|A perfect way to wrap YEAR TEN. |
...With a tribute to how I live my life!
Image (c) REDBUBBLE
Sunday, April 30, 2023
Saturday, April 29, 2023
|That's fifty points baby!|
TAKEN: July 2013
Friday, April 28, 2023
|Land's End - at the southern tip of the Baja sur in Cobo San Lucas, Mexico|
...An amazing place where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean.
TAKEN: DECEMBER 3rd, 2015
Thursday, April 27, 2023
|March 8th was when we celebrated this year!|
Cartoon (c) maxine.com
In recognition of International Women's Day, I posted this to my personal Facebook page this year with a song link (which I have added to my post at the bottom):
In celebration of International Woman's Day I am sharing a song that has carried me though a male dominated sector, to which I believe I belong. Truthfully, I've seen it all as a mature woman in Muskoka construction.
I've been told what to wear, coached on how to manage men that should have been let go, and had my intelligence diminished by bullies that hated the outgoing personality of an well versed woman.
Most importantly, for being unconditionally loyal, I was totally gaslighted as the internal political climate changed.
The point of my story is I have never given up - and I am really very proud of that.
PS: If you truly know me and you've read this far.... AND you've listened to the tune I am sharing; you know who was on the other side of this exit interview!
Wednesday, April 26, 2023
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
|My Uncle Roger and I. One of my best buddies growing up!|
TAKEN: JUNE 27th, 2005
Monday, April 24, 2023
|Believe the hype. It really is..."Better in The Bahamas"|
TAKEN : FEBRUARY 8th, 2018
Melia All Inclusive Cable Beach, Nassau, Bahamas
Saturday, April 22, 2023
TAKEN: FEBRUARY 6th, 2018
As any of my avid readers know, I live for, and love to travel.
People often ask how we can afford to hit as many destinations as we do, and it is simple. We set a budget for the year and stick to it. Any online deals I come across are simply a much appreciated bonus.
One of the best deals EVER, was booked on Black Friday in the fall of 2017.
Five days and four nights, all inclusive, on beautiful Cable Beach in Nassau, Bahamas. Less than a three-hour flight and an oceanfront king room, for $805pp via West Jet.
Anyway, not knowing much about the island, other than Baha Mar was usually out of our price range, I figured I should research. My first entry into Google, things to do in Nassau Bahamas included the date ranges of our mid week stay.
I immediately discovered that the filming of the morning show Live with Kelly (Ripa) and Ryan (Seacrest) was being filmed live at the Atlantis Resort while we were there. I filled out all of the online paperwork to get free tickets, including submitting our photo which was a prerequisite; and the tickets arrived via email a couple of days later.
We arrived early, in the hopes to get near the front but little did we know the seats were filled from back to front and we were in the very last row. Not a problem, as that gave me the ability to stand on my chair and take great photos.
As the show was about to start (you can see Kelly signing an autograph above) I held up my camera and began to yell my name.
RHONDI… RHONDI…. RYAN it’s RHONDI...OVER HERE.
How shocked was I, when he toward me and yelled back HELLLLLO RHONDI!
And just like that, I got what I would classify as my only great photo, whilst acting like a member of the crazy paparazzi culture!
Definitely a travel moment I will remember forever!!
Friday, April 21, 2023
|My hubby walking the beach (with me and my Blackberry) taking in this great vibe.|
TAKEN: FEBRUARY 2012
In September 2021, the morning my husband was to be admitted into Toronto General Hospital, he sat on the sofa in our hotel room and sang a loud 'Three Little Birds' with Bob Marley. Needless to say, he was understandably emotional and scared.
As we walked hand in hand to the hospital at dawn, I promised him that our first adventure once all of this was behind us, would be to get him back to Jamaica; his very favourite travel destination.
Thursday, April 20, 2023
|The perfect way to end the day in Beamaris. Skating at dusk on Lake Muskoka.|
TAKEN: March 2022
Wednesday, April 19, 2023
|From left to right:|
My beautiful Dottie on Toby's Rock (RIP July 2019) ~ Taken 2014
My Puddin' (RIP June 2022) & my Annie Banannie (11 years old October 2023) ~ Taken 2020
The amazing Miya (Born 4/9/21) and wee Katie (Born 12/5/2022) ~ Taken March 2023
Tuesday, April 18, 2023
Leading up to the summer of 2016, my then boss at the time use to brag that he was the 9th Canadian to put his name on the list for the purchase of a Tesla electric SUV.
