Saturday, December 31, 2022


I don’t know about you, but I am happy to shut the door on the past year and look to the coming year with a genuine amount of hope and sincere optimism. 

Personally, it has felt like I have been in mourning for the majority of the year. I didn’t write nearly as much as I had hoped because my heart was absolutely aching with both hurt and despair. Trust me, in spite of my mantra, it hasn't been something I would ever be able to laugh about.

Professionally, after taking the last three months of 2022 off to help my husband heal from a life saving surgery, I started the year with a new career challenge that has proven to be an excellent move for me. As I look toward retirement, I love that I am mentoring and team building with an amazing group of young, very upwardly mobile, professionals. 

With the past year in the rearview, I have great hope for 2023. All the best in the coming year everyone. Cheers, and thanks once again for reading. 

~ Rhondi

PS: For the first time, for my annual 'remembering' post, as I reminisce electronically, you can click links to journal offerings that you may have missed.

PSS: Enjoy!

Most significant moment (centre): The sudden passing of my closest friend and confidant, Brian ‘Smartie’ Smart. Who left us Easter weekend 2022. I am truly heartbroken, and the loss of his presence will be missed forever.

January: A snapshot from the desk of my new job. A refreshing challenge I have loved, to which I said to my boss on our last conversation before the holiday break, "look what you and I have accomplished in our first year. I can't wait to see where we land after our second!" 

February: Knowing my wonderful Puddin' was living on borrowed time, my husband and I spent Family Day (aka: Family Furbaby Day) at the cottage with 'The Oreo Gang' . It was the beginning of the end of an era. 

March: As the carpool picked up Goob to head to work in Port Cariling, the glow of the sunrise lit up the car. I got out of the car to capture this moment. We enjoyed a beautiful month of March.

April: For the first time since November 2019 we were able to travel. We flew into Miami then took a roadtrip to Key West. Smartie called me to wish me a Happy Birthday, and made me promise to go to the Hemmingway house, which I did the very next day. We talked for an hour, said our always call ending 'I love you and I love you too'. He was dead a week later. 

May: The month saw the beginning of house as well as cottage renovations. Both took until the end of November to complete. Much more to do in 2023.

June: My beautiful Puddin' succumbed to her cancer. She was my very best furbaby friend. Our Annie was so affected by the loss that we had to stop saying her name. My life just isn't the same without her.

July: I surprised my husband with a road trip to the town of Bethel (where the Woodstock Festival was held in 1969) and then through the Catskill Mountains to the town of Woodstock New York for his birthday. For music lovers like us, it was both a moving and Bucket List experience.

August: We had a heat wave that was crazy off the charts producing extreme heat warnings. It was so hot, that we were in the water more than out. We felt like kids again! 
(Link: My Happy Hat)

September: They say everything comes in threes, and I had three that were major for me personally. First Smartie, then Puddin', then lastly my beautiful Auntie Cai. I credit a lot of who I am today to her and her life guidance. I miss her very much and always will. 
(Link: In her memory ~ Sweet Dreams of Cairo)

October: Our third roadtrip had us take our pups on a more than two thousand mile round trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We rented a house that slept twelve on the ocean that was perfect. If you've never been.... GO!

November: Yours truly celebrated a personal milestone with the 11th Anniversary of my wee electronic journal. In hindsight, maybe I should have named it 'Silly Story Central!?!' #yagottalaughaboutit 

December: A photo just can't illustrate the amount of snowfall we received in Muskoka that began the evening of December 23rd. So much so, that the massive dumping felt like we should have been placed in a State of Emergency. The photo in my collage was day two of four that were brutal. 

Monday, December 26, 2022


Our motto: If you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way.
TAKEN: DECEMBER 26th, 2022

 Well, we woke up this Boxing Day morn and it was still snowing. 

Thank goodness my father-in-law lives only two streets away, and our record breaking ‘Snowmageddon’ stopped long enough that our family gathering wasn’t cancelled last minute; because he was very close to calling it off.

Filled with great food and good cheer, we headed to bed just after midnight, with the general intention that we would sleep in. Well, the holiday Gods and our canine cohorts had other plans for us.

With little motivation and the pups primed to play, I focused on preparing a fresh pot of coffee. My man then settled downstairs to watch curling and I in the living room tackling a jigsaw puzzle. All I can say is that I knew after three days straight of snow removal, I did NOT want to shovel today!

Anyway, as I have acknowledged here before, we live in a sleepy little town where everything is a fifteen-minute walk and a five-minute drive. We’ve owned our home and lived at this same address for more than twenty years. 

Though we tend to be somewhat private people, we live in an amazing neighbourhood of likeminded peeps that embrace a true sense of community.

When my husband was medically bound to use a walker last fall, it was my neighbour to the left (whose home you see above) that arrived from work on a Friday night and immediately fired up his gas-powered leaf blower on steroids to give a gal a hand to ensure our end of season cleanup could be completed. 

So, knowing we were experiencing record breaking snow fall levels, my husband announced we would repay his good will. Not because it would be expected... but more for these eight little words. 

Would you want to come home to that? 

Happy Holidays everyone - and remember to always pay it forward. Because a small gesture from you, could make the world of difference to someone else.


Wednesday, December 14, 2022


I planned our most recent road trip to the Outer Banks using only Google Maps, AirBnB and; and I was generally surprised at how much effort and research it actually took.

Suffice it to say, my husband was so disconnected from the party planning process that his only action item was to type the address of where we were spending our first night into the GPS the morning we left. That said, our ten-day trip, like all our adventures was a whirlwind. 

