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, July 21, 2018

Great Summer Social Outings


I’ve been to many places this week where old people conjugate and let me tell you I was a little shocked at how---well, how old we all looked! At the senior hall ice cream social a field of white hair was all I saw when I first walked into the place. Then my artist eyes zeroed in on wrinkled and saggy skin and plump bodies with lumps, bumps and skin tags not to mention knobby knees and puffed up feet in sensible shoes. Of those who weren’t overweight or out of shape there were a few ladies who looked like death warmed over. And if you look that way here’s a fashion tip: don’t wear those god-awful ‘cold shoulders’ dresses! You have to work out at a gym to look good in those. One women who last year at this same event was showing off her new eyelids lift surgery I hardly recognized this year because the skin on her face was like a blow-up plastic doll’s and not in a good way. I don’t know what kind of cosmetic surgery she had this time but it was proof positive you can’t turn back the hands of time. That day and the next at a Red Hat Society garden party they started out by announcing the grave illnesses and impeding deaths of a couple of delightful women. “Send prayers,” they said and I thought, I’ve got to quit hanging around with people my own age! They scare the crap out of me, reminding me that the damn funeral bells could toll for me next!

The garden party was a crack-of-dawn breakfast planned during our recent heat wave but that morning I could have used a sweater. Half the ladies were directed to bring ‘savory’ and half of the group was directed to bring ‘sweet.’ The orange juice was spiked with champagne, the coffee was strong and just the way I like it. There were twelve of us so I was in sweet-tooth heaven with all the cranberry-walnut bread, donuts, date strudel, pecan rolls and baked French toast. I was assigned to bring savory and---surprise, surprise---everyone raved about the mini tarts I made. I’ve been bringing mini tarts to everything that requires a dish to pass since last Christmas and I’m getting pretty good at inventing fillings for them. These were filled with a spinach, artichoke and Parmesan dip that was cut with equal parts of whipped cream cheese and mixed with chopped bacon and dates. I’ll probably make mini tarts again for a summer picnic next month but I’ll have to bring ‘sweet’ to that party so I’ll probably experiment with lemon curd tarts topped with raspberries stuffed with almond paste or blueberries because half the fun of making tarts is testing combinations and eating the rejects.

Somewhere in my busy week I found time to see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom which was actually the results of a mistake on my part. A Gathering Girl friend and I had intended to see Won’t you be my Neighbor? in a tourist town near-by, but the listing on the internet I read for an AMC theater was for a showing in a town with the same name in a different state. The ticket seller says it happens from time to time but it was still embarrassing. Jurassic World was the only thing starting soon and tickets in that theater are only $4.50 so we went inside on a spur-of-the-moment decision and had a good time. It had a darker, more sinister storyline and ending than the original Jurassic Park but it was fast paced, scary-as-in-I-screamed-out-loud-a-couple-of-times and the movie had the cutest leading actors who stole my heart with flashes of humor and romance. Chris Pratt was paired with Bryce Dallas Howard (Ron Howard’s daughter, who I didn’t know was in the business. What a beautiful woman.)

Chris got his start in the TV series Parks and Recreation and in the storyline of the film he and Bryce's character used to date and were thrown back together. My favorite lines came when he was asking about who she was dating now. “A lawyer? A Wall Street guy?” he guessed. “Your skin looks great. A dermatologist?” If they could bottle up that flirty, sparkle in his eyes and the tease in his voice I’d buy a fifty gallon drum of that charisma and wallow in memories of being young enough to have flirty eyes and a voice like that aimed in my direction.

By Thursday all the fun stuff was over for the week and I was in caregiver mode taking care of Levi. He’s always been a wimp about getting his annual teeth cleaning and this time he got three teeth pulled as well and he cost me over $1,000! We’ve gone through this seven times now and it doesn’t get any easier. He doesn’t handle pain well and he’s been known to pass out for unknown reasons. Poor baby. And the patch they shave where his IV line got poked in his leg annoys the heck out of him and I think he blames me for the whole ordeal. Hopefully, by the time this post gets published the ‘mighty’ should be back in Levi my _______ Schnauzer. In the meantime I'll be fluffing his pillow and dispensing his meds. ©


36 comments:

  1. My best wishes to Levi. I hate going to the dentist. I feel his pain.
    You're right about people our age. I always think someone looks old only to learn that they're my age or younger. These days, I don't like what I see in the mirror. A little more exercise and a lot less delicious food is in order. You did have a busy week. I would never have thought about going to see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. I did see the very first Jurassic Park. That was back in 1993. Is that possible? Yikes! Now I'm old enough to be one of the dinosaurs. :/

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  2. It was 1993. I never would have gone to see this one if not for my blunter and, like I wrote, the plot was more sinister with more bad guys in it, but was a fun few hours. That's the second time we've picked a movie on the spur of the moment and we enjoyed them both.

    Levi is doing much better today, but he doesn't want to eat the soft stuff he's supposed to eat for two weeks, so we have some fighting to do in our near future---him begging, me apologizing. I guess teeth problems are common with schnauzers and other dogs with lots of facial hair.

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  3. Pretty soon Levi is going to need false teeth! 7 teeth pulled??? Just think how you'd feel if you had 7 teeth pulled!! Poor little pup!
    I went to the Senior Center here in town about 6 years ago and felt like a youngster. They are too old for me! It's like visiting a nursing home. All a reminder of my future I guess. It seems most of the women think the more make-up they use, the better they look. The men with their dyed hair that turned out a reddish color. I felt like I had walked into a clown convention. Nope--not for me.

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    1. It was three teeth this time but he's had as many as seven pulled at one time. He doesn't have that many left but the vet assures me he can get along okay. We're working at saving his four big chewing molars.

      Our center hall has a LOT of activities including physical exercise daily and no where near a nursing home but I hadn't been there in a while and it really hit me when I walked in the door how old we all looked (and I include myself in that). LOL

      I'm actually afraid to wear make-up for fear of looking like a clown. The problem is so many of us have the beginnings of cataracts which dulls our sense of colors so what we think is just right reads too bright to others. Don't get me started on men who dye their hair. LOL

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  4. In a lot of cases, I think women who try to look young, actually look older. The plastic surgery makes them look absolutely hideous too.
    To me, we should age gracefully...not get too fat, but a bit heavier is better than skeletal...some light makeup and keep those brows plucked... a bit of hair color that looks natural unless you have that gorgeous silvery or white hair...dress in style and neat but not try to mimic the young...and don't act like old fuddy duddies...keep it simple....
    Hope Levi feels good soon! My friends have a darling Schnauzer named Annabelle.

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    1. I love the name Annabelle for a dog...or child. Levi is mostly sleeping but was very interested in the plumber who came yesterday.

      I agree with you about plastic surgery. The woman I wrote about has had them all. I doubt she can still smile.

      I have not aged gracefully, I wish I had. More power to those of you who have done as Mary outlines.

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  5. Criminy, that was some vet bill. Mighty Dog's reconstructed knee only cost $1200. Glad I live in tiny town.
    Sorry you missed seeing "Won't you be my Neighbor" (I hear it is great) but glad you manage to enjoy Jurassic Park.

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    1. If Levi needed knee reconstruction I might be vet shopping around. I can't image what the place I go would charge. They are animal, full service hospital that I can practically walk there and that was the big selling point for me. No matter the weather I can get there.

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  6. I love your blog, but I believe everyone is entitled to age the way they want to age. While my (long--another age no-no) hair is the silvery color that people compliment, if it were mouse grey, I still wouldn't color it, and I've almost never worn makeup as an adult. Don't get me started on fat shaming. Shouldn't we as women support other women who want to age differently from us? There are enough men in the world who pick apart women's looks at any age.

    Sheila

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    1. Point well taken, Sheila. I didn't mean to fad shame anyone but you are right, that's probably the way my post came off sounded. Since I'm one of the ladies with gray hair and a lumpy, bumpy over weight body I was including myself. And I wasn't kidding about viewing that gaggle of women with an artist's eye. I would have liked to whip out some charcoal and start drawing. When I looked around the room I was reminded of some of the models we had in life drawing classes years ago....faces, hands and bodies with lots of lines and character.

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  7. You really ARE the social butterfly these days! Good for you. One couple here has suggested monthly movies ... but they talk through everything and I don't think I could handle that. At this age I have to pay attention! But maybe a lunch bunch.

    Poor Levi (and Momma!) Have you ever thought about having him on a raw food diet? Our 12 year old guy has tons of grey hair but sparkle in his eyes!

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    1. I'm doing all I can now because come winter I won't be able to do much of anything.

      I think a lunch and a movie group makes more sense than just one or the other because it takes less planning and coordination than having two groups. Some will go to the movie and not the lunch, some the other way around and some will do both and then next month do the oppose depending on how much time they've got or what movie is picked.

      Raw food diet for dogs? I don't know what that means. It's not the food that is causing his gum disease. It's bacteria in the mouth that comes from having a fury face. Even humans with full beards have more teeth issues. Right now, Levi gets his hard dog food soaked in water to soften itbut in two weeks the vet wants him back on hard foods because they hard foods help keep the tarter at bay.

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  8. This post made me laugh. Wish you lived in my neck of the woods. Jackie

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    1. Good! Humor was exactly what I was going for, especially in the first half and it's always a relief when someone sees something I've written the same way I meant it to be taken.

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  9. Poor Levi. It’s rough being a dog in this modern age. I find watching people to be a frightening experience at times. I wonder if some of the women do not have mirrors at home. Surely they would not appear in public is they’s Looked in the mirror.

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    1. I think mirrors are fine and plentiful. It's the eyesight that fails us. LOL

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  10. It was Mary, the commenter, who had an interesting definition of aging gracefully. I’m with Sheila; My looks are my natural aging without any dyes or embellishments! I have even stopped wearing jewelry.
    It is difficult in retirement to not be with groups of similar ages unless you are really involved in diverse community activities. And most of our hair is white and most of our faces look our ages so we are a sea of older people. But I do remember many years ago, arriving at the playground at school to pick up my daughter and it was a sea of young children and it took me a while to find the face I was looking for! It needn’t be depressing to notice all our old faces. We are full of experiences and memories. We are life lived!!
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. When I was out to lunch with the Gathering Girls this week I made a comment/observation that we all had such interesting and varied life stories. There is something different about being with your own peer age than being with younger people who often make me feel older and less included.

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  11. Hi Jean,

    Sorry to hear of Levi's troubles. Hope he will be Mighty again soon!

    I used to think Mother Nature was being kind, diminishing our eyesight at the same time and speed as our youthful beauty fades...but when it comes to our grooming that is another story. That is when I wish my eyes were stronger! I'm not too terribly vain (I think) but I don't want to go out with a bunch of bristles on my chin for everyone to notice. So it's a 10X mirror in the bathroom for me! :-)

    Deb

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    1. Chin hairs are the worst! I usually find them in the car's mirror when the light is coming in from all directions. It's happened so often I keep a pair of tweeters in the glove compartment.

      Levi is back to his normal self but doesn't seem to understand the rule about having not getting his 3:00 screw stick for two weeks, so we'll be fighting about that.

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  12. Sorry for being so late Jean. I spent two days watching golf, the Open in Scotland. I jut finished watching it and guess what? THe Italian golfer won.
    Your first paragraph so of told me that you better find another better group of women before they are talking about you. LOL
    I want to see the Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom myself and Mary Lou said that she would go with me. We both want to Mama Mia #2. I love musical. Well that's it for today my friend. See ya.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. Glad you like the outcome of the tournament!

      Oh, I'm sure I'm already talked about and the women who always wears black pants. LOL

      I'm not fond of musicals but I'm going to see Mamma Mia on Tuesday so probably by next Saturday I'll be writing about it. Thanks for stopping by.

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  13. Our bodies wearing out isn’t a pretty sight so better to laugh about it than sit around bemoaning what can’t be prevented. Glad your pooch is coming along okay. You’ve sure had a wide variety of caregiving experience. Think really have to pick and choose at some of these Sr. Center offerings to find desirable activities and participants.

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    1. They have so many things in our senior newsletter to pick from---16 pages worth. Lots of off Broadway plays, walking tours, lectures, exercise classes and day trips. If you can't find something there, you aren't really looking.

      I agree...better to laugh than to cry.

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  14. I love lemon curd (Mum used to make it), so I’d be queuing for your lemon tarts.

    Ageing is what you make of it. Jane Fonda looks fantastic, good on her! with the aid of plastic srgery. Ditto JK Rowling (though she’s years younger).

    I’m lumpy and dumpy myself. It’s exercise (and being happy) - rather than a restricted diet (do I really want to be on my deathbed thinking I should have had those Delilah pastries?!) - that is my aim now. Sadly, I slack off in both areas.

    Ouch, a pet, and children, are expensive!! I was just reading an article about the BILLIONS that the Chinese (from the one-child policy era) lavish on their pooches. ~Libby

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    1. That's interesting about the Chinese and their pets. I never would have guessed that.

      Have you tried lime curd? I bought some at Trader Joe's but I haven't used it yet. It was pricy.

      With Jane Fonda keeping her body fit has always been part of career requirements and she spends a lot of time each day doing it. The average person can't afford to as she does. But boy does she look great!

      Since the doctor started messing around with my thyroid in the spring, I've lost all hope of ever dieting or exercising again. It just seem so hopeless to loss my lumpy weight.

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  15. It's not just the Chinese who are extravagant with their pets. Americans, according to the APPA, spend a total of $23.04 billion on pet food, $14.39 billion on supplies/OTC medicine, $15.73 billion on vet care, $2.19 billion on live animal purchases and $5.24 billion on pet services like grooming and boarding annually.
    And even when they tighten their spending, they cut down on alcohol and going out, but not on their pet expenditures.

    Around here, there are lots of dog bakeries, and in several communities, the patio areas of restaurants and brewpubs are allowing patrons to bring their dogs into the seating areas.

    I read with great interest your opening paragraph about your perspective of being in areas where lots of older people congregate and thinking they all look so much older. My husband often says that about someone: "I went to high school with him! He looks way older than me!" Now I wonder...!

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    1. If I added up all the money I spend on Levi, I'd scare myself. And it's not luxury dog stuff...I'm talking food, tick and flea meds, license, yearly check up and shots. Dog bakeries don't stay in business around here. A few have come and gone.

      I didn't mean to suggest the people at the senior hall looked older than I am. I just hadn't seen many of them for 6-9 months and, boy, have some of them changed in that short length of time. It's a common joke that people in our peer age bracket age that we don't at the same rate. Not true but whatever it takes to make us feel better....LOL

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  16. Ah poor Levi. I hope you both survive this.

    As for the plumped up face. That is way too much fillers. I see that look all the time. It looks silly. I understand completely wanting to look your best but is that your best really? It will relax and look better in 6 months. :-)

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    1. He's pretty much back to normal except for begging for hard treats he can't have for another week. The soft ones aren't cutting it in his book.

      I wondered if that plumped up face was results of fillers. It was shocking, she looked awful but she's a really nice person. I don't get the whole plastic surgery addiction, but I think she is. I've known her since she was a kid and has always been known for her beauty. I'll probably see her at the Christmas party so I'll be interested to see if the fillers do relax. Didn't know that.

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  17. Ron's daughter has been in the business for a long time, actually. LOL And Chris Pratt, you need to see the other Jurassic movies and the Guardian of the Galaxy movies. But you know, in Parks & Rec he was a lumpy, dumb loser. About 180 degrees from how he looks now and the characters he plays now. :)

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    1. I've probably seen her before but just didn't make the connection her father, "little Ronnie Howard." LOL

      Okay, I'm going to start stalking Chris Pratt films.

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  18. You've had a week. I'm glad you were able to get out and have fun before having to deal with Levi and the teeth! It's always SO expensive. And you're right about large senior groups. That's why I love my hairdresser. Someday I'll fess up. Till then, no way.

    Thanks for all your visits! Do check out the Red Notebook! It's fun. And very sweet.

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    1. You have a great hairdresser. And I'll never tell. LOL

      I got the book saved in my wish list at Amazon. I like to wait until I need to accumulate more points before I order.

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  19. Hi Jean! I'm behind in reading your blog. Love this one. I have to admit I get tired of my age cohort at times. You know me -- all about the anti ageism (I use that word cuz I know you hate it. LOL), but I long for more intergenerational experiences more often. We had friends over for dinner last week and I swear 95% of the conversation was about ailments, illness, and doctors. Ugh!

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    1. I know. I wish some teenager would adopt me for a grandmother so I could hear silly conversations more often and learn who to put eyeliner on.

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