Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bring it 2014

Walking into the cottage today I was playfully talking to myself aloud. Relax. I am told that as long as I don’t answer myself back the exercise is really quite normal.

Comfortable in my stride, I started listing significant month my month moments that summarized my past year. Some moments truly made me sad, yet others scored a very loud HELL YA...  Quickly followed by a glass half full Giddy UP!

2013 offered all of us a quiet yet cherished milestone...
Here's the skinny on my year in review...

My 2013 low point was a blind side experienced in Life Lesson #457 posted last January.

My high point was most definitely A Quiet Milestone posted in October. Thank you again my amazing Jukebox...

My biggest surprise of 2013 was never discussed as a post.

It quietly arrived in the form a friendship in the early Spring of 2013. Sound business advice (combined with them being solid sounding board) gets this person a significant 2013 nod from me.

Award ceremony aside, I have to admit that what's trending on Twitter tonight is very true. Tomorrow will offer the first blank page of  a 365 page book to be written.

The best part about that specific challenge is I feel I am starting 2014 at peace with myself, my family, my life, as well as my business skill set.

I like that... I LIKE THAT A LOT!

Happy New Year and thank you ALL so very much for reading.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

An Interesting Sunday At Gull Lake Park

Night before last we hosted a Christmas Open House for our children and a couple dozen of their closet friends. While I was snapping a group picture in front of our Xmas tree, someone accidentally stumbled back and broke the hand painted wine glass I was given for Christmas.

As I've mentioned, my husband and I have never really exchanged gifts. Yet, considering what I have been going through in the last few months, the thought behind his unexpected gift was perfect. My wine glass had small colourful paw prints on it, not to mention some neat little hand painted cartoons that were very applicable. Around the centre section of the wine glass (written in calligraphy) it read “Some days you’re the dog. Some days you’re the hydrant”.

Knowing I was disappointed that it got busted, he asked me this morning if I wanted to trek back to the store where he'd bought it in to see if he could buy me another one. Hope in hand we trekked and I am sad to report it was not meant to be.

Leaving Gravenhurst & heading home we figured we best let our pups a minute to do their business. As a result, we ventured to the closest park. Pulling into the parking lot I realized I'd spent many a summer Sunday night in the park as a child, yet I had never once been to the park in the winter.Today was an interesting and reflective very first for me.

Aside from a sea of trucks and snowmobile trailers the were abandoned in the parking lot the place was desolate. The sky was dreary and the trees were heavily laden with snow. I could hear their large limbs cracking as I made my way to the lake. 

Something tells me Tommy Hunter cancelled tonight show on The Barge!
Taken: Sunday December 29th. 2013

Just looking at those familiar fibreglass walls instantly snapped me back into my childhood. Heading to the barge on Sunday nights was one of the many 'somethings' we did as a family. As I stood there in the moment I felt like a ten year old all over again. 

In a flash it was like there were people everywhere. I envisioned Pierre was racing me to the playground as my parents bickered about where to set up the lawn chairs; and, using all of my charms, I was begging my Dad for money for a blue freezie at the Snack Bar. Then, as my mind focused on the reality at hand, I remembered the venue being so much bigger when I was a kid.

Photo's taken, standing there all alone, the silence felt kind of eerie. Matter a fact it felt like it could have been a backdrop for a zombie movie. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a winter zombie movie, so yet again another first for me. That thought right there took my personal tally of firsts today to two. WOW!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go pour myself a lovely glass of wine into a Red Solo Cup.

Well, truthfully it's a Mason Jar.

Because a really good wine needs to be surrounded by glass!


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Laughter is ALWAYS The Best Medicine

GOOB  & Dot at 'gift time'
Taken: Dec 25th, 2013
My son just walked down the stairs, kissed me on the head, and a said “thank you for Christmas Mum....” All I could do was smile and say was “you’re quite welcome Goob…” 

I'm not sharing that specific moment because I was taken aback, yet to simply admit that his arms around me (not to mention the heartfelt sentiment) felt really great. 

Like everyone reading, yesterday was a big day for us as a family. Our festivities started the night before but my feeling under the weather had my grown children bonding with their Daddy and celebrating without me. 

Christmas morn had me haul me fevered ass out of bed and into the shower... a shower stall that spun faster than a college experience of 'bed spins'! Exhausted, I finally arrived downstairs to an unexpected bouquet of flowers and a kitchen full of men taking care of every single festive detail.

Jukebox was baking shortbread cookies (from the dough he'd made the night before). Goob was arranging my flowers and getting brunch happening;  while my husband dodged their elbows taking care of every other dinner detail in between. Sipping coffee, it felt like my daughter and I were just simply in the way of a very well oiled testosterone machine. 

Jukebox checking out one of the harmonica's Goob gave him.
Taken: Dec 25th, 2013
True to our personal philosophy, there wasn't much money invested in the way of gifts. Just some small things that were needed. Yet, for the first time ever we gifted food baskets. Wooden totes, filled with groceries, which were truly the surprise hit.

As parents, we really did love shopping for each tote. They may be siblings but each are very unique in their personal tastes, so each tote was filled accordingly.

Gift giving aside... It was my daughter's mid afternoon tears that reminded us how she's worked through the biggest transition of the three in 2013.

I don't want to say that it's because the boys were more resilient transitioning but different life choices bring differing personal journeys. On one end of the scale, you have my fiercely independent boys: the other end of the spectrum appears my daughter. Truly a home body (so close to my husband and I) that she never really had any true desire to spread her wings until this past September. Seeing her tears reminds me just how far removed I was from the boys when they transitioned in the very same journey.

My Sweetie & her Dad (Oh ...and Puddin' too!)
Taken: Dec 25th, 2013
I am fiercely proud of all of my children. If there is one memory I will take away from the last couple of days it's how much we laughed. Everyone was fair game for a zinger, every single jab was taken in stride.

Right or wrong, we have raised our children in an open forum of dialogue and debate. We've lead by example, and held them accountable every step of the way.

Who am I kidding?

There has always been one characteristic that we'd hoped would compliment them and forever help them get through life. Which is simply an overly sarcastic, wonderfully amazing, freakin' bat shit crazy sense of humour!

What can I say, after what I witnessed first hand yesterday...

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!



Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I Love Christmas Puddin'... !

