pegkerr: (Default)
I discovered this song when my family sent me on a spa weekend getaway for my fiftieth birthday.

I have been playing it a lot lately, when the wish for a Time Turner starts itching at me again, as it has a lot lately.

But hey, I'm not wishing for a Resurrection Stone.



Tell me about ways you are living in the moment.
pegkerr: (Default)
I've been reading a lot for escape lately, but reading has been difficult. I've had bad luck with a crappy succession of mindless escape fiction I've been taking out of the library, so I went out on the internet looking for fanfiction.

I was in the mood for some Éomer/Lothíriel, which is generally my preferred pairing in the LOTR universe. I like Éomer as a character, because he is quite well-rounded and has an extremely interesting background. He's heroic, but he's human, too. He shows the full gamut of human emotion. Unlike the more saintly Aragorn, Éomer has a temper which has at times altered the course of his character arc.

We know, from Tolkien's afterward, that he married Princess Lothíriel of Dol Amoth, and we know at least a little about her family, but Tolkien (to the best of my knowlege) never brough Lothíriel onstage. This is catnip for fanfiction writers: a pairing with one incredibly interesting, appealing character (Éomer) and another who is more or less a blank slate, so they can build a very wide range of stories. But Lothíriel's situation is interesting, as little we know about her, too: she is coming to a new culture, learning an entirely different language, and it's a great device for the reader: as Lothíriel learns about Rohan, the readers learn about it, too. And the culture of the Riddermark is extremely interesting, not just standard medieval fantasy.

The great risk, of course, is turning Lothíriel into a Mary-Sue character. I haven't run much into that, however, because the Éomer/Lothíriel pairing is one of the rarer ones due to the fact that the courtship and wedding and indeed the entire relationship happens after the book ends, off-stage, and so the more clumsy beginning fanfiction writers may not even KNOW about the pairing. On the contrary, the few who do write it are steeped in Tolkien's lore, and I think, better writers.

Two of the prominent writers I've enjoyed the most are Lady Bluejay and Lialathuveril, both of whom have returned to the pairing again and again, writing some impressive, novel-length works. They have played with a number of questions: was it an arranged marriage or a love match? Or was it an arranged marriage which turned into a love match? Or was it an unhappy marriage? What is Rohan like? What sort of role does Lothíriel have in her new home? What does she discover about the different role of women in her original home by the sea as opposed to her adopted home?

Deandra writes Éomer/Lothíriel, too, and she's quite prolific but her works are generally shorter, and not, I think, quite as richly complex.

However: as I said, I went out on the internet looking for more (since it's a rarer pairing it's hard to find new stuff) and I ran across a story and author I'd never encountered before. I must say I think it's one of the strongest fanfiction stories I've ever read. It's REALLY different than the standard Éomer/Lothíriel story, which often concentrates on how they met, how they fell in love, and how did Lothíriel adjust to Rohan.

I've seen some Éomer/Lothíriel stories that deal with Haradian characters (generally they're cast as villains), but I've NEVER seen a Éomer/Lothíriel story which takes place partly IN Harad. Éomer and Lothíriel spend almost the entire story apart, but they are learning about each other and their relationship is changing, even so. It examines big, big questions which seemed to me particularly timely, considering the goddawful news out of the Middle East: what is justice? How does a nation recover from war? What should you do when you encounter your enemy afterwards--if you win OR if you lose? What are the moral justifications for going to war? There was what (I thought) was a really surprising twist toward the end, and the ending itself was absolutely stunning.

I'd really love to get your reactions. The story is In His Face A Shining Light and it's by Carryon14.
pegkerr: (Rob)
How do you pamper someone going through chemo?

I'm not quite sure what to expect. Nausea? Sleepiness? I asked Rob to think about what might comfort him if he's feeling lousy. Other than let him sleep and keep the laptop fired up with movies.

