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

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Shoulder Report and the Red Hat Party



I went back to the orthopedic doctor for my six-weeks-out-from-surgery checkup. He was pleased that I didn’t need or use any of the pain pills he prescribed and that my range of motion is almost to where it should be. I have a level two pain in my upper arm when I raise it out straight but he thinks that’s because of the arthritis and bone spur that was removed on the ball of my shoulder joint rather than from the labrum tear repair. I guess all the nerve ends from that part of my arm go through the area that was “sanded” smooth---I don’t know the medical term for that, but I’m sure there is one. He gave me a shot to soothe the nerves and if the pain comes back in a few months then he can shoot some jell-like stuff in there for a longer term solution. I have to go back in six weeks. In the meantime, no snow shoveling, picking up heavy stuff or bench pressing (like that’s was going to happen) but I can do anything else. He doesn’t think I’ll need therapy either but if I don’t continue to make progress on my range of motion, all I have to do is call and he’ll order it for me. I’m a happy camper. My niece’s daughter-in-law, who had the same labrum tear surgery on the same day, was leaving the doctor’s office just as I was coming in and she didn’t fare as well as I did. She’s got a frozen shoulder and has to have another procedure on Monday followed by daily physical therapy for a couple of weeks. Color me boastful but it feels good to do ‘recovery’ better than a person four decades younger than me.

This weekend, the gods of snow and ice were still on vacation so Saturday I hopped in my Malibu to go to a Red Hat Society Christmas party. I was excited about playing dress up with my friends and having a good meal at a cozy country restaurant with a huge stone fireplace. Technically, I didn’t look ‘Red Hat’ enough. I had no purple on and just one bracelet and ring. I wore (for the first time in years) a classic red sweater set that is piped with black, very expensive in its day. After my recent weight loss it fits perfectly again and who doesn’t feel kick-ass good in anything with built-in shoulder pads? I love that sweater set! It also matched my most elegant red felt hat. I threw a black crepe, fringed scarf around my neck, just to “tacky up” my look and keep my neck warmer at the same time. (I didn’t want to look too classic next to my feather boa wrapped and fully blinged out sisters.) Black pants, red shoes and a black purse with a Red Hat Society motif embroidered on the front completed my outfit. 

I tried to take some pictures at the party to share in this blog but I’m dumber than my smart phone and I ended up with photos of mostly my thumb. I wanted to show you the fur topped elf socks and booties one lady wore and the beautifully beaded red and purple collar that dipped down to our queen’s waist in the back and of course, a couple of photos of blinged-out hats. And how could anyone not smile at a purse that looks like Santa’s belted waist? There were twenty-two of us in attendance and can you believe it, twenty of us actually ordered desert! I collect recipes for bread pudding (I have about a hundred) so when I saw it on the menu I had to have it. 

One of my very favorite Red Hat sisters has a great sense of humor. She’s ten years my senior and so fun to sit next to that I could eat her up with a spoon and ask for seconds. And she’s about as Tea Party radical as I'm a flaming liberal. She sends out these chain e-mails that are so full of hate for Obama, hate for Democrats, hate for liberals and hate for poor people. A glut of propaganda and misinformation. When I see her in person I just can’t mesh her online personality with her face-to-face personality.

At the party, as I sat listening to the conversations around me, I couldn’t help thinking about how brave (or should I say brazen) many of us are---myself included---about sharing our political views when we don’t have to worry about having a face-to-face confrontation with someone who disagrees with our thoughts. I've always subscribed to the principle that you don't talk about politics, money or religion in public, even though in recent years I’ve often wished I could do exactly that. I was also reminded of something I learned at my father’s knee: How to smoothly guide a conversation back to lighter topics with a well-chosen joke that breaks any tension building in the room. Not that I had to do that at the Red Hat party---well, just one time---but I’ve always been glad that I can list that as one of my skills. Being able to laugh and have a good time with people we fundamentally disagree with is a good thing in a world that seems to be falling apart at the seams. Isn’t it? I don’t know anymore. I'm so confused. ©

15 comments:

  1. Sounds like fun, Jean! I have the pictures in my mind. :)

    As for political discussions. My son's in-laws (especially father-in-law) are also Obama-hating, FOX-watching, Tea-Party-leaning R's and the very first time we met, the night before the wedding (they live in Hawaii), he cornered me at the Rehearsal Dinner that WE were hosting (!) and proceeded to lambast the President, the Democrats, and the Affordable Care Act (mostly) and prefaced the whole diatribe with, "I know you are a Liberal, but what you don't understand is….." I was determined to keep everything light and fun, in a getting-to-know you way, and tried to joke him off his soapbox, but he was having none of it. Finally I was able to get away (I was literally "trapped" at the table in a place I couldn't easily move from) and we kept a cordial distance the rest for the next three days until they left to go home. Sheesh!

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    1. Oh, my gosh! Your son's father-in-law couldn't have picked a more inappropriate time or place for that kind of discussion. What is wrong with people? It sounds like you handled the situation in the only and best way you could have. that's another good example of why the Victorian etiquette books are right when they say no table of politics, money or religion at social functions.

