Monday, July 31, 2006

YOU KNOW YOU'RE TIRED WHEN ...

... you put the "A" in your name backwards, and another teacher has to point it out to you (thank the Lord in heaven it wasn't on the day kids show up!).

... you write both your first name and your middle initial TWICE while attempting to endorse a check.

... you form a sentence, with all the correct words, just not in the correct spot.

God, help me get through this week! I say it every year, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

DAY TWO IN KENTUCKY ... RANDOM MUSINGS

I do believe I'm going to have some killer leg muscles at some point soon.

My classroom is on the second floor, and I must go up two flights of stairs to get to it. There is an elevator, but I'm making myself go up the stairs!

Ann's townhouse has two flights of stairs. To get to her guest bedroom (my temporary home away from home), I must traverse those stairs.

My townhouse will have a flight of stairs that one must go up in order to get to one's bedroom.

Oh yeah ... drop dead body, here I come!
_______________________________________________

I've just returned from school and Walmart and from my first trip over what Ann has sort of coined "THE SCARY BRIDGE." It is a bridge on 64 that crosses the Kentucky River. It is narrow with very low guard rails, such as they are, and the bridge is "way high up in the air." I wasn't sure how I would react to driving over it, but it was a breeze going over it at night as I wasn't sure exactly when I'd crossed it! So, I guess that means I've conquered the bridge!_______________________________________________

I've just spent my second evening of Walmart. I hope to not make this a habit. At any rate, I was trying to buy 60 spiral bound notebooks (journals for my students), and as I stood in the aisle trying to count and recount notebooks (and garnering lots of stares from passer-bys), I detected an odor. I thought it was the Walmart worker that was straightening shelves, but as I moved to the next aisle, it seemed to follow. Of course, so did the Walmart worker. So, maybe it was him. I'm not sure, but that odor followed me halfway around that store. I did the cursory check, and it wasn't me. I'm guessing it was a "Walmart Funk."

A LETTER TO KENTUCKY

Dear Kentucky,

I'm living in your fair state, hard to believe. Sometimes I have to pinch myself. So, one day down here, and I'm enjoying it! I must say; I'm perplexed by the fact that your downtowns seem to close up and roll up the streets at 5 p.m. Where's the Saturday nightlife (because I was all about it in Michigan ... yeah right!).

I ate your state sandwich last night ... or well, a sandwich that you are known for ... a Kentucky Hot Brown. I must tell you, it was good going down, but it gave me heartburn later on. So, unless I can find it without the pool of grease that it was swimming in, I probably won't be eating it again.

I drove on your humming/singing bridge. I was waiting for some lyrical little tune. All I got was my tires "humming" on grating. Now, come on! You've got to do better than that. The Mighty Mac is the Grandaddy of All Humming Bridges. Sadly, I'm not impressed.

I love your architecture! And the antique stores downtown look like a lot of fun to peruse.

The mist/fog rising off the horse farms is pretty darn cool! I just wished I'd remembered to buy a battery for my camera last night while we were in Walmart! Oh well, I know I'll have other opportunities for that.

Overall, it's been a great first day! Thank you for welcoming me!
Megan :)

Friday, July 28, 2006

I WILL HAVE NO ACNE ON MY TEETH OR GUMS

This is because I put acne medication on my tooth brush this morning! That is how my KENTUCKY GREAT ADVENTURE began!

It took a total of 7 hours (rain delay ... more on that in a moment), but I made it. I'm here! I'm ready to start the next phase of the adventure.

A few observations first ...

  1. The sign LOW SHOULDER here in Kentucky is just downright laughable. Let's try this one on for size ... how about NO SHOULDER, JUST DEATH DROP. See, that seems more appropriate (and more to the point of what might actually happen if you choose to move toward the edge of the roadway) to me.
  2. I've come to the conclusion that there is just a giant black cloud that hangs over northern Indiana. Everytime I've been through there recently, there it is! Like a bad fungus or something.
  3. Driving rain and blowing winds just are no fun to drive in. So, one should always find a Marathon Station parking lot in which to seek cover. I did. Me and 50 of my closest traveling buddies. Props to Sadieville, KY's (how appropriate) Marathon Station!
  4. The beetles down here are ENORMOUS!!! I would tell my students, whenever they saw a bug in our classroom and freak out, "Oh leave it be. He's our friend." Ummm ... yeah, that thing out on my sister's front step is NO friend of mine!
  5. Cozumel on Main in Versailles, KY has some KICK BUTT Mexican food. Yum, yum!!! I highly reccomend it to everyone.
  6. Michiganders are crabby. Kentuckians (sp?) are the FRIENDLIEST people I've run into!
  7. When someone in Kentucky tells you to go 35 miles an hour on a curve, you best listen to them!
  8. Down here, when you say "you all" instead of "ya'll," you get the funniest looks. I did that in my principal's office, and the three people, including my new principal, gave me the most quizzical looks.
  9. The Kentucky River is still brown.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

MY LATEST WORST NIGHTMARE

My latest worst nightmare just flashed on the television screen.

