The new normal.

“Are you diabetic? When was the last time you had any blood work done? We found sugar in your urine.”

I had this really irritating UTI, damn thing would just not let go. There is nothing more annoying than having to pee every 20 minutes, so much to the point that I couldn’t leave my house for too long without mapping out bathrooms first (true story).
However, it ended up being a blessing in disguise because had it not been for that UTI, I wouldn’t have known that there was something much more sinister.

Being a Chef with an irregular and stressful schedule, combined with being too tired for conventional exercise, no real desire to cook at home, a love of carbs (mmmmm), genetics and mental illness oh and keeping most of the local area restaurants employed because takeout happens at least once a week. Anyone in the industry knows this dance, the steps might be a little different here and there but at the end of the day, it’s essentially the same.

I had a sneaking suspicion a while ago that I was diabetic. Denial though, that’s my jam. Mostly because I had no real symptoms, which is truly alarming. Aside from being chronically tired, but I also have depression so there’s that.
Needless to say, I wasn’t too shocked when she said that I was ‘super diabetic’ which struck me as odd since my sugar at that time was at 19, which isn’t great of course. However, *I* feel much better knowing that I caught it so early after hearing horror stories from people whose numbers were 40+
They’re lucky they’re not dead…

It used to be a long running joke that I would be fucked if I ever became diabetic (because I hate needles), well fuck me because here I am.

The upside? I have no choice but to take better care of myself.

I have the advantage of being able to afford to stay home so I can work out at my leisure at home. Really not a fan of the gym, because I am certain that working out in my underwear would be frowned upon. I actually enjoy working out, it’s good for my mind and my body.

I have to meal plan now, which I admittingly hate. Being a Chef for over 20 years have spoiled me in many ways (all the prep is done, you have someone to do your dishes and all kinds of equipment at your disposal that the average person doesn’t have at home). The upside to that though? I can still eat most things that I enjoy with some exceptions.

No pasta/white breads/flours/rice, which makes me sad. I’ve opted to go as low carb as possible, because it’s more beneficial to me overall. I have horrible cravings for sweets/carbs when I eat pasta and I can have so little of it, it’s not worth the effort/frustration. No rice either which sucks because I just found the best place that makes a killer chicken fried rice and sushi. I also miss grilled cheese, because fuck brown bread. Fluffy white bread is where it’s at! Red meat for the most part is also a no go, I can have veal but I won’t go out of my way to buy it for ethical reasons. So steak has become even more of treat that it used to be.

I reactivated my account on my fitness pal, that helps to keep me accountable and track all the things. Measuring and weighing out ones food isn’t as daunting as it sounds. It’s a bit of a pain in the ass, but worth it.
Also a bit surprising sometimes when you see just how much of something can be in such small amounts of something.

My eyesight has changed for the better. Which admittingly freaked me out at first because I didn’t know that was possible, I just knew that diabetes can cause blindness. My glasses didn’t have the same effect as before, in fact wearing them made my vision even worse. It wasn’t until 2-3 days of taking my meds and doing the good stuff that I realized I no longer needed to wear them. Which kind of sucks because I actually really like my glasses -and- I just bought new ones less than a year ago. So now I have to wait until my sugar is stable for at least three months before I get my eyes checked out again.

I’m trying really hard to be as positive about this as I can. Some days are tough because there’s an endless stream of dishes and grocery shopping now and I went from being a grazer/snacky type of person to having to full on make proper meals, half of which need to be comprised of vegetables. There’s a bakery across the street and it smells so very delightful when they’re baking bread, but it’s also torture because then I want bread.

Although being diabetic has also cured my ignorance about it. SO many people assume that you get to be that way by eating too much sugar. Not true, never was. It’s not just about being overweight either (although that is a cause because your organs don’t always work as they should when they’re being crammed together). Thankfully I have type two, which is preferable over type one.
Stress is also a contributor and genetics as well. So I didn’t stand a chance in any of those arenas.
I’m not a fan of having to test my blood sugar three times a day, those test strips aren’t cheap (they’re about a dollar a piece from my pharmacy). We thankfully have insurance here (both private and provincial) but so many people don’t.

Overall though? I feel really good 80% of the time. The other 20% is dealing with irritating cravings, my mental illness and life in general. Which has improved greatly now that i’m making more of an effort to take care of myself but it’s not a one size fits all solution either. It’s the right kind of kick in the ass that I needed, I just wish the circumstances were different.







2018 round up & reflections.

I used to do these every year, it’s always interesting to take a look back on what you’ve done or perhaps have not done. 2018 was a lot of things for me, most people thought it was pretty terrible and that sucks. For me it was a mish mash of things. It sure as hell didn’t start off on the right foot for me. My mom had a ‘cardiac episode’ on January second and I honestly thought I was going to lose her. Thankfully she’s doing well, better than ever as a matter of fact.

