pegkerr: (All we have to decide is what to do with)
Me, to Fiona : “So, IF I started thinking about dating again, what sort of guy do you think—“
Fiona (adamantly): “No.”
Me: “No, really, I just wondered—“
Fiona: “No. I’m not going there.”
Me: “Fiona, this is purely theoretical. You’re a mathematician, right? You can deal with the theoretical. Think of it like, um, pairing numbers.”
Fiona: “I happen to dislike even numbers.”

At which point, I cracked up and abandoned the conversation. No dating advice will be forthcoming from my daughter. (And it’s really true. She likes odd numbers better than even numbers. She likes prime numbers best of all, bless her nerdy heart.)

In other news, I donated 460 books to the Friends of the Library yesterday. They were mystery hardbacks, a genre I hardly ever read (except for a few selected authors). Many of them Rob BOUGHT at the Friends of the Library book sales over the years (he would go at the end of the day and bring home grocery bags full of books that he'd gotten for $1 each--uncaring of my shrill complaints: "Where are we going to PUT them all?") I hope to consolidate three of the remaining bookcases into the open shelves, which would allow me to remove bookcases that are sitting in the archway between my living room and my dining room. Then I can go shopping for new furniture.

Rob loved his books so, so much, and I did, too, but the number that he collected was excessive. It is incredibly painful to get rid of some. And hopeful. I sent the Snapchat below to the girls, and Delia called me up to console me and tell me that she was proud of me. And I am, and yet...ugh. I slept badly last night.

pegkerr: (Rob's last) she stood before the canvas on which he was represented, and fixed his eyes upon herself,
she thought of his regard with a deeper sentiment of gratitude than it had ever raised before;
she remembered its warmth, and softened its impropriety of expression.

--Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

I realize that I never posted the last pictures we took for our family portrait. They were taken by a friend of the family and professional photographer, John Walsh, the night before Thanksgiving, November 2017. We had no way of knowing, but that was the very last night that Rob slept in his own bed. I took him to the Emergency Room the next day, Thanksgiving Day, for fever, and he was admitted that day. He never saw his home again. Many of you saw these pictures on our Christmas card.

The shoot was wonderful, and you can see what a happy, laughing time we had...but I knew in my heart what was coming. When Rob's individual portrait appeared on the photographer's monitor, I immediately burst into tears. I managed to choke out that it was because I so moved by it. Indeed, I loved it--but that wasn't it.

I was crying because I instantly knew it was going to be his obituary picture. And I was right.

Today, I thought of this treasured picture of Rob as I was listening to this song, from Austen's Pride, A New Musical of Pride and Prejudice. (Listen to this song here. The lyrics here are from the first minute and forty seconds. Listen to the whole thing: it's gorgeous.)

Who are you?
I thought I knew
The man in the portrait
You appear and seem to be
All the things that I refused to see
And you said you loved me.

Who are you?
Is it true
The man in the portrait
Is thoughtful and good?
If I knew then
What I know now
I might have understood
But that was then
Now I’m face to face
With you, the man in the portrait
In your gaze, I can see
The way you used to smile at me
And it says, you loved me.

I was open with the fact, I think, that Rob and I had our struggles, as happens of course in any marriage. It was very difficult particularly through the years of unemployment. But my respect for him grew so much as I watched him battle cancer, and somehow, this photograph captured something about him and made it visible for all: his nobility, and his suffering, and the love that shone out of him. The lines I've bolded above say it well. I told the photographer that I will treasure this photo for the rest of my life.

I cried a lot today.

photo credit John Walsh
pegkerr: (Default)
Week 37: Curse
The campaign is having some difficulties.

Week 37 Curse.jpg

This card is about how the fanart contest I had planned for EverTwixt ran into some problems. The day the contest was launched, Kelly (the owner of EverTwixt) fell down the stairs, resulting in a concussion and broken arm. An inauspicious start. We decided it was due to the malign influence of Baba Yaga, the nemesis of the stories on the website. We also determined that the contest had to be rejiggered, because we weren't getting the response to the ads that we'd hoped.

Week 38: Redesign
I spent the week redesigning the contest, hoping to still find our mystery artist out there somewhere.

Week 38 Redesign.jpg

This card represents both the fact that I redesigned the particulars of the contest, since Kelly was unavailable (landing pages, email automation), and the silhouette also represents that mysterious artist we still hoped to find.

Week 39: Certification
I took the test and finished the Hubspot Academy Inbound Marketing course.

