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, July 11, 2018

Writing Prompts and Secret Blogs



I had to resort to looking at writing prompts to come up with a topic today. That won’t be true come Saturday, having several fun things on my day planner to report on by then. But today I’m still in a dry spell. So what writing prompt did I pick from the list of 365? I went with the one listed for July 9th…the day I’m actually writing this post which is: “Keep out! Who is the one person you hope isn’t reading your blog and why?” If you want to challenge the writer within---and I do---you can’t pick and choose the prompts that come easy for you.

I was, however, tempted to pick July 16th which was: “Dream home. You win a contest to build your dream home. Draft the plans.” I drew my first set of house plans when I was 13 or 14 and I haven’t stopped designing houses in my head and often on paper ever since. Dead center of my first house was a three stories high, round foyer containing a spiral staircase with a glass dome overhead. Two wings went off the foyer---one the formal living room and a library, and the other for the kitchen and dining room. Upstairs were four bedrooms and a massive landing overlooking the foyer. Kids. What do they know about anything? When I ran across those plans as an adult, the house looked like a brick prison with its flat roof and with all the windows at the back. Over the years my house planning aspirations have changed. The last set of plans I drew up since becoming a widow was a one bedroom house the size of a two car garage. But both my first and last imagery houses were built on Lake Michigan.

“Who is the one person you hope isn’t reading your blog and why?” It wasn’t my husband when he was alive and I was blogging on a stroke support site. I was writing about my experiences as his caregiver and I'd often read what I wrote to him as a way of communicating. And I have Oprah’s back-then fad of writing a gratitude journal to thank for finding humor in my upside down world. After Don’s stroke I was under enormous stress. He had lost his ability to walk, the use of his right arm and his speech. It took six months of speech therapy just to learn to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ and they weren’t reliable even at that, so having “conversations” literally took hours where I had to debate both sides of what we needed to do to move forward. He thought he was going to get his old life back and I knew that was impossible.

The other person in world who I really want to read my blog is oldest my niece and she often does. It keeps me striving to be fair, honest and without embellishments when I write about my family. I love her like a daughter and wouldn't most people want their daughters to understand where you’ve been and where you’re at in life? (Patience, I am getting to the list of those who I don’t want to read my blog.)

Only a few others have had a personal invitation to read my blog: 1) a friend I've had since I was five; 2) a friend I met through my husband 48 years ago; 3) one of my Red Hat Sisters and 4) one of my Gathering Girls pals. The two old friends are...well, everything you'd want in an old friend (except they both live out of state) and like my niece, the thought that they might see what I've written keeps me striving to be as accurate as possible when I share memories here. The Red Hatter is a writer of immense talent and she understands that you have to dive deep into your head to write memoir and journal-type stuff---spilling the good, bad and the ugly along the way. She's only read my blog a few times out of curiosity. My Gathering Girls friend may be reading more frequently but she’s a genuinely nice person who’d never intentionally hurt anyone by repeating something negative I might have written. Trust. The bottom line is I trust all these ladies not to use what they read here as gossip fodder.

As you can see, I don't make a habit out of inviting people in my offline life to read my blog although I make no secret of it. A link to my blog is even in my bio on Facebook but to the best of my knowledge only one person has actually found it buried in the fine print and have been here to read---Tim, the son-I-wish-I-had. Tim and I are extreme opposites in our politics and Pro-life/Pro-choice support. He’s very religious and I call myself an agnostic but we’ve had many respectful, in-depth conversations so I know he wasn’t and won’t be shocked or offended by anything he reads here. I can’t say that about most of the people I come in contact with in this very conservative county in West Michigan and I have not been willing to take that chance. Until the past few years, I’ve gone above and beyond to hide my opinions on controversial topics and core values. I'm still very careful. Why? Out of fear of being ostracized. If someone in the blog community doesn't like you based on your world views, they'll just move on and you’d never know about it. In person, it's more complicated.... ©

Easier said than done.

37 comments:

  1. I don't mix the two worlds anymore. With another blog long since gone, I did. I don't think anything came of it, but it made me sometimes more guarded, and frankly, what's the point of a blog if you have to guard your thoughts on it?

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    1. "Guarded" gets old and tiring in our offline lives and it is nice not to be that way in our blogs, isn't it.

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  2. I suggest you look up Center For Inquiry, they have monthly Wednesday night lectures at Women's City Club. I used to go fairly often.You'll find left leaning people there.

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    1. I keep forgetting about that group, Dean. I don't drive after dark and never downtown but I see they have something down on 44th St I could check out. If nothing else, it's good to be reminded there ARE others around who aren't the traditional G.R. thinkers I grew up with. I just 'followed' them on Facebook. Thanks!

