Tuesday, March 14, 2017

STUPID MENTAL-PAUSE

So it begins. The complete and total bullshit that goes along with getting older. To hell will growing old gracefully, lately I've been pummeled into submission by flurry of medical jargon, all looping back to simple fact that I am a quinquagenarian. I'm seriously pissed off, though really just mad at myself.

In 2011 I made some very significant life changes and lost close to 50 lbs. When I share that with people they seem surprised but the truth of the matter is that I disguised it quite well with how I dressed. During that journey, I promised myself I would never let it happen again. Until this past December, when I was blind-sided by an emotional setback and a quick spike of weight gain returned. Not because I was ill, simply because I was self medicating myself through a very trying time: with food.

I LOVE MAXINE!
(C) Hallmark Licensing Inc.
If that surprises you, I will admit that I engage in regular conversation with a good friend about the power of food and the damage it can do. I haven't always struggled, it's just that my relationship with food changed drastically after my dad died in June 2005.

Shortly after his passing the tipping of the scale (so to speak) was slower at first. The settling of the estate took longer than expected which was not only stressful but extremely painful personally.

Little by little my portion sizes got larger and the muscle mass and cardiovascular condition I had worked my entire life to build up, slowly deteriorated.

In hindsight, I recall during this painful time, I hid how much I ate and internalized everything. Thanks to some good therapy, I learned to rationalize and understand what was happening personally and counter balance the triggers. Apparently this last slip has come with some severe consequences; all which are intertwined to my long term health and wellness.

You see, when a close friend was diagnosed with colorectal cancer, I figured it was time to get the skinny (no pun intended) on where I was at with my overall health. Going in, I had some severe underlying concerns but my main fear was being diagnosed with diabetes. Turns out I am A-OK in that department but have a plethora of other issues directly related to my weight gain. So, I have to lose 20 lbs in 3 months.

I lost the 50lbs I was mentioning with the time lapse being close to a year. Not bad as the gain happened over four years but in this challenge, I won't have that luxury. Apparently I have to become as close to a vegan as humanly possible. For a person that loves beef and pork and every single fixin' they get plated with, I think it will be a definite challenge.

With no one to blame but myself, I am not going to allow anyone to enable me into thinking I have food options outside the wellness doctor I have been assigned. Besides, you know what I always say.....

Life is hard right up until the moment it isn't!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

LIFE LESSON #883

When riding shotgun in the carpool tonight, I spied a familiar face manning the crosswalk at our busiest intersection in town. Though there’s a traffic light there, the walk's exceptionally long and the flashing stop sign she holds high most certainly keeps the little ones out of harms way. I immediately noticed she was limping.

As we drove through on our way home, I physically turned my head to watch her.  Out of the blue I felt the need to disclose her name and mention the type of wrath she was subjected to when we were in high school. The truth of the matter is that after sharing about her journey I was embarrassed that I remembered such finite details.

You see, it wasn’t I that was the bully. The hard fact's the ones making fun of her, were also the ones continually making fun of me. The single difference between she and I was that I got to walk around in their presence. To this day, those that treated the two us that way, are generally still the same;  ill informed, overbearing and insecure.

One of my teen year bullies snapped this picture.
(Introducing a one time blog costar: Dusty)
TAKEN: WINTER 1983
To let you know where I'm headed with this, I saw a meme on Facebook this afternoon that said “I’d rather have an enemy that admits they hate me, instead of a friend that secretly puts me down.” I see some serious merit in that.

I am embarrassed to admit that in one very singular instance (in fact, with the person that took the picture I am sharing) I occupied that latter lane I am referencing; and she willingly did the same.

I use to be remorseful at how I forced our friendship to an end, yet everyday I am grateful I finally did. I was drowning in her consumption of my good nature, which served as premium fuel for her narcissistic agenda. That was about 20 years ago, and if there is one single thing we now agree upon, it's that neither have a single use for the other.

I'm no shrink but I believe (for me, anyway) because I was bullied, in the past I use to let certain toxic friendships consume me to simply prove that I was worthy. All these years later, there's absolutely no comparison to where I am in my life and where they are in theirs. The only way I can rationalize the difference, is that I've never stopped learning and they've always believed they know everything. 

My point tonight's that watching the local crossing guard limp way, I was offered an instant 30+ year flashback. I instantly envisioned all of us standing in that high school atrium on that very day. Reflecting, I immediately had an profound sadness come over me and  it's because I still only keep in touch with only one gal that witnessed what I did on the day I am writing about.

The saddest part to my story?

In mid-life, that gal is still a part of that specific crew. All these years later, she's become the one they secretly put down behind her back. They always have and with her BFF's behaviour being deemed acceptable since public school, I suspect they always will.

For the umpteen time I write but refrain from using all caps.... Mean people suck!!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

...HOW BIG WAS IT?!

I fell in love at first sight!
TAKEN: MARCH 4th, 2017
Well, I ventured about 50 miles south to go shopping last Saturday. Not for groceries or shoes, dog cookies or clothes. Matter a fact, it was something much more personal. So much so that when I spied this amazing thing of beauty from across the store, my heart literally skipped a beat. Trouble was, I instantly realized it was simply too big. You read that right. Once again, I was quickly reminded that size DOES matter. 

Allow me to take a step back. For numerous reasons, I usually checked my luggage. I keep my electronics and digital cameras in my 50 lb tickle trunk that I cleverly disguise as a purse and everything else gets zipped up and manhandled rougher than the young gal in a red room scene of 50 Shade of Gray. I've always just budgeted that lost time into my vacation; which was considered my norm until my weekend jaunt to Cuba.

For my quick February fly-in I knew I was departing late Thursday afternoon and coming home just before midnight the following Sunday. Thus, we all decided to stay calm and carry on. All our liquids were packed the way the airlines insist and fashion choices were kept to a bare minimum. The problem was, once at the wicket, we discovered that what was an acceptable carry on a couple of years ago, was no longer and our luggage had to be checked. Suffice is to say I was disappointed with the extra time we would have to spend in both airports.

Only $52 and I'm in approved size territory!
TAKEN: MARCH 4th, 2017
Checking luggage aside, I learned a lot of things about myself on my puddle jump to Cuba. First and foremost, that you don’t need to go somewhere for a week to have an amazing experience. 

With a less than 3 hour flight (and 15 minute bus ride to the resort) I returned to the northern tundra relaxed and recharged and used only 2 of my 2017 vacation days for a Cuban passport stamp.

Next up? New Orleans, Louisiana for my birthday. How many vacation days will be used? Only 3 in total!

As it stands now, I am saving seven for Secrets Cozumel at the fall time change, leaving me another long weekend adventure to look forward to.

Now that I am all sized up in the luggage department I think I just may need to take a few days before or after the Canadian Thanksgiving and hit the road. Hmm... I wonder when and where the Raptors play in October?

