Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Well, it went from sunshine to sub-zero in a flash... Via a flash-freeze that is!

A couple of days ago, I was bragging about how I hardly needed a coat, then this morning I awoke to the mercury dipping to a chilly -20C. I’d like to be able to report late January Florida temps here at Orillia Lake, instead Muskoka has snow squall warnings on the horizon. As a result, I'm headed home at dawn.

Imagine witnessing ice being made... and not via my ice maker!
TAKEN: DECEMBER 30th, 2014
It’s been an interesting day for me. It’s the first time that I've actually been here to witness the ice form and winter take shape. Yikes, does it ever happen fast!

When I was up in the night stoking the fire, I noticed patches of ice forming in the moonlight. By dawn, I could hear a distinct crackle of the flowing agua and the newly formed ice arguing... Like an old married couple.

Bundled up (in the amazing company of my one daily cup of coffee) I cautiously watched the pups on the hill out front and listened. Not to the pups silly but to the immediate climate changing around me. Then I realized how great it felt to be here all alone. After being here for almost a week, I feel normal again. 

To quote a very wise man, "one person's normal, is another person's absurdity" and he's exactly right. Who the hell would think that standing outside, in sub-zero weather, listening to ice freeze, was normal?

Apparently, both he and I do. Because I just emailed him this picture!

Sunday, December 28, 2014


If this year produced the quietest Christmas eve and day of my life, then Boxing Day definitely rated as one of my busiest. I posted, showered, packed, and landed at the cottage all by mid-afternoon. It was so mild outside that within the hour I was shuffling about the woodstove in my really ugly and over-sized slippers. I may have been tired... but I was certainly glad to be back.

I hadn't intended on coming in Boxing Day but the long range forecast (not that the weatherman is ever right) gave me the feeling, that if it did in fact drop to -10C, getting it heated and the beds cozy for New Years Eve would be a much bigger task. So, I figured I'd stay here, enjoy my three days, then make the ten minute trek home until Spring.

This is what I call... Lake Effect SUN!
TAKEN: DECEMBER 28th, 2014
Well, today's is my third day and I did in fact head home. I quickly showered, picked up more supplies and returned. I've landed back out here until the cold, or my lack of Mott’s Clamato juice, eventually ushers me home.

As I was carrying my bags down the stairs, I stopped in my tracks and rummage through my coat for my phone. As I stood in this moment it felt like the 28th of September, not the 28th of December as the calendar reminds. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday and I immediately knew I wanted to share it with you.

As I look past the holidays, the one thing I do know for sure, is that I have some solid personal goals and serious hopes for the new year. Just so happens that this little piece of not so flat land, is my truly amazing glue that will hold all of it together.

What more can a girl ask for?

Friday, December 26, 2014


What can I say? All of that hype and today is the infamous Canadian Boxing Day.

 I just saw a neat American cartoon that read: When I was little I always thought Boxing Day was a holiday when you piled up all the boxes from Christmas presents, set them on fire, and danced around the flames. I also wondered why we never celebrated Boxing Day! Good One!!

My Dad loved the holidays. His steadfast sense of family, the food, the cheer. More food, more cheer. Anyway, I know that I’ve shared stories about my quest to keep finding those silly Petro Canada Olympic glasses. Just so we’re clear, my obsession is exactly that, which is ongoing and very real. (Read: HEY DAD... GUESS WHAT I FOUND?)

TAKEN: DECEMBER 25th, 2014
Just as I would if he were still alive, yesterday, he and I shared a Christmas drink.

As I was sitting there staring out the window & sipping, I wondered if he’d have any solid words of advice for what I have going on in my life right now. 

I envisioned him sitting on the sofa next to me. He’d listen to what I had to say and be non-judgmental. Then, I suspect he’d rattle the ice cubes in his glass signifying it was empty and tell me everything would be fine.

You want to know something? I don't think my father ever once asked me for a second drink. He’d just rattle the ice in his glass letting me know that his first one was finished. That was his cue. Life is funny like that; how certain moments ignite specific memories.

You want to know what else is funny about life? That it's bat shit crazy hard, right up until the moment it isn't.

SO spark up them boxes, control the flames and have a really great day!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


It's Christmas Eve, so naturally my quirky sidekick and I chatted this morning.

He was pleased to report that he'd accomplished all of his holiday shopping, and I was excited (that he was excited) about his countdown to putting on the fat red suit for his two little girls. The only thing that I had to report, was that he had delightfully interrupted a really sappy Christmas movie that I had stayed in bed late watching.

GOOB & Jukebox rockin' a Christmas hug yesterday for their Momma!
TAKEN: DECEMBER 23rd, 2014
This is the first year that I can actually admit that because our children are now young adults, today has truly felt like any other day for me. 

I’m not sure if it’s that the boys and I took a road trip yesterday, or because I didn’t have my daughter reminding me (every single day) of every single thing on her wish list; I suspect it's simply a combination of both.

Gone are the traditions for the young and excited, ushered in are the making of their own individual traditions. This year, it won’t be me that entertains tonight, it will be Goob and his room mates that open their home to greet family and friends.

Gone is the anticipation of trekking to grandparents to exchange gifts, ushered in was the formal gifting of money. I am okay with all of that, as it truly is the most practical thing to do for them. I’ve always tithed at Christmas. However, the needs at home this year are so much so, that what normally would have gone into the community, have been invested to those equally in need (...that just happen to possess my DNA). 

I am sitting here typing and thinking of the way we use to spend Christmas Eve and that those days are officially gone. I was struggling with that so much this morning, that I had a mini meltdown and uncontrollably burst into tears. My personal Jukebox immediately opened his arms and wrapped them tightly around me. 

"I love you Mom..." was what he whispered in my ear. He just held me and let me cry. Words cannot express just how grateful I was. In this Xmas instance, receiving was far better than my giving. 

What is it that I am always saying on this silly little blog? That you can't stop change, only manage it. Well, today was a really big reminder of that specific wee ditty for yours truly!

