Pinterest and Other Assorted Life Complications

I used to have focus. At least a little. I’d make a list for the day, stick to it (kind of) and feel proud of accomplishing my goals. This was before social media and the ability to live our entire lives on our cell phones.

I resisted Pinterest for years. My daughters encouraged me to try it, but I couldn’t see the point. Add another time-waster to my day? I already had Facebook, Instagram, Twitter…Weather app, music apps, podcast apps…why Pinterest? What the heck would it add to my life, anyway?

Eventually, they wore me down and I took a peek. Then more peeks. Then, ohmigosh when I listed my house and bought another, I clung to Pinterest for styling-a-house-for- sale and decorating  ideas like a life raft.

Another Pinterest holdout bites the dust.

Now before I launch into my new lust for all things Pinterest, let me add that my favorite store in the world is HomeGoods. My car now senses when we are close, and automatically turns into the HomeGoods shopping center. I experience withdrawal symptoms if I don’t go check out their latest  inventory once a week. That being said, Pinterest is like HomeGoods on steroids, only with interior designers. Plus, it is at my fingertips on my cell which makes it impossible to resist. I stumble over topics like ‘bookcase design ideas’ and ‘coffee table decor’ and ‘patio decorating for fun parties’. ’99 amazing ways to make your entryway look great’ or ’49 brilliant storage ideas for small spaces’. Pure. Bliss.

However, I had to put the brakes on my daily habit of cruising through Pinterest décor/home ideas because my budget and my rabid desire to update my décor didn’t quite, um…match. Before I knew it, one small bookshelf makeover racked up $200 or so at HomeGoods. I’m like, what?! I only bought a few things! But they were very cool, current things, my mind whispered back reassuringly. After a few months of  Pinterest over-exposure, I’ve begun backing off a bit. I can’t even think what would happen if I started scrolling through their make-up tutorials. Ulta has enough business from me as it is. Besides, how many times in one lifetime must a woman update her look? Exactly.

It’s all about the apps, isn’t it? We can buy just about anything we need on Amazon, now order our groceries online and have them delivered, scan a wine on the shelf with an app and  find out its ratings; you name it, there’s an app for it. Other huge time-wasters are the photoshop apps. Do you have one? Tried one? They are addicting, for sure.

Recently, I interviewed celebrity style designer to the stars, Anya Sarre, for an article in a local magazine. She lives in a world of photoshopped, cosmetically-enhanced, forever young public personas. I asked her how she managed to thrive in such an atmosphere. “It’s all fake,” she stated, flatly. “Fake! Everything you see is NOT. REAL. It takes an army to get me ready to go anywhere in public. Ever tried one of those photo airbrush apps? Try one! You’ll see what I mean.” I didn’t say anything, but I discovered those apps a couple of years ago. I’m not going to admit which one, but all I have to say is, who needs a facelift with these apps? Seriously, they take off fifteen years in five minutes. The fallout, however, is that now when I look in a mirror I’m wanting to see the airbrushed me and not the real one. Oh well.

It’s getting harder to figure out which apps are helpful and which aren’t. I once had a client yell at me over lunch because I’d brought him a print advertising campaign for a major daily newspaper. He’d held out his cellphone and waggled it at me. “Everything is gonna be right here. RIGHT HERE! Newspapers are gonna be dead and gone.” This happened around 2007. He was right! So many ads lurk on our phones/apps that we often can hardly get to the information we need, and newspapers are struggling to survive.

Now we can do a zillion things at once with a click or two, and often it feels like I don’t do anything very…definitively, or with the appropriate focus. Who thinks that fast?

So I’ve come up with a solution. I’ll delete all the apps on my phone except Pinterest.

That should do it.

The Silver Lining Syndrome

sunset-on-ocean.jpgYou’d think I would learn.

Living as a Christian is a dramatically altered course, and I set my sails at age 27. Over the years  I have experienced the excesses of charismatic churches, the soul-lifting prayers of various saints, the mind-numbing droning of pulpit inhabitants that perhaps should find another calling, the glorious transport to heaven on the wings of praise music. In short,  I’ve experienced countless sin-bashing sermons, participated in every Christian meditation practice I can think of, pursued Biblical wisdom until my mind bled.


