Sunday, August 30, 2020

MOOSEKOKA MUSING

Orillia Lake Muskoka
Just hanging out at the cottage with my big bad bull Moose. 
TAKEN: SEPTEMBER 2018

I was driving home from work last week and I quickly called one of my closest confidants. I thought I had forgotten to thank them from paying for lunch. 

Once connected via Bluetooth, I was reminded that I had in fact already thanked them for lunch, and they in return thanked me again for listening. What followed was quick and very candid conversation about the makings of a meltdown. 

I can speak from experience when I admit that when I finally submit and actually melt down, the emotional fallout can be nuclear. The bigger tell is that final straw is never usually the root cause,  it's just the particular moment housing my last semblance of personal strength when a cherished trust is broken.

Because most know and read me as a full blown extrovert, you may be surprised to learn that I am actually a very private person. I tend to listen far more than I share, and when I do share, it’s generally about generic life experience rather than anything of a very personal nature.

As a people pleasing lass I can count on one hand the number of lifelong friends I have and I firmly believe I've had more than one soulmate thus far in my lifetime. 

You know, that certain someone you have an immediate connection with the moment you meet and that connection is so strong that you feel you've known them your entire life. You immediately know they're special and meant to be in your life - which describes my aforementioned lunch date perfectly!

Soulmate status update aside, I guess my musing point is that in all my years I have learned that many things come and go. Things like people, possessions, pets as well as my patience for personal and professional politics and shell games. 

Though I have never been one for looking back with regret, I have always tried to forgive myself for not having the foresight to see something bad coming my way. I guess you could say that is one of the systemic problems with my rose coloured glasses I wear with such pride.

Those suckers can make a brown bull moose charging me head on, appear in my favourite shade of red.

Even worse? 

They always seem to have a smile on their face!

#TrueStory #seephotoabove

Thursday, August 20, 2020

A SNACK BRACKET

My very favourite client was in the office last week and he said to me… “Rhondi, just like you, I’ve had Covid-19.”

We burst out laughing after he continued with, “At the end of all of this, I’m not sure if it will end up being nineteen pounds, or nineteen kilograms!” 

I don’t know about you, but as an emotional eater, I can generally peg the time of year when circus music begins to chime in my ear signaling me to buy stock in the most profitable potato chip company. And I can assure you, every fall, any and all are generously sampled; as part of my annual stock purchase evaluation.

What can I say. I was a fat toddler. I was power fed homogenized milk, and in those days the perception was the fatter the better. The good news is I shed that baby fat, the bad news is those formed fat cells follow you forever.

I have always been athletic and outgoing but when perimenopause clicked in everything changed. My body absorbed food differently and in one year my metabolism changed exponentially. It was in that moment I knew I was being put to pasture.

Kicking and screaming and the better part of a year later, I lost the excess weight and changed my lifestyle. That was in 2012.

Even with a major change in lifestyle, winters and my seasonal affective disorder in this harsh tundra have me pulling my gravy crutch out of the hall closet bringing the five or ten pound of weight gain that accompany it. The good news is those extra pounds were always shed before I ever had to appear in any sort of summer shorts or swimming outfit. 

This year? We locked down. I filled up. The rest is history!

I want to shed the pounds I’ve gained yet I am a creature of habit. 

If gravy has a crutch, my philosophy that if I share with the pups I am really only taking in 1/3 of the calories must be a motorized wheelchair. One chip for each of you, one chip for me. One jelly bean for each of you, one jelly bean for me; and trust me, I am always fair in the distribution department.

I guess you could say that the only way the dogs keep the upper paw on me is because they don't have to share their dog cookies with me. Though I must say, on occasion the label on the front of the box has made it cross my mind.

Not gonna lie.... Those gravy covered Milk Bone dog biscuits definitely land within my mid-winter snack bracket!!

#yagottalaughaboutit

dog and cookies on orillia lake
It would appear that Annie and I have similar snackage struggles
TAKEN: AUGUST 7th, 2020


Monday, August 10, 2020

MY MARRIAGE COIN

 I read somewhere that marriage is an institution designed to let you annoy one special person for the rest of your life. Yet, I’m sure when you flip my blog and bitch about marriage coin really high into the air it would read: The perfect marriage is between a blind wife and a deaf husband.

I know you’ll probably find this hard to believe, but since opening my own business in 2004, as an entrepreneur I quickly learned to hone two very specific social skills. 

1. ALWAYS take a 24-48 hour cooling down period before speaking to whom you’re truly aggravated with, because words can never be taken back.

2. AND...Smile and be thankful for every piece of shit pie eaten that generated revenue. 

As you can see from my last couple of electronic offerings, this Covid crap has me crazy cranky.

The cherry on top of that statement is our first official summer vacation together since 2012 was received worse than Bob Dylan going electric and sadder than Levon Helm leaving The Band because of it.

We may have only been at our cottage, but it rained six out of ten days and by this past Saturday morning (when our water pump failed yet again) we both hit the ‘this fecking sucks’ wall. It was clear in our Sunday morning volume alone, we both really needed to take a break. 

