Monday, August 31, 2009

MY FAVORITE 4TH GRADE QUOTE OF THE DAY

A sentence written in one student's spelling homework using his spelling word. I've italicized the spelling word for easy identification.

"Miss Murray is elegant."


The kid knows his stuff ... that's all I'm sayin' ...

COME HELL OR HIGH WATER

I am going to the gym come hell or high water today. So, whatever I don't get done here at school, stays at school.

I am going to have more of a personal life this year come hell or high water. So, I'm looking for things to do that will get me out of my little hovel called the classroom and among people that speak in complete sentences, don't pick their noses, and are above the age of 10.

I am going to save money come hell or high water. So, don't look to me to be eating out a lot. I will be eating in and trying desperately to create interesting foods to eat. Yes, I know. It's going to be challenging!

I am going to keep a clean, organized house come hell or high water. So, I guess this means I need to actually 1.) keep things picked up ... 2.) keep things organized ... 3.) stay off my fat butt!

Hmmm ... reviewing this list, I think I will need a few survival supplies namely some fire retardant clothing and a life preserver!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

BE VEWY, VEWY QUIET

Today, the fourth graders went to the Salato Center as a sort of culminating activity to what we've been learning in Science. Before we left, I sat down with the kids and told them my rules for the field trip. The standard, "pay attention to my instructions," and "don't ask a gazillion questions, wait, listen, and then if they haven't answered the question during the presentation, THEN you can ask the question," and so on and so forth.

I saved the best part for last, though. It went something like this. "Now I know what it's like to see animals ... real, true, live animals and just lose your mind! I know. I was a fourth grader. I still love looking for animals, and I still get excited to see them, but here's the deal. If you squeal at the top of your lungs, jump up and down, and then beg the animal to come to your by hollering, 'Here beary, beary, beary,' they are going to travel to the farthest corner, curl up in a ball, and look at you like, 'whose the dork jumping up and down making all the noise'." So don't do any of that. You've essentially scared the crap right out of them."

Of course, the whole time I'm saying this to them, I'm acting it out, just so they can see how ridiculous they are going to be.

"Now, let me let you in on a little secret." They all leaned in. "In order to really get animals to take an interest in you, you've got to be very, very quiet. I know it's difficult, but we're going to try to be extremely quiet. That way, we can actually see the animals you've come on the field trip to see. Remember, they are wild animals. They aren't really interested in seeing your version of wild animals."

I really didn't expect them to take heed to anything I said until we were sitting at the shelter eating, and one of my colleagues' kids saw two does and their fawns walk over to the fenced deer area. They went running head-long toward them, screaming their heads off, and, of course, the deer high-tailed it outta there.

"Look at those fools," one of my kids said. "That isn't how you get an animal to look at you."

Oh it gets better!

We go into the center itself, and they were good as gold! They talked to each other is hushed whispers (for the most part), and all the animals were very curious and came right up so my fourth graders could get a good view! The bear even sniffed the air, and, as if on cue, after I said, "I think he thinks 4th graders smell bad," he sneezed violently and shook his head. The kids loved it.

The best for me, though, was when we were all sitting and watching the bison come into feed. Yes, I said sitting and quietly whispering and watching!!! We could hear another class up the way, and one of mine said, "They're never going to see any of the animals being that loud. They'll scare them all away."

At the deer refuge, you could have heard a pin drop! 15 fourth graders tip-toeing across a large, wooden deck to get a better view of the fawns. AMAZING!

Other good quotes from the day:

Upon seeing the baby bison calf ... "AWWWWW he's cu .... ewwwww, he's ugly! Miss Murray, those animals are ugly!"

"So, Miss Murray, those turkeys are the ones we eat at Thanksgiving?!"

"Why does it smell like poop around here?"

LEAPFROG'S EDUCATIONAL CAPACITIES

I had dinner at Erin and Joe's last night. Erin showed me a toy that Ben had received recently. It's really cool ... some sort of A to Z LeapFrog deal. You press a letter, and it gives you the letter sound. Erin usually spells things out like, B-E-N, or C-A-T, you know the drill. As teachers, we think this toy is WAAAAAY cool, because it helps kids see the relationship between letters and their sounds way before they get into school.

"Joe found out that if you type out cuss words, the toy says, 'That tickles'!"

I just looked at Joe.

"I leave him home alone for five minutes and this is what he comes up with!"

