Friday, August 31, 2012

The Blue Moon

Not really seeing the "blue," but the title for this post sounds like a great name for a jazz lounge or a dive bar kinda place, right?

What Did I Get For My Long Weekend? Hurricane Isaac!

So, it's another Labor Day Weekend ... this year marks my sixth Labor Day Weekend in Kentucky. 

Six!?  Where does the time go?

I've blogged before about the fact that, in Michigan, Labor Day Weekend is akin to a HIGH HOLY DAY ... or rather numerous HIGH HOLY DAYS because most of the state's population migrates Up North to a cottage, cabin, tent, camper, or RV for what can only be described as a sort of right of passage into the Autumnal rollercoaster that is Fall in Michigan. 

It's been said -- and it's all true -- that you can go to a football game in Michigan, and experience all four seasons.  I am living proof that this does, in fact, occur, on a semi-regular basis.  Many a college football game I've sat through where that has been the case.

Okay ... so maybe not MANY ... a few.  A few college football games I've sat through have been fraught with all four seasons in one. 

But on Labor Day Weekend, you can be assured that as the last of the summer breezes blow across the lake, and the first of the golden-orange leaves begin to billow, there will be sun and fun and one last hurrah at a lake some where!  Today, on interstates all over Michigan, the traffic will be flowing in one general direction ... NORTH!

So, of course, I am celebrating the end of summer with the remmants of Hurricane Isaac, who plans to whirl and blow up here to the Bluegrass State, wherein, he will sit and stall for a bit, raining down upon us much needed rain.  It's as if the Fates are conspiring and saying, "Alright girlfriend! Time to get that office of yours cleaned and organized one last time.  You have, after all, lived there just under two years!  No time like the present!"

So, fine, Isaac!  I will take your rain, because we desperately need it.  And I will see you one clean and organized house ... maybe ... if I can get through my stack of books I really want to read ... and that pile of junk mail ... and the old clothes that still need to go to Goodwill ... and ...

Happy Labor Day Weekend, one and all!  And welcome FALL, which, really, feels like a lot like summer here in Kentucky.  So, I guess I'm sorta lucky that way!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

On Being "Old"

Okay, yes.  I did, in fact, have all the windows in my truck rolled down the other day, and yes, there was 80s music blaring from my speakers.  And, um, yes, it is possible that I did, in fact, sing along, loudly to the aforementioned music ... and knew EVERY. SINGLE. WORD.


The 80s were not THAT long ago.


They weren't.

I mean, I am still 25 ... 22 on a good day.  That's like, what?

Oh crap!  I don't want to do the math.  It'll just be depressing, because, let's face it, as my sister would say, I am an old fart!

That was never made more clear to me than this week, when in an email to a conservation officer that comes to talk to our 4th graders, I was referred to as Ms. Murray.  I'd addressed him by his first name, and I had signed off the email with my first name, but he STILL referred to me as Ms. Murray in his reply.

Okay, yes.  He is 12 ... okay, maybe 15.  He does, after all, have a beard.  But still.  Ms. Murray ... that's like my mom.  It implies I have mature responsibilities like grocery shopping and bill paying and a mortgage and a car payment and ... oh never mind!  I have all those things.

And I suppose the fact that I lathered up not one but both knees with Ben Gay before I went out for my three miles this evening might have slightly hinted toward an advanced age, right?

I mean it certainly didn't exude HOT and SEXY, did it?

When did this happen?  When did I turn all mature, and, by the way, when did "my bad" become a passe' phrase (okay, yes, I might have used that in the email to the aforementioned 15 year old conservation officer ... all right!  Maybe he's 18.  He does have a beard after all)?

Monday, August 27, 2012


Today, I was witness to one of the most amazing things I think I could ever see! 

My good friend and walking buddy, Vivian, regularly raises Monarch butterflies.  I did not know this when I was telling her about a friend back home, who also regularly raises Monarch butterfiles.

