Wednesday, December 31, 2008


For those that, for whatever reason, did not receive a Christmas card from me, here is the official 2008 Christmas Card Photo ... my new tradition ... to apparently make a mockery of everything that's festive.



I got to meet Ann B. Ross at the 2007 Kentucky Book Fair, and I was able to purchase her first book, Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind and have Ms. Ross sign it. Then I lost mine and stopped reading anything that related to words for grown-ups. So, I took her home to Michigan, and I read her in a day and a half!

Miss Julia is a wonderfully funny southern, genteel lady, and her wit is every thing you'd expect from a North Carolina lady. She rails on her church and its hypocritical ways -- she bucks southern traditionalists, even though she considers herself one.

Is this a life-altering book? Will my views on this world change significantly after reading it?

No, but it's entertaining and funny and enjoyable, and I loved every minute I spent reading it.

At the 2008 Kentucky Book Fair, I was again able to meet Ann B. Ross and have her sign the next two books in the series. I'm planning on spending my day tomorrow digging into book 2.

I recommend the entire series! They sure are fun!




I HATE the craze called Crocs ... I hate the shoes, hate the tacky colors ... I hate the stupid little thingy-ma-jigs you can stick in those silly holes ... I hate, hate, hate them.

I swore I'd never own a pair.

Then I discovered that the company has other sorts of shoes. In fact, let's just call them styles ... actual shoe styles. Cute shoes ... shoes I'd wear out in public let alone in the comfort of my own home. Combined with the fact that my plantar fasciitis is NOT healing like it should, and that every shoe I wear is only making matters worse, I decided to bite the bullet, pay the incredible cost, and buy some Crocs, Megan-style.

Never say never ... why can I not learn this lesson?! When I say never, I end up doing the exact thing I swore I'd never do. What the heck!?

Oh well! The cool thing about these babies is that they will go from winter to spring to summer to fall and back again, cuz I can wear them with or without socks. Now, how amazingly brilliant is that? Now, tell me these aren't cute ... at least a little cute ...


Monday, December 29, 2008


Well, I've done it again. I've managed to have an incredibly relaxing time in Michigan, and I find myself thinking, "WAIT! I was going to call this person or visit that person ...."

For all of you that I said I wanted to see and didn't, I am sorry! There isn't enough time in my days when I come home to Michigan. There's too much to do ... too much not to do ...

My main goal, which has been my main goal every time I make it up this way lately, was to sit, relax, not think about work, read my brains out, eat, eat, and eat some more, diet and exercise program be damned!

So, let's review my check list a moment,

Read my brains out? Check! I've read a total of 7 magazines, cover to cover, and one and a half books. Book reviews are forthcoming!

Sit? Check! I've sat A.L.O.T. So much so that I think my butt has permanently molded to the Lazy Boy chair in my parents' living room.

Not think about work? CHECK! I've checked my email, only because the person watching my cat only has my work email, but other than that, I've not thought about work one little bit. Well, I take that back. I had one moment this morning when I thought, "oh crap! I'm going to have to go back soon ... and Spring Break's a long way off!"

Eat, eat, and eat some more? Triple check! Thankfully, the scales said that I've only gained 2.5 lbs. I think I've fallen in love with my parents' scales, so they may be coming home with me in my suitcase! At any rate, 2.5 lbs, I can live with. I will be back into a routine the moment I hit the border of Kentucky, and I will fight to keep my life in some sort of routine, so help me!

Which leads me to another topic ... New Year's Resolutions ...

I hate them! I never keep them! Mainly, because I'm bad at keeping unattainable goals. However, this last year, I decided to put into place things that I thought would be easy to manage. I will blog more about that later on, but I've been thinking, and I believe I'm ready to unveil some new ones for 2009 ... Megan-style.

Be watching for them ...

Also, I will be reviewing my list of THINGS I WANT TO DO BEFORE I'M 40. I won't share all my items, but I will reveal some of the things I want to do ... and see what things I might have already accomplished ... although, I doubt it is very many.

