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 5, 2022

The Fish Fry and the Sing-Along


One of the guys who lives here went on a fishing trip to Alaska and came home with a fish that was almost as tall as he is. I’m surprised that fish didn’t pull him right out of the boat. Our chef and the kitchen people helped him pull off a party where the fish was grilled and served to fifty of us. I can’t say I liked that halibut but the salmon they also grilled was wonderful. They also served salad, grilled corn on the cob, smashed red potatoes not to be confused with mashed potatoes and cake. They had so many people make reservations that they moved the party out to our cafe` instead of holding the dinner in the stuffy main dining room and it was like old times with everyone table hopping and talking to each other. 

After the meal there was a sing-along that another family organized---a couple living here had their extended family visiting from out of state and they apparently run some kind of church camp. Imagine grow-ups singing old camp songs around a fireplace. They were from Montana and one guy played a guitar and a couple led the singing using lyrics brought up on their phones by Google. (Didn't have that advantage back when I was in Campfire Girls.) At one point the woman got up and recited a long poem which reminded me of a time my husband and I found ourselves at a poetry slam out west at a bar we happened to wander in to. If we could have do-overs I’d love to relive a couple of our vacations out west. My husband didn’t drink but he loved cowboy bars and I loved getting a feel-good buss on while soaking in the local culture. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had a glass of wine or a mixed drink since moving in here and it felt right last night to have a glass of wine. With two dollar happy hour drinks it’s a wonder I don’t do it more often but I worry about mixing prescription blood pressure drugs with alcohol. I really should google that and see if my worries are justified or not. A glass wine brings out my silly side.

People are falling like proverbial flies around here . My across-the-hall neighbor fell on a sidewalk crack and looked like she got mugged. Her eyes are black, she had stitches in her head and knees and that same afternoon the featured lecture was on the topic of fall prevention---a little too late to help her. Then at the fish fry the next day a woman fell in the lobby for no apparent reason and hit her head on the concierge's desk. She got hauled away in an ambulance but before that they had a heck of a time getting her forehead to quit bleeding. She was asking for her husband to go in the ambulance with her but he died six months ago. They kept her over night for observation for a concussion and stitches. It just doesn’t pay to get too close to anyone here. Ms. Social Worker is also back in the hospital after her seventh fall.

The staff here is not allowed to pick anyone up lest they hurt themselves or make a person’s injuries worse. Thus the fire department personal are down here once or twice a week. A couple of residents wanted to pick Lobby Lady up but no one would let the damn fools try. Not only are they elderly but they were elderly guys who had a couple of happy hour drinks under they belts. When they look in the mirror they must not see the 85+ men with no muscle tone left staring back at them. 

One guy here who is known for drinking every night has only 300 feet to go home from the bar but he’s fallen three times. Apparently he’s made of rubber and never gets hurt. He’s over 90 and quite the talk of the place. When he’s drunk he likes to sing ‘colorful’ songs like you’d hear in a Scottish tavern. A few residents wanted him kicked out but the management doesn’t agree that he’s a problem. If he was a mean drunk that would be a different can of worms. Me? He just adds another layer to the Colorful Characters Cake around here and having been born in the 1940s and not the 1840s his off color songs don’t offend my sensibilities the way they do some people. Heck, he’s got such a thick Scottish accent half the time I can’t understand the words to be offended by them.

My mom was opposed to drinking. He father and brother were problem drinkers who drank up their paychecks and would come knock on her door to borrow money to eat the next week. My dad drank at an occasional party but it wasn’t a big deal with him. However, when my brother and I were growing up---starting around ten years old---we’d get a shot glass full of wine at all the holiday dinners. Good Italian custom for kids meant to keep us from getting curious about drinking when we turned legal. I suppose now they’d call that child abuse but it worked for me. In my entire life I’ve only gotten drunk once and that was enough. I learned my limit early on and after that I stopped on the “happy side” of alcohol consumption. I didn’t mean to go down this Memory Lane tonight but here I am. How about you, have you been down this lane in your life? ©


40 comments:

  1. LOL ... I love it! I'm not a fan of salmon but I do love halibut. And falling is NOT fun... been there, did that a couple of times. Your place sure is interesting!

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    1. I'm assuming all places like this are interesting if you condense what goes on in seven days to two posts. LOL

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  2. Oh my, the life you live, Jean. Never a dull moment at your ccc! I think the fish fry and sing-a-long sounds like a great time. So glad they work hard to make life fun for all of you.

