Saturday, December 31, 2011

A VERY Belated YOU KNOW WHAT!

Both personally and professionally December is always hectic. Christmas has always signified that everything is about to roll over and we start all over again in January. 

Before I begin hammering on my keyboard, I want to go on the record saying that I'd been counting down to this festive break since Labour Day and with a skip in my step, I left the office midday the 22nd . Who knew the proverbial bus (unexpectedly filled with a ton of bricks) was driving around town looking to hit me?

BOOM! I awoke with a sore throat the morning of the 23rd  with the oh so “slight cough” creeping in by mid day Christmas Eve. By suppertime Christmas Day the high fever had arrived in dah house & I was down and out for the count. I was so terribly ill there was no Facebook, no Twitter, no “YaGottaLaughAboutit” nada, nothing, zero, zip, squat. 

Not only was I too ill to spread sarcasm and wit to all my social media kin, by the night of the 27th I was ready to call 911! Who knew you could overdose on Lofthouse’s Fisherman’s Friends? Crikey those boys are powerful! Should have known when I slept with the packet under my pillow for the second night in a row there could be trouble.

Most people would reflect and say “I can’t remember the last time I was that sick” but it seems I do. Yep, it was Christmas of 1989 just six weeks before my eldest son was born.  Ah, the dastardly flu of ’89. It now ranks up there with the plague that hovered over me the Christmas of 2011.

Still on the mend I would like to take a minute and wish each and every one of you a Very Merry Belated Christmas. Better late than never and while I'm at it Happy 2012 all... CHEERS!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Feeling Beige & David John Grant Would Be Pissed About it!

                                                                         
David John Grant  1940-2011. 

Every single morning my routine is simple. I put the dogs out, pull the blinds up and ask myself “what colour do I feel today?”

Some mornings I feel fire engine red (ready to motivate and get it done). Others more a lavender, soft pink or peach (good and very amiable). Today I woke up beige. I looked beige, I felt beige. My zip was zapped from the get go. Today I had to bid adieu to an important energy in my life and my heart was heavy.

Grieving the loss of a friend is never easy (especially when everyone around you thinks you’re the “Good News Bear” all of the time).  I didn’t want to cry. I didn’t want to sit with hundreds people and be sad. As my tears began to flow - I realized I wasn't ready to say goodbye.

Truth be known, if St. Peter would have allowed "Dace the Hammer" one last ass kicking, it would have been today. It was how Dave rolled. In your face, very loud, matter a fact, profanity would have filled the church!!! I close my eyes and I can hear him bellow "What The F***? ... This is a Celebration of Life!!!"

That said, I felt bad for the gentleman that sat next to me. Nice smile, great suit, kinda shy and he managed to listen to me weep like an idiot. (Wait it gets better…. ) At the end of the service I asked this good man if I could “have a hug?” 

He looked at me and unconditionally opened his arms. I hugged him like he was Dave and perhaps he hugged me back for the very same reason. I’ll probably never see him again but should apologize for the mascara I left on his lapel... I'm sure he knows it was in memory of our friend.

Rest in Peace Dave. I will love and miss you always….

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Know I’m Not Crazy… My Mother Had me Tested!

Seriously, I may not be crazy per say but I am “by definition” an extrovert.

Though "friendly & outgoing" are both great qualities, surprisingly they are not what defines me as an extrovert. Ding-Ding-Ding apparently the winning trait is that I “feel energized being around other people”. 

Other zingers... I think as I speak. I enjoy social situations. I have an ability to make small talk and I conceptualize. I honestly never knew I had a different profile other than the one I'd posted on Facebook (note to self...check the privacy settings and profile pic on your x-tro-vrt page)

One thing that surprised me was they say extroverts tend to “fade” when alone. With a plethora of us extroverts out there, could this be why social media has exploded? Social media creates a comfort for us folk.   Let's face it the internet never sleeps.

Keeping with that thought (and if in fact that's the case) let’s go one more step. If social media creates an environment where an extrovert never feels alone, does an introvert gravitate to social media to cross over into extroversion?

Either way, the God’s honest truth, is the person I classify as my very best “forever friend” is a die hard introvert.

