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

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Déjà Vu Week and The Red Hatters

I hadn’t realized it until I was sitting in the audience of a Historical Society lecture that I’d probably heard this speaker before. He was talking about The Edmund Fitzgerald, a freighter that was caught in a storm on Lake Superior back in 1975. Or was it the Lady Elgin’s sinking that I heard about as part at a Life Enrichment lecture series at the senior hall a few years ago? It doesn’t matter. If you’ve heard the details about one ship wreck you’ve heard them all. “It was a dark, stormy night. The ship sank and people died.” My husband loved the lecture at the senior hall and, of course, he had to buy the book. If I wasn’t so lazy I could walk into our library to confirm whether or not this week’s lecture was a repeat. But I didn’t go to this Historical Society lecture because I have a burning fascination for ship wrecks, so what does it matter? I went for bonding time with the people from the new museum where I’ve volunteered recently.

The Red Hat Society meeting this week---my first after a 10 year break---was another déjà vu day. I vaguely remembered 5-6 of the 15 ladies in attendance from when I was a member in the past but it made me sad to think that they’ve had all those years to bond and get to know each other as good friends. I wondered if clicks within the group had formed. Is there a pecking order I’ll need to learn? The dynamics of any group takes some time to figure out. But it was exciting to put on my Red Hat “uniform” and stroll into this meeting. Would I like my new playmates? Will I fit in? Time will tell and in the meantime the ladies welcomed me warmly as one of the founding members of the chapter and the time was filled with many laugh lines. This week's tea was a work/planning meeting and the next “walk-about” takes place next Saturday. We’re going to the new, year-around marketplace for farmers and specialty food vendors in the heart of downtown. I’m excited about going in a group. I would never venture down there alone.

There’s something I had forgotten about this chapter. Back when I was still a member we had adopted a nursing home for staging a service project and the chapter still goes there to make the ladies honorary Red Hatters by entertaining them, load them up on trinkets and stuffing them full of treats. Oh, man! I want to feel young again so I’m not so sure I really want this visual of my future starring me in the face on a regular basis. But then again, maybe going to the nursing home will keep reminding me that I’ve got no time to waste in my septuagenarian years. Not that I need reminding. I’m obsessed with that line of thinking.

I’d also forgotten about the titles. Each member of the chapter has to give ourselves a royal title and I’ll need to know mine by the next meeting. ‘The Court Jester’ and ‘The Countess of Logical Thought’ are already taken. Too bad. I would have liked something like either one. All self-pronounced titles should come with an implied reference to your character, your actions or whatever obscure thoughts you have about yourself.  I’m thinking about calling myself ‘The Mistress of Misadventures’ or ‘The Duchess of Dizzy Thoughts’---both homages to this blog. I could see me being ‘The Countess of Coloring Crayons’ as a reference to my love of art or I could call myself ‘The Baroness of Disappearing Brain Mass’. Cast your vote. Which title would you pick for me?

My third social event this week was this morning, an outdoor art show that was always a favorite event for Don and me to attend. I skipped going last year because I didn’t want to go alone. I thought about asking the woman I exchanged contact information with on the last senior bus trip. She liked art and was looking for someone to pal around with but do you think I could find that phone number! Heck no and I looked everywhere except up the dog’s butt! (I don’t usual lose stuff which is why the disappearing brain mass title might be good!)  Anyway, I screwed on my brave recovering widow’s hat, put on my walking shoes and headed to the art show alone. Many of the artists were ones I’ve met in the past. Some were even selling the same prints I’d seen before, talk about déjà vu! But I wasn’t looking for inside art this time. I was on a mission to find an outdoor sculpture for my little memorial-to-Don corner of the yard. I didn’t find anything but I was surprised to see so many things called “up-cycling.” One piece that caught my eye was a red purse made out of very old Webster’s Dictionary and there were several people making jewelry out of things like sewing machine bobbins, zipper tabs and bits of cut up rulers. I went home empty handed but still lusting after that pricy red purse.

These were the highlights of my week at the School of Back to Life, which is how I’m viewing my busy September/October schedule. I’m sure as the fall progresses I’ll get a clearer view of where I fit in the best---the senior hall, the Red Hat Society or the Historical Society/museum. Call it the old college try. I’ll apply myself in all my “classes” and see how far I get…or maybe I’ll fail this semester and start sucking my thumb by Christmas.

Next week I’m going on a mystery trip with the senior hall crowd. I hope the destination turns out to be some place I’ve never been before. Back-to-back déjà vu weeks would be too creepy at my age, like the universe has pushed the rewind button on my life.  ©

17 comments:

  1. Oh wow! You kept yourself SUPER busy. And it sounds like you had fun at each.

    Personally, I LOVE alliteration ... so my vote is for The Mistress of Misadventures, Mishaps and Mayhem

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  2. Oh, I love that!!!! Thanks for suggesting it. I kind of like The Mistress of Mishaps and Mayhem better than the longer version. And the title fits. Just today I got a CD caught up inside the turn table of the player and that's going to turn into a whole project to dismantle the machine.

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  3. Oh my. You are indeed earning your title!! The shortened version is perfect!! Good luck with THAT project! I've spent the past three days helping My Mermaid find a more permanent home, garage sales and some help with her Facebook and website. Encouraging her to get UPDATED business cards. Even had her spend the night last night. But now I am EXHAUSTED! I really do enjoy some alone time!

