Unexpected Joy

I love this store. Mostly the prices.

I had a serious melt-down, sloppy-cry moment yesterday.

It started out as an ordinary day…morning quiet time, then to my desk to write for about three hours, then figure out routine chore-type things that needed doing.

Like grocery shopping. Which I hate.

However … on the tail end of the COVID panic, we somehow made the dubious decision to buy a 4-DR Jeep Wrangler, which has made all things ‘chore’ a delight, since I’m now toodling around Hilton Head Island in a black Jeep with oversize wheels/tires with no top or doors. This has changed my life for the better all around. Did you know Jeepsters have a ‘wave’? Like the peace sign, only it’s not. When driving a Jeep, one must put a hand at twelve o’clock on the steering wheel in preparation to raise the two designated fingers in a Jeep ‘wave’ upon seeing other Jeep brethren toodling around. Yep. It’s a thing. We are learning all that stuff.

But I digress.

So, breeze blowing through my hair, music pumped up, I’m happily driving to Kroger, which is mid-Island. And I think, well, TJ Maxx is right next door and I might as well go there first. This cheered me up considerably, as the Island has unmasked, for the most part, and it’s not a hideous mask-thing anymore to go shop for clothing, purses, and the like.

I hop out of my Jeep, thinking out of habit … I need to lock it. But no, the doors are off, no need. This also made me smile, and I trotted into the store, twirling the keys around my finger and looking all “Jeep girl.” I pick out a great purse, wander through the rest of the store, pick up another couple things, including a new pair of jean shorts. I guage their size with a sigh, thinking, ohmigosh another piece of clothing I have to take home that I will probably need to return. *I hate returning stuff* just saying. I head toward check-out. Notice the growing hubub at the back of the store.

What do my wandering eyes behold?

I crane my neck to look. “What’s going on?” I ask a fellow crane-necker. He doesn’t know and doesn’t care. I jerk to a stop, pull my cart out of line, and head to the hubub, just for the heck of it. As I draw closer, my heart rate picks up. My eyes moisten.

“It can’t be,” I whisper to myself. I push my cart ever closer, wondering at the mob waiting, their carts filled with clothing. I draw in a breath, and hold it until I’m finally in the center of it all. With a gasp, and a rush of tears, I cry out, “Hallelujah!” Several women, also with tears of relief streaming down their cheeks, give me a smile and a nod. They, too, cannot believe it. I dance to the front of the line and hug the woman checking us in. She laughs.

Yes, it was true. At TJ Maxx on Hilton Head Island … the dressing rooms … are … OPEN!!!

Happy, happy tears.

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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.

Seriously.

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