French Word(s) of the Day: les nécrologies (lay neck rawl oh geez)- obituaries

Days in Quarantine: 60
Days in Shelter in Place: 54

My grandfather died yesterday.  He was a wonderful man, and there should have been many, many people at his funeral celebrating his life. Instead, only a handful were able to go in person while the rest of us live-streamed from our homes.

Going through a funeral service during Covid-19 was something I had been hoping to avoid. Funerals are for saying goodbye and being with others who remember the deceased, but if you can’t be there with friends and family or at the grave it just doesn’t feel real.

I can’t change things, but I’m memorializing him in the best way I can right now. He used to be an avid reader of this blog, and I like to think he’ll see this somehow.

I should probably start out by saying I generally hate obituaries. I’ve always felt they are a list of accomplishments and family members without the true essence of the actual person. The stories are the interesting part.

First, Grandfather was always “Grandfather.” He wasn’t a Poppy or Gramps.  It was the full word. He was a formal, polite, Southern gentleman. We called him the last true Southern gentleman. He never swore, never drank, and never said a mean word about anyone (in my hearing, anyway). He listened patiently to anything you said. With someone else, it might have felt fake. But with Grandfather, you knew it’s who he truly was. He knew it was important to be kind, and so he was. He knew it was important to give back to the community, so he did. It’s rare to find someone who lives that honestly and purely.

Grandfather would tell stories if you asked him, but he was more interested in what your stories were. When he read my blog, he didn’t write in the comment section. Instead, he would send me long emails. He would comment on things I had said, ask questions, and always tell me that he was praying for me.

What struck me about his emails was how detailed they were. He read my writing- really read it. He was thoughtful in everything he did. If someone had any kind of accomplishment, he always made sure to take it in fully. When he found out I was giving a speech he couldn’t attend, he apologized for not being able to attend and asked to read the full speech. When it was a play I had been in, he wanted to see if anyone had filmed it. (And if you’ve ever seen school productions, you know willingly watching one is true love.) With him, caring was never just lip service. He was actively invested in your life.

He loved his wife. It was obvious to anyone who saw them interact. On their 50th anniversary, I watched him look at her during their vow renewal like she was the greatest thing he’d ever seen on Earth.  That day, tearing up at the memory, several of his granddaughters agreed that they would only ever marry someone who looked at them that exact way. He taught us what real love and respect look like, a feat in this strange world.

Grandfather loved all of his family.  He attended every event he possibly could for every child, grandchild, and great-grandchild. He knew how important it was to be there for the people you loved. He celebrated every accomplishment, and would tell us how proud of us he was. He was one of the most thoughtful people I’ve ever met, and he never wanted anyone to think their accomplishments weren’t important.

When you called and talked to him, he always made it seem like it was the best call he’d ever received. He’d always say, “hey, thank you for calling and talking to me,” like you’d just done him a huge favor by letting him listen to you ramble.

Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Grandfather, we’ll never forget how special you made us all feel.  May we follow in your footsteps and do the same for others. I love you.

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Day 9

French Word(s) of the Day: pain à la banane (pawn ah lah bah nahn)- banana bread

Days in Quarantine: 15
Time in Shelter in Place: 9 days

It’s a weird time to be alive.  I always wanted to live through a historical event, but my preference was the first female president.  A pandemic was not in the top 10 or even on the list.

Being at home, the days start to blend together.  A friend posted, “I don’t know who needs to see this, but today is Wednesday” last week, and I really did need to see it.  If someone could just shoot me a text with the day every day, I’d appreciate it.

I thought I’d be posting more, but I’ve been REALLY busy switching between Netflix and Amazon Prime.  I also like to look through my camera reel of simpler times when I was allowed to be near people and go places other than the park behind my house.

Today I finally took part in the mass baking ritual happening all over the globe.  Although banana bread seems to be the object of choice (did everyone buy 6 million bananas with their toilet paper?  Someone explain this to me), I made the chocolate chip muffins I’ve been craving for a week.  Because I have no social life beyond Zoom right now, I found the fanciest one I could.  It has words like “fold” and “let sit for 15 minutes” to let you know it’s not going to be a short endeavor.  The author also tells you what to substitute for buttermilk, which is good because buttermilk doesn’t factor into my standard grocery list.

If anyone needs to kill an hour, here it is: Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Muffins

Mr. DeMille, we’re ready for our close-up.

