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 20, 2017

Fall Chores, Olds Books and the Devil’s Vomit



The weather here in West Michigan has been perfect. Warm. Sunny. Just the way I like it. But I didn’t like doing my weekend project. I had two vintage outdoor chairs and a couple of side tables that needed spray painting. The last time I did them I thought it would be the LAST time because, back then, I was hot and heavy into shopping for a condo and I planned on leaving them behind in a history-of-my-life tag sale. I’m too old to be wrestling metal, clamshell back chairs around. I built a cardboard paint booth so I could spray them on top of the deck instead of dragging them down to the back yard. Worked great but I still can’t figure out how I got sail blue paint up my nose. I was wearing a face mask and safety glasses. I hope the ears, nose and throat doctor I’ll see later this week for my ear doesn't notice, but I bet he will. It’s not every day he comes across blue nostrils. 

I make no secret out of the fact that fall is third place in my Favorite Season Contest. Over the years it’s brought nothing but hard work into my life. Now I hire most of my fall yard work but for more decades than I care to count I had to rake leaves at four houses. Sometimes more if Don was in one of his do-good-for-the-neighborhood widows mode. Plus we took down screens, wash windows and put up heavy wooden storm windows at two houses. That was in addition to moving an army of snowplow equipment out of storage in the country to maintenance and then to the parking lots where they’d be used. I’ll be in a nursing home before I'll get over the notion that with fall comes work and that I have to start gathering nuts and seeds and stocking my cave for the coming cold and snow. Metaphorically speaking, of course. I've never lived in a cave.

And have I mentioned I hate the orange color palette that Mother Nature will bring us soon? I appreciate that the trees turning into a riot of color is pretty but don’t expect me to like the fall landscape painting on your wall or that orange sweater you like to wear around Halloween. My grudge against orange runs deep. I wouldn’t eat anything orange as a kid---didn’t start doing that until I was forty---and I doubt that had anything to do with my brother telling me that Satan’s vomit is orange. I was spitting out carrots and squash before I understood words. Whoo! Do you think he was calling ME the devil because anything orange I attempted to eat came right back out Linda Blair style?

In college I acquired a book titled, Your Color and Your Self: The Significance of Color Preference in the Study of Human Personality. It help solidify my hate-fest toward orange. “In the general study of human likes and dislikes for color, orange ranks very low among the hues of the spectrum,” the author wrote. “Red personalities are wont to state that they ‘hate’ the color, while blue personalities may scowl at the sight of it.” That’s me. I openly hate the color and scowl at it too. I haven’t taken that book off the shelf in years much less opened it to read the passages that are underlined. Here’s what it says about my color preferences: “You have a secure hold on your passions and enthusiasms. There is weight to your character, real and implied. You like to be admired for your steady character and for your wisdom and sagacity, although the truth may be that you may spend little effort to warrant admiration.” Ohmygod! I wonder if I could use that in my obituary without getting in trouble with the gods of plagiarism! My apologies to the author, Faber Birren, if I ask my heirs to do it. Faber is dead now but he wrote forty books and 250 articles about color. 

In the above mentioned book there’s a chapter on how color effects people with neuroses and psychoses. Scary stuff on how our color preferences change with increased mental illness. For example, intoxicated alcoholics will prefer red but most of them will prefer something else when sober (and hint, be weary of anyone living with brown walls). You know what else is scary? The library fine that would be due on this book. It was checked out in 1962 but never returned. Oops! In my defense, it was probably the end of my junior year and I didn't return to the same campus the following semester, though I don't recall ever getting a letter from the college librarian demanding its return or they'd withhold transferring my credits.

Speaking of memory loss, this week I got two more punches on my Old Person Card. One because I hopped in my car to go to a Red Hat Society tea, unfortunately I was one week less five minutes too early. We meet in the community room of grocery store that has an extensive deli department so I loaded myself up with a spinach wrap and an orange-cranberry muffin for dinner. A half-gallon of French vanilla ice cream might have jumped into my basket as well. My other Old Person mistake was I signed up for a ‘Making Soup’ class at the senior hall and half way through the session I remembered I’d taken the same cooking class a few years ago. Not that it mattered. The chef served a good lunch and no one seemed to notice my sail blue nostrils. ©

34 comments:

  1. I agree with the basis of colour psychology, in that colours affect mood. I don't think I'm averse to any colour per se, although I do dislike certain shades of a colour. For example, I don't like some shades of pink, but love a particular warm shade of pink.

    Of the autumn tasks you mentioned, I've done leaf raking. Its high energy (for me, at least!) so guessing you had a very slender figure in those days doing all that exercise.

    I've re-read books and only realised some way in that I've read them before. Or hunted around for my spectacles, when they're perched on my head. And the innumerable times I've popped them on a nearby rock/bush when gardening - then hunted around for them in the dark later at night!

