Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cha Cha's Stuff of 2008: Cha Cha, This is Your Life edition.

So, there are about four and a half hours left in 2008. I'm going to head out and go bowling here in a bit, because that's how I roll.

I'm not big on new year's resolutions, but the end of the year does warrant a bit of reflection on where we've been and where we're headed. Here's what I think.

2008 was ...
2008 was the year that so did not end up like I had planned. I would have been shocked - probably wanted to punch you in the mouth, actually - if you told me on January 1 that not only would Mr. Wonderful and I not be engaged by the end of the year, but that he would have dumped me after 17 months of dating and more than a year after we agreed to marry. In the words of my sweet friend A., this is so not what I signed up for.

Biggest gift of 2008
See above.

A little time has provided a bit of painful clarity. Thank you, Ex-Boyfriend Formerly Known as Mr. Wonderful.

Biggest loss of 2008
This one is a tie between The Ladybug and the Geriatric Poodle. I know a lot of people would be horrified to think of a poodle being on par with a going-to-be-stepdaughter human little girl. But they didn't know the Geriatric Poodle.

Basically, the entire second half of 2008 feels like one giant, painful loss. Fuck you, 2008. Good riddance. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Best rebound ever
Oh, Zoloft. No one loves me like you do.

Which is a glib way of thanking my lucky stars for friends who dared to suggest that I just might be clinically depressed, for the people who love me who convinced me to get help, and for the lovely doc who promised that everything would be ok and then made it so.

Best discovery of 2008
Honey barbeque sauce from Chick-Fil-A. I'm not kidding. It's made with real crack.

Worst discovery of the last hour
When you need to go to the grocery because you don't have any food, but you're hungry now and make Kraft Mac 'n' Cheese with extra butter and some water because your milk is sour? The end product isn't that great.

Greatest blessings ever
My family and friends. This most definitely includes my blog friends, who always seem to make just the right comment at just the right time. Thank you so, so much.

Most empowering realization of 2008
This is also a tie. I just can't choose between the realization that despite everything, I'm still here, and the realization that I have filled my Shit Quota and now am facing wonderful opportunity and adventure. Yahoo!

Most gratifying realization of 2008
The thing that makes me feel better, no matter how shitty I feel, is helping other people.

Most exciting cliffhanger of 2008*
I am making a handful of very minor new year's resolutions, and a rather large resolution tied to my most gratifying realization. Tune in tomorrow ...

*if you live in a cave and have never seen actual TV.

Thanks for making my day every day. Many blessings to you and yours in this bright new year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cha Cha's Stuff of 2008: Entertainment edition.

So, there are about 29 hours left in 2008, and it's that time of year when we're inundated with "best of" lists. Critics' choices for books, TV, film, blah blah blah.

At some point, I totally lost track of the fifth-grade Cha Cha who listened to Casey Kasem every Sunday so that she would know what songs were popular and therefore not be a total outcast at school. No, somewhere along the way, I morphed into Cha Cha Who Doesn't Give a Shit.

Case in point? Of the top 10 singles of the year, as named by the music critic in my city's fair newspaper? I have heard one.

And all those movies that everyone is talking about right now? Umm, yeah.

I saw Mamma Mia twice in one afternoon! And it was great!

So, here are my choices for Cha Cha's Stuff of 2008. Keep in mind that this is all stuff that I liked, disliked, or continued to like or dislike in 2008 - not necessarily stuff that was new to the world.

Best TV show
30 Rock. I want to be cool like Tina Fey. But mostly? Mostly, I love the absurdity of this show. I love that they had a show called MILF Island. I love that Tina's character dressed like Princess Leia to get out of jury duty. I love that Alec Baldwin ran over his mom, Elaine Stritch, and then waited eight minutes to call 911. I love this show.

Best cable channel
TBS. Specifically, TBS on Saturday mornings. TBS can make or break my Saturday. I roll out of bed, grab some breakfast, and test the waters to see what movie is playing on TBS. A few weeks ago, it was Something's Gotta Give, which I've seen, like, four times. This meant that my Saturday was shot - I watched the whole movie and eventually got dressed at 3:30. I *heart* you, TBS.

Best movie - comedy or musical
Mamma Mia. Duh.

I also liked the sing-along version, but, umm? I discovered that I didn't need the lyrics on the screen. I sort of already knew them. Because I am cool like that.

Best movie - traditional holiday fare
Always have, always will love this one. Last year's winner, and - dare I say it - a favorite to win in 2009 as well. Trading Places. It's just not Christmas without Eddie Murphy.

Movie that all the critics loved that left me scratching my head
Burn After Reading. Yeah, Brad Pitt was funny as a doofus. And I should act all cool like, "Wow, the Coen brothers' movies are such a statement about our society." But mostly? Mostly, my friend L and I were like, "Umm? What was that?" when we left the theatre. Because we are not cool. And the violence sort of creeped us out. Because we don't go around, like, murdering people.

Favorite book - memoir
Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson. I love Bryson's stories, and his audio books are a special treat - they're like listening in on one of your dad's buddies telling a particularly good tale. Bryson also has my undying love for noting that Jello is the state fruit of Iowa.

Favorite book - novel
Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner. I've read all of Weiner's books, and enjoyed some more than others. But this one almost made me run off the road while I listened to it. It's a continuation of the tale started in her debut, Good in Bed. A fun read that's a little more substantial than you might think.

Favorite book - nonfiction
Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities by Alexandra Robbins. My book club read this and it was fascinating. As a sorority woman, I read it partly like, "Oh, yeah, I remember that" and partly like, "OMG, what were we thinking?" This book inspired a really great book club conversation about women's organizations as a whole, too.

Best periodical to grab while headed into the bathroom
Entertainment Weekly. I somehow scored a free subscription when I ordered some concert tickets, and this magazine has been showing up in my mailbox for the last four months. I have friends who salivate over EW and look forward to its arrival. But since I am woefully not with-it about my entertainment choices, I end up reading weeks-old issues while, erm, sitting on the can. It's a great time to reflect on the the great TV shows that I missed because it took me three weeks to get around to reading EW.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that EW did alert me to the new Muppets' Christmas special, which was wonderful. And I actually saw the special because EW talked about it three weeks early, so I read about it, like, the night before it aired.

Worst choice of reading material
A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father by Augusten Burroughs. I have read all of Burroughs' books, from Running With Scissors to Sellevision his excellent essay collections. But this one? I hate to admit it, but ... it was so self-indulgent and fake artsy that I listened to only one disk of the eight-disk audio book. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood to hear unsure recollections of a shitty childhood. Or maybe it's just a shitty book.

Best group of young ruffians that almost killed me and my family
The University of Missouri football team. The boys from my alma mater did their very best to lose last night's Alamo Bowl to the Northwestern Wildcats - a very likable team. But the Tigers held on to win in overtime. My parents and I were all exhausted by this ugly game. At one point, my dad turned to me and said, "If these were the Iowa Hawkeyes, I would have had a heart attack by now."

Worst college football coaching choice
This one's a tie between Penn State giving 957-year-old Joe Paterno an extension and Kansas State rehiring their retired coach, Bill Snyder. Seriously? I guess folks under the age of 70 don't understand the intricacies of college football and can't relate to or effectively coach 18-year-olds.

Best life partner
DVR. I *heart* you forever!

Best concert
Obviously, My Boyfriend Dave Grohl. Even though his lawyers have asked me to stop calling him that. They also said something about not weeping in his driveway in the middle of the night ...

Best gift
Did you even have to ask?
Tomorrow: Cha Cha's Stuff of 2008: Cha Cha, This is Your Life edition!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Oh, Krampus. You came and you gave without taking.

The people have spoken, and demanded more Olan Mills-esque magic featuring Krampus the Christmas Frog.

Or, maybe I just have a nasty cold, can't think of anything to write about, and have a sick fascination with posting photos of myself without make-up.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ribbit, the herald angels sing.

My family learned some really important things this Christmas.

First of all, we're really glad we aren't German. Secondly, frogs are awesome.

Christmas eve, my parents, my brother and I all attended mass. Our midnight mass now starts at 5:30. Having served as an acolyte during my formative years and struggled every year to stay upright through a midnight mass, I'm sort of disappointed that the service is actually at a normal-ish time now. Back in my day ...

But it gave us a chance to have a leisurely dinner after the service and to begin ingesting the four dozen Christmas cookies that we were all required to eat. This doesn't even mention the Christmas Cracker Quota, as my mom bought crackers, lost them, bought more, and then found the original crackers. Not eating enough carbs makes baby Jesus cry.

During dinner, Poochie started telling us about different Christmas traditions. The one that really stuck with us was Krampus, a German dude who looks sort of like a devil. He comes around on December 5 and loads up all the bad children into his basket and carts them off.

If you need a visual, click here. Be warned: Krampus has horns, hoofed feet and a generally sour attitude.

So, instead of visions of sugarplums, we all went to bed worrying about Krampus.

But Christmas arrived, Krampus didn't carry any of us off, and we had a wonderful time.

I was truly overwhelmed when we opened gifts. At Thanksgiving, we all decided to give each other just one gift and to do good deeds in lieu of an orgy of Christmas presents. We did, however, also draw names for gag gifts.

