Tuesday, July 27, 2010

CATCHING FLIES

My momma always said it was easier to catch flies with honey than with vinegar.

Not sure who coined that little gem, but my mom used it frequently.

I've been crazy, insane upset over the upheaval at school, and specifically, in my room, cuz, well, apparently, I've been operating under the false impression that the world revolves around me. Why I got myself all worked up about it, who really knows. Nothing I could do about it. It is what it is.

To make ammends for my spoiled brat attitude, I brought 4 or 5 dozen Cappucino Royale Cookies into school today and had our secretary make an all-call announcement to the work crews that there were homemade cookies in Room 224.

Make them and they will come!

All of the guys were super appreciative of the cookies, and I had many repeat customers ... thanking me profusely and shoving more cookies in their mouths.

One guy came into my room, on his way to lunch break, and grabbed a couple more.

"Lord have mercy, your room is hot! Open a window."

"I can't," I said, probably a little too helplessly.

"You got some books?" And away he went at opening my window, no small feat in this room, since the windows are so heavy.

I thanked him ever so much for opening that window.

He smiled, "That's payment for those yummy cookies."

Insert honey and flies here!

Friday, July 23, 2010

GOTTA LOVE A GIRL WITH STYLE

I recently had a friend's daughter (and a former student) help me out with a little assignment for grad school -- okay, not so much a little assignment as much as it was a ARE YOU SERIOUS? ANOTHER WASTE OF MY TIME AND SUMMER????

So, after I'd fully assessed her reading, I suggested we go out for ice cream, because honestly, who wants to help out their former teacher, only to find out that the teacher wants to assess your reading?! BLECK!

While I silently licked my ice cream cone, she regaled me with all of the stuff she'd been doing up to this point, which seemed more like an inordinate amount of SUMMER OF SHOPPING. And really, who could hate that, right?

To get a word in edge-wise, I said, "So hey. Your mom said that you went to Art Camp last week? How was that?"

"OH! It was fun. I did a play. So let me tell you about the outfit I wore the very first day ..." And so went a five to ten minute monologue about the First Day Outfit. When she'd stopped to take a breath and lick some rapidly melting ice cream, I said, "Wow! That outfit sounds fantastic."

To which she replied, and I'm not even kidding here, "Miss Murray, the first impression is EVERYTHING."

She's going to own Glamour magazine one day; I'm almost positive.

THE THEME IS: CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN

The school in which I work has been undergoing MAJOR air conditioning/heating renovations this summer. By MAJOR, I mean, tear everything out and start over from scratch, leaving the entire place looking like something imploded ... a very BIG something. The general "middle" of the building was built at the turn of the century, so let's just call it SUPER OLD. The new addition -- and honestly, new is a relative term --, was built later on ... say circa When I Was Born. So, to state this would be an easy job is really lying through your teeth.

In fact, the week after school ended, the reno began (that's how we refer to it in The Biz -- THE RENO) --- right smack dab in the middle of three days of professional development. While searching for a workable restroom on Day 1 (because that has also been a little side project -- and by little, I mean, HOLY CRAP THIS IS HUGE TASK), I witnessed a workman for the MAJOR project, turn a blue print for our building 360 degrees, in each direction, in an attempt to read it. I knew then that this would not go well ... AT. ALL.

Then, on my way back from FINALLY finding a workable restroom, I heard aforementioned workman talking to the project manager ... okay, talking may not exactly be the right descriptor for it. Perhaps squawking and flapping his arms and the blueprints would better describe the scene.

Yes. Let's say squawking.

So, I saw the workman squawking at the project manager, "We can't do that, cuz if we do that, we're going to be into here, and we don't want to be in here, cuz that's going to mess this up, and then we've got to completely undo that ... SQUAWK, SQUAWK, SQUAWK ..."

I walked away because, at that point, I was witnessing a train derailment, the magnitude of which was undeniably going to affect my life later on. And, frankly, I just wanted to enjoy my summer ... as much as one can enjoy a summer FILLED with "fun" graduate school work. Please don't read a lot into the word "fun," by the way.