My mental health took quite the downward spiral and I have finally decided to actually do something about it. Which I will save for another post.

I lost my job in September, which ended up being a gift/blessing in disguise in the grand scheme of things. I am currently exploring the world of self employment and school.

I’m currently nursing a sprained knee which is not how I was planning on spending my first day of 2019 but here we are. Without further ado:

  • What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?
    Travelled to the Maritimes and it was the most magical trip! We went to Nova Scotia, PEI and New Brunswick, all places that I/we have never been.
  • Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
    I feel that new year’s resolutions are pointless. There’s no reason that anyone should wait until the new year to grow, change, be a better person etc. Everyday is an a new opportunity for change.
  • Did anyone close to you give birth?
    Not close to me per se but a lot of people in my social/social media circles have given birth to a bunch of beautiful babies!
  • Did anyone close to you die?
    Not this year, which is a nice change.
  • What countries did you visit?
    N/A
  • What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?
    Better focus, a better memory, less stress, more money, less bills.
  • What dates from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? January 2nd, the day my mom had a heart attack.

  • What was your biggest achievement of the year?
    Seeking out professional help for my mental health.
  • What was your biggest failure?
    Letting toxic, useless people get the best of me.
  • Did you suffer illness or injury?
    Yes. My depression and anxiety reared their ugly head to the point that I truly thought I would have a nervous breakdown. I sprained my knee really bad coming home from Christmas and other assorted illnesses that I am sure no one wants to hear about ha ha.
  • What was the best thing you bought?
    That’s a tough one, it was nice to be able to spend money on myself for a change.
  • Whose behavior merited celebration?
    My amazing husband. He’s been my constant and no matter how messy life gets, he’s my rock.
  • Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
    That list is much too long and personal and I will not call out anyone here.
  • Where did most of your money go?
    Bills, travel and spoiling myself.
  • What did you get really, really, really excited about?
    Travelling to new places with the man I love.
  • What song will always remind you of 2018? Honestly, I can’t think of one song in particular for this year.

What do you wish you’d done more of?
Practicing my craft (photography), reading more, learning more.

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Being distracted, housework. Wasting time on things/people/places that didn’t really matter.

How did you spend Christmas?
I was in Ontario with my family & friends as I do every year and it’s always great 🙂

Did you fall in love in 2018?
Every single day. <3 Nick so very much

What was your favorite TV program? Riverdale, Life in pieces, Big bang theory.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Yes. I wouldn’t go far as to say hate but more despise I think would be appropriate.

24. What was the best book you read?
Blood, bones and butter.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
So many, too many to list and by that I mean I can’t think of any off the top of my head ha ha.

26. What did you want and get?
To take some time off to figure myself out.

27. What did you want and not get?
For some people to mind their own business when it comes to aspects of my life that have nothing to do with them. For others to be humble.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I don’t watch a lot of movies, but I did enjoy the secret life of pets.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 40 and I had a lovely Breakfast at Tiffany’s themed brunch with family and friends.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Having better mental health. Winning the lottery. witnessing karma as opposed to hearing about it second hand.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?
I don’t really have a fashion concept. I am making it a point to branch out a little bit. I don’t like to follow trends, but I like some things, therefore I indulged myself a little bit.

32. What kept you sane?
-My friends, most of my family. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without them this year! I am so very fortunate to have such amazing people in my life!
-Photography.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I don’t.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

So many… Mostly the gross doings of 45.

35. Who did you miss?
The friends and family that are no longer here.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
I can’t pick just one, but I’ve met some really great people this year!

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018.
That karma is GLORIOUS!

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

” But I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell
I know right now you can’t tell
But stay awhile and maybe then you’ll see
A different side of me
I’m not crazy, I’m just a little impaired
I know right now you don’t care
But soon enough you’re gonna think of me
And how I used to be.”



2016 round up

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
Started working in a reception hall, I dig it. Much different than my usual culinary adventures (in the best kind of way).

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I feel that new years resolutions are pointless. There’s no reason that anyone should wait until the new year to grow, change, be a better person etc. Everyday is an a new opportunity for change.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not close to me per se but a lot of people in my social media circles have given birth to a bunch of beautiful babies!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Not this year, which is a nice change.

5. What countries did you visit?
N/A

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Better focus, a better memory, less stress.

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

October 8th, the day we said I do!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Passing my French course (did it by the skin of my teeth but I did it!

