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

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Red Hats on Memory Lane



 
It’s been a while since I’ve made it to a monthly Red Hat Society tea or a walk-about---since the Christmas party to be exact. The roads conditions last winter was the biggest reason but Wednesday that streak was broken by our annual spring thrift shop crawl. I’m not a big fan of shopping with other women---I like to form my own opinions on whether or not something is right for me without the pressure of someone else, perhaps, egging me on. But where ever there is a group of women, shopping seems to be a common denominator to get together, like bowling or golf for guys.

There was a time when I knew the location of every antique store and mall, every flea market, and all the pawn shops, thrift and junk shops in a tri-county area. Don was addicted to them. So image my surprise when the thrift shop crawl took us to a large mall less than two miles from home that I didn’t know had been there for the past three years. It was a collection of booths filled with re-purposed goods, antiques and crafts and I ran into a showcase I sold last year! I know it was the same one because the same chip was in one of the glass shelves. The spooky part was it was filled with the same kinds of gas station memorabilia "smalls" that Don and I had it filled up with. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if the guy who now owns it was one of my best customers the year after Don died, when I had a booth in an antique mall. Was it serendipity running into my old showcase? Only time will tell. I left my phone number with the mall owner to ask the showcase owner to call me if he's interested in a wholesale deal on more "smalls."

To keep the trip down Memory Lane going, the restaurant the Red Hatters picked to eat lunch at was decorated in antique gas station memorabilia like Route 66 and other porcelain signs, oil cans, gas globes and pumps from the early 1900s---like what once covered the walls of our three stall garage. There were twelve of us at lunch and the conversation at the long table went on so long after we had finished eating that I was getting antsy to get out of there. Spending a childhood where I wasn’t allowed to leave the dinner table until bedtime if I hadn’t eaten all my food still haunts me after all these years. I was a stubborn kid, I wouldn’t eat anything orange or the liver served once a week. No matter how stimulating the conversation might be, I can’t get past the feeling of being punished if I have to sit at a dinner table too long and I get obsessed with why people aren't cleaning up their plates or getting take-out boxes. Get that food out of my sight, for crying out loud, before I feel compelled to eat your left overs!

I still have one winter project to finish up before moving on to spring things---getting my 2014 blogs enters ready to print in a hard-copy book. The book is just for me. I’ve always been a diary person and turning a blog into a book is just a modern way of doing a diary. Proof reading a year’s worth of posts, though, tends to get me side-tracked into reflecting on past feelings and actions which, of course, is one of the values (or curses) of keeping a diary or blog. I’m finding things that indicate growth in acceptance of a life lived alone and in finding a direction to go that will truly make me happy. I’m not quite there yet but I can see it on the horizon. I still feel the sense of pressure to hurry up and get there and being with the Red Hat Society ladies again drove that feeling even stronger. Three of the ladies have had breast cancer treatments recently and a couple of our members have died since last fall. 

Life is short and I waste too much time thinking about the future (and perhaps the past) rather than living in the present. One of my Red Hat sisters is quite the opposite. She's a member of four chapters and a bunch of church groups. She gets up a 4:00 AM, does her house work and is on the go every single day and most evenings. She’s a widow, too, and I wonder sometimes if she isn’t running from the loneliness she feels if she stays home but in the end, does it matter? She says she’s happy when she’s busy. She’s found her way. Me? I like being alone and I like being with other people; it’s finding the right balance between the two that I’m still working on. Or rather it’s finding the right combinations of quality activities to get me out of the house. Otherwise, I might easily take the lazy way out and aspire to be a hermit, a misunderstood dreamer who stays in her bathrobe until noon. Which reminds me of an interview I saw recently of a young movie star. He was asked why he's so often photographed without his shirt on and he said, "Because I hate doing laundry." Ya, me too, I thought while trying to keep a straight face, that's why I don't rush to get dressed in the morning. If you believe that, I've got a bridge for sale.... ©

15 comments:

  1. I just finished my laundry. No dirty clothes until shower time. Bugger.

    We all find our way. We all figure out what's right for us and it keeps changing as time passes. I do love your idea of living in the present.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. Living in the present has always been a challenge for me. I was good at after my husband had his stroke because I quickly figured out it was the only way to stay sane and not get overwhelmed with the challenges we faced but there is nothing pressuring me now but myself to live in the present, so I've reverted back to type.

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  2. My introverted nature (which doesn't mean reclusive, just needing a lot of alone, quiet time to recharge) keeps me from being "on the go" constantly. One of my sons, however, is a classic extrovert in that he can only "recharge" when with people and has a lot going on. People are just different.

    I'm intrigued about you publishing your blog posts into a book. How do you do that? I've often thought I'd like a 'hard copy' of my posts. Is there a way to get them from Blogspot into a book?

