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, January 16, 2021

Power Outages and Standing up for Truth

I hate power outages. I especially hate them at night in the wintertime but we had one the day the House of Representatives voted to impeach the president. Again. It started at twilight giving me just enough time to gather the six solar lights that normally line up along the walk to my front door and I staged them to light up a path from my master bath through the bedroom and living room to the kitchen. This time of the year they don’t get enough sun to keep them lit more than a couple of hours after dark but those couple of hours saved me using up the battery on my camping lantern. A half hour into the outage I got a voice mail and text on my cell phone and robocall on my landline from the power company estimating how long the outage would last. Three hours they said, but that turned out not to be true. It lasted five. Apparently after the last outage I went into over-killed signing up for these alerts. I ended up getting a total of twelve updates which is more action than my phones have seen since Christmas.

I didn’t have an unread books downloaded on my Kindle so I spent most of the outage reading a book I’ve read twice before. It’s a good book, so I didn’t mind. In fact, knowing how it was going to end seemed comforting, given the political climate we’re in---a counter balance to that feeling of waiting for the other shoe to fall and not knowing if anyone will be there to catch it and return it or if that person will use it as a weapon. A poor analogy for the chaos of the January 6th insurrection and holding my breath hoping we don’t see a repeat on the 20th but no one ever accused me of being the sharpest pencil sitting in the coffee cup.

Two hours into the outage it was getting cool in the house so I managed to wrestle a sweater on to the dog. He hates wearing stuff, and apparently it wasn’t quite cold enough inside for him to appreciate the garment because he alternated between asking to go outside the front door and the back door. I didn’t dare take a chance that he didn’t have a bowel or bladder issue so I’d roll up the sweater to protect it from getting christened with pee, let him out and in. Finally, I got the hint that he didn’t really need anything other than to cool off, so I wrestled the sweater back off him and he settled down.

The day after the outage I found a message on my phone that came during the outage from the son-I-wish-I-had. He started the message out, “I’m calling from a Democrat run concentration camp, but I don’t want to talk about politics. I want to know if you want to start working on some things that needs doing to get your house ready to listk.” It saddens me and makes me feel like I’ll walking on eggs where Tim’s concerned for the first time in the 50 years we've known each other. I hate that he's been indoctrinated into Trumpism and far-right spin.

Since the insurrection at the Capital Tim's been Facebook posting like crazy which, in itself is out of character. His posts have all been focused on the evils of Socialism, social media censoring the president and “there needs to be an investigation on why that 'poor woman' was shot through a locked door.” He got a lot of 'likes' and amen like-comments from his posts and no push back…until I came along. About the woman I wrote: “Did you see the video leading up to the shooting at the Capital? The woman was shot while climbing through the window in of the door to the Speaker's Lobby after the mob had broken through the glass. Totally justified.” And then I added a link to the graphic video. 

On one of his censorship posts I pointed out that the 1st amendment only protects free speech from the government making laws against it and he posted back, “Are you okay with that?” So I replied: “My opinion doesn't matter. PRIVATE companies have a right to apply any rules they want about the content they allow or not allow. For example, I was a monitor on a large stroke support site for nearly five years and we had a rule that people couldn't post about wanting to commit suicide. It was my job to remove those posts and contact their local police department for a wellness check if I thought they were serious. We had a five step procedure to make that judgement call. If we had let those suicide posts stand others could come along and encourage them to do it and that would have made the site legally liable. What Facebook and others sites are doing is no different. Again the constitution only protects us against the GOVERNMENT restricting free speech. The president has a fully staffed press room near the Oval Office where reporters are waiting 24/7/365 and he can get on all the networks within a few minutes if he wants to.”

No one gave either of my comments a ‘like’ or replied in any way which I consider progress since no one called me brain-washed, stupid or delusional either. My comments effectively ended the threads. Tim lives in a Red Bubble of friends, neighbors, church members and family and all his recent political posts are re-posts from far-right conspiracy websites. I don’t want to lose his friendship over Trump (and I don’t think I will) but if there was ever a time when we need to have the courage to stand up for facts and the Truth, it’s now! Our silence gives Thump's supporters fuel to keep spreading misinformation and those lies are like a cancer that is killing our Democracy. ©

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The Condition of your Bed is the Condition of your Head

God, I don’t know where to start this post. All areas of my life and the world at large are in turmoil. My clothes dried chose this past weekend to quit working, my house is a major mess because before all hell broke loose in D.C. I had decided to make a major push to get some odds and ends listed on e-Bay which is a long process of cleaning, photographing, writing up listings, packing stuff for shipping and finally uploading the photos and descriptions to e-Bay. I had four rooms set up for staging this process. Turns out I was thankful I had that stuff to do so I wasn’t tempted to crazy-glue my butt down in front of the TV watching the ugliness unfold. I still had the TV on because I’ve always believed that it is my duty as an American to bear witness to the major events of living history that have the power to change the trajectory of our nation. If people can personally experience those events like 9-11 or insurrectionists storming the Capital I can at least watch them unfold from the comfort of my own home. But I don't want to write about the Demigod in the White House and his disgusting supporters; I did that in my last post. This post is about my personal mayhem.

