Thursday, January 29, 2009

ICE STORM 2009 -- POST GAME COVERAGE -- THE PHOTOS



FREEDOM COMES AT A COST ... $180 WORTH

So, I was whining that I was desperate to get out of the house. Probably should have kept that one to myself.

Maddie the Cat got sick.

Thirty minutes of mad scrapping and tapping and yanking at sheets of ice, and I had my car passably drivable. After fighting the cussed beast into her cat carrier, I drove to the visiting vet.

$180 later ... and counting ... and I'm crossing my fingers that it's just a kidney/bladder infection.

Freedom from the ice cave comes at a price, ladies and gentlemen ... it comes at a price.

ICE STORM 2009 -- POST GAME COVERAGE

Well, the good news is that my power stayed on for the whole time! Not counting the five times, yesterday, that it flickered menacingly at me. For that, I can be exceedingly thankful.

The better news is that I've gotten all of my laundry done and have plowed through a few books ... loads and loads of reading time! Yay!

The bad news is that I now must pay back three whole days (and counting) at spring break. Stay tuned for the inevitable complaining and whining that will ensue with that development later on....say about March.

The worse news is that I currently can not gain entrance into my vehicle. It's frozen over ... solidly. Chief on this afternoon's activities will be to try to chip away at the ice until I've finally gained access into the truck. Why? Because they may actually have school tomorrow ... good grief, my kids will be insane!

Again, I must say that I'm exceedingly grateful that the worst I'll suffer is some cabin fever and an iced-over vehicle. There are many, many Kentuckians that are without power and water with no hope of it coming on any time soon. They've had to leave their animals in homes without heat and seek shelter at Red Cross shelters across the commonwealth. Yes, for me, it could have been a lot worse.

I'm currently trying to upload some photos I took of the beauty of the storm ... but my server hates me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

KISSING MORE OF MY SPRING BREAK AWAY

Well, it's official.

No school tomorrow.

Stupid ice!

This is me kissing more of my spring break away.

This is me kissing away the beach .... and the bikini ... and the hot man carrying endless amounts of froo-froo drinks with little umbrellas in them to me ... this is me kissing it all away ....

Who am I kidding?! I couldn't fit into a bikini to save my life right now!

[insert heavy sigh here]

MATHEMATICAL EQUATIONS ON A SNOW DAY

Ice + Snow + Ice + Anticipation of more snow and other wintery crap = Snow Day = Megan's anticipated "crabby" come the day we must pay the snow day back --> Spring Break!

The only bright spot in this is that I've lost my voice, and now I have the entire day to find it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

ONE HOUR DELAY

There's nothing better on a Monday morning than getting the call that there is a one-hour delay. However, receiving that call while brushing one's teeth ... well ... that screams professionalism, let me just tell you. It makes your principal want to run to the hills (easy to do where I live) and scream, "She's one of my teachers! One of my best and brightest!"

Yes, that's exactly what he wants to do after the conversation he had with me this morning. It went something like this ....


RIIIINNNNNNGGGG

Me: "Crap!" Spewing toothpaste everywhere as I did.

My principal: "Good morning, Miss Murray."

Me: "Gud mowning ..."

My principal: "Ummmm ... one hour delay ..."

Me: "Un hour? Phllbt ... fank you."

What makes this conversation even more appealing is the fact that not only was I trying to talk through a mouthful of tooth paste, but I was also trying to talk with laryngitis. The whole thing sounded like a cross between a drunken stupor and a pack of chain-smoked cigarettes all consumed within an hour.

Yes, it's moments like these that would just make my mother swell with pride ... and wish she'd spent the extra cash on finishing school.

Friday, January 23, 2009

T.G.I.F.

It's Friday, and it's a good thing, too.

I spoke too soon, and that has come to bite me in the butt! My sore throat? Back with a vengeance, and along with it, came a head full of crap! Nice!