I can’t believe that it’s Christmas Eve already. Better yet, where the heck did the year go?

I know I miss certain people that were a constant this time last year, yet as the months lapsed, they found themselves more comfortable on the sidelines. I know that I worked the majority of it away, only to find myself leave my job and start anew. And, for the very first time in my entire life, I feel truly grateful that I don’t have a care in the world. Wait a minute, that's not entirely true. My pups preoccupy 90% of the free time and thought process.

Enjoying the Christmas morning sun and ocean air.
Taken: December 25th, 2012
As I sit and enjoy a hot cup of coffee, I am pleased to report that all of my holiday chores are complete. Well, all but one that is.

The last thing I have to do today is rustle me up some Christmas attire for my pooches.

You may think I'm being corny but that's what us “dog people” do.

We quit bothering our children with all things frilly about the holidays, and we completely and totally steamroll our pets with them. I’m not proud; I am the first to shamelessly admit that I'll hold them at ransom using a treat or a cookie. You’d be surprised what I can get these two to endure whilst controlling their stomachs!

How the hell else do you think I'll get them to
keep a Christmas hat on?!
I'm tellin' ya... It can get tricky!
Taken: December 2013
My children roll their eyes at how I treat them; but just like when my kids were toddlers, when they weren't underfoot, I'd worry. When they were underfoot, I'd get exasperated. Because, well, let's face it... They were underfoot! 

Good pup behaviour is always rewarded. Hell, who am I kidding. Bad pup behaviour? Also rewarded!  Why? Because I can. 

They are a part of our lives. They are a part of our family. And Christmas is all about family right?

Merry Christmas EVERYONE.... From the ENTIRE Peacock clan.

Canine or not... Cheers & Enjoy!



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Just Shakin' That Shit Off...!!!

I was hoping to take some time off before 2014 arrives but that's just not going to happen. Suffice is to say I have so much to do and so little time. I know, I know, that's just LIFE.

Since leaving my job my days have been spent sitting at my home office desk doing analysis and market research for my new job. I am pleased to report that today we met as an entire Team for the very first time. We did it via a very private setting; because let's face it, this is a very small town, and everyone is curious where I'll land.

What can I say? The narrow minded worried I'd be OK.  The forward thinkers prayed I'd never be a competitor. The honest truth is that I am completely jazzed with my choice. I find it a little surreal that once again I have chosen to work for man. I know what you're thinking, and my answer is a simply NO... I am not a sucker for punishment!

My Puddin' showing me how it's done!
Taken: September 14th, 2013
In the end I just gotta shake every single thought of 'man' doubt I have off; hence, why I love the picture of Puddin' I am sharing.

My pup illustrates my thoughts perfectly as she shakes off all her surrounding crap. She symbolizes for both of us that we are cleansed and ready for whatever awaits.

Photos aside, with regards to my choice  to again report to a man you may be thinking "once bitten... thrice shy".

Nope: when it comes to me & moving forward, I'm more a "third time's a charm" kinda gal. 

I'll keep ya posted!


Saturday, December 14, 2013

My Fantastic Four!

WOW... Who knew my quitting my job would create such a kerfuffle? Out and about in town today I was a little surprised that everyone wanted to chat about my change in employment status. What can I say? I quit my job. People do it every single day.

Trust me, my biggest shock isn't the plethora of calls received to ensure my Christmas bonus will be delivered in a timely fashion, rather it's the unconditional cheerleading & emotional support I have received from my family. 

MY FANTASTIC FOUR
Taken: July 2009
Though we've truly had our challenges over the last couple of years, my grown children have proven to me just how solidly bonded we are. You can quit a job but a family is forever.

All three children have offered me both insight & help. As for my husband, he just keeps telling me he loves me because he truly understands that the right thing has happened.

I fear my children think my decision was made in haste. This post is to reassure them that it was not. They need to know that their father wanted me to take an offer made last August but I truly thought that common (business) sense would prevail and the bullshit would pass.

Don't get me wrong. I understand that it's always hard on a man's ego when a woman is selected to join a fledging team for her skill set, leadership ability, and knowledge of how to quickly increase profitability. Truth of the matter is that most men in business have a selective memory. Once the dark days are over, 99% of the time, it always comes down to one of two things: your last name, and whether or not you have an appendage. 

I know, I know, most of you think I already have bigger balls than most men. And though that statement may have some truth to it, I can assure you that my confidence in business has always been used for GOOD, and never for evil. Staying and continuing to take a large salary (while watching a lot of hard work unravel, telling people what they want to hear) was NEVER be an option for me.

I am very proud that we can assure our children that everything is going to be A-OK. I want them to understand that I harbour no ill feelings about the time I invested with the company I have just left; but more importantly, I want them to know that I LOVE them all very much. As expected: onward & upward was all she wrote.

That, and that soda pop's on sale at Wal-Mart this weekend.

BA-DUMP-BUMP!




Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Came Early For This Cat…

You know what? I got up this morning and went to work. Then, after about an hour, decided I didn't want to work any more in 2013 and that was that. Christmas came early for me this year and it feels really great.

As you all know I have been transitioning since last summer. I wasn’t exactly sure where I’d land but at the end of the day I ultimately knew I was in search of a couple of very specific things. An understanding and appreciation for my skill set was up there but being happy superseded everything else on my wishlist.

I know I always joke that 'you should aim low to avoid disappointment’. Truth of the matter is that disappointment come in all shapes and sizes, every single day, to everyone including yours truly. So, I guess I realized last night that no matter how this transition happened, there would be disappointment surrounding it; with those that gained great wealth from my skill set, with those that didn't listen (nor wanted to hear) the warning signs, and particularly with those I left behind.

There will be talk and chatter about how everything unfurled: that’s just human nature. I know for a fact that those with the biggest egos will point fingers about how they were right. Again, I land at the amazing ones I left behind. The one’s I empowered to reach for something greater, that never had any support before I arrived there 3+ years ago.


As I shovelled the driveway a third time today - this was my view.
What can I say? I really can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Taken December 12th, 2013
They say timing is everything and yesterday I had a pre-planned lunch with one of my very favourite clients. 

On our way to the restaurant I took a call from my husband & I explained that I had packed everything up and it was done. 

With my client in shock, over our meal we talked about my decision as well as the nepotism that always runs rampant in a family business.

