Sunday, September 29, 2013

It's Official... All Couples Complain!

I don't think I've shared this before, but I have known my husband since first grade. 

You may find it odd that I remember that little tidbit, but I have pictures of us in the same public school class the first year my family moved to town. Though we went all the way through to high school graduation together, we really did run in different circles. Why? My mother was strict, his mother was not.

Once we graduated high school, I worked for a year before I left for college. It was then, that we started bumping into each other once a week (at my work) because our jobs intersected. Flash forward a few years, when we officially ran into each other one busy Friday night in Muskoka. I was living in Toronto and home for a visit. It was when my mother first got sick.

Enjoying Canada's Wonderland without the kids.
Taken: July 2000
Why so reflective? 

I had a client come in to see me at work this past week and she was complaining about her husband. What she didn't know was that he had been in complaining about her earlier in the day.

They both admitted to me that they had been married over 50 years. After chatting with them, I felt a calm relief.

I understand the person you marry when you're in your early twenties, may not be the one you'd choose as a life partner at forty five or fifty. I get that.

BUT, that complaining couple reassured me that my husband and I are not alone. Truth of the matter is, just like them, we'll never stop bitching and moaning about the others idiosyncrasies, even into our 70's.

That quirky couple taught me a valuable life lesson. If you can manage to stay best friends and (constantly work to) stay on the very same page? Nothing else matters.

I'M EXCITED BABY... After listening to them...You & I have definitely got it made!

Friday, September 27, 2013

RIP Mr. Rutherford. You Will Be Missed.

John Harvey Rutherford was a great teacher. He made you want to strive for absolute excellence, and settle for nothing less. He, had an amazing sense of humour. He, was a great leader.

John Harvey Rutherford
I feel extremely lucky to have been a part of his 1983 Concert Band. It was the last he showcased before he retired. (At that point as a group, we'd been together since grade seven.)

To this very day I can still remember our final concert. 

I can still see him on the podium that warm night in June. He had our respect. We idolized his command. More than that, I remember the sound. So refined and pure. We were perfection, and he was elated.

Back in the day, I played the French Horn. I was partnered with Judy Murray, and together we played second string.

I lived 9/10’s of a mile from the school. How do I remember that? Kids that lived a mile away got to ride the bus. I did not. 

I remember I use to try and practice at home at least twice a month. Let me tell ya, lugging that baby up Hunt’s Hill, made me wish I played the clarinet! That awkward case may have been heavy, but Mr. Rutherford inspired you to want to do the work. I am proud he instilled that valuable life skill, because it's still very much a part of me today.

All this week his former students have reminisced about the impact his teaching made on them at that significant stage in their life. I was one of the lucky ones. Lucky enough to remain in a small town where he and I would occasionally rub elbows. 

Last night I got to say goodbye to an amazing teacher, father, husband, mentor, and musical genius.

He was a great man.

He was 89.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Just Play Nice!

Hey Summer, 
See, it isn't so hard to be nice!
Yours truly,

My friend Andy posted this as his Facebook status this morning and I immediately thought it was golden. The lad honestly doesn't post much, but when he does, he’s definitely bang the heck on. 

He had mentioned reading my post about ‘being ripped off' that summer was over so quickly and without any memorable weather.  Just like yours truly, all he had done was work. 

As we head into a Friday of this amazing weather run, who gives a Flying Wallenda feck about the past? It’s all water under the bad Muskoka summer weather bridge.

Enjoying my 2nd of four consecutive long weekends.
TAKEN: September 22nd, 2013
Yup, the first official week of Fall has totally redeemed my faith, and my crappy weather profanity has completely ceased.

This week’s weather has had me higher than a kid in a candy store, with no parents patrolling jube jube bin.

It’s been nothing less than a bon bon load of Vitamin D heaven for this cat!

I can feel it. This will be a Fall to remember. Why? For a month straight, I am working four day work weeks that end Thanksgiving Monday. 

