Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bring it 2014

Walking into the cottage today I was playfully talking to myself aloud. Relax. I am told that as long as I don’t answer myself back the exercise is really quite normal.

Comfortable in my stride, I started listing significant month my month moments that summarized my past year. Some moments truly made me sad, yet others scored a very loud HELL YA...  Quickly followed by a glass half full Giddy UP!

2013 offered all of us a quiet yet cherished milestone...
Here's the skinny on my year in review...

My 2013 low point was a blind side experienced in Life Lesson #457 posted last January.

My high point was most definitely A Quiet Milestone posted in October. Thank you again my amazing Jukebox...

My biggest surprise of 2013 was never discussed as a post.

It quietly arrived in the form a friendship in the early Spring of 2013. Sound business advice (combined with them being solid sounding board) gets this person a significant 2013 nod from me.

Award ceremony aside, I have to admit that what's trending on Twitter tonight is very true. Tomorrow will offer the first blank page of  a 365 page book to be written.

The best part about that specific challenge is I feel I am starting 2014 at peace with myself, my family, my life, as well as my business skill set.

I like that... I LIKE THAT A LOT!

Happy New Year and thank you ALL so very much for reading.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

An Interesting Sunday At Gull Lake Park

Night before last we hosted a Christmas Open House for our children and a couple dozen of their closet friends. While I was snapping a group picture in front of our Xmas tree, someone accidentally stumbled back and broke the hand painted wine glass I was given for Christmas.

As I've mentioned, my husband and I have never really exchanged gifts. Yet, considering what I have been going through in the last few months, the thought behind his unexpected gift was perfect. My wine glass had small colourful paw prints on it, not to mention some neat little hand painted cartoons that were very applicable. Around the centre section of the wine glass (written in calligraphy) it read “Some days you’re the dog. Some days you’re the hydrant”.

Knowing I was disappointed that it got busted, he asked me this morning if I wanted to trek back to the store where he'd bought it in to see if he could buy me another one. Hope in hand we trekked and I am sad to report it was not meant to be.

Leaving Gravenhurst & heading home we figured we best let our pups a minute to do their business. As a result, we ventured to the closest park. Pulling into the parking lot I realized I'd spent many a summer Sunday night in the park as a child, yet I had never once been to the park in the winter.Today was an interesting and reflective very first for me.

Aside from a sea of trucks and snowmobile trailers the were abandoned in the parking lot the place was desolate. The sky was dreary and the trees were heavily laden with snow. I could hear their large limbs cracking as I made my way to the lake. 

Something tells me Tommy Hunter cancelled tonight show on The Barge!
Taken: Sunday December 29th. 2013

Just looking at those familiar fibreglass walls instantly snapped me back into my childhood. Heading to the barge on Sunday nights was one of the many 'somethings' we did as a family. As I stood there in the moment I felt like a ten year old all over again. 

In a flash it was like there were people everywhere. I envisioned Pierre was racing me to the playground as my parents bickered about where to set up the lawn chairs; and, using all of my charms, I was begging my Dad for money for a blue freezie at the Snack Bar. Then, as my mind focused on the reality at hand, I remembered the venue being so much bigger when I was a kid.

Photo's taken, standing there all alone, the silence felt kind of eerie. Matter a fact it felt like it could have been a backdrop for a zombie movie. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a winter zombie movie, so yet again another first for me. That thought right there took my personal tally of firsts today to two. WOW!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go pour myself a lovely glass of wine into a Red Solo Cup.

Well, truthfully it's a Mason Jar.

Because a really good wine needs to be surrounded by glass!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Laughter is ALWAYS The Best Medicine

GOOB  & Dot at 'gift time'
Taken: Dec 25th, 2013
My son just walked down the stairs, kissed me on the head, and a said “thank you for Christmas Mum....” All I could do was smile and say was “you’re quite welcome Goob…” 

I'm not sharing that specific moment because I was taken aback, yet to simply admit that his arms around me (not to mention the heartfelt sentiment) felt really great. 

Like everyone reading, yesterday was a big day for us as a family. Our festivities started the night before but my feeling under the weather had my grown children bonding with their Daddy and celebrating without me. 

Christmas morn had me haul me fevered ass out of bed and into the shower... a shower stall that spun faster than a college experience of 'bed spins'! Exhausted, I finally arrived downstairs to an unexpected bouquet of flowers and a kitchen full of men taking care of every single festive detail.

Jukebox was baking shortbread cookies (from the dough he'd made the night before). Goob was arranging my flowers and getting brunch happening;  while my husband dodged their elbows taking care of every other dinner detail in between. Sipping coffee, it felt like my daughter and I were just simply in the way of a very well oiled testosterone machine. 

