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, August 28, 2021

Sexy Hair and Pickup Lines

A couple of weeks ago I had tea with a friend I hadn’t seen since before the pandemic and she couldn’t get over how much my hair has changed. She said, “You’re going to get a new man with that sexy hair after you move” and I laughed if off. 1) I don’t want a new man, and 2) there are 52 two women moving into the complex and 10 men and other women in the group with “sexy hair” have faces, bodies and better wardrobes to match their pile of silver waves and bangs that you can hide behind.

I was reminded of that conversation this week when I stopped at the Guy Land Cafeteria to get a bowl of soup and a piece of chocolate pie. There were at least two dozen empty tables in the place but a guy picked a table adjoining mine with a short pony wall in between them and after getting seated he was only two-three feet away, with both of us facing the same direction. Not a bad looking guy for an old duffer. Sandy-gray hair, blue eyes, a well-trimmed mustache but thin where I am not. He commented on the weather. I replied in a friendly manner then went back to writing in my notebook which clearly he didn’t take as a hint that I wasn’t up for mindless chit-chat. 

He asked if I’d ever seen the magazine Reminisce. Target audience, older than dirt---my words, not his. Yes, of course I had. It’s filled with photos, short stories and recipes from the 1940s, through the 70s. I had even submitted a few stories that never got printed but I didn’t tell him that. He started reading an article to me about household cures our parents used when we were growing up while I tried to figure out if this guy was just lonely and any warm body to sit near would do or---drum roll, please---was it my sexy hair? I had just washed it that morning and it was all over the place, each wave having a mind of its own and extra silvery shiny because I’m trying to use up a bottle of conditioner before I move. 

It’s been so long since I’ve had to decide if someone was flirting with me or just a talkative stranger. Either way he thought I’d be a kindred spirit who likes stories about curing warts and boiling bullets to make a tea to drink to cure something soldiers picked up during the war which I’m assuming wasn’t VD because I’d have remember that. He was having such a good time while I was woofing down my pie and probably leaving a brown ring around my mouth from the speed I was going. I wasn't going to leave that pie behind but I wanted to escape after he asked, “Do you come here often?” which was reminiscence of my barhopping days, a popular pick up line back then right up with “What’s your sign?” and "If I told you that you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?" I’d have been happier if I’d been eavesdropped on our conversation because it’s hard to record notes and think of good comebacks at the same time. My chocolate pie finished, I wasted no time in leaving him with my classic goodbye line to just about everyone---man, woman or child: “Nice talking with you.” “You, too,” he replied.

I was out running errands that day picking up more packing boxes and stopping at a place that buys gold and silver. I sold a Ziploc bag of stuff I never wear for $464.00. Some was jewelry I made in college using the lost wax process, the only art class I didn't get an A in so I wasn't sad to see these pieces go. My husband’s class ring, souvenir spoons and some old gifts Don gave me before he finally got the message I don’t like gold are also now on their way to The Great Melting Pot to get reborn.

Sexy hair. And now that my friend planted that phrase in my head she had me wondering if a guy at a future residence meeting yesterday sought me out for my hot hair or if he really did just want to tell me that his wife passed away since I saw him last. Just kidding. The guy was devoted to his wife. She was in the beginning stages of dementia and I always made a point to talk to her about the centerpieces on the tables because she, her husband and I all had extensive experience in the floral industry. 

He showed me photos of floral arrangements he’d made for his new unit out of silk flowers. He's a great designer but a few decades out of style unless the sleek, lineal lines are back in style again and I'm the one out of touch. He showed me his new area rug and couch and his decorating style couldn't be more different than mine. I'm all whites to the point of boring if I'm not careful with decorative touches. He's got a red couch and a rug full of primary colored flowers over a black background. He gave me something new thing to shop for though. He found covers for throw pillows for under $10 and I had six throw pillows waiting for my next trip to Goodwill. I pulled three back out of the bag. Amazon's got the best selection but I'm forcing myself to wait until after I move to buy some.