I moved home with the dogs. He did not.

Now, I should share, we rarely fight nor even disagree.

The two of us at my company Christmas Party
TAKEN: DECEMBER 2000

In our many decades together we have learned to skillfully navigate each other for continued success. In this instance, our small cottage space, two wet dogs, and a thrice mis-installed water pump got the best of us.

How bad was it? If a successful marriage requires you to fall in love many times with the same person… I’m thinking by Labour Day weekend we might be ready for a lunch date.

That said, I can assure you that it was so bad, my best girlfriend will be making one of those famous ‘escape a really bad date’ phone calls; fifteen minutes in.

#yagottalaughaboutit

Saturday, August 8, 2020

ONE GIANT STEP

 Have you ever had one of those days where no matter what you try and accomplish, you take one step forward and two steps back? 

Well, the fat lady is tuning up to start singing to signal the end of my vacation, and gosh darn dammit if the last seven days haven’t played out exactly like that!

Since we connected water in early May, I have loved living in my little Covid Casita. But if I'm being honest here, the five days of rain last week drove me a tad bit stir crazy. 

Usually when I am antsy and frustrated, we hop in the car and go vrooom zoom for a change of scenery. Imagine wet dog everything and misplaced car keys. 

I know, right? Two. Steps. Back!

Y'all know I love my pups and that they love me. This is proven daily by the fact that they both have to be within two feet of me at any given moment. 

So, this past week, to avoid major rainfall/lake water stinkage, I towel dried them as much as possible, leaving me with a clean towel crisis that offered impressive expletives that I usually save for that crazy orange man south of here. 

I kid you not, when an electronic friend checked in via text with, “hope your week off is okay and quiet.” I instantly responded with, ‘I did laundry in the rain this morning... Livin’ the dream!” 

Truth of the matter is, when I saw the long-range forecast, I wanted to cancel and take a different week. My husband did not. I get it. He has the privilege of a maid and cook; so I can totally empathize with why we wouldn’t entertain a reschedule.

That said, I read an online article this week about the pursuit of personal happiness. It was from a husband’s perspective. It explained how it isn’t his job to make his wife happy. It is her responsibility to ensure she is happy with her choices and herself, which I agree with 100%.

So, when cleaning out the closets this past week, I came across a two-person pup tent I'd purchased for the kids many years ago. I set it up on the lower deck and looked forward to falling asleep over the water and waking up to the morning fog. 

I think I could market this space on Air BnB!
TAKEN: August 6th, 2020

People on my Facebook immediately joked that my husband had finally sent me to the doghouse but the truth of the matter is I hit the jackpot and got the hell out of the extra large doghouse for a good night sleep. 

Then, when heading up to make morning coffee, I broke the zipper on the door, took it down and hauled it into the trash.

Killing the tent after one might have been my two steps back. BUT baby, my night outside alone in the fresh air?

One giant step forward!

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

COTTAGE RAMP UP!

Only yours truly could be lucky enough to take their first summer vacation since 2012 and be blessed with rain all but the first day thus far. 

The crappy part is that the single sunny Saturday wasn't even taken as a day of rest, instead it was spent repairing and reinstalling the ramp attached to our floating dock system.

Notice the first step onto the ramp is missing?
TAKEN: AUGUST 1st, 2020

I think any repairs or renovations bring out the true personality of you and your life partner, which is probably why smart peeps pay someone to complete their chores to simply avoid the aggravation; automatically slotting us into the “sucker for punishment” construction category.

I’ve joked here numerous times that I married Canada’s Worst Handyman, which is exactly that, me teasing. If I was on the outside looking in, I would see that neither of us are lazy, nor less committed to accomplishing what we set our sites on.  We just approach any project we do in very different fashion. 

I like to have a firm plan from the start and my husband likes to jump in without even understanding if he has the right tools and material to finish.

I hate to be interrupted when I am in a task-oriented mode and he absolutely loves an extra five trips to the hardware store while the work is in process. Drives me bat shit crazy!
 
So, over the years I have learned that when we have a plan, there needs to be at least a three Saturday buffer to ensure we start without having to stop. To some it might read like micromanagement on my part, but I consider it as a solid investment in both efficiency and productivity... and the solemn promise from this cat not to argue whilst the task's being completed.

As you can see from the photo I am sharing, last Saturday has the top step from the deck onto the ramp missing. We never had a step there before, the ramp was always attached higher up. But by dropping the ramp and anchoring it differently, the hope is the ice won’t pummel it into submission again next winter.

Who wants to bet me that I don’t get a step installed this summer unless I do it myself?

Hey, I'm not trying to be a bitch here. 

I just have decades of historical data to prove I know the outcome of said bet hands down!

#yagottaslaughaboutit

Sunday, July 19, 2020

SUNDAY STORM DAY

I worked to get my weekend cottage chores done yesterday so that today could be an official day of rest. Well, that idea tanked quicker this morning than Donald Trump touting hydroxychloroquine as a cure for Coronavirus!