The first day was a very long one, especially for my Annie and her anxiety. So much so, that by the time we pulled into the parking lot in the Hampton Inn in Hagerstown Maryland, she bolted out of the car. Good thing we’d finally arrived... Because she was NOT getting back in!!

Next day we travelled to where we anchored with food and fixings at our house in Nags Head North Carolina.  The pups settled in much better there, and their first trip along the ocean beach was truly a sight to see. Definitely worth the headache of taking longer to arrive than it would have, had we left them at home. 

The one thing I will admit is that because we could only get the house within our budget for four nights, I decided to extend our coastal stay by heading up to Ocean City (via the 28.4km Chesapeake bridge and tunnels) for that Friday night and then heading to Mansfield Pennsylvania the next morning. 

In hindsight, this was a tad too ambitious and far more costly than originally expected. Changing our original intent almost doubled the cost of our trip, and that path saw us hit with a whopping $400+ for the only pet friendly room I could find on the interstate; on a Saturday night. 

Our only saving grace was that the pups were so exhausted from their ‘Outer Banks Shenanigans’ that they literally slept those two days home - allowing us to zoom zoom north and stop less frequently.

Once home, my husband was having trouble visualizing the trip I had planned, and what geography we'd actually covered. So, I poured us a glass of wine and we sat down at my home office computer.

With all of my receipts containing proper addresses, I produced this killer 'Google de Milo' map offering him a visual, which perfectly illustrated the many more than two thousand miles we travelled.

What a ride!

If travel is truly art, then my Google deMilo road map proves it!

Saturday, December 10, 2022


Hoping to repeat this vibe during our week off over the 2022 holiday break.
TAKEN: DECEMBER 28th, 2014

We loaded up the pups and trekked into the cottage this morning. 

It felt like a clear crisp day in late October, rather than the below zero temps you would expect this time of year. Though I always love walking the property, in this instance I had a list of items I wanted to get down the hill before we (hopefully) venture in for the last week of 2022. 

A more powerful heater, an extra tank of propane, a couple of jigsaw puzzles I have yet to tackle, extra fuzzy socks and such all made the journey. Best of all, the dozen or so ‘new to me’ DVD’s we have yet to experience; that I scored at the Habitat store for a buck. 

I should share, it's not like we are heading into Siberia. Fully winterized, even without electric baseboard heaters, we can do well below freezing very comfortably. 

The key to 'closed cottage' enjoyment is to barrier off the lower sleeping quarters (the windows are blocked by the upper level decks and get no UV help) so our woodstove can keep the main living area and our second floor toasty.  

As I look to my two week break I am sure everything will be fine. Simply because I can't believe how much my life has changed in the last year. 

I've gone to another amazing level career wise, had several unexpected life changing experiences, yet suffered such heartbreak that I am not sure how I got out of bed in the morning... The key is I did!

All of that said, here's the deal. Though I hope I will enjoy a holiday bonfire at my cottage at the end of December, if I don't, it won't matter. 

...Because I will just have an killer one, that is illegal non-complaint, at the house in town!


Sunday, December 4, 2022


When we took our road trip to the Outer Banks for Canadian Thanksgiving, during those couple of thousand miles in the car, we mutually decided we would not be celebrating the holidays this year. Or, at least not as we had in the past.

Initially, it was because we had planned to take a full two weeks off together and disappear with the dogs for another beach house experience farther down the coast.

Then, when my company decided to close the last week of this year and the first week of the new, our idea of hitting the open road went out the window; with me being off the second week alone.

The good news?

We discovered we would only have one week together early enough, that we could ensure the cottage be stocked and ready to head in and stay during what time we did have off together. A ritual we haven’t been able to enjoy together since late December 2014.

Heading down the hill (Pre-4wheeler) with provisions to ring in the New Year.
TAKEN: DECEMBER 27th, 2014

The biggest inconvenience associated with enjoying our cottage space when it has been closed down is drawing, hauling, and boiling water out of the lake. That said, with enough split wood, the wood stove does all the work heating the water for the dishes as well as keeping us very toasty and cozy. 

I have to admit, there is something to be said for the place smelling of great food that isn't grilled outside, not to mention the serenity of no one else around as we sit around the glow of an outdoor bonfire with the music cranked on a cold night. Which is probably why we've never listed it for sale. It brings out the best in both of us. 

Anyway, for the very first time since becoming parents, we are establishing a 'zero gift giving zone'. I have put up a beautiful natural tree as well as my exterior lights but that is it. I guess you can say there has been a seasonal shift.

A shift because, after the last couple of years we have had, and the deep losses we have felt this year alone, we believe the true gifts are of time and love - and they will always be the two most important things we could ever hope for.

Time and unconditional love....  

The perfect gifts which will NEVER appear on your credit card statement, nor have any type of buyer’s remorse attached!

Wednesday, November 30, 2022


Smartie getting a driving lesson from his grandson.
TAKEN: AUGUST 27th, 2021

I am sitting at my home office desk and a wave of varying emotion just hit. 

It is 3:52pm and gloomier than usual outside.

I can hear the wind howling and my phone is buzzing with severe weather warnings and the radio's been boasting cancelations all afternoon. All of it reminding me what the next few weeks will offer, which is absolutely nothing special.

As my hump day workday ends, my mind began to wonder. Tomorrow is Thursday. And as I have each week since that terrible day last April, I realized that I won’t be getting my weekly call from Smartie tomorrow; or ever again.

I remember the day we met. It was in April of 2004 and we hit it out of the park from the get-go. Both working in manufacturing, we stayed on straight evenings so that we could save big dollars on daycare. An eighteen year friendship, that ended with his death on almost the same day in April that it started.

