Thursday, December 24, 2009

ALL IS CALM, ALL IS BRIGHT

I sit here in utter amazement at this time of year again.

Amazed that it is here once more, when it seems like just yesterday that I was celebrating Christmas in a snowy Michigan.

Amazed that there is such a thing as a warm, sunny Christmas season!

Amazed at the crowds and the traffic once again.

But even more, amazed that such a small baby would grow up to be my Saviour that loves me deeply, fairly, and eternally.

I look around my neighborhood, and all is calm. All is bright. And I can't help but think about that night ... two thousand years ago. What sort of sounds were hovering in the air? What sort of smells? Was there an unexplained electric feel in the air? Or was it just like any other night in Bethlehem?

I suppose it all doesn't matter in the end. He came ... He died ... He rose again. They rest is my gracious legacy ... it's anyone's legacy, really. And that is the gift of this Christmas.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

NOTHING BETTER THAN MAKING A GOOD IMPRESSION

There is nothing BETTER, I tell you, then to walk the streets of downtown Frankfort, carrying a bottle of wine by its neck in a non-descript brown paper bag. Nothing better!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

THE EARTH HAS STOPPED SPINNING

The planets must be out of alignment.

The Earth has stopped spinning on its axis.

The sun must no longer be the center of our universe.

That is the only way I can explain away the statement I am about to make:

I am sick of sweets.

Ladies and gentlemen, take my temperature. Check my pulse. I think I'm dead!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

CHRISTMAS CARNAGE 2009 -- REVENGE OF THE KITTEN

Emmy has been a scourge on Christmas.

She has broken or maimed no less than 5 Christmas ornaments and has managed to strip the tree, at various times the last three weeks, of a total of 15 ornaments.

For five seconds after I hung the last bauble, the tree looked fantastic.

Now however?? Well, now, it looks like someone really tall decorated the tree as all of the ornaments are now on the top half of the tree, the bottom half being suspiciously bare.

I've tried all the stuff you are suppose to try with her ... spraying her face with water ... spraying her butt ... spraying her down so she's soaking wet ... smacking her butt with a paper ... smacking her butt with a magazine ... just plain smacking her butt. I've stuffed everything but the kitchen sink underneath the tree, and she still manages to dig everything out from underneath, and wreck havoc!

The other thing that is truly funny -- if it weren't so maddening -- is that she tells on herself just before she plucks an ornament off the tree and sends it sailing. How does she do this, you might ask? Why she meows ... LOUDLY. Then, pretty as you please, she takes her big, furry paw, and smacks the offending bauble off the tree ... and the chase is on ... Emmy chasing the bauble ... me chasing the cat ... the cat running madly around the house, ornament in tow, quite literally.

I'm exhausted, and if the tree ends up looking like it went through World War III .... well, so what. It was a homespun Christmas this year, courtesy of the cat.

Again, I ask myself, how DO I end up with these animals?

GETTING MY ARTSY ON

Today, I pulled a red wool jacket out of my closet that I've haven't worn in years. If my sister reads this, she'll know the one I'm talking about because she had a black one and had the good sense to "Goodwill" hers. I, however, couldn't part with mine. It is a classic style, and ... well, sometimes I tend to be like my grandmother, if you want to know the honest truth. The woman saved EVERYTHING!

So, I pulled it out today to add a splash color to my outfit which was a drab gray and black ensemble.

I had to admit, having looked at my reflection in the mirror, I thought the jacket and black Elizabeth Gillett scarf gave me the appearance of some one who has their Artsy Fartsy on. In otherwords, a real artist type, if I did say so myself.

Of course, this look has been off-set and horribly sidetracked by the addition of the candy cane earrings I'm currently wearing.

I teach 4th grade ... I have to do SOMETHING holiday-like ... otherwise, I would just be another Ms. Adolf (a Hank Zipzer reference for those that read children's chapter books).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

MY FAVORITE ANSWERS!

We're in the throes of Quarterly Assessments here in fourth grade. So far, we've completed Reading, Writing, Social Studies, and Science.

By far, my favorite answer so far on these common assessments is to the following:

Using the map, what region(s) of Kentucky have the most coal?
Illinois

Runner up? Virginia

Second runner up? West Virginia

Apparently, I slip into Russian while I'm teaching. Something is getting lost in translation.

