Saturday, January 30, 2010

WINTER

It's snowing. It's cold. I'm over it.

I long for sunny, blue skies ... birds chirping happily ... windows open, curtains billowing on a lazy summer day ... a soft, warm breeze gently grazing my skin.

Right now, I feel like the Incredibly Flaking Human. I'm scaly and chapped and pinched and freezing.

I was lamenting the fact that the year is already on a fast-track to completion -- Can you believe January is almost over with, I said last night. But geesh! Enough with winter already.

I would be okay with a perpetual springtime weather pattern ... really. I'd be willing to take that bullet for the team. I swear ...

Friday, January 29, 2010

BLUE MOONS AND OTHER FRIDAY MUSINGS

There must be a Blue Moon, because I fired up the iron this morning and actually used it. So rare this occasion is that my cat, just shy of her first birthday, looked in wonder and amazement, and, let's face it, a bit of curiosity, at the steaming thing I kept madly pounding across my khakis. Utterly fascinated, she was -- that is how rare my forays into ironing are. Thus, by way of my scientific reasoning and deduction, I can only conclude that it is, in fact, a Blue Moon.

THE BIG STORM was suppose to blow in this morning. That would be why they pretreated the roads yesterday afternoon and evening. That would also be why Kroger was CRAWLING with people, grabbing at mangled bread loaves and milk, one can only imagine. So, it stands to reason that our air here on this particular surface of the Earth is just too dry to allow the snow flurries that are swirling above us, at this very moment of typing, to actually come down and land somewhere on a curvy, twisty, turny road.

So all those schools that cancelled school on the basis of "We THINK it MIGHT come?" Don't you feel kinda silly now?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

AM NOW ACCEPTING GOLD STARS ... BEGINNING ... NOW!

It was one of my humble New Year's Resolutions ... to eat healthier, but to make more meals here at home. And to try ... try, try, try to stay away from fast food. You see, I feel like the nodules in my thyroid were directly related to the foods I was eating, namely the hormones that are pumped into processed foods.

Tonight, as I left school, having had TWO meetings, back to back, the last thing I wanted to do was to cook A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G. I wanted Taco Bell to cook it for me ... or Wendy's, with her perky little braids.

Then I remembered the resolution.

And I thought about my refrigerator and freezer ... both full of food.

Not to mention my cupboard of canned this and that ...

And I heard my mother's voice loudly echoing in my head, "You don't need to waste your money on that crap. It's not good for you. Eat at home."

Guess what?

I ate at home ... a cooked from scratch meal ... without an ounce of processed anything in it ... unless, of course, you count the half of my right pointer finger knuckle, and then you might have to count a bit of processed something. But other than that, I avoided the fast food frenzy ... the cholesterol and fat, and I enjoyed a home-cooked meal at home.

Oh yeah ... I'm adorning myself with gold stars!

THINGS I'VE DECIDED

I've decided that if my professional life didn't require constant contact with those that frantically buzz around looking for crises at every turn, I might be better off. I've also decided that if people just took on my Skittles philosophy of life, that being "Hey ... just chill ... relax ... breathe deeply ... take a hit off the Skittles one pounder bag ...," my life would be a whole lot easier.

You want to know why I've decided these things? Because I'm starting to develop a nervous twitch from the constant flitting about of the stressed out ones that twitter about me, much like flies around the back porch light.

To quote Mr. Rabbit from Winnie the Pooh ... "OH BOTHER!"

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

SNOW DAYS AND HEAD COLDS

Yesterday, we had a snow day.

Never mind the fact that I found out about said snow day whilst I slipped and slid around my neighborhood on the way to school. No, no ... never mind that.

I had a snow day, which would have caused me to be extremely bitter about the consequences of said snow day, namely a day we've got to pay back for Spring Break, had it not been for the fact that I've been battling a head cold that, mercilessly, has settled in my chest. Despite the fact that I've slathered myself down with Vicks Vapo Rub and taken any manner of cold medcines, the darn crap has settled into my chest.

