Nina Bifolchi

Becoming Nina

The Best Version of Me

Preface: I have always found that writing down your thoughts is a great way to vent, to communicate the truth with others and a way to work through so many emotions all while trying to keep it together in the public eye.

To those who have attempted to bring me down, this is not for you. Your opinion of my life and me does not matter. This is for me and to thank those who have been there for me during the good and the bad. This is me entering my 50’s soon and happy with who I am and what I have accomplished to date……recognizing there is more to come!

My deepest appreciation to all those who have helped me become the best version of me.

Almost every interaction I have had in life, good, bad or ugly has made me who I am. You have either supported me, helped me learn and grow, stifled me (only momentarily) or lit a full on fire under my ass!

Thank you for accepting and supporting me despite my kicking and screaming, refusing to fit in the box others tried to shove me in.

To my family, friends, mentors and co-workers, thank you for supporting this 5 foot 4 inch opinionated woman who drives her pickup truck a little too fast, in 4 inch heels and skirt with her music just a bit too loud!

To my brother Wally, who during his 25 years on this earth, lived life to the fullest with a quality over quantity attitude, who gave me the reminder and courage I needed to enjoy life……..thank you! I miss you every day but I know you are not far.

I hope my story inspires the shy introvert with no confidence that you have what it takes inside of you to be exactly who you are supposed to be and that only you are responsible for your happiness. Fight for it!

To everyone else, life is short, enjoy every moment of it and spend it with the right people who support you, make you laugh and feel loved.

To the haters, this is my truth and while I have no doubt you will continue to spread your lies and innuendo, I have no secrets or dirty closets for you to discover. Those who truly want to know the truth will never believe your lies.

As I always say, I am an open book……………so here it is.

Disclaimer: As you read this, you will see quotes I have used. When I know the author, I have named them. However, in today’s world, there are so many memes and phrases shared on social media that it is impossible to know who said them first. Please know that if I quote something that I have seen on social media, it is a quote that meant something to me. Thank you to whoever said or wrote it first!

Warning prior to reading further: “I don’t just curse. I speak fluent trucker with a sailor dialect and a construction accent.” If you are easily offended or you prefer a watered down version of the truth, I suggest you stop reading now.

My story …

The Earlier years: I was born on February 13, 1971 approximately one hour before Valentine’s Day. I was named Kristina at birth but that quickly changed to Nina. My brother, Wally, just 17 months old could not say Kristina, it came out Nina and it stuck.

While no family is perfect, I will say I feel so fortunate to have been born into what I believe is the best family I could have asked for.

My parents grew up in Weston, Ontario and went to elementary school together. Married in 1966, neither old enough to drink at their wedding, a life of ups, downs, sadness and successes, they continue to enjoy their journey together.

My parents had a very different upbringing but complement each other perfectly. They each brought to the relationship what the other lacked. They raised a family while working hard and building several businesses from the ground up.

I spent the first part of my life in the Bolton and Caledon East area of Ontario with a few years living in Beeton.

I was a shy introvert lacking in self-confidence surrounded by a loud family of extroverts. I cried at my birthday parties when the cake came out because the attention was all on me!

I attended Kindergarten at MacVille Elementary School in Bolton. My teacher was Mrs. Schilds. I loved her. She made me feel more special than any other student in the room. When I moved into grade one, she moved up too. This happened again in grade two. When I was in grade two, my sister Rebecca was born. One day after school rather than putting us on the bus, Mrs. Schilds packed my brother, her own son and me into her car and drove us home. She had a gift for my new baby sister. The good old days……can you imagine the mayhem if a teacher did that today! Mrs. Schilds passed away a number of years ago however, every once in a while I can still smell the soap she used or perfume she wore and swear she’s still around supporting and encouraging me.

Grade 3 brings the horrific memory of public speaking. Mrs. Hall was my teacher and we were required to memorize a poem and recite it in front of the class. I remember getting to the front of the classroom, and feeling the panic take over. I bolted back to my chair crying. I never liked the attention on me and would prefer it if people did not notice me. I was also never good at receiving a compliment …… still working on that one! Grade 4 brought sad times. My brother who was born with congenital heart disease was scheduled for another surgery at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. My Dad worked a lot and my mom needed to be at the hospital with Wally. Family rallied and helped with my sister and me. Now as a parent, I can only imagine how hard this was on my parents. I was always fearful of something happening to my brother who was my best friend. I struggled with the sadness and worry about my brother and while I can recognize it now as an adult, the anger and frustration. I remember being in class one day in grade four and saying something mean to a classmate; “God made the rivers; God made the lakes; God made Steven but we all make mistakes.” I probably had a crush on him but regardless, that got me my first trip to the office. I had to sit on the floor outside of the office. This attention was definitely worse than having happy birthday sang to me. I was humiliated. I can still see Wally’s friend Tony coming down the hall and seeing me there.

I remember this time well and the time I spent at my Aunt and Uncle’s with my cousins. Getting up in the night crying and Uncle Joe letting me crawl in with them. Eating dreaded cow tongue for dinner cooked by Aunt Katy and wondering how my cousins could eat that but thought it was weird that I loved gravy on stuff! Katy and Joe had three children of their own and their own business, which was a garden centre. I spent a lot of time at their house growing up and was always made to feel welcome. For the record, Aunt Katy is an excellent cook and makes great things despite this one dish!

It was also during grade four that the farmhouse and property on the fourth line of Bolton was sold and my family moved to the ninth line in Beeton. Unfortunately, my school year had not finished so I moved in with my grandparents who were also in Bolton, so I could finish off the year and catch the bus from their house. They too were in business for themselves, were busy, and while probably not convenient at all to have a nine-year-old back in the house, they welcomed me.

Grades 5, 6 and 7 were spent at Tecumseh North Elementary School in Beeton. This is where I had my first real crush. His name was Ronald and despite the fact that he wore dress socks with his gym shorts and runners ……………. and he was super cute.

Having a sister eight years younger and a brother who was sick was a stress that people did not always know I carried. I was very possessive of my sister, a doll for me as I was eight when she was born. I was very upset when I thought one of her eyes was larger than the other, my poor little weirdo. I remember carrying her down the stairs one morning when she woke up, and I dropped her. I will never forget my dad flying down those stairs, hair on end! This was a skill he had; you knew when he was mad because it would just stand up!

Wally could not walk long distances or do anything that took up too much energy. He would get out of breath easy and his lips would turn a blue colour. Throughout our school years, I was always checking to make sure he was ok. There were times as children that I would piggy back him when he could not walk any further during one of our outdoor adventures. I recall as a little girl as well as an adult, crying at night with a pit of worry that he might not be with us long.

However, there were many great times.

