Sunday, February 26, 2012


I lost my beloved best friend a week and two days ago.  It has felt like the longest week in the world.  Work was a blur for the most part.  The beginning of the week I was essentially useless.  I was making errors, lost in thought, or stuck in a weird frozen state.  I barely wrote anything, which is weird.  I've been writing a lot lately in a notebook, just for my own purposes, and this week...almost nothing.  I've felt almost numb in many respects.  I think that in the few moments I've felt present, I've functioned more out of a state of habit than anything else.  It's as if my my mind thinks that if I just act like I'm okay, then I will be.  But if I allow myself to think too much, to remember the truth of my loss, I will fall. 

Some days were better than others.  Friday was hard.  I was consciously aware of the times on the clock when she started getting sick the week before.  The times on the clock when we were at the vet, letting go.  The times on the clock when I was home alone for the first time without her. 

I miss her.  I wish I could wrap her up in my arms and hug her like I used to. 

I didn't see a single soul I knew this weekend.  I cancelled the one plan I had for lunch on saturday, and I was not sad when my friday plans fell through.  I stayed in.  I watched DVR.  I cleaned.  I organized.  I slept. A lot.  I ran errands.  I spent an awful lot of time alone.  At times I regretted it, at other times I was grateful I had no obligations.

One week.

Monday, February 20, 2012

She Gave Me Sun, She Gave Me Snow

On Friday night I lost my best friend.  My dog was my closest ally and best source of comfort for the duration of her nearly fourteen years of life.  She’d been sick for awhile.  We had a very good week together, though, the best one in awhile. We went on walks, played with her squeaky toys, she was excited to eat with the recent addition of soft food mixed in with the hard.  She got lots and lots of love and cuddled with the cats.  Friday night was no exception.  I got home and she was waiting by the door for me, and we went on a walk together.  She investigated everything, as per usual, and finished the walk strong.  Back at home she brought me a toy that still managed to have a functioning squeaker in spite of the fact that most squeaky toys in my apt. were squeaker-disabled long ago. 

She got sick very suddenly, but very acutely.  An ultrasound revealed a mass on her spleen that was affecting her pancreas and her liver.  She was horribly uncomfortable and sick.  Her eyes were pained and tired.  Her body was weak.  I gave her the best gift I could give her…I let her go.

It was the single most difficult thing I’ve ever done.  But I was with her every second.  When she passed, I was holding her head.  A vet tech was holding her paw.  The vet had a hand on her side.  She was covered in a soft blue blanket, and she went peacefully.

The vet office was amazing.  Simply amazing.  I got so many hugs.  Reassurances I was doing the right thing.  Other vets who had treated her before coming in to see us.  People were running around getting me Kleenex and water and doling out hugs and kind words at every turn.  They offered to call me a cab after, but I chose to drive myself home.  I took a few minutes in the car first then steeled myself to get through the short drive.  I failed.  I sobbed hysterically for the entire drive. 

The weekend was weird.  Saturday started off very rough.  But then I set to keeping myself busy with practical errands.  I organized her belongings at home, tossed out all the stupid medicines she’d had, washed all of her blankets and bedding.  I met up with a friend for dinner, like I’d previously planned.  It was so good to get out and have company.  I felt halfway normal at least part of the time, and it was nice.  Back at home I cried.  I flailed. 

Sunday was worse.  I cried off and on all day.  I had brunch with my ex-H, and ended up getting out of the car afterwards crying after yelling at him.  I went to a movie with a friend in the afternoon.  I fielded phone calls from concerned family and friends, and felt numb and dull for the duration.  I felt the paralyzing fear of intense loneliness.  Anger.  Frustration.  Resentment.  Most of last night is honestly a blur.

I overslept this morning.  I’m just so tired.  Work is ridiculous today.  Most places are closed for the holiday, but not us.  At least it’s quiet.  I thought about staying later to make up the time I missed, but I don’t care today.  I will leave at my regular time and go home to rest.  My limbs feel like jello.  My heart hurts.  I am so tired, inside and out.  I feel weak and drained and overwhelmed by what lies ahead of me.