      After my husband's stroke and he couldn't talk anymore one of our Tea Party leaning relatives would do the same thing with Don as your son's in-law did, knowing full well he was a liberal. I would have to go rescue him when I'd see them together. I could see it in Don's face that his blood pressure was raising because he couldn't counter what was being said to him. I thought it bordered on being crude to do that to a person who couldn't talk back and he did it repeatedly over the 12 years after his stroke.

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    2. By the way, if anyone wants to read a light-hearted view of Christmas that made me laugh you need to head on over to Donna's blog titled Scrooge You, Christmas at: http://myviewfromhere-donna.blogspot.com/2014/12/scrooge-you-christmas.html Wish I could make that a live link but Bloggers doesn't allow that in the comments. A live link is in my 'blogs I follow' list though, or you can copy and paste the address above to get to the right entry.

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  2. Congrats!! And so glad the weather is cooperating.

    I, too, like to have serious conversations via the keyboard. And use humor to change the subject. Maybe I use humor TOO much. But it is what works for me!

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    1. Yes, the weather is the star of my life right now. It looks like I'll be able to go to another major party in my life next week, too.

      I don't think anyone can use too much humor. We need to laugh as much as we can in this crazy world. Even before they invented keyboards I liked to have all my serious conversations in written form where I could edit and hone and get my thoughts down perfect. So I guess I shouldn't be surprised that it's still my favored form of communication.

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  3. Politics are politics. I'm very conservative. I will never convince you of anything and I'm happy to say you'll never convince me of anything. That's how I get along with most people that have different views. Each side demonizes the other side. Yes, each side. My side and yours. Remember when Bush was president? Oh the hate. The left hated his policies. Now the right hates Obama's policies. Because we do we are called racists.

    I'm glad you healed far quicker than your nieces daughter in law. It does feel good when there is such an age difference.

    Sounds like your red hat party was very fun.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. You are SO right, Sandee! I guess I long for the days when the we were more civilized about it all, back when we had news sources that actually tried to be fair and balanced in their reporting and we could all draw our own conclusions without the attempts at brainwashing going on for both conservative leaning people and liberal leaning people. I don't think it's good for our country and I, for one, do watch news sources with both leanings because I don't think it serves any of us well to only listen to the people we agree with.

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    2. I am proud to call you my friend. We need to hear each other and respect each other. It's as simple as that. There are good and bad ideas from both sides of the aisle and we need to decide what is good and what is bad.

      Have an even more fabulous day. ☺

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    3. Same here, Sandee. I think one of the problems in this country is in recent years we do tend demonize people who are the polar opposite of us in our politic views and we forget that most of them are our neighbors, relatives and even our closest friends who, for the most part, we love and depend on to get through this crazy life. We're not bad people because we disagree on one aspect of our world. Love your blog, by the way. It's the first place I head every morning.

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  4. I want that social skill that can redirect a tense conversation back to lighter topics. Never too late to learn!

    Great report on your shoulder! I am amazed at your range of motion. While I'm sure you'll strengthen on your own just doing life, I'm concerned you'll imperceptively start adapting to an incomplete range of motion. When that happens - take it from one who let it happen...some shoulder muscles will get overstressed and others will never even activate. That's what happened to me and I didn't even realize it! I was getting rounded shoulders, which pulls the shoulder out of its socket. And doing regular life, like shoveling snow, then is harder and more injurious than it needs to be. I myself ripped two shoulder tendons 'just' digging in the garden! Needless to say, I'm a big fan of PT and therapeutic exercise. Maintaining physical dexterity is as important as maintaining social or intellectual dexterity. End of lecture ; -)

    Congrats for fitting into your red sweater set!! Darn, I wish you had photos!

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    1. I hear you on the dangers of adapting to a limited range of motion and the importance of physical therapy. I haven't found anything so far that I can't do and I'm not one to fight going to therapy, if it's needed. Neither is my doctor.

      It really isn't too late to learn a new skill. Maybe the next time you are with your family, you can try it out.

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  5. Your Red Hat Society sounds like a lot of fun. I wish your photos had turned out.

    I'm so glad to hear the good news about your shoulder. Continue to be easy on it.

    Your outfit sounds fab, and congratulations on fitting into it. I'm a little envious. I plan to get myself straight come January.

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    1. Me too on the photographs. I had it all planned out how to take pictures without compromising anyone's identify so I could post them there. I need to start carrying a regular camera because I can't hold the cellphone one steady enough and when I try, I get my thumb.

      I'm in a holding pattern on the diet right now until after the holidays and then I'm going at it again in January.

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  6. I also have that skill with the joke, but at times have wondered if it was a good thing or just that confrontation and people being angry scares the shit outta me and I will do anything to make it end. :-) GREAT NEWS on the shoulder!!!

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    1. That's a good point, Judy. Knowing your history I can see why you wonder that. That may be true for me too only for other reasons. I did not grow up with conflict in my life and really didn't see any after that either. The two most influential men in my life---my dad and Don---were both peacemakers if conflict was on the horizon. All and all, I think it's a valuable skill to have.

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