Meaning, my ‘no sun Sunday’ has the radio blaring and phone beeping with official tornado warnings, which in turn has me hunkered down inside with Spotify blaring, sipping a spicy Caesar, embracing a shitty Sunday storm day.

When given lemons? Make a Caesar and listen to Spotify!
TAKEN: JULY 19th, 2020

As my Bose speaker begins to play Kacey Musgraves and her song titled Rainbow starts; it seems eerily fitting.

“When it rains it pours,” is how the song begins. My struggle is that it feels like it has been raining for five friggin’ months, only in the non-precipitation sense.

Like most, I have struggled with this atmosphere I will officially label here as The Covid Climate.
I no longer watch the news, refuse to click on anything associated with the orange man, and find myself distancing myself from 90% of all social media. Lately, the only place I find any sense of normalcy is via Instagram. 

Probably because it’s hard to go wrong with pictures of the Muskoka landscape and Georgian Bay sunsets, as well as really cute pups. For the record, touting some serious cucumber envy, I also feel vegetable and flower gardens deserve an honorable shout out; way to go all you gardeners!

Anyway, if you dial your blog memory back, you’ll recall that people told me to stop being an alarmist when the virus first loomed.  Since then, so many have reached out to me via personal message sharing that they felt they too had been so sick. 

More worrisome is that most admitted they never shared being ill, purely because of the judgement of others that tended to follow; seeing as everything happening around us was fake.

I don’t know about you, but I have no idea how I managed to be graced and associated with so many scientists and immunology experts lately. Must be because Facebook University wasn’t an option for me in the mid 1980’s.

Who knew the first half of 2020 would produce such an elite number of scientific scholars?  Certainly not this cat. Well done Mr. Zuckerberg, for officially replacing both ethics and journalism worldwide with a meme.

With my sarcastic rant exhausted,  I know for a fact I am going to survive my 'no sun day' as well as the rest of this pandemic nonsense. 

How? Just ask my buddy Kacey, she knows. She tells me… That there has always be a rainbow hanging over my head!

Which has to be better than an Wile E. Coyote approved ACME anvil, right?

PS: If you haven’t heard the song, here’s a link, (Click here)

PSS: You’re welcome. She's awesome.

Monday, July 13, 2020

LONG LIVE THE VCR

Once again, it's the little things in life that make me smile.
TAKEN: JULY 11th, 2020


This past weekend, I decided to start going through cottage totes I had packed up and put away. I knew before I began that if I didn't need what was inside, the items were going to be loaded onto the four wheeler and hauled up the hill.

My project began a top a beautiful cedar closet that has been home to two black totes that had been there forever. I grabbed my step stool and hauled them cats down. 

Very much to my surprise, I discovered they were filled with VHS tapes. 

Instantly, my sexy bonus light, signaling that I'd entered the lightning round lit up. I dropped the lid, quickly sailed across the room, and opened the top drawer of an old dresser/make shift TV stand. 

Now this dresser stand is a classic faux style antique, which I will refer to as a fine crafted, wooden flat screen television stand. Vintage in nature. Traditional in design. Lawn Sale value: $5.
 
With all my might, I pulled on the swollen top drawer that probably hadn't been opened since the totes were stored, only to to discover my prize inside. (Don't judge the whole time lapse thing. Think VERY expensive flat screen television stand.)

Anyway, the drawer was full of taped movies. As a matter a fact, three of the four drawers were filled. 

VHS tapes with family home videos, television specials, kids movies as well as some of my favourite classic movies. I suddenly felt all warm and fuzzy inside.

After an amazing weekend of watching great memories, I can't help but reflect on how easily I haphazardly jumped on a new technology band wagon all willy-nilly, with zero regard for this collection.

Truth is, when the kids were in high school, I began collecting us DVD's. When they went away to college, I began scouring bargain bins to add to my collection. 

Everything I have ranges in price from a $1.99 to $4.99. I am embarrassed to share that I have accumulated hundreds of DVD's. 

With no streaming option, the last couple of summers I have struggled to pick a movie, so imagine my excitement in the moment I discovered this treasure. 

It was like finding a long lost trusted friend on social media and you unconditionally needed to catch up with them. A total breath of fresh air....Which brings me to my point. 

Rhondi Rule #908: Never discount a strong connection you've previously had by replacing it with something shiny and new.

Chances are the original will turn out to be that cozy blanket and pair fuzzy slippers that you've been quietly missing for the last fifteen years.

Give or take a change in technology or twenty two!

Friday, July 10, 2020

HAPPY TO HELP

A minute and a half away from celebrating my 5th anniversary with my current team, Tuesday was an extra special day for me at work.

A client walked into the office and handed me this lovely gift with a heartfelt personal note to say thank you. Though we socially distanced, she offered an ear to ear smile when I told her I would hug her if we weren't in the midst of a global pandemic.

bottle of wine gift at Big Orillia Lake
Thanks Alberta!
TAKEN: JULY 7th, 2020

She's such a lovely lady. One that knows when she calls at the last minute and asks for help, I offer it unconditionally. Not because I want to sell her something, but because I pride myself on providing great customer service; one of the most important and successful career hats I have worn for close to 20 years.

