Saturday, November 29, 2008

$3.69 FOR KHAKIS

I walked into a Steve and Barry's empty-handed ... one that's going out of business ... and I walked out with a pair of khakis for $3.69. I never find clearanced, clearanced, clearance that actually fit me. Never!

This is amazingly awesome!

Freakishly thrilling!

A pair of khakis for under $4!?

If you have somehow missed the significance, allow me to explain. I am the Queen of Khakis. I'd live in them ALL THE TIME, if I could find enough to outfit my closet with (and if I didn't think someone would sic Clinton and Stacy on me). To be able to manage a pair for this price .... well, let's just say I'm doing the happy dance ... all over the place!

Monday, November 24, 2008

"WORKAHOLIC, ALWAYS AT SCHOOL"

I received the paper copy of my formative review today. Typically, a teacher, upon completion of the observational report by their principal, has a sit down-meeting with the aforementioned principal, and they discuss the report. Then, after said discussion, the teacher signs the paper copy and goes on his or her merry way.

My principal and I had the sit-down, but he'd not had time to finish the paper copy. I told him it was okay ... "get it to me when you can."

Today, after school, he came in and handed it to me. Here's a direct quote:

"Strengths: Workaholic, always at school, planning, researching, reflecting, communicating, refining ..."

The word that stood out to me was WORKAHOLIC.

I said to a colleague, "Hey Lisa, if your boss uses the word workaholic in your formative review, is that a good thing or a bad thing?"

"I think it's a good thing. As long as the word starts with a WORK... and not an ALCO..., I think you're good."

So, I guess I'm good ... although, I'm wondering if he is asking me to read between the lines ... WORKAHOLIC, sic, doesn't have a life of her own and that's why her house looks like a pig-sty and why she's still not married or at the very least in some sort of relationship."




Sunday, November 23, 2008

HEART ATTACK GRILL DIET CENTER

This place was highlighted on my favorite Sunday morning program, CBS SUNDAY MORNING. Caught it while I was organizing the GIANT STACK OF PAPER.

http://www.heartattackgrill.com/

While I don't believe it will ever be a place I will step into, I couldn't help watching the segment with horrified fascination.

OPERATION THROW OUT THE CRAP

For months, I've been complaining that I live like a pig ... in filth and disorganization. This morning, at 6 a.m., for some inexplicable reason, I'd had enough, and I started purging ... right through the 9 a.m. hour ... that golden hour when I need to jump in the shower and get ready for church. Yeah ... worked right through church. Actually, I'm still working ... just taking a break right now to clear the dust from my nose and eyes ... and possibly grab a quick shower.

So far, I have one garbage bag full and another one on its way to being filled ... five more ready to be filled with Goodwill items, and a guest bedroom that will, hopefully by this evening, be cleaned, organized, and looking more like a room and less like a repository for all things useless.

Here's a photo of my master bedroom "suite" with all the bills I've let stack up over at least an 8-month period. In this photo, they are all in their respective piles and are ready to be filed. Yes, it's shameful, and somewhere out there my mother has developed a nervous tic and my sister has an unexplained rash ... just because they viewed this disaster.





Friday, November 21, 2008

REALLY GRILLING MY CHEESE

One of my students stole from me today.

It wasn't so much what she stole (a glazed donut from the box of donuts that my class won for great attendance this week ... YAY FOR MISS MURRAY'S ROOM!).

No, what really grilled my cheese, as Carrie put it when I was relaying the story to her earlier ... the thing that really grilled my cheese was that she hid in the bathroom while we went out to recess, snuck back into my room after we'd left, grabbed the donut, left HUGE chunks of it all over my floor, and then came outside COVERED in glazed crumbs, including all over her mouth, and LIED TO MY FACE. What chapped my butt was that fact that she thought I was stupid enough to NOT notice glazed donut all over her body and the fact that before we went out to recess there were three donuts, and after recess, there were only two.

That, my dear friends, is what grilled my cheese.



Thursday, November 20, 2008

I CAN NAME THAT TUNE IN THREE NOTES

The title of the entry has nothing to do with the actual content ... other than to serve as a visual aid for how my brain is feeling right now.

Three words for you, oh faithful blogosphere ...

PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCES
Is it necessary for me to say more?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

HOLIDAY DAZE ... IT'S HOVERING

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent ... or not so innocent.

Every year, I'm amazed how quickly my students' behavior deteriorates the closer we get to the holidays. I think, because of the over-marketing that occurs each year and especially this year, my kids have decided to lose their minds earlier than usual.

