Monday, April 23, 2018

T IS FOR THERMOMETER

SPRING HAS SPRUNG!
Never underestimate to force of snow coming off a steep steel roof.
The kitchen window thermometer is busted and so is the side deck at the cottage (again).
Poor thing. She reads 32C when it's only 10C.
Wait, could she simply be having a hot flash?!
#yagottalaughaboutit
TAKEN: APRIL 21st, 2018

Saturday, April 21, 2018

S IS FOR SADNESS

This editorial cartoon depicts how a country filled with sadness pulled together during
the recent Humboldt Bronco bus crash in Saskatchewan. Too many gone too soon.
(c) www.artizans.com

Friday, April 20, 2018

R IS FOR ROCKSTARS

One of my very favourite things to do is the go to a good concert. I honestly have no real preference to the music I listen to, because I love it all; but I'm sure you'll agree there is something truly special about a great live performance.

I never really got to participate in the activity, until my nest emptied. Once it did, I hit the circuit hard which had an adverse effect on my pocket book. That said, I have zero regrets and explain my spending by saying, "some women like to buy shoes... I buy concert tickets!"

How be we make a list of a few of my favourite rockstars?

Best Concert: Definitely, Prince.
Last time he was in Toronto before he died.
TAKEN: NOVEMBER 2011

Most expensive ticket: Front row for P!nk
TAKEN: MARCH 2013
Best last minute ticket purchase: Garth Brooks
TAKEN: MARCH 2016
Dream ticket: Row 10 Eagles tickets before Glenn Fry died
TAKEN: 
Most disappointing: Alice Cooper (only because he needs to retire)
TAKEN: MARCH 2018
Best Music Festival: French Quarter Festival, New Orleans, LA
TAKEN: APRIL 2017
Bucket list ticket: Front row for Sheryl Crow
Seen more than once: Burton Cummings, Bryan Adams, John Fogerty
First ever attended: Heart at Maple Leaf Gardens
Back to back: Eagles, Thursday in Toronto. Flew to Montreal for Bon Jovi Saturday night
Downright terrible: Rihanna
Most frequent venue: The Kee to Bala (there are just too many show to list).

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Q IS FOR QUANTITY

My quest for a greater QUANTITY continues
TAKEN: APRIL 17th, 2018
One of our employees walked into my office on Tuesday morning with a list of specific work related questions for me.

Mid conversation, he noticed one of the glasses I collect next to my monitor that an architect had delivered to me. It was neat to observe his general curiosity as he asked, “is that one of them?” 

He then continued to tell me that he thought he had come across an older one on the job site he was working on (inside a garage we're going to tear down). So I asked that he snap a picture of it, and send it to me when he landed there later that morning. When his email arrived, my heart filled with love as I discovered another one was finding its way home.

Though she’s still in transit, I have to admit that this one looks like it has had a good run. I will say that my guess is that her previous owner used the dishwasher to keep her clean, which is why the paint is so worn.

I will admit that years ago when I began my collection I use to put them into the dishwasher as well, but it seemed they were meeting an quicker than normal death; so now I wash every single one used by hand.

Curious where I'm at in the quantity department with these beauties?

Last count was 126. This gals makes it 127, with no end in sight!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

P IS FOR PUDDIN'

How did my yellow lab get her name?
When I brought her home, my first thought was she was the colour of butterscotch pudding!
TAKEN: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

Monday, April 16, 2018

O IS FOR OUTSTANDING

Let’s just get the white elephant out of the room on this one. I have writer's block.

I wanted to choose orgasm, yet I didn’t. Opinionated was a close second, you all know I am so why bother. Orillia Lake is something I've already beaten to death: next? 

Outgoing, I am. Obese, I am not. Offensive, I try. Considered, once; “once was lost, now I'm found” ...Pffft, I’m blocked.

I tend to be overwhelmed at work but who gives a crap? I don’t eat organic so that's not an option.

Oh Henry? Oh My God? How about obedient? Don't answer that. BLOCKED!

The object of my affection? The occasional off-colour joke? Well, it's never occasional, which leads me to obnoxious.

One-horse, one-sided, old, only, onward? Nope!

Zero. Zip. Nada. Nothing. Zilch.

Officially blocked, I am optimistic one word will come to me by the end of the day. Who says, "more isn't necessarily better... sometimes it's just more?" 

Oops. Obviously? That would be me!

Because I’m OUTSTANDING!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

N IS FOR NASTY

While vacationing in South Beach this past week, I experienced something that I would classify as amazing.

Not in the whole ‘sense of wonderment’ form of amazing, rather how quickly your day can change without warning type amazing... which borders on down-right nasty!

Just love this photo I snapped of my husband taking it all in.

NASTY storm arriving over South Beach, Miami.
TAKEN: APRIL 10th, 2018

Thursday, April 12, 2018

L IS FOR LIFE

This meme about LIFE speaks to me personally... about a couple of very specific people.
My personal motto?
'Kill them with success & bury them with a smile!'

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

K IS FOR KEEPSAKE

This past February, I hopped a plane and went to Nassau, in the Bahamas, for four nights. I had purchased the trip Black Friday for close to a two for one rate and because I'd never been, I was excited about getting another new to me stamp in my passport.

I'd booked an oceanfront room on Cable Beach that was absolutely breath-taking, yet like most resort/island destination it's known for panhandling, which drives me absolutely bonkers. To that point, my second full day there, I spent the entire day on the beach and not far from me was what (in all my travels) I'd deem the very worst beach side booth full of crap imaginable.

That said, after watching this poor man for hours, I realized absolutely no one had bought a single thing. I knew I wasn't going to spend any of my hard earned loonies on his treasures but being the nice person I am, I went into the resort and returned with some lunch and two bottles of water for him. He was visibly moved by my gesture. So much so, that as I packed up my beach chair for the day, he approached me holding something.

Keeping in mind that because I was staying at an all inclusive resort, providing him with a meal cost me absolutely nothing, so I was a little shocked that he wanted to offer me some sort of payment. In the end I greatfully accepted his keepsake, packed it into my suitcase and gave it a home on Orillia Lake when I returned to Canada.

