Tag Archives: money

A True Story (unlike some others)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advertisements
Tagged , , , ,

I Need Some Motivation

keyboard-question markEvery year around this time I get thinking about what motivates me to write this blog.  Obviously as of late not much has, which is perhaps why I began to wonder in the first place. Not to mention the fact that it’s time, once again, to pony up those 24 buckaroos for yet another year of sole ownership of the “shallowbemyname.com” address on this world wide web of ours. I’ll just bet there’s a line-up of people waiting for me to miss that deadline. The thing is, it’s not like I need to be writing the blog to fill up my day. Let’s face it. Between work, coffees on the patio and my rather “annoying even to me” Candy Crush habit, my days seem to be remarkably full.  And while I do have a fanbase, small as it may be, it’s not like anyone has rung me up lately to ask when I’ll be making my next post available. Of course I continue to hold on to the faint hope that one day this little hobby of mine will gain some traction, but to date, I certainly can’t say that the prospect of  fame and fortune is the raison d’etre that keeps these fingers waltzing (well in my case it’s more of a polka as I jump around not always knowing where I’m going or where I’ll land) across the keyboard. 

I suppose there’s something to be said about sharing one’s perspective on life with others. Not that I would ever try to change anyone. The truth is though, when I embarked on this journey I did have some concerns about the amount of time and energy people spent seeking meaning and purpose in their lives. Now don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with asking the big “what am I doing here anyway” question from time to time. We all like to think that there’s a place for us in this world to make a difference, even if it’s an itsy-bitsy little one. But it seems to me that people have a tendency to get carried away with their eternal soul searching and like it or not, it can get somewhat depressing at times. Here’s the thing. For all intents and purposes, most of us only live once, and with that reality in mind, perhaps it’s not such a bad thing to let go of the “meaning-making” and be a little shallow every once in awhile. Just live a little. And since I know something about that, I suppose I should share. After all, it’s what my Mother always told me to do. And while I’m more than happy to give it my best shot, I can’t imagine that’s reason enough to keep this project going.

Of course there is the thrill of knowing that people from all over this world are somehow finding their way to my meanderings. Don’t get me wrong. I’m under no illusion that they all get here intentionally. Even so, it is interesting at times, to speculate about exactly how they landed on the site. I mean who would have thought there were literally dozens of people, from both near and far, seeking advice on how to have a conversation with their hairdresser. Or what not to say to when they bump into someone who looks like a famous person, but isn’t. And as exciting as it might be to think that I can reach out and have a modicum of influence in this rather limited sphere, I do sometimes worry about the impression that a shallow person might make in the far reaches of this world which, if anything, would give me pause rather than inspiration to write on any given day. 

This whole venture has turned into quite the puzzle and, if truth be told, one with which I continue to struggle. Just what is that elusive je ne sais quoi that motivates me? But all of this thinking has not gone to waste as I have come to realize that I seem get most of my ideas rather serendipitously.  A comment made in passing, an inconspicuous gesture, or an otherwise run of the mill life event that triggers an idea in this shallow little head of mine.  So, (get ready) perhaps it’s my fascination with humanity that keeps me keeping on. The intricacies and complexities that make each person unique and special in their own way. Possibly it’s my deep-seated need not only to understand but to fully immerse myself in the very essence of the human condition. Maybe that’s what keeps me going.  And yet, something inside of me thinks that doesn’t quite hit the nail on the head. 

That’s it. I’ve dug as deep as I can and have come to only one conclusion. Really I should have figured it out at the get go. It was right there, staring me in the face all of this time. There’s one thing and one thing only that keeps me writing this blog. For the fifth year in a row I have put down my 24 bucks. And apparently for this shallow gal, that’s motivation enough. 

Tagged , , , ,

Things you need to know

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

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

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

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

Tagged , , , ,

I should have known

ap windowI’ve been sick. Not earth shatteringly sick. Not the kind of sick that people should worry about. I mean I haven’t spent the last month ticking off the boxes on my “things I need to do before I die” list. Which, as you know, I don’t have but if I did, this would not have been the time to use it. Really, I should have known. About three weeks ago I got off a plane, one that I had spent five hours sitting on beside my friend who had a cold. She can’t help it. She has little kids and that’s what happens when you have little kids. But I don’t so I can only conclude that you don’t have to have little kids to get sick if you are sitting beside someone who does. For five hours. On a metal tube without any real ventilation. It’s not like I could have opened the window and stuck my head out to get some fresh air. They frown upon that on a plane. So there wasn’t too much I could do except sit there and get sick. Hence, for the past three weeks I have not been feeling that great.

Looking back at it now, as one often does when one finds oneself in situations such as this one, the worst part was not the sneezing, the sore throat or the alternating between too hot and too cold for no apparent reason. For sure, none of those things were that great. The clincher was the coughing, mostly because one day I coughed so much that I pulled a muscle in my back. And that’s what’s been keeping me up at night and making my life generally miserable for the past three weeks. It’s also why I haven’t posted on the blog which is really what all of this has been leading up to. As a shallow person you would think I wouldn’t have to explain my absence but I do. Because it there is one thing I’m not shallow about, it’s the shallow blog. Ironic, isn’t it.  Ok, enough with the kvetching (google that if you need to). I’m starting to feel better so here I am.