DISGUSTED!

I am disgusted for a number of reasons today ...
  1. I got very little sleep last night because Emmy wouldn't leave the Christmas tree alone! I was down at 12:30 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. and, at 4:30 a.m., I finally went downstairs for the last time because I was relatively sure she was playing with another glass ornament. Yep! Sure enough, there she was, tossing one of my Albion College glass baubles across the kitchen floor. I STILL haven't found the piece she broke out of it.
  2. I've got heart burn ... well, not really heart burn ... just a weird stomach. I think it's the post-nasal drip that's been dripping away for the past week and a half, but it's annoying nonetheless. I'm sipping Coke as I type this.
  3. I have a lovely scratchy throat. It doesn't matter that I've been very, very careful ... didn't leave my house at all on Sunday ... have hand sanitzed and washed my hands with soap whenever I could ... Nope! Still have this darn scratchy throat.
  4. Today is Day 2 of Quarterly assessments, and I'm just as sick of them as my kids are!

I'm clinging to the spirit of Christmas by the skin of my teeth... which equates to just barely. Time to breathe deeply and enjoy ...

Monday, December 14, 2009

THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG

My teammates and I planned a trip to the local movie theatre for our 4th grade quarterly reward party. The viewing for today?

Disney's THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG.

Great movie! Lived up to Disney's standards and then some. Of course, I was thrilled with the fact that there was a lot of jazz and blues in the movie as well as the "fashion" influence of the 30s, which is my new obsession!

I gotta say, though, that my boys, who sorta half-way poo-poo'ed the idea of going to a Disney movie, were some of the loudest in the cheering section at the end. I think it got their stamp of a approval too.

If you've got children/nieces and nephews, I'd say this is a great holiday break "I'm bored, Mom, what can I do, besides drive you and my siblings crazy?" movie!

ONE MORE WEEK

Today marks that last week of school before Christmas Break! Ask me how excited I am!?!?!?

YAY for Christmas break!!

The only downer to the break will be the fact that I will be having surgery on Ned the Nodule on December 28th. So, exactly 14 days from today, I will be getting ready for a long, medically-induced winter's nap.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

MY NEW OBSESSION

I have a new obsession ...

It makes me happy .... it puts a smile on my face .... a a bounce to my step .... it makes me want to get up and dance and sing .... it makes me want to run out and join a show choir right now!!

It's GLEE! If you've not seen it yet ... well, you're going to have to wait until April 13th ... according to something I read recently, as they are on a hiatus.

Sniff, sniff ...

At any rate, if you're able to download the episodes online, then by all means, do so! It's great tv, and it's not the insipid train wrecks that are the reality tv on these days.

It's my own little piece of heaven on Earth .... ahhhhhh .....

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

Today is my mom's birthday!!!
Yay for my mom! And yay for birthdays!!!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

BLUE CHRISTMASES

I forget how blessed I am ...

When I get discouraged about my status in life ....

When I get frustrated with my job ....

When I get annoyed -- no, darn right angry with my body ...

I forget how truly blessed I am.

There are people surrounding me ... more than I probably realize ... that are hurting ... broken ... utterly bled dry.

The holidays are so hard when you've been broken ...

I forget just how blessed am I.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

HIGH WIND ADVISORY

The wild winds of winter are pounding their way through Central Kentucky today ... at speeds up to and possibly exceeding 55 MPH.

Here's the deal, folks. Beware of flying inflatable snow globes and Snoopies with Christmas wreathes around their necks. Those puppies have the potential to really get some good air, and Lord only knows where they might end up.

Don't be surprised if there's an influx of slightly deflated, and probably very beat-up inflatables floating along the shorelines of the Atlantic Ocean ....

Maine residents beware!

Monday, December 07, 2009

MAGGIE AS SANTA

My friend, Tabby, has the cutest little dog -- her name is Maggie. Maggie is as spoiled as Emmy the Cat is, and I knew this when I posed the following question to Tabby.

"Does Maggie need a Santa suit?"

You see ... in my preparation for Emmy's Christmas Card Photo debut, I purchased the cutest little Santa jacket for her at the dollar store. The only problem is that she's too big and fluffy for the jacket -- really too BIG! What was I going to do with it?

Enter Maggie ...

