303 Miles to Phoenix + John Mayer In Concert

We drove 303 miles to Phoenix last week.

I have to preface this post by saying that I have the best husband ever. Not once since I said, “John Mayer is playing in Phoenix next week, we should go” did he tell me that I’m crazy, or complain, or try to change my mind (and we had just seen him here in Vegas at the end of April). Instead, he got on the phone with his parents to ensure they could take DJ for the night.

We were a little too early in getting to Phoenix (the dinner place I’d chosen didn’t open until 5) so we drove around downtown for a little while just checking it out. Then, once it opened, we headed over to The Duce, which may be one of the coolest places I’ve eaten in, besides Pinewood Social in Nashville.

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Why it’s time for a social media detox

Starting tomorrow, I’m doing a social media detox, because—to be honest—it’s killing me. No Instagram, no Facebook and no Twitter or Snapchat (even though I’m rarely on those). I’m going to start with seven days, but I’m hopeful that I can make it much longer. Here’s why I’m doing it:

1. I need to break the comparison cycle. She has this, he has that, she wrote another book, he’s on vacation again—It. Is. Killing. Me. I’m aware that it’s my own problem, and that I have to train my mind to stop thinking this way.
2. To improve my mood. Studies show that the more time you spend on social media, the more likely you are to develop depression. And, as I’m sure you all know by now, I’ve been there. And I really, really don’t want to go back.
3. I need to get back to living in the moment. Picture this: my four-year-old son asks me to play and I say (with my face glued to my phone) “just one second” … and then ten minutes go by. I don’t want to be that type of mother.
4. My time is precious and should be treated as such. If I actually kept track of how often I pick up my phone and absently scroll through Instagram, I would be sick to my stomach. Literally. It needs to stop.
5. I need to re-evaluate. Why do I need to post a photo of my laptop at Starbucks so that people know I’m writing? Why do I need to share what I’m wearing, or eating, or drinking? Why do I care so much?
It’s going to be hard—there’s no sugarcoating the fact that I’m an Instagram addict. But that just motivates me even more to really give this detox a go.
So, if you see me online this week—proceed to give me a swift kick in the rear end.

3 things from the past week | 5

1. If you’re already having a weird day, don’t pour yourself a glass of wine or eat chips for dinner. Or pour yourself that second glass of wine. It’s never a good idea. You’ll feel worse in the morning, I promise you. I learned this the hard way.

2. It’s really frustrating to me that one day, I can manage to get 2,300 words written amongst chaos (I’m talking the kid running around, at my in-laws, at the coffee shop when I forgot headphones), and then the next day, I struggle to get out a measly 341 words). If you don’t already know this about me, I’m really hard on myself—so to be the kind of writer who still experiences these inconsistencies really gets me rattled.

3. I’ve been reading When You Find Out The World Is Against You and—while making me laugh and smile—it makes me think about Canada. It makes me miss Canada. It makes me smile and nod my head and yell out “YES!” (scaring my husband half to death) because here is someone who not only gets what it feels like to move to the US from Canada, but to articulate it so well also. I’m in awe of Kelly Oxford. And I kind of don’t ever want this book to end.

3 Things from the past week | 4

1. I try not to be the kind of person that imagines their life looking any different than just the way it is, but sometimes… sometimes I catch a glimpse of a beautifully dressed woman in impeccable heels getting into her Mercedes and I wonder what her week will look like. Or I turn to my husband and say: in another life, I’d live on the road, writing in a different coffee shop each day. Or I nod along when he tells me he’d love to live even a day in the life of the families that own the beach houses we passed the shoreline of La Jolla last weekend.
2. A girlfriend of mine who I’ve known online for a couple years now is writing some of the most honest, heart breaking words I may have ever read. It seems silly to tell her how brave she is for putting them out into the world, but that’s exactly what she is. You see, I worry too much about what people think of me. I always have. I wish, for just one moment, I could open myself up the way she does. I’m so lucky to know her; she’s going to do some wonderful things.

3. I’m slowly realizing that I’m going to have to be one of those writers who makes the time to write. It isn’t readily available to me. With a child and a full-time career and a husband and all the responsibilities that come along with that, I’m going to have to steal extra hours. It’s going to mean nights like Friday night when I make coffee at 9 p.m. and sit down on the couch with my laptop. It’s going to mean setting an alarm and waking up earlier than everyone else. It means continuing to steal moments here and there–like the time I waited in line at the post office for ten minutes, writing chapter notes in the Notes app on my iPhone. It means choosing, today, right now, to open up my laptop and write instead of turning to Netflix to watch the next episode of 13 Reasons Why.

But I’d choose this life over any other life. Ask me tomorrow and I’ll say the same.

3 things from the past week | 3

1. It’s been interesting, this week, to see how people respond when it comes up in conversation that Dom and I just celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary. We get one of two responses: either a semi-disinterested stare and a barely audible grunt (which I take as a “ha! six years is nothing, just you wait until you’ve been married as long as me and xyz”); or their face lights up in a way that makes me truly proud to have made it this far already.
I’ve been hearing all my life that a lot of marriages fall apart around year seven. I’m happy to say that Dom and I are as happy as we’ve ever been.

2. Yesterday, I started writing a short story about a woman who can’t work on her novels in public without being hit on. It’s about love. It’s about self-care. It’s about personal growth.

