pegkerr: (I told no lies and of the truth all I co)
The flu put me badly behind, but I'm not quite so far behind now.

Week 31: Minicon
We're there every year!

Week 31 Minicon.jpg

The challenge that [livejournal.com profile] minnehaha K. gave me was that the Minicon card had to be made entirely with materials found at Minicon. The image in the lower left was cannibalized from the business card of the Artist Guest of Honor. I used bookmarks left on the freebie table, promotional postcards, bits from the Bozo Bus Tribune, etc. I like this card.

Week 32: EverTwixt
EverTwixt awaits you if you dare.

Week 32 EverTwixt.jpg

As part of my attempt to switch career fields, I started a marketing internship with an old friend, a writer I met at Clarion almost thirty years ago, Kelly McClymer, who is attempting to start a new website, EverTwixt.com.

Week 33: PhotoShop
It's great fun, but an amazing time-sink.

Week 33 PhotoShop.jpg

Also as part of my training, I've started learning PhotoShop. This was an attempt to make a graphic that could be used as part of the EverTwixt site: one of the stories available for download, "Maiden Ash" is a variant of Cinderella, and this image is suggestive of the moment when the stepmother scatters ivory beads and jewels in the straw and tells the heroine to pick them all out into separate piles if she wants to go to the ball. Of course, in PhotoShop, I was doing the exact opposite: painstakingly assembling the layers: straw, then jewels and beads. When I made the card, I cheated and embellished the beads with some glimmering paint [livejournal.com profile] minnehaha K.had hanging around.

Week 34: Shadow
"There are three shadows on the liver in your CAT scan, and two on the spleen."

Week 34 Shadow.jpg

This is what the doctor said when he came in to our meeting that week. (For details, you can see our CaringBridge). This is not an actual diagnostic image taken of Rob, but a graphic I found online, highlighting the liver. I added the shadows on it with PhotoShop.
pegkerr: (Default)
I have been working on marketing with a writing friend Kelly McClymer, whom I met at Clarion when I attended it in the late 80s.

Kelly's site is called EverTwixt.com, an immersive storyverse, and she has just launched a fan art contest. The Grand Prize is $200 and the opportunity to have your art featured as the cover of an ebook. Do you know any fan artists who might be interested? Help me spread the word? The registration is open now and closes May 9, and the contest ends May 25.

EverTwixt Art is Magic 2016.jpg

Click on the graphic above (or here) to learn more. From there, follow the link at the bottom of the page to get further details, and then click from there to register. Thanks, and please share this to let others know!

Edited to add:




pegkerr: (Deal with it and keep walking)
Rob and I just came back from Rochester. We have a mixed report. New spots on his liver and spleen. Are they tumors or inflammation? We don't know. The one deep in his body is probably a tumor, as it's right at the site of the tumor that started it all, which had apparently been eliminated by radiation in early 2015. One glowy bit from the last PET scan is gone. The doctor has decided the best thing is just to stay the course for now.

Read the rest on our CaringBridge post here.

I am so goddamned tired of all the uncertainty.
pegkerr: (Default)
Week 24: Hamilton
I have been listening to it NON-STOP!

Week 24 Hamilton

I bought the entire soundtrack for $2.00 (LEGALLY) when it was on sale for that price on Google Music. The show has its hooks in me (as it does in so many other people I know). Fiona's a fan, too, and we love to exchange tidbits of knowledge we've gained about the show, the production, the actors. She is going to GO SEE IT in June and I am so very jealous.

Week 25: Hope
I'm seeing a glimmer of light on my journey.

Week 25 Hope

This image depicts a woman on a journey (remember Week 3, Embark, the last card on this post?) who sees a lighthouse shining from shore and starts to feel a little bit of hope. This was the week I learned I had been given a grant by the Dislocated Workers Program from the State of Minnesota. I am going to be receiving training in a lot of the concepts and programs I need to have to change careers from legal administrative assistant to marketing.