The good news is that I'm not running a fever. So, I came to school to spread my germs and sunny disposition (that last part is sarcasm, if you didn't catch it). The bad news is that I got very little sleep last night, so ... well, that explains the sunny disposition.

The only silver lining in my otherwise Friday cloud is that it's currently 39 degrees, and we're suppose to be somewhere in the 50s this afternoon.

I'm just clinging to the hope that coffee will get me through the first half of the day, and that perhaps I have a dollar to waste on the pop machine for my afternoon caffeine fix.

Thank goodness it's Friday ... that's all I'm sayin'.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A BANNER DAY!

To demonstrate the lameness of my life, I am blogging about the unadulterated excitement I'm experiencing over two items.

Item #1 ... I slept through the night ... the E.N.T.I.R.E. night. All of it! Near as I can figure, that's like, I don't know, at least six hours of straight sleep. This is not counting my napping time that stretched over the evening hours of 8 and 10 p.m. Okay, yes, so I missed the PRESIDENTS documentary on the History Channel, but dag-nab it! I got sleep. Glorious, beautiful, delicious sleep.

Item #2 ... It's 28 degrees. I never thought I'd be excited about 28 degrees, but, ladies and gentlemen, I am! I couldn't be more excited about it ... unless it suddenly surged to 70, but that would mean wicked bad weather later on in the day. So, I will take 28, thank you very much!

Okay, so I lied ... I have another item of excitement to share.

Item #3 ... The sore throat seems to be gone ... for now.

Thursday is dawning bright and beautiful!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

SWEARING

A quote from one of my fourth graders yesterday, while we were watching President Obama's swearing in ceremony.

"Miss Murray, when does the swearing start?"

SORE THROAT

I've been dealing with a mild, hanging-there-in-the-back-of-my-throat, sore throat the past two days. I know what happens with these sore throats. They fester until finally, it's a full-blown nasty case of something or another, usually bronchitis. I'm slurping hot stuff down like it's going out of style, hoping to delay the inevitable.

If only I could actually sleep through one whole night during the week!

If only I could feel my fingers and toes again!

Have I mentioned how much I dislike winter recently?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

HISTORIC DAY -- REGULAR DAY -- A MONDAY ON A TUESDAY

Today was both historical and regular all rolled into one gigantic ball.

Historical in that Americans around the country, and the world for that matter, witnessed the seamless transition of power, as prescribed by our constitution ... a transition that we see every four to eight years. Historical in that this time around Americans witnessed an African American man being sworn in as America's 44th President.

And yet, it was the most regular of days ... why? Because, I woke up tired and crabby, as per usual, oh, and cold. Yes, let's not forget cold.

It was regular in that, even though it wasn't an actual Monday, Monday still managed to rear its foul head in my direction in the form of me forgetting about one meeting, a parent note to go out, and the fact that this afternoon began the start of After-School Writing Portfolio ESS from now until the time the cursed things are handed in ... at the end of April.

Oh lest we forget, the fire alarm, pulled by some unknown source, and that caused us all to unload into the parking lot this morning with temperatures in the teens. My saving grace was that I didn't have to hear any of the usual whining that accompanies such frigid fire drills because my kiddos were all too busy trying to catch giant, fluffy snowflakes on their tongues. Yes, let's not forget about that fantastically wonderful fire alarm!

Insert heavy sigh here ...

Someone, please do me the favor of passing me a glass of wine, please?

Monday, January 19, 2009

LOVIN' ON A GOOD DAY OFF

Oh deliciously, beautiful, wonderful day off! How do I love thee?

Let me count the ways ....

One ...

Two ...

Three ...

Four ...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

3 DOWN, 47 MORE TO GO!

DEAR JOHN by Nicholas Sparks
276 pages, and I felt gutted by the end. Yet, somehow, I still managed to enjoy the book. I think it's because Sparks has such a sweet, precious way of writing ... a way that eases you into the whole "life sucks and then you die" theme that permeates each and every one of his books. Each one of his books shows you that there rarely is a happy ending, but there does always seem to be some sort of ray of sunshine, however puny it may be, that shines its light down on the person that would rather have "loved and lost than to never have loved at all."

