Sunday, January 31, 2016

BUDGET

I've been thinking for a long time that I need to create a monthly budget that I stick to like glue.  Don't get me wrong. I followed a budget ... loosely.  Let's be honest here ... VERRRRRY loosely.  In other words, I had a number, but I had no problem going over that number and dipping into my savings when ever I needed to ... which was often.

You can see where my savings ceased to be a savings when I was dipping into it all the time.

So, today, I sat down and created a monthly budget.  My sister gave me the idea to keep track of my monthly expenditures in a notebook, and, as the bank clears the payments, I mark them off in the book. This will help me to keep track of all the payments as well as to monitor expenditures for the future. This is a truly inspired idea for my non-mathematical brain!  

The good news is that I now know FOR CERTAIN where all my money is going.  The bad news is I have no money for groceries this month!  So, yeah, there will be some dipping into the savings this month.  However, I sorta feel like getting this under control, I will greatly reduce the amount of dipping that is done. I might actually save some money for Christmas and birthdays and vacations!

Getting my life in order!



BASKETBALL

I could care less about sports.  I really couldn't.

I grew up in a family that had sports-related interests, but we really didn't get crazy about it.

I mean, Michigan is kinda chock full of sports related stuff:

  • Detroit Tigers
  • Detroit Redwings
  • Detroit Lions
  • Detroit Pistons
  • Kalamzoo Wings
  • Michigan International Speedway
  • Alllllll the farm league baseball teams
  • Michigan State Spartans
  • Michigan Wolverines
  • Western Michigan Broncos
  • Central Michigan Chippewas
  • Albion College Britons ... 
The list is looooooong.

Then I moved down to Kentucky, home of the Big Blue Nation.  

Y'all.  These people are RABID fans.  Like, I've never seen more rabid fans!  CRAZY.

Saturdays?  Everyone wears Blue and White.  EVERYONE.

And on game days during basketball season?  Oh honey.  You get out your UK purse and jewelry and bedazzled UK Wildcat shoes and ....

You would not believe the stuff they make into Blue and White.  I am not even joking. 

Well, at any rate, basketball is King around here, and what is a girl to do when she is literally surrounded by crazy basketball fans?????

This past Friday, I found myself at our high school Lady Panthers' Elite 8 basketball game with allllllllll of the students in our district.  Y'all.  I got into the game.  

Shhhhhh ... don't tell anyone.  

I was shouting and yelling and hollering and clapping ... granted.  Most of the time, it was not when every one else was shouting and yelling and hollering and clapping.  

So, okay, maybe I have some room to grow in the basketball fan department.  Who knows! Rome wasn't built in a day. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

MESSIN' WITH THE HAIR

As you may know, if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, without warning, my hair decided to get a natural wave.  Just BOOM!  There it was one day.

Now, in my hair's defense, when I was a wee one, I had ringlet curls.  Those things were freakin' adorable. But then I got my first hair cut, and the travesty of justice began because all those ringlets?  Gone!

I blame my mother for this ... just because she didn't want me running around looking like a hot mess ...

The replacement to those stinkin' adorable ringlets was this baby fine, straight as a board hair that tangled if you breathed on it just right.  I have been dealing with this situation since ... well, approximately six months ago, when my hair decided, "Hey! Wouldn't it be a gas if she had to deal with wavy, curly business?"

I have spent a good deal of time, effort, and money (on hair products) to tame the beast, but in the end, the beast won.  I just am not the person that spends that much time on her hair.

I blame the 80s for this.  In the 80s, I spent hours on the construction of my hair. Much of the ozone layer problems we have today? My fault because I used a can of toxic hair spray a week. A. WEEK. on getting my hair to defy gravity and stand just so high off my head.

Oh gah!  When I think of those spiral perm-filled days!

So yeah.  Now a days?  I want to spend no more than 10 minutes on this hair, and seriously, if I can get a 5-minute face rolled into that time, then we're talking 15 minutes on all areas above the shoulders, and DUDE!  Do you know how much more time I would have to linger over my coffee???

Priceless!  PRICELESS, I tell you.

For a few weeks, I've been back to blow drying my tresses, which, quite frankly, has been bumming me out because have I mentioned the coffee lingering time?

This weekend I was all, "Okay, hair.  Here's the deal.  You've been told you look like bedhead.  Guess what?  Don't care!  There's coffee to be consumed so lets get your wave on and do your thing."

