Tuesday, September 27, 2011

On Being Neighborly

Immediately following this video, the stupid neighbor cat sprayed ALL OVER my mums. Grrrr!

Monday, September 26, 2011

I Live with a Poltergeist--Her Name is Emmy

If you'd asked me this morning, say about 5:22 or 5:23 a.m., whether or not I lived in a haunted house, I would have, unequivocally, answered YES!  I was convinced I lived in a house with the supernatural.

You see, at 2:30 a.m., I was jarred awake by a quiet conversation in my living room.  To say I almost simultaneously pooped and peed my pants would be the understatement of the century!  The longer I laid there, the more I realized that a man and a woman were talking in my living room, with a light on, no less!

I finally screwed up the nerve to go out into the living room only to discover that my television was on.  I knew I'd turned the TV off before I went to bed.  POSITIVE OF IT.  And yet, there it was, a gal and guy chatting up hair products. I couldn't figure it out, but I was sure Emmy had nothing to do with it, as she was sprawled out at the foot of my bed looking all "What?  What's the big rush in the kitchen?"

It took me a while to get back to sleep, what with the imminent danger that a rogue ghost interested in late night infomercials posed.

Five o'clock came very soon after, and as I stumbled to the kitchen to make my coffee, I was still trying to make sense of the television issues of a few hour earlier, when I was startled awake once again ... this time by the finding Pinky the toy mouse, who is more gray and FILTHY, than pink these days.  What was most startling was not his actual presence, but rather the space in which he took up ... on the COUNTER TOP next to my coffeemaker.  Besides the fact that Pinky is, have I mentioned this already, FILTHY, he was on my counter top!  He belongs on the floor ... not on the counter.  How in the world?!

Emmy the Cat ... that's the only poltergeist-like being in this house. She sleeps all day, and so her energy level is waaaay up at night, which is when, I suspect, she rip-snorted through the living room, hitting the remote and turning the television on.  Then, she went into the kitchen, somehow managed to get Pinky on the counter -- I shudder to think how that happened -- and booked it to my room, sprawled out on the foot of the bed, acting like nothing ever happened.

And I wonder why I'm in a constant state of perpetual exhaustion ....

Monday, September 19, 2011

It is so hard to find an unbiased news source

She only does this to newspapers, which leads me to believe that Emmy dislikes the lack of unbiased news reporting currently pouring into our social media these days.
Pardon the lame narration ... it's not my calling ... me and my nasally Northern voice ...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Feeling the Love

Some of my former students came into my classroom one day after school.  This is what they left behind ... I'm loved.

Reading Between the Lines

Some folks see the face of Jesus in their slice of cheese.  Me?  My breakfast of peanut butter toast is in the shape of the Great Commonwealth of Kentucky!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It was just supposed to be exercise

I have Parent Teacher conferences on Thursday.

After that, I get to sit in a meeting for another hour or more.

Shoot me in my head!

Tonight, I realized that some items I needed to deliver to friends, whom I was SUPPOSED to see on Thursday, had I not remembered that I had Parent Teacher conferences, wouldn't be delivered.

I had two choices.  Teachers are big into choices.   If I say it once, I say the following a million times a day:

"You have two choices.  You can follow directions and reap the benefits.  Or you can not follow directions and deal with the consequences."

It's amazing the number of students that choose the latter.

But I digress....

So, I had two choices ...

  1. I could make my friends wait even though time is money where these particular items are concerned ... OR
  2. I could walk the items over to Viv's house, who is a mutual friend and will be seeing both owners of items on Thursday.
This second choice seemed like a great idea because I could really shove some exercise into my already unforgiving schedule, and I would be getting this errand out of the way.  

I LOVE being able to check off items on the TO DO LIST!

The only problem that I saw with this plan is that I would either have to cross a major highway to get from Point A to Point B ... or I'd have to travel a ped-way over top of the highway.  I chose the ped-way, mainly because I had a vision of myself lumbering across the highway, tripping, falling in front of a Mack truck, and dying a horrific death while the guy "playing" the fake cardboard guitar for Little Caesar's at that particular intersection witnessed my untimely demise.  

I've never walked the ped-way before ... many people had, and they all seemed pleased with the ease of getting from Point A to Point B.  Why not, right?

Well, I will tell you why not!

First of all, the entire time it took me to cross the ped-way, I had a vision of my death as the cement and steel girder structure crumbled and fell to the busy highway below, where I would shriek to my death, bounced and flattened by one racing vehicle after another.  

This is a gift, people, this thing I do in my head every single day ... envisioning my death.  A gift, I tell you.

