The first step to overcoming a problem is admitting that you have one, right? See my Instagram account for my nail polish and makeup collection at home.

And now I bring you to the contents of my drawers at work. Let’s go through this, shall we?

Should I be ashamed?

Should I be ashamed?

  • Mr. Sketch Scented Markers
  • SPF 15 Sunscreen (you know, for when I eat lunch in the park in the summer)
  • THREE sticks of antiperspirant
  • TWO tubes of toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • TWO cartridges of floss (apparently I am dedicated to my oral hygiene)
  • Floss threaders for flossing under my permanent retainer, SO SHEXY!
  • Foot powder
  • FIVE tubes of lotion
  • Hairbrush
  • Nail strengthener
  • Nail file
  • Nail whitening pencil
  • Nail brush
  • Fully stocked makeup bag
  • iPhone charging cable
  • ereader charging cable
  • Vicks Vapor Inhaler
  • Eleventy billion bobby pins
  • Cotton pads
  • TWO glass cleaning cloths
  • TWELVE pencils
  • THREE bottles of essential oil
  • Paper coaster
  • Perfume sample
  • Thumb drive with all my personal secrets
  • EIGHT different kinds of tea
  • EmergenC vitamin drink packets
  • Granola
  • Bikini bottoms
  • Jawbreakers
  • Mints
  • Stamps

It took me five years to accumulate this amount of crap at work. I think it’s safe to say that I’m prepared for pretty much anything and I have no excuses for ever looking like a train wreck at work, and yet sometimes I still do.  I can justify everything in my drawers except the bikini bottoms. I’m not sure why those are here and why they aren’t at home with their compadres. MYSTERIES! Also, send help. I need to do something about this.

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.

Mental health… the last six months

Back in February Twitter opened their hearts and shared their stories for Bell’s Let’s Talk day, and then the conversation died. Around the same time, my world was collapsing.

Actually, my life began to implode sometime in November. I kept waiting for things to get better. I should have known something was up when I didn’t want to have anything to do with Christmas, because it’s my favourite time of year. My heart is usually bursting with joy and I’m that sick individual who counts down the last 100 days to December 25th. I didn’t feel it. I felt angry and numb instead. I didn’t put up my Christmas tree or decorate. I made one batch of chocolate gingerbread cookies, but I gave most of those away.

Around the beginning of December I lost my appetite and developed insomnia. I told myself it was stress. I did not want to go to the doctor because I knew the first thing they would do was put me on medication and I’m a bit of a hippy when it comes to pharmaceuticals. Less is best.

I kept waiting for things to get better. But they didn’t. I told myself I would feel better once Christmas was over, but if anything, I felt worse. I told myself I was worked up over the anticipation of going back to school and things would settle down once I got into a rhythm. But they didn’t.

And then my friend passed away. It was the first time anyone my age had died. It sent me into a downward spiral. I was dealing with this crushing sadness and I didn’t know where to go from there. I felt helpless.

I was having a hard time at work, too. I didn’t tell my employer I was taking evening classes and my work was slipping because I was so tired from staying up every night to write papers and study. The few hours  I spent in bed were broken, and many nights I just didn’t sleep at all because I couldn’t.

There was major upheaval in my husband’s company. There were times I had to ask him not to tell me any more because I just couldn’t handle it.

My relationships were falling apart and I began to withdraw from the people that love and care about me. I couldn’t exactly explain how I was feeling. There were nights when all I could do was sit in the bathtub with a drink to numb the sadness and anxiety.

And then my grandfather passed away. I can’t say it was unexpected, but it was one more thing to add to the burning pile of emotions I didn’t want to deal with.

Things were going to get better, I kept telling myself as I sat crying for no reason, almost every day. I’m tired and stressed out because of school/work/marriage/family/deaths/friends… it’s going to get better.

Except it didn’t. I started to run out of excuses for things. I finished school for the semester. My husband’s company was doing a lot better. My life was settling down and yet I wasn’t. The more stuff began to wind down the more anxious and sad I became.

And then I had an unfortunate experience online where a friend’s privacy was breached and several conversations between us were leaked. The information itself didn’t hurt anyone but us, but what followed did. My friends thought they were doing the right thing by standing up for me, but the things they said were misinterpreted and it ended up hurting other people. It was never the intention, but the fallout was huge. All they were trying to do was protect me. People were calling for my head to roll. I did my best to apologize to those I had unintentionally hurt, but it didn’t matter. Suddenly I felt very alienated from my online community. I had to step away because everything I said and did was being mocked by a small group of people who really had no idea what was going on.

