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, January 11, 2020

January: The Month we Diet our Brains Out


I’m determined to write a blog that doesn’t mention the “D” word that seems to dominate my life. That would be ‘downsizing’ if you’re new here and haven’t been following my saga of months and months of downsizing posts which collectively I've come to think of as my Barfing up my Life Story One Collection at a Time series. Of course, its January so it’s safe to assume some people thought the “D” word I’m talking about is ‘dieting’ and I’ve got plenty of past January blogs to prove that would have been an excellent guess. And since I brought it up, January 1st I did start my annual pilgrimage toward healthier eating and trying to lose the weight I gained between Halloween and New Years Eve.

It’s only ten days into the new year and I’ve already lost my end-of-the-year gain which shocked the heck out of me when I got on the scales this morning. And we’re talking six pounds---no small feat to (gain or) lose that much in such a short time! Praise my Fitbit Tracker, Atkins Dark Chocolate Royale Protein Shakes, dandelion tea and Yakult Probiotics for that. I wish I could keep that going but I know how I am. When February takes over my life I’ll quit letting Fitbit tell me how many calories I can still eat on any given day---that bossy bitch gets too demanding after a while. “No, you can’t have a Drumstick lil’Drum for 110 calories unless you want to go run around a couple of blocks first. Five carrots sticks is all you can have until morning.” She wants too much. Ten minutes to every hour when I’m on the computer she nags me into getting up and walking however many steps I need to take to get 250 steps in before the next hour begins. I hate that when I’m on a writing roll! Anyone with a Fitbit knows, of course, she’s not like Alexa. She doesn’t actually speak the words out loud but like any woman who has her bossy hat on, all you have to do is look at Fitbit’s dashboard and you can read what’s on her mind.

Before the end of February I’ll also quite choking down the disgusting dandelion tea and sometime around Valentine’s Day one of those small, heart shaped boxes of chocolates with a Snoopy on the top will appear in my grocery cart and off I’ll go again, chasing the sugar train like a dog with a huge ego who thinks he can actually over take it. Unfortunately, that sugar train makes a brief stop so I can hop on and I’ll crawl right inside a boxcar full of cane sugar and I'll mainline myself all the way through to the end of they year when the cycle begins again.  

My dad's family used to make tea with actual dandelion roots when he was growing up. Now, I’d be afraid of all the chemicals we have in the ground water and soil to do that. I wonder if it tasted any better than the organic teas available now that are supposedly sourced in European mountain valleys from free-ranch dandelions…or am I getting my organic herbal tea mixed up with chickens that are allowed to roam the ranch? The brand I bought has licorice root, fennel and peppermint in it too but all I can taste is the ‘yuck’ while I dutifully drink it down, all the while wondering why my dad, in his old age, wanted to try making it again. Is loving that tea an acquired taste or was his memory playing tricks on him? He also wanted to brew up a batch of anchovies cracker dip so you know his taste buds had to be warped. I’ve only smelled a batch of that god-awful dip cooking once in my life and that was enough to send my nose down inside a bottle of Downy April Fresh Fabric Softener. 

I don’t smoke. Never did. I don’t drink except for two or three times a year when I’ll have a hard cider or glass of wine with dinner. But somehow society seems to be more forgiving/accepting of people who over indulge in those habits where the fat girls are thought to be less ‘valuable’ in the grand scheme of things because our lack of will power goes directly to our hips. Heck, at one time smokers and drinkers were celebrated. You were thought to be cool if you could blow smoke rings like James Dean or drink a martini with your pinky finger pointed out like a vintage movie star wearing a silly hat with a veil that brushed her high cheek bones. Watch a couple of Mad Man episodes and you’ll see how much smoking and drinking played a part in my early, work years life…not me personally but all around me people had their acceptable vices. A fist full of cake was not one of them. 

I’ve got to quit writing about food before I talk myself into catching an early train to Chocolate Town. I need a shower; it’s grocery shopping day and I plan to buy myself some meat. Good. Red. Meat. Meat that I can grill to medium rare because Dr. Atkins and I are in full agreement that it’s an acceptable alternative to buying ½ gallon of Traverse City Cherry Fudge Ice Cream. ©

NOTE: We have high winds and an ice storm predicted with power outages possible. If you leave a comment and I don't publish it in a timely manner, you'll know why. Cross your fingers for me and Levi!!!!!!!!!!!

44 comments:

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    1. It's suppose detox your liver and kidneys. It sure makes you pee a lot.

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  2. The ice storm is coming for me tonight as well, Jean. Charging up all my devices and powerbanks, just in case! Stay safe, warm and dry!

    Deb

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    1. Me too. I packed a "go bag" for me and the dog, just in case.

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  3. You are doing great with your willpower however the tea sounds awful to me.

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    1. It is awful but then so are most herbal teas in my opinion. I only get though one box but it does seem to help break the sugar cycle.

