Sunday, May 31, 2009

A GIFT TO MYSELF

I have friends who are married or are dating. Many of them get gifts from their significant others. I don't have a significant other. Soooo .... I bought a gift for myself!


By the way, I do have a thumb, but it seems to be tucked behind the rest of my hand in this photo. No tragic digit removal story here ...

THESE WILL PUSH ME INTO THE "GOURMET" LEVEL

Yesterday was MAY MARKET at Liberty Hall. As part of the Garden Club's historic tour, they had vendors come with loads of fun stuff. I purchased these to replace some pitifully old, cheap wooden spoons I've been needing to get rid of. They are cedar, hand-carved, and they smell AMAZING! A man in town makes them, and I just love them! I'm certain they will cause me to be a gourmet cook now!

Friday, May 29, 2009

IS THAT ... WHAT ... WAIT ... IS IT?

There are only 10 days left until the end of school. Not that I should be counting, but darn it, I am!

These days, I go home, park it on a cushy chair, place the remote in hand, and drool until it's time for bed. Emmy the Kitten and I do discuss important daily events like, "when was the last time I cleaned out your pan, cuz the house smells gross," but really, it's all about tossing kitty toys around the room and drooling in front of the TV.

Last night, I was bored but didn't have the energy to get up and walk the three steps it was going to take to get to my book. So I started channel surfing.

As I zipped past C-SPAN, I saw a face that looked vaguely familiar. "Wait!" I hollered, jarring Emmy from a little cat nap. "Was that?"

I flipped back, and there was that face from my past. It was at this point that her name flashed on the screen, and I realized this was a woman that I gone to college with. Wow! Leslee Fritz, the director of Economic Recovery for the State of Michigan. Seriously impressive.

Huh ... and I teach 4th graders.

Although, in retrospect, I'm thinking my job is just a smidge easier than hers right now!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

APPARENTLY THERE'S MORE WORK TO BE DONE

*Names have been changed to protect those whose mouths need to be washed out with soap!

Today, my students presented their Cereal Box Book Reports to their classmates. Annika* presented her book report on a book entitled How Underwear Got Under There: A Brief History by Kathy Shaskan and Regan Dunnick. She referenced bustles at one point in her report, and then she looked at her classmates and asked, "Do you all know what a bustle is?"

Most shook their heads no.

"Well," said Annika. "A bustle was like a basket that women wore underneath their dresses. It had a belt, and it belted to the lady's corset. These bustles made women's butts look big, huge, gigantic .... like super gigantic ... like bigger than you ever imagined .... like ... like .... like .... like two of Miss Murray!"

I'm now off to run for the next three hours!

STUFF I'M EXCITED ABOUT!!

  • Only 11 more days of school ... WAHHHHOOOO!!!
  • A writing retreat that I'm going on June 24th through June 26th. I can't wait!!!
  • $60 worth of books that I got for $30.48 yesterday at the Scholastic Warehouse Sale in Lexington. Yay for me!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

FAVORITE FIELD TRIP QUOTE

While on an economics field trip to Rebecca Ruth Candies (http://rebeccaruth.stores.yahoo.net/), the man helping my kids in the gift shop said to me,

"You go home and drink a bottle of wine every night, don't you?"

13 MORE DAYS

13 more days of school ... not that anyone is counting, but yes, I am counting. So are all my kids. So are all the kids, for that matter. You can't help but count down the days with eager anticipation. It's the nature of the beast!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

LAZY DAY DOINGS

This is what lazy looks like at our house! It's been a low-key Memorial Day weekend here at the Murray Casa de Townhouse. In keeping with that low-key theme, dinner tonight will be homemade CRAZY CRUST with pizza sauce for dipping and white wine spritzers -- just because that sounded like it went really well with crazy crust.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

EMMY ANTICS

Here are just a sampling of the latest Emmy antics. She is a typical feline, and she LOVES to watch birds and play. But she's also a typical Maine Coon and loves to search out dark places to sleep. Finally, she's a pretty typical cat in that she just HATES getting her photo taken. Try as I might to get full, frontal facial photos, I think she doesn't like the flash, and so she REFUSES to cooperate, as you can see from the self portrait of her and I ... me forcing her head straight!

