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, July 12, 2017

Buddha Offerings and Circus Tricks



Dog grooming day was Monday. Drop off time was scheduled for noon with a pick up estimated at 4:00 and in between I ran errands and had lunch at a curious little hole-in-wall Chinese restaurant that had a countertop filled with coins crowded around a tall, jade Buddha. The pile was at least five inches deep and four feet long and I’m guessing it was offerings to the Triple Gem: The Buddha, Dharma and Sangha although there was no neatly printed place card denoting the meaning of all that money sitting there waiting for a snatch-and-run robbery, assuming the would-be criminal came in with a large bucket. If I’d been in a Buddhist monastery with steel bowls lined up for visitors to drop coins in I’d know they were for the monks and maintenance on the building but coins on a countertop in a restaurant? When it came time to pay my for my lunch special of $6.62 I handed the cashier the exact amount and to my surprise, the coins went on the Buddha’s pile and the bills in her cash drawer. I wondered briefly if customers are promised good fortune if we add our extra change to the pile. The cynical side of me thought it could be a clever way to make more money---like coins tossed in a tourist trap wishing well---but the idealistic side of me thought something inspirational was going on that I didn’t understand. I may have to go back again and ask some questions.

The dog grooming salon is close enough that I could go home to wait for Levi but I don’t like being home without him. It’s too quiet and I can’t hear the doorbell anymore without the dog jumping up to see who is standing on the other side of the glass, an action that lets me know how much I depend on him to be my ears when my hearing aids are sitting in their box. I should do something about that---wear those Resounds full time or buy a louder, old person’s doorbell---but I can’t bring myself to do either one. When my husband lived alone he was a heavy sleeper and he wired up a factory break bell to a timer that he used for an alarm clock, mounted it on the wall above his bed. He could sleep through it but the neighbors from across the street couldn’t and after listening to it for 10 or 15 minutes they’d come across the street and bang on his bedroom window while having their daughter dial his phone. The combination of the alarm, the phone and the banging would finally wake him up. Except for the time when it didn’t and they called me, knowing I had a key. After a half hour of bells and banging he still hadn’t woke up and they were afraid he was dead. Fast forward many years later when Don went in for a sleep study and he came out with a biPAP machine and that ended the era of nagging him awake with bells, whistles, water and letting the dog get involved in the action. Just the idea of getting a louder doorbell gives me flashbacks. Do I really want my neighbors to know every time someone comes to my front door?

I ate too much on grooming day. A protein shake for breakfast, Mongolian beef for lunch and a hot dog bun filled with chicken and cheese for dinner plus two---count them---one, two bowls of ice cream with peanuts and chocolate sauce. Why do I do that to myself? When I cut my personal trainer loose at the YMCA I cut myself loose, too. The half-gallon of ice cream in the freezer is the first I’ve brought home in months and I can’t leave it alone. I have no self-control when it’s around. I’m cheating myself in other ways, too, like recently I figured out if I go to the gym on Sundays, I can count that as both the third workout in the previous week and the first workout of the coming week. I do like summer Sundays at the gym, though. It’s relatively quiet except for this past Sunday when a weird woman dragged a cycling bike out of the cycling studio and into the hallway where everyone passes by and she was singing every third or fourth sentence coming through her ear bugs. “Get it on!” “Yeah, one more time!” "I like it like that." I would have told her to get a room but she had one and gave it up in favor of being an exhibitionist. 