It was back in the beginning of my summer break, when I had all the time in the world, and my list of TO DOs seemed much less daunting than they do currently.  I was mentioning that I loved hearing about the Monarchs that Letitia and her kids raised, and that I thought it might be something I could do. 

Vivian volunteered that she has been raising them herself for a number of years, and that it really was a pretty cool experience. 

Fast-forward to a few weeks back, when, after a very long, dry spell, Vivian *finally* found some milkweed with an egg on it.  She had a catepillar that had recently gone into its chrysalis and would I want it for my classroom.

Ummmm ... yeah! 

My kids and I have been faithfully watching for signs of change in the chrysalis, and this weekend, when I stopped by to check on it, I could tell, up by the back end of the abdomen, that we could have a chrysalis late this weekend or early this week!

Sure enough, when I walked into school this morning, this is what greeted me!

Vivian had warned me that when it happened, the emerging butterfly would do so quickly.  Boy!  Was she ever right!  Within minutes of me noticing the completely clear chrysalis, I was treated to the butterfly actually stretching its abdomen (thus, forcing blood to its wings) and uncurling those magnificent wings!

I have never seen anything so amazing in my life!  Before my eyes, beauty unfurled itself, and stretched its wings wide and confidentally.

I was both amazed and humbled in one breath, and I couldn't help but be reminded of how amazing this creation is that I get to witness on a daily basis. 

I also couldn't help but draw some comparisons to my personal life.  It's easy to do when you're a writer, living the writerly life, and seeing juicy tidbits ALL OVER THE PLACE in daily life.  That's just how we writerly types roll.

I set out this year to change some things that I just didn't like about myself.  Nothing major, but I knew I needed to make some changes that would be lasting and crucial and necessary in order for me to see the fruition of some dreams. 

And I feel, for the first time, like I understand the process of this Monarch butterfly's metamorphosis.  Morphing isn't easy.  It takes a lot of work and energy.  For two weeks, the catepillar feeds on milkweed leaves, encouraging growth and gathering energy from the leaf that is necessary to create the chrysalis. 

Then, once snugly inside the cozy cocoon, there is all that forming and shaping and molding that must occur in order to see the end result, the beautiful blaze of orange and white and black.

My wings aren't completely dry ... they aren't fully uncurled ... there is still some work to be done.  But I am stretching them and growing them and soon, without warning, I will stretch them out fully, recognizing the true realization of those dreams. 

William Wordsworth said it best, when he wrote "To a Butterfly."

I've watched you now a full half-hour;
Self-poised upon that flower
And, little Butterfly! Indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless! -- not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I Hate My Grill

I am not a Grill Master.  I admit it.  The more I attempt to use my charcoal grill, the more obvious it becomes.  Today, I decided upon a lovely round steak with a fresh tomato, onion, olive oil and garlic rice vinegar garnish, and some grilled bell peppers and onions.

I got that thing roaring, after I soak the charcoal down in lighter fluid.  It was just roaring away.  However, my fatal error was closing the lid and allowing the vents to be open ... I foolishly thought that would allow oxygen into the grill, thus allowing the fire to keep going.

It died.

So, my steak was fried in an iron skillet stove top as were the peppers and onions.  It still tasted very good, but man!  I was soooo looking forward to some grilled steak tonight.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hey Look, Y'all! I Graduated!!!

The Hooding
The hooding

Receiving my diploma

Waving to my adoring fans

Smiling for the paparazzi 

Myself and my lovely colleague, Cindy Bramble -- WE DID IT!!!!

Cindy's kids -- my former student, Caroline, and my current student, Ben

She did it!

She did it!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Great Idea I Might Never Get To ...

My friend Tabby sent this to me the other day.  I'm telling you!  The author of this list was on to something!  I might have to try this ... does it have to be 40 consecutive days???

