pegkerr: (All we have to decide is what to do with)
We have been visiting with family this week, but I wanted to get pictures up of our Christmas morning breakfast.

The menu included chocolate eggnog bread pudding,

Chocolate bread pudding

bacon, and fruit with pastry stars:

bowl of stars

Here's what it looked like, all put together:

the meal

Family gathering

More pictures under the cut )

All done
pegkerr: (candle)
When I had moved out in my twenties, I needed a kitchen table. My Mom and Dad brought one to me at my apartment. I still remember them carrying it across that long parking lot on a hot summer's day. I'm not quite sure where they got it. Used, maybe, or perhaps from a relative. It was painted an ugly shade of thick brown paint.(Edited to add: Rob remembers that there was a thick coat of dark green OVER the dark brown.)

I spent weeks stripping and sanding that table down to the bare wood, working in the outdoor patio behind Rob's apartment (this was before we were married). It took so long because I had to dig into the crevices in the legs with the edge of a nail file to chase every last bit of brown paint out in the detailing of the lathe-turned grooves. You can still see tiny bits of the paint, like shadows, proof that I was not an expert used furniture refinisher by any means. I don't remember what the wood was, but I stained it a red maple color and covered it with a protective gloss. I remember how vexed I was by a stray hair that floated in on a breeze and caught in the gloss and affixed itself there, like an insect caught in amber.

We moved it to our first apartment together, and it became our first table. When we moved again, to our house where the girls were born, the table was put in the dining room. Rather too humble, aesthetically, for the space, but it fit perfectly, and when we covered it with a cloth, and put the best dishes on it, it suited us well. Two leaves could be pulled out from the ends to add length whenever we had guests.

Over the years, of course, there were scars. Delia the toddler banged her spoon incessantly, and so there is a patina of half-moon shaped scars on her side of the table. (We always sat at the same places.) Once, someone put a candlestick on the table, and some liquid spilled and soaked the felt cushion underneath, leaving a stain which marked the varnish. There is the smear of nail polish where Delia was experimenting, and I couldn't rub it off. I didn't want to try anything stronger that would take off the finish. I'll admit I wasn't always scrupulously quick about wiping away everyday stains.

It's used, battered, and hardly an heirloom. But we loved that table. We grew our family around it, and told our jokes, and traded our bon mots and cracked each other up. We had raging arguments, often about whether onions must be eaten or not. Fiona banged the back of her head against the back of her chair 1,346,234 times and never never remembered not to do it the next night. We ate our Christmas breakfasts and celebrated twelfth night there. We brought various hopeful Boys to join us. Fiona perfected her pterodactyl mating call there. We held hands around it and blessed our meals, and cried and screamed and raged and loved each other there.

We didn't have a hearth, so we used a table instead.

My mom is moving from the apartment she shared with Dad to a smaller senior complex. She had to downsize, and so she offered us her dining room table, the one I grew up with. It, too, has a rich family history, and many happy memories. It is bigger than ours: we will have to take leaves out and put the ends down, and we can't sit in the same configuration, because you can't put your feet under the drop leaf ends.

But. It, too, is the family table with a lot of lovely memories, and I hated to see it go to some strangers. Yes, we will take it, I said, and when the girls leave home, Rob and I can take all the leaves out, drop the sides, and it will work as a long narrow table for just the two of us. And then one of the girls can take our table when they leave to set up their own household.

Mom is going to be using the old oak table she had in her kitchen, the one she received from her mother-in-law (yet another generation's worth of memories).

So I have taken the legs off our table...

Dissassembling the table

We will have to do our Valentine boxes breakfast Japanese-style, on the floor, tomorrow morning,

Dissassembling the table

and then hustle it into the basement, so the dining room is clear when the truck brings Mom's old dining room table to our house.