It’s nothing amazing yet, but the point is that I’m trying.

3. Just look at this picture, taken this week. I can’t even. This last year of motherhood has been really hard, but sometimes we have moments that seem to make it all worth it. Four has been good to us, so far.

3 things from the past week | 2

1. Sometimes I’m irrationally scared to go back and look at things I’ve written in the past. I’m worried that no matter how much I liked the writing at the time I wrote it, it will now seem somehow less than. As a writer, all I really want is to keep working and improve my skill set. To look back at something I wrote two years ago and published is scary. As such, I’ve decided to re-write my first book, Finding Lily. Wish me luck.

2. We leave for California on Saturday morning. Last year, after our three amazingly relaxing days in La Jolla, I jokingly told Dom I wanted to go back for our anniversary again next year. Well, today’s our sixth anniversary and we’ll see you in a week, La Jolla.

3. I’m entirely certain that one of my favorite feelings in life is when someone falls head over heels over a book that I recommended to them. I’ve been telling everyone I can to read The Hate U Give and smiling more and more as their positive responses find their way back to me. I love the way reading can unite people. (by the way, this is what I’m reading now, in case you’re interested).

3 things from the past week | 1

1. Does every other woman worry about turning into their mother as much as I do? It seems irrational; how much space I allow this worry to occupy in my mind. I suppose I’ve always been hyper-sensitive to what I do and say and how I act towards Dom, because what if I become her? She’s an amazing woman, but I see so much anger and dissatisfaction in her that I don’t want to carry on my own shoulders.
2. I weigh the most I’ve ever weighed in my life. I’m supremely unhappy about this and yet I have no motivation to change it. Not yet, anyway. I suppose I keep waiting for something to happen to snap me out of it and make me care… but it hasn’t happened yet.
My mother in law is obsessed with weight and appearances. She’ll be the first one to point out if I’ve gone passed the point of no return. Until then, I complain to myself each morning post-shower, but continue to do nothing about it.
3. My mother recently ran into one of my high school english teachers and told her I’d become a writer. I was shocked to know my mother had told her that. I guess if I’m not doing it full-time it doesn’t feel like the truth. But that’s silly. I’ve been a writer my whole adult life. Before that, even. It’s the one thing that has and always will ring true.

Excerpts from my Journal | 07

Last month Dom and I spent a night in the mountains. I didn’t notice until two days later that he’d brought home one of the small lotion containers from the lodge. I’d gone looking for lotion, my hands were dry. So I used some of it. And that scent… that deep, spicy scent… I just can’t figure out what it’s reminding me of. Was it cologne that a past boyfriend wore? A favorite candle long burned out?
Every evening before bed, now, I put on some of it. I’m desperate that one of these times it will come to me. Where in my past it had its place.
++ 
Here’s what going on three days without Dom has taught me. One: I feel his absence so fully that it almost presses against my lungs. Two: I really do love being at home. We have–finally–built a home that is truly ours. Three: I wake in the night and I reach out for him. Five: this was good for me. A chance to miss him. Maybe it will be good for him, too.
++

Can people really change?
Because all I can think about is that I desperately want to be a better version of myself.

++

Thanks for reading,
rdg

WINTER LISTS ON A SUNDAY MORNING.

Waking up on January 1st always feels like a new beginning. It doesn’t matter if you’re one of those people who think new years resolutions are a joke. Because I don’t. To me, it’s a fresh start. A clean slate. A whole new year to do with it what I like, and put the past behind me.

With that in mind, here’s a little glimpse at life right now:

things currently on the table.

2 hot wheels cars

half-burnt candle

black pen

a half-eaten bowl of soggy cereal (thanks DJ)

things i want to purchase but won’t.

all the candles

a pair of red converse

all the jeans

a new, better quality laptop case

the type of woman I want to be.

kind

ambitious

patient

what I’m working on.

myself

my marriage

writing. always writing.

patience

things I’ve loved lately.

anything by taylor jenkins reid

candy cane coffee

sitting, reading next to the christmas tree

what i want to get better at this year.

eating healthier and smarter

washing my face at the end of every day

putting my marriage first

Excerpts from my Journal | 06

I spend a lot of time alone in my head, which I’m starting to think might not be all that good of an idea for someone like me. But, my god! this time of the year! I always feel as though I just lose the tiniest bit of footing on life, my thinking, my future.

++

This will be my sixth Christmas in Las Vegas. From the very beginning there has been a sort of quiet understanding that I’ll feel the first pangs of homesickness around the 20th, as Christmas looks closer. But it isn’t until Christmas Eve — when I’m surrounded by family who has only known me for these six years, with people I feel like I still know so little about, but who have welcomed me into their world with open arms — that the full weight of everything comes down on me.

I don’t feel as though Kitchener is home anymore, but on Christmas Eve, my heart forgets all that and aches in a way it never could the other three hundred and sixty-four days of the year.

It aches like it hasn’t forgotten how far I’ve come and all that I’ve left behind … even if I have.

++

Yesterday morning was one of those mornings you need to write about because it was perfect in its simplicity. There was sex and breakfast and reading and coffee enjoyed before going cold and I never wanted it to end.

++

I want to write so badly, can feel the itch in my fingers, but I worry that I have nothing left to say.

++

 

Thanks for reading,

rdg