Tuesday, January 31, 2006

QUOTES I LOVE ...

"As much money and life as you could want! The two things most human beings would choose above all - the trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them."
-- J.K. Rowling, "The Man with Two Faces," Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, 1997, spoken by the character Albus Dumbledore

"It was a long lesson to learn, but you were right ... it's just that I went looking for my ideals outside of myself. I discovered it's not what the world holds for you, it's what you bring to it. The dreams dearest to my heart are right here ... I don't want sunbursts or marble halls; I just want you."
-- Anne Shirley telling Gil just how she feels about him.

"If a person continues to see only giants, it means he is still looking at the world through the eyes of a child."
-- Anais Nin

"If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals."
-- J.K. Rowling, "Padfoot Returns," Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 2000, spoken by the character Sirius Black

"You are the star for which all evenings wait."
-- Unknown

"What must the wind tell the trees to make them drop their leaves?"
--Charles Kuralt

"... he knew, at that moment, that he'd be coming back from the war. He'd be coming back because the gods didn't align the stars so you could meet the other half of your soul and then take her away from you."
--Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island, chapter 24, pg. 313

"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'!"
--Unknown

THINGS IT WOULD BE COOL TO GET PAID TO DO

1. Being a life-long learner. I would so be all over that job -- as long as I didn't have to ALWAYS write 25-page papers.

2. Watching newly-released movies. Now, I realize that this is a real job, but it's hard to break into that gig - darn Roger Ebert!

3. Redecorating your home over and over again.

4. Reading magazines.

5. Reading books.

6. Eating ... wait a second. Then, I'd be the size of Cleveland ... check that one!

7. Traveling all over the world.

8. Day-dreaming! To be paid by the dream, now that would be fun! And, I do believe, I would be a BAZILLIONARE by now!

9. Drinking coffee.

10. Taste-testing chocolate!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

WHAT DOES BMDUBR MEAN?

BMDUBR ... I saw that on a vanity plate today. I don't know what it means.

Since I've yet to come up with a passable solution to world hunger, I thought I would tackle the whole vanity plate mystery.

On my way to church this morning, a BMW, buzzed past me. The license plate caught my attention, as such plates usually do. The reason being, it perplexed me, as most plates like this one do. I have no idea what it's suppose to mean.

BMDUBR ... what does that mean?

This brings me to another question ... what purpose do vanity plates serve other than to confound those, like me, on the highway that spend way more time than is humanly necessary trying to figure it all out. I mean, I spent all of the time I should have been listening to the sermon, racking my brain to come up with possible acronyms or pithy, one-word phrases. Nothing! Came up totally empty.

Why do people do this? Why aren't they happy just getting a randomly ordered sequence of letters and numbers like the rest of us average joes. Why do they deem themselves a cut above the rest of us?

On second thought, I think solving world hunger is definitely easier!

Friday, January 27, 2006

TOOK A WRONG TURN AT KINDERGARTEN

I took a wrong turn in Kindergarten.

In fact, looking back on it, I think I can see clearly just where I went wrong.

It all started at Kindergarten Round-Up, if you want to know the truth. For it was there that I was ushered into a room with just myself and a kindergarten teacher that asked me to do tasks that could only be equated to CIRCUS PERFORMING. Even at the tender age of five, I knew that being put on exhibit was nothing short of degrading, so when the foul woman asked me to walk a balance beam, I flat out refused. In my mind, a dummy could have walked a balance beam, and, since I was absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, no dummy, I didn't see the need to prove to her something that was obviously apparent to everyone but her!

That decision landed me in summer school because I was deemed "not ready for kindergarten." To say my mother wanted to strangle me there on the spot was to use the understatement of the century. But she's had many similar reactions to decisions such as the BALANCE BEAM DEBACLE in her lifetime ... it was her lot in life raising a STRONG-WILLED CHILD.

I suppose my wrong turn was jarringly evident at parent teacher conferences when my mom was informed by my teacher that I was coming in late everyday ... an hour or more late. Did I ride the bus perchance? With kindergarten only being a half day, could they please try to make an effort to get me to school on time?

