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 19, 2020

From Dogs and being Ticked Off to Laughter and Fun


As I sit here writing Levi my Mighty Schnauzer is barking his lung out at the three giant puppies across the street as the fly back and forth along their fence line, two on one side and one on the other. The single dog is needier than the other two and she tries her darnedest to dig under that fence. Come warm weather when the dirt has thawed I suspect his daddy will be out there putting cinder blocks along the lot line that separates the two yards. 

They must have put a new rule in place in my neighborhood because it seems like everyone around me is getting big ass dogs. A new dog behind me has figured out how to get past its electric fence and he makes a beeline to my house to mark the shrub that Levi claims as his personal potty. I see his tracks in the snow and I know instantly that Levi will be spending the next five minute emptying out his bladder on that poor shrub. Take that! Levi must be thinking as he works his way around our mammoth Yew, I’m still top dog around here! And another guy who lives two doors down just got a new dog, a big breed of questionable parentage. He had another, very well trained dog who died two years ago of old age. He spent a lot of time with her and you could tell he loved that blonde collie as much as he did his two toddlers. He played with her and walked her like clockwork and she was so affectionate and obedient. I was jealous. 

I’ve finally got off the Susan Stoker book reading marathon I was on. I read eleven all total but I got major turned off by the last two and won’t be buying any more of her books. Those two included Fifty Shades of Grey kind of submission and domination stuff between the main characters and if there’s anything I can’t stand in books marketed as Romance it’s the attempt to normalize stuff that I first learned about by reading the Encyclopedia of Human Behavior…under the heading of “sexual deviations.” Call me old fashion, I can take it. But I will never understand how an author of romances would think a woman who’d been kidnapped by a serial killer, tied up, tortured and had her eyes taped open so she had to watch another girl get the same treatment would then be all hunky-Dorie when a man who supposedly loves her ties her up and orders her around. He gave her a whole two weeks to recuperate after her rescue. What a sweetheart! Ya, I caught the explanation that she was proving that she trusts him completing. Fine, if he needs to feel trusted trust him to pick up milk on his way home from work. Trust him to put his dirty socks in the clothes hammer. Trust him to not drink OJ straight from the bottle. But don’t trust him in the bedroom with anything that can be found in a sadist, serial killer’s tool box. Okay, enough of the kinky talk. Rant off. Well, almost. Can you tell this topic ticks me off? At least this past Valentine’s Day I didn’t see any S&M kits being advertised on TV like they did back when Fifty Shades of Grey books and movies were so popular. Lowering the acceptance threshold in the general population on the line between ‘normal’ and ‘deviate’ is not a good thing in my high-and-might opinion. So there Susan!

New Topic: This week five of my Gathering Girls pals met at the Guy Land Cafeteria for a 2 ½ hour brunch and we laughed so much at one point my belly ached and I didn’t think it would ever be normal again. I had tears in my eyes and I couldn’t talk to explain what it was that I found so funny. It was silly, really. Another woman at the table said she got new hearing aids but she "still couldn’t hear words.” That is SO me! I could hear the cook thirty feet away cracking eggs. I could hear car doors slamming outside but key words in sentences said across the table often get lost in the background noises. And half the time we talk in It-Takes-a-Village mode where it takes all of us making guesses to fill in the blanks of what others can’t remember. “It’s that place south of Applebee’s on the other side of the road.” “Do you mean near the apple orchard?  “Yes!” “That the heck is the name of that place?” “I love their gift shop.” “They have great walnut cranberry salads.” “For crying out loud! Why can’t we remember the name of that place?”

That day at lunch we talked about a wide range of topic from the soups our mothers made to who had the cell phone with the biggest keyboard to wills, trusts and buses without seat belts. Someone always says something outrageous when conversations get too serious that has us all laughing. We tease each other and cause people at near-by tables to lean in to eavesdrop. Strangers sometimes walk by and make comments like, “You ladies need to loosen up” or “you guys are having way too much fun.” And sometimes my gal pals affectionately grumble about how their kids lord over them in a role reversal way and I tell them they are lucky they have kids to watch over them. I mean it and so do they when they agree. God, I love these ladies! © 

41 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you have those friends! :)

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  2. Still smiling at your "It-Takes-a-Village mode." Yep here too. My support group also gets that "you girls are having too much fun" comment. Sure feels good to laugh so much doesn't it?

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    1. I wou!d love to take record one of our lunches. I do think people enjoy seeing others having harmless fun.

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  3. You're fortunate to have a group of gal pals. Have you lived in your area for a long time? From what I can tell that seems to be how the groups form and stay together. There's nothing better than getting together to laugh.

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    1. Actually, we've only known each other going on three years. We met at a gathering for people looking for friends and we spun ourselves off from the group.

