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