Week 26: Dance
This was the week of Excellent Cancer News.

Week 26 Dance

I picked this picture from The Tutu Project, one of the amazing photographs taken by Bob Carey in support of his wife Linda Carey, who has been battling breast cancer. Yeah, okay, we're not battling breast cancer here, but it's about the spouse of someone with cancer. It's trying to bring humor and happiness to something that's often very grim. It just seemed to fit this time.

Week 27: Training
I begin to learn new things.

Week 27 Training

Hubspot Academy Inbound Marketing. Landing pages. Adobe InDesign. A/B testing. Etc. Let's hope it will result in a new career direction.

Week 28: Caucus
I took Fiona, and we both did our civic duty.

Week 28 Caucus

Fiona and I were both agonizing as we walked through the door until I hit upon a simple solution: "I'll vote for Hillary. You vote for Bernie. We'd be happy to vote for either one in the general election." And that's what we did.

Week 29: Flu
Everthing is a painful, feverish blur.

Week 29 Flu

The flu hit both Rob and me HARD. Think gray mindlessness, with fever and aches lurking below.  I started on Wednesday of that week. After a week and a half, I ended up at the hospital, getting intravenous fluids. The flu shot didn't do a damn thing for me.

Week 30:  
Not today
Nothing will get accomplished today.

Week 30 Not Today

Yes, this is still a one word title. Well, a word combined with a graphic.

This card was created because I became impatient after four days of the flu. Surely I should be getting better by now? I kept fretfully listing off things to Rob that I should be doing. He lay in bed beside me, sick as I was, and replied "Not today." And when I tried to stagger out of bed and take three steps, I would fall back into bed and repeat after him, "Not today." The whole week was like that.
pegkerr: (Fiona)
This is the card I was dreaming off when I took pictures of Fiona when she was fifteen years old. I had a very vivid picture of the card in my mind, and it still isn't there quite yet, but it's a lot closer, what with all that I've been learning about software this week.

Fiona - Community Suit

Fiona - Community Card
I am the daughter always in motion, the spinner, the warrior, the dancer, the delight.

I remember when Fiona was four years old vividly. She was always spinning. I wrote, once, about a walk I took with the two girls around the block. Delia (barely two) lurched gravely along, diaper creaking, occasionally stopping to crouch to examine a bug, a stone, a leaf. And then she would be up and moving again, pacing herself as if she were taking a ten mile walk.

Fiona flittered in and around us, dancing around us, spinning joyfully, peppering us with exclamations and questions: "Isn't the sky blue! I can't wait until I can go swimming. I need a new bathing suit. Can we have spaghetti for dinner? How long until Daddy comes home?"

Later, the girls started karate, and that spinning girl always remained in the back of my head. This gets a little closer to what I had in mind.

As I said, the pictures were taken seven years ago. I imagine I will make cards of the girls through their lifetimes, as they discover new stages of themselves.

What do you think? Not quite what I'd envisioned (the spinning figures were meant to be more transparent/translucent) but I like it. At the very least, it is a relief to get out of my head and onto paper an image that has been knocking around in my head for years.
pegkerr: (Default)
We are back from a two day stay at Mayo. The latest PET scan and biopsy gave us good news, and we've learned some more about how truly fortunate Rob has been. You may read more at the CaringBridge link here.
pegkerr: (Default)
Week 20: Twelfth
Once again, we gather around the table to celebrate the end of Christmas.

Week 20 Twelfth

Yes, yes, this card should be named 'Twelfth Night' But I am limiting my card titles to one word. Not quite satisfactory, but I couldn't find a one word that would substitute (unlike finding "Hogmanay" as a substitution for "New Year's Eve.")
Again, this card was an experiment with different media. The table cloth and napkins are tissue paper, the forks are cut from aluminum foil. And the plates are from the foil wrapped around the Hershey's Kisses we had inside the miniature stockings.
We did indeed manage to gather around the table this year, although it was a Twelfth Night dinner this time rather than breakfast. That's just the way the schedules worked out.

