Sunday, December 20, 2015

SERVANT HEARTS

It has been such a long while since I've blogged.

I suck at blogging this year.

Perhaps that will be a New Years Resolution for me ... or not. We shall see.

This past month has flown by!  Like the speed of light flown by.

It all started when I got back from Washington, D.C.  It became pretty clear something was wrong with my knee. I was in unbelievable pain all the time, and nothing was touching the pain.  I continued to limp along until the first week in November when my sister and I spent the day together walking and hanging out and shopping.  By the end of the day, I could barely walk. I made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon.

A visit with him, a set of x-rays, and one MRI later, it was confirmed that I had a tear in my meniscus that needed to be repaired. I scheduled surgery for December 10th and set about making sure that things were set for my two days away from work for recovery.

Turns out, I had TWO tears and Grade 3 arthritis (there are Grades 1 to 4 ... awesome!).  No wonder I was in so much pain!

Recovery has been longer than I had hoped. It's taking a while to get back on my feet sans crutches.  But that's not why I am writing this blog. No I am writing this blog because I have been overwhelmed by the beautiful people in my life that exhibited such wonderful servant hearts.

I don't have a servant's heart. I'm ashamed to admit it, but when asked to do stuff for others, I bristle. I am so busy.  I have so much to do.  I don't have a lot of money.

The list is long and seems to be focused on ME.

Being single, taking time off for surgery isn't quite as simple as one might think. I didn't have anyone to take me to the surgery center the day of surgery ... no one to stay with me after surgery (I naively thought I could do post surgery on my own ... BOY! Was I wrong!) ... no one to cook for me ... or help me to the bathroom ... or bring me a cup of coffee because I can't take the cup and manage crutches all at the same time ...

I was really worried about how that was all going to work, and some girlfriends from church told me not to worry.  They had my back.  These are women that I just think the world of, but whom I didn't necessarily think had the time to do all that would be required of this whole undertaking.

One of my friend's took the entire day off of work, rolled out of bed at 5 a.m. to take my limping self to surgery.  Then she manned my phone and let my family and close friends know when I was out of surgery.  She helped me get dressed in recovery (you know you're a good friend then!). She drove me home, procured my appropriate prescriptions, even got me Sprite, and helped my doped up butt get into the house while on crutches.  She moved my furniture around in my living room so that I could have my leg elevated as comfortably as possible AND watch TV.  She attempted to get me to eat ... she kept my glass filled with Sprite ... she made me do exercises ... she made sure my knee was constantly iced ... and she listened to me forever complain about the fact that I was so sick (anesthesia and I are not friends.  Two Zofren pre-surgery, an anti-nausea cocktail during/after, and Phenigrin after, and I was still sooooo nauseous. I don't even want to think about what coming out of anesthesia sans anti-nausea meds would have been like).  Because I was looking so pale and sickly, she even stayed overnight with me. This friend has a husband and daughter.  So, lots of responsibilities that she put on the back burner to help me out.

My elderly neighbor made me a HUGE pot of vegetable soup and a loaf of pumpkin bread.  She wanted to make sure I had dinner ready for me when I returned from surgery.

One of my colleagues made me a huge, yummy casserole, got me a vegetable tray (she knows my heart!), and some yummy cookies!

Another dear friend from church made me THREE dinners. She is a mother of three with a crazy schedule of her own.  Yet, she took time out of her schedule to stop by with those meals.  Not only that, but her entire family stopped by the next night to visit. That was a healing salve on this single girl's heart. I really thought I could do this on my own. The visit was such a nice surprise after a day struggling on my own.

I had a sweet friend bring me take out on Friday and sit and visit with me before going home to her husband.  One of my precious teammates and friends brought me get well cards from all of my students.  They made my heart sing!

My other precious teammate and friend brought me a chef salad (she knows my heart!), muffins for breakfast (which was a HUGE answer to prayer!), and a UK colored cupcake (I'll forgive her for that one).

I had a sweet friend bring me Coldstone Ice Cream (seriously! These people all know my heart!!) and visit with me.  I had another good friend take me to a doctor's appointment and then sit and visit with me for a couple of hours while I had my leg propped up.

One of my dear besties came over and washed dishes and took some laundry out of the washer for me. Saved my bacon on that one!!

There were many more who texted, messaged, and called to see if there was anything they could do, to tell me they were praying for me, to just encourage me. Their love and care were beyond what I could have asked of them. I love every last one of them!

All of these people went out of their way ... their hearts were so geared toward serving!  I am forever humbled and changed by their love and care.  All of them ... their lives are all full of work and family and crazy schedules and insane Christmas obligations.  All of them took time out to love on me.  I am forever changed.

I never expected this much outpouring.  It has made me understand what a servant's heart looks like ... how a servant's heart behaves.  I am determined to follow in their footsteps!

Thank you just doesn't seem like enough to express my gratitude to all of them for showing me what Being The Church truly looks like!

I discovered something during this adventure in surgery. I have this amazing extended family called My Church.  I love them all so dearly!




Tuesday, October 13, 2015

YOU ARE GETTING SLEEPY; VERY, VERY SLEEPY

It's cold in my house tonight.  I am not sure what the temperature is, because, to be honest, I've been at work all day, and I just don't feel like getting up and looking.

Plus, I am all cozy under my fuzzy blanket.  That would wholly disrupt the captured warmth currently surviving under my fuzzy blanket.

Y'all, seriously.  It's probably like 55 degrees outside right now.  In the whole grand scheme of things, not at all cold.  However, my body is coming off of balmy 70s. It's a shock to my delicate system.

I am losing more of my Northern-ness every. single. day. I live south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Siiiiiigh ...

{shakes her head pitifully as she rereads the word delicate}

As I stated, I went to work this morning.  I had a two hour meeting, so I figured I would work from 8 to 10 a.m., go to my meeting, and then finish all my work after lunch until I started getting cross-eyed.

Two things occurred ... two things that ALWAYS inevitably occur:

  1. I highly underestimated the amount of work I had to do and the amount of time it would take me to do it.  Therefore, I created a TO DO list that God himself would be all, "Ummm, seriously, Megan?"
  2. I severely misjudged how quickly my eyes would go cross-eyed.  
I got home at 4:30 p.m., chatted with my parents on the phone, and then settled in to do some writing on my computer.  Only, after getting my jammies on, warming up a mug of apple cider, crawling under my fuzzy blanket and grabbing my computer, I had the yet once again inevitable result of aforementioned comfying.  My eyes started drooping.  My yawning became uncontrollable, and the desire to crawl off to bed became overwhelming.  

My goal is to get into bed by 9 p.m. every night, and, ladies and gentlemen, it is 9:03 p.m.  So, I am going to call this what it is ... another night of ill-planned productivity.  I am going to assume the Scarlett O'Hara stance and just say, "Fiddly dee!"

Tomorrow is a new day, right?


Monday, October 12, 2015

AN ODE TO MY DEAR SWEET NEIGHBORS

My Dear, Sweet Neighbors,

I just finished mowing my lawn.  As I sit here, devouring a sandwich whilst brushing off bits of leaves and grass clippings -- on the floor I just vacuumed two hours ago, I can't help but feel a bit of guilt at the complete and total lack of "giving a crap" I seem to have for my lawn.  And so, I find myself in need of apologizing...apologizing to  you dear folk for having to endure my slovenliness this entire lawn-mowing season.

I apologize, my dear neighbors, for leaving my lawn to look as though the entire place has been abandoned.  It's not. Although, to hear my next door neighbor tell it, he never sees me, hermit that I am.  So, perhaps I have abandoned it.  I suppose what I've really abandoned is the idea that my lawn is ever going to look like anything other than what it looks like -- that being the anti-thesis of ANY lawn care advertisement upon which you've ever viewed.  In retrospect, I pretty much abandoned those notions as my tender, young self was learning the finer points of lawn care lo those many years ago whilst still under my parents' tutelage. When I had to trim the edges of stuff with hand trimmers, I pretty much decided lawn care wasn't for me.

Dear neighbors, I also apologize for the dead flowers you had to look at most of the summer.  I started off with such grand intentions. A green thumb that would blossom into all sorts of green fingers.  But then the monsoon season hit ... and then the humidity ... and I no longer cared about anything. Nothing at all.  You precious people had to sow what I reaped.

I must also apologize for my non-Pinterestesque front porch decorations.  I really try to make a cute, rustic-looking front porch.  But even my headless scarecrow has bowed his headless ... what? ... his headless head? ... in defeat ... in shame. It is pititful.  I acknowledge this. Bless your sweet hearts for the atrocities you must endure.

As this season winds down to its inevitable end, my dear neighbors, I ask that you give me grace. Perhaps, as the 2016 season rolls around, by chance some miraculous event that could only be described as serendipitous, will occur, and I will become the neighbor you always hoped I would be.

Signed,
The Chick that owns that Hot Mess on the Corner

MOTIVATION

I have been suffering from a severe lack of motivation for a while now ... like a year or more.  It's bad, and it's only gotten worse as the years have gone by ... read, as I've gotten older.

I am not sure if it's the depression (my medicine should be helping that) or just my complete lack of caring, but I've just been in a funk.

My house shows it.

It's not filthy by other people's standards.  It is by mine, but I suspect, most people would come into my house and be all, "Well, this place looks great!"

They've not looked that closely though.  Oh boy, if they did!

When I first moved out on my own, every Saturday morning, I'd clean my ENTIRE apartment.  From top to bottom.  The ENTIRE thing.  Now, it was an apartment.  It had all of four rooms in it.  But still.  I could do it in a morning, and still have all of the late morning and afternoon to do whatever I want.

Now?  The mere mention of getting my vacuum out overwhelms me.  Why is that?

