Tag Archives: Beach

Pets are People Too

I’ve been thinking about this a lot since walking past the young woman wearing a Tee emblazoned with “Pets are People Too” as she made her way with her loyal companion to our neighbourhood dog beach. Named as such, I suppose, because its a place where you can let your dog frolic without the constraints of a leash and where no sane person without a dog would dare to venture.  As I pondered this sentiment of hers (I assume that’s why she donned that particular Tee) I came to the only conclusion that I could. Actually they are not. Pets are not people too.

Now before you get your knickers in a knot, you need to remember that I have shared my home with cats (there have been 3) for the past 38 (yes, I counted) years. And I love, and have loved them dearly. I know from experience that we pet owners, cherish our pets. They become important members of the family. We pamper them, cuddle them, talk to them and give them our hearts. But I can honestly say that at no time over what has been a very long time, have I ever mistaken one of them for a person.

This might surprise you but as a shallow person I don’t come to conclusions lightly. Actually, I like to look at things from all sides mostly in the hope of never having to commit to one or the other. So when I started to think about pets being people I spent some considerable time pondering whether or not this could actually be true. The more I thought about it the more examples I came up with to disprove this theory. Think about it.

First things first. If pets were people at some point in their lives, hopefully sooner than later, they would figure out that it is rather inappropriate to “do their business”, so to speak, wherever and whenever they choose. Even the most resistant of children come to grips with going to the toilet before they reach, I’ll be generous here as some less demanding parents are, their 4th birthday. With pets however, we seem quite content to pick up after them ad infinitum. We don’t hesitate to load up our pockets with plastic bags each time we leave the house or start the day off, sieve in hand, over the litter box cleaning out the produce of the previous day. If pets were people, it seems to me that we wouldn’t be picking up their poop for the rest of their lives.

This too. If pets were people they certainly would not tolerate having us dress them up in silly outfits. Have you ever tried to put a hat on a baby? You put it on, they take it off. You put it on again, they take it off again. One more try. You put it on, with more authority this time. They start screaming and throw it on the floor. You pick it up and put it back in the closet. But not pets. Your pet (well let’s be realistic, this doesn’t apply to all pets) will not only let you dress them in a Halloween costume of your choice, they will also let you take a pic and post the goofy look on Facebook for all your friends to comment. Just try that with one of your kids and see what happens. If pets were people you’d be out that night trick or treating on your own.

And finally. If pets were people, dimes to dollars they wouldn’t be quite as loyal, compassionate, forgiving and non-judgemental as we all know they are. Let’s face it. When was the last time your pet looked at you as if to say “where did you find those 10 pounds?” Or chastised you for not having dinner on the table precisely at 6:30 pm? Who lays at the end of your bed all day long while you sniff and blow and moan and groan with that flu bug you didn’t get a shot for simply because they know it makes you feel just a little bit better to have them there? Who can you tell all of your secrets to and be 100 percent confident that they will never tell anyone else? And who’s there to greet you each and every time you walk through your front door no matter how long you’ve been away? I’ll tell you who. Your pet. Well unless it’s a hamster, a rabbit, some sort of reptile, a bird or a fish in which case greeting you at the door probably isn’t such a good idea. Can you say the same for the people in your house? That’s what I thought.

As you can see I have put quite a lot of thought into this and steadfastly stand by my claim that pets are not really people at all. And you know what? I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.

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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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We have a problem

girl-with-smart-phoneI’m shallow. Perhaps that’s more than a bit of an understatement from someone who has been writing a blog about said condition for nigh on three years. And if you’ve been with me for all or even some of this time I suppose that to some extent at least, you have come to know about me and my ways. As such, I am sure you would concur when I say I do my best to accept life as it comes, let bygones be bygones and live and let live. What you might not know is that I am an avid observer of human behaviour. Let’s face it. Anyone who spends as much time as I do sitting on a patio sipping lattes ought to notice something about humankind. And as much as I hate to admit it, I have become quite bothered of late by what appears to me to be an ever growing problem shared not by a few, but by the vast majority of people I have encountered in not one but many situations. Having thought about it for some time, I have decided to use this medium of mine, limited as it may be, to share (some might say vent) my feelings on this rather troubling phenomenon. So fair warning…this is gonna be a rant.

Here’s the thing. Everywhere I go, everywhere I look, whether walking on the beach, driving down the road, shopping for (let’s just say) a bar of soap, or enjoying that heretofore mentioned latte, people are on the phone. And if they’re not actually talking on it, texting on it, or taking pictures (primarily of themselves for some reason I hesitate to try to explain) with it, they simply have it in their hand. In fact it is a rarity these days to actually see someone without a phone. The thing has become ubiquitous. Never mind the notion that future generations will be born without a baby toe because, as we all know, who really needs that? All things being equal, if we continue on our current trajectory, I figure future iterations of this species of ours will be born with special little grooves on our dominant hand into which we can permanently slip our miniature talking devices. But back to the point. How did phones, of all things, become such an insidious and, from where I sit, annoying aspect of our lives? How is it that we have become so dominated by this comparatively new, in the scheme of things, piece of technology? How is it that we have let them take over?

