Sunday, March 31, 2013

Brace Yourselves Kind Folk…

Trekked into the cottage and enjoyed an amazing Spring day yesterday. For once, it was my husbands idea to head in and relax (before the shitith hitith the fan). It'll be a very crazy month for  me but that's part of the fun right?

Thanks Tony!

Taken: Orillia Lake... Forever Ago

I’m not sure why I took on this A-Z Challenge; I’ll be honest, I am not sure I will be able to finish. I have always been pretty driven, so I guess that's why I am willing to try.

How be we all just fold and give me an E for effort in general shall we?

My first EFFORT is tomorrow. Seems like there are very few Canadians involved; so I can’t promise I will even get noticed. That said, if you like a particular post, please share it. I promise I will keep them brief. A quick boo (even at why I chose the letter for the day) is all I ask.

Before it starts, I wanna send out a great big thank you. Thanks for understanding Tony. You know I will make it up to you  the first weekend in May!

Speaking of the first weekend in May. Can you have the water, septic, and outdoor shower hooked up at Orillia Lake by then?

Shoot. Let me guess, too far? CRAP...I knew it! I'm sorry. They were on my list of things to do and you know old habits die really hard...

Let's go this route. Anything on the list you can get crossed off before the first weekend in May will be greatly appreciated. xoxo

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Wee Fly In The Ointment!

As I began hatching my A-Z plan, it dawned on me that I have a compounded problem. That is, well, really big.

This weekend is Easter. Happy Easter ALL. I work this weekend. Next week is Cottage Life, the week after I am in the City for my birthday, and the week after that I head away on vacation with my sister until the end of the month.

As I sit here shaking my head (at the magnitude of the commitments I've made) I think I need my freaking head examined. Am I a total sucker for punishment? Don't answer that! 

As a prelude, I was chatting with an electronic friend last night and they offered me some advice “just keep is when you stop that you have to worry” he said. 

Seriously? That’s all ya got? A real friend would jump right in there and say “you can do it; I know you can” or “to help, I’ll post for you the four days you’re driving”.

Better yet “I’m made of money. How be you and your sister fly out of Buffalo? I’ll pay!!” Okay, I know I'm reaching on the last one but ya gotta give me points for throwing it out there.

I digress. Back to my issue at hand; which is there won't be enough hours in a day. Because not doing any of the above isn’t an option, as suggested I will just keep going and push through. I think if I am organized, have my ducks in a row, have my tee times booked before I leave, it should be fine.

Lastly, I’m joking, about my friend being made of money. He's totally made up of a throng of sarcasm, complimented by a spalsh of sexy marmalade imported from France.

Who the hell needs cash when you're rockin' the other two? Not that cat!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

26 Letters in 26 Days…

Well it’s official. I've signed up for the 2013 A-Z Blogging Challenge.

What the heck? I figured it's not like I have a busy life; nothing ventured, nothing gained right? Because I know the suspense is killing you, I am please to announce that I am registered as #1383. 

Life On The Muskoka River (as blogged by Cathy Olliffe-Webster) was/is my inspiration and she's registered as #180. Better late than never right Cathy? I'm kidding. It feels kinda cool. They expect more than 2,000 Bloggers will register before midnight March 31st.

What the hell am I talking about?

I have to blog about a letter of the alphabet every single day (excluding Sundays) for the entire month of April. There are rules to follow and guidelines that have to be met. Trust me, this serious blog stuff!

What did I do immediately after I joined? I started a little spreadsheet; because I'm afraid I will get blocked, and I'll get the boot.

As of right now, there is only one letter of the alphabet set in stone. The letter “I” will be for my mother, and her very unique name.

I promise to keep them short and would appreciate any input if there’s a topic you’d like to read about. FYI - There's nothing written in stone that "S" will be for SEX but I may entertain a bribe or three!!

Wish me luck. Better yet? Let's just have a few really great laughs along the way!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I AM Happy... Yet I Have Questions.

Looking back at my posts from this time last year, I know I didn’t have a single ounce of self-esteem; truth of the matter, I hadn’t had any for about the five years previous. I'll admit that I  was reading a lot to understand my situation at hand but I was at a complete loss, and had been for a very long time.

My really great stories are told when I smile with my eyes...
I may have regained my self esteem since but I still have some questions; the last six months tell me I always will.

Seriously? The personal biggie? Does everything happens for a reason?

If that's the case, what was MY reason?

If I am completely honest with myself, part of what's happened to me was due to how the journey with my father ended.  I know that sounds like a bit of a crutch. Yet, when do we really need crutches? We need them to aid us when we are hurting. After the last couple of weeks, it has become apparent that I am still in pain. Which is why I am finally going into grief counselling.

