Monday, September 29, 2008

VACATION: DAY ONE

Mission: To unwind, debrief, decompose, and not think of school at all ...
Achievement? Mission accomplished ... sort of ...

Today, I had a morning to myself. So, I decided to do a little antiquing at some of my favorite shops in the next town over. Oh, I'm so, so excited because I found two more of my spaghetti string glasses at one of my FAVORITE shops called AMAZING GRACE ANTIQUES, and, an even better thing was that I both glasses for $5.00!!! YIPPEE!!!! My collection continues to grow!

I did think of school very briefly today ... when I bought two Mad Libs books for my classroom. Other than that, no thoughts of school entered this weary brain.

I had lunch with my mother, and the food actually tasted good and didn't sit like a rock in my stomach. Yay for real food.

I stepped on the scales this morning and discovered that I'd lost a total of 8 pounds! Yippee some more!

It's gotten cool here in Michigan -- I'm freezing, of course! Darn all the sandals I brought!

The only thing weighing heavily on my mind right now is the awful financial situation our country is in right now. I'm wondering if I should take all my money out of the bank and bury it in a coffee can out in my backyard ...

Other than that, what a great first day of vacation ... I'm beginning to feel a little bit of an unwind occurring.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

LANDING IN MICHIGAN

Well, I've landed in Michigan, no thanks to the State of Indiana.

Don't get me wrong. Nothing against you all living in Indiana, but seriously, your state is boring. B.O.R.I.N.G.

I knew I was in trouble when, after I'd crossed the Ohio River and the Indiana line, I said, out loud, to no one in particular, "I'm bored."

At that point, I'd been on the road 45 minutes. I had 5 hours and 15 minutes left to go. "Please, just shoot me now!"

Indiana is one giant corn field, and good grief, when you've seen one corn field, you've seen them all ... unless, of course, you've managed to get a corn field on the vertical face of a mountain. Then I'm all about seeing that business.

The highlight of my trip, ladies and gentlemen? The hand dryer in the ladies restroom at the Speedway in Auburn, Indiana. The same Speedway that every citizen in Indiana decided to stop at with me, I guess as a sort of welcoming committee ... except for the ding-bat at head of me that parked his truck at a diagonal, so the the other 15 million people trying to get into or out of the gas station couldn't it. He wasn't very welcoming -- I suggest he be let go of any further "welcoming" duties.

But I digress ... the hand dryer ... it's one of those new jet engines that blows the water, and first three layers of your skin off of your hands in under a minute. It actually pushed the skin around on my hands showing the outlines of veins and bone! The poor lady waiting for me to exit the restroom, just about wet herself, I'm afraid, while I stood in there and played.

That's just how exciting that drive was!


Friday, September 26, 2008

MY OBVIOUS SILENCE

There's a reason for my silence. It's called STOMACH FLU FROM HELL. I had it. Five pounds later, I'm now working my way back to life with dry toast and Popsicles.

It hit me in the early hours of Thursday morning, garbage day. Yeah, I lost my garbage can because it was windy yesterday, and when one is spending one's time voiding one's body of anything remotely liquid, well, let's just say, one isn't too concerned with where one's garbage can ends up. Hopefully, it found a good home.

I missed a field trip to the old Capitol with my class yesterday -- I'm sure I've ingratiated myself to that sub. I also missed all the fun and frivolity of rewards day today. Rumor has it there was a dunking booth. I was planning on missing today anyway as I was suppose to be at the Kentucky Reading Association annual conference where I was going to meet Brian Selznick. Yeah, that never happened. That totally sucks.

I eagerly look forward to the day that I can look solid foods in the eye again without feeling completely disgusted ... I'm sure that day will come soon ... right?






Tuesday, September 23, 2008

TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM

Last night, we had Family Fun Night here at the school. "Fun Night" equates to dodge ball in all its various forms. I'm not sure how fun it really is, but the kids get a kick out of it. So, let the games begin.

There are a number of variations on the game: a parents against teachers round (three, actually), kids against teachers (again, 3 rounds), and a teachers against the principal round.

Now, there's a certain strategy I use for dodge ball, and that is, run around in the back, dodging balls, and let every one else throw the balls. That usually serves me well, until I'm the "last man standing," as was the case last night. Now, here's where it gets really ugly. You see, I throw like a girl. So, when I'm the last one out on the floor, and there are five parents that are looking to clobber you, and your principal is hollering at the top of his competitive lungs, "GO MISS MURRAY, GO!" One has no other recourse but to throw a ball or two ... badly. Oh it was an awful display of nonathletic prowess, culminating in me bending down to grab a ball, and one of our prominent OB/GYN docs, a gentle man known for his caring and kind bedside manner, lobbed one ... directly at my face!

