Rosebuds and kisses make for sweet adventures

Attitude is the only difference between an ordeal and an adventure. ~Unknown.  Many times on the road as a child with my mother, she would pull off to the nearest convenience store and return with scribbled directions, and a box of Rosebuds:  the difference between being lost and “on an adventure!” We have continued sharing such adventures through the years, one comedy of errors particularly memorable: Nuevo Vallarta, 2013.

In a whirlwind of dramas among friends, Mom and I found ourselves banished from our original accommodations with only days to secure a hotel, and a pesky issue of me on a return flight the day before hers, but with a $450 rescheduling fee, we would make do.

To further challenge my blissful vacation, the morning of departure I awoke to the flu gods mocking me.  Armed with Pepto, prayers, and popsicles, I crawled to the car, and barely survived the flight.  Fortunately, a day and a nap made all the difference and things started to improve.  My determination to enjoy my vacation despite dilemmas found me in the hotel lobby carefully sipping a cosmopolitan planning the week.

It was then I met Alberto; our cute, charming Mexican tour rep, with an amazing, sexy smile.  He asked to take me out on my last night, but when I went secure plans, I had missed him.  Disappointed, I made the best of it at the disco with mom, and Tequila.  When we returned late and found a note on the door, my heart sank; it was from Alberto saying he would pick me up at nine.  I felt awful.

The next morning, after solemnly packing, I tried to find my tanned skin prince, without success.  On route to the lobby, the foot broke off my suitcase turning it into an awkward, unstable mess to drag home; the perfect metaphor for my own emotions.  In the cab, I sniffled, and wiped my tears.  “Why are you crying Senorita?” The driver asked.  I sobbed: “Because I don’t want to leave yet.”  “So, stay!”

Upon arrival at the airport, I limped my wounded baggage through the glass doors, across the polished floor, and bid adios to Mexico.  Like a new kindergartner, I put on my brave face and took a breath; and then it was lost once more.  There, running down the escalator, was the amazing, sexy smile that I thought I’d never see again.  He reached the foyer and swept me in a hug, and a Hollywood worthy, kiss of a lifetime!  For that moment, all was well with the world.

Armed with the strength of a proper goodbye, I presented my documents at the check in counter.  I asked once more about changing my flight, determined to bend reality with persistence.  Agents spoke to each other in Spanish, and something seemed wrong. I was almost sure I was about to be wrongly detained in a Mexican prison -which seemed a fitting end to this flawed fiesta- When the clerk finally explained to me: bad weather in Texas; my connection was cancelled. Shock rolled through my body, and I struggled to stop the grin from erupting as the reality hit me.  “So I’m delayed and it’s your fault!”  I was quickly booked on a flight the following day, and presented with travel vouchers and cab fare for the “inconvenience.”

The sun smiled on the road back; palm trees applauded my victory, the broken suitcase carried itself! As we rolled up to the hotel lobby, I barely waited for the taxi to stop before leaping onto the curb.  There, in the archway stood Alberto – shocked and ecstatic to see me!  The whole story, finding my mom and evening plans unfolded in the next ten minutes, through euphoric smiles and happy hugs.  While dozens frowned in Texas, three beamed in Mexico for one, perfectly cancelled flight.

Any or all of these obstacles could have been a trip disaster, but thanks to attitude, they became the blunders we triumphed over for a uniquely memorable vacation; the places we paused to get our Rosebuds.



*Submitted October 2015- for possible publication to Travellers Tales.




I was never a popular kid at school… Always kind of a country kid through and through. So a lot of my experiences resulted from having older friends who were nice enough to take me to horse shows and rodeos on the weekends.  I was badass.  Or, probably just a typically slightly rebellious teen girl and a bit of a tease at worst.  Hey- bad decisions lead to good stories.

It was the weekend of Kitchener rodeo- it was just brought to my attention last weekend that the only thing the guys remember is “WOO-WOO” shots.  Everyone was going to party at the stampede coral.  I was sixteen.  I was also lucky enough to have a newly nineteen friend with an extra licence.  Thanks Candace!  At that time, I was dating a bullrider (I know; shocking.) Coincidentally, he had dated Candace prior to me. (Also. Shocking… Sharing is caring.)

When the cops showed up at the bar my attempts to “act normal” apparently failed, and despite not being the youngest one there: I was the target. (a 14 year old roper had the benefit of still being six foot and solid enough to blend in…) My only real recollection of dialogue as the cops asked me to come outside was a somewhat slurred statement about not being drunk and having to barrel race in the morning; neither of which were true by the way.  The poor boyfriend at this point, is not only having his night and woo woo shots interrupted… but he’s also now being forced to call me by his ex-girlfriend’s name in keeping with the story!  They ask me for my home phone number.  Knowing my own mother would be woken up, confused, and eventually pissed (plus and more importantly: blow my cover) I rhyme off Candace’s number.  She is still inside the bar at the time.  Her mom’s boyfriend answers. They tell him they are concerned that the girl with them looks nothing like the photo, and also that though she appears to be about 165cm tall despite the 120 noted on the I.D.  He somehow guessed it was me, and said something like “Oh yeah I’ve been telling her to get that corrected for a long time, and it’s an old picture.”

