V. Living the Upper Crust

I went back over to the house. This time The Husband graciously left for a couple hours so I could pack in peace. I decided to tackle the kitchen.

I cook and I bake. (For those of you that don't get the distinction, we'll talk later.) The tools for cooking were containable but the baking had over flowed to the garage and was quite an undertaking. Fortunately for me, she had a friend who was an Anthropology major turned Baker. A lovely, free spirited girl not likely to be swept up in the triteness of expectation. I decided The Baker would inherit the glut of my baking supplies. I used to be a Baker but I wasn't anymore.

I stopped baking last April. My bread machine sat floury and mute on the counter all summer until it got pushed to the corner of the dining room late in the fall. There were no fresh fruit pies. No yeasty knotted dinner rolls sprinkled with poppy seeds. And there were no Birthday cakes. Not a one.

I'd taken all the classes and, if I'd had the patience for brides, could have made wedding cakes. The birthday cakes in our family were fabulous confections of taste and artistry meant to impress small children and relatives. I enjoyed making them but I really just wanted to make everyone happy. I wanted to host the parties and family affairs that brought everyone together celebrating life's little inconsequential events. But I wasn't that baker anymore. I was someone else entirely.

After the shotgun incident I started saying that I grew up in an Ozzie and Harriet world not a Jerry Springer world. Clearly, I am not accustomed to the shift. I grew up in middle class suburbia where the real reason your parents sent you to college was to find you a professional for a husband. I had a stay-at-home Mom who spent her days keeping an immaculate house and garden. She worked her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking forty years before Julie and Julia hit the screen. Most people had stew or meatloaf. We had Beef Bourguignon and Coq au Vin.

My Mom was a beautiful, self-educated, delightful woman that I thought I was supposed to be. Mother. Wife. With the end goal of a lovely two story on a cul de sac and possible waterfront vacation property. That's what I thought. So when she started kicking the insides of my womb in my 23rd year that's the path I headed down. A path including two husbands, houses of increasing grandeur, fabulous hand sewn Halloween costumes, dinner parties, wallpaper books and tomato plants started from seed. The one part I never got was the stay-at-home. I worked. And I worked. And my beautiful Mother got Alzheimer's and can't even butter a piece of toast.

It turns out the path I was on wasn't mine at all. It was borrowed and I was ready to give it back. It turns out I was the kind of woman who could be happy clicking away on her laptop and dreaming of the beautiful blue eyed Boy she'd lost. I was finding my new reality in my tear stained pillow cases and I didn't need any pans shaped like Spiderman to define me. I was starting over, I hoped for the last time.

I put together a couple boxes with fluted brioche pans, candied fruits and a good rolling pin for The Baker because I knew she was never going down the path I had been on. She'd stepped outside of the candy mold and was herself.

She wouldn't go down that path either. I'd known that long before she'd kissed the Girl that she would choose an unconventional path and I was secretly delighted. I didn't want her to be me. The only part of me I'd wish for was that she would find that one love she would lose everything for. Just like I had. I just hoped she was smarter than me and would not lose it. ~Dazzledgirl


IV. Lacking Metaphors, but Surrounded by Irony.

I moved to downtown Richmond this past September. The last time I lived in the city it was as a naive college freshman. There I was, newly 25, working two jobs to live in the city and feeling more at home than I ever had before. For the first time in my life, weight fell off me without dieting. I thought it was a damn miracle! Perhaps it could have just been the two jobs. Perhaps.

I spent my autumn and winter planning for spring. I couldn't wait to spend spring in the city. My best friend and I listed off places to go, things to do.
  • Bike the entire Fan.
  • First Friday every month.
  • Massive photography shoot at Hollywood Cemetery.
  • Stop motion video on Belle Isle.
  • Garden parties in my back yard.
  • Picnics at Maymont.

Then in the dead of winter the car crash happened. With that crash, all my plans for spring died. My life was ruined in an instant. The financial devastation brought my spirit down. My world was absolute chaos. Yet despite all the negativity in my life, I developed an attachment to a coworker of mine. Never dip your nib in the office ink. Wise OMQ I should have remembered. But with that budding love, some of my hope from spring crept out of the grave. I remained positive. I wanted to make plans with her.

When everything around you is broken, you cling to what brings you any kind of happiness. I emotionally invested in someone I knew I shouldn't have. I gave her unconditional support and helped her see how she could change situations in her life. All the while, my situation grew worse by the day. I felt so thankful to have her in my life. I felt as if we were sent to one another in some cosmic way to help overcome our circumstances. Haha, apparently not.
The Girl hurt me repeatedly. I wasted so much time fighting for someone who turned out not to be worth it. Where is the irony in this whole situation? Well, here's one example......
When She had lost her Boy and her heart was broken, I was on cloud nine because I was falling in love. I was incapable of providing any sort of empathy. I either sounded harsh or I was spewing the,"Seize the day; your entire life is ahead of you! Think positive!" type bullshit. My mood depended on whether The Girl was on a high or low. I couldn't provide any support to my own Mother yet I could provide an immense amount to my romantic interest.

When that romantic interest betrayed, abandoned, and hurt me like she promised she would- I couldn't deal with it. So there I was, left broken and alone. A few days after The Girl disappeared; My Mother hit her worst low point. I felt powerless. I couldn't even pretend to be optimistic in the least. All I could really say was, "I know.", because I did.

A week later, I knew my romantic situation was over despite The Girl feeding me lines of hope and claiming she just needed "space". I can barely recall getting home. A few blocks from her house I pulled over in a vacant parking lot and sobbed. I tried to pull myself together enough to make it home. I drove very slowly, my vision blurred by tears. I knew that the kiss goodbye she gave me was indeed the last. As soon as I stepped foot in the house I fell to pieces and into Her arms. All she could say was "I know.", and she did.

I am not ending this with pure doom and gloom. I finally severed ties with The Girl, and have rebuilt myself. My luck has changed. I feel spring coming again. I've spent time with old friends and I'm making plans with new ones. I see now that as important as I thought that girl was, she was just a speed bump in my life, warning me of how dangerous falling in love can be. ~Braticas


III. There's a Metaphor Lurking in my Garden.

I went by the house the other day to pick up a few things. I'm moving in degrees, sorting and sifting seventeen years of stuff into neat little parcels for packing or purging. I've cut the emotional ties to my Grandmother's hutch, lace table clothes and re-read paperbacks and am ready to simplify my life.

The Husband watches the packing while lobbing volleyball sized insults and instructions; some of them spiked, most of them underhanded. In an attempt to sit this game out, I take the dogs outside for a good brushing. A winter's worth of fur goes flying and they don't even complain. They're so happy to have me home they'd let me brush them bald.

So I'm on the deck and I notice my window boxes have sprouted some leftover seeds from last year and my herbs are growing. In the chaos that was 2009, my garden was abandoned by me but not by Mother Nature. I'd let crops die on the vine, weeds run wild and the beds spend the winter unturned. But she had stayed her course and was ready for spring. I wandered down the steps into the yard and started clawing wet clumps of rotting leaves out of my raised beds.

Strawberry plants two inches tall. A little hill of kale. Oregano growing out of the compost pile. Spring onions. Asparagus ready to be picked. Enough Rainbow Chard to make with pasta for dinner. I hate it when God uses his Grandeur to show me how ridiculous I am.

I mention this because I spent all of January and February and most of March wanting to die. Planning my death. Taking steps to end my life. However you say it, I wasn't anticipating any kind of spring. But in the naivete of her youth She said just enough right things to keep me alive. Probably by accident, empathy not being her thing, as I'm sure she'll agree.

When you're nearing fifty, and a lot of things start coming to an end, reinventing your life is beyond surreal. When you're twenty five, it's just speed bumps. I don't know what she said to me. I just know that the Husband had pulled a shot gun on us both and that as I sat on my stone wall surrounded by seven police cars I watched Her crying on the phone to the Boy and I knew I loved them both way too much to leave.

And now it seems I have a garden to tend to again. ~Dazzledgirl


II. The Most Disastrous Year.

The most disastrous year of my life was my twenty fourth. In the eight months leading up to my twenty fifth birthday; I moved my apartment into my parents garage, quit my full-time job, and walked away from a serious relationship. Considering how drastically my life changed in such a short time, I dreaded the end of summer and the celebratory day that would be twenty five years away from the womb.

Age can seem irrelevant until you start looking forward and backward and asking yourself insane, unanswerable questions. For me that day was August 31st, 2009. The biggest question: "How did I end up here?" I compared myself to other's my age and realized I'd thrown away an education, a career, and any sort of plan. After having a brief John Mayer "quarter life crisis", I decided to detach myself from my mother's couch and start anew.

All was well......
until it wasn't.

In fact, the "new start" backfired and left me worse off. I lost my car, my job, my apartment, my fantastic credit score and my patience for moving.

Oh Yeah. And I fell in love.

I'm having a very interesting year and we started this blog to share our two lives together and our two lives apart. Exactly ten days after I kissed a girl, my car accident would take place and start this cataclysmic chain of events that would my make life very disastrous indeed. ~Braticas


I. The Most Dangerous Year.

The most dangerous year of a woman's life must be her forty ninth. I know it is for me. I've changed jobs, lost my husband, lost my home, had a lump removed, my mother doesn't know who I am and my daughter came out of the closet while on a morphine drip after a car accident that left her car-less and homeless. There's more. Lot's more. But that will drip out slowly on it's own.

Oh yeah. And I fell in love.

Age can be irrelevant until you wake up one day and start looking backward and forward and asking yourself inane, unanswerable questions. For me that day was August 3, 2009. The biggest question: "What was I thinking?"

Eight months later I'm realizing that on August 3, 2010 I will be 50 years old and she will be 25. And until August 31, 2010 she will be half my age and I will be twice her age. Now the question begs, "What was I doing at 25 and how did I get here? And is she going to end up in the same place?" God, I hope not.

Ah, the different perspectives. Two views of the world inexplicably intertwined by two women sharing so much yet so incredibly different. So much to write about!

Case in point: she's a beta tester for a new website http://www.fantourage.com/fz/210/fantourage and invited me to play on the site before it was live. It's a site for fan and celebrity interaction and we both just loved it. One of the goals is to get feedback or interaction from celebrities so we follow them on Twitter. Or maybe stalk them is more appropriate? Anyway...I get a frantic text at work one day from her. Liz Feldman tweeted and retweeted her! OMG, LMAO, WTF etc.

Pretty impressive, I must say. Until Hugh Grant tweeted and retweeted me! I'm sorry but Hugh Grant beats the lesbian comedian any day of the week. I don't care who you are.  Oh, btw, Hugh doesn't turn 50 years old until September 9, 2010 but that's OK, I like younger men.

So I'm having an interesting year and we've started this blog to share our two perspectives. Since I have Hugh Grant on my mind, all I can tell you is that for me, it's all About A Boy. And that Boy kissed me on my forty ninth birthday and the year became very dangerous indeed. ~Dazzledgirl