Fast-forward to yesterday, when I walked into my classroom armed with a bucket, rags, ammonia, soap, face masks, and rubber gloves ready to do battle with the nasty mess that is my room.

The good news is that the GIGANTIC chunks of insulation (among other nasty, nasty items) that the workmen left ALL. OVER. THE. ROOM. are now picked up and thrown away, and I can safely say that 1/4 of my room is sparkling and semi-clean ... barring any men coming in and completely upending the normal balance of cleanliness today at some point.

But man! The work I have left to do!

Yes, I did have my fair share of meltdowns. I even almost cried in front of my principal -- not a confidence builder in your staff, by the way.

But I keep reminding myself that those soon-to-be fourth graders are coming whether my room is sparkling or not. So, best get to it and GET R DONE!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

YET ANOTHER TO DO LIST

  1. Hair appointment -- DONE!!!
  2. Meeting at school -- DONE!!!
  3. Literacy Plan
  4. Literacy Plan PowerPoint
  5. Lesson planning
  6. Redo pacing guides
  7. Add "welcome" podcast to Gportfolio
  8. Create TWO screencasts -- ONE DOWN! ONE TO GO!
  9. Start cleaning classroom -- YAY FOR ME FOR STARTING!!!
  10. Add TWO screencasts to Gportfolio
  11. Start planning classroom set up

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

TO DO LIST

  1. Online class ... 9:30 - 12:00 -- DONE!!!
  2. Shower -- DONE!!!
  3. Errand-running (including but not limited to: curtain search, peaches at Boyd's Orchard, possible new car investigation, birthday gift for my dad, procurement of items on #12, navy blue flip flops) -- DONE! Minus the curtains and navy blue flip flops ... those items are both outstanding.
  4. Literacy Plan -- Getting ready to start it!
  5. Literacy Plan PowerPoint
  6. Lesson planning -- Tomorrow is a new day ...
  7. Redo pacing guides -- Tomorrow is a new day ...
  8. Add "welcome" podcast to Gportfolio -- Tomorrow is a new day ...
  9. Create TWO screencasts
  10. Add TWO screencasts to Gportfolio
  11. Start planning classroom set up
  12. Gather cleaning supplies for classroom (face mask, gloves, trash bags, lysol spray) -- DONE!!!
  13. Write, write, write!! -- DONE!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

WHY NOT WEEK!? ... UPDATE

Okay, if a dining experience includes eating a portion of the dinner, let's call it the first course, standing next to the kitchen sink, then a dining experience I had!

Okay, okay, so I sort of failed on this first day. I ate all meals at the table, but, honestly, the breakfast meal is hardly a dining experience when one sits with her head in one hand, willing the coffee to work, while the other hand is being licked to death by a cat that thinks she will DIE. RIGHT. NOW. IF. FOOD. ISN'T. PUT. INTO. HER. BOWL. THIS. SECOND.

I cheated for the lunch meal ... treated myself to a little "experience" at the Candleberry Tearoom. It was a WONDERFUL time, but not at all created by me.

Dinner ... yes, well, the first portion of the meal was eaten at the sink ... fresh green peppers. What can I say ... I live like a male college co-ed. However, the rest of the meal, a small baked potato was, in fact, eaten at the table. However, I suspect I lose points for licking the plate after.

I live with a cat ... don't judge.

Monday, July 19, 2010

BEST QUOTE OF THE DAY ... MAYBE EVEN THE WEEK

"When you see five sets of blue lights behind ya, that's your sign to stop!"

-- Paraphrased quote from a sheriff of one of the three counties a ding-a-ling blew through trying to elude the law
http://www.lex18.com/player/?video_id=8153

Am I the only one that couldn't stop laughing at this quote?

As a self-proclaimed English Geek, I can assure you there is literary irony all over that hot mess! Not to mention, seriously, folks, these are some words to live by ...

WHY NOT WEEK!? ... WRAP UP AND NEW CHALLENGE

As you might recall, I decided to pray for someone each day last week for my inaugural WHY NOT WEEK Challenge.

So how'd that work for ya, Murray?