I was sipping my coffee, trying to stay awake, and there it was! A report on a jack-knifed semi truck that created all kinds of traffic conundrums for rush hour commuters in Lansing yesterday evening (http://www.wlns.com/Global/story.asp?S=5203824).

My nightmare? It was a moving van!

The even scarier part of the nightmare? It caught on fire and burned the furniture inside!

Not a news item a girl getting ready to move to Kentucky needs to hear!!!!

I'm fighting the urge to hyperventilate and wondering who I can get to perform a laying on of hands ceremony on my crap ... a BLESSING OF THE JUNK.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND DECENT IN THE WORLD ...

My mom stood staring at my basement. "Oh Meg ..." she muttered in one of her gravest voices. You would have thought that she was surveying the damage done by a broken water pipe.

Nope! Not the case.

She was looking at the piles and piles of teacher crap that filled my basement. In her mind's eye, there was no way I was going to be able to pack it all up and get it down to Kentucky.

Enter THE CLOSER ... aka ... Carrie "THROW IT AWAY" Fisher!

My good buddy Carrie came over today and helped me detach myself from my teacher crap! And thank goodness she did! Where the teacher crap once stood, now piles and piles of garbage stands.

She managed to help me whittle through the bare necessities with her command, "DON'T LOOK IN THAT BOX! PITCH IT!"

It was a great bonding experience, and I promised her that I would reform my pack rat ways.

I owe Ms. Carrie a BUTT LOAD! At the very least a month's worth of free baby sitting. I don't know ... we'll work it out.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

ODE TO A LAWN MOWER

Many of you may know how much I absolutely despise mowing the lawn. If not, please let me go on record right now as saying that I ABSOLUTELY DESPISE MOWING THE LAWN.

Last night was a milestone for me. It was the last time, in what I hope will be a good long while, that I will need to mow the lawn. I guess there is an upside to moving into a 2 bedroom townhouse that resembles a dorm room.

It gave me a good send off, that stupid piece of metal did. First of all, I need to tell you that a mower smells disgust like dogs smell fear. So, when I approached it two days ago, it decided to flat out not work for me. Okay, fine! Be that way! I called in the big guns, aka, Dad, who in turned called in the bigger guns, aka, LAWN MOWER FIX IT GUY.

Apparently, the mower didn't like that strategy, so it decided that, after I mowed two strips in the lawn, it was just going to randomly shut off. So it was, mow two strips, die, curse the stupid thing, start it up again. Mow two strips, die, curse the stupid thing, start it up again. I think you see where this is heading. If not, let me paint a picture, me ... out in my backyard ... throwing a temper tantrum and smacking the top of it maniacally. Not pretty.

The lawn is done, and I've washed my hands of the sorry excuse for steel and metal and nuts and bolts. May it rot in the corner of the garage forever!

Monday, July 24, 2006

A CAUTIONARY TALE

If your gut tells you to throw away an item (or donate it to Goodwill), but your heart says to keep it, listen to your gut! THROW IT AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm packing up my three bedroom (with a full basement) house, and time and time again today, I've found myself saying, "WHY DID I SAVE THIS?"

I've filled two boxes for Goodwill as well as two small grocery bags. When it is all said and done, I want at least 5 boxes going to Goodwill, if not more. Saving stuff is for the birds. I can't keep doing it. I have to try to fit my three bedroom (with full basement) house into a two bedroom townhouse (without basement).

**I can't save the 18 million pictures my students have drawn for me, much as I would like to.

**I can't save 10 glass vases. No one gets that many flowers.

**I can't hang on to the spare coffeemaker on the off chance my current one might die on me at some point. That is why God created Walmart.

**I can no longer hang onto the bamboo placements that I don't even remember from where I procured them. They were ugly anyway.

**Why do I need 5 different mismatched pairs of ripped sheets? Not sure ... they're going "bye-bye."

**Listen, the giant Christmas tree jar taking up space in my pantry hasn't seen the light of day in two years. It's time that we part ways.

** Wy does one person need 3 sets of salt and pepper shakers? Ummm ... one person doesn't need 3 sets of salt and pepper shakers. So, 2 sets are heading to new homes.

It's a sickness, ladies and gentleman, a sickness! I plan to rid myself of this disease ASAP!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Our society is filled with the piggish and borish. Sadly, this population continues to grow exponentially.

I know, I know, I sound like a fuddy-duddy. But lest you question my deduction, allow me to provide you with some cases in point:

Case in point #1: I ran to our local grocery store this morning to grab a few breakfast items. I was be-bopping down the isle with the butter and had to do a quick side step manuever due to a nice, big, ugly puddle that someone spat on the floor! Not just any spit, mind you. It was a TOBACCO CHEW SPIT PUDDLE! I don't particularly like stepping on any nasty cud, in a parking lot or otherwise, but come one now! Who thought that spitting it in a grocery store isle would be a good idea!?!?!

