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, November 27, 2021

Thanksgiving and the Week of Giving

It’s been a busy few weeks leading up to Thanksgiving here on the continuum care campus. I mentioned but didn’t write about what the management called ‘A Week of Giving.’ I didn’t know what to expect of a something billed as “new opportunities to help the community every day” but I decided whatever they had lined up I was going to put my selfish tendency aside and pitch in and the gods of good deeds blessed me with easy stuff to do.

One day we volunteers spent the afternoon knitting loom hats for kids in need. Another day we decorated paper lunch bags that will get filled for weekend lunches for kids in need. A third day it was making small lap blankets for the Linus Project. Another giving day we were supposed to get bused over to the sister campus to help make lavender cuddle bunnies but that got canceled due to a Covid out break over there. It was wide-spread enough that the entire campus was in quarantine. 

The same core group of crafters took part in all the hand-on portion of 'A Week of Giving' including me, but there's no way of knowing who might have donated in other ways giving cash or supplies instead of time. There are plenty of people who live here who I've never seen who probably bought into the complex because it a nice place but who haven't immersed themselves into culture. The point being there was no shortage of donated yarn, crafting supplies and fabrics for us to work with and there's no pressure to take part in anything.

For Thanksgiving day I along with 20 others signed up for a buffet here on campus. They cooked a traditional meal with everything anyone could want on Thanksgiving and served it with pinot noir wine. We had carved turkey, shrimp scampi, ham, stuffing, buttermilk potatoes and gravy, roasted squash, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and eclairs. 'Gotta say I’ve never had eclairs for Thanksgiving but they might be my new favorite thing. It was a great meal and they even sent us home with left-overs. I haven’t had many traditional holidays meals in recent years so this was a real treat. Except for those two hours at dinner this place was like a ghost town and I spent the rest of the day binge-watching Outlander. I never got through all the books, but I can't seem to stop watching the series on my new Netflix account.

And you’re not going to believe this but I actually dressed up for the the buffet, even gave myself a French manicure, my all-time favorite nail look. I worn an old Pendleton wool jacket in a classic style with a silk blouse underneath paired with real slacks, not the pretend slacks with the elastic waistbands I usually wear. I pulled my ungodly expensive Israelian-made Mary Janes out of its place of honor in my closet to complete my non-caregiver look.

I also dug out my bling. Wore my diamond earrings---the larger ones of the two pairs I own---and wore them along with a silver locket that contains some of my husband’s ashes plus my wedding rings. When I was first widowed I wore that locket often when I was facing a new social situation. It gave me courage and a sense of not being so alone in the world because it reminds me that I was once loved. Jeez! I just had an epiphany! Is that one of the reasons why Christians wear their crosses? I always thought it was a declaration of their faith like wear a jersey to declare which team they support but maybe the symbolism go deeper than that? That's a rhetorical question, no need to answer.

If felt good to look nice, to be wearing quality-made clothing for a change but the bling all went back in their boxes afterward. The rings are too big and in danger of getting lost. In the past I never took off my smaller diamonds but I would swap them out for the larger stones for special occasions...until masks became part of our lives. Now with hearing aids, glasses, masks and earrings I was getting paranoid about something getting pulled off with the mask and lost. I had it happen with a hearing aid and an earring both and am not willing to risk it anymore. When I do wear all that crap on my ears I'm constantly checking to makes sure the earrings and hearing aids are still in place so I probably look like I've got a spasmodic tic.

I'll wear my bling soon enough though. A Christmas party is on the calendar and they're taking a poll to judge interest in a New Years Eve party plus a second poll to see if anyone wants to take part in an apartment tour to show off our holiday decorations and general furnishings. Other things in the works if Covid doesn't get them canceled are a bus trip to see the holiday lights downtown and a piano concert of Christmas music. Our county recently had the highest rate of hospitalizations for Covid in the nation. Oh, and that resulted in a get-your-booster shots event here on campus.  ©

44 comments:

  1. Sounds like a lot of giving projects and a fabulous feast. Can't do much better than that. I had leftovers tonight and the rest had pizza (Friday night pizza and movie night). They all walked uptown to watch the huge tree be lighted. I'll go by tomorrow when there are less people.

    Oregon is still getting break out cases of covid, omnicron (but it sure is better than last year!) I may go putter around the Dollar Twenty Five Store and Trader Joe's for some stocking stuffers. And I am finished!

    More photos!

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    1. I still haven't done a photo tour of my den and bedroom, have I.

      Here our hospitals are full with Covid patients. Again. This time they are all he unvaccinated, the break out cases are getting treated and home again to quarantine. I will be avoiding people around here for the next few days since so many of them left the campus for family parties.

