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, August 17, 2022

The Power of the Written Word


My poem about the contentious meeting between the residents and the new food service here at the continuum care campus has earned me my very own nickname. Isn’t that ironic considering I’ve spent the last ten months giving my fellow residents nicknames to give them a layer of privacy should my blog ever become public knowledge. For several days I heard “Here comes our Poet Laureate” when ever I’d approach a gathering of people. I’ll have to admit it feels good to not have to hide one of my main passions in life…writing. And I think I started something. I was talking to man here who said he thought he’d be writing a lot when he retired and he wants to try his hand at poetry but he hasn’t written a single word since moving here, so the next thing I know I’m suggesting we start a creative writing group on campus. We’ll only need five or six people and we’ve heard a rumor there is another man here who is hold up in his apartment working on a book. The Enrichment Director has given us a time slot on the monthly calendar and we'll have our first 'cattle call' in September.

Also as a result of the poem I got asked to be a part of a new “Residents Council” a committee that the ‘in crowd’ is forming that wants to plan parties, help new residents fit in and connect us all through a residents’ newsletter. They wanted me to be in charge of writing the newsletter and taking notes at committee meetings. I turned them down and three of them spent the next two days trying to badger me into changing my mind. Finally I found them a guy who does a family newsletter once a month and he agreed to do the newsletter. I told the new editor I’d submit an article from time to time if he decides to have club reporters. He lite up at the ideal of having a string of reporters under his control.

I can’t tell you on how many levels I’d hate being part of this Residents Council. One: I’m trying to be more true myself here and party planning and putting myself out there with new people is not something I’ve enjoyed doing. In fact I'd hate it. Two: I can’t take notes in committee meetings. My mild dyslexia and poor spelling gets me stuck too often and doing that in public brings up childhood feelings of being called stupid. When I’m alone I can just ask Alexa and move on with no baggage to drag me down. 

And three: Several of the key members on the committee are Trump supporters. You should have heard the conversation here last night around our fire pit when the CDC announced changed in the Covid protocol. One woman (and two others agreed) that the announcement was proof that Trump was right all along when he said there was no pandemic and all the people who died of Covid died of something else. She thinks the hospitals and coroners across the country are getting a kick back for every Covid death they record and Covid is nothing more than the common flu that comes around every year. I couldn't work with people who parrot Fox News. My tongue would be raw from biting it all the time to keep myself from going all Incredible Hulk and spewing CCN back at them. And there it is, people, what is wrong with out country. We no longer value documented facts and ethics to the point we have two sets of  'truths' coming at us, making us more and more tribal. And dumber and dumber as a nation where half our people don't see anything wrong with an ex-president illegally keeping boxes of highly classified documents about our nuclear program in the basement of a club just feet away from where people from around the world go to play golf and cozy up to him. Puts a new light on that Chinese woman who was arrested by the FBI a year or two ago at Mar-a-Lago with a bunch of thumb drives in her possession, doesn't it.

Okay, my Incredible Hulk persona is back in the box and I have one more side note on the poem. I put it up Sunday at noon and by Tuesday morning it was gone. The management took it down along with a letter someone else wrote supporting the sentiments in my poem. They said the bulletin board in our mail room is only for notices. The board is probably six by six foot and only has three sheets of paper on it. I was planing on taking the poem down by Wednesday anyway and at first I thought it as funny they felt threaten by it. But the longer I thought about it the more annoyed I got at the idea we residents can’t have a bulletin board to post whatever on.

And that became reason number four for not getting involved in a resident council and their newsletter. The committee is going to ask the management to pay for paper, printing and to use their e-mail list, etc., and in exchange the management---in my opinion---is going to want control over what goes into that newsletter. I don’t want to be a performer in that circus but it’s going to be fun watching it from the sidelines.  ©

44 comments:

  1. Good for you, watching from the sidelines and not having to bite your tongue. šŸ˜Š

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  2. All excellent reasons for saying 'no' to being on a committee--especially one that would be under the oversight of management. No way, Jose!

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    1. It's going to be a committee with lots of bylaws---was set up by two lawyers---that has no power. Still, it could be a good thing should we need it for an advocacy role someday for for me, it sounds very time consuming.

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  3. I fully understand your reluctance to take on all the administrative tasks associated with a council and newsletter. There's no better way to destroy a creative impulse than to put it under scrutiny by a committee, or feel as though you have to meet some sort of unspoken and nebulous standard. Of course, some people love committees and councils and such, but I don't, and that shapes my view. It's taken me some time to come to terms with the fact that I'm just not someone who wants to be involved with such things. They often do very good work, but the work I want to do is somewhat different.

    Now, submitting an occasional article to the newsletter sounds to me like something that would suit you perfectly. You can write at your preferred speed, and be in charge of your content. And write as you please. If the powers that be begin wanting to change this or change that, and it doesn't suit you, tell them so.

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    1. I agree that working on committees can destroy creativity. I don't like the endless talking about about how to do certain things when if it was just me, I'd just jump in and do the task. Things with the new council are moving along really fast and all the meetings they're having has made me doubly glad I turned them down.

