Sunday, January 31, 2016


For those of you that are new to this silly little electronic journal, I use to figure skate. I’d like to think that my parents kept me so heavily involved because of the sheer raw talent I possessed but that would be a lie. They kept me at the rink and on the road as much as possible, so that I had absolutely no time to focus on boys and dating. You see, my mother had a deep seeded fear that I’d get pregnant. I remember she use to always say to me, “you know Rhondi, once you start doing that (meaning sex) it's not like you’re just able to stop...” Guess what, she was absolutely correct!!

My skating carnival character 'Cookie'
(Appearing in Bracebridge Herald Gazette)
As I sit here giggling, I couldn't help but reminisce yesterday as I decided to once again lace up my skates for a Fire & Ice Festival we were having in my wonderful little town. Rummaging through our storage to locate my custom made John Knebli skates, I was trying to remember exactly when the last time was I had laced them up.

I decided that it had to of been one of Jukeboxes’ February birthday parties. If I had to venture a guess, I would say it’d been a little over a decade ago. I could still jump and spin back then but I fear those days are gone. No worries. Because at the end of the day, I am all about life experiences right now and the fact that I wanted to at least try and skate's considered a feather in my proverbial skating cap.

When I was growing up, figure skating and hockey were something that everybody had the opportunity to participate in. I'm not minimizing the expense but it could generally be handled by a one income household. Now, parents almost need to sell a  less talented offspring, as well as a viable organ on the black market, to see the amount of ice time and year round training I received. That said, I always knew from a very young age that I was on a journey my mother never had the chance to take.

The last time I skated, I mean seriously competed, was at an audition for the Ice Capades at Maple Leaf Gardens. We hit the dressing rooms after the show, then officially hit the ice close to midnight. Again, it was my mother that had discovered the opportunity for me and she bullied my oldest brother in to putting us up in the city, coming to the show, then driving us back to Muskoka in the wee hours of that Saturday morning.

After my skate that night, I was offered the ability to apply to appear with their second tier show that toured smaller cities across Canada and the US. All I'll say, is that my skate at Maple Lead Gardens was the last time I truly skated. I gave it up cold turkey about a week later and never looked back. I had finished high school and was working full-time to save. Let's just say the years of being a rink rat had run their course.

I vividly remember that time and the moment I decided to pack my skate bag up for good. I suspect if my mother were alive, she'd attribute the extremely bad decision I'd made to stop figure skating, to all the really great sex I'd ultimately yet to discover. For those of you reading that knew her, you know first hand that she was never wrong.

Peeps, relax. Thirty plus year later, ya most definitely just gotta laugh about it!

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Heading home from work this afternoon, the Sweeney-Miester mentioned that she’d like to stop by the grocery store on the way home. We knew that one in particular was advertising 25% off everything store-wide, so we thought we’d check it out one last time. 

I have to be honest. When I walked in the front door, I wasn’t prepared for the scene that unfurled. I wandered in and looked around, then turned to my girlfriend and said... “There’s a lot of personal history here."  Seeing the shelves empty hit me like a ton of bricks.  I instantly held up my phone. 

After I snapped this pic, walked the entire store one last time, bought nothing and quietly ventured home. My point is that we have/soon to be had, a Metro grocery store in our town. You see, it's closing to re-open in mid-March as Food Basics. I understand why they are transitioning but in all honesty, it's quite sad. 

Don't you find it that your life flashes in front of your eyes the oddest times?
TAKEN: JANUARY 28th, 2016 
Gone will be the days of the Fresh To Go and Bakery divisions that employed both my boys through their high school years. Not to mention a legendary group of gals my husband playfully labelled the "Metro Queens" that were my daughters' former cashier coworkers; but that's not our only family history within my post.

Working in that grocery store (then Dominion, eventually A&P, now Metro) was the first full-time summer job I ever had. It was the summer of 1984. 

Large brown paper bags were what us hard working cashiers were then packing in, and ice cream most definitely had to be heavily wrapped twice. Paid in cash via a bank envelope every Thursday, it was a much smaller store back then, and ours was still the largest in our town of a little over 9,000 year round residents at the time. 

As I strolled through the empty store tonight, I couldn't help but think of those shifts when all of my children were scheduled and working in store together. I absolutely loved it. Over those four or five years, Metro was the best teen tracking mechanism any parent could've ever hoped for.