I explained why I felt the way I did but also admitted that when anyone leaves a job it’s like pulling a finger out of a glass of water, the water automatically fills back in. His response was “Oh, Rhondi… but with you... it’s like pulling out an entire fist that's been submerged to the elbow!”

...Guess you know why he will always be one of my very favourite clients.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Defining Relief...

Being happy is all that matters...
Lookin' good Spottie DOT!

Taken: December 11th, 2012
What can I say? On a scale of 1-10 we totally got dumped on with snow today. Tomorrow? Expected to be even worse.

The major incoming highways are closed, and the OPP are telling people to stay off the road. Egad! What a crazy, crappy, slap hap happy, bullshit, kinda day.

While navigating such crap, my Goob was amazing.  He worked hard and ensured all the snow cleared before I arrived home. His hard work offered some serious relief. I thanked him, and his smile and hugs offered even more relief. 

On this shitty day, how amazing is it that I called my husband this morn and reminded him the I had already booked (and paid for a trip for us) to Jamaica last August?!

Today was a day of relief for both of us; thank goodness it's over.

Glass half full?

My man n' me.... Weeez Jamaica bound MON!!!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Yo Ho Oh, Christmas Tree

To me personally it’s a one three punch to tell me the festive season has officially arrived. The tree is up and trimmed, there is a fresh blanket of the white stuff on the ground, and there's a wonderful smell of home baking wafting over the house by way of the kitchen.

I know I have shared that I started taking a B12 supplement when the time changed this fall, as well as I inherited a happy light. I can't believe how both have made a world of difference for me. I have a much brighter outlook (no pun intended) and my overall level of energy has increased leaps and bounds.

Thanks to my two new friends and a plethora of other life changes, I am really looking forward to our family Christmas this year. Not because I am at the top of Santa’s nice list (because let’s face it... in my mind naughty gets the year round nod)  but because this is the first time in my entire life I have ever enjoyed the holiday process.

There is nothing prettier than waking up to
a fresh blanket of snow.
Taken: December 8th, 2013
This year, my husband and I thoughtfully picked out a tree that barely fit inside our home; we tag teamed and strung the lights together, and he made home-made soup yesterday and critiqued my approach as I finished decorating it.

We have discussed all the gifts that have and will be purchased and we have done every stitch of shopping together. As warm and fuzzy as it sounds, all of the above are a series of very firsts for us.

I am a little embarrassed to admit that he's never really shown interest nor ever been involved in all the preparation and details. Matter a fact, for the past 25 years he’s just basically shown up and enjoyed the party.

With the nest emptying, I never realized until a few years ago just how angry and resentful having to endure the process alone had made me. Guess you can say I went on strike.

In hindsight, I know now, that my children didn't see nor understand at the time what was happening. The holidays were just the final straw for me. Leaving the Christmas tree up and undecorated for three solid weeks, and no one noticing, was just affirmation that I was truly ready to start anew. Three years later, embracing the festive season is a significant step for me, and I am glad I've taken it.

Anyway, as I strategically placed the candy canes on the tree yesterday, I was sure to place them high enough off the ground to so that Puddin’s sweet tooth wouldn’t over take her brain and wreck everything. What can I say? Like any lab, she’ll always be a handful. 

I suppose like any over achieving, results driven, wife and mother of three… So will I.

Friday, December 6, 2013

My Mom Sooo Woulda Kicked Your Ass!

“When God was handing out noses, he thought you said hoses & gave you a long one!” 
~ My Mom.


My Mom & I on a family trip to Gaspe.
Taken: July 1972
I was always a very curious child. Constantly asking questions and continually wanting to learn. 

When/if I entered a subject matter that my mother didn’t want to discuss, she would automatically recite the famous rhyme I've posted. After being warned, if I pushed, I'd be firmly told “the subject is closed!”

My parents having me later in life meant (that outside of school) I spent my most formative years in a room full of adults. 

With my mother's side of the family I was meant to be seen and not heard. My father's family? I was always included no matter what. So, from a very young age, I quickly learned which of my 15 personalities came in handy!

Joking aside, part of me thinks I am the way I am because my mother very militant was always quite hard. Crazy intelligent: yet fiercely dominant. I have grown into my own level of intellect but my entire life I have been conscious of our similarities. All my life I've always known I never wanted to emulate, nor exude such serious and somewhat uncaring energy. (The honest truth is raising our children I would remind my husband... "never let me do this, nor this, & definately not that.)

That said, I have never wanted to consciously emulate my mother until today. What can I say, when a good ass kicking is meant to be had, show up and kick some serious fecking ass! What did I do? I rolled over, offered some personal insight, and walked away.

Not because I couldn't have gone "there" but if after after all these years you're hanging your hat on the experience you've gained from those cult like Amway daze? You just simply are not worth a single stitch of my time and energy!

PS - DUDE... Get your nose the hell outta my business or my Mom is sooo gonna kick your ass once and for all!!!


Monday, December 2, 2013

Bah, Humbug? I HOPE NOT!

The only thought worse than Black Friday for me? When my very favourite radio station switched to Christmas tunes 24-7. Not because I hate the melodious songs; rather, I swear it signals the chip that's been implanted in my brain. The one heralding me to feel obligated to feed money into that retail shopping vortex that returns each and every year.

I honestly can't stand when I read/hear the media outlets tell me that “the average Canadian will spend $629 on holiday shopping this year”. Not because it affects my thought process but because it plants the marketing seed to the masses that if you don’t spend at least that, you are not considered an average Canadian. That thought right there just pisses me off!

Heading back to my hotel... Sore feet and all.
Taken: November 30th, 2013
For very personal reasons I ended up in downtown Toronto this weekend. And, just like clockwork, I wandered into Dundas Square.

What can I say? There were people everywhere. Why? Because the emotional chips had been activated and there were amazing deals to be found. Truth? I purchased very little. 

If I walked into a store with two cashiers and a line up greater than ten shoppers I walked out. Not because they didn't have something I could have gifted or enjoyed myself;  but if they couldn't staff the store properly (on the busiest sales weekend of the year) they didn't deserve my business.

That may be harsh to read but at the end of the day the last thing we are as a family is materialistic. Truth of the matter is, I've never worried whether or not I'd personally spent the $629 on holiday gifting or not... yet I DO wholeheartedly consider us 'an average Canadian family'.

