Wednesday, April 26, 2017

V IS FOR VARIETY

Some women are obsessed with shoes.
Me?... I love my wide variety of sunglasses!!
PHOTOS TAKEN FROM: 2007 - 2016

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

U IS FOR UNEXPECTED

Happy 10th Anniversary Mikey Mike!
Taken: April 2017 
As I have said before, I don't like to be surprised. Yet for some strange reason, I love surprising people. 

I'm sure it has something to do with the unexpected look on their face, which is kinda funny really, because that's one of the reasons why I hate being surprised!

Anyway, my most recent coo was when a good friend and coworker hit their 10 year work anniversary milestone. With everyone gathered in the conference room, out of the blue, I busted out a cake.

It may not seem like much but this fella is never one to get the props he due and he was so caught off guard that when I handed him the cake he almost dropped it. Even funnier is that because we can tend to be a couple of pranksters, when I went to take our selfie, he held the cake awaaaaay from himself for fear that I would put his face in it.

Though I have only been with the company for a couple of years (Click here to read: Mikey Mike & The Funky Lunch) I have been work friends with young Mike since 2010. The one thing I will admit is that the only thing that isn't unexpected about my post is that everyone knows I think this fella is a keeper. 

Happy Anniversary buddy... Here's to 10 more! 

Monday, April 24, 2017

T IS FOR TARDY

I am 4 days behind on the 2017 April A-Z Blogging Challenge. I may be late... But I'm not giving up!!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

S IS FOR SPECIAL

Darin, ME, and my hubby getting ready to head to the last day of the French Quarter Festival.
TAKEN: APRIL 9th, 2017

I don’t know about you but I remember my first true friendship from a very young age.

Her name was Ellen and the last time I saw her, we were in the early stages of high school. I have looked for her online for years but we lost track of each other when she enrolled in the nursing program and the University of Ottawa (or so I have been told). Not sure if she ever heads back to our old neighbourhood but even in mid-life, I think of her often.

I guess my point is that it takes a friend to make a friend and she was my first. All of that said, I believe you know in the moment when you connect with someone you don’t want to lose touch with; and in the spring of 2012 I starting working with Darin. 

The fact that we're 1400 miles apart has never been a challenge. In the summer of 2015 he traveled to meet me face to face and most recently we traveled to him. Definitely the best birthday trip today date, I got to experience some amazing music and very special southern hospitality.

I feel blessed to have celebrated my special occasion with a very special friend.

He's definitely a keeper and I'm sure Ellen would love him. I know I do!

Friday, April 21, 2017

R IS FOR RETRO

Jukebox embracing the vibe!
TAKEN: OCTOBER 31st, 2010
There's not need to rush to grab your calculators to figure out my age... but I don't think there will be any shock among readers when I disclose that I was born in this era.

Never one to gravitate to their fashion choices nor weed; to this day their music is something that still and always will fascinate me.

This past week was the anniversary of the death of Levon Helm (most notably known for playing with The Band). As I shared a video on Facebook of his last performance with Sheryl Crow, I couldn't help but choose to honour him with this word.

RIP Levon. You will forever be loved by millions!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

P IS FOR PARENTING

I read a quote somewhere that referenced parenting as the easiest thing in the world to have an opinion on, and the hardest thing you'll ever do. I couldn’t agree more.

When we discovered that we were going to have the stork stop by in the winter of 1990, we were shocked. Not because we didn’t know how babies were made but we had purchased a new home a year earlier and with mortgage interest being at 12.5%, our 5 year financial commitment was staggering.

The Fam-Jam rockin' Huckleberry Rock in Muskoka
TAKEN: OCTOBER 10th, 2016

When our first born arrived, he was the perfect baby. We didn’t have much money back then but he brought so much joy to us we decide we’d like the stork to visit again; this time, in 1992, he delivered two!

Like any family, we have taken a journey. Even all these years later, I can reflect on certain situations and still wish I would have done things differently. Then again, you know what they say about hindsight; it’s in the past and not the direction I am going.