Jukebox checking out one of the harmonica's Goob gave him.
Taken: Dec 25th, 2013
True to our personal philosophy, there wasn't much money invested in the way of gifts. Just some small things that were needed. Yet, for the first time ever we gifted food baskets. Wooden totes, filled with groceries, which were truly the surprise hit.

As parents, we really did love shopping for each tote. They may be siblings but each are very unique in their personal tastes, so each tote was filled accordingly.

Gift giving aside... It was my daughter's mid afternoon tears that reminded us how she's worked through the biggest transition of the three in 2013.

I don't want to say that it's because the boys were more resilient transitioning but different life choices bring differing personal journeys. On one end of the scale, you have my fiercely independent boys: the other end of the spectrum appears my daughter. Truly a home body (so close to my husband and I) that she never really had any true desire to spread her wings until this past September. Seeing her tears reminds me just how far removed I was from the boys when they transitioned in the very same journey.

My Sweetie & her Dad (Oh ...and Puddin' too!)
Taken: Dec 25th, 2013
I am fiercely proud of all of my children. If there is one memory I will take away from the last couple of days it's how much we laughed. Everyone was fair game for a zinger, every single jab was taken in stride.

Right or wrong, we have raised our children in an open forum of dialogue and debate. We've lead by example, and held them accountable every step of the way.

Who am I kidding?

There has always been one characteristic that we'd hoped would compliment them and forever help them get through life. Which is simply an overly sarcastic, wonderfully amazing, freakin' bat shit crazy sense of humour!

What can I say, after what I witnessed first hand yesterday...


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I Love Christmas Puddin'... !

I can’t believe that it’s Christmas Eve already. Better yet, where the heck did the year go?

I know I miss certain people that were a constant this time last year, yet as the months lapsed, they found themselves more comfortable on the sidelines. I know that I worked the majority of it away, only to find myself leave my job and start anew. And, for the very first time in my entire life, I feel truly grateful that I don’t have a care in the world. Wait a minute, that's not entirely true. My pups preoccupy 90% of the free time and thought process.

Enjoying the Christmas morning sun and ocean air.
Taken: December 25th, 2012
As I sit and enjoy a hot cup of coffee, I am pleased to report that all of my holiday chores are complete. Well, all but one that is.

The last thing I have to do today is rustle me up some Christmas attire for my pooches.

You may think I'm being corny but that's what us “dog people” do.

We quit bothering our children with all things frilly about the holidays, and we completely and totally steamroll our pets with them. I’m not proud; I am the first to shamelessly admit that I'll hold them at ransom using a treat or a cookie. You’d be surprised what I can get these two to endure whilst controlling their stomachs!

How the hell else do you think I'll get them to
keep a Christmas hat on?!
I'm tellin' ya... It can get tricky!
Taken: December 2013
My children roll their eyes at how I treat them; but just like when my kids were toddlers, when they weren't underfoot, I'd worry. When they were underfoot, I'd get exasperated. Because, well, let's face it... They were underfoot! 

Good pup behaviour is always rewarded. Hell, who am I kidding. Bad pup behaviour? Also rewarded!  Why? Because I can. 

They are a part of our lives. They are a part of our family. And Christmas is all about family right?

Merry Christmas EVERYONE.... From the ENTIRE Peacock clan.

Canine or not... Cheers & Enjoy!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Just Shakin' That Shit Off...!!!

I was hoping to take some time off before 2014 arrives but that's just not going to happen. Suffice it to say I have so much to do and so little time. I know, I know, that's just LIFE.

Since leaving my job my days have been spent sitting at my home office desk doing analysis and market research for my new job. I am pleased to report that today we met as an entire Team for the very first time. We did it via a very private setting; because let's face it, this is a very small town, and everyone is curious where I'll land.

What can I say? The narrow minded worried I'd be OK.  The forward thinkers prayed I'd never be a competitor. The honest truth is that I am completely jazzed with my choice. I find it a little surreal that once again I have chosen to work for man. I know what you're thinking, and my answer is a simply NO... I am not a sucker for punishment!

My Puddin' showing me how it's done!
Taken: September 14th, 2013
In the end I just gotta shake every single thought of 'man' doubt I have off; hence, why I love the picture of Puddin' I am sharing.

My pup illustrates my thoughts perfectly as she shakes off all her surrounding crap. She symbolizes for both of us that we are cleansed and ready for whatever awaits.

Photos aside, with regards to my choice  to again report to a man you may be thinking "once bitten... thrice shy".

Nope: when it comes to me & moving forward, I'm more a "third time's a charm" kinda gal. 

I'll keep ya posted!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

My Fantastic Four!

WOW... Who knew my quitting my job would create such a kerfuffle? Out and about in town today I was a little surprised that everyone wanted to chat about my change in employment status. What can I say? I quit my job. People do it every single day.

