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, August 23, 2017

The Generals, the Eclipse and the Donut Diet



During WWII it was discovered by the U.S. military that too many young men had rickets---soft and weaken bones caused by a prolonged vitamin D deficiency---and they had to be rejected from serving. Alarmed by what they considered to be a danger to our national security, the generals pushed for solutions and thus the 1946 Congress passed the National School Lunch Act: “It is hereby declared to be the policy of Congress, as a measure of national security to safeguard the health and well-being of the Nation’s children and to encourage the domestic consumption of nutritious agricultural commodities”…yadda, yadda, yadda all boiling down to the reason why I have memories from kindergarten of getting raisins, an apple and a cup of milk every morning at recess, compliments of the federal government. I liked the milk and raisins but I still don’t like apples unless they’re baked in a pie and smothered with ice cream. 

I thought about this little known bit of military history this week when columnist and CNN host of GPS, Fareed Zakaria, wrote the following regarding what happened in Charlottesville: “The public figures who deserve the most praise this week are the military brass. In a remarkable act of leadership for people who actually work under the president, the heads of five branches of the armed forces independently issued statements unequivocally denouncing racism and bigotry. Perhaps this is because the military has been the institution that has most successfully integrated the nation’s diverse population. Perhaps it is because the military remains an old-fashioned place, where a sense of honor, standards and values still holds. The military chiefs have shown why they still command so much respect in the country…” I don’t know about you, but those words give me comfort. They tell me the generals have the balls to speak truth to power and will be the firewall that keeps the crazy guy in the White House in check.

Okay, enough rehashing of last week’s collective “melt down” and on to how I spent the eclipse. I started out on Sunday by converting a Post’s Great Grains cereal box into an eclipse viewing box. I also read an article on protecting pets against getting their retinas burned into half-moon shaped damage. A lot of good that did, I couldn’t find a pair of eclipse viewing glasses for myself let alone a second pair to custom-fit on Levi. I had lunch plans with one of my Gathering Girls friends on eclipse day, made before I thought about the fact that something important was happening in the sky then. And while we’d planned on eating outside near the river in my adopted home town, I thought I’d feel silly carrying my viewing box around in public. Seriously, why do I care about things like that? Still, I do and if I had had the drying time I would have decoupaged my Great Grains eclipse viewing box, put a handle on it and pretended it was a purse. Instead I left it in the car.

West Michigan was not in the path of totality so we only saw an 80% eclipse of the sun where I live and as we sat next to the river waiting for it to happen a couple of sweet little girls came over and let us use their glasses for a few minutes. It was cool to see but we were both surprised that it didn’t even get twilight dark at 2:22 when the moon reached maximum coverage of the sun. But what we did notice was the temperature dropped and the algae smell of the near-by dam intensified. It was eerie and I half expected the water to quit flowing over the dam. A man---as sweet as the little girls---came by and offered us a look through his glasses so we got to see the tail end of the eclipse as well as the beginning. That night on the news they said the temperatures in the eclipse path dropped from six to twelve degrees across the nation. Holy cow, it wasn't just our imaginations!

In the 21th century we understand the science behind eclipses. We appreciate the smarty-pants people who figured out what’s been happening in the skies since before the first eclipse was documented on ancient clay tablets. But if I live to be 100 I’ll never understand how scientists knew the so-named Einstein's Eclipse of 1919 could confirm Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity---you know the one, the theory that describes gravity as a “warping of space-time.” They did that by measuring the bending of light from stars during the nearly seven minutes the sun was blocked by the moon. Say what? How did they measure that? And how the heck do people get so Sheldon Cooper smart? I can’t even figure out why the bakery at the grocery store just added a prominent sign saying that the maximum number of calories an average person should eat daily is 2,000 and most donuts are 160 calories. Are they saying we can eat twelve and a half donuts a day if we skip all the nutritional stuff? And if we do that will we all get rickets? ©


 