That was the last straw for me. There was no longer one single aspect of my life that I was comfortable in. I felt like I had let everyone down. I felt worthless. I felt terribly alone. I had this crushing sadness. I wanted to throw my phone off of a very tall building, seemingly every notification was bad news or someone flipping out at me for my poor life choices.

I had a few full-scale meltdowns and anxiety attacks. The kind of anxiety where you think your heart is trying to escape your chest and you’re not sure if anything in your world is ever going to be right again. I dwelled in that place for a few weeks.

I finally admitted THINGS WERE NOT OKAY and I WAS NOT GETTING BETTER. I didn’t know where to begin to regain control of my life. I had no idea what I wanted or who I was anymore. I didn’t love who I had become and I didn’t know how to change things. I was overwhelmed and terrified I was going to fuck up the rest of my life. I hit my bottom and couldn’t find the way out of the hole I was in.

I made a critical choice and decided to talk to someone and GET SOME HELP. I accepted that I couldn’t do it on my own anymore and as much as I was leaning on friends and family, I needed something more.

Bottom line, every two weeks I sit down and meet with a qualified professional. Some days are better than others, but I’m having more good days than bad ones. Not everything is such a big deal any more, and I’m learning to take life one day at a time. I still struggle, but at least I don’t feel like the sun is never going to shine for me again.

Why am I telling you this? I’m telling you because on the outside- my life looks fantastic. I’m married, I own a home, I have a stable job, and I have a lot of friends and I’m living the dream. On the inside, though, I was going through hell.

We don’t talk about mental health, and I don’t know why. For me, it was one more thing for people to judge me for. I had a lot to be grateful for and I felt selfish for not being able to appreciate my life because it could be so much worse. It was thrown in my face a number of times. Depression and anxiety can hit anyone, and it often comes without warning. Instead of telling someone it gets better, shut up and listen to them. Maybe you know someone who is in my position, or maybe it’s you. Either way, you don’t have to do this alone.

Mental health is so important. Take care of it. You go to the doctor, dentist, optometrist, specialist etc. when things in your body aren’t working, so why are we so afraid to take care of our mental health? Why do we wait until everything around us collapses before we seek help?

It’s part of taking care of you and there is no shame in that.

I’d like to thank all of the amazing people who have rallied around me, especially over the last six months. There have been some awfully dark days, and without your love and support God only knows what would have happened. I borrowed your strength when I could not find my own, and I’m getting the help I need because you told me I was worth it, even when I felt like I was not. Thank you for loving me, no matter what.

Check out The Canadian Mental Health Association to find out more about Mental Health Week.

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. 

Break my heart for what breaks yours

Meet David's and my friendship, and never speak of the jersey.

Meet David’s and my friendship, and never speak of the jersey.

Last night I got the phone call that no one ever wants to get. One of my best friends caught me on the bus, and she initially didn’t want to talk to me until I got home. I’m not one to wait, so I pressed her. “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but David is dead.” I was shattered, and 25 minutes later it hit me and the tears came. Crying in public really sucks.

One of the brightest lights I’ve ever known was put to darkness on Friday, and I am shattered. May God keep and protect you, my friend.

I met David when he was 14 years old. I was a youth leader for the girl’s group that was the same age, and naturally I ended up spending a lot of time with him. David loved the girls, all the boys in his group did. For all intents and purposes, they were the same group. They were incredibly close-knit.  However, David drove me CRAZY. I was constantly telling David to sit down and be quiet and to stop harassing the girls. He was really great at riling everyone up, and then he’d step back and watch it all unravel.



He took great joy in making me angry. He loved it.

One night I was driving David home from a youth event and he was being especially obnoxious. He kept turning my hazard lights on, changing the radio station, rolling his window up and down, emptying the glove box and asking about every single content… and then he turned to me and said, “Can you even see over the steering wheel?” I saw red. I immediately pulled over and said, “GET OUT.” True to David fashion, he undid his belt, opened the door, got out, and then yelled as loud as he could, “I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO TAKE CANDY FROM STRANGERS!” and he slammed the door and took off running down the block. I was furious. And worried, too, because it was my responsibility to make sure that he got home okay and I’d kicked him out of my car.

