Wednesday, October 31, 2007

HAPPY FREAKIN' HALLOWEEN

If I can make it through this day without wanting to give myself a lobotomy with a coat hanger, it will be a good day.

Monday, October 29, 2007

IT'S OFFICIAL! I'M A WEENIE!

I put my flannel sheets on my bed. I couldn't hack being cold again.

Tonight, I am sitting here, in a tiny little ball, trying to stay warm.

Crap! I'm going to have to go down stairs, wrestle my old filter out of the furnace, and wrestle a new one in.

Then, I'm going to have to brew some coffee, because I will never be able to survive the evening with out some substantial warmth.

Yes, it is official!!! I am a big, fat weenie!

RANTING AND RAVING

My principal keeps reminding us that we only have 39 days in this quarter -- actually, today we only 34, as we ran through 5 of them last week.


He's stressing me out ... not that I wasn't already.


What a week!


Not one I want to repeat ANY time soon!


I started our first week back with Early Bus Duty. If you aren't familiar, Early Bus Duty begins at 7:15 a.m., and you must stand there and watch to make sure those that come in on an early bus, consume a breakfast and generally stay out of trouble.


Early Bus Duty throws a wrench in your works, ESPECIALLY on the first week back from break.


It was a full moon last week.


I don't care what anyone says, a FULL MOON affects the way children think (they don't), the way they behave (they don't), and they way they generally move (they don't) through their lives.


As if that weren't enough, we had report cards to send home on Thursday, and my H drive decided to crash, taking EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM I'D SAVED with it!


Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I had to RE-DO EVERY LAST ONE OF MY REPORT CARDS.


Oh, and did I mention a meeting I had to attend that seemed to last longer than it took God to create the Earth?


I logged a 10-hour day on Monday, pretty close to a 12-hour day on Tuesday, a 13-hour day on Wednesday, and an 11-hour day on Thursday.


I'm tired ... spent ... at a loss for how to regain my energy for this week ... and it's a HOLIDAY week.


Heaven help me! It's Halloween on Wednesday and all the insanity that will create. Then, I must deal with the sugar hangover on Thursday.


I love me job, really I do. I just thought maybe I could catch a teeny, weeny break before the insanity of the Christmas holidays begin ....


Guess not ...


No rest for the weary ...


No mental peace for the nearly dead ...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

THE BLACK CAT CHASE ... REVISITED

I'm sure my entire readership ... all 8 of you ... have been eagerly awaiting the finishing time in the Black Cat Chase.

Well, in my age group, Women 35-39 (that alone is slightly depressing), I finished 35 out of 39. Please keep in mind that was with a lot of women in my age group RUNNING the thing. I was WALKING it. My finishing time was 49:59.09. Not bad, but I could definitely do better, I think. I mean, come on. It was just over 3 miles.

At any rate, I think I'm hooked. This is the next 5k run/walk I want to do http://www.ymcaofcentralky.org/media/pdf/reindeer_ramble_2007_brochure.pdf. The Reindeer Ramble. Sounds like fun!!!!

Am I insane or what??

Friday, October 26, 2007

THE BLACK CAT CHASE

I did it!

I finished my first 5K run/walk.

Oh, did I mention I WALKED it? Yeah, this body ain't made for running. Nothing aerodynamic on me! Trust me ... I've got all the parts that will weigh you down and cause a lot of wind resistance.

But I finished.

I wasn't the head of the pack or anything. One of the teachers (we did this as a big school group ... about 50 of us or so ... lots of team spirit ... there were costumes involved) I work with is pregnant. She's due in January or February ... she was waaaaaaay ahead of me.

You can come to your own conclusions on that one, but I know for a fact that she doesn't suffer from asthma ...

At any rate, I finished ... and I think I'm hooked. I want to do another one really soon!

In the meantime, you will just have to wait until I find out what my final time is ... rest assured, I will post it.

Monday, October 22, 2007

YOU KNOW YOU ARE A BIG GIRL WHEN ...

... you get BEYOND control excited over the prospect of buying your favorite laundry detergent on sale ... 2 for $5!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

MELLOW MUSHROOM





Asheville, NC, is very, very, very, granola-crunchy. No offense to any of my friends that are. I love you still! It's just that I've decided, after my concentrated stay in Asheville, that I am not.

