Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Home Visits

* Some names have been changed or altered to protect the innocent :)


That means I am working like a fiend in my classroom.

That means my house is a wreck.

That means it's time for HOME VISITS!

Home what?

Yeah, we get our class lists, are assigned a related arts teacher to go with us, and then we head out to introduce ourselves, pass out some information, and generally just get everyone excited for the Beginning of School.

This excitement thing?  Yeah, generally not a problem for the parental units of the group.  It's the soon-to-be-fourth graders that often need a bit of work in the excitement department.

I really do have a lot of fun going out and meeting all my families, though.  It's the social butterfly in me, I suppose (this surprises absolutely no one that truly knows me).  Funny thing is, the longer I teach here in Frankfort, the more it's a getting reacquainted deal than an actual meeting new people deal, and when I do meet new people, it's amazing how far my reputation precedes me.  Comical, really. 

Ugh!  Another sign that I'm old.

Last night, though, I think I had the FUNNIEST encounter on a home visit to date. 

Well, unless you count the time my teammates and I went to one home and the lady told my teammate to wait while she went to put on her bra ...

But I digress!

I show up at this last house, a lovely couple and their two children, boy and girl, and they immediately invite me in.  They have this great home with some amazingly comfy-looking furniture.  And as they offered me a seat, I mentioned that I'd thrown my back out, and that, based on the comfy-ness factor of their sofa, I may not ever want to leave. 

I sit down while their son, a kindergartner this year, flits around the living room, talking a mile a minute, and generally attempts to entertain the troops.  At some point, I realize that my butt is vibrating, and I make mention of this fact.

Okay, I don't say, "Hey, my butt is vibrating!"  My mother has raised me better than that ... my dad? Not so much, but my mother? My mother has attempted to raise both my sister and I to be nice, "not-so-young" ladies.  She swears my dad came along behind her and undid it all ... or most of it, but that's neither here nor there. 

I think I said, "Oh!  Some thing's vibrating."

To which, the dad chuckled and said, "J* must have turned on the massaging feature for you."

The mom started laughing and said, "Well!"

The host with the most, clearly, this kid is!  I launched into my spiel about what I'd brought with me ... what they needed to fill out before school, and then asked them if they had questions or concerns.  It was at this point in the conversation that they asked their children to go up stairs because they wanted to talk with Miss Murray for a minute.  We began a frank discussion regarding their daughter's progress.

We're in the middle of this discussion, when we hear a very loud, "MISS MURRAY!!!!"  from the top of the stairs. 

"Yes?"  I answer.

"Put your feet up, Miss Murray! I want you to put your feet up!"

The dad and mom just bust a gut!!  Seems that J, concerned for my comfort, had hit the foot stool feature on the sofa as well, and he wanted to make sure that I used it while we chatted.

OH.  MY.  GOODNESS.  I hope I get that kid when he's in fourth grade!!  He was an absolute riot!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Accountability # ... I've Lost Count

I could go ahead and put the vital statistics up here on this page, but honestly, it's not changed....not all that much, at least.

I am what you call a Weight Loss Dud.

It's true.

For about a good six month run, I was rocking and rolling ... okay, maybe not rocking and rolling, but I was losing. Sorta ... and for some reason, that is super difficult for me and this crazy body I have.

And then The Foot Issue hit, and I couldn't walk ... or exercise ... or even stand on it for any length of time, and the weight came back on.  Not all if it, but enough of it.

And I've been fighting to lose even 5 pounds ever since.

I have tried everything ... short of just stopping eating ... and nothing.

I am wondering if shock treatment might help ...

...or having my jaw wired shut ...

....or a diet of cat food ...

....or celery sticks for life ...

I am just tired of being the fat girl ...  it's just no fun.

Why yes, I am having a pity party for myself, but you will be happy to know that I am not eating cake at this pity party, so I consider it a small victory.

And yes, I know, I should be happy that I am healthy and walking and taking in air and all that good stuff, and I do enjoy all those things, don't get me wrong, but dang!  I would give anything to be just 40 pounds lighter.