My bed hasn’t been made all week and to quote one of my favorite blogger friends, Dawn at Bohemian Valhalla, “The condition of your Bed is the condition of your Head.” Like I told her, “I admit to being a person who is bi-polar with bed making. I go in streaks that last a week or two. Right now I'm in the not making it cycle.” What I didn’t tell her is that when I’m in the oppose cycle I’ve been known to start making one side of my bed while still in it in the morning. It’s a talent, trust me. When it comes to Dawn’s theory of the head-bed connection I don’t know what she thinks comes-first-the-chicken-or-the egg but I decided if making my bed could help my scattered frame of mind it was worth trying.

I stripped my sheets off, threw them in the washer and it was when I moved them to the dryer that I found out that my dryer didn’t work. Ohmygod, what message do you think the universe was sending me!? I’m one of those persons who washes my bedding and puts the same set back on. I didn’t remember where my backup set was because I’ve been cleaning and reorganizing closets. And what do you do with a washer full of wet sheets on a Sunday when you can’t get a repair person out? The first thing I did was search my pantry for a non-existent bag of cookies or something else that would put me on a sugar binge. Damn January diet plan had me coming up empty. Somewhere along my mini meltdown I had a few choice words for Dawn for putting the notion in my head about the state of my bed has something to do with the state of my brain. (Just kidding, Dawn. I still love you.) Seriously, though, I haven’t seen a laundromat in years although I still have roll of quarters that I’ve been hoarding for twenty years when I used to go to one. A lot of good that would do me now because I hear tell the prices as gone up a tad since then.

So what's the second thing a woman does on a Sunday morning after learning that she’ll have to find a dryer repair person next week? She goes out to the street to bring in the Sunday paper. But for the first time since she’s been getting the Sunday paper---a tradition passed down from her father---she discovered that the front section was missing. And since she’s one of only two people who gets the paper on the cul-de-sac she couldn’t help thinking someone stole the front section out of her mailbox. It probably had a lot of coverage of the brutal insurrection at the Capital. Since she was planning to cancel her subscription the next time it was due it really didn’t matter, but can anyone tell me why, in this paragraph, I started talking about myself in the third person? Is that weird or what!

By Monday morning I had read trouble-shooting stuff online and managed to fix my dryer woes. It’s a newer model, the kind with a computerized motherboard and like other computers, I had to cut the power off and turned it back on, which meant I had to do it at my circuit breaker since I couldn’t access the plug on the wall behind the washer and dryer. I let it sit for six whole hours, just to make sure its computer had plenty of time to do whatever it does to reformat itself back to factory settings. I held my breath when I finally pushed the button and found the dryer working again! Tech warrior at your service.

I felt like a tech warrior last week too because I also repaired my laptop computer after the mouse drivers got knocked out. I have to reinstall my printer drivers on my desktop fairly often so it wasn’t a big deal, but for some reason the new drivers reversed the mouse’s right/left functions. Talk about buying me a ticket on the Crazy Train, that sure did and it took me two days to figure what was causing my computer to act like an over-caffeinated, sleep deprived mother of three screaming toddlers. (Or maybe it was me acting like an over-caffeinated, sleep deprived mother of three screaming toddlers.) Either way, it was a simple fix once I identified the problem. Now I ask you---Dawn---if my brain was as messy as my bed would I have been able to be my own tech warrior? Now, if I could only figure out why my Kindle books quit syncing across all my devices I'd earn another bead for my tech warrior vest which reminds me that I sold my box of Camp Fire merit beads last summer. Boohoo, I didn't want to do it. ©

Photo Note: Painting by Patricia Larkin 

P.S. On Wednesday the front section of the Sunday paper showed up in my mailbox with no indication that it was printed late. Which ever neighbor "borrowed it" was nice enough to return it. LOL  

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Sad and Angry Week in America

I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to write a political post today or one about current events. I was looking forward to less drama in Washington D.C. that I thought will come when Trump is finally no longer our sitting president. Just a few more days, I thought, and he'll be gone. Already I was sleeping better. Then all hell broke loose and the national news was too big to ignore. The post I had prepared for today was about mindfulness, of all things. Happy, happy, happy and how to achieve contentment. Well, I don’t feel happy. I don’t feel contentment. I’m angry! But what I’m not is surprised. How can anyone be surprised that a bunch of Pro-Trumpers stormed the Capital in an attempted coup. Yes, a coup to overthrow an election, to overthrow Democracy. There is no other name to call what they attempted to do when they did it at the direction of Trump himself, who that very morning stood in front of a rally telling those in attendance the lies that he won the election, that it was being stolen from him and he urged the crowd to walk up to the Capital and “get wild” and “have fun” and “I’ll be right there with you.” He needs to be charged with inciting an insurrection!

