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

Friday, April 4, 2014

Back In The Saddle Again


It’s been a busy week that took me all over the place including a trip to my internist for my biannual appointment. He pronounced me five pounds up from when I last saw him. I already knew that, of course, and was ready with a promise that I’m starting Weight Watchers and walking this weekend. Lecture averted and he’s expecting follow-up e-mails. He knows me well. I do better when accountability is part of the equation.

The senior citizen’s hall has a lot of outings spring through fall and I’m starting to catch on about the mystery trips they sponsor. They go to places you don’t think are interesting until after you’ve been there. The mystery tour I went to today was to a large medical research institute that has 314 scientists and their support staff who are all working on finding cures and treatments for various cancers and neuro-degenerative diseases. Plus they have a wing with research labs they lease out to universities adding more people working in the building. When I thought about scientists working on cures I pictured a dedicated loner here and there spread out across the country, all locked in a cramped lab totally void of human contact. The institute I toured was spacious with hallways large enough to host parties and lots of glass walls, serene areas, a symposium hall and ‘Thank God it’s Friday’ beer nights in the cafeteria. And young! When did people doing such important work get so young? It also cracked me up that in the cafeteria every chair was close enough to a bank of floor plugs to power a lap top. I’ve never seen so many floor plugs all in one place in my life.

Also this week I went on a tour of a four year culinary arts college. I’ve been there before and I would go again. The tours always end the same way: with a classy meal at their high-style restaurant where the students serve in starched uniforms and the dessert cart holds picture-perfect and decadent offerings. My entrée choice was, “apple cider ginger braised pork shoulder with toasted kamut raisin pilaf, broccoli, crisp bacon, topped with tomato chimichurri, crunchy bread flute and ‘oeuf sur le plat’” but I debated between that and the, “beef tenderloin ribbons 'Straccetti-style' scorched in olive oil, garlic, and rosemary and served on Roman-style gnocchi, pizziola sauce and glazed asparagus.” I wonder if the students have to take a class on how to write menus. You need a translator to understand everything. The soup they served was cauliflower but it had a lot of tiny and uncommon ingredients that had us all talking and asking questions. All and all it was a great way to spend a rainy day.

Since last fall when I moved out my antique booth in a near-by town I’ve been keeping an eye out to find another booth closer to home and smaller. This week I rented a 2’ x 8’ space in a mall where the place has more of a mid-century vide than true antiques which suits me just fine because I’ll be able to sell a wider range of things than in my old booth. With another summer of e-Baying and mall sales I should finally be downsized enough to make me happy and positioned better to move, should something interesting pop up. The only ‘if’ in the equation is the mall is new and unknown but it’s on an extremely busy intersection so I’m betting on that. Plus the rent is cheap and the lease is short so I can call it summer entertainment if I don’t sell well there. I move in the middle of April.

I love being around other collectors. When I walk into antique malls, I feel an instant camaraderie. It’s hard to explain but after signing the lease, I felt a calm come over me, like I’d found myself again. As much as I’ve been around the women at the senior hall and the Red Hat Society, I don’t feel like I fit in all that well. They’re all lovely people, don’t get me wrong. But collectors, for one thing, don’t spend much time talking about their grandkids, churches and trips aboard. It’s more, “Where did you ever find that?” and “What do you know about this------?” And they understand the thrill of finding something like another square fruit jar with an embossed cross-hatched pattern. (I use them for canisters.) Yup, I feel like I’m back in the saddle again! Now, if summer would get to Michigan I could be happy again. ©

6 comments:

  1. When I first saw the title, I thought you were taking up dating! Now--there you go!! I too would be much more comfortable and interested in being with antique collectors--rather then ladies who wear red hats and Seniors going on with their "organ" recitals!!! YAY Jean!! Have fun!!

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    1. At the culinary school lunch one of the ladies at my table was widowed about the same time I was and she talked quite a bit about a man she is seeing. I got the impression they are living together, so I guess there is hope for those widows who do want to get back in that kind of saddle. Half the people at my table had been to Scotland which made me feel a little lonely in a crowd. I could afford to go with the senior group that goes to Europe every fall but I really never wanted to go. What's wrong with me?

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  2. That tour of the culinary arts college is my cup of tea. The antique mall is up my alley, too. I told a friend last night that we need to go poking around in some antique shops soon. She needs a small end table. I'm not in the market for anything in particular, but I almost always find something I want.

    It's a good idea for be around people we have something in common with. Then we don't have to search for things to help us connect. It just happens. I predict that you'll meet some cool people at the antique mall. I used to work craft shows, so I know what you mean about the atmosphere. It's energizing to be around like-minded people.

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    1. We used to be vendors at outdoor antique shows and gas-and-oil collector shows which operate the same way as the craft shows you've worked at. It's lots of fun but lots of work. Like you, I don't go looking for things but always find something.

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  3. The mystery tours sound like a lot of fun. I laughed at the image of the cafeteria where every chair is near a plug. This morning, I looked around my research methods class and realized that 2/3 of the students in the class were sitting with laptops or netbooks in front of them on the seminar table -- and their various cords plugged into wall outlets definitely create tripping hazards all around the perimeter of the classroom! -Jean

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    1. I haven't been disappointed yet with the mystery tours and I've been three so far in two years and just as many where the destination was known. It's kind of a good way to travel around the area if you don't want to go alone.

      You are so close to your retirement date, I bet you can hardly contain yourself!

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