My mom’s parents, Nan and Grandpa, and mom’s two sisters, Carol and Sherri, and their families lived in Bracebridge. While I did not see this side of the family as much as my dad’s side, I have many great memories. I remember seeing puppies born at Aunt Carol’s house and using a cool machine to roll her cigarettes while the adults played cards. Riding Jamie’s Kitty Cat snowmobile. Listening to my cousin Lisa’s Billy Joel records while she put make-up on me. Cousin Don and I tying one on in our teens during one of the family parties. I can remember sneaking a drag off Aunt Sherri’s cigarette when she left the room and thought my younger cousins Andrew, Jennifer and Victoria were so cute.

Nan and Grandpa were always happy to see us kids. They were strict but they loved us. There was Nan’s signature fear tactic …………… ”I am going to get the fly swatter if you do not smarten up!” My brother Wally used to tease her by saying, “Calm yourself.” Never tell someone who is angry to calm herself. I will never forget the first time I heard her drop an F-bomb. Something to do with a sewer back up in the basement. Grandpa could come across as stern but when he smiled at you, you knew he loved you more than anything. I feel both of their energies, support, guidance and love around me all the time.

My dad’s side, Litz, lived close to each other……….some would say on top of each other at times. My Dad’s parents were known to the grandchildren as Mommom, Ma, as we got older and Papa. My grandmother said she was too young to be a grandmother when my cousin Lori was born so she settled with being a double mom …… Mommom. My Dad had four siblings and I was so lucky to have such a large family. Sixteen grandchildren on this side of the family.

Ma and Papa worked hard for what they had and because of it, we had lots of fun. They had tree farms and were in the landscaping business. The green thumb unfortunately skipped me! I kill everything, have you seen my grass?

Growing up we spent time at the cottage in Muskoka. There were fun times there that included a racoon we made our pet, Cousin Tanya eating a green inchworm, the boys from a few cottages over peeing on the rocks in the sauna, which did not go over well, forts in the bush and there were times that my Bracebridge side of the family joined.

We also spent time at the hunt camp on Hay Island. My grandfather leased the Island for approximately 15 years. The owner lived in the states, never saw the property, but on a gentleman’s promise told my grandfather that if he ever sold the island, the Litz Family would have first chance at it. My grandfather had already passed, but true to his word, the owner got a hold of my Mom one day. My Dad was out of town working in some out-of-the way location and with cell phones not around yet mom did everything she could to get a hold of him. My Dad, his two brothers and two family friends purchased the Island. They all built cottages and continued to hunt, fish and enjoy family and friends. It was a piece of heaven that many never have the chance to experience.

My grandparents also had a cottage at Raven’s Lake. It was on the 7 hour drive to Raven’s Lake that my cousin Lori and I sang in the back seat to the German songs my grandparents were playing and laughed the whole way …. because we didn’t speak German or know the songs. Simple times and we were having fun. It was at Raven’s Lake I learned how to drive an aluminum boat with a 2-horsepower motor. I was around ten years old.

Papa threw us girls in the boat, pushed us off and said have fun. Typical Litz style. I had a very similar experience when my dad taught me how to drive a snowmobile.

Ma and Pa also raised wild bore, ducks and turkeys. Little did our parents realize, but during our weekly family dinners, my cousins and I used to play a game of who can get out of the pigpen alive, last one over the fence lost.

Friends of the family became family and were part of the regular activities. I loved family parties and there were many. Family dinners were a common event. Us kids entertained ourselves. While still small enough to crawl under the table, we would tie the adult’s shoelaces together. We found it funny after they had a few drinks and attempted to get up to go to the washroom. When we were a bit older, raiding Ma and Pa’s liquor cabinet and making B52’s in the laundry room out of sight. Telling the parents we were going for a walk but were really going to smoke cigarettes that we took from their packs. And of course singing to ABBA and playing Charlie’s Angels with my cousins Lori and Tanya. Cousins really are the first friends you have and the best.

We were not a family that went to church on a regular basis. There is that one Christmas Eve we all went to the church down the street from my Grandparents house on the Gore Road. All the children were asked to come to the front of the church. They had live animals! My cousin Tanya came very close to eating a goat pooplet.

We relied on Pastor Robert Hutchison (and his lovely wife Lisa) to look after our family. He was of Lutheran faith and he was always there when needed. He baptized my three boys at our home in Loretto when they were babies. He was there for us at my brother Wally’s funeral and other family events both happy and sad. However, the best memory is when he baptized me and several others out of my grandmother’s wooden salad bowl at home. He gave our family the faith that worked for us, when we needed, and how we needed it.

We were very fortunate to always live on large parcels of land where we could roam. Dirt bikes, four-wheelers, fishing, catching bugs and playing in the dirt. Whipping the prickle shell off a chestnut at each other, kicking puffballs in the forest or making outdoor forts, life was simple but great, with the exception of the snakes. The farmhouse on the fourth line had an original old basement made of stone. My parents had renovated the house and put on a large addition; however, snakes would get into the basement and make their way to the main floor. My mom found one sunning itself in the laundry room one day and freaked. With my dad out of town all week working, he made a contraption out of a fishing rod and wire so my brother and I could slip it around the snakes head and carry them outside for mom.

With Wally’s health, and Mom and Dad always working, we did not go on many out-of-country vacations… fact only two.

In grade two, we went to Florida. Dad told the family members we were meeting that he could make it there in minimal hours. The seat was flattened in the back of the truck, my brother and I given things to occupy us, as well as a big white bucket, we were not stopping for anything, including washroom breaks. We rolled in right on the minute dad said we would with the horn blaring and my Dad cheering!

When I was in grade five it was an opportunity of a lifetime. My Dad was hired to run a crew in St. Maarten and we were there for 3-1/2 months. The five of us piled into a Laredo Jeep that the owner wanted brought to the island and we drove to Florida and flew the rest of the way. Our first night we stayed in a cockroach motel. The man who hired my dad did not have anything arranged and we were left to figure it out. We then stayed at a place called the Horny Toad. It was a beautiful spot. We moved to Rama apartments for a while, where the roof fell in on us and we had to move to a smaller room. My sister Becky slept in a closet. This is also where Wally saved Becky. There was so much chlorine in the pool you could not see the bottom. Becky was there one minute then gone. Wally grabbed her and pulled her up by the hair! We finally got into a house with a yard. My mom was sitting in the yard one day when a man came along with a very big machete, offering to cut the grass, which she found to be a bit unnerving. A girl lived across the street, whose father worked for the cruise ships. While docked her mother would take us to the ship where we ate, swam, and enjoyed the amenities. This time on this island was an amazing experience.

I did not realize until later in life how hard my parents actually worked and the sacrifices they made. They did however, love working. Sitting doing nothing was not part of their world. I am similar to my parents in that way but I am working on taking a bit more time to relax and be with those who are important to me. I am very fortunate to have the large family I do and love that we all keep in touch.

