Sunday, December 31, 2006

SEASONS -- A YEAR IN REVIEW

SEASONS ... that word sums up my 2006.

I was never more convinced of the significance of that theme in my life as I was this morning, when one of the pastors of my home church, Randy Shafer, stood up in front of the congregation and told us he has been diagnosed with cancer ... a pretty significant, life-altering event for him personally, and for our church collectively. And while I sat there watching this man pour out his heart to us, I realized that I was somewhere in between feeling utter heartache for he and his family and grading him on his reaction to this news.

You see, my life has weathered some pretty significant events as well (nothing quite so major as cancer), and whether I chose to acknowledge it or not, I had an audience that was closely monitoring my reactions to the whole ugly mess. Sadly, I wasn't nearly as strong or as audacious in my faith as Randy was today.

If I know Randy at all, which I can't say I do well, but if I know him just a little, I know that he would want, above all else, to have Jesus shining clearly through the ugliness of this disease. "Cancer doesn't define me," was Randy's resounding statement this morning. I gotta tell you -- that took guts to say. That took audacious faith.

I say a lot of stuff on this blog, most of it is crap ... me just being the big goober that everyone that knows me well, knows I am! And I'm cool with that. However, I don't want the weaknesses that I have define me. I don't want those cracks in my faith to be my lasting impression. I've said it before, and I will say it again, I don't want to be a small drip in a mud puddle. I want this life to stand for something. I want to be a fantastic ripple in the sea of humanity. I want my life to have significance to those around me. Don't we all ...

So, today, this blog entry is one of my few non-crap items.

My life theme this year has been SEASONS. From the sometimes incapacitating depression of not having a job to the over the top high of moving two states away to start a new adventure and everything in between, my life this year has been a cycle of seasons. I resisted the seasons for a long time, willing change to keep it's distance, but what I was really doing was denying the inevitable cycle of this life we've been given and denying myself the adventure that such cyclical movement brings.

On the banner or masthead of my blog, I have the following saying:
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, champagne in one hand -- strawberries in the other -- body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming: 'Woo Hoo! What a ride'!"

I have no idea who wrote it, but God bless them for putting into words what I want my life to be! I want to experience each season to the fullest with the audacity that God intended! I want to live boldly, live fully, live intentionally, live well, and live out loud!

BRING IT ON 2007!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

POST-CHRISTMAS CHRISTMAS SHOPPING

I have the first Christmas present of 2007!!! Got it today! I'm so pleased with myself I don't know what to do right now!

Here's my plan: when I get home to Kentucky, I'm going to put this first Christmas present in a clear tub and label the bag with the recipient's name and holiday. Then I can clearly see it in the tub. I figure that I can use this tub to store all kinds of gifts: birthday gifts, shower gifts, secret pal gifts, just-becasue gifts! As I find things, I can pick them up. I'm soooo excited with this preceived new organized me, and, quite frankly, I'm feeling a bit brilliant.

My only concern with starting so early is that I won't be able to find where I hide the presents. Well, please, blogger community, help me remember that I've already started my Christmas shopping.

Friday, December 29, 2006

KISSABLY EDIBLE

I got my baby fix today! I traveled to Carrie and Tom's house to hang with Carrie and Baby Fish, otherwise known as Jack. The boy is kissably edible!!!! I had my lips all over his face most of the afternoon. Poor Carrie. I'm sure she was ready to boot me out the door, but I had a blast cuddling her boy, what can I say!

I took a few photos that I can't wait todown load on my computer when I get back home to Kentucky. Rest assured, I will be posting them on the blog. What sort of friend would I be if I didn't plaster at least one blog full of that kissably edible face!?

Also, I promised Carrie that I would blog about Gibbyher rather trampish cat after she made the mistake of saying, "you'd better not blog about that." For now, I will leave you all hanging ... but there are pictures needless to say.

I miss you, Carrie. Send LOADS of Baby Fish photos!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

POST-HOLIDAY BLUES

It's happened again. Every year I say that I won't fall victim to the "blues." Then every year the holidays fly by in a flurry, and I'm left feeling a bit down.

I'm not sure why ... other than I tend to have a proclivity toward depression.

So, I'm looking for good, healthy ways to stay up beat. One of them is a trip I will be taking in a few weeks to Gatlinburg, TN. I can't wait!!!! I've always wanted to stay in the Smokey Mountains, and now I get the chance! I CAN'T WAIT!!!!

For Christmas, my parents surprised my sister and I with new digital cameras (and accessories). You can be sure that I will be bringing that baby to the Smokies and sending you all my fabulous photos!

Christmas was wonderful! It always is. I was able to attend Westwinds Community Church and get my fix there! I soooooo miss my church! I've been able to spend a lot of quality time with my family and some friends ... it's really been wonderful.

I guess it's just a bluesy time of year.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

WARNING: BONE-HEADEDNESS CAN BE COSTLY

About two months ago, we had a pretty heavy frost in Frankfort. I went out to start up my truck, scraped as much as I could off all of the "important" areas, and then suddenly got the great idea to roll the window down to get the rest off.

I hit the button, and the motor went. Sadly, the window stayed frozen in it's place. The end result was ... well, let's just say ... BIG MONEY.

The terms window regulator and $215 have been bandied about.

To quote Charlie Brown, "GOOD GRIEF!"

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

CLOSURE

CLOSURE ... the following entry seems fitting in light of another year drawing to a close ...

He seemed nice enough, but was not the typical person I was interested in. In fact, two years ago, I was initially not at all interested in this particular guy -- what he represented to me. However, he made the first steps to get to know me, or so I thought, and what girl doesn't like being pursued if only a little bit?

I should have been suspicious from the get go ... he was younger than me ... he had some pretty significant professional commitments pending ... but it was fun. It was fun to get the emails from him, and it was fun to get the phone calls from him -- and before I knew what was happening, I was getting wrapped up in it all. That really should have been my first red flag because he said all the right things and gave me all the right answers. However, he never really let me in ... you know, the digging deeper part of getting to know someone better.

Then the second red flag ... I'd get lots of emails and phone calls, and then nothing. A dry spell ... and then another flurry of emails and phone calls ... and then nothing. With each flurry came a whole wad of excuses why there had been a lag, and placing myself in the role of martyr, I allowed him to get away with the excuses because he just seemed like a nice guy.

I could go on an on about the ridiculousness of the whole thing. I could start saying I blamed myself for a lot of the issues that ensued, and, maybe, a bit of it was my fault. However, I think it's pretty gutless to be told in an email that I just wasn't his cup of tea. It was hurtful in light of the fact that I should have been told in the phone conversation we'd had a week earlier ... especially when he informed me that he'd met someone else.

It should have stopped there. I should have been hurt, angry, and then left it. However, he said he still wanted to be friends ... [insert eye roll here]. Despite my better judgement, I continued to stay in contact with him, all the while reminding myself this was nothing more than friends. And, honestly, I was cool with that. Then a dozen roses came on Valentines Day, and I was once again flung into a spinning web of mixed messages and conflicting emotions.

Long story made semi-short, two months after the roses, and a long year of trying to figure the whole mess out, he once again emailed me to reiterate the fact that I was never going to be anything more to him than friends. He went on to explain that he was working on relationships with two other women besides me! In the words of a friend, he'd been a dirty, playin' dog!

So, why am I writing all of this ... a complete departure from my normal, every day drivel? Because I had a revelation ... an epiphany of sorts.

I've often wondered why I would be put into the path of a person that would treat me so poorly ... and furthermore, I've wondered why I would allow myself to be treated so poorly. The epiphany I've had is so clear: He is a player ... a selfish individual that really only cares for his own feelings. If he had been more than that, he might have had the decency to be up front with me. I was, as that same friend told me later, his backup plan. Furthermore, there are two other women that he gave no consideration to. I don't know where they are in the whole grand scheme of things today, but I wonder if they know they'd been played too?

Here's the deal, and the second half of my epiphany: I am no one's back up plan. I am not to be played, and I won't be toyed with.

Sometimes, I wished I'd been a bit meaner in my final email to him. I wished I'd told him what I really thought of him when I had the chance. I took the moral high ground, and I backed away with my dignity intact, I'd hoped.

He sometimes enters my mind, and up to this point, it's always been with some degree of resentment that he was running around somewhere playing on the emotions of other females. Now, though, I just feel sorry for him ... and for the others that were caught up in his ... I don't even know what you would call it ... his selfishness?

Why am I writing this? Writing has always been a release for me ... a way to let loose emotions. I suppose, putting into words what bugs me, is a way to put closure on certain items in my life. I've come to realize, as significant or insignificant as this part of my life was, it didn't have closure. It's time now for that closure ... I may have stooped low for this one, but oh well. The high ground isn't always what it's cracked up to be, and we all need to be a bit immature every once in a while anyway!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

SNITS CAN BE DANGEROUS

Every now and again, I get into a snit where razors are concerned.

I go into the aisle where the razors are kept, pick up the brand of blades I need for my particular razor, I check out the price, and then the tirade begins.

"$8 for three razors!? This is ridiculous! This is outrageous! What are these blades made of? GOLD??? They had better be for $8!!!!"