Get ready, because I’m just going to go ahead and say it. In the “good ol’ days” when you were out you were out. Business was business and pleasure was pleasure. Now no one knows what’s what anymore because you have your phone.  You’re walking down the beach, the sky and water are a brilliant shade of turquoise blue, not a cloud in the sky, the cool wet sand is cushioning each and every step you take, waves are crashing against the shore, rocks glistening in the sun, but do you notice? No. You’re on the phone talking to some shmo’ who got stuck at the office on the weekend because he spent so much time answering emails that he couldn’t get his work done and now he needs you to help him out.  And he knows you can because you have your phone.

In the good ol’ days when you sat down to eat you inhaled the delicate smells of the freshly cooked meal in front of you, admired the array of colours artistically arranged on the plate making each part of the meal look more appetizing  than the next, wondered where to start and which succulent bite you wanted to experience first. Now when that meal comes to your table you take out your phone and take a picture of what you imagine will be a most delicious treat and then, before reaching for your fork, you post that picture on Facebook so that I can see what you are not, at least at that moment, eating. And here’s the thing. No matter how good that picture looks, no matter how delectable that meal appears to be, I’m still going to be chowing down on yesterday’s leftovers which I might decide to warm up if, and that’s a big if, I can find the energy to do so.

Just one more so bear with me please. In the good ol’ days when you were driving that’s pretty much all you were doing. Sure, you might be listening to a few tunes on the radio, singing along to some “oldies but goodies” on that easy listening station you favour, and the kids might be bickering in the back seat, the sounds of their chiding almost driving you to distraction but you keep your eyes peeled on that road because the kids are in the backseat. Now, sitting at a red light looking over to the person in the hot rod next to me, invariably they are on the phone. And if they’re not talking on it they’re texting that all important two line message to someone who is likely in another car doing the very same thing. Apparently that $20.00 fine they face down here just doesn’t seem to make a difference but perhaps the day they wrap that car around a tree, or even worse, yours or my car around a tree, will.

Right about now you might be thinking “What’s with the shallow gal? What’s her problem? I like my phone. And here’s the thing. I like my phone too but let me just be bold and say it. Just because you and I like our phones doesn’t mean that we don’t have a problem. And just because I’m shallow doesn’t mean I’m not going to say that we do.

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Here We Go Again

suitcasesAnother year, another 18 bucks and I’m back. Back from the beach and back to the blog. I know. You thought I was dead and I’m not. Just recovering from the shock of returning to the cold and snow. It’s not that I haven’t been thinking because I have. Mostly about all of the things I learned I like about being down south. It’s true. I have a very strong preference for warm weather over cold. And I like walking on the beach much more than I like walking on the treadmill, which is what I have to do now because it’s so cold. I like sitting outside at Starbucks better than inside and I relish the concept of being able to order cold drinks all year round. Not that I would. But I could. I like Sunday street markets where I can buy strawberries and avocados picked locally the day before. And they taste the way strawberries and avocados should taste. I really like being able to stay up as late as I want and not having to worry about getting up in the morning for work. Although it’s not as if I don’t stay up as late as I want every night. So I suppose it’s the “not getting up in the morning” that’s the best part of that “like”. But what I like more than anything else is that I can wear jeans, T-shirts and flip flops all of the time. Which quite surprisingly leads me to something I didn’t learn. Apparently, I didn’t learn how to pack light. And I say this with some confidence having lugged two “almost overweight” bags along with a “more than regulation weight” carry-on around several airports.

It’s not that I haven’t been around this block before. In fact, this year was my third sojourn to the sea so it would be fair to say I have a pretty good idea about what’s what. Let’s face it. The beach is a casual place where fashion takes a back seat to comfort. I’m pretty sure that people there are single handedly keeping LuLuLemon above water. And while I continue to find the “boots thing” somewhat bewildering I completely understand the penchant for amphibious footwear. On the “101” you’re likely to find yourself walking behind a group of rather svelte surfer dudes sporting the latest in wetsuit couture, which although practical given the circumstances, I don’t actually recommend unless you have a body mass index hovering in the 15 – 18 range. Overall it’s pretty much a “come as you are” kind of place and you would think that as a shallow person I would have this one in the bag…so to speak. I mean, I know for 100% sure that each morning I’m going to get up and pull on my jeans and a “T” because last time I looked, Starbucks hadn’t instituted a dress code. For goodness sakes! I’m on the beach. Even Auntie Fannie would be ok with my wardrobe choice. So, as you can see, I know exactly what I need and what I don’t. This is a “no brainer”. At least on paper it is.

