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, April 5, 2017

Bad Boys, Big Boys and Bonding Women



Levi, my Mighty Schnauzer got himself in trouble---the destroy-something-that-wasn’t-his kind of trouble which is rare for him. In fact, other than toilet paper that he still occasionally loves to grab out of my hand seconds before I can use it, I can’t remember the last time he took something that wasn’t expressly his. Nope, his stuff he gets to pick out at the pet store and bring home where it ends up in his toy box or bed. Everything else in the house is my stuff, off limits. When I found the evidence that he’d somehow gotten a felt, 1940s tourist souvenir pennant off a bookcase to pull apart beyond repair I screamed, “Bad boy! Did you do that? BAD BOY! Go get in your cage!” When I’m mad the last place he wants to go is in his cage so he pretends I said instead, “Go get in your chair!” Too often I let him get away with that but not this time. I picked up all 29 pounds of him and carried him to his cage and I swung the door to within two inches of it actually being closed. I never lock him in his cage for fear I’ll die while he’s in there and he’ll starve to death before we’re found. Time outs in the cage don’t usually last longer than fifteen minutes---the penalty for excessive barking---but this time it was an hour before I said, “You’re free” aka you’re forgiven. 

Afterward, I thought about how easily I was able to pick him up and carry him across the house. I am definitely getting stronger! I couldn’t have done that a month ago; I would have dragged him by the collar part of the way. But my house is starting to look like a gym. I hauled my Schwinn exercise bike out of the garage and into the living room. I haven’t actually ridden it yet but I huffed and puffed it into three different locations and I’m about ready to take it back out to the garage. I suppose that shows that I care more about how my house looks than my body? Still, a hand bike sits on my dining room table along with two sets of dumbbells, and a rubber stretch band with handles for punching and pulling is attached to the top of the door leading to the porch. And last week I bought a balance board. They say you can’t get hurt falling off a balance board---it’s only three inches off the ground---but I don’t trust that so I use it in the bathroom where I’ve got safety bars to grab. Ankle strength and balance are the most important things for elderly people to work on because it prevents falls. Yadda, yadda, yadda. I can’t even stay on the balance board for a full minute. Yet. 

I’ll try not to fill up my blog up with gym stories but it’s hard not to since I’m still obsessed with going and probably will be until after I see my doctor in two weeks. But something happened that triggered a memory of a friend of my husbands who was a weightlifter. He saw a pair of antique, two pound dumbbells that I was using and he was aghast that something that light weight could do any good. Twenty-five years later he was still teasing me about me lifting a whole two pounds. I thought of him when I was working out at the Synrgy360 recently at the YMCA. It’s a multi-purpose strength training station set up like the spokes of a wheel that six people at a time can use. I was doing cable pulls for building biceps and right next to me was a tree of a guy with a very fine…and I do mean VERY fine weightlifter’s body and he was pulling and grunting and groaning with the same intensity that I was. The idea is to pull 15 times then take a short break to reset your muscles then do two more sets. When it gets easy, you add more weight. On a break I added another two pounds to the eighteen I was pulling and I glanced over to see what the Tree was pulling. Ninety-five pounds. At the same time he glanced over to see how much weight I was adding on. Our eyes met, both caught in the act of being nosy, and we both burst out laughing. 

Monday I went out to lunch with four ladies from The Gathering (for people looking for friends). And afterward we went to a place that calls itself an antique and artisan market. It’s huge with 125 vendors selling everything from up-cycling and crafts to a few antiques and a lot of antique wanna be’s. One of the ladies opened a booth there in January, her first anywhere and she’s having fun downsizing her life. It was our second outing and like the first one, we Gathering Girls got along great and laughed a lot. After the next official Gathering at the senior hall we’ll plan our third unofficial outing. If we keep this up, by the end of summer we’ll be bonded girls, not to be confused with Bond Girls. Ohmygod, I googled the James Bond’s films and I just got the double meaning of two of the earliest Bond Girls---Honey Ryder and Pussy Galore! I was so naïve back in the early ‘60s when I saw my first Bond movies. Stick a finger down my throat, I hated those movies but I was too mousy to say so back during my dates days. I saw Goldfinger three times with three different guys. ©

Front of the balance board.

Back of the balance board.

The two pound dumbbells.

26 comments:

  1. You're doing an excellent job at the gym - happy to read of your progress. I will be following your steps later this year.

    One of the good things about growing older is that I don't feel the need to conform. Also, I find I gravitate to like-minded folks, which makes it easier.

    After the Trump Hollywood tape, I think most people now know that "pussy" refers to other than a feline. I was naive too. I probably have commented earlier: I had a pussy willow tree and each time i said that my daughter was scandalised. ~ Libby

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    1. I think kids know the slang words and forget (or never knew) that they actually have other meanings. Up until the Hollywood tape, 'pussy' was one slang word I actually hated hearing. I've probably said/written it more in this past year than in my entire life put together.

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    2. *in your footsteps*

      Sigh, "factor of life" is infectious.

      From the description of the grab rails in the bathroom, you've designed/built a future-proofed home - good job done. ~ Libby

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    3. What's funny is I read that as "in your footsteps" and didn't realize it actually said "your steps" until you added the correction. LOL

      My bathroom was designed for my husband's disability, all the grab bars aided him (and me helping him) with wheelchair transfers. I'm spoiled by them and when I was looking at condos a year or two ago all the bathrooms felt unsafe compared to mine.

