For what it is worth, the YWBB has closed up shop. widda

If you are currently a member, you have until March 20th to log in and contact anyone who might be on your personal message list, and you might be able to use the search function to track down any old posts you want to save (just take screen shots – it’s easiest) or contact anyone you haven’t connected with on other social media outlets.

Thanks to some quick thinking by a marvelous widdas named Jezzy (Jess) and Justin, a new board is already up and running and you can access it via this link.

If you are an oldtimer from the board days or someone whose recently been directed to the site and haven’t been able to register – think about signing up. The more the merrier. There are also YWBB groups (think high school reunion type stuff) on Facebook. They are closed groups but I don’t think anyone is being denied entry. They added me after all. And you don’t get more grief heretic than me.

I won’t comment on the decision to shut ye old widda board down without warning beyond saying, I would have handled it differently (but I would have done a lot of things there differently).

And the ye olde widda board founders are directing folks to Soaring Spirits, which while they’ve done good things, is a bit too commercial for my tastes. If you like your grief Life Time for Women movie style or 5 step self-help to happiness again though – it will be right up your alley. It’s very “fix it” oriented and has a plethora of “been there/done that” semi-celebs (yes, there’s a hierarchy in the widow world – that’s life after all) to sell you a book or moderate a conference that will set you right again.

In the meantime, if you are recently (or not so) widowed and just  looking for a place to go to vent, to cry, to share with people who “get it”, check out the new place. It seems like a nice place. You won’t be alone because you are not alone. There are people out here on the wide web who’ve been where you are and can – if nothing else – listen. And being heard is a lot.

The server for the YWBB is in the Northeast somewhere. New York State, if I remember correctly. It has to be in some weather vulnerable area because if memory serves, every time the area got whacked by winter – as is the case today – the board took a powder. As it’s a volunteer thing for the most part, it sometimes took a while for the tender that is to notice and, depending on whether or not it was a power issue, get the board back up on line.

When the widda board goes dark, my site lights up. I get search hits and loads of page-views from widowed in varying degrees of withdrawal. Last night, my stats doubled thanks to a couple of widowed folk in Texas*.

I had a comment yesterday from a board member on a more recent post about grief not being a process. She personally found the board an immense help and that the nastier souls that roam there were few in number and more to be pitied than worried about. She isn’t wrong in her asessment. If a person sticks to the newly widowed forum and even the 6 to 12 month forum, most of the time all is well. It also helps to have a co-hort, people who arrived at the same time you did who were roughly within your widowhood time frame.

I was a late comer to the board. I didn’t have a clique. The existing ones in my time frame weren’t welcoming, and I had the added burden of having spent well over a year physically/emotionally on my own prior to Will’s death. I just came in with a whole different mindset and needs.

I made some friends. I met my husband Rob there. I won’t tell anyone not to go there, but I will caution people to keep their true feelings close to the vest lest someone (usually someone who is older in widow age and heavily invested in the community) take offense and decide to “school” you.

Being schooled makes me cranky. Being told my own feelings and experiences aren’t what I know they are … gets my back up. I wasn’t so “yoga” back in my board days. I let my fingers fly and I got myself in trouble. End of story.

But back to the point, yes the board is down. It will be back up because you know what they say about bad pennies? It applies to the board too.

So breathe. Follow this link if you like. It will take you to a widow blog whose blog list is all widowed. The blog community can be just, if not more, helpful.


*Yes, I can see you via StatCounter. State, city, ISP addy and what you are reading. I’ve had problems with board members linking me back in posts there for the purpose of having a little flaming fun at my expense. That kind of thing doesn’t amuse me. I get that I am a heretic, but I am allowed to be so on my own blog – which no one has to read if they feel threatened or offended by my pov on grief and moving on.

UPDATE: I learned via widda friend status update on Facebook today (Sunday) that the board will be down until Wednesday due to a winterstorm related power outage. Just thought I’d pass that along.

The weekend has flown by once again. Even without a 9 to 5 job, I still lament the relative shortness of the weekend in comparison to the rest of the week. I don’t get as much done of course in terms of my fiction writing but it’s a worthwhile trade-off because I have my husband around. There is much to be said for even the drive-by smooches and snuggles as we go about the domestic routine.

So this weekend’s Friday Night Flick was Steven Soderbergh’s Full Frontal with David Duchovny, Julia Roberts, Catherine Keener, David Hyde-Pierce and that guy who was the photographer on Just Shoot Me

Just a quick aside, has Duchovny ever starred in a motion picture (aside from his neutered alter-ego Mulder) where he didn’t play a sexual deviant of some kind?

