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, May 21, 2016

Red Hats, Camels and Parakeets, Oh My!


It’s been decades since I’ve turned off my alarm clock and fell back to sleep but that’s what I did on Wednesday. An hour and a half later I still didn’t want to get out of bed but I had to pee and when that happens you either get up and take care of business or you might as well check yourself into a nursing home. I was still coonhound tired but I dragged myself out of bed, thankful that I still had plenty of time to get ready to meet the Red Hat ladies for lunch. They’d been on a thrift shop crawl all morning but I knew ahead of time that I wouldn’t be up to that after the busy week I’ve had so meeting for lunch was a compromise. The topic of conversation at the restaurant mostly related to the diets everyone seemed to be on but me and I sat there enjoying my deep fried fish sandwich with the high carb bun and chips while others ate bun-less burgers or salads. After lunch I went with the group to a consignment clothing store near-by where several of the ladies found items to buy. Leaving there, the ladies decided they needed ice cream and headed to a build-your-own-sundae place and I went home. Don’t read anything like self-control into my decision not to tag along. It was on their way back to where they carpooled and it would have taken me ten miles out of my way. But I did feel vindicated for being the odd man out ordering an unhealthy lunch.

The next day I missed the travelogue about traveling across America by train but it turned out not to be my fault. I showed up at the right day and time listed on the flyer that I had taken with me, thankfully, so I called the woman who put these things on. She apologized up one side and down the other because one of their earliest fliers had the wrong time listed. They discovered the error a half hour after setting them out but had no idea who had picked up fliers with the wrong information. As bad as I felt about missing that particular presentation I was glad that I didn’t make an old person mistake. I pride myself on being an organized person and it would have been demoralizing if I had screwed up. Do others look for those hints that one’s aging brain is not keeping all the balls of a busy life in the air? A missed appointment, a lost set of keys, burning the oatmeal. What next, we forget where we live or where we took off and left our underpants while shopping for groceries?

I was on a roll for missing planned outings. The next day my brother called and wanted to stop by on his way through town. He has a cottage up north and lives down in the next county. I was supposed to go to my Movie and Lunch Club but I don’t get to see him very often so I canceled the movie date and just met the group for lunch afterward. The general consistence was that Money Monster with Julie Roberts and George Clooney was worth the price of admission. I love both of them but the film wasn’t one I’d pick for myself so it all worked out. My brother fixed my broken doorbell and I showed him the stuff I bought at a scrapbooking store to use in the large shadow box full of vintage photos I’m going to redo at his house next week.

Saturday I went on an outing with eight of my Red Hat Society sisters. All I knew about our planned destination was we were carpooling first out to breakfast and then to “a farm at lambing time.” The farm is 45 miles north of town and much to my surprise they had reindeer, camels, a zebra, peacocks, wallaby, lemurs, emus, lambs, pigs, goats, deer from South America, various caged birds, a farmer’s market, gift shop and an ice cream parlor. Admission was free but vending machines dispensing feed to give to the animals were everywhere. I felt both sad and intrigued at the same time. Sad to see so many animals in less than ideal enclosures and intrigued to see my first camels up close and personal. The only animals that weren’t in enclosures were the peacocks and we got to see one of the males display his tail plumage trying to entice a female to mate while she played hard to get the entire time we wandered around the farm.

I was totally enchanted by a 25’ x 35’ cage full of colorful parakeets---I’m guessing a couple of hundred. You could buy sticks that were covered in bird seed and go inside with the birds. If you had a stick (and you weren’t allowed inside unless you bought one) your arm would quickly get covered with 15 to 20 birds trying to get their turn at the seed. It reminded me of a scene in a children’s animated movie. If you stayed outside looking in as soon as you started talking birds would gather close on the wire mess to listen. I loved those parakeets! They were the highlight of the day for me. My mom had parakeets when I was growing up and memories of her were an extra bonus I brought home from the outing. ©

22 comments:

  1. Oh my! the information I get from your blog!! hint: travel across USA by train - just checked that out and seems great.

    I like desserts more than mains, so sometimes choose to have dessert only. Then sometimes prefer to use my daily calories on a favourite mains like a deep fried fish that I would NEVER cook at homes. Even a stir fry makes me think twice, after I recently cleaned out the kitchen exhaust filters (one month use of light cooking and it was so oily! showed it was efficient, I know, but imagine it after a stir fry/deep fry, shudder).

    "..left underpants while shopping..." that had me scratching my head. I can't imagine how AutoCorrect has corrupted the original word.

    Hadn't heard of the new Julia Roberts/Clooney film (not that I go to the movies, happy to wait till they come on TV or even Youtube/Dailymotion (found the latter recently and great for watching UK serials that haven't yet arrived on our shores). Recently watched Alice in Wonderland (Depp) on TV and thought it a bit dark for kids.

    Isn't it great to have a handy brother? my son is the same so when he comes, I show him all the non-functioning items and if he says it can't be fixed, chuck them out/replace.

