Just before I share our NYC break in pandemic times I want to THANK YOU all, for making my 50th birthday so special! Thank you for all the birthday greetings you sent. Your words filled my heart with gratitude.
Every year Eyal and I celebrate our birthdays together in July. This year we turned 50! A few months ago, I started to feel the date approaching and was very busy comprehending this joke. Neither I nor Eyal like any big parties around our birthdays. For us, the smaller the festivity, the greater our joy. This year, along with the number, there was a smaller tremor of excitement.
I felt exhausted
But the need for a different kind of celebration didn’t just come because of the special number. That need came along with my feeling of exhaustion as we approached the second half of 2021.
Along with the pandemic and the long quarantines that forced us to stay home, there was a lot of pressure. It took me a while to recognize that I was under a lot of stress. 2020 was a very busy year for me. And 2021 even more. Not just mentally, but emotionally, and physically as well.
Long working days
Since the pandemic began I found myself working nonstop. Packing and arranging deliveries while teaching over zoom and managing my stocks. All this by myself, without being able to get any outside assistance. I didn’t want to bring anyone inside my home studio. The working days started early in the morning and continued until very late at night, sometimes without even noticing that I had stayed in my pajamas all day.
Everything mixed with everything
The housework and studio chores, the laundry, the shopping, the cooking, and lots and lots of sourdough bread to comfort the soul. To be honest all along I felt really lucky. I couldn’t believe my little home business had reached such capacity. I was grateful. But at the same time there was a little voice there trying to tell me ” Do you really think you can cope with so much work for much longer? ” At that point there was no chance of stopping me from the race I was in. I just love everything I do and couldn’t see straight.
Love my job
Everything I do in my little CrochetObjet knitting give me great pleasure. Every kit I pack reminds me of how much pleasure I had in the making. How joyful it was creating my blankets or Angie bunny or Benji. Not to mention how much I love teaching.
In October, along with a lot of encouragement from our middle son, I started a YouTube channel. I wanted to provide photographic tutorials to support my patterns and to make myself accessible to my followers. Together with the establishment of the channel, I found myself again in the midst of a new learning journey. Learning and exploring new things, fill me with endless inspiration and energy.
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When 2021 started and there was a little optimism in the air, at least here in Israel. I opened up my studio again, to host our weekly meetings. At first I tried to keep to small groups and only once a week, but I quickly realized that lots of knitters and crocheters were missing out. I needed to add more options.
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Just before mid- 21 I started to feel that I was working a little too hard, pushing myself to the edge. Our 50th birthdays started to creep up on us and those special feelings started to overwhelm me. Lots of questions, doubts, thoughts about what I have done and what else I want to do and how I want to continue with my life, my business, my studio. Along with all that, the workload went on and on. And then that voice at the back of my mind kept nagging me: ‘maybe with this 50th birthday coming it’s a chance to take a break to rest and celebrate!?’
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But there’s a pandemic all over the world, and new variants popping up every few weeks. Every time we tried to pick a destination, the news made us take a step back.
We decided to book a vacation
We decided to book a flight to London, which was canceled after a week due to the Delta situation there. Then we booked a flight to New York and a few hours later our eldest daughter received a message that she had been in contact with someone who had the virus and needed to be tested. We cancelled our flight again. The next day Maya received negative results. Eyal looked at me with a smile. Ten minutes later we had flights booked to New York. This time it worked! And yet there were still concerns in the background.
Just after we booked the flights, I informed all my knitting/crochet groups that my studio would be closed throughout July. I hadn’t really planned this in advance but somehow it was like my body made up its own mind. My fingers just typed the message, informing everyone that the studio will be closed during July.
I managed to publish my new bunny Alber pattern, just before this get away. Thank you so much for all the love you all showed for bunny Alber while we were in NYC – it warmed my heart. One of my Etsy clients wrote me a thank-you note explaining that Alber is going to be a Christmas gift to her little loved ones this year. Imagine me reading this note while wandering NYC streets, it made me dance in the middle of the streets like a crazy lady.
3 years without mom
Before we left, we even had time to hold our annual memorial service for my mother. It’s been 3 years since she passed away. We went to her grave with the whole extended family. I feel her with me every single day, but on this special day the emotions were showing. I was so ready for a get away.
A NYC break
New York provided a gorgeous get away for both of us, even in the pandemic times. We enjoyed every moment. Luckily for us we love the same things and can spend days and weeks together. I thank God for that a million times over and over again.
