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. Jean

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Annual Christmas Letter 2022


Dear Family and Friends, 

I was going to stop writing annual Christmas letters this year but the mail carrier has been leaving me 7-8 requests for charity donations every day since before the mid-term elections and I thought if you get them too you might like something different in your mailbox to throw in the trash. When I moved into my independent apartment here on the lake just over a year ago I had hoped the hounds of solicitations wouldn’t find me but they have and I recently caved long enough to donate a hive of honey bees and a flock of chicks through Heifer International and to buy some dinners to feed the homeless at shelters here in town. Next Christmas I see honey glazed chicken on someone’s holiday menu.

Some of my neighbors compare our place to living on a cruise ship where something fun or good for your mind or body is going on every day. For example, I just got back from a travelogue about hiking in Japan and tomorrow at this time I’ll be in the woodshop learning how to use a lathe to make ink pens. Last week they taught us how to use a band saw to make a gadget for pulling a hot rack out of the oven. If you’re on my Christmas Gift List forget what you just read in the last two sentences.

In addition to the normal lectures, Ted Talks, exercise classes, birthday parties with musical entertainment the holidays added twelve extra things to our calendar. One of which is a gingerbread house contest and, yes, I entered one. By the time the votes are counted---assuming someone will demand a recount---our new-to-us bus will have taken a group of us to the Ball Park to see the Christmas lights and earlier in the month a group enjoyed an outing to the symphony. This month our chef is also giving us a cooking lesson on how to make cranberry jam. You’d think when most of us living here were born in the same decade as Spam that cooking lessons wouldn’t be very popular, but free samples will no doubt be involved and we have good turn outs for anything involving cake, cookies, $2.00 happy hour drinks and pie samples. The food on our menus along with sports and our community jigsaw puzzle are common conversation starters around here. By the way, it’s only a myth that Spam stands for "Scientifically Processed Animal Matter.” If you are serving it over the holidays be sure to correct this unkind acronym that our WWII soldiers came up with.

When I moved to this Continuum Care Complex I thought I’d be doing a lot of painting and quilting but I haven’t found the time for them. Yet. I spend most of my mornings writing and a couple of people here nicknamed me the unofficial Poet Laureate after one of my rebel-rousing ditties went public. Thankfully the label didn’t stick. (Or maybe they no longer say it to my face out of fear I’ll make up a poem about them?) In the afternoons I usually find a class or lecture to attend and on Wednesdays I’ve become obsessed with playing American Mahjong. If you want to see my dark side, distract me during a game.

Although there are a few things I miss about living on the north end (mostly the lack of traffic) my move to this place was a good decision. Last month my brother moved into the next building over from me where the accent is on Memory Care. He is settling in well. And I’ll be able to see my nieces and nephew more often, a win-win for me because my brother and I are also getting to talk often about our early years in the way that only siblings can do.

Merry Christmas, everyone! 

 

Bonus for my internet friends....

This is me wining at Mahjong by drawing the very last tile on the table to get one I needed for a pair and if you play the game you'll know how hard that was to do. Two of the same tiles were already exposed---there are four total in the game---so it was a huge long shot that I could even win and I had just said that before turning the tile over.  P.S. My neck is not dirty. It's a reflection off my shirt. 


 

54 comments:

  1. Merry Christmas to you and all your readers! I loved the photo. You choose the colors you wear well, don't you? That's beautiful on you.

    Congratulations on your win at Mahjong. I don't know a thing about the game, so I can't truly appreciate your win's rarity, I'm afraid.

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    1. Thank you. It's one of my favorite colors to wear and that top is probably 10 years old, but it's thick and warm for this time of the year. This is only the second time I've posted my photo on this or any of my older blogs.

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  2. Jean, Merry Christmas to you. Wonderful to see a current picture of you after enjoying your blog for so long. You look styling. BTW, my husband used to call spam and all its iterations "and/or meat" b/c the ingredient list read chicken and/or beef and/or pork.

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    1. That funny about the spam. I'm always surprised around Christmas time when they come out with one of their special additions.

      I thought it was about time I showed my face. It probably won't happen again for another 18 years.

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  3. I am glad you have had such a terrific year at your new home. You look happy and it is nice to see the face of my blog friend! Merry Christmas, Jean!

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    1. It has been a good year and I was very happy when the photo was taken. Not the best picture of me but it's always hard to get a good one of me.

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  4. Merry Christmas Jean, your move to CCC was really great decision & now you got your brother also close by which is cherry on the top. its good to see your picture you are beautiful person inside out, love your writing & sense of humor.
    Asha

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    1. I knew that picture would turn this thread into a giant 'thank you' to those who read my blog....

      Hope your mother is making progress in her recovery.

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  5. Merry Christmas to you! I always enjoy every one of your posts!

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  6. What a lovely and happy photo! Merry Christmas.

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    1. I hate getting my photo taken, but I thought if I buried one in the Christmas post fewer people would see it.

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  7. Thank you for posting your picture. It’s nice to have a face with your words. I enjoy your posts. Vicki

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    1. Thanks. I know I need to get over over myself and post more photos. It does help when I read at other people's blogs.

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  8. I for one enjoy Christmas letters even when they sometimes make me feel like a slacker. For sure you have sold me on CCC living. Love the idea of being entertained and letting someone else cook for me. Also, you wear winning well. Merry Christmas Jean.

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    1. Oh my gosh, I should have had my photo taken today, I won at Siamese Mahjong AND regular Mahjong....three games in all. I was super happy.

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  9. I love when my brother and I compare notes about growing up. My brother and I don't have the memory that our mom had. darn. I so miss her. Merry Christmas!

