Sunday, September 30, 2012


I’m sitting here sipping my only cup of coffee for the day, waiting for a reply to a BBM text message I just sent. Like any relaxing Sunday; I awoke this morning, headed to my desk, and with Blackberry in hand, sparked up a conversation with my very best electronic friend.

Your Sunday Morning Funny!
What do I classify as an electronic friend? Someone that I chat comfortably with but I spend very little time with face to face.

In the case of this particular thumbster, the amount of time spent together is in direct relation to how often young people actually chat on the telephone. Never!

Texting for me is something relatively new. Matter a fact, it’s exactly a year ago this week that I discovered my very first electronic friendship. (I had no idea what the hell they were doing scanning my PIN barcode but we’ve been great friends ever since.) I suppose up until that very moment, I was one of the eccentric few that used my mobile to actually talk, not text. In hindsight, since discovering Messenger, I find it hard to believe I only ever used my Blackberry for business and never pleasure.

All of that said; electronic friendships have their own set of challenges. For every great photo you share of your day, or sarcastic comment you make at the others expense, there’s always a chance that something may be misunderstood or taken out of context.

It may be the most convenient way to communicate but in the flash of a couple of sentences it can easily become the hardest. Think of it like a texting trapeze so to speak. There may be unified glory involved but there is always very extreme risk. Electronic friendships are like any trapeze, a very tricky balancing act.

As my my desk vibrates signaling that my phone family is ready to start the day, I can't help but I wonder what they are up to? I’m sure I’ll see pictures, bust a gut laughing, and sarcastically judge each and every iPhone/iPad user for the sheer joy of making my electronic day brighter. Then, after I enjoy this really great day (no matter by which means or medium), I'll thankfully hug my Blackberry for its contribution, as it reassuringly tucks me into bed tonight.

Back to my Muskoka reality at hand. I have to wash the kitchen floor, clean the bathrooms, and then head to the grocery store. Cheers Peeps and have a really great day!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dial 1-900-BANTER. No Fees & Only Playful Chat Allowed!

Like most leaders, I spend a good portion of my day on the phone. Some days I actually feel like the telephone receiver is just an added (very fashionable) appendage to my overall ensemble.

That said; does anyone else find it interesting that today’s generation rarely talk on the telephone? They all seem to have one, guess they just have no desire to dial the silly thing. Hey, I’m the first to stand on my soap box and declare “you can’t stop change only manage it” so I'll ask. Do thumbs offer the same emotional reassurance as a pleasant sounding voice? I vote no way José!

To me there's nothing better than a great phone call.  When I hear the other person's genuine tone and candid laughter it's truly invigorating. I really do find comfort knowing that I am helping someone else have a really great day. It's how I feel; there is nothing like laughter and the light hearted banter that generates it.

I love banter period but telephone banter is amazing. It's been my personal experience that great telephone banter is something that is skillfully crafted over time. It develops with ease and grows at a steady pace. In no time, it becomes like second nature and a part of who you are as phone friends.

As an example, I was out of the office this afternoon and one of my clients spoke with my boss. He was calling in to pay a substantial bill and I guess my Bossman was the one that ended up on the other end of the line. When I returned to work, he questioned me about the call and the account. “Is there something you want to tell me” he asked.

When I asked why, he reported that after he thanked my client for his continued business, he was quizzically asked “is that it?” My client then disclosed that “Rhondi never takes my money without saying something sarcastic; I just figured it was company policy!” 

I howled with laughter and reminded my boss that he was awarded my “2011 Favourite Phone Friend Award” yet to me it was a mission accomplished. Great phone friends are extremely rare. 

It's a new year and a brand new award season. 

The absolute front runner for 2012 is a guy who is as quick witted as I and spent his teen summers obsessed with a cottage country Beaver Lumber store.

What can I say? We have really great... "phone". 

It’s Hill and Gully Running Baby!

I love to run. When I was figure skating year round, cardio was always a critical building block. There was always a very specific approach to physical conditioning and dry land running was a one of the bigger pieces. From a very young age, there was never a sport I didn't enjoy 110%.

I have always been active. This quest I have been on the last couple of years has me rediscovering a wide range of things I had totally forgotten I loved in my past life. As a result, April of 2011 had me lacing up my running shoes for the first time in decades. Not being in tip top shape, I decided not to run around an indoor track nor through the streets of town, instead I ventured into the gully behind my house and followed the tracks along the Muskoka River.