I'm proud they earn the opportunity to work there to save for post secondary life. That said, I know for a fact I never shopped anywhere else all those years, paying more than above average for most items in an effort to support them as well as their employer.

I guess the moral of my post is that I find it very sad, that Metro never put any of those high priced extra profits (that our entire town contributed to) back into a store in dire need of good management.

Shame on them!

Sunday, January 24, 2016


Relaxing with a hot cup of coffee and my tablet this morning, I clicked onto my Linkedin icon and immediately began to scroll. It’s something I do faithfully throughout the week but not so much on the weekend.  I am always glad see specific colleagues there. A couple of them in particular, share some extremely informative content, that I always look forward to reading. As it turned out, a gentleman that hired me and never properly paid his bill was soliciting blog followers. Out of nothing other than sheer curiosity, I read his post.  I had to chuckle.

You see, in the spring of 2014, he’d opened up a so called 'marketing firm' with no idea what he was doing. He spent a boatload of money on a sexy new website (with a sleek Corporate feel) to make it look like he had a clue, yet anyone that knew him personally, wondered what the hell he was thinking. When he landed his first true PR/Marketing client, he called me because he was completely lost. He ultimately failed his client.

The reason he failed his task at hand was primarily because he let the gentlemen he was working for tell him that the data was wrong and they were right. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, data doesn’t lie. The hard reality is that you need to help a client understand how they've arrived at the moment in time they’re in. Instead, from the beginning, I suspected that he felt he had to be completely like minded to them (hence my graphic) and they simply steamrolled him. After he refused to pay me the full amount agreed upon, I stopped feeding him how to manage the platform, and he was released. 

As expected, he came clean to them about who was in fact really responsible for the work that had been done. So, I wasn’t entirely surprised when my phone rang with an offer to pick up where he’d left off. My answer was a swift and confident no thank you. I knew 5 minutes into that call that you had to unconditionally believe what they believed to be the truth;  and I knew without a single shred of uncertainty, that I did not. I never spoke to any of them again.

Some months later, I got an email from that so called marketing fella I'd left behind. He invited me for lunch, so that he could apologize for what had happened in person. When I declined, he became frustrated. When he pressed me why I would no longer have anything to do with him I was honest. All those months later it was never really about my money that he’d kept. You see, over that lapse of time it was about respect. He’d lost mine.

I know we all think money is the most important thing earned but in my books, respect is the hardest item we'll ever have to earn and if taken for granted, one of the easiest items someone can lose. Make sure you always treasure it.

Whenever asked about that point in time in my career, I have a very simple & standard answer. Which is...

I tried to help Save The Bala Falls... and failed miserably!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Have you ever had one of those days where you'd ask yourself..."What's the date today?"

I have no idea where the time goes. I know it's been a couple of years since I've submitted a timesheet, yet, for it being only the 20th of January, it feels like the past three weeks have lasted three months. Not in the arduous sense of time passing, more... I've accomplished so much, how the hell can we only be three weeks in?

Ringing in 2016 with my Mama-in-law!
TAKEN: DECEMBER 31st, 2015
I had/have great hopes for 2016.

As you know, in 2015 I made some major life changes, both personally and professionally. To put things right on the table, I cleaned house. I honestly feel that sometimes we keep certain people in our lives for all the wrong reasons. Not that I'd have a friggin' clue... My shrink was a personal cost cutting measure that was endured when I quit my job in 2013!

Shrinkage jokes aside, all I'll say is that 2016 will be the first year of my life known for it's simplicity. Why? Because, believe it or not, for the first time in a lot of years, I have nothing to fix and nothing to prove.

Might sound like a nice word, simplicity, all wrapped up neatly with a big red bow. But for an over-achiever, that's a much bigger task to accomplish than it may read. Especially when your hardwired like a five and a half foot ball of yarn, determined to get everything untangled and quantify the reason for every silly knot. For me, simplicity is something I look forward to.

Anyway, generally too round to try yoga... for my 2016 Birthday I have officially booked a trip and decided to learn to surf. (Like those skills are going to take me far, or that I'll ever use again). I've also decided join a choir and to learn to really cook. Though I am A-OK on the singing front, to go to the next level, I could use some help in the kitchen. They offer lessons in town but that's not where I'll learn to hone my craft. I want to study in my Mama-in-laws' kitchen. She's an amazing cook, just ask my husband... and anyone else she's ever cooked for.