When I changed careers in 2004 and went into business for myself, it was serious grassroots market research that defined my path to the here and now. Having never really been in sales prior, I discovered very quickly that with my keen ability for analysis that sales and marketing was definitely that sexy little black dress that absolutely fit me perfectly.

Shortly thereafter, my dad fell ill and he lived his last six months in hospice care in our home. While managing that, every single free moment of every single day was spent on the phone in my home office. 

You see, in the midst of his end of life care, I was trying to build something special. That something special, had been clearly identified by the large amount of data I had collected and analysed. 

That said, I would be lying if I said I did it alone. There were two great friends coaching me on how to get a seat at the 'big peoples table'. One still remains one of my closest friends and has an MBA in marketing, the other was a friend with a degree in journalism; with a brilliant mind, and marketing background. 

I could always count on the latter to be brutally honest with me. He ghost wrote for my clients for those first few years.  His name was Greg; he has since passed.

I remember how hard I worked that first year. When things really started to blossom, with a keen respect for his knowledge I  asked Greg to review my 3 year business plan. 

All these years later, I will never forget the moment he looked me in the eye and told me that I was onto something.  Three months after that, he and I celebrated after my very first full page ad appeared on page A5 of the Toronto Star. The  value of the upload of that one ad in 2005: $60,000. 

Print led to great success with radio, then in 2007 I produced my first series of television commercials. I still watch them every once in a while to prove to myself what I'd actually accomplished. It was a life changing.

Not gonna lie, it is always nice to daydream of those years gone by, yet when a simple gift bag arrives for the little extra effort that was supplied, makes one realize they're on the right track.

Proving, one should never bet against karma .

Sunday, July 5, 2020

VAYCAY STAYCAY


Today is the last day of my five day staycation that was spent at the cottage. 

Bonfire at a cottage on Big Orillia Lake
I absolutely love an evening bonfire!
TAKEN: JULY 3rd, 2020

Funny how one forgets how wonderful time off in the summer can be when you you travel three of four times every winter. Not gonna lie, I've missed the sheer simplicity of this.

I've missed the early morning coffee sitting next to the water and evening bonfires listening to my favourite songs. Time here is very structured yet extremely relaxed. I love that if I don't want to wear clothes, I don't!

As I sit here and type it's hard to fathom that his is our 20th summer on Orillia Lake. There have been lots of changes over the years yet most everything is still the same. Most owners have come and gone but life here remains as it was 20 years ago; without young children. 

Speaking of children, there's a young family across from us that have children the ages ours were back when we purchased. Sometimes I find myself watching them and I think of Jukebox and Goob and their buddies spending hours upon hours in the water, coming out only to grab some grub and right back in they'd go.

The picnic table we had for them that could sit a dozen children was cut in half to save space. A couple of years ago we put billets under it. 

This summer we built her out, named her Stella, and added a trolling motor. Only to discover that I regret ever chopping the thing in two.

All of the decks, landings and stairs will be replaced this summer and though we have a shower upstairs, we chose to rebuild the outdoor shower in preparation for our staycay. 

My outdoor shower is right up there with skinny dipping for me. It feels great!

...Just like these last days have.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

ELBOW BUMP BLUES

This past weekend we had our very first 2020 visitors out to the cottage. Relax, they're a part of our inner circle of ten as it was my son Jukebox and his very lovable and quick witted girlfriend. 

They arrived just in time for lunch on Saturday. We spent a quiet day. Enjoyed a nice bonfire, then a hearty breakfast before they had to head back into town so she could work a Sunday afternoon shift.

It wasn't until they went to head up the hill that I realized how much my behaviours have changed, as I backed away and told them I didn't want a hug.  

In lieu, they both got double elbow bumps!

I love this photo. She is clearly matching his wit and he knows it!
TAKEN: June 27th, 2020

When Covid-19 first hit, I was deemed an essential worker and continued my modified Monday to Friday routine. Our leadership team immediately put a policy in place that you had to meet certain criteria before you could enter our office. 

If you did get to enter, you were made to stay on the mat inside the office door. 

As shaking hands was no longer an option, I would offer a quick a curtsy as my standard greeting. In turn, most men would bow to reciprocate and we'd have a wee chuckle.

It has only been since phase II came into effect that I gradually introduced the elbow bump. If you're near and dear to me, I'll shrug, pump, then roll my shoulders prior to offering my elbow just so the recipient knows there's a little extra special intent coming their way. (Guess you could say it was the closest thing to a hug I could create.)

Not gonna lie, I am so over this entire pandemic/plandemic thing, yet I'm not going to debate either side of that double sided coin, seems to just fuel the base of either opinion; which isn't the intent of my post.

What I will admit is that I miss the simple things we took for granted. Silly things, like chatting it up in the coffee aisle of the grocery store or letting my pups have a play date. But most of all I am going to miss travelling, so much so that I try not to even think about the next twelve months and what they may look like.