Here's when I wished I had a teacher auto-pilot ...

Monday, January 25, 2010

ODE TO THE SUPER FOOD

I just inhaled a handful of almonds in the hopes that I perk up at some point here in the next minute and a half.

What is the use of calling them SUPER FOODS, if they aren't going to give me some sort of super powers!!!! Now, that's the real question, folks!

Friday, January 22, 2010

GREAT 4TH GRADE QUOTE

When asked about three of his goals for his life, I thought Zebe* had answered in the following way:

"I want to be lazy."

Yes, don't we all!!!


*Names have ben changed to protect the innocent.

WELL, DUH JOHN EDWARDS

I don't know which has me shaking my head and rolling my eyes in disgust more ...

** The fact that John Edwards is FINALLY fessing up to something that an idiot could have figured out (and did, by the way) ... that he, in fact, is the father of that baby.

OR

** That he helped to conceive that baby while his wife battled TERMINAL cancer.

I mean, let's get real for a minute here ... nothing says, "I'm a giant tool" better than stepping out on your horribly sick wife.

Which leads me to my secondary rant of the morning, that being that I am getting sick and tired of inconsiderate people. I know, I know, I can plug myself into this category quite often. However, there are those out there that KNOW FOR A FACT what they are doing, and irregardless of others' feelings or well-being, they go ahead and do it anyway because they are under the false assumption that the world revolves around themselves.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why we can't seem to figure out world peace.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

Our Miss Monde made it back to the States safely last night! To welcome her back, I had my 4th graders make her WELCOME BACK cards. Here is the sentiment of one child ... one that brought tears to my eyes, and one that I think sums up my feelings (and, hopefully, yours too).

Front of the card shows a Haitian flag with these words:
Hope and joy forever!

Inside the card is this handwritten note:
Hope all of your family and friends are all o.k. We're so happy you made it! We will try to give as much as we can. May Haiti live on ...

And we all said ... AMEN!

I CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP

Every month, the fourth grade has a representative from our local county health department run a class on health and well-being. Our rep is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. The kids all love her, and it's not just because she gives out fun prizes at the end of each lesson ... like she did the other day ... squishy stress balls.

This is a conversation I overheard yesterday, at the end of the day, when we were winding down and just chilling before announcements.

"Yeah ... whenever I can't fall asleep, and I need to relax, I just reach down and squeeze my ball."

Okay, it is at this point that one hears the cartoon sounds of screeching brakes as all action in the room, including any teacher action, came to an abrupt halt, and our shocked, collective gaze rested upon the speaker.

What ensued can only be described as a pregnant pause of sorts before I found my wits and said ...

"Ummm ... do you mean your stress ball? You squeeze your stress ball to relax and go to sleep? [in then in my head, "Please God, please, let that be what he squeezes]."

"Well, yeah! Of course, it's my stress ball. It really relaxes me."

And then a collective sigh of relief could be heard settling across the room ...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

TO DO LISTS

Oh the growth!! The beautiful, beautiful growth! You don't understand the joy I'm experiencing at my personal growth, folks!

You see, I'm sort of what you would call a whiner when it comes to overwhelming tasks. Rather than just getting busy and doing IT -- whatever IT maybe -- I tend to sit down, whine about it, moan and groan, and THEN, finally, when I've exhausted all of my whining efforts, only then do I get it all done.

I've turned a corner.

I've turned over a new leaf.

I've grown, people!

Today, after a lovely, semi-relaxing long weekend, I was greeted by a TO DO list the size of a small nation ... let's say the United Arab Emirates, for sake of example.

Normally, when greeted with such a list, the blood pressure increases by ten or twenty, and I begin the process of seeking out chocolate, much like a heat-seeking missile.

Today, however, it was different. I organized my to do list, stacked the piles I no longer needed, and began attacking the list. All the while, I sipped coffee, smiled, and laughed jovially ... JOVIALLY, oh dear readership.

