Saturday, December 31, 2016


Well, once again the old guy is getting ready to hand things over to that chubby little baby in a diaper. In a matter of hours, a massive amount of new year cheer will be consumed and as the clock strikes 12, people will gladly kiss & hug total strangers. Sounds like me on a random Friday night at the Griffin Pub... Luckily, it acceptable behaviour tonight.

Similar to most of you reading, I can honestly say that when I reflect on the last year, it's with a true sense of positivity and a feeling of personal pride. Exactly one year ago today, I set some specific goals that I've not only accomplished, I've exceeded. I may have worked a ton and a half but I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that my inner drive was complimented by the need and delivery of four seasons of exceptional Muskoka weather. 

Barometric elation aside, I guess I am trying to relay that in a nutshell I had a really good year. So very grateful for so many things, yet there is only one place to start. Look at those kids. We're so very blessed. Truly thankful for them, as well as our good health. Nothing tops those two. Nothing will ever come close.

So grateful for a year full of wonderful memories. Thankful for so much.
TAKEN: Throughout 2016

The other side of my so very thankful for coin would have to be all the blatantly obvious things I need to simply let go of. I'm not sure if I ever shared this before but every year between Christmas and New Year Eve, I buy myself a new purse. Just like this electronic journal, my 'purse' tradition has grown with the same personal passion. 

You see, when I ring in the new year with a new purse, it's an official message that I can leave all the crap that followed me and weighed me down within the last year, exactly there. My new purse is only intended to carry fresh opportunities, new goals, and positive vibes. Tomorrow, my current purse stays exactly where it should: in 2016. 

Happy 2017 everyone. As we journey into our seventh year together, thanks to each and every one of you for reading. It is truly appreciated.

Godspeed ~Rhondi

Friday, December 30, 2016


Well, I spent my morning doing the house budget for the next three months, as well as really analyzing the one I had in place for the prior three. The good news is the next three look outstanding. The last three? Absolutely, horrendous. Knowing full well there was more going out than going in, early-November I made a surprise announcement to my grown children: “The Bank... IS CLOSED!”

I should've done it this past summer and I have no one to blame but myself. Against any/all good judgement, I am the one that kept the 24 hour wicket open. It took a couple of very large dollar (hollow promised) 'I'll pay you back' incidents for me to realize they had no intention of doing so; so I finally shut 'er down.

A very necessary... But dreaded task!
TAKEN: DECEMBER 30th, 2016
When I think back, I credit my mother with a number of my character traits but there are two in particular I am grateful for as I muddle through midlife. 

She always taught me to pay myself first, which I do; and the second is that (from her wheelchair) she taught me how to structure/follow a monthly house budget. I still remember she use to make me type it out, after she passed I had a ledger book, now I simply use a formulated excel spreadsheet. Today, I offered to teach my daughter how easy it is; she agreed to try.

Budget mentoring aside, as I look at the next three months, I see some very solid savings into April. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I was disappointed last fall to have to cancel my 2017 birthday trip to China. I worked extremely hard to save that money, and because I have always refused to travel on credit nor retirement savings, a change in plans was my only option. At the end of it all, I just keep telling myself that those dollars were simply needed somewhere else. Somewhere much more important. With a deep hope, that when transferred, they were truly appreciated. 

Now that my first quarter budget is officially done, I need to find my bottle of glue. Time to put that blasted piggy bank I decimated a few months back, back together. You see, many moons ago I went for the really shiny, pretty porcelain finished piggy, when my gut told me the practical purchase was the ugly plastic one with the key in its belly. Again, my own fault.

Now, where the hell is that glue!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


A quiet house waiting for morn.
TAKEN: DECEMBER 24th, 2016
Well, once again, that’s it for Christmas. 

So much hype and panic that ultimately resulted in your annual giant turkey and carb coma. Oh my goodness, I don’t know about you but I felt full of holiday food until I went to bed Boxing Day night!

As much as year over year the traditions of the season remain the same, this year I found myself in much different territory. Our last child moved out in mid-December and I admit I am a tad surprised how big I immediately found the house. Not in a bad way, more a truly unexpected one.

One doesn't recall what it's like to not have a roommate until you wake up at 5:30am for work and realize you don't need to worry whom will hear you. For me, I thought that's what I missed most; then Christmas Eve hit.

