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

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Horses, Travel, Movies and Chicken Wings



 My social life feels like a full time job sometimes…like the past three days when I went on a tour of an Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding, to a travelogue presentation and I saw a film with my Movie and Lunch Club. And over the weekend I’m going to an art-in-the-park show. I wish I could queue up my social activities like I can On Demand TV. I’d get up in the morning, decide if I want to stay home or queue up a place to go that fits my mood, the weather and the amount of physical exertion I’m willing to spend. If I loved what I did the day before I could even queue it up again for an encore.

Have you heard about therapeutic horseback riding? Sure you have. Ann Romney---if her husband had won the White House back in their day---would have turned the front lawn into a riding track as part of her treatment for MS. The therapy place our senior hall arranged for us to tour was amazing. It's a non-profit that sits on 35 wooded acres and they have an indoor heated ring for the winter and an outdoor “sensory trail” for the summer months. They do 150 therapy half hour riding sessions a week and have a waiting list. They could offer more time slots if they had enough trained horses and ponies---only one in five pass the temperament test. They have twenty-seven horses and each riding appointment takes a certified equine-assist therapist plus two volunteers to be with the rider. They also do summer day camps, derby days and other fun things. Their youngest rider is two and their oldest is ninety. Riders are all physically, mentally, social or emotionally challenged. I have a niece-in-law with severe MS who goes there and it’s the highlight of her week. I was surprised to learn that most insurance companies cover this therapy.

While on the tour I made sure to pet the two barn cats and rub my forearm up against both a gigantic Percheron horse and a smaller Peruvian so I could take their scents home to Levi. That Schnauzer loves playing detective, trying to figure out where I go when I leave the house. I really gave him something to think about this time! When I was a teenager any bare skin contact with horses would have brought on an outbreak of hives and I also wanted to see if I'm still was allergic to them. Nope. I’ve outgrown reacting to them or to touching grass. One summer I had a terrible crush on a boy who worked at a stables near our cottage so every time I had some babysitting money I’d go riding. I spent a lot of time with pink Calamine lotion on my skin before my mom put two and two together and made me stop riding.

The Travel club. I almost fell asleep during their presentation of the trips they’re planning for 2018. For the first time since I’ve been going, they had trouble with their slide show presentation. It kept stopping and repeating the same photos that didn’t match what the speaker was talking about. Drove me crazy! They are going to Poland ($2,995 for ten days), The Baltic's ($3,999 for eleven days), Peru ($7,499 for ten days) and the Parks of the American West ($3,995 for ten days). They gave out recognition badges to people who’d been on three or more trips with the agency over the past year and all I could think about is: Where do these people get that much money to blow on trips? Any three of last year’s trips combined would cost over ten grand! 

Movie and Lunch Club. If you watch TV you’ve probably seen the trailer for the movie with Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer, Snatched. Like its title, the plot is short on content. They play a mother-daughter combo who gets kidnapped in South America and an action/comedy results. I couldn’t find a reviewer who gave the film more than two and a half stars and I’d agree with that. But if you need a break from the world of serious and sinister news, the movie will give you enough lines and antics to laugh at to get your matinee money’s worth. It’s an R rated movie for its language and it was classic Amy Schumer potty-mouth. I had to laugh, though, at one couple in our group who bought their tickets before knowing it was R rated. They’d never been to an R rated movie before and they promised they’d walk out if it “got bad.” They didn’t but I’m pretty sure they were still blushing when we got to a near-by restaurant called Buffalo Wild Wings. It’s a sports bar chain but I’ve never heard of it before. I don’t usually go to places with the word ‘sports’ in the title…no arenas, no bars, no retail stores. The couple zeroed right in on the Lotto screens on the wall and she said they used to play until they’d win enough to pay for their meals. Oh my! I guess we all have our own definitions of what’s obscene. I’ll take a few dirty words over wasting money gambling any day. ©
 

27 comments:

  1. I'm not a gambler either, but my sister and her husband are big on it. They once won over $200,000. Of course, I don't know how much they lost over the years before they won that much.

    I'm a little afraid of riding horses, even though I enjoy the ones behind our house. They seem very gentle, but I've never tried to ride them. Ha! The Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding sounds like a place that does good work. Animals can be so helpful to people with illness or those who are aging. H once met a man who told him that his wife made him get a dog when she learned she was dying.

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    1. Gamblers all like to talk about the big pots they win but rarely talk about their loses.

      I wouldn't get on a horse today even with all the help and the mounting ramp. But they is something so calming to be around them. These horse are groomed so well. A couple of the mini horses even go to schools for demonstrations and fund raisers.

