When hobbies turn into obsessions

How I turned coloring into a terrible habit

Today, I’m actually staying out of my back yard because I’m having a new small deck and stairs put in, to replace the crumbling, uneven, definitely home-made brick steps. So I’m posting about a different hobby today; one that has gone bad.

Remember when adult coloring books became all the craze? I bought one and found it to be so soothing. My friends soon found out I was into coloring and though, aha, this is a solution to gift-giving! For the next two years I was inundated with coloring books.

Wouldn’t you know it though – any good thing quickly gets turned into an app for your smart phone. And THIS is where I went bad with the hobby. A friend introduced me to the “Happy Color” app. This is not just soothing – it is ADDICTIVE. I have taken it off my phone twice. Sometime in 2019 I put it back on the phone and during the craziness of 2020 I just threw myself into it.

Continue reading “When hobbies turn into obsessions”

The minor irritations

Of the following four items, select which has bothered me the most today:

A) Discovering the wonderful drugs the doc prescribed for my back pain make me nauseous
B) Being woefully behind at work having missed yesterday for medical appointments and part of Friday for holiday as well as roughly 1/3 of last week due to back pain-related concentration issues
C) Sighing over my sloppy house (I hurt too much to bend over and pick things up)
D) Failing repeatedly to advance beyond level 6 on Angry Birds

The correct answer is “D.”

I’m drinking soda and eating crackers for the nausea; staying later to catch up at work, and starting to clean again (slowly.) But this game — Argh! I got nothing.

Gift No. 15 – Lunch with Friends

Today I had lunch with three friends after church at the re-opened Atlanta Bread Company (yea!) It’s so great to  be able to talk and talk about anything and everything – nothing work-related, nothing stressful. One of my friends has been going through a rough patch, so I regaled her with stories about my minor irritations. They’re the kinds of things that are funny only when you look back on them: my two-week cold, then my war with a computer virus, which led to customer support lines and a fantasy of carrying out a Facebook-Dad style shooting of my old laptop. (I finally broke down and bought a new low-end Dell.) My friend said her son could probably fix it if I wanted him to try. Earlier I’d been joking with my Dad about all the efforts I’d put into trying to save that laptop – two hour-plus calls with Dell and a trip to the Geek Squad. I felt like I was living through a digitized version of the old Ladies’ Home Journal feature “Can this Marriage Be Saved?” I’ve been through three different “counselors” already! But now, with this new offer, I feel a glimmer of hope … perhaps that busted laptop can be saved….

Pollen-Free (temporarily)

My car, freshly washed and pollen-free
Freshly washed and pollen-free

The pollen here has been so bad that I finally broke down and washed my car. I took a picture of it when I was done so I can remember how nice it looked. By tomorrow morning it will have a new coat of yellow. Ah, it was pretty for an hour or so.

The pollen hasn’t hurt me as badly as last year, but it’s as gross as ever:

Pollen on the water hose
Pollen, pollen everywhere - Yuck!

Fancy is as fancy does

Last Friday I was supposed to meet a friend for lunch at Tiffany’s Bakery and Eatery, a chi-chi lunch spot near work. It’s chi-chi because it’s really too expensive for a working girl – $9 for chicken salad and sweet tea? Even if it is their specialty chicken salad served in a tortilla shell with a side of fruit. Now that gas prices are going up even more I can’t visit often.

I got there early and as I waited I admired the specialties at the Bakery counter. Mom’s birthday was the next day, and I already had her gift. But I knew we wouldn’t have cake, because we’re all watching what we eat. (Some of us are watching our calories and some of us (ahem, me) are watching ourselves shovel it in.) When I saw the beautiful mini-cakes – lovely little towers of sponge cake tiered with raspberry cream, then topped with raspberry cream, whipped cream and a raspberry to finish – I knew I had to buy three of them so we could all have a little treat at Mom’s birthday lunch.

So far, ho-hum. What made the occasion interesting was the queue at the bakery – not even an orderly line, but a clot of women. The lady to the right of me ordered three loaves of bread, all of which had to be sliced. The one counter attendant was struggling to keep up. I waited semi-patiently while women kept coming in and barging up to the counter.  I’m thinking, these people are going to jump ahead of me! I’m going to speak up. I’m not letting them cut in line! To complete the scene, the ladies who were in front of me (sweet old things) kept dithering about what to order.