Okay ... yes ... maybe I have become a crazy cat lady ... so deal with it!

Photo #1: Wishing she could get at the bird that just flew by the window

Photo #2: Chewing on a toy


Photo #3: Sleeping under the dresser in the guest bedroom

Photo #4: Getting another cursed photo taken with The Human








Saturday, May 23, 2009

SUMMER HAIR

Every summer, it's the same thing. The humidity blows in, and my hair lays on my scalp like a limp, streaky, dish rag. It's soooo not attractive! I marched into my salon this morning and announced, "I need something that is a BLOW AND GO sort of style, and I want a mix of something that is sort of between a rocker chick and the sweet girl next door."

After razors and scissors were done flying, my stylist went a lot shorter than I thought she would, but I always love to try new things. So, drum roll please .....

The New Summer Hair!

I think in order to fully grasp the rocker chick image, I'm going to have to turn portions of my golden-ish locks red or purple or something. But, it still works in my book.

Friday, May 22, 2009

CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES!! OH YAY!!

There is so much to celebrate today.

First, as soon as 2:41 p.m. hits, I will officially be done with the hell that is WRITING PORTFOLIOS. YEEEEEE HAAAAAAAWWWWWW!!!!

Second, it's a three day weekend! God Bless the person that invented Memorial Day! I love all that it stands for and respect the lives given for my freedom. And yes, I LOVE that I get a three day weekend out of it as well.

Third, after today, there will only be three more weeks of school!!! Three glorious weeks where I have nothing hanging over my head but the health and well-being of 17 stinky, sweaty almost 5th graders! We're planning lots of wonderfully historic field trips to cap off our year of Kentucky history studies. Everyone is looking forward to it, teachers included!

Fourth, TODAY IS FRIDAY!!!!

Fifth, my allergies are better today.

Yes, life is good.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

WAS I HARSH? WAS I CADDY? WAS IT NECESSARY?

Okay, so it's been brought to my attention by a few of you that my blog about the office flirt was harsh and caddy and "oh my gosh, Murray! Seriously! Who were you talking about!?!? And could you be more gossipy if you tried?"

  1. Yes, it was harsh. It was pretty harsh hearing those things about this girl. It is harsh that in 2009 women's job performances are still tied to their sexuality. A sad truth ...
  2. Yes, it was caddy. Flirting with co-workers is caddy ... flirtatiousness in the work place can be caddy. Just being in the same room with another human being can be caddy in some people's minds. That is just the way some people are.
  3. Could I be more gossipy? Probably. Let's face it. Try as we might, we're all horribly, sinful creatures, and there isn't a one of us that is perfect, and at one point or another, we are all going to talk about someone else ... it's just that simple. Can we fight the urge? Oh yes we can! Can we avoid the situations that could cause us to fall into the gossip mill? Ummm yep!
I fell into just such a situation about ten years ago. Unbeknownst to me, I was hired by a man that had slept his way across the eastern sea board and was attempting to work through the Midwest. I guess they make super capes for such things ... who knew!

I was hired by this man to do a job that, by all outward appearances, I was not qualified to do. That alone was enough to get the tongues wagging in my small town, but when you added it to the fact that the man in question was the reigning KING OF PIGS, well, let's just say I walked into a situation fraught with caddy gossip.

I was young, naive and always thought the best of everyone. I'm jaded, cynical, and question the motives of everyone around me now. It's amazing what ten years can do!

But being naive, I didn't realize that laughing at all his stupid jokes, doing all the tasks he asked me to do, and following directions to the letter would only add fuel to the gossip mongers' fire. Oh and then there were the times I had to meet behind closed doors to talk about sensitive employee issues. Yeah, that just kept the mouths running!

When it was all said and done (and when the man was fired for more ethical lines being blurred than you could shake a stick at), it was well known that I had slept with this man to get my job.

EXCEPT I HADN'T ... NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE POINT.

However, I'd allowed myself to get into situations that could be misconstrued ... pulled out of context ... blown WAAAAY out of proportion. I didn't mean to ... in fact, I was really innocent in the whole matter. But I learned a few things.

