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, April 13, 2019

The Potpourri Post


Used as a noun, potpourri is usually thought of as a mixture of dried flower pedals and spices kept in a jar or mesh bag for their fragrance. But a potpourri can also be a collection of miscellaneous objects or subjects, even a musical medley. To the best of my knowledge no one has a computer that can dispense or detect smells so the potpourri in my title is obviously not the pedals and spices type. So what’s a potpourri post? I’m glad you asked. It’s a post with no central topic, just a collection of unrelated things to dump into cyberspace because that’s the way my brain is rolling today---nothing focused, nothing over-developed to the point of ad nauseam. 

I’ll start by finishing a train of thought I mentioned in my last post regarding the new “digitally enhanced bank” in my neighborhood that is replacing a full service branch. I still can’t get past the fact that a BANK will no longer deal with cash. The powers that be really do want us all to quit using the green folding stuff. There’s even a few places in town that refuse cash as payment to eat there. I can play tit-for-tat with the best of them so I refuse to go to those restaurants. However, I will admit that I’m in the minority. Between my Lunch and Movie Club, the Mad Hatters and the Gathering Girls, I go out with a lot of women for lunches and I’m guessing two-thirds of them use a credit card. I’ve turned into a fuddy-duddy haven’t I, who refuses to hop on the train of progress.

Next item in my potpourri: I learned how to do something new and exciting this week that has made a huge difference in my life. I changed the settings on my mouse pointer so that it’s a bigger, slower arrow and it’s a solid black over white pages that changes to a contrasting color if it passes over anything dark. Google can teach you how to do anything. I also learned not to pick up what looks like a chocolate sprinkle from a Nestle’s Lil’ Drums Drumstick and put it in your mouth. When I did that this week it turned out to be a ball of ink that must have come off the end of a ballpoint pen. It instantly turned my entire mouth and fingers black. Thankfully, it came off my tongue with toothpaste and a lot of scrubbing. That should teach me not to eat while working at my desk where crumbs are too inviting. The next day I had a bi-annual appointment with my internist and it would have been hard to explain why I ate an ink ball.

For spices in my potpourri I’ve been watching the parade of nightly town halls on CNN featuring the Democratic presidential candidates running for president. I’m fearful of the process of paring that long list down to the viable people who can actually win AND do a good job of bringing dignity and brain-power back to the White House. So far I’m putting my money on---in no particular order---Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Julian Castro and Beto O’Rourke. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden make me nervous because they’ve been in public life so long they’ll be spending all their time on the campaign trail defending past decisions in a political climate where those decisions are judged by today’s standards and not the standards of the past. Like Warren, for example, before DNA testing was the thing to do, who didn’t just accept the oral family history that was passed down by our parents and grandparents? No one, that's who.

Every potpourri needs a recipe---well, I would assume so. I’ve never made potpourri except for this ‘Potpourri Post’ which more accurately should have been named ‘Six Topics, One Post’ but I’ve never been good at naming any of my creative endeavors except for maybe “Toe Joe.” Who Toe Joe? He’s a clay sculpture I made back in college that’s had a place of honor in my house ever since. He inspects his toe while cursing his creator for making him so fat. 

I write these posts twice a week faithfully to exercise my dyslexic brain although it wasn’t always true when I first stated blogging back near the turn of the century. Back then I fancied myself as having some useful advice and humor to share with caregivers, and then after Don died I was sharing antidotes to make myself and other widows feel less alone in our plight to feel whole again. Now, I would say that isn’t entirely possible for many of us, but a shirttail relative disagrees. After a long and reportedly happy marriage she’s jumping back into the marriage sack and it only took her two years of bemoaning the lonely state of her life to find another guy. Oh, and he happens to live right next door and she's giving her house to her retired kids. Something must be wrong with me because living with Toe Joe and Levi the Mighty Schnauzer is all the testosterone I’m interested in blending with my hormones. ©

NOTE: Yup, that's Toe Joe in the photo above.

30 comments:

  1. I do so agree with your last sentence. Good luck to her though.
    I was thinking Beto O'Rouke would be the Dems new love, but then, reading up on his past history, I think they might put him aside and go for a better well known person. Who knows--I just hate that we have started the whole campaign process so early. I haven't even begun to get over the last one!

