Monday, December 31, 2012

On the Eve of a New Year!

Well, here we are again, facing a new year.  This means that I need to file through oodles of blog posts to find the one where I posted 2012's New Years Resolution. 

I have to admit.  I surprised myself.  I really thought that I'd written some long, lofty goals (clearly, I've not revisited them very much -- or at all -- over the past year), but happily, I did not.

My 2012 Resolutions in review:
  1. Get this place (i.e., house) organized
  2. Have a plan for more exercise
  3. Eat more veggies
  4. Entertain more
  5. Get out of the house more
Now, here is how I did:
  1. Get this place (i.e., house) organized  -- there is always room for improvement in this area.  My "room" for improvement is my office.  As I organized, what didn't have a place found its way into my office.  Therefore, one of my 2013 resolutions should be to organize my office.
  2. Have a plan for more exercise -- Boy did I!  On June 21st, I started walking with my friend, Vivian.  We started out walking just a couple of miles, and it soon bloomed into 3 miles every single day.  Over the Christmas holidays, I've had a really hard time keeping that habit up, but after the New Year, I am back to it!  I have to.  My body feels so much better, and I've been so much healthier because of it.
  3. Eat more veggies -- I've done okay with this.  Fits and spells, fits and spells.  I do believe there is more to add to my plate in the veggie department.
  4. Entertain more -- I've failed miserably at this one.  So, I might roll this one over to 2013.
  5. Get out of the house more -- in some ways, I did an okay job of this.  In other ways, not so much.  I think I need to maybe roll this one over as well.
So, here we are, on the Eve of a New Year, and I've been thinking about what I'd like to tackle this year. 

  1. I want to FINALLY organize/redo my office. I'd like to make it a space that I can create in ... both writing as well as my home decor "stuff."
  2. I want to commit to increasing my exercise regime.  Perhaps add another mile as well as doing some strength training.
  3. I want to be more creative, and I want to carve out more time to do so. I also want to make some extra money doing so.
  4. I want to be more fiscally responsible.
  5. I want to be more social ... more dinner parties ... more get togethers with friends ... more times to socialize and enjoy the company of others.
  6. I want to find free ways to be more creative in my yard ... free landscaping ... free landscaping design ...
There it is.  My 2013 in six little resolutions. Life is what happens when you're busy making plans.  I know this new year has a lot of great things in store for me.  I can't wait to see how it all unfolds! 

Join me as I blog about all the craziness that will be sure to ensue!
HAPPY NEW YEARS EVE!!!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Government is Bungling Around with My Feng Shui

Everyone has heard about the Fiscal Cliff, right?  Right!  If you haven't, well, I want to know what rock you just crawled out from under, and, by the way, you might just want to crawl right back under it.  The fiscal cliff looks like a gnarly ride, and I am not sure you want to be around for that train wreck.

I am not naive enough to think for one minute that two groups of supposedly educated individuals that were hired, as it were, to have OUR best interests at heart, might actually PUT our interests at heart and solve this conundrum.  Nope.  Not naive at all.  When I first heard about this conflagration of hot mess, I knew this would be a tit for tat sort of issue where no one would want to get a long in the sandbox together.  I mean really. My fourth graders get along better on the playground.  Just sayin'.

But now I hear something that has rocked me to my very core.

Am I to understand that the Congress, a giant group of idiots, is now messing around with a Farm Bill? And that said Farm Bill, if not passed or worked on or tweaked, will cause the cost of milk and cheese to double in price?

REALLY!?   Congress, really!?!?!  Now you are making me really angry.  You're going to mess with one of my favorite food groups?  Chocolate milk and cheese?  I keep these diary farmers in business, folks.  Seriously!

I know I am not the only one tired ... weary .... plain sick and tired of this political tussling that occurs with every. single. thing. that they try to solve.  And let's just use the word solve loosely.  Because, really, they don't solve much of anything. 

Bungle?  Yes.
Creators of chaos?  Most certainly.
Media whores?  Ummm ... ever any doubt!?
Solvers of anything ... yeeaaaaaahhhh, not so much.

