Monthly Archives: June 2013

Meet Me at the Meet-Up

coffee_shop_smallIt’s a funny thing when something you don’t think about much suddenly crosses your path not once, but over and over again. I’m sure it has happened to you. You go about your life, minding your own business, with nothing particularly remarkable or out of the ordinary happening from one day to the next, just the “same old, same old” stuff. Next thing you know you’re reading the newspaper and your eye catches a small article on the bottom left hand corner of the page, the one with the full page ad your bank has placed to let you know how diligent they are about saving you money while you wonder why they had to spend all that money to let you know when a simple robo-call would have sufficed. The following day you’re on the bus avoiding eye contact with everyone, because who really wants to admit, even to themselves that they are on the bus, and you start reading the placards from front to back and there it is again. The last straw comes when you log into your most recent MOOC (did I mention I finally passed my Harvard course?) and lo and behold, there it is again and you’re convinced that not only is this a significant trend but maybe even a movement (thanks Arlo) and you better get down to business and start writing about it before someone else does. And that’s how we got here.

Let me start by saying that as a shallow person I’m not one for joining much of anything, especially not things that would put me into close contact with a whole bunch of people I don’t know. So as I write about this apparently new phenomenon I will put my bias on the table and admit upfront that the whole thing is not really something I can subscribe too or even understand. But it is what it is and, like Twitter, just because I don’t do it doesn’t mean it’s not happening and shouldn’t find its way to the Shallow Blog. Which is why, in case you haven’t already heard, I want to tell you about “Meet-Ups”, which are no longer “run of the mill” get togethers, you know, the kind you used to have with people you actually knew. No, these are special get togethers, and like much else in our overly connected world, have been redefined as “a meeting, especially a regular meeting of people who share a particular interest and have connected with each other through a social-networking Web site” ( And that’s the key. No longer do you just call up a couple of friends, people you have known and loved for who knows how long, to meet at the local coffee-shop and talk about whatever it is friends talk about. Nope. Now you go to your local “Meet-Up” website, find an aptly named group with a rather singular focus that interests you, determine if they are accepting new members and, if they are, if you are an acceptable new member, signup, check the calendar for the next meeting, put it in your calendar and finally, make your way to the designated site (ironically, usually a coffee shop of some sort) where, hopefully, there will be more than one other person with whom you can meet because otherwise, it seems to me, you’d have been just as well to have stayed home. You might also want to keep your fingers crossed that when you get to the ascribed location that there is a sign or something on the designated table as otherwise I fear you will be walking up to numerous groups of people you don’t know in an effort to find the right people you don’t know.

In case you think this is just some passing fad, a fleeting moment in time, have a look around the internet for Meet-Ups in your local area and I can assure you, having done extensive research for this blog, you will find no shortage of options from which to choose. In my area alone there must be a couple of hundred Meet-Ups covering an astounding array of topics. For example, there’s the “Libertarian Meet-Up” which I find a little confusing as what the heck are they doing forming an organization of like minded folks? The “Jesus, Ice Cream and Beer Group” is intriguing but makes me wonder whether you have to like all of those things to join or if you can just pick one. The “Church Thing Group“, while the name at first glance may appear a little vague, is more specific with their objective to “try to figure God out”. If you join this one I’m afraid you may be in for the long haul. And you might want to stay clear of the “Atheists, Agnostics and Skeptics Meet-Up” as I would hate to think what might happen should the two groups actually find themselves meeting up. Unlike the “Gardening, Vegetarian and Vegan Meet-Up” who could get together with the “Pagan Meet-Up” to form the “Pagan, Vegans”. There’s the “Emotion’s Anonymous Group” which is dedicated to getting people together to work out their emotional difficulties. Nice, but I would think this one could get a little depressing. Of course there are a whole bunch of groups that focus on achieving financial success and if I had to chose one to attend it would probably be the “Abundance and Cashflow Group” as I figure that’s my best shot at snagging a free coffee.

All this talk about Meet-Ups got me to thinking that there could be some value in organizing a “Shallow Meet-Up“. People could get together at their local coffee shop and sit around talking about stuff like how the guy cutting his nails in the next cubicle is really annoying, or who should or shouldn’t win the next season of “America’s Got Talent”, or how difficult it is to get a “no foam” latte made correctly, or maybe even about this blog. People can self-identify as shallow and just about anyone who wants to join is more than welcome. It would be very “Seinfeldesque” although that group just “met up” without having to organize a Meet-Up. The more I think about it the more convinced I am that it could work. And, if it does, it would be great if you could drop me a line to let me know how it goes.

A little something extra: To my friends in Southern Alberta, and especially those in High River, we are thinking about you all of the time. I hope this blog can bring a smile to your face, even if it’s just for a moment.

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A Little Help From My Friends

snow_squirrel from Stratsan have a problem. Before I get going, and just so you know, I realize this is probably not the biggest problem that anyone has ever faced. As a matter of fact, I happen to know that many of you have faced way bigger problems than this one. It’s not life or death or anything even close to that. But this problem is mine and I need some help with it. Now it’s not often that I ask my readers, or anyone else, for help. Ok, so come to think about it, I suppose I did ask for some help the other week when I was doing that big race. Of course that help wasn’t exactly for me, so it’s not really in the same category. And I admit that I haven’t actually done any cooking for about twenty years and I’ve been eating pretty well, which means I’m getting quite a bit of help with that. Though other people in the house like to eat too so that help isn’t only for me either, and anyway, we have long since stopped believing that a woman’s place is in the kitchen, haven’t we? Which brings me to my problem and the help that I need.