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    1. I talked to her daughter yesterday and she said they had a appointment with a lawyer and a priest and the wedding will be soon after. Daughter says, "She seems happy." I guess I just don't think loneliness is a good enough reason to get married. There are worse things than being lonely. But who am I to judge...and by nature I'm a worrier.

      I agree with the campaign process starting too early. I think people are paying attention earlier which makes it seem like they are earlier than usual. I want someone who is has worked government long enough that they'll be no "learning" on the job, but not so long that they are jaded. As for Beto's petty crimes in his youth, if Trump's checkered history didn't stop him from getting elected, Beto's history won't be either. I wish we could bring Lincoln back to life. LOL

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  2. I just read an interesting article about the backlash against "cashless" stores. People prefer cash for any number of reasons, and most of them are quite respectable people. I tend to use cash for gas purchases because of the number of credit card skimmers that have been found on local gas pumps, for example, and I use cash (no credit cards, no store 'discount' cards) at the grocery as a way of reducing the tracking that shows up online. With 30% of the population still on a cash basis, the move to cashless isn't going to happen any time soon.

    Peg Bracken in her "I Love To Cook Book" used a word for the same reason you used 'potpourri' -- only her word was 'oddments.' In fact, I used it in a post title once, or at least in the post itself, for exactly the same reason. It was a way to gather interesting but unrelated tidbits.

    I laughed out loud, and enthusiastically, at your consumption of an ink ball. I've done similar things, including putting caulk on a toothbrush. Autopilot is a great thing, until it isn't.

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    1. Glad a cash society will last at least as long as me. Thanks for the link. I don't own a debit card and I only used my credit card for online prescriptions and online shopping. Cash for everything else. It's just going to be harder to get now that my local branch won't give it out.

      "Oddments." I'll file that one away for future use.

      Love your caulk story. I put dog toothpaste on Levi's food once thinking it was one of the 'enhancement' flavoring they make for dogs. He paid me back with vomit. I felt so bad.

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    2. You COULD get a debit card from your bank and use it for a small purchase somewhere and then get cash back at the register. You wouldn't have to change banks of branches that way. Or pop it into an ATM at your local branch and get cash that way.

      The ink ball story, though! Hilarious!
      Pippa

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    3. That's an option I'm going to explore but from the letter I got there will be no way to get cash at the local branch anymore. They are closing the ATM machines and all the teller stations will go away and computer stations for customers will take their place. I'm going in next week before the change over to ask some questions.

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  3. OMG you made me laugh over the ink ball.
    I had to look up shirttail relative. I'd never heard that phrase. I will use it soon.
    I noticed you didn't mention Pete Buttigieg. I like him, but I'd like a little more experience in a candidate, and I'd like to be able to spell my president's name. :) But you are right about the candidates with long careers. They will have to spend a lot of time defending the choices they made long ago in a very different political and social climate. I don't care for Beto, and I can't exactly tell you why, but there's something a little off there, for me anyway. I don't care for Gellibrand either. I need to learn a lot more about what each candidate is about, but I can't quite get my heart into it yet. It's so early and they will have to dwindle down to a few before I get seriously into the game.
    I still pay with cash at restaurants most of the time. Almost always.
    I assume the photo is of Toe Joe. I like him.

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    1. Yup, that's Toe Joe. I do love him.

      I can't warm up the Beto or Jillibrand either. And I agree about Pete, I like him and his background but he doesn't have a chance in my opinion, because of his martial status which isn't fair but I don't think the nation is ready yet and I want a viable person. Harris is my 1st choice right now but a month from now who knows.

      Oh my gosh, I wonder if shirttail relative is a regional thing. I used it all my life.

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    2. Shirttail relative's a phrase I've known as long as I've been capable of language, so that puts it back a few decades! This article has some interesting background, but we never considered poverty to be an aspect. It was more the fourth-cousin twice removed sort of thing.

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    3. Interesting, Shoreacres. If we've both known it all our lives that dismisses the regional usage idea. I've never associated it with poverty either. Thanks for the article. I love stuff like that.

