am

    please don’t let blogging be dead. because where else can i hear awesome stories about kids searching for loose change and choosing to save for the future instead of buying a wedge of cheese. a wedge of cheese! i love it.

  • Micaela July 3, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Jenna, I’m not sure if I’ve ever commented before — I’ve been reading your blog for years, although we are at fairly different stages in life, and it is one of my favorites. I also live in New York and I love reading about your perspective on life here. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I so, so appreciate you mentioning the risks of posting on Instagram, especially regarding children’s safety. It’s something that I rarely see discussed by bloggers, especially “mommy bloggers” who derive a large portion of their appeal (and, by extension, their blog revenue) from photos of their kids. I don’t have kids yet, but it’s something I think about when sharing photos online, regardless of the setting. I just wanted to let you know how refreshing it is to see a popular blogger address this issue!

    I also could not agree more with your closing sentence — it made me burst into laughter! So ridiculous.

    • Jenna July 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      I think every parent has their own comfort level. This was by no means in any way a judgement on any parent who posts photos of their kids – I still do it too, but i am trying to be more scrupulous about the photos
      I post. I guess I approached my “discomfort” level last year.

  • Kelly July 3, 2013 at 9:50 am

    I love love love your blog.
    And ditto on the “amazeballs” and “furbaby.”

  • John July 3, 2013 at 10:34 am

    I’m with Miss C. on the found money thing: it goes into my emergency fund. Ha!

  • Regan July 3, 2013 at 11:24 am

    I hate amazeballs too! Excited to have found your blog!

  • abby ceren July 3, 2013 at 11:37 am

    i don’t like “cray cray” or “totes”

    • Jenna July 3, 2013 at 12:53 pm

      Oh yeah. Totally.

  • abby ceren July 3, 2013 at 11:41 am

    and i recently made my daughter delete her instagram account… no way to really limit who she could “follow” and what images she’d be exposed to and i found she just became glued to her “newsfeed”.. i have been a follower of you blog for years and have loved your blogging about mother/parenthood and seeing your girls grow but totally understand your pulling back on their exposure. i don’t blog but find i am doing the same on facebook with our 13 year old. our two year old however is still a constant, haha.

    • Jenna July 3, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      interesting -thanks for sharing that. Like I said, we’re not there yet, but we will have to deal with it at some point.

  • Diane July 3, 2013 at 11:55 am

    I love this post Jenna……and I don’t think blogging is dead for those of us who love this medium to write and share. (But I’m in the older age group so maybe that is relevant.) On selfies, I have become a great fan because I’m involved in a flickr group of women photographers in which we are growing and learning about ourselves through our own photography.

    • Jenna July 3, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      Oh, well I think that’s different. Self portraits can be great for that and we did it in art school all the time. It sounds like what you are doing is more art. I guess I am speaking more of this excessive sharing of selfies, the quick firing off of the camera without much thought to what you’re posting. I think it can be particularly harmful to teenage girls, who then open themselves up to peer pressure, criticism and just mean, nasty comments on Instagram and Facebook. But is this part of the normal teenage experience now? How frightening.

  • helen July 3, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    I used to be extra lucky as a kid and would find money all the time – $1 bills, $20 bills. Once I even found a $100 bill that my parents used to take my sister and I to Knotts Berry Farm. So please tell Miss C that its worth the look!

  • Marlena July 3, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    Hi Jenna,

    I’ve been reading for about a year, but am probably commenting for the first time. And I was bemoaning last week – online (Twitter) – that blogging seems to be dead. And I’m to blame. I have a blog that I haven’t touched in six months, and I read many, many blogs, but have stopped commenting. Why? So many have switched to sponsored content, which I get, I do. But what can I say about a gorgeous party sponsored by Gladware? Not much. I miss the rawness and exchange that came from so many early writers – the tentativeness and tenderness from new writers – those taking a leap of faith when they pressed “publish.”

    All this to say, thanks for maintaining this space. It’s also a reminder for me to get back to being a participant.


    • Jenna July 3, 2013 at 9:29 pm

      Thanks for writing Marlena. Actually, I think comments in the blogosphere are down overall, at least this is what I keep hearing (and seeing on this blog too). Yeah, I hear ya about the sponsored posts stuff. There’s a lot more of that going on, which is why I wonder if blogging is dying a slow death…

  • Theresa July 4, 2013 at 3:53 am

    I think the death of blogging and the rise of selfies esp on instagram go hand in hand. Blogging at its heart is about sharing and creative expression as well as self-promotion more so than Facebook or twitter. As is Instagram yet Instagram is so immediate. And, it seems like in todays world, the faster the better (geez i sound old). Like blogs but unlike Facebook w/ instagram you get a peek into another world… other peoples lives. Like blogs it’s a window in spaces you may never travel to but via this app you can. This isn’t possible with other “friend” services or other social media apps like twitter, where you can see images but not with the same flow as with a blog or Instagram. Plus, I think for those of us who were drawn to blogging as a forum to share the (beautiful, thoughtful, thought out, well edited) images of our daily life with some written word… Instagram lets us do that. Faster. It’s a good app. I do not get selfies, sharing I get, documenting I get, creative expression I get but pouting and posing and 100% self promotion for normal everyday people… I don’t get it. Actually I don’t get celebs either… But… Another story…

