Doodad Kind of Town

Breaking Up is Hard to Do
April 28, 2007, 1:27 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Normally, I wouldn’t give my post a title culled from the wisdom of Neil Sedaka, but that really does say it all.

I’m now almost four weeks past my break-up, and life is only just beginning not to suck. There are more elegant ways to put it, but just saying it sucks really conveys the awful essence of the last four weeks.

Oh, sure, for the first week I was in cheeful, brave denial – keeping busy, venting to friends, receiving lots of attention and consolation. Then for the next week, I could barely get out of bed, and the only thing I looked forward to was getting back into bed at the end of the day. The only time I wasn’t sad or angry or otherwise absolutely miserable was when I was asleep. I missed the “good morning” phone calls and the”good night” phone calls, the cuddling in bed to watch “The Daily Show” together, and the Saturday morning trips to the dog park. Weeks three and four have been uneven. I sail through some days – on other days, I’ll see something on TV or hear a song on the radio that brings back early, happy memories of us, and I end up in a fetal position, clutching Kleenex and sobbing for a half-hour.

There is no easy way through a break-up – you just have to wade through the shit, and keep putting one foot in front of the other until you start to feel better. For me personally, it’s never been a journey I take without consuming an unreasonable amount of junk food, at least in the early days. I’ve worked out frequently in the last four weeks, in an attempt to be good to myself, but I’ve more than balanced out the gym time with generous amounts of chocolate and French fries. That’ll come to a stop soon, but grief is an emotion far stronger than willpower.

I booked a trip to Vegas. A friend and I go every year, and this will not be the first time that timing of the Vegas trip is based on my need to heal a broken heart (although my heart is more badly broken this time than before.) Blinding neon lights in the dessert, frosty poolside cocktails, Cirque De Soleil shows, and the ding-ding-ding-ding-ding of slot machines making big payouts. These are the mindless delights that dazzle me and distract from my sadness. The trip is still 6 weeks away, but I’ve already purchased my new bathing suit, adorable cover-up, and cute matching sandals. Retail therapy is also good for a broken heart.

But in the end, it’s praying and surrendering and asking God to show me the way that help get out of bed each morning and look for something good in eeach day, even when my heart feels so heavy that I want to lie down again and pull the covers over my head. So, I keep marching forwards, looking for light, waiting for hope and optimism to return, praying that I learn to trust again.

Sorry, it’s not a happy post today, but it’s where I am.

The Joys of Texas and Reading on Planes
April 16, 2007, 8:41 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Howdy y’all!

I’m just back from a long weekend in Flower Mound, TX, visiting one of my oldest and dearest friends, her hubby and her three crazy/silly/cuddly kiddies.

Every time I go to Flower Mound, I’m impressed by the graciousness and friendliness of the locals – and by the fact that every single Starbucks has a drive-through window. These are two Texan traditions that I would like to bring back home with me.

Normally I would like to bring the weather back, too – but this trip provided an “interesting” range of weather experiences, few of which are worth re-experiencing. I managed to fly into DFW on Friday morning ahead of the thunderstorms. But on Friday night while shopping at the Grapevine Mills outlet mall, we were rushed out of a store and told there was a tornado on the way. We were ushered to a side corridor off the mall, where we stayed only until a couple of cell phone calls (to Weather Channel-watching friends at home) brought us assurances that the tornado was going south us and that we had nothing to fear. So we hightailed it home.

Saturday brought gray, bleak skies, strong winds and a high of about 5o or so degreees. (However, it also brought a fruitful shopping trip to Stein Mart, where I acquired an armload of beatiful, reasonably-priced summer clothes!) Sunday was blue skies and 75-ish degrees and a fun afternoon at the Dallas Farmer’s Market. Everyone offers you tasting samples of their yummy produce, so we got to wonder through the vendor stalls and snack on sweet cantaloupe, pineapple, strawberries, black plums and vine-ripened tomatoes.

As I mentioned, my companion for the trip to Texas was a brand, spanking new copy of “Slaughterhouse Five,” which I read in its entirety on the 2.5 hour flight in honor of the recently departed Kurt Vonnegut. Reading “Slaughterhouse Five” for the first time in probably 25 years, these were my obeservations: It is a quick and easy read. There is not nearly the amount of time or detail spent on the bombing of Dresden that I would have expected, yet it is often sad and haunting. I like that the tone of the book is without either sentiment or bombast; small, asburdist details give the books its emotional heft. And I am left wondering whether the sci-fi stuff about Trafalmadore is meant to be believed – or just the product of Billy Pilgrim’s mental and emotion disintegration as he struggles to cope with the death and destruction he has witnessed.

