Even before we left for France at the end of February, I started to mentally separate time into a before and an after around that trip as if we'd leave something behind and return to something different.
For one, there's spring on the other side of Paris. There's also an acceptance that couples-only trips will be put on pause for the next several years. Despite the winter weather and the whipping winds, I spent every moment in Paris feeling grateful to be there, confident that we'd return in another season of life, and bidding a fond and lingering farewell to a city we love.
I'm now thinking about the near-term future. The official start to spring is a week away (though there are flurries in the air outside my window today) and there's so much to look forward to.
I'm starting to finish some of those large scale pieces that I've been working on throughout the winter. The last handful of these require that I mix up a big batch of charcoal-colored glaze. These pieces are already spoken for, but I have been adding new stock here and there to the webshop.
Additionally, starting just over a week ago, I've squeezed in a couple of wheel sessions and have been working on mugs, tumblers, and bud vases for a spring re-stock. I've also got a small batch of cactus ring dishes ready to be glaze fired in between the larger items.
Garden Planning, A Favorite Time of Year
I'm so excited that the 2023 gardening season has begun here in zone 7. I've started some seeds and spring bulbs already, and am figuring out where everything will go once ready for transplanting. I'm committed to trying to grow strawberries again this year, as well trying to get a ranunculus to survive long enough to flower.
My garden is home to tulips, daffodils, irises, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, forsythia, lilacs, and daylilies, and I'd like to add some potted flowers to the mix this year. I'd planted a peony root in the front yard two autumns ago, and while it's alive, it hasn't grown too much, so I'm curious to see how it'll do in year three.
As usual, we'll have herbs in pots and tomatoes and chilis planter bags, as well as scallions in cement planters near the stoop. There's a patch of dirt out near the driveway where nothing survives - it confounds me, and I'm not yet sure what I'll attempt to grow there.
Jasper has shown a curiosity about and an interest in plants that I'd very much like to encourage. I show him our little orchid every day as its hard-earned buds have opened. Never before had an orchid survived long enough under my care to flower a second time, and I find myself just as excited and transfixed as Jasper. He's also helped water our indoor plants and been adorably proud of himself about it. Soon, we can make newspaper seedling cups and transplant a few sprouted seeds for him to look after.
Spring Cleaning For Peace of Mind
Time for another round of decluttering in the home. The following categories are at the top of my list:
Put together a clothing donation
Go through skincare and beauty products, arrange them so that they'll actually see use
Donate old linens and towels to an animal shelter
Read as many collected New Yorkers as possible, be realistic and recycle the rest
Reorganize packing materials including the ends of yarn and string I use for tying things up
Administration of the Household (and Business)
Now is the time of annual filings/payments: income tax, sales tax, the filing fee for my LLC, our home insurance, and our property taxes. I've gotten a few of these out of the way this week, and I can't wait to get the rest behind me.
The benefit to doing all of this data review all at once is that I'm able to get a sense of my household's financial situation year over year, as well as see the returns on my business aggregated against expenses. While my priorities for Mammoth & Minnow skew toward fulfillment of creative goals, this financial review will still be illuminating. To keep this a sustainable enterprise when my time is becoming increasingly valuable to me, I understand that growth on the business side of things is something to pay attention to as well.
Leaving the House
Warm weather means we'll be able to get out more often, and Kev and I both want to take Jasper into Manhattan more often to show him the city. I'm also itching to take the dogs on longer walks and get more steps in on the days I work from home. I've felt very weak and out of shape lately, and it was particularly noticeable in Paris. Walking 16k+ steps daily in the cold weather really took a lot out of me, and I was sore for days after we returned home. I'd like to be significantly more active than I currently am, and while I've started to move my muscles a little bit doing the bare minimum (YouTube low impact, 15 minute workouts), I'd like to have the weather be the wind in my sails on this front.
Quick, random updates on life lately.
I'm currently reading An American in Provence by photographer Jamie Beck, and find myself lingering over her rich, painterly photographs.
My mom gave us a large thermos, the same as one she carries, that I've used all winter to keep hot water at the ready on the counter. It was especially helpful when we were sick, and it's nice to have a warmup so easily at hand. It's such a Chinese thing, as our culture ascribes healing abilities to hot water, and I'm finally feeling like I understand that sentiment.
I've bookmarked this lemon-chicken-spinach soup for our next grocery store trip.
Jasper has been struggling with a cold that has sapped his energy, and it's been a challenge this week juggling work since he isn't well enough go into daycare.
Despite the snow today, I've started to put together a modest Spring Bucket List, which I'll share here later this month.