My mother could barely contain her building anger with me as she explained to the poor woman that we lived just three short blocks away from the school (in those days, you could send your little kindergartner walking to school without fear of human predators ... not the case these days), and that she sent me with time to spare in the mornings!!

I was much too concerned with all the "stuff" in the neighborhood to be bothered with the time constraints of school (stuff is defined as bugs, snow mounds, dried leaves, random crud flowing in the gutter ... basically, anything that would constitute a distraction to a five year old).

I further wandered down the wrong road when my mother was handed over a very rough, snarled-hair, snaggle-pussed school picture of her "precious" five-year old and asked if she wouldn't finally cough up the money for the prints. Imagine my mother's embarassment as she tried to explain to the teacher that she never received a school missive explaining dates and times of school pictures. I dare say that school note found it's way with the other crud floating merrily down a neighborhood gutter.

"Three short blocks, Meg!" I think I remember my parents starting many a lecture that way ...

Yes, I would say, life as I know it today, might not be as it is had I not taken a wrong turn in kindergarten ...

DREAMSCAPES

I had a dream last night ... or this morning ... unsure of the time. Really, the time isn't important. So, I have digressed!

Anyway, I had a dream ...

I was on a field trip with a group of students and a faceless, yet somehow handsome man, in a zoo, but it wasn't your normal zoo. You see, this zoo had secret cages and roaming areas and underground tunnels. It was a maze of glass-encased holding cells for very exotic animals ... animals I never knew existed. As we (my class, the handsome, faceless man, and I) made our way through this convoluted zoo, we would hear rumors of all sorts of wild animals from others that were on the same field trip.

"OOOOHHHH! How do we get to that animal?" I would whisper excitedly, as someone we passed would stop and tell me about what they had just seen.

"Just continue down this dark corridor." They would point, and then, mysteriously, would walk away into misty oblivion.

I would then set off down the aforementioned dark hallway, only to have the door change to a wall before we could get to it!

This happened everytime, so my poor students didn't get to see very many of the rumored exotics. Yet, that overly handsome, faceless man stayed with me and my class the whole time (I STILL haven't figured out how a faceless man can be handsome! The oxymoronic state of dreams, I suppose).

After traveling down numerous dead ends, and having lost countless students (every teacher's nightmare on a field trip), we saw a bright light at the end of a particularly dark hallway. My beleaguered class and I (along with Handsome Man), entered a brightly lit room that was a plexi-glass enclosure for the most adorable puppies ever known to man! My kids were ecstatic, especially after finding out we could actually go INTO the exhibit and play with them.

All of us piled into the enclosed area, sat down on a sand-like substance and started playing. Wouldn't you know, I sat in a giant pile of puppy poop!

Then I woke up!

Now, I'm no expert here, but something seems vaguely familiar to me. I sense my subconscious is trying to tell me something. Hmmm ... what could it be???

COULD IT BE THE ACTUAL MORAL TO THIS STORY IS THAT JUST WHEN THERE APPEARS TO BE A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL, WATCH OUT!! YOU'LL SIT IN PUPPY POOP!

Ah! Life ... isn't it funny, especially when you are wearing puppy excriment on your hind quarters? I'm guessing that my mind was trying to work through all the twists and turns that my life has taken over the last few months. As I sit here typing, I know I'm wearing the ugliness of poo on my backside. I have been witness to doors changing into full-fledged stone walls with the speed of those darned ever-changing staircases in the Harry Potter series. What has me confused is the faceless, handsome man! Is that a reference to someone in my future ... "Face To Be Pasted on Later?" Or is it a manifestation of what life has waiting for me, just yet to be determined? Or perhaps it merely means that I am, in fact, demented and twisted and a bit off center, and I am in need of some serious shock therapy!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

THE SAGA OF THE FINGERPRINTS

My fingerprints have become the bane of my existence! I'm sitting here looking at them and wondering what they really are good for ... surely, not for garnering a job. Case in point ...