Week 39 Certification.jpg

The Inbound Marketing course is built on the four stages of inbound marketing as Hubspot sees them: Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight.

Week 40: Treats
I begin designing the website for Barking Good Healthy Treats.

Week 40 Treats.jpg

Week 41: Girls
Meals with my girls mean love.

Week 41 Girls.jpg

This combined two Snapchats: Fiona and I send this a Snapchat to Delia informing her of our brunch at Turtle Bread Bakery. Delia also sent us a Snapchat, showing the set up of her table at her new apartment in Eau Claire. The vase of peonies were the ones I brought with me when we moved Delia in.
pegkerr: (Default)
I have many reasons to be grateful. One is that these two beautiful girls are home from college for the weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving from our household to yours.

Fiona and Delia Thanksgiving November 26 2015
pegkerr: (Default)
Delia's home for the holidays, which means it's manicure time. Since it's the holiday weekend and I don't have any job search meetings set for awhile, I can be a bit more whimsical. Today's theme: The Marauders' Map. I did it this time. Got a little wobbly on my right thumb, but I re-did it and it looks all right. Rather pleased with the overall effect.

Delia's is more artistic, featuring fall-colored dots and a turkey.

pegkerr: (Default)
Week 8: Encouragement
You are a strong, powerful woman, no matter how defeated or nervous you may feel.

Week 8 Encouragement

This card is strongly tied to last week's card, Fall. In fact, this week's creation was entirely due to reaction to last week's.

When I created Fall and posted it, I sent the link to Delia (away at college) because, after all, it was our conversation about her art assignment that inspired the card in the first place. She sent me a beautiful e-mail in response and I've received her permission to post it here:
Sorry this reply took so long.

I really like that card. The blog post on it was very thoughtful and insightful, and made it a bazillion times cooler once I really understood the meaning.

I hope things start to feel a little better very soon. Imma preach a bit here. I know you know this stuff, but I'm going to remind you of it.

I know from experience, that dread feeling you were talking about gets you nowhere. Try to focus on today, the now, and you'll feel a whole lot better. (Obviously you have to think long term sometimes, but keep that to a minimum.) Cutting down on focusing on my future to do list or stresses helps me focus more on my tasks at hand, so I have less to worry about later because it's already done or no longer stressful. It also helps me enjoy the Sparkling Moments life gives me, without feeling guilty or stressed or even miss them all together. I hope that makes sense.

I know how hard it is to stop yourself from worrying about things and retraining your brain. It feels pretty much impossible at first. But with practice, you can do it. I know you can. You are a strong, powerful woman, no matter how defeated or nervous you may feel. I know you can and will get through this. We all will. If something is important, we find a way to make it happen, right? Finding a job is important, yes, but your quality of life is extremely important as well. You can do this.

Thought this might be a good song for you on this topic:
I Will Get There

"I will get through the night and make it through to the other side."

And you will. You will get through this, and you will be stronger because of it. I love you to the moon and back, Mommy. You are amazing and you can do this, no matter what.

I believe in you. I trust you. I love you.

(Bolding is in the original).

I was so touched by that email, and I thought about it a lot this week.

Now, I was in church this Sunday, struggling with a coughing fit, and as I have about a million times over the past three months, I pulled out a Halls honey-lemon cough drop and started sucking on it. The coughing is due to asthma (yes, I am also taking Zyr-tac and using an inhaler). But in this instance, for the very first time, I noticed the writing on the wrapper. Note: I have been unwrapping these cough drops for months. I saw the slogan they use: A PEP TALK IN EVERY DROPTM and realized what else was written on the wrapper: affirmations. Lots and lots of affirmations, exactly like Delia's email. And the layout of the card bloomed instantly in my mind, just like that.

So for this week's card, I dug some of the wrappers out of my purse and others out of the waste paper basket (there were plenty to choose from) and cut out the affirmations. [ profile] minnehaha K. suggested and provided a paint that would blend in the background (because the black of the prepped card would be a stark contrast). The sentence that describes the card came right from Delia's email; she even helpfully bolded it for me.

I think I'm just about as pleased with this week's card as I was with last week's. Perhaps not as pretty (well, Delia is, but not cough drop wrappers!) but it is certainly spot-on with the theme of the week.

What do you think?
pegkerr: (Default)
Week 7: Fall
The beautiful and familiar are falling away, leaving bare spaces for winter's approach.

Week 7 Fall

I think this may be one of my favorite cards I've ever made.

