Learn French, they said. It will be fun, they said.

I may have mentioned that, along with my scholarly studies, reality TV binge-watching, and procrastination disguised as mindful meditation, I have diligently and competitively taken up French.

The language, not the lifestyle, sadly.

The French language is so beautiful, but it is difficult. So far, I have learned over 1500 words, and yet when I try to put together a simple sentence to show off to friends, I can only think of one word: Mange. Mange means to eat. Eating is a favorite activity of mine, and of course, it makes perfect sense that I would remember it in French. I also know french fries, french toast, and French-pressed coffee. Oh yeah, and croissant. That one really is French. Delectably French. I could totally mange on a yummy croissant right now, in fact!

Mais je digress…

So, you are probably wondering (if you are still awake) why I would tackle this new and (I will say it again, in case you missed it) DIFFICULT language. I am still pondering that myself. Most of the time, I make a Pros and Cons list before beginning a journey that might take me through the gates of hell. This time, however, I covered both eyes and jumped into the deep end of the Duolingo language app. You can do that because the cool little app will even read to you.

Gawd, I love technology.

My learning process includes speaking, reading, spelling, making sentences that look way longer than the English equivalents, and cursing. I can’t curse in French yet, but that day is coming. Meanwhile, my tried, true, and practiced expletives fly every time I try to figure out which verb goes where. I am consistently inconsistent and frequently choose a different verb tense for the same damned sentence because my French retention sucks.

And furthermore….

The art of speaking French eludes me. I can read a lot of it now, but when I try to speak, I sound like a donkey with a sore throat or a very confused parrot. The verb tenses torture my delicate sensibilities; I kid you not! Each verb tense sounds exactly the same. For example, let’s go back to my favorite French word, mange. See below. Caution! It’s deceptive!

I (Je) mange

You (tu) manges

They (Ils) mangent

We (nous) mangeons

You notice how each tense has a different ending, right? WELLLLL, it is all a ruse, people. When I listen to the little cartoon dude in Duolingo, he says mange for every single tense of the verb! It is driving me bananas! And to bruise my ego even further, Duolingo wants me to type back what the little dude says. I get it correct about 25% of the time. I came up with that number because there are four choices and that’s as close as I want to get to math.

Is it time to throw my hands up in the air and say Fuck IT, Duolingo? Should I just go to Spain instead of Paris when I go to Europe? Yeah, that’s what I should do. I can speak a little Spanish, and when verbs are pronounced, you can actually hear the difference…..well, if you slow the sound down and maybe play it over and over. But I am nothing if not a patient pontificator!

Whew, that felt good. But I love French! I cannot quit. I think I love the little Duolingo dude, too. Love is love, people.

Viva le France!

Thank you for visiting my little creative space. I get a little crazy sometimes, but it’s all in fun. I love it when you visit. Please come back if you enjoyed my ramblings. Have a wonderful week, be kind, and find your joy!

Study Like a Boss

Have you (or do you) experienced bad study habits?

J’ai de mauvaises habitudes d’etude! That’s French, for I have bad study habits. The thing is, my mind wanders, and I can become distracted at the drop of a donut. I wonder if we have any donuts left? One minute I am typing away on my assignment for the week; the next minute, I am surfing the net for mosquito repellent. I’m not absent-minded! I just have an acute interest in all things. Yeah, that’s it.

I have lived with inadequate study habits my entire life. It’s a struggle, people. It is a good thing I am so damned smart. Some would argue against that declaration. because sometimes I put my keys in the fridge and my popsicles in the car. You probably think that is old age, but you would only be partially correct. Just ask my best friend Mary about the time I left my young son with her to babysit and promptly got into my car….on the passenger side. No one was with me. Mary stood at the door, laughing her ass off. She even had my son giggling.

Where was I going with that? I digress sounds a bit more scholarly. Ahem.

All of the above demonstrates a few reasons for my lack of exemplary study habits. Even writing this blog is a pleasant diversion from producing doctoral-level essays week after week after week. I do not hate my studies; in fact, quite the opposite. I love pursuing my doctorate. That said, sometimes I miss just being foolish, silly, and goofing off. That is why I began studying French two months ago via the fabulous app called Duolingo. Doing so is my way of disguising fun and goofing off for a learning opportunity.

