Saturday, April 30, 2016

Z IS FOR ZEALOUS

Well, here you have it. I’ve arrived at my last letter of the alphabet and I would be remiss if I didn’t give massive props to the zealous electronic friendships I have out of New Orleans, Louisiana. As I've written before, I was fortunate enough to begin working with this amazing crew of Architects in the spring of 2012. Four years later, our witty repartee's still going strong.

About my pics. It was just a regular work day last Friday when just before 4pm, my phone buzzed and the tone told me it was WhatsAp reaching out to me. I opened my message to find this amazing photo of Darin and Mr.T (below) soaking up the rays, as well as the tunes, at the New Orleans Jazz Festival. I was ecstatic!

That's Darin in the ball cap (which he bought while visiting me last September).
TAKEN: APRIL 27th, 2016 ~ NEW ORLEANS JAZZ FESTIVAL
The pic on the left was the first one Darin sent and the one on the right was sent shortly thereafter. You see, he wanted to let me know there was a huge Canadian flag flying high right in front of him. We joked that it was a sign that I was there in spirit and because I don't drink beer, I gave him explicit instructions to enjoy my share in my absence.

Like anything in life, electronic friendships take effort to maintain. I speak from experience when I write that the electronic friendships that offer the most zeal, are those where both set of texting thumbs work equally hard to keep in touch. Thanks for sharing with me last Friday Darin... As soon as you sent me the video of your surroundings, I couldn't stop smiling. It was like I was truly spending the afternoon with you in New Orleans. 

Everyone else, thanks again for reading. As I've formally finished the April A-Z Blogging Challenge... Allow me to introduce you to my very good friend, the month of May!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Y IS FOR YES-SIR-REEE

Just before my 50th Birthday.
TAKEN: March 2015
How To Feel Fab By 50

1. Forgive someone from your past.
2. Travel by yourself.
3. Quit the job you hate.
4. Find your personal mantra.
5. Conquer your biggest fear.
6. Treat yourself to something you really want.
7. Be a mentor for someone you know.
8. Make a fool of yourself without feeling embarrassed.
9. Stop apologizing for who you are.
10.Most of all... forgive yourself.

Life is short.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

X IS FOR XERODERMA

So, it's the typical A-Z home stretch. I'm tired, my ideas have pretty much dried up and I am faced with some of the hardest letters to write about. All day long I was texting and asking people to help me with a word for my letter. Every man replied with x-rated and our female health & safety supervisor went with xylophone. Call me old fashioned (and sheltered with regards to the latter) but I didn't have a picture of me wholeheartedly participating in either of those very exciting activities.

Totally blocked, I got home and started to look through my pictures for inspiration. I came across a neat pic that I had forgotten I'd snapped after I'd bought myself a cute jewelry piece on vacation a couple of weeks ago. With a lack of creative juices flowing, I shook my head for inspiration and searched for a hybrid work like x-ceptional, or x-cellent. Instead, I found myself passing on the pic and heading to google for a word and some creative direction.

Low and behold, my chosen word tonight immediately jumped off the monitor at me. I figured the last 5 letters had me headed back to the picture of my new bracelet but I had to open the picture again just to be sure. BINGO, I immediately realized that I'd hit the mother load.

Can you believe I always thoroughly moisturize...? Damn xeroderma!
TAKEN: APRIL 4th, 2016 

I'm sure you don't give a rats ass about my xeroderm (aka: dry skin) but two things were skillfully accomplished by choosing that very word. I got to officially show off my new silver piece I brought home from Mexico and I've officially completed my 24th post.

BOO-YA... 24 down and only 2 to go!

Thanks for hanging in there with me. It's greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

W IS FOR WISDOM

Spit polished, loaded up, and ready to GO!
TAKEN: APRIL 16th, 2016

The weekend before last I did what any avid golfer does in the spring, I hauled my babies out of the laundry room, took their protective gear off and gave them an exclusive spa treatment. What can I say, I love this time of year. For me, it tells me to put away my snowshoes, gather with friends, hit the snot out of a little ball & swear a lot. I'm kidding; I really only ever swear a little!