Well, okay ... and not so okay.

I NEVER ran out of folks to pray for, which was good. However, I suffered from the squirrel syndrome, getting distracted by the newest, shiniest thing in my brain. So, I count it a success in that many, many people were on my mind this week. However, I also count it a semi-failure due to all my constant distractions. Also, because I was praying for actual PEOPLE with stuff that they may or may not have wanted me to air in PUBLIC, I couldn't blog about it on a daily basis. That made my lack of concentration even worse.

More work needed in that area for sure!

On to this week ............................. drum roll please ................................... WHY NOT WEEK CHALLENGE is ..............................

I WILL EAT ALL MY MEALS AT THE TABLE.

"What!?!?" You might have just shrieked at the computer screen.

Well, here's the thing, when you're single, you get into a lot of bad habits, and one of them is plunking your ever-growing butt in front of the tv and eating directly from the pan (NOT that's I've ever done THAT before ... eating from the pan ...).

So, this week, I plan on creating dining experiences right at my own little dining "room" table. I will definitely be able to blog about it as well as possibly show a few photos.

Friday, July 16, 2010

41 MORE TO GO

FOOD RULES
by Michael Pollan

I finished 3/4 of this book tonight. I should have been able to read the whole thing in one night, but when I bought it, back during the school year, I was falling asleep after reading one sentence. Thus the reason it took me three months to read the first 1/4! Again, this is no reflection whatsoever on Pollan's writing or the interest of the subject, all very engaging and provocative. Only that I've morphed into a weenie somewhere in my 30s, and I'm desperately trying to dig my way out of that hole.

If you are at ALL interested in what you put in your mouth ... if you are at ALL concerned with the healthfulness (or lack there of) of your food, you MUST. GO. OUT. AND. GET. THIS. BOOK. TODAY.

It's an easy read, and one that, when you've finished, should kept by your recipe books and refrigerator and grocery lists and coupons! Pollan's 64 rules about eating and food ... all very logical ... all very doable ... all rules we should be keeping on a daily basis.

For me, I took a wrong turn in my adult life, and everything went pear-shaped (a nod to the movie SWEET HOME ALABAMA there). Before I knew it, all the things I knew about food went out the window, and I got fat in the process. Reading FOOD RULES has gotten me back on track, hopefully for good.

This is a must read for everyone in America!

HEAVEN HELP ME!

I'm holding on to a rapidly fraying rope ... that might explain why I had a mini-meltdown in front of my principal today.

With SEVEN grad school projects looming .... a classroom that is BEYOND filthy ... lesson plans to create ... pacing guides to redo ... and NO END IN SIGHT WITH THE CONSTRUCTION AT SCHOOL ...

Well, it was just inevitable that I would lose all control and start whining about inconsiderate construction workers and the way the Earth is currently tilted and the lack of world peace.

Commence to passing the stiff drinks my way .... ummmm ... NOW!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

42 MORE TO GO

THE FRIDAY NIGHT KNITTING CLUB
by Kate Jacobs

What can I say about this book? It got great reviews. It was a popular book club selection. So, I was really looking forward to reading it. However, when I picked it up, it was right when I was going through all the Ted and Ned Nodules "stuff," and girls in my book club advised me to wait on reading that until AFTER the surgery and subsequent "ALL'S CLEAR" from the doctor.

The only problem is that it when I finally did start the book, it took FOREVER to get to the entire point of the book, which was in the last 1/4 of the book, and by that time, it had gotten sort of sad and sappy (okay, I admit it, I cried), and I was sorta left wondering why her editor told her to keep in ALL of superfluous stuff.

Okay, okay, it was a book, at the heart of it, about women and their relationships and their interconnectedness despite crazy-different backgrounds. It was a celebration of women and tradition and rites of passage and a celebration of those time-honored circles we gather in to unite and coexist and all that jazz. So, okay, yes, it took a while to weave every one's story into the overall theme, but I just wasn't digging it.

Maybe, if I had read it during the whole Ted and Ned Nodule time period, it might have made it more relevant.

