Yes i put post-it notes in my washroom to remind me i ate beets. Turns out people think this is funny, personally, i think it’s practical. People remember this more than my cooking for one recipes.

I lost two coworkers this year - two friends really. Both left far too soon and very tragically. The first happened in April. I was having a rough month to begin with - was feeling so very lost after a very horrible medical appointment. How does one deal with being told that something that affects so much of your life and causes so much pain is permanent, unchangeable, and that you are considered a success story? it was only a couple days after that the the first person passed...or maybe i should say “went missing” because that was the first part....probably the hardest part. Ever been around a bunch of people who know, but don’t talk about it? No one talked about it - even when she was found - no one really talked about it. Was a strange experience and one that i think changed how i look at many of my co-workers. Yes life goes on, but hurt doesn’t not exist just because it does. This event was the one and only time i slipped up on the coffee - sometimes when you have no where else to turn, the comfort of addiction is the easiest place to go.

The second co-worker passed away in the summer. A couple days before i had an argument with him over a map - a map that was bright pink. I think the colour of the map highlights how most argument are ridiculous and regrettable. It makes me think twice about how i talk to people, how i get frustrated, and how you really have to think that what you say to people really might be your last words. I hope he knows that i really did like him. His willingness to always help, the kind phone calls when he knew you were having a bad day, and i will always remember the time i was having a really hard time with some hotel staff during a conference and he said something in spanish (i still don’t know what he said) but the hotel staff were really nice to me after that (woohoo markers for flip charts that aren’t dried up!). I wasn’t at work when i found out he passed away. I actually was checking emails while on the subway and saw the company wide email. I now realize that people in the subway wearing sunglasses aren’t always “trying to be cool” sometimes they are there to hide tears.

My mother retired this year and my parents sold their house. I lost my garden, i lost the place that i would run to when life was scary, i lost the ability to just drop in on my way home after a stressful day. Life changes, but sometimes it is scary when you see what you are losing. Why the picture of the epipen? One thing that i found out during my scary frustrated phase of this change, i take too many risks when i comes to my allergies. At my mother’s retirement dinner i didn’t pay attention to what i was nibbling on or more to the point, i didn’t want to pay attention, i didn’t want to question what i could and could eat, i just didn’t want to think. Not thinking was not good. Benedryl and wine do not mix well and the fact that i had an appointment with my dietician the next day wasn’t a great addition to this mix. A “you took how many benedryl?” conversation ended with me calling in sick to work (in front of her because she didn’t trust me....or more to the point knows me too well) and spending the day sleeping it off (and feeling like a child being sent to bed...there was pouting). That day turned out to be the day that Toronto had a huge storm and major flooding - woke up to no power and watching a river run down the street. Over all, interesting day

I almost lost a third coworker and friend. Waking up that morning, to the email i read made me sick, literally. I texted and begged and made him send me pictures to prove he was where he said he was. In the end, i wore shoes that hurt my feet (but will admit they were pretty) because i didn’t lose him and kept my word that he could pick out shoes for me. Mental illness hurts a lot of people. This is another thing that people don’t talk about and really should. I’ve lost a lot of people i know to it - one of the deaths mentioned above probably was that kind of loss. Don’t think you are alone, don’t stay silent - i much rather lose my job and people’s respect than lose another friend to suicide. It’s not an rare problem, it’s a not spoken about one. I refuse to stay silent.

I make pickles - and it turns out that i make really good pickles. I entered the Royal Winter Fair this year - first time, i wanted feedback really, never thought i would win my category, but you know what happened? I ended up winning Judge’s Choice! I’m still in shock.

The end of the year was an odd one, but one that i think made me realize a lot about who i am and who the people around me are. I don’t want to keep secrets just because the truth makes people uncomfortable. I need for 2014 to be more about me. It is something that i’ve never really been good at - saying what i need, not trying to please everyone else around me, and saying no - no i won’t keep my mouth shut, no i won’t keep quiet. My life is about me - it may have taken me a long time to realize that, but my life is mine and not there for the approval of others.

I’m not sure what’s in store for 2014 but i do know that there will be a lot of change.