Thursday, September 29, 2016

A COUPLE MORE REASONS WHY

For the last number of months, I had been talking with a really fab co-worker about a milestone birthday she had approaching. Though I repeatedly tried to convince her that she was worthy of a kick ass destination celebration, she'd decided to take some time off and celebrate in a very low key fashion. 

Well, from her announcing that 'low key was she' mindset, every chance I got, I encouraged her to pack up her man and get on a plane.  Short story long, when they decided to bolt to Jamaica, I squealed with sheer delight.

A tad puzzled by my overzealous reaction, I explained my story that all of you regular readers are all too familiar with. That my mother died at the young age of 57, which has left me with a very deep (and somewhat distracting energy) to embrace adventure; which includes getting as many different stamps in my passport before I arrive at the age when she passed.

I don’t know what it is... but the thought or news of death rocks me to the core.

Trying to ensure my mother shared our day...
TAKEN: JUNE 1988


I’m not sure if it’s because I started experiencing death from a preteen age, or it's the long standing deep seeded feeling I have that I will die young. Either way, the last couple of days have affirmed what I've believed since my mother passed in 1987; life is short and be sure not to let it pass you by.

Why so reflective? In the matter of 24 hours, two young lives were lost in the small town which I live. One was the age of my eldest and the son of a friend I went to high school with, the other a business acquaintance that occupied my Sales & Marketing lane. One was somewhat expected due to illness, the other, my lane occupier, was a very sudden loss that has left a large part of our community in shock. 

As I began searching for a photo to accompany my post, my thoughts immediately shifted to my Mom. In turn, I rummaged though boxes, dusting off all of the proofs from my wedding day in 1988. Out of the blue I remembered asking the photographer to take pictures of me with the last photo I have of my mother before she became ill.

When I was done reminiscing over all of the proofs, I realized something. In almost 100% of the photos taken at the house, her picture is propped on the handmade coffee table my brother made, as well as her last Lazy Boy chair is in sight. I honestly never noticed that detail until tonight.

I can't believe it. Almost 30 years later, how amazing is that?

PS: I couldn't help but put the photo focus on my Mama.

Mom and Me with my Jr. Bridesmaid Joni.
TAKEN: JUNE 1988

Thursday, September 22, 2016

WHATCHA TALKIN’ BOUT WILLIS

Well, it’s official. Today marks the first day of Autumn.

Though I am quick to admit that it’s my favourite season, I loathe what the last six weeks of my fave represent. Shorter days, longer shadows, ending with the grand finale labelled the shortest day of the year. As I embrace the trees glowing in beautiful colour, I truly have to prepare myself mentally for going to (and arriving home from) work in the dark.

To make matters worse, this year marks the earliest I have ever started using my happy lights. Not by months or anything, but when you obsessively track total daylight hours, a week can feel like an eternity; added on to your already light deprived sentence. As of today, it will take all my waking energy to keep me upbeat until I get on my plane into the sun at the end of November.

Whatcha talkin' bout Willis...!
TAKEN: August 6, 2014
Seasonal Affective Disorder whining aside, I wanted to share that I noticed this morning that my move into town is taking its toll on the pups. More specifically, Puddin’.

Just as the change in daylight affects me, her lack of cottage freedom is seriously effecting her. 

When it comes to being at the house, she needs to be tied 100% of the time. Yes, it’s true. This beautiful pups pic is posted on the 'Most Wanted' bulletin board at our local bi-law office. Not because she’s violent or aggressive, just a tad too vocal and enthusiastic when people pass our house; hence why she instinctively knows her gig is up.

As I got myself ready for work before daylight this morning, I noticed her sprawled out on the love seat at the end of my bed. She was lethargic and didn't even bother to lift her head when I tried to cheer her up. As I wandered back into my ensuite, I couldn't help but acknowledge her aloud... "Suck it up, Buttercup," I said.

"... There's absolutely NO money in the budget for you to go into therapy too!"

YA GOTTA LAUGH ABOUT IT.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

RISE AND SHINE AND SHE'S GONE

Yesterday was one of those forecasted rainy days that I'd been looking forward to all week. Got my indoor cottage chores done, got my in town shopping chores done, then headed to the salon and had my hair chopped off. Hold your gasps of disbelief, it's not like I ordered a number 3 razor buzz cut. Yet, my long curls that flowed to the middle of my back, are now the shortest they've been since 2012. No regrets here. I'm glad I did it. Just like in other areas of yours truly, I was in need of change.

At this stage in my life, I consider myself blessed. I knock wood because nothing is neither tragic, nor conflicted; though I will admit that some thing's been bothering me for an extended period of time. It was never a great big boulder in front of me, more an annoying pebble in my shoe. For whatever reason, I'd buried that annoyance deep, as well as any ability to deal with it. As part of this next wave of change, I am pleased to report that the pebble has been dealt with .

Like every single person that is reading this electronic journal entry, I have some very serious crap that is buried deep. It's taken me a long time to compartmentalize specifics (which is code for defining a personal coping mechanism) but it works for me. My epiphany was when I recently realized, that over the last 30 years, 25 of mine have been about seeking light at the end of the tunnel, and the last 5 of mine have been the real journey. Those were the years that have been spent learning how to embrace the light that has been chased so hard and earned.

Out of clutter, find simplicity. ~ Albert Einstein
TAKEN: SEPTEMBER 11th, 2016
Speaking of light... I woke in the dark this morning, grabbed my robe and slippers, then headed outside to watch the sun rise. Bundled up, I went up from the dock, grabbed my camera, then snapped my photo at 7:08am. With my moment captured, I finished my coffee, packed everything up, and moved everything home for the season. Not gonna lie, it feels different this year, and finding the words to describe are hard.

If I had to find one word, if I had to choose only one?

I guess I'd just simply define it as... peace.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A YEAR AGO TODAY


Well, today’s September 1st and I'm sitting in my home office at dusk, wearing an over-sized sweatshirt, yoga pants, and a really hideous pair fuzzy socks. As it comes to a close, one thing I do know for certain is that my day was especially cool for a couple of reason. One being when I woke up this morn, the temperature was a balmy 9C. (Which is 48F for all my non-metric focused peeps).

