Friday, January 31, 2014

Snowshoe A Mile In My Shoes? ANYDAY!

Puddin' letting me know she won the race...
Holy Record Snowfall Batman!
Taken: January 26th, 2014
I walked into the cottage with my dogs last weekend to grab one of our two extra coffee makers stored there. It was crazy cold but I ventured on my specific mission just the same.

My husband wanted to buy another coffee maker (because he smashed his relocating it to his new office space) but I was damned if I was going to use the plethora of Canadian Tire money we've been hoarding on something we already own three of. Is it their fault that they're geographically located? So, I loaded up the pups and off we went.

I wish I knew why I enjoy spending more and more of my free time alone. I use to think it was because of the level I functioned between eight and five but this last month and a half has proven my simplistic theory wrong. I guess I'm just getting old and winding down.

Sometimes I wonder if my last statement is front of mind because I've lost my edge. I guess if I truly had, I would have continued taking a large pay check while progressing to checkout even more regularly and letting the chips fall where they may.

Instead, I have taken on one of the biggest challenge of my career. When it comes to working in business I have shown up and ‘invented’; hell, Lord knows I've ‘fixed and tweaked’ my fair share. This is the very first time I've contributed to ‘reinventing’ something that not a single person in the market deems at risk. This is the most forward thinking venture I think I have ever whole heartedly committed to.

WOW... that's why I am finding such great comfort being alone. I've gone back to my roots of who truly knows and understands me. I've always found it funny who's there to unconditionally support when I'm no longer feeding their agenda. It's a bit of a sport really.

I'm not being cynical, I am just being honest. Face it, it's human nature, everyone always has an agenda.

Even you...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

We ARE Building A Mystery…

I was walking home from the office this afternoon and Sarah McLachlin started blaring through my headphones. My initial reaction was that I hadn’t heard the specific song in forever. My second instinct was how appropriate the lyric as she sang ♪♫♪ yeah you're working…building a mystery… and choosing sooo carefully...♫♪♫

GREAT album all around BTW!
Today was the first day in ten that I'd ventured into my new work home. My desk was waiting for me as I had left it and I was greeted as though I’d just stepped out for a cup of coffee fifteen minutes earlier. 

Who knew that what started as a chance meeting in the summer of 2012 would evolved into an amazing business venture.

I guess this is where I finally go on the record admitting that having a distinct vision isn't easy; let's face it, executing any vision, is 1000x`s harder than simply having one.

Not gonna lie. This has been a journey and it's because we`re building a mystery.


...I'll keep ya posted!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

There’s No Place Like Home...

What a day. I am pleased to report that I was sitting at my desk before 7 am this morning and I headed upstairs to start dinner just before 6 pm. Even using the hard-wired Rhondi zone as a guage, today was one for the record books. That said, it was nothing more than a big fat plethora of fat hairy goo.

Anxious and stressed because I'm out of my comfort zone, I found myself doing things I use to hire others to do, which resulted in an above average level of frustration. I'm tired, my neck hurts, my eyes are strained and I am pretty much mentally exhausted.

Sitting here now? It doesn't matter: I am absolutely and unequivocally happier than a pig in shit! Why? Because I feel a true sense that I am paving a solid path to something amazing. I am part of an evolution and I am contributing into something bigger and better than any other project I've worked on to date.

I know people are going to roll their eyes. Truthfully, I think that’s what excites me most. That underestimation will keep the naysayers busy and success will be ours for the taking. Vision and Leadership are the true Siamese twins of any great venture. Tie those two together for the journey and you've got it made. If you have those two, the third (being success) follows right there alongside you.

All day long I read how people hate their jobs. They look for outlets to cope but at the end of the day they are tied to their jobs because it pays the bills. I'm a lucky gal. I am lucky that I love what I do and that a decade later I still have my Quirky Sidekick fuelling that inner drive we promised each other we'd never lose. Too bad he'll never move back home. He and his wife and two children would love it here.

