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 6, 2017

Moles, Moose and Melania's Husband



I saw my dermatologist this week. It’s weird getting naked in front of him and his male nurse. I pretend they’re a gay couple but I doubt that’s true. The doctor is an older polish immigrant with a thick accent and his nurse is an x-military field nurse---a young, good looking and confident type. I hate the indignity of these yearly mole checks but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. Given his background, I’m sure the younger man has seen worse than rolls and bulges on an old woman with enough moles on her back that he could play connect-a-dot and come up with a map of the galaxy. This time the doctor only found two suspicious moles. They were small enough to burn off but they were right above my lip and the shot to deaden the area was so painful! I tried my best not to show it to the nurse who gave the shot, knowing he’s dressed battlefield wounds but I was doing a low groan. They told me the swelling would be gone in two hours but it’s two days later and my lip still looks lopsided. The two burn spots will scab over and the scabs will fall off in two weeks. Until then, I’ll be studying my toes a lot when I’m out in public.

Recently I also attended a lecture about Isle Royale's yearly moose and wolf study. Isle Royale is an island in Lake Superior, which is a designated U.S. National Wilderness Park (along with its surrounding water). Its 45 miles long, 9 miles wide, an isolated island that’s billed as “unparalleled solitude and adventures for backpackers, hikers, boaters, kayakers, canoeists and scuba divers” and its home to some flowers and birds that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. If Mr. Trump has his way all the national parks will be privatized. Already he's used an executive order to dismantle protections Obama put in place to protect the parks against oil drilling and mineral mining. One day, we may see a luxury Trump Hunting Lodge on Isle Royale so his sons can slaughter all the wildlife for fun and wall décor. But I digress. 

The island is inaccessible in the winter but that’s when they use a helicopter to do a head count of the (1,400) moose and (3) wolves and in the spring teams of volunteers comb the island looking for moose skulls and femur bones that they backpack out to a command post. Teeth and femurs are sent to college labs for the purpose of studying the health, age, causes of death and the effects climate and disease has on the moose community. This yearly study has been going on for fifty years and looking at the flow charts that resulted was fascinating. The moose don’t fall subject to problems of inbreeding because moose looking for love are known to swim the eighteen miles of icy water from Canada to get to the island. The wolf population is not so lucky plus someone smuggled a sick dog onto the island that resulted in killing most of the wolves. Unless Trump’s administration puts a stop to it---a real worry to those in charge---20-30 wolves are will be moved to the island for the first time ever. Canada will be trapping and putting tracking collars on them, and then release them to wait until they’re sure they’ve got an entire wolf pack tagged before they’ll be moved all together. Of course, the people in favor of privatizing the national parks would rather just open Royal Isle up to hunters and not worry about the dwindling wolf population. Everything boils down to politics in the end, doesn’t it. Preserving a unique Eco-system for future generations verse spending the same money on a few more guns for the military---a no brainer decision for Melania’s husband who has a visceral love of phallus symbols. 

Technically, Isle Royale in part of my state, Michigan, but it’s not easily accessible less you rent a sea plane or take a ferry from Minnesota or the Upper Peninsula. With just 18,000 visitors a year it’s considered to be the most under used park in the U.S. Wilderness Park system and when you find out the only wheels allowed on the island are on push carts used to get your gear from the ferry to the lodge or campsites, you’ll understand this isn’t a place you visit unless you’re relatively healthy and fit. 98% of the island is designated as primitive America wilderness. We used to have friends who’d go every year to scuba dive, the place is a mecca for divers because it’s got the world largest collection of intact, underwater ship wrecks in the world. Others in our family went for the hiking. The place is so unique that the United Nations designated Isle Royale as an International Biosphere Reserve because of its “global scientific and educational significance.” Privatizing a place like that and the other national parks so rich men can get richer and/or turn them into personal playgrounds? I hate that Melania’s husband is making so many of us fight on so many fronts for what should be settled and noble values of society! Okay, I’ll put politics and my snide remarks back in the box of topics not to write about. Sorry. ©








 




34 comments:

  1. Then there is the poem 'Counting Moles' by Hafiz. I had to get a whole book of his for friends of mine. When I backpacked Isle Royale once we had moose wander thru the tenting areas at night. I always hoped they had good enough night vision to see the tents and avoid them. Supposedly they liked the camping areas because wolves would not go there.


    Lovers
    Don’t tell all of their
    Secrets.

    They might
    Count each other’s moles
    That reside in the shy
    Regions,

    Then keep that tally strictly
    To Themselves.

    God and I
    Have signed a contract
    To be even more intimate than
    That!

    Though a clause
    Mentions

    Something about not drawing detailed maps
    To all His beautiful

    Laughing
    Moles.

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    1. I always wanted to go to Royale Isle. I've heard stories of the moose not being all that afraid of people but I sure wouldn't have wanted one of them to step on me during the night.

      The poem is hysteria. Thanks for sharing it.

