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

Saturday, January 1, 2022

It’s a Brand New Year and You Know What the Means…

…Or maybe you don’t know what it means to me to be starting 2022 just as I don’t know what it means to you. Are you the type who makes New Year’s Resolutions? Most of my life I’ve been that person who makes the list and at the end of the year reviews my successes or failures at accomplishing what I committed to writing. When 2021 started I was especially happy to usher it in and I wrote a post that began with: “Goodbye 2020! In my entire life I’ve never looked more forward to a New Year’s Eve than I have this year including the years when I had fancy, dress-up events to attend. I’ll bet most of us can say that in this year of the World-Wide Pandemic, Mother Nature Gone Wild and our Bat-shit Crazy Politics. 2020 needs to be thrown on the heap of history with the hope of better things to come.

Not much has changed in the arenas of the pandemic, Mother Nature and bat-shit crazy politics but this past year (2021) I've taken the easy way out by ignoring the greater world around me, metaphorical pulling a blanket over my head thinking what I don’t see can’t hurt or affect me. I’ve been in an almost total news blackout since October and that has never been my MO. That’s not to say that I haven’t tuned out of things in the past. I have. But never for this long before something would suck me back into keeping up with the news. 

And that's starting to worry me. Lately I’ve been asking myself if being too busy it the real reason I’m pulling inward or if it’s something that happens with age and failing brain power that explains why I don't want to keep processing what's going on outside the bubble I've created for myself. When they give an old person cognitive tests they always make a big deal out of whether or not someone knows current events and who the president is blab, blab, blab. Little green men from Mars could have taken over the world last month and I wouldn’t know about if one of my favorite bloggers didn't write about.

My dad was in a drug trial for an Alzheimer's drug and part of that trial involved me taking him in to get a comprehensive cognitive test every two months for a year. His answers to 'who is the president' were never right but often funny. Once I tried to prep him for the test and he ended up ratting me out. When asked who the president was that day he couldn’t tell the doctor and the doctor said, “It’s Bill Clinton” to which my dad said, “My daughter tried to tell me that in the parking lot but I didn’t believe her.” Once he said, “I don’t know his name but he seems like a hell of a nice guy.” One time he was a good looking guy, another time he said, “I don’t know but the vice president is Al Gore.” I’m quite sure when my time comes to take the comprehensive cognitive test that could deem me unfit to handle my own money and medical decisions I’ll proudly answer the president question with a firm, “Bill Clinton. Everyone knows that.”

At least I know I’ll get that question right the first time I take the cognitive test because I’m doing one in a few days as part of a twelve week class I signed up for here at the continuing care complex. It’s called Stronger Memory. We get a cognitive test at the beginning and the end of the course. Others at our sister campus who’ve been using the Stronger Memory workbooks claim it helps them and it’s a fun course to take. It involves committing to do twenty minutes a day to reading out loud, writing twenty minutes a day and doing a sheet of timed math problems a day. We’ll meet once a week and read some of our topic-driven essays out loud to the class. I've heard from several sources that the innovated memory care program on this and our sister campus is rated one of the highest in the state. I'd be a fool not to use the tools they offer to try to hold on to my brain power.

We’re supposed to write our essay answers out long-hand, directly into our workbooks but I’ll be cheating on that. I'll write them on another paper then copy them in the workbook. With my dyslexia I simply can’t write a decent paragraph without editing and correcting spelling and changing word order plus I’ve been practicing penmanship for the past 4-5 months so I’m not concerned with my brain renewing those connections. Mainly I signed up because it will be a good way to get to know others better---like taking a writer's workshop---and wouldn’t you know it, three of the five Jean’s on campus will be my classmates. It happens so often that its become a running joke. If your name is ‘Jean’ you automatically get enrolled in the sign-up-for-classes club.  