When I rolled over at 5:45am this morning, clicked on my happy light, then simultaneously received an email alert; which is not uncommon for yours truly. You see, a large part of my job is employee relations. As an internal customer service, our payroll software sends out birthday and work anniversary notices to me for everyone within our company, so I may personally offer good wishes. That said, when I picked up my Blackberry this morning, my awaking email cheerfully announced the work anniversary reminder was for... Me!

I posted this to Facebook exactly a year ago today.
(C) IDP Muskoka

The graphic I am sharing was the Facebook cover shot I prepared to announce (a year ago today) that I was transitioning. I remember being both nervous and excited as I walked to meet the Sweeney-Meister and Coop for our very first carpool adventure. A year later, I am grateful for that time we've shared. This last year has evolved into an amazing job, as well as a very important friendship I am grateful for.

You know what? All of that said, temperature wise this morning and this evening may have been cool... But I mentioned today was cool for a couple of reasons.

My 1st official Tamarack North anniversary? 

Pretty freaking cool!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

MY SUMMER OF OFFICIAL CHANGE


So much changed for us when this summer was over.
TAKEN: AUGUST 2007
The photo I am sharing popped up as a Facebook memory this past week with a heading that read: 9 Years Ago Today.

I am honest when I admit that in that moment, I fixated on my screen with a weird sense of disbelief. I didn’t share it that morn, rather just looked back at that particular Facebook photo album from that really great family day.
By the time I headed home, the humidex told me that I was going to bolt through town and sleep at the cottage for the night. It was so warm outside that I actually stayed on the dock until dusk. 

As I sat there with the pups, I could hear a gaggle of kids enjoying the new slide their parents had purchased at the start of this cottage season. I could hear the radio playing in the background and the one young lad singing confidently, just the way my children and their visiting friends use to. I immediately daydreamt about just how much I miss my kids coming out here and the year-round fun we’d had since buying the place in 1999.

In the midst of that moment, I took a picture of Annie lovingly listening to the kids playing. Her expression told me that she wished she could be across the lake playing too. So, when I got up this morning, I proceeded to edit the photo only to wonder when the last summer was the kids let me measure their annual height on the door jamb in the downstairs bedroom.

Imagine my surprise when the tallest height read “GOOB 2007”.  Smiling, I immediately ran my index finger to the bottom to find the very first entry. The smallest height reads ‘SWEETIE 2000”. As a matter a fact, she and Jukebox had less than 1” in height difference on that very first measure. The summer of 2007 wasn’t only the last time the measuring took place; it was the very last summer we spent vacation time as a whole family at the cottage.
With all 3 having summer jobs and me working most weekends with my business, I am realizing for the first time this week, that it was that summer in which they'd evolved and began their official transition. From that September, I traveled with them for sports, took them into the city for concerts with friends, but the family oriented times became fewer and farther between. The only constant we managed to keep was our ‘Sunday Suppers’ which only happened because I made it a house rule that everyone be home by 4pm each and every Sunday. 

You know what? As I wandered around the cottage in between typing breaks today, I realized that I have a large plaque on the wall outside the boys bedroom that is titled ‘Life’s Little Instructions’. It offers 53 points of worldly advice. It starts with sing in the shower and ends with #53 stating to call your Mother.
If there’s one thing I can be grateful for (almost 10 years later) it's that they all willingly embrace my phone number. Which is emotional to admit... 

Has not always been the case.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

MY BEAUTIFUL SATURDAY SURPRISE

Like everyone I know, I am grateful for the break in humidity, after muddling through two heat waves in as many weeks. It’s cooler this morning, but I still didn’t sleep well last night. I am at the point where I think I may need to start taking a sleep aid. Part of my issue is unplanned stress, the other is the restlessness of the dogs in the night because of the heat; last night was because they slept the day away thanks to the much needed rain.

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve written almost everyday, but I am going through a very personal and somewhat dark time, so my keyboard is getting a bit of a brow beating. The one thing I did want to share, was the amazing day I spent with my daughter last weekend. She has some exciting things happening in her busy life and I love the fact that she is comfortable sharing them in my confidence. I have to say, though she still struggles some days, I am so impressed with how she’s doing. Some well deserved inner peace happening there to say the least.

There's nothing life a day on the dock with your daughter!
TAKEN: AUGUST 6th, 2016

Having enjoyed our day so much, I stopped in to see her at her place of employ in the midst of my cottage commute last week. We laughed and hugged like best friends. You never truly know what life may bring, and at this point in time, she’s the one offering me strength. It really is tough being the “sugar” to everybody’s cup of tea, all of the time. That could be why I talk to myself…. I always treat myself the way I want to be treated.

As I sit at my desk at the cottage, I can’t help but think how many things have changed in my life in the last year. So much so that I am excited, albeit a tad nervous of what’s coming my way in the next year or two. That said, I know there won’t be any expansion of a canine nature. The three I have are a mitt full of work. Matter a fact, right at this very moment, they are playing their very favourite game. It’s called... “How to cram 3 dogs under this desk!”

I guess Annie loses this round, because she’s sitting on Puddys’ head. In no way, shape or form, should she lie beside my chair, as the rules of the game clearly state that you must be UNDER my small desk for the entire time I am working at it. Shame on her for arriving late to the party.

On that note, I only have one other important notable to add this morn.

… Holy 14th of August Batman! I can't believe it's the 14th of August!!

(l-r) Puddin', Dottie & Annie experiencing separation anxiety from Sweetie!
TAJKEN: AUGUST 6th, 2016

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

MY LONG WEEKEND LAMENT

Like every other Canadian reading this electronic entry, I'm sure you anxiously awaited this past civic long weekend to roll around again. I don't know about you, but I was so sad to see it over, by 9am this morn I knew I would be bolting back out to my cottage in hopes of making my weekend last just a little longer. Not gonna lie, sitting here typing in my swimsuit, I am tickled to report that I made the perfect call.