Hang on. Let me run and put on my K-Low jersey and check the schedule!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

OUTDOOR RHONDI REFLECTION

Beauty day at the cottage!
TAKEN: FEBRUARY 20th, 2017
Like the majority of Canadians, last weekend I celebrated the Family Day long weekend. Though I spoke with each of my children more than once electronically, it was my fur babies that received the bulk of my attention, as the 4 of us spent most the weekend outside. 

To compliment that, as I do quite often when I have some time to myself, over early morning coffee last weekend I reflected on what I had going on this time last year; the year before that and so on. 

If you don’t relate to the concept of keeping an electronic journal you may find my next point a tad odd to fathom. But I love the fact that I have a accumulated a snapshot in time of what I've had happening in the last few years of my life. A wee titch creepier is that I remember my general mindset with regards to 99.9% of the things I have written about, as well as whom/what I've addressed. Not because my OCD trumps my limited writing skills but simply because most of my posts have an extremely personal element attached.

Some appear as simple quirky stories, yet most have an underlying theme that either masks the pain I was feeling when solidifying my thoughts, or that typing out and posting my thoughts helped me release the stress associated with a specific situation; ultimately allowing me to let the angst go.

Believe it or not, the funniest ones, were the most emotional to write. As I sit back and look at where I'm at personally, today, at this point in time, I am shocked how I have evolved since I posted my first offering on November 20th, 2011.
(CLICK TO READ: Here We Go!)  

The first few years were essential to me finding out where I fit. Not in a 'square hole/round peg' type of scenario, rather a 'what was I meant to do when I grow up' sort of crossroad. All these years later, though I may have grown exponentially as a person, I still have questions... and some of them are absolutely ridiculous. 

At the end of the day, I guess I am sharing that I have finally come to terms with the fact that I march to the beat of a different drummer. Though I will admit I have discovered that no matter how hard I try to change things about my persona and I am unable, that drummer and I will always strive to understand why.

As I pack up the pups and head for a sleepover at the cottage my mind will wander with all the different dummers that have inspired me. Let's see: Phil Collins, Don Henley, Neil Peart and most definitely Levon Helm. Oh ya, mustn't forget that one armed dummer Rick Allen from Def Lepard.  His is the voice in my head that confirms I will never let others judge me for my choices.

Because, ultimately, they are MINE!

Monday, February 20, 2017

GUESS WHAT? I STAND CORRECTED!

Well, it’s hard to believe that exactly a week ago today, I was headed back up the 400 highways to Muskoka after they’d been hammered by snow; and I’d been experiencing a similar but different kinda action by the pool, by the ocean, and wonderful stage lights of the resort shows I attended.

Relaxin' & chillaxin' on the beautiful Cuban sand.
TAKEN: FEBRUARY 11th, 2017
Jokes aside, though we gals sipped and walked, sipped and swam, whilst ending our days sipping and singing, there were never any out of control (nor expressing any silly impaired judgement) moments. Just some serious relaxation and a lot of fun. The truth of the matter is that most of our entertainment came from watching others storm & perform.

Imagine a 300lb football player, impaired, in a banana hammock: doing the moves from Dirty Dancing (including the lift) with his very intoxicated man friend. Bat shit crazy, hilarious and by far my most entertaining afternoon spent by a pool, EVER.

So, here’s the deal. As you've read, I had some serious reservations about my trek. I was fine with the shortened timeline because I had no idea what I was signing up for and I had a contingency plan in place for their food.

Well, exactly seven days later, I will go on the record that I stand corrected. I was a complete bonehead. Everything about Cuba was amazing. So great in fact, that my focal point about the food being lackluster was moot.

Quick flight, only 15 minutes on the bus to the resort, and sand beaches like no other I have ever been blessed to walk. I met a lovely couple from Halifax, a great couple of ladies from Winnipeg, and even someone from my hometown that noticed us walk by our very first morning by the pool. Rooms were clean, staff extremely accommodating, and the weather was perfect. I think the even bigger shock to my system is that I would most definitely return. Once again, for a quick long weekend next February.

What can I say? When I’m wrong, I say I’m wrong. The other side of the coins is what Confucius say… Two wrongs not make right, but two rights make U-turn. Right the hell back to Cuba!

Who’s in for February 2018? All, are welcome... I’ll bring the peanut butter & ketchup!

CAYO COCO, CUBA
TAKEN: FEBRUARY 2017

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

MY CUBAN SURVIVAL KIT

Well, I am sad to report that it's with the least amount of enthusiasm EVER that I packed my carry on travel bag last weekend. Not because I'm long in the tooth about getting away, rather the simple fact that I've never had any type of wanderlust fantasies about jetting off to Cuba for the weekend; yet I am.

If I were to be completely honest, I think I'm pouting. The original plan was to head to a condo in Grand Cayman for the weekend. When timing on that unexpectedly changed, Cuba seemed like a good way for my daughter (to get her first) and I to get a new passport stamp without breaking the piggy bank. Was I wrong. Last minute at a 4.5* resort in Cuba was bat shit crazy pricey. I didn't care. As this mini vaycay was always going to be a very personal one.

Personal or not, I suspected I was cooked when my Travel Counsellor refused to candy coat exactly what I was paying for. "The beaches are beautiful, the service amazing, and the people are some of the nicest you'll ever meet..." Then she added... "When it comes to the food? It is, what it is. You will probably be disappointed." 

Always one to look for a solution rather than dwell on the problem, I figured there must be an easy way to make it through my 3 day weekend in Cuba. So, I decided to create a Cuban Survival Kit. It doesn't contain a Spanish/English dictionary, water purification tablets, an epipen, nor a signaling mirror should I lose my way.

After a careful assessment of our personal party planning needs, my survival kit officially includes three very critical things: Heinz ketchup, French's mustard and just enough Kraft smooth peanut butter to make a girl smile. (I also have some salt, pepper, and herb flavours stashed in my makeup bag.)

Once again, I am leaving on a jet plane. This time packing a survival kit.
TAKEN: FEBRUARY 5th, 2017

Though I know many other items are needed, two of my three survival items are extremely important. The first two will make my poolside/beachfront BBQ dining experiences a gastronomical delight. The third, the Kraft peanut butter, combined with any type of bread, at any time of the day, shall produce a rub-a-tummy-yummy feast in the 'I am hungry' department. Here's my plan...

When in Cuba: Soak up the sun. Embrace the culture. Hydrate, yet lose weight.

Wow, you'd almost think that was a Jenny Craig endorsement!

Nope, just 3 amigos on a very personal mission... with me seeking a new passport stamp. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

PLEASE CHECK YOUR MILK CARTON...

 Cheers to my newest Brit friend June...
Cozumel was amazing.
So was my very first margarita!
TAKEN: DECEMBER 3rd, 2016
Has your life ever gotten so busy that you've lost track of who you really are? Well, I am sad to report that I honestly feel that scenario has officially happened to me. Gobsmacked to admit it, all I can manage to type is... What the freakin' hell is going on!

