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"!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

I'LL ALWAYS SAVE A SPOT

It was three years ago this month that a long-time acquaintance took a total leap of faith with this cat and decided to let me carpool with her. Though we’d known the other for over twenty years, our interactions for the decade previous were completely selfish on my part; with my continually tapping into her wealth of compliance knowledge within the construction industry.

As luck would have it, our new found arrangement and getting into the groove of really knowing the other once again, was like riding a bike. That twenty minute daily commute didn’t take us long to realize we had more in common than we could possibly imagine. 

From the get go, our morning routine ranged from both of us yelling at incompetent drivers, to one convincing the other that a death wish drive-thru breakfast sandwich would never in a million years harden our arteries. For forty minutes a day, we quickly and very easily morphed into Thelma & Louise.

As an unexpected bonding bonus, last summer I was ecstatic when she invited me to join in her yoga classes at the local community centre that were geared specifically to municipal employees. Once again, she had taken me under her wing, and willingly toured me around the dance floor.

Our last practice with Ashley this summer.
TAKEN: AUGUST 30th, 2018

















Well, it is with a heavy heart that I realized tonight the reality that my SweeneyMeister is retiring at the end of this year. I swear it wasn't until tonight, and the brutal realization that it was her last practice with the lady that made her fall in love with yoga, that the alarm bells went off.

Knowing the great respect she and Ashley have for each other, I felt the need to capture tonight for prosperity. Though I did take a picture of my favourite three at the end of our practice, I will admit  that I like this one the best.

It solidifies, without a doubt, that not only is my my quirky carpool sidekick very serious about yoga.... but that she also makes sure she saves my spot.

I love you my friend. I truly believe we were always meant to reconnect.

Nameste.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

A SIMPLE ACT OF HONESTY

I don’t think I've ever shared this here, but I arrange/prepare/serve lunch every Friday for the core team that works from our main office. My boss started the tradition over a decade ago, with the thought process being that if everyone worked through lunch at their desks Monday to Thursday, the Friday eats would be on him. So, when I joined the company in 2015 I was glad to sit on the lunch committee; which has since evolved to primarily being me.

Anyway, last Friday I went to the local butcher mid-morning to pick up what I was going to BBQ. When I stepped to the counter to pay, I noticed the person beside me was an acquaintance I've known for about fifteen years. In 2014, he opened his own business and hired me as a feasibility consultant for a not for profit project he was involved in. He never paid me what I was owed, instead he kept the money for himself.

Bad debt story aside, when he asked a generic question about my order and I didn’t reply, out of the corner of my eye I saw him turn toward me. Low and behold he was excited to see me. His arms opened wide to greet me, his face lit up, and then with great animation he said… “Well, look who it is!”

“You look great," he continued.  "Is life treating you well?”

Without turning my head to make eye contact, I gave a swift one word answer: ‘very’. (In that life's treating me very well.) To which I proceeded to ask the lovely clerk how much I owed her. Realizing my opinion of him hadn't changed, he simply offered me to have a nice day and went on his way.

Just so we're clear, my reaction wasn't because I’m bitter. The emotion of dealing with him left me years ago when I chose not to take him to small claims court. The point of my post is that in any moments like those, I feel it more important to put forth an honest energy, rather than engaging the other & acting fake.

Let's face it, it wouldn't have done any good to lead this person to believe that anything had changed simply because we’d bumped into each other at the butcher counter. I truly wish him nothing but great success. He’s a very nice person. Just not an ethical business person in my books.

Which brings us around to another basic Rhondi Rule:
My personal life experience is that being honest & true to yourself may not generate a plethora of "friends". But what is will do, is most certainly have you surrounded with the ones you can count on... that ultimately, you know you can trust.

Oh, on the 411? The Morley Burgers that were BBQ'd last Friday were DEEEElicious.

Thanks for asking!

