Tuesday, November 14, 2017

SOMEONE CRACKED THE CODE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 30, 2017

PRAISE THE GHOURD!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#yagottalaughaboutit

Friday, October 27, 2017

WILL I EVER LEARN?

A couple of days ago I was standing in the front reception area of our office, when I noticed two trucks from the company I use to work for, turn right at the only traffic light in town.

 Loaded full of men yet the racks empty of product, I couldn’t help but verbalize my thoughts to the two peeps standing with me. “Lookie over there,” I said.  “Five guys on a mission and nothing to install. How much do you want to bet they are going back to fix all their mistakes?!” Laughter from those within earshot quickly ensued.

It’ll be four years next month since I resigned and moved on from their employ, and I’m not sure why I’m still such a big bitch about it. Actually, that's a lie, I know exactly why. 

They're called red flags for a reason
TAKEN: Sayulita, Mexico (APRIL 2016)
Because I am fiercely loyal to a fault and the owners of that company took that immeasurable loyalty for granted. In turn, I cut my losses and walked away from what I considered to be the best job I’d ever had.

I have been seriously reflecting about my genuine sense of loyalty for about the last year and a half. As a matter of fact, last winter, for the first time since the mid-2000's, I began seeing my psychologist again. I went to her regularly in the mid 90’s after a severe and languishing bout of postpartum depression.

In that particular instance in the 90's, I wanted to understand why I constantly struggled with my inability to go from funk to fab. In turn, after a little more than a year, she’d helped me create an amazing toolbox of skills that I still lean on today which help me manage my mindset; without the use of a pharmaceutical company.

This time around, my need for assistance was a much more personal one and after a winter of coaching, by the end of March 2017 I was back to my good ole confident inner self. With her unconditional help, I have a solid knowledge and full understanding  on how to help myself combat those people that take my sense of ingrained loyalty for granted. 

As I seek further guidance, I know she'll tell me to continue to remind myself that one of the hardest journeys I’ll ever take in this life is the never-ending road to understanding how to put myself first. I understand that I am conditioned for always thinking the right thing will happen, when in fact if I were to check the overall stats, for me personally, it rarely does.

Let’s face it, I've had enough experience in this department to know that everything will be fine. To which I choose to believe, in the end, karma will be a bigger bitch than I will ever need to be; so I’m just going to be a big girl, take the high road, and call it a day. 

Just to clarify, the use of the word big in the above sentence is in the direct reference to my level of maturity and not my actual girth. Though truth be known, I could definitely stand to lose a few pounds. 

Just sayin'.

Monday, October 16, 2017

SHE IS TEN DIGITS DARKER

A change is as good as a rest!
TAKEN: OCTOBER 15th, 2017
It’s that time of year again.

You know, when the days get shorter and (just like my mindset)  considerably darker.

Though the fall's truly my very favourite season, for next couple of months I'll literally start placing an X on the calendar every morning until December 21st arrives; which marks the shortest day of the year.

Once I get through that 355th day on the 2017 Gregorian calendar, my mindset, mood and overall outlook on life, instinctively improve knowing the days will be getting longer.

Anyway, this past weekend I was running my personal errands and one was to get product for my ‘every three weeks like clockwork root touch up to my' completely gray hair. I hate the high maintenance aspect of the ritual but the payoff for me is that I don’t feel I look as old as I truly am.

As I loaded up my basket with a bottle of my perfume and and the couple of skincare items I live by, I headed to the hair colour aisle. My regular colour (which is more of a stain, and contains very few chemicals) was sold out.

Convinced that the melanin deficient peeps were buying up my #55 colour just to piss me off, I realized I was at a crossroads. Go looking elsewhere and not get the great sale price, or change my hair colour. Because they say a change is as good as a rest, I went an unbelievable 10 digits darker. Walking the wild side of extreme hair colourization I went from a #55 to a #65. *Gasp*

A big deal to me, as expected, no one even remotely noticed; which made no matter as I got ready for work in the dark this morn. All the lights on, the radio cranked and my hair diffuser getting it's job done, I couldn't help but giggle to myself.

It was in that moment that I realized that by going 10 digits darker on the hair colour front, I would have to be more diligent in making sure my silver roots were kept covered up. All I could say to myself was... Bring it on!

For the first time in the decades I have been dealing with seasonal affective disorder, I was going to be taking charge of my darkness.

And it seems I have my new bestfriend #65 to personally high five for that!!

How's that for a glass half full?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

THE ART OF PATIENCE

Well, my almost year long quest for a clean bill of health had me starting my work day in my home office this morning. Closing in on the end of what feels has been a bit of a mini marathon, I am glad to share that I'm feeling fan-tab-u-lus!

Because I had an appointment, I didn’t have to meet the carpool this morn. Yet, as I do every morning, I woke up on schedule to a steaming pot of fresh perked coffee and let the pups out to do what we all of do when we wake up in the morning.

Still dark outside, I found it odd that I had to almost coerce Dot back into the house with treats. As soon as the sun rose she wanted back out, so just before 8am I let her go. At her age, there’s no need to tie her as she always stays within earshot; or so I thought.

Working away I lost track of time. As my tummy rumbled for sustenance, I realized I hadn’t heard a peep from Dot. Not coming when called, I ventured into the back gully, all gussied up in the ugliest bathrobe & drop dead bedhead imaginable. What I found was my pup no longer able to stand. She'd clearly remained on high alert for her arch red nemesis for more than 3 hours, which easily displays the art of patience

Spottie Dottie on high alert for Big Red!
TAKEN: OCTOBER 11th, 2017

I have been thinking a lot about patience lately. Specifically certain people around me, and their lack thereof it. Is it a symptom of midlife and old age? Because mine seems to be increasing, opposite of my husband whose is steadfastly plummeting. Five/six years ago I use to tune it out. A couple of years ago I use to point it out. Now a days I just tend to roll my eyes, laugh about it, and carry on.

The funny thing is the topic of patience comes up once in a while in our carpool chit chat sessions and the Sweeny-Meister always wonders why I don’t let it affect me. I usually have a response that gets a true belly laugh out of her but when the laughter ceases, my final summation is always the same: why would I bother?