I honestly used to like cleaning, and I live in a lovely house now.   By far, one of the best places I've ever lived (well, besides the house on Burr Oak Street back in Michigan). This mere fact should motivate me, right? So, what is the problem?

I think it's overwork.  I'm not trying to make an excuse, but I think I get such a lack of sleep and am so overwhelmed by exhaustion that by the time it comes to doing work at home, well, let's just say the spizerinktem has all but left my body.

And the spiders overtake the place ...

The other thing that has taken a lot of my time?

Social media.  I spend a lot of time on social media.  A LOT.  And while I get to see what others are doing in their busy lives, I fail to live mine!

I read an article today that said one of the ways to boost motivation is to not sit down for more than an hour.

Yep! I would agree.  Sitting down for me is terminal.  Fatal.  DANGER, DANGER, DANGER!

Today, while sitting here in my jammies at 10:48 a.m., I am turning over a new leaf.  Yes, my dear readers, I am going to take back my life.

Lest you think I am loafing today ... okay, I loafed for a bit. However, I just vacuumed the ENTIRE house, researched homemade spider sprays, and am getting ready to go out and mow the lawn, hopefully, for the very last time this year.

So, taking back my life.  I guess that means, I am only looking at social media once a day. ONCE A DAY.  I am going to care a little less what the rest of you are doing with your days.  I love you, but seriously.  I need to take back my life.

I am going to look for ways to be more active.

I am going to look for ways to decompress.

I plan to be in my bed by 9 p.m., a book in hand, readying myself for sleep.  If I can get a handle on the exhaustion, perhaps I can finally feel like tackling more things in my life.

This is a marathon, not a sprint.  I will likely fail miserably, but if I can pick myself back up and get moving again, I feel like I might find my motivation again.

Wish me luck!


Saturday, October 10, 2015

HAPPY SCHMAPPY (ENDINGS)

I'd like to thank Hallmark for yet another movie that shows a syrupy, sweet ending where everyone gets their significant other in the end.

One happy ending after the other.

Two hours of my life I will never get back. And that's not even close to how the real world works ... or at least my real world.

Not everyone gets kissed under a full moon. Not everyone meets Prince Charming. Not everyone gets the guy in the end. Not everyone gets to ride off into the sunset.

Sometimes, there is no Prince Charming. Prince Charming isn't really looking for a fat, single, 40-something. Forty-something Prince Charming is looking for a 20-something that is all cute and pert and svelte and, well, the anti-thesis of me.

So, thank you, sappy movie writer, for taking me down a rose-petal covered lane for two hours. I nearly slipped in the sugar and drowned in the sweet.  I am now going to pick myself up, wash the stickiness off, and floss my teeth or something.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC -- THE WHITE HOUSE


Throughout my time wandering the White House and the Capitol, I was struck by this thought: "If these walls could talk ..."

The history wrapped up in those walls.

The decisions that have been made.

The choices that have affected generations.

The secrets that have been hidden.

These walls have seen them all!

I think one of my favorite shots I took the entire trip was the one above. I couldn't help but wonder at the time (and still now) how many presidents looked out over the White House grounds toward the Washington Monument and contemplated the heavy burden of their job ... or the sheer magnitude of the job ... the excitement of getting the job in the first place ... the "pinch me" moments ... and the incredible sadness involved in being the voice of the people.

I had a photography professor tell me once that a picture tells a thousand words is just a farce.  That a picture captures just one moment in time.  I suppose he's correct, but looking at this picture, remembering myself standing in the people's house ... I'm sorry, but there were more than a thousand words wrapped up in this picture!  There were the thoughts and dreams and hopes and failures and celebrations of a nation wrapped up in this one picture.

WASHINGTON, DC -- THE METRO

My initial reaction to the Metro was I HATE THIS!

My initial reaction was based on two very key issues:

  1. I was rushed.  I LOATHE rushing to things. Puts me right off. Nothing gets me more stressed than running late to something.  Okay, well, maybe there are other things, but that sure is a top 10 stresser.
  2. I need to get the lay of the land.  If you throw me into something that I haven't been able to investigate before hand, I get cagey.  The Metro with its stinky tunnels and red, blue, yellow, orange, and silver lines ... it threw me right off my game.  
However, once I did get the lay of the land, I LOVED it....well, except for peak commuter time.  I did not at all like standing for a 20 minute ride in to "town."  I like being comfortable.  Can't be comfortable when your grasping a bar over your head ... that heaven only knows how many people have touched before you.

Which brings me to my next point ... 

I ate Airborne chewables like they were my job! 

The mass of humanity crammed into those cars sneezing and coughing and hacking and picking and wiping heaven only knows what all over the place?  Oh yeah. GERM CITY! I boosted the immune system into overdrive.

I failed to put hand sanitizer in my purse, which, if ever on the Metro (or any public transportation of any kind) again, I will be hand sanitzing it up.  Just see the aforementioned germaphobia paragraph for further details. 

The Metro was filled with people-watching opportunities. Alllll kinds of people. And allllll kinds of fashion.  I realized a couple of things by all my people watching....
  1. I need to step up my fashion game! I've become lazy. These ladies showed me up in a BIG way. Operation Re-invent My Closet Begins today ... or maybe tomorrow ... or the next day ... yeah, I'm pretty lazy as I've already mentioned. 
  2. No one talks to anyone on the Metro.  It's sorta sad. There we all were just staring off into space. No one made eye contact with any one.  No one smiled. When eye contact was made, it was quickly averted. I get the Big City mentality, but where does general human kindness and interaction come in?  
  3. If folks aren't just staring off into space, everyone has their faces in their phones.  They were emailing or Facebooking or texting which is a symptom of our society. I will admit it.  I did it too.  I think I'm going to make it my goal to NOT have my cell phone in my hand much these next two weeks ... heck! For the next parts of my life! You lose so much when you are skulking about others' lives and not living your own!
The Metro, with its crazy tunnels and colored lines, was certainly an adventure, and I loved the adventure.  But I am sure glad to be home with the crazy Frankfort traffic and curvy roads and hills and valleys and small town life. 

It's where I really belong.

TRUST

TRUST

This is a biggie for me.

I suspect it is for everyone.

The thing of it is, if I trust you enough to tell you the things closest to my heart, I sorta expect that you will do the same for me.

So, when you lie to me ... even fib a little ... omit all the details ... hide the truth from me ... you lose me, and I'm going to be honest here. You lose me for good.

I know, I know.  I am called to forgiveness.  I am called to show grace.

Thing of it is, that stuff is just plain hard. That trust has been broken. You couldn't find it in your heart to show me the common decency to be just plain honest with me. Straight up honest. I'm not sure what you want me to do with that now.

I will slap a smile on my face. I will attempt to be cordial (lets be honest here ... kindness isn't what I want to exude in these particular situations), but bring you back into my inner circle? Share that degree of closeness we once shared?

Nope. That's gone.  Maybe forever.

I've watched people I know and love journey through ugly breaches of trust. They've come out the other side better for it. Stronger.

I am in awe of that journey. I'm not sure why I find it such a struggle, but I do.







Monday, October 05, 2015

STARTING FALL BREAK OFF WITH A BANG!

Things break.

That's how this world works.

Sadly, things don't break at convenient times.  That's also how the world works.

A friend and I had planned a trip to Washington, DC for last week.  So, of course, two days before I am to leave, my refrigerator decides to stage a coupe and leave me holding the bag. The bag full of spoiled food.

I don't even want to begin to calculate how much food I lost.  If I attempt it, there will be crying involved.  I promise you that.

After discussing in-depth with the appliance place, what we were going to do with this little sticky wicket, it was decided that nothing would be done to the dang thing until after I got back. This furthered my foul mood.  To avoid an electrical fire or a super high electrical bill, I unplugged the thing and gave it the middle finger on my way out the door.

Then Tropical Storm Joaquin started stirring.  I really didn't think anything of it because in my little neck of the woods, tropical storms don't really phase me.

Only, we were driving into what would become Joaquin's neck of the woods.

At the same time, Joaquin was growing from a tropical storm to a hurricane, a nor'easter started forming.

I've heard of nor'easters.  I have friends who live in the Northeast.  They have infamous stories of nor'easters.  It usually involves snow.  Didn't really think about the whole rain factor ... or that I was now heading toward the Eastern Seaboard.

Y'all.  It rained the entire time I was gone.  THE. ENTIRE. TIME.  I am counting Wednesday as a rain day as well because even though actual rain never fell from the sky, the atmosphere was so heavy, I was drenched as if I'd been standing out in the rain.  There wasn't any glistening about it, ladies and gentlemen.  I was a sweating fool!

I am home now.  The skies are blue, and the sun is shining. The refrigerator is working once again ... for now (we're taking a wait and see stance ... don't even get me started).  Balance seems to have been restored.

It feels like I can finally sit back, close my eyes, and truly relax.  I am ready for a nice, calm remainder of this break.

Monday, September 28, 2015

OCTOBER = FALL BREAK!

Ahem.

AHEM!

Excuse me!!

How did it get to be almost October already?

Anyone?

An answer to that question, please.

I really need to stop blinking.

Today marks my first day of Fall Break.  I'm going to be honest here. In times past, I have yearned for Fall Break ... wished its arrival to be speedy and its stay lengthy.  When it rolled around this year, I was all, "Whoa! What happened? It's time for you already!?"

Because I wasn't expecting it ... because I was soooooo wrapped up in doing this teaching gig, I didn't anticipate it as I probably should have.  So, it's deciding to get me back.  How's it doing that, you say?

It's making my refrigerator die.  Like D.I.E.  Five year old refrigerator. FIVE YEARS OLD.  I know this because, five years ago today, I was likely packing up my apartment like a crazy woman in anticipation of signing my life away on my first house!

