Tuesday, February 28, 2012


There are certain times in ones life when you stop, look around at the carnage before you, and think to yourself, "I think I might have taken a wrong turn somewhere."

Today was one of those days.

I had sent a kid down to the school nurse THREE times ... this particular child is not one to complain.  He was having definite gastric problems.  Each time, he came back.  So, of course, he's in Math this afternoon and pukes EVERY WHERE.  Of course!

I had already had to deal with yet another melt-down from another child ... a daily, no an hourly, occurrence.  So, I was ready to throw in the towel as the chunks were flying. 

And yet, the dramatic irony continued, because, why not?  It's me, and God is trying to teach me a lesson ... or something.

After I'd all but depleted the Lysol supply of my teammate ... and lit two matches ... and a candle ... and dropped off my merry band of lovelies to our awaiting Gym teacher, I ran to the bathroom, because, honestly, I can't remember the last time I had been to the bathroom ... 5:00 a.m.??? 

I walk into the stall, and not only walk THROUGH a puddle of pee, but I also drag a pant leg through it.  Awesome!  More Lysol, because, it stands to reason that I would have TWO meetings after school and won't be getting home until later.  Of course, I will have to walk around with a pee-covered pant leg ... after witnessing a child puke buckets ... and deal with my own queasy stomach ... and manage the crazy that is my room.  Of course!

As I stood in the puddle of pee, I got quite philosophical ... one tends to get philosophical while standing in pee.  I wondered, "Is this why I spent 8 years of school and countless wads of money that I will be paying back from now until my dying day for? To stand in a puddle of pee, replaying the SPEW OF THE CENTURY in my mind, while trying to keep the crazy from a full-on insane eruption from happening in my room?" 

All I know is that it is 5:00 p.m. somewhere, and I am going to contemplate it while I watch a nice glass of Moscato swirl around in my glass.

Friday, February 24, 2012


I was just complaining to a friend that I want my social life back.  Not that I had that great of a social life in the first place -- okay, well, I did when I was 23 or 25, but that's been a very long time ago.  But running home to finish a paper is not how I expected to spend my Friday nights (or any night), way back then, when I was 23 or 25 ... and the world was my oyster ... and I was sure I would find Mr. Right.

In fact, what I expected is that I would be finding some out-of-the-way restaurant with my husband, who was as cool as I was (okay, perhaps there's a slight exaggeration on this particular point), with our sickening yuppiness (do we refer to people as yuppies anymore???).  We would be able to do this spontaneous dining out on Friday nights because we wouldn't have kids ... heaven!  We would drink good wine ... talk about our weeks ... dream about the next adventure we would take together ... planning on the next big home reno to be done ... generally enjoying each other's company.

Instead, my Friday nights have turned out much differently.  I go home to the warmth of a computer, a thoroughly disgusting house, and a cat with some serious Kitty Breath issues.

I was in Nashville back in October, with another friend, and during the complimentary breakfast, wherein I discovered the joys of The Waffle Maker, we watched the "old farts bus brigade" eating and talking ... most of them single, some of them sitting quietly by themselves.  I realized, as I watched them traipse by me in their flower tees and matching capri sets that I was witnessing my future ... 30 years from now ... dragging my wrinkly old self on trips to keep from sitting in my house watching my "stories" and smoking cartons of Pal Mals (more exaggeration?  Probably, but it's quite helpful for the dramatic irony I am working toward here).

"Please promise me something," I said to my friend. 


"Promise me that you will come and check up on me to make sure my 80 cats don't start feeding on my lifeless body when I die alone."

"I promise."

More exaggeration?


But that's part of my charm ... or that's at least what I'm telling people.

Instead, I am now treading the murky waters of the Mr. Not-so-rights and the Mr. Sorta-rights as well as the Mr. So-not-enough-gumption-to-do-anything-about-its.  Combined with friends that have kids and schedules and lives wherein they are living out my plan for the future, it's tough not to just plunk down in front of the Lifetime Channel and watch sappy, cheesy movies until your soul shrivels and dries up.

What?  Too melodramatic?

They don't make any sort of lighthouse mechanisms in these waters, folks, and it's foggy out there ... and bleak ... and not at all where you'd want to plan your Caribbean get-away to sip fruity drinks with umbrellas on them while baking your body to a golden brown.

So, I suppose I will get a microwave dinner, pour some sparkling wine, put on some flannel jammies, and get ready for another riveting Friday night working on another, endless paper, while the vision of clear sunsets dancing on friendlier waters plays in my mind's eye ...

... a girl can dream.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Yesterday, I turned 40!  Lest you think that has made me a blithering, bawling idiot, it hasn't.  That was last week, when I was sure my life was coming to a screeching halt due to the immense stress (and disappointment) of the week.  This week?  I am back to my "high on life" attitude, and I have a renewed sense of excitement about life.   But I digress.  The photo above is what greeted me as I hit the top of the steps leading to the second level of our school.  My teammates ... they are available to plan parties. 

Every year I run a contest for my kiddos to see if they can guess my age.  Flannel-mouth me let is slip to a couple of parents, so I actually had a bumper crop of kids (8!!) that guessed correctly this year.  My favorite comment from one girl:  "Well, Miss Murray, you look *good* for 40." 
I choose to think this was an amazing compliment and not like the one scrawled on the boys' bathroom stall last week: "Miss Murray is fat."
I am blessed by the most amazing family and friends around -- bar none!  They treated me to flowers -- may favorites, daisies!! and a WELCOME TO THE CLUB black rose -- a surprise dinner, and lots of gifts. 

I'm a little disappointed that no one thought to actually buy me this!!  And by this, I am referring to the hot man running the iron, not the iron itself.  I own one of those; it rarely gets use.  The hot man, however, .... oh never mind!

Here I am sporting my 40 Tiara!!!  I wore that thing ALL NIGHT LONG ... including on my drive home, wherein, some guy in the car next to me gave me the weirdest looks.  Oh well.  It was my birthday, and I would look ridiculous if I wanted to, which, honestly, the full-on photo makes me look ridiculous ... fat.  Oh well!  The fat part I plan to work on in earnest over this next year. 

It was a wonderful introduction into the 40s, and I can not wait to see how this decade all unfolds!

Monday, February 20, 2012


Okay, so I intended to spend a day each day leading up to my 40th birthday bestowing upon my faithful readers little nuggets of wisdom I have learned over these wonderful 39 years I've had so far.

And then, well, life got in the way.  So, I am finding myself, on the eve of THE BIG ONE, thinking about Pearls of Wisdom 1- 18, and feeling an urgent need to share what I have so richly learned ...

Without further adieu ...

#18 ... LIFE GETS IN THE WAY ... all the time. What is that adage?  Life is what happens when you're busy making plans?  AMEN to that one! 

#17 ... PEOPLE WILL DISAPPOINT YOU ... count on it.  All the time.  My mom gave me a card with lots of advice on it back in my 20s, and among other things, PEOPLE WILL DISAPPOINT YOU was on that card. Gives you the warm and fuzzies, doesn't it?  Well, it's true. 

            A. PUCKER YOUR LIPS ... you look stupid ... and like a porn star on Popsicles.  Not an attractive look.
            B. LEAVE THE PILE OF DIRTY CLOTHES BEHIND YOU ... you prove to the world that you are the pig we all thought to begin with.
            C. LEAVE THE TOOTH PASTE SPITTLE ON THE MIRROR ... it does, in fact, show up in those photos.

#15 ... BLACK IS SLIMMING ... wear it often!

#14 ... CURVES ARE MAKING A COME BACK ... rock 'em if ya got 'em.

#13 ... GRAD SCHOOL SUCKS ... no two ways about that one.  But it's a necessary evil ... a series of hoops that one must jump through to traverse the ladder of success ... just before the obnoxious dude up on the roof pushes the ladder away from the building.

#12 ... FOURTH GRADERS THINK THEY HAVE THE MARKET ON HIP AND COOL ... they don't.  They still pick their noses, for heaven sakes.  For that matter, I pulled up next to a guy at a stop sign the other day -- he was picking his nose too.  So, this bit of wisdom applies to men as well.

#11 ... SO WHAT IF THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT YOU ... consider it a HUGE compliment if someone is spending an inordinate amount of time talking about you. 

#10 ... PETTING A CAT CALMS YOUR NERVES AND RELAXES YOU ... washing one has the opposite effect.

# 9 ... HELIUM HAND IS STOPPED QUICKLY WHEN YOU SIT ON IT ... your butt is typically stronger than such gas ... typically.

# 8 ... WHAT DOESN'T KILL YOU, MAKES YOU STRONGER ... but sometimes it's okay to cry about it while you're getting stronger.

# 7 ...  BRING THE FOOD TO YOUR MOUTH, NOT YOUR MOUTH TO YOUR FOOD ... one day you're going to be on an important meeting, and you don't want any one thinking you were raised in a barn, do you?

# 6 ... OPINIONS ARE LIKE BUTTS, EVERY ONE'S GOT ONE ... we just don't always want butts and opinions in our faces. So, make sure you're being diplomatic and are just as willing to listen as you are to expound.


#4 ... KEEP YOUR EYE UPON THE DONUT AND NOT UPON THE HOLE ... and watch for deer!


#2 ... LISTENING IS SOMETIMES MORE IMPORTANT THAN TALKING ... it's greener too, seeing as you save all that energy and stuff.

#1 ... LIFE IS NOT AN ELECTIVE ... enjoy it ... savor it ... work the adventure angle as long as  you can.  None of us are guaranteed a full, long, time on this Earth, so make it what you can for the time that you have it.  And don't forget to smile!