That's the only way to explain Simon's* decision yesterday.

I am desperately trying to get reading levels on all of my kids before parent teacher conferences, which occur tomorrow, by the way. Yesterday, I gave them three tasks that would require them to work quietly -- that way I could work on the reading assessments.

I look up, at one point in the morning, to witness Simon, desk wide open, and his head ALL THE WAY in the desk. On further inspection, I discovered all contents of said desk were on the floor.

"SIMON! What are you doing?"

"Cleaning my desk," with a look of complete and total confusion as to why I could possibly be fussing at him for this.

"Where does CLEAN YOUR DESK fit into a list that starts with FINISH YOUR READING ASSIGNMENT and ends with WORK ON YOUR FEATURE ARTICLE!?!?"

He shrugs his shoulders. Considering he'd not finished either, he was powerless to come up with a good explanation for this.

So, I jam my finger toward the tab chart, and he dejectedly walks over to flip yet another tab.

Seriously!?!? The Holiday Daze has settled over my fourth grade classroom.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

BEST QUOTE OF THE DAY

As five middle school girls were gearing up/winding up for another annoying round of cheers in the middle school science room, our middle school science teacher said, "Ummm, girls. Remember the rules?"

"Yes," they all replied in cheerleading cheeriness and unison.
"No cheering before 10 a.m., and no cheers after 5 p.m."

I laughed my butt off ... right after I showed two thumbs up in support of those beautiful, beautiful rules!



Monday, November 17, 2008

CHECKING OUT THE CONSTRUCTION IN HEAVEN

My grandpa passed away today.

He's in a better place now ... reunited with Grandma and Uncle Tim.

My grandfather was an excellent woodworker. That's where my dad gets it from, I suppose ... in the genes. Grandpa checked out the workmanship of everything! Always commenting on things he thought were exceptional examples of good workmanship and as well as on things that were just plain crap.

I expect Grandpa is up there right now, inspecting the workmanship ... tapping things with his foot ... looking them over with his eagle eye ... declaring it all good.




Saturday, November 15, 2008

SOPPY, CLOUDY, COLD SATURDAY ... GOOD FOR A BOOK CURL-UP

Well, the hearty brown rice and kielbasa soup is on the stove (my own creation) bubbling away. The coffee has been warmed, and the laundry is happily humming away in the washer. I'm ready for an evening in ... surrounded by the coziness of books and magazines and music and wine and a blanket. Ahhhh ... it sounds heavenly.


Friday, November 14, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DENISE

My dear friend, Denise, celebrated her birthday on Thursday. Now, I was ahead of the game this year (and really, really behind for last year), and brought her birthday present up in October when I was home. However, I never called or emailed her birthday wishes on her special day.

It's not that I forgot, but I spent my night ... the part I would use to do things like, oh, I don't know, make personal calls and conduct personal grooming and push the vacuum around ... I spent that part at school, at an after-school, and into the evening activity, and besides the fact that it was a fantastic form of birth control for me, it was an evening that addled my brain.

So, I forgot.

I love you, though, Denise, and it was only temporary insanity!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!! YOU ROCK!!!!!


T.G.I.F.

It's Friday!!

Wahoo!!

I rocked my teacher observation!!

DOUBLE Wahoo!!

I celebrated with a horribly, outrageously calorie-filled coffee drink.

Triple Espresso and triple WAHOO!!!

I'm going to fill my brain with lots and lots of garbage in just a moment when I curl up with my latest GLAMOUR magazine.

T.G.I.F.!

WAHOO to infinity!!



Wednesday, November 12, 2008

USING LOGIC ... WAIT! I DON'T HAVE ANY!

There's a factional group of my friends that love to play board games. We've been known to have game nights centered around wild, uproarious matches. There's trash talk, under the table deals ... it can get dirty ... it can get ugly.

One of most every one's favorite games is a board game called Settlers of Catan. I say most everyone, because, frankly, I hate it. It requires you to build strategies and see several scenarios all at once. It requires you to think beyond the play in front of you and look at every angle in order to garner those elusive ten points. It requires you to think.

Now, I'm sorry, but if I see one scenario at a given moment, I'm doing well. I can't imagine twelve at one time. It's impossible for my brain to do that! Building strategies is not my forte. It's not even really in my language, and it requires logical, mathematical thinking, of which, I have none.

Zip.

Zero.

Nada.

