Category Archives: Instructive

A True Story (unlike some others)

Not everything I write on the blog is 100%, should I say, accurate but this is a true story. I may not have previously mentioned that I have a collection. I suppose you may think it’s odd that a shallow person like myself would feel the need to accumulate a whole lot of something. I’d be with you on that. Most collections I know of, and I really don’t know of that many, simply take up valuable space and require a rather futile effort to stave off an ever growing blanket of dust, not to mention, from what I understand, the time required to sort, photograph and catalogue each and every piece. Of course there’s also the cost of locating and acquiring the precious items which, I can only imagine, could inflict a fair amount of damage to the grocery budget. Just think about how difficult it has been for John Reznikoff to complete his collection of celebrity hair locks which includes samples from the likes of Edgar Allan Poe and Ludwig Von Beethoven. Not exactly sure where he might have gone to get those but I’m guessing it cost him a pretty penny.

Perhaps the worst of it all is, although you most probably love whatever it is you are collecting, you are bound to leave everything virtually untouched in order to prepare for the day you decide to list the whole kit and caboodle as “new with tags” on eBay. This is particularly important if, like Dutch collector Niek Vermeulen, you have a penchant for collecting “airline barf bags” which one can only hope have remained in pristine condition over time. But think about how frustrating it must be for Manfred S. Rothstein to stare at the world’s largest back scratcher collection while trying to ignore the annoying itch he simply can’t reach without a little help. Or how disappointed Victor Taylor could be should he ever decide to scratch one of the 10,000, now expired lottery cards he has collected. It goes without saying that somewhere out there are multitudes of toys that can’t be played with, wine that can’t be drunk and cars that can’t be driven. I must say, there’s not one little bit of any of this that makes me want to run out and buy multiples of pretty much anything. And yet, here I sit with a collection of my very own. 

It all happened quite innocently. One day when travelling through those United States of America I thought it would be a good idea to buy myself a little souvenir as a remembrance of  the good times had. Of course I could have just taken a pic, but there’s a pretty good chance that one mountain or lake or beach, or whatever I set my eye on, would meld into the next and before you know it I would be wondering if I had been roaming around Idaho or Minnesota. No, I needed something definitive. Something that would tell me exactly where I had been. And that’s when I found it. Leisurely sipping on my afternoon Starbucks’ latte, (yes, even on holidays) I looked up and noticed that, there on the shelf, were dozens of mugs all with the name of the city I was currently sipping in. What could be better than that? Not only would I be able to remember where I was, I would take home something I could actually use. Whenever I wanted to reminisce about my time away I could pull out my mug, sit by the fire sipping on my tea (I never drink coffee at home) and think back longingly to the time I was wandering these lands of ours. Little did I know that would never be the case.

Because people started to notice. They would come to my house and I would give them a cuppa whatever in one of my mugs and they would remark on how interesting it was that I had begun collecting. Collecting? No, I’m just bringing back mugs from wherever I have been. But it seems when you have more than a few of something people begin to think you want even more and they apparently get some joy out of helping you add more of whatever that is. And so it was that whenever one of my friends would embark on their travels they would return with a mug from the city they had enjoyed a latte in as well. Which was nice, although not all that practical. You see, there was only so much room in my kitchen cupboards and since we didn’t drink all of our meals I needed to preserve some space for more practical items, like plates. Yet I enjoyed those mugs from places I had never been and accepted these gifts graciously. Truth be told, I even continued to pick up one or two more on my own.

Here things get a little blurry but one day while perusing eBay, I discovered that people purposely collected these Starbucks mugs and it was possible that I was sitting on a veritable gold mine. Who knew? Unfortunately my mugs had been used which any collector worth her salt knows is a cardinal sin. There was only one thing left to do. All my heretofore unused mugs were quickly moved from the kitchen cupboards to the safety of the glass enclosed china cabinet. Now “official”, this collection of mine has grown over time. Sometimes in fits and spurts, sometimes exponentially but in a pinch, I can accommodate upwards of 60 for tea. If I were to use them. Which of course, I won’t.