Other ideas, especially from anyone with experience as a caretaker for someone going through chemo? Thanks.
pegkerr: (Mischief managed!)
For quite awhile, while I've certainly enjoyed my Lord of the Rings mood set, I've wanted a mood set of Harry Potter icons, especially as I've been getting engrossed in Alternity. I've started working on it! Unfortunately, the program which I used for to make my LOTR icons, which I liked extremely well, doesn't work on my Mac. I have been using a half-assed work around, using Word textboxes and screen capture, but they're much too blurry. So I have a request in to Rob to see if he can get me a nice little software program I can use. Anyway, here are some of my first attempts. I started with the Harry Potter font, but then decided to switch to the Lumos font, as it was a bit easier to read:

Predatory:


Dirty:


Enthralled:


Disappointed:


Happy:


Confused:


Infuriated:


Geeky:


Mischievous:


Indescribable:


Nauseated:


Ideas for other mood icons:

Cheerful:
The cheering charms had left them with a feeling of great contentment

Rejected:
They've both just been turned down by girls they asked to the ball!

Fast:
What are you waiting for? RUN!

Embarrassed:
Why did he have to go red now? Why?

Jubilant:
We've won the Cup!

Now I'm asking for your help. What Harry Potter lines could I use to make mood icons?

Like I said, I'm going to do these again with a better program so they'll be less blurry, and you will all be welcome to take whatever icons I create. Credit would be nice. (I'll do a monster post showing them all).

iGoogle

Jul. 4th, 2012 07:25 pm
pegkerr: (Not all those who wander are lost)
Well, nuts.

I use iGoogle as my home page for the most part. I've customized it so that all the things I check every day are there, organized as I like.

Today, I noticed a little notice that said "iGoogle is going away soon." I clicked it and learned that yes, they are abandoning iGoogle. On standard computers, not until November 2013, but for mobile devices ( which means my Nook), it's going away in less than a month.

Shoot.

Anyone have an alternative to suggest for a see it all at a glance home page? Yahoo, I suppose, but just about all the tools I use the most are with Google.

Argh. Change is hard.
pegkerr: (100 things)
I think I've hit upon what I'd like to blog about for the 100 things challenge. I've picked #56 on this list: 100 Things I Tried for the First Time. I've officially contracted for the challenge here.

I chose this because 1) I'd really like to do the challenge, to spark more blog entries; 2) I've been thinking I need to find something new to absorb my energy, now that I've stopped doing karate. And what better way to find something than to try a lot of new things? 3) temperamentally, I tend to be rather a stick-in-the-mud. I tend to go back to the same restaurants over and over and order the same favorite dish over and over. I need to stretch myself 4) I think this is an important thing to be mindful about as I age. I don't want my world to get smaller as I get older. That's one thing I admire a great deal about my own parents: they're always willing to try new things (this is a couple in their 80s who just got back from a trip to the Dominican Republic where they were installing bios sand filters to give the people down there clean drinking water.

Coincidentally, last night when trying to come up with something to do on my Friday night out, I was feeling fretful about doing the same old same old. I was determined to find a new restaurant. It took awhile of poking around on Google maps, but I eventually found a restaurant near my old dojo that has just added a dinner menu. I've stopped there to pick up coffee and pastries a couple times, but this was the first time I had the opportunity to try dinner there. So this will be my first 100 things entry: Dinner at Sun Street Breads.

The space is quite lovely, and they have seating outside, too, although last night I chose to sit inside. Disconcertingly, it's also the former site of our Snyders drugstore, so whenever I go up to the counter I always feel like I should be ordering a prescription.

Sun Street Breads

I was seated immediately, and the service was very friendly. I ordered the 'Latin Cowboy' - steak, arugula, peppers, chimichurri sauce on toasted baguette. I chose a side salad. It was very simple, just romaine with a nice rather sweet vinaigrette. Since this place is also a bakery, breads are the star of much of the menu. The sandwich was good, albeit slightly awkward: a bit too tough to use a knife and fork, and slightly too big to pick up and take a chomp from it without stretching the jaws really REALLY wide. But it was tasty--the meat nicely rare.

Well, that was easy, and not too far out of my comfort zone. Leave me a suggestion if you have any ideas for what I might do for future entries.




{Take the 100 Things challenge!}
pegkerr: (Your coming is to us as the footsteps of)
"There are three ways to make a living in this business:
Be first
Be smarter
or cheat."


