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, October 26, 2016

The End is Near---no, not that one! Markets and Madness



The farmers market in the fall is a different place than the beehive of activity it is in the summer. It wasn’t just the sparseness of shoppers and fewer tents lined up against a backdrop of fall colors along the river. It was also the sight of vendors wearing knit hats and gloves as they sipped on steaming cups of coffee. The sweet aroma of the kettle corn maker, the baker and the flower vendors still filled the air but in place of vendors selling cucumbers, corn, peppers and tomatoes were tables overflowing with squash, pumpkins, root vegetables and apples. Instead of tender plants for gardeners were bulbs and potted mums. I bought cinnamon bread, heads of broccoli and cauliflower plus carrots and squash to hold over the winter (wrapped in newspaper and stored in the garage). I was going to buy a bouquet of mixed cut flowers but I fell in love with huge stems of cut ornamental kale and I bought three in dark lilac fading to soft mauve. 

One more week and the market will close and I’ll go back for potatoes and maybe breakfast at a nearby place that was a favorite of my husband’s. It’s a terrible place to get into with a wheelchair but the market people who frequent the place always went out of their way to help with the double doors. Don never seemed to notice how many machines dispensing gumballs and newspapers people had to move out of his path. All he ever saw was their friendly, smiling faces. It was a gift not to notice the inconveniences of going to that old, tourist town restaurant because that sort of thing tends to make a lot of disabled people stay at home. I suppose it was because Don, the master storyteller in his pre-stroke days, was used to being the center of attention. I, on the other hand preferred then, as I do now, to be like a camera drone recording life from a safe distance. And from my bird’s eye view I’m happy to report that most people show kindness when it counts. Motivational speaker and author Steve Marabholi wrote: “It only takes a split second to smile and forget, yet to someone that needed it, it can last a lifetime.” Boy isn’t that a fact! Look how long I’m remembering the time and place of warm smiles and small gestures of kindness. 

On the opposite end of kindness is the meanness that has become part of our current election season and aren’t we all glad that, like the farmers market, the end is near. Am I alone is sensing a shift in hostilities? People have made up their minds and in some cases have already voted. Soon, Facebook will no longer challenge my willpower and self-control to not get involved in nasty political exchanges with some in-law family members. One woman in particular has spent months posting extremist, hate-filled and offensive stuff but this morning I thought someone must have hacked her account when she posted a meme that read: “The less you respond to negativity the more peaceful your life will become.” I read that over several times and spent a full two minutes trying to decide if I should hit the key that would publish a response I had typed that read, “The less a person posts negativity the more peaceful everyone’s life will become.” In the end, I back-spaced my catty words off the reply box and left. Many people unfriend someone who bugs their sanity and temps them to leave civility behind but that’s not my style. I like to have my finger on the pulse of what family thinks…recording it like that camera drone overhead. But I will admit I no longer feel an ounce of warmth toward this woman…and all because of this election!

“Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Those words roll around inside my head, telling me I should have taken a stand on Facebook starting months ago, but my silence was insurance against getting turned down if I should ever need a ride to a med station or the hospital. I live close to In-Law Land so my silence was self-servicing and I’m not proud of that. If I do give in before the election and post a Facebook response to the “great, white hopes” of a Trump presidency or an armed resistance if he doesn’t win, I hope it will be something polite like the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt: “The fate of America cannot depend on any one man. The greatness of America is grounded in principles and not on any single personality.” Can you tell I just got a new book titled, The Best Liberal Quotes Ever? ©


The photo at the top is of the fall cornucopia on my dining room table. I know they’re hopeless out of fashion but I’ve been making them since the early ‘70s and I still love them. The scarecrow below is on my front door and the four foot wooden trencher is along my breakfast bar. (If there isn’t a holiday around, the trencher gets filled with stones and fossils.) And last but not least are my farmers market cut kale. 
 




22 comments:

  1. I felt a real sense of relief on Monday when I voted (I will not be in the State on Election Day and so was able to get an absentee vote). The relief was that I don't even need to listen any more and it wasn't that I had an indecisiveness but I am ready for HIM to go away and with my vote, I was able to make that happen (to an extent!)
    I know a fair amount of people who know someone who is a Trump supporter and they have all said "I can't talk to them". I understand that and I think it would be really difficult to counter their arguments. Partly, I think it would be difficult because it would require a gradual approach rather than a counter punch: in other words, I think it would be a long process of listening and slowly eroding the arguments that are the basis of their support.
    Our season has made a clear change...there is now frost on the ground in the morning and yesterday I made the first seasonal change of wearing my lined jeans! The ice scrapers are back in the car and the wood stove is burning warmth at night.
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. I voted yesterday and felt the same kind of relief. I agree with you on what it would take to change a Trump voters mind. Those I know don't trust reliable sources and instead would rather trust stuff from Alex Jones (the Sandy Hook denier)and other false flag places which is very scary.