As for New Year’s Resolutions, I’m keeping one that has been repeated frequently since my teens to “improve my personality.” After all these years of writing that resolution it finally dawns on me that I should break that down and define what it is I think I should work on. It’s too vague. Another resolution I’m putting on my list of five is to stop talking about painting again and make a serious effort to actually do it. Everything is in place but me. To help with that I’m going to use my twenty minutes of reading out loud time to read in my art books. I think I'm afraid I'll find out that I lost whatever talent/skills I once had and I don't have enough years left to get it back.

My third resolution is to downsize again starting in the summer when I can work in my storage unit in the parking garage. If you followed my downsizing saga these past few years you’ll laugh at the fact that I just downloaded a free book called, Decluttering at the Speed of Life. I guess I'm looking for someone who can turn me into an unsentimental, minimalist who would be happy to sit on a curb with a bowl of rice and a buzz cut.

My forth and fifth resolutions have to do with coming up with a schedule that finds the sweet spot between personal time for hobbies, social time and improving body and soul. Drifting along sampling different things around here has been fun but it’s time consuming and I need to set my sails, head some place.

I know you're wondering what happened here for New Year's Eve. We had two parties. One was fully implemented by the management, a fancy buffet with jazz musicians for entertainment. I got to wear an out-dated-but-much-loved wine colored velvet jacket and everything ended at 9:00 on the 30th. For the actual the New Years Eve we residents organized another party where 20 of us each brought a tray of snacks and we played Uno. It was fun but the party started at 7:00 and ended at 10:30. 

Happy New Year, Everyone!  ©

56 comments:

  1. Your posting was a great way to open 2022 after toasting the NY with lemoncello!!

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    1. Never heard of lemocello and know I after looking it up, I want some.

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    2. You do want some. Trust me on that!

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    3. Where do you find in the store---pop or liquid department?

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    4. I have to get it at a liquor store. Grocery stores here can only sell wine or beer.

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    5. Thanks. I love anything with a lemon flavor.

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  2. With an innovative memory care program like that and the other classes, I can certainly see why you chose this home for yourself over others. Happy New Year!

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    1. I commented to the class but I wish it wasn't twelve weeks long. They are four other classes that build on this one if I find it is helping.

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  3. Loved your Dad's answers about who was president. Not sure that isn't better than knowing who they really are. Glad you are ready with Clinton:))
    Had to smile at the parties. At first I thought the ending times a bit abrupt but then I realized I haven't seen a new year come in in years. Sigh.

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    1. My dad was such a sweet and gentle soul I love it when I can weave one of my memories of him into a post.

      I would have preferred our parties to start later and maybe make it to midnight but the first party involved staff that had homes to go to and the people around here all go to bet early. Both parties were fun though.

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  4. Happy New Year, Jean. Your reference to pulling inward and not processing what's outside the bubble reminds me of a comment a friend made - "no wonder old people just sit around and play cards". I often repeat it after a lengthy discussion about bat-shit politics, weather, relationships, etc, etc, etc. We discuss them ad nauseum coming full circle in our discussions. I think the "old people" part of her statement refers to a point of life we reach when we realize that some things are out of our control. What's the old AA prayer? - accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference.

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    1. I think you are right about how as we age we come to accept that we can't change many things. I thought about that a lot when I tried to figure out why I'm not bouncing back to engage in politics and other things like I used to.

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  5. Happy New Year, Jean! Wishing you good health, fun adventures, and happy memories in 2022!

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    1. Happy New Year, to you, too, Deb! Enjoy that beautiful island your on up there in Canada.

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  7. Timed math problems?! When I was in the 5th grade our teacher had us write the multiplication tables while being timed. It was nerve wracking. Math has always been a nightmare for me. I remember sitting at the kitchen table and crying while my dad patiently tried to explain long division. I doubt my brain is any better at it now. :)

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    1. These math problems start out really simple in the beginning of the book like 1+1 = ? but we're suppose to put speed above accuracy and when finished we read them out loud and correct errors. It is nerve racking to time the pages. I've noticed recently that my math skills have gotten bad so I really do need this.

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    2. This is why God invented calculators. :)

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  8. Happy New Year!! May the new year bring you blessings each and every day.

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    1. Thank you so much. I hope the same for you and everyone else reading this.