Merry Christmas Eve to all… And to all a good night. 

Monday, December 22, 2014


Well, it’s that time of year again. When everyone breaks for Christmas and I start obsessing about the weather. Not in an 'I'm Dreaming of White Christmas' kind of way, matter a fact the opposite. You see, though purchased in 1999 - in 2007 we started a fun cottage tradition.  We’d pack up the toboggans, strap on the snowshoes, and head into Orillia Lake for a few days to ring in the New Year. 

Puddin' showing Annie the view. PRICELESS!
TAKEN: DECEMBER 21st, 2014
I’ll gently remind everyone that New Years Eve 2013 dipped to a chilly -21C outside, so our cottage trek was not even remotely an option. The year previous, we were in South Carolina. So suffice is to say that I've had my fingers, toes, as well as my eyes crossed since the beginning of December!

Optimistic that it's going to actually happen this year, I headed in with the pups yesterday. I was a tad worried how itty bitty Annie would make out but figured worst case scenario, I'd have to pick her up and carry her. Not even close. She was a compete and total ROCK STAR. That said, I have Shelly to thank that her little legs didn't have near the expected trek to travel.

You see, I was pleasantly surprised and exceptionally fortunate that my BCF (Best Cottage Friend) has kept our private cottage road open. When I saw her brand spankin' new truck parked at the top of our first hill I was thrilled. (Not gonna lie, that truck keeping our road open just may rate sexier than she and I scooting around the Lake on her three-seater SeaDoo!) 

Anyway, as my title infers, yesterday was my dreamboat Annie's very first cottage adventure. She's doing well. Just like me, she's very open minded and curious about trying new things. Yesterday, I especially loved watching how the other two pups made sure she was safe at all times. They have truly embraced her and are always scurrying to make sure she's okay and content. After all, that's what best cottage girlfriends are for right? Right!

Uh-oh, gotta run. Annie is pulling the bows off the presents and the shims out of my crooked Christmas tree. It's not good. Matter a fact I can read the headline now…

Crazy Dog Lady Arrested... As Crooked Tree Pummels Innocent Pup!

Innocent my FAT albeit friggin’ festive ass!

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Who's a doormat? Not this cat!
TAKEN: DECEMBER 19th, 2014
I  have to admit when my feet hit the floor last Friday morning I knew it was going to be a great day. As I've shared before, when I know that I am going to have a truly memorable day, I snap a selfie.  Though I had a important one o'clock, that wasn't it. Sorry Pete.

You see, the night before, I pulled up my big girl panties until they hit my armpits, then made some very hard personal decisions. When I woke Friday morning and still felt the same way as the night before, I knew my day would be a memorable one. I'd pulled a plug; a plug that would never allow myself to be a specific persons door mat EVER again!

Locked and loaded I started my trek to my one o'clock. I always shuffle the five hundred plus songs on my phone and I always sing aloud when I walk. That said, I know I only have four good notes, so I am careful who hears my very gregarious performances.  I do keep the volume on my phone low enough that I can hear if I'm in tune but when I hear the neighbourhood dogs howling as I walk by, I immediately know I need to kick my personal volume down a notch. Well, for the very first time Friday, I got caught.

As I was headed down a lane near our local hospital, one of my very favourite songs was selected by the shuffle. Lost in the lyrics and music of Anna Nalicks - Just Breathe, I was totally engaged in the moment. To get the breathing right takes commitment, so I was 100% in. I didn't see any Ambulances or Police cars under the Emergency Room entrance, so I kept my tone and volume consistent.

As I landed at the end of the lane, I instantly (peripherally) felt a woman in my song space. As I quickly pulled my earbuds out, she began to clap. I was in shock. I immediately apologized. "I usually put my vocal cords on mute when I come upon someone" I said, "I'm sorry."

"Don't apologize" she said. "It was really good...!"

 To which I immediately and playfully started to root thought my laptop bag in search of my wallet. "I pay ten bucks for compliments like that" I said. We both burst out laughing and I continued on my trek.I am pleased to report that I sang aloud the rest of the way to my one o'clock.

YUP... Friday was truly a great day!

Thursday, December 18, 2014


About a week ago I blogged about struggling to put up the Christmas tree. The bigger shock was that I was generally proud that I didn’t snap during the process. As you all know, I’m not an over the top ‘Tis the Season kinda gal. However, because I’ve had a really great splash of sun and I am still wearing a perma-smile, I decided to go on the record admitting that I'm a tad more tolerant of the upcoming festive season than in previous years.

Then, all hell broke loose. I was venting to my friends on Facebook about this crooked tree I bought. Hang on, let me grab the post. Here you go. It read: OK. I bought the Christmas Tree from HELL. If it falls over one more time, I'm gonna go all Grinch on it and fire it into the gully, never to be rescued or decorated ever again! ...This concludes my Christmas rant at this time. Cheers! Suffice is to say it engaged us in a plethora of comical rant of comments. 

Love may make our house a home....
But this crooked tree is making it hard for me to not turn it into firewood!
TAKEN: DECEMBER 18th, 2014
Well, guess what? 

The stinkin' thing fell over again! 

Did I go all Grinch on it and pitch it in the gully? Nooooo.

Why? Because it's Christmas dang nab it; and I love the look of a Christmas tree all lit up and pretty after dark. 

Anyway, as I was explaining my plight to an electronic friend today, I immediately got a smart ass email asking why I didn't secure it after the second time it fell? Aside from the fact that this specific lad has been crossed off my Christmas card list, here's the deal...

I'm a pretty bright girl and this is a tree. Isn't the normal assumption that they tend grow relatively straight and not on an 80 degree angle? Exactly! I simply figured it was my incompetence rather than a genetic imperfection that was making this puppy fall. At the end of the day, I think I have gravity under control.

What the hell... it's not rocket science is it? Of course not. If it were, I'd be applying Polysporin to the exposed knots on the trunk of the tree and grabbing a set of booster cables to give those Christmas lights an extra boost.