Most people don’t talk or use cell phones at the gym. Most people respect each other’s concentration on their workout programs. I broke that rule this week with Circus Guy. I call him that for two reasons: 1) He has red and green tattoos covering every inch of skin what shows except his face and, 2) he does this thing where he stands one-footed on a soccer ball while holding a twenty pound weight plate in each hand. And he does this for several minutes on each leg, then he repeats that set two more times! When I walked past him on Sunday, I pointed to the ball he was balancing on and I said, “Now, that’s impressive!” He laughed and replied, “Comes from spending my childhood on hockey skates.” That was the longest conversation I’d had in days. Woo is me.  ©

35 comments:

  1. Sounds like an interesting Chinese restaurant. You definitely need to go back there and get the facts on the coins. Ingenious setups we devise to compensate for sensory input -- whatever works, I say. Good for Levi alerting to someone at the door and then all the companionship I expect he provides -- at least any dogs did I had in my life. Sounds like you have your exercise schedule figured well on how to count Sundays -- but does your body react as though double credit? Circus Guy sounds like quite a character. Communication with others is often feast or famine around here. Outings to various establishments and brief verbal exchanges on the most superficial level with others in the process sometimes suffice on any given day as I know from personal experience.

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    1. I wish the food had been better at the Chinese restaurant but I will give it another try, if for no other reason than to see what happens when I'm due back change. Will the cashier ask me to make an offering to Buddha? Inquiring minds want to know.

      Circus Guy is in his late 20s, early 30s I'm guessing and has a great smile, very approachable. He's always greeting me with a smile but this is the first we've talked.



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  2. "... if I go to the gym on Sundays, I can count that as both the third workout in the previous week and the first workout of the coming week." LOL You are a genius. I always knew it.

    I'm amazed at Don's ability to sleep through all that. Good that he went to the sleep clinic and got a biPAP.

    I would say that the Chinese restaurant donated the change to charity, but I wouldn't think they'd let the pile get so large if that were the case. You must be the intrepid reporter and return to investigate. It's your duty as a blogger.

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    1. Don was notorious for his ability to sleep through anything. But, as it turned out, it wasn't a good sleep, down right dangerous if fact. His dad and grandfather both died in their sleep so we were guessing they had the same issue.

      The coin pile was on a glass-topped case and the weight of it plus that Buddha I would think is an accident waiting to happen. My first thought, too, was they donate the change to charity, but what about making their books balanced at the end of the day? Gotta go back!

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  3. Your gym sounds like an interesting place for people watching.
    Good thinking with your math.

    Maybe they put all their change in the 'pot' for an annual donation or vacation. Yes, think you should ask, Ha Ha.

    Have a few lights hooked up to your doorbell. Not so they're flashing in the window, but where you can see them. I was used to counting on the dogs. Now, it seems that it was Jack who got Jill going. Now, someone could come in with a bulldozer and she doesn't say a word. I'm not sure if I like that or not.

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    1. I'll bet On New Years Eve that pile of coins disappears and a new one begins. I need answers! LOL

      Now that you mention it, I have seen doorbells that have lights that flash.

      I hope Jill is doing okay without her buddy. Hope you are. It's so hard to lose a furry friend.

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  4. I think the coin tray is on springs so that as the coins add up, the shelf sinks making it appear to never fill. Then once in a while, they clean it out all except for one layer so that the shelf once again raises. Then all the employees split it up or donate it to charity which would be the cool thing to do. Please do ask next time. Inquiring minds want to know.
    How about an inside flashing light connected to the door bell function?

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    1. I've never knew there was a tray on springs that could work that way! Interesting. When I go back I'll be sure to look under the shelf, It's boob high so I should be able to lean down and see under the pile of coins.

      Someone up above beat you to the flashing light suggestion and I do remember seeing doorbells for the deaf that do that. There is always a work around, isn't there, when great minds set out to find a solution.

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  5. I just have a feeling they don't donate to charity. I too think they collected it on New Year's Eve, count it all out and divide among themselves. That's what I do with the jar I keep my loose change and bottle return money in. I know a lady who has tattoos on ever inch of skin except her face. She is now in her 70's, and while she looks quite lovely in the winter, when she is all covered, this time of year with tank tops and shorts (and sagging skin), she looks like a circus runaway. Hm-mm, I guess my biases are showing today.

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    1. If I live to be 100 I will never understand the impulse to be covered in tattoos!