I guess as I witnessed Canadians gravitate and embrace the hype of a silly Americanized holiday shopping culture, I worry that our 'average Canadian family' status may very well be a dying breed.

...That is quickly becoming extinct!



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Three Of Thee... Plus Me!

Today was one of those days that I could NOT have planned... even if I tried.

I spoke with my quirky sidekick from Nashville (twice), my zany bench friend for almost an hour, and had an unexpected face to face meeting with my favourite consultant. All three are men. All three are very important to me. Not just because we're friends but because we all function easily at a high level in business.

If you're an avid reader, you know I have been kinda stuck in a rut since late August. Wanting relief, I decided to look to my personal panel of three for input. ALL three understand both my good and bad qualities, and all three know me well enough to know that they can be totally honest because I completely trust them.

No wonder I have always been obsessed with my hair!
Taken: December 24th, 1969
So here's the deal...

For as long as I can remember I've been very comfortable in the presence of other people.

One of my earliest memories is of me step dancing in my Dad's parents tiny livingroom.

As my Pepere stomped his foot and played his fiddle, all hands were clapping, and the positive accolades my bounty.

All these years later, I can actually close my eyes and be in that moment. I can still feel the energy in that room. Hard work equated to reward, it was a simple as that. Point in case, from a very young age, I have always tried my best.

Genetically hardwired? Who knows, who cares. Much to my dismay, lately I've adopted an "I don't give a rats ass attitude" for the very first time in my life; and, for the last couple of months I haven't given a 120% every single day. 

This afternoon my confused mindset came to a screeching halt. By the time I arrived home, I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. Not because I had dealt with my reality at hand but because my tightly knit group of three confirmed what I have suspected for months.

Question: Nice slippers eh? What do you mean you can't take your eyes off that sexy lamp behind me?!

MADE YA LOOK!


Sunday, November 24, 2013

My PURE MUSKOKA Photo OP!

As expected, I went to bed late last night and woke up way too early this morn. I wanted to sleep in but of course my mindset had other plans. As a result, by eleven this morning I was absolutely stir crazy. With an outdoor temperature of a balmy -12C (and a light dusting of snow on the ground) I headed for the cottage with the dogs.

I had hoped to stay there last night but I ended up working far too late into the afternoon. I suppose I could have pushed ahead and gone in anyway but the truth is I worried that I would be pressed to be comfortable inside by dark. I knew I had to get dry wood in this weekend because let's face it, from this point forward every journey down our private road may require snowshoes and a toboggan!

Driving out today was especially quiet. Probably because it was a task I had to do, not one I was energized about doing. After turning off the highway I lowered the windows for the pups and could instantly feel the dampness in the air from the water. It's like the chill entered at the back of my neck and ran straight down my spine. Then... all of a sudden I was hyper-spaced onto high alert.

What an amazing Fall afternoon in Muskoka.
(Just click on my pic to see her beauty...)
Taken: November 24th, 2013
I have been crossing the bridge to our cottage since the Fall of 1999 and never once have I noticed/witnessed the intimate beauty I did today.

I quickly pulled over and parked the pups; then, camera in hand, I proceeded to make my way back across the bridge.

The sun was so bright and the sky so blue it was like I was on a movie set. The rushing water had placed an amazing layer of ice everywhere. At least ten degrees cooler with the windchill I was completely warm and fuzzy inside. It was a moment that fed all of my creative juices.

Thank you Mother Nature. I needed a friend today and you generously stepped up to the plate and hit an outta the park homerun. SANKS... SANKS BERY MUCH. Please accept my formal apology for calling you a fat hairy bitch 1,473,987 times previous to our very cool bonding moment today.

...it was never my intent to be mean!




Saturday, November 23, 2013

Anyone Have A Bench I Can Borrow?

Funny how it's the little things that end up meaning most...
Taken: Saturday November 23rd, 2013
When I was at work this morning it was particularly quiet and for whatever reason I found myself gazing out the front window. 

In the distance I spied my lunch bench. I walked outside and snapped this pic. Frankly because it looked as cold and isolated as I have felt here for quite some time now. Both of us just existing really.

I have said it before and I‘ll say it again... I hate this time of year. But this year has been especially hard for me because I can feel myself transitioning. I know where I am going and I am OK with all of that, I just hope I have the endurance to see my plans through. 

I know perfectly well that my inner philosophy of “I think I can endure therefore I will” some days will test every single bone in my body. Not that it’s the bones in my body that keep my mouth shut but I think you know exactly what I mean. Which is why I couldn't help but stare at my bench.

Oh how I sat out there every single lunch hour last summer. Catching some rays, chatting and laughing on my cell phone. That bench, as well as the person on the other end of my cell phone, made all the hard work and sacrifice worth it. Funny how everything can change in a heartbeat…

It’s to be hoped I will always have that special someone on the other end of the phone but it saddens me to know I'll never spend another summer with my bench. I know, I know, at the end of the day it’s all stupid shitty silliness - just like everything else I write here.

I get that!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Happy 2nd Anniversary Everyone

Did you know that today is our Anniversary? 

Not my husband and my wedding anniversary but your and my personal milestone as a group. Today, Ya Gotta Laugh About It has turned two. It's official; we lept from being an infant, and blossoms into a toddler with cartoon colourful pull ups!

What the firetruck? I can not believe that my electronic journal is two whole years old that may soon be ready to post its crap into the big people pottie!! I am serious when I share that it seems like only yesterday I decided to give this medium a shake and posted my first entry. Boy, has my life changed since that fateful night. Two years later I am proud to boast that both my life and my mindset have blossomed.

In celebration of last year's common thread of 3 word sentences, I would like to pay tribute. A day later and a thirty five cents wiser, here are five (very important personal three word sentence) steps in surviving any brutal mid life crisis:


Happy Anniversary To US!
Here's embracing the 58 people that read my first post.
5.
4.
3.
2.
1. Have No Regrets!

Thank you everyone.

Thank you for reading.

Thank you for listening.

Because let's face it: "life's too short to let the glass half empty win..."

CHEERS PEEPS... Now pass the freakin' cake. I'm starving!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Did You Say 'Employee Discount'?