Don't ask... Just smile. Trust me on this one.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


To set the record straight, compared to some of my girlfriends, I don’t have anything close to what most consider a shoe fetish. Truth of the matter is that my tender tootsie hobby pales in comparison to my obsession with a first class concert going experience. However, I'm not disrespectful of the process. When I come across a pair of shoes that truly speak to me, I bust open my piggy bank and toddle them all the way home.

Well, this past Friday night was one of the few times this year that I’ve actually gotten dressed up and headed out. Not gonna lie, I had looked forward to the shindig all week. Not because I was excited to be wearing the new dress my husband had bought me, but because I knew it would perfectly complement the sexiest pair of shoes I own.

Let’s face it, it’s mid-life for me. Any function that keeps me awake later than ten o’clock at night is rarely attended. Well, Friday night was a whopper. You can imagine that I didn't make it home by ten, and when I finally did arrive, I was a glittery hot mess!

Glass half full...? The house wine was very nice. Yet, too many glasses half full were savoured and consumed.

My photo does not do my very sexy babies justice *sniff*
TAKEN: DECEMBER 16th, 2014
The moral of my story is… Not only did I pay for it all weekend, so did my very super sexy shoes!

My social media friends know that when I recently returned from vacation I got a puppy (those closest to me understand why). Her name is Annie.

She's settled in quite nicely and I am having great success training her. She's smart but as expected each and every day her teeth get sharper. I really wasn't worried about it as we have a lot chew things scattered around the house... or so I thought.

The sad part of my story is that Annie isn't the one that chewed my shoe. It  was my oldest Dottie that did the deed and she did it slowly and quietly so that she wouldn't be caught. Kinda like me with a Sex In The City marathon and a family size bag of Miss Vickie's Sea Salt & Malt chips. In a nutshell, guess when us bitches have our compulsions, there's simply no stopping us.

The truth of the matter is that I will really miss this specific pair of shoes.

Last weekend's hangover...? Not so much!

Please Note: No dogs were harmed in the making of this Post... Nor were any Miss Vickies chips consumed during and/or after the photo shoot!

Sunday, December 14, 2014


What can I say, since hitting mid-life, there are certain things that I no longer get to enjoy.

For example, gravy use to be a food group for me but now it’s something I drizzle on my food semi-annually instead of drowning it weekly. Any type of fresh bread and soft butter? Not an option. Makes my ass fatter just thinking about indulging in it. 

...Then there are butter tarts.

For me, enjoying a really great butter tart is right up there with truly amazing sex. As we all know, if a man is looking to really get laid on a Saturday night, foreplay usually needs to start with his wife that morning at breakfast. The same goes for me and the indulgence of a really great butter tart. I have to carefully allow myself to be seduced. Eventually giving into the strong, undeniable and very sexy urge. It's most definitely my guilty pleasure.

As a born and bred French Canadian woman, butter tarts (and a plethora of other fresh baked items) were something I grew up with. Thoughout my childhood, every single day that I took a lunch to school, there was something freshly baked tucked nicely into my lunch kit. 

Actually,  my kit always carried the same three things; a processed lunch meat sandwich, a homemade baked goody, and a piece of fresh fruit. Not the best lot to barter with at lunchtime but I always managed to make out okay. My sandwich was pre-frozen and always soggy, so it automatically got tossed. The good news was that my Mom’s baking would more often than not land me a little sum-sum much farther up the lunch food chain.  That said, because the baked offering always rotated, I never knew from one day to the next what I had to work with.

For example, Artje use to offer her entire lunch for one of my Mom's butter tarts. The truth of the matter was she wasn't allowed to have sugar, so by first recess, if there was a butter tart my kit, my lunch was in play. All goopy and sinfully sweet, the butter tarts always brought me the mother load.

A couple of years back, my best electronic friend and I use to talk about the world famous tarts that could be found in my Town all the time. I've never told him about Betty's Tarts (...still weep at night since she's retired) and today's post is the first time I've shared with him about my Mom's yummies. I'm also sure he'll be in shock when he sees that I am now a proud patron at The Bean. You see... for varying reasons, he seems to be infatuated with Marty's.

Not this Cat. I've read his sign in Town that reads his tarts are world famous but I wouldn't know. I haven't frequented his shop since I had to refinance my home after buying four ice cream cones there for my kiddies a decade ago. The honest truth? I have never had a carefully marketed World Famous Marty's Butter Tart. 

Truth of the matter is that I've just never been able to process the fact that his ego felt they were the best. After all, with so many perfect tarts in my life before his, I never truly had the desire to give his a try.

...AND don't get me started on the fact that he charges $99 for an apple pie!!

Friday, December 5, 2014


Day before yesterday, one of my closest friends and I had our very first fight. When it was happening, I was in shock and hoped it was just a silly misunderstanding. The unfortunate part, is that prior to that realization, the super shitty train wreck had already left the station. I guess if there’s a silver lining to our scenario, it would have to be that we know each other well enough that when I called a time out, we both respectfully took it.

Forty eight hours later, what was disagreed upon truly isn't the big deal. The bigger deal is that in the almost fifteen years that we’ve been friends, there hasn't been so much as a harsh word between us; simply a boat load of laughter, interwoven with heartfelt love and unconditional support.

At the end of the day, I suppose the reality is that any/all long term friendships are like a marriage. There are certain elements of give and take and they're a hell of a lot of hard work. I imagine that is why some don’t sustain. It’s easier to give up than to persevere. I am the first to admit that easier relationships always present themselves, so the ones that require investment, generally hit the sidelines. Not every time... but I’m sure you’ll agree, more often than not.

My point (because I honestly do have one) is that you should never focus on the work, only the reward. 

As bizarre as it may sound, after my Quirky Sidekick and I took our time out, I immediately thought of my son and his Quirky Sidekick, that is a girl but not his girlfriend.

She's been apart of our family for-ever (and endured the crap that comes along with that specific badge, with amazing grace and honour). Those two have been through so much together, for them to wake up and not to be friends, almost seems wrong. 