Trust me, my biggest shock isn't the plethora of calls received to ensure my Christmas bonus will be delivered in a timely fashion, rather it's the unconditional cheerleading & emotional support I have received from my family. 

Taken: July 2009
Though we've truly had our challenges over the last couple of years, my grown children have proven to me just how solidly bonded we are. You can quit a job but a family is forever.

All three children have offered me both insight & help. As for my husband, he just keeps telling me he loves me because he truly understands that the right thing has happened.

I fear my children think my decision was made in haste. This post is to reassure them that it was not. They need to know that their father wanted me to take an offer made last August but I truly thought that common (business) sense would prevail and the bullshit would pass.

Don't get me wrong. I understand that it's always hard on a man's ego when a woman is selected to join a fledging team for her skill set, leadership ability, and knowledge of how to quickly increase profitability. Truth of the matter is that most men in business have a selective memory. Once the dark days are over, 99% of the time, it always comes down to one of two things: your last name, and whether or not you have an appendage. 

I know, I know, most of you think I already have bigger balls than most men. And though that statement may have some truth to it, I can assure you that my confidence in business has always been used for GOOD, and never for evil. Staying and continuing to take a large salary (while watching a lot of hard work unravel, telling people what they want to hear) was NEVER be an option for me.

I am very proud that we can assure our children that everything is going to be A-OK. I want them to understand that I harbour no ill feelings about the time I invested with the company I have just left; but more importantly, I want them to know that I LOVE them all very much. As expected: onward & upward was all she wrote.

That, and that soda pop's on sale at Wal-Mart this weekend.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Came Early For This Cat…

You know what? I got up this morning and went to work. Then, after about an hour, decided I didn't want to work any more in 2013 and that was that. Christmas came early for me this year and it feels really great.

As you all know I have been transitioning since last summer. I wasn’t exactly sure where I’d land but at the end of the day I ultimately knew I was in search of a couple of very specific things. An understanding and appreciation for my skill set was up there but being happy superseded everything else on my wishlist.

I know I always joke that 'you should aim low to avoid disappointment’. Truth of the matter is that disappointment come in all shapes and sizes, every single day, to everyone including yours truly. So, I guess I realized last night that no matter how this transition happened, there would be disappointment surrounding it; with those that gained great wealth from my skill set, with those that didn't listen (nor wanted to hear) the warning signs, and particularly with those I left behind.

There will be talk and chatter about how everything unfurled: that’s just human nature. I know for a fact that those with the biggest egos will point fingers about how they were right. Again, I land at the amazing ones I left behind. The one’s I empowered to reach for something greater, that never had any support before I arrived there 3+ years ago.

As I shovelled the driveway a third time today - this was my view.
What can I say? I really can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Taken December 12th, 2013
They say timing is everything and yesterday I had a pre-planned lunch with one of my very favourite clients. 

On our way to the restaurant I took a call from my husband & I explained that I had packed everything up and it was done. 

With my client in shock, over our meal we talked about my decision as well as the nepotism that always runs rampant in a family business.

I explained why I felt the way I did but also admitted that when anyone leaves a job it’s like pulling a finger out of a glass of water, the water automatically fills back in. His response was “Oh, Rhondi… but with you... it’s like pulling out an entire fist that's been submerged to the elbow!”

...Guess you know why he will always be one of my very favourite clients.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Defining Relief...

Being happy is all that matters...
Lookin' good Spottie DOT!

Taken: December 11th, 2012
What can I say? On a scale of 1-10 we totally got dumped on with snow today. Tomorrow? Expected to be even worse.

The major incoming highways are closed, and the OPP are telling people to stay off the road. Egad! What a crazy, crappy, slap hap happy, bullshit, kinda day.

While navigating such crap, my Goob was amazing.  He worked hard and ensured all the snow cleared before I arrived home. His hard work offered some serious relief. I thanked him, and his smile and hugs offered even more relief. 

On this shitty day, how amazing is it that I called my husband this morn and reminded him the I had already booked (and paid for a trip for us) to Jamaica last August?!

Today was a day of relief for both of us; thank goodness it's over.

Glass half full?

My man n' me.... Weeez Jamaica bound MON!!!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Yo Ho Oh, Christmas Tree

To me personally it’s a one three punch to tell me the festive season has officially arrived. The tree is up and trimmed, there is a fresh blanket of the white stuff on the ground, and there's a wonderful smell of home baking wafting over the house by way of the kitchen.

I know I have shared that I started taking a B12 supplement when the time changed this fall, as well as I inherited a happy light. I can't believe how both have made a world of difference for me. I have a much brighter outlook (no pun intended) and my overall level of energy has increased leaps and bounds.