Today, Tabby sent me some photos of Maggie sporting her newest winter garb, and dag-gone it! She's just too cute not to share with the rest of the world!
Ladies and gentlemen ... I present to you, Maggie ... the Santa Baby!





FRESH PEAR AND CRANBERRY PIE

For the handful of you that were interested in the recipe for that Pear and Cranberry Pie Ann made for my Thanksgiving feast, you can find that recipe below. She swears it is the easiest recipe in the world, and, folks, was it ever good!!!! I think we're partaking again at Christmas!




Fresh Pear and Cranberry Pie
* 1 recipe Single-Crust Pie
* 8 cups sliced red and/or green ripe pears (7 to 8 pears; 3 to 3-1/2 lb. total)
* 1 cup fresh cranberries
* 1/4 cup sugar (or Splenda)
* 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
* 2 Tbsp. apple cider or water
* 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
* 1 Tbsp. sugar (or Splenda)


1. Prepare and roll out Pastry for Single-Crust Pie. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. Arrange half of pears in prepared pastry; sprinkle with 1/2 cup of cranberries. Arrange remaining pears atop cranberries. Repeat layers. In bowl stir together 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, cider, and nutmeg; drizzle evenly over pears. Cover pie with foil.

3. Bake 40 minutes. Remove foil; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake, uncovered, 30 to 35 minutes more or until pears are tender and juices are bubbly.

4. Remove from oven and place on wire rack.

5. Serve warm. Drizzle with additional caramel topping. Make 8 servings.

FIRST SNOW OF THE SEASON

First Snow + two weeks until Christmas Break + a field trip to a play this morning = Squirrely 4th graders and a teacher that might need a good, stiff drink this afternoon.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

AN OMG MOMENT

I used OMG once when I was texting Erin, and she called me right back and said, "You never OMG, so I knew it had to be good!"

Well, I'm OMGing today. So this is your cue that it's something good ... and not so much good as it is jaw-dropping.

I was running late (what else is new lately), and so I didn't get coffee made. To avert the inevitable caffeine withdrawal headache, I headed off to my local Circle K to get some Kona blend. That's where the productivity stopped because I stood in line for 5 minutes as Blue Collar Working Woman ahead of me spent ... are you ready for this??? $483.32 on lotto tickets!

Yes! That's what I said! $483.32!

That is quadruple my Christmas budget, folks!

For a split second, I almost asked her that if she planned on just throwing money away, would she mind throwing some in my direction .... but I thought better of it. Didn't seem very Christmasy ...

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

42 YEARS TODAY

42 years today, my parents got hitched ... at a little, quaint, but breezy church in Ripley, New York.

The big family joke has been that the candles all burned sideways, and it's true. If you look at their wedding photos, the flames were all going sideways! Apparently, there was some need for weather-stripping on those old church windows, but then, that's sorta what you get for getting married in December in a town that always has some sort of wind because it's nestled on the banks of Lake Erie.

At any rate, my parents are celebrating their 42nd wedding anniversary today, and you know what? That's pretty dag-gone good in my book!

So happy anniversary, Parental Units!!

23 MORE DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS

Okay, I've got to get my act together! Everyone I know has already knocked their Christmas shopping out.

What have I done? Hardly anything, that's what! I need to get it together.

I've got ideas ... lots of them. And I have picked up a few things, but I'm no where near "knocking it out."

Makes me wonder what I've been doing lately ...

Monday, November 30, 2009

THE FOUR LETTER WORD COMETH

According to weather reports today, the four letter word is suppose to blanket Frankfort in the over night hours of Wednesday/Thursday.

Yippee skippy.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A GLIMPSE OF CHRISTMAS IN THE TOWNHOUSE




Before the cat completely demolishes the place with her frenetic Christmas cheer, I thought it best to show a few shots of my decorating handiwork. My townhouse won't make it onto HGTV ... a Design Star, I'm not. But it is my attempt at Christmas coziness and cheer ...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

DEAL OF THE WEEK!!

I'm slowly revamping my closet. I've been noticing, recently, that I'm in a bit of a slump, clothing-wise .... it's called too many t-shirts.

Ann discovered a great consignment boutique in Lexington called Sassy Fox. It is rivaled only by Between Friends in Georgetown. I got a great cord jacket (as she pointed out, I'm obsessed with jackets), this amazing pink, black, and white blouse that, as Ann put it, is "A MUST," and two great scarves, since they are all the rage right now.