Here's the skinny. Unbeknownst to yours truly, in the last year and a half, I've somehow evolved into an ultra conservative schoolmarm. I may have always been lacking on the adventurous side when it came to risk taking, but schoolmarmishness (my new word of the week) has never remotely been an option. To make matters worse, I've always envisioned myself being the one in the old age home embracing sarcasm and telling jokes filled with sexual innuendo; or so I'd thought.

What I do know is that my very new to me condition became polarized about six months ago. I remember it well because there was a very specific moment in which I realized that I had evolved into a completely different person than the one I'd worked the last five years to discover. Then, my heavyhearted worry came full circle with the sharp realization that I was suspiciously comfortable in authentic knee length pantaloons whilst sporting little makeup and bad hair in public.

Yup, it was in that very moment of downtown comfort that I realized what I'd transformed into & that there needed to be some serious changes made quickly. Comfortable albeit still in a state of disbelief, I frantically went from store to store around town checking milk cartons and the missing person photos on side. Sadly, though there have been a couple of reported sightings of the good ole me, they have been few and far between.

The good news is that my analysis tells me that there were glimpses of me on my last trip to Mexico. It also tells me that returning to the harsh December Muskoka tundra, had me immediately revert back to searching for those comfy pantaloons quicker than Donald Trump lies. It's true, my reversion was  instantaneous. As a result, I decided to take another kick at the 'rediscover my identity' can.

Next weekend I am leaving on a jet plane for a girlz getaway. It's only for 3 nights but it is the first time in my entire life that I am hopping a plane and I am not completely burnt out. There will be no overthinking and most definitely no schoolmarmishness happening. Just a conscious effort to regain a personal starting point whilst basking in the Caribbean sun.

As you can imagine, last minute this time of year can be expensive. Here's hoping when on my rediscovery mission I find myself on a local milk container and haul my pantaloonless ass home. I have to say, it would be great for their carton stats to have rescued another one.

...To which I would always be grateful.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

NO SOUP FOR ME!

Last week produced some of the worse walking and driving conditions in my neck of the woods in a very long time. The good news is that by the time Friday morning rolled around the mercury was well above freezing and it managed to climb to a balmy 5C yesterday. It felt good to be out and about town without a coat in January.

So here's the million dollar question of the day: A northerner by birth, have I finally learned to live in harmony with winter; or am I just so conditioned to going through the motions, that I can completely compartmentalize my serious disdain for this time of year? For a couple of reasons, in this very moment, I have to go with the latter.

Road were exactly like my rear view mirror... Slickery!
TAKEN: JANUARY 18th, 2017
You see, over the holiday break I received some very shocking & heartbreaking personal news about a very dear friend. So as a group it was decided we'd hop a plane and head into the sun for the Family Day long weekend. Nothing extravagant, just a quick flight and 3 quiet days away from it all. As always, I gladly offered to book everything online.

Having had no time to really focus on flight times etc., I decided to finally roll up my jammie sleeves this morning, go online and book. The original condo decided upon was out of the question as the owner got his dates mixed up. So, as a back up, I'd short listed other options. The disappointment this morning's that I should have never procrastinated as I have to go back to the drawing board.

Dang, spang! Before my exercise this morning, I genuinely found the thought of last minute travel exciting; which is no longer the case. My bad. Because I want specific criteria met, I am not having much luck. The truth is I was trolling my friends on Facebook in hopes of getting some suggestions and help; and though they've all been helpful, I am disappointed to report there's still no soup for me.

Yep, even though there's no soup for me, my glass half full's reminding me that it's a probably a good thing. With my complete and total crap luck these last few months, I'm sure had I hit the jackpot today and scored what I wanted,  the soup served would not have been piping hot and hearty.

Likely the opposite.You know, more a bland and unsalted cold vichyssoise!

What can I say other than....Ya Gotta Laugh About It!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

NEVER WORRY WHAT OTHERS SEE

Always be whom you choose to be... Never worry about what others think they see.
TAKEN: DECEMBER 4th, 2016

This past year’s been a bit on an shit show as well as an exhausting whirlwind for me. So many firsts, as well as a couple of very significant lasts. I guess the Coles notes version would be that I traveled a bit and accomplished a lot. I am pleased to report that I reached the personal goals I'd set for myself, even though one very specific wasn’t truly crossed off my list until right before the clock struck twelve on the last day of the year; proving once again that you should never give up on something you're truly passionate about.

Well, just like this time last year, the cycle begins again. A little better than two weeks into 2017 I'm all ready feeling a tad overwhelmed with how I am going accomplish everything I want to in this year to come. I haven’t formally written down my personal goals on paper per say but I have a general outline as to where I want to land within the next 50 weeks. For the first time in my life, my goals contain some significant variables.

Anyway, as we roll into the year, I am pleased to announce that I have a new mantra. My 2016 lessons learned file has made me promise myself I will always be whom I choose to be, promising never to worry about what others think they see.

This new to me mantra arrives with the a specific caveat. If 2016 taught me anything, it was the reality to never allow anyone to take over your focus, no matter how badly you want to please them. At the end of the day, the majority of your time's spent simply inflating their personal agenda. I honestly feel if I keep my own personal focus, every single aspect about 2017 is going to be a win.

Why so simplistic? Though it's taken me a lot of years, I can honestly say look at myself in the mirror every morning and I like what I see. I treat people the way I want to be treated, I hold myself accountable without lying to escape the truth of an uncomfortable situation, and give 110%... 99.99% of the time. In 2017, I should I blessed and remain healthy, I've decided to only spend my time with those that truly matter.

Which is why I pledge to no longer fret about those that refuse to see... ME!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

AM I JINXED... OR IS IT JUSTICE?

For a very long time, years in fact, I've been debating replacing my beloved Blackberry. The truth of the matter is because it was once such a stellar Canadian company, I swore I would stay loyal until their ship officially sunk. Recently (via my cell phone provider) I discovered that Google's bought a large chunk of Blackberry and has hammered home an Android only application mandate. With all ongoing support quickly evaporating, I realized that my Blackberry Classic rollerball/keypad buttons/happy hub days were officially numbered.

Adamant that I would never EVER buy an iPhone, I began to research Samsung. My first purchase was their tablet, next their television, then first of November past I bought their S6 Edge cellphone. Still unsure I could ever let my Blackberry go, I bought this very sexy phone previously used. You know, so that we could date for a while before making any kind of long term commitment to each other.

Well, from the get go I immediately struggled. I hung in so not appear bias; then I left for Mexico and all hell broke loose. About half way through my two week vacation, my new to me Samsung shut off and wouldn’t reboot. I trolled and scrambled online to find out the issue but short story long, I assessed that it was probably toast. I was heartbroken. Not because I had become attached to the phone but because my great quality vaycay pics had been lost. As a result, I had to retrieve my trusty Blackberry from the resort safe. It had been locked in there since the very first day.