Erin and I were put off by the number of people sporting dred-locks and no deodorant. I so appreciate the divergent thinkers of our world, but I worry about what lives in those masses of unwashed, untouched hair ... and no deod? Ick. I'm sorry, but ick.

So, on Tuesday night, we chose to dine at a funky pizza place called THE MELLOW MUSHROOM. It was great food, but I did come away with a few insights about the place as well as me as a person.

  1. I am not of the artsy-fartsy persuasion. I'm more the "go to an art gallery opening, sip wine and be snobby about the whole thing" sort of person. God love the artsy-fartsies out there, though! If it weren't for you, people like me wouldn't exist.


  2. I am IN LOVE WITH THE MAN OR WOMAN THAT CREATED deodorant. Really. I LOVE YOU!!!!


  3. I am in LOVE with hair salons! There is nothing like running your fingers through a silky, critter-free head of hair ... really!


  4. I do believe, if verbalized appropriately, I could have actually ordered, and received a real, honest-to-goodness 'shroom! Seriously! It was that kind of place. We asked our dred-locked server what her opinion was of the parmesan pretzels versus their other pretzel offering, and her response was a sort of dreamy, hazy, "dude, I'm not down with the garlic pretzels." I think she'd sampled some 'shrooms, if you know what I mean.

The photos above are of Erin and I trying to look mellow. Erin did a pretty good job, but I look an oddly "mellow" senior portrait. The blurry photo is of what I think my surroundings would have looked like should I have partaken of a 'shroom.

Friday, October 19, 2007

BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY





If you EVER get the opportunity to drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, you MUST! It is absolutely breathtaking.

Here are a variety of pictures depicting my cheese-eating grin as I exclaimed, ad nauseum, "Isn't that gorgeous?!?!"


HIKING IN THE MOUNTAINS

Erin and I decided that we would go hiking while we were in North Carolina. The original plan was to drive the Parkway to Linville Falls and then hike back to catch a glimpse. However, after we got on the road, we decided to hit the Crabtree Meadows Falls instead.

I was soooooo excited. You just can't even imagine how excited I was!! I packed my honest-to-goodness hiking boots and everything!

I was excited ..... until my eyes landed on this sign ... ummm, hello! BEARS!?!?!? All I could think was, "Great! I think I smell like food ... I sprayed Plumeria Body Splash on this morning. That's gotta smell like air freshener (see #4 on the Bear Alert). Plus, we have no cell service AND no side arms, and my dad ALWAYS said it's safer to hike with a side arm. I don't even know how to fire a side arm!"

Erin was looking forward to the hike as well, and, apparently, she didn't see her life flash before her eyes as I had when I read that Bear Alert. So, for her sake, I started down the trail, convinced I heard growling in the distance. As we walked, we happened upon a lovely couple, Bill and Debbie from western Indiana. Debbie was also being a weenie, as Erin put it. The Bear Alert had not gone unnoticed by Debbie either. So, we decided we were stronger than the bear in a larger group. We picked up another couple from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the six of us hiked down to the Crabtree Meadow Falls. It was an incredible view, and we were able to get
relatively close to the falls.



























This final photo is of Erin and I, back at the trail head. Notice how flushed and sweaty we are? Hiking is hard work!

THE BILTMORE ROSES





The roses still managed to look amazing despite the fact that we were well past their peak.


MORE BILTMORE -- THE CONSERVATORY AND WALLED GARDENS

These are photos of the Walled Garden. In the first photo, you get an idea of what meets your eyes as you walk toward it. The Conservatory can be seen just beyond all the flowers.


Mother, please note the vast amount of decorative grasses!! Isn't it pretty!?!?!? If George Vanderbilt could do it ....














MORE BILTMORE -- SOUTH TERRACE, ITALIAN GARDEN, & PERGOLA OVERLOOKING FORMER LAWN TENNIS COURT


Photo 1: Erin standing on the South Terrace looking out over the lawns ... the mountains are in the distance.