My deal of the week? A black cashmere Elizabeth Gillett scarf for $3.00! A quick check of her website indicates that most of her designs go for $48 to $58!

Yay to me!!!

THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE AND ALL THE WONDERS IT HOLDS


Thursday, November 26, 2009

THE FINAL TOM UPDATE

Post-all day bake, but pre-gravy. Sooooo good!!!



This is my oven after I'd done a first dissection of Tom Turkey. Ann did the rest of the dissection later, and Mom, she would have done you proud!



Here we are (Ann, Amy, and Deb ... minus the photographer -- me) as we sit down to give thanks and eat. Ann looks so thrilled.



I could totally give up Pumpkin Pie after one bite of this Pear and Cranberry Pie. Only Vanilla ice cream could make it better than it already was!

THE TOM UPDATE


Ready ahead of time ... what could I possibly be forgetting? Oh yeah ... a shower!!!!

THE TOM UPDATE

On the menu for today, besides this homemade Cranberry Sauce?

Tom Turkey
Homemade Stuffing
Fresh Green Beans
Garlic seasoned mashed potatoes
Sunshine Carrots
Spring Mix Greens with Megan's Vinaigrette
Yams ... (because I just love them!)
Homemade Bread
And a yet to be named dessert


Exhausted from all the food prep, she collapses with the remote ...

THE TOM UPDATE

Here is Tom Turkey just minutes before he was popped into the oven, and just seconds before I realized that I'd run out of tin foil!

So I used my PHONE A FRIEND, and phoned the Mom!

Who knew there was such a thing as tenting?

Well, there is, and Tom is currently hanging out under one.

Awesome!

Let the fun begin ...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

THE TOM UPDATE

My mother called me after reading my last post and insisted I get the wire thingy-ma-bob out. Something about burning myself and e. coli ... I don't know. Anyway, I worked some more at it, and it came out. Tom again is resting peacefully in my refrigerator, which is currently busting at the seams with all sorts of food for tomorrow.

The alarm clock as been set for 6 a.m. ... that will be when Tom is rubbed and stuffed and popped into the oven for his long day of baking.

I just have to keep reminding myself ... water and cover .... water and cover .... water and cover.

THE TOM UPDATE

Well, Tom Turkey is nicely bathed and happily (it would seem) resting in the roasting pan in the fridge.

Are you suppose to get those wire thingy-ma-bobs out?

I couldn't, and so I'm using it as a convenient handle. I figure, the oven will kill any bacteria that may be hanging around on it tomorrow anyway.

And whose bright idea was it to shove the giblets up his butt!?

I was completely grossed out because ...
  1. I was digging around in his butt, and
  2. It looked like I was yanking toilet paper out of his butt.
So not cool ...

He's still pretty cold, but at least I've gotten all the "stuff" out of his insides. That should help him thaw some more over night.

T-minus 14 hours ....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

THE TOM UPDATE

I poked Tom this morning as I was grabbing my chocolate milk out of the fridge.

He still seems frozen.

Really? Will he really be thawed by Thursday morning?

THE FOUR LETTER WORD

I told my fourth graders that, in my book, snow was nothing but a four letter word.

Of course, this has caused them to use that four letter word in my presence as much as they possibly can. One little girl has even pulled out every shirt she owns with the word SNOW on it (and she's got a lot, folks), and wear them proudly in my presence each and every day.

Yesterday, the meteorologist announced that it's very likely we'll see snow on Thanksgiving Day, but more likely on Black Friday. Oh goody!

Well, that was all the ammunition my kiddos needed. They came into the classroom, en masse, yesterday sing-songing the fact that it's suppose to snow. GACK!

Granted, these kids haven't ever seen a hard snow, and by hard snow, I mean more than a dusting. So the prospect of snow is ever so exciting to them. Me? Well, I've shoveled my fair of snow and could care less if I ever saw it in person again. And I'm being demure in my description of snow, folks. I dislike it that much.

So, I suppose I'd better get my running shoes on and beat the crowd to Kroger on Friday morning so I can buy my share of bread and milk ... it's that time of year once again.