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  6. The idea of lights connected to the doorbell seems like a good plan. My front doorbell, which was already installed when we bought our house, plays music--rotating 16 songs, like Hail! Hail! The Gangs All Here, In the Good Old Summertime, The Yellow Rose of Texas, etc...just a few bars of each song and then on to the next song if the person rings again. The song snippets are longer than just an ordinary doorbell ring, so I don't know if that would help you...and, of course, if that type of bell is still available. A jumping dog seems fun and quite effective though! Ann

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    1. That's an unusual doorbell! What fun. At my age, I'd probably assume I left the TV on in another room.

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  7. Your rationalizing about Sunday Workouts made me recall a Benjamin Franklin quote--unhappily, by the way, for I'm not a big Benjamin Franklin fan at all.

    He said, "So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for every thing one has a mind to do." He made this remark after breaking his promise to eat a vegetarian diet, due in large part to being tempted by the smell of frying fish, one of his favourites. He justified his fall from grace by stating that because the fish themselves ate other fish, he wasn't really saving them from any cruelty that they didn't already inflict upon themselves.

    As far as your ice cream--just have it for dinner by itself. You'll be saving the calories, and once it's gone, you can be done with the guilt once and for all.

    (Until the next time...and maybe you'll buy only a pint then.)

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    1. I've never heard that quote but I sure have used the logic in it. What a funny story. LOL

      I like the logic of just having ice cream for dinner and save calories by skipping the other stuff.

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  8. There were days in Maui when I didn't talk at all, to anyone. The next time I tried to use my voice, it was a bit of effort! Nowadays, I talk every day to someone ... and I can control how much or how little. Perfect win for me. Same with human or animal touching.

    I never answer my door unless I know who is there .... in Maui it was usually the religious people saving my soul. Or Amazon. Here it is such constant noise that I never hear anyone at the door! And I don't answer calls from unknown numbers. I'm just so content in my own little world.

    My adopted Grandma who had Parkinsons used several inventive items! We got her a phone with 10 huge buttons and programmed each button for a specific person ... and each button had a photo on it, so she could just push and talk on speaker phone. Who says we can't invent a better mousetrap!





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    1. I had one of those phones for my husband and he had a device he could hold up to the mouth piece that said something like, "This is Don calling. I can understand you but I can't answer you." Lots of neat things available once we start looking for them.

      Here, we're told by the police department that it's safer to always answer your door. If you don't, a thief might think no one is home and try to break in. A door camera would be nice to have that sends a picture of who rings your bell to your cell phone and then you can speak to them. As techie as you are, you'd probably love that but I don't need anything else that needs programming.

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  9. I'd like to know a little more about the coins on the counter at the Chinese restaurant, next time you go there I bet they would be happy to explain the tradition.

    Your Gym does sound like a nice place to go, especially on Sundays since it counts twice on that day, I can relate to the ice cream dilemma, I really have to watch it myself but I do love ice cream.

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    1. I am even more curious about the coins, now that I know none of my blogger friends have ever seen something similar. You can bet I'll ask when I go there again.

      I don't mind the gym once I'm there but I hate getting in the mood to actually go.

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  10. That lunch was unbelievably cheap!

    I was ill, at home, a few years ago when the doorbell rang. I ignored it. Next thing, someone smashed the backdoor glass window. Its then I got up and started yelling. I still remember the back of the guy's head as he ran down the road: flaming red hair. The police said it'd be a druggie after easy money. So, yes, I understand about not ignoring the door bell.

    People are similar, Buddha followers or not. I'm not curious. Its their business. That being said, we don't have tipping here (thank God! good minimum wage). But 'tip jars' are appearing on business counters. My kids would drop their loose change in it. I don't.

    This year, I'm using the colder winter months to travel mini-trips around my area, in contrast to previous years when I joined the gym. I'll join the gym when the weather warms up and am guessing it'll be relatively empty. ~ Libby

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    1. That was a lunch price, a smaller portion for the same thing served at night for $8.75. It also included a bottle of water which costs $1 around here. Tipping is a nuisance. I wish we didn't have it here. At this place you walked up to the counter to order, like fast food, so there was no tipping.