I’m kinda sneaky that way.

I have been spotted at Starbucks with my laptop, iPhone, and reading glasses more than once, looking all studious and serious. It is all a ruse, my friends. If you look closely, you will see I often glance at all those around me while listening to their conversations intensely. The whole adventure is tres amusant! A girl needs a little social time; since I am not very social, Starbucks helps me out.

On a more sedate note, doctoral school does command dedication, time, and sound study habits, so I commit myself to those endeavors consistently. It’s definitely more effort than I have ever put into any other study challenge, including my Masters. If you are currently involved in a situation involving self-discipline and cognitive overload, try taking a bit of a respite and enjoy yourself, if only for a few moments. It truly helps me power on!

Thank you so much for visiting my little creative space. I love it when you visit! Please leave a comment if you are so inclined. I’m going to find that donut now. Passez une journee fabuleuse!

Aloneness versus Loneliness

Aloneness. It is vastly different from loneliness, but to understand that concept, one must experience both. The idea for this blog post occurred to me this morning after reading a beautifully expressed rendering from a dear friend on Facebook. She wrote her feelings for the world to see. She has experienced loneliness to the depths only she can know. I know this woman and respect her as a dear friend who embraces life and loves with her whole heart. She lost her husband many years ago but feels lonely often. I am pleased to see her expressing her pain and learning to not only cope but thrive in the wake of loss. I wish this for anyone who has lost a loved one and is trying to move on and find a way to live and not merely exist.

Loneliness is an emotion and a very real pain that sometimes lasts a lifetime. I lost my wife over four years ago and still experience the depths and pain of loneliness, but not constantly nor consistently. The bouts of loneliness appear when triggered by a memory, a song, a photo, a holiday, or any number of cognitive references to our time together. That is why I know the difference between loneliness and aloneness.

My life now welcomes aloneness. It actually staves off some of the painful bouts of loneliness because I have found purpose and joy, and I am comfortable with myself. Aloneness is a state of being, and it is up to me to glean all the meaning and goodness out of my aloneness that is possible. Aloneness does not mean that I do not want to be around people. When I feel that I need social interaction, I seek it out and thoroughly enjoy the experience. I can find happiness during a simple trip running errands.

Different members of my family have expressed concern about me being alone so much, and that is because they love me. It is difficult to convey to them that I am happy. Oh, I would rather live out west, and I would like more money to spend. That said, I live well and have my own little apartment in which I can create, learn, relax, and renew. That says a lot, wouldn’t you agree? I lost my father a few months ago, and his amazing wife is going through the grief stages at this point. It is important that she maneuvers her path in her time, not ours. We must be her shoulder while also giving her the room to rediscover herself and make decisions about life going forward. She is one of the strongest women I have ever met, and I am excited to see what her future encompasses.

There are no shortcuts to experiencing loss, grief, and healing. There are, however, people who want to help. If you have lost a loved one, it is your journey now, and you decide your path. Take your time, reflect on your amazing life, and answers will come. You are the boss of your future. Just knowing that you have time to experience life will eventually motivate your efforts to move forward and find your joy. You may indeed be alone, but aloneness brings great discoveries, finding purpose, and joy. Don’t forget the joy!

Old Dog. New Tricks?

One word haunted my thoughts, dreams, and bathroom visits this week.


Just looking at the word gives me the chills. Brings back childhood memories of teacher making me write dictionary on the blackboard fifty times because I failed to research the spelling of machine. I will never forget that day.

Well. This week has been one of those days.

This week’s assignment in beloved doctoral school was to create an infographic depicting the importance of core values in leaders in the education field. I had seven days to find an infographic from which to glean brilliance. I like creating brilliant things. Unfortunately, infographic brilliance eludes me. The ability to infograph (is that a word? Never mind, I don’t care at this point) does not exist in my skillset or mindset or the fact that I am set in my ways, so it is hard to learn new things.