Monday, November 23, 2009

TURKEY COUNT DOWN BEGAN THIS MORNING

So, I crazily suggested to my sister that we host an "orphans Thanksgiving" this year ... for all those folks that can't get home for the holidays. I was super excited about the idea of opening my home, humble and small and cat hair covered as it may be, to others to share the holiday.

Well, my excitement is waning ever so slightly as I think about the pressure related to preparing a bird ... the bird. My mother swears it's simple to prepare ... just seven hours of cooking, and the turkey is done and delicious ... but this is my first time cooking a whole turkey and there are people coming that I don't know and my house isn't big enough, it would seem, and there's an expectation to do more than just sit around and wait ... wait for the main dish to finish cooking.

Good grief!

So, I stuck the bird, hereto known as Tom, into the refrigerator this morning to begin the thawing process that my mother assures me will be complete by Thursday morning ... at the crack of dawn ... before the crack, really ... when I will have to stick the recently rinsed and rubbed Tom into the oven for the "day of cooking."

The countdown is on ... cross your fingers ...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

WALK AWAY QUIETLY

Recently, I've been really working on not getting so uptight or upset by other's foibles. It just isn't conducive to my state of mind or my ability to just enjoy life.

This weekend, that effort was tested rather heartily with a number of people that said some stuff to me that was very hurtful.

I doubt they cared about what they said or thought about it past what it did for them and their state of mind, but it was hurtful to me none the less.

Lest you think that I'm dwelling on it, let me assure you that I am not. In fact, it occurred to me today that I might actually be turning the corner on this struggle of mine in that it hardly crossed my mind ... other than to say to myself, "wait a second! That really didn't bother me past the initial sting of the words ... yay for small blessings."

So, maybe, at the age of 37 (almost 38), I'm growing! Wouldn't that be a nifty thing?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

FINDING A PART OF MY CHILDHOOD

Ann and I were at an antique store a few weeks back, and we discovered a box in the shape of a Dickens' Village house. It made us stop and think about the paper village we had as children, and we both agreed it would be fun to find that again.
I remember getting it when I was very young, and I remember my dad punching out all the cardboard pieces for me, as well as assembling them ... and I remember them sitting on the coffee table and underneath the Christmas tree ... and I remember having an absolute blast playing with all the people and houses as Christmas music compilation records (handed out every Christmas by Southeastern Michigan Gas Company or Corning Glass or one of those companies) played on the stereo turntable.


Welcome to my warm fuzzy feelings of Christmas!

And then I'm jet-propelled, head-long into Christmases past with mom's glittery snowflakes and giraffes on the tree along side glass baubles that, for those that have survived the years and moves, still hang on their more recent trees. And I remember green Christmas wreath cookies on Christmas Eve, and houses filled with family and Christmas cooking smells and presents and just warm and happy feelings. I remember fruit cake, that I still don't like, and Liebkooken (sure I didn't spell that correctly) and garland and fires in the fire place and snowy days and toasty nights and skiing and hot chocolate and the anticipation of a merry surprise from Santa on Christmas morning!

I just love Christmas!



BACK ROAD SCENES -- FALL 2009


Friday, November 20, 2009

MISS MURRAY'S M&Ms

LATE BREAKING NEWS!!! These are shots of our FIRST PLACE AWARD WINNING door ... just announced this afternoon. My class designed the door in class with me and the ceiling tile in Art with Mrs. Jaques. I've got some super creative kiddos, and I'm soooo proud of them! Yay to Murray's M&Ms!!!!!










Tuesday, November 17, 2009

MUST THE ECONOMY RAIN ON EVERY PARADE

I've been pondering ... spending lots of time ruminating over this ... I wonder if the reason why Christmas seemed to start back in September is that perhaps, just maybe, people were trying desperately to put something good and sweet and lovely and cheery and joyous out there in our otherwise depressed social consciousness.

I am sure it had absolutely nothing to do with greed ... right? Christmas isn't about greed, right?

Stupid consumerism!

Monday, November 16, 2009

BECAUSE I KNOW THIS WILL ANNOY THE MATERNAL HALF OF THE PARENTAL UNITS

I spent my weekend (when not running all over the place) sipping Egg Nog and listening to Christmas music on the radio.

Yes, it's sick, but at least I've not put up the Christmas tree. That is strictly forbidden until the day after Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 13, 2009

HAUNTED

I took these pictures on my last week of Fall Break in October. I thought I'd post them on Halloween ... sort of my nod to all things haunted and spooky. Except that I forgot. Oops!