Yesterday, I purchased a gallon of chocolate milk for nearly $4 ... I can not imagine spending $8 for said milk.  And cheese? 

Listen!  Who ever you are.  You'd better do something!  And you better do something fast!  You aer messing with my dairy Feng Shui!

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Christmas Prayer

I found this piece by Max Lucado and felt it summed up my thoughts on the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  I would expect nothing less than a beautifully written piece by such an amazing author.  (Link to the letter: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/max-lucado/a-christmas-prayer_2_b_2302548.html#slide=1887016)

Dear Jesus,




It's a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately.



These killings, Lord. These children, Lord. Innocence violated. Raw evil demonstrated.



The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one button-push away from annihilation?



Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas. But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod's jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence.



Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene.



Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won't you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.



This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.



Hopefully,



Your Children



Saturday, December 15, 2012

Socially Awkward!

It's not a secret that I oftentimes have difficulty introducing myself to new people, depending on the situation.  While I can be extroverted, I just sometimes don't feel like I have the finesse for those first introductions.  I prefer when someone introduces me to an individual, and I can run with that. 

Passive aggressive? 

Possibly.

Who knows. 

It just seems more comfortable for me, and we can all agree that I am not necessarily the most socially graceful person around.  I have tons of stories I could roll out here on my social graces (but mostly pitfalls), and one story would top the next.

But as I've entered my 40s, I've really tried to make a concerted effort to be more "out of my comfort zone" where initial introductions are concerned.  So far, I've failed miserably.  However, the good news is that I have 9 more years to get it right!

So, there I was, recently, in a situation that required me to introduce myself ... or more over, required me to reintroduce myself.  I stuck my hand out, and it the victim of my reintroduction, attempted a getaway, only to realize that they'd waited a second or two longer than they needed to, and must commit to said reintroduction.  Rather than be gracious, this social moron stuck their hand in front of me, half-heartedly grabbed it, and then, with the speed of a Roadrunner, jetted off as fast as they could. 

I don't believe I stunk.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I'd bathed that morning.  Yet, there I was ... standing there ... ahnd still extended ... choking on the dust left behind by the rapidly retreating indivudual. 

Not going to lie.  That behavior made me mad.  I wasn't trying to throw myself at this individual.  I was attempting to be nice ... kind ... friendly ... all of these things are NOT what most people see when the first meet me, I am told.  Most see reserved ... closed off ... guarded.  All of THESE things I will agree on.  I really do have to warm up to you. 

So, I fumed about the Retreating Social Moron all the rest of that day.  Was annoyed about it that evening.  Even dreamt about it.  Granted, I took THAT a bit too far, but I'm claiming temporary insanity due to too much Christmas Cheer at school.  It's a real issue.  I swear.

**FINALLY** I had a break-through.  Monday morning dawned bright and clear, and it suddenly occured to me.  I am not the socially awkward one.  Nope. I, in fact, did my part to spread generosity and friednliness.  Nope.  Not I.  Rather, the idiot that couldn't run away fast enough from me ... that person was the socially awkward one.

Score 1 for me, and 0 for Socially Awkward Dufus.

I don't know about you, but I am off to spread more Christmas cheer ...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Score

Puke 1
Me 0

When you consider becoming a teacher, all those involved in the profession tell you about all the wonderful, amazing, flowery things that they are privy to witness. 

The light bulb moments ...
The moments of self-discovery ...
The unadulterated joy in seeing new learning occur ...
The unmitigated laughter of a child ...

Then, when you commit to the career ... when you are so invested there is no looking back ... that's when those sadists begin to roll out The Stories ... they tell you about all the crazy stuff you deal with on a daily basis ... the things that normal, rational-thinking adults wouldn't dream of subjecting themselves to and who would run screaming in the other direction, "HELL TO THE NO!!!!"

Yeah, I think you have to be some sort of crazy ... or some sort of left of center to do this job. Seriously.

Today, for instance, I was happily monitoring a test when out of the blue, one of my dears up-chucked on said test. 

Insert heavy sigh here.