Then I grab at the 20 razors for a $1.50, and I think to myself, "These are all a person needs. For heaven's sake, shaving your legs isn't brain surgery!"

But for a week and a half, your shower looks like there has been brain surgery as the water is literally flowing blood-red! And after you've cut your legs to a fairthy-well, you think to yourself, "Okay, yes. There was a reason I paid $8 for three razor blades. My legs always came out smooth, silky, and scar free."

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

THEY'VE SUCKED THE LIFE RIGHT OUT OF ME

They've sucked every ounce ... every miniscule ounce right out of my beaten and broken body.

Okay, okay, perhaps I'm being a tad over the top ... a teensy bit like a drama queen, but unless you've taught children in the days leading up to Christmas, you have NO IDEA (unless, of course, you are a mom, and then, well, you sooooo know my pain).

It is 11:50 p.m. All the presents are wrapped ... all the laundry is done ... all the bags are semi-packed ... the to-do list is complete ...

LET THE HOLIDAYS BEGIN!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

SUPER STAR HAIR



I just got back from the stylist's, and, I've got to tell you, I've got SUPER STAR HAIR!!! I asked for a bit of an update with a bit more bounce and movement. Boy did I get it!!
The only problem is that Susan, my new stylist, won't be here when I wake up tomorrow and must tackle the whole "hair-drying" issue on my own. Super Star hair comes once every six weeks, I'm afraid.
Perhaps the brand-spanking new hair dryer I just had to lay big $$$ down for tonight will do the trick. My old one still works, but it doesn't really heat up anymore ... minor details.
It's amazing what one must go through just to get this ... this ... plain!

Monday, December 18, 2006

JACK THOMAS IS HERE!!!

This is a shout out to my good friend, Carrie. She and her husband, Tom, just welcomed little Jack Thomas on Sunday, December 17th. I've seen photos, and he's edible, folks!!!! So cute!!!

Carrie, I can't wait to see him when I'm home. Take care, girl, and be ready with all the gory stories ... we single girls just LOVE to hear all the labor and delivery horror stories.

Hugs to you all!

MONDAY RANDOM THOUGHTS

I've been a little silent this weekend ... busy, busy, busy, busy! It's amazing I can put a sentence together and make sense ... seriously. But only three more days, and if I can get through today's Rewards Trip to the Lexington Ice Center, then, I'm well on my way to a relaxing vacation in the "frozen tundra."

Random Thought #1 ... I went shopping Saturday in Georgetown, and I thought it would be nice to stop at a favorite coffee shop for their Southern Pecan Coffee (YUMMY!!) and a quick bite to eat. This is what I've decided: It is NEVER good to sit at the bar next to the food preparation area! NEVER! You will never want to eat out again, when you witness the things they do and say.

RT #2 ... Gift bags are beating out wrapping paper, folks. Personally, I think this is a sad thing., but this is what the Wall Street Journal said the other day. Throwing a gift in a gift bag is especially appealing to men, according to the article. They aren't the fussy types. I don't know ... I just like the anticipation of watching someone slowly (or maybe not so slowly) unwrap a gift you spent a lot of time and effort picking out for them. Seems to take some of the fun out of Christmas if you use gift bags exclusively.

RT #3 ... Were you aware that holiday cards can now be sent to your family and friends in the form of DVDs? Instead of the newsy Christmas letters, you can now view soccer games and holiday concerts. Again, call me old fashioned, but I love opening up the mailbox and seeing what sort of Christmas cards are awaiting me ... especially in light of the fact that I've moved away from many of you! Thanks to all who've sent me cards and letters. I've loved reading them all!!!

RT #4 ... Just because a person is born in Michigan, doesn't mean they come out of the womb knowing how to ice skate. As I mentioned while opening my Random Thoughts, today we are taking the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders on a Rewards Trip to the Lexington Ice Center. Everyone has been asking me if I will skate. When I say I don't have the first clue how, they act like I've just spoken in tongues. They're shocked; I mean, I'm a Michigan girl. I should know how to skate, for heaven's sake. My mom gave me a great come-back. It goes something like this, "If you grew up in Kentucky, why can't you make moonshine!?"

Thursday, December 14, 2006

CAN IT REALLY BE?

Can we really only have 11 days until Christmas?

MAN! I was going to try to enjoy my Christmas season this year, too!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

SOMETHING FUNKY SMELLS

Every morning, I step out of my door and am assaulted by a very funky odor.

Every morning, I step out of my door and think, "Some one is eating some NASTY breakfast."

Every morning, I step out of my door and think, "What the heck is that smell!?"

This morning, I step out of my door, and, suddenly, it hits me!

Jim Beam is just down the road. I'm smelling SOUR MASH!!

It's better than smelling Guardian spewing and puffing down the street, but what I wouldn't give to smell Fruit Loops in the air again!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

HMMMM ... THAT SOUNDS FAMILIAR

I pile into my truck this morning (another ugly hair knot tied percariously at the nape of my neck) and start the engine.

The news guy on the radio begins a news story on stolen guns in Frankfort. My ears perk up ... as perky as ears can get when one is working on just a mere cup of coffee.

"It would seem," says the news guy, "a shotgun was stolen from a Frankfort City Police cruiser while it was parked out in front of the officer's home on Fiddlesticks Way (name has been changed).

Now, beyond the disturbing fact that someone would actually steal a gun OUT OF A POLICE CRUISER, I can't shake the fact that Fiddlesticks Way sounds familiar to me.

"Why does Fiddlesticks Way sound so familiar to me?"

I keep asking myself this all the way to school ... until, like a ton of bricks (or maybe similar to the sinking feeling the officer felt when he walked outside and noticed his SHOTGUN was missing from his POLICE CRUISER), it occurs to me! FIDDLESTICKS WAY!!!! That's the road I turn on to get to my street!!!!!

Not only did one of my neighbors (or someone connected to them) steal a shotgun -- THEY STOLE A POLICE-ISSUE SHOTGUN!

We're either dealing with the really stupid here ... or the really scary ... either way, my doors and windows will continue to stay locked!

Monday, December 11, 2006

DROWNING!!!!!!!!!!

I'm drowning in the pool of "It's All Gotta Be Done Now!"

Why did I go swimming in the pool in the first place? Who really knows! Fatalistic tendencies, I suppose. Yet, I sit here wanting to do nothing but go to bed, all the while, there is a mountain of things on the TO DO list to try to accomplish.

Will it end?

I doubt it highly ...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

CHRISTMAS -- TOWNHOUSE-STYLE

This is baking central. Always messy in baking central!
These are the results of baking central ... about a bazillion dozen chocolate chip cookies!
A portion of my bone nativity scene ...
My festive dining room ...
A festive stocking garland going down my entry way ...

My pitiful tree with a pedestal stand (of sorts) full of four year old gingerbread cookies (they've been schlacked ... if that's how you spell it ...)

CHRISTMAS WITH A CAT

What appears to be wrong with my Christmas tree? Could it be possible that there is a higher concentration of lights on the top than on the bottom? THIS IS WHY I HATE MY CAT DURING THE CHRISTMAS SEASON!!!!!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

PARALLEL LIVES

It would seem my sister and I are living parallel lives.

You must read her blog entry for today entitled STORY TIME. Also, it might be of interest for you to read the on-going commentary by "the one's what gived us our DNA, ya'll" otherwise known as the Peanut Gallery.

http://frogsandflops.blogspot.com/

I SUCK AT FLIRTING

I came to this realization today when a pickup full of men ... real, live, breathing men pulled up beside me, and one started waving at me. Instead of smiling sweetly, I gave them the same "what-planet-did-you-just-fall-off-of- and-what-made-you-think-you-could-land-near-me" death stare.

They sped off quickly ...

I was left wondering why it's so hard to meet nice guys ...

"Could it be something I'm doing????" she wonders absent-mindedly.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

ARTISTIC AND EARTHY


I've decided to run with the whole ARTISTIC and EARTHY thing.

VARIATIONS ON THE UGLY HAIR KNOT

The Ugly Hair Knot ...

Usually, when I'm stressed and tired and really could care less, I gather my hair into a giant wad of uncombed hair and try to wrestle it into a rubber band for the day. Former co-workers and my family are all very familiar with the hair knot.

I was hoping not to make the good citizens of Kentucky as familiar with it, but, alas, it took exactly three days into the school year before I pulled out the Ugly Hair Knot.

I now have a frightening variation on the hair knot, and I've, sadly, worn them with a great deal of regularity! This new hair creation (I use the term creation loosely) is called the Double Ugly Hair Knot. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I put two knots in my uncombed, usually wet hair, and try to pull it off as some sort of artistic, earthy thing.

Apparently, that is not the look that is being put forth based on the very odd look I got from one of the caferteria ladies this morning.

Oh ... and I wonder why I'm still single ...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

IF I WERE A REMOTE CONTROL, WHERE WOULD I HIDE?

I can't find my DVD/VCR remote control! I've looked everywhere, and nothing! I always put it away in the right-hand drawer of my antique entertainment center/cabinet thingy. It's not there. I've looked twice.

Where does a remote control go when one is at work? Does it have a secret life of which I'm unaware?

Or maybe it's Maddie the Cat! I bet she kicks back in the papason chair once I leave for work, swilling a beer or two (if I had such a beverage here), smoking (that would explain the stale smoke smell that permeates EVERYTHING in this house), and channel surfs. That's it! She's been doing her best to annoy the crap out of me lately. I bet she hid the remote to make me mad. I mean, why not!? She's already started jumping through the Christmas tree, and she tore down no less than three ornaments earlier this evening ... batting them around the living room.

I now understand the meaning behind Disney's old movie, That Darn Cat!

Monday, December 04, 2006

GETTING ALL 'SUSIE HOMEMAKER' ON YOUR BUTTS

The pork chops are baking in their bed of chopped apples and raisins with maple sauce ... the washer is washing ... the dryer is drying ... the tree is lit and the decorations are waiting to be hung ... the vacuum cleaner is standing at the ready ... the table is set ... lunch is made for tomorrow ... the ingredients for some yummy holiday treats are waiting to be mixed ... I plan to drop into bed this evening from the sheer exhaustion of getting all SUSIE HOMEMAKER on your butts.

I'm tired of coming home and plopping in front of the TV and surviving for the rest of the evening. If I'm going to fall asleep in front of the tube, it's because I've been running my big, fat butt and no other reason!

Can I have an AMEN!?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

SANTA CLAUS HAS COME TO TOWN

On Saturday, I went to Versailles to join Ann, my sister, in watching the Versailles Christmas Parade. I was particularly interested in seeing how a southern small-town does Christmas parades after witnessing many, MANY northern small-town Christmas parades.

They had a variety of things that were the same and a few things that were different. Different, for instance, was the lack of an entire fleet of trucking company semis that usually make their way down our hometown streets ... incessantly blaring their horns every five feet, scaring the crap out of every living thing lining those streets! They had a few less monster, mud-bogging trucks (and a few more muscle cars with weird hydraulic whoop-te-do's).

The same, though, were the county snow removal trucks that powered their way slowly down Versailles Main Street, bedecked in Christmas wreaths and lights. Calhoun County Road Commission does the same thing. It's actually rather funny to see grown men get all excited about decorating the heck out of a big dump truck. That's true Christmas spirit.

The Woodford County trucks got all the way to where Ann and I were standing, before the driver in the truck in front, for some unknown reason, hit the button that makes the snow blade crash to the cement ... sending Ann and I shooting two feet straight into the air.

"Well," shouts my sister in startled annoyance. "That's why no one down here is prepared for snow. They scrape their snow blades along raw cement! A snow blade won't shovel anything when you do that!"

And there you have it folks! Never try to shovel cement.

COLD MORNINGS = COLD PATTIES

Trying to warm up the cold patties on a frosty morning.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

BELATED GREETINGS

Did you know that card shops do not sell belated anniversary cards? Someone is missing a HUGE marketing ploy here. Really!

I should have sent an anniversary card out four days ago, but like everything I was supposed to do this week, I forgot about it ... just so preoccupied with work. Anyway, I never got the card out ... obviously, if I was searching for a belated one.

So ...

Happy Anniversary to my parents. They are celebrating 39 years of wedded bliss today! That is a whopper of a long time, especially in this day and age of disposable everything! Is it as cold today as it was 39 years ago in that drafty church in Ripley, New York?

Friday, December 01, 2006

BLOWING AWAY

If you happen to see a little, mini flag in the shape of a snowman that happens to be hugging a Christmas tree with a gold star on top, would you mind grabbing it for me? It blew off my little yard flag thingy sometime in the night when the 50 mile an hour winds started whipping around Frankfort. Near as I can tell, it's got to be somewhere near New Jersey by this point and time.

I honestly don't know why I was blubbering about missing home the other night. It feels like Michigan tonight ... felt like it the WHOLE live-long day! I woke up, not only to straight line winds, but to 68 degrees. My head told me what the weathermen had been yapping about for the past week ... BIG, NASTY FRONT WAS COMING THROUGH ... FAST! Tornado watches were out in full force as were the humid, rainy conditions. By 8 a.m., the temperatures had dropped 20 degrees, and it was nasty, biting cold! When I left school this afternoon, it was in the 20s! Were it not for the murky Kentucky River and the limestone "cliffs," I could have sworn I was in the Great Lakes State!

The big joke in Michigan is that you can go to a football game and see all four seasons in one game! Hey, you laugh, but it's true. I've experienced it first hand.

I did happen to see a few wimpy flakes of snow ... I guess that's what they call snowing down here. I'm still waiting for the snowy squalls that send everyone to the store for five loaves of bread. Yes, it's true folks. I've had this confirmed by many a Kentucky resident. At the first hint of snow, the grocery stores are mobbed with people buying as much milk, bread, and eggs as they can afford.

Now, here's a thought ... I've been through a few blizzards in my time, and at no time was there ever a need for more than one loaf of bread. I do remember that the last blizzard I muddled through, my shovel broke (figures) and I had to call my dad to come in his truck with 4 wheel drive and rescue me so I could go out and buy a new one. I also remember being so bored that driving through town to watch the snow truck plow snow seemed like the excitement of the century, but I don't recall feeling like I needed to run out and stock my refrigerator with 8 gallons of milk. That never entered my mind. If I found the need for thirst-quenching and I ran out of liquid substances in the house, I knew I could always boil snow. Seems a plausible solution to a relatively non-problem, if you ask me.

That is why a threat of dusting has me a bit perplexed. What would people do if there were actually inches of snow on the ground? Would we have the Millenium preparations part two?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

PICTURE DAY

Allow me to set the scene for all of you (as usual, all names have been changed to protect the innocent) ...

Picture 43 sixth graders that need only the slightest excuse to act like they don't have a friggin' clue how to behave appropriately. Throw into that mix three sixth grade teachers that have had it (and I mean HAD IT!) and will take a fish bowl margarita and SWIM in it if offered to them. It's a dangerous combination, ladies and gentlemen. DANGEROUS!

This was the scene when the all-call came for sixth grade homerooms to make their way down to the CUB CLUB room for school pictures. This room is colorfully decorated and filled with lots and lots of toys. However, when one is down there to get one's picture taken, one has no time to stand around and play ... ESPECIALLY when one's crabby teachers are scanning and moving about the room!

So, I had just spent a good minute hollering at all my kids and the kids behind my homeroom about the fact that the kindergarteners that were all sitting quietly with their hands folded neatly in their laps were acting more mature than the hooligans currently hopping up and down the steps leading to the room, when I turned around and witnessed my colleague Christy's homeroom boys all on their hands and knees playing make-believe dinosaurs and house!

One boy in particular caught my attention, so I bellowed across the room, "ANDREW JONES! WHAT ON EARTH DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING!?"

Andrew was in mid-dinosaur romp. This 12-year old boy looks up at me, still clutching the dinosaur, and with the innocence of a cherub says, "What?"

Christy heard me bellow and went marching through the throngs of children to the group of young men much like Godzilla would plow through the humanity on the busy streets of New York City! James Ollman was "talking" on a play phone as Christy approached.

"Put that down!" Christy hollered. "This is the CUB CLUB'S toys, and you have no business playing with this stuff. Get up and get in line!"

All the while Christy was ranting and raving, James continued "talking" on the phone! His telephone conversation caught her eye, and in a voice much like that of Satan himself, Christy hissed "HANG IT UP!"

And there sat all the little kindergartners, prim and proper, and wide-eyed with horrified wonder. It was that or the flash from the cameras.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

UNSOLICITED ADVICE

It's inevitable! Without fail, the question always pops up in some form or fashion. Today, it went something like this:

To set the scene, two of my female students were in my room after school, decorating the classroom Christmas tree for me [names have been changed to protect the innocent].

"So, Miss Murray, what do you do after school is out?"

"Jeez, Gina! You're so nosey!" This is uttered by a giggling Charla.

"I'm not nosey. I'm just trying to get to know her [meaning me] better. So, what do you do after school, Miss Murray?"

"Well, I go home and make dinner and grade papers."

Gina rolls her eyes. "Real fun, Miss Murray."

Charla continues to giggle.

"So, what do you do at night?"

"Ummm ... I sleep?"

Charla ... still giggling, "what are you trying to find out ... if she goes out with men at night?"

"Well, yeah," says Gina a little annoyed.

"Sorry, ladies, no men."

"Why not!?" says Gina, a bit too bossy.

"Well, I haven't found the perfect guy."

Charla stops giggling and puts her hands on her hips. "I hate to tell you this, Miss Murray, but there IS NO SUCH THING as the perfect guy."

Gina chimes in. "Yeah, what were you thinking?"

I sit on my stool wondering exactly that, what was I thinking!

"You know whatcha gotta do, don't you?"

And here it comes ....

"You gotta dress like Miss D."

"I do?" I know Miss D. She and I are friends. I sort of thought I dressed like her in that we are both teetering on the edge of hip, or so I've always thought.

"Yep!" Gina says, hanging another bauble on the tree.

"So, if I dress like Miss D, I will get a man?"

Charla nods her head.

"How do you figure?"

"Miss D wears short skirts, hello!" Again with the eye-rolling.

"Oh right, Gina. Okay, short skirts."

The two girls stand there giggling, and here's where it really gets bad. I sit on my stool actually contemplating two 6th grade girls' love life advice, and all I can think of is, "Man! If I did that, I'd have to shave my legs!"

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

WHAT'S A VOICE TEACHER?

As a middle school staff, we've been saying that we need to plan some "spontaneous" fun ... soon ... before we all lose our collective minds. We've even gone so far as to put it on our team agenda!

You think I'm kidding, but I'm not.

Today, the suggestion was again made, this time via email, that we needed to plan some fun. That "all call" for more fun began a myriad of replies with creative (and no so creative) ideas for fun. One such suggestion was a Karaoke night. I've always wanted to Karaoke, but I usually end up losing my nerve at the very last moment. I mentioned this in my reply to everyone, stating that I always felt like I needed to prepare for it, and that if I didn't, I would humiliate myself and my voice teacher.

I received the following reply this afternoon ... sent to everyone, mind you:

"I got the email regarding the Karaoke night, and I was just wondering ... what's a voice teacher?"

I am not going to mention who asked me this, but I will say that I was a little non-plused. I mean, doesn't using the words VOICE and TEACHER together sort of imply what one is? Am I wrong? Should I have added the definition when I was replying to everyone?

I don't know; perhaps I was just being a bit too vague ...

DO NOT OPERATE HEAVY MACHINERY OR A RED PEN

I do not recommend having a glass of wine and grading papers when one is extremely sleepy to begin with. Not a good combination!

Monday, November 27, 2006

WEEPY EVENING

Well, the tears came quite by surprise, let me tell you! I always get a little teary when I say good-bye to my parents (I've done it four times now), but the tears usually come quickly and leave just as quickly. Saying good-bye sucks, after all, but we all do it, and then move on.

Not tonight, though. For some reason, I said good-bye, the tears came, mom and dad left, and I continued to bawl ... long sobs.

Today was an emotional day. I suppose part of it is the holidays. I suppose another part of it is that I've had so much fun playing with my family. We've done so much, and really, we could have just been fiddling around at someone's house, and I would have loved it! We've been absolutely spoiled. I just hated to see it all end.

Today, I also found out that the financial issues my district announced at the beginning of the year (but assured us would be cleared up, no problems) were repeated to us with the possibility of more serious results. In all likelihood, I will be served with a pink slip ... again. I've not been given a definite that papers will be served, but I think I'm seeing the handwriting on the wall.

I know my job isn't to wonder why but to rely on the fact that I was put here ... in this time ... in this place ... for a specific purpose. Yet, it's disheartening and scary and frustrating and maddening ... all at the same time. Having to say good-bye just made today that much harder.

Perhaps all the tears were really just an emotional release ... the vehicle my worry needed to come out. Who knows! All I know is that I hope it stays out ... and I hope I stay here. I'm having so much fun, and I love all the people I work with ...

Heavy sigh ...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

THE PLACES WE WILL GO

I'm having an absolute blast this weekend with my family ... we've been having a lot of fun. I will definitely hate to see my parents leave.

Yesterday, we travelled to Shelbyville and went antiquing. It was a very prosperous trip with both Ann and I leaving with items for our respective homes. I purchased a book shelf, with tilted shelves for both serving trays and my numerous cookbooks. Isn't it cool?



Today, we ventured to another antique show in Harrodsburg and then on to the Shaker Village in Pleasant Hill. That was a very interesting place! A must see, for certain!

The weather was INCREDIBLE! We've had 60 degree days since Thanksgiving Day, and they are calling for more to begin this next week! You couldn't ask for better weather.

I hated to have the evening end, but I didn't want to over-stay my welcome either. I'm settling in for a nice mug of coffee, pjs, a book, and possibly, a movie.

Happy Thanksgiving one and all!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

THINGS I'M THANKFUL FOR

1. My family ... here in Kentucky, together, ready to celebrate Thanksgiving!!!!

2. A job ... again ...

3. A brand new place to live in a brand new state ... I'd been chomping at the proverbial bit to find a new spot on Earth -- a change of pace. Who knew it would be in Kentucky?

4. A great group of colleagues.

5. 50 degree weather for Thanksgiving ... AND SUN!!!!

6. My dog ... just wished she were down here with me.

7. COFFEE ... the elixer of life!

8. My huge support group back in Michigan. You know who you are! I love you all very much and miss you dearly!!!!

9. The web of friends that are scattered, literally, from one end of the states to the other. Hugs to all of you, too!

10. Freedom!!

Many warm Thanksgiving wishes to all of you! May you see the bounty of God's blessings ...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

SOMEBODY GET ME A BRUSH!

In the almost four months that I've lived in the "south," I've watched my hair get bigger and bigger. As I put my basket o' hair crap back under my bathroom sink yesterday morning, and as I caught my reflection on the mirror, I said to myself, "You might just need clearance from the FAA for that hair-do, girlfriend!"

I made up my mind right then and there that I'd not yet reached critical mass with the hair, but as soon as I started seeing clumping eye lashes in the theme of Tammy Faye ... well, it would then be time to put me out of my misery.

I headed to school and was actually feeling pretty good about the hair ... until a fourth grader passed by me and said, " I really like your hair!"

"Oh thank you, honey!" I smiled back, feeling oddly validated by someone wearing the word ANGEL on her butt.

"I really, really want my hair like yours."

"What a compliment! Thank you."

"I think you look like Mariah Carey."

[Insert a very loud screeching of brakes sound here!]

"Excuse me, honey?" I steadied myself against the wall.

"Mariah Carey. I think you look JUST like her!" And off she skipped down the hallway. Meanwhile, I fell into a puddle on the floor, whimpering, "I look like a skank .... someone get me a brush! I've got to comb this all out ... NOW!"

Monday, November 20, 2006

COFFEE EVERYWHERE ... AMONG OTHER THINGS

I almost spit my morning coffee everywhere, after the news anchor announced on TV that Knox County schools had a one hour delay this morning due to the snow. Ladies and gentleman, I submit to you that, today, November 20th, a good portion of Kentucky had a dusting of snow. Yes, that's right. I said a dusting.

Let the laughing commence ...

I almost spew my dinner as I heard on the news, a very lengthy description of Tom and Katie's wedding.

Please ... ask me if I care ...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

RANDOM THOUGHT SUNDAY ADDENDUM

I was just on Keeneland Race Track's Gift Shop page on their website. On the opening page, they proudly introduce an "elegant collection of lifestyle fragrances."

There's only one sort of fragrance I can see coming from a horse track ...

Here's what I want to know: Why would ANYONE want to smell like horse crap!?

RANDOM THOUGHT SUNDAY

RT #1 ... French's Original Fried Onions don't like me. They didn't like me last night, and they REALLY don't like me today.

RT#2 ... Went to another church today. It was okay. The music was very 80s Maranatha-like, and the sermon was okay. Still missing Westwinds ...

RT#3 ... I have two Christmas gifts! Finally! I'm feeling a teeny, tiny bit ahead of the game. Forget the fact that my sister is done and my mother is very close to being done ... I'm a teeny, tiny bit ahead ... I will take that.

RT#4 ... FOUR MORE DAYS UNTIL THANKSGIVING!!!

RT#5 ... Some unknown entity left a little gray, dead creature on my parking spot. I almost stepped on it unloading groceries yesterday. I wish that same entity would come and get rid of it. Otherwise, I might have to put my dad to the case when he arrives on Tuesday!

RT#6 ... Thoughts on pomegranates? I'm going to try one in a little bit. They say it's good for me. We shall see. I'm going to make "they" pay the $1.25 I paid for it if it tastes like crap!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?

I fall asleep in the early evening and sleep for two to three hours ... only to wake up at 11 p.m. ... I then stumble up the stairs and into bed ... only to lay wide awake and stare at the ceiling ... I wake up exhausted the next morning, ensuring that I will fall asleep in the early evening and sleep for two to three hours ... only to wake up at 11 p.m. ... I then stumble up the stairs and into bed ... only to lay wide awake and stare at the ceiling ... I wake up exhausted the next morning, ensuring that I will fall asleep in the early evening and sleep for two to three hours ...

Friday, November 17, 2006

A PERFECTLY LOVELY EVENING

I spent my evening last night, strolling through downtown Frankfort on their Annual Candlelight Tour. There were brass bands playing Christmas Carols and Barbershop Quartets wishing you a Merry Little Christmas ... and spitting rain just for that wintery feel. It was wonderful!

The overall feeling I walked away with is that my new hometown has some VERY, VERY nice people living here.

I lost count the number of people that stopped to talk with me, and each time, they would say, "Welcome to Kentucky, and welcome to Frankfort!" ... As if Gov. Fletcher had deputized each and everyone of those folks Deputies of Goodwill! It was a very pleasant, homey, Christmas feel.

I wandered through the streets and took photos with my cell phone of the brightly decorated buildings. I sampled tasty fare and just soaked up all the Christmas cheer I possibly could.

My concern, as I moved toward the holidays, was how I would react to not being near family and friends. Up to this point, I've not really experienced any home-sickness, but I was concerned that the approaching holidays would cause a torrent of emotional baggage to come washing in ... on the contrary! If anything, this place is making me feel so much more at home! It's almost a sense of Christmas nostalgia I'd been searching for ... if that makes much sense! :)

Between the homemade doughnuts at LIBERTY HALL, the bean soup at COMPLETELY KENTUCKY, and all the stops in-between, it was a great evening. I did miss going into the new wine bar, but I saw one of my students who said it was "so much fun!" Apparently, they had some St. Julian's selections, including non-alcoholic versions, and she couldn't wait to tell me that she had sampled some of Michigan's fare, way down here in Kentucky! That will be a stop to make in the very near future, for sure!

So, thank you, Kentucky, and thank you, Frankfort, for making me feel so at home. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

FABULOUSLY FUNNY ENTRY

I had a fabulously funny entry to share with all of you. I know this, because I remember chuckling about it on the way home this evening.

I got home, fixed dinner, got the dishwasher ready to run, and decided to sit down and read for a little bit.

Two and a half hours later, I woke up with the book still in my hands, but completely unopened ... my cell phone ringing, but no understanding of what was making the annoying ringing sound ... and absolutely no idea (other than the memory of something funny) what I was going to write to you about.

I do know that the ankle that still hasn't healed was killing me when I woke up, due in part, to the cock-eyed way it was wrapped underneath me in my papasan chair. Oh! And I have a knee that has been killing me for three days straight, and that also was in severe pain.

A sign of age?

Or a sign of too many kids during the craziest quarter in the year?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

COLD SHOULDER

I think my cat has been reading my blog. She's not "talking" to me today.

FA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Our day custodian was in my room fixing a chair during my planning time today. I had a classical cd playing (I used A LOT of music in my teaching), and "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies" from the great NUTCRACKER was merrily lilting around the room.

"I like your selection of music," Scott said to me.

"Thanks!"

"Hey, did you know that 94.5 has started playing their 24 hour-7 day a week Christmas music programming?"

Oh the monster Scott has unleashed by informing me of this one little detail!!!!!

Monday, November 13, 2006

SHAME ... RED-FACED SHAME

I must make a public admission.

Tonight, November 13, 2006, at approximately 8:02 p.m., I am listening to Christmas music.

Yes, I'm sure that there is some cosmic payback in the works after my public flogging the other day of my neighbor and his lit bushes ahead of the Christmas schedule.

But folks, I just couldn't hold it back another day! Delilah has been playing some wonderful stuff ... and this weekend, I got on line and plugged into the web streaming hosted by a Michigan station, Star 105.7. They always start their Christmas music early (much to my mother's annoyance).

By the time December 25th comes around, I should be sufficiently sick of HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS, but in the meantime, I will be roasting chestnuts by an open fire in my mind, thank you very much!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DENISE

Happy Birthday to my friend Denise. She should have been receiving a birthday card from me today had I had my head on straight and sent it at the appropriate time. Instead, I'm just sending it out today. So, Denise, just think of it as a prolonged birthday celebration!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

RANDOM THOUGHT SUNDAY

IT'S DEER-MATING SEASON FOLKS!!! BEWARE!!!!

These were the words of the news announcer one day this past week. I immediately started giggling when the anchor sent "it to our intrepid roving reporter on the streets" to go over what exactly deer mating season was and why, exactly, we, the public, needed to beware.

See, in Michigan, you're pretty much born with the knowledge that deer-mating season, commonly referred to as rutting, begins sometime between October and January (we also are pretty much born with the knowledge that deer hunting season, ie., gun season, starts on November 15th). This means that the deer are more out of their minds than normal and will pull random and frequent Kamikaze numbers on you, the driver. So be on the look out.

As a driver-in-training, you are instructed on how to look for deer ahead of you, and at fairs and other community events, sherrif's departments and state police posts set up booths dedicated to this very thing. It's a big business issue in Michigan, Crazy Deer Capitol of the World.

That is why I found it so laughable that the news stations were spending precious news footage on fancy, sophisticated charts and graphs on car-deer accidents. This is knowledge of which I (and anyone else that has driven in Michigan for any period of time) have intimate knowledge. If you can live an entire lifetime without hitting one deer, well, let's just say you are one lucky son of a gun, and I would suggest you need to start playing the Lotto with some degree of regularity.

Today, I went the East-West Connector to the west side of town ... on my way to do some errands. I saw no less than three deer carcasses on that little stretch of roadway. This leads me to believe that, perhaps the newscaster was right, and we are smack dab in the middle of those fiesty little suckers' mating season!

My kingdom for one of those fancy dancy news graphics!

CHANGING PLACES

I rearranged my living room today ... for my family, they know I do this OFTEN. I like change that way.

Here's the final arrangement (with stuff still laying around from my vacuuming and dusting marathon).

ROAST KITTY

Maddie doing what she likes doing best during the cold months of the year ... sitting on top of the register, roasting her massive kitty self and kitty ego.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

SATURDAY EXCURSION

I had a day out and about by myself.

First, I stopped by the Frankfort Convention Center to check out the Kentucky Book Fair. I've admitted on here in the past that I'm a bibliophile, a book feind! So, stepping into the convention center and being surrounded by so many books was a very heady experience! To be surrounded by so many authors and their books made me realize that I need to get back at it and write, write, write. Who knows, I may be there one day!

I did do well by only picking up one book and a poster. The book, The Memory Keeper's Daughter (http://us.penguingroup.com/static/rguides/us/memory_keeper.html), was written by Kim Edwards, and I got to see the author in person! She even signed and dated the book! I'm so excited to get started reading. It's one I will be added to my grand lirbary (the large room that I plan to have in my palatial country estate in Tuscany ... right!).

I also purchased a 25th anniversary commemorative poster from the event. You may check it out at the www.kybookfair.com website. Very cool and libraryish!

For the three hours I was there, I was surrounded by a ton of librarians and teachers and lovers of books. It was a fabulous crowd to be pushing about you while you waited in line to pay!!! I loved every moment of it, and I can't wait to come back next year.

From there, I traveled to Shelbyville for their Christmas Open House. It was a fun time, with lots of antique shops to peruse. I did wander into a place that I had no business being in (http://www.wakefieldscearce.com/). This was evident almost immediately when I was greeted at the door by a man in a pin stripe suit, complete with red carnation in his lapel! I walked into a grand room filled with European antiques. I really couldn't even afford to breathe the air in there, but I decdied to pretend I did, since I was dressed in an outfit that might help me pass as mildly well-healed. Thank goodness I had the good sense to do something with my hair today rather than my normal Saturday Nasty Hair Knot.

They had Christmas punch and fruit cake (I hate fruit cake) being served by ladies armed with silver tea tongs and sterling silver punch bowl ladles. The string duet really made you feel like it was Christmas. I didn't mind that we have over a month until Christmas.

After hob-knobbing with the rich and not so famous, I walked across the road to main street, and I began my snooping through antique stores that are more my speed. The Ruby Rooster is a place I HIGHLY recommend wandering though. So many cool things to see! They had some yummy Christmas delictables that I sampled ... pound cake and a gingerbread cookie.

I've decided that I must make a return to Shelbyville soon. As for me, I'm heading down stairs to a hot cup of coffee and a good book!

Friday, November 10, 2006

CELL PHONES, CHRISTMAS LIGHTS, AND BABIES

I got a new cell phone ... it came via FEDEX yesterday. I've had more fun playing with that thing! You wouldn't believe it. I entertained the girl at the Cingular call center while she attempted to set up my voice mail for me.

She kept giggling and then saying, "I hear it ringing."

To which I would reply, "Yep, I'm playing with something."

This would make her giggle even more.

It's a camera phone, and you wouldn't believe the ridiculous things I find to photograph. Just stupid crap, you know?


My neighbor has his bushes strung with Christmas lights ... AND LIT. Last time I checked the calendar, it was November 10th. Is it too much to ask for us to do one holiday at a time? I love Christmas like the next person ... my place will look like someone puked Christmas all over it before I'm done, but come on now! Really! Christmas lights already?


I talked to my good friend, Carrie, last night. Carrie's incubating a little person inside of her, and, according to her, she's ready to see his or her little face. She's done with the whole pregnancy thing. We spent a good deal of time talking about all the crazy things that happen to your body (not to mention the crazy things the doctors do to your body), and that conversation has pretty much solidified my ABSOLUTE fear of child birth and made me grateful that my eggs are dying by the second. I can't wait to meet THE LITTLE FISH when I'm home for Christmas, but, Carrie, I will live vicariously through your delivery stories, okay?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

DOGGY DAY CARE

Many of you know that my little furry partner in crime, Sadie the Dog, is no longer living with me. The trip/move to Kentucky was just too traumatic for her nine year old self. So, she's living with the retired folks back in Michigan and loving it ... despite the fact that I miss her desparately!

The retired folks are coming down here for Thanksgiving, and they wanted the opportunity to play to their hearts' content without the worry of running to "potty" a dog. The search for an appropriate vacation spot began in earnest.

I got a call this afternoon, from the aforementioned retired folks, that a Doggy Day Spa has interviewed Sadie, and she passed muster! In fact, she received a report card from her day at the spa (a trial run to make sure she can handle it with the other dogs), and dog-gone-it if Sadie didn't pass with all A's! That's my girl!