Lesson #1 ... be very careful how you conduct yourself around people you know only casually.
Lesson #2 ... professional integrity is everything.
Lesson #3 ... you may not care what other people think, and that is okay. But don't put yourself in situations that are going to cause you, or even worse, the other person to be hurt or compromised in anyway. Even if it's not your intention. Just think before you act.
Lesson #4 ... be very careful who you get comfy with.

I didn't say all of that in my post earlier today, because, honestly, I was letting off steam regarding an issue that I could see myself falling into ... it's easy to do. I know.

I'm always amazed when I step away from my usual drivel on random things in life to comment on something of value and substance -- people get miffed -- people get upset -- people don't like it. Yes, I had a very flippant tone with regard to the whole situation, but I didn't use any names and places or any dates. Yes, it was harsh, but sometimes, hearing seeing the truth is harsh, and this was as much about seeing the truth for me than anything. I can't help if it rings true for others ... but maybe that's a good thing. Maybe it means we all step away from the situation and take a good long look at ourselves ... just in case.

So, I'm stepping off of my soap box now and looking for more drivel. My readership doesn't like it when I talk about stuff that matters [insert smiley face and flippant tone here].

DAILY DINNER MENU

I don't feel all that great due to allergies. So, I'm looking at Raisin Bran and strawberries ... not necessarily in that order!

Stupid allergies!

IS THAT WHAT I LOOK LIKE?

I was talking to a friend recently. We were chatting about people we'd worked with, and she started catching me up on the gossip of all the employees I remember. There was this one individual ... she and I used to be friends. Then, I guess because of circumstances, we drifted apart ... well, she's always been what one might term "terminally desperate." She gloms on to anything of the opposite sex and oozes all over them. It's apparently becoming more pronounced as she's hit her 30s. The latest news is that she's attached herself to the hip of "the new guy," and it's not pretty. EVERYONE in the place recognizes the display she's making. The only person that doesn't notice how silly it looks is her. Sadly, folks are beginning to question her priorities at her job, a job she's good at. According to my friend, she complains loudly when things don't go her way at work, and for some co-workers, they're beginning to question the amount of time she spends flirting with said new guy ... that perhaps if she spent more time with her job and less with New Guy, she'd have room to complain.

This makes me resolve to NEVER, NEVER lose my mind over a man ... EVER! I have, and I know I look ridiculous, and it's not pretty, and I NEVER want to look like this girl. NEVER!!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN??

Leave it to me to go into the public library-- the place where one can get free books -- to drop off books and come out having PAID for two! A public library, folks! Where people regularly get books FOR. FREE. Did I mention that?

Those darn Friends of the Library and their used bookstore. They sure do know how to market what with their big, red REDUCED signs hanging off of hard-to-miss book carts. They can see a sucker coming a mile away, can't they?

DAILY DINNER MENU

On tonight's menu?

Spinach and Basil Pesto on Angel Hair Pasta


The allergies are kicking me in the butt tonight, so this was all I could muster ... right after my hour and a half nap!

SPRY, ALERT, AND READY TO ROCK AND ROLL

My alarm goes off at 4:50 a.m. ... every single morning except on weekends. On weekends, I have a kitten that does the job of the alarm -- that is a cold, wet nose on my lips, chin, forehead -- and then the tongue, she goes at my face with her tongue! Yeah. That's always nice.

Typically, on any given week day morning, the alarm goes off, I roll over and wish, for half an hour, that I could just lay in bed the rest of the day, and then, when I've pushed the boundaries of "getting ready on time," I drag myself out of bed and start my day.

Not this morning, though! This morning, however, when the alarm went off, I jumped out of bed and started my day! Immediately! Emmy didn't know what to do with herself -- no one to coax out of bed? Whatever is a kitten to do in the morning?

Huh ... what's up with that!

I have a feeling it has something to do with my after-school running I've been doing. Who knew all those many, many doctors and trainers were right all this time ... get yourself some good, physical exercise every day, and you can meet the new day with a much better frame of mind.