And our old table will wait, patiently, in the basement, until either Fiona or Delia move out, painstakingly reassemble it, and gather friends and a new family around it to make a new generation of memories.
pegkerr: (Default)
I think I mentioned one of my Christmas gifts from Delia: a felt wall hanging/Weasley clock. However, she didn't quite finish it, because she wasn't sure how to design the hands. So I designed and finished those. It's about 98% done: I just need to darken the lettering on the clock face and get a longer central brad to affix the clock hands. But I think it looks great, don't you? What a wonderful Christmas/Mother's Day gift!

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pegkerr: (candle)
The family gathered at my sister Betsy's house last night. We met at my mom's for brunch this morning, and then we had the memorial service at Mom and Dad's church this afternoon. Fiona and Delia read one of the scripture readings (Psalm 100). Each of my siblings and I did a remembrance, about a couple minutes for each of us. They were very heartfelt and personal, and I think altogether they did a good job of giving a many faceted portrait of my Dad. I went last. We got a little emotional, of course, some more than others, but we got through them okay. Two of my nephews did special music, "Morning is Broken," which was one of my Dad's favorite hymns, and my sister Betsy put together a nice montage of photographs, with one of Dad's favorite Peter, Paul and Mary songs that was played at the end.

Here was my eulogy:

"Writing a remembrance for someone as beloved as our Dad is both an honor and a struggle. Even though I have some experience as a professional writer, writers’ block tends to crop up, I know from long experience, when I want the words to be perfect. I want my words here today to move you, to rouse in you as fierce an admiration and respect for Dad as my own. I want you to see the love that he poured out throughout his life for his dear wife, our Mom, for us, his children and grandchildren, for all the friends that he made throughout the world. And even for random strangers who wandered within his orbit and who sometimes must have ended up wondering, when hit by his passionate enthusiasms, what on earth had hit them. But what use can words be in the face of such grief, even for a life as long and as well-lived as his, one full of satisfying work in God's Kingdom, one that ended in such bitter sweet perfection? Think of it: in the home of Richard Serrin, one of his best friends, at the end of a wonderful vacation celebrating sixty years of marriage. After a long day rambling through a city that he loved, admiring the art, having coffee and conversation at the cafe, then coming back for a last gin and tonic and lying down for a nap before dinner. And finally slipping away quietly and easily in his sleep.

It's hopeless, I tell you: the eloquence I long for to perfectly capture and honor Dad's life and memory remains maddeningly out of reach. But that very imperfection, paradoxically, honors my father, too, for throughout his life, he was always quick to say that he wasn't perfect. I have rarely met a man who was so disarmingly willing to admit his own faults and failings. He gave us a remarkable example by sometimes saying with refreshing candor, "I am sorry. I made a mistake, and in doing so, I hurt you. I'll do better next time."

He was also exceptionally tender-hearted. Although sometimes he tussled with Mom as all married couples do, something he described as having 'lots of fireworks in their relationship,' he clearly adored her, and he spoke openly of how fortunate he was that she had agreed to marry him. Unlike many men of his generation, he never hesitated to tell someone that he cared for them, even that he loved them.

Another hallmark of his character was his optimism. Last December, my Dad sat down for an interview with a local reporter, John Gross, and when asked what he thought was the key to success and happiness, Dad said:

I’m a great believer that what we think and how we respond is the most important thing that we can do. Victor Frankl said, “Man’s greatest freedom is to choose his response in any given situation.” …. I think that attitude is primarily the most important thing, because attitude is something that you can change....I’ve believed that you can think positively or negatively but I think all my life for the most part I’ve been a blooming optimist.

Note what he says about attitude being something that you can change. I think his conviction that one’s approach to life could be shaped by will led him to a lifelong curiosity about what made people tick. And so he continually sought out people whom he admired and asked them how they had achieved success, both in their careers and in their families. As he gained in age and experience, in turn he served as a mentor to others. The first thing I ever wrote with the intention of showing it to others was an unrhymed poem, composed at the age of nine. I knew instinctively that the proper first person to see it had to be Dad. And I was right. I no longer have the poem, or his comments, but I do remember that his feedback was gently honest yet encouraging, and it was on the basis of that very first uncertain poem that he told me that I really could be a writer if I wanted to be.

