Monthly Archives: January 2014

What are the Chances?

freeSome things just happen. This might be hard to believe but as a shallow gal I’m not much of a believer in “other worldly” phenomenon. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure I have never used “karma” or “kismet” in a sentence, until now that is. But even a non-believer like me has to give their head a shake every once in a while. Because there are times when a series of events are simply unexplainable without at least considering the possibility that there does, in fact, exist a mysterious force with a preconceived plan for us. Some might call it “fate” and as fate would have it, this just might be one of those times. I’m guessing you’ve figured out by now I have a story to tell so sit down and get comfy ‘cause you’re gonna need to let this one sink in.

But first, let’s take a few steps back. You’ll recall that not more than a week ago I had a decision to make and in an effort to meet the needs of my readers I asked you to determine whether I should focus my efforts on finding the best pizza or fro-yo in SoCal. Well in what can only be described as an overwhelming majority, pizza emerged as the clear winner. I should mention that the outcome surprised me just a little bit but, as my Mother would say, there’s no accounting for tastes. And so, at the behest of my readers and because it’s the right and only thing to do, I embarked on developing a strategy for determining the best pizzerias in the area and how and when to visit them. Well perhaps not so much a strategy, but I did start to try to figure out where the heck people eat pizza around here. And as most of you know, it’s not that hard these days since all you have to do is tell Siri what you want and she’ll locate it for you. Just a couple of cautions here. Speak very clearly or you’ll find yourself taking quite a long drive to where she “thinks” you should go for a slice. And, remember not to fall in love with her even though she appears to be the “perfect woman” having all the answers to all your questions. But that’s not really about pizza at all. Anyway, a list was made, order of preference determined and schedule created so we were “all set” as they say here in the U.S. of A. Or so we thought.

Fast forward one day. We’re booked to volunteer at an upcoming run but, since it was on the way, we decide to do a little outlet shopping at the local mall. Doesn’t take long for us to decide it’s time for our “free ones” (yes it’s still January so the drinks are on the house) so we make our way to the, requisite in any mall, Starbucks. As we approach we can’t help but notice the incredibly long line and while it’s a nice, sunny day, there’s no time to dawdle so we’re starting to think the free one will have to wait. On closer examination however, we realize that the line up is not for the coffee house but rather for the joint next door. Which, you guessed it, specializes in none other than pizza. We’re thinking what you’re thinking. All these people can’t be wrong so this pie must be really good!

Turns out it’s a big promotion and today, of all days, everyone gets a free pizza. Now you’re thinking this can’t possibly turn out as good as it sounds because everyone knows there’s no such thing as a free lunch, or dinner. I mean, what are the chances? But it does. Long story short. We come back after a hard day of handing out T-Shirts, get into line and wait. Come on people! It’s free pizza. And if you’re anything like me (and you might or might not be) you’re gonna take this opportunity to make new friends. Friends you might even eat that pizza with. So of course it’s worth the wait. Because once you get through the door, in just 180 seconds these people will hand you a great tasting, thin crust, wood-fired pizza with anything you want on it. That’s right…anything! Feeling creative? Design your own. Decisioned-out? Just pick one of theirs. And if you were paying, which I may have mentioned we were not, the whole kit and kaboodle would cost you 7.65 U.S. which right now for us Canadians is about 10 beans. But the best thing, and I mean the very best, were the people. These kids (well that’s just about anyone to me) worked their behinds off serving free pizzas all day long and each and everyone of them did it with a smile. Free pizzas with a smile. Someone somewhere is looking out for us.

I know. This is not really a “comparison” but when the shallow gal has a story to tell she just has to tell it. Before you go: Pizza recommendation #1. Blaze Pizza in the Carlsbad Outlet Mall. Hope they don’t mind getting a thumbs up in the shallow blog.

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questionsStill not dead. But I have relocated to my little oasis by the sea which could, but really doesn’t, explain my rather extended absence. The problem is it’s rather laid back here by the beach so one can get just a tad complacent. The nice thing is that there’s no sign of the polar vortex which is probably good since it appears that the blame for it is falling smack on the Canadians and being one, I would hate to be held accountable. Besides, how would I explain it? What would I say? “I’m sorry. Somehow our cold managed to get through your border. Where’s the NSA when you really need them?” Probably best for me to just stay out of this one. You see, I like it here and I want to sit back and relax for awhile. Which is mostly what I do except when there are decisions to be made.

It’s not that making decisions is foreign to me. I spend a good deal of my waking hours deciding between one thing and another and, if I have to say so myself, I’m not half bad at it. Of course most of those decisions take place at work where, as important as they may be, they rarely have a direct impact on my life. But here, each day I find myself faced with one personal dilemma after another. Imagine, if you can, having to decide which way to turn when you step on the beach. If you decide to go South it’s only going to take you 40 minutes to walk to the Starbucks. But along the way you’ll have to navigate through dozens of frolicking dogs (perhaps the happiest dogs in the world) who at times will momentarily mistake you for their owner, coming dangerously close as they rid themselves of the excess seawater they have acquired chasing their ball into the waves. However, if you go North you will walk along one of the most beautiful and peaceful stretches of sand this side of the Rockies. Unfortunately, it’s going to be round about an hour and a half before you find yourself sipping that latte and, if your timing is off and you hit high tide, there are going to be some shoes to dry when you get home. So there’s decision number one.

Now normally when I walk into my local coffee haunt the words “nonfat, no foam latte” roll off my tongue. No thinking, no wondering. It’s just that simple. But once in a while something happens that puts a chink in the armour. This year, in the United States of America only, (could it be that polar vortex?) I managed to secure a mug that allows me to get free espresso drinks for the month of January. But while I’m saving a bundle there is a cost because there are decisions to be made at the end of this road. So many choices when it’s all free. Do I want caramel? Hazelnut? Perhaps a splash of vanilla? Is this the day to try the new drink of the month? And if I go for one of these concoctions do I really need the whip cream that comes on top? What used to be so easy has become a complex problem. A conundrum of sorts. I’m beginning to think I need a decision-making matrix just to get a drink.

So by now you’ll understand why I am “decisioned out” and turning to you to help me fulfill a promise I perhaps prematurely made to you last year. If you recall, having completed the environmental scan of the local donut shops I committed upon my return to focus my attentions on the “froyo”* establishments. That wouldn’t have been a problem had it not been that, no sooner had we arrived at our temporary abode we found ourselves enjoying perhaps one of the best pizzas I’ve tasted in a long time. I probably have never mentioned this but pizza happens to be my favourite food. So much so that it was all I craved when having my second son who, perhaps not surprisingly, followed in his Mother’s footsteps and could not only eat, but also spell “pizza” before his first birthday. But I digress. While munching on what can only be described as an upscale, health conscious pie, my partner in crime suggested that we spend the remainder of our time sampling the various pizza joints in town in a quest to determine the best. Not a bad idea if it wasn’t for the fact that of late I have managed, through much hard work, to reach my target weight and there is no amount of exercise that will allow me to sustain that while ingesting copious amounts of froyo and pizza. I can do one but not the other. So I’m leaving this one up to you. Decisions…decisions! Next time you visit sunny SoCal do you want the inside scoop on pizza or froyo? The ball is in your court.

*For those of you who don’t get out much “froyo” stands for Frozen Yogurt. For this purpose we are talking about the recent phenomenon that has resulted in a multitude of franchises and independents offering up this frozen delight topped with everything from fruit to nuts…literally.

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