I’m enjoying a very unexpected extended cottage season and it feel great. Hence, I feel the extreme need to "Cheers" to Mother Nature for getting her head out of her ass.

Better late than never girlfriend... Better late than never!!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Couple of Crazy Daze!

Why is it that when you take a day off work, everything is still waiting for you when you get back? I know why it’s that way in my instance; but truth of the matter is, I honestly wish it wasn’t.

You've heard me say a number of times that “a reflection has a purpose". That for me personally, is true on so many levels. A mirror may let you know how you look and feel on the outside, but I feel appreciating your inner reflection is equally important. 

What do I consider inner reflection? You know, understanding that how you're inward feelings, truly match your what you feel in your heart. That the inner notions of everyday, mate with how you're outwardly expressing yourself. 

I went for a much needed walk on my lunch today. I had called a very close friend in the morning, and he called me back while I was out walking. He called, because he sensed something in my voice. After almost an hour on the phone, he confirmed all of my suspicions to be true.

She's CRAZY like a fox!
Taken: September 23rd, 2013
I am truly grateful of how my colleagues within my network (and my family and friends) have unconditionally invested in me. 

I am proud of my work ethic, and the never ending energy that encompasses me most each and every day.

Tonight? I kind of feel like Dot looked in this picture I snapped of her on Monday night.

From where she’s standing; she doesn't have a care in the world, and the sky is most definitely the limit.

I can tell she’s not sure what’s ahead of her....

BUT, she sure as hell, ain't lookin’ back!

Friday, September 20, 2013

My Good Weather/Bad Hair Pixies

I had a great day. My good weather Fairy was up early and dutifully prancing, for my 7am walk into work. It was the best weather morning we had all week!

With a skip in my step, I was wearing a tank top under my short sleeved golf coat, sandals, and a smile. I loved the smell in the air, yet struggle that the streetlights were on. It's like the the beautiful sunrise, had been slapped with a dimmer switch.

I AM absolutely, and unequivocally exhausted. I can feel myself squinting all the time because my eyes are dry. And though I always eat healthily, and drink gallons of water, lately I am feeling like a well groomed horse at the inspection gate of the glue factory.

I was lucky enough to have two lunch dates this past work week; one for business, and one for pleasure. As my personal friend and I settled into our regular table at lunch, he took one look at me and was generally concerned.

Without missing a beat he looked me square in the eye and asked... "How is your health?

"Take Care of your health Rhondi" he said. "If you don't... nobody else will do it for you." You know what? He's absolutely right!

Officially capturing the Fall of Summer
Taken: September 20ish, 2012
The photo I am sharing was snapped exactly a year ago this weekend. 

What was the first thing that crossed my mind when I stumbled across it? What the hell was I thinking in the bangs department! 

In hindsight? I am convinced it was a plot! Damn you Bad Hair Pixies!!!

Anyway, (while that specific brain teaser is immediately being logged by the Producers at Ripley's Believe It or Not, I must admit) I can't believe the difference in my appearance. 

JJ was really worried about me today at lunch. He's a very genuine person, so hiding his emotion isn't his strong suit. I felt the need to put his mind at ease, but I knew he was bang on.

Though we've decided to head to the coast with the dogs again this Christmas break, I think it just may be time for a good Fall inventory.

That, and a trip to the Spa. I hope they don't mind that I nap at the drop of a hat. 

Oh, and that I snore... REALLY REALLY LOUD!!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Spending Saturday At The Beach

Since the 2013 opening of Orillia Lake, this will be with first weekend we don't trek in for at least one night. Even the weekend we moved Staci, we stayed over, then ventured into town to load up her crap!

Dottie n' Me, and Bessie made three!
Taken: August 2013
Not sleeping there this weekend, is really kind of a big deal for us. Let's face it, all my 'weather bitching' aside, we truly did have an amazing summer. 

I'm pleased to report, that our $300 'boat for the pups' acquisition (we named Bessie) has more than paid for itself. 

