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, February 1, 2017

Pink Hats, Politics and Pedicures



Another busy week with half of it behind me, half in front of me. Monday was haircut day followed by having to drop off a check to cover up an old person mistake I made of sending a payment in the mail to the wrong address. The senior hall has a physical address with no mailbox and an accounts receivable address with one. Thankfully I still use return address labels on my mail or I never would have known that my February/March RSVPs were in danger of getting canceled. That same day I learned on the news that a new phone scam is going around. The caller pretends to have trouble with a headset and asks, “Can you hear me?” When you reply “yes” they record it, hoping to get more information out of you so they can somehow use your own voice for credit card fraud challenge questions. “Is this Mrs. So-and-so?” “Yes.” “Did you just charge a $10,000 necklace at Tiffany’s? “Yes.” Or another one that involves them playing your voice back to you as “proof” that you ordered something you didn’t and they say, they’ll put you in collection if you don’t wire them the money RIGHT NOW! A few hours before hearing that news story I’d gotten one of those calls. I knew enough to hang up after the caller asked about a credit card but not before she got a chance to record my “yes.” Growing older is definitely a blood sport.

Decades ago I read a book set in the future. Tensions were high. Masses of people were demonstrating every day in the streets and no one went anywhere without their face masks in case the wind carried tear gas your way as you skirted around the demonstrators on your way to work. The military all wore white, metallic gear and the protagonist in the book was a specialist in crowd control. Crazy story-line for a romance book but it worked well enough for me to remember the plot all these years later. Do you think the “future” is here? This past week I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night, worried about what’s going to happen next. Already I miss having a no-drama president who I didn’t have to be concerned about blowing up the world. On the good side, I was able to find hot pink yarn to make ‘pussycat hats’ for several family and friends who are gearing up to make their opposition known when key votes come up in Congress that will hurt a multitude of issues they care deeply about. As one of my blogger friends who is also making post-Woman’s March hats wrote, “Every stitch I knit is a protest against the actions of our current President” and to that I say, “Amen, sister! I feel exactly the same way.”

Ohmygod, just when I thought I’d weaned myself off from stopping at Starbucks every time the car leaves the garage the president’s fan club is calling for another boycott of their coffee houses. This time because their CEO announced they are hiring 10,000 refugees over the next five years world-wide who have worked as interpreters and support personal to U.S. troops. The latter part of that sentence the fan club “forgets” to include in their rally cry. They just don’t like Starbucks’ CEO because he dared to criticize the Muslim ban this weekend. So instead of coming home after getting my haircut and having a sensible lunch, the boycott made me go to Starbucks for a ham and cheese stuffed croissant and cascara latte. That’s a whole day’s worth of calories consumed in one meal and if this keeps up I’ll be one of those fatties that #45 likes to insult. Who am I kidding? I haven’t had a figure that would meet with his approval since I was thirty-something, assuming he’d even look twice at anyone wearing a B-cup bra.

After my husband died I went through a pamper-the-widow phase when I got my first (and last) manicure and massage, and a year’s worth of pedicures. Then I quit the pedicures because apparently getting pampered isn’t my thing and spending $45 on something I could do myself seemed like a total waste of time and money. Things were going along fine. I don’t wear sandals so I didn’t care if my toenail maintaining skills are not what used to be when I was young and agile. But when your toenails get so long they’re snagging the carpet when you walk barefoot you know something has to give. I made an appointment and, boy, did I hit the jackpot! The young pedicurist and I had the room to ourselves and right from the start our conversation took off like a rocket. She has friends who went to the Woman’s March and she said she feels an obligation to educate herself about politics and that wasn’t just lip service. She knew her stuff. She said she’s actually excited to be a part of what she and her friends view as a new wave of feminism on a par with the Suffragettes and Woman’s Movement of my era. “I wanna be part of a history!” she said. When I told her I’m making some pink pussycat hats, she asked if she could buy one. I left that pedicure appointment energized by a sense that her generation has ‘got this’---that they aren’t going to let woman’s rights and our place in the world backslide without a damn good fight. ©

18 comments:

  1. It was good to read of the uplifting text at the end of your post. It'd be great if the millennials came forward and got involved in politics, and sorted out Donnie and his ilk. Its news like this that doesn't put me off visiting USA. I know one visitor less is less than meaningless but it'd be my personal response to Donny and party. As also turning my back on Donny. (My son's comment: Mum, he'd be so hurt! *sarcasm*.)