Teen to young adult: We moved from Beeton to Caledon East just as I was entering into grade eight. My parents built a home on 50 acres of land just outside of the village.

A couple of years prior, the small old house on the property burned down. Prior to that, the son of the owner had hung himself. My parents built on the other side of the property, but this house had spirits. My sister at around the age of five was on the second story of the house and started screaming. My Mom went running and Becky told her that a man had just walked past the window. She described him as wearing a black long jacket. My Mom never felt alone in the house. My Dad who believed in none of this had his own experience. Up early sitting at the kitchen table, still dark outside, he could see the reflection behind him in the window. He whipped around and said to
my mom, “Who just walked from the office to the living room?” Needless to say, there was no one there. One night while my dad was out of town, my mom and Wally woke to a noise that sounded like every kitchen cupboard door slamming one after the other. My mom met my brother in the hallway upstairs and they described the same thing. They sat at the top of the stairs with a shotgun until 5AM, when my mom called Uncle Gus, my dad’s brother, to come look. Nothing was there.

It was also on this property that Gordie shot Wally. Gordie was a friend of my brothers who always stood by him. We were hanging out down the back of the property one day shooting the pellet gun. I am not even sure how it happened but a pellet was lodged in Wally’s leg. The panic we felt in that moment! Gordie was out west when Wally passed away in 1995 but he came home to be with our family during the worst time of our lives. I still remember him coming through the doorway at my grandmother’s house. The relief and comfort I felt in that moment was so needed.

I had my first real job at 13 years old as dish girl at the Caledon Inn, across the street from our house. I also worked in the deli at IGA. It allowed me spending money, which I spent on cigarettes, coffee and fries with gravy, which was my staple throughout high school. I was not a bad teen, but I was a mouthy teen to my parents. Insecurities had me appear to be tough on the outside but inside not so much.

I told my grade eight teacher to give me a zero on my speech due to fear of public speaking; I just refused to do it. While I keep a very clean house, I did fail home economics, I could not sew and to this day really do not enjoy cooking. I was kicked out of my grade eight graduation, as one of the teachers did not like the fact that I had brought an older boy from another school…I think his name was Eric. I struggled through high school, as I just did not want to be there. I wanted to be working, making money, and getting on with life. Like many teens, I just wanted to grow up and be an adult. Boy was the joke on me!

When I turned sixteen my parents gave me the old brown Oldsmobile. I was happy to have something to drive……despite having to keep a jug of water in the car to fill the radiator. One day on my way home from school, just as I was entering Caledon East, smoke started pouring from the hood ………… I kept driving to the house and just let it die!

In school, I was always referenced by my legal name Kristina which felt weird, as family had always called me Nina. In high school, I remember changing it wanting, to be called Kris. I still remember Uncle Rudy waving from the boat as he was leaving the Island, yelling bye Kris. He was also supportive the time when I was about three years old and my mom gave me a bowl cut. Uncle Rudy assured me I was still pretty.

I spent a lot of time at my Aunt Lydia’s house in my teens, my dad’s sister. It was by spending time there that I started seeing her then husband’s cousin Anthony. I was seventeen and he was six years older than I was. My parent’s were not thrilled about this relationship but like most teens the harder they said no the more I went after it.

My parents moved to Wasaga Beach with my brother and sister going with them. They built, owned and operated Wasaga Country Life and later built Wasaga Banquette Hall. They also had the topsoil and excavation business. Once they sold the park and banquet hall, my mom opened a home decor store, as she liked to be busy.

Anthony and I dated for six years. We bought a house in Loretto when I was 21 and a year later, we were engaged and then married in 1994. We were married on September 10th, the same as my parents only 28 years later. When setting the date, Dad said to make sure it did not mess up his hunting. I really did not enjoy the wedding. It was a lot of work and expense, and by the time dinner was over, I remember feeling exhausted. And of course the attention, I did not enjoy the attention.

Before our boys were born, we both worked, he in construction estimating and me at a transportation company in dispatch. House responsibilities were divided in that I looked after everything inside plus banking, cleaning, laundry, groceries, cooking etc. and he looked after the outside grass cutting and snow blowing. We also started a home-based business as something extra to do.

On June 24, 1995, my brother passed away. This was the worst day of my life. The truck ride from Loretto to Collingwood General and Marine Hospital felt like days. I did not come from an overly religious family, but was taught to be a good person who followed the Ten Commandments and the importance of believing in something higher than myself. I began talking in my head to this higher power, asking that if he needed to take Wally on that day please look after him, keep him safe, happy and whole. Arriving at the hospital, I saw my mom outside. Wally was already gone. We went in to see him and as I kissed his forehead, all I could think of was how much I needed him in my world and that I had lost my life-long friend. I am very thankful for the years I had him in my life, the fun times and the life lessons he left me with. I am thankful to everyone who touched his life along the way.

Married and family life: I always knew I wanted children. In 1996 at the age of 25, I was pregnant with my first. The one-year anniversary of Wally’s death was coming and I knew it would be a difficult day. I was so happy to bring my parents some happiness and hope on this dreaded anniversary that they were going to be grandparents. Jake was born in February 1997.

Four months later, I found out I was pregnant again. Seriously how did this happen? My second son Tyler was born in March 1998.

Just knowing that someone was still missing we got pregnant again. To my absolute joy my third son Robert was born December 1999. Now I knew I was done!

Three kids in diapers, bottles and no sleep, I was exhausted. However, I was so fortunate to have my cousins Lori and Tanya. They too were having kids, lived close by and I felt so lucky to have these women in my life.

I attempted to get to Wasaga Beach with the boys at least once a week. Mom and Dad had several businesses on the go but it was important that they be part of the boy’s lives. A visit usually was in the office or jumping in the truck with Dad and we had many sleepovers.

I carried on with the home-based business while I was home with the boys. While I felt very fortunate that I could be home, I started to lose any sense of who I was, if I ever really knew. I was wrapped up in expectations and obligations. My worry of something happening to the boys took over. I could not bare the thought of losing someone else. My paranoia for their safety put more stress on me, admittedly all by my own hand.

My husband worked and continued with the outside chores, but I kept everything else, plus the stress of everything that came with three small babies. As a stay-at-home-mom I was on call 24/7 and the resentment of little help started to grow. One night he came home from work, dinner was ready for him as it always was, but tonight I was finished. I sat in a kitchen chair with a baby on my lap who had just thrown up all over me, and the other two playing on the floor beside me. I asked if he could watch the boys one evening so I could go grocery shopping one night by myself. In those days, I needed one cart for the kids that I would push and I would pull another for the groceries. His response was no we would all go. I said that defeats the purpose. I needed an hour to myself! It was not until during our divorce he explained that he was scared to be left home alone with them all.

I never had a moment to myself. I can remember being in a store change room with all three boys. I was trying on clothes when one yelled I see hair! Zero privacy!

