Updated: Dec 14, 2021
Things have been exciting around here and I'm taking a break from pottery madness to document a little bit of life lately today.
First, business crescendoed in November. It started on the 1st of the month, almost as soon as the calendar turned. My Etsy shop received an influx of sales for holiday, most of them for made-to-order items. And so, I ordered extra clay to supplement what I could carry back from the studio on the subway and got straight to sculpting. I've been churning out so much work this month and last that my studio told me they've needed to slow down firing my items because I've been taking up so much of the space in the shared kilns. The volume my shop has seen this November is exponentially greater than any holiday season before, and I'm both so grateful and a little overwhelmed. My dad and sister even pitched in a bit during a recent visit, rolling out parts of pieces that I would then assemble. It's amazing. It's good stress. It's the small business holiday experience I’ve dreamed of.
I've been going to the studio a little more lately to drop items off and work on things as soon as they're ready, which means I've spent more time commuting on the subway this month. More time commuting equals more time to read. Recently finished books include The Art of Making Memories and So Good They Can't Ignore You.
I'm now reading Hunt, Gather, Parent. We're about to have a 1 year old in the house, and he seems ready to take his first step any day now, so I'm seizing any free time I have to read some toddler parenting resources before I'm chasing a tot around the home all day. Jasper's tiny mouth currently houses seven adorably crooked teeth, and I see the eighth just below the surface. It wasn't so long ago that his smiles were 100% gums, and I am in awe of this tiny human sprouting bones in front of my eyes.
I'm very cognizant that this is his first holiday season, and I want to do my best to make it special for him. We've celebrated Thanksgiving with both a Chinese hotpot and a traditional turkey meal and let him taste all of these flavors for the first time. Dishes we contributed to Thanksgiving this year: leeks with miso vinaigrette, pomelo cake, cranberry sauce, and salted caramel ice cream.
I've knit him a festive sweater and made him a ceramic ornament. I brought home supplies to make our own wreaths this year and completed the activity with my dad last week. Jazzy wasn't able to participate fully but he sat at the table and watched the wreaths come together, touched the textures of the evergreens, and had an afternoon filled with the scent of pine (and a slice of frozen bread to munch on).
A week or so before Thanksgiving, we had a couple of temperate days, and I took the opportunity to plant 50 tulip bulbs, a peony root, and some hellebore seeds. I have no idea which, if any, of these will bear any results in the spring, but at least I gave it a shot. If nothing happens, I'll try again next year. I'm determined to grow some flowers in our outdoor space. And if something does come of this fall sowing, future me will be quite thankful to present me.
By the time spring rolls around I'll hopefully have settled into yet another new routine. I've accepted a job offer at a new firm and expect to start work sometime in January. I'd been interviewing with this firm (a financial institution) and another firm (a tech company) since September, and it took a long time for me to get comfortable making a decision. It was a difficult one, because I'd previously told myself that I wanted out of finance, and yet I really liked the people that I was meeting. After what will have been a full year away from work since having Jazzy, this change will be a big dose of bittersweet.
Kev and I got our Covid booster shots in early December, and now we're making a point to see our friends here and there, and to have Jazzy meet some of them. A friend of Kev's from high school passed away suddenly recently, and I still find myself thinking about this life cut short. I last saw him at our wedding in 2017, and though Kev was much better friends with him than I, he was someone whose name I heard often enough to now mourn the abruptness of this quiet. There were things he was hoping to do too, and he must have felt he had his whole life ahead of him. It's a reminder not to put off joy and meaning-making. For us, that starts with seeing our people.
And so, we have a busier than usual social calendar this week. A client dinner (for Kev), a holiday pot-luck, and a restart of a long-standing holiday tradition I share with one of my best friends, where we get together, drink wine, and wrap all of the presents we've gotten for others for Christmas. We call it AWPOT (Annual Wrapping Party of Two) and had to put it on pause in 2020. It’s so much fun, yet at the same time no one takes wrapping presents as seriously as we do when we’re in the AWPOT zone 😉.
This year, she'll be coming over with her husband to meet Jasper for the first time ever and Kev will hang with us too, so I guess AWPOT will become AWPOF(ive).
We've got about three weeks left in 2021, and as I like to do, it's almost time to write some year-end reflections. Writing is still my preferred way to process thoughts and experiences, and so much has happened this year for me to think about. I've got the end of the holiday rush in my sights, and I look forward to starting 2021 wrap-ups afterward.
But for now, back to sculpting I go.
P.S. Here's the penguin ornament I made for Jasper. I'm really happy with how it came out and may make more next year to add to my shop for the 2022 holiday season.