Today Gabe is wearing a white t-shirt, green sunglasses, and blue shorts.
This post might not be a very good one; I’m writing it late at night, unable to sleep, after a day of flying across the country to visit my parents in Illinois. It’s such a long day of travel that always leaves me simultaneously buzzing and completely exhausted. I am not a good flier.
I was coming from Seattle, where Gabe and I were for a few days visiting friends. It was crazy to be in the city again after becoming such country bumpkins over the last year. Okay, Gabe was never really a city person to begin with, but it has been a big change for me, though a surprisingly easy one. It turns out I am a country person; I just never lived in the country before.
But as we drove into Seattle, I felt a sense of anxiety start to build, just looking at all the cars and buildings. I usually feel a little thrill when I get to the city, but not this time.
(Though I was still pretty jazzed to have not one, not two, but three grocery stores within walking distance of the apartment where we were staying [as opposed to having one tiny one that is a 15 minute drive down the highway away]. And I got to visit a fancy coffee shop and get served a great latte by a hipster instead of the hippies that I am used to.)
But my day of travel left my tired as always, even though I was actually able to work on the plane and not just spend the whole time trying to remind myself that thousands of flights happen every day and the pilot is very good at his or her job, etc etc.
It was pretty therapeutic to spend the time writing and planning instead of worrying.
These last few weeks have been really busy and crazy, and I am looking forward to some downtime while I’m with my parents. Here are a couple of things that have gotten me through these busy weeks:
Romeo is my constant. On a particularly stressful day last week, he found our front door and let himself inside. Then he hopped into my bed and made like a rolly-polly.
Can you believe this place is real? Gabe and I stopped on our way to Seattle to visit friends who live on a farm outside Salem, OR. This is in their back yard. It is a lake with a dock with a picnic table on it. It was…perfect.
Oh yes, it’s on. The star of my blog and I are getting full-on married next year. So that is a pretty great thing that has happened in the last few weeks too. 🙂
Today Gabe is wearing a maroon shirt and blue shorts.
Since I started this blog, almost 3 years ago, I have almost never missed a post. I have skipped maybe 3 times on purpose and have outright just missed a week due to forgetfulness or confusion maybe twice.
Last week was one of those times.
Last Friday, when I normally would have been writing on this blog, I was packing everything I own into reusable grocery bags and suitcases, and stacking them high in the back of my station wagon, and driving up the coast to my new house in the woods.
All weekend, while listening to a nonstop stream of the Invisibilia podcast, I carried load after load into my new house and deposited it all on the floor. Then, over this week, the one main stack became several distinct piles, which then moved closer and closer to their room of choice.
Pots moved into cabinets. Clothes got hung on hangers. (Anxiety dreams were dreamt.)
And I am VERY tired.
To speak on my behalf in this week’s blog post, please accept the following photographs of things that have recently happened and my best attempts to capture the beauty of my new home in spite of its current pile-based state. (Hover over photos for captions.)
A wonderful vacation in 11 pictures.
Today Gabe is wearing…
Well, today Gabe is actually wearing something different than these pictures. But in honor of my Southern California vacation, which starts tomorrow, I’m throwing this week’s photos back to a warmer, sunnier time in Humboldt County. One where Gabe was wearing green sunglasses, a yellow t-shirt, blue shorts, and brown flip flops.
Tomorrow morning I’m flying out of foggy Humboldt and down to sunny Southern California and I can’t wait. I have a full day of work between now and then, but basically all I can do is write packing to-do lists and try to remember things like watering my plants and sending out important mail before I leave.
I’m getting all my anxiety and worry in now, since I’m planning to completely unplug on this vacation. I probably won’t stop checking email because, I mean, I’m just really important and people are always trying to get in touch with me, but I’ve worked really hard this week to make sure there’s no work stuff I have to do next week at all.
Because I’m going to be busy. Being on the beach. Eating great food. And hiking through the sunny, majestic hills of San Diego.
It’s going to be great.
Today Gabe is wearing a brown sweatshirt, khaki pants, and brown boots.
This week I’m writing my post in advance because at the time my post usually goes live, I am going to be working in a sweatshop of my own creation, hand-packing and shipping Spark Notebooks to everyone who ordered one during our Kickstarter.
So I’m writing this on Sunday night, while trying to pack a full week of work into 1 weekend day and 2 weekdays before I leave for Seattle on Wednesday.
I’m driving up — it’s a 10 hour trip that I kind of love to do — and I’m staying with my Popforms cofounder from that night until whenever we get the last notebook mailed out.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. We had originally set up production so that the notebooks, once printed, would be sent to a fulfillment center that would ship them out for us. But then they delayed the project. And then they delayed it again. And again.
So that suddenly, the notebooks we had promised by early January weren’t going to go out until maybe February.
And that’s when we decided: we’ll just do it ourselves. And in a way, it feels kind of right that it happened this way. Not that we wanted to spend several full days assembling boxes, printing labels, and hand-packing thousands of notebooks from Kate’s living room during the middle of a work week, but it actually kind of matches our history and who we are as a company. We have always been bootstrapped, doing things manually and keeping our hands on as much of the finished product as possible so we could make sure it was exactly what we wanted to deliver.