That’s what my dad believed, that you can be whatever you want to be. HE was what he wanted to be: happy, curious, adventurous, hard-working and loving. There is a picture that hangs on the living room wall in my parents’ home, which my brother Chet commissioned from Dad’s high school friend Richard Serrin as a gift for Mom and Dad a few years ago. It shows Mom and Dad with all their children and grandchildren in the Piazzi Signoria in Florence, Italy, the city where he died, gathered together for an ersatz vacation that never was. For those of us lucky enough to know him, it’s a fitting way to remember him: surrounded by the people he loved, on one of his spectacular world adventures born of imagination."

* * *

After the service, the family gathered at my sister Cindy's tonight. We had relatives come in from out of town, and it was truly wonderful to see them. I think the day all went really well.

We're still waiting for my Dad's ashes to be returned from Italy.
pegkerr: (candle)
This will be running in the Star Tribune tomorrow: Edited to add: Link is here.

Dad

Allen Stewart Kerr: Age 83 of Minnetonka. Passed away suddenly on September 25 in Florence, Italy at the home of his dear friend, Richard Serrin. Born November 13, 1928. Survived by his wife of 60 years, Charlyn; children Betsy (Greg); Chet (Heather); Peg (Rob); and Cindy (Rob); and grandchildren David, Michael, Steven, Andrew, Jackson, Leigh, Georgia, Fiona, Delia, Stuart, Lewis, and Mitchell. Allen grew up in Evanston, Illinois and attended Brown University in Rhode Island. He was a passionate Brown alumnus and recently attended his 62nd reunion. Upon graduation, he served in the 6th fleet of the U.S Navy in the Mediterranean and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He worked in the printing business in Chicago for 30 years while raising his family. He then went back to graduate school at age 55 to get a doctorate in psychology. Graduating at age 60, he worked as a clinical psychologist in Columbus, Georgia for 10 years. As a consummate “people person,” he had friends all over the world he met through American Field Service, Rotary, and the Centers for Citizens’ Initiative. This past year, he raised funds for BioSand water filters through Rotary, and traveled to the Dominican Republic to install the filters. He was passionate about many things including his faith, family, humanitarian causes, golf, Brown University, Richard’s paintings, speaking Spanish, books, telling stories, traveling, and meeting new people. Please join us in celebrating Allen’s life on Saturday, October 6 at 1:30 PM with visitation at 12:30 PM, All Saints Lutheran Church, 15915 Excelsior Blvd, Minnetonka. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to the Minnetonka Rotary Club or Brown University.
pegkerr: (candle)
My sisters and I (and Delia and one of my nephews) met my mom at the airport this afternoon. We are so glad to have her safely home again. She was very happy to see us, but clearly quite tired. We talked over some of the decisions we need to make, until it became clear she was truly too tired to focus any more on the conversation. My sisters and I offered to have one of us stay tonight, but she told us that wasn't necessary, so we all returned home.

At this point, we are planning to hold the memorial next Saturday (October 6) (sorry to those who had hoped to see me at Gaylaxicon, but this, of course, will scotch those plans). Details to follow later. We plan to get an obituary into the Sunday paper.

(And I found a lovely flower arrangement waiting for me on the porch when I returned home, sent by the Alternity players. I was so very touched by their thoughtfulness.)

(One of my new Harry Potter mood icons):

pegkerr: (Default)
I'd posted back in 2005 about the picture that my brother Chet had commissioned as a gift for my parents. Here's that post again:

I'd written earlier about the portrait my brother had commissioned for my mom and dad by Richard Serrin (read the story here). I got permission from my dad and from Richard to post the portrait so you can see it, so here it is )

Here is what Dad has to say about it:
The setting is Florence, Italy or Firenze and the official location is the Piazza Signoria, Firenze. This is the second time that Richard has painted this particular Piazza. Prior to 1985 he did a very similar painting of the Piazza Signoria that is included in my brochure that I wrote and designed about Richard. We designed and wrote this brochure for a show that Richard had at the Billy Graham Center in Wheaton, Illinois. This show of his work was held during 1985 at Wheaton College at the Billy Graham Center there.