So, are you all caught up on my life now? Don’t bother answering. It’s not a question. It is just me being a smartass because INFOGRAPHIC has been my life for an entire week. Others in my age demographic will attest that a week is a crucial length of time. I can get a lot of shit done in a week, even moving as slowly as my bones allow. But not this week. I was an INFOGRAPHER (not sure if that’s a word either, but I’m a rebel, so leave it to the chronic grammar police).

Normally, I welcome a challenge. In fact, I gave infographing an honest effort. The results looked pretty good to me. I would show you, but I just submitted it to my professor and probably should not brag too much yet.

Especially since I found a misspelled word and a bullet point with the wrong font size AFTER I submitted my work. Um hummmm. The injustice of the fucking SUBMIT BUTTON! I should protest the platform. Too much? Deep breaths, Terri.

I’m nothing if not surreptitiously suspicious.

And a poor sport when I don’t receive a perfect score.

Thank you for visiting my blog. It is Monday and I am not the little ray of sunshine today. I do love visitors who leave nice comments, though. Leave me a comment and I promise I will smile the rest of the day. Or just wave if you are so inclined. And don’t feel badly that I won’t be able to see your warmth. I can deal. But seriously, leave a comment so I can join in with all the global happiness and meditate while eating the awful veggie smoothie I just made. (Am I rambling again?)

J’ai besoin de chocolat

Banks, Weather, and Politics…oh my!

Whew! I am exhausted. How are you all doing? I am surprised more of us are not hospitalized at this point. I am so over this whole deal with the crazy weather everywhere, the banks failing, and the pitiful previous commander in chief wannabee next president calling the other wannabee next president “sanctimonious” and other colorful adjectives. It is a bit much.

But I digress.

I was working on an assignment for school the other day, and I had my favorite YouTube channels playing on my big monitor, one after the other…for background noise, and a little company. Don’t judge. Even grumpy old doctoral students need some form of social interaction. I do not apologize for my choices; I just suffer along and pretend they were all intentional.

Anyway, where was I?

I was plugging along with my academic brilliance and trying really hard to stay “in the moment,” if you will. Somehow, my attention was diverted to Andrea from MSNBC on a YouTube video. She was hosting three talking heads, none of whom I recognized or cared to hear. I tolerate Andrea, but my favorites are Rachel, Nicole, Alex, and Lawrence, and quite frankly, I do not pay a whole lot of attention to the rest of the bunch.

Toutes mes excuses. Let’s move on.

The talking heads, repeatedly interrupted by Andrea, were all complaining about something, but none of them were complaining about the same thing. That stuck out with me because those people are normally invited on news shows for a particular purpose. I think Andrea was a little confused, as well, and although my patience was waning, I bordered on actually feeling sorry for her and her dilemma. Then I remembered that she makes millions of dollars and my feelings of empathy flew right out the door.


I never did figure out what they were discussing because my attention was once again diverted to something completely unrelated to news or doctoral pursuits. Again, don’t judge me. I do not live in a vacuum. Actually, I noticed a little pile of dirt and some kind of strange debris in a corner of my living room, so I vacuumed it up right away.

Don’t hate me because I am scatterbrained and procrastinate.

Love me because I am tidy.

Thank you for visiting my blog. I really appreciate your stopping by to read my creative efforts. Please come by anytime, and feel free to leave a comment, if you are so inclined. I love hearing from you! Je vous souhaite une belle journee!

Happy Half-Birthday To Me

Do you celebrate your half-birthday? I’m pretty sure lots of kids do, but how many of us adults celebrate?

I do. And I have for my entire life.

Today I am 69 and a half years old. Pretty cool, huh?

To celebrate, I’m making lasagna for dinner. No cake.

But if anyone has an extra “gummy bear,” I could celebrate in grand style. Just sayin..

What else should I do today?

Practice my French lessons. Yep.

Take the trash out. Nope

Do a little homework. Yep, but very little. I’m celebrating, not synthesizing. Other doctoral students will totally get this one.

Wait patiently for all my birthday presents to arrive. You did remember to send me a birthday present, right?

