Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Damn You, Hobby Lobby

"Have you ever been to a Hobby Lobby," my mom asked. "Is there even one near you?"

"There's one in Rochester," I said, "but you know I won't go there. I disagree with their politics."

My mom sighed. She knows that I will boycott like mad when provoked. Chill-fil-a? I love their sandwiches but I have amazing willpower when it comes to avoiding them. (Although, true story, I live in the frozen North now, so it's hardly difficult not to eat them when the nearest franchise is an hour away.) Wal-Mart? Not if I can help it.

"They have evvvvvverything, Yellie," she said. "Like, everything."

"Oh well," I said.


Fast forward: I had a shopping trip planned with my best friend, but we didn't know where we wanted to go. Out of the blue, she asked: "Have you ever been to Hobby Lobby?"

She hadn't been either.

"No," I said, "but I hear they have everything."

Just like that, it was decided.


Before you decide I'm a total asshole: I didn't buy anything. Before you decide I'm NOT a total asshole, I have to confess: I didn't buy anything because I was broke. I WANTED to buy things. I just couldn't.


Hobby Lobby is like Disneyland (if Disneyland didn't have a lot of small children in it and instead was about four acres of stuff) in that it is magical, but also causes almost immediate sensory overload. The place is neatly organized, but you seriously need a map. They should hand those out. Also, there are SO many things in the store that your eyeballs don't know where to look. I felt like I'd had a triple shot of espresso: completely jittery and unhinged as I was confronted with aisle after aisle of really incredible (and sometimes outrageously tacky) things.  Additionally, the store wears down your resistance in much the same way Disneyland does. As an adult at Disneyland, you may suddenly find yourself wearing mouse ears and posing with an adult dressed like a cartoon character and smiling like a lunatic. As an adult at Hobby Lobby, you might find yourself standing in front of a giant metal octopus, nearly salivating over the idea of how amazing that would look in your bathroom and in complete denial of the fact that it weighs fifty pounds and is, in fact, wider than your bathroom door.

(I can neither confirm nor deny the octopus thing.)

(Also, as I mentioned, I didn't buy anything. Especially not a giant metal, super cool octopus.)

(At least, not yet.)


I have not returned to the Hobby Lobby. Not because I don't want to, but because I do. SO BADLY. I want to go there when I'm not broke and buy all of the really nifty things that I saw ... the octopus! The shelves made out of industrial pipe that will look amazing in my (converted mill building, slightly industrial) apartment! The blown glass cuttlefish! THE THINGS AND THE STUFF!

Unfortunately, I also really REALLY want to hold on to my principles. I need those. They're important.

I just don't know if they're more important than a metal octopus.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

This is Forty

I was nervous about turning forty. I can't really explain why, but as my fortieth birthday approached, I became anxious about it. Perhaps it was the memory of my dad's fortieth, where he only received gag gifts and every single one basically said, "Wow, you're old now and your life is over and it's all downhill from here ... sucks to be you! Oh, and happy birthday" and the look of forced cheer on his face as he endured the black cards and "Over the Hill" balloons.

I mean, that miiiiight have something to do with it.

However, now that I've been forty for nearly a year, I'd like to say something to my fellow forty-ers, because I wish someone had said this to me:


Being in your forties is AMAZING. It's actually sort of like marketing slogan for Kohl's department store: Say Yes ... to YOU!

I have spent all year saying yes to me, and it's been great.

YES! I have permission to care for myself first when I am sick.

YES! I can acknowledge that there are things I just plain hate to eat (looking at you, yogurt) and ... STOP EATING THEM. You know what? I can get the important stuff that's in yogurt somewhere else.

YES! I acknowledge some relationships as toxic and then simply let them go.

YES! I can say to a loved one, "You and I don't agree about this subject, and it makes us both angry and sad, so let us STOP TALKING ABOUT IT. We have so many other things! We can talk about those!"

YES! I can say to someone who is being horrible to another human being, "HEY! Stop that!"

YES! I can acknowledge that I am smart and valuable.


YES to all of the things.

Before I turned forty, I didn't feel like I was ... um ... adult enough? I didn't think I deserved to have the authority to say, YES, I'm going to go to bed when I'm tired even if that means I'm going to sleep ridiculously early.  Turning forty gave me the sense that I was grounded on this earth, that I had earned this spot and it was MINE, darn it, and I would give myself permission to live it as I wished.

YES to taking chances.

YES to healthy relationships.

YES to realizing that I'm just doing my best.


This is forty.

And darlin'? It's damn fine.