Thinking about death

It is with the utmost sadness of our friends and family to announce the tragic death of our beloved Spicy Tuna Ro, who perished during a routine fly by of Saturn in her handcrafted space vessel, The Meow Machine, when it collided with an asteroid.  She is survived by her two wonderful cats, her partner of 17 years, parents, sibling, and all 1,525 of her Twitter followers. Rochele would like to be remembered for her excellent taste in music, clothing, going to bed early, and her ability to meal plan for an entire week at a time. She will be greatly missed on all social media platforms, but her partner is somewhat relieved that her cookbook collection and wardrobe will cease to expand. In lieu of flowers, please buy flower seeds and plant them everywhere for the bees. – My obituary, probably.

I spend more time thinking about death and dying than anyone else I know, and not in a ‘I want to die’ way but more of a ‘one day I’m going to die but I’ll be ready for it’ kind of thing. For the record, I do not plan to die for a very long time. One of my adult chores this year is to have a proper will done up, but if something should happen before then, here are my wishes:

I want to die as pain-free as possible and I don’t want to die alone. Please hold my hand and play my favourite music.

If I’m permanently incapacitated, brain-dead, or unlikely to ever wake up, let me go. I am a registered organ donor and if it’s possible, harvest anything that can be harvested. I would love nothing more than to give others another opportunity for a better, healthier, and longer life. Donate whatever is left to medical science. I don’t mind being a cadaver for medical students to cut up, sew back together, or even to try their own hand at being a Dr. Frankenstein. But if the hospital absolutely insists on returning whatever is left of me to my loved ones, do whatever is the most eco-friendly. I’m down for an organic burial, but ABSOLUTELY DO NOT EMBALM ME OR SEAL ME UP IN A CASKET. Bury me somewhere nice, like under a rose bush or something, but skip the grave marker, and make sure it’s legal. Or give me a viking burial at sea, surrounded by all my books. Be creative, but again, make sure it’s legal.

Give my phone to Jen. She knows what to do. She’s my designated digital legacy holder. If it’s password protected and you don’t have the password, I still expect my privacy to be maintained. I have zero intention of haunting this realm but God save your soul if you hack into somewhere you’re not supposed to be, I will go full poltergeist on you.

I don’t want a funeral. I want a wake with a life-size cardboard cutout of myself to greet people at the door, and you may select one or two from my fashionable IG account. For those that imbibe, I want whiskey sours, pickle backs, and Pyramid Audacious Apricot Ale to be served. I want balloons, disco lights, some Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston and some Abba. I won’t say no to smoke and lasers or karaoke, I just want people to laugh and dance and enjoy life. I also want a sushi buffet and the after party to be at a pho restaurant. Ask Tiffany, she’ll know where to go. And instead of a guest book, just post your best wishes and memories of me using a witty hashtag like #DeathRo or something on any social media platform of your choosing, except Vero. I would love if you would wear something weird and wonderful to my wake.

If you can’t make it to my wake, how should you honour me? Get up early, drink a green smoothie, pet a cat or dog or both as often as possible, wear something you’re proud of, and love your life as you’re living it.

I’m still giving thought to my belongings and what I want done with them. SproutO, Malroy, mom and dad, you can keep whatever you want. There are mixed CD’s with questionable content on them that you should definitely listen to when you’re missing me, they are eclectic and awkward, just as I am now. I have enough blankets and throws for all immediate family members to take one home, but leave the red fleece ones and the soft white one for the cats.

It’s important to think about what you want and make your wishes well-known. One of my favourite death positive people is Caitlin Doughty, and she has forever changed how I think of my own death and what I want to leave behind. If thinking about this is new to you, check out her YouTube channel and website. And please, please, please consider becoming an organ donor.

 

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I live with all my fault zones

Heyyyyy Alaska had a 7.9/8.2 (depends who you ask) magnitude earthquake earlier this week and it set off my anxiety because GUESS WHAT? I LIVE IN A MAJOR EARTHQUAKE ZONE AND WE’RE OVERDUE FOR A MASSIVE SHAKEDOWN.

I have emergency bags at home, and I used to be pretty smug about that and thought I was ready! I’m adorable, in case you didn’t know. I knew the food probably needed to be replaced and I needed provisions for my cats, but when I opened the bag I got a major dose of reality: I am nowhere near ready for this. Aside from camping cutlery, some rudimentary first aid supplies, and four years already expired food, there was not much else in that bag that was going to save us.