It happens.  It's part of the job.  I don't like it, but when you are dealing with children, it just happens, because they are humans, and, well, humans, as you might not be aware, are unpredictable little devils.  They do things that you would have NEVER expected them to do.  That's the nature of the humanity beast.

There's also getting sneezed on ... I once had a child sneeze ALL. OVER. MY. COFFEE. MUG.  It was still relatively full of coffee too.  A sad day when I had to pour that all out, that's for darn sure.

Coughed on?  Oh yeah.  I get coughed on. 

And lest we forget the living epitaphs on the bathroom stalls.  You haven't quite reached the pinnacle of your success until someone has scrawled, MISS MURRAY IS A BITH on the bathroom stall.  It looks as though I need to work on some letter families, no?

Still, at the end of the year, when I think back over the time spent with each class, I always manage to block out the "bad" stuff ... the puke, the coughs, the sneezes, the epitaphs (okay, maybe not the epitaphs ... those are priceless) ... and I always manage to find a few things that made my year fun and enjoyable and worth the valleys.  Those peaks can oftentimes be few and far between, but when they happen, man!  Are they ever worth it!






Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-12-12

Well, we're still here.  So, I guess those that thought the world would end are feeling a slight bit of embarrassment this morning, no? 

I have to admit.  I wasn't necessarily looking for the world to end, but I would have been completely okay with say, a delay in normal operating procedures.  Yes, I realize, that I am looking at the short end of the 2nd quarter, which means I am also within reach of a nice little break.  Once again, I am more than ready for it.  I am super tired and not very tolerant of the silliness that seems to swirl around me.  If only the world revolved around my way of thinking ...

Instead, 12-12-12 dawned bright and beautiful, and I was greated with a lovely migraine.  AWESOME! 

Instead, I received an email from "Koffi Anan" (spelling was intentional, as that's how it was spelled in the address line).  It was urgent, and he wanted me to read it immediately.  But here's the thing, Koffi -- can I call you Koffi?  Since we're on a first name basis and sending emails to each other and everything ...

The thing is, Koffi, that I don't have time to deal with foreign issues this week.  I've got Common Assessments to get ready for ... and report cards to get together ... and Christmas presents to craft ... and Christmas letters to get around ... and Christmas gifts to buy ... and laundry to finish ... and baking to do ... and a house to clean ... and while I would love to help with world peace, it's just not in the books this week.  Nope. Not happening.  Not this week.  Probably not next week either.  Just saying ...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Attack Cat

I love holiday socks.  Through the years, I have collected a startling amount of holiday socks, and it seems that Christmas is my most popular type of holiday sock.  This goes without saying, no?

A few weeks back, I found myself at Target and immediately at the bargain bin of socks.  $1 for holiday socks is irresistible in my mind's eye, and so I grabbed a handful!  One pair of the socks was earmarked for my secret pal at work -- an adorable pair of blue socks with snowmen and snowflakes dotting the socks.  Something that can carry right into January!  Brilliant on my part, I was pretty certain.

Oftentimes, when I get home from stores, I have a bad habit of leaving my purchases, junk mail, keys, purses, and assorted other items on my counter.  I am looking for someone to blame this on, but so far, I have not found a suitable blamee.  And so it was that the pair of socks found their way to the pile of other assorted items on the counter, for quite a few days, I guess.  Sadly, I've lost count of how long, exactly, they sat there with the rest of the mess.

The other morning, I stumbled out into my kitchen to make my coffee, and I found those socks on the floor.  I really didn't think much about the find at the time ... perhaps they fell off the top of the heaping pile rapidly growing and spreading?  Not too concerned, I picked them up and again placed them on the top of the pile. 

Fast-forward to this morning, when I grabbed those socks, hell-bent on delivering them to my secret pal. 

Thankfully, I was distracted when I got to school, because when I picked them up later on, I realized two very important things:
  1. They were COVERED in cat hair. And I don't just mean a little cat hair.  We're talking, these things could be their own species!
  2. They were also covered in tiny teeth holes and nail picks.
It would seem that Emmy the Cat hopped up on the forbidden counter whilst I slept and set about killing the socks.  And she did a valiant job at it too.  They are limp ... they are war torn, and they are definitely NOT suitable for my secret pal any more. 