So I’m driving up to Seattle to pack a couple thousand notebooks into boxes.
And I don’t know when I’ll be back.
But it will be a good trip. I hope I’ll get to see some friends, but a change of scenery is always nice for me, regardless of what actually happens while I’m away.
I just hope my plants don’t die while I’m gone. Someone who I won’t name, but I bet you know who I’m talking about, didn’t water my plants while I was gone for two weeks for Christmas (his defense: “I forgot.”) and now one of them is in very rough shape. I’m hoping for a miracle while I’m away.
What should you do when every leaf on a plant has wilty brown edges? It’s very sad.
For now I’m trimming the obviously dead leaves off, giving it good light, and trying really hard to resist the urge to overwater it.
Send positive vibes our way and maybe, just maybe, when I come back from Seattle I will be a few thousand notebooks lighter and in possession of one beautiful, healthy Dieffenbachia Compacta.
Today Gabe is wearing a brown sweatshirt, khaki pants, and brown boots.
You’ll notice in the above photos that Gabe is, of course, standing in front of an art installation. It doesn’t have a title (it’s contemporary art, so, hello) but as you can see it is four upside down mushrooms floating in a puddle.
What does it mean?
I don’t know.
Maybe you’re not supposed to know.
(I got a degree in art, so trust me on this one.)
This week I have been off my game. Well, that’s not quite fair. I have been on my game for like, 45 minutes a day, where I do some really incredible work and make lots of progress on something, and then for the entire rest of the day I am aimlessly moving between tasks and doing things like cooking rainbow chard and then not eating it until 4 hours later when I’m actually hungry.
When I was in Illinois, I got pretty into vacation mode. I was barely working during the holidays, and I spent a lot of time doing really “I have a lot of free time” things like reading makeup tutorials online and baking cookies and going to look at cool old houses in the historic district and filling out my Desire Map at the hippest coffee shop in town.
I ate lunch, I went shopping, I solved cases on Law and Order…
It was wonderful.
I got really into it!
And…getting back out of it has proven to be a challenge. Not that I’m not excited to be back at work or that I wish I was still on vacation — we are actually doing some pretty exciting things at Popforms these days, and we have a few things up our sleeves for 2015 that are going to be *very* interesting.
But my old groove is gone. I can’t remember what I do first thing in the morning. What do I usually do on Monday morning? Did I used to know how to write interesting product copy?
It is all a mystery.
I’m sure it will come back to me. But right now it feels very far away. I have these short bursts of inspiration and my old routine (“Ah ha! I remember writing a newsletter at this coffee shop…”) but for now the gears are still grinding slowly.
Today Gabe is wearing a tan fleece, khaki pants, and brown boots.
This year Gabe and I opened Christmas presents early since we’re not going to be together on the actual holiday and, as predicted, Gabe knocked it out of the park.
You see, for years — and I mean, for like 12 years, since high school — I have been carrying around this bright red backpack that is pure garbage. It was old, it was beaten up, and it was so stretched out that even when it wasn’t completely full, it stuck out behind me by a good 2 feet. It was basically perfectly round.
It was covered in paint from my art major days. It had a lock attached to it that I can’t remove because I forgot the combination after locking it there 5 years ago when I used to take it to the gym with me in San Francisco.
I could barely stuff it under the seat in front of me on airplanes. I had to be careful when turning around with it on because I basically couldn’t avoid knocking heavily into people, pets, and fragile items.
It was just awful. And yet, for some reason, I couldn’t summon the energy or interest to buy a new one.
I knew I needed one, and I knew I could afford a new one. It’s not like a needed to buy a new car, or that backpacks weren’t readily available at stores, both online and in person, that I visit frequently.
And yet, the years wore on, and this fat red backpack followed me everywhere I went.
Until this week, when I received from Gabe, the world’s best gift-giver, a beautiful, sleek, balanced, strong, streamlined black backpack.
This is exactly what I was talking about last week! Gabe solved a problem that he knew was a problem that, when solved, would drastically improve my quality of life. A problem I couldn’t solve myself. And he solved it in a better way than I could have done myself.
So it was with great joy that I packed my beautiful, slim, not-paint-stained backpack to travel back home for the holidays.
Luckily I seem to have gotten over my sky fear that I got last time I flew home. I think the bag of Halloween sized Snickers bars that I packed for myself helped. And downloading Season 5 of The Walking Dead to watch the whole way there. So engaging. So bleak.
This weekend, with my holiday free time, I think I’m going to go to a coffee shop and start working on my copy of the spontaneously-purchased-so-now-I-guess-I-should-do-something-with-this Desire Map that I wrote about a few weeks ago. I’m not sure if I’m legally obligated to fill out my Desire Map at a fancy coffee shop, but judging by the trillions of women Instagramming pictures of their filled out Desire Maps next to beautiful, perfect lattes, I think I am supposed to do it that way if I want to achieve best results and a perfect future.