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  2. I have found that when I am angry, I am an Amazon compared to normal. Not that I'm knocking your new strength. Like you, I always try to make sure the dogs would be safe at any given time, in the case of my death or a stroke.
    I had to laugh over you and 'the tree' checking out each others added weights. :-) Your dumbbells are really neat!
    I don't think I would be safe on a balance board. Um ... The bathroom? Isn't that where most people have their falls? ;-)

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    1. My bathroom has seven, 4 foot long grab bars. I'm hoovering my hands above one of them while I try to balance on the board. When I used one after my knee surgery at physical therapy, they had me stand in a doorway so I could catch myself. When I feel more confident I'll change to a doorway. You don't really fall, you tip.

      Aren't they cute. I'm not really lifting them as much as let them pull my downward movements deeper.

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  3. I am very impressed with your determination at the gym!
    Which is not to say that I don't have the same kind of determination but I only for a few years used gym equipment. I like the determination that I have to pursue activities and I admire people who do so as well. I am determined to play the flute as well as I can before the arthritis in my fingers prevents me from continuing. And I am determined to continuing quilting so that I can finish all the projects that I have started. I have never had a problem exercising...I used to run, cycle and swim and have done half marathons and triathlons and I wish that I could continue but my body tells me not to! I actually need to hold myself back from starting to run when I am walking because I know I will suffer the consequences!
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. Don't be too impressed because I know something else shiny will come along and I'll lose interest in the gym. Nothing holds my interest for more than six months...at least when it comes to doing anything physical. Though I am happy that I can see results.

      Arthritis in the hands can effect so many activities! I hope your determination can slow down its progression.

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  4. WOW! I am impressed that you are already noticing more strength! CONGRATS!

    It's actually nice to learn Levi is not perfect. Just makes you wonder what possessed him to do that???? After all this time?

    You go girl!

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    1. I noticed the difference in so many ways, I'm actually feeling younger because of it. And my posture is even improving.

      I've been trying to figure out what made Levi do it, too. I may have knocked it off the shelf and he found it but still it's not like him to destroy things. Some of his toys have felt legs, arms and noses so the texture of it might have fooled him into thinking it belonged to him?

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  5. Ronni's discussion of her exercise routine inspired me, and yours does too. I'm very similar to you, in that I get tired of a particular routine, so I go online and find new stuff that appeals to me, but reports of improvement among women my age inspire like nothing else!

    I got a nice chuckle out of the laughter you shared with your gym mate. Those momentary moments of connection with someone are ageless and life affirming and joyful.

    Levi didn't mean any harm. I think you figured it out re the texture being similar to one of his toys. I have a destructive parrot, and finally devised a method to keep her out of trouble (she enjoys chewing baseboards, fortunately they're pine and I can just pop them off and flip over), but wouldn't part with her because I find parrots complex and magical.

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    1. The moment with the weightlifter at the gym has fascinated me ever since. If our ages had not been so far apart, I wonder if I would have labeled it 'flirting without words' or if the connection would have lead to a conversation. I think I've read one to many romance books with creative ways that couples meet. LOL

      Levi is a pretty good boy and if he had to destroy something he picked on something rather cheap.

      I never would have guessed a parrot would chew baseboards! Sounds like something a dog would do. Pets sure do add spice to our lives, don't they.

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  6. Maybe Levi was feeling threatened because you're looking so buff and it made him act out. ;-) -Jean

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    1. I wish! I might be feeling buff but I'm far from it.

      Tonight I was noticing that his favorite duck toy is exactly the same colors as the pennant. I wonder if that could have something to do with it. It has felt feet.

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  7. All the gym work is making you stronger for the get togethers with the Bond Girls. Now you can walk farther, and do more without getting tired. Poor Levi. I think you're right about him thinking the pennant was his favorite toy. Now you have to get his toy duck and play with it and him to rid his mind of false accusation and time spent in prison. HAH!

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    1. I know! Last week when I went on a bus trip, I could get on and off the bus with so much less effort than before. But it's SO much work and time involved that I'm not sure how long I'll be able to keep interested in doing the gym.

      Levi forgives quickly. Unlike cats who hold grudges. LOL

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  8. I am so impressed with you. Years ago, I saw a piece about a study on weight lifting for seniors. They said that far more benefits were derived from it than doctors had originally thought. Of course, that was a long time ago. I'm sure that's a well known fact now. I'm glad you're seeing such improvement.

    LOL about you and the weightlifter. Don't worry about filling up your blog with gym stories. I'm loving them.

    Levi cracks me up. I read it to H. I love that dog.

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    1. They say that weight lifting helps build bone mass as well as muscles. My trainer says she wants me to get where I can do push ups. I laughed. She said, "I'm serious!"

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  9. Did you get my comment on this post? Just wondering.

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    1. I'm glad you asked about it. It was accidentally sent to my spam folder.

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    2. I thought something like that had happened. You're always so diligent about your comment section.

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    3. I think what happened is I had a spam comment at the same time and I had accidentally checked your comment along with it. I've done that before but found it on my own.

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  10. You make me feel guilty -- have recumbent bilke and dumbbells I had every intention of using regularly after completing an exercise routine -- over ten years ago. Just think what great shape I'd be in now. Instead, occasionally I do exercises in bed a P.T. gave me. Maybe I'll change my ways, Keep up your good work! As for your gym experiences, looking is okay, but be sure to remember to keep your hands to yourself.

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    1. I'm the same way. I've never stay with an exercise program longer than six months. At least I keep the equipment for the next time.

      No problem keeping my hands to myself. I'm not a fawner and never have been. LOL

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  11. You are totally rockin that gym thing and so cool to realize you are stronger already! I've never tried a balance board! Wise to have something close by to grab! I understand and can relate to losing interest eventually, especially as summer comes and it seems there are more interesting things to do. But try to hang in there. So important.

    Poor Levi. But all 'moms' reach the limit of their patience and time outs help calm everyone down! :)

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    1. That's why sometimes I have to give myself a time out. LOL

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