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, February 6, 2019

Scrambled Mind, Scrambled Blog Entry


A dozen scrambled thoughts are going on inside my head and only a 1,000 written words to share them here. I'll start by recounting something that defies explanation unless you use the word 'crazy' a few times. It involves two nearly naked guys who made the news by rolling in the snow last week when it was so cold you could throw a glass of water in the air and the water would freeze before gravity took over. I don’t care how quickly those guy could get in a hot tub after rolling in the snow, wouldn’t you think the shock to your body could kill you? Apparently not. No PSA warning came on TV after showing the video telling people not trying this at home.

Anyway, on to the next topic. I’m sitting in the same cafeteria, in same booth I usually sit in when I want to get out of the house. Valentine’s Day is coming and I’m doing some reminiscing trying to find a topic to write about…some grand gesture that included candlelight, Champagne, roses and playing kissy-face during dinner and dancing. But the problem is all my memories of grand, romantic gestures come with guys other than my husband. How romantic would those stories be when the relationships ended without a happily ever after? By the time Don came into my life I was over wanting those Hallmark evenings in my life. By that time, however, I was collecting greeting cards and Don---a true Disciple of the School of Collectables---gave me the kind Valentine’s Day cards that come in boxes and he’d sign his name on Post-It notes so he wouldn’t destroy their future value. Made me laugh back then and I still crack a smile when I think of those tiny Post-It notes signed, Love Don.

We did have one memorable meal on Valentine’s Day---or was it on Christmas or New Year’s Day? It was winter, let’s leave it at that. We had a picnic on an ice shelf along Lake Michigan which my older self is berating my younger self for doing. Climbing those icebergs and shelfs is dangerous but all we saw was a pretty icescape, a field of diamonds glistening in the sun. We sat down in our heavy winter gear to eat our chili and drink our hot chocolate, but we didn’t understand there are air holes in those ice shelfs that often have a thin covering of ice over them. If one of us had broken threw an air hole or fallen in between the floating blocks of ice, we would have been sucked under the icy cold water in a hurry. Those air holes are actually ‘ice volcanos’ that can shoot water high in the air when the lake is surly.

Another  change of topics: My Gathering Girls group got together this week for brunch and we ate at a place that scores low on my list restaurants, but when I sent out the e-mail reminders I choose the place to meet because while it might not be a place I like several of my gal pals love it. It’s been around since we were all young and I suspect it holds special memories for them like the Guy Land Cafeteria does for me. Their food is good if you like homemade soups and pies and fried chicken but the “Dutch Boy” is a restaurant my husband and I avoided like a norovirus. 

Why did we avoid the place? Because the owner wore his religion on his sleeve and he reminded Don of the members of a church who hassled the owners of a movie theater where he grew up. Imagine going to see The Lone Ranger and Gene Audrey at the Saturday matinees and being told they were “evil” and the theater was doing “the devil’s work.” Imagine knowing the owners kept it open long after it was turning a profit just to give the town’s teenagers something to do on the weekends instead of drag racing on rural roads or driving into the city. Imagine all that and you might understand why my husband absolutely refused to support places like the Dutch Boy Restaurant with its judgmental religious tracts all over the place. Over the decades most of the religious tracts have disappeared but Don never let go of his dislike for the place. I go there occasionally, now, with various groups I lunch with but it feels like I’m cheating on my husband. 

Anyway all of my gal pals were happy to be out and about, having survived the Polar Vortex Blizzard of 2019 although one in the group lost her lady parts during the storm and can’t drive yet until her surgeon clears her. Another was in New Orleans with a group from the senior hall for most of the storm. Other than major headaches at the airport thanks to the government shutdown going and the weather coming back, she had a great time. The rest of us mostly made it through 'storm week' by building little nests in our living rooms to try to stay warm. Our nests were stocked with La-Z-Boy chairs, TV remotes and guides, books, handcraft projects, magnifying glasses, paper and pens, scissors, tissues boxes, telephones and lap blankets. Ya, I’m describing the kind of nests I'd seen and made fun of when we’d visit elderly relatives in the past. I’m there now and “old people nests” aren’t so funny anymore. ©


These two ice volcano photos are by Lisa A Lehman

This photo was taken at Grand Haven MI's shoreline, the one at the top was taken at Highland Park IL's shoreline. The Big Lake creates some strange and beautiful sculptures including ice caves. Exploring the caves like the one in the video below is a popular winter sport in our Upper Peninsula.
     