My apartment is wrong without her.  Everything reminds me of her.  I took a bath last night and cried because she wasn’t in there trying to drink the water out of the faucet, or making a bed out of my towels on the bathroom floor like she so often did when I bathed. I cried when I unloaded the dishwasher and found her food and water bowls.  I cried at the sight of furballs on my kitchen floor in the corner, where they’d lurked behind her giant container of food, which I’d thrown out Saturday afternoon. 

My world is off balance right now without her in it.

In spite of the intense sadness, two things made me smile this weekend.  Saturday, the day after I let her go, it was a spectacularly beautiful day.  The sun was shining, it was nearly sixty degrees.  There was a good breeze.  It was the kind of day she would have loved.  We would have gone on a walk and she would have sniffed everything, and the wind was the kind she used to bark at when she was a puppy. 

Then on sunday, all I wanted was snow.  They'd taken it out of the forecast, and I was so disappointed.  I wanted the snow.  Later in the evening, I went outside to go to the store for a couple of things.  It was snowing.  Big, fat, wet flakes of snow.  It was beautiful and lovely and unexpected.  She would have wanted to go on a walk in it, and I would have walked with her and caught snow on my tongue. It made me smile.  She gave me a wonderful, spring-like day when I needed it most, and then she gave me the snow I wanted the following day. 

I felt her in the sun and the snowflakes.  My sweet dog was sending me a sign that she was okay.  That she was finally not sick anymore.  That she was in a place where it could be sunny and beautiful or snowy and serene as she pleased, and she shared it with me. 

In loving memory of my beautiful girl, M. 
May 5, 1998-February 17, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012


My sweet baby is gone.  I had to let my dog go tonight.  I feel cold and numb.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Send the pain below

Oh, what a week.  What a month, really.  I have been an emotional basketcase.  I’ve plumbed the depths of intense sadness and also laughed so hard I’ve cried.  Admittedly, the scales have tipped dangerously heavy on the sadness side.  I’m working on balancing it out.

I’m trying to refocus, pull myself out of my slump and get involved in my life again.  Sitting at home with my animals watching 12 hours of DVR isn’t going to move me forward.  I need to jump start things again, and remind myself that not everyone in my world is unreliable and disappointing.  Beyond that, I need to hang out with some girlfriends and remember that those friendships have some serious value in my man-laden world.  Balance, again.

The next few days are the busiest I’ve had in awhile, at least in terms of social occasions.  Sure, I’ve spent lots of time aimlessly driving and/or running errands solo, but that does not count.  Let’s examine my social calendar for the next four days:

Thursday: This evening I have a happy hour with my former supervisor at work, and hopefully another old co-worker will join.  It will be really good to catch up!  In the meantime, I am weirdly excited for my lunch of softshell chicken tacos I brought from home, LOL.

Friday:  I have tentative dinner/drinks plans with a gentleman we will nickname Captain for now, as he has a boat and it is one of his main hobbies.  He is supposed to let me know his vote for where we will be going this afternoon. 

Saturday: I have plans to meet another gentleman whom we shall call Mr. Mom because he has a daughter he is quite beholden to, in a very sweet way.  He is going out of town in a couple of weeks to see her compete in a cheerleading competition.  We are meeting for coffee and chat at a nearby Barnes & Noble.  That afternoon I also need to run a couple of riveting errands…pet store and drycleaners.  Rock on.

Saturday evening: I just made plans to do dinner with a girlfriend of mine whom I haven’t seen in awhile. I’m looking forward to catching up and having a drink while I dine on some delicious fish!

Sunday: I have plans in the afternoon to get together with another girlfriend I’ve not seen in awhile.  I believe our plan includes a meal and a movie.  Hopefully the potential snow they are talking about will not cramp any plans.  Crossing fingers!

