Thursday, July 30, 2015


I haven’t mentioned it before now but I’m in the midst of transitioning. I will be taking the month of August to tie up some loose ends, steamline some systems, then September 1st I am embarking on a new career direction. I’m excited about it & very few know the specifics. Truth be known, it’s been something I have been contemplating since this time last year. It was only today, when I broke the news to my closest confidant, that I realized the reality of what’s really happening with me. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely happy with my choice. My husband and I have talked about it in detail but you know husbands; a happy wife's a happy life. In turn, they just nod their head a lot, agree with you 99.9% of the time, and hope the end result is a hug that turns into sex!

Never lose sight of the fact that we always learn
something of value from every person we meet.
Today, my lunch date was the opposite. I was able to articulate my plans and direction with my close friend asking pertinent, big picture questions. Aside from congratulating me, he instantly said what I also believe to be true. “I know you’ll be much happier!” 

There is something very comforting about our solid friendship that has grown over the years. What started out as an all business thing, has now matured into a deep respect for the each other’s lives and our families. He’s comfortable telling me what he & his wife and kids have going on, as am I with him, and we always make sure the others business interests are on track (which has always been our core). I guess you can say we’ve evolved into the others perfect sounding board. We've never spoken over each other, and we’ve always been unconditionally supportive of each other, no matter what our news may bring.
Anyway, because he had to unexpectedly grab something south of here, I decided to tag along and we drove about 30 miles south for lunch. With more than our usual hour to dine, there was an unusual amount of time to chat. I am pleased that I could quietly admit to him that I feel I have finally recovered from the summer of 2012. Though there still may be faint scars, for the emotional severity of what I went through, I have come out the other end relatively unscathed.

So there you have it. I’m moving on, I've made it though, and I am grateful. Ecstatic for an amazing career opportunity and exceptionally glad for this unconditional gift of friendship.

You see, his friendship really is a gift. A gift I am grateful I get to open every single day.

Monday, July 27, 2015


I'll remember this moment for a very long time. BIZARRE!
TAKEN: JULY 24th, 2015
With summer in full bloom, I took last Friday to myself. I walked with Sweetie downtown to grab an ice cream cone and to wait for word that my friend had safely landed his plane at Muskoka Airport from his home base in Cleveland. 

I find it hard to fathom that he can be to me (or at least wheels to the ground in Muskoka from Cleveland) quicker than I can get in the car and drive to Toronto.

Long story short he was late. I was worried and Sweetie couldn't wait any longer to meet him. So I loaded her onto the trolley at the Falls and Puddy and I headed back through the downtown awaiting my good news call.

Here's where the story gets kind of neat. As I bent down to take this picture, another American friend was about to exit one of the storefronts in the distance. I didn't know it at the time and there was zero expectation that we would see each other, yet imagine my surprise when  he merged onto the sidewalk in front of me. It had been three years since we'd last met face to face.

When I called out to him, I honestly don't think he recognized me at first. At least that's how I read his face. To be fair, I don't blame him. Who would expect to bump into someone and their dog during regular business hours? Either way, I'm glad we chatted. My life may have moved away from the industry he services but it was nice to discuss my upcoming return face to face. Three years later I still feel the way I did when we were working together, which is that he's a really good person.

As my Cleveland buddy and I enjoyed lunch today I wanted to share how his stronger than normal headwind, changed my fate and had me bump into an old friend; yet, I didn't. Instead we talked for an hour about Muskoka and his quest to retire and buy a cottage here.

At the end of the day I think he could love Muskoka as much as our family does. The American dollar is strong and interest rates are extremely low. I guess we'll just have to wait and see where things go with that. Because, as Friday once again reinforced...

Timing is everything!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Living at the cottage most definitely has its perks but it also comes with a long list of things to do that simply don’t take care of themselves. Changing out everything from deck boards to light bulbs, I’ve become a pretty hands on handyperson. (I’m working on a small hot water issue that has me bathing in the lake until the weekend but that's another post.)

I don’t know what things look like from where you’re sitting but from where I’m typing the mosquitoes are plentiful and some range up in size resembling small hummingbirds. Though life teaches one to appreciate quality and not quantity, some days I feel a swarm of skeeters could carry me from the car down the 55 steps and dump me at the sliding patio door on the deck. BBQing dinner last night, I’d had finally had enough, and hatched a plan.

Not stitch of brush was safe today. My buddy Gary would have been proud!
TAKEN: JULY 21st, 2015
You’ll be impressed when I share that I don’t run the chainsaw when I’m here alone, so a few years back I bought myself a hacksaw. 

Knowing what I had to do to get it done, I fetched it from the shed last night. Then, once the high noon sun hit today, I slathered myself in Muskol, and hit the back hill on a mission. 

Come hell or high water, I was going clear as much brush as I could to get some serious sunlight onto the hill to help Mother Nature burn them blood sucking skeeters to a crisp. Two hours later the remnants were hauled into a pile and I had gone as far as I could. I was sweaty and stinky. The good news is that there wasn’t a skeeter in sight. I gobbled my lunch, cleaned myself up and worked the afternoon away at my desk.

About  15 minutes ago I went outside to see if I had actually made a dent in my task at hand. Truth is, I couldn’t tell. The mosquitoes were so friggin’ bad that I just turned around and came back in the cottage. Guess I’m gonna give it another go tomorrow. Just like preparing a solid annual operating plan, more hacking and slashing (I mean sawing) shall happen tomorrow!

YUP, the skeeter/hacksaw saga continues. Something tells me I’m fighting a losing battle but at least I’m committed on giving it an honest go and not pouting when it simply didn't work out the way I wanted it to.

Afterall, we all know quitters never prosper!