Well, the photo shown here was the day it arrived at the office.
I disclosed that a close friend of mine (also a P. Eng.) was envious at his purchase and he offered to take my picture in front of it for me to share with him. He even offered to let him come to the office and take it for a drive.
After it was all said and done, I praised the ding dong on his new car and his ego couldn't help itself.
He said, "If you work hard, set goals, and put in long hours, I can get an even better one next year!"
OBVIOUSLY, I was an full blown idiot. Why?
This photo was taken in July of 2016, and I allowed his chauvinistic, misogynistic behaviour, to gaslight me until I walked out the door never to return; nor look back and be treated as such ever again.
That life changing day for this cat was September 11th, 2021.
|I may be smiling in this photo, but for years I would wake up in the night and suffer panic attacks.|
Again, obviously, I WAS an idiot.
TAKEN: JULY 2016
Monday, April 17, 2023
At the beginning of my A-Z challenge this year, I came across a poem by Erin Hanson.
As an aside, I began never worrying about how I am defined by others after my father died.
Yet, the poem is so relatable by so many, I immediately knew it needed to be my 2023 letter N.
To my electronic friends... Stay strong and always know your worth!
|Reading (with some friendly company) at Poppa's Camp|
TAKEN: Lake Temiscamng ~ Summer of 1996
NOT ~ by Erin Hanson
You are not your age,
nor the size of clothes you wear,
you are not a weight,
or the colour of your hair.
You are not your name,
nor the dimples in your cheeks,
you are all the books you read,
and all the words you speak.
You are your croaky morning voice,
and the smiles you try to hide,
you're the sweetness in your laughter,
and every tear you've cried.
You the songs you sing so loudly,
when you know you're alone,
you're the places that you've been to,
and the ones that you call home.
You're the things that you believe in,
and the people that you love,
you're the photos in your bedroom,
and the future you dream of.
You're made of so much beauty,
but it seems that you forgot...
When you decided that you were defined,
by all the things you're not.
Saturday, April 15, 2023
Friday, April 14, 2023
“The line between disorder and order lies in the logistics…” ~ Sun Tzu
|The dynamic duo chillaxin' taking in the beautiful topography.|
TAKEN: APRIL 6th, 2023
When you’re traveling as far as we did for four nights, to ensure you can experience as much as possible, there needs to be a lot of planning involved.
Our first step being getting us from the airport to the hotel. When we were leaving LAS and headed to grab a taxi, a group of guys heading up the escalator yelled down in tandem, “YOU GUYS NEED TO DOWNLOAD UBER!”
I wanted to yell back, “didn’t your mother teach you not to get into cars with strangers!?!” Instead, we just smiled and waved back.
Unlike some, I refuse to install apps on my phone that house my credit card information. Therefore, using Uber, Lift, or Samsung Pay has never been something I have ever entertained.
What we did include in our carefully planned trip, was a car rental for the day to take a road trip and save on the large fees tour companies charge.
We knew we wanted to hike Red Rock Canyon. What I missed when hatching the plan was that we needed a reservation to enter; as they only let so many cars in the park at one time.
Rather than trying to reschedule our logistically planned ‘just in time’ day, we made the best of the situation at hand and enjoyed the views from the periphery, before heading toward the Pat Tillman Bridge and the Hoover Dam.
The fact that when back on the road we went over an hour out of our way, went south instead of north on 215 taking us toward LA... Before my driver would listen to me telling him we were going in the wrong direction?
Not even worth mentioning! #yagottalaughaboutit
Thursday, April 13, 2023
When I returned to work last Monday and was asked about my birthday trip to Las Vegas, I gave a one-word answer: Meh. (You could also insert a sarcastic shoulder shrug in there for visual effect.)
My underwhelming response was followed by an immediate, "I’ve been to much nicer places, and had far better experiences."
