Kerri, with a K

trying to be me


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A Southern Education

Hubs and I have been talking on and off about what to do about school for the Boy.  The agreed upon idea is to have him attend elementary school here in Virginia, and then for middle school, send him North to be with his relatives and have the benefit of education in the North, while attending the choir school, provided he can – and he probably will – get in.  I’m actually quite happy with this plan for a few reasons.  The first is that it is extremely important to Hubs that the Boy at least audition for the choir school.  The second is all the time he’ll get to spend with his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins who all live in the same general area.  And thirdly, because there is no question that the schools in Massachusetts are exemplary.  I’d say they were number one, on speculation only simply because in my research, I found out that MA was recently ranked #3 out of 50 for education.  Vermont ranked first.  And Virginia ranked seventh on the same list.

But there are so many different lists out there.  In some, MA is ranked first.  But what are they basing these rankings on?  Is it overall test scores?  Percentages of students that can read at an advanced level?  How many degrees the state is handing out?  Because all are very valid statistics.  But they change with the wind, I’m sure.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love Virginia and I love the South.  But I am worried about how good the education system is.  Granted, the Boy will theoretically only be attending until he is middle school aged, so it doesn’t matter.  Except it does.  And of course, we can do as much home schooling as we need to to supplement what he may not be getting.  And all this is speculation of course because I don’t know first hand how the education system is here.  Although, having heard the word funner twice in one day really makes me question how well children are being taught.  And what’s worse is that I heard it from an adult on the radio, and then a student said it later in an unrelated topic.  A word like that makes my ears bleed.  And I make up words all the time, but that was just ridiculous.

What was also interesting was yesterday, Hubs and I had some free time, so we went to our local Harley store where they had a petition we’d wanted to sign about tolls they want to put in on our tunnels.  We’re against those tolls, in case you were wondering.  Anyway, after signing the petition, we spoke to a salesman about buying a bike, and he had some great information, which is a whole other story.  The interesting part about our salesman was that he was a retired Math teacher from Brockton, MA who moved to Virginia in 2005.  He has two young children who are not yet in school, and he and his wife are struggling with the same issue of what to do about education that we are.  His opinion was that, coming from MA and being a retired teacher, MA has the best school system in the country.  Of course, I’m sure he’s biased having taught in Brockton, but it is clearly a consensus that MA may have a better school system than Virginia.

We still have time to decide, with Boy still being so young.  But we’re also thinking that he will probably attend a Catholic school down here instead of the public schools.  And again, this is a long way off.  Or maybe it’s not.

Also, I think the South gets a bad rap and is constantly, from what I see, being referred to as uneducated.  But do I really want to test that theory?

A question for you, gentle readers: what are your thoughts on the school systems in your area?  Would you move to be in a better district or state that allegedly has the highest rates or scores?  What about education, benefits and programs for children with special needs – would you relocate for a better program, or would you not want to move because the programs are the most beneficial?


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First Stop, Savannah, Georgia

We got back from our nice little vacation Wednesday.  We drove down to Florida to visit Hubs’ parents, as we have done and will do every year.  So since we drove down, so much time in the car meant a lot of stops to stretch and rest and let the Boy stretch and walk around with us.

One of my favorite stops on the drive down was beautiful Savannah, Georgia.  Hubs has a friend who visited Savannah recently and said it was the best part of his trip.  So Savannah came strongly recommended.  It was definitely our best stop on the way down.

There is so much history and beauty in Savannah.  I was constantly snapping pictures, trying to capture as much as I could in the short time we were there.

Our first stop out of the car was a gorgeous water fountain – because we love water fountains – and the Boy loved watching it.  In fact, he could barely take his eyes off it.  This is one of my favorite pictures of Hubs and the Boy.  It’s almost like being there, looking at this picture.

The Capital building (?) was the first thing to catch my eye when we drove into town.

The flowers were just magnificent.  In fact, I saw other people with their cameras just taking pictures of the different flowers and the gigantic trees with beautiful Spanish moss draping down.

And then there were the bridges.  And the cobblestone streets.  And the riverfront.  There was nothing about Savannah that didn’t awe me.

Oh and the statues.  There is so much history in Savannah.  One interesting tidbit that we read about was John Wesley, who co-founded the Methodist movement with his brother Charles Wesley.  And they are both known for writing many Christian hymns.

On our way out of Savannah, we drove along the riverfront so we could drive on the cobblestone street.  At one shop, there was a line around the corner.  It was either an ice cream shop or a place to take tours of historic Savannah.  There were also street performers at almost every quasi-intersection.  Hubs wanted to stop and pull out his guitar and start jamming with them, but he settled for slowing down and giving them encouraging nods, and perhaps trying to sing with them while driving by.

