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, December 14, 2016

The party that wasn’t




Winter has officially come to my street. It’s covered with deep, heavy snow---officially 12.2 inches fell in 48 hours. All the schools are closed and even the rabbits that usually roam my yard are staying home. I shoveled three times yesterday and more has fallen since which means I’ll have to shovel again today. My driveway service has been here. Twice. And the sidewalk along the street was done by a neighbor and his snow blower, but I have to clear the walkway from my front door to my driveway, again---in case I need to call an ambulance or the Reader’s Digest Clearing House decides to deliver one of their giant checks. I also have to shovel three feet along the front of the garage that the driveway service won’t touch, no doubt because it wouldn’t take much to slide right into the door and a costly repair. Last but not least I need to keep a path to my bird feeders open and to my dog’s yard but I won’t be totally dug out until the county truck clears the street and since I live on a cul-de-sac that won’t happen until later today or over night. When we get plowed out, I’ll know the entire city is open for business and I will have lost a pound or two from all the exercise. Yay!

Levi was supposed to go to the Canine Foo-Foo Doggie Beauty Parlor today but I rescheduled for tomorrow, smack dab in the middle of the time I was supposed to be at the senior hall Christmas party. Not to worry, I lost interest in going to that party when I found out that the location where it’s going to be held will require us to take a shuttle bus from a parking lot to a church’s banquet hall. The shuttle bus holds 25 and 225 signed up to go the party. I did the math and can’t imagine standing in a line waiting for the bus when the temperature will be in the low 20s. Okay, I admit that I’m a pansy and if you’re wondering what’s the difference between standing in a line and being outside shoveling snow, I’ll tell you. It’s a matter of clothing. When I shovel, I’m wearing two layers of clothing plus gaiters, boots with ice fishing cleats on the bottom, ski gloves, a hat, a hooded jacket and a scarf tied around my face so only my eyes are showing. Still, when did pansy-itis set in? When I was a kid I could go sledding, ice fishing and skating by the hours. When I was in my twenties I hung around the ski slopes. Next came a decade of snowmobiling followed by seventeen years when I plowed snow and I spent more than my fair share of cold winter nights standing in the snow holding a flashlight while one of the guys laid on the ground repairing a broken hydraulic hose. Being bone cold is something I never want to do again.

The Christmas party is always the same, so I don’t feel badly about missing it. A choir of people in their 80s sings first and if I was one of them I’d be embarrassed. Next comes a choir of high school kids and unlike the first one, to get in that choir the kids have to audition and they are excellent---the best 20-something singers out of a school of a 1,200 students. But I’m not a glutton for Christmas songs so by mid-December I’ve had my fill. Then dinner will be served, probably turkey that may or may not be cold and last but not least they’ll draw for the door prizes which takes forever because they have so many---either cookie tins or poinsettias. But the biggest reason I don’t mind missing the party is I hate the idea of being separated from my car. What if I was in the bathroom when the last shuttle leaves? I don’t live near public transportation, the last time I saw a taxi cab was in 1975 and I don’t have an Uber app. The senior hall shuttle bus waits for no one. That’s the rule.

Cold weather and being outdoors always reminds me of the hot cocoa with marshmallows of my youth. My mom made it several ways but my favorite was made with whole chocolate milk with a touch of vanilla. I went to a baby shower last winter where they made it the same way, in a large coffee pot to keep it warm and we had our choice of liquors and spices to add to our hot chocolate. If they had that combination at the ski lodges of my youth, I probably wouldn’t have ever made it out to the slopes. I make cocoa quite often on cold, lonely winter nights but instead of it giving me pleasure like comfort foods are supposed to do it makes me feel guilty for consuming the calories so close to bedtime. Everything that goes in my mouth makes me feel guilty except for the spinach and pineapple protein shakes I make for breakfast. Oh, well, I’ve got seventeen days before my goals, diet and activities will change with the new year and the grumbling about the changes will begin. ©

22 comments:

  1. geez, commented as my older grandson (I was ordering his Wonder Con ticket.) Sorry. ;)

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    1. A comment is a comment. I love them all. LOL

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  2. I'd choose shoveling over the Christmas party. Something may be wrong with me. :-) I also would use some peppermint schnapps in that hot cocoa with marshmellows. I had it last night and without guilt. A big warm peppermint patty. Just a smidge though.

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    1. In the middle of January when I haven't talked to a single soul for weeks on end I'll be sorry I skipped the party but not now.

      I don't remember ever having peppermint schnapps but I love peppermint patties so I'm intrigued. A cup of cocoa with schnapps probably makes you sleep good. :)

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  3. I've had my fill of the Christmas music as well...a couple of stores yesterday and it's enough!
    I was in our local food coop yesterday. In the summer, near the cash desk they have fruit drinks. Yesterday it was hot chocolate and the marshmallows were sitting next to the machine. I'm not fond of chocolate in most forms so it didn't intice me and I thought longingly of hot apple cider I would have preferred.
    It's winter here as well. Everything is white and more snow is expected in the next 48 hours. I only shovel when I really have to (I have a very sweet neighbor with a plow) but I have had to several times already.
    Regards
    Leze

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    1. I love hot cider as well and I live in apple country so it's popular here. Have you had hard cider? Thanks for reminding me how good that is. I might have to try that after shoveling. When I come in from shoveling it's really hard to resist drinking something hot (but I do) because heart doctors say you shouldn't have a caffeine drink within an hour before or after shoveling.

