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Week 17: Biopsy
After the second of two biopsies, Rob hovers at the brink of awakening.

Week 17 Biopsy

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

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

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

Week 18 Yule

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

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

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

Week 19: Hogmanay
The year comes to an end.

Week 19 Hogmanay

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

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

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

pegkerr: (Default)
I know I need to catch up (for one thing, I haven't posted pictures from our Christmas breakfast, but I still intend to do that) but here's a song to start the New Year: Peter Mayer's "One More Circle Round the Sun."

2012, despite my Dad's death, was a much better year for my family. I hope things continue to look up for us.

pegkerr: (candle)
Here's a song that's on my Midwinter list, and it's a lovely song that touches upon Solstice, Advent, and the end of the year and beginning of the new. It's a good wish to send out to my readers near and far. I hope you have a lovely

Jiggernaut - Midwinter (Album: The Well. See it on CD Baby here and on iTunes here)

Blossoms of spring
are the green leaves of summer
then autumn's splendor
will follow the sun
carvings in stone and
seasons encircle
the old year has ended
a new one's begun


Set a light in your heart
to ward off the darkness
set a fire in your heart
to keep till the spring
let the Advent of love
keep us warm in midwinter
find a song in your heart and sing
find a song in your heart and sing

gather regrets
like deadwood for kindling
sweep out your soul
release doubt and fear
plant seeds of joy
let your light flourish
light a fire on the darkest
day of the year


Make ready your home
and welcome the stranger
bring what you have
and take what you need
the table is set
the door it is open
love's feast is prepared
and time for to feed


keep watch in the night
a new day is dawning
when love and peace
shall blanket the earth
hunger and war
will be all but forgotten
when death will give way to rebirth
when death will give way to rebirth


(here's the song in Mog. If I'm doing it right, I think you'll be able to listen to it there.).
pegkerr: (Default)
Ian Axel uploaded a new version of the video I posted last year, somewhat re-edited. Just as much fun, and a slightly different sound.

This video makes me SOOOO happy.

What I did today to make the world a better place )
pegkerr: (Default)
This is going to be a good year.

I don't know why I feel that way. I just do. I've been thinking over the past several New Year's days, and seeing a pattern. I usually feel depressed. The grip of seasonal affective disorder is usually pretty bad this time of year, and often on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day I feel lousy.

This year I don't.

I don't know why.

Sure our family is facing a lot of difficult things. But I feel curiously optimistic.

I hope this feeling last, and my conviction is borne out. It feels like a nice change.

We celebrated the New Year as we always do, gathering at my sister Cindy's house, eating hors d'oeuvres and Chinese food, playing the famous White Elephant game and watching movies. Fiona's boyfriend Mitch joined us as well as the boyfriend of one of my nieces, Leigh, and it was fun to introduce new people to our cherished family customs.

Here is my Decrease Worldsuck report for 2010. My commitment dropped away toward the end of the year. I'll try to be more consistent. Still, I think I did do my bit to make the world better place.

Love going out to my family and friends. May 2011 be a blessing to you and yours.
pegkerr: (Default)
It was a free download a couple of weeks ago on iTunes "This is the New Year" by Ian Axel. (His Myspace page is here, and he's on Twitter as @ianaxel.) The song's going on my Hope playlist. The video is about as amateur as you can get, with lame lip synching, but it seems to have been done by a very good group of friends, and it's still joyful and fun, and I love, love, LOVE the song. Recommended if you need a pick me up, as heaven knows I really have lately.

Here's a video of the recording being made.

There's also a nice cover of it here.
pegkerr: (Default)
I want to make a post about 2009, mostly to say good riddance. This was a very tough year, more so than I've actually admitted in this journal to my friend's list. For my own sanity, I need to remember the good along with the bad, because I very much need to hang on to that.

The bad: A year of Rob's continued unemployment, and the personal and family strain that resulted, not all of it merely financial. The Bad Thing That Happened in April of Which Elinor Dashwood Does Not Speak in Public, which was one of the hardest and most painful things I've ever experienced. Mental health problems for more than one family member, some of them severe. The theft of the girls' bikes. My knee injury that stopped the karate for awhile (and resultant weight gain), and all the hassle of dealing with it.

The good: The kindness of so many of our family and friends during this difficult year, including the generous gift that gave the girls their bikes again. I can't say it often enough: thank you, thank you. My family is really so grateful.

Even after a year and a half of unemployment, we are still paying all our bills. There are so many others who can not say that, whose situation is so much worse off than ours. I think I have the right to be proud of my careful stewardship of our family resources.

The trip to Mexico that the girls and I took to work at Casa Hogar Elim. That was a truly wonderful and life-altering experience.

The Decrease Worldsuck project and all the good that came of it. I've lost momentum over the past month, due to the reoccurrence of my depression, but I do intend to try to pick it up again. I can honestly say that I've made the world a better place this year, and that's a good thing to say about any year. Take a look at the entire list of what I accomplished here. Isn't it impressive?

