Monthly Archives: December 2012

Enough already with the Lists

2013Yep, it’s that time of the year again.  It’s taken 366 days, some longer others shorter than we would have liked, but it’s finally here. In less than 24 hours we will be entering a new year, one that will bring with it new hope and new beginnings and, dimes to dollars, a whole whack of people making lists of resolutions that they are pretty sure they will keep even though I read on the internet that 47% won’t make it past the 2 month mark.

I suppose that instead of writing this blog that’s what I should be doing right now, figuring out what things I need to resolve over the next 12 months. But to a shallow person New Year’s resolutions are a lot like bucket lists which, as you well know, we have little inclination to create. But like my bucket list experience I had a hunch that a quick trip around the world wide web would provide me with some understanding of what other people are thinking about changing in their lives which is good for me to know because I’m always open to new possibilities.

And I was right. What I discovered on my little WWW whirlwind vaca was that not only are there a multitude of sites where you can publicly profess your commitment to changing your life but there are also many authorities on the subject who are apparently more than willing to share with you their tips and tricks for success because, as previously noted, success in this arena is somewhat elusive. Although I suspect that depends very much on the degree of challenge one sets for oneself. I mean, it’s one thing to pledge to “become proficient in the Japanese language” which I imagine could easily take more than one year, and quite another to find success when your goal is to “get my laundry done” which I am guessing most people will accomplish at some point over the next 365 days.

There are, of course, the “top ten” New Year’s resolutions which, as one may expect, include concrete, measurable goals like “lose weight” and “quit smoking” where a pass/fail is pretty apparent, along with things like “be a better person” and “enjoy life more” where success can be somewhat more open to interpretation. Seems to me that going with the latter gives you a leg up on the odds. As can be expected there are the unreasonable resolves like “fly to the moon” and the even more unattainable “marry Brad Pitt” which as of this writing seems to have eluded even the Mother of his many children. Perhaps my favourite of all was the person whose only list item was “better husband” which I thought was laugh out loud funny before realizing it was likely posted by someone who wanted to be one rather than someone who wanted to get one.

For those people who have “been there, done that” and are seeking new ideas for the coming year there’s a handy resolution generator that you can use to come up with some new, heretofore unthought of ideas. There you will have access to a wide range of suggestions from the ever so practical “bring a reusable bag to the grocery store” to something a little more lofty like “change the world”. If I were you I would employ some caution as you click through the options and give a pass to ideas like “start a pencil collection” which just seems silly and would certainly conflict with the ever popular “declutter”, not to mention “say hi to a stranger” which in many cities could get you into some trouble. If you’re lucky like I was you may even come across something you have already accomplished like “finding all of the people with your name on Facebook”. I’ll be the first to admit though that it wasn’t terribly difficult and probably shouldn’t be factored in to those completion stats.

But here’s the real problem I have with New Year’s resolutions. It seems to me that for the most part people are going to do whatever it is they are going to do, resolution or no resolution. I mean, think about it. That year that you gained 30 pounds did you actually set out to do it? On January 1 did you write down that you were going to “up my sugar intake, eat as many donuts as possible in one sitting, and avoid the gym at all costs?” Or when you picked up that nasty smoking habit was your number one resolution to “start slow but work up to a pack a day by mid-year?”  No, you just did it. List or no list you’re going to do what you’re going to do. So I”m just going to say it. Enough already with the lists!

This year like all others I will refrain from the ritual of making resolutions that I am unlikely to keep and just live in this world the best way that I can. And with any luck I’ll be here next year to do the same thing over again.

Happy New Year to all of my friends and family and thanks again for sticking with me on this thing I call my blog.

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We’re still here

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAIf I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a million times over the last week. We’re still here. Honestly, who really thought that we wouldn’t be? I have nothing against the Mayans but it seems to me that it would be rather difficult to predict the end of the world, to the day, from 750 years out. I mean I’m sitting here looking at about 7 feet of snow and temps verging on the “impossible to step outside and live” and no one told me that was going to happen. But given my penchant for all things shallow I suppose it’s not surprising that I don’t really place much stock in ancient predictions, spiritual prophecies or anything that smacks of the mysterious because it’s a bit of a crapshoot how that stuff is going to play out. Let’s face it, what it comes down to is if it happens then it’s some kind of inexplicable miracle which we may or may not be around to witness and if it doesn’t it’s not a big deal because nobody actually expected it to anyway. So I’m ambivalent at best, and skeptical enough to refrain from placing an order to Costco for two year’s worth of dried delicacies on which to feast while waiting out the apocalypse in a bunker in my basement where I normally only go to do my laundry.

Now you know I am a woman of my convictions but as of late I’m starting to think there may be a fly in this ointment, a bump in the road, the proverbial achilles in my heel, all of which have caused me to doubt my heretofore tightly held convictions about the world and the mysteries within. What, you ask, has led me to this rather gut-wrenching change of heart? Well let me tell you.

You may remember my mentioning that I have a rather uncanny resemblance to Ms. Streisand, although truth be told I’m taking the word of others on this one as I don’t really see it myself. Nonetheless, I do feel somewhat obligated to pay my respects by attending her latest creative endeavors even when the reviews suggest I would be better off waiting a week or two for the release of the DVD. And so it was that I found myself sitting in a rather sparsely populated movie theatre watching Babs and her on-screen son travel across the country in something smaller than two closely related people should ever cohabitate, and that’s when it happened.