Joe just shrugs.

Erin proceeds to hit the F, then the U, and when she hit the C, the caterpillar starts giggling and says, "That tickles!"

"Oh my gosh!" I say. "What is wrong with you?"

"Hey!" Joe replies. "Another dad did the same thing, obviously, because they had to program it to do that!"

"Whatever! Leave it to the dads of America to cause the LeapFrog people to have to do that."

Erin and I just shook our heads ....

TRYING TO BE IT ALL

A recent meeting has me ruminating about things, which means you get deep, meaningful crap that will now flow from my fingers and that someone will inevitably take the wrong way, make about themselves, or just feel the need to comment on, "Ohhh, that's too harsh..." , blah, blah, blah, blah ... just because they suddenly feel they must censor something, anything. Listen, these are my thoughts rolling around in my head. It's not directed at any one person ... PLEASE DON'T MAKE IT ABOUT YOU!

So, getting on with it, a recent meeting made me realize that a lot of people expect me to be a lot of things.

As a teacher, I am now expected not only to teach child, but counsel them. Oh, lest we forget the parents, I'm expected to counsel them too ... on a menagerie of life topics, as well ... things like parenting, marriage, nutrition, and so on and so forth. I'm also expected to be nose wiper, medical diagnosis maker, head checker, divorce counselor and mediator, United Nations ambassador, and peacemaker.

Now, I'm not complaining, because I signed up for this gig, but I'm wondering where the paradigm shift happened. It was relatively recent considering I'm pretty sure my parents didn't expect one of those things from any of my teachers, other than the whole "teaching" thing.

A friend of mine asked me recently, "Hey ... whatever happened to so-and-so? You used to hang out all the time. What happened?"

That led to a huge conversation about the fact that the person my friend was referring to was a great individual, but for some reason, they were dealing with some major "hole in the soul" issues, and they were attempting to fill it with me, it felt like, and when I didn't always deliver, cuz, well, I'm human and imperfect and occasionally, I'm not always a bowl full of fun to be around, well, I failed miserably at the person's attempt to fill the gap. So, they moved on to someone else ... many someone else's. It's fine. People enter and leave your life at various times for various reasons, and I'm totally cool with that.

I just can't be everything to everyone. It's draining ... it leaves nothing for me.

And I'm just wondering when the shift took place ... when was it someone else's job to make a lost soul happy. As I see it, there's only one person that can fill the "hole in the soul," and He's just waiting for you to ask Him to fill the hole.

Anyway ... just the big thoughts rolling around in my head this morning ...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

LIONS AND TIGERS AND BEARS ... OH MY!

The entire 4th grade is heading to the Salato Center on Thursday for our first field trip of the year. We are all excited, yours truly included, and I HATE field trips. They are always so stressful! But I'm a science geek, and this sounds like it's going to be loads of fun.

We've been studying living organisms and the classification system for animals. So, we thought it would be fun to visit our state facility for studying wildlife. We're going to see a reptile presentation, with real, live reptiles, and then we'll be taking part in a presentation by the state bear biologist.

The other day, I might have mentioned in front of my students that I would hold a snake, if given the opportunity. Now my kids are asking me to pet and touch other things ... like bear and lions and tigers (the last two are NOT native to Kentucky, by the way), and now, I'm beginning to question their motives ...

I think it's a plot to remove me from their midst ... before the homework gets too difficult.

ANOTHER FIRST

Well, I've reached another milestone as a teacher ... a milestone none of us want to reach, but one that seems inevitable for some, no matter how hard we fight it.

One of my very first students that I had when I taught Title I was just charged with armed robbery yesterday.

UGH! Makes me sad that I couldn't, along with my colleagues, reach this one. The words of a former principal rings in my ears, "You can't reach them all ... you just can't."

I wish I could, though ....

Monday, August 24, 2009

KISSING THAT MAN!

I want to kiss the man or woman that came up with thyroid medicine! S/He is a genius!!!

For the third day in a row, I've slept through the night ... all the way through the night ... not just a little bit, but A.L.L. T.H.E. W.A.Y. T.H.R.O.U.G.H. I.T.

My energy levels are high ... higher than they've been in I couldn't tell you in how long, and I finally feel like I can tackle the world! I was washing my dishes at 5:30 a.m. yesterday! Prior to yesterday, I could barely brush my teeth at that time, let alone do domestic chores.