And before you get on your high horse, and start telling me that it takes a long time, back that horse up.  I KNOW that.  I've been working on this for two years, and I don't need your reminder. Really, I don.t 

And I don't need your suggestion of doctors to visit or tests to have run or the suggestions of diseases and ailments I might have or the crazy diets I should try or the things I should cut out or the things I should add or any of the other myriad of stuff you are going to shovel my way.  Frankly, I am really tired of all the suggestions and helpful encouragement.  Right now, I would just like to wallow. 

Tomorrow, I will figure out my next plan of attack. 

Today, just allow me the opportunity to wallow.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Can It Really Be TWELVE Years!?

I got started in this whole teaching gig "late in life" -- a late bloomer, if you will, not truly having been called to this profession until my later 20s ... when I was jaded with my professional career ... when I knew I needed more than a comfy paycheck and fancy suits to wear.  It took a good deal of professional crap, shall we say, before I came to that conclusion, but once I did, I never looked back.

Truth be told, it seems like just yesterday that I made the controversial decision (you should have heard my father's fit when I announced what I was going to quit my good paying job to go back to school to do -- he's come around since.).  Then I do the math.  Man!  I hate when I make the mistake of doing the math, but darn it!  I do the math, and yep! I'm not in my 20s any more.  In fact, I haven't been in my 20s in ... well, a crap-ton of years!  As is evidenced by the crow's feet and gray hairs.  Oh mature age range, what a cruel temptress you are!

Okay, I am not sure that last sentence means anything, but I was going for a little Shakespearean flair there.  You're impressed, no?

Each year, I watch tons of new teachers begin their careers, and part of me is all, "Isn't that sweet? They're like 22 years old.  They have no clue what crow's feet or gray hairs are.  They have tons of energy and amazing ideas ... awwww!" 

Soon followed by, "Holy crap!  These people weren't alive when LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE was on TV... the FIRST time!"

I was a green teacher once, and sometimes that feels like it wasn't that long ago.  But then, dang it, I do the math again.  And it really was a long time ago.  Twelve years worth of long time ago.  Shoot!  Friends have had children ... and put them through elementary school ... and have seen them into high school ... THAT'S how long ago twelve years have been.

Today, I walked into our building, a building I've been walking into for the past seven years (good grief!!  seven years already!?!?), and I was struck by how comfortable I felt.  Now, don't get me wrong.  It has suddenly hit me that "OH-SNAP-I-HAVE-GINORMOUS-AMOUNTS-OF-WORK-TO-GET-DONE-WHEN-WILL-I-HAVE-TIME-TO-GET-IT-ALL-DONE-WHY-DIDN'T-SOMEONE-WARN-ME-HOW-CLOSE-IT-WAS-TO-SCHOOL-STARTING."  This happens EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR.  My friends and family are weeeeelllllllll versed in my SCHOOL STARTS panic mode.  This is normal. 

What wasn't normal was the feeling like, "Oh yeah!  I've got this."  I mean, I know it happens; I guess I just expected it after I was a veteran ... after I had been at this a while.  And, then, well, I did the math. 

I am a veteran.

I have been doing this a while.

Twelve years worth of a while ...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Coming Up on Seven Years

You know that old adage, "Time flies when you're having fun?"  Well, I must be having a blast, because time sure has flown by!

I'm acknowledging my "seven year anniversary" of moving to Kentucky now, because, in a few short weeks, when the anniversary actually hits, I will be in the throes of GET IT ALL TOGETHER QUICKLY BEFORE SCHOOL STARTS craziness that is those last few days before August 1st. 

It's been an adventure, that's for sure, and honestly, I can't believe it's been seven years.  Really.  I can't.  I can still remember coming down here for the first time and falling love with the raw beauty of this place the moment I laid eyes on it.  I'd never seen limestone cliffs jutting out of perfectly grassy hills before I came south.

And I know, I know, y'all here in Kentucky don't consider yourselves true southerners ... or so some of you say, but seriously.  When you're from the North, and you've crossed the Mason-Dixon Line, you're southern.  No if's, and's, or but's about it.

I have so thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in your southern culture, and while stuff like this ...

... annoy me to no end (this would NEVER be allowed in the North ... NEVER ... all sorts of traffic violations right there), there are scenes like this ...
 and this ...

... and suddenly, my soul is soothed. 
It's been an amazing seven years, and I am looking forward to another seven (plus seven, plus seven, plus .... ) more!
In honor of my upcoming anniversary, I will "wow" you with some of my Kentucky photos over the last seven years.   So sit back, relax, begin scrolling, and enjoy!