I truly believe that I am at the point in my life where I pick my battles and the truth of the matter is I simply no longer have any desire to fight. Though strong in spirit and a full blown extrovert, I’d rather be alone than be around unnecessary drama.

Honestly, if I look deep, I think of patience as that trigger that proves I'll never stop hoping. I truly do have such hope. So much like Dottie, I'm unwilling to give up. Even though, more often than not, my heart knows the truth.

... That I'm simply nothing but an absolute idiot. A fiercely patient, absolute idiot.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, October 9, 2017

MY GREATEST LOVE OF ALL

It rained here all day Saturday. And, because my car was going to be in the shop until Tuesday, I couldn’t get the pups to the cottage for Thanksgiving weekend. Instead, I decided to do my chores at the house and stay in town.

Stir crazy from the rain in the afternoon, I decided to go hunting for the glasses I collect. My first stop was the Habitat Re-Store. When I got skunked there, I headed to the Salvation Army Thrift Store. Again, nothing on my Petro Canada glass hunt but I managed to get magnetically drawn into their used book section. I love browsing used books. I've always felt previously read books are on an individual journey each having their own story of lives they've influenced.

Thanks Sally Anne!
TAKEN: OCTBER 7th, 2017
Anyway, standing in front of hundreds of books, I began to search for the author I have read and collected since before I got married. 

Though I do read a wide variety of books I tend to find a comfort in her simplistic approach to stories. Fluff is a strong word but because I'm realistic; I'll admit they're always very formulaic & served with a large side order of fluff... and I'm OK with that.

Browsing the thrift store bookshelves Saturday, I hit the proverbial hard cover jackpot. A section dedicated to her, grouped together just waiting for me.

 I pulled up a chair and stared at them in awe. I drug my finger across the spine of each one to read the titles and pick which I wanted to entertain first. I grabbed one I'd never read but had always been drawn to its title. (She'd penned it in 1991.)

As I opened the book, my heart skipped a beat. I know this is going to read a tad corny but just like my GPS, every so often I believe the universe tends to send me directions. This was one of those moments. Once I curtailed my awe, I slammed the book shut and cradled it in my arm and started opening every other one of her books. None of them contained the note I had found in the first one I picked up. For me, the moment seemed special. Who was sending me this sign?

The common sense side of my brain told me that it was one of the elderly volunteers trying to increase used books sales, yet my imagination began to swirl with the idea that it was meant for me. Why this author? Why this book? Why me? How could I leave it for another?

A couple of days later, I still think it's neat. That said, if it really was only Gert in the back, watching and giggling as I stood there convincing myself this was a sign for me...?

All I'll say is, well played Gertrude. Well fecking played. You're a thrift store genius.

...Because I bought the well marketed book!




Tuesday, October 3, 2017

A DECADE & SOME DAYS

Well, this past weekend was a busy one. In hopes of the five of us getting together for at least five minutes to say hello, my daughter made a reservation at Goobs' restaurant for Friday night.

When we picked Jukebox up at his place, he was curious what the special occasion was. There really wasn’t one other than I needed to get our smiling faces together. Sadly that didn't happen because his kitchen serves really amazing authenticate Mexican food and they were turning people without a reservation away at the door. He was jammed.

Though I missed seeing Goob, dinner timing was a perfect prelude to my husband helping Jukebox move to his new digs the following day. When they finished moving him, they in turn fetched things gifted by my mother in law, which had us taking a new bed and much needed larger dresser into the garage furniture inventory. 

All day Saturday, while everyone was busy moving, I enjoyed doing a good fall housecleaning and my annual purge of unnecessary crap that had officially slowly congregated without my consent. That exercise had Sweetie ending up with a bag of clothes she'd left behind and some ‘new to her’ furniture, while Jukebox was unexpectedly gifted the leather sofa we haven’t sat on in five years (all in great shape, just no longer needed as I continue to downsize).

Cleaning out the remnants of the older dresser being gifted, I came across a bunch of photos in a envelope in the bottom drawer. Most I looked at were cut to be placed in a specific frame but over time they’d been replaced with another. The one I am sharing today was taken a decade and some days ago.


I remember this day. We had traveled 100 miles south to a popular amusement park with our three kids and twenty or so of their friends. We'd chartered a small bus and had an amazing day. I remember it as particularly special because it was a time when the last thing our children wanted to do was spent time with us. 

So much has changed since then. All three are fiercely independent and I am proud that the days of back-filling their finances are over. I think the biggest change is the one I see in myself. Though I text with them almost everyday, my need to be a helicopter mom is gone and my constant hovering has finally ceased.

That said, I am so blessed that this picture and the thousands of others I cherish represent just a fraction of the wonderful memories we have created together. All a part of my consistent attempts to model and support each into the very best version of themselves. 

In hindsight, I feel I always tried to be unconditionally supportive whilst balancing being the unbelievable queen size bitch they all know I can still be; the foundation of my almost 30 year formula that's officially resulted in my own personal independence.

...Still hard to fathom that something I'd truly resisted for the last decade's so amazing.

Yet another life lesson for Rhondi.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

THE BEST CATCH OF ALL

I don’t know about you but lately life has been crazy busy for me. Not that it normally isn’t, it’s just that there has been a day or two in the last month I wish I could have coasted just a teenie weenie bit.

A tad over-tired, I may have beeen cranky a stitch but I’m not complaining. Though I've been busy, I am looking forward to a tropical fall vacation I booked last week with some great friends the first week of December. I am venturing back to Riveria Maya to meet up with the British pals I met last year, bringing other cool Canadian peeps for them to meet. I honestly can't wait.

Tropical vacation news aside, the point of my post is that at the end of last week I spent three days and two nights away from home on a team building excursion I'd had the pleasure of planning for the guys at work. It was a fishing trip and we traveled a little more than 2 hours northwest of Muskoka.

Grateful to be rewarded with one big team event a year (last year a Christmas Gala at Deerhurst Resort) this year the goal was to appease the angler in all of us.  Our team occupied the entire fishing resort on the French River. The difference between last Christmas and last weekend? What you saw was what you got.

Not a single male employee worried if their shirt and tie matched their fishing rod, nor did anyone comment that my very sexy flip flops clashed with my sweatshirt.  As I said repeatedly over the course of the 3 days, with close to 70 in attendance, "...everyone that was there, truly wanted to be," which in itself is very powerful and motivating.