I think A BEND IN THE ROAD is still my favorite Sparks novel, but I will say DEAR JOHN was an enjoyable read ... just not my favorite one.

Friday, January 16, 2009

COLD WEATHER TIPS FROM A SEASONED, SLIGHTLY WEATHERED, FORMER NORTHERN CHICK

It's -2 this morning. Every single school in the Commonwealth has had their school day cancelled, or, at the very least, delayed, except for my district. This, surprisingly enough, is okay with me, because at least that's one bullet dodged in the "we're sorry, but you're going to have to pay your decadent snow day back on those well-earned, always short spring break days." I'm okay with it.

For those not accustomed to the frigid, deep freeze that typifies a January weather cycle (at least in Michigan most years), I'd like to pass on a few winter weather tips.

  1. Think layers. You may end up looking like the Michelin man, but the alternative, missing digits due to frostbite, for example, is NEVER a good look, irregardless of your sudden marketability where horror films are concerned.
  2. Always have a full gas tank. Condensation that freezes in the gas tank due to dipping temps can cause, as my father would say, "a mell of a hess!"
  3. Embrace your inner Eskimo.
  4. Homemade soups WILL make you feel warm and cozy ... it's researched-based, folks.
  5. Keep your curtains drawn and your blinds down. It makes your house dark and dreary, but it keeps your heat in! This becomes extremely important when the heating bill lands in your mailbox.
  6. Never, ever, under any circumstances, lick a cold, metal object. Nothing good can ever come of that sort of behavior.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

COMING OUT OF RETIREMENT

The wool sweaters that have been hibernating in a tub with a cedar wood block since Winter 2005, have finally seen the light of day ... or rather the bedroom light that cast it's warm glow over an otherwise frigid morning.

Hopefully, the thick wool will hold up to actual daylight hitting it. Considering it is currently ten degrees with a wind chill of "holy-crap-is-it-that-cold" degrees, desperate times call for desperate measures.

It is Freeze-Your-Nose-Hairs cold out there, folks!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

TAKE IT BACK

Hey Cananda!! You can take your stinkin' arctic air/clipper thingy back. We don't want it!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

FEELING SLIGHTLY GYPPED

We were under a winter weather advisory around these parts last night. Under these conditions, certain things must occur:
  1. Widespread panic must ensue, whereas, hoards of people run, literally, to the local markets to scavenge the remaining loaves of bread and gallons of milk on dusty shelves.
  2. Pre-treating of streets with something called MAGIC SALT begins, which does nothing but to make a mess of the outside of vehicles every where, not to mention the killing of all vegetation anywhere near the roadway.
  3. Endless beeps and blips occur throughout the evening prior to said winter weather advisory on all radios and televisions.

End result?

Rain! Stupid, cold rain, which will, no doubt, turn to ice and be a mess by the time I leave here this afternoon.

I'm sorry ... when is Spring coming again???

Sunday, January 11, 2009

2 DOWN, 48 MORE TO GO


TALES OF BEEDLE THE BARD by J.K. Rowling ...
It's not Harry Potter. I knew that going in. I'd prepared myself for it, even though my fourth grade student, who let me borrow the book, told me it was good, but "not like Harry Potter, Miss Murray." I knew this ... but ... I didn't really like it anyway.

From a teacher's perspective, it's a terrific book to teach fairy tales. However, from a die-heard reader and Harry fan, I just wasn't into it. Sorry, Ms. Rowling. I've still not dealt with my mourning of the passing of the Harry Potter series ....

MY QUOTE -- UTTERED AT THE BLUEGRASS WRITING PROJECT FOLLOW UP MEETING

"Much like acne medicine, it [revamping my writers workshop] gets worse before it gets better."