Week 21: Severus
He was the bravest man I ever knew.

Week 21 Severus

This was the week that Alan Rickman died, and I made this card in honor of him and in honor of one of my favorite of his performances. Once I started thinking about Severus, I started making connections between his situation and mine (and not all of them are flattering, to say the least). This gets into personal stuff, so Elinor Dashwood will leave it there for now.
It was the last day of the previous week, January 9, that was Severus Snape's birthday. Rowling deliberately chose that day because it was the feast for the Roman God Janus, the two-headed god who guarded doorways, looking both into the past and into the future. An extremely appropriate choice for the ambiguous Severus Snape's birthday, and an appropriate thing for me to ponder, as I think about my career--where it has been as well as where it is going.

Week 22: iPod
I lost my iPod in the snow and felt helpless without it.

Week 22 iPod

At least by process of elimination, that's where I figured it wound up. I never got it back. I held out a week, gritting my teeth, and then I bought a replacement. Screw the fact that I am unemployed. I need one to organize my life.

Annoyingly, I found out when I upgraded to the next model, that I can't synch it on my iMac. The software on my desktop Apple is too old. Planned obsolescence is pretty damned annoying.

Week 23: Three
There are three things I do to help myself.

Week 23 Three

This was a tough week. Again, Elinor Dashwood will not provide many details. The three stones represent three stepping stones, the sort to keep you above the water you would drown in otherwise (I tried and tried to find an image of three stepping stones, but for a variety of reasons, what I found just didn't work. So I used an image of stacked stones). The stones represent three things I do throughout the week for self-care. The stones are carried by a manatee, and if you haven't found the site Calming Manatee, really, what are you waiting for?

I know what the next card is (Card 24) and I worked on it today, but I had tremendous trouble with figuring out the right fixative to use. I had an image with words superimposed over it. I printed the words on waxed paper, but every fixative I used just smeared or blurred the words. I have an idea for how to fix the problem, but it involves a trip to the store. So I started working on the next card (Card 25), and finished it, too. I worked on the cards OUT OF ORDER! I felt SO GUILTY! And I will not scan and show this past week's card until I finish the card for the week before.

This means we are almost halfway through the year! (It also means it's been half a year since I've had a job--groan). [livejournal.com profile] minnehaha K. impishly suggested that we could swap decks and I would do the rest of hers and she would do the rest of mine. I firmly vetoed this idea. But then she made the clever suggestion that we would each do the jokers of the other person's deck, one at Week 26 and one at the end. Which I think is a really cool idea.
pegkerr: (Both the sweet and the bitter)
Rob had another PET scan yesterday. The results were ... inconclusive. Difficult to interpret. His immunatherapy clinical trial continues. Read more at our CaringBridge account here.

Epic tea

Jan. 16th, 2016 09:21 am
pegkerr: (Default)
Alan Rickman could be epic with anything. Even a cup of tea.
pegkerr: (Always)
*Always*

Hits me much harder than the news of David Bowie.
pegkerr: (Default)
Week 17: Biopsy
After the second of two biopsies, Rob hovers at the brink of awakening.

Week 17 Biopsy

I took a picture of Rob right right before he awoke from the anesthesia, after a double bone marrow biopsy. Something about his posture, the angle of his face, the lighting (and the suffering of which he never complains)...something made me think of religious iconography. (Which would certainly bemuse Rob, as he is an agnostic.) A saint in a religious trance or something. Religious ecstacy.

That impression and that word, 'ecstacy' triggered a memory of an image I'd had stashed in my soulcollaging cache of images, "The Ecstasy of St. Teresa," a central sculptural group in white marble set in an elevated aedicule in the Cornaro Chapel, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome (google it to see). I flipped that image and scaled Rob's down to fit in with it. Note the angel holds an arrow, indicative of the sharp point just used to do the biopsy. It pleases me that the arrow is pointed at the site of the cancer.

Week 18: Yule
Light a candle, sing a song.

