They Say the Third Time is the Charm

And we all need a little Charm in our lives, am I right? Happy Monday!

Me, reflecting on my activities for the past week:

  • Finished a writing assignment on giving presentations.

Check.

  • Started the Podcast, “Terri goes to Doctoral School”.

Riveting, I promise.

  • Began to write my third novel (for the third time).

WTF?  No really.

Yes, it has been a busy week for most people, but just another dizzy day in paradise for me.

Better in Time (the working title) is in progress. I am a firm believer in outlines, for books, articles, letters, email, text messages, and Tik Tok. Type-A personality meets excessive compulsive disorder meets senior citizen angst. That’s some scary shit when you think about it. I thought about writing about cats, as I love them so much, but I get so attached to my characters.

Don’t judge. And stay clear of my yard. I throw things at people…cantaloupes and such. My therapist is in hiding. I wonder if I finally broke her.

So, you are asking (if you’re still awake), what is this new novel about? I’m so glad you asked! Better in Time is of the Historical Fiction genre, and is set in the province of Quebec, Canada at the turn of the century. Most of Canada’s French-speaking citizens live in Quebec, and studying its history and culture has been a hobby of mine for some time.

In case you are unfamiliar with the historical fiction genre, writing such a novel can be quite challenging. I became obsessed with historical fiction after becoming obsessed with a modern American author named Kristin Hannah, and her amazing ability to transform the reader to war-torn Europe during World War II. If you have not experienced one of Kristin Hannah’s novels, please give her a read. You will not regret it. I recommend beginning with The Nightingale. After that, please try my favorite of all her novels, The Four Winds. I have read it three times. Make sure you have a box of tissues for each book, however. You are going to need them.

Well, what do you know? I went off-topic yet again!

I’m nothing if not unapologetically chaotic.

Thank you for visiting my bloggy space/dining room/office/writer’s retreat and confessional. Sorry for the mess. It was such a monumental step moving from the outline to the first chapter of my new novel, I’m going to need a moment to collect my thoughts and find my joy. Peace. Love. Joy to you all!

All Online Universities are Not the Same

Deciding to go back to college (or attending for the first time) is exciting. There are many important decisions to make. The first and the best advice I would give is not to sign up for the first online college you come across. They are vastly different, and I am well-equipped to say so, as I have first-hand experience with jumping into things without thinking. I’m a jumper. In schools. In relationships. In life.

It’s a struggle, people.

So, I recently transferred from Grand Canyon University to Northcentral University.

Why, for crying out loud? That danged little voice in my head is taking over. My apologies. She’s clingy.

Truthfully, I enjoyed my half year at GCU, but there were a few things that just were not a good fit for me. Grand Canyon is a faith-based school, and I confess I did know that going in. However, I was so compelled by their approach to the dissertation, I jumped in with both feet. I was assured there would be no obligation to the religious aspects, and there were not many. However, there were a few.

I am a very private person when it comes to my faith, as I have elaborated enough in my blog. I am not a proponent of religion in higher learning unless, of course, that is one’s concentration of study. Long story, even longer…..I was doing fine until my third class. The instructor was extremely “faithful” and let us all know it every day. I dealt with it, and it didn’t really bother me because she didn’t force anything on me. Things changed when there was a required religion question on a major assignment which would have forced me toward a full answer on my religious beliefs. This was unacceptable to me. I ended up answering something like, “I am more spiritual than would fit in normal religion categories, so I feel I am not equipped to answer this question”. The instructor was lenient and did not mark my grade lower because of my answer, and I did appreciate that.  

It made me think that I should look elsewhere for a school that could provide a better fit. Working toward a doctorate is a grueling, arduous, all-consuming journey that could last several years, and anyone signing up for it needs to find a doctoral program that is welcoming and provides an environment (even when online) conducive to their core beliefs and comfort level.

Bottom line. Don’t settle. In higher education. In relationships. In life. You matter, as do I.

And yes, I am happy at my new school. They are all-inclusive and welcoming. I feel it already. I’m going to do okay at Northcentral University.

See y’all at graduation!

Okay, that’s a tad premature. Don’t judge. I’m nothing if not embarrassingly optimistic. And scholarly. Don’t forget scholarly…

Thank you for visiting my blog. Everyone is welcome, no matter your beliefs. As long as you are peace-loving. Be kind and find your joy!

TIK TOK. There is no stop.

I have a new addiction. Sans the intellect and any delicate sensibilities I may have nurtured over the years, I managed to have fallen under the spell of tiny fast-talking dogs, fluffy felines with attitude, teaching teachers, dancing dancers, singing singers, ranting republicans, and a partridge in a pear tree.

TIC TOK. For crying out loud, I have landed right smack in the middle of Crazytown. Stop the train, I want off!

If only.

If you have not heretofore, experienced the magical ridiculousness of the Tik Tok, you need to run the other way, fast as you can. However, if you choose to continue toward the light, be afraid. Be very afraid. There are sights you have never witnessed. Sights you never wanted to witness. Sights that make you wish you didn’t have sight.

But you can’t stop watching, can you?

Let’s assume you completely disregarded the above advice, and ventured into the TIK TOK app, promising yourself you would just take a little peek. The first thing you see is a grown man in a tutu, wielding a wand (which you assume is for granting wishes?). You feel somewhat excited and are quite convinced that there are good people floating around somewhere in the universe. TIK TOK must be a good thing! A place you want to be…

UmmmHmmm…

Let’s talk about earworms. The next TIK TOK pops up, and a little chihuahua is trying to convince his human that they must go to MacDonald’s. He is successful in his quest and off they go. Suddenly “Macarena” is blasting on their car radio and the tiny dog is bobbing his head to the music. It’s riveting, I tell you. This is good stuff.

Except that it will be days before that song leaves your brain.

Next appears a lovely lesbian couple getting married. Ah, so beautiful! At this point, you are convinced that you are in the right place and TIK TOK was meant just for you.

Ummm…not exactly. I hate to burst your “love is love” bubble, but the TIK TOK app works like the others. By using algorithms, rendering words into figures, exploiting mathematical similarities, using meditation and reflection, waving the talking stick, ignoring all reasoning, chanting and performing tribal dances, and the regular infusion of medicinal gummi bears, TIK TOK is able to entertain everyone from toddlers to the most highly educated and enlightened without hesitation or remorse. It’s really quite fascinating. I am hopelessly hooked.

Once you have been using TIK TOK for a certain length of time, you are put into a category, whether you like it or not. This is not specified, so you will not realize it right away, but for example, at least every other TIK TOK I watch has something to do with lesbians. I am not complaining, mind you. That’s totally my jam. That being said, they took away some of my little talking dogs and cute kitty cats. I miss them. They are my emotional-support animals, and now I am at risk of a nervous breakdown. I am also missing the TIK TOKs of all the different groups dancing to the exact same toon. If you don’t understand from whence I speak, think back to the old days and those Halloween dances, and everyone getting out on the floor to offer their own renditions of the “Thriller” dance. Remember that? Do you also remember that not everyone had mastered the dance? Some were not, shall we say, dancing machines, but rather just drunk. Well, TIK TOK has lots of dancing videos, and some are quite addictive. Some, however, awaken your scrolling finger, as you try to find something better with which to waste your time.

Ah, but it is entirely too late for you. Just scroll on to the next TIK TOK. Lean into your obsessions. Feed your hunger for third-grade humor, giggling babies, and that dude who twirls a towel while dancing with a line of other men to “Here Comes the Hotstepper.”

You cannot move mountains. TIK TOK will now be part of your daily existence. For how long, you ask? Well, my guess is until someone comes up with a 12-step program. ‘Accept the things you cannot change’ and all that sort of thing. Good luck. You might need to rearrange your schedule and maybe even delete some activities to make room for your TIK TOK time.

I may have to drop out of Doctoral School…

Thank you for visiting my little bloggy universe. So happy to see you all. I think my membership may have grown to five by now. Progress! Please Comment below if you are so inclined. And check out the rest of my blog, where you will witness my mission to change the world, one mind-numbing post at a time. Have a beautiful day, people, be kind, and find your joy.

Hola Friends!

Doctoral Dreaming. It’s a thing…

I thought it was about time I made a blog entry! I have been knee-deep into this doctoral school stuff, and on most of my days, my brain is pretty fried. I had not realized it would be similar to a full-time job, with overtime. Non-paid overtime. In fact, non-paid anything. Oh, wait! They get paid, not me. I just get the loss of sleep (from assignment deadlines), droopy eyeballs (from all the reading! So much reading), arthritis (in my fingers from all the writing. So much writing!) But someday, I will get that Doctorate Degree, and it will have been worth all the effort, to be quite honest. I love it, even if I do tend to whine, drool, curse, pull my hair, gripe, flip other drivers off, talk to myself, scare kids off my lawn, and eat my feelings. Worth it all!!

But I digress…

So, what have you been doing? I miss the blog. I really need to visit more often. I began writing my third book, also, but that ended badly. I had a nice outline, but trying to switch between creative writing on the book, and academic writing for school was near impossible. The two styles are so unique to their respective genres and require completely different structures, I just could not manage the time or patience it would require juggling both consecutively.

But the book will get written. The storyline is compelling. The characters are fun. It will happen when I am once again, fun, and compelling. Well, fun. I do not know about the compelling part. Tired is probably a better adjective for me at this time. I need to color my hair. I need to buy some clothes other than sweatpants, pajamas, and T-shirts. I need to leave my house occasionally. I need to get some sun. In fact, my Vitamin D is low, and the doctor put me on supplements. I think she wonders if I live in a gopher hole. Back to the things I need. I need a lady friend. Not a lady who is a friend, but a lady friend. If that does not make sense to you, then you probably do not want to know. Trust me.

Wow, 373 words ago I started this post, and I have virtually said nothing. My apologies. Next time, I promise to deliver something that will either make you laugh, make you think, or make you move on to the next blog. It is all good…

Have a great Mother’s Day, all you moms. If either of my sons read this, I love you. And I need a coffee maker (preferably a Keurig), a vacuum, and/or gas money, chocolate, or a good historical fiction novel. Or a lady friend, if you happen to see one. Just ship her on over.

Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you return again and again, as I need the company and I love attention. Please feel free to leave a comment if you are so inclined. Kindness, please. We do not do hate on this blog. We are lovers. Of kindness.

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.