    I haven't been to a thrift store (used to be a favourite haunt - the thrill of what hidden treasure you could discover that you never knew you wanted but suddenly couldn't live without). The de-cluttering put me off shopping, full stop.

    Glad you enjoyed your mystery trip to the mini zoo. The imagery of "The Birds" is too strong in my mind, so I wouldn't have gone into the bird cage. The magpies here in spring are awful - swoop you suddenly, and can draw blood. ~ Libby

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The "left the underpants in the grocery store" wasn't an auto-correct. It was a failed attempt at humor. No one sane would take their underpants off in a grocery store but I saw an elderly lady do that once in a public place and walk away. She had wet them. LOL

      The parakeets were nothing like the 'Birds' in the movie. They were so small, colorful and sweet and were more interested in the seed sticks than anyone's head. Speaking of movies, I thought just the previews of Alice in Wonderland looks too dark for kids. I did not want to see it.

      The travel agent is going to mail me a book on trailing by train. I can't wait to get it. I think it would be an interesting way to travel. I'm hoping they have another travelogue about traveling Europe by train. Not that I'd ever go there but the scenery would be great.

      Delete
  2. A lot of really pleasant activities! And yes, i, too, check myself a lot: what did I do with that water bottle and did I put my car keys in my pocket. I'm very aware of any errors. Today a woman was telling us that her daughter was visiting and normally when they get into the car together, the daughter says "I'll drive". But this time, Ethel said, her daughter said " you can drive" and Ethel said she knew that her daughter was checking her to see if her driving was good. A certain degree of paranoia is setting in for all of us!
    Regards,
    Leze

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a good way to put it "a certain degree of paranoia is setting in for all of us." I suppose it's only natural as we age. I can remember giving that 'driving test' to my dad a few times and the moral of this story is we've got to keep going and enjoying ourselves while we still can.

      Delete
  3. Gee, how did I miss this post? Like you I'd be a little concerned about the welfare of the animals you visited but I suppose there's some standard they have to meet. Your Red Hat group seems to be very active.

    My apologies for the dark humor post about cremation. It was in bad taste and I have removed it. I'm glad it was you that saw it first and I was able to quickly delete it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No reason to apology. There was nothing wrong with your dark humor...unless you thought someone in your family might see it and not under that it's not unusual in caregiver circles.

      I don't think my this blog entry has appeared in anyone's blog role list. I don't know if it's just mine or if it's a Bloggers issue that will resolve itself. I'm pretty faithful about always posting on Wed. and Sat.

      Delete
  4. Well, you've had a busy time! Wish my family lived closer so someone like your brother could drop in to take care of little things. Think I've finally hired a couple different tradesmen I'm comfortable hiring & can trust who are willing to perform handyman tasks for me.

    This past week have been indulging myself sleeping in some mornings after staying up into wee morning hours. One day I didn't even bother to get dressed. Will get back to more reasonable hours this week, I guess.

    Have toyed with the idea of cross country train trip, periodically looked at Amtrak on Internet, but think stops and having to carry luggage with changes, maybe no provision if too much terminal walking unlike what's available by air. Still the idea is intriguing and could be a Blogger Meet-up Journey -- maybe.

    Memory loss concerns has been a common thread of concern expressed by most older patients I encountered. Many I could reassure that what they described probably occurred when they were younger, too, but they only questioned now cause they were getting older. We are sensitive to what memory slips can mean as we age and science is learning and revealing more to us -- how to be reasonably alert, well-informed & not be paranoic! I feel that way, too, sometimes when I suddenly get certain body pains I don't recall having when I was younger. Is this a heart attack or indigestion symptoms I never had til recent years? For me, I think, with my husband gone there's no one here to ponder all that with when it happens, so am left with my thoughts, to talk aloud to myself or the TV. Just occurred to me, maybe I should try talking to Siri on my iPad & see what she says. Has anyone tried that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I woke up this morning the first thought I had was I hadn't talked to anyone for two days. I don't think I'll ever get used to that. I love Siri's voice. Let me know how that works out. I have the Window version of her (Cortana) but I haven't tried it yet. There was a movie last year about a man who falls in love with his operating system, so you're not the only person to have that idea of having a meaningful conversation with a computer.

      My brother stopping is a rare event---once or twice a year---and I don't usually ask him to help with anything. He was an electrician before retirement so the doorbell was right up his alley. I need to find a handyman, too.

      I'm going to see the travel agenda today. I'll try to ask about luggage on train travel. I would imagine, since it's a group tour, that arrangements are made so you don't end up carrying a long way.

