Archive for July, 2010

Published by PaintingChef on 30 Jul 2010

And then I closed my eyes, crossed my fingers, prayed for a few “OMG! ME TOO” comments and hit publish…

When my great-grandmother passed away in 2003, while I was tremendously sad and heart-broken, I wasn’t shocked. She had been sick for a long time and had lived a full, long and wonderful life and I, quite luckily, had had the opportunity to tell her good-bye. Other than offering up a posthumous tour of our house in Augusta (she hadn’t even been down to see it), I behaved much as you would expect. Plenty of tears, some time spent with old photographs, telling Patrick lots of Nannie stories and some phone calls with Betsy wherein we talked about all the fun we’d ever had with her. She was a fun lady.

But aside from grief-appropriate behaviors, my life continued on in a somewhat normal and sane manner. (This is a sliding scale we’re using… right?)

Well as you know, there has been a fair amount of death in the family happening in these parts over the past couple of years. A fair portion of which I’ve handled… not so great, for lack of a more descriptive term. As will come as no surprise to you, I have had a lot of trouble dealing with the loss of my grandmother, I still miss her every single day and I can’t even bring myself to take her phone number out of my cell phone. AND I’VE BOUGHT A NEW PHONE SINCE SHE DIED…

But I have to share a secret with you. (And this is where we need to just step aside, open the door and roll out the red carpet for THE CRAZY as it is about to make an entrance.) I think that grieving might be the easy part. It’s the dealing with someone as a non-living being that kind of throws me for a loop. I don’t know too much about what happens “next” but I imagine it involves an awful lot of spare time. And I don’t know about you but I think I’d spend that spare time getting all up in everyone’s business.

Now bear in mind that my idea of the afterlife is influenced very heavily by three things. .. specifically middle school sleepovers involving Ouija boards and “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board”, repeat screenings of “Ghost” and “Beetlejuice” and “Spooky Little Girl” by Laurie Notaro. Also something it is NOT influenced by? Religion and the bible… please bear that in mind in a non-judgmental fashion. KTHANX. Should I ever become a ghost, I will make you this one promise… I’ll try very hard not to scare you but trust me, I’ll be around. I’m DEAD. If that’s not a free pass to be all up in your shit, I don’t know what is. I think that what people do when they’re alone is the most fascinating part of human behavior.

So if I, as an invisible dead person, would be so interested in spying on people that I may or may not know, it stands to reason that my dead people are checking in on me at least once in a blue moon. And this, dear internet, was something that gave me pause.

I should back up a second…

You see, this past weekend, the boy that I dated towards the end of high school died in a car accident. As a couple, we didn’t really work, we were too much alike. Ridiculously high IQs without the discipline necessary to truly benefit from them, a tendency towards self-destructive behaviors, struggles with depression, no respect for authority, it was a recipe for disaster. But he always stayed with me in my heart and recently, we’d reconnected on Facebook (of course) and he sounded truly happy. So this post is not to downplay that tragedy, I’ve cried on and off for days and I still have trouble believing that he is really gone.

Um… that’s not what this is about. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure he has plenty of things to do and see. And I’m not saying that I rank up there on his list, I’m sure I don’t. But suddenly, my alone-behaviors have me thinking twice. Not only that… but my not-alone behaviors!

Are my dead grandmother, uncle and ex-boyfriend from high school judging my marriage? Do they think I spend too long on the pooper if I’m in the middle of a good chapter? (Yes. I read. On the shitter. I am not ashamed.) Let’s face it, sometimes showering isn’t a pretty picture either… especially during swimsuit season… do they avert their eyes? What about when I eat whipped cream from the can? Or slices of cheese with ketchup on them? Or stick my finger in the peanut butter jar? Or scratch my ass? Pick my nose? A wedgie? That day that I went commando to work due to a desperate laundry situation? Do they ride in my car too? If so, sorry about the mess… and the smell… sometimes I’m gassy in the morning… Why did I serve macaroni and cheese with hamburgers again? (Because it’s TASTY, home skillet!!) Do Patrick and I REALLY get so wrapped up in an episode of “Property Virgins” that we will sit down to dinner on the couch (YES! ON THE COUCH! DON’T JUDGE ME GHOST-BOY!! Look, the dogs stay on the floor and I only feed them off my fork when I’m done eating. We aren’t total Neanderthals here…) and say maybe five words to each other? Do they take into account the fact that we work together and that that’s a whole lot of together for a married couple when one half of said couple consists of… me?