So what if it's now two weeks past Halloween!? I figure with all the Christmas stuff that started going up in September, I'm allowed a little delayed posting ... it evens out in the end, I think.

Behold ... the spooky remains of the Old Taylor Distillery on Glenn's Creek Road.








Wednesday, November 11, 2009

ALL HAIL TO THOSE THAT SERVE(D)

A number of months back ... quite possibly, close to a year ago ... my father got word from Veteran's Affairs, that my grandfather would be receiving the Bronze Star posthumously. Then he got another confirmation that perhaps it wouldn't be the Bronze Star, but some other honor bestowed upon my grandfather for valor in combat or meritorious service ... it was all so confusing.

Then, about a month ago, my dad got the call that he could go to the Veteran's Affairs office in Battle Creek, Michigan, that the award was there. He could pick it up any time.

Guess what?

It was, indeed, the Bronze Star!

We don't know, at this point, why the Bronze Star was given to Grandpa ... the records are sketchy, and it takes months and months and months to get the slightest bit of confirmation as to the reasons for such an award. All we know at this point is that he was awarded it, and we're all very proud of him for it.

Grandpa never talked about his 18 months in the Pacific Campaign. In my lifetime, he'd only mentioned it in passing ... a snippet here, a quick Camp Roberts story there. But to discuss, for any length of time, his tour in the Philippines and Japan (his company was one of the first to land in Japan post-atomic bomb), he just wouldn't ... ever.

As an adult, I asked my grandmother if I could see the letters Grandpa wrote her when he was over there ... surely she'd saved them. They might make an amazing story I could write. "Your grandfather made me burn them when he got home," she said quietly.

"Grandpa!" I was sad and shocked by this. "Why did you do that? What a legacy to have?"

He got agitated and replied, "Why would I want that crap as a reminder lying around. Not much of a legacy."

I never asked him again. Clearly, some wounds never really heal ...

As I remember my grandfather during my childhood, I remember him as a quiet, reserved man. He kept his feelings in check for the most part. What I didn't realize was that he was a living hero in our midst, and he never let on to any of us. Not once ... More than likely, he didn't think of himself as one nor would he have cared to take that title on ...

This Veterans Day, while our entire fourth grade leads the attendees at the Veterans Day Ceremony here in Frankfort in the Pledge of Allegiance, I will be thinking of my grandpa and his unwavering service to this country ... I will be thinking about all of our servicemen and women around the world right now, sacrificing for the freedoms I enjoy every single day of my life ... I will be quietly thanking them all ...

Sunday, November 08, 2009

BEING THE 18-HOUR BRA TYPE

My friend and co-worker, Jody, saw me at church today and said the nicest thing to me.

"I don't see you at school, working until all hours of the night and day, and since you have decided to stop that, I've noticed that you seem happier ... more content."

You know what? She's right! Since the day that I decided that I couldn't be the Wonderbra Teacher anymore, my life has been calmer ... more serene.

I'm allowing myself to take a breath ... to drink it all in ... to really embrace life. It's sounds cheesy, I know, but seriously, I'm shedding my workaholic skin.

Ahhhh ... I'm embracing my inner-18 hour ...

Thursday, November 05, 2009

HAIR CUT

I went to the salon last night and got my hair cut. I'm going for a Michelle Williams sort of thing with my hair. But I swear, every time I walk out, I get that much closer to having the same hair cut as an average 10-year old American boy!

Whatever! I like it. Photos to come later ...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

FOURTH GRADE QUOTES

Question on math homework:
"Suppose thre are 12 squares. Explain how to find the total number of sides withouth counting."

4th Grade answer to question on math homework:
"17; Think really hard."

What 4th grade teacher muttered as she graded the paper after school:
"Not nearly hard enough."

Clearly, we have some reteach to do here tomorrow.

FRESH GROUND BUTT

I couldn't figure out why my coffee tasted like butt yesterday morning. I sometimes leave the small amount leftover from the day before in the pot because, well, I'm lazy, but that doesn't usually make stuff taste like butt, and dag-gone, my three cups of coffee tasted like butt.

But drank, I did, and I ended up with a splitting headache that seemed very much like a caffeine withdrawal headache.

Couldn't figure it out ...