The earlier painting of this same Piazza was done for his friend Lorna who Richard and Dorothy met in Florence some years ago. Lorna an American lives in Charlotte, North Carolina and Richard did a similar painting for Lorna and included 26 recognizable portraits of members of Lorna's family and friends from Florence. In the foreground of this painting is a picture of Richard on the far left handside painting the cityscape.

Originally Richard had suggested a Venitian scene, but there were four large vertical columns in this scene that would have made the figures much smaller if the vertical columns were included. So I radically cropped his suggested cityscape and Richard refused to paint according to my croppings. So I ultimately suggested that he consider repainting the Piazza Signoria at which he balked at first.

However, in the end he said in this instance I was entirely right and I am very pleased with the result. Incidentally, Richard, Dorothy and a Florence friend are also included in this painting in the far background left.

Richard said that in fifty years everyone will think that they were actually there on location.
Rob and I are in the center of the painting (I'm in the red blouse), Rob has the black hair and beard, facing the viewer. Fiona and Delia are two of the children seated in the carriage. Dad and Chet are in the foreground, studying the map. My mom is at the horse's head (in the white blouse) with my sister-in-law Heather in the denim jacket beside her. My brother-in-law Rob (Cindy's husband) is holding up his youngest son, Mitchell, at the horse's head, while Stuart, his oldest, strokes the horse's nose. I think that's Georgia, my brother Chet's youngest, in the driver's seat. Cindy's Lewis is beside Fiona and Delia in the carriage seat. The girl and boy looking at the woman with the parasol are Jack and Leigh, Chet's oldest two. My sister Betsy's family (Betsy, her husband Greg, and four boys David, Michael, Steven and Andrew) is the group of six closest to the fountain, behind Cindy with the camera.

And the basset hound is not a member of the family--just a passerby!

***

This painting is hanging on my parents' living room wall.

Oh my goodness. My dad, immortalized in Florence by the very man he was visiting when he died.

It's almost like the universe knew, didn't it?

I hope this painting will be a great comfort to my mother.
pegkerr: (candle)
My mother and father celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary this year. To celebrate it, they planned to take a European cruise. Here is the picture that my sister Betsy took of the two of them when she dropped them off at the airport.

Mom and Dad September 2012

The last leg was planned so that they would join up with their dear friend from high school, Richard Serrin, who is living in Florence, Italy with his wife Dorothy. I got a call from Mom on Sunday saying that they were at Richard and Dorothy's, that the trip was wonderful and they were having a marvelous time. They had planned to come back tomorrow.

I received a call at work today from Italy from my Mom to tell me that my Dad went to take a nap, and he died in his sleep. My mom found him. They called the paramedics, but there was nothing that could be done. Thank god, thank god, my mother was with very dear friends when this happened, people who live in the country and speak the language, and she and Dad had purchased travel insurance for their trip. The flights back were cancelled, and now my poor mother has to deal with all the logistics. But because of the travel insurance, she'll be covered for all the extra expenses and I am sure they will give her logistical help.

My father was a remarkable man, and I loved him very much. I will write more about him later. But I just wanted to get the word out for now.

I left work as soon as I received the call. I drove to Augsburg to tell Fiona the news personally, and then we went together to pick up Delia and told her, too. So both girls received the news in person.

I think it was a remarkable way for Dad to go. He had a great year. He and Mom had just moved here to Minnesota in the last couple years after 18 years in Georgia, and being the busy, gregarious people they are, they have already put down deep roots, joining a church and getting involved in Rotary (Dad) and the local music scene (Mom). They had just gone down to the Dominican Republic to install Bio-sand waterfilters. He had just completed a big fundraising campaign with his Rotary group. He had taken a cross-country train trip to go back to his college for a college reunion, and he had gone out to California to connect with good friends out there. He was on a dream vacation with his wife to celebrate 60 years of marriage. He was with his best friend and his wife, who are there to support my mom. All his faculties were intact. He died in a city he loved, in his sleep, without pain.