Friday, January 09, 2009

TO KEEP TRACK OF MY INSANITY

According to this website (http://www.derbyfestivalmarathon.com/), there are only 105 days left until I begin the grueling march through the greater Louisville area.

Here's a fantastic little ditty about the course:

"Course Details ... The scenic route will include sections of two scenic city parks designed by the esteemed Frederick Law Olmsted, historic Churchill Downs, Louisville's newly developed waterfront, a skate park, Southern Indiana and several eclectic neighborhoods. Runners in the Derby Festival Marathon & minimarathon will start their race at the same time and location @ Southern Parkway near Iroquois Park. Marathon runners will follow the miniMarathon route until the Mile 12 marker. Runners of the Marathon will split off the course at 7th and Breckinridge, turning right, completing the 26.2-mile distance. The Marathon route will continue east on Breckinridge to Barret Avenue, through the Highlands area and Cherokee Park, along Cherokee Road to Baxter, Main, Campbell and River Road, eventually rejoining the miniMarathon route at 7th and Chestnut. The Marathon finish line will share the same location as the miniMarathon at 6th and Market streets. The course will include 14 water and 11 Powerade stops, 8 of them after runners split off onto the Marathon course."

Sounds lovely and idyllic, right?

I bet I'm swearing like a drunken sailor by mile 8 ... the longest I've ever walked, and that was around Mackinac Island .... when I was a kid!

Here's a nice little map of my upcoming torture ... just in case you're having difficulty visualizing it all http://www.derbyfestivalmarathon.com/Asset7774.aspx?method=1

April 25th ... mark the date folks. Feel free to travel down and cheer me on!

NOTE TO SELF

NOTE TO SELF: When giddily signing up to walk a mini-marathon, always work out the mileage math FIRST BEFORE actually putting name on line.

13 miles, ladies and gentlemen! ONE --- THREE! 13! What was I thinking?????

Thursday, January 08, 2009

SAD WHAT CONSTITUTES ENTERTAINMENT THESE DAYS

I had more fun this evening ... probably more than I care to admit ... but, okay, I'm blogging about it, so I guess that's as good as admitting it.

There's nothing more entertaining than watching a cat try to eat a small bit of jelly bean. It's a cross between a spastic seizure and a cat chewing gum.

H.Y.S.T.E.R.I.C.AL!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

PLAYING THE LOTTO

I think I might have missed the boat. Perhaps I should have played the Lotto today, seeing as I was so lucky and all. The shock of the week ... I won a cash prize for being one of the staff members with perfect attendance for the 2nd quarter. Pretty exciting for the first day back in the saddle ...

Monday, January 05, 2009

ONE DOWN, 49 MORE TO GO


PLAYING FOR PIZZA by John Grisham

Despite the fact that I don't have the first clue about football, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There were a lot of football descriptions involved in this read ... details on plays ... a lot of them, have I mentioned this? And Grisham assumes the reader knows what blitzes and Hail Mary's are, which I don't. Even still, I managed to enjoy the book. I even got all "caught up in the moment" when Mr. Grisham wrote, with intensity, the exciting ending to the Italian Super Bowl. I couldn't put the book down at that part!

Yes, my enjoyment might also have had something to do with the fact that Grisham went into great detail about the Italian food in Parma, a northern city in Italy. Okay, yes, there might have been the slightest bit of eroticism that played out in his food descriptions, but I'm telling you! I now want to go and eat my way up one side of Italy and down the other, more than ever, after having read this book.

I think the real reason I enjoyed this book was that I didn't need to think about it. It wasn't necessarily Beach Read Fluff, well, okay, maybe for a guy, but it was fluff with substance, if that makes any sense. It was a story about underdogs, and who doesn't like to see underdogs win? It was a story about finding one's self, and in a sense, it was a story about finding contentment in the last place you would ever think to find it.

I recommend PLAYING FOR PIZZA by John Grisham.

IS IT WRONG??

Is it wrong that I giggled every, single time the meteorologist from a local station came on my TV, ready to do the weather, with a necklace hooked around her boob?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED -- WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP!

