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, July 8, 2017

The G20 Summit and Garden Parties

The Washington Post, this week ran an article that began: “President Trump and key global leaders are on a collision course ahead of the Group of 20 summit in Germany this week, with Trump's unapologetic ‘America First’ mantra on trade and climate change running into emboldened, and increasingly united, opposition overseas.” The article goes to make a case for and concludes that, “Trump is attempting to leverage the United States' economic power to negotiate new deals in the country's favor, while foreign leaders appear increasingly ready to bypass the United States in favor of stronger ties elsewhere.” Trump’s self-centered attitude may have worked while he was building his gold-leafed empire where he spent his entire life sorting people into winner/loser columns. But others in the global community are seeking ways to make everyone into winners, where ‘compromise’ has not become a dirty word. The bottom line is we are no longer the leader of the free world---a direct bi-product of his nationalism---and that’s not just my opinion. 

The leader of North Korea and Trump have their nationalism in common. Sweet. Two bullies at the O.K. Corral each thinking the more phallic symbols they flash in public the more likely they can get the other to run and hide like a scared little girl peeking out from behind her mother’s skirt. I saw a nuclear physicist this week on TV and he said North Korea is two years away from being able to put an intercontinental missile over the U.S.A. that could take out all our electrical grids and even less time until they can reach Alaska and Seattle with a nuclear war head. I swear to God my first thought was, I need to get some survival gear! As if I could survive without electricity---especially in the winter---with just a camp stove to heat up a can of soup and a toilet composting bucket kit to pee in. Without the sewer pumping stations operating, our bathrooms would be a yucky mess with all that raw sewage backing up. Can you tell I took a tour of our sewage processing plant and know their emergency backup system can only run so long?

Worse yet, if North Korea hit certain places in Alaska with a nuclear war head, the heat from that could melt ice masses starting a chain reaction that would flood many of the coastal countries in the northern hemisphere. And having all that salt-free water from the melting ice dumped into the salt-water seas all at once would intensify our gulf streams where our weather patterns are born bringing on another ice age at a highly accelerated rate measured in months, not years. Hey, Mexico, can you take in some refugees from your neighbors to the north? During the TV discussion someone on the panel of intellects was asked why North Korea hates us so much and the answer was because they’ve seen us involved in our endless wars in the Middle East, toppling leaders, and they believe we want to do the same with them and that’s why Trump’s tough rhetoric is escalating tensions. Just today in Warsaw he said, “I don’t want to talk about what I have planned for North Korea but I have some pretty severe things we’re thinking about.” That makes me feel so much better, Mr. President of the Pissing Contest Society. 

In a surreal twisting of my inner thoughts and my outward activities, I went to a lovely garden party this week where my Red Hat Society chapter partied on sangria and more desserts than salads. We sat around in our red hats like the old woman in the poem who ate “only bread and pickles for a week and hoards pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.” That poem inspired the birth of the Red Hat Society, a global organization with over 20,000 chapters so don’t let anyone tell you our creative and earnest voices don’t have power. (If we care about something, we need to speak up! Thus the political rant up above.) When Jenny Joseph wrote, “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple with a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me” she had no idea she was inspiring a segment of society to free themselves from the roles and constrains assigned to us by the era in which we came of age.

As much as I like the concept of the Red Hat society I don’t see it as having sustainability beyond my generation. Younger women who didn’t spend their entire lives as homemakers, who have opportunities for self-fulfillment that were denied to their grandmothers, don’t have the same incentives to cut loose from rules and party on wearing colors that don’t go together and don’t suit them. Though I dearly wish we had some younger women wanting to join, preferably younger women who love to drive and have SUVs for carpooling. I was going to add a self-deprecating remark here about my self-centered wish putting me in the same kiddie pool as our president but I changed my mind because only one of us could have a senior moment and launch the nuclear codes, thinking it’s just a super-sized tweet. ©

28 comments:

  1. The news yesterday that hackers have been targeting our grid and one of our nuclear power plants in Kansas reminded me of a book I read that was written by William R. Forstchen, the guy who helped Newt Gingrich with a few of his books. America was attacked with an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP). The book begins with the attack: power goes off, people believe it's temporary, awareness dawns, people slowly realize that life as they know it is over, they can't get medications, they begin to run out of food, and the fight for survival begins. The reader soon figures out that the author is a Republican because all of the conservatives know how to hunt, fix their cars, are clever, hardworking, and are abundantly equipped with survival skills, while all the Democrats are basically dead weight. LOL

    Trump is so scary that even people who usually rigorously avoid politics are nervous. A few years ago, even the most imaginative writer could not have put Trump and Kim Jong-un on the world stage at the same time in history.