Oh yeah! I took one for the team.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

VACATION DREAMIN'

In one week, I go on vacation. I can not wait. I am sooooo ready.

Maddie has a caretaker all lined up. She'd better not show her true colors either. She'd better be a thoroughly delightful kitty.

I'm already making a list of things I need to pack ... the books I want to bring with me ... I'm so exhausted, the reality is, I will probably sleep every chance I get. How depressing is that?

Considering the amount of down-time I've spent recently sleeping, it's seriously depressing, but very true.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

LEARNING FROM A TRUE LEARNING COMMUNITY

Our superintendent (he used to be my principal) has a saying, "we need to work smarter not harder." He used to say it all the time last year. In fact, he said it so much, I got sick of hearing it.

But, after today, man! I am soooo on-board with this concept. So on board, that I am here at school, "working on working smarter not harder," which, yes, does seem like a slight oxymoron considering I'm at school on a Saturday, but I felt like, while I had the thoughts fresh in my mind, I should come in and get the things done that I need to get done.

Today was the shot in the arm I needed. I gathered with a group of soul mates for our follow up Bluegrass Writing Project, and actually learned from my learning community! Here are some things I plan to do based on all the stuff I gleaned from everyone today.

1. I'm tossing the old lesson plan book. That thing is an albatross around my neck and drives me crazy. I have a new template thanks to two ladies from my group, that I can now actually staple to my bulletin board and look at all week long! The pages will then get stapled into my "old book" at the end of the week, in case someone needs to look at them and verify that I've been doing my job!

2. I'm downsizing on my "teacher bag." I will no longer carry a GIANT bag full of stuff. If it doesn't fit into the small bag I plan to switch to, it doesn't need to be done.

3. I'm going back to the basics. I'm not doing anything wild and crazy ... I'm not trying to blaze a path. I'm doing what works for me and my students, not some crazy "in a perfect world" program.

4. I'm recycling the piles next to my computer. Seriously, they've been buried here for weeks. I doubt, at this point, I'm going to need anything from the piles any more.

5. If it's not absolutely necessary to my personal life or my life as a teacher, it's not being saved ... period.

AHHHH! I feel so free already.

Watch out world! I am on fire once again!

Friday, September 19, 2008

CURRENT BLACK CAT STATS

Treadmill ... walked 2 miles in 41.47 minutes. By my count, that's 1.8 minutes better than yesterday.

Crunches ... did 60 of them. Was going for 100 today, but I felt like crap, and at that point, felt like serious crap. 60 was all I could muster.

Quad weight machine i.e., a sorrier version of the Total Gym at the PT's ... I did 70, folks. 70. At PT, I only managed 40. I hated that machine. My knee was screaming at me when I was done, but Michael always told me that the thing that would make the knee healthier was stronger quads. Not sure if he would have endorsed the 70 reps. However, considering how into pain Caleb always was, I'm pretty sure he'd smile devilishly.

Went home ... ate dinner ... crashed in my papasan chair ... slept for two hours. T.W.O.


FREEDOM

FREEDOM
Dropping clumsily into the water
Stretching tense arms skyward
Feeling every ounce of the day
resting heavy on weary shoulders
Wrestling a body to chop through the water
Willing a mind to stop
Quieting my thoughts while
cutting through the slick of aqua ripples
One stroke after another, evening out, becoming smooth
Slowing down, breathing less
Focusing on this moment ... suspended ... in space ... in water ... one ... moment ... at ... a ... time ...
Freedom .... freedom ... freedom ...


NOT REALLY FEELIN' IT

I'm not really feelin' it today, but I'm forcing myself to go to the gym. I'm just so tired, and I feel like I'm coming down with some sort of head funk again. Oh great!

Oh well ...

Wish I could go crawl into bed after the gym, but I've got to get some things together for a Bluegrass Writing Project meeting tomorrow. Nothing like waiting til the last minute.

Oh well ...

I need to go grocery shopping. I can see the all the way to the back of my refrigerator ... I can see all the way to the bottom of my refrigerator ... from the top shelf. I think that constitutes as "bare."

Oh well ...

As I tell my students, sometimes we've got to do what we don't want to do ... we've just got to suck it up and do it.

Oh well ...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

THE CHASE CONTINUES

Walked two miles in 43.21 minutes at a top speed of 3.2 mph. Oh yeah, baby! It is sooooooo on!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

FEELING SORT OF VIOLATED

I swam for almost an hour at the Y today ... YAY for me!

The lifeguard was someone I've not seen there before.

He kept watching me. Intently ...

Actually, he kept watching "the girls" ... intently.

Insert heavy sigh now ...

I wanted to tell him to knock it off. Then I wanted to shout "They're not flotation devices!!! Don't even go there!"

