Tag Archives: Facebook

I Finally Figured it Out!

I love baking. I don’t think I have to tell you, at least those of you that know me, that these are  three words I never thought I would utter. And if you don’t believe me, just ask my children. They are the ones who suffered through the late evenings when I was compelled to at least attempt to fulfill my duty as the “muffin mom”. You know. The one who must provide muffins for the entire class on an appointed day which, from what I can recall, was the third Thursday of each month. Honestly, I have tried to block this whole episode from my mind because here’s what would happen on the rare occasion when my husband, who was by any measure a very competent baker, was not available to take on the task. 

First let me explain that the school my children attended was full of men and women whose lives were dedicated to ensuring their families would never be subjected to anything that resembled what we have all come to know and love, junk food. And in this case, you should define “junk” in the broadest sense of the word. Consequently, it meant that muffins entering the classroom were not only to be devoid of common allergens like nuts, or peanut butter (something I could of course understand and get behind) but also had to exclude that most basic of all ingredients, white sugar. In addition oil had to be replaced with something less toxic like homemade applesauce, and it goes without saying that chocolate chips were strictly forboden. All of which were the only fallbacks I could rely on to make something even remotely edible emerge from my oven. So typically I would do my best to put together ingredients that would be acceptable to the most discerning folks, sample the results, and then head to the nearest 24 hour supermarket (the only place that would be open by the time I was done) to pick up a couple dozen of whatever they had left at that time of night. Preferably with bran. At that point, all that was left to do was remove the packaging, place the muffins in a couple of heritage looking tins (a gift from my Mother) and read my kids the riot act should they be foolish enough to breathe a word of this to anyone.

Now my lack of baking prowess comes at no surprise, at least to me. Simply, I wasn’t from a baking family. Perhaps it’s because I have three brothers who were raised in the day and age when boys only entered the kitchen to eat. Or maybe it was because my Mother, who was very good at very many things, was definitely not good at being a baker. My earliest and only memory of baking with my Mom was the one day, a long time ago, we shared space in the kitchen to demonstrate to the rest of the family that, given the chance, we could make a cake and maybe eat it too. We were wrong. I will admit that my Mom’s turned out slightly better than mine but, from what I recall, that wasn’t saying much since I have a vague memory of banging my little cake on the counter in an attempt to break off a slice. But why dwell on the past when the future holds so much promise. 

I’m not sure I can pinpoint the exact date and time my metamorphosis took place. Well maybe I can but I’ll save that for later. What I do know is that when we moved to this little Island we now inhabit full-time we were blessed with what by most standards is a fairly large kitchen with ironically, a rather large island and a great big oven. Even I knew that this was every baker’s dream. The only thing missing were the tools required for the job and, of course, the baker. The first was an easy fix as I rushed to my favourite store to purchase what we all know is the quintessential baker’s appliance, the stand mixer. I was pleased to be able to acquire this tool in a lovely blue which matched my colour scheme. Because who was I kidding? I knew this would be a mostly decorative device. And it was, until one day a couple of ladies from my walking group suggested we get together to make some rugellah. At my house. Well why not I thought. I have the space, I can get the ingredients and most importantly, I have a heretofore never used, colour coordinated stand mixer. Let me just say, the rest is history.

To make a rather long story just a tad shorter, from that day forward I never stopped baking. Now I bake muffins and loaves, cookies and brownies and, believe it or not, even bread! (Well to be fair, I’m going to try to bake bread today). Some of what I bake is great, some is ok and some is best delivered to the ducks. But good or bad I just love baking. And apparently, now that we are all responsibly staying in our homes, so does the rest of the world. I know this because a day doesn’t go by when someone I know (or portend to know) doesn’t post a pic of a delectable treat they have spent hours slaving over a hot oven to make. And that gave this shallow gal an idea.