From now on, every time I look at it, I will think of this elderly entrepreneur and the hug he gave me for simply being what most Canadians are: kind.

Thanks for the memories and this very unique KEEPSAKE Bahamas!
TAKEN: FEBRUARY & MARCH 2018

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

J IS FOR JERSEY

Every Toronto Raptors SUPER FAN has to proudly wear a custom made JERSEY!
TAKEN: AMERICAN AIRLINES ARENA, MIAMI BEACH ~ APRIL 2018

Monday, April 9, 2018

I IS FOR INVIGORATING

So, as most reader already know this is my birthday week.  This year's been exceptionally special for me because I finally did what I have wanted to do for years. To celebrate my day, I went on a Toronto Raptor Road Trip!

If you love watching the NBA and especially the Toronto Raptors, I know that we could very well end up best of friends. If you don’t, I still think we could be great friends as long as you allow me to indulge in my love of the sport and simply talk about it with me. If the above two are not options, am a still confident we could be good friends, as long as you aren’t embarrassed to be seen with me wearing the custom made jersey that my son had custom made for me a few years back!

When it comes to my Raps, there is nothing more invigorating than hearing the announcers get you ready for a televised game, or the crowds' energy getting you pumped for a live one. How big a fan am I? I am investigating seasons tickets and selling of the ones I can’t use!

Playoff bound this coming Saturday, join me and holla really loud and clear...

LET's GO RAPTORS.... LET GO! 

(Left) Sunday night in Toronto playing Orlando
(Right) Wednesday night in Miami against the Heat.
#torontoraptors #wethenorth #northoveryerthing #playoffbound
TAKEN: APRIL 2018



Saturday, April 7, 2018

Friday, April 6, 2018

G IS FOR GIGGLE

Oh, the power of social media, and just one way to give back!
TAKEN: March 17th & March 19th, 2018

The morning of St. Patrick's Day, I text my daughter and asked her if she wanted to join me for lunch. As expected, she said yes. It was originally just to be the two of us but right before I left the house, my husband decided to come with. I was a tad surprised, because he awoke that morning feeling under the weather.

Short story long, when we arrived at the restaurant I snapped their picture and posted it onto my personal social media platform. As soon as I did, the comments started to roll in with regards to the general lack of enthusiasm on is face. Going with the flow, I decided to let the thread of discussion ensue.

Well, when he arrived at work the following Monday all hell broke loose. No matter where he turned he was being asked why he had a great big bug up his ass!

Because I had no feel for what kind of day he'd had, I was a tad surprised when he picked me up at my carpool stop and asked if anyone had mention the picture I had posted from our lunch the previous Saturday. I started naming names of the instigators, then thought nothing else of it. UNTIL... we arrived at my daughters work and he grabbed her and immediately asked me to take their picture.

I'm laughing just writing about it. Look at my goof... Making a point for all to see.

Ya gotta GIGGLE... I mean laugh about it!

F IS FOR FOCUS

How many chicken wieners does it take to get them to focus? 
Four dozen a week!
(l-r: Charile, Dottie, Puddin', and Annie)
TAKEN: FRIDAY APRIL 6th, 2018


Thursday, April 5, 2018

E IS FOR EXHILARATING

Well, it’s that time of year again when I jump on a plane and tackle something on my bucket list for my birthday; and for the very first time since I began this indulgence, I was torn about how I wanted to celebrate.

My last birthday was perfect. It was spent in a great hotel in the French Quarter of New Orleans with the perfect tour guide, my good buddy Darin. It was amazing but crazy expensive. Totally my fault, because I had waited until the last minute to decide it’s what I wanted to do. So, just before this Christmas past I booked the same hotel I had stayed at last year and marked my calendar for an even longer 2018 birthday stay.

As the date grew closer, I began to worry that returning to the French Quarter Festival so soon would be disappointing because my last visit had ticked every single ‘amazing experience’ box imaginable. Then, when I returned from Bahamas in February, something equally amazing as my passion for everything music surfaced on my radar: the Toronto Raptors.

They had so much momentum going in their favour at the time that I started my research. Where would they be playing my birthday week? As soon as Google fed me my info, I knew I had to make a choice. I costed taking in their last season game & then flying to New Orleans for the weekend but I only had so many Ben Franklins left in my jar. So a decision had to be made. 

Peeps, check out my kickass tickets and where I'm jetting off to...!

Two Toronto Raptor games, a killer oceanfront suite at the Grand Beach Hotel,
& evening dining in South Beach, Miami. Giddy UP!
TICKET PICS TAKEN: MARCH 10th, 2018 

Seeing the Toronto Raptors play at home on Sunday, hopping a plane the next morning to land in my oceanfront suite on South Beach on Monday. Relax and watch my team officially win the Eastern Conference Championship on Wednesday then head back to Canada with a suntan and a smile. How cool is that?

Not gonna lie… Bucket list excess once a year is absolutely exhilarating!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

C IS FOR CARPOOL CHARLIE

As my regular readers know, I am social media junkie that's rockin' a small Canadian town, absolutely love where I work, and what I do for a living.  So as an added bonus, I was  flattered last fall when my boss asked me out if I would entertain helping him out by keeping his dog (our company mascot) for the weekend. I instantly said yes!

Charlie never complained once about the carpool chit-chat.
TAKEN: APRIL 3rd, 2018
Periodically since our first canine sleepover, his pup has returned to visit my pack of three, as well visited me at the office, continually reinforcing just how 'swell a pals' we truly are.

Then, late yesterday afternoon, after careful planning, Charlie hopped in the carpool car and landed at the house for a week long sleepover. 

Just like I always have, I brought him back to the office today, so that my pups could watch us leaving and arriving together for a second day, which seems to easily solidify he's in fact a part of the pack.

Just before 7am this morning, for the better part of a kilometer, he ran circles around me, chased a red squirrel on a neighbours lawn exuded the kind of energy I remember having in my 20's. 

He enthusiastically hopped in the car, rode to the office, & stayed by my side the entire day.