Word over the internet wires is that when the retired folks picked her up at day care, she hopped into the "mom mobile," did a cursory sniff of a box of leftovers, and then promptly fell asleep. Apparently, she's so tuckered out that she hasn't bothered with the bowl of kibbles currently waiting for her. Gotta love a day at the spa!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

KUDOS TO DENISE

This post is in honor of my good friend, Denise. She inspired me, and she didn't even realize it!

See, the other day, she sent me this great email filled with lots of newsy stuff about her day. I love emails like that from her. It keeps me connected to the life I left. I love my new life, but I sure do like being connected to the old one (hint, hint, keep those emails coming!).

So, she told me about her busy day (the girl is crazy, insane busy with two kids and all that happens with two kids), and she happened to mentioned that she had stuck beef and broth in the crock pot for beef and noodles. That did it! That started the whole ball of yarn rolling!

That reminded me that it had been absolute ages since I'd had beef and noodles, which got me thinking that I had an old, tough cut of steak in my freezer that I needed to use up. So, a thing of beef broth, a sprig or rosemary, and some tough steak later, I had the beginnings of some incredible beef and noodles. Well, the whole beef and noodles thing got me thinking about homemade baked goods, and before I realized it, I was whipping up a batch of chocolate pound cake to go into my bread machine (yep, it does cakes, too!). The smell of cake baking made me think I need to do some much needed organization in my linen closets, and that led to the thought that now that I've lived in this space for a few months, perhaps it was time to move somethings around (thus, my bedroom rearrangement this past weekend ... and the idea of tearing up my entire living room and rearranging it today). This snowballed into cleaning out my closets and giving to Goodwill (so I can make room for more Goodwill purchases of my own), which led to the idea of looking for my missing MLPP binders which then turned the corner on what to make for tonight's dinner which made me think of a warm, fluffy quiche, which made me wonder what a great idea Rosemary Bread in the bread machine which got me thinking that perhaps I've consumed an entirely INHUMAN amount of caffeine!

Whew!

Props to Denise!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

RANDOM THOUGHT SUNDAY

Really, my randomness is ... well, it's broken. I've got a beef, and I'm planning on airing here ... at the risk of offending some, I'm sure.

I HATE living in the Bible Belt!

Don't get me wrong, I love my new home. I love living in Kentucky, but I absolutely despise this prevailing thought that being a Christ follower is all about legalistic mumbo-jumbo. I spent a good deal of adult life (some would argue, that I've not really been an adult all that long) looking for a church home where God and His tenants weren't "dumbed down." That the basics clearly stated in the Bible weren't twisted to fill man's comfortable intrepretation of the Bible. Six years ago, I found that place. It's called Westwinds, and it confirmed what I always knew ... God lives in the pages of the Bible and in the depths of my heart and not in some overly stuffy building with the reuquired 80 million religious artifacts plastered about the walls and hallways, with the legalistic tenants of man firmly squeezed in a holier than thou hand. You don't have to be there everytime the building is open in order to live a life richly embraced in His loving grip.

Westwinds embraced the things that I knew God had to love, but no one else seemed to recognize ... those of artistic thought and feeling ... of fringe society ... of music with a beat (heaven forbid, also commonly referred to as the devil's music) ... they welcomed the philosophical world and loved us all for our faults.

Westwinds didn't care if you came into the building with jeans and a t-shirt ... and they weren't all that concerned with the fact that your t-shirt might have had CORONA splashed across the front of it. The fact that you came, that was what was important.

Leadership and service were highly valued, and it didn't matter what gender you were. If your heart was right with the One that really counts, your boobs wouldn't get in the way of your service to Him.

How gratutiously did I take for granted those values! How I long to find a place like that here!

I visited yet another church today ... a HUGE church ... the biggest church that I've ever been to in my life! I was so excited about visiting this church. It sounded so much like what I was looking for. The band was ... well, all men ... in button-down shirts and slicked back hair. Instruments were not played with reckless abandon here ... no lost in the spirit and the music. It was all very tame and ... well, proper.

This church had ushers ... all men, dressed in suits and ties ... much like the baptist church of my youth. No women ... they were relagated to holding the doors at the entrance into the BIG, GIGANTIC room they called the Worship Center.

The sermon was fine, but it wasn't the meat I've been dying to sink my teeth into ....

They had communion, and I took part ... but I missed walking up to the communion station, tearing off a piece of bread, dunking it into the blood of Christ and then spending time in contemplative prayer. Instead, I did it all wrong by grabbing the cup and then keeping it with me ... or least that is what I got from the lady who rolled her eyes at me, all the while holding the gold communion tray in my face.

I miss the whole laid back feel of Westwinds ... I miss the complete lack of churchiness and the reckless abandon with which they allow the spirit to move through the worship experience. I miss the black toilets and the ode to mustard walls, for heavens sake! I miss feeling accepted as exactly who I am ...

Westwindies ... I miss you! I know that church people complain about all that isn't going well ... that could be better ... that isn't like you, personally, would want it, but I gotta tell you. Don't take it for granted. Man! Be thankful you are where you are for the time He has you there, because it's a load of crap to slog through when you have to find it all over again. The process is painful ... and it's long ... and it sucks.

SELF PORTRAITS

You all know I've got this cheap-o (and when I mean cheap-o, I really mean CHEAP-O!!) mini-digital camera. I've been trying to play with how to make sure I can maximize lighting (i.e., keep it from having a yellow tinge when shooting photos inside), and I needed a subject. I'm tired of Maddie. She's about a minute from being banished to a bathroom for the day (kitty time out). Since, I'm the only other subject currently living here, I'm going to bore you with self-portraits. They're crap, but, again, I was playing with lighting.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

HAPPY HARVEST FROM ME AND THE CAT

UH?







What does a girl living in Kentucky, all alone, do on a Saturday?

She moves her bedroom around just for kicks and giggles.

Not sure I like the effect, but it wasted some time. This is beauty central, and currently, Maddie is trying to play in the sink. She's showing her best side to the camera.

FULL MOON

Full Moon is close ... really close! I know this because my students are acting like crazy, insane, lunatics!

I don't care what people say, behavior and the Full Moon ARE ABSOLUTELY TIED TOGETHER. Don't you dare try to tell me it's just some weird phenomenon.

Yesterday, my students acted like they had all lost their minds, and they were going to need a secret decoder ring to find them all ... only they lost those, too, and there's no hope of finding them, either!

It's a wonder they don't drive me to drink ...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

PLEASE PASS THE BEN-GAY

I've sprained my chest.

Before you start mocking, you need to know that it takes a lot of work to be me. Really! The talent that exudes from these pores is just exhausting.

So, I'm sitting here wondering how one helps to heal a sprained chest.

See, I was flipping spastically in staff meeting yesterday, imitating a spastic student, and since then, the right portion of my chest has ached. Mere deduction leads me to believe I've sprained it.

It's that ... or I'm getting pneumonia.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I'LL TAKE ONE OF EVERYTHING!

Today, I received the Pier 1 Imports Christmas catalog. As I pour over each page, I lament the fact that I'm not independently wealth, as I would really like one of everything from this catalog. It's all so lovely and festive and retro (my latest rage).

Oh I can hardly wait to dig out WHITE CHRISTMAS and my Bing Crosby Christmas tunes and just get all retro on your internet selves!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

HAPPY HALLOWEEN ... BAH-FRIGGIN'-HUM-BUG!

I think it is common knowledge that Halloween is not my favorite holiday. It has nothing to do with some sort of deep-seated religious issues, either. It's merely that since I've become a grown-up, I detest the amazingly sickening gluttonous candy fest that occurs each year.

Don't get me wrong! When I was a child, I LOVED going around our neighborhood and gathering as much of the sugar booty as possible. It was always better going with Dad, too, as he let us go to more houses. And while she feigned shock, secretly, I think my mom was okay with that. There a came a point where I believe she enjoyed the idea of relaxing at home without her kids in her hair for a glorious 45 minutes to an hour. Isn't this every parent's dream?

The other thing was that we had creative costumes. We talked about it for weeks leading up to Halloween ... gathered the materials ... helped mom pick out the patterns. Laura Ingalls, Little Bo Peep, Johnny Appleseed, a nurse ... these were all costumes I've donned in years past. My mother would have rather gone out and bought bags of candy to then feed to us by the spoon fulls than send us out with a pillow case and no costume. That was just not what we did.

I think this is why I resent the holiday today. I, very much, dislike those middle school and high school students that come to my door, in jeans and t-shirt, and shove a pillow case in my face. Then, when I don't toss into their grubby loot-holder the appropriate candy selection, they complain as if they were seated at the finest restuarant.

The other thing I abhor are the parents of infants, i.e., toothless beings without the means of digesting strained carrots let alone a giant 3 Muskateers Bar. PAHLEEEZE! Are you planning on saving all those sweets for your child's first birthday? UMMMM ... NO!!!! Go home. You've been a child ... you've done the Halloween thing. Leave me the candy for the little guys.

So, this year, as I've done in years past, I turned off the front light. I sat in the dark, and I waited for the cursed holiday to be done.

I do miss handing out candy to those "special kids." My friends little ones and my cousins ... so Cassie, Katie, Korey, Tamry and Kasey, I'm sending you my hugs!!! I know, they aren't as good as candy, but they're what will handle a trip across two states and through the internet wires.

Happy Friggin Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2006

INDIAN SUMMER


I found this leaf on the playground today, while I was enjoying what, sadly, will be our only day of Indian Summer, I'm afraid. It was a gorgeous, sunny, 70-degree day. I drank up as much of the crunchy-leaf sounds and the fresh smell of balmy air that I could.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

RANDOM THOUGHT SUNDAY

RT #1 ... In case I was uncertain of the significance of my new home, I was made very aware this morning as I drove to church ... as I passed a pickup truck with two guys in uniforms. So what? Well, this particular pick up had CHURCHILL DOWNS plastered on both sides! Still unclear ... ummm, does the Kentucky Derby ring a bell!?!? They turned into a fancy-dancy horse farm as I sped along to church.

RT #2 ... I FINALLY cleaned out the rest of the guest bedroom. Maddie "helped." Her kind of help I don't need!
















RT# 3 ... Closets are a thing of beauty! They hide all the crap you don't a.) know what to do with and b.) don't want anyone else to see! God bless the person that invented closets!!!

RT #4 ... How can a mountain of dirty laundry be condensed to one laundry basket full of clean clothes? This I don't understand ...

NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH

What do you do when the sun is finally shining and the temperature is half-way decent? You get all up in the neighbors' business, that's what!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

TIMBEEEERRRRRRRR!

I have a bad ankle ... had it since I was a very little girl, when I jumped off my cousin's dresser and sprained my ankle badly. Actually, in hindsight, I probably tore some important parts in there, but what did I know back then.

Ever since then, that ankle has been prone to spraining. A few years back, the ligaments and tendons finally just gave out on me. They'd had the crap stretched out of them, and they just didn't feel like holding the ankle into place. So, I had physical therapy.

All was well, for the most part, until last night when I decided to move my garbage can out to the curb in a pair of jaunty, but highly impractical boots. Well, let's just say that I hit a patch of uneven ground and fell like a giant oak, hitting the earth with an enormous thud! Oh yeah, and a big crack rang out from the old ankle.

I was up at four this morning in severe pain. Good times! Good thing I had three different kinds of ankle braces from which to choose. Massive amounts of ibuprofen and a constricting ankle brace later, and I think I can make it through the day ... I think.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

RESENTING HER EXISTENCE

I really hate my cat this morning!

I rolled into my place last night from a very, VERY, VERY late meeting. Okay, maybe it wouldn't have been late if I'd not taken the route via Memphis to the east side of Lexington, but it was late when you have to get up at 5 a.m. the next morning.

I got my coffee maker ready, made my lunch, washed my face, and I think I got my pajamas on, and then I fell into bed. I'm not entirely sure I felt my head hit the pillow.

The alarm went off at 5 a.m., with out fail this morning, **DANG IT,** and Maddie springs from bed like there's no effort involved in getting out of bed. While, I, on the otherhand, literally drag my aching body from the bed as if I've just experienced the world's worst hangover.

I stumble into the bathroom with Maddie prancing around me self-righteously. I take my shower, hoping upon hope that the "Energize" soap I have will do what it promises ... it doesn't. Meanwhile, Maddie continues to do cirlce 8s and 9s and 10s on the bathroom floor, bounding over to the sink when I get out of the shower, and practically pounds her paw on the vanity, waiting for her morning drink from the sink.

I towel off, grab something to throw on, and head for the kitchen, the fastest I've moved all morning at the mere thought of caffeine. I eat breakfast, fighting the urge to fall asleep with my eyes wide open, and finally, after I begin to feel half-human, I drag myself back upstairs to put on my face.

Apparently, the act of dragging myself, has disturbed Miss Thing from a nap, because as I stumble into my room, she jerks her head up from her furry little ball of cat self and gives me the most evil look known to man. "Excuse me! I'm sleeping!" She seems to hiss at me.

I resent her existence, because I know she's home ... right this very minute ... curled up on a warm, cozy, down comforter, snoring soundly! Stupid little beast!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

RANDOM THOUGHT SUNDAY

Many random thoughts rolling around in my head tonight. I thought I would share them with you.

R.T. #1: Did you know that you should put your nail polish in your refrigerator to keep it from clumping? I didn't know this. I never got the memo. It would seem that my fashion memos never make to my in-box.

R.T. #2: I bought "big girl" shoes yesterday. They are a departure from my normal immature footwear, i.e., flip flops, but I had a number of slacks that required a step up in footwear sophistication. I tried to upload some photos, but for some reason, Blogger doesn't like me tonight, so you can't see them in all their mature glory. You will just have to imagine them.

R.T. #3: Don't you wish you knew the stories that go on behind the doors of your neighbor's homes? I look at all the numerous doors on all the numerous townhomes on my street, and I sort of wish I knew what the stories were. What is the story, for instance, on the woman that has just shown up at the neighbor's to my east? Has she always been there and I just never noticed? I ask this, because she is coming in and out of his place like she's always lived there. Where was she hiding then?

R.T. #4: How can I still be flicking box elder bugs out of my truck a week AFTER my trip back from Michigan? We've had a frost and everything? How can this be? Are they really mutant aliens trying to overtake our world?

R.T. #5: The road sign out in front of Keeneland Race Track in Lexingtom tickles me to death. It reads: DRIVE THRU BETTING. As my sister pointed out, this sign has tickled me to death every time I've passed by it, and apparently, that has been quite a few times. Sad part of it is, I don't remember it before this.

R.T. #6: I need to do something to exercise my mind. I can't remember anything lately (please refer to R.T. #5).

R.T. #7: Why do I seem to attract dumb animals to my home? Case in point, Maddie just spent 20 minutes behind a piece of furniture that she squeezed behind, but then couldn't get herself out of until I remembered she was back there and rescued her. Normal cats just don't do stuff like that!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

STARTLED BY A PRAYING MANTIS




I was sitting at my computer; Maddie was on the window sill. We were both enjoying a lovely, sunny, somewhat balmy Saturday afternoon when out of nowhere a slow moving praying mantis lit on the screen. It startled both of us, Maddie more so. When she's startled, she lets out this squeak sort of sound coinciding with a spastic jump or jolt, which is what she did, which is what resulted in me being startled. We both sat watching for a bit before Maddie became completely bored with the whole thing and decided to listen in to the conversation of the neighbors outside. She's my neighborhood watch, and, could she talk, she'd gossip like a fiend!

The second photo shows the "man" of the hour just hanging out on the screen. The first one is a photo of Maddie listening in on the conversation below. The third photo is of the praying mantis just to the right of Maddie's right ear. She is already showing signs of boredom.

Friday, October 20, 2006

PASS ME THE KLEENEX PLEASE

What a pleasant surprise! While channel surfing earlier, I discovered STEEL MAGNOLIAS was playing on Lifetime.

I just love STEEL MAGNOLIAS. I thought Olympia Dukakis and Shirley MacLaine were hysterical. Their characters, Clairee Belcher and Ouiser Boudreaux, delivered some of the best one liners ever! I mean, who couldn't just love Ouiser Boudreaux to pieces? The woman is tough as nails and as irreverent as the day is long. I LOVE HER!

But what really gets me about that movie ... what always gets me ... is the cemetery scene. That, in my humble opinion, was just brilliant! Sally Field's performance in that scene was just brilliant. Every single time I watch it, that scene grabs me, shakes me, and won't let me go until it's over. I end up in tears, as I did tonight. If you can watch a show over and over again, and it can still make you laugh and cry in all the right spots, then, I believe, you have yourself a solidly, good movie.

One of my favorite lines from the movie is when Shelby announces to her mother that she is having a baby. M'Lynn is less than pleased with this news as she knows Shelby's pregnancy could send her already poor health into a downward spiral. After the two of them argue over what can't really be changed, Shelby tells her mother: "I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special. " What a powerful line ...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

LAZY SLUGS


This is a brilliant example of what Maddie the Cat and I were today ... big, fat, lazy slugs.

I'm blaming it on the weather. The dreary, gray, rainy day sucked every ounce of motivation from my body. Not entirely sure what Maddie the Cat's excuse is ...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

SCARY DRIVE HOME

I went down to Versailles to borrow Ann's shop vac tonight. Seems a BUNCH of my "Amazon jungle" tipped over on the ride back from Michigan, and there was dirt everywhere!

On my drive back, I was rocking with the radio, enjoying the evening (even if the nights are getting darker earlier and earlier), but being very, very careful to watch for those rogue Kentucky deer. All of a sudden, a car that had, up to this point, been following waaaaaaay behind me, sped up, and was practically on my tail. I started getting nervous as this had happened to me a long time ago on my way home from Jackson (in MI) ... the idiot was drunk, and he scared the crap right out of me. Much like the last time, this car tonight, kept falling back and then racing right up on top of me ... then falling back, and then racing right up on top of me again.

I was beginning to get annoyed, when the driver finally decided to pass me. When they were right next to me, I decided to turn and see who was in the car. It was too dark, but as soon as I turned, the driver backed way off, and fell behind me again. Of course, this completely spooked me! I grabbed my cell phone, unlocked the keys, and had my thumb right on the 9 button.

As I drove into town, I tried to jockey myself so that the street lights and other signage would illuminate the car behind me so that I could possibly give a good description of the driver to the police, if I needed to do so. It was at that point that I saw the glint off both fuzzy, curly white heads. Two elderly ladies!!!! I was being "chased" by two old women!!!

