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)
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: (Delia)
"I'm dressed, and I've brushed and flossed my teeth and my backpack is packed. I'm all ready to gooooooooooo! When can we gooooooooooo?"
pegkerr: (Default)
Fiona leaves for college in a couple weeks (well, technically, she trundles down the street to a location about fifteen minutes away and moves in with her new sheets and towels, the old microwave, and the clothes that are presently scattered all over the floor of her bedroom). She's not ready--she has to finish her summer paper for the Youth Theological Seminar, and get her transcript extracted from the Minneapolis school district and sent to the college (belated due to summer online gym) and finalize her loan and decide what to do about her banking and buy clothes and and and

and I'm not ready.

I can hardly believe that we've reached this point. Everyone warned me, and it's true. Those eighteen years passed by in a blink.

Delia's switching schools this year, too. She was unhappy at her former school and we had a number of wrangles with the school administration and so now she'll be attending a charter school in St. Paul, which runs on a collaborative basis, using project-based learning. I desperately hope this will be a better answer for her.

We can't take a vacation this year, but the girls and I are going to take a long weekend this weekend, driving up to Washington Island in Wisconsin (Door County), where my extended family has property. We'll be staying with one of my aunts, who summers up there. The girls have gone the last couple of years with my sister Betsy and my parents, but this is the first time I'll be going long. Poor Rob is left at home to hold down the fort.

Lordy, lordy, I need the break.
pegkerr: (Hardcore pretty)
Fiona graduated last Friday, and we had our open house on Sunday.

Here is the beautiful dress that Delia sewed for Fiona to wear under her graduation robes:

The sisters together )

The graduate and her family (Delia, me and my parents)!

Fiona's high school graduation June 3, 2011
Fiona's high school graduation June 3, 2011

With the Boy )

At the party, we had a taco bar )

We also had a chocolate fountain )

We gathered in the backyard )

Here's a great picture of relatives from Rob's side of the family )

After the party, she was all tuckered out )
pegkerr: (Default)
I'm having terrific troubles with my computer, which has been fritzing out and crashing repeatedly (which has been driving me up a wall), and I've been excessively distracted with all the end of the year stuff and Other Stuff Elinor Dashwood Does Not Mention. I'm afraid I have been very spotty about responding and may have missed some things. Leave me a comment here if you need to yell to get my attention for something. I do not usually feel like such a ditz, but somehow I am this week (Exhibit A: my last entry).
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: (Karate Fiona 2008)
Someone commented on my last post (in reference to the last line where I repeated Fiona's remark that she was glad the thieves jumped her, and not the young woman she had just passed carrying a baby:
You know, her concern for the mother and her baby, doesn't this make her a "official" warrior? (Or a knight, or a samurai, or a saint?)
Fiona has been flailing and flailing to come up with a paper topic for her Extended Essay, which is a twenty page researched paper that she has to do a first draft on this summer. It's one of the requirements for the International Baccalaureate degree.

I had a discussion with her this week about it, trying to help her come up with something that was at the intersection of her passionate interests (karate, fantasy, and characters like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mulan, Xena, and some from Firefly) I suggested she should do a paper on The Woman Warrior. She'll have to narrow the topic, but I suggested perhaps taking at look at books like Maxine Hong Kingston's book The Woman Warrior, or Kij Johnson's Fudoki.

She liked the idea and got preliminary approval from her thesis advisor on this just a couple of days ago.

If you have any suggestions for a paper on The Woman Warrior, either books to suggest or thoughts on refining the topic, send 'em our way.

Edited to add: She'll be at Convergence this weekend. If you see her, feel free to say hello.
pegkerr: (Default)
Depression has really not been an issue at all, and I'm attributing it to my starting to take fish oil capsules very faithfully about a month ago. [ profile] naomikritzer mentioned about a year ago it was good for depression, and I was like yeah, yeah, whatever. But I started it up recently solely to help my HDL/LDL ration. And the depression has miraculously lifted. I dunno if it's placebo effect, but whether it is or not, hey, I'll take it. I feel great. Is this what people feel like usually? Wow.

BUT I have been exceedingly distracted by a couple real personal life issues, which is why I haven't been posting much the last week or so. As a result I also haven't been reading my friends list/reading list much. The kerfuffle over Diane Gabaldon's rant against fanfiction is interesting, but I have to put my emotional energy elsewhere, kittens. Let other people spill their bytes over this. I have other fish to fry at the moment.

My parents are moving to Minneapolis from Georgia! Yay! The movers came to get their furniture today. Hopefully they'll be up here for good by Mother's Day. I will be so happy (and relieved) to have them here in town and wow, local grandparents for the kids! That's a first. Alas, it finally happens the year before Fiona leaves for college.