I ran across a reference to the movie Margin Call a couple of times in the past few weeks, in the course of my obsessive reading about the Occupy Wall Street protests and the larger issue of how this country got so off track in the financial markets and political process. My interest was piqued by a couple of reviews that singled it out as 'the finest Wall Street movie ever made.'

Well, I haven't seen all the Wall Street movies ever made and so can't judge whether that's true, but I did go see Margin Call last night and found it to be really good. Specifically, it was a well done story that particularly examined a panalopy of characters who come to make dubious, even reprehensible, ethical decisions in the workplace. The writer/first time director, J.C. Chandor does a superb job with a helluva cast. (It must be in the blood: Mr. Chandor's father was with Merrill Lynch for forty years.)

What it particularly reminded me of was the movie that was made from John Dean's book Blind Ambition. (John Dean was Richard Nixon's counsel and was a central player in the Watergate scandal). Dean's book was so memorable, probably the best written of all the players caught up in those events, because it is mercilessly self-analytical. As one reviewer put it, "Rare indeed is a memoir so utterly lacking in self-righteousness, false piety, and special pleading." I vividly remember reading the passage where Dean sits down with his law books and carefully researches how far, exactly, he has broken the law. When he wrote the memoir, he pinpoints the first bad decision he made, a temptation to shade the truth just a little. It happened about a month after he started working at the White House. And when he finally sat down with those law books and faced the truth about what he had been doing, he realized that when he stepped over the line, he didn't even see it, and from there he continued most of the way down to hell. By the time it dawned upon him what he had done, he had long since fashioned the jaws of the trap that was at that very moment closing over his head.

Margin Call is like that. It takes place in a thirty-six hour period, when it dawns upon a young hotshot in the risk department of an brokerage firm (clearly based on Lehman Brothers) that the firm is overleveraged and in serious financial trouble. His boss gets called in, and his boss's boss, and as the question of what to do rises inexorably up the ladder, the dreadful truth becomes clear: they can admit what has happened and in doing so destroy the company--or they can sell these toxic assets, attempting to clear them off the books in one day before everyone else discovers their worthlessness, in an attempt to save themselves. Of course, once they've done so, they'll spread the poison outside the firm, ruining people's lives, and probably destroying the company anyway. Who would ever buy from them again?

One by one, the characters must face up to the ethical decision, and we learn the reasons why they decide the way they do. And in that harrowing thirty-six hours, some realize that the ethical decision was already made, possibly in some cases years ago. And they never even saw it when they first stepped over the line. And just as it's too late to save the firm from the toxic assets, it's too late to turn aside from the path of doom.

Here's the trailer )

Have you seen Margin Call? What did you think?

I think I also want to see the documentary Inside Job.
pegkerr: (Default)
An interesting article in the Washington Post about an internet meme springing up, which photoshops the image of the cop spraying the protestors at UC Davis into all sorts of famous paintings. See the Tumblr here. The closest similar example I can think of were the various photoshop jobs that added pictures everywhere of Princess Beatrice's hat, or Aretha Franklin's hat at Obama's swearing in.

What do you think? Is it a mistake to turn this episode into a joke? Or is it a clever commentary on the nature of brutality against peaceful protest, and a useful device to shame the cop?
pegkerr: (Default)
Now that I'm thinking about this, it's instructive to look back at this post I made back in 2003, about making a life list/bucket list. Here's an excerpt:
If I'm really serious about doing this, it means that if I put something on the list, I mean to be really determined about wanting to do it. Some considerations: I am, perhaps, a bit more limited because I am starting later in life than Zora and John Goddard did, and some things you just can't do in life if you start too late (I'm too old, physically, for example, to become a master gymnast). And some things I might think would be cool, theoretically, but I don't really want to do them, and so there is no reason to put them down. Fly an airplane, or win an Olympic medal comes to mind.

But if I really mean to do this, and address anything I might put down really seriously, then who knows? I might really re-shape drastically the direction of my life.