When it came time on Christmas morning to open gifts, the good deeds were first. I started crying - it was amazing. Families received Christmas gifts, winter coats, and food. A gift was given in honor of Foxie Doxie and Shih Tzu Magic, and in memory of Geriatric Poodle to an animal shelter. Food banks received a little help restocking the shelves. Salvation Army bells were rung.

It was pretty much the best Christmas ever.

And yes, it did involve a group hug.

Then, we opened the gag gifts. I received a dancing and singing Christmas frog.

He's sporty, with a scarf, a Santa hat, and, of course, red leg warmers. He dances and ribbits along to "Stupid Cupid," which, if I'm not mistaken, isn't even a Christmas song.
This frog is so hideous and fantastic and nightmare-inducing. Of course, we welcomed him as a new member of the family. And we named him.

Krampus the Christmas Frog.

We've spent the last three days cleaning out the basement, being iced in, gorging ourselves on Christmas cookies and hiding Krampus the Christmas Frog around the house.

Know that if you take a shower, you'll most likely come out to find Krampus greeting you in the hall. Need some breakfast? Krampus has been sitting in front of the cereal allll night, just waiting to serenade you.

Poochie and I even posed for some new, Olan Mills-esque Christmas photos with Krampus.
It's a Brave New World, courtesy of Krampus the Christmas Frog.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas stuff that makes me laugh.

Tonight, I watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas and White Christmas. I watched these classics while wrapping gifts and generally getting ready to head to my folks' house tomorrow.

Yes, yes I did help friends wrap their gifts. Yes, yes I am just now finishing wrapping my gifts at 11 p.m. the night before I'm supposed to leave for Iowa. No, I haven't started packing. Shut. Up.

The funny thing about How the Grinch Stole Christmas?

I *heart* Max.
And I *heart* Foxie Doxie.
Separated at birth? I say yes.

The funny thing about White Christmas?

First of all, the "Sisters" fan dance is perhaps the greatest musical number in history. I know Green Girl agrees with me here. My mom and I do an awesome rendition, although we are yet to perfect the fans.

But also? Also, I think of my dad and my brother.

Poochie hates White Christmas because he can't stand the "Snow" number. I have to admit - any song with the lyric "I want to wash my hands, my hair, my face in SNOW!" is, umm ... stupid. And written by someone who has never been north of Burbank.

My dad likes White Christmas ... but every time we watch it, he gets totally disgusted with Rosemary Clooney's character and her making-assumptions-and-being-difficult ways.

Basically, every time I watch White Christmas, I hear my sweet daddy saying, "Oh my god, what a bitch!"

And really? That's what Christmas means to me.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Caroling, caroling, now we go.

I'm pretty particular when it comes to Christmas music. I can't stand it until the month of December. And I'm a purist of the Andy Williams / Johnny Mathis school: if you've ever had anything to do with American Idol, your Christmas album is dead to me.

So the Andy Williams / Johnny Mathis thing is, like pretty much everything, totally my mom's fault.

I hear Nat King Cole and Eddy Arnold and Andy Williams and Johnny Mathis crooning about Christmas, and it makes me think of my childhood. It just feels like Christmas. We had all these records, and to this day, I cannot think of Johnny Mathis without picturing him on the slopes, a la this album cover:
This music makes me think of wrapping gifts and making cookies. And of being very cold. I did grow up in Iowa, after all.

Now, a pain point in my parents' 40-year relationship has always been a certain reel-to-reel tape of my mom's. It contains all sorts of Christmas music from her childhood, and my dad just cannot stand it, even though they are the same age. (Ok, she's two years younger, just because I know she'll point that out. Hi, Mom!)

The reel-to-reel has long been in the crawlspace, but a cassette of this infamous tape survives. It includes songs that are never on any radio station, but really should be. To make me feel especially decrepit, I've been unable to find audio or even lyrics to a few of them ... which adds credence to the idea that I hallucinated parts of my childhood.

Little Gayla is famous for her soulful rendition of "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas," but this song is actually my favorite. It's the tale of a little doll who was sent to Santa for repairs and is to be delivered home Christmas day. And she's plucky.

Another question song, and the single most depressing Christmas song ever. To be totally fair to my dad and his hatred of this entire tape, I would generally go hide in the bathroom when this song came on. It's just so painful. Go ahead, click the link. You know you want to.

Little Johnny Snowball / Bow Wow wants a boy for Christmas - Red Buttons
I don't remember much about Little Johnny Snowball, but Bow Wow is the second saddest Christmas song ever. It's all about a puppy who just wants a boy. And there are cute little dog barks throughout the song. And in this season of missing the Geriatric Poodle and being sooooo tempted to adopt another dog? Well, this song pretty much makes me want to die.

I'm gettin' nuthin' for Christmas (cuz I ain't been nuthin' but baaad)
I can't find who sang this, but as a child, I listened on with disdain. Surely this was a kid who ate paste.

Willy Claus - Molly Bee
This was evidently the A side to "I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus." It's about Santa Claus' son, Willy, who saves the day when Santa gets sick. Willy seemed like a bit of a kiss-up, if you asked my childhood self. I guess I was looking for a song about a kid who didn't eat paste but who wasn't trying to take over for his old man.

Christmas don't be late - The Chipmunks
Obviously, a classic. My mom and I do a great rendition of this one.

What weird holiday tunes make you feel like it's really, truly Christmas?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Joy to you and me.

I have a snoring dachshund who has his nose buried in my armpit. His little snorts and grunts are the loveliest noise.

Tonight, I was searching for the perfect Christmas accessory for Foxie Doxie. I pulled out the bag of bandanas in search of a holiday-themed scarf for the dude. I came up short, and instead ended up sorting the bandanas. Most of them belonged to the Geriatric Poodle. Most of them are filthy and torn. I pulled out a few that are still usable, and returned the rest to the little brown shopping bag to throw away.

It was then that I realized that the raggedy brown paper shopping bag with the broken handles was the Geriatric Poodle's overnight bag when he would be boarded. It dates back to when he was an only child and features a stamp of a black dog, his name in black Sharpie, and a bulleted list of the toys contained therein.

I looked at the bag with amazement. Evidently, I was once That Woman. I sent my dog to be boarded with a bag that I had carefully decorated. I guess I was nesting, or trying to be Suzy Homemaker, or practicing for a human baby.

Of the three toys listed on the bag, two are long gone. And that sweet little dog who loved them so is dead.

And I'm throwing his old stuff away.

As the fourth Sunday of Advent, today is all about Joy. I have been known to sing to both of my dogs a variation on that most annoying vacation bible school song: I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my paws!

Today, the officiant at my church talked about ... The Grinch. The soloist even sang "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch."

I *heart* my hippie church.

But the lesson was all about finding your light and your joy, and how The Grinch was so grinchy because he lost sight of his light. The congregation was tasked with finding our joy, and considering the things that get in the way of our light.

This was an easy one for me. I'm too fucking sad to be joyful. The grief has been overshadowing the light.

And it's hard to be grieving this time of year. On one hand, I have many opportunities to give, and that makes me forget the grief, so I often underachieve in the grief-stricken mess department.

On the other hand ... I think about last Christmas, and how I was blissed out of my gourd to be spending the holiday with a man for whom I was over the moon. It felt important, like the first of many celebrations we would share.

And this Christmas, I'm sitting on my couch, alone, wearing sweatpants and covered in dog hair.

I'm sure the sweatpants and dog hair will contribute to the alone in the future, but I will be sure to omit these details should I ever create an online dating profile or be asked why, exactly, I am single.

The strange thing, though, is that it's just ok.

I'm so sad about the Geriatric Poodle, but I want to get rid of these nasty-ass bandanas. And that's ok. And I miss the idea of The Ex-Boyfriend Formerly Known as Mr. Wonderful, but I'm sort of relieved to be alone. And that's ok, too.

But I had a great weekend. I helped some friends, and I prepared some surprises for friends. I'm so looking forward to seeing my family in a few days. And Foxie Doxie is dreaming right now, his little body twitching as he runs in his dreams.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Work it! Own it!

Tonight, I did a little bit of last-minute Christmas shopping. This took about six minutes and 27 seconds.

And then, I spent an hour and a half trying on clothes. Thanks to a darling boy named Michael, I tried on approximately 30 pairs of pants. And he was the type of retail associate who practically has a spasm when you walk out looking hot, which, honestly, made my day.

I don't particularly like shopping for clothes by myself. I don't trust my judgment. And at this point, I have two serious needs. One, I need some ego stroking. Two, I need some pants. Pants that don't fall off my anti-J-Lo, nonexistent ass.

I've lost some weight.

Anyway. So, Michael hooked me up, and I now have three whole pairs of pants that fit. Actually, they don't just fit. They make me look gooooooood. Real good. Hot-blooded-check-it-and-see good.

There's nothing like a doting gay guy to make you feel attractive. Evidently, I have a darling figure. I just have to own it.

I also need to own a very kind award given to me by the lovely and amazing Marsha at Tumble Fish Studio.

Marsha named me a Kreativ Blogger. Now, Marsha is an incredible collage artist and is truly talented. She named four other artists the winners of the Kreativ Blogger award ... and me.

Check out what sweet Marsha had to say about Noodleroux:

Though Cha Cha doesn't share art projects on her blog, she shares the project of life, her life in detail and with pure brave honesty. She shares this with the rest of us and she deals with it in the most charming creative and inspiring ways. I am forever a fan of Cha Cha's.