Were the hell does the time go?
TAKEN: LONG WEEKEND IN AUGUST 2016



Like most empty-nesters, we have a busy summer calendar. Yet, for varying reasons, this particular long weekend landed us short on time. As I sit here looking up from my laptop, I find it hard to believe just how quickly the season's flying by. With our fall vacation booked and the summer nights getting cooler, I can’t help but start to shift my focus onto our plans to renovate the exterior of our home is September.

I don’t have an issue with what has to be done, but I do know my husband works about 55 hours a week and the last thing he wants to do is swing a hammer and run a table saw. I’m not kidding when I say, he has no issue watching me work outside. Actually, I get angry when he feels he need to pitch in. I sit at a desk for 9 or 10 hours a day. He does not. He has an extremely physical job. When it happens that I do need his help, I’ve always given him the choice of what task he wants to tackle. I handle the others.

When we arrived at Orillia Lake Friday night, I gave him a run down of every crappy indoor & outdoor task I wanted to accomplish. It was up to him to pick one. Little does he know that the rest of the list was filled with things he truly hates doing more than swinging a hammer and running a table saw; so our solid effort and teamwork saw the outdoor shower relocated. If I'm being honest here, which I always am, it's the one thing I truly wanted done. I know it may be construed as sneaky to admit that I stacked the list... but at the end of the day the choice was his.

How the hell was your weekend? Mine seems to still be in full swing. Matter a fact, at this rate, it may last until the end of next weekend. First thing on the list for me to work on then?

A much better tan!

Monday, July 25, 2016

BITCHY WIFE 1 - HUSBAND 0

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock the last few weeks, I’m sure you have been experiencing this amazing summer weather. With the majority of my evenings and weekends being spent at the cottage, accomplishing my outdoor/yard type chores at home's suffered. So much so, that when my husband got home from work this eve, he put his hands on his hips and felt the need to announce just how long the grass had grown.

As you can expect, unconsciously, his comments didn't stop. I felt bad for Jukebox, because he obviously felt jammed in the middle. In turn, though it was very amiable dialogue, I sensed he felt the need to apologize that the lawn wasn't cut. As I've said before, and I'll say again: I sit behind a desk all day. I love the exercise/fresh air of working in the yard, and have zero expectation that I receive any help with said chores. I suppose I do have one small caveat to disclose, which is, don't look a great big stinkin' gift horse in the mouth!

Anyway, by the time he'd made it into the house, his steady rant of comments resonated and I started to laugh. When he asked me what was so funny, I told him that I could go to into my home office and send a shout out to Facebook, asking if there was anyone that wanted to come on over and help me mow my lawn. He didn't know what to say....

"Hell, I figure I have at least one buddy that wouldn't hesitate to head over and start-a-mowing," I said. Then continued..."But I fear they may only agree if you'd hang around, have a beer & watch us do it!"

Not another word was said. Cool as a cucumber, I got out of my dress clothes, hooked in my headphones, and opened the garage door. Suffice is to say that my photo illustrates exactly how my lawn officially got mowed this eve. 

Who says a bitchy wife needs to lose their temper to get what they want? Not this cat!

I always knew having two kickass lawn mowers would come in handy!
TAKEN: JULY 25th, 2013



Thursday, July 21, 2016

WHO THE HELL KNEW?

In early stages of my electronic journal, I asked a simple question to the Ya Gotta Laugh About It masses (of about 35 readers) which was: do you ever feed an expired parking meter?

It was a quirky post about acquaintances that drift about your life at their leisure, then went on to explain how an acquaintance differs from a friend. Short story long, I ultimately categorized them as parking meters whose egos ultimately need to be fed. 

All of that said, a prior business acquaintance fed my expired meter yesterday. Out of the blue, my phone beeped touting those words that always make me curious... 'howdy stranger!' I smiled because I was perplexed, the number wasn't in my phone, so I immediately googled the area code that appeared on my screen. When the location appeared, I knew it had to be someone I hadn’t spoken to face to face since last summer, nor had a text message from in months. I must admit, not only did it feed my ego, it was a very pleasant surprise.

Pleasant surprise or not, I immediately wondered where the hell they got the cash to feed my meter. When I asked them what was up, they explained I had crossed their mind as they'd traveled to an old supplier we both use to sell for. What ensued next, was a great electronic conversation. Even though I no longer work in the industry, it was like I’d never left. Mission accomplished; my ego had been fed.

At the end of the day he asked about a mutual acquaintance we had. Someone he had met through me in the summer of 2012. It was that very inquiry that made me think of the parking meter post from 2011. I told him where I was at with this acquaintance he all these years later he only had four works in return. “I told you so,” was all I read.

Funny thing is? As acquaintances go, I honestly knew he was right about them in 2012.

Who the hell knew parking meters were so observant... and I,so gullible!

Medford, Wisconsin.. Where I met the industry person that fed my parking meter today.
TAKEN: OCTOBER 2011



Sunday, July 3, 2016

HOW DID YOU SPEND CANADA DAY?

Friday started like any other summer long weekend in Muskoka, with the downtown crammed by transient traffic. Great for our local economy, crappy for yours truly. As luck would have it, I didn't have a chance to get everything I needed to land at the cottage and stay until it was time to head back to work Monday morning. So, like all other cottagers do when it rains, I loaded my ass into the car and headed into town to shop.

Fighting the masses seemed worse than I remember. The more it rained, the busier it got. No surprise there, just forgot how many people really flock to town when there's nothing else to do at the cottage. As I said, I wasn't surprised by the weather, more disappointment. I had planned on staying to do the yard work at the house, then take my daughter out for dinner, and tag along with her to the fireworks display. As my lack of luck would have it, by mid afternoon, I hiked it back out to the lake in the rain, climbed into the downstairs bed, and took a nap.

Selfie on the upstairs deck in the pouring rain!
TAKEN: JULY 1st, 2016
I don't know about you, but Canada Day has always been a really big thing for me. So much to be grateful for and an occasion we really do embrace as a country.

As this year would have it, none of the littluns decided to venture out to Orillia Lake but that made no matter to me. As tradition served, I still got my riggin' on, as if they would have come out.