To tie this all up, this rambling stream of consciousness, I want to say that while I'm sad to say good-bye to another Christmas season, I'm not sad (that makes a whole lot of sense, doesn't it?). No holiday blues ... no feelings of tension or strife. This has been an amazing time of beauty for me, to get all sappy on my readers ... all 8 of you. I've had one of the Christmases in recent memories, and I will travel home tomorrow with all sorts of warm and fuzzy memories of my time with family and friends here in Michigan.

Happy Holidays one and all!

Post Script ... Photos to come ... random at best ...

Friday, December 26, 2008


Ahhhh ... it's icy and nasty. That means I'm stuck indoors, and honestly, I can say that I'm totally okay with that. This is the first time, I can honestly say that I'm not suffering from after-Christmas blues. It's been a low-key day of sipping hot coffee or gingerbread tea, reading, blogging, Internet browsing, eating left-overs, and watching my sister bake cookies. It's been thoroughly wonderful in its simplicity. I am, for the first time ever, eagerly looking forward to the New Year and all that it has to offer. I've got a swelling feeling of great anticipation and excitement. I can't wait!! 2009 ... bring it on!!!

Part of the whole feeling of peace and calm, I think, is due in part to the fact that I didn't place a lot of expectations on my Christmas season. I just let it happen ... unfold as it wanted. I was just the happy recipient of all that it had to offer. No expectations ... no room for disappointments. It was fantastic. If only I'd purposed to do that years and years ago. How many new years would have started off so differently ...

I was , and continue to be, pleased with the overall affect of "not anticipating" and how wonderful it feels to just live in the moment ... enjoying the happy little moments ...

It had been a New Years Resolution of mine to really live in the moment in 2008, and while, I sometimes lost track of that, for much of this year, it was accomplished. Again, if only I'd understood this beautiful little tidbit in my twenties. Life would have been so much sweeter. Good thing I've got the rest of my life to enjoy the sweetness ...

So, as I bask in the glow of the Christmas spirit and the waning days of 2008, I look forward to the little surprises of 2009.

Merry Christmas, and God bless us everyone!

Thursday, December 25, 2008


I'm sitting here sipping eggnog flavored coffee and watching the snow come down. It's a WHITE CHRISTMAS!!!

I hope everyone is enjoying their day and is feeling blessed, loved, and ready for the new year.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I'd forgotten about the planning involved in dealing with snow.

I've spent three winters in Kentucky, and I've already forgotten the planning involved.

What planning, you might ask? P.L.A.N.N.I.N.G.

You see, when you drive around Michigan in the winter time, you must be prepared for the fact that, in all likelihood, you could hit an icy patch and land yourself in the ditch. With that in mind, you need to be prepared. You need warm clothes on, preferably in layers. You need a heavy, warm coat, mittens, a hat, and a scarf. You should also have a good pair of winter boots. You can just never be too prepared.

Today, I drove my happy butt over to Homer to get my oil changed, and I left with the thinnest possibly mittens on my hands and a very thin shirt under my coat.

OH. MY. GOSH. I've lost my mind!!!

You can take the girl out of Michigan, but you can't take Michigan out of the girl ... you just make her forget a little bit.

Excuse me ... I need to warm up with another cup of piping, hot decaf coffee ... please pass the Eggnog Creamer ... YUM-YUM!!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Because when you do type a Christmas letter when you're tired, you type MANGER with an extra A so that it now reads "the baby lying in a manager."

Yeah, that looks classy.

Even classier?

Sending the aforementioned letter out to a blue bazillion recipients.



As a teacher, you get a certain amount of lovely gifts each year from your students. Sometimes, it's the Year of the Candle. Sometimes, it's the Year of the Christmas Tree Ornament. And sometimes, as it was this year, you have the Year of Miss Murray Looks Skinnier, Gotta Fatten Her Up With Lots of Sweet and Yummy Treats.

Take for instance the container of fudge you see here. This, ladies and gentlemen, was presented to me on a dinner plate! Near as I can tell, it's Rocky Road Fudge as it has marshmallows AND walnuts, and it's divine, which means my future as a heart patient has been secured!

Just to gain some perspective on the shear volume of fudge, I also took a shot of the container I placed it ALL in with the rest of my stove included. Again, perspective is everything!