Until I opened up the area where one puts coffee filters and coffee grounds last night, to get it ready for this morning. That's when I discovered that I'd put the filter in ... and ... well, ... that's where I stopped.

I had three fresh cups of terribly watered-down coffee-like liquid yesterday ... i.e., freshly ground butt.

This time change is killing me slowly ...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

HAPPY ELECTION DAY!!!

This year has been a quiet one in the political elections front here in Frankfort, and quite honestly, it's been heaven.

No ugly yard signs.

No constant news segments raging against one candidate or another.

No glad-handing at public events.

No ridiculous politics, period.

I couldn't figure it out, but I didn't question it either. In fact, quite the opposite. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

I found out today what the problem (not a problem for me) was. A few years back, the Commonwealth of Kentucky decided to lay off of the silliness every fourth year.

Wow! Really? Politicians came up with that one? Seriously? Because, that's like, progressive and stuff.

I'm not sure whose brainchild this really was, but I don't care. I bow at their feet and bring offerings of good tidings and great joy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

GETTING THE STEPS IN

Kentucky Employees Health Plan is sponsoring a fitness initiative through Virgin Health Miles. For a discounted rate, we can purchase a pedometer that will download our steps into an account each day. If you meet certain step goals each month, you could win cash prizes, and let's face it. Who doesn't like winning cash prizes?

So, I decided to jump on the bandwagon.

One of my kids spied the pedometer yesterday, and, in the middle of class, asked, "Is that your MP3 player, Miss Murray?" And I mean, who wouldn't multi-task like that, right? Considering I can't walk and chew gums most days, not me!

I told the class what it was and explained that Miss Murray was trying to be healthier and be more fit. That explanation, of course, snow-balled into the "well, what's your goal, Miss Murray" conversation. So, I thought, "why not!" I told them that I was trying to walk 10,000 steps each day, and I invited anyone who wanted to help me earn more steps, to join me at recess for a couple of laps around the playground.

Surprisingly, I had a few kids join me, and as we walked by a few 5th graders, they asked what we were doing.

One of my girls, who happens to be the daughter of a colleague and friend, shot back, "Oh we're helping Miss Murray earn points for her thermometer!"

I guess I'm doing that as well!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

LIVING IN SOME NEW, SCHNAZZY DIGS

Yesterday, one of my students wrote in his poem that once he gets a million dollars, he's going to build his momma a mansion, and then he's "going to build Miss Murray one too."

God bless that child! How could he have possibly known I wouldn't be able to afford to build one myself!?

GETTING TOO OLD FOR THIS

My sister Ann and her friends, Heather and Deb, came over to my swinging bachelorette pad last night for dinner (which was an awesome penne pasta dish, salad, and mixed berry crisp, by the way) and cards.

It was a school night for me ... I don't typically plan such forays into fun on school nights. But I figured why not!?

I'll tell you why not! Because come five o'clock the next morning, one's eyes feel like sand paper, and it becomes very, very difficult to pull one's over-weight, under-slept body out of bed.

And it pains me to even admit that I'm getting too old to go to bed at 11:15 p.m., because I swear to you, I was 25 years old when I woke up yesterday morning!

Insert heavy sigh here ...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A QUOTE THAT WARMS MY HEART

I'm borrowing a line from Carrie today, but I just love talking with her .... as she said, it does my heart good to chat with her because we are so much alike, and she totally gets me, which most folks don't!

She called me today on her way home from Ohio, and we spent a good deal of time chatting again about life, our struggles, our dreams, our lives, and of course, we ended up talking about work. She understands why I've killed myself at work, because she falls into the same trap I do. Today, I was describing to her a person I've worked with, and I said, "She's like the Wonderbra of teachers!"

That, in and of itself, is a quote to be wrestled with. However, the true gem of the conversation came toward the end, when Carrie so timely said:

"Listen, dude. We don't have to be the Wonderbra of teachers. So long as we keep the girls up. If their eyes are facing forward, we're good to go!"

I don't know about the rest of the world, but (and I quote some of my favorite people down here in the south), that there is some dag gone good logic!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

13 DOWN, 37 MORE TO GO!!

To Kill a Mockingbird
By Harper Lee

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view ... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it." Atticus to his daughter Scout

What a beautifully written, timeless novel! I was mesmerized from beginning to end ... the simplicity in its complexity. It was a novel that touched me deeply.