WOOO!!! Thank you dude I barely know!! Thank you Thank you!

Whoever said “the truth shall set you free”- clearly never spent hours rehearsing someone else’s full name, address and birthday just for the chance to two-step and drink WOO-WOOs with the cowboys.

The Kindergarten Connection

I’m a pretty big believer in something bigger…though I have no idea what it is. Things like quantum physics, universal laws, and strange coincidences interest and intrigue me… Celestine Prophecy, Alchemist, “The Secret” kind of stuff. I figure at very least, being observant and making a stab at being positive can’t actually have any negative effects, and I’ve had some interesting experiences as a result of paying attention to times when I feel the universe is “a step ahead of me.” A couple of weeks ago, I was doing some online learning/activities with self esteem, examining your beliefs, and things that may have impacted both. So I did an online “guided meditation” and the image/incredibly vivid memory that came to me unfolds as follows:

I’m in kindergarten, and a boy in my class (Matthew) was upset about something. (For all I know someone stole his lego…) but he was distraught. The teacher called us all over to sit on the carpet, and little Matt was still upset. I was sitting beside/behind him and felt bad that he was upset. So I took my little five year old hand, and rubbed his back to help him feel better. (What a compassionate child!) Anyone who remembers public school can probably guess what happened to me from there. “Courtney and Matthew sitting in a tree” etc. I got teased… A lot. And from that moment forward, I guess I just decided it was easier not to be OVERLY nice to anyone… “No good deed goes unpunished.”

Fast forward back to present day (for simplicity sake lets say twenty years later.) I’m working out in the gym, and this guy I’m sure I have never seen before, two consecutive days almost walks into me and says “hey hows it goin?” I smile and say hi, and go back to what I’m doing. On the third day, I’m peddling the bike, and this guy has a ten minute conversation with someone right in front of me. It’s at that point I actually look at him, and start to sense some vague familiarity… a little… and then more… Until I randomly just yell “Hey! Come here.” He does. I hesitate slightly with a raised eyebrow and I ask: “Are you Matt?” He laughs, and confirms! He knew who I was but was fairly sure I hadn’t made the connection… Of course I hadn’t: we haven’t seen each other since fourth grade!!! Nonetheless.. There he is. The Kindergarten Back Rub Boy in the flesh!

Post Script: We chatted. We became Facebook friends. He made a comment about how I wasn’t overly friendly in school, and it was at that point that I took the risk… and told him the story. I let him know that if he thought I was insane and didn’t want to talk anymore, that I understood, and that it had been fun nonetheless. To my surprise, he actually was understanding, and fairly amused by this. He told me he didn’t think I was nuts, unless of course my next confession was that I have a voodoo shrine with a picture of his five year old self somewhere in my home. It turns out, he’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. Jokes began to fly, and when I finally announced that I had to sign off and go to sleep, he replied: “Hey- make sure you blow out the candles on my shrine… it’s a fire hazard.” I laughed, hard. Then replied “All done. I’ll put your school picture under my pillow and see you in my dreams.” He told me not to worry about crumpling it because his mom could probably hook me up with some replacements. The guy is a hoot!

A few days later, and the day before my birthday, my mom and I were standing in a store talking to another friend of ours. By now, I had told basically everyone I know this story, including the two of them. Who should walk in? Matt, of course. Who I proudly introduced as “The Kindergarten Back Rub Boy.” Good thing he’s a great sport!!!

No. Really. Good thing. Not only did he laugh it off, -along with my jokes about his stalking me- but later that night, when we ran into him at a restaurant, and my mother walked over to converse with him as if he’s been part of our family for this entire twenty years… He didn’t even get weirded out. Or… at least he was discreet enough not to show it!

Tonight, I was working out at the gym. Working away in my fave neon green shirt that my mom gave me from a fundraiser… I step off my machine between sets, and see Matt. As we make eye contact it’s instantly obvious on both of our faces as we realize it: of all the colours, in all of the palettes in all of the world, coincidentally, today, we’ve both chosen to dawn t-shirts in the loudest neon green known to man. I couldn’t have matched him better if I actually WAS hiding in the bushes with binoculars when he packed his gym bag. I grin, say hello and simply call it like it is “ok. This is just getting creepy at this point.” It’s truly a missed opportunity that I failed to ask if he was also wearing black lace panties!

Where will my Kindergarten connection surface next… ?!