I am also grateful that I had invited them over to dinner just before they left for their trip. I still have wine on the counter that Dad brought for me as a gift. Fiona came home from college to join us too, and we had a wonderful evening talking. I am so, so glad that that was my last time with my father.

He told us every time that he saw us that he loved us. We have no strained memories, no griefs or regrets, nothing left unsaid, no unfinished business.

I don't know what will be happening the next several days.

Think of me and my family.
pegkerr: (Glory and Trumpets)
because it my Mom and Dad's 60TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!

Congratulations Char and Al. I asked Mom what they'd be doing to celebrate and she noted that she would be going to Macphail Center for the Arts for her cello quartet (the woman's been playing cello for seventy years) "So we'll probably have dinner out this weekend." If I know my Dad, he's probably busy preparing for an upcoming Rotary Event to raise money for biosand filters, which give people around the world clean drinking water.

Those two never slow down! Which is why, no doubt, they've made it to this huge milestone.

Char and Al - 60th Anniversary - July 19, 2012

Love and smooches from your proud daughter.
pegkerr: (Default)
We gathered at my sister Cindy's house this past Saturday for the annual cookie baking fun:


Cookie Baking December 17, 2011
Cookie Baking December 17, 2011



More pictures under the cut )


These are only some of the treats we made.




Some, but not all, of the cookie crew.

pegkerr: (Default)
I haven't posted since Christmas since, for all practical purposes, it's still going on for us. I have to go to work this week, but my family has been gathering every night in the evenings.

Here are some pictures from Christmas morning:


Christmas morning 2010
Christmas morning 2010



More Christmas pictures )

Here's a video showing Delia's reaction when we gave her her biggest gift )
pegkerr: (Default)
Last Saturday we gathered at my sister Cindy's for a fun old-fashioned cookie swap.


Cookie Baking: December 8, 2010
Cookie Baking: December 8, 2010
From left to right: Fiona, me, Delia, my older sister Betsy, Mom, my younger sister Cindy



More pictures: It was a lot of fun! )

I love this one of the girls:






Some of the finished product )
pegkerr: (Default)
Last week we got a postcard from that awesome little nonprofit, Project Success, and this time the free tickets they were offering were a real treat: up to four free tickets for A Prairie Home Companion. For those of you not familiar with it, A Prairie Home Companion has been a staple of Minnesota Public Radio for over thirty years. Hosted by the storyteller Garrison Keillor, this show mingles a wide range of musical acts, comedy and Garrison's storytelling. I've been listening to this on Saturdays for decades, but the tickets are pricey ($30 - $60 each), and we've never taken the girls.

Oddly enough, the show they were offering was at an unusual time, a Thursday night, perhaps because it was one of the ones they were broadcasting in HD to 500 other theaters across the country. I immediately went to the phone and called for tickets.

Rob told me a few days later we'd gotten on the waiting list, but they were trying to get more tickets and they would call us back.

When I got home last night, I learned that my mom had picked Delia up to go to stay with her and my dad overnight. Rob was out for his habitual Thurday night out for dinner with his best friend Mark. I went up to check my email before making dinner so that Fiona and I could head out for karate.

I saw my usual email from Minnesota Public Radio. That's right, the show's tonight, I thought, and I felt a stab of grief for that lost opportunity. I suppose they called Rob back and-- I frowned. Wait a minute.

I know my husband.

I went downstairs. "Did Daddy say anything about hearing from Project Success about those Prairie Home Companion tickets?" I asked Fiona. "I guess they couldn't get any for us?"

"Oh, we got the tickets," she informed me blithely.

I blanched. "We got the tickets? But the show is tonight!"

Irate, I grabbed the cell phone and called Rob. "How could you not tell me we got the tickets for Prairie Home Companion?!"

"What are you talking about? The show's Saturday, isn't it?"

"No! It's tonight!" I glanced at the clock. "Oh, my god. We're supposed to be there twenty minutes before the show starts. It starts in half an hour! They'll give them away to somebody else!"

"I'm coming home. I'll be there quick as I can."