But here’s the rub. For some reason still unbeknownst to me, each and every year I pack an inordinate amount of clothes which, from the get go, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to wear. It all starts out ok. The cases come out and in go the jeans and T-shirts, along with all that other necessary “goes without saying”, stuff. Next come the accessories, and while for some 6 pairs of shoes, 5 watches, and 8 belts may sound a tad excessive for a beach vacay, you can chalk it up to that matching obsession of mine. Throw in some shorts (I won’t wear them but who goes south without shorts) and a bathing suit, and you would think I could call it a wrap. You would think! But nope! It’s right about now that those nasty little voices in my head start egging me on. It goes something like this:

Voice: You’re going away without your favourite shirt?!
Me: It will be here when I get back. Ok, I’ll take it.
Voice: What if you decide to go to a fancy restaurant? You’re going to wear jeans and a T?
Me: I don’t go to fancy restaurants. Ok, I better take something just in case.
Voice: What if you accidentally spill something?
Me: There’s a washing machine. Ok, one more pair of jeans ‘cause you never know.

You get the picture. Before I can say Jack Robinson I’m looking down at two, large red suitcases chock full of a whole lot of duds that I “might” but probably will not wear. It just happens but as Mr. Nicholson would say, “something’s gotta give”. So next year I’m going to learn from my mistakes. Next year I’m going to stick to my guns. As a matter of fact I’ve already decided what I’m not going to bring. And you can be sure I won’t be sharing that information with the little voice in my head.

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This is Not a Resolution

pink fleece3Most of you know by now that, other than having a penchant for the “Top 10” of anything, I don’t really make lists. There are no resolutions at the start of the year; nothing in my bucket; and certainly no promises I can’t keep. Having said that, I am always open and ready for suggestions that just might make my life a tiny bit better than it already is. Not that it isn’t great. I mean, here I am in one of the most beautiful places in the United States of America spending my days sipping on a “grande” and evenings watching the sun sink into a sea of remarkably vivid yellows, reds and oranges. But every once in a while something happens that makes me want to change things up a little. And that’s what happened just the other day.

Big surprise. I’m sitting on the patio of my local Starbucks working hard at listening to the interesting conversations going on around me, at least the ones that are taking place between people. Because something I may not have mentioned is that there are a lot of dogs here at the beach and most of them appear to be very close to their humans. So close that for some reason unbeknownst to me (I share my home with a cat, which we all know is a horse of a different colour), the humans here seem to believe their dogs have an excellent command of the English language, and so they talk to them. In full sentences. And sometimes, when you’re listening in on other people’s conversations, that gets just a little confusing. Although none of this has anything to do with my life changing experience because on this day there were no interesting conversations. There was only a very cute little girl.

Let’s face it, with a few exceptions, kids in general are pretty cute. I see lots of them everyday and, other than the ones that live in my house, they normally have little to no impact on my life. But this little girl with her shiny jet black, silky locks, was different. It wasn’t because she was able to amuse herself playing a lonesome game of hide and seek while her parents chatted away at their table. Nor that she was exceedingly well behaved as she patiently waited for them to finish their afternoon delights. There was nothing remarkable about that. Nope. What made this little girl stand out from all others was her extraordinary sense of fashion reflected in her outfit which I am pretty sure she alone was responsible for putting together. Here’s what she wore. To protect herself from getting a chill she donned a purple, leopard patterned, down vest. She sported this over a red striped jersey dress and for added warmth, a pair of apple green leggings. To complete this ensemble she chose a pair of pink striped socks and blue canvas shoes. Although looking very “couture” not one item in this collection of designer duds matched. And she looked perfect.

I’ve said it before so I suppose I’m saying it again. I’m no fashionista but if there’s one thing I know about, it’s matching which, I get, is not all that difficult when your wardrobe consists primarily of black t-shirts and skinny blue jeans. But I do get “dressed” every once in a while and when that happens you can bet your bottom dollar there will be no conflicting colours or patterns to jar the eye on my 5’2” frame. Although my shoes may not always match my purse, mostly because I get up late and who has time to make the transfer of goods from one bag to another, you can be pretty sure they will at least coordinate with whatever else is on my body. Listen, you’re talking to a girl who has 15 watches in a variety of colours, and north of 30 belts so there’s a pretty good chance that those accessories are going to harmonize. I mean how could they not? And while many would say this propensity to coordinate is a “good thing” I cringe just a little as I recall my latest conversation with my hairdresser when, in her attempt to complement, referred to my style as “matchy, matchy”. Translation: “boring, boring”.

Which is why I was so inspired by that little girl on the Starbucks patio that, while not making an actual “resolution” I have decided to change my ways. Of course this is easier said than done as my predilection for dressing in complementary tones is rather ingrained in my being.  Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like “everything” I wear matches. I mean I have been known to arrive at work with one navy and one black sock but that’s usually because I have put them on in the dark and who couldn’t make that mistake. And I do have a pair of shoes that are designed to be mismatched (the left is different than the right) but maybe that doesn’t count since they actually are a matching pair. Nonetheless, I am painfully aware that to fully meet my goal I’m going to have to put in more than a modicum of effort but there’s always a first step to be taken and I have taken mine. Yesterday, as I got ready for my daily walk on beach, against what was heretofore my better judgement, I chose from my otherwise monochromatic wardrobe, an orange “t” topped by a rather shocking pink fleece. And without a second glance in the mirror, out the door I went in all my unmatched glory.

Now I know what you’re thinking and to put any of your doubts to rest, the answer is yes, as unlikely as it may seem, I really do own a pink fleece.

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