Life List - first draft
Graduate from college
Get graduate degree
Marry, have children
Write a book and get it published
Study a martial art (which one? How do I decide how proficient should I be before I can check this one off the list?)
Learn how to play Gaelic fiddle
Become proficient in French
Learn how to fire a gun
Run a marathon
I hereby ceremoniously draw a line through the top item on the 2003 list:

Study a martial art

I was right when I wrote that post: devoting myself to an item on the list DID require a drastic reshaping of my life. With karate, that reshaping worked really well for a long time. Now it's time to think about whether I want to reshape my life in new ways. I note that the next item on this list is one I've actually been thinking more and more about lately. Number one problem: cost. I could use Fiona's violin, which she left at home, I suppose, but she says it's even too small for her now. Which means it would be REALLY small for me. So that means renting one, except I really can't afford to do so. Or pay for lessons. And...commitment. Do I really want to do this? Do I want to put in the work? I LOVE Irish music. Does that mean I want to actually buckle down to learning how to do it? Where would I play?

*ponders*

Anyone know anyone locally here in the Twin Cities who teaches gaelic fiddle?

More suggestions for the bucket list, friends list? What might a fify-one year old woman who is trying to stretch herself and continue to be interesting and adventuresome consider exploring?

Hurricane

Aug. 26th, 2011 10:58 am
pegkerr: (cherry tree in the storm)
Good luck to all my friends on the East Coast who are set to ride out Hurricane Irene (including my brother Chet's family in New York).

Check in please and let me know where you are located, and your plans and preparation, either for sitting tight or evacuating.
pegkerr: (You'll eat it and like it)
It hit the 90s today in Minneapolis, which meant I reached for one of my very favorite hot weather meals, which I got years ago out of the cookbook 365 Low Calorie Recipes. This takes fifteen minutes to make, is light and delicious and perfectly easy on those days it's too hot to cook:

Thai Beef Salad - serves 4

10 oz. cooked flank steak or deli roast beef, trimmed of excess fat (I use deli roast beef usually)
2 TB fresh lime juice
1 TB soy sauce
1 TB water
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed hot pepper flakes
3 scallions, sliced (omitted for my picky family)
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced (ditto)
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded (about 4 cups) (I hate iceberg and use romaine instead)
1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped

Cut beef into thin strips and place in a medium bowl. Add lime juice, soy sauce, water, ginger, garlic, and hot pepper. Toss to mix. Add scallions, cucumber and red pepper. Toss again. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

Arrange lettuce in a salad bowl. Pour beef, vegetables, and any liquid in bowl over lettuce. Sprinkle peanuts on top. Toss at table just before serving.

(Recipe notes 221 calories per serving).

Tell me what's your very favorite it's-so-easy-and-delicious-when-it's-too-hot-too-cook recipe. Thanks!
pegkerr: (Hardcore pretty)
Oh Livejournal/Dreamwidth, hive mind repository of all human knowledge, please pass along your best suggestions/tips for a successful, affordable high school graduation open house in one's own home. Any menu suggestions?

Fiona's going to be a high school graduate!* Can you believe it?

*Well, with an asterisk by her name. Technically, she doesn't graduate until she finishes online gym, over the summer.
pegkerr: (Fiona)
It's a very special day today in our household. Today, Fiona is EIGHTEEN YEARS OLD! She shares this birthday with my sister, who was there when Fiona was born.

It's instructive to take a look at this post, in which I asked people what they thought we should take care to teach Fiona before she was eighteen and ready to leave home. Uh, I don't think we've covered everything yet.

Feel free to drop a comment to wish Fiona happy birthday, and because I'm a shameless proud mama, tell me: what do you remember about her or what have you learned to like or admire or even love about her from (perhaps years! of) reading my journal? Even if you've never met her IRL?
pegkerr: (Default)
I regularly read a blog by Gretchen Rubins entitled The Happiness Project. Here's an excerpt from a post today:
I have a friend who is a working artist. She told me, “When I was starting out, I made money by working as a receptionist at a gallery. When my art career advanced enough so that I could quit that job, another artist friend told me, ‘Now you’ll be working all the time.’”

“What exactly does that mean?” I asked.

“He meant – I have to be looking, thinking, all the time. I have to notice and consider my reactions to everything. Why do I love this display of Christmas lights? What makes this restaurant so ugly?”