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  2. Ouch! I had an odd growth removed from my face years ago. The doctor took a plug out of my skin to send off. Then he stitched it - That spot has never recovered, it itches, it weeps on occasion, and looks odd close up.
    After the many presidents worked so hard to establish and preserve our national parks, I can't believe one devious man and his cronies should be able to undo all that. The very thought sickens me.
    We had a neat little park in our county, well it wasn't even a park. Some family owned it and people could go there to enjoy the beauty of the rock formations. They used to have little concerts there. Awesome area. Well, it was sold to some woman with a spa and the only ones to see it after that were her guests. Such a shame. I can't imagine our parks ruined and not accessible.
    Greed for money and power is going to kill our planet, literally. Where are the good men anymore?

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    1. Ouch, is right! I hope I have better luck than you do. I don't need "weeping" under my nose.

      I'm hearing a lot of #45's executive orders are written so poorly that they will be challenged in courts. Time to give money to groups that fight for our public, natural resources. It's so distressing because his vision of a great America is certainly not mine, forcing a lot of us to have to fight against that kind of greed and power.

      There was a small city park on Lake Michigan that ended up being sold to a condo development for a gated community through a bunch of underhanded and immoral acts by our governor's emergence manager program, the same program that ruined Flint's water. Following the money, they all knew each other and used the EM to get the land.

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  3. I'm afraid ignorance and greed will doom us all in the end....so very disheartening

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    1. This might seem like a strange response but I'm going to do it anyway. I've been watching the series Designated Survivor where everyone in our government got killed in a capital bombing and the designated survivor has to rebuild the government. The writers are so good at pitting the good against the evil people and so far, the good are winning. I've got to believe in real life the good will always win IF we don't give up the fight against greed and selfishness. Still makes me mad that we have to fight, but we do.

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    2. Designated Survivor is one of my favorite shows and the President is such a decent man....Oh if we only had that now! I do believe that good people outweigh the bad, but the media can make you feel it's all BAD. Yes our civilization should be much further along in being less greedy and ignorant and more caring for the earth and all of humanity, but unfortunately, we aren't. I blame the lack of meaningful ethical education methods and this may cause a stir, but I also blame the more far right religious beliefs and practices with their narrow judgemental ways.

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    3. I love that show so much I've been tempted to seek out a message board where it's discussed. I'm sorry there is only one more episode this season.

      I don't know who I blame for the "great divide" between those who care about the earth and humanity and those don't. Your guess is as good as any. I've certainly seen enough people who call themselves Christians who think they are entitled to rape Mother Earth.

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  4. This post made me cry...but I've been weepy lately anyway, so there's that. I didn't know all those facts about Royale Isle. What a gorgeous place and a true national treasure. PLEASE DO NOT APOLOGIZE for your critique of Melania's husband's destructive policies. We all have to speak up. Every word you wrote is true and I hope your Michigan readers will contact their legislators, and send money to organizations, to try to stop this Administration's march toward native habitat destruction. It's heartbreaking.

    Also, I do the annual mole check too. I have a female dermatologist, but I've decided it really doesn't matter. Docs have seen far worse than us...and besides, I'm not angling for a date; just want them to save me from skin cancer. Glad you were pretty much in the clear. I've only had one thing burned off my face (on my nose) and it didn't hurt at all. That shot sounds "ouch-y"!

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    1. Trust me, my apology was so insincere I'm surprised it doesn't burn a hole in everyone's monitor. I only said that for newbies, to let them know I don't post politics very often.

      But this isn't just a Michigan issue, our national parks all need to be protected, we need to be alarmed that they aren't safe. Just google "national parks in danger under Trump" and you'll see what I mean by the topics that pop up.

      I'd like to find another dermatologist who is closer to where I live, but not enough to actually search one out. I had a mole cut out on top of my nose a few years ago and it gave a one inch scar there. Glad I won't have one below my nose to match. LOL

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  5. We, on this side of the State, call it Isle Royale. It is a lovely place, or so my son told me. He went hunting and fishing there.

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    1. I don't believe hunting is not allowed on the island. Your son probably hunted in Canada and fished on Isle Royale. Although there is a raging debate going on regarding whether or not to let there be drawing on hunting moose to control the population instead of rebuilding the wolf packs.

      I can't believe I didn't see the Royale Isle vs. Isle Royale before you pointed it out. I must have googled it that way a dozen times and never noticed I reversed it.

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  6. I am going to forego the politics because it makes my head boil because I despise this man and his cast of characters. But I will tell you these photos of the area are so beautiful. I have seen a moose up close. It was an amazingly large animal, larger than I thought it would be. All I could think of was Mr. Moose from Captain Kangaroo and that my husband laugh at me. It was just majestic and with the background of the pacific northwest it was breath taking.

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    1. Our lecturer told a story of a moose encounter she had coming face to face with a moose. Close enough to see individual eye lashes. She said he just stood there looking her over out of curiosity before leaving a quietly as he came.

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  7. Moles can be very dangerous so I applaud you for staying on top of that situation. I have a friend who goes over her husband like a monkey looking for fleas because he's had melanoma. Bob's cardiologist died of melanoma in the eye. Sneaky critters.

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    1. I know someone who died of melanoma, too. It's just so hard to believe moles can do that! I spent a lot of time in the sun when I was a kid and had some serious sun burns which, I guess, makes them more likely, so I'll keep getting the check ups.

