Thursday, July 31, 2014

...I Honestly Didn’t See THAT Coming!

A couple of years ago, what seemed like out of the blue, a media colleague quit their job. We weren’t really close personal friends per say - yet we had a mutual respect for the others’ work ethic and overall business savvy. I remember the day he told me he was branching out and opening his own agency.

IDP Message Circa: 2007
Working for yourself and working for a large company are two totally different birds. I suppose because I've done both, I can pull from the number of different experiences I learned from. 

When I ventured out on my own in 2004, I knew cost management was something I loved; yet, I had no sales experience. I knew I would have to dig my heels in to find success. 

Much to my surprise, the sales piece came quite easily. Conditioning myself into taking a 24 hour cooling down period was something I had to develop. It was just one of many skills I had to hone.

It takes a very specific skill set (as well as discipline) to be an independent. Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker... If you don’t sell, you don’t eat. More importantly, if you don’t treat your supply chain like Gold, you’re very quickly hung out to dry. 

I am so very fortunate that during my IDP days I'd always surrounded myself with the right Team players. As a result, I made sure they were paid before myself. Truth of the matter was, ten years ago, I needed all of them, more than they needed me to sell their abilities.

I've always said that 'it's ones that know it all... that have no ability to grow.' Their ego simply take up all the air in any given room they enter. At the end of the day... Why rant about the the little bit of bad debt I incurred today? It's simply another life lesson learned.

I'll still wish the old boy Good Luck. ...and caution him to tread carefully. Not sure why I'd bother. Seems he knows everything as he bullied me into submission.

Or did he?

Monday, July 28, 2014

The 400th Time's A Charm

My newest business associate was telling me last week that he'd finally gotten around to reading some of my Blog. As expected, there were questions: as always, I was honest. What started out as a simple coping mechanism has taken on a life of it's own.

Here's to the Muskoka summer that was never meant to be.
TAKEN: JULY 27th, 2014
Truth of the matter is that tonight is my 400th offering. 

Yes-sir-ree, I  have written about & processed four hundred different life events, stories, not to mention varying emotions. 

The part that really tugs at my heart strings is that this is only my 347th actual post. The others sit in limbo for only my eyes and heart to ever see and feel. I'm not even remotely embarrassed to admit that because every single one's contributed to how I've arrived at today. Few know how truly cryptic they are and I suspect no one else cares. Makes no matter, all are an extension of me, kind of like children.

Early on, my cousin Nancy asked "Why is your husband never really mentioned in your Blog?" 

My response was immediate. "Because it isn't his Blog!"

Why does he appear today? Well, yesterday was an exceptionally memorable day. Mid way through the afternoon we were having so much fun I picked up the camera. Because I totally suck at taking selfies it took us a number of tries. We had a blast taking them and for the very first time in four hundred attempts I am going to share a blooper reel.

Thanks to each and everyone of you for staying in touch. For whatever reason, I enjoy this somewhat unconventional process of keeping an electronic journal. I am pleased to report that not only did I survive last winter - but that I am witnessing, first hand, the Muskoka summer that was never meant to be. 

Oh, that is except for... yesterday. From about two until five o'clock to be exact!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Red Leaves of Life

I was coming up from the dock last week and I glanced over that the bright red leaves on this young maple shrub. It’s the middle of July and the leaves are telling me the year is evolving faster than expected. Because my entrepreneurial spirit is in overdrive, I need there to be eight months remaining until December 31st. I realized today that I have to get that many months’ worth of work done in five.

Trust me... A vibrant splash of red is critical in business...
Taken: July 16th, 2014
My mind wanders back to the leaves.

From the time I was a small child, I've always remembered red being my favourite colour. 

I guess some would say it’s because of my olive skin and dark colouring but I think it’s more deeply rooted than that. I think it’s because I was born a leader.

I believe my extensive sales and marketing success has evolved from my passion for analyzing data. I feel like the conductor at the symphony when I am working with hundreds of thousands of cells in Excel. I truly enjoy the process of mapping the journey strategically for a Business (so that the fewest steps are taken to ensure success) then, personally leading them in the most efficient and productive direction to great financial reward.