Fun Facts from Wikipedia:

The IRS stuck their noses right smack in the middle of Half Birthdays! Check this out:

In the U.S., some tax-related penalties are related to half-years, such as a 10% penalty for making an early withdrawal from an IRA before age 59½. The federal government defines the half-year as being “six calendar months” after the anniversary of birth, regardless of what day of the month this produces.” **

Turns out, IDAHO is pretty cool after all. They let kids behind the wheel on their 14 and a Half Birthday! What??

In many states in the U.S., the minimum age to obtain a learner permit occurs on a half-birthday, such as 14½ in Idaho, 14 years and eight months in Michigan, 15½ in California, and 15 years and nine months in Maryland. The same is true for receiving a restricted license when a minor in many states.” **

Well, that’s my blog for today. Compelling? Riveting? Maybe not, but I bet I made you smile. After all, the vast majority of my readers are younger than me. I’m okay with that because I love you all. Come back soon, and we will discuss something profound that requires critical thinking skills and a bottle of red wine. Beaucoup de vin s’il vous plait.

** Information in quotes found on the Wikipedia.com website.

Calling All Young Whippersnappers

As a society, we make fun of people and situations to

  • Make ourselves feel better
  • Release anxiety
  • Curb Depression
  • Explain our delicate sensibilities/sensitivity/sexual frustrations. Pick one.
  • Pair with our favorite stimulant. My personal favorite. I get high on Peppermint Patties.
  • Show you are jealous that older people coined the phrase, “Get off my lawn!”

Young people (for me, anyone under 60) are taking said making fun to a whole other level. I turn on the TV or go on social media and cannot avoid the insults thrown at us old geezers. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Do you kiss your grandma with that mouth? Is your grandma single? Asking for a friend…

Friends, I enjoy a little fun and teasing as much as you do, but I do have something to say, and hopefully you will read on.

Let’s try to be kind and more empathetic, shall we? You don’t know what that old couple is going through. He might be fighting cancer, and she has aches and pains, but she takes care of his every need. And still, they smile and do for others. They don’t sit and feel sorry for themselves like so many people who have so much more do. They are stronger than anyone knows or will ever know.

And then there is the woman who figured out she had a brain, but later in life, and now studies hard every day to make up for that time and hopefully get her Doctorate to leave a legacy to her kids and grandkids. A legacy that says Mom finally did it; she lived her life’s dream. Many of us are late bloomers and don’t realize our worth or our real dreams until our golden years. Some of us realize it but don’t take steps to bring it to fruition. Some of us do. It is an individual decision, not one our relatives or friends should make.

We are the only ones who can live our life dream. If you know a senior striving to live their dream, encourage them. If you cannot encourage them because you don’t believe in their actions, do not insult them or tell them they are incapable. Just leave them to their dreams. You are not their higher power. They love you, and they have proven it for a lifetime. Love them back. Don’t criticize their every move. I have often seen and heard this happening to others, making me cry. I am very fortunate to have encouragement and love from my family, even though we are far apart. I feel the love, and it fuels my fire.

And for the love of your higher power, please stop complaining about benefits seniors receive. You also have yet to learn why they have the benefits or what they went through to get them. You will be there someday. Godspeed, you will know then if you don’t try to understand now. Educate yourself. It’s as simple as typing Google. If you don’t have time to find out the “why, “ you lack the knowledge or foundation from which you speak. So shut up about it. Please.

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read my blog. Lately I have been reflective and introspective and a little grumpy, admittedly. Writing my feelings is part of my self-care, and your stopping by motivates me and makes my heart happy. Have a blessed day and be well. Much love…

February. Bah Humbug.

I’m right there with ya, JD Robb. Praise be.

February is halfway finished. I am halfway happy about it. I realize that I say this every year, but I am not a fan of February. Most people probably feel like January is less popular, but January is the new year, and on the very first day, they have a big party worldwide just to welcome January in. Personally, I celebrate January because the freaking exhaustive holiday season is finally over.

