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.