As 'Hallmark' a picture as that may paint, the truth of the matter is he knows I keep cookies in the upper cupboard of my office.... and for some strange reason sleeps all day at my feet; which just happens to be next to the cabinet where my lunch bag is stored.

Story of my life. They tell me my mom had to tie pork chops around my ears so the dog would play with me.

… And I thought I had greasy hair as a kid because of overactive sebaceous glands!

#yagottalaughaboutit

Monday, April 2, 2018

Sunday, April 1, 2018

A IS FOR APRIL ADJUSTMENT

Well, I'm definitely making an adjustment this April and I will go on the record with the fact that it's not the kind of forceful treatment you get when you land at a Chiropractic office. 

You see, it's that time of year again and I had quietly convinced myself that I wasn’t going to participate in the April A to Z Blogging Challenge again. Yet, when I got home from the cottage this morning and it was actually April 1st, I realized I truly wanted to.

So, even though I missed their master list registration (that closed yesterday) I figured I would once again forge ahead and play by my own rules; which coincidentally work especially well in my favour!

As I have in the past, I am going to post everyday. I will post where expected for the challenge (email  subscribers & Google+ peeps will be updated in real time) but I am only going to post to Facebook & Twitter once a week.  That way, you can easily scroll through the posts weekly, eliminating the feeling that you are being hammered with my challenge posts daily.

It's hard to believe that I was eighteen months into this silly electronic journey before I decided to register and get in the ring with this specific group of writers five years ago. In that moment, I had been seriously motivated by a couple of people (that no longer blog) and decided to challenge myself. 

Here's to my one hundred and thirty first consecutive April posts and my to extremely late decision to jump into this difficult challenge again. Here's hoping my minor 'April Adjustment'  in the sharing  department keeps my readers both interested and engaged this month. ~ Cheers, Rhondi.

Admiration. Ambition. Absenteeism. Adios Amigos. Amazing... Resulted in an April Adjustment!
TAKEN: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017



Here are the pictures from my last five April 1st posts.
2013: Admiration    (As you can see I hadn’t embraced how my camera truly fit in yet.)
2014: Ambition        (Dot proving to me that ambition is a true key to success.)
2015: Absenteeism   (Reflective that the two bloggers that got me started, had quit.)
2016: Adios Amigos (Starting by saying goodbye, as I'd fled to Mexico to learn to surf.)
2017: Amazing          (The selfie I shared was taken the night before my very first April A- Z post in 2013. What an amazing outlet this has truly become!)

Saturday, March 17, 2018

MY CUP RUNNETH OVER

This morning I awoke and decided to stay in bed simply because I could. You know those kind of days, when you wholeheartedly embrace being a fornicating canine? Anyway, as the morning progressed closer to the noon, I text my daughter and asked if she would like to join me for lunch: she said yes.

As I landed at her apartment to pick her up, she appeared to be walking toward me carrying a relatively large cardboard box. I knew it wasn’t her laundry, because that is usually presented to me in a very task specific kind of basket, not a box. So, with my curiosity piqued and her wearing a cat shit eating grin, she arrived at me and announced, “...I have something for you.” Inside were more of the very treasured Petro-Canada glasses I obsessively collect!

Thanks to everyone for every effort
to help grow my special collection. *hugs*
TAKEN: MARCH 17th, 2018
Being in the middle of town and opening that box today made me realize that my more than decade long act of collecting these beautiful holder of anything liquid (in memory of my father) has evolved into a true tag-team effort. 

This lot came from a blog reader and personal friend of Staccs that I don't really know. So I want to say, yet again, that I am truly grateful to all that call, buy, deliver, and even text message location deets; while truly remaining on the lookout.

The interesting twist to this post is that when I got home and sat down to begin to write this one, I did what 99% of us do when we sit down at a computer, I checked my Facebook.  As soon as it populated, I discovered it was the anniversary of the death of a man that I spent a phenomenal amount of time with he and his family during my teen years.

Looking at the photo she'd posted and reading her tribute to her dad, embraced everything I would say to mine if I could. That I love him, and miss absolutely everything about him. Every... single... day.

I know there are so some naysayers out there may think the glass collecting obsession is silly, but it doesn't phase me. Instead,  if I could offer one vantage point of logic to their negativity it's that what they don’t know is, in the very minute I hold one of these new to me special treasures in my hand, I'm in a wonderful moment with my Dad. Today I could hear his laughter in the car with my daughter and I; and there's nothing even remotely silly about that.

Cheers to both these awesome guys today. Hope they are sharing a burger & a beer.

Not to mention having a good laugh about my asinine glass collection!

Friday, February 23, 2018

MADE YOUR APPOINTMENT YET?

So, it’s been a little over a year since I began my quest for a clean bill of health. It started in my family doctor's office with a clear vision of me needing to establish a starting point for my mid-life body, giving me the ability to embrace it for the next twenty five plus years.

It immediately kicked off with a ton of blood work that quickly led to a series of ultrasounds, smears, specialists & 'oscopy procedures; and although it took longer than I'd ever imagined, all have proven to have been very necessary.

My point is that I had an outpatient procedure yesterday in hospital about 30 miles south of me. It was at my request, as we had ruled out the medication dealing with what was a definite growth wasn't having the overall impact that was expected.

Because I was the one pushing for the procedure, I didn't find the idea as personally stressful as say if I’d been given less than a week's notice and told it had to happen as soon as possible. In hindsight, I wish I would have been more mentally prepared and done some clear research to understand what I was about to endure. 

Who knew OHIP supplied very sexy paper bracelets
for enduring one of their life changing spa experiences?!
TAKEN: FEBRUARY 22nd, 2018
As silly as this may read, I believed that I was going to pop in and out of the outpatient department as fast as one does locally when they have a mammogram, which wasn't the case.

I should have picked up my doctors' vibe when he asked me, twice, 'if I would prefer to have a general anesthetic' and not remain awake.