I'm not a great golfer but I love to golf. The sad truth is that I never got in a single round last year. It was a very transitional spring for me and I lived at the cottage all summer. I find I'm in a different mind space when I live at the cottage full time. My chair on the dock rides shotgun and my golf clubs tend to occupy the backseat. Well, with me working full time again, I am excited to get back to my Friday night ritual of walking 9 holes. Not only because it helps me decompress from the week I've had, walking gives me the much needed workout I crave from having a desk job.

I understand the sport isn't for everyone. It's usually something you either love or hate. I was asked by an engineer at work the other day why I'm so drawn into the sport and I think he was surprised at my response. "Golf is one the rare sports in which you truly compete against yourself," I said.

"When I run into someone that cheats at golf," I continued... "I know I've met someone that doesn't hold themselves accountable but more importantly, they're not being honest with themselves about their surroundings."

Some would say those words seem full of wisdom. Guess it depends how you play golf.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

V IS FOR VINYL

I know I've written here before that I remember the first time I fell in love with the music of The Eagles. It was 1976 and if I close my eyes I can see my oldest brother setting the needle down on his new turntable to hear Hotel California for the very first time. If I focus on that moment, we were in his room. I can see his bright yellow t-shirt... Then, he simply dropped the needle. The rest is history.

I think I have been very fortunate to have had a mother that embraced vinyl, as well as to have lived within a generation where some of the best music of all time was produced. 

My mother was extremely proud of her collection of 78's and 33 1/3 albums. Yours, truly?  At best, I was always glued to a sparse 45rpm budget. One at a time with big breaks in between purchases. 

As I got older, my money went toward the purchase of a walkman and the trusty cassette tape, then its CD compatible counterpart, eventually graduating to downloading. Yes, I also have a satellite radio subscription and a kick ass pair of computer speakers should I like to watch and listen on YouTube BUT...

The honest truth is that vinyl owned my childhood my will always have my heart.

We've just acquired more than 600 vintage vinyl records. It's going to be a GREAT summer!
TAKEN: MARCH 26TH, 2016

Monday, April 25, 2016

U IS FOR UNBELIEVEABLE

A year ago last week, my husband and I scrambled to arranged for a plane ticket for our only daughter and brought her home. She'd moved 3,400 kms away from us the year previous and for the five months before her return, we'd been estranged. It was a trying time for all but the relationship that we knew was poisonous from the start was over and she headed east to start anew.

Focused on the positive, our entire family promised we wouldn't press discussion about what had transpired, nor dwell on the mean things said. The truth was, when we picked her up at the airport we immediately knew she had a long road ahead of her. She would need to heal; mentally, physically and most importantly emotionally.

Staccs heading out with her crew.
TAKEN: APRIL 23rd, 2016
Well, with all of that in the past, I am pleased to report that a year later she's doing well... It's unbelievable!

Just look at her. Physically and spiritually, everyday she morphing back to a person that can finally experience joy.

Gone's the boyfriend that use to abuse her. Back is my gal, embracing a life she knew she was always worthy of. She's happy. Has a job she enjoys and has reconnected with friends she'd been told to shun because of the relationship she'd been in. 

A few months ago she began dating again. It's nice to see gentleman callers coming around and I'm glad she immediately explains she's in no hurry. I suspect it has something to do with the trust issues she has developed. In time, I'm sure those scars will heal too. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

S IS FOR SARCASM

I know there are mixed feelings out there as to whether sarcasm is classified as wit or a psychologically cruel behaviour. I can assure you that I only use my sarcastic wit to empathize a punchline, as I am always in search of a great joke. 

So, in keeping my statement... I can assure you my graphic speaks the truth! 

Because sarcasm is lost in print.... I'll leave you with a smile. Have a great day!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

R IS FOR REMORSE

My heart is heavy and my eyes are damp with the news that Prince left us this morning. As most of you know, I have a serious relationship with music and Prince Rogers Nelson has been on this amazing journey with me the since the very first time I heard Little Red Corvette.

