Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Widow and The Culinary School


A month or two ago I signed up for a tour organized by the senior center. It took place yesterday and what a tour it was. We went to a culinary institute connected to a near-by university where we toured some of their class rooms and listened to a “foodie lecture” in a tiered room that looked like it could have been a set for a TV show on the Food Network---cameras and viewing screens every where! And we ate at one of their two restaurants. The food was to die-for. I had "crispy sautéed supreme salmon served on a warm bouquetière of apples, fennel, asparagus and carrots all drizzled with caramelized Founders Brewery oatmeal stout ale vinaigrette." Along with that, they served bread baked at the school with yummy blended butter mixes and a choice of five decadent deserts. It was very elegant and all prepared and served by the culinary students.

As I sat in the restaurant taking in the beautiful ambiance and watching the nervous students all dressed up in starched uniforms it occurred to me that even though I am alone in life I don’t have to give up having fun experiences like that….well, as long as I have the money to sign up for senior hall events and classes, that is. I don’t think I could raise much money if I stood on a corner holding up a sign saying: Will work for cash so I can eat at the culinary institute’s five star restaurant!

It also occurred to me while sitting over lunch that some of the other women in our group could feel as lonely as I do at times. But as I listened to the chit-chat around me, I concluded that they weren’t sitting at my table. Two of my table mates were former co-workers and they still meet every morning for coffee with a group that’s been doing it for twenty years. Two other ladies were widowed 12-13 years ago and they seem to be quite at easy and content with traveling the world by themselves. The fifth person at our table for six still has a husband. Woo is me. I still can’t find a friend that I can call up and say, “I feel like I just climbed Mount Everest! I finally figured out why my new iPod Nano wasn’t syncing PSY!”

I have an in-law whose kids are talking about putting her in an assisted living facility. She lives close by and since Don died I’ve been in the habit of stopping by her house 2-3 times a month. I am SO going to miss that connection to Don’s family if she’s banished from the neighborhood. There’s not much difference in our ages and it’s also hard to watch others---strangers in the medical community---pass judgment of whether or not a person is safe living alone. My brother and I shared-care of my dad for five years when he was in the early stages of dementia so I’m not blind to the problems families in this situation face, but as a bias senior citizen I want to see families go the extra mile, like we did, to support their parents in their own homes for as long as possible. Woo is me again. At my age, it’s depressing to think about how that last chapter or two of life will be written if we don’t play our cards right.

Today I got a call from a number that showed up as ‘unknown’ on my caller ID. The man on the line had a thick accent and he wanted me to go to my computer because, he claimed, an unauthorized download was happening as we spoke. He said he was from Windows tech support and he was going to help me stop the download from infecting my computer. “Hey, aren’t you the same guy who tried to sell me the Brooklyn Bridge last week?” The call reminded me of a “directive” my lawyer gave me last summer when I set up a new will. She told me to always look at caller ID and never answer the phone if I didn’t recognize the caller. She made me feel so old to be perceived as being too naïve or out-of-touch to recognize a scam when I hear one. I should have thanked my caller today for reminding me that I still have a few good brain cells left in my head. There’s no need for anyone to follow ME around with commitment papers to ship me off to no-man’s land for the crime of being over 70 when you burn something in the microwave. Hey, as a preventative measure, maybe I should sign up for the course in culinary math down at the institute for culinary education! I bet those students never accidentally program three minutes in when they meant to punch 30 seconds. ©

6 comments:

  1. This gal wants to be on your autodial. I'm delighted that you got the white glove treatment at this Culinary Institute after climbing Mt Everest. Or was it before? This gives me an idea for a widget we could put on our blogs. A Mt Everest icon widget that grows taller every time we climb to the top and plant our flag there. How far you've come!

    About that scam artist. He probably has a list of recently widowed folks. I heard from him a couple years ago.

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  2. That would be a great widget to develop! When looking back over the first year or two of widowhood there are so many summits that we get to on our way to the top of Mt Everest.

    You know I wondered if other widows get scam calls like that because he called me Mrs. so and so and I never took my husband's last name when we got married---my husband's first and last names both. The phone is also not listed under my husband's name since about a month after he passed away. So I couldn't figure out where the scam artist got the number. Someone told me if I had stayed on the line he would have asked for my social security number.

    Thanks for the comment!

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  3. Your telephone story reminded me of my mother, who died a few years ago. The first year of her widowhood (in her 80s), I gave her her first computer and (as I suspected would happen) she took to it like a duck to water. One time when she was playing games online, a guy tried to pick her up. First he asked her what state she was in. When she replied "Massachusetts," he typed, "I'm in Massachusetts, too. Are you married?" To which she replied, "Widowed, and very OLD." He parried with "I'm old too -- over 65." Her game-ending response: "I have children older than 65!." Mom could always watch out for herself. :-) -Jean

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  4. That's a great story about your mom. Her scam radar was working great, too. :)

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  5. I don't know what a bouquetière is, but who cares? It sounds so delicious.

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  6. I think it's French for bouquet. They must teach a class on fancy menu writing because this dish was one of the easiest to figure out what you'd be getting. And it was SO delicious, made me want to come home and practice julienne cuts.

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