Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Out Of The TWEET Blue Yonder…

Out of the blue I chatted with an acquaintance today and I must admit it took me a little by surprise. With our lives mutually hectic, it seems it's usually something quirky that has one sending the other a quick note.

Like most of my electronic friends; he and I usually catch up via BBM. I literally scroll past his name and face every single day but I seldom send a text and neither does he (hence why we've remained acquaintances).

Anyway, after I updated Twitter for work this morning, I logged onto my personal account and there he was. I couldn’t resist sending him a quick Tweet. Because he reads his Twitter feed on his Blackberry, mine buzzed almost instantly with a reciprocal Tweet and BBM had us catching up all morning.

I love Twitter. I enjoy Facebook but I absolutely love everything about Twitter.

I love that it's more of a social networking "service" as a pose to mainstream social networking. I take from it what I want, with the added bonus of getting a snapshot of where the world is "at" instantaneously. For those of you not on it, the only way I can describe #Twitter is that it gives the information injection I crave, keeping me in that ‘microblogging’ loop I love so very much.

While Twitter is great way to keep in touch with my "old friends", my new “call Friday friend” seems uninterested.  (I’ll remind him again this Friday, exactly what he’s missing!) For all others curious, I can be found @Rhon2TheDee.

I only have about 100 followers, but the key is to check out who I am following, and who they are following. A combination of any of these selected feeds will turn you into 'A Very Well Rounded Monday Morning Water Cooler Conversationalist’.

Try it, you just may like it. Better yet, you may end up loving it as much as I do.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Gonna Love the Next Two Weeks in Muskoka!

David arrived home today for a two week vacation. 

I've mentioned that he was just recently promoted, which in turn produced reservations about him taking this break from the city. Of course, as his mother, I offered to be his voice of reason. 

Out of the gate, I knew I had to choose my words carefully. After much consideration I went with “DUDE, they’re closing the restaurant for the last two weeks of August... Pack your shit and get the hell home!!!”  He agreed to my approach and voila he arrived today.
I absolutely love that he’s home. 

I can’t wait to watch him decompress and lose this newly inherited sense of intensity he's acquired. He honestly has a work ethic any parent would be proud of, yet when we were together as a family a couple of weeks ago, I was worried he was burning himself out.

His life here (as he knows it) has changed; his room is no longer his, there is a really uncoordinated puppy that will drive him bonkers, and his circles of friends have shifted in the last year.

Since Christmas he’s known he has no desire to return to Muskoka, problem is some of his childhood friends have no desire to leave. Guess it a simple question of ‘where does a bird and fish live?’ I've tried to explain it’s all about moving forward and growing as a person but I’m sure I sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Lord knows I make no sense to the lad 99% of the time!

Makes no matter; I’m glad he’s here because it’ll give me something to do. I’ll enjoy the guys coming and going from the house, all the while knowing that Orilla Lake is going to be put to good use.

His break comes at perfect time. Let’s hope he gets perfect weather. He’s earned it.

Friday, August 17, 2012

I Had My Best Friday Call EVER!

You know your life is simple when you look forward to a single phone conversation each and every Friday. I’ll be honest. I watch the clock. As 'crazy busy' as I was today, I still looked forward to laughing with my favorite geographically challenged colleague.

Last week on the radio, I heard that ‘men prefer women with a sense of humour over one with looks’. Though I find that hard to believe, I tend to agree with the statement. I love a man that can make me laugh.

I embrace every kind of humour but quick wit is my favorite. I love (and totally respect) a person that can be in the moment. Someone that can keep up with me and the comedic train wreck I always offer. I take my shots, they take theirs, it’s all in good fun. Never spiteful; yet heartfelt, genuine, and respectful.

I feel I should mention that we’ve raised our children to understand and also embrace humour.

My pic of Staci and David was taken when they were six. At twenty, if I would have had them on the speaker phone for my call this afternoon, they would have laughed as hard as I did.

At the end of the day, humour is a universal language.

I’m not sure why I look forward to my silly little weekly call so much. 

It’s not because it’s clandestine; everyone in my office knows I get the call (truthfully they tend to hang around to overhear the banter). Heck, last week I took my call at home and the entire house could hear me laughing. Tony was nice enough to usher the dogs from my office so I wasn’t disturbed.

Why do I look forward to my Friday afternoon endorphin raising phone call so much?

Because it’s mine! 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I Miss My Dad.

I really miss my Dad. He passed in 2005 but he is forever mentioned in my conversations & he crosses my mind and heart every single day.

Growing up, figure skating was my mom's deal. All other sports, building a fire, fast frying fish, changing a furnace filter? Poppa gets total credit!