I will take the company of a good book over fake friends... any day.
TAKEN: JULY 8th, 2017

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

MEMORIES FROM THE VAULT

I miss ya Super Dave... Until we meet again!
TAKEN: AUGUST 2003

Many moons ago, I remember my boss telling me a story of when he would do accounting audits. He reminisced of how would walk into a place of business (confident, whilst full of business) always packing his must have staples in his briefcase: a pad of paper, his favourite pen, and a couple of really great books.

Upon arrival, when asked where/how he wanted to start, all he ever requested was a quiet space and possibly a door without a window. I distinctly remember him telling me that he could tell within 15 minutes of being put in said office,  based on their body language & behaviour, the exact level of detail that they needed to be audited. Which correlated his two synergies perfectly... A door that needed to be knocked upon, and really great books!

I am sharing that tidbit because this week's reminded me of a couple of really important things. I may not be a rocket scientist, yet I have a keen intellect about people and what makes them tick. Just like my dear buddy Dave, I always watch for the tells that always tell the truth.

Circa 2007, I had assistant that had an issue with a certain ethnicity. I wouldn’t call her a racist per se, because her only vague preconceived notion was that those hired didn't want to serve her at a level she felt she deserved.  

One day, I decided to show her what positive energy looked like. She went to the counter, ordered her coffee, turned back toward me and rolled her eyes. I looked her straight in the eye and said, ‘I need you to watch this….’. 

I automatically greeted the same person that she had deemed disappointing with a smile. I called her by the name on her name tag, which made another girl rally to help her. Without missing a beat, I thanked them both, which led to a third looking to see if I needed anything else. Every single person presented me with a smile and energy that matched mine. I left as a happy customer.

Walking away from the counter, I turned to my assistant and reminded her that any relationship or  interaction's always a two way street. ‘You get the energy back that you give out,’ I said.... We never spoke of the occasion again.

Why all the life lesson reminiscing? 

I got steamrolled by what I would classify as a perfect stranger this week. Completely and totally blindsided by someone that I know was simply mimicking how they thought they should behave. Though I disclosed in the moment that I was really uncomfortable, after the fact I reflected about Super Dave and his books…. And a gal that has gone on to be very successful, embracing positive energy.

The moral of my story? As cliché as it reads?

…You truly never really do get a second chance at first impression.

No matter how much you try to back-peddle after the fact!

Monday, August 13, 2018

YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS?!

My breaking the news we are staying in town.
TAKEN: AUGUST 10th, 2018
After a really great weather weekend in Muskoka, I am in the process of working toward getting my pups off suicide watch, as I've moved back into town with them for the week.

You see, with my commitment to doing yoga twice a week (and the days getting shorter) this last round of heat last week made it apparent that I have lost my stride. Time to re-calibrate on all levels and get some much needed deep and uninterrupted sleep.

I know it may sound exciting to own a home and a cottage that are a fifteen minute drive apart, and 90% of the time it is. The other 10% of the time you worry how you’ll get the lawn at home mowed, floors washed, not to mention the very large doghouse properly cleaned that three very hairy canines rule from Monday to Friday. For me, the latter is nerve-wracking and a burden.

I honestly make lists to find an ease to the order but it never fails, items are missed and unexpected things take priority which frustrates me to no end. If I am being honest, I don’t think my frustration is due to being unorganized, more because I am a tad embarrassed to admit that the happiness of three dogs rule my day to day life.

At the end of it all, they are like any over stimulated toddler. The more they get, the more they want. Hell, isn’t that the rule of thumb for most greedy people in your life? You will always have givers and takers, the hardest part in finding a balance that works.

Could that be why I love yoga so much… because it offers balance?

That, and the fact that there's no dog hair to be found?

Peeps, that right thar is gosh darn truth!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

HAIR TODAY. GONE TOMORROW.

Last Thursday I had a planned lunch date with someone I hadn’t seen face to face since May of 2017. Unfortunately, we discovered the night before there was a calendar conflict,  so the easiest thing to do was reschedule for this coming Friday.

