So, Here is my Why

Several of my friends and a couple of my relatives have asked me why I have decided to pursue a Doctor of Education Degree, which is quite an undertaking and will require three or four years of my time. Below is a personal, somewhat lengthy, and at times, confusing explanation as to my “Why.” I hope it clears some things up and gives a bit of insight into the enigma that is me.

The last fourteen months have been a wild ride for me. And by “wild” I mean akin to one of a giant rollercoaster. As you may or may not know, my life-partner of 21 years passed away in 2019, and the following year (October 2020, 14 months ago) I had to move from the condo I had been renting from my son because they wanted to sell it. I have always been on my own, never dependent on anyone else. When I was married or with a partner, we cohabitated, but I very well could have handled things on my own if needed. However, there were no available apartments in Boise at that time, so I agreed to move in with my son temporarily.

I was not happy about it, as I knew from listening to others and being observant, that families moving extra family into their homes could cause a multitude of annoyances and issues. Turned out, I was correct with my assumptions. Without going into private details, things were not working out. I am independent and I’m not accustomed to being under anyone’s thumb. I need to govern my own life and do so under my own roof. After nine months, it was a mutual agreement that I would move on.

But where was I to go?

In previous weeks before leaving Boise, I had been watching YouTube videos about nomads, and people living in their vans and RVs on purpose. Nomads are a whole sub-culture in and of themselves, and, quite frankly, the lifestyle appealed to the romanticist and dreamer in me. I thought it would be the perfect solution. I could travel like a snowbird, south in winter and north in summer. I could write to my heart’s content and visit places still on my bucket list.

I made lists of everything I would need by watching the videos, and began my search for a late model used van. The idea morphed into a dream that further fueled my vision of being on my own without a care in the world.

Two obstacles stood in my way:

  1. I have a disability in that I cannot walk very fast due to a spinal injury. I currently use a cane, but was using a walker for a long time. That did not deter me, as I’d heard that a lot of disabled people live as nomads.
  2. I was completely unprepared. I had saved money, but used it to buy the van outright so I wouldn’t owe anything on it. That left me with very little expendable cash. The list of items I would need and the alterations I would need for my van in order to make it livable for me, especially with my mobility issues, were expensive. However, that did not stop me from leaving Boise on July 2nd, headed for points east, specifically Yellowstone National Park. I was excited…

Although my excursion through Yellowstone was breathtaking, my new life soon brought me to my knees. My first night upon exiting Yellowstone was spent in a KOA Campground, one that was over-crowded and definitely not as advertised. I tried to climb in the back of my van when it was time to sleep, but I was so exhausted, I could not climb in. Due to my spinal injury, I was also unable to climb from the driver’s seat to the back of the van. As a result, I spent the entire night sitting up in the driver’s seat of the van. It was cold and I was pretty miserable, to put it mildly. Two more nights went by during my travels, and although I was able to climb in the back and get in my bed, everything else I did became increasingly difficult.

I was quickly becoming disheartened about my choice to live in a van. I called my stepmom in Georgia, who I was supposed to be visiting the next month, and asked if I could come early, and she said of course. On the way to Georgia, I contracted a fungus on my feet (no idea why or how) and also became depressed and lethargic. By the time I arrived, I was getting sick. I ended up a few days later in the ER, had a toenail removed, and antibiotics for an infection. I was sick for awhile. I threw up a lot, and even wondered if I had COVID, even though I had been vaccinated.

I did improve, however, and spent three months with my Dad (who is suffering from dementia) and his wife Donna. They were wonderful to me, and it was three of the most peaceful months of my life. Spending that quality time with my Dad was priceless, and I will always hold those moments in my heart. But, it was again time to move on. I had been trying to procure an apartment in the area, having given up on my nomad dreams. I was unsuccessful in finding anything.

In the middle of September, my sister in northwest Georgia invited me to come and look at apartments in her town. I was excited to think I might finally have a place to call home again. I went to see her and we went to several places and collected applications. That week, I put in a very involved application for an apartment in her town, but the apartments were based on income, and the waiting list was long.