So begins the merry holiday season at the Murray household, wherein the cat will do her level best to tear every ounce of cheer out of the holiday decorations.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Childlike

I am a big girl. 

I get it. 

I have big girl pants, and I need to pull them on.

Sometimes, I forget that, though. There is still a ten year old kid, buried deep inside, that tends to shine through at times, eagerly awaiting the next exciting thing.

I am ... good grief ... sneaking up toward 41 years of age, and I still get giddy at holiday time.  I still look forward to fun plans with friends or family.  I still get so excited I can't sleep at the mere thought of a fun get-away with my favorite people.

So, I tend to get really bummed when plans fall through.  Again with the ten year old girl! 

I don't know how to explain it.  In my head, I understand the flexibility that one needs when dealing with the ever-dynamic, always-changing thing we call life.  I get the phrase "Life is what happens when we're busy planning."  Really, I do, but the ten year old girl inside me still mourns when the excitement is extinguished. 

I suppose I could beat myself up about it.  That I am somehow selfish ... I am immature ... I can't handle change ... I am somehow not normal ... but here's the thing.  I LIKE that I can still manage to find the childlike wonder in things around me.  If that makes me weird or immature or not quite in the head, so be it.  I never intend to be selfish ... that's never my intention.  I just get so excited that it's a bit of blow when the little things fall through in the end ...

Perhaps the ten year old girl inside just needs a good dose of reality ... a good stare at the mortgage payment book ... or the student loan papers ... or the myriad of other things that tend to suck the ten year old out of all of us.  But then, what sort of fun would that be?

This weekend, with a change of plans, I will be out raking leaves ...  maybe the ten year old girl will come to visit, and before it's all said and done, she'll jump in a BIG ole pile of those leaves ... just to experience the wonder of childhood one more time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Vintage

This past weekend, I started my holiday season early ... well, probably right on time, according to the money-grubbing, overly-materialistic Corporate America; the same Corporate American that is now brushing over Thanksgiving, in an effort to get the best bang for their hopeful buck. 

Oops ... hmmm ... let me crawl off of my soap box for a moment before this rant becomes the blog, which was not my intention at all.  Rather, this blog is a my way of traveling down memory lane, culling the recesses of my memory banks for those Christmases of my past.

If I sit really quietly, close my eyes, and concentrate, I can grab glimpses of those memories ... the smells ... the sounds ...

If I sit very quietly, I can almost hear those scratchy records I use to beg my mom and dad to play over and over on the record player ... the standards from Bing Crosby, Burl Ives, Doris Day, and the rest.

If I sit very quietly, I can almost hear my mom reading those precious Christmas books, her inflections still playing a movie in my mind.

If I sit very quietly, I can almost smell Christmas dinner mingled with vintage Christmas decorations in my Grandmother's house. 

If I sit very quietly, I can almost feel the excitement I felt the night before Christmas, munching on green corn flake Christmas wreath cookies, just bursting with anticipation over what Santa might leave under the tree. 

I think that is why I love VINTAGE so much ... it takes me back ... back to treasured memories of a simpler time ...

Walking through the antique stores this past weekend, while milling about with others in Shelbyville, Kentucky, I was once again transported to that little house on Bennett Street, to an idyllic childhood where anything was possible, and Christmas was filled with wonder and joy. 

Don't get me wrong.  Christmas is still filled with wonder and joy for me.  It's just also surrounded by money woes and worldly ugliness and corporate greed ... and sometimes it's just hard to see past that to the importance of the season. 

The entire reason we celebrate the season isn't for the sights or the smells or the gifts or the good cheer.  Rather, it's a time to celebrate a small child, born in a cave meant for livestock, to a world awaiting his regal arrival.  A pretty sparse arrival for some one so deserving of the royal treatment. 