Allow me to clarify. By the time I left for college, he’d made the movie Purple Rain and he had hit the road touring. When I was going to school in Hamilton, he landed at Maple Leaf Gardens (December 2nd, 1984). It was a very low budget deal, sound was poor, yet his talent and stage presence told everyone that night that he was born to be a rock star. He proved all of us right!

Prince at the ACC. SECTION 107 ~ ROW 16
TAKEN: NOVEMBER 25th, 2011
I am a firm believer that some things are meant to be. For me, it was a hankering to reignite the aforementioned concert experience of my youth. 

It was November 25th, 2011 and I had just taken my grown son for a nice dinner in downtown Toronto. Once we hailed a cab, I instructed the cabbie to head to the Air Canada Centre. Goob questioned the fact that we didn’t have tickets but I had a mitt full of cash and I was on a mission.

As I write, I just can't explain how glad I am that I made that impulse purchase to see him again in 2011 with my son. It was truly amazing. 

My most vivid memory? When he began to play Purple Rain. From the first strum of his guitar, the ACC began to rain purple tissue paper. Immediately following that, my eyes filled with tears. It was absolutely moving; the sound, the visual progression, his vibe.

I think Eric Clapton said it best. When he was asked, what does it feel like to be the greatest guitar player on the planet? 

His response: "I don't know - you'd have to ask Prince."

Thanks Prince. You may be gone… but you will never, EVER, be forgotten.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Q IS FOR QUAGMIRE

Quag·mire 

Pronounced kwaɡˌmī(ə)r/noun
a. an awkward, complex, or hazardous situation. "a legal quagmire"
synonyms: muddle, mix-up, mess, predicament, mare's nest, can of worms, quandary, tangle, imbroglio; trouble, confusion, difficulty; informal sticky situation, pickle, stew, dilemma, fix, bind "a judicial quagmire"

YA GOTTA LAUGH ABOUT IT

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

P IS FOR PARADISE

One of the field supervisors cheerfully wandered into my office this morning, and after we finished talking business, he asked how my recent trip to Mexico went. Though I quickly acknowledged it was amazing, I instantly pointed to my second computer monitor to show him the pic I am posting of where I am headed at the end of November.

I could tell by the look on his face that he was a tad surprised that I’d just gotten home and that I was already mentally packing my suitcase again. I explained that I’d come across renting this house  before we'd ever left for Sayulita and expanded on why (when it comes to life & travel) my timeline for adventure has a true sense of urgency.

“My mother passed away when she was 57,” I said; "...and it’s like I'm in a competition with myself to experience as many destinations as I can in the next few years; just in case.” He immediately nodded and told me that he understood.

The beachfront at our rental home in Elbow Cay, Abocos, Bahamas.
(Photo credit & rental heads up to my very good buddy JCW)
TAKEN: FEBRUARY 2015

So, it’s official. The last week of November we’re heading to Elbow Cay, Abocos, Bahamas.  I really wanted to wait to decide, in hopes I could score a really great price on 10 days in Aruba (but it was my husbands turn to pick, so off we go).

I’d be lying if I wrote that my deep yearning to head to Aruba was just for the stamp in my passport. Though that’s definitely part of it, when I was young my parents always said 'when they took their first trip to an island paradise, they'd be walking on the white sands in Aruba.' Suffice is to say my mother was gone before they ever had the chance to take that trip.

Who knows, here's hoping I'll get to take them both with me in spirit next year.

Monday, April 18, 2016

O IS FOR OVERFLOW

For the last few years, my sleepy little Ontario town  has suffered terribly as a result higher than normal water levels and an unorganized Ministry of Natural Resources. 

I snapped this 2 weeks after the worst flooding ever to hit us.
TAKEN: APRIL 2013 
An act of God isn't covered by insurance. Proving that is wasn't, has been an even bigger task for home/cottage owners, with a government entity being accused of wrong doing.

I'm not looking to blame for the 2016 overflow, just trying to understand so that it doesn't keep happening. 

to view a CTV news clip on this years flooding.