Things That Are Making Me Wonder ...

I drove the "long way" to a destination today.

Long way ... scenic route ... way to avoid construction traffic ... whatever way you'd like to refer to it as, I did it.  And it got me thinking ... about stuff ... random stuff.

And because it would be a shame not to share all this random stuff with you, I am doing just that.  Sharing.

See how lucky you are?

Random Item #1 ...
Driving along the aforementioned route, one comes in visual contact with a meandering creek that pretty much meanders the entire drive from point A to point B.  While driving by it today, I noticed a dad and two boys walking down the middle of the creek.  Now, I've often wondered how deep the creek was in this particular spot, and I as watched them slosh through the middle of the creek, mid-calf, it struck me that, finally, I had the answer to that question.  Upon closer inspection, it appeared as though the dad was carrying fish. Real. Live. Fish. Now, no one was carrying a fishing rod.  So, one can only assume they caught them with their hands?  Talk about great hand-eye coordination!

Random Item #2 ...
My shoulder hurts.  I've either been sleeping on it wrong.  OR
I have been sleep walking and then pitching a full baseball game ... all while sleeping.  Those are my two conclusions.

Random Item #3 ...
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to witness it, does it make a noise?

Just kidding ... kind of ...

Random Item #4 ...
I am constantly amazed how people fall into GIGANTIC vats of crap and come out ALL the time, smelling like a rose.  I mean, how do people manage to shirk their job responsibilities and financial responsibilities and still manage a life full of stuff and praise?  I am paying for student loans, and they are KILLING me, and there are people who are dodging paying them ... for years ... and years ... and they have brand new vehicles ... and electronic gadgets ... and new clothes ... and go on all sorts of vacations ... and ... well, how does this happen???

How can some work their tails off and do a good job, and then sit back and watch those that do very little get the praise heaped upon them?  They do all the surface work ... all the things that make them LOOK good, while others, who have been doing the same thing for years, but not calling attention to themselves, have been passed over.  It's makes the mind reel ...

Random #5 ...
How many licks DOES IT take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?

Going Over the Top

I came home from my daily 3.6 miles of walking this morning just in time [insert sarcasm here] to view a PROPOSAL PLANNERS segment on The Today Show.  It was one of those surreal moments when you find yourself sitting at the foot of your bed, in mid-tennis shoe removal, and you hear what the reporter is saying about hiring someone to plan your marriage proposal, and you're all, "NO WAY!"

I mean, admittedly, I've just walked around a 0.6 mile course 6 times, so there is the off-chance that I have lost some oxygen that should have gone to the brain thus rendering myself incapable of processing what I am hearing, but still!  A man must now hire someone to plan a proposal for the woman he is pledging his love to?

I get it.  I am old .... and single .... and, yes, I am crotchety, but when did simplicity go out of vogue?

What is she talking about, your asking yourself right now, aren't you?

I am saying this ...

Everything we do in life, according to societal pressures, we'll call them, must be on this ridiculously grand scale ... a grade A production that would put the old Ziegfeld Follies to shame ... and by the mere mention of that old fashioned reference, I am proving my out-of-dated-ness.  I get it.

But today, we can't just get engaged.  No just asking some one to marry them is passé. Instead, we must have this HUGE production, wherein the Vienna Symphony does a flash mob concert on the steps of Union Station, while your soon-to-be-fiancé, who has hired Beyoncé to help him with his dance moves, does a free-style modern dance while the Joffrey Ballet backs him up, as flame throwers spell out the words WILL YOU MARRY ME?  I mean, by the time you've sunk that much money into the proposal, what's left for the wedding ... or, ummm, I don't know, the life following the wedding, because, here's a newsflash: That life? The one that lasts 50 or 60 years (hopefully)?  That is what really counts ... not the skywriter you hired to impress your beloved into marrying you in the first place.

And if that wasn't enough, then you must out-do the girls before you with outrageously priced wedding gowns, ones that you've watched on the countless wedding dress shows on TLC ... dresses that cost more than your first car ... or your current one ... or the boat you've always said you'd like to have ... one day ... only one day will never come because you will be paying off that Royal wedding from now until your 25th wedding anniversary ... if you make it that far.

