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

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Busy LIttle Widow



I couldn’t believe what I was seeing on Sunday. Snow was coming down fast and furious and I could barely see the pine trees twenty-five outside my kitchen windows. Everything was blanketed in white and I learned later from the news that the last time it snowed here this late in May was in 1953. It didn’t last long or stick around for more than a few hours but it stayed cold and got even colder inside the house when someone hit a power pole, knocking out our electricity for the next five hours. On the good side, I had just put the outage app on my new smart phone so I was kept well informed which cuts the stress level that comes with the unknown. I put a sweater on the dog, gloves on me, burrowed myself under a blanket and spent the time reading Nicholas Sparks’ The Longest Ride. The movie was ten times better. I won’t have a bit of trouble donating the book to the senior hall where it will get sold for a quarter a zillion times over. I couldn’t find a single sentence in the book that I wanted to mark to savor later unless it’s the one that gave the book its title: “His voice, even now, follows me everywhere on this longest of rides, this thing called life.” I do like looking for those lines that sums up what a title means to an author. The line was delivered by an elderly man talking about his father---the lessons he taught---and I could identify with that as a daughter and a widow both. 

Mammogram day came and went this week and I learned something about implants. I don’t have them, by the way, but I wanted to know how they do a mammogram with ladies that do. The technician said they have to do two sets. One with the implants riding in their normal place and a second set where the technician has to pull the implants off to the side so they can get good shots of the breast tissue. “Ouch,” I said, “that sounds painful!” and she replied that they don’t feel a thing because all the nerve endings are cut inside when the implants are put in place. So now I’m in the waiting pattern where you don’t know if you’ll get the call-back because the radiologist wants more images or you’ll get the post card that everything is normal. I usually get the call-back because I have scar tissue from decades old biopsies.

After getting the mammogram I had some time to kill before I was due at the senior hall for a lecture about the local zoo’s 125 year history so I stopped for lunch at the Guy-Land Cafeteria. I like to people watch there while pretending I’m John Steinbeck writing my version of Travels With Charlie. He was taking a trip across America with his dog when he wrote that book and it describes the people he met along the way, capturing all their regional mannerisms and foibles. Unfortunately, my travels are confined to a 75 mile radius and the Guy-Land Cafeteria, that day, only held on a collection guys who were far from eye candy. Some had potbellies. Some were bald. And some sported both potbellies and bald heads. One old gentleman who didn’t fit in those pigeonholes was so pasty white he looked like he belonged down the block at the funeral home. Only one guy caught my eye in a he’s-cute-for-an-old-dude way. I loved his Santa Claus glasses and his easy smile. So what if he was wearing navy suspenders to hold up his mom jeans. I was wearing orthopedic shoes and I needed a manicure. We all can't be Brad and Angelina. 

At the “zoo lecture” we heard about the first animal they had on exhibit, a bear who loved its beer and got excited when he’d hear the beer wagon coming down the cobblestone street for its daily stop that kept the animal thoroughly happy and drunk for many years. We learned how early zoos were “encyclopedia zoos”---striving to have one of everything---but today they have fewer animals but try to keep them in family groups with the goal of preserving the species through breeding programs of animals that may not survive in the wild due to their natural habitats being encroached and poached and interbreeding weakening the lines as a result. By the way, one of the Chimps in the photo above is diabetic and is trained to pee on a stick each morning followed by presenting an arm for an insulin shot and a sweet treat. 

The next day I had to go back to the dermatologist to have the cancerous moles dug out deeper than he did on biopsy day---and just when the dime-sized holes were healing up. I’ve got to go back in two weeks to get the stitches out. Moles are troublesome and expensive little buggers!

I'm so over scheduled this week that by Saturday night I'll feel like I’ve worked a full time job. Still to come: a travelogue, lunch out with the Red Hat Society, a field trip to a lamb farm, my Movie and lunch Club and the dog’s date with the vet after which he gets to go shopping at Chow Hound. ©

18 comments:

  1. SNOW? In May? That is bizarre! And Maui is starting to heat up! It's almost too warm to sit out and enjoy my coffee.

    GEEZ! You are too busy! Or maybe I am just getting to be lazy. I do need to find something to attend where I learn. The Senior Center here is 35 minutes away and is mostly arts, crafts and Hawaiian culture. And I need to find an exercise program! Otherwise, I spend way toooo much time on the computer.

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    1. Our senior hall has several exercise classes every day but they are all early in the morning and I try not to do mornings if I can help it...good as excuse as any.

      I could do with some of that Maui heat right about now. It's getting warmer but we just got a frost warnings at night so it's still too cold to do any planting and I haven't been able to quit wearing winter sweaters yet. This week is suppose to be more normal temperature wise.

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  2. I haven't even swapped out my winter/summer clothes! If Mother Nature would make up her damn mind, it would lift my spirits! I have noticed that old men go down hill a lot faster than us old women! It seems when I see an ATTRACTIVE, silver-haired man, he ends up being in his sixties!!! Way to young for me. When I want to talk history, it is annoying to have your partner keep saying, "Huh?"

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  3. There are going to be some great sales of summer clothes this year because no one is in the mood to buy them now when we should be.

    I agree, guys in their sixties are often still attractive. Mother Nature takes it tole on all of us, but I think men lose interest in their clothing and grooming earlier than woman which makes a big difference in whether or not they get a second glance.

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  4. We had almost no winter. Very wet spring. It's cool here until over in June so I'm okay for now with our weather. Last summer was not and I'm hoping we don't repeat that this year.

    We spent all last summer on doctor's appointments for the two of us. I hope we don't do that again this year.