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  4. Love that title. Or how about Merry Mistress of Mutts and Mayhem? I admire your spunk, giving people the opportunity to get to know you. Do you tell people about this blog? The few times I've told someone about my blog, they say a vague "That's nice." and change the subject. Your blog is so interesting, and much more than a public therapy session, so maybe make business cards for it and hand them out!

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  5. Everyone else is a princess, duchess or countess---royal court titles. If I go for 'mistress' I know I can have some fun with that...the Cinderella complex to joke around about. So far I'm leaning towards The Merry Mistress of Mishaps and Mayhem. Thank you both for brain-storming this with me! Anyone else want to weigh in? I can use all the help I can get.

    As for tell people I blog, I don't hide it from anyone---even put a link in my Christmas letter one year---but only two of my offline friends and family read it on a regular basis. If I write something that I think a certain person might enjoy I'll send them a link to that entry or post the link on Facebook. My movie review of The Butler is a good example of a post I wanted family to read because it mentions my dad/their grandfather and great grandfather. One of the Red Hatters knows I write a blog and self-published the a first year of widowhood book. She was at Don's funeral and got a taste of my writing by hearing the Eulogy I wrote. I honestly think that most people don't understand the general concept of reading or writing blogs. But, for me, not hiding my blog keeps me honest and always weighing in my mind if I'm being fair in how I'm viewing and presenting the world around me.

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  6. Go with the Merry Mistress of Mishaps and Mayhem--it suits widows so well--stumbling around, as we sometimes do :-) Everyone knew about my first blog, but my kids and sister didn't read it. Then a cousin saw something I had posted about my step-mother, told my youngest daughter and now, daughter won't speak to me. I have no clue what it was!!! So my blog now is semi-private. I remember when my first children's book was published--I was thrilled. I told my whole family--their reaction? Sort of a pat on my head, "oh, that's nice, Dear" reaction. A prophet is never admired in his own country, or something like that :-). My blog is mainly for me. I NEED to get the stuff in my head, out and written on the page. As I no longer can write free hand, but still can type, I use my blog as my personal journal..sort of. Onward and upward we go--ever forward!!!

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    1. Judy, how can I read your blog? Sometimes I see it; most of the time I don't. I'd love to keep up with you.

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    2. A link to Judy's blog can be found in the right hand column. Click on "Onward and Upward Forever Forward" in the list of blogs I follow.

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  7. Judy, I know what you mean about writing for yourself. Writing is hard work, it's cathartic in a way that only long time diary and journal keepers can understand. It's really ashamed that your daughter won't let you know what you wrote that hurt her feelings so you could try to make it right. Years ago I wrote a family history book and my niece proof-read it. She took great issue with the way I described her hometown so I edited in a quote of her describing the town. It meant something to her because it would be her children and grandchildren the book was written for and it was her hometown, not mine. The point is you never know when something you write is going to be misunderstood or needs more explanation.

    Thanks for your vote on the title.

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  8. I love reading about all the things you do...you are amazing. I still like Mistress of Misadventure, because by having the word adventure in there it implies that there are indeed, adventures! Even if there are mishaps, so to speak. And you are definitely a seeker, an adventurer, a gatherer of wonderful stories and experiences.

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  9. Hi Everyone ~ I have the same reaction when I share that I am writing a blog! A nice pat on the head is the perfect description!! When I started (after encouragement from Jean!), I thought I should use an alias for each person so no one would get their feelings hurt. BUT ... it was difficult for my muddled brain to remember what I named people, so I am using real names. I'm not making up stories and I'm not deliberately trying to disparage anyone. I am writing about what happens to ME. This is all about ME. All the others, after me and Ralph, are "extras".

    You are right ... we never know when something we write or even say is going to be misunderstood. I suppose that's why we have the comment section!!???

    I love reading blogs. I need to get a more active hobby .....

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  10. That's a good point, bedraggled, about not leaving out the word misaventures. I don't really thing I do all that much. I just take the mole hills in my life and turn them into mountains. LOL

    Aw: For me, having a blog makes me more active because it drives me carry through with stuff....so I'll have something to write about? But mostly a blog helps the want-a-be write in all of us sort out our past, present and future. I use all real names, too. I just try not to use them very often. That way if someone is skim-reading my blog looking for their self to show up it will make it harder for them. LOL

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  11. I like the MM of MM. It has a nice ring. I think you're going to enjoy this group of ladies. It sounds like there's a lot of fun to be had. Now you've got me thinking about what royal name I would choose for myself. Ha!

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  12. The title thing has me thinking about how many American Indian tribes picked out names back in the old days. The Red Hatters will also let us change names once a year on the chapter's birthday. Thanks, for your input, Bella!

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    1. Bella, you could be a play on The Countess of Cargiving idea, with all you do for your dad.

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  13. Being a widow is not very easy and very lonely. But reading your blog seems you are having fun in all things you are do. Great to hear that you find happiness for yourself.

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    1. Thanks for commenting, MaryLu. I'm sure trying hard to find fun things to do. Sometimes the things I try, work that way and sometimes they are turn out a pleasant way to pass the time...and that's not a bad thing either.

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