My poor brain went into overdrive and I started doing what I do best: making lists and meal planning for the apocalypse. Look, I don’t know where I’m going to be when all of this goes down, but I don’t want to have to rely on what will already be an overburdened system. I’d prefer to be self-sufficient so that people who actually need help, such as the elderly, are getting it instead of assholes who couldn’t be bothered to put together an emergency kit. I don’t want to be an asshole if I can avoid it. Okay, I’m an asshole on a regular basis, but I don’t want to be one during a crisis.

I decided that there should be an emergency bag in each of our cars and two at home, each with enough supplies to sustain two people for three days. The bags at home will also have provisions for our cats, because I never, ever want to be in a position where I can’t care for them.

So lists were made.

Whatever is in italics I’ve already taken care of.

Cats:

  • Reflective collars and ID tags 
  • Harnesses and leashes
  • Small cans of cat food that can be opened without a can opener
  • Dry cat food
  • Collapsible food and water dishes
  • Cat treats
  • A few toys

Food, three meals plus snacks and beverages:

  • Dehydrated soups with beans and lentils
  • Vacuum sealed, ready to eat pastas
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Dried fruit
  • Trail mix
  • Chocolate bars
  • Cliff bars
  • Instant coffee because having a caffeine headache during a crisis would definitely turn me into an asshole
  • Vodka
  • Pot, although it is technically not food
  • 4 litre jugs of water
  • Electrolyte tablets

First Aid:

  • Latex gloves
  • Dust masks
  • Bandages of various sizes
  • Butterfly bandages
  • Gauze
  • Medical tape
  • Pain relievers (maybe pot should go in the first aid kit, too)
  • Ativan
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Ointment
  • And then I just said fuck it and bought four small first aid kits in addition to what I have above

Gear:

  • Backpacks
  • Single burner camping stoves and fuel
  • Lighters
  • Solar blankets
  • Whistles
  • Candles
  • Wind up flashlights
  • Radios with extra batteries
  • Fleece blankets
  • Nesting cups
  • Nesting bowls
  • Sporks
  • Small kettles/pots with lids
  • Dish soap
  • Bleach
  • Dish cloths
  • Note books
  • Sharpie markers
  • Folding knives
  • Extra large ziploc bags
  • Toilet paper

Clothes:

  • Base layers
  • Wool socks
  • Toque
  • Gloves
  • Runners
  • Underwear
  • Rain ponchos

To do:

  • Decide on rendez-vous points both from home and from work
  • Find the emergency shelters near home and work, just in case
  • Plan routes to those points that account for disaster response routes which will be closed to peasants like you and me
  • Make maps for those points and include emergency contacts and have them laminated
  • If at home, close the natural gas line
  • Make copies of ID’s and medical cards and medical insurance

So I’m about halfway there. I really hope I never have to experience a major earthquake that would make these kits necessary, and I’d be lying if I didn’t consider hunting down cyanide tablets to put in my kits so I don’t have to witness the collapse of humanity in the lower mainland.

This is your responsibility, too. You need to do this. Yes you do. LOOTING IS NOT AN EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS STRATEGY. Not sure how do to this shit? Here’s a good resource https://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/yprprdnssgd/yprprdnssgd-eng.pdf 

Alright. If something should happen, please know that I loved you all along and you were right. Doesn’t matter what it was, you were right and you can have that as a victory. Peace be with you.

New year, same me, who dis?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I hate thinking of life in one year blocks that expire on December 31. My life is fluid and I’ve allowed myself the space to do things in my own time, but I feel a lot of peer pressure to set New Years Resolutions and Intentions. I’ve literally had to remind myself every day for the past week that I am doing just fine and that I don’t need to declare all the things I want to change about myself just because everyone else is doing it.

Rather than say I’M GOING TO DO THIS THING STARTING ON JANUARY 1, I enact changes as I am inspired by them. October 11th? That’s a perfect time to start eating more vegetables. July 2? Heck yeah I’m going to open a savings account. Change is so personal, and I dislike NY resolutions because there’s a lot of pressure and the failure that comes from the inability to change your lifestyle and habits overnight is overwhelming.