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    1. I have used Blurb.com, now, five times to what they call "slurp" blog posts into a hard copy book and they are great quality books at a reasonable price. They are compatible with several blog hosting places including Blogspot. You can order from one to thousands of copies and/or offer them for sale in their on-line bookstore. They don't edit or even read your book so you have to do it all yourself, including the cover design which I loved doing. If you try them, I'll give you a hint that will save you a few headaches: they give you a choice of slurping the posts directly on the pages or them slurping them to their software (that you've downloaded on your computer in either case) and you manually putting each post on the pages. I've done it both ways and I much prefer doing them manually one at a time and proof-reading as I go along. That way if you decide to cut something out it doesn't effect the layouts of all pages after the cut. You have more control of how it looks visually. Of course the other way is much quicker, but I'm a perfectionist.

      Recharge is a great word! I need a lot of alone time, too, so I can think my own thoughts instead of focusing on what others are saying.

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    2. I just realized I've made the slurping sound harder than it is when you slurp one post at a time. It isn't hard, it's just clicking on the post titles that they've compiled in a sidebar on their software. The click generates that post on the book template where you can edit or add photos if you want then go to the next post to slurp.

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    3. Well, I wish you'd mentor me on how to slurp. LOL I went to the Blurb.com site, but didn't see how to make my blog appear in book form. :)

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    4. You have to download their free software first. It's in the software where you'll find a place to put in the dates in your blog that you want to slurp....Jan. 4 through Dec. 30, 2014 for example. It's really not hard once you look around the software. It will give you choices of font, size, color and features for adding pictures, etc....all fun stuff to play around with.

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  3. i do miss the red hatters but my group dissolved over time and i never really wanted to try another one for some reason. happy to be back but it's still hard to read blogs on the computer, my eyes are a bit fuzzy still.

    hugs, bee
    xoxo

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    1. Fuzzy eyesight is so annoying! I've had to jack up the print size on my computer this winter. I can't wait to get into the eye doctor later this month.

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  4. I'm doing laundry right now, and I have my shirt on. They should have a t-shirt that says, "If I'm having a heart attack, don't remove my shirt." Thats my fear, that the EMTs will rip my shirt off of me in the driveway, and send all the neighbors for their cameras so they can post it on FB.

    I used to be an extrovert. I needed to be around people a lot. Now I need my solitude more, but I still enjoy socializing occasionally. I'm not big on entertaining anymore. The balance that I'm most comfortable with is different now: 70% solitude, 30% socializing, maybe even 80/20. Sometimes I think the need for people is rooted in concern that I will become a hermit if I don't make the effort.

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    1. Oh, great, you've given me something else to worry about. LOL Never thought about the EMTs ripping off my shirt.

      I'm probably a 75%/25% person and I would most of my socializing is rooted in forcing myself to get out and mingle. It's not natural for me. Glad I'm not alone in that.

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  5. EMT's won't rip off your shirt--they put the heart monitor posts UNDER your shirt. It's the ER people that rip it off, AND your bra, but by then, it's pretty private with only 5 or 6 people watching, LOL. I was forced to eat everything before I could leave the table AND I too hate to linger after I eat. Back in the day when we could smoke in a restaurant after eating, it didn't bother me so much, it was a relaxing, sipping water kind of time. Now? I'm up and outta there!!

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    1. Our mothers were just doing what they were told to do regarding forcing kids eat but it did do a lot of damage. I sure don't miss those days when smoking was allowed in restaurants. I used to have a lot of second-hand smoking related health issues back in those days.

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  6. I'm still trying to sort out the alone/with others balance.
    My mother and I got into a major battle of wills when I was in 1st grade and we both dug in our heels over a glass of breakfast orange juice. I hated the pulpy orange juice, and she insisted that I had to drink it before I could leave the table. The time to leave for school came and went and I was still staring down that glass of orange juice. I think I finally gave in because I was worried about being late for school. I walked the two blocks to school without the benefit of the crossing guard and crying the whole way. My mother got several phone calls from neighbors to let her know that I was out on the street crying when I should have been in school. When I finally got to school and the teacher asked why I was late, I grabbed the first excuse that occurred to me, one that I had heard one of my adolescent brother's friends use -- that my alarm clock didn't go off (which was a pretty transparent lie since no 6 year old in that working class community had an alarm clock!). My mother won the battle, but she lost the war: to this day, I dislike and avoid orange juice. -Jean

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    1. I love that story. I'm so glad you shared it. Your neighborhood growing up was a true village looking out for the kids.

      I was forty before I tried eating orange foods again...didn't eat them from my thirteenth birthday when my dad put his food down about the force feeding until then. Imagine my shock to learn I actually like the taste of them now. I still don't, however, buy anything orange to wear and or to live with in a house decor.

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