My first world problem was I wanted to surprise him with how I'd grown my curly hair to the middle of my back. Not because he'd give a shit, but because there is always a bit of a tell when you haven’t seen someone for an extended period of time. And for me, I knew the length of my hair would've been a bit of  jaw dropper.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not vanity on my part, more a sense of personal pride.  From the time I was a young girl, my mother kept my hair cut short for the ease of getting me to school in the morning. Then, as I entered my teen years, I didn’t have the knowledge nor understanding on how to manage naturally curly hair, so as it grew out, the frizz always outweighed the future fashion potential of it all. That, combined with a barely there A cup, I ended high school looking like a boy that was trying too hard.

Well, thanks to the internet and a kick-ass hairstylist, I figured it out. It was expensive in the beginning but I justified the expense by telling myself I was worth it. As I aged and truly understood how one treats grey hair, I took the matters of the management of it into my own hands and the very large bills disappeared.

Hair's looking great. Shame about the face!
TAKEN: August 2nd & 7th, 2018
So here you have it. A picture of the longest my hair had been in I don’t know how many years, and me headed to work yesterday shortly after 7am, with uber curly hair!

The dead nuts honest truth is the 99.9% of the time I'm away from work or alone, my hair is either up and off my face, in need of some root touch up, or simply a dogs' freakin’ breakfast. So much so that when I landed for my cut Friday lunch I was wearing a Taylor Made ball cap & looked like a super serious paper bag hag.

Glass half full? She made me look and feel beautiful for my trek into Toronto, and I have told her that I will always pay her serious money to never allow anyone to see what I look like when I land at her shop.

How serious am I? When my buddy Barbie spied me up in Instagram at the concert she asked, ‘when are you gonna start aging like the rest of us?”

My response... “Hopefully, never!”

Which is partially thanks to the hush money I will always pay my hairdresser!

Monday, August 6, 2018

MY ULTIMATE LOVE

Downtown Toronto...
MY ULTIMATE LOVE
TAKEN: AUGUST 3rd, 2018
Do you ever make plans, then as the date draws near, drag your feet because you know getting there and back home will be nothing but a great big fat pain in the ass? Well, that was me last Friday.

I was ecstatic in March when my boss gifted me two tickets to see my very favorite performer, Bryan Adams and his Ultimate Love tour in Toronto.  So excited, that when I got home that night, I headed over to Expedia to book my room.

Suffice is to say that shock ensued at the rates coming through. The best deal I could land was on The Esplanade for just shy of four hundred bucks for the night (and that’s because I paid upfront and bit the bullet for it to be non-refundable)!

Ready for my trek and right on schedule, I left Muskoka shortly after lunch, yet getting into the heart of the city was nothing like I'd ever experienced before. As I checked into my hotel, the young lad serving me asked if I was downtown to see Taylor Swift at the Rogers Centre?

Bryan Adams at the ScotiaBank Arena, Taylor Swift at the Dome AND Caribana on for the weekend instantly explained why the best deal I could get on a room (almost six months prior) was more than double their standard price.

As expected, the concert was the most amazing I have seen to date. The last time I’d attended one of his offerings was in spring 2012 (and I immediately wanted to jump a plane to Winnipeg for a do-over). This show put that one to shame. From start to finish, I kept feeling the need to pinch myself to prove I was actually in the moment.

As the show wrapped and I wandered into the streets the energy was over the top. Tens of thousands of us just embracing another fantastic moment that Toronto has been made famous for. You felt safe and realized you're just one person bringing positive personal energy for Toronto to stay strong.

As I sit and sip my coffee this morn, I must admit that right before leaving town I purchased the piece of costume jewelry I am wearing. It seemed the perfect accessory, as I headed into the city with my heart on a string for my ultimate love.