      One of the reasons I gave them for not wanting to do it was that I've long wanted to start a creative writing club on campus and I credit the committee often of the newsletter for me finally taking the leap to start the club starting in September. The other guy who is my co-sponsor writes very much the same kind of memoir/life observations that I do only he's really talented. And we have the same kind of humor so it would be fun.

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  4. Good for you, for refusing a task you know you'd hate. Too many times, it's tempting to give in to pressures such as those and find ourselves stuck in "jobs" we'd hate.

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    1. I know I made the right decision, maybe the selfish decision but this place if full of talented, accomplished people and I have no doubt the council will find just the right people.

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  5. If they're gonna give you a title, Poet Laureate is decent! It really is interesting how your poem started the wheels turning toward change on several levels. Forming a creative writing group sounds like a great idea. And the fact that you were invited to be a part of the new Residents Council just shows that you're making a difference, and people are taking notice. Good for you Jean. So proud of you for taking that first step to post your opinion on that preciously guarded bulletin board (Gosh, you've got them shaking in their boots--kinda funny). I think the most valuable take away from your experience is making sure to follow your convictions and find a civil way to communicate your thoughts. I'm proud of you, Jean!

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    1. Thank you. But I don't think anything is going to get the new food service to give us back our big table. There is, however, gossip going now to get us all to order take out from the restaurant and make our own big table in the cafe' area which doesn't have doors when it's closed so it's doable. That will be fun to see how they react.

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  6. It is funny that you now have your own nickname. Still the one you were given is flattering so I'd go with it. Think the creative writing group would be a lot of fun. I joined a writers club when I moved here and had some of my most stimulating times ever there. Enjoy.
    Like you , I couldn't handle those Trumpers in the Council and glad you are steering clear.

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    1. I was in a writing club once too, and it really is fun and we got to know each other pretty well. Can't wait to see who else wants to try.

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  7. Smart of you to not take on managing that newsletter. Sounds like a big project with consideration pressure to me. And, like you, working with cult people who don't believe in science would send me around the bend. That said, I like your new title. :-)

    I continue to be amazed by what some people believe. I got blasted by a cousin online the other day for making a Mar-a-Lago/FBI joke. He said I'd be sorry when "the police state comes knocking on my door." Whatever, dude. I'm not too worried. We have more new construction near us, and my alternate route took me by a flag that says, "Trump 2024 - Save America." Good lord.

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    1. Out near where my niece's cottage is is die-hard Trump land and we took a little ride around there last Sunday. One Trump flag after another high in the trees. Very scary how many pockets of ignorant people are out there. We definitely need the schools to start teaching civics and government again, so they'd grow up understanding the rule of law and not think it's okay for an ex-president to keep documents that belong in the National Archives.

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    2. It would drive me wild to be around a bunch of Trumpists. My county here in Texas is overwhelmingly Republican, but our county election officials all resigned because of death threats, stalking, etc. And in a county that went for Trump big time! Now we have no one to run the election in November. Our county judge has asked the state for direction, but good luck with that. Tonight, Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic candidate for governor, is going to be in a town hall at Lady Bird Johnson park. I was mulling whether to go but after he was heckled at his last appearance, I decided against it. Our local Democratic group advised people to come early and park close to prevent protesters from overtaking the event. Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. All this craziness points back to one, orange man.

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    3. It would be very scary to run for office now if you're not running with Trump's blessing. I don't blame you for not going to the rally. With the mass killings going on in a state with open carry and more guns that many small countries I wouldn't feel safe.

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  8. Well done on just "saying no." It can be hard to do at times (says the champion of not saying no) but it is so worth it when you finally do. I like the idea that you are spearheading a writing group -- that's something you'll enjoy and be very good at. And even contributing to said newsletter. But that other group? Nope. People always asked me to do promotion for our friends of theatre group after I retired (and I did, because frankly, I was the only person qualified to do so) but I did that for over 30 years and I'm kind of done with it!) It's time for you to paint and write and do your own thing! And you already know that, being the wise woman you are.

    I'm seeing way too many Trump signs and "Our governor is an idiot" signs in the wild north here. Creeps me out.

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  9. You are smart to listen to your heart and only get involved if you really want to; not because you feel you have to.
    One thought about that bulletin board - would you want to see trumper notices put up there? I can see why the CCC has to control what goes up because they know they have a wide variety of residents - some with crazy conspiracy ideas. I am still glad, tho, that others got to see your clever poem!
    Hope your creative writing group turns out to be great!

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    1. That's a good point about the bulletin board and who controls it. Makes sense and that makes me feel less critical.

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  10. Jean, you got the best out of your activism--a creative writing group, a flattering nickname, some recognition, a newsletter, and a committee so that there is at least some awareness of the voice of the residents. That's all great stuff, and you get to participate in whatever fulfills you. Big wins.

    The supporters of 45* could have had all the civics and history classes in the world and it wouldn't make a difference. He has tapped into their bigotry, hate, and mental/emotional deficiencies. He gives them social capital. He has legitimized their shortcomings, and that's enough for them. It's a cult.