Then I decided to think of it as him studying my terrific swimming form. Envying my amazing backstroke. Wondering at the speed of my front stroke sans kicking action.

Yeah ... I'm sure that's what it was ...


FURTHER PROOF SHE'S LOST HER MIND

Chlorine is a kitty aphrodisiac.

I know this because my left foot has all kinds of kitty slobber all over it after Maddie the Cat made out with it upon my arrival home from the Y's pool.

I swear! How do I end up with these odd-ball animals? It certainly can't be that I ATTRACT such ridiculousness, can it?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

TRUCK MAINTENANCE 101

Somewhere in Homer, Michigan, John and Denise are smacking their heads on hard surfaces at the mere idea of me blogging about this, honestly. They were the ones responsible for my truck's good health prior to my move down here. I'm sure they worry about it's health now that I'm left to my own devices.

Honestly, I've got too much in my head. There isn't any more room for stuff like TRUCK MAINTENANCE. It makes my head hurt to even pause and ponder what I might be missing ... like the fact that I'm probably 10,000 miles over in the rear differential department. What the heck is a rear differential, and why should I care about it?

And now my father has commenced to smacking his head on a hard surface, mumbling incoherently, "she needs a keeper ... she needs a keeper ..."

Today, I took my truck in for an oil change. That's as "vehicle maintenance" as I get until a light starts flashing on my dashboard. Then I get all WHACK JOB on it, and lose my mind due to lack of knowledge where cars are concerned.

So, the mechanic stuck his head in the door, and was all, "Ummm ... you really need a tune up ... new spark plugs. I bet your mileage is crap."

You know, come to think of it, he's right. My truck has been sucking up gas like it's going out of style. With 6 year old spark plugs, having never had a tune up, and 69,000 + miles, yes, I think we need to do that.

How do people keep it all straight? I have a file folder with all that crap in it, but I never look at. Good grief! I'm not sure I could put my fingers on it right now.

What I need is an entire windshield full of those sticky things that tell me when my oil change needs to occur. If I had one of those sticky things for every single maintenance thing I needed to do, I would be golden! Okay, yes, I wouldn't be able to see the roadway, but my truck would be in good health!






A FINAL FAREWELL TO PHYSICAL THERAPY

Well, I bid a fond farewell to the physical therapy place today ... in the form of one final check. Good grief, the number of checks I've written to that place!

Anyway, I asked the office staff if I could just chat with Michael the PT real quickly. I wanted to let him know how I was doing, and I wanted to thank him for the great care he took of me while I saw him ... weekly ... three times weekly ... for three looooooooong months. God bless him, he put up with my whining and moodiness where this whole knee thing was concerned. He found out rather quickly that I just don't like being told no. I really don't. Really, he earned every penny he received for his work with me over this past summer.

Michael gave me a big hug when he saw me, and immediately asked me how the knee was doing. When I told him Dr. S's diagnosis, he replied, "You're way too young for that."

I'm sorry, but is he not the most intelligent man ever? Okay, yes, his assessment might have had something to do with the fact that he is the same age as me, but still, smart, smart, man!

He imparted on me his final piece of wisdom, "Stay strong. That's the only way to beat this. You get strong, and you're going to get fit and healthy, and you'll be amazed at how well that knee is doing."

From God's mouth to Michael the PT's lips ... take that, Black Cat!






Monday, September 15, 2008

THE PICTURE OF PRODUCTIVITY

I left school at 3:30 p.m.

Yes, you read that correctly. That was a three, another three, and a zero.

3:30 p.m.

In the seven years I've done this gig, I don't think I've ever made it out of a school building at 3:30 p.m. unless:

a.) There was a fire in the building (who could forget the 14 days of hell that proceeded that little third floor fire, started by a kid that both Carrie and I had, by the way ... we were so proud!).

b.) Early release due to snow ... and lots of it. None of this grass still poking up through the ground business.

c.) I was sick or heading to a doctor's appointment, or most recently, a physical therapy appointment.

Well, that's all changing, folks. This chic has gotten good and mad, and I'm fussin' up one side and down the other! Up the side of what? Well, I'm not sure, but I'm fussin' cuz that's what we do down here in Kentucky, and that's how I roll now.

Today, I hit the gym for an hour and a half work out. It was a good one too. Okay, yes, THE KNEE was the size of a grapefruit when it was all done, but that's nothing a little ice can't fix ... and some heat ... and some Motrin ... and maybe some of the "strong stuff" Dr. B gave me.

Then, I headed home to whip up a quiche that would rock your world, I mean to tell you! Ham, cheese, red bell pepper, little bit of chive, homemade crust ... yes, I said H.O.M.E.M.A.D.E. ... oh yeah! That's what I'm talking about.

