People say the Darndest Things

Well, this week is going much better than last week.

Thank God.

Last week was not my best.

You and me both, lady. 

First of all, the weather was all blah. I want to be wearing this:

And instead I’m still freezing my tail feathers off in this

Second, I was at a party with my BF when a woman came up to us and made such an outlandish comment that I could not quite believe it. Only I could believe it, as this is not the first time that someone has made a bizarre statement in my presence: something that has mainly stemmed from the fact that my BF is a widower with deep ties within the community and I am new to town.

Friends who know us and our circumstances are delighted we found one another, but there are a lot of people out there in the wider circle who were not blessed with the gift of tact. Layer onto this the complexity that comes from my past suffering and the toll that took on my ego and you get a bit of an emotional powder keg. I took to the internet for some guidance, as one does, and found several ebooks about the issues girlfriends of widowers face. The best of the lot was Past: Perfect; Present: Tense by Julie Donner Andersen (don’t let the title and cover put you off.)

What a great book. Andersen has gained tremendous wisdom from her experience and the book helped me reframe much of my experience. It turns out that some of the more bizarre statements I’ve heard are practically cliche in these circumstances, so it allowed me to depersonalize the experience. It also put many of my deepest fears to rest. I know it’s a fairly niche subject but if you find yourself in the position of dating a widower (dating a widow is not as fraught with peril it seems), I highly recommend her book. It was a true sanity saviour.

This week is much better. Spring sports are starting and the kids managed to score themselves free frozen yogurt for a year.

I’ve been taking comfort in some of this:

and some of this:

Well, fancy that. It’s Kir o’clock again!

Serena got her Hirst on:


Our magnolia is starting to bud:

I’m carting in the champers for a girls’ night at the end of the week.

And there are only 59 days until summer vacation.

Stay warm, darlings.


  1. Okay, now I want to know what was said…and of course what you said. I am sure you were gracious but a “what the hell is that suppose to mean?!” may have been my reaction. Is Serena in the laundry basket? Full of questions today, aren't I? Enjoy the book, cookies, alcohol, and hopefully warm spring weather soon.


  2. Jen, I am so sorry that someone was so tactless with you! I am glad you found a book that is helpful. I am reading Boy, Snow, Bird right now, and then moving on to Gone Girl, which I am chomping at the bit to read!NO magnolia blossoms here sadly……


  3. I am going to dwell on that pic of Serena getting her Hirst on, because it is so perfect. Thank you for sharing that…I got Flynn's book Sharp Objects just waiting to start after I finish The Razor's Edge. I love “home café” time too.


  4. So you've been getting the “chippy” treatment? If those ebooks you are seeking guidance from are any good, GSL is likely prominent in the reference notes.


  5. I think that is a bit of difficult situation for everyone, tactless people just seem to have no idea of how destructive their comments can be. My best friend died and when I saw her husband with a young poppsie a few months ago, I wasn't right for days, I felt shock and loss and a little bit ” how dare you date someone else” but life goes on and his and his sons' lives have to move forward.


  6. I was so dumb-founded that I was rendered speechless. I think that was a blessing in disguise! Serena is in the laundry basket – it's how we amuse ourselves with all this foul weather – and when I saw the image, it reminded me of Hirst's spot paintings. I suppose I will have to put her in a shark tank if I'm to continue the theme…


  7. I'm sorry you miss your friend and I think it's admirable that you were able to reframe the experience in spite of your pain. I totally understand that people will have all sorts of complicated thoughts as they work through their grief; I have no idea why they feel the need to share their unfiltered thoughts with me.