Yes, this is growth, my dears. Pure, unadulterated growth.

When I finish patting myself on the back, I plan to get back to that TO DO list.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

NOT MAKING THIS UP

I paid a small bill at the hospital yesterday. They'd charged me $50 as a co-pay for my surgery. Recently, I'd gotten the break down of the damage, and it was A LOT of damage. All I've got to say is THANK GOODNESS FOR INSURANCE.

So, while I was at the hospital getting bloodwork done, I thought I'd pay the bill, and just check and see if ther was anything else they had racked up on the old account.

The young girl, who looked like she was about 12 years old, tapped a couple of buttons and said, "Hmmmm ... your account says $9,000."

"Well, I said, I've not received an EOB. So, I'll just wait. I'd met my deductible for the year before my surgery. So, I'll just wait."

"Still, it says that you owe $9,000."

"But I've not received any EOBs yet, and I never pay anything until I get those EOBs."

"You account says you owe $9,000."

"Well, even if I did owe $9,000, you wouldn't be getting it in one big check now. Good grief!"

Fast forward to last night, when I finally picked up my mail, and lo and behold ... an EOB.

And here's where it gets really, really funny, because, you see, Humana doesn't want to pay just yet, because they're a little iffy on whether Dr. V digging around in my neck to retrieve not one, but two nodules that, at some point, could have turned cancerous, doesn't seem medically necessary.

Really? Because, I mean, doesn't every one think it's a kick and some giggles to get their neck sliced open?

I certainly did!

WHO IS SMOKING CRACK AT HUMANA????

I want to know ... then I can sign them up for a thyroidectomy. They're a gas!

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS AT COFFEEHOUSE

The things you see and hear in a coffeehouse ... shoot! Let's face it. The things you see and hear in public place ... they are priceless! Today's sights and sounds did not disappoint.



SAW...




  • Dude who went to the bathroom and was in there a very loooong time, and then came out with a very loooong piece of toilet paper stuck to his shoe. It took some manuevering to get it off (I'm not even going to speculate on what, excatly, it was that was that was stuck there), but he just walked it back to the bathroom, threw it away, and then walked out ... with out washing his hands ... the same hands that picked the offending paper off his shoe ... [insert gag reflex here].



HEAR ...


  • "There's this stuff called mirshallows cream ... ever heard of it?" Hmmm ... wonder if that is a close cousin to marshmellow cream?

  • "Yeah ... you need to meet the guy I'm sorta seeing ... " How does someone sort of see some one? Unless they only have vision in one eye, how does sorta dating really work? Either you're in or you're out ... seriously!

Friday, January 15, 2010

PONDERING THE ABSURD

Raise your hands if you are as sick of hearing about the late night "scandal" as I?

Hollywood, really!?!?!? Seriously!?!?!

How about the fact that we, as taxpayers, are paying to bail out the sorry butts of the banking industry, AND, because they've done such a horrendous work of screwing up their jobs, they get fat, check bonuses as rewards. Nice!

And I can't pay for grad school on my own ... what's wrong with this picture?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

GODSPEED MISS MONDE

This is Miss Monde, and she is a beloved staff member of our school. Miss Monde is the loveliest person you will ever meet, mainly because sunshine seems to ooze from her. I have never, in the four years of working here, ever seen Miss Monde not smiling. That smile you see on her face? That's always there. Always. Never was there a happier, more content person. I've often found myself thinking, "I want to be like Miss Monde when I grow up."

Miss Monde works with the littlest members of our school, those sweet babies in Itty Bitty Prep, our school's daycare. They love her ... absolutely love her, and she loves them right back with a heart bigger than any I've ever seen.

I wanted to give you a face to put on the devastation in Haiti. She's there right now. Thankfully, she is safe. I can't imagine the devastation she's witnessing right now.