YUP, for every minute of enjoyment my canine kids received, my suntan visibly improved ten-fold. I literally soaked up every single drop of weekend sunshine that Mother Nature had to offer!

So what beach would I ditch this sure thing for?
None of the above... This Saturday, I am going golfing!!

It's official; for the summer of 2013, I traded my golf clubs in for the good ole cottage.

It's not that the sport has faded as a passion of mine, I just spent this past summer trying to find a common balance. The handful of times I did see play, I didn't suck... but I also was never in the company of a competitive foursome. Guess I am the first to admit that my desire to golf well (exactly when I need to) is something I have yet to refine as a solid skill!

So, Saturday should be interesting; because I am expected to 'bring it'. All I'll say, is that when my clubs are working, there isn't a sand bunker my ball doesn't land in the friggin' dead centre of. Not working, I best bring a stinking lawn chair. Hence, why I know for certain I will be spending Saturday... AT THE BEACH!!

Sunday? Pffft... Groceries, laundry, and ten other mundane things, which are slated to be named later!

Monday, September 16, 2013

My Father's Shoes...

I'm sure you'll agree that a great Fall cleaning is far more work than a thorough multi-tasked Spring one. As a result, I was beat when faced with an emotional ritual that has been a part of our home since the summer of 2005. The placing of my father's shoes.

Getting ready to celebrate the twins 13th Birthday...
Only eighteen days before he passed.
Taken: June 5th, 2005
I am so glad that my father spent his final six months in our home. The outpouring of love we all shared as a family is still talked about regularly all these years later. 

I am not sure if I've admitted that I never did share his prognosis with him, but in the end, it was me that entered the world of denial. 

I was convinced that under our care he would live forever. Silly I know, but it's how the process unfolded for me personally.

We all know the fate he eventually suffered, but since the day he died, I have kept his favourite pair of shoes on display at our front door.

His shoes quickly became a respected staple (a conversation piece) so to speak. Every time they suffered a fall from the landing, one of the kids would yell "MOM... the dog knocked Poppa's shoes off again!" His tan leather laced shoes welcomely became a part of our family.

To this day, I am grateful of my choice. 

You see, when my father's estate was settled, we had to purchased anything we wanted from the other siblings. It was like an auction per say. Before we ever started the initial purchase, we got to pick one single item that would be considered a "gift". I chose my father's favourite pair of shoes. 

I remember my brothers condescendingly asking me what I would want with a pair of shoes. My response was heartfelt and true. "When Dad left our home, he wasn't ready. It wasn't his time" I said. But for me now, the story is much bigger than the statement I made out of instinct that terrible day.... 

Today, like so many times before, when I held his shoes, I could still hear him saying Thank You.

I love that I am the one that was both chosen and blessed. Chosen by him to tie his very favourite pair of shoes... and blessed to still have them.

I love you Dad...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

That AMAZING Summer Of 2002...

The summer of 2002 was the only summer we ever lived at Orillia Lake as a family.
I snapped a ton of photos that summer. This has always been one of my all time favourites.
Taken: July 2002

I worked Saturday morning. Afterwards, we unexpectedly landed at the cottage.

When I finally hauled my ass out of bed this morning, I changed the beds, washed the floors, and packed up the dirty laundry. As I was putting the mop and pail back in the boy’s room, for the first time this summer, I was reminded of our harsh reality. All of our children have completely moved on. 

While admiring the door trim in the bedroom documenting their change in height, I knew I wanted to remove it. Not because we have any intention of selling the cottage, but because I want to apply a clear coat to preserve it. All of those colours, and all of that ink, are very significant to me as a mother. I remember making the marking a spring ritual. It makes me sad that the summer of 2013, was the first year the bedroom door trim saw zero documentation.

I remember my American friend Brad saying "I don't keep photos... I have absolutely no desire to live in the past." Personally, I am the total opposite.