So when fear, worry or dread, creep in on tip-toe and take my mind hostage, I should know that it’s an illusion. A snare. A poison dart to the brain, and  I should fight back with truth-darts of my own.

Instead, Continue reading

Spring Planting and the Scowlie Face


Each spring, depending on where I live and for how long, I rush out and buy boatloads and buckets of flowering shrubs, impatiens, forsythia, dahlias – you name it, I buy it. Even though about one-half do not make it, every year I do it anyway. I have come to believe putting down Spring roots is as deeply entrenched an urge as nurturing children or seeking warmth. A primal and necessary urge.

I cannot pass a Lowe’s or a Home Depot without buying something. Anything! Even though the ballerina-grandma.jpglines are so long they wind around the back of the gardening department; even though there is not a cart in sight; even though impatiens have not even arrived yet,  at March’s end I experience Spring-planting-lust. I must buy something to put in the ground.

Something about putting down roots. Of course some people plant actual gardens every year, which I envy but will never, ever do.  I barely have a green thumb at all, and what I have is a very pale green just on the tippy-tip.

One thing I have noticed, though, is that the men do not seem overjoyed about all the fuss. The throngs of women that storm gardening departments are usually accompanied by their husbands, sons or significant others. None of these men wear a happy face. In fact most of them wear a scowlie face. Many of them stand resolutely beside their carts, guarding them with vigilance, arms crossed, waiting for the women to pick out whatever decorative, leafy thing they want. Others have reluctantly agreed to trot dutifully behind their women, and are nearly always at odds with them. For instance, this happened last Saturday:

pic of young girl jumpingMan: Mouth clamped shut. He lugs a cart loaded with plants, bushes plus two young children.

Woman in front of man: (Sarcastically) Thanks, Bob. Thanks a lot.

Man (Bob): What? What did I do now?

Woman: You could keep up with me. I need help loading this stuff, y’know!

Bob: Deep sigh. Silence

Woman: Thanks. Thanks a lot. Stalks away in a huff.

Bob: (Silently to himself) Why do I agree to this Every. Single. Year. He bends to pull an errant 2-year old back on the cart, and trudges after her.

Perhaps this is why the men usually park themselves and their carts placidly along the sidelines, waiting for the woman to summon them when needed. Probably a good idea that may prevent a domestic meltdown right in the middle of the begonias.

And this:

Man: Panting as he wheels cart to checkout, only to discover that the line is one-half mile long.

Woman: Smiling cheerily. “It’ll only take a few minutes. The line will go fast. You’ll see.” She turns to the gardening gloves, rose food, fertilizer pellets that line the way to checkout to spend another quick fifty bucks.

Man: “Um, haven’t we got enough?”

Woman: Spinning toward man, eyes squinting. “You never buy me ANYthing! And you are gonna deny me a little rose food? And do you want my Yelling woman IIhands to suffer? Do you? I must have gloves so I don’t kill my hands! She sniffs indignantly and continues inspecting various brands of rose food. Bayer, she told me, Bayer works best.

Man: Deep Sigh. He moves up two inches, his shoulders hunched in defeat. The people in line ignore the little spat because they are involved in one of their own. When Bob’s turn finally comes, after the tallying is done by the chirpy gardening department associate, she says, “That’ll be $1,341. 15.” He clutches his chest.

Woman: Nowhere in sight. She told him she’d wait for him in the car. Smart woman.

I’ve decided I will not drag my husband along on my Spring planting jaunts. If he wants to come, fine, but usually he does not. He is more comfortable putting the stuff in the ground. Doing man-stuff like digging the holes, toting stuff in a wheelbarrow, toting stuff out of my trunk and onto the assigned planting spot.

Works for me. So I think my Spring insight is this: the man is better at preparing and putting stuff in the ground; putting down the roots, so to speak.

makeover 5The woman, though, is more gifted at running up the tab. Men don’t necessarily need to witness  the annual Spring tab rolling along on a cart. I think it puts them in a bad mood. In extreme cases, it could case a sudden stroke.

I don’t have the heart to tell my husband that half the stuff I buy usually dies. I think that should be our little secret, don’t you, ladies?