I declined because I felt I had prepared myself for having the lump removed, yet what I didn't know was how painful and stressful being awake for the procedure would be. I actually think I went into a little bit of shock... Because by the time I dressed and said my goodbyes, I began to shake all over. I narrowly managed to get into the car before I had a total meltdown. I cried all the way home from the sheer physicality & emotional anxiety of what I'd just endured.

Now that I have had time to calm down, I don't regret going forward with the procedure. I was a tad surprised with the number of stitches I received and that it would take close to a month for them to heal but the experience is all a part of the bigger picture and my own philosophy, which is that no one should ever take their health for granted.

If I have to take a glass half full moment from the experience, it would have to be that I am so very grateful that I have always been aware of my body and any changes that are happening. Between self-examination and the simplistic generality of Web-MD, I hope to have stayed ahead of my biopsy results being cancerous.

If you haven't kept up on your bill of health, make that appointment today. If my post doesn't spell it out, understand that there are a million reasons why you should with the #1 reason being the single most important one of all.

... You're freaking worth it!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

MY BEAUTIFUL MIDLIFE BLANKET

I was texting back and forth yesterday morning with a trusted confidant and we began reminiscing about the summer of 2012. For a number of varying reasons we cheerfully remember that time, most importantly because it was the very first time I’d lived alone at the cottage & commuted to work since its purchase in 1999. In hindsight, I guess you can say that was the summer I officially learned to sew; simply because that summer was the first time I'd ever invested in mending... me.

It’s not like I was broken per se, more to the point that when the twins left for post secondary school in September of 2011, I felt a sense that my life was unraveling. The point being, when the nest empties I don’t think anyone can truly get to know themselves (what they want, nor what they need as a newly independent person) until they make the effort to try and figure it out. Midlife gave me the one thing I’d never had the luxury of before: time.

All these years later, I realize that nothing truly prepares us for midlife. And when that phase crept into my peripheral vision, I honestly would not have classified myself as unhappy. More elated, embracing a feeling of euphoria because I no longer had to focus on everyone around me, and could finally get to focus on my own needs.

It was in that moment, that I looked in the mirror and realized that I had no idea who I was. I remember my immediate assessment on the outside was that I was overweight, yet on the inside I realized I was resentful for being underappreciated. That very harsh personal reality hit like a ton of bricks… and trust me, I did NOT see it coming.

So, as things in my life began to quickly unfurl, I took matters into my own hands. I don’t know what I would have done without my very best girlfriend. She was a lifesaver. She had already survived something similar, so she was my beacon. Thank goodness I didn’t have to pay CJ for all of her hugs and words of support, I would have gone bankrupt!

The summer of 2012. Puddin' was just a wee pup and Dot got to spend extra paddle time alone with me!
TAKEN: JUNE, JULY & AUGUST 2012


The point of my post is that I don't dwell on that time and I have no regrets. I made some big personal moves, learned how to live my life on my terms, and over the eighteen months that followed suffered gut-wrenching heartache I don’t wish on anyone else to have to experience. At the end of the day, I came out the other side more vibrant and exceedingly more comfortable with the skin I’m in. If you’re in my life it’s because you deserve to be, if you’re not, you ultimately know & understand why.

Owning who you are is a lot harder than you may think. For years I just folded like a lawn chair until I would explode with frustration. Now a days, I wholeheartedly own what I want and openly communicate where I’m going: with no regrets.

A wise man once told me that life experiences are the threads that all have a part in our final blanket, which is very true. The other side of that coin is, who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

I taught myself to sew a beautiful midlife blanket six years ago... Didn’t I ?!

Monday, February 5, 2018

FEBRUARY, PLEASE BE KIND

FUN FACT #1: Did you know that there are roughly sixty four shades of blue?
FUN FACT #2: In the past, I've suffered a varying levels of many during February.

As I always try and own the second fun fact, I can’t help but go on record with the thought that this past month of January, felt like a really tough year. As we roll into February, I'll enthusiastically start the new calendar month with a smile on my face, simply because I've officially made it. 

When the children left for post secondary school, we originally began travelling in February. Not sure why really, outside the fact that we'd never done so & everybody in our neck of the tundra seemed to. A couple of years in, we took the twins and the pups and rented a pet friendly house in South Carolina. I couldn't believe how that early jolt of vitamin D aided with my symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

As that year rolled into the next, I soon discovered that we could very economically head into the light at the fall time change, skip mid-winter travel, wait until my birthday in spring and essentially get away twice for the price of an all inclusive week in February. So that's what our travel timing shifted to.

Then, this time last year, I took my daughter on a quick 4 night weekend jaunt to Cuba. It was intended to serve as quality time for the both of us, but at the end of the day, those 4 nights made the world of difference for both of us personally. 

By 1 pm that first full day on the beach, I could feel myself awaking from my winter slumber. But it wasn't just me, it was my daughter too. She was participating around the pool, running along the beach, and embracing every single minute. 

A weekend win on every possible level, it was upon my return that I realized that moving forward, some similar type of February mini vaycay was something I needed. So I baked a value into my annual travel budget and Bob's your uncle; I was on my way.

This year my daughter isn't coming with as she's spending this weekend in Ottawa with friends, skating on the Rideau Canal and enjoying the city in general. Instead, I am taking my other Sweetie; my husband, and we are headed to Bahamas for the very first time.

Photographic proof of my daughter kicking February's ass....Old school!
TAKEN: FEBRUARY 2017 & FEBRUARY 2018


I booked it Black Friday for less than what it would have cost us to return to Cuba for that same four day stint I did last year. The only downside is that I had to take a hammer to my piggy bank this morning.... Why?

Because when doing my due diligence, I figured out why it's "Better In The Bahamas." Everything has at least four dollar signs attached ($$$$) even the Starbucks in the lobby. With my birthday trip booked and the planning of our 30th anniversary in June underway, I don't care. We are totally worth it and we are gonna have a blast.

Not to mention... I get yet another brand new stamp in my passport!

Giddy UP!!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

ONLY YOU CONTROL YOUR SHINE

I am a firm believer that only those whom truly care about you can hear you when you’re quiet.