      We were told the gait that a horse walks is the very similar to a humans which is why the therapeutic riding wakes up the muscles of the rider. It takes a lot of balance to ride on a horse and it works on that too.

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  2. I have a friend with horses who participated in one of those programs for years -- providing the horse, and helping with the riders. She said it was immensely satisfying, but eventually time constraints took over, and she had to quit. She has some great stories to tell about the progress made by some of the kids who were involved.

    It surprised me that you hadn't heard of Buffalo Wild Wings. It's a well-known place down here, and they have a reputation for having the best wings in town. I've never been, but that's only because I don't watch sports, and I'm not much of a fan of wings. Neither are my friends, but if we liked either one, we'd probably go.

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    1. I was totally impressed by the equest place and how networked they are in the community. For example, the local trade school teaching in the building trades sends classes out to put up and maintain buildings. organizations sponsor individual stalls for a year and raises money for whatever that horse needs. PT and OP students get school credit for putting in x-number of hours. They have a lot of balls in the air!

      The wings were good and everyone liked their food of all descriptions. I won't go again but it's always fun to try new things.

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  3. The Equest center sounds amazing, you have to respect what they are doing there, they are touching so many more lives than they know, and you being able to touch a horse without buying stock in Calamine lotion is great to hear, I know a lot of you ladies like pink but this is definitely not the way you want to wear it.

    I'm not sure I could afford one of those trips much less three, I'd be sleeping at the presentation also.

    I've heard of Buffalo wild wings but have never been, I know our sons like to go, gambling is one of those things where I may as well strike a match to my cash, never had any luck enough to make it worth my while, I too have talked to people who have supposedly won big and always wonder if they had actually lost big more than they had won, these gambling machines and casinos aren't in business to give money away no matter how they advertise.

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    1. Read my reply above your post for more of the ways this place touches our community. There are so many ways, I can't keep track of them all.

      I did have an allergy pill with me in case I did get the hives. I've congratulated from the Calamine lotion. LOL

      I should write a post about gambling sometime. I have a few funny stories to tell.

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  4. I had the same problem with horses - haven't checked to see if it's gone. I love watching the horses, but not a fan of climbing into the saddle. I'll bet Levi gave you a good sniff over.
    Sometimes a nonsense movie is good for the soul.
    I am not into sports thing either.
    Gambling. I have a couple of kids who are getting into that, I just shake my head. They know better.

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    1. Levi seemed more curious about the cat smells I brought home than the horse smells. I used to have allergic reactions to a lot of things I have since outgrown but I've acquired to replace many of the.

      You're right about nonsense movies. Sometimes we really do need them.

      Glad to meet another non-sports person.

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  5. Why does it shock me that you've never heard of Buffalo Wild Wings? I never go anywhere, but I've been to those places a dozen times. I like the Honey-BBQ wings--I don't like chicken unless it has some sort of "goop" on it. LOL

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    1. I'll bet your Wings place is easier to drive to the one near me which one reason I won't be going again. I got the bourbon honey mustard dip and it was really good. I love chicken...but I'm a leg and thigh person and can take or leave the wings.

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  6. I can totally understand the therapy a horse can supply. One of my favorite animals and for thirty years of my life, I was astride. My Jesse would have been perfect. He was a spirited ride if you knew what you were doing, a gentle, peaceful giant if you didn't.
    Hum, we have a Buffalo Wild Wings in a nearby town. Sounds like my kind of place so I may give it a try.

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    1. I asked them if they thought the horses knew they were doing something special and the answer was not surprisingly a "yes" and then she gave some examples of how the horses bond to certain riders. Brought tears to my eyes.

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  7. I knew several kids in our foster care program who benefited from equine therapy. It's an amazing thing, isn't it?

    I've never been to a Buffalo Wild Wings either. I don't mind the sports as much as and fatty, calorie laden, not very enticing menu. I have seen the trailer for that movie, but it didn't appeal to me even though I do like Amy Schumer. She sort of cracks me up. I like Goldie well enough too, but sort of was disappointed with her facelift. Anyway, it looked to me like one of those movies that tries too hard to be funny.y; like I'd want it to be funny, but be disappointed it really wasn't; like Saturday Night Live skits that are too loud and last too long. LOL

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    1. What I notice most about those with facelifts is how much they use long bands to try to hide behind. Goldie did that and Ann-Margaret.

      It was a movie that tried too hard, but still had some good moments.

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  8. I recall seeing some news stories about equestrian therapy, so neat you've been able to visit a site and had earlier experience with one. More and more I learn of all sorts of animals being used that various individuals respond to. Same is true for different sensory stimulation like music, aromas, textures to feel, etc. depending on what an individual responds to or might need.