We had a wonderful vacation. Even with all the Covid tests we had to do before and after the flights. We had an amazing time. It allowed us both to get away from everyday life, disconnect and just have fun and a wonderful time together in a city that we both love so much.
Against all expectations, I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about anything. Not even wool shops. In a way, I felt full, content, satisfied and I didn’t have the urge or the necessity to visit every knitting shop in the city. On the contrary, I was in a state of contemplation, of peacefulness within myself and just very content to enjoy the moment, to enjoy the city and be grateful.
However, I did take a pair of striped socks – a perfect travel project. Easy to carry, easy to take out and about. Even on a small round coffee table in Bryant Park. Ohhh.. bliss !! I shared my progress on Instagram.
NYC wool shops
When I arrived at Purl Soho, which was a short walk from our hotel, the shop was closed. Believe it or not, it didn’t break my heart, it really didn’t. I know it might sound strange and I hope you will stay here after reading this. There are times when everything you need is a little bit of quietness, peace of mind and distancing and that’s maybe what happened to me? When I got back to the hotel empty-handed, Eyal looked at me like I was crazy. I told him that the store was closed due to the pandemic. “But you don’t look disappointed,” Totally not, I answered. I would have been happy to visit inside but no pressure. There will be more opportunities. That’s how I really felt. Who the hell am I???
Luckily, the Brooklyn General Store was open. We checked before because it’s a long trip to get there from Manhattan. What a lovely shop, just as it had been described to me. I purchased some hand-dyed wool there to bring back to the studio. I knew it would make my students very happy. The visit itself was lovely. The journey to the shop and the neighborhood is not very exciting though. I’m glad I visited, it certainly met my expectations, it is indeed a shop full of wonderful goodies.
On another day as we were strolling through Uptown, I walked into Knitty City – as some of you recommended to me, after seeing the locked door at Purl Soho, in my story. You guys were more disappointed than me.!! I really enjoyed my short visit there. I was happy to meet the people behind the counter, we exchanged followers on Instagram and from there within minutes of walking we were in Central Park.
We ended the evening with a walk in this huge, beautiful park. We visited it more than once. It’s infinite and provides us hours of joy and hours of peaceful knitting for me.
New York city in pandemic times
New York is lively and vibrant. However, you can easily feel the effect of the virus. Every street has stores that have closed or are not yet back in operation.
The streets are busy and noisy but not like in the past. Once when I was a Design Director at a Jacquard mill, we used to go to New York twice a year to meet with customers to present new collections. When we came out of a meeting that ended during rush hour, the street was busy and packed with people. It was hard to walk in the crowd. That’s not the case now. The streets are busy but not as they used to be in the days before the pandemic.
There’s a lot less tourism obviously. For tourists like us it’s an ideal situation. Because for example, standing undisturbed for long minutes in front of a Van Gogh or Jackson Pollock painting in MoMA, is a real gift.
There’s definitely mask discipline in town. At the entrance of each store, you are asked to put on a mask. As well as in the museums or supermarkets. I’m a big supermarket fan by the way!
Outside dining areas
The restaurants are full and all without exception made an outside dining option under a pergola canopy out on the street. Probably a city initiative. In most cases, Perspex plates are framed by wood or metal, separating diners. The restaurants are full of atmosphere and still have their NY vibes.
You can easily see that working from home has become part of life. People sit with a laptop in gym outfits in a café on the street, working from a distance.
Shops, especially the interesting little ones, open late, really late, 11am or even noon. The big brands open a little earlier. So do the museums and galleries.
In the shops there is a noticeable shortage of goods. My favorite Japanese store Muji was emptied and for the most part graceless. We visited every branch that we came across while walking miles around the town and sadly they were all the same.
JOMO mood – No must lists
Wandering the streets, visiting museums, cafes, Katz’s Delicatessen and their famous sandwich, green smoothie bars with a fresh celery juice, parks and food markets were all part of our visit.
Even moments of silence and a honey mask that cleaned my face in our lovely hotel room, which was located in the Soho area – gave me a feeling of peace and happiness. But mostly we enjoyed being together disconnected from our daily routines.
We were not chasing anything, we weren’t sticking to any plan or ‘must do’ list. We were ,as usual, in our JOMO mood (Joy of Missing Out). Our legs just walked miles around the bustling city we had missed so much.