Three days later, I know I had a great time because my voice hasn't returned from all the singing & screaming that ensued Friday night. Voice or no voice, this past weekend will most definitely be filed in my very special bright green file folder marked...

'Memories of a lifetime.' 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

LIFE LESSON #997

I don’t know about you, but it’s been a really wonky summer for me. The weather’s been amazing, yet my disposition has generally stayed in the average range of fair to partly cloudy. I have theories as to why, but if I were being honest, I would have to admit that in the last few months I've had to do so much ‘on the spot’ emotional juggling, that I swear I’ve heard circus music whenever I've daydreamt.

Specifics as to why aside, I will weight in with the opinion that the strange part about juggling emotions, is it feels like a catch 22. Just like any over achieving circus juggler knows, it’s not as simple as making it look easy (whilst keeping all the balls in the air) it’s also about simultaneously keeping track of which of the balls are made of rubber, and which of them are made of glass.

Though we tend to lean on intuition to tell us which will bounce and which will break, I've often wondered... Do we ever really know?

For yours truly, it’s about finding a balance that works. I'll admit I fret most about the same rubber balls I've dropped time and again, that have always bounced back and wonder how long they will. With the other side of that reflective coin being, sometimes, a glass one that's cherished so dear, needs to be dropped for ones personal health & well-being... Which leads me to my next question. 

Have you ever allowed someone to hold you as their emotional hostage?

I know you know the type. If you'd intelligently step out of and looked at the toxic relationship, you’d discover that you were doing all the work and they were taking all the spoils; always expecting more while you are expected to accept the status quo. 

Embracing that philosophy, I was shocked to discover that by letting that aforementioned cherished glass ball drop, though it shattered the loudest, it offered the most relief and left the least emotional mess to clean up. 

#WordsToLiveBy
Image Courtesy of : Smile Again Ministries
(All Rights Reserved)
So there you have it. My life lesson #997 has taught me a couple of very important things...

One, that some things are meant to be.

And two, that I am a dead-nuts, no circus would ever want to hire me, piece of crap juggler!

Glass half full? Circus recruiters have told me I have what it takes to be the perfect sssnake charmer!!

...Ba-dum-bump 

Sunday, July 22, 2018

A LITTLE MORE EXTENDED FAMILY

I was working away at my desk this past week, when my phone alerted me that I had a message via Facebook Messenger. When I opened it to see what was up, I was a tad surprised as to whom was sending me a note. Don't get me wrong, it was a pleasant surprise, and the photo she sent me was an even bigger one; she had found five Petro Canada glasses at the Muskoka Lakes Re-use.

Her note was similar to all the others I regularly receive. "Thought of you... maybe they aren't the right 'shape' but if you want them, I will get them to you." My heart instantly filled with gratitude.

I have known Miss JJ since we both hit high school. Though we lived in different towns within the District of Muskoka, our paths always crossed on and off the ice at the Gravenhurst arena. Once we both moved onto post secondary school, we never got in touch with the other again, until we found each other on Facebook.

Looking forward to seeing her again, she took the glasses home, washed and wrapped them, then personally delivered them to where I work. I was so glad to see her that I wrapped my arms around her and gave her a hug, then gave her the 10 cent tour of the amazing company I work for. I was ecstatic, not to mention it was like we'd seen each other yesterday.

After she left, I felt the need to share with my 3 new administrative coworkers, who she was and that I hadn't talked with her face to face since high school. That lead to why she'd stopped by and a quick explanation about my asinine glass collection. In the end, they seemed happy for me and thanked me for sharing.

Walking back to my office, I realized that I stopped blogging around the same time a coworker I was close with left our team. She was the only one that knew about or ever read my blog, probably because she and I had so much fun together outside of work that she regularly made character appearances in my posts. Unfortunately, we have lost touch. But as I have pontificated  here several times before, you can't stop change only manage it.