I'll always envy Dorothy...
At least she had time to shave her legs.
Like Dorthy said "...There's no place like home."

I can totally relate to Dorothy.

Not in the fact that we can both rock a great pair of out of fashion shoes but in the fact that she always knew what she wanted, she always surrounded herself with all the right people, and she never gave up.

On that note, I have to bolt. I have a bubble bath calling my name and a much needed neck massage that I'm terribly late for.

Say nite Toto... "RRRUFF!"

Good Dog!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Our Precious Daughters...

I love you Sweetie. You truly are a precious gift.
Taken: December 2010
I chose to share this picture of my daughter today for a very specific reason. 

Not only do I remember being in the exact moment that my shutter closed, I remember how very proud I was of her that day.  

Look at her beautiful face. 

Taken more than three years ago, as she approached my husband and our dogs, you could tell she was truly comfortable in her own skin. She was glowing: with confidence.

My point today is that I vividly remember our precious daughter and her entire 18th year. 

Extremely shy by nature, she had taken a placement through school and was participating with them in the annual Santa Claus Parade. She’d had a tough 17th year. After a terrible bullying incident that lasted months, she begged us to change schools. We finally agreed. She transferred in June and by September she had started her life anew. 

Her 18th summer brought her first serious boyfriend into our home and she truly discovered that hard work equated to monetary reward. A quiet leader in so many ways, she raised her hand to spearhead the homefront; and to this day, she's never once wavered with her message to the rest of us about the importance of family and our staying together. She truly is amazing and I love her very much.

Why so reflective? My heart is heavy and my eyes are damp today. At 2 am this morning I awoke from a deep sleep and I wandered into my office to see if my fear had come to fruition and it had. After a short battle with an unexpected illness, my friend Dodi’s daughter died last night. She was in her 18th year.

Staci and Brianna had never met. Their paths had never crossed; nor did they even know that their mothers knew one and other. As I sit here in shock, I can’t help but stare at this picture of my beautiful daughter at 18 years of age.  I can't begin to fathom just how shattered my heart (and my world) would be if she'd passed in the night. 

Rest in Peace young Brianna…. You were a very brave girl but your pain is finally over. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

This -40C Frenzy Is Not My Friend

I swear, last night I had the best night's sleep I've had since Christmas break. I finally awoke grateful that my early morning hot flash let me sleep in until 6 am. I may have been drenched from head to toe but I was rested. Rested, energized and ready to kick ass, until the unexpected happened.

Overheated like a dud radiator that just blew on a 1971 Ford, when I opened the front door for the pups to do their business, it felt like a thin layer of ice instantly covered my entire perimenopausal body. A severe bout of profanity immediately filled the entranceway thanks to yours truly.

After my teeth finished chattering, I got the pups back into the house and a cookie into their gullet. I quickly grabbed my phone off the charger, changed my jammies, then climbed back into bed. Wide awake I fast tracked a really shitty movie until I rose and put on my indoor snowmobile gear. Bummed by the cold, just before 8 am, I officially greeted my day.

Morning (no ice) room service coffee in Jamaica.
Taken: February 2012
Damn you -40C!

This morning was the fourth morning this week that my hot coffee instantly turned cold when it hit my mug.

As I rubbed my hands together in the kitchen this morn waiting for my coffee to percolate, I couldn't help but daydream about my upcoming trip to Jamaica. The warmth of the sun and the room service coffee too hot to drink.

By the time I sat at my desk, I was racking my brain trying to remember the last time I was this stir crazy from a case of deep freeze cabin fever. All of a sudden my phone buzzed and it was my boss. He immediately admitted the same frustration. Even worse, when he arrived at the office first thing this morning the heat wasn't working.

We're a pretty fiercely results driven team. But, as the super human workaholic he knows he is, I did see a glimpse of him being quasi-normal this morning. It was when I received a simple three work text message after we ended our call.

I'm thinking Mexico... was all he wrote.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Will It Really Only Hurt For A Minute?