As I prepare to take a Canada Day cottage stretch staycation, I can't help but reflect on how ill I was in January and how I'm reading that if I did in fact have Covid-19, the antibodies from having the virus don't last long term. 

...Go figure.

Guess that right there is just another great big middle finger moment 2020 wanted to generously send my way! #yagottalaughaboutit

Sunday, May 24, 2020

DEAL WITH IT!

When I was a kid, my summer days were spent by the lake and my evenings spent playing cards or board games by propane powered lights with my mom and extended family. All these years later, those memories are still very fond ones.

Naturally, when we purchased our own cottage back in 2000, a wooden game box for puzzles and everything else needed to keep preteens busy was one of the first things created. They would swim through the day and if it rained, the game box was immediately cracked open before the television was ever turned on.

As I type, I can hear that classic pop-o-matic sound of a game of Trouble clicking away, or squeals of an exciting game of snakes and ladder in need of a referee well underway.
Their favourite card game was crazy 8's and I feel like they played thousands of those with my Dad before he passed in 2005.

As I reflect in my 20th summer at our cottage, I can't help but notice how much things have changed.

The kids don't come by very often anymore and the majority of my time is spent alone, yet I still love playing cards and board games. The difference is now it's against downloaded robots or an online audience.
 
Playing Phase 10 while listening to the Blue Jays play.
TAKEN: JULY 2018
Every once and a while I can convince my husband to play but it's not really his thing. In the summers since the kids left home, it has always been a negotiation to gain his interest in participating.

For instance, in summers past, though I absolutely hate baseball (which is another post) I would concede that we could listen to the game on the radio if he'd agree to play a board game or a couple of games of cards in return. With this summer season cancelled, I think I am going to have to become super creative.

With cottage life officially underway and no sports to use as bait, I'm thinking I may need to bust out a topless option with benefits for Canasta to get him interested in participating.

Either way, I'll deal with it. 

Get it?
Cards?
Deal?

That said, feel free to insert eye roll or head shake now.
A solid groan would also be totally appropriate!

Friday, May 15, 2020

KEEPING IT REAL

This is US at Orillia Lake.
TAKEN: 2008

More than a decade ago, I worked for a big fat guy that was an absolute donkey. Because I don’t like to degrade without inserting context, he was also extremely militant and generally very rude.

I remember he use to constantly page me over the loud speaker. “Rhondi, can you come to my office?” Which was code for me - that he needed to be fed.

When I heard, “Rhondi, can you come to my office, please!” I knew I was going to get a good old fashion ass kicking, because something out of my control had pissed him off.  The latter happened far more than I care to share.

Why did I stay? Truth is, I loved the job. 

I loved the job, the industry, but most of all the other people on the team. I guess you could say that I absorbed his poor treatment of me right up until the specific moment when his poor treatment of me was the straw that broke this loyal camel’s back.

Which leads me to my point:

With everything that is happening surrounding COVID-19, I find myself having similar conversations with my children about how they were, and are being treated (or mistreated) since this pandemic hit.

As I’ve mentioned, my daughter has two front line jobs, one at the hospital and one at a grocery store. She isn’t sure she wants to continue with both once the province opens up. I don’t blame her. One employer values her, the other does not. 

As a mom, all I can do is listen and let her talk things through with a sense of optimism that she'll hear herself rationalize her concerns; which I hope will eventually help her understand what she truly wants to do. 

Pre-pandemic, both my boys were doing very well in the restaurant industry. One can’t work because of underlying health issues and the second took a front line job so he could continue to pay his bills. After a month, his new employer exceeded his previous wage in hopes he would stay in their employ long term.

I guess the big picture question is should they return to the status quo or should they look to transition? At this juncture, no one has a crystal ball to tell me what the future will bring, so I can’t really be of assistance, simply listen and support.

For me, I'm just keeping it real. I have firmly instilled in all three to always treat people the way you want to be treated, in hopes that energy is returned. But more importantly, they always need to stand unconditionally strong together and support one and other no matter what.

COVID-19 or not, I will circle back to the nasty boss I mentioned at the beginning of my post. 

By sharing with them what happened to me in 2008, reinforces my point to them that substandard employers that don't appreciate young talent may come and go.

.... But family is forever!

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Z IS FOR ZAP

Jukebox, Goob, and Sweetie on Huckleberry Rock.
TAKEN: OCTOBER 2018
ZAP... Just like that, the month of April is over!

Having paid homage to the twenty six letters of the alphabet in the last thirty days, my 8th annual A-Z Blogging Challenge is officially complete. As expected, as every year previous, I truly struggled with the last four letters. 

As my readers know, this year has been exceptionally difficult for me to stay focused from a daily post/timeline perspective which is why I’ve played catch up from the start. 

Seriously, with what’s happening around us with Covid-19, I was asked to do an above average amount of website optimization, social media training, and freelance copy writing. Some nights in the last month, I’d still be sitting at my home office desk at 11pm; writing for a purpose.

That said, the other side of this crazy Covid coin is that we lost 3 family members in as many weeks. 