    I just read of JK Rowling trolling Donny's supporters - and my opinion of her shot up!! Why is it that only females are defying Donny - witness Sally Yates and the other women judges, Angela Merkel, etc. It makes me proud to be a woman. I switch the channel immediately I see Donny (and give him a few choice words while doing so, in the silence of my living room). The pain and suffering he has brought with that travel ban on innocent families and people. May he get his just desserts returned a million fold.

    If I were American, I'd be very worried. The only difference between green card holders and citizens is basically that the latter can vote. How can you ban green card holders?! Donny is making the country into white WASPs and "others" - its apartheid by another name. He'll also be dealing cruelly with the sick/elderly by removing/reducing their benefits - so no sparing any one other than his rich mates. My opinion of politicians is getting lower daily. But, I was heartened that President Obama opined on the travel ban, unlike W.

    Back to topic now. I did the nail polish thing a few times - I now have the time! - but over the years my taste has changed. I prefer plain, square-cut nails, so won't be repeating the nail polish.

    I'm getting forgetful and dithering on decision making (can hear the impatience in the voice on the other end of the phone!). Thanks for the scam warning. Its frightening what people can do with technology. I read today that Wikileaks now interfering with elections in France and Germany - its a terrible world. Where is a patriotic hacker when you need one, to counteract the baddies?! ~ Libby

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    1. That is an interesting question about why it is only woman speaking out but not entirely true. Stephan King, the author, has also trolled #45 and there were men at the woman's march plus other men who happily stayed at home to babysit so their wives could go to the march. So many young people grew up with J.K. Rowling that her speaking up matters, I think. The CEOs of Starbucks, Amazon, Google and Facebook are all males and they are speaking up as is Mark Cuban.

      I worry about us in a America, too, but we have enough checks and balances in our system that I think we will be alright in the end. I hope. I worry more about other countries taking advantage of our eternal fighting to do us harm. It's not going to be an easy next four years. Two years if enough people vote in the midterms to bring more Democrats into congress.

      Nothing wrong with showing your distaste for #45 by boycotting travel here. We all do what we can and you're not the only one doing it I'm, sure.

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  2. I'm not into pampering either, unless it's about a cup of tea and a good book. Then I'm there. My sister used to visit once a year, and it was our thing to get a pedicure together. That was fun, but it was more about doing something together.

    Now I have to start back with Starbucks. Oh, gosh. My favorite Starbucks' drink, is caffè mocha. I just looked it up: 360 calories and 44g carbs. POW! I'll have to order a black coffee.

    Do I think the future is here? What an interesting question. It feels that way sometimes. I think that's something us olders perceive more so than young people. It has to do with being around long enough to see a lot of changes, and remembering a time when it was different. I guess we are in the futures of our younger selves. Who would have ever predicted this crap?

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    1. Starbucks has a list of drinks under 100 calories that are taster than just black coffee. Some of their teas are wonderful, my favorite being Oprah Chi over ice. Summer always brings great, new tea drinks to their menu.

      They say there is nothing new on earth and in politics. That's how writers are able to project plots into the future and they seem to come true like. Human nature---love, hate, jealousy, power grabbing, etc.---are all part of our nature. Still, I really thought we'd evolved enough that we couldn't elect a lying, cheating person with such a low, selfish character. And maybe we really didn't if the full extend of the Russian interference is ever allowed to be investigated under this administration.



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  3. That is actually reall good news about the pedicurist. For a while, I thought that we have "got this" because a lot of us are veterans of other protest rallies and marches. But I need to be reminded that it isn't all about us...that we need younger generations to work toward those ideals as well. Good news!
    BTW (and you can tell that I have never had my nails done!) was that $45. each time or $45 for the year?
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. $45 each time, but that includes a $5 tip. I have no idea how much more it costs if you get the fake nails put on. I can still do a good looking French manicure on my fingers when I have some place special to go. Toes are getting hard to reach and see what I'm doing down there.

      I couldn't have been happier than to run into a young girl who understood what is at stalk. I giving her a hat the first of the week---in a brown paper bag in case her co-workers might give her a hard time. LOL

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  4. Getting a pedicure is now a necessity! Eyesight and less flexible. I went a LONG time after landing back in Oregon. My Maui person was SOOO amazing (and everything so clean). But this Vietnamese girl did a super job. Giving up polish until the summer.