My daughter posted this graphic this morning and I immediately did two things; I saved it to my phone so that I could share it with all of you, and I sent it to a friend. Not because our friendship had some tragic ending; I just wanted to let them know, that no matter how many questions I have, I wouldn't change a single chapter of our story.

At the end of the day, isn't it the really great stories that provide one big happy ending?

What do ya know? Imagine that... Yet another question!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Missing My Daisy Marie

I worked yesterday then headed out to do a few chores. I felt like buying myself a new movie but as always when you set out to shop for something you want, you can never quite find what you’re in the mood for. Walking on the wild side, I splurged on a People magazine and a small packet of chocolate Easter eggs.

Before heading to the checkout I decided to browse the book section of the store. I immediately came across a paperback that had a picture of a beagle on the front. Without hesitation I picked up the book and said my words out loud. “Oh my Daisy Marie, I miss you every single day” and I truly do.

Cooling off in the lake with my Daisy Marie
Taken: August Long Weekend 2011
I am still amazed that after all these months the attachment is so strong. I think it’s because for a very long time I felt like she was all I had. 

We spent all of my free time together. She was the best comfort a girl could ask for. She always ensured that I never felt like I was ever alone or lonely. 

I use to talk to her. I use to tell her my problems and I swear she could sense when I was sad. Lord knows she knew when I was mad; she also knew that my anger was never aimed at her. She was my very best friend.

I look back at where I was a year ago and just how far I have come. Though I have made some drastic changes in my life I know that there are more to come. As selfish as it may be, I wish I still had my best friend with me. That way I wouldn't have to go through the motions all alone. I have great memories yet there's so much I want to tell her.

Glass half full? Maybe I'll start a journal just for her. That way it'll feel like I can talk to her again. Trouble is she won't be next to me hogging the bed. As silly as it sounds, that's one of the things I really miss the most.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Secret? It Comes From Within!

I am pleased to report that next month marks a very significant milestone for me personally. Ten years ago next month, I opened my very own consulting firm.  

Right from the moment I made the decision to do so, I knew it wasn't going to be easy. But I also I knew that if I did the analysis in the front end, the monetary rewards would be mine for the taking. 

As expected, I was absolutely bang on from the get go. My hard work paid off and it really did happen for me. It happened fast.

Though I am proud to have seen more success than I expected, when the Banks fell (pre-Obama) I was really burnt out. I leaned on my inner circle as a sounding board, and as a result I decided to shift from consulting and focus on the construction industry. I took a day job.

Though I never stopped consulting entirely, I did put did my wee baby to bed. Yesterday confirmed that I may have put her to bed but she never fell asleep. What the hell does that jibberish mean?

I went out for lunch with a business associate yesterday. I was keen on the invite but I figured it would be a cordial business discussion at a very macro level. I was wrong. Two and a half hours later; I’d barely touched my lunch. How we managed to end up on the same page (as quickly as we did) still has me in shock.

As I have said many times before, I am a leader. I do love my day job but there is something to be said for building something from the very start and then watching it come to fruition. It’s not only something I find  personally fulfilling, if done right it's also financially rewarding. So here I type.

Having done it before there's one thing that I know for certain;  it is crazy hard work. It's hard work that you dig deep for, that only comes from within. Because I have done it before I have to tread cautiously and be careful what I wish for. This week I was all cool and touting “exhaustion before boredom”.

This proposed task may provide me with exactly that. Keep your hands and feet in the ride at all times right?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Rap" It Up & Charge It A$AP!

As scheduled, I headed down to the Harbourfront yesterday afternoon clutching my Rihanna ticket in one hand and a five hour energy drink in the other. I had worked in the morning and as expected got out of town late. 

Adding icing to the already late cake, I landed in the hotel only to discover that it was apparent the concert giver was going to keep us waiting. Not a big deal for most. But I am old. What can I say? My bedtime is my bedtime and that's the way I like it.

Pushing through the pouting and keeping a positive outlook we arrived at the ACC as the gates opened. Snapping a picture of Staci at the Gate 5 Jumbotron, I immediately realized that I had left my camera memory card in the laptop back at the hotel. 

Leaving my sidekick at The Real Sportsbar  I started to run. In really shitty weather (and in two and a half inch heels on concrete) I put Forrest Gump to shame. That's a lie. The only thing going through my head was "don't fall Baby... you'll break a hip." Feck! A half an hour later, I arrived back where I'd originally started. 