I wish I truly understood why some people bring out the worst in me. If I had to venture a guess I'd say it's some kind of a boy that cried wolf syndrome. You know, unconditional trust followed by ongoing disappointment that just numbs me to hollow words. Eventually, I can no longer trust them.

I wish it were more complicated than that but I fear it's not. If there's one thing you take from this? I can't emphasise enough that you should never push a loyal person to the point where they no longer care.

In the last few weeks (while feeling lost in this shit storm) I had two old friends/colleagues feed what I would consider to be our expired friendship parking metre. The first one I have delightfully accepted back into my friend-zone but the other one did not pass go and did not collect his $200. THAT right there was a Monopoly reference, not how much I pay people to talk to me!

Chuckles aside, not even last night when they disclosed "I miss you" did I waver.

True to myself, all day today I made a list of the pros and cons of how easy it would be to slip back into comfortable dialogue. At the end of the day it doesn't matter what my list said. Over the past few years I have lost count of the number of times they have admittedly 'unconsciously' hurt me.

I could say "it's in the past and that's not the direction I'm going"  but I know if I were to let them come back into my life, I would basically give them an open invitation to once again pummel me into submission. My 50 Shades of Grey books say that kind of activity could be an adventure sexually; but lets face it, this is 100% emotional. Emotionally, the wounds in place are deep and the build up of scar tissue thick.

I snapped this photo in my hotel  the morning I flew to Montreal.
The rest is history....
Taken: November 7th, 2013
With one more ma'am hurdle crossed, this 'fat lady' (though I prefer big boned) is officially tuning up to sing.

It may read like she's going to sing a sad song (and on the lower end of her register) but trust me she's gonna be GREAT.

I promise, knowing that it's only going to hurt for only a minute?

You ain't seen nothing yet!!!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Clickety-Clack It's Yakety Zack

I was telling a friend last summer that whenever I know I am about to experience something memorable I snap a photo. Last Tuesday night at 9:30pm I held up my phone because it felt exactly that. It wasn't a memorable moment because I was standing in Dundas Square at night, it was memorable because of whom I was standing in the moment with.

As an aside... I LOVE this Show on W!
Taken: January 14th, 2014
Other than a string of really great emails, I hadn't gotten together with my buddy Zack since the 2013 Fall Cottage Life Show. 

Because he works in Toronto, he tends to only venture into Muskoka in the summer. So, like the ebb and flow of any great friendship, whenever I head into the city, he willingly clears his calendar.

He’ll kill me for writing this but he’s a pretty important person; as a result, I wasn't even remotely surprised when he was running well over an hour late.

When I opened the door and he wrapped his arms around me, it felt like I was putting on my very favourite pair of fuzzy slippers. Crazy comfortable!

What can I say other than we did what we do best. We talked and talked and walked and talked and finally settled on a place to enjoy dinner. He had a million questions for me and I for him. It was like there was no one other than the two of us on the face of the earth.

As you all know, I've had a rough few months. Some say they know what’s best for me (of course they do, because they know everything) and some have just unexpectedly walked away: Zack has done neither.

To take it to the next level, Wednesday morning found me panicked because I was completely stress about meeting certain people for the very first time. Knowing I was a basket case, my phone sounded and it was Zack.

"Take a deep breath and smile” he said “Oh… and don’t you ever forget that you're amazing and that this moment is yours to own.”

As a woman in business, you have no idea how great it feels knowing I have my very own secret weapon.

That is sexy....And HE knows it!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Timing IS Everything!

I truly believe that timing is everything but I have always wondered if the reason I lean toward being so painfully cynical is because I've always tallied and tracked all of my major decisions. Those that have worked for me personally and those which have not. Just a heads up... Darth is not my father and I am in no way related to Luke!

A million dollar view from the 44th floor at
One King West - Downtown Toronto
Taken: January 14th, 2014
Joking aside, last Fall I was invited to participate in a three day brand specific event in Downtown Toronto. This past week had that invitation come to fruition.