Saturday, February 18, 2012


I have a bad habit.

No, it's not picking at scabs; although, that is something that, at almost 40, I STILL have issues with.

And I'm not referring to my chocolate-like-it's-crack habit.

On the contrary, the bad habit that I am referencing ... that I'm eluding to ... is that I ask WHY?

... A lot ... 

... More times than is necessary ...

... Way too much ...

I think it is a good thing to cultivate curiosity.  Why else would I teach fourth graders?  And trust me, I've asked myself that particular question A LOT this past week.

So, yeah, the cultivation of curiosity ... life-long learning.  I'm in!  I love it!  I value it!  I hold it dear!  And so really, asking WHY? has always been a good thing.

Except, this week, among other emotionally churning moments, I really found myself digging into that question and fervently searching for an answer ... any answer.

The end result?  I don't have an answer ... at least any answer that satisfies my need to answer the question to begin with.

I use the analogy all the time that most days, we're standing behind a life-sized tapestry, and it seems all knotted and scattered and there's no real rhyme nor reason to the whole thing.  But the minute you walk around to the front, you realize that there is order and sense and the whole big picture is laid out there for you to appreciate.

I'm asking WHY? and all I can really see right now are the knots and colored strings crawling all over the back of the canvas.  I haven't walked around to the front yet.  Not sure when that will happen, but my guess is it will ... eventually.  When it does, another piece of the WHY? puzzle will be solved. 

In the meantime, I guess I will continue to stare at the knots and strings and behind the scenes views of this particular tapestry ...


Friday, February 17, 2012

A WEEK ... from H E Double Hockey Sticks

There are no words to properly describe the raw emotions of this week.  Trust me.  I've tried.  Between extreme stress (which I swore I wasn't going to let get to me way back on December 31st, when I was still basking in the post-Christmas glow), extreme exhaustion, a fever I didn't know I had, and other redundant and ridiculous stuff (to everyone else) that has snow-balled into UGLY for me.

I am ready to put this week to bed.

No, actually, I am ready to bury this week ... under a ton of dirt ... after it has been sufficiently blugeoned to death.

It's the type of week that makes me both fearful and depressed that I have approximately 67.8 years left until I can retire .... and then head to McDonalds to finish out what is left of my withering golden years ... better start practicing, "Would you like fries with that?" now.

Can they really be called Golden Years when the Baby Boomers will have properly sucked out the last vestiges of my social security for themselves? 

Ahead of me, to make my Friday night even that much sweeter?  A rousing trip to the grocery, wherein I will be surrounded by all those Snowmageddon Followers out there that are convinced the world will come to a screeching halt if we actually get the 8 inches of snow they are predicting for Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

Newsflash!  IT MELTS!

And so I put a period at the end of this week's sentence, and I hope and pray that next week, the week I am suppose to welcome 40, doesn't actually feel like I am welcoming 60.


Thursday, February 16, 2012


As a counter-post to the hateful post I posted On Valentines Day, I give you "THINGS I LOVE:"  (as well as, "how many times can I use the word post in my writing?")
  • Emmy the Cat
  • My family
  • My friends
  • COFFEE!!!
  • Chocolate
  • Sunsets on a beach
  • Campfires
  • Toasted marshmellows
  • Crazy card games
  • Sleeping in
  • Great books in a cozy chair
  • A good glass of wine
  • Amazing conversations
  • Fireplaces
  • Mountain views
  • Lake Michigan
  • Clementine's (South Haven, MI)
  • Carp Lake
  • Summer memories
  • A comfy pair of jeans
  • Yoga pants
  • Trident gum

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Yet another Valentines Day has rolled around ... my LEAST favorite holiday of the year.

It's another day for those of us terminally single people to feel oh-so-good-about ourselves by watching everyone else get flowers and talk about what wonderful things they are doing for their Valentines evenings. Personally, I think it's over-compensation on the part of the larger part of our society, but it still makes the rest of us feel somehow less than the rest.  Exclusivity, and I hate exclusivity.

I started hating the holiday in high school during those awful popularity contests called CARNATION SALES.  The student body would sell carnations, and there was always one or two girls that seems to haul home a literal truckload of carnations.  I, maybe, received one.  And the year that I actually had a nice little bouquet?  My cat ate the heads off every single one while we slept in the night!

Yep!  That seems fitting.

Here's my big issue with the stupid day: If you want to tell me how much you love and appreciate me, why not do it ANY day of the week? Why does it have to be a prescribed day that EVERYONE must show some grandiose gesture that seems a bit too contrived?

What are my exciting plans?

I am going to my Weight Watchers meeting, wherein I will more than likely break the scales because I've overindulged in Valentines frivolity, due to my overcompensation in not having a special someone to shower me with love and affection.  Then I will go home and attempt to see if I can break last night's record on the number of Kleenexes I can fill in an evenings time. 

Happy Stinkin' Valentines Day....