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?

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?

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!

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.”


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.


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.



A year later.


It’s only fitting that it’s snowing today. My dad loved it when it snowed; it was the one thing that gave him peace while he was in the hospital right before he died. It’s been a year now but it doesn’t feel like it at all. I remember reading this post someone had wrote lamenting about the first year she had lost her mom. It was beautiful and sad. I thought to myself I wonder what my first year would be like without him. My father was still very much alive at the time, except I knew that his time would be up sooner rather than later.

A year ago today I was rushing off to the airport trying so hard to keep it together. Alternating between sheer panic, tears and praying that I would make it home in time while kicking myself in the ass for not going home the night before.

My father and I had a tumultuous relationship at the best of times. Moving to Montreal has been both a blessing and a curse for our relationship. When my dad first got diagnosed, it was suggested to me to ‘have it out’ with my dad for all those times he did me wrong.

I disagreed. I didn’t feel that it would solve anything.

I was never a passive person when it came to my father. He knew all those times he pissed me off or did me wrong. I didn’t need to call him out for being an asshole again. The man was dying. While that didn’t give him carte blanche to do what he pleased, I didn’t see what the point of dredging up the past.

So I let it go. For me and for him because sometimes it’s just easier to accept an apology you’re not going to get. I felt at peace with this decision and I still do.

Everyone really liked my dad. He was a good man. He was also horribly flawed and when he fucked up, he fucked up pretty hard. He turned into an asshole when he drank too much. He had narcissistic personality traits and, a fragile ego.
As a result, a lot of people got hurt and I, more often than not, got caught in the crossfire. I am fiercely loyal to those that I love and I spent my formative years with a not so savoury opinion of him. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my dad. I didn’t always respect him though.

I was the apple of his eye though. My father adored me like no other.

I did not expect for it to hit me this hard.

I had already started to experience bouts of depression right after I found out my father was diagnosed and loosing my job two days later. Which is normal, depression doesn’t always last forever. What I wasn’t ready for was how bad my depression actually got. It’s become a daily struggle for me now.

Less than a week after my father died, my mom called me from Ontario. We had been robbed. The bastard that my father rented out a room to had cleaned us out in the middle of the night and he stole everything. He even took the damn dog food.

As if we hadn’t been through enough already?

I couldn’t breathe. I had just come home from Ontario 2.5 days ago and there I was standing there in my office stunned and enraged. The anger I experienced in that moment was like no other. The mind has this way of protecting itself from too much damage. I was in shock for another reason this time and I just felt so violated. How dare someone, anyone do such a thing to another person? It’s even more insulting when it happens right after you just lost your dad.

That was my childhood home. He contaminated it. I would never feel the same way after that.

There’s not much less frustrating than to be 760 km away and be that helpless.

I was surrounded by people, but I never felt more alone than I did at that moment.

I look back on the year that has gone by and it’s a jumbled blur. I attempted to go to school for French but had to drop out because my mind wasn’t capable of storing a damn thing. Memory loss is common with depression.  I went home in May to say goodbye at his celebration of life and to say good bye to the house. It sold in July and it will never feel quite right not to go there again. It was the only home I had known for 37 years.  I can’t eloquently break it down into months because one day just melts into the next. That’s what depression does to you. It robs you of so many things. I knew that it was coming, I just didn’t know when. When I lost Jason in 2009, I suffered from depression and that’s also when my OCD reared its ugly head, except I didn’t know it at the time. So I foolishly thought that I would be prepared this time around. Except…

Your mind can’t heal when the hits keep coming.

Shock is a funny thing. It can last for a couple of days, or in some cases, years. Shock is normal after any traumatic event and loosing my dad was no different. I got up; I went to school once a week and just tried to do whatever I could to function. I was living life on auto pilot and I was grateful that I didn’t have a job to go to at the time. I never knew when I would get an attack of the feels and I am not one for public displays of such things.

I developed anxiety. No surprise there, its depressions bestie. I would stay in bed until noon. Being a functional adult was exhausting. Even more so when you have to pretend to be OK when you are anything but OK at all.
Having to pick up the phone to make a phone call was terrifying. Panic attacks were the norm. So were emotional outbursts. This was my life now and I didn’t know how to cope.

In some ways, I still don’t.

Loosing a parent is a special kind of hell that no one understands until it happens to them.

This is why Nick and I didn’t announce our engagement right away. I needed time and space to just breathe. Only a handful of people knew before our official announcement and it certainly didn’t help matters when a few people said: “Now that the cats out of the bag.” Which made it sound like it was some big, dark secret from some people, which was not the case AT ALL. A lot of people got upset about that, but I can’t and WON’T take responsibility for the things that other people say, nor will I apologize for needing some time to myself. I have long since learned that you can’t please everyone and I stopped trying long before Nick came along.
It was nice while it lasted, some moments were bittersweet though. Like when my wedding dress arrived at the end of March.

