23 December, 2015

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy However You Choose to Celebrate...

It's been one heck of a year.

As with any year, there have been good times, bad times, times of joy and times of sorrow.

I haven't blogged much this year and truly have missed it. Next year is around the corner, so I hope to have a fresh start.

See you soon!

18 August, 2015

Random Thoughts - Too Much Going On…

I have so much going on and “on my plate” at the moment, I don’t know where to start.

Summer seems to be flying by, but I can’t recall where it went.

I’ve only been to the beach a couple of times, whereas I’m usually there every weekend. The reason for my beachy absence has been a direct result of high water levels and high winds. When the water is high, the beach disappears. Combine little-to-no beach with high winds and waves crashing on shore, there isn’t a beach to walk on. The two times I have been, we’ve had to wade waste deep in the water for quite a distance until the beach opens up. Once again, high winds preclude me from wanting to venture waste deep into less-than-tropical water with crashing waves. Hence, not many visits to the beach.

Sooooo, instead, J and I have been seriously hitting the trails on our mountain bikes. When I bought my bike a year ago, I thought it was the dumbest idea…EVER! My cardio was horrible and I could only make it a couple of miles before my rear-end seized up and I thought I would pass out in the ditch from exertion. Fast forward a year and we a tearing up the trails. We have been averaging 27 miles per weekend, but this past weekend we did that distance in a mere 3 hours. I still stink at riding up hills and tend to hop off and walk at the midway point, but I’m pretty happy with my overall improvement.

I wish said bike riding brought on weight loss, but it has not. In fact, I’ve gained a few pounds. J is trying to convince me that fat is turning to muscle, which weighs more than fat, but I’m not necessarily buying it. I do recognize a difference in the way my clothes are fitting overall – I have more room in them in the hips and thigh areas, so maybe something is happening. Fingers crossed.

I’ve also noticed that with said bike riding, I’m receiving a lot of bruises – A LOT. I must just bruise easier than I used to because I can’t figure out where these are coming from. Bruises are turning up everywhere - on my legs, buttocks, thighs, knees, shins. I can’t show off my newly toned legs because they look like hell.

Both work and my boss are still crazy. I have nothing more to say about that.

Our side businesses are busy and it pains me that I’m already planning for my Christmas shows. How can that be? Ugh!

Our early retirement escape plan is still chugging along – barely. With the turn of the Canadian economy and the fall of the Canadian dollar, we are faced with the reality that our money is not going to go as far as we had hoped. We still have a few years to go, but I’m remaining suspect of a rebound. I’d rather prepare for the worse and hope for the best.

I’ve downsized my friends list – in person and on Facebook. I just can’t deal with senseless drama anymore and for my sanity, I’m removing it from my life. It’s sad really because we were once quite close. I wonder if I’ll miss those people. The person? Perhaps. The drama? No. Will they miss me? Unlikely that they will notice I’m gone, as they will be too busy still creating drama for themselves. Oh well, life goes on.

Well, there you have it. I’m still around – in body and spirit. Hope you are enjoying your Summer!

11 August, 2015

Man PMS...

First the Public Service Announcement: The opinions expressed here are my own. I’m not saying all men experience these symptoms, there are a few in my life that do, so I speak from experience. Whether real or perceived symptoms, they are a problem for me. If you are a sensitive man (or woman) – get over yourself, as I’m tired of dealing with your hissy fits.

So, I’ve noticed a trend… just like women, men experience PMS. My boss is a perfect example of this – his severe monthly mood swings, outbursts and hissy fits for no apparent reason, coupled with moments of over the top cheeriness and random acts of thoughtfulness. I’ve been working here for almost five years now and although, it’s not at necessarily the same time every month, it happens just the same.

This is not a segregated sensation sweeping the nation - I’ve also noticed this trend with the other men in my life. J and The Boy are prone to this behavior as well, as I’m sure many other men. Men just don’t realize it’s happening to them – it’s called denial.

Well, I’m here to tell you – I’m tired of it. If you can call me out on my cranky days, I’m sure as hell going to start calling you out on yours. It’s time the men in my life realize, I’m done coddling their sensitive egos. Just like women – men need to “suck it up buttercup and realize things will be better in a few days”. Until then, just stop and think before you open your mouth; otherwise be prepared to be scolded.

15 July, 2015

A Special Project...

In January, we hired a new lawyer, which allowed me to transition out of contracts and into other things, including a “special project”.  I’ve been actually working on this “special project” since August of last year, so until January, I was essentially doing the job of two people.  

