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

Saturday, December 16, 2017

It's all Over but the Crying...



It’s the middle of December and Christmas has come and gone for me. I started the season out gleefully anticipating the six parties on the calendar but I only got to go to four of them before winter got in the way. Wednesday the Alberta Clipper dumped 6-8 inches of blowing snow where I live, creating havoc for drivers and my Red Hat Society party got canceled. Since the fifteen of us were supposed to meet at a restaurant, we were able to move the reservation to January when the weather could very well interfere again. On the good side, the gift I bought for the exchange is one I really love and I will be thrilled if I get to keep it. Everything has a silver lining. I’ve never come home from a Red Hat party with something that didn’t go directly into a donation box. I wish they’d go to the ‘consumables only rule’ that is popular down at our senior center. All door prizes and gifts given down at the hall cannot add clutter to our houses. Twice I tried giving consumables at Red Hat Society parties but they didn’t go over as well as things like cookie jars, flashy jewelry, lawn ornaments, tree ornaments, kitchen gadgets, etc. Clutter for people with more life behind us than in front of us.

The road crews did a great job clearing the roads after our storm and the next day I was able to go to our book club party. We each brought a tray of finger foods and no gifts except for the one the club bought for our facilitator. Several people raved about the tarts I made and I’m going to get sick of them before the year is out because I had already brought the ingredients to make them again for my family’s party but I won’t be able to attend. I can’t drive after dark, especially out in the boondocks, and the niece who was going to drive me back to the city with her husband following behind in their car has decided to go south for a couple of weeks. Good call on her part. I’d take a beach community over snowy Michigan, too, if I could. But the knitted hats I made for everyone are with my other niece so they'll make it to the party.

January marks the beginning of knitting season at my house and I have to decide what to make. The hats for twenty-nine people was too ambitious a project for me. I got bored and tired of making them and I barely got them done by spring. The year before I made sweaters for babies and three winters ago it was baby car-seat blankets. Another year I made mittens for the senior hall sale but they don’t hold their annual crafts sale anymore. I will probably make something for my niece’s grandma drawers. They both have houses on lakes and they are carrying on a tradition my mom did with them. She had a chest of drawers with extra clothing for her grandkids because weather is often colder around the water and parents forget to bring extra sweatshirts, sweatpants or hats and with winter sports, dry mittens are always in short supply. I’m not fond of knitting with four needles but I’m thinking about making kid sized gaiters. I love gaiters and finger-less gloves. I wear both all winter long including inside the house. It’s a thyroid thing. I’m always icy cold, even in the summer.

I won a beautiful pink poinsettia at the union hall Christmas party and it’s the only holiday thing I have in the house. Unless you count the decorated tree that is nicely wrapped and sitting on a shelf in the basement and the two beautiful door wreaths with big velvet bows in their custom wreath boxes stacked on the same shelf. How lazy was I this year! Three trips up the basement steps could have put some holiday spirit in the house, but it felt like I'd be putting ruby-red lipstick on a whore hoping to score. See my big red bows, stop by for a visit! I've got holiday cheer inside! But I’ve been faithfully visiting my tree and wreaths when I go down to check on the mice and I’m happy to report that I’m winning that war. Ya, I know. I could have multi-tasked while I was on mice patrol and brought my Christmas stuff upstairs since I was going that way anyway. But I didn’t and I don’t really know why. Sometimes it’s better not to exam things like that too closely because we might not like what we find. ©


It's All Over but the Crying
The Ink Spots

It's all over but the crying
And nobody's crying but me
Friends all over know I'm trying
To forget about how much I care for you
It's all over but the dreaming
Poor little dreams that keep trying to come true

25 comments:

  1. Had to smile at you getting to keep your undelivered gift. I always get something I would like myself just in case.
    Glad at least you are getting in some of the parties and keep those tarts a coming.

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    1. It's hard to buy gifts when you don't know who will end up with it!

      I was lucky to get to as many parties as I did but, of course, the one with my family was the most important and I already knew that would be iffy.

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  2. I hear you, Jean. I'd like to wring the necks of the people who wax poetic and sentimental over White Christmas. I hate and despise and detest snow. It is a barrier, period. It does NOT "look pretty!"; it looks like misery and work and dangerous driving and a mess in the house from tracking it in.

    See now--you've gotten me started.

    Here in NEO, we have about 6 inches on the ground, and I have great hopes invested in a small warming trend forecast for the next few days.

    Anyway.