It has taken me several days to post about this, mostly because I am so humbled and touched and feel so not worthy of such kind words.

But, I'm coming to realize that just like those really hip jeans - the ones that are so in-style that I'd never imagine they would look good on me, even when in reality I rock the tiny SIZE FOUR pair that's ON SALE - well, I just have to own it.

So, thank you. Thanks for the kudos, thanks for reading, and thanks for helping me realize my street cred.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Be as you are, as you see, as I am, I am.

I had a weird revelation today.

I'm no longer freaked out by free time. Which is good, because I'm finding quite a bit of it as of late.

I used to both crave free time and be completely discombobulated by it when it actually came around. I would fret about all the work that I wasn't doing - fret so much that I didn't enjoy my free time, which wasn't free at all. It was stress time. Time I was held captive by supposedly relaxing.

Now? Now, I am really enjoying my couch. I'm chillin' with Foxie Doxie. I'm sleeping. I'm seeing friends and doing The Target Stroll, pushing my cart up and down every aisle because you just never know what you're going to find, especially on those clearance endcaps.

I was always the kid who fretted about what I was supposed to be doing. I played the flute for a month in fourth grade, and when I decided I didn't want to play the flute, I cried because I thought it made me a quitter, and that the band teacher would be mad at me. And, I've followed that same pattern in different variations throughout my life.

I don't know if it's the antidepressant, getting more in touch with my real self, finally wearing out the Cha Cha Who Tries to Be Perfect, or some combination thereof, but ... I just might be learning how to just be.

It's a skill. I am just in the training wheels stage. But it's a bit of a rush.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bend me, shape me, any way you want me.

A funny thing has been happening over the last 10 days.

Ex-Ex e-mails me. Like, every day. Like, he looks for excuses to e-mail me.

Do I have recommendations for yoga studios? Or hey, he was at Neil Diamond last night, and here's a picture of Neil.


Keep in mind that Ex-Ex and I had the mother of all break-ups. The fact that we are on friendly-ish terms is, to put it bluntly, fucking amazing. With an extra "Holy shit!" thrown in for emphasis.

So, today I was in a two-hour meeting that ran three hours. Tempers were flaring and I was exhausted. And towards the end of this marathon, I received an e-mail from Ex-Ex. Would I like to meet in half an hour for a beer?

At that point, I would have made the beer myself if it meant enjoying a frosty brew. Plus, I was curious. What the hell does this guy want, anyway?

Well, one beer and an hour and a half later (yeah, I nursed that drink), I can tell you. What he wants is ... an audience.

He just talks. He doesn't ask a lot, and he doesn't listen a lot. But he talks. A lot.

Part of me thinks, "Did I really spend seven years of my life smiling and nodding like this?"

But mostly, mostly I think that in my last two relationships, I was appreciated for how I fit into my boyfriends' lives and met their expectations. I was not necessarily loved for who I am as a person, as an individual.

I was exhausted when I parted ways with Ex-Ex tonight. Perhaps he is lonely. Perhaps he needs the ego stroke of thinking we're friends. Perhaps I don't care.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Brother Love, I love you.

Tonight, I was reunited with the love of my life, the one man who has ever understood me, the man by which all others are measured, the man who fulfills all of my needs.*
If you have never seen The Solitary Man in concert ... go. Go now. This was my fourth date with Mr. Diamond. He is a showman, and he's still got it.

Forever in blue jeans, indeed.

*And no, no I'm not 75 years old. I'm just a child of the 70s. Shut. Up.

Image courtesy of Google Images.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Again, the word of the day is FAITH. Duh.

Today is the third Sunday of Advent, and the theme of the day is Love.

Love, and crazy-ass weather.

I rolled out of bed this morning to walk Foxie Doxie, and he was a bit perturbed by the fact that we got to the end of the driveway and I made us go back into the house. My long winter coat wasn't going to cut it at all - I peeled it off and instead ventured out in a lightweight jacket. It was about 55 degrees out, and sunny.

Yeah, in December. I know!

I went to church, wearing a sweater and a shawl. We talked about love, and how you can't be angry or hurt if you're truly living in the present moment. We are in charge of where our minds go, and letting your mind be angry about the past or worry about the future gets in the way of love.

Right on.

And I was totally in the moment when I left church and it was about 35 degrees out.

I was also totally in the moment this evening when I left my warm little house to join Leeza at her church's vespers service. I was in the moment when I realized that it was maybe 20 degrees out and my gloves were sitting on the kitchen counter.

The service was Bach's Christmas Oratorio. And it was lovely.

And my brain was totally not in the moment.

I'd never been to a Baptist church before, although this wasn't a handling-snakes-and-denouncing-evolution sort of Baptist church (sorry, stereotype). I'm an Episcopalian who attends a hippie, everybody's-gay-and/or-bi-racial sort of nondenominational church. I like my church because we clap after music. So I sat through this hour-long oratorio, sitting on my hands because I was afraid I would forget and clap. Even though Episcopalians don't get jazzed up about anything to clap.

And then? And then, I started thinking about The Ex-Boyfriend Formerly Known as Mr. Wonderful.

I loved the way he smelled. I loved the crook of his neck, and how silly he could be. I loved his smile, and the swell in my chest when he flashed it my way.

And fuck you, grief. Fuck you for rearing your ugly head during a Christmas service that's not about Sad Little Cha Cha, but is supposed to be about eight-pound, five-ounce baby Jesus in his gold fleece diaper.

It was the church's pale blue walls. They reminded me of the blue walls of Mr. Wonderful's church, which I attended exactly once.

But, again, it's the third Sunday of Advent, and the focus of the day is Love.

I loved Mr. Wonderful with my entire being. I am capable of such things. And I will feel that way again, and it will be deeper and better and more.

This, I keep telling myself.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Because the people demand an update.

Ok, not really.

But some of you may recall my trials and tribulations as I attempted to grow out my formerly pixie haircut. As anyone who has grown out a shortshortshort hairstyle can attest, it went through a very pelt-like helmet stage.

And then, it was just fine. I was making progress. I felt like I had options. My hair was the one thing going right in my world in the month of October. But then it started to feel like late 80s Bon Jovi. When really, it looked like late 90s Bon Jovi.

And one day, in my quest to not sit alone on my couch and sob, I sat on a couch and read magazines at a salon while Alice got her hair colored. She and I have both been going to the same salon for a few months, and our insane stylist is, well, insane. She dazzles us with stories of her porn star roommate. And when asked about the then-upcoming election, she laughed, "Oh, honey, I can't vote - I'm a felon!"

So, Crazy Stylist and Alice - with the help of reading beauty magazines for three hours - convinced me that I should make an appointment and get the mulletasticness cut off and just clean up the rest. The growing out was going fine, I just needed to clean up the edges to keep it presentable. Oh, and go for a chocolate color to winterize my light brown hair.

I went back four days later. Crazy Stylist looked at my hair, then announced that I needed strawberry highlights in lieu of chocolate because I have strawberry tones anyway, and it would be easier to maintain.

So I sat with foil on my head and read magazines for an hour. And then she washed my hair, and started cutting.

Now, I have very, very thick hair, so even if I'm just getting a trim, it seems like there's a whole lot of cutting going on.

There was a whole lot of cutting going on. A whole lot.

Finally, I was like, "Umm, how much are you cutting? You know I'm growing it out?"

Crazy Stylist laughed. "Not anymore! I love it when girls come in after bad break-ups, because they are up for anything! Cut that man right outta my hair!"

I was shell shocked. My hair was back to its pelt stage!

I went home and sobbed. Just because I could. I knew that it was actually a cute haircut, but, well, I was directing my emotion about other things onto my not-what-I-expected hair.

It's since grown out a bit, and actually looks pretty good. The back needs to be cleaned up again. I think I'm going to aim for a very short, tucked-behind-the-ears sort of bob. Because if Linda Evangelista can pull this off, then obviously it will also be a good look for me.

It's good to have goals.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Back away from the remote.

You know how sometimes you have to gorge yourself before you start a diet?

Mmm, yeah.

I have watched approximately 937 hours of TV this week. I blame Alice and her "You really need a new TV" intervention. Because the flat-screen teevee? I can actually see the picture, unlike my old, hand-me-down TV. And unlike that old beaute, the new flat-screen doesn't remind me of when my sweet grandpa would hug us extra tight to make his hearing aid buzz.

Ohmygosh, I miss my grandpa.

And I am not missing my flat-screen, or my couch. Because ohmygosh? We have had waaaaaay too much quality time as of late. Like, I should be embarrassed. And I should probably weigh enough to be featured on some sort of Discovery Channel show.

I don't have any plans this weekend, which is sort of odd and sort of fantastic. It's a little unnerving, actually - between work and Mr. Wonderful, every evening and weekend used to be booked. And now I have more free time and less stuff to fill it.

I've actually offered to babysit or wrap gifts for my friends. I feel like I need to be useful, and I know I'm pretty much the only woman with time on her hands right now. And it's time that makes me border on lonely.

And strangely, watching E! and Sex and the City reruns aren't combating the loneliness. Who knew? I'm pretty sure my weekend isn't going to involve a lot of couch time.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bloody Mary? Don't mind if I do!