Every single person on the leadership team got as much out of the experience as the newest employee; which speaks to why we stand so strong. From a personal perspective, thanks to my bestie floating me his company ball cap off his head at 1am Friday morn, as I only put product my hair once in three freaking days. For the first time ever, the team saw me as myself. No hair nor makeup, always smiling, with my very sick sense of sarcasm as sharp as a bag of razor-blades. For me, the entire experience was absolutely and unequivocally bat shit crazy amazing!

Oh, I should mention that though I did many mange to go fishing for about an hour late Friday afternoon (with my favourite carpenter and our company mascot Charlie) I didn't catch a thing. What I did land was the best catch of the entire event; the Saturday morning sunrise.

In my opinion it was much better than the $200 bucks awarded for biggest fish.

Because for me...it was PRICELESS.

Thanks, Wolseley Lodge.... We ALL had a blast!
TAKEN: SEPTEMBER 16th, 2017

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A MILLION WONDERFUL WORDS

Well, it poured rain the majority of this past long weekend.

Ignoring the 14 day long term weather forecast, a couple of weeks ago I decided to book a vacation day for today, hoping in the off chance it might eventually clear. That said, I wasn't surprised this afternoon when my good nature & cheery disposition were out of sorts.

When I woke this morn it was very apparent that summer's ending quicker than I could have ever expected. Though I’ve always faithfully flown an “I love fall” banner, the almanac this year's reporting that the snow will arrive mid-October and not leave until the lakes open next spring; which is probably why I fired the stupid thing straight into the wood stove to fuel my cast iron tea kettle!

Feeling my summer separation anxiety bordering a full-blown panic attack (per the annual norm) I looked to what soothes me best; the thousands of wonderful photos I have taken this season.

It may not have been the best summer weather on record but I managed to find me a stitch of mischief to get into, an above average amount of family fun to embrace, whilst soaking up some serious weekend downtime.

AMAZING memories were created in-spite of the plethora of rain we've received this season.
TAKEN: SUMMER 2017



Let’s see, record rainfall aside, the coles notes version starts with the fact that that I managed to get a killer tan. In addition to that earth shattering news, I stayed up well past my past by bed time, not once but three times.

I broke my toe jumping into the shallow end of a pool that didn’t have a deep end, and I managed to get Dot out in the boat that floats in between lightening strikes. She was estatic; the two I left behind, not so much.

I was blessed to attended the most beautiful wedding in the rain as Jukebox stood witness. Only to beam with even more pride as he became a finalist in the Muskoka Voice contest, a local version of the elimination show on NBC. Equally as exciting is that we sense Goob has truly found his perfect match, while Staci was busy ticking something very special off her bucket list.

From a personal level, I finally stopped feeding a somewhat important parking meter, then reconnected with an old friend that had unexpectedly fed ours. My husband got a promotion at work... and as I celebrate my annual work anniversary, I am blessed wake up every morning and head to a job I truly love.

As the cottage warms to the glow as the farmers almanac I've torched, I am happy to share some of my memories. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then my memories of this unique and amazing summer must be worth at least a million.

It was Oscar Wilde that noted: "...and all at once, summer collapsed into fall."

Here. Here. Who's ready to start carving pumpkins?

Surprisingly, ME!

Monday, August 14, 2017

STACCS & LUKE FOREVER

I don't know about you, but I enjoyed an amazing civil long weekend. I was honoured to watch Jukebox stand witness as two of his closest friends got married, then spent the rest of my break with great friends at our cottage.

Slowly but surely, I hit the grind completely exhausted first thing last Tuesday morn and (as an almost added bonus) I managed to blog that evening and purge my more serious thoughts; which is always an accomplishment when life is as crazy busy as it was last week.

Then, Wednesday evening my daughter stopped by the house higher than a kite. Not from drugs or any sort of substance, simply jacked from the sheer excitement and euphoria of what the next run of days was going to bring; the Boots & Hearts Festival about an hour south of us.

A) It's officially ON. B) Great hat. C) Rockin' to her favourite Keith Urban song .D) Flip Cup between sets.
TAKEN: AUGUST 10th - 13th, 2017

We knew she'd saved enough money to go and there was going to be about 10 of them camping together. They had planned all their meals and shopped as a group to save money. They seemed (from my vantage point) to have a well thought out plan for the festival as large as this one. Good, solid plan, yes. But I still couldn’t help but worry. With over 120,000 in attendance, how could I not worry? In the end, there was no need to.

As her kick-ass adventure progressed, true to her word, photos and videos began to arrive keeping us updated throughout the excitement.  She called me in the early afternoon Sunday because her phone had died in the night and there was just too much to tell me via text.

She told me that next year she thought we should join in. Then she continued to tell me that for a stint on Saturday she got separated from her crew and ended up hanging out and enjoying the music with another lady whose children were there with friends. "She was really old," she said. "Like 45... but she was cool and we had a blast!!" 

Look at that smile... Home today, she's experienced four glorious nights that would end with her drinking a twisted tea as her fave Luke Bryan closed the festival, whilst singing specifically to her in a crowd of tens of thousands of people.

Yup, you read that right. Just as she envisioned, he sang specifically to her. Just as I am truly only 29 years of age... NOT like the really old 45 year old she hung out with last Saturday.

Ah, the life inside my very active imagination, is absolutely amazing!!

#yagottalaughaboutit

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

THE RIGHT STUFF

Last week, after a generally disheartening and somewhat life changing day, I decided to head to the cottage for dinner. Just like the rain cloud that followed me around for the majority of the day, during my drive from town it started to sprinkle. By the time I got out of the car and to the bottom of the hill, I was in the midst of a full blown downpour. Suffice is to say once I finally unlocked and got through the cottage door my lovely summer wears were pretty much soaked.

Without a second thought, I kicked off my sandals, zoomed through the kitchen, opened the patio door and headed down the stairs to the water. As the rain intensified, I simply closed my eyes and absorbed the moment. Before long, I could feel that not only was I completely relaxed but by now I was also soaked to the bone. You know that vibe? When your makeup's running, whilst the pungent smell of wet dog overpowers the scent of the copious amount of hair product one puts in their hair.

