Tag Archives: Barbra Streisand

Born this Way…Again*

You’re right. I’ve been gone for quite some time. And if you were me, which you’re not, or if you think like me, which I am pretty sure most of you don’t, you would by this time have come to the one and only conclusion I would have come to. You would have concluded that the only possible reason I could have been gone this long is that I am, in fact, dead. And rightly so. I mean what other plausible explanation could be made for a more than two month absence from my blog? It would just be silly to think that I have been travelling. At least not at this time of year. Or that in my retirement I found myself consumed by some otherwise undiscovered talent/interest that subsumed all of my time leaving me little room for previously embraced activities. Not very likely. Or that somehow at this advanced age of mine I had determined that living the life of a shallow person was no longer a viable option and I had abandoned this entire operation. Not even remotely possible. So while none of these scenarios are the case, as you can plainly see, I am not dead. Unfortunately, there are a couple of other people who are (well not all are exactly “people”) which is why I have taken a self-imposed hiatus over the past few months. 

Many of you who know me also know that in August my Mother passed away and while she lived a very good and long life, we all miss her very, very much. What many of you don’t know is that exactly one month after her death our dear little Bandit, who also lived a very good and long life, at least for her feline species, crossed the rainbow bridge and needless to say, we miss her very, very much as well. So as you can well imagine, it has been a little difficult for me to get back at it, as they say. But at it I am. And what I now know for sure is there’s a lot to learn from the sadness that death brings. Not only about other people but about oneself. And let me tell you I have spent more than an hour or two over the past months thinking about just that. 

First let me say that my Mother was a wonderful human being. She was a loving Mother to all of us kids and a very smart business woman who truly cared about each and every one of her clients. She was a voracious reader and could talk intelligently about almost everything. She wasn’t much of a drinker (I could tell the story about the night she had a few too many and ended up face down in a plate of spaghetti, but I won’t) which isn’t really a bad thing if you ask me. She was beautiful and funny and, as my Auntie Fanny so eloquently described her, “a real lady”. And how lucky would any of us be to have inherited even one of these traits that my Mother possessed? Oh yeah. There is one other thing that I might have forgotten to mention. Just ask Rich. He’ll tell you in the most wonderful way that my Mother, along with all of these marvelous qualities, was a Worrier. That’s with a capital “w” because there was nothing and no one that my Mother didn’t worry about. All of the time. 

Which is interesting because, while I would never presume to have inherited any of my Mom’s other wonderful characteristics, I can say without any hesitation that this apple didn’t fall far from that tree. Let me explain how this revelation came about. At the shiva for my Mother it was brought to my attention more than a few times that there was some similarity between her and I. Not everyone, but at least some people, most of whom I hadn’t seen since the first year of my life which is, at this point, a very long time ago, commented on how they knew exactly who I was because I looked so much like my Mother. It surprised me a little, primarily since my Mother never mentioned that complete strangers stopped her in the street to tell her she looked liked Babs and I’m quite sure she would have had they done so, but I appreciated the compliment nonetheless. However it occurred to me that if I look like my Mom it isn’t much of a stretch to think that I might think like my Mom as well. And if I think like my Mom I shouldn’t be terribly surprised that I too worry about everybody pretty much all of the time.  The fact is, if nothing else, I inherited her worry gene. And let me tell you, coming to this realization took quite a load off my shoulders. 

You see, I now have a perfectly good excuse for all the times I drove myself and my family a little crazy with my worrying. I now know there’s a really good reason that I used to text the kid at 3:00 am (no, that’s not a typo) just to see where he was and when he might decide to come home. I can now justify the multiple follow-up phone calls that are a result of a text not being answered within 60 seconds of being sent. And I know why when someone isn’t where they said they would be at exactly the moment they said they would be there my first inclination is to concoct 20 of the most dastardly, although admittedly unlikely, scenarios to explain their absence. After all, no one is just late. Something terrible must have happened. Well the truth is it’s just part of my DNA. I was, quite simply, born this way. And there’s no reason to apologize for that. Quite frankly, if it was good enough for my Mom, it’s good enough for me. 