      Wow, I'm glad you weren't hurt during your attempted robbery! That's exactly why the police tell us to always answer your door. I can keep my storm door locked and just lower the screen to talk so I feel safe opening my regular door.

      That's great that you're enjoying your mini-trips. The gym will always be there.



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  11. I feel sad and mildly desperate when I don't have some kind of sweet treat in the house. I'm not kidding! When it gets really bad I bake some little custards, or make a rice pudding or if I've really gone off the deep end I'll make a batch of cookies.

    I'm trying to lose the 10 lbs I gained over the winter and it's coming off just as slowly as it came on. Very frustrating.

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    1. I do the same thing! I always have pudding mix and milk in the house and it's my go-to sweet when I'm walking around the house wishing I had something to eat. I wish I liked veggies as well as I do the things we shouldn't have.

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    2. Jello brand Tapioca and butterscotch are my faves, and I stock up when I got to Portland. I live on the Oregon coast so some items aren't readily available. I'm currently out. Sugar free Jello with sour cream ain't bad either!

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    3. Sugar-free chocolate, lemon and pistachio are favorites. Ohmygod, how on earth does one discover Jello and sour cream as a combination! LOL

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    4. There's a classic recipe for Jello mixed with Cool Whip, and it's very tasty, but I don't do Cool Whip. I like creamy though, and if the sweet tooth is demanding that combo, you have to go with what you have in the fridge.

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    5. I've been known to eat a can of spinach for a meal or one cob of corn if I have nothing sweet... but that's me.

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    6. Me too!We could totally dine together. LOL

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  12. Don could have eliminated all those gadgets if he had my cat. She's back in her "let's wake her up and never mind that it's 4 a.m." phase. You can't believe how loud that cat can be, and when she's yowling right in my ear? There's no ignoring her.
    If I put her in another room and close the doors, she just yowls louder, and I still can't sleep. Amazing.

    The only thing that makes more noise than the cat is the ice cream in the freezer. It calls to me, loudly and insistently. The only thing I can do is not bring it into the house. We're finally into watermelon and cantaloupe season, so that's will be a barely-acceptable substitute for a while.

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    1. Don did have a cat, an old and very ornery cat that he inherited when his mother went into a nursing home. But I don't remember him being the persistent alarm clock that your cat is. I do remember HE didn't like getting woke up with my dog came over. Animals sure ad a lot of spice to our lives, don't they.

      Have you tried cantaloupe with ice cream? It's a great combination.

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    2. Oh, thanks! That's just what I need! It sounds luscious, actually. My downfall is Talenti gelato -- particularly Mediterranean mint, Key lime pie, and cinnamon peach biscuit. I'm not picky!

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    3. You are wicked! I love gelato, too, but I forget to look for it.

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  13. It's raspberry season at my house and we always make a sauce for spooning over vanilla ice cream. I cannot have ice cream in my house. I'm an addict.

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  14. My first and worst husband had his nickname for me tattooed on his arm. He's never made enough money to have it removed so it's been there through seventy-plus years through all of his girlfriends and several more wives. Wonder what he told them about it?

    I know Eli is pretty old. If he passes away, would you get another dog? Do you have a security system? I hate to think of anyone our age living alone without one. Especially if your hearing is impaired...

    Love you and want you to be safe.

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    1. Levi my mighty schnauzer is nine and I think I would get another dog when he's gone. But of course, it matters how old we each are at the time. Our humane society doesn't like to give younger dogs to older people so I'm just not sure until if happens.

      My neighborhood is pretty safe. I check the police reports for the area every so often and I belong to the a neighborhood message board that notices EVERYTHING that's out of place.

      I'll bet your x-husband had a good story to go with that name tattooed on his arm. He had lots of years to perfect it.

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