    It doesn't take a lot of activity for me. I like a lot of quiet time at home.

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    1. Our winter got a late start and is handing on. I have no idea what kind of summer is in store but I hope mine slows up a little bit.

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  5. We're in autumn so crispy, sunny days with chilly nights. I've got a tomato plant (self-seeded) and its even flowered!! might even get a few tomatoes before the frost hits.

    I hate Nicholas Sparks' books - vapid is the word that comes to mind! Yet, his book will resell as you say zillion times for a quarter.

    I'm researching my holiday options and what with Youtube, feel as I've been where I want to go, with the added comfort of being at home the moment I close the laptop, so perhaps teleporting for me is already here! I'm a bit timid of venturing on my own, and have to remind myself that if I journeyed Europe/UK alone, I can do it now (even if I have to peer over my glasses like an old lady at the sights). Also, that I'll have freedom, if solo.

    Anyone have any advice how to get possum and baby out of my garage. Its poo is all over the place (no car inside, only stuff packed in boxes) and stinks. I've cleaned it once, but its back again. Tried noise (it just flinches the first time then buries its head in its body). Tried leaving the door open so there would be light, cold wind - no effect. Next attempt will be the neighbour's dog. (As per law, can't be killed and if captured, has to be released within 100m. It gets over the roller door, and that can't be blocked. Its the size of a domestic cat but I'm s*** scared of it. ~ Libby

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    1. Oh my gosh, your possums! Too bad I can't lend you Levi. He sees anything like a rabbit, cat or bird and he's relentless at barking until it moves or I bring him in. Too bad you don't have a trapping service or pest control that would relocate it for you. Here, we can borrow trapping cages for that purpose from the Department of Wildlife. Maybe there too? It's the best way. Crushed garlic or mothballs in a mess bag placed around where they come might help if you want to try to annoy them out with annoying smells. Loud noises and lights that come on with a motion detector set up where they come in works. I know someone who did that.

      If you like the YouTube travel videos you'd probably really enjoy the travelogues that I go to. I went to my first on in my 20s. At my age, I'd give up the freedom to go solo for the security of having someone keep track of me in group travel, but that's just me.

      When I as reading that Sparks book I kept wondering how I get suckered into buying it. The movie versions are so much better and even those don't cut out or minimize all the formula junk. But he sells world wide which, I guess, proves people still want to believe in undying love and devotion.

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    2. Thx for your suggestions - will try neighbour's dog (Jack Russell). He'd have been excellent, but recently he injured himself and has lost much of his ferocious bark.

      Re Sparks, think its just an age thing. Aeons ago, I used to read Mills & Boone (romance novels), Georgette Heyer (romance in Regency times, very virginal) etc.Now in the library, if I see a novel marked as 'Romance' I put it back on the shelf as if it was a red hot coal. On this topic, I find my favourite authors of whodunnit have died or stopped writing. I couldn't find a single book I wanted to read last time. I'll have to search around for good, new (younger!) murder mystery writers. ~ Libby

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    3. I agree about books. I used to read a ton of Romances, like mindless eating popcorn. But our tastes grow and change with time and I credit historical romances for hooking me on history and reading so I don't regret the time spent or an occasional return to the genre. I've never gotten into reading mysteries. Yet. There is still time. LOL

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  6. Just saying Hi, Jean. I'm catching up with your blog during super busy week that has me off-kilter and off schedule. I haven't even written on my blog! I love hearing what you are up to. Skip the Sparks books! Ha. (I"m still obsessed with the Outlander series -- heading through them the second time around. )

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    1. I've read the Outlander series. I understand the obsession. Glad to see you again.

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  7. I hope your snow melted quickly. If we had snow in the second half of May, I'd need an outrage app to express my feelings, too. ;-) -Jean

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    1. How did that 'R' get in outage? LOL

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  8. Any callback on the mammo? Hopefully by now you are done, done, done with the medical check-ups and procedures. I hate these!

    I've been so overscheduled, as well. Glad to catch up with you.

    P.S. Pretty funny - an outrage app. Isn't that what Twitter is?

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    1. Nope, I got the letter that all is looking normal. So the only health related things I've got left for summer is the stitch removal and the dog has to go back to get his teeth cleaned. Yeah!

      Twitter could pass for an outrage app. LOL

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  9. H has moles. He's had a number of them removed. I tell you, it's patch, patch, patch after fifty. Good on you for keeping up with everything. I'm good about some things and not so much about others. I'll never have another colonoscopy. I had one last year, and they gave me ten years until the next one, but I'll be 75 and I think it's okay to stop at 75. That's my theory anyway.

    Wasn't that something about the little boy that got into the Gorilla enclosure. The video was kind of astonishing.



    I cannot believe you got snow in May. I guess I can stop complaining about our constant rain now. Snow in May trumps everything. I can picture you and Levi all snuggled up and trying to keep warm. Losing power in cold weather can be a dangerous thing. Glad you were only out for five hours. I can't imagine losing power for days in a climate like yours. Thankfully, our longest outages that can last for days are usually in the summer. I hate the heat, but I'm sure it's worse to lose power in very cold weather.

    Love your description of the guys at Guy-Land Cafeteria.

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    1. I don't keep up with everything either. My mammogram, for example, was the first one I've had in five years. The doctor has to nag me into them.

      I felt so bad that the Gorilla had to put him down but it had to be done. He was so young and they had high hopes of his blood line helping to keep the species from becoming extinct.

      Power outrages here in the winter mean you must go to a shelter if they last more than a few hours but if they happen in really bad driving weather how do you get there?

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