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Friends, how are you?
So much has happened since I last wrote one of these posts in the world and in life. I'm pretty much always mentally drafting a post, but when I actually sit down to draft one it feels awkward to backtrack.
I wanted to tell you about the time I managed to lock myself out of the apartment even though I didn't lock the door - and you absolutely need to lock the door with a key - with dinner on the stove and three hungry kids playing outside.
Or rant about all the shootings and how the guns are absolutely the problem. Or about the Depp-Heard case and how damaging that whole spectacle has been and will be for survivors of abuse.
Or about my company's trip to the mountains, and this ridiculous white water rafting adventure we had which we were woefully unprepared for like a bunch of city slickers. Alas, time keeps rushing by.
I've been in a real funk lately and I couldn't really articulate why until one of my favourite authors, Angela Garbes, put the words I needed to hear right into my ears. I'm listening to hear latest book, Essential Labour - Mothering as Social Change, and she was talking about how the pandemic brought into stark realization the fact that two adults is not enough for raising children. How we need a community of adults who love our children, and who they know and trust.
I was driving while I was listening to this and the second I heard her say those words I was like, THIS IS THE THING!
We live on the other side of the world from our families, so our children really do have just two adults. Unlike my colleagues who have parents who will help out with picking up the kids from school a couple of days a week, or families they gather with on weekends and holidays, we are raising our children in the absence of community.
Before we had kids, we had a great network of friends, largely other immigrants, who we spent most of our social time with. We did all of the high holidays together, made a big deal out of everyone's birthdays, and were just generally there for each other.
And we still are - don't get me wrong, I know if that if there was an emergency I could sent out a group text and there would be at least half a dozen people who would drop everything, no questions asked, to come and help out.
But that's not what I'm talking about. It's the everyday. It's the little moments. And the lack of those is, I think, what's had me all bunched up lately.
It's a crazy life stage to be in. Most of my friends and I are at a stage in our careers where we've got kind of big, important jobs. We're under more pressure, and have less spare time. Everyone also has small kids, and those kids are turning into actual human people with personalities and interests that don't necessary involve the forced friendships in their mom's friend group.
Niko starts school in August, after five years at a cozy little preschool that we love. I've always viewed him starting school as a sort of tollgate for whether we'd move back to Canada or not, and here we are. I guess this is our real life.
We toured the new school last recently and I was totally overwhelmed by how big it is, all the new parents and teachers and processes and everything. I can speak Swedish well enough to function at things like, this, but not to properly express myself, so I end up sitting there quietly, not really contributing or making connections. I have no personality in Swedish, but I have only myself to blame for this.
But you know what? When I started talking to people about this it turned out that many of my friends are feeling the same way as well.
I had a good talk with Emmeline about it, and we realized that we've both been making assumptions about the kinds of things the other would and wouldn't want to do. I usually try to make plans with my friends who have kids of a similar age, but it hasn't occurred to me that my friends who don't have kids would want to do the same stuff with us.
I also assumed that another friend who has a close-knit community where she lives wouldn't be interested in doing stuff with the boys and I on the weekends, but turns out that she, too, struggles to keep her little one entertained on some long weekend days.
So I guess the big learning is that instead of just silently fuming about it, which is what I've been doing for a couple of months, we need to start talking about this stuff. As soon as I did, I discovered that pretty much everyone else was in the same boat.
My 10K race is next weekend and I'm feeling good about it! I was advised to do a 12K run last weekend to do a bit of an overload, and it went better than expected.
Paul told me to take a few days to recover from that and then go out and do 5x 1km at a little faster than my desired race pace, and omg that suuuuuucked! I learned that I'd much more happily go out for a slow burn 12K run than do any sort of speed work.
Now I've got one more workout do do and then plan to just keep the legs moving but rest up as much as possible before the race. My main goal is just to finish it, but if I could get 'er done in under an hour I'd be mighty pleased.
The actual race is in the evening, and my start time won't be until about 8pm. That'll be interesting given that I normally run in the morning (although I did that interval workout in the evening - hated it!) and I think figuring out what / how much / when to eat will be a challenge.
But I'm looking forward to getting out there and doing my first running race since 2009! Follow along on Instagram Stories if you want to see how much pain I'm in.
ON HEY NUTRITION LADY LATELY
This Chocolate Black Bean Smoothie is an HNL classic that was overdue for a glow-up. Now with better photos and a handy video... if you haven't tried this protein-packed chocolate smoothie yet, now's the time!
This Vegetarian Cobb Salad is one of my favourite platter salads. We've riffed on the classic recipe, replacing chicken and bacon with smoked tofu. It's easy, perfect for meal prep, and definitely deserves a place at your table.
Is there anything better than a salad you can eat with your hands? I think not! These Vegetarian Rice Paper Rolls are one of my favourite things to make during the warmer months. And the zippy almond sauce is to die for!
And last but not least, this Iced London Fog Tea Latte is what I'm reaching for now that the weather is warming up. You can make a big batch of the tea to keep in the fridge during the week to make mornings a cinch!
WHAT’S TRENDING ON HNL
Hoo boy, Google pushed out an algorithm update a couple of weeks ago and the rankings have been all over the place. Here's what's in the top spots now:
1. Red Lentil Dal. If you make this in your slow cooker or Instant Pot, you don't need to sweat over the stove!
2. 10-Minute Vegetable Ramen Noodles. It's always ramen season in our house!
3. How to Cook Black Eyed Peas. Another bean tutorial crushing it!
4. Black Bean and Quinoa Freezer Burritos. A HNL classic!
5. Savory Cottage Cheese Muffins. These beauties have been on fire lately!
Sophie left the following comment and 5-star review on our Spelt Flour Pancakes recipe:
Oh my! I made a batch of these to take for my kids to eat between orchestra and soccer training last night.... they devoured the lot with jam and nut spread, on the side of the oval in light rain. They were still warm! So good. Thanks, I will be sure to use again.
I'm so happy you enjoyed these as much as we do, Sophie!
THIS WEEK’S MENU
This is a crazy week with year end kid stuff and work stuff, so it's all about survival mode.
HERE’S WHAT’S ON THE MENU THIS WEEK:
Monday: It's a public holiday here, so probably gonna phone it in and order takeout.
Tuesday: Weekend leftovers!
Wednesday: Niko has fotboll (soccer) so we usually grab hotdogs from the kiosk near the field. Big salad for me when we get home.
Thursday: I have a night to myself so going to make these Warm Zucchini Noodles with Halloumi and Tomatoes.
Friday: Probably snack dinner. Let's be real.
Saturday: Race day! Carbo loading! Probably spaghetti with my Instant Pot Pasta Sauce.
Sunday: Pizza night! Another batch of my Spelt Pizza Dough.