The photos below of my living room are relatively accurate. Okay, well, they don't show the charcoal grill in parts and pieces taking up the greatest share of my living room floor currently, but other than that ....

Seriously, folks. There are certain times in a girl's life when having a husband would be exceedingly helpful, and this would be one of those times. Because instead of me flinging the Phillips head screw driver down and cursing like a drunken sailor, I could watch him do that ... which has to be way more entertaining.

I finally had to leave the living room ... blog a bit ... clear my head.

Please tell me why the manufacturers of said products always short you on the important things, like, say, BOLTS, but give you a blue million of the not-so-important things, like, say, nylon washers!!??!??? If this stupid thing doesn't fall apart the first time I use it, I will be completely surprised.

And while we're talking about things that are annoying, I had a PBS documentary on, while trying to assemble my grill, about the a year in the Royal Family's lives. Can we all say ANAL RETENTIVE? I mean, they have men that their entire job is to measure, with a special stick, mind you, the space between the table and the chairs at a Royal State Dinner.

Seriously!?

I guess it's a good thing I will never be invited to one of those shin-digs. Cuz, I'd be the one that had spinach hanging out of her teeth while discussing with the Prime Minister and Lord and Lady What's-Their-Butts the benefits of reading the book What's Your Poo Telling You (http://www.amazon.com/Whats-Your-Poo-Telling-You/dp/0811857824/ref=pd_cp_b_2?pf_rd_p=413864201&pf_rd_s=center-41&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0670036749&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0QDY2FWPK7BH2P5E7AD0).

Saturday, January 03, 2009

LAST VESTIGES OF CHRISTMAS

I'm tearing down Christmas in my house today. It's always makes me a little sad to see it all come down. However, it's time.

So, in honor of Christmas 2008 ... here are some last snapshots ...


MY ORGANIZATIONAL PERSONALITY

I just read an article about organizational personalities. I've narrowed it down to the following two. However, I'm relatively sure that my mother and my sister will have resounding votes for the second one!

Anyone else want in on the vote?

Creative

You are a free spirit who thrives on variety, embraces imagination and delights in spontaneity. Cater to your need for stimulation to be most effective.

Organizing Strategy
• Forget the standard to-do lists. Creative personalities are motivated by things that stimulate their senses. A decorative chalkboard, corkboard or colorful calendar is much more visually appealing than an ordinary day planner or notebook, and will encourage you to write things down.
• Sort closets by arranging clothes and accessories by color. Continue with the color theme by color-coding your boxes and files.
• Creative types are more in tune with processing the big picture. That’s why open storage systems work best for you. Create a system of colored bins or boxes in a bookcase or baskets on simple shelves.
• Keep a small notebook and pen in your car, purse and a convenient spot in your home so you can jot down and capture ideas, appointments, errands or other things as you think about them.


Impulsive

Fun, playful and full of energy, you become restless with things that are too time-consuming, invasive or binding. Professional organizer and time management expert Roxanne Lange (theprofessionalorganizer/rlange.htm) shares organizing tips that will help simplify your life.

Organizing Strategy
• Write down all the activities you invest in (i.e., work, spouse, children, friends, hobbies, exercise, etc.) then budget your time based on what you’re willing to spend on each activity. Impulsives have a yen for doing things on a whim and work best when they have guidelines that they control.
• Lists are imperative—just remember to add FUN to the list (really!). It’s also a good idea to add something that you could easily subtract in case something you really want to do comes up.
• Replace a daily to-do list with a weekly one and accomplish the tasks as you feel like it.
• Lists for meal planning and shopping are BIG money-savers for impulsives—utilize them!

From Woman's Day online site.