My first few times out, the trek up and down through the gully to get to my stomping ground, was pretty much exercise enough. As the spring turned to summer (and summer into fall) my determination persevered. My breathing became less laboured and my legs grew stronger. Winter had me working my skis and snowshoes and true to form, I was back down the gully and running the tracks in the spring of 2012.

Dot's always been my running mate but once or twice a week I would take my beloved beagle Daisy down the hill with us. The three of us would give it a go. Running the railway ties had become a soothing rhythm for me and something I grew to really look forward to.

After Daisy was killed this past June, I never returned to the gully. I swam, peddled, and golfed all summer but I couldn’t bring myself to lace up my shoes. It was just too painful.

After spending last Saturday reading in the comfort of jujubes and ice cream I took a baby step. I laced up my shoes and headed up the cottage stairs and down our private road with Dot and the puppy. It felt great. I’d truly missed it.

After an early dinner Sunday, I waited until about 6:30pm, then asked the question for the first time in months.

“Wanna go in the gully Dot?” She was ecstatic and I was committed to follow through. On went my shoes and gear and down the hill we went. 

I hit the tracks and started to run, hitting two and three ties at a time.  As I was about to hit the large bend at Wilson’s Falls I stopped to take it all in. So much in my life in the last couple of years changed but one thing was certain, life was moving forward.

As I held up my phone I asked Dottie “is that our Daisy?" As I admired the expression on her face  I knew she was thinking about her too. No matter what you may think or believe, I know the three of us were right there in that very moment. We were together again.

Judging by how my heart still aches, I know Daisy will be running with Dot and I for a very long time. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Why Does Time Fly?

Why do I do it? I finally made the effort to take time to unwind, then I stuff my schedule tighter than Spanx on Jabba the Hut! I’m tired. I have been tired since mid-August yet I still insist on pushing through.  My whirlwind adventure last night only proves that I am in fact a total sucker for punishment.

The only reason I am awake right now is that my golf game this afternoon was cancelled. If I would have golfed 18, I fear I would not have an ounce of energy left to make my trek back into the GTA.

I know it’s crazy but I'm heading back into Toronto until Sunday (don't fret, Monday is when the work really begins).

The house has been under renovation for more than a month, not to mention the twelve cord of wood in the driveway that must be piled. I have a technician booked to fix the ignition on the boat and then it has to be drained, wrapped and stored.

There’s a mountain of burning and clean up at the cottage that is driving me crazy; let's not forget a fridge, stove, floors and windows that need to be cleaned. Summer bedding has to get packed into the cedar closets and fall bedding has to get placed so that I’m ready for Thanksgiving weekend.

Then there's moi. I MUST keep up with everything electronic. I have three books on the go (all of which are average at best) but I have to make time to browse Pride & Prejudice at least once. What can I say, Mr. Darcy makes my heart skip a beat.

All and all, even I get tired reading my list of "things to do".  With all that work, what will I have to look forward to? Guess my appointment with my Chiropractor next week could very well be the high point - he’s great looking with amazing hands. At the end of the day, I am sure he'll make the short term pain worth the long term gain!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How Do Ya Like Me Now?

Again, my opening sentence is that I work with men. As a confident woman, I am proud that I don’t have a bunch of different personalities I parade around for the benefit of others. What you see, read, hear, is what you get. 

I would like to point out that at least once a week, I willingly disclose (to a varying number of the gentlemen I work with) that I am "unequivocally the single biggest bitch you will ever meet in your entire life." It generally makes them laugh but there is some serious truth to my statement.                                                        

Don't believe me? I'll prove it. Let's make a list.

Am I opinionated? Check. Am I stubborn? Check. Am I painfully sarcastic with a flair for condescension? Check check and check! 

Babe In Total Control of Herself?  Not in time HENS!
I'll admit that in this particular situation I was awful and my words have me painted into a corner. I am not making excuses but I wanted to be heard so badly it hurt. When that didn't happen, I just simply took my pail and shovel and went home. Definitely not one of my shining moments but at the end of the day a choice.

All of that said, I literally understand risk and reward better than most. At this point I figure I will just concede, suck it up, and move on.

I'm sure I will look back wishing there was some big scrabble word I could have used to describe my behaviour. Instead of reaching for it; I know I'll just skip my turn, change my tiles, and take the penalty.

Too bad really because this is the first time in my entire life I am moving forward with doubt...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Eight Days of Knowing I LOVE The Fall...

I am pleased to report that this morning was the eighth morning in a row I jumped out of bed and told myself that I was “going to have a great day.” I must admit, I was right on the money.

