Thursday, May 28, 2015

From The Files Of "You've Got To Be Kidding Me," I Now Have A High Schooler

Yesterday was the 8th grade graduation ceremony, which one might be tempted to blow off, but as my 8th grade music teacher told us, "For some of you, this might be your last graduation."

We went, naturally.

The ceremony itself was a wee bit boring. Listing the accomplishments of 200 kids, many of whom  were unknown to us, can be a time consuming task. Though hearing that Morrigan had pulled her Spanish grade up two full letter grades to make the all "A" honor roll was lovely.

We made the whole family go, which I wasn't sure was the right play, until Maggie started listing off the credits she planned to have after her name in two years. Lit a fire that ceremony did.

And no matter how much high school scares us, this sweet girl is headed there after the summer!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Poetry, It's Also All About The Chickens

We're at the end of the year and desk cleaning out at school has begun in earnest. Eion, happy to be done with school, perhaps the happiest, has a decidedly slash and burn attitude, eagerly dumping reams of paper in the recycling.

But he wanted me to keep the poems he wrote. When I looked through them, there clearly was a theme.

Chicken Food
I get a hamburger to throw down
The hamburger flies down the deck
James fights everyone else here
They are gulping it down
You must fight for it
Going away
Very small

And then there's...

I Am A Chicken
I am a chicken
White as a cloud
I eat almost anything
I am fast
I can lay eggs
I can be loud
I am a chicken

And one more....

If hope could be a color
it would be blue
as blue as the heavens

If hope could be a taste
it would taste just like chocolate

If hope could be a smell
it would be the beach

If hope could be a sound
it would be screams of joy

If hope could be a feeling
it would be happiness
[Editors note: I thought hope was a feeling. I am confused.]

If hope could be an animal
it would be a chicken

Clearly, one day when he is famous, this will be known as the poultry period.

The Chickens Are Famous

Last Sunday, our family and chickens were featured in an article in the local paper. A friend asked if she could interview us and take some pictures. I had no idea the end result would be the first page in the "Extra" section and we'd be pictured above the fold! I also had no idea that a picture of our, as previously discussed, ramshackle coop would be there too. Guess that's why we have it where it can't be seen from street level.

Since it was published, I've had people all over town, including my new boss, comment on it, stop me in the street, and send me texts. It's been kind of fun.

Here is a link to the full article. Enjoy!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Damn Glad to Meet You

[My latest South Roanoke Circle Article!]

So Tim and I were grocery shopping when a man came up to us. He reached in to Tim for a hardy handshake and a jovial “How are you man?” Then he made a pivot to me and it was “So great to see you!” and hug time! As he walked away, Tim said, “Who is that guy?” Stunned, I responded, “I thought you knew him.” Baffled, we discussed the odd encounter. Not being the huggiest of people, my embrace of a complete stranger confused both of us. But it was determined that happened because of the Wilton incident.

Months prior, I was happily enjoying an adult beverage at an Oktoberfest party when new attendees arrived. A fellow started talking to us and after a few minutes, I said, “I’m not sure we’ve met before. We’re the McKernans!”

And there was silence. 

Tim and my “new” friend looked at me with disbelief, in the former’s case, and bemusement, in the latter’s. Tim broke the silence with, “Really Katie? That’s Wilton.” It sounds bad, clearly I should have known who he was, but it is even worse when you get all the background. It was Wilton, whose house backed up to our old one on Wycliffe, whose daughter had babysat for an infant Morrigan, and best of all, who I had seen just a few weeks prior at a concert. I had just introduced myself to someone I had known for 14 years. Needless to say, I was without any sort of explanation and completely mortified.

Luckily, Wilton, in addition to all the other things I’ve mentioned, also has a good sense of humor. But the whole encounter left me emotionally scarred, possibly permanently. What I knew definitively, was that I was never ever ever going to have a repeat of that moment. 

Which brings us back to our hug and run friend. Only after his, albeit friendly, accosting in the water aisle, was it clear the damage was so great, I was willing to hug weird guys just to make sure no one ever again found out about a memory lapse.

But it was worth it to hear the varied theories from friends about what was going on here. The more suspicious inquired if we still had our wallets (we did.) There were optimists who found the run in “awesome,” (notsomuch.) Those who looked at the bright side, commenting, “At least he didn’t slap you.” And one of my favorites, and infinitely plausible, the idea that Tim had saved his life at some point in the ER and he was overcome with emotion when he saw him. (I really like the thought but it really doesn’t cover why I had to be involved.)

