On Loss

balloon release

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted here. I didn’t know what to do. It seemed vapid and silly to come post about another trip or fun thing to do or even to complain about one of life’s little gripes when there was an elephant in the room. I lost a friend recently, and dealing with it has been tougher than I ever expected.

See, my friend killed herself. The total truth is that I don’t really know everything that happened. It’s not really a question that you can (or would want to) ask a grieving family. But I know that my friend had demons for the last several years, that she tried to make things better, and that’s she gone now. And that’s really all that matters in the end.

But the thing is, I cannot and will not reduce her to her last act on earth (however intentional or not it may have been). She was silly and funny and a dear friend. My friend was thoughtful, caring, and lit up every room she walked into. She was a music lover, a tremendous dog lover, and a caring, aunt, sister, and daughter. She was a delight.

Dhe felt deeply about things, which meant she was loyal and passionate in every one of her interactions. She was also a bit of a contradiction. She studied engineering and then (after getting not one but two degrees) became a chef, much to the confusion of many. It’s also not typical for someone to be both devoutly Catholic and fiercely liberal, but she was both of those things in equal measure, which made for fiery conversations with those who were only on the same page with her about half of that equation. She was complex.

My friend was all of these things. And now she is gone. And the world is a darker place because of it.

Espresso & Entertainment– My Morning Routine


I have to be honest—I don’t always do a great job at going to bed on time (or sleeping well). And that means I don’t do a great job of waking up. To make easing into mornings a little smoother, I’ve established a morning routine that’s full of some of my favorite things.

First off is the way I wake up. I used to use my iPhone but found that I was always waking up abruptly and grumpy. I bought a great alarm clock that simulates the sun and birds singing. It’s so peaceful!

Then I start my favorite thing–my Breville semi automatic espresso machine. Having my own (kinda fancy) machine is an indulgence, but starting my day off with a latte every morning in the comfort of my own home just makes everything better. It may sound silly, but it makes me happy and puts me in a better frame of mind to tackle my day. Plus, I know this is sacrilegious, but I’ve never really gotten into Tim Horton’s.

While the espresso is doing its thing, I stretch. I’ve been having some tightness in my lower back lately, and it really helps to do a few targeted stretches in the morning. It just makes me feel more awake and get the blood moving, even if I only stretch for five minutes or so. It also feels like I’m doing something good for myself and starting my day off on the right foot (literally).

Next is just a few minutes of quiet time. Since the news of the day is pretty depressing, I make it a point to always read something light-hearted like Us Weekly or People—generally something pretty mindless that won’t remind me that our government is going to hell. Taking a few moments to escape the world before I dive into the seriousness of the say is really a mood-booster. Now that I think about it, this would be a good time for some trip planning, too.

After my reading moment, I finally get dressed and sometimes head to the office. On days that I have a commute, I love to pop on a podcast like Gretchen Rubin’s Happier podcast. And, although it doesn’t really fit my theme, I sometimes go for the Nerdette podcast when Game of Thrones is on TV.

All this stuff does add more time to my morning, but I find that it’s worth it because it helps set me up for a good day.

Things I Won’t Do Before I Die

lit cigarette

I wrote recently about the things I definitely want to do before I die, so it only make sense to write the opposite. This was a really fun one to think about—a list of things I intend never to do before I die!

Swim with sharks – I know this probably seems random. I wrote recently about how I want to visit South Africa, and diving with sharks is actually a really big thing there. My husband really wants to do it, but it scares the crap out of me. No. Nope. No.

Have plants – Every green thing I’ve ever tried to grow in my entire life has died. In elementary school when all the kids tried to grow beans in a plastic bag with a wet paper towel, mine was the only one that didn’t sprout. When I got a plant for my first office – died. When I tried to start an herb garden in my backyard – dead. I think it’s finally time to accept my black thumb and move on with life.

Run a marathon – I try to go to the gym regularly, but I’m not really what you’d call a fitness fiend. I’ve also never gotten into running. More than both of those, though, I’ve watched my husband train for and run THREE marathons. That stuff is not for the faint of heart. It’s really a commitment. And it hurts. Do you know the story of Marathon? The guy dropped dead at the end.

Smoke – I’ve smoked a combined total of about three packs of cigarettes in my life, mostly to fit in at different times in high school and college. The stuff has never really appealed to me, and my grandfather died of lung cancer, so I’m quite certain smoking isn’t for me.

Eat spinach – When I was little, my mom would make me sit at the table until I ate all my spinach. I don’t know how long I sat there, but it felt like forever. Even when I told her it was bitter and had sand in it (which it did), I still had to sit there. It may sound odd, but now I have a permanent aversion to spinach.

Become a beer drinker – This one probably seems a bit weird. I love wine and spirits, and cider is my jam, but I’ve never been able to get into beer. I’ve tried everything from radlers to IPAs to stouts, and clearly something in my taste buds does not want me to be a beer drinker. I really wish I could get beyond it because it can actually be a bit awkward socially, but it’s just never going to be my thing.

Six Things I Will Do Before I Die

sunny field

A milestone birthday is coming up so it seems like a good time for some planning! These are just a few of the things on my must-do list now.

Complete my travel bucket list – This may be a little pie-in-the-sky, and it may take me 50 years to do, but I like to dream big. What’s life without big goals?

Go to the Olympics – I am obsessed with the Olympics. Both summer and winter. I love (almost) all the events and am pretty much glued to the TV every time they’re on. One of my life goals is to be able to attend a fee events in person and see all the pomp and circumstance and all the fun energy that surrounds the Games.

Pay off my house – Life many people, my house is my biggest investment, and it was a huge deal for us to be able to make the down payment and handle it all on our own. We make at least one extra payment a year to get that much closer to being mortgage free. It can’t come soon enough!

Become fluent in French – In Canada, learning French is clearly an asset, but my interest in the language goes much beyond that. I studied French in college and absolutely loved it. When I visited Paris, I was surprised that a lot came back to me. I would love to be able to speak it fluently without stumbling for the right words or tenses like I do now.


Really learn about wine – While I’m not looking to become a full-fledge sommelier (that stuff is intense—have you seen Somm?), I would love to really learn about wine in a more formal way. Right now, I just taste a lot, which is fun, but has its limits.

Kick my Diet Coke habit – I know soda—and especially diet soda—isn’t good for you, but I’ve never been able to break the habit. It doesn’t seem like it should be as hard as it is.