Frankly, I think you have to be obsessed with Excel spreadsheets in order to enjoy this game. I'm not fond of spreadsheets. They cramp my style.

Last night, one of my friends was celebrating a birthday. So, the rest of the group decided it'd be "awesome" to have a game night playing Settlers. One of the girls brought a birthday cake, and promptly set it down in front of me as the rest set up the two boards we would be running simultaneously.

"Are we going to have cake?" I asked.

"Yep," someone answered while excitedly yammering about their strategy.

No one made a move to cut the cake, and, seriously, the singing of Happy Birthday had occurred a full ten minutes before this.

"So, cake? We're going to have some, right?" I asked again.

"Yeah. Sure."

I'm sorry! What is wrong with you freakin' people!??!? IT'S CAKE!!!

As people were eagerly jockeying for teammates, I decided to build my own strategy.

"Now, listen," I shouted. "This cake is the only bright spot in my evening! If you're going to make me play this stupid game, I want to eat cake while doing it."

The cake was promptly cut.

I mean, let's get some priorities straight, people.





Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I HATE PAPER WORK!!!!

My life would be so much easier if I didn't have to deal with paper work and that includes "paperless" paper work.

Man! I'm so tired of things not working correctly. I'm weary of error messages and frozen links. I'm sick of filling things out in triplicate and saving more times than Carter has liver pills.

My mind reels with the endless possibilities of things to be accomplished if only I didn't have to slog through the mire that is PAPERWORK!

Monday, November 10, 2008

KNOTS ON TOP OF THE KNOTS

I must be stressed. That's the only reason for my shoulders being so knotted up. I've got knots on top of the knots!

Christy suggested I have one of the custodians run the floor buffer up and down my back. Another one of my teammates said that I really needed a man to help me out with that particular problem.

Either way, I need to get some sort of relief. So, here's the plan ...

I'm working here to get grading, lesson plans, and copying done.

I'm not taking ANYTHING HOME. I'm making dinner ... I'm pouring myself a glass of wine ... I'm digging out my GIGANTIC pile of magazines ... and I'm enjoying an evening without work and some seriously fluff reading materials!

BRING IT ON!!!!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

MORE POETRY

I was going back over some old journals, and I uncovered something my sister wrote to me a number of years ago. Basically, it was a quote from a book explaining how girls tend to just throw their hearts at men, rather than keep them close and hand them over when the timing is right. The quote was germane at the time ... taken out of context now, it seems slightly random. However, rereading the quote got me thinking, and before I knew what was happening, a poem started spilling out. Here it is ...

A HEART UNWRAPPED

Layers
Protected and insulated
Beating
Alive with hopes and fears,
dreams and desires
Pulsing soul,
Hanging in delicate balance somewhere
between absolute love and complete despair
My heart -- please be careful with it
A gift given only to the one most deserving of it



DO OVERS

I feel like I need a do-over. I'm having one of those days where I'm really jsut feeling like I goofed up, and if I go back and just restart, circumstances might just turn out differently.

If only ...

I suppose I could ask what if until I was blue in the face or the cows come home, which ever happens first, but the fact remains that I'm stuck with the consequences, however good or bad they may be.

If only things would go my way ... but then would I really want it my way?

Probably not ...

Saturday, November 08, 2008

NO ENERGY TO CLEAN

I just spent the day shopping/antiquing with my sister in one of our favorite little towns to the west of me, and now, inexplicably, I am energy-less ... rendering me in capable of cleaning my house, and it seriously needs it. Perhaps if I just take a quick nap ... nothing too out of control ... perhaps I feel more capable of handling a vacuum and a dust rag ... maybe ... hopefully ...

A WALKIE TALKIE CONVERSATION

ME: "Mr. H., this is Miss Murray. I'm sorry to disturb your meeting, but I was wondering if you had made arrangements for my students for gym? We're waiting up here at the gym."

Long pause ...

MY PRINCIPAL: "Ah, yes. They're to walk to the Capitol barefoot."

ME: Not able to talk because laughing, but managed to press the button so am now laughing into the radio ...

MY PRINCIPAL: "Miss Murray, someone will be right up."

ME: Still laughing ... "Thank you."

Later on in the day ...

ME: "So, Mr. H. I was just wondering. Is the Walking to the Capitol Barefoot part of the PE Core Curriculum? Or does that fall under the 'Sometimes there's gonna be things I ask you to do that you aren't gonna want to do' category you were talking about at the team building exercise? I'm just wonderin' ..."

MY PRINCIPAL: "Very funny."


