Friday, April 19, 2019

Q IS FOR QUOTES

My 2019 April A-Z Blogging Challenge posts will primarily consist of words & corresponding quotes.
(...With the odd opinionated electronic journal entry inserted to keep you on your toes.)

Thursday, April 18, 2019

P IS FOR PRIVATE

My 2019 April A-Z Blogging Challenge posts will primarily consist of words & corresponding quotes.
(...With the odd opinionated electronic journal entry inserted to keep you on your toes.)

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

O IS FOR OPTION

My 2019 April A-Z Blogging Challenge posts will primarily consist of words & corresponding quotes.
(...With the odd opinionated electronic journal entry inserted to keep you on your toes.)

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

N IS FOR NEGATIVITY

My 2019 April A-Z Blogging Challenge posts will primarily consist of words & corresponding quotes.
(...With the odd opinionated electronic journal entry inserted to keep you on your toes.)


Monday, April 15, 2019

M IS FOR MARRIAGE

My 2019 April A-Z Blogging Challenge posts will primarily consist of words & corresponding quotes.
(...With the odd opinionated electronic journal entry inserted to keep you on your toes.)


Saturday, April 13, 2019

L IS FOR LAUGHTER

My 2019 April A-Z Blogging Challenge posts will primarily consist of words & corresponding quotes.
(...With the odd opinionated electronic journal entry inserted to keep you on your toes.)

Friday, April 12, 2019

K IS FOR KNOCK KNOCK

My 2019 April A-Z Blogging Challenge posts will primarily consist of words and corresponding quotes.
(...With the odd opinionated electronic journal entry inserted to keep you on your toes.)

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

I IS FOR INSIGHT

My 2019 April A-Z Blogging Challenge posts will primarily consist of words and corresponding quotes.
(...With the odd opinionated electronic journal entry inserted to keep you on your toes.)

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

G IS FOR GENEROSITY

My 2019 April A-Z Blogging Challenge posts will primarily consist of words and corresponding quotes.
(...With the odd opinionated electronic journal entry inserted to keep you on your toes.) 

Saturday, April 6, 2019

F IS FOR FURBABY

My 2019 April A-Z Blogging Challenge posts will primarily consist of words and corresponding quotes.
(...With the odd opinionated electronic journal entry inserted to keep you on your toes.)

Friday, April 5, 2019

E IS FOR EXCELLENCE

My 2019 April A-Z Blogging Challenge posts will primarily consist of words and corresponding quotes.
(...With the odd opinionated electronic journal entry inserted to keep you on your toes.) 

Thursday, April 4, 2019

D IS FOR DISTANCE

My 2019 April A-Z Blogging Challenge posts will primarily consist of words and corresponding quotes.
(...With the odd opinionated electronic journal entry inserted to keep you on your toes.) 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

C IS FOR CHANCES

My 2019 April A-Z Blogging Challenge posts will primarily consist of words and corresponding quotes.
(...With the odd opinionated electronic journal entry inserted to keep you on your toes.) 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

B IS FOR BROADWAY

♫♪♫ Hello... My name is Edler Price! ♪♫♪
Headed to see the Book of Mormon on at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre on Broadway this month.
As I say... I love to laugh at anyone's expense, including my own.

Monday, April 1, 2019

A IS FOR ACCEPTANCE

My 2019 April A-Z Blogging Challenge posts will primarily consist of words and corresponding quotes.
(...With the odd opinionated electronic journal entry inserted to keep you on your toes.) 

Saturday, March 30, 2019

FOR THE RECORD

My motto in life?
Kill the assholes with kindness!
TAKEN: April 1978
I don’t care who you are, when your feelings have been deeply hurt, there is nothing more exasperating than being told you’re overreacting.

As a matter a fact,  I am a firm believer that the only reason they play that super stupid lame card, is because on the surface they want the brutally honest conversation to stop. Simply because they've realized, deep inside, what they did to you was wrong and you are speaking an absolute truth.

Have I ever mentioned the fact that I’m often teased in passing that my cheerfulness is silly, or labelled as something it isn't?

Part of me thinks those being aggressively passive and judgmental about my very fashionable rose coloured glasses are that way because they've never met anyone like me; which is someone that would rather instill confidence over conflict.

I am honest when I write that I wake every day in hopes of making someone else’s day better. I think that may have  something to do with my being bullied as a child, in that I learned very early that my extroversion categorically opened my mind and spirit to a commitment to never stop setting goals nor letting others tell you that you didn't have great worth.

As a result, I have always worked to give my best. Which may read an an oxymoron seeing as over the years I've written here that the best I could do was barely crawl out of bed...Yet even then, I always did it and smiled.

As I process all of this, my biggest discovery this post is that once you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Which is the realization I had yesterday, and is naturally attached to what feels to be a bit like a broken heart.

Glass half full? It isn’t the first time my ticker has been less than stellar, and it most certainly won’t be the last. As a matter a fact, a wise and amazing friend sent me a text message this afternoon that read… ”Remember you are worthy of all the great & amazing things in life.”

She continued with, "these things and people far surpass the other people & events around you that can create inconvenience & negativity.”

To which I replied: "Agreed... The loss is theirs & bigger than they can ever imagine!”

Once again, I have my big girl panties pulled up and I am moving onward & upward.

Thanks again for reading.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

HASTA LUEGO, AMIGOS!

If you happen to follow me on social media, you are well aware of the treacherous weather I endured to ensure I made it to the airport for my jaunt into the sun in the middle of February.

The roads were so bad, it took four hours to get the airport, with the last hour being a slow crawl from the top of Toronto into the parking lot of my airport hotel.

Once finally checked in and cozy, the freezing rain arrived in full force. Fully expecting my flight to be cancelled in the morning, when I rose at 3:00am the following morn to prepare for my 6:15am flight, my Sunwing app pleasantly alerted me to a fight delay rather than cancellation.

Knowing full well that I was faced with a kick-ass first world problem, I was still excited that the flight had only been delayed and not cancelled. A little better than four hours late, the plane was barreling down the YYZ runway & I was getting the hell out of dodge!