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  4. Seventeen days till the new year? Holy cow! Where did this year go?

    I can't believe all that snow. I wish we'd get a little. Operative word: little. You are my hero, shoveling all that snow. I wouldn't wait for the shuttle bus either. Did they not have a better location with better access?

    I love hot chocolate, too, but with whipped cream. I tried to pass off some of that packaged stuff to my grandson. He was having none of that, so I pulled out the real milk and cocoa and showed that little guy what good hot chocolate is all about.

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    1. The senior hall Christmas banquet is always double the number of people our own hall can hold because the director doesn't want to turn anyone away who wants to go. The place it's been held in the past had rented out the space to a client that holds some kind of meetings there every week. The place it was held wouldn't have been a bad walk from the parking lot to the hall if it had been summer. But it was 18 degrees and icy the morning of the banquet so I doubt most people attempted. I know I would have waited for the bus.

      Have you ever used chocolate syrup instead of cocoa to make hot chocolate? If I'm in a hurry or don't have chocolate milk, that's the way I do it but the real cocoa powder method it the best.

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  5. You made me so very glad that I am out of all that. Oh, we still get snow or ice, but it's usually gone in a few days.
    Peppermint Schnaps is a perfect add-in to hot chocolate! Mmm.
    The days are moving along at quite the clip, aren't they? It won't be long and the days will begin to lengthen again.

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    1. Peppermint schnaps just went on my shopping list. Bloggers can't be wrong. LOL

      I wish our snow would melt soon after falling. But that's Michigan for you.

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  6. Oh my goodness, in my wildest dreams I cannot imagine living where that amount of snow falls. I've never seen that much snow. Neither Texas or Oregon get a lot of snow. An inch of snow here and the schools close. Neither state owns the equipment needed to deal with ice and snow. In Texas you mostly get 'black ice' which can be very dangerous. If I were suddenly to be relocated to Michigan I'd have to move into an assisted living facility. I wouldn't last 10 minutes shoveling snow. I don't own the right kind of clothes to live in Michigan. You live in a world I've never experienced.

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    1. We average about 75 inches a winter in my town and it doesn't melt away after each snow fall like it does where you live or in Texas. Once in a while we get black ice underneath the snow and that is dangerous no matter where you live. When I was young shoveling snow for neighbors was a good way to make some extra money but the kids living around me now could care less about that. As much trouble as snow is, it's offset by some very fun winter sports---snowmobiling was the most fun for me.

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  7. Born here in Michigan--I still don't wear a hat or gloves all winter.

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    1. You're as bad as the kids who wear shorts in a snow storm. LOL I wear finger-less gloves and leg warmers in the house.

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  8. Its at times like this, when I read about snow and shovelling thereof, that I'm glad we have Xmas in our summer season. (Except when there's a heat wave over Xmas - that's when icy winds/snow looks appealing. I know, its whine, whine....). ~ Libby

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    1. Can't imagine Santa wearing shorts. LOL

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  9. It didn't snow here in the "lowlands" at all last winter and I didn't miss it a bit. Last week it did - about 3 inches where I live (more and less in other places -- we have 'micro-climates'). It stopped things for a day then melted. I hope that's all the snow we get at sea level this year. Our Marine Climate on Puget Sound generally keeps the snow high up in the mountains where it should be! I don't envy you shoveling...I do love the blanket of white; it's beautiful, but my northern Illinois life from birth to age 30 was enough snowy winters for me. It's gray and rainy here, but I don't have to shovel it. :)

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    1. Every location has something weather related to worry about. I would not like all the rain you guys get.

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  10. Well, now I'm deep into snow envy, and snow nostalgia, and could tell snow stories from now until the snowshoe rabbit comes home. I still remember the blizzards, and the drifts, and that special snow that formed an inch-thick crust on top that you could carve into hearts, and the way snow squeaks when it's really, really cold. I love snow. It's so quiet. And you can smell it coming, sometimes. I've smelled it three times here in Texas, and it showed up every time.

    I'll add my vote to the "yeas" for peppermint schnapps. It's really good. I'm a great fan of peppermint anything, including those chocolate covered mints.

    I'd rather stay home and eat peppermints than stand around waiting for a shuttle. If I had to go out and shovel, I could justify it.

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    1. Snowy landscapes really can be very beautiful, especially after it stops snowing and the sun comes out. Even at night it has a charm all it's own which is one of the reasons I loved snowmobiling under the stars. I've never made hearts in the thick crust but I went snow-shoeing when it was like that once...loved that sound when stepping on it.

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  11. Winter arrived here with bang here this week, too. I don't mind the snow (especially when it is the light, fluffy stuff that we get when temperatures are cold), but yesterday it rained on top of that light, fluffy snow turning it all into heavy slush and then, overnight, temperatures dropped from the forties back into the single digits turning it all to ice. I'm having company here for a holiday lunch on Thursday, so I need to make sure to have all the ice cleaned up or covered with sand by then. It seems only a few weeks ago when we were complaining about how hot it was! ;-) -Jean

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    1. I know! If we didn't complain about the weather, we'd have nothing to talk about. LOL

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