Rummaging through my photos last weekend,  I came across a large manila envelope of pictures we shared at his funeral. The one I am posting now was taken two weeks before his friend Herve saved his life. I hadn’t seen it since his passing yet it still really speaks to me.

When I look at this beautiful photo I see a man that is home. He worked hard all his life and ended up exactly where he wanted to be. Living on the lake he grew up on, feeding the birds, forever tinkering, waiting for his family to arrive.

I’ll never forget the call. It was 3am. It was my Aunt. My father had suffered a serious heart attack; Herve had stabilized him and gotten him to the hospital. Plan was to try and move him into Ontario. My Aunt told me to "prepare the family.”

That was December 23rd, 2004. He pulled through and we moved my father into our home December 31. He passed in my arms on June 23, 2005. In those six months, my entire personal outlook on life changed. I changed and as a family we changed.

I look at this amazing photo and I see love. For those six months we were in this odd yet indescribable bubble. Not focused on the fact that it would end, nor worried that it would end, as a family just living in the moment. He was with us and we felt we'd been hand picked to handle his incredible journey.

Right or wrong, I never shared with my father the life expectancy they'd  given him in the hospital. Instead, I loaded him in the car and brought him back to Muskoka. Over the winter, we'd chat about `how we could elevate his gardens at the lake so he didn’t have to bend down’, and `how he’d have to get an apartment in the winter because living on Lake Temiscaming year round was no longer an option’.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that when I admire this photo I also see Herve and Karen. They too were his family. Before travelling to Muskoka for his service, Karen went down to his beach and filled a mason jar with his sand. She placed it in his casket and it was buried with him.

I can't emphasize enough that Bracebridge was where he raised his family but Lake Temiscaming was always his home. Even today, it feels peaceful to know the two were once again reunited, mason jar and all. Very fitting actually.

I love you Poppa....

Monday, August 13, 2012

Where Were You In April 1993? I Was On Vacation!

When I was cleaning out the garage this weekend, I came across a very large tote of photos and photo albums. Because digital photography has become such a big part of my life, I rarely go back and glance at the thousands of photos I have been hoarding over the years.

As I started to snoop, my heart literally skipped a beat when I came across some black and white photos of our very first family vacation. The twins were ten months old and Jamie was about three and a half. Man, I remember how hard we saved for that trip. Seems like a lifetime ago.

David and I in the Lazy River
Originally, it was planned as a couple’s vacation. My father lived across the street, and all winter long pressed “they’re too little to leave, they’re too little to leave, they are too little to leave.” 

So, with less than a month before our departure, an executive decision was made. We were taking the kids. 

With a flip of a switch, my father's message immediately became much louder and had more conviction; “They’re too little to take…THEY'RE too little to take... THEY ARE TOO LITTLE TO TAKE!” God’s honest truth of the matter was my dad didn’t want us to go. He didn't want us to go, and I have never been afraid of a challenge. Long story short? We went!

I recall the car was strategically packed. Folding strollers, walkers, and enough crap to choke an elephant. The plan was eight hours a day on the road with six of those driving. (A couple of three hour stints, with a two hour break in between to wear the youngsters out.) Our destination was Myrtle Beach South Carolina.
Staci started walking in Myrtle Beach

We stayed in an excellent  three story family hotel (that has since been torn down) and we were on the second floor. We had an oceanfront room so that when the kids napped we could have the nursery monitor with us by the pool.

I remember on the third day I was reading in the sun and I heard the maid go into the room unannounced.  I have never bolted out of a lawn chaise so fast in my life.  The only thing going through my head as I ran the stairs two at at time was “wake ‘em up and I’ll freaking kill ya!”

Seriously, as you can imagine, from the time of our arrival we were quite the circus side show. On our second day, we met a couple from Hamilton Ontario; Don & Pearl Vernon. With a grown daughter of their own, they had empathy for the work we went through that first day,  to say the least they were extremely helpful. 

With a main floor oceanfront room, Don & Pearl would make a make shift playpen with lounge chairs to make it easier for us. Don would stay with Jamie in the kiddie pool so we didn't have to leave the twins when they were awake. I also remember that on our second last day, they watched the kids as they had their nap so we could enjoy a quiet walk on the beach. It was a great vacation all around.

Yesterday, I also came across the card I received with the photos dated May 23rd that year. Opening that hand written note from Pearl took me back in time. 

Jamie  & his Kiddie Pool Lifeguard Don.
We did manage to keep in touch after that trip. Christmas cards, phone calls, more photos exchanged for about the next three years. Like a lot of things in life, day to day brings change.

No matter how much time passes. I will never minimize the dear memories I have.

Reflecting, they were amazing people that taught me to always to give back and pay it forward.

