Archive for March, 2012

Published by PaintingChef on 30 Mar 2012

Violated.

It happened twice and didn’t think a damn thing of it. Come home from work, stop to get the mail and there wasn’t anything there.

“Huh… that’s odd… guess I won’t peruse Anthropologie on the crapper and design a fictional party…moving on…” And that was the end of it.

(Also? SHUT UP. You totally do it too.)

But I should have thought about it. We’ve lived in this house for FOUR YEARS. And I get more crap in the mail than anyone ever should. I’m on EVERY mailing list that exists. There is ALWAYS mail.

And then it started. Patrick went to get the mail one gorgeous Saturday morning while we were in the midst of planning an absolutely wonderful day on a gorgeous morning and our little cocoon of safety and trust exploded.

Sure, when it started with Lowe’s and Radio Shack I could be funny and try and chalk it up to Patrick in a fugue state decided to suddenly shop. But then it was Citibank. Apple. Wal-mart. Over and over. Someone using his name. Birthday. Social Security number. Someone out there who knew all this about my husband.

It wasn’t me. How was that possible? I’M the one who puts it all out there. The oversharer who writes first and thinks later. Why wasn’t it me? Because someone stole our mail. They were at our house. They discarded my Sephora mailers and the Pottery Barn catalogs. Somehow they found what they needed with my husband’s name on it. And they proceeded to try and systematically ruin his good name.

We think we were lucky. We caught it fast. We tried to play detective and we set up a camera to try and catch them coming back. No luck… unless a bumble bee happens to be the culprit.

I had grand plans to try and make this something to laugh about, I really did. But the truth is, it just feels like such a violation. The police are no help. We’ve been told repeatedly to file a report so that there is a documentable trail of this whole mess but nobody will listen. We got a post office box. We are watching our credit reports with eagle eyes.

But mainly I’m just angry. I’m really, really angry.

Published by PaintingChef on 22 Mar 2012

A downward spiral that started off with very good intentions. I would apologize but I was once a pirate baby so you’ll excuse me if I don’t…

Everyone deals with grief differently. And although it’s been over 2 years since my grandmother passed away, it’s something that is still present in my interactions with my mother in a very big way. I’m been so upset with her about the way she has dealt with it and that’s incredibly unfair to her. But she has just been angry about it. Not sad or willing to remember her mother’s long life and all the great memories that we shared, she’s just been pissed off with no idea how or, what appeared to me, desire to feel any differently.

But recently, she’s started in on a project that I think has been extremely cathartic. She has decided to pull out all the pictures she has laying around in albums, boxes, tucked into drawers, stuck in mirrors, and everywhere else photographs used to accumulate before we all went so very digital and she is scanning them all. I think that this has been a great way for her to look back and remember that there were lots of good memories that she was pushing out of her mind to make room for her grief. And grief is a very real thing, I don’t pretend for even a second that it isn’t. But I think that eventually it should dissipate and what is left are the memories. And getting to that point is going to be differently for everyone. I think about Neena every single day. But I don’t cry every time she crosses my mind anymore.

I think that there is a good chance that, subconsciously, this whole Bad Kitty Bakery thing is a vehicle for my grief and acceptance of a life without the physical presence of one of my favorite people in the entire world. And every time I start to make something (like one of the three cakes I’m doing this weekend!!) I kind of feel her near me and can almost sense her perched on a stool cradling a steaming hot mug of coffee (regardless of the weather) and taking a second to sit back and watch me do what she taught me.

But anyway… blah, blah, blah, therapy speak… how about some pictures instead? I just have a couple for you today but I’m going to continue posting them sporadically (much like everything else related to this website and… let’s be honest… my life in general).

Easter was, apparently, a huge deal in Athens, Tennessee in the late 50s and early 60s (much as I imagine it still is today) and the annual Easter picture was always glorious. Mainly because, at the time, my grandmother owned a fabric store and made every stitch of clothing that family wore. It’s no coincidence that my mother was voted Best Dressed of her senior class, I’m sure…

And this one is from my mother’s rehearsal dinner when she married my father in, I think, 1975. This wedding marked the beginning of my grandmother’s culinary business and her dance card stayed full until I was in my mid-20s. But I’m telling you… I would maim or even kill for that long grey dress my grandmother has on. And my mom’s gypsy-inspired outfit? Yes please. Total glamour, those women.