I’ve noticed a similar thing happen to me, with happiness. Now, whenever I feel a surge or drop in my happiness, I think: What’s happening, what triggered that? If I’m feeling happier, how can I ramp it up? Why do I suddenly feel blue? I’m trying to be more mindful about my fleeting reactions to thoughts and experiences, and I’m often surprised by what I notice.

For example, I found myself thinking about a famous piece of public art -- a luggage trolley apparently halfway through a brick wall at London's King's Cross station.




If you’re not a Harry Potter fan, the trolley is a reference to the fact that when magical children leave London to go to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, they take a special train, the Hogwarts Express, which boards from Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross. One of the first things Harry Potter does as part of the magical world is to run through a brick wall to get to the platform hidden between 9 and 10.

This public sculpture doesn’t just make me mildly happy. I love it; I get choked up thinking about it. It gives me a feeling of elevation – one of the most delicate pleasures the world offers. So, I ask: why does it make me feel this way?

First, it’s a celebration of something I particularly love, children’s literature. Second, it’s an acknowledgment that the love for Harry Potter is so ubiquitous that this artifact makes sense. We all love Harry Potter! And I love the collision of literature and real life. And this trolley sculpture is so funny, so playful.

How could I dwell on this happiness? One of my resolutions is to Find an area of refuge, and I’ve spent quite a lot of mental energy, in the last few days, fantasizing about what delightful surprises I would plant around New York City, in the manner of the Kings Cross trolley.

All my examples comes from beloved classics of children’s literature; it would be just as fun to have examples from adult fiction, but I couldn’t think of any.

This is what I would install:
From Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, in Central Park: a giant peach pit, with a door and a nameplate reading “James Henry Trotter.” I’m actually surprised this doesn’t already exist.

From E. L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: a book bag tucked behind a drape behind a statue from the Middle Ages. And also in the Met…

From Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman’s You Can't Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum: a yellow helium balloon tied to the outside stair railing. This would be so inexpensive and fun!

From Sydney Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind Family in the Children’s Room at a branch of the New York Public Library in the Lower East Side: a copy of Peter and Polly in Winter, placed in the “Returns” section.
In a similar project, a few years ago, I made a long list of children’s books and where they take place in New York City. In many cases, a reader can locate the character exactly, like Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy who spies on 84th and East End, and Peter Hatcher, from Judy Blume’s Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, who lives at 25 W. 68th Street.

...

New York City did rise to occasion of the release of the movie of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, with a sign at Union Station.





I love New York City, and I love Harry Potter. It makes me so very, very happy to see something like this.

And now I’m off to try to think of more additions to my list. Any suggestions?
This is an intriguing idea. Here in Minneapolis, of course, I always think of War for the Oaks at a lot of locations. Can you think of any public art you would install, in honor of one of your favorite books?
pegkerr: (Default)
I went on a walk on the Stone Arch Bridge for the first time in a long time, possibly about a month.

I stopped walking the bridge when I got so dreadfully sick. The aftermath of that illness was that I would go into paroxyms of coughing when I stepped from inside to outside, the coughs apparently triggered by the change of temperature. So the little slice of time that I made for myself each morning fell by the wayside and I barely noticed. I was too exhausted from my illness and busy trying to breathe. Then, weeks later, when I returned to work and the cough cleared up, thanks to the big guns inhaler, the temperature was so cold that the walk didn't seem tempting, and frankly, I was out of the habit.

I have been reflecting upon habits, and about mindfulness. It's the time of year to take stock of myself. What to I need to be diligent about keeping in my life? My paper journal had been all but abandoned this year. I am trying resume the daily entry, and ordered the journal for next year. I am trying to do daily slow kicks, so I don't die in the black belt screenings, which resume next month. After the first of the year, I will resume sparring class--the concussion was my excuse to stop, and, just as with walking the bridge, I fell out of the habit of going to sparring class. (The only difference: I like walking the bridge, whereas I really don't like sparring). But they are starting a women-only sparring class, which will remove one of my chief dislikes about sparring (teenage brown belt boys with too much testerone and no control who hit too hard). I have been doing a lot of reading about overcoming depression and about happiness, and the one proven practice that helps people keep depression at bay is, again, a mindful habit, to list one's gratitudes every day. The Decrease Worldsuck posts have dropped off, and I need to get more mindful about that, too.