In that very moment, any/all stress and concern disappeared and my overall disposition completely decompressed. Nothing, and I mean nothing (other than maybe one of those perfect hugs that turns into really great sex) has ever offered me such a sheer sense of relaxation like consciously standing in the pouring rain.

Eyes closed, I could hear the pups swimming around me and swear I could feel each and every raindrop landing on me. For a brief moment my mind veered to why I was so glum, then immediately realized the point was moot. In no way, shape or form, was I going to let the bad behaviour of another occupy my good nature nor my loyalty a moment longer. I stood in that rain for more than 20 minutes and the only reason I went up to the cottage was fear I would need to put my phone on rice to dry it out.

Anyway, once I dried off and fed my pups, this image is what I arrived on the dock to find. Trust me when I write, more than a week later, the rainbow was meant to be. Kind of like an affirmation that everything was going to be alright.

Completely unrelated to my mood, the day following my social media post stating 'there's nothing better than standing alone in the pouring rain. It's like a mute button for life,' my boss sympathetically asked me if I was okay. When I assured him I was, I felt the need to add a very important tidbit. 

You know the person the coined the phrase, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger?" I said. "Today I'm honestly thinking they just need a a really good and solid punch in the face!"

We both burst out laughing and I knew in right then & there I'd be just fine.

Enjoy this amazing image and thanks again for listening.

This image is what the beauty of  making the right decision looks like.
TAKEN: JULY 26th, 2017

Saturday, July 29, 2017

THE POWER OF THREE

I remember posting a meme a couple of years ago to my personal Facebook page that read: 'Who ever said diamonds are a girl’s best friend never had a dog'Outside my pups (and being someone that deals with copious amounts of humans on a day to day basis) I have to go with a great book as my next closest friend. 

Then, with a nano-second difference, neck and neck in a photo finish with the other two, my husband brings in the bronze. What? Tough to read? If you're an avid reader of this electronic journal you'll already know that five years ago he wasn't even standing anywhere close to the gosh-dang podium!

(l-r: Puddin', Dottie & Annie) The three best girlfriends a gal could ask for.
TAKEN: JULY 22nd, 2017

Giggles aside, I went to a birthday party a couple of weekends ago and I thanked an acquaintance for his participation on my Instagram page. He acknowledged that he enjoyed what I posted but felt the need to point out the obvious, which was that my dogs tend to be my focal point in a lot of the photos I've shared. He continued the dialogue pointing out how 'useless' people are that get attached themselves to their pets. I’m not going to lie that I was taken a little aback, though in the moment I deemed discussing it with him just wasted energy.

From this social media get go, I've completely and totally understood that everyone has their thing. Some it’s clothing, fishing, even politics, while other’s embrace music and the creative process or selling shit. What makes this wonderful medium of sharing so amazing is that you get to experience more than what you offer personally; unless you mind is completely closed.

My three dogs are a constant in my life. I joke about my husband taking the bronze but I truly do spend all my spare time with my dogs. My husband leaves, they stay behind. I head outside, they’re not far behind. Kids no longer call to be fed, you can bet I am constantly feeding my pups instead. 

Don’t misunderstand. The affection granted is thanks to sheer unadulterated greed. They are always chasing some sort of treat and I always seem to be packing; in bulk!

Just look at the power of three... and two chicken weiners!

Monday, July 17, 2017

BIRTHDAY PARTY HINDSIGHT

Remember when we were kids and the best part of a birthday party, aside from the cake, was the loot bags we were given on our way home? Ah, loot bags. If my memory serves me correctly, there was always a direct correlation about the success of the party you’d just attended based on the loot you headed home with.

Well, after celebrating three July birthdays last Saturday night, I woke up Sunday morning to the sound of rain on our tent roof and an unusual throbbing of pain that led me to believe that I’d be heading home one hell of a "loot bag”.  The only difference being that I was blessed to receive it before I was ready to leave for home and it contained only a single piece of loot; a broken baby toe.

After my husband became mobile Sunday morning, I stayed in the tent and listened to the rain pour. In some serious pain, I couldn't help but reflect that there's so much truth to that saying, “it seemed like a really good idea at the time.” More often than not, when it comes to me being with a great bunch of people, amazing music, and jell-o shots circulating, I always tend to strike out in the foresight department. However, when it comes to hindsight, I always seem to score perfectly: 20/20.

The glow of orange jello-shots by the fire.
(...In the wee hours of the morn.)
TAKEN: JULY 15th or 16th, 2017
As a matter a fact, I would be lying if I didn't admit that I was generally confident that foresight wasn't going to show up when trays of colourful jell-o treats began being served and it was unanimously decided we all needed to go swimming.

So, with that decision being made, in the heat of that campfire moment, I felt the urge to take the picture I'm sharing. Primarily because it’s been at least a decade since I’d enjoyed these and secondly because I knew that things we’re going to graduate to the next level in a nano-second.

Though it seemed like harmless fun (getting into our swimming gear in the wee hours of the morning) it somehow escaped me that I was about to jump full force into a pool with no deep end. My poor baby toe didn't have a fighting chance in the breakage department. Hell, I think my ankle narrowly escaped!

As I went back and forth via text with an electronic friend today, they asked how my toe was. I was telling them that it’s been over a year since I have participated any type of these shenanigans. I also replied that I won’t be looking to jump on any type of a similar bandwagon for a very long time.

Anyway, I did admit that whenever I get myself into a situation like the one I did in the wee hours of Sunday morning, I always try to learn from the experience to avoid it in the future. So, in true Rhondi fashion, I replayed the accident over in my head and I have concluded that by changing one minor detail my poor toe could have been spared.

The minor detail wasn't enjoying the shots with my crew, nor by not getting into my bathing suit. My solution's much simpler than that. Midnight pool etiquette 101: This bitch should have simply done a kickass cannonball. 

See? Right there you have changed everything. Should I have had the gift of foresight in that moment, this crisis would have been completely averted!

Just sayin'.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

BAD LUCK OR LIFE LESSON?

For a very specific reason, at 5:15 a.m. yesterday morning, I reflected that I’d read somewhere that there's no such thing as good luck or bad luck. Instead, the big picture theory's that life itself is simply a vast array of either life lessons or blessings. Trust me when I share that when I mumbled those paraphrased words aloud before dawn yesterday morn it involved some extreme profanity; so I'll breeze over those specifics and fast forward to my point.