That was until a couple of weeks ago.  The President of our company and the gentlemen I happened to be working on the project for, suffered a stroke.  The results of the MRI showed, the stroke was actually caused from a brain tumor.  The prognosis is not favorable.

I am devastated and I can’t even imagine how his family is feeling.  This gentlemen is in his early 80’s but has the brains and stamina of someone in his 30’s.  He was completely hands-on with his company, beyond successful and cares greatly for his employees – an unusual combination.   

I am told by the management team that stepped in – that the “special project” will proceed on the planned timeline; however with so many other pressing issues, it’s fallen to the bottom of their priority pile.  Without his guidance, backing and input, I feel slightly lost a sea at the moment and until someone decides to adjust their priorities – I wait.  

I’m determined that this “special project” will proceed.  It was something he wanted, and I’ll be sure it’s something he gets.

02 July, 2015

It's Days Like This...

It’s days like this that make me understand how petty people can be.

It’s days like this that make me understand that people can be ugly. Not in physical appearance but in personality.

It’s days like this that make me wonder how certain individuals can be so narrow-minded and inconsiderate of other people’s feelings. It’s those same days that make me wonder how they’ve gotten so far in life.

It’s days like this I’m thankful for my upbringing, my manners and being taught that the world does not revolve around me.

It’s days like this I’m thankful I’ve instilled those same manners and morals in my son.

It’s days like this that I realize that I’m a decent human being in comparison to many.

It’s days like this that I lose my faith in humanity. It’s also days like this that strengthens my resolve to make the world a better place.

It’s days like this I look forward to the smile and warmth that my family provides me.

It’s days like this that make me appreciate the little things in life.

It’s days like this that make me realize things could be a lot worse.

It’s days like this that make me look forward to the end of the day, but also look forward to a better tomorrow.

17 June, 2015

Self-Imposed Time-Out…



I don’t know about any of you with children, but when my son was little and was having a melt-down, being disrespectful or just plain out of control, we would put him in a “time-out”.  The time-out was typically done away from others, in a quiet spot, with no outside stimulation.  For us, the bottom step on our staircase worked wonders since there was nothing around, and nothing to look at except a wall.  The time-out period usually only lasted 5-10 minutes, but in extreme cases it could last longer.

Today, I wish someone would put me in a time-out.  I’d happily find a secluded staircase somewhere in the building where I could refocus my energy and have a moment to myself, to readjust my attitude.

I woke up from a good sleep and was ready for the day.  AND THEN…I got to work.  Duhn, duhn, duhn, dunnnnnn!

  

I wish I could say the rest of the day will get better, but alas – it won’t.  I have a “team” lunch meeting and THAT only makes things worse, EXCEPT there will be cookies. *sigh* 

01 June, 2015

Random Thoughts - Catch Up Edition...


June is upon us, but the weather is still cooler than normal.  Maybe global warming does have something to do with it, or maybe it’s just because I live in Canada and Mother Nature hates me.

I’m still faithfully plugging away at my jewelry making, shows and online sales, but I have to say I’m getting slightly tired of it.  Lately, I’ve experienced a few shows that have left me wondering why I bother.   I’m not planning on giving it up any time soon, but I think I need to re-evaluate what makes me happy to make and not just make what people will buy.  Because in all honesty, people are picky and you can’t please them all.  I’d rather please myself.

Let’s talk about food.  Do you ever get in a food rut and get tired of making and eating the same thing every week?  I’m in a food rut right now.  I like to try new recipes, but my family can be “selective”.  I can typically please either The Boy or J, but not usually both together, so instead of trying to please everyone, I tend to stick with the tried and true and it turns out to be me that suffers in silence.  Dramatic, I know…

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it before, but if you’re a friend on Facebook, you’ve heard all about it.  I’m participating in Mudderella in July.  As you can imagine by the name, it’s a 6 mile run/obstacle course, all done in the mud.  Yep, call me crazy.  I should have started training for the physical portion months ago, but nope I’ve decided that mental preparation will work best for me.  What does that mean?  It means I’ve been thinking about all the training I should have been doing.  Oh well, nothing like a challenge and I perform better under pressure anyhow. 

