A Food Blog for Dinner Lovers

DeathtoStock_Cozy1Next week I’ll be celebrating American Thanksgiving in Illinois with Joe’s family for the first time. Admittedly the above image is a little more “Christmas” than “turkey + stuffing”, but the sentiment is the same: gathering around a big table, feeling grateful for family and food.

Besides, Thanksgiving has already come and gone for my Canadian readers, so this can be a little holiday spirit in advance for you guys.

I’m the only vegetarian/pescatarian in the family, and Joe’s mom Sue is always super sweet about making sure there are lots of veggie options when we visit. Yesterday she emailed to ask if I had any suggestions for an extra side dish at Thanksgiving.

There was a time, a few years back, when the only side dish I knew how to make was my stepmom’s lemon and garlic roasted potatoes. They are crazy good, so back then I didn’t really mind not having other options in my repertoire. That was when I still worked in the restaurant industry, eating most of my dinners pre-shift, sitting at the bar at Il Terrazzo.

Times have changed. My meals are no longer cooked for me by a restaurant chef, and I have discovered cookbooks and food blogs. (I am useless without a recipe.) This is not to say I am now in any way great in the kitchen, only that I at least actually do things in the kitchen besides making coffee or grabbing a fork to dig into my Thai takeout.

There’s one food blog in particular I keep turning to… Continue reading

Documentary Club (With 5 to Watch)

In my last post, I mentioned a documentary that Joe and I saw recently called 112 Weddings. It’s one of several we’ve watched over the last few months, as part of a club we’ve formed.

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(The club members.)

What is it about saying I am part of a club that makes me feel like I’m in a treehouse, waiting for the secret knock? Stand By Me really seeped into my psyche, I guess…though those boys weren’t even really in a club, they were just four 12 year-olds hanging out…

Anyway, to back up, I love documentaries. As in, one of my secret dreams is to make a documentary one day, ideally with my friends Josh and Garfield, who are both actual filmmakers. (I would be the rookie in this scenario, though I’m confident my storytelling skills would translate well to film.) I’m digressing. I hope they’re reading.

So, Joe and I watch a lot of documentaries. And last July, when his parents were visiting us in Oregon, we spent a weekend with them in Bend, a town three hours south of Portland. While we were sitting around the fire pit at the little house we rented, Joe’s mom Sue said something along the lines of, “We like the sound of all these documentaries you’re watching. We want in.” It wasn’t actually that dramatic of a statement, but that was the sentiment. They wanted in, as in, “Let’s all watch docs and discuss.”

I loved the idea. Joe’s parents live in Crystal Lake, Illinois, which from Portland is a four-hour flight to Chicago and an hour’s drive north. It’s the Midwest—a term that, as a West-Coast Canadian, confused me at first. It’s pretty far east, so why call it the Midwest? Historically, anything west of the East Coast was WEST…really west, so it made sense to call states like Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota the “Mid” west…but now? Not so much, in my (west-coast) eyes. Just a minor geographical aside.

The point is, when you live halfway across the country from each other, visits only happen a few times a year. So, we decided a documentary club was in order. The idea was to take turns choosing what to watch, and try to coordinate viewings within a week or so of each other. Then, on skype or texts, we’d have a whole extra thing to talk about, something relevant and current to all of us.

We started with Touching the Void.

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Backstory: It’s terrifying. Continue reading

On Marriage, Year One: Teamwork, Dirty Socks, and a Magic Phrase…

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A few minutes before our wedding ceremony (one year and two weeks ago), Joe called his brother Nick, who had married his partner Caroline a couple months earlier, and asked if he had any last-minute advice.

“Marry the right girl,” Nick said, “and it’s easy.”

I imagine that people who have been married for decades, or even just a few years (versus a couple of months) would perhaps chuckle to themselves at the thought of anything making marriage “easy”. Our culture is bursting with reasons to believe that staying committed to—and happy with—one person is hard: movies, books, and TV shows that show couples arguing or barely communicating, complaining about each other to their friends, and/or growing apart; articles offering advice to “save” your relationship; bleak statistics in both the US and Canada revealing that 40-50% of marriages end in divorce. (Surprisingly, the divorce rate is higher in second and third marriages—60-73% in the US—than in first ones. So much for learning from our mistakes!)

My own parents divorced when I was two, and while that didn’t oppose me to the notion of getting married myself, it did make me realistic about the challenges a long-term relationship (married or not) can present, and wary of going down that path unless I felt very, very sure that the person I committed to shared the same values and vision for the future. (And, above all, was able to communicate effectively.)

Joe and I celebrated our one-year anniversary on Sept. 28th, and in the days surrounding the milestone I have reflected on what, so far, is helping keep us genuinely happy, communicating, and in love. Continue reading

Q+A: Musician Adam Kittredge On His New Band Thieves, the Challenges of Artistic Collaboration, + What He Would Tell His 16 Year-Old Self

Two years ago, after 15 years, the Juno-nominated, Victoria, B.C.-based band Jets Overhead quietly stopped playing together. My friend Adam Kittredge, the band’s former frontman, has since started Thieves, a new musical project with an EP slated to be released in the coming months.

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Earlier this summer, I asked Adam if he would be open to talking with me about his music career up to this point. Last week, we sat down for our phone chat, and, as in many of the conversations we’ve shared since our early twenties, covered a lot of ground.

Whether you know Adam personally, are a fan of Jets Overhead or Thieves, or are simply intrigued by the process, struggles, and insights of another creative human, I hope you’ll settle in with something to sip on, and enjoy the read. I sure enjoyed the chat. xx ~C.

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When Your Husband Meets Your Friends (Going Home, Part 3)

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Joe and I have been together for almost four years, but because we met in South Korea, the first two years of our relationship took place in Asia. We refer to this time as ‘the Korea bubble’ because we felt like we were in our own world. The early months of a relationship typically include meeting each other’s friends and family, but aside from hanging out with my dad and sister, who happened to visit me in Korea while I was dating Joe, we didn’t have that opportunity. Our move to Portland and an immigration process that restricted how many times I could re-enter the US made it difficult for us to visit Canada, so until last May, Joe had only been to Victoria once, to meet my mom.

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When Robin Williams Won the Oscar, and Thoughts on Depression

Last night before we went to sleep Joe and I watched a few clips of Robin Williams, in interviews with Johnny Carson and Craig Ferguson, and performing his hysterical stand-up routines. This morning I wanted to share one of them, but was torn on which one. In the end I decided this joyous moment of when he won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for “Good Will Hunting” felt right.

Hearing of anyone living with depression always hits home for me. It’s an illness present in my own family, and I have seen and felt its impact personally. It’s hard to know how to help someone you love who is suffering from the effects of depression, but certainly talking about it—what it is, how it feels, and what resources are available—more openly amongst ourselves is an essential part of creating a culture that supports and encourages those who feel depressed, as well as their friends and family members, to reach out.

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Camping on the Coast (with 10 of us!)

 

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This is what happens when 5 guys and 5 girls from seven different states and 1 Canadian province all end up living in Portland…

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and decide to go camping together.

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