So, just as I have opened and welcomed these five new and unique to me gems into my extended family of kick ass Petro Canada glasses, I have to remind myself, yet again, that life is always gonna be tough, right up until the moment it isn't. Which is why I always strive to keep an open mind, as well as an open heart.

Thanks again Miss JJ... As promised, my new extended family members fit in perfectly!

ALL HAIL CAESAR.... and my newest extended family member!
TAKEN: JULY 21st, 2018

Thursday, July 19, 2018

MY PERFECT TRAVEL PROJECT

As you can imagine, as your family grows & leaves the nest, you end up holding onto a wide range of crap you'll never use again. In this particular instance, it was a 10-seater picnic table we'd acquired when the kids were small.

It always came in handy for family gatherings at the cottage, but for the last 5 or 6 years it simply became an over-sized eyesore. So much so, that last summer my husband asked me if he should just cut it up and burn it. Not one to ever throw baby out with the bath water, I asked him to cut it in half because it I thought it would be neat to have it by the fire whenever we had friends over.

Well, a year later, we'd always used lawn chairs to bask in the glow of a great fire and sat on the stupid thing a grand total of once. With the 2018 cottage season starting late, he once again asked if he should just take the chainsaw to it and get rid of it. I agreed but like most handy-person chores in my life, it never got done. (Yes, that was a direct jab at my husband and his inability to manage his time.)

Anyway, a week or so later, out of the blue I had a light bulb moment and I headed straight over to YouTube. About a half an hour later, I knew what I wanted to do with this neat gem that had so many family memories attached to it...I was going to build a floating picnic table!

As I started to make a shopping list of items that would be needed, I discovered my task could be accomplished with 100% recycled material we had at the cottage, meaning zero dollars spent. The one thing that was alluding the project moving forward, was time: I had none.

Then, last week when I'd finally accomplished what I needed to from such a late cottage season start, I asked my husband if he would help me with my project. I know most of you are wondering why I'd have to formally ask for his help, and there are a number of reasons. First and foremost when it comes to any type of honey-do construction, he tends not to measure twice and cut once, more like cuss loud and cut twice... But with both of us on the same page, and all the supplies gathered and a plan ready to hatch, we began in the rain.

Working together, we started framing for the billets and finished by cutting off the legs to the table which would ultimately reduce resistance as I moved around the lake.

Total time we invested: an hour and a half.

Once in the lake, I realized I had a major design flaw. One flat-coated retriever and an over zealous yellow lab (that wouldn't feel a hunger pain if she went a week without food) weighed far more than I combined, which established early that any movement of this new to me contraption, had to include them.

My new means of travel around the lake is PERFECT!
TAKEN: July 15th, 2018
Once I detached from the dock, our first tip into the lake was epic, and Annie was out. Puddin' on the other hand, was more obsessed with my new play thing than ever.

She and I finally determine it wouldn't tip if I hung onto the the top of the picnic table as I let her climb aboard.

By mid afternoon, I had my scuba flippers on my feet and she was ultimately content relaxing on the table top as I continued tooling around the water. 

After a really great day of exercise, curious onlookers, visitors, and laughs, I have decided that I am going to take this amazing effort to the next level.

My upgraded design sees two more billet sections on the sides for stability, and I 'm going to buy an electric trolling motor. I will also make a provision for a small anchor, then stain it my favourite colour red for high visibility. Not because I didn't like being tethered to my dinky floating dock via a 40' polypropylene rope.... but because you all know how much I truly LOVE to travel.

I wonder if Air Miles offers floating picnic table travel points?

Like I've always said.... There's no such thing as a bad question.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

WHO CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH?

I spied a Facebook meme this week that read... "Behind every angry woman, stands a man that has no idea what he did wrong!" I immediately chuckled. In keeping with that thought, I was chatting with a co-worker today.

Long story short, he discovered a couple of things about me that he didn't realize. One, my age (he was blown away when I admitted it, then I gave him 10 bucks for the compliment). Secondly, that I'd recently celebrated my 30th wedding anniversary. Not gonna lie, so many people have asked me, "what's the secret to being married for so long?" 