I've been in this house for five years.  I've been making mortgage payments like a big girl for five years.  Where has the time gone?

Again with the blinking.

I have some adventures planned for Fall Break. Some that have been in the works for a while.  Others, I am planning as I go along. But this whole refrigerator deal?  Not planned.  Not needed.  Not necessary.

I had a bit of a meltdown yesterday.  Thankfully, it was with a good friend.  So, the tears weren't misunderstood.

I am much better this morning.  It's part of the deal, my mother tells me.  These things always happen at the most inconvenient times, she tells me.  She should know.  She and my dad have been paying mortgage payments for .... .{silent while attempts to do math} .... {gives up when sees the bottom of coffee mug} ... well, a really, really long time.  Suffice it to say, they have some experience with the breakages during inconvenient times.

When is it ever convenient, though, really?  I'm going out on a limb and saying never.

Never a good time for this stuff, but you know what?  This is life.  Gotta get through as gracefully as possible.

Going to admit it, yesterday? Wasn't so graceful.  Perhaps today will be better.


Monday, September 14, 2015

HOUSEKEEPING

When I bought this house five years ago (HOLY CRAP! IT'S BEEN FIVE YEARS AGO!!), I had to buy a stove and refrigerator as they didn't come with this place.  Short sale and all.  I couldn't afford what I really wanted, which was a freezer on the bottom, double door job that would refrigerate the whole stinkin' world!

Honestly, what do I need something like that for?  Honestly?  I do not know!  But the space! And the fact that I would not have to bend down to dig stuff out of the fridge [read: laziness here] just sounds amazing.

Alas, I am a teacher. I can't afford those luxuries.  So, I bought cheap.  Read: it keeps things cold.

That was five years ago. Did I mention that?

A couple of weeks ago, I started noticing odd stuff like my freezer not freezing a 32 ounce bottled water that was left in there over night. Seriously? That should totally freeze, right?

Then there was the milk that went bad BEFORE the expiration date.

Oh yeah, and the tomatoes that went bad almost immediately after putting them in the refrigerator.

And all the leftovers that rotted much sooner than normal.  Trust me. I know when food rots.  My mother was the QUEEN OF LEFTOVERS and the GRAND DUCHESS OF SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS [that's fuzzy food left in the refrigerator waaaaay too long].

Then, last Thursday, I opened up my fridge to discover a luke warm temperature, water dripping from something or another at the top of the fridge, and for an added bonus, my freezer, for lack of a better word, defrosting.

Insert panic mode here!

I ran around the kitchen, grabbing as much frozen stuff as possible, running it downstairs to my deep freeze, sopping up water, throwing away a TON of bad food, and whining at the cat, "I can't afford a new refrigerator! I just can't buy a new one.  Which one of us is selling body parts if I have to buy a new fridge?!"

The cat voted for me. She never wants to do anything around this house!

As I am cleaning things out of the refrigerator and trying to talk myself off my proverbial ledge, I decided to unplug the stupid thing to see if it would reset itself, thus fixing everything.  It was when I was pushing the fridge away from the wall that I happened to look down and see a wad of cat fur sticking out of the back of my fridge, and a thought occurred to me.

"What if this just needs a good vacuuming out? What if there is so much hair and dust, the motor isn't able to do what it's supposed to do, and it has just decided to give up the ghost?"

I texted my dad my theory.  I felt like he should know I was thinking more clearly after receiving the "OMG MY FRIDGE WON'T WORK WHY WON'T IT WORK DO YOU KNOW I'VE ONLY HAD IT FIVE YEARS HOW COULD IT STOP WORKING SO SOON" text.  Like he is capable of doing ANYTHING from two states away!

His response: "Yes, that is a good possibility. When was the last time you vacuumed that thing out?"

Ummmm ... never?

Seriously.  In five years, I've never vacuumed out my refrigerator.

And here's where the story gets ... what?  Embarrassing? I guess I can't call it embarrassing. If it were embarrassing, I'd refrain from telling the story altogether, but here I am, laying it all out there for you.  So, perhaps I should use the word pathetic. Yes!  Here is where the story gets pathetic.

You see, for as long as I can remember ... say, four years, my refrigerator makes all kinds of crazy noises, and by crazy, I mean, RAUCOUS noises that could wake the dead. In fact, this past Christmas, my mom even asked me if my refrigerator should sound like that.

I was all, "Eh. It's sounded like that forever! That's just the way it is."

So, I pull out my vacuum and attachments, and I commence to taking off the cheap cardboard backing that covers the motor housing and coils and stuff. There's lots of stuff in there. None of it I understand or desire to.  Just know, it was all COVERED in a thick, sticky coating of cat hair and dust.

Now, you have to understand, my cat has long hair ... and a lot of it.  The very act of breathing causes hair to fly off of her body and go floating all over the house. So, it stands to reason that a motor that sucks up all kinds of stuff would suck up cat hair, especially when said cat with said hair stands right next to the fridge to eat and drink, an activity she does with a great deal of frequency. The feline LOVES to eat!

I spend, here's more pathetic, about 15 minutes vacuuming out every crack and crevice of that motor area, and all of a sudden, that thing just took off. Within an hour, I started detecting a cooler temperature.  The something or another stopped dripping, and the freezer stopped defrosting.  By the following morning, everything was nice and cold.

And the crazy noises?  They stopped.  That refrigerator runs so quietly, you hardly know it's on!

Apparently, it was begging me for close to four years to clean its inner workings out. I just ignored its pleas. Until, one day, in an act of desperation, it finally decided to start killing my food.

Here I sit with a number of degrees. I am a functioning part of society. They let me buy a house and everything. But I nearly killed my refrigerator because I didn't vacuum out the back of that dang thing.

Let's just say that my housekeeping might just leave a little bit to be desired.

A YOGI IN THE HOUSE

About five weeks ago, I started going to a weekly yoga class with my friend and her daughter.  We were both looking for additional "stuff" to add to our exercise regime, and by my exercise regime, I mean, I used to walk 3 miles every day, and now I don't have time to go to the bathroom let alone walk, and dang it! I sat down.  NEVER SIT DOWN!

So, yeah. I needed to add something.

I'd done yoga DVDs before, and I liked the mind body soul connection. Not in a weird, New Agey way, but rather recognizing that if one area of your life is out of whack (the technical term for not very balanced), all areas get out of whack.

Boy do I have out of balance issues in my life right now!

After five weeks of doing yoga once a week, I have started noticing a difference in my body.  It's been a slow burn, but I'm finally noticing a bit more flexibility in my arthritic body.  I don't feel quite so achy in the mornings.  There might be a slight difference in my energy level ... slight.  It appears as though my posture might be getting better as well.

My friend reports the same sorts of differences.  Although, I suspect hers were noticed much faster than mine.  I am sooooooooo out of shape.

So, last week, I decided I would get up 20 minutes earlier to do an AM Yoga tape I've had for ages --- clearly, I've had it for ages ... it's a freaking VCR tape!  Each morning when my alarm went off, I would groan, get out of bed to shut it off, and head back in bed until my back up alarm went off.  The Cat judged harshly with her judgey eyes all the while curled up in her furry ball of laziness. I suppose I could count her as an accountability partner.

Yesterday morning, I told myself I would get up and get this AM Yoga business underway.  It WAS going to happen this time!

When my alarm went off at 4:40 a.m., I hopped out of bed, went into the kitchen, grabbed a cup of coffee, fed the cat, and got the tape started.

Okay, I lied.  I didn't hop out of bed....unless you consider hopping to look like someone dragged me out by my hair toward the hallway.

The jacket of the VCR tape claims that this particular practice will energize me.  AWESOME! I need some energy 'cause this coffee ain't cutting it!

Now, I'm not sure how many of y'all have attempted yoga with a cat in the house. If you haven't, let me fill you in on what occurs.

#1.  You must immediately shoo aforementioned cat off the yoga mat, because as soon as you roll that sucker out, she is all over it like white on rice, sniffing it, rolling on it, laying on it, basically making it impossible for you to get into resting pose, because, well, she's in cat resting pose! Back it up, human! I'm doing my yoga!

#2.   After said shooing occurs, you must contend with aforementioned cat all over your face and attacking your hand because, hey! Human! Whatcha doing on the floor? Wanna play? Oh! Fingers! Let me bite them!

#3.   When the cat notices you aren't buying the "playing hand game" idea she's rolling out, she goes to the sofa and begins to scrape her paws on the sofa because she KNOWS she is not suppose to do that and HUMAN!  YOU AREN'T PAYING ATTENTION TO ME!

#4.  The "I'm going to be naughty" tactic doesn't work so now she gets a toy out, and bats it around THE YOGA mat, because that's just the kind of degree of difficulty cats look for in toy batting.

#5.  When she sees that I have found complete relaxation as I practice my poses, she reluctantly parks it on the sofa, perched over top of me, glaring wickedly while she plots her revenge.

I am not going to claim I am more energized than I was prior to the yoga this morning. However, I did manage to get a load of laundry in, eat breakfast, and write this post.  So, there's that.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

ALL THE FEELS

I've been feeling all the feels this week.  Some weeks it's like that.

I've been feeling frustration ...
... frustration at my lack of motivation to get everything done that I want and NEED to do.
... frustration at not being able to afford all that I would like to do.
... frustration at not being able to afford all that I need to do.
... frustration that I am not getting my way.  Okay, this is selfish and sounds like a whiny brat. But don't we all just want to stoop to that whiny brat state, if for just a moment? It makes adulting so much easier ... at times.