Truth? The fact that Ivy ensures the best tunes rock her kitchen when she's cookin', will only compliment our lessons, as well as my ability to learn. I wonder if she'd like to come to choir with me?

Guess I'll simply have to ask. Lord knows... She can sing circles around yours truly.

So, tell me....How is your 2016 going?

Sunday, January 17, 2016


My last CHEERS in Los Cabos!

This video is personal property of JOHN WELSH.
Shared with permission. All rights reserved.
I was going to label the title of my post, "MY LAST RESORT" but after selecting my photo to keep my post company, I worried that someone would feel obligated to step up and be my AA sponsor. That said, those Caribbean Orange frozen cocktails were rub-a-tummy-yummy and they definitely had a whomp ass of a kick!  

I love this pic. I snapped it on my very last day in Cabo. When my treat was finished, I returned to my room and finished packing. I think I knew then, that in my heart I wanted my next adventure to be something other than a resort vacation. 

I suppose I should clarify that my stay at The RIU Palace was excellent. I headed home stoked by the price of the one day sale I'd taken advantage of; yet felt like an idiot for avoiding Mexico in my travels as long as I had. Boarding my plane, I knew that I was going to look away from the excess of resort vacations in 2016; but let's face it, I know little about how to best navigate Mexico. Therefore, I figured what I am actually about to do, wasn't even an option for me.

So that's my question... How do you know what the right vacation opportunity is to take advantage of? I am anything but a world traveler. I know you can only trust the internet to get you so far, and I can be a bit of a snob when it comes to where I stay. Even admitting all of that, booking my next trek came my way in quite an interesting manner.

I chose this upcoming Mexico location for a couple of significant reasons. The 4 bedroom house (and small infinity pool) was just a starting point. It's beautifully situated on the side of a hill in a small town that caters (somewhat) to a Canadian traveler.

I absolutely love that I have to walk to the beach. I have to walk to the beach, I have to walk to get groceries. I have to walk to get everywhere I wanna go. Also, the owner of the home is Canadian and he assures me that it will be safe to be out at night. An added bonus? Last, but not least, the Sweeny-meister stayed there last January, so it comes highly recommended by her. Oh, and she is coming with me for my birthday, to ensure I stay out of trouble!

As I head to beautiful Sayulita for back to back Mexican experiences (and learn to surf), I believe that my fondness for Mexico will hold a similar candle to the strong love I have for Jamaica.

Because, as you've read.... There's never a bad time for Jamaica Mon!!

Thursday, January 14, 2016


When I was looking through folders within my documents last night, I stumbled along a misplaced folder of phone pictures from my last vacation. As I looked at the picture I am sharing, a couple of things immediately entered my mind.

The fact that I suck at taking selfies of us once again fled to the forefront of my immediate thought process, yet it’s the fact that that I finally have a pic of my husband not wearing his glasses that jumped out at me most. Truth of the matter is that he’s had to wear glasses almost his entire life. That said, for more that a year, he's been telling me that I have an unrealistic attitude toward my own vision and my true eyesight needs.

My MAN... Sporting a smile and his beautiful blue eyes.

It's no big surprise. I’ve known I would eventually need to take the plunge and get fitted with a set of specs. Yet, out of a combination of sheer vanity and stubbornness, I have managed to skillfully allude the local Optometrist.  He teases me about it, though my behaviour is not really dissimilar to his (many years ago) in his cancelling several appointments he'd made to have a vasectomy... He just simply didn’t want to do it!

I’m not sure what my issue is.

When my eyes first began to seriously fail, I just matter a factually marched in and purchased a 32” computer monitor, then proceeded on an intense two year stint of website builds and graphic design. It wasn’t until I started my new job and began working seriously with numbers again, that I realized my eyesight was failing at a more rapid rate than I could've ever imagined.

I know I have options: contacts, progressive lens, 'n all that jazz but I think my attitude leans more toward my true nature. My husband tells me that I shouldn't be surprised that I need glasses, "both your parents and all your siblings wore/wear them," he says.

Guess when all is said and done, I'm simply not them... I am me.

Bad eyesight accessorized, et al. 

Monday, January 11, 2016


I had a former co-worker message me on Facebook over the holidays to confirm that I was in fact as big a Toronto Raptors fan as I've alluded to on my Twitter feed. My answer was a simple… “HELL, YA!”