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  4. I'm going to try that tea, just because. I started the same regime on January 1, but I've fallen off the diet wagon pretty seriously a couple of times. Still, we're not yet to mid-January, and a couple of pounds are gone, so a serious recommitment still could help me meet my monthly goal.Breaking that sugar cycle is so hard, and so necessary. It's strange - once I've gone a week or two without it, I'm ok, but ONE taste, and I'm gone again. It acts like a physiological addiction, that's for sure.

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    1. No one can convince me that sugar isn't a physiological addiction---mild probably compared to cigarettes and alcohol but still addictive which is reinforced by its strong comfort food factor introduced in childhood. Same here with getting past a week or two the craving is gone but one taste and the craving is back.

      If you try the tea, I steep it strong then wait until it cools to luke warm then drink it down fast. They say it's an acquired taste. Make sure you read up on it before you try it. I've never had more than one cup a day and never would.

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    2. We made dandelion wine when I was a kid. I wonder if that would work as well as the tea? It would be a lot more fun. Hmmmm....

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    3. Nice try. LOL I doubt it would work the same if it even works at all. My dad's family also make dandelion wine. Maybe it's a southern thing? Or maybe a "poor" thing?

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  5. Like you, I find sugar super addicting and your comment about the sugar train made me laugh. I was doing really well and even doing Weight Watchers, but the holidays sent me down a bad path. Now I'm struggling to get back on the straight and narrow. I do well for a couple days and then it's dark and nasty outside and boom. There must still be some chocolate left in the house. (I do hide it because DH would have eaten it all in one sitting by now, but maybe I should just let him.)

    The weather is nasty - here's hoping we avoid the worst of the ice and don't have a power outage. My DH finally broke down and bought a generator yesterday, so we will probably not need it. Murphy's Law and all...Ha! Stay safe!

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    1. I never feared power outrages until last year when we were without for days on end. Before that I was never without power for more than 3 hours. I really believe I was in grave danger near the end, when a friend sent her son-in-law over to check on me and ended up taking me to her house.

      A generation sure takes the fear out of things, doesn't it. Probably a good investment because we're getting theses outrages more and more often, aren't we.

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    2. It really does seem we're getting more and more crazy storms and outages. We are on a well, so have no water when we have no power. And that last one for days was just awful. I hate them, although now we have a generator that will need monthly maintenance. Ha! It's not huge, but at least I won't lose all my food again. GRRR.

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    3. It just killed me to empty out my freezer and refrigerator last year but what choice did we have?

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  6. Oh all the "D" words in our lives. Can't we still use the grieving widow excuse? I just love eating. Savory more than sweet .... either way, consuming less carbs is NO FUN!

    Stay safe!

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    1. You are wicked! No, you can't still use the grieving widow excuse. Oh, I take that back. If I can still blame my mom for my eating woes, I guess you can blame widowhood.

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  7. Think the storm you are facing is what slammed us last night. Did no damage but kept the house awake and Callie in a trembling state. She hates loud noises and may need therapy. Hope you don't get the ice storm part. Besides the damage it does to trees, being in the dark is not fun.
    I too enjoy a bit of sweet now and then but pretty sure if I just think of anchovy cracker dip now, I'll just drink some water to cleanse my palate and pass. That had to be nasty stuff.

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    1. I don't really mind being in the dark as much as I mind being cold. We've got a thin coating on everything but not enough to take don't tree limbs. But I guess the worst part of the storm is still on the way. I want it to be snow not ice.

      You'd have to cut your tongue out to get rid of the after taste of that anchovy dip. we had it at a party of about 20 people and only two people actually liked it, everyone else spit it out.

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  8. OH MY GOSH! You are so hilarious! I laughed and just about peed myself howling with laughter at your post. I absolutely love your wicked sense of humour. Thank you for making my day. Stay warm and safe....

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    1. Thank you and welcome---I think you're new here. I don't always let my sense of humor out in public like this, but I do try from time to time.

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  9. Good luck with the weather! That can be scary.

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    1. I talked to a friend who lives five miles south of me and she didn't have any ice at all while we have a thin coat on everything. If it doesn't get any worse we'll be okay but the main part of the storm hasn't passed us yet either.

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  10. I agree about the dandelion. I would be afraid to try it unless I knew it was "organic". Hahaha.

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    1. I wonder what ever made people try making tea out of the roots of a plant in the first place.

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  11. I saw something on 60 Minutes (I think) about a company utilizing dandelions to make rubber tires. That could explain the "yuck" taste... but drinking it could help you avoid getting a flat.

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    1. Wow, it would sure take a lot of dandelions to make a tire! People have been drinking the tea and making medicines out of dandelions for eons. Makes you wonder why home owners hate them so much. LOL

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  12. Don't get me started on sugar! I decided to cut back on my sweet treats and happened upon a whole bunch of information about the evils of sugar in general and that it is an additive in almost every food we buy and is metabolized to make us fat and is highly addictive and on and on. I am now determined to purge it as best I can from the things I eat. Granted only 11 days into my new plan but this doesn't feel like a typical diet for me (cuz my motivation isn't to lose weight); it feels like just making a healthy choice -- like quitting smoking for smokers. I may very occasionally choose to have a piece of BD cake with the family or something, but it will be rare and not an automatic almost mindless choice. Anyway, I totally relate to the sugar thing. But not to the meat. Nope. No land animal meat. Very rarely chicken. Fish and seafood once in awhile. I think if everyone just knew what was in the food we ingest and ate mindfully and with intention instead of habitually, we'd all be healthier, no matter our choices.

