Tuesday, January 16, 2018

MY BEFORE THE SELFIE… SELFIE!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wowza! Followed by a who the hell knew?

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

Monday, January 8, 2018

FROZEN FUN WITH SWEETIE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, January 5, 2018

WATER WAS DEFINITELY CHILLED

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glass half full... right?!

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


Monday, January 1, 2018

REMEMBERING 2017

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

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


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

Sunday, December 31, 2017

SOME ADVICE TO LIVE BY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's that simple.

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

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

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

Cheers to 2018 ~ Rhondi 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

ZIP-A-DEE-POOOO-DAH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 26, 2017

A CLEAR 361 SLEEPS AGO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#yagottalaughaboutit

Thursday, November 23, 2017

WHO'S A RICH GIRL?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

'She's a Rich Girl.'

Here's the skinny.

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

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

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

Trust me. I've seen it. Twice!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

SOMEONE CRACKED THE CODE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 30, 2017

PRAISE THE GHOURD!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#yagottalaughaboutit

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.