26 comments:

  1. Lucky you, to get something at recess time. We must be a few years apart, for the rules to change. My brother had rickets, I guess, Mom was always on him about eating. My problem was iron deficiency and she was shoving molasses and liver at me, not milk or pudding.
    How lovely that you were able to see the eclipse with those glasses! Nice of them to share!
    Maybe we should have a panel of Generals instead of a presidency.
    I'm wondering if last night's 'talk' about Afghanistan and the 'pep rally' were prorated for the cost? Or does the president get all the airtime he wants to work on the next election?
    I'm for the donuts and a multivitamin. For a couple days anyway, haha.

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    1. My whole family had to eat liver once a week because of the iron deficiency thing. No good memories for me.


      The news people here were telling people to share their glasses because there was a shortage of them here. It was really nice that they did. I loved your attempt to see it.

      Supposedly the rally was paid for by the campaign to reelect Trump, so is he having them to keep the money coming in? Or was it all about ego and feeding his base? It's way too early for campaigning to start! For speeches like the Afghanistan one he does get all the air time he wants. Covering the campaign rallies is more discretionary.

      I'm starting the donut diet. But no kidding, I looked at the sign and I just couldn't figure out whether it was supposed to encourage people to buy them or to discourage people to buy them.

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  2. I am glad you got to see it via loaner glasses. It really was remarkable and we had a 10 degree drop here though I sure got a crick in my neck. Callie always has her nose to the ground so I didn't worry about her eyes.

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    1. It was remarkable! I didn't know that the temperature would drop like that. I didn't really worry about Levi either. He was at the groomers during the critic time. I was just surprised to run across an article about protecting pets.

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  3. Now I'm hungry for a donut ... and I don't usually care for sweets!

    We had an Eclipse brunch party at our condo complex. I brought my laptop tuned to NASA and went out to look up (with my special glasses) every 10 mins or so. The air turned a greenish color, the shadows were bizarre and a noticeable dip in temperature. It was just awesome. Mother Nature!

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    1. I'm jealous you got a greenish color! How cool, but think what people thought before they understood what was going on. The Eclipse party was a great idea.

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  4. Nice that others shared their glasses with you. I certainly hope with all the generals they are able to set aside the chain of command obedience there indoctrinated with if the situation warrants doing so. History in another country reveals another instance in our lifetime when the military did too little too late, instead following their crazed leader's orders, which our current leader may well be angling to happen here.

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    1. If someone had told me we'd be talking about this kind of thing about our government and the president two years ago, I would have thought it was a plot for a fiction book.

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  5. I am glad you had some nice people stop by so you could get a look at the eclipse, there are good people out there and sharing their glasses was very nice.

    We had about 65% here and the light did darken just a bit like it was going into evening time, the only difference was the shadows were on the wrong side as the eclipse was in totality around 10:20 am there abouts, but it was fun to watch.

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    1. It's fun hearing about what different people experienced in different areas of the country. I wish we could have them more often. There is a chance I'll live long enough to see the next one and the path of totality will be closer. I hear NASA is collecting those glasses to sent to India (I think) for next year's eclipse.

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  6. It got a bit dim here, the light seemed sort of greenish-yellow, and then, it was over. I prefer a lunar eclipse so I can watch the whole thing without worry of burning my eye balls out.

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    1. You are farther away from the path of totality than I am so I'm surprised you saw a color difference. We kept trying to decide if it was darker or not. The whole thing was a cool diversion. I'm not sure I've ever seen a lunar eclipse.

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  7. I remember being given cod liver oil/capsules as a supplement.

    Heart warming to read of strangers sharing glasses, especially at such moments when you wouldn't want to waste a precious minute.

    On a side note, my opinion of political pundits is very low, to see them opining favourably on a teleprinter-read speech. If by now, you haven't taken the measure of the man, I can only SMDH. ~ Libby

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    1. I live in an area of a lot of nice people so I wasn't really surprised by people sharing their glasses.