That said, as I type, it’s like I am stuck. Whenever I mention him to others in passing, I instantly tear up. Which is immediately followed by an apology disclosing, “I just can’t seem to get over his death.”

I feel a true emptiness, and all these months later his absence is still raw. Each time I get try to process why, I wonder if it could be because I wasn’t offered proper closure. 

Because, for obvious reasons, I wasn’t invited to his intimate private service. 

I could make excuses, but the truth of the matter is that I disliked his wife in high school and absolutely detested her by the time their marriage ended. Not looking to expand on why, other than to say he was my friend, and she was not. Either way, he’s gone and I truly miss him.

As I stop typing and glance out the window, I see the snow is now blowing on a 45 degree angle. 

I guess I should get my ass into the kitchen, get some grub going, and feed the pups while we still have hydro.

Once again, thanks for listening to me blather.

Sunday, November 27, 2022


No matter what they look like, or where they are found, they're all truly appreciated.
(On the left, never used. The right, death by dishwasher.)
Left TAKEN: NOVEMBER 15th, 2021
Right TAKEN: NOVEMBER 19th, 2022

As you know, the term 'dry spell' usually references a type of drought (weather wise or even sexually). You know, a drawn out period of sorts.  So it is with great angst that I post that I am still recovering from my very own dry spell. 

Neither of which I just referenced, yet one ten times more serious, personally. I'm not joking. Can you believe that I just went a span of three hundred and seventy days (that's 3-7-0) without finding any of my beloved Petro Canada glasses? 

So, now that I am somewhat rehydrated and on the road to recovery, I am alerting the freaking electronic journal masses!

As I began to write today, I tried to remember when it was, after my dad died, that my husband found my very first glass. I know it was a loner, and it was from a Habitat Restore in an adjacent town. I would bet money that is was the spring of 2007.

I'm not exaggerating when I share that I remember how excited I was when he text me a photo with the caption 'look what I just found'. Also, that it was in that moment I realized if there was one, there had to be more; and my great journey began.

I could say I am embarrassed, yet I am in fact quite proud to admit that I have acquired glasses as far south as Toronto and as far north as North Bay. I am also proud to disclose that I have accumulated more than two hundred of these gems. All specifically the water goblet as shown above.

I need to go back and label all the post I have written so they appear when I am reflecting like I am today and go searching. That said, one of the most painful posts that reads light hearted, was posted Boxing Day 2014. 

Though not specifically shared in the post, our immediate family was estranged from our daughter. All because her mentally abusive and controlling boyfriend made her pick between him and her family, and we drew the short straw. 

A truly terrible time all around, I wrote 'Had A Drink With My Dad' about how I envision my day would have been spent, had my dad still been alive to spend the holidays with us. 

On that note, I guess you could say if it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes... A really strong readership and killer group of kickass Facebook friends, who've helped this cat collect some silly and outdated glasses for the purpose of being stored in bubble wrap.

So, thank you. All of you are a part of my ongoing journey.

Sunday, November 20, 2022


Happy Eleventh Anniversary to US!
TAKEN: 1976


Allow me to share a photo my mother took of me outside our home in Muskoka when I was eleven years old. Oh to be able to celebrate being eleven years old again. 

Wait... We can. Because today is the eleventh anniversary of my wee electronic journal Ya Gotta Laugh About It. 

If you are reading this, I am both pleased and grateful to report that you are helping me celebrate my nine hundredth and seventy fourth effort since I began this ride on this day back in 2011.

Can you believe it? Eleven. Freakin'. Years!

All these years later, I am honest when I admit that the offerings I have posted are truly a part of me. Yet, I'm not quite sure what made me realize my anniversary was looming. Very in tune with my seasonal affective disorder, I'd probably put gobs of cash on the time change. 

As you know, the darkness of the month of November and into December have always had me crawling into the closet, throwing a blanket over my head, with a bowl of warm gravy and a spoon; specifically, so the dogs would join me. 

Some of the funniest items written had tears steaming down my face. Not of joy, but because in most cases I was processing a deep hurt and moving forward. For those that know me personally  (rather than just words from a keyboard that you're reading) you know that humour has always been my go to attitude in deflecting hurt.

That said, these eleven years have produced so much great dialogue, not to mention life changing friendships. 

I am grateful for all of you that have inboxed me with your comments, opinions, as well as your unconditional support and feedback over the years. It's truly been a cathartic experience arriving at today

To each and every one of you peeps... A very heartfelt THANKS!

Happy 11th anniversary to us!!

Thursday, November 10, 2022


Discovering the beautiful resort beach on our first night in Mazatlán Sinaloa

It’s that time of year again, where the clocks fall back, and I fall into a six week struggle to stay awake during the day and get a good sleep at night. As a result, my day in my home office starts a half hour early, so I can tour around the Trip Central website; dreaming I will find a February deal.

It is hard to believe it has been exactly two years next week since I snapped the pic I am sharing. 

Less than three months after this photo was taken, we were both so ill it was mind blowing, with nothing but speculation as to why. Then, in March of 2020 lockdown began. 

Well, for the second time in less than two years, we both spent the last three weeks getting over what we suspected we had nineteen months previously. Except this time around we could test ourselves to confirm what in January 2020 we could not. 

On the mend with days getting shorter, once again we rally to finish out the cottage season and close it down. The final five boards will be attached to the new deck Saturday morning and Sunday morning we will shut water off and head up the hill.

Every year I hope we will get to hike and haul everything in for a couple of nights over Christmas, but that hasn't happened since the extremely mild December of 2014 - so the expectation it will happen is low - yet my fingers are crossed.

