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

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Where is my Action Adventure Doll?

I’ve always lived inside myself, meaning I often feel like I’ve got a movie running in my brain where I’m the star of the film. I guess you’d call it daydreaming your life away. Certainly as an adult with one foot planted on the scary side of the cemetery gates you’d think I’d be old enough to quit wasting so much time. But then again, if I had the discipline to write my daydreams down maybe I’d have a few short stories in the tradition of James Thurber’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I don’t know, maybe it’s a common human trait to imagine a more interesting and heroic life than the one you’re actually living. I’ve never asked another living soul how much time they spend in their own tailor-made world. The genre I daydream in seems to change every ten years reflecting---I presume---something missing or desired in my life. Years ago it was the romance genre and before that I was daydreaming starring roles in dance movies. (Think Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire.)

Recently---meaning this Winter of Boredom on Widowhood Lane---I’ve become enamored with an unorthodox set of characters in a TV series, Burn Notice. Burn Notice had their seventh and final season last year but I just discovered the blacklisted CIA spy and his blood-thirsty ex-girlfriend who both run around Miami blowing stuff up as they use their special ops training to crush arms dealers, drug cartels, kidnappers and money laundering operations. Not exactly senior-friendly entertainment for someone who has always hated 007 type movies and action/adventure films that have more pyrotechnics than a pharmacy has pills. But as hard as it is to explain, every Wednesday and Friday night you can find me getting caught up in the Burn Notice reruns. In a review I just read of the series, I may have pin-pointed what it is that intrigues me about Michael and Fiona---“Michael brings levity to a serious situation.” There’s an undercurrent of humor to the show, not in your-face humor but nuanced in voice-tones and body language. I love nuance! It also doesn't hurt that Fiona brings a lot of the sexual tension to the series. She once started a marital arts fight with Mike because he wouldn't talk about where their relationship was going. Who hasn't wanted to do that in their dating past?

Maybe I’m thinking too deep here but I also think the reason why Burn Notice caught my attention this winter is because the characters are so mentally and physically capable of working their way out of any sticky or dangerous situation. Duh, isn’t that the premise of all action/adventure stories? The two main characters are young, physically fit, sharp as tacks, and well trained. I, on the other hand, feel for the first time in my life that I am incapable of being 100% in control of my future. I know, I know I was incredibly naïve to be believe I ever had any real control. It was just a roll of the dice, for example, that Don died before me and that I’ve had a reasonable blessed and happy life for so many years. Mostly I’m feeling physically less capable than just a few short years ago despite the fact that I just spent the morning raking snow off my roof. (Not to worry, I have a long-handled roof rake. My feet never left the ground.) The not-so-subtle difference between roof-raking today as opposed to a few years ago is that as I worked today I couldn’t help wondering how many neighbors had their fingers ready to dial 911 should the widow on the lane keel over from a heart attack. Mortality. Yes, Virginia, it is real and you’ll be taking the starring role in that film one day.

Daydreaming can be a useful tool for the creative mind. It can also be a lazy man’s tool or a way to avoid doing something you know needs to be done. Daydreaming is neither bad nor good. At least that’s the message I’m delivering to myself. And if I want to daydream that I can be as quick thinking and inventive as Michael and Fiona…well, as long as I don’t invest my last dollar into having an action-adventure Jean doll made my daydreams should remain harmless.

In the meantime my coming week is---well, looking up! No more boring stretch of time stuck at home with only my imagination to keep me company. I have plans for four social events—barring another snowstorm---to help keep my mind off from the fast approaching second sadiversary of Don’s passing. With help from the gods with a twisted sense of humor, two of those social events include going a movie and lunch. One day with the Red Hat Society and the another with the senior hall Movie and Lunch Club. What do you want to bet that both of these groups will pick The Secret life of Walter Mitty to go and see. ©


  1. I've been hooked on detective/undercover shows like Person of Interest or Blue Bloods. Love the really good guys who play it their way, a little outside the margins. You don't think we look like them???

  2. You do, I'm sure, but for the majority of my life has been inside the margins. LOL

  3. I day dream a lot, but not about being an action figure. Most of my day dreams involve designing homes I'd like to live in or memories--so many memories of my younger days that just take my mind away to a happy place.

  4. I do the house designing daydreaming, too. I even draw out floor plans of houses and furniture placement.

    You know what they say: "Old people talk about the past because they have no future and young people talk abut the future because they have no past." I guess we dream that way, too.

  5. I'm a daydreamer, too. Most importantly, I always look good in my daydreams. Very good, and I'm fit, very fit. I dream about decorating houses, too. Sometimes I even dream about houses in my nighttime dreams. They are always in disrepair, and I'm always confident that I can rehabilitate them with a little work and creativity. There must be some deep physiological meaning there.

    I like nuance in a movie, too. A little subtlety is a good thing. A lot of shows don't seem to believe their audience is smart enough to get it, so they explain the heck out of everything. Ruins it.

  6. No wonder the rehab houses type programs are so popular on HGTV. There are a lot of us out here who can visualize living in and decorating houses. When my husband and I were house hunting long before his stroke we fell in love with house that had never had electricity or indoor plumbing...an old Victorian with a round barn. Talk about a rehab project, I don't think that house even had a window washed in the many years since it was built and our deal on it fell through. It was always the 'big one' that got away for us.

    Tbanks for sharing, Bella!

  7. I love those kinds of shows. My Netflix addiction is based on them for instant gratification without commercials. I peruse TV shows that have at least 3 seasons ... wondering where I was in real life when they on ... and have found some great ones.

    And I love love love HGTV when the handsome twin men turn a ramshackle 60's house into the 21st century home of a lifetime. Ahhhh .... I too have these dreams. revamping tiny places with pieces that do two or three things!!

  8. I like the Property Brothers, too, and the yard crashers. Have you ever seen the 90 square feet houses and micro apartments? If you like revamping tiny places you would love how those tiny places work. I have a bathroom bigger than that!