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  3. Good morning Jean. Who don't I want to read my blog? Heck, I don't have that many bloggers reading my blog now but those that do, I so proud of them to even spend some time reading it just like you my friend. I would like to discuss things like politics or religion but I worry that I might lose the bloggers that I have now. Remember back I thought I had a blogger who I also sent two birthday cards, for her and her husband but just because I did a blog that dealt Mr. Trump, I lost her. Lets forget that one. I would like to send a birthday card to you but I don't have an address.
    Well I'm very happy that you allow me to read your blog and I can comment back. Thank you for that Jean.
    Have a great Wednesday. See ya.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. No doubt about it, Trump has caused a lot of bloggers like you and me to lose readers, but I confess to having quit reading another blogger who was gusting over the guy, so it all evens out in the wash.

      I know you make your own greeting cards and it's sweet of you to want to send me out. But there is no way to get my address to you without showing it to world. But that gives me an idea for a post you could write someday: Why not photograph some of your cards so all your blog followers can see your craftsmanship? You could also do a post where you show the various steps it takes to make a card.

      Does your spouse read your blog? I'm really interested in an answer to that question from you and all the other bloggers who see this.

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    2. Sometimes Mary Lou will read m blog. I've asked her to read it often but she just doesn't find the time to read it. She will especially I tell her that I've put her picture into it.LOL I understand your reasoning not placing your address. Could please just tell me when your birthday is. Maybe I could create a birthday card just for you on my blog. That sounds great. Does that sound good? See you my good friend in Michigan.

      Cruisin Paul

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    3. Better yet, make me Christmas card to put on your blog. That comes sooner than my birthday which is in April. And that's most I'll disclose in an open forum. My blog has been viewed 621,215 times and a few of those visitors were probably on fishing trips and I don't believe in making things easy for them.

      Have a good week, Paul.

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    4. I won't tell anyone Jean. Be sure of that. Christmas time it will be. And thanks for writing me back. See ya.

      Cruisin Paul

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    5. You might not tell but the dozens of other people who read the comment section here, and see what I wrote to you, might chip in and buy a skywriter to tell the whole state of Michigan. LOL

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  4. What I like about blogging is like you said. If you offend someone--they just disappear. I can't think of anyone I wouldn't want to read it and am just grateful for the few that do.

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    1. That really is freeing, isn't it. You have a good following on your blog and you are good at giving commenters something to response to.

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  5. Back when I was still teaching, I made sure my students had No Idea I had a blog. Still, I never mention the name of my school or my town or anything; privacy is a huge issue for me and especially for people who don't ask to be mentioned online.

    There's really no one who I worry about now reading my blog. My own mother reads it. If I ever get back to writing there--someday--I'll still be the same person I've always been. I haven't consciously censored myself writing there, unless you count trying to...rise above. Sometimes I don't want to add unnecessarily to the sniping, ugly discourse, so I try to be a little loftier.

    And yes, my husband reads my blog, though he rarely says much about it and does not leave comments.

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    1. I hope you come back to your blog someday. You have a unique writing style that I enjoyed.

      I get a kick out of husbands and wives who seem to use Facebook to communicate back and forth. Come on, you can't look across the room and say, "Happy Anniversary!" It never crossed my mind when I asked the question about spouses reading your blog that a follow up question about commenting could have been added.

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  6. Hi Jean,

    I hope if someone doesn't agree with me, they'll move on. That is what I do. But some bloggers get plagued by trolls. I've been lucky so far.

    Some of my family and friends read my blog but some don't. My late husband's sister does not know of my blog and I plan to keep it that way because sometimes I have to discuss what my married life was like, and what I found out about him after he died...and those things would hurt her memory of her brother as a good man. She's lost all of her close family and I just don't see why she needs to know the truth. It may have to come out someday, but I hope not.

    I used to write on my blog as if my mother was looking over my shoulder, but she's been gone for a few years now so now I can let 'er rip. Hehehe! After all, it's my blog - my online living room, as it were - so no one but me HAS to be there. If my foul mouth or my opinions offend thee, get the hell out and stay out, I say. ;-)

    Deb

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    1. When I first came into the widow's blog community, there was another blogger who had discovered the same thing about her husband as you did. I always thought it was a terrible situation to be in, having to balance a widow's needs to get the anger out so she could heal with the need to protect those who needed it. In her case, her young children's memory of their father. Thought you seem to have moved far past the anger stage, I'm glad you've had a blog to help you do that.

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  7. I share most of my blog posts on FB and developed a group of readers who only follow from there. And it's on the business card and such. But unless it's a specific post, I've never asked anyone to follow me in particular. Not knowing who's out there keeps me from being too snarky at times!

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    1. The topics of your blog have a wider appeal than the stream of consciousness stuff like mine. Who doesn't like food, decorating, nature, parties and the other stuff you share.

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  8. Another good blog post Jean. I also believe trust is very important----glad we have that in our friendship.

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    1. Thanks! I wish you didn't to go private with your blog. I don't seem to get the emails as soon as others.

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  9. I don't have a blog, but sometimes I wish I did. I don't know why really other than getting various thoughts and views in a sane respectful manner. But I'd be a little hesitant now with some of the hate that is spewed.

