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, May 9, 2018

The Cost of Summer Fun, Laughter and I Feel Pretty


Monday I set my alarm so I could have my coffee and bathroom time for me and the dog before the Running of the Bulls which is my nickname for the opening bell---so to speak---for when members of the senior hall can register for events that are coming up this summer. The place has gotten so popular that if you don’t get your RSVP email in with a time-stamp of 9:00 AM your chances of going on a waiting list are 95% for the popular activities. In the first hour of the Running of the Bulls they will receive between 1,500 to 1,700 reservations. This time I didn’t sign up for popular things like the annual Brown Bag Mystery Tour (they’ll take 3 to 5 buses to a place no one but the driver will know until they reach the destination, $95) or on a day trip to an herb farm which includes lunch and making your own rustic wreath for a grand total of $99. I also passed on going to Chicago to see Hamilton (price yet to be determined) or to Amish Acres in Indiana, $117. I’ve discovered those long bus rides and my old bones don’t get along very well. It takes me several days to recover and for the Levi to forgive me for putting him in a kennel.

I also didn’t sign up for the annual Cemetery Stroll which is popular with people into genealogy and local history, a bargain at $10. Or for any of the five plays and musicals ($22 to $62) because I’d have to drive home after dark and my old eyes said, “Don’t even think about doing that to me!” I did sign up for several free lectures that cover scams, schemes, swindles and managing money. And I nabbed a seat on the bus going to a wild animal park ($23) and a reservation for a free ice cream social and for a $1 potluck. It hurt my heart not to sign up for the kayak trip ($32) but my bladder habits nixed that idea. Can you believe it, there are a couple of women who always sign up for all twenty-five special events offered in the senior newsletters. 

After watching the countdown to 9 AM and clicking ‘send’ on my RSVP email I took a shower and got dressed for the day. I had places to go and people to see starting with a First Mondays Brunch with my Gathering Girls pals. We got to talking about what makes us feel safe, living alone. Several of us sleep with the TV on or use nightlights all over the place. Several need the house quiet at night so they can hear the bogyman if he sneaks in. One woman described hearing a noise in the house recently and she grabbed the nail file she keeps under her pillow and tippy-toed around the house. That cracked us up as we discussed exactly where a nail file stab would have to land to put a would-be rapist out of commission. We barely recovered from laughing over that when the topic of locking doors came up and one of the ladies shared how a child was stolen out of her bed in the middle of the night and the guy got into through an unlocked door between the house and the garage. “Can you imagine someone taking your child like that?” she asked and I piped up, “or taking your snow blower.” We all laughed over the absurd comparison between stealing a child and a snow blower. We went on like that for nearly three hours and when another diner walked by on her way out she said, “Now you ladies try to have some fun this afternoon.”

After leaving the Guy Land Cafeteria two us went up to a small movie theater that only charges $4.75 before 5:00 and we saw Amy Schumer’s new movie, I Feel Pretty. IMDd.com describes the plot like this: “A woman who struggles with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy on a daily basis wakes from a fall believing she is suddenly the most beautiful and capable woman on the planet. With this newfound confidence, she is empowered to live her life fearlessly and flawlessly, but what will happen when she realizes her appearance never changed?” After I got home I looked for reviews of the film and was shocked at how low they were. Apparently there was an alt-right men’s group telling its members to sabotage the film’s ratings like they did with Schumer’s book, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo. Even Bill Maher got into the act and devoted an entire show defending the movie. One thing he said was, “The professionally offended have decided that even though it’s a movie by women filmmakers, presenting a pro-woman message, it does it the wrong way. Schumer remade ‘The Nutty Professor,’ where someone not thin, and not cool, magically sees themselves as better looking and gains confidence. Except, when Eddie Murphy did it, he didn’t have the Purity Police up his ass.” 

What did I think about the movie? It wasn’t War and Peace and I didn’t expect it to be. Its agenda was simply to make us laugh and to think about the value of having self-confidence. Everyone in the theater including me, laughed often and we left the theater smiling. But Levi sure was mad when I walked in the door because he didn’t get his Milk-Bonz Brushing Chew at 3:00. I swear there is something addictive in them! I could be having a heart attack at 3:00 and he’d insist I grab his box of chews before calling 911 or falling on the floor. ©

29 comments:

  1. Your post made me laugh - most amusing!

    Pampilona's Running of the Bulls seems a most apt name for the reservation process. I'd book all the excursions too the first time! Subsequently, I'd be more selective.

    Re night intruders, I worried more about them when the kids were with me. Now, its only me, and I'm disposable. On the few nights that I get nervous, I simply stay up with the lights on and ready to holler at the first sign of an intrusion.

    I don't understand why so many people are anti-women these days, including women themselves. I'm all for applauding good work, regardless of gender.

    Your end reference to Levi and his addiction to his treat made me laugh again. All in all, I began and finished reading your post with a smile. Good job done! ~ Libby

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    1. I've pretty much tried all the stuff offered at the senior hall and have gotten more selective, especially now that I've found some friends. I try to do one major thing a month and several smaller things. And if I get lonely they have a daily exercise class you can just drop in without registering for $3.00.