I waltzed into school this morning with the Bedhead Look ...

Okay, let's be honest here.  I limped into school ... laden down with school bags and stuff. But the Bedhead Look?  On. Point.

I managed to get all the way through my day, including recess, wherein the wind decided to intercede and, well, let's just say, it looks like an explosion in a hay stack AND bedhead.  So, yeah, winning the Awesome Hair Award for days! So, I made it all day with no one saying any thing to me ... until my last period.  I go to the door, greet my students warmly, and little dude in the front of the line goes all curled lip on me and snarls, "Miss Murray! What happened to your hair?"

Y'all.  I can't win.  I just can't.  If you want to know why I haven't met Prince Charming yet, listen, the only thing I can say is that I am not taking the sound fashion advice from the little people in my life.

Lawd! Don't mess with your hair when you hang with 9 and 10 year-olds on a daily business.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

SAYING GOOD BYE TO THE LAND LINE

Back in the fall, I did something that I thought I would NEVER do.  I cancelled my land line.

I'm going to admit it.  I've been a hold out on the whole "get rid of your land line" movement.

I am not sure why.

I can not explain it.

There is no rationalization for my holding out on this.

I suppose I could make a case that I grew up in the era of phones attached to walls wherein you had to stretch that cord as far down the hall toward the bathroom as it would go (for a little privacy) before your mom or dad hollered that you were going to ruin the whole phone ... that dialing was an actual THING and not just a figure of speech ... that I knew people that still had party lines ... and that I remember when you didn't have to use the three-digit city exchange number before you dialed the four-digit number to your friend's/cousin's/grandparents' house.

I suppose you can make that case, but I will be the first to tell you that it'd be a flimsy case.  A very flimsy case.

Truth be told, I just got to the point where paying $35 every month for a handful of calls just didn't seem very cost-effective.

So, I pulled the plug.

You know what? I've never looked back.

Yes, my childhood history with phones now resides in the annals of history ... and the local flea malls and antique stores and in the Smithsonian. Sadly, much of my childhood is now in the Smithsonian.

Times change.  I suppose I was just trying to put off the inevitable which makes me think ... that is a sign of an old fart ... someone who holds the inevitable changes off until the very last minute ...

So, I'm an old fart.

SEASONS

I have often said that I do not think I could ever live in a place where there aren't four distinctive seasons.

Now, when you grow up in Michigan, a kid can experience all four seasons in one day.

You think I'm joking. I'm not!

About ten years ago, I almost made a move to Arizona.  A giant sandbox out west where people color rocks green and spread them all over their front yard to accomplish what? A feeling of grass?  I'm not sure.

I was so close to moving ... a move that I knew in my gut was the absolute worst thing I could possibly do, and thankfully, due to a perfect storm of stuff, it fell through.  It would not have been a good move.

I remember thinking, while tooling around the greater Phoenix area "how could anyone live here? There are no trees that will change color! There will be no snow! No red buds or tulips or daffodils blooming in Spring!"

Thankfully, I landed in Kentucky.  Four distinctive seasons here!  Granted, sometimes the seasons get mixed up and Spring comes during the middle of the Christmas season, but listen.  There are four distinct seasons.  That is all this girl needs!

I love seasons!  I love the seasons of life as well. The changes in maturity and professionalism and friends and family and all the crazy ups and downs that make up Life.

Seasons can be hard, though. Seasons can be scary and frustrating and upsetting and ... well, they can just be hard.

They can be a signal of endings ... scary beginnings ... changes in the patterns and routines of life ...

I am thankful for those seasons in my life ... the people that have entered ... and those that have left. I am thankful for the friends who have worked to make our relationships ones that are mature and relevant and necessary.  I am thankful for those friends that I've had to let go for they have taught me valuable lessons to help me shape the relationships I nurture now.  I am thankful for the family that have passed through my life ... for their investment in my life ... for their influence ... for their love.  I am saddened for having lost some those family members for I miss their investment and influence and love.

Seasons are hard, but here's the thing.  I wouldn't want to do life without each and everyone of those seasons!

YOU MIGHT BE OCD IF ...

My sister has always been the organized one.

When we were kids, she used to be able to come into her room and recognize IMMEDIATELY when someone had been in there and had been moving things around.

Me?  I couldn't even recognize whether stuff had been thrown away!  I was a bit of a Messy Millie when I was a child.