Proving that the old adage...

Opposites really do attract.



Monday, December 12, 2011

Just Like That... HE WAS GONE!

I have a heavy heart tonight as I bid adieu to my friend & mentor David Grant. 

Dave passed this morning and his wife Louise  assures "he was surrounded by his family and passed peacefully". Just like my mother, he suffered a long battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).

Dave entered my life in the mid 1990’s.

From his initial advice to “never do anything three times you don’t want to become your job”, to my assigned nicknames of "Dave the HAMMER Grant" and "Super Dace Grant" (the C is next to the V on the keyboard & he never hit spell check) there was never a dull moment.

He was an amazing & fair boss that taught me how to spot a "fake" a mile away. I will never forget him; his volume when he wanted to be heard, his love for his family, his amazing work ethic.I will forever envy his intelligence, his love for 'chickens' and his ability to write a kick-ass Christmas letter. I will always cherish his respect and support. I have learned and I have grown because he always unconditionally pushed me forward.

He was my mentor. He was my friend.

I have a heavy heart tonight and it's for Dace.... Rest in peace my dear.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Do YOU Ever Feed an Expired Parking Meter?

Just about everything has an expiry date right? Do acquaintances? Not friendships but acquaintances?

Without some sort of tragedy, it’s been my personal experience, that a solid friendship stays solid for a reason.

I am very proud to have people that I have known for the better part of my life that I would do anything for. That said, I can't admit the same for a large number of acquaintances that have drifted in and out of my life in the last 30 years.

There are so many factors that lead to drifting, leaving you at the proverbial acquaintance crossroad. Job related changes, divorce is a biggie (who gets the innocent bystanders) not to mention the “by association” lane. You know the one, you meet a friend of friend and through repeat social gatherings become acquaintances. At some point you eventually stop running into each other (which leads me to my question). Do you feed the expired meter or do you just keep walking because you know if it was up to them they would choose to keep their change? It’s a tough call.

Just last week I took a good look at a parking meter I had in Kitchener. Gave it some thought and I decided to save my change. It wasn’t a decision I made in haste. At the end of the day, parking meters come and go...

Life is quirky. For the one I didn’t feed last week, two expired souls fed mine (one last night and one this morning) and it makes me wonder. I bumped into one soul unexpectedly but did the other just come across a photo of me & feed our meter?

In any case I am glad they both did.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Voices in My Head Keep Singing Off Key

For those of you that know me, you know I love to sing. Because my blog is read by millions, for all of those that don’t know me, I am going to go on record with the fact that I love to sing.

I’m no pro and truth be told, as a kid my dad use to joke “Rhondi, sing solo…. So low we can’t hear you” (still makes me smile). Wondering why with such unconditional support I still sing?

It’s simple... Music as a whole is a really big part of who I am as a person. In the car, cleaning the house, reading a book, not to mention the fact that I can’t work without background music, speaks to my passion. 

No matter why, at the end of the day, I know I have only four good notes. Yep only four! I am an alto and a struggling one at that. I have to learn the harmony as the melody before the song to makes sense to me.

Loving to sing and being able to sing are two totally different lanes. Trust me. What’s the first and last rule of song? Know your limits! Guess that’s why since Sean has passed (and I have given up performing) my daily audience consists of the same 16 peeps.

Myself and the party of fifteen that I have going on in my head!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I Love You My Tweet!

About a year ago, I cut the cord; deleting my Facebook farm, frontier and city. Envision me at an addiction outreach meeting, standing up and saying “Hello... My name is Rhondi & I am addicted to gifting...!”

It was at that point, with an unexpected amount of time on my mouse, I decided to take a peek over the fence at Twitter. The medium didn’t make sense to me at first.  Comments I'd heard in passing were it was an “American thing”. That said, I knew it wasn’t going away so I decided to take the leap.

I set myself up (@Rhon2theDee for anyone interested) and I started looking for people I knew. Seems that was my first issue. Twitter isn’t about people you know, it’s about the information you want to compile. Think of it this way.... with Facebook you give & Twitter you take. You invite on Facebook. You follow on Twitter.

