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, November 16, 2016

Did I Say That Out Loud?



When I wrote about getting invited to a new neighbor’s house for a night of “fellowship and a Christian movie” one of my blogger friends asked if it was a monthly Bible study. Ohmygod that thought never occurred to me and it should have since they’re common in my part of the state. At least it gave me time to think about what I’d say to excuse myself if I found myself in a prayer circle and I was the only one without a Bible in my lap. “You’re sitting here with a heathen,” was the first thing that came to mind but I doubt I would have voiced that out loud. At least I hope not. Some of the words coming out of my mouth lately shock even me. Thankfully, there was no prayer involved when movie night rolled around and I was introduced to Chonda Pierce via a DVD, a Christian comedian. I’d never heard of her but her Wikipedia page is impressive---Daytime Emmy Nominations, the “Queen of Clean”, Opryland for six years imitating Minnie Pearl, etc. She’s a beautiful singer, too, and the daughter of a southern minister. 

The DVD was titled, Did I Say that Out loud? Right away I was intrigued since that’s a question I’ve asked myself a quite a few times. Chonda’s humor could be called observational comedy, defined as poking fun at everyday life. Aside from a half dozen 'churchy' jokes that went right over my head, I enjoyed the video. At one point Ms. Pierce used the term, “My friend is a shrink” and one of the ladies attending movie night asked, “What’s a shrink?” and another woman answered, “I think she means a psychiatrist.” I added, “Yup, that’s the slang word for them” but I was thinking, I cannot believe an adult didn’t already know that! She didn’t look like she’d been living on a Tibetan mountain top or in a French convent with no contact with the outside world. When I got home I couldn't resist googling the origins of the slang and I learned it’s been around since at least 1950 when a Time Magazine article said, “…anyone who had predicted the phenomenal success of the television Western ‘Hopalong Cassidy’ would have been sent to a ‘headshrinker’” and a footnote explained that ‘shrink’ was Hollywood slang for a psychiatrist. 

Not much chic-chat came with movie night but I did learn that my neighbor taught high school drama, music and literature for 22 years before her Parkinson’s made that impossible. I like her---at lot---but even with my hearing aids in I have too much trouble hearing her whisper soft voice so I was glad to learn that she does do email. (Last night while listening to the local news I couldn’t figure out how someone could die from “loading porn.” Jeez, how is that possible? I thought, thinking the porn was downloading on a computer. Turns out the reporter was saying “loading corn.” That's a typical egg-on-my-face hearing mix up I'll make.)

By the next morning my neighbor had already emailed me a thank-you-for-coming message and we’ve exchanged our whole life stories via emails that rival the length of the blog entries I write. In my last reply I included this: “I must tell you, I'm not a religious person or a church goer but I do consider myself to be spiritual---Oprah style if you know what I mean. If I did ever consider going to a church it would be the Unitarian Universal Church because they believe there are many paths to God.” Okay, the ball is in her court and depending on which church she’s affiliated with, she’ll either cool to me or be open-minded and I will have acquired a penpal I can literally see if we’re both at the right windows at the same time.  

This week was also the last of The Matter of Balance classes (that is taught the same way nationwide). Eight weeks, two hours a session. I still think the material could/should be presented in half that time and their videos need updating to this century but the exercises we learned are good and the comradery and laughter experienced made it worth going, even though I had to drag myself kicking and screaming a few times. In my postmortem on my often negative reaction to this class I must acknowledge that the timing was poor. In October/early November I was already over-scheduled with getting my health-related appointments out of the way and house, yard and car ready for winter. While I knew that going in I felt I had to take this class (on preventing falls) because it’s rarely offered. I’m scared to death of falling and I’ll end up laying on the floor so long the dog will get hungry enough to eat my dead flesh. 

On that morbid note, I have a Thanksgiving luncheon to attend today. I haven’t been able to find any turkey legs in the grocery stores so this might be the only turkey I get this year. Boo, boo if I get served white when I love dark. Do you think if I cried loud enough someone would trade with me? ©

27 comments:

  1. I have a lot of those "Did I say that out loud?" moments, some I mean and some make me wish I could hide.
    Happy to hear that the movie was enjoyable and hopefully you have made a friend. Sometimes people ease away when a one proclaims they don't 'do' church.
    I like any turkey, white is good with Miracle whip on stollen, but wings and thighs are as good as the legs. I have my doubts DH will make turkey anything. I hope you get your dark meat, you are right - better flavor and more moist.