Breakfast at Fran's in Barrie!
Damn you silly iPhone filter...
Taken: November 17th, 2013
So, I travelled to Barrie this morning to have breakfast with my totally amazing daughter. 

We'd conjured up a plan for me to arrive before 10am because she was scheduled to start work at 11am. What can I say? She arrived for her shift 10 minutes late.

In our defense, it wasn't because we were chatting, yet we tried to dine with every single person that had been to a church service within the city limits!

So, once I dropped her off for her shift, I parked the car and ventured into one of my very favourite stores to shop. Wait, allow me to back up. I should share that when she moved south at the end of last summer, she left with a full time job in place. 

In turn, she took a part time job to ensure she could cover her expenses (not to mention a lifestyle she'd become very a custom to). Well hog tie this Momma and tell her she'd won the lottery... because my youngin' dum went n' got herself a job at WINNERS!

GIDDY UP... She'll work over 60 hours this week!
Taken: November 17th, 2013
I LOVE WINNERS.

I can sniff out one of them thar stores easier than a drunk can sniff out a bottle of Old Spice tucked waaay in the back of a medicine cabinet!

Last weekend in Montreal? It was the first store I found, and the one I spend the most amount of time in.  

Funny part is that it isn't about the labels for me. I actually had someone ask me last weekend if I was carrying an Anne Klein bag. I said "I have no idea. I liked it, I bought it... At WINNERS!" That said, I do love Deloris Claiborne... I mean Liz Claiborne stuff... but it too can get pricey, so I tend to pass. It's not that I am frugal, I just pride myself on being practical.

To accentuate my point, I went from WINNERS to the Goodwill. Browsing in total comfort, the Barenaked Ladies came on over the loud speaker. I sang aloud with the couple of ladies near by, and without missing a beat I sang the unspoken solo.

♫♪♫ If I had a million dollars... If I had a million dollars.... ♪♫♪...If I had a million dollars.... I wouldn't be shopping at the Goodwill in Barrie ♪♫♪... We all a laughed and individually kept browsing. 

What a great day Sweetie. Thank you so very much. Not just for being you... but once again proving that the only place where success comes before work is in the Dictionary.

Atta GIRL!


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Our 4 Wheelin’ Christmas Elf!

Last night my husband and I got talking about the serious coinage jingle that is fast approaching with the upcoming festive season. Naturally, we began to reminisce. We both immediately agreed on a specific moment that will always be embedded in our book of amazing Christmas memories.

It was 1992; the twins had arrived the June prior, and it was their very first Christmas. Jukebox was totally off the rails with excitement (as every single retailer in North America targeted the wishlist of a child that was two & a half going on twelve). From the time the season started he was locked and loaded with wonderment. As a family, it truly was a very fun time.

Thanks for this beautiful Xmas morning memory Jukebox!
Taken: December 25th, 1992
Knowing his life had drastically changed, we wanted to do a little something special for him, to make this particular Christmas morning memorable. 

As we opened the downstairs door we asked him to lead the way.

His eyes became big as saucers as he tightly clenched his fists in front of his little body.

The look on his face was priceless.

"...HE BROUGHT ME A CAR...”  he squealed!

We can still see him bolting down the stairs, over the back of the sofa, throwing open the door on the sucker and hopping the hell in. As a parent, it still makes my heart skip a little beat. I find it amazing how we wanted to make the occasion memorable for him and in turn he produced exactly that kind of moment for us.

As I asked my son's permission last night to share this photo my husband had a quick reminder for the the not so little lad. "No matter what your mother writes tomorrow, I want you to promise me something" Tony said.

"I don't want to EVER hear you cherpin' me that I have NEVER bought you a car!!"

Typing that last sentence right there... Just made me smile.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My Memorable Montreal Minute

Selfie of me enjoying in Old Montreal
Taken: November 8th, 2013
More than 72 hours since arriving home I am still getting text messages asking how my last minute adventure to Montreal was

Coles Notes version (in no particular order) reads as follows: 
- spontaneous
- emotional
- amazing
- exhausting
- scary
- picturesque
- lonesome
- creative
- social
- electronically/telephonically shared
- much needed
- reflective 
- inexpensive yet expensive
- AND ultimately bat shit crazy fun!

If you would have told me five years ago that I would have agreed to jump on a plane to Montreal to see Bon Jovi (at the drop of a hat) I would have damned you to complete and total delusion. That very humourous comedic rant would have been immediately followed by a costume change. A change because I would have pissed my pantaloons from laughing so hard at the idea of it all.

Funny how the last few years have made me realize just how one dimensional I have been my entire life. So fiercely creative in one hand yet so ingrained in routine in the other. I suppose it's because it's all I've known; yet, I hope this last jaunt, truly helps me break that specific behavioral cycle.

Though I don't have all the answers tonight I will quickly share that I have always had a lifelong dream to experience the Louvre Museum and the amazing city it's housed in. 

Never say NEVER... was all she wrote; before she ventured upstairs, to climb into her Wednesday night PJ's, and brush her teeth.

That said, I guess we best run with... Always say MAYBE!

Monday, November 11, 2013

...In The Long Run

I use to worry a lot, I use to hurry a lot, I use to stay out 'til the break of day.... Well, no, not really the break of day. Maybe once every five years; but when you're as old as I, that constitutes A LOT, so let's all hold hands so I don't have to lean on my walker OK?

My two fave boys - Don Henley & Timothy B. Schmidt
Taken at the ACC: November 6th, 2013
What a ride the last week has been.

For those of you that don't know, I have been an Eagles fan since before the Gods invented velcro strapped shoes for toddlers & seniors. 

Since they ended their 14 year hiatus I have purchased live footage of their concerts all over the world in hopes that one day I would get to see them live.

I am pleased to report they DID NOT disappoint. In few words, their sound and musicianship was nothing less than sheer perfection.

As a total blindside, there was someone in my life that was jealous. Not because seeing them had been their lifelong dream, but more because they felt they were entitled to attend purely at my monetary expense and the credit of my good nature. 

My right foot centre stage at the ACC
History of The Eagles Tour - Toronto
Taken: November 6th, 2013
In the long run, I have no regrets about who is in my life and who is not.

In the long run, I feel that last week played out exactly the way it was meant to be. 