Please pray for Miss Monde and her fellow Haitians. Perhaps you could also ask what you might be able to do to reach others on this small, little Earth in which we all live.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

SMALL TOWN LIVING

There are things I just absolutely LOVED about living in a small town. And then ... there were other things I just hated about living in a small town.

For instance, working in the town in which I had grown up and lived gave me some street cred where my school families were concerned, and in that particular district, street cred was like gold! However, I hated going to the grocery store, seeing a parent, and have them A.) want to talk about their kid's progress (or lack thereof) while I'm trying to buy wine and cheese ... OR B.) have them size up the items in my cart like, "oohhhhh Miss Murray's got five bottles of wine in her cart -- girl's got a drinking problem." Not that I EVER had five bottles of wine in my shopping cart, unless of course, you count the time I had the Wine and Cheese themed party ...

Yesterday, I hit upon another reason to be happy I grew up and lived in a small town. My truck payment goes to the local credit union "back home." I was paid about the same time that I had my surgery, and while I knew that I had to get that payment out, I guess I just thought that I was in possession of a magic pen that would just magically write the check for me, and then mail it! Imagine!

So, there I was yesterday, realizing that "oh my gosh!!! My truck payment is due Friday," and knowing that sometimes, in cases such as these, my mail tends to go by way of Borneo or some such place, I called the credit union, hoping upon hope that Debbie, the manager of that branch, was still there working.

"Debbie? This is Megan Murray .... do you remember me?"

She laughed as she informed me that, of course, she remembered me, for heaven's sake, and before I knew it, I was reassured that my payment would arrive on Friday, and even if it didn't, they wouldn't flag it for weeks and weeks as being overdue.

You soooooo wouldn't get that treatment anywhere else other than a small town, that's all I'm saying ... plus, you know, I'm David and Jan's kid ... you know the one .... they lived over there on that one street, in the house with the gray shutters that sort of turned blue after 10 harsh, Michigan winters .... you know the kid? The one that used to talk to imaginary "friends?" Remember? They had that dog they had to tranquilize every time there was a storm? That family?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

#1 DOWN, 49 MORE TO GO



CLAY'S QUILT
by Silas House


This book, among others, has made me decide that I just LOVE Southern authors, especially those Southern authors that have an Appalachian origin. There is something so lyrical about their writing ... so profoundly lyrical, that I end up losing myself in the words, which, honestly, is a fantastic place to get oneself lost!


This particular book is about young Clay Sizemore as he winds his way through adulthood, haunted by the spirits of his past and how those spirits shape his future. It was a beautiful portrayal of life in the mountains, and it's not at all the stereotype those of us that have never lived in the mountains have had formed and shaped in our minds. House's writing gave me a fresh perspective on friends that I've had whose family is from eastern Kentucky. It also shed some light on certain regional colloquialisms that I've heard while living here, but couldn't explain.


This book doesn't barrel along, sending you head-long into the conclusion. Rather, it helps you float along, and you enjoy the ride!


It's a must read, folks!

Monday, January 11, 2010

STARTING THE GOAL AGAIN

It's a new year, so I need to make a new reading goal.

I missed the mark on my 50 BOOKS IN ONE YEAR, but that's the cool thing about a new year. It's like a clean slate. So ....

I'm going on record as saying that I begin ... TODAY!

ON GOING BUMP



When things go bump around my place, they aren't necessarily going bump in the night. But you can be assured, there is a cat involved!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

2010 "FAMILY" PORTRAIT

This is our first official portrait of the new year. You can also catch the smallest glimpse of my new, crazy hair. Plus, the added bonus of the crap piled up behind me. That will be a project for another day ...

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON SNOW FLAKES

When one stares at falling snow flakes too long, one falls asleep with one's face pressed against the window in a slightly unflattering way, what with the drool and all ...

D-DAY FOR CHRISTMAS

My cat has made it her mission to destroy Christmas at my house! Countless Christmas decorations have been mauled, chewed, slobbered on, and broken. The tree has been shaken, not stirred, and many of its branches will never be the same.