Today, I look at them as young adults and hope every single day that we have given them some good tools to be both successful and personally happy. I remember being so sad when they all left for school, perhaps I was naive enough to think they would never return. They all have and at least once left again.

After this last stint of my eldest boy being our roommate again, we knew we wouldn't allow any of them to move back home. Not because we're upset with them but we really feel it's time they leave the homestead. Though we would never see them in dire straits, moving home again's no longer an option.

I have to admit, when we get together, I am always joking that should they insist on returning, I am getting a one bedroom apartment with no pull out sofa. Seriously, I should probably tell them that I'm really not joking.... I'm dead serious.

Ya gotta laugh about it!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

O IS FOR ORIGINAL

Before I left for my birthday trip, I decided to depart from my comfort zone and buy 20 of the glasses I collect on Kijiji. I had arranged to meet the couple in Mississauga and offered them an extra $15 to deliver them close to my hotel near the airport. Not gonna lie, the closer I got to the meeting place, my very hypersensitive fear of the unknown kicked in. 

Can you believe I scored original glasses?
TAKEN: APRIL 18th, 2017
Pleased to report that the meet and greet happened without incident, yet imagine my delight when I opened my box of treasures purchased, only to discover that they were in their original condition. I was absolutely speechless and tears formed in my eyes as I immediately thought of my Dad.

As the sellers looked at me as if I was a few fries short of a Happy Meal, I felt the need to share my story. In the end, it turns our that their story complimented mine.

His father owned a Petro-Canada station and the glasses had been tucked away for safe keeping. I find it even more amazing that it wasn't until his mother passed that the glasses were discovered. As corny as you think this sounds, I believe they were meant to make their way to me.

I have been visiting this collection rodeo for a very long time. Outside of heading online, I have looked under every rock imaginable in hopes to grow my collection.

NEVER, in a million years did I ever think I would be the very first owner of something so classic and something I hold so dear. I have to think it was meant to be. Either that, or I am the first original Petro Canada glass collecting loon!

Should the latter be your general opinion, my family may tend to agree. Just sayin'

Monday, April 17, 2017

N IS FOR NEVERENDING

When I woke up this morning I hopped out of bed and put the pups out. As I do every morning at 5:30am, while they are outside taking care of business, I log onto my Facebook.

I couldn’t help but chuckle this morn when my ‘On This Day’ memory shared a status update from a couple of years ago. It read: ONE DAY INVENTORY REDUCTION SALE ON DOG HAIR. No order too large. Free delivery within 24 hours. First 3 orders include dog!

Puddin', Annie & Dot rockin' the drive thru window at Harveys!
TAKEN: FEBRUARY 18th, 2017

Though I really am glad that winter is over and spring has sprung, I dread the annual dog hair festival my home wholeheartedly participates in. With three pups all losing their winter fur at the same time, the piles of dog hair that accumulate in 24 hours look like dust elephants, rather than bunnies as usually described; and them thar critters tend to plant themselves everywhere.

You know when people say they are glad to go away but excited to be home? That doesn't apply to me. Though I am grateful my grown children help out with the pups so I can travel in the spring for my birthday, I always struggle with the fact that they have no idea how to plug the darn vacuum in. That last comment isn't meant be ungrateful, it's just that the machine needs to be run daily from the time the snow leaves to stay ahead of the shedding storm that lasts into July.

Anyway, my entrepreneurial spirit will never give up on coming up with a way to market and sell the copious amounts of dog hair that's shed annually. It would be a proverbial gold mine!

Lord knows I'd have a neverending inventory in multiple shades for my suppliers.

... As we all know, supply & demand is key!  

Saturday, April 15, 2017

M IS FOR MUSICIANS


My very favourite part of the 2017 French Quarter Festival was experiencing the street musicians. Allow me to share the best of the best in Big Tuba Skinny.
The cornet player is absolutely amazing!   