35 comments:

  1. Ya know I just love your Don!
    Oh I can't believe you did that on the ice dunes. My ex and I did this when we were in our 20's, climbed the ice dunes on lake Erie. I never knew it was that dangerous until I got off them. Then I found that it could easily collapse and I'd go into the freezing lake and it would be hard to get me with being under the dune. I never did that again. But boy oh boy are they pretty and oh so tempting.
    I do not have a nest yet but I sure do remember my Grandmothers and you had it down to a Tee.I see this in my near future :-)

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    1. Ice rescues are not usually successful but every year someone goes down climbing Big Lake ice. We were 27 and 29 and should have known better. The ice caves are different. As I understand them, they have solid ground underneath them. I could be wrong though I do believe the ones that are run like tourist stops are inspected before they open.

      Now days they have furniture with pockets and secret places to hide our nesting materials. I've got to get one of those. LOL

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    2. P.S. I think we both lucked out in finding Rick and Don. I enjoy your Rick stories as they often remind me of something Don would do.

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  2. Good morning Jean. As far the the religious Dutch Boy restaurant owner, He should not be allowed to own anything. I find these nuts scary. I can see why your husband wouldn't go there. I might end up in a fight and not having breakfast or lunch.
    We had np problem at the airport leaving to go to Fort Lauderdale to get our cruise but doing the week, after seeing all the problems they were having Mary LOu & I were getting a little worried about having problems getting home. Thank God someone got smart and told Trump to stop it. We got home safely except it took a lot of time waiting for the guy to pick us up and of course it was snowing heavily and getting home was interesting. See ya my friend.


    Cruisin Paul

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    1. My friend described all kinds of airport problems including not being able to find pilots to fly the planes and getting rerouted all over the place...both coming and going. But the worst was they canceled flights from Detroit to my city and they had to hire a bus but they couldn't find anyone to drive that either and had to stay overnight. They finally did get a driver but it was a hairy drive across the state. I really wanted to go on the trip and thought seriously about signing up. But winter traveling sucks and I was glad I didn't go. My friend, however, is more laid back than I am. She puts it all in God's hands and doesn't get tensed out like I would have. Glad you got back home safe and warm.

      I grew up in what was known back then as the City of Churches. That restaurant thrived back then and still does. He has 4-5 places now or did until last year when he retired. He was never as bad as the church people in Don's hometown but those people soured Don on all religious people.

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    2. I've always allowed all religious and believed that they are free to believe their God. At times some like the ones that come to our door trying to teaches about their religious and that it's better then yours, they get me angry and I know that God teaches me to love everyone but when they knock on my door, I just want to tell them to .......... I pray that God will forgive me when I feel that way. See ya Jean.

      Cruisin Paul

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  3. I'm with Don--I won't even patronize Chick Fil A or Hobby Lobby because of the overt religiosity of those two businesses.

    It's like a friend of mine often quoted:
    Religion is like a penis.
    It’s fine to have one;
    It’s fine to be proud of it,
    but please don’t whip it out in public and start waving it around,
    and don’t try to shove it down my throat!

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    1. I love your friend's analogy. I'm going to borrow that from time to time. I don't patronize Chick Fil A or Hobby Lobby either and the latter was hard to give up. There used to be a hot dog place near my dentist's office and they have the most vile stuff on the walls about anti-government, pro-guns and anti blacks and liberal women. It pleased me when they went out of business. Apparently, we weren't the only ones to boycott that place. Too bad they had to throw their business away like that because they made great hot dogs.

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    2. Interesting how so many religious people are so full of hate and condemnation. Why such arrogance?

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  4. "Old People Nests". Oooh boy. Something else to look forward to. LOL!
    Thanks Jean,

    Deb

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    1. I have a basket by my La-Z-Boy hoping to hide my nesting material but I still have too much showing. The magnifying glass bothers me the most. LOL

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  5. It is not easy when dining with a group to satisfy everyone. Most of my group love the Mexican restaurant. Have yet to try a dish there I liked but there is no propaganda.
    I usually just go where ever they want for I don't go for the food but for the company.

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    1. It sure is! I go out to eat with three different groups. Two of them like higher classed places rather than working class places and to go to the newest places in town. They don't mind driving across town while I tend to stay closer to home.

      In my Gathering Girls it's a little tricky because two of us think it works better to go to the same place every time---less confusing. You just show up the 1st and 3rd Monday. One maybe two(?) are concerned with cost and at least one wants to go to different places. Even the time is hard because one has to be done in time to pick up grand kids while another does home dialysis would prefer a later time. Some of us want to go early enough to occasional see a movie afterward. I'm just really happy we still are meeting twice a month.

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  6. Fortunately, my nest is in my bedroom so no one sees it. But I did have one in Maui. Hidden in a very awesome basket ... with a lid!

    TV remotes and guides, books, handcraft projects, magnifying glasses, paper and pens, scissors, tissues boxes, telephones and lap blankets. Emory board, cuticle oil, hand lotion, footies, floss and more. Officially old nest!

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    1. I forgot to list the things you added. I don't have footies or floss but I have the others. I need to find another basket, I have a pretty clothe over mine but a lid would be better.

