Monday, April 26, 2010

THIS IS WHAT AN "A" LOOKS LIKE

4.0
That would be my very first graduate school grade. Yay me!

WOUND TIGHTER THAN AN EIGHT DAY CLOCK

I am pretty chill about most things in life. But when it really counts, when it means I could throw off the entire orbit of the planetary systems, well, let's just say, I get a little anal retentive during those times.

Let's take grad school for instance.

When I was an undergraduate, my parents took care of the money side of things, including hounding me to fill out the 8 bazillion pages of financial aid documentation and making sure I had a bunch of money in my savings account for books and my half of the tuition each semester. And my college advisor, all but held my hand through my four years of undergraduate training to a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Biology. God bless that woman!

Now?

Well, now, it's all me, and it completely freaks me out. I'm so afraid that I will forget a step or not sign a paper or not add correctly (it's been known to happen, people), and then the grad school police will burst through the doors of EDU 510 and drag me away kicking and screaming.

So, as a result, I terrorize almost any one that must deal with any aspect of my graduate education -- from my advisor to the poor business office clerks who must deal with every little, asinine question I have concerning financial aid.

I've thought of awarding them all with Starbucks gift cards at the end of my graduate career at Georgetown College, but how does one calculate the amount of caffeine the general public will need to get me through this nightmare called HIGHER EDUCATION?

After all, it takes a village, right?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

44 MORE TO GO

PARCHMENT OF LEAVES
By Silas House

This man's way with words .... well, it leaves me all aflutter, and that sounds trite and cliche, I know. But Jeez Louise, that man can write some amazing stuff! The thing that makes me crazy -- in a good way -- about Silas House is the way he can paint a picture in my mind, leave it there to let it simmer, and make me come back for more ... the way he paints with words ... it's breath-taking!

This book has an overriding theme, like I think most of House's books do. This theme? Forgiveness, and it's powerful in its simplicity. It centers around the main character, Vine, a Cherokee woman, proud and wise beyond her years, who must navigate a world that harbors prejudice for her kind. Her husband Saul is a man of men -- please, is there actually one like Saul for real out there some where? He is the gentle giant that says more with out saying a word than any one person could ever dream of saying. He loves Vine despite the ugliness that creeps into their lives and threatens to destroy their love.

This is an incredible book that ends, just like all of Silas House's books end ... quietly ... without grand fanfare ... a simple story woven into a simple ending, but that leaves you gasping for breath any way.

DEATH OF A VACUUM




I sucked up a green physical therapy band I was to be using for my leg exercises ... right up into my vacuum. There doesn't seem to be any fix to it, but my dad asked for photos to see if he could figure out, long distance, how to get the remaining pieces of rubber band out.

So, Papa, here you are ... the grizzly AFTER shots of a death by physical therapy band.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

FURTHER PROOF THAT SHE'S GIFTED

Yesterday, I dropped a bag of ground coffee on the floor. Not much spilled out -- although, it's still a tragedy that ANY spilled out!

Emmy was there in the kitchen with me, doing whatever she does in the kitchen, which is usually yapping at all the ways I'm NOT doing things right in there (if I could translate cat-speak, I'm sure that is what she's always saying). When I realized the coffee had spilled out of the bag, I shouted something stupid like, "CRAP!", and ran for the vacuum cleaner, conveniently "hanging out" in the dining room these days.

As I was walking back into the kitchen, Emmy was just finishing up her part of the cleaning effort. She had taken her paw and scooped all of the coffee grounds into a neat little pile in the front of the refrigerator!

She turned, looked up at me, and seemed to say with her eyes, "Hey, don't ever accuse me of not working for my dinner." Then she walked off.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

Last week, we worked on similes. My favorite one created by one of my students?

"The rushing water sounded like sink water shivering out of the faucet."

Um ... hello! That has me shivering ... wow!

TESTING ... ONE ... TWO ... THREE ... TESTING

Testing is a huge part of my job. In fact, if I'm not careful ... if I blink too many times, it may be all my job becomes.

I am now in the FULL MONTY of testing season ... which is a gross analogy, I know, but, honestly, I am a little grossed out by the THREE AND A HALF WEEK testing window with TWO DIFFERENT STANDARDIZED tests I am now forced to give.

