Learning German with Duolingo


I’ve only spoken English my whole life, but there was a time when I did learn to speak in sign language to communicate with my first boyfriend who was deaf. I didn’t know every word, but I knew enough to get by.

When I found my brother and learned that he was living in Germany, I knew that one day I would want to meet him and that would probably mean I would have to fly to Germany. I also have an uncle who is German, and when I visit my aunt and uncle, sometimes they only speak in German, and I always feel like when people switch to another language, they are talking about me. I know, it’s stupid, and they probably aren’t, but you just feel that way.

So I decided that if I was going to learn a new language that I would have to buy a course from Rosetta Stone or something else. I searched “Learn German” on Google and saw that Rosetta Stone was the first thing on the list, but I know that they are very expensive, so I just scrolled and saw Duolingo, so I thought I would give that one a try since it was free, and it said “Learn German in just 5 minutes a day for free.” Free is a wonderful thing, and 5 minutes a day is even more wonderful because I could learn a few words a day and practice those few words and remember them.

I have a learning disability, so I know it’s going to be difficult. I did learn a few things that first time that I thought was easy enough to remember. They taught me things like Mann is man, Frau is woman, ein mann is a man, eine frau is a woman. Ich is I, du is you, er/si/es is he/she/it. Ich bin is I am, du bist is you are. They also taught me Mädchen is girl, Junge is boy, kind is child. These are all things that I expected would be easy to remember, and I kept practicing for several days. I’ve pretty much mastered those words and moved on to “The”. Der Mann, das Mädchen, die Frau, die kinder,


Ok so these are a few things I’ve almost mastered, the “The” words are still a little confusing, but I will eventually get them. I finished the first 3 lessons while still doing practice because there are some things I’m still confused about, but I will eventually master them. Remember, I have a learning disability, so these things take time for me. If something is easy for a smarter person to learn and remember in a few minutes, it might take me a few days, or longer. I don’t expect I will ever learn the entire language, but I will certainly try as hard as I can.

I did basics 2, and that was a bit challenging, but not as challenging as Common Phrases. Holy crap they added so many phrases that I literally had to write them all down as I was learning because I knew it was a lot harder. If they had broken this down into 3 or 4 lessons, it would be easier, but they aren’t thinking about people with learning disabilities, they are thinking regular people will get this.

I already knew a few of them thankfully, but the ones I didn’t know are hard. I knew Guten morgen, which is good morning. Guten abend my brother taught me is good evening. Gute naught is good night which I already knew, Guten tag which I’ve heard, but I didn’t know it meant good afternoon. Hallo is hello, so that one is simple, Tschüss is bye, holy crap! That one is hard to remember, and even harder to say. Nein is no which I knew, Ja is yes, and that’s pretty easy. Auf wiedersehen is goodbye, Es tut mir leid is I am sorry… Holy… crap… Ok and there are many more words in the list that I have to really work on.

So my road to learning German is going to take a LONG time, but I am determined to learn because even though mein bruder (my brother) and my uncle can speak English, I still want to learn another language because I’ve always wanted to learn a new language. I think it is exercising my brain even if it only takes 5 minutes a day.

I’m happy I went with Duolingo because I heard Rosetta Stone is very expensive. Two levels cost $279, three levels costs $379, and if you opt for the full five-level set, the software costs $479. Free is very good. I’m living on disability, so money is an issue for me. And if I don’t learn, then I’ve wasted no money. I literally have nothing to lose.


I Found My Father and Brother



I don’t know why I forgot to blog about this here, but I’ve been blogging about it on my other blog over at Xanapus.com.

So… I finally found my paternal father. Well, I should clarify that I discovered who he was before he passed away. I’ve been trying to find him since my mother told me about him on my 15th birthday, but there was no way I would be able to find another person at such a young age without today’s technology.

Like I said, my mother told me about my father on my 15th birthday. She gave me a name, but she also gave me a lot of story that didn’t really make sense, but I believed her at the time because I was always taught that parents never lie, they always tell the truth and you should listen to them no matter what.

So here’s the story she told me. She said that my father (step father) wasn’t my actual father, which I always knew, and that I have a biological father and she gave me his name and told me that they were in love and that she was still in love with him, despite being married to my step father, and that he was there throughout her pregnancy and he was there until I was 1 month of age, then he had to go to Germany in the army. The Berlin wall was still up at that point, and she told me that Germany was divided by east and west and that he must’ve gotten stuck on the wrong side of the wall, because he never came home. Does anyone have a violin?

The real story is that he was married to another woman in Germany and he was there by choice. His mother lived in Reseda here in California which is where he met my mother, and I don’t know exactly how they met, I don’t know anything about their relationship, but he basically did the deed with my mother, and here I am.

I just so happen to have a learning disability and I have trouble remembering names if I only hear them once, so when she told me his name, she also told me a bunch of other information, and I was too embarrassed to admit to her that I had already forgotten his last name before she even finished telling me the story.  I asked her in 1990 if she would tell me his name again because now that I was 19 years old, almost 20, I wanted to start looking for him again. She told me “no, absolutely not, because I’m afraid you will find him, and then I will leave your father (step) for him.” So um… how would that work if he was married to someone else? My mother died in 1993, and she took his name with her to the grave.

So fast forward to late 2001 when I got back in touch with my aunt and I asked her if she knew my paternal father’s last name and she knew it, but she didn’t know the correct spelling. She told me how she thought it was spelled, and since I had the internet, I could start my search and find him. Well, I searched every year. I searched the search engines for his name and found there were variations of his last name, and I searched for every variation. I always came up empty, so I would give up for another time. Some years I would check every month, some years I would check every few months, but as the years went on I would search less and less until I was dedicating only a day to searching for the entire year.

Now that there are things like 23andMe and AncestryDNA, I decided to do a DNA test because I figured that might help me. I actually did the 23andMe because I thought it was the most popular one. Nothing. It told me I had 1018 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and distant cousins, and only 2 of those cousins would even talk to me. One of them told me to check Ancestry for military records, which I did, but I couldn’t find anything. I searched in vein because they don’t have any military records, but I kept searching and then decided to do AncestryDNA. But after a few more tries through Ancestry records I actually narrowed it down to one guy with my paternal father’s name with the age I thought he would be and I was 99% sure that was him, and I was right. I found a record saying he had a son and I went searching for him. I was determined to find my brother. I tried searching for him through Ancestry, but nothing came up, so I went to Google and a website called MyLife gave me an email address for the low low price of $15, which I gladly paid even if it wasn’t him. I emailed him and it was in fact him.

My father is unfortunately deceased, but my brother is alive and he lives in Germany. He is 2 1/2 years older than me, and we have so many traits in common that you can’t even deny that we are brothers. We talked on Facebook for the first couple of days, then we video chatted on Skype and we will basically video chat on Skype on Saturdays. It’s just easier for him.

I was fully expecting to be told that our father made a mistake and that I was a mistake and that I shouldn’t contact him because I don’t matter, and I even told him I felt like I was a mistake, but he told me that I’m not a mistake and that he is glad I found him because he often wished he had a brother. I always wished I had a brother, and now I do have a brother and I couldn’t be happier.

The last couple of days I’ve had the most anxiety I’ve ever had because I knew the time would come when I would have to come out of the closet to him, because eventually people ask if you are married, if you have children or what the deal is, and I was terrified that after all this time searching and he didn’t reject me for being a mistake, he has to reject me for this, and I was just so scared because I just found him, I can’t lose him now. Not like this. I can’t let something like this kill our newborn relationship, because, I already love him so much. I’m actually crying right now.

Well, I told him and he didn’t even flinch. It didn’t even phase him one single bit. He didn’t care! Do you know how wonderful that is to know that someone doesn’t judge me for something as simple as being gay? I’ve been rejected by nearly everyone when they found out I was gay. I was homeless because I was gay, twice. I’ve had to quit jobs after I came out of the closet to co-workers because suddenly I was like a cancer to them. And my brother didn’t even care. I couldn’t be happier about it.

I don’t know what’s next, but I am learning to speak German with Duolingo and I hope to visit him in Germany one of these days if I can ever get my credit cards down to a decent amount so I can afford to go. I’m sure when that day comes I will be fully fluent in German. Who knows for sure what might happen next, but I just know I am the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. I was worried that I would die with unfinished business and I would be stuck haunting people until I found the ghost of my father, but I actually have closure. I finally have closure.

Ancestry DNA Kit



I did the 23andMe DNA test and that was very telling. It told me that I was 99.7% European with the most popular one being 63% British and Irish, 14.4% French and German and then there were very small things like 2.7% Ashkenazi Jewish, 2.2% Scandinavian, 0.6% Iberian, 0.3% Italian, 14.7% Broadly Northwestern European, 1.0% S Broadly Southern European and 0.8% Broadly European and then there was the unexpected 0.1% Broadly Chinese & Southeast Asian. It also showed me 1016 2nd to distant cousins.

But, none of this helped me with what I was looking for. I was hoping this would have a family tree to show me who my father was. Of course, it didn’t, so I went to Ancestry.com. I had already added myself and my mother, but beyond us, I didn’t know how to add anyone. Then suddenly it said “Potential Mother” and it showed my grandmother and I was like YES! THAT’S HER! Then it showed her “Potential” mother and father, and I was like OMG YES! so every time it said potential mother or father, I would click it to find out more information. I had gone all the way back to 1400 England. My mother, her parents and their parents all came from England and there were a couple from Ireland.

So I suddenly have my mother’s family dating all the way back to the 1400’s. But there’s only 1 person missing, MY father.

Someone from my great grandfather’s line from 23andMe told me to do the Ancestry DNA kit as well, but at the time it was $99 and I just couldn’t do it. I looked today and it was $69, which was about how much 23andMe was when I bought that, so I though ok, well, I can put this on my credit card I guess. I know it’s a bad idea, but I don’t have the money and I really want to find out if this is going to help me find my father.

So more waiting… It said 6-8 weeks. My 23andMe said it would take 6-8 weeks and it only took a month, so I’m not going to stress over how long it will take to get my results. I will keep you posted and I will most likely make another video lol.

23andMe Results


23andMeMy 23andMe results finally came after a month. The results weren’t surprising to me because most of the citizens of the United States are European.

They told me I have 1016 DNA Relatives, and they are mostly 2nd to distant cousins. I contacted the first person on the list and found out we are related from my great grandfather’s grandfather. His name was James Lancaster.

My mother never took the time to educate me on who my great grandfather was because my great grandmother and great grandfather had divorced. She married him in 1920, but then she married her second husband in 1964. My great grandfather remaried in 1940. I guess people in my family never speak about those who aren’t in their lives. And I had to find this information out through Ancestry.com.

The whole reason I did this was to find my paternal father, and I still haven’t found him. I did contact a couple more people who were in the list and the surnames in their account did not match with the surnames in my family tree, so I can only assume those are people on my paternal father’s side. I hope we can connect and they can help me put the pieces of the puzzle together.

I made a couple of videos and posted them on YouTube.

23andMe Spit ‘n’ Ship



I am BEYOND excited right now. Today I received my 23andMe package. I didn’t want to mess any of it up, so I read all the directions, as a person should, and I did exactly what it told me to do. The first thing was that I wasn’t supposed to start spitting into the tube until 30 minutes after I had my last meal, drink or brushed my teeth. So I ate lunch, drank the last of my coffee, brushed my teeth thoroughly, then I set the timer on my phone for 30 minutes, then I started spitting in the tube lol.

Of course, during this 30 minute waiting period I was signing up for their website 23andMe.com and agreeing to everything, filling out all my deets, and of course they wanted to ask me a lot of health questions. I believe I answered 160 questions. After I had spit in the tube and closed it up, I packaged it up and rode my bicycle to the post office and dropped it off. I took a picture of the tracking number on the package so I could track it, and you know I will be obsessively tracking it lol.

I’m not entirely sure how long it will take for my results to come from the minute they receive my package though. I mean, how many of these packages do they receive in a month? It’s very popular right now, so it could very well take 2 or 3 months before I even get anything. I’ve waited since first learning about my paternal father in 1985, so I’ve waited this long, what’s another 2 or 3 months eh?

Not only will I obsessively check the tracking to see when it will arrive at its destination, but I will obsessively check the 23andMe.com website for my results. I will also continue answering as many questions as they need to ask me so my results come back as accurate as possible. Just by answering 160 questions, they said I have responded to more questions than about 45% of people who used one of these kits, so I’m doing pretty good I think.

I made the first part of my video, and I had to cut it short because I was getting choked up just thinking about finally finding my paternal father and possible siblings. When I get the results, I will film my reaction and probably finish the video. Unless of course they find relatives that are actually in the U.S., then I will probably get a train ticket and go see them, then I will continue filming my trip and actually meeting them.

To be continued…

I bought 23 and Me


23 and me
A couple of weeks ago I received an email from 23andMe with a free shipping offer. I didn’t buy it because I was waiting for the better offer. I believe a week ago during Amazon Prime Days they had the 23andMe + Health that is normally $200 on sale for $100, but I didn’t buy that because I don’t need to know my health, I just want to find my family. If I find my family and they have health concerns, they will let me know. Also, I think in order to participate in Amazon Prime Days, I would probably need to have Amazon Prime, so I would end up paying $200 anyway, and I just don’t have that kind of money.

Today I was looking on Instagram and I found an ad from 23andMe that said they have a 30% off sale going on right now for summer, and I thought this is it, this is the sale I was waiting for. I highly doubt they are going to offer it for 50% off, so I’m just going to bite the bullet on THIS sale while I can. The price is normally $99, but I got it for $69 plus $9.95 shipping.


I’m saving $20.05 by using this offer, and I’m sure people will say that’s not a lot of money to save, but it is to me. I don’t have the money to spend, so I had to put it on credit, which I did not want to do, but I really want to find my family.

My mother told me about my real father in 1985 on my 15th birthday, but she didn’t give me much to go on. When I was 19 years old I asked her for more information so I could look for him, but she refused to offer me any help. After she took this information with her to the grave, I thought my search was over. In the mid 90’s I sent his picture to a missing person’s tv show called Unsolved Mysteries, but they rejected me because I had no information. I didn’t have his name and I didn’t have his social security number. So them telling me this made me realize I will never find my real father. In 2001 I finally got back in touch with my aunt from Simi Valley and she gave me some hope with some new information, but it still wasn’t much to go on.

Seeing an article about a woman who found her mother after almost a lifetime because of a service like 23andMe gave me actual hope that maybe I might find my real father, and if not him, at least siblings. So, here I am today, with actual hope that my saliva could possibly help me fill that void in my heart and soul that I might actually find what I’ve been missing for 48 years. And yes, I say 48 years because I always knew my step father wasn’t my real father. The day my mother told me that my “father” wasn’t my real father, I already knew he wasn’t my real father. I had hoped for all those years that he wasn’t my real father because I knew my real father wouldn’t have hated me as much as my step father did. I also knew I wouldn’t have hated him as much as if he were my real father. You just know, you know?

So I don’t know how long this will take to receive this DNA test kit, but when I do receive it, I will film it and wait for my results to put on YouTube.

Carpal Tunnel Surgery


I have some good news and I have some bad news. Which do you want to hear first? Oh, this is a blog, so you can’t respond. Ok so I will give you the bad news first lol.

The Bad News: My carpal tunnel is getting worse. I’m in pain daily. The numbness is annoying because it’s all the time, and my left hand ring finger is permanently numb and sometimes it hurts really bad. In fact it hurts right now.

The Good News: I talked to my doctor the other day and she asked me if I was ready to have the surgery and I said yes, absolutely. So she faxed a referral to a carpal tunnel surgery clinic here in Bakersfield and they called me to make an appointment for September, which I assume is just a consultation.

So here is more bad news and good news.

The bad news is I will not be able to make any custom items for awhile. I have a current custom order for October for friendship bracelets and after I finish making those, I can’t do any more until the surgery.

The good news is my Etsy shop will still be there to buy anything that I have that is already made and packaged. So head on over to GayNerd.Etsy.com and see what you like and don’t forget to use the coupon GAYNERD for 10% off your order. I still have plenty of items available.

I probably won’t be able to go back to making bracelets or keychains for several months after the surgery. I don’t think the surgery will happen in September, I won’t know when it will happen until I go to my first appointment, but I expect I will be back to normal some time next year.

So I want to thank everyone who has ordered from my Etsy shop in the past and I do look forward to making more creations in the future.