Case in point #2: The young couple that sent a loaded diaper (the nasty kind) out of their car window right in front of my grandparents (okay, yes, this was a few years ago, but how many of us have seen loaded diapers [not the good kind] on city streets and sidewalks? I've seen a lot, sadly) as they were speeding down a highway.

Case in point #3: The guy who stole a package of underwear from the Kmart men's department and then left the empty pack AND HIS DISGUSTING OLD UNDERWEAR in the isle for the unsuspecting Kmart employee to pick up.

Case in point #4: The neighbor that allows her dog to daily poop large piles of I don't even know what two feet from my front door! Come to think of it, she can't be walking a dog. It has to be a small elephant upon further inspection of said fecal droppings.

I ask you ... are we all so lazy that we no longer care to practice everyday common decencies? What is wrong with us?

Friday, July 21, 2006

WELL, I SUPPOSE IT'S OFFICIAL NOW ...

My house has been officially listed on the MLS system ... there is a for sale sign in the front yard. Yep, I guess I'm moving.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that. I'm moving!!! To Kentucky. I'm going to be a northern transplant in Kentucky starting sometime the tail end of next week. After a very LOOOOONNNNGGGG year, I am now officially employed again. You are looking at (sort of) the newest 6th grade language arts teacher to join the ranks of what my friend Laura says is the down-trodden middle school teachers. I can't wait!

So, now, comes a marathon week of packing ... a three bedroom house that has a basement full of TEACHER CRAP. Gotta have it all packed up in a week's time. Let the games begin.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A WORD ABOUT HORSE POOP

In our family, whenever we catch a whiff of horse poo, and we're near each other, we always turn to the other and say with glee, "Smell that? Doesn't that smell like the Island?"

The Island we refer to is Mackinac Island (http://www.mackinac.com/ and http://www.mackinacisland.org/ or even http://www.mackinacparks.com/parks/mackinac-island-state-park-history_196/), and it is a gem in our Michigan tourist world. It is also a family favorite -- we've visited numerous times during our growing up years. If you are unfamiliar with Mackinac Island, there are no cars on the island other than emergency vehicles. The only thing "vehicle-like" allowed are bicycles and horses. Horses do everything from pull the garbage wagons to cart tourists, better known as fudgies to the locals, around the 8 mile island. If you so desire, you can even rent a horse for a lovely trot in and around the island environs.

Due to so many horses, when you step off the ferry at the docks, you are immediately met with the odor of horse poop. It's inevitable, and you might as well get used to it as soon as possible. Warped as it may sound, it's actually a pleasant odor when you take in the picturesque views that assualt you.

One thing I noticed while down in Kentucky this past week is that I never once smelled horse poop! NOT ONCE! And I was all over the countryside gawking at as many horse farms as I possibly could. Not a hint.

This has me wondering if it's actually necessary to smell horse poop when on Mackinac Island, in light of the fact that Kentucky has miles and miles of rolling hills with a baziilion horse barns (air conditioned to boot) dotting them? Is this merely a marketing ploy on the part of the island chamber in an effort to be more "authentic?" Or has the Commonwealth of Kentucky found a way to deodorize a dozen or more counties with the world's largest defogger?

The things that make you go hmmmm ....

A BLOGGER IS BORN

Well, I must admit, with some sense of pride, that a blogger was born late this afternoon. Yes, my sister is the newest in our ranks, and she came to it kicking and screaming.

She refers to me as blogger-obsessed. Well, yes, I am, but I take pride in the fact that I might have rubbed off on her, if ever so slightly. But she's here, and I plan on commenting as much as I possibly can, if only to continue my status as a "burr under her saddle of life."

Check her out here: http://lilyspadbags.blogspot.com/ She makes these amazing purses, and I know they will be featured prominently on her blog in good time.

PACKING UP ... AGAIN

Since being out on my own, I've moved four times. I am now gearing up for a 5th move. This time, though, instead of moving across town, I will be moving two states away! I'm soooo excited. That is until I look at all the crap currently in my house! Then I get depressed. How am I going to shove it all into a 2bdr townhouse!?

Does anyone have a magic wand? I think I'm going to need it!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I STOOD AMONG $40,000,000

I’ve mentioned before that Kentucky Bourbon is famous around these parts, and that folks take it very seriously. I got the opportunity to tour the Woodfield Reserve Distillery today. What an amazing place! I was most taken with the architecture, which has HUGE Scottish and Irish influence. However, I managed to learn a bit about Bourbon while I was there … something I figured I should do if I was planning on living down here.

Bourbon is made from sour mash, or as they call it down here, sar maaaash. Sour mash is basically a mixture of corn, rye and yeast. I don’t remember whether there’s a bit of water mixed in for good measure, because as we were standing in the fermenting room watching the big wooden drums bubble away, I couldn’t help feeling like it smelled a bit like bread, and that made my stomach start growling.