This time last year, decisions were being made simply because my primary personality colour was red. Those decision makers chose to ignore the obvious; not to mention the provided data. Here’s the deal. The data never lies. A year later, I have to say, I really don't know why I gave a shit.

Nowadays, I am working with amazing people that get it. They understand exactly why the leaves are so green, the boat in the distance is blue, the sun's bright yellow, and that a solid flash of red leaves is critical to a successful Muskoka TEAM.

Lucky ME… My photo, as well as my future, has every single colour covered nicely.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

At Least My Hippo Is Happy!

I woke up this morning and just stayed in bed listening to the rain. It’s started to pour last night about dusk and this morning the humidity level makes everything feel sticky. Not the good kinda maple syrup sticky; but the ‘I need to take a shower every fifteen minutes’ icky sticky.

It’s eerily quiet. If I didn't know any better I’d think that someone slipped my pups a couple of Quaaludes when I wasn't looking. Cranky and bored, I finally rustled up the energy to haul my ass out of bed and clicked the coffee maker on. It normally doesn't bother me to be out here alone but this morning I am feeling lonely. 

Anyway, with a scowl on my face and my coffee in hand, I went outside in the rain and looked down at the landing. With a terse and somewhat condescending tone, I immediately asked my buddy the obvious question of the day. ‘What the hell are you smilin' about?” 

Then I burst into laughter. I've officially reduced myself to taking to my floating Hippo!
This is Harold the Hippo and he's always happy!
Taken: July 20th, 2014

Isn’t he cute? My son and his bestie found him a float in the rain on Canada Day. 

I must admit, I was so excited when they approached the dock with him following behind. To be fair, I've left him on full display in case his rightful five year old owner came a calling but so far my elevated picnic table has remained his home.

I think he likes it there because he can’t stop smiling. See, the day isn’t a total bust. At least my hippo is happy. I think I’ll officially name him Harold. I wonder if he’s hungry? Get it? ♪♫♪ Hungry, Hungry Hippos… Hungry, Hungry Hippos ♪♫♪  (It really is one of the best board games every invented.)

Maybe I'll wander down and eat my breakfast in front of him and let some of his good nature rub off on me on this super shitty Sunday.

Ya Gotta Laugh About It...!!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Thank God It’s Friday!

I've always made an effort to hone my ability to multi-task; yet, I don’t know why I find comfort in the moments when I'm in overdrive. You know those days? When you have so much on the go that you swear you can hear circus music in your head & sense carnies (circus folk) standing behind you at your desk? All of that said, this was one hell of a long week under the Big Top!

Late yesterday afternoon my husband called me to ask if I needed anything. Knowing that a barrel of Pinot Grigio and two very large straws were not an option, I quietly said nothing. Then, about forty five minutes later, I heard the dogs barking signalling that someone was coming down the steps to the cottage.

My best friend bough me flowers...
Aren't they purdee?
Taken: July 17th, 2014
When I swung about in my office chair and looked up, my husband was standing there. Shocked, I said, “...what the hell?!”

All he said was, “I sensed you were having a bad day”.

My eyes filled with tears. After all, it was his birthday and I was the one getting a gift.

Once again, the both of us are treading in new waters. Our son moved in with his best friend this past week which officially makes us 'empty nesters’

Though we both have so much on the go, for a couple that do a lot apart, we most definitely find our way back to each other in the moments that truly matter. It’s like we've come full circle and we are unconditionally there for one and other.

I shouldn't type that like there's a hint of surprise in the keys, because there isn't. Let’s face it, at the end of the day, isn't that what best friends do? They unconditionally support one and other?



#TGIF everyone. 

That is all...!

Sunday, July 13, 2014


I am one of those people that simply don’t live a very adventurous life. Matter a fact, I'm really quite regimented. I won’t go so far as to admit that I own matching ‘days of the week’  bras and undies but pretty close. What can I say, I know what I like and I like what I know. 

That said, living at the cottage brings out a whole different side of my personality. I’m not sure if it’s the water and fresh air, or just the change of pace of how my day progresses, but from the moment I pull in the drive, I feel rejuvenated. Especially when it comes to trying new things – especially food.