Bills have been paid. Stamps, with extra postage, have been stamped. Dishes are done. Laundry is churning. I even managed a run to the pharmacy for more Advair, because heaven help me, I need to breathe!

It is on, Black Cat. It is on!






Sunday, September 14, 2008

DID YOU HEAR SOMETHING?

So we had 60 MPH winds all day today. High Wind Advisory .... ummm ... you think?

I lost power ... I got bored ... I napped ... all day long ... the roof lost shingles ... the complex lost a tree ... countless neighbors lost garbage cans, toys and balls,
and various a sundry flotsum and jetsum.

PHOTO #1: This used to be the tree that one of my neighbors sat under with her little boys ... not anymore. My next door neighbor's car is in the foreground there ... not that you care, but I thought I'd share. PHOTO #2: The front of my townhouse (my door is the one with the wreath on it). Notice the shingles standing on end over my neighbor's bedroom. Hmmm ... I'm relatively sure shingles aren't designed to do that!


CHASING THE BLACK CAT ALL OVER AGAIN

Yesterday, Erin asked me if I would walk the Black Cat Chase with her this year.

For those of you that read this blog with any degree of regularity, you will know that I walked the 5K run/walk YMCA fundraiser, called The Black Cat Chase, last year, and that it was that race that was the final straw for THE KNEE. From that point on, I dealt with swelling and pain ... swelling, that when Carrie came down to visit in March, was evident THROUGH the pair of jeans I was wearing!! The Black Cat Chase caused me seven months of denying there was an issue only to have three months of physical therapy, dealing with Sadists in the PT gym, numerous visits to my orthopedic surgeon, an MRI, and, as an added bonus, reaching my OUT OF POCKET limit on my insurance ... those insurance folks hate me, just so you know.

So, yeah, sign me up for the Black Cat Chase one more time!

"Seriously," you're saying to yourself right now. "Is she really that stupid?"

No, my logical processing abilities are not the point here.

No, the point is that I've reached my limit of living life in this building called school. The point is I've reached the limit of my entire identity being wrapped in TEACHER. I'm so much more than the building and the title.

I've reached that place in my life where I am going to be all out selfish and do this life for me ... because I deserve it ... because I earned the right to breathe the air ... because I've earned the right to enjoy being in the moment.

I don't know what it is about us women, but sometimes we function in this I HAVE TO BE EVERYTHING TO EVERY ONE BUT NOTHING TO MYSELF world. I'm sorry, how can I be anything to anyone without taking care of myself?

Yes, it's taken me this point in my life to realize it's okay to take care of me. Period.

So, I have a month ... exactly a month and one week ... to get my self stronger than I am right now. To be crazy insane ready to walk this Black Cat Chase, and I'm going to do it, because I am strong and I can do this and I deserve to do this ...

As I think about a relationship with a man ... one day ... I hope it happens ... I think about the person I am. How can I possibly build a healthy relationship with him, whoever he is, if I'm not healthy now ... in every spectrum of that word ... how can I be a good friend ... a good daughter ... a good teacher ... a good person ... a good partner, if I'm denying myself the basic needs of spiritual, physical, and mental health and fitness?

So, it starts right here ... right now.

BRING IT ON BLACK CAT. I am sooooo ready for you!






Saturday, September 13, 2008

THE WOMEN

I went to see THE WOMEN today with Erin.

Ladies, this is a totally cool CHIC FLICK! We both loved it. Laughed all the way through it. Of course, it helped that Erin dropped five pieces of popcorn down her shirt as the lights dimmed ... you know when they are showing the DON'T TALK THROUGH THE MOVIE trailer? Yeah. We were reduced to childish, girlie giggles before the movie had even started, but I gotta tell you, the laughing didn't stop with Erin fishing popcorn out of her bra.

This was a hysterical movie with loads of funny dialogue as well as some pretty profound moments. For me, it was when Candace Bergen's character told Meg Ryan's character to be selfish. Do what you want to do ... man! Did that resonant with me right now!

It also brought up a great conversation later on in the day when I asked if Erin would ever be able to take Joe back if he cheated on her. I'm not so sure I could be big enough to do that ... take someone back after they cheated on me. I'm afraid I might just lose my mind and get all VENGEFUL WENCH BAG on the sorry sap.

Anyway, I'm giving the movie an A just because it caused us to laugh and talk about pretty heavy stuff. Plus, the fashion was just plain cool!


BIG THOUGHTS I'M THINKING THIS SATURDAY

Seriously, folks, if you've not figured it out already, my BIG THOUGHTS are usually likened to a societal belch of sorts. Really. Nothing Earth-shattering ... nothing that's going to come close to solving world peace ... just my big thoughts, such as they are.