Considering that we're now, what? Three weeks out from Christmas, I thought it was about time to get the show on the road, pull down all the Christmas decorations, and set the house to looking sorta Wintery. The snow falling just outside of my "not very energy efficient" windows helps with the wintery feel.

Plus, I'm hoping the mere acting of pulling eight Christmas tubs out of the closet and then jamming them back into the closet will generate some much needed heat for my body. It's 16 degrees out right now! That is a 1 and a 6! That equals "MY GOSH THAT IS COLD!" out.

Friday, January 08, 2010

GETTING ALL SHERIFF ON YOU

I've had to turn my comment moderation on this here blog as I've been getting lots and lots of spam as of late. Thus, I'm gettin' my sheriff on.

I hate to inconvenience any of my lovely, regular readers, but I'm tired of getting stupid comments also.

Happy Reading one and all!

CHECKING MY LOCATION ON MY PRETEND GPS

It's 18 degrees right now.

That is ONE - EIGHT degrees symbol. OUT.SIDE.RIGHT.NOW.

What the heck?

I live in the Sorta South, right? I mean, when they put me under last week for my surgery, I didn't wake up in the ARCTIC FREAKIN' TUNDRA, did I?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

THE GROSS OUT FACTOR


I didn't realize there was all that bruising ... and the dark line is my surgeon's magic marker, according to him. I guess I'm glad they use magic marker, but doesn't one sort of hope they have a general understanding of where organs are to begin with ... seeing as they go for all that school and stuff.

Monday, January 04, 2010

A NEW YEAR, A NEW OUTLOOK

I've been silent for about a week.

Perhaps you've been wondering why.

Well, it's a rather long, convoluted story, and one that probably begins about this time last year. Apparently, my thyroid decided to invite Ned and Ted (or Ned and Nellie, depending on which way you want to swing on the gender issue that is my former nodules) to take up residence, and with that came a year-long ordeal that ended in surgical removal, but that, up to that removal, involved long, long days, weeks, and months of dealing with me, an emotional disaster. While my levels always came back normal, my hormones must have been out of whack, because I was a mess most of the time, unable to handle the least amount of stress ... or strife ... or, let's face it, life in general.

My weight fluctuated wildly, and my energy levels were all over the board.

Monday, December 28th, I had a partial thyroid lobectomy. When my surgeon, Dr. Vallance was in there, he apparently discovered two nodules, and they were both promptly removed. Pathology came back on New Year's Eve, a perfect way to end the year and begin a new one ... they were benign!!!

For the most part, I've been navigating well. I will say that I would NOT have been able to recover as I have without my parents' help. They were godsends, and I love them both for all the time they sacrificed. I wasn't always pleasant to be around, I know! I know this, because, recently, I had a hazy memory of telling my mom in the hospital to stop hovering. Mom, I'm sorry. You were awesome, and I'm going on record, publicly, to tell you so!

Dad, you were such a help as well, and you, as usual, provided all kinds of comic relief! I miss you both already!

I have decided a few things. After having lost 5 pounds just on my mom's healthy cooking, I now know I must get off my duff and start eating/cooking more substantially healthy meals. Period. End of story.

I must, must, must, must take time for me. Period. End of story. I can't wear myself down to a frazzle. It just can't happen. That is when crazy things in my body start happening.

I have to get more exercise. It just has to happen. There isn't any room for excuses any more.

So ... I think I will be blogging about my exercising ... hopefully, as a way to make myself more accountable.

I will also, hopefully, be blogging about my new recipes and menus. So be looking for those.

In the midst of all of this, I am starting grad school. So, I'll be attempting to pinch the pennies until they cry and making it last as long as it can.

It's a new year and a new outlook! I'm excited about what 2010 has in store for me. I feel like new friendships will be formed ... existing friendships will be strengthened ... strained relationships will be mended ... and life will be sweeter, richer for it.