  8. Gone Girl is very entertaining and good for blah days. People have problems of their own and have never learned their manners which leads them to say inappropriate things. I bet whatever it was stung quite a bit and made you feel unwelcome, is it like being treated as “The Other Woman”? Of course it would be different for men dating widows! We had Kir Royales last night, it was our wedding anniversary so we went out on the town. How cute is Serena. My Scout has been into some mischief and she is getting so big she is starting to resemble a pony. xox


  9. I should tell them about the Molly Manners class I enrolled my 8 and 10 year old in at the club: perhaps they are accepting adults! Kir royales are so lovely. Good choice! I'm looking forward to lots of Scout poses. Perhaps get her into that laundry basket before she is too large for such silliness!


  10. Jen, I just wanted to say that I so enjoy reading your blog! Love the pics of Serena, you have excellent taste in books and in fashion! Keep the posts coming.


  11. Oh, I'm sorry that you had to bear that. I'm always flummoxed by gratuitous nastiness, and then days later think of a response that would have been so perfectly and delicately cutting that the offender wouldn't have realized she'd been smacked until she found she was gasping for air. At one point I had plans to make little voice memos on my phone of all-purpose replies, from “Why are you telling me this?” to “oh, if you'll forgive my not answering that, I'll overlook your having asked it.” But I realized I'd most likely fumble it, and at best blast the offending witchlet with “carrots, emery boards, sparkling water, hamburger rolls, dry cleaners,” so I'm still looking for the solution. Have you noticed that people who pride themselves on saying what they think, rarely think anything kind?


  12. I'm writing down WFF's quips and hope to remember them when the time comes, which it will. I often wonder if people who make these comments are mean, or stupid…and suspect its a combination of both. Free frozen yogurt for a year is a score…if it gets warm enough to enjoy it. Bravo kids!Serena looks wonderful “in” spots. Happy too. Wishing you a better week. xoJennifer


  13. They are excellent comebacks! My own personal favourite is “Are you aware that when your lips are moving, other people can hear you?” But I've only ever used it once with a repeat offender who had pushed me to my brink. I think that we, as a reader group, try to cultivate friendships with people with manners and grace and we are so astounded when we come across a boor that we are rendered speechless. At times like these, I have a deep respect for Dorothy Parker!


  14. Thank you, ladies! Also useful: “Why are you asking me this?” said in truly puzzled voice.Variation: “Oh, my dear, why are we even discussing this?”Variation: “For your neighbor? Oh, I wonder why she wants to know. You can tell her to call me. OR Really? Has she considered counseling? Oh, I thought you didn't mind personal questions, my mistake,” all the while channeling Melanie Wilkes.OK, now I must go finish polishing my broomstick.


  15. Do not read the rest of Gillian Flynn's books. Although good, you won't be able to handle their dark moments if you can't handle Harry Potter.


  16. Oh Jen you poor love. With things like this depersonalisation is all. I always try to remember when strangers make thoughtless heartless comments, that since they don't know you, they can't possibly be talking about you but the situation in general, and unless they're a minister, judge, or other leader of some kind (and often sometimes then), they have no more right to comment on situations in general than you do, and their opinions don't matter tuppence, unless you give them credence, and why would you listen to someone who behaves like that? Hard to bear in mind sometimes, but worth practising. I speak as someone exasperatingly thin-skinned.That Tory Burch dress is lovely. Very similar to one HRH K-Middy wore in New Zealand, which I have fallen in love with, but 'tis sold out.


  17. Thanks love. I'm practicing this whole survivor re-establishing boundaries thing and it's such a fine balance between turning the other cheek and standing up for myself. That TB is a bit of a genius isn't she!


  18. My aunt was a medical secretary to a doctor whose wife died. (after my aunt had worked there about 12 years) After 3 months; he started asking her out (his wife had been sick and there's probably more I don't know) Anyway they married and were together for about 35 years.(until he died in his 90's) Maybe there was talk at the beginning but in the end it all worked out.


  19. My Mum had two sayings when we were younger (ok, she had many, but your post reminded me of these two). If someone said something that hurt us she said, “Consider the source and ignore the remark.” And she advised us that before we spoke we should consider “Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?” If the answer was “no” to any of those questions, do not say it. Words to live by.


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