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    1. It does feel like a win for me personally because I've been wanting to start a writing group and the reaction to the poem gave me the courage to actually do it.

      Ya, 45's fans will have to die off to make a difference but classes could prevent new idiots from growing up.

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  11. Dear Jean, I applaud your being able to say "no" and mean it! It's so essential, I've discovered, to choose that which keeps stress at a distance. As to Trump: I get a daily column from the noted historian Heather Cox Richardson. In it, she discusses the politics of the day. At the end she provides the videos and memos from which she's quoted--no taking out of context. In today's column, she ended with what the Lincoln group is saying--that the defeat of Liz Cheney yesterday in Wyoming marks the death of the historical Republican party. The GOP is now, the group says, an authoritarian party of nationalists led by a tyrant. If your interested in the column just look up her name on Google. It's free. Peace from Dee Ready

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    1. I will check that column out, Dee. Thanks for pointing me in that direction.

      I'm not bad at saying 'no' BUT I am bad at carrying around guilty about saying no. Someone who was at the table while someone else was trying to get me to change my mind said---after I explained why I was saying no----said, "You don't a have to feel bad for making that decision for yourself. I'm embracing that statement.

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    2. We love Heather Cox Richardson. A voice of information and sanity in a crazy world.

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    3. I just read the article Dee mentioned. She is a voice of reason.

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    4. I get Heather Cox Richardson everyday. She is top notch historian and brilliant and she sources all of her information. You could just read her everyday and no need to read anything else. You’d be well informed.

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    5. Three of my blogger friends can't be wrong about Heather Cox Richardson.

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  12. I think you made a good decision, Jean. Love the nickname!

    Deb

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  13. Dear Poet Laureate ~ Thanks for blogging. I try not to feel bad saying no but I usually do. For a while. I quit doing the newsletter for our condo HOA for the same reason ... censorship. Maybe I should do an underground version .... just heard rumors about an assessment coming up in the future.

    What is the reasoning for not having a community table for meals?

    I agree that there should be a resident bulletin board as well.

    And I am still shocked at how many people are still pro Trump. Scares me ...

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    1. Anonymous under ground news sheets have more appeal to me but it's not going to be me to suggest it.

      They claim---and they are sticking to their guns---that they can't get enough help for a farmhouse table yet the old service was able to do them with only one server.

      This coming election is critical and its looking scarier and scarierfor us holding on to our Democracy.

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  14. No isn't something that I say with ease, why because I am too soft and eager to please

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    1. Our generation was taught not to stand up for ourselves. Saying 'no' does come easier for me than five years ago but the guilt part still needs work.

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    2. You might find this article in the Washington Post this morning interesting about honesty with your feelings.
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2022/08/15/glennon-doyle-podcast-fans/

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  15. Hell 'ya! Watching from afar. Nothing better than watching and pondering upon your fellow man-- and woman in this case. No need for guilt, just remember Nancy Reagan's "just say no."

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    1. I'm not longer the target of the arm twisting since they have another who stepped up to do the newsletter and they are actively looking for others to help him.

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  16. Good for you! Twice I've lost what I wrote here, but will try one more time. I think you've made the best decision for yourself. I'm certainly at a point when I've declined taking on lots of obligatory commitments and want the freedom of doing things mostly on my terms. As for your dining night -- sounds like they want to create a small more quiet ambiance in that dining room than a large group might bring. Separating the groups might well be best but the large table group definitely should be served somewhere, somehow, if they want to eat out at night, too. There are those who want that fancy restaurant dressing-up kinda setting I guess, though I wouldn't be one of them if I went into a CCC. I've had my share of that but generally I've enjoyed casual best.

    Covid has reinforced my "casual" as my latest fashion purchases are some colors and patterns in 2 piece P.J.s with large pants pockets. I think they can even pass as other than pajamas so wear them in my car for various business activities conducted from there. If I'm deluding myself, I don't care. My body is more covered that much of the clothing worn today.

    The creative writing group I was in I certainly enjoyed. Later, when our leader was no longer available a few would have given it more structure, becoming more instructive which I didn't welcome. I loved the spontaneous writing of whatever topic came to each person's mind, maybe a poem for some -- like the free improvisation of jazz when no tune is ever the same twice.



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  17. Glad you posted your Poems, even if taken down, you know they had to of known the content and cannot plead ignorance of what isn't being well accepted within the Community of the CCC. I hope you don't have a run of COVID moving thru the ranks there, it's been nice to not have to be on high alert all the damned time, I just don't want to go back to the beginning... AGAIN.

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    1. Trust me they know. We all made enough noise about our complaint.

      Covid seems to be on our campus with at least two people confined to their apartments.

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  18. The president decides what is or is not classified.

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    1. Yes, a president can BUT there is still a process and protocol he/she has to go through to declassify material and there no record or paper trail to indicate that he did that with any of the boxes of material he took. Trump doesn't have a magic declassification wand.

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  19. That Resident Council sounds like one version of Hell. Good for you for running the other way! Plus, congrats on the writing group! Sounds fabulous! I see another commenter reccommeded Heather Cox Richardson to you. I get her daily newsletter too. It is excellent!

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