I've been working waaaaaaay too late tonight. Busy time at Corporate Behemoth, but at least I've been working while parked on my couch. WiFi? So luxurious.

In the spirit of tired blogging and the season of family and canned snow, I am pleased to share with you The Greatest Christmas Song Ever. I know I posted this last year, too, but this year I found a new video that's too fab not to share.

Mad props to Robert Earl Keen, college roommate of Lyle Lovett and a heck of a troubadour in his own right. This song hits a little too close to home ... especially if you've ever spent the holidays in Texas.

Noel, noel.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A few things I've noticed.

1. Left to my own devices, I don't eat very much. I think this is due to working my way through grief. And also? And also, I am lazy. It's really hard to feel like cooking when I could just as easily have a bowl of cereal and have that much more time to sit on my couch and spend quality time with my life partner, DVR.

2. I am one giant bruise right now. I'm going to blame it on having Foxie Doxie walk on me in the middle of the night, and the fact that I'm probably just worn down in general. I'm just glad that it's winter and I don't have to wear short sleeves. Everyone would think I was in an abusive relationship. Which I guess I am ... Foxie!

3. Speaking of my abusive boyfriend ... Foxie Doxie is a constant source of entertainment. Case in point: I, uh, passed gas? And Foxie looked at me in alarm, then looked at my backside as if to say, "Damn, woman! Did anything come out?"

Obviously, it's been a very full day.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Auld lang syne.

I am a baaaaad doggie mama.

Tonight, I abandoned Foxie Doxie to go hang out with a girlfriend. We drank wine, ate animal crackers and watched TV. Oh, and I entertained her puppy. For three hours. Life was very good.
We also had to pause the TV to talk about my Monday night.

You see, Monday night, I had drinks that morphed into dinner. With my ex-ex-boyfriend.

We had dated for seven years. We broke up four years ago. Of those four, I was mad at him for about three and a half.

We met to toast the Geriatric Poodle. And so that I could see that Ex-Ex isn't the ogre I once thought him to be. Ok, maybe that last part wasn't on his agenda, but it was on mine. That, and a little something called closure.

It was nice to hear about his family, about his parents whom I loved very, very much. It was odd to hear about the house that we once shared, the house that I adored with every fiber of my being. And it was especially odd to see old patterns still in place.

He talked. A lot. And made his every action sound like a fabulous, witty adventure. He kept using the phrase "well, you know me ..." And finally I thought, "Yes, I do know you. So stop bullshitting me."

He made me laugh, like he always did. We both apologized for various and sundry sins in our past. We toasted the Geriatric Poodle with some very fine whiskey. And I felt peace.

I wish him the very best, and I told him as much. He hugged me goodbye, and held me a bit longer than I held on to him. I didn't feel the surge in my chest that he used to give me. Instead, I felt an odd straightening of my back, and a weird sadness in my belly.

It took me a while to figure it out.

He is unsettled. He is not at peace with himself. This makes me sad for him.

I felt sort of like flippin' Gandhi when I realized this. Oh, look at me, I'm so aware and balanced and mature and shit. But really? Really, it's just that I know this person probably better than anyone else knows him. And he really, really pissed me off. But we were drawn together in the first place for a reason, and he is a good person. A good person who is trying to convince himself that everything's great, when it isn't.

There's not a thing I can do or say to fix that. Which is ok, I guess. I have my hands full with myself.

But I was also sad for the 22-year-old me who fell so hard for him. I was sad for the hurt and disappointment she would weather. I was sad that she would end up sitting in a bar with a near stranger asking her if she'd had any more breast lumps since the lumpectomy she'd had at 23, eight months after they'd started dating. Absurd, much?

But I have to laugh for the 33-year-old me who responded, "Yeah, but they were just cysts. Did you know that when you have a needle aspiration, they wrap you in an ace bandage so that they don't refill immediately? It was just like when I played Pinocchio in a Greek Week skit!"

He laughed. "Yeah, I remember that well."

So, there is something to be said for people who knew you when.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Today I have been running errands and such. After two days of leaving my house only to walk Foxie Doxie, this has been a pretty good thing.

I went to Target and bought gifts for the family I'm adopting for Christmas. I bought a snowsuit and board books and the cutest little hat and a bunch of other great stuff. Not having little kids to shop for usually, it was fun to shop for toys and tiny clothes.

At Thanksgiving, my family decided that for Christmas, we'd each give one gift to each other, and then we'd adopt families and make donations to folks who really need a hand up. I can't wait to see what we all do. The unveiling of good deeds is when we open gifts on Christmas day. I don't want to write too terribly much about it, because talking about Saint Cha Cha isn't the point. But I will say, giving makes me feel good. Better than chocolate. Better than wine and chocolate together.

I also did a little correspondence today. I wrote thank you notes to our vet and groomer, letting them know about the Geriatric Poodle's passing, and thanking them for taking such good care of him.
It's sort of like all the stuff you have to do when a human dies. You have to write thank yous. And you are humbled by the kindnesses shown to you. And if you're lucky, you have your wits about you to pay it forward.

But Foxie Doxie?He is so over this gratitude shit. He wants to know where his belly rubbing is, woman.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Love, need and want you.

I finally put up my Christmas decorations and tree today. My tree has my "Faith" ornament front and center, right next to my favorite ornament, which is a glass globe with a picture of Ms. Patti LaBelle.

It was a dollar at Big Lots several years ago, and I just can't help it - I think it's the funniest thing I've ever seen. I love Ms. Patti, don't get me wrong - but it's a crappy screen printing job of a crappy photo. So, obviously, it's just not Christmas without my Patti LaBelle ornament.

Usually, it's not Christmas without stockings, but I made an exception this year. I have three stocking hooks, and they spell out "Joy." I have a stocking for me, for Foxie Doxie and for the Geriatric Poodle.

I was going to put up all three, but I just couldn't do it. And stockings without the Geriatric Poodle? Would spell out "Yo?" Or "Oy?"

It's just not right.

But his life partner, Camelia the Fleece Camel, is on the tree. And I put his collar at the very top of the tree, around the star. Which seems fitting. And I can't stop looking at it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Totally off the map.

You know you've arrived when you spend your Friday night hand washing your wood floors with your ex-boyfriend's old t-shirt - the one you used to sleep in - while watching Waiting to Exhale.

Just exactly where you have arrived? Yeah, well, that's up for debate.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Nacho cheese flavor, of course.

Some days, I go all day trying to figure out what I'm going to blog about. And some days, I never quite figure it out. Case in point: yesterday.

But today, I knew within six minutes of rolling out of bed.

I threw on some clothes and took a very excited Foxie Doxie for a very cold walk. As we walked down the driveway, I saw my very kind neighbor walking his "puppy," Teddy. Teddy is a springer spaniel and although he's only eight months old, he's roughly the size of a Geo Metro. Both Teddy and his dad are sweet as can be.

Foxie Doxie, all 14 pounds of him, growled and charged Teddy.

I apologized profusely. "I'm so sorry! He's been acting up - my other dog just died."

Teddy's dad's eyes got big. "What? Oh, honey! When?"

"Friday." And then ... in my outdated walking-the-dog coat and my maybe-she's-a-chemo-patient stocking cap, I started crying in the middle of the street. Six minutes after I rolled out of bed.

Teddy's dad was kind, and he offered reassurance. "I know how hard that is."

And he does. Before Teddy, there was Fred, a geriatric cocker spaniel. Fred would meander down the block and back with his dad twice a day. The round trip took them about half an hour.

Sometime last winter, I stopped seeing Fred and his entourage.

And then last spring? I saw my sweet neighbor standing in his driveway with the biggest smile on his face. He was looking down at a small brown and white puppy.

So, he does know.

Even though my day started out with the delight of having tears freeze to my cheeks, it's been a good one. Today, things just are what they are. I'm here. And it's just all right.

Plus, my faith has been bolstered by dinner with a friend and drinks with three others. One of my coworkers sent a condolence card to me ... and one to Foxie Doxie. And ... DallasDiva's comment about dogs' feet smelling like Doritos? It's totally true.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The most rambly, pointless post ever.

I had really awful allergies and did five years of allergy shots. They changed my life and were totally worth it. My sweet allergist with the slightly crossed eyes was a bit dumbfounded, though, when I asked when I would get my sense of smell back.


I have a sense of smell, but I guess it isn't as strong as other people's? But I think it's just fine?

Anyway. I love the smell of honeysuckle, and of lilac. And pot roast with all the carrots and onions and potatoes with it. But my favorite smell?

My kids.

Now, people talk about the way new babies smell, and moms identify their kids' smells. But I'm talking about my furry kids.

I loved to smell the side of the Geriatric Poodle's face, right between his ear and his eye. That was my baby.

I keep smelling his favorite toy, and his collar. They don't really smell like him. And that makes me kind of sad.

But Foxie Doxie is snoring on my lap right now, and he smells very warm and dog-like. When he hasn't been rolling in decomposed squirrel, he actually smells very sweet as well. He smells like my dog. And that's just comforting.

Foxie Doxie was sniffing at the Geriatric Poodle's kennel. Lil' Fluff was totally the alpha dog, and Foxie Doxie would often sit in his brother's larger kennel, as if trying to make a move for dominance. But now that the Geriatric Poodle is gone, Foxie hasn't stepped into the kennel once.