      That's for reminding me to put the ice scrapers back in the car. I put the flannel sheets on the bed yesterday. I honestly didn't know you can still buy lined jeans. I used to wear them when I was a kid going ice skating...great memory and thanks for that.

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  2. You have shown amazing restraint with that woman! I did unfriend a few people over the election. (Not relatives and mostly people I rarely see anymore) because I don't want/need their negativity and self-righteousness in my life. But I've also discovered a couple of folks who I assumed would be Republican voters and are not -- at least this time around -- so new connections were made too.

    I love your fall decor. I got my fall stuff out a week or so ago. It's actually my favorite season and favorite season for decorating. And I didn't know cornucopia were out of fashion. I get mine out every year and display it proudly. I love it! Call me old-fashioned, but some traditions just need to carry on!

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    1. When I was "in the business" fall centerpieces and cornucopias were very popular on Thanksgiving and before. But as a nation we're trending into completely by-passing Thanksgiving decor and Halloween decorating is growing big time. I refuse to decorate for Halloween.

      I only have 88 what they call "friends" on Facebook and most are relatives. I was actually shocked to know that 4 people (2 couples) I thought I knew well were rabid Trump fans and so willing to buy stuff from conspiracy sites as if it's fact. How do you reason with a high school drop-out who thinks our government could fake something as big as the mass shootings in Sandy Hook elementary just so "they" can grabs our guns? Like Lisa suggests (above) it would take a lot more than a few Facebook posts to change their minds.

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    2. That conspiracy theory stuff baffles me. And no, there is not arguing with it. That's why I just have to remove myself from people who think that way. Fortunately, no one in my immediate friend/family group does.

      I used to decorate for Halloween big time when my sons were younger and I thought it was a fun holiday for many years afterward. But for about the past 5 years I get out one lighted jack-o-lantern and one scary thing I hang on the front door on Halloween night. That's it. The rest of my fall decorating is more in the Thanksgiving tradition, and I love it.

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    3. I think one of the reasons why I'm seeing so many houses decorated to the hilt with Halloween (including lights lining roofs) is because I live in a neighborhood with young families. Even some of the parents who bring their kids trick-or-treating dress up.

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  3. I so enjoyed Elizabeth Warren's comment "Nasty women vote, Donald" >sigh< The idealist in me says NO one should be nasty, but tell that to the nasty farmers and merchants who got real nasty to the British 240 years ago. Our democracy lets us choose: nasty and/or loving. I'm probably dreaming, but I hope our better angels prevail after one of them gets elected.

    I like your decorations. Our neighborhood has lots of young kids, and it's time Ms. Grumpy here dragged the spiders and cobwebs out of storage for them. There's magic in their eyes when they come to the door.

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    1. The way I see it, Trump calling Hillary "nasty" effectively redefined the word to mean a strong feminist. I loved how her campaign quickly jumped on that idea and had "nasty woman" merchandise available by the morning after the debate. Quick thinking team!

      Hope you post photos of your house when you get it all deck out for the kids. With your art background I'll bet it will be special.

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  4. We have a wonderful farmers' market here but Bob never enjoyed going. If I ever live downtown I will go. I like farmers' markets. In 2008 one of Bob's brothers stopped speaking to me over political stuff on Facebook and those blasted emails that people forwarded to everybody they knew. He died before before we got that situation resolved. Not good. I try to be respectful of others views and it annoys me when others don't do the same. I very quickly get in my mode of "you may not respect me, but I respect myself enough not to let you treat me with disrespect." It's particularly hard when it's family.

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    1. We have farmers markets all over the place where I live. I go to one in a small tourist town 7 miles away because it's smaller than some of the closer markets and in a place that is fun to go. I'll bet you have markets closer than downtown. There is an online directory for MI. Your state might, too.