The original title for this was 'Leaf Fall' which I originally visualized as one word and then realized that wouldn't work. And because I'm limiting myself to just one word as titles for these cards, I played around until I realized that 'Fall' could refer both to the season and the falling of the leaves. Excellent.

One of the impetuses for this was a discussion I had with Delia about an art project she was working on for her Introduction to Drawing class. She was to draw a common object (she used a hole punch) and then draw it different ways over the course of fourteen days, using a different medium each time. The trick is to keep finding new ways to convey the object when you start to run out of ideas. I suggested that the line could be conveyed by negative space. Two of the ideas I gave her were 1) to use pinpricks through the paper to outline her subject, and then 2) to use cut outs: negative space in other words, like you see in some of the marvelously ornate pumpkins that people have been carving the past several years for Halloween: you suggest the line of an object by illuminating what's around it.

The autumn here has been gorgeous, and the fall colors just about reached their height last week. Even as I was enjoying the colors, I've been feeling increasingly uneasy about what's coming next. I was struck by the very strong correlation between what I'm going through, with this job search, and the leaf fall all around me. When I was laid off, I had my severance period, I could enjoy my suddenly free time, take walks, visit with my family, etc. A lot of people who are laid off initially treat this time as a mini vacation. But I'm aware that world I lived in of my job (routines, friendships, tasks) has fallen away. It felt a little unreal at first, but it really feels real now. My severance period will eventually be coming to an end, and then my income will drop precipitously when I go on unemployment. And if I can't find a job then...

So I see the beautiful leaf fall and at the same time, the bare spaces left behind that are growing. Winter is coming. Hard times are coming. Have I stored up enough acorns to see my family through?

I loved, loved, loved making this card, and to do so, I used a method I've never tried before. I cut out small delicate leaves from my collected images, but instead of gluing them on the card, I used them as templates; I laid them over the card and drew tiny brush strokes of paint away from the leaf edges, first in white and then with a wash of autumnal colors over the white (the color on black alone wouldn't have shown up). Then I peeled the leaves away, leaving the finely edged outline of a leaf behind. Finally, I added a few, spare touches of gold.

I had a tough time capturing a good scan of the card with the scanner app I have on my iPod touch. Reflections of light on the black kept washing out the paint. Finally got a good one on my screened in porch (indirect light) and toned down the brightness to make the scrim of white reflection disappear while keeping the leaf color true, but that made the card look almost as if it is deep purple rather than black. Then I had to monkey with other parameters to make the card look black again.

Made this card yesterday, as part of a lovely day I spent with [ profile] minnehaha K. Thanks for the use of your paints! And I really enjoyed your company.
pegkerr: (Delia with braid 2015)
Here is a picture of Delia that popped up on her Facebook page (posted here with her permission). My, she looks happy and elegant! I'm delighted to see her looking so well.

Delia with braid from Instagram 9/18/15
pegkerr: (Default)
Some of you may know that Delia has been studying jewelry design with [ profile] elisem (fabulous teacher) for nine years now. She started out as an apprentice but now has achieved the status of journeyman.

Elise is having an online sale, and a little over a dozen of Delia's creations are included (including three wandering wire necklace crowns). Please go admire and buy! Remember that you are helping a very bright and beloved daughter with her college expenses.


(And if you like the work she's doing, please leave a comment here for Delia. Creators can always use artistic encouragement!)
pegkerr: (Default)
Courtesy of Delia again:


I was a wee bit impatient and put the top coat on before the stamped flowers had entirely dried so they are slightly smeared. Perfection constantly recedes beyond the horizon.

Poor Delia. She spent so much time on my nails that she got impatient with hers and packed up her stuff while they were still drying and wrecked her own manicure. I paid her for mine as a mini consolation. She'll do her own again today.

These mother-daughter manicure sessions have been a nice way for us to bond.

And now I have a yen to pick up lots of little bottles of nail polish at the drug store. I have NEVER been into manicures before. This is the first time in my entire life that I have had three manicures in a row, with no bare nails in between.