So he raced home. It was too late to get Delia, and I devoutly hoped she would forgive us. I bounced around the house, fuming fire, while Fiona looked at me like a wounded doe. Finally, after about five minutes, I pulled myself together and took a deep breath. "All right. We'll head out to St. Paul. If we don't get the show tickets, at least we'll eat dinner there." Oh yeah. Fiona and I hadn't even eaten dinner yet. I grabbed a Cliff bar and scarfed it down. It would have to do.

Rob got home, and we headed out to the car (me still tight-lipped with rage). We drove there and found the Project Success line snaking out of the Fitzgerald theater. Owing to some foul up in the front office, they had miscalculated the number of tickets and it was taking awhile to sort out. But it meant that the handover of tickets was delayed, and so we hadn't lost them yet. We were the very last people in line. We got in fifteen minutes late, and we were split up, but we got to see the show.

And it was wonderful.

(If Delia's really disappointed, I can take her to one of the re-broadcasts on October 25.)

pegkerr: (Default)
A cousin just posted this on Facebook today. This was taken in the backyard of Nana and Granddaddy's house, about 1963? 1964? I'm sitting in Granddaddy's lap.


Floyd Family - early 1960s
Floyd Family - early 1960s
Taken in the backyard of Harriet and Charles Floyd's home, Evanston, Illinois. I'm sitting in Granddaddy's lap. I think it's actually a really nice picture.

pegkerr: (Default)
Some of you may not get a mailed card with a picture this year since we're cutting our list for budgetary reasons, but after immense struggle on my part, here's our holiday letter:

• wizard rock • orthodontia • Jane Austen • Twilight • handmade jewelry • can you run me to Michael's? • HP Alternity • sparring • where's your bo? • I lost the game • I'm going to sing the Doom Song! • ramen • earning her Black Belt, First Degree, Ms. Delia! • Livejournal • Twitter • Facebook • By God, I am a Prefect! • cutting the lawn • Yahoo • Google • crescent moon • can you take me to the Bead Hive? • it's out of radiator fluid • blown water heater • Casa Hogar Elim, Nuevo Laredo, Mexico • take your shoes off at the back door • whose turn is it to cut the lawn? • Honey, Ultimate Electronics is letting me go • peanut butter on bagels • dark chocolate • iPods! • podcasts • it's your turn to take out the garbage • Buffy the Vampire Slayer • Bones • Dr. Horrible Sing-Along Blog • medication • cake decorating lessons • knitting • crocheting • sewing • bread-making machine • truffles • fanfiction • soul collage • Obama! • thank goodness for air bags • balsamic vinegar • not kale! • Laptop Lunchbox • International Baccalaureate • Birchwood Cafe • cooking for ingrates • onions MUST be cooked separately • the Tree Project • spiritual retreat • tell me what I'm doing right • Portus • slow kicks • marching basics • kamas! • Shiny! • two thumbs up • cross necklaces • confirmation • haircuts • electric blankets • yellow tomatoes • homemade pesto • homemade apple butter • truffle honey with brie • bookstores • May Day parade • The Tree of Life ceremony • solstice drums • light a candle • church • hot baths • coffee shops • taking pictures at the belt tests • lime jello marshmallow cottage cheese surprise • earning her Brown Belt, Ms. Peg! • History Day • lilacs • lussekatter on St. Lucia's day • cheekbones • you are in soooooo much trouble • Minicon • bathing suits • Slip 'n Slide • take that straw out of your mouth • picnic under the apple blossoms • Tales of Beadle the Bard • out of bed, Daddy! • shoveling • cinnamon • candied ginger • kisses • the love chant • belly bump • tumbling like wolf cubs • Severus Snape • Northern Cheyenne Reservation, Montana • get your wands up, going out tonight, everybody, dance time • The Pretender • The Skirt • The Druscilla Dress • arms crossed • You're scaring all the white belts • chocolate chip cookies again. And again. And again. • I'm still alive • Don't wanna be a Deatheater • mopping the dojo floor • up and pivot • up and rotate • sinking into the floor • guided meditation • yoga • Stone Arch Bridge • tai chi • Powderhorn Art Festival • shawls • I made a tree! • I solemnly swear that I am up to no good • leather couches • We don't NEED any more books! • You can never have too many books! • you can't be serious! • Fiona, stop hitting your head on the furniture • put the book DOWN • sarongs • totally unauthorized pain • Veronica Mars • Ironman • Riverview Theater • Do you want to be a Pepper too? • feeling fragile • vulnerabunny • we'll get through this • today sucks • the bus was late AGAIN • SparkPeople.com • weighing my food • Feed My Starving Children • T-shirts • paint • flip flops • digital watches • digital camera • thank goodness for unemployment • light in dark places • Fiona, finish your milk • Can I have Fiona's milk? • NO! • love • cheddar cheese • crumbs on the floor • coffee • I need to set the VCR • no orchestra this year? • theater is amazing! • take your hat! • check the oil • I just need to check my email • Just let me finish this chapter! • Library run • Noodles & Company • book club • Robotics • Old Country Buffet • Ya think? • taxes • phone calls • you NEED a cell phone! • concerts at Lake Harriet • APUSH notes • We've got to save Ginny Weasley from the Basilisk • Oh look, we're scaring people • cream tea at Cafe Latte • Minicon • Minn-stf • win Twins • jack o'lanterns • fangs • that knife must be peace-bonded • but it's not even sharp! • pumpkin waffles • Cooking Light • When the Prairie Sun Climbs Out of the Hay • snuggled together in bed • kick ass resume • conventions • yes •