During the wait, I have been staying at my sister’s apartment. She gave up her bedroom for me, and she has been staying in the guest bedroom. Due to my spinal injury, I would not have been able to get up from the low bed in the guest bedroom, so she selflessly gave up her comfort for me. I moved in with her in October, and she has been absolutely lovely and welcoming, and made me feel like I’m not alone in this world, and there are people out there who really want me around. My Dad and Donna treated me the same way. Yes, I want to live on my own, but knowing these people love me for who I am has meant the world to me. They do not judge me. They do not decide how I should live my life. They just love me and have helped me out of a tremendously difficult situation. I am a very prideful individual, and I am humbled in their presence. My apartment will be available around Christmas, and I have put my deposit down and now busily trying to collect furnishings and dishes, etc., to make it my own. Again excited!!!

So, back to the reason for this post. Why have I committed to an arduous (my son described it with this word, and he was correct!) journey of working toward my Doctorate?

  1. I earned my Master’s Degree nine years ago, and have since felt the desire to continue the journey, culminating in my completing something I never could have dreamed of when I was younger. At 68, I finally know myself, and I know my worth. I am intelligent, brave, a bit too bold at times, and ever curious about this wonderful thing called life.
  2. I am doing this to show myself that I can, not to show anyone else. I do brag a lot, but quite frankly, I have a lot for which to brag!
  3. Bottom line. My “Why” is purely Because I can.

I sincerely hope you will wish me well in my endeavors, and maybe take away something from my sharing this long explanation with you. Everyone has their dreams, and none are more or less significant than any others. I’m so happy to wake up each day and have the blessed opportunity to follow my dreams…

Write Like a Scholar? What?

My recent nose-dive into the depths of scholarly learning has given me anxiety. Turns out, the doctoral journey begins with learning how to write. What? One would think one would have learned to write in first grade, and sure enough, some of us did! Heck, I even have a couple of books out there in the Amazon universe.

Ah, but that’s not writing. That’s “creative writing.” To write like a scholar, one has to first enter the gates of hell. In this scholarly “hell” one also has to read countless articles in which one has to look up every other word. After reading each article several times, then a few more times, one then has to compare and contrast said articles with one another. It is called synthesis. And yes, I also had to look that up.

And, as if the devil himself was looking over one’s shoulder and just waiting to pass judgment, one has to accept critical feedback without crying, begging, bribing, or eating one’s feelings. One must take it like a woman. One must persevere. One must never let them see one flipping the finger. One must overcome, smile, and write the whole damned thing over. Again. And again.

One is sure you are out there in the bloggy universe, laughing while holding back the urge to remind one that one signed up for this. One remembers. One is not quite sure, however, whether that makes one a sadist or a masochist?

Oh crap. One needs to look that up, too. One will get back to you on that.

One needs more coffee now.

Thanks for visiting my bloggy place. I hope to see you often as I attempt to navigate my life choices and manage my insecurities and unruly hair days. And I’m not sure what’s going on with all the “one’s.”

Please feel free to leave a comment and peruse the rest of whatsinterrishead.com.

Kindness Misunderstood

I am writing this because of a situation I encountered last evening when I was leaving the laundromat here in town. Most of you know I have mobility issues, and I use a cane. Last night, I had finished my laundry and was wheeling it out to the car with one of those rolling baskets provided at the laundromat. I was using my cane with the right hand and trying to maneuver the basket with the left hand. A gentlemen saw my struggle and walked up to me and asked if he could help.

Many of you may not know how stubborn I am, and I try to do everything I can on my own. That being said, I surveyed the situation, and noticed a truck parked very close to my van on the driver’s side. So, I asked the man who had walked up to me if he knew who owned the truck, as I would appreciate him moving it so I would be able to enter my vehicle.

He said, “No, but he’s sitting in the truck.” At that time, the man in the truck got out and approached us. The man who had been talking with me turned and addressed the man who owned the truck. He said, very gruffly and unpleasantly, almost sounding like he was demanding, “You will need to move your truck so this lady can enter her van.”

The man from the truck took the first man’s demand offensively and began yelling back, using loud profanity and, quite frankly, scaring tears out of me. The guy who had originally approached me got really mad at the other guy and screamed profanity back at him. They both began yelling they would kick one another’s ass. I was getting nervous, as I was standing on a curb, holding a cane and balancing on a rolling basket.

I was only a car length away from my own vehicle, but I could not get past either man. I was pleading with them not to fight, but my pleas were falling on deaf ears. Both men were so angry, their only focus was with each other.

Finally, the man from the truck started to get into his truck to move it, but the other guy screamed more profanity at him, calling him names that would make anyone mad. At that time, the man from the truck again exited his vehicle and said, “Fuck it. I’m not moving my truck.” Then he walked around the truck and started toward the laundromat entrance. The guy helping me moved toward him and began yelling even louder. I mentioned earlier in this blog post that I was getting nervous, but scratch that. I was scared shitless. It passed through my mind at that moment, “This is how people get killed. This is how shootings happen.” I was mortified.

Yelling continued, and I was was crying, but managed to maneuver myself, my cane, and the basket to the passenger side of my van. Shortly thereafter, the man who had originally tried to help me appeared suddenly at my side and said he would load the laundry in my van and help me enter from the passenger side. I let him load my van, but informed him, “Unfortunately, with my back issue, I cannot easily enter from the passenger side, and I definitely can’t climb over to the driver’s side.”

About that time, the guy from the truck came back out the laundromat door and the shouting match resumed. That pissed off the guy helping me, and he said he would call the police. Screaming continued. During this part of the altercation, I managed to go around the back of the van and reach the driver’s side door. There was not much room for me to enter, but enough to get the door opened part way. The method I use to climb into my van is a bit involved and takes a little time, and while I was trying very hard to climb in, the guy who had been helping me said, “Wait, I’m calling the cops.”

I informed him at that time that I believed I could make it into my van, and needed to go because I did not like to drive after dark. While I was saying that, he got the cops on the phone. He actually calmed down long enough to speak respectfully to the police dispatcher and describe the situation in terms that didn’t make him sound like an idiot. While he was speaking to them, I made it into the van. I told him that I was fine but I really had to get home. (Seriously, I just wanted to vacate the situation.)

He informed the dispatch that I was able to enter my vehicle, but the man who had not moved his truck was still being threatening. I remember how strange that was to me that he would say that when he was actually the first one who did the threatening, and continued to do so throughout the whole fiasco.

I’m not sure what happened to those two men because I got the hell out of there.

My point in writing about this was to say that the first man’s whole approach to the situation was wrong. While initially intending to do an act of kindness for me, he rudely approached an individual who might have otherwise, been amenable to helping by moving his truck. There could have been multiple acts of kindness happening, but if one component of that kindness is missing, no one gets help. The other man was also completely wrong by losing his temper immediately and fueling the fire with yelling, profanity and threats.

Seriously, that’s how people get hurt and even killed. It happens somewhere every day. There were numerous people at that laundromat, to include little children.

Kindness. Do it. But remember to respect one another. A short explanation from the first man to the man in the truck, along with a “Please” and “Thank you” may have gone a long way.

Have a great weekend. Be careful out there.

Down the rabbit hole

Today, I started looking through professional articles in my school’s library (online). My original search was the word “mindset.” I was searching for articles explaining a researching mindset and how it correlates with critical thinking. And blah blah blahYou get the gist.

Well, I came up with 3,245 articles and immediately realized I needed to refine my search.

Uh, big mistake. If you don’t know where you are, you shouldn’t necessarily start out for new horizons.

I typed in, “researching mindset”.  I got 2,344 articles. The first one was titled “If You Have Your Mind Set on College, Do Your Research First.” 

Things went downhill from there. Why? Because I’m new to Doctoral school. I get confused on an hourly basis. Don’t give me words out of order. My head will explode. Better yet, don’t give me words. Just take my little hand and lead me to the damned article I need.

It’s like surfing the net. But on steroids.

I’m sure you’ve typed in a topic of interest in Google, and planned on perusing them all, until you realized there were pages upon pages of information/pictures/video on your topic.

What the hell?

Don’t they know we have all evolved into internet surfers with the attention span of a gnat? Okay, go ahead and look up “gnat”. I would wait, but you won’t be back for hours. There’s “How to Get Rid of Gnats,” “Gnats vs Fruit Flies,” “What are Gnats Attracted To?” I cannot compete with that level of entertainment. Even when I post pictures of my pen collection.

So I will press on.

There is really no central message to glean from the above mumbles and grumbles. I write my feelings. I eat my feelings. I just try really hard not to feel my feelings.

Now I’m hungry. I definitely feel that.

Thanks for visiting and reading my craziness. Comment below if you are so inclined. I could use the company while trying to navigate this freaking rabbit hole. Have a fabulous day, and I hope you find everything for which you are searching.

Warning! Credit Card Usage Probable!

So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and do all your Christmas shopping online this year? I’ve been shopping online since way before the COVID made its debut, so I feel I am amply qualified to deliver a few pros and cons to you before you embark on this new and nerve-wracking journey.

1) First of all, let’s talk about your alcohol consumption.

Pros: You can drink wine and you won’t get carded, stared at, asked to leave, or arrested for public intoxication and/or indecency.

Cons: Your purchasing decisions may be altered somewhat. (See picture above).

Life is a balance, am I right?

2) Let’s talk about People.

Pros: When you shop online, you don’t have to worry about running into your judgy Mother-in-Law, your ex-lover, a friend to whom you still owe money, or your smelly neighbor.

Cons: In my opinion, there are no cons here. Avoiding people is an art. Be proud.

Sometimes life gives you lemons. Throw them at your neighbor. Aim with a purpose.

3) Let’s talk about spending money.

Pros: If no one sees you shopping online at 2 AM, are you really spending too much money on a new iPhone, ear pods, a lightning charger, 4 pairs of shoes, a case of fresh pineapples from Hawaii, and a book on how to get rich data-mining? I think not.

Cons: Sure, I understand your purchasing a must-have item for a $1000, but you should shut that shit down when you have to pay a $7.99 Shipping Charge! Freaking highway robbery! Just sayin…

Online shopping is better than traditional shopping because it gives you

a reason to live for the next 7-10 business days. 

I think I need more pens and another coffee mug.

***************

Judgy Fudgy

Judge much? I try not to, but of course I judge. I judge people who judge. I judge narrow-minded people. I judge people with zero social skills. I judge my invisible friend when she does stupid stuff. Yes, I judge.

However.

It’s the time of year when we are supposed to be good to one another. We should be experiencing frolicking, merriment, eggnog, and mistletoe kisses. We are supposed to be kind to our fellow man, etc. We are supposed to be patient with those who are less fortunate and/or disabled. We are supposed to be happy for our friends and loved ones who embark on a new challenge.

We are NOT supposed to judge.

This Thanksgiving, I judged, and I feel badly, so I am coming clean right here on my blog that has at least two readers. I judged one very over-bearing, hard to get along with person…for being just that. It almost ruined my Thanksgiving, until I took a deep breath and checked myself.

You see, it wasn’t just MY Thanksgiving. It wasn’t all about me. Yes, I do like things to be all about me, but don’t we all? However, when one finds oneself in a small space with a dozen or more people, and loses one’s shit because of a loud, rude person monopolizing every conversation, one needs to examine one’s options. One could try one or more of the following:

  1. Vacate said premises immediately, quietly and politely, of course.
  2. Get another plate of food and eat until one falls asleep in the corner with the dog.
  3. Find the key to the liquor cabinet…open it and climb in. (Make sure to close the door)
  4. When said person goes outside for a cigarette, lock the door.
  5. Smile and try not to look at the clock so often. The clock still works.
  6. Talk to a kid. Any kid in the room. Kids don’t care who is rude, drunk, loud, etc. Kids just want someone to turn the TV to cartoons. Watch cartoons with the kid.
  7. Play on your phone. So many people do it now, it’s not considered rude. Play a game. Text anyone/everyone, “HELP ME.” Write your feelings. You can do that on a phone. There’s a ‘Notes’ app. Use it. F-words are completely acceptable.
  8. Lastly, if the first seven options are unacceptable to you, take the most painful option and just wait. Said person has to go home sometime. One can only hope.