I've read some commentaries that state it was sad that Harper Lee never wrote any other novels. How could she? She said it all ... wrote it all ... in this one book. This was her bright and shining moment ... absolutely brilliant.

Growing up, I'd heard the plot was about a black man accused of raping a white girl. Because that it what everyone talked about, I assumed that was the central plot. However, that couldn't be further from the truth. The true central plot was about two children growing up in world of inequalities and inequities, and their father's struggle to raise them to be tolerant, fair, and just. It was a touching portrayal of family, love, life, and loss.

"I wanted you so see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do ... she died beholden to nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person I ever knew."

Atticus tells this to his son Jem after a neighbor of theirs dies from a long, hard-fought battle with drug addiction. They are powerful words that I think speak volumes to the kind of man Atticus was, and the type of life he tried to live for his children. He was the bravest character I ever knew.

This is a book about racism, acceptance, unconditional love, doing the right thing -- the not the popular thing, standing up for one's rights, standing up when it is right, standing up when no one else will ... it's about courage, bravery, benevolence ...social castes and social mores ... it's about innocence and the wilting of that innocence and it's about coming of age.

This is a MUST READ book, if ever there was one!


Some more of my favorite quotes from the book:
"Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."

"The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."

"an Atticus, when they finally saw him, why he hadn't done any of those things ... Atticus, he was real nice ... " His hands were under my chin, pulling up the cover, tucking it around me. "Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them."

Friday, October 23, 2009

GOOD FRIENDS AND NOT LETTING THE JOY GET ROBBED

*Certain names may have been changed for privacy.

You know when you struggle ...struggle in the mire of your inner self and what the world is telling you and the way you're feeling about yourself ... and it's this mass of ugliness and sadness and anger and rage and confusion all rolled into one toxic cocktail that just really brings you down?

Yeah ... that was me last night.

Introspection is both healthy and lethal, and I was having one of those crazy combos last night ... full of second-guessing and worry about worth in the eyes of others and questioning the minutiae of my days, and then Carrie called.

And for three hours, she and I really talked about life and the demands our days and the demands we put on our days and our crazy self-talk and our need to be better, always better ... and then she said something to me.

"You know, co-teaching with Samantha* has really changed my perspective on things."

"Really? How so?"

"Well, I knew that she'd had a hysterectomy, but what I didn't realize is that she had it because she had cancer. So, she's a survivor. She survived cancer. And you know what she said to me one? She said, 'You know what? Life's too short. My family and my friends are my priority. Yes, this job is important, but it's not my life. It really isn't my life'."

Wow. How soon I forget that fact.

Carrie said that she's really trying to focus on the positive and laugh at the things that used to get her completely unwound, and you know what. I need to do that, too.

I can make excuses for everything I do in my life. I really can. I'm the queen of excuse-making, but the bottom line is that at some point, I have to embrace this life and really, truly enjoy it! I've only got this one, and I'm not entirely sure how long it will last. So, rather than make myself crazy over the silly stuff ... the crazy people I come into contact with daily ... or the hurt feelings perceived or otherwise ... I need to be in the moment, embracing the positive.

What a different quality of life I could lead if I approached everything with a laid-back, Pollyanna attitude.

So, I'm working toward a new goal, and that is not letting my joy be robbed by the craziness that is my world. Embrace every last ounce of this life ...

I think of the new movie coming out on Amelia Earhart. Why do we gravitate to people like that? Because folks like her embraced a dream and chased after it.

I've got bigger dreams, and I can't reach them if I'm wallowing in the negative stuff.

Enough already!

At some point, the cycle has to be broken, and why not start with me!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

BACK ROADS

Woodford County road ...


A little blurry, but yes, this is a road in Franklin County!

HIDDEN TREASURES



This is one of the things that I love so much about Kentucky. You can drive along and suddenly find a hidden treasure like these ... just nestled in amongst the foliage. Amazing!

IF THESE WALLS COULD SPEAK ... OH THE STORIES THEY MIGHT BE ABLE TO TELL

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

CINCINNATI CITYSCAPE

I went to see a good college friend, Dr. Amy Gutman, and her husband, son, and furry crew in Cincinnati. They showed me a great time -- I was completely spoiled.

Some highlights for your viewing pleasure ...