So that is my weekend.  Quite busy in my books!  I’m excited for all of it, though.  I’m also pleased to note that there are no ex-anythings as company for any of my events.  I am worn out on relying on ex-husbands, ex-boyfriends and even ex-people I’ve gone on 1-3 dates with as activity partners.  If all goes as planned, I hope to end up Sunday evening with a whole weekend full of things that were booked and undertaken successfully.  That will be something!

Other miscellaneous goals for the coming four days, just because I like having a plan instead of flailing about so uselessly:  Read.  I’m in the middle of two books right now, and it would be nice to make some progress on one or both.  My attention span has been lacking lately, so I’ve barely even cracked the books open.  Write.  God, do I want to write.  It would be such a relief to just get something started! Exercise.  I need to work out.  Desperately.  I also think I want to try some yoga again.  I need something to wind down with.

So I officially have a weekend full of goals and plans and ambition.  Sure, there will be some laziness, some DVR watching, some indulgence in non-productive things.  But I’m a hell of a lot better off than I was last weekend, that’s for sure.  After Friday night was over, I was a gloomy, doomy pit of self-pity and depression and lethargy.  I was overstressed, overtired, and bent out of shape every which way.  I want this weekend to be the very antithesis of the bulk of last weekend.

I do hope that I manage to repeat one thing from last weekend, though---the laughter and escape and awesome feeling I had Friday night.  I felt spectacular, I loosened up, I stopped thinking so much, and it was exactly what I needed.  THAT, I would like to visit again, even if it will surely come about in a different fashion.  No ill-advised company on the books this weekend (though, admittedly, he is never on the books officially, he is always a last minute revision).  This weekend’s only male company comes in the form of more participants in my endless line of first dates because….well, if hope doesn’t spring eternal, I’m screwed.  ;-)

Cheers to trying again, trying always.  :-)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Will you be my Un-Valentine?

A strange phenomenon is rippling through my world lately.  Everyone I know who has been single for ages and ages is suddenly part of a couple.  Conversely, I, the one who has spent the bulk of my adult life in a serious relationship, am fiercely single.  The world has turned upside down and it’s throwing me way off balance.

I know this post is being written on Valentine’s Day.  For the record, when I have spent this “holiday” as part of a couple, I’ve never put much value in it.  It’s a very commercialized thing and I’ve mostly either done a nicer dinner at home with my person, or we’ve grabbed something quick out and about.  No fancy restaurants with reservations, no gifts.  I’ve not gotten flowers for V-Day in years. 

The last festive thing I did for Valentine’s Day was for the guy I dated after my divorce.  We were together for a year and change, February to March, and for our first and only V-Day as a couple (which also happened to be his birthday) I went old school and made him a Valentine’s Day box.  Shoe box, tissue paper, construction paper hearts, glitter, stickers.  I filled it with dozens of different little Valentines, writing something on each of them.  It was a project that filled me with nostalgia and flutters of anticipation of presenting the gift.  I remain proud of my efforts.

I miss Valentine’s Day as it was in elementary school.  Everyone got a Valentine from everyone in their Valentine’s Day envelope or box.  Little boxes of candy, conversation hearts, red and pink and hearts everywhere.  It was innocent and sweet and equal opportunity.  No one was left out.  Everyone got something.

As an adult, this is no longer the case.  If you are single, you will be left out.  Your Valentine’s box will be empty.  There are no consolation prizes, no required cards.  This year I got a Valentine’s Day card from my mom and another from my grandfather.  An online dating guy I’ve been messaging for a day or so wished me a Happy Valentine’s Day. That was actually nice, even if we never get beyond messaging online.  I appreciated the words.

Seriously, though----what is in the water?  Friends I know who have been single for years and years are now immersed in sudden relationships that are strangely serious for their short duration.  They are madly in love, they are talking about marriage after a single handed count of dates.  Some of them are involved in more realistic, easier to understand situations, ones that have been percolating for a long time, coming to a slow boil and giving off an aura of serious staying power.  Either way, though, right now it seems like everyone has someone but me.