No one should have been surprised when that crowd at Trump’s 'pep rally'---the Proud Boys, the Qanons, White Supremacists and others who are not smart enough to come out of the rain---took him at his word and stormed our Capital. It was all planned in plain sight online and instead of trying to smother the flames he threw gas on them with Rudy Juiliani at his side calling what they were about to do, "Combat Justice." They took over the Capital on the day when our government was supposed to certify the results of the Electoral College’s vote. If you were watching the beginning of that certification process you saw Mitch McConnell actually grow a pair of balls right in front of the camera. Now, that did surprise me. But it was too little, too late after all the blow jobs he’d given The Donald over the past four years. If you don’t like my crude language, I’m sorry. Expect some more. On a day that will go down in history as the day a sitting president tried to orchestra an insurrection it’s perfectly acceptable for a chorus of ordinary people who don’t usually talk in fluent Marine slang to shout out, “What the fuck is going on?!"

Even when the president finally did make a public statement to call off his 'mad dogs' he was insincere, like someone was making him do it. In addition to telling his out-of-control supporters to go home he also said, “We love you!” and “you’re special people!” To the very people who were still inside the Capital breaking windows, shooting bullets in the walls, forcing doors open and they managed to get to the floor of both chambers of congress where they went through desks and stole stuff including papers containing sensitive material that could put our country at risk. They stole things from offices, too, and hoisted them in the air like trophies for their photo-ops. These are the same people that Mitt Romney and others are calling “lawless insurrectionists” and Trump was calling 'patriots'. While watching all this all unfold, I’ve never wanted a bag of cookies more than I did then. There’s never any damn comfort foods in the house in January and I plan to fix that before inauguration day.

Congress did their job during the wee hours of January 7th, they certified Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the victors of our last election. They will be our next President and Vice-President and nothing Trump can do will stop that. His plan to incite so much violence in D.C. that he could declare Martial Law and postpone the inauguration indefinitely didn’t work. This time. What will he do over the next eleven days? Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have all suspended his accounts which will make whatever he does a tad harder. It’s surreal that we have a president walking around with the nuclear codes but he can’t be trusted with social media accounts.

Five members in my husband’s family are rabid fans of Trump. The day before this all went on they started a Facebook thread about how the election certification needed to be postponed to investigate election fraud. I try really hard not to engage them but that day I commented:  “Trump has filed 60 lawsuits contesting election processes, vote counting, and the vote certification process in multiple states, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and the Supreme Court. They have all been thrown out. The only one screwing with the integrity of the election is Trump. Did you see the letter 10 former Secretaries of Defense signed and sent to Trump over the weekend condemning him for entering into dangerous territory for our democracy with his not adhering to a peaceful transfer of power and for suggesting he'll use the military to stop Biden's win? He lost and needs quit listening to the dark web's conspiracy theories which are based on zero evidence.” As was predictable I was called, brain-washed, delusional, stupid and a person I never met called me a "bitter old bitch" based on what I wrote above in this paragraph. Trump has taught his disciples the Art of Insults well.

After the violence in D.C. these same family members were on Facebook again blaming Antifa for all that went down at the Capital. Antifa is like the imaginary twin my brother had in his teens who Jerry tried to blame all his missteps on. At least my brother had a double exposure photograph from Kodak to give creditable to twin Jim’s existence. He carried it around in his wallet for a long time. It was a mirror image of him sitting on the opposite ends of our couch and at least one girl bought the lie for why she got stood up for a date Jerry didn’t keep. But I digress.

The FBI is activity trying to identify those Trump fans who did damage in the Capital. The ringleaders won't be hard to find because they've been posting their plans to storm the Capital for several weeks and posting selfies while they were "going wild" inside the People's House. And if found guilty they can thank their president for the time they'll spend in federal prison because back when confederate statues were being destroyed Trump signed an executive order to give those caught doing damage to Federal property minimum sentences of ten years. I just hope law enforcement won't bring formal charges until after the 21th so Trump can't use his pardon power on those who left a disgusting and long-lasting stain on our country. ©