Full Frontal is not one of Soderbergh’s recognized triumphs. It’s a film within a film that is ultimately within yet another film. It took a while but I eventually realized that the film within was written using elements of the life of the screenwriter whose life and that of those connected to him are being explored via pseudo-documentary and character interviews. The reviews complained the that film doesn’t go anywhere but it’s really about how life influences art and artists, and about the small worlds we all really live in.

We were better than half-way through the movie when Rob realized he’d seen it before thanks to a plastic sack and David Duchovny’s penis. Which you don’t see. Although you do see the plastic bag and wonder once again what attracts this man to characters like this, but the penis is prominent – I assure you. Even though I missed it the first time and Rob had to “rewind” for me.

But anyway, two hours of life – gone – when we could have had sex instead. But it is not an awful movie (Rob will beg to differ) just one that makes you work hard to figure it out. We in North America are not into thinking while movie watching.

Saturday was organizing. Rob is determined to have a garage sale in two weeks. In admiration of his sorting and purging zeal, I tackled my side of the pigsty office because it would be nice to write at my desk again instead of the dining room table (which is hell on my posture).

I nearly pitched my high school yearbooks but Rob thought they should rest in the basement for a bit until I am sure. 

I am sure I don’t know what to do with them. I haven’t cracked one open in BabyD’s lifetime and since I was too mousy and unpopular to rate much of an inclusion in them aside from a head-shot and the newspaper group photo, I can’t think why I should keep them. It’s full of people I can’t remember or have no fond memories of. And they take up shelf space.

I found Will’s old Sunday bible group bible too. Another space hog that holds no personal value for me, so I am thinking about sending it to his mother. She has been less her nasty self in cards and letters of late, and I have been thinking that it might be safe to cultivate a correspondence type relationship now. She found God after Will died – or so she claims* – and the bible has memories for her.

Now I have a clean desk and a surprisingly small pile of papers to assign to folders. I even have my calendar updated and all pertinent dates marked for the next little while. So why am I still writing at the dining room table?

I also began a rewrite of Kumari because what I am trying to do isn’t clear to readers yet, judging from a new review I received yesterday. I am liking it, so the reviews have been a plus. I wish, though, that the site was more like a message board because single reviews are only so helpful. I really need a give and take forum.

I also ventured over to the widda board and signed on. Something I haven’t done since February. I noticed that I was getting referrals from my profile there – something that has never happened. It made me curious. To my surprise I had a message waiting from a board member who’d found this blog through a google and traced me back there. She wanted to talk about remarriage/recoupling because she thought I might have something valid to say. That I can understand if the only sounding board she’s had is the widda board. There are probably only a handful or better of people there who don’t have an agenda when it comes to this topic and will listen/share their experiences without spouting absolutes. The board is really a singles haven and that is what is pushed – mostly by people who haven’t found a new partner despite their efforts or those too frightened or traumatized to try.

I did find one interesting thing in the short perusal I made of the active topics. Someone who used to jump all over me with both feet about my opinions of moving on and remarriage requested a new forum for remarried widowed – because she got married again recently. Funny how that can swing a person 180, eh?

Although the remarried thought this was a great idea, the other vintage widows nixed it. Remarrieds, in the general opinion of the board, have a duty to grieve for the edification (and probably entertainment) of everyone else. End of discussion.

And finally, Rob and I took great interest in watching the reports on Ike. If Rob hadn’t turned that transfer down last spring, we would have been losing our hurricane virginity this weekend in our new home somewhere in the Houston area. Actually, Rob would have been doing this most likely with me worrying at my folks in Iowa. We are not so attached to stuff (and honestly are well enough off financially that we don’t have to be) to ride out a hurricane. 

I will take a Canadian winter over the balmy, hurricane prone Gulf coast any day.

*And it might be true. She was nastier than she had ever been while spouting religion at me in the aftermath, but I have found that “coming to Jesus” brings out a rather substantial amount of bile and intolerance in some people.

When Rob and I were first corresponding via email, I didn’t know what he looked like or he me. It wasn’t important. We were friends although looking back we both realize that the intent changed sooner than either of us realized until much later.

Rob had taken a long road trip through the U.S. just before he and I “met” courtesy of my rather flip/flirty reply to a post of his on the widow board. At the time I was just being cute. One of the social aspects of the board allowed for kidding that bordered (or completely crossed the line at times) on that kind of adult banter.

On his journey, he had sent periodic updates of his progress to the board and posted pictures of the places he’d stopped along the way. Many of the pictures featured him and he acquired quite the widda fan club. Women emailed/pm’d him with invitations to lunch or for coffee or dinner if he should happen to be “in their neighborhood”.