This morning, I went to a local county Intermediate School District to figure out this whole "we don't have your fingerprints so you can't sub for us" thing. I carried with me the brand-spanking-new plastic laminated card from the state of Arizona that says the aforementioned fringerprints have been cleared by the FBI along with a corresponding letter ... you, too, can have one of these nifty cards ... for a cool $62!

I marched into the office and presented the gathered information. The human resources specialist examines that pretty card, says neato and then, "the state of Michigan will not recognize it because it didn't originate in Michigan."

"Ahh, yes, but," I replied, "it was cleared by the FBI. So, it was a national search. In otherwords, they have found that I've committed absolutely no crimes in any of the 50 states or US territories (other than the ugly speeding incident in Louisville this summer) and am cleared to work. The FBI says so."

At this moment, the HR specialist clears her throat uncomfortably. "Yes, well, the state of Michigan won't recognize a fingerprint clearance unless it's been done by the MI State Police."

"But, it was done by the FBI!" I try not to shriek. "FBI trumps the State Police, right?"

"Umm, yes, it does, but the new law just passed by the Michigan legislatures says they won't recognize anything that hasn't been passed by the State police."

"But doesn't the FBI trump our state legislature also?"

"Well, in theory ..."

"IN THEORY!!?!?!? I am in the United States, right? I didn't take a wrong turn somewhere, did I"

"No, so, anyway, back to the fingerprints, um, you can get them redone for $70."

"So, this is just a really overpriced piece of plastic I'm holding right now," said as I wave the Arizona Fingerprint Clearance card in the air.

"Well, umm, yes."

"And you understand the whole reason I'm here is that I DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY for essential things like groceries let alone the umpteenth fingerprinting session!?"

"Well, ummm ..."

Unbelieveable!
So, I've lost count as to how many times I've actually had my fingerprints done in the last 6 months ... and I'm beginning to think that the fingerprint gods have it in for me. I don't think these dang things would do anything for me ... unless of course I robbed a bank out of desperation! Then, all of sudden, my fingerprints MIGHT be useful!

THINGS YOU HEAR WHEN YOU'RE UNEMPLOYED

Said by employment agency employee (agency and employee to go nameless): "I would study the Sunday classifieds if I were you."

What I wanted to respond, but didn't: "Really? Seriously? Because that thought hadn't crossed my mind!"

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

LATE CHRISTMAS CHEER



This photo does not do justice to what I saw each night during the Christmas season. It really was a sight to behold.

A LOVE AFFAIR

I have a love affair ... with coffee.

Yes, it's true, and, yes, it may just be a bit on the pitiful side, but I do have a long-standing relationship with coffee.

I suppose it could be said that this affair began in my youth with the sweet aroma of the sacred liquid permeating the morning air at my house. However, I think that would be a bit of a cop out ... to blame such an obsession on someone else. If there's one thing I know, it's that one should never, ever try to pass the buck when dealing with an addiction. That's the first step to recovery.

Only ... I don't want to recover. I am very content in my utter lack of control where coffee is concerned! I LOVE MY COFFEE!

I must also admit something else, while I've meandered down this path. I'm a bit of a coffee snob. Cheap versions of coffee will not do (okay, maybe in a pinch, but it had better be a pretty big pinch!). I am completely sold on expensive versions that would cause a normal, relatively logical person to scoff. I like a stiff, bold mug of java. I love all the silly coffee accessories. I see nothing wrong with sipping mug after delicious mug of the glorious elixir in a hip coffee bar or bookstore! And please! Let's not ruin it with countless sugar substitute packets and endless amounts of cream. I guess you could say that I'm a coffee purist.

Yes, I'm smitten! Just ask anyone. I suppose it became all too clear for me when, last year, my students would follow me around with my misplaced coffee mug thermos, and say, "UH, you left this on my desk." The coffee was an extension of my hand. They would begin to question what kind of day we would all have if they didn't see coffee in my general vicinity.

"No coffee today?" My little third graders would ask, after scoping the entire room, they came up empty.

"No, I'm trying to cut back." Occasionally, I would become health conscious.

My statement was always met with a dramatic eye roll. Turns out, they knew better than I. The pull of the coffee was too much for me, and I would succumb.

Hello, my name is Megan, and I'm a coffeeholic ...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

NAUGHTY CAT


This is where Maddie the Beast spent most of her Christmas season ... underneath the Christmas tree, coating the tree skirt with cat hair and whacking easy to reach ornatments. Good times!

WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS, AND YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO MAKE THE LEMONADE

What does a person do when it seems you're in a never-ending story? When you look and look and look and examine and analyze the whole mish-mash of life as you know it, and there's no END to the maze. There was definitely a START to the maze. You know that, because you walked into it. But, you've been wandering around and around for what seems like forever, and try as you might, you can't seem to find the END. You're stuck.

What do you do? Run around like a lab rat while others stand over you laughing hysterically? Or do you just sit down where you're at, curl up in a ball, and wait for starvation or the lab assistant to rescue you ... which ever comes first?

Honestly, I don't know anymore. I used to think I knew. I used to have all the answers. I used to be pretty self-assured and confident (redundent, yes). Now? Not so much! Right now, I feel like just sitting down where I'm at, curling up in a little ball, and waiting for starvation or the lab assistant to rescue me ... which ever comes first. Lately, it would seem that starvation may come first.

I have come to really hate the pithy words of wisdom others have to dole out ... "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!" Well, here's a question for all you eternal optimists: WHAT IF YOU CAN'T AFFORD THE OTHER INGREDIENTS!? Then you've just got lemons!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

NOTHING IS EVER CUT AND DRY

Nothing is ever cut and dry ... the more I dig into this life, the more I realize that convolutions are the name of the game. I'm beginning to think that there are no straight shots anywhere, least of all to the next turn in life. Rather, I'm on a roller coaster of twists and turns combined with violent ups and downs.

The problem with rollercoasters is that I get horribly ill. They aren't my favorite. I've tried to conquer my fear of them ... my lack of control when it comes to not being able to keep my cookies in place! Why must everything we have in life be this hard-fought battle between the spirit and the flesh? Why, not once, can't we get a clear picture of what we are truly meant to do in this life? Why must all decisions be so gut-wrenchingly difficult? Are there ever any easy decisions?

Oh, I know the answers to a lot of these questions, but it still doesn't stop me from asking them. I suppose that's what makes me human.




Thursday, January 05, 2006

SOMETHING FUN FOR THE EVENING

What is the geekiest part of your music collection?
**I just got rid of a bunch of CDs and tapes in anticipation of moving across the country. Sheena Easton was in tape form! :)

Do you have a completely irrational fear?
**That I'm going to die while I'm on vacation, and that someone will have to go into my house and see my mess. :)

What is a physical habit that gives away your insecure moments?
**Looking at the floor

Describe your bed?
**Girlie wrought iron number with a cat hair covered white duvet

Do you know how to play poker?
**PLEASE!! I can hardly manage euchre and gin rummy!

What do you miss most about being little?
**don't have to worry about financial issues

Are you happy with your given name?
**I used to hate it, but its grown on me.

How much money would it take to give up the internet for 1 year?
**Probably a million dollars, I don't know if I could.

What color is your bedroom?
**A very, very light blue ...

What was the last song you listened to?
**the new Keith Urban song ... can't remember the name, but he's singing about crying ...poor guy!

Have you ever been in a play?
**Oh yeah ... WAAAAY too much fun!

Do you consider yourself to be a nice person?
**Most of the time.

Do you spend more time with your girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse or yourfriends?
**No boyfriend right now so I spend a good deal of time with my friends.

What's one instrument you wish you could play?
**Guitar and drums! I secretly want to be a rocker chick!s

Something you love and hate?
**Ice cream.....I can't resist it so I hate that it exists.

What kind of bedding do you use?
**Right now? FLANNEL!!!!!

What's one language you want to learn?
**Spanish

What do you order at a bar?
**A sangria

Have you ever pierced your body parts?
**my ears ... twice in both ears.

Do you have any tattoos?
**nope .. but I've thought of it before ... getting a tatoo, that is.

Would you admit to getting plastic surgery if confronted?
**I'm against it for purely comestic reasons. I plan to age gracefully or ungracefully.

