Kerri, with a K

trying to be me

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Ongoings and Businessy Things

Been a bit busy lately.  And I have quite a few posts that are in need of backdating, because they should have been posted long ago.  Including the Boy’s 11 month newsletter.  Especially since he’ll be 1 in less than 10 days.  Pretty amazing.  And I could go on and on about all the fantastic and amazing things he does and gush over him, but I’ll save that for his newsletters.

I’ve been busy doing quite a bit actually.  Hubs and I have been going to our local farmer’s market and trying to sell things.  What REALLY happened was that we got a lot of email addresses and phone numbers for a nice database.  So we’ll see if anything comes from that.

Also, and probably more importantly, I found myself a paid writing position.  Well, it’s a contract/freelance type gig, but it pays.  So I’m SO game.  It’s nice.  I can turn over a large number of articles in  a short period of time for any given project, and there’s very little editing that is requested of me.  It’s pretty awesome.  So awesome that I’ll be ordering business cards soon.  Yup.  I think this could take off.  And at the very least, I’ll have something to put in those fishbowls at restaurants to win a free lunch.  Optimistic, no?

So, if you are in need of a writer, check out my contact/hire me page that will be coming soon.  Because this is my blog and I’m allowed to promote myself, shamelessly or otherwise.


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Newsletter: Month Ten

Dear Logan Mateo,

I can’t believe you’re 10 months old.  And in nine short weeks, you’ll be 1.  Every time I look at the calendar, more time has passed and you just keep changing and growing.  And you keep doing new things that make us laugh.  You really are my favorite little guy.

Last month we took a very long car trip to visit your Grammie and Papa in Florida, and you were really a trooper.  A 12+ hour car ride is hard for adults, but I can imagine it was much harder for you, as displayed every day now when you fuss more about getting in your carset than you used to.  But I suspect the more we do it, the easier it will be.  We just won’t be doing any super long car rides for awhile.

Your Grammie and Papa absolutely LOVED you.  We went to the beach, and you stuck your toes in the Gulf of Mexico at Fort Desoto, but the water was a little overwhelming for you, so you and I played on the beach in the sand.  And then you ate the sand.  But you still had fun running around and playing with Grammie and Papa.

You also had your first ride in a swing in Florida.  We stopped in St. Augustine at a park that had a merry-go-round, which you did not love.  And you sat in the swing.  And you kicked your feet and laughed.  And it was your favorite thing.

And you’ve been doing more mimicking lately.  You laugh when we laugh.  I’m not sure if it’s a real laugh or a fake copied laugh, but it’s certainly funny.  And you seem happy about doing it.

Oh, and you’ve been waving.  I can’t tell you how happy I am that you’ve started waving.  You don’t wave to everyone.  Mostly to that awesome baby in the mirror, and to mom and dad sometimes, and if you’re in the mood, one of the nice ladies at Church.  And it’s so cute.

This last week, you’ve been doing something totally new and different and cracks me up every time you do it.  And you seem to enjoy it also.  You love the big pillows on our bed, so you try to pick one up, and pull it back on top of you as you fall backwards laughing.  This is the kind of thing I need a video for because I honestly die laughing every time you do it.

I have to say that out of all the funny, cute or amazing things you do, you are still a little ladies man.  In fact, all dressed up in your Easter suit on Easter Sunday, you found yourself a new girlfriend.  She’s older than you, but only by four months.  She held your hand, gave you a hug, and then kissed you.  I thought I’d have a few more years before I’d have to worry about you dating, but this was just plain adorable.

You’ve been so great and so adaptable, even when it’s been hard and we’ve been so busy.  Your dad and I had a real estate seminar, and we were able to work it out so we could go in shifts and someone could stay with you.  Only one day it didn’t work, and we needed a babysitter.  For the second time in 10 months.  And you were great.  It’s understandable that you were a little sad and wasn’t really sure what was going on, even though I talked to you about it beforehand.  You’re still just a little guy, and you’re still learning, and it was hard.  But your babysitter, A, loved you anyway.  And we made sure to thank her the next chance we got.  And you got her a cute little stuffed bunny to thank her, too.

So, your first Easter was a success, new girlfriend and all.  Oh!  And we played bubbles for the first time!  Meemaw sent you a box of great things, including a tshirt, some toys, and bubbles.  So, of course, we had to play with them.  At first you weren’t sure what to think, but once you realized that those crazy bubbles were getting away, they were so funny.  I’m not sure who was more excited playing bubbles, you or me.  I know I can’t wait to play bubbles again and I can’t wait until I can teach you how to blow bubbles.  I’m sure you’ll love it.

You’ve also been so great at the baseball games we’ve gone to.  Two in the last week.  The second was a hard game because it didn’t start until 7pm, which was awfully close to bedtime.  But we got there a little after 5, and kept you entertained the whole time.  You loved watching the Tides Band

And then bonding with Gramma sitting next to us when she gave you a french fry.  And then another.  You are quite the little charmer, and everyone you meet comments on how happy you are.  And I agree.  You never get sad or fussy unless there’s a really good reason.  Or you’re tired.

I know we keep you busy, and you do so well just going with the flow.  Logan Mateo, you are such a great kid.  And you’re so happy.  And I can’t wait to watch you continue to grow and learn.  It’s been so amazing so far, and you keep the surprises coming.




F is for… F/18

It’s been all over the news.  It started locally, but wasted no time spreading like wildfire to DC, Baltimore, New Jersey, the Boston, and beyond I’m sure.  But the news was scary, nonetheless.  A Military Jet (F/18) crashed into a local apartment complex in Virginia Beach just after noon today.  The very same apartment complex Hubs and I would drive by going to the beach for the last two summers.  The very same type of jets that flew over our apartment a few miles away where we lived for two years.  Yeah, it’s scary.

And the miracle here is that everyone survived.  There were several people injured, but no one died.  And with a direct hit like that, I’m surprised but happy that no one died.  Today was Good Friday, and I can imagine there were many people that took the day off or left work early, not to mention all the kids that weren’t in school because of April break or Good Friday.  This had the potential to be a much bigger disaster.

Hubs and I talked to lots of different people who were basically saying the same thing: nothing like this has EVER happened before.  EVER.  And the amusing part to everyone is that in December, they were running maneuvers that used this very scenario, one that would help them navigate through the situation where a jet would land anywhere but the Naval Base.

And no.  No one has ever crashed into an apartment complex like this before, in this area.  However, that is not the first crash the Oceana Naval Air Station has seen 25 crashes over the past four decades, the most recent being in 2007 during a practice run for an airshow.  The jet crashed beyond the runway in the woods and the pilot died.  You can read about a few other incidents in our local paper here.

Whether there have been dozens of crashes or none, it’s still scary to think about those jets flying over our apartment, over the beach, day after day, practicing maneuvers, making noise.

I’m not gonna lie.  I don’t miss those jets.  I didn’t mind them when we lived in their air path.  But I certainly didn’t miss them.  And I miss them much less now.

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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?


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.