Huh ... didn't see that coming ...

Monday, May 18, 2009

DAILY DINNER MENU

So, I'm starting a new feature on this here ole' blog. I'm going to post what I plan to make for dinner. I'm doing this for two reasons:

  • Reason #1 ... My goal is to become less dependent on pre-made items that are full of such unhealthy stuff and to be more reliant upon doing things from scratch. I'm hoping that, in the long run, this will save me TONS on my grocery bill.
  • Reason #2 ... By putting this out there in the blogosphere, perhaps it will give me the kick in the butt I need to think "healthier."
Tonight's menu??

Why, so glad you asked! Tonight's menu was ...

Cheddar Melted Grilled Hamburger (without a bun)
Strawberry and Pecan Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
Homemade French Fries with Kentucky Seasoning
Lemon Ice Tea

Yum! Yum!

7 DOWN, 43 MORE TO GO


EMPIRE FALLS by Richard Russo


This book won the Pulitzer Prize in 2002, and I must admit, I spent the first half of the book attempting to figure out why. Here's something I've decided ... male writers of adult fiction, for the most part, bore me to death! They spend a lot of time describing details that don't seem all that important and too little time describing details that seem soooo important, and that's what I felt like what was happening in the first half of EMPIRE FALLS.


The book did strike a chord with me in that Russo's description of the small town Empire Falls seemed spot on to my hometown. I could see the parallels clear as day, and it resonated with me ... being witness to the fall of Miles Roby's little small town and the Whiting empire.


It's not coincidence that the town is a play on the concept of falling empires and the cause of such falls ... greed and power and control.


The book redeems itself in the second half, with scenes that are both heartwarming and extremely disturbing, and I did find it extremely interesting the parallels Russo made with the cancer Miles' mother suffered from and that of the cancer of the Whiting control on Empire Falls. Definitely a good read to pick apart and analyze.


Overall, I'd say this book is a great book to pick up this summer. Supposedly HBO did a mini-series based on the book not too long ago. I have a feeling the book is much better than the movie, but I may try to check it out this summer.


Friday, May 15, 2009

T.G.I. PAYDAY

It's Friday, and it's Pay Day. That's like a National Holiday in my book!

I'd better enjoy it while I can, because fairly soon, and by fairly soon, I mean the minute I step out of the door, my pay check will scatter in a flurry of twenty different directions, none of them fun, but all of them necessary.

And there I'll stand, with just the mere whisper, the flutter, really, of someone that once had means, if only for the briefest of moments.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"THE MAN" IS WATCHING YOU

Testing time puts me on high alert, and not in the good way.

It messes with my brain.

It makes me hear voices inside my head ... I twitch uncontrollably ... I want to run around screaming incomprehensible mutterings while wearing cheese cloth ... wait, can one wear cheese cloth? It sounded so poetic, but I don't think it's very practical. Anyway, I become a complete disaster during testing time.

In case you weren't aware, these all serve as a preface for the crazy story I'm about to tell. Please bear that in mind when reading the depths to which my brain delved into paranoia yesterday.

During my planning time, I wandered around my room aimlessly, looking from one pile to another, not really sure where to begin, and that's when I noticed it. On the top of my built-in cabinets, I spied a little gray box with a flashing red light.

"Hmmm ... wonder how long that's been there," I thought to myself whilst I pushed a chair over to the cabinet. I pulled the little box off of its perch and recoiled!

"Data logger!"

This little box was sitting atop an area very near my computer. Well, what's a girl to do when she's crazy, insane, out of her mind with testing criteria, but jump to the nearest illogical conclusion ... that SOMEONE IS SPYING ON HER!

I marched down the long hallway, burst into my Principal's office, and practically shoved the data logger in his face. He immediately started laughing, which, later he told me, "If you could have just seen your face!" I'm so glad he enjoyed my downward spiral into obliterating psychotics. Glad to be there for some one's enjoyment.

He took the data logger, promising to get to the bottom of it, all the while chuckling at me. Meanwhile, I silently logged all the websites I'd been on, most for work, some, like this one, for personal use, but none for illegal purposes. What could they possibly want with my Internet usage? I was stymied.