I should tell you that, like most collectors (I call myself that now) I’m not in this for the money. Nope. It’s about the thrill of the find. Although I must admit it’s a lot easier to walk into a Starbucks in just about any city and buy a mug than it would be to get your hands on, let’s say, a vintage 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO. Of course that Ferrari is worth considerably more than my, for instance, Edmonton city mug which currently demands about 280.00 (US) on eBay.

Come to think of it, I have two of those. Doing a rethink. PM me if you’re interested.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , ,

My Proposal

You know as well as I do that I’m a sucker for a good reality TV show. Well any reality TV show really because, as you can imagine, they are not all that good. If I had to rank them I’d probably put HGTV on top as, even though we know that no one buys one of the first three houses they look at and it actually takes more than a week to rebuild an entire house, at least we get some good decorating ideas and a chance at a little guessing game as we decide where the family we have no real connection to and even less of a vested interest in, will decide where it is they would like to raise their children and spend the rest of their lives. And that can be fun.

Next I gotta go with the food channel as I do so love watching those who are at the pinnacle of their craft. I mean what could be more exciting than witnessing a master baker create the most spectacular peanut butter and raspberry jelly charlotte royale adding the last petal of the rather spectacular chocolate flower with only seconds left on the clock. And who doesn’t drool over a creamy crème brûlée with lime and mint soufflé glacé plated with an assortment of white and dark chocolate swirls that are simply to die for. Now I’m no baker (or cook for that matter) but these shows make me want to waltz right into that kitchen of mine and give it the good ol’ college try.

Of course there’s that vicarious travel one does while watching 13 or so sets of mother/daughter, boyfriend/girlfriend, married couple, unmarried couple, recently divorced couple, never intend to get married couple, etc. race through the streets of all the countries you ever dreamed of visiting. With a million bucks on the line it’s not too surprising that there are a few arguments, a little backstabbing and some opportunistic alliances made along the way. For the most part though, things are pretty copacetic on this journey around the world. And while you may not be on this amazing race, you do have a chance to bond with the couple of your choice and cheer them on as they make their way to the elusive finish line. If you ask me, it’s a whole lot more enjoyable than watching a bunch of strangers get nasty living in a house with someone (not really sure who) peering into their lives 24/7, or almost starving to death on an island somewhere in the south pacific. But maybe that’s just me. I would be remiss at this point I suppose if I didn’t include all of the assorted talent shows. Some good. Some not so much. All watchable in a pinch.

From here I’m afraid, things take a pretty big tumble downhill. Because somehow someone somewhere thought it would be a good idea to create a show where one gal or one guy spends a couple weeks meeting and subsequently deleting a whole whack of potential mates until they are left with the “one”. Before that happens there will be tears and fears, way too many kisses, a few family meet and greets and a whole lot of who knows what. Inevitably the two pledge their love forever although in most cases, forever is not a long, long time. So one would think that those at the helm might decide that trying to find love on national TV might be a mistake. But not so. Now there’s yet another way to meet your soulmate and it only takes one short hour of your time. And who, these days, can’t spare an hour?

Because, in case you missed it, the newest foray into the world of TV love is “The Proposal”. That’s right. This is a sad but true story. Some TV genius decided that a match made in heaven can happen in one measly hour by having 10 potential mates answer a couple of questions, parade around the stage in beachwear (even Miss America canned that one), shake hands with the BFF (and dog if there is one) and say “how do you do” to the proud Mom and Dad of the soon to be betrothed. This is love before first sight. Now I may be shallow but I gotta tell you, this takes the cake. I mean who does this? Really. And then it hit me. Like a nail, on my head. As we all know, marriages are theoretically for a lifetime but politicians, well you can legitimately get rid of those guys every four years. So the stakes are considerably lower. Why not apply this one hour “who’s your guy/gal” format to choosing politicians? And for the sake of illustration, let say it’s a president. So here’s my proposal.