Landed, took a quick bus to the resort, suited/lathered up and immediately headed onto the beach & into the sun. Suffice is to say that by dinnertime I was totally bagged from my 'hurry up and wait kinda day' whilst soaking up the spirits that compliment an all inclusive vacation.

So, for a combination of reasons (including sheer stupidity) I took my designer handbag with me into the dinner buffet. Inside was my wallet, my underwater camera and uber expensive cellphone; all of which usually stay under lock and key no matter where I travel.

After meeting the serving team and leaving a generous tip for their amazing service, I was off to see the 9:30pm live show. Thank goodness I got waylaid in the lobby bar listening to the house band, because after the dining room closed, I got an unexpected tap on my shoulder from the gal that was my server earlier in the evening. She could barely speak English but managed to act out that I had left my handbag in the diningroom.

I rushed back with her to retrieve it, hugged each and every one of the servers that worked in my Diamond Club section and was grateful beyond belief. As I type, I am amazed that though they didn’t have to return my bag (and my valuable contents) they ALL went above and beyond by wandering through hundreds of people in the busiest section of the resort to find me and do the right thing.

Proving, yet again (what I unconditionally believe) that you get back the energy you ultimately exude. To expand on that, it's always been my personal travel belief that no matter where one lands or where one roams, you are the the one responsible for the outcome in the overall experience department; which is primarily why I ignore 99% of the negative input on Trip Advisor, focusing only on what may impact my ability to enjoy my adventure.

With any/all political views aside, there is truly something special about Cuba. They boast some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever had the pleasure to walk along & enjoy, which pale in comparison to the attitude and passion of the people that live there.

They personify that you should ALWAYS treat people the way you want to be treated. It's that simple... To which I will be forever grateful.

Gracias y hasta luego, amigos....

Thank you, I will see you again, friends.

Sharing more of the love the following evening with these amazing peeps!
Memories Flamenco Beach Resort ~ Cayo Coco, Cuba
TAKEN: FEBRUARY 14th, 2019


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

MY UNEXPECTED VISIT

I came home from work last night & climbed straight into bed. So weak with fever that I never bothered getting out of my dress clothes.

I just plopped my snotty self under the covers in an effort to achieve a level of complete relaxation that would ultimately lead to the comatose state I’d been craving all day. Those two hours of deep sleep were heavenly.

When I finally woke up, I managed to haul my ass out of bed long enough to get my jammies on, yet by 8pm I had called it a night. When my alarm went off at 5am, I text my boss and went back to sleep for another four hours. It was in those four hours that something extraordinary happened: I dreamt of my Dad.

Words can't accurately describe how glowing & vivid my dream was. I could actually hear his voice. I recognized the clothing he was wearing and navigated his surroundings like I was actually there. The scenario was as if he'd never spent is last months in hospice with me, rather been placed in a home for palliative care.

Though it was a sunny spring day outside, I was anxious when I was dreaming because his level of care was not what I thought he was entitled to. When I awoke (after what felt like spending the day with him) I was in the midst of dreaming that I was trying to locate my cellphone in his room; which was actually my cellphone signalling me notifications that my boss needed my assistance with something at the office. Just like that, our visit was over.

As I greeted my day still groggy, I realized it was just my fever breaking. Yet, because we had such a vivid visit today, as I sat at the computer sneezing like a poltergeist throughout the day, it felt like he was there with me. 

You see, once I'd get my snot & sneezing outbreaks under control, I'd sit quietly and listen for my Dad to acknowledge me with a kleenex box and his standard… ‘Gesundheit!

Fever breaking or just a silly dream, I love that my mind had us enjoy today together. 

As always, I'm forever grateful for him stopping by.

There is NEVER a bad time to get a visit from my Best Friend...
TAKEN: MAY 1985




Sunday, January 27, 2019

THE SKIN I AM IN

Relaxing on the beach
in Cayo Coca
TAKEN: FEBRUARY 2017
As I do when I prepare for any trip into the sun, I always throw out the old & purchase new sunscreen products. With my goal to better understand online shopping in 2019, I headed over to Amazon.

Wasting more time than expected trying to find the crap I was looking for, I received a personal message about a picture I posted to Facebook yesterday. They continued to comment that, 'I am looking better with age'.

After I made my standard offer to buy them some glasses, I stated the obvious. I matter a factually text back, ‘you know that’s a big fat lie, right?’

The messenger conversation continued as I expressed  that I wished I was still in my 30’s. Then, after looking back through that time via my photo albums this afternoon, I realized that I honestly never really hit my stride until my 40’s. 

That decade offered it all. Ranging from undeniable heartbreak, to the euphoric sense of being surrounded by true & unconditional love and personal happiness. 

Though it was the decade I achieved the most financial success, it was also the one where I suffered a full blown mid-life identity crisis. Year for year, there were very important life lessons in all of them; and I understand that I got to today, being grateful for each & every one of those lessons.

Be it my 30's or my 40's, I was appreciative of the kind words of my friend today. We both know I need to lose some weight, yet he chose to not focus there. Instead, we focused on the journey of our friendship. The truth is, we've always been good friends to each other. Comfortable, never confrontational. At times we've agreed to disagree... like we did today. 

I find it interesting what men typically disclose they find sexy in women. I work with a gaggle of men, and always find it intriguing to listen to them talk on the subject of perceived female sexuality around the water cooler.

It always warms my heart when they try to shock me with their antics. Yet, at the end of the day, they always set up the perfect volley for my spike. The key to saying anything that may be shocking and of a sexual nature is timing. Timing, and that you know you believe what you're saying.

Part of me thinks they have a pool going, as to if I'll bite on the bait they are serving me. What can I say? I try not to be predicable. I am always just me. That said, there are three things about myself I truly wear as (what I consider) badges of honour.

Though I do take pride in my appearance, my first badge is my powerful confidence in knowing the person I've truly evolved into. My generally warped albeit very witty sense of humour comes in a close second, and the fact that I am completely & totally comfortable in the skin I’m in completes my personal trifecta.

As I hope I age with grace,  I never want to get disconnected from the above three identifiers. Because let's face it, beauty fades.

...And I hear that Botox, as well as any/all other age averting enhancements hurt like hell!