Big Thought #1 ...
I fell into the pit of the pop culture cess-pool (how the HECK do you spell cess pool anyway???? You'd think I'd know this ...) this morning, when I made a mental note, out loud, mind you, to The Cat, that I was going to have to look for the new NKOTB CD, cuz I've been all about SUMMERTIME (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25qiZy7vmqY) and SINGLE. That, ladies and gentlemen, has caused me to slip to the bottom of the "coolness" barrel, unless you're a 5th grader who likes to draw hearts and Superman insignias on your skin tight Jordache's, which, by the way, I don't. Yep. I feel fairly certain that a few select friends of mine have now lost a bit of respect for me. But let's face it, Wahlberg is a hottie 40-something, and dude, looks good. I wanna be ripped (in a girlie way) when I'm 40-something ... hmmm ... got three and a half years for that -- guess I'd better put that on my list.

Big Thought #2 ...
I finally figured out what was causing the frizzies in my hair, and it only took 36 years and my latest issue of Glamour to help me with this ground-breaking information. I've been blow-drying my hair UP rather than DOWN. OH! Yet another fashion memo I never received. Good grief! No wonder I've not gotten the sleek look Susan or Stan the Man always achieves. Of course, this does now mean I must some how work my body into contortionist-type poses in order to correctly blow dry my medium-blonde tresses, but hey, anything for beauty, right?

Big Thought #3 ...
I've allowed my workouts to go by the wayside again. In an effort to keep my knee, and thus all the other important parts, healthy, I've GOT to be committed. Otherwise, like the cricket I slammed in my living room window last night before bed, and who was still alive this morning, sans one large leg, I will limp through life, oozing green goo.

Big Thought #4 ...
Why has no one invented a coffee maker that works with ESP??? I could make millions on this stuff! Seriously!

Big Thought #5 ...

Why has no one come with MAIL ORDER HUSBANDS that cook and clean. I would be all over that service. Seriously! Although, as one of my married friends said, "Wait! They have those!?!? I think my order got screwed up!"

So those are my BIG THOUGHTS ...

My head's a scary place, isn't it?




Friday, September 12, 2008

PLEASE, I WANT TO GAG

I absolutely love living in the land of bourbon and thoroughbreds! The scenery is amazing, the people are sweet as they can be, and, I've got to tell you, this place ... this amazing place has become my home. I can't imagine living anywhere else.

However, there's something I will never, hear me when I say this, NEVER get used to ...

... the horrible, wretched, disgusting smell of sour mash!

I absolutely HATE the smell of sour mash in the air. It makes me physically sick. If inhaling the foul aroma of sour mash and feeling your stomach do flip-flops in your stomach comes any where close to morning sickness, then every time I inhale it, I'm morning sick!

Living not even a half mile away from Jim Beam and working just across the river from Buffalo Trace, well, let's just say, I'm twice "blessed," and I use that term VERY loosely.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

CALLING CHINA

For the last week and a half, I have been trying, rather unsuccessfully, to call my mechanic to schedule an oil change appointment. Each time I call, it rings and rings and rings, and then nothing.

Today, my butt was really starting to get chapped. I had pretty much decided that I was driving myself and my truck over to the mechanic's and demanding an audience when I decided to just peek at the number my phone has been calling ... did I mention I've been trying to call them for a week and a half?

Someone had broken into my cell phone and changed the numbers, because the 2 and the 0 were transposed. Seriously, that's the only possible explanation I have for why the transposition took place. I mean, I couldn't have done something that silly .... and not noticed it ... for an entire week and a half!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

OWING UNCLE SAM A HOT MESS OF PENNIES

I sent my dad a birthday card last month, and, a few days after receiving said birthday card (with birthday gift announcement on the inside), he called me to thank me.

"By the way," he says. "How much do stamps cost these days?"

"How ever much I slapped on your birthday card. I don't know."

"Clearly, because you stuck a $0.41 stamp on it."

"Postage isn't $0.41 anymore? When did this change occur? Why wasn't I informed?"

My mother pipes in, because they are on speaker phone, "You were informed. We all were. Don't you ever watch the news?"

"Oh I don't care what goes on in the world! I've got too much going on here in my little world! So, you got your card, right? I mean, shoot! I've been mailing all my bills with those stupid stamps. I've got a whole friggin' roll of them. Seriously! WHEN. DID. THIS. HAPPEN."

"I believe it was in May."

"MAY!?!?!"

So, I've been leaving a trail of "you owe $0.01 towards postage" all up and down the Eastern Seaboard all summer long, and I'm sorry, but yes, I'm slightly bitter about the whole thing, because, quite honestly, when Uncle Sam decided to change the postage ... AGAIN ... it was right during the whole END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR HELL ON EARTH THAT DRIVES TEACHERS TO DRINK HEAVY AMOUNTS OF ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING THEY CAN GET THEIR HANDS ON, ESPECIALLY AFTER FIELD DAY time period, and really, who can blame me for not knowing.