Eyal celebrated his birthday on the second day of our visit. A few months earlier, he had joked that he doesn’t mind having coffee at the East Village in New York on the morning of his birthday. It made me happy to the heavens when we got up that morning and walked to East Village where we had our first coffee. We spent the whole day around the Village neighborhood.
We didn’t leave the city before we raised a toast feeling gratitude for being able to celebrate in this amazing city during these crazy pandemic days, with just the two of us so happy together.
How did the kids get along without us?
We have older children. It’s so much fun being parents to big kids and Maya was like the housekeeper from Downton Abbey. They were pampered, everyone around them took care of them and they even said they were spoiled too much! Nothing was an issue for them, and they managed amazingly without us!
We came home safe, well, and healthy. But more than that, VERY happy that we had been able to break away from everything during these crazy times! It took me time to land emotionally and mentally, I didn’t go back to work throughout July.
Towards the end of July my birthday came, and we celebrated with our children here at home. My family and students sent so much love and attention. And also you my LOVELY followers. The 50th Bday celebrations continued throughout the end of July. I felt so SO lucky.
Honestly, I still can’t figure out how to manage my working routine. Not like this trip has brought solutions to all the problems. But I’m filled with renewed energies. This break allowed me to look at everything from the sidelines in some way. One thing that’s been explicitly sharpened for me is that my little business is expanding, and I need help.
One of my students recently offered me help with administrative tasks and she has just started working with me. She will assist with both responding to Etsy conversations and some other admin jobs. Another student of mine, the youngest of them all, will come and pack kits when the next deliveries arrive.
Blanket Kits on Etsy
I know that you’re waiting for blankets kits and yarn packs. You have no idea how happy it makes me to know that you love my blanket patterns and kits. But along with the entire global pandemic crisis came a commodity crisis and a shipping crisis. And just like you guys, I’m waiting patiently to get my cotton colors back in stock.
Once I get notified on estimated supply time, I’ll open a pre order. I’ll send My blog subscribers an email so you will get the chance to put your hand on them before they disappear again.
I hope you enjoyed the reading, it was one long post but I wanted to give you the feeling you have visited NYC with us. I shared our visit on my IG highlights while on our visit.
Hope to share some videos I took in New York on my YouTube channel as well. So you can get some of the atmosphere in the city. When? when I have the time to sit and bundle it all together into one lovely video.
Last but not least, My July break supplied me with some extra non pressure time. Inspired by our beach walks I designed a new crochet Fish pattern which will be published soon. I’ll share more of it on my next YouTube video and I’ll update you my lovely blog readers when it’s available. xxMo.
9 comments on A NYC break in pandemic times
What a great blog post. I think you describe what so many of us are feeling eighteen months into this pandemic. Happy birthday to you both. I am so happy you had a real break and hope you continue to be your talented, creative self. Try to keep the work/life balance and don’t do too much. You deserve to rest so you can come back stronger and more creative than ever!
Mo Malron (author)
Thank you Deborah for taking the time to read and to write such a nice comment.
Love the fish! Can’t wait for the pattern. Your vacation was a blessing and fun to experience some of it with you. I’m glad you are reaching out for some help with your business. Stay well and Happy Birthday! Extra hugs.
Mo Malron (author)
Thank you Jane, glad you enjoyed it and the Fish will be published really soon.
So glad you gave yourself a break. I too have my own business and know how hard that is. Happy late Birthday!! Thank you for all of the inspiration that you give. And thank you for the beautiful kits!! Love your work and your yarn!
My dear Mo, this was a wonderful visit with you which I enjoyed over a few days. I felt like I could connect with you just as if we lived next door and could enjoy a cup of tea together and just chat. How happy for you I am that you were able to make an escape and enjoy some leisure time doing what relaxed and restored your self. And what could be more treasured than time with just our husbands. As much as we love our children, our husbands and our relationship with them sometimes don’t get the attention from us that they should. SO glad for you to have had that time. You have had so much on your plate . . . . once again, if only there wasn’t a large pond of separation between us, I would be there to help you in any way that I could. I enjoy your Granny Kit and your crochet patterns, and I love you, my sweet far-away friend. You are a blessing to your Eyal, your dear children, and to me. XOXO
Mo Malron (author)
And you to me Michelle! Thank you for reading and thank you for writing a comment that is a bliss to read xxMo
So happy you enjoyed yourselves…you deserve it!
And—-Knitty City? Katz’s Deli?? My places! 🙂
Mo Malron (author)
YES!!! thank you NYcitygirl