Facebook is generally a reflection of your personality - you know generally a quaint narcissistic peek into your life. With Twitter, you add #hashtags add a @username, a shorten URL link, or RT (retweet) info you think others may find appealing.  You feed the machine to keep it going. One is about giving - the other is about receiving.

With my motto in tow - you can't stop change only manage it - I’m going to read Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 again this weekend as a gentle reminder of where we may be headed.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

In Search of A Smile….

Not gonna lie, it’s been a rough couple of weeks. Don’t know why, but the fall time change has always kicked the crap out of me. Is it because I know what the next few months will bring? Or is it because my body's telling me it's TIME to eat really fatty comfort foods and hibernate in fuzzy socks and a plethora of really ugly bath robes?

Either way, today was one of those days where more often than not, I found myself in search of my smile. No flashlight, no map, just a mission. So I set my course and my search was on.

I’ve had some pretty hilarious things happen to me over time. Today, to relieve my funk, I asked myself when was the last time I laughed until I cried? (Last time I laughed so hard my face hurt and all those really neat chemicals filled my brain?)

A few instances jumped to mind (Bill’s napkin magic trick, teaching Colleen to ballroom dance) but one really did stand alone. Here goes....

I was working on a cottage project with a customer and from a construction standpoint things went bad fast. He was the perfect customer (and we remain friends) but we were late arriving to site and the more the team did, to more damage was found. Truthfully, his budget was being obliterated in a nano-second.

Knowing we were already on thin ice, I called him on his direct line in Toronto and offered the best opening line I had. “Have I told you how handsome you are?” His response was classic. “Hmmmm…. SOUNDS expensive!” I explained the situation, sent photos and he told me to keep working.

More bad news arrived within the hour and I had to call again. I opened with… “You are soooooo handsome…” and all I heard was “Nooooooooo….” He knew we had to keep going.

Third time his direct line rang only once. He picked up the phone and before I could speak and he said… “I better be fucking ugly!” We both roared. I was howling, he couldn't stop commenting, our friendship was sealed. 

To this day we have remained friends. I've personally been to his cottage and we BBM everyday. He's an important guy (at least he thinks so) but he still makes me laugh and we both tell the story often. It's as simple as that!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Life's Little Instructions!

1. Sing in the shower. 
2. Treat everyone you meet like you want to be treated. 
3. Watch a sunrise at least once a year. 
4. Leave the toilet seat in the down position. 
5. Never refuse homemade brownies. 
6. Strive for excellence, not perfection. 
7. Plant a tree on your birthday. 
8. Learn 3 clean jokes. 
9. Return borrowed vehicles with the gas tank full. 
10. Compliment 3 people every day. 
11. Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them. 
12. Leave everything a little better than you found it. 
13. Keep it simple. 
14. Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures. 
15. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know. 
16. Ask for a raise when you think you've earned it. 
17. Overtip breakfast waitresses. 
18. Be forgiving of yourself and others. 
19. Say, "Thank you" a lot. Say, "Please" a lot. 
20. Avoid negative people. 
21. Buy whatever kids are selling on card tables in their front yards. 
22. Remember other people's birthdays. 
23. Commit yourself to constant improvement. 
24. Carry jumper cables in your truck. 
25. Have a firm handshake. 
26. Send lots of Valentine cards. Sign them, "Someone who thinks you're terrific." 
27. Look people in the eye. 
28. Be the first to say hello. 
29. Use the good silver. 
30. Return all things you borrow. 
31. Make new friends, but cherish the old ones. 
32. Keep a few secrets. 
33. Sing in a choir... 
34. Plant flowers every spring. 
35. Have a pet. 
36. Always accept an outstretched hand. 
37. Stop blaming others. 
38. Take responsibility for every area of your life. 
39. Wave at kids on school busses. 
40. Be there when people need you. 
41. Feed a stranger's expired parking meter. 
42. Don't expect life to be fair. 
43. Never underestimate the power of love. 
44. Drink champagne for no reason at all. 
45. Live your life as an exclamation, not an explanation. 
46. Don't be afraid to say, "I made a mistake." Don't be afraid to say, "I don't know." 
47. Compliment even small improvements. 
48. Marry for love. 
49. Rekindle old friendships. 
50. Count your blessings. 
51. Call your mother. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Hi, I’m Trade Show Rhondi. Pleased to Meet You.