I've been feeling pain ...
... physical pain because of the weather changes. Oy vey! The migraines! This hasn't been a good season for migraines.
... my arthritic knees are a constant issue.
... my feet have developed this tendinitis thing. This tendinitis rocks it out on the top of my feet now, and my arthritis medicine doesn't seem to touch the inflammation.  That's frustrating.

I've been feeling hurt ...
.... hurt at the ways in which people treat others.  Adults ... well past their high school years, who are, for whatever reason, attempting to save face or feelings are something. In the wake of their half truths, they are leaving resentment and bruised feelings.
... listening to the stories of children whose lives do not match the growing up years I had.  Mind you, we were poor when I was growing up, but the love for us by our parents was so apparent ... we knew we were loved and appreciated.

I've been feeling excitement ...
... interesting twists and turns in life are making for exciting adventures ahead.
... excited for friends realizing dreams and achievements.
... for professional futures.

I've been feeling anticipation ...
... for things turning around.
... for the future.
... for the present.
... for Fall ... and Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

I've been feeling resentment ...
... for the people around me that are moving forward when my life seems to be in a static holding pattern.
... for change.
... for things moving forward.
... for things falling behind.

I've been feeling contentment ...
... contentment in my job. Teaching is actually fun this year!
... contentment in life. I am moving toward being content with where I am at in my life ... life is beautiful and complicated and boring and exciting and I am content.

I've been feeling gypped...
... when is it going to be my turn???

All the feels this week.  Sometimes it's like that. It isn't bad, and it isn't good.  It's just all the feels.

Monday, September 07, 2015

LABOR DAY DICHOTOMY

Today didn't turn out at all how I planned.  In fact, this whole weekend didn't turn out exactly as planned.

You know what they say ... the best laid plans and all that.

I planned to get amazing amounts of stuff done on Friday afternoon and evening so I could have the whooooooole long weekend stretched out in front of me.

That didn't happen.  Instead, I met my sister for dinner at one of our favorites, Melissa's Cottage Cafe, and we spent a fun evening laughing and talking and just having a good time doing next to nothing.

Saturday, I planned to get grading done and clean and organize my house.

That didn't happen. Instead, I laid around and just relaxed.  I can't remember the last time I did that ... just laid around and did nothing.  I thought about doing stuff, but I really did nothing.

Sunday, I planned to wash my truck, mow my lawn, and get some physical exercise.

That didn't happen.  Instead I had lunch with friends and dinner with my church family.  It was fueling ... frustratingly fun-filled ... but mainly fueling.

Today, I planned to spend a luxurious day hanging with my sister and enjoying the extra day off.

That didn't happen.  Instead, I ended up with a headache and spent the day slowly making my way through two rooms and deep cleaning (as well as stopping and relaxing) as I thought through big thoughts and worked through lots of STUFF,inside my head.

I am feeling very nostalgic today ... summer has officially ended (although, someone needs to tell Mother Nature that ... whew!  The humidity!).  That means we are moving into the holiday season, which is ALWAYS difficult for this terminally single girl.

I find myself longing for the freshness of Spring despite the fact that I am enjoying the thought of crisp nights with cozy fires.

I'm experiencing a bit of a Labor Day Dichotomy.






Monday, August 31, 2015

FALLING

On Saturday, while driving to Yoga, I noticed something.

Leaves.  They were fluttering off of trees ... at an alarming rate.

Then, today, I noticed something else.  Tomorrow?  It's going to be September!

How did that happen?

How did four weeks of school just happen?  How did four weeks of crazy schedules and sleepless nights and exhaustion in the mornings and fighting to get it all done and fun learning experiences with excitement rippling through the classroom ... how did that all happen?

How is it going to be September already?

If I'm not careful, I'm going to wake up tomorrow, and it will be December 1st!

But I do love fall, though.  I love the smell of the earth during fall ... the smell of burning leaves ... the crispness in the air ... hoodies ... the feel of that soft sweater pulled on the first time ... the cozy decorations ... and the harvest of fresh apples and pumpkins ... the sounds of fall ... the spiciness of fall ... yes, I do love fall.

I don't love winter, however, and that, sadly, comes right after fall, and that fact, I will admit, has me in a bit of a panic.

I enjoy the first time I wear my winter coat and mittens.  The very first time. After that?  A colossal pain in my rump, and I am soooooo over the layers and fighting static cling and dry skin and the flu season ...

It's inevitable .... like death and something hanging between your teeth when you are meeting someone new.  Winter will come. There is nothing I can do to stop it.

So, I suppose I will enjoy allllll that Fall has to offer before I embrace the doldrums of winter.


Friday, July 24, 2015

HOLD YOUR STINKIN' HORSES

Last night, I found myself at Cracker Barrel.  There was a situation that necessitated me waiting ... in among all their gift shop stuff.

I was hot -- my classroom was ridiculously hot ... like the furnaces of hell hot.  I had a raging headache because my room was hot -- like the furnaces of hell hot.  So, I stood, out of the way, waiting quietly, in my own little world of swirling visions of crayons and pencils and other such crap dancing in my head.

And so there I was, standing there among all this STUFF clicking and cackling and making a racket, and all of a sudden I focused on what it was, and y'all ...

Y'ALL!

It was Halloween crap ... and fall candles ... and orange and red leaves and stuff.

FALL STUFF!

It's July.  Granted, July is a bit long in the tooth at this point, but still.  We're in JULY.  Not September or October.  JULY.

J.U.L.Y.

Now, when I was in kindergarten, I learned about the seasons.  There are four of them.  Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.  Last time I checked, July falls into the SUMMER category.  You know the one ... where every thing is all red, white, and blue and patriotic and stuff?

Where, pray tell, do black cats, cackling witches, and pumpkin spice candles fall into Patriotic????

It's bad enough that I just realized in a few short days, I will have to start answering: "I'm sorry.  I can't.  It's a school night."

Now you want me to think about fall in summer??   And Christmas?  I hear Christmas is out at different locales.

Wait a ding dang minute!  I am STILL not over the trauma that was Snowmageddon 1 and 2.  Please.  Please, for the love of all that is good and decent in this world, allow me the remainder of my summer.

I beg of you ...


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

THAT MOMENT WHEN YOU REALIZE YOU DON'T HAVE ENOUGH TIME

How does one miss the fact that they have to go back to work next week?

Listen.  If I had the answer to that, I would be that much closer to a cure to cancer or at least an answer to world peace.

The ONE in this scenario?  Yeah.  Do you even have to guess at this? It's me!  I am the one that thought I had an extra week to lull about my house in a fog of laziness.  I am the one that thought I had another day to fiddly fart around imagining that I lived a life of ease and opulence.

By the way, I don't.

I was asked to serve on an interview committee, and interviews were Monday and Tuesday.  At some point on Monday, between interviews, and while listening to my colleagues and principal talk about upcoming events, I decided to look at my calendar.

Folks!  I am not sure if this was a good thing or a bad thing, but slowly ... ever so slowly, it began to wash over me ... this realization that next week ... NEXT. WEEK. was filled with opening of school activities.

YOU. ALL.

I have not been in my room at all over the summer.  AT.  ALL.  If you know me at all, you know how unheard of this truly is.  Seriously.  Now, I have been working on units all summer.  I've not been doing absolutely nothing.  There is some redemption in this whole situation.  But my room, while not a disaster, isn't what I would call, organized and ready to go.

But I had an extra week, so whatever.

EXCEPT I DIDN'T!!!!

At some point, I'm going to need to stop, breathe, and haul up those Big Girl Drawers and get busy.  For now, please allow me to have a bit of a FREAK OUT moment because right now?  I. Can't. Even.


Friday, July 17, 2015

STEREOTPYED

Stereotypes are so destructive.

For instance, I am 43 years old.  I have a cat.  I'm single.  I have short hair.  Want to know the stereotype that I have found myself fighting recently?  That adding these things all together makes me a lesbian.

Stereotype.

Listen, if that is what blows up your dress, fine.  Me?  I'm not a lesbian.  I like boys.  I always have.  Okay, I'm 43 years old.  I suppose I should say men.  I like men!  I always have. Tall ones ... muscular ones ... average Joe's ... exotic ones ... bald ones ... hairy ones ... I like men!

Just like most girls, I dreamed of being the princess and being sought out by my very own Prince Charming.  I wanted the fairy tale.  I planned my wedding.  I had a picture in my mind of what fairy tale dress I would wear on my special day.

And that special day never came ... because my Prince Charming never came.

You want to know the other stereotype I fight?  That there's something wrong with me.  I am somehow damaged or not quite right or not marriage material or dating material or ....


I love Pink!  I love her style.  I love that she can be edgy and feminine and bada$$ and a mother all at the same time.

I strive to be her ... well, as much as a 43 year old 4th grade teacher can be.  That sort of edgy, slightly rocker style has been my goal with my hair in recent years.

Listen, I no longer have the patience to deal with the drying and brushing and spritzing and whatever else must be done with long hair.  My hair doesn't really look all that good with long hair.  When I had it long (down to my shoulders long, mind you), it just sort of hung there, and I cannot abide stuff just hanging there.  So, I would tie it up in a messy knot or a couple of messy knots ... and might I just insert here, these were not like the trendy top knots all the girls are rocking these days.  My hair wouldn't cooperate that well.  So, these were for realsies nasty, messy knots.

So, I cut it off.

Gradually, at first ... adding layers ... taking off a couple of inches ... making it a bob ... taking off more inches ... making it a shag ... going all the way to pixie ... no bangs ... then bangs ... then asymmetrical ... then plain shaved ...

All these cool, edgy hair cuts.  I wanted in on it.

Today, I went short .... REALLY short.  I walked out feeling great.  Feeling free ... feeling edgy. Then I had a really rough reaction to my hair.  Just a look.  Hardly perceptible, but enough that I saw it ... I registered it in the eyes of the beholder and BOOM!  I was crushed ... near tears.