    Paint gets everywhere. I remember once meeting a friend who remarked on my painting, and I was amazed, Dr Watson-like, at her Sherlock Holmes observation. She laughed, and pointed at the white paint splatter on my arms and fingers (also on nose, face, hair).
    ~ Libby

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    1. "Slender" is a word that's never been used to describe me, maybe for a minute and a half in college. LOL

      Looking for glasses perched on top of a head is so common. We just have to laugh at ourselves.

      I got smart and worn rubber gloves on my second and third day of painting. (Under coat and two top coats.) I wish I'd discovered that trick years ago. At least this time I didn't get it in my hair.

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  2. The ENT may think you tried sniffing blue marker. ;-)

    Color, I detest pink and lavender. I won't buy clothes in those colors and gifts of that color are shoved to the back of the closet. I just began trying to do some adult coloring. I bought a box of 100 gel pens and I was disgusted that so many were various shades of pink and lavender.

    Brothers, the things they did to us! I imagine every woman with a brother remembers something her brother did to her. Devil's vomit, hehe, that's a good one. Oops, sorry!

    I won't get into my senior moments, they are hitting fast and loose of late.

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    1. I ought write a post about my brother sometime. Though he would deny it all. LOL

      So many of those adult coloring books feature flowers, so maybe that's why there are so many pinks? I never buy pink clothing either but I don't mind the color palette.

      Gosh, I never thought about sniffing markers. I guess I need to be prepared for that question. LOL

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  3. I really dislike all shades of blue; won't have it in my house, although I like to wear navy blue. My favourite colour is red--red, red, red. Always has been. And I really do love the autumnal palette.

    Do you remember the big craze back in the late 80s or early 90s when consultants were "doing your colours" based upon the seasons of the year? I think it was called "Color Me Beautiful", and they would designate you either a Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter, and give you a colorwheel or chart so you could always wear your perfect palette. I was a Winter. LOL.

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    1. I sure do remember the Color Me Beautiful fad. I still have my little book of swatches and buy clothing in my personal palette which is also winter. Well sort of, I mostly wear jewel colors on top and black everywhere else. Thou sometimes I try to add more gray.

      When I was a kid my mom said I had tempter tantrum in a store because I wanted a red coat and she thought it was too expensive. I still like red.

      If we ever bought a set of paints together you could take all the autumn colors and I could take all the blues. LOL

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  4. This color info really is interesting to me. I am not a fan of orange - in fact it is probably my least favorite color but I don't think I feel as strongly as you do.
    I know a nut job who has brown walls. I wonder if that means she is certifiable as my husband thinks? Hmm.... that would be interesting to know I may need to find this book for fun.

    My house is gray and blues and whites with red accents in places. Does that mean I am nuts? No, probably not, just a little bit crazy. :-)

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    1. No, you're not nuts decorating in those colors but according to the book, people with schizophrenia show a reference for brown walls. Color preference is fun but I don't take it too seriously. Although there are a lot of science-based tests done to determine why people like certain colors and not others.

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  5. At a young age, I refused to eat orange veggies and I still refuse. I do not like squash, sweet potatoes, but I will eat a few cooked carrots, if they are mashed up with 1/4# of butter and salt and pepper. I also dislike Halloween--maybe because it has to do with orange pumpkins and the like? I am a Blue person.

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    1. Wow, you're the only person I ever knew who also wouldn't eat orange food. Now, I love sweet potatoes and oranges. I dislike Halloween but not because of the color. I don't like having the candy around to tempt me.

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  6. Jean:

    how can you not like orange its one of my favorite color, no wonder fall is my favorite season.

    Asha

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    1. All the more orange left in the world for you. LOL Seriously, though, I'm guessing that color preference varies from culture to culture. It makes sense that someone from India or the orient would like reds and oranges in a higher personage than people in northern Europe. We tend to wear and surround ourselves with colors that look good with our skin tones.

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  7. I had "my colors done" back in the day too! Interesting that we gravitate to those whose season we supposedly belong to. I wear mostly white in the summer (or Maui) with accents of color (scarf, jewelry, hat) and black in the winter with accents as well. Saves on shoes and purses!!!

    I put my keys on a lanyard and wear them like jewelry when I'm walking about the complex. My buddy loses her keys every single day! I'm buying her a lanyard for her birthday!!!

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    1. Gravitating to colors based on the 'Color Me Beautiful' makes sense to me because it's all based on skin tones and hair color and as we grow up we accumulate compliments when we wear certain colors that look good to us. I wish I could wear white but I've always had a dog and/or worked in a field where I got too dirty to wear it.

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    2. P.S. the lanyard for keys is great for walkers. I have a numbered key pad lock which is even better...as long as I can remember them. LOL

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  8. Orange is one of my very favorite colors. In fact I have two rooms painted in blaze orange. Might have rethought it had I heard the term devil's vomit:))
    I don't know of any colors that give me the shivers.