In the long run, I feel I am a pretty good shit. 

Guess the $100,000 question would have be... Who likes a long running shit?

My truthful answer is I don't really care.

Bottom line is I worked very hard to save my money to have the ability to stand in the front row for my very favourite band. 

How be we crank up Desperado so you can come to your senses?!

Better yet, let us not. Too great a song to waste on your unexpected silliness.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

One Magic Carpet Ride. Music Included!

I am so unbelievably giddy that I truly need to pinch myself. This time tomorrow night I will be meandering around the Air Canada Centre in Toronto anticipating something that's been a bit of a life long dream. Seeing The Eagles LIVE in concert.

It's a Bucket List thing for me really. Tomorrow night I will be firmly planted in 20th row (on the stage right floor) experiencing what I consider true musical genius. Oh those vocal harmonies, I can hardly wait.

What's that old saying? You're never given more than you can handle? Well, hold onto your hat there Aunt Bessie because my Bucket List just got another little ditty added to 'er this morning. 

After we thoroughly enjoy The Eagles tomorrow night, my husband will proceed to leave me at YYZ Thursday morning. Why the airport you ask? Because I am hopping a plane at noon with Stephanie to see Bon Jovi this weekend in Montreal! 

The planning started last Friday night. The question was posed and I willing gave my standard answer, which was of course... "GIDDY UP!" Without a doubt, this is the most spontaneous thing I have ever done in my entire life.  

Who the hell am I kidding? This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I immediately pounced on it. Just like that, Mike and Peter reminded me today, that there will be 20,000 other women looking to 'pounce' on Jon in Montreal.

Oh relax, I'm sure Steph and I will meet Mike at the gate Sunday afternoon from YUL totally unharmed and 100% restraining order free. What do you mean that's nothing but wishful thinking?

All I'll say, is that I am pleased to report, that we're BOTH very fast runners.

WHAT? Why are you laughing?

....and that's all I gotta say about that...



Monday, November 4, 2013

Question: Is It The Five Year Itch?

What a weekend. I had a great time at the Fall Cottage Life Show, yet when I finally arrived home last night I was bagged. Though I love 'Trade Show Rhondi' I am thinking it may be time to put her out to pasture.

The energy, the bubbly appearance, the overall approach, is becoming far more difficult to pull off than it use to be. Ten years ago I use to flip a switch and voila; now a days I basically need to seek out a generator to go the distance.

Because the almighty exhaustion/excessive commerce/ one three punch/ ain't for the faint of heart,  when I arrived at work today I had a crazy long list of things waiting for me to do. Then, after a brief strategic conversation with a colleague, it hit me. I can't believe how much I miss being my own Boss. As my mind wandered I couldn't help but ask myself how long has it been?

Oh how I miss my home Office...
Taken: November 5th, 2008
It's been years: five years to be exact.

Yup, the photo I am sharing tonight was taken five years ago this week.

I truly remember the moment I threw my coat on and headed outside. Oh how I miss my home office.

Nostalgic moment over, I feel almost obligated to admit that I do have a pretty sweet job as an employee. I feel I unconditionally give an honest days work, for an honest days pay. Still, tonight, my mind is wandering.

I can't seem to get the idea out of my head of how great it would be to get up tomorrow morning, pour myself a cup of coffee, then sit at my desk. I know I'd show up at the same level I currently do every single day; I'd enjoy the company of great people, I'd break for lunch at twelve thirty....  All while sitting in my very sexy home office chair! 

Without a doubt I am being reflective on how successful I was personally before the American economy fell.  I look at my picture tonight (the one I took exactly five years ago) and I know one thing was for certain...

I had something both monetarily tangible and strategic to offer, and at the end of the day, and my life was very very good.

Pass the Doritos!



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I'm Getting Me A Happy Light

Let me start by sharing a cartoon. Though it initially made me burst into laughter - it quickly put my inner angst into perspective.


For years I have talked about getting a "happy light" and today I decided to try one on for size. Matter a fact my good friend Linda just graciously delivered me hers until I can get my own. I'm serious when I admit that the time change this coming Sunday morning truly has me concerned.

I know that I am not alone when I admit that the next six weeks are the hardest for me personally. I need the light and let's face it - there is none. So, once the clocks fall back I will seek out natural light at every turn. I'll eat my lunch in front of a window and I will spend as much of my free time outside as possible. I realize that I'm exhausted but also know my overall disposition is outta whack. I am hoping a good burst of daily artificial light helps.

Keeping that in mind, I wonder if it was lack of daylight that made me tell a certain someone (that's been jerking my chain for couple of years) to get lost last week. NOPE. I guess had I of waited until my happy light kicked in my request may have differed.

My glass half fully philosophy hopes I'd of conjured up an empathic... "please get lost"... but I guess we'll never know.

PS: To answer your more pressing question this evening.... I DO NOT own a gun. :)


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Leafing It Up To You!

What a crazy couple of weeks. In my last two week pay period, I logged about 125 hours and I didn’t work Thanksgiving Monday.  As a result, my husband has taken on more than his fair share of the chores this fall. He did the wood alone, closed the cottage alone, so I promised I'd clear the leaves, alone. 

I love doing the leaves. There’s just one small problem. With the weather as shitty as it is (and me spending the next three out of five weekends in the city) Tony knows he'd get stuck raking them pesky suckers before the snow flies.

This afternoon, I was washing the kitchen floor, when I heard a ruckus next door. As the dogs began freaking out, my curiosity got the best of me. Low and behold there was a couple blowing the neighbours leaves.  Holy doodle they were getting the job done. When I called Tony into the kitchen to check it out, I only had to ask once. "Why don't we just go for it?" 

Standing at the kitchen window watching him beg!
Taken: October 26th, 2013
Quicker that he and I could discuss what the job may be worth, I saw him next door holding out some cash and pleading that they get the hell to our place pronto. It worked.

"We're next on the list" he announced. 

The only time I have ever seen him move that fast, was when Jamie was a baby. Jukebox had finally fallen asleep and we hadn't had been intimate in over a month and a half. 

Seriously, today was a flashback. He was moving Donovan Bailey fast!!

On a sullen note, I'm sad to report that even with that arduous chore checked off our list, there's still so much to do that we won't be dressing up and boarding the party bus to celebrate Halloween tonight. Too bad really, I had a nice little French Maid ditty in my closet all ready to go.

