Monday, February 28, 2011

The winds of change have just blown in

I was jarred out of bed at 2 a.m. to the roar of the wind.

You need to understand this about me -- I am HORRIBLY afraid of tornadoes. Really. I am. So, it could just be high winds, and I'm all, "Wait! Is that a howling train I hear barreling down on top of me!?"

It's bad.

So, I woke up at 2 a.m. to the roar of the wildest wind, and, as an added bonus, a massive headache. As I do every time it "feels" bad out, I turned on the TV, where I discovered that, in fact, we were under a tornado watch. I can never remember which is worse WATCH or WARNING, but in my mind, they are all bad. Therefore, my mind raced and sleep eluded me.

Sometime around 4:30 a.m., I finally settled into semi-sleep, only to be pulled from my less-than-dreamy slumber a half hour later by my alarm, at which point, the TV was now saying, the watches were warnings, and that at any time, the massive, ugly, fast-moving storm would be upon Franklin County ... MY COUNTY.

To make matters worse, Emmy was acting weird, and the wind was STILL howling. I debated jumping in the shower before the storms, but before I could, the tornado sirens began, and I grabbed a lawn chair, my flashlight, and the cat and headed down to the basement.

Thank goodness I had the forethought to buy a house with a basement! I've spent too many early mornings and late nights huddled in a small half-bath with all my worldly possessions. At least now, when the winds of a tornado suck Emmy and I out of either window in the basement, we'll have the comfort of knowing we didn't die next to a toilet.

I spent a good 15 to 20 minutes in the basement ... prime "getting ready time." Thankfully, the storm had lost some of its oomph by the time it reached my neighborhood, but my headache made up for it by building into a wildly out of control pain that banged horribly every time I inhaled or exhaled. To make matters worse, Emmy didn't want to sit in my lap, perfectly still, waiting for our demise. But rather, she wanted to wander around on the ground level in full view of any impending doom. I'd had the forethought to lock the kitty door, which would make what unfolded next seriously funny had I not been so FREAKED OUT ... as she spent a good five minutes banging her head on the kitty door, willing it to open.

The storm passed. My house is still standing. No damage that I could see. I was late getting ready for work this morning, but I made it to school just ahead of my students. So, I wasn't officially late ... just in my own book.

My migraine is still here, but we can't have it all, now can we?

Of course, my lovely 60 degree weather is gone, and in its place is a cool, dreary, damp 55 degrees.

Ahhhh Springtime ... the price we pay for pushing Old Man Winter out of the door ...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Getting the "stale" out of the house

I opened my bedroom windows after I took the dirty bed linens off and put the clean linens on my bed. As you can see, Emmy is enjoying the fresh, Spring breezes! Spring is coming ...

TO DO lists revisited

So, how did I do on my TO DO list yesterday?

Well, for starters, I didn't actually start anything on that list until today. Oops!

Here's where I stand right now....

  1. Finish laundry ... I'm within two loads of being done!
  2. Clean up kitchen ... as soon as my dishes are done, this item will be too!
  3. Vacuum EVERYTHING ... with a long haired cat, this one is NEVER done.
  4. Dust ... Yes, there's dust! But I'm coming closer to battling it completely gone!
  5. Clean office ... let's face it. This is a HUGE task, and one I'm just not feeling right now.
  6. Iron clothes ... maybe tomorrow night.
  7. Clean out closets .... ummm ... yeah, no!
  8. Clean and mop bathrooms. YES! DONE!!!
  9. Balance check book ... not yet.
  10. Pay cell bill -- buried that and now it's overdue. Oops! DONE!!!!
  11. EXERCISE!!! Suppose to be a good day for that ... or at least not raining. Does HOUSE WORK count???
  12. Get my the needed items for my latest craft project.
  13. Clean up bedroom. YES! DONE!!!
  14. Put away laundry. YES! DONE!!!
  15. Clean up sticks out in the yard. Yeah right!
  16. Clean out truck. Yeah right!
  17. Finish lesson plans. Still working on this one.

Birthday presents!!

I LOVE presents!!

I'll admit it. I'm really like a 5 year old child when it comes to presents. I get soooooo excited about Christmas and birthdays. Just Because Gifts? OH! They send me over the candy-coated rainbow! I'm thrilled beyond words when I get a JUST BECAUSE gift.

