Monthly Archives: April 2013

Happy Anniversary to Me

cupcake_lightYou’ve probably been wondering what happened to me over these past few days since I’m a bit tardy getting to this post. Well, I’ve been celebrating a little of late and, if I must admit, feeling just a bit smug. I know it’s hard to believe but this week marks one year since I started the shallow blog, and I’m still here. As I recall, it was early on in this endeavor that I mentioned that, as a shallow person, I don’t have a stellar record when it comes to sticking things out. So it is somewhat remarkable, even to me, that I have been diligent enough to write this blog each and every week for a whole year. Ok, if I have to be totally honest, this is post number 51 (really, is anyone perfect?) which nonetheless is pretty indicative of my commitment to the cause. As you can only imagine, it’s a rather important milestone for me and I have struggled to find the right words for the occasion. At the six month mark I shared with you the progress that the blog had made and promised to update you on that at the end of the year. You know I’m a woman of my word but a cursory look at the current stats made me reconsider my earlier pledge as really, at 32 followers, 2,653 views and 150 comments there’s not that much to write about. Not to mention that there have been no t-shirts or mugs sold.

So I have to admit that it has taken an extraordinary amount of thinking on my part to come up with just the right topic for this auspicious event but I think I have finally figured out the “right thing to do”. Now here’s a little secret I haven’t shared with you to date. Most of my revelations about what to write for the blog come to me while I am in the shower (TMI?). I can’t really be sure, and this is not a proven scientific fact, but I’m guessing it has something to do with the water pounding on my head stimulating my brain. But that’s not what happened this time. No, this time I was sitting on a bench, waiting for the train that would get me to work and since I had just missed one I had a whole 9 minutes to kill. At first I was kicking myself for forgetting to bring a book but as I sat down on the cold, steel bench (which may also have had an effect albeit on a different part of my body) it occurred to me that I could use this time to think about the blog. And that’s when it hit me.

Something else you may not know about me is that I have spent a good deal of my life to date studying how adults learn and, as an educator of adults I know that reflection is a really important part of the learning process. So my first inclination was to help you to reflect by looking back at the blog for the whole year and sharing with you what you have learned about me and about being shallow. And then I thought “why not take this chance to do a little reflecting myself?” because the other thing I remembered about what I learned in school was the importance of self-reflection and what better time to do that than on an anniversary such as this one. Unlike New Year’s Eve, there’s no expectations around making resolutions or promises for a better year or anything like that. Rather reflection is an introspective process through which I may or may not decide to change and, in any case, whether I do or not will only be known to me as I’m not about to share that information with anyone else. So without further ado, and with deference and apologies to my hero, Mr. D. Letterman, (yes, shallow people have heroes too) I present to you the “top ten thingswe have learned about me over the past year.

  1. I’m ok with constantly being told I look like Babs and it doesn’t bother me much that I can’t sing like her. What really irks me is not having her money.
  2. I like small foreign cars. I sometimes drive them too fast. I always get caught. Maybe next time I should just settle for the Impala.
  3. When it comes to being shallow I have no problem making the grade. Not sure I’m going to be able to say the same about my course at Harvard.
  4. I’m an avid Folk Fest “goer” even though I don’t own any zip-offs or tie-dye; consider my flat iron to be my most valuable possession; and devoted three days of the blog to mocking (in my own way) this kumbaya event. Now that I’m thinking about it, perhaps I should give it a pass this year and save the 179 bucks.
  5. I don’t like lists so I have no resolutions and my bucket is empty. No matter, I still really want to to win the lottery.
  6. Shallow people get sad too although it would appear, never for more than a week at a time. Apparently we bleed just like everyone else but our skin may be a little thicker.
  7. I travel a lot for business and pleasure and I am pleased to have been able to substitute chit chat” for that “little white pill. I’m guessing there are a lot of people who probably wish I hadn’t.
  8. I refer to my Mother a lot. Come on people! She’s 97 years old! Just how shallow do you think I am?
  9. As much as I like Mr. Letterman I’m not as hooked on the number 10 as he is.

Well that’s it in a nutshell. I’ve paid my 18 bucks so I’m in for another round. Makes me think I just might have to change my mantra to “one year at a time.”

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Birds do it so why don’t I?

thanks to Cécile Graat: the most part I’m just like everyone else and if fame and fortune happened to knock on my front door I wouldn’t turn them away. As you may recall, the raison d’etre (linked, for those of you who are not from this bilingual country of mine) of this blog was to figure out a way to monetize my gift for being shallow. Now don’t go thinking I’m “out to lunch” on this one. Just this week I was watching the news only to discover that a fellow Canadian, one from my city of choice no less, has turned her knack for sharing her 140 character (really funny) quips into a Hollywood movie. How do you even do that? Wouldn’t the dialogue be rather choppy? Nevertheless, she’s hit the big time, and we’ve come learn that hers was no meteoric rise to the top. No, she’s been blogging since 2002 and, to tell the truth, that’s a little disheartening to me since if I have to wait that long for my break, I’ll be spending my extra cash at the tuck shop in the “home”. Putting aside the fact that she’s very funny and really good at what she does which, as we have come to know is not a necessary precursor to making it big these days, the problem for me, as I see it, is that she has also worked hard at getting people to know who she is and what she does and I’m afraid that is not something I have ever been prepared to do. Mostly because, as you must know by now, I’m shallow and “hard work” (unlike raison d’etre) doesn’t trend in my vocabulary.