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  4. I'm glad I wasn't drinking coffee when I read your comment about eating the ball of ink because I would have spit it out all over the keyboard as I laughed hysterically. Thanks for the amusing start to the day!

    Sheila

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  5. I LOVE your potpourri style of random-ness!

    We have a few teller-less banks where there are machines to take your deposits, cash or check and it will also dispense cash. I remember the days where I knew the tellers' names! I took the whole family into the bank to add the kidults as signers and to open kid savings accounts. They could not do it!!!! Two tellers and two guys in suits just talking sports ... not one person available. Closing out that account!

    I always use credit. ... $10 and over. Cash for tips. We used to do it for air miles ... now I do it for Amazon money. Never use a debit card except to get cash outside the bank.

    So many of the Gonna Runs will be out of money and then I will start paying attention and rooting for someone who will WIN.

    SOOOOO funny on that tiny little chocolate sprinkle!!!!

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    1. This bank as of May 1st will not take cash or give you cash. I could adapt to a teller-less machine, if I could get cash. I'm bummed out because the next nearest branch is in an area I never go. All my auto deposits---S.S., pension, etc. go in that bank.

      I will never, ever pick up a "chocolate" sprinkle again.
      I love "Amazon money" if there is anything good about this change it might be I'll start getting more Amazon money.

      A lot of those running now are just trying to bring attention to a cause which is good, I guess. But the last time we had so many running it didn't end up well and I'm nervous.

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  6. Love your Potpourri posts -- and I'm with you on the bank situation. That's just plain WEIRD.

    I like your candidates too. I like Joe B. a lot but I'm inclined to think (can't believe I'm saying this) he's too old. Unless he picked a Beto or Kamala or someone as a VP and said he would be a one-termer. Optics. But in the end, I want someone who can win -- and I almost don't care who!

    Thanks for the blog comment -- A handful is an overstatement for Rick. But I think he got the wrath of the Doc and that's a good thing. I looked online for the penguin kit. Amazon has the cheapest price here: https://www.amazon.com/Woolbuddy-Needle-Felting-Penguin-Kit/dp/B00LU1TU1S Order 5 bucks more and shipping is free.

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    1. I really like Joe Biden and think he was a great VP. If he picked Beto or Karmala for his VP that would/could be a winning combination. But his age against Trump---being the same age---shouldn't be a factor, but I know what you mean.

      I left your blog and went right to Amazon and bought a schnauzer wool kit. I was surprised at how small all those kits are for the price. I think I'll go back and get the penguin, too, if I like doing it. I got a good deal because I used a $12 rewards I had coming from all the stuff I bought for my bedroom redo so the puppy was only $1.75 plus free shipping.

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  7. All I hope is that it won’t be Trump, anyone on the Democrat side, anyone halfway human is surely preferable. Oh God, please, don’t let it be Trump.

    As for a new male in my life, two years later, there isn’t one, and, as far as one can foretell these things, there won’t be one. I had the best why would I put up with anyone mediocre. I can live with myself, in fact, I am beginning to like myself again.

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    1. A agree 125% with all that you've said about Trump and about not settling for a mediocre relationship and living alone.

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  8. Oh gosh, as I was reading your ink ball story, I was thinking "mouse dropping." So glad it wasn't THAT! Yikes!

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  9. I’ve done a post I called potpourri in the past since none of topics at that time seemed to warrant the whole piece so can appreciate what you’re doing. I haven’t encountered any businesses not accepting cash but I’m not keen on ruling out cash either. I’m waiting for the political parties to narrow down their candidates before I pay more attention. I likely wouldn’t have any influence on which of those candidates will survive anyway. I think some people just aren’t content without being married, or for some having a steady partner. That seemed to become true often starting in Jr. Hi or High School.

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    1. Great minds think the same...or maybe I subconsciously remember your potpourri post and am copying.

      The only way we can have any influence over candidates in the early months is to donate money since how much they can raise determines who gets on the national debates. But with Trump how can we know if he'll even consent to debate? Many early candidates are just trying to bring attention to a cause and aren't seriously hoping to win.

