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, March 16, 2014

Gray Hair, No Hair and Widows Shopping


Okay, it’s official. They’ve got me brainwashed. I’m not old I’m just entering a new phase of life called elderhood. Old is now a four letter swear word---unless we’re talking about fine wine and high quality, aged meat. I’ve already started the process of being ‘elder and proud of it’ with the decision not to do low-lights in my hair anymore. Last week I had my four inch long hair all chopped off to pixie length and by the next hair cut or two all the darker tones will be gone. It’s not like I’m giving up a long standing habit, though, so no applause, please. I started the low-lights as part of the widow-finding-herself make-over that we each seem to go through at some point in the grieving process. I’d never colored my hair before that and who would have ever guessed I’d be looking at gray-haired women with wistful thoughts, thinking I, too, could have pretty silver hair like hers. We shall see. Six months from now I might be back to low-lights. The real reason I made the decision, though, was because I couldn’t stand the way my colored-treated hair felt---soft and limpy. All my life I had course hair, thanks to my Italian heritage, and I’m inept at dealing with soft hair. Old---oops---elderly dogs can’t learn new tricks in this household.

According to The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology there is a cure for gray hair just over the horizon, a discovery that scientists made while working on a treatment for vitiligo, a condition that causes patchy pigmentation in skin. Great. Just about the time the movement to make old be cool gets into full swing they will have a cream ready to market that will actually restore your natural color hair, not just cover up the gray.

While I’m on the subject of hair, Saturday I had breakfast with Red Hat Society members---six of us in all. While five of us sat at the table with our hats on the whole time, one woman took hers off the minute she sat down and she is as bald as a proverbial billiard ball. She’s had ovarian cancer for four years and is at the end of any treatments they can give her and at best, she’s got until mid-summer before the cancer finally wins. She will proudly tell you that she’s not FIGHTING cancer, she’s LIVING with it. And from what I’ve seen of her at Red Hat events, she knows how to party hard. When she’s absence from a Red Hat tea others in the chapter say she is their hero for the way she is handling her illness. At breakfast we had the most surreal laugh-fest talking about funerals and cremations versus burials and she started it by telling us what to expect when her time comes. (Hint: She's calling it a party.) Young people sitting near-by in the busy restaurant probably thought we were a weird cult, talking about having husbands made into diamond rings and lockets and feeding their ashes to the crabs down in the Florida Keys.

After breakfast we dropped the bald-headed lady back home and headed downtown with plans to see the dinosaur exhibit or as one woman put it, to see the pets we used to have when we were kids. But after waiting in line for a few minutes and hearing how long it would take just to get inside the first set of doors we decided to go on a thrift shop crawl instead. Having been a fan of the Advanced Style blog for a few months and learning that a lot of the ‘elderly’ women there shop the thrift stores I was excited about the idea of a crawl. I’ve never bought used clothing before and as we shopped I kept saying, “I can’t believe how cheap this is!” Every place we shopped at had tags with three prices on them plus dates when the mark-down prices would take effect. What a clever way to keep customers coming back. And now I understand how some of those women at Advanced Style can put together such arty-farty outfits without breaking the bank. I bought an L.L. Bean vest in hot pink for $6.50 and it was just like a black one I’d bought online last fall for $49.95! I would never paid $49.95 for a vest that wasn’t in a neutral color so I was a happy shopper. Normally I dislike shopping with other women because years ago I kept getting talked into purchases I later regretted. Always the people pleaser back in those days, I couldn’t say no. Apparently thrift shop crawls is something this chapter likes to do a couple of times a year so shopping in groups might be returning to my life.

Next week I have two lectures lined up to attend---one with a rather bizarre topic, Also on my calendar is a Red Hat tea and my Movie and Lunch Club. Life here in the still snow covered north is starting to wind back up.  ©


  1. I never thought I would color my hair. I only started about a year or two ago. I actually do it myself. That I really cannot believe. I never ever thought I'd do it myself, but it turns out okay. My hair grows slooowly now, so I don't have to do it very often.

    I love finding a good buy at Goodwill or a thrift shop, but it's never clothes. Always a book or pot or pan or toys for the grands. Not much luck with clothes. Good on you for your pink vest find.

    Now I want to read more about transitioning to elderhood. I've noticed definite changes in what I enjoy now, and what I no longer want to do. Also, I find that I'm more laid back now and tend to pursue more solitary projects.

    1. It's funny how low-lighting my hair made me feel good for a while but then you start thinking about the upkeep versus the benefits and, for me, it doesn't seem worth the cost and time. Ask me again in two months and I might see it differently.

      Transitioning to elderhood happens whether we want it to or not. If we keep our eyes open we'll figure it out without a manual. LOL

  2. That is exactly why I quit coloring my hair. Mine grows really fast--I just had it cut Feb. 21st and it needs it again AND I do love mine short and ah-hh--shorter!! LOL Personally, I had the Thrift Shops, but that's because, generally I hate shopping and the Thrift Shop layout makes no sense to me and just confuses me. Pearl won't even let me go with her anymore, LOL.

    1. The thrift shops we went to---three in all---sold nothing but women's clothing and accessories. If no one told you they were used clothing, it would take you a while to figure that out. But I know what you mean about layout in places like that sell all kinds of used stuff.

      I don't like shopping because you do end up spending money of stuff you didn't want and don't need. I try to only go when I need something.

  3. I have been doing the thrift store crawl since I was about 35. I was surprised one day, when I was young, to see an older very well dressed obviously well-to-do lady pawing through one of the bins. She saw my surprised look and she said, "Honey, this started out as a hobby, and it has turned into a sickness." Now I laugh every time I run to a yard sale or thrift store to get my "fix". I am 70 and addicted!

    1. I can see how it could get addicting! I've always been a garage sale and flea market shopper but I never took a close look at clothing until this past week. Happy hunting. It sure takes the guilt out of shopping clothes when the consignment prices are so low.