It's not that I'm shallow. It's just that receiving gifts is a tangible way for me to understand how much you love and care for me. I guess that's my love language?

For my birthday, I received so many cards and gifts, and I LOVE them all! Here are just a small sampling of my birthday celebration.

My mantle is chock full of cards!


I got an Emealz subscription from Elly, and this is how it arrived on my doorstep ... all pretty and spring like that.

My parents sent me a gift card for this awesome footstool from Pier 1 Imports ... to match the rockasan I rec'd from them last year! They also sent me perfume. I'm gonna be smelling good, folks!


My sister is one of the most creative people I know. These are art pieces she made for me ... out of fabric, no less! Very cool, and they look awesome in my bedroom!


My first milestone!!!

I realize it's just a little milestone, but I've met my first WW's milestone!!! I've officially lost 5 pounds!!!! As a "reward," WW has taken a point away from me, which means, that my goal this week is to stay within my now-reduced-by-one-points. Considering I only did that twice this last week and still lost weight, I think I can attempt to do it this week, and still lose some!

I'm so pumped ... who would have thought that a 39-year-old woman would get so excited over getting a cartoonish gold medal on your weight loss homepage ... but I DID! Only ten more pounds until I've met my first weight-loss goal.

I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Signs that SPRING is on its way

Sign #1 ... Approximately 20 dead skunk sightings in the last two weeks.

Sign #2 ... Crocus beginning to bloom, and daffodils tips peeking above the ground.

Sign #3 (and the MOST exciting sign of them all!!!!) ... RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS!!!! TODAY!!!! AT THE SALATO CENTER!!!!!!

This is me doing my I'M-SO-HAPPY-SPRING-IS-ON-ITS-WAY dance!

What's for Breakfast?

Two pieces of French Toast (whole wheat bread)
Fresh Blueberry syrup (boil blueberries in a bit of water and a 1 tsp sugar)
Two slices of Canadian Bacon
Copious amounts of coffee

Weight Watchers points? 10 ... not bad for a Saturday morning breakfast.

TO DO lists

I'm famous for making TO DO lists and then losing them ... or burying them ... or ignoring them.

Here's what's on tap today. I can't really lose or bury this one, now can I? Ignore it? Quite possibly, but not lose or bury it.

  1. Finish laundry
  2. Clean up kitchen
  3. Vacuum EVERYTHING
  4. Dust
  5. Clean office
  6. Iron clothes
  7. Clean out closets
  8. Clean and mop bathrooms
  9. Balance check book
  10. Pay cell bill -- buried that and now it's overdue. Oops!
  11. EXERCISE!!! Suppose to be a good day for that ... or at least not raining.
  12. Get my the needed items for my latest craft project.
  13. Clean up bedroom.
  14. Put away laundry.
  15. Clean up sticks out in the yard.
  16. Clean out truck.
  17. Finish lesson plans.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Attempting the impossible

It became apparent early last week that things were careening out of control quickly, and one of the BIGGEST things was ... well ... ME!

In a rare moment of clarity, I signed up for Weight Watchers on-line before the rational, cheap-skate inside reared her ugly head and said, "You can do this on your own," as she shoved another Twinkie in her mouth.

I've been on the plan for a week and a half, and while I lost nothing at my last weigh-in, which was Sunday (having only been on the plan then 4 days), I'm relatively certain, I will have lost a pound or two this weigh in ... at least I'm crossing my fingers that I do!!

This whole thing felt so defeating when I first started it, but I've got to say, I'm learning a lot about myself ... like, when I shoved things in my mouth ... why I shoved them in ... what actually made me full ... what doesn't ... what actually constitutes "HUNGRY" (there was a foreign idea to me as of late).

It's been a struggle, but not as bad as I thought it would be. The biggest struggle is finding the time to really think about menus. While I was getting better about that, I was no where near the place I needed to be. In other words, I need to be much more intentional about planning a menu, something I always went off on my mother, aunt, and grandmother about ... I see why they did it now.

At this point in the blog, my mother is shouting at the computer screen, "I TOLD YOU SO!! I TOLD YOU SO!!!" She is now reading furiously to the end of the blog, wherein, she will comment about how she's been right all along, and where would I be if I had only listened to her?

Yes, mother, I know. You are sooooo right.