Once I got off the ped-way, though, and took a big whiff of the intoxicating sweetness of the honeysuckle that covered the area, I felt better ... that was until I realized that the honeysuckle COVERED  the area ... on both sides ... and it was bushy and desolate and isolating ... and the entire 8 miles (that's what it felt like anyway) reminded me of at least 5 episodes of 48 Hours, wherein some single teacher, desperate for a little exercise and brain draining in the middle of her ridiculously over-scheduled day, dies a horrific death at the hands of the masked murderer/rapist/cannibal hiding in the aforementioned bushes.  

A gift, I'm telling you.

I made it to Viv's house without a problem, and she assured me, after some giggling, that I should be alright retracing my steps.  Easy for her to say.  She's the proud owner of a giant horse-like creature commonly referred to as a Newfoundland dog. Indy would just as soon lick you to death, but he's quite the intimidating-looking fellow.

I decided that if I was going to be stupid enough to return the same treacherous route that I came, I would punch in 9-1-1 and just let my thumb rest on the call button.  Just in case, you know, the masked murderer/rapist/cannibal decided to try again.

This plan was almost brilliantly executed thanks, in part, to the scary noises I heard behind me mid-way through my daunting walk to my impending death.  I turned around and JUMPED, almost out of my own skin, when I saw a man on a bike, almost directly behind me.  Granted, he was suited up for what looked like a cross-country bike trip, and I'm pretty sure he posed very little threat to my virtue.  Still, the mere act of jumping caused my trigger-happy finger to come right up to the very precipice of a 9-1-1 dial, and I'm pretty certain that it wouldn't have ended well for me ... I had a vision of the SWAT team converging on the area, guns drawn, and much hullabaloo to have me "spread 'em" and "drop to the ground slowly" ... wherein, I've decided I shouldn't have watched that last COPS rerun ... 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Memories ....

Friday, I sat on my stool in front of my class, attempting valiantly, to hold it together while I explained to my students, most of whom weren't even born on September 11, 2001, why we were going to a commemoration ceremony down the street at our City Hall.

I had to explain to them about the emotions they might see ... the reason why we were even worrying about it 10 years later ... and the whole time, the memories of that day almost overwhelmed me.

I hadn't expected that.  I mean, it has been 10 years. I've moved on ... by it's very nature, life moves on.  But then one of my sweet, little fourth graders, ever the insightful darling, pointed out that "many people are still very haunted by that day."

She's right, of course.  I've written about that day and my reactions to it here http://teachersworld.blogspot.com/2006/09/five-years-and-one-day-later.html and here http://teachersworld.blogspot.com/2007/09/apocalyptic_5857.html. We're all haunted ... haunted by the images and the Post-9/11 world we all live in.

We may move on, but I would say that those of us that sat glued to our televisions and radios and witnessed the horror of many, many lives lost ... we are the folks that will never forget. The nation was and continues to be haunted by the images of that day.

While I never lost any one in the four plane crashes that shook that day and the subsequent building collapses ... while I did not know any one that put thoughts of their own safety on hold to go into a burning skyscraper to save others, I join the collective mourning for a nation that will never be the same.

As I sat and tried to explain to a generation of kiddos that hasn't known anything other than terror alerts and The War of Terror ... as I sat and tried to explain how this was my new normal ... their only normal ... and how that new normal began with a sense of uncertainty ... a fear of the new unknowns, I was struck by the fact that, despite that day, despite the haunting images, the collective comes together today to reflect and remember, and we help to raise a new generation ... a generation that can learn from the events of the past, to pave the way for a new future, for an even brighter new normal.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 11 | StoryCorps | Page 3

September 11 | StoryCorps | Page 3
Listening to these precious stories of precious lives lost ...

For my Mother, who just LOVES spiders

Based on my research (I looked this up on University of Kentucky's insect website, I believe this lovely lady is a type of Orb Weaver commonly called a Barn Spider.

Friday, September 09, 2011

How I Spent My Day ...


Our entire student body of Second Street School attended this ceremony today. Soooo moving. One of my kiddos said it best when she said, "You know, Miss Murray, there are so many people that are still haunted by this event."

Couldn't have said it better myself ...

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

My Journey to Weight Loss History

Nothing says, "Why yes!  I am paying to be in Weight Watchers," like a grocery cart with chocolate milk and frozen pizza.

Aaaaaahhhhh!  Yes,  Weight Watchers.  I've said for a while now that I've not only fallen off the wagon, I've been run over by it.  Now, I feel like I need to make a slight addendum to the statement.  Not only was I run over by the Weight Watchers wagon, but I'm a mangled, mutilated, bloody pulp of my former self ... with bits and pieces scattered about the rutted road.

Yeah ... that bad.