    Will keep you and Levi in my thoughts. I hate winter storms and the thought power going out is scary! That rarely happens where I live. We are to get snow and below freezing temps next week. It will mess up everything. We are snow wimps. LOL

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    1. I've been reading your sugar posts on Facebook. I hadn't had the courage to click on any of the links yet but I will in time. I know it's bad for us.

      I love red meat so long as no one reminds me of those sweet cows it comes from. I eat a lot less of it than I used to but at least once a month I have to have a great cut of steak.

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  13. It's not clear whether the ice storm is going to get here tomorrow or not. Some weather forecasts say we'll get some ice in this part of the state; others say it will stay too warm to freeze while the rain is falling. Happily, the tree guys came yesterday and pruned off the tree branches that were hanging over my power lines and my roof. I no longer have to worry that I'm just one big gust of wind, ice storm or heavy snow away from a power outage or roof damage.

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    1. My community has all underground wires but that doesn't stop thousands of people losing power when substations are effected or people slide into power poles.

      I guess this storm is hard to predict. We got the ice and now it's little pelts. They say we could get up to 10 inches of snow but I'd guessing it won't be that much, judging by the consistence of those pelts. By morning the storm is supposed to on it's way to your part of the country. It's pretty fast moving.

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  14. I hope that you are OK Jean. We got a lot of rain and this morning there is snow on the ground. I'm worried about next weekend. We are suppose to have a snow storm and I still have to get out of Detroit to get my cruise.
    As far as food, I'm not going to worry about how much until I get home after the cruise. Take care my friend.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. I didn't lose power, Paul. And the ice is thin and should melt with the temperatures predicted Monday and Tuesday. We didn't get the deep snow predicted...just a couple of inches here. Not sure how the rest of the state did, just go up.

      Stay safe, Paul and give yourself plenty of time getting to Detroit.

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  15. I'd undo all the benefits of dandelion tea by adding a slug of honey to it. And some half-n-half.

    I'm very set in my ways.

    I don't change how I eat during The Holidays anymore. I used to bake a ton of cookies and a Christmas cake, but that was years ago. My vice is wine. And the occasional handfuls of peanut M&Ms.

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    1. Ya, the honey and creamer would make it taste better. LOL

      I have no trouble going months and months without wine and peanuts, but not cookies. We all have our weaknesses, don't we.

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  16. You are so discipined! Hats off to you on loving the Christmas gain and your fortitude in doing all to help!

    Did you get damage/ice from the storm last night or did it go by you? We weren't as bad as predicted but when the weather channel is broadcasting live from Lansing, it's a bit disconcerting!

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    1. I am not disciplined long enough to do any permanent good. I go up and down on the scales a lot.

      We didn't get it as bad as predicted but I got a thin coat of ice on everything. A friend five miles south didn't get any ice at all so the line must have between us. I do thing the weather people were wise to put everyone on notice because this storm has been bad as it traveled across the country. The weather alert system even broke into the on-demand movie I was watching. I didn't even know that could happen.

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  17. My great great Grand Parents used to make Dandelion Wine.
    When our family found this out, we were shocked because no one of my ancestor's has taken a drink of anything alcoholic since the Great Greats.

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    1. I hear it had quite the punch to it too. Some friends our our gave a a pint of dandelion wine that they had made but I could never bring myself to taste it. It went down the drain.

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  18. This is my first read of your blog. I love it. I lost my husband of 45 years 16 months ago. I think I've been pretty strong through it, but there sure are low days. I knew there had to be something out there to keep the positivity going in my life. Just a little background. Thanks. I'll be back.

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    1. Welcome Cindy! Thanks for the background info. The gals I pal around with are all long-term widows like you so I've come to understand that low days still happen from time to time.

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  19. Well, I think you've said it all about dieting! I tried dandelion tea a couple of times when I was a Boyscout, about a hundred years ago, but never since. I will quaff some English breakfast now and then, but I don't think it helps me lose weight.

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    1. Making dandelion tea sounds like a Boyscout kind of thing--- learning to survive in the wild is patch worthy. My dad was never in the Scouts but his family was very poor.

      Welcome Tom, I think you're new here.

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  20. Ginseng tea was popular at our house when I was young. Pop used to go out in the woods and find the roots. I should have gone with him and learned to locate them myself. I think they bring a good price if sold, or they did then ‘cause he sometimes sold some.

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    1. You brought back a memory of my brother and I going out in the woods to find Sassafras to chew on and I think we even tried making tea with it once or twice. Ginseng is very a popular tea today with all kinds of claims about it being good for you.

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