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  9. Happy New Year! Those parties are perfectly timed for me. LOL. I haven't seen the ball drop in years. The memory class sounds interesting! And useful...

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    1. It sounds so simple to do any real good but they've done research on what is going on in the brain while you're doing the exercises and its supposed to help. We'll see in twelve weeks. I started today.

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  10. i couldn't do math problems -- timed or otherwise -- when I was 16. In fact, on my college entrance exams, if I went into any field requiring math, I'd have to take dumb no-credit math. So I majored in theatre. I'm also numerically dyslexic and if you want to see my head go bonkers it's to be on the expressway intersection where you have 69n, 69s, 96e and 96w on the same sign. That once took me toward Ft. Wayne when I wanted to go to Grand Rapids. the class sounds good. And if you want to be a minialist, seek out those rooms you visited on the home tour that were minimalist to the max and chum up to those folks! It'll either convert you or kill you!

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    1. You could do this math...at least in the beginning of the book. First few pages are just start addition.

      I like the IDEA of being a minimalist but I could never be one. They do fascinate me, though --- how they could be so unattached to stuff and is there a line where they cross and become sociopaths? LOL

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  11. My mom, when faced with the same "who is the president?" question, answered "Carter." When the doc told her it was Clinton, she said "Well, at least I knew it was a governor from the south."

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    1. That's really funny. Maybe it wasn't our parents who had the problem, maybe Clinton just wasn't a memorial man to their generation. LOL

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  12. Anything that can help improve the brain and memory makes sense to me! I'd sign up for those classes, too. As for "pulling inward" my husband and I have been doing that and I really hadn't thought much about it. We used to be faithful watchers of the world news--morning and evening. Well, we're content to watch the world news a few times a week...mostly because there is so much repetition. I think modern journalism and the influence of politics has soured us a bit. With the pandemic, it's been so discouraging, too. A person can only take so much. You've got some great goals--it will be fun to hear about how you're doing with them. A note about downsizing: I could not be happier about every single thing I did NOT bring to our new home. I believe it's important to keep what's really meaningful, but having less just feels better. May 2022 be a great year for you, Jean!

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    1. I hope it's a good year for me and everyone! Out of all the stuff I downsized I only regret parting with a few easily replaced things. And now that I'm here, I know I don't need half the things I keep in my storage units.

      As for Journalism and so many of pulling out from monitoring the news it would be so easy another Hitler-like person to take over our country that way it is now that I feel guilty that I can't seem to pull myself back into at least watching the news a couple of times a week.

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  13. A pretty good post to kick off what hopefully will be a better year

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    1. It's got to be. It can't get much worse.

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    2. You've reminded me of that cautionary saying I grew up hearing: "Cheer up, they said. Things could be worse. So I cheered up, and sure enough -- things got worse."

      Let's hope that doesn't happen!

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  14. Happiest of New Year to you! I had a reaction to my booster and first day was huge lump at injection site, huge headache and severe fatigue. Better today except for fatigue!

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    1. Isn't that a sign that's it's doing its job? Other than getting really sleepy with the first two I didn't react at all, and nothing with the booster. I wish the Covid mess would go away!

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  15. I hope you have a wonderful year! ❤️

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  16. I don't like Resolutions... unless they're attainable. It sounds like New Years went well there and was pleasant. Keeping Informed is something I now have to force myself to do, it's all Bad News so I have to take breaks from it all or I'd be inclined to turn pessimistic. *LOL* I do Hope 2022 brings us out of some of the darkness but even if it doesn't I'm Hopeful it won't steal our Joy and Happiness. I think your Posts about the CCC are so interesting, it mostly seems extremely positive, including the new Friends you're making. In any Community there are going to be those people you Gel with and those you just want to be cordial to and yet keep at a distance... sorting all of that out usually doesn't take long. *Smiles*

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    1. It is mostly positive here. We were talking a couple of days ago about how much difference it makes that we're all new here.... No clicks, no feeling like an outsider on day one. We all get an input on classes and food. I'm taking it slow on deciding who goes in those circles you mentioned...the ones I gel with, the ones I'm cordial with and the ones I avoid.