So, this week, I declared the WALKER GIRL week.  Come hell or high water, I was going to walk every, single night this week ... get moving and drop a pound or two.

And then came the monsoons ... or Remnants of Hurricane Lee ... or the next thing in a long line of things to spoil my attempts to be fit.  It's as if the cosmos WANTS me fat and lumpy and covered in cellulite!

The plan tonight is to THINK of alternatives to getting some more aerobic exercise. That has to be good for a calorie or two, right?

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

SISTER MINE by Tawni O'Dell

I first "met" Tawni O'Dell probably close to 12 or 15 years ago, when I read her book BACK ROADS. I talk to my students all the time about getting lost in a book ... that when you do get lost in a book, that is a good thing.  No!  It's a GREAT thing to get lost in a book.

As I get older and become a more sophisticated reader (whatever that means), I find it more and more difficult to lose myself in books.  Tawni O'Dell's first step out, BACK ROADS, lost me hopelessly in the depraved plot.  It was an amazing book, but not in the TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD sort of way.  To be sure, BACK ROADS was a book that left you speechless at the end ... that made you stop and say, "Wait a minute!  Did I just read that!?"  I was lost ...

Her writing is good and strong and believable and the furthest thing from contrived.  And the thing that I like about O'Dell is that, with her subject matter, she is able to explain dysfunction in a way that makes the reader understand and, oftentimes, relate some how ... that environment often dictates dysfunction.

In the book SISTER MINE, O'Dell writes what she knows best, about the lives that are eeked out the shadow of a struggling mining town.  I find this subject matter particularly interesting to me now, as I'm living in a state that names coal and the coal mining industry as its number one industry/natural resource.  This book is a play on words as it deals with two sisters and the way their lives have unraveled in the shadow (redundant, I know, but necessary nonetheless) of sister mines that have wrecked so many of the lives that hang in a very tenuous balance.  It's a book about the fragility of the human psyche as well as the strength of the human mind.

I loved, as always, how O'Dell manages to weave humor throughout the dark, deep crevices of human depravity, and helps the reader see that, despite the ugliness, hope does spring eternal.

I'm not going to say this is her best book ever.  I hold to my word that BACK ROADS is my favorite Tawni O'Dell book.  However, SISTER MINE is a good book, and one that is worth the read.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Cornet and Cannons

For those whose passions lie in Civil War history, and specifically, Civil War musical history, this weekend, in Frankfort, Kentucky, was your dream. It was a full weekend's nod to the Civil War's Sesquicentennial and the music that was birthed from the time period.

Because I LOVE music, and because I'm an 80-year old woman in a 39-year old body, I attempted to attend a few of the musical events. Today's event was an outdoor concert featuring all of the bands with a finale that bombs bursting in air and rockets red glare.

You could almost feel the surreal as old and new, past and present mixed together in one date and time.....

Saturday, September 03, 2011

The Inadvertent Shoplifter

My air conditioning decided to get very ill this weekend ... a holiday weekend ... a weekend in which I could incur massive amounts of unneeded charges because I've had the absolute gall to call a service man out on the aforementioned holiday weekend.

It happens to be approximately 100 and REALLY HOT degrees out right now! Combine that with the fact that my AC isn't working, and, well, I'm pretty sure I've killed A LOT of brain cells stewing in the heat.

I've done some things to make sure I've been cool today ... things like eating a PIG'S BRUNCH with my good friend, Elly, and her husband, John. Then I went to Kohl's and spent some Kohl's cash -- I picked up two birthday gifts too! My fatal error was going home to take a nap. That is where the Death of the Brain Cells really occurred. And, of course, the deal was sealed when I stood in the 100 and REALLY HOT degrees and witnessed Union and Confederate bands parade down St. Clair Mall this afternoon.

So, you can imagine that by the time I got to Pier 1 Imports, where I thought I'd try to cool down some more, I was not really firing on all cylinders. Quite honestly, I'm not entirely sure how many cylinders I have any more ... pretty sure I've killed a couple over the course of the years.

I've been meaning to get a plate hanger, and when I ran across them in Pier 1, I snatched one up. It was mounted on a heavy piece of cardboard, perfect for fanning oneself when one sweats even in the comfort of an air conditioned store.

I wandered every aisle, picked up most of the merchandise, and I drooled over all the fun fall decorations, all the while suffering through a nasty headache. When the pain got so bad, I decided to leave, still fanning myself, as I stepped out of the store and into the parking lot. It was only then that I realized I was still holding the plate hanger ... the one I hadn't paid for!

Had it not occurred to me then, I'm not entirely sure it when it might have occurred to me. In fact, I feel relatively confident that I might have awakened tomorrow morning and wondered when the plate had been hung on my wall!