Scenes like this used to be the norm, before Neebu had his accident and Muuli got all primal and rejected her injured brother. More than a year since his accident and recovery, Muuli still hisses and smacks her relatively unphased and unbothered brother on a near-daily basis. Some days however, she seems to forget all about her need to be top cat, and snuggles like these happen. In the last week or two I’ve snuck up on a handful sessions like this, and I can’t help but hope for more. Cat hierarchies are complicated! Power struggles aside, it is sweet to see them all succumb to a little pile of cat-love every once in a while.
In July we took a trip to Seattle for a mix of family and business. First family, then business. We spent a few days on the Eastside visiting my family in surprisingly hot summer weather. We had happy hour among blackberry bushes slowly trying to reclaim my mother’s backyard. We watched hummingbirds in her flowers and got chased inside every night by giant mosquitos. The area around my childhood home is still wild and undeveloped, it is deeply green and in such contrast from parched San Francisco right now. We drove a few miles down the road to visit a new-ish local farm in the pasture of a former dairy. As kids and then later as teenagers we’d drive by this dairy on our way to the river or the falls, and had to hold our breath as we passed this stretch of country road. Now the cows are gone, the dairy has been converted to another use and that farm-y smell is long gone.
We spent a few days north of Seattle visiting Intern’s family for a big family reunion and got caught up with all the aunties, cousins, new babies and family friends we haven’t seen or met in a long time. Our usual cooking lessons with Intern’s ammi were brief, the weather was hot and there was a big party to prep for. Our free mornings and evenings were spent digging through old family photo albums, hearing stories, and finally getting a good laugh and a hearty dose of some awkward photos of those uncomfortable teenage years that have until this trip, been hidden away with purpose. Other people’s teenage years are really endearing to look at, I felt so much love for my young lanky Intern and his sweet sister, during the baggy clothes years of the 90s. SO. MUCH. LOVE. I don’t think Intern enjoyed it quite as much as I did.
I spent some time at my mom’s house looking for two Rome books I wanted to bring home, and in the course of searching, found a few old boxes of mine full of high school and college photo albums and journals. I flipped through a couple sort of hastily, it brought up a mixture of nostalgia and uncomfortable embarrassment for me. I was suddenly feeling old but also feeling like all of that feeling was still recent in my mind. Reading old journal entries was just too much for me, I stopped rereading after a few very earnest entries, one about my first time voting in a general election, and another about an apparently very drunken college party… that was SO FUN. Hopefully older, older Kate will appreciate how much younger Kate documented her life in journals, cause right now it just causes me to cringe. I stacked all those journals down at the bottom of the boxes and repacked them again– I think it will be a few more years before I feel ready for a good trip into the past.
We said our goodbyes to family and spent some time in Seattle working and visiting shops before taking the train down to Portland for a few days of the same. Our conversation kept rotating around the same subjects: could we live here? Does this city have what we want and need? The purpose of our trip wasn’t to evaluate Seattle and Portland for possible livability– we have no moving plans, yet we couldn’t stop. Portland has always been the city that we’ve pondered and put in the maybe category. It seems to be some of Seattle, some of San Francisco, and a lot of other things too. Seattle has changed since our last visit, and even more since we left it 5 years ago. Portland has evolved too, as it will continue to do. San Francisco is racing in different directions of course, in good, bad and strange ways. Instead of accepting this, Intern and I have been busy dissecting it, like we are searching for something specific.
Cities aren’t the same once we leave them, and they don’t stay the same, even if we stay put. Our wise Portland friend Kanna reminded us so expertly, “That’s the thing about cities, they change, that is what they are supposed to do”… or something like that. What she said was succinct and so perfectly simple, I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. We love where we live, and can’t imagine life in the suburbs or the country, because we believe life there moves too slowly. We crave change and movement, but at the same time we’re living in our chosen city and constantly questioning and critiquing the changes around us. Why is it that we can’t come to terms with the very thing that we love about cities?
I love summer dinners at home– sitting down to a long leisurely meal with friends (when its still light out) feels so luxurious. The creeping light change every week reminds us that it won’t last, but it makes me hopeful we can try to eat more dinners at an earlier hour in the coming darker months, to try to hold to that summer feeling. After a full July of takeout, meals out, picnics and travel, meals at home this week have felt very comforting and restorative. We recently tried out Turntable Kitchen’s summery corn and peach salad, paired with some seared salmon from Siren and Becky’s green plum tarts with honey and black pepper.
Slow down July! We’re nearly through this month, and I’ve had very few moments to sit down and reflect on the last few weeks. We’ve had brushes with real summer weather and even made it up to the Russian River for a day to nap and swim and picnic in equal measure. We came back with pink thighs (both of us) but recharged after a short, but full day without cell phone service.
I’ve been almost entirely focused on growing my business and being a grown up this summer, doing things like: Getting insurance! Renting a production space! Hiring my first employee! All of these scary-exciting developments have been sped up by some new large wholesale orders that I’ll be sharing more about soon. Moving all the production from the sidewalk and garage to an actual production space was a long-needed move, one that I was afraid to make. Hiring a production assistant was something I’ve been wanting to do for a few months as well, so I could free up those long production and sanding hours, and reinvest that time and energy back into the business.
Long story short, it is really exciting, and also terrifying in a mostly wonderful/OK way. Although, for some realness on the internet, I’ll admit that I’ve had endless worries and anxiety about building up my wholesale orders AND keeping up with online sales and often wake up in the middle night worrying about it. I’m a micromanager and worrier and its been a continual challenge to let go of some details (like sanding and packaging) so I could tackle other bigger projects (like oversees distribution?!).
This week we’re flying to Seattle then Portland for a family trip + work trip combination, with a little air travel and train travel thrown in FOR FUN! We’re going to visit Intern’s family for a family reunion, plus I’m tacking on some Seattle retail shop visits to promote the wholesale collection. We’ll be stopping in to see my family then hopping on the train to spend a few days in Portland, visiting a few friends, a few more retail shop visits, and hopefully do a little fun-relaxing-exploring before we fly back to San Francisco and kick off another round of wholesale order production.
I used to feel guilty when I neglected this space, but now I think I am too busy to feel that guilt. I’m also aware that most of my posts in the past few months have been primarily about how busy I think I am. Even I’m tired of reading that. I’m really neglecting a much longer list of things, hobbies and interests and the blog happens to be one of them. I’ve started to find it harder and harder to write about anything personal beyond work and work-related worrying, but that could be an excuse I’ve invented to keep the blog on the back back unlit burner for now. Intern and I are both in a very work-y place personally, a phase that fits well with where we are right now in our lives. I know we both won’t always be working this hard, or feeling driven to work all the time, but we also know we may not have another phase of our lives where our attention isn’t split, so now might really be the best and only time to work this hard.
I’m a little slow to announce a summer sale in the shop this month, as well as the new option to purchase gift certificates in the shop. Gift certificates are now available in many increments, from $50 on up. For all summer orders this month, take 15% off at checkout using the discount code SUMMERSALE at checkout. The offer ends July 29th, when I’ll be closing up the shop for a week and heading out of town for a little summer adventure.