      I get some of my news from your blog so if the world goes bonkers be sure to write about it. LOL

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    2. LMAO about your last Sentence and indeed you can count on me to sound off the Alarms my Friend! *Winks* Today Princess T and Isaac are extending the fussing with each other that began New Year's Day after I brought them Home from my Workplace. The Guys had dropped them off there and they were getting along so well until just after arriving back Home. I think the stress of Pandemic has made Children and Teens very tense, they have to spend too much time cooped up being Safe and with a select few people now... so it's very Isolating and they grate on the Nerves of who they're having to spend an inordinate amount of time with since they're not Mature enough yet to disengage. I like that they seem content most of the time with Simple things and time with the select few... I'm positive some Families are going thru the wringer and meeting with more resistance about Pandemic Protocol from their Teens and Children. Being cooped up with fussy Teens tho' can be a challenge! *Eye Roll*

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    3. You sure have my sympathy dealing with teens and their heartaches. Throw a pandemic into the mix and it's really got to be stressful at times.

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  17. I think your disconnection from politics and etc. probably was the best thing you could do. I still keep up with what's happening in the world, but I've found some alternative ways to do so that don't involve any of the mainstream 'news' outlets. All of them have become focused as much or more on opinion rather than news, and the battle for clicks means, along other things, that 'first' has replaced 'accurate' as a standard. Besides, there are ways to focus on the world that are far more engaging and satisfying -- as your accounts of life in your new place prove!

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    1. All I know for sure is I didn't a have enough brain space to worry about the move and the world at large at the same times. So I picked the self-centered choice. Other than Netflix I haven't had TV on much at all. With Netflix I binge watch at bedtime.

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  18. Happy new year! New goals are fun even if we don't keep them all! My brain does very well but not with math. Specifically, the if then type of questions. A new craft to learn every year old the great courses helps.

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    1. Happy New Year's to you too. I always look forward to seeing what crafts you're working on.

      I do okay with the 'if then' kind of logic math but not good with percentages and simple addition lately. This class is going to help a lot with that.

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  19. Happy New year Jean, I was hoping you would choose one word resolution for new year like you had done in past, so that I can copy yours. I have never made resolutions in my life, I am more go with flow personality & do things which are first in priority, and my family always come first. specially our son, can you believe in a year he will be MD & will be starting his residency. I love your dad's stories he was amazing guy.

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    1. I need to take a page out of your book this year and learn to just go with the flow.

      I can't believe your little boy is close to his residency. You guys have every right to be very proud of him. What's he going to specialize in, des he know yet.

      My dad was a special guy. He's been a my role model for as long as I can remember.

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  20. Sounds like you all had a nice New Years.

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    1. I did. It was different than others I've had but not bad for being in a new place with new people around me.

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  21. HAPPY NEW YEAR, JEAN! Grateful for another year of being your blogger buddy!

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  22. Several years ago I went on a guided tour of Italy. Lemoncello shops were frequently found in every community, with samples available. I think most of them seemed to be decorated in yellow/lemony colors.
    I hope Decluttering at the Speed of Life will be enjoyable to you. Dana K. White (the author) has a blog, multiple Youtube videos, podcasts... lots of great stuff. I like her style. (I was fortunate to hear her speak in Columbus, Ohio in November.) She lives in Texas, and recently moved into a new to her home.
    I will be very interested in your cognitive classwork. We are raising our grandson (who is now 13, and knows everything!). I did very well in math classes in my life but his 8th grade math is challenging to me when I review his work.
    Best wishes for an interesting, entertaining, and art-filled 2022.

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  23. How interesting about the author, a!l I knew about her is her book was free on amazon.

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  24. LOL, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has made a mental note to write about the little green men taking over if it happens.
    The memory class sounds very interesting, and a great way to meet people.
    Happy New Year!

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    1. Great! Between you and Dawn I can rest easy I'll find out if the world gets invaded from outer space. LOL

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