The my other wee smidge of sorrow this year?  Not only did I miss the fireworks with Staccs & the kids decided to stay in town. I discovered that I regretted purchasing the funky flag sunglasses perched at top my melon in my pic. In hindsight, I should have grabbed that neat unbrealla hat made out of a Canadain flag.  That way, my hair and makeup would have been protected from the down pour of celebratory elements.

Either way, overall, I had a really great day.

Happy 149th  Birthd'eh Canada.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A LETTER TO MY DAD

Dearest Dad,

Well, it was 11 years ago today you left me. Where the hell has the time gone?

For obvious reasons, you've been on my mind this month. So, out of the blue, I mentioned our 11th anniversary at work yesterday. Then, when I got home tonight I realized nothing tells someone you love them more than writing them a letter; so here you have it.

As you know, the kids are doing great. I wish you could chat with them, laugh with them, one more time. You’d be so very proud. I know I talked to you often when Sweetie was out West, and though she's still healing, I am pleased to report she's finally found her stride. Both the boys are working hard and finding great individual success, which I know won't even remotely surprise you. I will admit that as parents, it seems a tad surreal to be simply standing at the sidelines and watching. Then again, as empty-nesters, more good news as we too have finally found our way.

I'm enclosing some updated photos of the crew. The one of Sweetie and Goob was taken last week when we met for lunch, the one of Jukebox & his Dad was taken when we traveled with friends to Mexico for my last birthday. I'd attach an updated picture of me, but just like Mom, I always seen to be behind the lens of a camera.

Goob & Sweetie                                                   Hubby with Jukebox.
TAKEN: APRIL & JUNE 2016

Finally, not looking to avoid the subject, I've nothing to report on my siblings. As you predicted when we did your will, everything unfurled exactly as you expected. That said, just as I use to worry about that 911 call you begged me never to make, I've reconciled myself to the fact that the right thing's happened in both scenarios. I will admit, I find it a tad surreal. You know, how we both ultimately kept our dignity. Yours in your choice of how you wanted to die, and mine in life. You'd be proud of how we've risen above it all. We've just kept our course... and let all the other stuff go. 

Well, I guess I should run. We miss you Dad. We miss you a lot... All five of us.

Every. Single. Day.

Love always,
Rhondi

Monday, June 13, 2016

MY ANNIVERSARY NEGOTIATION

Well, this past weekend was my wedding anniversary. Although the year we celebrated isn’t officially represented by a gemstone, my friends at Google tell me that couples hitting the milestone, tend to mark the day with amethysts and orchids. We didn’t go the jewelry and flower route, instead we sent the money on how we’d decided to spend the day.

On that note. When my husband asked how I wanted to recognize our day, we bounced a couple of ideas off each other. Once I realized that we were miles apart on how we’d celebrate, I told him what I truly wanted; to repair the dock at the cottage. In all honesty, he really didn’t want to that (as he HATES any/all type of his handyman duties) but after a spurt of my begging, he reluctantly agreed.

I don’t care what anyone says, any marriage takes a boatload of work. That work, produces varying reasons for ultimate success. For us, one of the reasons that we have been successful all these years, is that we’ve always been willing to communicate and negotiate with one and other. For example, in the past when expressing a need to clear & burn brush at the cottage, his standard reply would be, “I’ll man the fire for you, if we can listen to the ballgame on the radio.” 

Knowing how he hates handyman duties I would always agree, though I truly hate baseball. In my eyes, no pain not gain, and my yard work result was always a win/win. So, suffice is to say, I wasn’t the least bit surprised when this past weekend dock repair came with a caveat. “I’ll help fix the dock …If we finally get rid of the slide!”

Now, he knows that I am completely and unequivocally attached to that sucker. I watched my children grow up on it, and with them grown and gone I still enjoyed it quite a lot. I know he offered that up as a condition, so that I’d say... “No way. Let’s go golfing down south!”

My good ole girl is down!
TAKEN: JUNE 11th, 2016
My only comment? I wish each and everyone of you could have seen the look on his face when I agreed.

The only downer was that when we were disassembling my ole friend, one of her legs fell off and dropped to the bottom of the lake. Out of respect, I let her spend the night on her side, stretched out on the dock. With any loss, I’ll have to reflect and figure a few things out.

…Like what I'm going to have to negotiate to get my husband to put her back up next weekend!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

ONE MORE GONE... AGAIN!

A smidgen over a year after returning to Ontario, our daughter once again moved out on her own last Friday. It had been something she wanted to do since arriving, yet finding reliable full-time work in this one horse town, became her challenge. When she did find a solid job, the hours were so erratic that all she did was sleep to stay functioning (so moving out, understandably hit the back burner). As a result, craving her independence, personal space and sanity, over this past winter she'd spend nights on the couch at her twin brothers house to simply escape the 'rents'. Now that she's officially relocated, is it bad to admit that the feeling was mutual? 

Five years ago I didn't know what to do with my time. Now, I find there aren't enough hours in a day to accomplish all the things I want to experience. To put things into perspective, the first time she moved 50 miles south, I cried for what felt like months. This #9 time? I took yesterday to myself and this morning I landed home to clean the spare room and move my work clothing into the spare closet & dressers. A mere 48 hours later, I had cleaned and reconciled the clutter and was extremely grateful to have my dressing room back.

Her leaving resembles my general opinion of my life thus far, which is there will always be evolution. We outgrow people, we outgrow jobs, and we most certainly outgrow circumstance. Yet, never, ever, in a million years, would I have predicted that our children would outgrow us; and vice versa. In no way shape or form does it mean we don't love one another, it just means to stay unconditionally in love with each other, there needs to be a mutual respect of boundaries and a pinch of distance to make the love affair effortless.

Happy 24th Birthday Staccs & Goob... We love you very much.
TAKEN: JULY 1992
Anyway, for those of you that are connected to the twins on social media, you know that this past weekend was their Birthday weekend. YUP, 24 years ago this week, at 8:33am & 8:36am they officially entered our world. They were two weeks early and both greeted the world a sneeze under 7lbs each. When I look at the photo I'm sharing, it almost look surreal. That our journey of raising them, and letting them go, at times feels like a bit of a dream.