I find myself editing my alone-behavior. Changing into after-school clothes and pajamas a little faster instead of strolling to the laundry room in the buff to get clothes out of the dryer since I use the dryer as a closet extension to avoid folding laundry. God knows I never wanted him to see that my cross-country runner’s body from high school has long since left the building. Does that matter? Do dead people have x-ray vision? Can they see in the dark? Can they read minds… and do they think that the section of my brain devoted to cake is a little ridiculous? What about my closet? Do they think less of me now that they’ve seen the shoe mountain?

Or do I just need therapy…. lots and lots and lots of therapy?

Published by PaintingChef on 27 Jul 2010

No worries… my “Life? Do it THIS way” book should be out any day now…

Good Intentions… Muffins! Muffins will be great to have for breakfast! Muffins for breakfast will prevent me and Patrick from making our separate stops at McDonalds for biscuits in the morning. MUFFINS FTW!!!

Execution Error… When purchasing muffin mixes, I generally stock up and like to have a variety to choose from. Somewhere in that stocking up, I, just for shits and giggles, threw in a box of chocolate-chocolate chunk muffin mix. Naturally… this was the only one I could find. NUTRITION FAIL!!

Good Intentions… ADD FRUIT! I have raspberries in the freezer! That would be something, right? HEALTHY FRUIT!!! FTW!!!

Execution Error… They are in the freezer. And throwing them in the batter all frozen-y will undoubtedly yield some excess moisture in the baking process and probably screw it all up? Because baking is kind of science-y? So I threw in a fistful of chocolate chips instead. BAKING SUBSTITUTION FAIL!!!

Good Intentions… Well, technically, I suppose they are still muffins and they are for breakfast. There was a valiant effort made. I thought about breakfast and made muffins and here they are in all their chocolate-chocolate chip glory. And then tomorrow I’ll go to the grocery store because I haven’t been in like… three weeks? And we are out of everything under the sun but still I can barely fit anything else in the fridge because of all the take-out containers? LEARNING FROM YOUR MISTAKES!!! FTW!!!

Execution Error… Man… those non-cupcake cupcakes would be DELICIOUS with cream cheese icing on them… GOOD JUDGMENT FAIL!!!

Good Intentions… I will take a “muffin” for breakfast. But then there will probably be a sugar crash at some point. I should try and do something to prevent that. PLANNING AHEAD!!! FTW!!!

Execution Error… Cold pizza? That seems reasonable. Chocolate-chocolate chip muffin and a piece of cold pizza. Yes. This is perfect. BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS!!! FTW!!!


Published by PaintingChef on 15 Jul 2010

Learning to float. All over again.

It’s like a cloud hanging over my head. A general anxiousness. I have no idea where it came from or why it’s there. I look around and nothing is left undone. Nothing is unattended (aside from my laundry and dirty house but SURELY dust bunnies and dirty whites don’t qualify as anxiety triggers, do they?). I’m good. I’m happy. I’m not chasing the creation of a fetus. Nobody has died. (Well, okay, lots of people have died but nobody I know has kicked it recently) I’m actually taking time to enjoy the world around me. Patrick and I spend time outside on the lake and in general, I feel good.

Is that it? Can anxiety come from NOT having anything to worry about?

Here’s the thing. I’m a secret worrier. I’m closet-anxious. People who meet me think I’m totally carefree. I give the impression that I float through life on a bubble of pink cotton candy and silver unicorns (and GUMDROPS! There are GUMDROPS because unicorns shit gumdrops, you know. They do. It’s a scientific fact.) But internet, you know my truth. (Gag… I just had a Britney Spears “Letter of Truth” flash… tell me you remember that whole mess.) I have an army of what-ifs that dance in my ear and they’ve been searching high and low for things to worry about since I went off the baby juice.

So instead I find myself worrying about things that have already happened. That I have no control over. I spent a good hour last night, when I SHOULD have been falling asleep, beating myself up about not using the 15 or months that I was unemployed IN THE YEAR 2003, to make daily exercise a habit in my life. Wasn’t THAT productive? And the night before that? I think it was Lindsay Lohan and how long it will take someone in prison to knock her out and demand their money back for “Herbie: Fully Loaded” and if they will make her wear pants instead of leggings in the pokey.