When I got back to Canada I didn’t deal with my new to me phone issue head on, just simply tried to start it every day, in hopes of some technological miracle. It never arrived.  So after Christmas, once I was mentally prepared to lose all my pictures, I took it into our local iRepair shop. They told me that all it needed a new charging port. The next day, and another $73.95 invested, I had my device and all of my pictures back.

Grateful for my vaycay pics back. Great view from my room!
Photo Credit: Blackberry Classic
TAKEN: DECEMBER 30th, 2016
All of that said, I was still not 100% committed to changing, so I continued use both phones in tandem.... Fast forward to last weekend. Which is where I get pissed off.

I've never carried my phone in my pocket, always in my purse. Last Saturday my extremely expensive cellphone (with the sexy curved screen) inadvertently landed in my unzipped coat pocket. Pissed off at a specific moment in my day, I hopped in the car slammed the door. With something jamming it, it wouldn't close.

Thinking nothing of it, I reefed on the door again putting all my frustration behind it, I heard a crunch. Finally, I adjusted my coat and tried a third time and it closed. Unbeknownst to me, the noise I was hearing was the shattering of the (newly repaired) S6 screen.

A lengthy stream of profanity later, all I’ll say is that the repair cost almost $300 and I’m spent. I am not putting another dime into this phone, nor am I investing close to $1000 for a new one, I don't care how good the camera is!

That said, I have to wonder if my luck is simply Blackberry karma for my swift shift in company loyalty. If so, I guess I should apologize.... I'm sorry for looking elsewhere Research In Motion. I only chose Samsung as a 'just in case' so that if they acquired you we'd always be together. Who and the hell knew Google was going buy into the game and win the race?

Not this totally jinxed Samsung... and very reflective Blackberry user!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

ARRIVEDERCI 2016. WELCOME 2017.


Well, once again the old guy is getting ready to hand things over to that chubby little baby in a diaper. In a matter of hours, a massive amount of new year cheer will be consumed and as the clock strikes 12, people will gladly kiss & hug total strangers. Sounds like me on a random Friday night at the Griffin Pub... Luckily, it acceptable behaviour tonight.

Similar to most of you reading, I can honestly say that when I reflect on the last year, it's with a true sense of positivity and a feeling of personal pride. Exactly one year ago today, I set some specific goals that I've not only accomplished, I've exceeded. I may have worked a ton and a half but I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that my inner drive was complimented by the need and delivery of four seasons of exceptional Muskoka weather. 

Barometric elation aside, I guess I am trying to relay that in a nutshell I had a really good year. So very grateful for so many things, yet there is only one place to start. Look at those kids. We're so very blessed. Truly thankful for them, as well as our good health. Nothing tops those two. Nothing will ever come close.

So grateful for a year full of wonderful memories. Thankful for so much.
TAKEN: Throughout 2016

The other side of my so very thankful for coin would have to be all the blatantly obvious things I need to simply let go of. I'm not sure if I ever shared this before but every year between Christmas and New Year Eve, I buy myself a new purse. Just like this electronic journal, my 'purse' tradition has grown with the same personal passion. 

You see, when I ring in the new year with a new purse, it's an official message that I can leave all the crap that followed me and weighed me down within the last year, exactly there. My new purse is only intended to carry fresh opportunities, new goals, and positive vibes. Tomorrow, my current purse stays exactly where it should: in 2016. 

Happy 2017 everyone. As we journey into our seventh year together, thanks to each and every one of you for reading. It is truly appreciated.

Godspeed ~Rhondi

Friday, December 30, 2016

WILL THIS GENERATION MANAGE?

Well, I spent my morning doing the house budget for the next three months, as well as really analyzing the one I had in place for the prior three. The good news is the next three look outstanding. The last three? Absolutely, horrendous. Knowing full well there was more going out than going in, early-November I made a surprise announcement to my grown children: “The Bank... IS CLOSED!”

I should've done it this past summer and I have no one to blame but myself. Against any/all good judgement, I am the one that kept the 24 hour wicket open. It took a couple of very large dollar (hollow promised) 'I'll pay you back' incidents for me to realize they had no intention of doing so; so I finally shut 'er down.

A very necessary... But dreaded task!
TAKEN: DECEMBER 30th, 2016
When I think back, I credit my mother with a number of my character traits but there are two in particular I am grateful for as I muddle through midlife. 

She always taught me to pay myself first, which I do; and the second is that (from her wheelchair) she taught me how to structure/follow a monthly house budget. I still remember she use to make me type it out, after she passed I had a ledger book, now I simply use a formulated excel spreadsheet. Today, I offered to teach my daughter how easy it is; she agreed to try.

Budget mentoring aside, as I look at the next three months, I see some very solid savings into April. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I was disappointed last fall to have to cancel my 2017 birthday trip to China. I worked extremely hard to save that money, and because I have always refused to travel on credit nor retirement savings, a change in plans was my only option. At the end of it all, I just keep telling myself that those dollars were simply needed somewhere else. Somewhere much more important. With a deep hope, that when transferred, they were truly appreciated. 

Now that my first quarter budget is officially done, I need to find my bottle of glue. Time to put that blasted piggy bank I decimated a few months back, back together. You see, many moons ago I went for the really shiny, pretty porcelain finished piggy, when my gut told me the practical purchase was the ugly plastic one with the key in its belly. Again, my own fault.

Now, where the hell is that glue!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

NOT A CREATURE WAS STIRRING…

A quiet house waiting for morn.
TAKEN: DECEMBER 24th, 2016
Well, once again, that’s it for Christmas. 

So much hype and panic that ultimately resulted in your annual giant turkey and carb coma. Oh my goodness, I don’t know about you but I felt full of holiday food until I went to bed Boxing Day night!

As much as year over year the traditions of the season remain the same, this year I found myself in much different territory. Our last child moved out in mid-December and I admit I am a tad surprised how big I immediately found the house. Not in a bad way, more a truly unexpected one.

One doesn't recall what it's like to not have a roommate until you wake up at 5:30am for work and realize you don't need to worry whom will hear you. For me, I thought that's what I missed most; then Christmas Eve hit.

For the first year ever, I didn't get together with a single one of my children on the eve. To mark another first, they all have roommates. Yup, on the eve I got up in the morn, posted to my blog, ran my errands and settled in for the day. I had an early dinner, watched a movie and headed to bed early. So early, that I woke up at 5am reminiscing on how the kids use to wake us up in the dark. Right up until they left the first time more than 5 years ago.

As I awoke and perked the coffee Christmas morn, I wasn't surprised that it was my daughter leading the plight to head home. She's always been the holiday gatekeeper but I found myself glad that she hadn't changed. You know why?