How about you? What good habits have you let slip lately that you are trying to reinstate in your life?
pegkerr: (But this is terrible!)
Here's an interesting article about the difficulties inherent in attempting to write sex scenes. Specifically, good sex scenes, the ones that don't pull the reader out of the story because he or she is too busy guffawing. Apparently, there is an annual award for the worst of the worst: the Literary Review's Bad Sex award.
While these nominations provide testimony to the creative potholes authors can slip down when they stray into the bedroom, the awards themselves prove their opposite – good sex writing - does exist. Against that the bad is selected, according to Jonathan Beckman, assistant editor of The Literary Review.

But for all the vituperation at authors who get it wrong, there appears to be little consensus on how to get it right. Some writers follow the forensic language of anatomy, others adopt metaphor and euphemism, while opponents of literary sex shun it for crass approximations with pornography.
I've actually been thinking a bit about this during the past month because for unknown reasons (in fact, I've been rather mystified about it) for the past three months I've been gorging on romance novels. It's really my first attempt for a wide-ranging exploration of the genre. Well, not so wide-ranging, as a matter of fact. I've been reading almost exclusively Regency romances, ignoring other niches such as paranormals, highlanders and westerns. What have I discovered?

First of all, that there are an awful lot of bad romances. Secondly, much of what I've read in the field is very repetitive and/or derivative.

I don't know why on earth I'm reading this stuff. Maybe I'm restlessly searching for someone who is doing it right, even as I'm wading through so many books where the author is doing it wrong. In fact, this compulsion (and it has truly seemed like a compulions; I've read possibly fifty of the damn things in the past two months) is downright baffling to me. One possibility is that I'm studying the use of the erotic in fiction. This is one area that I never felt comfortable attempting myself, and I thought it was a true deficit in my own writing. I envy writers that can manage it gracefully (Kij Johnson is certainly one whose confidence in this type of writing just always made me marvel) I just never had the courage to try it because I knew (and know) that when done clumsily, the result could be so very embarrassing. My overly developed critical review of my own work (the same thing that led to my writers block) made me so self conscious that I couldn't really even bring myself to write sex scenes, even when I wrote with the intention that I would only ever be the only reader. The bravest thing I ever attempted was chapter twelve in The Wild Swans, when Sean and Elias went to the bathhouse, but neither of my two main characters actually participated in the graphic encounters right there on the page, and I cut to black several times in that book rather than writing an encounter with the camera on, so to speak. I almost broke out in hives when my critique group went over Chapter 12, I found it so stressful.

One of the most erotic scenes I've read in my romp through the pages of a host of romance novels is particularly striking because of its restraint. It took place when a man and a woman are sitting next to each other in a theater box. The man slowly unbuttons the buttons on her glove, one by one and slowly insinuates a finger inside to stroke the palm of her hand.

Who are authors you admire who do sex scenes well? Have you attempted to write them yourself? Do you find it easy or difficult? Do you balk at showing your work to other people? Does practice make perfect? Do you that a wide-ranging sexual experience is necessary to write sexually explicit prose with ease and confidence? Other thoughts?

The car

Dec. 2nd, 2010 02:45 pm
pegkerr: (Even the wisest cannot always tell)
I've been mulling over making this entry for a couple of weeks. I've worked up the courage to do it, but I don't want people to misunderstand me. I'm not asking for money, but ... ideas.

My car really isn't safe to drive anymore. Ginny the Jeep is seventeen years old, and it's rusting so badly that the body is flaking apart. It takes a half quart of oil every time I fill up the gas tank. The roof leaks whenever it rains. The front bumper is crumpled. The doors cannot be locked. There are no airbags. I am now resorting to keeping the driver's side door closed with a bungee cord, because the latch is broken, and it just isn't worth spending the couple of hundred dollars necessary to get it replaced. In order to close the driver's door, I have to roll down the window and pull it closed by the door frame every time--the internal door handle is pulled out of the wall of the door. The gear shift lever comes apart in my hand unless I hold it just so. I'm afraid to ferry the girls in it. I'm afraid to drive it myself.