Do you drive stick?
**Nope. Although, I should probably learn.

What's one trait you hate in a person?
**Arrogance

What kind of watch do you wear?
**Don't wear one. Rely on my cell phone.

Do you consider yourself materialistic?
**Depends on my mood.

What do you cook best?
**Mom's Yummy Beef Stew, Scalloped Corn, Natalie's meatloaf,

Favorite writing instrument?
**Mechanical pencils and any cool marker I can get my hands on. I'm a menace in an office supply store.

What kind of books do you like to read?
**Anything with suspense.

If you won the lottery, what would you do?
**Pay off my student loans and my "unemployment credit card" debt!

Burial or cremation?
**cremation ... TOTALLY

What's one thing you are a sore loser at?
**I don't like to admit I am wrong.

If you don't like a person, how do you show it?
**I usually ignore them

Do you cry in front of your friends?
**I'm sure I have ...

What kind of first impression do you think you give people?
**I've been told I come off as aloof and snooty.

What's one thing you like to do alone?
**I'm always alone! The better question is what don't I like to do alone.

How many drinks before you're tipsy?
**Oh gosh! I'm a light weight ... one or two glasses of wine!

Have you ever done any illegal drugs?
**nope.

Do you think you're cute?
**lately? no.

What's the most painful experience you've ever had?
**Mentally - the death of loved ones
...Physically - my back going out last winter. Worst pain I've ever felt in my life!

Favorite communication method
**Nothing beats a good, old-fashioned card. Although, I do more emailing than anything else!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

PATIENCE ISN'T MY STRONG SUIT

I don't know why it is ...

I can spend an hour with a third grader explaining, in every conceivable way, how to multiply using nines, and I can muster the patience of Job (isn't that how the phrase goes?) while doing it, when after the umpteenth time, the kid I'm helping looks at me like he's just met me for the first time ... I take a deep breath, smile, and start on the umpteenth and one time of explaination.

Yet, when it comes to my own life ... waiting for God's promises to be revealed or waiting for my turn at the bank (quite a range, right?), I can't muster an ounce of patience?

I just don't get myself sometimes. Why is it that I can't seem to internalize that "all good things come to those that wait?"

This leads me to another question: Has anyone managed to obtain PATIENCE? Or is this one of those things that just can't be mastered due to our human nature?

The ironic thing is that the more I try to practice the fine art of patience, the more frustrated and annoyed I become ... the more doubt seeps into my core ... the more I begin to question the very reason I'm on the particular path, I happen to be on at the time. And then it hits me, perhaps patience works in tandem with faith.

Ah! Faith the size of a mustard seed. Now, I remember looking at a mustard seed and thinking, "Man! That's darn small!

I'm beginning to think my faith could be SMALLER than a mustard ... if that's even possible.

I've blogged on this topic before. This should be one giant indication as to my struggle with the P word. Sadly, I don't think I've learned my lessons. God's still got some work for me in that department. So, I sit and wait ...

... patiently? ... well, does drumming one's fingers on the keyboard constitute a show of patience?



Monday, January 02, 2006

ON BEING RELATIONAL

I'm reading this book on relationships ... all kinds. The major "nugget" to be gleaned, in an oh-so-obvious way, is that who you perceive yourself as being directly affects and effects the way you relate to others whether it be romantically, professionally, personally ... you name it!

Now, intellectually, I knew this! Really, I did. For those of you that know me on any one of those levels, honestly! I did know this.

However, what has struck me as I've been reading this book, is that I've never actually put what I've known intellectually into ACTUAL PRACTICE! DUH! With each page that I've turned, my head is screaming, "DO OVER! I WANT A DO OVER!"

As I've dug deeper into the book, I've spent more and more time wondering at the amount of goofs I've made in relationships I've had ... whether it be with friends, family, co-workers, potential "the one's," or my students.

This leads me to wonder, why do relatively intelligent people (of which I claim to be part of ... well, most of the time) have moments of real stupidity?

Perhaps that is the great question of our time ...
At least it's the great question of my time.