Another month slipped by, and it's been ages since I last shared any news. I know I've been quiet, but we are doing well.
I'm living slow; our shop's still on hold, but I'm hoping to be producing soaps again in the fall and transitioning to a seasonal company.
So no promises, but stay tuned for updates. Thank you so much for all of your thoughtful messages.
It's been a tug-of-war game on these pages during the past few months, pouring my heart out at one writing session, then scrapping everything I had written at the next. So, at last, here's how we've been getting on lately, which has less to do with soap, and more to do with general overwhelm, revisiting our bucket lists, and the joys of spring.
While we were tucked away on a quiet tropical island last year, I couldn't look away from all of the recklessness in our country. I had plenty of purpose and a lush, garden island seat on the balcony of 2020, privileged and safe, but I could never get comfortable. However, this uncomfortable seat was a blessing from the standpoint of personal growth; I'd never stretched myself so far to learn so much, with such passion, in one year. Still, I think I paid attention to the point of emotional exhaustion, then writer's block set in, like concrete. I apologize now for my sluggish replies to your messages and flat-out lack of communication. You were what kept our spirits up last year; I've not forgotten.
For 2021, it is as if a soft weighted blanket dropped over me; it was gentle but heavy enough to keep me quiet. I've tried hard over the past few months to peel it off to reach back out and write something..... anything. Still, the blanket's weight stifled my ability to connect, not only within my business but also to nearly everyone in the outskirts of my personal life as well. It felt strangely comfortable, almost cocoon-like, while at the same time too heavily weighted for me to budge, and that's where I've been for the past five months. Thankfully, the blanket is slowly becoming lighter than the weight of my silence, so I'm writing this and answering messages this month as best I can, and it's finally coming along. The joys of spring are helping too.
How do I write about a sudden swerve from a business I not only love but also ate, breathed, and slept on for nearly a decade? A company that I built from scratch and developed such endearing friendships around. May slipped by, and I've not wrapped 'pool' colored ribbon on spring's Waterlily, nor was there any sign nor scent of mom's Lilac soap around either. Oof.
But we are swerving at the moment, and I needed to take this long breath. We are still in California, basking in grandparenthood with little Peter. Yet, we also find ourselves gallantly juggling a barrage of life changes that require our full attention, thus, this longer than anticipated pause for our soap company. As I mentioned above, my favorite plan is to reopen Kopa Kauai in the fall as a seasonal soap company, just in time for the holidays.
For now, little Peter is showing me how to live in the moment, something I'd lost sight of. Morning activities come to a screeching halt when his cherub-like face pops through the back door in his daddy's arms, and we lock eyes together. His baby neck is getting stronger, but his head still wobbles slightly as he reads the room before breaking out into his sideways grin. I scoop him up in my arms, then, hanging from my hip, we take moments to poke around the back garden. We hover around the raised garden bed to pick the ripest cherry tomatoes growing on the tangled vines and lean in to wipe off the aphids. We scan the leaves for bright red ladybugs with the enthusiasm of a four-year-old and monitor the sprouting bachelor buttons and calendula seedlings trying to find the sun. I'd been mumbling about growing a cutting garden lately, so for Easter, my daughter Hali @heyhalimae filled an Easter basket with garden gloves and seed packets for me. We planted borage, violets, chives, chamomile, and multi-colored nasturtiums. Everything is poking up, showing the tiniest of leaves, except for the borage sprouts Moose, the cat, dug up.
Out front, still hanging from the hip, Peter and I dead-head the riotous Martha Washington Roses that have exploded in a thick patch up the picket fence. The front is where the neighbors are, and there are always cat stories to share with them. Our block has a little gang of feisty cats. To avoid breaking up rolling balls of fur locked together on the pavement, my neighbor and I have banded together like a couple of helicopter moms to coordinate independent outside times for them. It takes a village, even with cats. There are so many lessons to learn and discoveries to make from a grandmother's hip.
A positive of having severe writer's block is that it provides me with slices of spare time, and with this time, I make galettes. The galette kick began with a bowlful of ripening peaches, leftover blueberries, and a recipe from @dinneralovestory that I discovered on @cupofjo. After baking my fill of peach galettes, I switched to apples and raspberries before taking the leap to create my own recipe, a savory heirloom tomato with garlic and basil.
I've posted a blog post in the Journal section of our website, where you can find the recipe for my Heirloom Tomato Galette, shown in the image below.
@halenmon's potato leek galette with toasted hazelnut pastry is my latest bake. I made it when my son stopped in for a visit recently. We spread a cheerful tablecloth over the rickety table in the backyard then popped open bottles of cold Lime Topo Chicos to drink with it. Little Peter and his parents joined us. Whenever I make galettes, I always make two, one made strictly by the book and a vegan adaptation (pastry and all) for little Peter's dairy sensitivities. We polished them off between the five of us, watching a monarch butterfly circle the butterfly bush as we ate. Eating together in the backyard, "These are the good old days," I remind them. And... the joys of spring.
Lastly, between reworking our company and showing little Peter the ways of backyard gardening, simple baking, and minding the neighborhood cats, we are also dusting off our bucket lists, looking forward to some slow boating adventures along the British canals and long coastal walks. All of this, plus discussing the best route across the country for moving a small household, the four of us, a baby and a neurotic cat (or two), to New York for a year... by Monday at the very latest. So, realistically, it may be a while before we make more soap.
Please know that although I have been quiet, your notes have touched us. I am working through all the changes that I didn't see coming when I locked up the studio on December 30, 2020, to take a break. But I am finding my voice amongst the rubble; your messages read like tiny flashlights, brightening the spaces between. I'll attempt to scribble some words on our Kopa Kauai social pages when able. I'm also hoping to resume writing my little picture diary of our bucket list adventures on my personal pages.
Thank you for going out of your way to stay in touch and say such nice things while inquiring about our soaps. I'd love to know how you're faring; I hope all is well.
Warmest aloha, Jenny
PS... Spring has turned into summer since I wrote this, and we pulled off the cross-country move and are now in New York, assessing the situation from here.