Friday, April 14, 2017

L IS FOR LOVE

I can't begin to explain what I experienced when I was away for my birthday trip. I have always been somewhat of a closeted artist and no matter what, I always make an effort to embrace any and all offerings in their context. When I was in New Orleans, I expereinced a medium that was new to me: a living statue.

This is what I was given when I placed some money at her feet. Otherwise, she never moved.
Respect is what we awe... Love is what we give.
TAKEN: APRIL 9th, 2017
A living statue is a street artist who poses as a statue or mannequin, for hours at a time. The one I am sharing today absolutely moved me. I watched her in the scorching hot sun as her perspiration formed pools of sweat dripping from her elbows and her back was completely soaked. Nothing distracted her and her vibe was awe inspiring. 

Out of respect, if I took a photo or videotaped an artist, I left them a monetary reward for entertaining me. This is the only artist I rewarded twice. Once after I took her photo the first time and again when she gently moved to hand me her message. The moment of watching her move and offer me this small gift still gives me goosebumps as I type. In that moment, I thanked her. 

...Because the only thing more powerful than giving love, is receiving it.

Have a great day.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

K IS FOR KARMA

As you may or may not know, I have a deep seeded belief in the natural law of karma. No matter how silly this reads, I truly believe vindictive people, that go out of their way to hurt others, will end up eventually getting what they are entitled; their just desserts. 

You've read here over and over again that I treat people the way I want to be treated. If there is a disconnect between where we've been and where we are going, I harbour no ill will. I simply disconnect myself from that person and continue to gravitate to those that have earned the amazing energy I expend.

My post's a reminder: Never lose sight that your actions control your destiny.




Wednesday, April 12, 2017

J IS FOR JAZZ


In keeping with my recent trip to New Orleans for the 2017 French Quarter Festival, enjoy my second video offering. (TAKEN: April 9th, 2017 - All rights reserved)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I IS FOR IDIOT

When I was away, I posted a photo of my friend Darin and I to my Instagram with a caption that read, 'a good heart is always rewarded during a trying time.' Sounds simple enough but the other side of that proverbial coin is: don't be an idiot and you'll arrive at where you're meant to be relatively unscathed.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you wanted to be heard, yet in the grand scheme of things you just walked away and moved on? I find myself doing that more and more as I transition in mid life. Not because I've lost my edge, more that I've consciously decided that I no longer wish to associate with people that aren't meant to be in my wheel-house.

Heading home from Dallas to Toronto this morning, I couldn't help but stare out the window on the tarmac and reflect on the plethora of bad behaviors I witnessed yesterday, as a few hundred of us got delayed in New Orleans due to extreme weather and a mechanical failure to our plane.

Almost midnight & still in line.
TAKEN: APRIL 10th, 2017
 Twelve hours later and finally in Dallas, I had to shake my head as a gentleman was verbally abusive to the nice lady trying to help him out of the unfortunate situation we found ourselves in. If I had to describe how I felt in the moment, it was general sadness.

I know full well that everyone reacts to stress differently, I get that. Hell, no one knows that better than yours truly; but bullying the one person there to unconditionally help you is just plain asinine.

As we greet Spring and welcome Easter next weekend, it feels great to have finally made it through another long Canadian winter. As we soar home at 32,000 feet (and type on my tablet and listen to Don Henley croon through my Blackberry)  I'll leave you with another of my simple life observations.

When you feel you're arguing with an idiot... Be sure they aren't doing the same! 

Thanks again for reading.

Monday, April 10, 2017

H IS FOR HOSPITALITY

My BMF Darin & his amazing neighbour.
TAKEN: APRIL 9th, 2017
As you know, I am the first one to put my hand and volunteer for great friends, food and music. That said, when I decided to skip seeing the Toronto Raptors play at Madison Square Garden and accepted Darins' invitation to land in New Orleans for my birthday, I was a little torn (after the fact) that I'd chosen the latter.

Well, as I venture back to the great white north, I am kicking myself in the ass for having that nano-second of a lapse in judgement and doubt. 