I was working the Toronto Golf and Travel Show in downtown Toronto about five winters back. It was midday Sunday, my feet were sore, my face ached from smiling, and I just wanted the ‘tire kicking’ questions to stop.

In complaining to my friend Peter Mumford (Publisher: Fairways Magazine) in the adjacent booth, I’ll never forget what he said. “Rhondi, every Trade Show is one day too long…even a one day Trade Show!” I howled with laughter when he said it and that saying still makes me giggle today.

Why the reflection? Fall Cottage Life (Great Outdoors – DIY whatever they are calling it now) starts at the International Centre at 11am today. You’ll be pleased to know that at precisely that time all the surrounding city traffic lights will align & I will miraculously morph into Trade Show Mode.

Ah Trade Show Mode – aka Trade Show Rhondi. It’s nothing scary. It’s not like a machine starts up or anything it’s a mind set. Even though I’m not there with my day to day team (I am helping out one of our customers) you still have to prepare and all I can say is thank God I have good teeth.  Just how much eye contact can one make with strangers? To do it right, and get results it is very hard work. And what’s the upside to a lot of hard work? 

It’s Friday. I’m in the City. SHOPPING!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

“Ah Ha” said my Credit Card to the Shoes!

Have you ever had a defining “Ah Ha” moment? You know the kind where your eyes roll completely around in your head or you slap yourself on the forehead and say “I shoulda had a V8”?

I have, in fact I did, yesterday.

Oh, the instant when the solution to a problem becomes clear feels good. For lack of a better word it’s liberating - even a little therapeutic.

Not proud to admit it but I’d had a problem I wasn’t dealing very well with since the beginning of October. (To the point where this “problem” was preoccupying my thoughts and taking up far too much of my energy.) I was stuck.

Finally, enough was enough. Yesterday I dug in my heels and met with it head on. I got up in the morning, told myself this is how it’s going to be and by the time dinner was served I was kind of smiling on the inside asking myself “why didn’t I do that two months ago…?”

I’m a simple gal. Why do the obvious answers always want to play hide and seek with me? Why can I be smart as a whip one day and dumb as a stump the next? Probably for the same reason there’s a party of fifteen going on in my head and I’m the hostess….

Because life is hard right up until the moment it isn’t!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I LOVE You THIS Much......

About six months ago I got back in touch with a friend I hadn’t seen in years. (Our life paths had changed but we'd always tried to keep the relationship/conversation open via email.)      

You know deal:
Title: Hey
Body of Email: I Miss You.
To Which I Would Get the Standard Reply: “ditto”.


Neither of us would sign our names. No talk of the weather, no discussion of where we were at in life. Just a quick note to let the other know we were in each others thoughts.

Then one day the unexplained happened. A mutual friend unexpectedly passed.

Instantly, and without thought, I dialed the phone (hoping they’d kept the same cell number). “It’s Rhondi” I said… “OH MY GOSH call me”! I truly didn’t expect a return call & that night I didn’t get one. I climbed into bed at the cottage a few hours later not giving my dramatic call another thought.

Next day my cell phone rang at the office. Preoccupied, I didn’t recognize the voice at first... BUT as soon as they said who they were I was elated.

To this day, I play that very first reconnection conversation over and over in my head.  How silly was it that we’d been too busy to keep in touch? Hearing the others voice was like riding a bike, smooth and effortless. Kismet!

Months have passed since that fateful day. We text and/or email everyday, chat at least once a week, and make an effort to see each other once a month. 

It's simple. A TRUE friend is someone you don't have to talk to everyday to feel like you hugged them yesterday!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Think Positive & NEVER Google Otherwise….

Had a tough week last week. The worst I’ve had in a very long time. To top it up, I have a very realistic grasp on why....