No matter how much I hate the lack of light this time of year, she provides more than enough energy for everyone around her; it's refreshing.

For that, I will always be absolutely and unequivocally grateful.

Who needs a selfie stick when you have Goobs extra long reach?
TAKEN: DECEMBER 25th, 2016

Saturday, December 24, 2016

MY UNEXPECTED CHRISTMAS GIFT

For a fella that lives in Grand Cayman....
My recent tan could compete!!
TAKEN: DECEMBER 23rd, 2016
In September of 2014, I parked my butt at a small coffee shop in town to meet with a very close personal friend and co-worker.

He'd recently resigned from the company that we’d both worked for and wanted to meet to share where his journey was taking him next.

From the moment he walked up to me and hugged me, it was like not a day had passed. I remember he had so much to say to me, that he wrote me a letter.

A tad surprised, I started to read. I could feel his eyes watching me as his powerful words brought me to tears.

Well, yesterday I walked into that very same coffee shop and he was sitting at the exact table we shared in 2014. Once again, we hugged.  Just like 2+ years ago, it felt like not a single day had passed. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve spoken on the phone dozens of times; but the last time we were actually in the same time zone together was that rainy afternoon in the fall of 2014.

I don’t know about you but there are very few people I have met in my lifetime that I trust with all of my heart. Glen, is one of them. I went to work for the company he was a partner in so that I could specifically work with him. From the day I started, it was evident that his experience & knowledge were challenged by none. The other tidbit that came to fruition quickly? When we teamed together, we were unstoppable!

Anyway,  my recap aside, we agreed to meet again next week before he returns to Grand Cayman.  As I walked away I waved and yelled with a matter a fact and melodious, ‘I love you…’  Then, when I got home, I immediately opened my lock box and once again read his very powerful letter that was written September 29th, 2014.

It opened with, 'I wanted to take this time and let you know several things, as I have chosen to be so quiet over the last almost year.'  The truth of the matter is that a strong friendship like ours doesn’t need daily conversation nor being together. I guess it’s because I feel that as long as our relationship lives in the heart, as true friends, we will never be part. Chatting face to face most certainly reinforced those points for both of us.

As 2016 closes and we greet 2017, there’s one thing I know for sure. The older I get the more evident it’s become that I am in need of fewer friends. For me, though an extrovert, the premise over the past year has evolved from quantity to quality. Hence, why in the next year, I intend on embracing only those that are truly sincere.

Merry Christmas Eve all. Hug those you love and be grateful for your blessings. Life is far too short to settle for anything less.

Peace Out.

Friday, December 9, 2016

HOLY MAYAN HOT FLASH BATMAN!

Like most of the vacations I plan, I research them based on personal referrals from friends and family. I select a destination, then ask the masses for feedback. I realize everyone spends their vacation time in different ways, yet if you’ve had a blast, I generally want to start with your personal input. 

Anyway, my point is that personally chasing as many different stamps in my passport before I hit the ripe old age of 57, is beginning to present challenges. Though I hop a plane only twice a year, I have begun to realize that I am a lot of years shy and running out of direct flight/same time zone/kick ass options. Sad, because I live in the Canadian snow-belt, suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, and LOTS of sunshine is  #1 on my 'must have' list.  

Future travel concerns aside, for all that are wondering, Riviera Maya did not disappoint. A little over a three hour flight from Toronto to Cancun I immediately hit the ground running. Like always, I knew that I wanted to golf when I was there and among other things I wanted to visit the Mayan ruins in Tulum. Not because I'm a history buff but because I wanted to experience their journey for myself; and I honestly don't think I will ever return.

Nothing like an hour and a half stroll in 31C+ weather.
 Incredible experience just the same.
TAKEN: DECEMBER 8th, 2016 

Though I know my returning won't impact their overall tourism statistics, I will endorse that my last four passport stamps have been awarded in Mexico. For a gal that had reservations about ever going to the country in the first place, I am completely and unequivocally hooked. 

For the record, my primary worry was never violence, more the condition of their drinking water. So, for those of you that don't know, their laws (especially in tourist based areas) have become significantly more stringent. As a result, I have always been able to brush my teeth using the tap water on all of my excellent adventures.

As I head home tomorrow, I've so many things to be grateful for. 

Undeniably grateful that I got to hug a cousin (for the first time in more than a decade) and we weren't at a funeral. My wonderful children that took care of my pups so that I could once again travel n' discover, but first and foremost to my very memorable strapless bra....That absorbed more excreted sweat than any peri-menopausal  hot flash could produce whilst walking the ruins at Tulum. 

Trust me when I report that there's a boatload of really good water in Mexico.

I rung out the best of it from my tank top at the resort.. Just to make my point!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

MY MEXICAN THREESOME


As you know, I love to read. Nowadays, I do the majority of it online but there's really something special about being on vacation and actually holding onto a book. That said, I have taken the same author on vacation every year since the year before I got married.

I remember my first encounter with them being at the condo we were staying at, in Madeira Beach, Florida. The gal I was travelling with was in the midst of reading a book called Fine Things. She was telling me about it and it sounded intriguing. When she finished reading it, I borrowed it and was hooked; I have been reading Danielle Steel ever since.

That said, I read more of her now, than I did in the early years. When the kids were small, if I was lucky, I use to get to read two books a year. One driving to our vacation destination, the second driving home. Back then, I primarily borrowed the books from friends but for the last ten or fifteen years, I've collect the majority of them from used book stores and various yard/estate sales.

Anyway, this summer when I was rearranging the spare bedroom at the cottage, I found a stash of more than 3 dozen paperbacks packed away under a bed. Rummaging through, I found a couple that I had never read before, accompanied by a couple of copies of the ones I'd liked most.

Fourth bestselling author of all time, with over 800 million copies sold. We ALL can't be wrong!
TAKEN: DECEMBER 6th, 2016
When I knew I was headed to Mexico for a couple of weeks (and the weight in my luggage under serious scrutiny) I had to choose carefully how to fill my beachfront obsession. I am pleased to report that the three (new to me) that traveled from home and will return to my bookshelf at the cottage did not disappoint.

With her having written 101 novels... Thanks to these, my total rolled to over 60 read. 

Thanks, Mexico. You provided me with MY KINDA THREESOME!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

THANKS, COZUMEL. I’LL BE BACK

As you know, I am the least spontaneous person you will ever meet. Seriously, it’s not that I am a control freak, rather I admittedly have some deep seeded fears of the unknown. As silly as that may read, I work really had to step outside my comfort zone. 

That said, I can’t remember that last time I did something as spontaneous as I did yesterday. Wait, yes I do. It was April of 2015 and it was amazing. Don’t regret that; most certainly don’t regret unexpectedly hopping a ferry to Cozumel for the day yesterday.