They, just like me, have learned that people will come and go. If you're willing to dig in your heels and invest in someone, it can last a lifetime. (After seeing them together on the day I left on vacation... I may need to call Squid for some advice on my current quirky conundrum!)

Well, seeing as I am being honest, I suppose I should come clean with the fact that I am almost embarrassed to admit that I have little experience in calling a time out. Outside of my marriage, I've always let the train steamroll ahead and dealt with it after that fact. 

I guess I didn't hesitate this time, because I absolutely know we're BOTH worth it!

I love you Quirky... My husband knows you love me too.

Let's really try to never fight again xo

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


It’s truly been a very odd week for me. 

The fact that I was giddy when I spent forty big ones on a natural Christmas tree last weekend left me a little puzzled.  Then, after independently hauling that sucker up the stairs, placing it in the stand without complaining, stopped me in my tracks. Even though I was struggling and frustrated, I still had a skip in my step up all those freaking stairs. It was so bizarre that I simply shrugged the incident off as euphoric delusion. 

Then, I awoke this morning and the mercury barely registered a mere -16C outside. I wasn't pissed off about it; which was in itself questionable. Instead, once I discovered the pre-dawn temperature via my tablet, I simply hauled my ass out of bed. Had there been cameras present, it really would have played out like a bad hair/ugly bathrobe episode of The Twilight Zone. So bizarre, that even Rod Serling would have been complaining about the script on TMZ!

I can’t believe the difference in my seasonal disposition since my amazing jaunt to the Caribbean. We've traveled at Christmas before but this trek was completely different. Since arriving home, my mornings have contained some serious gumption, which I have never experienced at this time of year. I love how rejuvenated I feel. I'm not going to jump up and down on a couch like Tom Cruise... but I just may shave my legs more than once a week!  Can I get a HELL YA?!?!

Enjoying the Pineapple Festival festivities

I guess my overall point is that a very old friend once advised me to "travel far enough, to meet yourself.." Who knew that once I'd complete my journey... Everything would be a fifteen minute walk and a five minute drive away.

Here's to officially maintaining rather than sustaining.

...In every single aspect of my life. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014


As soon as I arrived home this week, I promptly received a text message from my very favourite Coffee Buddy. He told me that he didn’t want to see me until my tan had faded, so I immediately replied, “…See you next April!” 

Oliver's Coffee... Where well groomed women frequently get stood up!
Knowing we had million and one things to discuss, we decided to meet at our favourite table this morning at 8 o'clock sharp. I arrived on time and HE stood me up!

When I realized it was happening again, I instantly grabbed my phone and sent a text to one of my closest confidants.

I explained that it this was the third time in as many coffee dates that he’d forgotten about me and that I was beginning to get a complex. Then, I proudly confirmed his pressing questions; that I had in fact showered, brushed my teeth, and combed my hair. He in turn told me to sit tight.Which I did, smiling.

Some days I find it hard to fathom how much my life and personal direction have changed since quitting my job last December. The one thing I do know, is that when I was transitioning this time last year, it was this mornings texting buddy that unconditionally supported my decision (and somewhat fragile state of mind). Matter a fact, I posted a year ago this past week, that I wholeheartedly hoped when I landed, they would remain in my life. They have. (CLICK TO READ: ANYONE GOT A BENCH I CAN BORROW?) 

Speaking of last year, once my coffee date finally arrived, we got straight to work. I was telling him about a gentleman within his industry that had left his long term place of employ and started over because he could no longer work for his Boss’s son. I didn’t so much as have the words out of my mouth, when who the hell wandered into our java hut? My old Boss’s son!

Because Pete had his back to the door, I carefully watched as Junior noticed me, then proceeded to try and make eye contact. I have no desire to ever speak to him again, but I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of emotion which accompanied my seeing him for the very first time since resigning. Even now as I type… Nothing. 

My anger and hurt have subsided, but more importantly, I have moved on. The even better feeling is that I have taken my passion, work ethic, and business knowledge elsewhere. This time, I have entrusted them wisely: I’m happy.

That said, I’d be gloriously ecstatic if he’d quit standing me up!

Naaaw, waiting for him gave me a minute to catch up with others that really matter too.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


I’m the first to put up my hand and admit that I’m a pretty complicated chick. The dead nuts honest truth is that I have a list of things that I am deathly afraid of; and the dark is most definitely number one. It truly took me until my mid-twenties to understand why I'm so afraid of the dark. I  believe it stems from an instilled fear as a child of strange men.

Apparently, I am hardwired to believe that really bad men were lurking in dark corners waiting to steal me away from my family. Now a days, we teach children a “safe word”. In the olden days, you just simply frightened your daughters/children into submission using an overall fear of the unknown. 

My point is that when my 2011 New Year’s resolution of self-discovery began, I made a personal commitment to get back into shape (which would eventually give me the confidence to get the hell outta of an enabling shroud of comfort) and try new and exciting things. My intent was to leave the past in the past; and I must admit, three years later, I've definitely exceeded my personal expectations. 

My very first reverse Selfie.
SEE... I wasn't the only one needing a life jacket!
Taken: NOVEMBER 20th, 2014
My foray into snorkeling happened very unexpectedly. We were with Heidi & Brian in Negril Jamaica (Feb. 2012) and our day trip to Rick’s CafĂ© included a snorkeling stop. 

I remember when they announced where we were headed, I was both excited and terrified. I wanted to experience new things but this wasn't something I'd ever considered. All this time later, I'm glad I didn't back down. It made no matter that there wasn't much to see that day, I am still proud that I actually got into the water and persevered.

Well, this week, I actually enjoyed a real snorkeling day trip. (Like I always do, I researched the shit out of what the choices were and went for it.) Upon arriving to the first drop site I noticed people swimming freely in about 20 metres of water. The waves were high and the water rough, so I immediately began to panic. "I need a lifejacket" I blurted. I was literally shaking in my swimsuit.

Once I knew I was going to be offered a safety net I was fine. There was so much to see and so many vibrant colours that my brain wasn't sure which to absorb first. It was like I was floating on a bed of various marine life, yet none of them actually touched my body.