I  also wholeheartedly believe that great friendships, and relationships to some extent, never actually end. Instead, it’s like they go into hibernation until both are ready to participate again. That, or until the overall effort is placed into a folder labelled life lessons learned; only for you to reflect upon when your life calls on you to verbalize to yourself about what NOT to do.

A cool streetlamp pic as I am walking to carpool
TAKEN: JANUARY 23th, 2018
My point is that I was sitting across from a co-worker today, sipping a bowl of soup, watching her describe a very unique and special friendship she'd had. It was amazing to watch. I'm not kidding, her entire face lit up and she was excited to be reminiscing.

In the end, she'd shared that her relocation & personal injury meant they had lost touch about two years ago. We finished our lunch, returned to the office and went back to business.

I couldn't help but continue to think about what she'd said. I grabbed my phone and walked over to her office. I showed her this picture, telling her its premise was to compliment a post I have been working on that speaks to exactly what we had discussed at lunch. I followed that with a very enthusiastic (picture the pompoms and cheerleader outfit folks)... "Get in touch with your friend. You never know where they are at in their life."

Any/all friendships & relationships are about finding a balance, and more importantly trust. I have a plethora of acquaintances in my day to day life, too many to name, and just a handful of true friends. You know the ones, that would unconditionally do anything for the other?

That may read a tad arrogant but I think Ed Sheeran explained it best in an episode of Carpool Karaoke, when he admitted that he had a cellphone for a about two weeks then no longer bothered to charge it. He said he would wake in the morning to fifty plus  messages and none of them would simply say: ‘hey, how are you?’

Instead, they would all be asking, ‘can I have this, can you lend me this, can you do this, can I get this?' Which he described as incredibly draining; and believe it or not, I can totally relate.

I have honestly stopped communicating with certain people because it became all about what they needed and nothing about overall balance. All they seemed to do was take take take. There would always be bait disguised as care, but their personal agenda was very evident.

In the end, I share with those I surround myself with something called 'my shine'. Truth be known, I stole the label about a year ago from my lunch mate today.

Though her personality makes mine look like an introvert, she's taught me a number of very valuable life lessons in a very short period of time.

I'm not bragging or anything but she & I are in true friend territory!

...and it's not just because we both like soup.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

MY BEFORE THE SELFIE… SELFIE!

This coming March it will be 11 years since I formally became a social media junkie. As far fetched as this may read, I remember the day I got an official FB login and that’s the one I still use today. You see, the twins were barely teens and were telling me they wanted join this really neat thing called Facebook: my fixation kicked in.

My eldest was already online with My Space but when the twins were looking at jumping onto a bandwagon I knew nothing about, I decided to start to do my due diligence. Once I became a member, I remember that the pioneering group of us locally was small. All these years later, most of those folks still hit my newsfeed on a regular basis. 

My point is, this past week I sat with someone on our leadership team at work and had a great discussion, breaking down the aspects of social media and how said pieces fit strategically into our overall marketing approach. Explaining why I approach our/any audience the way I do, led to comment that he considered my mind a ‘vault of media marketing knowledge.’

After I quickly ran to my desk and returned with a ten dollar bill to thank him for his amazing compliment, we continued our discussion on how I handle privacy settings and how I approach individual platforms from a personal level. You see, he has discovered he’s resisted long enough and it was time he joined the masses.

I have about 5,000 people I interact with personally on Facebook alone, which doesn’t include the many businesses that have contracted me to optimize their online presence. Though I have shifted my focus in the last year, I am pleased to report that my strongest presence and best results comes from this electronic journal that went live November 20th, 2011. First and foremost because Google+ is my friend, blossoming primarily because I feed it content, to which I am pleased to report my views are in the millions. 

My 35mm picture taken with a timer.
(TAKEN: MARCH 2007)
CLICK HERE TO SEE MY FIRST SELFIE
As I sit here and think of how the blog content’s evolved since its inception (I chose for it to become more image driven) I decided to share the first profile picture I posted before selfies filled that space. It was taken with a 35mm camera, in my home office, with a timer. I needed a head shot for my business blog and I thought this was a valiant effort. 

Almost 11 years later, I had to laugh when I went back into my archived pics and noticed the cat on the desk behind me, the lamp on my assistants desk is missing its shade, and media clutter is stacked on the ledge; however, I absolutely love that I captured the picture of my dad and I in the top left.

Though I am pleased to report that I managed to crop the light bulb out of the photo for the blog: Facebook got the Full Monty!

More than a decade later, I was notified this week that 32,000 people have 'liked' my personal posts on Facebook... and it all started at this desk.

Wowza! Followed by a who the hell knew?

Not me, but I am certainly glad I've embraced all of the groundbreaking platforms.

Monday, January 8, 2018

FROZEN FUN WITH SWEETIE

At around 9:30am Saturday morning my phone chimed alerting me to an incoming text message from my daughter. ‘Let me know when you’re ready to go,’ it read.

I knew she was still in bed, so clearly the outdoor temperature didn’t matter to her. As far as she was concerned, we were headed on our bi-weekly trip to town. One of the coldest mornings on record and she decided to wake up early with an overwhelming amount of enthusiasm. (She can thank her fathers' DNA for that 'so not like her momma' trait.)

Armed with our lists of what we needed to accomplish, we hatched a plan. She needed a specific style of work pant, so we started by heading into the largest box store we have. We were both minding our own business, pushing our carts and getting what we needed, simply enjoying each other’s company: when out of the blue, coming toward us I spied one of her old high school chums. (Not the acquaintance type of chum you had a locker next to, but one you spent summer after summer with and to this day your families remain cordial.)
 
Anyway, with a great big cat shit eating grim on her face, my daughter spied her coming toward us. She turns to me and said ‘watch how she goes out of her way to avoid me.’ I watched and it was blatantly obvious.

It didn’t seem to phase my daughter. She explained how long the other'd been behaving this way and I found it quite sad. I suppose if the truth be known I felt sorry for the girl. My first instinct was she'd put far to much focus and energy on avoiding us, when walking by and saying nothing would have sufficed. Then again, we all know the skill of executing a true snub comes with both maturity and life experience.

