Tag Archives: writing

Things I want to like…but don’t

People say that you should write about what you know and obvs I’ve been doing that for the past five years. But just so you don’t think I’m some kind of one trick pony, today I’ve decided to write about something else I know. Gardening. Only because that’s what I have been doing lately. And what I know about gardening is, I don’t like it. Not even one little bit. Which might not be a problem where you come from. I get that. For 38 years I lived where the weather alone legitimized my dislike for the garden. I mean why spend countless hours and exorbitant amounts of money on plants that, in a good year, might actually blossom before the first snow? Who needs a tomato plant that yields, if you’re lucky, a whopping three tiny little fruits which, if you bother to take the time to calculate, end up costing in the vicinity of $40.00 a pound (that’s .453 kg for those of you who don’t know). At my old abode there were no expectations; you either gardened or you didn’t. But my new reality is different. My new found home, I’m afraid, is not garden optional. Which is why you might find me outside doing something I would like to like…but don’t.

The thing is, around here you won’t hear a passerby exclaim “Oh, what pretty flowers you have!”. No. Around here what you’re most likely to hear from the lovely couple with the matching Tilley hats (I can say that, I have one) is, “Oh, what lovely antirrhinum majus. If I were you dear, I would surround them with some hemerocallis just to bring out the colour” to which the only reasonable response is “thank you. Perhaps next year.” Because as you might have guessed, I don’t know one flower from the next, even when they go by their “real” names. This becomes painfully clear if you were ever to accompany me on my once a year trip to the local nursery where you are apt to hear me exclaim, “Oh look! Pretty blue ones. Let’s get those”. To which my husband, being the more practical one in this partnership, will invariably start asking some silly questions about sun or shade, height and width, wet or dry. That’s easy! “Who cares! They’re flowers. They’ll grow”. Although to tell you the truth, sometimes they don’t. So you see what I mean. 

It’s not that I don’t want to like gardening. Sometimes I dream about  living out in the country on an acreage where I can stroll through fields of wildflowers nestled beside rows of carefully cultivated, meticulously trimmed roses and tulips and chrysanthemums and other things that look pretty. I can imagine myself becoming self-sufficient as I literally reap the fruits of my labour, bringing in baskets of pears and apples that can be made into wonderful home-baked pies and served to top off a dinner filled with only the freshest of vegetables picked moments before being set down on the table. Perhaps a goat or two whose milk will be crafted into an exoctic variety of feta cheese and added to the fresh from the garden salad, a staple at each and every evening meal. At which point this dream of mine takes a quick left as I get rudely awakened by the two rather miserable, and I must say very itchy, bites that have put me in this ™Benadryl stupor for the past two days, reminding me of just one of the many reasons that I don’t like gardening. Even though I really would like to.

When I think more about this I realize that it’s not just gardening that I want to like but don’t. There are other things too. Like flying. I mean who doesn’t want to like soaring through the air to some fascinating destination in this wonderful and wide world of ours? I sure do. But I don’t. Put me in the belly of that flying machine and watch me turn into one big bundle of nerves as I consider everything, and I mean everything, no matter how improbable, that could go wrong during the time I am trapped in that cylindrical metal tube which, for some reason beyond my comprehension, can stay suspended 40,000 feet above the earth for extended periods of time. I want to like it but I just don’t. 

I’d also love to like living in an historical heritage house with a big comfy porch. One where you open the heavy, wooden door to reveal a stately, hand-carved staircase; where the walls hold the secrets of another time. Who wouldn’t want to curl up with a good book on the cozy window seat, close enough to the wood burning fireplace that you can hear the gentle crackle of the flames? Yeah, I want to like it, but I don’t. Mostly because I lived in an old house and know all about broken furnaces, leaky pipes and the everyday occurrences that invariably cost you almost the exact amount of money you were saving to take that flight to some fascinating destination in this world of ours.

While I’m still here there’s something else I suppose I have to admit. I’d like to like writing this blog all of the time, but sometimes I don’t. Which I suppose is ok. Because one thing I can tell you for sure. I always like writing the blog better than I like gardening.

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I’m in it to Win it

Once again it’s been a while. I’m guessing by now you think I’ve retired. I have. But surprisingly, not from the blog. Nope. The thing is, this shallow gal has been very busy. It’s not just my Tuesday morning walks with the walking women, or the daily afternoon sojourns to the local coffee shop that are taking up my time. It’s been much more than that. You see, for the last month or so I have been working on my submission to a writing contest. That’s right! I’ve entered a contest. And let me tell you, that was no small feat. As a matter of fact, it was a rather grueling process. There was the thinking about what to write, the thinking about how to write it and last, but not least, the writing of it. It’s not easy to come up with 450 words (exactly) that will (potentially) be read by none other than Mr. Dave Barry. Remember Dave Barry? Well I do. His rather iconic “open shirt over a T” look was my family’s fashion influence for most of the ‘90s. And he’s really funny. So, as you can imagine, this was a pretty daunting task.

Now here’s something you might or might not know, depending on how well we know each other. I’m not only shallow. I’m really competitive too. And I’ll be the first to admit that. For me “doing my best” just doesn’t cut it. Nor do I want to “learn from the experience” or take pride in knowing “I tried my hardest”. That’s just not me. When I enter a contest, I enter to win. Of course that’s only for contests where I actually have to do something. I mean, if I’m just filling out a form and placing it in a box with hundreds of other entries, I would like to win but I’m not overly concerned if I don’t. Or if I have to go to the internet to enter some random number from a yogurt container in order to potentially win one of 10,000 prizes I’m ok with the not unexpected “sorry, better luck next time” message that I invariably get. But when I have to actually perform in some way, well for me it’s all or nothing. Honourable mention? That would be nice…for someone else. Not for this gal. This gal is in it to win it.