You can imagine my struggle to understand my general ability to compartmentalize my lot called a lesson whilst standing in the middle of my flooded downstairs family room at dawn. For instance, should that truly be the case, how the hell can I get out of this overrated classroom teaching me life lessons that mimic reality? 

Short story long, I returned home after an amazing weekend to a burst hot water tank. Now, here's where it gets interesting. I must say, what a difference 36 hours makes.

Before and after. It makes me sad.
TAKEN: JULY 10th, 2017

With the kids grown and gone, I head downstairs no more than once a week to clean. Because our home is without air-conditioning, from May to October, that space is pretty much doggie central. I keep it cool for the pups, whom generally scurry to the door when I pull in the driveway, so I never feel the need to visit them in their space.

To compound that, the laundry gets done by hand via my glass washboard at the cottage. So, though I still clean their space weekly, I have no need for the laundry room. I guess I could admit that I'm grateful something unexpectedly tumbled down the stairs yesterday morning, or I wouldn't have gone downstairs. Could going downstairs be characterized as a blessing?

Anyway, by mid-morning, I recalled I did a lot of research before we pulled up the carpet and replaced it with laminated flooring, not hardwood. Yesterday, my research became one of those things in disguise. The floating floor we'd installed was up in about an hour and a half, presenting me with blessing #2.

Blessing number 3? Treat people the way you want to be treated. One call and my new high efficiency hot water tank was purchased and installed by early afternoon. With fans oscillating and dehumidifiers buzzing I can only hope that I can afford to replace the flooring I really loved.

Afterall, we all know hydro gets paid first and I can see the spike in consumption from the instant the tank went down.  Though I had an amazing weekend, when all is said and done I am thinking I could have flown to see my best electronic friend for the lot of hydro that was consumed waiting for me to experience my first blessing

So I'll leave you with two things: Enough with the life lessons & I hate Hydro.

OK, three things. Lastly.... Ya gotta laugh about it!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

I PROMISED TO PAY IT FORWARD

For the last few weekends I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to wrap my head around reading a specific book I purchased from my favourite used bookstore before my trip to Cuba.

For varying reasons, after a dozen or more tries, I couldn't seem to make it past page eighteen. Ultimately discouraged, I abandoned my efforts last Saturday & conceded that after more than three decades, I’d finally discovered an offering from the author that I didn’t find remotely appealing.

Throwing down that official gauntlet had me rambling about my cottage bookshelves for something to sink my imagination into. Then, out of the blue, my husband reminded me of a hard cover book I was gifted by a total stranger on my April flight from New Orleans to Dallas-Fort Worth. As you can expect, there’s a story there.

Once I took my seat, a lovely lady with the window seat cheerfully greeted me. I settled in, lowering my tray to make room for my tablet and the paperback book I was in the midst of reading. Out of the blue she announced that she too enjoyed the writer, then produced her newest offering in hardcover. She went on to explain that years ago her husband joined a book club that automatically delivered him the new releases to which he'd present those as gifts to his wife.

As quick as my envy ensued, I instantly had a WTF moment when she confessed it would be nice if he made more of an effort to shop for her so she got to read something else once in a while. I know it’s easy enough to have a book automatically delivered to a specific address but I found the fact that he would gift wrap them and surprise her with them without occasion very sexy. 

Of course, when it comes to gauging romantic gestures toward me I have little, actually zero personal experience. If you'll recall, I'm the gal that has to research and plan her own birthday trips for two every year. Not only that, on my last milestone celebration, my husband had his balloon offering delivered on the wrong day; so perhaps now you can appreciate how I would find a gift wrapped book almost orgasmic!

Anyway, we continued to chat about various books when half way through the flight she pulled out a second hardcover book asking if I’d read it. When I admitted I hadn’t, she generously gave me her never read book. I was both shocked and grateful and I accepted. As we both held onto the book as it transferred ownership, I promised her that when I was finished reading it, I would pay it forward. I would give it to another in hopes that they too would pass it on to someone new.

If you're interested in receiving this special gem, let me know. After you're done with it, feel free to ask to borrow any one of my 40+ Danielle Steele books or any of my new to me used books I aquire from The Owl Pen downtown. I don't care that they won't be gift wrapped, the fact that the owner will call me and tell me new ones have arrived (giving me the first right of refusal) is still very sexy.

What? Are you surprised that practicality won out over romance?

After 30 years of conditioning, I'm honestly OK with it. Which is why I refuse to apologize for enjoying these types of books, nor care to explain why I will gladly tune into a Hallmark Channel flick over a Martin Scorsese movie in a heart beat.

It's my mirage theory: In the absence of water, I tend to eat the sand.

Thank goodness that crap contains lots of fiber!!

Tackled a new book & a Canada Day drink with my best electronic friend simultaneously.
Neither disappointed.
TAKEN: July 1st, 2017

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

ALL WAS DEFINITELY NOT LOST

Like most people I am a creature of habit.  When it comes to any defense and/or coping mechanisms, should something work I stick with it until it doesn’t, then I reassess. Like any stellar mechanic, I have a really cool toolbox filled with exercises I use to help keep my personality sharp and my mind out of any unnecessary darkness. 

I don’t talk here much about how big a pessimist I am but if I were to gauge it, I'd go with T-Rex large and twice as fierce. Anyway, after a bout of postpartum depression in the mid 1990’s, I decided a change in overall outlook (combined with an understanding of my limitations) the only way to go. As a result, I ended up to seeking help outside my family physician to avoid being medicated on anti-depressants. 

Forever an all important work in progress, I'm generally very open about the fact that I lean on a psychologist if need be; with my core philosophy being you take your car in for a check-up why wouldn’t you do the same for your mindset.

Short story long, I didn’t go to work today. Specifics as to why are moot points so when the alarm rang at 5am I immediately decided I needed to completely regroup and dig deep with a solid effort to go from funk to fab. Well rested, I finally rolled out of bed around noon.

Rested, yet restless, I needed to focus and find an unrelated task. I decided to remove and attack my hard drive that'd crashed from my office desktop unit last April and see if I could salvage anything from it. I got the necessary tools from the garage and began my dissection. 

Staccs n' me  rocking the white sand beach in Cayo Coco, Cuba
TAKEN: FEBRUARY 10th, 2017
I am pleased to report that I was able to successfully remove the hard drive without further damage and retrieve all of my precious data. Thousands of pictures but more importantly all of my taxation backup. Because as we all know...the taxman is a complete and total asshole!

As my data transferred I couldn’t help but reflect on the year I’ve had. If I wasn't what the doctors label clinically depressed last winter I’ll eat my fuzzy socks and lend you all the blankets I wanted to cover my head with. 

That said, my saving grace through all of that drama was the weekend jaunt I took to Cuba with my daughter. I salvaged this picture today. Isn’t she absolutely beautiful?

She will be excited to read that I got all of our travel pictures back. Along will all of our others from 2007 on. Hence the reason for my title that all was definitely not lost.

Who says being in a mental health daze can’t be rewarding, productive and amazing?!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

THE LOVES OF MY LIFE

A thorn between two roses and the true loves of my life.
TAKEN: JUNE 11th, 1988

Yesterday would have been my fathers' 89th birthday and tomorrow I will celebrate my 29th wedding anniversary. If I've asked you once, I feel I've asked you a hundred times; where the hell has does the time go?

It seems like it was only a minute and a half ago that I was listening to my father and his father chat in the living room of 222 2nd Avenue. His mother would be humming away in the kitchen and his brother, as always, would have been looking to instigate a tickling match. It would have been the early 1970's.

The 70's turned into the 80's and by the end of the decade I was married. The 90's brought children and the decade was a blur. All of that said, after surviving the whole Y2K fiasco, it was the middle of the decade that changed me and 2005 will always be the year that will be etched in my memory for the rest of my life.

Not a day goes by that I don't miss my dad. He was the first man I ever loved and I love him as much today, as I did the moment he died in my arms. Fittingly, my other true love was with the both of us on that fateful morn. Even more than a decade later my husband will become emotional when we chat about how he left us. Our conversation usually ends with him verbalizing "...he was my best friend."

With the kids grown and gone we often talk of how we've become the others closest companion. We spend 99.99% of our time together working toward our common goals. When we began this journey more than three decades ago we were much more individual. As most can relate, friends, even greedy self-absorbed siblings, come and go but we will always have the other. He has embraced my love of the outdoors and I have resigned myself to not argue when he wants me to be adventurous with food. I must say, it is our mutual love of sports, music & travel that has become our strongest glue.

It's hard to admit that my dad leaving us the way he did produced crack in the foundation of our strong marriage but in hindsight we realize it was a lot of the subjective actions of those around us that was our issue, not our commitment to each other.

As I sit here typing on my laptop and watching my husband quietly chip away at a crossword puzzle I never finished, I can't help but daydream. I wish my dad was sitting with us. He'd be playing solitaire and humming amidst complaining about the crap card he'd be turning.

Once he realized he had lost yet again, he'd stop to acknowledge my pups. Probably because they'd be under foot but more importantly so that he could take the opportunity tell me that he thinks I take better care of them than I do my man. Yep, those were the days. When the loves of my life would tag team with each other in an effort to get a reaction out of me.

Good times. Really.... GREAT times.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

A SMALL TOWN IN MOURNING

Last Friday night after arriving back in town late, I quickly picked up my pups at the house and headed to the cottage. I prepared a quick meal, read a book for a bit, then decided to watch a movie. Shortly after midnight I headed upstairs and checked my Facebook one last time for good luck. My entire body froze as I read the tragic headline aloud: Woman dead following gun shots in Wellington Street area, Bracebridge.

As soon as I looked at the online news photo, I knew who'd been killed. In hindsight, the more unsettling in the moment was that before my husband saw any photos, he matter-a-fact-ly announced her murderer by name. Almost a week later, I am truly sad to write that we were both correct. Once again, our small town mourns as a wonderful woman tragically lost her life in the terrible war against domestic violence.

Gone but never to be forgotten.
TAKEN: MAY 29th, 2017

Out of respect for the family, my post isn’t to retrace steps, nor point fingers. My personal reason for writing's more to put a focus on awareness. You see, the morning following the incident, a publication ban was placed on the episode. For the rest of the weekend the radio waves remained quiet of the incident and the online posts were only updating readers that there had been first degree murder charges laid and nothing else because the ban was in place. All I kept asking myself was... will a deliberate hush of quiet allow the loss of this beautiful soul to be in vain?

The thought of protecting the murderers' identity was absolutely and utterly incomprehensible me. I got stuck at the simplistic thinking of why should he be given the luxury? Shouldn’t he be showered with the exact amount of respect he offered his wife? As I began to voice my concern to others, every single person expressed the very same opinion; that he deserved nothing. 

Finally, Monday afternoon I took it upon myself to start making calls. My first was to one of her closest friends. I listened intently then explained the reason for my call. I wanted to rally support to get the publication ban lifted. The sole purpose being, if removing the gag order saved only one woman as a result of understanding how last Friday nights tragedy transpired, her death would not be in vain and she would be the others saviour. I am pleased to report that the publication ban was lifted at the beginning of her assailants bail hearing on the morning of May 30th.

So I beg all of you reading, no matter how painful the idea of domestic violence is, please talk about it. Talk about the ‘who, what, where, when and how’...  hell, yell it from the roof top. Because it's my humble opinion that in a society where one in three are the hard abuse statistics, awareness will always be our best front line defense tactic in saving innocent lives.

Outside of that, what I do know to be true is that I am going to follow the upcoming events at the courthouse intently and with a true sense of personal commitment. Moving forward I am going to spearhead more fundraising to help any of those one in three women that are currently under fire. Partially because I am blessed that I will never be in need of the truly valuable support services and secure shelter, yet more importantly to maximize the hope of never having to write about this again.

Thanks for reading but more importantly no matter where you live or what you do, please always work towards raising awareness against domestic abuse and improving these horrible and very senseless crimes.

Rest in peace Wendy Boland. You may be gone but I promise you will never be forgotten.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

SHE WENT ASS OVER APPLECART

I love Maxine!
(c) Hallmark Licensing Inc. All rights reserved
Over the last few years I've started to have a premonition that I was going to take a fall and hurt myself. 