      I hate those emails that people send! One old woman sends me all kinds of it but I don't have the heart to tell her to stop. It's a shame when family splits over politics but I sure understand it. Life is too short to be disrespected and some people just can't have civil discussions.

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  5. I also have really fond memories of my flannel lined jeans when I was a kid. I think there might be a couple of pictures of me with the cuffs folded up so you can see the plaid!
    I didn't realize that they still existed either until I lived in the really cold region of NYS!! You can actually get them lined with flannel or polarfleece. A lot of places sell them, including llbean and lands end.
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. Oh my gosh, the plaid flannel was the best. I shall have to look for them. We rolled up the cuffs, too. I never had the polar fleece growing up.

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  6. Good blog and I have to bite my tongue (and clench my fist so I don't type) on Facebook (or answer emails). I have to STOP and ask myself what I want to accomplish by writing/saying that. Usually it just me wanting to get my "more" intellectual opinion out there ... but at what cost. So! Mum's the word!

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    1. That is an important question, isn't it---"At what cost?" I have spoken up online on a website designed to debate politics but rarely in my offline time.

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  7. The ornamental kale flowers are beautiful! How long do the flowers last in a vase (as opposed to the normal flowers bouquet)?

    I liked the straw man, as also the cornucopia.

    Your description of the farmers market, with the line of knit hats, gloves and steaming cups of coffee, was very evocative. I could feel the nip in the air!

    Today was the first warm day that we had (we go into warm weather as you go into your cold season). It was wonderful. I opened the windows and doors to let the welcome heat/warmth spread throughout the house. I actually had to turn the fan on for a short while.

    I'd never heard of lined flannel jeans. (The jeans with upturned plaid cuffs that I've seen only had the plaid material added at the cuffs.) I can imagine how warm and comfy they'd be in freezing weather.

    You are more diplomatic and far-seeing than I am. I speak/act in haste, and repent at leisure. These past few days I have been recalling my past and grieving at my short sightedness and stupidity, but its far too late. ~ Libby

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    1. I was disappointed that the cut kale only lasted two days of "pretty" but who knows how long they were cut before I got them. I looked it up to see rabbits can eat kale. They can in small amounts because it gives them gas so I put the kale in three places around the yard and from a distance they still look pretty.

      My dad was diplomatic and I learned that from him so it's always a wonderful compliment to hear because it reminds me of my dad.

      What you said in your last sentence...You are not alone in wishing we had do-overs. Acknowledgement of our perceived failings is growth of character and humility. Like Oprah always says, when we know better we do better.

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  8. I like your fall cornucopia very much and that kale is beautiful. Our farmers' market closes the day before Thanksgiving. Like your, it's getting down to the nitty gritty with mostly pumpkins, squash, apples, potatoes, etc. I will miss it until April 1.

    When I see Don through your eyes, I know he was a hell of a guy.

    I do not participate in political talk with my family. I don't live in Northern Va. where most of Virginia's democrats live. I've heard that many friends and family members have parted ways over this election. I'm truly sick to death of it all, especially after this latest news.

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    1. It's really sad that our election has broken up family members and friends. Even after it's over I'm afraid the tension isn't going to go away. No matter which side a person is on we're all feeling stressed out.

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  9. My local farmers' market switched last week from the outdoors summer market to the indoors winter market. The winter market is held every two weeks instead of every week, and how long it goes depends on what farmers have to offer. Two years ago, the winter market kept going until May, when it was time for the summer market to start up again; but last year, it ended in late February. I need to free up some space in my freezer so that I can freeze some pureed squash and pumpkin for winter desserts and soups.
    I haven't unfriended anyone on Facebook over politics, but I have exercised the option of hiding posts from some acquaintances whose political posts give me high blood pressure. -Jean

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    1. I've never been to an indoor farmers market. I don't think we have them around here. I've had good luck holding squash over in the garage. Pureeing sounds like a lot of work but probably worth it in taste compared to canned.

      Just this week I've started hiding posts from a couple of people...20-30 posts on the same topic the day the FBI made its most recent announcement was my breaking point.

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    2. Pureeing is actually easy if you have a food processor or blender. I cut the pumpkin or squash in half, scoop out the seeds and strings, and roast the halves face-down on a shallow pan for about an hour. After they cool, it is easy to scoop out the flesh into the food processor, buzz it for a few minutes until smooth, and then put it in two-cup freezer containers. -Jean

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    3. That does sound easy enough. I always thought it involve sieves.

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