While in Flower Mound, I found an interesting title on a discount book store table and brought it with me for the return flight – a slim book by Sports Illustrated writer L. Jon Wertheim entitled “Transition Game: How Hoosiers Went Hip-Hop.” Those of you who don’t me well may be scratching your heads over this one. But those who DO know me well know that I am a native Hoosier who attended every single one of her high school basketball games (home AND away) and every home game during my four years at Indiana University (which culminated in our NCAA tournament victory senior year.) Wertheim is a graduate of Bloomington North High School, and he writes vividly about the basketball-loving phenomenon known as “Hoosier Hysteria.” When reading some passages, I totally re-lived the experience of a Friday night, high school basketball game, right down to the buzzer sounds, the pep band playing, the cheerleader hand claps, and the smells of Pepsi and popcorn. Wertheim’s books is about how changes in the larger culture of the nation and its sports have altered the face of Indiana basketball. For me it is a fascinating read.

Another Dark Day
April 13, 2007, 1:37 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

As if life didn’t already suck enough – now Kurt Vonnegut is dead.

I woke up to the news on one of those annoying, bottom-of-the-screen crawls on CNN. All I could think was “Damn. All the cultural icons of my formative years are leaving us. First it was Robert Altman, and now Kurt Vonngegut.”

I discovered Vonnegut in high school. The first of his books that I recall reading was “Breakfast of Champions.” This was passed among my friends and greatly enjoyed, though I don’t think any of us really “got” it. We were giggling adolescent dopes who skimmed the story in search of Vonnegut’s crude asides like “Here was an asshole” accompanied by a childlike drawing of a sphincter. But from there, I was drawn to the all of Vonnegut’s other novels. I recall devouring “Player Piano,” “Cat’s Cradle,” “Slaughterhouse Five,” “Mother Night,” “The Sirens of Titan” and my then-favorite “God Bless You Mr. Rosewater.” I loved his dark, twisted imagination – I especially loved that someone from Indiana could think and write that way. As a frustrated teenager who was itching to bust out of her little Hoosier hometown, Vonnegut stirred some deep, subversive hopes in me.

I won’t pretend to have developed anything like a mature appreciation of Mr. Vonnegut’s work -frankly I haven’t cracked open one of his books in well over 20 years. But I felt the loss of him today just the same. I was heartened to discover, in the many remembrances of his friends and colleagues, that there was a truly kind, if tortured, soul behind the books I had once loved.

I remember last seeing Vonnegut as an interviewee on Bill Maher’s “Real Time.” He was absolutely scathing on the subject of the Bush Administration – to the point where you didn’t know whether to admire his bravery or be embarrassed for him. (Vonnegut frequently danced on the edge of lunacy. He did not trouble himself to be polite or politically correct.)

Today I decided that to properly memorialize Kurt Vonnegut and all that his work meant to me, I would re-read the books so fondly remembered from my youth. I would finally gain that adult perspective. Tomorrow, I’ll be flying to Texas to spend a long weekend with old friends, and I’ll be bringing another old friend with me. In my carry-on bag is a fresh new copy of “Slaughterhouse Five.”

(photo from

April and Heartache
April 10, 2007, 12:11 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

“April is the cruelest month….” T. S. Eliot

I used to vehemently disagree with this sentiment of Mr. Eliot’s. I loved April. It was fair and sunny and full of promise.

Not so this year. This year, Mr. Eliot’s words ring absolutely true. And it doesn’t have to do only with the bleak, unseasonably cold weather we’ve been experiencing.

On the first day of April, my sweetheart and I parted ways. I knew in my gut and in my heart that this was coming, and yet it still took me by surprise. I had hoped against hope that we would work out our differences and end up walking through life together. But it didn’t happen – we weren’t good for each other anymore, and we had to end. I miss him, but I do not miss the emotional pain and confusion I had been in for the last few months. I do miss the uncomplicated joy we took in one another before everything got so hard, and I wonder if I will ever experience that again.

I don’t want to say any more about this, except to just excuse myself from not having written for so long. And to explain why it may be awhile before I write again.