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  4. Jean it made me giggle your take on Fifty Shades. Hey at least you read it. I couldn't stomach it after I heard things about it from friends who did read it. I heard how poor the writing was. I heard from girlfriends about this weak woman who was treated terribly yet she loved him. Oh please. Nope, couldn't stomach it. I am not into S&M but I have no issue with it if 2 people are adults and there is mutual respect. Doesn't sound like it in this book. And yet there are real life women who fantasy about rape. I DO NOT GET THEM!

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    1. I get the mental issues people have that attracts them to S&M but I don't buy the doing adults defense. Go get your head examined if you want to give or get pain in or out of the bedroom.

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    2. Condensing adults I meant to write. My computer is in the shop and I'm typing on my kindle.

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  5. One of my neighbors got a new dog and we never see the dog throughout the day but just when we are ready to go to bed, about 11:00pm, this darn dog decides to get outside and starts barking. Just about every night. What a pain.
    “You ladies need to loosen up”????? What are ladies doing? Get a couple bottles of booze and you'll loosen up pretty quickly. LOL See ya Jean.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. We've only drank with a meal once. It cost so much we didn't do it again. LOL

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  6. It sure does sound like you guys have a lot of fun together!

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    1. Jean - Why would I click on a 'Widowhood' blog? I'm an 83 year-old guy whose wife would probably enjoy a good time with your Gathering Girls.

      Yet I am also a writer and a reader, so I thought I'd dig a little deeper. Your profile says you writer about growing older and looking for friends......the very stuff my stories explore. Except.......you deal with Navy Seals and Fifty Shades. How can my aging beta-males, in their pursuit of Geriatric Adolescence, compete with that? I've devoted a dozen books to their stumbling efforts and they still haven't got it right.

      Long story short. Having scrolled through your recent blog offerings it is obvious I don't need to be a widow to enjoy your take on life. Any one who can blend Gene Autry and the Marharishi into a single post wins my 'bookmark.'

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    2. Welcome and thank you! I'm in the nice of a computer crisis now and using and using tiny kindle now but I'll check out your blog when I finish having a nervous break down. Even my backup computer is giving me fits.

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  7. I love your Gathering Gal Pals! I have a lot of friends in the area (I still live in my hometown) but finding a group that just clicks like that is unique. I think there is a big need for gal pals. Someone posted a notice about that on our local Nextdoor site and it got a lot of responses.

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    1. I agree. We all met at a gathering for seniors who were looking for friends. We were all encouraged to go out for coffee after the meetings and it took as 4-5 months of doing that before we spun ourselves off from the main group. We just clicked. Men have their sports buddies but I think women had a harder time meeting others.

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  8. Great that the Gathering Gal Pals are such a Riot! Socializing is something I'm trying to get back to as Princess T gets older and requires less hands-on Parenting and The Man needs less Caregiving too. Now having some Me Time can be a priority I'd neglected for almost two Generations of Raising Kiddos and looking after an Ailing and Seriously Disabled Spouse. I'd almost forgotten how much of Life I'd been out of the Loop of for so long!

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    1. Finding friends is not easy at any age, I've discovered. At least you have one good friend whose been helping you move. None of my gal pals are physically able to do stuff like that, but are a great mood elevators.

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  9. Laughter can be so contagious to the point we forget what we started laughing about sometimes. Healthy that you can all find humor in some of the frustrations those with hearing loss can experience.

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  10. How I wish I had gathering girls pals!

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  11. I have not read 50 Shades and don’t think I ever will. I don’t like books with rape fantasy themes or S&M, but apparently a lot of women do - I think because it absolves them of any guilt about being sexual if the man is in total control. Just a thought...
    Your ladies are a hoot. I hope to cultivate a gang like that after I move. I already have a couple of candidates lined up šŸ˜‰

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    1. I've heard that theory about the rape fantasy and it was a theory certain romance writers used to propagate back decades ago. But in this day and age women are allowed to enjoy being sexual without guilt. So now instead of rape scenes it's S&M degrading women. So many young women get their ideas about sex and romance from book and I will say it until I'm blue in the face that authors and publishers of ROMANCE GENRE books have a responsibility to not normalize this crap. A romance author who I had several exchanges with on this topic was abused and killed by her husband back in the 90s. She thought I was a prude for not liking the rape scenes, that it was normal in relationships. It was normal in hers and it got her killed.

      You will make friends easily once you move. You've been in the work place recently and you didn't lose any of your people skills like those of us who were stay-at-home caregivers.

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  12. Isn't it wonderful to have a group of friends like that? You can talk the serious stuff and then roar together and have more fun than anyone. That's a gift!

    Oh, Levi has some getting back of his own to do. This might be fun to watch!

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    1. I feel about my gathering girls like you do your corker group. I like your group because you have the added feature of good wines.

      Levi is not going to like his anti-barking training this summer.

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  13. I'd like to know more about how you managed to spin yourselves off from the main coffee group. Clearly you managed to choose those you felt a kinship with without making others feel left out. How'd ya do that???

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    1. It was really pretty simple. Of the twenty or so people who took part in the Gatherings sponsored by the senior hall only seven of us consistently went out for coffee at the near by coffee shop. After about 4-5 official Gatherings where they played get-to-know-each-other games we decided we wanted more. We exchanged contact information and I took care of setting up group emails and twice a month (for the 1st and 3rd Mondays) I send out a group email reminding everyone where we plan to meet, etc. We're going on three years of doing this. No one else in the main group (which none of us attend anymore) could have had felt left out because, 1) They didn't know we did it and 2) Most of the people only came to the main group once. They'd hear about what was available at the senior hall and skip the coffees afterward. I told the director about our group after our first year and she was really happy and said that was the goal she'd hoped to accomplish because the hall can't be all things to all people. We invited another woman in to the group last year because she is a close friend of the woman with cancer but after coming three times she decided it wasn't for her.

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    2. Thank you for that information.

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  14. Your Gathering Girls is such a great idea! And now you know how to do it, you can try it out again at your new place! Once a month is just right!! Laughing is so good for the soul.

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    1. We meet twice a month but sometimes only 5-6 of the seven come. At least with the twice a month schedule if someone misses they don't have to go a whole two months in between visits.

      I'm really hoping to still keep meeting with these ladies after I move. There is a movie complex with a bunch of restaurants half way in between us that I'm hoping we'll be able to switch to going. It's actually closer than where we meet now for all but one of the gals. She'd have to drive another 5(?) miles but she's the baby of the group so I'm hoping she'll be willing to do it.

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  15. I am SO not into that Fifty Shades type of reading. Someone I know who reads a lot said she was given a copy and tried to read it. It was so poorly written she couldn't get past the first couple chapters. So there is that, too.

    Girlfriends and hard laughing are the best. What a great break. And this week we're seeing THE SUN. I'm so excited. We're about to work with a realtor to list our house. Fingers crossed. The market looks pretty good...just a question of timing and whether we get what we want/need. :)

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    1. I read a little bit of Fifty Shade online. It started out as a self-published book done in chapters. It really was poorly written. I saw one of the movies on late night TV and hated it, but I really wanted to understand why so many women liked it.

      The sunshine makes everything better, doesn't it. I'm excite for you. There is nothing better than moving into a brand new house that you planned down to the minute detail. I went out to my new location this week to look at interior packages...my tomorrow's blog post.

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  16. Dear Jean, I so enjoyed this posting--the "ranting" followed by the laughter that good friends--who trust one another--enjoy together. Thank you for sharing. Peace.

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    1. I couldn't stop writing blog posts if I tried, so I'm glad when others enjoy the. Thanks for reading.

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  17. I'm with you on the S&M as "romance". The book you describe sounds like abuse to me. And I don't think that is old fashioned. I think it is empathy, compassion, and discernment. I used to read a mystery writer (who is very popular but will remain nameless cuz I don't want to give him any credence.) His books could be fairly violent but always the bad guys had it coming. But he threw in a scene in a "sex club" where a woman was having sex with animals! WTH? I got up from my reading chair and threw the book away. I'll never read him again. These books are on the best seller list and available to all ages: I don't get it.

    I have a friend who I have breakfast with every Tuesday. We get the same comments from those at our regular restaurant. Love it!

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    1. That book would have me out in the back yard setting it on fire! I know all the stuff about freedom of speech but come on, there are morals and values that authors influence and it makes a difference how how they market crap like that.

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  18. This kind of outing with friends and laughter is what keeps us alive and growing. I have a few pals that fall into the same category but unfortunately they do not live close so I don't see them as much as I wish. Lucky you to have such a fun group.

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    1. I know! We used to have neighbors we could let our hair down with but it was a long time in between losing them and finding this group.

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  19. You had me chomping at the bit to read a couple of Susan Stoker books. I just finished reading Protecting Caroline and like you, I could not put it down! It was fabulous. I need to get the second one in the series. I can't wait!

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    1. I wish I could remember which ones of the 11 I read had the S&M stuff in them that turned me off, to tell you stay away from those two, if that stuff turns you off. I think it was the Protecting Summer book and the one after that turned me off. That's what I hate about Kindles, you can't thumb through them afterward. I'm trying to work up the courage to ask for recommendations at her Facebook pages what which books not to read that include S&M because I do like her others.

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