I can't believe the Gardener trumped the sexy Maid. Well, let's all agree. That it's a Gardener... that I didn`t hire, and that doesn't report directly to me!

BAZINGA!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Welcome Back Zack!

For the first time in months, I have been exchanging emails with my friend Zack. He’s doing well, has been as busy as me, so there are no hard feelings. Like bringing anyone up to speed with what you've been up to - there are always a million questions.

The best part about reconnecting with a good friend is that there is zero bullshit. You pick up where you left off.

It's as simple as that!

Before I got married, I was insecure and wanted to be everyone's friend. (So much so that my middle name could have been ‘placate’.)

Once married, financial constraints limited my husband’s social reach, so I was labelled a bit of a bitch. When the kids arrived, my life took on a life of their own. Free time was non-existent; so suffice is to say when the nest emptied, I was pretty much lost.

For the last couple of years, it was Zack that talked to me over and over about open communication with my spouse. It was Zack that told me that anything was possible, and it was Zack that gave me the strength to never give up. What can I say other than I've really missed him. 

It’s not that we deliberately let our friendship wane; I just had other things in my life I needed to focus on. Best part? He totally gets all of that. I’m glad I am going to see him again because he's living proof...

Living proof that you're always hardest on the ones you love.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My Summer Season To Remember...

It snowed this morning. I walked in the dark and freezing rain yesterday, and this morning Mother Nature officially cried snowflakes. Just like that, my rain slicker was sent to the minor leagues; my wool coat, scarf, and gloves were called in to pinch hit.

Sunbathing with my Pups...
and a picture that was meant to be.
Taken: September 28th, 2013
As 2013 enters its home stretch, I am a little in awe of how fast it flew by. We travelled more than normal, then effortlessly settled into living at the cottage with the dogs.

It was the first time in almost 30 years we'd put ourselves first. Truth of the matter is, I have never worried less, nor enjoyed myself more.

I didn't care who saw me in a bathing suit ("don't like it, don't look" became my mantra) and makeup was nowhere to be found!

I surrounded myself with people that wanted to know how I was doing; not because they wanted something from me in return, but because they truly cared how the hell I was doing.

I missed my children. I missed them from a distance. Not enough to worry, yet enough to send them a quick text and say "Mommy and Dad love you..."

I grew. I evolved. I changed.

I think the photo I am sharing today is perfect. Obviously, it has far more meaning for me, than any of you.

It was our last sunny day on the lake. The water was cold, the sun was warm, and the sky was blue. You can tell by the detail in the lower portion of the photo that this is NOT a camera used for self portraits. For fun, I held the camera up just the same.

I heard the shutter click and the rest was history. When I got home, all the photos were crisp and full of detail... except the one I am sharing.

I was perplexed at how it could have happened but figured it was meant to be. From that day forward I knew; I had so much to be grateful for in the summer of 2013, no single photo would have ever done my season justice!

Now... Where the hell did we store our cross country skis ?!?!

Monday, October 21, 2013

If You Build It... They Will Come!

Say HELLO to our 2nd Sunday group.
(Ready to tour great architecture on Lake Rosseau)
Taken: October 20th, 2013
What a weekend. Great people, good fun, amazing architecture; not to mention teehee crazy sarcasm & laughter with Gus for eight solid hours Saturday!

Let me back up. Friday offered a couple of surprises and lots of laughs. What can I say, other than I regret staying up way well past my bed time.

Saturday morning had us crossing Lake Rosseau for a much anticipated site visit of a well known Canadian family. I had only ever seen the Architect's vision for this property on paper, so I was giddy about seeing it built. 

As the only Muskoka Builders' Association Member/Sponsor/Guest in attendance, when I stepped on the island, I was absolutely gobsmacked. As I tried to absorb the beauty that surrounded me, I was interrupted as a familiar voice called my name.

Everyone.. This is my friend Chris!
Taken: October 19th, 2013
It was Chris. He was calling from a distance, welcoming me. A friendly hello or not, here's the deal. Chris Madden is amazing at his craft.

As silly as it sounds, it’s almost like he is the Maestro, empowering his team to deliver the perfect symphony. I'm not just saying that because he's my friend, I am going on the record with that because I respect him. I completely understand the process, and he delivered. On an island no less!

Shifting from boat to bus, had me (crawling through the Cranberry Festival and) over to Lake Muskoka for our next site visit. This wasn't as emotional a jaunt, yet a very technical one. The Architect's were like moths to a flame. I just stood back and observed as they admired this project in progress.

I'd talk about my Host, but I never asked if I could, so I probably shouldn't. I would like to share that he's always been supportive of me. In fact, on Friday when I finally got to meet a specific Architect I had admired forever, it was he that formally introduced us. I felt blessed by his accolades. I know they were both heartfelt and sincere.

Respect is earned, and he most certainly has mine. He knows my personal commitment to the construction industry here in Muskoka; we both know how critical the future is. A single minute in his company is time well spent. I have known him for many years, and my respect is unconditional and never ending.

Meet my BFF Bill Ferguson.
The builder that started it all for me in '05.
Taken: October 20th, 2013
So, we finally hit Sunday. I officially became the 'Hostess with the Mostess' for my employer as well as my BFF Bill. The temperature outdoors in the morn was balmy 4C. It was freaking cold, and the boat we spend 4 hours aboard was made of 60 tons of steel.

I wore an undershirt, no leggings. Dress socks, no boots. I stole the Captain's gloves, and I debated wrestling a guest for their earmuffs, as I'm sure I could have taken her. No pun intended, but cooler heads prevailed!!

It was an experience to say the least. Nothing bad, and 1,000% good. WOW is the only word that comes to mind.

For once in my life, without effort,  I lived in the moment. The weekend that started with my phone, ended with my camera. Though my post may not be filled with my regular quips of humour, I am pleased to report that I laughed more on Saturday than I have in years.

Not gonna lie. It felt really great!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Quiet Milestone...

Yesterday was a quiet milestone for us as a family. For the very first time we celebrated Thanksgiving alone. No extended family nor hullabaloo, just five adults (and two salivating dogs) hanging around in the kitchen table yammering. All while the oven cooked our bird, and the stovetop prepared the rest.