This year, I strive for a Vintage Christmas ... the one of my childhood ... the one that was filled with delight and wonder and anticipation, but completely centered around the Christ-child and His completely miraculous arrival on this Earth.

So, I begin with Thanksgiving ... feeling so grateful that He chose to come to Earth, in human form, for me ... and feeling so very grateful that I was born into a family that cherishes that ultimate gift. 

And If I sit very quietly, I can still hear my Grandmother read from her worn Bible that most favorite of all Christmas stories ... the one, true Christmas story ... the story of Jesus' birth. 

Monday, November 05, 2012

They Just Plain Aren't Right

My family's track record with animals just isn't all that grand.  Don't get me wrong.  We don't kill them or mistreat them or anything.  We just don't have the best luck with finding "normal" animals.  What at first was thought as a family-pet complex is now an accepted understanding.  The Murray's always end up with "special" animals.

Take, for example, our Siamese cat Ty-Lee.  She suffered from such bad sinuses that she sneezed incessantly, and she left cat snot and boogers everywhere, especially in her favorite spot in the hallway.  There were cat boogers covering that one section of wall that I'm pretty sure my dad just gave up and painted over years after she left us.

Then there was Greta, our German-short hair pointer, who, because of some sick neighbor boys who taunted her with firecrackers, was DEATHLY afraid of storms.  And by deathly, I mean, as soon as the barometric pressure changed at all, she'd work herself into an outright-out of her mind-tizzy to the point that one of us, usually my mother, had to wrestle tranquilizers into her mouth and down her throat so that the rest of the neighborhood could sleep through the night.

Molly, the pretty gray cat we adopted from the litter of kittens my aunt and uncle's cat had, was an interesting feline.  She wanted nothing to do with any guest unless they were overnight guests.  Then she would slip between the sheets with them and sleep the entire night cuddled up against them.  We started calling her Blanche because she slept with EVERYONE.

Cricket was Mom's dog, and while she was hours of fun herself, she had her little quirks.  Like an addict with a bad habit for crack, Cricket was obsessed with popcorn, and if I had a dollar for every time someone in our house made popcorn because the crazy dog was begging for it, well, let's just say I wouldn't have to worry about paying back any student loans.  She also had one of the most disgusting habits I've ever witnessed.  She LOVED my dad's morning breath.  Not even kidding!

Which brings me to Moses.  Moses jumped out of the weeds while my parents were walking down the road, and chased them all the way to their house.  My mother valiantly tried to rid herself of this orange and white beauty, but he quickly weaseled his way into their home and our hearts. Mosey was a pretty boy.  He was like that male model that had all the beauty and no brains.  He audibly gagged when he smelled something he thought was stinky (stink bugs were a great gag-inducing scent for him!), and he would become motion sick and puke whenever you moved a stringed object above him, back and forth.  I mean, what cat does that?  Mosey did.

This past Saturday, my parents lost Moses.  He was 13 years old; he lived a charmed life there at the house on Albion Road.  I'm pretty sure that's why he chased them down the road that fateful morning, thirteen years ago.  He'd gotten word that if he could get into their good graces, he would be allowed to flourish and grow within his "specialness." And that he did.

Rest in peace, Pretty Boy.  Rest in peace.

Emily Post Might Disagree

What?!  Two blogs in one day? 

Listen.  Don't judge.  I have been silent for a while.  It was a given that when I let loose, the words would flow like verbal vomit.

I'm sorry.  Too vivid a word picture for you?

Deal with it.

So, I was reading a DEAR ABBY recently ... can I just stop here and say that I don't really like to read DEAR ABBY.  I mean, the people that write to ask her questions ... do they realize that ABBY is dead?  So that little tidbit begs the question, who is writing the answers to these crazy people's questions?  And furthermore, why not just call them by their given name?  Like DEAR MATILDA ... or DEAR RHONDA ... or DEAR SHAQUAWAYA ... or DEAR SALLY ... or ... listen I could go on and on with this one.  I have the staying power for it.  Trust me.