    I am proud that young people are FINALLY getting into being productive in politics. I remember stuffing envelopes and making phone calls and learning what my candidates stood for. Now that life has slowed down again, I better ramp it up!

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    1. I'm quickly approaching the necessity evil zone of getting pedicures. I won't do anything but clear polish. I want to be able to see if I get a toenail fungus. Had one and it took a trip to the foot doctor and a year for it to go away. I'm sure I got it from a pedicure.

      Maybe it takes a shocking event in the world to get young people to pay attention to politics. We all take our rights for granted and that attitude has to stop.

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  5. I have never had a pedicure--or a manicure for that matter. Are only Liberals afford this luxury? LOL
    Politics are cyclical. This year the Democrats found out what it like to taken things for granted and become apathetic--just as the Republicans did a decade ago. The Party will come back, maybe in a different way, not to worry.

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    1. Only liberals get manicures and pedicures? The biggest come-to-Jesus conservative person I know gets WEEKLY manicures. I'll bet women in your own family get them. If any stereotype could be applied I'd say they are more popular in big cities than small.

      I'm not worried about the Democratic Party coming back I'm worried about democracy itself getting destroyed by the alt-right white nationalist and conspiracy theorist Steve Bannon, #45's right hand man. He's a Machiavellian figure who has people on both sides of the politician aisle worried.

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  6. Wow, warms my heart! I think I hope the marches continue. I know they irritate the new prez but I think they're beneficial. When people of like mind gather together there's power and energy that if channeled properly can bring about good. They draw strength and focus from being with people who think like them. We must remain focused and not grow weary in the fight.

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    1. Linda, I can't tell you how much it lightened my heart and spirit to talk to that young girl. And I agree 100% with what you are saying. I love how proactive you have become, too. I almost have a hat made for this girl and I will be proud to donate it to her.

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  7. At the women's march in Seattle there were people of all ages, young, old, in-between -- women and men and kids. It was really fabulous. We had another huge rally this past Sunday about the immigration ban. I think these and all the political actions will continue. I HOPE at some point the R's in Congress will stand up to 45* (45th Pres/*elected with a minority of the vote). He will try to do something so dangerous eventually that he will have to be stopped. I hope. But I am so far disheartened about the R's passing all his Cabinet picks -- all are ready to dismantle the departments they head.

    Sorry; I am immersed in this stuff. Trying to take a break, but every day brings new dismay. I understand that many were also upset with the Obama administration, but in my mind that was about policies he wanted to enact; he wasn't an impulsive, inexperienced, egomaniac. Let's all just try to hang on. I think I need a massage!!!

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    1. No need to apologize to me. I love how immersed you are in all this. Lets me know that my feelings about what is going on are not unique. This isn't ordinary dislike of policies. #45 is dangerous, in my opinion, because of his impulsiveness and inexperience and the heavy influence Bannon has on him.

      What are we up to now, four cabinet appointments that want to literally dismantle/destroy the very cabinet they will head? Can't wait until the congress starts working on a budget. Then Ryan and Trump will finally clash.

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  8. That kind of boycott instruction would send me off to patronize Starbucks, too! I also love your participation in the women's marches by knitting hats. I too have been enjoying making connections with younger feminists; it's very heartening. -Jean

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    1. Isn't it great to see young women caring about preserving woman's rights! I was hoping you'd come along and confirm that you are seeing the same thing. Donna (above) is in Seattle march and saw women of all ages taking part. The sisterhood is back! I can feel it in my bones.

      I've been on a political site several times today arguing about the Starbucks boycott. I cannot believe how nasty some people can be and how simplistic they view the world.

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  9. I'm happy younger women are taking up the cause. And that you are, too. My inner warrior is feeling her joy and peace, and I am giving ten minutes, max, to the news.

    This is how I see it. A devil named Donnie walks into my house at night holding a BIG candle. I walk over, lean in to blow his candle out, sweep past and head upstairs to bed. That D is not going to rock my peace.

    Hallelujah for all the ladies in their pink hats blowing his candle out.

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    1. We each have to do what we have to. After a life time of not having inner peace, I don't blame you for protecting it now that you've found it.

      For me, these are not ordinary times and #45 is no ordinary president. I don't want to wake up some day and wonder how the heck he was able to fundamentally change what made America great to a dark and hateful place.

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