Okay. Maybe not so much La Lohan but I think it was something equally trivial that affected me just as much. So how do I deal with not having anything to be anxious over? Why can’t I accept that I’m kind of, secretly, pretty fucking happy with my life? I think maybe I feel guilty? Because there is a large part of our general existence that is kind of in the crapper right now? People are losing their houses and there is oil spewing into the ocean?

Is it even alright to BE happy? I want to say yes. I want to say go for it, find your pockets of wonderful and beautiful wherever you can. Be in love. Hug your partner. Kiss your puppy. Walk barefoot in the grass (but not over there… over there is a yellow jackets nest and those fuckers HURT). Stand outside in the rain. Have another glass of wine. Lick the beaters (heee… sounds funny!). Float in the lake. Close your eyes and let the sun warm your face (WITH SPF! You should see my forehead, I’m doing the highly unfortunate two-tone peeling thing. NOT attractive).

So what is this part of my brain that can’t fully let go? Am I missing something? Is it trying to tell me something? See… THIS is why I can’t relax! I think I’m afraid to be happy. I think I’ve been letting things weigh me down for so long, dealing with losing people and not being able to make people and between those two “dealings”, part of me has forgotten how to just let go and float a little.

But I’m working on it every day.

Published by PaintingChef on 01 Jul 2010

In which the current “literary” craze helps me name the boat. And a stake is driven through my heart as a result.

I have a list of favorite things. We all do. Topping mine are spending days on the lake in the summer and watching thunderstorms from my front porch. (Followed closely by the smells of superglue, gasoline and permanent markers but that’s a post for a different kind of rehab, no?)

But my top two favorite things (hmmm… top two? But what of my shoes? And chocolate cake? Perhaps I should reconsider the finality of my above statement…?)

I really love the lake and I really love thunderstorms. And these two jokers are also really fond of one of those two things…

But on Monday night of this past week, two of my favorite things came dangerously close to canceling each other out. Allow me to set the scene… Patrick and I were sitting on the front porch to watch the wind whip, sky darken, rain blow and lightning crackle. Front row seats kids. (Until he wussed out and demanded that we go inside lest we be electrocuted by a wayward bolt. HELLO! COVERED PORCH!) But before said wussing occurred, we heard the unmistakable snap of a breaking pine tree. (Having lived in Georgia, I know that sound and the big boom that normally follows it as the limb of death crashes to the ground… or onto your roof… whatever). So I waited a half second, bracing myself for the boom-crash that… never came?

I then saw something shiny and totally forgot about the fate of the tree and went inside to look for candles because did I mention that our power unfailingly goes out when there is any sort of storm?

A few minutes later, Patrick came back in with a glowingly white face that I could even see in the dark. (what with there being no power and all)

“Hey… guess where that tree landed?”

“No idea.”

“Come look.”

Well shit.

Naturally, we were then outside standing in the opening of the garage (after Patrick pried the garage door open with the emergency red lever-string thing that sometimes whacks me in the head and until then I had no idea what its purpose in life was) contemplating the damage. And when you stand in your garage looking at the tree that crashed into your boat (AND FENCE! NOBODY CARED ABOUT THE FENCE BUT ME!!) in the big storm, neighbors eventually show up and then there is beer.

After talking to the insurance company, we were given the blessing to go ahead and have the tree cleaned up so we could begin to really assess the damage to the boat.

(FYI… the only bigger party than a tree on your boat in the rain is when you pull out the chainsaw to clean up said tree. One neighbor showed up with HIS chainsaw in hand, eyes huge and said only “I heard a chainsaw!!” And then there was more beer.)

Fortunately, in the light of day and non-rain and a swarm of mosquitoes, the damage appeared to be largely cosmetic. Some torn cushions and a ripped boat cover. It appears that the vessel is still sea-worthy. However, it also seems that nature mistook our boat for a vampire and attempted to kill it in an appropriate manner…

We are now considering naming the boat the SS Edward Cullen. (Nobody else got it when I suggested Lestat de Lioncourt. I died a little inside… curse you Stephanie Meyer!!)