As the kick-ass a fan I am, I was fortunate enough to get gifted tickets to a game over the holidays. At the last minute, I offered my box ticket to my oldest boy, because he'd never experienced a Raps game live. Not one to ever miss out, I immediately went online and bought myself a 9th row end zone onesie ticket on game day. 

That evening, as my husband and son landed in the executive suite, they both sent a text to try and locate me in the sold out crowd. In an effort to get on the jumbo-tron, I had about a half dozen people around me, stand and wave their arms along side me so they could see us. It was with really tired arms I had to finally phone my man with a very important tidbit of information. “You’re looking in the wrong end zone...” was what we yelled.

Short story long, watching all the action, the HBSC Bank offered my husband a 3rd ticket so that I could join my boys. We had a blast!

Had a blast with Jukebox... and the RAPS won!
TAKEN: DECEMBER 30th, 2015

Shortly after that, I began to seriously plan my April jaunt. I knew I didn’t want another resort vacation, so after my buddy Heather had such an amazing solo road trip at Christmas, I decided to look at a map. My map had one focus: the Raps schedule on the road.

I quickly discovered that my team had games less than a week apart, playing in three of the cities I wanted to visit. My girlfriend and her husband confessed they may be travelling, so that took San Antonio (Spurs) out of the mix. Yet, I hit the mother load with New Orleans (Pelicans) and Memphis (Grizzlies)... with me heading into Nashville for a couple of days and flying home from there.

My only true hurdle at this juncture's wrapping my head around our poor Canadian dollar. I can pay for my flights and car in Canadian dollars but after that, I am going to be at the mercy of dear ole George Washington. As of today, it will painfully cost me more that a buck forty-two to purchase one American dollar. Not gonna lie, when I finished my cost analysis, that was the hardest thing to personally justify.

I love the Raps, I really do. I miss my friends and I truly want to see them both. At the end of the day, it's turning out to be about a couple of men outside Darin & Twos. Truth is, it's looking like William McKinley & James Madison will be my deciding factors. No matter how much I feel I am worth it, this is turning out to be a very large investment for a mere 10 days on the road with the Raps.

I guess it could be worse. I could be thinking of buying a 4th dog... On second thought, maybe a $5,000 basketball themed road trip may not be such a bad idea after all.

What? ...You didn't think I'd be sitting in the nose bleed seats did ya?!

Friday, January 1, 2016


Well, for the first time in I don’t know how many years, I stayed upright and officially rang in the new year at midnight last night. I didn’t get home much after that but for some very strange reason, I stayed in bed until after noon. Wait, I’ll come clean. The reason I stayed in bed wasn’t strange, it was thanks to my mother-in-law and her super special Sangria recipe!

Anyway, when I finally found myself vertical, I headed outside to shovel. I couldn't help but realize that this had been the busiest holiday season for me in at least a decade. Part of me feels the lack of snow helped make me more mobile, another part of me's resigned myself to the fact that I am just more settled. No bullshit calendars to deliver, no ads that needed to go to press; just a week of some much needed me/we time.

Like some, I’m not a ‘new year, new me’ kind of person. I am who I am and I'm okay with that. Don’t make resolutions, never have. I will admit that there are superficial things I wish I could change but the truth of the matter is that I am generally okay with the aging process. The hard reminders come via my pups. As Dot struggles to do the stairs, I know that'll eventually be me. As I sit here and admire the snow falling from the sky, my personal thoughts fall in line with, “…just please don’t let me fall and break a hip this winter!”
My perfect New Years Day office view!
(TAKEN: JANUARY 1st, 2016)

Giggles aside, I wanted to share that I drew and posted a graphic on Linkedin (that I retweeted) this morning. It read:

Follow you heart. 

Just be sure to take your brain with you!

With that very simple bit of advice forming my 2016 mantra, I DO intend on following my heart this year.

I AM going save every penny I can to travel more, and I AM going to embrace every single opportunity of adventure that presents itself. 

As I sit here writing and daydream about all the things I am going to do in 2016, the first thing on my list of things to accomplish is staring right at me in the face. I need to immediately get my ass outside and bring in the two lawn chairs I left out on the patio. 

Happy 2016 everybody. I'm truly looking forward to a very exciting year!!