Not that I want to live my life in the past, but I really do believe that a picture is worth 1,000 words. Words that get expressed the instant the photo was taken, then ten fold (by every single admirer) once that photo gets shared. Sharing a photo, is what makes it so special.

Today, I feel my photo is worth a million words. It personally takes me back in time. Over a decade later, to me... I feel, that it looks like a album cover. That said, what was a great vinyl album cover always guaranteed to do? Tell a kick ass great story, about a specific moment in time.

The summer of 2002 was a very special one for us. You can see the happiness, as well as the personal confidence in every single one of them. We were very happy that summer; music, movies,  and board games defined us as a family.

Hell, look at Jukebox. Was he always destined to be a Rockstar? Judging by this photo, all three were meant to grace a cover, and they just did.

It may not be a vinyl album cover (or the cover of the Rolling Stone) but it's the cover of our family album. Trust me, it's one of the most intricately complicated albums ever written.

... I dare every single reader to admit that theirs is not!

Friday, September 13, 2013

See Ya Later Summer!

I don't know about you, but I had such great plans for the summer of 2013. I can't believe it's over. How do I know it's finished? I got home from work tonight, and lit a fire in the downstairs fireplace. That right there tells me the writing is on the wall.

Matter a fact, I was chatting with a friend this morning on that very subject. I told him that I was officially exhausted, yet felt totally ripped off. I admitted that I had completely worked the summer away with little to no fun. I honestly feel we've just experienced the worst summer weather in 20 years!

Anyway, he empathized with my plight, admitting that even though he’d specifically made time for his young children, he had essentially done the same. What was the one thing we both agreed upon? That summer officially disappeared, before it ever really ever appeared.

Puddin' hogs my floatie chair... As well as my bed!
Taken: July 2013
The sad Summer of 2013 truth is (that more often than not) I'd ask my husband to dock the boat, because the cool weather air on the lake just wasn't enjoyable.

Best 2013 summer day? An amazing vacation day we took in July.

It was so hot that you’d perspire just walking around outside.  It was the only occasion all summer that we got to enjoy both our time... and the very refreshing lake. 

I honestly can't believe it's Fall Fair weekend already. Seems like it was only a minute and a half ago I was excited the snow had melted off the roof, and we would be able to put the water line in to enjoy the season.

Guess my sadness tonight is worrying about how many more sleeps I get to have before the water line has to be taken out, and winter sets in.

I have to wonder. With frost warning issued for tonight, does all the cool air mean Mother Nature's having hot flashes? Given my own predicament, that thought right there, will single handedly keep me from calling her a FAT HAIRY BITCH!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ring Around The Rosie... I Mean Rhondi

I got out of the shower this morning, dressed for work, opened my jewelry box and put my wedding rings on. You’re probably thinking that would be a normal routine for me, but the truth of the matter is that I haven’t worn my rings since 2010. 

Prior to that, I had gained weight and getting them on and off became a struggle. Then, in the fall of 2010, I started to evaluated my life. In turn, I completely changed my approach to food, exercise, relationships, and my overall  day to day lifestyle.

Doing all of that led me to questions. Infinite questions about how I/we got to a particular juncture at that moment in time. In turn, once I finally got healthy, I didn't bother putting my rings back on. 

Our Wedding Day
Taken: June 1988
Do you know that in all these years, only one person has ever asked me the question "why don't you wear your wedding rings?"

God Bless my friend Dean. I remember briefly sharing why I wasn't wearing them, and he asked me one simple question: "Have the two of you ever been to counselling?" My answer was "no".

Then he said something that I'll never forget. "Why not? ...You take your car in for a check-up, why wouldn't you do the same for your marriage?"

I remember not having the answer. I just shrugged my shoulders and changed the subject. That significant moment was well over a year and a half ago.

Just so we're clear, it's not like we got up this morning (and with the flip of a switch) our life had turned into lollipops and unicorns. Truth of the matter is that today has been a long time coming, and has taken a lot of really hard work. Work by me, my husband, our children, and even a very few supportive family and friends. 