Week 18 Yule

There is a Peter Mayer song about the winter solstice called "The Longest Night." Here are the lyrics )

I've always loved that song, especially given that I'm vulnerable to Seasonal Affective Disorder. This card is trying to juxtapose the thoughts of this song with Christmas (the wreath) and Solstice (the diamond candle), which fell during the same week. "Yule" is a concept that would encompass both of them.

Although I like the concept, the card just didn't turn out to have as much impact as I'd hoped. Just not vivid enough or something.

Week 19: Hogmanay
The year comes to an end.

Week 19 Hogmanay

THIS card, on the other hand, turned out SPLENDIDLY. I had a great deal of difficulty, however, managing a decent scan of the card, because it is difficult for scans to capture the way it glitters. It's much more scintillatingly impressive when you hold it in your hand than I can convey here. "Hogmanay" is an old Scottish word referring to New Year's Eve (and I resorted to it because I'm limiting the titles of these cards to one word, and "Newyear' just didn't look right to me). The monks are a reference to the poem I wrote and posted earlier about our trip to Mayo Clinic the day before New Year's Eve, and the silver light and the glittering spindrift was made from nail polish. The very same nail polish, as a matter of fact, that I used in my New Year's Eve manicure. I think they captured the sense of the 'icy spindrift' (and the cones of silver light) extremely well!

And the Chinese fortune was from the fortune cookie I opened on New Year's Eve. My family has been gathering together and eating Chinese every single New Year's Eve for years. Perhaps this fortune was a wry commentary on the job hunting process.
pegkerr: (Default)
My sentiment about 2015 is pretty well summed up by [livejournal.com profile] alfreda89 on Facebook:
I just brought three kinds of salt to the crossroads. Judith Tarr brought flamethrowers and stakes. Somebody has a machete.

A bunch of us are making sure 2015 *never* rises again."
I hope 2016 goes better. Here's my New Year's manicure to start it off right:


pegkerr: (candle)
At 5:00 a.m.
the old Buick growls to life
surly at being roused from winter hibernation
for a predawn appointment ninety miles away.
We drive through the silent streets
past the light rail station
past the Falls
over the Mendota Bridge
past the highway fork where the oil refinery
flings its lurid glow against the sky.
The curved streetlights hunch
broodingly over the road
meditative as monks at Lauds.
Swirling fog and icy spindrift shines against the darkness
in the cones of light falling away from their burning eyes.
He sleeps beside me as I drive
the once crisp line of his goatee blurred
by the grizzled whiskers
growing out over the biopsy scar.
And the light sweeps over him
again and again
mile after mile
a benediction and a blessing.
All shall be well
All shall be well
And all manner of things shall be well
.

>>>

We drove to Mayo for a surgical procedure today, to have a port put in for Rob so he doesn't have to keep getting IVs in his elbows for the infusions (the veins in his arms are very bad).

I write very little poetry, and I don't follow formal forms, and since I'm so ignorant, I don't consider myself to be any kind of judge of what's good and what's bad.

But

I kinda like this.

I blame the fact that I had to get up at 4:00 in the morning.
pegkerr: (Glory and Trumpets)
After YEARS of searching, I have finally, finally found a menu for Christmas morning that EVERYONE likes all the components.

Christmas breakfast 2015

This was a new experiment this year: a 'snowflake' made of puff pastry layered with Nutella. (The gold-rimmed plate it is resting on is from a set that belonged to my great grandmother).

Nutella Snowflake Christmas 2015

Fiona tackles her favorite part of the breakfast, the pastry stars that go with the fruit.

Fiona pastry star Christmas breakfast 2015

Then we made these rolls, which are crescent roll dough, rolled up with raspberry jam, ham and swiss cheese and cut into spirals.

Delia Christmas breakfast 2015

Peg Christmas breakfast 2015


Gifts were wonderful. Everything was wonderful. Our Christmas Eve dinner last night with guests was wonderful. A very satisfactory holiday.