When it finally came time for me to order, I thought to myself, I’ll show them how it’s done. I crisply said “three raspberry cakes to go, please.” I was so pleased with myself, thinking “here’s someone who knows how to order quickly and efficiently.” But then I had to wait some more while the attendant slowly and carefully boxed the cakes, lifting them one at a time from the tray and meticulously setting them, still in their individual cake frills, inside the box. Then she put the ribbon on the box, taking an inordinate amount of time to secure it around the box.

That’s when the clerk came back to me and said “that will be $16 dollars and 17 cents.” I about fell over. I was standing there with a $10 bill in my hand, thinking, surely these won’t be more than $2.50 or even $3 apiece. I gaped and asked her, excuse me – how much? She repeated “$16.17. The cakes are $4.99 each.”

At that point I had about 20 minutes invested in getting these cakes. Much of that time I’d been sweetly glowering at the other patrons – you know how Southern ladies do, with a smile on their face. I felt bad about that. And I couldn’t ask her to unbox the cakes, since it took so much effort to get them ready. So, I just smiled and fished my debit card out of my wallet.

The moral of the story: No matter how pretty or precious, last-minute, spur-of-the-moment purchases are NEVER good for my budget.

(But they were tasty little cakes.)

Progress check

It’s 11:02 p.m. – let’s check Aunt Jim’s progress, shall we?

  1. Donate old computer monitor to the Oliver Gospel Mission for their Christian Life Development Program. – Done.
  2. Take tablecloth to dry cleaners. – Done.
  3. Rehearse speech for Toastmasters meeting at noon. – Done.
  4. Prepare introduction for Toastmasters speech. – Done.
  5. Make up final shopping list for party and then shop. – Done.
  6. Wash car later in the day or tomorrow … we’re going to have weather in the 50s! And then Saturday it should be in the 60s for New Year’s Day! (Not done – car washing is for Friday or Saturday.)
  7. Later – tidy up closet and set aside clothes for donations (take those to Goodwill.) – Done!
  8. Make batch of chocolate chip cookies. – Done!
  9. Oh, and today I have a Weight Watchers meeting at 6:30 p.m. – Done! (And I lost 2 pounds 🙂 Yea me!)

Oh, and I also:  Went to Verizon to check on my bill; upgraded my phone (long overdue!) checked the mail and phoned in and picked up a prescription and balanced my checkbook.

All in all, a productive day!

Odd juxtaposition

Juxtaposition, Merriam-Webster.com
Etymology: Latin juxta near + English position — more at joust
Date: 1654
: the act or an instance of placing two or more things side by side; also : the state of being so placed
Example: I followed a post on how I hate the Post Office with a post on our lesson, which was all about love.
Next on my vocabulary list: irony, then chagrin.

I hate the Post Office

I had an infuriating run-in with the Post Office Wednesday.

If I’m paying any bills by mail, that’s going to change.  Their lack of customer service makes me want to stop sending Christmas cards.

I had to go by to submit my passport paperwork. I went to the one on Clemson Road, past the mall at Sandhills .

I get there at 12:15. I wait in line to get to the main desk. It’s 12:25 when I’m told, “oh, you need to wait here at this desk – he’ll be back soon from break. Since no one’s there you’ll be first.” There was no sign on the desk when he’d be back. Since I was told he’d be back soon, I thought, soon.

I waited (with a growing line behind me) until 1 p.m.

Then the clerk comes in, sits on his stool, stares at my specially done photos from Sears, and tells me oh, they won’t work. I get just a tad upset. He says – what’s wrong, you seem to have an attitude.

His exact words.

I let him know I’d been waiting for 40 minutes – there was no sign, no indication when he was coming back. The jerk tells me there was a sign. I said there’s no sign here! He told me he’d told everyone in line THEN. I was practically speechless. I wasn’t in line then. I calmed down enough to get the process done (all the while mentally composing letters to his boss).

I’m still stewing. I swear, if Strom Thurmond were alive I would storm his legendary constituent service office and beg them to find a way to get this guy fired.

But you know what just slays me about the whole experience?  That I actually thought: “hey, there’s a passport facility near my office: I won’t have to go downtown!”

I thought it was a good thing. I was happy about the possibility of getting it all done during a long lunch break.

Ha. Ah, the irony. Me thinking a local post office branch, conveniently located to my work, would be convenient.