The biggest problem, right now, is finding time in my crazy schedule for exercise. I'm hoping this will become easier as the weather warms up, and it stays lighter out at night. Considering, I am planning, for me, a MAJOR landscaping project, this might actually be an easier undertaking as the weather turns nicer.

So, there you have it. Megan is gaining control ... at least the upper hand ... for the moment.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

On becoming a hip-hop star

A number of years ago, I procured an exercise video, wherein, a person could accomplish two things:
  1. He or she could learn to dance, something I'm not at all good at. AND ...
  2. He or she could burn some major calories, all in 10 minutes.

What is NOT to like about that, I ask you?

Last night, I decided to drag the DVD out in order to jump-start my exercise regime, and I was immediately reminded of why I allowed dust to collect on the top of the DVD cover for five years.

I can't dance.

Not even a little bit.

I have no rhythm, and so when asked to do what visually appears to be simple moves, I am left with more than a few maladies.

Case in point, my right hip is on fire, I am in so much pain. I don't know what I did to it, but I distinctly remember feeling something "give " .... then, the inevitable pain. Moving out of bed this morning was a chore, and stumbling to the ibuprofen bottle was a practice in perseverance.

To add insult to the obvious injury, I topped last night's dance-a-thon off with a 30 minute Pilates workout. My shoulders, arms, and neck ache profoundly. The ibuprofen apparently has much too much to do with my hip to be bothered with anything above my belly button. I'm guessing the stomach muscles won't start really screaming until tomorrow, considering my body is dealing with enough inflammation currently.

Isn't getting fit a gas?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Happy birthdays and all that jazz

Well, I've officially celebrated the last of my birthdays in the 30s!

{Gulp}

It seems weird to say.

I mean, I've been in my 30s forever ...

Well, actually, I've only been in my 30s for 9 years, but it has seemed like forever sometimes.

At the advent of my 30s, I was beginning a new career that I was so very excited about ... it was a brand new page ... almost a new lease on life for me. I was independent, but completely niave about where my life was headed and all the speed bumps in the way.

I look back on the last nine years, and I just sit with gaping mouth ... I mean, hanging-down-to-the-ground mouth! I can not believe this is my life {insert smiley face here!}.

Sure, I get all fussy about the minutae that every day living seems to breed, but I couldn't possibly have dreamt this for me ... not in a million years.

For example ...

I bought a house. I. BOUGHT. A. HOUSE! If you knew me at all, you would know how crazy that sounds when you put all the syllables and letters and stuff together. I am a homeowner. CRAZY!

I have a job ... a career! One that I've managed to keep for nine years. Okay, yes. I've been laid off from countless jobs within that career, and there was an ugly unemployment stint, but still! Prior to age 30, I'd changed jobs five times. Count them, F.I.V.E. I've managed to keep this career and thrive in it ... for the most part.

Yep, the whole "settling down" thing didn't apply to marriage for me. Rather, it was just lighting on something that I really loved doing.

I live in a state that I wasn't born in nor did I grow up in ... and I LOVE it! I love the people! I love the scenery! I even love my little town with all its idiosyncrasies and political maladjustments. I really do love Kentucky!

Folks have asked me if I'm having trouble with this age 39. Ummmm ... NO! I mean, why should I? The past 9 years have been amazing and adventurous and insanely crazy all rolled into one. Plus, every woman that I've ever talked to has said that the 40s are SOOOO much fun. So, uh, why should I freak out? Life can only get sweeter, and I'm jonesing for more sweet in my life!


Sunday, February 20, 2011

E-Mealz

For my birthday, Elly gave me a 6-month subscription to E-Mealz. I can't wait to get started!! They have the PointsPlus for Weight Watchers option as well as many others. Go check it out using the link below!

Elly ... you rock! Thank you so much for this awesome gift (and I LOVE the password by the way!).


E-MEALZ EASY AND DELICIOUS DINNER RECIPES

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The poop and scoop and other joys of life and homeownership

I’m sure you’ve noticed the lack of any sort of activity here recently. I wish I could say that I’ve suddenly grown the productive gene and become SUPER WOMAN on the domestic goddess home front.

I haven’t.