It goes through a distilling process then, via four copper kettle like things … I don’t understand the whole process, but I did catch that this is the only distillery that still uses the copper distiller thingies.

When it comes out of that process, it’s a clear liquid that has so much alcohol it’ll curl your hair, finger nails, toe nails, and anything else that might not have been curled prior to. I smelled the stuff and felt a little buzzed from the fumes!

It then goes into wooden barrels that have been specially crafted and fired to bring out flavor and color. There’s a real nitpicky process there that I won’t go into (take the tour yourself), but they take those barrels and put them in this big warehouse that houses something like 500 barrels. I got to stand in the middle of that warehouse … among $40,000,000 worth, near as we could figure (if each barrel is worth about $8,000 to $9,000).

I could tell you about the bottling warehouse, but, frankly, that was boring. The best part of the tour for me? Discovering the beauty of bourbon balls. They are also famous around these parts. Hey! I say anything with chocolate covering them is good with me!

WE AREN'T IN KANSAS ANYMORE, TOTO

So, I’m sitting here smack, dab in the middle of the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky – give or take a mile or two. It is amazingly beautiful! I don’t notice the blue in the grass (I’m told that happens in the spring). Pretty much looks like the grass at home in Michigan. So much about this place is just like Michigan, so it feels like home in a way. However, there are many, many things that aren’t like Michigan at all, and they’ve provided more than a few moments of giggles, awe and fear for the future! J

1.) The Kentucky River looks like chocolate milk. I live near a river at home – the Kalamazoo River. We’ve always thought it was a disgusting, dirty river. The few times I’ve gotten in it to canoe, I’ve always come out with this nasty schmeg stuff all over me. I’ll warrant a guess, I’ve not seen schmeg until I’ve dipped myself into the Kentucky River – which I don’t think I will be doing anytime soon. I think it’s safe to assume that the Kalamazoo River looks like an environmental miracle in comparison to the Chocolate Milk River down here.

2.) Every time we open our mouths down here, some one looks at us funny. You see, to them, we have the cutest little accent.

3.) Nowhere in Michigan, that I am aware, do we have these sprawling horse farms. Yes, we have lots of barns and fences, but we apparently don’t know how to care for them very well. Down in these parts, ALL your barns color coordinate … and your fences? These babies are neat as pins and all painted. And the fountains! They had fancy fountains in the middle of their pastures!

4.) It doesn’t smell like horse poop.

5.) Words are pronounced so much differently down here – and there are new words for things we would spend an entire sentence on! For instance, “Hi, how are you doing today?” up in Michigan can be translated to “Hoyaldoin?” down here in Kentucky. Long Is in words like nine and life, are HIGHLY exaggerated down here. Words like “sour mash” in Michigan (two very important words down here in Kentucky) are pronounced “sar maaaash” down here. I could do an entire blog on just the dialect alone, but I’m not entirely sure I have that part down yet.

6.) Kentucky bourbon is famous in this area, and they are VERY serious about it too. $27.99 a bottle serious, I might add! And they put bourbon into EVERYTHING: chocolate fudge, chocolate sauce, salsa, marinade, barbeque sauce … perhaps that’s why whole sentences are reduced to one words?

7.) Sweet tea is a staple beverage down here. Unsweetened tea is almost against a person’s religion.

8.) You can’t spit without hitting a Baptist Church. LITERALY.

9.) Liquor stores close up, lock, stock and barrel on Sundays. And apparently, they roll up their main streets at night, because after 5 p.m., almost everything starts shutting down.

10.)Every one is sooooooo friendly down here. We falsely assume that we are friendly as can be up north. UH …. No! We’ve got nothing on these people’s southern hospitality. “Hoyaldoin?” is always followed up at the end of the conversation by “Yall have a nice day.” And people use the words “sir” and “Ma’am” like they were part of the magic word, please.

11.)They consider Kentucky UP NORTH, and they consider Michigan the frozen tundra. Case in point, “Ohhhh, yall from Michigan? It gets real cold up there, don’t it?” Or “You’ll like our winters. We don’t have all that snow like you get. We only get ice.” They way they talk, they get sheets and sheets of ice on a daily basis, which has my sister and I worried because the roads around here are CRAZY curvy!

12.)A word about their roads. They aren’t straight! They curve and twist and turn, and they are narrow … I MEAN REALLY NARROW! And apparently, the way the Commonwealth of Kentucky saves on government spending is by using only minimal guardrails.

13.)More on roads … in Michigan, to get from point A to point B, you can usually find a straight, back road that gets you there. Most of the time, you don’t need to know where you’re going. You simply pick your way across a county. You are assured you will ALWAYS find a major roadway at some point or another. Not the case here. Between point A and point B are about a gazillion points that lead absolutely no where and will take you through 8 different counties while you’re rapidly motoring yourself through the holler in one big circle.

14.)Pop is not called pop down here. It’s soda.

15.)Commonwealth of Kentucky. It’s not a state; it’s a commonwealth.