My bestie enduring -30C so I could get the shot!
Armed only with a bluetooth touque, Sorel boots and a smile.
TAKEN: JANUARY  6th, 2018
By the time we'd exited our first stop & finished running around, we had decided she would come back to the house to grab some clothes she had left from when she last dog sat.

As we zoomed the backway to her apartment in the centre of town, I couldn't help but notice the amazing natural light of our frozen tundra.

I pulled into the park parking lot, grabbed my camera and headed toward the falls. As I trudged through the snow, I glanced over my shoulder to see my daughter following me. She followed the direction I gave, and headed out on the snowy dock ahead of me. This photo was just one of the results of our frozen fun; it's absolutely breathtaking.

I am so very fortunate to live and have a cottage in a town I love. When I look at the smile on my daughters face I realize that though she left, her returning has helped her hit her stride. She's surrounded love. That is except for the young blonde, with the 'I'm better than you attitude,' that we ran into at Wal-Mart.

I'm glad my Sweetie and I could talk about how her previous friends behaviour evolved and I could make her giggle as we tried to understand it. Knowing, after the fact, how the small idiosyncrasies evolved, her bizarre actions had me relating to a meme I posted on Instagram about a month ago that read...

Somewhere, somebody out there is thinking of you, and the tremendous impact you made on their life.

It's not me... I think you're an idiot!

Friday, January 5, 2018

WATER WAS DEFINITELY CHILLED

When I rose at 5am this morning, I immediately thought of my very good friend Sean. His standard joke for times when there was an extreme cold warning in effect was: ‘It was so cold outside this morning, that I saw a lawyer walking down the street with his hands in his own pockets.’ The reason that little ditty makes me smile’s because he was a lawyer. Taken too soon, I truly miss him. May he forever rest in peace.

My point being, when I woke up this morning it was -44C outside with the windchill, so I ended up staying home. Not because I couldn’t have gone to work, rather because our home was built in the late 1980’s, we have water intake pipes that run along an outside wall inside the garage. 

Again, nothing life altering, except the last time I heated the garage for the weekend during a deep freeze, the three day hydro bill was 600 bucks. Suffice is to say, I don’t take home 600 beans a day and this sucker's here 'til at least Sunday; so I was unanimously elected to keep the ice water running for the day.

It’s been a brutal week. After my December infusion of vitamin D, I usually manage to hit the ground running in the new year. You know, when most of the gloom is gone and the snow is bright white. But because the weather's been so cold, the only exercise I have managed to get is shoveling the driveway twice. (Noting that exercise, combined with my light therapy, is key to me keeping my seasonal affective disorder in check.)

Oh, my stupid SAD. Now that I'm aware, it makes me so very conscious of my overall ability to be a big hairy bitch this time of year. I have to be so regimented about my routine it feels like I should have been cast in the movie Groundhog Day.

At this point, I am just constantly grinding my teeth for the first of February to arrive, then, it will be full steam ahead to spring. I don’t expect you to understand if you don’t suffer but it is absolutely maddening that I feel that I can't wake up. I am serious when I admit that I just want to hibernate and it has nothing to do with being depressed.

I read somewhere that people don’t notice if it’s winter or summer if they are happy. 

I call bullshit. I’m very happy, yet I have enough common sense to know that when the hair in my nose freezes instantly it’s winter, and when my brain freezes fast it’s definitely summer; and said freeze is usually caused by a gigantic serving of tiger tail ice cream.

Ah, now I’m craving junk food. I can’t win! At least my snow shoveling photo ROCKS!!

Glass half full... right?!

Who other than me likes to shovel snow? I know, I suck!
TAKEN: JANUARY 3rd, 2018


Monday, January 1, 2018

REMEMBERING 2017

January: An amazing bonfire on the very first day of the year.
February: A long weekend jaunt to Cuba
March: Me...celebrating Spring!
April: My birthday trip to New Orleans!!
May: The murder of Wendy Boland
June: Finished a decade long project at the cottage.
July: Celebrated Canada 150
August: A beautiful wedding in the rain.
September: A team building fishing trip to the French River
October: Mourned the death of a Canadian icon.
November: Celebrated my Mother in Law's milestone 70th birthday
December: Ended my work year with a bunch of amazing people

Proud Mama Moment? Witnessing my son kill it in the finals of The Muskoka Voice singing competition.


She was one for the record books!
TAKEN: JAN-DEC 2017

Sunday, December 31, 2017

SOME ADVICE TO LIVE BY

It's that time of year again, when you spend the majority of your much earned time off, going through all of the motions that are expected. Yet, the truth of the matter is you can't wait to get an evening to yourself; so you can crack open a bag of Doritos and cheerfully comment aloud that 'they're definitely the most underrated hors d'oeuvre!'

What a year. What a hell bent, Skinny Minnie Miller, roller derby, whirlwind full of exit drama kinda year. Those latter bull crap filled shenanigans ultimately had the Russian judge award me a perfect 10.0 for my year end dismount. That unexpected score right there, has me quietly reflecting in my fuzzy socks this New Years Eve. So many emotions yet not a single regret. Just an amazing amount of personal enthusiasm for what the coming year has to offer.

Relax, this isn't a 'new year - new me' electronic journal post. Because as you all know, I have worked very hard to get to this phenomenal place called balance. Instead, my post has me reporting that under our severe cold freeze, I took it upon myself to get out of the house and walk to town yesterday to get a new high speed router.

My timing to town was perfect, which allowed me the privilege of taking my daughter for a bite of lunch at our favourite coffee shop. After a great visit and some much needed 'I love yous,' I headed back toward the homestead on foot. Man, it was cold. I hadn't noticed the bitter windchill heading to town as it must have been to my back.

Singing and walking at a pace just shy of a slow jog,  I tackled the last large hill toward my final straight stretch. With my face freezing from the windchill, I decided to call my husband. I told him where I was at and to let the dogs out in the next couple of minutes so they could get a good run in to come and meet me.

My beautiful airborne Annie... with Puddin' and Dot!
TAKEN: DECEMBER 30th, 2017
As I turned the corner & called their names, from hundreds of meters away, I could see them bolt and my beautiful Annie begin to fly.