Into the ACC we go to find our seats and wander around for about an hour and a half before A$AP Rocky took the stage. We both enjoyed the opening act. I'm not sure why we're all "bitches and hoes" but apparently "p*ssy & money" combined with "weed" makes a generation all the better. Joking aside; the lad had talent. It was my first mainstream Rap experience and I was impressed; enjoyed his entire set. 

When the house lights came up, Staci and I made our way to each other once again. Her stage left seat was so good she'd made a video for her brother. As a result, we had to get her phone to a charging zone station pronto.

Staccs & I hanging in the Rogers Charging Zone
Taken: March 18th, 2013
Rihanna Concert w/ A$AP Rocky (ACC)
As the ACC emptied into the lobby, line ups were fierce. As Staci held a space in line, I was on the run again. 

With her iPhone in hand I was on the move. "If I'm not back in fifteen minutes, check every charging station to the left of you" I said.

"It means I have found a shorter line!". Turns out I had done just that.

I had found a shorter line as well as a handsome bloke to chat along side while waiting. 

Because his phone wasn't entirely dead, he let me charge Staci's phone before his own. I really do think that if you exude positive energy (and standup comedic relief) people tend to gravitate toward you. When Staci arrived I introduced them; together we all proceeded to wait.

Over an hour from starting our quest we were headed to our seats for the main event. As expected, Rihanna brought down the house. In turn I spent the next hour and a half dancing my ass off in a two by two foot square in front of a folding chair in the 20th row.

Awesome night! Great show, yummy late night food, and I am pleased to report I am NOT in the need of a hip replacement anytime soon. I do have some serious shin splints from all the running in the wrong footwear. Oh, and only one regret...

I can't believe I didn't get the name of the nice guy that put Staci's phone on the charger before his own. Thanks Dude... it really was greatly appreciated!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Walk A Mile In Your Own Shoes…

On a scale of one to ten yesterday ended around a two. From a personal point of reference; I am only giving it a two because one is the loneliest number, and I refused to go below zero.  That said, I woke up this morning embracing my simple philosophy to “greet each new day” and by golly it worked!

I may be crazy busy at work but I am also transitioning at home. Follow the bouncing ball here; the nest was empty, the nest became partially full, the nest was really full, and now it's scheduled to empty again one final time April 1st. This time around, there isn’t any sadness associated with the transition, rather a more certain kind of relief.

Here's the final Jeopardy question. When do we push our young to strive for success on their own? Some would say never; but that’s probably because they no longer know their spouse, nor have an  identity outside their children. That use to be me. That is no longer me.

My oldest left for good a year ago last December. I always ask how he's doing and we continually watch him on YouTube. Out of the nest, he's made some very serious progress. Others pose their love to him and vent their frustration with me; so to this day, I am sure he feels the same way about me as the day he left, and I am okay with that. I've got big shoulders. I'd like to be able to say breasts but shoulders will have to do.

Hello my name is Rhondi...

I know absolutely nothing and
I am a great big hairy BITCH!
Taken: February 18th, 2013
One accounted for; two to go.

Well, it appears the other two are a wealth of life experience & fiercely independent. I'm sure you'll recognize the equation for their logic and key to future success. You know the one “I know absolutely everything therefore parents are total idiots and know a grand total of nothing”. 

That kind of math wins ya a prize every time. Just so happens to be a ticket to your very own personal accommodation located outside the family home.

Yes-sir-reee school is over. The partying and the trips are over. The bank rolled lifestyle is over. Both need to put their heads the hell down and quit blaming their parents (and others that hold them accountable) for all of their woes in their life.

My best advice would be that they take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror. The only person they can ever blame for not being where they want to be in life is staring right back at 'em... PERIOD.

I know you're probably pretty shocked in reading that right there but what the hell. I have been the bad Cop in this here town for longer than I care to remember...

Why stop now!?!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Literally A Dog's Breakfast!

For whatever reason our dogs have always had a focus on my things. All things that are mine; nothing in particular. Let’s just say using history as a guide (for the better part of a decade) I have always kept my shoes in a closet vault under lock and key.

Well, last Friday night I got all gussied up and headed to the Annual MBA Spring Fling. It's not like it was a super formal event but let's just say no one showed up in  denim jeans and a Muskoka Dinner Jacket.

Dog tired when I arrived home (no pun intended) I accidentally left my super expensive sandal back leather shoes on the landing by the front door. The weekend passed without event. Silly me, it never once registered that I should return my wee gems to the shoe vault in my closet.