16.)They refer to their Flea Markets as Flea Malls and their Antique Malls as Peddler Markets or Flea Malls. My dad has some unexplained bites on his legs that he is sure he got at the Flea Mall we visited.

I have a big learning curve ahead of me. Yes, that’s right. I will soon be the newest member of the Commonwealth of Kentucky (more specifically, a citizen of Frankfurt, Kentucky). Heaven help us all! From now on, you will be reading the rantings of a 6th grade language arts teacher in Kentucky.

CONVERSATIONS FROM KENTUCKY

A conversation with a gas attendant in Versailles, KY

ME: “Your post office?”

GAS ATTENDENT (GA): [heavy sigh] “What about it?”

ME: How do I get to it?”

GA: “Git on the by-pass, then take a rIght, rIIIght, and a left.”

ME: “Thank you.”

Later in the car …

ANN: “What did he say?”

ME: “Take a right, a right, and a left.”

ANN: That helps a lot! Knew I shouldn’t have sent you in there to get directions.”


A conversation at the Versailles, KY Kroger …

KROGER DELI GUY: [KDG] Hoyalldoin [one word]

ANN: I’d like a pound of your macaroni and cheese please.”

KDG: That’ll be ta-ni-de-nine.

ANN: Pardon me?

KDG: [much slower] $2.99


A conversation with Dad on one of our many trips to Walmart …

ME: Ann said these big plants with the flowers on it are tobacco plants.

DAD: No, those are Kentucky Cabbage.

ME: Then why did Ann tell me they were tobacco plants?

DAD: [with a smirk on his face] Those are Kentucky Cabbage.

ME: NO THEY AREN’T!!! You’re such a dork!

DAD: I had you for a minute!!

A conversation I had with my dad on one of our many trips to Walmart (part 2) …

ME: “Okay, you are in charge of pushing the cart.”

DAD: “Nope. I don’t do carts. If my union rep sees me doing this, I could get into trouble.”

ME: “Whatever!”

DAD: “I’m not licensed or certified to run one of these things.”

ME: “Again, whatever!”


A conversation at Woodfield Reserve Distillery

MOM: “Man! These bourbon balls are strong!”

ME: “No, they’re yummy!”

MOM: [making a face]

ME: Can you get drunk eating these?

MOM: You’d have to eat a lot of them.

ME: I’m willing to take a bullet for that team!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

ROAD TRIP

I love a good road trip. I'm not the best car rider, but I love going some place and anticipating all the great stories to come from the trip. I love looking for great places to eat. I love singing at the top of my lungs to a song I've heard 18 million times that day. I love the feeling of stoping, getting out and stretching your legs. I do hate, however, the feeling of needing to go to the bathroom and knowing there isn't a restroom in sight!

I'm Kentucky-bound today. My sister is moving there. I've got a lot to do before I leave, but I'm sure before it's all said and done, there will be some good road trip stories to be logged on the old blog.

Stay tuned ...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

THE CERTIFICATION GODS ARE CONSPIRING WITH THE FINGERPRINT GODS

It has happened again, and I can't help but think that the ED Departments of all 50 states get together and see how convoluted they can make the hoops we must all jump to apply for a teaching license. The tests I took that I was told would be valid in all the other states that require them (to the tune of almost $300) are not the tests Kentucky requires their teachers to take! On top of which, I have to $50 to get the license ... and I most assuredly will have to go through the whole fingerprint hassle ... AGAIN ... AND I can't find anyone in my alma mater to certify that I went there and took the classes I took!

WHY IS THIS SO FRICKIN' HARD!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!

To insult to injury, the State of Michigan is hassling me over Unemployment. Does it matter that on any given day, I can walk into any grocery store and watch some one buy a block of cheese with their food stamps, and then take the change to go buy $300 worth of Lotto tickets???? And they are hassling me because I want to keep a roof over my head and my car?

UNBELIEVABLE!!!!

WELL, THERE'S THIS RATTLING ...

I love my auto mechanic! I wished that, if and when I ever move, I could move my auto mechanic with me! He never laughs at me when I describe, with crazy adjectives and adverbs, what I perceive is going awry with my vehicle. I was never berated when I came in to have a leak checked out, and it turned out to be antifreeze dripping off the edge of the spout-thingy. Seems there was a bit of excess ... and he even laughed when the junk heap I owned before Litte Red (a non-junk heap) decided to implode and I gave him permission to stick a cigarette in the gas tank. Give the man gold stars, he attempted to fix the sorry excuse for sheet metal and plastic! I would marry my auto mechanic ... if he weren't already married ... he's just that good.

The latest was a little periodic rattling that I tried to ignore until it become a big, loud rattling that no one could ignore, including random people on the street that I passed by.

"John, it sounds like there's something in my hubcap, only, as you can see, I have no hubcaps. Can a person have phantom hubcaps?"

John just smiled that gentle, unassuming smile and said, "We'll take a look at it." No mocking eyes rolls from this guy!