At the end of school, with a smirk on his face, my Principal came down and told me to put it back where I'd found it.

"They're just logging room temperatures and light usages."

Well, good freakin' grief! Could someone not have mentioned this to me!?!?!?

Someone is out to see me drop my basket, I just know it!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

HUMP DAY MUSINGS ... OR RANDOM RANTINGS OF A MAD WOMAN

Could it be possible that this week is half over?

Please! Let it be so!!

We started our standardized testing this week, and I would like to pull my hair out by the roots, let's just leave it at that.

I could spend the next umpteen paragraphs "going off" on standardized testing, but I'm so over it, so, instead, I will "go off" on the folks I continually see at the Circle K.

First, the folks that stand and buy their paychecks-worth of lotto tickets ... are you serious? Really? Is it really worth ALL the money you are throwing back at the state? I'm just wondering ... of course, the same could be said for those that sit in front of slot machines as well. But this brings me to another point, have you ever noticed that the folks that buy 10 and 20 lotto tickets in one visit, they all dress alike? They all do their hair EXACTLY alike (so much hair spray that it naturally forms a hard shell around their heads, much like the Magic Shell ice cream topping)? They all chain-smoke?!?!?

Is there some sort of training for this that I'm not aware of? I mean, not that I'm interested in said training. I just like to know when I'm missing out on pertinent pop culture-type information, and this seems sort of like I'm missing out on something.

Coffee ... let's have a little word about coffee, shall we?

Anyone that has been reading this for any length of time knows that I will unabashedly declare my love for coffee (this could explain my singleness only slightly). If you've been reading for long, you know I'm a coffee purist. Straight up BLACK ... don't mess with flavors mixing and mingling in the gloriously, rich sludge that is a stiff black cup of coffee ... or in my case, a pony keg-sized mug.

So, you understand why I wanted to reach out and strangle the girl that poured more cream into her cup than coffee AND THEN had the audacity to add SIX packets of sugar, taste it, and then add six more!

SWEETIE!!!! Just go take a hit off the soda syrup container in the back! That might get you closer to what you're trying to do to that poor, innocent container of coffee. It never did anything to you ... not one thing!

Honestly, truth be told, I really have no business being out in the public during standardized testing ... during the "END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR" craziness, for that matter. Nothing good comes of it ...

Just thank goodness that it's Wednesday, and I have a weekend to recover ... just in time to come back and face another week of standardized testing.

Where's my coffee!?!?!??!?

Monday, May 11, 2009

MORE SCENES FROM THE KENTUCKY RIVER ABOARD THE DIXIE BELLE



EMMY THE KITTEN -- SHE'S BEEN VERY BUSY THESE DAYS

The neighborhood watch ... the neighborhood busy-body!


Absolutely mesmerized by the computer cursor on the screen. That thing moves!

Discovering the ceiling fan for the first time.

Friday, May 08, 2009

FRIDAY! FRIDAY! FRIDAY!

It's FRIDAY! It's FRIDAY! It's FRIDAY!

I'm sorry ... were you not aware that it's Friday? It's Friday.

It's been an exhausting week, and I've had it. HAD. IT.

My plan was to stay at work and get ready for next week, but I am willing to go in this weekend in order to leave NOW!

I must leave now! I must leave now so as not to lose my sanity ... or what little of it I have left, and I have blessed little of it left, just in case you were wondering.

WELCOME TO THE MONSOONS!

We've apparently arrived at monsoon season here in the Bluegrass ... or monsoons have arrived here to us ... I'm tired and no longer capable of making sentences work.

Anyway ... what was I saying?

Yes! Monsoons ... they've arrived in the Bluegrass, and it's absolutely amazing the extent to which the Kentucky River has risen. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.

Today marks day two that I've pulled into the parking lot here at school and have found a poor schmuck hanging out in the control room of the flood pumping station here at our playground/parking lot area. There are all sorts of buttons and dials and stuff in there, and I'm assuming, what with the river being sooooo high, some poor city worker must sit there, all day and all night (in shifts, of course), and wait to make sure nothing happens with anything.