If you did set some resolutions/goals/intentions and you’re not ready to work on them right now, THAT IS OKAY! Or, if you are working on them and you fall off the bandwagon, THAT’S OKAY, TOO! You always have the ability to hit reset on your goals and intentions. I truly believe there is just as much to be learned about yourself in failure as there is in success.

I had a lot of minor personal achievements in 2017, and I’d like to share them here:

  • I adopted a regular skin care routine sometime in July,
  • I started flossing more frequently a couple of weeks ago
  • I started a regular practice of yoga in August
  • I meal planned the heck out of 2017 from February onward and I think this one has been the most consistent change from last year
  • I read six books in a six-week span and then nothing for months
  • I started bullet journaling intermittently, often forgetting to update it for weeks at a time but I’m still trying to adopt this as a regular practice, I just pick up where I left off

Actually, I pick up where I left off on the regular. I often abandon whatever goal I’ve set for myself but I usually go back to it, sometimes I have to go back to it four, five, or six times. I’m not a spontaneous person by nature, except when I want to make a change. Now is a good time to change something or do something, whenever now happens to be, but it’s rarely inspired by a date on the calendar.

Go forth and be you, and don’t worry about January. It’s kind of a shitty month anyway.

I’m an adult now

Gone are the days when I could buy cute, but cheap, ill-fitting shoes. Life is too short to be slowed down by blisters and cramped toes, and now… corns (ewwwwww.) I’d like to enjoy my day instead of thinking “Ow, ow, ow, maybe if I walk this way… ow, no, that still hurts,” with every step. Lately I’ve been tossing the ouchie shoes into the donation bin, without hesitation.

I must confess that I was a snot about fashion in my twenties. I swore I’d never shop for practical clothing at The Gap or buy my shoes at Naturalizer. I try not to be too vocal about my disdain for things, because I find myself eating my words a lot, but here I am; I now shop for quality and comfort over price and quantity. I’m an adult now.

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Summer at the office

Anyway… today I am comfortable. I’m wearing a white shirt from The Gap, and a pair of dress shorts from H&M, both pieces are a few years old. I’ve tucked the shirt in for a bit more polish, although this outfit is on the more casual side. I’ve worn these shorts with a loose, patterned, cropped tank and it’s a great outfit on the weekend. Not pictured: nude flats and the MeUndies boy shorts for women that I’m wearing under my shorts…

I recently made an investment in comfortable underwear. I have to say, it’s a little disheartening to realize that my spouse has way nicer underwear than I do, and I’m the one who buys it for both of us. $20 for a pair of boxer briefs for him? No problem. $20 for a nice pair of panties for me? Ugh, that’s $10 more than I want to pay. I’m over it, I went and purchased a whole new underwear wardrobe from MeUndies. Sorry, not sorry, wallet. Now I have my own comfortable and attractive underwear, and it’s not $25 special occasion underwear that I feel guilty wearing because it’s too nice for every day wear. In my opinion, nothing should be special occasion- underwear, perfume, dishes… but the nice underwear is also usually the most uncomfortable underwear, and it only gets worn for special occasions (re: never) or on laundry day when I’ve run out of everything else. Let’s be honest, I have fancy laundry day underwear.

Speaking of which, I’m in the middle of a laundrypocalypse epidemic again. Why can’t I do laundry like a normal person?

The no good, very bad day at the office

Picture this:

I am 22 years old and pretty fresh at my new office. I feel smug; getting this job was easy, and the job itself is easy enough, and it is so very nice to work 9-5pm, Monday to Friday, with benefits and paid vacation. Easy!

A few weeks into the new job, I ride the elevator with ten business men. We make small talk, and I say goodbye when we exit the elevator, but they don’t seem to be going into any of the other offices. In fact, they follow me all the way down the corridor to the very last office. My office. Strange, I don’t remember anyone telling me that there was a meeting first thing today? No matter. I will get these fine gentlemen settled and then I will perform my opening duties. But more and more people keep showing up in reception, so before I do anything else I get them seated in the boardroom.

But it turns out that there are two meetings happening, not one. I sheepishly walk down the hall and ask the people for Meeting B to please follow me to our conference room. Very quickly we run out of chairs for both meetings as more and more people show up, and I end up stealing chairs from my coworkers who are out at their own meetings or on vacation.