Friday, November 07, 2008

POETRY FRIDAYS

Some poetry for all of you discerning blog readers out there ... enjoy ... or not ... the choice is yours ....


DON'T THINK SO MUCH

Don't think so much
Act on impulse, savoring the adventure

Don't over-analyze so often
Sometimes you've got to walk blindly

Don't schedule it all
Live for moments that are supremely spontaneous

Don't always say no
Embrace those instances of magic so rare

Just take the notion by its tail
Grab the idea swiftly
Ride this life, the only one given you,
with reckless abandon.
Just have fun!


A LAKE

Dancing on the ripples
Dazzling sunlit ribbons
sparkling in evening's fading glow
Corals seeping across nature's canvas

It is the sunsets I love the best
Brilliance spreading before me in multi-color stereo sound ...




PLEASE PASS THE BONG

I had an epiphany last night ... a startling discovery ... a scary realization.

I am living like a frat boy sans pony keg in the middle of my living room floor.

In talking with my mother on the phone last night, I realized that I couldn't remember when the last time was that I'd washed a bathroom sink. "I know I scrubbed toilets after my stomach flu incident."

"Well," my mother calculated on the other line. "That would be just before you came up to visit us on your Fall Break."

SERIOUSLY!?!?!? I've not done anything to my bathrooms since Fall Break? That's like one, two, ten ... like weeks!

GROSS!

So, in other words, my townhouse is a breeding ground for sickness and disease ... a biome of disgustingness just boiling and festering in its toxic juices.

That does it. It's been decided. I must clean my house ... before the CDC swoops in to study the 52 new strains of human flesh eating diseases that have cropped up on my kitchen floor.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

NOT A BUTTON WAS LOST IN THIS EPISODE OF "DRESS THE TEACHER"

I have a very cute, very chic jacket that I bought at Goodwill, of all places. It's a LIMITED jacket, and I think I paid like $3.00 for it. It was an incredibly good buy, if I do say so myself, and typically, I do!

There was only one problem with the jacket at the time. I couldn't button it. The Girls, my hips, and that Junk in my Trunk sort of impeded the buttoning process.

As memory serves, this jacket was purchased last winter, while home for the holidays, and I believe my attitude was, "well, I'll just wear it with a turtle neck sweater anyway ... so no big deal if it doesn't button."

Fast-forward to this morning, when, for whatever reason, I thought, just for kicks and giggles, I'd button the thing. Wonder of wonders, it buttons!

Apparently, the Girls have gotten smaller and so have the hips. We won't talk about the Junk in my Trunk.

How excited am I? Ummmm .... VERY, thank you very much. Fun, funky hair and smaller Girls. That, ladies and gentlemen, makes for a fantastic Thursday. Now, if I could just find someone else to do my grocery shopping for me, life would be down-right brilliant!



Wednesday, November 05, 2008

FUN, FUNKY HAIR -- PART TWO

Per Denise's request, a front view of FUN, FUNKY hair, wherein you will see every second of my 36 years written all over my face, a messy head of hair, a shiny forehead, and possibly, some gray hairs. Oh, and the ironing board and iron. Let's not forget that modern art sculpture, which isn't quite as mobile as the piece of modern art I currently move around my downstairs area, entitled VACUUM CLEANER.

WATCHING HISTORY BEING MADE

The people have spoken, and, for the first time in American history, we will have someone of color leading this country. For the first time in American history, a greater population of people will have someone that actually looks and sounds like them serving as their leader. It doesn't matter how you cut it or what side of the fence you happen to sit on, that's historically relevant, folks!

It became crystal clear for me on Monday when, as my class and I sat and discussed how amazing this year's elections were going to be ... how they were sitting on the cusp of history being made, one of my students raised her hand and asked, "So Miss Murray, does that mean if I wanted to become president one day, I could run?"

You see, this little girl isn't only a little girl, she's a black little girl, born in another country, but living here in America, a fabled land of dreams, and for the first time in her lifetime, she's seeing a dream being born.

"Yes, baby, that means, one day, you could run for president."

The light that burst from her face was amazing, and I fought back tears. You see, for a lot of my students, being president is something they could see themselves attaining, because presidents have always looked like them. For a lot of my students, though, it's a dream not worth dreaming.

Today, the day after some pretty monumental election results, I have students who are now dreaming really big dreams.

For this apathetic political participator, watching my little student light up as the dream took hold ... well, let's just say, it did my heart well. She is, after all, my future ...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

SUSAN, THE MIRACLE WORKER

Susan, my stylist, is A.W.E.S.O.M.E.