Monday, January 21, 2019

WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

An amazing lady I know was body shamed in an international airport yesterday because she was deemed too skinny; trust me, she isn’t. She’s an established & disciplined life coach, that is ultimately confident in the skin she’s in. 

Suffice it to say that it isn’t her girth that makes me take notice when she posts on social media, it's that she's intelligent and has an amazing energy/outlook on life; which was proven in her response to her followers on Instagram after the incident. 

Here’s a condensed snippet:
@lifestyle.health.travel: I got “too skinny” at the airport today! LOL I was like phewf, I’ll take two muffins today and stop working out so I can gain some weight and start feeling shitty about myself and start making comments to skinny girls too! #goals

Notice that it’s never the people ahead of you who are criticizing you, they are too busy working on their own goals, it’s always the people behind you who are whispering, making comments and wondering how the hell you do it!

There is always one choice between judgement or inspiration.... try on inspiration for a change, trust me, it feels way better. 
(Be sure to look her up and follow to her. You won’t regret it!)

Anyway, as you know, from my quest for my waist electronic journal posts, “too skinny” will never be a criticizing whisper I’ll ever have to endure. Guess you can say, had I not had to travel the road I have, my personality wouldn’t be as outgoing albeit quirky as it is.

I wholeheartedly admit that my personal inspiration's always been one dimensional. The more I was bullied and misjudged, the more I became determine to prove the naysayers & injectors of hate wrong. I took in every single mean word and action, and as much as it hurt, I stood tall.

I stood so tall for so many years, that I eventually ended up in a different atmosphere, which brings me to my biggest motivator of all.

I'm sure this probably isn’t the inspiration that Tina H @lifestyle.health.travel is talking about… But it will forever work for me.

Two words, One finger!

What can I say,  I have always been a true believe that less is more.

While touring Bourbon Street, I met my most inspirational mantra/t-shirt EVER!
TAKEN: APRIL 9th, 2017


Sunday, January 13, 2019

RHONDI's RENOVATING!

Growing up, thanks to having a sister and their parents limited mortgage borrowing power, my boys always shared a bedroom. Then, once we all weathered an unforeseen hospice journey in our new home, that extra room was offered to my eldest son; finally granting him a bedroom of his own. He was in his teens.

A creative soul since birth, Jukebox immediately decided he wanted to redecorate, and asked to paint his new space a very vibrant orange. Striving to prove that I wasn't a total control freak, I simply internalized my immediate anxiety attack, then agreed to his unconventional colour choice.

All these years later, though other rooms have received new flooring & updated colours, what's now my home office remains that popular fall colour that rhymes with no other. I suppose it's because I knew once I accepted the 'ultimate orange room renovation challenge', the rest of the house simply HAD to follow. 

You see, though I love the layout of my home, it's been blessed with 'popcorn ceilings'. An interior design (once considered somewhat sexy) plaster application, that was popular when every kid in the neighborhood had to be home before the street lights came on, and your mama wasn't afraid to spank you.

Though the crap in the home has been painted twice since the its purchase, I've known for years the retro look needed to go. So, with the help of YouTube and an ambitious renovation schedule, the now famous orange room officially lost its 1980's 'early heritage status' yesterday!

Wearing my fancy fur-lined CROCS were just one of my many renovation mistakes yesterday!
TAKEN: JANUARY 12th, 2019

After the experience, I would love to share that my plaster removal video training had me feeling the same euphoria that beautiful puppies & very expensive wine offer, yet that would be a bold-faced lie.

Even with my decision to outfit my chair in the ugliest fitted bed sheet destine for landfill, in a room draped in plastic that I swear could have been prepared by Dexter, things did not go as smoothly as planned.

Though I appreciate my YouTube video schooled me to spray water on the plaster before removing it, it did not warn against the true downside of doing so. Therefore, I gave said training video a thumbs down.

Why? The room, my hair, my clothing, my slippers, my skin were all covered in a paste like substance I magically, albeit, unexpectedly created. 

That said, my reason for my negative review was 100x's bigger than anything listed above.

You see, I always sing when I work.

And that stuff, though generally moist & bad in texture...

Tastes absolutely awful!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

DIAMOND DOG-GONE

In the deep winter of 2017, my yellow lab Puddin’ got the lead from her run tangled on one of the coldest nights in February. As always, I pulled her back in, this time realizing the majority of her 25 metre lead was still stuck in the frozen snowbank. Already frustrated, I became determine to finish the job.

After several forceful attempts freeing it, I backed up, dug in (yelled a really loud expletive) then with all my muscle heaved on that sucker with everything I had.

What happened next felt like I was in a cartoon. My force broke the leash from the ice, then and the slack came zipping my way with a serious zing. I began falling backward the more it let go.

Standing on a small landing at the top of the stairs, I started to lose my balance, realizing I was going to fall down the stairs. In slow motion, I felt my body gracefully tuck and roll, as I absorbed those six oak stairs.

Never letting go of the dog lead, the most damage done was when the large metal collar clasp bore all my weight between my middle and ring finger as it passed through with force. To this day, though never diagnosed, I believe I broke my left ring finger knuckle.

Here’s where my story enters into a 'this could only happen to Rhondi' zone.

(Left) A neat shot of us on the lake and the size of the diamond my dog ate!
TAKEN: SEPTEMBER 2013
(Right) Post event picture. My bad for letting the dog treat juice under my gem!!
TAKEN: MAY 2018




Once my hand/finger healed, it became clear I was unable to remove my wedding ring set. Not a big deal, I figured my finger would eventually fully mend yet it never did. My circulation was fine, so I paid no attention; until a fateful day this past May.

I arrived home on a Friday night to greet my pups, when my Annie reaches up to gently tug at my fingers to throw her a stick. In the process, one of (what I believe to be) her incisors got underneath the setting of my half carat diamond solitaire, and in a nano-second it was gone.

I combed the grass for what felt like hours incase it had popped out of her mouth. I went back out the following couple of nights with a flashlight in hopes of seeing a sparkle. I even followed her around with a baggie for a week in hopes it landed where her lunch did: nothing.

Short story VERY long, I came to terms with the fact the diamond was gone forever, and cut off my engagement ring. I did however, leave the wedding band, with the hopes that after more than 30 years it could be salvaged.