....Forever thankful is all I can say.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Damn Those Wheels On The Bus!

I enjoyed a very productive day yesterday. It was rainy, quiet, but extremely productive to say the least. Friday afternoons in the heart of the summer tend to be quiet but yesterday was downright peaceful.

My boss worked from home, which is always like a vacation day for me, and the much needed Irish mist weather kept the phones silent. I chatted with my favorite colleague in Kitchener (at least three times), appreciated an unexpected lunch date, and received my standing “Rhondi? It's Friday" call that always makes me laugh.

I absolutely love to laugh. I'm of the opinion that my smile is never meant to be turned upside down. The truth is, a frown always manages to consume me. I'm first to admit that sadness is a mindset so I try not to “go there". If I ever do, I tend to rationalize that it's because I am so focused. It's kind of like; when something doesn’t sync, I literally do the same, and sink.

For many different reasons it was a crazy week for me. I know it has a lot to do with my visit with David but it has honestly been a combination week of both interesting and odd. All and all, in a nutshell, I've been working overtime trying to turn my frown upside down.

In trying to relate to my mood, a friend ask me a critical question over lunch. “Do you ever think that we put so much of ourselves into our children, that everything in life continues to grow except us?” WOW. How wise? He's absolutely right. Then again, he should be wise; he's very old and has really bad cataracts!

All joking aside, I am sad to admit that when I don’t know the answer to a simple question it can keep me awake at night. I hate those silly little questions and answers.

Why are some decisions so hard to make and others so easy?  After all, I’m a decision maker right? Just decide! I would decide, except at this juncture in my life I don't think I know the real question. Hence my ongoing journey...

Damn those wheels on the bus. Sometimes I just wish they's stop going round and round, so I can enjoy a minute and a half of peace and quiet!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Ubiquitous Rhondi Who? What the Hell is A Rhondi?

I think we are all in agreement that people come in and out of our lives every single day. The God’s honest truth? I meet so many people in a day, that some days it’s hard to grasp the volume. Yes-sir-ree-Bob-a Roonie, I AM the Wal-Mart greeter. Problem is I'm not 75yrs old. Trickier move is that I don’t work at Wal-Mart.

Why this particular mindset you ask? 

I had a builder call me today. He called to tell me his clients literally “raved" about me. He continued to say that no matter what, "he was to work very closely with me, because I knew exactly what they (his customers) wanted.” Without a word of a lie, I am embarrassed to admit, I've no recollection of ever meeting these people. Better yet, these folks called asking me to dine with them and I have no clue what they even look like. (You`ll be pleased to know I declined the dinner invitation.)

Let me side step a little and head back to Orillia Lake. I'm told it's "cute" but in the scheme of Muskoka grandeur, realistically it is glorified camping. For the last decade, people have said to me “Rhondi, I have no idea where your cottage is…” and there is a truly reason for that. Because of what I do for a living, very few have ever been invited to enjoy this little haven. It’s not because I don’t want to entertain, I do. It's just that it has slowly become a place to decompress and replenish from day to day life. In a nutshell, my life consist of so many people, all of the time, that reading a book alone has become my very best friend. 

All of that gibberish said, a day like today makes me take a step back and wonder. When it comes to people, how the heck do I decide who I let into the party, and who gets left at the door? I want to let everyone in but we all know that's impossible.

Suffice is to say that 90% of the peeps get left at the door. Good news is, for all of those that are left, I play music. I'll quote Smartie and unconditionally  “CRANK THE CLASH BABY” Seriously, Brian always knows best, you can never ever go wrong with The Clash! 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Proud As A David Peacock...

So my whirlwind GTA adventure was tres formidable. The only downside? It was planned in a flash and over just as fast.

We arrived in Yorkville about 6:30pm with an 8:30 dinner reservation at Actinolite (Dave was texting me like crazy to ensure we were on schedule).  I could tell when we arrived; he was excited to see us, proud to show us off, and maybe even a little nervous. This was an 'all hands on deck' family event. After all, he was now assigned his own station in the kitchen, and we were all very excited to share in his promotion.

Let me start by saying, as a proud mommy hen, I had decided I was only going to order from the menu ensuring David was going to prepare it for me. Sad to admit, I am a really picky eater. I knew the menu had changed since my visit at the end of June but I was anxious just the same. Saying that 'I am not the least bit adventurous with food' would be an understatement. That said, David hit it out of the park. Bazzzzinga Baby!

We finished our dining experience around eleven, took a cab back to the hotel, and David joined us when he was done at around twelve thirty. The fact that we were jam-crammed into a teeny tiny hotel room made no difference, we were together again, and that was all that mattered. He was exhausted but he and I chatted and laughed, eventually turning the lights out at about two thirty Sunday morning. 
Enjoying the Toronto Harbourfront

Up and at 'em early we were onto our next plight, what the hell to do for the day. We decided on a walkabout the city. We had a great day. A really great day!