I was moving furniture around and cleaning ... actual cleaning with a vacuum and dust rag and furniture polish ... yes, THAT kind of cleaning ... last evening at 9:30! A week ago, I could barely get my butt out of a chair to go to the bathroom. Last night, I was cleaning!

What a difference a higher dosage of thyroid medicine makes! I could sing and do pirouettes and ... shoot, I might even be willing to dance naked in the rain, that's how good I feel!

So, yeah, I'd totally kiss the discoverer of that med, I tell you!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

BROKEN AND BRUISED

I have a nasty habit of putting things that need to be thrown away back into my closets and drawers, forgetting they are there, and then pulling them out again, and being all, "OH WOW! I forgot I had this. Wonder why I haven't worn it in so long!"

Thus was the case with a certain pair of black flip flops that I found in the back of my closet this morning. I couldn't figure out why they weren't with the rest of my flip flops.

It came to me soon enough!

Fast-forward to me walking across my kitchen (I say that like it's some great expanse of space ... it's not!) to fill Emmy's water dish with fresh water. She either splashed some water on the floor or I did. Either way, I didn't know it was there until my left flip flop hit it, and I went crashing to the floor.

I twisted my left foot, mashed my right knee into the floor, smacked both palms of my hands against the linoleum, jarred my back, and this is where it gets really sad, I shattered my plastic Ed Debevic's cup that I got almost 20 years ago on my Senior Trip to Chicago.

Plastic shatters, folks, and I thought I was going to cry picking up all the pieces and placing them carefully next to the stupid flips flops with absolutely no tread left on their bottoms, on the top of the garbage pile!

I feel like I've been in a car accident, but that poor cup ... it was a practically a collector's item! A piece of history gone ...

Friday, August 21, 2009

A CONVERSATION WITH A WALGREEN'S CLERK

Me: What is your return policy on makeup?

Clerk: We don't have one.

Me: Oh bummer!

Clerk: Yeah, it is. [and without missing a beat] Just bring it in with your receipt, and we'll refund your money.



I wonder what sort of language I posed the question in? Perhaps I have the gift of tongues now?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

GETTING YOUR HAND-WASHING ON

This afternoon, before we were to leave, I made an announcement to my kids.

"Ladies and gentleman, I need to have a heart to heart with you."


They all sat there with rapt attention.

"Please, please, please, please ... when you go into the bathroom, please just wash your hands. If there's no soap, scrub your hands under water, and then come back in here and get a squirt [that's what I refer to as getting ONE squirt of hand sanitizer]. Do you know that there are some people that don't wash their hands after they go to the bathroom? And you all know what sometimes gets on your hands when you go to the bathroom, right?"

They sat there giggling nervously.

"Yeah. Sometimes you get bathroom ick on your hands. And you know how I'm always telling you to keep your hands off the walls in the hallway?"

A collective head-nodding ensues.

"Well, my friend Mrs. Fisher used to explain it to her kids like this. Every time you run your hands along the hallway walls, you are rubbing off all the bathroom ick left there by the kid who doesn't wash his hands after he's done in the bathroom."

"EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!"

"I know! And I know you've all seen a kid with their finger waaaaaay up in their nose, right?"

"GROOOOOOOSSSSS!"

"Well, you know what that kid does?"

A collective shaking of heads ensues.

"Well, that kid wipes his booger fingers all over the wall. Then you come by and pick it all up in your hands when you run your hands all over the walls!"

I'm beginning to hear moans and groans at this point.

"And I love you all, but I don't want to breathe in all your spit balls."

"WHAT?!?!?"

"Yeah, spit balls. See, every time you sneeze and don't cover your mouth, a million tiny, little spit balls go all over the place, and then I breathe them up, and then your germs, a bazillion of them, get breathed in too. That's just nasty, and like I said, I love you, but I don't love your spit balls."

Did that kid just puke in her mouth a little?

"And whenever you might need to sneeze in your hand .... and let's try not to. Let's try to sneeze in our shirts or in our elbows, but if you have to sneeze in your hands, please go get a squirt, cuz guess what happens when you touch your buddy after sneezing in your hand?"

"What?"

"All your bazillion germs start crawling all over your buddy looking for warm, damp places to hide ... warm, damp places like your nose and your mouth."

"OH NO!"

I sat back and let it sink in, and that's when one of my boys said, "Oh Miss Murray, I never took this serious before now!"