"Okay, Miss Megan, what are we doin' today?" [She always calls me Miss Megan ... it's like I live in the south or something ...]

"I'm lookin' bushy, Susan, and I don't like bushy. I want fun and funky."

So, away she went with the scissors to the back of my head. The whole time, the guy across the hall kept saying, "I just love her hair. I just love her hair."

Seriously! How sweet was he?

Meanwhile, Susan was all, "OH Megan! This is soooooooooo cute! Oh I love it."


A handful of goop and a blow-dryer job later, and, well, you be the judge.



Seems like such a waste for just the cat to enjoy cuz, really, she could care less if I were bald. Long as I come carrying kitty kibble ...


SURVIVING THE TEAM BUILDING EXPERIENCE

I'm out of the woods and safely home and no damage done to this 36-year old body.

Team Building with the Second Street Team? Let's call it a success!

Thankfully, the good Lord knew which team to put me on, and I didn't end up on the team that did the trust fall. I'm not that trusting, I guess.

I was in a group of all women, and there was this one time that we had to balance on a board ... the whole wad of us ... well, let's just say, we all got to know each other much more than any of us thought we would.

Joe hooked Erin up with some sort of headlamp device so that she could maneuver in the woods. Apparently, the Great White Hunter uses it for hunting. Seriously!? If the turkey hoodie thing isn't ridiculous enough, you're going to slap that headlight thing on your head?

Whatever!

It did come in handy for making our way around the area, so I guess I've got to give Joe props!

The highlight, for me, was the bonfire. There is nothing better in this world than a bonfire ... okay, well, maybe there's stuff better, but I sure do love a bonfire. The only thing missing were the S'mores, oh, and my hot dog wasn't nearly black enough, but hey! It was fun!

Travis, our boss, had us go around the fire and tell something about ourselves that no one knew. This was hard because those things I keep very close to me are kept there for a reason. You've got to be a pretty special person to be able to look deeply at those items. But for the most part, I'm an open book. So, my sharing was rather lame. Travis' whole purpose was to have us do things we really didn't want to do, which can be likened to stuff at work. Someone is going to ask you to do stuff you may not want to do. That's life.

The message was good, and loud and clear. We gotta work as a team.

Right about now, Carrie is cursing me for managing to land in such an awesome position, and you know what, Shanny, I count my lucky stars every single day for managing to land here in Kentucky.

As I said last night, if ANYONE would have said five years ago that I'd be living in Kentucky and loving it, I would have laughed in their faces. But here I am, livin' it, lovin' it, and feeling very, very blessed.






Monday, November 03, 2008

GETTING MY AFFAIRS IN ORDER

My principal decided it would be fun to do some team building exercises this evening since we don't have school tomorrow (no one has school during elections). I was all for it ... until I found out what we'd be doing.

We're doing some sort of balancing thing. Not sure what it is, but I can't manage to hurt myself too badly on that.

Then we're doing a zip line. Yeah ... just shoot me now. I HATE heights. I'm scared to death of them. The idea of swinging on a rope, that in all likelihood could snap, across a chasm of nothingness ... well, let's just say, I've now broken out in a cold sweat just thinking about it.

Finally, if zipping through air wasn't bad enough, our boss plans on dumping us off in the middle of the woods, in the dark, and trusting we all make it back safe and sound.

Okay, so you all know I LOVE hiking, but this is in the dark, and my track record for staying upright on flat surfaces isn't all that great. Managing tougher terrain in the dark, well, let's just say, the degree to which I might do bodily harm to myself is very, very high.

I plan to smuggle a mini Maglite and Swiss Army Knife. I figure I have a good chance at winning the fight with a rabid raccoon should I never find my way back.

In the meantime, my affairs are all in order ... I hope ...

Sunday, November 02, 2008

FALLING BACK

Daylight Savings Time has officially ended which means my body's inner clock is ALL FREAKIN' SCREWED UP! That would explain the reason for being up at 4 a.m.

Oh yeah! FOUR FREAKIN' O'CLOCK in the morning!

Who does laundry at 4:00 a.m.?

Ummm ... I do.

Who eats breakfast and drinks their morning coffee at 4:00 a.m.?

Ummm ... I do.

By the way, no one else in my neighborhood was stirring this morning. N.O. O.N.E.

Everyone else was enjoying an extra hour of sleep.

Nope. Not me.

Nothing good can come from this.