Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Connection - Part 1

by rosanna's eldest daughter, alessandra wollner

If I’ve learned anything from observing the way my mother runs her company, it is that every design, every collection, and every piece of dinnerware is made to foster one thing: connection.

Surprise, surprise, like mother like daughter, I think connection is pretty important too.
Here is a list of five ways I bring connection into my life.

1.    Hang Out At Coffee Shops
As a writer, I spend a lot of time alone.  The resulting loneliness, combined with my Seattle upbringing, compels me to throw my MacBook in my bag and split for the nearest coffee shop at least three days a week. Although I may be working, doing it in a coffee shop surrounded by other people doing the same allows me to get a hit of community and camaraderie, despite the fact that my work is solitary. And when I frequent one coffee shop enough, the baristas and regulars sometimes even become new friends. Another lovely yet tragically underused locale is the local public libraries. They make for fantastic community work spaces.

2.    Write A Postcard
We all know handwritten greetings are preferable to impersonal digital messages, but letters take too much time to compose for most. Solution: why not send a postcard? There’s no need (or space) to write a novel, and it’s an easy way to let someone know you’re thinking of them. Remember, you don’t have to be on the road to send a postcard. 

3.    Sit On Your Stoop
      One of the first sunny days of spring, I decided on a whim to take my toast and tea down to my front stoop. Much to my surprise, I discovered that what I originally assumed was just another sleepy little block in Providence, RI, was actually a thoroughfare teeming with life. I saw all kinds of people doing all kinds of things--walking their dogs, jogging, biking or walking to work or school. I watched the guys moving in to the house across the street, and our elderly next-door neighbors making slow progress to their boat of a Cadillac. That one delightful morning converted me to a stoop-sitter forever after.

4.    Take Your Mom To A Movie
Whenever I go back home to visit, I take my mom to a late night movie. We have rules. The movie can’t start before 10 pm, and it has to be on a weeknight. Sometimes, we have drinks before or after. Something about going to a late night movie together makes us feel closer. I think it’s the pleasure that comes from feeling like we’re up and out past our bedtimes.  Provided you can agree with your parent on a film choice (late night movie nights work equally well with dads), this is a fun and slightly different way to connect with the people who made you. And the more spontaneous the better.

5.    Friend “Date Night”
Eating alone depresses me. So does cooking for one. Meals, as my mother taught me, are meant to be shared. The solution I came up with is Friend Date Night. Two nights a week, I’ll invite one friend, sometimes two, over for dinner. I set the table, light some candles, pour some wine, and put on nice music. Not only are my friends impressed (you’ll be shocked to find out how far a little mood lighting goes), but creating a special space to spend time together allows us to connect in a more meaningful way.

 Me and my wonderful roommate Eric taking full advantage of our front stoop.


  1. Love the subject of this post. Good thoughts and ideas! I just took my mom to see EAT PRAY LOVE last week. Lots of wisdom in this post. <3

  2. thank you! i sincerely appreciate the feedback. glad some of this resonates.


  3. Alessandra,

    Love this post.

    You and I are in sync! I just started sending my mom postcards once a week and she loves them. I find funky ones at thrift stores (1950's postcards designed to encourage Americans to get out and see the country are the best!)

    And like you, I spend a lot of time in coffee shops. I've discovered spots all over the city. Tip: I carry a set of earplugs in case it gets loud and verges on distracting....

  4. That's fantastic! I'm kind of thrilled to hear that these ways to connect are occurring to other people. I used to be a strict no-earplug, no-earbud purist when it came to my time in coffee shops, but I've come around to see the beauty in putting them in. One of my favorite (but less frequented) spots is All City Coffee in Georgetown. It's amazing; it feels like an alternate universe down there--like a Wild West Seattle where all the lumberjacks also blow glass and live in converted industrial loft live/work spaces.