Oh, that's my buddy Dan being interviewed. A long standing Muskoka resident & builder.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

N IS FOR NOVEMBER

As you know, I hop on a plane in late fall with the hopes of getting a head start on coping with our tough Canadian winters. My issue isn't with winter per say, I'm very active outdoors, so once the snow arrives I spend as much of my spare time embracing the white stuff as I can. I don't mind raking the leaves in October nor the sporadic snow fall we receive in December. My issue is with the entire month of November.

Cottage Closing Day
TAKEN: NOVEMBER 1st, 2015
I don't truly hate November, simply because my mother always taught me never to hate anything ...It takes too much energy to hate, she use to say. 

So I'll admit that I strongly dislike the month in general and truly resent the bane of its overall existence. How's that for setting the tone on how I really feel?

There are so many things that happen in November that I truly dread. The cottage gets closed, the days get shorter, the hydro bills get larger and my bank account seems to require life support as all the annual payments come due. It's just a month filled of things I generally dislike.

As I began to write this morning, I realized that the month I am complaining about is aptly named. NOOOOOOOOOOvember is not not now, nor ever will be my friend!

Friday, April 15, 2016

M IS FOR MISSING

My father and I on my wedding day.
TAKEN: JUNE 1988

Today... I am missing my Dad. 
Joseph Herve St.Onge - 1928 - 2005


Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there; I did not die.

(Written in 1932 by Mary Elizabeth Frye)

Thursday, April 14, 2016

L IS FOR LOYALTY

GONE are the days when I work for a company...  where my loyalty is taken for granted!!
TAKEN: JULY 2012

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

K IS FOR KRYPTONITE

Let me start by writing that if you Google 'what is kryptonite', the search engine will report something to the effect that it's a fictional substance from the Superman comic book series, that generally has detrimental effects on Superman. Though I can't personally be compared to Superman (first and foremost because I'm a woman) I do believe that everyone has something personal that evokes a  certain level of weakness from within.

After my father passed away in 2005, I slowly started to hide my eating habits from everyone around me. The truth of the matter is that I found a comfort in food that I'd never experienced before in my life. For the first few years I managed alright, because I still ran and golfed a couple of times a week. Then, around 2009 the weight gain started to become apparent. 

Long story short, my 2011 New Years Resolution was to completely change my eating behaviours and lose the excess weight I'd gained. It was much harder than I ever imagined but in the end I got my life as well as my waist back. That said, there was some tough love involved.

A perfect close up of my Krytonite
Gravy, which was my favourite food group, GONE. Candy and fast food, GONE. Portion sizes that could feed a small family, GONE. 

The hardest habit to break? Getting my husband to stop bringing my kryptonite into the house: Miss Vickies Sea Salt & Malt potato chips.

Almost 10 years later, she and I have come to agree to disagree. The sad part is she doesn't play fair. Whilst wheeling my grocery cart through the isles on Saturday morn, I swear she's calling out to me. 

"Pssst... Rhondi. I'm in isle 3," she'll say. To which I'd immediately and lovingly respond with skitch of a shrill in my tone..."Get lost, BITCH!"

Them thar words are the only ones she ever gets in response.

Ya Gotta Laugh About It.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

J IS FOR JOURNEY

At this stage of my life, I am a firm believer 'your only impossible journey is the one you've never attempted to take.' I'm sure that's my inner entrepreneurial spirit lashing out but as my nest emptied I continually reminded myself that in mid-life there wouldn't be an adventure I'd not entertain. 

Before I get ahead of myself, I feel I should admit that I am anything but a daredevil. As a matter a fact there are two things I am truly afraid of: the dark and the unknown. So, you can imagine my conundrum of inner turmoil, once I mentally convinced myself that it was time to hop on the new adventure bandwagon!

My personal Facebook cover photo last September...  GREAT adventure thus far!



I'm not going to lie. I was filled with mixed emotions when we moved the twins away to school on Labour Day weekend of of 2011. I had such angst that they were leaving, yet excited for what that meant for my newfound personal journey. As the late summer turned to fall, it quickly became apparent that I was completely alone, and my road to self-discovery didn't include a GPS nor a much needed flashlight. 

