Tag Archives: California

Shallow and a “Little” Scared

prairie-roads-1220316Well enough time has passed and I think I can talk about it. You know by now that, come January, we gravitate to more moderate climes. In past years we have done so using the most efficient if not, admittedly, the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation and it takes about 5 hours, give or take an additional hour or two in some airport lounge along the way. Flying may not be my favourite activity but barring extended and extensive periods of turbulence (in which case all bets are off), deep in my heart I’m pretty sure that when I board that airliner I’m going to debark safely at my intended destination. But that was not the case this year. This year one of us said to the other “so how about we drive down south?” to which the “other” foolishly responded “good idea”. Because while this “other” doesn’t mind hitting the road, especially since we are doing so in the cutest little buggy ever, she (that’s me) really only likes to drive the blacktop when the sun is shining and the roads are clear and dry. And believe me, that was not the case on any of the seemingly many days we spent making our way down to where the turf meets the surf. Which, and this is not an “alternative fact”,  made me just a little scared mostly because I happen to like being on this side of that pearly gate.

Now people are going to tell me there are lots of things to be scared of that are much worse than driving in the rain, ice and snow in a tiny little car. Like spiders. Lots of people seem to be afraid of spiders. I’m not sure why. To me spiders are just little creatures, with lots of legs, who make quite lovely and intricate homes for themselves. Ok, I suppose they do use those homes to catch unsuspecting other bugs who unwittingly venture into their webs and, I imagine, quite unceremoniously become delectable morsels to be enjoyed for a late night repast. But unless you’re my friend Wade who has chosen to live among some of the more treacherous members of the species, you’re probably not going to suffer any harm from an encounter with that Daddy Long Legs who decided to take up residence in your basement. Certainly (and this is from my perspective) it’s not worth stomping out his rather precarious life when we know full well that doing so will no doubt result in the proverbial downpour I’ve mentioned above. At least you won’t find me making that trade-off any time soon.

Then there are clowns. I’ve mentioned this in the past but that’s no reason not to include them here. Some people are afraid of clowns. So much so that there’s even a name for it. Coulrophobia. You can look it up. This fear I kind of get. Let’s face it. There have been some pretty scary clown like figures around in our time. Like the Joker. Not the nicest guy and unless you are a superhero of some sort, probably not one you want to bump into when taking the garbage out at night. And more recently, those people who for some unknown reason decided it would be a hoot to dress up as creepy clowns and scare the bejeezus out of little children.  But let’s put those aside for a moment. Most of us encounter clowns under happier circumstances. Like at a birthday party, or the circus, or even at the rodeo, which, if you ask me, has much scarier things going on than clowns. These are happy clowns. They do tricks, hand out balloon animals and generally do their best to make people laugh. Given the choice, I’d rather watch a clown slip on a banana peel than find myself sliding my way through a sea of black ice.

Ok, I know. There are plenty of people in this part of the country who will tell you there are way scarier things than spiders or clowns or even driving in the rain. The fellow who has taken hold of the reigns in this neck of the woods seems to have sparked a whole new level of fear amongst the people. In many cases they are scared because they don’t really know what he will do. Then there are those who are scared because they do know what he will do. Certainly women are scared they will lose control their bodies. Immigrants are scared they will have to leave the country they love and call home. The LGBTQQIP2SAA (I do my best ot be inclusive) are scared of losing the rights they fought so hard to obtain. Some people will tell you they are scared that they will no longer get the facts but rather something called the “alternative facts”. Others think the “real” facts will be scary enough. Everyone is scared about how the world will react to the policies that are designed to keep America great again. You don’t have to hit me over the head. Millions of people right across this world of ours are marching in the streets to let us know just how scared they are. I can honestly say that, even though I’m a shallow person, it has become quite clear to me that at this moment in time there is no shortage of things to be scared about. 

With that said, I’m starting to think that maybe driving in the rain and snow isn’t so scary.  I’m also starting to think that perhaps I should be more than just a “little” scared.

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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’m sorry. Honestly, I am. To tell you the truth, I’ve spent the last week mulling over what I would write in my next post and up until today, this wasn’t it. Let’s face it. As a shallow person I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about things that I should apologize for. I suppose there was that “I’m Sorry” piece I wrote a few months ago, but that was more of an observation than a confession. And I guess I did ask for your understanding and tolerance when writing those rants of mine, although in retrospect, that was not so much to apologize as it was to politely let you know what was to come. Let’s face it. I may be a Canadian but I’m just not an apologetic kind of gal and yet, here I am doing the very thing I’ve just told you I don’t often do. Which leads me to believe that right about now, you’re probably looking for an explanation.

Some of you know that I started this little blog of mine to help others understand that life in the shallow lane isn’t all that bad. In fact, divested of the burden of constantly seeking meaning from each and every day, one can actually live a rather blissful existence. It was important for me to share with you that it’s possible to be shallow yet happy or sad, thoughtful or introspective and, at times, even funny. Without being presumptuous I wanted to help you to gain just a little bit of insight into the life of one, if not all, shallow person. Along the way it wouldn’t have bothered me one bit if I had sold a “Shallow and Proud” T-shirt or two which I certainly would have made had anyone asked. Or if this blog had somehow gone viral. Nonetheless, I am content in knowing, as my little Bro’ oft reminds me, that I have a small but loyal following. Now I’m thinking that you’re thinking there’s absolutely nothing to be sorry about. But unfortunately you would be wrong.

I’m no political pundit. As a matter of fact, and as you can well imagine, I don’t pay all that much attention to the powers that be, or those that would like to be.  For the most part, I figure that they are going to do pretty much what they want to do regardless of what I would actually like them do to. At the risk of being overly cynical, from where I sit it seems that they know and care about me as much as I know or care about them. Don’t get me wrong. I have my preferences and every once in awhile I mark my “x” on a little piece of paper, for better or for worse, to let them know what I think. And for the most part, that’s the extent of my involvement in the political process. At least that’s what I thought until this most recent batch of presidential hopefuls found their way onto the stage.

You see, for the past couple of months while I’ve been enjoying the sun and surf, it has been hard to avoid all of the hoopla surrounding the upcoming changing of the guard in these United States. It seems that at least a couple of times a week five or six guys (apparently the number varies according to who is asking the questions) get up on the stage to take part in something that is called, but doesn’t in any conventional way, resemble a debate. Because it seems that each and every time they get behind their little podiums they neglect to talk about the issues, or their policies or even the state of affairs that this world of ours is in. Rather, it seems as though they prefer to spend their time calling each other some rather unbecoming names, pointing out past indiscretions, and generally acting in ways that would make you or I scold a five year old. And while I’ve been watching, I’ve been wondering why. Why would these men, in their well tailored suits and expertly coiffed hair, be acting like this?  Why are they saying and doing things that their Mother’s would disapprove? What makes them think that this is what the voting public wants or expects of them? What is going on and more importantly, how did this happen? And that’s when a rather terrifying thought crossed my mind.

Over the past few weeks I have noticed an increased number of visitors to this site from the U.S. of A and that got me thinking. Is it possible that one or two, maybe even three of these fellas happened upon this blog? Is it possible that they have been reading my musings about being shallow, not realizing that these are the ramblings of one single human being among many? Could they be focusing in on the “thoughtful and introspective” parts and missing all the “funny”? And at the risk of sounding just a tad arrogant, could my blog be the reason for all of their shenanigans? The way things are going these days, I suppose anything is possible. So just in case this is the case, I find myself in the rather awkward position of having to say I’m sorry. Really, really sorry.

I’m really, really sorry!

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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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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.

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