And yes, I'm slightly resentful that I didn't know this or other key pieces of information in my daily life. I mean, Mr. Visa really doesn't care that I've not had an afternoon to call my own for a week and a half due to UMPTEEN after-school meetings so I've not had time to go to the bank. Nope. He doesn't care one bit. Nor does Mr. Truck Engine care that I've not had time to get an oil change, let alone actually get a hold of anyone at the garage during the one, 15-minute time period I can actually call them ... or attempt to. I don't have time to vacuum or drag my recycling in, or date! And I'm sorry, but could someone please define THAT word to me, cuz I'm not sure I could form a definition for the word DATE, let alone put it into context.

Nope. Uncle Sam really doesn't care that I can't keep track of his postage changes, but Geez Louise, thank the Lord in heaven for the two AWESOME guys that deliver my mail here, cuz I've received mail that merely had my name and the name of the street, and that's it, sometimes not even in English! Even though, the guy back home in Michigan could list off all of my immediate family members, plus, first, second, and third cousins, and each of their pets' names, but couldn't manage to get my mail delivered to my house even if it had EVERY required letter and number on it. So, extra postage money to my mail guys, who rock my bitter, resentful world.

Now, if you will excuse me, Zen Megan must go find a bag of Skittles to ravage ...


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

SEASON OF THE MIGRAINE ... FEELING FALL IN THE AIR ... AND OTHER DRIED OUT THOUGHTS

I'm so tired.

I can't even think straight.

I was awakened at 4 a.m. to the sound of distant thunder, but, like a nun in a whore house (it's at this point my mother turns to my father and says, "this is all your fault, you realize. I tried to raise ladies ..."), it didn't stick around long. In fact, I don't believe the thunder actually rested over our fair city ... nor did the rain, for that matter. So all of that for me to be exhausted and cranky? Hmmm .... I'm not digging that, not one little bit.

But there seems to be a chill in the air, which, I must admit, makes me feel sort of sad, and at recess, when I wasn't telling someone to STOP THROWING THAT BALL NEAR THE WALL ... HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT ... I'M NOT RUNNING OUT INTO TRAFFIC TO GET IT ONE MORE TIME ... I also realized that the trees are starting to have "that look" about them ... the FALL LOOK. I really like fall, don't get me wrong. It reminds me of bonfires and fall leaf pick ups (which, as an adult, I HATED with a passion, by the way) and warm, woolly sweaters, and apples and hot cider and homemade doughnuts and all things Michigan.

However, where did my summer go?

I don't feel like I did anything fun ... didn't travel anywhere exotic, unless you count the paved path we took to get to an out of the way church somewhere in Madison County, where I'm relatively sure, if stopped, the good neighbors would have worded their greeting this way, "Ya'll aren't from 'round hyar, are ya? Might better get on about your business."

If you count that as exotic, then I've been one place exotic this summer.

Anyway, I try not to get caught up in the minutiae of stuff, but, lately, I feel like I've not done a good job of shaking off the stuff.

I've said it before, and I'll state it again. I want to get to the end of this life and say, "I lived it to the fullest and enjoyed every last bit of it."

I don't want to ever dig complacency.

Perhaps it's my exhaustion talking ... or the fact that I have enough grading to last me until the wee hours of the night ... or maybe the recent "our standardized scores have just hit the air waves and how many more hours can we all work to make them go up" lecture ... whatever it is, I sometimes feel like I'm missing something ... a lot of something.

Any way, I don't want to miss an opportunity to stop and smell the roses ... or, in this particular case, their moldy, dried-up remanents.


Monday, September 08, 2008

YOU KNOW YOU'RE TIRED WHEN ...

You know you're tired when you run an entire load of ... well, of water and laundry soap sans a stitch of clothing in the washing machine, with the washer lid in the UP RIGHT POSITION for both the wash and rinse cycles, and then, when you walk to the washing machine, you wonder where all your water has gone!

There's a few gallons of water I will never get back. So much for Going Green ...

NO WORDS

I had a whole blog planned out ... wrote it in my head on the drive home. Even started writing it here moments ago, but abandoned the whole idea.

Sometimes, there just aren't enough words in the English language to explore the magnitude of feelings washing over a person in ebbs and flows ... like some sort of crazy, insane wave.

Sometimes, there are just too many words jumbling together in a heap of reckless abandon, and there's no possible way to make it all come to some sort of logical conclusion.

So, instead, I leave the words behind, breathe a deep sigh, and wait for the shower of Skittles. I want a freakin' torrential down pour of those little Rainbows of Flavor!