I think there are some Germaphobes in the making, I tell you!

[wiping my hands and smiling broadly] My job here is done.

THE KING OF RANDOM QUOTES

I've been accused of uttering out loud random thoughts that tend to ramble around in my head.

Well, I've now met my match, dear family.

He is in my fourth grade class, and at, generally inappropriate times through out the day, he hits me with randomness. He's like a drive-by randomer.

Today, while practicing his cursive letters in a small group with me, he looks up and says:

"When I got up this morning, I was all snotty. I had to use one whole tissue to get all that stuff out."

Please God, please tell me that I didn't torture my 4th grade teacher, Miss Van Kampen in this way? Please?

If so, the woman deserves a gold medal ... I'm just sayin' ...

THIS IS WHY I'M NOT LET OUT IN PUBLIC WHEN I HAVE A HEAD COLD

I went to Walmart yesterday for two very important reasons.

#1 ... I had to get a gift card for a staff member who recently had a baby.

#2 ... I had to get packing tape.

I purchased the packing tape, and something else with cash ... it came to $5.68. The clerk put the receipt in the bag, and the bag went on the top of the turn style.

Then came what I can only describe as the most ridiculous way one could ever pay for a gift card, and what ensued was 10 minutes of sheer and utter torture for the poor clerk dealing with me.

I have this nasty head cold courtesy of all the little germ carriers that have come into my room for the last three weeks. I'm a disaster ... I think my sinuses have lost spots to put all the crap, and so my brain has become the auxiliary holder of all things gross and disgusting. It's the only way I can describe why my brain has refused to function.

So, I took my gift card and left ... called Carrie to wish her a happy birthday ... called Denise to tell her she'd hit the Albion Rumor Mill (she's so proud) ... called my dad to tell him about the "we're going to hold off on taking Ned the Nodule out" news ... went home, had dinner, vegged for a while, went to bed.

Fast-forward to me in the shower when I realized that I NEVER picked up the packing tape, and further more, I couldn't remember WHAT else I'd purchased! I called Walmart and explained my situation. No receipt. No purchases. No money. No idea what those purchases were.

No problem, Manager Kelly said. Just go to the service desk and they'll reimburse you ... at least that's what I think she said. By the time I hit END on my cell phone, the details of the phone conversation with Manger Kelly were a bit fuzzy.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I should not be allowed out in public with a head cold!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

RUSHING INTO A NEW SEASON

I was out wandering this past weekend ... this weekend that was hotter than the hinges of Hell ... the weekend where, when one stepped outside, one immediately, spontaneously melted. I was out wandering a neighboring town's antique malls. One in particular had a neat nook that I'd spied from the street -- fun retro stuff.

I made my way to it, eagerly, and was, on my way, immediately assaulted with HARVEST INFUSION ... an obnoxious display of everything fall ... reds, golds, oranges, browns, puked up all over the place. Pumpkins and scarecrows and skeletons as far as the eye could see!

And there I was, drowning in my own sweat!

Really? Seriously? Do you think I'm really in the mood to buy your Autumn crap ... crap that's NOT on sale, and is actually over-priced?

Really?

All I really want is a gigantic, barrel-sized tub of Slushie! Be gone with your Autumn wonderland. I've barely assimilated to summer!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

YEP! I TOTALLY WENT THERE!

Here is a conversation I had with a child yesterday during writing ...

Child: "Miss Murray, I've got a huge, gigantic headache. I just don't think I can do writing today."

I give the kid credit. He really "sicked it up" for me, including a twisted look of pain on his face.

Me: "Oh man! That stinks. I guess you won't be able to participate in gym today then, huh."

Child: "No worries, Miss Murray. We don't have gym." He actually said that with a broad grin on his face!

Me: "Um ... yes we do."

This is where it got humorous for me, as I watched all color drain from his face.

Child: "Well ... but ... I just .... ummm .... "

After tripping all over himself a few more seconds, he trudged back to his seat and got busy with the task of writing.

To borrow an old, 80s TV phrase, I just love it when a plan comes together!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

FELINE TENDENCIES

Were you aware that if a cat gets wider ... okay, let's call it what it is ... if a cat gains weight. Okay, there! I said it. Were you aware that if a cat gains weight, its whiskers will grow longer. They use their whiskers as a litmus test of sorts, to make sure they don't get themselves wedged into tight locations.