Well, tonight I went back into the jewelry store and also had it cut off. As expected, it was an emotional end of an era, but at the end of the day we’d had a good ride.  I told the ladies that once I understood the underlying issues with my damaged knuckle, I’d be back to purchase another ring.

I told them that I’ve already decided on one ring with three diamonds. Primarily to pay homage to my life spent raising my three children, as well as my years with my three pups.

The one 'must have' I guarantee when I buy my new ring?

... A diamond flavour dogs DON'T love!

Monday, December 31, 2018

REMEMBERING 2018

There is no path to happiness, because happiness is the path. ~ Budda
TAKEN: ALL IN 2018
January: My very own ‘Fire & Ice Festival’ at the cottage in an unusually mild month of January. 
February: Four very sexy nights spent in Nassau, Bahamas.
March: Trivia night with coworkers at Kelly’s Irish Pub (Jukebox was our host this particular evening).
April: My birthday trip, to Miami Beach to see the last regular season Toronto Raptors game (and enjoy my first $100 USD hamburger in South Beach).
May: Visiting a job site on Lake Rosseau, proving in the fifth month, winter felt like it lasted forever.
June: Celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary
July: Jukebox busking out his apartment window as captured and posted on social media by Explorer’s Edge
August: Sweetie at Boot’s & Hearts for her second year in a row. I loved enjoying it with her so much (electronically) that I am joining in this year!
September: After months of shopping, I finally found the new car I wanted to purchase.
October: The official end of the perfect cottage season, as I pay homage to the amazing floating picnic that was built and truly enjoyed by all.
November: The snow arrived. Never left.
December: My year closed with a great work year under my belt and I am pleased to report that I enjoyed a holiday season of sheer relaxation with my pups. 

Suffice it to say, this past year's been a very difficult one for me, resulting in a ton of personal change. 
In hindsight: Though I came close a couple of times (only publishing 60 offerings) I’m grateful that I never gave up on my electronic journal. Since it’s inception in November 2011, it's truly been one hell of a ride!

As I reflect on how far I have come, the trash that I took to the curb, and all the tragedy our country witnessed this last year (Humboldt Broncos bus crash,  and the Toronto van deaths, to name only two)... Here’s to a fresh start in 2019. 

At midnight tonight, 2018… 

Don’t let the door hit you too hard on the way out!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

MY PERFECT GLOW

I don’t know about you, but there's a handful of things that instantly remind me of early childhood happiness. Those few things are so vivid, that in a nanosecond I feel four or five years old again. This time of year, it’s the beautiful nighttime glow of multicoloured Christmas tree lights that warm my heart.

All these years later, I recall the longest trimming ritual (aside from placing the single strands of silver tinsel) was putting the heavy tin reflectors on the large string of bulbs. Boy, those large painted bulbs got hot so quickly, that getting to enjoy their illuminated beauty in the evening was always a treat. Simply because they were never allowed to stay on very long. All reminiscent memories but the awe of those beautiful lights remain ingrained in my spirit; all these decades later.

From the time we bought our first home, an artificial tree was traditionally assembled & disassembled using specific calendar days as a guide. Then, when my dad passed in 2005, I didn’t have the energy nor the desire to bother, so a real tree was purchased less than a week before Christmas was set to arrive. I’ve purchased a real tree ever since.

ONLY multicoloured
lights for this cat.
TAKEN: DECEMBER 24th, 2018
This year, I hit the jackpot at my grocery store tree lot. I paid my forty five bucks and brought this absolute beauty home. 

As I began to string the lights from the inside out, I had to make an additional trip to Canadian Tire for more lights. In total, I managed to load my tree with close to 600 of one of my favourite things.

Running on a timer at dusk, from the time I turned that last corner on my street before landing at the house, I could see the glow of my lights in the living room window. 

Then, each night until the Christmas break, I would finish the dinner chores and settle into watch my evening episode of Jeopardy. I would find my channel, stretch out & admire my beautiful tree.

Then, every night, something always made me stop and reflect.

It wasn't because the kids are grown and gone, doing there own thing, there wouldn't be much under it. It was that my Dad wasn’t sitting on the couch next to me...

Enjoying my beautifully lit tree.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

THE GIFT OF GUILT

My daughter & I headed out yesterday morning to tackle the tail end of our holiday shopping. This time of year, I always shop locally to support smaller merchants, bolstering community sales whilst staying out of Walmart. All comments aside, due to something very specific on my shopping list, I entered the corporate vortex.

That said, the point of my post has nothing to do with the Walmart business plan, more that if I go shopping hungry, I generally buy a bunch of crap I'd never purchase nor feed to my worst enemy.

Truth is, I generally overload my cart & overspend on comfort food. With the subliminal thought process that I'll be able enjoy my sinful spoils when I get home.

My next confession is that our timing yesterday had us land at the Walmart McDonalds to avoid the  previously mentioned shopping threat; which in itself was an epic fail.

Now, I truly try to avoid all fast food outlets. Simply because since midlife, I swear my well established fat cells expand the instant they smell french fry grease gurgling in any nearby deep frying vat. The second reason for my general fast food boycott is the toll a single experience takes on my wallet. Man, that place in particular's expensive.

As I paid what felt like a small fortune for our lunch (and waiting for it to arrive) I had my Sweetie and I pose for a picture together. Though we see each other at least once a week, we rarely make the effort to capture the simple milestone moments we may share; like gorging on 30+ grams of fat and over indulging on carbs & sodium.

Last minute shopping with my Sweetie. Embracing a glamour shot under fluorescent lights!
TAKEN: DECEMBER 22nd, 2018

I’m laughing at writing that.

I am laughing because I tend to always focus on the negative rather than the positive. That, and because I know more than most, that guilt is the ultimate gift that keeps on giving.

Yup, yesterday I did Walmart.

Yup, yesterday I ate fast food.

Yup, yesterday I had to spit on my hand, calm down my out of control bangs and retake the picture I'm sharing. 

Seeing as I am sharing about guilty pleasures, last night I proudly watched a Hallmark Christmas movie I’ve seen a couple of time before and got just as emotional as I did the last time I watched it.