The voices started:  "No guy will like you with a hair cut shorter than his."  ....  "Why have you made yourself look like you're not at all approachable to men?"  .... "It'd have to be a miracle for someone to find you at this point in your life."  (<==someone actually said that one to me)   "Men like feminine women that can't do it all on their own."  (<== someone actually said that to me as well in response to my independent nature) ...

There is nothing I can do about my independent spirit.  Apparently, I came into the world like that, and I suspect that I will exit much the same way.

I plan to continue this crazy, short hair business.  My 18 bajillion cowlicks work with the short hair, and, frankly, I like it.

I am a woman.  I strive to be feminine and sweet and kind and the fairer sex, but let's be honest here, I'm from the north.  I have opinions, and I share them.

I'm from good, solid Scottish stock.  There isn't a petite bone in this body.

But I love pink and make-up and dresses and nail polish and jewelry and I don't like icky bugs and I need help with "boy stuff" and I like to be cared for and I do try to embrace the feminine.

One day ... probably many moons from now ... stereotypes will be passe, and accepting individuals for their individuality will be the accepted norm ...




Monday, July 13, 2015

9 YEARS

Sometime between July 26th and July 28th, I will celebrate my 9th anniversary here in Kentucky.

Nine years.  NINE, y'all!

N. I. N. E. 

Waaaaaay back all those years ago, I wrote this blog.  It was my first day in Kentucky.

Nine years later, I have some observations of those observations I made oh those many years ago.

1.) Low shoulders?  Not a problem!  Seriously, all those roads I used to be scared to drive on?  No biggie.  I zip and zoom through most of them.  I'm careful.  Don't get me wrong.  Still, I'm no longer afraid or phased, even, when it comes "low shoulder" roads. I am a frequent driver of back roads.  In fact, I rather enjoy it.  Bring on the low shoulders and steep drop offs and crazy twists and turns!  I've got this!

2.) I still don't like driving through Indiana.  I just don't.  Next.

3.) We get these crazy, crazy storms here in Kentucky.  I mean, I can't explain it, but they are crazy.  For instance, today!  Nasty, ugly thunderstorm with crazy winds are forecasted not once, not twice, but three different times.  I am still not completely used to the tornado warnings and violence of the thunderstorms, but they are easier to handle than they were 9 years ago.  Furthermore, flash flooding is a thing.  A BIG, DANGEROUS thing.  I have never in my life seen water rise just as quickly as it does here.  Until you see it for yourself, you can not possible imagine how fast flooding happens.

4.) I discussed the enormity of the beetles here.  Ummm...I don't remember why I did this.  Perhaps, I have gotten used to coexisting with the insect life here.  I suppose, once a person finds a snake in her basement, insects are no big thing!

5.) I noted a Mexican restaurant in Versailles, KY.  That restaurant is no longer there.  However, Melissa's Cottage Cafe? It's still there, and it's still amazing!  No need to worry about missing a Mexican restaurant, though.  There are at least six of them here in Frankfort.  Ole!

6.) Kentuckians are STILL the friendliest of people!  Even in the east side of the state, where they can sometimes appear cautious of outsiders, they are the sweetest people.

7.) Yeah ... heed the speed limits on the back road curves.  They'll get ya if you aren't careful.

8.) Yes. I say y'all.  It's a thing down here, and when in Rome ...
Other things I've found myself saying recently:
"I don't guess that is what I will be doing..."
"It's fixin' to come in fast."
"Oh love her heart!"
"Such a hot mess..."
"Oh Lawd!"

I'm missing some, I know it.  But you get the point, no?

9.) The Kentucky River is still brown, and it gets browner with rainier seasons.  And there's stuff that floats in those waters ... stuff besides logs.  Like a washing machine ... not even kidding about that one.  Not one bit kidding.  I've seen a deck float down the river (that one shut down some of the bridges due to the danger of running into and doing damage to those bridges), basketballs (it's Kentucky, after all), garbage cans ... I mean the list is long and varied.  I'm often left wondering where these items were in the first place that they found their way into the river.  Mine is not to wonder, I don't guess (see what I did there?).

Over these nine years, I've learned a lot of stuff ... I've gone a lot of places ... I've enjoyed many firsts ... I've taught roughly 190 students (holy crap, I'm old!!!) ... I've met some of my closest friends ... I've purchased my own home ... I've seen mountains ... I've traveled in hollers ... I've stepped back in time ... I've traveled to old mining camps ... I've dreamed about what old, historic walls might tell me if they could talk ... I've written a lot ... I've worn blue and white (against my better judgement) ... I've had highs ... I've had lows ... I've fallen in love with this state and these people.

Nine years ... it hardly seems possible. I can not wait to see what the next nine years have in store ...

Friday, July 10, 2015

35 TO GO ... 50 BOOKS IN A YEAR CHALLENGE

THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB
By Lily Koppel

Y'all!  When I was a wee one, I had the pleasure of going to the Michigan Space Center in southern Jackson County (in Michigan).  It was on the campus of Jackson Community College, and it was a very cool place for a little girl in the late 70s/early 80s.  It was an amazing place! There were actual rockets that stood outside of the center as well as a replica of a lunar module you could actually crawl into. There were space suits, an actual moon rock, as well as a simulated Black Hole.  Of course, my most vivid memories were of the Neopoliton freeze-dried ice cream "just like the astronauts eat."  It was good when I was seven.  Not sure it would still be good as a forty-three year old. At any rate, I LOVED this place.

If I understand it correctly, the Michigan Space Center was established because James McDivitt, an astronaut who orbited the moon in 1969, grew up in Jackson, Michigan, and Alfred Worden, another astronaut who orbited the moon in 1971, was born in Jackson.  Sadly, in 2003 (or there abouts), the decision was made to shut the center down -- budget cuts and all.

As a child of the 70s, astronauts were revered as American heroes, morally stick straight.  Of course, as a young child, you have no real understanding of the media machine that manipulates the American public's understanding.  It didn't just happen in the 1950s and 1960s, you guys! Still, these guys were heroes, and heroes behave on a separate plane than the rest of us ... or so we were told.

This book was great in terms of debunking just how perfect these families were.  The astronauts were some seriously flawed people.  I'm gonna be honest.  It felt a lot like gossiping with your best girlfriend.  Yet, reading each chapter, you began to feel sorry for the families that were wrapped up in the Space Race Mania.

The wives were asked to pour their entire lives into their husbands, making sure they were completely attended to without thought to their own needs or those of their children.  In the public's eye, they were to appear picture perfect, furthering the appearance of the perfect American family.

However, behind closed doors, these families were hanging on by threads, while astronauts were allowed to explore all the debauchery they could manage.  Many were cheating on their wives.  They drank and partied.  Meanwhile, the wives managed to keep it together on the home front while chain-smoking, drinking, and occasionally popping tranquilizers in an attempt to keep that fragile picture intact. NASA even moved the astrofamilies to Texas, where they all lived in cookie cutter neighborhoods in specially designed subdivisions...like some weird, space-age communes or something.

I won't give it all away, but I will say that if you have a beach vacation coming up, this would be a great book to pack for the trip!

35 books left until I meet my goal!  Slowly but surely ... slowly but surely...


Thursday, July 09, 2015

LAZY

I am probably not accomplishing all that I wanted to accomplish this summer.  As I look at the calendar, my summer is rapidly winding down (insert a teary-eyed gulp here!).  Per my typical way of dealing with life, I put too much on my Summer Bucket List.  Part of this was by design ... part of it was in anticipation that the summer weather would be slightly better than it's been.

To summarize ...

First three weeks ... hot, humid, some rain.
The rest ... RAINY.

However, I have to remind myself that the whole point of a vacation is to relax, and, I suppose, in my own way, I have relaxed ... A LOT.

I have done other things.  I mean, I've walked every. single. day of this vacation ... well, I've missed four days, today included, because of rain.  But other than that, despite humid temps, I've walked any where from 2.5 to 3 miles daily.

My house has never been cleaner.  Now, I'm not suggesting that you eat off of my floors.  Beyond the cat hair you'd ingest, there's the whole "my cat walks on these floors, and did I mention she was just in her cat pan" situation. However, for the most part, you can see the surface of stuff in my house, and other than my guest bedroom, things are put away relatively soon.  I will admit to slips in my own bedroom. That room has been messier than neat this summer.  I have no excuse.  So I will just move on.

Up until our monsoon season, my yard looked fantastic!  I got rid of three ugly bushes in my front yard that I'd just come to a I CAN'T EVEN point with ... and, as an added bonus, I got poison oak ... AND as a super extra bonus, I discovered that I was apparently growing it ... in my flower beds.  So, there's that.

I've discovered a enjoyment of shooting hoops.  I'm not going to say a full-fledged love of basketball because, let's be honest here, I ...
A.) can run and pivot on my arthritic knees
B.) would be stretching it A LOT to say I thought it was the best sport going.

But I do enjoy the challenge of making a basket, and trust me when I tell you, it's a challenge for me!

I've managed to read some books.  Not a lot ... I fall asleep quite a bit.  I'm lame, what can I say.

Most importantly, I've managed to relax, and let me tell you.  After this school year?  It was imperative that I relax!

I'm looking at a clean slate here, folks, and I have to tell you, it looks good!

So, my wisdom today?  Embrace lazy ... if lazy means that you take each day as it comes, hold little to no expectations to the day, and let whatever happens, happen.

Monday, June 29, 2015

BEAUTIFUL

The Backyard Big Hair Band Singer Dude has disappeared.  I haven't heard from him on a week, and while I am not at all upset by this, it does leave me with a shortage of pithy things of which to write.  Sadly for all of you reader, I am forced to go to the deep and meaningful and wise writerly stuff ... err, at least TRY to do all those things ... until a new, crazy neighbor comes along and gives me a new set of writing options. 