I know I need to break the kennel down and put it in the basement. Just not right now. Same with all of the Geriatric Poodle's medications ... I should throw most of them away. Just not right now.

Because right now? I'm busy with a sleeping dachshund.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Can I get a witness?

A few weeks ago, I made the mistake of going to Joann: Experience The Creativity! with Alice. Notice that this is different from a regular Joann Fabrics. It's more of a crafty superstore, and you can run around telling shoppers to "Experience the creativity!" Because it's funny.

Now, if Alice ever asks you go to Joann with her, don't respond. Don't try to come up with a polite excuse. Just run. Run for your life. Even if she tells you she has a bunch of coupons. Because if you go to Joann: Experience The Creativity! with Alice, you will spend several hours and lots of money. However ... you will also have a damned good time.

We bought fabric and wreaths and holiday garland and frames and paper and all sorts of things to help us Experience The Creativity! While Alice was getting fabric cut, I meandered through the Christmas ornaments. It was that time a few weeks before Thanksgiving when all the Christmas decorations are 40% off, and you think that if you really had your act together, you would grab a few to use on packages or as Secret Santa gifts. But you don't, and then you wish you had later.

Except that I did buy an ornament. Not for a package or a gift, but for me.

It's a silver star on a red ribbon. It's plain, but engraved in the middle is the word "Faith."

I've had it hanging in my office. And tomorrow, I'll put up my Christmas tree and faith will have a starring role.

I'm putting up my tree because it's Christmas, dammit. And I'm going to be happy. I'm going to watch "Love Actually" and open a bottle of wine and decorate my tree with all of the ornaments that make me happy. I have many favorites - the Sesame Street ornaments that Santa brought me when I was in first grade, or the ornament my parents got for my first Christmas. But the ones that get me the most are little felt and yarn ornaments of snowmen, ice skates and stocking caps that were made for the annual bazaar at my grandma's church.

I had my tonsils out in third grade, the Friday before Thanksgiving. And my grandma gave me a series of brown paper lunch bags, one to be opened every day while I was recuperating. These ornaments were inside.

I looked forward to opening each day's bag. And I felt so loved and so special - I couldn't imagine the planning that such a multi-day gift entailed!

I love Christmas, and I love these precious reminders of good people and good times. So I'm going to put up my tree, and I'm going to have faith. It takes a lot of faith to look at a baby in a freezing cold barn and believe that he's going to bring you salvation. So I can probably manage to believe that things are going to look up here, too.

Monday, December 1, 2008

You can close your eyes, it's all right.

The first time I saw the psychiatrist, I was just so relieved and desperate and sad that I couldn't hide what a mess I was. She was very kind, and I felt like it was ok that I walked into her office and basically fell apart ... even though I wanted to kill her receptionist.

So when I went back for a follow-up ... it's weird that I was just like, "I'm fine. Everything's fine. Give me a refill."

I'm not fine. Everything isn't fine. I guess I just didn't have the energy to talk about it. It was easier to pretend. Which is why I told her that the sleeping pill she gave me knocked me out too much but that I could sleep without it.

Which is a big fucking lie.

Which is why I was up at 2 this morning, eating oatmeal, drinking NyQuil and watching Rock of Love Charm School.

I should totally have my own reality show. Obviously.

Anyway. I don't know if it's the added anxiety and loss surrounding the Geriatric Poodle or what. But short of the prescription or at least an Advil PM, I am wired. I need help sleeping. I just need help.

And Foxie Doxie needs his mama. He is attached to my hip, and won't even let me go to the bathroom without him. I want to fix his broken heart, to calm his fears.

So, we're just doing what we can. He's asleep with his head buried in my armpit. My mom called and she is going to pick up the Geriatric Poodle's ashes tomorrow. She promises to take good care of him until I go home for Christmas.

Foxie and I? We depend on the people who love us. And tomorrow will be a little better. We have faith.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Exhausted ramblings. But I'm here.

So, Foxie Doxie and I are back home. He's attached to my hip, and really? Really, that's just fine. I want to carry him around in my pocket. Except that he's too big. And he tends to squirm.

I have been rather authentic this weekend. Which is a nice way of saying I've been walking around crying and saying, "I'm just so saaaaad!"

And yes, I'm great fun at parties.

But I had a bit of an epiphany: I'm here.

I lost Mr. Wonderful. I lost his daughter The Ladybug. I lost the Geriatric Poodle. But I'm here. I am surviving. I'm here.

The Ex-boyfriend Formerly Known as Mr. Wonderful displayed traits that tell me he isn't the partner for me. I was a positive influence in The Ladybug's life while I was in her life. And the Geriatric Poodle is now finally at peace - he can see and hear and run and chase squirrels and pee on everything.

And I'm here.

So, fuck it. These things come in threes, so I've filled my quota of Shitty Stuff. And I'm still here, and if you want to ruin my life, you're going to have to try harder and also come back later. I gave at the office.

Also? I am feeling empowered because I have a new laptop. She is chocolate brown and I have named her Godiva. Obviously, the world is my oyster.

But oyster or no, I am also emotionally and physically exhausted from filling my Shit Quota. So, I'm still here, but for the time being, I'm still here ... in bed. But because I have a new laptop? I can do these things.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A different kind of Thanksgiving.

When we arrived at my parents' house Wednesday night, the Geriatric Poodle was agitated. And he no longer had control of his bladder.

When my mom cleaned up the third puddle, I looked at my folks and admitted, "My dog is dying."

Yes, honey. Yes, he is.

We stayed up late and talked through the entire situation. Ever since we rescued each other, I have been so focused on keeping the Geriatric Poodle alive. Lately, I have been sensing a shift in his health, his happiness, and the true goal here.

Even when I held him, he wasn't always comforted.

He wasn't eating. And he was doing this weird thing with the water dish - his complete lack of depth perception meant that even if I held the water dish right up to his mouth, he could sometimes be several inches from the surface of the water when he tried to lap it up.

I made a difficult decision. My mom e-mailed her friend who is the office manager at the vet's office. We had an appointment for 1:30 this afternoon.

Thanksgiving Day was bittersweet. I was so thankful to be with my parents and my brother, Poochie. The Geriatric Poodle ate turkey with homemade gravy on it. It was a privilege to be together, and to talk about what a great dog we had in the Geriatric Poodle.

He would hoist his leg up almost perpendicular to the ground when he peed.
In his younger days, he would have entire conversations with himself - you've never seen a dog as talkative and vocal.

And as horrible as the beginning of his life was, he was an amazingly trusting, affectionate dog who would melt into you when you held him.

Foxie Doxie and my parents' Shih Tzu Magic watched the Geriatric Poodle closely. They knew.

And I just cried and cried. I wanted to do right by this sweet little dog who has always done right by me. I feel like I've been crying all fall. I'm so tired of being sad. And the sadness is overwhelming.

Last night, I was tired, but I didn't want to go to bed, because if I did, it would be today, and today was our appointment.

But I did.

This morning, we sat with various puppies on various laps. The time flew by and was also forever. In a moment alone, I whispered to my sweet deaf baby that he was a good boy and that he had done a very good job. And now his work was done, and it was ok to go. And I loved him so much and was so thankful for him, and I would love him every single day forever. And thank you for being my dog. Thank you for loving me.

My entire family and Foxie Doxie went to the vet. They led us right into a large, yellow room with a blue ceiling that had paw-shaped clouds painted on it. The wonderful vet tech hugged me and assured me that this was the hardest choice, but the kindest choice. She explained it all. And she hugged me again. And I just cried and held my baby.

They took him in the back to get the line in his paw and we could hear him screaming. I came completely unglued. My mom covered my ears with her hands and I sobbed.

The tech came back in. They hadn't even touched him - he just didn't want them to hold him. My mom went back to comfort him, and then my mom, the vet and the Geriatric Poodle all came back.

We sat on the floor, and I held him in my lap, wrapped in a fleece blankie my mom made him. I smelled his hair and stroked his head. And then his head got heavy and he was gone.

My dog is dead.

I know that now he can see and hear and chase squirrels and smell and eat and pee on whatever his heart desires. I know he's running and he doesn't hurt.

But I do.

I am so sad. I'm so tired of being sad. But I'm also thankful. I'm so thankful for eight years with this wonderful, loving little guy. I'm glad that I could stop his suffering. I'm glad that my entire family was there, and I'm glad he planned it that way, because he was smart like that.

He was a very good dog. His name was Reggie.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My dog is a turkey.

The Geriatric Poodle has stopped eating.

The holistic vet had him on canned pumpkin, ground hamburger, and a little dry fancypants dog food that cost a mere $24 for a seven-pound bag.

He has started turning his nose up at all of it.

I pulled out the big guns: tater tots.

Lil Fluff was into the tater tots for about a day and a half. And then? Forget it.

So then I got into green beans. He was excited about that ... for about 12 hours. The boy just doesn't want to eat.

So today, in the day-before-Thanksgiving rush, I battled the hoards of shoppers at the grocery store. I even had to wait for a parking spot. All this to buy ... a can of gravy.

Yes, I let an entire grocery store full of people think that I am the type of person who serves canned gravy on Thanksgiving.

But it was worth it. Geriatric Poodle ate all the vittles covered in gravy.

He's a smart dog. Maybe he's just messing with me and seeing what he needs to do before I make him a steak every night.