There are a few things I haven’t told you about myself in my previous posts not because I didn’t want you to know them or because they are too personal, but simply because they never really came up. The first is that on my desk at work I have an M & M’s machine that I religiously fill with, what else, M & M’s. And while there are now more kinds of this classic munch than you can count on one hand, I’ve remained loyal to the company roots by selecting the chocolate covered peanut variety as my candy of choice. The second is that every once in awhile you might find me taking a chance or two with a 20 at the slots. Neither of these in and of themselves is notable unless of course you happen to see them being played out on the big screen by someone who is said to look a lot like you.

And that’s exactly what happened at the movie. Without giving too much away I think it is safe to tell you that the opening scene has Babs lying in bed crunching on none other than peanut M & M’s and that they play a rather significant part in the plotline of this film which eventually finds the Mom/Son duo spending the night in Las Vegas. Before you know it Babs is feeding a 20 (maybe two) into her favourite one armed bandit. Now if Babs and I had shared only one strikingly similar characteristic I probably would have given it a chuckle and thought nothing more of it. But at the moment Babs left the check-in line at the hotel and sat down at the “frogger” machine I knew something bigger was going on, that there was more than coincidence here and perhaps even the work of a force that I can never hope to understand. It is clear to me now that all of the years I have spent listening and responding to “do you know who you look like” have been leading to this very moment, and that our similarities (Babs and mine that is) transcend a mere physical resemblance to something so much more significant and meaningful.

I know, you’re thinking “what is she talking about? It’s just a movie. Babs doesn’t really eat M & M’s in bed!”  Well she might or she might not but the chances are probably a lot higher than that whole Mayan thing. And I’m guessing that one or two of you out there thought, for even just a moment, that there was an ever so small chance that today we might not still be here.

Barbra, can you hear me? I think we may have some kind of mystical connection.

Here’s wishing all my shallow and “not so much” friends a very Merry Christmas.

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It’s simple. There can be no shallow blog this week.

Conversations with my Hairdresser

Hair on floor in a hair salonI really like my hairdresser. I’ve been going to the same person now for over 15 years and I can say with confidence that I have never had a bad haircut from her. Or highlights, because I do that too. I know quite a bit about her, well if you consider the fact that she has twins and likes to travel to Mexico, “quite a bit”. And I thought she knew quite a bit about me too. Because one of the things that happens when you go to the hairdresser is that you chat a lot. After all, what else are you going to do when you find yourself sitting in a chair for two hours (yes, that’s how long it takes to get highlights in this hair) with the same person standing behind you the entire time. So you talk. About all kinds of things. You talk about your kids, and your holidays, and your Mother, and what you ate for dinner, in a pinch the economy and, because you’re Canadian, the weather. And you would think that for a shallow person this is just about as good as it gets. And it was until I realized that my hairdresser doesn’t really remember anything that we talk about. Which, since I have started thinking about this, has come to make a lot of sense to me and I’m ok with it.

Here’s the thing. I only have one hairdresser who I see approximately every seven to eight weeks. During our time together she tells me stuff and, if you recall from one of my earliest posts, my memory is really not all that bad so it’s not hard for me to remember that her kids have just started high school (I can hardly believe they got so big so fast) and that she takes a yearly vacation to an all-inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta or some facsimile and the details here don’t matter much because from what I know about “all-inclusives” it really makes no difference where they are since all you’re going to end up talking about is how much people ate and drank while they were there. Conversely, my hairdresser, depending on the day, sees between eight and ten people which means that in any given week she has 40 or 50 souls sitting in her chair, talking to her about their kids, holidays, Mothers, husbands, Mothers-in-law and who knows what else. And if we say that on average, each of those people have their hair done once every six weeks, it means that in the interval between each appointment my hairdresser may have seen somewhere in the vicinity of 240 people. And she has no choice but to listen and pretend that she has a modicum of interest in what each one is saying beyond how many inches of hair should be trimmed and whether you’re sporting ash or strawberry blonde highlights.

Now I don’t want to be presumptuous here but I’m guessing that only a fraction of these people see my hairdresser outside of getting their hair done and since few would be included on her “friends” list, she has no real obligation to even attempt to recall the stories we relate to her from one visit to the next. I mean to do so would be almost superhuman and beyond all reasonable expectations. Come on now, who would really expect their hairdresser to juggle the massive amounts of data she receives simply because she has chosen an occupation whose residual effect is to have people talk to you incessantly about things you don’t care about?  The answer, to what you may have thought was a rhetorical question, is no one. Not one person would expect this of another human being.

So having thought about my conversations with my hairdresser for the past two weeks (I know you noticed that I didn’t post last week and that’s because I was still thinking) I am ok with the fact that when I mention my Brother’s impending nuptials (and that’s happened more than once I’m afraid) she gazes at me rather inquisitively with that “oh, you have a brother?” look in her eyes. Which has led me to two conclusions. The first is that I no longer have to think up new stories to tell my hairdresser because she doesn’t remember them anyway and a couple of really good ones in rotation will suffice. The other is that I think I should have been a hairdresser.

Happy Chanukah and remember that extra blessing as you light the first candle this evening.

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