So, anyway, I was reading a DEAR ABBY recently wherein the author of the letter described being invited to a party, and then, rather abruptly uninvited.  The person asked "ABBY" (and lets put ABBY in air quotes because, let's be real, folks.  If ABBY were writing the answers to these letters, we've got bigger issues than the socially stunted authors of these letters) what she should do. 

And I was all, "Oh my gosh!  Who does that!?"

Then I had to stop and be all, "Wait!  That happened to me!"

Yep.  That is absolutely correct. I was invited to a party once.  I thought it was sort of odd that I had been invited to this particular party, but I decided to go because I didn't know a lot of people, and I thought it might be fun.  As the party date drew near, I started looking forward to it, but mere days before the party, one of the party throwers pulled me aside and said, "You know. This is really funny. There was a mistake.  You were invited because someone thought you were so and so's friend.  You don't have to come.  You can save money on a present this way!"

The un-inviter thought they were being funny -- they thought they were fixing their mistake.  What they were really being was horribly impolite and a hundred different ways of hurtful and just plain tacky.  So, I did what any good girl would do, I marched my stubborn butt into that party and let every one there feel horribly uncomfortable about the whole situation because Megan was invited to the party, but oops!  We really didn't mean to do so.

Rereading the letter, I felt qualified to answer this question, suddenly. I don't know. Emily Post would probably disagree, but I say, hold your head up high and let them kiss your sweet butt as you sashay your way through the throngs of party-goers. Then make a mental note to do two things:
  1. Never invite the un-inviter to anything you are throwing.
  2. Never go back to another party of theirs ... legitimate invite or not. 
This makes me think ... I should start my own column ... I can see it now ... DEAR MEGAN ....

Bloggin'

I have started no less than five blogs, and like the ten plus piles of books dotting the indoor landscape of my home, none of the blogs are finished.

I can blame these half-written missives on a number of very good reasons:
  • Busier than a one-armed paper hanger (not a politically correct description, but oh well ...)
  • Fall Festival
  • After school meetings
  • Sheer exhaustion
  • Sore throat
  • Demanding cat
  • Too many phone calls
But let's be honest here, people.  If push came to shove, and it typically does, the main reason I have not finished any of the blogs is because I have been lazy!

I know.  It's hard to believe.  Me?  Waste time?  Fritter away my days doing endlessly stupid stuff?  You're shocked, aren't you?  But alas, it is true.  In fact, somewhere in Michigan, my mother has just screamed at the top of her lungs, "HALLELUJAH! I've been telling her to stop wasting time for years now!"

I suppose the other reason that I haven't finished any of the blogs is that they have made me MAD writing them.  They are the furthest thing from entertaining, and let's face it.  After you have watched ten bajillion mind-numbing Ben Chandler-is-against-the-coal-miners-but Andy-Barr-loves-the-coal-miners ads, entertainment is not an option, but a must! 

This morning, I found myself hopping out of bed thinking, "Only two more days of political commercials.  Only two more days of political commercials!" This realization is almost as exciting as the dawning of a Christmas morning.

I was going to write a long missive about TESTING in schools, but seriously.  Aren't you all just as sick of hearing about scores and testing and high risk schools and high achieving schools and blah, blah, blah, as I?  Here's a question?  How about just letting us teach?  The reason kids don't really take all these tests seriously is that we are systematically stripping the fun and enjoyment right out of learning, and lest you think I've been smokin' or drinkin' something, yes! YES! Learning is SUPPOSE to be fun.

I know!  Shocking, isn't it?

Then there was the blog I was writing about words, their meanings, and the use of certain words.  But how can you argue with the ignorant out there? I mean, I spend my days trying to teach fourth graders about the results of bullying and how to be a good friend and neighbor -- in between teaching them how to read and write and add and subtract.  Don't you just love that adults, with all these years and years of wisdom, come along behind me and undo all of that by name-calling and then rationalizing the aforementioned name-calling?  I mean, at some point, I just throw up my hands, step back while the ignorant amongst us duke it out, and hope for the survival of the fittest theory to work itself out. It will work itself out, right?