The upcoming 2023 presents a big milestone wedding anniversary in June for us which we began discussing on our drive to and from the Outer Banks. But prices are just too extreme at this juncture to make any decisions. 

Though we've always set a certain amount of money aside every week to travel, with uncertainty in the economy and costs where there are now, I can't see us crossing the pond nor taking an Alaskan cruise (which has my husbands' vote).

Instead, I imagine I will keep dreaming of finding a great travel deal, then hire an excavator to put a new driveway in at the cottage... and together he and I will properly rebuild those shitty fifty-five stairs and associated landings.

Happy Anniversary to us!

Saturday, October 29, 2022


Miya waiting patiently, as my Annie checks out who is on their way to the beach.
TAKEN: OCTOBER 13th, 2022

My hubby, fur-babies n' me, traveled thousands of miles to the Outer Banks of North Carolina the week of Canadian Thanksgiving. 

Of the hundreds of photos I snapped, for so many reasons, the one I am sharing is a favourite.

Extremely candid and a tad dark and stormy, this is us embracing our last morning before heading toward the Chesapeake Bay crossing to Ocean City Maryland on our way back to Canada.

I have said it before, and I will say it again, that I don’t think we are conventional travelers. When neither of our sons could stay with the girls in October, we immediately planned something where the pups could come with, which presented its own challenges. 

Not only is it difficult to find pet friendly hotels along the interstate where you need them, it is very expensive to travel with four legged companions; but in the end, well worth it.

Yes, we rented a large oceanfront house for just us and the girls. It is what we could afford and we loved it. We would return in a heartbeat.

When I listen to some talk of their experiences, it’s always in a tone of how much it cost, or how exclusive it was. We don’t worry about either – simply ask ourselves one question – does it work out best for us without breaking the bank?!

Mid life has taught us both that we are in competition with no one.  We have no desire to play games and lead people to believe we are better than anyone else. Our personal philosophies are simple. We wake up every morning and try to be good people. 

That said, embracing that mindset has had some take advantage of the both of us. 

Though my husband is quick to point out the obvious, I generally choose to help where we can, in turn expecting respect.  For me personally, it took me a lot of years to understand that in order to fully embrace my own self-worth, I needed to let go of those that didn’t value me.

As a hard working goal oriented person, some of those shifts in life have been the most wide awakening journeys of all.

...But that is definitely another post.

Sunday, October 23, 2022


What a great weekend to rebuild a deck. 
(Pleased to report I didn't get yelled at, not even when I told him he was wrong!)

When we bought the cottage some twenty years ago, we had no idea how much work and expense would accompany the purchase. 

Granted, we didn’t pay a million bucks for the thing, but once you make your payments, keep the heat and lights on, pay the insurance and taxes, there was never thousand dollar bills lying around. 

Though the building is structurally sound, for the last few summers exterior deck boards were replaced when we knew that what we really needed to do was tear down them off, level and rebuild them. We redid our main living area section last spring, and today we tackled the lakeside deck off the kitchen.

Now, the first thing I will say is that neither of us had any ambition for our task at hand, and we admitted that to the other heading into the cottage early yesterday morning. 

As we pulled in the driveway, we acknowledged we'd probably need a wheelchair to get to work Monday morn, and I had only one request of my husband which was simply…. “Please don’t yell at me.” 

That said, I think we work really well together as a team. I feel I am an above average general labourer and can wield a hammer, cordless drill, measuring tape and level as good as the next helper. 

All well and good there, but when we team up, my site foreman tends to have a specific issue with me. 

You see, I am forever questioning his math. Partially because the rule of thumb is that you should measure twice and cut once, and my crew chief tends to measure once and cuss twice; I mean cut twice.

Informed by the boss we had just the right amount of material for this weekends project, double checking measurements began right out of the gate and we never had a single mishap. He never raised his voice or per the norm, never told me to ‘go to hell,’ not even once.

After six hours of layout and levelling yesterday and five hours of hard assembly labour today, all that is left to do is screw nail the top deck boards in place. 

As he naps and I type, I will admit that I always try to learn from every project we do together. 

This weekend I learned that a 4” ardox nail is not your friend if you don’t have a framing hammer, and moving forward, maybe I should be the one that doing the material takeoffs.

Not because I want to - but the boss man was five deck boards short, and we ran out of nails.

Ah, the power of this keyboard as he sleeps.... 

He’s not going to know he is truly entitled to tell me to ‘go to hell’ unless he actually reads this!!

Ya Gotta Laugh About It

Friday, September 30, 2022


This photo is worth more than a hundred thousand words.
It genuinely exudes my love for her.
Caroline (Caï) Perrault (née Marceau)

There is no other way to share this, other than to say that my Auntie Cai was unequivocally one of the most amazing people I have ever met in my entire life, and today I had to say goodbye. She was 89.

Growing up, my aunt was a beloved mother of her four children whom she cherished. 

And, as silly as this may be read, I have always thought of myself as her fifth. Then, this afternoon, I realized that those of us that thought our ourselves as her special extra 'plus one' were in the hundreds. 

A well respected teacher for more than four decades, she guided yours truly, as well as all of her students like the great beacon she was.  

Growing up, no matter what I had happening in my life, my aunt was always an anchor for me. Providing unconditional inspiration and endless encouragement, not to mention a calm wisdom to the somewhat harsh realities that surrounded me.

In my formative years, my summers on Lake Temiscaming were most memorable when my cousins (whom I truly deem siblings) were at the camp next door. 

I remember the first grand-baby shower, I remember the first big job offer, and most importantly their guys embracing my now husband as one of their own from the time I brought him around. Most of all, I remember how being in their company, felt like I was home.