Friday, January 02, 2009

TODAY'S TO DO LIST REVISITED

  1. Find out where my mail has gone ... Check! Apparently, I stopped it until Tuesday, January 5th. Oops! Rectified that situation when I got to the post office. Only one bill is past due. Good times!
  2. Grocery shop and try to save money while doing so ... Check! Saved about $20 ... yay for me! Ate an amazing dinner tonight too, all because I decided to follow a menu plan sort of deal. A shout out to Erin, who explained to me her method, which apparently has become my method as well.
  3. Spend a gift card at a book store ... it's burning a hole in my pocket ... Check! And I still have money left over. Bonus!!!
  4. Visit Gap ... there's a dress that I've wanted that's clearanced down to practically nothing. Me wants it!!! Check ... but not good news. The dress was gone. Oh well. I can check on line, but I'm not holding out hope.
  5. Clean the bathrooms ... Nope! Not happening tonight.
  6. Do dishes ... Check!
  7. Think about taking the Christmas decorations down ... mind you, just think about it. Check! I thought about it, and then thought against it!
I love when a plan comes together ...

TODAY'S TO DO LIST

  1. Find out where my mail has gone ...
  2. Grocery shop and try to save money while doing so ...
  3. Spend a gift card at a book store ... it's burning a hole in my pocket ...
  4. Visit Gap ... there's a dress that I've wanted that's clearanced down to practically nothing. Me wants it!!!
  5. Clean the bathrooms ...
  6. Do dishes ...
  7. Think about taking the Christmas decorations down ... mind you, just think about it.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

WELCOME 2009!

What better way to enjoy the first hours of 2009 than by sipping coffee while in my jammies. Okay, yes, it is 11:53 a.m., and I probably should be doing something of significance, like, say, making my grocery list. But man! Does it ever feel good to still be sitting in these fantastically wonderful flannel pj's.

So, I promised a look back at the dawning of 2008, and my expectations for all it had to offer.

I also promised a look to the future and 2009 and all I would like it to be.

First things first ... 2008 ... here is what I said about 2008 ... "I want to live my best life and not be defined by my job. It is, after all, just a job. Okay, yes, an important job, but it's a job. I only get this one life.

I want to read more ... love more ... savor every movie ... laugh more and feel every single one of them ... fight less ... be a better friend, a better sister, a better daughter, a better woman ... flirt more and worry less ... save more, spend less ... travel more ... be more content ... remember the small moments ... worry less about the big milestones ..."


Okay, so my boss refers to me as WORKAHOLIC, so I may just have failed slightly on the job not defining me thing. However, I will tell you that I have been much more content, much more happy, and I've relished in ALL of the small moments. It's the reason I can sit here today and feel so fully blessed for having experienced the year 2008.

I did not read more in 2008, but I savored every movie, laughed a lot more, tried to remember every single moment.

What I didn't resolve to do, but what evolved over the course of the year was that I cared less ... cared less about what people thought about me, and, as a result, I lived a better life. Oh the pure joy of just not caring ... embrace it, folks! It's brilliant!

Now, for 2009, the world is out there for the taking, and I'm ready to take it. Here's what I'm thinking about the year 2009:

1. Read more. What's a good goal? 50 books by year's end? What!? It can happen.
2. Laugh more ... you can never laugh too much. So, I'm carrying it over from 2008.
3. Be the best me by being confident and caring less about what others think. It served me well in 2008, and I wasn't even really meaning to do it!
4. Be a bit more spontaneous.
5. Don't hang on to the useless crap of life. Let the superfluous junk go.
6. Cook more and be more organized about the food in my life.
7. Save more money.
8. Spend more time savoring life and less time savoring television.
9. Leave more time for hobbies.
10. Leave more time for being me ...
11. Make fitness a must.

So, there you have it. My New Year's Resolutions for 2009.

I think they're do-able ...

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Maddie the Cat and I just rang in the new year. Me in my pajamas ... Maddie with a scowl on her face. It was a typical evening in the Kentucky contingent of the Murray Household.

I will pontificate more on the year 2008 and this new year upon us, year 2009.

In the mean time, sleep is just within grasp.

Happy New Year one and all! Hugs and kisses from me and the sour puss!