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    2. I forgot to list the things you added. I don't have footies or floss but I have the others. Plus I have a nail repair kits and fingerless gloves. I need to find another basket, I have a pretty clothe over mine but a lid would be better.

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  7. Lost her lady parts???

    Sheila

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    1. Hysterectomy in her mid 70s. Never knew that was even a possibility.

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    2. Thank god someone asked....but I had assumed it was weather related. I had visions of frostbite. Ouch!

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    3. Funny Donna. It was cold enough that they said you could damage your lung if you took too deep of breathes... so a weather related lady parts accident is plausible. ☺

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  8. That video is beautiful. We do such crazy things when we're young. Sometimes because we don't know better, and sometimes because we have that X factor that likes excitement.

    My father had his nest by his chair on one of those hospital tables, and it all moved to his bedside at night. Toward the end, he became a little obsessed about having everything in the right place, and would make me place everything in it's place before bedtime. If I didn't get it just right, he'd move it 1/8 of an inch to make it perfect. I have a pretty ginger jar that sits on the end table at the end of the couch where I sit. It contains eyedrops, an emery board, lip balm, hand cream, etc. When I was much younger, I remember telling a friend that we would not be old ladies who had all their meds and "stuff" sitting on the night stand. We'd get a pretty basket or container and hide all our stuff in it. LOL Now I'm doing just that. My night stand has drawers, and they are great for storing everything.

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    1. Isn't pretty in those caves!

      Love your ginger jar idea. Why don't young people have nests? Is it because they don't sit long enough in one place or that they don't think about saving themselves the time and effort of jumping up and down to fetch stuff? That's a sweet memory of your dad's nest.

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  9. Well, I'm very glad you survived the ice volcano in all those years ago! It is romantic in sort of a cold as all get out way, but then youth does that. I know what you mean about supporting restaurants like that. I always hate to do it too.

    On another note, I don't have direct contact info for you so I'll tell you here thanks for your wonderful visits and comments on my blog! I always love it when you join in the conversation!

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    1. It's amazing that we survive our youthful adventures and find common sense.

      I enjoy your blog. No need to thank me for stopping by. But now that you mention it, thanks for reading mine.

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  10. Our State has so many beautiful spots...even in the coldest, darkest days of winter.
    What an odd denomination that would frown on Gene Autry movies or...did they frown on any kind of movies? I knew a few people like that.

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    1. We do have a pretty state and if you don't like the weather, just wait a few days and it will change.

      It was all movies and television. People around Don had TV antennas in their attics just to keep the churchy neighbors from knowing they had a television. They were in your face kind of Christians.

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    2. I’ve never heard of people being against TV back in the day and I was in the South. But, thankfully I wasn’t raised going to church nor had religious friends.

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  11. I never knew about ice volcanoes, but then in the central part of the state I never got up to Lake Erie, especially in the winter. Only time I recall being on a lake frozen over with ice was in Madison, Wisconsin. I was elementary age, ice skating for the first time. Could hear the water sloshing up to the shore andwas afraid to venture out very far though there were lots of people skating out further and way out I could see ice fishers. Those volcanoes look fascinating.

    Too bad about religious extremists or extremists of any kind as they can make life miserable for everybody.



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    1. Won't be able to reply for awhile. Been without power, heat or Wi-Fi for 36 hours, had to abandon house and am "borrowing wifi.

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  12. It's interesting hearing about the ice caves and all that. I just read an article recently about how people would go out on frozen Niagara Falls to entertain themselves. Finally, they had a really bad year, and several people died. That was the end of that.

    Even down here, falling into 50 degree water's a bad deal. They say hypothermia will set in after thirty minutes. In freezing water -- 32F -- it's fifteen minutes. Thinking about things like that makes our little nests sound even better!

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  13. I also boycott businesses whose policies I don't agree with. I can be tolerant of people's personal beliefs, but not when they force them on their employees or customers. My own worst experience was with the medical oncologist I saw for chemotherapy when I had cancer twenty years ago. (This was in a rural area on the Mason-Dixon line, so there weren't a lot of options.) The doctor was a religious zealot and he employed a woman whose job title was "patient advocate," but who described her job as "praying for you." I felt as though having someone else's religion shoved down my throat was the price of getting treatment for my cancer; it was the single most stressful aspect of my cancer experience.
    I don't mind the people who come door to door so much; I usually just smile sweetly and say, "I'm sorry, but I believe in a different set of gods than you do." It scares the sh** out of them.

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    1. Love the line, "believe in a different set of gods..." Those people don't bother me all that much either. I'm polite but cut them off before they get going. I'm with you about being prayer over in a medical situation. I'd be uncomfortable with that too! I went to gynecologist once who brought his religion into the exam room and I found a different doctor.

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  14. Yes..I’m gonna use that line sometimes.

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