Archive for the 'My Misspent Youth' Category

Published by PaintingChef on 24 Oct 2013


My track record with cars is… abysmal seems too kind and mild of a word… Between the tender age of 16 and what I perceived to be the wise old age of 21, I drove and subsequently totaled 5, yes FIVE cars. In short… if you saw me coming and needed a little spare cash, you should probably find a way to be in my path because there was a damn good chance I was going to find a way to hit you.

Now before you think I’m making light of a situation that is, indeed, NOT FUNNY, let me assure you that (a) only one of these accidents occurred at a rate of speed to cause any significant injury, (b) I was the injured party (c) my damn shoulder STILL hurts when it rains and (d) the remaining cars were only totaled because my father had become wise to the fact that putting me behind the wheel of a car worth more than about $500 was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea.

Additionally, I totaled three of those five cars in parking lots. Skills. I have them.

After Patrick and I got married, I found myself behind the wheel of something I never imagined I would see. A brand, spanking new car. A 2003 Volkswagen Pasaat that I loved beyond reason. She was beautiful, sleek, stylish and she was all mine. I affectionately dubbed her “Tiger Northshire” as I read somewhere that if you take the name of your first pet and the street you grew up on, that’s your drag name and to me, Tiger Northshire looked like a lovely young lady but she maybe had a little something extra under the hood.

For years, Patrick found himself in the fortunate position of having a wife who refused to consider a new car and would, in fact, stick her fingers in her ears and yell loudly when the topic was broached. I loved my German baby with all my heart and she was oh so very good to me.

Until she wasn’t.

Two weeks ago, as I was getting on the interstate to drive to work, she kind of… lagged? And then suddenly was sluggish and, if I’m being perfectly honest, not purring so much as wailing like a very unhappy feline. And on some level… I knew. I just knew. She had rolled over. I made it the rest of the way to work (oh shut up. it was like a mile and she was RUNNING), pulled into the parking lot and made my March of Sadness back to Patrick’s office.

“I fear she is done.”

A few days of research, diagnosis and tow trucks and it was determined that Tiger Northshire would live out her days frolicking with the other elderly German adult kittens on a farm in the country and I was going to have find a new damn car.

I was really, really sad until my sister pointed out to me that I’d finally had one live a long and happy life. Other than that one air conditioning unit I backed into (sorry Neena…) back when she was but a wee lass, she was injury free. Maybe I’m finally growing up? I’m 36 and, for the moment anyway, someone’s mother. I guess it’s finally time.

Oh yeah… I almost forgot… meet Ziggy Stardust…


ZS2 copy

I love her.

Published by PaintingChef on 20 Feb 2009

In which the normally innocent Thursday night movie (because Grey’s Anatomy now sucks) goes oh so terribly and tragically wrong.

When I was about 17 years old, I watched a movie that profoundly affected the way I viewed life. It was one of those movies that haunts you and if you had known me at that age and you were to watch this movie along with a couple of others you would have basically said to yourself… “Wow. That explains SO MUCH.” This movie became one that my best friend and I would watch over and over in a pot-fueled haze and until last night, I don’t think I had ever tried to watch it sober.

The movie is “Kids” and the first time I saw it I was blown away because as much as I liked to think of myself as a tough cookie at 17 and 18, I was floored by these people and how candidly and roughly they discussed everything in their lives. I will never go so far as to say that I admired them because I most certainly did not. The movie is a very tragic cautionary tale and I have never known anyone to walk away from that movie and just brush it off.

So when Patrick and I joined Netflix a few months ago I spent an impressively unproductive afternoon at work one day building our queue and loading it with all the movies I had wanted to see while we were in Augusta but wasn’t able to because there wasn’t a theatre that showed independent films. In doing this, I came across Kids and thought… “Hey. I used to love that movie. I bet Patrick has never seen this… clickety click!!”

I tried to explain the movie as I remembered it to Patrick and he was… unsure. But yesterday evening as we sat down to dinner we popped it in and started to watch it.

Oh. My. God.

That is the most tragic movie. I hated all those kids. They were horrible people. And the movie was just… uncomfortable. Where I used to see it as a story about worldly kids in New York; mature beyond their years that have been left to their own devices; now I just looked at the screen and wanted to know where in the world their parents were and why those little bastards weren’t in school. But mostly it just made me sad.

And by the way? This was all in about the first 15 minutes of the movie because that was all I could stomach before turning to Patrick and being all “I no longer love this movie. I think I may be a grown-up now.”

So I’m vaguely and morbidly curious to watch the other movies that I remember watching during that period in my life from about 1994 until 1999 and see if I have the same reaction. The ones that I can think of off the top of my head are “The Doom Generation”, “Welcome to the Dollhouse”, “Freeway”, “Natural Born Killers”, “The Basketball Diaries” and “Slums of Beverly Hills.” With the exception of “Basketball Diaries” and “Slums of Beverly Hills” (both of which Patrick hates and I own and will also watch anytime they are on television) I haven’t seen any of these movies in the last 10 years.

Has this happened to anyone else?

Published by PaintingChef on 14 Apr 2008

My blast from the past.

Sometimes something so random and unexpected happens that the aftershocks can leave you reeling for days. Even as I sit down to write this, I have no idea where it its going or what I’m trying to say. I only know that I was tossing and turning trying to sleep last night, I knew that I would be writing about it this morning.

My past love life is something that doesn’t get much ink here. Mainly because, for the most part, they were all assholes and just flat out don’t matter. And why talk about all the crap when you end up with someone like Patrick? He is the answer to every prayer I ever uttered and washed away every doubt I ever had on all those nights when I would cry myself to sleep when I thought I was unworthy of love. In the immortal words of Metallica… Nothing else matters. I have everything I’ve ever wanted.