With a skip in my step I had a great walk to work. My toes were a tad bit nippy walking in my sandals but nothing I couldn’t handle. After all, it's approaching fall in Muskoka, which triggers my annual sock dilemma. To wear socks, or not to wear socks: that is the question.

Fall is absolutely my favourite time of year. Gets kicked off every year with my asking myself the sock question, along with enjoying my favourite annual event, Canada's Walk of Fame Festival.

I love what this upcoming weekend represents. I have enjoyed each and every ceremony since it's inception but this time last year I took the leap. I headed into the city to enjoy the festival first hand. I had dinner with Bill (Downtown Toronto Sheraton), then Colleen and I headed to Massey Hall for Burton Cummings. We were there to celebrate Burton being inducted onto Canada's Walk of Fame.

This week, I have butterflies knowing that I'll dine then enjoy Sarah McLachlan bring down the house at Massey Hall. That's right, one of my favourite artists has accepted the honour of being one of the 2012 inductees. She’s sold over 40 million recordings worldwide and five of her albums have reached the Billboard Top 15. I love her music, I love all of her music.

I have only been to Massey Hall once and there’s not a bad seat in the house. I fully expect that when the house lights dim the hair on my arms and the back of my neck will stand on end. The anticipation of hearing her live and not on YouTube has me downright emotional. How silly is it that I am so amped that I’m literally giddy.

As the  season’s change and so do I (sorry that was last year’s inductee) I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the start of what is going to be the perfect fall season.


Check out the other inductees:

Sunday, September 16, 2012

And The Winner Is? HAPPINESS!

There are only two things in my life that are truly mine and this blog is one of them. As a result, I always try and write something every single day. Some entries are too personal to post and some just simply boast far too many curse words. All of that said, since my blogs inception, only one thing has seen and heard it all.

I’m not proud (and a little ashamed) to admit that my wireless keyboard has literally been to hell and back this past year. There have actually been times that I've had my good buddy on life support.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” someones wise grandmother once said, which truly applies to my poor wee storyteller helper. I have been so hard on this little guy that I could imagine him slipping the wireless mouse a note, asking which day the electronic recycling truck passes, so he could hitch a ride and get the hell outta town!

I suppose I'm feeling sorry for my Microsoft Wireless 800 because last night I heard myself  utter the exact words that have eluded me. “All this time I think I’ve been looking for happiness” I said.

With arms wrapped around me it dawned on me, I am happy. The only difference between then and now are the things that make me happy have evolved and changed.  

Last night I finally realized that being happy doesn’t mean everything has to be perfect. It means that I  promise to see beyond (what I perceive as) imperfections and enjoy life one day at a time.  Close to two years later I've ultimately discovered that happiness is a choice that only I can make for myself.

As I have posted time and again, I had a really great summer. Moving forward, I have ultimately decided to stop trying to be what others think I should be instead making a personal commitment to continue my journey toward exactly who I want to be. I want to be me.

All gibberish aside, I am pleased to report that I just had a heart to heart with my keyboard. He’s relieved to hear the next thing on my list to deal with is the actual activity of downsizing. I am very excited to report that he's committed to me. He's just hoping downsizing will be far less emotional!

Monday, September 10, 2012

I Truly LOVE A Rainy Muskoka Weekend!

I had a short week. I golfed in a tourney over in Hailburton last Friday and landed at the cottage about 8:30pm that night. It was cold and damp but nothing I couldn’t handle. I was tired when I arrived but as silly as it sounds, I found comfort in the pouring rain. It made for a very relaxing evening.

Due to the dry summer we've just endured, I've missed being tucked into bed watching the storms roll in. Rainfall at the cottage has always kept me company and this past Friday night did not disappoint. It was amazing.

Orillia Lake has a steel roof, so when it rains as hard as it did this past weekend, sound sleep is not one of the perks. I’m not complaining; to me there is nothing more soothing than rain hitting the steel roof at the cottage. With my bedroom patio door open, I was happy to throw on another duvet, enjoying a great night of soothing yet seriously interrupted sleep.

Photo Cred: Rhondi
...very well said Norwood Theatre!
With the soggy weather continuing Saturday morning I found myself sipping a hot cup of coffee, watching my favourite DVD's, and stretched out in a warm cozy bed with my dogs.

What finally got me motivated? It was the idea of a touring of some of the Districts most famous ghost towns, which just happen to be located in the middle of nowhere. Who knew that rainfall could lead to such a unique adventure?