Perhaps at this point I should mention that while I love to bake I’m by no means a baker. What that means is I don’t have a clue about the chemistry of baking. I don’t know what baking soda does, or why I have to add salt, or whether or not I need to bring my eggs to room temperature, and if I do, what difference that might make. Hence the only thing I can do is follow a recipe to the letter. Let me tell you, I’m no Auntie Fanny (get well soon!) when it comes to culinary pursuits. So here’s my idea. Since we are all home and we are all baking maybe you could take some time to share your fav delights with all of us. And since I already have a blog with a small but loyal following, I am more than happy to volunteer my services to compile and post any that you send to me.  If you know my email address send them there. If you don’t, you can post them in the comments here. And if you can figure out any other way to get them to me, well you can do that too.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not converting the shallow blog into a baking blog. No way. It just occurred to me that after all this time I have finally figured out a way to get other people to write this thing for me. Come on! You must know by now that even bakers can be shallow.

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Some things change…some don’t

Just in case you are wondering, I may not have written anything for awhile but I’m still here.  Which is not so unusual. I mean I’ve always written this blog in fits and starts. Mostly fits but you have to admit there is a consistency to my sometimes longer that expected absences. It’s not because I’m so busy. It’s just that after 5 years it’s not always easy to come up with an idea. Something to write about. Which is about the same as it’s always been. Or at least for the last few years. But I’m also still here. Here in my home on this little Island of mine. If you have been following along for awhile you know that around this time each and every year I make my way down the left side of those United States of America to spend time at the beach. And you know how much I love being at the beach. Which, I can only imagine, leaves you wondering why. Why I’m still here. Well it’s just that while some things stay the same, others do not.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m good with whichever way the cookies crumble. Because sometimes having things stay the same is a good thing.  Like our Bandit. I know you hate to ask at this point but our cute as a button kitty, now in the 20th year of making our home her home, is doing just fine.  Well about as fine as an almost 20 year old kitty can be doing. Granted, while she spends a good deal of her time sleeping in her bed, my bed, the guest bed, really anywhere she pleases, when awake she is still as loving and cuddly as ever. So what if she can’t hear a lick? She’s happy almost all of the time and that’s what really counts. Suffice to say, she’s the same and we’re happy about that. Even if it means that other things are not. You see, the older she gets the harder it is for us to leave her, hence the change in our plans this year. I suppose this is a  prime example of how some things stay the same while other things don’t. Which of course, as oft happens when it comes to writing this blog, got me thinking about more things that have changed, and haven’t

Coincidentally, (and I’m sure it was since I don’t think the Facebook people have the ability to actually read my mind, yet) my dear online friends (some of them are real too) started to post pics of themselves from today and some time before today. Actually 10 years before today to be exact. And before I could say jack robinson everyone and their dog (literally) were posting “then and now” pics of themselves. It was a “thing”. The “10 year challenge” and who isn’t up for a challenge? Particularly one that doesn’t involve climbing, running, jumping or pouring ice cold water on oneself. At first blush I figured it was best to sit this one out, at least for the time being. I mean, did I really want to put my 10 year younger self side by side with my now much older self? If I did, what might people think? Heck, what might I think? It seemed to me that as long as you can fool some of the people some of the time, that’s good enough. And since the last photo I posted on “the Book” was of me and my 103 year old Mother, I was already doing pretty well in what I would like to dub the “30+ year challenge”.

And then it hit me. The shallow gal knew exactly what to do. Of course I should post a pic. It just had to be the right one. You see, I quickly realized  that the people who chose to participate in this exercise were people who actually thought they either looked better or, at the very least, the same as they did 10 years earlier. I mean, why else would anyone subject themselves to the kind of scrutiny that such a pic in Facebook is sure to bring? Especially now that the “haha” emoji has become an option. Let’s face it. Who’s going to post a pic of themselves that highlights 10 years of neglect? Hello everyone. I’d like you all to see how much I’ve gone downhill over the last 10 years. Not gonna happen. The solution was clear. All I had to do was find a 10 year old pic where I was not at my best, and pair it with a really good current pic. Problem solved. The hair, the eyes, the smile. Everything appears to be the same. Unfortunately, you can’t fool all the people all of the time and the neck never lies.  Because, and you probably know this already, some things simply can’t stay the same.

