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, September 26, 2018

When the Past Becomes Part of the Present


I spent two afternoons this weekend cleaning, purging and organizing my garage and I ended up with two boxes of stuff to take to Goodwill, a large bag and cardboard to take to recycling and other stuff to throw out. It doesn’t sound like much but I was proud of myself. It was messy out there in the land of e-Bay shipping and empty boxes. One of those boxes I took to Goodwill contained 20-25 books about the Vietnam War and, yes, I’d read every one of them back in days when I was trying to understand what our soldiers went through over there. Things happened in that phase of my life that to this day I have never talked or written about, but I am at peace with letting those secrets stay buried. Letting go of that box was an acknowledgement that old and deep wounds have finally healed. However, it wasn’t lost on me that while I was ceremonially letting go of another piece of my past, Mr. Trump was tweeting: “I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents.” The Pussy-Grabber-in-Chief doesn’t have a clue about why and for how long women keep secrets about ‘he said/she said’ situations---even when (and maybe especially because) they thought their lives were in danger. 

Another box that I sorted and mostly threw out were photographs that were my husband’s---of his friends before we met and from GM, of his collections and heavy equipment and a mishmash of landscapes. He took a lot of photos and I only kept five-six including one of his favorite childhood cow (above). I hate the fact that photographs can’t go in paper recycling bins, so I ended up filling a 13 gallon kitchen trash bag up so they didn’t have to get mixed in with the nasty stuff that ends up in the garbage collection truck. Ya, I know I’m fooling myself because that bag of photos probably got busted before the truck got to the end of the block. If I had a fireplace, I would have burned them and found out afterward that there’s some kind of toxic fumes released by doing so. Oops. And did you know, you can’t put shredded paper in with your paper recycling? The pieces are too small for their machines to process. And while I’m sharing what I learned recently, you can’t put photo slides, CDs or floppy disks in recycling bins either unless they are specially designated bins for video equipment. 

Something else I kept from that box of photos, what I still can’t get rid of, was my husband’s report cards from kindergarten through high school. Silly, I know, but the envelope doesn’t take up much room and I find the teacher remarks both sweet and funny because they show that Don’s core personality hadn’t changed since he was a little boy until he died. “Don is friendly boy.” Don has good manners.” “Don talks too much in class.” “Don is bright.” “Don constantly needs to be reminded to remove his hat when he comes inside.” Can you imagine a teacher today making a notation on a report card that as parents you need to work on getting your son to take his hat off when he’s inside buildings? I still haven’t been able to get rid of Don’s favorite hat, either, his Stetson cowboy hat that he wore out West and whenever he was totally happy with his world. Does a widow’s work ever end? Not for overly sentimental types like me. If I had been a Native American Indian in the Old West I would have had a heavy pouch full of pebbles, feathers, hair and other reminders of people or places that I didn’t want to forget. I don’t travel ‘light’ through life. 

I’ve got one more afternoon to spend in the garage before I’ll be satisfied with leaving it behind for the winter. I’ve got cabinets that I want to sort and downsize. One is full of yard and garden stuff, another is full of floral vases and seasonal decorations, another is full of kitchen appliances, etc, and one cabinet contains stuff I've identified as things to sell on e-Bay. I dread sorting the vases most of all. I love flowers. They were a part of my working years for twenty years. Love having the perfect vase for all sorts of flowers from wild violets to sunflowers, from a single flower to a bouquet of several dozen stems. None of the vases have monetary value. So I can’t sell them on e-Bay to soften the loss. But of the 50-60 vases in the cabinet, I’m hoping to pare them down to eight or ten. Wish me luck.

Sometimes the past becomes part of the present like it did this weekend when our ‘esteemed’ president couldn’t resist voicing his nonsense about women keeping secrets. Apparently, if we don’t run our mouths shortly after whatever we claim took place happened, then it doesn’t count. I know my reaction to Mr. Trump's obtuseness was not unusual, though, judging by how many women tweeted their stories with the hashtag “why I didn’t report.” Life is messy. People are complicated. Our president is an ass who ruined my weekend. ©


26 comments:

  1. Downsizing certainly is a mixed bag. Relief to be doing it, but sad to see a part of your life that will never return and things that will mean nothing to anyone but you.

    As for trump and this Kavanaugh thing...now they have picked a sex crime lady that is from the same office as Joe Arpaio to question Ford! Oh how fair that is! These old fart men that are the republicans make me ill. It disgusts me the way women are never believed and men always are, especially when they feel a sitting president can not be indicted and when they will reverse Roe vs Wade and send the US back to the dark ages.