My answers has always been the same. It's honest, always swift, and injected with splash of humour ..."I'm not giving him half!" 

Chuckles aside, our quick co-worker conversation touched on mid-life and why I started this silly electronic journal. Then, after I went back to my office, I realized I'd said something that really bothered me. I mentioned that I haven't really written since March. Which is bizarre, because I love to write. Admitting I wasn't writing, reinforced that I'd deviated from a long standing & very personal philosophy.

To expand, about 15 years ago I had a conversation with someone in the workplace that asked me if I was 'happy'. I immediately asked them one very simple question. ... 'Do you think I am good at my job?" 

Without hesitation, they said 'yes'. This was my response:

On my list of things that make me happy, work is #5. I place my personal wellness & marriage as #1. My husband & children are tied for #2 & #3. Our home is #4. Work falls around #5. I vividly remember saying, 'if I am doing this well at work, and it's #5, imagine how well everything else is going?' 

I'll never forget that moment. Truth is, it flashed to the forefront of my mind after I told my coworker that I wasn't writing anymore. So here you have it. I admit that this is my first true electronic offering since my Dad had a burger and a beer with a great one I will always hold near and dear. (Posted: March 17th, 2018)

Blog selfie that still appears on my
Facebook blog page. @YaGottaLaughAboutIt
TAKEN: September 2011
Why? Because it's is time to work on what makes me truly happy. That, and the fact that getting great words out of me is really tough; it's sheer exercise and a true workout

Truth? I almost love writing as much as I love challenging myself with the practice of yoga.

So... FYI. Never expect future posts on the two nights a week I work at my practice.

Nameste,
Rhondi

Sunday, May 27, 2018

NOT A TYPICAL MAYDAY

Can you believe it’s the end of May and I haven’t written here in almost a month? I can. It was a long winter and I’ve taken the past month off to try and recover & regroup.

Though I am pleased to report that I did officially complete the April A-Z challenge, posts were regularly late and they definitely crawled up to what I would have to label as 'lackluster'. For the first time since I started this electronic journal, I posted because I had to, not because I wanted to. Suffice is to say, my run in the A-Z department is over; six years was definitely long enough.

For reasons I don’t need to really share, I’ve had a pretty big emotional set back. I can only try to put it into perspective by sharing how things went for me when I was raising three teenagers. I would always try to calmly reinforce a fair & proper approach, but lines continually kept being crossed. I always tried to help them learn how to navigate life, yet I could only be taken advantage of for so long until I’d ultimately snap. Well, I’ve snapped alright, and this time (though it has nothing to do with my children) I don’t think very specific things in my life will ever be the same.

To complicate my discombobulated mindset, it saddens me further to admit that I won’t be spending much time at the cottage this summer. There are a lot of compounding reasons why, but first and foremost my beloved dog Dot is coming to the end of her life.

She struggles to walk and can no longer do the steps nor the hill. Yet, she is such a stoic pup within the pack that I know if I take her out there it will end up killing her. So, I am going to keep her here comfortable at the house, and enjoy my time with her staying very close to home. 

Enjoying Williams Park right before we discovered her hips were a very complicated issue.
(Photo Credit: STACCS)
TAKEN: JUNE 2015


Isn’t it funny how pets make us reflect on our own mortality and overall happiness? It was never my intent to have a brood a pups so large that they accounted for 20% of my weekly grocery bill, but just like when the kids were growing up, I struggle to deny them anything. Truth of the matter is, my daughter comments that they eat better than I do! 

People are always asking for comment on how I juggle and manage three (above average size) dogs... and I tell them with patience, love, and a lot of really hard work.

But, if there’s one thing I’m not afraid of, it’s hard work. It is how I have approached life and the only way I know how to exist; which is to greet each new day, try my very best, and be loyal to those who deserve it.

