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, November 4, 2020

This Too Shall Pass but Can we Get a Confirmation on That?

 

I’m not sure I can do this anymore. And to make matters worse, I don’t even know what “this” is that I want to stop doing. The pandemic? The loneliness it brings with it? The constant focus on moving related activities? The worrying about the direction our country is going in? The pandemic related weight I’ve gained? The guilt of reading too much thus avoiding other things I should be doing? One thing I am sure of is that I’ve entered into another winter of discontent and by “winter” I’m using the word metaphorically and not referring to the season fast approaching my part of the world.

“When a condition or a problem becomes too great, humans have the protection of not thinking about it. But it goes inward and minces up with a lot of other things already there and what comes out is discontent and uneasiness, guilt and a compulsion to get something--anything--before it is all gone.”

John Steinbeck

 The Winter of Our Discontent

I’ve always loved John Steinbeck’s title, The Winter of Our Discontent. It rolls off your tongue so smoothly and paints an image of bleakness with so little effort. But I don’t like the feeling of living in a winter of discontent. I’ve been restless lately and when I’m feeling this way I ramble-write, not knowing where I’m going to end up but hoping it leads to clarity. And ramble writing usually leads me to rereading a favorite John Steinbeck quote from In Awe of Words: “A writer out of loneliness is trying to communicate like a distant star sending signals. He isn’t telling or teaching or ordering. Rather he seeks to establish a relationship of meaning, of feeling, of observing. We are lonesome animals. We spend all life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say—and to feel—‘Yes, that’s the way it is, or at least that’s the way I feel it. You’re not as alone as you thought.’”

Steinbeck wasn’t the first to write about the winter of discontent. I’ve never studied Shakespeare but it doesn’t take much research into Steinbeck’s book title to run across a play of Shakespeare’s that starts out: “Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York…” spoken by Richard, the future king who was not complaining, as I’ve been doing here, but was rather celebrating the turning point in his family’s fortune. In Steinbeck’s novel, however, the turning point was the opposite---of a family who was once great and went broke thus giving the main character a plot purpose to regain the family riches, power and influence. But the bare bones theme of the book, according to one reviewer, is it's about “the effect of societal pressure.” Geez! There's no maybe about it, that’s the cause of my discontentment right now i.e. there is so much social pressure to do this or don’t do that or to embrace this and reject that. I hate when the world around me seems to view everything in blacks and whites with no grey nuances in between. That's the kind of social pressures that makes my head spin.

“You know how advice is. You only want it if it agrees with what you wanted to do anyway.”

John Steinbeck

The Winter of Our Discontent

I’ve always loved living in an area of the world where our seasons are so clearly defined. With our winters comes both gentle and harsh storms followed by blinding white beauty blanketing the earth. Our springs warm the earth bringing forth the fragrant flowers and the return of plump robins. Our green, sultry summers with their long, lazy days are followed by cooler falls that turns the landscape into a blazing, artist's palette. A season that after the colors have detached from the trees gives way to brown, bare-bones visas waiting to start the cycle all over again. As humans we adapt. We fail and start over again. We grow stronger again. I may be in another winter of discontentment, but I’ve been here before and fortunately (or unfortunately) this time I’m not alone. The pandemic and the political climate has made strange bedfellows out of a lot of us. No matter who we voted for yesterday we are all deeply invested in the outcome of the election. God help us all if we can't come together when the dust settles, if our winter of discontent turns into a decade of discontent. Fingers crossed that doesn't happen.  ©

61 comments:

  1. I really love the Steinbeck quote from In Awe of Words. I learned a long time ago I don't feel lonely if I write. For a long time it was just in my free-association journal, but I wanted to send my signals out into the world. It's neat when they connect, but I would write anyway. Hurray for blogging!

    Yuck about the election!

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    1. It's one of my favorite quotes about writing. I love blogging. It gives me a rhythm to my weeks.

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    1. It ain't over until it's over. So I'm holding my breath because it's not settled yet. Even if Biden ends up winning I'm still not happy to learn that we have become a nation where nearly half of us think Trump's behavior is okay to represent our face to the world.
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    2. That bothers me even more than trump. There are always evil people around, but not over 40% of a country...yet here we are.

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    3. I'm going to repeat something I said to a lefty-liberal friend yesterday: Voting for Trump doesn't mean that people think his behavior is okay. His crazy-rabid supporters are the most visible, but I'm not convinced they represent the majority of Trump supporters. Many of them are voting for policies they approve of, even as they hold their nose about the person that represents those policies.
      I am hoping that we are headed into a season of greater nuance in our public life.

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    4. You my be right to say that about people holding their noses and voting for him because they agree with his policies rather than approving of his behavior. But in my mind that doesn't make it them any less misguided. His policies against immigrants, human rights, women's rights climate change and a woman's right and isolationism are on the wrong side of history.

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  3. Just finished speaking to my dear friend Bruce in Ireland. Time difference makes our call very early for me. He watches CNN around the clock. His friends tell him he is no longer living in America so let it go, those people are crazy. He said the concensus in Ireland is that trump is a foul, evil human. And if Americans vote for him they are the same and deserve what they get. But he lived here for years and he just doesn't understand how we could elect this fool. Then his irish friends ask him how can he care if their country is so messed up? Part of his heart is still here. His friends are not trump supporters so he can't understand this unless someone helped the guy. I told him his supporters can count or read but found their way out of the holes they live in to vote. That made him laugh. Talking to him calmed me but I still hate another 4 yrs with that asshat. God save us all. If Nostradamus is right well....you can google it.

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    1. I really worry about our standing in the world if we end up voting Trump back in office. Once is an anomaly, re-electing him is a fu*k you statement to every value our country used to hold dear.

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  4. These are such tense and nervous times. We may not know for days yet. Not sure I can bear 4 more years of what we just had and like you am amazed at those who still think he did just grand. I really thought we were better than that.

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    1. I blame FOX news as much as I blame the Republicans in the senate who didn't hold Trump to standards that any president should be held to.

      It's hard coming to terms with the fact that we may not be better then the self-centered, rule-of-law thumbing president we have now.

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    2. I also blame Fox News, Limbaugh and their ilk, but I also know people make a choice as to what news to listen to, what channels etc. so for some reason, they are already drawn to these right wing hate sites. Something in their DNA predisposes them towards this and also conspiracy theories..

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    3. I shared your sentiments but now I know at least Half of America, or mebbe only slightly less than that, already were not better than that. It grieves me more than One Man who has always been what he is openly, no surprises there.

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  5. Your response to Anni echoes my sentiments exactly.

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    1. I'd really hoped the vote would be overwhelmingly in favor of booting the guy out the door. Trump had a good ground game here, though. I must have gotten 40 text messages from his campaign telling me where to vote, how to get a ride if I need it and telling me how important it was to vote him back in office. I didn't get a single text from Biden.

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    2. How DID we get on his Text List tho', that's unsettling and we were getting them all the time and have never been Registered as Republicans.

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    3. I can't figure it out either, I've not only have never registered at as Republican, I rarely give out my cell phone number to anyone! I was getting Trump texts from 3 different places.

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  6. Yes, I wonder if this will be our winter of our discontent, too. Even worse, the decade of our discontent. I'm holding my breath as this all unfolds, but realize regardless of the election outcome half of my fellow Americans will be ticked off. Not looking forward to being around people for a long time to come.

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    1. If Trump loses he won't go away. He's talking about starting a cable channel and we already know what kind of hateful misinformation he'll spread, keeping his fan base tuned up and ready to work against his perceived enemies.

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    2. And whomever trump encourages to run next time...like Don Jr. yes this poison in our citizenry is not going anywhere soon.

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    3. The idea of Don Jr. running makes me want to throw up!!!! Or his son-in-Law.

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    4. At 74 and a Fat Angry Man, perhaps his Mortality and Karma will just catch up to him and his Cable Channel will be a Pipedream that never materializes? His Base needs not have any Public Broadcast to keep them ginned up and promoting violence and Domestic Terrorism!

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    5. I know, it's scary the crap he could spread with his own channel.

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  7. I'm just so disappointed but still hopeful that Biden will win. I am sorry he might have to fight Republicans in the Senate for four years if we don't end up with the majority. You can just imagine how hateful and uncooperative they will be. Our country is a sorry mess right now.

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  8. If Biden should win, the senate is republican still and McConnell is still there to thwart everything Biden might try to do to change things for the better.

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    1. Why does McConnell keep running and winning? The man has plenty of money and isn't getting any younger. I really hate that man.

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  9. Count me among those who can't believe half this country thinks he is fit to have a second term. Honestly. And now he is filing lawsuits, which he threatened. Well, I am hoping and praying our system holds up under his barrage of insanity. He's like a cornered animal now. Nobody thinks he can overturn 20K votes in WI, and "having access" to ballots in MI? What does that look like? How about they look into the ballots that haven't been delivered all over the country by the USPS? Grrr. And then McConnell says taking it to the courts is "the American way." Sure it is, Mitch, since you packed them in your favor. GRRR.

    The best I can say is it will be over soon and the weather is beautiful today. I'm going to take a walk and take some deep breaths.

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    1. Taking it to the courts in the past meant taking it to the courts when the count was close enough that few mistakes could turn the results...not 20K.

      Hope we'll know by tomorrow this time, but I'm not counting on it.

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    2. Well, even Scott Walker, the former WI governor known for his wiley ways and recount fever has admitted it's a fool's errand. But I guess there is a fool requesting it, so there is that!

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  10. I turned the television off a few hours ago. I wonder if anything has happened. I'll turn it back on in awhile.
    Writing helps with loneliness. I don't know what I would have done without a blog when I was taking care of my father.
    Even if he loses, Trump will continue to spread chaos. He thrives on it, and on being the center of attention. He will not give that up.

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    1. My caregiver blogs were important to me as well.

      Trump is such a poor excuse for a man of character. He's got his taste of power and he won't give that up. Even if he loses he'll be tweeting and making snide remarks about everyone.

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  11. I agree that it is shocking to learn that half of our country thinks this person is an appropriate choice. As for voting results, I'm in PA, and our Republican legislators refused to permit any action on prepping the mail in votes (such as opening the outer envelope), much less beginning to tally them, until Election Day. And mail ins that are received by Friday will be counted, so there is no possibility that we will have our numbers before then. It's just another version of voter suppression. Better days are surely ahead, somehow.

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    1. The voter suppression the Republicans are trying to pull off is astonishing. Here in Michigan a bunch of unauthorized Republicans stormed a counting place chanting to stop the count! They had to call the police.

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    2. I saw that on the news! These folks need to go to jail. Hoping reason prevails over the next few weeks.

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  12. Your Stream of Consciousness when you Write is evident and refreshing, it is why I come here. I thoroughly enjoyed the Quotes, so True, all of them! I could have Written your first paragraph about 'everything'... and 'nothing'... all at once and how uncomfortable it all makes me just Feel! I'm Feeling intense Emotions that my usually Stoic Self cannot Process even fast enough to suppress and not have outwardly showing anymore. Usually I can hold up against whatever comes my way and know I have endurance and tenacity to plow thru it, whatever IT is. Now I really am flailing and floundering, I took to Bed all Day Today and Feel Sick... but not because of any physical Sickness, just the intense Toll this is all taking, draining me to a point of dysfunction. So much I could be doing... but don't possess the ambition or strength to even begin right now. Perhaps we can get a Confirmation and move forward to try to restore whatever it is we're going to be up against Post-Election? I sure Hope that the Temperature is turned way down tho', as a person who likes Moderation, Balance and being Centered... this Far Right, Far Left, Extremist shit is not for me!

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    1. We are kindred spirits in a lot of ways. And I think being warriors in the caregiver world gives us a leg up on being outwardly stoic while being drained inwardly by the constant the drama queen in the White House. I heard one woman on TV say in an exist poll that she voted for Trump because she'd rather vote for the evil she knew than the evil she didn't. I was speechless. Biden has been in public service for decades. We know who he is.

      With any luck over the next few days we might get that confirmation.

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    2. Biden is a decent Man and only an indecent person with something wrong with them would think otherwise. Regardless of his Partisanship, even most Republicans will testify to his decency, he's been around a long time and they 'know' who he is and how he operates. I think he's one to be able to get everyone to come to the table and feel Heard, which is what we need. Clearly Trump hit a chord with a large segment of the Populace and so we must figure out how and why that was? Just how disenfranchised did those he exploited Feel for to think he could be the one that would be their Savior? Every Cult Leader exploits the Void in the Humanity of their Victims, they know how to choose their Victims too... every Predator does... and he's been an Apex Predator/Conman since the 1970's, so he's perfected the Art of The Con.

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  13. Here you go again! Blogging when you don't think you have anything to share. It's just perfect, in my book. Remember to be gentle with yourself.

    I think BLUE is going to win! It will take Donald weeks to come to terms with that .....

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    1. I almost didn't publish this post because it seemed too dark and I've been writing a lot of 'dark' lately. I'm glad you like it because when I use a lot of quotes I feel like I'm cheating because I include them in my word count. LOL

      If we go blue, Your right about Trump. He is going to drag us through the courts for as long as he can...

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    2. I'm hoping much of the vitriol - on both sides - diminishes when Biden takes office. It's looking very likely he'll be our next President and I'm looking forward to hearing hopeful, upbeat speech coming from the White House. Fortunately, Biden is a fairly plain speaking man so I'm hoping nobody in the country will feel like they're being spoken down to.

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    3. Interesting you should say that about "not feeling spoken down to". The Trump supporters I know thought Obama was speaking down to them. I never understood why they thought that.

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    4. Probably partly because he's a product of the Ivy League, because he has a quick wit (notice how little humor is exhibited by the far right??), and of course because a well-spoken Black man is something they can't accept.

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    5. I can believe that. I think Obama getting elected scared a lot of closet racists, threaten them because he was so smart and personable. Then Trump came along to dog whistle them to nurture those negative feelings.

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  14. The winter of our discontent is a good phrase for how I'm feeling. Discontented with the world situation. With Covid. With my messy house. With how this election will never end. With not going out to hang with friends or see baby grands. With knowing that snow is just around the corner, despite today's good day. Loads of food for thought in this one, my friend.

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    1. I know! There is just too much going on all over to feel contented and chilled out.

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  15. I had the strangest thought after reading your post and skimming the comments. I remembered a line from the ritual known in the liturgical churches as renewal of Baptism, or confirmation. The first question asked is, "Do you renounce Satan, and all his works and empty promises?" The rationale is that renunciation comes before affirmation; kicking out evil makes room for the good. That's pretty much how I feel these days: as though life is asking, "Do you renounce discontent, with all its works and empty promises." My answer's a firm "Yes." Works for me.

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    1. That cracks me up but the point is well taken. Discontent starts in our heads and we can kick it out with a commitment to do so.

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  16. Hoping very much for the return of decency and kindness and empathy to your country, and the abolishment of the Bully.

    Deb

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  17. I was just talking with a friend today about this very thing.
    My discontent and depression and even anger has been on high since May. It is just starting to taper and I feel more motivated and more "smiley" than I have for months. I expect it to come back to discontent when the heavy snows come and I am once again trapped inside.

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  18. My in-laws who are rabid Trump supporters just posted on Facebook what is probably a cut-and-paste post that starts out with: "If Mr. Biden wins, congratulations to everyone who voted for him. I did not, but that does not make me dislike you or think that My educated opinion is any better or worse than yours’. It all boils down to perception. I do hope you get all the 'free' things you voted for. I hope you also realize that 'things' in life are not “free'..."

    I am proud of myself for not replying that I do hope I get those "free" things like decency, decorum, character, honesty and competency back in the White House.

    I've been wondering how my in-laws would react to the loss.

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