9. What was your biggest failure?
Letting toxic people get the best of me.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yes. My depression and anxiety have returned with a vengeance, but i’m doing what I can to be kind to myself.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A new laptop. It will make my life much easier for a lot of things.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Nick’s, that boy is nothing short of amazing. My Bridesmaids, those amazing ladies kept me sane during the wedding planning process and I love them for it.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
That list is much too long and personal.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Wedding and bills.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Getting married and seeing all the people I love and adore.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
At last by Etta James.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
Happier, thinner and richer (in a number of ways)

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Practicing my craft (photography), reading more, learning more.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Being distracted, housework. Wasting time on things/people/places that didn’t really matter.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
I was in Ontario with my family & friends as I do every year and it’s always great 🙂

21. Did you fall in love in 2016?

Every single day. <3 Nick so very much

22. What was your favorite TV program?

How to get away with murder, so good!

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Yes. I wouldn’t go far as to say hate but more despise I think would be appropriate.

24. What was the best book you read?
Orange is the new black.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Sadly nothing, i’m a little out of the loop when it comes to music these days.

26. What did you want and get?
To marry my best friend and a beautiful honeymoon.

27. What did you want and not get?
For people to mind their own business when it comes to aspects of my life that have nothing to do with them.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Deadpool

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 38 and had a quiet brunch with my hubby.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Having better mental health. Winning the lottery.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Yoga pants, hoodies and t-shirts. I live for comfort.

32. What kept you sane?
-My friends, most of my family. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without them this year! I am so very fortunate to have such amazing people in my life!
-Photography.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I don’t.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

The election.

35. Who did you miss?
The friends and family that are no longer here.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
I can’t pick just one, but I’ve met some really great people this year!

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
That people are terribly petty and love to talk about you behind your back because they have nothing better to do with their time.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

“Have you ever looked fear in the face
And said I just don’t care?
And it’s only half past the point of no return
The tip of the iceberg
The sun before the burn
The thunder before the lightning
Breath before the phrase
Have you ever felt this way?”

That Chef life, Holiday edition.

“How is your job stressful? All you do is cook all day.”

WRONG

There’s tons of blogs out there that encompass Chef life. This particular post, is one of the few that I can actually get behind (with a few exceptions to some points he made, mostly because I am a woman and my lifestyle is a little different).

However, like most blogs, they’re very flowery and such because they’re bloggers. Then there’s me, I just occasionally vomit out words for the world to see.

You know, like now.

Explaining Chef life to a non industry person is tough. In general, there’s too much BS comparison period. How often do you see someone saying that they’re tired for whatever reason and someone will fire back something like “you don’t have kids, you have no idea what tired is” “When I did such a such a job, I did this.” “You just need to be more organized and everything will be fine”.

Just stop.

Seriously.

Criticizing someone/anyone for the life that live is just wrong and people need to shut their mouths. We’re all different, we all function differently and no one can relate or be empathetic or sympathetic to the life you live, unless they themselves share some similarities, even then, we all handle things differently. It’s great that you have a handle on your life, however it’s terribly unrealistic and rude to expect anyone to do as you would do when they’re not you.

When did life become such a pissing contest?

Anyway- Chef’s/Cooks fall into their own category, we kind of live in our own secluded world that most people have no real understanding about how it functions unless they themselves are also a Chef or an industry professional. Which is really, really frustrating when you try and explain it to outsiders. It’s a consuming career, you miss out on a lot of things because you can’t have a ‘normal’ life like most people. Chef life is rarely a 9-5, M-F kind of job.

I genuinely like my job and the people I work with (yes really) but let me tell you, the past few weeks (months?) have been nuts. There’s a lot of behind the scenes work that goes on in order to make your event happen. So I tend to get a little frustrated when people who have no right/business criticizing me about how I spend my time, why my organizational skills suck, why my memory is so bad or why haven’t I seen you, why is there no food in the house, why isn’t my Christmas shopping done yet, how come I don’t have any clean socks and more…

Here’s the thing, when the season is in a upswing, your time is no longer your own. You might go from working a few days a week to working weeks straight with maybe one day off in between. Those days that you spend at work can be anywhere from 8-12-15 hours a shot.

It’s exhausting.