My mother called last night to see if I'd survived the LAST DAY OF SCHOOL BEFORE CHRISTMAS BREAK (survival is always some what questionable on those days), and I announced that I was bringing home the two container of cookies and large container of fudge.

With what can only be described as a disgusted tone to her voice, my mother said, "Oh Meg. You did this to us last year!"

"Oh what I brought home last year doesn't compare to what I will be sharing this year!"

"Great ..." she grumbled.

So, mother, here's a sneak preview. I figure if I spread the wealth, I'm also spreading the overall weight gain out as well. I'm relatively sure that is how this sort of stuff works ...


A couple of years ago, when I was still teaching in Michigan, I devised a plan regarding my class Christmas party.

As a child, I soooo looked forward to those class Christmas parties. Oh man! I was so excited ... until I opened the Christmas gift I got in the class Christmas drawing. Growing up, we never had a lot of money, but my mother and I always spent a good deal of time choosing an appropriately priced gift that everyone might like. As child, I always felt like I put a lot of thought into it. However, I don't remember ever getting a gift that I actually liked in return. It was always such a disappointment.

Because I taught in a district (and still do, for that matter) where most kids didn't even have the means I had growing up, I didn't want them to go through the same thing I had. I wanted the party to have a purpose as well as to be a fun time.

So, I cooked up the IT'S BETTER TO GIVE THAN RECEIVE party. I did it for two years in Michigan, and I've done it for two years here in Kentucky. Every year, it's an overwhelming success, and every single year, I'm humbled by the generosity of my kids and their parents.

For the last two years, my class has adopted the Franklin County Women's Shelter. We've donated gifts for kids that come into the shelter with their mothers. It's a great organization that does an amazing amount of good, and I am thrilled to be able to help them out each and every year.

This is the stack of presents we collected with a little help from our staff, who is always so willing to help out.

This year we wrapped the boxes all the presents went into -- I'm not even going to estimate the amount of tape involved in this venture, but who cares! My students had a blast! They worked in teams, and I'm telling you, they all were angels! It's amazing what doing for other people will do for your spirit!

I wish I could show you photos of my students all working together, but I would need to get permission from their parents to post them on the web. So, instead, I will show you a photo of Mr. Harley, our principal, reading TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS to my kids. They LOVED it!

My heart feels all warm and fuzzy inside, and I feel like my Christmas season has fallen on the right feet! Merry Christmas to all ... it is, after all, better to give than receive. Please look for ways that you can give back to your community. Even the smallest of gestures are precious to those on the receiving end.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


So, according to the countdown I currently have on my white board at school, we've got seven more days until Christmas! Can it be this close? Wasn't it just last week you all were celebrating Thanksgiving while I was bowing down to the porcelain god? Gotta love a little food poisoning ...

There are only two more days of school until Christmas break. That, I know, is coming to me! I deserve every single bit of this break! My kids have been C.R.A.Z.Y., but I remind myself every single day that they are so excited they don't know how to handle themselves. Being crazy is their only outlet, and oh yeah, I was pretty insane when I was that age too.

Today, we head to Gattitown for a little rewards party ... I've got my Excedrin migraine conveniently packed in my pocket, and I've got a bottle of Spiced Apple Wine waiting for me when I get home. I'm good!

Happy Holidays one and all!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


My alarm went off at 5 a.m., and by 5:10 a.m., I knew that we would have a snow day today. However, my principal called me at 5:30 a.m., getting the staff calling tree started. Here's how the conversation went this morning:

My principal: "Good morning, Miss Murray? Are you already at work?" [insert his laughter here]

Okay, so I'm thinking this is a sad commentary on my life .... I can't be certain, but I feel relatively sure that Carrie will be commenting that, "Yes, dude, this is a pretty sorry commentary on your life ... GO HOME!"