I was going to write about my haggling with the student loan companies, but that subject depresses me just thinking about it.  Actually typing it out in black and white print, might well do me in.

There was the blog about manners in grocery stores or the people that monogram their cars (among other things down here in the South) or the weather or the fact that I must find a Kitchen Clean-up Fairy, stat!

But none of it seems to hold any excitement for me. None of it seems FUN. 

And so I let The Blog just sit ... ruminate ... cogitate ... marinate ... all those -ates.  Perhaps I needed a break. 

At any rate, I have just spent the better part of the last twenty minutes blogging about nothing in particular, which my sister says I do on voice mail all the time. 

Whatever!

My guess is that this political season as sapped all the HAPPY out of my writing.  I'm predicting an up-swing in my blogging productivity post-election, when I will then be inundated with all the MERRIEST of CHRISTMAS commercials, reminding me, once again, of how inadequate my Christmas spending budget is this season.



Monday, October 29, 2012

Besting My Time!

On Friday, I walked my 6th run/walk race.  I wish I could run it, but thanks to my lovely genetics wherein my knees become jelly at the blink of an eye, I can no longer run on these pitiful old knees.  And so I walk.

I figure, I've logged 700 some miles since I started this every day, 3 miles a day journey, and you can tell it in my calves.  They are getting stronger and more defined!

So, when I signed up for the black cat chase, I was pretty excited because it would have been the first time EVER that I have properly trained for an event like this.  Shoot!  I have been doing a 5K every single day since June!

But Friday's weather turned nasty.  Cold nasty.  Rainy nasty.  Miserable nasty.  And I dressed for it. 



I'm the one dressed like a BIG ole dweeb ... complete with scarf.  Can we say SILLY GOOBER?

Oh well.  I shaved 5  minutes off of my time, and that is all I care about.  If I looked like a total idiot on the race course, fine.  Which, now that I think about it, I probably DID look like a total idiot, based on all the crazy looks I got from Frankfort's finest...

Oh well!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Photos on the Fly

What are photos on the fly?

Well, in a nutshell?  Photos I take on my cell phone, while I'm driving.

Shhhhh ... don't tell my mom.  She has a lecture about taking pictures with your cell phone while you're driving ... especially down curvy, narrow back country Kentucky roads.  The woman has a whooooooole mental Rolodex file of lectures. She got it when she got her complimentary MOM MANUAL when she left the hospital with me.  They hand those manuals out with the free diaper and laundry soap samples.  Were you not aware of this?

And yet, I digress ... back to the PHOTOS ON THE FLY

Here are my photos on the fly for today, October 18, 2012 ...

I'm sad that my cell phone didn't truly capture vivid nature of the leaves on the trees, however.  :(

Why yes!  I AM on the wrong side of the road.  Not sure why ... don't remember driving on the wrong side of the road.  Hmmmm .... 















Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My Mother's Kitchen

I LOVE to antique and junk. 

You all know this.  

Recently, however, I have been keenly aware of the fact that I am finding more and more items in these antiques stores and junk shops that I remember from my childhood. If that isn't bad enough, I am finding, increasingly, more stuff from my mother's kitchen in these stores.  And, lest you think I am talking about my mother's kitchen from my youth, I am not.  I am talking about my mother's kitchen NOW.  Granted, my mother's kitchen NOW resembles her kitchen from my youth, basically, because we both contend that they just don't make things like they use to.  

Case in point, my mother has this glass grinder that I always remember she used to grind nuts into a fine pile of ... well, nuts.  Not that she grinds a lot of nuts these days, but she still has that little item, and I do believe it would grind away the best pile of nuts that it ever did, because, well, they just don't make things like they use to.

I happened to find a whole bunch of these glass nut grinder gizmos in one of my favorite antiquing haunts.  And guess what?!  My mother's EXACT gizmo was there as well, and it was $22.50!

I've come to the following conclusion.  My mother could Ebay her entire kitchen and make a mint!  A mint!  Mother, if you're reading this, I think you should take this under very careful advisement.  A mint, I tell you! 




Friday, October 12, 2012

I AM IN LOVE WITH ...