Being there reminded me of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, except not.  It was a movie from the 90’s staring John Cusack, and while it took place in Savannah, I don’t remember anything in the movie looking like anything we saw while we were there.  I did, however, think in a heavy Southern accent.  I may have spoken with it as well, but I was too busy taking pictures to maintain it.

All in all, this may be a permanent stop on our drive down from now on.  It’s funny, considering we’ve been down to Florida three times in the past three years, and this was our first time stopping in Savannah.  Our first year we stopped in St. Augustine, Florida, which we did on the way back this year.  And we love it.  And the Boy is still very young, but I hope that he’ll remember our trips as he gets older and we do them every year.


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Thoughts on Social Media: Personal Experiences

Social media is a funny thing.  I’ve been sitting with these thoughts for a few days after my friend Lance over at By Any Other Nerd started posting about finding social networks online to be beneficial.  I wanted to sit with these ideas and stew them over and hope a profound post would come from it.  (And believe it or not, Lance and I met through Craigslist, and met in person, and continue to keep in contact through Facebook).

But the fact is, social media is a funny thing.  The big dogs at the moment are Facebook for personal connections, Twitter for those random thoughts you need to spew out at a random moment, Pinterest is for all those things you see on the internet that you like/love/hate that you wish you could post somewhere that you could go back to, because, hey, that was a great idea you saw that one time.  And then of course there’s Tumblr and Reddit and Instagram, and many more.  I don’t think we’ll be lacking social networks for any length of time.  But they are a funny animal.

We spend hours facebooking, and playing games and sending messages and updating our statuses and wonder if anyone is reading them, only to be gratified by the lourdes of comments we get on a particular post.  And then we stalk our former classmates from a distance, waiting for some status update that confirmed everything you thought you knew about that person.

We’re all guilty of these things at one time or another.

But networks like Facebook are so much more than that.  When I initially signed up in 2008, I remember looking up classmates and friends, and wonder what their lives were like.  I genuinely wanted to know, without having to attend a reunion (one that I am fairly certain I was not invited to because it was for a particular circle, and not for everyone as they would have you think), what these people were doing so many years later.  Turns out, they’re doing the same things I’m doing.  Getting married, having kids, buying houses, or just living their lives, only as adults.  And at first, I was nosy, I’ll admit, but I find now that I really do care about how everyone is doing.

My heart broke when two elementary/middle/junior high classmates passed away within a year of each other.  I hadn’t spoken to either of them in several years, and maybe I wouldn’t have again had things been different, but without Facebook, instead of getting the sad information right away, I would have gotten the phone call from my mother wherein she asks why I didn’t know when it happened and here it is three weeks later.  And even more recently, a classmate’s mother passed away.  I didn’t know her mother was ill, and we were never close friends, but it still broke my heart for her.  And it’s funny because I remember detesting her in high school based on nothing other than the fact that we ran in different circles.

And then we grew up.  And got married.  And had kids.  And I think she’s a wonderful person, a strong and successful woman, and had we met now instead of then, I’m sure we would be friends.  But we’ll comment on each others photos and tell each other how beautiful our children are and we’ll go about our business and live our lives as they are.

I also appreciate social networks like facebook for allowing me to extend an olive branch to a girl I essentially tortured into leaving school (or so I remember – and maybe it happened differently, but I still feel guilty for whatever role I played).  And although I probably won’t see her anytime soon, it is nice to know that I can continue to extend that olive branch and perhaps get forgiveness.

I promise, this isn’t supposed to be an advertisement for facebook, but rather a recap of my own personal experiences and benefits of social media outlets.

But all experiences aren’t necessarily good ones.  I remember quite vividly a time when I was 15 and when AOL was big, and chatrooms were all the rage.  I met someone in a Boston chat who claimed to be 18 and lived in Tennessee.  I was young and trusting, and it wasn’t long before we were talking on the phone, and then he was sending me things, and he was trying to convince me that we could start a life together… along with my savings account.  I was lucky to have overinvolved parents, as that person turned out to be a pimp or something equally unsavory, and I could have gotten in a whole mess of trouble because of it.

And although that was probably one of the most dangerous things I’ve ever done, I will say that I have had some equally meaningful conversations with total strangers who remained total strangers.  We talked about life, and love and problems at home or with friends in somewhat of a penpal context.  I remember being to be completely candid and able to think profoundly and articulate myself to someone who was not judgy and just reading words typed on a page, and responding with something equally profound and candid.