I think I might be part cat.

I've gained more weight, and I'm pretty sure it's because my hips are acting as my guide wires ... just so I don't wedge myself in tight locations!

A girl has to be careful about such things, you know.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

NO SHE DID NOT

My stove died on me last Thursday night .... at 11:00 p.m. ... give or take an hour. Big surprise, I'd fallen asleep while watching TV.

It was an all weekend ordeal that caused me to lose a day of my life and want to drink heavily, but whatever. The end result is that I got a new stove, and it works like a charm!

Fast-forward to this afternoon, when my cell phone went off during class -- I hate when I don't turn the darn thing down!

The caller left a message, and it's a good thing she didn't actually talk to me, because I think I might have lost my religion on her. It was the property manager of my complex ... calling to make arrangements to get my stove put in!

SERIOUSLY! She thinks I would have gone for a week without a stove!?!?!? She must have fallen and bumped her head if she didn't think I would have raised a big stink over that one ... because ... well, I would have!

I just left a message with their highly effective answering service [read: GIANT WASTE OF MONEY here]. It went something like this:

"Yes, this is Megan Murray. Please tell her that I got a new stove on Saturday."

Wonder if the girl taking the message will add ... "and she was soooo dripping with sarcasm, I had to dry off when I hung the phone up." ... probably not. There's really something to be said for that human contact ....

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

BUS RUNS, KINDERGARTNERS, AND TORRENTIAL DOWN POURS ... GREAT FUN!

Day two for me ... first day of school for the kindergartners of Frankfort Independent.

Bless their little hearts! Even more bless the hearts of their teachers!

Kindergartners barely know their teachers' name let alone what bus they go on. Add to the mix a torrential down-pour complete with scary lightening and a major traffic jam, and you are talking one heck of a good time had by all!

We got everyone in the vehicle they were suppose to be in/on, even if it meant we ran a little one up and down the rain-soaked "car riders pick-up" sidewalk.

It's 4:33 p.m., and I've gotten nothing done. I guess this means that I am going to pack one heck of a school bag, tromp through the small ponds currently evolving in our parking lot and head home.

My knee hurts ... it's been telling me it was going to rain all day, and I've just not really been interested in listening to it.

Monday, August 03, 2009

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL

So, the first day of school has come and gone, and I'm up to my eyeballs in piles already! How does this happen!?!?

At any rate, the day went off without a hitch, if you don't count me NOT turning my alarm on last night. Thankfully, I woke up at 5:30 ... a half hour later than I wanted to get up ... and after a quick expletive, to which Emmy raised up off the bed with a look that said, "Listen lady! Are you serious!? I'm trying to sleep here!" ... I was ready to hit the road running!

My number one goal right now is to clean off the piles, figure out what I've got to do for tomorrow, go home and make dinner, and then relax! My throat hurts (the signal that it's the start of a new year ... too much talking), and all I really want to do is sleep!

But yay for a terrific beginning of a new school year and yay for fourth grade!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

WEEKEND MUSINGS

  • Got to hang out, at the hospital, with friends for a little bit, celebrating the birth of their third child. He's beautiful! I'm always amazed at the miracle of new life. It never ceases to absolutely blows me away.
  • It smells AND sounds like fall already, and it's only August 2nd! I think what may be messing with my mind is the fact that tomorrow is the first day of school!
  • My life is ruled by firsts .... first day of school, first day of summer, first day of the holiday season, first day of Christmas Break, first day of Spring Break .... So, I'm looking at tomorrow as another first ... the first day of me getting back on track! It's mind-boggling how a person can get so off-track so quickly. So here's to getting back on track and getting it done! It's the first day of the rest of my healthy, on-track life! YAY FOR ME!!!
  • My brain hasn't yet comprehended that tomorrow morning, it, and the rest of me, must get up at 5 a.m. -ish. Ugh ... I can already feel the muscle-draining dread.
  • It's been a beautiful weekend, and for some reason, because of the gorgeousness of today, especially, my mind has wandered numerous times to Lake Michigan, and Up North, and Carp Lake, and grandpa and grandma's cottage ... and I've been a little homesick for the Lake.
  • My outfits for the next week are already! I can't believe how on top of things I appear to be! Now, if I can get tomorrow's lunch packed in the next few hours, I will be totally prepared! Gold stars for me.

Saturday, August 01, 2009