That said, just like many, we see most family members at weddings and funerals. 

As we gathered after mass today to celebrate her life, I asked the quorum around me how she ended up being called Cai, where her first name was Caroline?

My cousin Tootsie answered immediately. "When she was my teacher, she told us that she always talked constantly about how she wanted to visit Cairo, the largest city in Egypt.” The nickname stuck.

As I share a picture of she and I, my eyes fill with tears. Damn, this pretty lady literally made a difference in my life!

Rest easy and sweet dreams my love. You definitely helped mould me into the person I am today. You will be loved and missed forever by all who had the pleasure to meet and know you.

Don’t forget to say hi to mom, dad, uncle Vic, and all the others in your company. Bring them up to speed about what we've been up to. 

Please let them all know... We will always miss them too. xoxo 

Thursday, September 22, 2022


Got up to let the pups out this morn, flicked several light switches on and off to ensure there wasn’t a resident skunk passing through; when the harsh reality set in. 

As I stepped onto the back deck I cursed aloud at the pitch-black sky. By the glow of the exterior lights, I could see my breath. With both angst and authority, "FECK" (inserting a different vowel) was all I said.

This is the time of year where I cherish every single ray of light until the time change. I really do love Fall but absolutely hate the short days and long nights that remain when the beauty expires.

Pre-pandemic, the status quo had us hop a late November plane to a sunny destination and regroup in the vitamin D department. This year, respecting my husband’s health and not wanting to venture too far from our health care system, we decided it would be the year of the road trip.

A series of shorter long weekend jaunts to destinations we’ve always wanted to go at least once. Using fewer vacation days, essentially experiencing more.

Top: Miami, via Islamorda, to Key West FLA
Bottom: First stop Bethel NY, then to Woodstock NY for the Midnight Ramble

April was a mid week flight into Miami then we hit the road to Key West. July felt like we were in the summer of ’69 when we landed in Bethel New York (the site of where the Woodstock Festival was held) then headed to the town of Woodstock to celebrate the life of Levon Helm and my husband’s favourite group - The Band.

We have two left before the year is out and our next one is planned for the week of Canadian Thanksgiving. Much farther in distance, this time we are taking the pups. We have rented a house on the ocean and will spend the week embracing the dunes and beautiful scenery of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. 

From the OBX 4x4 highway in Corolla to see the wild horses along the beach, to the ferry ride to cross to the southern banks at Ocracoke, to a simple photo op at the house used as a movie set (Night in Rodanthe - starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane) in Hatteras.

I am truly grateful my chauffeur has the same sense of Wanderlust as I. 

We are always on the same page when it comes to jamming as much as possible into any given day.  So much so that when we hit the hay, at the end of the day, we know we have given it 120% in the experience department.

For the most part, we both agree that resort trips are a thing of the past. In, are us exploring the areas where we can see ourselves spending our winters as snowbirds.

We haven't decided exactly where our two weeks at Christmas will take us with our fur babies. What I do know, is that no matter where the four of us land, we're going to have a blast. Simply because... 

That's how we roll!!

Sunday, September 11, 2022


We attended a beautiful celebration of life memorial yesterday. You can't imagine the shockwaves that roared, when he died suddenly and very unexpectedly last fall. 

It was a loving service for a young coworker of my husband’s that will hopefully bring some sort of high level of closure to his immediate family; whom are devastated. 

Rest in Peace Dennis....

My husband has been very close with both of his parents for years, as he and the lad’s dad had also been coworkers since my guy joined the company (when he was fifteen years of age) and they worked together right up until a couple of years ago, when John retired.

Like most, I never look forward to occasions like these. Primarily because I have deep personal struggles when it comes to processing a death. I’m not sure why, but my inner thoughts are because I have seen so much of it over the years.

Just like weddings, funerals are that similar occasion where you come back in touch with so many you never see on a regular basis.  As weird as this may read, yesterday was one of those days when you were grateful we are able to hug again.

One fella, who I have known for decades, I hadn’t seen in over a decade. Though my husband sees him once a week, it took an occasion like we attended yesterday for us to reconnect.

Others, though we know of the other on some level but have no real connection, reacted to each other with profound respect of each, in hope of helping John and Brenda heal.

Goodbye for now Dennis. Sleep well…. You are truly missed.

PS: Say hello to Smartie for me. 

PSS: He'll be the one making everyone around him smile. xo

Monday, September 5, 2022


 Nothing will work unless you do. ~ Maya Angelou

A dark 9pm. Embracing the annual tradition of listening to Rock95

When I took this lakeside photo Sunday night at dusk, I can confirm that I was generally feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. In one word - thankful.

In disclosing that, you would have no idea that my legs, butt, lower back, and shoulders were aching like hell from dragging felled trees down the hill all day then burning them,  producing the glowing bed of coals seen here.

Summers have changed for us on Orillia Lake over these the last twenty years.

Gone are the days of diving off the dock a midnight in the hope a neighbours' flashlight doesn’t catch a glimpse. Here are the days where I walk the property wearing steel spiked shoes for the fear I will fall and break a hip.

For the first time in long weekend memory, I cleaned the cottage and we came home. 

Not because it wasn't going to be another great day, I just couldn't bring myself to work the land any longer.

So, we packed up, my hubby made a yummy dinner... and I curled up, feeding my squirrel friends on the deck, appreciating that I have the best of both worlds.


Wednesday, August 31, 2022


My beautiful Annie Banannie once again embracing lake life with me.