Not the kind of tumble where you slip on some ice and bang your elbow, more the epic type when you fall like Aunt Bunny and break a hip or your back. 

Well, last night I fell: backwards down the stairs at the house.… I know, right?!

Short story long, I was in the zone & realized the dogs needed to come in. I went down to the landing to find Puddin’ unable to reach the door because her lead on her run was jammed. 

Already grumpy that I’d been interrupted, I unleashed her outside then used my upper body strength to get her lead to the door. By then, I was frustrated. As frustration turned to anger, I was determine to get the wheelee-gig that scoots along wire to let go without having to fetch a step ladder. 

Finally in the house house with my feet firmly planted on the landing, I gave the lead one really good yank and complimented said use of force with a one word expletive.  Think Mel Gibson at the end of Braveheart, except I didn’t yell freedom.  Instead I went with a much more relative and common “F” word!

Anyway, as soon as I pulled the lead through my body, I felt the tension give way. In that very moment, everything went into slow motion. My so-called ‘spidey senses’ went into overdrive as I was uncontrollably falling backward at what felt to be a surreal speed. Nothing could be done, I was going to fall down the stairs; backward.

The first thing I felt was the dog clasp hit and slip between my wedding rings. My ring finger isn’t broken but I know I won’t be removing those suckers for a while. Next I hit my right forearm on the stair ledge. I didn’t cut myself but the bruising is so deep it has yet to appear. Next I felt the small of my back hit evenly on the 3rd step, I was definitely headed ass over applecart. The last thing to hit before me hitting the floor was the top of my toe. I broke my toe on the same ledge my arm hit so I completed an entire backward somersault. I landed at the bottom in a heap. So I dusted me off, put myself to bed, and I went to work this morning. 

Limping this morn, I shared by the water cooler that I had fallen down the stairs. The guys were empathetic but amidst the teasing I had two obvious opinions to share. That my falling was karma repaying me for yelling and the dog and using such passionate profanity and the second was a comment about my overall agility. It went something like this.

“It was epic. Who the hell knew I was that freaking agile? 

It certainly pays to still be able to hook your ankles behind your ears at my age" I said.

A midst the roar of laughter from the peanut gallery I had to continue.

“What the hell were you guys thinking?!" … I’m just glad I started doing yoga!”

Monday, May 22, 2017

FINALLY... NOTICEABLE PROGRESS

When I lived at the cottage the summer of 2015, I decided to begin clear cutting the back hill in hopes of detouring mosquitoes that were so large in size that they could have been mistaken for hummingbirds. Looking for relief from the onslaught, I was armed with only a hacksaw. I remember the day I started and I worked at it everyday until I could begin to drop some of the smaller trees (from the top down) using my chainsaw that fall.
(CLICK HERE TO READ: THE SKEETER/HACKSAW SAGA)

The following spring I finished burning what was cut the fall before and I continued my ongoing plight. The trouble with 2016 was that I took it upon myself to focus on my tan rather than conquering the hill. My reason being that there was no way the immaculate weather could last the season. I was wrong. It did exactly that and last summer was one for the Muskoka record books. The downside to my procrastination was it had me still using the chainsaw to drop larger trees into November with no further clearing nor burning accomplished.

After successfully getting the water on and the septic connected Saturday, I spent the afternoon in the sun. It wasn't to pay homage to my 2016 vitamin D consumption, more because I knew the rain was on the way and I had landed prepared to work outside no matter what. The thought process being that bugs would stay at bay if it rained and I had some very sex skeeter swag should they stop by for a bite. 

Armed wearing my steel baseball cleats, I started moving all the bush to the vacant lot next door and hauling the logs cut into manageable sections to the lawn below so that it could eventually be properly cut and split into firewood. Not only was it a great workout for my arms and legs, I could feel it strengthening my core. Truth is, I can still feel it today but in a good way.

As an aside, when my doctor gave me my prognosis this spring I was worried but now I'm completely and unequivocally embracing my lifestyle change. Partially because of what I saw my mother suffer from by taking unrelated medications but mostly because I think if you're willing to work hard, being medicated is generally unnecessary. 

Just like being a teenager, being a parent, being married, there's no handbook for mid-life either, so once again I find myself on yet another road of self-discovery. Yet this one in particular is one where only positivity, passion and overall good wellness survive. Who the hell knew this silly hill would become a project with so much personal pride attached to it?

LEFT TAKEN: JULY 21st, 2015                                          RIGHT TAKEN: MAY 21st, 2017




On one final note of trivia...

I read somewhere that if you chop your own wood it will warm you twice. If I throw in my unannounced hot flashes and the days I headed to that hill to work in the hot sun without deodorant, these logs should easily keep me warm for the next couple of years.

...Or even longer if my hot flashes insist on hanging around!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A SIGN OF THE TIMES

While in the midst of undertaking my weekly chores this morning, my cell phone began buzzing on my nightstand. I instantly ripped off my very fashionable bright yellow Rubbermaid gloves, abandoning the undeniable enjoyment of cleaning the shower stall in the ensuite. 

With stealth like grace I effortlessly bolted over the bed with an outstretched arm narrowly getting to my phone on the very last ring. What the hell... I lied. I slowly walked around the bed kinda pissed that I'd been interrupted. 

Glass half full? It was Jukebox. 

He's been furniture shopping for an armchair on weekends for some time now. So I told him if/when he found something he wanted to purchase, to simply call to get it moved. Well today was the day, and that was my call. So, I summoned his dad to meet up with him to help him get this poop in a group. A couple of hours later they arrived at the house. 

They had unconventionally accomplished what they'd set out to do and my son was very happy with his purchase. He went on to tell me of a sign he had seen in the second hand store and considered purchasing it for me. I was ecstatic. As a mom, it never gets old when your kids unexpectedly think of you and what you love.

Short story long... at the end of the day I sensed he worried that I would find his sentiment 'cheesy' and with the insignificant price price tag of  50 cents, it wasn’t worth his effort. He immediately knew by my reaction that it wasn't about the material item nor value, more how appreciative I was about his genuine thoughtfulness and consideration of me. 

In turn, he went back to the store and returned with this amazing sign. 

Thanks, Jukebox. I will always love you, and my new sign.

As I have always reminded. Embrace the little things. In the end, they are HUGE!