For the first year ever, I didn't get together with a single one of my children on the eve. To mark another first, they all have roommates. Yup, on the eve I got up in the morn, posted to my blog, ran my errands and settled in for the day. I had an early dinner, watched a movie and headed to bed early. So early, that I woke up at 5am reminiscing on how the kids use to wake us up in the dark. Right up until they left the first time more than 5 years ago.

As I awoke and perked the coffee Christmas morn, I wasn't surprised that it was my daughter leading the plight to head home. She's always been the holiday gatekeeper but I found myself glad that she hadn't changed. You know why?

No matter how much I hate the lack of light this time of year, she provides more than enough energy for everyone around her; it's refreshing.

For that, I will always be absolutely and unequivocally grateful.

Who needs a selfie stick when you have Goobs extra long reach?
TAKEN: DECEMBER 25th, 2016

Saturday, December 24, 2016


For a fella that lives in Grand Cayman....
My recent tan could compete!!
TAKEN: DECEMBER 23rd, 2016
In September of 2014, I parked my butt at a small coffee shop in town to meet with a very close personal friend and co-worker.

He'd recently resigned from the company that we’d both worked for and wanted to meet to share where his journey was taking him next.

From the moment he walked up to me and hugged me, it was like not a day had passed. I remember he had so much to say to me, that he wrote me a letter.

A tad surprised, I started to read. I could feel his eyes watching me as his powerful words brought me to tears.

Well, yesterday I walked into that very same coffee shop and he was sitting at the exact table we shared in 2014. Once again, we hugged.  Just like 2+ years ago, it felt like not a single day had passed. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve spoken on the phone dozens of times; but the last time we were actually in the same time zone together was that rainy afternoon in the fall of 2014.

I don’t know about you but there are very few people I have met in my lifetime that I trust with all of my heart. Glen, is one of them. I went to work for the company he was a partner in so that I could specifically work with him. From the day I started, it was evident that his experience & knowledge were challenged by none. The other tidbit that came to fruition quickly? When we teamed together, we were unstoppable!

Anyway,  my recap aside, we agreed to meet again next week before he returns to Grand Cayman.  As I walked away I waved and yelled with a matter a fact and melodious, ‘I love you…’  Then, when I got home, I immediately opened my lock box and once again read his very powerful letter that was written September 29th, 2014.

It opened with, 'I wanted to take this time and let you know several things, as I have chosen to be so quiet over the last almost year.'  The truth of the matter is that a strong friendship like ours doesn’t need daily conversation nor being together. I guess it’s because I feel that as long as our relationship lives in the heart, as true friends, we will never be part. Chatting face to face most certainly reinforced those points for both of us.

As 2016 closes and we greet 2017, there’s one thing I know for sure. The older I get the more evident it’s become that I am in need of fewer friends. For me, though an extrovert, the premise over the past year has evolved from quantity to quality. Hence, why in the next year, I intend on embracing only those that are truly sincere.

Merry Christmas Eve all. Hug those you love and be grateful for your blessings. Life is far too short to settle for anything less.

Peace Out.

Friday, December 9, 2016


Like most of the vacations I plan, I research them based on personal referrals from friends and family. I select a destination, then ask the masses for feedback. I realize everyone spends their vacation time in different ways, yet if you’ve had a blast, I generally want to start with your personal input. 

Anyway, my point is that personally chasing as many different stamps in my passport before I hit the ripe old age of 57, is beginning to present challenges. Though I hop a plane only twice a year, I have begun to realize that I am a lot of years shy and running out of direct flight/same time zone/kick ass options. Sad, because I live in the Canadian snow-belt, suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, and LOTS of sunshine is  #1 on my 'must have' list.  

Future travel concerns aside, for all that are wondering, Riviera Maya did not disappoint. A little over a three hour flight from Toronto to Cancun I immediately hit the ground running. Like always, I knew that I wanted to golf when I was there and among other things I wanted to visit the Mayan ruins in Tulum. Not because I'm a history buff but because I wanted to experience their journey for myself; and I honestly don't think I will ever return.

Nothing like an hour and a half stroll in 31C+ weather.
 Incredible experience just the same.
TAKEN: DECEMBER 8th, 2016 

Though I know my returning won't impact their overall tourism statistics, I will endorse that my last four passport stamps have been awarded in Mexico. For a gal that had reservations about ever going to the country in the first place, I am completely and unequivocally hooked. 