  • Holly July 4, 2013 at 5:25 am

    I’m a teenager who used to take selfies, but quite recently I made a new Instagram account and deleted my old one after deciding to stop. I still ‘like’ other people’s/my friends’ selfies but I just think generally they’re a result of the growth of a specific type of narcissism that the internet fuels and facilitates. People might argue that selfies and for example, a Twitter account are both on the same scale of self-indulgence, but I think the difference is that a selfie is essentially purposeless, whereas a Twitter account is usually only self-indulgent in the sense that the account holder values their own opinions (which could just be a byproduct of valuing everyone’s opinions.) Sometimes I miss the attention selfie shots would garner, and sometimes I envy girls who post selfie after selfie and receive endless adoration from friends/followers, but at the end of the day there’s just something too attention seeking about it for me to go back there.

    • Jenna July 4, 2013 at 11:25 am

      Thank you Holly for your comment – I really appreciate your perspective, particularly since those years are so far behind me now. While I still remember all that teenage angst, it was a different time and we didn’t deal with any of this. Not too far from now, I will have teenagers of my own so will be dealing with it all over again from this perspective, which is sort of wild in and of itself.

  • Bobbi July 4, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Happy 4th of July!
    Amazeballs annoys me too!

  • chris July 4, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    hi jenna,
    do you where i can find these succulents in the city? they are my favorites!

    • Jenna July 5, 2013 at 10:54 pm

      Chris, we usually do plant shopping out in Long Island, but I have bought a few succulents in the Union Square Farmers markets at 1 booth in particular. Not sure what day they are there, unfortunately.

  • Lulu July 4, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    No Jenna, i dont think blogging is dead ( i hope not!) I still check my favorite blogs every weekday!!

  • kim July 5, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Jenna did you see this Time article?

    For me blogging always seems to take a backseat the minute Summer shows up…I say stick it out until the kids are back at school and see if you things change…

    • Jenna July 5, 2013 at 10:55 pm

      I didn’t – and I don’t have a Time Magazine subscription so I couldn’t read the whole article 🙁

  • Jen July 5, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    Our kids are close in age, and I have to say, I’ve found myself over the past years being much more cognizant of their individuality.

    I think that comes with age. Theirs and mine.

    (And I mean that about my individuality as well)

  • Jossie July 6, 2013 at 3:44 am

    Love the fact M spends her money on cheese!!!! Gal after my own heart!!!! And do C picking up loose change from the pavement – resourceful !!!! Please don’t tell me blogging is dead – I love the blogs I read and those who blog. Selfies – well even the term is appalling – nah – so wrong and so weird!!!!

  • Karen July 6, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    I have loved your writing for years and am always amazed how you will contextualise what is in my mind swirling around.
    I am a photographer and blogger and therefore my toddler pops up a lot….and of course I have given careful consideration to the vices of the Internet.
    But our kids are out in the big bad world, every day! Seen by the public. So I am rather bemused by why they should not then be in a picture? Obviously as she gets older, I would never dream of posting if she was against it. But at the moment, she loves seeing Mummy’s photoblog.
    I hate the word ‘Rad’. Makes me shiver.

    • Jenna July 6, 2013 at 11:01 pm

      Hi Karen. Yes, of course kids are out in the world and we can’t control everything. What we can control is the images that we choose to share. As I posted above in response to someone else, it is a personal comfort level and I’m passing no judgements on any one else. I made the decision, however, to be more selective about the images I post because reading a few creepy and scary stories were enough for me. I don’t want to perpetuate any stories on here, but you could do a search on Instagram and cyber bullying or baby role play if you want to know what I am reacting to. Sharing photos can be a beautiful thing, however, unless you choose to privatize your accounts, we are putting them out there and we have no real way of knowing who is doing the looking. It’s sad that we even have to think like this, but such is life on the internet I suppose.

  • Addie July 6, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Add “preggers” and “besties” to the list of annoying words seen used on social media sites. Barf.

  • Melissa@Julia's Bookbag July 8, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Ah Jenna. As always, it’s like you have window into my mind.

    SWOON. Needs to die a swift and violent death in the blogging world.

    ( i do abuse ‘rad’ but I always have b/c I am child of the ’80’s)

    I too have scaled way way way back on images of my daughter — only faraway obscure-ish shots, no more close up portraits.

    I hope blogs aren’t dying, although I think in summer people are just away from them. I love my favorite blogs so much. I think it’s such a great medium, when used correctly and non-obnoxiously….I love the peek into other worlds.

  • Joanna July 9, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    I love your girls and love seeing their photos and how much they are growing! They are so adorable! I hope you don’t cut back too much on featuring them on your blog. Miss C. makes me smile!!