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  8. Got the giggles at your thinking of them as a gay couple. Glad your checkup proved only painful and not serious.
    Loved the pictures and that looks like a place the younger me would have loved to visit. Not sure about all the walking now.
    Do you suppose his donating his salary to the Park Services is to distract us from the drilling?

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    1. My younger self would have loved it too. Couldn't do it now.

      Yes, I do think the donation was done to distract people from the fact that he signed the executive order opening up the parks to oil and mineral speculators. Every time he announces a paycheck donation it relates to something he's doing and, by the way, no one has seen a check yet. He says they'll be given out at the end of the year. Sure.

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  9. Jean :
    I love national parks of USA visited lot of them. Yellowstone, yosemite. visited most in west coast & east coast. one of our favorite thing to do in summer. I wasn't aware of our president is looking into how to ruin them. can't believe intelligence of some of the states for giving us such a great president for this 4 years. loved the pictures you shared, I guess we will have to make a plan to visit it though i might not be fit enough to visit this park :(

    Asha

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    1. The national parks and wildness parks are great and their survival as public land shouldn't be up for debate.

      I could not do a wilderness park like Royale Isle, either...inland or canoeing the shoreline. Even the hours on the ferry might not be too fun. LOL I will be content to see videos.

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  10. Our national parks are one of our most beautiful and wonderful resources. What #45 is trying to do to them is just one more reason to despise him and his cronies. Every single day it is something else that makes me want to scream. But, you're right...we have to fight these hateful, vile people with everything we have. To do otherwise is unconscionable and makes us no different than them. #Resist (steps off soapbox.)

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    1. It's going to be a very long three years and nine months, isn't it, for those of us in the Resistance. #45 likes to keep things stirred up to wear us down.

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  11. Very beautiful pictures Jean, Isle Royale sounds wonderful and like a place I would love to see in person.

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    1. Wish we'd gone when I was younger but you know how it is, work got in the way.

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  12. It's nice to know there's a healthy population of moose at Isle Royale. Moose in Maine are in serious trouble as a result of climate change (the Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99% of the earth's ocean waters, causing fairly dramatic changes in our climate). Because we no longer have winters cold enough to kill ticks, the tick population has sky-rocketed, with an increase in all the serious diseases that ticks cause in humans, but with an even greater toll on the moose. Last year, the mortality rate for moose calves was something like 60%, mostly as a result of blood loss to ticks. Of course, the same President who wants to open our national parks and monuments to drilling and logging also wants to stop research on the causes and effects of climate change; presumably, not having any data on it will make it easier for him to pretend its just not happening.

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    1. The moose are healthy now but the parks people are worried that they will all suffer in the winter and starve if the population isn't thinned. Now that the wolves are all but gone, there isn't enough food for the growing herd size.

      The president wants to undo anything and everything that Obama did, I think, because he's a petty, vindictive person who never forgets a slight. He just did away with school cafeteria nutrition guides. One of his golf courses had to have a sea wall built to combat changes in climate and sea levels. He may (or may not) think it's real but for sure he doesn't care one whit either way. He'll always side with the big money people who love drilling for oil. Environmentalists don't line his pockets.

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  13. One of my bucket list items is to visit EVERY National Park! I have been to quite a few but so many more to go. Maybe we will rent an RV and take a year off to travel the USA

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    1. My travel club is doing the national parks by train (and bus) in 2018. It's very tempting although I've been to half of them.

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  14. Your Isle Royale sounds wonderful. The photos are beautiful. Melanie's husband doesn't think much about anything that cannot increase his fortune, certainly not about preserving it.

    H went to his dermatologist last week. His face looks like a polka dot beach towel. He has to get Mohs surgery on a couple of spots that she couldn't remove for him.

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    1. That was me last year at the dermatologist and I couldn't believe how much it cost! Though I've never had moles that the dermatologist couldn't operate on right in his office. Not fun!

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  15. I spent the day in Ottawa yesterday with my band, playing with the Ottawa and Montreal sister bands. During the dinner afterwards, I went from table to table apologizing for my country (and inevitably opening discussion on how sorry we are and letting them know that there is a strong resistance that they are probably not hearing about) (they are not). Keep on ranting...we all need to for our own sanity...it's not background noise...it's in our face.
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. You make a great point, Leze. I'm glad you spoke up at your dinner. The way the president has been acting toward Canada, of all countries, is down right embarrassing! The world is too small for nationalism, especially his nasty brand of nationalism.

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  16. I'm swooning over the pictures of this Island. One photo of the cow moose may just be swiped by moi or my screensaver! >sigh< Isle Royale isn't on my bucket list for this life, but is for my NEXT life, IF it stays out of greedy, seedy hands. Maybe... warn these folk about the millions of mosquitos, all of whom love hairspray and fake tans, and who all chow down just a tad below the hairline? ALL various hairlines?

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    1. I'll meet you there in our next lives. I'm too old now for that trip. Funny, I've heard from a couple of people who've been there that the mosquitoes are quite aggressive. I'm sure #45 would have his golf course people from FL spray poison all over the place to kill the mosquitoes and poison the water all at the same time.

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