Christmas 2015


Merry Christmas from our household to yours!

Christmas breakfast 2015
pegkerr: (Haven't you been listening to all that I)
I fell asleep in the chair in the room where Rob was getting his infusion. Woke up hard after an hour with a series of cross and sleepy kitten noises, and Siri, on my iPod Touch, responded by telling me, "I'm sorry. I don't know what you're telling me."
pegkerr: (Light in dark places soulcollage)
I often post a song for the Winter Solstice on my blog. I went to YouTube looking for one and found an entire mix. If you'd like to hear some lovely Solstice songs, here is the link.

Enjoy the music, and happy Solstice! Lighter days are coming, and I, for one, am glad.
pegkerr: (Default)
I have been waiting to post these until we told the girls the latest medical results.

Week 15: Pain
Everything hurts.

Week 15 Pain

Since Rob's heart was damaged by chemo, I have been doing all the shoveling. At the first snowfall, doing the job, I hurt my back. Badly. Ice and painkillers and pillows and baths and ow and tears. It really, really hurt. At the same time, I have been fighting off depression (in the Victorian language of flowers, marigolds are associated by some with grief or despair). It has been very difficult to deal with physical pain, combined with the anxiety of job hunting, combined with the bad cancer news. This card is tied, symbolically, with the marigolds, to a card in my Soulcollage deck, The Woman Who Listens to Ravens.

Week 16: PET
Rob undergoes testing at Mayo Clinic.

Week 16 PET

I cut the words and the picture of a patient undergoing a PET scan from the various educational brochures we've received from Mayo (really, they will give you a brochure about anything under the sun). The blobby shapes draped over the words are photographs of some glassblown art hanging from the ceiling in the large atrium at Mayo Clinic (printed out on tracing paper, which is the first time I've used that technique). Here is a picture of the installation, in situ. Very pretty, if you look at it one way.

But every time I look at those shapes, I think they look like cellular structures. Even like tumors.

I suspect that impression is intentional.
pegkerr: (Deal with it and keep walking)
Rob's last PET scan was suspicious, and the most recent one, taken this month, was worse. Our doctors did a biopsy, and we received the results today. Rob's cancer has indeed come out of remission, although at least it hasn't reached his bones yet. He is starting an immunatherapy trial at Mayo Clinic next week. Read the details here at our CaringBridge site.

We had waited until tonight to share the news with the girls that the last PET scan was bad because we wanted them to get through their finals first. Finals are over, however, and they have both been told.
pegkerr: (Default)
Week 13: Networking
Over coffee, we meet to build connections (and maybe help me find a job).

Week 13 Networking

I had six networking meetings that week, all in coffeeshops, I think. The background of the card is latte art. I cribbed the rest from business cards exchanged that week. The LinkedIn Profile QR code is mine. I have been uncertain about what business title I'm applying for, so I had cards made up in two styles, one saying "Marketing Specialist" and one saying "Wordsmith." The stylized typewriter in the upper right of the card is the graphic I created for my card. The other logos are the business logos of some of the people I met during the week.

Week 14: Thanksgiving
We gather together to give thanks and to enjoy good food and each other's company.

Week 14 Thanksgiving

The pictures on this card were cannibalized from an old Pillsbury Thanksgiving cookbook I had been keeping around. On Thanksgiving day, we went to family gatherings at both Rob's brother Lance's house and my sister Betsy's house. And then, since we had been given the ingredients for a Thanksgiving dinner by Open Arms of Minnesota, we cooked our own turkey and had yet another Thanksgiving feast on Saturday night, just Rob and me and the girls. That meant we had leftover turkey for the first time in years.

The Thanksgiving card finished the Autumn cycle (the first card I made, Smithereens, was the last card for summer. I have now picked out the paper for the backs of the cards. Here is Summer:

Summer

And here is Autumn:

Autumn

The paper for Winter and Spring are the same pattern, except that Winter is white with gold accents and Spring is green with gold accents.

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