      I generally feel safe at home. It's when I'm out and about I worry about breaking down on the side of the highway and getting picked up by a mass murderer. I know, they like the young and pretty ones, not old ladies in orthopedic shoes. LOL

      I don't know Amy Schumer's style of stand up comedy enough to understand the hate directed toward her but in general the idea of organized efforts to go to places like Amazon and IMDd to write negative book and movie reviews to films you haven't seen or books you haven't read is just plain mean-spirited.

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  2. Unbelievable Jean. So much going on. I ws getting confused with so many things to do. I loved the idea to go see "Hamilton" but I believe it will cost s great deal. As far as anti - women, I don't know about that but what about the " Me To " . I worry as a man today.
    I hope that Levi gets his goodies. See ya my friend.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. I didn't even list everything offered in the current newsletter, Paul. The place is really busy. Rumor has it the Hamilton trip will be be really pricey and it will be a long, grueling day trip. But it does look like a great play to see.

      I understand your fear Paul. Innocence flirting in this day and age could easily be twisted into something it wasn't and as a woman, I'd hate to see that get lost in the future because guys are afraid. I did find an article on why conservatives hate Amy Schumer and as far as I can figure out it's because her stand-up talks a lot about the balance of power during sex, she can also be crude, I guess. https://www.haaretz.com/life/.premium-why-do-so-many-conservatives-hate-amy-schumer-1.5451065

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  3. Wow, can't believe how many trips are offered. It would be hard to be bored in that town. Ha ha, think the nail file lady needs to rethink her defenses. I lock my doors but if a ill-intentioned soul got in, Callie would noisily greet him to death giving me time to make sure the gun is locked and loaded. Of course she just might annoy him back out the door making defense unnecessary.

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    1. Levi would happily greet any intruder but if a rabbit or cat ever comes in during the night he'd sound an alarm that could be heard two block over.

      Whatever makes a person feel safe is a good thing...a nail file, mace, a dog or an alarm system. I personally worry more about fire than intruders. I have two neighbors who have bonfires (legal here) and I worry the wind will stir them back to life in the middle of the night.

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  4. Beware The Death-Dealing Nail File! I usually stow the remote control under the pillow, so she's probably one up on me. Rick is half-deaf and never hears a thing, so if the bigass remote can't stop a bad guy, I'm a goner.

    Pets are judgy and vindictive, thanks to their reliance upon routine. We can be the same at times. Thanks for the reminder. ;-)

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    1. I have my emergency dialer on my bedside table in the charger. If I felt unsafe, I'd grab it and with the hold of the button I'm connected directly to the police or with a quick push of the button I'm connected to the emergency operator. A couple of times getting undressed I've accidentally pressed the button and, boy, were they quick with their "What is your emergency?" I got it when my husband died and it's my security blanket.

      I don't understand how dogs can tell time. I've tried fooling Levi---turning off the TV in case he's picking up on programs coming on or varying my routine. He still knows when 3:00 comes. I like routine, too, so I can'r fault him for that.

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  5. Oh that sounded like a fun day! My dog has an internal clock like that too. Funny creatures aren't they? The nail file could come in handy when she ties him up and files down his nails I suppose.

    I am not a big Amy Schumer fan, however I think this movie sounds like a light hearted fare that would be funny and make people think. It's a good message. Men don't like that she is successful and not a stick with big fake lips and boobs. I have actually heard men say that she shouldn't be famous because of her looks. Gee, Buddy Hackett was funny and he wasn't a looker. Look at all the men who are chubby, fat,bald and not so attractive by a certain standard, they get to be successful. (think Tommy lee jones, seth rogan,and the list is long!) Aargh!

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    1. Peggy, your comment about the nail file coming in handy to do the guy's nails would have fit right in with the humor flying around our table that day. I would have come back with, "And if he tied her up, the file could be used to file her way to freedom."

      Wow! I'd want to slug any guy who said a woman shouldn't be successful base on her looks, especially a comedian!

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  6. Busy, busy, busy! And fun! When did you start with the Gathering Girls? What a great group that has become. I want to see that movie as well. I've watched a comedy show featuring her and she is too crude for me, but this movie sounds light and funny. Thanks for the review!

    I haven't done any field trips with my senior center yet. They have a lunch bunch that visits a local restaurant that sounds interesting (saving me from parking!). I heard about a friend who does an every other week Circle of Purls knitting group at her church ... but I love her and we ALWAYS laugh, so I'm considering that. AND it's 2pm - 4pm I don't like the night driving either.

    Thanks for blogging!

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  7. I think the Gathering Girls started a year ago this month. It's rare to have humor in a group to mesh so well. None of us take ourselves too seriously. I think as widows we just have to keep putting our selves out there until we find the right fit. Took me four years.

    Amy is a little crude but this movie is rated pg14.