And then there was the suggestion that struck fear in my heart: he was playing Rejection Therapy.

Basically, it is a game designed to help people overcome the fear of rejection. The main rule, as stated by their website, is that “you must be rejected by another person at least once, every single day.” They go on to elaborate on what counts - “you have to be in a position of vulnerability but allow the respondent to be in a position of power.” The cards include a multitude of suggestions such as “Sit beside a stranger. Strike up a conversation.” and “Challenge a stranger to a game of rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock.” 

As an ├╝ber extrovert, just mildly forgetful sometimes, I have no need whatsoever for such a game. But let me tell you, I live in constant terror of it, and the card “Convince a stranger you know them,” catching on. But in the good news department, I’ll never be short hugs.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Quest To Escape Gym Class

Let me tell you about how I am going to complain about my decidedly 1st world problems and you are going to listen, dammit. I spent the hours between 3:15 and 8pm shuttling children to forensics tryouts, swimming, and a meeting about YFit or "how to escape gym class in high school." This does not sound like lots of driving, but let me tell you, I was in the car for hours today. You're lucky I am sparing you the details.

But suffice to say, we now have Morrigan signed up to complete a Health class online this summer and participate in YFit, which will take the place of gym. As one who was a hater of PE, this exemption was of utmost importance.

The meeting was informational and a sign up. I had a brief moment of panic when I realized that Morrigan had from June 1st-July 24th to complete 70 hours at the Y, and she is at camp for two of those weeks. The idea that my bookworm was suddenly going to log 1.75 hours of exercise each and every single day until she left for camp on July 12th was laughable.

But fortunately, if it is an active camp, it counts as 20 hours, meaning she is starting out with 40 hours and only has 30 left to complete. Much more plausible. Her fencing class is also at the YMCA, meaning that time will be included. Bonus!

I was reminded of how fortunate we are when we went to pay for the classes. The online health and YFit were $240 altogether. The cashier asked if I needed to set up payments. Baffled, I asked her "For what?" Duh (she didn't really say that) the class. "Can't I just write a check?" Indeed I could but it seemed I was in somewhat of a minority by being prepared to pay on the spot.

Morrigan's days of leisure will be quite busy, but she will have two classes complete when she walks through the doors of Patrick Henry High School this fall!

I'm Not Even Apologizing

We're on record for the lowest number of posts ever in a month and I'm not even apologizing! I spent a few weeks working like crazy to get our house ready to go on the market, sure we had found the house to which we wanted to move. Sadly, it didn't work out but on the plus side, my house is looking better than ever!

We've also been deluged with end of the year activities. Maggie had a band concert.

She's not sure if she wants to continue with band, possibly opting for something more "practical" that would aid in her current goal to be a dermatologist. We told her she could do whatever she liked, but music could be part of a path to a career in medicine too.

Mags has also started back up with swim team. We are at a new pool and she's making friends and getting back into fighting shape. Two practices in and she's all smiles.

Eion's class was part of a project where the kids wrote and performed their own songs. He was so nervous the morning of that he didn't want to go. His classmates insisted they NEEDED him and he overcame his fears. The result was cute. And it did seem they needed him!

Sorry for the crummy video but you get the idea.

Morrigan has been going to Patrick Henry HS everyday after school to try out for the Forensics team. I'll keep you posted but fingers crossed she makes the team. It seems like such a good fit for her!

Last piece of news - I am employed! Shocking, I know. I start tomorrow as the assistant to the Executive Director of Mill Mountain Zoo. I'm looking forward to the increased activity and challenge.

Hope your May is full of updates too!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Just Checking In...

So I've kind of gone nuts with spring cleaning and have been a busy bee clearing out every nook and cranny of the house. But also managed to fit in a few less mundane activities!

A Kentucky Derby Party

I went with E's class on a field trip to Apple Ridge Farm. It was a beautiful day and the kids had a blast collecting tadpoles and other slimy creatures from the creek. Apparently, this helped cement the notion the "Eion's Mom is at school all the time." (In a positive way.) I could only laugh when several moms told me their children admonished them for not being more like E's mom. Clearly, they hadn't asked Eion about my super mom status.

We have wee baby birds that hatched in a nest in the garage.

A fun progressive supper party down the street.

And the opening of the pool season!

We switched pools this year and Eion was delighted that one of his best buds was also there. The girls are still adjusting but we hope it is a good move for us all!

The spring cleaning is reaching an end, leaving time for more fun activities!