Not gonna lie... It’s been about a decade since I last drank a single once of any type of "Corporate Kool-Aid”

I completely understand the purpose, yet I forgot how great it felt to be a sponge; listening, learning, affirming, observing.

I once again witnessed great leadership energy, combined with a variety of like minded synergy. It was amazing.

Roll your eyes if you must but always remember you can't stop change only manage it.

A wise man once told me that "everything you want is on the other side of fear"

I've honestly had an innate fear of the dark my entire life. Simply throw me a flashlight and we're good to go.

OK. Not funny... Who stole my batteries?

See, I told you timing is everything!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

My Early Morning Walk...

I was sitting having lunch last Friday when I looked up and noticed my oldest son walking by on the side walk; caught off guard, I instantly grabbed his attention. We smiled, waved, and then I announced with pride "that's my oldest son.”

Short story long… I sent a text around dinner time to tell him I loved fresh his hair cut as well as to disclose the identity my mystery lunch date. It was at that point he invited my husband and I to come and see him play, with three very well-known musicians as his back up. His set started at eleven, which was way past my bedtime, so I didn't commit.

At around 10:30 pm I had already enjoyed my bubble bath and was ready for bed. When I came downstairs to say good night to my husband, he asked me what time it was. Realizing we could make it to see my son he announced, “get ready... we're going out!” Twenty minutes later (with the back of my hair still wet from my tub) we ventured out.

When we arrived at the Pub I could hear him singing. I asked my husband if we could just stand outside and enjoy the music before we caught him off guard by walking in. Proud as a Peacock, I have to boast that my son is really really good. He comes by his nickname honestly, as he truly does offer a wide range of songs just like a Jukebox.

There is never a bad time to have camera handy.
Taken: (going on 3am) January 11th, 2014
What a night!

We experienced great music; ran into some old friends; and even made some new ones. Enjoyed the company of our two sons, then we set out to walk home around 2:30am.

I felt amazing.

Energized and ready for a great walk home in the wee hours of the morn.

My husband? Not so much!

He’d been up more that 22hrs and definitely had what I can only describe as a speed wobble happening on our trek home. I knew he hadn't drank a lot, so I kept asking (in between fits of full blown laughter)... "What's wrong? Are you OK?!" 

Goob told me Saturday morning that he was drinking a potent 9% craft beer which may offer some explanation. All I know is that 48 hours later, I can't stop smiling. He took 3x's more steps to get home than I did, and in a Town where everything is a 15 minute walk, it truly did take us 45 minutes to make it home!

Makes not matter.... It's the most fun I've had out on this Town in a very long time....

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

SEE...? I'm Not The Only Bitch In Town!

As you know, Mother Nature has stripped me of my Eastern Canadian title of "Single Biggest Bitch!" What can I say other than I felt the need to relinquish my title when she decided to pummelled us with this unprecedented amount of snow.

Proud of her new found fame, she decided to twist the knife by making our hydro fail twice in one day. After her big hydro encore last night, I decided to climb into bed; with an extra blanket for insurance, two pups for company, and a candle burning safely on my night stand so that I wouldn't shiver. Not because I thought I would be cold;  but because I'm afraid of the dark. Always have been, always will be.

Up before the birds (frankly because they've all flown south) I was alert and focused on my task at hand. It may surprise some that my biggest challenge today wasn't where to put the snow. It was how I was going to keep my pups from planting their land mines in the middle of the driveway for the rest of the winter.

Let’s face it… Life for them is nothing more than a snow tunnel with a door that leads to an exciting cookie jar at this point.

I fought hard but Mother Nature won!
Taken: January 8th, 2014
Anyway, after moving snow on and off all morning, it was finally time to strap on my snowshoes.

Funny as it may sound, my yard felt a like a canvas, and making my 'yard' vision for the future happen wasn't a simple task.

What was the best route? What made the most sense to maintain for the rest of the winter?

Just like 20 years ago (and trying to accomplish anything with small children) it was like I had toddlers again. Once I started to hatch my plan, there were unexpected hiccups. Four legged hiccups. With too much snow and two pups far too stubborn to understand that this exercise was to help THEM!