Jul. 2nd, 2015 06:00 pm
pegkerr: (Holy Tree with Candlelight)
I like my new ring, and the manicure that Delia gave me to show it off.

pegkerr: (Deal with it and keep walking)
•Called insurer with a question about coverage
•Called a medical provider for Fiona and argued with them about a bill
•Texted both girls inquiring about insurance coverage they have through their colleges.
•Ordered microwave cart
•Attempted to order kitchen island (back-ordered till end of the month) and had myself put on list to be notified when they are back in
•Researched duct cleaning companies
•Asked [ profile] naomikritzer to check out their reviews on Angie's list
•Using the information [ profile] naomikritzer gave me, contacted three duct cleaning companies and lined up an appointment with one to come out and clean the ducts Thursday
•Emailed my mom to ask her to research best buys on electric blankets
•Arranged to get work off Thursday, arranged for helpers Wednesday night and Thursday morning to pull boxes, etc., away from ducts for Thursday afternoon appointment
•Received and reviewed updated kitchen bid from contractor, sent reply email
•The stair rails outside our house have been installed! Spoke with the contractor about arranging to get him a check tomorrow
•Dashed home for five minute consult with kitchen contractor, took pictures of stair rails to send to family, picked up a coupon
•Went to therapy appointment. Delivered note from Rob to another medical provider.
•Grabbed a quick dinner on the road
•Drove to hospital where I visited with Rob and friends Scott and Dana
•Reviewed information Mom sent about electric blankets
•Contacted both girls to ask what color blankets they would like
•With Rob, ordered electric blankets for family online (more than 50% off!)
•Briefly discussed kitchen bid with Rob and got check from him to give to kitchen contractor tomorrow
•Took a few items home for Rob
•Home at 9:30 p.m. Briefly considered balancing my checkbook and decided Nah. I've done enough today.
pegkerr: (Default)
because it's late and I'm exhausted.

Rob is out of the hospital. He finally got out yesterday afternoon.

We learned on Monday that Delia is officially a college student again. Yay! We leave tomorrow night--Rob's brother Phil is coming from Eau Claire to pick us up with Delia's stuff, for complicated reasons, and then we move her into the dorm Thursday morning.

Today, Fiona, Delia and I had one last Afternoon Tea at Cafe Latte to celebrate. Sorry the selfie's blurred.

Triple selfie

Tea Spread

Fiona contemplates tea
pegkerr: (Deal with it and keep walking)
He has developed a fever and is being admitted overnight. As they won't release him until he's been without a fever for 24 hours, we expect him to spend most of the weekend there. My phone is about out of charge, and I have a couple of hours of errands to run, but I will try to do a CaringBridge post tonight. Among other things, I need to set up contingency plans in case Rob is too sick or it's too unsafe for him to make the drive this coming week to take Delia to college.

More later. Just know that he's in the place he needs to be right now.
pegkerr: (Default)
5:40 a.m.: Alarm goes off.

6:40 a.m.: Get into car with Rob and Delia

7:00 a.m.: Drop Rob at hospital for antibody infusion. Drive Delia to another location for a medical appointment.

7:20 a.m.: Delia and I stop for breakfast

8:00 a.m.: Delia has her medical appointment. Receives her prescription for a light box for seasonal affective disorder. Appointment lasts until 8:50 a.m.

9:00 a.m. Drop Delia off at home

9:10 a.m. Drop off prescription for light box at medical supply company

9:30 a.m. Arrive at work. As I work, monitor Rob's progress in the hospital (via phone) and Delia's progress (via email) in trying to get her student status unstuck with her college (see previous entry).

2:45 p.m. Leave work

3:00 p.m. Pick up Rob, who is tired, hungry and rather grumpy. Also irked that they can't take his PICC line out: he is extremely low on platelets and will have to go back into the hospital on Friday and possibly Monday to get some.

3:30 p.m. Arrive home. Rob decides he really really really must have pizza.

4:00 p.m. Arrive at Little Caesar's Pizza and buy something totally grease-laden that he just has to have.

4:30 p.m. Bring pizza home. Rob asks, "Don't you have to pick up the Open Arms delivery on Wednesdays?" Curse a lot. Get back into the car.

4:45 p.m. Arrive at Open Arms and request this week's allotment of food.

5:00 p.m. Arrive home with the food, which Rob and Delia put away.
At this point Rob informs me that Delia is hosting a birthday party for a friend at our house tomorrow night and has invited 30 friends via Facebook. This is the first I have heard of it.

5:10 p.m. Go to Delia's room and ask, in a rather shaky voice, what, exactly, she expects me to do to help with this party. She looks alarmed. "It won't be 30 people! Promise! Maybe two people will show up, and that's just because we texted them. We can serve spaghetti. It'll be easy!"

5:30 p.m. Go out on an additional errand. At this point I decide I deserve dinner out myself, dagnabbit, and so I eat at Chipotle.