Why finally today? I have been telling my husband all summer "I have to start wearing my wedding rings again... I have to start wearing my wedding rings again... I have to start wearing my wedding rungs again" then Tuesday night happened.

I was over in Haliburton for an HHBA dinner meeting. One of the association members thought I was "with" the co-worker that I attended the meeting with. A couple of years ago I would have said nothing, Tuesday I felt the need to respond. "I'm not with him" I said. I've been married for 25 years, and my husbands name is Tony". Driving home, I knew it was time.

Wearing my rings got the opposite reaction my not wearing them got. Every single person at work today noticed. My boss even commented, inviting Tony (out of the blue) to a team event we are hosting in October. Who's the one person that never noticed? My husband.

...But that's another post!

Monday, September 9, 2013

I Know You Are But What Am I?

I'M YOUR #1 FAN !!
Today an email/work buddy labelled me childish. 

Well, he's not really my buddy, but for all intensive purpose, let's place him in that 'lane' this evening simply for illustration purposes.

First off, if you're offended by my graphic offering this eve, you may want to stop reading immediately.

Not because I am going to be rude, but let's face it, if you find it childish, inbox me for my buddy's email address... You'll get along fine!

Most people get my overall personality and sarcasm out of the gate, others prefer to communicate like they're Joe Friday in an episode of Dragnet. "Just the facts Rhondi!"

Much to my dismay, I have tried, unsuccessfully, since December of 2011 to get this 'buddy o mine' to remove the very big burr he has lodged tightly up his ass. Guess the truth of the matter is, for this first time today, I realized that this person does not know how to have fun!

Which brings me to my point...

After him making his very observant offering of my persona this morning, it's officially time; time to stop trying to make someone embrace the circus, when they really wanna be workin' the local library circuit. 

What can I say? Just as I find comfort in laughter, I'm sure he finds the same in total control. Doesn't make me childish and him superior...  Just makes us extremely different.

Pfffffffffft... What the hell? Who put that very large whoopie cushion on my office chair?

I'm thinking it was FARTMAN!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Fire Within...

The start of our six hour burn in the rain.
Taken: September 7th, 2013
The season's rapidly changing. With my suntan lotion tucked away, my plethora of warm fuzzy socks have bolted into action. 

After golf Friday, I landed at the cottage at dusk to officially enjoy our first time Fall(ish) fired woodstove.

Both exhausted, we literally slept around the clock into Saturday. With the fire in the woodstove keeping us toasty, we couldn't care less that we woke to rain mid-morning.

It was dreary and brisk outside, but nothing that couldn’t be endured; so right before lunch, we headed up the hill to clear the upper part of our property.

Even though we had company drop over throughout the afternoon, I still kept puttering. Tony entertained the troupes, and I hauled and burned dead crap for six whole hours. 

Then, at dusk, I dove in the lake. 

Knowing it was going to be my last swim of the year, I followed tradition and made it memorable. As I dove in the last few times (sans my swimming apparell) my husband declared me "insane" and bolted up to the cottage for another beer and hot shower.

I can't lie. It was cold. CRAZY cold! But growing up swimming in Lake Temiscaming, I have always been able to endure the cold water better than my spouse. I’m not going to say that he whines about lake water being cold, because the noise he makes tends to be more of a whimper really. It’s just not his thing. I get that. 

Snapped in the pouring rain.

RIGHT before my man barrelled
up the hill for a hot shower!

Taken: Sep 7th, 2013
For me, swimming after Labour Day is just an added bonus that signals the end of yet another season. Yesterday found me hot and sweaty (not in a good way) all afternoon, and last evening, the water was calling my name. 

Cold to the core, I quickly slipped up the stairs. Then into my jammies I jumped, and in front of the fire I planted my seriously shivering carcass.