As you know, I left for Toronto bright and early Monday morning; by the time I returned home late Tuesday afternoon, the deed was done. Puddin’ had been eagerly snacking on my favourite leather dancing shoe. UGH! I shook my head and rolled my eyes. I obviously blamed myself for leaving a really tender piece of beef jerky by the door, and tried to immediately let it go. Sucks to be me.

Glass half full? Could have been the new purse I bought Tuesday!
Taken: March 14th, 2013 (at 6:30am)
Going through the motions of a regular workday, I got out of the shower this morn, and wandered into the living room.

There they both were; enjoying a very expensive luxury breakfast. 

My guess? Dottie realized after her Quirky Sidekick didn’t get her sorry ass booted into next week for the first shoe, the other must automatically have her name on it.

What did I do?

Chuckled; grabbed my phone and snapped this pic. Why? Because life is too short.  Ya Gotta Laugh About it! 

Which is exactly what I did.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

P!nkture Perfect!

I’m exhausted. Every time I “Spring forward” it really does screw with my sleep patterns. 

How does a girl compound losing an hour of sleep at an inopportune time of year? Toss in a front row experience at a P!nk concert and voila; you’re guaranteed to be breathing through your eyelids!

♫ ♪♫   Have you ever fed a lover with just your hands? ♪♫♪
(The hair stood on my arms as she began...)
Taken: March 11th, 2013 - ACC Toronto
Photo Credit: ME
What can I say? 

It was a really amazing and well worth the lethargy. 

That said, there were a couple of things that caught me off guard. 

The waiting around and the "wannabe’s” were brutal. Seriously folks; you don't know her so shut the hell up!!

And three; the experience itself was a bigger surprise than expected. 

As bizarre as it sounds, it was kinda like I was dreaming.

My meeting another single ticket holder was definitely an added bonus. My meeting another single ticket holder, that was a seasoned concert goer (that would never for settle for anything less that a spot in a concert Pit) was a godsend. 

Just like me; Basil loves music more than expensive shoes. 

She understands the entire culture and she is anything but a “wannabe”. She was soft spoken and warned me of certain things to watch out for. Waiting indoors after checking in, she helpfully answered my questions without frustration. While others around us were whining, she took everything in stride. She just had an amazing energy.

I was intrigued that she had studied the videos online. As a result, she knew exactly where we needed to be for the optimal concert experience. Because it was a General Admission area, we worked together (for hours) to ensure that we kept 'our spot' for the show. I didn’t realize how cut throat the area was going to be until it got closer to show time. That's when people started to manoeuvre for our space. The exact space that Basil had handpicked for us.

All of that said, last night via Facebook my newest friend said something to me that makes me realize just how people can get carried away. “Not many Pit rookies would help young girls get their hands touched by P!nk, that's a veteran move.  I'm sure it was MUCH appreciated” she said.

I had helped by putting the desires of two ten year old girls (that’s didn’t have VIP tickets) ahead of myself. P!nk took the time to acknowledged all of us but those girls will remember that for the rest of their lives. I’ll remember the looks on their faces and the gratitude that was shared by all. Even now I am smiling; hard to believe others wouldn't embrace the opportunity but it's true.

As Staci and I head down for Rihanna next Monday, I was explaining (to my friend Dave) today where our seats are; 20th row on the floor. As I look forward to my next experience there is only one thing I know to be true. The pictures won’t be nearly as perfect! 

Thanks P!nk... and Basil too.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

It's Official. We're On The Same Page!

I woke Saturday morning invigorated and in the need of some serious fresh air and amazing UV rays. It was officially March Break in Muskoka, so naturally I knew I wanted to venture into the cottage.  

Two years ago I would not have spent a single summer night alone at the cottage. Yesterday I was willing to go in for the night alone and it's winter. What's the core difference between then and now? A couple of years ago I wouldn't venture anywhere without my husband; today that isn't the case.

I have spent more than half of my entire life with my husband. We started dating when we were 21, married at 23, had our first child at 25 and the twins were born when we were 27. He knows me better than anyone else and as a team we've made a very good life for ourselves. He knows I need structure; and after all these years, I think he may finally be understanding it (rather than just calling me a complete pain in the ass)!
Let’s face, with what we've accomplished we HAD to have structure. Three kids in diapers, two cats, one dog, a father that lived across the street and eventually in our home (not to mention a husband that played every sport imaginable and knew everyone in town). There HAD to be a plan. I suppose yesterday he figured because I didn’t have a plan in place, I wouldn’t really want to go. He was mistaken; that was then, this is now.

Catching some rays with my Guy. We had a blast!
Taken: March 9th, 2013
Moving on the fly, we let things unfold as they may, and had a great time. The cottage was warmer inside than out, and within 20 minutes we were unpacked and outside for a glorious day with the pups. 

