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!