Monthly Archives: December 2013

I Could Have Been a Writer

typewriterNo, I’m not dead. Perhaps that’s not what all of you were thinking. I only mention it because in my neck of the woods if you’re not where you’re supposed to be at precisely the time you said you would be, there is only one plausible explanation. Somehow, and I am never sure of the precise details, you have landed in a ditch somewhere, left to face your rather tragic and untimely death alone. Without your cell phone which of course, you can see but is just slightly out of your reach. Because when you are late, even a couple of minutes, that is the only logical conclusion that anyone in my house could come to. I mean what is the likelihood that you ran into a childhood friend you hadn’t seen since high school and stopped to chit chat for a few extra minutes. Let’s face it, a lot can happen in 40 years. Or when walking past one of those fancy dress shops downtown you saw a cute little frock in the window you simply couldn’t resist and decided to step inside and give it try. Or maybe the bus, wending its way through the largest city in the country during rush hour, got stuck in traffic. Nope. In my house, when you are late the only real possibility is that you are dead.

Well that’s not the case this time. I’m not dead but I am, once again, late in getting this posted mostly because this is a busy time of year. Actually, truth be told, it’s not all that busy for me but it most likely is for you. Me, well I’ve been spending a fair bit of time in my chair. It’s not like I have nothing doing. As a matter of fact, while sitting in my chair I have come to a conclusion that surprises even me. You see, I’ve been watching Christmas movies and from what I can tell, the people responsible for writing these things are clearly and indisputably more shallow than I.

In case you haven’t been spending your time glued to the tube let me bring you up to speed on this year’s offerings. There are three basic themes from which a veritable cacophony of films are produced. As you might imagine, most prevalent are the Santa movies. These most often involve an evil creature, like an errant elf or reindeer who, in an effort to right some past wrong (unfair wages, poor quality hay or some other travesty of that sort), take it upon themselves to sabotage Christmas. And we all know that the best way to do that is to make it almost (I say “almost” because you and I both know how this is going to turn out) impossible for the “big guy” to get those gifts out to the kids. Inevitably things come down to the wire but with the help of the Missus, or one of the Claus kids, the sleigh takes off in time for Santa to get those toys out to all the boys and girls around the world. If only that were the case.

Then there are the single Mom/Dad flicks. Widowed or divorced (it doesn’t really matter how it happened as in either case there will at least be a cameo appearance from the Ex) the one constant in these films is a rather precocious child whose sole purpose in life is to find their now “single for more than a few years” parent a new partner. The child will most likely be aided by a mysterious older fellow who we can be pretty certain has some sort of special, angelic powers manifested through the wink of an eye. Usually there’s a visit “back home” where a chance meeting with an old high school flame, probably now the town vet or owner of the local diner, rekindles a romance that never should have ended in the first place, but did. It’s all a bit of a roller coaster, but in the end said child accompanies Mom and Dad down the aisle of new found happiness.

Finally, and this is in no particular order, there are the recently dumped who, rather than spend Christmas alone in the city they know, decide the best thing to do is trade homes with someone in any other part of the world, the only criteria being a climate completely different from the one where they currently reside. Serendipitously, within moments of posting their interest online, they find a compatriot in a like situation and before you know it, each is in the other’s home. Now I get why the one going from the cold to warm climate has shorts and T’s at the ready, but I am always baffled as to why the beach dweller has sheepskin coats and boots conveniently tucked away in the closet for moments like this. But nevermind the details. Suffice to say that each will find a new, permanent love in their heretofore temporary abode.

Now I’m not saying these are bad movies. I’m just saying their intensity pales beside flicks like “Eat, Pray, Love” where, after a four month sojourn at an Ashram in India to find her inner truth, or something like that, the heroine confidently declares to her besotted ex-husband who can’t seem to shake old feelings: “So love me. So miss me. It won’t last forever. Nothing does.” I know I could never have written anything that profound. But that other stuff. Well sometimes while watching those movies I think (but only to myself) maybe, just maybe, I really could have been a writer.

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presentI have a new love. Before you get your knickers in a knot I haven’t said I got rid of the old one. It’s just that like all new loves this one is kind of exciting right now. And it suits me to a tee, fits like a glove, even makes me a little giddy at times. I met my new love some time ago but we’ve gotten to know each other much better of late. As a matter of fact my new love and I are pretty much meeting on a daily basis right about now. The truth of the matter is we’re becoming so close that I’m afraid there’s no turning back. Because each and every day as another package gets delivered to my door I realize just how much I have come to rely on my new love. Online shopping. And while I am pretty sure that in this one paragraph I have already reached the cliche limit for the entire post, I have to admit that this is a match made in heaven.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Didn’t she tell us that some of her best friends are made at the store check-out counter?” “Is she so fickle that she can substitute a rather impersonal, virtual experience for a meaningful and genuine human interaction?” Need I remind you that I am the shallow gal so the answer to both the questions that are apparently swirling around in your head, causing you no end of cognitive dissonance, is “Yes and Yes I can.” The truth is that what appeared to be a budding relationship between me and my “new best friend” sales associate never really panned out primarily because, although as promising as it seemed at the time, I never actually saw her again. Or if I did, I didn’t recognize her which is not one bit surprising given I once walked past my own little Bro’ on the street, all the while wondering why a fellow much younger than I was paying so much attention to me. But again, that’s a story for another day.

Today’s story is about online shopping so let me start at the beginning. Up until now I may have neglected to mention that I’m a pretty savvy shopper. It’s not something I do all the time but when I do I’ve been known to snag myself a deal or two. As a matter of fact I probably can’t recall a time that I have paid full price for, well just about anything. So take my advice. The key to bargain shopping is to keep your eye on the ball and in this case, the ball is not how much something costs. This ball is all about savings. A good bargain shopper knows that the more you save the better the buy. And I have to tell you that lately, I’ve been saving a bundle. Which is really only one of the reasons I have fallen in love.