Now I have to skedaddle. As it turns out it seems we are going to make our way to the beach after all and I have a few last minute items on my “to do” list. For starters I need to clean the house, figure out what to take, iron, pack, go to the bank, book hotels, get the cat some food, and probably another 40 or so errands I haven’t thought about yet. I’m leaving pretty soon so I suppose I should get started. Yeah, I know. Some things stay the same forever.

 

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To go or not to go…It’s a question

reunionPlease don’t get me wrong. I’m not insinuating that any of you are shallow just because you read this blog. I know that many of you (and by all accounts there are “many” now) just want to know how the other percentage (small as it may be) lives. You’re curious and that’s ok. I mean, from the very beginning it’s what this blog has been about. At least I’ve always thought of it as a little window into the life of a shallow person. Sometimes you can see your reflection in a window, sometimes not. I suppose it all  depends on how the light falls. Having said that, something has recently happened to me that I would bet my bottom dollar has also happened to you. Because, like me, I’m guessing that each and every one of you attended elementary school. And this comes as a result of that.

As usual, before I get to the crux there’s a little something I have to say. For the most part, I have spent the time since elementary school, and there has been a lot of it, pretty much minding my own business. It’s not that I don’t think about my preparatory alma mater once in awhile.  I’ve even been known to take a drive by when visiting the old neighborhood, just to see if, like me, it’s still standing. It’s just that in the intervening years I have moved from my hometown, not once but thrice, each time substantially further to the west. As a matter of fact, at this point I’m just about as west as one can get in this coast to coast to coast country of ours and with each of these moves the chances of casually bumping into someone from the “good ol’ days” has substantially diminished, along quite frankly, with my memory.

It’s not that I have completely divorced myself from my long ago past. Of course I’m on Facebook and, as one or two of you know, there have been a couple of “blast from the past” moments where me and my former clarinet band mates have had a chance to get together to share some notes. But those connections have been few and far between leaving me, for the most part, with little recollection of my first grade teacher or the popcorn man or even whether I was chastised by Mrs. Elder for not having my sneakers as white as they should have been for gym class. Ok, clearly that one I remember. So with this in mind, you will understand how surprised I was to find out that this year is the 75th anniversary of my elementary school. (No, not my 75th, just the school itself.) And to discover that yes, there is going to be a reunion.

I don’t know about you but as a shallow person my head starts to spin just a little as I consider the implications of this event. It might not surprise you that one of the first things that crossed my mind was my closet. I mean just what might I have in that closet of mine that I would want someone who hasn’t seen me for the better part of 50 years to see? Keep in mind that I was raised in a rather tony part of the big city where parents regaled at the thought of having their six to twelve year old children wear a uniform lest it inhibit their fashion sense.  Oh boy, it’s all coming back to me!  Apparently I didn’t have as much at stake as others may have as now, with most of my days spent working from my home office on this laid back little island of ours, it’s a bit of a stretch to find much beyond jeans and a tee on those hangers of mine. Hence the conundrum. Does one  “come as I am” and not betray thy inner self, or would a trip to the local boutique to drop a bundle on some designer duds which, might I add, are likely put together in the same precarious third world building as that tee of mine, be in order? Honestly, as a shallow person I can go either way with this one. But that’s just one of the many questions that have popped into my head upon learning of this impending get together.