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  2. Sounds like you are really in the swing of things there which is good! Even had a dress-up time. Buffet does sound delicious ... and wine, too! I do think about you as well as my Mich. family relative to Covid. Do stay safe!

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    1. I am worried about Covid but at least I can get tested on campus if I suspect I'm getting sick. There is one of those temperature guns 16 feet from mmy door and I use it every time walk but, LOL

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  3. It sounds like there are many givers in your complex, and that's admirable. Your Thanksgiving meal sounds fabulous, and to think they sent you home with leftovers-wow! I'll be dreaming about eclairs after hearing you talk about them. When I was young, there was a bakery that made them with a buttery cooked vanilla filling. I can still taste them. I've also had the ones with a lighter whipped type of filling. I wonder if the CCC kitchen made them from scratch. I smiled when you said you got all dolled up. Good for you, Jean! Once in awhile it feels good to do that. Now you can start looking forward to all the Christmas fun on campus. Keep us posted.

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    1. They make everything from scratch here, including dinner rolls and the sweets in the cafe'---cookies, apple turn overs and scones. I haven't been down to the monthly birthday parties yet but I'm getting hungry to try their homemade cakes.

      The church-based foundation that supports this place is a do-giver kind of organization so the giving back opportunities, I suspect will be a reoccurring thing. They've been in business since 1906 started out as a home for retired Methodist ministers and has since evolved into two "compassionate care" campuses.

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  4. I am in awe of how you are joining in with your new community in such a positive way! I do hear Outlander can be addictive and result in staying up late lol. My older DIL admitted staying up to 3am one night binge watching it!

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    1. I feel it's important to be a joiner in these first few months of the place being open. Otherwise the management might be tempted to cut back on what it offers. And it's a good way to get to know others.

      The book series of Outlander was enormously popular and the series on Netflix is so well done and engrossing, it's hard not to watch them back-to-back. I only wish I had move than one TV to watch them on because I'm spending too much time in the bedroom where I can't multi-task.

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  5. What a lavish buffet! And a pinot noir, too--nice choice. Did you have some? Was it good?

    And leftovers for later. How satisfying to be able to make a turkey sandwich for yourself, or even a little Tgiving plate later on.

    I'm glad your complex has so many opportunities for you all to connect with the community at large. That's important.

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    1. Yes, I did. A very generous pour of wine but I turned down a second glass. It's been a long time since I've had anything other than hard cider with a meal and the pinot noir was something I've never had before but will again.

      The next day they made turkey panini's in the cafe` and I had one plus my personal leftovers were gone by Friday night.

      I haven't even written about the lectures they've had here already...the most recent from the Humane Society people with dogs roaming the room. That was fun. One of the dogs took issue with a guy's oxygen tank which was really funny to watch.

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  6. Glad you are enjoying yourself and participating in a lot of the activities. I think it is great that the residents can join in with the groups or stay in their homes - the choice is their own to fit their personality and preference.

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    1. I think there is a misconception of what independent living is at continuum care places in general. Granted this one is built more like a hotel than a place for seniors but all the ones I toured before buying into this one was had the same sort of come or go as you like system and classes. One even had their own four holes golf course and a woodshop. Fancier place than this one and cost twice as much.

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  7. Do they play music in the background during meals? Does that interfere with conversation? Eclairs....yum!

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    1. Nope. No place on campus has background music. They have a TV in the cafe' but it's not always on...usually just for sporting events or a slide show of what's happening on campus.

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  8. What a cool bunch of stuff to do in your new community! And I love that you are bold enough to jump right in! You'll discern what "sticks", but you never know if you don't try. That meal sounds great! AND YOU HAD ME AT OUTLANDER!!!! I'm an obsessed Fangirl. I've read all the books 3 times (the newest, Book 9, just released on Tuesday and I had it pre-ordered to automatically load on my Kindle!). I've only watched the TV series one time through, but I know one day I'll binge it all again. The new season (Season 6) starts on Starz on March 6th, but it will be awhile, no doubt, until picked up by Netflix. Enjoy!

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    1. I was wondering how many seasons there are of Outlander, I think I'm in season four. I was kind of shocked at the full nudity, didn't know they have different rules for that on places like Netflix. The books were a little to challenging for me but I've read enough to know the author is enormously talented. The plot lines alone are something else, aren't they. And I've loved time-travel romances from the start of my reading romances in the '80s.

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  9. Loved the idea of the giving week and that even those who were not crafty could donate. That meal sounded amazing. Wow, even a glass of wine. Think if people find out how cool it is there, they will be beating on the doors to get in.
    Glad you are participating for as you said, if people don't, they may quit offering. Keep enjoying.

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    1. I hope they start filling up this place with new residents. They still have 12 units to sell. The foundation will keep this place solvent for as long as it takes but self-supporting in better.