When I’m in town, I generally eat the same things at the same time every single day. It’s almost like I have my body conditioned to it. I only consume so many calories in the exact same order every day and I prepare and eat dinner within a thirty minute window each and every night. I didn’t always use to be like that but as my ‘Quest For My Waist” began three and a half years ago, it’s almost like I found specific foods I like and walked away from all things guilty almost overnight.... That was until last night.

Butter, bacon, carbs, and sauces are not my friend. If I enjoy a small potato, I don’t eat any bread that day, if I treat myself to any bacon, it’s always turkey bacon; but a week or so ago, I came across a recipe on my favourite food blog. 

Mine doesn't look as good as Jen's but it was still amazing!
It contained every single thing that I use to love but no longer enjoy.  

It took me a week to talk myself into it and yesterday I folded like a lawn chair and prepared this VERY guilty pleasure for dinner.

Being the dog lady I am, I feed my pups people food. Last night was no exception. They loved the marinated pork tenderloin but turned their noses up as I tried to hand feed them some of my grilled asparagus.

Knowing I had already crossed the line, I met my girlz in the middle. I ate the remaining veggies and they enjoyed the last smashed potato. 

Why wouldn't I let them have it? After all, they gave Jen's rub-a-tummy-yummy recipe two paws up!

...and so did I.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Sir William Earns A Selfie!

September 24th, 2013 was a really great day! 

Not only did I know that I was going to spend an amazing day with one of my very favourite people in the whole wide world; the bigger piece was that by the time I went to bed that night, I'd officially decided to leave my job.  Even though I will always consider it a "dream job", for personal reasonsmaking that final decision offered me inexplicable relief. (See my Sept 25th, 2013 post A COUPLE A CRAZY DAZE!

...Just always believe in yourself. That is all.
Wondering how I’m able to remember the exact date? 

My formula is simple.

If I get the hankering that I’m going to experience a truly memorable moment and/or day, I make a habit of snapping my picture. I know it’s kind of a quirky thing to admit, but in an effort to embrace a greater sense of self, it’s something I began experimenting with when I started sharing this wonky electronic journey.

It may be wonky... but some of those pictures have become my profile picture on Facebook, and some have just simply been entered into my vault of photos that I'll always cherish. How it works?  Whenever I am feeling like a complete and total flaming bag of crap, I look in that specific folder and remind myself that my good days far outweigh my bad. Today's officially been filed in my personal vault as one of those really good days!

What can I say? I had a simple, yet amazing, three hour lunch date. There were no flowers nor soft music, no hugs nor tears, just two friends in a downtown restaurant while it poured rain outside. Just like seeing Kathy & Claire last weekend, it was that effortless. Not only was there some very engaging conversation but it was great to simply see and hear them laugh again. 

You see, our friendship had become strained a little over a year ago when I believed a new friend over him... my old friend. I personally felt having lunch today was necessary for the both of us. So that we could clear the air and piece together the truth of what actually transpired and reconnect. I am pleased to report that our mission was easily accomplished.

Hence... My silly little wonky selfie. Thanks Sir William!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Golfie Gals!

You know that old saying “you know that you’re truly friends with someone, when you don’t see each other for a year and you pick up like you saw each other yesterday”. That’s exactly how I feel about Kathy & Claire.

Ironically enough, the three of us met at a golf show. The Toronto Golf Show, about eight and a half years ago. I was telling them yesterday afternoon that I remember the exact moment we met. I was going to tell them that my somewhat photographic memory remembers what they were both wearing – but I thought that may creep them out a tad. Ooops… guess the cat’s outta the bag now.

Enjoyed a great round of golf with these gals!
Taken July 5th, 2014
Getting together with them yesterday was a bit of a milestone for me. 

Though we've always kept in touch, (and have seen each other in the city) yesterday signified the first time I’d been back to the old stomping ground in more than six years. 