Like who’s going to recognize me anyway? Not that I’ve done anything in particular to look different. There’s been no cuts and tucks, no needles and pins in this face of mine. Heck, I’m lucky to take the time to draw on a couple of eyebrows every morning. Astonishingly, my hair is the same colour as it was way back when, but even so, I’m pretty sure time, in and of itself has taken it’s toll and there will be those who must  inconspicuously glance down to my “Hi, My name is ________”  tag that no doubt we will be asked to don upon entry.  As will I to theirs. Bottom line, if neither one of us truly knows who we are talking to is there really a point to all of this? I mean if I really want to talk to strangers I might just as well amble on over to my fav Starbucks, sit down beside someone who appears to be around the same age as I am and start up a conversation about times past. I won’t even have to worry about making that trip to the boutique.

As you can see this whole thing has caused me much consternation. So now, if you don’t mind, could you put yourself in my Toms for a minute or two and help me as I struggle with making the decision that underlies everything else. To go or not to go? Because, it seems to me, this really is the most important question of all.

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A Pyramid of Kindness

pyramidHello and welcome to 2015. As you are well aware, long ago I resolved never to make any New Year’s resolutions which is why I have once again this year, not resolved to write this blog more frequently. Hence the delay in getting back to you. Suffice to say, having recently escaped the bitter cold of my home town for unfortunately, a rather briefer than usual sojourn at the sea, my fingers have thawed sufficiently to begin again. And while what I want to tell you about might surprise you just a little bit, it solidifies my contention that being shallow doesn’t preclude being nice, or kind or really just about anything else “other” people profess to be. Except, perhaps, deep. I’m not sure one soul can be shallow and deep at the same time although I might have to do a little more thinking about that. In the meantime, here’s the thing.

I’m not sure how this all happened but sometime between Christmas and New Years I got myself involved in a Ponzi scheme, of sorts. I know! How, you ask, could someone with so much insight into the human condition find herself lock, stock and barrel in the midst of what anyone who knows anything, can only be a game of fools? Was it the result of too much turkey and merriment? Perhaps one too many rum balls? Could she have been blinded by all of those lights? Or did she just get caught up in the season of giving? Well, my friends, if I can be so bold as to call you that, it was none of those. Let me explain.

I’ll just take a moment here to refresh your memories. You’ll recall that not so long ago I extolled my appreciation for Facebook, a place where “everyone knows your name” even if they don’t really know you. To tell the truth, and that’s something I almost always do, I visit my Facebook page several times a day to see what my friends are doing, where they are travelling, who and what they like, what restaurant they are eating at, play or concert they are going to, who they might have just met and what they are doing with their new friends which, as I write this, is beginning to sound a tad creepy. But nonetheless, I do find out a lot stuff and once in a while, something that is even interesting. And so it was in Facebook, that one day, one of my friends posted this:

“This world needs as much kindness as it can get. I’m participating in this “Pay It Forward” initiative: The first five people who comment on this status with “I’m in” will receive a surprise from me at some point during the year–anything from a book, a ticket, something home-grown, homemade, a postcard, absolutely any surprise! There will be no warning and it will happen when the mood comes over me and I find something that I believe would suit you and make you happy. These five people must make the same offer on their Facebook status. Once my first five have commented “I’m in” I will forward this message to you privately, so that you can copy and paste it, and put it on your status, (don’t share it) so that we can form a web of connection of kindness. Let’s do more nice and loving things in 2015, without any reason other than to make each other. smile and show that we think of each other. Here’s to a more enjoyable, friendly, and love filled year!”

Well, there’s nothing I like more than a challenge so I jumped high onto this bandwagon and before you could say “Jack Robinson”, I was saying “I’m in!” and there I was, copying and pasting this very same message on my wall or newsfeed or whatever it is Facebook has all of us doing now. It wasn’t long, although it was longer than I thought it should have been, that five of my very own friends also proclaimed their commitment to this act of kindness and that’s when it occurred to me. I had just found myself right smack dab in the middle of a pyramid scheme. A pyramid of kindness. A pyramid that’s been turned on it’s end. Because in this one, I’m at the bottom since I’ll receive one act of kindness for the five that I dish out myself. You know, I’ve always professed to “give” but now I’m going to give and give and give and give and give. I’ll let you know what happens.