I got myself into a FOUL mood today after a conversation with a friend.  I hate being misunderstood?  Don't you?  Nothing gets me more annoyed ... more upset ... more BEYOND p.o.'ed.

But then I had to remind myself, I am who I am.  I can't change it, and those that know me well and love me don't care.

I quickly changed my mood around when I stopped to make a list of all the things I truly love in this world.  When you look at the positive, the negative no longer seems to matter quite so much. Soooooo ...

I am in love with ...

  • the smell of beef stew in the crock pot
  • steaming cups of hot tea
  • freshly laundered linens
  • colorful scarves
  • cuddly cats
  • great magazines
  • a good book and comfy chair to hang out in
  • a hot mug of apple cider
  • sunny Autumn days
  • a friendly smile
  • fresh-baked bread
  • warm apple pie
  • warm, fuzzy blankets
  • fall decorations
  • good conversations with old friends
  • the hint of rain in the air 
  • chickadees calling
  • golden, orange pumpkins
  • fuzzy socks
  • a good-smelling candle

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Kitchen Re-Do

You might remember that my kitchen looked like this ...

It was ugly.  It was dark.  It was soooooo not my style.

I waited two years before I did anything about it, mainly, because I was trying to decided what, exactly, I wanted to do about it.

White kitchens have ALWAYS been my undoing.  I LOVE them!  Every picture in Southern Living or Better Homes and Gardens that included a completely white kitchen left me salivating.  The kicker for me was when I realized that a new trend is to two-tone cabinets.  I knew then what I planned on doing in my kitchen.

Vivian cleaning up after wrestling with the wallpaper border with me. 

The eating area sans wallpaper.

The eating area with the first coat of paint on top.

Kitchen!  It's getting closer to completion!

The dining area is done!

DONE!

Looks soooo pretty!

Finished finally and looking good!

The green and yellow cabinets are getting painted next, and I am looking for a vintagy light fixture for the dining area.

LOVE how the kitchen looks!  So clean and sleek.
My living room was a disaster the entire time I was working on my kitchen.

More redo photos ... 



Loving the fresh, clean lines that this new look gives my kitchen.

That's the next project ... repainting that cabinet white and gray .

And finding a new light fixture ... I HATE that thing!!!



Tuesday, October 09, 2012

I Am In Love ...

  • with bonfires
  • Mexican food
  • time with friends
  • 3 mile walks
  • getting to know someone new 
  • fresh paint
  • crisp Autumn days
  • physical hikes
  • burning leaves
  • grand, panoramic views
  • a good cup of coffee
  • fantastic haircuts
  • a special pair of earrings
  • smaller sizes
  • old, comfy sweat shirts
  • Pumpkin Spice Lattes
  • Cinnamon Doughnuts
  • crunchy apples
  • lunch dates
  • furry kittens
  • toasty, warm comforters
  • challenged mind
  • a sense of accomplishment
  • flannel sheets
  • Maine Coon cats

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Battle of Perryville -- 150th Anniversary

Confederate soldiers readying for battle.

An encampment from afar

Confederate soldiers on the move

Confederate soldiers

Union troops!!!!

Defending the hill with big ole cannons

Union defense line

Tabby -- waiting for the action

Hanging out ... sporting some pink for Breast Cancer Awareness ... waiting for the battle to begin

Getting ready to watch their men folk

Another Union position

Union scout

This little guy was sooooo cute!

Let the cannons begin blowin'

Could never ever catch a good smoke ring ... 

Providing support for the ground troops

The cannons were LOUD!

Love this fall scene!

I think this guy was a deserter ... he looked like the real deal ... weirded me out just a tad!


Union troops

Union Fife and Drum

Cutie-patootie Flag Dude

Cutie-patootie Flag Dude

Union soldiers

Gaining the upper hand on the hill

Union troops and cavalry

Cutie-patootie Union Flag Dude!!!

Union formation

Union formations

Action shot of cutie-patootie Flag Dude
Harper's Weekly War Artist ... very cool!  He was actually selling his drawings too.