…No one knows that better than my beautiful spottie dog Dot.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Y IS FOR YUK-YUKS

How funny is this?! I really do love to laugh!!
#yagottalaughaboutit
(Image courtesy of the Ya Gotta Laugh About It Facebook page)

Friday, April 27, 2018

X IS FOR X-CEPTIONAL

I would be remiss if I didn't pay homage to the x-ceptional relationship I have with my daughter!
TAKEN: OCTOBER 2017

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

V IS FOR VEXATION

VEX-A-TION: (noun)
The state of being annoyed, frustrated or worried.
Feeling all 3 after the mass murder in Toronto this week.
TAKEN: Bracebridge Wal-Mart APRIL 25th, 2018


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Monday, April 23, 2018

T IS FOR THERMOMETER

SPRING HAS SPRUNG!
Never underestimate to force of snow coming off a steep steel roof.
The kitchen window thermometer is busted and so is the side deck at the cottage (again).
Poor thing. She reads 32C when it's only 10C.
Wait, could she simply be having a hot flash?!
#yagottalaughaboutit
TAKEN: APRIL 21st, 2018

Saturday, April 21, 2018

S IS FOR SADNESS

This editorial cartoon depicts how a country filled with sadness pulled together during
the recent Humboldt Bronco bus crash in Saskatchewan. Too many gone too soon.
(c) www.artizans.com

Friday, April 20, 2018

R IS FOR ROCKSTARS

One of my very favourite things to do is the go to a good concert. I honestly have no real preference to the music I listen to, because I love it all; but I'm sure you'll agree there is something truly special about a great live performance.

I never really got to participate in the activity, until my nest emptied. Once it did, I hit the circuit hard which had an adverse effect on my pocket book. That said, I have zero regrets and explain my spending by saying, "some women like to buy shoes... I buy concert tickets!"

How be we make a list of a few of my favourite rockstars?

Best Concert: Definitely, Prince.
Last time he was in Toronto before he died.
TAKEN: NOVEMBER 2011

Most expensive ticket: Front row for P!nk
TAKEN: MARCH 2013
Best last minute ticket purchase: Garth Brooks
TAKEN: MARCH 2016
Dream ticket: Row 10 Eagles tickets before Glenn Fry died
TAKEN: 
Most disappointing: Alice Cooper (only because he needs to retire)
TAKEN: MARCH 2018
Best Music Festival: French Quarter Festival, New Orleans, LA
TAKEN: APRIL 2017
Bucket list ticket: Front row for Sheryl Crow
Seen more than once: Burton Cummings, Bryan Adams, John Fogerty
First ever attended: Heart at Maple Leaf Gardens
Back to back: Eagles, Thursday in Toronto. Flew to Montreal for Bon Jovi Saturday night
Downright terrible: Rihanna
Most frequent venue: The Kee to Bala (there are just too many show to list).

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Q IS FOR QUANTITY

My quest for a greater QUANTITY continues
TAKEN: APRIL 17th, 2018
One of our employees walked into my office on Tuesday morning with a list of specific work related questions for me.

Mid conversation, he noticed one of the glasses I collect next to my monitor that an architect had delivered to me. It was neat to observe his general curiosity as he asked, “is that one of them?” 

He then continued to tell me that he thought he had come across an older one on the job site he was working on (inside a garage we're going to tear down). So I asked that he snap a picture of it, and send it to me when he landed there later that morning. When his email arrived, my heart filled with love as I discovered another one was finding its way home.

Though she’s still in transit, I have to admit that this one looks like it has had a good run. I will say that my guess is that her previous owner used the dishwasher to keep her clean, which is why the paint is so worn.

I will admit that years ago when I began my collection I use to put them into the dishwasher as well, but it seemed they were meeting an quicker than normal death; so now I wash every single one used by hand.

Curious where I'm at in the quantity department with these beauties?

Last count was 126. This gals makes it 127, with no end in sight!