Well, I sorta have been working to better my lack of productivity. But not completely. So, I suppose I can’t go out and get measured for the tight-fitting Wonder Woman costume. I mean … I’ve really cut down on my TV watching, and ladies and gentlemen, that is HUGE! And by huge, I mean, like Empire State Building huge ... or the Stock Exchange crashing huge … or Lady Gaga wearing a string of pearls and a sweater set huge. And so that at least qualifies me for the Golden Lasso, right?

Still, I find myself frittering away my time in other pursuits of fancy, like, spending 2 hours on Facebook, writing needless status updates that mean nothing to any one, except for maybe me. I mean, you know you are a Crazy Cat Lady when you include your cat in your status update at least once per day, but maybe more .. not naming how many more, but just more.

I have a lot that I need to accomplish, and as I stare my 39 birthday in the face, I can’t help but think that time isn’t going to stand still for me to accomplish them. So, really, it’s fish or cut bait time, folks.


And what does that mean, anyway … fish or cut bait? I mean, I hated fishing when I was a kid, and according to my father, I wasn’t very good at it. Actually, I’m sure I probably could be good at it, but two things work against me in that arena:

1.) I have to be quiet, and who really wants to be quiet for 4 hours at a time? Really?

2.) If the fish aren’t bitin’, Momma’s not happy. I’m a creature that likes variety. I like difference. I thrive on change. And this whole sitting and nothing’s happening business, just doesn’t work for me. AT. ALL.

But with the advent of another birthday, a significant birthday before THE significant birthday, I have decided that I must once again reign in the [capital letters] Out of Control in my life, and that I must take charge. I have convinced myself for far too long that I have control over certain things and that other things are beyond my control. This is the case for some things, but I think I’ve convinced myself that more is out of control than really, truly is.

Operation GET CONTROL is therefore, now in full on operation mode.

For starters, I gave myself a purse for my birthday. Okay, so a purse doesn’t actually do anything to help me gain control over my life, and the mere fact that I bought myself my own birthday gift, might point to a symptom of my out of control-ness. But come on! A girl can’t be expected to do battle with the Control Monster without a cute bag on her arm, right?

I’ve also signed up for Weight Watchers. Oh how many times have I said I would NEVER put any money into such a vast, large conglomeration of business that feeds on the fat and misshapen? Oh why have I not learned from my own life lessons and have stopped saying NEVER … because saying never is signing a death sentence to my resolve and me actually doing what I said I would NEVER do.

It’s also come to my attention that in order to have a certain amount of order to my life, I do, in fact, have to ask for help sometimes. I mean, it’s great and all that I THINK I’m little Miss Independent, but really, when you manage to flood your bathroom not once but TWICE, and there is no hope of your toilet EVER unclogging with the discount plunger you purchased at the discount hardware ten years ago, it’s time to call in the troops.

Priorities need to actually be the priority, which I realize is a ridiculously stupid way of saying, GET IT TOGETHER, Murray! But it’s true. I need to make my passions and my desires the top priority in my life, rather than the 15 million TO DO Lists that a half a dozen other people dangling out in front of me. In other words, I need to practice saying NO …. A lot.

Finally, I must learn to embrace the fact that I’m getting older, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that I have one foot on a banana peel and one in the grave. But rather, I need to enjoy the phases my life takes … the twists and the turns. It’s okay that Metamucil is now a part of my breakfast. Really. No one cares … except for possibly me and my plumber. It’s often been said that life is what happens while we’re busy making plans. Not sure who said it, but I’m certain they were famous and brilliant and paid to sit and come up with grandiose nuggets of life-altering greatness … and they didn’t have to take Metamucil, but it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that I purposefully enjoy my highs and look for ways to find the joy in my lows. I only get this one life.

So, there you have it. My view of life … from the Deep End of the Pool.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Please stop mountaintop removal

(What I recently emailed to our governor regarding mountain top removal)

Dear Governor Beshear,


As a relatively new citizen of Kentucky, I have been continually touched by the pride of heritage that is the common thread among the people of this great Commonwealth. In the five years I have lived and traveled in Kentucky, I've come to realize the great importance the strong and deep heritage our mountains have on the people of Kentucky. It is because of the humble, scrappy beginnings of this state that greatness has been born, and that greatness is due, in large part, to the history of the mountains.