Sounds like a total gas ... NOT!

In other news, the crap floating down the river (at break-neck speeds, by the way) is amazing. You see it all. Prime example, three years ago I saw a washer (or dryer, couldn't figure out which) float past the school. A. WHOLE. ENTIRE. WASHER.

Yesterday, I saw a buoy float by, and the irony of it was that it said, "DANGER!"

Ummm ... you think???

Thursday, May 07, 2009

LOVE NOTE TO MISS MURRAY

What was found on the inside of one of the bathroom stalls today in the girls' bathroom:

MISS MURRAY IS THE WORST TEACHER EVER!

What I wanted to write right under it, but didn't:

FINALLY! SOMEONE RECOGNIZES THE GENIUS! MY WORK HERE IS DONE!

SAYING GOOD-BYE AND GETTING READY FOR THE FLOODS

So I just left my parents to pack up their stuff and head back to Michigan. Another good visit was had by all ... at least I hope, what with the torrential down pours and incessant raining and the rising rivers and such ... I mean, I think they had a good time. I know I did. Has it just been a week?

They came down with designs on a snappy new front door for Ann, and if you'd seen her old one, you would know why this new door is soooooo nice for her. Okay, yes, there was, apparently a teeny tiny bit of a snafu in it's installation, and, quite possibly, no "farting instructions," but I saw it the other day, and it looks great!

I also got a practically brand new TV out of the deal ... anyone know where to get rid of an old TV so it doesn't land in the landfill?

Anyway, our BIG TRIP for this visit was actually a little jaunt down the road a piece to a place called Wilmore, KY, and the Highbridge and Palisades area. It was absolutely gorgeous ... the DIXIE BELLE boat ride was a lot of fun, and I think we all wished we could have stayed on the water longer!

I will be posting photos later provided the weather holds up and we don't receive those crazy and slightly severe storms they are calling for later on this afternoon ... ahhhh! Spring in the Bluegrass.

At any rate, tonight will be laundry, possibly some bathroom touch ups, and then relaxing, with some retro-fitting of floaties on the truck ... I might need them tomorrow to get to work! I'm also looking forward to a nice visit with my friend Elly tomorrow night at our favorite wine place. It's going to be a regular gab fest, and I can't wait!

I'm excited, because my parents were opening the season of guests to Megan's House! In about a month and a half, I get to welcome Denise, Sam, and the girls to CASA DE MEGAN AND EMMY, and if they can hack being in my cozy little place, I think we're going to have a blast!

Miss you already, Mom and Dad, but you know CASA DE MEGAN AND EMMY is always open for you!

Happy Floody Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

SWINE FLU OR MY MONTHLY SNOTTY-NOSED VISITOR

So, the parental units have been here since last Thursday ... they leave tomorrow. We've had a good visit. Although, I feel badly because ...
  1. I've been working a lot of the time they've been here, and
  2. I've managed to come down with my, what seems to be, monthly snotty-nosed, crap in my chest, cold stuff. Good times!

This means that I fall asleep at like 7 p.m., cough and hack, and blow my nose incessantly. I've been a blast to hang out with.

We did manage to make a trip down to Highbridge and the Palisades in the Wilmore area of Kentucky.

GORGEOUS!

Photos to come.

In the meantime, I'm off to blow my nose! It appears that I need to start taking stock out in Kleenex companies!

Friday, May 01, 2009

HAPPY FRIDAY!!!

The Parental Units are now in Kentucky, and the four of us had a nice dinner and visit last night. Woot! One of the highlights was listening to Ann's ring tone on her cell ... yes, I realize that sounds seriously lame, but you really had to hear it. HYSTERICAL!!!

This weekend will be filled with fun activities and, well, let's not forget the rain! Yeah! Good times!

Posting may be hit or miss in the next few days, but I am sure I will have loads of stuff to talk about it and photos to post.

HAPPY DERBY WEEKEND, FOLKS!! If you weren't sure when DERBY was, my Kroger has a GIGANTIC horse statue on a GIGANTIC stack of pop 24-packs ... just in case you were wondering what was going on here in Kentucky this weekend.