I told him about how hard it was to downsize my collection of flower vases which may prove to be a mistake now that he knows my intention is to have fresh flowers in my apartment as often as possible. If this guy by some twist of cosmic humor starts bringing me flowers to put in my many vases he’d better be bringing them to all the other ladies around us as well or I’ll be pooping canary features and cutting my hair boy short again.  

I need to come up with nicknames for my fellow residents starting with him. The Florist is too obvious. Since there are so few guys on campus maybe I'll number them and he can be Guy Two. Guy One has already named himself but that's a story for another day. 

Another newbie I met yesterday I may name N.E.F (negative energy field). She's leaving another CCC against her children's strong objections to move into my CCC, probably lowing their inheritance substantially to do so. She no doubt kissed $250,000 away that is non-refundable in places like this. When I asked her what was wrong with the place, she said, "If you're not Dutch, you're not much." Having heard that phrase my entire life, I laughed. I should have had sympathy for her since growing up I experienced the prejudices firsthand from the Dutch Christian Reformers in the area, but I didn't. I felt smug because I did my homework when clearly she didn't. Does that make me a bad person? Hint: When picking out a new community, read their freaking newsletters and mission statements. I made a mental note to avoid her in the future because her Negative Energy Field was draining the sassy-ass, Sexy Hair attitude right out of me.   ©

60 comments:

  1. Oh Jean, you had me at chocolate pie...It sounds like your uninvited buddy at the cafe must not have been very hungry. Don't get me wrong. I like people and I enjoy a good conversation, but when pie is available I will be focused on eating it. I knew that you had mentioned that there were more women than men at the CCC, but that is one heck of a slanted ratio. Bet you will have so much fodder to write about, you won't know where to start (or stop). As for hair, I believe the pandemic ushered in a new era of long locks across the ages. I'm in that immunocompromised category and my hairdresser didn't get vaccinated. I've had one professional cut since the beginning of Covid. I'm fortunate that it looks okay and I can cut it myself in a pinch. I used to go for trims nearly every month, but I don't think I'll ever go that often again. Save the money. Buy a piece of chocolate pie instead. If I lived near you, I'd be bugging you to take me to Guy Land today!!!

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    1. The Guy Land is my favorite people watching place and I'm going to miss it. As I was write this I realized how hard it's going to be to write about people I will get to know at the CCC as opposed to the chance meeting of the guy who read to me.

      I would so take you up on that pie date, if we lived near. Lots of old guys meet there every day.

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  2. My husband and I were considering moving to a community closer to one daughter, but after I trolled their FB page for a while, we decided it wasn't the place for us. We'd stay right where we are and remodel a bathroom to meet my husband's needs because of increasing mobility problems. Reading a FB page might not have been a fair representation of the community, though, since shy writer types who aren't joiners might not be showing up among photos of other women dressed in their short skirts and cowboy boots in a line dancing class. I love dance cardio classes, but I do not love dressing in costumes to match. We had been charmed by the look of the place and one particular home. You were smart to check out those newsletters.

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    1. A Facebook page for places like condo communities, independent living apartments and CCC and tell you a lot---what kinds of activities they do, etc. But you are also right about the pages not show the balance. We just had to sign a wavier or rejection to allow our photos on their Facebook page so you're not going to see the shier types. I trolled a lot of Facebook pages of different CCC and found a wide variety from male strippers entertaining to daily Bible studies. I'm also sure many people live happily in independent living without joining into any of the group activities.

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  3. Whichever direction your new place is from your favorite Guy Land Cafeteria could become Guy Land East (or north, or whatever). There's nothing more obnoxious than an old guy who wants to make an impression. Around here, they usually come with a speedboat at the dock and a number of gold chains around their necks: and a paunch. Ghastly. I'd take a slice of chocolate pie over any of them.

    That Facebook waiver you mentioned tells me again just how far outside the mainstream I am. You're right that the shy ones will be around -- only they might not be shy. They just might prefer a teensy bit more privacy -- not to mention not having the Great Algorithm in the Sky picking them out of the crowd at the park or barbeque. On the other hand, I've heard that Next Door can be a pretty good investigative tool for people planning to move, too. You can learn a lot about a neighborhood pretty quickly.

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    1. I will eventually find a new place like guy Land to people watch and write at. The Guy Land is a local change and I need to check out if any of them are near where I'll be living.

      What is it with men and their gold chains? I noticed while watching baseball games how many of the players are wearing them with their uniforms.

      I'm not sure Next Door is a great way to judge a neighborhood or not. I get daily posts from mine, just to follow an crimes going on around me but other than you'd think our neighborhood is filed with Karens complaining about everything under the sun.

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    2. For safety reasons, one can only join the Next Door where you actually live. So you wouldn't be able to access a neighborhood's site until/unless you had already moved in.

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  4. You order lunch like I would like to! Chocolate pie sounds great and I do bet that man was lonely for people to talk to. The pandemic has made it rare to have a casual conversation at least where I live.

    I do think a lot of people don’t get involved in the activities in assisted living or other types of senior communities. My over 50 one is huge but some of the clubs are reminiscent of the worst of middle school with their cliques and others populated by those who love rules and telling others what to do. Some are very friendly and open though.

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    1. Getting used to the social pecking order in any new setting is going to take a little time but we're all coming in with equal footing which is unique. Rules lovers like being in charge, don't they.

      I was in a line at the dollar store and even there I ran into a "rules' person who tried to manage all of us in line. She was behind me and calls out that some of us could surely use the self-serve register and then she told two people to take their cart with them after bagging their stuff and put the carts away on their way out of the store. It was kind of amusing but I'll bet a $100 that she was divorced because what adult wants to be treated like a little kid all day long.

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    2. Uh oh. I recognize myself in that scene! Well, maybe not really so bad, but I went to a very crowded movie (pre-COVID) where the line to buy drinks and candy was mashed up with the queue of people waiting for them to open the doors to the theater. As a retired longtime events manager, I literally couldn't stand it any more, so I said to the group at large "Sorry to speak out about this, but do you guys think this would go more smoothly if the folks waiting to get into the theater would line up over by the right hand side, leaving the open area for people getting snacks?" Everyone laughed and we began to sort ourselves out. This is so far outside my comfort zone I was amazed that I spoke out, but it did make a big improvement in our wait.

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    3. That makes sense and the way your phrased it was friendly, not a demanding like the dollar store woman.

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  5. Yeah, he was hitting on you but heck just enjoy, feel a little flattered and fluff those curls:) Those odds at the new place are really in favor of the men. They probably can't wait to move in.
    Just don't tell your new neighbors you blog so you can write at will about them.

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    1. He was hitting on me and I would have enjoyed it more if he he'd hadn't been such a soft-spoken person. I was even wearing my hearing aids and had to strain to hear all his words.

      Oh, I won't be telling anyone about my blog or I might start another with a white-washed version of what I write in this blog that I will tell them about. I'll have to see how things unfold. They also have a newsletter for the campus that accepts articles.

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  6. You will have to be careful writing about the people you meet at the CCC because they may see your blog!
    Your story reminds me of the days when my grandma (a widow) wouldn't like when my cousins' grandpa (a widower) tried to be friendly to her at family parties. She'd mumble, "Dirty old man." and move away from him! He was really just a sweet, friendly, lonely old man but she didn't like being near him at all!

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    1. I wouldn't have cared if I could have heard him better but I had to strain and I worry that I'll come off senile responding incorrectly. If we hadn't been in a public place I would have asked him to speak up. Clearly he was lonely and I get that.

      I've written about the people at the senior hall and only one person from there was ever given the link or found me. She comes by from time to time and I've trust her with all my secrets. A few others know I keep a blog but none have ever asked to read it. I actually want one person from every area of my life read me from time to time---the senior hall (a gathering girl pal, family (my niece), friends (wife of my husband's best friend growing up). I think it keeps me in check, like a truth-o-meter when I'm tempted to stretch the true or need to rethink if I should write something at all about certain events. It remains to be seen if I find a person at the CCC that I can trust enough to share my link. No one can find it googling my name. I may just try my hand at writing articles or humor for their newsletter.

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    2. You could have a column like Erma Bombeck! I loved her stories!

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    3. Me too! I would have loved going to one of her writing c!asses.

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  7. Your Guy Land story hit home. About 5 years ago (I was 70), I'm in Publix looking for low sodium canned green beans and there's this guy on a "hoveround" (the motorized shopping cart) parked there. I said "boy, there are so many kinds of beans to choose from." And he said "you want to go across the street to Dunkin Donuts and talk about it?" I came home and said to my husband "how damned old do I look? Some old guy in a hoveround tried to pick me up in the canned goods section of the grocery." I had to give the guy credit - if he asked enough times, he probably got a date.

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    1. BagLady, you never know who you'll appeal to. When I was 60, a 97-year-old neighbor of my daughter's told her "Your mother is an attractive woman." This man was a retired doctor who'd outlived 3 wives at that point. I guess he was angling for wife #4.

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    2. That's funny and clever of the old dude, BagLady. They say old guys are looking for caregivers and good cooks for their next wives.

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    3. Or a "nurse with a purse" as I've heard it put before.

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    4. With a pre-nup of course. They can all go diddle themselves.

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    5. Thanks for planting that image. LOL You reminded me of something I read recently when I was "looking inside" a book at Amazon trying to find something to read and the author was describing a man in a wheelchair twiddling this thumb. "...but the closer I got," she wrote, "I realized it wasn't his thumb he was twiddling." Cracked me right up.

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    6. OMG, that made me LOL. Literally.

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  8. Love hearing stories from ladies who lived through my era and are viewing life now through so many experiences. Keep up the humor. Makes my day.

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    1. Can't always promise humor but I can promise to try to keep getting older.

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  9. You are now more social than I was! I enjoy being so comfortable at home with no makeup, unsexy curly hair and two young gentlemen callers. I only put on my hearing aids when I will be purposely chatting over coffee or wine. The pandemic has been good for me!!! IF I didn't have my family to share a home, I would love to be in a place like your new digs! So much people watching coming your way. You will have to keep a cheat sheet with code names!!

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    1. I've been thinking about a cheat sheet. Great minds...

      I go days and days without seeing or talking to anyone so not more social than you with your family. But I'm working on it!

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  10. I heard the saying, "Some people are fountains; some people are drains" some time ago, and it really stayed with me. I began slowly ridding myself of the neverending drains, and it has been a benefit.

    It's hard to have Sexy Hair in this humidity for us Straight Hair Ladies. We look like drowned dogs. Sigh.

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    1. I'm getting tired of fighting the humidity and wind with my longer hair but every time think about getting it cut off someone tells me it looks nice and I make through another trim without a hack job instead.

      I love that saying. It's so true!

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    2. Don't cut your hair. Long hair (on a woman) is always nicer - and less drama - than short.

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    3. Now, I think just the opposite. I've never fused more with my hair than I have since the pandemic. With short hair you can brush it in the morning and never have look at it all day.

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    4. Dear Misadventures, when i wore it short, every single morning had to take a curling iron to it, so it would lay right. Also, was sick and tired of shelling out good money every few weeks for mediocre (at best) haircuts.

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    5. When I say 'short' mine was too short to get a 1/2 curling iron around it, not that I needed it. My hair is naturally curly. I have a mini flat iron to tame the waves. Long or short I have to get my cut every 4 weeks because it's so thick it needs to be thinned.

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  11. Well at least you have lots to write about. They people and your reactions to them is funny.

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    1. No one is safe from becoming blog fodder in my world. LOL

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  12. Well, I'm chuckling. Gotta love that hair! I think you should take advantage of all the flowers you can get. Better be careful about the blog characters you write about. You never know who is seeing your blog. I've had people I don't even know come up to me and say they read my blog all the time. I have no idea who they are, no history. Usually nice women of my own age because after all, it target markets itself but still... weird. And you never know!

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    1. That's one of the reasons why I don't put selfies in my posts or say precisely where I live. Sure, people like you who know the area can figure it out but I don't it make easy for the casual reader.

      That said, maybe I shouldn't give nicknames to people. Something to think about.

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  13. Yes! Stay away from the energy vampires, Jean. Although I do have to feel sorry for that lady, coming from a place full of Dutch Christian Reformers...that was the religion my mother was born into, and it scarred her for life.

    Deb

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    1. I didn't realize you had them in Canada. They have scarred me just being neighbors, schoolmates and co-workers. I can't imagine being raised with in the Church.

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    2. Yes, we have them here too. Mom was born in the Netherlands, and out of wedlock...therefore "a child of sin" according to the church. She was shunned by some of these "good Christians" because of this, and not allowed to play with their children anymore once they found out. Disgusting.

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    3. Dear Deb, it's so maddening, when fake snooty-ars'd christians run people off. This happened to both of my parents, while they were kids. Neither dad or mom wanted anything to do with church or the Word.

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    4. It's hard to understand that kind of shunning of an innocent child. I was shunned for a different reason... born to a Catholic raised father and two parents who didn't go to church. It makes you very careful to reveal much about yourself when meeting new people.

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    5. My grandmother's parents wouldn't allow her to marry my grandfather (she was 19 and needed to be 21 to marry without her parents' permission) so they are the ones that engineered the out of wedlock situation...yet my grandmother and mother paid the price. She couldn't marry him because - you guessed it - he wasn't the "right" religion. Then when my Catholic dad wanted to marry my mom, the Catholic church wouldn't marry them so Dad walked down the street to the very next church...and that is how we became Presbyterian, and how my dad was then shunned by members of HIS family. Is it any wonder I hate religion?!?!

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    6. It's sad but not shocking what your parents and grandparents went through. The contradictions within churches amazes me. Too many preach one thing and practice the opposite. 'Love thy neighbor' but don't play with them or marry them. Too many wars have been fought in the name of religion to believe anything other than many of them/their church doctrines are fueled with selfish intent.

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    7. I relate to both of your family histories. My dad's parents wanted him to be a preacher and said they would pay for his college if he went that route. He chose not to, so they sent his sister to college instead (in a time when few women attended college). He was probably the most Christian person I've ever known, but he never went to church. Mom went occasionally. I wasn't exactly shunned as a kid, but the kids at Sunday school were definitely chilly toward me anytime I made the effort to go. Several friends from my youth are now evangelical Christians, and I can only shake my head when I listen to them talk about our society.
      Nina

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    8. Amazing what comes out in the blog comments.

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  14. We "name" people around us, too, and I'm the worst. Mostly to remember who people are without having to figure out their names to share a story with DH. I look forward to the stories of your new place and the amusing occupants.

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    1. I think I'm going to be too exhausted to mingle for the first month. Packing is seriously hard work!

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  15. Jean :

    I wish you can post your sexy hair look picture, you are beautiful women & with your new sexy hair I would like to see it & imagine hopefully soon new romance story you will write about. I love love your story telling & blogs.
    Asha

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    1. A new love story is NOT going to happen. Cross that off the wish list. LOL At my last appointment in September I'm going to have my hair dresser take some pictures as a guide for my future hair dresser. If I get a good one I might put it on Facebook, but never here.

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  16. Jean, you might enjoy the movie Queen Bees about a woman who moved temporarily into a CCC. Fun ensues. A coming-of-age story for seniors that addresses many of the issues you've mentioned. My chin-length hair takes much less tending than the shorter hairstyles I've had in the past. I would readily trade my fine straight hair for a thick head of hair. Isn't that the way - we want what the other has 'cause there are lots of people with curly thick hair that would gladly trade.

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    1. I've heard of the movie but I can't seem to find the book version on Amazon. In the movie blurb it says retirement communities are just like high school. There are mean girls, changes to flirt, and so on. LOL Do you know the author's name?

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  17. You are more patient than I with unwanted conversation. It annoys me! I generally do NOT want to talk to anyone if I'm out alone...that's why I'm ALONE! I can just see me wolfing that pie down and resenting that I didn't get to slow down and enjoy it because of some other person "invading" my space. Pet Peeve. But sexy hair is sorta irresistible, gotta admit. :)

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    1. I don't usually mind a friendly conversation IF I can hear it. Lot's of lonely people in the world but I don't like it when people ignore the signs you're giving off when I'm not in the mood --- writing in a notebook, reading a book. Why is it people think those two activities are not important to the person doing them?

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