I’m not quite sure how I managed to include the word ‘one’ at least 9 times in this post. I digress and even imagine I’m a writer from the olden days. You know, those days when there were a lot fewer people and using the word ‘one’ instead of ‘I’, ‘we’, or ‘they’ seemed appropriate.

One wonders if there were annoying people at those Thanksgivings?

Wishing you all a Happy Holiday Season. Be kind. Be patient. Be Fabulous. You know you are!!

Doctors and Scholars and School Bells, Oh My!

Go on. Go ahead and ask me. I can wait. Okay, I can’t wait, so here goes. I’m back in college! But this time, I’m going for the BIG FISH. Yeppers, I will be studying for my Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. Most of my studies will be online, but I will also attend a week-long residency once a year on campus.

Am I excited? Oh yes. Enough to pee.

Am I mortified? Hell yes. Enough to pee.

Am I smart enough to earn a Doctorate? Oh gosh, I sure hope so, as I’m still in shock over the cost of the Student Loan for which I’m responsible. And I’m quite sure “Buyer’s Remorse” is not an option for withdrawal.

There are 21 of us hopeful scholars at this time, and we have to interact online by posting discussion questions, etc, and giving feedback (and accepting feedback…UGH). So far I’ve posted 8 times, and my grade is currently an A. No big whoop, as it’s just the first week and I probably won’t be flunking out until at least next week. Introductions are easy. After introductions week comes the SEVEN LAYERS OF HELL. Or so I’m told.

The diversity of my classmates blows me away. There are athletes, teachers, stay-at-home Moms, a stay-at-home Dad, a firefighter, several school administrators, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Sorry, dang Christmas songs are everywhere…already.

Well, folks, now that I have something ongoing about which I can passionately write, I’m looking forward to venting here. Join me. We will put our heads together and come up with something clever. We are, after all, scholarly and doctoral-minded.

Well, one of us is. The other one is probably just here for the pizza and beer. Or cannibus.

That’s college-worthy, right? My overly-exercised brain thinks so, anyway.

Cannibus. Definitely the cannibus.

Depression. Grief. Anxiety. All Dangerously Real.

I probably should have started my recently rejuvenated blog in a lighter manner, but I wanted to write about issues that were on my mind right away, so my thoughts were fresh and true. That being said, I’m going to jump right in.

About two years ago, my world began crumbling and the downward spiral was practically debilitating. My partner of 21 years fell ill and, for seven months before she passed, she was shuffled back and forth between hospitals and nursing homes. I followed the ambulances, and did my best to be by her side as much as possible. Without going into a lot of detail about her illness, it was a heartbreaking period of time for all concerned.

Days and nights blended into one another, as I tried to deal with my own health issues and finances while advocating for her rights and fighting for her to get decent care. I am not detailing Joan’s (my partner) illness in this post because she was an extremely private person and would not have wanted her suffering shared on the internet. My message here is to relay the toll depression, grief, and anxiety play on an already taxed individual.

At the ripe old age of 67, I grew up “old school” where you didn’t run to the therapist or pop a Xanax when you had a loved one get sick, or experienced other difficult issues in your life. So, when Joan fell ill, I ignored some dangerous warning signs of my own as time went by.

My depression either had me forgetting to eat at all or binging. When I was at home, I sat in front of the TV and stared at it, hardly moving, and frequently sleeping the night through while sitting straight up in the chair in my living room. Anxiety seemed to come in the middle of the night, and sleep became nearly impossible. I walked around in a zombie-like state for months.

Joan’s illness progressed quickly, and even though I knew things were most likely not going to improve, I kept praying and kept my vigil by her side as long as I could. She passed away in March of 2019, and to this day, grief and sadness take up a part of my daily life. The grief is ever-changing and becoming more manageable, but what I really want to convey is that it’s not something that can be completely controlled. It may look like everything’s fine on the outside, but the inside is where the truth lies.

I should have reached out for help. I am a strong woman, but it just about broke me. I didn’t listen to anyone who suggested for me to seek a specialist or therapist. People I loved the most, and those who loved me, gave me sound advice, and I didn’t listen. I was stubborn and determined to handle everything, including my mental and physical health issues, myself.

