The Internet Has Changed A Lot In Four Years

It was right around the time that I married Corey that I gave up my old blog for good.  The days of writing raw, revealing posts about gritty relationships and ugly cries had faded into 2007 right along with trainwrecks.com.

I took a series of paid gigs, but they’re not quite as satisfying.  No one will pay you to curse, for example, and you always have to be cognisant of SEO and titles that are searchable and a bunch of things that are pretty irritating when all you really want to do is title your blog post Duck Fins and Hucking Babies and then write a post about socks.  Commenters on magazine and big media sites are almost always completely insane, and take consistent, heartfelt joy in lecturing you about how you are doing it all horribly wrong.  The whole thing is made even more perplexing when you consider that there is never a way to get ahold of them, these people who know everything about the way you should live, because they’re always anonymous.

And readers of personal blogs have changed, too.  It’s much more comfortable to bitch about your hostile ex-husband on Facebook than it is on a big blank blog, and there’s so many platforms out there now that attention spans are even less.  So I’ll have to find my groove again.

In the meantime, do you know how comforting it is to know that a few of the best personal bloggers are around, still churning out incredibly well written content on a frequent basis?  Nobody writes every day anymore, but I love that writers like Linda, Leah and Holly are still around.

I still don’t use Twitter with the proper vigor, and Facebook and I have a deep love hate, but I do love Instagram and I still mill about the web finding gems pretty frequently.  Here are a few of my fave current things for the Friday long weekend.

Guilty Pleasure: Lainey Gossip

Go-To Food Blog: Elena’s Pantry

Replacement for Club Monaco and Zara, because I don’t have time to shop anymore, ever (beware: can be mind blowingly expensive so check sales first, always) : ShopBop 

Fave new author discovery: Gillian Flynn (I obsessively powered through all 3 of her books, sacrificing sleep, and was embarrassingly devastated when I’d finished, because no one else can write like that, and I can’t wait for her next book)

Fave Show to Be Inappropriately Obsessed With:  Girls (I’m way outside their target demographic, but the writing is so brilliant and though the technological landscape is wildly different, this show feels nostalgic, like a washover of my own twenties, and it makes me so damned relieved to be in my thirties, in the best way possible.

Speaking of thirties: this is the best decade ever.  But the year speed is insane.  So much changes in 4 years, doesn’t it?

5 years ago:

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(Just Nolan and I)

(God he was little)

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4 years ago:

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(About 4 months after I met Corey.  Looking back, it’s clear I already knew he was our family)

2 years ago:

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(newly pregnant, in Sayulita)

One year ago

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(Nolan and Unky Dave at Nolan’s 7th birthday party)

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Jude, about 6 months old.

This month:

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(Nolan’s 8th birthday, with Jude flailing around on the trampoline in the background)

Weekly Paleo Fave: Egg Quesadilla with Guacamole and Fresh Salsa

In 2010, Corey and I took part in a Paleo Challenge at our gym, committed to a seemingly impossible endeavor.  For 30 days, we’d eat nothing but real food: seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables, meat, and nothing else.  No dairy, no wine, and no processed anything.  It seemed super extreme,  but irresistible: I could do anything for 30 days, couldn’t I?

The first days licked giant, wire-hairy donkey balls.  I had headaches, I thought about sugar with a lust and vigor I hadn’t felt since I was seventeen.  I had dreams about brie and Ritz crackers, and I picked fights about laundry and the colour of the paint on the bedroom walls. I would have traded my favourite skinny jeans for a latte with real milk.

But a few days in, I started to feel an odd energy, like I was buzzing at a greater frequency than normal.  By day 8, I sprang out of bed in the mornings, wondering why I’d ever felt the need to hit the snooze button 6 times before crawling, bloated for the coffee maker.  By day 30, I could see my ab muscles, and my I felt like She-Ra in my workouts.  At that point I realized: there’s something to this fad.  Maybe, actually, it’s not a fad.