Well that’s about it for today. Now I understand that some of you are going to be moved to send me your condolences (and many of you already have) for the loss of my Mother and for the cat too. You can if you like and your warm thoughts are very much appreciated but please don’t feel that you have to. No pressure at all. Of course if I don’t hear from you in the relatively near future, I’ll be pretty darn sure you’re dead.
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*To clarify. Early in the life of this blog I penned another post titled “Born this Way” hence the need for the descriptor. It is not my intent to suggest that I have in any way been born again.

 

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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.

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I’ll Settle for a Million or Two

sale-tag-1205009By now there are two things about me I am certain you know. The first, that I am shallow and proud of it is, I would think, fairly obvious. After all, it is rather unlikely that I would have spent the past four years writing this blog if that wasn’t the case. The second thing to which I am pretty sure you would agree, is that I have some experience being associated with a person who is much more famous than I. And let me tell you, four years puts that phenomenon to shame. I mean who would have thought that 45 years ago, give or take a few, when one of my classmates joined me in the school elevator singing “People” in a way that made it clear he had discovered some kind of connection between me and that particular ditty, it would be a precursor of what was to come? Since that first “sighting” of course,  I have become accustomed to the various rudimentary impressions of such favs as “Memories” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade” (honestly, who could?), in the same way that over the past four years I have become quite comfortable in my role as the “shallow gal”.  At least I was until a couple of weeks ago when something quite unexpected happened. And it was right out of the blue.

I suppose one should always be cautious about becoming too comfortable in life. We see it all the time in the movies. Or the soaps. You know how it goes. Your favourite character has an unfortunate accident while on her way to find her long, lost brother. Left with amnesia, she spends the next year working as a store clerk in a town not so far from her own until one day, finally, that brother, who by the way has been happily living in her house for the past year (well why not, it was empty after all) walks in and, although he hasn’t seen his sister in forever really, sees himself in the store clerk’s face. He hesitates for a moment, decides it can’t be true but nonetheless, returns the next day. Realizing he might just as well be looking in a mirror he knows, in his heart of hearts, that it simply must be her. It takes a few days of sharing stories from their checkered (to put it mildly) childhood but after much convincing, he finally gets her home, gets her better (not such an easy feat) and life is good for them both. They spend the next three years bonding, remembering the good times forgetting the bad, making up for time lost. Life is comfortable but you have that nagging feeling that when things get too comfortable, something not so great is bound to come along to stir that pot of theirs and inevitably it does.

(My husband some times tells me that these treatises of mine sometimes get a little derailed. I never said this train ran on a track in the first place. Trust me. Eventually this is all going to make sense.)

My guess is that by this time most, if not all of you have heard something about Mr. Donald Trump. Clearly we all know that he is interested in becoming the President of those United States of America, but it wasn’t always so because Mr. Trump, or perhaps I’ll call him “The Donald”, has done many things in his life to date. Most recently we learned that “The Donald” gained some notoriety from starring in a TV show where teams of celebrities compete in a series of rather inane tasks for which they are mostly ill prepared, culminating in one or more of them being “fired”.  From what we are not really sure as most of them are not actually gainfully employed anyway, which possibly is the most reasonable explanation for why they agreed to go on the show in the first place. And I don’t suppose I have to tell you that before all of this hoopla, “The Donald” built many an empire. Like you, I knew all of this but never really thought much about it, or him, until recently when a dear friend of mine brought the following quote to my attention:

“Whenever I’m making a creative choice, I try to step back and remember my first shallow reaction. The day I realized it can be smart to be shallow was for me a deep experience.” (D. Trump, 2004). 

Hmmm…so now it’s me and Mr. Trump. As you might well expect, this revelation jolted me right the heck out of that comfort zone of mine. I mean, it’s one thing to consistently come up with witty retorts to that age old “do you know who you look like” question but quite another to find yourself sitting in the same haystack as “Mr. T”.  Let’s face it. At best it’s a rather dubious distinction. Somewhat perplexed by the whole thing, I was left wondering what to do next and that’s when it happened.  The idea just popped into this little head of mine. As distressed as I was about my new celebrity association, I got to thinking. Mr. Trump has a lot of money. At least much more than I have and one day he’s bound to realize what a good idea it would be to have a website in which he could wax eloquently about the creative benefits of being shallow. He’s going to need a catchy name for the site. I’ve got what he needs. So Mr. Trump, give me a dingle and we can negotiate. I won’t be greedy. I’ll settle for just a million or two. And make no mistake. I will be really comfortable with that.