Oh ... who am I kidding! I am A LOT grossed out by it all.

And I am stressed, and I know I shouldn't be. I know I should be all chill and relaxed and let whatever happens, happen. But I'm not. I'm a bundle of nerves ready to just explode like the inner workings or an old school time piece that's been wound just a bit too tight. And I'm powerless to stop it all.

Today, I yanked out the test prep book that is provided to us with our math curriculum and thought we'd spend "just a few minutes" on the stuff. You know ... talking about testing strategies ... AGAIN. And after I was met with blank stares and was overtaken by a massive desire to throw myself off of something tall and dangerous, I decided, "what am I doing here? Really? What is my purpose here? What does President Obama and Congress and legions of citizens of the United States really want me to do here?"

I thought it was to teach them to think critically ... to problem solve ... to respond intelligently to the issues in their worlds ... to figure out the WHOLE WORLD PEACE ISSUE, for heavens sake. Right!? RIGHT!?!?

I mean, if I could have solved world peace using multiple choice, it would have been done YEARS AGO!!
World Hunger? Done!
Economic crises? Done!

I mean, no one told me I got to Multiple Choice everything! Good grief! I've been wasting a lot of time ... and hot air ... not to mention the oxygen depletion that is happening up on Capitol Hill!

Why do I never get these memos???????

Monday, April 12, 2010

CONJURING UP MY INNER MADONNA

There are only a few things I can think of in my life time that will cause me to seek professional, mental health help: Bathing suit shopping, apartment shopping, and bra shopping.

This past weekend, I did the latter type of shopping. First, it annoys me to no end that it costs so ding-dang much for bras. Then, there is a whole other annoyance in the form of not being able to find the size that I need.

I was already in a bad mood when I walked into the fitting room with my arms full of bras of different varieties and sizes. Yes, okay, I had had a professional fitting a few years ago, but the bras that the consultant suggested I wear just were not a very flattering look, I'd come to realize.

So, there I was, standing in front of the mirror, looking at my reflection and realizing that I resembled a chubbier version of Madonna and her Pointy Number (who could forget THAT one), and I think I audibly said, "Oh, this shouldn't be."

I tried calling Carrie first since I knew she'd need a laugh ... Spring Break was ending, after all. But, because she was living it up on her last few hours of spring break, all I got was her mechanical secretary (that's David Murray for VOICE MAIL).

Well, I had no other recourse. I would be forced to call my mother. I'd been wearing the wrong kind of bra for so long, frankly, I'd forgotten what the girls were suppose to look like, but I was pretty sure, my current situation was just that ... A SITUATION.

"Mom?" I whispered into my cell.

"HELLO!?!?"

"Mom?"

"HELLO!!! I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"

"Mom! I'm in the fitting room of the lingerie department. This is as loud as I'm going to get."

"Oh."

"I need to ask you a question."

"Oh good grief."

"Are they suppose to be pointy?"

Audible laughter on the other end of the line.

"Really. Are they? My current bras are giving me a more uniboob approach, which Clinton and Stacy say are a no-no. But jeez these look ridiculous."

"Well, I guess it all depends. Do you want two separate boobs? Or do you want one?"

"Well, two, of course!"

"Well, then I think you're good with the one you are trying on."

"But they're pointy! I could poke some one's eye out."

"Again. What do you want? One or two?"

"Someone is going to get hurt, Mom. I can just tell already."

More audible laughter.

"You realize I'm going to blog about this, right?"

"Of course!"

DATE NIGHT

My friend Tabby and I decided to have a GIRLS NIGHT out on the town, which, for us, means we're going to a movie. Our choice? DATE NIGHT!!

If you're on a date or with a friend for GIRLS NIGHT or even just by yourself, you will love this movie!

There is no Earth-shattering, social commentary to be had in this movie. Nor will your eyes be open to any literary or cinematic nuances. Rather, you will be entertained ... A LOT!

Tabby and I laughed through the whole movie, and for me, that is a big feat! In fact, there was a particular car scene that had the whole theatre laughing so much, you could barely hear the dialogue.