Thanks to my two new friends and a plethora of other life changes, I am really looking forward to our family Christmas this year. Not because I am at the top of Santa’s nice list (because let’s face it... in my mind naughty gets the year round nod)  but because this is the first time in my entire life I have ever enjoyed the holiday process.

There is nothing prettier than waking up to
a fresh blanket of snow.
Taken: December 8th, 2013
This year, my husband and I thoughtfully picked out a tree that barely fit inside our home; we tag teamed and strung the lights together, and he made home-made soup yesterday and critiqued my approach as I finished decorating it.

We have discussed all the gifts that have and will be purchased and we have done every stitch of shopping together. As warm and fuzzy as it sounds, all of the above are a series of very firsts for us.

I am a little embarrassed to admit that he's never really shown interest nor ever been involved in all the preparation and details. Matter a fact, for the past 25 years he’s just basically shown up and enjoyed the party.

With the nest emptying, I never realized until a few years ago just how angry and resentful having to endure the process alone had made me. Guess you can say I went on strike.

In hindsight, I know now, that my children didn't see nor understand at the time what was happening. The holidays were just the final straw for me. Leaving the Christmas tree up and undecorated for three solid weeks, and no one noticing, was just affirmation that I was truly ready to start anew. Three years later, embracing the festive season is a significant step for me, and I am glad I've taken it.

Anyway, as I strategically placed the candy canes on the tree yesterday, I was sure to place them high enough off the ground to so that Puddin’s sweet tooth wouldn’t over take her brain and wreck everything. What can I say? Like any lab, she’ll always be a handful. 

I suppose like any over achieving, results driven, wife and mother of three… So will I.

Friday, December 6, 2013

My Mom Sooo Woulda Kicked Your Ass!

“When God was handing out noses, he thought you said hoses & gave you a long one!” 
~ My Mom.

My Mom & I on a family trip to Gaspe.
Taken: July 1972
I was always a very curious child. Constantly asking questions and continually wanting to learn. 

When/if I entered a subject matter that my mother didn’t want to discuss, she would automatically recite the famous rhyme I've posted. After being warned, if I pushed, I'd be firmly told “the subject is closed!”

My parents having me later in life meant (that outside of school) I spent my most formative years in a room full of adults. 

With my mother's side of the family I was meant to be seen and not heard. My father's family? I was always included no matter what. So, from a very young age, I quickly learned which of my 15 personalities came in handy!

Joking aside, part of me thinks I am the way I am because my mother very militant was always quite hard. Crazy intelligent: yet fiercely dominant. I have grown into my own level of intellect but my entire life I have been conscious of our similarities. All my life I've always known I never wanted to emulate, nor exude such serious and somewhat uncaring energy. (The honest truth is raising our children I would remind my husband... "never let me do this, nor this, & definately not that.)

That said, I have never wanted to consciously emulate my mother until today. What can I say, when a good ass kicking is meant to be had, show up and kick some serious fecking ass! What did I do? I rolled over, offered some personal insight, and walked away.

Not because I couldn't have gone "there" but if after after all these years you're hanging your hat on the experience you've gained from those cult like Amway daze? You just simply are not worth a single stitch of my time and energy!

PS - DUDE... Get your nose the hell outta my business or my Mom is sooo gonna kick your ass once and for all!!!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Bah, Humbug? I HOPE NOT!

The only thought worse than Black Friday for me? When my very favourite radio station switched to Christmas tunes 24-7. Not because I hate the melodious songs; rather, I swear it signals the chip that's been implanted in my brain. The one heralding me to feel obligated to feed money into that retail shopping vortex that returns each and every year.

I honestly can't stand when I read/hear the media outlets tell me that “the average Canadian will spend $629 on holiday shopping this year”. Not because it affects my thought process but because it plants the marketing seed to the masses that if you don’t spend at least that, you are not considered an average Canadian. That thought right there just pisses me off!

Heading back to my hotel... Sore feet and all.
Taken: November 30th, 2013
For very personal reasons I ended up in downtown Toronto this weekend. And, just like clockwork, I wandered into Dundas Square.

What can I say? There were people everywhere. Why? Because the emotional chips had been activated and there were amazing deals to be found. Truth? I purchased very little. 

If I walked into a store with two cashiers and a line up greater than ten shoppers I walked out. Not because they didn't have something I could have gifted or enjoyed myself;  but if they couldn't staff the store properly (on the busiest sales weekend of the year) they didn't deserve my business.

That may be harsh to read but at the end of the day the last thing we are as a family is materialistic. Truth of the matter is, I've never worried whether or not I'd personally spent the $629 on holiday gifting or not... yet I DO wholeheartedly consider us 'an average Canadian family'.

I guess as I witnessed Canadians gravitate and embrace the hype of a silly Americanized holiday shopping culture, I worry that our 'average Canadian family' status may very well be a dying breed.

...That is quickly becoming extinct!