    I'm taking a bit of a Pass on Christmas this year as well, merely having a tree up for my sons, who will be here for the day. On the 26th, it will come down. I wish it were different, but I will honor my feelings and accept them.

    And then carry on.xo

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    1. My relationship with snow has changed over my life time. Now, it just represents work shoveling and being trapped inside for days on end. But there was a time when I loved all the outdoor sports.

      Enjoy your day with your sons. I'll bet you tree brings back good memories for them.

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  3. Well gosh. I still LOVE LOVE LOVE the snow ... but I live in a very very walkable little suburb. And I have a 33 year old strong man to shovel. Big difference! We "younger" residents would walk 3 blocks to the Whole Foods 365 store for elders here who couldn't get out last winter. My friend even went 5 blocks to the liquor store for our martini maven!

    No invitations to parties for me. Tonight the Christmas Ships parade down the river (3 blocks away) and I hope to take the boys. I have to drop off the Dadda at the Momma's place of employment as they have an employee party tonight!

    Sorry so many of your plans got canceled or delayed ....

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    1. I'm not too disappointed or surprised that two of my party plans didn't work out. It's Michigan. I was fortunate enough to get out to the ones I did.

      I don't think of your part of the world getting a lot of snow, at least snow that sticks around all winter like ours does. The ship's parade sounds like fun! Hope you get to go.

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  4. My favourite person to buy gifts for is, without question, ME. I stopped buying for the family when I couldn't keep up with changing fashions and tastes, and items to be returned after Xmas etc.

    Just read an article about 1 in 4 people being lonely, and I thought: well, I'm not the only lonely person. The second thought was: better to be lonely in my home, than lonely in a crowd which is the worst feeling possible (been there, done that).

    My ambition at the moment is to clean up the house for NY and begin a regular exercise routine - wish me luck! ~ Libby

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    1. I totally agree about it being worse to be lonely in a crowd than being lonely at home by yourself. It's like someone puts a magnifying glass on you when others around you are sharing smiles and laughs.

      I do wish you luck in your plans to clean and exercise. I have the same plans for next year.

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  5. Several years ago we had a snow and ice storm on Christmas Eve, which is very unusual for Fort Worth, Texas. Consequently, we had to cancel our family get together. Since I was alone on Christmas with time on my hands, I grabbed my camera and stepped outside to take a picture of the lovely snow scene. -- without my coat or keys. What a shock to hear the door lock behind me! I was lucky to find an elderly neighbor home alone, and we spent a very nice afternoon chatting and drinking cocoa while I tried to get a locksmith to come out. Naturally no one wanted that job! Finally found one who charged a very large sum to let me in my house. Lesson learned, but a Christmas I won't forget.

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    1. Wow, you were lucky to find that neighbor to host you while you were locked out! Finding a locksmith on Christmas Eve was a small miracle. I have a numbered key pad luck that also takes a key. Hopefully, I'll never forget the number. Loved your comment. Thanks for leaving it.

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  6. I vote for making ALL gifts, ALL year round, for EVERYONE consumables only. I don't enjoy shopping, so that kind of a limitation is a blessing.

    I love the snow, but I live in a mild climate in NW Oregon where black ice is more likely each winter when the rain freezes. I could do without that stuff.

    Whadja get for your gift that you'd be happy if you had to keep it, huh, huh, huh?

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    1. Black ice is nasty stuff! The week my husband died I had to come across town from the hospital with black ice. I thought I'd die, turned our it was him.

      I had brought up giving consumable gifts at my Red Hat Society but they either didn't understand what that meant or they didn't like the idea. At my Gathering Girls we all went for the idea rather quickly.

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  7. That Alberta Clipper combined with a coastal low here and turned into freezing rain -- nobody's favorite kind of winter weather. I had a white-knuckle drive to my concert last Saturday in our first plowable snow of the season. I ended up spending the night with a friend rather than making the drive home at 11:00 p.m. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get up my unplowed dirt road in several inches of snow. -Jean P.

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    1. You did the right thing, not changing something as dangerous freezing rain and so late at night. I enjoyed reading about your concert. I'm glad it turned out so well received.

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  8. I didn't do the decorating thing this year either--that has happened--NEVER!!! Right now, I'm too busy to even think about it and sometimes all that cheer in the house, depresses. I have to be honest and say, I can't wait for New Year's Day and then a normal kind of winter with no holidays.

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  9. I don't blame you, Judy with Fred's sadiversary coming up so soon.