That 30 day challenge was a pivotal event in the shaping of my thirties.  Corey and I are now pretty dedicated Paleo eaters.  My downfall is dairy, and I consume yogurt with some regularity, but wheat is still almost totally off limits in our house.  When we get strict, I can feel it: my skin is good, my midsection is taut, and my muscles are limber and ready to go.  With the summer fading and the fall approaching, we’re committing again to totally cutting out the dairy and getting back 100% on the Paleo bandwagon.

This time, though, I’m going to do a semi-vegetarian Paleo diet.  It seems like a contradiction in terms, but I have been increasingly cognizant of the impact of the consumption of animals (free range or not) and so I want to make all of our Paleo meals meat-optional going forward.  I want to remain true to the premise of eating only whole, natural foods…just with less actual animal (I’m still not ready to again totally give up animal products like eggs)

So here’s a Paleo favourite of mine that can be made for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  But there’s something about breakfast at dinner that is super appealing to me.

Egg Quesadilla with Guacamole and Fresh Salsa

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Ingredients (for a meal for two)

  1. 6 eggs
  2. 1/4 cup almond meal (Bob’s Red Mill is great)
  3. pepper to taste
  4. 4 medium sized chopped organic tomatoes
  5. 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  6. 1/2 finely chopped red onion
  7. 1 hot chili pepper, diced finely
  8. 1 tbsp lime juice
  9. 2 garlic cloved, minced
  10. 1 ripe avocado
  11. juice of half a lemon

You can’t have tortilla wraps on a paleo diet, which saddened and devastated me for that first 30 days.  But I discovered later that if you add some almond flour to eggs, it provides a stiffer consistency and allows you to add toppings and wrap up the egg, tortilla like, around them.  Deliciously!

For this concoction, I filled the egg with homemade salsa and guacamole. (Salsa is chopped tomatoes, onions, hot pepper, 1 clove garlic, lime juice and cilantro — while guac is simply mashed avocado, garlic, and lemon juice)  You can add turkey if you want to go the meat route, and roasted peppers would also be delicious inside this.  I also made a tapendade with roasted peppers, basil, and sundried tomatoes which is awesome as a filling in these, and which I’ll post next week.

I’m on day 1 of strict Paleo tomorrow.  I am super stoked to watch my muscles and energy perk up once again.

Don’t Tell Him I Said That

There are throngs of people at Granville Island, cascades of tourists in expensive sunglasses and inappropriate heels.  There are pregnant Mamas pushing strollers and next generation hippies with deadlocked beards and guitars and so many people with stories, sifting through pomegranates and macaroons and handmade feather jewelry.

Nolan is 8, all limbs and perpetual questions and he has just endeavored to conduct a jump with his scooter over a mossy crack in the sidewalk.

“Mom, look,” he says just as Jude lets out a shriek from the stroller and I watch as his scooter flies into the air in slow mo and conducts a sickening, unstoppable journey on to the road beside us. 

A car packed with Asian tourists grinds to a halt and the driver looks, bewildered, out the window, confused by the crunch.

“Nolan!” I shout and he says, “Sorry Mom, sorrysorrysorry” at the same time.  My heart leaps into my uvula as it has for the millionth time since becoming a Mom, and I blow muted apologies to the Hyundai driver and cross the street with the scooter tucked firmly under my arm.

Corey pushes Jude ahead, Nolan walks slowly, stunned, and I hand him his scooter and tell him “No more jumps.”

Someone taps my shoulder from behind and I jump, guiltily suspecting that a tourist from a well-behaved country is going to give me shit for the scooter incident, or perhaps for the fact that my toddler is screaming bloody murder from his stroller for no apparent reason.

“You got a good one there.”

She’s not admonishing me, this tiny lady in the paisley purple blouse. 

I look at her and look at my family, wandering ahead.

She’s in her 80’s for sure, possibly late 80’s, with paper-fine skin and brown-splotched veins on hands that remind me of eagle talons.  She’s got snapping browngreen eyes and I lean into her a bit, because she wants to tell me something.

“You got a good one there, your man,” she repeats. “He’s a very handsome man.”

“Oh,” I say, stunned that I’m not being admonished for my unwieldy sons, “Thank you.”

