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, August 29, 2015

Outlet Malls, Beekeepers and Fitbits



I must have been bored out of my tree when I signed up for a senior hall trip to a brand new outlet mall in town. A half day of shopping is for people who actually enjoy the experience. If I’m going to spend that much time looking at stuff I’d rather be looking in an antique mall where I’m apt to find something as old and obsolete as I am. Sure, if I had a bunch of grandkids to shop for, it might be different. I, too, would have boarded the bus back home with more bags than would fit in the overhead compartments. I came home with a set of one inch square, thick rubber bread bag “ties”---neat things that are too big to lose and easier to use than the twist ties that come on bagged foods. 

A third of the women came home with new purses from the Vera Bradley store. “How could you pass them up?” my seatmate asked, “They were 70% off!”

“Easy,” I replied, “I don’t need a purse.” And if I did, I added inside my head, it wouldn’t be one that looks like it was made from a pair of trailer drapes. When I was growing up my mom sewed curtains and drapes for a trailer sales place. That’s where my dislike of floral prints was spawned. Though I do remember one, non-floral fabric she brought home. It had Sputniks and other “heavenly” object on it. I hear that stuff is coming back in style again and if Vera Bradley ever hops on that wagon, let me know.

It was a beautiful, sunny day at the mall. Not too hot, not too cold. I walked the entire complex, a series of ‘fake streets’ and courts for pedestrians. A pretty place but all I could think about was: 1) how will they deal with the snow? It looked like it was designed for places that don’t get any. No place to pile or blow snow, no snow melting grates; 2) why did they install stainless steel desks on the 'streets'? They were outfitted with device chargers and Wi-Fi and looked like teen magnets on steroids. Mall cops in other area malls have a hard time dealing with loitering teens, this place was inviting them to stay overnight. And last but not least, 3) with over 130 stores you’d think they’d have a least one coffee shop! The only sandwich shop in the place didn’t serve coffee and, yes, I got cranky without my morning caffeine. “Starbucks is coming by Christmas,” I was told. Sweet Jesus! I thought, I think I’ll find a cup of coffee before then! Out loud I said, “That will be a nice.”

The next day my plum colored Fitbit Charger HR came in the mail. Now I can now track how much I don’t walk and don’t sleep. Did I need another gadget in my life? No, but half the people I know brag them up so why not keep up with the Kardashians, so to speech. Truth be told, I sent my pocket pedometer through the washing machine one too many times thus I joined the Fitbit fad. That will last until I wear it in the shower one sleepy morning. The first night it documented that I slept five hours, 39 minutes, woke up nine times and was restless 29 minutes. Tonight I’m taking an Aleve PM and see how much difference that makes. And tomorrow night I’ll bring out the big guns and take an Ambien. I love those pills. I’m out like the preverbal light in ten minutes and I wake up feeling like I’ve been having a tea party with the angels.  

Saturday was a rainy day but I went to the farmer’s market anyway. All the vendors were giving ‘rainy day’ discounts and I scored more food than I can eat in a week: 3 cucumbers, 4 tomatoes, 4 corn on the cob and a pound each of new potatoes, string beans, blueberries and strawberries. I also got baby loaves of Dakota bread and extreme cinnamon, 4 salty camels, a small jar of local honey, a chai spice cookie and a bunch of zinnias. I admired the teddy bear sunflowers and vowed to get those next week.

Lest I forget, I got a soda straw ‘stick sampler' of buckwheat honey from the beekeeper guy who told me it's better than local honey for allergies. I loved the molasses-like taste of it and will buy a jar next week and that doesn’t have a single thing to do with the fact that the guy might have been flirting with me. It’s so hard to tell at my age! Either way it's a love doomed before it starts since I'm allergic to bees and he could terrorize me easily with one in a jar. Then germaphobic me got to worrying about how the guy gets the honey up those sample straws. I love Google! It has the answer to how ‘honey sticks’ are made. That question answered, I decided next Saturday I’ll flirt my way into getting a strawberry-honey stick sampler. You can roll your eyes here, knowing he probably gives them out to everyone. ©

14 comments:

  1. Oh purses. I used to carry them all the time, then I quit. I had Fendi's and Gucci's. My shoes were not expensive, but my purse and matching wallets were top of the line. I so love my purses. Now, not so much. I'd buy a 20.00 pair of heals, but splurge on the purses. What a fond memory. Thank you.

    I don't have a Fitbit yet, but they do seem to be the rage.

    You scored very well at the farmers market. Way cool. And a guy that flirted with you too. Double cool.

    Gave a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. I swear there are a few women from the senior hall who buy purses where ever we go! Everyone has their "thing" they shop for and can't pass up. It used to be earrings for me back in my 'career days'.

