Written to my grandma with love

Dear Grandma,

I’ve been thinking of you a lot lately. Every time I look at my drawers of makeup and nail polish, you come to mind.

As a child, your bathroom was like a cave of wonders. You had baskets and containers of the most magical colours and powders. I would sneak a little lip colour or eye shadow from time to time, but you already know that.

You embody the sentiment that variety is the spice of life. It was so great to visit you and try a new shampoo every time I had a shower. Your lotions and potions were a constant fascination, and every wash of the hands was a new opportunity to put another lotion on.

I definitely get my love of makeup, nail polish and body products from you. Mom is starting to become this way, but I’m not sure it’s entirely her choice or because she’s Mallory’s and my mom and getting sucked in might be unavoidable. And no one else I know has delicate trays of perfumes on their bureaus. My Girl Room has become a source of entertainment to my girlfriends.

Actually, I’m a lot like you in many ways. I have a drawer full of socks that I never wear. I don’t like fitted tops or scratchy clothes. And like you and mom, I love to cook and I take pride in what I serve people.

We’re gardeners. We love animals. We’re sensitive souls. Grandma, it took me a long time to notice, but I’m a lot like you. I know I haven’t spent much time with you in my adult years, I do wish we lived closer to one another. I wanted to let you know that you’ve helped shape who I am.

You have always been incredibly generous with your time and your things, and I strive to be that way, too.

I was overwhelmed when you baked cookies and squares for my wedding. I should have known that you were going to show up with 5,000 pieces for a 150 people tea reception. But you’re like that. There is always way too much food and there is always room at your table. No one in your life will ever go hungry.

Grandma, I could go on and on. You’re a beautiful woman, from the inside out. I love you very much, and I don’t and haven’t said it nearly enough.

Also, I’m sorry for trying to steal your pyramid paper weight. That thing is a symbol of Grandma’s House and I hope you never give it away.

All my love,
Rochele xoxo

PS- I love grandpa, too, and I’ll never forget the day he took me to the Dollar Store and let me buy whatever I wanted. He’ll get his own letter one day.

 

Fall Love

crisp mornings
balmy afternoons
crunchy, brown leaves
damp, dewy grass
hot apple cider
stew and biscuits
flannel sheets and billowy duvets
clouds of breath hanging in the night air
thick socks nestled in tall boots
hot bubble baths
porters and oatmeal stouts
early sunsets
children practicing soccer
condensation on car windows
sweaters that cover your bum
Sunday dinners
mugs of tea
soft, plush robes and slippers
setting the thermostat
watching movies under a blanket
hot chocolate
jackets with a lining
magic gloves
infinity scarves
steamed milk
spiced whiskey
hockey
Thanksgiving
oatmeal

An important message: Consent still applies to pregnant ladies

The following is from my dear friend affectionately known as Nurse Nathalie, or @howetolove on the Twittersphere:

This maternity shirt was lovingly given to me by an amazing coworker as a jest to my disdain for people touching my belly since being pregnant, but it brings forward the important concept of consent. A wise nurse once modelled to me the importance of obtaining consent from a patient before ever touching her breasts, abdomen, or private areas before an exam, and since then, I’ve always tried to model this for newer staff. It may seem like the abdomen is a normal place to touch or rub a pregnant woman, but truthfully, would you do that to anyone else? I believe that usually it is an area reserved for a consensual intimate relationship, and that fact doesn’t change in pregnancy just because a baby is kicking away. It’s not that you CAN’T touch a pregnant belly, but more that you should gain consent before doing so, even if already implied to close friends, immediate family, and your partner. Imagine for a second, a woman who had been sexually assaulted at some point in her life; a point where consent was taken away from her. Imagine bringing those feelings back, even if your touch was well-intentioned. This is why you have to ask, and respect the answer immediately. This is not a hormone fueled rant, but more a peaceful, thought provoking piece on consent, based on my observations and feelings so far as a pregnant woman.

I know many, many times over how amazing it is to share in the life being created by a woman during pregnancy, but if you weren’t invited to do so, all you have to do is ask. 🙂 ❤

can't touch this

I want you to want ME, another playlist by Ro

Another playlist by yours truly. Earlier this year I began archiving my old playlists and dissecting them one song at a time. Stay with me, this one hails from 2002 and has zero content from 2002 because apparently I was already an old woman by then.

1. Kokomo – The Beach Boys

‘Afternoon delight, cocktails and moonlit nights
That dreamy look in your eye, give me a tropical contact high’

So ummmm, is this song on your baby-making playlist? Probably. In 2002 I didn’t know what afternoon delight was, or what a contact high was for that matter. Oy.