After my heartbeat slowed down to normal limits, I got a good chuckle out of that one. But perhaps somewhere in Kentucky, two grandmas are out on a crime spree!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

UPDATE ON CRAZY NEIGHBOR

I came home from vacation to find out that my crazy neighbor had vacated the premises ... permanently. Save for some cool lawn furniture and a few garbage bags, the lady is gone.

The property manager tells me that she's "got a lot of problems." Not only does she work for the state of Kentucky (working with parolees), she has spent the last two years going through a very nasty divorce. She does have a boyfriend that lives in the area, but my property manager just doesn't understand what has happened to her. Apparently, I broke the news to her this morning when I called to see if I could have the left behind lawn furniture.

I'm guessing that all the pounding on doors, etc., has something to do with her nasty divorce, her job, or her boyfriend. Either way, I've got some nice lawn furniture out of the deal! Not a bad day, I would say.

YOU KNOW YOU ARE OLD WHEN ... PART 2

You know you are old when your 15-year old cousin (currently residing two states away) must set up your myspace account because you are too dumb to figure it out for yourself!

Thank you, Kasey. I really am Hopelessly UnHip!

Monday, October 16, 2006

SADDLE SORES AND BUTT ACHES

I made it back to Kentucky without much adventure, save for this little guy to the left here.

Why on earth would I include him in my blog? Well, because he and about 25 of his closest friends were my traveling companions today!

In my hometown, this time of year, these little guys come out in droves. They are nuisances more than anything because they seem to procreate by the nanosecond.

Besides going home to see family and friends, I was also going to bring back with me some of the things that just didn't make it on the moving van, i.e., the AMAZON JUNGLE I had at my old house. Who knew I had so many house plants?!?

My parents kept most of my plants in the empty house, but some of them, they brought back to their house, currently over-run by box elder bugs. I dutifully packed them in my truck this morning, hoping upon hope that all the little dears stayed in Michigan where they seem to like it best. That hope was dashed about an hour after I left Albion, and the first one flitted into my lap.

If anyone hears of any box elder bug infiltrations along I-69, Indiana 9, I-74, 275, or 75 south, I know nothing!! It wasn't me that was constantly cranking her window down and tossing those cursed beings out into the elements or swerving all over the roadway when one flew near her face! No ... not me! As far as anyone is concerned, those stupid, little bugs migrated south for the winter.

Meanwhile, I didn't drag all the plants inside when I got home this afternoon. It was rainy, and I wasn't in the mood. So, I think the rest of the group is still partying down in my truck.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

GOOD BYE MICHIGAN ... UNTIL CHRISTMAS

Tomorrow, I head back to Kentucky. It's been great here visiting family and friends. I've had a blast. Do know that if ever you are in my area, you have a place to stay.

Thanks to Mom and Dad, Uncle Ev, Aunt Ida, Deb, Laurie, Lisa, Dar, Barb (and daughter-in-law and grandbaby), Carrie (and baby Fisher), Denise, Sam, Katie and Cassie, Margot, Joanne (and a nice bonus visit with Tom), Krista, Stacy, Chris, Roberta, Rhonda, Becky, the Albion Kiwanis Club, the Friday noon Cool Kids Club, and everyone else I may have forgotten for wonderful conversation this week. It was great to see you all!

I go back with what I'm sure is a small case of frostbite, a bit of wind burn and some sun burn thrown in for good measure, a truck load of house plants, and a week's worth of great memories!
Love to you all! And stay tuned for more Kentucky adventures ... there are sure to be many!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

IO TRIUMPHE! IO TRIUMPHE!

"Io Triumphe! Io Triumphe!
Haben Swaben rebecca le animor
Whoop te whoop te sheller de-vere
De-boom de ral de-i de-pa--
Hooneka Henaka whack a whack
A-hob dob balde bora bolde bara
Con slomade hob dob Rah!
Al-bi-on Rah!"

What the heck does that all mean? I'm not really sure, but it's my alma mater's cheer, and I heard it today in all of it's homecoming glory. Yep, I was at Homecoming 2006. For those that know me well, they might be a little bit surprised that I graced my college's campus for homecoming. See, I spent three long years working for my alma mater, and I spent many a frantic day leading up to homecoming working my tail off. I swore I would never go to another homecoming event as a "civilian." I think moving away has messed with my head, because nostalgia set in, and before I knew it, I was choking up at the sight of the British Eighth marching down Hannah Street playing our fight song ... and, even coughing up the money for a homecoming t-shirt. Considering I used to get them for free, that was a big investment for me. I'm getting soft!

It was, I will admit, one of the coldest homecoming games on record ... at least my record. Even so, I managed to get a bit of a sun burn/wind burn on the face. So, I can go back to Kentucky with a little sun despite the frigid temps. Sure wish the Brits could have pulled it together for a victory, though.

A shout out to Stacy and Chris and Roberta ... great seeing you even for just a little bit. Next time, it will be longer.

A shout out to Krista ... girlfriend, it was soooo good seeing you. It's been way too long. I will make it out to Maine ... some day.

Finally, a couple of shouts out to Denise, Sam, and the girls. It was great to spend the day with you. The check is in the mail, and I can't wait to hang out with you guys again. Remember, you've got a place to stay in Kentucky if you're in my neck of the woods.

Friday, October 13, 2006

BRRRRRR ... PART 2

Oh my gosh!!! I am SOOOOO COLD!!!! I have never consumed as much coffee as I've consumed over the last couple of days, and for those folks that know me well, consuming coffee is "no big thang." At this point, I think I could float away on a caffeine river for all the java I've injested. I'M STILL NOT WARM!!!!

I have loved spending time with friends and family, but I've got to tell you all, I can't wait to get back to Kentucky where the temperatures are a bit warmer ... I hope!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

SANS WINTER COAT




Well, this is what greeted us this morning ... and me without a winter coat. Now, I can remember as a child trick or treating in the snow. However, I can't recall ever seeing snow this early ... not in southern Michigan.

The first snow always makes the kids crazy, and my Michigan teaching buddies Carrie and Laurie say that today was no exception. The kids at WGE had the FIRST SNOW CRAZIES!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

YOU KNOW YOU ARE GETTING OLD WHEN

During my travels in Michigan, I've been dying to go to a few old haunts. Items on my "to do list" have included:

**Sweet Seasons Apple Orchard for some homemade doughnuts (check!)
**Addington Hills Cafe (check!)
**Amazing Grace Antiques (check!)
**St. Julian's Wine Tasting (still gotta do)

Today, I went to Amazing Grace Antiques! My mom and I wandered around in there for a while, ooohing and aaahing over all the cool, retro stuff. They really do have neat things.

"Hey Meg! Look at this. Did I finally throw these out or give them to Goodwill?" Mom stood holding a soft, plastic Pillsbury Dough Boy.

"Umm, I think you took them to Goodwill. I know we had two of them."

"That's right. Both you and Ann had one."

"How much is it?"

"Eight dollars."

"Wow," I sighed. "You know you are getting old when you start seeing your childhood toys in antique stores, and they're valuable."

My mom just laughed. No denying the fact that I was getting old ... just laughed, and said, "Yep, I suspect there's a blog about this."

Darn right! I'm not old enough to have stuff in antique malls and shops. That's still for all my grandparents' and parents' old stuff. Certainly nothing I grew up with! I'm not that old ... am I?

Wait a second! Don't answer that!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

BRRRRR!!

I'm soft ... I will admit it. It took me exactly two months to get that way, too.

When I left my home in Kentucky, it was a glorious 70 degrees with the promise of a warm week ahead. When I arrived in Michigan, it was a chilly 60 degrees with the threat of snow in the forcast. I'm sitting here in a wool blend turtle neck sweater and jeans with lace up shoes (a feat for me because, other than tennis shoes, my feet have seen only flip flops this year) ... and I'm currently waiting for the coffee to stop brewing so I can drink the hot liquid. I'm freezing!

Monday, October 09, 2006

YOU KNOW YOU'RE AN HOUR FROM HOME WHEN ...

You know you are an hour from home when you start seeing deer carcasses all over the road way. AH ... Michigan!

I left when summer was in full swing. I've come back for a visit with fall in full swing, and boy is it! They are calling for snow later on this week! Great! And me without my winter gear. How soon a Michigan girl gets soft when she moves south ...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I SEE THE MOON; DOES THE MOON SEE ME?

CSI ... TAKE TWO

Okay, so as my friend Carrie so aptly put it, last night was the makings of a great CSI episode. Those that know me well know that I just LOVE LOVE the original CSI. Those that know me well know that Iwant to marry Nick Stokes ... but that's a blog entry for another time.

The whole point of this blog right now is to say ... APPARENTLY MY NEIGHBOR AND HER FAMILY/FRIENDS DON'T UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF CALLING AHEAD!!!!!! Yes, twit boy was just here again. Only this time, he just banged incessently and obnoxiously for five minutes rather than the 20 minute door banging fest last night. Doesn't matter, it interrupted some good REM sleep. Stupid idiot!

All I've got to say is that someone better get a clue soon or I'm going to get nasty!