Or maybe he's stopped eating because he's getting ready to make his transition. And I have to respect that.

Although I just want to scream, "Just fucking eat, already!"

Which is actually a great theme for Thanksgiving. So, in that spirit - enjoy your families and enjoy your homemade or canned gravy. I'm thankful for you all.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Because I’m just so interesting.

Sweet Andi over at A Thousand Miles From the Place I Was Born tagged me for a meme. If you aren’t familiar with Andi, head on over and check out her blog. She’s a great writer and a kind soul. Plus, she’s a pediatric oncology nurse, and I am in awe of her.

Andi’s one flaw seems to be finding me interesting. And now you must all suffer!

So here are seven mildly weird and/or entertaining things about me that you probably don’t know. Unless you’re my mom. Hi mom.

  1. I was sick a lot as a kid. I got tonsillitis and/or bronchitis, like, every other day. In retrospect, this suited me just fine, as I was bored in school a lot.

  2. I hate mustard and pickles. I’m not a picky eater, but mustard and pickles? I cannot abide.

  3. I have freakishly long and thin fingers. My ring finger is a size four.

  4. I received an award at Corporate Behemoth yesterday. I was recognized “for outstanding vision, dedication & commitment to excellence.” Kindly genuflect in my presence and don’t dare make eye contact. I’m a pretty big deal.

  5. I was voted “Most involved” in my high school class. It took me several years to realize that this actually means “chill out and give it a rest already.” Sadly, I won the same accolade in my college sorority. Hi, my name is Cha Cha, and I am a recovering overachiever.

  6. I enjoy painting. Not like Van Gogh painting – like Benjamin Moore painting. I enjoy the tangible aspect of the work and how painting a room makes it totally new. I also tell myself that it’s exercise.

  7. I know pretty much all the lyrics to every song I’ve ever heard. And if I don’t quite know them, I’ll make them up and fake it. Usually with lyrics about pancakes and/or Foxie Doxie.
This post just totally made the world a better place, didn’t it?

I want to tag some great blogs that I’ve just discovered. These fine ladies make me laugh, and this is a fun way to learn more about them!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Like a bad case of acne.

Today I drove about an hour and 20 minutes to meet my surrogate parents. I worked with this dear woman when I first moved to my fair city, and she and her tough but darling hubby took me under their wing. They have fed me when I needed nourishment, and not just food. They've helped me move - that's what kind of people they are.

So, Surrogate Mom and Surrogate Dad moved about a year ago, and I have only seen them once or twice since the move. But we each drove half way today and spent the afternoon in a diner. It was so, so wonderful to see them and catch up.

Surrogate Dad excused himself, saying something about finding a car wash, and left Surrogate Mom and I to chat. And we both ended up crying as we talked about the last few months, and the many breaks and cracks in my heart.

It's funny, though. I cried in a diner that wasn't empty. People saw me crying. And I just didn't care. I don't have the energy to spend trying to keep my shit together for people I don't know.

It's freeing. And two weeks ago, when my boss at Corporate Behemoth asked me what was wrong? I evaded his question, then went back to my desk, took a deep breath, and wrote him an e-mail. I explained that the man I was going to marry changed his mind, and I was having a hard time. I thanked my boss for his concern, and explained that I couldn't talk about it without crying, so e-mail it was.

And while that was sort of mortifying, it was freeing as well. I got a very kind response from my boss. Just like how none of the diner patrons pointed and laughed at me today.

I don't know why I feel the need to pretend like everything is ok, even when it's really, really not. Just being honest about what I'm going through is empowering. I know I shouldn't be embarrassed or ashamed that I am nursing a serious heartbreak. But there is a part of me that feels like I should just get over it already. And I was surprised by how much I cried this afternoon.

But, so it goes. It's grief. And it's probably written on my forehead anyway, so I might as well just let it all out.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Things that are awesome.

I-Wish-I-Had-Thought-Of-It Awesome:
Weekly World News headline: Baby Seals Club Hunter

And-She-Did-Not-Disappoint Awesome:
The psychiatrist's Ditsy Receptionist? Was there today. She had gotten a perm.

This-Is-My-Life Awesome:
The Geriatric Poodle peed on the couch

The-Most-Awesomest-Of-The-Awesome Awesome:
After sitting on the couch, watching tv - alone - on a Friday night, I realized that my left butt cheek was cold and, strangely, wet. Then - and only then - did I realize that the Geriatric Poodle had peed on the couch.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I'm going back tomorrow. I hope she's there.

When I first admitted that yes, yes I was seriously depressed and yes, yes I really did need some medical assistance, I left not one, not two, but three voicemails with the psychiatrist my counselor recommended.

Did I have OCD? No. I was depressed. Each phone call felt like running a marathon. But I was desperate. So I kept leaving messages.

Finally, this ditsy-sounding receptionist called me back. She was all, "Oh, sorry. I didn't realize from your messages that you wanted me to call you back."

Good thing I was depressed or I would have reached through the phone and strangled her. But instead I grunted. And then she said they had a cancellation the next day, so all was well.

When I got to the office, everything made sense. Ditsy Receptionist was maybe 24. She was all blonde and dirty jeans and cleavage. And when she asked me to sign the form saying I'd been given a copy of the privacy policy? And I had to ask for the privacy policy? I realized that dead-end, part-time receptionist jobs are where failed reality show contestants go to die.

But really, the best part is the outgoing voicemail message at the office. Since I left three messages, I pretty much have Ditsy Receptionist's spiel memorized:

"Thank you for calling the office of Dr. Head and Dr. Shrink. Umm? Leave a message and someone will return your call. Umm? If you're calling for a prescription refill, have the pharmacy fax a refill form to 555-1212. You must give three days' notice. If this is an emergency, go to a hospital immediately! Umm? Have a nice day!"

Is it just me, or is telling someone in a psychiatric emergency to go to the hospital and then telling them to have a nice day just a little ... Umm?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sad on many levels.

I learned something new today.

A bezoar is a mass of indigestible yuck that is found in the digestive tract of animals and humans. It’s made of hair and fiber and gunk.

Basically, it’s a giant hairball that gets stuck in your intestine. Like the gunk that clogs up the pipes in a house. Only it’s in your body. And about a gazillion times more disgusting.

I learned about this at book club tonight, where Alice was telling us about her latest adventures in healthcare lawyering. She has the best stories. Stories that put that weird mole you have – the one with the hairs growing out of it – to shame.

And the lesson about bezoars was fitting, as today I spent $200 getting a new bathtub drain and can trap. Because taking a shower when the tub doesn’t drain is disgusting … although not quite as gross as having an indigestible mass of hair and vegetable fiber in your intestine. Evidently you can’t just drink Draino and make a bezoar go away.


So, I’m having adventures in plumbing. And it occurred to me today that all sorts of things are happening, lo these four weeks post-break-up. I wouldn’t even know where to begin to get The Ex-Boyfriend Formerly Known as Mr. Wonderful caught up.

I wanted to die! And then I met my rebound, Zoloft! And then I got a new TV! And Poochie rearranged all my furniture! And I went to New York!

And I realized today that the sound of your voice is fading from my mind.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

With hosiery and Pashminas for all.

So, I’m back from The Big Apple.

It was fantastic.

Nevermind the fact that my flight was delayed, or that once we arrived at LaGuardia, we sat for half an hour before they would let us off the plane. Bygones.

No, let us focus on the fact that I met up with my friend Jen, and we took a taxi to the swank penthouse apartment that My Gay Eighth Grade Boyfriend shares with his husband. Let us focus on the two darling yellow labs who greeted us and forced us to fall in love with them. Let us also focus on the kind hospitality of our host, and the rooftop terrace with a hot tub that overlooked the financial district skyline.

Sometimes, God / Buddha / Oprah just fucking PROVIDES, you know? I had no idea how badly I needed to sit in a hot tub and drink wine in the middle of Manhattan. But evidently, I totally did! And I totally needed to follow it up with a steam in the coolest shower / sauna ever.

So, we soaked. And we drank. And we walked all over, and we ate all sorts of deliciousness. New York pizza. Fantastic Greek food in a Greek diner that was, inexplicably, blasting Donna Summer’s entire body of work. Brunch and mimosas. Tapas and sangria. Dutch butter almond cake. And chocolate. And we got dessert from a place that sells nothing but rice pudding.

We wandered around Chinatown and Little Italy and SoHo. We got massages in Chinatown – an experience during which I kept thinking, “I am paying for the privilege of having a little Chinese man beat the shit out of me. Hmm.” I have the bruises (seriously!) to prove it, but I think it’s all about releasing toxins, so ok.

We got up early and got a behind-the-scenes tour of Good Morning America, which I’ll dish on when I score some photographic proof of our exploits. We took the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. And we did a teensy bit of shopping. I bought two pairs of knee-highs at Century 21. Because I am extravagant like that. We also hit Chinatown and bought some Pashminas. Because they are fabulous.

But mostly? Mostly, we just explored and relaxed and took it all in and recharged and found the kind of love and energy that only comes from people who know all about you and love you anyway.

I was sad to go, but had a great conversation with the cabbie on the ride back to the airport. He promised me that I will find love, so you know it’s true. However, based on my weekend, I think I already have.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I’m in it for the food and the shopping.