I had the opportunity to travel to Pine Mountain this past summer, and as I stood at a mountain look-out, surveying the landscape and imagining what the ancestors of this state might have seen as they came through the mountain passes, I was struck by the breath-taking grandeur -- sobered only by the fact that much of this mountain landscape could forever be scarred by the act of mountain top removal. I am confounded by the notion that such a resource -- one that was standing when Kentucky was tamed into statehood -- would be sacrificed for the benefit of a handful of coal companies.

I wish I could be there tomorrow to stand among those that come to show solidarity for the mountains and their heritage, but I can not . However, I will be there in spirit, cheering them on, and praying for an end to MTR so future generations can stand in awe of the majesty that is our Ole Kentucky Home!

Sincerely,

Megan J. Murray

Kentucky Educator and Proud Citizen

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bugging my bonnet

Occasionally, I get these bugs in my bonnet. I decide, often rashly, on certain things ... life-altering things, and typically, these decisions ... well, they come back to bite me in my butt.

Take for, instance, the moment of brilliance I had yesterday, when I decided it would be a good idea to "go off" caffeine cold turkey. I mean, heroine addicts have to go to rehab for months to kick the habit, and even then, it's touch and go for the rest of their natural lives.

What made me think I could walk away from caffeine cold turkey?

An altered state of being, clearly, because I've been sick to my stomach and head for the last two days.

So, when I twitched and jittered my way to the drive thru window at Starbucks, and the happy Starbucks Dude was all, "Hey there! How's your day?"

I practically shouted back, "I am DESPERATE for that Caramel Machiatto."

" "Nuff said ..."

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Life is ... and then The End.

Yesterday, my fourth graders filled out these pink, frilly heart-shaped papers that had LOVE IS... in big, bold letters splashed across the top. The Pep Club is doing something with them, and me, ever the team player, was determined to make sure we got them done.


My FAVORITE response, by far, was:


"Love is the thing where you fall in love and be a boyfriend or girlfriend. And then you have kids. The End."


If only it were that easy! I mean, from just about everyone's lips to God's ears, right?


It occurred to me the other night, while I sat at my dining room table eating dinner with the cat sitting across from me -- because she feels that A.) She's human, and as such, B.) She deserves her own chair at the table -- my glass of wine, my quiche, my salad, my book, that perhaps, I've gotten way too comfortable with my singleness. And perhaps, this is a good thing, but maybe, just a little bit, it's a bad thing.


I used to have a rather large social life ... parties and get-togethers all the time. Shopping trips with girlfriends ... hang-outs at the different eating/drinking establishments and coffee shops. My calendar was full.


I don't do that any more. What I've come to realize is that I live like a hermit, and I am sorta getting use to it ... and like it ... just a little.


Now, my life revolves around work and laundry and dinner and lunches and picking up and putting away and doing graduate school work and picking out clothes for the next day and falling into bed finally, and then, realizing, that I have the EXACT same thing to look forward to all over again.


It's monotonous, and I used to HATE monotonous ... I mean, I still do, sorta ... but now, maybe not.


When I was in fourth grade, I used to have a paper route, back when it was safe to have a paper route. I befriended an elderly woman on my route, and for a matter of a year, I would ride my bike over to visit with her every so often. I grew older, and sadly, forgot about her as far as it related to taking time out to visit her, and she died ... more than likely when I was in middle school or high school.


I used to feel so badly for her. She didn't really have anybody, she told me. She just got up and did her chores and watched TV, and waited for the occasional visits ... from people like me. And at 10 years old, that broke my heart. I knew I didn't want that ... I wanted my life filled with lots of things to do and lots of people to do them with ...


While sipping my wine, reading my book, and munching on my quiche, it began to slowly seep in that at 12 days away from 39, I AM that elderly woman. I have just gotten a head start on my hermit lifestyle ... granted, it's about 50 years earlier, but hey, better early than late, right?


Now, before you start googling depression websites and frantically look for my cell number to call and stage an intervention, please read my electronically proverbial lips. I AM NOT DEPRESSED ABOUT THIS. I'm not wallowing in self-pity. I'm just realizing that just maybe ... quite possibly ... This. is. it.

There's no exciting fire works and grandiose ends to perfectly, exciting days. The monotonous cycle of life may be it, and maybe ... just maybe, I'm becoming comfortable with this shift change in my imagination of what Life (capital L) is really all about ...