Steve Carrell and Tina Fey are hysterical as a married couple just looking to shake things up on one of their date nights. It's a great time to just sit back, relax, sip your WAAAAY overpriced Diet Coke, and laugh until your sides hurt.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

OPERATION GET OFF MY BUTT AND GET OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE

Recently, I've realized that I'm becoming a hermit, and we just can't have that. So. It was decided that some evasive maneuvers were necessary in order to ensure that I get off my butt and out the door.

Phase I of OPERATION GET OFF MY BUTT AND GET OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE was to establish myself as a gardener in a community garden. Frankfort has a bunch of them all over the place, and I've wanted to be a part of one since their inception. I just kept saying that no one I knew would be there ... none of my friends were interested in one.

You can see where this line of thinking was getting me, can't you?

So, this winter, I decided to take the plunge. Today was a work day at the garden, and I spent three and a half hours help smooth out the dirt, spread mulch paths, and introducing myself to anyone that would stop for five second for me to talk to them.

[insert fist pumping here] I did it!!! Gold stars for me!


Tuesday, April 06, 2010

COMPLAINING

I'm being convicted about my complaining lately. Yes, yes ... venting is a good thing. Otherwise, I'm relatively sure that my head would expand to three times its natural size and explode due to keeping in all the stuff that I'd like to vent about in a day's time.

Oh the nasty headache I'd have over that one!

But lately, I've been struck with just how ungrateful and selfish constant complaining is ... that the very act of excessive complaining is putting yourself on a pedestal, which, let's face it, none of us deserve to be.

I place myself in the center of this category because Lord knows, I do enough complaining every single day of my life. But today I was struck by the fact that my complaining about my job, day in and day out, is a selfish act in light of the masses among me that don't have jobs. Shoot! I was one of those people, and I was so stunted by the lack of a job, there were days I couldn't even get myself out of bed. Were it not for loving friends and family that would drag me along on mundane errands, I might not have gotten out of bed a lot of those days. And yet, here I am complaining about it. Self-centeredness reigns supreme!

Health ... man! The amount of times I complain over my lack of weight loss ... or swollen, painful joints, when really, I should just be thankful that I've got limbs that work ... a body that gets me through each day. A lot don't have bodies that work, but they get up and rejoice that they have a new day spread out before them.

Spouses ...
Pregnancy ...
Neighborhoods ...
Politics ....
Economics ...
Religion ...
Children ...
Bosses ...
Co-workers ...

The list is long ... the list is endless, and what I'm coming to realize is that we Americans have made a sport out of complaining.

I'm over it though. Enough already!

Monday, April 05, 2010

RELAXATION MO JO

I'm holding on for dear life to my relaxation MO JO that I managed to conjure up over spring break. I'm white knuckling the MO JO actually, as I continue to receive emails about all the crap that has to be done between now and IMMEDIATELY.

There's nothing better in the world [insert sarcasm here] than to walk into work, all chill and stuff, and get five emails with insane deadlines and a three page letter from a parent.

I'm smiling ... I'm breathing deeply ... I'm thinking RAINING SKITTLES ... I'm visualizing myself on a blanket in the sun with my laptop, writing ... anything but the piles of stuff that are procreating exponentially on my desk at the moment ...

Thursday, April 01, 2010

GETTING MY VITAMIN D

I'm sitting here on the lawn of the Old Capitol, soaking up the rays and listening to the sounds of traffic and people and life pass-by. This is the life! The sun is shining brightly, and I can feel spots I think I missed with my SPF lotion this morning. Darn! Oh well, I'm considering it my Vitamin D intake for the day!

It's a balmy, springy day in Kentucky, and I love it. I love how spring eases into Kentucky ... just slips in the door one day, and before you know, things are blooming and your nose is running and you're sneezing, and you can't figure out why.

I grew up in a state where spring struggled to make it's way in ... and by struggled, I mean, fought tooth and nail with the ice and snow to get even the smallest amount of its foot in the doorway, and before the struggle was over with, BOOM! It was summer with all the heat and humidity you can imagine!

I always liked spring in Michigan, but I LOVE spring in Kentucky. Spring means Derby is coming, which means fancy hats and wreaths of roses and thoroughbreds and all the fun of opening days at Keeneland and Churchill Downs.

Spring means green grass and Red buds and Dogwoods in bloom and Magnolia trees, and this amazing sweet scent that just hangs in the air. Even my cat smells good after she's sat in one of "her" windows, watching the birds.

Spring just smells good.