      I did score good at the farmer's market. I'm going to be eating healthy this week----if I want to or not. LOL

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  2. Gosh, I haven't carried a purse in decades; I prefer pockets and free hands! (And sounds like it has saved me lots of money.) Like you, I'm not much of a shopper -- my exception (the equivalent of your antique malls) would be plant nurseries. -Jean

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    1. I don't blame you. Nurseries are more interesting than outlet malls.

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  3. I can do a walk about in Lowers or a garden center, but I haven't been in a shopping Mall in eons. I do not like shopping--I prefer buying. Know what I need, get in, get it, get out. As for Ambien, used to take it, but now, it gives me the hangover. I use Melatonin, which works great for me and is natural. I would like a FitBit, not to see how much I don't walk, but just for night time statistics.

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    1. I tried Melatonin until the bottle was gone and it didn't do a thing for me. My doctor prefers I use Aleve PM over Ambien but he lets me have 30 pills every 6 months so I use them sparely. Aleve PM works for my allergies and joint pain issues as well has sleep, so it cuts don't on the meds I might take for those. I was most interested in the sleep tracking part of the Fitbit, too. Last night with the Aleve PM it got me 1 hour and 36 minutes more sleep than without it but I woke up 2 times instead of 9 but was restless only 19 minute instead of 29. The Fitbit is a pain to sync, though. I'm still learning my way around the dashboard.

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    2. Now that I am on a blood thinner, I can't take Aleve or Advil--non-inflammatories. Only Tylenol--which doesn't help for pain, BUT Tylenol PM, does help for sleep, if I am in pain. The Melatonin works just great for me, but it has to be 5 mg. 3mg doesn't work for me.

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    3. I tried the 3mg. Maybe that's why it didn't work for me. I have SO much trouble turning off my brain at bedtime. I need to tray off the computer late at night but of course I don't do it.

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  4. Wow what a week. I no longer like the browsing with nothing in mind. And I use a cross body black purse so I am handsfree. Expensive purses get dirty easier than my black baggalini!!

    What a day at the Farmer's Market. Great scores!

    And now you have me totally interested in a FitBit! Dang! I don't need more technology either ...

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    1. I have a healthy back bag and I like it. It's black and goes with everything I wear. But I do have a red purse and a silver one for special occasions.

      The FitBit tells me how many calories I've burned and how many more calories I can eat in a day to come out even, lose or gain. Kind of fun but the novelty will probably wear off i a few weeks.

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  5. I lived in Castle Rock, CO, for many years. There was an outlet mall built there that was nearly impassable throughout winter. You'd think the architect would have had enough sense to realize how much snow there would be. However, here in western Tennessee a building collapsed from neglect and old age and the town decided to make the lot into a park with WiFi for the college students and visitors to use. Summers here are excruciatingly hot and humid and winters are extremely rainy or even snowy now and no one in their right mind is going to sit outside on a picnic bench to use their laptop. There is not even a coffee shop or café in this town, so you couldn't buy a cup of coffee or tea to drink outside. I've never seen anyone at any time of day sitting on those park benches...

    I'm so glad to find someone who loves Ambien as much as I do. I'm a worrier. My mind doesn't shut down just because I lie down and turn off the light. With Ambien I know that I will be asleep within five minutes and will wake without a "hangover,' feeling refreshed. I do wake up once during the night to visit the bathroom, but I am able to drop right back to sleep most nights. Ambien is a life-saver for me!

    Now I'm going to go to Google to find out what a FitBit is...

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    1. Next winter I know this mall will be on the news, buried in snow drifts. Just crazy that no one seems to have taken the climate into consideration! Parks with wi-fi! I wish I could find one around here.

      I'm the same way when I go to bed, my brain won't shut off and I never seem to stick to all the "tricks" you're suppose to do to change that. Like warm baths and no TV in the bedroom. I never get an Ambien hang over either. My Fitbit is proving that I actually am walking up less often and sleeping longer than without it...far above with the Aveve PM.

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  6. LOL on that last paragraph. He probably was flirting with you and I'd go with that. I can't believe all the delicious sounding things you got. Oh, yum. I will miss our farmer's market when it closes. It's always sad. They stay open until the day before Thanksgiving. Of course, by then, they only have things like canned peaches and jams and churned butter. The butter will be marked half-price and I will get enough to for winter.

    I'm with you about the shopping. I'd much rather go to an antique mall. I'm not much of a shopper. I've gone to online shopping a lot.

    Let me know how you like you fitbit after awhile. I don't think it's for me. I'd definitely get in the shower with it. H likes his very much.


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    1. I'm jealous that you can get churned butter at your farmer's market. I've never had fresh made butter in my life!

      I'm loving my Fitbit so far. I've lost three pounds already just watching my stats.If you log your food intake into their software it tracks how many calories you consume vs how many you burn and tells you how many more you can have to keep yourself in the 'burn zone'. It's a little hard to get used to because the calorie increase as you do more. I just hope the novelty doesn't wear off too soon.

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