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    1. I didn't know the woman to question Ms. Ford is from Joe Arpaio's office! That says it all, doesn't it.

      I believe that teenagers can do things under the influence that in later life they'll regret and they can go on to be good people who can do great things. BUT to lie about your past is about his character NOW, not back then. His own college roommate at college has come forward to say Kavanaugh was not the saintly choir boy/virgin he painted himself to be in the Fox interview, that he often drank to the point of passing out. His own words written in his yearbooks points to heavy drinking and being part of a "train" of boys that had sex with a named girl. That girl was one of the ladies who signed a letter of support for Kavanaugh and she has since withdrawn her support, saying that she never knew about the disrespect those yearbook writings showed towards her. I'd have more respect for Kavanaugh if he had said, "I was a member of the 100 keg's club in high school and under the influence I probably did some bad things I don't remember. I changed my life around shortly after college and if I hurt anyone back in those days I'm truly sorry."

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  2. You're better than me - I start going through stuff to be sorted, and give up in frustration in 5 minutes! I've done it in the past, and WILL do it - but motivation is sadly lacking.

    On a more cheerful note, following your footsteps, I had fresh flowers (daffodils from the backyard, growing where they were unseen/unadmired) on the table. This was in anticipation of a clean house, which never eventuated. Ah well, baby steps.

    I threw away my old school report cards - no point keeping them. But, kept all the old pix - no logic, I know.

    kavanaugh lies too easily, and so unnecessarily - SMH. I was amused by the news coverage of trump's UN speech. I watched the clip, and personally didn't find the tittering/laughter that marked, but lots of media outlets were definite that the audience was laughing at him, and I'm not going to disagree. The Rod R. fiasco was the usual trick of distraction - and the media falls for it each time - again SMH. ~ Libby

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    1. Trust me, I could go through the same stuff I just did and find more things to get rid of. Mostly I just condense.

      I love having daffodils in the house. They smell so good, but we don't get them this time of the year.

      I have mine and Don's report cards. I guess mine represent a sense of accomplishment in an area that is important to me. Old style report cards could end up in an antique shop someday.

      The laughter was there and Trump heard it loud and clear. His getting laughed at at the UN was the highlight of my day. The look on his face and his remark that it wasn't the reaction he expected was priceless. He's so used to using that same line at friendly rallies that it took him by surprised.

      Not sure what SMH means---I'm terrible with abbreviations---but I don't think Rosenstein will be on the job after our mid-terms.

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    2. And Fox News edited out the laughter...let’s see who’s fake news now.

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  3. There is no Low that is Too Low for this administration and its party. One by one, they have dismantled and damaged our institutions and bedrocks of principle and government and ideals. Barbarians, all of them. Sickening.

    I am impressed by your industriousness and purposeful commitment to your mission. You're making some tough (but necessary) decisions.

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    1. When I get through with my mission I'll be able to do it all over again. I have too much stuff!

      It is sickening, the dismantling of our institutions and what sickens me even more is how some people are happy about that. They accept lying, meanness and bullying in Trump that they never would have accept in their kids when they were growing up.

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  4. But on the bright side, he made the United Nations Assembly chuckle and then laugh out loud at his ridiculous claims. You are making great progress, Jean! You are inspiring.

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    1. You are the queen of purging and my role model. And it was a bright spot, wasn't it. I loved how his face turned red with embarrassment.

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  5. Well let's start with the dimwit in office. He is clueless. But I loved that those at the UN laughed at him, made his face turn beet red and then the twit said, "I didn't expect that reaction but it's true." which only solicited more laughs. What an embarressment to our country.

    As you know I watch Leave it to Beaver daily. I just saw an episode about dressing properly in school. The boys are took an oath they would all wear these monster sweatshirts to school. Of course Beaver's along with the other boys parents all told them no. Beaver changed but went to the garage to put it back on when no one was looking. The principal called in the father to discuss the lack of respect wearing that type of clothing in school, like not taking off his hat. That was actually said. So Don's teachers were the same :-)

    I could never throw away the things you kept either. That would be too hard for me. You purged enough.

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    1. Did my heart good to see him laughed at.

      Many things about the "Leave it to Beaver" era really were true. Now, they schools are doing metal detectors at the doors.

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  6. Couldn't help but laugh at the last sentence. I'm pretty sure you got your smile back by this time.

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    1. I do. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing him get laughed at at the U.N. today.

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  7. So many memories attached to belongings — often many of no $ value or significance to anyone else. You’re quite right — this Prez doesn’t have the foggiest idea of why women don’t speak up about matters. Hope listening to him more people, and males, will get a wake-up call to examine their own actions and views.