Glass half full?

Yesterday confirms my Sweetie is definitely my daughter (replace a Hallmark movie with How I Met Your Mother). Except for her hair.

It was perfect in her hat and didn’t need any of my impulsive spat for the retake.

Felt the need to clarify that.

Just sayin'

Monday, December 17, 2018

NEVER LOSE HOPE

I don’t know about you, but I am one step away from being downright giddy that there’s only a handful of sleeps until the upcoming holiday break. Frankly, I feel I am bordering upon exhausted; but pleased to report that I am managing far better than initially thought in the seasonal affective department.

Not gonna lie, I am NOT going to miss 2018. It was a bit of an emotional roller coaster that ended up with me hitting an all time low the middle of May. If it wasn’t for the Sweenymeister talking me off a ledge or two, my life would be drastically different than it is today. So, as you can imagine, I am very grateful to have her in my life. 

Anyway, as you may or may not recall, I apprehensively posted (in real time) about a weekend jaunt to Cuba I took with my daughter in 2017. I disclosed that I'd never had any desire to visit the island but when the need for a 4 day jolt of vitamin D called it became the obvious choice. We booked, kept our fingers crossed, and had a blast.

On our first morning there, I heard a familiar voice tell her party by the pool, 'I know those people!" 

Low and behold, we ran into this lady & her husband, that I use to babysit for when I was a teen. An EPIC holy shit moment at its best.

As I share this photo of us from 2017, I will also share that she and I have been chatting about the islands' recovery since Irma decimated it, and that I have decided to go back. The resort has been completely rebuilt, and you know what they say, the second time's a charm.

Quick photo with our Muskoka friend before heading to catch our night flight back home.
No hair. No Makeup. No worries!!
Memories Flamenco Beach Resort - Cayo Coco, Cuba.
TAKEN: FEBRUARY 13th, 2018
The second time's a charm. I was thinking about that very thought before I began to write tonight.

Taking any chance in life is never easy, so most don't do it twice. Well, my year has proven to me that I am most certainly NOT a once bitten twice shy kinda gal. I have proven to myself that I will push myself harder than most, simply because I know what success feels like.

In turn, some will call me a bitch. To which I will gladly counter and describe myself as focused. Reminding all, that our most important & valuable life experiences happen in real time and never happen on a beach.

Except this time. This coming February. In Cuba!!

WOOT.

“We are the sum total of our experiences. Those experiences - be they positive or negative - make us the person we are, at any given point in our lives. And, like a flowing river, those same experiences, and those yet to come, continue to influence and reshape the person we are, and the person we become. None of us are the same as we were yesterday, nor will be tomorrow.” ~ B.J. Neblett

Sunday, December 9, 2018

LOYALTY DOES PAY!

Sweetie helped me chase 2000 bonus Air Miles yesterday.
Today I trimmed the tree.
What a GREAT weekend!
TAKEN: DECEMBER 9th, 2018

With my daughter working full time hours at the local hospital, I generally juggle anything I'm doing to get real face to face time with her at least once a week. So, firming up weekend plans was only one of the reasons I rang her Thursday night.  The other was because I'd spied a sexy winter coat for her on sale (50% off) in a flyer, that I'd an additional ten dollar off coupon for. 

I don’t know about you, but I truly watch like a hawk so not to pay full price for day to day items one needs to make life run smoothly. The other side to that  guilty pleasure coin is, over the years, collecting ‘reward points’ has become a bit of an obsession for me.

When I think back, it was the now debunked local Zellers store that got me hooked. I had collected (and never redeemed) over a million points by the time the store closed. I'd look at what I could get with the points I had, but never managed  to redeem any of them. To this day, I'm not sure why I didn't.

Next, came Air Miles. I think it was in the early 1990’s and I remember giving my Dad my second allocated card to help me collect. Between my shopping at the designated local Metro grocery store and his spending on petro & spirits, I hit the ground running. Once again, I never redeemed any, until I was notified that I had to ‘use or lose’ them.

Suffice it to say, my first big redemption was to fly my daughter home from Alberta when she announced that she was ready to return to Ontario. I was amazed how easy the website was to use, so I began collecting miles hardcore to specifically be able to book Toronto hotel rooms (before and after my flights) when my thrice a year jet-set vacationing habit kicked into full swing.

Shoppers Optimum points followed Air Miles and those bought an entire years’ worth of personal toiletries for all my children when they initially left home. Then, the weekly accumulation of Visa Rewards have paid for vacations (almost) in full. Just so we're clear, I in no way live my life on credit, yet make all my purchases using the cards, paying them off bi-monthly. In a nutshell, my bank is paying for my loyalty, as well as fueling my necessity to spend & earn reward points.

Just like those I'm closest to, I have always been a loyal person. In reference to them, I have admitted a number of times here, that I will give you the shirt off my back, cross me and I’ll kill you. Not with any sense of violence, with something much more powerful: my indefinite silence.

Though the above reference has generally been written about relationships or estrangements, it's offers the same result. That loyalty itself, is a two way street. That said, part of me wonders if my biggest lessons in 'loyalty paying off' come from my dogs. 

Their loyalty toward me, has me absolutely & unequivocally devoted to them. I guess you could say, with 20% of my grocery bill being spent on them, whilst collecting a plethora of points along the way, they are simply another reassurance of why/how loyalty programs work.

By feeding them premium dog food, I get to jet set on a beach in Costa Rica.

Another solid avenue that proves loyalty DOES pay!! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

MY 'FALL BACK' BLUES

Loving life, Los Cobos
& the Sea of Cortez!
TAKEN: DECEMBER 1st, 2015
In the midst of planning a winter girlz getaway this coming February, I reflected.  For the first time since November 2014, I have to deal with my seasonal affective ‘Fall Back Blues’ without a juicy jolt of Vitamin D.

Truth of the matter is that this time around I entered into the annual grove feeling amazing, as well as completely mentally prepared. So much so that I was generally confident those suckers would stay at bay.

Then, by the time I went to bed last Saturday night, I knew certain tell-tale behaviours had effortlessly latched onto me without warning.