All these years later they remain as close as they were as children, they have solid friendships they've nurtured since Kindergarten, are both hardworking, very responsible, and have grown and evolved into very good and loving people.  

So I'll officially wish them both the very best on their day & add one very loving caveat. 

Happy Birthday to my wonderful children....That no longer live at home!

Monday, May 30, 2016

ONE PERSON'S TRASH...

You must have heard the saying, ‘one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.’ For me personally, I always use to say it before I'd enter a Goodwill store AND I have a girlfriend that references it when speaking of her once divorced spouse before they wed. Either way, the verbiage quoted above applied to my daughter and I this past weekend as we hit the local yard sale circuit.

With my daughter moving into her new digs on June 1st, and yours truly in search of a good (new to me) lawn mower, I suggested we blitz the town last Saturday. Our first stop found me at the home of an old high school teacher, that in the day coached the BMLSS golf team. 

Though I left her yard without the mower I was in search of, I scored two new additions to my golf bag. Even more astounding, I couldn’t believe that she was only asking $5.00 for each. When, for the very first time I offered more yard sale cash than was being asked, she simply replied “I was telling my husband that there comes a time when you have to decide which clubs in the golf bag stay, and which you feel you can finally let go of." 

Elated, I said…”You'll be very pleased to know they are going to a very loving home!”

I'm gonna need balls... I am in 3 tourneys in June alone!!
TAKEN: MAY 28th, 2016
Next stop, again no lawn mower. Instead, it had me build on the new to me 9 & 11 wood (short game gems) I’d just acquired.

As I handed the gentleman my toonie for his dozen used golf balls, his comment was a matter a fact. “I see you immediately went for the good stuff.” He was correct.

Anyway, landing home without what I was initially in search of, has me throwing this cosmic question out to the masses of my electronic journal. Would anyone care to mow my lawn? 

You see, I’ve been doing it myself for the last number of years, which apparently is no longer going to be my option.

Why? …Because I’ll be too busy on the golf course.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

I, SPY, WITH MY ONE GOOD EYE...

I believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. A personal affirmation of what one truly sees, feels and appreciates for themselves. Those thoughts are theirs to cherish as they see fit, as any perceptions of beauty are ultimately personal.

As you know, for the last number of years, everything's become a great big blur in my everyday life. Tired of the strain and frustration, I bit the bullet, picked up the phone and finally went for an eye exam after work today.

If my pic looks remotely blurry, call for an eye exam!
TAKEN: OCTOBER 10th, 2015
Though it had been a while since I was last checked for specs, it felt nice to know I was still a valued client. Considering how some approach business in Muskoka, I was a tad surprised by the aforementioned but even more impressed when my Optometrist made a point of welcoming me back. 

Truth is, I didn't think he'd even remembered my name and imagine my surprise when he causally asked..."Do you have any idea when the last time was you were in to see me?"

I guessed but was wrong. I was off by a couple of years. Off the top of my head I predicted 30 years. He confirmed it had been mere 28! 

No matter how many decades had passed, I obviously knew who he was. He, on the other hand, hadn't a clue who'd booked his 5pm appointment. I was nervous, as this was something I truly didn't want to do, and was convinced by the time I left, he thought I was a complete and total loon. (The good news is, everyone reading already knows I'm a loon, so we'll label the good doc hyper-instinctive, and move on.)

After he emailed me some very sexy pictures of my eyeballs, he explained my prescription, and we were done. He mentioned that he'd like me to return in a year. Then, without missing a beat, he said... "So I'll see you next year, or sometime in the next 28!" 

We laughed and I thanked him for his time.

After I left, I did have one question. Why didn't he try and sell me a pair of glasses? 

My guess is that I paid $125.00 for my appointment today and that's the only cash flow he'd seen from me in 336 months. As we all know in Business, time is money. So, in his world, does that make me a tire kicker?

Here's hoping he'll be generally empathetic and labels me..."optically challenged."

Monday, May 23, 2016

MY INNER ANGST

Well, here we sit. It’s the tail end of the long weekend in May and this is officially longest stretch I have ever gone without writing. Last time it was because I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue my electronic journal journey, this time it’s that I've been fashionably embracing the sheer excitement of spring. You know that swag, when no matter what you're wearing, it's always complimented by a smile.

As you can imagine, my change in seasonal mindset has kept me on my toes. So much to do at the house, with equally as much to getting the cottage open, and my very busy social life getting the last sliver of free time available. Like most people my age, I still have a level of inner angst that I will miss something that may be worthy of being embraced. As I've written before, in some way, shape, or form, I believe that need for adventure is connected to the fact that my mother passed at 57.

Found 500 pecos in my bathing suit bag I moved this weekend.
It'll stay on the cottage fridge to remind me of Mexico
TAKEN: MAY 21st, 2016
As a result, I am always saving and planning. Trips, concerts, sporting activities, dinner parties; you name it and I'm on it.

With a wide range of activities planned until I leave for my fall trip to the Bahamas, the focus outside of those will be upgrades at the cottage.

This weekend had us complete the installation of a new pressure tank and hot water heater. Then, beginning next weekend, all the decks and stairs will be resurfaced. Lots of elbow grease to be exercised, which is fine by me.

Though we have a deck and dock expansion planned for July, I am most excited to build a new retaining wall along shore. Moving all the material in will be a bitch but after that I'll get to wade in the water, work, and suntan. A much better task than rebuilding the old outhouse which is something my husband keeps mentioning.

I get that it's currently a bit of an eyesore but the good news is that because I am the keeper of the list, I am pleased to report that particular renovation is only a topic of conversation and not currently earmarked as an official project.

...Which is where it will stay if I can keep adding to the list!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Z IS FOR ZEALOUS

Well, here you have it. I’ve arrived at my last letter of the alphabet and I would be remiss if I didn’t give massive props to the zealous electronic friendships I have out of New Orleans, Louisiana. As I've written before, I was fortunate enough to begin working with this amazing crew of Architects in the spring of 2012. Four years later, our witty repartee's still going strong.

