pegkerr: (Delia)
My church has a lovely custom which we have performed the past several years in order to celebrate the children we have seen grow up in the church who are about to graduate from high school. A knotted fleece blanket is made for each grad in their high school colors, and they are draped over the rail at the front of the church through the entire service. At the end of the service, the students, each wearing a corsage, are called up, and they are joined by their families, Sunday school teachers, confirmation leaders, and any other caring adult who has gotten to know them over the years who wishes to come up, too.

Delia's school doesn't really have colors--it's a very small charter school--but their mascot is the dragon, and they are very LGBTQ friendly, and so the rainbow is welcome there. The church found exactly the right fabric to honor her ("my blanket is the awesomest!" she said). At the end of the prayers of blessing and sending forth, the parents and other adults who love the child drape the child in his or her blanket.

Out in the Narthex, a gift bag is set up for each grad, with a description of their plans for the coming year taped to the front (where they plan to go to college or trade school; what they want to study). The congregation is encouraged to write caring notes which are slipped into each of the balloon-decorated bags, and then everyone celebrates with cupcakes.

When we were walking out to the car, it brought another memory flooding back, which I wrote in my journal in 2005 here. This is the crucial paragraph, a description of a moment when I looked at her when she was almost nine years old:
I looked at her, really looked, as we approached the car. The balloons bobbed over her head, blobs of bright and happy color bouncing on the breeze. She had a Blizzard in her hand, a treat that she loves. She wore her dearly beloved flip-flops, and a lilac blouse, and a pair of stained and battered shorts that spoke of hours in the sun, playing. And I was suddenly proud that I could give her that moment, and all the other moments we have given her. She was out for Dairy Queen with her family. We were giving her a life, a childhood full of balloons. I hope she will look back on this moment someday and agree that yes, it was good. As a parent who loves my girls with a passion and tries really really hard, it helps to know that sometimes (at least once in a while) I manage to do some things right.
I showed the entry to Delia recently. She looked at me today as we approached the car, again with balloons bobbing over her head, and she said aloud just what I was thinking: "a childhood, with balloons!" Now her childhood is ending, again with balloons, and a lovely ritual to remind her that no matter where she goes on her journey from here, our love and our prayers go with her.

May 18, 2014

May 18, 2014
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.

In a funk

Jan. 27th, 2014 08:40 pm
pegkerr: (candle)
I've really been in a funk, which is one of the reasons why I've been quiet here.

Rob is done with chemo (yes, I know I need to write something on the CaringBridge account) but he is still mighty tired, and I haven't noticed much in the way of improvement yet. He is starting physical therapy to regain his strength. They told him at his first appointment that it may take months to recover from the fatigue.

Fiona has successfully transferred, to the University of Minnesota, and is taking classes there now. She is living at home, and commuting in with me in the mornings, which is nice. It just takes me about an extra five minutes or so to drop her off. I know she'd rather not live at home, but she has no job (she lost hers, since it was an Augsburg work-study job), and she didn't have time to arrange housing on top of arranging for the transfer. So she's at home for now.

Delia is still mulling college options. She was five for five on acceptances--and then got turned down today by the place she wanted to go to the most, the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. It was also the most reasonably priced, which is going to be a significant factor. The letter said it was because she didn't have credits which we KNOW she had. We are going to try to reverse their decision but, yeah, we don't know if there'll be much hope.

As for me, well, I'm still studying French every day. The last couple of days I've been feeling really lousy, emotionally, but I don't particularly need to go into details. Just a lot of things seem awfully hard right now.

The terrible weather really doesn't help.
pegkerr: (Default)
Chemo is hard. December is hard.

This sight warmed my heart when I got back from work earlier this week.

Rob and Delia December
pegkerr: (The beauty of it smote his heart)
Delia has been learning jewelry-making from [ profile] elisem for the past six years. Elise is having an on-line sale, and for the first time, some of Delia's work is being offered, too. Delia's pieces will be available for only one week, so take a look and if you see something you like, grab it now! Delia would be thrilled to make a sale, so I hope you will stop by to check it out. At the very least, she would love comments on her work. Thanks!

See here.
pegkerr: (Delia)
Delia's going to be applying to about six colleges or so, and she's heard from the first one: she's been accepted to Wartburg College in Iowa.

I think she's not quite picturing herself going there, but it's a relief and a joy to have that first acceptance. Much, of course, will depend on the financial aid packages offered by the various colleges, too.
pegkerr: (Honestly am I the only person who's ever)
I like these pictures, which were taken at Infinitus in 2010. Rob found them poking around the HPEF Flickr website.

Fiona and Delia at Infinitus in Orlando, Florida, July 2010

Peg signs Alternity Posters - HPEF Infinitus July 2010

© 2010 HPEF, all rights reserved. Free for private, non-commercial, use only. Please credit Jenn Racek and HPEF if photos are printed, published or reposted in any form.
pegkerr: (Default)
New CaringBridge post. Bottom line: we're past the first chemo, side effects have been mild, so far, so good.

Caregivers are busy. I've put seventy-five miles on the car over the past two days, just running errands around town. One errand was to take Delia to the doctor's. She came back from camp a week ago with some kind of bug which blossomed into full-scale post-camp crud. The doctor tested her for strep, which was negative, but put her on antibiotics anyway, due to the importance of not taxing Rob's weakened immunity. She also advised that Delia use the neti pot (which Delia HATES. She used it once, and admitted it made her feel better, but has since avoided using it again).

