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, October 4, 2017

Fun Parties, Ugly Parties and Taking Personal Responsibility



This weekend I went to a surprise retirement party for my niece-in-law’s husband. It was hard to count how many people were in attendance because his family had rented a small town bowling alley with a sports bar and people seemed to be in constant motion either filling bags with candy or popcorn at the ‘50s theme candy bar or filling plates with hot dogs, salads and cake or getting drinks and bowling for free, of course. I’m guessing there were a hundred guests and all sixteen lanes were filled with bowlers for the entire four hours I was there. I met my husband at a bowling alley. He had set pins at that very place back in high school when humans actually set pins instead of the automated machines we know today. And while my heart wanted to try bowling at the party my head told me I could undo the shoulder surgery that I had a few years ago. My great-niece who had the same labrum tear surgery I had, on the same day as mine, is scheduled back in the surgical room soon.

The retiree’s daughters had asked people to come dressed in ‘50s theme clothing and a prize was given to a girl wearing a poodle skirt, a pink silk jacket, a small neck scarf and a hat made out of an old vinyl record---the skirt was not as nicely made as the skirt I had back in the day but it was fun to see it. (What does that say about my age when the fashions we wore in my youth are now available for Halloween costumes?) On the tables, they had vinyl records, boxes of Cracker Jack, fake sodas, candy cigarettes and, since he retired from the post office, reproduction postal stamps from the ‘50s were everywhere plus ‘50s music was playing nonstop. The lights were kept low and one of those projectors that makes it look like colored bubbles are crawling all over the place was keeping time with the music. What a noisy and busy place! But it was fun and I’ve never seen the guest of honor as happy as he was at the party. That was Sunday afternoon and if not for the party one of my niece-in-laws would have still been in Los Vegas and at the concert where the carnage happened. The posts on her Facebook page the next day were full of glad-you’re-safe kinds of posts.

Monday morning I had a date to go to an art show and lunch with the Gathering Girls. Actually, an art exhibit, a chrysanthemum show and lunch all under the same roof. The sculpture garden was hosting a Rodin show mixed in with Rodin inspired figurative entries into a yearly competition we have in the area that draws artists from all over the world. The garden was just one of 175 venues exhibiting both juried and unjuried art. Five hundred thousand dollars in cash prizes will be awarded this year and the public gets to vote on who gets half of that cash, art experts get to decide who gets the other half. By the end of the three weeks show, 400,000 votes will be cast. Registration to vote must take place in person at one of the venues.

At lunch the seven of us laughed a lot as we always do, but we also talked about the massacre in Los Vegas. I was grateful for the opportunity to express disbelief with others in person but at the same time it felt hollow to be talking about yet another mass shooting after the way our country’s leaders in Washington have sold their balls off to RNA. For example, the only reason the House didn’t vote on the NRA’s wish-list bill regarding striking down an 80 old law that limits the sale of gun silencers is because it was quickly taken off the schedule because of the Los Vegas massacre. It will get rescheduled when things settle down and the Republicans will pass it because Citizens United allows the gun lobby to pour millions into their coffers. (Citizens United was the single worst, country-changing decision ever made by the Supreme Court.) Can you imagine how many more people would have died in Los Vegas if the shooter had had silencers, how much harder it would have been for the police to find the guy and for people to run when he stopped shooting to reload or one of his weapons jammed?

When one of these mass shootings happens we wring our hands, offer prayers and look for someone or something to blame. We might turn off the media and criticize them, too, for “sensationalizing the story.” But where was the outrage when one of Trump’s first acts in office was to undo an Obama era law that made it harder for people with severe mental illness to buy guns legally? Where is the outrage at ourselves for not being outraged enough to get involved in a concrete way? It might be a myth that ostriches bury their heads in the sand but it’s not a myth that we Americans do it when we don’t want to face our own culpability. At the very least, we all should be signed up for MegaVote to get a weekly report on what our own house and senate representatives will be voting on and did vote on. We can’t hold our lawmakers accountable if we don’t know their voting records. And before someone says, “But you don’t understand…blah, blah, blah." I acknowledge that passing sensible gun control laws is just one element in the box of solutions we need to work on if we’re going to turn this ugly trend around. Pick an element---any one of them---and make a pledge to take personal responsibility to help bring about the needed changes!  © 

24 comments:

  1. You go girl, do it for me! My body is tapped out.

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    1. We all need a break from time to time to last for the long haul.