    As for the falls--they sure can mess a person up! I had my first concussion when I was still in my 50s. We had just gotten into my mom's condo from a 14 hour car trip to her place, and she had rugs on her wooden entry floor. I fell so fast I truly didn't know what hit me. Hubby and daughter called 911 and I ended up spending the night in ER (sometimes it seems that's the only exciting place I go...) If it weren't so pitiful, it would be funny. My memory was so mixed up during those hours. I kept asking what time it was and kept thinking I needed to go to the bathroom. I had another bad head injury when I fell on my hard kitchen floor, following a rough stretch of chemo. I'd become dehydrated, but didn't realize it. Now I drink water all day long. I'm guessing falls might be close to the #1 physical threat for us as we age. We actually put quite a bit of plush carpet in this house we moved to recently. It does make a difference when you fall on a soft surface! Only hard surfaces are in the kitchen and baths.

    Sounds like you and your hubby had some great times together. Such good memories. They warm the heart and put a smile on our faces!

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    1. We did know how to have fun on vacations and rare days off but we both worked hard and often too.

      At the fall prevention lecture they did say how falling often is life changing for seniors, the top reasons we end up in nursing homes from broken hips and head concussions. We've already had one of those situations here. Woman fell and will never come back to this building to live.

      Keeping a blog---long before I moved here---motives me not to sit at home getting lost in myself which I can easily do. I go out for blog fodder but end up having fun. I'm an introvert my nature.

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  3. Loved your opening picture. When the ambulance came to check on DH after last year's fall, the first thing I said when they left was how cute the main guy was. I'll never hear the end of it.

    It's too bad people are falling right and left. My mom took a balance class when she was having problems, and it really helped her pay attention to hazards and questionable moves/behaviors. That said, she is a nurse and worked in a nursing home and she claims many of those patients ended up there after a fall, so she is super careful/paranoid about falling.

    My ex and (of course) former in-laws are all Scottish. I bet I've heard some of his songs. LOL.

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    1. The have a weekly balance class here and I really need to start going to it. Falls are so serious in my age bracket.

      I'm not sure I could live with a Scotsman but they can be fun at a party,

      We have cut firemen who come here too. LoL And so kind and patient.

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    2. I do love a good Scottish accent, though. And all my kids can put one on in a hot minute. LOL.

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  4. Wow, what a party! You live on a big cruise ship that's always dry-docked.

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    1. We often say there here, that it's like living on a cruise ship and we can't do all the stuff that that is available for us to do.

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  5. How nice that they plan these fun events for you!
    I walk carefully since I had a fall a year ago while out for my hike. Gotta watch the ground and be careful where I step!

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    1. I walk carefully too but I have to learn not to change direction quickly.

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  6. Wow one fish to feed 50 people? That is biblical or he was a whopper. The fry sounded like a really fun time. A nice break from the routine.
    Falling can be more common as we age. So far so good here but I have a younger sister recovering from the concussion and black eye type of fall. Airbag vests for seniors?? Might be a good cottage industry. We sure don't bounce like we use to.

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    1. Love your airbag vests for seniors idea! Even airbag hats or we could jsut wear helmets when we walk. LOL

      I never thought of that but that fish was Biblical sized and fed us all. Can't remember how many pounds but the serving sizes were not small either.

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  7. Love your opening picture. The firemen and paramedics who came to take me to the hospital earlier this year when my blood pressure dropped dramatically after food poisoning were awfully young and very kind. I felt better taken care of by them than I did in ER where the staff was obviously Covid burned out.

    Not all falls can be avoided but balance and strengthening exercises can prevent many. So important to keep at it.

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    1. That's what people around here say about the firemen and paramedics compared to ER personal.

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  8. The fish fry sounds good! As for alcohol, as you know, I don't drink (for 11 years now) and have been losing patience and respect lately for those who do....I know it's terrible of me to be that judgmental, but I just don't get why every social occasion has to include alcohol and why so many conversations are centered around alcohol-related topics (vintages, micro-breweries, whiskey distilling, etc etc). It's annoying.

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    1. The industry has turned drinking and learning about fine wines and beers into a money making hobby.

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  9. What would a community be without a little bit of colour thrown in via certain residents? I agree with you about mean drunks though - my dad was one. I used to drink a lot more when I was younger (and under age šŸ˜‰) but who needs the hangovers any more? And the disrupted sleep? One drink is enough to make me happy these days and I’m more than fine with that.

    Deb

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  10. Now THAT's a fish. And it sounds like a great time. Really nice that this is how they decided to do it. As for the falls -- freak me out. I always worry -- if I broke something and couldn't get up.I hope I never find out.

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    1. I have fallen and broken bones but that was a long time ago. I hope I never do again. I have fallen in the last 10 years and it took me a long time to get myself up off the floor with my two fake knees and messed up elbow from a fall in my 60s.