I am very proud to admit that I live and work in Muskoka. And for the first time in over a decade I got to enjoy a snapshot of its breath taking topography and deeply rooted history.

I've missed you Muskoka and I am truly sorry I've stayed away so long. With the season quickly changing, I am pleased to announce to all the folks in Cooper's Falls that I'll be back.

Sooner than later folks!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thank You for Being My Friend

Have you ever noticed that when it comes to personal crisis you always have that core group of friends that come to your aid? You know; those select few that hear something in your voice or see the fret in your eyes? It’s hard to describe with text but I think you catch my drift.

July 2009 - Great Night!
Life (and business in general) this time of year is borderline psychotic. Success is had if you're “busy making hay while the sun shines" and let me tell ya, the UV rays have been Africa hot since March. 

The downside? My best friend works in the same market I do. We both need to make enough cash to stuff that hypothetical duvet cover ensuring we stay warm for the winter!

They say very few friends stay with you through the long haul. She's one of my four. 

We were business associates initially but our bond grew quickly. Seriously, I would help some people move, but I would absolutely and unconditionally help her move a body.  

She has wiped my tears many a time; tears because we laughed so hard we cried, as well as tears from my sobbing so hard, all she could do was cry alongside me. Funny how journeys and friendships go. Perhaps our bond is so solid because our individual journeys happened a decade apart.

It’s not been a great week. After all of her efforts to reach me (and lack of results) she knew something was up. We spoke today for the first time this week, she asked three times if I was OK, then she put an action plan in place. Kindred spirits we are she and I. She is irreplaceable and I love her very much. 

That said, for both our sake, I am officially calling the HENs to order. It's going to be loud but nothing we can't handle. Heads are gonna roll!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Stop Talking and Keep Pouring….

Today was an interesting day for me; so before you start telling me about your day, I need you to stop talking and keep pouring!  It’s my blog so I’ll go first.

Well, it seems I went to bed on the wrong side last night and got up this morning on the very same side. I`ll give props to my morning wake up text which had me smiling, but when I arrived at work it was like the entire property had a storm cloud over it like the hearse belonging to the Addams Family.

Question: Why is it on the days you want to blend in with the wallpaper challenges arise making it impossible? From the time I started this morning`s meeting; no matter what I did or where I turned, I was frustrated and agitated.

I know it’s the compilation of ‘a lot of nothing’. But one has to admit sometimes we ignore the nothings until they amount to something. I think today was a toxic combination of months of nothing.

For my own reasons, I choose to rarely talk about what I do for a living. I am pleased to report that 99% of the time I can say “I am one of the lucky few that love what I do for a living” today just wasn’t one of those days. Suffice is to say, tomorrow should be interesting.

I’ll get off my soapbox now, give you a great big hug, and nicely ask… “How was your day?”

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Appears I Am Going To Be OKEY-DOKEY!

This past weekend marked the end of my personal nine week challenge, which was to enjoy the cottage without the kids. As I climbed the 50+ stairs this morning in the dark, I was reminded just how quickly my time flew by.

Let me start by stating the obvious. I had fantastic 'challenge' weather. As a result, there was never a shortage of visitors. No matter if you arrived by car or by boat (you dined or you didn’t) the fact that we enjoyed time together is all that truly matters.

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that my nine weeks turned into a balancing act I’ve never had to endure before. There were no life jackets to find, no “he is/she is” cheating at Yahtzee fights to break up, nor any meals to be prepared on demand and by the clock. As selfish as it sounds, I loved it. My summer was perfect. To think that I worried at the start I would be lost. I am very pleased to report that I have found my way.

The fat lady officially sang late this past Saturday night. Kids having a blast while I was tucked into bed upstairs; I wasn’t worried for their safety, yet I really wished I’d have headed back into town for a good night sleep in my own bed. It was like a switch had flipped and I was released. That night changed me and everything came into focus.

For a number of reasons, 2012 will always represent a plethora of emotion.

Spring was superb; I'd leave work at lunch, head to the cottage, climb into bed for the afternoon and relax. The heat of the July took my commitment to exercise to the next level and I did my first back dive in over a decade. Oh, I read books; lots & lots of excellent books. My single guilty pleasure was that I refused to work every single weekend. This was definitely the cottage season for Rhondi.

Reflection, personal choices, and very fond heart-warming memories; may the leaves change and the water chill at the pace it chooses.  Makes no matter as I look to my next adventure...

I have some serious business to take care of which includes my downhill skis. Are you surprised that I can hear the circus music at Whistler playing really loud as I type?