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, January 4, 2014

Copycat Blogging Day



My heart be still! I finally got out of the house after being cooped up for what seemed like the entire month of December. Yesterday I went to the sculpture park and saw the display of Christmas trees decorated in the customs of 42 countries. It was a little anti-climactic seeing so much Christmas after the holidays, but an outing is an outing so I jumped at the chance. Why should a date on a calendar take away from their beauty? For some reason it did---probably because the crowds of happy people weren’t there, full of promise and holiday cheer which can be as infectious as the flu. But my niece-in-law and I could walk right up to the trees, read about the customs and play touchy-feely with the delicate decorations and that was nice. The tree that represented the U.S.A. could have been pulled right out of the 1950’s living room; it had many ornaments that I remember from the trees we had growing up. They also had a tree that presented the Native American Indian Nation plus holiday displays from non-Christian nations. Monday they take the trees down. If you dread the job of disassembling your home tree imagine the daunting task it would be to pack up 42 trees, most of which are over twenty-five feet tall!

I didn’t make a lists of resolutions this year but I do have a new goal for this blog. I want to take more photographs and share them here. With that in mind, the photo at the top is of a baby car seat blanket that I made while I was snow and ice bound last month. It’s for my great-great nephew coming into the world in April. My blog goal was inspired by a fellow widow blogger I’ve been following this year---Hi Judy!---coupled by the fact that I have a new cell phone that takes great pictures. I also recently came across another blogger who spent last year photo-documenting 365 days of gratitude. What a great idea and she’s got a book out of all her photos and the notes she wrote about the subjects she documented. I admire that she was able to stick to a project like that for an entire year. When I attempt stuff like that I usually peter out by summer. So I’m not committing to anything that intense. I’ll be happy if I can throw in some original photos from time to time.

Another widow blogger I follow is planning to cut expenses as part of her new year’s resolutions---Hi AW!---and she is tracking what she spends for a few weeks to see what she can cut and live without. Already, she’s stopped three magazine subscriptions which actually gives her an excuse to go the library to fill in the gaps. I thought of her today when I got back from the grocery store where I got sticker shock when the cashier said I racked up $185.18 for my quick trip to stock up for the coming snowstorm. Here’s what I found I could have lived without:

- $29.90 spent on yarn when I have other yarn in the house lined up for a scarf and hat project.
- $14.99 for a bird feeder when I have four in the garage I’m not using. I’m a sucker for new feeders that look easier to clean.
- $17.88 for a bag of bird feed. What have those crazy little birds ever done to earn their keep? They are eating me out of house and home!
- $3.88 for a box of Christmas cards marked down 75%. This is clearly incentive to live another year if I need to justify the expense.
- $3.99 for a pot of daffodils. Spring flowers in the winter is another one of my 'can't resist' items.
- $13.98 for D batteries for my emergency lamps. A lot of money but with a ten year shelf life I should be good until I’m not allowed to live unsupervised anymore.
- $5.98 for two scented candles. Who cares if the house smells like fresh baked cookies without the work of making them? I'm not having an open house to sell the place any time soon.
- $4.99 for two Sterno fuel cans for my fondue pot. Okay, I admit this was really, really stupid. If the power goes out I’m going to need more than just a way to heat up soup. What can I say, I’m old and I worry too much. But on the other hand, having two cans of Sterno in my 'Hopeless Chest' would make me a rich bag lady should my financial life fall apart and I end up on the streets.
- $3.29 for a white nail tip pencil. I'm not be vain about many things but I am vain about my fingernails. They are the most perfectly shaped part on my entire body. If I ever had to learn to live out of a shopping cart under a bridge, my Sally Hansen pencil would be the last primping luxury to go. And if I need even more justification for why I will always want a white pencil in my life, I could leave notes on the pavement should I aspire to be blogging bag lady.