  • Being a Sous Chef means that you are responsible for every single thing that goes on in your kitchen. It doesn’t matter who messed up what, it’s your problem period. Why? Because it’s your kitchen and you are responsible for overseeing everything that goes on. Every. Single. Thing. That’s why you’re there. Someone dumped a body in your fridge? Your problem. Light bulb breaks? That’s on you. Sauce doesn’t taste right? Didn’t double check that you have everything that you need? One of your cooks duct taped someone to the ceiling? That’s on you. You need to be five steps ahead always.
  • Perfection matters. You have to know the taste and consistency of everything that you serve and it can’t leave your kitchen until it’s spot on period. If it’s not on point, you best be discovering that far enough in advance so that you can fix it, or in some cases start over before service starts. Otherwise your service will be a train wreck.
  • You’re in charge of your team. While you’re doing your own thing, you have to stay on top of everyone else to make sure that they’re doing their job too and doing it well.
  • Failure is not an option. Chef hired you because they felt you were the right person for the job. You are representing them, their name and their reputation. Not yours. Clients aren’t going to contact you to complain, they don’t know who you are. That needs to be respected and treated with care.
  • Free time is scarce and very precious. Working in the industry means that your free time is extra precious and usually very random. While most people get Sat/Sun off, your weekend is most like Monday/Tuesday.
  • We don’t have time for you. This sounds incredibly rude, however, it’s not personal. I have had two days off in three weeks. Getting more than 5 hours of sleep is a rarity. Forget about eating at home, you usually don’t have time because sleep becomes more important. Food is something that is usually grabbed en route to work because you take the bus and need to multi-task. When time off actually happens after working that much, you have to play catch up on all those things that you neglected. So when someone says oh so and so has three days off this week, they also likely neglected to mention the two weeks worth of laundry that you have sitting there, the dishes that your husband kindly started and forgot to finish. The Christmas gifts that you so smartly started buying in June (yes I do my shopping that early) except now you don’t know where they all are because your house is a disaster and you can’t remember your own name, let alone where you put all the presents. Then you have to find the time to get the one’s that you couldn’t buy early or online. So that eats up an entire day because you have to go all over the city and take the bus/metro to do it. Gifts which also need to be wrapped, as soon as you find them because you’ve had your hands full since early November and haven’t had the time. Only to discover that one of the things you bought needs a replacement battery that you don’t have time to buy so then you have to run out and get them something else that night close to home because your gifts are being dropped off the next day. All the while fighting fatigue and a cold that’s creeping in and making you feel like crap. On top of trying to find the time to pack because you’re leaving for the holidays and you have no clean clothes. This would all be easier if we had a housekeeper, a dishwasher and a car. Except we don’t and all of those things eat into precious hours of the day because you have to make more time for that too. So it’s not that we don’t think you’re not important (because you are), it’s just that there’s other things that need to get done and sometimes they simply can not wait. We’re not being ‘selfish’ out of want, sometimes it’s a necessity.
  • We’re hard enough on ourselves, we don’t need your help. Chef’s tend to be perfectionists. Cooking is our baby, our pride and joy. Criticizing how we do things when you have no idea what we do is not OK. The only person I take criticism from is my boss. He knows his stuff and it’s constructive and helpful to me and my career. Which is something that I can respect. From other people? Not so much. Your opinion on my life and how I choose to do things is invalid. You do you however you see fit, please don’t expect me to do/be/react the same.
  • We don’t want to cook for you on our days off. Another one for the ‘it’s not personal’ category. Cooking for pleasure is something that I am rarely in the mood for. However, when I am in the mood for such things, than it truly is a treat so please cherish it because it’s a rarity.
  • No one cares that you’re having a bad day. This is a tough industry, not everyone can deal with it. We all have bad/off days, it’s not an excuse for not coming in or not being on top of your game. Work is work, home is home and you’re best to check your scene at the door. If you can’t handle that, then maybe being in this industry is not for you.
  • Know your place. Kitchens have a pecking order that needs to be respected. Don’t ever second guess or talk back to your Chef (even if they’re wrong or you don’t agree). No one gives a shit about your precious ego, except for you. So being a smart mouth to the Chef/sous Chef is likely to result in some form of backlash. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
  • Holidays and other special events fall to the wayside. I’m very fortunate to have a job that shuts down for two glorious weeks for the holidays. However, the time leading up to those two weeks is complete and utter chaos. So time with the people who truly matter to you most likely won’t happen. Same thing with your birthday or any other special occasion. That’s when we’re usually the busiest and taking the time off isn’t usually a viable option, no matter how much we love you.
  • You have it easier because you’re [insert job title here]: Nope. Being in charge means that our time is more valuable, therefore we have a greater responsibility to the person we work for/under. Sure, we get paid a little more, but we’re also expected to do more. Which is only right. We don’t ‘get away’ with stuff/have it easier than anyone else because we’re management. We’re entrusted and responsible for the bigger tasks. We’ve done our time, it’s how we got to where we are now. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have to do ‘lesser’ tasks, at the end of the day, shit needs to get done no matter who does it. Someday, you’ll get there too if you want it bad enough.

So you see, we do more than just cook all day. Thankfully I love what I do and I enjoy where I work and the people I work with and for.

I wouldn’t change a thing.