It is becoming alarmingly obvious to me how much I define myself by my relationship status.  I’ve always been in one until this last year, and now I just have these periodic moments of flat out panic where I feel like I am flailing about, directionless.  Shouldn’t I, after a year, be okay with this?  Shouldn’t I be used to it by now?  I feel sometimes like I will never be used to this. Yet in other ways I feel like I am too used to it. 

I worry that I’m getting too used to being alone, even though being alone feels fundamentally wrong in some ways. I feel like I’m getting jaded and cynical, and that with each passing day the window for letting new people in is growing smaller, and my discouragement with the world is getting bigger.  I’m getting set in my solitary ways, forcing myself to stop relying on people for much, big or little, because I am growing so, so tired of people bailing on me.  If I expect nothing from anyone, then I will never be disappointed when they give me exactly that.

This year, my Valentines will be a party of three, all on four legs with a lot of fur to spare.  Me and my animals, at home.  I never liked those chalky conversation hearts, anyway!

Monday, February 13, 2012

I Would Drive 154 Miles

I would, and I did.  Yesterday, I drove 154 miles.

The highlight of my weekend was getting together with an unexpected and possibly ill advised person, drinking two beers really quickly and getting quite loopy, then laughing so hard that I forgot for awhile how lousy things have been lately.  I needed that escape, and ill advised or not, that person was exactly who and what I needed Friday night, and I am grateful for it.  Sometimes the wrong puzzle piece in the big picture is the right piece in the little puzzle of a bad day.

154 miles.  I drove to escape unreliable friends.  The stress of my sick dog.  The unbearable loneliness that's weighing on me so much lately.  My lack of motivation to work out or eat better. The small parts of longing that still have their hold on me for the ill advised company of Friday night.  My own cynicism.

I got my driver's license when I was 26 years old, you know.  I was terrified of driving for so many years.  How strange that it has somehow become the thing I do to feel better, to relax, to clear my head. 

154 miles.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Because it's good to remind myself...

In the face of so much moodiness and frustration, I need to remind myself of the little things that are good and positive.

* My sweet dog.  She was so happy to see me tonight when I got home, did a little happy bounding step about going on her walk.  Brought me a toy a couple of times tonight.  :-)  She's nearing 14 and sometimes not very lively, so these happy little moments are nice!

* Pizza Bianca delivered to my door for dinner (even if it took an hour and 20 minutes to get here!)  No fuss, no muss, and lunch at the ready for tomorrow.

* Brunch plans saturday morning, and a social thing with a girlfriend and some others in the late afternoon.   Something to look forward to!

* Listening to "Take on Me" on itunes. 

* Going to go take a nice, hot, relaxing bath.

Happy thursday.  I'm working on the happy friday and happy weekend.  :-)

Is it me, or is it the city?

For years now, since my divorce, my mom has been telling me that the city is bad for me.  People here are just not committed to personal relationships.  The men are unreliable and uninterested in being devoted to anyone, and that essentially I was dooming myself to a certain measure of unhappiness by virtue of staying here.  For years, I argued the point.  I told her that I really didn't think the men here were much worse than the men anywhere else.  I could go back to the Midwest and probably encounter just as many toolbags, but probably more of them would be divorced because more people get married (and younger) out in the Midwest.  So theoretically, they could have MORE baggage than the gems I've found out here.  My experience has been that many men are serial proposers, and have been engaged at least once.  WTF?  I guess the silver lining is that they were clever enough to escape it one way or another before marriage.

Anyway, my point?  I'm beginning to wonder if mothers *ARE* always right.  I am BURNT OUT, BABY.  Burnt out.  Not only is my faith in the general male population swirling further down the tubes with each week that passes, but truly, my faith in everyone is dwindling.