    As for your busy schedule -- the first couple years or so after my husband died, I had myself involved in so many things that I was constantly doing one thing or another. I finally put on the brakes when some of the activities ceased being available and I realized I liked not replacing them. As long as you enjoy the pace, keep going. Your world won't come to an end if you miss out on something. *grin*.

    Oh, I think that's fun giving your dog that sensory experience!

    I've never heard of Buffalo Wild Wings. There's a wing store next to Panda Express where I go occasionally for Chinese fast food, but I've never bothered going to the wing place. I like chicken, but wings aren't anything special to me.

    Appreciated your movie review confirming a conclusion I had reached from others which cooled my initial enthusiasm about the prospect of going to see it.

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    1. We actually had two equest centers near-by. The one I didn't write about had 13 horses that burned to death in April when a sick guy chained the doors shut on the barn from the inside then lit the place on fire. He was arrested a few weeks later but the center will have to do a lot of fund raising to rebuild. They are still mourning their loses. Makes me sick that someone could be so cruel!

      I'd much rather have Chinese fast food than wings. This place sold a lot of salads and tacos with chicken in them. But I knew I'd never go there again and I wanted to have their specialty.

      I'm glad at least one person doesn't think I'm crazy for purposely bring scents home for the dog. Once in a while he gets perfume samples.

      My busy schedule will end soon. Most of my summer is unplanned on purpose. We'll see how I do without so much structure.

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    2. Oh, that really is a terrible event to occur to those poor confined horses. Glad they caught the culprit.

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  9. Wow, there was a great deal of materials in your blog this time and I enjoyed everything about everything that you wrote. My granddaughter and my daughter both went to a therapeutic horseback riding place and my daughter stills go to it. It's called WETRA. My granddaughter has moved from the place but she still rides horses. She has improved to now horse jumping and she informed us that her dream is to go to the Olympics in Equestrian riding. Knowing Emily, that's my granddaughter, she'll do it.
    I'm golfing again and I'm really happy even though after, I'm really sore. Well that's it for now Jean. See ya.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. That sure would be interesting to follow a granddaughter through her dreams of being an Olympic Equestrian rider! Any expensive hobby, though. At least here in the states but I'm betting Canada is a more 'horse friendly' country.

      Enjoy your golfing!

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  10. Travel is so expensive! I may never get to go on a cruise....too cheap!

    Kate and I volunteered a Agape Horse Therapy for a year. BIG time commitment ... and barns are pretty far out in the country.

    I wrote a comment yesterday but it VANISHED before sending. I was too mad to redo it yesterday!

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    1. I hate when that happens to comments!

      The horse place is only about 10 miles from where I live and looked like a great place to volunteers. Takes a LOT of volunteers to run those kinds of places. That was a nice bonding experience to do it with your daughter.

      I am too cheap, too, to spend so much money on travel especially when those prices are quoted for a shared roommate and I'd either have to room with a near stranger or pay a ton more for a single.

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  11. I must say I saw the movie and found it stupid and very crude and I'm not a prude. Goldie Hawn looked awful. Why all those movies stars get all that plastic surgery that makes them look hideous, I don't know. I'm more of a Philomena or Hidden Figures type of movie goer...a good story with some class. My friend and I left before the movie was over and went to eat.

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    1. Subject of Goldie Hawn's face life came up at our lunch and everyone agreed with you. I also prefer the Hidden Figures kind of movies. And I've never liked Amy's type of humor. I really wanted to see The Zookeeper's Wife that was playing at the same time, but many of the others in the group had already seen it on their own.

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  12. Like you, I have no idea how people afford to travel. I do think, though, that some of the people I know who do world travel, do not give anything to charity.

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    1. One of the ladies who got the badge for having been on three trips in a year I know for a fact lives in an unsafe, declining neighborhood with break-ins and muggings. AND she has to work at 76 years old. If it were me I'd use that kind of money to upgrade my everyday living situation. We all make choices but that would be an easy trade off for me.

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  13. I agree. I'd use that money to be in a safer nicer place to live. Maybe she doesn't care if she lives or dies and wants to go out not feeling she's missing out. Wouldn't be my way. People make all kind of foolish choices in life. Look at lonely older women who in desperation will date almost anyone and not use caution in on line dating..peace and serenity is what I want now in my older years.

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    1. She's a widow four years out and has been filling up all her free time with as much activity as she can. Her husband told her before he died that he wanted have fun and that's what she's doing.

      I also know widow who is like the one you describe who seems desperate to date. A lot of complicated emotions go into aging and widowhood.

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