So, on a teary 2011 November night, I started this electronic journal. I'm so thankful that I've had people with me since its inception, and equally grateful for those that only stop by once in a while. The truth of the matter is, today you're reading my 600th post. 

The absolute truth is this journal journey has helped me process more life lessons than any appearance on Dr.Phil, with my plight starring in the last 600 episodes. So, as I continue to evolve and figure things out on the fly, I'd like to say those three special words, that are not only called for on this milestone day but most appropriate here tonight. 

...Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 11, 2016

I IS FOR INTERESTING

I'm not sure about you but I personally find it interesting how people believe everything they read on the internet. That said, I guess the obvious question arises, what do you entertain and what do you call 'bullshit' on?

As you know, I've just returned to Canada after traveling to once again celebrate my 29th birthday in Sayulita, Mexico. The truth is, before I landed in Los Cobos last fall, I use to make a blanket statement that "I had no interest in ever going to Mexico." The root of that statement came from me taking unsubstantiated tidbits of interesting information (about the water, crime etc) and not challenging them as varying levels of hokum.

We were just a trio of gringos, peacefully walking the backstreets of Sayulita Mexico.
TAKEN: APRIL 5th, 2016
Anyway, with our dollar performing so poorly against the American buck, my cumpleaños planning once again had me looking at Mexico. This trip (with surfing as my focus) I knew I wanted to rent a house. We did. It was a home owned by a Canadian and the best friend of a friend that had already stayed there. I am almost embarrassed to report that when we arrived, my list of interesting internet questions for the owner (about being an off resort tourist in Mexico) leaned toward embarrassing. So much so, that by about the 10th one, he was answering me with a hint of laughter.

Suppose some would say 'better safe than sorry', other true naysayers will claim 'we just got lucky and Mexico's not really like what we'd experienced.' What do I say? Use your common sense and make smart decisions. The more Spanish you know, the less everything costs. Don't venture out at night alone and look both ways before you cross the street.

Seriously... they drive like they're all from downtown Montreal!

So, from now on, when researching online, I'll remind myself to look to this quote:    
Don't believe everything you read on the internet ~ Abraham Lincoln

Interesting how that right there puts things into perspective, eh?

Saturday, April 9, 2016

H IS FOR HAPPINESS

My picture isn't worth 1,000 words.... It simply speaks for me.
TAKEN: April 9th, 2010
Sayulita, Mexico


Friday, April 8, 2016

G IS FOR GRATEFUL

As I posted about facing my fears yesterday, I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge how grateful I am for so many things in my life today. Not just materialistic things: anything but. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I am extremely grateful, that I have understood from a young age, the difference between want and need. Some comment on the fact that I travel twice a year but there is a distinct reason for both trips. I want to travel for my birthday (which will be here in a minute and a half) yet I need to get into the sunlight before the harsh Canadian winter sets in. Both are stringently budgeted for and I never feel the need to overspend simply because I've managed to save more than planned.

That said, in the last five years, my being grateful is something I've promised myself I would never take for granted ever again. New people and friends I've met, the fact that I had my children close together (and at a young age) enabling me begin the next phase of my life; the list is long. As I walked the entire stretch of beach my very first morning in Sayulita, there were a couple of extra special things I realized I was grateful for this trip.

The new camera I treated myself to, and the vat of sunscreen I packed as a carry on.

May read silly to you but look at my view.... & I-chee-Mama she's hot down here!


Thursday, April 7, 2016

F IS FOR FACING FEAR

For anyone that been reading here for any length of time, you're very aware that 2016 is intended to be about the experience for me. So naturally, when we decided to rent a house in Mexico, I immediately knew that I wanted to go way the hell out of my comfort zone and once again looked to my bucket list. This trip, I had set my sights on trying to learn to surf.

Just waiting for the right wave.
TAKEN: APRIL 7th, 2016
Well, I am pleased to report that I've been rockin' a boogie board all week and tomorrow's the day that I officially get on a surf board; yet I'm not sure how it will go.

