The September List
Updated: Oct 10, 2019
This month we go to Paris, and my to-do list contains things that will help slow time down and be present in my present. Of course, there are also ceramics to be made.
Kev and I head to Paris in the middle of September, a first for the both of us. We'll spend the transition from summer to fall 2019 slowly taking in the City of Light. On our last few trips, we've visited two or more cities to make the most of our time away. On this trip, we're looking forward to living in Paris for a week. We'll be switching accommodations from an AirBnB in the 11th arrondissement to a boutique hotel in the 5th midweek so that we get a little taste of what it's like to stay on each side of the Seine.
Recipes for the last, best summer tomatoes
Bon Appetit's "Healthyish" recipe collection is one of my go-tos for quick and easy weeknight dinners. Kev and I recently found the below two that are abundant in tomatoes for summer on a plate. We've made each multiple times and love how fast they are to prep and cook up.
I mentioned in my August List that I wanted to practice meditation more. Well, it hasn't settled into my nightly schedule as I'd hoped, with so much going on in the evenings and new additions to my routine as recommended by my acupuncturist. However, I did find time to meditate on my evening commute and have felt really good after any few minutes I can squeeze in.
Despite the subway being a part of my day-to-day since junior high school, evening commutes became a trigger for anxiety for me over the course of my twenties. I'd feel tired after a long day at work and in a rush to get home. My mind races ahead to what I want to do at home and then I start to feel anxious to arrive, stressed by any delay, and antsy over how long the ride is taking. Additional factors like feeling hungry, extensive delays with no announcements, and hot or crowded surroundings can push me over the edge to the beginnings of a panic attack.
I started subway meditation on one such evening where I began to feel anxiety, subtle at first but unmistakable to me and rising like smoke. I had a seat, so I closed my eyes and focused on the feeling of my right hand clasping my left. It helped, and I felt better stepping off the train than I did when stepping on. It hasn't been every day, but I'm beginning with a couple of times a week.
Hand-building with chestnut clay
What I typically call chestnut clay in my product listings is a mix of black clay, which fires to a super rich dark brown, and speckle clay, which fires tan with black specks. I love the hand-feel of black clay, particularly on the wheel. It's smooth and buttery whereas speckle clay is rougher and can put up a bit of a fight. Combining the two helps to mitigate the significant shrinkage that is characteristic of black clay and adds some of that speckle texture that I love, lightening up the black clay just enough for it to be visible.
I'm working on pieces for a wholesale order that includes several chestnut clay items. It's been a couple of months since I ran out of my last mixed batch and I'm eager to wedge up another.
Growing up, I journaled nearly every day. Writing things out by hand is something I enjoy greatly, thus all the Muji notebooks I bring home despite not having regularly journaled in many years. Now, it's grocery lists and travel plans, ideas for Mammoth & minnow, reminders, to-dos.
My grandmother on my mom's side passed away in July. She was my last grandparent and the one that I felt the closest to. My other grandparents passed when I was much younger and I think this loss hit me so hard because I now have a capacity for grief that only life experience, and previous loss, can provide.
I journaled about it right away with an urgency best framed as fear of the memories fading and sadness that there wouldn't be new ones. I spent multiple commutes typing away in my journaling app, Day One, and crying quietly in my seat. Such a New York rite of passage, crying in public. Because people around me let me be and gave me privacy, their presence actually began to become a comfort, reminding me that it is okay to feel sad and to show it.
Journaling for myself is a practice that I'm dusting off and putting back into my toolkit for coping with this mortal coil. Writing things out, whether by hand or on a device, whether or not I'm going to share those words, is a helpful way for me to process the outside world in a safe, inner space.