Fiona is having the Week From Hell (AP exams. Multiple.)

Rob is very busy with the Census. They keep finding work for him to do. Yay.

Delia made a dress the other day out of four T-shirts. I'll post a picture of it when I can. She has been burning through a dizzying array of artistic modes of expression this past week: hair dressing, painting fingernails, and now reconfigured T-shirt fashion.

I was going to start biking to work this week, but Something Came Up (having to do with that real life personal issue) that has pushed back my start date, possibly a couple of weeks.


Mar. 9th, 2010 05:40 pm
pegkerr: (Delia)
It's confirmed...Delia got into her high school choice, the same school that Fiona's attending!

(Now we just have to figure out how to pay for the city bus pass to get them there and back when they take the school bus away next year.)
pegkerr: (Default)
and I haven't been called by the school yet.

pegkerr: (Karate Fiona 2008)
Fiona has been studying Dante's Inferno in English. She really really LOVES Dante's Inferno. The students in the IB program have to do an oral presentation on it, 10% of which goes to their grade in IB Honors English.

Fiona, deciding to get creative, approached her teacher with a rather novel suggestion.

Yes. Her oral presentation on Dante's Inferno is going to be...get this...a karate form, which she's choreographed by herself and will be performing today.

She will be depicting, in her form, the various torments of the damned in each of the circles of hell and the ways that the demons punish them. She'll perform it and then go through it again, explaining to the three teachers assessing her why she used the particular karate technique for each level. 'Gluttony' is all about deep stances, low to the earth. For 'Lust,' the circle where the damned are blown by unending winds, she'll circle the bo with helicopter movements. For 'Heretics,' where the damned are tormented by fire, she'll pretend to strike a spark with her steel kamas, and then use the kama motions to suggest rising flames. Etc.

I'm sure her teachers will have never seen anything like it before.

One little bobble: it occurred to her, belatedly, that, um...she'd be bringing weapons to school. She told her teacher that she wanted to do a karate form, but she didn't mention that weapons were involved. She emailed her teacher yesterday but didn't get a reply back. So she's decided to use a meter stick instead of the bo. She's bringing the kamas, but I wrote a note for her, explaining that we had tried to contact her teacher but hadn't gotten a response, that Fiona is a black belt who is trained to handle the kamas, and that the kamas are not sharp. She'll bring the kamas immediately to her English teacher to hold for the day, only taking them to do the routine, and then will give them back to her and retrieve them at the end of the day. And if there were any questions, they can call me.

So I don't know. I may either hear tonight a report that her form was a complete triumph, that she awed the judges with her originality. Or I might hear today from the school to come pick up my daughter because she's been suspended for three days.

I'm crossing my fingers.

Her karate instructor was delighted with the idea when Fiona explained it to him, and he suggested that she might try refining it and then presenting it as a tournament form for competition.

Cross-posted to [ profile] karate_do and [ profile] girlfighters
pegkerr: (Default)
I went to the informational meeting put on by the school district about the proposed plan that the School Board will be voting on September 22.

We are in the Roosevelt attendance area. We want our girls to go to Southwest, which is in another attendance area. The changes are to take place for the 2010 school year.

Look, I understand the challenges the district is facing. I understand that the state, damn them, is not giving them enough money. I understand that the current system is not sustainable. But we made our decisions on school choice based on what the school district told us was going to happen. I fiercely resent them changing the rules in the middle of our kid's education like this.

I already knew that they were going to take our bussing away. I already knew that Delia's chances of getting into Southwest have slipped--although she has sibling preference, they still put her at the back of the line, behind all the kids who live in Zone 2 (i.e. those who live in the Southwest or Washburn attendance area).

I did not know that Fiona is at risk of being yanked out of Southwest entirely. Roosevelt is going to have an IB program, they tell us. Well, Roosevelt's test scores absolutely suck, compared to Southwest, and the accreditation process to become an IB school takes three years. So they could actually take Fiona, an IB-diploma candidate, out of an IB-accredited school her senior year and stick her in a failing school that doesn't even have IB accreditation.

Step one: see if the plan passes when the school board votes September 22. I expect that it will.

Step two: apply to the district, asking that Fiona be allowed to stay at Southwest and that Delia be allowed an exception to go there, too, under sibling preference. And pray that she gets in. And then try to figure out a city bus schedule that will get the girls there. Possibly buy a car and get Fiona her driver's license. Which would mean car payments and a higher insurance bill. Shit, I can't even afford to buy a car for myself.