2. When I’m 64 – The Beatles

What a sweet and endearing song. Grow old with me, internet.

3. The Longest Time – Billy Joel

‘I don’t care what consequence it brings
I have been a fool for lesser things
I want you so bad’

But seriously, as a teenager, you run into everything head first and you deal with the pain later. Billy Joel knows what’s up. Falling in love is pretty reckless. We try to tell ourselves that we’ll be cautious and we won’t give all of ourselves, and then one slip and it’s all downhill. Life lessons, yo.

4. You Made Me So very Happy – Blood, Sweat and Tears

I love you so much it seems
You’re even in my dreams
I can hear you’

Careful there, BST. Telling someone you’re dreaming about them gets creepy, unless they feel the same way. Actually, make sure they feel the same way before you say this kind of stuff at all. Or keep it to yourself. Or write a hit song. Whatever.

5. More Than A Feeling – Boston

Confession: I’ve overplayed this song and I don’t like it anymore.

6. I Want You To Want Me – Cheap Trick

I want you to want me.
I need you to need me.
I’d love you to love me.
I’m beggin’ you to beg me.’

I very vividly remember wanting someone to feel the same way that I felt about them, but not knowing where I stood. The achy-hurty feeling of not knowing. Ugh, it’s coming back to me now. Staaaahhhhp.

7. Romeo and Juliet – Dire Straits

And all I do is miss you and the way we used to be
All I do is keep the beat and bad company
All I do is kiss you through the bars of a rhyme’

Here, Dire Straits, just take my heart. I didn’t want it anyway after listening to your most excellent crumby song about how it doesn’t work out for Romeo, regardless of his and Juliet’s unfortunate stance on mortality.

8. Just What I Needed – The Cars

I don’t mind you coming here
And wasting all my time
I don’t mind you hanging out
And talking in your sleep’

It’s not wasting time if it’s something you enjoy…

9. Again – Lenny Kravitz

I wonder if I’ll ever see you again’

Back in 1999, it was a lot easier to lose track of someone, and I did. The internet wasn’t in everyone’s house yet, and we still had to ask for phone numbers and risk parents answering. Oh god the panic. Sometimes you just left stuff to chance instead of trying to make it happen.

10. Last Kiss – Pearl Jam

At the very least, he knew it was going to be his last kiss before his love departed this world. I tend to think we would do things differently if we knew we were doing it for the last time. How great would it be to leave this life with a last kiss? BRB, crying while I contemplate it.

11. Pretty Woman

As a 20-something woman, I have feelings about a man noticing a pretty woman on the street and cat-calling after her. It’s not good. I’m sure this song was innocent enough back in the dark ages, but now it doesn’t sit very well with me. Anyway, before I destroy Roy Orbison, I’m moving on.

12. Let’s Spend the Night Together – The Rolling Stones

I still like this song.

13. Two Princes – The Spin Doctors

Who didn’t love this song in all its early 90’s glory? Synopsis- this guy wants you to give him a chance despite that fact that he’s a bum. Personally, I think Romeo from #7 has more of a chance than this guy.

14. I Know You’re Out There Somewhere – The Moody Blues

I know you’re out there somewhere
Somewhere, somewhere
I know you’re out there somewhere
Somewhere you can hear my voice’

More people losing track of each other. I’m beginning to think that maybe we would value our relationships and experiences a little more if the internet didn’t make them so damn convenient. What do I know? I wasn’t even alive when this song came out.

15. The Air That I Breathe

Making love with you
Has left me peaceful warm and tired
What more could I ask
There’s nothing left to be desired
Peace came upon me and it leaves me weak’

This guy is saying that there is nothing else in the world that he wants other than this. All he needs is the air that he breathes and to love you. Why is anyone settling for anything less than this? Go get it, make it happen. Seriously, this is the kind of love that makes me cry. Just kidding, I’m already crying.

Yes, I really do have nostalgia tied to every song, but there isn’t enough time in this world to tell you about it. That, and it’s probably not that interesting to anyone but me. So here we are. Another playlist archived.

My First Ever Mixed CD

In 2000, one did not just go to Youtube and listen to whatever the hell they wanted. They had to buy the CD/tape cassette or wait for the radio/Much Music/MTV to play it. Very few people had dedicated internet, and even fewer people had CD burners. Napster was on the scene, but a lot of the material was corrupt, and most people still had their internet packages in minutes. Downloading a song could take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, so it was a giant pain in the ass to download music. Times were tough in the year 2000.