I will tell you, I am praying quite fervently for a handsome, single, NORMAL man my age to move into Hairy Man's house. He'd be a wonderful addition to the neighborhood in my estimation. However, until then, you must deal with this:

I was born in 1972.  Back then, seems like every girl was named Amy, Heather, or Jennifer.  In kindergarten, I vividly remember thinking, "I wished my parents had named me Jennifer."  I named my favorite baby doll, Jenny, probably in response to that thought.

No one was named Megan.  No.  One.

Many, many moons later, I learned to appreciate my unique name ... one that isn't so unique any more.  Many girls are named Megan.  Not many my age.  They all seem to be younger.  Still, I appreciated the individualism involved in being one of the few Megans in the world.

I tell you this, dear readers, to say, that was the first time I recall wishing I was something I wasn't.  This was the beginning, y'all ... the beginning of the spiral that most girls fall into -- then they become women, and the spiral drills down pretty deeply.

I've been thinking a lot about this lately.  Struggling with it.  This thing called beautiful perfection or rather the quest for it. 

Beauty. It's a relative term ... a subjective term ... and dang it, it's driven by what this out-of-touch place called HOLLYWOOD determines is beautiful, it would seem.

So, what makes beauty?  

If we listen to social media, it's ripped abs and thigh gaps and no back fat and perky boobs and a tight butt and perfectly proportioned facial features....yes!  That's what I said, perfectly proportioned facial features.  There's actual scientific research that studies our attraction to perfectly proportioned facial features.

I'm not even going to comment on the fact that breast cancer is still one of the leading causes of death among women, but we're putting money into perfectly proportioned facial features???

So, what is beauty?

I've spent the great majority of my life, starting about middle school, when body image becomes a huge issue in a female's life, scrutinizing what I thought beauty was.  I determined it was everything I wasn't. 

For roughly 30 years, I've built an inner monologue about all the things that aren't attractive about me ... hips are too big ... thighs are too jiggly ... butt is too big ... Quite frankly, I am not sure if my boobs were ever perky, and back fat?  I've got it, baby!

I'm going to be honest, when I look in the mirror, I don't like what I see.  I fear that even if the weight were down, I still wouldn't like what I would see because I am looking at the reflection in the mirror with overly critical glasses.  I look back at those times I thought I was really fat.  I really wasn't, but I couldn't see it.  Why???

How do we as women get to this point? 

When do we get to the place in our lives that we lose sight of true beauty? 

I mean, isn't beauty the bravery we see in the eyes of a woman rocking that bald head while she's fighting for her life against the scourge that's breast cancer?  Isn't beauty a brilliant sunset spreading its magnificence across a the blank canvas of the horizon?

Beauty is looking up at the sky and realizing it's absolute perfection ... azure blue perfection.

Beauty is witnessing a father's love as he envelopes his child in a tender embrace. 

Beauty is the tearful smile of a woman crossing the finish line after being told she'd never make it. 

Beauty is a foal finding its legs, wobbly and unsure.

Beauty is the pureness of new fallen snow.

Beauty is seeing the wonder in a child's eyes discovering something for the very first time.

Beauty is the last breath from an old soul and the very first breath of a new one.

Beauty is the edge of a cliff looking out over the a valley that stretches out before you as far as your eye can see.

Beauty is a roaring waterfall or a trickling creek ... it's the quiet noise of a still forest.

Beauty is the peaceful flickering of a million fire flies in an open pasture.

Beauty is the wrinkles, rolls, and paths that are the road maps of our bodies.

Why is it we can't see that? 

Why are we pushing our little girls to value everything that floats on the surface of a life, but none of the substance that's boiling just below? 

Why are encouraging our little boys to recognize beauty is only skin deep?

Why is it I can't see myself as others see me?  As Jesus sees me? 



Friday, June 26, 2015

SEXY HAIR

A couple of months ago, my truck decided to stage a coup.  It got together with my laptop and cell phone and said, "Hey!  Guys!  Let's start falling apart, k?"

I had to call Tony the Mechanic, and Tony the Mechanic had to get one of his guys to come and pick my truck up from school and so began my approximately $1200 odyssey into making my truck better ... er, betterish.  It is, after all, a 13 year old truck. 

So, there I was, in the mechanics after being dropped off by one of my teammates, and the lobby area was loaded with testosterone. Men every where.  One of them, covered in dirt and grime from the day, was being interviewed by another man in a suit.  Turns out, The Suit was a life insurance salesman and was doing his level best to sell the Grimy Dude a policy.  From the conversation, I garnered the following bits of information:
  1. Grimy Dude was about my age.
  2. Grimy Dude had a wife, and they'd been married a while ... like 12 or 15 years or so ...
  3. Grimy Dude worked for a local landscaping company.
Here's the thing, Grimy Dude was a good-looking dude, in a rugged, grimy kinda way.  I noticed this, appreciated him silently, then pulled out my Kindle and decided to start reading. The life insurance salesman's car was ready, Grimy Dude promised he'd call if, after talking to his wife, they decided to do purchase the policy.  I looked up, realized Grimy Dude was watching me, smiled, and then returned to my book.

All was quiet for a while.  It wasn't too long, however, that I realized Grimy Dude had continued to watch me. Out of no where, he said to me, "So, I think short hair on women is sexy."

Oooooooookay!

I looked up and glanced between him and the Paunchy Married Dude sitting on the other side of me.  In my mind, Grimy Dude had to be talking to the other guy, even though, when I looked over at Paunchy Married Dude, he had a look of "Oh LAWD!  Help me get out of this situation like NOW!"

It was then I realized that Grimy Dude was addressing me.  I smiled, determined to accept the compliment without questioning it.  I thanked him and attempted to return to my book.  Only, Grimy Dude wasn't done with his expository speech on the positives of sexy short hair styles.

"Yeah, there's some guys out there that don't like it.  Wished their ladies had long, luscious locks, but I don't think so.  Short hair is soooooo sexy.  Really.  I really like yours too."

I thanked him, and mercifully, Tony the Mechanic, came in and told Grimy Dude his car was ready. 

This did not, in any way, deter Grimy Dude!  He stands up, walks right over to me, and says, "My name is Steve.  You are?"

"Megan."

"Well, Megan, never change that hair.  I'm telling you.  There are guys like me that just love that short hair {and at this point he practically growls}.  If anyone ever tells you to grow it out, you just tell him no.  Seriously.  Nice meeting you and stay good-looking."

Not going to lie.  It was flattering.  I have spent the better part of this past school year feeling fat (and being fat), and not really feeling very good about myself.  So, this guy's adoration over my short hair really gave me the shot of ego I needed.  Only, he was married, and man!  If he'd been my husband, I'd have been crushed that he was saying this to someone other than me.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I saw him the other day at Kroger ... with his wife ... and guess what?  She doesn't have short hair.  In fact, that complete opposite....long, stringy stuff.  The look on his face was priceless too!

This leads me to much pondering ...
  1. Grimy Dude needs a swift kick in the butt.  I get it.  Marriage for the long haul can get boring, but DUDE!  If you aren't building your wife up (and she does the same), how can you expect the sparks to fly?
  2. Why is it I ALWAYS attract the weirdos and married dudes?
  3. Why, and this is the root of much of my issues, can't I see myself the way others do?  Why is it so hard for me to envision myself as anything other than dumpy?  Is it possible that I could be sexy?
Something definitely to ponder ... while I'm mowing ... the job that puts me in the LEAST sexy light ever ... what with all that sweat dripping off my short, platinum locks. 

Wait!  That's why Hairy Man used to come out of his house to watch me mow!  I get it now! 

Lawd!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

36 MORE TO GO ... 50 BOOKS IN A YEAR CHALLENGE

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

I gave this book 4 stars on Amazon, but I have to be honest you, I wasn't sure. I wanted to give it three stars.  This book was both maddening and hard to put down and ridiculous and enchanting and hard to believe and quite believable.

It's Allen's second book in a series about the Waverly sisters and their oddly magical apple tree.  Supposedly, the sisters have weirdly enchanted gifts that everyone knows about ... and therefore are both drawn to them as well as "creeped out" by them.  Umm, hello!  A magical apple tree?  Creepers!!

This particular books takes place just before the first frost, when things always get really weird and topsy turvy for the Waverly family.  One of the craziest things about first frost is that their magical apple tree always blooms during first frost!  The petals of the flowers are magical.  Also, the tree doesn't like the men in the Waverly sisters' lives.  It throws apples at them.  And still, these guys accept it, give the tree a wide berth and move on with their lives. 

The Waverly's never eat the apples of the tree.  They don't like the taste of apples.  It is said that one family member did eat the fruit, saw her fate, and became a wild, untamed creature that eventually met that fate.

Hmmm, sounds very Adam and Eve-like, no?

This book felt so de ja vue, like I'd read this story before or was at least familiar with the plot, and yet it was so well-written, so enjoyable, I didn't so much mind that the plot was completely and undeniably not possible.

It's a well-written book that is worth the read. A terrific beach read! I plan to go back and read her first novel in the series, Garden Spells.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

NEIGHBORS

I preface this by saying I am not sure what attracts the insanely ridiculous to my life.  I really don't.  If I did, I would some how work it so that the insanely rugged, handsome, and single men of this world were instantly attracted to me and my life. 