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  10. We had a nice Pinot Noir on Thanksgiving, too, although I only had a very little, because I had an hour's drive to get home, and I just don't do that drink-and-drive business. I like that they don't play music in the background all the time. Especially during the Christmas season, nothing drives me more crazy than too-loud music in the stores, and commercials that insist on trying to get you to buy 'whatever' by putting it to the tune of Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Yuck!

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    1. I don't do the drink-and-drive thing either which is why I quit having a drink with dinner after Don had his stroke. He didn't drink at all so I had a built-in designated driver long before they'd coined the phrase.

      I've managed to avoid all Christmas music and movies. But now that Thanksgiving is over I might let them into my life again. I don't like piped in music either no matter what time of the year.

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  11. Your new home just keeps getting better and better! My sister has her name in, in an independent living facility in her town. I hope she gets the call sometime in the next 12 months...I am eager to help her pack up and settle into a much nicer place, where she can get access to more activities and help, if she needs. These places, as you have described, can be quite wonderful.

    Deb

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    1. Given the alterative of waiting until you have an actual need then chancing there are no places but the crumby nursing homes available I'd rather pick out my own future. Seen it happen way to often.

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  12. It seems like you have found a pretty good place to live

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    1. Some day I should write about the down side of living in an apartment building. But is would be a short post.

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  13. I think they look after you and your fellow residents very well indeed. If you don't want to be lonely you never need to be. At the same time you can choose which activities to join. Sounds like a marvellous place to live.

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  14. Reading about your wonderful Thanksgiving meal, I remembered a question about my potential experience if I choose such a community at some point. I'm a 100% plant-based eater: no animal products at all. Have you noticed if there food offerings for people like me in your community?

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  15. They do have a few vegetarian choices but I've heard some people say they need more. The menu changes once a month so you'd get pretty tired of the same thing if you ate out once a day like I try to do. We all have full kitchens though

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  16. I'm so happy for you! You were alone for so long.

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  17. Wow -- It sounds terrific. I love the idea of binging it up and going tot he "party!" The giving things sounds like a good thing too -- helpful and a fun way to be with others in your complex, get to know them. It looks like they're really doing their best for all of you in making it fun and companionable. Plus, you get to dress up now and then!

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    1. Considering most of the employees are new to the management, they are doing a great job. I few like the life enrichment director started out in the older section of the campus and just had their jobs expanded to full time or a shared job to cover full time.

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  18. Have been in England again, so I was able to read your posts but not comment. Possibly because I only had my phone with me. Anyway, I've enjoyed your stories of life in the new place and it's great they have so many things for you all to do! I have heard a lot of great things about Outlander but haven't seen it. I did get hooked on Mare of Easttown on the flight back and needed an HBO Max free trial to finish it. LOL.

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    1. Don't feel I can't even comment on my own blog from my preferred browser. I have to go to Duck, Duck Go. It's a cookies thing that I haven't been able to solve for several weeks, for me.

      Binging a program really is more fun than waiting for them week after week but Outlander is cutting into my sleep.

      Glad you got back to England and more importantly back to the States.

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    1. You flatter me. I'm just going along with the program to get along and find my happy place.

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  20. This sounds like a wonderful place to live. I like the idea of being able to integrate as much or as little as you want and to be as independent as you want.

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    1. The good far our weighs any negative aspects of living here. That's for sure.

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  21. Your week of giving plus your festive meal sound great. I like how you chipped in and did the volunteer thing. I like eclairs but haven't had one in years. You've given me an idea...

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    1. I turned down a big volunteer opportunity but I've written about it in a post coming. They have a ton of them around here.

      Eclairs used to be popular years ago and I've even made them. Lots of fun to do.

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  22. Found your blog on Mage's Postcards blog. Your title resonated with me as my husband has Alzheimer's and is experiencing a serious decline in cognition/abilities. So very sorry for the loss of your husband. Thanks for writing and sharing your life. I'll look forward to reading more... My blog is on WordPress: tehachap.wordpress.com If you have an interest, please visit. Warm regards... Carol (aka Tehachap)

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    1. Thanks for checking my blog out, I will do the same with yours. You are on a tough road right now and I've been there too. I wouldn't have gotten through those years without the blog community.

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  23. It sounds so festive and that the Community is settling in and bonding nicely... but with no pressures too, which is great, everyone can engage when and if they want or need to. Glad you got dressed up, I always enjoy doing that and get out of my Caregiver role when I go to Events and such, it makes me feel like I have a Life still. *Ha ha ha*

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    1. I'm going to try to get dressed up at least once a week when I go to fine dinning. I haven't been a caregiver in a long time but I still have the same wardrobe.

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