I hadn’t been paying attention and didn’t read about his travels or see the photos until after we’d started to write/IM.

He never knew what I looked like until after he told me that he had feelings for me.

Today’s tee is one that Rob was wearing in one of the first photos I saw of him that were not from the widow board collection. It was one that MidKid took of the two of them in the kitchen here in our home. She had it posted on her MySpace and Rob directed me to it.

Yes, I saw both MidKid and ElderD’s MySpace pages. Rob shared them with me because he is proud of them and wanted me to know them.

I still love this particular photo. It is one of my favorites Rob looks good in tight tee’s.

I am not much for slogging through blogs in search of entertainment or good writing or both. The handful of blogs I read regularly belong to women I met through the YWBB and that I have listed on my Widow Blogroll. Anything that is evenly remotely entertaining, my husband Rob found using StumbleUpon and then went on to find others through the links he found on the worthwhile blogs he stumbled across. Stumble is a program that you can use to find specific topic oriented blogs or just randomly flip through like a couch potato with satellite. Through Stumble Rob discovered A Riot is an Ugly Thing along with its host, Uncle Keith. Uncle Keith, I should warn you, will not be everyone’s cup of tea. He is middle-age though he claims to be old. He is unapologetically incorrect and he likes to post pictures of scantily clad women who could be his (of legal age) daughters. But he can be funnier than hell while doing all of the above. Another pervert Rob discovered before the days of Stumble was the host of What Would Tyler Durden Do? (WWTDD) For you non-Fight Clubbers out there reading this from your IKEA-ized domains still in your khaki cubicle uniforms, Tyler Durden is the the name of the character played by Brad Pitt in the movie, Fight Club. It is one of my husband’s favorite movies and my step-daughter’s favorite books by her favorite author, Chuck Palahniuk. When I first began corresponding with Rob via email (because yes, where would two internet junkies meet but on the www), he told me I reminded him of Marla Singer. I was appalled (after I googled her up on Wikipedia) but in retrospect I can think of at least one area where she and I have some in common – though I am forbidden to go there (much) in my blogging. WWTDD is a celebrity eviscerating site, where the host skewers the flavors of the week and waxes pornographically about the current crop of famous tail. He may be Uncle Keith’s nephew. Tyler Durden came to us courtesy of The Gil Meche Experience. This is a cadre of writers there who claim to be law students somewhere on the East Coast of the U.S. The main blogger is a young man named Pulp who is on a mission (one of many) to expose David Brooks as a tepid writing talent. Nurse Myra of Gimcrack Hospital (PG) is someone Rob met through Uncle Keith who obviously enjoys her because on Friday she posts tastefully done pictures of herself in provacative clothing. She is a real nurse though in a real retirement home in the real place of Australia and she is a very talented writer. She writes with wit and style about the day to day of her job and the people she encounters. Rob discovered, inadvertently, that she was widowed as we are and thought at first that I should categorize her with the other widow blogs. While her “about me” states that she blogs to keep sane, she is not writing about her grief. Even if she were, I would still put her with the interesting blogs because she and it are that.The Diary of a Mad DC Cabbie is a Stumble find. He is not mad but he is a cabbie in the DC area and he blogs on all manner of things. He is funny. He is smart. And he is a very good writer. As is Johnny Virgil over at Fifteen Minute Lunch. I would do much to be that funny. His rantings on washrooms have earned him a place of honor in my esteem forever. Waiter Rant is just that, and apparently its author has written a book and was approached about turning it into a movie according to my oldest step-daughter. She is the original source of this blog and though my husband reads it – aloud to me – every so often, I don’t find it compelling enough to read on my own. It is well-written and others find it quite entertaining. And Rob likes it. He has much better taste in blogs as a source of leisure reading than I do. I am from the quaint old school of building community and friendships via the blogosphere. He does not believe that one can be friends with people who may or may not really exist at all. As one of my mommie friends from yore pointed out when she and the other women I now call friends met on BabyCenter – back in the days before we moved to a private group home – who knows who any of us really were. One of us could have really been a 55 year old man simply pretending to be a thirty-something pregnant woman or new mother. After all, you never know what some people will do to entertain themselves. Rob explains us, in case you are interested, as above average anomalies and exceptions to all rules.Blogging, in my opinion – ’cause that is the only one that counts around here, is a viable source of the written word as entertainment or information. One could do worse than to check out and become a daily reader of any of the blogs I have mentioned.