There are so many pros and cons, and I guess I just want to say that social media is a funny animal.  It can help promote face to face connections with people you would otherwise have nothing to do with or would go months if not years without speaking.  And quite honestly, I do enjoy being able to communicate with people because I can’t just go anywhere I please given that I do live a few hundred miles away from the people I want to communicate with.  And while there are so many pros and cons, it is definitely up to the individual to see its worth.

Ok, I’ve ranted enough on this.


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Visiting Day

I went to visit my Aunt L (AL) yesterday.  It was a favor to my dad of sorts.  And probably the right thing to do.  AL is a recovering drug addict.  As in, I knew her all my life and she never did drugs around the family, and things never got to the point of an intervention, and I don’t think I knew about any of it until I got much MUCH older.  She has a daughter T, who now has a son OC who is severely disabled.

But no one comes to St. Pete to visit them.  Hubs and I have been down here three times, and this was the first time we visited.  Mostly because I didn’t have much interest before, given the history.  AL had stolen from me once or twice, and from the family of course.  And she is the reason my dad is blind nearly blind in one eye.  But when my parents needed her, she was there.  So I went to visit.

And it was sad.  The house she’s living in now was left to her from her mother who passed away five years ago.  She had three houses, and two of them were sold to divide the money between her children.  I don’t think my dad saw a penny.

The house looks very different than I remember it.  The outside looks awful and unkempt, but the inside was just as clean as it had ever been.

And I say it was sad because I hadn’t been here in over five years and I wasn’t surprised by any of it.  I went with a mixture of excitement and anxiety.  I don’t have many relatives, much less ones that I care to have anything to do with, and the fact was, AL was a constant for awhile.  And I miss having family.  I remember times when she would do my hair, and would want to take me places and would always acknowledge me.

I’ve had her on my mind since we decided to visit St. Pete this year.  Nothing big or spectacular, just a thought.  And I’d been weighing the pros and cons of going to visit and what precautions I’d have to take and how I would have to prepare myself emotionally.  But yesterday morning, I called my parents to ask their opinion.  I wanted to know that what I wanted to do was the right thing to do and was what they wanted me to do.

And it was, of course.

So we visited.  And it was hard.  And sad.  But also good because she is still family, and I was happy to hear she was doing so well.  T on the other hand, is doing exactly what AL had done at the same age.  Running the streets and doing drugs and probably selling herself for cash.  And perhaps this is all speculation.  And I won’t be the judgy one, even though I’m probably judging them six ways from Sunday because it is not what I would do.

But then again, what WOULD I do in those circumstances?

Anyway, it made me so grateful for the things I have and the life I have, and the family and friends that I have in my life.  It truly made me see that things are going to go the way they are supposed to go, and you just have to be patient.

But the point is, I did it.  And it was the right thing to do.


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Trying to Be Me

We’re visiting my in-laws in Florida.  And while it’s been great, I feel like I’ve been walking on eggshells trying to do everything “right.”  Or at least how my MIL would want things done.  And while I think I’m a good mom, I often wonder what she’s thinking.  There’s been six kids and thirteen grandkids that she’s been through, there’s no doubt she’s judging me.

And now that I’ve gotten that off my chest…

I’m thinking about revamping this blog.  My other blog has gone through various incarnations wherein I was trying to find its voice and its feel, and I think I’ve done that.  And of course the background changes every so often when I’m feeling whimsical.  And to be honest, I feel more like myself over there.  And I want that here, instead.  Or perhaps in addition to…

Anyway…

The first thing that has changed was the web address.  I was looking for something defining about me.  Maybe a word or phrase that I use constantly that would spark someone to think, Oh, I’ve heard her say that or that is sooo her.  But that was hard because all the clever things I kept coming up with were clearly taken.  So I went with my name.  But that is sooo me.

Also, I’m not just a mom.  I’m a woman, a wife, a writer, a TV aficionado and a tech geek who misses being a tech geek.  So I want this blog to encompass all those things, rather than just the one.  I expect there will be lots of mommy things because the Boy is just so cute and keeps me on my toes constantly.  But I’m aching to find a place to be myself and to fit in.  Not just because somebody wants me to, but because it’s me.


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A Post About My Free Knife

As if clothes shopping wasn’t bad enough, but did I really need to be distracted by the promise of a free knife?

But I totally was.  I was busy stalking a dress in Walmart when they announced that in two minutes, everyone would receive a FREE KNIFE.  And who doesn’t like free?