Help me strategize, people. How can I get another car? I wouldn't have believed I could have managed to repaint my house with Rob out of work, but I managed to connive a way to do it. Now I need to figure out how to get a car. Not a new one, heaven knows. But does anyone know of a used one in semi-decent shape (well, better shape than Ginny) that someone is just dying to see go to a good home? I think I need to get an automatic, because Fiona needs to learn to drive, and it'd be easier for her to learn on an automatic. And it has to have airbags because, ditto.

I have some money in savings--the refinancing money that we're eking out as long as we can, because my salary alone doesn't cover all the bills. I could spend some of that, but I'm scared to do so because I don't know how long it'll take Rob to get a job. My god, I wouldn't have believed we could have scratched along for over two years without being late on any of our bills, but we have. And I don't want to add a car payment, because I'm not covering my bills with my salary alone as it is, and hello, Fiona starts college next year. OMG how are we going to do that? But one problem at a time.

Please, please don't misunderstand. I am not asking for money. We need to figure out how to do this ourselves. I'm asking for...I dunno. Ideas. Or leads to someone who has a little cream puff of a car, cheap, that needs a new home, something not fancy, just reliable.

Or a miracle.

How can I get another safe car to drive while not adding a car payment or depleting my rapidly diminishing savings too much? Any guidance or suggestions would be deeply appreciated. Thanks.
pegkerr: (Peg and Rob)
and the poor guy is sick in bed with the miserable cold thingy that has run through the entire family.

Do me a favor, friends list. Leave a comment to wish him happy birthday. Please: tell him a joke, remind him of a funny story from some time you saw him at a convention, remind him of a mutual memory that is a total lie, give him a job lead, tell him why (from the stories you've read in my journal over the years) you think he's an outstanding parent and an all around great guy. Please brighten my husband's day, because he really needs it. I'd really appreciate it. Lurkers, this means you, too. Thanks.
pegkerr: (Default)
*waves the straight ally pom-poms*

Tell me this: is there more that I can do for you personally as a straight ally? Comments are screened. Please let me know if it's okay to make your response public. Thanks.
pegkerr: (Default)
The girls are at camp this week, so Rob and I decided to find something special to do to belatedly celebrate our anniversary. Only what?

I ran across the perfect idea, and it was splendid! I ran across this, a company called "Gondola Romantica" on the internet. Apparently, an enterprising gentlemen about ten years ago bought and shipped a traditional Venetian gondola from Venice to Minnesota and is offering it for rides in Stillwater, on the St. Croix river. There are several different packages you can choose from. You can get a ride complete with a picnic dinner. Or you can have a lovely meal beforehand at a dockside restaurant overlooking the river and then go for a ride afterwards. That's the option we chose to do.

The meal was wonderful. I had the salmon and Rob had the pork tenderloin, and both were delicious.





We could see the gondola gliding by on the river below as we ate our meal:





We had timed our ride to take place at sunset, and that turned out to be a happy choice. The boat we were riding, our gondolier explained, is somewhere between three and four hundred years old, and it is entirely luxurious and comfortable. The light slowly ebbed away as he slowly guided the gondola under the bridge and over to bob along the Wisconsin side of the river. Yachts passed to and fro as the twilight deepened. Amber lights spilled over the water, reflecting on the surface in butterscotch ripples as Rob and I talked quietly. Nighthawks darted over the water, their rasping cries echoing in the still, humid air. I had a sandelwood fan that I used to languidly fan myself. No mosquitoes troubled us.






It was absolutely perfect. I can't remember the last time I felt so peaceful and happy.

As the gondola slowly turned and began making its way again to the landing, storm clouds began to gather overhead. A lightning display began lighting up the clouds, but the rain charitably held off until five minutes after we touched back on shore.

We highly recommend the experience.

More pictures under the cut )

Tell me about a perfect romantic evening you've once had, or a clever, unusual thing you did together with your partner to connect with him or her. What made it so special?

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