Photo 2: Erin walking down the stone steps ... we're heading to the Conservatory and gardens. In the background, you can see them setting up a tent in the Italian Gardens. Therefore, we weren't really able to roam there.

Photo 3: The Pergola and the background shows the lawn that was the former lawn tennis court. Every multi-billionaire had to have one!

Photo 4: The South Terrace.

Photo 5: Me on the South Terrace. Check out the mountains in the background!









THE GHOSTS OF GEORGE AND EDITH VANDERBILT?


These folks were strolling around the grounds ...


Thursday, October 18, 2007

ERIN AND MEGAN'S BIG ADVENTURE

It all started innocently enough a few months back. Erin and I were talking about traveling ... what we want to see ... what we like to do ... all of our dreams for traveling ...

Come to find out, we LOVE the same sorts of things ... want to see the same sorts of things ... want to do the same sorts of things ...

"So, why don't we plan a trip somewhere?"

That was all it took for Erin, who believes Samantha Brown of the Travel Channel fame has stolen her true job, to begin the planning of ERIN AND MEGAN'S BIG ADVENTURE.

We had originally thought that Memphis would be a riot. Then, Erin said the magic words ... "Or, we could go to the Biltmore in North Carolina?"

That was it! I was sold! You see, this summer, I'd listened to another teacher go on and on and on about the amazing scenery at the Biltmore.

BOOK IT!

The following pictures are of our little road trip. What a freakin' riot!

MONDAY ... OUR NORTH CAROLINA ROAD TRIP BEGINS!







Photo #1: This is Erin as we leave my neighborhood. The trip has officially begun!!!




Photos #2: I quickly became OBSESSED with views we were seeing all around us. They were amazing. I think I took 20+ shots of JUST the scenery along the highway. How sad is that?

MORE OBSESSIVE SHOTS OF THE SCENERY ... ON THE WAY TO NC!






THE BILTMORE MCDONALDS





Photos taken from a McDonalds right outside of the Biltmore Gates ... supposedly the classiest McDonalds in the world ... made all the more classy by Erin and myself!




THE BILTMORE ESTATE


Approach Road is what you take to get to the "house" itself. What a view when you walk onto the Esplande! I am standing on a graduated staircase on the Rampe Doulce (gentle incline) that overlooks the Front Lawn. That is some front lawn!
The thing that struck me was the wildness of the mountains intermixed with the sheer opulence of this "house," which hardly seems to accurately describe this place ... breathtaking!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I'M SORRY OFFICER. DID I DO SOMETHING WRONG?

So I have a question for the great, cosmic blogosphere ...

I went to the Walmart in the neighboring town (some 10 to 15 miles away) because A.) my Walmart is a MAD-HOUSE on Saturdays, or pretty much ANY day of the week .... and B.) I just didn't feel like running into any of my kids (or their parents) today ...

So I pulled into the parking lot, grabbed my list, and headed on in for what ended up being a VERY pleasant experience at Walmart. But that should be saved for another blog ...

As I emerged from Walmart, into the bright, sunny, fall afternoon, I witnessed a Kentucky State Trooper, with his lights flashing, ticketing someone, IN A WALMART PARKING SPOT. Clearly, the trooper had nabbed him or her speeding out on 127, but I think, the offending driver had hoped to evade the officer by whipping neatly into the Walmart parking lot.

Not so much ...

Now, to the meat of my blog ... what does one say as one sits in one's parking spot (a very nice one, I might add, right near the entrance) to the officer as he asks one for one's driver's license and proof of insurance?

I really am not trying to be snarky here, folks. I want to know as a citizen that has been pulled over twice in the last three years ... the first time being on I-65 in Louisville as I was, apparently, speeding home from a very bad interview in Tennessee, and the second time being in Indianapolis a week ago today! I want to be prepared for what I know will be an inevitability later on in my life ... how much later remains to be seen ...

Inquiring minds want to know how one talks oneself out of a ticket sitting in the Walmart parking lot as one has been unsuccessful up to this point in talking oneself out of tickets (the snotty officer in Louisville would not hear of it ... the trooper in Indiana saw the error of his ways before I could come up with a suitable "but officer" whine, and let me go without even asking for my driver's license).