About my pics. It was just a regular work day last Friday when just before 4pm, my phone buzzed and the tone told me it was WhatsAp reaching out to me. I opened my message to find this amazing photo of Darin and Mr.T (below) soaking up the rays, as well as the tunes, at the New Orleans Jazz Festival. I was ecstatic!

That's Darin in the ball cap (which he bought while visiting me last September).
TAKEN: APRIL 27th, 2016 ~ NEW ORLEANS JAZZ FESTIVAL
The pic on the left was the first one Darin sent and the one on the right was sent shortly thereafter. You see, he wanted to let me know there was a huge Canadian flag flying high right in front of him. We joked that it was a sign that I was there in spirit and because I don't drink beer, I gave him explicit instructions to enjoy my share in my absence.

Like anything in life, electronic friendships take effort to maintain. I speak from experience when I write that the electronic friendships that offer the most zeal, are those where both set of texting thumbs work equally hard to keep in touch. Thanks for sharing with me last Friday Darin... As soon as you sent me the video of your surroundings, I couldn't stop smiling. It was like I was truly spending the afternoon with you in New Orleans. 

Everyone else, thanks again for reading. As I've formally finished the April A-Z Blogging Challenge... Allow me to introduce you to my very good friend, the month of May!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Y IS FOR YES-SIR-REEE

Just before my 50th Birthday.
TAKEN: March 2015
How To Feel Fab By 50

1. Forgive someone from your past.
2. Travel by yourself.
3. Quit the job you hate.
4. Find your personal mantra.
5. Conquer your biggest fear.
6. Treat yourself to something you really want.
7. Be a mentor for someone you know.
8. Make a fool of yourself without feeling embarrassed.
9. Stop apologizing for who you are.
10.Most of all... forgive yourself.

Life is short.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

X IS FOR XERODERMA

So, it's the typical A-Z home stretch. I'm tired, my ideas have pretty much dried up and I am faced with some of the hardest letters to write about. All day long I was texting and asking people to help me with a word for my letter. Every man replied with x-rated and our female health & safety supervisor went with xylophone. Call me old fashioned (and sheltered with regards to the latter) but I didn't have a picture of me wholeheartedly participating in either of those very exciting activities.

Totally blocked, I got home and started to look through my pictures for inspiration. I came across a neat pic that I had forgotten I'd snapped after I'd bought myself a cute jewelry piece on vacation a couple of weeks ago. With a lack of creative juices flowing, I shook my head for inspiration and searched for a hybrid work like x-ceptional, or x-cellent. Instead, I found myself passing on the pic and heading to google for a word and some creative direction.

Low and behold, my chosen word tonight immediately jumped off the monitor at me. I figured the last 5 letters had me headed back to the picture of my new bracelet but I had to open the picture again just to be sure. BINGO, I immediately realized that I'd hit the mother load.

Can you believe I always thoroughly moisturize...? Damn xeroderma!
TAKEN: APRIL 4th, 2016 

I'm sure you don't give a rats ass about my xeroderm (aka: dry skin) but two things were skillfully accomplished by choosing that very word. I got to officially show off my new silver piece I brought home from Mexico and I've officially completed my 24th post.

BOO-YA... 24 down and only 2 to go!

Thanks for hanging in there with me. It's greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

W IS FOR WISDOM

Spit polished, loaded up, and ready to GO!
TAKEN: APRIL 16th, 2016

The weekend before last I did what any avid golfer does in the spring, I hauled my babies out of the laundry room, took their protective gear off and gave them an exclusive spa treatment. What can I say, I love this time of year. For me, it tells me to put away my snowshoes, gather with friends, hit the snot out of a little ball & swear a lot. I'm kidding; I really only ever swear a little!

I'm not a great golfer but I love to golf. The sad truth is that I never got in a single round last year. It was a very transitional spring for me and I lived at the cottage all summer. I find I'm in a different mind space when I live at the cottage full time. My chair on the dock rides shotgun and my golf clubs tend to occupy the backseat. Well, with me working full time again, I am excited to get back to my Friday night ritual of walking 9 holes. Not only because it helps me decompress from the week I've had, walking gives me the much needed workout I crave from having a desk job.

I understand the sport isn't for everyone. It's usually something you either love or hate. I was asked by an engineer at work the other day why I'm so drawn into the sport and I think he was surprised at my response. "Golf is one the rare sports in which you truly compete against yourself," I said.

"When I run into someone that cheats at golf," I continued... "I know I've met someone that doesn't hold themselves accountable but more importantly, they're not being honest with themselves about their surroundings."

Some would say those words seem full of wisdom. Guess it depends how you play golf.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

V IS FOR VINYL

I know I've written here before that I remember the first time I fell in love with the music of The Eagles. It was 1976 and if I close my eyes I can see my oldest brother setting the needle down on his new turntable to hear Hotel California for the very first time. If I focus on that moment, we were in his room. I can see his bright yellow t-shirt... Then, he simply dropped the needle. The rest is history.

I think I have been very fortunate to have had a mother that embraced vinyl, as well as to have lived within a generation where some of the best music of all time was produced. 

My mother was extremely proud of her collection of 78's and 33 1/3 albums. Yours, truly?  At best, I was always glued to a sparse 45rpm budget. One at a time with big breaks in between purchases. 

As I got older, my money went toward the purchase of a walkman and the trusty cassette tape, then its CD compatible counterpart, eventually graduating to downloading. Yes, I also have a satellite radio subscription and a kick ass pair of computer speakers should I like to watch and listen on YouTube BUT...

The honest truth is that vinyl owned my childhood my will always have my heart.

We've just acquired more than 600 vintage vinyl records. It's going to be a GREAT summer!
TAKEN: MARCH 26TH, 2016

Monday, April 25, 2016

U IS FOR UNBELIEVEABLE

A year ago last week, my husband and I scrambled to arranged for a plane ticket for our only daughter and brought her home. She'd moved 3,400 kms away from us the year previous and for the five months before her return, we'd been estranged. It was a trying time for all but the relationship that we knew was poisonous from the start was over and she headed east to start anew.

