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

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Robert Frost and the Prima Donna

I volunteered to work at a fund raiser auction, and two half days this week I helped put together gift baskets full of donated goods which will be auctioned off. (An additional volunteer day will come on Friday to help move items from storage to the silent auction and live auction sites.) This was my second year helping on the basket project but I don’t think there will be a third. I discovered I have a low tolerance for making creative decisions by committee. My fellow volunteers were lovely people but I spent twenty years of my work life designing bouquets and backdrops for weddings, holidays and elegant parties. I have a degree in art and a great sense of scale, balance and color and it drove me crazy that every basket and cellophane bag size and every tissue paper filler and ribbon color decision we made had to be a collaboration. Lest you think I was being an artsy fartsy prima donna, I wasn’t. I wore my go-along-to-get-along persona. I oohed and awed in all the right places, knowing I could have done the work in half the time if left to my own devices or if we’d done the baskets assembly line style like we did last year. More than a few times I had to listen to my mother’s voice in my head saying, “If that’s the worst thing you’ve got to complain about, you’ve got it pretty good.” She was a smart lady.

Ohmygod! Now that I think about it maybe I really was an artsy fartsy prima donna if I had to give myself that Mother Lecture! Ooookay, I'll have to think on that some more but if I was being an in-the-closet artsy fartsy prima donna at least on the outside I was the Queen of Go-Along-to-Get-Along Land where I’ve resided most of my life. No wonder I don’t have many friends. I’m so fake and phony I’m surprised I don’t get arrested for impersonating a human being. Robot Lady says what ever you want to hear if her tactful little hints don't work the first time out.

Changing Topics: When a shirt-tail friend found out I’m taking a class on metaphors, she remarked, “I think it’s great that you’re taking up writing at this late date in your life.” I didn’t know how to response to that so I lamely replied, “Me, too.” I felt like an old dog being petted and praised for learning a ‘new trick’ that I’d actually known how to do all along. Though the ‘Fun with Metaphors’ Olli class is writing related, it’s so much more. This week’s class was a series of quality conversations and my classmates have a rich collection of life experiences to share. Sometimes I feel like a chimney sweep when they get to talking about their world travels. Ya, l’ve been to those tiered rice fields in the Orient---in my head. I’ve seen the Heidelberg Castle in Germany---in an International Geographic Magazine. Africa? Isn’t that the place where the elephants have their own mud spas?  Our class time went by too quickly as we talked about common metaphors like “it takes a village” “America is a melting pot” “life is a box of chocolates" and “life is a journey.” Tons of interesting topics came to the surface as the professor asked questions like, “Is there truth in the metaphor for you? Why or why not.” We ever talked politics which pleased me right down to my toenails that need a manicure soon or my shoes will no longer fit.

We also spent time in class discussing Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken and the professor made a comment about how different our observations were from when she teaches that poem to high school students. She laughed when she told about a student who read the poem in her high school graduation speech. I remember studying The Road Not Taken way back in my teens and now as an adult I don’t see how anyone that young could truly understand what Frost was saying. It’s not a credo for nonconformists as so often the poem is presented. It’s far more ambiguous than that. Who knew…except for the bunch of adults who just took part in a metaphors class? ©

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


  1. You crack me up, Jean! I can really only work effectively with one or two other trusted friends on a project. And even then sometimes I just want to take charge of it and do it myself, especially when it's in my "expertise" wheelhouse. Good for you to hang in there with the go along/get along attitude! I read two blogs back to back today and each contained a Robert Frost poem!

    1. What a weird coincidence on the Frost poems!

      It's hard when you've got confidence that you know how to do something others are trying so hard to do but you don't want to act like a know-it-all or a show off. I volunteered to help decorate for a luncheon at the senior hall next month and already I've been told an x-career officer in the military will try to hi-jack the lead chair of the committee. That should be fun to watch.

  2. I'm guessing this committee knows you have this talent? I'm pretty sure they do. Bless their hearts. Meetings and committees can be the death of lots of cool stuff.

    I love this poem, but I think most people don't get it. It's about choices for sure, but it's not known how those choices affect your life until much later in life. The key for me is: Somewhere ages and ages hence....

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

    1. They actually called and asked me to sign up this year after seeing what I could do last year.

      I'm one of those who probably misunderstood the poem for many years. It was refreshing to discuss something and see it in a whole different light afterward. wouldn't it be nice to write something that can endure for so many years?

  3. The older I get, the more amused I am at the things they tried to teach us in high school: the Romantic poets, James Joyce, Shakespeare. I was so inexperienced and understood so little. Now I would appreciate that literature so much more!

  4. Isn't that the truth! I guess that's what the Olli program for people over 55 is for. I can't believe some of the heavy weighted history classes they offer. I hated that stuff back when I was in high school and college.

  5. You're a writer? I had no idea! Yes, I'm a Go Along to Get Along person too, but I would have had to tell her, "I have written for years and actually, have had several books published! " I just would have had to do that!

    BTW--there is no "I" in "team"--that is why I am rarely on one, LOL

    1. I was stunned at her assumption that I've never written anything before and she was off to another topic by the time I recovered myself and thought about correcting the record. LOL

      Someone recently on Facebook posted a picture of the word 'TEAM' and it had the space between the legs of the 'A' and the space at the top filled in with black. With the font they used it formed a perfect 'i'....proving there is an 'I' in 'team.' I thought that was pretty clever.

  6. i wouldn't go back either. nope.

    smiles, bee

    1. I say that this year but next year if they call again...I could cave.

  7. I do a lot of go-along-to-get-along, but not as much as I used to. You know how I feel about committee decisions.

    Love that Frost poem, but it carries much more weight now than when I was young.

    1. Probably most of us do a lot of go-along-to-get-along. It's part of living in a civilized society,

      I hadn't read that poem in decades and I don't think there are many people in our age bracket who hasn't read it in school. It's amazing how long a poem can endure.