Sunday, July 19, 2015


My husband celebrated his 29th birthday last Friday. Because the 29th is a bit of a milestone, the kids and I took a cake and some balloons into his work to share with his office coworkers. Waiting for him to return, one of his newer team members that hadn’t met me before asked: “Are you the wife?”

My reply was quick and convincing. “Nope, I’m the girlfriend” I said. “Please don’t tell his wife” I continued; “Everyone else in town knows but I’m told she’s not a hair too bright!” Those within earshot burst into laughter.

After our delicious cake celebration was over, we scooped him up and headed home for the second part of his celebration. You see, when I asked him what he wanted for his birthday his request was a simple one. He wanted his boys to make him dinner. So, with a 7pm reservation, we headed to 155 in downtown Bracebridge.

(l-r) Jukebox, Birthday Boy, Goob & Sweetie.
TAKEN: JULY 17th, 2015
If you've never eaten there, GO (and I'm not just saying that because I'm their Mom)!!

Goob has been with Chef Michael Ricard since returning to Muskoka from the GTA after his post George Brown stint at Actinolite.  

This time last year, Jukebox was honing his mad skills in kitchen at the Griffin Pub, and made the formal move to work with Goob about a month ago. I’m glad they’re together. They have always been close as siblings, so this naturally works for them. Anyway, after our beautifully presented and very rub-a-tummy-yummy meal had been consumed, the boys came out of the kitchen to hug their dad and wish him a happy birthday. Of course as a proud mama bear I had to capture the moment. 

You see, even though we all live in the same sleepy little town, there are still logistical challenges to all of us getting together.  So when we do, my camera is never far away. They raz my intentions innocently but they know capturing moments like this very special one is something I have always done. 

Look at my crew, just look at them. Am I lucky or what? Maybe luck is the wrong word. I think I'll recant and go with blessed. Yes, I definitely feel blessed, 

Afterall, I married my best friend who just happens to be an Africa HOT 29 year old!!

Monday, July 13, 2015


Initially, with rain in the forecast, I was all set to head into town last night and work from home this morning. Then, around supper time, I realized that Mother Nature was going to pull out all the stops and make it another good one. So she was a no-brainer for this cat; I was going to be getting it done from the cottage today.

TAKEN: JULY 13th, 2015
Working from here isn’t without its challenges. 

Because I have to tether to my phone to gain access to the internet (which is where I spend the bulk of my billable hours) I have to rise before dawn and make the most of my location and lulls in my Muskoka bandwidth.

It doesn’t sound like a big deal but it can be frustrating when you’re working with my tight deadlines. I don’t know about you but I absolutely hate being late. Matter a fact I pride myself on not being late, hence the frustration when my mobile hotspot gets bitchy.

Challenges or not, I’m always very conscious of the sheer privilege I have working from here. Not just because I love that it’s somewhat unconventional but because I know my husband’s sweating his ass off doing physical labour in the heat. He says he doesn’t mind but I think he’s just that good a person that he doesn’t mention there could possibly be the slightest stitch of envy. 

I am the busiest I have been personally since the summer of 2013. I’m not opposed to working at this level, I guess you could say that I am conditioned to it. I don’t know what I’d do with myself if I wasn’t working this much. Wait a minute, that’s a lie. I’d find the time to get a much needed pedicure, I’d go to a salon to get my roots touched up (instead of doing it myself at midnight) and I’d start to golf again. 

None of those three will be happening anytime soon but they feed nicely into my goal oriented mentality. If you don't set them, you can't achieve them! I will say that as I was relaxing in the water at lunch today (completing some very important market research) my husband called to say he’d forgotten his bottled water. Out of sheer respect, two things happened. I never mentioned that I was in the lake, nor that I was secretly fantasizing about a glorious pedicure. 

Instead, immediately after our call ended, I hauled my ass back up to the cottage to make sure I had everything I need to prepare his dinner. Can’t have my lad dehydrated and starving now can I?

Glad we agree!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


"Successful women can still have their feet on the ground... 
They just wear better shoes!"

When I went into business for myself more than a decade ago, I enthusiastically completed an obsessive amount of analysis & market research prior. I remember when I'd finally chosen my course of action, I invited a very successful friend for drinks so that I could ultimately share my direction and ask their opinion. When he finished reading my business plan, he smiled and said without hesitation, "I think you have all the pieces in place to  truly be successful with this!" 

Even now, I remember being flattered by his affirmation. Afterall, he was a successful well respected businessMAN occupying the very lane I was merging into. His words gave me the spark I needed to compliment my gumption and I never looked back.

One of the many perks of a waterfront office
TAKEN: JULY 3rd, 2015
Yesterday, I needed some business advice. Though I still keep in touch with the person I leaned on all those years ago, my telephone call yesterday was to a woman. One I have a solid respect for.

We both used to work in the same sector and her father was one of my very first trade print clients. She, like so many others are limited in the praise they receive because they are a woman and therefore must be the receptionist. To the contrary, she has a brilliant legal mind. Hence, why I called her for her help.

On the glass half full side of things, after I hung up from my one free legal advice call, the opportunity of a lifetime presented itself (part and parcel for how I spent the last 18 months I suspect). It'll be a lot of hard work and I'll have to prove my worth as well as the fact that I am up for the challenge. I'd like to say I'll lace up my designer shoes and give it my all but I don't wear socks after the May 2-4 weekend; so I'm going to slip on my $35 flip flops and get to work.

I'm kidding. You see, it's not the shoes that define success (or flip flops in my case) because in business, everything is results based. I find it funny that when I started out all those years ago, people would pat me on the head and ask "ya still do that little thing out of your basement?"

Does my picture look like I'm in my basement?

Check again!