Focused on the positive, our entire family promised we wouldn't press discussion about what had transpired, nor dwell on the mean things said. The truth was, when we picked her up at the airport we immediately knew she had a long road ahead of her. She would need to heal; mentally, physically and most importantly emotionally.

Staccs heading out with her crew.
TAKEN: APRIL 23rd, 2016
Well, with all of that in the past, I am pleased to report that a year later she's doing well... It's unbelievable!

Just look at her. Physically and spiritually, everyday she morphing back to a person that can finally experience joy.

Gone's the boyfriend that use to abuse her. Back is my gal, embracing a life she knew she was always worthy of. She's happy. Has a job she enjoys and has reconnected with friends she'd been told to shun because of the relationship she'd been in. 

A few months ago she began dating again. It's nice to see gentleman callers coming around and I'm glad she immediately explains she's in no hurry. I suspect it has something to do with the trust issues she has developed. In time, I'm sure those scars will heal too. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

S IS FOR SARCASM

I know there are mixed feelings out there as to whether sarcasm is classified as wit or a psychologically cruel behaviour. I can assure you that I only use my sarcastic wit to empathize a punchline, as I am always in search of a great joke. 

So, in keeping my statement... I can assure you my graphic speaks the truth! 

Because sarcasm is lost in print.... I'll leave you with a smile. Have a great day!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

R IS FOR REMORSE

My heart is heavy and my eyes are damp with the news that Prince left us this morning. As most of you know, I have a serious relationship with music and Prince Rogers Nelson has been on this amazing journey with me the since the very first time I heard Little Red Corvette.

Allow me to clarify. By the time I left for college, he’d made the movie Purple Rain and he had hit the road touring. When I was going to school in Hamilton, he landed at Maple Leaf Gardens (December 2nd, 1984). It was a very low budget deal, sound was poor, yet his talent and stage presence told everyone that night that he was born to be a rock star. He proved all of us right!

Prince at the ACC. SECTION 107 ~ ROW 16
TAKEN: NOVEMBER 25th, 2011
I am a firm believer that some things are meant to be. For me, it was a hankering to reignite the aforementioned concert experience of my youth. 

It was November 25th, 2011 and I had just taken my grown son for a nice dinner in downtown Toronto. Once we hailed a cab, I instructed the cabbie to head to the Air Canada Centre. Goob questioned the fact that we didn’t have tickets but I had a mitt full of cash and I was on a mission.

As I write, I just can't explain how glad I am that I made that impulse purchase to see him again in 2011 with my son. It was truly amazing. 

My most vivid memory? When he began to play Purple Rain. From the first strum of his guitar, the ACC began to rain purple tissue paper. Immediately following that, my eyes filled with tears. It was absolutely moving; the sound, the visual progression, his vibe.

I think Eric Clapton said it best. When he was asked, what does it feel like to be the greatest guitar player on the planet? 

His response: "I don't know - you'd have to ask Prince."

Thanks Prince. You may be gone… but you will never, EVER, be forgotten.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Q IS FOR QUAGMIRE

Quag·mire 

Pronounced kwaɡˌmī(ə)r/noun
a. an awkward, complex, or hazardous situation. "a legal quagmire"
synonyms: muddle, mix-up, mess, predicament, mare's nest, can of worms, quandary, tangle, imbroglio; trouble, confusion, difficulty; informal sticky situation, pickle, stew, dilemma, fix, bind "a judicial quagmire"

YA GOTTA LAUGH ABOUT IT

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

P IS FOR PARADISE

One of the field supervisors cheerfully wandered into my office this morning, and after we finished talking business, he asked how my recent trip to Mexico went. Though I quickly acknowledged it was amazing, I instantly pointed to my second computer monitor to show him the pic I am posting of where I am headed at the end of November.

I could tell by the look on his face that he was a tad surprised that I’d just gotten home and that I was already mentally packing my suitcase again. I explained that I’d come across renting this house  before we'd ever left for Sayulita and expanded on why (when it comes to life & travel) my timeline for adventure has a true sense of urgency.

“My mother passed away when she was 57,” I said; "...and it’s like I'm in a competition with myself to experience as many destinations as I can in the next few years; just in case.” He immediately nodded and told me that he understood.

The beachfront at our rental home in Elbow Cay, Abocos, Bahamas.
(Photo credit & rental heads up to my very good buddy JCW)
TAKEN: FEBRUARY 2015

So, it’s official. The last week of November we’re heading to Elbow Cay, Abocos, Bahamas.  I really wanted to wait to decide, in hopes I could score a really great price on 10 days in Aruba (but it was my husbands turn to pick, so off we go).

I’d be lying if I wrote that my deep yearning to head to Aruba was just for the stamp in my passport. Though that’s definitely part of it, when I was young my parents always said 'when they took their first trip to an island paradise, they'd be walking on the white sands in Aruba.' Suffice is to say my mother was gone before they ever had the chance to take that trip.

Who knows, here's hoping I'll get to take them both with me in spirit next year.

Monday, April 18, 2016

O IS FOR OVERFLOW

For the last few years, my sleepy little Ontario town  has suffered terribly as a result higher than normal water levels and an unorganized Ministry of Natural Resources. 

I snapped this 2 weeks after the worst flooding ever to hit us.
TAKEN: APRIL 2013 
An act of God isn't covered by insurance. Proving that is wasn't, has been an even bigger task for home/cottage owners, with a government entity being accused of wrong doing.

I'm not looking to blame for the 2016 overflow, just trying to understand so that it doesn't keep happening. 

to view a CTV news clip on this years flooding.

Oh, that's my buddy Dan being interviewed. A long standing Muskoka resident & builder.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

N IS FOR NOVEMBER

As you know, I hop on a plane in late fall with the hopes of getting a head start on coping with our tough Canadian winters. My issue isn't with winter per say, I'm very active outdoors, so once the snow arrives I spend as much of my spare time embracing the white stuff as I can. I don't mind raking the leaves in October nor the sporadic snow fall we receive in December. My issue is with the entire month of November.