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    1. I know you love those kinds of books and once in a while I like those kinds of movies---can't think of what the genre is called this late at night. But that political twist you're describing would make me laugh out loud although I know some Republicans who really do believe that.

      At the garden party there was a brief conversation about that state of the world and the consensus was that the most of the ladies preferred to not watch or read any news at all because it upsets them too much.

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  2. You certainly raised some important matters to consider. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all the monies going into building bombs could instead be invested in creating better lives for a nation's citizens? Guess that's a fantasy. The one upmanship games being played do create a worrisome scenario. We certainly have reason to feel less secure in this country than we have in the past since the Cold War had eased a bit. Perhaps younger women will form a group with which they can identify on issues most pertinent to them that will be their version of the generational Red Hat Society. We mustn't give up hope as we continue to focus on what we can do in 2018 & 2020 to correct the damage that is occurring to undermine our nation's values.

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    1. I agree with everything you wrote. And I think younger women are already mobilizing around the issues of the times and they gives me hope and a degree of pride in our gender. But will it be too little, too late given the seriousness of what is going on in the world? I've got to believe that it's not...that greed, selfishness and ignorance won't win in the end.

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  3. Amazon categorizes it under mysteries, thrillers and suspense. Learning about EMPs and their potential for devastation was interesting, but the book was shallow on a number of fronts. It did make me laugh out loud, though. It even took a mini shot at the media. One brief character was a beautiful female reporter who was desperate enough to sell herself for food and water because she no longer had any other applicable skills. LOL The name of the book is One Second After.

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    1. Thanks for info on the book. Not sure I'd want to reward the author with a purchase but I might find it at the library or a free day at Amazon someday.

      The EMP kind of warfare is scary, no way to protect ourselves on an individual level, no place to hide.

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  4. I totally agree with your synopsis of the edge we are living on these days with the crazies in charge. Hum, solar panels are looking good. Think I could do winters without power as I can build a fire but summer heat? No way.

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    1. Ya, it gets as hot down your way in the summer as it gets cold up my way. We'd both be goners.

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  5. I must say I agree with you here. plus I linked you.

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    1. I'm honored by you linking this post to your blog. Thank you.

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  6. Don't hide your feelings Jean, tell us how you feel.

    Seriously you are spot on we are in a pissing contest with other crazies in the world and no one is gaining anything, we have no friends globally and the more our politicians flex their muscles the less we have.

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    1. I don't post political stuff often but sometimes I just have to get it out so it doesn't simmer on the stove too long. LOL

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    2. I completely understand that Lady.

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  7. I'm really hoping that we are going to be proven wrong that the greed, selfishness and ignorance of which you speak will win the day. Sadly, at the moment it looks like they are dominating: they have the power.
    On a lighter note, I have spent the day dyeing fabrics with a couple of women. I like red and purple and I actually think they go well together. Add a little yellow and orange and you have wonderful, vivid colors. But it has to be a true red!
    Most people I know are trying to function normally but there is such a dark cloud over us all that it is becoming more difficult to maintain an even keel. I definitely feel it. Let's hope that we can successfully remove the forces of evil from within our midst.
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. I was at JoAnnn Fabric's recently and was surprised to see tie-dye kits are making a comeback. I enjoyed doing that back the first time around but now that I'm paying my own bills I'm a lot more hesitance to use dyes that can damage the house. It was fun, as I remember. The right red and right purple does go together, I agree. But it's hard to find them.

      I hate that dark could messing up our lives!

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  8. The dyeing was supposed to be at my house but we have been having thunderstorms for a few days and so we opted for a house that has a garage so we could work under a roof. I understand you completely...we cover all surfaces in plastic and remove our shoes to go in the house in case there is any dye on the soles!!

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    1. I love how deep you get into your passion projects---your quilting and music.

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  9. If I didn't read your blog (and some others that I follow), I'd have a low opinion of USA for electing Trump. But, it seems to be a political fashion trend at the moment, so I hope that it doesn't spread too virulently here (Oz also has some Trump supporters, SMH). Each time I read Trump's favourability numbers, I wonder about the % that continue to support him. Its a case of none so blind as those who will not see (the rampant nepotism, corruption, etc).

    The Red Hats have branches in Oz too. Your musings about whether they will continue are similar to mine about my local Church ladies who volunteer at op shops, wonderful for rummaging for bargains. The young ones don't seem to be interested. (I am not, it'd be like the fox in charge of the hen-house).