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    1. My neighbor replied that she thought I was very brave to come see a Christian movie, given that I don't believe that way. She says her faith is important to her and she does believe knowing Jesus is only one way to God. We're still exchanging daily emails, on to other topics. Given she lives so close and she does these Christen friendship nights regularly I felt I needed to be up front early on. We're on to other topics now. She seemed pleased to have someone to "talk" with and I hoping knowing someone in the neighborhood makes her feel better/safer/warmer.

      I didn't get dark meat but it sure was tasty, best meal I've had in a long time!

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  2. Jean:

    I hope you guys still get to connect on other topics. spirituality or religion is just one facet of human being we all have so much to offer to each other. I feel even though I have never met you before I value your feedback or advice. your one of the blog about change always brings in comfort. even now when I m dealing with all changes that happened right here in country while I was out of country for a week ofcourse we left after casting our votes. Not only we got new president not the one I hoped to win but also my mobile phone update & change of cable tv service lol. I was hoping to get word of wisdom & some comfort from you which I always get when I read your blogs.

    Asha

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    1. I think we will,Asha. She's very sweet.

      I'm still upset about the election but I'm also resigned to having an incoming president who I strongly dislike and don't trust. I am looking for activism and watchdog groups to get involved with but there is plenty of time to see what will do the most good. We can't allow the normalization the kind of hate and divisiveness that helped get DT elected! I've written a couple of blogs about the election but for my mental health I'm moving away from political discussions until after TD is sworn in. Then I'll be stronger and better know where I can make a difference with my money, time and voice.

      I hope you live in an area where you feel relatively safe from harassment on the streets! I take comfort in the fact that Hillary won the popular vote and you should too.

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  3. Jean :

    I was more upset about my cable tv & internet line up change than president change lol I just realized how shallow we all are & focused on our small world & changes that gets brought in our life which affects us more. luckily we live in very nice upscale neighborhood so don't have to worry about who became next president.

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    1. Cable TV line up changes are a big deal. LOL I was having trouble with my cable on two of my TVs and my life wasn't righted again until I got them straighten out.

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  4. I'm finding there is no advantage in not speaking up about who I am and you doing that right away with your neighbor was courageous and necessary. I'm glad she answered your email and sees there is much more to connect around.

    Definitely dark! :)

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    1. You learned that much earlier in life than I'm learning it.

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  5. I was away for nine days (in California helping my son move) so I saw my band friends this morning for the first time since the election. Gosh, I thought I was ranting and raging...I was standing in the hall after our concert listening to people talk about his treasonous behavior and indictment before the electoral college votes next month. People really want to DO something and not stand by and watch us all sink into a pit together. We will see.
    I reread this and was amused that I wrote that I helped my son move...that wasn't meant to sound physical...it involved 4 hours in IKEA suggesting that he color coordinate be practical!
    Regards,
    Leze

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  6. IKEA coordinating would be my kind of helping someone move.

    I have yet to run into anyone who is happy about the way the election turned out. And twice I've heard about someone who was so upset over the elect neither one wanted to come to the events I was at. DT is not going to have an easy presidency and if he does something impeachable, I heard most Republicans in House and Senate won't fight for him because they'd rather work with dependable Pence.

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  7. The lady who wasn't familiar with "shrink" ....well, nowadays, I come across internet slang that I sometimes have to google, because even with context I cannot decipher the acronym. It maybe that character-limited Twitter that has brought about acronyms like ICYMI - in case you missed it, etc. Some have me flummoxed like a cryptic crossword puzzle, eg: TLTR (Too Long To Read).

    However, I can't understand using "Thanx" for Thanks" - just one character less, so why bother?! ~ Libby

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    1. There are a lot of new street slang words, aren't. I never, ever get acronyms and I hate Twitter abbreviations...one of the reasons I don't use Twitter. I did sit near a man a the luncheon yesterday who had been a missionary working in Peru for the past 30 years so I guess there are people who wouldn't know the common, old slangs that are so apart of my vocabulary.

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    2. A few years ago, I had a willow tree in the garden that needed to be chopped. I was told it was a "pussy willow tree" and mentioned that to my daughter. She was shocked at my using "pussy" and I didn't understand!

      And the slangs that have changed meaning, eg "gay" used to mean happy, etc etc. And so the world marches on... ~ Libby

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    3. You (and your daughter) made me laugh right out loud. I've known that slang word a long, long time but I'm rather shocked at how quickly it got mainstreamed into our national conversations, especially in late night TV.

      I have an entire dictionary of slangs and euphemisms and where they started. It's really interesting to read. The meaning for 'gay' had an underground meaning of addicted to immorality a lot longer than what is commonly known. Today, with social media new slang words become urban slang very quickly but in the past underground/urban slang could stay a secret to the masses for a couple of centuries.