None of us able to pay our respects. None of us able to grieve those wonderful lives lived. Instead, we had to look to each other via Facebook and text messages to process what’s to be considered the new normal? 

Anyway, last week on the local radio station a listener was asked, ‘what’s the first thing you’re going to do when social distancing relaxes?’  Their response was, ‘hug my mother.’

Do you know what am I going to do when we can move freely? Beg my grown children to take a much needed break with us.

With two of my three working as important front line workers (that also live with front line workers) and the third an asthmatic that lives with a front line worker, they will all need and deserve some well deserved TLC.

As I officially finish my 2020 challenge, I ask that everyone hang in there and always remember to be kind and considerate. None of us have a GPS to offer direction for what is happening right now. 

Never lose sight of that.

Thanks again for reading.
Rhondi

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Saturday, April 25, 2020

V IS FOR VIEWPOINT

So much has changed within the social media ring since 2013 when I began doing the A-Z Blogging Challenge. As I share my 203rd unique April word today, with just 4 letters to go, I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on the shift in online behavior.

Because anything posted here is essentially my viewpoint, I feel I need to be clear. I always welcome that yours can differ from mine. All I expect is maturity not mudslinging when discussing a valid point.  It’s as simple as that.

Lastly 99% of what I share on my Facebook Ya Gotta Laugh About It page, is essentially about the humour, not politics nor religion. 

Please, never lose sight of that!

#yagottalaughaboutit


Thursday, April 23, 2020

T IS FOR THREESOME

Fourth bestselling author of all time.
We ALL can't be wrong!
TAKEN: DECEMBER 6th, 2016

As you know, I love to read.

Nowadays, I do the majority of it online but there's really something special about being on vacation and actually holding onto a book. That said, I have taken the same author on vacation every year since the year before I got married.

I remember my first encounter with her being at the condo we were staying at, in Madeira Beach, Florida. The gal I was travelling with was in the midst of reading a book called Fine Things. She was telling me about it and it sounded intriguing. When she finished reading it, I borrowed it and was hooked; I have been reading Danielle Steel ever since.

That said, I read more of her now, than I did in the early years. When the kids were small, if I was lucky, I use to get to read two books a year. One driving to our vacation destination, the second driving home. Back then, I primarily borrowed the books from friends but for the last ten or fifteen years, I've collect the majority of them from used book stores and various yard/estate sales.

Anyway, a few summers ago when I was rearranging the spare bedroom at the cottage, I found a stash of more than 3 dozen paperbacks packed away under a bed. Rummaging through, I found a couple that I had never read before, accompanied by a couple of copies of the ones I'd liked most.

When I knew I was headed to Mexico for a couple of weeks that December, I choose carefully to fill my beachfront reading obsession.

I am pleased to report that the three (new to me) paperbacks that traveled from home, returned to my bookshelf at the cottage the following spring, and they did not disappoint.

Thanks again Mexico... You provided me with MY KINDA THREESOME!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

S IS FOR SWEETIE

My Sweetie and me enjoying a Cafe de Monde beignets in the French Quarter, NOLA.
TAKEN: MAY 30th, 2019

It was five years ago this week that my Sweetie moved home from Calgary. It pains me to remember just how emotionally spent and somewhat broken she was when we picked her up at the airport. 

She’d invested her trust and love to a person that was not only mentally unstable but extremely abusive. As silly as this may read, as a mother, the first telltale sign for me how lost she was, was that she’d dyed her beautiful long curly hair jet black.

Five years later, she's working hard at a full time job, made some exciting new friendships, not to mention nurtured and re-established solid friendships she’d left behind. More importantly, she's finally let certain people go. Those that have ultimately lied and betrayed her over and over again.

So many things come to mind for me when I look at the picture but first and foremost it tells me just how far my daughter has come. The quite, teary mouse, that returned home, has now reverted in the firecracker we know and love. 

Though there are (and probably always will be) scars, I think she realizes that her future is much brighter than the darkness that surrounded us five years ago.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

R IS FOR RANDOM


The random gift of a Tim Horton's coffee is always good idea!
PHOTO: Me awaiting my birthday flight to New Orleans
TAKEN: APRIL 6th, 2017

For some strange reason I had a hankering for a cup of Tim Horton’s coffee this week. 

But, when I arrived at the franchise, the drive thru was closed. Not really sure what was happening, I decided lolygag in the parking lot until the pylons were removed and it opened again.

This COVID-19 situation sucks. I feel so sorry for everyone, yet grateful that I still get a full paycheck. So, when I arrived to pay, I decided to pay forward a random act of kindness for car behind mine. 

In hindsight, I could have paid for more but I've promised myself I will continue to give back to those in need until Ontario and the world is back on its feet.

As I’ve posted here a few times since this lock down started to... Be kind. Be considerate. Be compassionate; for those that may be in need your help for many months to come.

Just like the message I left at the Tim Horton’s window for the lady in the car behind me, always keep that front of mind and have a great day!

