MARTHA AVENUE- Day Thirteen- It's crazy to think that we have been doing this new adventure for almost two weeks. And staying home, staying away from our usual lives for a full month. A month ago, my show got closed down, several event jobs got cancelled, we did a big shop to get us through a couple weeks of being at home. School was cancelled until "April 7th".
I spent a couple days vacillating between panic about money, grieving the loss of the show that I had been really excited about, and manic energy about all the things that I 'should' do now that I finally had the time at home that I always said, "if only I had a month to catch up, I would (fill in the blank)".
Well, now I had that time, but somehow just felt too sad and scared and exhausted by the not-knowing that I couldn't do anything but make chore-charts, stress about getting the household on-board with an equitable division of labor, obsessively count up the estimated work-income I was losing...etc.etc.etc.
And then, we had this wacky idea to just offer some of the good food we had been making,. So we put it out there, and people jumped in with us. Neil, and D'Arcy and Heppy/Myra were the first ones to believe in us and the food, and others soon jumped in . Jennifer and Ken encouraged and supported the effort in both concrete and back end ways. Becky and the rest of the Potter clan started the East Bay Delivery train, which now also includes the Botts', My mom Joyce, Carrie, Jackie, Kathy, Julie, Kevin, and Kristen initiated the Monday North Bay deliveries. In the last two weeks, we have cooked pots of Pozole, vats of Ragu and Pomodoro, gathered bushels of nettles and made a mile of gnocchi.
I've learned a ton about the backend of running a food business. We've learned a lot about each other and how to find personal time and space in a tiny house, how to rest when our individual energy requires it and work when we individually have our best energy. We have learned that semantics matter, that word choice and tone are important to maintaining a good, nurturing business environment as well as a personal relationship, and that dancing in the kitchen makes for better tasting food.
We learned that my oven needs to be talked nice to, and not kept at 500 degrees for 8 hours at a stretch. We have planted a tiny garden and have learned that I talk to plants and sometimes spray people with a hose, just because it's funny. We have learned that it is possible to keep an outdoor bathtub hot for more than an hour, if you keep adding kettles of boiling water every so often. And we have learned that there is a lot to be said for feeling of USE.
For a long time, my sassy motto has been that I "aspire to be useful, as well as ornamental." Now, I am not a girl who has ever been thought of as ornamental, so it's mostly been said in jest... but the useful part is, I think, a fundamental part of my personality. I need to be of use. It's no wonder that my email signature includes a great quote from George Bernard Shaw, that goes, "This is the true joy in life … being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one … being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy … I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die. For the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It’s a sort of splendid torch which I’ve got to hold up for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing on to future generations.”
So maybe this little adventure was undertaken with the spirit of "leap and the net will appear," and maybe it was a little bit of "I just need to do SOMETHING so I am not crying all day", and maybe it was a little crazy to add the stress of starting a business endeavor on top of SIP, the crazy world fears, co-habitating in a very small house, and missing my theatre work and colleagues so much. But so far, it's feeling fun and rewarding and exhausting and purposeful. And it's given me a way to nurture my friends, even when I cannot host a big dinner party or have everyone over for tea.
Yesterday, on a break from stirring a huge pot of Ragu and making more cookie-dough (somehow, we always seem to need more cookie dough), Jamye who lives downstairs from me with her husband, Chris, took a few photos of Willi and I in the garden. I am excited to have them to celebrate our TWO WEEK ANNIVERSARY tomorrow. But for today, we have a bunch of orders to get out the door, and the menu to update for Monday. I think I will add some Salted Rye Brownies (from the Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak) to the offerings for next week.
If you want delivery to Marin...101 Corridor, Petaluma (if Kristen needs anything) and then out to West Marin...let us know by Saturday night (firstname.lastname@example.org) or you can always pick up from the house here in SF.
Take care of each other, hug your people. xoxo