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  8. Another great post, Jean! I love your slice of life commentary and, of course, am a sucker for any tales you want to tell about Levi, the Mighty Schnauzer. Is there a breed that has as much personality as a Schnauzer? If there is, I haven't met them yet.
    You make me want to go see that movie now. I think the backlash against Amy Schumer and things like Me Too are about the group with power (white men) fearing that they are losing that power. And I hope that they are. It's about time (way past time, actually) for those with extreme privilege to realize it, and do something positive about it. There's more than enough of everything in this world to go around, and no need for those lucky enough to be born the "right" colour and "right" sex to hog it all.
    If women, gays, trans, people of colour etc. are all equal to the ruling group (white men), there is nothing "special" about them any more and they might have to try to get on in this world by their merit instead. And that will be frightening to many of them, I suppose. Hence the backlash.
    Whoops, bit of an early morning rant there, sorry! Will get off my soapbox now.
    Have a great day!

    Deb

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    1. Rant all you want, Deb. The idea that Amy Schumer is targeted by men's groups for doing the kind of humor she does ticks me off, too. Woman have been putting up with crude humor, etc., about woman for centuries. It's not my cup of tea but it takes nothing away from a REAL men to give women and others the same opportunities the good old boys have.

      Schnauzer sure have attitude, don't they.

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    2. They sure do, Jean! Pound for pound, they have the most courage of any dog breed. They are canine badasses. :-)

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  9. Good blog you've got here.. It's difficult to find quality writing like yours these
    days. I really appreciate people like you! Take care!!

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    1. Not sure if this is a spam reply or not...I've been getting a ton of them lately. But thank you if it's not. I usually only publish comments that are apparent the post the comment was left on was actually read.

      Others will tell me to quit allowing 'anonymous' replies and put a stop to the spam. I'd rather not do because some of my favorite commenters don't have google accounts. BUT I would like to ask people who comment 'anonymously' to sign their first name to their comment or initials.

      Also, comments asking questions about blog platforms, site designs, my webmaster and other off topic questions will not get published.

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  10. I'm a Conservative and Amy Schumer cracks me up!
    The only fear I have about living alone, is dying in the middle of the night and no one knowing for a month. No doubt the cats would have nibbled me down to bones by then.

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    1. I have the exact, same fear only it's the dog that would nibble me down to the bones. That fear in me will sometimes keep me awake at night! At least you have neighbors who'd miss you and your lawn and shoveling guy.

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  11. All this talk about safety and such wasn't really getting to me, until Judy metioned dying in the middle of the night. Since Dixie Rose died, I've refocused a bit. In only four hours she was gone, so it happens. All I can think is -- good grief. If I die in the middle of the night, what are people who finally come checking going to think when they see the house like THIS? My housekeeping has improved steadily, thanks to my cat.

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    1. I worry about the same thing...not so much with dying but just calling an ambulance and what the EMTs would think. We used to have an EMT for a neigh or and know she gossiped shamelessly about people's houses.

      Do you think you'll get another cat one day? There are so many out there who need a home.

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  12. I love Amy Schumer (did you know she is Sen Chuck Schumer's niece?) She can be a bit bawdy and she's definitely a pro-woman/equal right spokesperson, but in my experience of her it's not a man-hating thing (she is recently married and in deeply in love with her man), but a "don't diss women" thing. I just heard her on an hour long podcast on my most recent flight being interviewed by Oprah. She was engaging, funny, humble, serious, and devoted to her comedy as an avenue to lift up women's experiences. I know the movie got panned by some and I'm more eager to see it now that I've read your review.

    Home alone makes me anxious. But I have a monitored alarm system and the panic button and some sewing shears at the bedside. LOL

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  13. I didn't know that about Amy and Chuck! I never got the impression that her humor was at the expense of guys. She's a good actress and I think we're going to see a lot of grow in her comedy writing over the next few years.

    I would be afraid a guy would wrangle the shears out of hand and use them against me.

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    1. So true on the shears thing. False sense of security and too many movies where the item at hand successfully thwarts the bad guys. I'd never prevail, but in a panic I might try....if I could find them in the mess in my drawer. LOL

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    2. The one time i was in the that kind of situation i froze, was the "cooperative" victim which could have saved my life. fight of flight isn't always an option.

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  14. "Running of the Bulls!" Ha! I bet that would get my blood pressure up.

    I didn't know about alt-right men’s group doing that.

    We watch Bill Mahar. We record it and watch it Saturday morning because we're too lame to stay up late enough to catch it Friday night. :) I didn't know about the alt-right men's group doing that. And she has to deal with people from her own side, too - the "purity test." Nowadays, it isn't enough to be on the same side of an issue; you have to do it just the right way and say it just the right way or a group out there will be offended and come after you. Often people on your own team.

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    1. I don't stay up for Bill Mahar either but I see clips of his show often on Facebook. People have gotten so mean-spirited in recent years especially in politics where compromise has turned into a dirty word. How do we have a democracy without it?

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  15. Jean, I'm finally getting caught up on your blog after too long away. My aunt would have been one of the people to sign up for everything; she was amazingly gregarious.

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