...Ultimately creating another very memorable moment for this somewhat quirky soul.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I have always been a huge music fan. A true fan, not a fussy music fan like some people I know. As long as there’s a half decent beat, I’m into it. Hell, hand me a pair of spoons and I’ll always get the party started. That love of all things music has transformed me into a concert going junkie. As a result, once the kids left, I went on an amazing magic carpet/concert going bender.

Truth of the matter is my husband and I were in different lanes at that time, so it was Goob that convinced me that going to any concert alone would be a blast. I remember him telling me “everyone around you is there for the very same reason you are. They all love the music as nuch as you do.”  Guess I realized that if it didn’t bother him to go to events alone I should give it a try. I decided to start planning my solo treks. More than three years later, I have saved every ticket stub and I've loved each and every experience.

He loved his Birthday seats!
TAKEN: NOVEMBER 15th, 2014
Other than his obsession with The Band, my husband is a huge CCR/John Fogerty fan. Last winter he’d mentioned that he was coming to Canada. He also admitted that he was worried that at sixty nine years of age, this may be his last touring hurrah.

I had told him that I had tried to get tickets to three of his closest stops to us but hadn't been successful. He was disappointed, yet never worried too much about it. Then, for his birthday last summer, I presented him with the tickets I'd purchased the day they went on sale. He was ecstatic. 

Never the fan of his magnitude, I suggested he take one of our sons; he insisted that I accompany him. When all was said and done, I had a blast. I am so use to attending alone that I got in the zone and stayed there from the time he came on the stage until he finished. Walking back to the hotel, I admitted to my husband that I enjoyed the John Forgerty show better than the Eagles. He agreed. It wasn’t just the seats, the Show (not to mention the overall vibe) was just top notch.

It was neat to hear him talk of his experience to fellow Canadians the following morning as we waited to take off at YYZ. As I listened to him chatting, I was glad that he'd finally jumped on my really great bandwagon. After all these years... He finally gets it. 

As I listened to my husband chatting about, I couldn't help but think of my good buddy Zack. He's the only other person that has lived vicariously through my experiences and loved each and every one of my concert going outings as much as yours truly. 

I worry. He's in such a bad spot that I didn't have the heart to mention what he was missing. Not because I thought he'd be angry; it's just with the death of his Dad and other really big life changes I know he's spending his time on a very different bandwagon. 

Kinda sad really... but I know he knows I'll always be here for him no matter what!

Monday, November 24, 2014


The funniest thing about typing that post title was that I didn’t. I literally cut and paste it from a Google English/Spanish translator site. (It means the perfect vacation for those of you as challenged as yours truly ...)

A good book, a cold drink, lots of sun... and a great photographer!
Taken: NOVEMBER 21st, 2014
Not gonna lie, after a week away, the only word I can express confidently in Spanish, is Ola. Yup, pleased to report that I nodded a lot: and said Ola a lot. 

I did sign up for a Spanish class (by the pool). Upon its completion, I immediately swam up to my man at the bar announcing that I was NOT going back to school the following day.

"Who knew they really wanted to teach me to speak Spanish" I said - like I'd been exposed to the Ebola virus. He'd had much more fun with his pool side event participation. Mine actually had a test. Hard to gravitate to a Prof that doesn't speak Ingles (in 90 degree weather) when I could be floating in the pool, drinking a Cuba Libra!

Smiles aside, I've been blessed to have experienced this beautiful country we live in from coast to coast, not to mention my fair share of States belonging to our neighbours to the South of us. I have also been fortunate enough to get to travel in the Caribbean; yet prior to this past week, I’d never experienced this type of serious language barrier. (I was shocked to meet only a dozen English speaking peeps.)

We stayed in an Adults Only Resort, so I found it interesting to watch how other couples communicated with each other without the distraction of the English language filling in the blanks for me. At the end of the day, everyone was truly there to reconnect, with their only distraction being the partner that they were there with. Hence my photo.

My husband isn't a book worm like me. I knew the library was closed once he sat up and said "Whooowkaaay...". It was code that I was to stop reading and that we were to head to his favourite bar on the beach. Just our luck,  our British friends from our sister resort were waiting for us for Tiffing Time.

Ya gotta love it. They'd be having a blast with Dire Straits cranked and blaring. Johnathon would be right lit, telling everyone how much he loved Canada. For the record, Sultans of Swing has always been (and always will be) one of my very favourite songs!!

Really, really, grand times.... All of which, ultimately weave, into the perfect vacation.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


Throwback Thursday, or #TBT, is a neat photo sharing activity that’s really popular on Instagram. For personal reasons, I refuse to get an Instagram account, so I thought this was a neat way to post the very throwback picture that made my day. It was taken at Busch Gardens on our very first trip to Florida (about three months before we were married).

THIS was a GREAT vacation!
Let me step back. It's not like I was having bad day. Matter a fact, it felt like the polar opposite. After waking to our first blanket of Frosty The Snowman snow, I was impressed that the morning rays were so bright I didn't need a boost from my happy light. 

I chatted with both Peter and JJ about business, then got an email from JC wishing me 'safe travels'. It wasn't until I read the words 'lucky you' that my doubts about heading out resurfaced.

I don’t know if it’s because my health's been under the weather for so long, or that I just have so much on my plate, but I don’t feel I’m in the right frame of mind to hop on a plane. 

All the other times we’ve traveled, there’s been that anticipation and chatter but it's different this time. I actually feel so off that I've asked my husband thrice (in as many days) if we can cancel. 'HELL NO' was all he'd say. So we're going. 

I completely understand where he's coming from. I lived at the cottage all summer and other than the odd extra long weekend, he hasn't had a break since Jamaica last February. Honestly? I think my issue is that even though I've been ill and I'm busy, I am coping really well with the time change and I don't want to jinx my ability to cope all season. I almost want to save my chits and hop on a plane when need it most, which obviously isn't in a minute and a half.