Read it for yourself and then let me know if I was too harsh ... all wet ... or just plain ambivalent.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

CAT IN BLACK AND WHITE

WHY NOT WEEK!? ... UPDATE

So, it's going ... okay. I'm not at a loss for people to pray for. Rather, they are popping into my head faster than I can start praying. The problem, for me, seems to be slowing my brain down long enough to be still and silent and actually pray.

It's Tuesday ... I've got the whole rest of the week. Things are bound to look up in the prayer department. So, I keep plugging along.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

WHY NOT WEEK!? THE OFFICIAL START

So, here we are at the official start of WHY NOT WEEK!?, and as luck would have it, I have been up since 3:31 a.m. ... yes, I said, A.M. ... as in, before the birds get up.

My official WHY NOT WEEK!? challenge is to pray for someone new each day. Not new as in I don't know them, but for a different person each day ... which maybe I should have just said to begin with ... but listen, it's 5:15 a.m., and I've been up since 3:31 ... don't judge.

I unofficially started the challenge last week, and I was just okay ... however, this morning, desperate to go back to sleep, I decided to pray, and actually was able to cover some pretty good prayer ground ... great way to start the challenge off, and now that I think about it, probably not so coincidental. Hmmmm ....

Again, I will be blogging my attempts ... my failures ... my achievements ... it's all gonna be on here in black and white ... or maybe purple, depending on my font color mood. Feel free to join me on this challenge. I think it's going to prove to be a powerful first step in my "being in the moment" desire.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

DKNY PILLOW ON CLEARANCE = VERY HAPPY DECORATOR

The pillow I'm shamelessly blogging about is the floral one smack-dab in the middle of the pillow mound on the sofa.


I've been looking for just the right throw pillows for my sofa ... to give that neutral slip cover punch. But, did ya'll know that A.) Everything is ugly ... and B.) Everything that isn't ugly is super expensive.

Sorry! I'm not paying $60 for a throw pillow that my dad is going to use as a headrest when he comes to visit (sorry, Papa, I love you!!!).

Fast-forward to yesterday when I was in Bed, Bath, and Beyond looking for curtains (did you know that A.) Curtains are all ugly ... and B.) Curtains that aren't ugly are super expensive??), and a CLEARANCE sign, like an oasis in a dry, barren decorating desert, caught my eye and beckoned me to come and look.

Pillows on clearance? "Well," I said to myself, "We'll just see how clearance is clearance." And immediately, this pillow ... the giant red flower pillow with its decadent feather-pillowness (see the middle pillow in both photos), caught my eye. It was beautiful and perfectly "my colors," and I just knew it was waaaay out of my price range.

Carefully, ever so carefully, I turned it over to reveal ....

DKNY!!!
Regular price $49.99
Sale price $9.99

I couldn't run to the cash registers fast enough!

What do you think? Doesn't it look smashing on my sofa?

Thursday, July 08, 2010

PHOTO ESSAY #6 --MORE CUMBERLAND GAP; KENTUCKY, TENNESSEE, AND VIRGINIA





WHY NOT WEEK!?

So, my friend Elly has been bugged, lately, by the fact that her blog has become just a day to day accounting of the her days' activities. I am soooo glad I didn't set up any preconceived notions about my blog, other than daily drivel, cuz I'd be feeling super crappy about my blog, after reading hers, right about now. But I see her point. What makes my daily drivel more exciting than anyone else's?

Elly hit on an excellent idea that I plan to steal and modify slightly. Oh Bloggerdom, never fear. You will still be getting daily, self-depricating drivel from me, yessirree! However, I'm going to attempt to add to that drivel something else that I'm going to call WHY NOT WEEK!? -- compliments of Elly per a Self Magazine article that she read recently.

Each week, Elly is going to do something that might be a creative stretch or completely out of character or an adventurous activity ... you get the picture. Then, she's going to blog about it. I LOVE this idea, because I often feel like I sit around and watch my life pass me by rather than being present in it!

So, I'm going to tackle something each week ... or I'm going to try to tackle something new and different each week. Then I'll blog about it. Hopefully, by doing this, I will make a lot of these things habits.