In less than a month, it will be a year since, I cried my eyes out as I left my son in a house with strangers, on Queen Street in downtown Toronto. I vividly remember the tears that day. His were of fear and excitement, mine were filled with worry and love.

Yesterday there were tears (there always are) but this time my tears offered me brutal clarity. My tears were due to the the pain of once again parting. His, for the first time, were different. They were in empathy for my pain. He knows he’s home but feels the need to keep helping me with my continued transition.

It’s a harsh motherhood reality when you realize your child doesn’t need you anymore. I wish he still needed me but the truth is he doesn't. His ever growing independence is unmistakable. 

As I wipe my eyes as I type, all I can say is that I am so very proud of the beautiful iridescent blue-green coloured plumage this mature David Peacock has grown. His hard work and determination will serve him well in life. I know he's going to kick some serious culinary industry ass. I love ya Goob!

Friday, August 3, 2012

911 GOOB Alert! Code Blue...GTA Stat!!!

I remember my sister in law asking me when my kids first started school if I “still had those silly little nicknames for them?”  My answer fifteen years ago was yes and today the answer is still yes.  From the day Jamie was born he’s been “Bud”, Staci’s been “Sweetie” and David’s been “Goob”.

Why so reflective? I am really missing Goob. I am missing Goob so much it hurts. As a result; Tony, Staci and I are heading into the GTA tomorrow to spend some much needed quality time with him. 

I work until one and Sweetie works until four. (Tony, I suppose, is on standby ‘awaiting further instruction’.) I hate that we don’t have a plan but sometimes they are the best experiences right? Yes they are, yes they are, and yes they are.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the city. I love that I have to be so nice to people for a living, that I can be generally rude and just blend in.  I love the pace. I love the shopping. 

That said, what are we going to do? We texted Wonderland the last couple of days but it’s calling for electrical storms, Jays are away, and who goes to Ontario Place? Is it even open? ROM, done. Stage West, done. Casa Loma, done. I think you get the picture.

Xmas Eve 2010 w/ Grandma & Grandpa Peacock
Why am I over thinking? It's because I just want him to really enjoy the little time he has away from his extremely hectic journey.

In the end, I know in my heart it won't matter. When I wrap my arms around him, he’ll be fine because he'll be home.

Best part about tomorrow? His twin sister is missing him just as much as we are. All I can say is, how cool is that?

PS - To this day, the only person allowed to call him Goob is me. 

PSS - Thank gosh his friends don't bother with this silly little blog!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

RHONDI's Best Surprise EVER!

When it comes to my "ordinary small town life", I am first to admit that it literally has a zero element of surprise.

I’m not kidding; my life has such a regimented routine, that if I were to pack my lunch bag blindfolded, I will still know exactly how I will dine at noon. For the record, I refuse to say my life is 'boring', I prefer the phrase 'extremely well structured'. That said, I think the evolution of my “same shit different day” routine progressed quite slowly.

I’m sure it all has something to do with my age. (Though my 'glass half full' attitude makes me think that the most successful people compartmentalize parts of their lives for sheer efficiency.) Some may label me anally retentive, whatever; Freud’s dead so why worry about his theories. Seriously, why?

Anyway, this morning I was headed for a pretty standard Thursday. I"ll admit I was a little more tired than normal but nothing a cup/pot of coffee wouldn't remedy. Because I had taken yesterday afternoon off, my phone was on “do not disturb” until I went for my lunch.


Photo Cred:
BG Photography ~ Georgian Bay
For quite some time now I have been working with an Architect from New Orleans, on a very upscale boathouse build on Lake Muskoka.  

After several conversations about his project, I decided to share my blog link. He read it, and we became electronic friends.

Today, after I finished my lack luster lunch, I returned to the showroom to find him standing there right in front of me. Not on my Blackberry screen, not in my email inbox, nor via a voicemail message awaiting a call back. He was here, in Bracebridge, to see me!

I looked at him and I was absolutely and unequivocally speechless. Seriously, those of you that know me, I mean really know me, know that is truly impossible. He witnessed my shock. I couldn't speak, I just wanted to grab him. I’ve never thought about hugging a voice before, but he was right in front of me... and let's face it, we all know I am a hugger.

WOW! Today I experienced my very first “...What the hell is happening here Batman” moment !!

I'll stop by saying this, it's not that I dislike surprises, I am just pleasantly surprised that this unique emotion could offer a simple gal like me such an amazing euphoria. Who knew?

Thank you my friend. You truly made my day.