When my dad was trying to help me make sense of things a few weeks ago, we got to talking about how I’m a really good girlfriend. The first thing he added to the list of reasons why I am such a superb partner? “You’re a really good traveler!”

It’s true. I travel light. And I go with the flow.

So, in the spirit of building upon personal strengths, I’m headed to New York this weekend. I’m meeting a dear friend who has to go for work. And we’re staying with my darling Gay Eighth Grade Boyfriend.

I’m sure a good time will be had by all. And if you happen to be watching Good Morning America on Sunday? We’ll be in the audience. I’ll be waving to you.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

More poop! And some other stuff, too.

So yesterday? When I was all, "For once I don't have a story about dog poo?" Yeah. About that?

I got up from my computer to find Geriatric Poodle in the act of defecating in my living room.

I think he is so cold outside that he just thinks about doing number one and getting back inside as soon as possible. The number two? She is an afterthought. And he's blind and deaf, so it's not like he can find the door to get back outside.

I'm just glad I have wood floors.

And the cold bit? Is totally my fault. In the trauma of the last few months, I sort of overlooked the poor guy's grooming needs. Then, one day I looked at him and realized he was about two months overdue for a haircut and was basically one giant tangle.

So they had to cut his hair shorter than usual, and he just looks so tiny and delicate. And cold. So he's sporting an array of sweatshirts and sweaters that I feel justified in dressing him in - he's geriatric! And almost nekkid! And cold!

Mama of the year? Right here.

In other news ... I have determined that I can't listen to the radio. At all. Every song is about love or new love or love gone bad or somebody who needs killin' cuz they loved all wrong.

I have dug out some CDs. I've been listening to a lot of Earth, Wind & Fire, because it's upbeat and happy. But everytime "September" comes on, I fast forward, because let's be honest - my September sucked ass.

So, I need some music. Y'all came through on The Mix Tape From Hell. Now, I need some suggestions for happy music. Empowering music. Music that will make me feel good about Cha Cha's Brave New World.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

For once I don't have a story about dog poo.

Tonight I looked up at the clear sky and was surprised to see a bright, full moon. That means it's been four weeks since Mr. Wonderful and I were on a walk and stopped in our tracks, faced with a huge harvest moon.

I knew he was going to end our relationship and felt helpless to stop him. As we watched the moon rise, he put his hand on my shoulder and I thought, "Don't. Don't touch me. Don't make it harder."

And now I am so very, very tired, like all of the worry and fret and sadness and want of the last several months is finally catching up with me. But I'm finding joy.

A dear friend gave me a book by Brian Andreas, a wonderful artist and poet. These lines resonated with me:

There are days
I drop words
of comfort on
myself like
& remember
that it is
enough to be
taken care of
by my self.

So I'm going to go to bed and will be funny again tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


It occurred to me today that I have eased out of Shock and Awe and have transitioned into more of a "This happened and it wasn't my choice but here we are" frame of mind.

Along with this, I am finally tired. I think my body has been running on adrenaline and panic. This also probably explains how I haven't been sleeping or eating, but I haven't been tired or hungry. One nice thing? I did lose 10 pounds. In six weeks. Without trying.

Yeah, you know you're jealous.

Now I'm making the rounds, having dinner with friends. Last night and tonight, I had dinner with college friends who now have shorties running about. I love my friends and I love their kids. But as I watched a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old dancing along to Dancing With the Stars, I felt sad.

My friends have hectic households with dirty floors and Cheerios stuck to walls. But there's a lot of joy.

I don't necessarily feel the need to have a biological child. But I am grieving for the little girl I thought would be my stepdaughter.

I'm thinking about the time we pretended the couch was a boat and the carpet was a sea of chocolate pudding, and all the stuffed animals kept falling in and had to be rescued. And I'm thinking about coloring and swinging and riding bikes, of blonde hair and Little Mermaid swimsuits.

And I'm sad.

I'm not inconsolable, incapable of getting off the couch like I was a week ago. But I'm sad. Finding the secret stash of coloring books and such that I had tucked away for the Ladybug didn't help. And I still have a beanie baby in my glove box in case of emergency.

I was a great partner. And I would have been a great stepmom. And my house? Really quiet.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Things are looking up. Now with more maggots!

Saturday night, both Poochie and I were overcome with "Sweet Jeeezus, what is that smell?"

It was Foxie Doxie. He put his head down and looked away, all, "Dude, I am just over here minding my own bidness. I don't know nothing 'bout no stank-ass smell."

I drowned him in Johnson & Johnson's baby shampoo and we called it good. Well, Poochie and I called it good, and my poor little dog called it cruel and unusual punishment.

We recounted the story to Alice and Jake. When asked what the stench smelled like, Poochie quickly answered, "Death!" And we all laughed.

The next day, we let Foxie Doxie outside, and Poochie watched him run directly over to a spot in the yard. The sassy canine took a deep whiff and the proceeded to roll with wild abandon.

Poochie checked it out and returned to the house with a grim face.

"Do you have a shovel? It's a decomposed squirrel. And maggots."

I started waving my hands in front of my face. I believe this would be called "Having the vapors." And from the house, I watched my brave and darling brother dig up the remains and the parasites.

I realized that having to clean up that mess by myself would have sent me over the edge. But God / Buddha / Oprah provides. Poochie ceremoniously dumped the carcass and the maggots ... over the fence into the yard of the repossessed house of the pothead next door. And all was well.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I've found a new place to dwell.

Welcome to all of the kind folks who have journeyed here via the lovely Mrs. G. Welcome to the Heartbreak Hotel … where the meds are starting to kick in and I’m exploring better living through new electronics.

So, my brother Poochie came this weekend. He held me while I cried and cried. And then he announced that we were done crying. So we ate barbeque. And then we bought a TV.

Last week, when Alice was helping me develop a plan that was more than “sit on my couch and sob,” one of her tough-love action items was about my TV. Some friends gave it to me three years ago … they were going to put it on the curb, but I took it instead.

It buzzes. And the picture is really dark. And this beaute is hooked up to DishNetwork, which I think means I am truly white trash, not far from the shotgun shack with the satellite dish.

So Alice suggested I rearrange my living room furniture and buy a new TV already. I think maybe the TV was one of those things that I took for granted but maybe everyone who visited the house noticed. Hmm.

So, Poochie and I trekked to Best Buy and I bought one of them there flat screen tee vees. We rearranged the furniture, but left the old TV plugged in on the floor so that we could experience the joy of unranked Iowa beating #3 Penn State. There was celebration. And smart interior design.

There was also celebration for Foxie Doxie. I determined Thursday night that the young rapscallion had ingested … a pantyliner.


I suddenly had visions of having to tell either I Love You Forever Dr. Vet or his counterpart, More My Age and Totally Hot Vet that my dog was deathly ill because he ate a pantyliner.

Poop Watch 2008 commenced.

And then, there was celebration, because Foxie Doxie passed it like a champ. And even outside! And Poochie sang Kool ‘n’ The Gang’s “Celebration” in the middle of the street. And all was right with the world.

All in all, it’s been a pretty good weekend so far. I’m trying really hard not to be daunted by the eight hours of nothing to do before it’s time to go to bed. There was a time when I would kill for eight hours of nothing to do … now, I feel tasked with work, that work being Doing Something.

So maybe I’ll watch some TV. Or maybe I’ll go to Old Navy and buy some underwear since half the contents of my undie drawer are unwearable. Or maybe I’ll be a good neighbor and rake some of those leaves. Or maybe I’ll just keep surfing blogs.

Yeah, this is why the readers keep pouring in and keep coming back for more. The drama. Welcome.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The mix tape keeps following me.

If you want to really experience The Mix Tape From Hell, just go to Walgreens. Their muzak is full of this-song-makes-me-want-to-die classics that you had previously purged from your memory.

If you really want to get the full experience, you'll go to Walgreens to fill your very first ever antidepressant prescription. This, after meeting with a very kind psychiatrist with a very thick Spanish accent. Although you will be puffy-eyed from crying during the appointment, you'll feel somewhat validated by how she looked at you and said, "You have been depressed for a very long time. Why have you waited so long to come see me?"

And you'll even think that maybe she had a point when she told you that maybe you were acting funny for months from the chemical imbalance - to which you are genetically predisposed - and perhaps that played a role in your recent breakup.

And you'll want to hug her when she promises you that it will be ok, with or without Mr. Wonderful.

So when you're puffy-eyed, waiting for your scripts at Walgreens, you'll actually flip through a copy of Cosmo. And while you're looking at an article about how to pick up guys in bars, a prospect that is most heinous and foreign to you, you'll hear the forgotten gem "Don't let it end" by Dennis DeYoung.

And you'll want to barf. And / or sob hysterically.

So then you'll go buy some eye cream, get your meds and get the hell out of there.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Beautiful privilege.

I was able to vote early, and cast my ballot on Saturday.

I got there about half an hour before the poll closed, and the line snaked through the county administration building. All told, I waited about an hour and a half.

It was hot. People were obviously wilted, but the mood was upbeat. Everyone had a sense of purpose, even after the wait.

When I finally made it into the voting area, the older woman at the registration table looked a bit frazzled and beat. I asked her how she was doing, realizing that she had about another hour of voters in line behind me.

She beamed. “I’m great! Isn’t this exciting? We’re making history! I can’t wait for Tuesday!”