For those of you who are still not convinced, allow me to refer you to one of my many Words With Friends partners. They know I’m relentless. I will literally sit for many minutes, scrutinizing the board in an effort to make the very best move possible. It goes without saying that I use the little green meter that lets me know if I have made my best move.  Let me tell you. It’s a blessing and a curse. If the meter goes to the top, I’m good. If not, if there is even one little sliver of opportunity to get a few more points, you can bet your bottom dollar I’m going to find it. No matter how long it takes I will figure out how to maximize my points. But I’ll only make that move if I’m not setting up my opponent for a triple play. That’s the trick. You need to be aggressive and defensive all at the same time. But you can be sure, when it’s safe to do so, I’ll go in for the kill. Just a game you say?  You do realize that I just analyzed my game-play for WWF. Yeah, that’s how competitive I am. So you can only imagine my feelings about entering a contest where my actual skill will be judged. And perhaps even more importantly, where there’s a prize to be won.

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Did she say 450 words? What the heck took her so long to write 450 words?!” Well here’s the thing about 450 words. That’s not a lot. And when you don’t have a lot of words to use you have to use them very carefully. The fewer the words, the more important each and every one of them is. With 450 words there are none to mince. You’ve got to get to the point pretty darn quickly. There’s no rambling like there is in this blog of mine. So it’s a lot of work. And it takes time. Lots of it. Which brings me back to where I started and hopefully provides you with an answer to why I haven’t posted for so long.

Anyway, while I’m here, and since I have no self-imposed word limits, let me take this time to wish you and your families a very happy New Year. If you make resolutions, make good ones ‘cause they’ll be with you all year long. Me? I’ll be looking forward to the Spring when the results of the competition will be out. And I’ll let you know how things go.  But only if I win.

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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. 

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It’s My Move!

I know, I know! I’ve been gone quite a long time. Long enough I suppose to warrant an explanation. So here it comes. For the past “longer than I care to think about”, I’ve been trying to write a blog post about my move. You know of course, that I have moved. With every good intention, I have sat with my laptop on my knee, albeit while watching one of the many summer reality shows that are currently taking the place of the many fall reality shows soon to come, formulating sentences and even paragraphs so that I could share with you the experience of moving from the perspective of a shallow person. Alas, it has all been to no avail. Now I’m not going to tell you that my other posts have always come easy. That the words flow from my thoughts onto the screen like waves upon the sand. Sometimes they do and other times there’s a bit of a struggle, but nothing like this time. This time has been different. Because even when I thought I had it right, I didn’t. Why, I thought, was it so difficult for me to write a little piece about my move? And then it hit me. Having just gone through the whole thing I realized that there is nothing, and I mean nothing shallow, or funny for that matter, about moving. Absolutely nothing. It’s just one long, excruciating and painful experience. So I’m left with little to say but this.

Moving sucks! Trust me. I don’t use that kind of descriptive language very often. But it’s just as simple as that. The packing, the loading, the throwing out junk, the unloading, the unpacking, the realization that you didn’t throw out enough junk. There’s just not much about it that I can honestly, in all good faith, recommend. And now is not the time to remind me that I have just moved from one of the coldest parts of the country to arguably one of the most beautiful and temperate Islands this side of Hawaii. Let’s put that aside for a moment and focus on the act of moving because that’s really what we are here to talk about.

If you have been reading this blog for some time you will recall my tale about the sale of the house and how we suffered through the cleaning and purging related to that little episode, and then the cleaning and purging that followed as we attempted to rid ourselves of all our extraneous possessions. If you were to reread those posts (as I just did but you won’t) it may even have seemed that our commitment and diligence to the task would have resulted in our being left with only those things that were really important to us and, as such, worth loading onto the moving van. Of course, if that were the case, I certainly wouldn’t be trying to figure out what to do with the stuffed Pooh Bear that is staring up at me right now with it’s big, brown, glassy eyes. Or attempting to balance my evening cup of tea on what used to be a packing box but has now taken on the role of a coffee table since, apparently, while Pooh moved, the coffee tables did not. Explain to me how that happened! Given that I am just this side of a rant, I won’t even go into how, in all of the confusion on the day the van arrived, I mistakenly thought I had left my laptop at the local Starbucks never to be seen again (even in this laid back town there is only so much one can expect of strangers), only to discover that at some earlier point in the day I had decided to put it at the very back of my closet for safekeeping. Or how after spending copious amounts of time and money in preparing to take our cat on her first two day jaunt in the car (did we really need that extra can of “At Ease” pet spray?) she promptly disappeared only to be found several panicked  hours later sleeping quite contently inside the box spring of our bed. No, those are events that are simply best forgotten at this point.

Ok, so things have started to settle down and, if we can make up our minds soon, it should only be another ten weeks or so until I will be able to once again place that tea of mine on an actual table. In the meantime, all of this has got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be much simpler if houses were sold “as is”? I mean if all you had to do was move some clothes and maybe a picture or two, life would be so much easier. So what if the couch wasn’t the exact shade of blue you were hoping for? Trust me, you’d get used to it. Or the coffee table was glass instead of walnut? It’s still going to do what a table is supposed to do. Or the dishes were a little chipped? You’re going to chip them eventually anyway. Think of it! No more boxes, or loading and unloading or packing and unpacking or sussing out that elusive piece of furniture that apparently exists only in your own mind’s eye. It just makes sense to me.  But then, I might be just a tad more shallow than most of you.

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