    I follow many blogs, as you know, but all are like minded to my views, but there is the occasional commenter that comes from the conservative side and often with such hateful vitriol that I wonder how these people live with such hate inside them.

    I can not handle blind willful ignorance and racism and trump supporters. I don't want them to ruin my otherwise peaceful serene life.

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    1. You can have a blog but not allow comments. However, that would take half the fun away. I have noticed a few people will turn off the comment feature on posts here and there that might draw in the rude responses. Writing stuff you know will be controversial, which on rare occasions I do, takes a certain mood because you know you'll have to respond to others who you might not agree with. That said, I've been lucky in that regard. All have been respectful.

      Blind ignorance and racism sure seems to be embolden does it, in the Trump era. I'm not sure that it's truly growing or they are just embolden to show it more.

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  10. This post has given me fodder for a post of my own on this topic! Thanks! I will say that if my friends didn't reach my blog I'm not sure who would. I have so few readers compared to you and almost no commenters, except you. Just not tied into the blogging community I guess. Mine was hidden from search engines for a long time because I feared strangers learning too much about my life (or even old high school dweebs popping up from the past), but I've opened it up now. Still no one is searching. LOL

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    1. I don't know how anyone finds blogs that are hidden from search engines which explains a lot about your blog, that I didn't know. For me, I just try to write in such a way that I'm not giving away the farm, so to speak. One of my blogger friends would be an identity thieves dream and it makes me cringe at her over sharing. Like you, she hides from the search engines so all her readers are invited but identity thieves often to know their victims so I see it as a false security.

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  11. I don't like being "private." It limits the people who can read my blog and prevents, or at least thwarts access for new readers, but I prefer to keep my blogging separate from my offline life, though I've never written anything that anyone I care about would find offensive or unfair. I just don't like to mix the two. I've done a blog for a friend's child and one about a historical pier that we tried to save, but I haven't updated them in years. They were public and labors of love. They were not about my life, thoughts, views, political leanings, etc...

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    1. Nothing I've ever read in any of your blogs would offend anyone...or give away the farm. LOL

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    2. For what it's worth, I miss your blog a lot. I may not have commented much but you were part of my morning round of blogs. I liked your writing style, content and your humor. Like Jean I don't remember anything offensive on your blog and it seems to my memory that you didn't even refer to your husband or kids by name, so you were certainly circumspect there. I'm sorry you feel the need to be private now but of course, that's your right and your choice. I do miss your humor, though. (much like Jean's, I might add) (and that's a compliment to you both!)

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    3. Pippa, I'll leave a comment on B.B.'s blog to read what you wrote here, just to make sure she sees it.

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  12. Oh heck! Just write what you feel and let the chips fall where they may. If someone doesn't agree, they won't be back to visit and that's okay. Or, are we going for "numbers"? I don't agree with you on anything political or religious, but I read your blog because I just like you. :-)

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    1. I agree, I often don't agree with you either but I really like reading a fellow Michigander and widow and you in particular.

      I do like the "numbers" but disagrees and controversies, I think, will drive up the view clicks, not drop them. But the disagreements and controversies zap your energy. You're going to love the weather this side of the state is sending your way for tomorrow.

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  13. Interesting topic. My blog is not exciting enough to attract many readers. At one time I would have worried about some of Bob’s family reading my blog but they’ve died. I guess now I’m just thankful for whoever bothers to read it.

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    1. First, I need to apologize for misnaming your husband in my last comment section. I plead brain freeze.

      When I was caregiving and keeping a blog about it, I would have loved to have Don's family read what all that we were going through. There are way too many people who think caregivers are handling it all and don't need a little moral or physical support from time to time. LOL

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  14. I really don’t give much thought to attracting numbers of readers. My family and friends all know of my blogging and how to,access my blog. They may occasionally read, never leave comments, but none of them are attracted to blogs as their interests are elsewhere. To the best of my knowledge I’ve never written anything I would mind any of them reading. I wouldn’t want to expend the time or energy worrying that what I said might hurt or offend them.

    Just as in my daily life I enjoy people with views different from my own as long as they’re civil about what is said. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of animosity that causes people difficulty in getting along with one another.

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    1. You know where I see a lot of animosity online? In the comment sections on YouTube videos. I watch a lot of cute animal videos of all things to be hostile on but also on news videos. Some people just can't watch anything without their partisan hats on.

      I wish some of my oldest friends would comment when they do read here but they'll send an email instead.

      I'm attracted to the blogs like yours where the topics are full of family gossip. Those are the kinds where I thing people get themselves in trouble.. At least that's my guess.

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    2. I don’t think of what I share about my family or friends as falling into the category of gossip. I do write of some memories, factual recollections of my perceptions, but nothing any living person and most dead ones I mention might be offended by. Gossip to me may or may not be true and most likely is negative though people can gossip/speculate about positive things. :-)

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    3. Oops. Rereading what I wrote above your comment, I see that I worded that all wrong. You don't write gossip at all! What I meant to say is that it's the people who write family gossip that are the ones who get themselves in trouble.

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