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  11. People who don't fall down much often hit their heads, because brain impulses that would cause someone to protect their head slow as we age. Balance exercises are crucial for older people.
    The yearly Wellness visit offered by Medicare covers all the topics that affect seniors, but most people don't take advantage of it. I just did and will do it every year from now on. It's a 'talk only' visit that checks cognitive health, diet, exercise requirements (20 minutes of consistent walking 3 times a week is all that's needed to keep yourself mobile), social connections (emotional needs), water intake, and discussion of end of life wishes. Very worthwhile and it's totally free. Deductible doesn't even apply for this visit!
    Here's a good video to help with balance: link text
    Bob and Brad have helped me fix several joint/tendon problems. They're great!

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    1. Wow, I did not know all that about Medicare wellness tests and I have my biannual physical coming up next week with the wellness one coming up in April. We like to joke here that it's a full time job staying alive.

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  12. Falling at any age is scary but for the elderly it's bound to cause damage. I love halibut and salmon so that fish fry sounds delightful. My favorite dish at my favorite restaurant is macadamia encrusted halibut in beurre blanc. It costs $40.

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    1. Now that would increase the flavor profile from what we had which was just the fish cooked on a grill. It was bland tasting to me but others loved it.

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  13. Well, now that you mention it (snicker) I had a relationship with alcohol in my earlier years. Stopped that! Our mom was a full-blown alcoholic, you'd think I wouldnt ever want to be. It's been a while since I blogged and had forgotten lots of people. But I remember you and enjoy your writing. Have a good day. :)

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    1. Thanks. The blogging community has been a wonderful addition to my life.

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  14. I am a fall risk especially when running away from damn awful fish..............lol

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  15. I do like taking trips down Memory Lane and hearing others do the same. As for Senior Falls, I've had a couple myself, earlier than I thought, so I try to be more conscious of my balance deteriorating as I Age, which I suppose is what happens, that and weakened Legs. My Mom always said the Legs go first. That whole bash sounded fun and I Hope they do more of them for everyone. Some of those Deep Sea Fish are terrifyingly large, my Brother said they tie you onto your Seat in the Boat. Living in Cali he goes on Deep Sea Fishing adventures, I'd be too Cowardly to do it. Once the Fish is Human Sized, Game Off, the Fish would kick my Ass. *LOL* The Old Scottish Character I'd probably like best and not the Pearl Clutchers so much. Sorry to hear so many Residents are dropping like Flies, that's the hard part of Aging and being around peers, it makes me realize how our Mortality is quickly catching up to us.

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    1. One of the great nephews on my husband's side loves to go sports fishing and the photos he has of fish he's caught would scare the pants off me to reel in. He loves it and goes all the time.

      It's easy to trick yourself in to not facing our mortality when we are in mixed ages settings but not in a place like this.

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  16. I like the last image. It's a practical approach to snacking should I find myself on the floor. As for your neighbors actually falling, that's to be expected I suppose, but would make me super cautious. Stay steady, my friend

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    1. I keep telling people that it's the nature of a place like this wen everyone is over 70. Falls are going to happen, but it does creep you out too.

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  17. When I sailed to Alaska, we spent some time around Sitka, and met some guys who fished commercially for halibut. I've got a photo of a couple of them with one of those fishies, and it sure enough was taller than they were as it hung from the weighing hook. I was amazed to learn that some of what's sold as 'scallops' actually are pieces of fish punched out of halibut filets. I'm sure there's some creative labeling that's involved.

    Ah, drunkenness. Ask me about that and my first memory is of college, a local woods, and a bottle of apricot brandy. I know, I know. I can't stand brandy of any sort now, and it took some years for me to be able to eat apricots again.

    My folks were far from drunks -- and not even regular drinkers for all that. Dad liked a couple of beers with a football game, and mom enjoyed things like Black Russians and Kaluha and coffee. But! Dad's department at work -- the industrial engineering department at Maytag -- did like to party. They occasionally had what they called Martooni Festivals, and every now and then their holiday parties in peoples' homes provided some terrific stories. The best one I remember was held at our house. I was sent away to a neighbor's house on another street, and by the time the night was over a bunch of engineers were out in the cornfields, scouting for one of their co-workers who'd wandered off. Good times!

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    1. I knew they sometimes "mislabel" fish on purpose a cheaper fish for an expensive one or one that is temporarily unavailable. If you're highly allergic to shellfish like I am you don't trust what you can't see raw.

      I've had some good times while drinking but I really don't want to repeat those days...too many cornfields around here to get lost in. LOL

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  18. I think I just commented anonymously. I've registered my google ID before, but I guess it doesn't stick.

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    1. Nope, often times they make us pick a "comment as" name from a drop down box. It's located just above the posting writing box.

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  19. Your account of the sing-along made we want to start singing, "Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver, and the other's gold." Alas, I'm home alone with no other singers to join in a round.
    Your stories about life at the CCC make me look forward to my own move to the retirement community where I'm currently on the waiting list.

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    1. I think attitude makes a huge difference moving into a retirement community and patience to let friendships built by doing stuff on campus to get to know others.

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