Work has been interesting as of late.   Back in late December, we hired another lawyer to join our legal team.  Her sole purpose was to take on contracts, so I could be freed up to work on a bunch of other long term “projects”.  Well, as it turns out, she’s not interested in contracts, but instead she’d rather design letterhead, business cards, start a legal newsletter and complain about how much paper we waste and how she can’t find anything in our filing system.   Her time is limited as she has "designed" and painted a target on her back.  It's too bad, because with her gone, contracts will likely flow my way again.  Yes, it's purely selfish on my part to want to keep her, but I can't tolerate the drama either.  Life's too short for that...


What's everyone else been up to?



21 May, 2015

Gratitude...

After my last post, I've refocused my energy on the things in my life that really matter... it's the little things that are the most important...everything else is just a waste of my energy.

Don't get me wrong, I will continue to complain about people and things on occasion...just not today.


14 May, 2015

Drowning in Debt...

Yes, the title a little dramatic, but it’s just how I’m feeling at the moment.

When bad things happen, it is said they happen in 3’s. In my case, they are occurring in 8’s.

It’s days like today, I wish I could move our relocation timeline up to the end of this month. I’m frustrated and tired of being broke, having to spend money that I don’t have on things that aren’t fun. I’m tired of overspending on the necessities of life – like groceries, electricity, cell phone bills, gas, etc. Most of all, I’m tired of being overtaxed. My income tax deductions add up in a year to be WAY more than seniors citizens make in a year. In general, I’m sick of working so hard and getting nowhere. Just when you think you’re getting ahead, more expenses rear their ugly little faces.

Welcome to my pity party – take a seat or leave now, the choice is yours.

In the last 2 months we have had some major unexpected expenses:

Car repairs for my car – new brakes and rotors, new cross-members (whatever the hell they are), new bearings - $1,400.

Car repairs for J’s truck – also new brakes and rotors and new bearings - $1,100.

Life Insurance (not really unexpected, but our premiums did go up by $600) - $1,700.

New mattress and box spring (because you can’t buy a new mattress without a new box spring because it voids the warranty). I was having some major back and neck problems, so it had to be done. $3,400.

If you count all the chiropractor visits before the new mattress, we’re probably looking at $3,900.

New cell phones – our cell phones were over 8 years old. Mine died, J’s was close behind. $1,300 (plus a new 2 year contract in order to get the cheaper rate, activation charges, etc.). Stupid cell phone company!

Today, J takes my car in for a simple oil change only to find out that I urgently need new tires. I knew I needed them but was hoping to make it until at least the end of June. Nope, the steel belts are coming through and they advised I shouldn’t drive it until the tires get replaced. $780!

We also need to replace our roof as the shingles are starting to lift. Thankfully, we can patch them up and hopefully make them last another year. We also need to replace our 40 year old water heater, but it’s still working, so that’s not going to happen right now.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for plenty and I know things could be a lot worse. It just sucks sometimes.

04 May, 2015

Re-adjusting

The Boy has returned from school. He has successfully completed 20 months of non-stop college education and has come out with a certificate in Blasting Techniques and a Diploma in Resource Drilling. For those of you that have followed my blog, you will know getting to this point was a HUGE undertaking – many false starts, much money spent and much anxiousness on my part. I am so very proud of his success in getting this far!'

Now the period of readjustment begins. The Boy, J and I need to learn how to function as a family unit again. Overall - so far, so good but the tiny cracks are starting to appear. The Boy seems for forget, we still own the house and expect it to be kept in an orderly manner. J and I need to remember he is technically an adult and should not be micro-managed.

The plan is for The Boy to live at home, while working in order to save money in order to pay off some of his outrageous school debt. He could make a lot more money if he moved away for work, but the costs of living in the job-rich, resource drilling areas within Canada or the US, would most likely burn up that extra money, SO for the time being, he’s home.

He already has a job and starts on Wednesday – it’s not in his field of education, but it pays well and he can live at home and bank some money. He’ll be back working for Parks and Recreation Department of the local town. He will be responsible for maintenance of hiking trails, baseball diamond grooming and assisting in the cemetery. Same job (more or less) as he had for the summers of 2011, 2012 and 2013. He’s happy, we’re happy – it’s a win, win. Now, if I can just get him to pick up his empty soda cans…

16 April, 2015

Domestic Engineering - There Should Be a Medal For That...

My brain is a tangled mess these days.  Honestly, I don’t know whether I’m coming or going.    Somehow however, I manage to stay organized amongst all the chaos – mostly thanks to J.   It’s been almost 2 years since J left his job and since then, he’s become the “man” of the household or as I affectionately call him my “domestic engineer”.   