Twenty four hours later, I loved how relaxed our day was. I loved how intimately our evening evolved, I loved that it was eerily familiar. Yesterday was one of those out of body experiences for me. Even though razor sharp sarcasm filled the air, it was like there was an unacknowledged angst among us. You know, that undesirable feeling you have when you're waiting for the other shoe to drop!

A couple of hours in, Jukebox admitted he thought I would immediately try to ruffle his feathers by telling him to “get a haircut”... but the truth of the matter is I love his hair. It’s the first thing I noticed when he arrived. He’s finally embracing all the beautiful curls he was born with.

Each great day is exactly that... GREAT!
Taken: August 22nd, 2007
It’s been a long time since I had that much anticipation (about a specific day) the way I did yesterday.

It was right up there with the day I discovered my oldest son had officially outgrown his need for me as a parent. 

Oh, how I'd looked forward to spending that day with him. I hadn't spent any time with him all summer, and I knew our day trip would give us a chance to spend time together. 

I remember I made him sit next to me on the bus down to Canada's Wonderland, and his dad and I enjoyed his exclusive company for the entire day. Yup, by the time we headed home, I most certainly understood that I'd been given job description reality check.

Hard to believe the very day I am describing was Saturday August 22nd, 2007.

GREAT day just the same!

Thanks for yesterday Jukebox. I know you don't need me anymore, but I really do love you very much!

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Genetics of Baking

My mother was an amazing baker. She inherited the gift from her mother, and handed both of her "B" genes down my sister and I. Andrea’s got moms baking gene, and I've got her other "B" gene. Her business gene.

Once my mom was confined to a wheelchair, there were a few things she knew she'd have to teach my dad. At the top of her list, was teaching him how to cook. By the time she passed, my Dad was outstanding in the kitchen. The other feather in her cap, was that she had also taught him how to bake.

Until the day he died, my dad was a pie guy. Not the 3.1514926 kinda Pi, but the lemon meringue, sugar, and hot apple kind. All of his creations were absolutely wunderbar. When my kids were small, he use to ring me up and tell me he was baking pies. He knew I especially loved his apple pie, so if he could put his hands on the right species, he was baking me a pie.

The minute Jukebox was born, he quit smoking. Suffice is to say, the weight gain (due to eating instead of smoking) quickly followed. My husband and I knew there was an issue when he arrived at the door one Sunday morning with his baked goods offering for Sunday supper. We were a little confused when there was a generous slice missing.

I remember asking him “did you have to test ours to make sure it was safe?” Matter a fact he replied "No... I ate mine last night, and I wanted another piece for breakfast!” I can still see the look on his face as he held out the partially eaten pie. Like it was completely normal. In hindsight it was. It was classic Herve!

Who says I am genetically challenged?
It's a beautiful site and smell tres yummy!
Taken: October 14th, 2013
Anyhoo, in honour of my parents, I baked a pie this morning. Strawberry-Rhubarb to be exact.

I was kinda shocked it only took me 70-75 minutes from start to finish. My competitive nature tells me I could have been done faster, but to hone my skill set, I decided to invest the time.

Who am I kidding? The only reason I spent the extra time was because the label read... “For best results ~ BAKE from frozen!”

Happy Thanksgiving Peeps.

Give thanks, and remember to always keep smiling.



Saturday, October 12, 2013

WOODn’t You Like To Help?!

When it comes to the day to day chores at home, there are only two things that I really hate doing. One is taking out the garbage, and the second is hauling wood. The chore of the garbage will never be a participation sport for me, however, I know I am going to have to kick it up a notch in the hauling wood department.

The first two of our ten cord arrived this morning.
Get me some A535...STAT!
Taken: October 12th, 2013
Oh, the mighty double edged sword... Or shall I say axe?

Once my son started paying rent, he was ambitiously quick to point out that it was exactly that: “Room and Board” not “Room and Chores!” 

Just like our Sunday night suppers, the hauling and piling of wood in the fall, has been a seasonal tradition since we bought our home in 2002.

I really do love the airtight fireplace we have.

I love the warmth the fire offers me on those damp fall days, and cold winter nights.

Yet, I hate the stinking mess it produces! Not to mention, the day to day regiment of keeping it stocked, stoked, and going strong with the flames a flickering.

Ah hell, what the heck am I grumbling for? There's only one thing I love more than my fuzzy socks and painfully ugly off season bathrobe... and that's embracing them both in front of a toasty fire in the fireplace.

Those three simple indulgences right there truly help get me through our harsh Muskoka winters!

Those, and a couple of other tricky tidbits, I'd rather not share just yet.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What Happiness Looks Like...

My husband and I inherited our friend Brian from my father. You see, Brian was Poppa’s next door neighbour. In fact, he always used to say to he and Renee “let me know if you're having a party. I'll roll over onto my good ear. I won't hear a thing!” My Dad loved them both very much.

Our couple friendship solidified in 1999, when Brian was our Realtor Extraordinaire on our Orillia Lake purchase. Outside of that, I remember the first time we got together to play cards. It was automatically the men against the women. It became a constant source of banter, not to mention pure comedic relief each and every time we got together. 

I lost my long standing euchre partner Renee to breast cancer a few years back. She suffered terribly, I miss her even today, but my story really is about Brian. He endured an exhausting and heartbreaking journey, handled it impeccably, so naturally we prayed he'd once again find happiness.

Quite simply a 'BLT' moment... Brian Loves Tess.
Taken: October 5th, 2013
Orillia Lake
Enter, stage left... Tess

I remember the first time we ran into them at the Home Depot.

Brian was his jovial self, while Tess was welcoming and looked absolutely amazing. Shopping at the home depot no less!

As a couple they have an energy. More a calmness really, which is very comforting to witness. Meant to be is the only way I can describe it.

Anyway, Saturday, Brian brought Tess out to Orillia Lake for the very first time. We raised our glasses to our health, and we played our very first game of Euchre.

Once again, it was guys against the girls. Once again, the girls kicked some serious ass. Of course, on cue, Brian and Tony accused Tess and I of cheating (on our very first hand) which leads me to my final thoughts.

TESS, thanks so very much for the really great visit. BOYS, It's been almost fifteen years... Face the statistical facts will ya? 

You are BOTH just freakin' super shitty euchre players!