As I grabbed my phone I laughed a loud. All my mind could process from the oncoming visual was THIS's what unconditional love looks like!

It's that simple.

In 2018, make a conscious effort to radiate the energy you want to receive. Always keep your words kind, and the tone of your voice kinder. Spend time with the people in your life that align with your personal philosophies; and less with those that don't.

 Most importantly? ...Don't be a dick!

As we officially ring in our seventh eve together, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy New Year and once again thank you all so very much for reading.

Cheers to 2018 ~ Rhondi 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

ZIP-A-DEE-POOOO-DAH

I am excited to share my good news,  which is that I truly had an amazing week away in Mexico. Part in parcel because I went so far out of my comfort zone that I thought I was on a 430 mile Mayan trading exposition to Guatemala; something rarely experienced in my somewhat conservative yet celebrated years to date.

The other side of my spit polished good news coin isn't so great. Unexpectedly, my cell phone went on a kick ass Xel-Ha lazy river ride at the adventure park in Tulum. Bad news is I neglected to provide 'er with a personal flotation device and she drown. (I managed to get her back to Canada. Visitation has been held continually ever since. Funeral service is being held tomorrow morning.)

Would my Blackberry have survived?
TAKEN: DECEMBER 10th, 2017
Ah, those amazing life moments when you believe you might escape a seismic ass kicking, then as the play by play occurs you instinctively know you're absolutely fubar'd.

This instance was one of those after the fact light bulb moments when I felt inclined to ask for a do-over. A simple request to just turn the hands of the clock back a mere 30 minutes. As expected, not an option.

Belly-aching in this particular scenario aside, though I have referenced the term here before, there are very few things in my life I ever wish I could do over. I've accepted my lot, warts and farts, and grown as a person for every single one of them.

I don't know about you but I'm the first one to raise my hand to hold myself accountable and this instance is no different. I had a plan, it failed. My glass half full relates that is was at the expense of a used cell phone I purchased this time last year to help wean me away from the clicking keys of my Blackberry. In the end, I'd pumped far too much cash into repairing it and as a result I never truly bonded with it.

Laugh if you must, but those that truly know me, know that I graduated to a Samsung platform kicking and screaming. Though people would laugh at me for my very serious love affair with my Blackberry, I allowed the android hype to curb my enthusiasm into thinking it was time to rehabilitate my thumbs of the comfort of buttons and go to touch screen technology.

Compromise comes in all shapes and sizes. For years I salivated about jet-set travelling and bought a camping trailer instead. Proving most importantly, that I very rarely overindulge. I bought the phone used to try and understand the technology, and in its final hours I ended up drowning the poor shit. Resigned to the fact that I would just reactivate my old Blackberry Classic, on a whim I made a call to a competitive mobility service provider.

Turns out they gave me a $200 credit towards a new phone and a $300 credit for porting my phone to them from a competitor. So a 2 year contract for the phone I chose was $509. I was in shock. A whooping 9 bucks for a top of the line phone? I made them send me the offer in writing.

So, as I say goodbye to my Samsung 6 Edge tomorrow with an early morning service, I expect my brand spanking new Samsung 8+ to arrive via Purolator mid afternoon. As you can imagine, it will definitely be a day filled with emotion.

As an aside, I'm not sure how I feel about the extra nine bucks it cost me. If I had to pick one word it would have to be 'torn'. Torn because I could have went to a Blackberry PRIV for far less and didn't. Torn because it truly personifies the end of an amazing Blackberry era for me.

Once again reinforcing my mantra... that you can't stop change, only manage it.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

A CLEAR 361 SLEEPS AGO

Plain ole me on the balcony with one kick-ass suntan!
TAKEN: December 2nd, 2016
In the midst of packing my suitcase this morning, I stopped, sat down at my desk and decided to quickly scroll through the hundreds of pictures I took this time last year when I was vacationing on the Mayan Riviera. 

Three hundred and sixty one sleeps later, I still have so many mixed feelings about that trip and the life changing shit show I returned to, that I swear I was on the verge of a panic attack at the simple thought of packing!

I’ve never vacationed in the same place twice before. It’s been both a conscious & very personal decision, as I ultimately continue to search for as many different stamps in my passport before my 57th birthday. 

That said, I had to set that theory aside when I booked this puppy this September past, as I knew I needed a do over on this one. In a nutshell, I am in need closure, that in turn will hopefully bring celebration for the personal growth I have experienced in the last almost year.

On one hand, I have so much to be grateful for. Yet, I find I harbour some very innate fears about certain aspects of my day to day life which ultimately cause me more stress than it should. Growing up I remember my mother always telling me 'to never to hate anything' because it took too much energy away from all the good around you. This year has proved that to me tenfold; for which I truly appreciate.

As my girlfriend and I text back and forth today about wardrobe, weight gain & bathing suit choices, I was pleased to see via Facebook that the British friends met last year were boarded on their plane as it fueled on the London tarmac. That right there made me excited to continue packing.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. You can't stop change only manage it. So what are my hopes for the extra pounds I am carrying to Mexico this year?

Over the last couple of days I cut & coloured my hair, waxed all the bits of me that needed waxing,  then this morning I applied a top coat of sparkle nail polish to my freshly manicured toes; all in hopes of providing a much need trifecta affect of distraction against the weight gain.

Do you think there may be a bit of delusion woven into my approach to create illusion?

Me three... But it helped clear my thoughts so I could finish packing.

#yagottalaughaboutit

Thursday, November 23, 2017

WHO'S A RICH GIRL?

On a very last minute whim I went to the local casino last Friday night.

For close to a year, a coworker'd been randomly inviting me to join her so I finally decided to tag along. Not to gamble,  rather to be entertained in the auditorium, the way I have always envisioned the intent; watching one of my favourite bands perform... Styx.