Recently I was contacted by one of those boys from my past; the only one, as luck would have it, to whom I bear no ill will (as I am a cold-hearted, grudge-bearing, mean and nasty bitch). The Irish boy was my first boyfriend. We first dated when I was only a sophomore in high school and he was a senior. Naturally, I thought I was the coolest thing since Shrinky-Dinks. I was, if you can even believe it, somewhat… innocent at the time. I hadn’t yet begun my downward spiral and my parents didn’t hate me any more than you would a normal 14 year old girl.

It was kind of an idyllic high school relationship. He (although he seems to not recall this) was kind, considerate and attentive. But as every person who has a self-destructive idiot hiding inside them does, I broke up with him that summer when something that I perceived as more exciting came along.

We went our own ways and made our own journeys to lead lives that, I have recently come to learn, had shocking similarities and I’m surprised to find that it took us so long to cross paths. But when I was 20 or 21, those paths did eventually cross and as hard as I try to remember how, the circumstances escape me. For a couple of weeks we tried again to date but we were both looking for things that the other couldn’t give and so we just… gave up and headed back to our individual paths of self-destruction and self-loathing.

I have recently found out that he is married and has a little girl. (Karma, as he now knows, is a bitch) And that after many years of being angry and searching desperately for something he couldn’t identify, he sounds… not yet happy but much closer. Like me, he found art to be an outlet for the things that made it too loud inside his head. Unlike me, he was more honest about where they were coming from.

But he wrote to me about his fight back from the brink with such honesty and rawness that I found myself shaking as I read it. He told me about what should have been the last week of his life; how fortunate he was to have his wife, who he credits with keeping him from falling over the edge. And I could tell that it was going to be alright. He was going to make it.

We both are.

Published by PaintingChef on 06 Nov 2007

Human Being. Version 2.0.

There is an aspect of this whole move that has got me terribly and horrifically apprehensive. Because I know that the old me and the new me are going to be forced to cross paths at some point. You see, we are moving “home.” Back to Tennessee. To work for and eventually take over a family business. A normal person would be overwhelmed with the responsibility that was going to entail. Especially one, such as myself, who find it difficult to face a task such as balancing a checkbook without a tequila chaser.

But that isn’t where my fear lies. I am much more concerned with having to reconcile the me that I’ve become with the me that perhaps people remember I once was. I am deeply proud of most of those changes. No longer am I dishonest. Untrustworthy. Manipulative. Unfaithful. I have shed the labels that hung around my neck like lead weights. Addict. Mistress. Liar. These things no longer define me and rule my life and actions. I am now a wife. An artist. I am honest. Kind. Domestic. Loving. Optimistic. I hope that I have become a wife, daughter, granddaughter and sister that people are proud of. I long to be a mother. And I have become all of these things because I’ve grown up. I am proud of these changes and proud of the woman I have become.

Unfortunately these aren’t the changes that are instantly visible. The only bad change is the one that is the first you will notice. Gone is the size 6 or (even size 8 ) waist, the sculpted cheekbones and pointy collarbones and hip bones. They were sent packing with the addictions that assured their presence. Somehow, despite all the wonderful developments the new me involved, self-discipline just wasn’t included. That desire to spend an hour sweating at the gym everyday didn’t manifest itself as a by-product of domesticity and killer chocolate chip cookies.

Despite this, I love the new me. I am deeply proud of the person returning “home.” I know the struggles she has faced and I am all too familiar with the work she’s done to be who she is. I stand proud to face the world. My stomach is no longer flat, my hips are wider and my arms jiggle. There is still work to be done and I’m dreading it. But what you won’t realize is that I take infinitely more pride in the person standing before you than the person in your yearbook and your drunken photographs. I’ve learned that true change starts from the inside and moves out. And sometimes things get worse before they get better. I know what you will think when you see me. “Oh my, she certainly let herself go” or “she used to be so pretty”. Guess what. I still am. My ass can shrink if I work hard enough and put down that second cookie. And I will. But I hope that you will also see that I’m a happy person now. That the new identity I’ve found doesn’t make me feel forced to present all the ugly is a perfect package.

This is me. Now. And I love her with all of my heart.

Published by PaintingChef on 14 Jun 2007

The next time I catch something on fire, I’ll do it in remembrance of you.

Something very sad happened on Tuesday. A man my sister and I both dearly loved passed away. We never knew him personally but he is as ingrained in my childhood memories as the hours and hours every summer four little girls spent running across the street back and forth between a swimming pool (theirs) and a hot tub (ours) thinking that they were “skinny dipping”.

(Although I assure you they were fully clothed and wholly unaware that they should be on the short bus.)

(I’m not sure what we thought our mothers were doing at the time but the grown-up I
ve become desperately hopes they were sitting in the air-conditioning drinking margaritas and laughing their asses off at us. I so cannot wait for motherhood. Kids are crazy-stupid.)

And even when I’d outgrown him I would sit in high school chemistry class and recall something he’d once shown me or told me and a little light would go off in my head and the whole lesson would make sense. He planted his seeds early, that crazy guy. There were so many hours I spent being jealous of the kids who got to spend time in his kitchen playing with flash paper and beakers or in his backyard launching rockets.

So thank you Mr. Wizard. Because of you science never sucked and I totally passed high school chemistry even though my father constantly insisted that chemistry was fake because really? Stuff was just made of smaller stuff. And I’m monumentally sorry I just assumed you’d kicked it like 10 years ago.

Perhaps I shall scour eBay and Amazon for DVDs of your shows so that one day I will be able to educate my children on just what a cool guy you were. And also on the wonders of striped knee socks and humongous glasses. Because if I remember correctly those two things featured quite prominently on your show as well.

**Really? Nobody else had love for Mr. Wizard? I’m so sad for you and your misspent youth.**