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

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tattoos, Widows and Boiled Eggs

I’ve never understood the attraction of getting a tattoo and I thought by now the current tattooing craze would have died out, but it doesn’t seem to be losing its popularity. Ya, Ya, I know tattooing has been around since 3300 BC and we’ve got the mummified bodies of chieftains and slaves alike to prove it. Plus we’ve got the writings of Marco Polo as he bounced around Central Asia and China (1200s) and the tales of Captain James Cook’s trips to the South Pacific (1700s) to prove that tattooing is well entranced in many cultures around the world. And don’t even get me started on the sub-human Nazi guard who marked Jews for death during War II so their tattoos could be harvested for a scrapbook. It’s enough to say tattooing has a long and sorted history.

But tattooing, now, is more of a fashion statement than anything else and fashion is a fickle business with ebbs and tides that usually don’t span more than a decade. Time is up; go away tattoo parlors! Correction: tattoos are more than a fashion statement for many people who treat their bodies like canvases to commemorate things or make statements to the world which probably explains their current popularity and longevity. I like to think of tattoos as visual diaries for people who can’t write, but I don’t voice that opinion out loud because it has an air of snobbishness coming from someone who likes to put words on paper and who thinks perfect last sentences in epic novels are better than the inventions of whoopee pies and Silly Putty. By the way, never get those two mixed up during a middle-of-the-night eating binge.

A widowed acquaintance of mine (same age as me) got one of those commemorate tattoos recently. She took off her wedding rings and got a tattoo that encircles the place where the rings used to be. The design is meant to look like a wedding band. I just don’t get that. Why not keeping wear the real ring? Does a tattoo ring denote still feeling married in the heart but available in case some old dude in red suspenders wants to ask my friend out on a date for an early bird special? Or does it say: Ask me about my tattoo so I can tell you about my journey into widowhood? Could that tattoo mean she’s worried about going to a nursing home someday and having an aid steal her real wedding rings if she continued wearing them? I don’t know and I’m too chicken to ask.

What got me to thinking about tattoos today was making boiling eggs. I have been boiling eggs since I was thirteen and every single time that I do I have look at page 267 in my Better Homes and Garden Cook Book to see how long to boil the eggs before taking them off the stove and exchanging the hot water for cold. I can remember the 267 part but not the number 15. It’s one of those pesky little facts that my brain can never hold on to no matter how many times I try. If I was inclined to get a tattoo it would the number ‘15’ inside of an egg. Don’t tell anyone but the older I get the more practical purposes I can find for getting a tattoo---my street address in case I get lost or my dog’s name in case I start calling ‘Levi’ ‘Lassie’ and he doesn’t come. But you know what? Post-it notes filled with useful information stuck to my arm would serve the same purpose without the pain. Tattoos also change over time as skin loses its elasticity and you acquire surgical scars. With my luck an egg tattoo would get altered by a whistling doctor with a knife and it would read ‘5’ instead of ‘15’ and  then I’d be wondering why all my boiled eggs are runny.

So here’s the deal. You can get all the tattoos you want but don’t ask me if I like your latest addition unless want me to turn into Dana Carvey’s Church Lady character and say in a super-sarcastic voice, “Well, isn’t that special.” The filter in the brain that censors what I say in public just doesn’t work as well as it used to and I will never, ever like tattoos. Plus I’m a widow and widows have been known to go for the jugular if someone says, “Hi” in the wrong tone of voice. ©


  1. Whew, what a relief! Whenever anyone gets a tattoo I am tempted to say, "I can't even decide what color to paint my living room. How could I live with a permanent decision on my skin?" I won't say that aloud in polite company, but it's ever so tempting. At least I know there's someone else who disapproves, quietly.

    But the egg timer tattoo I understand. I make a pizza dough once a week, and I still don't have the recipe memorized. I don't even have the page # of the recipe memorized. I look it up in the index, every Tuesday morning.

  2. And I'm glad to know I'm not the only one! When I think about how my tastes and ideas have evolved over my life time I can't image having tattoos that reflect some of my old tastes.

    I used to tell people that memorizing recipes was a waste of brain space since they are so easy to look up. LOL

  3. I read this with my morning coffee and it made my day. You are so funny, and observant. Some people really should give more planning and thought to how their tattoos could prove beneficial in future "senior moments"...as that's how long they will have them! But, I will admit, I have been thinking about getting a small tattoo, I started a blog post about it...but in my current state, who knows if either will happen. Though I would love to hear your Dana Carvey impression!

  4. I think they should have training tattoos for people to try out before they get the real, permanent thing. Something that lasts as long as chin waxing then you can wipe it off with a special cream. My niece got a small ladybug on her ankle, but the tattoo artist wasn't much of an artist so she had to go to another tattoo artist who made her a bigger bug. Whatever you get, Bedraggled, I'm sure it will be very tasteful.

  5. The two darling dolphins you had tattooed around your navel, now look like distroted whales, And that precious rose you had tattooed on your cute, tight bottom, now resides down around where your leg meets your thigh. I can just imagine what my ortho surgeon would have told the crowd in the hip replacement operating room...no, no, not for me. Besides, I have a phobia about needles!!

  6. My brother got half a tattoo when he was a teenager and drunk and never went back to get it finished. I guess he had a needle phobia, too. LOL