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!