Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Summer Begins (Or: OUCH!)

Today was, in my house, the first official day of summer.

I know that on the calendar summer started last week. But wait a minute. Not so fast. My youngest son didn't get out of school till yesterday. But more important, today was the first day I went kayaking.

In other words, today was the day when I found out:

-- whether my paddling calluses had softened. (Answer: Only on the left hand.)
-- how much my paddling muscles had atrophied. (Answer: A lot!)
-- how effective sunscreen is when it's past its use-by date. (Answer: Still pretty much effective. But, amazingly, it only works where you use it! What's up with that?!? I have two sunburned arms, sunburned cheeks, and funny little Vs on both thighs where I missed with the application.)

Still, though? Kayaking is magical. We were on Lake Washington today, starting in Medina, home of Bill Gates. If we'd gone north we would have passed his home. Instead we went south, where we passed many that were equally palatial.

What amazed us most is how few people are ever out enjoying these magnificent houses. We see lot of gardeners, sure. The occasional housekeeper. Some roofers and construction guys. But when it comes to homeownere enjoying their multi-million dollar homes? One woman putting on a wetsuit for a swim, and one young woman in a bikini sitting under a sun umbrella on her dock, perusing a laptop. That was it.

I think that none of these people could match me (and my friend Anita, the kayak owner) when it comes to sheer joy.

Because it's that happy time again, the time for the kayaks.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Legend and Lore

A young woman who graduated with my son informed my husband tonight that there is a MySpace (or something similar) petition online entitled "Save [Michael's] Diploma." As of earlier today it had been signed by at least fifty people, all of them apparently unaware that he actually now has his diploma. This is how news travels during the summer -- in bits and pieces via text messages and phone calls.

"Did you hear...?"
"Yes, and also...?"
"Yeah, I know! And somebody told me..."

I think this is how Paul Bunyon got started.

The humor here is that this is a child who generally keeps a low profile, at least in the adult world. So much so that the former leader of the youth choir had a hard time coming up with anecdotes for the church Baccalaureate, even though she's known him since he was two.

And now he is famous. Although perhaps not in a way that he had planned.

(I've done a web search for the site but can't find it. I'll ask my daughter when she gets home.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Dissolving Into Happy Sighs

Graduation is over. The controversy is done. The diploma is safely in hand. The relatives have all left.

My husband is out of town. I have a book of Sudoku, a couple of soccer games I could watch on the computer, and a brand new book by Janet Evanovich, courtesy of a trip to Costco. Oh, and a new iPod, loaded with a bunch of my favorite songs.

Life is good.

Happy sigh.

Monday, June 18, 2007

So. Yeah. Ask Me How Graduation Went

To: Ms. X, School Counselor

We are writing to express our thoughts and concerns about our son, Michael XXX, and the school's delay in awarding him his diploma due to his giving a previously-approved talk at the RHS graduation ceremony.

Our biggest concern is that it seems that he is now being punished for giving a speech that had been approved by the RHS administration. It would seem to us that the appropriate time for the school to express its concerns would have been before the speech was approved rather than after it was given. The fact that the school now appears to be applying sanctions after the fact that could potentially have long-term repercussions is of great concern to our family.

We are not unreasonable parents, and we do understand your concerns about the talk. Our goal is not to undermine the school's authority on this issue. The young adult years are a time for making mistakes and learning from them, and this may be an excellent time to make a point on appropriate vs. inappropriate times and uses for humor. We have no problem whatsoever with your requirement that he make apologies to the faculty members involved.

If this is not settled today, however, or if the school plans any additional sanctions or punishments that could in any way affect Michael's future, we hope and expect that you will contact us directly so that we can ensure that his interests are well-represented.

Thank you for your efforts in this matter.


[Michael's Parents]

Graduation was Wednesday. Michael was so nervous beforehand that he couldn't eat dinner. There were approximately 6000 people in the audience. His talk was fantastic and hysterically funny -- the only interesting and/or entertaining event of the night -- and it was approved by the vice principal in advance. It poked fun at the Culminating Project and implied (or actually more or less stated flat out) that nobody, himself included, had really jumped through all of the hoops required to pass. On Friday, when he went in for his diploma, he was told to see his counselor.


We got a nice response to this letter telling us that this was ending here, and that our son is a nice young man and we should be proud. And that he handled this well -- maturely and apologetically -- once he was called on the carpet.
"I care about Michael. He is a wonderful young man. I don’t know if
he told you Mrs. XXX acknowledged the error on the administrator’s

What I really care about is that Michael, as he is
growing up—which he will be doing for several more years—take good care of
himself and learn to use good judgment for himself. He obviously is sought
out by his peers to be a leader. He may be in leadership positions in the
future. We talked about how his humor was hurtful to others----his peers
who worked so hard on CP and his teachers. Michael handled himself
thoughtful and genuinely when we talked on Friday—you would have been very proud
of him."

He now has his diploma, as of an hour ago. Lesson learned.

The last graduation visitors left today also. The inside of my lower lip is raw, apparently from being gnawed on, unbeknownst to me. I am exhausted. The week was fun, at least on balance and in retrospect.

And I am SO glad it's over.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Senioritis Attacks

As the Senior Class President, my son will be doing one of the commencment addresses. Here was our conversation on the topic:

Me: So do you have to submit the talk before you give it?
Son: Yes.
Me: And are you going to give the talk you submit?
Son: Uh... I'm not sure.
Me: *Sigh* Just don't do anything that will offend your grandparents or keep you from getting your diploma, okay?
Son: Uh...okay.

This mirrors a previous conversation.

Me: So how are your grades this semester?
Son: Uh...well...uh... Not as good as last semester.
Me: And that means...?
Son: Uh... Right now I have a C in Statistics. And I have a 79.9 in Gov, but...
Me: *Sigh* Just don't do anything that will cause UW to rescind your acceptance, okay?
Son: Well, since they admitted 10,000 last year and only rescinded 20...
(Hmmm. This shows that he's given this some thought.)
Me: You need a 3.0 for the insurance price break.
Son: Um... Okay.

And then today I was at the grocery store and ran into another mom.
Other mom: Where was Michael today for the awards ceremony?
Me: Awards ceremony?
OM: Yeah. He got an award. I can't remember what it was, but I was all ready to take a picture. I can't remember what it was...
Me: Well, we'll have a little talk about that...
OM: Yeah, a LOT of the kids weren't there!


The bad news: Senioritis has attacked.
The good news: It hasn't attacked as hard as it attacked either me or his father. Or his two-years-older sister, for that matter.

Please, God, let it not hit hard enough to affect college. Amen.