[community profile] alternity was OMG SO MUCH FUN!! (Are any of you still reading it? If so, what was your favorite thing about it this year?)

My girls are thriving, for the most part. They are busy and creative and beautiful and smart and compassionate and interesting and funny and they are turning into remarkable young women before my very eyes. I am so very proud of them.

There is something that makes Rob and I still reach for each other in spite of all our problems and pain. I'm trying to hang on to that.

Here's a wonderful blessing for the new year. Hat tip to [ profile] commodorified.

Happy New Year's day, everyone. I hope my 2010 is 1000% better than 2009. I wish nothing but the best for you all in the coming year.

Let the Good Guys Win
Paul Hyde, Murray McLaughlin, Tom Cochrane

May I get what I want, not what I deserve
May the coming year not throw a single curve
May I hurt nobody, may I tell no lies
If I can't go on, give me strength to try


Ring the old year out, Ring the new year in
Bring us all good luck, Let the good guys win

Ring the old year out, Ring the new year in
Bring us all good luck, Let the good guys win

May the one you love be the one you get
May you get some place, you haven't been to yet
May your friends surround you, never do you wrong
May your eyes be clear, may your heart be strong


May the times to come be the best you've had
May peace rule the world and make us glad
When you see something wrong, make it right
Put a shadowed world into the bright sunlight

pegkerr: (Default)
[ profile] sdn suggested here that rather than making New Year's resolutions (a set up for guilt and failure), we make fake resolutions, to let ourselves off our particular hooks. I'm not exactly clear what she meant by this, but here are mine, quite tongue in cheek:
I will go to every sparring class and get through them without getting winded or bursting into tears.

I will stretch my inner hamstrings to the point of flexibility that I can kick any other student at my dojo in the head.

I will cook a meal that is so utterly delicious that every member of my family will slap the forehead and exclaim, "Damn, I never knew what I was missing before! From now on, I'll be eating onions! Voluntarily!"

I will use at least some of my awesome powers to keep the house clean.

I will dazzle my coworkers so much with my mad skillz that they'll beg me never to take a day off. Then I'll take a day off anyway.

I will dash off an exquisitely sensitive and beautiful novel in 30-second bursts, each snippet composed while brushing and flossing my teeth.

I will keep a personal (paper) journal that is so wise, brilliant, observant, funny and insightful that people will still be discussing with awe five hundred years later.

I will create a garden so beautiful that complete strangers will knock on my door and beg to be allowed to photograph it.

I will drink a glass of wine a day--purely for medicinal purposes. I will eat dark chocolate every day--purely for pleasure.
And you?
pegkerr: (All we have to decide is what to do with)
I've been rather quiet on LJ lately because we do a lot of family get-togethers in the week between Christmas and New Years. Our last hurrah for the holidays is our annual Twelfth Night breakfast; we'll probably take the decorations down after that. (I'd like to make this Twelfth Night cake, but alas, the girls will probably veto it since (horrors!) it has fruit in it. I'll have to come up with something else.)

It turns out Rob's new job will start next week; it took awhile for all the paperwork to get processed. Meanwhile he's getting stuff done around the house that he's been promising to finish for months now.

I've been thinking about New Years and resolutions, as I do every year. My weight took a real jump this past month, partly due to the holidays, of course, and partly, I suspect, due to stress eating--I was really worried about the unemployment coming to an end. I'm not being too hard on myself about it, but I've decided to start tracking my calories again on SparkPeople, and upping my exercise program again, including adding the weight-lifting back in (I'd let it slide when I started biking and especially after the gall bladder surgery, and I never really picked it up again). I think I'll be able to get back down under 150 before too long.

But about self-assessment in general: Kij has been talking to me the past couple of weeks about needing to take a hard look at her own life, trying to figure out what she needs to do. Something she said stuck in my mind, the need to be honest and to face the stuff you've been avoiding. I've been thinking about that this week. What about me, what have I been avoiding facing?

I think the truth that I've avoided saying is that the conviction has been growing in me that I don't think I'm ever going to write a novel again. I don't know why, but the fire I used to have in me to write fiction has gone out. Kij and I talked about it this morning; I said that for so many years I thought of myself as a writer (and for me, that meant specifically a writer of published fiction). Facing this realization means facing the fact that the way I use to identify myself must change--even as I acknowledge a point that several people on my friends list have made to me repeatedly ([ profile] cakmpls I think, specifically)--that what I perhaps need to do is to quit thinking of myself in terms of what I do (I am a fiction writer, I am a karate student). It's less mind messing is just to accept myself as myself--I am Peg. There are various things I do--I wrote novels in the past, right now I'm studying karate. I may or may not do these various things in the future, but I don't need to let that cause a corresponding upheaval in my own identity.

This realization feels quite sad, although I am, of course saying never say never. Maybe a great novel idea will mug me when I'm in my mid-fifties that I'll absolutely have to write.