Saturday, April 18, 2020

P IS FOR PAMELA

Pamela and her big brother,
TAKEN: DECEMBER 2010
If you’re a reader I know you've previously met my sister in law Pamela. 

But, if you’re discovering my electronic journal this month via the April A-Z Challenge, I am happy you’re going to get to read about  her here today.

I met Pamela for the first time when I began dating her step brother; she was four years old.

I distinctly remember that day. So much so, that I remember she was barefoot on her tricycle. 

She energetically zoomed over to me in the driveway and introduced herself with a level of confidence most adults never achieve in their lifetime. It was like she was a beaming ray of absolute sunshine.

Through her teen years, like most of us, she maintained a core group of friends and had her heart broken a couple of time before meeting her life mate. Together the relocated back to her home town and eventually, his young daughter joined her father and Pamela hit the ground running as a family. The three became four when they welcomed a son.

She was amazing. A real pistol that was one of the most caring people I’ve ever had the privilege of getting to know. She was quick witted and smart, she was beautiful and funny but most of all she was a wonderful and caring mom.

We lost Pamela, at the age of 39 on October 28th, 2019. 

I still struggle with the suddenness of it all but more so that I sense her death could have been prevented. We all miss her very much. Then again, we all know one thing to be true. Which is... Goodbyes always hurt the most when the story is not finished. 

Rest In Peace my sweet. Until we meet again.

Friday, April 17, 2020

O IS FOR OOOOPS

I don’t know about you, but I've a very challenging and volatile relationship with my aging metabolism. Trust me when I admit that I wasn't even remotely prepared for what midlife did to a woman’s body but will go on the record stating this: It friggin’ sucks!

Let's face it. I only know a very small handful of women my age that are happy with their shape and my theory is simple. Menopause blows, big time. 

I suppose I could spend the money on liposuction to rid the evidence that I gave birth to 3 children, instead I wear clothes that are generally flattering to my shape, while spending my savings on travelling as much as my work life allows. This year, with COVID19 in full force, not so much. 

You see, over the last 6 or seven months I’ve put on some ‘stress weight’ that I am having a tough time shaking. It’s not the type of stress I experienced a decade years ago, more the ‘there aren’t enough hours in a day’ stress; which ultimately opens the door for bad food choices, creating even more stress.

I hate that I'm heavier than I care to be. That said, I guess I could have chosen, overweight or obese as my word, instead I chose OOOOPS.

Frankly because I feel I am simply on a detour, meaning I have not arrived at my final destination.

Thanks for listening ~ Rhondi

My quest for my waist once again continues!
TAKEN: DECEMBER 3rd, 2019
MAZATLAN, MEXICO


Thursday, April 16, 2020

N IS FOR NEVER

Today's post is for someone very special in my life.
She knows who she is.
Hang in there beautiful. I am here for you no matter what!


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

M IS FOR MY MOM

My mother, whom lived from 1930-1987
TAKEN: JULY 1947
This is my Mom.

If you haven’t met her via a previous post, allow me to introduce you to my mother Inez.

She was 17 years old when this photo was taken and the only one I own that was taken before she was married.

Though I have very few pictures of her, that doesn't mean that all of my life long memories aren't vivid, colourful, and still very much alive.

She was a fighter.

She won most every battle she set her mind to, but sadly she eventually lost the war. She passed in 1987 of ALS (more commonly known to the masses as Lou Gehrig's Disease).

I love and miss her very much.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

L IS FOR LOUISIANA

I have been lucky enough to have embraced New Orleans, Louisiana twice in the last few years. My first was a 2017 Bucket List Birthday Trip and the second was to celebrate my daughters born day in 2019. 

My first trip was to enjoy an annual festival there called French Quarter Fest and to visit friends I have that live there. After that trip, I knew I wanted to return because there were certain sites I’d missed seeing. Both times I stayed at an upscale boutique hotel call the Maison Dupuy, two blocks from Bourbon Street.

If I had to pick one word to describe the city it would be exciting. My second word would have to be being expensive. 

So blessed to be able afford such experiences!

Louisiana times two!
The right 2017 the right 2019
TAKEN: APRIL 2017 & MAY 2019



Monday, April 13, 2020

K IS FOR KNOWING



I've been diligently following what's been happening with COVID-19 since Monday January 20th, when overnight I got a fever so high and  phlegm so thick, that I cried when my husband went to leave me at 6am to go to work.

I begged him not to leave me alone, I couldn't breathe and I have never been so sick. I discovered later, my teacher for the course I was taking in Downtown Toronto, whom had a cough in class, had been to China over the Christmas break.

At the advice of a well versed office colleague (I infected) we delayed booking my April birthday travel, watching what was happening in China, we began keeping an inventory of our perishable food items. 

For whatever reason, in mid-March I was told to STOP creating havoc... but all I really wanted was for people to understand there's really next to no risk here in Muskoka, if we stay put. Example: If you're out and about, try to stay six or ten feet apart from your closest shopper. Wash your hands. Wear a mask.

Spend time together with your loved ones you live with and take yourselves back to grassroots socialization. Build a fire, roast marshmallows. Reconnect!!