Monday, November 3, 2008

My feelings can best be expressed in song.

Wow – there was such a backlash against my offhand comment about making a mix tape. I love it!

So, of course, I think we should all brainstorm on the worst, tackiest, most awful post-break-up mix tape songs ever. Because it’s fun, not because I will actually make a mix tape. I promise. And also because I desperately need something to laugh about, as I sent the “please don’t contact me any more” e-mail today, even though really, really I do want to see him and talk to him but it just hurts too much. And I just pretty much want to die.

So. Let us focus on the task at hand.

My suggestions for the World’s Most Awkward and Humiliating Mix Tape:

I admit that I have quoted one of these songs to Mr. Wonderful. But I’ll never tell which one.

And now that I’m completely and totally depressed … your turn. Readers?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I can no longer say I'm great fun at parties.

It's been a rough few days. Oh, but who are we kidding? It's been a rough however long.

Friday, I realized that Mr. Wonderful doesn't love me - if he ever did - and that we aren't getting back together anytime in the near future. I guess I really don't have to worry about his Christmas gift (which for once I actually knew what to get - I've known since July. Goddammit.).

Yes, I'm 33 years old. Yes, I was still viewing part of this breakup like a 13-year-old girl. And yes, it still hurts just as bad now as it did when I had braces and worried about getting my locker open. In fact, it hurts way worse.

I won't even go into the fact that I have actually caught myself considering, "Hey - maybe I should make him a mix tape."

But now I know where I am and can move forward from there.

And moving forward seems to mean moving off my couch. Alice and Jake invited me to tag along to a Halloween party Friday night. Planning my tattoo artist costume provided hours of Something to Do, and I was excited to meet new people. But after spending an hour and a half crying Friday afternoon, my brain was in a slightly, uh, off-kilter, non-party place.

My eyes were too swollen for the fake eyelashes.

But I went with it. I cried a little at Alice and Jake's, and then I got my shit together, we put on our costumes, and we went to the party. I didn't know anyone except Alice and Jake.

Everyone was nice. Alice and Jake didn't abandon me. But I was completely overwhelmed. I looked at all the strangers around me and thought that where I really wanted to be was trick-or-treating with Mr. Wonderful and the Ladybug. Of any of the men at the party, of all the men in the world, I was only interested in Mr. Wonderful.

I held up the wall. I realized I could ask Jake to take me home and he could come back to the party.

This realization put me on the verge of tears.

I held it together for a few more minutes. Then I said, "Hey, can I ask you a favor?"

Bless his heart, he moved quickly. Five minutes later, all three of us were in the car. I sobbed like a freak. I was afraid I'd ruined their evening, even though they said they were glad to have a reason to leave after only 45 minutes. I was so relieved to be out of that house and free to be just as sad as I truly was.

They spoke reassuring words and offered to let me stay in their guest room. If you look up "friends" in the dictionary, you will see their photos.

I didn't stay at their house, but just the offer made me feel safe and secure. I went home. Alice picked me up at 8 a.m. for a yoga class that she didn't mention was an advanced class. It was great, but I have hardly been able to move since. And I have a new mantra, courtesy of a van we saw merging onto the highway as we drove to class.

It was an old brown minivan with plastic in lieu of windows at the driver's door, the side window on the driver's side and, inexplicably, also for the back window on the passenger side. The worst part, though, was that the woman driving the van had to lift up the plastic at the corner of the driver's side "window" so that she could see her mirror to merge.

Alice, empathetic always, said, "At least you're not driving that van."

Indeed. I have faith.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Things I have learned this week.

1. When your boyfriend dumps you ... he stops calling. This occurred to me this morning as I was getting ready for work. Mr. Wonderful used to call me on his commute, which, even though I was often harried, I loved. He has stopped doing this. For some reason, this truly, deeply shocked me. I miss it.

2. When you decide on a school night to practice your Halloween makeup at 10:30 before you go to bed, you shouldn't assume that just because you are female and a former theatre major that you have any skill whatsoever when it comes to eyeliner. Especially if you haven't worn eyeliner since Halloween 1996. You will learn to appreciate that Amy Winehouse - while a mess in many ways - is truly skilled. At 10:40 on a school night is also not a good time to realize - only after pencilling in black goth eyebrows - that since you don't wear eye makeup, you don't have any eye makeup remover.

3. True love looks like vegetable chili. And also like roasted garlic pizza. My dear friend Leeza had me over for chili and an empathetic discussion that included no ex-boyfriend bashing. Just having someone prepare a hot meal for me felt so comforting. And tonight, after listening to me sob on the phone, Alice called back and announced that she and Jake were on their way over with dog, wine, and roasted garlic pizza - my favorite - en tow. All three friends offered kind words and deep, loving friendship. I am so, so humbled to have such wonderful people in my life.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Working girl.

I was walking back to the office after lunch with my friend Dorothy. The sun was shining and it was a lovely afternoon. And I turned to her and exclaimed, "I came to work today! And I sat at my desk for three hours! I should totally get an award. And then go home."

Because yes, it does feel like a major accomplishment. I didn't get an award, and I stayed. I stayed late. I left at 6, which I am no longer classifying as normal, because I am attempting to have a healthy attitude about work. I stayed because there were things to do and ... it occurred to me that it didn't matter how late I stayed. I could stay all night. At least I would be doing something productive instead of skulking about my house in my bathrobe.

But I came home. I made a fried egg sandwich and ate it while reading Entertainment Weekly (subtitle: The magazine you read while you're doing something else!"). And I'm doing laundry.

These are things I know to be true:
  • Being alone is not reason to be a workaholic.

  • However I chose to spend my time is worthwhile.

  • I am worthwhile.

  • Work is not the only option.

  • I am so lonely I could spit.

But it's a weird lonely. It's a "please don't call me and expect me to talk to you" lonely. It's an introspective lonely, a lonely that pines away for one particular person. And it's also a "This is my very first day back at work and therefore my very first post-work night post-Mr. Wonderful" lonely.

I'm getting my Halloween costume ready - I'm going to be a tattoo artist. And I am making a list of things I want in my life. And I'm reading a book about work / life balance - a post-break-up gift from Mr. Wonderful (I know ... ).

So it's not like I'm in the fetal position, rocking and moaning. But I am ... sad. I'm just sad. One of my dear friends said today she's waiting for me to be mad. Not now. I was mad yesterday. And then it was gone, and I just missed him so much it hurt.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I think you better call Tyrone.

Yesterday was a really rough day.

I came home. And much like a spaceship reentering Earth’s atmosphere, I felt like everything was on fire.

Oh, and my skin was peeled off my body.

I walked into my house to find Mr. Wonderful everywhere. I knew it would be bad, but I wasn’t prepared for how truly awful it would be.

Two photos on my nightstand. His clothes, both in a pile on the floor and in a drawer in my dresser. The valentines I gave him still in that dresser drawer. All of his toiletries still in the bathroom. A photo of the two of us on my fridge. Cards he gave me. A drawing his daughter The Ladybug made for me, complete with her careful spelling of a nickname no one will call me ever again. Stickers I bought for The Ladybug, and a children’s magazine I saved for her because it was called Ladybug. A case of Mr. Wonderful’s pop. His shoes. A pile of his hair where I trimmed his ‘do in the basement. The sense that he will be home any moment … and the bitter knowledge that no, he’s not coming back.

I can’t stop crying. And not pretty crying – crying where you suck in air in freakish gasps and then sob almost like an animal.

I am hurt so deeply. The man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with – who treated me poorly but in whom I still see the kind, loving man I fell in love with – has told me that he doesn’t want to be with me. But he wants to be friends because I’m so awesome. I’m so awesome that he doesn’t want to deal with my shit. But he wants to hang out.

And the lovely little girl that I loved? She probably won’t remember me. She won’t ever know that there was a woman who cared about her so deeply, and who was nervous but excited about becoming her stepmom. And maybe someday I’ll see her and recognize her, and she won’t give me a second glance.

So Mr. Wonderful, this is why I put all of your stuff in my shed and asked you to come get it at your earliest convenience. It’s a meager attempt at self preservation. And if you really love me as much as you say you do, you’ll understand.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Try once more, like you did before.

I've been hanging out with my brother Poochie. He took me to Dairy Queen. Obviously, he is an amazing person and loves me very much.

Despite his fun and understanding company, today has been a rough day. Geriatric Poodle doesn't know where the hell he is, so he barked until 2 a.m. this morning. And I woke up having dreamt about Mr. Wonderful.

I've been crying a good part of the day.

Poochie just left, and I'm headed back home tomorrow. I have pretty much sat on my ass for the last five days. I've watched enough TV to last me for a year. So far, I've experienced these stages of grief:
  • The eating too much homemade pumpkin bread stage

  • The "I just know we're going to get back together" stage

  • The "Well, maybe it would be a good idea to take a Tylenol PM" stage

  • The subsequent stoned out of my mind stage

  • The watching Celebrity Rehab and suddenly feeling a lot better about my life stage

  • The bubble bath and trashy magazine stage, including its substage seeing photos of stars without makeup and suddenly feeling a lot better about myself

I'm sick of lazing about, but I'm also terrified to go back to my real life - my real life with the giant, gaping hole / wound in it.

A dear friend just sent this to me, and I'm thinking now that it may be my theme song for the next few days.