First things first. Find 10 people who have always wanted to be the prez. Appoint a panel of three judges in order to avoid a tie. It’s their job to whittle the 10 down to one so why not start by picking out those that are most visually appealing. Now move on to the skill testing question. Nothing too hard because there’s only a minute to respond.  Something like “what would you do in the event of a nuclear war?” could work. With three prospects left have them parade around the stage dressed as presidential as possible. Eliminate the one with the bad hair and we are down to the final two. A quick conflab to come to a consensus and we’ve got a winner!  Our guy/gal for the next four years! All this in just one hour.

I know. Sounds silly, doesn’t it. But I’ll bet my bottom dollar that the result won’t be any worse than what we’ve got now.

Tagged , , , , ,

Put Those Scissors Away!

I’m pretty sure it’s not just me. I’ll bet this has happened to you too. In my case it usually occurs once or twice a day but then I’m a shallow person. For you, maybe more. Whatever the number, it seems to me that by hook or by crook at some point in each and every day you will, without a doubt, have one, or perhaps many, decisions to make. Some big, some not. Like when you decide to go for a coffee. What do you do now that your local and most fav Starbucks is under renovation? (There will be more about that another time). Do you drive to the one by the water with the perfect view or do you save both gas and the environment by taking that rather lengthy walk, albeit through one of the most beautiful urban parks in this country of ours, to a more mundane location? In this case it’s really a win/win since the outcome (that would be the coffee) is the same. You just have to decide what’s more important. The “getting there” or the “being there”. Which really doesn’t make for a very difficult decision. But they’re not all like that. Some decisions, as we all know, are really hard to make.

Like maybe you’re thinking about retiring but are not entirely sure it’s a good idea. Do you or don’t you? And if you do, what will you do? There’s some significance to that. Or you’re looking to buy a house, or have a baby, or trying to decide who to vote for in the next election. Ok, if you live in those United States of America that last one should be a no-brainer (did I really say that?) but it will have an impact for sure. So it’s important. If you are anything like me, when it comes to big decisions you dither. Quite a lot. And you make lists. There’s the pros and there’s the cons. When that doesn’t help you create some kind of point system. On a spreadsheet. Once completed it looks quite impressive but does little to help you make up your mind. After all of these shenanigans you finally decide that you have exhausted the decision-making possibilities and you do the only thing you know that’s left to do. You trust your gut. Followed perhaps, by just a short little prayer to who/whatever you might call upon in these sorts of situations. And the reason you do all of this is that you know, when you make the big decision, it’s made. Done. No turning back. You’re stuck with it. Or are you?

Not so long ago I was visiting a dear friend who found herself in need of a new frock. This was not a frivolous undertaking. This frock was going to find itself at some very important meetings so of course, it had to be just right.  As most of us would, she set off to find just the right thing at just the right store. And she found it. At least she was pretty sure she had found it. The thing is, when you shell out a considerable sum of money, which I am guessing she did but can’t say for sure, on what you think could be your “go to” dress, you need to have not even one little doubt about it. So she did what any reasonable person in her position would do. She wore the dress to the meeting, price tag and all. Now some of you might be thinking “Who does that?” Who leaves the tag on the dress, just in case?” But I gotta tell you. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea. Because it puts a whole new perspective on the decision-making process.

Here’s what I mean. What if you could “leave the tag” on all of your big decisions? Like when you buy a house. Maybe instead of going home to sleep “on it” you should actually be sleeping “in it”. Not only would you have a chance to learn first hand about all the quirks and quarks, you would also know exactly what they meant when they said the neighbors were a “little” eccentric. And it will be ok because you left the tag on. After a week or two in the new abode you can change your mind and go back home. Or maybe you’re trying to decide what new car to buy. That 12 minute test drive doesn’t really help all that much. If you could just bring that puppy home, maybe try it out during the first snowfall, the decision would be oh so much easier to make. If all is not well you can just take it back ‘cause the tag’s still on. Or you retired and decided it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be. Endless days of lunches, coffees, walks around the park just don’t cut it for you. If you had left the proverbial tag on you could just go back to do whatever it was you were doing before you left. Not that you necessarily would. I’m just sayin’ that you could. And if you had known that from the start there might have been fewer sleepless nights wondering if it was the right or wrong thing to do in the first place.