God bless the man! He drove Little Red around three different times ... had the left front tire off of it three different times, but he never gave up. An hour and 15 minutes later, turns out, the metal clips on my brake pad had gotten twisted and were rattling right off. Now, I'm thinking, had I not gotten the truck in when I did, big issues would have occured with regard to my brakes. So, hugs and kisses to the man for never giving up!

Over the years, John has put up with a lot from me, but he's always kept both his and my dignity intact. For that, I will be eternally grateful.

Monday, July 10, 2006

DON'T FORGET THE INSURANCE!

A year ago at this time, I was traveling in a rickety mid-sized rental sedan of life bumping down "Mid-Life-Reexamination-When-the-Crap-Hits-the-Fan-and-You're-Not-Sure-What-to-Do" Avenue. At times the view out of the cracked windshield was great! At other times, I wanted to crawl under the oil-stained floor mats and will the world to go away. I've learned a couple of things, though, that I would like to share. Pithy words of wisdom, if you will ...

1.) If a bird poops on your head, chances are he was aiming for you.

2.) Never, ever, no matter what, touch foliage that you can't absolutely, positively identify. It will come back to bite you in the butt ... on your forehead ... a bit on the arm ... some on your leg ... your neck ...

3.) Rejection will come, usually in threes ... sometimes in fours ... possibly with a greater chance of it happening in fives!

4.) When you are at your worst, there will be people that think it's fun to kick you when you're down. Be prepared.

5.) Flowers do grow in the cracks of sidewalks. Appreciate their tenacity.

6.) You will learn who your truest friends are when it's raining poo and goo.

7.) I don't care what Geri Halliwell said, it will never rain men, girls. Never.

8.) If there are red flags, girlfriend, you'd better pay attention. It only goes downhill from there.

9.) Sometimes, rejection likes to visit more than once ... from the same individuals. I think they enjoy the rekill.

10.) Coffee is good for you! Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

11.) Beagles make everything seem sunshinier.

12.) Embrace your curves, baby. No one else will be willing to until you're are willing to love each and every one!

13.) Shoulders back, head up.

14.) Eye contact. It's all about the eye contact.

15.) We are all snobs. It's just that we are all snobbish about different things.

16.) Ignorance sometimes is a little bit blissful.

17.) Coffee is good for you!!!

18.) 80 is the new 40. When I figure out what that means, I will let you know whether I'm happy about it.

19.) Do stop and smell the roses. There are some amazing revelations to be had in the little things of life.

20.) If you can find some one that enjoys listening to you prattle on about the minutae of your day and loves you for it, hang on tight!

21.) Be willing to accept the blame for wrongs you've committed. More importantly, be willing to say you're sorry.

22.) Accept the fact that not everyone will accept the blame for their wrongs nor will they be willing to apologize.

23.) Understand that some people just don't get it ... even if you do draw them a picture.

24.) Coffee is good for you!!

25.) Mixed messages are extremely hurtful, but they surround us daily. Be ready to decipher their codes and move on quickly.

26.) Fretting doesn't get you anywhere except deeper in the hole you're digging for youself.

27.) Life is an adventure. Treat it as such. Just make sure you have the appropriate safety equipment with you.

28.) Never forget your insurance.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ANNIE BEE!


So, today is my sister's birthday. She is 30 years old today. She doesn't want to be 30 years old today. She wants to freeze herself at 29 forever.

Well, it sucks, Ann, but we all age. The trick is if we can do it without missing the joy of living each day. Personally, I look forward to each year that passes. Perhaps I will become one more year smarter ... ummm ... okay, so probably not, but it sure sounds good when you're typing it.

In the words of John P. Grier, "You are only young once, but you can be immature for a lifetime."

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

HOLY SPIDER EYES, BATMAN!

So, I pulled into Sam's Club this afternoon in an attempt to buy cheap gas. Yeah, don't think I accomplished it, but whatever -- it's not the point of my story. While I was there, begrudgingly pumping away, I see something that makes me internally gasp. There's a guy one gas thingy-ma-bob over from me with the a shaved head, the back of which was adorned in the most intricate Spider Man mask tattoo I'd ever seen. It was unnerving, folks! And I'm not talking about the tat, because, personally, I think they're sexy. What was unnerving was that the eyes on the back of this guy's head were looking RIGHT AT ME!!! THEY SAW ME INTO MY SOUL!!! And they seemed to be saying, "Hey, chick! Payin' too much for gas there ..." among other things.

The ironic dichotomy in this whole thing is that Rebel-Without-A-Cause-Guy, Head-Covered-in-a-Tattoo-Dude crawls into a red mini-van. How very anticlimatic!

At any rate, this caused me to think about the tat I would get if I ever got the inclination to ... which I have on several occasions. The one thing, besides money these days, that holds me back is my fabulously (I use that term loosely) sensitive skin. It would be my luck that I would get the world's nastiest reaction to the tat and die or something. But it does cause me to think about being adventurous.