The truth is that I was walking the beach in Playa Del Carmen minding my own business. In the centre of the City, down by the pier, there is the most amazing sculpture of a man an woman of the sea. I was enthralled. My camera couldn’t keep up.

My very SEXY ride.
TAKEN: DECEMBER 3rd, 2016
As I headed past it and toward the wharf, I saw the most beautiful modern ferry. Knowing my life insurance was in good standing, I became curious. 

As soon as I hit the main walkway to the pier, they were everywhere.  It was like they were professional panhandlers for selling ferry tickets to Cozumel. Instinctively I knew I wanted to go. The other thing I knew was that I wanted to cross on the nicest ferry at the pier.

So, literally within less than 10 minutes of landing at the Playa Del Carmen pier for the day, I was leaving. Off on a boat with nothing but a smile, a bunch of Pecos, in search of an adventure.  I wasn’t disappointed. From the time I got off the boat it was like I had stepped into the mid 1970’s (aside from the Hard Rock CafĂ© and Cartier stores)!

I wandered the street with my camera and settled on a second story restaurant for an amazing Mexican lunch and my very first Margarita. With the ferry leaving to go back to Playa Del Carmen every hour on the hour, after a couple of hours of shopping I paid my 70 pecos and returned to the mainland.

As the ferry left the Cozumel dock I knew that I would be back. All I could think was this would be an amazing place to take my birthday trip. 

Thanks Cozumel. I WILL be back. I'm thinking in April of 2017!

If I didn't have the pictures... I wouldn't believe I went!
TAKEN: DECEMBER 3rd, 2016


Saturday, December 3, 2016

PLAYA DEL KARMA

Yesterday, I got on a bus. Not a coach bus like Greyhound provides, nor something as posh as the TTC offers in downtown Toronto; instead I took the Mexican Transit. Essentially a Volkswagen mini-van that seated about 12, desperately needed brakes, and drove at a minimum highway speed of about 100 miles an hour. I knew the moment I got on I was in for an adventure.

As I stood at the side of the six lane highway awaiting my Chariot from hell, I couldn’t help but look at the directional sign in front of me. I didn’t read the words per say, more absorbed what the symbols on the sign meant to me specifically in that moment.

Awaiting my Chariot.
TAKEN: DECEMBER 3rd, 2016
Do I turn around and go back? If I do, will I regret it?

Do I wait a little longer in hopes of continuing on the path I have chosen?

Or, do I just pull out my credit card, take the taxi behind me, in hopes of finding what I need faster? 

In the end, good ole predictable me kept my feet planted, stayed my course, and board the mini-bus.

That said, I’m not sure what you believe, but I most certainly believe in karma. I wholeheartedly believe that if I look you in the eye and smile I have close to an 100% chance you will look back at me and smile. I also believe in the tone of my voice. When genuinely speaking to someone, my tone shows that I am first and foremost, a caring person. If you get something outside of that, I am simply reciprocating the karma vibe I'm receiving.

Yesterday, karma was my friend. Not one of the peeps on that bus spoke English. Not only that, no one had time for a ridiculous Canadian tourist. But the look in my eyes and the tone of my voice had others helping me. I made it safely to my destination and back with the help of bus load of hard working Mexican people that probably didn't earn the price tag of my trip in a year. I was truly grateful.

Now, if I could only get some of the shit heads that are lucky enough to be in my life to get on board with this simple philosophy… Life would be absolutely grand!

Friday, December 2, 2016

MY VERY FIRST BRAZILIAN

Well, it was officially day three and I felt I needed a bit of adventure. For those of you that truly know me, you know my excitement curve lands somewhere around planning on roasting a chicken for dinner and throwing those solid set plans out the window and serving pork chops instead. The vegetables would remain the same; but I’m telling ya, very exciting stuff!

With that exciting scenario in mind, you can imagine when on Day 3 of my vacation being presented with what the popular resort options were. Going through the list, whilst listening intently, I decided it was time to experience my very first “Brazilian”

As you can imagine, I had a million questions. Where do I show up? How long will it take? Will I be comfortable roaming around the resort after I’d finished? So many questions, yet so little time to confirm my reservation. Throwing caution to the wind, I signed my name.

Enjoying a glass of wine after my first 'Brazilian'
TAKEN: DECEMBER 1st, 2016
When I arrived, I was surprised how many people were around. Honestly, I was expecting it to be a tad more intimate. As I looked around, I just told myself to go with it and not to be judgmental. After all, the service had come highly recommended. Could all the women I’d spoken to be wrong?

Overall, I found it relaxing and not painful at all. It took a little over a hour and a half from start to finish and in the end I left a hefty gratuity. I would highly recommend it simple because of how unconventional it may seem. 

Yup, the Brazilian Steakhouse at the Luxury Garn Bahia Akumal was amazing!

…What in the hell were you thinking?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

FECK OFF FISHER-FOE


If I didn't see it, I woudn't have believed it.
TAKEN: DECEMBER 1st, 2016
This afternoon I was sitting in my super sexy beach chair when this dude stumbles out from who the hell knows where. As I watched this supposed ‘professional angler wanna be’ wander to the water, I almost had to look for Aston Kutcher and his film crew from his now defunct show PUNK’d.

...No such luck.

I guess I should clarify that the resort where I am staying boasts being a preserved wildlife area. Birds walk along the pool decks truly uninhibited, iguanas roam the lawns, and the fish are like pets. They are so conditioned to being around people that the fish actually jump out of the water to catch a snippet of food you may be tossing to them; just like a pup with a Frisbee.

As I watched this idiot approach the beach I couldn't help but worry. Not only was the snorkelling area full of swimmers that may take a hook but any fish would surely/enthusiastically grab at his line.

All I could do was watch in disbelief. As I rose from my chair to stop him, a lovely British lady stepped up equally pissed off. As I approached the water I could see her finger wagging which intern had this fisher-foe moving along.

She and I stood and chatted for quite sometime. By the end of our chat, we seemed to both come up with a universal label for this angler chap with absolutely NO common sense.

GOOF! YUP... This Fisher-foe was nothing but a fat hairy goof!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

MY PERSONAL PEACE IN SUNLIGHT

Well, to nip my Seasonal Affective Disorder in the ass, this past Monday morn I got on a plane.  Because I share my travel adventures with you, this ‘Fall of 2016’ escapade was one I had fiercely researched and booked last June; resulting in my first ever 12-day jaunt into the sunlight.

My Trip Advisor specifics aside, as my departure drew near, I will admit that I did NOT want to go. There was a serious amount of dialogue back and forth about cancelling but in the end, my best friend convinced me that if I didn’t go into the light, the upcoming winter would consume me. At the end of the day, I knew he was right.

Unfortunately, his reassurances and prompts didn’t change for the past couple of  months my mind’s been wound tighter than a nuns’ whoo-whoo. The closer my trip approached, the more I internalized  my dismay. 