And who wants a honeymoon trip to Niagara Falls.  I mean, that is sooooo 1955.  Jamaica?   Soooo 1995.  No, we need to go to Fiji!  Or rent the villa on Richard Branson's private island.

Then there is the family.  I mean, we can't just get pregnant any more.  Nope.  That's not enough.  We have to have an elaborate ruse in which a gigantic stork is rented for the weekend and trained to go to each one of the soon-to-be grandmothers, delivering little bundles of joy, wherein, when they unwrap the aforementioned bundles of joy, they find all sorts of grandmotherly items hinting at their impending rise in life stations.  Of course, you've hired a Hollywood film crew to capture the whole thing, because you want to make sure it gets on Youtube to receive those 500,000 hits all in one afternoon.  That shows popularity!

If announcing the pregnancy wasn't enough, then we must have a big reveal party!  Yes, lets do that.  I mean, we can't just inform everyone that, "yes, we're having a boy, and we're super excited."  Nope, to fully inform everyone of our grand jubilation regarding our impending parenthood, we must assemble a large cast of characters to come and eat blue cupcakes because that will be great fun.  And yes, by all means, let's make sure this gets on Faceboook and Youtube.  Popularity and all.

Then we must have pregnancy photos done by professionals because it's not enough to remember how big and huge I was while I was cooking this kid.  Nope, I've got to pay obscene amounts of money to someone to do it for me as well as to announce my due date, because babies always come on those due dates, don't they?

Hospitals are now making room for large parties with catering services for extended family to come and party with the mommy and daddy-to-be while waiting for Junior to make his or her appearance in this excessive world.  Because, lets face it, nothing says party, like 18 to 20 hours of labor, right?

And just when you thought that your life was over ... you'd done everything excessive that could possibly be done to announce to the world that you are soooo very important, then that kid turns one, and by golly, we MUST make that an event to remember, so yes, let's hire Barnum and Bailey to come and be a part of the circus-themed birthday party, and yes, let's have 20 bouncy houses and face painting and live African elephants and sky-high cakes.  I mean, a kid only turns one once, right?

******DEEEEEEP  BREATH********

I realize that I will most likely catch a lot of flack for this as many of you reading my rant have been caught up in much of this craze, and make no mistake about it, it is a craze. 

I blame our collective need to obsess over celebrity.  We want the life of a celebrity.  If we can't have it, we'll make it up as we go along.

I blame part of it on our need to one up the next person.  "I don't want them thinking I can't or won't do for my child. "

I blame part of it on our desire for always wanting more ... and bigger.  I can't raise my children in a three bedroom home.  Good gosh now!  I must have a four and five bedroom home ... insert McMansions here."

I blame part of it on PINTEREST.  Pinterest makes us all think we are party planners.

I blame  a lot of it on our desperate need to be popular.  If I throw a grand party that I invite all these people to, they will see how amazing I am ... how put together I am ... how much I do to make life amazing for those around me ...

Whew!  I am just exhausted typing that.  It is exhausting being perfect ... only ... no one is.  Appearances of perfection?  Only skin deep.

What happened to simplicity?  And where did the bar go ... you know the one ... the "Oops! We're sorry; you've just hit the over-the-top-ceiling." 

I'm not saying it isn't fun to celebrate a person and their life. Birthday party it up, but when you extravagantly lavish upon your child when he or she is 3, what are they to look forward to when they are older?  And, what are their expectations when they are older?  In essence, there is an expectation that you've set up for yourself to go bigger or go home, and when does that stop?

And for those that you are hoping to feel inferior to your perfection?  You aren't.  In fact, the opposite it occurring.  You're worrying yourself to death over doing it more over the top than last time ... while those of us that just don't care are embracing the simplicity of this life. 

Listening to the birds wake up with the sun
... the water lapping on a foggy morning shoreline
...children laughing as they run through a sprinkler
...crickets chirping at dusk
Watching the sun slowly slipping below the horizon
...a butterfly float effortlessly above a dewy daisy
...leaves shiver in a great oak as the breeze gently blows through

At the end of your life, however far you are blessed to take it, will it be the extravagant reveal parties and birthday parties and crazy Pinterest-inspired theme parties you threw that you will be remembered by?

Or will it be the gentle appreciation you had for this life?