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    1. Not just orange but blaze orange! I could never visit you for more than ten minutes. LOL

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  9. I grew up in a house with brown walls, not to mention forest green, maroon, and chartreuse. It was the early 1950s, and it just was the fashion: not a diagnosis. There still are dishes in those colors in the antique shops; some are Melmac, but some of the higher-end manufacturers produced them, too. It wasn't long before pink, gray, and turquoise came along, and we were relieved of all the dark colors, but I still smile when I see some of the dishes in a shop.

    I grinned when I noticed that you have some lovely orange in the background of your blog. It does make a nice accent, although I'd never wear orange.

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    1. I sure remember those Melmac dishes and their colors but I don't remember people painting their walls that color. I was obvious back in those days to everything but boys.

      There is a national something-something board that picks the color palettes for paints, carpet, titles, appliances, etc., in the building and remodeling trade. Every ten years they come out with them so that the manufactures and designers can coordinate everything including accessories---towels, wastebaskets, dishes, etc. And they will have the lead time to be able to manufacture them. I always thought that was interesting how that happens.

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    2. P.S. I picked out the skin for this blog back when I was only a few weeks out from losing my husband because the sunset felt symbolically right. I think about changing it from time to time but I'm afraid I'll make a mistake and end up wiping out the whole blog. LOL

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    3. Boy, don't I know about that kind of anxiety -- the bloggie kind. When I changed my theme, and then went about trying to duplicate it in my second blog? Good grief. You wouldn't think something so simple (?) could be so fraught. I still am slowly-slowly transferring all my blog entries to my hard drive. It's not that I don't trust WordPress, it's just that--well, it's the internet.

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    4. I write my blogs in Word and transfer them to my blog so I can keep a blog file on my computer by years. With my very first blog the blog platform I was using pruned blog posts off the site when they got two years old---didn't know it until it was too late---so I've never trusted these blog platforms not to change the terms of use on us.

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  10. I, too, don't like autumn colors and I especially don't like orange. But I don't like it on its own. I am currently in the process (a long process) of making a quilt from fabrics that I dyed. The quilt is blues, purples, oranges and reds and yellows (I really don't like green!). With certain colors like purple, I think orange is a great contrast.
    What is done to colors in popular culture (Halloween) is ridiculous! That is another aspect of color.
    I love working with color but mostly wear navy blue and black!
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. Our tastes in wearing or working with colors is different, isn't it. I'll bet your quilt will be very lively. You almost have the entire color wheel.

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  11. I lean more towards the blue colors myself, but there aren't any that I'd say I dislike.

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    1. A lot of men with your coloring look good in blue.

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  12. I think it was the 80's, I went through a 'bout' of liking rusty orange as a decor color. I moved when I got sick of it. (carpet was even that color! eek!) I've never much cared for it since. Although, not having your history of WORK work work in fall, it's my 2nd favorite season. Because I love football, hockey, and new tv seasons, and because my birthday falls at the start of it (and my wedding anniversary in the middle of it, plus Halloween...) (though I don't decorate with orange halloween stuff anymore; prefer black and purple.

    So we agree; and I love your sense of humor, by the way.

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    1. My mom redecorated in the '80s. She had the brown sofa and rusty orange chairs and accessories plus the required landscape over the sofa. Hadn't thought about that in years. I can see it perfectly in my mind. Yuck!

      I do love the fall TV season and this one looks good. I wear a lot of purple and black together, but I've never in my life decorated for Halloween...probably because I never had kids. Thanks!

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  13. Hi Jean. Around here in Amherstburg, the leaves have just started changing. Today was 90 degrees and it didn't feel like fall. My Lions have won two games, that makes me feel like fall. Oh well, I haven't been feeling well lately so I don't really feel like autumn or summer or whatever. Enjoy my friend. See ya.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. We've got the yellows and browns in the trees but the oranges and reds haven't come yet. High school football says fall to me, too. I can hear the bands practice from where I live.

      Sorry you haven't been felling well. Please continue to take care of yourself!

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  14. Uh oh. We are usually so much alike, but "ahem", I like orange! I love Fall and I'm a "FALL" on the color palette I'm supposed to wear. Well, I was before I went mostly blonde/gray, so maybe that has changed to something else now. I once lived in a house with an orange kitchen (a deeply saturated hue, but certainly orange.) Isn't it funny how preferences differ?

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    1. It's fascinating how we all gravitate towards certain colors and we seem to do it very young in life. Guess that's why the crayon boxes are so big...something for everyone. I've seen the photos of your house and you don't overwhelm with color, even though you use your favorites.

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  15. I confess that my first reaction to this post was to think how much I love the color palette at the top -- but then I love fall, too (probably because I associate it with the beginning of school, which I always found exciting). When my older sister and I were teenagers, my father wanted to give our shared bedroom a new paint job; all we had to do was decide on a color. I wanted an orange/brown/yellow color scheme, and she wanted a pink/violet/blue color scheme. We never did find any middle ground to agree on and the room went unpainted until the year we both got married, when my younger brother moved into that room and painted it all red (including the ceiling!). -Jean

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    1. That's a funny story about you and your sister. I like red but even on the ceiling! Wow! Can't even picture that in my head.

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