That’s a total of $99.88 of unnecessary spending I could have cut in just one trip to the grocery store. If this widow ever needs to start cutting corners to save money, I can chop them off with an axe and not really miss those corners. Of the $85.30 remaining in actual grocery items I could have done without some of that stuff as well, like paying $6.55 for two boxes of gourmet tomato and bacon bisque when I already had three cans of soup in my pantry. Yes, you guessed it. I am truly a child of depression era parents who thinks a pantry is too scary, empty if there is a unused square inch of space. Empty space means I'm not prepared for those hard times just around the corner...or so that was the message that was drummed into me and my husband when we grew up.

Well, that’s the end of my copy-cat blogging for today. Have you copied or been tempted to copy something from another blogger, a magazine article or a friend? Fess up. ©

8 comments:

  1. Definitely. Sometimes another blogger writes something that crystallizes what's been creeping into my mind. Like the woman who wrote about fresh starts. I say "Exactly!" and write my next post with gusto. I find other's insights are so confirming. Some bring me down, but some provide me with hope that there are a lot of us out here who really like getting on with our lives. For me it's hard to find balance - 1) I don’t want to negate the past, whose best moments blow away what I experience today, and 2) I will settle for nothing less than offering myself a bright future. Don't you think we build on each other?

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  2. Ya, I do...both in the blog world and in our off line lives. A spark will fly and who knows who will catch on fire with it. It's that way with the written word and with visual art. Many times it only takes a few word, a phrase to get me thinking, wondering and wishing. I'm especially comforted by reading blogs written by widows who are the same distance out from their husband's passing as I am with mine. It's like holding a yard stick up to help me judge where I'm at.

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  3. ALL of my blogs were built off ideas from others! These days, the neighbor's dog inspires me!! And you always expand things from your own perspective.

    Geesh! I am not looking forward to cold wet weather. Living here for a year has certainly spoiled me (even more). We were all complaining about the big rain (during the night, mind you) and the wind chill factor making 78 feel like 70. Who wants to hear about that????

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  4. Oh my gosh! We were struggling to get out of the teens today, not sure we accomplished that. I can't wait until spring but it's so far awaaaaaay!

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  5. I sometimes gets an idea from something YOU have posted that leads me off into my thoughts and comes out in my blog. That isn't plagiarism is it? Hang onto your hat Toots, we got a lot more snow and cold coming this weekend and Monday. I bought an after Christmas Amaryllis yesterday at the Wal-Mart. It was on sale, but I didn't need it--well no wait--I DID need it. Gotta to have something alive and growing to make this January/February a bit more tolerable!!

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  6. Nope, that's inspiration not plagiarism.

    Oh I love that you consider your Amaryllis a need not a want. I feel that way about having flowers in the house. A long time ago I made a rule that I could only buy myself flowers when my house was clean and sparkling, kind of like a treat for being a good little suburban woman. Truth is, they are good for the soul.

    I'm so glad I got out two days in a row because what we have coming sounds really nasty! On the good side I had the furnace tuned up and cleaned this fall so if the power stays on I should stay warm.

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  7. I'm familiar with that kind of spending. I do it before a storm or before company comes for a few days. I want to be prepared for anything. I'd say Sterno checks that box. I have one of those Coleman propane stoves I got at Walmart and an old-fashioned camper's coffee pot. I learned after Isabella that I can survive without a lot of things if I just get my morning coffee, and it makes the best coffee ever. I fry bacon, eggs, make soup, anything. It really comes in handy when the power goes out for a few days.

    Love the idea of you adding more pictures to your blog, I enjoy putting them on mine and seeing them on other blogs.

    Judy has inspired me, too. I'm thinking about making an afghan.

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  8. I had one of those propane stoves and sold it in a garage sale before we had a string of power outrages in my area. (Very shortsighted of me!) I'm thinking of replacing it and you're right about those camper coffee pots. I used to love camping and couldn't bear to part with my nesting cook pots when I sold the stove.

    Thanks for the comments, everyone!

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