Growing up, I had some wonderful neighbors:  Mr. Averill (ever the patient elderly man that would listen to the CRAZY stories I made up and then told him!), The Weavers (they had the awesome Dalmatian, Barney), Mrs. Gaskell (she always got us a Christmas present each year, and her grandkids became great friends!), The Konkles (hours of fun playing with Mandy and her siblings), The Dorlands (Mr. Dorland LOVED golf), the Knights, the Stellingworth's, The Beglins .... the list is long.  Suffice it to say, my childhood was filled with wonderful neighbors that were entertained by my antics, no doubt .... which, now that I think about it, might be why I am in the boat I am in currently.  I will let you, my dear readers, decide as you continue to read. My adult life and neighbors have been ... well, interesting, shall we say. 

There was the sweet couple that lived above me when I moved into my very first apartment.  The very sweet couple who were newlyweds.  Very sweet, young, newlyweds.  Y'all ... I've never been a newlywed, but y'all ... there were nights I felt like I needed a shower. I won't go into the details ... the LOUD, gory details.  Suffice it to say, well, what can you say?  Soon enough, though, they moved out to pursue Masters degrees, and a retired nun moved in.  We had lovely theological conversations, she and I did. And I didn't have to worry about X-rated evenings. 

My next apartment was across the street from my first apartment and right next door to a boarding house, of sorts, for, shall we say, the wee bit crazy?  I had a stalker at that apartment.  He'd come out when he saw my pull up and start to walk toward me. I kept crazy hours being that I was 25ish, and young, and social and out a lot. After one particularly scary incident, my dad reported it to a police officer friend of his, and I started looking for a new place. 

My third rental property was next to a place called HAIR JOY.  Not even joking here, folks.  The lady who lived there did not appear to be all there in the head department, but she ran a hair salon out of her house.  Mind you, her hair looked like something exploded in it, which might account for the scant amount of customers coming in and out of HAIR JOY.  Her son made up for the business by dealing drugs out of the house.  There is nothing better in this world, than falling asleep on your sofa late on a summer evening (front door wide open, with only the screen door for protection), only to be awakened by people running past your door, and a police officer hollering, "GET DOWN ON THE GROUND WITH YOUR HANDS BEHIND YOUR HEAD."  Like a scene ripped from the pages of COPS.  I swear!

My fourth rental property was in a better part of town, but was not without its adventures. I mean, the guy that lived next door to me grew pot in his basement (or had a meth lab ... one of the two)!  There were always very interesting characters going in and out of that place.  My dad thought I was crazy, until, after I'd moved to Kentucky, they went up to check on the house, and witnessed police and people all over the house carrying stuff out.  Turns out, dude lost the house, and when the bank went up to clean it out, what did they find?  Drugs and drug paraphernalia!  Need I say more?

My fifth place was here in Kentucky, and I have to admit, it wasn't without its quirky neighbors ... like the guy who sold drugs out of his apartment in the building next door (another late night run across the yard with police yelling and stuff...I detect a theme, no?). 

My current house, the one I own, has been, by far, in the best neighborhood I've lived in (not that the other neighborhoods weren't bad).  I have lovely elderly neighbors who are quiet and never have loud parties. Okay, my neighbor across the street invites her "80s Ladies"  (her name for them not mine) over for rocking games of Bridge and BUNCO, but they are done by 5 p.m., so I never have to worry about raves and stuff. My neighbor next door to me always complains that he never sees me.  Dude is ALWAYS on the go.  But he's precious, and he's promised to share some of his homegrown tomatoes with me.  They are just beautiful, beautiful people.  Insert screeching tires here, folks. 

My first experience with a crazy neighbor hereto and forever more referred to as Hairy Man, in this new neighborhood occurred on my very first night in this house.  Y'all, I can't even explain the excitement and trepidation I had moving into this house.  I mean, it was MY house ... well, 30 years of payments, and it's mine.  But still.  I was responsible for it. It's care and maintenance and stuff.  So, there I was, in the middle of what looked like an explosion of STUFF.  My friends, the people that moved alllllll that stuff from one place to another, the same ones that complained about the amount of STUFF I had (granted, it was A LOT), had all left, and I was in amongst all my stuff, and I hear this obnoxious banging on my back door.  Like "POLICE, OPEN UP" banging.  It wasn't the police.  It was the neighbor behind me ... well, one half of the neighbors behind me.  I opened the door and was greeted with "Shut your damn light off....it's shining in my bedroom and none of us can sleep." 

I was so annoyed by her greeting that while she was trying to walk down my back steps, I did just that, shut my damn light off. 

I decided to apologize a few days later... just to show them I was the bigger person and was actually a friendly neighbor.  Hairy Man cracked a smile in response, the only one I saw him crack in the three years they lived behind me. 

My attempts to be friendly and neighbor with them came to an abrupt halt when two things occurred:
1. Hairy Man revealed the reason he was so named.
2. Hairy Man's family revealed to me they were really very, very, very odd.

Hairy Man, in the time I knew him, had an aversion to clothes.  Specifically, he didn't appear to like shirts.  I came to this conclusion because every time he came home from work, he stripped the shirt off, revealing the carpet that covered his chest and back.  Y'all, that man NEVER WORE A SHIRT.  What's more, he loved nothing better than to run outside and watch me mow my lawn ... without his shirt on.  AND, AND he would rub his carpeted belly while watching me.  Now, lest you think that he was the only one that fell into the category of weird, I would, at this juncture, like to point out that the WHOLE family would come out and watch me mow. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I. MOWED.  I will never know why they did this, as they moved out two Christmases ago. 

It might be that northerners mow differently than southerners. 

Perhaps I sweat more than most.

It could be that a had a zip in my step ... although, I highly doubt that. I HATE to mow.  Loathe it.  More than likely, I looked (and still do) like a hippo pushing a wagon full of the world's burdens. 

Not going to lie, I had a little celebration when the Hairy Man family moved out.  I really did.  Life in the 'hood was going along swimmingly, too, until I began summer break ... and the dude on the street behind me began his singing career. 

And by career, I mean, DUDE!  Go for plan B!!!

I've come to the following conclusions about Singer Dude:
1. He's a drunk.
OR
2. He's mentally unstable.
OR
3. He's both.
OR, and this is a real stretch,
4. He really does think he has talent. 

If #4 is the case, some one needs to right the wrong that has been done there, because I am here to tell you, Singer Dude does not have talent. None.  Zero.  Zip. Nada. What he has is the ability to make your ear drums want to pack it up and move to an isolated island some where in Siberia. 

This guy has, for three weeks now, been playing 80s Hair Band songs on his deck while he caterwauls along with Bon Jovi, Steven Tyler, Brett Michaels ... I mean the list is endless and fraught with variety. 

I will say, sitting out on the deck right now, I have heard someone throwing a lot of glass bottles away.  So, I am going to conclude that Singer Dude likes his libations, which is sad, because, really, he needs help.  Someone, please provide him with help!

Again, I am not sure what has attracted all of these crazies to my life, other than it gives me great stories to share with you all ... and fodder for future books.

Monday, June 22, 2015

GIVING MYSELF GRACE

There are seven more weeks until the beginning of my 14th year of teaching commences ... 14 years!  Good Lord, y'all!  How has it become 14 years already? I mean, I'm not that old! Yes, my driver's license says I'm 43, but seriously, I don't FEEL 43.  What does that feel like anyway?

But I digress...

I am focusing on the seven weeks ...

With some minor exceptions for work, I have seven weeks to refocus, and I've decided something radical.

What's that, you say? Well, I'm giving myself grace.  Grace, as defined by Dictionary.com, is mercy; clemency; pardon; and you know what, I'm in some need of a pardon these days

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I have struggled with my weight most of my adult life.  There are a variety of reasons for that struggle but the bottom line is that I've struggled.  It has consumed my life, actually, and I don't like that it has had that much power.

So, yeah, seven weeks of GRACE.  I am giving it to myself.

But what does that look like?  What does it mean?

Well, for one thing, I am not going to step on the scales for seven weeks.

I know!!!  Radical, right?  Here's the thing.  I was going through some old photos the other day, and I ran across some photos I took of myself when I'd lost a bunch of weight two years ago.  I was crushed, because I vividly remember how frustrated I was with the number on the scale, and y'all, I was tiny!  I looked good!  But because I was stuck in the rut of A NUMBER, I couldn't see how good I looked....how much my hard work was paying off.

Being obsessed with a number isn't helping me.  In fact, it's doing the opposite.  It's hurting me.  So, for seven weeks, no numbers.

This, of course, doesn't give me carte blanche to do whatever.  ABSOLUTELY NOT! What it does do is free me to enjoy the good food I nourish my body with, enjoy the activities I choose to challenge my body with, and to just enjoy this life I've been given.  Freedom is a good thing.

I'm also giving myself grace when it comes to my body. 

It's flawed, y'all.  I can't do everything with it that I'd like to do.  My degenerative arthritis is keeping me from running.  I can't do pounding exercises .... the list is lengthy, but rather than dwell on that, I'm going to dwell on what I can do ... and embrace it!  There is no sense in wasting any more time on what I can't do.  Time to do the things I love to do with this body ... the same body that is flabby and full of cellulite.  My thighs aren't thin and shapely.  Nope.  Not even close.  They are, however, strong and large, and they get me up steep hills when I'm hiking.  My shoulders are broad and large, but that's because I have a lot to shoulder in life.  I need those broad shoulders!

I am not a cute, little petite thing that all the men are dying to marry.  I have never been petite or little.  Tall and gangly....then tall and curvy.  I am never going to be that woman.  Nevertheless, I am creative and opinionated and funny, at times, and smart and bookish and loud and stand-offish and shy and out-going, at times, and obsessed with coffee and all those things that make me an individual ... and I'm going to love myself for all those things.

I'm giving myself grace. 