Never the less, it was new and shiny and I had to have my very own mixed CD.

So I paid some guy that I chatted with on ICQ’s Random Chat (who just happened to go to my school) to make me a mixed CD. It cost me $15, or about the same as a new CD, which seemed fair.

My first ever mixed CD is a gem. There is no rhyme or reason to the tracks, I just liked them, and they made me happy. What I do know is that track #6 is a huge mystery, because I’d never heard that song and my best guess is that it was mislabeled in Napster as the song I actually wanted, and said dude was not a music aficionado.  Track #7 is a warbled version of Gob’s Paint It Black.

Here we go:

Track 1 – Why Do You Build Me Up – The Foundations

I think There’s Something About Mary came out that year and after that everyone knew the words, I recall singing it with many friends on many occasions.

Track 2 – Yellow Submarine – The Beatles

My childhood pal Sean (a huge Beatles fan) and I used to go to the swimming pool a lot, and we would curl the yellow floating mats and pretend we were in a boat and sing, “WE ALL LIVE IN A YELLOW SUBMARINE!” We thought we were the coolest. PS- Sean, I miss you. You were the first person who ever embraced my weirdness; together we weren’t weird.

Track 3 – So Happy Together – The Turtles

It was just a great song. I still love it. It’s one of those songs that reflects my life.

Track 4 – Flagpole Sitta – Harvey Danger

PARANOIA! PARANOIA! EVERYBODY’S COMING TO GET ME! This song is so satisfying to yell-sing, especially so when you are 14 years old and SO misunderstood! *cue eye rolls* Oh Rochele….

Track 5 – Ariel vs. Lotus – Limblifter

I’m not sure what happened. I’d never heard this track before it ended up on my CD, and I definitely wanted to ask for at least $1 back.

Track 6 – Come On and Love Me – Lenny Kravitz

Okay, I just had to Shazam this, 14 years later. I am 102% I didn’t ask for this to be on my CD, either. It’s a terrible song. Skip.

Track 7 – Paint It Black – Gob

I loved the original Rolling Stones song, but suffered through this one because my dumb 14-year-old friends couldn’t see the forest for the trees, and this was better than not playing this song for them at all.

Track 8 – Clumsy – Our Lady Peace

I was a tad depressed at 14. I didn’t feel like I fit in, and this song seemed to fit.

Track 9 – Always Look on the Bright Side of Life – Monty Python

For my 14th birthday, my stepdad bought me tickets to go see Eric Idle Performs Monty Python and it was a far cry from what I actually wanted. I had never watched Monty Python, and this seemed dumb and obscure. My mom was recovering from surgery and had to cancel my birthday party, and couldn’t get out of bed that day and I ended up taking care of my baby sister, and cried myself to sleep that night. My stepdad knocked on my door and sat on my bed and tried to explain that of all people, he knew that I would love Monty Python if I just gave it a chance. The following month, we went to the show together and I cried again, but mostly because it was the funniest show I’d ever been to. They closed with this song.

Track 10 – Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles

I listened to this song when I had bad days, it helped.

Track 11 – If You Want to Be Happy – Jimmy Soul

This song used to make me laugh, and reaffirmed that if I was going to awkward and gangly forever, I could always fall back on cooking. Somehow I knew even that I’d be a great cook. Recently, a friend told my husband that I must be difficult to live with and he said, “Yeah, but her cooking makes it worth it.” Listen to the song, you’ll get it.

Track 12 – Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) aka The Sunscreen Song – Baz Luhrman

The first life advice that I ever bothered to pay attention to. And you know what? All of this rings true as an adult. 14-year-old me was nostalgic for something that hadn’t happened yet.

Track 13 – She Lies To Me – 54-40

54-40 used to be Vancouver’s house band. What is wrong with me? I’m not supposed to be happy all the time, but I’m willing to bet it doesn’t matter yet…. for some reason, I was always waiting for the bottom to drop out. I guess it had a few times. My home life wasn’t stellar, and I was used to not asking for things and going without. By the time I was 14, I was going to school with kids who lived in multimillion dollar homes and with kids who lived in co-ops and reservations. High school was a weird place, home was a weird place, and I never quite felt at ease anywhere. The idea of having someone lie to you to protect you was oddly appealing to me.

And… that’s the end of this disc. In 2000, it was hard to tell when you had too much data for a disc. Sometimes songs would just drop off or the disc wouldn’t burn. I can think of a dozen more songs that I probably wanted on this disc, and I know I had alternates picked out in case a certain song wasn’t available. Either way, here is some insight into 14-year-old Rochele. Until I map out the next disc….