I got my hair cut. My hairstylist reported that the bald spot at the nape of my neck is even bigger, and now I have another area where the hair is thinning on the side of my head. Argh. "You've got to cut it out with the stress," she told me.

Wish I knew how.

I keep checking Fiona's blog hoping for another post (mothers of students studying abroad are voracious for news) but at least I did hear from her via GoogleChat yesterday. She reported that she is in a flat with a kitchen, a bath, and five single rooms. She had been there a day and had not yet met any of her roommates, although she has heard some sounds at night. And that the only shampoo in the bathroom is a man's shampoo.


She says she finds this hilarious. I asked whether she might consider asking the housing office whether a mistake has been made. She said that apparently students in the UK are much more cool with co-ed housing situations. I said I wouldn't hyper out about this if she feels safe.

Still. I found this somewhat surprising.

We have a Skype date tomorrow, and by then, I hope she'll know more about the housing situation.
pegkerr: (Default)
The girls have always been fascinated with the idea of fairies. Fiona particularly used to spend hours when she was a little girl creating fairy houses and furniture in her special place by the front porch.

I have blown off gardening this year entirely due to my crazy work schedule and the trials I'll be involved with. I knew I would simply have no time, and so my yard is pathetic. No flowering plants on the porch for the first time EVER, no geraniums in planters in front of the front door. My lawn is full of weeds.

But I did stop in the garden store once, thinking to get a flowering lobelia in a hanging pot that I traditionally hang by the back door--but instead I saw a display of fairy gardens, and so I asked the girls if they wanted to create one. They were enchanted by the idea. We spent several hours, seriously weighing pros and cons of the various things they had for sale--they wanted SO much to get it right that it took them forever to make up their minds, and so all were rather cross by the time we got home.

But Fiona set it up, and although she occasionally forgets to water it, so the baby's breath looks rather parched, on the whole it has taken shape nicely. I am sure if there are any fairies in the neighborhood (and Fiona, I suspect, secretly is convinced that there are) they would find this a lovely haven.

Fairy Garden - June 2013

Fairy Garden - June 2013

Fairy Garden - bench and well

Fairy Garden - well (For perspective, that watering can in front of the well is about the size of a thimble.)

This is one of those special things you see as a parent occasionally, where something they had as children continues to enrich their lives as adults.

Isn't it beautiful?
pegkerr: (Delia)
Delia has mononucleosis. AGAIN.

Second time in thirteen months. SEND THAT GIRL SOME LOVE.
pegkerr: (Default)
We haz 'em. And my daughter Delia ([ profile] ooh_pretty_mine) is maintaining them.

Minicon Tumblr.

Minicon Twitter: @minicon.
pegkerr: (Default)
Forgot to post these: a couple of family pictures from after the matinee performance on Sunday.

pegkerr: (Default)
Helena (Delia) and Hermia:




Puck makes mischief:


And as a result, Helena is not happy:


Other pictures from the show )
pegkerr: (Fiona and Delia)
Going out for cupcakes after A Midsummer Night's Dream with our adorable girls.

Adorable daughters 3/17/2013
pegkerr: (Default)
I was planning on posting a bunch of pictures from the performance, but my photohosting service on LJ is down, so it'll have to wait. We saw it on both Friday and Sunday. My mom and my sister Betsy came to see it on Sunday, too, so that was fun. The performances improved quite a bit between the two days. Delia was radiant.

pegkerr: (Delia)
For those locally who are interested:

Delia is going to be appearing her school's production of Midsummer Night's Dream. She is playing Helena. The performances are next Friday and Saturday at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Anyone interested? Send me a private message on my livejournal or dreamwidth accounts, and I'll give you the details.
pegkerr: (Delia)
Delia, in the hallway, showing off her newest acquisition: "I love my new jeans."

Me (jaw dropping) "Delia, those jeans really love you!"

Delia March 1, 2013
pegkerr: (Delia)
Delia ([ profile] ooh_pretty_mine has a request here:

Hello all!

I am helping out with Minicon this year, I'm a department head for Minicon the Next Generation, which is in charge of getting more teens to come to Minicon and making it an awesome place for them. I'm looking for some wonderful volunteers who could help with giving demos or lessons or whatever it may be to teens at Minicon this year.

Some examples are:

If you take great photos, show us how to do that!
If you create anything geeky or goofy, teach us!
If you illustrate comic books, give a demo!
If you have ways to come up with codes and riddles, pass on the secrets!
If you write songs or poetry, tell us how you do it!
If you have a secret talent, be proud and share it!

Whatever it may be, if you think that teens or young adults would like it, PLEASE CONTACT ME ASAP.

You can comment on this post or message me through LJ.

Thanks so much guys and I'll see you at the Pool Party!!

( which is Saturday, Feb 23rd @ the Radish Tree if you forgot :] )
pegkerr: (Default)
and she wants followers. Please check it out and leave comments to encourage her.

Life of a Closet Fashionista.

Also on Twitter at @Clstfashionista.
pegkerr: (Delia)
Two items of wunderbar news came down this week: first of all, Delia has landed HER DREAM JOB. Why yes, she is going to be working part time at Michaels, the craft store. She's only wanted to work there since she was eight.

Secondly! A part in a play! And not just any play, but a really major role: she is going to be playing Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream. She received news that she had the part and she wavered a bit, wondering if she could handle it, along with classes and the job. But she's decided to go for it. We're just thrilled for her.

Kudos to Miss Delia from her proud parents.


pegkerr: (Default)

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