"I Graduated!" -- A preview

I'm waiting for my parents to email me the "action shots" of my graduation ceremony. In the meantime, here are reruns of photos I've got to show-off ... gotta love a show-off with a brand-spanking new Master's Degree!

Erin Peach rocks!  Period.  She put together this amazing spread for my post-graduation get together, including this cake.  It was yummy!!!  And she knows how much I LOVE chocolate.  :) 
Look at this spread!!  Check out Ann looking at it too.  Can you tell she was hungry??

The Fam: My dad, my sister, me, and my mom.  We're a good looking bunch, aren't we?

Monday, August 06, 2012

Using the Old Noggin' for Something More than a Hat Rack

I have not been using the common sense God gave me, and that seems rather interesting considering I was just complaining about someone else who didn't use the good sense God gave them. 

See.  When you point out the sliver in your neighbor's eye, when you've got a big ole plank in your own ... well, you see where this is headed, right?

Common sense just hasn't been my forte' lately.  Period.

You need examples, you say?

Well, there was the cell phone ring tone today.  Our principal, Mr. Harley, has a motorcycle ring tone.  No joke.  It revs its motor (so to speak) every time someone calls.  Today, Mr. Harley was in my classroom with the entire fourth grade team for a meeting with the kiddos, and his phone rang.  One of my kids shouts, "OH!  I get it!" 

I sat at my desk, thinking, "What is there to get?"

Then I hear my student explain to one of the girls at his table, "Don't you get it?  His name is Harley?  That's the sound of a Harley revving its engine?  Get it?" 

Sadly, it took me one year and 4 days and a fourth grader for me to get that one.

And then there is the whole grill debacle.

I decided I was going to grill a chicken breast tonight.  So, I set about procuring the self-light charcoal from the basement and preparing the grill for lighting. Only, the charcoal would start to light and then fizzle out ... over and over and over and over again.

Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Zero.  Zilch.

Annoyed, I turned on the oven and prepared myself to heat up the house, and that's when it occurred to me.  That perhaps, just maybe, storing my charcoal on the floor of my basement, where things get damp ... often ... might not be the best thing for that charcoal. 

You see.  My ability to logically, commonsensically process simple tasks is failing me. 

Back to school brain?

One never knows, but some where in Michigan, my dad is shaking his head as he looks at my mom and says, "She needs a keeper."

Friday, August 03, 2012

Are You Married, Miss Murray?

Today, while out at recess, I was approached by five little 4th grade girls.  Well, approached may not be the best word for it.  Perhaps accosted is better?  Yes, accosted.  I was accosted by five little girls with the dreaded question.

"Hey, Miss Murray,"  Mary* shouted. Mary is in my teammate's classroom.  "Do you got a husband?"

"No, no I don't."

"See," said Missy*, one of my girls.  "I told you."

"Why?" demanded Mary.

"Umm, well, ..."

"Cuz Mrs. Starkey's married, and her husband came to visit.  And Mrs. Peach's husband came to visit."

"Well, I don't have a husband to visit." I said, smiling.

"Okay, so do you have a boyfriend?" Mary persisted.

"Nope.  No boyfriend."

"Why?" She was relentless.

"Well ..."

"Okay, Miss Murray.  Do you even date?" Mary was clearly getting annoyed with me now.

"Yes, I do date."

"Lately?  Have you dated lately?"

"Well, no.  Not lately."

Mary put her hand on her hip and rolled her eyes.  "Why not?"

"Well, Mary, I just haven't found Mr. Perfect."

At this, Mary rolled her eyes dramatically.  Apparently, Missy saw me hanging precariously over the precipice of SHE'S A TOTAL DORKY LOSER chasm, because she valiantly attempted to come to my rescue.

"But, Mary.  Wait!"  She placed her hand on Mary's shoulder.  "She's got a cat!"

"Oh whatever!"  Mary shouted.

If only Missy realized that owning a cat and still being single is not a selling feature ...

*Names have been changed to protect the innocence.  \