I mean, how does that play out?

"Officer, it's the funniest thing! My foot just gets really heavy the closer I get to Walmart. Doctors are stumped!"

Or ...

"We've got a toilet paper issue at home, sir. I'm sorry I was speeding, but I left my hubby on the pot waiting for some bum fodder. His reading material is only going to last just so long."

Perhaps ...

"Officer, could I introduce you to P.M.S.? MUST .... HAVE ... CHOCOLATE!!!!!"

What about ...

"Speeding? Isn't that all relative, according to Plato?"

BUTTERY SUNSHINE


OUCH! THAT HURTS!

There are a lot of things I took for granted when I was growing up in my little small town in south-central Michigan. One of those things?

Apple orchards ...

They are all over the place in my home town area. Johnny Appleseed really liked Michigan.

It was a given that every Sunday afternoon in the fall, we went out and got a bag of apples and a jug of cider. Period.

I can still remember the smell in Mr. Blodgett's cinder block building ... all the sweet smells of apples in those rickety old apple crates ... oh, and it was cold in there! The only thing there to keep you warm was an ancient pot belly stove. But you've never seen a more beautiful place to buy apples!

I moved down here to Kentucky and just assumed that I would be able to find all sorts of apple orchards. Not the case! Johnny Appleseed must not have been so taken by Kentucky.

Not only aren't there many orchards, the orchards you do find are SUPER expensive. Let me give you an example ....

Yesterday, I drove approximately 12 miles to a popular orchard, grabbed 13 apples suitable for pie-making (not all went into the pie, by the way) and a 1/2 gallon jug of cider, and headed to the cash register, at which point, the highway robbery began. I paid $10.55 for 13 apples and a 1/2 gallon jug of cider!

When I was home visiting last week, my mother paid $7.50 for a gallon jug of cider and a 1/2 peck of apples, which equates to about 30 apples, give or take.

Ahhhh! I miss Michigan apple orchards ...

Oh well, as my parents pointed out, our gas is cheaper down here than in my old neck of the woods. I guess it all works out.

Friday, October 12, 2007

7 FREAKIN' 30 IN THE MORNING!

I had about 600 miles left until my next oil change. However, because no one believes in Saturday hours, I felt like, since I had the time off, I might as well get that little task ticked off the TO DO LIST ... if for no other reason than to give myself a sense of accomplishment.

So, on Monday, I called my mechanic, and here is how the conversation went ...

Me: "Yes, I am calling to see if you have any appointments for Friday for an oil change."

Receptionist: Yes ma'am. Why don't you bring your truck in at 7:30 a.m."

Me: Well, I'm off that day. So, I was hoping to just wait while the oil change is happening."

Receptionist: "Yes ma'am. Bring it on in at 7:30, and I'll put it down that you'll be a waiter."

Me: "7:30 A.M.? On my day off?"

Receptionist: "Yes ma'am."

Me: "I'm so not taking a shower before I come!"

Thursday, October 11, 2007

HUBER FARMS AND WINERY

Erin, Christy, Kim and I (all teachers from Second Street) went to Huber Farms and Winery for a day out in nature. It's in Starlite, Indiana, ... just a jaunt to Louisville, over the river, and a mile or 20 up the road, depending on whether you are paying attention to the road signs, which we weren't.

We had a great time! Loads of fun, despite the TWO tour buses full of grumpy old ladies that wanted to take us down at the homemade bread lines! They were crusty old biddies!

I came home with a jar of overpriced strawberry rhubarb preserves ... YUMMY ... and a loaf of hand-rolled cinnamon bread and a loaf of caramel apple nut bread. Both breads are amazing broiled with butter.

Photos of our TEACHERS GONE WILD IN THE ORCHARD follow this one, including a gourd study ... especially for Carrie and Tuohy, because one of them commented on my last gourd.

HUBER FARMS II







Top: The four of us in front of one of the MANY wagons full of pumpkins.
Center: Erin getting her photo taken
Bottom: An action shot ... Erin taking a photo of Christy
My apologies to Kim. I could have SWORN I took one of Kim, but it's not on my camera. What the heck!?