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It could happen to you


brainy-peopleI know I’ve said this before but at the risk of repeating myself, I thought I would mention that my Mother,
kenahora, (don’t worry, you can check it out here.) recently had her 100th birthday. And if you can excuse the redundancy, you should also know that my Mother has three sisters who are, respectively, 96, 94 and 85 years old. Their Mother was 102. So to say I know something about living long is a bit of an understatement. I know a lot about living long. And well for that matter because, if I might say so, all of these ladies have lived and are living, very wonderful lives. Which, as Martha would say (and yes, I’ve said this before too), is a very good thing. Given the facts, it’s not all that surprising that people who know this story of mine jump to the somewhat dubious conclusion that I too will one day find myself, hammer and nail in hand, placing that elusive to most plaque from the Queen (or more likely, in my case, the King) on my living room wall. And while I might, I also might not because, as you are most likely aware, there are no guarantees in this or any other life and one never knows what one will face each and every day. It’s just the way it goes. What will be will be. Ca sera sera.

Nevertheless, not too long ago I found myself watching a docu/news show about longevity and the amazing research taking place that will, sooner than later, let all of us live to be 1000. That’s right. Scientists tell us that it is possible that someone who is alive today will still be alive 1000 years from now. So if you are reading this, it could happen to you. Apparently there are various ways for this to come to pass, most of which I don’t care to understand as they seem to demand some rather invasive medical procedures, and one of which involves downloading your brain into a computer which doesn’t seem quite so onerous and I would imagine, would be somewhat faster and require much less direct participation from me. It’s complicated but I suppose if you think you are still thinking, perhaps you are. Cogito ergo sum.  And I suppose it wouldn’t be all that bad. Especially if they could take that computer brain and put it into a fantastic robot body. I mean, imagine. Not only could you live for a 1000 years but you could do it in someone else’s hot body. Like Marilyn Monroe. Or Jennifer Lopez. Or perhaps Ms. Streisand which in my particular case, wouldn’t be much of a stretch or, from what I hear, much different. But as compelling as all of this might sound, as a shallow person I got thinking about the prospect of being stuck on this earth for a thousand years and decided there could be a considerable downside because knowing what I know, I have to ask, who really wants to live to be 1000? And the more I thought about it, the more reasons I came up with, so in true “shallow be my name” fashion, I thought I would take this opportunity to share some of the most persuasive of them with you. Here they are. My top 10, most persuasive reasons for not wanting to live to be 1000 at the end of which, I am confident, you truly will be careful for what you wish.

#1. If you can live to be 1000 so can that irritating neighbor of yours.
#2. You’re gonna need a year’s worth of stars to get a free one at Starbucks and that’s a lotta lattes.
#3. Survivor season 753, and Jeff Probst is still counting the votes.
#4. Gas is $700.00 a litre, food costs you a couple grand a week and you haven’t had a raise in 500 years.
#5. 1000 years old and you still haven’t won the lottery.
#6. Just how many times do you think you can feign excitement when you hear “Honey, I’m home”!
#7. Meatloaf again?
#8. If you’ve said this once you’ve said it a million times. Literally.
#9. Your brain has been downloaded to a computer and you’re living in a robot body. Think about it.
#10. And last but not least, I’ll still be writing this blog and you’ll still feel obligated to read it 1000 years from now.