And then a third group of people arrive. Really? Now what? The board room and the conference rooms are being utilized, the only other meeting space available is… my boss’s office. I ask politely and he’s gracious enough. By now we’re out of coffee and water cups, too, and I have to go steal those from my coworker’s desks when they’re not looking.

And the phones won’t stop ringing. At times, all six lines are flashing and I can’t remember who is on what line and I am so tempted to close my eyes and clear all the lines and start fresh. I take a deep breath and pick up line 1 in time to hear *click.* I pick up line 2 just in time for line 1 to ring again. I transfer line 2 and answer line 1 and they hang up before I can even say hello. I go to line 3 and line 1 starts ringing again. Not wanting to piss off whoever keeps calling and hanging up, I put line 3 on hold again and answer line 1. CLICK. It takes everything in me not to slam the phone down or yell.

And then a fourth group of people show up and I want to cry. Where are we going to put these people?? My other boss is in this meeting and brings them down to her office, and I help her clear drawings and floor samples to make space around her work table. There aren’t enough chairs, so they stand around awkwardly. I don’t offer anyone coffee or water because there are no cups left.

And then I get an email from a partner, asking me to print 52 attached PDF’s. Sure, not a problem. I select all, and hit print. I let the printer do its thing for a while, but when I go to collect the prints, there are about a thousand sheets that say COMMAND ERROR. WHY, GOD, WHY? I can’t get it to stop. I try canceling it from the printer a dozen times, and it just won’t stop spitting out copies of the COMMAND ERROR document. Exasperated, I unplug the machine and the printing finally stops. I wait a moment before plugging it back in. Things are okay for three minutes… and then it goes right back to printing more COMMAND ERROR sheets. At this point I contemplate quitting. I unplug the machine again and put an Out of Order sign on it.

I ask the controller to please phone IT and she informs me that we don’t have IT, he left last month. I wonder how I’m going to push the duplex printer out the window and make it look like an accident.

While I’m away from my desk trying not to kick the printer, a courier arrives and takes it upon himself to find someone to sign for a package. The next thing I know, my boss is escorting him out of her office with a look on her face that very clearly says what the actual fuck, Rochele? and I want to dissolve into the floor in embarrassment. I tell her I’ll handle it from here and I walk him back to reception.

The phone rings from the board room. “Rochele, I need you to order lunch for Meeting A, it’s going to go on for a few more hours I think.” I call a bunch of places and no one will offer delivery on such short notice. The person who usually provides backup for me has already left to taker her lunch break, and it’s far too busy for me to leave my post. I timidly ask another coworker if she will please mind the phones and she barks at me, “I AM AN ARCHITECT, NOT A RECEPTIONIST. I DON’T ANSWER THE PHONE.” I am struggling not cry. Everything sucks. I feel like this job might be too much for me.

I go back to my desk and rehearse how I’m going to say no to buying lunch, but suddenly I see everyone from that meeting walking down the corridor towards the elevator. I AM SAVED! Until next week, when the meeting will continue, apparently.

The partner is hovering and asks me where his prints are, and I sheepishly tell him I’ve broken the printer. He sits me down and shows me how to cancel prints from my computer and how to make batches in Adobe. We plug the printer in again and pages and pages of the most beautiful documents that don’t have the words COMMAND ERROR on them come out warm and freshly pressed. I want to cry for a different reason. It’s just so beautiful.

The meetings end, the phones settle down, and the printer is quiet. The chairs are back in their respective workstations and I even manage to wash a few cups and make a pot of coffee. I realize it’s 4pm and I haven’t eaten my lunch yet, and really, I’m too tired to eat. I take a moment before launching into a slightly irrational, hunger fueled email about the importance of booking meeting spaces. What I really want to do is run off into the sunset and never come back, I start questioning my need to make money at all. Living in the forest far from a ringing phone or demon printer and meetings of any kind sounds a little bit like heaven.

At the end of the day, my boss calls to tell me that I did a great job handling the mayhem. I soften a little bit and put my plans to run away on hold for a while.

 

From Head to Ro – May 26, 2017 Dress Season is Open

Hello lovelies. It’s been a bit of a rough week, hasn’t it? I am grateful for friends who talk on the phone and say I love you when we’re done, and the ones who write me into commercials for sewing machines, and the ones who assure me I’m not a bad person because I’ve spent more money than I intended to. Thank you for letting me be me and loving me just the same.