Day 1

French Word(s) of the Day: la quarantaine (la care-awn-ten)- quarantine

Days in Quarantine: 6
Time in Shelter in Place: 1 hour

As many of you may have guessed, I now have a little bit more time on my hands.  I’ve heard a rumor some of you might as well.

My immuno-compromised self started working from home the day after I found out there was a Covid-19 positive person in the next town over.

I had to admit, it’s been pretty interesting to see people behaving the way I have for the past 15 years: avoiding sick people, washing hands before eating, eating all day long, bringing hand sanitizer everywhere, and hoarding all the food.  Hopefully everyone remembers how to wash their hands when we get through this, but I’m not holding out much hope based on the number of “how to wash your hands” instructions going around.

We went to the grocery store today to pick up my medicine, and I took some photos of all the empty shelves for posterity.


The grocery store was pretty tame (I assume everyone got their panic shopping out of the way earlier this week), but the parking lot for Home Depot was a ZOO. (We did not go in.  There was no way people were the recommended 6 feet away from each other.)  I’ve been seeing all the cooking shows people put on social media this past week with ingredients from their stockpiled groceries, so I assume next week will be filled with mini home improvement shows.  Chip and Joanna Gaines are no longer making new episodes for HGTV, and the masses are READY to fill their spots!

You should expect to see more posts in the coming weeks.  Now that I’m stuck at home unable to leave, I’ve never been more interesting and exciting.

Notre Dame

French Word(s) of the Day: Notre Dame (no-trah dawm)- our Lady


I discovered tonight just how many pictures I’ve taken over the years of Notre Dame.  It’s just so photogenic.


(It’s not this tilted, I’m just bad at straight angles.)

I was so incredibly sad to see the fire engulfing Notre Dame on the news.  That cathedral was one of my first glimpses into Paris.  I won’t lie that a major part of this was because Disney had just made a movie about a certain cathedral and the hunchback who manned the towers.


I’ve only been up the towers once.  I was ten, and there were spiral staircases.  It was terrifying (as all cathedral towers and spiral staircases are), and no one has ever convinced me to go up it again.

But the cathedral was magnificent.  Even as a child, I knew it was something special.

When I went again as an adult,  I came armed with more historical knowledge and appreciation for the architecture.  It looked big, but also somehow smaller.

One of my foyers during my time spent living in Paris was by Notre Dame.  I went past it everyday on my way to school.  I used to love when I was going in the morning and there weren’t really any tourists yet.  That was when I felt like it was mine and mine alone.  Looking at it, how could anyone feel anything but lucky?

It became a good meeting spot.  Everyone knew where it was, and it was in the middle of some of the best places to go out.  The Seine was right there, and we could easily go down by the river to casually drink with our friends.


The Eiffel Tower is an iconic, but I’ve always preferred Notre Dame.  Stone is solid.  Stone contains hidden depths.  Stone is art.

Tonight, we mourn the loss of centuries of artistic development in an icon and all that it stands for.


But also, I really, really hope they find a way to save my favorite sassy knight.


Prayers for Notre Dame. ❤


Valentine’s Five Years Later

Word of the Day: bonheur (bawn-er)- happiness

It’s been 5 years since I posted a Valentine’s Day post- the same amount of time I’ve known my husband. Coincidence? Probably not!

My first post as a married woman is on Valentine’s Day, which is absolutely obnoxious and cliché, I know.  But I’m not going to write about romantic love today.  After watching You on Netflix (which I assume was made because someone decided dating wasn’t terrifying enough), I think anything about romantic love is not the Valentine’s post that 2019 demands.

2019 needs happiness and joy and…

…Sparkly hearts!



Let everyone you love know it today!

Paris Toute Seule

French Word of the Day: toute seule (toot soul)- all by myself (but not like the Celine Dion song)

I went to Paris almost exactly a year ago (and I’ve been working on this post almost as long).  These were a lot easier to write when I was a student with hours of free time.  This “real job” thing is no joke!

My Paris femme, Jenna, was studying there for her dissertation, and I wanted the chance to go and reminisce about all my old haunts without having to go to every single tourist destination.


Obviously, my other goal was to have as many pain au chocolat as possible.  Which I did.


And what trip to France is complete without a proper crepe?




I still managed to take photos of the classic places…


…But I was more interested in my old neighborhoods.  I spent most of my days wandering around them all and winning all the Fitbit step challenges.


And some wonderful friends.


I even got to see some family 🙂


All in all, a wonderful trip!  And I wanted to go back before I’d even gotten on the plane.

À bientôt Paris!

Many Thanks

French Word of the Day: inattendu (awn-ah-tawn-doo)- unexpected

When I wrote my last post, I wasn’t expecting anyone to actually read it.  I thought maybe two people would see it and that they’d both be related to me.  I’ve been overwhelmed by the positive comments, conversations, calls, texts, and emails.  They’ve meant a lot, so thank you to everyone who read it!

You made my heart go like this:

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That’s “soaring” in case the imagery is unclear.


Now I have a LOT of half written posts that need to be completed, so I hope everyone’s ready to revisit trips I took three years ago.

To be continued…

28e Anniversaire et 10th Anniversary

French Word of the Day: Le futur (luh foo-tour)- the future

I wasn’t sure that I was going to write this one, but I thought it was a good one to note.

10 years ago today, I had just returned home after a stint in the ICU.  At the time, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I had been in and out of doctors’ offices for the past 8 months, and now here on my 18th birthday I had evidence of my own mortality.  I had been prepared to think I was going to live and be young forever for at LEAST 10 more birthdays.

For that last hospital visit, the nurses worked very hard to get me out for my birthday.  (Nurses are seriously the best.)  While I appreciated them, I was pretty bummed on my birthday.  It was a Saturday and coincidentally also one of our high school dances.  I didn’t end up going to the dance.  My best friend Christine came over and hung out with me all night, but I was pretty bad company.  I was sitting and thinking about all the things I hadn’t done yet: learned French, lived alone, been in (romantic) love, gone to college, or even graduated high school…

I began wondering if I would ever be healthy enough to be normal. Time seemed to have stopped and put everything on pause.

But then something happened.  Time restarted.  I began to feel better.

It was everything.

I knew I couldn’t spoil things this time, so I decided I was going to push myself.  I finished all the course work I had missed and graduated high school.  I went to college.  I got a role in every single theatre production they had that year.  I got a lead role the next year.  I wrote a play and saw it performed.  I went to Ireland on a research project.  I traveled.  I went to France completely alone and not knowing a word of French.  I learned French.  I fell in love.  I graduated college in the top 10 of my class with honors and 2 majors.  I learned guitar (well, 3 songs).  I got my heart broken.  I got an internship.  I got another internship.  I searched for a job.  I got a job.  I tried online dating.  I stopped online dating.  I begged for a job I wasn’t qualified for.  I got it.  I did well enough that I got another promotion after that.  I fell in love again.  I got invited to participate in several friends’ and my twin sister’s weddings.  I got to see some of them become parents for the first time…

I remember thinking, “I made it!” when I was sitting at my college graduation, and I’m probably one of very few people who gets excited when I see a wrinkle or a grey hair.

There have been health scares in between those moments and I’ve been sick enough to need chemo, but nothing was ever as bad as that first time because I know now what I didn’t know then- that things get better.

It’s given me the courage to put myself out there, and for that, I’m grateful for lupus.  Looking back on the last ten years, there’s very little I would change.

I look forward to the next ten.

Here’s to aging!

April Fools an Hour and Some Odd Minutes Early

French Word(s) of the Day: imbéciles d’avril (awm-bay-seal dav-real)- April Fools

April Fools Day is not my thing.  I’m not good at thinking up pranks that aren’t illegal.  And if they were legal, I’m afraid to do them to someone for fear of retaliation.  I’m like the French: I surrender quickly.

But today shall be different.  I’m celebrating April Fools!  (Like an hour early.  Unless you’re actually in Paris right now, then I’m right on time!)

I’m going to probably be dragging out this Paris trip for the next year, but you don’t want me recounting my days.  All I do on a daily basis is work and watch episodes of Parks and Recreation.  Trust me, it’s better this way.

Sam showed us a taxidermist in Paris, only he wasn’t your typical “here’s your dead cat in his favorite position” type of guy.  Oh no.  He was an ARTIST.

If by artist I mean someone who takes the carcass of one dead animal and attaches it to another dead animal.

Oh yeah, he went there (if you please excuse the fact that these were obviously taken by an amateur who can’t deal with glass windows):

Winged Monkey Tortoise squirrel

Because of the winged monkey, I’m guessing he’s a Wizard of Oz fan.  I don’t know what the tortoise-shelled chipmunk looking longingly at a beetle would make him, but I’m going to go with “eccentric.”

These can be yours for over 100 euro!  I know, they’re a steal.  What?  You’re not interested?!

Ah what fools these mortals be.