For the record, my primary worry was never violence, more the condition of their drinking water. So, for those of you that don't know, their laws (especially in tourist based areas) have become significantly more stringent. As a result, I have always been able to brush my teeth using the tap water on all of my excellent adventures.

As I head home tomorrow, I've so many things to be grateful for. 

Undeniably grateful that I got to hug a cousin (for the first time in more than a decade) and we weren't at a funeral. My wonderful children that took care of my pups so that I could once again travel n' discover, but first and foremost to my very memorable strapless bra....That absorbed more excreted sweat than any peri-menopausal  hot flash could produce whilst walking the ruins at Tulum. 

Trust me when I report that there's a boatload of really good water in Mexico.

I rung out the best of it from my tank top at the resort.. Just to make my point!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


As you know, I love to read. Nowadays, I do the majority of it online but there's really something special about being on vacation and actually holding onto a book. That said, I have taken the same author on vacation every year since the year before I got married.

I remember my first encounter with them being at the condo we were staying at, in Madeira Beach, Florida. The gal I was travelling with was in the midst of reading a book called Fine Things. She was telling me about it and it sounded intriguing. When she finished reading it, I borrowed it and was hooked; I have been reading Danielle Steel ever since.

That said, I read more of her now, than I did in the early years. When the kids were small, if I was lucky, I use to get to read two books a year. One driving to our vacation destination, the second driving home. Back then, I primarily borrowed the books from friends but for the last ten or fifteen years, I've collect the majority of them from used book stores and various yard/estate sales.

Anyway, this summer when I was rearranging the spare bedroom at the cottage, I found a stash of more than 3 dozen paperbacks packed away under a bed. Rummaging through, I found a couple that I had never read before, accompanied by a couple of copies of the ones I'd liked most.

Fourth bestselling author of all time, with over 800 million copies sold. We ALL can't be wrong!
When I knew I was headed to Mexico for a couple of weeks (and the weight in my luggage under serious scrutiny) I had to choose carefully how to fill my beachfront obsession. I am pleased to report that the three (new to me) that traveled from home and will return to my bookshelf at the cottage did not disappoint.

With her having written 101 novels... Thanks to these, my total rolled to over 60 read. 

Thanks, Mexico. You provided me with MY KINDA THREESOME!

Sunday, December 4, 2016


As you know, I am the least spontaneous person you will ever meet. Seriously, it’s not that I am a control freak, rather I admittedly have some deep seeded fears of the unknown. As silly as that may read, I work really had to step outside my comfort zone. 

That said, I can’t remember that last time I did something as spontaneous as I did yesterday. Wait, yes I do. It was April of 2015 and it was amazing. Don’t regret that; most certainly don’t regret unexpectedly hopping a ferry to Cozumel for the day yesterday.

The truth is that I was walking the beach in Playa Del Carmen minding my own business. In the centre of the City, down by the pier, there is the most amazing sculpture of a man an woman of the sea. I was enthralled. My camera couldn’t keep up.

My very SEXY ride.
As I headed past it and toward the wharf, I saw the most beautiful modern ferry. Knowing my life insurance was in good standing, I became curious. 

As soon as I hit the main walkway to the pier, they were everywhere.  It was like they were professional panhandlers for selling ferry tickets to Cozumel. Instinctively I knew I wanted to go. The other thing I knew was that I wanted to cross on the nicest ferry at the pier.

So, literally within less than 10 minutes of landing at the Playa Del Carmen pier for the day, I was leaving. Off on a boat with nothing but a smile, a bunch of Pecos, in search of an adventure.  I wasn’t disappointed. From the time I got off the boat it was like I had stepped into the mid 1970’s (aside from the Hard Rock CafĂ© and Cartier stores)!

I wandered the street with my camera and settled on a second story restaurant for an amazing Mexican lunch and my very first Margarita. With the ferry leaving to go back to Playa Del Carmen every hour on the hour, after a couple of hours of shopping I paid my 70 pecos and returned to the mainland.

As the ferry left the Cozumel dock I knew that I would be back. All I could think was this would be an amazing place to take my birthday trip. 

Thanks Cozumel. I WILL be back. I'm thinking in April of 2017!

If I didn't have the pictures... I wouldn't believe I went!