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  2. Your social diary is busier than mine! (not envious, since I hate getting out of the house.

    I do like the way the decision re prize money has been equally divided between the the popular vote, and the art critics - very fair and sensible.

    Re. gun control, if the Sandy Hook tragedy couldn't bring about a change,it would seem difficult in the current political climate. But lots of impossible things happen - I still find it unbelievable that President Obama was elected, and even more, re-elected. ~ Libby


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    1. The first few years our art show was panned by the international community of art experts because it wasn't the prizes were all given out by popular vote. Then they changed the rules to what they are now. A lot of the pieces are outdoor art which is scattered all over the downtown area. I've taken bus tours to see them but it's too crowded for me to walk the show. They have two rounds of voting, the first to narrow it down to the top 25. Trips to see just those 25 are very popular.

      I was not at all surprised that Obama was elected and re-elected. He's a decent, smart and moral guy. I was shocked at what came after him.

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    2. I agree entirely with your assessment of President Obama - its the voters who elected him that amaze me with their astuteness (what happened to it in Nov 2017)?! I just don't understand how voters who voted, and re-voted, for President Obama could, in the next election, vote for #45. The 2017 election has revealed the underlying racism, and yet President Obama prevailed in his re-election. ~ Libby

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    3. I seriously doubt that the people who voted for Obama also voted for Trump. I think his election did wake up a lot of racists who didn't think it could happen and they mobilized behind Trump. I know Trump voters and the only common denominator I can find in those I know personally is they lack education beyond high school. Sitting next to some Obama haters/Trump lovers at the party was surreal because their online persona is so different than their in person persona.

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  3. I loved the stuffed tRump doll hanging in the basement of the BOB. The artist had set out maybe 1000 pins for personal use to stick wherever. The problem was that the pins should have been resupplied every hour, then none of the puppet would have been visible at the end of the day.

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    1. I hadn't heard about that entry! What fun! The show got more political this year.

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  4. Glad you could enjoy the fifties celebration. You’ve hit the nail on the head with your observations about guns and the failure of our government to act to protect us by limiting their use for abuse. Link to track the actions of Congress important for all to use.

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    1. I know you do your part and that helps keep me inspired to do the same. We can't let up. It's too important.

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  5. The NRA is a huge powerful lobby that has bought, literally, many politicians. I saw where they contributed 30 million to Pence campaign at one time. They are not going away nor their power...unfortunately. I'm afraid it will never change and the bottom line is and always is, money. Weapons big and little make money for manufacturers, distributors and sellers. After a carnage like Las Vegas, gun sales go up! So they win again. People were complaining that the democrats brought up gun control too soon after the massacre! Well gee, I guess later would be better. After all it's been later all along. I hate to be a pessimist, but it will never change. It's been ingrained in the good old boy 2nd amendment reframing of the original intent for way too long.

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    1. I understand your pessimism but also think we can't give into that kind of thinking. If good people give up fighting the hold the NRA has on our nation, then we might as well just hand them everything they want and start sending our children and grandchildren to school wearing bullet proof vests and helmets.

      The key is to first overturn Citizens United and there are people working on that. We are at a critical point in our politics and doing an imitation of a turtle now would be the worst tragedy of all. I don't believe this can't be turned around.

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  6. After Columbine, after Newtown, I waited. I waited for the basic humanity somewhere inside these "people" in Congress to stir and rise after seeing dead children blown apart by guns that not one person had a need for. It didn't happen.

    And now, while America is in the grips of an administration elected by those who are driven by the basest instincts and lowest intellects, the waiting will be fruitless again.