A crazy fun road trip to get there, we pulled in and the valet parked her very sexy SUV. Once inside the lobby, I felt a sudden gush of seasonal sensory overload. So much so, that my brain didn't know what to do. I wasn't sure if I should focus on the festive decorative tribute to Christmas in November,  or the very large volume of varying patrons buzzing about the lobby taking pictures of the tribute to Christmas in November.

My angst was immediately minimized when she proceeded to swiftly check into her complimented suite, where we enjoyed a lovely glass of red wine (or two) then matter-a-factly headed into the casino before the show.

It was quite crowded but nowhere near as loud as I’d remembered. As my french buddy 'Mauve' pulled up a specific machine and began ‘entertaining’ herself, I watched in awe. Quickly on a roll, at points she was up more than the value of a month of my wages.

Hanging low in the tall grass, I carefully sipped a glass of wine, ultimately feeling bad for watching the clock and interrupting her to let her know it was time to proceed to the show. After all, I suspect everything for her was free with their intent being she keeps her butt in a leather chair as long as possible; NOT the folding kind located in the auditorium.

We made it to the show and Styx was fantastic. When it finished we worked our way back toward the great indoors. We stopped and purchased some swag and she went to great lengths to make sure we had our picture taken to commemorate our crazy fun experience. Wandering back into the casino, I asked that she show me the premise on how she chooses a specific machine and how she determines how much to ultimately spend.

Not wanting to be a total stick in the mud, after her sharing her insight, I wandered a couple of rows away to try and hit my groove.

Ready to be completely entertained, I selected my poison carefully. I inserted my twenty dollar bill into the super slick suction pit that I swore was labelled... 'That puppy ain't never coming back.'

After what felt like an nanosecond, I cashed out my dime slot chit before I had lost my entire investment. I couldn't help but smile as I glanced at the focal aspect of my picture showing my take and announcing...

'She's a Rich Girl.'

Here's the skinny.

Though I enthusiastically donated a massive $19.64 toward my evenings entertainment, a couple of days later I realized a much more powerful thought about my out lay of cash, which is.... Your most cherished and valued wealth is  what you invest in great friends. 

Not only a great friend, this cat's a Super Hero.

Seriously... She's a Super Hero and she has a business card to prove it.

Trust me. I've seen it. Twice!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

SOMEONE CRACKED THE CODE

Sometimes, I can be so pessimistic that I look and assess for signs of things that may go wrong fifteen step down the road. Not because they will, more just in case they do. 

My thought process being, if the shit does happen to fly off the rails, I've insured a well thought out plan for self-preservation. This wasn't always the case but as I'm sure you can relate, deep hurt creates checks and balances into any routine ensuring history never repeat itself.

As mentioned a couple of posts ago, I touched on the fact that my unconditional loyalty had been seriously taken for granted after executing my sales and marketing expertise to dead end promises. Point being, nothing in business will EVER surprise me again; nada, nothing, zero, zip, zilch!

Anyway, I bumped into a relatively new business acquaintance today. When our eyes met, we both immediately smiled and outstretched our hands to formally greet the other. Once our hands began to shake, I was the first to speak and confidently asked…. “How’s my newest Linkedin connection doing today?”

After he chuckled at my approach, he made a point of saying that connecting with me professionally led him my blog (a.k.a. this very sexy electronic journal). I thanked him for his kind words, then touched on how long I’d actually been ranting about completely useless topics, explaining how careful an effort I’d exercised to cryptically conceal identities and blatant truths that had transpired over the years in my sleepy little town. 
A profile selfie snapped at my desk 4 years ago today!
(Thanks Facebook On This Day for reminding me)
TAKEN: NOVEMBER 14th, 2012

He  continued by referencing that he had enjoyed my October 27th post. Mentioned that he'd put two and two together, cracked the code and continued to explain his own experience with the very same entity I was bitching about: I was speechless. 

Look, I started this whatchamacallit thing as a clueless empty-nester that admired two other female bloggers that posted on my Facebook feed.

Lost once my children left home, I remember constantly roaming around in my thoughts without a flashlight or GPS. Everywhere I looked, everyone had an agenda. In turn, I felt writing to be my only option to having a voice.

I truly do remember that very first post more than six years ago, when the negative haters looked to my ambition and told me 'blogging was dead.' I didn’t care. I had something to say. Trouble was I didn’t know exactly what that was. Even more complicated? Seven hundred and twenty six posts later, I'm not sure I know now.

Yet, after today, I know one thing. I no longer have to, nor have the desire to write in code. If I have something to say, I am going to say it. Don’t like it. Don’t read. My posts may have be coming fewer and farther between but that is going to change. I'll never stop voicing my opinions. It’s simply who I am.... 

An opinionated, fun loving, sarcastic jokester, that's gonna keep on keeping  it real.

Afterall, if a stranger can break the code, maybe it's time to remove the password!

Monday, October 30, 2017

PRAISE THE GHOURD!

'RELAX' I said.
'...I promise you won't feel a thing!'
TAKEN: OCTOBER 21st, 2017
...Where the hell did October go?

I can’t believe one of my favorite months of the year has a single hallowed eve left then it's over.

With my autumn vibe on and it officially kickin' it old school, I can't help but feel this year's passing us by far quicker than I ever figured it would.

Anyway, after my last post, I am pleased to report that the closest friend I've ever been blessed to have reached out via text. Both hardwired for success, over time we'd shifted our focus from one and other to individual results. Inevitably apart, we never lost touch.

Though some time had lapsed since last connecting, I find it truly amazing that we both openly admitted we've never replaced the other in the BFF department.  I suspect neither of us have because the real deal can rarely be replicated.

As I prepare to let October go, I feel the need to report the Farmer’s Almanac I torched Labour Day weekend (for predicting snow would arrive and stay mid October) was truly burned in vain. Its blasphemous prediction resulted in a sad and somewhat unnecessary literary sacrifice on my part.

Note to self: Work on controlling your extremely combustible premature October reactions when they are attached to a very specific offering of 'top secret mathematical & astronomical formulas for predicting weather'!

Which I can only follow up with... Praise the ghourd!

In turn, y'all have 3 Bloody Marys  as we await our nasty arch nemesis, November!!

#yagottalaughaboutit