• this is our life • this is what we say
• this is what we do • this is how we love •
Here's our annual family portrait )Here are the two girls together )
pegkerr: (You'll eat it and like it)
I have no idea what to cook for dinner. I am really weary of trying to figure it out.

Delia will not eat
cooked tomatoes
cooked fruit
dried fruit
chicken
pork
onions
kale
mushrooms
cooked vegetables
chili
lasagna (Edited to add: Delia says she will eat some lasagna. If the cooked tomatoes are not detectable.)
beef, sometimes (this is unpredictable; sometimes she'll accept hamburger in, for example, spaghetti or tacos)
bell peppers (if cooked; she'll eat them raw)
kidney beans
pinto beans
garbanzo beans
fish (violently objects to the smell; can't cook it when she's in the house)
potatoes (Edited to add: Delia says she'll eat some potatoes. Certainly more than her sister will.)
shellfish
shrimp
avocados
turkey burgers (will eat sliced turkey. Occasionally)
brussel sprouts
cauliflower
most nuts, particularly in baked goods (she will eat smooth peanut butter)

Fiona will not eat
onions
mushrooms
broccoli
kale
dried fruit
pineapple (allergic -- it causes hives)
chicken (unpredictable, but usually not)
pork (unpredictable, but usually not)
bell peppers, cooked or raw
chili
kidney beans
pinto beans
garbanzo beans
fish
eggs
potatoes
shellfish
shrimp
avocados
brussel sprouts
cauliflower
most nuts, particularly in baked goods (she will eat smooth peanut butter)

Rob will not eat
broccoli
kale
onions
mushrooms
cantaloupe
olives
vegetarian pizza
eggs
shellfish
shrimp
avocados
papaya
mango
tofu (will only eat it if it's in [livejournal.com profile] pameladean's Tofu French Silk Pie)
brussel sprouts
cauliflower

I will add items as more occur to me.

P.S. I have thrown in the towel and am resorting to canadian bacon pizza.
pegkerr: (Family)
I came home today, tired and subdued, to find the girls in the kitchen, vibrating with excitement. "Surprise!"

I looked around. The kitchen had been cleaned up. Rob had taken the wire shelving that has been in the girls' room for the past six years and turned it into a pantry shelving at the side of the kitchen. All the extra cans and boxes that have been littering the kitchen floor were up and neatly stacked away. And with stuff actually out of the way, the kitchen floor had been cleaned.