One Halloween the group went door-to-door to collect non-perishables for The Harvest Project. The boys thought it would be funny to bang on doors and yell, “THIS IS THE FBI, OPEN UP!” Yeah. Not good. Someone definitely called the cops. I heard about this after the fact, but the general consensus was, “DON’T TELL ROCHELE. SHE’LL KILL US.” So right, I probably would have.

One the Calgary trips to Legacy Youth Conference, and our excellent friend Cody in the background.

One of the Calgary trips to Legacy Youth Conference, and our excellent friend Cody in the background.

I went on a number of trips as a youth leader, and David managed to get into trouble on every single one of them. We visited a rooftop garden, and David got kicked out for climbing a statue. We rode Calgary’s C-train, and David convinced some of the boys to go train hopping. At one platform he wasn’t fast enough and the train left without him. Playing ice hockey on another Calgary trip, he managed to gash his forehead open. On a camping trip he and others decided it would be funny to relocate my tent to the bushes, upside down.

David also knew that if he needed help, he could call. And he did.

Being a youth leader ❤

Despite all his shenanigans, David had a heart of gold and he loved everyone. I don’t know if David ever said no to helping another individual. He saw it as a way of life to help others. As a youth and a young adult, David gave his time to Heinz 5-7, he became a youth leader, he went on missions trips, he played on our church’s soccer teams, and he was involved in our church’s young adult group. David was a man of God. You could practically feel the light of God radiating off of David. I’ve never met a happier, more upbeat individual. He always had a smile on his face, or was on the precipice of smiling.

After high school, David was no longer one of my charges, he was one of my peers. We were in a young adult’s small group together, and we met once a week for Bible Study and fellowship. I will confess that I fell asleep almost every single week, and more often than not I was cuddled up to David. I learned more about David that year than I did the previous five as his youth leader. His high school academic career left him a little short of achieving the credits he needed to get into post-secondary, but that didn’t stop David. He buckled down as a young adult and upgraded his courses and he made it. He worked really hard, and I’m really proud of him for going to school. I’m really proud of David. He is everything that a man should be.

David locked me out of my car, the boys think this is hilarious

David locked me out of my car, the boys think this is hilarious

I lost contact with my church and many of my friends when I got married and moved away from North Van. I’ve probably only seen David a handful of times in the last four years, but as always, the guy was smiling. I’m having a hard time understanding how someone with so much light and love in his heart would take his own life. I understand that he struggled with mental illness, but that it was relatively new development in his life.

I’m shattered. An overwhelming group of us gathered at the church last night. I felt really numb. There were so many people who loved David. I struggled to look his best friends in the eye. If my heart was broken then what were they feeling? I had no words. I attempted to go for a bite to eat and a drink last night, but half-way through my beer and less than half-way through my food I just wanted to vomit. I felt like my soul weighed a million pounds. I pretty much fell into bed around midnight last night, but it was restless sleep. I woke up crying and shaking at 3am and realized with such horror that this is not a dream.

We just came out of the Let’s Talk campaign last week, and for David to take his own life just days later really rattles me. YOU WERE SO LOVED, DAVID MACGREGOR! How did you not know that? There is a community that will never, ever forget you and all the light that you bestowed upon it. I thank God for your life.

My lovely former youths at my wedding

My lovely former youths at my wedding

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?

2011 in Review

Just ctrl F and see if I mentioned you. This is long. 

A lot happened for me in 2011.

I went back to the gym in February. I set a goal to wear my bikinis in the summer, which had been safely packed away since I got married. Note to you people- you get married and you get fat. You don’t think it will happen to you, and then it does.

Someone in my family got really sick and spent a number of weeks in the hospital. It’s still a daily struggle and it’s always on my mind, but we’re managing a lot better. I love you, you know who you are.

I am a Christian and I’m not Catholic, but I love the idea of making a sacrifice for God for spiritual obedience if you will. For Lent this year I gave up shopping. It was a good exercise- the times I was tempted to spend money I had to stop and reflect, and rely on the grace of God for the will to walk away. I failed a few times- I bought some art supplies at Michael’s and pancake-flavoured lip gloss that I didn’t need. My views on money and the need to buy stuff changed.

I started running. I never, ever in my wildest dreams thought that I would be someone who enjoyed running, and at first I really, really hated it. I ran from March through August, and then stopped. However, whenever something is bothering me, I get the physical urge to go running. I miss running, so I bought some running tights and a running jacket. I look WAY cuter in my running shorts and tank top, but it’s not reasonable to dress that way in the winter. HEAR THAT GIRLS? IT’S NOT REASONABLE.