I was listening to the radio on my way into work last week and the on-air host referenced a band I’d never heard of as the ‘goat’. I wasn’t much of a fan, so it didn’t really resonate until that same morning show host, days later, spoke of the band again explaining the ‘g.o.a.t.’ acronym in long form as: greatest of all time.  

I giggled to myself after she said it, because it was once again proof of what I tell the littluns I work with all the time, which is that I learn something new every single day. 

The real surprise was because I tend to call my beloved Annie by her nickname, which is my Nanny Goat. Primarily because she jumps around like one whenever we are reunited after being apart for more than fifteen minutes; which is truly a special sight to see. 

Just like our children (Goob, Sweetie & Jukebox), I have always nicknamed for our dogs. 

I remember my estranged sister-in-law asking me if I still had those “silly nicknames” for my children. 

To which I immediately propped myself up proudly admitted yes, because in that moment I knew it was just her passive aggressive way to switch the narrative and attention in her direction. To this day, she's a real see you next Tuesday, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, all these years later, I don’t want to open that can of worms, as she’s in the past and not the direction I am going - BUT I will weigh in on the whole nickname front. 

Just like my grown children, my dogs appreciate my tone when I use their nicknames as a genuine term of endearment.  So much so that when our Puddin' left us on this past June 7th, I had to stop mentioning her name as it made my Annie suffer even more.

The photo I am sharing today is the very first time Annie would get back in the boat that floats with me, as she would always wait on the dock just incase her BFF would in some way miraculously come back to her. Eight weekends later, she decided to finally hop in.

Though is would be tough for me to confirm that Annie is in fact the greatest of all time, our bond is very strong, just as mine was mine was with Puddin' and all that came before her. They know you love them, unconditionally - and not just because they are mine.

You see, if you were to ask me if I believe in love at first sight, my answer would be absolutely! 

As crazy as this reads, I fall in love with every dog, the very first time our eyes meet. 

...Then immediately give them a treat and a nickname.


Wednesday, August 24, 2022


In fairness to Miya, this was a bad throw by me...
I didn't want my lunch break served with a side order of soggy!
TAKEN: AUGUST 24th, 2022

In 2007 at fifteen years of age, when my beautiful yellow lab Toby crossed over the rainbow bridge, I promised myself I would take time to truly grieve his passing and not get a new pup during my extended time of mourning. 

Not only did I have no desire to try and replace him, I honestly believe once you have a unique bond and connection like we did; that bond remains singular forever. 

As a family, we were more than two years before we entertained another dog.

Now fast forward to the realization that our beloved Puddin’ had a rare form of cancer. Her long-term prognosis was grim, yet this time it wasn’t only me being left behind; it was our beautiful Annie. 

They had been inseparable since we'd rescued her at five weeks of age. When she arrived she fit in the palm of my hand, was sickly and unable to eat, and Puddin' never left her side.

Worried Annie may die of a broken heart when Pud parted, we decided to smooth that transition by working with a CKC registered breeder to purchase another Labrador Retriever. 

Miya Maria (seen above) was born on April 9th, 2021, and we picked her up on my father’s birthday in June. We were blessed to have Puddin’ live a year (less two days) from the one year anniversary of Miya joining our pack. 

My point?

When I left my construction management job last fall, I was truly blessed to have several opportunities present themselves - and for the first time in my life (just like I did with Toby) I knew I would be taking my time.

In the end, of the six formal offers I entertained, I had it down to two. One paid more money, the other offered me the option to work from my home office from Christmas Break to Easter without travel.

When I walked away from the money and accepted the other offer in another sector, 48-hours before I was scheduled to start, my current employer asked me back to the table with his counteroffer.

The most important item he presented was because I would report to him and he splits his time leading our teams, I would commute to the Muskoka office the set three days he's in. When he's working from our other company office, I would work from home for those two days. 

It sealed the deal - and I have been grateful to get to balance my home office hours between the house and my desk at Orillia Lake.

I will report that the my current team's much younger than I expected, but I am excited to share that they look to my decades of experience and appreciate it. I love that I have entered the mentoring stage of my career after having so many really great mentors.

Also, I love the fact that those I am mentoring don't care to chase flying pigs into the lake, never beg for my lunch using drool, chase the squirrels I feed until they are ready to drop, nor smell like rotten ass on a rainy day from swimming so much.

...Truly making my work life/real life/doggie daycare life balance perfect!!

Sunday, August 7, 2022


This past weekend produced some major heat warnings in Muskoka and the humidex rolled past a balmy 40C. With the UV rays off the chart, I kept my skin slathered in a 30 SPF waterproof sunscreen as I got in and out of the water all day Saturday.

How hot was it? It was so hot that I got to wear 'my happy hat'Not to be confused with any one of my favourite hats, the specific hat shown here, has always brought me happiness.

Clocking in at more than 30 years of age (which must be at least a hundred and fifty-five in straw hat years) she was my dad’s favourite swimming hat he wore at his camp on Lake Temiscamang. 

She was relocated to a hat hook at our cottage on Orillia Lake after he passed more than fifteen years ago.

As I age, I can confirm 1000% that it is the small things that matter most.
TAKEN: AUGUST 6th, 2022

As I type, I recall all the photos taken of her over those years. Shots of dad in the water when the kids were little, then pics as tweens as they grew up here. Their friends partying, overnight cottage guests, my husband working along the shoreline; and for the very first time Saturday, me. 

As you can see, she has seen better hat days. Like all of us, she is beginning to succumb to the elements caused by the aging process. Her shape has changed, and what was once firm is no longer. In hindsight, I feel she was a tad taken for granted over the years, and now, as her straw weakens as each summer passes, like everything, we tend to cherish her even more.