Lately, I've been working hard at that aspect of my life ... the adventurous side. I'm cautious by nature. I never used to be, and I'm not sure what changed, but it has. And I'm trying to break from the mold. For instance, I was called for an interview down in Frankfort, KY this coming Friday. It's a 6th grade/middle school job, which I said I would NEVER teach. So, I've not been too excited about the whole idea. Then, it occured to me today, as I mulled over the Spider Man mask tattoo, that what the heck! Just do it! Live life like it's really supposed to be lived. Try it ... you might like it ... JUST DO IT ... [insert any other cheesey cliche here]. I fret too much. Enough frettin' ... let's get on with the business of livin' and havin' fun doing it!

So, I'm sipping my Starbucks Iced Coffee -- this stuff will grow hair on your chests, y'all -- and thinking about life. I'm not going to anticipate anything. I'm just going with the flow ... enjoying it while I've got it, and letting the chips fall where they may.

Any tat suggestions?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

PLEASE DON'T WISH ME A HAPPY PERIOD!!!!

The other day I noticed the packaging of a certain feminine hygiene product. It read, and I quote, "HAVE A HAPPY PERIOD!"

Are you kidding me!?!?!? Seriously!?!?!? You are really going to print that on something that the females of this world are going to see at that very delicate time of the month when their emotions are on a hair-trigger AK47!?!?!??!?!

Honestly, I would have paid GOOD money to be a fly on the board room wall the day the ad agency pitched that idea to the company.

CEO of Company: "That's it! That's what I've been searching for ... the one thing I can say to the wife that might make her happy!!! HAVE A HAPPY PERIOD! I like it!"

It had to be a room full of men. No woman in her right mind would have let that slip through the ad cracks ...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I'M IN LOVE!!!

Yes, I said it. I'm in love, and I unashamedly, unabashedly admit it. I will scream it from the mountain tops. I will rent space on a billboard. I will shout it out to passer-bys.

I AM IN LOVE WITH MY PAMPERED CHEF CHOPPER and MY PAMPERED CHEF JULIENNER!!!!

[please refer to Wednesday, June 14th's entry for further explanation as to the procurement of the aforementioned kitchen gadgets]

I made a pasta salad this noon, and I used THE CHOPPER [insert echo-ie voice here] to chop up green onions, green peppers, and red peppers. Well, I say chop. Perhaps the better, more appropriate term would be pulverized. It was just too darn much fun!

Then, I julienned the crap out of a carrot with THE JULIENNER [insert echo-ie voice here]. Again, I defer to the "too much darn fun" comment above.

Shoot, if Sadie hadn't been begging at my feet, and thus refocusing my attention, heaven knows what I might have chopped, diced, sliced, or julienned. Nothing is sacred or safe in my kitchen!

I leave you here to envy me and my kitchen gadgetry. Meanwhile, I will be rummaging around in my refrigerator for new "victims."

PLEASE TELL ME WHY ...

... at 9:56 p.m., I've decided to wash my bed pillows!?!?!! They will take FOREVER to dry. What in the heck was I thinking?

THE PIGEON POOP DISEASE

Ann: What ever happened to Glenda? Why does she limp? She was in a bad accident right?
Dad: She got that Pigeon Poop Disease.
Ann: EWWWW! How'd she get that-- did she eat it?!?
Me: [laughing hysterically]
Dad: [also laughing] Yep! By the spoonful!
Mom: NO! It's caused from breathing in the toxins in pigeon poop. And we used to have a whole bunch of pigeons downtown because of the mill.
Ann: Gross!
Mom: Yeah ...
Me: [still laughing hysterically]

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

LAND OF THE FREE -- HOME OF THE BRAVE

My grandfather sits today, like he sits most days, in a nursing home. He no longer knows who I am; his mind just doesn't work like it used to. But some how, it manages to make its way across some 60+ years, to days he spent in the service, fighting in the Pacific Theatre for freedom, for justice, for liberty, for his children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He is a World War II veteran ... I salute him this Fourth of July.

There will be things that you and I will disagree on. That is a given. But, like my friend Denise's grandfather once said, "that's what makes this country so great. We each get to have opinions, and we get to voice them ... out loud and disagree about those opinions, and I wouldn't have it any other way." He was another WWII veteran. His words still echo in my head ... even a decade later. I salute him as well.

So, you and I may never come to an understanding on world affairs and the future political ramifications of the Iraqi War or any of the wars to come ... yes, there will be wars to come. You may not like the sarcasm that drips from my commentaries on life, love, and world peace. But thank God in heaven for the men and women that, for no more than a sense of duty to their families, laid down their lives for the future of this land ... however scarred, unjust, and ill-equipped to deal with humanity it may be at it's present state. I salute them, too.

I salute the women that have paved the way for me to be the free-thinking, strong, independent woman that I am today. They have lined the road before me with their blood, sweat, and tears. I have choices in this life, because of them ... I salute them!