      So true about some people not being content without being married. I think it's more true with those who have got married right after high school and have never lived on their own.

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  10. I know the ink ball was a bit gross but what I was thinking was far worse, so I am happy to hear it was just ink! I give you a lot of credit for enduring the CNN town halls. I just can't. Too much of this swirls around me daily and I am so weary of it all. I don't give a hoot as long as it's not the orange ass. As for the marriage again. Is it because she has never learned to live alone? I don't think I would remarry again. Companionship is nice but I just can't see me doing the marriage thing again. But then again, I say that now. A dog yes, another man? eh. But I may get tired of all the cleaniness and realize I need a man in my life to leave crumbs about and not put anything away where they got it. :-)

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    1. I've cut down on the "daily swirl" and find the Town Halls well done if you want to get a first look at who these people are who are running. I've learned a lot and find the time worth the effort. But with what's going on in your personal life, too, I don't blame you for not watching.

      I don't think anyone can predict which widow will or won't remarry. This woman surprised me, though. Just didn't think she is ready to move on. But I guess he's a recent widower so who knows. Grief is binding them, I'm guessing.

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  11. Sorry Jean for being late. I've been having some problems with my computer lately, taking care of my wife and trying to put fertilizer on my lawn. It's difficult when you're walking with a cane and pushing a machine and trying to make sure that I don't put to much fertilizer on the grass.
    Regarding the individuals who running for president, I'm worried if they have it to defeat Trump. Trump is mean and these aren't mean enough to deal with him. They are to nice or to old or to young. I do hope one of them can do it. That lady Warren, she can not defeat Trump for sure. Oh well, have a great week my friend. See ya.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. Can you push the fertilizer machine with the cane held with both hands along the handle of the machine...not touching the ground...with the machine giving you the balance you need? That's how I push my trash cart.

      I'm with you worrying that meanness will give Trump an edge because he has no boundaries. Time will tell.

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  12. What a fun post! I read The President is Missing over vacation. The one co-authored by Bill Clinton and James Patterson. It wasn't all that great, although the story was sort of engaging in a beach read kind of way. The point I want to make is about your aversion to credit cards -- the "bad guys" in the book were out to take down the US by doing a major all encompassing hack on our digital system -- which runs EVERYTHING! There were several pages outlining the various ways in which our society depends on computers -- like in nearly every aspect of life. It was chilling. So I guess cash is good to have, if anyone would be able to take it. Everything would pretty much be shut down.

    I love how you keep up with tech stuff. I had no idea about the pointer change one could make!

    As you know I am looking closely at Buttegeig. He impresses me greatly and I do think it's time for a new generation to step up (by that I mean someone under 50. LOL). I like Harris and Booker too. It's early days and all will sort itself out. I'm enjoying the Town Halls in order to take a look and start to discern one from the other. I just hope we choose someone I'm excited and passionate about and not just someone who seems pallitable enough to win over the undecideds and independents. I remind myself the Dems actually did win the last election (popular vote) and the current president's base has not increased since he came into office. Our job, no matter who the nominee is, is to get out the vote!

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    1. I read the Paterson book and liked it but not loved it. That you mentioned could very well happen.

      I pointed thing isn't new techie stuff. It's part of the disabilities access features that have been in Windows a while now.

      I'll get behind any of those you've mentioned. But I'm worried that an openly gay guy can't win in a general election.

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  13. I didn't realize that CNN had been doing Town Halls with the democratic candidates; I'll have to see if I can watch them online. I've started thinking about the criteria I'll use to evaluate the candidates: (1) climate change; (2) racial justice and immigration; (3) income inequality; and (4) electability.

    I'm hoping that Maine's new ranked choice voting system will survive some court challenges and be in effect for the primary. That way I don't have to choose just one candidate, but can rank order my top choices.

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    1. For me it goes: 1) Electability, 2) climate change and environmental issues, 3) racial justice and immigration 4) undoing the damage Trump's admission has done to the EPA, and 5,6,& 7) electability as in anyone who can beat Trump. So far, there are a lot of strong candidates in the Democratic field.

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