My 20th+ 29th birthday celebration in the Big Easy was my very best yet. A close second would be the party I had in Public School where I invited everyone without telling my mom; but that's another post.

From the moment I arrived, until the moment I left, I had non-stop fun. I was fortunate to get to spend some amazing one on one time with my very good friend; and fortunate enough to be accepted and embraced by his phenomenal group of friends and neighbours.

My heart is bursting as I have never experienced such hospitality in my entire life! 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Friday, April 7, 2017

F IS FOR FANTASTIC

I had a FANTASTIC flight & first day in the French Quarter of New Orleans yesterday.

Leavin' on a jet plane.
TAKEN: APRIL 6th, 2017


My buddy RED was on the YYZ tarmac with me (formally known as Rouge in Quebec)!
TAKEN: April 6th, 2016

Landed, then I locked and loaded into my seat in Houston. Next stop, New Orleans.
TAKEN: April 6th, 2017

My first glimpse at the Masion Dupuy. Excellent location and happy with my choice.
TAKEN: APRIL 6th, 2017

LOOK...  Bourbon Street is on an angle. Could this be a sign?
TAKEN: APRIL 6th, 2017

Experiencing my first street artists.
TAKEN: April 6th, 2016

Words cannot describe the amazement.
TAKEN: APRIL 6th, 2017

Fitting, wouldn't ya say?
TAKEN: APRIL 6th, 2017

By buddy Darins' favourite bar.
TAKEN: APRIL 6th, 2017

21,447 steps later, I experienced  a fantastic travel day & got a glimpse to NOLA.
TAKEN: APRIL 6th, 2017

Thursday, April 6, 2017

E IS FOR EXCITED

Headed to New Orleans with my Timmies!
TAKEN: APRIL 6th, 2017
Well, today's the day. I landed at the airport just after 5am and after a quick stop in Houston, I will be in New Orleans just after lunch. I'm really excited. This wanderlust thing I have embedded into my brain never gets old.

I don't know why I make such a big deal about my birthday trip. That's I lie, I most certainly do. As a child, birthdays were never something my parents embraced, as a result they were not only a luxury but a rarity. I am proud to write that I broke that cycle for my children but it makes me sad that my husband never followed suit. So once the kids were grown and gone, I decided to take care of the task myself.

I wanted to go to New Orleans to see my friend Darin last year but I hummed and hawed about the exchange rate and went to Sayulita, Mexico to try and learn to surf instead. This year, because I went to Cuba in February, I knew I was limited to another weekend trip. I was originally looking at going to see the Toronto Raptors play at Madison Square Garden and decided to hit up last years destination instead; I also decided not to check the exchange rates until everything was booked!

As I sit and hammer out my words on my laptop. I can't help but smile. I am so very blessed with a great family, wonderful friends and a job I love. All of which support and allow me to head to embrace the Big Easy for a once in a lifetime experience.

Life is good!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

D IS FOR DESTINATIONS

Well, it’s the fourth letter of the alphabet and I am already feeling as though I am going to have a total brain spasm. So much so that I trolled my previous April A-Z posts to see if anything brilliant sparked. Almost an hour later, still nothing. Zero, zip, zilch, nada, nothing.

Then it hit me. When I was tuning up to begin this years’ challenge, I wasn’t sure my heart was in the right place to participate. As usual, with only a few letters accomplished I am getting ready to close my suitcase on my birthday trip. I was going to fold and admit that I’m still not sure I want to do this, then I had my a-ha moment.

Every year since committing to April A-Z I have traveled for my birthday, and every year I am stressed during the first leg of the challenge. So, as a friendly reminder of the last four challenges I have participated in, here’s a glimpse of where I’ve been, whilst completely freaking out about posting to this blog. This year, I will be in New Orleans.

As I prepare to hop a plane at 7am tomorrow morning, there are two things I am hoping for. A safe & smooth flight... and that the wi-fi in in my hotel in New Orleans functions better than it did in the house I rented last year in Mexico!