I don’t know about you, but even with the VID on the way out, this year has been a bit of a shit show for me. I still haven’t processed that my best friend Smarite has died, and I truly wasn’t ready for our Puddin’ to head over the rainbow bridge as soon as she did. 

Though some aspects of my life are the best they have ever been, I feel there are specifics that may never heal - one particularly that my husband has declared ‘a last straw’ (no pun intended, and without any reference to this amazing hat... lol).

If the truth be told, I think that is why I keep my dad’s memory alive through reminders like my hundreds of Petro Canada glasses, his shoes that remain at my front door, and this silly straw hat. 

He was always my closest confidant, and having him near has always kept me going during trying times.

As my eyes fill with tears, I find it amazing how these items can bring forth a flood of emotions. Happiness, sadness, laughter and comfort.... Oh, and let's not forget security. 

Yup, all day Saturday, his favourite hat kept me safe yet again. From my having a sun stroke!

Thanks Poppa xoxo

Saturday, April 30, 2022



Our last practice with Ashley ending our summer session.
TAKEN: AUGUST 30th, 2018

A few years back I started doing yoga with the SweenyMeister and a gaggle of gals I worked in the Muskoka construction industry with.

In the beginning, I was leery of the process but by the third or fourth class, I started to compartmentalize my energy for the activity. As I began to understand the purpose of the process, I could literally feel the stresses of my day leaving my body. 

As a result, I truly began to look forward to my Tuesday and Thursday after work ritual. That hour of time I booked for myself at the end of the day, twice a week, quickly  became a haven. 

During those twenty months, I slept better and handled general stress better. As I reflect, I wasn’t looking and feeling like the freaking zombie I am today.

Following that statement, I read somewhere that ‘a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.’ 

I guess I must be one of those hybrid type of zombies – because after my rollercoaster month of April, my brain won't shut off and I am always in the want of more sleep!

On that note. As I yawn, I will raise my keyboard to the end of another April A-Z year.


PS: I wonder how a Hindu zombie would groan that greeting of respect as their lips and limbs fell off?

#yagottalaughaboutit #thanksforreading

Friday, April 29, 2022


Do you want to yawn too?
TAKEN AUGUST 21st, 2021

I remember my mom telling me a stories when I was a kid about yawning being contagious.

Before she married my dad, she worked in downtown Toronto and rode public transit. Thanks to the daily grind of boredom, she would purposely seek out someone to look in the eye and immediately pretend to yawn. 

She would then observe how long it took for everyone else around her to begin yawning; which is DNA evidence of where my warped sense of amusement comes from.

As you can imagine, I'm feeling just as my Miya Maria is looking as we rode home from the cottage last summer. I'm not yawning due to the boredom of the daily grind or sheer exhaustion from chasing my tail, actually it is anything but. 

April has been a whirlwind of emotions for me. Highs and lows. Days filled with happiness followed by days of deep sadness and in some cases total devastation because of my unexpected loss Easter Sunday.

Never one to quit, I am one letter away of finishing the April A-Z challenge and I am glad a persevered. 

I did well to post daily in the beginning... but at this stage, I am just happy I am going to finish. 

...Smartie would have wanted me to.

Thursday, April 28, 2022



 Always be genuine and unique...
Because everyone knows XEROX is unable to be original!
TAKEN: APRIL 7th, 2022

Wednesday, April 27, 2022



Each day I Wordle as I sip my morning coffee.
... and Quordle while I eat my lunch.

When I started my new job everyone in the office was talking about this thing called “Wordle”.

I’d never heard of it, but I had seen a flood of yellow, green, and black square emojis flash across my Facebook timeline. Always cautious of click bate, I never gave it a second through. That was until my entire new crew seemed obsessed with it.

For the first week, I listened to try and understand what the point was. Limited to just one game a day, you have six chances to guess a five-letter word. Each time you hit enter to register your guess, each letter turns a different colour.

Black means the letter isn’t in the word at all. Yellow means the letter is in the word but in the wrong spot. Green means you have the right letter in the right spot.

I haven’t been playing long, but I seem to Wordle in just three guesses quite regularly. 

Don’t get me wrong, I have also burned through my six guesses just as easily.

All in all… Just a really great way to start the day.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022


On our recent trip to Key West, we took in a popular tourist trap simply called “Robbie's” in Islamorda.

I had watched the destination being featured on several must-see attractions on YouTube, so we planned to stop in on our way back to Miami. The experience did NOT disappoint.

This school of more than a hundred tarpon linger for hours at the hope of being hand fed. They actually rise out of the water to grab the fish as it leaves your hand. My husband braved the activity, I watch and took pictures; but had a blast just the same.

Now you’d think the tarpon would be the main attraction, but it was the ornery pelicans. Both bold and somewhat aggressive in nature, they not only steal the fish, but they also definitely steal the show. 

The VICTORY was theirs!

Here are a few pics of our fun adventure.

The lunch lineup
TAKEN: APRIL 9th, 2022

My husband feeding the tarpon (close up)
TAKEN: APRIL 9th, 2022

I tried to warn him there was incoming!
TAKEN: APRIL 9th, 2022

They have no fear!!
TAKEN: APRIL 9th, 2022

A fun $2.50 to get in and $4.75 for the bucket of fish. Good times....
TAKEN: APRIL 9th, 2022

Monday, April 25, 2022

Saturday, April 23, 2022



I am sure you’ll agree that there is always one. 

One person you've never really suspected but kind of thought maybe, wanted to put a pillow over your face at your lowest point, hoping they could do you in. 

I should disclose that there had been instances previously, but they had always ended in my having a 'water off a duck's back' attitude. (Oh, it's just so and so... being so and so.)