I stand there a minute, not sure how to gracefully depart, and kind of wanting to know what else she has to say. I wonder if she will tell me that my boys will one day run an oyster bar, or that I have strange knees.  I don’t get stopped by 86 year old women very often.

“He’s a nice looking man,” she repeated.

“Thank you,” I repeated.  Not sure if that’s an appropriate response.

“Don’t tell him I said that,” she said.

“I won’t.” I say.

And then I amble up to my family,  and whisper in my husband’s ear.

 

Kitchen Cutout

My desk sits facing the window- hole in the kitchen wall, an inexplicable 70’s feature, of which there are many in this house.

During my limited down time from my workday, I imagine a bedraggled old time housewife with a crimson-lipsticked cigarette ashing over the salad.  She’s yelling at her husband through that hole, out into the living room, Al! dinner (a casserole, I’m pretty sure) will be ready in five minutes.  5 minutes!  So finish that newspaper and get into this kitchen and enjoy your dinner.

I work from home, and have for seven years now, and my life is a strange blend of yoga pants and really important client calls, of business travel and bellowing down the street at our belligerent toddler, who is almost always totally disobeying our seriously saintly Nanny.  I feel like I’m part business woman, part Chief Executive Officer of the Household Vacuum (except I don’t want that position, dammit), part fitness enthusiast and part time Mama, with very little time to devote to any one of those things exclusively.  It’s a balancing act, I don’t make the casserole by myself, but I am beginning to believe that a successful career and a happy family really are possible.  As long as you get up at 5am, go to bed after midnight, and work out viciously to keep the stress devils at bay.   It has nothing to do with luck.  Imagination helps, breaking up the snippets of frenetic daily demands with a little bit of dreaminess.

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I imagine my tall boy as an extreme adventurer, leading terrain tours over wilderness and inspiring people to follow their joy with no fears.  I imagine my running, determined toddler as a politician with a furrowed brow and a compelling vision, urging thousands to digest and pursue his vision along with him.

I imagine 10 years from now:  watching them both through the cutout window in the kitchen, laughing over a pickle and cheese plate, Nolan teasing Jude about the bedraggled dog he once dragged everywhere.   I imagine their happiness and Nolan’s quiet kindness and Jude’s dogged determination and I hope that imagination can sometimes foster truth.

Late Summer, 5:38 PM

We sit side by side on the sidewalk, matching gangly limbs outstretched and glinting with burnished summer hair.  I’m showing you the Internet snake who’s terrifying the internet: he  knocks on the door and ladles nightmares to millions.

We squint through the late summer sun rays beaming on to my phone.  He’s  terrifyingly hotdog shaped, this snake, and hideously large and I watch you watching: you have white flecks in your eyes that are the exact colour of a robins egg. You look a bit like me, but more like someone else.

The door to the Jeep is open, wafting lost food fumes and allowing small glimpses of your brother’s damp curls in his car seat, the sleep-flush of his pink cheeks.  If we wake him he’ll play the part of a crotchety 76 year old mental patient and so we sit quietly on the sidewalk and wait.

There’s a breeze and a man in an orange vest spraying down the new parking lot next to us.  There’s sun beating down on my head and a varicose vein in my leg that’s brand new.  You have dirt on your toes and I smell like sweat and we hang our heads to shade the iPhone, to watch the snake.

“The spider down my shirt was orange,” you say, “He just went down there when you were working out.” I look at you wide-eyed.

“I don’t know what would be scarier to have down your shirt,”I say,”A spider or a giant large snake.”

“Mom.” It’s already there, that slight air of mocking disdain in your voice,”A snake can’t get down your shirt very easily.”

A white truck pulls up in view to the left and I stand up and brush off the pebbles that have nestled into the flesh under my shorts.

“He’s here,” you say.

“He is,” I say, “Can I have a hug and a kiss?”

You reach up and I bend down and I smell salon shampoo and little boy grit and you bound over to the truck, all brawny skin and hope and late summer joy.  I watch your head in the passenger seat, still small, until you round the corner, outside the parking lot, to your other life.