If one or both girls aren't allowed to go to Southwest:

Step three: Paint the house and do repairs and move. Again, we absolutely don't have money for this as long as Rob is unemployed.

Do you see why I need Robert to get a frickin' job!?!?!
pegkerr: (Default)
Rob got called back for a two month temporary assignment with the U.S. Census. Of course, the last time they told him they were giving him a two-month full time job, it turned out to be a one month part time job.

I'm trying to be grateful. See how grateful I am? Really. Oh I'm so verrrrrry grateful.

Screw that.

A teeny rant )

No matter how much chocolate I eat, it doesn't help.

H1N1 Flu

May. 6th, 2009 02:29 pm
pegkerr: (Fiona)
It has arrived at Fiona's high school. Two cases have been confirmed, but following the new protocol, the school will not close.

All right, I'm nervous, but not panicked. I knew this would have to happen eventually.

What I did today to make the world a better place )
pegkerr: (Default)
Enter your child's school's name here to see how toxic the surrounding air is.

Ew. Not good. Delia's school is in the 28th percentile (34,948 of 127,809 schools have worse air) and Fiona's school is in the 17th percentile (21,160 of 127,809 schools have worse air.)
pegkerr: (Default)
Okay, I'm doing a favor and passing on some information I got from [ profile] dlandon. The second one I knew about and had already implemented, and the first one I had looked at earlier but mistakenly thought I didn't qualify. [ profile] dlandon's post made me look at it again, and hey! What a cool program.

First, there's UPromise: It's a website that gives you money for spending money. They have several ways this works:

1) You can get their own credit card, the Citi Upromise card. If you do, you get 10% extra college savings on thousands of grocery and drug store items, 10% extra college savings at 8000+ restaurants, and 1% college savings everywhere you shop. This was what I saw when I glanced at this program in a cursory fashion a year ago. I thought, geez, I don't want another credit card; we're trying to reduce our debt, and so I didn't look any further. My mistake. You see, there are OTHER ways you can use the program, even without signing up for their credit card:

2) You can register your own credit or debit card that you are already using (up to ten of them). If you use it at a restaurant that has an arrangement with Upromise, you get anywhere from 1 - 25% of the cost of your order deposited into your college savings account. I discovered that my local coffee shop, Tillie's Bean, is signed up: everytime I buy a cup of coffee there, 4% would go to my Upromise account.

3) there are other merchants that have Upromise arrangements. Get 1 cent a gallon every time you fill up at an Exxon or Mobile, using a credit card you've registered. Every time you rent a Budget truck. Every time you book through travelocity. Every time you use shutterfly.

4) you can get a percentage of the money you spend at participating grocery stores and drug stores. If you already have a CVS pharmacy card, for example, just register it with Upromise--and then every time you swipe it at the drug store, you're also putting money into your Upromise account. You can also check for ecoupons on the Upromise site. No need to even print them out: just click on them on the website, and then when you swipe your card at the grocery store, it'll save you money AND put money into your college savings.

6) you can click through their site to shop online with a long list of very familiar retailers: Barnes and Noble, Target, Gap, JoAnn Fabrics, Macy's, Banana Republic, LL Bean, etc. A percentage of your order will go to your Upromise account. It's legit, their member partners donate the money (I'm sure they've done studies on how much extra revenue it drives) and, of course, upromise tries to sell you a 529 account. But, seriously, why not? it's a really long list, and during special promotional periods you can get back up to 6%! It's free money deposited into an account you create.

So you tell me, great idea Peg, but I don't even have a kid. You can still participate! Designate the money to go to a nephew or a friends' kid (heck, you could designate the money to go to Fiona and Delia if you want---and if anyone is interested in doing so, let me know, and I'll send you an invite.) You could also designate that the money go to a school that you choose. How about supporting your local community school?

Secondly, 529 accounts. They are special accounts that allow you to save for your kid's college education, and the interest earned/growth is all tax free. You control over when the kid withdraws it/what they use it for, because it's up to your discretion - not the kid's. Some states (not MN, unfortunately) even let you deduct it on your state taxes. But most importantly? Many states offer matching grants if the parents meet income requirements (ie, don't make too much). In Minnesota they will give you up to $400/year as a matching grant. Frankly, if you qualify in the low income bracket, it's a no-brainer. Even if scraping together $400 is tough (and I know for some of you it might be), $400 over 18 years is $7,200. And you *know* your kid's unlikely to get that much when they hit eighteen and start trying to find scholarships/grants.

So, anyway, worth checking out. Different states have different options (though you can invest in any state's plan you want, the benefits vary widely), different fees, and different tax policies, but take a look at for more information.


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