Maybe my husband's rrr-rrrr-rrr- correct.

Historically, our best adventures have always happened when we've least expected.

Sooo..... Pass me the suntan lotion Baby.

Mama's heading to the Beach!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


When it comes to my technology habits, I’m pretty old school. I love my Blackberry for its buttons, the same way I love my desktop computer for my keyboard. I love the sounds they both make as I plug along through my day; combined with my mouse, hearing them click offers me a productive feeling that I am accomplishing what I've set out to do. Yet, for some time now, I have been mentally preparing myself for Black Phone Day

You know the day? When Blackberry is either taken over or goes under. Until that day I refuse to make a change. I’m a proud and loyal customer that will remain a customer until it’s no longer an option for me. If I can contribute to saving just one Canadian job… You know the spiel.

Enjoying my one application wonder this morning over coffee!
TAKEN: NOVEMBER 12th, 2014
Knowing that I may eventually move from RIM, I've chosen Samsung as their successor. The practical kinda gal I am, going to that type of tablet seemed obvious.

What made me finally bite the bullet? Well, I gave in for a couple of reasons. Heading away, I thought it may back-fill taking my laptop so that I can still write and fulfill my SM & web obligations.
WRONG on all accounts! 

I don’t like typing on it (...Peter tells me I just have to get the hang of it) and my eyes are failing me so badly that I find the text too small on the social media apps to be truly productive. Suffice is to say, the only thing I use it for is to play Candy Crush. With those three things admitted, it doesn't make the purchase very practical does it? 

That said, neither does the fact that I play Candy Crush. Oh my goodness, I can't believe I just admitted that. It's official... I'm going to hell in a hand basket!

Glass half full?

At least I know my new one app tablet is small enough to come along for the ride!!

Sunday, November 9, 2014


I had to get a couple of items for my upcoming trip yesterday, so I took a road trip. The weather was crappy and the travel slow going; but I made it there and home, safe and sound. As I was unpacking my goodies this morning, I decided I just might as well pack and get it over with.

I couldn't help but remember that this time last year I was rushing to meet my girlfriend at YYZ to hop a plane to YUL for a last minute weekend getaway. As an avid concert goer, I was lucky enough to catch The Eagles in Toronto on the Thursday night, then Bon Jovi in Montreal the following Saturday night. Hard to believe it’s been a year... A year since my sister decided that because she wasn't the one chosen for the jaunt, she’d stop speaking to me indefinitely. (...In The Long Run POST)

A year later, we still talk openly as a family about her choice. We’re all in agreement it was for the best. If it hadn't been this incident, it would have been something equally as petty, that resulted in the demise. Guess our family philosophy is simple: you can’t please someone who is ultimately unpleasable.

We traveled to Staci last Easter so we could spend the day as a family.
So I flash forward to my own three children.

Because my siblings are all so much older, my biggest fear raising my three would be they would estrange from one and other as they grew into adults.

Well, they're grown. 

I am pleased to report that they have evolved into three very different individuals that are siblings. Varying interests and varying lifestyles. Have they had their challenges with each other over the years? Absolutely.  Have they written the other off? Not a chance!

Matter a fact, at times they have been closer to each other than to both of us as their parents. I love that they can agree to disagree but ultimately look out for one and other. As I approach my 50th birthday, I can't help but be reminded that my Mother died at 57 years of age. Here's hoping they will always find a way to unconditionally support one and other. God forbid that Jukebox stops speaking to his sister because she took Goob to a Nicki Minaj concert instead of him.

Who the hell am I kidding? Jukebox thinks Nicki Minaj is a fecking idiot!

Just like that, a silly sibling write off has been averted!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


When we purchased our first home in December of 1988 we were ecstatic. It was three houses up from my Dad on the opposite side of very street I grew up on. We knew nothing about home ownership and had no idea that the math of the investment would have Kraft Dinner and tomato soup be our most cost effective grocery staples (both of which my husband refuses to eat to this day) for a very long time .

Times were definitely tough. To increase that hardship, I unexpectedly got pregnant. I remember the day the rabbit died. I also remember telling our next door neighbours before telling my husband. That very moment came flooding back to me a couple of weeks ago, as I stood in the exact spot in their backyard.

It was actually Poppa Peter's Birthday... But he let Jukebox believe the Party was really for him!
Taken: August: 1992

Nana Anne, Poppa Peter & Auntie Andrea have been in my children’s lives since the moment they were born. They've unconditionally loved all of us and us them. Poppa Peter passed from complications to diabetes seven years ago this month and Nana Anne unexpectedly left us this past summer. That unexpected (very heartbreaking) event has Auntie Andrea & I as close as ever.

A couple of weeks ago, Andrea and I got chatting on a Friday night and she told me a story. After her father's funeral, her sister needed to have had a chat with him and asked him to send her a sign. “Don’t send me pennies from heaven Dad” she asked a loud, “...I wanna see at least dimes!”

From that moment on, dimes began to appear in the strangest places. Since his death, the most poignant spot had to be the morning Nana Anne passed. The pets were on the bed with her, and there was a dime on the floor beside her. 

Do you want to know what's even more amazing? Because 911 was called, the Police arrived before Andrea. She continued to tell me that she'd never sat in Poppa Peter’s chair since he’d passed. Well, unbeknownst to the Police, they cleared the chair off in preparation of her arrival. When she went into shock, that is where she was placed.... Into her father's chair

When I was over to the house that following Saturday & Sunday after our chat... Jacquie, Andrea, and I, lovingly reminisced about them both. As we worked (moving, sorting and loading a trailer for landfill) we talked of the dimes that were being sent from heaven.

When the guys picked up Poppa Peter's chair (the very chair the Police sat Andrea in) there was a dime sitting underneath in full view. What a moment. You know what the dime beside the bed and under the chair signify to me?

Nana Anne wasn't meant to take her journey to heaven alone. I'd like to believe that he came to greet her. Once she passed, he wanted to reassure Andrea that he was there for her too.