      I don't see the pundits remarking on the teleprompter speeches as them giving Trump a compliment. I think they are trying to point out his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality.

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  8. We got our recess milk in little glass bottles, and the milk was always luke-warm. I was more than happy to drink cold milk at home, but I hated that school recess milk.
    We only had about 60% coverage from the eclipse here, and the dimming was barely perceptible (like a cloud going by), but temperatures still dropped between 5 and 7 degrees. Maine will be in the path of totality in 2024; but as our tv meteorologist pointed out, that only matters if the sun is out, which isn't all that likely in April. -Jean

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    1. It's early April, too, so I guess I won't get my hopes up of seeing much. LOL At least next time I'll be prepared for the temperature drop.

      I don't remember our milk being warm but I sure do remember those little bottles. I have still have one, probably not one we actually drank from because I bought it as an adult. No wondered I wanted it!

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  9. I think your bakery is being optimistic. Most sources I've seen say the average 4" glazed doughnut is 255 calories. And how many bakeries and doughnut shops make small (or even 4") doughnuts? If it's a twist or honeybun, add another 100 calories. And they have zero nutritional value.

    Some skinny dietician will say, "Grab a half-cup of plain yogurt and a handful of almonds instead!" Ha ha. Like that's anywhere near the same satisfaction when you want a doughnut, right?

    NEO was in the 80+% range for the eclipse. It barely got dim--sort of overcast--and the light seemed like B&W photography, sort of. It got barely perceptibly cooler. And then, that was it. I didn't have glasses, so I just sat on my porch and looked around, not up. I'll be better prepared for the next one.

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    1. I still can't figure out why they posted that sign and in such big letters. The day I choose yogurt and almonds over a doughnut will probably be during the next eclipse. Speaking of which, I will be prepared with glasses for that one, too. I'll probably have to fight to keep them as I'll probably be in an assisted living facility by then.

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  10. I heard that people who live in states that use a lot of solar energy would definitely lose some effectiveness. I think they measured it somehow. I dunno. It was sort of like dusk here, but the light was a weird color.

    Did you watch "Genius?" The mini-series on Einstein? He was so brilliant and curious, unlike our president. He did have some challenges in his personal relationships, though.

    Intersting tidbit about the National School Lunch Act. I didn't know that. I'm with you on the Generals. They are some cool dudes with big cojones.

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    1. I hope they repeat that mini-series. It sounds like one I would like.

      I wonder why some people saw a weird colored sky and others didn't. So interesting!

      That School Lunch Program started out wanting to give better nutrition to kids, so it's ironic that Mrs. Obama was criticized for wanting to do the same. The same need for raising healthy children still and always will apply regarding our national security, too.

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  11. You know you can use trees to see an eclipse -- as well as buckets of water, saltine crackers, and colanders? Looking up to see a total eclipse would be worth it, but I loved seeing all the effects from this one, and we only got 66% totality.
    Some of my pics are on my photo blog.

    I remember getting the little paper half-pints of milk at school, but I didn't know the history. That's really interesting. I don't remember apples and raisins, though. Maybe I didn't like them!

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    1. I live in apple country and what the program did in its beginning was buy up surplus goods from farmers so I suppose schools in different areas of the country didn't all get the same snacks.

      I heard about the colander. The buckets of water sounds fascinating. I'm off to check out your photos. The eclipse was a fun, upbeat break for everyone.

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    2. Your link above doesn't work but I found your photo blog through your other one (I think). I was shocked to see the half moons on the concrete. Very cool!

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    3. Oh -- that was operator error. I probably mis-typed the link.

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  12. I was so blown away by my eclipse experience I had to write a 3-
    (4 with epilogue) part post about it on my blog! Grateful to be able to get to the path of totality with no problems and to see it completely. Quite an experience!

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    1. I am so jealous but if I couldn't go I'm sure happy you could.

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