Cottage Closing Day
TAKEN: NOVEMBER 1st, 2015
I don't truly hate November, simply because my mother always taught me never to hate anything ...It takes too much energy to hate, she use to say. 

So I'll admit that I strongly dislike the month in general and truly resent the bane of its overall existence. How's that for setting the tone on how I really feel?

There are so many things that happen in November that I truly dread. The cottage gets closed, the days get shorter, the hydro bills get larger and my bank account seems to require life support as all the annual payments come due. It's just a month filled of things I generally dislike.

As I began to write this morning, I realized that the month I am complaining about is aptly named. NOOOOOOOOOOvember is not not now, nor ever will be my friend!

Friday, April 15, 2016

M IS FOR MISSING

My father and I on my wedding day.
TAKEN: JUNE 1988

Today... I am missing my Dad. 
Joseph Herve St.Onge - 1928 - 2005


Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there; I did not die.

(Written in 1932 by Mary Elizabeth Frye)

Thursday, April 14, 2016

L IS FOR LOYALTY

GONE are the days when I work for a company...  where my loyalty is taken for granted!!
TAKEN: JULY 2012

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

K IS FOR KRYPTONITE

Let me start by writing that if you Google 'what is kryptonite', the search engine will report something to the effect that it's a fictional substance from the Superman comic book series, that generally has detrimental effects on Superman. Though I can't personally be compared to Superman (first and foremost because I'm a woman) I do believe that everyone has something personal that evokes a  certain level of weakness from within.

After my father passed away in 2005, I slowly started to hide my eating habits from everyone around me. The truth of the matter is that I found a comfort in food that I'd never experienced before in my life. For the first few years I managed alright, because I still ran and golfed a couple of times a week. Then, around 2009 the weight gain started to become apparent. 

Long story short, my 2011 New Years Resolution was to completely change my eating behaviours and lose the excess weight I'd gained. It was much harder than I ever imagined but in the end I got my life as well as my waist back. That said, there was some tough love involved.

A perfect close up of my Krytonite
Gravy, which was my favourite food group, GONE. Candy and fast food, GONE. Portion sizes that could feed a small family, GONE. 

The hardest habit to break? Getting my husband to stop bringing my kryptonite into the house: Miss Vickies Sea Salt & Malt potato chips.

Almost 10 years later, she and I have come to agree to disagree. The sad part is she doesn't play fair. Whilst wheeling my grocery cart through the isles on Saturday morn, I swear she's calling out to me. 

"Pssst... Rhondi. I'm in isle 3," she'll say. To which I'd immediately and lovingly respond with skitch of a shrill in my tone..."Get lost, BITCH!"

Them thar words are the only ones she ever gets in response.

Ya Gotta Laugh About It.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

J IS FOR JOURNEY

At this stage of my life, I am a firm believer 'your only impossible journey is the one you've never attempted to take.' I'm sure that's my inner entrepreneurial spirit lashing out but as my nest emptied I continually reminded myself that in mid-life there wouldn't be an adventure I'd not entertain. 

Before I get ahead of myself, I feel I should admit that I am anything but a daredevil. As a matter a fact there are two things I am truly afraid of: the dark and the unknown. So, you can imagine my conundrum of inner turmoil, once I mentally convinced myself that it was time to hop on the new adventure bandwagon!

My personal Facebook cover photo last September...  GREAT adventure thus far!



I'm not going to lie. I was filled with mixed emotions when we moved the twins away to school on Labour Day weekend of of 2011. I had such angst that they were leaving, yet excited for what that meant for my newfound personal journey. As the late summer turned to fall, it quickly became apparent that I was completely alone, and my road to self-discovery didn't include a GPS nor a much needed flashlight. 

So, on a teary 2011 November night, I started this electronic journal. I'm so thankful that I've had people with me since its inception, and equally grateful for those that only stop by once in a while. The truth of the matter is, today you're reading my 600th post. 

The absolute truth is this journal journey has helped me process more life lessons than any appearance on Dr.Phil, with my plight starring in the last 600 episodes. So, as I continue to evolve and figure things out on the fly, I'd like to say those three special words, that are not only called for on this milestone day but most appropriate here tonight. 

...Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 11, 2016

I IS FOR INTERESTING

I'm not sure about you but I personally find it interesting how people believe everything they read on the internet. That said, I guess the obvious question arises, what do you entertain and what do you call 'bullshit' on?

As you know, I've just returned to Canada after traveling to once again celebrate my 29th birthday in Sayulita, Mexico. The truth is, before I landed in Los Cobos last fall, I use to make a blanket statement that "I had no interest in ever going to Mexico." The root of that statement came from me taking unsubstantiated tidbits of interesting information (about the water, crime etc) and not challenging them as varying levels of hokum.

We were just a trio of gringos, peacefully walking the backstreets of Sayulita Mexico.
TAKEN: APRIL 5th, 2016
Anyway, with our dollar performing so poorly against the American buck, my cumpleaños planning once again had me looking at Mexico. This trip (with surfing as my focus) I knew I wanted to rent a house. We did. It was a home owned by a Canadian and the best friend of a friend that had already stayed there. I am almost embarrassed to report that when we arrived, my list of interesting internet questions for the owner (about being an off resort tourist in Mexico) leaned toward embarrassing. So much so, that by about the 10th one, he was answering me with a hint of laughter.

Suppose some would say 'better safe than sorry', other true naysayers will claim 'we just got lucky and Mexico's not really like what we'd experienced.' What do I say? Use your common sense and make smart decisions. The more Spanish you know, the less everything costs. Don't venture out at night alone and look both ways before you cross the street.

Seriously... they drive like they're all from downtown Montreal!

So, from now on, when researching online, I'll remind myself to look to this quote:    
Don't believe everything you read on the internet ~ Abraham Lincoln

Interesting how that right there puts things into perspective, eh?

Saturday, April 9, 2016

H IS FOR HAPPINESS

My picture isn't worth 1,000 words.... It simply speaks for me.
TAKEN: April 9th, 2010
Sayulita, Mexico