Saturday, December 13, 2008


My principal hosted a Christmas breakfast at our school this morning for all of the staff and their families. Santa Claus even made an appearance! My friends Joe and Erin brought their little guy Ben for his first visit with Santa, which he loved! The photo below is of Ben and I after his visit with Santa and right after he loaded his britches with poopy episode #2 of four or five that day! :)

Friday, December 12, 2008


Tonight was the "big" 5th and 6th grade dance. From 7 to 9 p.m., I sat and watched prepubescents do the worm, gorge themselves on pizza and pop, create drama with every flip of their stringy hair, and was transfixed by the gaggle of girls that wore tracks in the hallway that led to and from the bathroom. I also wondered at the footwear of some of these girls. Considering I wasn't allowed to wear actual heels until at was in 9th grade, it seemed somewhat odd to me, that these little girls were running around in heels that would mock my sensible shoes.

Highlights of the evening? Besides my ringing ears?
  • Witnessing my boss make farting sounds into the microphone, then laughing hysterically at himself for the ingenuity of the idea in the first place.
  • Being a party to Christy's pole dance on the door jam of the front office ... was it AC/DC playing in the background?
  • Hearing old school hard rock and playing my air guitar to the horror of my former students witnessing said display.
  • Girl drama, almost perfectly timed at 7:45 p.m. ... exactly 45 minutes into the dance and right about the time everyone has had their first saturation of sugary drinks.
  • Seeing them all leave at 9ish p.m.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Sleep has been an elusive beast in my life. Even when I get it, I wake up feeling horribly exhausted. It's bad ... to the point that it plays out in my interactions with other human beings ... all the time.

Last night, I couldn't stand it anymore. I had to go to bed ... I brought two bags of work home, and I couldn't do it. I was exhausted ... mentally and physically. So, at 9 p.m., I went to bed.

I was asleep almost immediately.

I think I would have awakened this morning refreshed if I hadn't have gotten up at 2:30 a.m. to use the little girls room, but still, I've decided something.

I can't do work at home and get to bed at a decent hour. So, now, I'm wondering how I get the work done. It's not doing itself.

I've not been to the gym in weeks. I have more meetings than I ever dreamed of having, and they're not voluntary meetings. These are meetings I've got to go to.

What is going to give?

The more I try to find a personal life, the more work life comes crashing down on top of me. I can't get out from under it.

I'm drowning ... slowly, suffocatingly drowning ...

Monday, December 08, 2008


It's as if some cosmic force has it in for me ... if I believed in such things, which I don't. But anyway, supposing I did, I would believe that some fate-like force has heard my haughty declaration and has decided to screw with my head.

What haughty declaration is that, you might ask?

Well, the one in which I said, "I will not allow my schedule to stress me out!"

Yeah ... that one. The same one that came and bit me in my hind end this afternoon, after I very nicely plotted out what I was going to accomplish immediately following my hour long meeting ... the same meeting that actually took almost two hours ... the very same meeting where people discussed things that weren't germane to the purpose of said meeting in the first place!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think, sometimes, cocktails should be served at meetings ... strong ones. It would make my life a whole lot easier ... or at the very least, it would deaden the pain.

Note to self ... next time make sure to bring a sharpened pencil ... I will need it to poke my eyes out with ...

Saturday, December 06, 2008


I got a bug up my butt about this growing mustache and goatee that hitting middle 30s seems to have encouraged on my face.

"Why don't you try waxing your upper lip and chin?" My stylist Susan said. She and I are the same age. "I do, and it doesn't come back in stubbly or anything."

Today, I'd had it! I was sick of looking at the dark hairs, and so I got out the "store-bought" wax and nuked it in the microwave, hell-bent on fixing these unwanted facial hairs.

I should have known I was heading for trouble when I spilled a modicum of the hot wax on my antique, enamel cabinet top. The glob of goop dried immediately, and it doesn't seem to have a mind to ever come up off the cabinet.

It just went down hill from there.

The directions clearly said NOT to get the wax on your lips. Well, I'm not sure how that's accomplished because I managed to wax one half of the left side of my mouth! I'm sure, with a bit of strategic maneuvering, I can get food into that right side of my mouth. It'll just look like I've suffered a mini-stroke for a few more days.