You see there are so many great things about online shopping I could elucidate for some time but don’t worry, I won’t. Let me just summarize by saying that no longer do I have to stand in lines to grab a door crasher on Boxing Day. Or join the crowds with my friends to the south on Black Friday. Or listen to some guy at the back of the line complain because I am taking too long at the till. There’s no more prowling the parking lot for that perfect spot only to discover that, just because I don’t happen to have a baby, I can’t park in it. No worries about emerging from the dressing room in what can best be described as a “mistake” and have some over zealous sales person wax poetic about how the colour brings out my eyes.  Nope. Now I can score all of my deals from the comfort of my chair and in almost no time they miraculously appear at my door. It’s like a birthday everyday.

Now for those of you who are not yet quite as shallow as I, it’s possible that you will feel a tinge of guilt as the boxes start to pile up. So I have a suggestion I think could work well, particularly at this time of the year. Here’s what you do. Instead of ripping open those packages as soon as they arrive, wrap them up in an assortment of pretty Christmas paper. Next, get yourself some of those little cards with the elves or snowmen or other mythical characters on them, and put your name in the “To” slot and Santa in the “From”. Place these packages under your tree. This is where the magic happens. On Christmas morning you’re going to open these gifts with your family and friends. Of course you’ll love each and every one of them and because of that, people will be falling over themselves claiming to be your Secret Santa, none the wiser that you actually bought them all for yourself. I can’t say for sure but I think this is going to make you feel a whole lot better about saving all that money.

I’m Saving a Bundle!

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Things that Irritate Me (Part 3, with some apologies)

clockBelieve me. I am the last person who thought there would be cause to revisit this theme of mine. At the end of my last “irritated” post I was as happy as the rest of you to be done with it. Never, in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that a shallow person like me would have any sort of list, much less a growing list, of irritations. Maybe it’s the “Black Friday” thing. If my memory serves me correctly (and you know how often that happens) I recall that it was this time last year, while in Seattle doing a little bargain shopping myself, I encountered the New Yorker whom, for whatever reason, (maybe she had just broken up with her partner of 16 years and was engaging in some retail therapy to deal with the despair) seemed to feel it was ok to lash out at the poor woman behind the cash who was not only working as hard as any human could be expected, but doing it with a smile on her face. Maybe we are all in too much of a hurry these days to actually care about other people, and their feelings, even a little tiny bit. Or maybe we have become too accustomed to talking to what are essentially machines (you do know that iPhone of yours is one) and have forgotten to notice when we are not. Whatever the cause, I am finding myself increasingly irritated by people who are rude. Just plain, outright rude. To complete strangers. Like me. Shall I explain? Well that’s about as rhetorical as a question can get.

So it’s Saturday afternoon and I’m at my fav coffee shop, standing in line, waiting patiently for my turn at the till. So far, so good. There’s no one behind me which, I think to myself is a “good thing” because I’m about to present the Barista with my half price coupons which the good people at coffee HQ have so generously deemed I have earned as a result of the truck loads of dimes I spend at this place. Let’s face it. Shallow people are known for their propensity to waste gobs of time sitting and drinking coffee as what better place to while away the hours playing games like “who’s that guy/gal”, which perhaps explains the above speculation on the New Yorker. Unfortunately, but as can be expected, things did not go as quickly as one would hope and as both the Barista and I struggled with codes and apps and other technologies that were apparently required to make this happen, the line began to grow. Which was fine until a voice from the really not so long line called out “Give it up! I’ll pay for your coffee”. Now under normal circumstances I would be rather pleased to have a complete stranger offer to buy me a coffee because it’s kind of a nice thing to do. You know, one of those “pay it forward” things. But these were not normal circumstances and he was not being nice. In fact, he was being quite rude and that more than kind of irritated me. And I told him so. And it felt good.

I mean here’s a guy who, in the midst of his very busy day (I know this because he told me so), apparently found the time to stop in at his local coffee shop for a cuppa. Now it’s not like this is one of those self-serve places where you run in and out in mere seconds with something dark and murky, the sole purpose of which is to perk you up for the remainder of the day and most of the night. Nope. This is a rather popular, gourmet haunt in the middle of an upscale mall where at times you give serious consideration to offering up your first born in exchange for a parking spot. Where shoppers far more skilled at their craft than I, effortlessly wend their way through the hoards to the myriad of shops specializing in everything from gourmet cheese to high-end duds. Where in the midst of this retail frenzy there is an oasis of calm, a place we all go where, while they might not know your name, you know they’re going to ask for it. And you may have to wait. Let’s face it, they don’t call it a break for nothing. So if I’ve said it once I’ve said it six or seven times. “Unless you’re a contestant on The Amazing Race, what’s another couple of minutes in the line?

You know it’s not in my nature to dole out advice so consider this a suggestion. Next time you find yourself chomping at the bit to berate someone for higgledy-piggledy wasting two or three precious minutes of your life, take a moment to think before you speak. Because at this joyous but I understand, rather hectic time of year, maybe we all need to be just a teeny tiny bit nicer to each other. I’m pretty sure it’s going to make you feel a whole lot better but if you’re still not convinced, well take a good look at the line. If there happens to be a 5 foot 2, 105 pound (the treadmill really does work) shallow looking woman with a striking resemblance to Babs in that line, get prepared to hear about it. And trust me, those two or three minutes will be some of the best of my day.

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