When Rob and I first began dancing with the idea of meeting in person, we were still just friends. He and Cheryl were trying to organize a Bago in Manitoba for July and I made up my mind to attend, so we could meet. Well, that quickly went from meeting at the Bago to his picking me up at the airport to my flying to Edmonton first and driving out to Manitoba with him. I guess we should have known at that point we were already more than friends.

Once the cat, who was already out of the bag and sitting there watching us expectantly, was formally acknowledged we began planning our March trip that eventually became Devils Den. But even knowing we would be seeing each other then did not stop us from plotting an  earlier meeting. And then came Idaho Falls. Rob and Shelley had met a couple at the cancer clinic in Mexico who lived just outside of Idaho Falls. Tee has breast cancer and Rob wanted to visit her as she wasn’t doing well. He was also taking her some things of Shelley’s, and could I manage to fly out to spend the weekend with him there? 

My best friend, Vicki, wouldn’t even let me use Katy as an excuse not to go. She barely took a breath before agreeing to assume responsibility for my child for the weekend and with that – I was on my way.

I remember posting about my upcoming trip on the board, as so many people did and still do. I remember all the cautionary advice and pooh-poohing of the notion that Rob and I could have gotten to know each other via email, IM and the phone. I remember specifically that I didn’t ask for any advice and I didn’t take any that was given. I was beyond polling the board. But, I was still nervous. How could I not be? There is much one can learn about another person via their words – in any form, but there is a tangibleness about physical presence that goes beyond knowing on an intellectual level. I actually felt as though I was missing him in that concrete way even before that night in the airport when I saw him and rushed into his arms. 

We’d speculated quite a bit about those first moments and each scenario became a bit more intimate. Our first kiss in those first moments was interrupted by my mother. She called Rob on his cell phone and wanted to know if I had arrived yet. It was a bit like having your one of your folks walk in on you as a teenager making out or something. It didn’t break the mood though and we smooched away the waiting for luggage to the point where a TSA officer broke us up to inquire if the last bags standing were in fact ours.

Rob likes to joke now that the woman he sometimes can’t get to stop talking barely strung more than a couple of sentences together that first weekend. But I was just drinking him in with all my senses to a point where I was overwhelmed. 

A year later and we are sitting in our robes at the dining room table, me blogging and him scouring the net for a used car for Jordan and Katy in the living room chattering away with her imaginary friends while watching cartoons. All that is sandwiched in between then and now is our history together. History. Wow. You dream about being swept away. And love. Intimacy. Never does it occur to you that there comes a point where the newness is the comfy familiar and you are sharing an existence with touchstones, high and low points, and a future to chart together.

Happy Anniversary my Sasquatch lover. I love you, always.

I spoke of giving up blogging in my last post because I wonder what good it is doing me any more and what I could possibly have left to say that might interest anyone. It’s not as though I, or my life, is all that interesting. But just when I thought I didn’t need the cathartic outlet that is my blog at its essence, my sister-in-law shows up at our home – four days later than she originally planned and with intentions of staying for a week. Did I mention she dragged – literally – her seventeen and thirteen year old children with her? No? Well, she did.

I like Shannon. I do. She can carry on quite the conversation and is very polite (aka Canadian), but she is in her seventh year of widowhood and stuck beyond even the most generous standards of grieving. Many of our conversations have centered around grief even when they started out about something else. Being problem solvers, both Rob and I have countered her at every turn with solutions to her fixed position – which she claims to not be happy with by the way – but for every solution, she remains attached to the problem like velcro. It’s exhausting in a way that reminds me of my time on the widow board.

Today, I escaped to the gym and then after lunch (did I mention they sleep til lunch?) I absconded with Katy to the library and to shop for groceries. In my absence, she decided to drag the teens to the mega-mall that is about a 45 minute drive from here. Upon my return with my raccoon-eyed child (teens make noise that intrigues and keeps five year olds up way past bedtime), Rob assures me that we will never have company over the holidays ever again and while I am being mollified, his sister calls to let him know her car has died. The night she arrived, she told us that the vehicle had been leaking anti-freeze for some time but she just took care of this by constantly refilling it. So, the anti-freeze was gone and the car wouldn’t start. Rob bundled up and went to fetch them and tow the car back. It was 8:30 by the time we had supper. Katy was beyond tired and nephew and niece were still wearing the stunned looks that I imagine overtook them when they realized that coercing their mom to take them home before the weekend wasn’t in the cards anymore.

My sister-in-law has taken to her bed. Our guest bed. I haven’t seen her at all. Rob says she does this.

It was easy to deal with widows who refused to help themselves when they were on the other side of the ethernet. I hit the ignore button. Now I have one in my basement. God help me.