As a result, they body checked me, steam rolled my ability to move ahead of them, then proceeded to step on the back of my shoes so that I would fall flat on my face into the snow. The tenth time a pup ambushed me from behind and I stumbled face first into the snow there were f-bombs. Not my most memorable moment of the day but a word I am sure everyone single one of you can relate to dropping when it comes to this 'Blizzard of '14'.

Faux drama aside, I'm just trying to personally cope and stay the hell outta traction. ...Not to mention keep in the running to regain my title in 2015.

Can you say El Nino? See... I have a fighting chance!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Enough Already!

I woke up at 7am this morning and it was snowing. Let me rephrase that. It was snowing yet again. Holy boat load of overnight snow accumulation Batman!

The poor little water-ski boat is buried.
BONUS?  The fire hydrant is wearing a hat to keep warm!
Taken: January 6th, 2014
Let’s me just call a spade a spade. I don’t hate winter, yet it’s not like I am unconditionally in love with it either.

Like anything, I take the good with the bad. But this season is creeping right up there to be just downright record breaking.

I am an active adult so I was all over a great winter weather day like yesterday.

I feel a little on the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to winter days like today. After I spent hours moving our massive volume of snow, I'm thinking winter really isn't my cup to tea. Frankly, I am completely expecting the glue factory to ring any minute, simply to make an appointment to come and pick up this old grey mare!

I am going to be travelling into downtown Toronto next week for my new job, and I'm not gonna lie that I am kinda nervous. I almost want to rent my hotel room for an extra night so that if night travel next Thursday is bad, I can enjoy a stress free evening rather than white knuckling it in a car.

That right there sounds like a plan. I’ll have to add snackage and extra wine to my list of things to pack. Hang on, I am travelling to get acquainted with my new Team (network within that Team) and be introduced into an industry that I really haven't been on the forefront of.

Note To Self: Do NOT bring an extra bottle of wine for a potential Thursday night stay.

...I BEST BRING TWO because there will be at least four locals stranded!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hairy Scary Mid Life!

I was talking on the phone with my new boss last week and he decided it was best to review an analysis I had completed face to face rather than over the phone. When he asked what my timing was (on when I'd arrive at the office) I think he was a little taken a back by the lapse. Guess now he knows what I thought was pretty much common knowledge in these neck of the woods. When it comes to my public appearance, I am definitely high maintenance.

No hair. No makeup
It is what it is...
Taken August 3rd, 2013
It's not because I wear a bunch of make-up, designer clothes, and jewellery; matter a fact, it's far worse than materialism. It's my hair. It's always been the bain of my existence.

You THINK that I have a mind of my own? Triple that thought and you are encroaching of the daily behaviour of my head of hair!

It's been completely grey for about a decade and I am embarrassed at the monthly investment I have had to make to ensure it conforms. The odd time I nail it. You know, when all the stars align and it submits, deciding to coif properly.

When it goes rogue? People burst into fits of uncontrollable laughter... and rightfully so.

The honest truth is that I remember the day I stopped asking my husband how my hair looked. It was the day he responded “Are you serious Rhondi? That's a harder question for me to answer than ‘do I look fat in this outfit’!”

Which brings me to my weight. Why does it feel (at this stage of my life) that maintaining my shape is an even bigger challenge than taming my hair? I don’t mean to whine. It's just that in trying on clothes for my upcoming trip yesterday, certain things became a very harsh reality. Once I stop exercising, everything shifts, and not in my favour.

Disappointed with my clothing exercise, my husband gently reassured me that he loves me and thinks I am beautiful. To cheer me up he asked me if I wanted to play naked Yahtzee. When I thanked him for making me laugh, he paused and innocently whispered into my ear "how about a round of naked Twister then?” 

Oh, my, goodness! With that right there, I'm certain my three grown children just died of embarrassment!!!

Chillax chitlins .... YA GOTTA LAUGH ABOUT IT