My eldest boy surfed yesterday and he was amazed just how hard it was. After bout an hour, he walked up the beach with what seemed like his knuckles dragging behind him, because he's worked his arms so much. 

Truth? I really don't care if I am unsuccessful catching a great wave. For me, it's about setting my sights on something and seeing it through. The fact that I've spent three days in the ocean preparing for this milestone tells me that I have faced my biggest fear of all.

My fear of the unknown.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

E IS FOR EXCELENTE

EXCELENTE..... Are our memories created on the back roads of Sayulita, Mexico.
TAKEN: APRIL 6th, 2016

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

D IS FOR DISPOSITION

As a person that works every single day so the 'glass half empty' never wins, I find that I'm constantly inspired by the little things in life that help me maintain my cheery disposition. That said, imagine my pleasant surprise when I came across this beautiful bench whilist walking the streets of Sayulita this morning. 

It reads: Smile in any situation and feel the atmosphere change...

.
Just SMILE!
TAKEN: APRIL 5th, 2016

What makes my photo even that more symbolic? It's been constructed out of two doors, which also reinforces for yours truly... When one door closes, another always opens. As I stood in the moment I instantly thought of those very special peeps that unconditionally make me smile. This post is for you and the impact you have on my cheery disposition.

I love you all....

Monday, April 4, 2016

C IS FOR CUP 'O COFFEE

Thankful for my blogging day of rest yesterday, I woke this morning with the intent of cheerfully climbing back on the A-Z blogging bus. Though I tried to do exactly that, I must apologize. I am struggling with my internet connection and ability to post from Sayulita, Mexico.

So, in the spirit of not giving up, I've poured you a cup of coffee. Here's keeping my fingers crossed that I am back on track tomorrow.

So please enjoy... Both my view and your pippng hot coffee. ~ Rhondi

There's nothing like a cup of coffee with an amazing view!
TAKEN: APRIL 4th, 2016

Saturday, April 2, 2016

B IS FOR BEST BUDDIES

My Best Buddy n' ME in vacay
TAKEN: December 2016
It’s hard to believe that the first of next month marks the 30th anniversary since my husband and I began dating. 

I know it sounds corny but they say when you meet the person you are meant to marry you know. I couldn’t agree more, we instantly connected and we’ll be married 28 years in June.

Like any great accomplishment, staying together has taken work. I’d like to write that it’s been all rainbow, kittens and unicorns but that would be a lie unless those items fall in line with some serious hard work that in turn produced out life of happiness.

Work staying unified in raising our children, and a lot of hard work building a life that has us living in harmony. Like any couple, there have been times that we didn’t like each other, gaps where I know that he wasn’t in love with me and vice versa. At this juncture, we simply file those times in our life lessons folder that we’ve both learned and grown from. I also save all of those folders in case the Canadian government eventually offer me an income tax credit for continuing education.

KIDDING!! 

“C” you tomorrow. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

A IS FOR ADIOS AMIGOS


I must admit, I feel a smidgen odd starting my April A-Z Blogging Challenge by saying goodbye. After all, this is the one month a year when we all focus on making new friends, so allow me to apologize for the oddity and invite you to  hang around.

Soaking up the sun and catching the waves in Los Cabos, Mexico.
TAKEN: DECEMBER 1st, 2015
Why such a quick goodbye instead of a cheerful hello? 

By this time tomorrow, I'll be on a plane destine for Mexico, which is where my first seven letters of the alphabet will be created and posted from. Beautiful Sayulita, Mexico.

Just so we're clear from the start, this isn't a travel blog. Over time, I have come to consider it an electronic journal. This is my fourth year participating in the challenge, and since I began writing (late fall of 2011) about my refusal to let 'the glass half empty win',  I've had close to two million people stop by. 

So, like my bio says, I am a social media junkie that's rockin' a small Canadian town. What you read is what you get and always remember to keep your hands and feet in the ride at all times. Feel free to follow me on TWITTERFACEBOOK or GOOGLE+. Better yet, leave me a comment and let me know where I can find YOU. 

So, Adios Amigos. I'm off to the airport. I'll "B" blogging in my bathing suit tomorrow!