Sunday, September 07, 2008

STINKY BOYS

I teach fourth grade ... this fact hasn't bypassed any of you, I know. Yet, still I thought I'd restate that fact for the story I'm about to tell.

You see, last Thursday was GYM day, and that's a BIG FREAKIN' DEAL when you're a fourth grader. I lined the kiddos up and started them down the hallway when Greg (not his real name), whipped around and said, "OH! I forgot something. Can I go back to my locker?"

The kid was wearing Crocs (I'm not even going to begin to tell you how many different kinds of wrong THAT is). So, I assumed he was going back for tennis shoes. When he jogged down to the rest of us, he was still wearing those stupid Crocs.

"I forgot to put on my deodorant," he whispered to me.

"Oh," I nod.

"Miss Murray, why do you need deodorant for personal hygiene?"

"Well, it keeps you from being stinky." That Fourth Grade Funk is a killer!

"But why does that matter?" Greg asked as we met Mr. Howard, our gym teacher at the door. Now, Mr. Howard is a "fresh out of college" guy, and he's adorable, and I was relatively sure, he would have some experience with what I was about to tell Greg.

"Well, Greg," I said, as I put my hand on his shoulder. "It matters because girls just don't like stinky boys. Just ask Mr. Howard."

"What's that?" Mr. Howard says.

"Mr. Howard, isn't it true? Girls just don't like stinky boys and that's why boys should wear deodorant?"

Mr. Howard nodded his head solemnly. "Dude. It's true. Girls DO NOT like stinky boys."

And that, my friends, is another arrow in my quiver of GRIME FIGHTING IN THE FOURTH GRADE.


BEING BORED WITH OPERATION STOP THE CLUTTER


I'm the brains of the operation. Come to think of it, I'm the muscle of the operation too. She's the ... well, she's the ... hmmm ... is she even a contributing member of this household?

Wait! That's right!

She's the lump of feline flesh that occasionally gets in the way of OPERATION STOP THE CLUTTER and most of the time displays her displeasure at EVERYTHING.

That's what part of the operation she is!


Saturday, September 06, 2008

PRETENDING I'M HIP

OPERATION STOP THE CLUTTER ... PHASE TWO COMPLETE

Phase 2 is complete, and I have BEFORE and AFTER photos to prove it.

Mother, try not to be too horrified when you see some of the BEFOREs. It's much better now, I promise!

THE BEFORE


THE AFTER

OPERATION STOP THE CLUTTER

It's 7:40 a.m., and I'm getting ready to head downstairs into my newly organized and uncluttered kitchen. I will have to stumble past all the clutter in the living-dining room combo on the way to the kitchen, but thank goodness, the kitchen is done!

Today, OPERATION STOP THE CLUTTER continues in full force. The goal is to get the downstairs free of the clutter, and possibly, get started on the upstairs!

Some coffee, some Kashi Granola (coca beach is yummy!!), and a visit to the Farmer's Market, and I think I may be ready to begin phase 2 of OPERATION STOP THE CLUTTER.

I will be posting BEFORE and AFTER photos. The BEFOREs are seriously embarrassing and will make my mother mumble under her breath, "Good grief. I taught her to be a better house cleaner than that," but it's all part of the process, folks. All part of the process.

PHASE 2 commencing .... NOW!



Friday, September 05, 2008

COFFEE, CHAOS, AND CLUTTER

So, I just finished a lovely visit with my friend, Micah, over coffee. I love coffee (this fact shouldn't come as a shock to any of my regular readers), and I love hanging with my friend Micah. So, this is a win-win for me ... hopefully, for her too.

With the requisite amount of caffeine in my system, completing that circle of absolute certainty that I would chatter away non-stop until the coffeehouse people kicked me out, I started rambling about how I felt my life was in chaos.

You see, my house has not been organized, clean, and free of clutter for a very, very long time. My classroom has not be organized, clean, and free of clutter for a very, very long time. As a result, I FEEL very cluttered, disorganized, and unclean. "So," I announced to Micah. "I think I'm going to take my house, one room at a time, load all the knick knack clutter crap on my dining room table, and start packing up stuff. I mean, I can change out the knick knacks every once in a while. I don't have to get RID of it all. Just switch it around every so often. I could even inventory everything on a piece of notebook paper and tape it to the side of the box I put it all in."

Oh the vision of me down-sizing, organizing and de-cluttering started coming into focus, and suddenly it hit me! I will start tonight! Yes! It's perfect timing because it's raining (thank goodness ... the dust bowl may be coming to an end). There's nothing for me to do but down-size, re-purpose and get my life back in order. After all, Zen Megan can not possibly catch any Skittles in her mouth when she's screaming maniacally at the top of her lungs!


Thursday, September 04, 2008

A CANDIDATE FOR ME

Say what you will about this year's crop of presidential hoopla, it's been nothing short of ground-breaking, I mean, historically relevent times infinity, as my fourth graders might say!