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Thank Goodness for Facebook!

thumbs upI learn a lot from Facebook. For starters, I now know where each and every one of my friends go for fun and entertainment, even when they are having all of that fun without me. I know where they go to eat and what they ate when they got there, saving me not only time and money but often ensuring that I have an even more satisfactory culinary experience than they did. I’ll be the first to admit that I learn from the mistakes of others. And it’s now exponentially easier for me to learn about my friend’s political views, who they support and don’t support, what issues are important to them and what they like and don’t like. Afterall, it’s not the way it was in the “old days”. I mean back then if you wanted to protest something you had to march down to city hall and join a crowd of possibly thousands of like minded people carrying placards, singing protest songs and chanting some catchy phrase like “Hell no! We won’t go!” (“we” weren’t really in any danger of “going” anywhere, but that was beside the point) and there were so many people that no one even knew you were there.  But now all you have to do is post a video of Rob Ford or some activist pontificating about the plight of women or men or the need to spay and neuter (the latter being primarily with regard to animals, btw) and we all pretty much know where you stand.

One of my favourite things is having the opportunity to live vicariously through all of my friends’ adventures as they post pictures of the wonderful and exotic places they visit. Places I am unlikely to ever frequent due to my rather narrow tolerance of heat, with regard to both temperature and food. It’s true, I’m a bit of a diva when it comes to vacays which, as a result, means that touring Africa or Asia through the eyes of others is likely as close as I will ever get. So I learn a lot about travel, albeit mostly other peoples.

But perhaps even more importantly, I learn a lot about myself. You see, I’ve been on Facebook since 2007 and during that time have had the opportunity to partake in a vast array of quizzes that have led me to know and understand myself just so much better. All I can say is thank goodness for Facebook as otherwise I’m not sure I would have ever reached the level of introspection which I now profess to have. Because, as a shallow person, I am sometimes wont to neglect this type of self-reflective activity and I am therefore deeply indebted, if not grateful, that as a member of Facebook I am guided thus to do so. So let me share a smattering of what I’ve learned about me with you.

1) My left brain is pretty much non-existent which probably doesn’t surprise most people but could be of some concern to my boss

2) I should be living in New York. I’d be ok with that if I did, but I don’t.

3) If I was a cheese (and that’s a big “if”) I would be Gouda and belong in a “cheese museum of perfection”. Sounded good until I read the “people will want to eat you until you were gone” part.

4) Talk show host? I’m Seth Myers and “the smartest person in the room with plenty of important thoughts to get across to the world”. I knew there was a reason I’ve been writing this blog!

5) If I took high school Chemistry now I would get a D. Not bad since I actually never took Chemistry when I was in high school.

6) Apparently I would be Taystee in “Orange is the New Black”. I’ve never seen it so will have to take their word for it.

7) My aura is yellow. I’m “optimistic and intelligent, with a friendly, creative presence”. I  was pretty confident that was absolutely right on the money until I realized I had already taken the quiz a few months back. At that time my aura was red which meant I had an “insatiable urge to win”. Seems just a little contradictory to me and since it’s pretty hard to verify, I gotta say it’s all a tad confusing.

8) You know I love a good Rom Com so no way I could pass up finding out which Queen I would be if I was one. Looks like me and Sandra B. share the same love of checklists. Wait a minute. Isn’t that a left brain thing?

9) Have to admit I was a little disappointed to learn that in the world of Shrek I’d be wearing Lord Farquaad’s garb. Donkey, Gingerbread Man or Puss in Boots, those are characters I can get my head around. I suppose though that being a “born villain” can’t be all bad.

I could go on but I think you can see how important Facebook has been in contributing to my understanding of myself. Of late I’ve been tempted to complete a quiz that measures how shallow I am, but I think both you and I already know the answer to that.

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