Take me or leave me, this is me, and I'm okay with that. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

37 MORE TO GO ... 50 BOOKS IN A YEAR CHALLENGE

COLD FEAR by Rick Mofina

I wasn't sure about this one, y'all.  When I first got my Kindle, my mom told me about this service call Book Bub.  You can get cheap and free ebooks downloaded right to your Kindle.  I signed up, not really sure what sorts of books I might be getting.  Some of them are just plain bad, I'll be honest with you.  Some are no-brainers.  You know the kind ... the ones you want to read but not think about it.  Some of them, however, are gems.  I would say COLD FEAR is one of those gems.

I actually started reading this book back during my Spring Break in March.  However, the beginning just dragged along, and I had other books in my queue that were loaned out from my library's ereader program (why must I have a limit on the time it takes me to read a virtual book???  I. Don't. Get. It.).  So, I sorta virtually shelved it for a while.

I started back up with it last week, and if it weren't for the fact that I couldn't keep my eyes open whenever I began to read this book, I probably would have had it done in two days time.  Because, once the plot got rolling, it was a page turner for sure!  The story was told through a number of characters, and each character built on the last, and before it was all said and done, I was pulled into the story and wanted to see how it all played out.

Rick Mofina was a crime reporter, so his story is plausible. He alludes to the fact that this particular story might sound familiar to some that lived along the US-Canadian border near the Pacific Coast some 25 year ago.  I imagine he pulled heavily on stories he actually reported on. 

After finishing the book, I did a scant amount of research on Mofina.  Turns out, he's a prolific writer, and this particular book was in a series of books highlighting two characters from this title. Funny thing is, the characters didn't play a particularly significant role in this book, at least from my stand point.  There was another character that seemed slightly more integral than others.  Having said that, all the characters whose point of view the story was told were pretty strong characters.

As a side note, who ever edited the book, missed quite a few grammatical errors.  That was fun to pick out.

Overall, if you are looking for a good suspense/mystery title to take to the beach, I would recommend this one!

37 more to go ... I might be able to do this yet! 

Monday, June 15, 2015

BLOOMING

I went for my daily walk this morning.

It was sooooooooo HOT. 

I can not stress this enough.  HOT.  HOT!

I waited too long into the morning to go, but I drug my butt out there because, well, my butt is the size of Cleveland.  It needs the walk. 

I went to my favorite walking spot, realizing that I would probably be out there by myself.  Just me and nature.  And the HOT.

Not sure why this happens -- maybe it's because I am a captive audience, but profound stuff occurs to me when I am by myself in nature. 

There is this spot on the track (a soft, cement-like track that goes around a pasture and the edge of a forested area), where a crack has formed, and a clump of crab grass has grown into a lush, bushy mess.  Right there in the middle of the track, there's this grass!  It has always struck me as ironic (I like literary irony), and I've been meaning to point it out to my walking buddy.  Only, she isn't in town currently. 

So, there I was, sweating buckets around the mostly exposed walking trail, and there was that ding dang clump of grass. 

You know that clichéd phrase: BLOOM WHERE YOU'RE PLANTED?  Yeah, well, that floated into my head the first go-around on the walking trail.

BLOOM WHERE YOU'RE PLANTED.  This clump of crab grass certainly took advantage of that opportunity!

And then it hit me...amongst the wilty weeds (you know an area needs rain badly when even the weeds are wilting), blue skies, and blessedly stiff breezes, that I've been blooming where I was planted.

Listen, it hasn't always been easy.  When I look back at the almost nine years (NINE. YEARS. Where does the time go???) I've been a Kentuckian, there have been plenty of times where I would have liked to have thrown in the towel.  I never did, though, because I knew this is where I was suppose to be blooming.

There were plenty of times that I looked like those wilty weeds, just limping along, waiting for a good downpour to quench me.  I bloomed though. 

I landed here in the Bluegrass when I was 34 years old.  Sheesh!  That seems a lifetime away from my current 43 years.  So much wisdom has been garnered since then.  So many life lessons have been learned (or not) since then.  So many seasons under my belt since then.  So many mistakes have been made, and so many celebrations have been had.

If it weren't for my blooming, I wouldn't have this rugged beauty before me ... I wouldn't have had the experiences offered to me ... I wouldn't have these beautiful people I call my Kentucky family. 

Blooming where I've grown has allowed me to weave a tapestry of colors that are both complex and beautiful.

It may be a cliché, but BLOOMING WHERE YOU GROW is a challenging thing ... a hard thing ... but an oh-so rewarding thing.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

POISON OAK

I have poison oak.

Y'all.  It took me TWO DAYS to figure this out!  TWO. 

I got a wild hair, and, as so many of these projects go, a weeding project turned into a "Get Rid of ALL the DANG Bushes in my Yard" project ... with a hacksaw, mind you. 

I suppose the itching started that next day.  Three spots crawling up my leg.  Chigger bites.  That's what I thought.  Those dag-blasted things love to eat me alive, and they will cause me to itch for weeks.  I'd much rather have mosquito bites, I do believe.  And I'm not talking the wimpy mosquitoes you find around this area.  No, no.  I'm talking about the come-out-of-the-back-woods of Northern Michigan kind.  The kind that could pick you up and carry you away. 

You think I'm exaggerating, don't you? 

Oh honey!  Think again.  The mosquito is the unofficial state bird of Michigan.  For realsies.

So, I scratched the daylights out of those chigger bites because I CAN. NOT. leave bug bites alone.  I'm like a 10 year old.  In fact, I am not entirely sure why I tell my fourth graders to stop picking at bug bites/scabs/what not and so forth on their arms and legs, when, given the opportunity, I would pick away myself. 

It's a sickness.

Only these chigger bites weren't like normal bites.  They started oozing after scratching them. 

Ummmm, red flag number 1! 

I'm a bit slow on the uptake at times.

Then there was this whole spot of stuff that looked a lot like a spider bite.

Folks, my first bout of poison oak?  Yeah, thought that was a spider bite too.  In fact, so did the inept ER physician I saw at 2 really early in the morning.  He sent me home with antibiotics. 

Fat lot of good that did me.  By morning, it was all over my forhead and chest.  My mother was all, "GET TO THE DOCTOR, NOW!"

Doctor took one look at me and was all, "OH YEAH!  Poison Oak!"

What the doctor failed to tell me was that while on vacation, I should avoid the sun ... and sweating ... cuz, that encourages the spread of said poison oak. 

Awesome sauce!

That little misstep led me to ANOTHER ER visit, this one in Westfield, NY.  I highly recommend this little hospital ... at least I did 11 years ago.  Nice staff ... totally knew there stuff ... and dude that helped me out (I'm a little fuzzy on all the details what with all the Benadryl they pumped me up with .... Land a'mighty, that stuff will put me under a table faster than you can say SWEET TEA!) informed me, "Yeah, so, sorry about your vacation, but stay out of the sun."

Vacation....at a lake ... for a week ... talk about cruel and unusual punishment ...

Any who!  It wasn't until last evening that I really took a look at that supposed spider bite, plus the other spots that were starting to show up (and itch!) that I decided to do what all smart, highly educated people do:
1. Google it
2. Ask the interwebs

So, yeah, poison oak.  This mean I must limit my sweating. Easier said than done when it's 91 degrees out, and you refuse to turn on your AC because you're trying to save money. 

Summer Break is starting out fabulously!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

On the Lines of "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!"

A couple of weeks ago, my sister and I were out antiquing, and we found our selves at a local-ish outlet mall area, parched and ready for a snack.  We decided upon Culvers, in part, because they have diet Root Beer, a sister favorite. 

Now, we probably should have known better when we got ourselves into the longest drive thru line EVER. 

I'm claiming ignorance due, in part, to being in a state of heightened dehydration.

I am not going to hazard a guess as to how long we sat in the line, but let's just say A REALLY, REALLY long line. 

As we pulled up to the window, we both saw the girl, with BRIGHT pink hair, fussing with our diet Root Beers.  See, the thing is, I get it.  Root Beer is a drive thru window server's nightmare.  Cars are piling up all the way around the place, and there you stand, waiting for the dang fizz to settle down.  And I might have given her some grace if it weren't for the fact that they were terminally slow to begin with ... and if it weren't for what happened next.

I grabbed the drinks, noticing, immediately, how light they were.  Ann voiced what I was thinking. 

"Are you kidding me?"  Peeking in the cup, she then exclaimed. "Umm, these are only a quarter of the way full!!"

Apparently, said drive thru window chick (let's just call her Pink Hair) decided she didn't have the patience for dealing with the root beer fizz, so she handed us the cups full of fizz and sent us on our way.  

True story.

Ann went in to fill our cups, both of us cackling the entire time (and, really, it didn't take her long at all), only to discover, when she got back, that we didn't have any straws.  I suppose, when you only hand a person a cup with just a smidgen of liquid, in your mind you're thinking, "Eh, why bother with straws?  One swig, and it's gone."

And while I appreciate Pink Hair's attentiveness to the environment, I sorta feel like if I'm going to spend a $1.50 each on beverages, I maybe should get something that equates to more than just a swig. 

Call me crazy.

This leads me to the following question:  What has happened to the art of common sense?

I wouldn't ask this if it were an isolated incident.  However, more and more, I am encountering people that are straight-up stupid. 

Is it social media?  Are we becoming a species of dumbies due to our obsession with social media?  It seems like a logical deduction when you watch how many people actually interact with each other at, say, a restaurant, versus look at their phones/Facebook accounts/Snap Chats/Instagrams, etc., etc.

I, oftentimes, wonder why I waste the money to go out to lunch/dinner with people when all they do is read their Facebook pages.  Am I that much of a dullard?  I mean, I realize I am not the best conversationalist around, but, I mean, I think I can hold my own. 

I will just float that question out there to the interwebs ...