The thing is, before I got sick, and the sole reason I was on that plane, was to attend a conference. It was a good conference, much like most of the conferences I have attended in the past. Lots of speakers, lots of people, lots of stuff to take up my time. I had thought I might write about what I learned at the conference but I’ve done that before and, to tell the truth, other than discovering that I still abhor hot, sticky, rainy weather that makes my hair go curly, I didn’t learn too many new things. So I had decided that rather than write about what I learned I would write about what I did while I was at the conference.

Now I should tell you that five hour plane ride took me to the land of a million theme parks and I come to that number only because I figure if you have a theme park called the “Holy Land Experience” it has got to be one in a million. And, in retrospect, as prudent as it might have been to have used my shekels to have Jesus (yes apparently he was resurrected, at least for this gig) heal my ills, I didn’t make the trek to the Promised Land on this trip. Instead, I chose to meander through the rather more secular and pedestrian world of Universal Studios where the wizards carry wands rather than sceptres. So, in keeping with the whole movie theme, I had decided to share my experience of that day by relating to you “the good” (the Simpson’s ride has got to be my most favourite ever!) “the bad” (we walked 9 miles in that hot, sticky weather and by mid-afternoon I had little choice but to shove my no longer sleek hair into the hat I had so fortuitously brought with me) and “the ugly” (given the number of amusements I had to pass on due to their propensity for making riders either very wet or very sick I figure this outing cost me about 20 bucks (yea, that’s U.S.) a pop).

But I didn’t write about any of that because, as you now know,  I got sick. Which is why, instead of reading all about what I did while I was at the conference you have instead, just finished reading this.

Tagged , , , , ,

Things I don’t need to know (TIDNTK)

stopSo I’m sitting on our fav patio having my usual grande non-fat, no foam latte, (the specifics of which you should know in case you ever want to “treat”) pretty much minding my own business, when the woman sitting at the next table strikes up a conversation. It wasn’t one of those really interesting conversations that people sometimes have over a cuppa. To be honest, I can’t really remember what triggered the chit chat but I’m pretty sure it was along the lines of “Wonderful day! Nice that the weather has finally warmed up. Afterall, it is July.”  a commonly expressed sentiment in my part of the world. Or perhaps she commented on someone walking by dressed, to be polite, unusually, confident that my opinion would mesh with hers. And although our encounter was short it was clear that in some way, if only in her mind, she and I had grown close, by whatever metric one can measure closeness between two, until that moment, strangers.

I know this must be the case because a short while later, and after we had both comfortably returned our attentions back to our regular coffee partners, she got up and walked toward the door of the cafe, stopping just long enough to look me straight in the eye and proclaim, in the most matter of fact way that “coffee goes right through me.”  Just like that. She stopped to tell me she had to go to the bathroom and pretty much what she was going to do there. This person who I had, in the broadest sense of the word “known” for just short of ten minutes, shared with me what I would consider to be one of the most private of bodily functions. Now I know that some people would shrug this sort of thing off with the oft, perhaps even overused saying we have come to know as TMI (too much information) but not I. For me, this open and rather uninhibited disclosure was simply a thing I did not need to know (TIDNTK) at all. Because I don’t. I don’t need to know anything about anyone else’s bodily functions. I mean it’s enough that I have to deal with my own which, if you don’t mind my saying, can be problematic in of themselves.

As I reflected on this encounter I realized that there are other TIDNTK. Like secrets. Now I love a good secret as much as the next person but here’s the problem. As you may recall (and if you don’t, as always you can read about it here) I don’t have the very best memory. So when you tell me a secret one of two things is going to happen. There’s a very distinct possibility that I’m going to forget what you told me which is probably the least of two evils, but nonetheless makes the whole exercise rather pointless. The more problematic outcome is that I’m going to remember what you told me but forget that “don’t tell anyone but…” part of the conversation, rendering the aforementioned “secret” less so. Which is never a good thing.

Finally, and this is by no means a comprehensive list, I never need to know how much you paid for anything. Now this may surprise some of you who know a little bit about my background since, my Mother at the ripe old age of almost 99 (maybe that’s something you didn’t need to know) can, at a moments notice, rhyme off the price she paid for each of the 6 steaks she served for dinner on July 8, 1963. So if I did want to know prices I would have come by it honestly. But the thing is I don’t. You see, if I bought the same item and paid more for it than you did, I’m just going to feel bad. And if you paid more for it than I did, well what good is that going to do you? If we paid the same then I suppose I knew all along what you paid, so what did I gain by your telling me? And then there is always the chance that you tell me how much you paid for something just to let me know that you could. Silly, because that will likely result in my being judgmental and thinking about how stupid you were to pay so much and not wait for whatever it was to go on sale. Because everything always does.  And that’s what I would do if only to avoid the aforementioned “feeling bad” thing. So, as you can see none of this is good, ergo best not to know in the first place.

I’m sure there are many more TIDNTK but they’ll have to wait ‘cause I gotta run. Must have been something I ate.

 

Tagged , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: