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. (Just remember I'm looking through my prism which may or may not be the full story.) 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

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Naming the Place and the Dreams Attached

 


The past few days were a blurb of moving related activities and I hope to write about them for Saturday's post. In the meantime this post was written recently, after my last tour of my new digs...

I need to name this place, this place I’ve been calling my unit. If I were on the lake side of the building it would open up all kinds of cottage/beach/lake theme names that might sound pretentious as a sign labeling the door to my unit. But what the heck, lake and boating people can be like that. I mean people into other kinds of recreation don’t, say, name their golf clubs or their favorite running shoes but people who love the water do tend to name their dwelling place and water craft and from day one I’ve thought of this place as my artist’s cottage on a lake. A place where I am no longer a slave to the rhythms of home maintenance and I’d finally be able to be creative without feeling guilty because something else needs doing. I visualized myself painting, knitting, writing or quilting with a regularity that makes new rhythms in my weeks that are independent from whatever Mother Nature has going on outside my window panes. 

When someone here asks me what unit I bought on this campus I usually joke that I’m in the cheap seats which I am. There are far fewer units in my building with under 1,000 square feet than there are the larger places with lake views. And if I was not on the main floor the view from my side of the building wouldn’t be so bad. From the two floors above me you can look past the parking lot to the woods where our recreation building/library is located. I love those woods. There’s a couple trees along the walking path that I’ve never seen before and one day I’m taking my Michigan Tree book out to identify them. That walking path is no more than two shortish blocks long but I love it and the best part is I don’t have to rake the leaves that fall this time of the year or pay someone else to do it.

My Artist’s Retreat or My Writing Cave both have a nice ring but then people might expect to see some of my work. It will be months if not a year before I’m ready for prime time with painting, if I’m even able to get my skill levels back which is doubtful. I’ve never been great with mixing colors but I’m hoping that getting my cataracts removed will help with that. Sounds good in theory but its really closer to the old joke about the guy who asks the doctor if he'll be able to play the piano after his brain surgery and the doctor says "Yes" then the guy says, “Great! I never could before.” Back when I breathed, ate and dreamed art 24/7 I had better dexterity, too, for detailed work so I’m thinking I'll need to develop a whole new style and quit obsessing about being a portrait painter. I’ve decided to start with the basics---values, shapes, shading, lines and textures---like a beginner, and see what I can do with simple exercises before I try to metaphorically sky dive without taking the time to pack a parachute.

As for revealing that I think of myself as a would-be writer or that I spend so much time in front of my keyboard trying to hone the craft, I seriously doubt that will happen anything soon. The kind of stuff I write takes trust to show it to people in my off-line life. I don't show my underbelly to people I've just met, who might not understand my sense of humor or they turn out to be laced up tighter than a girl in a Gone With the Wind era corset. If you’ve been reading me for very long you’ll know my inner thoughts are not always chase, charitable and demure. But I also never looked for sinners around every corner like the Church Lady crowd did when I was growing up and who still occupy too much space in my head. It should be easy to figure out who is on the Church Lady List on this campus and I’d tell you my secret Litmus Test but then you’d think I’m as bias and judgemental as those I’ll claim are too pious to like me. 

Having a space for painting that has north-facing light is a biggie in the art world. When I first saw my big windows facing north I’m not going to lie, I felt a chill run through my body. I dreamed of a studio with northern light so much when I was young that it was almost like walking into an Old Master's painting. They all painted their studios at one point or another, even if it was just as background to a naked lady on a settee. There will be no naked ladies (or gentlemen) on my settee but seeing my north light on a sunny afternoon was almost orgasmic. Please note: I've taken a lot of nude figure drawing classes back in my heydays and orgasms just don't happen in nude figure drawing classes; it's very serious business with no lustful thoughts or conversations going on.

Robin Williams did a fantasy movie about traveling through heaven then Dante’s hell to save his wife and bring her to heaven. What Dreams May Come had the most beautiful special effect of walking into a wet oil painting of a lake and becoming part of the actually painting when Robin's character died. It’s the way I want to go, using my imagination to transport me to another time and place. And that's a strong possibility if you believe---as I do---that our heaven and hell are whatever we believe them to be. God, I'd like to see that movie again but I'm almost afraid to. Have you ever felt that way about a movie that touches you deeply, that you 're worried a second viewing will break the magic you felt the first time?

How about Jean's Hobby Den or My Hobby Cottage? They're whimsical without giving anything away. Dreamer Inside might also work or The Daydreamer's Den. ©

49 comments:

  1. Writing already? That OCD and extreme planning is paying off! Creative Cottage on the Lake? Creative Cave? If we all toss ideas into the ring, one will connect with you!

    CONGRATS

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    1. Writing this on my Kindle as drink my first cup of coffee in my new place. I'm surrounded by boxes. Going to a week's process before I'm official "at home". I love 'the creative cottage'.

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  2. What about "My Hobby Haven"? Haven = a place of safety or refuge.

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    1. That's pretty cool, To have an almost double meaning to the name.

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  3. Been thinking about you, Jean, and wondering how you're doing. You sound busy but happy, and that's a great combination. It's hard to imagine what it would be like not to have to do home maintenance, but you are there! I hope you're able to get much accomplished every day and sleep well every night. Thanks so much for reaching out to all of us!

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    1. So far all the people I talked to who've moved in hired a service to pack and unpack. I can see the advantages but they don't even want you to be on site for the process, I couldn't turn my life over like that.

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    1. Sounds too much like a bordello or Red Cross Comfort station.

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  5. I guess the cottage is named, but I never thought of naming my house. Although, when my new computer arrives, I might name it -- then we might get on better. The people who named their big place (not the ones next door but down aways) "Welcome to Our Cabin" ticked me off. Maybe they have humor but it felt degrading to all the other places around them. I'm horrible naming things, to be honest -- writing headlines when I worked was the worst and hardest. I'd probably call mine Atelier and if people don't know what it means, they'll ask (make new friends) but it doesn't pigeonhole you. But it's not cute. But then, I'm not that cute, either. You might be more than me!

    The main thing is that you are moved in and now ready to start that next chapter, whatever it may bring. And to that I say, "Hooray!"

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    1. My husband used to be able to come up with great names for creative stuff. So I'm at it too.

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  6. I suggest reading T.S. Eliot's "The Naming of Cats" again. It's the secret, intensely personal name you're looking for, but it may be that you're going to have to wait for your new place to reveal that name to you. I've named one cat (Dixie Rose), one car (Princess), and my new iPhone (Sunshine). You'll find the right name for your new digs. I would advise staying away from "Hobby Lobby."

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    1. You made me laugh with "Hobby Lobby". I do want a name so when I'm out and about on campus I can say, "Well, I need to get back to so-and-so" and have it define me.

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  7. I guess Hobby Lobby has been taken:) Seriously, I do like Anon's Hobby Haven.

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    1. I think Shoreacres cured of using 'hobby' in the title. LOL

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  8. Why fixate on a name? It's your Home. Have you ever named your home before?

    We have a lakehouse, and we thought about naming it, too, since lots of lakehouses along Lake Erie have names, but none of the ones at this private lake seem to. Or, if they do, they don't have them on signs anyplace designating them as such.

    If you really want to come up with a name, you could always wait for something to come naturally to you. You haven't even started to truly live there yet.

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    1. Oh, this place is gong to have a name. Might not come to this week or next but by the end of the year I will have one.

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  9. Glad to hear you are in your new home! It is so exciting and I am sure you are relieved! You have a lot of unpacking to do but it will be fun to figure out where everything will go and make the place your own! I think the name will come when you settle in and get a sense of how you are feeling in your new home! Best of luck to you, Jean!

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  10. Love your potential place names! Is it silly that I already have a name for my still-only-a-dream next residence? I envision a tiny rustic cottage-y type place, with a fully fenced yard (for my future dog) and a fire pit (for me)..and I'm gonna call it my Funky Nouveau Hippy Shack. I agree with you about sketching nudes. I took a life drawing class once, and I was so busy concentrating on capturing lines and curves I had no time to think about being in a room with a nude male stranger.

    Deb

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    1. Yes, yes! You understand having the long-standing 'dream' of where you want to live and your names is perfect for you. I may not be a stand alone cottage on a lake but it's a good compromise.

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  11. http://www.cottagesmith.com/Misc/CottageNameGen.php

    I landed on the generated "Foggy Estates" for my house (after hitting the try again button a few times). It works for me now, but not because of weather. It's my head that is foggy. :)

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  12. Don't refer to your place as the cheap seats. Just say your cottage is around back? or on the North side? Cottage is just a warm fuzzy word. No one needs to know what you do in it.

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    1. I love the word 'cottage'. I'll probably include it in the name.

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  13. You made it! Now to settle in and get the feel of the place.

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    1. So far it's been busy and everyone working here is learning their jobs but very friendly and bending over backwards to be helpful.

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  14. When you're ready, check out 'The Paint Coach' on YouTube. He's the best out there for working through problems, he's easy to understand, and has done several videos on portrait painting which make me want to give it another whirl. With the training you have, his videos will be far more helpful than those that promise great results with little effort.

    I'm sooooo happy you've got the actual move behind you. I was getting worn out just reading about it so I can only imagine your relief!

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    1. Thanks for the tip. That sounds like what I really need.

      It took me so long to get to this point, I need to remember that and not expect it to all be put back together overnight.

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  15. I have nothing, my mind is blank but I was here

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  16. I decided this afternoon at work that a good name might be "Grasshopper Hill." After all -- you're free to jump from one thing to another now!

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    1. That's clever! leads me to think of Grasshopper's Cottage but then it takes on a different meaning than your suggestion.

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  17. Glad you’re getting settled. Am sure you’ll create an original name for your abode as your first creation.

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  18. Okay, you totally baited me Jean, now I'm needing to know that Secret Litmus test for flushing out the Churchy peeps. *LMAO* I find them easy to identify tho', and not in any good ways when they lean towards Religious Fanaticism. I have no problems with deeply Spiritual folks, but some just go right off the deep end with it. That perfect Artist's Light sounds sublime. My new Art Studio Space here has crappy Light so I've got to do something about it before anything ever gets created in there. It was previously used as the Office for the previous owner's Trucking Biz, so it is very Garage Commercial in it's function and probably worked just fine for their purpose. Ideally I'd like to take the Garage Door off and replace it with Architectural Salvaged Stain Glass Windows, which would allow lots of Natural Light in... but Heat too... so I'm contemplating what would be a good way to improve the Space in time? Anyway, I'm so relieved you have the Move behind you by now, even tho' having everything to unpack and find a placement for will be a Process, you're on the Good Side of a Move now. I think a pretentious Name for your new digs would be hilarious, go ahead and be Grandiose about it.

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  19. They make special true light lighting bulbs for artist's and crafters. Do some research if you can't find a way to get natural light.

    Not telling you my Litmus Test. Lol

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  20. So far I like Dreamer Inside. You have to be a dreamer to paint and or write.

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  21. That’s cruel to mention the litmus test and not tell us. šŸ˜Š❤️

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    1. Agree! I have one too...also not always appropriate for public disclosure. Wonder if they are the same? LOL

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  22. I am wracking my brain to come up with a name for your new place. Love some of the suggestions. Cottage Cove (because I'm a sucker for alliteration) is sticking with me for now. You love cottages and a cove is a sheltered place. Maybe they are too redundant. Well....you'll figure it out. My 2-cents about the word "hobby" is that it sort of trivializes your considerable talents. What you do is art (painting, writing, whatever) and not just a trifle to pass the time. Anyway, congrats on the move! Whew!

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  23. Oh! This makes me so happy. I'm so glad for you!

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  24. I love the Daydreamers Den. I think that captures all of your wishes and hopes. I'm playing catch-up with my reading and can't wait to hear more about your move. It sometimes feels like a living nightmare over here but I'm glad I did it. Hope you take your time and don't wear yourself out.

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    1. I really, really like that too. If I'm at the cafe` I can say, "I'm heading back to my den or back to my daydream's den" depending on who I'm talking to.

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  25. I just rewatched that movie after not seeing it for years. It was a very different experience for me this time. I still loved the scenes where his dog appears and he is walking thru paint. Sherry

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    1. That's what happens to me a lot if I wait several years to re-watch a movie I really loved the first time. The scene you mentioned is was my favorite part too.

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