From there, I got a thick coating of wax on my upper lip, but then I couldn't get it off! I ripped and tugged, and after having the feeling pretty much leave my lip, I managed to get most of it off, with the minor exception of the little beads of wax intertwined in the very hairs I was trying to wax off! Rubbing alcohol seemed appropriate at that juncture, but a little warning about rubbing alcohol, it stings when you rub it vigorously on the layer below the one you just ripped off. The analgesic lotion they provide didn't give me much relief after that.

On top of it all, I got six out of my ten fingers stuck together with that glue they pass off as wax, and it was nothing short of finger nail polish and a small miracle that got that hot mess off.

I would like to report that my upper lip and chin are hair-free and looking good. However, I have a fine, line of hair just at my lip line that is still there ... refuses to come off, and on closer inspection, the chin hair I wanted plucked in the first place, still rests happily from the over-large pore there.

And men think they have it rough ...


I'm having trouble sleeping.

Honestly, I couldn't begin to calculate when the last time was that I slept soundly OR woke up not feeling more exhausted than when I went to bed or woke up AFTER the roosters did. Usually I beat them to the breaking dawn.

Two years? Three? Ten? When I was an infant?

I was complaining to my mom last night, and her very motherly comment was, "You don't do a good job of preparing your body for rest."

"Don't sugar-coat it or anything. mother."

"Oh, I don't plan to."

She then preceded to list all the things I do wrong in order to sabotage my being able to get a decent, restful night's sleep. Mother's are fantastic for lists, aren't they? All my friends that have procreated? Yep! They are list people too. It's sickening. It's like they pop out the kid and are handed THE GIANT BIBLE OF EVERY LIST KNOW TO HUMANKIND, ENSURING THE ANNOYANCE OF THE OFFSPRING.

So, here's ....
Jan Murray's List of Why Megan Isn't Sleeping
  1. "You drink way too much caffeine." (my mother is hitting me where I live with this one).
  2. "You don't prepare your body for rest ... you go and go and go."
  3. "You don't have a set bedtime."
  4. "You probably don't eat as well as you should."
  5. "You drink way too much caffeine." (have I mentioned this one already?)
  6. "You don't allow yourself to relax. Get into bed and read and relax."
  7. "You fight sleep, and then end up falling asleep on the couch or something."
  8. "Your bedroom is not set up for relaxing and resting."
Okay, so it's going to be my goal today and in the coming days, but mainly today, to figure out how to make my bedroom my Sleeping Sanctuary. If you've got some great ideas, please leave me a comment.

I wonder ... that oil infuser I have in my room. It's a citrus blend ... aromatherapy being what it is, I wonder if that's impeding my neurons from relaxing by making them hypersensitive and overstimulated ... hmmmm ....

Friday, December 05, 2008


I hated my name today. Absolutely hated it. Hearing it said over and over and over and over and over again ... well, it had the same effect on me as, say, finger nails on the chalkboard.

I think I'm changing my name ... just for the weekend ... just until the whining stops ... and the bickering ... and the whining, have I mentioned the whining?


My class won donuts again for HIGH ATTENDANCE.

I swear, I'm hiding the ding dang left-overs this time.

Miss Murray is on the case!

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Here's something you don't hear every morning at 6:15 in a local gas station as you head through the doors to your car ... UNLESS you live where I live:

<said by man with slow drawl and cowboy hat perched on head> "Excuse me, ma'am, I'm looking for Jim Beam?"

What I wanted to say, but didn't: "Just follow the scent of the sour mash, buddy!"

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Tonight was trash night.

I hate trash night.

It requires me to wrestle my two, very over-stuffed recycling bins out of my very, not-at-all-roomy shed, schlep them through my house (because that's more convenient than walking them AROUND the building), and then fighting the warped lids on them and then dragging them to the side of the road. Then, I get to start the schlepping process all over again with the garbage can. It's a good time.

It's always at times like these that I lament the fact that I don't have a husband. "This would be his job," I whine.

But then I hear my mother in my head saying, "Ummm. Need I remind you who does the trash collecting in my house!? ME! That's who."

Then there's Carrie, who called me tonight to vent. "I knew you would listen to me and just let me vent."