Case in point for my assertion about the men:  A couple of nights ago I was on the online dating site I've been using for months now (with no success, thank you muchly), and I got a chat request.  The guy looked reasonably cute in his wee tiny picture, so I accepted.  The first message I got from him?  "Hey beautiful!  Ever had a man pee on you?"  I KID YOU NOT.  So I blocked him.  Logically.

Later on, I continue a message exchange with a guy who'd first contacted me the day before.  We've exchanged maybe 2 messages each at this point.  His third message describes a self help type book he is reading, and how the last chapter he read was about how sex was beneficial to relationships.  Um.  First of all, OBVIOUSLY.  He goes on to say that his roommate, who is young and naive, was asking him a bunch of sex questions as we were talking because of the book, and she is dating a new man, and he told her to be careful.

Confused?  Wondering what kind of weird ass conversation this is?  Join the club.  I demurred a bit in my response to him, feeling a bit weirded out.  He said "I gather you are not comfortable with this topic?"  OH PLEASE, act as if me not wanting to chat with you about your sex talks with your roommate makes me puritanical and uptight, OH PLEASE!  I told him esesentially that I didn't know him well enough for this to be on the table, and that in my experience when a guy brings up sex so early on, he is looking for something casual and physical only, and I'm not.

After that I got 2 messages full of self-important, egotistical, pretentious bullshit about how evolved he is, blah blah blah.  It made my eyes roll so far back in my head I had to log out.  He messaged me again the next day, I ignored it and then blocked him.  CREEPER.

Insofar as my second assertion...I'm either doing something wrong and attracting generally awful people, or there are just a disproportionate amount of awful people here to encounter.  I really don't know.  Never in my life have I felt so overwhelmed by the amount of flaky, unreliable, unapologetically rude people.  People who purport to be my friends routinely bail on me at the last minute, make plans with me only to ditch me for something better, or just don't contact me at all anymore.  I am over this nonsense.

For the record, it's not everyone.  I do have a few quality friends who I can count on to do something when they say they will, including people who read this very blog.  However, I have more unreliable people around me than reliable.  I had plans to go to a movie tomorrow night with my friend R.  It was his idea because he has been a god awful friend lately, self-absorbed, outright rude.  He'd apologized and suggested we get together friday night.  I agreed, but all week long when asked about my plans I said things like "I'm *supposed* to have plans friday with R."  Everything included might, maybe, should, supposed to.  So while I wasn't surprised when he bailed, I continue to be disappointed. 

Honestly, sometimes I think that if it weren't for my job, which I continue to love even when it stresses me out, I would sincerely consider moving.  I don't know where I would go.  I can't imagine returning to any city I've previously lived in, but as expected, the thought of somewhere brand new is terrifying, too.  Sometimes I just feel like I would like a fresh start, maybe somewhere where the pace isn't so frenetic, and the population so transient.  It's like watching a merry go round that is going too quickly...I want to get on, to belong, but I can't catch it.  Instead I just spend all my time watching it go by, with others I know boarding it easily, with people they know, while I am me, party of one.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Speed Dating

On Friday, I decided to broaden my dating horizons and try something beyond online adventures.  I took the Metro to a bar at the opposite end of the map from where I live, showed up as a blazing solo, parked myself at a table of fellow solos, then "dated" about 12 men for 4 minutes each. There was a social hour in advance, and a social hour following, and I stayed for maybe another 30 after that ended. 

My thoughts on this concept?  Well, I'm a fan of trying new things once.  Some things I like and will repeat, others, one and done.  Care to guess where this one fell?

Speed dating is just not for me. I'll say it....these guys were BORING.  What do you do?  Where do you live?  Do you like to travel?  YAWN.  Seriously, those are the things you want to know in 4 minutes to distinguish me from everyone else? 

Like I said, glad I tried it once, but I think that will be my only speed dating adventure.  Back to hoping or a miracle in real life, and dealing with online dating as a sidenote otherwise.