    Btw, you had an interesting typo in the last para: "..self-defecating remark" I think its self-deprecating you meant. However, seeing the previous text re sewage, it seemed to fit in! You're in good company though - check out our previous PM's gaffe on "suppository of knowledge"! ~ Libby

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    1. LOL I ALWAYS have trouble with that word and in this case I did look it up and found it online---in the urban dictionary but I didn't look down the list far enough to find the 'real' spelling. Anyway, I'm glad for the opportunity to correct it.

      Finding volunteers is a big problem here too. Younger women work more at paid jobs than they counterparts from my generation did, they just don't have the time. Our senior hall sales, though, seem to have the same fox-in-charge-of-the-hen-house volunteers. Those in charge set the prices and buy before sale day and they buy a LOT.

      I wonder about the percentage of people who continue to support Trump, too. I know some and on the surface they are perfectly nice people who just don't see or care that Trump is a terribly flawed human being who wouldn't know an altruistic thought if it was tattooed on his forehead. They just like that he's shaking things up where others, like me, see that "shaking up" as destabilizing and dangerous.

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  10. I worry about us in Canada about having a president like Trump just across the Detroit River but most important I worry about all of you having Trump as your President. Every day I wonder what has the Donald done today? The United States needs a strong person in the White House and all I see in there now is scary place. I wonder if my grandchildren will be able to survive in this crazy world. Trump is enjoying a relationship with Putin but still attacks his own people in the U.S.. Everyday I wonder if I will be able to cross the bridge to Detroit, be able to get on my plane at Metro. and be able to enjoy like because I'm an Italian - Canadian. The thing that gets me is that there are so many people still love Trump. That scares me.
    As far as your Red Hat Society chapter, I wondered it myself about why there weren't any younger women ( girls ) in the Red Hat Society chapter. Here in Amherstburg I saw a chapter having lunch together and yes, most if not all of the ladies are of older persuasion. That is when I asked myself, where are the younger girls? Oh well, life is what it is. Just enjoy your friends as long as you can Jean. I think if you and I were in charge of our countries, life would be so great. See ya my friend in Michigan.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. I have Justin Trudeau in my Facebook feed and every time I see one of his posts I long for the good old days when we had a genuinely nice guy like him in the White House. He reminds me of Obama, the way he carries himself in public and interacts with people. I only hope enough people who didn't vote in our last election has woken up to the importance of not sitting at home on election day. And I hope some decent candidates are running. It is a scare world out there but I'm not giving up on helping to change that.

      You have to be 50 to join the Red Hats but it's possible to join younger if you wear a pink hat which I've never seen. I guess all generations have their societies and clubs that don't survive. I mean my grandmother's generation was in the Temperance Society. Who knows what your granddaughters will find to join.

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    2. Trudeau and Obama got along very well and they both worked well for both of their countries. Trump on the other hand is attacking all countries and Canada. I worry about our both countries. See ya Jean.

      Cruisin Paul

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  11. A thought-provoking post, Jean. I agree that we have to speak up about politics and do it in a civil way that invites discussion rather than shutting it down. One analysis I read somewhere (I no longer remember the source) argued that the kind of populism we are seeing with the election of Trump is often a characteristic of empires in decline. As Trump tries to "make American great again" and put "America first" by looking backward (e.g., to the glories of coal power), the rest of the world is looking forward. While the EPA turns its back on green energy, China is positioning itself to become the global economic leader in the production of renewable energy. I'm encouraged by three things: (1) U.S. Presidents are never as powerful as they (or we) think they're going to be; there really are checks and balances. (2) Neither the Congress nor the American people seem willing to follow where Trump is trying to lead. (3) The rest of the world, along with many U.S. governors and mayors, are picking up the slack to move forward in ameliorating climate change and its consequences, even as the Trump administration tries to lead us in the other direction. -Jean

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    1. Thank goodness for checks and balances. They might not seem to work as fast as many of us would like, but I'm encouraged, too, that we have them. Thanks for the reminder. And bless those governors and mayors who are pledging to still work on climate change initiatives.

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  12. I'm not too worried about needing survival gear - I wouldn't last long without power. It does look like that is a possibility within the next couple of years.

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    1. I never really saw North Korea as a major threat to us, being such a small country without a Navy, but my eyes have been opened and it's a shocker. All the survival gear in the world won't help me, either.

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  13. As always, Jean, a lot to think about here. Do try not to go too far down The Rabbit Hole just yet, however; it's important that those of us who are Smart And Civilized try to exert an influence.

    Just returned from Canada, where it was refreshing to feel light and unencumbred by the darkness and looming outrage of The Politics here. I needed that.

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    1. I'm back above ground. The rabbit is safe from me. LOL

      Glad you enjoyed your trip to Canada, wish I'd been with you.

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