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, June 13, 2018

Deck Clutter, Body Scans and the Secret Service


I have turned into one of those old people I used to laugh at who has a yard full of cheap garden doodads and baubles. I don’t have flamingos, plaster ducks and gnomes like my childhood neighbors did but on my side deck, just outside the window where I sit typing, I have junky dollar store stuff and plants that have no coordination except I liked them when I saw them at the garden center. A large pot of pink geraniums sits on one side of the deck railing clashing with my dog’s red fire hydrant on the other side. On top of the railing, a huge plastic flower that spins in the wind is dominating a pot full of moss roses and next to a large thermometer hanging on the railing is a fruit jar solar light and a red mystery plant I bought hoping it calls out to the hummingbirds, "Fine dining here!" In my defense, I won that spinning daisy somewhere. I liked it better when it was bright pink but even sun faded, it still fascinates me when it takes off at warp speed. If I lived near a wind turbine farm, I’d probably be zoned-out hypnotized with the slightest breeze.

Up close to the window are two potted tomato plants and a pot of lettuce. A few days ago I suspected that the rabbits had discovered my lettuce because I noticed chewing on the lower leaves. Imagine my surprise when I discovered my dog chomping away on my future salad! He’d better leave my tomato plants alone! If the number of blooms equals the number of tomatoes I’ll get 36 on the Chef Jeff’s Tomato Grape and three on the Chef Jeff’s dwarfed premium patio plant. My sweet basil, mint plant and pot of pansies round out my ‘container garden’ and they all are sitting next to a white plastic chair where I can sit and hide behind a large rail-hugging container that holds a sweet potato plant and some colorful foliage plants I can’t spell at the moment and am too lazy to look up. And have I mentioned the upside down wine bottles inserted in a plant? In my defense I have another deck and a patio that are nearly naked. Apparently I like my outdoor clutter where I can see it…or more importantly where other people can’t see it and laugh at the old lady on the cul-de-sac. I've posted photos below so you can laugh, if you want. What goes around, comes around.

Now that I’ve filled half my Wednesday word quota up with a tour of my deck, it’s time to get down to how my week is going so far. I started out Monday in fine old people form, arriving for an appointment to see my new dermatologist at 11:45 when the appointment was actually scheduled for 1:45. Oops. But I got lucky and their 1:45 appointment canceled as I was leaving and they hustled me back in to fill up the doctor’s time. Quickly, I got nearly naked for a stranger with a magnifying glass to do a full body mole scan. I’ve had four basal cell carcinomas removed so this procedure is recommended every year and he found nothing but a common rash “we all get as we age,” he says. He called in a prescription so I can quit going around itching the back of my ear and my belly. I was glad I had a professional pedicure last week because he checked in between and underneath my toes which my old skin doctor never did in the five years I’d gone to him. The new doctor is also 20-25 pounds overweight, a nice perk to have in a doctor who is going to see your unclothed body. If he had been drop dead cute like a TV doctor or too old to care if I die of skin cancer in between my toes, I wouldn’t have left his office feeling like Goldilocks finding just the right bowl of porridge.  

Tuesday I was at the dentist for my real 11:45 appointment of the week. Yup, I had them reversed in my dyslexic brain. He’s now the only doctor I have who I have to take the expressway and a long drive to see. And that’s saying something when I have an ear doctor, ophthalmologist, allergist, internist and orthopedic doctor plus a skin doctor, dentist, chiropractor and a foot doctor. Remember the good old days when one doctor and a dentist did it all? Gosh, does that date me! The last half of my week will include my Book Club and the Lunch and Movie Club so hopefully I’ll have something interesting to think about, if not to write about.

I did just finish the new James Patterson book that he co-wrote with Bill Clinton titled, The President is Missing. I read it in two days--- couldn’t put it down if that tells you anything. I saw an interview of these two guys and they said the book is an accurate representation of how the Secret Service works which is the reason I wanted to read the thriller in the first place. If that’s true---and I have no reason to doubt them---I’m impressed with how these highly skilled people work to keep our elected officials safe, not to mention the “toys” they have at their disposal. But to my non-liberal readers be forewarned that there was a little bit of “preaching” the kumbaya method of governing at the end of the book when the president gives an address to Congress but, to me, it just balanced out the tribalism that was peppered here and there in the plot and most certainly in our nightly cable news. ©

geranium
dwarf tomato, basil and lettuce after picking
pansies
wine bottles
wind spinner
chef Jeff's tomato grape
Levi thinks he's a hummingbird
bird feeder pole turned into a wind chime stand

36 comments:

  1. Your patio flowers and veggies are beautiful. Levi is pretty cute too. :-)
    I was curious about the book too. I don't care for James Patterson's writing but I was curious. I think that would be one for me from the library so I don't have to buy it.

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    1. Getting the book from the library is a good idea. If I hadn't been desperate for something to read, I would have done that. I've read 4-5 of Patterson's Alex Cross books and after Along Came a Spider I quite reading him. This book felt different, you could hear Bill's voice in the book, kind of editorializing about government from time to time and a lot less blood and guts detail than I remembered from his other books. Patterson's ability to write great cliffhangers was great. I didn't guess true traitor in the White House until it was revealed.

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  2. I think your deck decor is great! I say whatever puts a smile on your face! And it's very cheery too.

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    1. It is cheery and it makes me smile. That pinwheel daisy especially fascinates me...how on earth did someone way back when figure out how to harness its energy to do all the things windmills and wind turbines can do?

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  3. Colourful deck, and beautiful pix. It doesn't look cluttered at all.

    I've read John. Patterson and his Alex Cross series, and didn't think much of them. I found the plots far-fetched. (Thought having said that, far less far-fetched than current real life, so I should take that back). When I first read about the co-authored novel, I'd thought Bill Clinton was lending his name/fame for gain, despite the claims of co-authoring. From your description, it appears not. Now, I'll have to check it out - hope the Library has a copy.

    PS I can relate to the mixed up appointment dates - almost missed a flight, and double booked a medical appointment. ~ Libby




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    1. I'll bet they have a good time writing this book. Bill does write as well as he's worked with other authors but this was his first adventure into to fiction. I would like to see these two do another collaboration along the same lines.

      Trust me, my side deck is cluttered but I agree, it's colorful. LOL

      That would have been an expensive mix up to miss a flight!

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  4. your garden is amazing!!! And I think I might have the same pink geraniums, but not nearly as big as yours! Congrats on your clean skin bill of health (well, at least re skin cancer.) I'm a big James Patterson fan, except for one I had to stop reading about a 1/4 of the way in because it was too sadistically sexually violent/descriptive, but I don't recall the name. It was set in Taiwan or somewhere in the Pacific, centered around a little old, grumpy detective. Sorry, that's the best I can do. I need to get back to the Women's Murder Club. Think I'm at #9.

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    1. I stopped reading him when he got too much into the sadistically sexually violence, too, but I don't recall a book plot like you're decreeing. I've discovered I do like the political intrigue kind of thrillers if anyone has an recommendations.

      I looked for red geraniums but they were few and far between when I was at the garden center.

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  5. First of all, I think your photos are wonderful.Now what's this naked story with a doctor. Ha,ha,ha.
    This new book The President is Missing sounds great. Every time I read your blog and found out about a book that you've read, I have to read it also. Your choices are always great. I'm reading a book titles " Tiger Woods " and wow, is it interesting. This guy may be the greatest golfer but man was he a jerk involving human beings. This book shocked me.
    My deck is 28 by 16. It's long and has two deck, an upper and a lower. I have to have 10 boards changed. Oh well.
    Have a great day Jean.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. I read that latest 'Tiger Woods' book too and I came away with the same, shocked reaction. But the author also did a good job of describing how he got that way so in the end I just felt very sorry for Tiger and I wish him well. All the money in the world can't buy you good, loving parents and a regular childhood.

      I have one board to change on my deck and now I don't feel so bad, knowing you have ten!

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    2. Regarding Tiger, I've noticed he has changed for the positive. He's more caring about the fans and he does things now that he never did years ago. I guess going through many operations and not being sure how he would be, he's probably happy that he can play golf again. I do hope that does well. I'm still pleased with what he can do on the golf course. See you Jean.

      Cruisin Paul

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    3. Me, too. Paul. I don't follow golf but I do follow Tiger and my reason for that will be clearer in my next blog. It's enough now to say my dad was a huge fan.

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  6. Your plants are beautiful. Wish I had beautiful plants on my patio but I don’t. Perhaps I should get busy and do something about that.

    Our son is blond, fair skinned, and subject to skin cancer. Always has to be alert and watching.

    I’ve thought more about your post of being bored and melancholy. I can see your point now. Yes, if I didn’t have my children I would no doubt experience worse than boredom and melancholy. How far do you live from your brother, and your neices? I don’t see my children every day.but I’m usually in contact with them. I’m the queen of texting. I also have my sister-in-law in Texas that I talk to by phone every day. Not sure what I would do if I had no one.

    I’ve been waiting to see what you had to say about the Clinton/Patterson book. I’ve struggled with whether to read it or not. I’m actually not a mystery fan but like you, I’m intrigued by political mysteries, and would like to see if I can pick up the parts written by Bill Clinton. Apparently he actually wrote a substantial part of it. Right now I can only handle audible books and there are many complaints about the narrator of this one. I’ll take another look and see what I think.

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    1. My entire family lives over an hour away, in the boondocks and they never come to the city. We talk and text occasionally but not often. When I first became a widow I seriously tried to find a place to live closer but my entire social life is tied to the senior hall up here and moving probably wouldn't have gotten me anymore time with my family anyway. Not ruling it out but not before I actually need an assistance living place.

      I thought it was easy to pick out the parts Bill wrote, just a touch of non-fiction "styling" that you don't find in fiction. They took bits and pieces from various political figures (like McCain's prisoner of war history) and gave them to characters in this book and it was fun to see if you could figure that aspect of the writing, too.

      I couldn't concentrate on reading when I was where you are at on Widowhood Street. It takes time. Lots of time! Be patient with yourself.

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    2. Take a look at ‘The Hellfire Club’ by Jake Tapper, CNN Chief Washington Corrrespondent. That one is set in DC in the 50’s, the time period of Joe McCarthy, another dicey time in America’s history. I don’t remember if it’s listed as mystery or thriller but it sounds interesting.

      By the way, I got the Clinton/Patterson book in the audible edition.

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    3. Thanks for mentioned that book. I also thought it looked interesting.

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    4. Just had to let you know the President in the Clinton/Patterson book has a blood disorder diagnosis of immunethrombocytopenia, also called Idiopathicthrombocytopenia, or ITP. That was Bob’s diagnosis.

      I’m dying to find out how they came up with that. I just about freaked out as I began to recognize symptoms. When the diagnoses was given I just about leaped out of my chair.

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    5. What are the odds of that coincident?

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  7. I love your garden. And when you see the post I do later this week or early next about mine you'll understand why. I have no judgment call about an assortment of pots or blooms because, well, I'm pretty assorted myself! And yours look terribly healthy which is good.

    Unfortunately, I have a cute dermatologist so I find it absolutely mortifying to go for my check. It is, however, good incentive to not look that bad next year. We'll see.

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    1. I would hate having a cute dermatologist! But I get how that could work in your favor as incentive...

      Can't wait for your garden post.

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  8. I think your garden looks gorgeous. And I am most partial to that furry ornament of yours! ;-)

    Deb

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    1. It's actually his deck that he let's me use. LOL

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  9. I have no flowers on my porch this year. First time ever in my life. My container tomatoes are doing swell though and my cucumber vine climbing the trellis in another pot.My perennial gardens are growing out of their minds. I don't know if it was the late spring or all the rain we got, but they are looking fantastic and the plants seemed to have doubled in the amount of blossoms.

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    1. My neighbor just put her salsa garden in this past weekend. It's been too cold for the little plants she's been nursing in a greenhouse. My flowering plants in other parts of the are going well too.

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  10. Levi looks considerably less flighty than a hummingbird.

    I like that your deck is a private, personalized sanctuary that you've arranged for your own comfort and pleasure. It's a nice retreat for you. After all, isn't that what our gardens really are, carefully curated selections of Nature?

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    1. My front front patio and back deck are fish bowls and I never sit out there. By my side deck are three huge white pine trees so it's very private. I used to have some flowers on my other patio and deck and thought why bother when I only saw them to water.

      Levi actually smells that plant often. LOL

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  11. I think your flowers are glorious, especially the pansies. I don't understand the upside-down wine bottle, though. Is there a purpose there that I've never bumped up against? Or is it just a bit of humor?

    My own balcony is in serious need of decluttering, cleaning, and a bit of repair, which the management will have to tend to. After all that, I might try a few flowers again -- or not. Summer's a hard time, given my WNW orientation. There's a lot of hot, direct sunlight. My cacti thrive, but I'm going to have to be really picky about anything else. Desert plants probably are the way to go.

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    1. Upside down wine bottles. Google images of 'wine bottles in gardens' sometime. Some wine bottle "art" is very humorous, others just plan pretty. People use them to outline garden paths, hang in trees, put all over the place for color or "art." My three bottles in the plant came about because I had three solar lights that didn't work anymore and was looking for a recycling use for them and wine bottle tops fit perfectly. I have a basket of wine bottles in my "seashore porch." In my imagination the bottles washed up on the ocean shore and I picked them up along with all the sea shells I collect. (In truth, I found the bottles at recycling.)

      I'll bet you get good sunsets to off set the lack of plants that thrive on your deck.

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  12. Your deck and garden decorating is gorgeous Jean. I am especially partial to the furry ornament next to the red flowers. :-)

    Deb

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    1. He's protecting that red plant. He seems to like it a lot because he's always smelling it.

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    2. Sorry for the double comment. I didn't think the first one worked!

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    3. For some reason your logo didn't appear so it was easy to overlook.

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  13. LOVE the photos! So pretty and festive and uplifting to see out your window and hanging out on your deck. I;m eager to read that book too! I just have an aversion to buying hardbacks, or even the Kindle version, to read once and forget. Cheap, I guess. Neither of those guys needs the royalties. LOL

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    1. It really bothers me that Kindle books often cost more than paperbacks. They should be cheaper! I hate that I can't underline in them...well, I guess you can but it's too much trouble.

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  14. Hi, Jean.It's been six years since I visited a blog of yours. It was the old one when you were The Aphasia Decoder. I just stumbled across an old comment on my own blog and discovered you're writing once again. What a find!
    I was compelled to put finger to keyboard when you said about the skin doctor looking between your toes. My brother was checked the other day and he said the doctor didn't look anywhere intimate and, worse, didn't check between the toes. Your doctor must be wonderful.

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    1. I remember you! Nice to see you again! I was really pleased that my new skin doctor checked my feet after having one who didn't.

      I see you're still keeping a dog blog. I'll have to check it out.

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