But What happens in February? Uh. Valentine’s Day. Big whoop. Frivolous and expensive if you have a significant other; pitiful and perusing-online-dating-sites if you don’t. I am in the latter group. My sister did buy me a nice box of Valentine’s chocolates, so there’s that. Still, I hate February, so I will provide a list of reasons to prove it. So here goes…

  • My sister felt so sorry for me, she bought me a box of chocolates.
  • I was in the hospital on two separate Fridays, and yes, on the 13th. Both times. I hate hospitals.
  • I married both of my ex-husbands in February. Not at the same time. Still, that’s some sucky luck.
  • Stupid February, and its 28 days. Every 4 years, they add one day just to confuse everyone and make it 29 days. Or is it the other way around? How the hell am I supposed to remember that? Sheesh.
  • It is cold as fuck in February, even in Georgia. Two stages of hell right there. I should start a list of why I don’t like Georgia. The first item would be Marjorie Taylor Greene. That’s enough. I wouldn’t need to write another item on that list. It would be enough to send anyone running for the border.
  • Everyone seems to be in a bad mood in February. Or is it just me?
  • February sucks.

Don’t hate me because I am grumpy. Love me because I am forthright.

After all, it IS Valentine’s Day.

Sweetie. Dearie. Honey. My name is Terri.

I swear to all the goddesses, cute kittens, and kind gentlemen who open doors for me, I will scream the next time someone calls me Sweetie. I’m not your sweetie. I’m no one’s sweetie. My delicate sensibilities don’t even bend in that direction. What am I, then?

My name is Terri, for cryin’ out loud.

I am also no authority on names that complete strangers call senior citizens but trust me when I say you are doing no one a favor by putting us in a cute little feebly-named box. Am I pissed? No.

I am being not sweet, not dear, and definitely not honey.

We all have the right to free speech, but have we forgotten our manners while standing on our soap boxes and preaching about all our rights and wrongs? I suppose I am doing that by sounding off about the condescending and dismissing of us people of a certain age. So sue me.

But while you’re suing me, please call me by my name, and I will afford you the same common courtesy.

I included this image just for fun. I’m really not that scary.

Ya’ll hurry back now, ya hear? But please bring your manners.

I will even make us some coffee.

My Hero is in the Hospital

Most of us have had someone special in our lives whom we admired, emulated, and respected. Add love, and for me, that person is my Dad. Sadly, he is very ill at this time. He has been suffering from dementia for several years, and we recently discovered that he also has cancer. His health worsened a couple weeks ago and kept declining until he ended up in the ICU. Many are praying and providing healing thoughts for his recovery, and the family is very appreciative.

That said, this post is not about his condition. This story is about my hero and his beautiful contribution to the world. I do not know one single person who has not referred to my Dad as kind, selfless, strong, or charitable….or all of those things. When my sister and I were young, life was not always easy, as my mom had a severe drinking problem. My Dad kept us all together despite the challenges. He was always kind and fair to us. He was strict and stern when he needed to be, and with me, he needed to be, trust me. I was not the golden child, and that is for sure.

Once I was grown and entered the Air Force, my Dad was so proud of me, and I could see it on his face every time I went back home to Georgia on leave to see him. When I earned my bachelor’s degree, I was told that he took my picture and bragged about me to every one of his buddies and his boss at General Motors, where he worked. I have lived away from Georgia since I was 18, and on every birthday, he would call me and sing “Happy Birthday” to me, no matter how old I was. What can I say? He was and still is the best Dad ever.

When I came out at 35 and told him, I fully expected him not to understand. I was so wrong! Not only did he tell me he loved me no matter what, but he also attended a PFLAG meeting to try and understand more about the gay community. PFLAG means Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. I was so touched by his doing that; I remember crying with my then-partner.

He totally got me. He gets me. He always has. He is my hero, and although he forgets things every few minutes, I still hang on to his every word. He always gave good advice, and a better shoulder on which to cry was not to be found anywhere else.

I often look at him now and wonder what is going on inside his head and what he thinks about forgetting things and all that is happening around him. I will never know, of course.

I love my Dad, my hero. The man every man should aspire to be. The person every person should aspire to be.

I love you, Dad, and I hope you are with us for as long as you can be without suffering or pain.

**I am very sad to report that my Dad passed away this evening (1/20). My heart is broken, but I know he is no longer in pain. I love you, Dad. Rest in peace.