The proverbial  textbook reminds us that "negative thoughts NEVER breed positive result" but I have to admit that in the midst of feeling sorry for oneself there's never a textbook in sight.

"Feeling sorry" is a slippery slope. Personally, in the moment of any funk, I'll spark inner dialogue trying to downplay my mood. You know, that it's "not the greatest" and it's being caused by something other than what it really is (all in an effort to remain upbeat). 

So to the point of my post...

Last Friday I was a mess. My chin was in need of the support of my bra, my knuckles were dragging along side me and there were tears at lunch. All of a sudden I found myself saying the words aloud... "I'm lonely". 

As a girl always looking for info, I Googled “I’m lonely”… BIG MISTAKE! Or was it?

Having never really thought about it before Friday, I discovered that loneliness is self-inflicted. The only site I visited basically told me to 'smarten the hell up' and 'quit feeling sorry for myself'. That if I was in fact “lonely” it is completely 'my fault', which is unequivocally and absolutely correct!

Taking ownership for a mood is the only thing that will make it change. Seems it was just the kick in the butt I needed because I’ve made the necessary adjustments. Who knew? Take that glass half empty!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Well I Feel Stupid...

I was proud as a Peacock last night after I'd posted my first blog entry. So excited that I immediately shared the link with my Facebook friends & Twitter followers and I waited.
I must admit, I was not prepared for what happened next. I looked at the screen in horror as a fellow Facebook friend posted that I had missed the all-important and somewhat critical memo that “BLOGGING IS DEAD”!
Sufferin’ Succotash! How could this be? I love blogs. I appreicate the community of real bloggers who use real blogging software which now officially includes MOI! Dead...? If I were dead how could I still be typing? Come on it's a valid question...

All joking aside, the fact that I have never made the commitment to keep a personal blog going until now hasn't made them less appealing to me but why the perceived change in status? After all death is so final. 
Did the ease of Facebook send bloggers to the unproven grave? Did Twitter followers make the blogging community drink the Kool Aid? "Take a sip" and you'll never type 140 characters the same way again! 
I say the answer is neither. Blogging may be changing but you know what they say about change, "You can't stop it only manage it". Meaning there is an awful lot of URL shortened links on Twitter than lead us to one type of blog or another.
At the end of the day, if I peel the layers of the onion back, I am sure I'm just pissed at the fact that I missed the memo! Imagine how Perez Hilton feels!!!
Cheers.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Here We Go!

Okay, so it’s apparent that I’ve set this thing up without a plan. Once again, the cart is before the horse. Whatever, I’ll pat myself on the back, call it forward thinking and move on.

In the past I have kept several business blogs going for customers but I’ve wanted to create a personal blog for quiet a while. (Yep, believe it or not I’ve done this for business but never for pleasure.) You know the deal, five years ago too busy, three years ago too dark, last year too mad so in the midst of this mid life thing I have happening I say there is no time like the present.

I have a great job (a full blown extrovert with a flair for sales) and I have amazing friends.

At the end of the day if I am being totally honest with myself I’m high maintenance. You know the kind of “I’m worth it” lane occupier. The “if you don’t take care of yourself, no one’s going to do it for you” kinda gal. It is what it is. Again, moving on....

My hair and weight occupy a lot of my energy and both tend to make for my best stand up comedy material. Dogs and sex are a close three and four in the comedy material line up. (Just so were cool... the “doggies” are the four legged furry kind, not the style!)

Live and cottage in Muskoka which in itself surprises most and I love to read. I’ve been married for 24 years, have three great kids and my nest is empty. Uh, not entirely true, I have a Jim Morrison/Jimmy Hendrix/Beatles wannabe staying here (Hmmm, I’m thinking I have just discovered my fifth standup topic) but he’s an adult so in theory the nest is empty.

I’m simple (I know what I like and it stops there) some may call it narrow minded but why split hairs? I am brutally honest, which is not always the best way to approach things, so I try to consciously choose my words carefully to get a positive result. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve (thank God for tank tops) and I pride myself never to judge anyone that hasn’t walked a mile in my shoes.

I hope you’ll follow along for the laughs, my only advice? Keep your hands and feet in the ride at all times!