In an effort to grow our businesses, have more time on weekends, get our life under control and ultimately get ready for our eventual relocation, we made the decision that J would stay home and work on unfinished projects, household chores, business growth, etc.  Let me say this – it was the best decision of our lives (at least in my opinion).   

With my growing responsibilities at work and the hectic pace of life in general, I don’t know how I would have survived and maintained my sanity.  J looks after everything, except finalizing the meals.  He takes care of dishes, laundry, toilet scrubbing, grocery shopping, yard work, etc., etc.  With everything getting done during the weekend, our weekends are free to live life.  

I’m done stressing out about how messy our house is or how empty our fridge is – everything is now in order.  Of course, we’ve had to sacrifice things to make it work financially, but it’s worth every penny, especially when I sleep better at night knowing, the dust bunnies won’t attack me in my sleep…

14 April, 2015

Choose To Be Happy...







I say this to myself every…single…morning.  There are days when it works beautifully and then there are days, like yesterday and today when things are not working out as planned.  *sigh*



The days start off on the positive side but then work happens, people happen, reality happens and shit happens.   I’ve always been fairly proud of my ability to shed the toxic people from my life, but today, I may be one of them.  I’m down right cranky.  Shame on me. 
 

So, with that said, I’m self-imposing solitude by shutting my office door, not answering the phone, keeping off social media and generally not making eye contact with anyone.  I’m choosing to be happy and I’m damn well gonna like it.

25 March, 2015

Signs of Spring...



As I’m sure everyone is well aware, it’s been a long winter - everywhere.  Longer than usual in my opinion.  Here in Ontario, Canada “winter” started a bit later than is typical.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t tropical beach weather by any means for the months of November or December, but the real “winter” with the snow, blowing snow, ice pellets, more blowing snow and polar vortexes didn’t arrive until sometime in January.  But since January, it’s been constant cold, little sun, snow and wind.  It’s been a never-ending story of misery - for me at least.




Having said that, I see the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel”.  Slowly but surely, we’ve had a few warmer days, a little more sunshine and only trace amounts of snow.  I’m still wearing my winter coat, but I have now given up my winter boots for shoes.  Seems like a minor detail, but for me, it’s a BIG deal.




There have been other signs of Spring in the air (most of them literally are in the air).  Here are some signs that tell me, brighter, warmer days are on the Canadian horizon…





Robins and Red-Winged Black Birds

Yes, the birds are back in town!  Typically robins return from warmer climates once the ground clears enough that they can begin finding food sources – worms, bugs, etc.  The red-winged black birds return once the marshes have begun to thaw.  I’m not a “bird” person, but I can tell which bird is in our yard, just from the sounds of their calls.   It’s a nice feeling.





Tundra Swans

We are lucky enough to live near a migratory route for tundra swans.  They stop in our area to rest and feed on the way to their summer feeding/breeding grounds in the Arctic/tundra regions.  Once there are enough open fields for the birds to feed upon remnants from the previous year’s corn harvest and enough open water for them to land, the come through by the 100’s.  They been late in arriving this year because of the lack of open water, but they are now here nonetheless.  It’s a nice sight on my morning commute.





Turkey Buzzards

These have to been the least attractive bird in our area, but I will admit, I’m happy to see they have returned – ugly as they are.  Turkey buzzards are scavengers and I believe they only eat dead animals.   You can tell when something is dead or dying as you can see them circling high overhead – waiting for the moment to close in for their feast.  I understand they overwinter in Central America, so a sure sign of Spring is when the snow cover dissipates enough for them to return to find what didn’t make it through the winter. 



The Arbor

What is this and what does it have to do with Spring?  Well, The Arbor is an institution that I’ve grown up with.  It’s a family owned food booth that’s been in business for over 100 years.  It is located in Port Dover, Ontario, Canada and is open during the warmer months - typically from late March until mid October.  The Arbor serves the BEST foot-long hot dog and homemade fries on the planet.  Yes, I will stand by that claim.  They have the most toppings you can possibly imagine (pickles, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots and mustard, coleslaw, onions, beets, relishes, lettuce, etc.) and their zucchini relish is to die for.   They are scheduled to open this weekend, but unfortunately my Arbor dog will have to wait, as I am bound for the beach – not Lake Erie either.




The Beach
Of course, no arrival of Spring is complete, without my semi-annual escape to warmer climates.  I've paid my winter dues and now... a beach in Puerto Rico is calling my name...

 

What means Spring to you?  I’d love to hear about it…