7:00 p.m. back home. Make previous entry and this one. Still to come tonight: at 8:15 I'll be flushing Rob's PICC line with heperin (?) to keep his blood from clotting, a ten to twenty minute ritualistic procedure (involving a fair number of steps to ensure sterility). This has to be done at least once every twenty-four hours.

After that, I am probably going to be curling up with a good book. Somehow I doubt I'll get around to doing laundry, washing the dishes or balancing my checkbook. And nobody better disturb me, dammit.
pegkerr: (Don't let it rankle!)
it may be said.

Delia received an email (on a Sunday) from the Admissions office of her college--the college she was going to move to in a mere week and a half--that said that her transcript showed she was short half a Social Studies credit and therefore would not be allowed to start college. 'Please call tomorrow to discuss.'

Note, they have had her transcript since June. They had accepted our money. They had accepted a scholarship check from our church. We had taken out loans and withdrawn from her college savings accounts. Yet this was the first we'd heard of it. Secondly, Delia needs to have 3.5 credits to graduate from high school, but the college only required 3 credits. And yet SHE GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL. Obviously, something was wrong here.

After severe heart palpitations on several people's parts, Delia called the Admissions office the next day. And called and called and called. Finally someone got back to her to clarify: she was missing four hours on her transcript.

Delia's high school advisor was out of the country until yesterday, but today he and Delia determined that he had accidentally shorted her several hours when finalizing the reports for her transcript. The correction was made, and a new transcript was both emailed to admissions and sent out in the mail. The correction is not considered 'official' until the copy is received in the mail.

Delia then sent a follow up email saying, 'Please let me know when you have received the mailed transcript and I'm a student again.'

Hopefully we will get this confirmation BEFORE WE START DRIVING TO THE COLLEGE.

What an unfortunate introduction to college bureaucracy.
pegkerr: (Default)
We can't spend this VERY SPECIAL BIRTHDAY with her because Miss Delia is off on a mission trip with kids from her church in Colorado. But we'll celebrate when she gets back!

In the meantime, here are some pictures that we displayed during her graduation party, both of the adorable baby she was, and the beautiful young woman she has become. So proud of you, honey!


2meet Fioa

3first bed


Delia July 2013

Delia's High School graduation

May 18, 2014

254Senior pic harry potter

249Senior Pic golden
pegkerr: (Default)
Delia's graduation party was this past Saturday, and we counted it as a pleasing success--even if the tent canopy we had borrowed again from [ profile] minnehaha K. & B. (just as we did for Fiona's party) was not up to the challenge of Saturday's wind and thunderstorm. We got it up Friday night but were forced to take it down about an hour and a half before the party started when the poles started coming apart. Fortunately, it wasn't damaged and what's more, no guests were under it at the time.

So we moved the party indoors and all squeezed in somehow, squeezing one of the four tables we had borrowed from my church onto the porch, but we had great fun neverthless. Thanks to all who braved the weather to join us! Many thanks especially to my Mom, Rob's brother and sister-in-law who provided the chocolate fountain, my sister Betsy, who wasn't able to be there but still contributed supplies, my church, which let us borrow tables and chairs, and especially Rob, my sister Cindy and her friend Kris Chizek, who together braved the wind and the rain to take down the canopy during a thunderstorm. Phew!

I was too busy to take many pictures--including one of the guest of honor! I hope some of the other shutterbugs managed better than I did. I was a bit caught up in logistics.







pegkerr: (Default)
A few days after the fact, but this past week has been crazy. Delia is now a high school graduate! We are so very proud of her.

Delia's High School graduation

Her high school graduating class was quite small: about thirty-five students or so. It was the most personal graduation ceremony I've ever attended. Each student has the same advisor all the years they attend, and that advisor gives the graduate a diploma and told a story or two about them.

There was no valedictorian. Instead, any senior who wished to was allowed to give a speech, and Delia was one of them. She gave a three minute speech, and she was poised and confident.

Hurray, class of 2014!
pegkerr: (Default)
Remember this post, when I talked about how our church presents each high school graduate with a hand-knotted fleece blanket in their school colors? A friend from my church sent me a picture from the ceremony:

Delia Blanket Blessing

I am both proud (and a little sad) that this day has arrived. She has worked SO HARD to get through high school, and for a long time, it was a tough, tough slog, but she did it! And now my last little fledgling is about to leave the nest.

Will try to post more pictures later.


pegkerr: (Default)

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