    Don’t give him that power to ruin even a minute of your time. He’s such a ridiculous character who claimed the U.N folks laughed with him not at him. Of course the N. Korea leader, Russia and China are willing to be cosy and happy to help him stay in office — they know a fool when they see one and nothing could please them more than to see the U.S. led by someone destroying our credibility, democracy and so much more. Sure hope we salvage it and get rid of him in ‘20.

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    1. It was the memories Mr. Trump made me remember that bothered me. No way to un-hear his stupidity about women keeping secrets.

      Him claiming he expected the laughter was almost as funny as the UN laughter itself. 2020 can't come fast enough for me.

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  8. ” The Pussy-Grabber-in-Chief ", I love it Jean. I have to go now to watch the wonderful woman who is going to talk about all the bad things that the judge did when he was young. Stick it to him,stick it to the Republicans and especially stick it to Trump. See ya.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. Guess there's no question about where you stand, Paul. LOL I honestly think this hearing will not change anything. The Republicans will vote to put him on the Supreme Court.

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    2. I'm sorry to say after watching this entire circus today, they children are going to vote for the judge. Sorry for all my American friends. Bye Jean.

      Cruisin Paul

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    3. I watched all day long, too, Paul. It was a circus.

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  9. I have a co-worker who I talk politics with-respectfully, and without raising my voice or trying to prove my point. She voted for Trump because of his stand on abortion. She's appalled at the lack of respect given our Prez because he was 'legally' elected.

    I'm continually dumbfounded by some of the things I hear by his supporters, but I'll not argue or get nasty with her because it ain't worth it!

    I'm impressed at your clean out efforts. I need to do much the same.

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    1. I have a few relatives from my husband's side of the family who are Trump supporters and it's all about the abortion issue for them, too. The things they post of Facebook always have me shaking my head. Like you, it's not worth trying to engage with them.

      You wouldn't have been impressed today. I had planned to finish up in the garage but I spent the whole day watching the hearings while taking part a a running forum debate about what was going on. A waste of an entire day!

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  10. On my FB page I posted my senior pic and said if I had been her age and that happened to me, there was no way I would have told my parents. Not on a bet. MAYBE a best friend. Maybe. He doesn't have a clue. I worry about what I saw in the hearing about temperment. (That's not all I worried about but that freaked me). He was derailed. And they'll still vote for him. I just don't get it why they hang in and not replace him with someone equally conservative but without this. Don't get it at all.

    I admire all your cleaning. I'm slow on my basement. Very slow. Maybe today I'll take on the garage or part of it. At least a tidy up. I've been trying to clean before the housesitter comes so she'll have a spot for her clothes, at least! And I SO know what you mean about photos.

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    1. Kavanaugh's confrontational and belligerent behavior yesterday shocked me. He was acting like a bully and his bringing up the Clinton's in his opening statement was crazy. He honesty thinks yesterday was a payback for his investigation into Vince Foster's suicide! Set aside the sexual abuse allegation, his attempt to claim he was a choir boy who only studied and played sports in high school doesn't fit with what others have said about his heavy drinking back in those days and his own writings in the year book. I don't care about the drinking but the lying about it is an important clue to his personality. And the Republican Senate committee's refusal to bring Mark Judge to testify was a sham.

      The reason they don't replace him is because he's the only one on the short list who is on the record as not believing a president shouldn't be charged with anything while a sitting president. It's about the Russian prob. Well, we'll know in an hour if the confirmation vote will take place on Saturday but I predict he'll be our next Supreme Court judge by Monday.

      Loved your post about your old school and all the photos!

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  11. I think so many of us have had experiences when a man or boy touched our bodies inappropriately (for me, it was having my breast pinched by a man passing me on a hiking trail) and we somehow ended up feeling ashamed and as though it were somehow our fault and we didn't tell anyone. I think the most powerful commentary on the whole Christine Blasey Ford/Brett Kavanaugh situation was an interview on NPR (and now I can't find it to quote it properly) with a writer who said something along the lines of, "Men see these things they did as teenagers as boyish mistakes that they left behind as they grew into manhood; but the girl experiences it as a lifelong trauma." I believe Christine Blasey Ford is truthfully reporting what happened to her and that Brett Kavanagh truthfully has no memory of it -- it just didn't have the same import in his life as it did in hers.

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    1. NPR woman said what I've been thinking...that they could both be telling the true. He having no memory of something that traumatized her. Back in the day, girls were taught to fight for our honor and boys tried to get to 1st, 2st and 3rd base like it was a fun game to them. Shame is definitely one reason why we keep assaults and abuse to ourselves. Thanks for your input.

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