Enjoy.

Songs for September 25, 2013

I felt like putting a playlist together of what I’m listening to aujourd’hui. Listen on youtube here

Grouplove – Ways to Go
Franz Ferdinand – The Universe Expanded
HAIM – The Wire
Death Cab for Cutie – Lack of Colour
Beck – I Won’t Be Long
Mother Mother – Dread in My Heart
Fleet Foxes – Blue Spotted Tail
Big Wreck – Albatross
Neko Case – Night Still Comes
The Dudes – Good Intentions
City and Colour – The Golden State
Royal Canoe – Exodus of the Year
Airborne Toxic Event – Changing
Dragonette – Easy

Intimate on the I-91

I’m tired. I’ve only had two hours of sleep. I danced until 4am. I watched the sun rise. I trekked around in wet grass in my pajamas. I found my bed when people were getting up.

And yet here I am, in a car full of people that I don’t know very well, but I’ve become quite fond of. I’m the driver and we’re speeding down the I-91. It’s hot, and we’re all tired, and in all fairness, we’re hungover. We’re following a car of people that are guiding us toward a promise of a swimming pool and relaxation. It’s a long drive. Thanks to an upgraded car rental, we’re driving the Hot Passat and we’re listening to CBC Radio 2, which is suggested after listening to terrible R&B from the 90’s. The car is packed with luggage and remnants from the previous day’s wedding, along with my four companions.

Vampire Weekend’s Unbelievers comes on the radio and one of my car mates asks if I will turn it up. I oblige; I also like the song. He hasn’t said much the whole weekend, but he’s singing loud enough that I can hear him from the front. I quietly join. It’s not long before all five of us are singing in some way or another. I can’t help but think in a couple of hours this will all be over. One of us will have to go back to London; one of us is moving to Turkey; one of is returning to Haida Gwaii; only myself and another are going home to Vancouver. I will likely never have these people together in my car again, so I smile and enjoy the moment.

It is a song that will play over and over in my head for weeks to come. Of all the songs, this is the song that defines my summer. It’s unexpected in a time of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky and Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines. There is nothing about the moment that I would change, it’s perfect for everything that it is.

Reckless Ideas

What would you do if you didn’t need anyone’s approval? What would you do with your life if you weren’t afraid of hurting anyone or letting anyone down? What would you do? Who would you go after? What chances would you take? Where would you go?

I was asked those questions yesterday. I’m not going to share how I answered, but I can honestly say that those questions are consuming me right now. 

Bucket Lists and Resolutions

Hot damn 2012 went by way too fast. What an incredible year.

Stuff I did in 2012:

  • Husband, sister, and I took ourselves on the spring break that we didn’t have growing up. We spent seven days in Florida – two at Universal Studios, and the rest at Disneyworld. That trip fucking rocked.
  • I went on my first roller coaster, ever, while I was in Florida. Cried. Screamed. Gave my husband and sister a panic attack in mid air.
  • Went cottaging with my What’s for Lunch BC partner and friends. So. Much. Fun.
  • I went white water rafting.
  • Co-hosted one hell of a bachelorette party with a life-sized naked Ryan Kesler poster. Marissa, you’re welcome.
  • I registered for school.
  • I went to awesome concerts.
  • I saw Jupiter and Saturn through my very own telescope. AMAZING.
  • Again, this year I met the most incredible people and my heart is so thankful for all of you.
  • I survived three months of bachelorettehood. I’ll have to do it again in 2013, which I always hate, but always manage to live through.

I think 2013 will be less about having fun, and more about getting stuff accomplished. My mantra for 2013 is: Don’t fucking procrastinate. It’s on one of my coffee mugs, so you know it’s serious. So here goes the Bucket List and the Resolutions for a happy, healthy, and productive 2013:

  1. Do well in school. Starting January 8th I’ll be a part-time student. I’m scared. I’m nervous. I’m ready.
  2. Continue writing and tweeting for WFLBC.
  3. Renovate the bathrooms. We’ve had all the materials for over a year, we just need to start.
  4. Run 10km a week. This may seem like a small amount, but I am laughably slow.
  5. Continue with the Monday evening tradition that has become family dinner with my mom and sister.
  6. Read a book a month for pleasure. Again, no small feat as I’ll be working full time and attending classes 12 hours a week, and then homework.
  7. Go sailing. It’s been years since I was on a boat and I REALLY MISS IT.
  8. Use my yacht club membership. If anything, it’s an excellent place to network and eat lunch.
  9. Try yoga and meditation.
  10. Pay attention to what I am eating- where it comes from, sustainability, GMO free… easier said than done. I’m about to become stupidly busy.
  11. Put $5,000 into savings on top of what is already being saved.
  12. Volunteer my time for an organization dedicated to elevating girls in the world.
  13.  Sing in public. Maybe Rodyltin has a chance after all.
  14. Generally just be a rockstar.
  15. Solidify my love of all things space related with a tattoo.
  16. Be free. Enjoy life. Keep laughing.
  17. Take every opportunity to stare at the stars.
  18. Visit one far-away Twitter friend.
  19. Let go of a couple of vices. Those who know, know.  I think they are bringing me down and preventing me from reaching my potential.
  20. Eat more spinach.

There you have it. I would greatly appreciate if all two of you would check in every now and then and ask how this list is going. I’m more likely to get it done if I have someone to hold me accountable. What are your goals and aspirations for 2013? What did you accomplish last year?

Today is a perfect day to start working on my fitness goals. Again.

Screw New Years Resolutions. Did you know that you can start again any day of the year that you want? I start and stop my fitness goals the way some people flip through channels on TV.  I don’t usually feel bad about this. I fall off the wagon, and I start again. I won an award for perseverance many years ago. I will persevere, and so should you. Just start again, and again, and again until it finally sticks.

Last year I was so motivated to look good in my bikinis for the summer. In February I was soft and squishy and underwhelmed with the way I looked in and out of my clothes. I was motivated to look and feel my best at 25 years old. I went to the gym, I started running, and I made long-term changes to my diet that are now just part of me. I was excited. I wasn’t perfect, but I wore my bikinis last summer and I wasn’t the worst looking girl at the beach or even on television. I mean, have you seen Snooki in a bikini?

But here I am, soft and squishy again. I feel miserable and horribly unmotivated to change anything. Getting back in to shape feels like a chore this time around, but I’m going to do it. Even if I have to treat it as a chore, it’s something that has to be done.

By now the crash dieters and NYE resolvers have abandoned the gym. I’ve started running again, albeit a lot more slowly than last year. And today I opened my nutrition and calorie counter and entered what I’ve consumed so far and what I intend to consume today. I’ll update it again before bed for true accuracy. Right now I have to fit dinner into 300 calories, so I may have to ditch one or two of those chocolate chip cookies that I intended for a snack so that I can have more of a meaningful dinner tonight. Except that today is National Pie Day and I have some blueberry pie in the freezer… pie for dinner? According to Every Day Health, a piece of blueberry pie comes in at 290 calories. Ten extra calories to work with, YESSSSSSS. Let’s just say I have to start somewhere and I won’t be eating pie for dinner very often.

To be clear, there is a calorie target that I attempt to reach/stay under on a daily basis. I tend to screen foods and stay away from foods that have a majority of calories from fat, lots of carbs from sugar, and anything with a lot of sodium. I don’t eat processed/pre-packaged/prepared foods anyway. I eat a lot of fruit and fresh vegetables and I aim for 18-25 grams of fibre per day. The average American diet allows for 1500-2000 calories a day and that number of calories is not meant to be for everyone. Don’t expect that you can consume that much. You can offset it with exercise, but not entirely. You will never be able to out-exercise a poor diet.

I don’t know how much I weigh. I would estimate that I am 125 lbs. Yes that is a normal, healthy weight for a female my age and height. I’m not in this to lose weight, I’m in this to be healthy and look good. You don’t have to lose weight to achieve those things, necessarily. In fact, muscle weighs more than fat so in the end I may end up gaining a few pounds. The point is to understand what kind of calories I am eating and to get the most nutrition to fuel my changing body while I run and go to the gym. I will go to the gym and step on a scale for accuracy, and I’ll take some measurements so that I can track my physical results. There will be no pictures of me in my underwear to make comparisons.

By the way, I need a female gym partner who is hopefully not too gorgeous and maybe a little out of shape. Eventually I’ll need a running partner, too, because my current running partner will be going on maternity leave in the summer. OH! I also got a bike for Christmas and I’d love to do some bike riding…. just not up hills. Okay, I’ll stop being lazy. We can ride on a slight incline.

PS- I went for a run today. I survived. My weekly schedule is planned as follows: Monday- run. Tuesday- go to the gym. Wednesday-run. Thursday go to the gym. Friday- run. Saturday-rest. Sunday-go to the gym and meal plan for the week. Everyday- track calorie and nutrition information.