I remember craving something that would make me snap out of the funk I was in. The doctor said I was fine, hormones normal. My sister came for a visit. Due to the age difference, we were not overly close at this time. She told me about a book she had read. This was my changing point. I was going to find my inner strength, power and witch! This was the bigger faith I had been looking for but it was faith in myself. Anyone who knows me will tell you that since that moment, I go with my gut and it rarely lets me down.

I could always feel Wally around me but it was almost as if he was whispering to the boys. I remember taking a new route one day while driving and said to the boys who were in their car seats, “We are going on an adventure!” This is something that my mom would always say when I was little, and we would usually end up lost. As I said this, Jake said “We were here before,” and I asked him when. He said before Wally died. This came out of the mouth of a four-year-old who was born close to 2 years after Wally passed. There was another time that Jake and my Dad were working on something in the garage. They spent a lot of time together. Jake would have been about six when he looked at my Dad and said, ”Do you remember when you were my Dad?”

In 2003, we decided to move to Wasaga Beach. We had bought a beautiful 60-acre parcel of land and wanted to build a four-season resort. We received quite a bit of push back from then staff and some council. We eventually received permission to operate a business from the site, but the plans changed from the original idea. However, it was this push back and situation that made me start attending council meetings and eventually run in the 2006 election. I believed a friendlier, more accommodating attitude needed to be fostered between the town and those wanting to develop in the community, as well as landowner rights in general. I was thrilled to be elected and have been on council ever since in different roles.

While we were going through the process of being able to develop the property, which included a new house, we renovated an 800 square-foot cottage to live in. All of our belongings were in storage and we had just the bare minimum for 18 months. This was the simplest and best period during my boys childhood. Also during this time, I would help my Mom at the Banquet Hall. I enjoyed helping and the change of pace from being at home.

We built two homes (first one in 2004) and created a business on the 60 acres. I designed the homes for our needs at the time. The second house was built in 2014.

In 2012, along with friends Laurie and Jenn, I started to challenge myself in other ways. I joined a “learn to run” group and we successfully completed the 2012 Warrior Dash. I felt great satisfaction in finishing the course, jumping over fire, and downing a beer while wearing my Viking horns at the end! I have since realized I really dislike running….but I’m always up for a fast walk.

Like my parents, I was not very good at relaxing. Working and keeping busy were part of our lifestyle. The boys kept me busy. You never know what you will find in their pockets or rooms. There were no family vacations with the boys. When you are trying to get ahead, there is not always spare money. However, they had the mini bikes, four-wheelers, cottage and property to roam on just as I did growing up.

I joined the school parent council and the minor hockey executive. I can remember being so nervous trying to speak up at these meetings. Public speaking was still not my strong suit. I helped on occasion in the classroom or school trip but it really was not something I enjoyed. I will however, never forget helping out one day in the Kindergarten classroom. The teacher asked the kids to sing me the “Welcome song.” They were supposed to sing “Welcome welcome to our class,” but one class clown sang “Welcome welcome to my nuts.” Well as the mother of three boys that was hilarious to me and set me off into hysterics. Poor little guy, teacher made him write an apology letter to me.

Now the mother of two, my sister Rebecca had her first child in 2003. That is when we finally connected and became the friends we are today. While we are complete opposites, I can honestly say she has my back no matter what. Fair warning, she will rip your face off if you take a run at me! Anyone who has joined my family for dinner knows that we can all disagree loudly at one moment only to find ourselves hysterical laughing at the next over the most ridiculous and usually inappropriate topics. A huge shout out to my brother- in-law Nathan. He always makes me welcome, laughs along with our craziness and has been one of my biggest supporters. Thank you Nate!

It was during the 2014-2018 term of council that things really started to go sideways. I was not happy at home for the better part of two decades and as you will read later, this term of council was like none I had been part of before. Something needed to give.

I found myself having a couple of drinks while making dinner and dancing around the kitchen to music just to keep my mood in check. So before my haters take this and run with it, let me clarify. When I say a couple of drinks, I do mean just two, that is all it takes, I am a cheap date! It was my happy time where the worries of my world were ignored. Music is always a way to lift the spirit. You will usually hear my truck coming, before you actually see it, as I always have loud music playing.

Up until this point in my life, I rarely drank. Having three babies so close together and always being responsible for them, I never let loose or relaxed with alcohol. It was not an important part of my world.

Living life to its fullest (45 plus!):

At 45 years old, as if a wave came over me, I realized life is too short to be unhappy. My husband and I separated and a year later divorced. A 30-year relationship ended.

After a 30-year relationship, 23 years of it married, I was done in September 2016. This came with a strong feeling of guilt yet in reality it was self preservation in that moment. The relationship had sucked the life out of me……and while we have never discussed it, I assume him too. While polar opposites we stuck it out for decades, because we took vows that we would. I just wanted to wake up and feel happy, no tension, no arguing, just happy. He deserved the same.

When the boys were little, I was content with keeping the house clean, shopping, laundry, looking after the kids and having dinner on the table when my husband came home. I have always been fortunate, due to hard work, to live in a nice house and a nice property along with it. For those who
think that granite counters, a large yard and house makes happiness think again. You can have all the great things in life, but things do not make you happy if you are not happy with yourself and surround yourself with the right people.

In March 2017 a family friend texted me a picture of the sandy beach in Siesta Keys. It was a last-minute decision. I booked a flight and took off for four days. I spent my days walking the sand beach, not looking up, just walking, but finding my inner strength to come back and do what I needed to do. I can never thank Tom and Ruth enough for the invite and their hospitality. It was just what I needed.

We sold our house and I got busy working on building another one for the boys and me. I purchased a building lot and in 2017, I started to build my third home in Wasaga Beach. This time I was the sole general contractor, handling the entire project myself and I loved it! The boys and I moved into the home February 2018. Just in time to get ready for the next municipal election!

Me in politics:

The first time I ran for council was in 2006. I was 35 years old and had three young boys aged nine, eight and seven. I had attended two years of council meetings to familiarize myself, but really had to push myself when dealing with the public speaking part of running in an election. I was not used to promoting myself and it did not feel natural.

Out of five council positions, I received the third highest votes. I was shocked and very excited. During the first couple of years, I remember shaking at meetings when it was my turn to speak.

“Push your boundaries… what scares you!”

I had the privilege of sitting with some excellent council members during my time on council as well as some not-so-great ones.

The majority of the 2006-2010 council was supportive and great to work with. Despite a wide age gap with myself being the youngest, and a woman, the ability to joke with fellow council members while building friendships and moving the town forward was a great feeling.

I ran again for a councillor position in the 2010 election. This time I came in first of the five councillor positions. I remember feeling very thankful that residents had faith in me. It was during this term that I continued to push myself to step out of my comfort zone in order to best represent our community.