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  10. Well! After all our excitement about our little snow a week or so ago, the same thing is in our forecast for Christmas! Of course they could be wrong, but it's my observation that when the most people want the weather dudes and dudettes to be wrong, they're usually right. We'll see.

    My bigggest problem with Christmas is that I'm running out of time for the blog posts I wanted to put up! I have a couple that have been lollygagging around for three or four years, but they're going to have to wait, since I ran into a really interesting Christmas carol from Canada, and decided to post about that. Well, and Santa Claus, maybe.

    Do I remember you inquiring about good websites for news, etc, a few months back? I have found a wonderful site called Axios that is my go-to now. The link will take you to the page that explains what they're about. It's essentially a site that provides summaries of important stories, with links if you want to go deeper. It's good writing, and has the feel of what news used to be: objectivity.

    If you look at the top, you'll see a link called "More." Click on that, and then on the "Newsletters" link, and you can choose what you want to subscribe to. I'm signed up for Axios AM, Axios PM, the Axios Sneak Peek, and Axios Science.

    Even better? They're free, and not cluttered with advertising or popups. There's a link where people can set up advertising with them, but I've looked around for some ads, and can't find them. So... I don't know how they're supporting themselves. In any case, it's a site that actually makes me willing to spend some time with the news.

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    1. Thanks for the link to Axios. I'll check it out even though I don't remember inquiring about good websites for news. I could be wrong, but I am a news junky.

      The blog community has been SO slow this past week it's almost not worth posting. I hope that changes after New Year's because it's discouraging and I realize how addictive I really am to blogging and reading blogs.

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  11. Funny, I've been waxing nostalgic about White Christmases of my childhood in Illinois. We rarely have anything but rain here in western Washington, but Facebook Memories reminded me this morning that we did get some snow a year ago today which I memorialized with posting photos. It was pretty, but I'm sure things came to a halt -- we barely have plows and no salt (some sand when they get around to it) and lots of hills, so even an inch of snow seems to keep everyone housebound. I cut so far back on my decorating this year that I'm tempted to just take all the other tubs of stuff still in the attic to the resale shop and be done with storing it! As for gifts...I just ordered a couple more things for my granddaughters because I want them to have a fun Christmas here -- I got them things to keep them entertained while the adults are busy talking and doing jigsaw puzzles. As for friends...I looked at one of my besties the other day and said, "Do I have to get you a Christmas present this year?" We'd been having lots of discussions about how we don't want any more "stuff". She said, "NO! And thanks. Let's not!" We both have December birthdays and we do give a little gift to each other for that, but here ends the Christmas gift tradition on top of that. I love the idea of "consumables". I definitely don't need anymore holiday sweets, but I do love getting soaps and lotions. :)

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    1. Consumable gifts are defined as anything eatable, drinkable or used in the bathroom. It's not just sweets unless you count fancy jams and jellies. Designer soup and spice mixes for dips are popular and deluxe popcorn or bread mixes. Eatible panties or nice stationary if given to the right person. It's amazing how creative people get. It puts a new challenge to gift giving that's actually fun again.

      Don't give your Christmas stuff away without first showing it to your sons. There may be something they remember from their youth they'd treasure and want to keep, if given the chance.

      I've already seen enough show for this year but my next blog is ALL about how snowy winters helped mold my life.


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  12. We had a dusting and up to 1 inch from your storm. I heard on GMA the town my family is in got all their lake effect snows as well. No parties for us and no big Christmas anything. We are alone with no family here. It's weird. But there is something about snow and Christmas that I do enjoy. I think because I grew up with it and the majority of my life was on LAke Erie and you have snow Christmas through Easter. :-)

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    1. Once winter starts here our snow stays around until spring. I remember being out west when it snowed and by noon the sun would burn it off roads. Shocked the heck out of us. I think towns along lower Lake Erie has weather is very much like ours in West Michigan.

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  13. Sorry the weather is so rough! Hope you get to keep the gift you bought! LOL

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  14. It's going to be like spring tomorrow!

    I can't lose when I get to keep that gift if the party gets canceled a second time come January.

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  15. We got two days of snow when I was in the hospital. I couldn't believe it. It was pretty but didn't last long. I guess the ground was too warm. I keep telling my niece, who prefers warmer weather, that it will be March in only a couple of months. Of course March can bring anything, but sometimes it brings a little warmth down here. You cannot count on March, though. Never. It's a fickle month.

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