"Oh sure, dude, whatever. Vent away."

"Well, Tom's on vacation. So, last night, I reminded him that we have 10 diapers left, and that he'd need to go to the store and get some more today. He was all 'Okay. Sure'. Then I suggested that while he was at the store, he might want to pick up some grocery for dinner tonight, since they really didn't have anything left in the house."

Fast-forward to Carrie getting in the car to drive home, when she found out that ...
a.) Tom didn't get any diapers
b.) No groceries were procured from the aforementioned grocery
c.) No dinner was planned, let alone prepared.

Yeah, and I want one these why?

Perhaps, I'm better off just getting a puppy ...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


During indoor recess today (because the playground is a mud hole right now), I noticed that three of my boys had planted themselves, and my PAYDAY board game, right down next to me and my computer. They were playing very nicely, handing out money, reviewing rules, and generally having a good time. I wasn't all that concerned until I heard the word POKER come out of one of the boys' mouths.

I whipped around to witness each boy throw a stack of "play" bills into the middle of the board, roll the dice, and then either get super excited about the result, or lose everything!

I can only surmise that they were playing some hybridized version or mixture of Craps and Poker.

I must go on record as saying these games were NOT taught in my classroom. I have difficulty grasping the finer points of Yahtzee ... Poker is certainly out of my particular realm of possibility.

This leads me to a very obvious conclusion ... someone at home has taught them?

I shudder to think about it ... considering many of them are still stuck on their 6s in multiplication ...

Monday, December 01, 2008


I've been thinking a lot lately about my carbon footprint. What can I do to be a better steward of this land that God has let me live in?

I recycle.

I grew up with a mom that recycled before recycling was cool.

I was powerfully impacted by the commercial of the Native American Indian chief standing next to the busy highway looking at all the trash. I remember crying with him as that one, lone tear rolled down his cheek.

I've really been trying very hard to throw whatever I can into my recycling bins. As I type this, my two little bins are overflowing with items ready to head out in Thursday's trash and recycling day.

Today, I got onto the Nature Conservancy's website and calculated my carbon footprint.

Yikes! I'm leaving a whopper of a footprint. A lot of that has to do with the vehicle I'm driving, but that can't change for a while. So, I've got to look at other ways of making sure I'm investing in the future of my world.

For instance, did you know that by unplugging appliances that you don't use all the time, you're saving yourself a ton in energy costs?

I should be eating more locally grown produce, and I could be consuming products that aren't pre-packaged. Do I really need to put every ounce of produce in a plastic bag? And if I do, am I recycling those plastic bags?

I can be replacing all light bulbs with more energy efficient bulbs, and I should be researching ways to dispose of those newer, more energy efficient bulbs so they, too, don't find their way to the landfill.

I could strive to be more paperless here at home. I use a ton of paper, and while I recycle it all, I could still keep the use down to a bare minimum, if at all.

There are tons of other ideas out there, and I plan to look at each one of them.

My goal is to make my carbon footprint less like Big Foot and more like a newborn's print.

Here's to being green in 2009!


I use cloth napkins.

On the surface, this little tidbit of information has done nothing to help you further this day along any faster. However, there is a point, and I do plan on getting to it shortly.

I use cloth napkins for a simple reason. I can't recycle paper ones, and I feel like I am better off spending money and water resources laundering cloth napkins than I am filling land fills with paper ones.

So there you have it.

I was in Pier 1 Imports the other day, and while I was wandering about, trying desperately to keep all items in front of my face from blurring horribly with the rest of the world due to the now three-day dizzy spell I seem to be suffering from, I happened upon a basket of cloth napkins.

Yes, a completely benign basket of napkins ... until I spied a tag clipped to a certain funky but cool paisley napkin that read $0.58. I brought said napkin up closer to my face, and realized that, yes, this was not a figment of my hazy mind. Rather, those napkins were, in fact, $0.58 a piece!

Well, I speedily dug through the basket until I'd uncovered eight of all the same variety. The grand total, ladies and gentlemen, $4.64. Yes, that is correct. I said, $4.64.

I'm sitting here very pleased with myself, thank you very much.