Not convinced yet? Then think about this. What if all of those people in the United States of America had been able to leave the tag on after the last election? Just for a little while. To see how things worked out. Bet you’re with me now! What do you say we all put those scissors away.

Tagged , , , , ,

Welcome to Canada!

tooniesYou may have noticed. I’ve been a little tongue-tied lately. Or, as my friends from the far east of this great land of ours might say, gobsmacked. As most of you know my heart’s desire was to have this blog go viral. Four, almost five years down this long and winding road I have come to the conclusion that it’s just not going to happen. And I’ve made peace with that. I’m ok. Really ok. The thing is, over the past month or so I have spent much time reflecting, and at times feeling just a little reticent, about having shared my thoughts and deep, inner musings about living life as a shallow person. Because it seems, and I say this with as much humility as I can muster, the world has in fact listened. Don’t ask me how it happened. How the message leaked out. I’m certainly not going to point fingers in any one direction. Maybe there’s some kind of cosmic force unbeknownst to me that has its finger on this world wide web of ours. Whatever the case may be, given the events of the past few months, it’s impossible not to notice. It is a shallow world after all.

I’ve said it before and, as has been the case in the past, I will say it again. I like (and may God bless them) the United States of America, so much so that I spend a somewhat significant part of my year within those borders. Mostly because it is much warmer there than here. But also because the people I’ve met are lovely and the produce is cheap and mostly local. That’s the nice thing about Southern California. Well not just that. I mean where else can you pretty much know when you wake up each morning it’s going to be 72 degrees and sunny. And that you’re going to spend that 72 degree day walking along a seemingly endless beach stopping every once in while to let the gentle waves wash over your warm and sandy feet. And those sunsets. Nothing can compare to watching the sun bid us goodnight bathed in all of its red and orange splendor. Nope. There’s not much to complain about when it come to Southern California. Which is why I’m getting out my Nexus pass and that passport of mine and making my way down that magnificent coastal highway once again.

But there have been rumours. Yep, there have been. Since that rather surprising (to some although not so much to me) upset that occurred a month or so ago to our neighbors to the south, I’ve heard rumblings. Particularly from the left side (depending of course on which way you are facing) of this rather vast continent. And it’s not just about people wanting to move to Canada. Sure, Babs says she’s on her way but so far our paths haven’t crossed, and let me tell you, I would know if they had. It’s about entire States wanting to become part of the “true north strong and free”. States like Washington and Oregon and yes, my very favourite of the lot, California. Imagine that! I think we need to give this some serious consideration. In one fell swoop we would more than double the population count of this country of ours. I mean think about it. There could be a province that would actually really hardly ever get any snow. Where our kids, like theirs, could take surfing as part of their P.E. program in school. Where we could grow avocados in our backyard. Avocados! Where you almost never have to wear socks. Have I ever mentioned that I hate socks? I’d say it’s a win on our side for sure.

Here’s the catch. It’s not all that easy to become a Canadian. After all, if it was there would probably be more of us. I know. I’ve been one for my entire life which is why I feel eminently qualified to share some tips with those who are right now, as we speak, weighing their options. Because there’s nothing like being prepared. So, let’s just say it happens. The morning after the “big event” you’ll have to remember that 72 is now 22 and 100 is only 60. Coins are much heavier than paper. Pop is not your Dad. And I’m sorry to have to say it, but you’re going to start saying “I’m sorry” more than you care to think. On balance though, it’s not such a bad deal. You can go to the doctor whenever you want, you won’t go bankrupt sending your kids to school, and, let’s not forget, you woke up today 35% richer.  So just say the word and we’ll roll out the red carpet. Welcome to Canada! I think you’ll be happy here. To be honest, it will make me happier too. You see if this all works out I might feel a tad less guilty about all of the shallow stuff currently going on in this world. And not just that. I won’t even have to renew my passport next year.