It ended up being a demonstration about the famous Forever Sharp knife that is guaranteed never to go dull over the life of the knife, which is supposed to be forever.  And for watching/participating in the demonstration, we got a free paring knife, for each of us.  Because who doesn’t love a paring knife?

I can’t say I wasn’t excited about watching a demonstration about a really cool knife.  I totally was.  I raised my hand and got a free “World’s Smallest Juicer.”  Which, apparently they sell in Florida for $3.  But I got it FREE!

So obviously the demonstration was to promote this really sharp knife and get you to buy it.

And guess who has a new set of knives?  Yup.  Me!  But we needed them, so it was a great deal.

So for participating, we both got a free paring knife, and I got the juicer.  The part where you had to buy something came a little later where you buy the knife which is a $33 value, and you get a second knife free.  And then they just kept adding free things.

And this is what we got.

And this is what it looks like out of the box.

Yup.  That is 3 Forever Sharp knives, a Pro-filet knife, 2 paring knives, 2 juicers, AND a set of 4 steak knives.  And this was in addition to the paring knives and juicer we already got.  Do the math.  It’s a lot of knives.  And they are really sharp.  The informercials show this knife cutting through an aluminum can.  But the demonstrator used a steel hammer a carving board and a tomato to show just how sharp this knife was.  Yup.  I was sold.

We really don’t have a need for 3 of those knives.  I wonder if we’ll ever had the need for 2.  But they give you the third knife for free with purchase so you can give it to a friend.  And every sales person or business owner out there knows that word of mouth is the best advertising is people talking.

So we have this extra knife.  And we really haven’t been out much to give it to our friends so we can tell them how awesome this really awesome knife is.   But in the meantime I had to write this post to talk about how much I love this knife.  And that I got so much for free.  And to plug their website.  And to mention that with this knife and set of knives, you will probably not need another set of knives.  Ever.  And I plan to test this fact.

Now, here’s the question: WHO WANTS A FREE KNIFE?  I have one to give away, so please let me know if you’re interested.

And check out their website for a great deal on the sets they offer.

Forever Sharp Knife Series

***I was not asked to write this post, nor am I being paid for it.  I was only asked to give a free knife to a friend and to pass along my excitement about this product.***


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Newsletter: Month Nine

Dear Logan,

Today, you are nine months old.  Funny as it is, you have been here in the world on the outside just as long as you were on the inside.  It’s funny to think about how fast time has gone by.  And you’ve done nothing but amaze me in your short time with us.

Yesterday you finally decided that you liked your sippy cup, and now you won’t let it go.  A week ago, you wore your first real pair of shoes and sandals.  You don’t LOVE them.  Frankly, I think you give me dirty looks every time I put them on your feet.

But you’ve been moving leaps and bounds.  You eat anything we give you, and I hope that continues as you get older because I want you to be a foodie, not a picky eater like your mom.  Onions?  Yuck!  Sadly, though, you are allergic to strawberries, although I hope that will pass because they are just so yummy.

I can’t believe how much you’ve changed since you were born.

You are turning into such a handsome little boy.

And you have such a big personality.  But it’s no surprise given who your parents are.

You love food, standing, trying to walk on your own, playing in your room, reading, and playing at the beach.  The next time we have a beautiful day, we’re going to get you some beach toys so you can REALLY play.

You also have finally taken a liking to the rocking horse you got for Christmas.  You used to be afraid to ride it, and now you try to climb it on your own.  You’re a little risk taker.

And you still love playing the piano.  You play every chance you get.  And you can’t get enough.  And there’s that cute way you turn and smile looking for approval for the awesome song you just played.

Every day is a new day with you, kiddo.  There’s always something new that you do or try.  And holy potatoes are you talking up a storm.  You’ve got a very clear “Mum-mum-mum” and “Da-da-da.”  It cracks me up because it seems you know what you’re saying when you say it.  But that could be coincidence.  Who are we kidding?  You’re brilliant!  You know who you want to talk to.  When you’re cranky or sad or want Mumma, you know how to call her.  And it’s so great.

What about those crocodile tears?  You’ve mastered the art of being a big, fat, faker and it is hysterical.  Because while you’re a pro at pretending to be sad because you didn’t get your way or someone told you ‘no,’ I’ve become quite adept at determining which cries are your real cries, and which ones have nothing but fake tears.  And you know I know, but you try anyway.

And then there’s that adorable way you smile at everything.  You are such a happy kid, it’s amazing.

It’s hard to picture my life without you in it.  And every day with you is so much fun.  And I honestly can’t wait to see what you come up with next.

Love,

Mum-mum-mum