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, November 22, 2017

Holiday Plans and the Movie Wonder



I’d been wanting to call my youngest niece for over a week but I was afraid she’d think I was fishing for an invitation to come out for Thanksgiving. We talk on the phone every so often and we were overdue for a conversation. I knew she’s been busy helping her husband shrink-wrap boats after doing a her regular full time job and also helping out her daughter-in-law who is recovering from surgery, so I wasn’t concerned that I hadn’t heard from my niece.

In the meantime one of my niece-in-law’s pressured me into going to her Mary Kay party this past weekend even though I told her I don’t wear makeup anymore. But you know how those parties work, sometimes you end up buying when you don't want to because family is involved. I spent $50 on a face mask product and a sun screen. It didn’t help that I’ve become obsessed with my aging skin since I dug out a photo of me taken in 1967 and I had concrete proof that a century of living has not been kind to my once beautiful complexion. Boo woo, a close up photo of my skin would be hard to tell from a moonscape! But I am not obsessing enough to buy the Mary Kay $315 Awesome Advanced Age-Fighting Regimen Kit. My life-expectancy is too short to spend all that time and money cleaning, repairing, lifting, creaming and moisturizing my face with the contents of those eight tubes and jars.

 When my niece-in-law asked me what I’m doing for Thanksgiving I said, “I’m making turkey soup.” Why did I have to give her an honest answer?“Come over here!” she replied. “We’ll have lots of food.” I gave her a non-committal answer something like if you don’t hear from me by Tuesday, I’m not coming. I knew when I said it, I wasn’t going. I’m not fond of being around one of her grandsons.

After I got home from the Mary Kay party, right on queue my niece called and said she’d been so busy she forgot to call and she wanted me to come out to her house for Thanksgiving. Yeah! “…over the river and through the woods. Now Grandma’s cap I spy. Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done? Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!” I have fond memories of singing that song as Don and I would drive down the dirt road to my mom and dad’s cottage out in the boondocks. Between that house and my brother’s near-by my nieces and nephew have been a part of my Thanksgivings for thirty-five years.

Change of topic: The movie Wonder, based on a novel by the same name and starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay was a fantastic, feel good piece of inspirational writing paired with perfect casting. Jacob plays a ten year old boy---Auggie---who had been home schooled because of a facial distortion called “craniofacial difference” a birth anomaly in his DNA and the movie starts with him going to his very first day of regular school, in the 5th grade and it follows him through that first year of him and his classmates learning to accept each other. A subplot involving his older sister and her friends added a layer of teen drama that also turned into the warm, fuzzes by the end of the film.

I went into the movie believing it was based on a true story but when I googled it later I learned it wasn’t. The story grew out of an incident where the author, R.J. Palacio, was in an ice cream shop with her family when the facial deformities of a girl at the next table caused her own child to start crying. She said she acted badly and rushed her kids out, missing a teachable moment instead of setting a good example to her kids about acceptance. That night she started writing the book with the basic theme of choosing kindness. I love how the story was told from several viewpoints: Auggie’s parents, his older sister, the bullies, the do-gooders and the best friends he developed at school. I cried once, when the dog died---oops, I guess it’s too late to issue a spoiler alert---but all of Gathering Girls I saw the movie with were dapping our eyes at one point or another. Mostly happy tears.

This would be the perfect movie to take a grandchild of any age to over the holidays. We all left the theater in an uplifted and happy mood, knowing it portrayed the world the way it should and could be if we all took the challenge one of Auggie’s teacher gave his students: "When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind." If you think that line looks familiar, the author borrowed the it from inspirational speaker, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer but her Wonder book elevated it into the ‘Choose Kind Movement’ in classrooms across America. A perfect message to be reminded of over the holidays. ©


25 comments:

  1. Bella Rum: If you see this did you know your blog isn't letting me and at least two others onto your blog? I even tried to register with WordPress and send a request to view it blog, but even that didn't work.

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    1. I have an unwanted visitor. I wasn't prepared for this, and the holiday has made it difficult to find the time to take care of it, or to figure out what I want to do, where I want to go. I gave you access so you should be able to see my blog now. I posted this morning. I don't recognize everyone who's made a request for access. As with most blogs, more people visited than commented, and I can't give them access if I don't know who they are when they request access. I will give it to anyone I recognize, and I will try to contact everyone, but I will not be blogging there any longer. I will let you and others know when I get set up. Such drama.

      I hope you have a wonderful holiday, Jean. Happy Thanksgiving.

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    2. I so glad to know what happened but sad to know someone was harassing you on your blog! I was wishing I had your email address all week! If you feel comfortable leaving it in an comment box, I promise not to publish it. If not, I'll understand.

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  2. "Choose Kind" is a very powerful concept, that is obviously growing in momentum because it's so badly needed. The movie is on my list to see, but not sure we'll make it while still in the theaters...

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    1. I hope that movie really successful in the theaters so that will inspire Hollywood to make more movies like that. It's time to turn things around and teach good values in the media again like we grew up with in the '50s.

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  3. Have a Happy Thanksgiving. I'm supposed to be at a Thanksgiving dinner this afternoon but at the moment it is snowing heavily and I'm not sure if I'm going! My dinner tomorrow with friends is only five miles away so that shouldn't be a problem.
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. Thank you. I wish I didn't have to drive so far, but it is what it is and I love being with my family.

      I hate snow on the holidays! I've missed my share of dinners because of snow. Hope tomorrow is better driving for you.

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  4. Oh, Mary Kay parties. I really dislike going to all those home sales "parties." Even if the rep sits in another room for orders, if the "party" is given by a friend or relative, you feel pressure to buy stuff. Tupperware, Pampered Chef, Candles, all that stuff is vastly overpriced and I don't need it. I've now refused enough invitations (pleasantly and graciously) that I'm not asked anymore.