For example, even though I slept very well Friday night, I felt a strong cosmic pull toward my king-size bed late Saturday morn.  That undeniable force had me act on an innate desire to be bundled up like a mama bear bumbling to her den for the winter; and for the record, I'm not exactly proud of what followed.

For what it's worth, I am generally embarrassed to admit that I folded like a lawn chair & curled up in said bed with my three pups (and as many blankets) submitting to the molecular desire to delve into the exponentially spellbinding plot twists of a handful of Hallmark Christmas movies.

Even worse, in the midst of my much needed 'everyone lives happily ever after' fix, I ate junk food. After the bag of chocolate covered peanuts were devoured, I chowed down on fresh bread and butter (which I haven’t in months). Then, to compound both of the above, I swear I looked in the fridge at least a dozen times for my go to comfort food. I am pleased to report that my husband seriously keeps that shit locked down, so I failed to consume any gravy!

Laugh if you must but I am being completely honest.  My exciting ‘glass half full’ epiphany is that by 8pm Saturday night I recognized I was in a junk food/fully indulgent BAD movie vortex, which in itself was an amazing breakthrough for me. 

As you know, since my Dad passed in 2005, food has always been something I’ve had to tread lightly with. I am an emotional eater, and it appears the fall-back time change admittedly connects my lack of light with very stupid dietary decisions.

I am so very grateful to be able to talk about my struggle here but I am most appreciative of the career crew I have in my everyday life. They know how hard I work to maintain a good diet and healthy lifestyle, and they recognize my wins. It is amazing to be surrounded by a tightly knit group of people that unconditionally support each other. Every. Single. Day.

Oh, and to my husband... for hiding the gravy.

Really. I'm dead serious. Gravy is the devil!!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

FOUR VALID POINTS

Let me set the tone by sharing that a male friend of mine posted an meme on Instagram yesterday that literally made me laugh out loud. It referenced general communication most married couples relate to.
It read: 
My wife just stopped & said, “You weren’t even listening were you?” 
I thought… “That’s a pretty weird way to start a conversation?!” 

To create a context for that comment, there’s an old adage that a men & women have so many words they must verbalize in a day. By the time a man gets home, he’s used up all his words. But, because his wife’s words are at least double, she wants to talk for hours after her man ultimately wants quiet...Which is NOT the case here.

Even though I am a full blown extrovert, I deal with so many people on any given work day that I have no desire to be the least bit chatty when I get home. The same goes for when we travel. It’s like we completely switch our day to day personas. He wants to participate in every single event by the pool (not to mention lead the conga line at night) and I want to quietly exist on the periphery with a good book.

To further that, in day to day life this last year, the less we communicate, the better we co-exist.

As I reflect on that last comment I realize in the early days, I expected him to be able to read my mind. As the first & second decades passed, I began to understand repeating myself multiple times was generally what I signed up for. Now, 99% of the time, I just take care of what I need done without asking. This simple tweak's rewarded me a strange sense of accomplishment, eliminating a track record of disappointment.

As an example, we closed the cottage today and very few words were exchanged. We headed in with a task to be completed, and in less than a hour we were headed home. Could it be that all these years later, there are no real need for extra words? 

Part of me thinks it's because we know the other and our routine so well that there isn't a need for dialogue. The other side of that coin is that in the past 30+ years I have come to realize the following:

i)   He can't, nor has any desire to read my mind.
ii)  Never test him on what I am feeling, because he will fail.
iii) Don't dry hump a scenario for a change in attitude. It will only result in chaffing.
iv) Lastly, when truly seeking undivided conversation, always lead with an engaging topic. (My personal experience is that the top ten topics are generally sexual in nature.)

What can I say? Over the years, we've both discovered less is ultimately more. Which is why I found that Instagram post so gosh dang funny...

I don't care who you are.

Always root for the amateurs trying to make a go of it!

The hat wearing husband & his sun kissed hag embracing Muskoka cottage life.
TAKEN: CANADA MAY 2-4, 2011

Sunday, October 21, 2018

ORANGE YOU GLAD?

Anyone else have pumpkim carving intuition?
TAKEN: OCTOBER 20th, 2018

As I sit here typing toasty warm, whilst enjoying the fire in the woodstove with my pups at my feet, I can't help but sip my Sunday morning coffee and smile. Feeling blessed, yet again, that my 'happy place' tends to unconditionally provide us with a sheer sense of contentment.

This past weekend, we were pleasantly surprised to land to a much milder Saturday afternoon than expected. As a result, the last of the wood was split & piled, and the remaining brush was burned. I gotta tell ya, it feels great that nothing aches when I kill it outside like I did yesterday. Let's just say that I don't feel even close to the age that my passport hastily reports me to be.

Anyway, worried the weather was going to take a turn for the worst, it was decided that this past weekend was the perfect time to close everything down as well as do my traditional annual cottage carve that doesn't involve a turkey. Suffice is to say, I went shopping and found the above beauty for a whopping $2.88!

The good news is that I found the perfect pumpkin, the bad news is that I couldn't bring myself to carve it until next weekend. Like so many things in our everyday lives, my beloved creative gourd tradition reminded me (yet again) that timing is everything.

You know what I mean. When to buy, or when to sell. When to embrace, or when to let go.... Or in this case, when to carve, or when to admire. I guess you can say that I believe (in all of the above situations) our personal intuition generally wins out over any conscious reasoning. I consider great instincts right up there with keen practical common sense; where very few have one, let alone both.

For what it's worth, I am a firm believer that this time of year is always a great time for what I would call a 'fall cleaning'. You get rid of what you no longer need nor embrace, and that general cleanse process leaves you feeling great. I guess I feel less material and/or emotional baggage to carry through one of our long Canadian winters, makes snowshoeing in January a hell of a lot easier.

Soooo... Orange you glad that this glorious season labelled 'fall' exemplifies how beautiful it can be to weather great challenges, finally let go, then ultimately start over?

Me too!

Monday, October 8, 2018

A FRESH FALL START

A very uneventful September ended with me home sick in bed, and October started with my taking last Friday off as an extended long weekend. I wish was I reporting that it was because I'd planned some sexy adventure, but the truth is I landed at the cottage first thing Friday to pile enough wood to get through this fall, as well as make it possible to stay between Christmas & New Years. An annual tradition I always look forward to.