Tagged , , , ,

Things you need to know

two-dollar-billLet me get right to it. Yes we are now enjoying the sun and surf in SoCal (that’s “local” for Southern California) and no, we did not win the lottery. Not for lack of trying. I put down my two bucks on the draw. I mean, who wouldn’t? Who wouldn’t take a chance at depositing 1.5 billion smackers in the bank? Or a little over 2 when imported into my home and native land. So what if some of that gets taxed away. The way I figure it, there’ll be plenty left after Uncle Sam takes his take. Unfortunately I don’t have to worry about that right now because, as previously mentioned, I didn’t win. Not that I wasn’t ready for it. I was. You see, I thought it would be prudent, just in case, to read all of the information that was being offered on the Internet to those who might be in line for the big win. So I did. And let me tell you, there was lots out there to ponder. Mostly, I suppose, because so many of us were so sure that this was going to be “our day”.

One thing you might know, but if you don’t probably should, about a shallow person like me is that at times I can be a little skeptical. You see, as much as I would like to be able to take everything I read on the Internet at face value, making my life oh so much easier and less complicated, I simply can’t. If you are anything like me, and I’m not implying that any of you are, there are just times when that little bit of doubt creeps its insidious way into your otherwise open and accepting mind and you begin to wonder. And when I wonder, sometimes, and only sometimes, I begin to think that perhaps there might be another, if not better, way to go about things. And so it was that after studying all of the “things you should do if you win the lottery” articles available on the Internet, I came to the conclusion that this was one of those times. That the advice, while substantial and I’m sure created in all good faith with everyone’s best interests in mind, was not always completely, how should I put this, sound. So at the risk of sounding presumptuous, I thought I would take some time to share with you both theirs and my suggestions ‘cause even though we didn’t win this time, there’s always, as they say, another day. Here we go.

  1. Don’t tell anyone. I get that. The last thing you want is everybody and their dog knocking on your door asking you to share your shekels with them. So best to keep the big win to yourself for a bit. Although, from what I understand, you probably should tell your spouse lest you end up in divorce court harbouring your little secret. Apparently judges frown upon that and have, in the past, rewarded your soon to be single partner with what used to be your jackpot. Oh, and you may want to tell your realtor. And the Porsche dealer.  
  2. Get yourself a team. You’re gonna need a lawyer, an accountant, and a financial planner. At least that’s what they tell you. Now if it were me, and as we all know it was not, I’d put in the call to the lawyer, because there’s sure to be some wills and estate stuff to do, and the accountant as I figure I won’t be able to get away with the short tax form anymore. But the financial planner? Here’s the thing. I’ve just put 1.5 billion dollars in the bank. Let’s just say I get myself a long term commitment for around 3%. Without doing the math I’m going out on a limb to say life will be just fine. Especially since I’m saving all of those fees I would have had to pay that financial planner.
  3. Find a good therapist. Now on this I have to concur with the experts, although we differ some on the details. You see they think that the winner, not realizing what emotions their new found circumstance will unleash will need someone to talk to. They think there’s no way of knowing down what path the mix of joy, excitement, terror and guilt will take you. I on the other hand, think that those of us who lost might want to make that call given the disappointment, anger, tinge of jealousy, not to mention, dashed dreams we are now burdened with. Come on. It’s not just me. Even the usually upbeat and cheery Kelly Ripa (yes, I watch on occasion), who I am pretty sure is doing ok all on her own, expressed her disappointment and was even a little green with envy on the day after the big day.
  4. Don’t quit your job. And this my friends, is what makes me a tad skeptical about all of the aforementioned advice.

By now all of the hoopla has died down and we can resign ourselves to living today as we did yesterday. A dear friend of mine continues to remind me that given our lot in life, we have already won the lottery and I know she’s right. I mean I have nothing to complain about and I am continually grateful for each and every day. I’m happy and content with the way things are and have no reason not to be. Even so, let’s face it. 1.5 billion is nothing to sneeze at and what the heck, I’m ready for it.

Tagged , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: