Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

Welcome to my World---Woman, widow. senior citizen seeking to live out my days with a sense of whimsy as I search for inner peace and friendships. Jeez, that sounds like a profile on a dating app and I have zero interest in them, having lost my soul mate of 42 years. Life was good until it wasn't when my husband had a massive stroke and I spent the next 12 1/2 years as his caregiver. This blog has documented the pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties and finally, moving past it all. And now I’m ready for a new start, in a new location---a continuum care campus in West Michigan, U.S.A. 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. Stick around, read a while. I'm sure we'll have things in common. Your comments are welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Inspirational Quotes, Pen Names and Aspirational Dreams


I have two magnetic squares on my refrigerator. One has a George Eliot quote on it that reads, “It is never too late to be what you might have been” and the other has a Christopher Reeve quote saying “Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.” I like the former better than the latter quote. The Reeve magnet is one I didn’t buy, it came as a thank you gift from an eBay purchase and I didn’t have the heart to throw it away. I'm guessing that means I think its bad luck to discard something that speaks of hope?

Until I set out to write this blog post I didn’t have the foggiest idea who George Eliot was which is sad when you think that I’ve walked past the magnet a dozen times a day for three years. Where was my curiosity before now? And why was my education in literature so lacking that I didn’t know George Eliot was actually a Victorian Era English woman---a novelist, poet and journalist named Mary Ann Evans? More likely I did know back in the dark ages when I went to college and I forgot. My brain is a sieve when I HAVE TO learn something as opposed to when I WANT TO learn something.
 
Anyway, I did know that women back in that era had to use male pen names to be taken seriously as writers. A bummer bit of trivia but what can I say, men ruled the world and the publishing industry. Even my famous Revolutionary War female ancestor wrote under a male pen name. But are we any less judgmental today when it comes to who we think is writing the books we enjoy? We still haven’t moved past that whole men and woman aren’t capable of understanding and writing in a voice of the oppose sex. Women write romance, men write sci-fi thrillers with few exceptions shoring up the belief that Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. I remember when that John Gray book came out in 1992 and my husband and I both read it, thinking we’d both had Aha Moments. But I’m getting side-tracked again…

Today, the gender ambiguous J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame is actually Joanne Rowling which by now you’d have to be living under a rock not to know that, but did you know she also uses the pen name of Robert Galbraith? According to the article, 9 Female Authors Who Wrote Under Male Pen Names by Matthew Thompson: “In 2013, Rowling published the crime thriller The Cuckoo’s Calling under the nom de plume Robert Galbraith. Of her decision to use a pseudonym, the author explained: ‘I really wanted to go back to the beginning of a writing career in this new genre, to work without hype or expectation and to receive totally unvarnished feedback.’ Rowling/Galbraith has since published three additional crime novels in the series, with plans of continuing it well into the future.”

So if you’re the curious type I’ll bet you’ve asked your computer screen exactly what it is that the Misadventurous Widow wants to do that she thinks she’s too old to do. Why did that magnet with the Elliot quote become one of her favorite possessions? If you guessed bungee jumping, you'd be wrong. Bungee jumping could lead to a freak accident rendering me with a broken neck and grateful I didn’t throw away the Christopher Reeve magnet about hope. And no, I don’t want climb a mountain where I’d likely pass out from lack of oxygen have to be carried back down by two porters and a pack mule. And I most certainly I don’t want to join the Mile High Club because that would mean I’d have to step foot on an airplane. Did that a couple of times, don’t want to relive that terror. (Stepped on an airplane, not join the Mile High Club. Done the former but not the latter just to be perfectly clear.) 

The reason for the pep talking refrigerator magnet is to remind me to write every day. Boring reason, I know and I could have made up some bucket list dribble, but facts are facts. For years, it actually functioned as a coaster for my coffee cup next to my computer, but then as I got to know my cleaning girl I moved it to the refrigerator where she's had to clean around and behind it every month for the past three years. If ever there was a person who needs to be reminded that she’s not too old to go after her dreams, it’s her. She’s a street-wise pixie-sized woman in her early twenties who has had more tragic life experiences than most people my age. But she’s stuck on the rise cycle of life and can’t seem to move through to the spin cycle to start anew even though she has doable, aspirational dreams. Easy for me to say with my idyllic childhood. If shedding insecurities was so easy we’d all be living our dreams wouldn’t we and coffee cups, tee-shirts and magnets wouldn't be flaunting inspirational quotes because none of us would need their 'pep talks.'

Now you know the story of why I have a George Elliot quote on my refrigerator. What you don’t know is how many times I’ve walked by it and wished and wondered why I can’t write something so profound it becomes a meme that goes viral. Where is that wisdom that is supposed to come with age? All I got was wrinkles and not the good kind like Meg Murry used to time-travel to a different dimension. ©

Two of my favorite memes that basically say the same thing.
 

34 comments:

  1. I have all sorts of pep talks I give myself when they're appropriate. So far few people are quoting me, and that's fine too. I write a post every day and I love doing it.

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    1. Just your blogging pen name is quoteable. Every time I see it it makes me smile.

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  2. If something I wrote became a meme, I think I'd slit my throat. Just me. But of course I live with my own kinds of stuckness, including a preference for an emoji-free blog. I have an utterly irrational hatred for the things; they always suggest that we've moving back toward the caves, where we scrawled pictures on the walls before we were clever enough to come up with words.

    Of course, it's probably worth shaming myself by admitting I wasn't really sure what a meme was until a year or so ago. I suppose if I were on Facebook, etc., the revelation would have come sooner.

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    1. I'm not fond of emojis either. I read a book recently where the characters were texting back and forth in all emjois and it drove me crazy trying to figure them out.

      You're a serious writer. I'm surprised that you wouldn't be flattered if something you wrote was so beautifully worded or wise, funny or inspirational that other people wanted to share it online. Memes come all forms, granted a lot of them are stupid but they are a form of communication that is here to stay.

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  3. Actually I am a guy. Female bloggers seem to do better so I changed my blog name from Patrick to Patti. Ok that was pure Bull dooky. Just couldn't resist playing with ya.
    I so envy you your cleaning lady. Maybe someday.

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    1. LOL You're on to something, with the female bloggers doing better. We just naturally spill our guts in public more than men.

      Having a cleaning lady is a two-edged sword kind of luxury. They get to know your "business" intimately in exchange you get clean toilets, sinks and floors. I've had a few bad ones that weren't worth the price. With the one I have now, she's OCD and I have to worry about her cleaning the finish right off the floors, she's so thorough. I've learned to pass on replacement girls if Purity is out sick. I just wait until she's better. Best gift I ever gave myself though, when I hired the service.

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  4. So glad writers have (mostly) gotten past having to present as a male. I have been having weird scary (to me) dreams ... I may have to email you! Thanks for blogging. I sure look forward to Weds and Sat!

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    1. Scary dreams are the worst and seem to increasing with the pandemic. My favorite 'dream' resource is Dream Moods, Dream Dictionary. http://www.dreammoods.com/dreamdictionary/a.htm Everything you'd want to know about dreams can be found there at the links at the top of the site and on their home page.

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  5. I took a Feminist Literature class in college and George Eliot was a s/hero of the teacher, so we learned all about her and why she had to write under a male name. I love the last meme. LOL

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    1. Isn't that great. If men would just learn to let women vent and say a few well placed, "yes, dear"s things would end better for everyone. LOL

      Well, now you've peaked my interest in Eliot with you're connecting her to feminist literature.

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  6. Here's my aspirational story: About 30 years ago I took an adult tap class for a couple of years. The other day I dusted off the plywood board I used for home practice, put on my tap shoes, and started learning some routines off of Youtube. I'll never be another Shirley Temple and parts of me don't always do what I want them to do, but I figure as long as I have to live like a hermit I might as well enjoy myself.

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    1. What a great pandemic, make-good-use-of-your-time story! I took tap lessons when I was a kid as a lot of kids did back in the Shirley Temple era. No doubt you're getting good exercise, working your mind and your body and having fun at the same time.

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  7. I have nothing because I have been interupted over and over so I just gave up

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  8. I’d like to add to that last meme.

    A wise man once said nothing. He let her vent and cleaned up the kitchen without having to be asked and then they had mind-blowing sex after that.

    If only men knew how little it took...

    Deb

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    1. That would really do the trick, wouldn't it. LOL Did you just make that up or was it another meme I missed?

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    2. Let’s just say instead of asking for a friend, I am telling you from a friend šŸ˜‰

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  9. I haven't read Middlemarch for years, but that was my introduction to George Eliot. Interesting about the pen names. I hadn't thought about that but it makes sense -- unfortunately, still today.

    Your last meme was especially good. For years I thought it was pronounced me-me because they are usually all about me. Or used to be. I still have to remember not to call them that in public!

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    1. I don't think I've every heard 'meme' pronounced in public more than a time or two and it was me saying it incorrectly. I had to ask Alexa how to do it right. Figured if my ambition is to be a meme writer I'll need to know who to say it. LOL

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  10. I had a few different "pen names" during my radio career. Actually, they are known as "air names," and the reason is to keep the crazies away from your door. JK Rowling's choice of a different name for a different genre of writing makes perfect sense.

    Interesting, and true, comment about male versus female blogging names. Probably 85% of the retirement lifestyle bloggers are female. I had never thought about becoming Bobbie, but that might have made the first few years easier.

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    1. People in the public eye sure do need pen names or air names, especially in this internet age where anyone can find anything thing or anybody.

      I wish more guys did blog so we could all have a better chance of figuring out this Mars/Venus thing, knowing how each other thinks about the topics that come up.

      Since you were in radio, I'm surprised you don't have a podcast attached to your blog like the other male blogger I follow in my sidebar, John Pavlovitz.

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    2. I had one for about a year that was based on posts already written. The idea was to introduce the blog to new readers. But, it never generated much activity and was a fair amount of work.

      Podcasting has exploded in the last few years. Maybe it is time to pull out the microphone and give it another go.

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  11. I took a class in college on Victorian Literature. We covered female writers almost exclusively: the Brontes, Eliot, Austen, etc. My professor, who I had a huge crush on, was tremendous. Not because of his looks (he was a dead ringer for actor Mike Farrell), but because he was so smart and such a feminist. I still love Victorian novels to this day. The Mayor of Casterbridge is a particular favourite; so is The Odd Women.

    Memes are funny and pithy, but they're not anything a person can set out to write. They simply happen serendipitously. And no one ever says, "Wow. That So and So sure created a great meme." You'd never get credit nor acknowledgement, ever.

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    1. There is nothing sexier than a smart, good looking guy who can talk books and writers.

      I'm half kidding about wanting to create a meme that would go viral. I saw the one at the top and it tickled my funny bone and I knew I wanted to find a way to use it to bridge the ending of this essay to the beginning. I don't use the various social media platforms enough to make anything go viral.

      I've recently friended several authors on my Facebook page and they write (not just share) the best memes. But you know as well as I do that someone will quote those memes without crediting the author's name at the bottom. I never understood why people do that with poetry and now they do it with cleaver memes.

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  12. I cheer myself on with various sayings that I feel are inspirational, but might be considered by other people to be snarky. None are a meme to my knowledge, but I don't really see many memes so who knows? I knew that George Eliot was Mary Ann Evans because that's the sort of trivia that makes an English major feel empowered in life.

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    1. I'm not surprised that you were an English major. Your love of word play and language are clear (and fun) in your posts.

      I see a lot of memes because I often google them for my posts. One day I hope to use photos that I personally taken but I don't have the time to get side-tracked down that rabbit hole right now. I know once I start back into photography I'll I won't be able to stop. I've even had classes on developing film...that's how long ago I we're talking.

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  13. You baby boomers destroyed your own children's future, and then laughed about it and blamed it on them. Do you realize that you are going to end up in a retirement home where you are going to get treated like total trash, and abused? Your children won't be able to help you, even if they wanted to. Karma's a bitch, you boomer scum.

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  14. I have had a meme collection on my Pinterest page for a while. It amuses me on boring days - which I haven't had many of lately.

    Although my "real" name makes me hard to find on Google given the parks, cemeteries, schools, etc., it brings up, I love being Hope Springs. Not sure why I started using it, but it's been a long time. It did become a little weird when the Meryl Streep movie by that name came out, but I didn't mind. Being hard to find on the internet is a good thing, right?

    Meanwhile, I had a crown prep at the dentist this week and your new place is coming right along! And BTW, if you do go to that office, I highly recommend the female dentist - DH and I both really like her.

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    1. I love your internet name, too. I wish I had thought to create a pen name for the internet. Being hard to find online is a good thing.

      The CCC is having a hardhat tour the middle of August so I figured they'd have something for us to see. I can't wait for that. A little scary, though, because it makes it more real and I'm still worried I won't get enough sunshine in my life after I move.

      Thanks for the dentist recommendation. The CCC wants to buy that dental office and the office wants to sell but they are miles apart on the price. The CCC doesn't need the land until the next phase which is years down the road. I want to hear more about that before I change dentists. I'm thinking the office will still be there as long as I'm on earth. If not, I'll stay put where my dental records are.

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  15. Those are good Memes there at the bottom, I am pretty sure a Woman wrote them!? *Winks* Aspirations, well, I got a Bucket List full of them but a lot of them are looking more unlikely by the Day now. I've lowered a lot of expectations... I've also been looking at Old Comedy Rants by George Carlin, as relevant now as when he did them years ago, he really had his finger on the pulse of what has always been going on and most choose to just ignore and live in denial about in America. Now, as a Senior, I understand why he seemed so angry, I have way more rants now than in my Youth. Not that I trusted a lot of what was going on as a Youth, just that I felt I could change a lot of it then, you know, my Generation would... and now here we are... and we didn't change a damned thing and too many of our Generation became the Establishment we loathed. Mostly because Selling Out to it meant prosperity beyond their wildest Dreams, to become the Elite meant they joined The Club who doesn't give a damn about the rest. Well, at least I didn't become one of them, Thank God!

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  16. Our aspirations do change as we age. I used to want to write books, now I'd be happy with a meme to go viral. LOL

    George Carlin's humor was so smart. Trevor Noel from Comedy Central reminds me of him in a way. He's also well-educated and thought provoking in his humor.

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  17. LOL, I love gallows humor, so I had to stop reading to recover my composure after "Bungee jumping could lead to a freak accident rendering me with a broken neck and grateful I didn’t throw away the Christopher Reeve magnet about hope." We read two George Eliot novels in high school, Silas Marner in freshman year and Mill on the Floss in junior year. I became totally obsessed with Mill on the Floss and its tragic heroine, Maggie Tulliver. I went back and re-read it when I was in my fifties to see if I could figure out what 16-year-old me was so entranced by. By middle age, the George Eliot novel that grabbed me was Daniel Deronda. I once got so caught up in it when I was on a road trip in Newfoundland that I took it out to read it over lunch at a picnic area and the next thing I knew it was getting dark and I was nowhere near my destination for the night! I can still get lost in a good book ;-)

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    1. I'm glad you mentioned the broken neck/Reeve line. Sometimes I have to ask myself if I'm not pushing the envelope a little to far. LOL

      I read 'Silas Marner' but didn't remember until you mentioned it. I just found Daniel Deronda on Kindle Unlimited for a free download. When I want to get my reading out of the smut section I'll have something to look forward to reading. Love your lost-in-a-book story.

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