Reaffirming our thought process which was, "It's VEGAS baby... You've got to go at least once just to see it!"
That said, I did enjoy the varying levels of architecture and attention to construction detail in the grand casinos on the strip, but my solstice of trying to enjoy those few moments was interrupted by the ‘ding-ding-ding’ of the slot machines that were situated absolutely everywhere.
Neither my husband or I have the desire nor ever developed the skill for gambling. We are both smart enough to know that’s it not there for you to win.
|I lost everything and my husband did not.|
Here's the photographic proof!
TAKEN: APRIL 7th, 2023
My only attempt at the jackpot was a five-dollar bill in a slot machine in the Bellagio. I did get my investment up to $12.95 in winnings and should have cashed out. Instead, I kept pushing the button, rolling the odds, until it was all gone. The entire entertainment experience lasted less than ten minutes!
My husband tried his luck while we waited for our table at Tony Roma’s in the Golden Nugget. His investment was in the three singles he had in his pocket and his chit shows where he landed.
To which I immediately told him, ‘I thought he may have developed a gambling addiction and may want to seek out help’. We both burst into laughter and headed into the restaurant.
On a scale from one to ten, the moral of this post is... Our knack for gambling, negative two. Our knack for investing in great running shoes, positive twelve. We walked and walked and walked.
Thanks goodness there wasn't a charge for that. After all, we lost a whopping $7.83 USD gambling.
Which is like $117.45 CDN these days!
Wednesday, April 12, 2023
|Puddin' and I zipping around the Orillia Lake in the bowrider. |
Coming up to a year without her, and I still ache because I miss her so much.
TAKEN: JULY 6th, 2015
Tuesday, April 11, 2023
When the kids were growing up, there was never an abundance of extra cash lying around for me to get to celebrate my birthday. So, when the nest finally emptied, I decided that every year I would take a birthday trip.
The first couple were week long jaunts but then I discovered I could have a higher end experience for less if I crammed everything into a long weekend.
Below is a neat snapshot and snippet of the my born day adventures since 2015.
2015: A quaint cliff top resort in Samana, Dominican Republic
This Gran Bahia was an amazing experience but not a resort meant for those with mobility issues.
One of the main reason I selected it was to walk (daily) the "Bridge to Nowhere" seen below...as taken from my poolside deck chair.
Great food, Salsa dancing at night, and loved experiencing the beautiful Barcardi Island with friends.
|Great shot of the 4 km Bridge to Nowhere |
TAKEN: APRIL 2015
Sayulita is a village on the Pacific coast backed by the Sierra Madre mountains, known for its beaches and strong surf.
For this bornday trip, we rented a house with an infinity pool and were joined by friends as well as Jukebox. To this day, my husband says it is still his favourite spot. I snapped this pic in the morning after hiking to Playa de Los Muertos.
In all of my adventures, this is the most time I spent in the ocean. Almost all day everyday. My son was the only one that really got the hand of surfing. I traded my surf board in for a boogie board mid week,
A great time was had by all!
|Heading back from Playa des Los Muertos.|
What a view!
TAKEN: APRIL 2016
|Darin, my hubby and I enjoying a bevie at the Big Band Stage.|
One of my favourites for the entire weekend.
TAKEN: APRIL 2017
|Out on our balcony, we were joking that there was a storm coming. |
I said, 'it was the Toronto Raptors landing!'
TAKEN: APRIL 2018
|Jukebox taking in the eerie surroundings of the fallen twin towers.|
TAKEN: APRIL 2019
|Born April 9th (seen here at 4 weeks of age) I named her Miya.|
Because she was Miya Birthday Present!
TAKEN: APRIL 2021
|Me standing on the retaining wall at the Southern most point.|
Too impatient to wait a couple of hours in line!
TAKEN: APRIL 2022
|By 6pm we had walked well over 24,000 steps.|
Highly recommend staying at Paris. We received 5 star service.
Thanks Air Canada!
TAKEN: APRIL 2023
Monday, April 10, 2023
|One of the six toed cats at the ticket booth.|
TAKEN: APRIL 8th, 2022
|Only so many were allowed in at one time.|
As you can see, there are cats everywhere.