This was a great time with a great council team. I was the youngest and the only woman, but my fellow council members were nothing but supportive and respectful. I made lifetime friends during this term of council.

Former Mayor Cal Patterson, who I had the pleasure of serving with for two terms, gave me the opportunity to grow and learn. I am thankful for his leadership, respect, acceptance of who I am and for a friendship that will last forever.

“True leaders don’t create followers….they create more leaders”

In the 2014 election, it was as if a switch went off. Decorum, respect and good manners went out the window as a new group made moves to take over the town. The existing council members running did not know what hit them. Social media and Facebook were taking over. Family members were harassed, lies and innuendo ran rampant. This was new to us but we continued to work in the best interests of the community while running our campaigns with morals and ethics. Unfortunately, this disgusting behaviour continued for years to follow.

While I was successful in the election to become the Deputy Mayor, others I worked with were not. I reached out to the newly elected Mayor, asked to meet and we did a few days later. This is where I was told that I would be a “work wife” and once I had a couple of terms working under him, I would be ready to be Mayor. This was coming from someone who had never been on council before and by thinking he could make these comments, obviously did not do his research on me.

To be clear, I am not a woman who expects or wants a position because I am a woman. I do not want special treatment because I am a woman. I want to be in a position because I earned it and I am capable of doing the job. On the flip side, I have no issue grabbing my male colleague a coffee or taking notes for him during a meeting, however, that is a relationship that is built on trust and earned mutual respect …………….. not arrogance.

“Be strong, but not rude. Be kind, but not weak. Be bold, but do not bully. Be humble, but not shy. Be proud, but not arrogant.”
(Jim Rohn)

The first year was tough. I was definitely the odd person out. I remember being at a conference and inviting then Councillor Sylvia Bray to grab a drink. Up to this point, while polite, she had cautiously kept her distance as she had only heard what others had told her. I believe it was during that drink that she realized that I was not trying to be difficult with council nor did I want to be. I was fighting for what was right for our community and those we represent.

It would have been an easier road for Sylvia to stick with the others, as she herself ended up with bullying attempts against her, but she chose to stand with me, the odd one out. That took courage, strength and a moral compass that I was so thankful she had. I have found in politics that there are women who will not support other women because it will affect them from being the centre of attention. I can honestly say that Sylvia and I created a bond, not always agreeing on matters, but agreed on doing what is right and honest. She has become a friend and someone I can count on. She also shows up to my office with baked goods knowing I probably skipped breakfast!

This term of council, only one other council member with Wasaga Beach council experience joined me. In April 2016, after a turbulent time, staff morale at an all time low and in my opinion, questionable decisions being made by the majority of council, the only other experienced member of council resigned. He commented that council’s decision-making process was like a “three – ring circus”, and that his business is based on reputation and being associated with a council like that just was not good for him.

Now there was a vacant seat to fill on council. Rather than taking the 2014 election candidate with the next most number of votes, and in this case previous political experience, the majority of council chose to use a process that allowed them to hand pick someone.

As the Deputy Mayor this term of council, I had also earned a seat on County Council, which consists of Mayors and Deputy Mayors from 16 member municipalities in the County of Simcoe. Lots of experience and professionalism both among fellow councillors as well as staff made my experience at the County a pleasurable one. I also received compassion from those I sat with as they started to pay attention to the three-ring circus happening in Wasaga Beach. I received a lot of support and encouragement from many fellow county council members.

Back in Wasaga Beach, so many things were happening that in my experience was just not right.

A staff member, supported by the majority of council, took every shot they could at me including taking the steps to accuse me of harassment. Obviously, this went nowhere. As the Deputy Mayor, I had every right to ask questions at the council table even if it made others uncomfortable and perhaps things that some preferred to be kept quiet. This person made other staff feel unable to say what they really wanted to. Many staff were put in bad positions but had nowhere to go. I have always had a great relationship with staff and they knew they could trust me, but I could not help them with the administration at that time. These staff had bills to pay and mouths to feed. They kept their heads down; mouths shut and avoided eye contact with those in charge. Staff members, who did fight to do the right things, were shown the door.

“Whoever is trying to bring you down is already below you”

During the 2014-2018 term of council, the town went through five clerks. This is unheard of. It is a clerk’s job to keep council on track with policies, rules and regulations. It is extremely discouraging to be a member of a municipal council and fighting for right with nowhere to turn.

The more I fought for what was right, the harder they came at me. The very public lies created about me, accusations of infidelity and daily bullying continued. People taking pictures of my house and posting on social media, commenting on social media in ways so that I knew they were watching me and my house.

Early on in the term, I can recall one council member foaming at the mouth across the table from me. They shouted that if I did not like what was happening “resign….just resign.” This person then laughed and looked at me and said “cat fight.” I assure you that would not have been a fight this particular frail individual would have won.

Along with all the negative behaviors coming at me, there is also the time on August 15, 2017 that I came close to being blown up.

All council members were out of town at a conference in Ottawa except me. I chose to stay behind as I had a lot going on in my life at the time. I was in the middle of a divorce and temporarily living in a house while I built a new one, to name a few things on my plate. After the workday ended I went mini-golfing with a few staff members. I was home early. With too many thoughts of everything going on running through my head, I headed to the beachfront to catch the sunset. I headed to Bananas where there were a few people finishing drinks on the patio but the day was winding down for most.

A few of us sat around chatting, when the alarms started to go off. Long story short someone had attempted to set off a bomb in the basement of Bananas.

I spent a great deal of time trying to get the OPP to interview me. Let’s face it, I was there when it was supposed to blow. You would think they would want to talk to me. I finally put my memory of the evening in writing and sent it to them. I could not understand why they did not want to speak with me. I was later told that no one in the building would have been considered a suspect. They said this because had a glitch not occurred, and it had gone off as it was supposed to, it would have taken out all of the buildings and the people in and around the buildings. It also could have killed several of our firefighters as they rushed in to put out what they believed was just a fire.

If memory serves, there was only one small article in the newspaper speaking to an attempted arson. I found this hard to believe. If someone robs a grocery store the video footage is plastered all over the 6pm news. Yet for this situation, nothing. One small article in the local newspaper on a situation that could have killed many.

I tried to get council to talk about it. Let’s face it, these buildings were town-owned and we had a responsibility to ensure this was handled properly with our tenants, residents and visitors well-being in mind. However, there was no appetite for that discussion. I took another opportunity and I brought it up at the council table one meeting in hopes of the media picking it up. Again, just a small write up about an attempted arson.

I have been asked who would have had the motive to do this? Who would have benefitted the most out of this? In my opinion, the town would have benefitted the most, as the insurance money would have come to the town. Had the bomb not faltered and gone off as planned, it would have completely cleared the area allowing for quick redevelopment.

