It just so happens that this day, October 1st, 2019 marks the 13th year that I’ve called myself a Blogger and have inhabited this space on the internet. I think this makes me The Oldest Living Blogger, but that’s not important right now.
Thirteen years! That’s like a cute, but smart-mouthed teenager!
Or perhaps, out here in the Blogosphere (<–is that a word yet?) my 13 year old blog would be The Wise Abuela of Cuban Blogs. I think that’s a better fit.
When I first started storytelling here, I was a little self-conscious about how I looked on camera. But if I’ve learned anything in the last 13 years is that most people don’t really care about whether I am wearing mascara, or am being photographed from just the right angle. They care about whether I’m entertaining or making them think. Although the red lipstick is still a non-negotiable.
I’ve learned a lot about self-acceptance in posting 13 years worth of photos. I have finally grown out my beautiful silver curls and found that I don’t hate either the curls or the silver. Go figure.
The sepia felt a lot like my memories of Cuba, kinda warm and hazy, but I later began to evolve and add more color (thanks to my daughter, Lucy) which was much more representative of my current (and absolutely Cuban) real life. I think I became much more authentic.
When I started this blogging journey, I was still homeschooling my kids and had a lot to say about that. My kids were young and
oversharing writing about my life helped me to do something to get out of my own head. My mom was still very active and an important part of our daily lives back then.
We were doing very American things, but I was working hard to keep our very fragile Cubanity. (<– I think that’s totally a word now. You’re welcome.) My first post was titled, “Life on the Hyphen.”
In that post I introduced myself and my family and how I was living on the hyphen of being Cuban-American (A big thank you to my friend and author, Gustavo Perez-Firmat for that genius description).
I remember struggling to learn how to hyperlink to other sites and how to add videos to posts. Those 13 year old posts are probably full of broken links and long gone videos, but I’m still super proud of them and so very glad that I stumbled and fumbled my way into documenting my life in this beautiful, if very public, space.
Each year when October 1st rolled around I was shocked, yet delighted that I had survived another year in a very competitive space and I was always genuinely surprised that I still had so much to say. And for many years I designed some fun and faux “magazine cover” art to represent a new year in the Blogosphere.
Sadly, magazines have also gone the way of the Dodo. Because Pinterest now exists. which reminds me, you should totally be following me on Pinterest. And now that I’ve linked you over there, I just realized I haven’t update my profile picture in quite a while. IT NEVER ENDS! Which just goes to show, I can’t do it all anymore, people! Ay, Dios mio.
On my 10th Blogoversary (<–is that a word at all?) I wrote a long and super newsy post
oversharing recapping what I had been doing for 10 years out here in cyberspace. You should totally go read that. It will kill some time and you’ll get to know me so much better. Ya tu sabes.
It’s titled: A Decade of Blogging – There Should Be Cake. And there was. Okay. At least watch the video. It’s quite adorable.
I’ll be honest here – when my mom, Luza passed away at the beginning of 2017, it really took its toll on me. She provided so much wonderful fodder for this blog for so many years. And became “internet famous” with her explanation of how the search engines work.
And, of course, was a central figure in my real life. When she died two years ago at (almost) 103, a part of me lost the “ganas” to tell my stories anymore.
I wrote about her parting here: Selective Reality.
Ironically, she colored her hair and kept her hands manicured until the day she left this earth. Makes me laugh to think about it now. That was so Luza. She would not have approved of me going gray, but I know she would have eventually liked it.
I bring her up right now because she used to tell stories. That’s probably where I got my mojo from. She would tell all kinds of stories. About her life and about her idyllic childhood in Puerto Padre. She would constantly regale us with stories.
She made things up and many times embellished the stories she told. It was always delicious.
She would reminisce about this friend or the perfect flan that her mother made in a wood burning stove.
She would clip recipes for me to try out and stand over me so I would get it just right, in her estimation. And she would always brag about how smart and talented all of her grandchildren were. (To me, who was responsible for 4 of those prodigies. LOL.)
Please appreciate her awesomeness is this post: The Secret of A Long Life.
I have had so many awesome experiences and written about people and places and events and real life and even some politics (because Cuban).
Even though I have slowed down quite a bit since Luza’s parting, I still have some very good blog fodder from my own life. I didn’t know two years ago that life would somehow keep going, but it obviously has.
And the family storytelling mantle that I wore awkwardly and maybe a little crookedly, I finally embrace with pride. Yes, call me the Family Historian. I dig that. This is my legacy from here that I gladly embrace.
I’m finding that I’m doing the same thing to my kids and grandsons #CallMeWella.
I regale them with stories of my misspent youth in Los Angeles. Of the fun things we did as teenagers. Of the fading memories of my childhood in Varadero, Cuba. Of the classic family stories, of which there are many. In fact, I think in many ways, I’ve picked up her mantle. Her storytelling expertise. And better yet, I think it suits me. I can stay comfortably in this lane.
I will forever be supremely grateful for Babalu Blog who were the ones who helped put me on the blogging map as they let me share weekly recipes, which eventually became My Big Fat Cuban Family Cookbook. (Gracias por todo, Valentin.)
Let me walk you through and catch you up through some of my posts from former years.
- Fidel Castro died.
- I’ve said goodbye to my dear mom, Luza, who was almost 103.
- We’ve welcomed our sweet grandson Sebastian (you may call him Bash) into the fold.
- I added Bacon Guava Cream Cheese Bites to my repertoire of recipes.
- I was featured on a Buzzfeed show: Abuela VS Chef (Spoiler – I won!)
- Eric and I celebrated 25 years(!) of marriage.
- Our daughter, Lucy, got married!
- I met and had some memorable moments with Willy Chirino (be still my heart!)
- I was in the same room as ALL of the Avengers.
- I got to dance in a video with my favorite Abuela, Jenny Lorenzo, and Elvis Crespo (!)
- I met and “selfied” with Gloria Estefan, my new BFF.
- I podcasted with the talented guys from “Pero Let Me Tell You.”
And now here I am, thinking about how I will be celebrating these 13 years in the Blogosphere (<–it’s got to be a word by now.)
Here’s what will be happening the rest of October: I’ve contacted some of my Cuban friends and wonderful businesses and I’ll be doing some really fabulous giveaways the entire month of October.
I may be The Abuela of Cuban Bloggers now, but there’s still some life in the old girl yet.
Happy 13th Blogoversary to me. Let’s have cake.
Or maybe some homemade pastelitos de guayaba? Ahora sí!