Of course, my plan of action, which was no plan and no action, especially after Joan died, was a fail. I ended up with a serious issue of edema with my legs, which impeded any mobility progress I had previously made. I also had kidney failure and was admitted to the hospital last New Years’ Eve.

That’s when I realized, after the doctor came in and told me I’d better start taking care of my self, that my old-school ways were hurting me. Joan wouldn’t have wanted to see me like that. All who knew her would agree that she would have read me the “riot act.” Indeed!

Shortly thereafter, I began doing good, positive things for my health and reaching out for help from people who have experience with depression, anxiety, and grief. I’m still not seeing a therapist, but my health issues other than that have improved greatly, and I’m finally getting up the courage to seek professional help with my mental health issues as well.

To anyone going through pain from loss, please know that this is not something you can do alone. You need help. We are social beings. We are not meant to solve everything ourselves. It’s too much for the 10% of our brains we actually use. I say this with the utmost sincerity and reverance for your life and well-being.

Thank you for visiting. Please feel free to leave your comments below. I am not a professional of any type. I’m just writing my feelings. And I really appreciate your stopping by to read them.

Old Broad’s Perspective

Hello internet! First day back on What’s in Terri’s Head in a very long time! I’m in the mood to share and it’s time to start writing again. That being said, I have been wrestling with the whole theme, idea, or writing purpose, if you will, that I wish to convey. Sure, I want you to read my blog, but I want to enjoy writing it. That’s why I’m back. I’m hoping this is the beginning of much writing (and reading, on your part) enjoyment!

Since I left you, my partner of 21 years, Joan, passed away (last year) and it’s been a long, painful road through grief and toward recovery. I’m not there yet, and I expect I will be working through my issues for some time to come. However, my outlook toward life has greatly improved and I’m doing okay now, for an old broad.

I will catch you up on the two year lapse in future posts, but for now I want to say hello and welcome back! I even hope to get some new readers, so if you like my ramblings, please recommend me to a friend or two.

What will you have to gain by reading my blog? Well, I sincerely hope you will see an honest, sometimes blunt approach to life at my age. There’s a lot of misconception, misinformation, and down-right misguided assumptions about people of a certain age out there. I’m not just stating opinion; I have real-life experiences and facts with which to share my perspective.

An old broad’s perspective. I like it! I think I’ve found my niche, or at least a place to start! Please check back often, as I’m hoping to share every day I’m able.

Halloween – Humpf!

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Happy Halloween Eve!  The magical night of frightful fun and frolicking is nearly upon us and I must confess to being underwhelmed. I’m not even dressing up this year. I’m not EVEN turning my porch light on to summon trick-or-treaters. I’m such an old biddy just not that into it.

Get off my lawn, you little fairy princesses and shrimp-sized super heroes with your cutesy faces and your little plastic pumpkins! I swear I’ll turn the sprinklers on ya!

Where was I?  Oh yes, I suppose you are asking whatever could be my reason for excusing myself from these nationally accepted and revered holiday traditions?  Not in the mood. Hey, a girl can’t always be in the mood for sex, so why can’t that same disinterest work for Halloween?  

I have gathered a list of my top ten excuses for skipping Halloween and provided them below, for your reading enjoyment.

Read it and deal with it. Bah freakin humbug.

  1. I have a headache.
  2. I need to wash my hair.
  3. I got my period. (and after 5 years without one, it is blowing my mind)
  4. My treat will be wine. My trick will be doorbell avoidance.
  5. Chocolate doesn’t last ten minutes in my house, so there’s nothing left for the snot-nosed little goblins.
  6. I couldn’t afford candy. But if you ghosts and goblins, Wonder Women and Scooby Doos would like to leave some cash in the can near my front door, I can save up for next year. I promise.
  7. I’m thawing out the turkey for Thanksgiving.
  8. I’m entertaining a gentleman caller. Shhhh, Joan doesn’t know.
  9. I need to dance like no one’s watching. I mean No One! Not even a pint-size version of Khaleesi or John Snow.
  10. I have Kampanaphobia. Fear of Bells. Doorbells, in this case. It’s a thing. Ask not for whom the doorbell tolls, because I’m not going to answer it.

Skull_divider_2

Seriously, wishing everyone a very Happy and Safe Halloween!