This fall I found myself adrift. Livelihood vanished in a poof of airborne virus, and all my dreams of solvency with it. Children - GONE! I was abruptly empty-nested, and along with that loss went the child support and the lease. I was hamstrung by Long Covid, and thus handicapped, decided to hole myself up with as many of my art and craft supplies as I could cram into a 12x6 UHaul and see what 'gave'. I intended to find part time work, sell my van, and find myself. Thus limited, and wings clipped somewhat, I aimed to find what I could of fulfillment, before I could in good faith return to the World of Work to provide for my Old Age.
I moved to OCMD to escape ice, snow, and mud - into temporary home with a stunning view. I slept a lot, was harassed mercilessly by the landlords, and attempted to heal. I had no job offers or even interviews. My dream board was looking tattered and tired and I wasn't at all 'up' for doing the retail crafts concession I had specced out upon it. I cast about for the next thing to try, and thought I would try cupcakes...maybe just one batch...and I queued up YouTube.
It was kismet. Everything was new again! Being a serial entrepreneur - I dove happily head-first into yet another venture, but got hung up on the name. My personal 'brand' over the years has always been Bramble Hollow...Bramble Hollow Fine Arts. Bramble Hollow Fiber Arts. Bramble Hollow Baked Goods....but it sounded way too prickly for a cupcake company.
Then I thought....
The van. Petal. PETAL cupcakery!
One tired trope that is truer than most is that of 'you can have it all, you just can't have it all at the same time'. I've elevated this skill to mastery.
For years, I dreamed of a vintage Roadtrek van. Granted, I had never so much as seen one in person...but as the face painter for the biggest RV dealership on the east coast - I had a great amount of exposure to what I DIDN'T want. I also had owned five different tag along campers...most of which created chaos through compromise. This time, I had the dubious encouragement of my stalwart son who - at the sight of my latest folly-onious -acquisition declared - "of all the crazy **** you've brought home, this is the craziest **** ever. Why don't you save your money and buy something decent for once?"
So, mustering a wild look in my eye, I raided my bankruptcy attorney/root canal fund, flipped the latest monstrous beast I'd drug home for a profit, and lucked into my Dream Van.
Over the next 18 months, I chronicled our doings on a Facebook page, and generally made good use of Her and discovered what I knew in my heart - that as much as I adore the conveniences of a small motorhome as a daily driver - I am no traveler. And divested of an income with which to support Her in the style she deserved, and after 19 grueling weeks on the market, I've found Her an appropriate home. I will cherish the good times, and I know from hope is the flip side of heartbreak. Sometimes you have to give, to get.
Ironically, I did my first floral cupcake wedding back in 2004. Somewhere in the depths of my belongings, are real photographic prints of this anomaly. One day, after I find them, I'll devote a post to them
The Italian in me has prevailed. I find the greatest meaning, the highest value in life, in the smiles and gasps of pleasure of people who enjoy my food and my art. It is a privilege to be the giver of joy, and I hope that this gives me most of it, if not all of it, at once.