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

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Day to Laugh and Day-Dream



 

It’s only Tuesday and already I’ve found something to get excited about this week. And it’s about time. I’ve been off my stride since the long 4th of July weekend which seemed to drag into a two week ordeal, making the first half of the month feel like a wash with only one or two exceptional days thrown it. Today I attended a potluck at the senior hall. We have two potlucks a year because we can’t get food for our monthly luncheons through the school system’s food service in the summer like we usually do the rest of the year. One hundred and ten of us each bringing a dish to pass. Can you visualize the food tables? It was something to see and I’m always surprised at how the number of desserts and salads always even out at potlucks. The meat, rolls and drinks were provided for a measly $1.00 each donation.

The entertainment after the potluck was a group of twelve elderly people including an Irish Catholic priest with a brogue I could have listened to all day long. Too bad he is married (in the mystical sense) to the church or I would have tried flirting with him afterwards just to hear him talk. The group did short skits based on the old time radio format---Joe Friday from Dragnet and Fibber McGee and Molly style---and when they weren’t acting they were talking in rhyme. I didn’t catch their group’s name but it was something like The Rhyme and Acting Club. Everything they did had us laughing but the only story I remember, now, was performed by a gal pretending to be a reporter interviewing a wealthy woman with three died husbands and a forth one still living. The first husband, the three-time widow said, was a banker. The second one was a ring leader at a circus, the third husband was a preacher and the forth one an undertaker. The punchline, if you haven’t figured it out by now, was that she had married the first guy for the money, the second man for the show, the third guy to get readying and the forth one to go. Hey, in a senior crowd it got a big laugh.

The most exciting tidbit I picked up, though, was about the parent program to their group. It seems a small local college here in town---we have thirteen---has a program of non-credit classes for people over 50 who want to keep learning and enriching our lives through cultural experiences. No tests or text books required and the courses are taught by their fully accredited professors. The best part is they’ve got art classes! I went to this college for a couple of semester’s decades ago and their Catholic campus hasn’t changed much since those days. The nuns and priests still dress in old order clothing and judging by the priest I saw today they still enjoy good, hardy laughter.

So what does this agnostic/Humanist think she will do come fall? Will I fit in and find classes I want to take? Yes and yes. I’m hoping to sign up for World Music Appreciation and Drawing if the schedule fits into my life. If not, they offer thirty classes in each of six sessions a year, I’m sure to find something I like. They have classes in Philosophy, Exploring Film, Brain Phenomena, Lewis and Clark, one called ‘The Best Advice I Ever Got’ that all look interesting. Plus the curriculum changes from one session to another.

If you’re a long time reader at my blog, I know what you’re thinking: I didn’t like the art classes I took earlier this summer because the instructor was heavy-handed with religion but those classes were one-on-one which made it hard to just blend into the background when you don’t agree with something but don’t want to offend anyone by speaking up. I also get along great with Catholics. My best friend growing up was Catholic. The entire paternal side of my family are Catholics. I can talk Catholic dogma with the best of them. I just won’t be able to wear my Red Hat Society clothing on campus but I don't wear it anywhere else but with the group anyway.

Speaking about the Red Hatters, tomorrow we have a tea. Thursday my cleaning girl comes, Friday is Movie and Lunch Club and Saturday I trek south to attend a baby shower for the daughter-in-law of one of my two favorite nieces. Finally, my family is growing and so is my ability to day-dream again. ©

12 comments:

  1. Would that be Aquinas? Whatever--I say you go and stretch that brain of yours and have a ball!!! I would do something like if I had a closer place to do it. I love everything about learning--especially philosophy.

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  2. Yes! How do you know Aquinas? I like that campus and their program for enrichment over 50 sounds great. Their fall schedule isn't out yet. I just hope I can find a class I'm interested in that doesn't start at 8:00 in the morning. Levi and I aren't morning people/dog. I want to take philosophy again, too. And Aquinas's world religion classes were good.