It was a final gift from my dad. Except he knew nothing about it, he just gave me permission to rack up his credit card in whatever way I saw fit. I was supposed to buy a new laptop as a graduation gift but plane tickets for Nick and me and ultimately my wedding dress took precedence.

I remember how excited I was when my dress arrived, I pulled it out of the box and marveled at how beautiful it was and then I sat there and cried. It hurts knowing that my dad won’t be there when Nick and I say I do.

So it’s been a year. It’s been full of struggles, most of which I kept to myself. It’s taught me a lot of things though.

• That people automatically assume that depression is a feeling, not a disease. So you have to try not to get angry when people say things like: “Don’t dwell on the past.” This isn’t helpful at all, in case you were wondering. Especially when they themselves still have a dad.
• That it’s OK to not be OK.
• That there will be days when you randomly burst out in tears and have no idea as to why.
• Those moments of I’ll just call my dad and ask him and then remembering that you don’t have the means to do that anymore will cut you deep and fill you with regret for not taking the time to learn how to do whatever it is that you want to do, from him when you had the chance.
• To be more open about my mental illness. Depression is hard on so many levels. Some days it’s all consuming and getting out of bed is a bigger challenge than most people know.
• You’ll see the true colors of your family members and some of them are rather ugly.
• That the people you expect to be there for you aren’t. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the one’s that do.
• Little things can cause a memory trigger and it usually brings forth more tears. Like the first snow of the year after you lost your dad. It reminded me of one of our last conversations.
• Birthday’s and other special occasions are hard. Especially all those firsts, it’s funny how a quick text or a quick phone call takes on a whole new meaning when they stop coming.
• Some days you will feel like you’re drowning and you are helpless to stop it. All you can do is hang in there as best as you can and hope that you have a rope to hold onto.

The list goes on and on. The worst part of loosing my dad is/was loosing myself in the process.

I used to be such a different person than I am now and I am not sure how I feel about this. 

I miss the person that I used to be and while I begrudgingly accept that I can never return to who I once was, I would give anything just to feel whole again and not hurt anymore.


Priorities vs options and good intentions.

cell phone pics 051

There’s that saying: “Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.” -Maya Angelou

Now don’t get me wrong.  Sometimes I am a sucky friend.  I’m the worst at keeping in touch with people at the best of times and it’s not because I don’t love my friends, I have legit memory issues and well adulting is hard yo!

I have learned one thing through the years though, even more so after moving to Montreal: who my circle is.  I have a lot of friends and I am fortunate to be surrounded by them and I am secure in the knowledge that they love me, even when I am not always around, or when I am not very lovable.

I have one very important thing in common with these people though: Loyalty.

I know who will be there for me in a heartbeat and I know who won’t.  Some people I can count on when it really matters and some not so much…  So it irritates me when some people complain that I come home and I don’t go out of my way/make the time to see them.  It’s not usually a secret when I come home (except for that one time) and I’m really not that hard to find when I am in Ontario.  Up until recently, I would always be staying at the same house.

Mind you, it depends on why I returned in the first place.  I had truly wanted to meet up and see a ton of people but I was just done.  So done with this whole adulting thing and having just finished up final exams for this term, my mom sold the house, my dad died and the list goes on and on.

I was SO very, tired this time around.

So sadly I missed out on a lot of stuff, but it was in part by sheer exhaustion, not so much by choice.  I made my mom and option this time around.  I didn’t come home to Ontario for a vacation per se. I came home to give back because I haven’t been able to help out as much in a physical sense, I was however pulling my weight behind the scenes which is just as exhausting. Except some people don’t ‘see that’ and it doesn’t count in their mind.

But fuck them.  Seriously. 

Anyway, it was nice to be able to come home and not only help out my mom but indulge her a little.  It doesn’t take much to make her happy and if taking her out for a few meals and doing some laundry makes her day a little brighter, than so be it. She’s the best mom ever and she totally deserves it.  She bends over backwards to make people happy, even when they don’t deserve it.

I did make it a point to stay later this time with the hopes of seeing/doing more but i’m old yo and when I don’t get enough sleep and my allergies are being douchy I get uber lethargic and it just takes too much effort overall, even more for those who would never respond in kind (aside from my mom putting my ass to work on the daily).  You get what you put in after all. However, to the people who claim to miss me and complain and carry on that *I* don’t make time for them…

Would you make time for me?  Montreal isn’t that far, I’ve lived there for 11 years now and only five of my friends have made the trip to see me.  I don’t care about your excuses.  I know some circumstances can’t be helped, I totally get that…  However I am unemployed, a student and yet I made the trek for the second time this year.  There are SO many ways to come see me on the cheap, you just need to be willing to do them.

So your excuse(s) is invalid.