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There’s no such thing…

ghostYou’ve heard it before. You’re sitting around, chit chatting with a bunch of friends and before you know it the conversation turns to ghosts. Someone in the group has a story to tell about how their front door mysteriously opens and closes, once a year, at the exact same time as, coincidently, the previous owner “bit the dust”, as people are wont to  say. Then there’s the guy who swears up and down that every morning when he comes down for breakfast he discovers that the front burner on the stove is on and there’s a faint smell of burnt toast lingering in the air, and he never eats toast so there has to be ghost in the house. And a hungry one, at that. This conversation continues on for some time, because who doesn’t have a story to tell about a ghost?  But sure as the sun rises every morning, you know there’s gonna be one voice in the crowd, one Doubting Thomas who, before too long will emphatically declare “there’s no such thing as ghosts”. And while, in this particular case it’s entirely possible that the validity of this statement is open to debate, especially given all of the evidence you’ve just been privy to, I do believe there are circumstances when those who are so bold as to proclaim “there’s no such thing as” (and you can fill in the blank here) are, and I say this with the utmost respect, entirely wrong.  Let me give you an example.

In my line of work people ask a lot of questions. It’s only natural. Some people teach, others learn and on both sides of this equation there are lots of questions asked and answered. Most often, a great deal of thought and consideration is afforded these questions. Teachers, as an example can spend days formulating the kinds of questions that will compel their students to think carefully and deeply about the subject matter. Students, on the other hand, know that the right question can send their teacher off on a tangent that, with any luck, will take a huge bite out of class time thereby preventing any further questions being asked of them. In either case, these are usually what one would call “good” questions. But every once in a while, and this is not unique to the classroom, someone, and you may well have done this yourself, will preface a question they are just about to ask with the rather self-deprecating proclamation “this may be a stupid/silly question but” primarily, it seems to me, to pre-empt the possibility that someone else may be thinking the very same thing. The polite response to this admonition is, of course, “there’s no such thing as a stupid/silly question” which, I am going to tell you now, is unequivocally not true. Because, and I say this with a fair bit of confidence and not simply because I am shallow, there really and truly is. I know this because I am routinely asked stupid/silly questions. Like these.

  1. Do you know who you look like? For starters, while I am not particularly vain, I am prone to looking into a mirror several times each day. Let’s face it. If nothing else, more than likely I’m gonna wash my hands a few times and typically, there’s a mirror above the sink in which I am doing that. Intentional or not, at that point I’m faced with my face so it’s not all that hard to come up with the answer to this question. Without a doubt I bear a rather strong resemblance to my Mother and at least one of my Brothers, which makes sense given that my siblings and I are the progeny of the same, happy couple. Nothing out of the ordinary here and probably the case for many people.  Seems to me like a rather obvious answer to a somewhat silly question.
  2. Has anyone ever told you who you look like? Now I’m the first to admit that I’m no spring chicken which means I’ve been around the block more than once or twice. Barring the answer to that first question I have come to understand that I bear a striking resemblance to to a very popular chanteuse. Seems to be common knowledge at this point. So let’s think about this. If you who are asking me this question, have come to this conclusion all on your very own, why is it that you think perhaps no one else ever has? And if you see fit to actually come up to me, a complete stranger, to ask me this question, don’t you think it is possible that someone else may have done so as well over the very many years I have been on this planet? Fortunately, in most cases people answer this one themselves with “of course they have” relieving me of the rather tedious task of coming up with a witty response to what, now that I’ve explained it, you must conclude from my perspective, is a rather stupid question.
  3. Are you Barbra Streisand? Ok. I get it. You really want to meet a superstar and you don’t want to take any chances at missing out on your opportunity to do so. I will concede that the degree of stupidity of this question could be contextual. Let’s say you and I were to meet at the backstage door of the Dolby Theatre on Oscar night. We’re both dressed to the nines and as you glance over it suddenly strikes you that you may be standing next to the most popular singer, actress and director (not to mention a few other accomplishments), ever. You want to know for sure, so you ask. To tell the truth, this could very well be a legitimate question in this case. However, since I have never been in the above circumstance, I usually get this question in the midst of a somewhat more mundane activity. Like checking out at the Target. Or walking into Costco. Or stopping to go to the bathroom at some truckstop on the I-5. Or standing in line to check into my room at a hotel. Ok, so it’s a Hyatt. She still wouldn’t stand in the line. The answer to the question is, of course, “no”. But hey! You already knew that. Just seems a little silly to me.
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