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    1. My oldest grand daughter went there and got her B.S. Now she is at UCLA and working on her Master's. She is a Catholic and felt more comfortable there than at one of the big State colleges. Her sister went to Grand Valley on a track scholarship--the next two brother's went to UofM and MSU and her baby sister, that just graduated--doesn't know what she wants to do, LOL

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    2. What a small world! I graduated from Grand Valley. At the time, when I lived on the other end of town,I could get there in 15 minutes. I lived that close. I would feel better having kids in any college in my area than at U of M or MSU. We have very safe campuses.

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  3. I would sign up for Philosophy and Brain Phenomena, and The Best Advice I Ever Got sounds like fun, too.

    Two of my best friends are Catholic. One lives in NC and is coming to visit in the fall. She fell away from the church a long time ago and is a liberal, but is living in the midst of committed conservatives in NC. She has lots of stories to tell. My other Catholic friend is the one I go to my book club with. She is a mixed bag: conservative on some things and liberal on others. She is pro-life. We had a conversation, albeit a very short one, about pro-choice versus pro-life on the way home from our last meeting. I learned a long time ago that I can like someone I do not always agree with.

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    1. I think I will have a hard time deciding what to sign up for and I'll probably have to go with whatever best fits my schedule.

      My husband's and my best friends---two couples---are completely different when it comes to politics, religion and things like pro-choice/pro-life then we are/were but the four of us have always enjoyed each other's company and have never, ever fought over stuff like that. I can get along with anyone by just not voicing my opinions but it's hard, sometimes, not to. Today I was with a group and several people were knocking gays and talking Bible scriptures that back up their view that it is major sin, etc. I just listened....

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  4. These classes could be fun - a great reason to day dream! Spiritual discussions can be fascinating, yet because they can be divisive I hesitate to bring up the subject. I am attracted to Catholic philosophers and writers. More Catholics have revealed the universality of God to me than Protestants, and I'm a Protestant. I love Julian of Norwich, who lived during the black plague in England. "All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.", she wrote. To claim this peace and contentment in the midst of such death and desperation of the 14th century reveals a grace under pressure that I admire.

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    1. I like Catholic philosophers, too. (You can see their influence in my seven Deadly Sins article - right hand column, near the bottom.) But I don't like the history of the Catholic Church, especially how they set science back when they destroyed to key to reading the script on the pyramids.

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  5. I have Catholic's in my immediate family. I have Lutheran's and Methodist's and Evangelical's and Agnostic's. I have Democrats, Republicans, Moderates, Independents, Liberals and Tea Partyers and a Libertarian. It's strange that out of all of these kids, sister, nephew, grandkids, we all are Pro-Life--even though we disagree on other things. I find that kind of amazing.

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    1. It is amazing. I've always marveled at how my nieces and nephew could all have such different views politically and with religion when they all had the same upbringing. Spouses do have a lot of influence though...I can see it in them.

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  6. I've been taking adult learner classes through the Osher Institute administered by University of Washington; great stuff! Sounds much like you describe. I've done Brain Development class, a History of Secret Intelligence gathering (I'd love to be a spy!), a couple of Art History/Art Appreciation classes (crush on the instructor), a film series, History of Technological Development (the instructor started by showing us a 1950's TV test pattern -- we all laughed with recognition -- we knew frozen screens even back then!) It's all been fun and interesting. As for politics and religion -- I am a Liberal Democrat, Unitarian Universalist (with Buddhist leanings)…NO ONE in my family of origin shares my views. It can be a challenge, but if we avoid those topics we get on fine. I have found, however, that I can't listen politely to the anti-gay, right-wing rhetoric anymore. I have to speak up (I try to be polite) and then I have to walk away. I've found there is no convincing and the "debate" is generally a waste of breath.

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    1. God, I'd love all those classes you took, especially the spy history class!

      We sure have similar views on politics, religion and hot button topics right down to the Buddhist leanings. The older I get the harder is it to just walk away from the topics you mentioned and not speak up but, like you said no matter what we say there is no convincing some people. Although I do have one relative who backs down when I correct his misinformation with hard facts. But we are all very civilized about our 'debates.'

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