You know what the most amazing thing was about yesterday? It's evident that we've evolved.

For various reasons the cottage had become my thing. He understands why; as a result, he knows that it's his responsibility, to try and catch up.

Even so... as we were loading the toboggan to start walking in, I gave him  a hug and a kiss and thanked him for joining me.

I verbalized “I know you really didn’t want to do this”  and for the first time in what feels like forever I felt he gave a heartfelt reply.

We are finally on the same page. Not because I got my way but because we communicated and spent the time the way we both wanted to. He bent and listened to the the radio station I liked. I unconditionally watched the movies he picked. Simple yet effective. As a result, a great time was had by all.

Honestly? Truth of the matter is that I wouldn't have ventured to the cottage without him. It just feels really great that he knew it was so important to me that he decided to come with. 

Seriously, what more could a girl ask for?

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Reflective Muskoka Monday

The hardest thing in life to learn is which bridge to burn & which to cross.
 ~ David Russell

With a hectic Monday behind me, I feel the business environment at work unexpectedly brisk for this early in the season. With the Bossman headed back to Florida this afternoon, we had scads to accomplish during his very short visit home this time around.

Why am I reflective? I love my job but I truly have had the pleasure of being a Consultant on a number of very successful teams over the past ten years. The work/contracts awarded came primarily by referral; which is why it’s always been a core business philosophy to never burn a bridge.

I may say it’s a core "philosophy" but I am sad to admit that I'm not perfect. I hate that my stupidity burnt one of my most important "bridges" ever. It happened in 2005.

Let me backup. Personally, there are bridges that I have burned that I am totally OK with.  (Actually, the only problem with some of those in particular was that the person wasn’t standing in the middle of freakin' thing when I torched the son of a gun!)

That said, my 2005 bridge was definitely not THAT kind of bridge. It was the foundation for a lifelong relationship that I completely obliterated; all these years later, my behaviour still harbours regret for me.

Two reasons for my post; I called him out of the blue today to ask how business was and to discuss the Lakes opening. He took my call. Secondly, I am posting because I wanted to apologize and move forward.

I am so very sorry for the phone call I made all those years ago that started with “I usually pride myself on taking a 24 hour cooling down period and I’m just not going to do that today!”

You really did deserve this long before today..


I have missed you. I've missed you since the moment I hung up the phone that fateful day.

You've deserved my apology many years ago but it is arriving today. I am so very sorry.

I know we can't go back. Let's go forward.

PS: To answer the question before it’s asked; he does not read my blog... 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

We Go Together Like Peas & Carrots

Have you ever had one of those days when you felt totally alone and wondered if there was anyone out there in this vicious circle called life that you could call? Someone that you could say “I just need you to listen for a while" and they would? 

Not because they were being polite, but because you instantly knew by the sound of their voice they needed you? That person for me is my cousin Joanne.

Celebrating Joanne's BIG Day!
Taken: October 1994
Growing up I had 49 first cousins on my mother’s side. Yup. my Mom had seven sisters and four brothers. 

They were a tightly knit clan but my most vivid memory (of the sisters in particular) was that they lived to argue and fight.

That said, I am embarrassed to admit Jo's and my mom always won the prize. They could sit across from one another at a dining table, with their boxing gloves laced up, and everyone would think it was a normal dinner party. I’m not joking. In four descriptive words; IT GOT LOUD FAST!

As a result, growing up she and I never focused on the negative energy that constantly filled the air. From a very young age she (just like me) tried to look at her glass as half full. Surrounded by the dysfunction, our bond was always one of positive energy and support. How we pushed through that time has given us both amazing insight. Just like me, she believed it critical that the overall cycle stop.

Glass half full? When I think back at our childhood chemistry it was pretty amazing considering we lived our formative years 100 miles apart. Made no matter, we knew we were kindred from the start. 

She & Me?
Peas & Carrots!
Taken: Easter 1979
We'd write letters, exchanges photos, and eventually I lived my summers with her and figure skated in North Bay. We were inseparable. We were perfect together. Most of all we always had fun.

All these years later; we live in the same town, we married best friends, and we both have three children. Every morning we get out of bed, and we deal with the hand we've been dealt. 

I've had challenges she hasn't and vice versa but I still think of us right this instant as I did all those years ago; two really cool rock stars that could rule the world!

After texting last night, I just want to remind her that no matter what comes her way (in the next 10 minutes or the next 10 years) we are always strongest as a team.

That and OH... I love her very much.