TAKEN: APRIL 8th, 2022
|I didn't pay to tour with a guide. I started by walking the grounds.|
Yes, there is a pet cemetery for his cats.
TAKEN: APRIL 8th, 2022
|A portrait in one of the many rooms displaying memorabilia.|
TAKEN: APRIL 8th, 2022
|Some rooms are dedicated to his specific offering and the history behind it.|
TAKEN: APRIL 8th, 2022
|I found his writing studio the most interesting. |
TAKEN: APRIL 8th, 2022
|A statue of him in a park in Mallory Square (with other famous settlers)|
TAKEN: APRIL 7th, 2022
Saturday, April 8, 2023
|Seen here with my dads parents, my truly amazing grandparents.|
My Mommy knit my sweater. I LOVED that purple thing.
This photo confirms that I was clearly born to be a Prince fan!
TAKEN: Spring 1973
Friday, April 7, 2023
There are a lot of people that have opinions about social media. Some embrace it too freely, while others wear a tin foil hat to ward of the evil of it. I guess you could say that I fall somewhere in between.
Anyway, back in July 2007 I connected via Facebook with one of my oldest brothers' best friends.
Though growing up I was nothing other than the annoying little sister, as adults, I was happy to find someone that effectively wrote for a purpose and shared their thoughts with the masses just as I do.
It didn't stop there, I loved experiencing the travelling he and his wife did together, and each year I looked forward to his annual Christmas countdown of song offerings on his saxophone.
Once his countdown started, I found myself logging on from my desk at work to see if he'd posted yet. Such great fun.
Then, via Facebook, I saw he and his bride were heading to his old stomping ground (where I still live) for the weekend for our Fire and Ice Festival this past January. Trouble was my hubby and I were headed into the city for the concert in Toronto that Saturday night.
After a quick exchange, I was excited to discover that they would be in town the night before and wanted to get together for drinks. I hadn't seen him face to face since my fathers funeral in 2005 (and only knew what his wife looked like via Facebook).
Anyway, that Friday, he kept me posted on their timing. They'd eat dinner with friends in the centre of town and we'd plan to meet at a local pub later in the evening. Goob lives just down the street, so I invited him to come meet his uncle J's childhood friend.
|My husband (in red) really didn't know what to think of this group of extroverts!|
TAKEN: JANUARY 27th, 2023
Thursday, April 6, 2023
|Editorial cartoon from the Toronto Star that is even more applicable in today's economy.|
JANUARY 24th, 2016
So, when I selected Las Vegas as my next passport stamp, I knew cash would probably be the way to go, hence the Andrew Jackson currency hording that's been happening.
Then, when packing the weekend before takeoff, I said to my husband 'maybe we should save the cash, and use the card' (as we have an anniversary trip booked in June where American cash will be King).
To explain my methodology, not using the card is kind of a double edge sword for us. We pay our credit card off every two weeks and use it for absolutely everything, including household bills. In turn, with the mountain of points we earn, we redeem them every quarter and it's like found money we apply to our balance.
Anyway, that thought quickly passed when he returned with our next couple of twenties for our piggy bank stash and I discovered we'd paid $1.40930 Canadian for a single American dollar.
At $1.40930 for a buck, I only have one last comment. Thank goodness for the secure hotel safe.
In their wee safe space, those twenty dollar bills will blanket our passports better than us fattening the already fat fee fellas at credit card company hands down!
Wednesday, April 5, 2023
Well, a killer Black Friday deal made my birthday trip decision a no brainer this year. With the intention of only ever going once, I landed in Las Vegas today.
For just over six hundred dollars each, a suite with an Eiffel Tower view overlooking the Bellagio fountains was the purchase, and for the second year in a row I have Air Canada to thanks for a crazy amazing birthday deal.
Landed about 2p.m. today and home Saturday evening about 10p.m., we have a fun fill trip planned.
Heading to TopGolf this afternoon, Cirque du Soleil Beatles ONE at the Mirage tomorrow night, renting a Slingshot to head to Red Rock Canyon and the Hoover Dam Thursday, then Freemont Street for the day Friday.