Somewhere in there I started using Twitter as a means to interact with The Peak 100.5 fm. Honest to blog, I was so effing sick of all the whiners on their Facebook page. Every day, sometimes every hour, someone was saying, “If you play ________ song one more time I’m going to stick a needle in my eye” or “You used to be cool, but now you’re just playing the same music over and over.” The Peak is the best damn radio station out there, and I think people get a little spoiled and lose their heads. I couldn’t take it, so I ditched their Facebook wall for 3/4 of the year. The Peak’s DJs are some of the kindest and most inspiring people, and it was well worth the switch to Twitter to stay in contact.

I LOVE Twitter. It’s the best and worst thing to happen to me this year. The cons: it’s a giant time vacuum. The pros: everything else. I’ve met so many amazing people. There is always one gateway person though, someone who “introduces” you to their followers, someone who you can hijack followers from, and my gateway person was/is Dylan. I still regularly check out who he is talking to (tweavesdropping) for some new timeline content. Another fun thing about Twitter is trying to remember why you started talking to people, or who you know them through. Some are very vivid, others not so much. Most of the people I follow rally around music and food. I finally met Dylan in person at Andrew Palooza, which leads me to Scott.

Scott Graham. Creator of What’s for Lunch BC, friend of Dylan. Scott organized an event called Andrew Palooza to raise money so his friend Andrew could get the Liberation Treatment for MS. Who does that? Scott does because he’s a good person. Through Andrew Palooza I met more awesome Twitter people: Hi Heston, Lyndsey, Daniel, and Bodhi!

I also found hockey this year. It happened, and before the playoffs, too. It broke my heart when The Canucks didn’t win the Stanley Cup, but my cousin Wayne has been a Bruins fan his whole life, and the bbm that I got from him made a bad situation okay. Wayne’s life long dream came true. My six-week dream didn’t come true. There is still time.

My dad turned 50. Still so young even though he thinks he’s ancient as …. nevermind.

At some point I started talking to some pretty swell music people and we hosted the Vancouver Indie Music Tweetup at Spanish Banks. I met so many great people that day. Hoping there is another one in 2012, because now I now where to find the concession stand.

The hot husband and I saw Katy Perry and it was everything we had hoped it would be, and more. If I could be a musician, I would be her. If hot husband could be a musician, he would be her, too.

We went to Newfoundland for a fam jam. I always love it there, it’s always a good time. We went ziplining, which if you know me is a really big deal because I am TERRIFIED of heights. So terrified that I need sedatives to get on an air plane, otherwise I bother the other passengers. Russ met the big family for the first time, and as I suspected, my family loved him to bits. He won my grandmother’s heart by asking her if she’d like a bowl of ice cream after dinner the first night.

Another summer highlight was going to Live at Squamish, on the best weekend of the entire summer. It was hot, dry, and the venue could not have been more perfect. Also- there were unlimited in/out privileges. HELLO CAR BAR in the parking lot. We were totally sober for the drive back to our campsite, and the drive home. I promise. Even if the officer who pulled me over for driving without headlights had to question it, I was responsible.

I went to Wreck Beach for the first time. One of those bucket list items that I got to check off. I’ll be back.

The last quarter of the year was spent mostly at home. Hot husband and I patched and painted our main floor, and replaced all the baseboards. It took a lot longer than we expected, but we’re loving our home that much more, and we did it together. In November, Scott officially welcomed me to the What’s for Lunch BC team. I am loving that I have a place to write about my culinary experiences, and someone to bounce ideas from. I am looking forward to 2012 and being Scott’s intern/assistant/sidekick. I think we make a good team.

I did a lot of baking and cooking this year. I had a hard look at our diet and we made some drastic changes for the better. If you want to maintain your weight, eating at home is key. Knowing what you are eating is 80% of the battle, portion control makes up the other 20%. For a while, I was looking up the nutritional content of the menus before I went out to eat, but that made eating out a miserable experience, so I stopped. There has to be some give in order to be successful. I did wear my bikinis this summer. I wasn’t perfect, but I was satisfied with what I saw. I hope to truly achieve bikini hotness in 2012.

I am so grateful for the relationships that have been forged this year and for the time that I got to spend on making myself a better person. I think 2011 totally rocked. In 2012 I think I need to work on what I want to do when I grow up. I still don’t know. I do know that there is something out there, waiting for me.