WHY NOT WEEK!? for me will officially start next week with the following challenge: WHY NOT PRAY FOR SOME ONE NEW EACH DAY!? Only, I'm actually going to start this challenge today ... reason being, I have cousins whose daughter is in surgery as I type this for a pretty intense spinal fusion surgery with loads of recovery time in the coming months, and they need lots of prayer.

Feel free to join Elly and I in this challenge. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. If you'd like to follow Elly's challege (and you'd better be following mine! just kidding ... sorta), you can hop on over to her blog at The Unquiet Life.

PHOTO ESSAY #5 --CUMBERLAND GAP; KENTUCKY, TENNESSEE, AND VIRGINIA





Tuesday, July 06, 2010

PHOTO ESSAY #3 -- PINE MOUNTAIN STATE RESORT; MIDDLESBORO, KY






PHOTO ESSAY #2 -- LEVI JACKSON STATE PARK; LONDON, KY







A VISIT TO KENTUCKY FROM THE MICHIGAN CONTINGENT

The Parental Units just left this morning after 10 fun-filled days here in Kentucky. As usual, a great time was had by all. Here's a break down of the crazy-fun we all had ...


Saturday ... they arrived, and we commenced to sweat to death at Francisco Farms Art Fair in Midway, KY. Ann missed that loveliness due to the stomach flu.

Sunday ... church, dinner, and then hanging with Ann. She was still feeling crappy.

Monday ... Lazy morning and then off to Lexington, cuz Ann still wasn't feeling great. I got my first crack at GoLiveMeeting, which was more impressive than I thought.

Tuesday ... Cove Springs in the a.m. so as to commune with nature ... Dr. appointment for me and a little worker's comp claim for the employer ... off to Talk of the Town in Lawrenceburg for yummy lunch, and then Salato Center for more communing with nature ... dinner with Ann after her work -- YAY!!! She was finally feeling better.

Wednesday ... Class for me ... relaxation for the parental units ... Fort Hill in the afternoon ... coffee with Elly ... Farmers Market ... packing for trip to the mountains.

Thursday ... Up early for trip to Pine Mountain in Middlesboro, KY ... pick up Ann in Lexington ... lunch and laughter in Levi Jackson State Park ... arrival at Pine Mountain ... hiking for the parental units ... poolside for the "kids" ... dinner in our mountain cottage ... overlooks and chatting with the state resort naturalist, Dean Henson ... a bit of family silliness ... exhaustion.

Friday ... Up bright-eyed but not bushy-tailed due to the gross nature of the coffee ... side-trip to McDonald's for slightly better coffee and batteries for the sister ... Cumberland Gap with a side trip in the gift shop -- way cool earrings were the result ... lots of great time spent atop the Pinnacle Overlook ... traversing through the Cumberland Gap Tunnel ... lunch at a kick-butt barbecue place in Harrogate, TN ... back through the tunnel ... a stop at Renfro Valley, just cuz ... witness to a grown woman ride a mechanical horse ... concert series at the Old Capitol back in Frankfort ... family silliness ... exhaustion.

Saturday ... Hanging out and chatting ... Louisville Zoo ... sweated our butts off ... dinner at Hometown Pizza in Shelbyville ... to Lexington to drop Ann off ... home and exhaustion.

Sunday ... Missed church -- not enough underwear was packed ... quick laundry episode ... brunch ... Lexington with Ann ... UK Arboretum ... Lexington Legends game (the game winning homerun sailed RIGHT OVER our heads ... sometimes the cheap seats are, indeed, the best!) and fireworks show ... very little hearing left after standing DIRECTLY under said fireworks (and within a few hundred yards of the actually fireworks) show, but had THE best seat in town ... home and exhaustion.

Monday ... Relaxing morning ... lunch with Joe, Erin and the boys ... big cookout in the evening with Ann, Heather, and Amy R. ... much laughter was had by all!

That brings us to today ... sad to see every one leave, but I know we all must get back to our respective lives.

PHOTO ESSAY #1 -- COVE SPRING; FRANKFORT, KY