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    1. My brother and I didn't live close enough to have a lot of contact over the years except at parties and holidays, so it's bittersweet that we can do it now, given. There is a sweetness to being able to see him so happy that I'm stopping by.

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  10. Thank you so very much for the photo. You look nothing like I expected!!! Except for the blond hair, you remind me of me. LOL I love Mahjong and am working on getting my husband and me moved into an assisted living place down in San Diego so we can be closer to family. I love that you share what living in your CCCR is like. Makes me think we'll do fine in our own little neck of the woods. Blessings to you!

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    1. My hair is very gray /white. Never been blond in my life. There is a great competition in CCC right now---at least around here---so they are offering a lot of bells and whistles. Plus, many of the activities we residents started on our own like Mahjong, line dancing and creative writing which I assume can happen at other places.

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  11. You look happy, and that’s the most important thing! Your place of residence sounds like fun. Have a wonderful Christmas.

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    1. I thought I was happy when the photo was taken but yesterday at Mahjong I won at both regular Mahjong and Siamese Mahjong. It was my first time playing Siamese Mahjong and that really gives your brain a work out.

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  12. Merry Christmas! I'm glad the move has been so good for you.

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  13. Your CCC does seem like a cruise ship. There is always something going on and you are good about attending so many. I, too, am glad to put a face to the blog. You look more like late sixties! Honest. No one likes pictures of themselves but that photo is spot on YOU! Happy, healthy and very hip!

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    1. I'm always amazed that there are people living here who don't take part in any of the activities/ Why pay so much just to sit in an apartment. So many don't even use up their food allowance. I happy and hip but far from healthy. Have a good holiday with your grandsons, B.J.

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  14. Thanks for the picture. I look forward to your posts. You always give us something interesting to read and think about. And as someone who will eventually be living at a CCC, I appreciate your comments about what this experience has to offer.
    Best wishes for 2023.

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    1. Same to you, Elizabeth. 2023 should shape up to be a better year than in the recent past, knock on wood.

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  15. Oh gosh, every time you tell us about the goings on at your ccc I want to move in. I really like the idea of having activities available IF you want to get involved. It sounds like they've thought of everything for this season. Gosh, cranberry jam sounds wonderful!

    Great to see a picture of you! You look so happy...winning does that, lol.

    Hope you have a very Merry Christmas. So glad you have family nearby!

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    1. I wish the chef had given out a printed recipe I would share it. It had a unique yet classic taste to it and it was easy to make. Just cranberries, butter, sugar and something I don't remember in a sauce pan where it boiled down. He sets up 4 cooking stations for his lessons so any of us who want to man a sauce pan can do it. Then we get samples to take home that were made ahead and tastes when it's still hot.

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    2. Do you think the cranberry jam might have had orange marmalade in it? I saw a recipe with the cranberry/orange combo and thought it might be good.

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    3. No, it was an unexpected liquid---lemon juice I'm almost sure. All the cooking station's turned out a batch that tasted slightly different even though they used the same ingredients because they put in different amounts of sugar and the juice.

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  16. Merry Christmas, Jean šŸ’• Thank you for sharing your Christmas Letter with us, and also gifting us with a photo. So nice to put a face to the name! You look great!

    Deb

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    1. I thought it was about time to bit the bullet and it over with. LoL

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  17. I look forward to your posts! Glad for you that you have made the right move.
    Merry Christmas.

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  18. Merry Christmas, Jean. May your days continue to be joyful in your happy home.

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  19. Lovely letter and I think I want to live at your CCC. It's the best I've heard about. So glad you took your time and found just the right spot. It was quite a journey, but it seems like a good fit. Merry! Merry! and looking forward to more adventures with you in the New Year!

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    1. Along with the fun stuff there there is some drama, so typical of any group or community. I'll do a post on that topic soon.

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  20. I'd like to add my thanks for the picture of you also. It's great to put a face to your writing. Your Christmas letter is wonderful because it's so positive. A very Merry Christmas to my "mole buddy!" :)

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    1. Merry Christmas to you, too. I really struggled with posting my photo on my blog and on Facebook after all these years of not doing it. I guess I'm finally growing up and accepting who I am. LoL

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  21. Merry Christmas Jean!!
    You seem to have really gotten into the grove of the facility and that's great!

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    1. It's the only way to go. Life is too short to waste regretting what could have been. Dive in to where you're at in life and make the most of it.

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  22. I saw this on FB -- which was a GREAT idea! Merriest to you!

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    1. It's the first time I've ever posted my Christmas letter on Facebook but not the first time I've shared it on my blog as a post.

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  23. I must say -- your Christmas letter beats most of them I've gotten in the past. They seem to be less in favor now, but fashions change. It's fun to see your photo, and to have the recap of so many activities you've enjoyed. I hope your Christmas is enjoyable, and that the weather isn't too beastly!

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    1. I've been doing Christmas letters a lot of years but have been thinking about stopping them for the past three. I'd rather do them than have to write personal notes in each card. Cards as a tradition are fading out and letters are few and far between from ten years ago. I still love getting them.

      Hope your Christmas if everything you want it to be.

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  24. Great to see a holiday photo of you... congratulations on the win! I'm envious of your itinerary šŸ˜‰

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  25. Not sure if the comment I left via my Smart Phone actually Published or not, Timmy was trying to Help me recall how to send it once I wrote it. *LOL* You look great, and much Younger than you are my Friend. Congrats on the Win, I am envious of all the interesting itinerary offered at your CCC, one could never become bored or not have Social opportunities available, or private time when you want it... so the best of all Worlds.

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    1. We really do have too much to do here, if you dont pick and choose carefully,

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