Lots to talk about and some great pics to share the rest of the month for certain.
Another 'Happy Birthday Trip' but more importantly another passport stamp for yours truly.
Feeling very blessed, as life is good!
|Photo courtesy of booking.com|
Tuesday, April 4, 2023
A couple of weeks ago I saw this meme floating around the social media platforms and it truly resonated. It was just a picture titled the truth in me, so I must assume the author is unknown.
I have no desire to fit in.
No plans to walk with the crowds.
I have my own mind, heart and soul.
I am me and it has taken me years to realize how important that is.
No matter who you are, you can't be more candid that that. Life is simply too short to worry about what others think; and I don't.
Now when it comes to my dogs? That's another story.
The truth is my goal in life is to always be the person my dogs already think I am!
|Big day. Taking Miya Maria to meet her new sister Katie Lulu.|
TAKEN: JANUARY 23rd, 2023
Monday, April 3, 2023
I have written here several times in the past about the simple fact that I love a great bonfire, as have all of our pups.
From a very young age, we seriously train our dogs to respect the burning fire with a key word they grow up understanding, which is the word 'danger!'
The word is used in such a tone, when combined with their name, they return to my side immediately.
So, as expected, we are well on our way to training our new addition; little Katie (who was born December 5th, 2022 - arriving to us January 31, 2023).
|This little Blondie is as sharp as a tack and as loveable as a teddy bear.|
TAKEN: MARCH 3, 2023
With winter breaking into spring, on the last Friday in March, when I finished work at 4pm then wandered outside and built a killer bonfire.
Goob came over for dinner and to sip a bevie or two. We watched the sun go down outside and embraced the start of the weekend by listening to our favourite tunes, while basking by the glow of a bonfire.
With full bellies, a cold cooler and a warm fire, I ended up sharing with David that I expect to be working remotely 100% of the time once the lakes open. I told him that I figured I will move my home office out to the cottage as soon as we can put the water on.
With Katie being born last December, she will be almost six months old when she discovers a couple of very important things about cottage life.
That when enjoying a bonfire in the off season, there may not be any snow but there will be mosquitos.
She will learn that just like the other pups, she will be provided her own lawn chair so that she doesn't have to sit on the damp ground at night but her belly will still get bitten.
Oh, and though cottage food may taste better than what is served at the house, the calamine lotion I will be putting on her belly to stop the 'skeeter itch' does not!!
Saturday, April 1, 2023
|May my beautiful friend and coworker forever rest in peace.|
(Beautiful photo from her LinkedIn profile)
It was the last Friday afternoon of this past January.
My boss and I had just finished our end of day call, when he empathetically said, “I have some news to share.” Then, after a long pause he said, “Ashley was killed in a car accident early yesterday morning.”
In that moment, it was like I had been punched in the throat. My mind began swirling, and I was in a complete state of disbelief. This girl had the most amazing energy and sense of kindness, I instantly fell into a general state of shock.
Fast forward from that Friday night to Sunday morning. I couldn’t find any information online, other than there had in fact been a vehicular fatality in that area the morning I was told she passed.
So, by mid-Sunday morning I reached out to a coworker to go fishing for facts. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I wanted to confirm that there hadn’t been some sort of bizarre misunderstanding. She quickly confirmed it was in fact her that had died.
Flash to the next Tuesday, when the rumblings shift to the chatter that her husband was being investigated for foul play in her death. In that moment, all I could do was be angry at the potential small town gossip.
Low and behold he was formally charged that Friday with second degree murder and indignity to a dead body and is being held without bail.
His charges were then formally upgraded to first degree murder on February 17th, 2023.
Though I want to be angry at the person accused of taking her life, he doesn't deserve any space in my mind. That said, I can’t help but focus my empathy and worry to their two young children, both under the age of ten. Still processing all of this, it is so sad that they lost both of their parents that day.
Not that I am anyone special in the big scheme of all of this, I am just one of many that is extremely grateful to have been able to call Ashley Schwalm my friend. I will always miss my former coworker dearly.
Rest in peace my beloved Schwalmster.
Because if there is one thing you deserve, it's to forever sleep easy.