I had the opportunity, no the privilege really, several years ago, to visit the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. It is an experience I will NEVER forget. Never was the idea of freedom and the cost of such freedom made so palpable to me than on that balmy spring night as I scanned over the countless names. I salute those individuals on this Fourth of July ... and I salute the ones that came back that never received their proper due ...

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty." -- John F. Kennedy

"Self-reliance is the only road to true freedom, and being one's own person is its ultimate reward." -- Patricia Sampson

"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it." -- George Bernard Shaw

"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom." -- Albert Einstein (1950)

"The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be...The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists." --Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved. " -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

I salute the freedom-makers, the freedom-sustainers on this Fourth of July ...

Monday, July 03, 2006

FITS OF EXHAUSTION

Would someone please explain to me why, ten minutes after I crawl out of bed in the morning, I feel like I could just get back under the covers and sleep for a week???? It doesn't matter how many cups of coffee I consume (God bless the men and women working on the COFFEE IS HEALTHY FOR YOU study), I'm still exhausted. Ask me how many times I've fallen asleep this afternoon reading. Come on ... just ask!

**I DON'T KNOW BECAUSE I KEEP FALLING ASLEEP!!!**

Okay, yes, I did go on a six mile walk this morning with my sister, Ann, but that should invigorate a person, right?

And yes, we have said, okay, I've said, "wouldn't it be fun to see if we could walk to H. [a neighboring town about 8 miles away from us]." All right, yes, I will admit that Ann looked at me like I had recently been smoking an illegal substance, but I thought it was a good goal to shoot for!

At the very least, it might make this utter exhaustion go away, right?! Doesn't exercise cause pheramones or triglycerides or adrenaline or whatever the heck your body's chemical factories create to spew through your system, creating a sort of high? Why then, do I not feel good ... maybe my body isn't doing that ... maybe the factory isn't working ... maybe I have some sort of disease ... maybe my brain is thinking too much and rambling on and on about nothing in particular ... yawn ... this is too exhausting to think about. I'm going to curl up in my papasan chair and dream about it some more.

LAZY DAYS

Lazy days call for lazy behaviors. So, forget about the animal hair blowing like sage brush through your house.

Get a book, curl up in a big chair, and be lazy!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

SNIFF, SNIFF ... PASS THE KLEENEX, PLEASE

From the MERCURYNews.com website ...

"Rowling: Two to die in last `Potter' -- Harry's not safe
Author J.K. Rowling said two characters will die in the last installment of her boy wizard series, and she hinted Harry Potter might not survive either. ``I have never been tempted to kill him off before the final because I've always planned seven books, and I want to finish on seven books,'' Rowling said Monday on TV in London. Rowling declined to commit herself about Harry, saying she doesn't want to receive hate mail. ``The last book is not finished. But I'm well into it now. I wrote the final chapter in something like 1990, so I've known exactly how the series is going to end,'' she said. In her Monday interview on the ``Richard and Judy'' show, Rowling said people are sometimes shocked to hear that she wrote the end of book seven before she had a publisher for the first book. ``The final chapter is hidden away, although it's now changed very slightly. One character got a reprieve. But I have to say two die that I didn't intend to die,'' she said. ``A price has to be paid. We are dealing with pure evil here. They don't target extras do they? They go for the main characters. Well, I do.'' "

WHY SADIE WILL NEVER BE A GRADE "A" ATTACK BEAGLE AND OTHER SUNDAY RAMBLINGS

I witnessed my Beagle-Basset mix do something this afternoon very typical for her, but atypical for any good, self-respecting guard dog. I had just gotten back from church, and Sadie was dying to go outside ... I mean DYING!! As is usually the case where Sadie is concerned, she walks most of the yard, looking for just the right blade of grass to relieve herself on, before she actually gets to the deed. While she's in the midst of said act, her eagle beagle eyes spied something at the back of the yard. I had spotted the same mysterious item, and I do believe we were thinking the very same thing at the very same moment ... "Hmmmm, wonder what that is?" Now, rather than walk right up on it, she took a "I'm going to look casual so I can sneak up on it" approach to the investigation. She gave it a wide berth ... say a good 100 feet ... before she deftly slunk (yes, that is the correct form according to Webster's!) up to it ... carefully, so as not to threaten it, and thus causing her own self bodily harm. And it's a good thing too, because spray-painted gold plastic bags can be a very dangerous predator of the woosy beagle-basset variety!

BILLIE HOLIDAY ... now there was a voice! The girl could sing, and sing she did. On a rainy Sunday, while I'm listening to Lady Day croon GOD BLESS THE CHILD, sipping coffee, and reading my afternoon away, this Billie Holiday quote seems fitting: “Don't threaten me with love, baby. Let's just go walking in the rain”

WHAT MY MOTHER SAID AFTER READING MY RECENT BUM FODDER POST

"Is nothing sacred anymore?"

Nope. Apparently not when it comes to great stories about dad being ... well, dad.