It’s not that I don’t get plenty of advice on how to get this puppy, which is hovering around the 32 foot mark right now, to soar. Just the other day the subject of my blog mysteriously came up in the middle of a meeting at work and, as a result, some very good ideas about kicking things up a notch were generated. Among the many worthwhile suggestions was that I should start “tweeting” about my posts in order to attract the attention of those in the twittersphere. Now I’m tech savvy enough to know that tweeting is no longer something that only birds do, and that, in fact, my fellow Canadian has made quite a splash by following this sage advice. From what I can see though, it is just so much work, what with understanding all the “ins and outs” of where to put the @, how to use hashtags, how to get people to  retweet and whatever else goes on in that world. Besides, I have enough trouble keeping these triestes of mine under 1000 words, let alone trying to figure out how to adequately express my thoughts in less than 140 characters. Not to mention the fact that I have four followers on my twitter account and they already know about the blog, so I’m kind of tapped out on that front. I was somewhat more intrigued by the idea put forward to hire someone, at minimal cost who would write my posts, thereby alleviating me of the most onerous part of this whole endeavor and perhaps elevating it to a more professional level. While worth careful consideration, even as a shallow person I think this probably negates the whole purpose of having a blog. And it goes without saying that finding someone who is at least as shallow as I am, not to mention a writer of some note, may not be an easy task, resulting in the distinct possibility that I will spend more time not doing what I should be doing.

WordPress itself provides a plethora of suggestions and opportunities to increase blog readership, some of which I like and some of which I really don’t. According to the people at WP, the “top ten” ways to increase your readership include writing well and frequently. Well I’m doing the latter and keeping my fingers crossed that I’ve come close to the former. And I’m quite confident that I have mastered their recommendation to “bug your real-life friends” (is the alternative your “imaginary” friends because I don’t have any of those, anymore) as I am sure you are all painfully aware. On the other hand, I must categorically reject their idea to “like” or “follow” other people’s blogs for the sole purpose of having them “like” or “follow” me. You see, as a dedicated blogger (even a shallow one) there is a certain amount of excitement associated with having someone let you know they appreciate what you do and that perhaps, even for just a moment, you have brought a little ray of sunshine into their lives. So it is with some dismay that when, upon reciprocating their visit, I discover they have “liked” upwards of a hundred posts on that very day with the singular goal of increasing traffic to their own site. Now I may be shallow but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a strong sense of what’s right and what isn’t and there’s just so much wrong about this. Not to mention that it’s way too much work. So if that’s what it takes to garner attention I’ll find some solace when the people at WordPress tell me that, in the end: “size doesn’t matter but rather how much you care about your audience and they care about you”. As my little Bro has reminded me, my followers may be small in number but it’s a loyal group.  As the one year anniversary of this blog approaches, I thank you for that.

Now, with all that said and done, if you happen to know someone who can make me both rich and famous please don’t hesitate to pass this blog on to them. Because, as you can see, there’s a pretty good chance that I never will.

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Nothing Doing

comfy chairA curious thing happened to me the other night. Kind of out of the blue I got a call from a friend I hadn’t spoken to for some time. While it wasn’t one of those “blasts” from 40 years ago, it had been at least a couple of months since we last spoke so it was good to hear from her. But it wasn’t the call itself that was surprising. I mean it started out pretty ordinary what with catching up on her kids and my kids and a few other people’s kids too, but you don’t want to know about that. The curious part was when, without any prompting on my end (I wasn’t out of breath or talking fast or anything like that which I have been known to do when I want a conversation to end), she said:

My Friend: I’ve probably caught you on your way out the door.
Me: Nope. I’m not going anywhere right now.
My Friend: Oh, well you must be busy with stuff at home.
Me: Nope. I’m not really busy right now. As a matter of fact, I’m not doing anything at the moment.
My Friend: Oh, well this must be a first for you.

Now she couldn’t see me, but if she had I’m pretty sure she would have noticed the look of puzzlement on my face because, truth be told (I know, I say that a lot but shallow people never back away from the truth) there are many, many times that I am not going anywhere or doing anything in particular. As a matter of fact, I do nothing quite a lot of the time. And as a shallow person, I’m okay with that because doing nothing is not always a bad thing. Like when I call my Mother and ask her “what’s doing” and she says “nothing’s doing” which is often better than “something’s doing” ‘cause that “something” is not always so great when you’re 97 years old. So I come by all of this honestly. Which is why I spend much of my time at home sitting in my comfy chair in my study doing not much of anything unlike the cat who, making no distinction between the chair and the multitude of cardboard scratching posts we have strategically placed around the house for her convenience, is always busy doing something when she visits me at my chair, which again, is not such a good thing.

Now ordinarily I would be fine leaving you with this impression of me in my leisure time but as an honest shallow person who is somewhat reflective and introspective I find myself wanting to explain that, just because I am in my chair appearing to do nothing, doesn’t necessarily mean I’m not doing something.  Sometimes that something is reading a book, or finding valuable information on the internet like how much the house down the street sold for or whether I’ve lost a lot or a little in the stock market on any given day. Sometimes I plan whole vacations, booking hotels, airline tickets, making dinner reservations and arranging for sightseeing tours in my temporary home away from home and, believe me, that can be exhausting. Of late, much of my time spent in my chair has been devoted to attending my class at Harvard (have I mentioned I’m going to Harvard?) listening to lectures, reading excerpts from books and engaging in dialogue with my fellow students. Well I don’t really “engage” but I do read what some of them have to say. And I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that taking a course at Harvard is no walk in the park. Other times I’m just thinking about things which makes it really look as though I’m doing nothing but I’m not. I will admit that I am also prone to a couple of less lofty activities like watching reality TV shows or playing computer games, but those are things too. And, last but not least, I sit in my chair to write this blog which, I might add, I have stuck to for almost a year now and that’s really something.

Well now that I’ve got this one in the bag I should get back to what I was doing before I started writing which really was nothing and, now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t even have to go anywhere to do it.

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