Sunday, August 30, 2009

Crossing the finish line

I took this picture a few weeks ago while visiting Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal. Until today, it, along with a few other memories of that little holiday, were captives of a handy little digital camera (that will work under water), that I used my last few RBC points to acquire. Today, I used the same camera to capture a shot of a friend crossing the finish line in what was supposed to be a triathlon, but in fact ended up being a biathlon due to choppy conditions at the Cobourg beach. There are so many stories woven into this first paragraph, but I'm afraid that if I tried to tell them all, I would lose your attention. So, I will focus on the most important message. My friend, the runner, has been running with another friend. Both started running in an effort to improve their overall health, and to lose some weight. I've never been much of a runner, and as far as exercise is concerned, I always use the excuse that I'd like to work out with someone, rather than work out alone, so I don't work out. As a result, for the first time in my life, I tipped the scales at 190 lbs this morning. I have never weighed this much. I should probably weigh 175. Instead of having the swimmers build that I always wanted, I have the little ponch that I always dreaded having. I can find comfort in the fact that I'm in the majority though - I love to eat, I'm great at making excuses, and I'm always at the finish line cheering on the runners and taking their pictures, instead of being in the race. The picture above is a depiction of a guy who definitely got in the race, and crossed the finish line. In 33 short years He made such an impression on people that we're still talking about him 2,000 years later. At almost 51 years, I'm pretty sure that I've passed the half way point of my life. I know that I have been blessed with many gifts, but I feel as though I'm still waiting for the starters pistol. Years ago, one of my goals was to go to Europe. For years I fretted about the language, the cost, the flight, the different currencies, and for years I allowed this fretting to keep me from experiencing Europe. And then, one day I was on my way to meet some friends in Paris. When I later explained to someone how I overcame my fears, I remember saying "it was easy, it all started by picking up the phone". So much in life is like that, whether it's running in a marathon, or being a Messiah, it all starts by taking one step in the right direction. What will be your next step?

Monday, August 24, 2009

A week from hell in paradise

Summer is always a busy time at Ste. Anne's, and this year has been no exception. With the reintroduction of our "Diva for a Day" $99 day spa, our guest visits are actually up significantly over last year - something I feel very proud of, given the doom and gloom we are subjected to on a daily basis regarding the economy. There is no doubt that consumers are very price sensitive these days, so offering the best value proposition is more important than ever. However, it just goes to show that even in tough economic times, people still crave relaxation through the gift of healing at the hands of their fellow beings. None-the-less, one of our commercial lenders has decided that they don't want to be in the "hospitality" business anymore, so they've given us the requisite notice to go out and find a new lender, a costly and frustrating exercise, meaning that I get to spend more time than I would like with lawyers and number crunchers - yahoo! Please say a prayer for me. The extreme heat and humidity has resulted in a few requests for more air conditioning, but for the most part, our guests have enjoyed and embraced the onset of summer (late as it is), and have used the pool to cool down. A couple of weeks ago, we were hit by a pretty violent thunderstorm - (before the one that caused so much devastation in the cities of Vaughan and Durham). We had at least 10 trees down, one of which landed right on top of the power lines, leaving us in the dark for most of the night. Once again, our great friends at OPG had us up and running before the sun came up - thanks guys! However, these huge downpours can sometimes have a negative impact on wells, so following the storm, we had to make sure all of our drinking water, and the water we use in our spa treatments was safe to drink. Ever since the tragic consequences of Walkerton, the Health Unit has been saddled with the responsibility for making sure that all businesses serving drinking water to the public are taking regular samples of their water and responding to any adverse results. These folks at the Health Unit seem to have a love affair with chlorine, but to be honest, I'm not sure I'd rather take on a little water borne bug than be subjected to a known carcinogen. To make matters worse, right in the middle of the last thunderstorm, one of wells either took a direct lightening hit, or some kind of electrical malfunction resulting in a dead short, knocking out the pump and cutting off our water supply. So once again, there we were in the dark, rain pouring down, pulling a 50 lb. pump and 100 feet of pipe filled with water up from the depths of our main supply well. Thanks to a great bit of teamwork everything was fixed up before guests started arriving for their spa treatments. Today the sun is shining brightly, smiles are all around, the water is sparkling and clean, and I'm alive. What more could I ask for?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Honestly, I'm not choking him!

Last week, we were invited up to a friend's home/cottage up on Sturgeon Lake, near Fenelon Falls. As I child, I spent my summers playing on our family farm in Nashville, which, according to my dad, had everything and more than a trip to the cottage - a pond (as opposed to a lake), barns, a river, fields and forests. None-the-less, the 2 or 3 times that I was invited up to a "real cottage" in Muskoka or Haliburton holds special memories for me. Our 24 hours at "the Point", as the locals call it, was no exception. We took a walk around and oogled the other homes - some palatial, some quite modest, some occupied by famous lawyers, and a couple even haunted! We sat by the water and watched the waves, Massie even went in for a swim, We enjoyed a wonderful meal, lively conversation and lots of laughs crowded around a table flanked by new found friends. Liz, our hostess with the mostess could not have been more hospitable or accommodating. Her and her sisters are like a barrel of monkeys - just a hoot - and such great people. We were also introduced to a little Yorkie - his name escapes me now, but he was quite cute, and of course everybody fell in love with him. He was making the permanent move to "the Point", having left behind his new family back in "the shwa" (Oshawa). Before leaving we agreed that we would take 2 of his babies, one for mom, and one for another friend who recently lost his cat and moved his mom into a nursing home, so very much in need of some company. Mom loves her new chum, and Rusty loves mom. By the way, for those of you who know my mom, it seems as though she has pretty much recovered from whatever knocked her down a month or so ago. Her doctor thinks it was a virus, while the homeopath thinks it was a magnesium deficiency. Truth is we don't really know, but we're all happy to have her back to her old self again.