The more I compartmentalized, the less I slept. Then, that last straw broke the proverbial camels back and I realized that no matter what I did, nor what I said, some circumstances are never meant to change. So, I shed my worry and got on a plane.

Well, approximately 48 hours since arriving I think I finally may be getting into the swing of things. That said, I'll keep ya posted as I am hoping to take time and write daily. 

Something I haven't done since April...

Photography and my blog.... Two of my favourite things!
TAKEN: NOVEMBER 30th, 2016

Thursday, November 3, 2016

MY NEVERENDING QUEST

I don’t know about you, but I've a very challenging and volatile relationship with my aging metabolism. Trust me when I admit that I wasn't even remotely prepared for what midlife did to a woman’s body but will go on the record stating this: It friggin’ sucks!

My rant extinguished, I should say that my weight issue started the winter after my father passed in 2005. Over the next several years, I was in complete and utter denial that I was managing my internal turmoil by self-medicating with food. It took a serious weight gain and a personal commitment from within to regain a much needed balance. I had to dig really deep to rid my body of the processed food toxins that had taken over.

How did I do it? I saw myself in a family photo during the Christmas break of 2011. I was in shock. It was in that very instant that I made a commitment to get my life & my body back on track. Having never done so before, I made (and kept) a New Year’s resolution and on December 31st, 2011 (which is when my quest for my waist officially began).

Let's face it. I only know a very small handful of women my age that are happy with their shape and my theory is simple. Menopause blows, big time. I suppose I could spend the money on liposuction to rid the evidence that I gave birth to 3 children, instead I wear clothes that are generally flattering to my shape, while spending my savings on travelling as much as my work life allows. 

Soaking up the sun in Cabo!
TAKEN: NOVEMBER 28th, 2015

That said, though I'm generally comfortable in the skin I’m in, my upcoming vacation has me tentative for the first time since my quest began. This time last year, I could easily look at myself in my full length mirror, feeling as good about my shape as my disposition would allow.  

This year, not so much. Over the last 12 months I’ve put on some ‘stress weight’ that I am having a tough time shaking. It’s not the type of stress I experienced 10 years ago, more the ‘there aren’t enough hours in a day’ stress; which ultimately opens the door for bad food choices, creating even more stress.

Anyway, as I am officially on my vacation countdown, I tend to daydream more regularly than I normally would. When I wander off, I can feel the hot ocean sun on my face and embrace the serenity of my cellphone being locked in the safe.  The other side of that coin is that I also tend to have the odd nightmare as the time draws closer too. You know the type? When you swear the resort ice cream dispenser is calling your name, or when the resort breakfast station chef asks you how you'd like your eggs? 

I think my time stresses are depleted enough that I can stay away from the ice cream machine but my biggest challenge will present itself when I am asked how I like my eggs.

I keep reassuring myself, that I will not respond how I am truly feeling.

Which is..."I prefer my eggs... IN A CHOCOLATE CAKE!”

Thanks for listening & wish me luck. My waist is gonna need it. 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

POPPA's GONNA ROCK INSTAGRAM

Last year around this time, my Boss wandered into my office and announced he was starting to use Instagram. Knowing I'm the social media junkie I am, he was shocked when I announced that it's the only platform I’d never embraced. In hindsight I’m not sure why, because from a very young age I’ve always loved taking photos.

After him coaxing harder for me to step up, I tried to jump start my effort last winter. Yet again, I still didn’t truly grasp the concept and it felt extremely forced. Then, this past Labour Day Monday, I woke at the cottage to watch the sun rise. Just as the sun officially peeked through the trees, I unwrapped myself from my blanket, ran up from the dock, and snapped a picture. For whatever reason, I shared my freshly snapped photo on Instagram. It was like a switch flipped and I realized it was about the moment, and what a specific picture offered me personally in that moment.

Flash forward to the past Canadian Thanksgiving Monday. We get such little time together as a family, I was ecstatic for what the day was going to offer. Anyway, I must have taken 100 pictures that day on our trek of Huckleberry Rock in Muskoka. When I got home, I had so many to choose from I didn’t share any. I did update my personal Facebook page but outside of that, I’ve just sat at my desk since and admired the truly amazing day we shared.

With that, I know my avid readers and friends know about my obsession with the Petro Canada glasses I collect. So none should be surprised at what my favourite Thanksgiving picture is. When we arrived back at the house, I asked my 3 birth children and my 4th child (whom I consider a true member of our family) to enjoy a drink with my Dad.

We did.

My Instagram caption read: My very favourite people on the planet having a drink with my Dad.
Cheers Poppa!! #iloveyou #imissyou #familyfirst #wishyouwerehere
TAKEN: OCTOBER 10th, 2016

For the first time today, I have shared my Petro Canada glass obsession on Instagram. 

Not because they needed to look at a bunch of corny glasses but because my photo resembles the respect we all still have for my father. How even after all these years, he is still very much loved and truly missed. Welcome to Instagram Poppa. I’m sure those peeps will love you as much as my Friends, Tweeps, and Google+ Pals.

Now, if I could only figure out why the bazillion hashtags accompany photos....

I'd be cookin'!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

I GOTSTA MY AUTUMN ON!

Last week was somewhat of an exhausting train wreck for me. I stayed up past my bedtime four of the five week nights and therefore ended up in bed by 9pm Friday night. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I have some super sexy social life happening that I feel I am missing out on something extra special, I just don’t remember the last time my body and mind felt the need to sleep around the clock; and I did just that last Friday night.

Well rested, I did my chores, packed the pups and headed to the cottage. On the way out of town, we stopped to pick up peanuts in the shell for the chipmunks, a kick ass steak, and a small yet perfect pumpkin. When I put the pumpkin in the shopping cart I knew that I had definitely hit my stride. With my favorite season in full gear I knew I’d proudly gotten my autumn on.

You know the feeling. The grin that comes over your entire face when you put on your favourite old shirt that you refuse to part with. For me, wearing fuzzy socks and carving a pumpkin have the same effect. Both are part on my internal mechanisms that prepare me mentally for the season of hibernation that’s fast approaching.

Have you gotten your autumn on yet?
TAKEN: OCTOBER 22nd, 2016
Yes, that’s correct, I hibernate. It’s usually in the back bedroom with the covers over my head, curled up with my pups, wearing a couple layers of fuzzy socks, and Netflixs playing a loop of the sappiest chick flicks just released. Once winter hits, from Friday eve to Monday morn, I become as anti-social as a Mama Bear hunkered down in her bunker with her cubs. Should I have to exit, my departure is as swift as my return. Which usually involves a baseball cap and yoga pants, which are two defining elements of my winter wear collection. Even when I ski or snowshoe on Sundays both are included and no makeup is ever in place. 

So, knowing that is ever pressing on my horizon, you can imagine the mania and euphoria that Fall provides. It’s almost like I make every extra effort to bask in all the activities that aren’t an option over our long Canadian winters.