I’m pleased to say that the weather has improved significantly and dress season is open. I wore two beautiful outfits that I failed to document, but many other things take priority over snapping pictures and writing about my clothes.

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Today I am wearing the sweetest dress from Simons via Mama Ro. It’s off the shoulder, it has buttons down the front, it has a tie, it has embroidery, it’s midi length, it’s got stripes. It sounds like it has a lot going on, but this dress is understated.

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I just love the details of this dress.

I’ve paired it with a pair of strappy, cognac, leather sandals from Clarks, a gift from Papa Ro a few years ago. I kind of love that I’m wearing an outfit from my parents.

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Leather sandals

Today is also the last day that I will be a redhead. Tomorrow morning I’ll be returning to life as a brunette. I loved having red hair, but I hated the maintenance and the financial burden of keeping it looking nice. Red hair fades to a really ugly colour very quickly. Without an expensive colour deposit shampoo, conditioner, and a pigment wash every couple of weeks, my hair looked magenta and I started to dread washing my hair because it meant using up product, and I really didn’t want to buy any more. I am looking forward to using light towels without leaving pink streaks everywhere. Going back to brunette isn’t going to cost less than staying red for another cycle, but this is the start of winding down expensive, finicky hair. It will be so nice to wash my hair without mentally rationing how much shampoo I have left.

I spend too much money and I’m unhappy about it

I have a shopping and money spending addiction. There, I said it. This is a dark spot in my life, and things tend to get out of control very quickly.

Am I going to remember the good times I had using a new makeup primer? No. The one I bought two months ago is fine, and there is a lot of it left.

Oh but I read about double cleansing and I’d like to try that! Cool, but I already have all the stuff I need to try double cleansing, there is no need to buy new products to try a different technique.

In late 2016 I recognized that my makeup purchasing was out of control, so I challenged myself not to buy any more until 2018 unless I ran out of a specific item. I’ve run out of concealer a couple of times, and I did buy two tubes of lipstick after receiving two new lipsticks that I got for my birthday after loving the wear and formula. But I recognize that the joy of four new lipsticks was short-lived. Not too bad, right? Two tubes of lipstick aren’t going to ruin me.

However, I essentially replaced my makeup buying addiction with a skincare buying addiction. I hate myself a little bit. I need to unsubscribe and unfollow all the beauty accounts that I have on social media. Yesterday I found myself on the Kiehl’s website and almost had to slap my hand from buying skincare that I don’t need. Rochele, we have an agreement. When things run out, you can try something new.

This happens with everything in my life. I get excited about something and I go crazy. If you didn’t know, I also sew. Lately I’ve been sewing kimonos, and I went a little nuts ordering fabric and I have enough to make 13 kimonos. I don’t have time to make 13 kimonos. Ugh, I hate myself.

As of right now, I’m expecting a new bike helmet, and two new pairs of glasses (damn you, BOGO.) That’s not terrible except in the last month I’ve bought two new pairs of sandals, a bag, two pairs of sunglasses, three blouses, four pairs of work pants, a pair of flats, a car, dishes, and a couch. Okay, the last three were household purchases and I don’t know if they count, and some of the clothes were for job interviews I went to, and I had a birthday in there and received quite a bit of money. Some of that was okay, but I definitely didn’t need to buy all of it.

I tell myself that I can’t afford a membership for barre classes, but I drop $150 without blinking. I tell myself that I can’t afford to go on a trip, but I have Rouge status at Sephora. I tell myself that it’s okay to buy that necklace because it’s only $65 and I didn’t spend money yesterday. I justify spending money on things because all the bills get paid and I contribute to RRSP’s, TFSA’s, and my spouse and I own a home and there is money left over every month. I am very much a quality over quantity person, but I am still guilty of falling for new things.

Despite attempts to control myself and set limits, I can’t seem to live within them. My spending habits have come under scrutiny many, many times and I have faced harsh judgment. I love makeup, perfume, clothing, and shoes. Yes, I have a lot of it. Yes, I want more. I have a job where I am expected to look my best, and I like to look my best in my private life, too. Although it is NOBODY’S BUSINESS, I am sharing this with the world so that I might be more accountable and begin to restructure my life to be a healthier and happier version of me.