Though some memories have obviously faded, I quickly realized yesterday that so many remain vibrant. I was impressed that I remembered how the course played. The fact that I left my game at home made no matter, it just felt eerily comfortable to walk it again. People at the Clubhouse said they remembered me. I just nodded and agreed. I didn't have a fecking clue who they were but I didn't want to make them feel uncomfortable. Rhondi Rule #454: When all else fails... Smile and nod and talk about the weather (or in this case golf). Which is exactly what I did.

I was nervous to return. I was going to return last year to see them and play a round but I wasn't ready. That said, it was good to be back, and I'll return to play again when they return right after Labour Day. I knew heading to the tee blocks it was going to be a brutal round, as it was my first of the year. So, as we teed up at nine, I told Claire that I was on a mission.

"I'm going to seriously practice before I see you again" I said.

With my crazy hectic schedule, I probably won't. Doesn't matter. Even though I had a severe case of the shanks yesterday, at the end of the day the wine we shared afterwards was way better than the golf. That's code for... no matter how much I practice in the next eight weeks... I'm never going to beat EITHER of these amazing golfers!

Thanks Gals. You both look great and we'll see you soon.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Can't Stop Change... Only Manage It!

When I moved out to the cottage I knew there would be a series of adjustments all around. Not only for me; but for my husband, my kids, and even the dogs. I knew I’d be fine, because let’s face it, living here was my idea, and I had carefully planned every single detail.

The extensive planning wasn’t because I thought I would struggle working from here, but because it’s fifty five steps down from the driveway to the front deck. Any crap I brought in, would eventually have to be carried out. I’m not proud to admit that it took three days to get everything I needed down the hill. But I AM pleased to report, that other than my struggles with the internet, I’m doin’ fine.

The dogs? Not quite as lucky as yours truly.

TAKEN: JULY 3rd, 2014

I’d spotted Big Red (our resident red squirrel) shortly after we arrived. With it being cooler today, things have accelerated into an almost critical situation. Just like in the past,  that bastard is playing my girl like a fiddle!

It’s hard watching first-hand what my pup refuses to see, which is that Big Red is nothing but an egotistical tease that's simply baiting her. I have to give him props. He’s good. Why? Because I think my pup is na├»ve enough to believe they can be friends. When it clearly not an option.

It’s been less than a week since our arrival and it’s evident that she’s already exhausted; but only she can decide when enough is enough. All I can do is my very best to keep her otherwise distracted and content.

Take that Big Red. I'm onto ya. This is one game of dog and squirrel you’re gonna lose! 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Another Memorable Canada Day

My mind is restless this morning. I’m not sure why. It just is. I’m sitting at my desk, sipping my second cup of coffee, wondering where hell the time has gone. I’m reflecting; and for some reason my mind is racing.

It’s downright miserable out there and I am trying to remember the last time it poured rain and thunder rolled on Canada Day. We bought the cottage in 1999 and I never remember my favourite day of the year getting postponed.

My boys having a beer.
Taken: June 30th, 2014
Not that it matters. My boys were out for dinner last night which I absolutely loved. I love to watch them, I love to listen to them. Most of all? I love to feed them. 

It’s not that they aren't all perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. I just love that once in a while they allow me the privilege. It really is the little things in life that makes great memories. I truly believe that.

Take this morning as an example. I am sitting at my computer, listening to the rain that is drowning out the radio that sits atop the fireplace. The dogs are each sleeping in a chair on either side of me and I am writing. I am making a memory.

For the very first time I am posting to my electronic journal at the cottage and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that. I feel a tad conflicted really. All those years I refused my children the internet out here and once they’re all gone I've folded like a lawn chair and hooked myself up. It’s so that I can work out here but that’s beside the point.

I’m excited what this summer will bring. I've already decided to embrace my 5am wake up call and start working then, rather than fight nature. Not only will the bandwidth be streaming in my favour, I know from living here a couple of years ago that mornings here are amazing. What a difference fifteen silly miles can make.

Happy Canada Day everyone. May the fireworks you experience tonight stay in your vault of great memories forever. I know first hand that will be the case for me!

Have a good one. Be happy. Hug the ones you love and stay safe ~ Rhondi

Taken: June 28th, 2014