Thanks to the sub-zero weather Friday morning offered, I landed and immediately built a fire in the woodstove to warm everything up. Once that had me toasty, I had zero ambition to start my wood cutting mission. Instead, arose early Saturday and headed outside to tackle the physically exhausting task at hand.

After close to 20 seasons of Orillia Lake cottage life, this was definitely a season of great change. The two sisters to the left of us swiftly sold their cottage, while the American widower to the right sold via a private sale and fled back to his homeland Labour Day weekend. I was sad to see him go but understand why. He unexpectedly lost his wife on New Years day 2017. She was the Canadian in the duo, so the sale wasn't entirely unexpected. The surprising tidbit's that there's general interest and buzz to privately purchase our humble abode as well.

Though our selling was officially tabled in May of this year, I think the part that surprises me most about our digs is even though the kids have no desire to come out and stay anymore, I seem to be attached to this silly piece property more than ever. I love that I am outside more than in, and I truly feel I am at my best there, not to mention that fall is always absolutely amazing.

So, as my favourite month creeps into the one I dread most, I honestly can't believe Thanksgiving is already behind us. A quiet celebration at the house yesterday left me not only thankful but also very grateful.

Grateful I've discovered that sometimes the smallest step in the right direction, can be some of the biggest steps in your life... and secondly, and equally as important, is that people will come and people will go. Those meant to be, will always want to stay!

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving all. I truly appreciate you reading.

Enjoying my happy place, alone, in the rain.
TAKEN: OCTOBER 6th, 2018

Sunday, September 30, 2018

THE ELECTRONIC TRUTH

Last week I got into a powerful and somewhat emotional disagreement via text message with a a person I would generally classify as an electronic friend. You know the type, those that claim to be your friend, yet go out of their way to only communicate with you via text message or social media.

It’s been my experience that those specific types of friendships generally evolve with people you once worked with, or acquaintances you met though someone else that somehow want to maintain an unconventional personal connection.

The latter are those that surround the periphery, generally checking in to see how you’re doing, sharing photos and tidbits of mutual interest when they have a minute. Some, not all, can be exhausting and definitely time consuming.

That said, my disagreement was with an electronic peep that was a combination of both. They were an interesting character, and I knew early on that they had a personal agenda toward me within the construction industry. So much so, that they generally only came a texting when in need of something; flaunting their classic M.O., that they 'missed me'.

Because I've always been in tune with the above specifics of said person, over the last several years there have been times with large lapses of any communication, primarily because they'd always end up breaching my trust. With each instance, I withdrew further and further away from them. Yet, for them, once they'd manage to reinstate any contact they felt they were in the position of unconditional access to my network, not to mention my positive albeit sarcastic & somewhat entertaining electronic energy.

Does anyone else reading here have some serious trust issues? Because I for one, most certainly do. As I reflect inward, I’m not sure what they stem from, but I can tell you they truly exist. So when the right circumstances align, I find myself devastated. A while back I remember reading a  text book analogy on the subject, being: “Breaking someone’s trust is like crumpling up a perfect piece of paper. You can smooth it over but it’s never going to be the same again.”

Though it saddens me to admit that after crumpling and trying to smooth over the same piece of paper, the years have taken their toll and I asked them never to contact me again. The reasoning for my request was that they offered me advice on sorting out some of my issues, stating ‘it’s what friends do’. After sleeping on it Friday night, I realized that I only had one issue. Singular. Them. To which I knew would evaporate by ending any future contact.

Look, we all know that good communication is tough enough face to face, rather than relying on your thumbs to bear the burden of any general message. That said, I worry each of my electronic friends will wonder if it’s them that I’m writing about. I can assure it's not. You see, I am confident the one I am writing about will never stop by here again.

Suffice is to say, I consider his aptly labelled ongoing 'issue'... officially resolved!

A perfect image to illustrate that trust is earned.
TAKEN: NOVEMBER 2nd, 2014


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

MY DARK REALITY

My 7am walk in the rain with the streetlights on.
TAKEN: SEPTEMBER 25th, 2018

So, it's official. I won't be heading into the sunshine at the fall back time change, as those strict savings were allocated toward lowering the purchase price of a new vehicle. Though I could have juggled and managed both financially, I'm keeping a stiff upper lip (whilst pouting profusely) by refusing to travel on previously earmarked savings or credit.

As a possible pick me up, I will report that I've decided only to listen to Bob Marley that week on the custom Bose sound system my new ride's equipped with, which could be deemed as a small concession, as the 'Port Carling-mobile' was a must have purchase.

'Must have’ ...an interesting approach to an item, isn't it?

Matter a fact, I was just talking to a couple of guys on my team last week about certain personality types and their somewhat incessant need for instant gratification of material purchases. That casual dialogue, led to a neat conversation about the understanding of want vs. need in the lifestyle spending department: In that I wanted to go to Jamaica in November, yet I was in need of another vehicle. 

Here's the skinny. When I walked to carpool this morning in the rain, the street lights were on, warning me that hell is on the horizon for me.  Hell may be a strong visual to inflict here but you can’t understand an others personal struggle with a lack of natural light until you’ve experienced its direct effect. Never the less, if I want to cross the pond for the first time for my next birthday, concessions had to be made and I had to come to grips with the dark reality that there will be very little fall sunlight. 

Let’s face it... I’m no spring chicken. For decades, money’s been squirreled away for that rainy day that'll most likely resemble this morning. In a perfect scenario, my attitude will be as positive as ever.

I'll be the life of the party, rocking out to AC-DC’s Shook Me All Night Long, gripping my walker, nursing a recently healed broken hip from break-dancing; in one very kick-ass mature lifestyle community.** 

Glass half full? 

It will be paid for... and I'll be revered by all, for still truly remembering the 1980's.

**: This kick-ass community may or may not be located in Jamaica!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

SOME SUPER SIMPLE ADVICE

“Stay away from negative people... 
They always have a problem for every solution!” 
~ Albert Einstein

Are you going to Heaven or Hell?
I believe that you are perpetuating
one or the other in your everyday life!
TAKEN: JULY 2014
I have been doing a lot of reading lately about personalities. Not in the ‘disorder’ sense, that I have party of fifteen going on in my head & I’m the hostess. More about how to cope in a sandbox that can quickly fill up with hardwired negative minded peeps.