More surprises followed. The girls were in their birthday dresses. "Your dress is laid out on your bed. Go change!"

I stepped into the dining room to discover it was transformed. Both the living room and dining room were picked up. The table was beautifully set with all our fall linens, and my Nana's beautiful old tea set was all laid out. All the tea light holders from my office were scattered around the dining room, lit with candles, and George Winston was playing softly from the boom box in the background. A little bouquet of flowers had been picked, tied with a ribbon, and was resting at my place setting.

"Daddy read what you posted on LiveJournal, so we're having tea! And then we'll have formal dinner!"

Tears came to my eyes. What a beautiful, wonderful surprise. I went up, got dressed in the dress I'd worn in my anniversary picture, and then came down. We had Yorkshire Gold tea and crackers spread with raspberry jam. After we had our tea, the girls cleared the table and started serving dinner. Fruit salad was the first course, and then spaghetti with real shredded parmesan. Delia brought out a bottle of sparkling grape juice and everyone was given a glass.

Rob took a sip and offered a true Minnesota compliment: "That's not totally repulsive."

I cracked up.

We lingered over dinner. This is what it means to have a family, I thought, and I was flooded with sentimental gratitude. Yes, my girls and my husband sometimes drive me crazy. But then I get something like today's heart-felt gift, when they spend an afternoon knocking themselves out to give me a wonderful surprise, to give me joy.

Because they love me.

We have decided to take a hiatus before dessert (pudding pie and ice cream). I am using the girls' computer to tell you about my surprise (Rob's still working on getting mine configured.)

The girls have also told me I'm not to do the dishes (although it should have been my job, since I didn't cook.) Instead, Rob and the girls will do them.

I took pictures. Once my computer is up and running, I will post them for you all to see.

Edited to add: Pictures are here!
pegkerr: (Default)
We went to the festival yesterday. This time, Rob came along, too. I was a bit worried, because he has had an infection in his foot that has gotten so bad that he is now on antibiotics, but he seemed to tolerate the walking fairly well.

We went back to the same shop where last year we bought a gown for Delia. This year, again, there was just one gown left, and this one fit Fiona. Again, we hadn't entered the shop intending to buy, but we walked out with Fiona wearing the dress. Hers is a green, and it fits her beautifully. She already has a chemise, and the skirt she sewed when we got her a bodice last year, so we just put the bodice in a bag to carry, and she was all set. The girls are delighted to both have Renaissance dresses. I tried on a beautiful Felix Needleworthy gown (I already have one of his bodice/chemise and skirt sets). I really wanted it, but didn't have the $275 necessary, so I had to leave that one behind. It fitted beautifully. *Sigh* The mad money was not available for that.

I did find two beautiful sarongs in the large size that I've been searching for everywhere, one red and the other a lavender blue, and I did buy those. The weather was a little nippy, and although the girls and I had brought shawls, we were glad to have those to wrap around ourselves, too. We wandered and browsed through shops and watched various shows. The girls had soup served in bread bowls, and Rob and I had a pot roast sandwich and chili. We ended with the traditional apple dumpling at the end of the day. I danced to the drums near the entrance, as I always do. A lovely day at the festival.
pegkerr: (Default)
We watched it tonight for the first time together as a family. Rob and I I had seen it before but it was new to the girls.

They were actually jumping up and down on the couch with wild excitement during the filibuster scene.

Edited to add: Comment from Miss Delia: "Right now, I'm thinking I like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington even better than Legally Blonde 2."

Well. Democracy is safe, don't you think? I'm sure you are so relieved.
pegkerr: (Put that bow away Master Elf)
I just don't need this.

Perhaps I am oversensitive right now because I'm going through a lousy time, but although I consider myself a feminist, I am never crossposting to [livejournal.com profile] feminist again.

I just don't need to be attacked like this because I posted about trying to fairly solve a common household problem.

[I will keep comments on for this post, but with this warning: if you want to chime in any further about how I am screwing up my marriage and my efforts to raise my children, just stow 'em, okay? I jolly well don't want to hear any more.]

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