(L-R) South Carolina 2013, Jamaica 2014, Samana DR 2015, Sayulita MX 2016, NOLA 2017
TAKEN: April 2013,2014,2015,2016


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

C IS FOR CANADIAN

Like most people, I describe myself as a lot of things. I am a mother, a wife, a dog lover and on any given day I can be a fat hairy bitch. That said, one of the things I am most proud to describe myself as, is that I am Canadian.

My travels over the years have taken me to many different place. Should everything in my life remain aligned, next year I hope to cross that great big pond for the very first time into Europe. You see, leaving this country I love was never an option when I was growing up. Both parents felt it extremely important that I see and understand our homeland before I ventured into another.

My beautiful cottage view is always complimented by a Canadian flag.
TAKEN: AUGUST 2016 


You know what? If I close my eyes, even today I can see myself travelling on the Victoria Ferry over to Vancouver Island, I can recall the angst of watching those grain silos on the Prairies take forever to arrive; boy I loved those prairie dogs. As a grown woman, one of my favourite memories happened while standing outside the beautiful churches in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia on my way to Peggy's Cove. I am so very fortunate to have so many wonderful memories and live in the true north strong and free.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, April 3, 2017

B IS FOR BLACKBERRY

In April of 2004, I lost my corporate job. Consequently, in the small town I live in, over the 18 months that followed, so did 600 others (both salaried & hourly) when the automotive manufacturing plant closed.

Unsure what I was going to do, I decided to go into business for myself. Actually, I remember promising my husband if I couldn’t be back to my current level of earning in 24 months, I would go and get another desk job; it took me less than 12 months to reach that specific goal.

At that time, cell phones were the newest trend and Blackberry was King. As my business grew, so did my contact base so I decided to invest in myself and purchase a Blackberry. The one on the far right was my first and I still have the receipt for the $300 it cost me with a 2 year plan with my service provider. Yup, I got that puppy at the kiosk in our local Home Depot.

Who says loyalty since 2004 doesn't have its privileges?!
TAKEN: APRIL 2nd, 2017

Since then, I've steadfastly committed to stay with Blackberry until their dying breath. Though they still may appear to be on life support, when they announced last fall that they were no longer going to manufacture their own phones, I folded like a lawn chair and bought a Samsung Edge 6. Six months later, I still haven’t activated it.

Don’t get me wrong, I take both phones with me everywhere (that’s my Blackberry Classic on the far right) but I still can seem to wean my thumbs from those magical buttons.  I have to admit that one of my crew is missing in my photo. My Blackberry Curve; it was my absolute favourite. It died a death within 48 hours of my graduating to the next level and my husband killing it.

You know what? The fact that he busted it still pisses me off!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A IS FOR AMAZING

Five A-Z challenges later and I'm
STILL rockin' a small Canadian town.
TAKEN: March 31st, 2013
It was exactly 8:04 pm on April 1st, 2013 that I posted my very first April A-Z Challenge offering. I remember being both nervous and equally excited as I was about to head on a road trip to South Carolina. I also remember the angst of feeling unprepared to complete the task.

It being my first, I spent hours doing a matrix before hand in hopes to stay ahead of the daily task. An exercise that went to hell in a hand basket early on; I recall it was an exhausting month long exercise.

I have met and stayed in touch with so many amazing people that I’ve met through the challenge. Because I consider my blog to be an electronic journal, rather than a blog in the true sense of the term, I have kept it going for me whilst entertaining my loyal audience along the way.

I sure some stay tuned out of a sheer curiosity of wonderment in what I will post next but the truth of the matter is I was in a different place then than I am now. I will admit, when I went back and read my very first offering about 'admiration' before I began writing today, I smiled. That was such an extremely transitional time for me. I swear every single day in 2013 I learned something new about myself. Here's hoping 2017 will be as generous.

Thanks for reading, and remember... Keep your hands and feet in the ride at all times!