Let me start by explaining that this problem of mine is not a new one since it started about twenty-five years ago. That’s when I moved into my house in one of those lovely, desirable and sought after older neighborhoods where you pay a rather hefty premium for the privilege of being able to “make it your own” which translates into spending gobs of money to ensure that you can run the microwave while drying your hair, should the need arise. Most of the time when you get one of these houses you sacrifice features we have now come to expect from our dwellings like granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, ensuites, walk-in closets and, perhaps most importantly, attached garages. But to make up for all of those losses you do get big backyards with lots of trees. And therein lies the problem because when you have garages at the back of your house surrounded by towering pine trees laden with multitudes of pine cones, (might I add, as they should be) it is only natural to get something else. And that “something” is squirrels. Lots and lots of squirrels. And not just any squirrels but whole families of squirrels. More squirrels than you can shake a stick at.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against squirrels. Especially ones that mind their own business and do what squirrels are supposed to do which is mostly run around looking kind of cute, maybe burying a peanut or two in the garden and, once in awhile, unfortunately for the squirrels, find themselves losers in what they thought would be a fun game of chicken with the neighbor’s Volvo. Oh yes, and when they make their nests in those previously spoken about trees which it seems to me nature put there for just that purpose. But when squirrels decide that, like me, they prefer to live inside rather than out, and subsequently make their home in a garage, most notably my garage, using the insulation from the hood of my car to pad that little nest of theirs (and you know how I feel about my car), well that’s when I have a problem. Hence the need for your help.

You see, for the past few years I have been doing my best to try to encourage these little critters to do what nature intended them to do and that’s live anywhere but in my garage. Don’t get me wrong. Plenty of people have given me plenty of suggestions and I have tried them all. I’ve bought the thing you plug in that makes a high pitched sound that apparently all animals disdain, but I can hear it and I still go into my garage, and so do they. I’ve filled up cans with ammonia and placed them strategically around the garage only to discover that my friends (and I use that term lightly) have spent the evening playing a rousing game of “kick the can” with little regard to the contents. And I have liberally spread enough mothballs throughout the garage to ensure the safety of my entire cardi collection for the remainder of my days, and yet, there they are, each and every morning, looking down at me as I make my way to the office. Sometimes I think they even give me a little goodbye wave knowing they will have my garage to themselves for the rest of the day.

At my wits end I have now, at the suggestion of one of my co-workers lest you’re thinking about pointing fingers, acquired a trap. Don’t get too excited. It’s a live trap designed simply to encourage the rodent (well that’s what they are) to enter, get caught, and be relocated to a more suitable, parklike environ, where they can live out the remainder of their lives frollicking among the leaves and trees and perhaps the odd coyote. But I’ve run into a glitch. There are people in my house who are not quite as shallow as I. They think that this little plan of mine is akin to house wrecking and that breaking up the family is simply unthinkable. How, they ask, can I tear these children from the arms of their Mother? How, they ask, can I be so shallow?

So here we are at a standstill and this is where I need your help. Surely someone out there has a surefire way, a tried and true method to rid my garage of these guests who have long ago outlived their welcome. That’s it in a nutshell. We need your help before we all go squirrely.

Did I just say that out loud?

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We Did It!

cricketI know you have been waiting with bated breath to find out what happened when I finally got out of my chair last week to partake in the “City Chase”, a local event best compared to the “Amazing Race”. And even if you haven’t been waiting, or worse still, completely forgot that it was even part of my recent life, I’m going to tell you about it. Because that’s what shallow people do. They focus primarily on themselves. As a matter of fact, the other day someone asked me why it was that all of my blog posts were about me which made me think that in some small way I had failed because I would have thought that the answer was pretty obvious. And while it did give me a moment’s pause to question whether I was doing the best job I could at helping people understand the life of a shallow person it was, at the same time, somewhat reassuring to know that at least I was doing something right on this blog. And that’s why, whether you have asked for it or not (and I can’t honestly say that anyone has), here’s my recollection of the race. And I say “recollection” because more than a week has passed since the big day and things get a little fuzzy over that period of time. But for what it’s worth, this is my story.

It was much too early on a dark and gloomy morning when the alarm sounded to let me know it was time to rise up to the challenge I had committed to in an apparently weak moment a few weeks prior to this day. As I wiped the remnants of a broken night’s sleep from my eyes my first thoughts were to pull the covers back over my head and wish the day away. But I had made a promise, one that I could not break given the heartwarming support that had so recently been pledged on my behalf. And so it was that I arose with an overwhelming sense of excitement, perhaps wonder, and a kind of resolve I hadn’t felt for some time, one that I knew would help me find the strength I needed to make it through to the end. There had been much anticipation leading up to this moment and over the past weeks I had undertaken a rather strenuous training regimen encompassing both physical and mental preparation. I was ready and yet, for just a moment, there was a certain hesitation, a sense of impending doom, a fear perhaps, of the adventure on which I was about to embark. But as I pulled the race shirt I had so carefully prepared the evening before over my head, a lightness fell over me such that I had never felt before.

Yeah right! It wasn’t like that at all but it sure was fun making you think so. The truth is our little team of two, “Fast in the Past” was just that. Over 6 hours we walked 10 miles in the wind and rain, made our way through obstacle courses, searched for obscure artifacts, kissed a stranger, beached a canoe, made the rather easy decision to not eat a cricket (live, no less) and with mere seconds left, managed to get across the finish line. Which was just about the last move I was able to make for the remainder of the week-end.

Will we do it again next year? I’ll let you know once I figure out how to get myself back out of my chair.

Thanks again to all who contributed to “Right to Play” on our behalf.

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