I must say, there’s something to be said for the sound of a fire and the serenity it offers me. It's like it sparks a personal warmth, as well as a fire within.

That, and the fact that I am grateful the stinking woodstove quickly took the numbness out of my entire body. 

Shhh... No one tell Tony I said that. Because I really hate his day old "I told ya so" routine.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Head Down & Mouth Shut? Lucky 4U!

I LOVE where I'm at.... With regards to you?
Never liked you since we met more than 30yrs ago!
Taken: April 27th, 2008
I was scrolling through electronic files the other night when I came across a folder (my then assistant snapped) of pics taken the day we filmed my first commercial.

I don’t remember why I was looking down that day, but five years later this is a perfect self portrait for today.

Five years ago when faced with a day like today I would have easily stood up, roared so loudly that the hair on the back of your neck stood on end, whilst piss uncontrollably filled your pants.

I’m softer now. I tend to internalize more than I ever imagined I ever could. I'm at peace. I’m not conceding, yet proud of the fact.

I am completely aware that there is a calmness in my life that I have never had before. Whether it's because of that online anger management course I aced a couple years back, or just simply the 1-2 midlife/menopause punch I have been dealt; no matter what, I refuse to question or change it.

If I had to provide a tally I'd say there may be five people I have met in my entire life that really know me. Outside those few, there are those that feel they do, which (let's face it) is always a hurdle. Then, there are those that just simply want to stick their nose where it doesn’t belong. Not because they care, but out of habit. It's just who they are!

Well, today was that latter persons lucky day. They need to be extremely grateful that my outlook on life has changed. Though some may see them as "strong" my first thought process is that their smell isn’t everything.

Truth of the matter is they haven't seen strong. Why? Because I know for a fact that I could have easily kicked their sorry fat ass into submission today. Why didn't I do it? Because they are not worth a single ounce of my totally amazing Kung Fu kick ass energy.

I have it under wraps now...Seems I am holding it in reserve. It's just simply how I roll...!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Tootsie n’ Me & Corey Hart Made Three!

I know I can’t be the only one that feels that the best times are always had when spur of the moment planning falls into play. I had a great weekend and the amount of planning it took to pull it off was pretty much non-existent.

As I have mentioned before I have a very large extended family. Social media gives us the opportunity to stay in touch, but outside of weddings and funerals, we rarely make the effort to see each other. When I finally got to wrap my arms around my cousin Saturday afternoon, it felt like we'd been face to face just yesterday. It was amazing.

Because I worked Saturday, we were late getting things on track. To compound that, Mother Nature was a being bit of a bitch, so there were very few UV rays to be found. We didn't care. 

Sing it SISTA!
♪♫♪♫... We wear our sunglasses at night.... ♫♪♫♪
Taken: August 31st, 2013
After a boat ride and a yummy steak dinner, we ended up congregating where 99% of our friends (and our kids friends) wind up on Saturday night; in the kitchen with the tunes cranked. 

As the music played, the memories and the spirits flowed. It may have been a little chilly outside, but things were warm and fuzzy and fun inside. 

Because I work so much, when I get any time to myself, I am the first to acknowledge that I am an uber boring person. I talk to my dogs like they are people, I read, and I take scads of photos. As a couple we do entertain, but it's usually only dinner, an afternoon get together, or a quick overnighter. Marylynn was an anomaly, she spent the entire weekend.

As the thunder rolled this morning we headed up the hill; and as I hugged her in the rain, I was truly glad she'd made the trek. We've been literally getting together for the last three years and never had. 

Lookin' Good Tootsie!
Taken: September 1st, 2013
"Stay in touch on Facebook" she said as she got in her car. Then it dawned on me, it's Facebook that has made us feel as though no time had lapsed.

Blowing her kisses and waving as our cars pulled away from one and other it hit me. Making the effort the first time is always the hardest. 

Next time, it may be me that heads to her. I just have to somehow find the time to do it. 

Actually? I just simply NEED to make the time to do it!

Nuf said!