As I type this morning I can’t help but stare out the window at my favourite tree on our property. It’s the one behind me in the pic my husband snapped yesterday. I love it because every year, it’s the last one on our lake to give into winter. Like me, it holds out kicking and screaming. 

Its colour remains brightest the longest, and when I return from my vacation mid December it will still have some of it’s red leaves attached as it simply refuses to conform. Just like me, it pays no attention what the others around it think or do. Why would it? Why should it? Like the tree, my roots are strong and my persistence even stronger. 

So, if you haven’t yet, get the hell outside today and get your autumn on.

I promise you’ll love it …and you can thank me later!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

PEANUTS FROM HEAVEN

If you're nice to an animal, it loves you for life. 
If you're nice to a person, who the hell know what's going to happen.
~ Higher Perspectives (via Instagram)

Last summer, our eldest pup Dot had an episode. At that point, we knew she was pretty much on borrowed time. Then, about the middle of August, her temperament really shifted and she became aggressive toward the other pups. In hindsight, I believe that leading a pack of three was taking its toll on both her mind and her body.

So, after an aggressive growling and barking stint on a cottage Wednesday night, it was decided on that coming Saturday we would put her down. With no word of a lie, once those words were uttered aloud, she did a complete three hundred and sixty degree behavioural flip. It was almost like she instinctively understood that we’d decided her gig was up.

Well, more than a year later she’d doing very well. The majority of the time she moves slower than molasses in Muskoka in January but she still has an amazing quality of life. We help boost her into her bed in the bedroom when her hips decide to stay in the living room; but outside of that her disposition is great for a senior citizen.

My challenge with her is that winter is approaching and how do I help her manage in the copious amounts of snow that will fall.  I knew I'd need to keep her mind sharp as well as her feet moving in the house because she won't be able to spend an extended amount of time outside. After careful thought I came up with an answer…peanuts. I figured if she can chase the squirrels outside at the cottage, why can’t she chase them inside around the house.
Dottie waiting by the door for her exercise buddies to return.
TAKEN: OCTOBER 12, 2013

I started with the back deck. She has a dog chaise by the sliding door but when things are cooking she scurries from the deck to the dining room windows, back to the deck, to the living room windows and so on. (This weekend, I am placing a feeder on the big tree below my bedroom window so they can entertain her through the day.)

Not gonna lie, all the dogs have hopped on the bandwagon. I have been feeding the peanut hoarders for a couple of weeks and they will literally come within a foot of the sliding glass door when the last nut has been squirreled. I know some readers will say they are a menace and that they aren’t very smart; but our deck seems to be the hot spot for their buffet this fall. That said, I think they are anything but stupid.

Didn’t take them-thar suckers long to realize food was coming out but the dogs ain’t!

Annie and Puddin' getting in on the action.
TAKEN: OCTOBER 12th, 2016

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

MY FOOD BANK OF THOUGHTS

Well, it’s that time of year again. When our local economy for tourism dwindles and the plethora of cottagers close up until the lakes open again next year. That said, I think you really have to live here to truly appreciate the seasonality of income and the impact it has on our year round residents.

As you may or may not know, this coming weekend is when Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving. As a result, our Oldtimers hockey team held a food drive last night to help feed our families in need. No one gets paid for their time, nor the resources they provided and their only reward is knowing they are providing a very valuable and much needed community service.

2016 Muskoka Oldtimers Fall Food Drive
TAKEN: OCTOBER 4th, 2016

Short story long, when the knock came to our door last night our three dogs went bonkers. Through the glass in my front door, I could see two young girls wearing hockey jerseys with identifying lanyards draped around their neck. At the end of my drive, a pick-up truck to carry the donations they would have to walk to collect. Immediately, I knew it was the food drive being promoted over the local radio station, so I hollered over the dogs asking them to sit tight as we gathered our items.

As we wandered back up from the door and glanced out our kitchen window, we noticed the girls were headed next door. My husband joked that “they’d give way better stuff than us,” so we watched. We could see our neighbour, whom had done an extravagant exterior landscape renovation this past summer, speaking with the girls. Then, for some very personal reasons I’m sure, closed their door and sent them away empty handed. We were in shock.

After about 10 minutes of dialogue, we realized our opinions on the matter had us racing to the bottom. Bitching about what we’d witnessed wouldn’t make a difference, yet packing up another bag of food on our neighbours' behalf, just might help feed another family in need; which is exactly what we did.

We bolted down the street, explained why we wanted to give more, and I asked the girls if I could take their picture. Not to point out the glass half empty but to post and thank all of the students, parents, grandparents, uncles, sisters, cousins, brothers, for their servitude. 

I know last night I announced to my Facebook friends that I was feeling a rant coming on, which is probably what they were expecting to read. Instead, after a good night sleep and some reflection, my mindset has changed. A day later, I have reduced my emotions to a 50/50 race between hope and karma. 

Hope, yes I definitely felt hope last night. Young people giving back, working hard and staying positive and the majority of the community working together. Yet after what I witnessed from my neighbours, the other side of my brain is pulling an equally strong Karma vibe. 

Guess only time will tell on all fronts.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

MY QUIRKY COLLECTION OF CRAP

I was originally suppose to be home staining the exterior of the house this weekend. Then, toward the end of the week, Mother Nature decided to forecast light rain for the entire weekend. Not wanting to lose valuable outside chore time, I figured I could burn brush at the cottage instead.

Well, it became evident early Saturday morning that it wasn’t going to rain. So, we bolted into town to pick up a couple of items we needed for next week. Like I do most Saturday mornings, I headed to the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store to check for the couple items of crap I collect. No glasses for my Dad, yet I did score another edition of Trivial Pursuit for my Mom. (I think that brings me to 10 unique versions).

Standing at the checkout, I bumped into my high school physics teacher. We had attended an event together this past summer and it was nice to see he and his wife again. They admitted to be Re-Store regulars too, as they refurbish and sell antiques. Anyway, when he noticed I didn’t score any glasses, he asked about the game. I explain that Trivial Pursuit was not only my Moms favourite game but mine too.

That said, I went on to explain to he and his wife that I am the polar opposite to a pack rat. That I do a clean sweep of my home and cottage twice a year and if I haven’t needed or used items in the prior six months I get rid of them. Then I said... “Look, whether you believe it or not, I am very particular about the crap I collect.”

Without missing a beat, he quickly replied, “I can tell. Just look at your husband!”

These are a few of my favourite things!
TAKEN: SUMMER of 2016
The four of us immediately burst into laughter. My husband acknowledged the quip as a good one, and I acknowledged that 30 years later, we are in fact the others most cherished collection. 

You know what? It’s spur of the moments like the one I experienced yesterday that once again confirms the notion that I have always believed; it really is the small moments in life that make things memorable. 

That, and if nothing else… 

Ya Gotta Laugh About It…!