I'm not sure where you stand on the political fence nor do I really care for that matter. But I doubt anyone will walk away from the November 2008 elections and not be a changed individual for having taken part in their blood-spilled right to exercise democratic freedom. For in my lifetime, I am witness to entire groups of people being represented, for the very first time, by candidates that look, sound, and are just exactly like them.

Case in point ... whatever feelings you may have for Barak Obama, I am excited to see that for once, in this great land I love, there are HUGE groups of people that are finally being represented by a man that KNOWS the fabric of their lives. Never, in their entire history, have they had representation like that. Never! I have a dear friend that I know, probably shed tears of unimagined joy at finally, FINALLY, seeing history in the making .. something, I dare say, she thought she would see. I'm so happy for her!

Case in point ... whatever feelings you may have for Hillary Clinton, did we not see history in the making there, as well? Did we not see a woman, A WOMAN, for heaven's sake, run for president of the United States, an office that white, old men, for centuries have said couldn't be held by someone of color or by a woman? For those women that have fought a long, hard battle to crack the glass ceiling, victory was theirs this year! I have another dear friend that put her sweat and tears into the Hillary campaign. Her dreams were so close to being reality.

Case in point ... finally, a woman, that understands the fabric of MY life and the life of my mother and many of my friends, finally, a woman stood on a national stage last night, and represented me, and what I stand for. It's the very first time I've had the privilege to have someone like that say she'd represent me in Washington. Whatever feelings you may have for Sarah Palin, she is my representative. She makes no apologies for being a small town girl that is perceived to be less than cosmopolitan, and she boldly stands up to the political elite, desiring one thing and one thing only, to shake the Washington machine up.

Candidates that look and sound and live like so many of us ... isn't that what this whole democracy thing was suppose to be about any way?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

TO THE 6 A.M. LOTTERY SHOPPERS

Okay, I'm all about freedom of democracy, but buying 20 lotto tickets while I stand waiting to buy one small bottle of water?

Really?

At 6 a.m., are lotto tickets really necessary?

That's 20 minutes of my life I'm never getting back ... waiting for you to decide which dollar tickets to buy ... really???

And to bring in the entire family? So, each of them could buy twenty? I'm sorry. I HAVE to go to work! Don't you??

Sorry ... maybe it's the cold talking, but you really annoyed me!


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

HEAD COLDS AND POLITICS

I have a friggin' head cold. I'm not sure if its source is kid-related germs or the fact that everything around these parts has dried up and died, and therefore, is simulating a giant dust bowl. Either way, I've been miserable since Saturday.

Today, I had a day full of sneezing, runny nose, raw skin around the nose due to all the nose-blowing (which will lead to a nasty pimple or two, as it always does), and more yawns than I could shake a stick at.

I had initially planned to go to the pool and swim this afternoon after school. However, I was so miserable that after I cleaned up my room a little bit, I came home, wrapped up in a blanket, and promptly took an hour and a half nap.

While it felt good, sadly, I'm still yawning. This doesn't bode well for the rest of the evening.

This head cold has me slightly off kilter and very willing to pick a fight. So it seems fitting that my rambling diatribe on snotty noses would segue into politics.

I got into a discussion of sorts with some folks centering around the fact that Sarah Palin, the VP running mate of John McCain was nothing more than a ploy to gain more female voters, and how manipulated can that process be?

Ummm ... well, duh!
I'm sorry, but not every one's aware of how manipulated politics are? Hello! What rock has every one just crawled out from underneath?

This is one thing in which both Republicans and Democrats (and all points in between) are equal opportunity participators. I mean, why else would Obama have picked a white, old guy as his running mate? Can we say "trying to make ourselves look more palatable to the entire voting public?"

Listen, anyone who doesn't understand the heights (or lows, as some of the cases may be) to which political machines will go to make their candidate "look good and electable," doesn't really live in reality. While I'm not sure this current political production that we must live with day in and day out is exactly what our fore-fathers had in mind, I'm not entirely sure they wouldn't have stooped to some of the same levels. I mean, come on, it's human nature to be greedy, greasy, and morally repugnant. Politics wouldn't survive without moral repugnance.

That last statement? That's going to get me some hate mail, I bet ...


Monday, September 01, 2008

BEING PRODUCTIVE

So, at 4:00 p.m. this afternoon, I decided to be all productive. Better late than never.

I've cleaned my upstairs bathroom (minus the floors) ... I've made 5 dozen homemade chocolate chip cookies ... I've made a broccoli, chicken, and noodle casserole ... cleaned the kitchen ... finished laundry ... wrote an essay for a grant application ...

Wow! Imagine what I could do with a whole day?! Perhaps world peace???