Saturday, December 3, 2016


Yesterday, I got on a bus. Not a coach bus like Greyhound provides, nor something as posh as the TTC offers in downtown Toronto; instead I took the Mexican Transit. Essentially a Volkswagen mini-van that seated about 12, desperately needed brakes, and drove at a minimum highway speed of about 100 miles an hour. I knew the moment I got on I was in for an adventure.

As I stood at the side of the six lane highway awaiting my Chariot from hell, I couldn’t help but look at the directional sign in front of me. I didn’t read the words per say, more absorbed what the symbols on the sign meant to me specifically in that moment.

Awaiting my Chariot.
Do I turn around and go back? If I do, will I regret it?

Do I wait a little longer in hopes of continuing on the path I have chosen?

Or, do I just pull out my credit card, take the taxi behind me, in hopes of finding what I need faster? 

In the end, good ole predictable me kept my feet planted, stayed my course, and board the mini-bus.

That said, I’m not sure what you believe, but I most certainly believe in karma. I wholeheartedly believe that if I look you in the eye and smile I have close to an 100% chance you will look back at me and smile. I also believe in the tone of my voice. When genuinely speaking to someone, my tone shows that I am first and foremost, a caring person. If you get something outside of that, I am simply reciprocating the karma vibe I'm receiving.

Yesterday, karma was my friend. Not one of the peeps on that bus spoke English. Not only that, no one had time for a ridiculous Canadian tourist. But the look in my eyes and the tone of my voice had others helping me. I made it safely to my destination and back with the help of bus load of hard working Mexican people that probably didn't earn the price tag of my trip in a year. I was truly grateful.

Now, if I could only get some of the shit heads that are lucky enough to be in my life to get on board with this simple philosophy… Life would be absolutely grand!

Friday, December 2, 2016


Well, it was officially day three and I felt I needed a bit of adventure. For those of you that truly know me, you know my excitement curve lands somewhere around planning on roasting a chicken for dinner and throwing those solid set plans out the window and serving pork chops instead. The vegetables would remain the same; but I’m telling ya, very exciting stuff!

With that exciting scenario in mind, you can imagine when on Day 3 of my vacation being presented with what the popular resort options were. Going through the list, whilst listening intently, I decided it was time to experience my very first “Brazilian”

As you can imagine, I had a million questions. Where do I show up? How long will it take? Will I be comfortable roaming around the resort after I’d finished? So many questions, yet so little time to confirm my reservation. Throwing caution to the wind, I signed my name.

Enjoying a glass of wine after my first 'Brazilian'
When I arrived, I was surprised how many people were around. Honestly, I was expecting it to be a tad more intimate. As I looked around, I just told myself to go with it and not to be judgmental. After all, the service had come highly recommended. Could all the women I’d spoken to be wrong?

Overall, I found it relaxing and not painful at all. It took a little over a hour and a half from start to finish and in the end I left a hefty gratuity. I would highly recommend it simple because of how unconventional it may seem. 

Yup, the Brazilian Steakhouse at the Luxury Garn Bahia Akumal was amazing!

…What in the hell were you thinking?

Thursday, December 1, 2016


If I didn't see it, I woudn't have believed it.
This afternoon I was sitting in my super sexy beach chair when this dude stumbles out from who the hell knows where. As I watched this supposed ‘professional angler wanna be’ wander to the water, I almost had to look for Aston Kutcher and his film crew from his now defunct show PUNK’d.

...No such luck.

I guess I should clarify that the resort where I am staying boasts being a preserved wildlife area. Birds walk along the pool decks truly uninhibited, iguanas roam the lawns, and the fish are like pets. They are so conditioned to being around people that the fish actually jump out of the water to catch a snippet of food you may be tossing to them; just like a pup with a Frisbee.

As I watched this idiot approach the beach I couldn't help but worry. Not only was the snorkelling area full of swimmers that may take a hook but any fish would surely/enthusiastically grab at his line.

All I could do was watch in disbelief. As I rose from my chair to stop him, a lovely British lady stepped up equally pissed off. As I approached the water I could see her finger wagging which intern had this fisher-foe moving along.

She and I stood and chatted for quite sometime. By the end of our chat, we seemed to both come up with a universal label for this angler chap with absolutely NO common sense.

GOOF! YUP... This Fisher-foe was nothing but a fat hairy goof!