To date this crime is still unsolved. I hope that anyone who may recall anything from that time period, or from a few weeks prior to August 15, 2017, that may be helpful in solving this case, that you reach out to the OPP. This contraption was not set up quickly and it was thought to take some time. Maybe you have some helpful information.

There were bad days and then there were really bad days. However, someone was always there to support me. My family is always there to support me but that was a lot on them some days. They too were harassed, defamed and lied about. One business owner even made false statements about my deceased brother. The haters like to go low.

The four years of this term of council were probably the worst and most rewarding. Stress of everything in my personal life, along with the council BS definitely took its toll. However, I am a Litz, the more they threw at me, the tougher I became, and the taller I stood. I became desensitized to the lies, bullying, and lack of privacy. I was determined not to back down. Thankfully, I had lots of support behind me that allowed me to become unfckwithable.

“unfckwithable – when you’re truly at peace and in touch with yourself, and nothing anyone says or does bothers you, and no negativity or drama can touch you.”

Messages of support and humour kept me going. Staff members leaving me flowers, sending me words of encouragement, dropping off chocolate or a simple hug when I saw them made me realize that they were counting on me too as many wanted the nightmare of the council of the day to end. Staff want to be able to do their jobs, do them well, and do them with integrity.

“The devil whispered in my ear “you’re not strong enough to withstand the storm” Today I whispered in the devil’s ear “I am the storm”

The 2018 election was extremely ugly but that was expected. I had a whole team of people stepping up to help me. People I did not know were offering to assist any way they could because they supported what I stood for. I not only won the 2018 election by a landslide, becoming first female mayor of Wasaga Beach, but I gained so many true friends along the way. I can never thank enough those who stepped up and helped with everything they had and put their faith in me.

October 22, 2018……Election Day! There was nothing more I could do, so I headed to the mall, shopped and got my nails done. I ran in to Ruth, a Wasaga Beach resident and her friend at the mall who asked what I was doing there on Election Day. I explained all I could do now was wait. This was my fourth election and come evening time, I spent it the same way as the three before it. I would always be with my family at my parents’ house. Good or bad news that was the place I wanted to be when I heard it. My friend Jenn, who was my scrutineer called me from the Rec Plex where the results were being announced. I was overjoyed to hear the results. I headed to the Rec Plex, then we headed to the Beacon where the newly elected Deputy Mayor and I had planned to celebrate. Walking in to a full house, with people cheering and clapping was the most amazing feeling. I remember turning around at one point and there stood Ruth, the resident I saw earlier in the day. I was so pleased she took the time to be there in support. It is these kind supportive actions that mean so much. The nightmare had ended and the hard work was about to begin.

December 4th, 2018, was the Council Inaugural meeting and it was impressive! As we got closer to the day, we were getting the feeling that the council chambers, as used in the past, would not be large enough. Thank goodness we moved it to the Rec Plex. Five-hundred plus people showed up and I was blown away. The support and faith that the community put into the newly elected council was a clear indication of great things to come.

The first year of this term of council was a productive one. This was a good, experienced team working with staff in the best interests of the community. We do not always agree on everything but we respectfully work together to move forward the priorities we set together based on what we heard on the campaign trail.

Unfortunately, there is a small handful of individuals in the community who were not happy with the 2018 election results. They take every chance they can to take a run at me, staff and council as a whole. A simple group calling for people to get out their pitchforks and hatchets. The professionalism of this council and staff has been top-notch. Truth and transparency at the forefront, we continue to move Wasaga Beach forward. Unfortunately, hearing the truth for some people is annoying. They want to be able to twist facts to make their lies and innuendo work for their cause.

“We live in a world of emotionally weak people. Everything has to be watered down because it is offensive, including the truth. “

My family, friends and staff know that I am to the point and quite blunt at times. That is who I am. I do not believe in talking in confusing circles in order that my bullshit baffles your brains. Keep it simple and say it the way it is. It avoids confusion.

As I write this, two years in to this four-year term, things are going well. We continue to be on our way to meeting all of the goals set by this council. That annoys some people who continue to try to weaken others and myself by taking cheap shots in order to attempt to tear us down.

“Warning snowflake…I drink coffee stronger than your feelings.”

However, good things do not come easily. 2020, the year of COVID-19 hit us all unexpectedly. Wasaga Beach has excellent staff including a great Chief Administrative Officer. George and I meet every morning at approximately 7:20am to discuss town matters, laugh and get the day started off to be a successful one. George is well respected by staff and council. We could not accomplish the many council goals without George’s experience, knowledge and professionalism.

When you spend as much time at the office as I do, and a staff member gets a chair upgrade ………… you call dibs and grab their old comfy one quickly!

A team was created to deal with COVID matters. We would meet weekly and our amazing staff team, each knowing their role, advised on the matters we were dealing with. Staff across the organization, in all departments, stepped up, worked together and continued to serve our residents and community. We were one of the only municipalities in Simcoe County, and most of Ontario, that saw municipal governance as essential and quickly put measures in place in order to keep serving those we represent. We are the feet on the ground who needed to be there for our residents. I cannot thank the COVID team and our entire staff for stepping up the way they did and continue to.

Then, during COVID, we are taken over by an illegal car rally. The OPP took ownership of the situation as it was dealing with safety of the community. Along with other agencies, our public works staff, fire department and EMS working together, we made it through the weekend. These added challenges during a global pandemic were upsetting for many of our residents, however, I am pleased with once again how everyone came together.

So here we are dealing with illegal car rallies during a global pandemic, serving the community, continuing to work towards and meet our council goals, but the haters do not stop. Criticizing my every move very publicly. My clothes, shoes, face, you name it, they take a run at it. What is always sad to see is the woman who has such low self-esteem herself; they feel the need to rip down another woman.

“Jealousy is a form of hatred built upon insecurity.”

I received an email from a woman asking me “Who the hell does your hair?!!” Apparently I am an embarrassment and bad representative for the town because I did not get the good hair genes….thanks a lot mom and dad……that one’s on you!

Just when things could not get worse with COVID, illegal car rallies and of course my hideous hair embarrassing the whole town, they strike again. I was told about a whisper campaign that had been started, implying that I was corrupt. Of course, there were no details of this apparent corruption because they did not exist. Staff will tell you I expect everything to be above board. It seems that when this sneaky campaign was ignored and laughed at by residents, the haters had to come up with something else. This time apparently I was unbalanced, mentally not well.

September 30, 2020 a video was released. An unidentified woman whose face was blocked out and who didn’t introduce herself other than to say she had years of mental health experience, indicated that I was mentally unwell
and Trump-like! This from a woman who did not state her name or show her face. This from a self-proclaimed professional in a field of work that would never publicly shame someone regarding mental health.

The woman’s face was blocked out in the video that had been posted on You Tube but the haters had posted a picture of the entire room and its attendees. I took the video and a picture of the woman and put it on Facebook, asking anyone who knew the woman to let her know that I would like to speak with her about her inaccurate and inappropriate statements. I also was interested in speaking with her employer in the event she really was a professional being trusted to treat people.