As you know, this last week I’ve been a mess. I struggled with my letter S because of the sheer emotion of creating the collage and writing the few words I could muster.

Then, out of the blue, I got a series of personal messages from 'so and so,' asking questions about what was happening around me and what had unfurled the night previous.  In the end, I believe this person thought she had information that would shock and devastate me more than I already was.

After she delivered her dramatic zinger, she gave me a thumbs up followed by hug emoji. My reply was swift like a razor blade. 

Don’t hug me,” I said. “You knew exactly what you were doing!”

Deleted, blocked, gone in a social media instant. Screw enabling her any longer. 

That, my friends, is the only way to deal with TOXIC troublemakers...Especially when you're unable to punch them in the face in person!!

Ahhhh, typing that last sentence out felt great. It processed closure for me.

Thanks for listening.

Friday, April 22, 2022


One of my best friends passed away on Easter Sunday. Though we were separated by thousands of miles, we spoke on the phone at least once a week. He was mere fifty six years of age.

My avid readers will recognize his name as well as his photo, as he has appeared in several journal posts over the years (even has his own label). All very raw and still in shock, I am struggling to deal with the loss. 

As a result, I have decided to share what his oldest and dearest childhood friend "Howie" posted for him on the exact day my letter S was due. 

I think it paints a perfect picture of this wonderful man. The words brought me to both tears of laughter as well as deep sadness. Words can not describe how much I will miss him.

Rest in peace Smartie. Keep my seat next to you warm and your wit razor sharp....Until we meet again.

Love you always xoxo ~ Rhondi

I miss my buddy

He’s gone.  That’s what his ex-wife said to me when I answered the phone the evening of Easter Sunday.

All who knew Brian entered a new world in that moment.

So far, that world is one of shock, disbelief, boundless sadness and equally boundless gratitude; feelings all common in the wake of the loss of loved one. The shock, disbelief and sadness will settle.  The gratitude for all he brought to my world, will remain forever.

His laughter was matched only by his ability to make others laugh.

At the end of grade 7, we went on a class camping trip to Bass Lake Provincial Park.  As far as we could tell, our teacher, modeled his classroom management style after Joseph Stalin. From the perspective of a bunch of dumb, gangly 12-year-old boys, he was mean.

The camping area was a large, rectangular field. Perfect to ensure boys tents lined the perimeter of one side, girls on the other.

In line with our teacher’s overall approach, there was a seemingly endless list of rules. Among them, very precise direction as to when all were required to be in tents and very ominous threats of consequences if not.

As 12-year-olds we had yet to develop much in the way of foresight and probably worse, we had yet to develop any awareness of our limits in that regard.  Despite the dire warnings we came up with, what we believed at the time, was an airtight plan. Immediately after sunset and tent check, we’d leave our tents, bolt across the field under the cover of darkness and visit our classmates with the utmost confidence that none of this would stir even a hint of suspicion. 

Once darkness set in, tent checks complete, the zippers of 16 tents rang out and the charge was on. 

Almost instantly the flaw in our planning was exposed.  Who would think that teachers would patrol the tents after dark? Clearly 12-year-old boys didn’t.

Thankfully almost every one of us detected the flaw immediately, dove back in our tents, with adrenaline surging but safe from suffering the wrath of our teacher supervisors.

Everyone, that is, but Brian.

Peeking through our tent doors, there he was. His silhouette like a gazelle, bounding on an open plane, all on his own, in the dark, cool, damp, spring air completely oblivious to his solitude.

It turns out that teachers must develop an extraordinary capacity to identify 12-year-old running boys in the dark of night.

But as Brian’s luck would have it, that wasn’t his biggest problem.

In a highly predictable twist of fate, the world’s most fearsome teacher spotted him immediately. We cringed as we heard him yell: “Smart, where are you going?”

At that moment, the magnitude of Brian’s initial mistake compounded significantly.  For instead of responding with something like, “I’m just running to the bathroom”, he chose instead to announce, with a completely misplaced sense of sarcasm, at the top of his lungs, “I’m going to an orgy”.

And to make matters much worse, as he was sometimes known to do, he added, “where the fuck do you think I’m going, you asshole?”  

It was too much for 12-year-old boys. We spent years laughing about it.

And that’s what he did more than anyone I know. He laughed a lot and he helped other people laugh a lot.

Equal to his ability to make people laugh was his ability to build big friendships.  He had more best friends than anyone I know; he did it effortlessly, sincerely and happily.  He was as comfortable with his 3-year-old grandson as he was with the 93 year olds he was working with as part of his studies to become a healthcare aid. 

I will always be proud to call him my best friend as I know many others are too.

The span of his musical taste was broad. Together, we saw John Lee Hooker, The Clash, Peter Tosh, Black Uhuru, Talking Heads, The Police (actually more than the musical kind), the English Beat, Flock of Seagulls, Eric Clapton, the Hip, Nash the Slash, lost some/most of our hearing watching the Headstones at the Rivoli and watched some dude throw a banana 125 meters and land right at the feet of Joan Jett - an act of athletic prowess I have yet to witness again.

But his greatest achievement is undoubtedly his family. His son, daughters and his wonderful grandson; they featured prominently and lovingly in virtually every single conversation. Each of his kids inherited his greatest attributes. 

Among the many things uniting the human experience is our frailty. None of us live perfect lives. We all deal with challenges. 

All of us, in our own way, do the very best we can to accommodate those challenges. 

We love our families and friends and care for our communities, our country and the planet.  We count on those we love in our time of need.

This was especially true of Brian.

I am grateful for every second he lived his life.  

I will miss him for as long as I live mine.