    I won't stop fighting; I'm a very active member of The Resistance. But if dead children aren't enough for these mercenary megalomaniacs, nothing is.

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    1. Didn't you know? Newtown didn't happen, it was staged by anti-gun people so we could grab their guns. I see that kind of nonsense posted all time. Disgusting. The leader of the NRA just made a statement that prayers do more good than gun laws. Give me a break! Resist on!

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  7. I would never accuse you of not understanding, you are angry just like the rest of us, most of us are really at a loss for words but you have found sensible words to vent your frustration. I want to thank you for your input on my last post, opinions from all of my friends is exactly what I was looking for and you did not disappoint my dear friend.

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    1. I am angry and I am venting. I wish as many people who follow sports closely would follow their representatives' voting records closely and let them know their thoughts on upcoming bills before the house and senate. We could turn this around.

      Thanks for saying that about me posting my opinion on your last blog. It's hard to know how honest to be on someone else's blog. LOL

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  8. I am almost stunned into inaction by the horrors of Las Vegas but I refuse to cave. I am bending the ears of my lawmakers regularly in hopes of making a dent about gun control. Have my doubts but I have to keep trying.
    It seems even Rex Tillerson is realizing the intellect of our leader so I guess there is hope and we must keep fighting.

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    1. We do have to try and I'm glad you're in the fight. It's too important not to be.

      Tillerson just did a press conference denying he said that about Trump and now the news station who reported just said they stand by the story. Craziest administration my lifetime.

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  9. This was from USA Today Network today and shows you what we're up against.

    On the other side, gun rights groups gave $5.8 million to members of Congress in 2016, 98% of which went to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The non-partisan group that tracks campaign spending also reported that in just the 2016 presidential race, the National Rifle Association spent $10.6 million to support Donald Trump and $19.7 million to oppose Hillary Clinton. 
    The NRA puts out messaging about an intrusive government that wants to "take your guns," while its "pro-gun" lobbying opposes gun control measures. It has been successful.

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    1. It's unconscionable the way the RNA is buying off the Republicans. They even write the laws that want introduced in the house and senate...not they are the only lobbying group that does that. But we won't change things around without trying to over tune Citizens United. There are several grassroots groups working on that, I just don't know which on to support at this point in time. But I'm going to study them.

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  10. The 2nd Amendment wasn't written to protect semi-automatic and fully-automatic long range rifles, because they didn't exist. Simple common sense says those guns don't belong in the hands of anyone but the military. Not even police truly need them, but if average citizens are allowed to buy and keep them (because they're fun??), why not let them buy and keep Agent Orange, anthrax, and chemical weapons (because it would be cool to own that stuff)? Fully automatic weapons have been illegal since the 1930's, but the clever devil who invented the 'bump stock' got around that law easily enough.

    Did anyone else see the report on PBS indicating the shooter bought 30 weapons in the last year? Why is that allowed without notifying the FBI when we know that can be a warning sign?

    When Australia imposed gun restrictions their gunshot death rate dropped 72%. Wish we had a Congress with that kind of courage.

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    1. The gun lobby also thinks everyone should be able to buy the bullet proof vests and other protective gear because of the 2nd Amendment which are not available to civilians any were else in the world. We could stop that and the bump stocks purchases if we keep pressure on our lawmakers. What Australia did is encouraging and smart! I saw an appalling report on how much is costs communities in actually dollars due to gun violence---the police work, the clean up, the medical costs, etc., etc. $229 BILLION dollars a year that the tax payers are forking out. Can you imagine what we could do with that kind of money if not for gun violence?
      http://www.businessinsider.com/gun-violence-costs-america-more-than-229-billion-every-year-2015-4

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  11. WHOA! You totally rocked this post and every word is a call to action so needed! And thanks for the resource Mega Vote. I did not know about that!

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    1. You should have seen the first two drafts. I was in serious lecture mode and had to back off since I want to keep my blogger friends as friends. LOL Mega Vote is a great tool. I'm honored that I had one to share that you don't already have. You're SO tuned in!

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