Poppa would be proud...
The 'dog hairs' reference leads me to believe the homemade sign entrepreneur was from Quebec!
TAKEN: MAY 13th, 2017 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

AN INVESTMENT IN MYSELF

Rockin' our public school stage!
(Dr. M didn't perform in this play.)
TAKEN: APRIL 1977
When I found out last Christmas that a very dear friend & close confidant was diagnosed with colorectal cancer, I was gob smacked. I remember as the words were being uttered, my heart immediately sank to the bottom of my toes. As a result, I knew it was time to take a personal inventory and work towards ensuring I had a clean bill of health.

I have an aunt that was struck with colon cancer (and survived) so it has been in the back of my mind for a very long time. Always a very picky eater, a high fiber diet's something that has always eluded me; until, well, a couple of months ago.

With a new wellness doctor to help me along the way, I've pretty much felt like a lab rat since getting that first series of blood results back. Though I am grateful my sugar levels are OK, I seemed to have some rather serious issues elsewhere.

Anyway, when I was referred to a local surgeon to do my colonoscopy, I shared with my family physician that we had known each other since public school. As a matter a fact, I shared that I specifically remembered the day he arrived into our open area classroom from England.

When they wheeled me into the OR, he wasn't far behind. Once we were finished our pleasantries, he lifted the sheet covering me to inspect my feet for swelling. He acknowledged  my pedicure and moved toward the top of the sheet telling me he needed to listen to my heart. When he moved the stethoscope for the third time, I quietly asked, '...is it still there?'

His response was genuine: 'Rhondi, there was never any doubt!'

I was obviously very nervous, so as he prepared to administer my dug laden cocktail into my intravenous, I felt the need to break the ice. 'Listen...' I said.

I'm going to show you something here today and it's not gonna be my tits.' I continued. 'I popped those puppies out for Betty over in diagnostic imaging a couple of weeks ago!' ...Everyone in the O.R. burst into laughter.

Jokes aside, do yourself a favour and get tested for every single one of our silent enemies. It may be a tad humbling but you need to make that very specific investment in yourself.

Because just like yours truly.... You're worth it!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Z IS FOR ZINGER

My husband & I wandering down Bourbon Street when we stumbled across the perfect ZINGER
(which just happened to be attached to this lovely persons t-shirt in New Orleans).
TAKEN: APRIL 7th, 2017

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Y IS FOR YOUTHFUL

I find a lot of people tend to ask why I have three dogs. It was never a long term goal and the dead nuts honest truth is that it's a heck of lot of work. What happened was, we acquired our third within a six month time frame of when we thought we'd have to put our eldest down. Trouble with the scenario was our eldest almost instantly turned into Benjamin Button and started getting younger; as you know the exact same thing happened to me when the kids left home! BA-DUM-BUMP.

A youthful yours truly with Captain Jack Sparrow!
TAKEN: APRIL 8th, 2017
I don't know about you but I have never worried about my age. As a matter a fact, I focus now more than ever on being in the moment without any type of inhibition. My trip to New Orleans this month was proof of that. After all, you know what they say, that 50 is the new 30 and I think my photo proves exactly that.

As we begin to plan for our two weeks away this fall I have made yet another personal decision. I am going to learn to scuba dive. Not because I have some deep seeded desire to learn but just like surfing, why they hell wouldn't I try?

If that weren't enough I am planning a large group trip to Cuba in February and I plan on attending a wedding in Jamaica next April. Not someone to look away from adventure, I have decided to get my motorcycle licence. Not because I have a desire to display helmet head in Canada; but I want to be able to independently navigate the island I visit this fall and the country of Jamaica next April.

I work to travel and I am fortunate that I love what I do for a living. As time passes quicker than I could ever imagine, I significantly increased my contributions to my retirement funds this year. I guess you can say if I am lucky enough to live longer than my mothers age of 57... I never want this amazing mid-life ride to stop!

Thanks again for reading. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

X IS FOR X-TRA

I have to admit that this letter of the alphabet is always the most challenging for me. Even though this is my fifth year participating in April A-Z, this is the fourth year I have chosen a hybrid for this specific letter. It's not an uncommon practice so when I was trying to decide on a word, once again my quest for my waist (and the x-tra pounds I'm carrying) immediately rushed to the front of my cranium.

Me carrying an x-tra 60 pounds
TAKEN NOVEMBER 7th, 2011
The photo am sharing was taken in November of 2011 and about a month after I left a very stressful job. It was during my tenure working there that I realized I was self medicating with food and my husband was enabling me. 

About a month and a half after this photo was taken (and during the December holiday break) that I officially tipped the scales at 200 pounds.  Seeing myself in a specific Christmas photo made me realize I was out of control; and that new years I made a commitment to myself and got my life/health back on track. 

It took me 18 months to lose the more than 50 pounds from my frame the took me 5 years to gain, and this last fall, more stress once again had me on a quest for my waist. I am pleased to report that I have a wellness coach and I have completely changed my lifestyle so that this never happens again.

At least that's what I tell myself  when I crave an unhealthy snack or look at this picture!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

V IS FOR VARIETY

Some women are obsessed with shoes.
Me?... I love my wide variety of sunglasses!!
PHOTOS TAKEN FROM: 2007 - 2016

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

U IS FOR UNEXPECTED

Happy 10th Anniversary Mikey Mike!
Taken: April 2017 
As I have said before, I don't like to be surprised. Yet for some strange reason, I love surprising people. 

I'm sure it has something to do with the unexpected look on their face, which is kinda funny really, because that's one of the reasons why I hate being surprised!

Anyway, my most recent coo was when a good friend and coworker hit their 10 year work anniversary milestone. With everyone gathered in the conference room, out of the blue, I busted out a cake.

It may not seem like much but this fella is never one to get the props he due and he was so caught off guard that when I handed him the cake he almost dropped it. Even funnier is that because we can tend to be a couple of pranksters, when I went to take our selfie, he held the cake awaaaaay from himself for fear that I would put his face in it.

Though I have only been with the company for a couple of years (Click here to read: Mikey Mike & The Funky Lunch) I have been work friends with young Mike since 2010. The one thing I will admit is that the only thing that isn't unexpected about my post is that everyone knows I think this fella is a keeper. 

Happy Anniversary buddy... Here's to 10 more!