I don't know about you... but I'll never look at a dime the same way again.

Rest in Peace Anne and Peter. We will always love and miss you both very much. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Well, as you know, the clocks fell back this morning. So to be proactive, before I went to bed last night I walked around the house and changed them all. I didn't want to wake up to any surprises. As you know, I hate surprises but turning the clocks back is also a chore I dread. It's like Groundhog Day for me except there isn't a 50/50 outcome option. There WILL be six more weeks of darkness!

What a magnificent day to say... "That's a wrap". CHEERS!
When I woke for the day it was game on. Made the coffee, lovingly sipped it, read my email, got myself dressed and we ventured to the cottage. Yes-sir-ree Bob-a-roonie... Today was cottage closing day!

Funny when you've been doing something so long it seems effortless. The only chore added to my list this year was disassembling the additional outdoor shower walls that had to be erected (no pun intended) to block out my creepy neighbour. As the power tool queen, I was on that task like white on rice!

The other nice thing was because I'd lived there until Thanksgiving, everything was much more organized. So much so that we shaved a half an hour off our fastest closing record. The only sad part about completing the task at hand quicker than expected was that we had to leave this glorious day behind. 

Feeling completely and totally gypped of another night in my favourite place, I have to admit that this will be my very last 2014 post from the cottage.

That is unless.... I get what I want for Christmas... Stay tuned! 

Thursday, October 30, 2014


NOTE TO SELF: Pile the rest of the wood.
TAKEN: OCTOBER 30th, 2014
Like most mornings, I watched the sun come up from my desk. I sat there in my jammies enjoying my hot cup of coffee while gazing out the window at the glorious sun rising. Yup, I greeted my new day completely and unconditionally lost in my thoughts. When my daydream ended, I grabbed my camera and headed outside to snap my pic.

I’d like to say that it was because the natural light was perfect for the filter I had on the camera lens; but that would be a lie. I was simply using a point and shoot digital and my windows need cleaning. Had I of taken it from my desk, it would have been brutal! 

Staying on the “total honesty” bandwagon, I should probably admit that I slept in this morn. Where I live, the days are quickly getting shorter, so I ventured outside shortly after 8am. Why so late rising? I couldn't sleep; therefore, I couldn't wake up.

It's really hard to turn the mind off of a results driven individual. Just doesn't happen. 

The tough lesson I've learned in these last couple of years is about my personal expectation of those around me. As a die hard optimist, I have realized that there will always be personal dysfunction. It's called life. However, in Business, systemic dysfunction is much harder to fix. 

What I am trying to say is that when something (internally) in Business is perpetually broken, the only long term fix is to start at the beginning. Either start over, or walk away from the investment and passion of the effort.

Personally, as a middle aged woman, I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I've just recently had to apply those specific philosophies to my personal life. Peeps... Never lose sight of the fact that trust is earned. Once broken: more often than not irreparable.

So believe me when I admit my 'better late than never' acceptance...

Is why I had a really great day!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


The very first Christmas that my husband and were dating still remains the singular time that we’ve done our holiday shopping separately. I remember it specifically because my mother was terminally ill and she personally chose a yellow cable knit sweater for him. It was December of 1986.

There were a number of 'lasts' for us that Christmas. All these year later, him buying any sort of clothing for me is still firmly planted on that list. It’s not that I wasn't appreciative of his efforts in '86 but what he’d purchased were downright gaudy. By that, I mean they had definite Hallowe’en costume potential and it was Christmas!

Joking aside, I should share that we’ve always shopped together. As an example, when I've needed something specific, he's enthusiastically participated by holding up the items he likes... Only to have me scrunch up my nose, making a face, and shaking my head in disagreement. Which is my personal code for... are you freaking sniffing glue? 

Flash forward to the summer of 2014. We were shopping for my daughter before she left to move West and I came across this really neat pair of swim shorts for him. I held them up for his approval and he gave me a little of my own medicine. He made a face and shook his head. He HATED them. So, like any good wife, I bought them anyway.

When we got home, I showed them to him. He was miffed, so I said “I’m the one that has to look at you in them and I think they'll look good... So how be you only wear them when it's just you and me at the cottage?” 

He wouldn't budge, so (even though they were just very colourful swim shorts) I had to go with... I think you’ll look really sexy in them. After a bit of coaxing, he agreed to wear them for l'il ole me.

Well, that specific style of bargaining brings me to last Saturday.

Who'd a thunk it?
TAKEN: OCTOBER 28th, 2014
With our trip happening in the next minute and a half, I wanted to buy a couple of new swimsuits. We looked in every store in town, saving my very favourite store for last. 

As we looked through the racks at Bliss Boutique together he held up a suit that he really liked. It was nothing like anything I’d ever worn before, so I gave him my standard look of NOT A CHANCE IN HELL. He carefully moved into my personal space.

Looking me straight in the eye and inches from my face he asked, “do I have to come back tomorrow and buy it ?”

“Rhondi, I’m the only one that wants to see you in it” he mockingly said. "I'll only expect you to wear it twice while we’re away...!”

So I bought it. I bought it without trying it on. When we got home he asked me to model it. I tried it on and it looked FAB ~ I was a little shocked. I couldn't see it but he could. I can't believe how much my treadmill has slimmed me down. I'm still amazed.

Will I let him start picking out my clothes now? HELL NO... Getting lucky once in twenty eight years on the fashion front does not a fashion maven make!

Besides, I still haven't told him yet that he was right about the bathing suit.

Why would I want to rush two twenty eight year milestones in one week?!?!

Sunday, October 26, 2014


Let me start by saying that I have been friends with Rod Bullock since Public School. 

Actually, I asked him this morning when he started working for Mr. Burton at Centennial Coin Laundry, and together we figured out it was the Fall we were in grade nine, which was 1979. All of Mr. Burton’s customers loved him. So, no one in town was even remotely surprised when Mr. B sold the business to Rod. That was over thirty three years ago.