For quite sometime, I've been struggling with a person I must interact with on a regular basis. This past spring it became increasingly taxing, so I decided to delve in, research, and try to understand why.  

As expected, my surfing led me from one link to another, until I landed on a podcast that resonated. Short story long, it ended up discussing the theory of how our personality ultimately falls into one of three categories; positive, neutral, or negative.

Following that thought process and expanding my reading led me to my next clarifying moment: That a negative person doesn't really understand that they're negative, more they matter-a-factly find someone with a true positive vibe downright annoying.

That said, the more I read, the more I understood that a negative person that is forced to interact on a regular basis with a positive or neutral person, unleashes their mental frustrations by exercising passive aggressive tenancies; which are meant specifically to belittle, whilst pacifying their need for making the other feel as they do about their outlook on life in general.

Y'all know I steer clear of religion and politics here. And if you're looking for a free psychiatric assessment, I haven't a clue what I am talking about, so click the big X in the top right hand corner of your screen and move along.

What I will say, is that I honestly believe that life is all about personal choices. I never focus on what will happen in the afterlife, rather I am more about embracing a heaven or a hell each and every day.

How so?

Simple....

I believe if you always keep your face in the sunshine, it's hard to get lost in the sheer darkness that lurks in the shadows that will forever surround.

My 2 cents!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

A VERY MEMORABLE NOVEMBER

As you're well aware, when the kids left for post-secondary school, I entered into a time of self-discovery with a mindset that I wanted to enjoy things I'd never had the luxury (with three children born two years apart) to a textbook middle-class Canadian couple. Concerts to me, became like designer shoes to Carrie Bradshaw: a 'must have'.

Packing only a Visa card
& my cellphone... 
I headed down St.Charles
into Old Montreal.
TAKEN: November 8th, 2013
So, as I have Marty McFly & Doc Brown rollback the DeLorean time travel dial, we arrive on Thursday November 6th, 2013.

My and I husband ventured into Toronto mid-day the see the History of the Eagles concert, that I swear I'd waited since 1976 to see. I had purchased the bucket list tickets the winter before and my highlight was that I was able to get some killer photos from the second row.

Anyway, still reeling from the excitement, the next morning we rose and enjoyed breakfast together, then my husband dropped me off at the airport in Toronto. I met a girlfriend coming in from Muskoka and we hopped a plane to Montreal.

The shortest flight I've ever taken was the perfect build up to one of the most exciting weekends I have ever experienced. We were hitting up Montreal to see Bon Jovi perform that Saturday night.

You see, my girlfriend won the tickets on a local radio station and her +1 cancelled on her less than a week before. Just as I would have, she headed on to her Facebook feed to see who could juggle their life last minute and get on a plane with her the following Thursday. I won!

To this day, I am so grateful for her taking me that weekend. That five day run of excitement was literally a wonderful once in a lifetime experience. That said, for a number of reasons, that very weekend in Montreal changed me as a person, not to mention how I've looked at life in general since.

After years of unconditional personal and financial support, a person close to me (on the receiving end of my charity) angrily 'unfriended me' when she discovered that I'd traveled from Toronto to la belle 'je me souviens' province at a whirlwind pace. Her reasoning? Because I'd given my second Eagles ticket to my husband and not her, then didn't take her to Montreal. 

Had she'd been civil at the time, she would have realized that 50% of what I have belongs to my husband, then discovered that it was my very generous friend that invited me to join her. All the latter cost me was the fee to put the West Jest ticket into my name. I was simply the invitee, never the inviter.

Which brings me to my point. Once a greedy person, always a greedy person. The more they get, the more they want. So, how did my very memorable November weekend in Montreal change me?

It made me realize (once the shock and hurt eventually passed) that the other washing their hands of me was the single biggest cost saving myself and my family have ever been blessed to receive.

The other side to my almost five year later coin toss (leap of faith, and/or possible lapse in judgement) is that though I've decided to allow her a peek back in, my doing so comes with an honest warning... that is plain and simple.

I may always try and forgive, yet I most certainly will never forget.

Wish us luck!

Monday, September 3, 2018

DO YOU BELIEVE IN SIGNS?

Just like I do every long weekend, I watch the weather like a hawk to ensure I get at least one sunny day of rest. And by rest, I mean totally ignore the long list of things I need to do and willfully bask in the sunshine. Well, that day this Labour Day weekend was this past Saturday.

When the rain hit just before dawn Sunday morning my sleep was quickly interrupted. That, combined with the pups getting me up earlier than I would have liked, left me generally grumpy. Dark cloud over head, I greeted the day and the chores I wanted to tackle.

I knew I wanted to get some fall cottage cleaning done, so jacked full of caffeine, I decided to move around some furniture, which lead me to organizing the plethora of Trivial Pursuit board games I collect: which I rarely play anymore.

Anyway, I should probably preface that I got a somewhat unsettling text message around dinner time Saturday evening, which may or may not have led to my sleeplessness. In the end, for the twelve or so hours that followed, I kept asking myself… “What would Dad think I should do?”

As I continued the task of gathering my useless crap, I landed where the games have had their home since the cottage was purchased. When I opened the lid, all I could do was smile. Unexpectedly, my father was in the moment with me in spirit. You see, I had forgotten that he had made the toy box for my son’s birthday back in 1996 and left him a personal message using a wood soldering gun.

My dad always shows up when I least expect him.
(To protect my son's identity, I have covered his given name)
TAKEN: SEPTEMBER 2nd, 2018

























As I pulled all the board games out of the box to reorganize, all I could think of was Jukebox in poppa’s livingroom, showing him all his all his slick Power Ranger moves and my dad pretending to be the villain Jukebox was ultimately trying to slay.

Just like that, the thought of them removed any & all grumpy stupidity, and I knew I’d ultimately made the right decision the night before. How about you? Do you believe in signs?... I most certainly do.

Grateful my father's presence reminds me that everything is going to be "better"!