As I write this I have yet to hear from the woman, but I know who she is. There were more than enough people willing to message me her identity. Some people claimed that I should rise above it, take the high road, and just ignore it. Others suggested that I had enough to sue her for defamation and should have just done that.

You see you cannot win. If you sue, you are the big bad Mayor suing the poor woman with taxpayers’ money. If I ignore it, I am seen as weak, a pushover, and I am allowing the haters to unfairly tarnish my reputation. I chose to “out” the bad behavior.

I get frustrated when people say ignore it, take the high road. Taking the high road used to mean taking an approach that is above pettiness, moral high ground and to act decently. Back in the day, before social media, this made sense. However, with today’s social media, you need to defend yourself occasionally. Why is defending yourself from lies, slander and indecent behavior not considered appropriate or the high road?

Taking the high road in today’s world needs to change and mean standing up for yourself and others. Ignoring others bad behaviors and allowing them to affect you or your reputation should not be seen as taking the high road. Accepting bad behavior is ruining the world and people’s perception of what is right. When bad behavior and lies are ignored, it becomes acceptable….it becomes people’s truth. Just because I am the Mayor, does not mean I cannot defend myself. Political correctness is not making the world better. It is a façade and it needs to stop.

“SHHHH I am allowed to abuse you but you’re not allowed to talk about it and if you do, I’ll become a victim and accuse you of harassment.”

“The further a society drifts from the truth the more it will hate those who speak it.”
George Orwell

“Cheaters often accuse you of cheating. Liars often accuse you of lying. Insecure people make you feel insecure. Pay attention to how people treat you. It’s a reflection of who they really are.”

As if screws in my tires, jerks swerving at me while driving, lies about my personal life and occupants of a car caught taking pictures of me with a long lense camera as I entered my office door weren’t enough, then came the threats of rape.

Phone calls started coming in to the office. Some were critical and some were threatening but here are a few to give you the flavor.

-“fck you you are doing such a shitty job in our town I hope that you hare having a shitty day”

-“we will fcking rape you I hope you have a terrible terrible day and we will fcking rape you”

-“we are going to get you and going to tune you up”

-“you are fcking ignorant and rude and not respecting, you will be dealt with properly”

Far too often, I have heard “don’t show you are angry.” If angry behavior is shown on a daily basis, I completely agree it is not a beneficial emotion. The one who angers you, controls you. However, on occasion I think it is good for people to see that you care enough about a situation to be annoyed and angry. I have watched male politicians raise their voices to make a point and that seems to be completely acceptable. However, when a woman does it, she is emotional, out of control, lost it and gone postal!

I will continue to speak my mind; defend others, this community and myself.

I will not be intimidated or hide because a few choose to invade my privacy, and attempt to take my sense of security and safety away.

I will call out those who knowingly spread falsehoods and damage our community.
Despite the constant attacks by a small handful; I will continue to grab life by the horns, be me, enjoy life, family and friends, never lose my sense of humour, enjoy the beauty and the lifestyle Wasaga Beach offers, drive my truck with the music just a bit too loud … all while wearing 4” heels and a skirt.

Along with a fantastic council and staff, we will move Wasaga Beach forward!!

Relationships……family, friends and dating:

Some people really stink at being good humans. I have a good gut when it comes to people and I do not trust easily, so if you are in my circle thank you for being a good human! Everyone needs relationships and people in their world. It is lonely without them. You can never have enough true real friends.

I am lucky to have the family that I do. I was fortunate growing up to know my grandparents, great-grandparents, as well as my aunts and uncles, great-aunts and uncles, my parents cousins and their children, my cousins and their children. We are a large family who actually keep in touch. Those we do not see often can pick up in a moments notice like no time has passed. I feel the strength and support of my family pack, always knowing they are there. This is truly an amazing feeling to have in life.

My parents Robert and Sandy Litz are two of the hardest working people I know. I look and sound like mom but on the inside I am dad all the way. My brother Wally had a great sense of humour, kind heart and was loved by everyone who met him. He is always with me. My sister Becky and I could not be more opposite, yet we are each other’s biggest supporters. We poke fun at each other’s differences and joke about who the real favorite daughter is ……… we both know its me 🙂 Becky’s husband Nathan and their two children embrace the family weird, join in the craziness and support me to the fullest. In our family, we do not always agree, but to know that these people are always behind me 100% is a security that I wish everyone knew.

I am thankful every day for my three sons. They are all so very different and bring me more happiness than I can express. Admittedly, there are also times I would like to throat punch them. No family is perfect and ours certainly is not but these three are smart, good-hearted people who appreciate the family they have.

Jake loves to work, enjoys hunting, fishing and the outdoors. While he does not always want to hear it, Jake and I are a lot alike. Unfortunately, he also got my impatient gene. While he is always there to help me when I need it, it is usually done with some gnashing of the teeth followed by a good laugh. Tyler is more reserved but enjoys a good laugh and sports. Tyler is the one who gives me a hug when I need it, a laugh and shows he cares by asking if I have eaten. Robert has a caring heart, free spirit and is creative. Robert has great taste and has been known to surprise me on days that I need it most…like with a beautiful heart necklace. We all have the same sick sense of humour and laugh often about stupid inappropriate stuff! I am enjoying seeing them grow in to amazing young men. I am thankful for their support and understanding of life events that have come to our family.

After ending a 30-year relationship, it took some time to figure out what was next. When in politics there are always the haters. While the small group of haters posted lies on social media that I had committed adultery as well as posts that I was, “randy” that could not have been further from the truth. I was also told they took shifts watching my house in hopes of catching men coming and going ………. that was a waste of time and the joke was on them. For 30 years my now ex-husband and I were in a committed relationship. There were no other people involved.

We separated and a year later finalized the divorce. The separation was a lonely period of time but also very rewarding as I figured things out. I built a house, became Mayor, purchased a lawn mower and snow blower and learned how to use them! There were a couple of times I had to call my guy friends and ask my stupid questions about how these machines worked. I knew they were laughing at me not with me!

Dating after being out of the market for 30 years is a shock to the system! Nothing is what you remember it to be. No one who knows me would describe me as a delicate flower; in fact, I have been described as an intimidating hard ass. An unhappy home life, a mom of three boys and politics has definitely hardened me.

Politeness gone, manners lacking, and chivalry non-existent in this “friends with benefits” type world makes you even more leery about showing your softer side. That being said, dating brought me to a few people who I will always remember and who helped me move on with life. To the women who are back out there in the single world here are a few of my lessons learned!