For fun, I used to go into my sister's room and move things around on her dresser because I knew it would drive her crazy.

She would color code her crayons and markers.  I liked to rearrange the color coding system because dude!  She was get so annoyed with me.

I was a button pusher.  It's true.

Somewhere along the way as I've matured into the functioning adult human being that I am today, I have been bitten by the organizational bug, and the result has been this weird necessity to organize stuff in a very rigid way.

An example is my closet.  I organize my closet by article of clothing with a sub-organizational level of organizing by color.  So, I have all my short sleeved shirts organized by color, all my cardies organized by color, all long sleeved shirts organized by color ....

You see the flow, no?

I showed my sister my closet once.  She screeched that I was OCD and declared me weird ... or some such nonsense.

I denied it.  I mean, it was just a simple way of making sure everything was organized in a way that I could easily grab what I needed ... easily and quickly.  That is always the goal, is it not?

The other day, I was putting away folded clothing, and it occurred to me that, perhaps, just perhaps Ann, my sister, was correct in her assessment. Perhaps, I was a tad on the OCD side.  I came to this conclusion while I was putting away my folded underwear.

You see, not only do I have them color-coded, I also have them organized by type AND brand.

Yes, perhaps there is a teensy bit of OCD floating around in this 43-year old body.  Just a teensy weensy bit ...

Monday, January 11, 2016

Welcome 2016 ... a Rather Late Welcome, That Is

So, here we are, 11 days into the New Year, and I've finally decided it's time to write my annual New Years Blog.

Y'all.  Can we discuss how far behind I am on absolutely everything?

I swear that when I went in for knee surgery, my surgeon sucked out some brain cells while he was at it.  That must be why I can't seem to hold anything together.

Here's a synopsis of my life since the last time I blogged, which, can we discuss the last time I've blogged?  Let's not.  It's too embarrassing.

CHRISTMAS:
Christmas was wonderful!  After listening to absolutely everyone tell me that I went back to work too soon after my surgery, I am going to go on record as saying that I probably went back to work too early.  But y'all.  It was the last week of school ... before Christmas break ... and I teach 4th graders ... who were giddy about Christmas and Santa and all that stuff.  And sub plans!  Oh my word sub plans.  I just couldn't.

As a result, that last week was absolutely exhausting. Everything I did required energy I just didn't have.  So, my goal became just to survive until the end of that week.  If I could survive that week, I felt like I could make it through Christmas.

Well, I made it ... barely ... and it wasn't without numerous tearful break-downs along the way. I just couldn't wait until my family came together, and I didn't have to worry about deadlines or paperwork or anything crazy.  I could just hang out and be loved and love.

Christmas was such a blessing!  One of my favorite Christmas' on record because we just hung out and had a relaxing time. There was laughter, grumbling, eating, more laughter, sleeping, snoring, laying about, tv watching, movie watching, more grumbling, more laughter ... just all the stuff that families do.  I miss this time when we aren't all together!

And I rested.  Oh my word, I needed the rest!

NEW YEARS:
I began physical therapy.  You see, my knee wasn't bouncing back quite like it should, mainly because I went too long on two meniscus tears.  I pushed myself way too much ... was forced to push myself way too hard in some instances ... and as I result, I created massive damage in my knee.  The tears in my meniscus were easy to deal with; it was the arthritis I'd created that has been the sticking point.

The good news is that slowly but surely, I am regaining strength.  While I am not pain-free yet, my physical therapist says in time, I will be mostly pain-free.  I am sooooooo looking forward to that day, y'all. All the days. The pain free ones!

I rang in New Year like I have a lot of them recently ... sleeping until JUST before midnight, wherein I attempt to wake myself up enough to toast the new year and slurp some bubbly just before stumbling back off to bed.  It's pitiful, I know, but I am 43 years old. That's it.

I went back to school. Reality set in, and the hamster wheel has started back in earnest. However, I am trying, I really am trying, to find some time to rest and relax.  Partly because I need to find that time and partly because my physical therapist said I had to ... he's for realsies.

I don't have a ton of resolutions for this year.  I mean, let's face it.  I suck at resolutions.  I just want this year to be the one in which I finally find some balance in my life.

So, welcome 2016!  Welcome with your clean slate and scents of newness, freshness. I welcome you, if not just a tad on the late side.  I ask you to be gentle with me.  I am attempting to find my balance in all that you have to offer this year!