      Delete
  5. Again, your outings are so interesting and inspiring. I'd like to learn more about train travel too. It sounds like fun, but I've heard it can get uncomfortable and off schedule. I'd worry about that variety of animals at one place....sometimes "small zoos" aren't governed by (or cognizant of) the same standards. The parakeets sound like fun though. We had two when my sons were little. I found them to be just a lot of mess to deal with, so gave them away when everyone lost interest. LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The fact that this outing came so close on the heels of the about our very large zoo I was more in tune with what animal enclosures would have, so I was a little sad for some of the animals but they did look well cared for.

      It never occurred to me that train travel could get off schedule except maybe in the winter. The travel agenda gave me a book on train travel because she felt so bad. I can't wait to dream over it. The Calgary Stampede caught my eye right off the bat.

      Delete
  6. Well! Glad to see your site is working for me like it used to! I hope you will alert all of your readers if you ever make a change ... it was a bit of a shock and I thought maybe I had been hoodwinked over to a different site.

    You keep yourself as busy as you want to be! But some weeks it is overly busy for me! I'm not a group kind of person (yet) and prefer small gatherings. Tomorrow I'm watching a movie at a friend's house ... with one other friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for coming back to check and confirming that my blog is back to normal. I have no idea what happened but I'm so glad I was able to get it back without having to contact a tech support person. Even my subscribe my email is working again!

      I'm either over scheduled or under schedule. No in between for me. I kind of like larger groups because I can "hide" in them and people watch but, of course, smaller groups are better for making good friends.

      Delete
  7. But--did you get to see any baby lambs?
    I really don't like "farms" like that. Exotic animals don't belong on farms! I would have been the old lady that scoffed and snorted and showed my displeasure and stated loudly, "This is a farm! Where are the baby calves and horses and bunnies and chicks and lambs?" Best I stay away from groups and their excursions I guess. LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No we didn't see any baby lambs and I was really looking forward to that. I see them online and they are so cute! There were so many pregnant animals there, though, that I'll bet this week they will pop.

      I'm really surprised that private people can own camels and other exotic animals.

      Delete
  8. Oh, my head is spinning with all these balls you have in the air! Tough problem to have, being so popular LOL. Or so penciled in on your calendar. I would've been mesmerized at the farm, trying to connect with every reindeer, camel, zebra, peacock, wallaby, lemur, emu, lamb, pig, goat, deer, parakeet. I'm glad to hear they were well cared for, despite being penned in. The babies will be adorable!

    I looked for you in my blogger dashboard for days. Nada until this morning! I was worried about you when you didn't post this weekend. You being dependable and all >< Except you were here all along >< I hope this gets fixed. I've noticed I've been coming late to the party on other people's posts for this reason.

    What program cues the latest posts on our blog's sidebar? I'd like to incorporate it in mine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Last week was a crazy busy, this week not so much. The 3rd week in the month is always that way.

      We have several farms in the area who raise reindeer. I guess they are a big draw with the little kids and to rent out at Christmas time. They are so tame they'll eat out of your hand and it feels very weird!

      Crossing my fingers that my blog problems are history. You'll know tomorrow if you see a new post in your feed. It's in the queue.

      Delete
  9. I love train travel; it's so civilized. I've traveled across both Canada (Montreal to Vancouver) and the US (Boston to Seattle) by train. Both times I did it up big, traveling first class in a sleeping car and eating meals in the dining car. It was a great experience. Changing one time zone per day is a very gentle way to get from one side of the continent to the other.
    Recently, I lost a mug of tea! I was ironing while watching a DVD and somehow I misplaced the mug of tea I had been sipping on. I paused the DVD and walked through the house several times looking for where I could have put down my mug. I really did think I was losing it. And then, I went into the kitchen for some reason and noticed the microwave flashing "End;" I had put the tea in to reheat it and then completely forgotten I had done so! Oh well, as long as I can still remember the three items from the beginning to the end of my annual wellness exam, I'm okay. ;-) -Jean

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been on a train a couple of times for day trips and I really enjoyed it. I can see me taking a cross country trip that way, especially going first class. It's nice to have that idea validated by someone who has done it.

      I've done that with reheating coffee!

      Delete
  10. I spend hours one day hunting for my specs -they were perched on my head. Another time, found them on garden shrub. ~ Libby

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know that feeling! Have you ever found two pairs of classes on your head? I have. LOL

      Delete
  11. We had parakeets when I was a kid. They are so colorful. They used to sell them at "dime stores." I think we got ours at Woolworths. They sold baby chicks at Easter. They were all sorts of pastel colors. We got those, too. They all grew up to be roosters. And remember the turtles. They eventually stopped selling all of these things. I think the turtles gave kids something... disease, condition or something?? I can't remember.

    We visited James Monroe's home in Charlottesville, and peacocks were roaming all over the place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Any parakeets sold in the USA today are supposed to have been bred here but I had my doubts when you can see a huge cage full of them like I did. I know the border patrol has found them smuggled in by the truck load.

      I've never had a baby chick but I remember them at Easter time. It's funny how fads go. My great-great nephew and his new wife got chickens right after getting a house. One of my nieces kept them for a while too.

      Delete