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  8. Glad the event went well. You know how I feel about the religion thing. My comment to her would have been "I don't do religion." I used to reply much like you did but found later it bothered me. I felt like I was being defensive or maybe groveling to make my way more acceptable and less offensive. So glad you've got a good email buddy. I suspect you will both benefit.

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    1. I'm making progress in being open about religion and it's not easy where I live as it must have been in Texas where you lived. I have a very long history of trying to be diplomatic when I approach touching subject and I doubt that will change. I hope not anyway. It's the best quality I got from my dad.

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  9. I'm going to look up that comedienne! I love when people make me laugh!

    Fortunately, I'm still at that stage where I don't say it out loud ... but I'm doing way more thinking of what I'd really like to say, but my days are numbered. Good for you for using the best words to explain being nonreligious. MOST people do not try to push their church. Always exceptions.

    I hope I can find a balance class when I move to Portland. GOOD FOR YOU for fitting that in!!

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  10. I would trade with you. You can have all the legs and thighs you want. I have seen that comedienne before on You Tube--I think she is hilarious.

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    1. Today I found turkey thighs in the store, two in a package so I have Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner meat. I'm a happy camper now.

      My neighbor had a tall stack of her videos. I would have enjoyed this one more if they had turned the volume up. But she was funny.

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  11. I hope you can get dark meat at your Thanksgiving dinner. One year, I went out with a friend to a restaurant Thanksgiving dinner, and they were so thrilled when I asked for dark meat, they gave me a humongous pile of it (and I ate every bite).
    BTW, I recently joined a group on Facebook called "Elder Orphans" -- basically older folks without partners or kids. Do you know about that? There are a lot of interesting discussions and sharing of resources and ideas. Recently, several people have requested contacts from others in their local area with an eye to organizing some group holiday meals. -Jean

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    1. I didn't get any dark meat but the gravy on it was so good and dark the white meat wasn't dry.

      I haven't heard of "Elder Orphans" but I'm going to look for the group as soon as I finish this. Thanks for mentioning it.

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  12. I laughed out loud about “loading porn.”

    I run into similar situations regarding religion. There are a lot of religious people (Southern Baptists) around here, and we have lapsed. In fact I was going to mention it in a post. I hope your pen pal experiment develops. I'm sure your neighbor would enjoy the contact with a neighbor that lives so close. My bet is that the religion part won't matter.

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    1. We've continued to exchange emails every night. I don't really need a pen pal (I have my blog for writing) but there is something different/very nice about having a friend in the neighborhood. This winter when I'm bored out of my tree I can see me dredging across the street with my coffee in hand for human contact. She's been an open book and so have I...great pen pal material.

      I laughed too. But the sad thing is about my mishearing is I just got my aids turned up and I was wearing them when I heard the loading porn. When stuff like that happens you spend so much time in your head trying to figure how what you just heard that you miss what comes next. Then you start acting/looking old.

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  13. I'm glad you still have a relationship with your neighbor. Hey, maybe you will represent the reality that love and kindness cross all ideological boundaries (OK, there are exceptions, but I'm not going there). I was a fervent Christian from 1987 to 1996, weekly Bible studies and all. During this time I was convinced our denomination's bubble was not a bubble, but when it popped in 1996 it was quite liberating. Now I believe a larger 'God' doesn't have an ego which requires worship. Nor does 'God' have one front door (Jesus). Some of the other doors leave me a little queasy and some are delightfully soulful. I can't imagine being fervent about anything but love and kindness anymore.

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    1. Amen to your last few sentences, Flo. I believe in the "God is love and love is God" ideological and some people spend too much time worshiping the messengers instead of understanding the genius and simplicity of that message. I was at a meeting just yesterday when one of the ladies said, "Her friend finally prayed in 'Jesus' name' so there is hope for him." Then a few of the others who knew him said he's a nice guy so they were glad to see he was "coming around." If a person is nice, I don't get why they care who or how they pray or if don't pray. I hear these kinds of discussions around here all the time. I admit I get resentful when someone suggests people who think like I do, just don't know the Bible to accept Jesus into our hearts. I did the whole searching thing decades ago only I didn't stop with just reading the Bible which is why I came to believe in the many paths to God theory. I like your "front door" analogy. To me, the Bible, the Koran and the Torah are just the earliest written history of how civilization formed the values we live by, and that helped form our moral and civil laws.

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    2. I enjoy our discussions, Jean. You live what you believe, quietly yet vocally. If you picked this up from your father, you have carried it forward.

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    3. Thanks. I do too. And anytime I'm compared to my father I consider that to be the highest compliment I can get.

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