    Like you, I thought the movie/book was a true story, but its backstory is nonetheless interesting.

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    1. I've got to come up with a way to refuse that works because she's talking about having another on after the holidays. The rep was my niece-in-law's daughter so there was double pressure to buy and we all did. The author has written three other 'Wonder' related books and they'd make great gifts for kids.

      I thought the backstory was even more interesting than if it had been a mother writing about her son. I'm fascinated with those little grains of interaction in the world that grows into books.

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  5. I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving with your family!!

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  6. Thanks! And a Happy Thanksgiving to you and everyone who follows this blog.

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  7. Smiling at Mary Kay. Can't tell you how many Tupperware salt and pepper shakers I have. I mean, you have to buy something.
    I saw a special on a real life Wonder boy and it was heartwarming in how well he was accepted. Maybe our kids are getting kinder. We can hope.

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    1. Those Tupperware parties only make sense for young people just starting out. I'm just lucky I didn't get invited to a candle party. I really hate candles.

      Our TV station did a story of a real-life Wonder girl and it was heartwarming as well. Maybe the little kids WILL lead us back to a kinder nation someday.

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  8. I hate the inhome parties also. For all the same reasons. And each generation has it's product ... Avon make up, Tupperware and now it is essential oils. I've help finance all of those pyramid schemes!!!

    I tried to get Braeden to go with me to see Wonder ... but he chose Thor (I opted out). But now I'm bummed it's not a true story ...

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    1. Don't be bummed about it not being a true story. It's the story we all need to hear and that's what really counts. I think it's even more impactful since the story inspired a movmment that is catching on in schools. The author has another book for kids called '365 Days of Wonder' that would be perfect for you to get for the boys to create a daily conversation about doing the right things.

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  9. Happy Thanksgiving!

    I hate being put under pressure to buy something I don't want. I refused once to buy into a colleague's charity lottery. I thought she'd be offended. Surprisingly, she wasn't, and understood that I preferred to support my chosen charities. ~ Libby


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    1. Never even heard of a charity lottery! It was hard to opt out of buying that the party I just went to because there we're a lot of us in the room and it would have been noticeable plus the girl doing the demonstration has had a rough life and is trying to find herself.

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  10. Does that niece-in-law know you write a blog? Ever had something you wrote here come back and bite you?

    I'm still hauling around two (large) and awful prints of birds pecking at each other because I allowed myself to go to one of those 'home decor parties'. I paid $376 for the two of them and keep thinking I can re-use the frames for something. We all have a story like that, so I think the correct answer when invited to one of those is 'No thank you very much'.

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    1. I only have one relative on either side of my family who follows my blog and that's my oldest niece. I only have three other people I know in person who know that I blog---a Red Hat sister/poet who I think has only been here once, a very old friend from out of state and a Gathering Girl who both stop in from time to time. So far nothing I write has come back to haunt me. I like having these 3/4 non-cyber friends/family who know I write because it keeps me on my toes and it reminds me that people can get their feelings hurt by what I might write.

      As for my niece-in-law and the comment about her grandson---she knows his background far better than me and would not be surprised by me saying what I said.

      I tried the "no, thank you" and "I don't wear make up and won't buy anything so use the space for someone who might" but after the third private message on Facebook I ran out of excuses. I really do feel close to my niece-in-law and I don't see her often enough so I don't regret going, I just don't want to do it again for Mary Kay.

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  11. What a sheltered (or weird) life I've led. I've never been to any sort of party: not Tupperware, not candles, not makeup. I do remember that Mom used to buy Avon, and I've had some Avon products in my time, but I always ordered them through her. I remember getting the little catalogues -- maybe she had a friend who sold the products. Anyway, no parties for me, and I'm just as happy about that.

    I hope your day was a good one. It was beautiful weather here, which made everyone happy. Dixie Rose is giving thanks for the fact that she had an especially warm place to nap this afternoon. She hasn't figured out that I bought a 40-watt heating pad designed for kitties and dogs and slipped it under the towel she likes to lay on. She's getting arthritic, and loves laying in the hour's worth of sun that comes in the window. Now, she can be a little warmer even without the sun -- hooray for tech!

    It's such a shame about Bella's blog. I had one person who was being obnoxiously crude a few years ago, and I just blocked him, but I suppose there are circumstances where you wouldn't want someone reading, even if they couldn't comment.
    Life can get complicated. It's too bad it had to happen around a holiday -- just makes me sad.

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    1. Those parties tend to go around in cycles because reps try to book parties with all the guests. I guess you get some discounts or free stuff for hosting one. The underwear parties are going around this area lately and there is no way I'd go to one of those.

      I love the idea of the heating pads for dogs and cat that are old enough not to chew on the cords.

      What happened to Bella's blog really is sad. She never posted anything controversial for a stranger to hassle her about. The only thing that comes to my mind is a few posts she did about secret adoptions getting discovered by the wrong person/s.

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  12. I can't get in to read Bella's blog. I hate to see her go and hope she comes back with another blog, only for invitees--like I had to do a few years ago. BTW--I do want to see that movie!!!

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    1. I love her blog and want her back, too.

      You won't be sorry if you see the movie, it's got a great message.

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  13. I seldom go to the movies, but Wonder is one I'd like to see. Having grown up with a disabled sibling, I know how cruel children can be to those who are different -- and I thought Jacob Tremblay was amazing in Room. When I heard trailers from Wonder on the radio and recognized his voice, I was hooked. -Jean P.

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    1. He's an amazing kid. I've seen him on to interview shows and I was very impressed with him in that setting as well has his talent as an actor.

      I think all teachers will like the movie if for no other reason than the teachers in the movie are portrayed in such a good and caring light.

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