I started to receive messages from a man who was thirteen years younger than I was, he was 33 and I was 46. He and I talked for months by text and by invite, I popped by his cottage briefly one night while he was having a campfire with friends. I love a good campfire! We finally arranged to go out. We went to a hockey game, dinner and had a room booked. Thirty years with someone, three kids later and my first time back in the ring. I already thought he was too young and then he came out of the washroom showing up to the sleep over with his jammie pants on! We had a good night but decided we were better as friends.

Single women, take a chance, do not go by the old rules about age difference or be told that it is weird for an older woman to date younger men. I feel lucky for this friendship. Loyal, trustworthy friends that you can 100% be yourself with are hard to come by and I consider this one to be one of my forever friends who I can always count on….unless he reads this and is mad about the jammie pant comment.

In October 2018, it was time to run in my fourth municipal election this time for the position of Mayor. Personal life still being worked out along with what was an ugly election, stress levels were running high. This man was the same age as me with similar stresses in life. We hung out a couple of times but I later realized why I had gravitated to this person. This person was a safe comfortable place for the moment. Ladies, do not fall back in to what you had because it is comfortable!

“No relationship is ever a waste of your time. If it didn’t bring you what you want it taught you what you don’t want.”

In December 2018, I received a text from another young one who was fourteen years younger. It is flattering to have a younger man ask you out, and frankly, I found it to be ballsy on this ones part. Busy time of life, no pressure, no desire for marriage or kids at this stage, this convenience worked well for close to a year and a half. It provided the human interaction that I believe most people crave in life. I carry a soft spot for this person, we are still friends and I will always be there when he needs me. For the record ladies, be cautious who you ring in the New Year with………..I rode in to 2020 on this one………look how that year turned out!

A friend who has a place in the city asked me to join him for lunch in January 2019. We were friends for a couple of years, both with personal lives not in great places but I agreed. We were the same age and I always enjoyed our conversations. Ladies, the lesson here is……the young ones are a nice compliment but an older man has figured out how everything works!

“The real power of a man is the size of the smile of the woman sitting next to him”

Then there is the guy from high school that I had a huge crush on. The nice part of social media is connecting with people from the past. It was nice to get a message from him saying that he loved the fact that I had become the mayor of Wasaga Beach and that he would love to get dinner and drinks sometime. Cute guy from high school, out of town and away from the microscope,……I’m in! We ended up seeing each other a couple of times but with a two-hour drive, personal commitments and perhaps at different stages looking for different things, it proved difficult. That being said he knew how to do it right. He arranged for dinner, wine tasting tour, over night arrangements among other nice things.

This message is for the men, especially the younger ones. You would be amazed at how appreciative woman are when you make proper arrangements for a date. Holding our hand in the parking lot, slow dance in the kitchen or a nice movie day under a blanket on the couch are inexpensive easy to do gold mines to getting you lucky! Ladies insist on this………….and delete those “invite” texts you receive late at night, you deserve better!

“Many men think women want money, cars and gifts. The right woman wants a mans time, effort, passion, honesty, loyalty and smile. Even the most independent woman likes a man who shows a bit of jealousy once in a while (not in a creepy overbearing way though). No expensive flowers needed, pick me a pretty weed at the side of the road…………just make sure you flick off the spiders first“

“Women glow differently when they are treated right and loved properly.”

Bring back chivalry…..please! There is nothing wrong with being polite….I will not get angry if you hold the door open for me!

One disappointing thing during this single period was the number of married men I heard from. I have now realized that men really do think differently than women. I have concluded that they really cannot help it. While they may think it is a compliment to proposition me, I assure you it is an insult that you would think I would want to sneak around with a married man. To all the married women…I do not have a husband but do not worry I do not want yours!

“Strong women are often perceived as cold and mean simply because they refuse to be disrespected, mistreated or taken for granted.”

Dating during COVID was difficult and put to the back burner. This is when I really took the time to reconnect with family and friends and spend time outdoors. It is these relationships that we need to spend time on, as these are the ones that can rejuvenate us quickly when we need it most. Word of advice, do not let these relationships go until you need rejuvenation, make time along the way and stay refreshed.

I have made so many good friends through my life and political career. Some are current or past politicians from all over, some I met because they are residents; some are staff and some I just met along the way. Some are people who jumped on board and helped me get where I am today. Some are quite accomplished and yet find time to have lunch with little old me.

You know who you are. The ones who make time to grab lunch or a coffee, to be a sounding board, who send a message of support during difficult times and those I have gotten to know as people outside of the office and politics. The ones who admit they nicknamed me Medusa until they have gotten to know and love me! The ones you can be yourself with who aren’t waiting for you to say or do something wrong so they can out you. Politics can be an ugly world and if you find genuine friends in that pool of people consider yourself lucky and hang on to them!

To the many staff that I share a respectful working relationship with and who have become my friends inside and outside of the office…………thank you. For some this relationship would be difficult to balance but with mutual respect, we do it well. To have staff support me in my position is the most amazing feeling.

To my friend Jenn who I do not see enough but is always there for me. To Krista who always sends me the right message at the right time. To my girls who accept me for me! Pew Pew!!

To my family who I know love our forever and inseverable connection as much as I do!

Thank you!


Politics change you. People change you. Age changes you. Good and bad experiences change you. Always be the genuine version of you!

Have many circles of friends but be choosey when it comes to letting people into your most inner circle of life. Not everyone deserves a seat at your table.

Do not be naïve. Know that there are people out there wanting to manipulate you for their benefit. See through the crap and call them on it. Do your own due diligence. When different stages of life or a bad day hits you, medicate with gin, wine, chocolate, carbs, new shoes and dresses, friends, a day on the couch under a blanket…………..then pick yourself up and get back out there!

Be kind to others. Some people wake up miserable every day but manage to put on a happy face when they leave the house. Some people put on their confidence armor as they leave the house but inside they are churning with anxiety. Some people look fit and healthy, but feel like shit. So be kind, because every person is fighting a battle you know nothing about and your kindness may help them get through their day and week. Be kind…………do not be ugly on the inside!

“Make up can only make you look pretty on the outside but it doesn’t help if you are ugly on the inside…..unless you eat the make up”
Audrey Hepburn

Do not hold grudges. They are a waste of your life. Take chances. Learn from every experience and have no regrets. Be positive because that is half the battle. Be coachable and willing to learn. Do not compromise you, regardless of the stage of life.

The sooner you become unf*ckwithable, the sooner you can enjoy life to the fullest.

To the haters who will read this and no doubt rip my words and me apart claiming their own reality of my life and what they believe I am about, creating new lies and innuendo, all I have to say is:

“No amount of evidence will ever persuade an idiot”
Mark Twain

I am turning 50 in February (2021) and I am excited for the next chapter of my life. Looking forward to enjoying life and having many laughs with family and friends, working hard as Mayor of the Town of Wasaga Beach and if lucky a bit of chivalry and slow dances along the way. I may be a politician, but I am human.

I am what I am……what you see is what you get!