But where I am right now, I don't really see it happening.

So I'm putting it out there. The most absurdly neurotic part of myself wonders if there will be a mass unfriending as a result ("Peg says she's not going to write fiction anymore??! My god, why have I have been wasting my valuable time reading her stupid blathering journal? *Defriends immediately*") But fortunately the wiser and mature part of myself realizes that this fear is neurotic; in fact it's absolutely ridiculous. If you were going to defriend my journal because I'm not producing publishable fiction, you'd have done it months ago. Heck, it's been blindingly obvious for months now that's not what this journal is about anymore anyway.

So we simply continue on as we have before. I write essays here. I go to karate. I try to cook dinners my family will deign to eat. I garden. I face the dark and try to reach for the light. I make wry observations. I natter on (and on! and on!) about my extremely silly obsessions. I try to be a better person--wiser, more empathetic, more thoughtful, more politically aware.

I live my life. And it's a pretty good life. I tell you about it. Or as least as much about it as Elinor Dashwood wants to share.

You read. Or not.

Your choice.
pegkerr: (Default)
Each week, the BBC News Magazine chronicles interesting and sometimes downright unexpected facts from the news, through its strand 10 things we didn't know last week. Here, to round off the year, are some of the best from the past 12 months.
pegkerr: (Default)
I actually like both of these. Maybe I'll do both!

In the year 2007 I resolve to:
Fire my boss.

Get your resolution here.

([ profile] kijjohnson, this reminds me of you).

In the year 2007 I resolve to:
Walk on the ceiling.

Get your resolution here.

pegkerr: (All we have to decide is what to do with)
My family and I are going to ring in New Years at my sister's in Minnetonka. We will eat hors d'oeuvres and Chinese food and play the White Elephant game. Will perhaps do a longer entry to round up the year, but for now will simply say that I hope next year is better than this one was.
pegkerr: (Default)

In the year 2006 I resolve to:

Get no less than 4 speeding tickets..

Get your resolution here

pegkerr: (Default)
1. What was your biggest accomplishment this year?

Establishing a pattern of exercise. I bought an aerobics step, and did step and weight lifting exercise videos. I did about 150 workouts this year, which is a little under three times a week. I am definitely in better physical shape! Go me!

I am also extremely pleased that I seem to have a viable book idea now.

2. What was your biggest disappointment?

That despite the exercise, I didn't lose any weight. Yeah, yeah, we all know muscle weighs more than fat, but let me tell you, it is really discouraging to force myself out of bed at 5:15 a.m. day after day and kill myself, only to have the scale not budge at all. I slacked off a bit at the end of the year because I was getting so discouraged. I have to get more ruthless about my diet, and recommit to exercise to kick it up to a higher frequency.

3. Will you be making any New Year's resolutions?

Recommitting to exercise. I have a couple of habits I'm not proud of which I'm going to try to eradicate, which I won't mention here, but I'll try (again) to get rid of them. Haven't been successful, despite earlier resolutions, but hey, I did get the exercise habit established, so maybe this is the year.

And not exactly a resolution, but I intend to write lots on the new novel.

4. Where will you be at midnight? Do you wish you could be somewhere else?

I will be at my sister's house with my family, which is just exactly where I want to be. We will have opened our family gifts and will be toasting the new year.

5. Aside from (possibly) staying up late, do you have any other New Year's traditions?

We play the White Elephant game! This has been a family tradition in my family for nigh on forty years:

The Rules:

Everyone brings a mathom or two, gift wrapped, and they are all piled in the center of the circle. (This is your chance to get rid of those salt and pepper holders you never used, or the Praying Jesus plate Aunt Matilda gave you for your wedding, or the VCR remote holder shaped like a stuffed goose or . . . ) Several pairs of dice are passed around. If you roll a 7 or 11, you take a gift from the center of the pile; if you roll doubles, that means you roll again.

When all the gifts are gone, everyone unwraps and shows off their loot. Then a timer is set for five minutes. Dice are rolled and passed. If you get 7 or 11 you can either grab someone else's gift, or unload your gift onto somebody else. Doubles rolls again. And you're stuck with whatever you have when the timer goes off.

It gets to be a uproariously laughing screamfest. We discovered years ago that if you have very young children playing, some gifts should be included that are calculated to please them: matchbox cars, or little dolls. We all remember the year when my nephew David eagerly unwrapped his box, only to find my brother's skanky old tennis shoe, and he burst into tears, and it took quite a while to calm him down.

We have a rule that you have to leave with whatever you won, but there is a long time-honored tradition of trying to hide your white elephants at the hosts house so that you don't have to take them with you. Another vivid memory: one of my uncles hiding an old bowling ball behind the drapes. We discovered it and managed to lob it into the back seat of his car, just as he drove away. He stopped the car and lobbed it back onto our lawn.

We mailed it to him, COD.



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