At the end of the day, I'm positive I'll read what a waste of time all of this was. Those will be from the people that don't venture outside their Facebook page to research the global reality.

Our blessing is that Canada have never stopped investing in research since SARS. I have faith we are well ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to our safety. 

Please... Be kind. Be considerate. Be compassionate; for those that may be in need your help for many months to come.

This isn't going away tomorrow!

Saturday, April 11, 2020

J IS FOR JAMMERS

My son Jukebox, singing in the finals of Muskoka Voice!
TAKEN: AUGUST 2018


My oldest son was born in the dead of winter in Muskoka; he slept in a bassinet beside my bed for the first month or so, then graduated into his very own crib. Once he moved into his nursery, I made a choice that there would always be a radio playing. Why? Because we didn’t want him to be one of those babies conditioned to total silence.

Always set to the local radio station, it was rarely turned off. He dozed off to the tunes, and woke up the same way. I truly feel that early choice we made for him, has embedded the musical passion he has today.

Genetically, Jammers has always been completely surrounded by musicality. It’s a very common thread that is everywhere (on all sides of our family).

He is completely self-taught, disciplined, and he has fully embraced music as a craft. He’s talented. He’s extremely talented. Name the instrument, he can play it!

Keep going Jukebox. We know you can accomplish whatever you put your voice and self driven talent behind!

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

G IS FOR GRASS

I am a firm believer that the grass is never greener on the other side.
It only appears that way... Because it's showered with bullshit!

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

F IS FOR FITNESS

Driving by Snap Fitness yesterday, I laughed aloud when I read their marquee: “If your dog is fat… You're not getting enough exercise!” 

Personally, I thought the message was brilliant.

I walk far more than the recommended 10,000 steps a day, and I am very outgoing in every other facet of my life. I watch what I eat, and I certainly don't feel nor act my age.

Keeping with that last thought, my personal fitness guru was telling me that eating chocolate releases the same endorphins as having an orgasm.  Intrigued by the statement, I decided to do some basic math. 

The average chocolate bar contains 884 calories.  Having sex, can burn up to 300 calories per half hour.

Dottie enjoying our Book Club offering!
TAKEN: JULY 2012
Hmmm, I say the perfect solution is to enjoy an amazing two hour romp, and avoid any type of chocolate offering all together. 

That gives me a big bonus 1200 calories burned, and a perma smile that will stay with me way longer than any silly Kit Kat bar can possibly offer!

Now that right there is some serious calorie counting I can throw my back into! Guess I need to whip my husband into shape.

Whip? Maybe, not.

Blindfold? Definitely, MAYBE!

Saturday, April 4, 2020

D IS FOR DECADES

I will start by apologizing to my subscribers. 

I've had two unexpected deaths in our family, which has left me a week behind in my April A-Z Blogging Challenge. So, you will receive an entire weeks' worth of posts today and tomorrow. 

Truth is, I considered quitting. Then I realized I didn't want to. I figured I would give it a good push in an effort to get back on schedule by Easter Monday April 13th.

The letter D was harder than I thought it would be, because I'd decided to post a various pictures of myself from each decade. Finding them was the challenge. I hope you enjoy them.

Thanks for your patience,
Rhondi

Pretty Curls
TAKEN: DECEMBER 1969

Lake Louise with my Mama
TAKEN: JULY 1976


High School Daze
TAKEN: MAY 1984

Tampa, Florida
TAKEN: APRIL 1989


Labour Day Monday at Santa's Village
TAKEN: SEPTEMBER 1996


The summer we lived at the cottage.
TAKEN: JULY 2002


Sweetie & Me ~ Westin Harbour Castle
TAKEN: MAY 2008



Top of El Arco - Mazatlan, Mexico
TAKEN: NOVEMBER 2019

Friday, April 3, 2020

C IS FOR CANADA

I will always be proud and free. With an amazing sense of humour!
TAKEN: OCTOBER 2016
If your local Dairy Queen is closed from September through May, you may live in Canada...

If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don't work there, you may live in Canada .. 

If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you may live in Canada . 

If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation With someone who dialed a wrong number, you may live in Canada . 

If 'Vacation' means going anywhere South of Detroit for the weekend, you may live in Canada . 

If you measure distance in hours, you may live in Canada . 

If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, 
You may live in Canada . 

If you have switched from 'heat' to 'A/C' in the same day and back again, You may live in Canada . 

If you can drive 90 km/hr through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you may live in Canada . 

If you install security lights on your house and garage but leave both unlocked, you may live in Canada .

If you carry jumper cables in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you may live in Canada 

If you design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit, you may live in Canada . 

If the speed limit on the highway is 80 km -- you're going 95 and everybody is passing you, you may live in Canada . 

If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, you may live in Canada . 

If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter, and road construction, you may live in Canada . 

If you have more miles on your snow blower than your car, you may live in Canada . 

If you find -2 degrees 'a little chilly', you may live in Canada . 

If you actually understand these jokes, you definitely are Canadian and proud to be.