And then there is this… me and my dad… the show-off. Wonder if he can still do this?

I should make him try because once he did this to me… (I lie. That has mom written all over it. Even my dear old young dad looks confused as to how he ended up with a very ill-tempered and somewhat squinty pirate baby.)

Also? BRAAAAAAAAIDS!

And the beginning of my illustrious 5 minute career as a swimsuit model.

I was much better at the attitude.

I called this one Pink Steel…

Well this went downhill pretty quickly…

(Rim Shot)

Published by PaintingChef on 08 Mar 2012

I will also always insist on balloons… and probably glitter. And a unicorn. Can someone get on that?

Someone asked me the other day what my favorite thing to bake was and I realized that I’d never really thought about that but it was a REALLY good question. Once I started rolling it around in my head I decided that I have a very strong opinion on the matter and you lucky little shits… you get to hear it!

While I’ve really enjoyed learning to make macarons, I’m still scared to death of them. They stress me out because they never look quite like the ones that I see in pictures and that gives me sad eyes. Also? Shipping macarons keeps me up at night. I’m terrified. So obviously… the answer is NOT macarons.

Moving on.

When I was growing up, birthdays were a HUGE deal. It was the culmination of weeks of planning and anticipating. When I was younger, it was the execution of a party that my mom and I had spent so much time and love planning. It was a day that started with a bedside serenade, balloons and streamers at breakfast, a morning birthday gift and of course, the red plate. The red plate meant your shit was SPECIAL.

That afternoon/evening was always a special birthday dinner (hello again red plate!) and, of course, the birthday cake. Choosing a birthday cake was a year-long mission for my sister and me. We would sit down with Neena’s cake books and truly test her “nothing is off limits” promise. In particular… one year I had a castle cake. Like… an actual castle with a working drawbridge. I’ve looked online for a picture of anything similar but apparently now there are pans that cheat and do it for you and while those cakes are very nice, my castle cake was GLORIOUS. My mother has a picture but has no idea how to work her scanner. So sad.

We have veered off track, no?

I love making birthday cakes. Birthdays are about just celebrating the life of someone you love… and if that someone is YOU then that’s totally acceptable! It seems like a read a quote somewhere that said something along the lines of “You shouldn’t expect anyone to make a big deal out of your birthday past the age of 8” and that kind of broke my heart. Birthdays will ALWAYS be big to me. Birthdays are exciting, they are fun, there is cake. (We should have more holidays marked with cake, no?) I fully expect to be 90 years old and insisting on everyone making a big damn deal out of September 12th.

So I’ve taken over the birthday cake duties in my family. No castles yet… but I love taking the time to plan each cake and choose something special just for that person. Birthday cakes man… those are the best.

Published by PaintingChef on 01 Mar 2012

Drifting…

Are you ever afraid that you are getting boring? That you suddenly have nothing left to say and that you will somehow kind of just disappear and become irrelevant? Not even a footnote in someone’s life? Just… kind of a brownish area (with POINTS!) where something quasi-interesting used to be?

For the majority of my life, I think I’ve floated from identity to identity trying each one on praying that something would stick, that something would fit. The jock. The party girl. The artist. The writer. I keep expecting one particular thing to fit like a glove and it never does and when one thing becomes difficult I usually shed it and move on. Because I’m a wimp like that.

So what do you do when you realize that the writing doesn’t flow like it used to but this place, this little corner of the internet has kept you sane for years and been one of the singe coolest and most gratifying parts of your life? I refuse to give it up. I need it to much. I just feel so neglectful. It’s not that there aren’t things that I want to say, there are SO MANY THINGS. I just… I don’t know where to start.

So bear with me. I’m trying. I promise. I’m just incredibly out of sorts.

And if we’re being totally honest… kind of covered in a fine layer of flour and powdered sugar. So in the meantime go buy some damn cookies, mmmkay?

I love you internet. I still love you so very much. Let’s not break up, okay?