I don’t think I've ever shared this before but about three years ago I started doing my laundry at the laundry mat. I never really knew what the going rate for doing laundry outside the home was (and with Rod’s parking lot always full) I found myself next door at Fabricare for almost a year. Then, in the late Fall of 2012, my husband realized a couple of hours a week WAS much more efficient and agreed to help. The first thing he did was switch us over to Centennial Coin Laundry so that he could visit with Rod.

Well, when I changed jobs last year, my husband’s job also changed. Now he was the one that worked a few hours every weekend getting his guys ready for a smooth running Monday morning, so once again I assumed the laundry duties. Well, last Saturday, Rod’s was totally jammed, so I found myself next door at what-cha-ma-call-its. When I entered, I discover I was all alone; the only person doing laundry in a facility that feels twice the size of Rod’s.

The first thing I noticed was the price of the washers. The second thing I noticed, was a label on the dryers stating that I should expect to pay three plus dollars to dry an average load of laundry. I found that odd, because I normally only pay $1.25 to dry a load next door. I’ll be honest and admit that this post isn't about the money as much as it is about the way I was treated.

I’m in Sales & Marketing; I ask every single person I meet how business is multiple times a day. Doesn't matter if you’re a pizza delivery guy or an investment banker, in my opinion it’s all relative. So, as the only patron in the facility, I couldn't help but notice the level invested dollars I was surrounded by and (in the couple of hours I was there) the fact that the only revenue being generated was thanks to my dirty laundry. Curious, I asked... “is it always this slow?” 

I am a very happy Centennial Coin Laundry CUSTOMER!
Taken: October 26th, 2014
(CLICK HERE to read Stephen's DAVID v. GOLIATH Post)
Main Street Retail: David v. Goliath in a Small Town
“Depends…” was the passing reply. (Matter a fact she was just downright rude.)

“I couldn't help but notice how busy it was next door” I continued.

“Well, those people aren't use to the experience you get here” was her pretentious and very condescending reply.

It was her tone. Those people… Those people… Those people. I was gobsmacked. I couldn’t believe my ears. THOSE PEOPLE!!!

Without missing a beat I responded: “I feel the need to tell you something,” I said. “I am only here this morning because I couldn't get in next door. It was totally packed!”

She shrugged her shoulders and walked away from me. I was her only customer. I was solely responsible for the only revenue generation to pay her wages. Didn’t matter. I gave her the chance to redeem herself yet she didn't. After all, I'd disclosed that I was one of THOSE PEOPLE!

Anyway, when I was greeted by an always busy Rod this morning, I asked him what’s the best time to arrive to do my laundry;  then I told him my story, and that I was going to Blog about it. He in turn produced a post that one of his very successful cottage clients wrote about him this last Labour Day Weekend.

I wonder how Stephen will feel knowing he too is one of THOSE PEOPLE from across the alley?! Hopefully he's as proud as I am to be one. 

Keep up the GREAT work Rod! You've wholeheartedly earned & deserve my business. 

Monday, October 20, 2014


It's official. Booked and paid for, I'm taking an exciting last minute vacation next month!

It wasn't something that had been on my radar but as I looked at spending a boatload of money for an extended stay in February, I slowly began analyzing. Turns out there's a significant cost savings taking two one week vacations (a few months apart) rather than two weeks together mid winter.  

Truth of the matter is, last year I realized a week just isn't long enough in February. We're so far north, we lose two travel days getting there and coming home; then once you've decompressed and get into a routine, it's time to start packing to come back home to the snow. 

After I couldn't solidify the February plans, I started to reflect about our Christmas vacation of 2012. (We'd packed up our pups and headed to a house on the beach in South Carolina.) Having that shot of Vitamin D before the real crux of winter hit was amazing. Then, with the thought of how truly perfect that trip was, got me to thinking.

...Which brings me to today.

Right after I see another 'Bucket List' concert, I'm heading to YYZ the following morning and jumping a 7:30am plane. In less than a month from now, I'll be running along an amazing stretch of beach in the Caribbean. Screw my new treadmill... I'll be running and singing, while baking in the morning sun!

I don't know about you, but for me, there's something about the planning of any kind of time away, that makes me reflective of the adventures that I've already had.

Like anyone, I'm sure vacation moments are memorable because they've had some sort of defining personal moment; others, just seem to jump out as memorable because you know you'd never want history repeat itself. I try not to draw comparisons but over time I've developed a pretty specific 'must have' list.

So, once again, down to two and over thinking which resort (resulting in numerous phone calls throughout the process) my husband reminded me that the most important 'must have' was already in place and the the rest of the little shit won't matter.

"We'll be together" he said.

And just like that I handed over a credit card number... because that kind of logical thinking made the decision for us!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


I had a couple of meetings this morning. In my second, a colleague and I were chatting about a High School friend that dropped dead of a massive heart attack on Hallowe'en night.  After reminiscing about how amazing he was, we realized that it had been almost fifteen years since we’d lost him. After that realization, she and I just sat there speechless. Even today, I remember his laugh like I heard it yesterday.

Why so glum, chum? In less than a week I have received enough personal bad news to last me the rest of my life. Three people that I love with all of my heart have fallen unexpectedly ill; and, an indescribable tragedy claimed the life of our thirteen year old nephew. All of it, simply sad and so terribly unfair.

With Taylor laid to rest, instinct has me wanting to help all the others but I'm not entirely sure how I can. It's hard to explain, each of them are so close, yet so far. I'm sitting here typing feeling a little helpless. Yes, you've read that right, the consummate problem solver doesn't have a solution. It's painfully heartbreaking.

Every single one of the three I am speaking of have contributed to who I am today and ALL have provided life lessons. Admittedly, some of their lessons took a little longer to resonate than others, but none of them ever stopped teaching, nor ever gave up on me. I love them all very much and in a nutshell my life would suck without them in it!

As I quietly type and reflect, I can't help but be reminded of one very obvious fact. That life as we know it isn't always fair. 

...Doesn't mean a wouldn't gladly beg borrow or steal a little fairness tonight if I could.

Once again, thanks for listening.